Officially a Part of the Minivan Mafia

So the insurance drama isn’t even close to coming to an end, but my parents stepped in and lent me some money (Yep, I officially have no shame left and took money from my parents) to buy a car so I can schlep the kids to school this week. We got a new-to-us Chrysler Town & Country. It doesn’t have the reputation of a Honda or a Toyota, but the engine was solid, it had a clean car fax and it was in my price range. As my dad pointed out, the only import I was going to get in my range would have been a piece of crap.

Plus, Honda Odysseys are known for transmission issues if not cared for properly and the only ones I could afford were higher mileage Odysseys which may or may not have had the timing belts done and fluids flushed so who knows how long the transmissions were going to last.

We also had to get new car seats to the tune of $300, but I should be getting reimbursed for those as well at some point.

So I’m back on the road and I’m part of the Minivan Mafia. This is the first domestic car I’ve ever owned and I hope it doesn’t disappoint me. I’ve noticed that when driving around in 90-degree weather the engine temperature indicator is always exactly halfway, which is higher than the Honda ever got. I’m not sure if I should worry about that. We also had an issue with the DVD player during our maiden voyage yesterday, but I’m not sure if that was an equipment issue or a user issue. It’ll definitely take some getting used to after driving a Honda for the past 6 years.


End of Summer Crunch

Am I the only one experiencing an end-of-summer crunch?

My daughter is heading into 1st grade, so naturally she has roughly 5,285 minutes of homework to do each day to prepare her for that. You’d think she’s doing 1st grade at Yale! But no, this is just crummy public school where apparently the majority of the learning happens over the summer and at home.

Who needs year-round school when you have no less than 3 apps to work on daily, a math workbook, a reading log, a math log, sight words, math facts and all sorts of other torture. Oh wait, I forgot about the essays! That’s right, my *almost* 1st grader has to do 3 essays about things she did over the summer.

She didn’t learn to spell, that’s for damn sure.

Am I completely alone in my utter irritation for how much homework has been assigned for the summer months? This is supposed to be a time to relax and get ready for the school year. Traditionally it probably had something to do with farming, but my daughter doesn’t even have time to help in the garden, let alone farm something.

When did summer become about math facts and reading logs? Why can’t we take 3 months to plant something. Watch it grow. Learn where food comes from. Learn to cook something, to make something, to ride a bike. There will be plenty of time when school starts up again to focus on addition and spelling. Please teachers, leave the summer alone! Let us teach our kids to be kids before it’s too late.

Besides, I’m completely lying on your reading and math logs anyway.

Company Review: Hanover Insurance

Time is money, so I’ll get right down to my rating and then explain it later:


That’s right folks — zero stars! Impressive, no??

Here’s the breakdown:

-Price: 0 stars. It’s not worth paying a single cent for something if it’s difficult to use.
-Customer service: 0 stars. Those people are assholes. All of them. Nobody answers their phone, nobody can give you a simple answer and the lies… oh the lies… If you need to know something call 3 times and you’ll get a general sense of what the answer *may* be, but that’s of course up to interpretation still.
-Claims Service: 0 stars. The appraiser lies about condition and you have to prove them wrong, so save those receipts! They also don’t fight for their own customers so get prepared to take the fault and the surcharge no matter how ridiculous it seems. Oh, and by the way NOBODY in their claims department answers the damn phone and it takes an order from the Pope to get a call back.
-Website: 0 stars — that shit is hard to use! Good luck getting a phone number.
-Compassion: 0 stars. Their motto should be, “Hanover Insurance: Not Our Problem.”

While I was less than impressed with the initial billing issues upon signing up to Hanover, what has really pushed me over the edge is the way they’ve handled the accident. We were hit on the rear side by a driver that admitted to speeding, but instead of going up to bat for us, Hanover passed the buck, blamed us and is trying to surcharge my husband. Now he’ll have to take another day off of work to fight the surcharge.

On top of that, they’ve made the claims process as difficult as humanly possible. Their appraiser low-balled me and offered an insulting amount for my vehicle, making outrageous claims about the condition. Example: heavily worn tires. My tires were 4 months old and a high-end brand! I had to fight tooth and nail to get a little bit more money, but I can’t buy a replacement vehicle for what I’m getting.

Up next: the title. Send it over night they said… you’ll get your payment faster they said. Not so much… the title sat in their mail room for 2 days before someone looked at it. Then they found an issue conveniently close to the weekend and we’re playing the overnight express game again. More money. More trouble. More delays.

