This is the fourth car I will own (once it is all paid off). Unlike the last time I bought a car, I was afforded the luxury of a few days to look for the car that would best suit my needs. It not that I did not appreciate my late Taurus, however if I had a little more time to look I would have selected differently. For two days I have stolen a moment to look at my new car, and to recount the events of the last week. I have made some observations.
1. I chose a car like a sensible man in his mid thirties.
Having no children, and no wife, I am sure I could have easily fit the profile of either a midlife crisis or hipster bachelor. I stayed away from the sports car, or the larger than life truck/SUV. I wanted a car that would sip gas instead of gulp it down. It was easy to assume that a man of my size would need to drive a large car, but I was able to find a car that was smaller but was comfy enough for me to drive. In the end, I was not concerned with looking like a cool dude in a great car. I like being sensible, and I can live without the cool points.
2. Car Sales people are not so bad these days.
My previous two ventures into the car buying realm were wrought with salesmen trying to show me the great benefits of owning a car that was truly out of my league. The thought that they would know to a certainty what what car could best fit me was an insult. This was the bad taste in my mouth I took with me the first evening I went looking for a vehicle after the Taurus died.
Now it could be the economic downturn or something, but I was pleasantly surprised by most of the sales people I talked with. They allowed me to explain my situation, and based on the information I supplied they found me cars that best suited my needs. I never really felt the pressure that often comes with a sales pitch. There were tactics being used, and I picked up on the sales person’s skill set. That amused me.
Due to the incredible treatment I received (except for one lot in McKinnleyville), I personally contacted each sales person I was not going to buy from to thank them for their help. Of course I got some last minute pleas to reconsider, but once I found THE car it was over.
3. The myth of local based car insurance being over priced has been debunked.
When I was closing my deal with the car dealership among accolades and three cheers, my car insurance company of over four years did their part to put a knitting needle through my balloon. Upon notifying the insurance company that I had a new vehicle to insure, they quoted me a rate that increased my monthly payments by $50!!! When I asked for an explanation of how my 6-month plan could increase by $300, I did not like their answer. I was basically told that I bought a car that was newer, and in their opinion, one tiny hit away from becoming an accordion. So I bought the wrong car in their eyes, and my penalty for that was a $300 increase in my premium. I was left with no choice.
I did call the other national car insurance titan, and they gave me a quote that would only increase my monthly payments by $18 from what I was paying on the Taurus. I kept the policy with the collision and comprehensive even after I paid off the car. I resisted the temptation to fall back to the minimum coverage allowed by law in California. The customer service I spoke to warned me against talking to a local insurance agent, and the nasty little detail of Broker’s Fees.
Not terribly persuaded by his warning, I stopped in at a local insurance office, and got a quote. I figured if they were within $10 of the quote I had just got over the phone, I would take it so I could have piece of mind with a local agent. Well, they quoted me a price that came in $5 a month less than the titan’s offer over the phone. I am sure if I went to the local cut rate place I could do better, but again, I am in that sensible phase of my life.
As this week I wish I could soon forget comes to an end, I take stock in the catastrophic nature of the event that put me in my new car and with a new insurance agent. I could not do it without the support and love of my friends and family who were not going to stand idly by and watch me suffer. I appreciate what I have here, and I hope they know I am here for them if the shoe ever ends up on the other foot.