The Booze Run That Saved us Close to a Grand

booze run

Burger Baroness

Travelling to visit relatives at Christmas. Millions do it and we’re no different, at least this past holiday. We usually travel to Montreal to visit Mrs. SPF’s family or to the Kingston/Ottawa area to visit my family. In the future we will ultimately decide to stay home so lil’ SPF can wake up Christmas morning in his own bed, with his own Christmas tree and stocking hanging from the fireplace mantle. But this story isn’t about Christmas per se, this is a tale of a booze run that ultimately saved our family almost $900.

The setting is Christmas Eve and the SPF family is travelling to the homestead of Great Grandpa SPF which about 30 minutes south of Ottawa, Ontario. As (bad) luck would have it, while we were driving along minding our own business, a truck in front of us kicked up what I assume was a rock that startled both Mrs. SPF and I as it pinged off our wind shield. A small dent, darn it! Oh well, they can fill glass chips these days relatively easily so no big deal.

Christmas Eve south of Ottawa got very cold as the evening progressed. After a wonderful visit with my Mom’s side of the family we departed into the cold dark night. We quickly learned, as it was staring us in the face, that our wind shield was not only chipped, a very long crack had now appeared. Ugh! A replacement was going to have to occur.

This leads us to Boxing Day (December 26th for those readers who do not have a similar holiday) and a trip to the residence of Papa SPF (my Dad). After days of feasting most everyone is tiring of turkey at this point. For this family dinner I will instead barbeque some sirloin and ribeye steaks. Yum. I do love to barbeque, even in the midst of the cold Canadian dinner.

It is worth noting that about 17 months earlier I had told Papa SPF about the insurance company I discovered online which prompted me to dump the local insurance provider that was milking us by acting as a middle man.  After that conversation their monthly insurance premiums (house, cars) was reduced from $331 to $208 or $1476 annually – a 37.1% savings! 

So back to the steak dinner.  While I love to bbq steak I sure do enjoy doing so with my spatula in one hand and a beer in the other.  When eating the steak I like to enjoy a glass of red wine with it.

Problem: Papa SPF had a few beers but not nearly enough for all of the guests and since it is customary to couple fowl with white wine, he had no red wine.  I offered to pay for the wine as our contribution to the dinner (in addition to cooking the 9 steaks).  Since we wanted these beverages available for our supper we decided to car pool to save gas and make a single booze run into town.  Oh yea, we also needed groceries, including the steaks!  It also gave us some alone time to catch up which was great.

We got in the car to discover that a second crack had formed in our wind shield, once again originating from the first dent but the crack headed in the other direction.  Definite replacement job and I sure wasn’t looking forward to paying for it out of pocket!  I ultimately did replace the wind shield on our Subaru Outback and was floored by the cost: $878.22 – insane.  Here is how the costs break down ….

  • Material: $647.19
  • Labour: $130.00
  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): $101.03

OK.  $650 for a wind shield?  Perhaps.  But $130 for the labour?  The guys at the shop told me they just pop out the old wind shield, put some adhesive on the new one and pop it in then wait 3 hours for it to dry.  One helluva hourly rate!  HST – ah the lovely tax of 13%.  It is not like Canadians don’t pay a ton of personal taxes already, our province adds a 13% tax on goods and services.  But that is a rant for another day.

While it appears the local insurance brokerages aren’t the only racket in town the best part of the story is that we didn’t have to pay a single cent of the bill.

The booze run with Papa SPF would lead to us saving $878.22.

Apparently the wind shield in one of their cars had been cracked, and replaced, and his new(ish) insurance policy not only paid for the replacement wind shield job but his premiums didn’t go up.  Apparently he had comprehensive car insurance and this sort of random occurrence was covered!  This chat with my Dad sure was an eye opener.  I was intrigued, even excited.

Well worth it to call the insurance company to see if we were also covered.  And we were!  I am a bit ashamed I didn’t really know what our coverage for our car was.   It hadn’t occurred to me to call the insurance company as I was just ticked about the damage and spending money on fixing something not on warranty.  But hey, we all learn things and I know now about our coverage and avoided a hefty car maintenance bill!  And no increase in our monthly bills to boot.

Quite the holiday.  Lil’ SPF’s first Christmas, I learned about car insurance, saved close to a grand, the steak was tasty (though cooked a little much for my taste) … but I mistakenly spent $36 on a 5L (box) of the wrong wine – I bought white.  Thankfully a few of the other guests brought a few bottles of red with them.  Phew.

