Scott and I rolled the dice by not adding rental coverage to our car insurance policy. We figured that we hadn't been in an accident in years, and that if we needed a rental car we would simply pay out of pocket. We figured it out and we are still financially ahead by refusing the coverage, but that fact is doing little to take the sting out of the bill for the rental car. At this point I just want our SUV to be repaired so I can put the accident completely behind us. Driving a rental is a daily reminder that everything has not yet returned to normal.
Yesterday morning I dropped Robby at school, and Timmy and I headed to Fairfax for an appointment. Everything was going well and despite missing the HOV plates from the SUV, I was making great time. All of a sudden the dash started to light up and alarms started to ding. Having an auto malfunction in a car in which you are familiar is upsetting at best. When it happens in a vehicle which still feels foreign, it is nothing short of frightening. After determining that I was being alerted to a low pressure in a back tire, I slowed my speed and opted to monitor the situation.
Apparently that was a mistake. The tire pressure began to lower quicker than I anticipated. Within minutes nearly all of the air had been leaked and I was forced to pull over on the side of RT 66, a congested thoroughfare in the metro DC area. I am proud of my calm demeanor as I quickly called AAA to request roadside assistance. After I called for help, my panic began to set.
I can easily count the number of friends whose journey to limb loss started by being stranded on the side of an interstate. I knew enough to stay in the car until help arrived, but the wait felt like it took an eternity. The cars were whizzing by, shaking the car as they passed. Timmy, frightened by the sounds and upset by the fact that we were no longer moving, began to fret and cry. I did my best to soothe him by passing back lollipops and singing songs.
Even though it felt like much longer, AAA arrived fairly quickly. The tire was changed and I was escorted back to the rental agency. It was at the counter that I my roadside malfunction turned into a double whammy of insults. I was informed that I am obligated to pay for a new tire for the rental car. Apparently it was spelled out in the minuscule print of the contract that I signed when I secured the rental.
I'm frustrated, but I don't think I have any recourse. We will have to pay for a new tire and chalk this up to another lesson learned. This minor accident is quickly becoming a major expense.