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Friday, 3 June 2011

Dirge for the Ka

A week ago, my daughter crashed my car.  No one was hurt, and of course for that I am exceedingly grateful.  But the net result is a modestly expensive repairs bill to the Mini Cooper into whose back end she barged, while my insurance company says mine is not worth fixing. 

I am worn to futile tears by the utter wrongness of this.  My car, a Ford Ka, which I’ve owned from new since 2000, has been looked after as one of the family, never had a scratch until last week, and has travelled a mere 43000 miles.  Its book value might be a few hundred quid but its worth to me is far higher, and I’ll never find something so precious for that amount.  The excess on the insurance, for my 18 year old daughter to drive, is higher than what they say the car would fetch. 

This is miserable on nearly every front.  First, environmentally, it makes no sense to trash a nice little car.  The insurance company have worked out their sums on the basis of replacing the squashed bits with new ones from a Ford factory.  A patch up job wouldn’t be nearly so much.  Second, although I am loathe to trust her again, my daughter had only just passed her test, and ideally she needs to get back in the saddle, with the major lesson, which is that driving is difficult when you’re new to it, and requires 100% concentration at all times, having been well and truly learned.  Third, this car was a bit of a luxury for us, kept on only because its modest running costs were commensurate with the convenience it offered.  Now, with increased premiums, repairs and all that, this is no longer true, but we will miss the pleasure of never having to negotiate and plan in advance.  Fourth,I feel embarrassingly sentimental about it, and hate the idea of it being towed away to some car breaker’s yard.  And fifth, because there’s no getting away from the fact that the one moment of lapse will cost my child dear in future insurance, and very probably us too. 

I’ll say again, because it’s worth it, that I know we are incredibly fortunate even to be having these puny little thoughts.  Terrible, terrible things happen when new drivers have charge of a car - deaths, injuries, lives turning into nightmares from which, I’m not sure this is even melodramatic, there will be no awakening.  A bashed up Ford Ka and a few hundred quid the poorer is nothing - nothing, compared to any of that.  But I still wish I’d said no, that last time she asked to take it out.  


  1. Very bad luck, but maybe, taking a long term view, a small accident is good for a new driver.

  2. So sorry - I have had that experience of having a car "totaled" because repairs are more than book value and sharing a car because there was no immediate urgent need to buy another. First World Problems, to be sure, but worth a few tears anyway.

  3. Yes, thanks both of you. It feels both tremendously lucky and tremendously unlucky.