Thursday, June 2, 2016. Almost two years ago (it was June 16, 2014 to be exact), I went to Mamaroneck BMW and traded in my car for a car I always I wanted. [I know we should not define ourselves by material possessions. But I have realized, now more than ever, that we truly only get one chance to live this life and there is no reason not to enjoy it. To that end, I am in the market for a used Wrangler. Have wanted one since high school. Fortuitously saw one with for a sale sign on Griffen Road today and called the owner. We will see if I can negotiate a deal first with the owner, then with Jen….]
I still remember the name of the sales rep (Craig), who I used to run into at the gym down the street from the dealership. He also called me several times after I leased the car because he had my second set of keys. It took me a year to pick up that set of keys (the dealership is less than 2 miles from my house). Craig was insistent that I get tire insurance. He told me that while the car had “run flat” tires, the tires go flat all of the time and that the insurance coverage, which would be spread over the life of the lease, would without question pay for itself. All I needed to do was have four flat tires over the 36 month lease. That sounded like a lot of flat tires to me.
If I had one complaint about the car, it would be the tires. The “low tire pressure” sign is constantly on and I often find myself driving over to the station at the Four Corners (at the most inconvenient time) only to find out that there is a nail in the tire or I hit a pot hole and it requires a new tire immediately (the roads in NY after the winter are beat-up and I am a moron that likes to drive into the city on days that I am not traveling). Turns out that “run flat” is a stupid name for these tires. They should be called run flat for 20 minutes and get a new tire. But I didn’t know this at the time. So I hemmed and hawed — and debated with myself — whether I really needed the tire insurance or was just watching a guy up sell the shit out of me. After texting a few friends, all of whom said the insurance was a must, I gave in and got the tire insurance (come to think, I think he had to redo all the paper work because I changed my mind halfway through the documentation process). I did not, however, get the added-on rim insurance (which covers the rim if there is rim damage only; if the tire is damaged and it causes rim damage, you are covered). I had to draw the line somewhere. Jen thought the tire insurance was unnecessary but I think I scored some points when I told her I did not get the rim insurance (which I used to try to deflect the fact that I also got the sport package). [As to the rim insurance, man was I pissed that first week I had the car and screwed up one of the passenger side rims on the side of my drive way (spacing out as I pulled in). Or when I did the same thing parallel parking at Brother Jimmy’s with Tauber or the same thing (yet again) parallel parking two weeks ago at a Monday night baseball game for Jake.]
Well, Craig was right. I have had at least four flat tires over the nearly two years. And I effectively made it six when I was distracted on May 21 (with Jake and my brother-in-law Justin in the car) and ran into the curb on Heathcote Road destroying both passenger side wheels and rims. [I can admit I am not a particularly good driver. Just ask my father. I had multiple accidents in high school. As well as a couple fender benders in college (Slavin, I still remember first night of senior year like it was yesterday). I also got a ticket the very first day I got my license (was leaving Alan Minter’s house, taking a left on Jog to get home, and the light was red for what seemed like an eternity. It was late and no one was around (except for the cop). I really thought something was wrong with the light). But the May 21 incident, I am chalking that one up to cancer.]
I called BMW early last week, explained I needed two new tires and rims, and made arrangements for them to pick up my car and leave with me a loaner (the whole home exchange arrangement is a great service by the way). The “exchange” happened mid last week. I just assumed everything was getting fixed and I actually thought to myself earlier this week that I should call and check on the status. Yesterday, post chemo (4:16 p.m. to be exact), I got a message from my office that “Matthew of IAS called re: your claim at BMW Greenwich — needed to verify some info…” I read the email fast and must have missed the IAS reference (not that I would have known what that meant anyway). I just assumed he was from the dealership. I was feeling like garbage yesterday afternoon but I called him right back soon after I got the message. He said he was calling to verify what happened with the car and how it was damaged. I told him. He seemed confused and asked if the road was damaged or it was me that had hit the curb. I paused and realized I was talking to an insurance adjuster. He was giving me a chance to modify my story. But I didn’t. I told him it was my fault, 100%. He asked me to hold. He came back in less than 60 seconds to tell me my claim was denied. I said I did not understand since I had tire insurance for this very reason. He explained that there was an express exclusion for damage caused by the driver hitting a curb. Obviously. He had been calling because the dealership reported that the damage was caused by a pothole. I said that was not the case and explained to Matthew it simply was not worth telling him a lie as I was dealing with bigger things, including a recent cancer diagnosis. I could tell Matthew felt terrible. I as not looking to make him feel, was just being candid. And I have always felt — even before I needed some luck on my side — that these little lies catch up with at some point. It just wasn’t worth creating a story to save $1,200 (which actually turned out to be $2,587.91 after I spoke to the dealership today; I gave Jeff at BMW some crap this afternoon because I wanted to understand why it was more than double the price for the dealership to fix it as opposed to the insurance adjuster. He then sent me an itemized invoice and I get it. Jeff, as I said to you at the end of the conversation, I did not mean to come across as a d*ik.). Matthew felt so bad he started coaching me on appealing the denial if I paid this out of pocket. He then asked me to hold again. This time he came back even faster and told me not even to bother appealing, it would be denied!
I am not a spiritual person but I have always believed in karma. [I also subscribe to the school of thought that you have to go out of your way not to say hello to someone you know when you run into them on the street or in a store etc. Isn’t it just easier to say hi?] According to Wikopedia, karma means “action, work or deed. It also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.”
I could have easily told Matthew that I hit a pot hole. I probably would have needed to extend the lie and not mention the street I was on as they could easily have gone and seen there was no pothole on Heathcote Road. Then again, it is a long road. But it just wasn’t the right thing to do. Cancer has nothing to do with it. I’m not looking for a pat on the back, and I have definitely made my share of mistakes over the 38 plus years I have been around. I do, however, have a conscious that would literally be eating at me had I made something up to save $1,200. Don’t get me wrong: it is real money and every dollar counts, but if there really is an exclusion in the tire insurance policy that Craig forced to buy, it would have been fraud to tell Matthew I hit a pot hole. I think about that stuff. And whether it is karma or something else, I have always had a sense that this stuff catches up with you at some point in some way. So I will pay the dealership to fix the car, I may or may not buy that Wrangler, and I will definitely get the tire insurance the next time around. Oh, and I could use some good karma.