Introducing… The Replacement Van.

FIVE WEEKS after some woman (whose insurance information we still do not have) thought it was ok to NOT look both ways before she pulled out into on coming traffic causing my husband to hit her and total The Van, our insurance finally gave us a settlement on The Van (but withheld the deductible, even though the police report states very clearly that the other driver was at fault.)
When we first found out they had totaled our van, we were mad because we didn’t want to get a new car. We were only a year away from paying our van off, OH! THE UNFAIRNESS!
But then, I was all “you know what? We do not have to buy a new car! We can just buy a used Ass-tro van (because I have Deep Love for Ass-tro vans) so that we can be in the same position that we were before the accident! Surely, we can find an old Ass-tro van for less than 9,000!”
Ha! Ha! Haaaaa!
Did you know they stopped making Ass-tro vans in 2005? And did you know that people who bought Ass-tro vans before 2005 NEVER TRADE THEM IN? Because they run forever! And because they hold 8 passengers! And are built on a truck chasy!
I was not alone in my Ass-tro love. The world loves Ass-tros.
We did find a couple that were in our price range, but the mileage was outrageous and they were thrashed on the inside. And I wasn’t being picky, either. I was willing to accept a few dings and scratches, but I was not willing to drive around in a car that had chunks of plastic missing and holes in the carpet.
I spent hours on Autotrader and looking through newspapers and calling dealerships and visiting dealerships and telling car salesman to STEP OFF.
We were getting desperate, because we’ve been renting a car since the accident happened and did I mention that we’re paying for that out of our pocket because we still don’t have the other person’s insurance information? (And we’re not allowed to knock on her door and ask her for it, because that would be a “violation of her civil rights”?! HAaaaajajaAAsasaa2!@!!441!!)
Last night Tony stopped by a dealership to check out a non-ass-tro van.
He liked it.
He liked it SO much, that he spent 7 hours at the dealership, trying to work out a price/payment we could live with.
At 10 pm last night, he rolled up to the house with the salesman in the van.
“If you like it, we’ve worked out all of the financing and it’s yours. BUT THERE’S NO PRESSURE TO BUY IT, even though the sales guys drove it all the way from another city that is 45 minutes away! Seriously! No pressure at ALL!”
The good news for everyone was that I loved the van. Not as much as I loved The Ass-tro. (Ok, maybe I do love it more than the Ass-tro, because it is luxurious and it has a center console! And a cd player that works! And the front bumper that isn’t tore in half! But, I am not ready to admit it yet, because, like Lena said, I am not ready to let go of the “Let’s go for a ride in Mah’ Big Ass Bumperless Ass-tro Van!” joke just yet.)
I took it for a spin around the block and loved the way it felt to drive. I loved the way the dash looked; I loved that the payments will be cheaper than my van and not for SEVEN YEARS. I loved everything about it.
Well, everything except the smell. Thank you, dear smokers, for ruining The New Car Smell for me. I really appreciate that, asshole/s.
The papers were all written up and ready to go, all I had to do was say “Yes!” and write the check for the down payment.
Oh, the power!
I said yes, whipped out the checkbook and in less than 5 minutes, I was the proud owner of This Van.

I’m happy that we were able to put an end to THAT portion of a Car Accident Nightmare, but man, we still have a lot of crap to settle. Like, you know, getting the other drivers insurance information so we can get our money back for the rental car and getting our deductible back from our insurance company who really had no right to withhold it in the first place.
I never imagined we’d still be dealing with this shit FIVE WEEKS LATER.
Did I just write an entire post about buying a van? I did, didn’t I?

74 thoughts on “Introducing… The Replacement Van.

  1. Lizarita

    Yay for a new van!
    Dude…5 weeks and you STILL don’t have any info on the jack-leg that hit your preshus ass-tro van? That’s cah-razy.

  2. rebecca

    Try putting apples cut in half in your new van. It will get rid of the smoke smell. I don’t know how or why but it does work!

