Dealing with Your Car Insurance After an Accident

Dealing with Your Car Insurance After an Accident Almost everyone knows someone who has been in a car accident, or they’ve been in one themselves. They are a regular occurrence on our streets. They can sometimes just be a minor nuisance, while others can be catastrophic, life altering events.

Fewer things are more frustrating than dealing with insurance companies after an accident. It’s very important to be aware of one’s rights during this difficult process. Being aware of what you are entitled by your insurance company can ensure that you are treated fairly and with little stress.

Understanding how to deal with your car insurance after an accident can make a significant difference on your driving future, from the type of car that you can afford to insure (think used Honda Civic vs. Brand New Audi A4)to the amount you have to pay up front to repair your damaged car. So here are some managing and money saving tips for dealing with your car insurance company.

Remain Confident and Calm

Insurance adjusters are looking out for their company’s bottom line. They want to pay as little as possible on every claim. It’s important to remain confident during this process. The insurance company must uphold their contractual obligations. The adjuster may try to intimidate a victim into taking a small settlement. Remain relaxed, and don’t settle for less than full compensation and coverage.

You Pick the Mechanic

Don’t get bullied into using an insurance adjuster’s preferred mechanic. This is a manipulative tactic that insurance companies use to get accident damage appraised at low rates. This is so they can offer smaller settlements to policy holders. Legally speaking, the car owner gets to pick the mechanic. Remain firm on this, and there’s nothing the adjuster can do about it.

Keep a Record or Journal

It may be helpful to keep a record or journal of the process. Don’t forget to record every call and meeting with the adjuster. This will come in handy if the insurance company isn’t acting in good faith. A journal can be used as evidence in a court of law.

Don’t Wait to File a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company

There is absolutely no need to wait for the other driver to file a claim with his or her insurance company. It’s important to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. Contact the other person’s insurance company immediately.

Move up the Food Chain

If the desired results just aren’t happening with one’s insurance adjuster, it’s time to move up the food chain. Try calling his or her supervisor. If that doesn’t work, contact the regional office or corporate headquarters.

BMW European Delivery Program Recap–Part One: The Welt

As promised, I’ll be posting full recaps about my European Delivery Program trip and Performance Center re-delivery. Up first is the Euro Delivery….

When I first decided that I was ready to purchase my beloved Bimmer, I had no doubt that I wanted to take advantage of all the special programs BMW had to offer. If I was going to plunk down this amount of cash on a car, I wanted to ensure I was getting far more than the physical vehicle–I wanted an experience that I’d remember for a long time.

And a long time, indeed. I’m certain that I’ll never forget this trip!

BMW European Delivery Program Logistics

The program is available to anyone age 18 and older who is purchasing or leasing a brand new BMW. In August, I met with my client advisor to choose my car and its options as well as to discuss potential travel dates. Due to multiple scheduling conflicts, I decided to push my actual delivery date out until November. Usually, you could have your date within 4-6 weeks of placing your order. I “met” my car on Friday, November 23, 2012.

After your car is ordered, you receive a crapload of paperwork to fill out including customs forms, insurance declarations, travel arrangements, etc. You also get your production number and online access code so you can travel along with the real-time production of your vehicle:

BMW Online Tracking Once the car logistics are out of the way, it’s time to book your travel arrangements. For anyone taking part in the European Delivery Program, you receive an automatic discount on the base price of the car–up to 7%. This is a built-in advantage that’s positioned to help you pay for the trip (aka a sales gimmick!). I of course got the 7% and then some. We also used Amex points to cover the entire cost of both of our round-trip flights–including all taxes & fees!  :)

I’ll talk more about the trip itself in a future post as this one is dedicated 100% to the Welt and all things cars.

Arriving at the BMW Welt

Once your paperwork is processed and production dates are confirmed, your delivery date is set. As I mentioned, mine was 11/23/12. I had a morning delivery time, so we were off to the Welt bright & early for an 8AM arrival:

BMW Welt European Delivery Program I’d  never been to Germany let alone the Welt before, so I was literally blown away by the amazing architecture of the building and the grounds that surrounded it. I instantly knew why tourists have the Welt listed as a “must-see” destination while in Munich.

BMW Welt European Delivery Program When we arrived, we were escorted up to the private buyers’ floor and reception area (BMW does VIP better than any other company I’ve ever personally experienced). I was introduced to my personal ambassador, finished up a bit more paperwork and was given my scheduled car presentation time. Afterwards, we were invited to relax, walk around and/or help ourselves to anything we wanted to eat or drink in the private lounge (all free of course) until it was time to see my car.

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

 

From where we were in the building, you could look directly down at the cars below. Some of them were even on rotating platforms and were spinning around in circles; taunting their new owners who were all patiently waiting around us.

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

Around 10AM, it was time to meet my ambassador and, more importantly, my car!! It definitely felt like I was in some sort of movie as he (I was so excited that I completely forget his name…oops!) guided us down this massive stairway and onto the platform where the new cars were sitting. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel as if I was floating as I giggled my way down the stairs…

BMW Welt European Delivery Program Once I was on the platform, I made a mad dash to my car; leaving my ambassador and BF in stitches as they cracked up over how excited I was. I wasted no time in whipping the car door open and jumping inside. :)

BMW Welt European Delivery Program After I finally calmed down enough to listen to him, my ambassador spent the next hour or so going over every single feature of my car, helped me set all of the seat/mirror memory settings, showed me how to use the navigation system, etc. If you’re a Peanuts fan, you’ll understand why I describe this time as nothing but Charlie Brown’s teacher’s dialogue: “Whomp, whomp, whomp; wah, wah, wah.”

