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?