  3. donna

    I feel your pain, we went on vacation last month, when we got back to the airport where my truck was parked, it was gone….. stolen……we only had 14 payments left, now we have to start over. Insurance is actually nicer to deal with when it’s a thief instead of an accident, but they deducted our deductible too and they don’t get in a hurry for anyone. You shouldn’t be responsible to tracking down the other person’s insurance info, that should be your insurance company’s job. Cut up lemons, lime, oranges closed up in a hot vehicle will help with the smoke smell too.
    Congrats on the new ride!

  4. teebopop

    I’m in love with my Dodge Caravan. It was 12 years old this past April 27, 2007.
    It has 93,583 miles on it. The only thing we’ve EVER had to do was put new brakes, tires, and heater thingy (some kind of sensor). And for 8 of those 12 years I commuted in CA 2 hours a day for my job!
    It was a “one only” deal for one day only. I got to the dealership at 6 am, with my lawn chair and coffee and put my hand on the van and it was mine.
    I’m driving that baby until it dies. I figure it’s got another 50,000 miles on it at least! There’s no rust, it runs great, I’d live in it if I had to.
    My sister had her Astro van for 9 years. She had to give hers up because of a dufus too.

  5. Y

    Donna, I know the insurance is supposed to get her info, but, obviously, they’re NOT GETTING IT. We were told by the police dept we could knock on her door and ask her to exchange information. SO, they sent an officer out to escort us. BUT! When we got there, that officer was all “Sorry, you can’t do this, CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION!”
    So, now, it’s 5 weeks later and our insurance said they’ll take a look at things.. next week. HAHA. Not.

  6. Susan

    What a PITA about the insurance stuff! Gawd!
    BUT! Congratulations on your beautiful new van!!! What kind is it?!?!

  7. Mish

    Those vans are fab!! When we moved from NYC to NC, we rented one of those to drive us & our 9 cats. We all fit, with room to spare in the way back for more crap. We decided that if we were to ever get a minivan, it would have to be the Sienna. Great choice!!

  8. Amy the Mom

    You’ll love your Toyota. I just got a Sequoia for my litter and I looooove it. It is luscious and it is my sanctuary-the one place that is mine and is clean and tidy and not covered in dog hair.
    My friend is an Ass-tro fan as well and she’s panicking because she’ll need a new one by next year and she’s driven only Ass-tros for years now. I find it hideous, but Chevy’s got some loyal drivers there.

  9. mikey

    Seriously? I think you should get a second opinion on the violation of civil rights thing. I mean, wha, people have the right to hide and screw over someone whose car they hit?
    But hey. At least you don’t have to rent a car anymore. And you can listen to non radio music. And I can still give you shit about driving a van.

  10. Y

    Mikey! MIKEY!
    Yeah, I think they’re full of shit to tell us that too, because hello? You HAVE to exchange insurance information, so why can’t we ask her for hers? And why does one cop say “Yes! You can go! Let me send you an escort!” And the other say “CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION!”
    Now, about the van.
    I took it for a drive and the smell is making me sick. And so are the dirty carpets (that I could not see, because I saw it at night) and also the cig burns in various place. I’m trying not to freak out, but I kinda want to punch PigHunter because he told me it was perfect!
    They are going to detail it on Friday, so hopefully we can get some of that shit fixed.
    That should be a reality show. Fix My Shit.

  11. Y

    Ok. Not mad about that stuff anymore, because Tony had the “Babe, it’s a used car, it’s not going to be perfect” speech with me. And he’s right. But, you know, when you drop a few thousand dollahs on something, you want it to be perfect and maybe also plated in gold.

  12. Nancy R

    Cool rims! We have a Venture in that same color – it’s nice.
    Set a bowl of vinegar in the van to help with the smell.

  13. Lisa

    Very nice! Congratulations on the new ride. Our neighbor has an Astro and she loved it. It was hideously fugly, but it fit their five kids, booster seats, car seats, two parents, and misc junk too. I was envious when I tried to cram the world into our Ford.

