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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 CarSoup.com-- 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.

Um.

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.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
kissmeimjewish
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
ur code is all messed up
magicmarmot
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thx. I'm still a bit shook.
kissmeimjewish
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
i didn't read the entry. too frazzeld to read much
madcap23
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
Make sure the Used ones on car soup are actually Hybreds.
magicmarmot
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Yep, and 2005 or later. Right now I see two listed.
molasses
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
yeah, shitty.
could have been *really* shitty, if you'd crashed up and killed a handful of little people in the past few months but a shock none the less.

you're handling it well.

magicmarmot
Feb. 21st, 2007 09:31 pm (UTC)
I'm actually pretty frothy. Just behind panicked.
ethel
Feb. 21st, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
I pay my gas bill automatically, and i'm in Minneapolis...
magicmarmot
Feb. 21st, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
You have automatic deduction from your checking account? How do you like that?

See, that's not the same as being able to pay online. That's a direct hose from your bank account to somebody else's pocket, and if something were to happen to your source of income-- like say becoming unemployed for a large chunk of time-- they still suckle at your teat.

I may be a proto-luddite, but I still balk at someone other than me and my bank having regular access to my account. I may change my opinion on that soon.
lexinatrix
Feb. 21st, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
I have a shit-ton of stuff on autopay directly from my checking account. I have automatic payments set up through online banking as well.

I love it. Easy to budget because I can see in my online banking sessions where everything is going easily instead of waiting for checks to clear.

And I don't need to order checks but once a milennium.

If something were to happen to my income stream, I could use my banking records online to get a list of folks to call to have them stop the autopayments. Voila.
magicmarmot
Feb. 21st, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Okay. I really like the idea of not being late on payments. I just get ooky at the loss of control.

I will look into it.
lexinatrix
Feb. 21st, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, the other thing I did was have my credit card send me an email when a payment is coming due, and when they received my payment (made thru online banking). That may help you feel like you're still on top of everything, if you get regular emails to remind you to make the payments then to confirm they've arrived.

I have similar functionality through WF's 'eBills' feature. I get an electronic bill that I can view online instead of a paper one. Handy for cell phone and utility bills. I then use online bill pay to set up the transaction (typically well in advance of the due date) and forget about it.

If I need to do creative banking, I can look quickly at the pending outbound payments and see on one page how much is going and when and adjust accordingly.
mle292
Feb. 21st, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Compromise vehicle
Station wagon!

Required to have the efficency of a car (usually mileage in the high twenties), and capable of hauling stuff.

God, I miss my station wagon.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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