Author Topic: Going carless, need to learn fast  (Read 5814 times)

Jannie

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Going carless, need to learn fast
« on: December 18, 2012, 10:39:44 AM »
Well I'm on the fast track to life without a car, after the insurance company rang me yesterday with the news they will NOT be paying repairs on my car because they would cost more than it was worth.  Accident was minor and not my fault, but this is the result.

Anyway, they've offered me $2000 to settle the claim, which I can't complain about. BUT, they want it back today and I will get my money probably on Christmas Eve.

The first thing I have to do is figure out how to get home again after dropping off this vehicle this morning.  Yes it's still drivable, even in warrantable condition, but apparently I am not allowed to drive it any more.  So I am studying the bus timetable, and will haul my daughter's bike out of the garage - hasn't been ridden in four years, before that was ridden daily for five years, so I'm not very hopeful about it.

Then, how to get around from now on. 

Yikes, this is a great idea in theory - licensing, warrants, insurance, repairs and of course petrol.  But in practice??  Any hints welcome.

SwordGuy

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2012, 10:50:22 AM »
Buy the car back from the insurance company with a salvage title.

Std. practice.  If you don't have to spend money to make it safe to drive, you just made a few bucks.

Jannie

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2012, 10:53:02 AM »
Not worth it.  Their offer is very generous.  Though I can drive it right this minute it is costing more and more in repairs, gear box about to give up etc.  This is actually a lucky escape for me.  If I can see it that way.  Just the suddenness is taking me a bit to get my head around.

Jamesqf

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2012, 10:58:53 AM »
Second that.  It's your car: if it's still driveable*, drive it.  They may hassle you about it, and try to get out of paying, but odds are you'll be better off in the long run.  They'll try to get you to settle for a quick lowball payout, since most people aren't in a position to outwait them.

Had this happen with my Insight a couple of years after I bought it.  Got rear-ended, broke the rear glass and did some minor cosmetic damage.  The other guy's insurance company wanted to total the car and pay something like half the replacement cost.  I'm still driving the car (after paying a couple hundred for replacement parts and doing the repairs myself), and after a year or so of hassle finally got a $5K check from them.

*But if it's the lemon you say it is, dump it and count yourself lucky :-)

capital

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2012, 11:22:29 AM »
Well I'm on the fast track to life without a car, after the insurance company rang me yesterday with the news they will NOT be paying repairs on my car because they would cost more than it was worth.  Accident was minor and not my fault, but this is the result.

Anyway, they've offered me $2000 to settle the claim, which I can't complain about. BUT, they want it back today and I will get my money probably on Christmas Eve.

The first thing I have to do is figure out how to get home again after dropping off this vehicle this morning.  Yes it's still drivable, even in warrantable condition, but apparently I am not allowed to drive it any more.  So I am studying the bus timetable, and will haul my daughter's bike out of the garage - hasn't been ridden in four years, before that was ridden daily for five years, so I'm not very hopeful about it.

Then, how to get around from now on. 

Yikes, this is a great idea in theory - licensing, warrants, insurance, repairs and of course petrol.  But in practice??  Any hints welcome.
I think how hard this will be mostly depends on where you live. If you can walk to a grocery store, and the bus will take you to work, you'll be fine for a while. Try Google Maps for transit directions if you haven't yet; it's much easier than futzing with timetables. Bikes hold up just fine in a garage, usually. It might need a new chain if the old one were never oiled, and maybe new brake pads or cables, but 9 years old is young for a bicycle. I've done plenty of miles on bicycles much older than I am.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2012, 12:06:45 PM »
Well I'm on the fast track to life without a car, after the insurance company rang me yesterday with the news they will NOT be paying repairs on my car because they would cost more than it was worth.  Accident was minor and not my fault, but this is the result.

Anyway, they've offered me $2000 to settle the claim, which I can't complain about. BUT, they want it back today and I will get my money probably on Christmas Eve.


Wait wait, is your car worth $2000? Because if it isn't, don't settle. If the repairs cost more than the car itself was worth then they should give you the money for a replacement, assuming that's within your policy.

Jannie

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 05:21:31 PM »
No, I don't think the car was worth anything close to $2000.

I took it in to insurers, banked my cheque and bought a bus pass to get home again.

I think bus will be cheap but it will only get me from home to town.  I will have to brush off the bike to get anywhere else.  This is looking like I will have to rearrange the way I live my life.  I'd be interested in how others have worked this out.


Paul der Krake

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 05:34:42 PM »
No, I don't think the car was worth anything close to $2000.
FYI, in NC the DMV lists the estimated value of your car when you register it or pay property taxes every year. In my county, you can even find out the value of anyone's car with just their name online, fun! If your state puts any kind of tax on vehicles (don't they all?), they must have some way to decide how much to tax.

As to living without one... a lot of less fortunate people do. Buses, bikes, planning. :)

Jannie

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 10:10:52 PM »
Yeah, planning.  No more jumping in the car and heading off on a whim.

onemorebike

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2012, 06:20:26 AM »
This book is great: http://www.amazon.com/How-Live-Well-Without-Owning/dp/1580087574

I've read it a number of times and the stories in it also serve as inspiration. (right now we've got one but the strategies serve for reducing transportation costs as well)

TwoWheels

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2012, 07:15:59 PM »
A bit of advice, which may or may not apply depending on your personality: be patient with biking and busing. When you're adjusting to the lack of fast, easy, on-demand transportation you might be tempted to feel like the bike or bus is wasting your time (especially if you're in a hurry)...don't! Even though it takes longer, it's a much better use of your time than driving - biking is great exercise and there are plenty of things you can bring to do on a bus ride. I also like to remind myself that there is real value in taking time to chill out just a bit, no matter how busy I am.

etselec

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2012, 06:24:34 AM »
Also: combining trips is your friend. Whatever errands you can run in town (after work, during lunch, etc.) will reduce the number of trips you need to make. Think about when it may be cost-effective to buy online, such as for bulky items that you can't easily bring home on bike or bus. Often you can get a lower price which will offset shipping costs.

Some cities/bus systems have racks that allow you to bring a bike along on the bus (e.g. http://www.mta-mac.com/bicycles.html). Those are great! They can extend your range far beyond where the bus system goes and how far you're realistically able to bike.

Also - make sure you have all the accessories you need to bike safely: weather-appropriate clothes, lock, lights, a setup for hauling goods such as panniers or a trailer. Start slow if you haven't been biking.

You'll be amazed how quickly you adjust your routines and it feels like you never had the car at all.

Jannie

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Re: Going carless, need to learn fast
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 03:02:52 AM »
Thanks, people. 

So far I am happy enough with this experiment.  I have managed a couple of bus trips easily enough.  I have also been sharing my husband's car since we are both on summer holiday at present.

Walking home the other day I saw an elderly friend out in his front yard and stopped for a chat we would never otherwise have had.  So there are definately some side benefits of slowing down that cannot be measured purely in economic terms.

I am still studying up on the bus timetable and now that Christmas is over I plan to dust off the bike and have been checking out the distances to my usual locations on google maps, thanks for that suggestion.

Very relieved to have ditched so many expenses at once - insurance, petrol, licensing etc. At first I didn't feel very confident about adjusting my routines around no car but now I am motivated by desire to to avoid taking on those expenses all over again.