  14. Jerri Ann

    The is probably nice, but I can’t keep my eyes off of the background and the beauty that is California…man you have it all! And a new van! Congrats!

  15. Meegan

    Sweet ride, Y! Congrats!
    I hope you can get that bitch’s insurance information soon. Make that bitch pay! Grrr.

  16. margalit

    If it were actually a civil rights violation, wouldn’t the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons all be in jail? You’re going to knock on her door. What kind of civil rights are being violated? Talk to an attorney. But honestly that is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard.
    If you can’t knock, park your brand new shiny van outside her driveway and wait for her to come out and complain. Then you’re not violating anyone, you’re in a public street. But get that damn insurance information.

  17. Amy

    Get an attorney and see how fast they produce the insurance info. Trust me, your insurance company and definitely not the other person’s insurance company are NOT looking out for you.

  18. Y

    That’s exactly what we did today. Because I just spent another $240 on a rental car (on top of the previous bill of $555) last night. INSANITY.

  19. jen from boston

    I am trying to let go of the insurance bullshit (scary how much I care all the way form heres) but dude, that is a sweet looking ride. I’d tap that. I mean, proverbially speaking of course. Hope the detailing worked.
    Fuck it – why isn’t your insurance company doing the legwork? It’s called SUBROGATION. She’s named in the report? Her phone #? The ins. company should want that money back.(rhetorical questions – I know you’re all over this)
    (and sorry, among other things, I write commerical auto ins. so this shit makes me nuts )
    okay, I’ll dial down the crazy…anyway, I am curious to see/know if the apples trick works. I may try that on mine..I bought used and fmr. owner was a smoker and you can kinda sorta still smell it.

  20. Linda

    “Did I just write an entire post about buying a van? I did, didn’t I?”
    Yes, and you did it in a *highly* entertaining fashion. Enjoy the new van!

  21. Linda

    Oh, yes – one other thing. As the proud owner of a used 2004 PT Cruiser (love, love, love it!), that was previously owned by a smoker – car dealers can do an ozone “treatment” (not sure that’s the right term), which reduces the smell considerably. The other thing to do is buy Febreeze, or something like that, and spray all the soft surfaces (headliner, seats, carpet) *and* the a/c vents. You’ll have to do it several times, but it really worked for me. I’m convinced that we got such a good price because the dealer thought they’d never unload a car that had been smoked in. One and one-half years later I couldn’t be happier with it!
    (YMMV, good luck, yada-yada-yada…)

  22. Joyce

    My best friend had an Astro, she bought it after she left her first husband, had more kids with the next husband, and he took it and traded it in on a used 15 passenger van (suprise!!!!… NOT) that had a bad transmission in a year. She still talks about it, oh yeah, and killing him.

  23. Helen

    Ooooh all shiny wheels and everything, beautiful new van and sunshine in the background …we are drowning in England, I want a new van and some sunshine to drive it in. Hooray for some great news for you at last…next stop new home…whoohoo!

  24. chris

    I am so happy you have a new van.
    Honestly I can not believe that you don’t have her insurance info yet. What are they waiting for???

  25. ben

    There is a segment of the population that prefers van posts over sex posts.
    I’m not part of that group, but I hear they are out there.
    Congrats on the new (to you) van! We pink puffy heart our Toyota, except that the back windows roll down and you get some kind of strange resonance thing going that threatens to blow out your eardrums when you go fast. But still.

  26. teachbroeck

    Rocking new ride….you will be the hottest mama on the block! Hopefully the detailing will be magical. It is amazing what they can do….maybe they JUST got it in and didn’t have time to clean her all up =)

  27. geeky

    Yay new van! It’s so shiney!
    And that “violation of civil rights” thing? Sounds like total bullshit to me. What civil right says you can’t have people politely knock your door and ask for insurance information?? That is not a civil right! I’d go over and get her info anyway, and deal with the fallout later.

  28. Cheri

    Nice!! Congrats on the new ride!
    I hope you get that other shit straightened out – damn insurance companys! Bunch of idiots!!

