I Got In A Car Accident This Week And Saved Some Big Money; How’s That?

Well, it’s true. A guy ran into the backside of my car with my and my family inside. Everyone was ok for the most part. The youngest was drinking from a straw in a water bottle and it cut her lip a little bit, but nothing serious. A travesty to her milk, but that’s about it… So how could I possibly have SAVED money on this?

So last October I wrote about “Blog Action Day” and saving the environment, so I recommended GreenDimes and my post was in reference to driving a big rig Suburban. Yes, I drive a pretty big ride, but I need it to shuttle around the kids and stuff I have. I can’t really picture us without it!

How did I save money on this accident?

Welp, the guy that rear-ended me was driving a Geo, which is quite possibly one of the SMALLEST cars on the road. We were on the highway and I had to stop suddenly; he was behind me a little too close apparently and must have hit me going maybe 15 or 20 mph still. The kids were shook up everyone was ok, and I got out to assess the damages.

I got around to the back and saw his car first, the bumper was smashed up pretty good and the hood was scratched, but the guy got out unscathed himself. So that was good. We both met at the back of my car and honestly couldn’t see where he hit me. The biggest hole in his bumper appeared to be squared shaped, which is oddly similar to the shape of the hitch on the back of my ‘burb.

There are pros to driving a big rig

Upon closer inspection, that’s where he hit, I saw a bit of his blue paint still on the hitch, but other than that, the ‘burb was in perfect health. I looked around, under, no scratches or dents. He was pretty happy that we didn’t have to involved the law or insurance in to the setup, and I asked out of curiosity how much it would cost him and he mentioned he’d call and tell me and check to make sure everything was ok on my side as well.
So after we decided there was no need to bring anybody to the scene so he gave me his drivers license info (he had no insurance card on him, more on this later) and we drove off. I drove home and tested out the rest of the ride, looked for fluids, tested everything else out and it ran like a charm.

2 days later he called to inform me that he had caused $1700 in damages by running in to me. I re-informed him that I had no issues and that I felt bad about it so back to my main point of saving big $ off it.

If he really didn’t have any insurance, I’d be left holding the tab unless I wanted to go to court and spend more time and money. Depending on that cost I’d have to reassess whether I’d want it fixed anyway.


A big rig costs a lot more in gas, yes. But it is a BIG rig. Most cars that would run in to it (from this angle anyway) are going to ding up their car a lot worse than I, saving me from repair costs that I can then put into the gas tank. Yes, it’s not a solid strategy for buying a new car to think about other people running into you, but it certainly is something to think about when your family is involved.

I am a fan of the Suburban for it’s size first off; but I can afford the gas, and can certainly afford the “piece of mind” it provides to family safety on the roads…

Photo by: JBMillquist

Filed Under: financial educationUncategorized

  • Hank, glad you and yours are safe and sound. Accidents are always scary, especially when you have your wife and kids with you. We drive an SUV, too, for our family vehicle and have no regrets. We scrimp on other area to offset gas costs, and prefer the larger vehicle for safety and a higher ride (I’m 6’4″ and getting into a small car is a small feat!).

    Frugal Dad’s last blog post..The Power of Contentment

  • Ben

    I also drive a large vehicle: a 2005 Z71 Tahoe and while it only gets about 17 mpg on average, I feel great about the fact that when my gf is driving it around I dont worry about her. Especially around DC. But until we are all driving cars that get 100 mpg, I am not going to feel guilty about the environment and after cost analysis: http://milkyourmoney.com/2008/04/15/gas-could-be-worse/

    its not the worst thing I could be worried about. I also save money on insurance by having a safer vehicle.

    Ben’s last blog post..Gas Could Be Worse

  • Just wanted to pop my head in here and say that I am SO glad you are all okay!

    Vered – MomGrind’s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Your Yucky Mommy Body

  • Interesting. I’m glad the accident wasn’t bad for you, especially since he didn’t have insurance.