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

After the feature briefing, it was time to drive my car–inside the building. In the pictures below, you’ll see the gray area painted on the floor. That’s the victory lap. All new owners who take delivery of their vehicle in the Welt get to drive around the entire circle and down the ramp, out of the building. I took two laps. :)

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

A better view of the victory lap; borrowed from Auto Channel

BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program After all of the car excitement, the day wasn’t even close to being finished. We parked the car out front of the building then came back inside for a 2-hour factory tour (sadly, no photos because cameras aren’t allowed inside). I was in awe (and a bit scared of) the robotics they use to manufacture these cars. They almost look human!

After the tour, we had lunch in the buyer’s lounge and then headed to the museum. Here’s a sampling of what we saw there plus a few random Welt pictures:

BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program

BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

Yes, that’s a stunt man riding his motorcycle up & down the staircase!

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program

BMW Welt European Delivery Program

When the end of the day came, I spent some time in the gift shop collecting the free swag we were given. The best part? Having my custom key chain engraved with my delivery date (nerd alert!). :)

BMW Welt European Delivery Program After that, we were off on a whirlwind tour of Germany, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Italy and Austria. Basically, I spent the entire time running back to my car and taking glamor shots of it….hahaha…

BMW Welt European Delivery Program BMW Welt European Delivery Program

Feel free to pin these to Pinterest or perhaps Manteresting?

(if you don’t know what the latter is, Google it!)

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Frugality Gone Wrong: The Real Cost of Owning a BMW

BMW European Delivery

My new ride & I taking a pit stop in Switzerland–I get to keep the Euro plates

It’s no secret that I committed a PF sin back in the fall. After months years of contemplation, I pulled the trigger and ordered my first new car in over a decade.

When I placed the order in August, I made sure to detail my desire to take full advantage of the BMW European Delivery Program offered to any customers purchasing or leasing a new car. I also reserved a spot to take a re-delivery at the BMW Performance Center in South Carolina once the car arrived stateside (I’ve posted a full recap of the Welt portion of the experience…stay tuned for more!).

This weekend, I’m headed to SC for a full day of factory tours, race track driving and off-roading (yep, they give you a stock car to beat the snot out of on the track then take you off-roading in an X3 or X5). Can you tell I like my bimmers?  :)

While the EDP and Performance Center re-delivery are free to me as a buyer, what happens when I drive my shiny new car back to Boston? Basically, the reality of the real cost of owning a BMW will most likely slap me in the face.

The real cost of owning a BMW

I ordered a 3-series, a 328i, which is the mid-range vehicle BMW offers. Despite a fairly reasonable starting price (for a luxury car), the final tally including the options I opted for brought the final figure to….wait for it….just around $50K. Holy.shitballs.

Luckily, with all new cars, BMW offers free service for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles. This includes all oil changes, brake pads, fluids and discs, inspection services,  engine drive belts, wiper blades, etc. You’re also afforded free BMW Roadside Assistance for the first 4 years (no mileage restrictions) as well as BMW ConnectedDrive/Assist for 1 year.

But what about the other costs?

What about insurance, gasoline, parking and all the other miscellaneous expenses I’ll incur as penance for my sin? Obviously, if I spent this much money to buy the car, I’ll definitely be trying to take very, very good care of it. Unfortunately, that may mean more money being eaten up:

Insurance: My car insurance has gone up $53/month or $636 for the year.

Gasoline: Luxury vehicles require “luxury” gas (haha). Gone are my days of filling ‘er up with regular–I’ll now need to foot the bill for Plus or Super Plus. I’ll estimate that my gas expenditures will rise a modest $40/month (because we all know how much I love riding my bike to/from work!).

Depreciation: As with all new cars, the moment you drive that sucker off the lot (or out of the factory in my case), the depreciation clock begins to tick. It’s estimated that in the first year alone, my new 3 series will depreciate about $7,600.

Parking: I’ve added a new line-item to my budget for parking expenses. I won’t be paying to park in a garage on a regular basis (I have ample, free street parking in front of my house), but I will be paying to park in a garage whenever I venture into the city as I don’t trust anyone with my new bumpers. I’m budgeting $30/month for parking fees.

Total: Not including my monthly payment, I’m increasing my car-related expenses by at least $123/month or $1,476 for the year.

The fine print

Overall, this could be far worse–especially if you consider the potential costs had I chosen a luxury car that doesn’t include free maintenance services (costs estimated for first 4 years of ownership):

bmw-maintenance-plan

As any good PF blogger would do, I made sure to budget for these expenses (and practice living like I had to pay for them) BEFORE buying the car. I also ensured that I could still fund my retirement accounts, save, travel and basically keep my lifestyle the same as it is now.

Yes, this is a frivolous purchase. Yes, I could have purchased another car for far less money.

But with all that said, I’m still happier than ever about making this purchase because I love cars, love BMW and have planned/worked hard to make this a reality. Then again, talk to me a in a few years to see if it’s still worth it.  :)

 

What’s the most frivolous purchase you’ve recently made?

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