Faith in finance brings me Ruby Vroom

If you missed the last entry, we learned that my Kia Soul did not survive  a collision, and that was the end of that. (And I’m fine, because we also learned that’s the first question you’ll ask).

I have a new vehicle: a 2015 Subaru Forester.

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It has just under 50k miles, and represents a couple notches of improvement im bith size and over-all quality from the vehicle it replaces.

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Even so, my payments are about the same. How is that possible?

Turns out I had gap insurance after all.

At least, that is the theory. There are a list of people, office professionals, who were going to contact me and confirm the details, and none of them have done so. Even the down payment check has taken nearly a week to clear.

But, as far as I know, I bought a car for the same money that I owed on the previous one.

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I named her Ruby Vroom – refering to the Soul Coughing Album, her color, and her tendency to go faster than you expect. A more complet review coming in a few weeks.

Assuming I still have her, of course.

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WORD COUNT:

1000 words of new Taliesin’s Last Apprentice content.

1500 of 2nd draft TLA content

500 words for Thursday Night writer’s group.

500 words for editing Go Action Fun Time material and

1000 words for playtesting Go Action Fun Tie at my house last Sunday. This could become a regular thing.

Missed it by 500 words.

I will live with myself.

Now we know.

 

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How my Soul was crushed

A serious car wreck – even without injury – yes – is a life-changing event for those of us treading water in the middle class of western civilization. I was in a serious car accident. Before we get to that:

 

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MY HOUSE – Sunday April 7 at 3pm.

Because I can.

 

More about Go Action Fun Time here.

In my world, play-testing now counts as an Author Event.

 

Ahem. To the topic at hand:

At about 7am on March 28th, I proceeded northbound on 83rd Avenue into its intersection with Camelback Road and WHAMMO!.

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Post Whammo!

The light had just turned green for the northbound 83rd. I was first into the intersection. A passenger van heading eastbound on Camelback ran the red light to strike the driver’s side front corner of my 2013 Kia Soul hard enough to spin my vehicle 180 degrees, and deploy the airbags.

FAQ’S:

  • Yes. I am fine. A bit of whiplash. Some bruising.
    • I was not treated on scene.
    • Nobody else involved in the accident was injured enough to be treated on scene.
    • I went home via ride-share.
    • I have since seen my GP, who diagnosed some whiplash.
    • I am getting treatment for that.
  • Yes- I have everybody’s insurance info – or rather I have a copy of the Glendale Police report that has everybody’s particulars.
  • Glendale Police told me they were going to cite the other vehicle.
    • The officer told me they had reviewed the traffic camera, and it showed the eastbound light was red and the northbound light was green.
  • Nobody has officially claimed the car is totalled, but I expect that declaration Monday.
  • I have called insurance companies. I am awaiting their calls back.
  • I have not retained a lawyer.
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The white truck is just sneaking through the intersection before Glendale PD closed it.

What I’ve learned:

Everyone asks some version of the above questions, generally in that order. Particularly they are going to ask if you were hurt, even if you lead with the fact that you were not hurt.

I was not seriously hurt. Thank you for asking.

The rear hatch would not open on the accident scene. This would end up mattering…

We have previously disclosed some Strange Facts about my Kia Soul. They are worth reviewing.

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In better times…

If you skipped reading that, you need to know that I am upside down on the loan, and do not have gap insurance. This horrifying revelation is tempered somewhat by the realization that I was already screwed, and this just changes the particulars of how I am screwed. Most likely, I will end up paying a little more money for a little less car. The sun will rise in the morning.

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Get gap insurance if you finance a car. GAFDE.

I remain, at this writing, in tow-yard/ insurance process purgatory. (We have visited impound lots in this space before.) Glendale PD towed the remnants of my crushed soul to their lot. I could not even enter the lot without an ID that matches the name on the title. The name on the title is my ex-wife. She was kind enough to meet me last Saturday morning so I could try to recover my things out of my soul. But Farm Bureau, the insurance for the other driver,  had towed my soul to a different lot sometime late Friday, without telling me. No one from that company who might know where that lot was answers their phone on the weekend.