Any interesting booze run stories you’d like share? Or, I suppose, car insurance tales?


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30 comments to The Booze Run That Saved us Close to a Grand

  • No booze stories here. But just wanted to say it again that “Insurance is very important” and everyone should have it.

  • Thomas - Ways to Invest Money

    Yeah its pretty amazing how much they can charge you do to next to nothing but hey thats how it goes when you dont know how to do it yourself. BBQ steak and beer while you are grilling now im both hungry and thirsty. Unfortunately all my booze stories start and end with booze no real story to help.

  • Lauren Sainz

    In most states in the US, windshield repairs are 100% covered. Another little known car insurance perk is reimbursement for road side services. In my case, I called my insurance immediately after a flat tire occurance on the side of the road – only 1 mile from my house, too. It was 40 degrees F that morning and I had the kids so I wasn’t going to attempt to change a flat. The insurance told me that my policy would reimburse me the cost. About a week later, I got the check from them to prove it! They also helped by calling for a company and putting me through to a service who would come out and assist me. Thank God for car insurance!

  • My booze runs are pretty uneventful. No story here. But insurance is important. In fact after reading your post I looked into our car insurance and I discovered that our windshield repairs are not covered. Interesting! I need to look into it! So THANK YOU for posting this!

  • great you were able to save so much money – i had a crack appear in the windshield on my truck in a similar way, but they wouldnt pay for a full repair – only to have the chip sealed, but the chip turned into a crack before I could get back to town! Now that I dont drive it, it’s still not fixed.

  • I just recently posted about starting a claim with our car insurance even though the other driver was at fault. I find it’s much less stressful to me to have my insurance deal with their insurance instead of me having to.
    Last Thursday, we finally got our car back after repairs. We paid our $500 deductible. In the mail on Monday was my $500 refund check from my insurance company, since they’d already collected the full amount from the other insurance company. Simple and easy.

    Booze run stories, that’s a different kettle of fish. You see, I used to live in Reno, where you can get every type of alcohol you want from the 24 hour grocery stores…

  • I’ve had to replace 2 windshields and they are pain. I recently realized that my insurance policy covered filling stone chips without any penalties, so the moment that I see a chip I drive over to the shop.

  • Gov’t owned? Weird. Here in Ontario it is an open market.

  • I too haven’t had any interesting booze runs but we have had some windshield issues in the past. We have coverage and have for years. When we had to fix ours last year it was great only have to pay our $200 deductible. Like Jeremy, we have government owned insurance. There is only one place to get it. However, compared to other provinces our rates are really good. I think if we privatized I would have to pay more. I always remember that insurance always seems expensive until the day you have to use it. Then it doesn’t seem so bad.

    • I’d love to know what you pay Miss T. I might check online what our ’11 Outback would cost to insure in your province. Have you checked the rates vs Ontario?
      I find that prices are lower when some of these government run businesses are privatized.

  • Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    I’ve never had a booze run save me money, although I have had some interesting booze runs. As for the windshields, both my husband and I both got cracks in our windshields within a month of each other. Mine started to spider so we replaced it (with insurance, it cost $50) but he has still not replaced his.

    We should probably get that done…

  • No booze run here, but cool that you were able to replace it without an extra headache! I had no such coverage on my last car, and the crack eventually spread all of the way across before I finally ate the cost.

  • Wow what a great xmas present!! :)

    No booze run here either. For me it’s a booze walk since I live so close to the liquor store lol.

    • Ya, I tend to walk too given our proximity to downtown – but Papa SPF lives in a rural area so you have to drive … or make a 6 hour walk (and I sure wouldn’t want to haul a 2-4 of beer + 5L of wine + groceries in the dead of winter for 3 hrs!).

  • I’ve my share of car issues in the past, but nothing on windshields. Also had some booze run issues, such as forgetting where the party was on the way back.

  • I was also shocked when I fought out my windshield was covered a couple years back…does this mean that the first replacement was literally a waste of money? Can you enter a back claim?

  • We’ve had 2 windshields get dings that turned into cracks in the last couple of years. Since we had newer cars with comprehensive insurance getting the windshields replaced didn’t cost us a dime. We just had the company come out and swap out the windshield while I was at work, and it was ready by the time I came out to my car – no cost to us beyond our normal premiums!

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    […] PF at Sustainable Personal Finance presents How a Booze Run Saved Us Close to a Grand, saying “On my son, Lil’ SPF’s, first Christmas, I learned about car insurance and saved […]

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