“Please call security, someone hit your car” says this handwritten note tucked between the wiper and our mini van windshield. We had spent the morning at a museum and were about two blocks away from the parking lot before my wife noticed the skinny piece of green paper flapping in front of us.
We turned around, pulled back in and got out to inspect the car for damage. Sure enough, there were two nice white scratches along the driver side rear bumper. We called the number on the note and the security guard came out to explain that one of the employees, a new driver, had bumped us while pulling into the parking spot. He asked if I needed a police report, for which I replied (sounding super intelligent), “I have no idea!” Fortunately, we have had so little experience with car accidents and the like, I didn’t know the correct protocol.
I called Julie at the insurance agency we use. She explained exactly what I needed to do and when I hung up I was at least equipped to field the next few questions the guard asked of me without sounding so oblivious. I was again reminded how nice it was to know who to call, and to get the personal help you want, in a time when you need it most. I am sure I could have gotten the same answer calling an 800 number, but in a parking lot, in the cold, with three kids waiting and barking about popcorn or goldfish or who knows what else, it was incredible to get the trusted answer I needed so quickly.
It is difficult to weigh value vs cost. At this time of year, as I am starting to dissect our expenses and determine if the things we spend money on are truly worth the cost, this experience is an excellent reminder that lower price doesn’t mean better value. The cheapest insurance, that saves $50 a year, but leaves you on hold for 20 minutes when you finally need a quick answer, in hindsight, probably wasn’t worth the savings.