My kids are starting school next week and I need a vehicle to drive my middle child to preschool. I can’t wait to buy a replacement. Hindsight, I should have gotten rental coverage. Unfortunately, their rental coverage sucks, so either way I would be screwed right now. I’m swallowing my pride and borrowing money from a family member to get a new car and paying them back when my settlement comes through, but geeze, could Hanover make it any harder? Don’t answer that — I’m sure they can.

So if anyone out there is thinking about going to Hanover — Don’t do it! The company is difficult to deal with at best and they won’t think twice about screwing you over for a couple dollars.

I’m sure there will be another update in the future. Stay tuned!


No Wheels, No Fun

The ongoing car drama continues. After deeming my car a total loss, the insurance company gave me a low-ball offer and lied about the condition of the car. This led me to arguing through 2 more offers to get a slightly better offer. A week of my time, countless emails and phone calls for a measly $1000 more on a car that should have been valued at that amount (on the low end) to begin with!

First, they said my tires were heavily worn. Then they said the interior was majorly worn. My 4-month old tire invoice and photos of the vehicle post-crash proved both allegations to be a lie. Somehow, the adjuster’s opinion still matters. My valuation went up $600. Next up, they sent me 3 comparable vehicles to justify their low ball offer… well, just a photo and summary. I hunted them down via Google reverse-image search and lets just say they aren’t really comparable. Mine runs, even after the accident (negligent driver, who somehow is not at fault in this situation). So, I had to send in my own comps to the insurance company to take into account. They only raised my valuation $400.

I’m frustrated. I’m sick of battling an insurance company that’s more than fine taking my money, but won’t help me after an accident and goes out of their way to kick me when I’m already down. I can’t wait to be done with these people so I can write a scathing review of their company. If you live in Massachusetts, you’ll want to stay tuned.

You Sunk My Battleship

I haven’t posted anything new in a while. My life was a blur of work, kids and cleaning the house. It was madness. July absolutely flew by.

And then the world slowed to a complete standstill this past Sunday when some a-hole kid in an old Cherokee T-boned my car at an intersection. All 5 of us were in the vehicle and thank God nobody was seriously injured. They slammed right into the door that my 6-year old was sitting next to. She suffered a black eye, some lacerations around her eye and on her forehead and a pretty good bruise to that arm. She kept waking up with a headache, but we were assured by her pediatrician that it was not a concussion.

My husband — who was driving — got a pretty good gash on his arm and a nice bruise to match. I got a bruised elbow and a 3-day long headache. My other daughter had a good cut on her leg. My son (seated in the middle) came out A-OK.

Surprisingly, no tickets have been issued that I know of yet. Oh right, he was wearing a police department t-shirt. The type you get when your daddy is on the force. The speed limit was 25, but airbags deployed on both vehicles (side on ours, front on his). Both vehicles were totaled. He hit hard enough to spin my Pilot (after seeing the pictures, he hit half on my daughter’s door and half on the rear tire), in a circle and push  it onto the sidewalk. My Pilot is obviously bigger than his Cherokee, so that tells you how hard he hit us. I’m really doubtful that he was going 25. Doubtful he was going 35.

Back to my rant about the kid. He got out of the car screaming at us. Swearing, waving his arms and generally acting like a nut job that hadn’t just flown through an intersection and slammed into a car full of little kids. I’ll tell you — heroin is a hell of a drug. Somehow the police didn’t test that little twerp for drugs or alcohol even though it was obvious he had just been off roading and his demeanor was less than wonderful.

I hope whomever it was beat him to an inch of his life when they found out he t-boned a car full of children and didn’t even hit the breaks or turn to avoid the collision. I’m getting mad just thinking about it. Of course my husband has a few speeding tickets to his name so our car insurance was already high and I did not have rental coverage to help keep costs down, so now we don’t have a vehicle capable of hauling the kids. Since the police didn’t issue him a ticket, I can’t get coverage through his insurance company — though I doubt he would have rental reimbursement on a police for a vehicle that old. So now I’m on the hunt for a new car. Hopefully insurance settles up soon because I need something before school starts in a week and a half as there is no bus for preschool.

My dad, a car guy, is checking out a vehicle for me this weekend. He’s not hopeful, but if it’s decent I’ll be able to buy it in full with what I’m getting for my car. So, cross your fingers for me. Pray a little. Do whatever you do — I’m sooo hoping that this all works out and I’m back on the road in time for preschool. T minus 12 days and counting!