It turns out, though, that State Farm, my insurance company, sometimes uses the same lot. It’s popular with insurance companies. They were able to pull up the electronic inventory, and find my soul.

That lot is closed on the weekend.

They gave me a rental car, though.

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Yes – seriously.

I don’t know what the future truly holds in store for me, but I like to think it holds some vehicle with a roof rack.

And not nearly so … red.

You were warned.

Weird facts about my Soul

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A few years ago, I traded in my Chevy Sonic for a 2013 Kia Soul. My children rejoiced, saying, “Look! Dad finally has a soul. I mean, it’s black inside and full of garbage, but he finally has a soul.”

Then, “Can we borrow your soul Dad?”

And so forth.

My 2011 Chevy Sonic, for context, was a panic buy to replace my beloved Equinox, which had a gas tank issue. Once your wife is envisioning your vehicle going up in a ball of flame, you have no choice but to sell it.

The Sonic is like a sports-car made by east European communists. It’s is surprisingly fast (because it uses the same engine block as the larger cars in Chevy’s fleet car line) and handles decently, because it is small. And everything in the interior feels cramped, just like a sports-car. But it is a fleet car, engineered to fall apart after 80k miles or so.

While I could drive it like a maniac, putting four adults inside felt like a clown car stunt, and things were starting to fall off. So we went to the dealership and came home with the Hyundai Veracruz, and my Soul.

Early on in my ownership of it, someone asked me about it, and I told them that it was the best MP3 player I had ever driven. They do seem to have put more thought into the media system than any other part. The speakers have LED rims that change color with the music. I never saw that as a selling point when I purchased it, but they have come to amuse me.

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Its is boxy, mediocre in both acceleration and climbing, and the fuses jiggle loose from time to time. It has no roof rack. You will feel every bump in the road – every one. Those are my complaints. All of them.

Four adults can fit within with some dignity. I can actually fit a lot of things in it – for boxy=roomy. When I moved 1000 feet north, most of the things made the journey in my Soul. My lawn furniture and gas grill came home in my Soul. But it’s not a truck, so people don’t ask me to move stuff for them all the time.

It has a tight turning radius and a relatively high ground clearance. It gets around 20 mph even when I drive it the way I do. I made it 80K miles before it needed any major service.

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This might be its best feature!

Of course, I need it to go another 60K miles at least. I have three years left on the $15k note secured by my Soul that is generously valued at about $5k. How the hell do you get $10k upside down on a car loan?

You wreck a car without the means to make a cash down payment, or even cover the insurance deductible. So you find yourself at the mercy of whatever scheme the dealership puts together. The Soul (and the Veracruz) were the fourth generation of cars coming off the lot with this debt still buried in the financing somehow.

When we bought it, this Kia Soul had a big rebate, so magically, this is the car they buried that debt inside.

I owe a lot more on my Soul than my Soul is worth. My Soul has been used to hide previous sins.

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I do not own my Soul.

Somehow the only name on either the title or the loan paperwork is that of my (soon-to-be-ex) wife. She does not know how that happened either.  She has a completely different car now. The Soul remains my primary vehicle, even though, after the divorce, I will have no legal ownership of it.

Sometimes, when I project the payments out over time, I daydream about saving up a down payment, and just leaving this thing in the parking lot of the credit union that actually owns it. But that would be Wrong.

After all, I’m the one who wrecked that car I have yet to finish paying off.

In a year at RC Lurie I put 20k miles on that car. That’s a fact that will shut a car salesman up about leasing options. Those are hard miles, city traffic, construction sites, lost on back roads. My Soul has already taken a beating.

I have become fond of the Soul I am driving to death without any real hope of ever paying off. Good thing, because I just dropped $800 on brake repairs and a long list of maintenance items.  (My local mechanic is a master of never fixing just one thing, and since I cannot abide multiple trips to the garage, I am his lawful prey here).

So I choose, for now, to keep my Soul, even if it isn’t legally mine. It works for me. And there is speculation that Kia cars can go 200k if treated right. So maybe I can get mine to 140? We shall see.

And I can always add a roof rack later.

Consumer Reports on the 2013 Soul. They even make a little joke about the interior.