Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

Doing some searching for a new (used) vehicle, I've been torn.

The 'Sploder exists for a reason or six:

  • I haul a lot of stuff. Between shooting movies and getting home improvement materials, I need hauling capacity.

  • Occasionally, I need to haul more than fits in the vehicle itself, so I have a light-duty trailer.

  • Sometimes the stuff is weather-sensitive, so the ability to be enclosed is a critical bit.

  • I have a dog, Dog rides in the backseat.

  • I am large, and do not fit well in many vehicles, including trucks and SUVs.

  • Four-wheel drive in the winter.

I pay for this privelege every time I fill up the gas tank. Since most of my driving is in the city, the gas mileage is abysmal (like less than 20 mpg), and the upsurge in gas prices has left me feeling the sphincter-tightening feeling far too often. And I don't see prices dropping soon.

With the cutting back on the movie stuff being a temporary thing, and with the full knowledge that I'm going to be hauling building materials for several years, I'm still very much in SUV mode. Thing is, the vast majority of my driving is still in-city, and usually by myself with no serious hauling required. I love, love, love the concept of the hybrid vehicle for in-city driving, but I simply can't afford two vehicles. Between payments, insurance, and space, it's unrealistic.

So for fun, I decided to look and see if there was such a thing as a hybrid SUV that was rated for towing. And by golly, there is.

Ford Escape

36 mpg city. 31 highway. Okay, those are numbers that are optimistic, but yo, that's still a whopping amount better than the best days on the 'sploder. And there are even some used available on not many, they seem to hold their value pretty well-- but enough that I can get a reasonable idea of the cost. I need to get to one to test drive, because they are smaller than the 'Sploder, and that worries me. Smaller interior space would not be good. Thing is, I can test-fit a non-hybrid version and see about the room if it comes down to it.

So I called my insurance company to look at how the rates would change.


Apparently my insurance lapsed. Back in October.

(insert the spinny vertigo-inducing, bottom-falling-out feeling here.)

Okay, no problem, let's just re-up the insurance.

Nope. Problem. Even though I've been with the same insurance company for almost 30 years, because I was lapsed for more than 60 days (d'oh!), the rates go up about 50%. To an absolutely insane amount.

Uh, no thanks. I'll shop around.

To their credit, my insurance agent, wanting to keep my business, did some shopping around for me and came up with a solution that was not only cheaper than what I'm currently paying (or apparently not paying), but has better coverage.

I'm still rather frosted by the whole thing, as I remember writing a check for the insurance back in the fall, but they received no payment. Since I'm doing an in-depth check on the finances anyway, I'll find out what the hell happened, but I'm mortified about not feaking having had insurance for the past four months. That's some scary shit, batman. (Part of me is freaking because what if I just plain forgot? Could I be that irresponsible? The answer to that is of course I could be, and that frightens me all the more.)

And you know, no phone call, no e-mail, nothing. I suspect that they sent me snail mail to the effect that I was lapsing, but the unreliability of hard mail is ridiculous these days. Come to think of it, a paper check probably isn't the safest way to pay stuff anymore either. Almost all of my bill paying is done online, there have only been a few Luddite holdouts (like the freakin' gas company, what the hell? Step into the present, people!).

I'll be insured before I leave work tonight, at least for the next six months.

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