  • One of the many reasons why I refused to buy a small compact car when getting a new one several years ago. Good that you are all okay!

    castocreations’s last blog post..More Surveys

  • FFB

    I’m glad to hear everyone’s ok!

    Now for your argument – I understand where you are coming from but the problem I find is that some people who drive big cars believe they are safe no matter what and as a result are unsafe drivers (I’m talking to you, the one on the cell with the screaming kids in the back while you’re pulling out of the parking spot without checking in all directions).

    And what happens when people act on this idea? More people get bigger cars thinking they are safer so bigger cars are in demand and more of them are on the road. What happens now when one of these bigger vehicles rear ends you? Now that tiny ding has much more inertia behind it and instead of a tap you have a hummer in your trunk.

    I’m not saying large cars don’t have their place, one day we’ll have a mini-van I’m sure, but I think it’s a fallacy to believe you are safer when you drive a big car. Just my 2 cents.

    FFB’s last blog post..SwapTree As A Frugal Alternative To Buying New

  • Jaz

    This is totally off the subject but I was wondering what the picture of the old buick had to do with your accident in the suburban and the Geo? Just curious. 🙂

    Jaz’s last blog post..Soccer, Rain And Girls

  • @Jaz – good point; it was mostly just for the aesthetic pleasure, I thought it was a neat picture of a dinged up ride I found on Flickr. 🙂 Couldn’t find any good ‘burb pics…

  • I’ve had three cars bump into the back of my Golf IV and one was even non-drivable after the crash.

    Strange thing is, I haven’t even had a dent, tare or paint loss on my rear bumper from any of the three accidents… I would never have expected that from a Golf, but still saved me a lot on claims.

    Francois W’s last blog post..Mechwarrior Living Legends Crysis Mod

  • Wow, sooo glad you were in your big rig. I used to drive 5000km’s per month for over 10 years. Always in a big rig. the big engines lasted forever in comparison to my friends who bought small cars. The best part was after 2 people rear-ended me, a head on collision with a deer and a side ram with an elk other than scratches and a broken head light all rigs had little damage:-)

  • It’s funny that i just found this. I had an accident earlier this year with a jeep. Like your accident, it was my fault and i was following too close. As in your accident the Jeep I hit had no damage whatsoever, but my bumper had a big hitch sized hold in it, and the hood was crunched.

    We didn’t involve insurance either, and i ended up paying about $800 out of pocket to get a new hood, and the bumper patched.

    Thank goodness the Jeep wasn’t damaged, and neither was my driving record! 🙂

    Pete @ biblemoneymatters.com’s last blog post..How much gas are you wasting?

  • I also drive a big SUV. I think I need to go out and put the hitch in it and give myself some extra protection. We keep the hitch in a cargo box in the back.

    I get a kick out of the small cars that run up on me and think they can force me to speed up. I wonder just how they plan to react when I MUST apply the brakes and they start to eat the back end of that Tahoe.

    Gas mileage? Well, I crank it up about once a week so I drive for a month on a tank until we travel and then it sucks me dry. I am learning to watch the RPMs and keep them low on take off. I am learning about hypermiling too.

    I’d buy an NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle) but they are so small I fear not being seen. I think I will hold out for the Chevy Volt….100mpg is sounding good and it looks to be large enough to be safe.

    Pete pointed me here even if he doesn’t know it.

    Ginger’s last blog post..Found Around the Blogosphere

  • Ben

    @Ginger: Just a quick thought, be wary about hooking up a hitch when not in use – if you were to be rear-ended, that hitch is welded to your frame and where the bumper is designed to disperse energy, the hitch does not and you might risk a damaged chassis.

    That Volt does look cool, although I am a little concerned about the cost of replacing the batteries in these electric cars after they die out; its pricey! Will that battery leak if the car gets nailed?

    Now for a shameless plug: http://milkyourmoney.com/2008/05/27/trading-in-for-a-hybrid-could-end-up-costing-more/

    Ben’s last blog post..Trading in For a Hybrid Could Be Costly