  29. Suzy Q

    Congrats on the new van.
    Send asshat woman a certified letter, with return receipt, requesting her insurance information within 10 business days. Threaten a lawsuit. Send a copy to your insurance company.
    Has your company assigned an adjuster to your claim yet? They should have. Hound that person to get what you want. Remember, they are supposed to be working for your rights. And theirs, of course. They need to subrogate but without the other insurance company info, it’s kinda hard to do. Although, another tactic they could try is to go through the state DMV to find out her ins co. That would depend on how free and easy the state where you live is with that sort of info. Ask your adjuster if this is an option.
    Also, your company was completely within its rights to withhold the deductible (unless specifically stated in your contract that it would not be withheld in certain circumstances). That’s why it’s called a “deductible.”
    I am not just any random asshole; I am an adjuster.

  30. D

    Ya know, all I ever wanted to do was drive a mini van and be a mom. I have an old, paid for, Venture and I adore it. I won’t even contemplate another or newer one. I hope you fall in love with this van soon!

  31. Y

    Suzy, I sent you an email.
    I understand what a deductible is and how it works. I thought that if the other person is at fault, you don’t pay the deductible. Is that wrong?

  32. Therese

    My husband was in an accident late at night with a drunk driver. He was trying to avoid the drunk, and they ended up meeting on the center line. The other insurance company wanted us to pay for half of the accident, since it happened on the center line. UMM, no, we weren’t the DRUNK one!! But it did take us a year to get our deductible back.

  33. cass

    That good news about the van! But if you go to the DMV you can report this lady for not reporting an accident and next time she goes she will be charged with a misdemeanor. This has happened to me before also, the woman who hit me would not answer phone calls from her insurance company and it took about 2 months for them to get in touch with her. But in the meantime we did the DMV thing and although it didn’t help us in anyway it feels FANTASTIC to know that this person would not get away with it!
    I don’t know much about DMV policies (like everyone else I try to avoid it at all costs!) but perhaps they could tell you the lady’s insurance company? I have no idea if thats actually the case.
    Good luck! I hope everything works out and soon!

  34. dana michelle

    New (to you) Van! Yay for you! Now you just need the new home to park it in front of.
    Cat litter is good at absorbing musty smells. Try leaving a few bowls of it in there overnight a few times. But you need to get the old fashioned clay stuff in the big honking bag, not the clumping stuff that comes in a little jug.
    But wait, aren’t you the “Febreze Queen?” Just spray the heck out of that sucker!!

  35. ishouldbeworking

    Congrats on the cool new ride, Y. Civil rights? I don’t suppose she was thinkin’ much about PigHunter’s civil rights when she plowed into him and your Ass-tro. *hmph*
    ben-to fix that resonance thing, just crack one of the front windows. You probably already figured that out, but just in case you hadn’t …

  36. Nancy

    Nice van …
    I work with auto ins. companies everyday.
    If your agent won’t help, go directly to a supervisor of the ins. co … not the agency.
    If you have broad form ins. …you get the deductible waived if it isn’t your fault … if you have basic coverage, the deductible applies no matter who is at fault.
    I don’t know what state you are in, but if it is a “no fault state” … you can still collect the deductible by filing a mini-tort claim. Here in MI, it’s about $35 to file and usually people pay up before they even go to the hearing ‘cuz they know it will be ordered anyway.
    The rental, sheesh, I’d get after your ins. for reimbursement.
    Get some spinners and enjoy the new ride, lol

  37. bigiron

    Good call Y! Kiss the Pighunter for getting a sexy, stylish van that hardly ever needs repaired! I bought one for my woman last year. Her old van was an Ass-tro piece of steaming crap, broke down all the damn time, and looks like a bread truck. But as I said before, your Ass-tro protected the people you love at the moment it really mattered, and that is, what really matters.

  38. Erin

    How sad is it that we get so excited over a MINIVAN?! It was a hard sell but once you drive it and actually have room–WHOO HOO–you embrace it and shout it loud and proud–I am a minivan mommy!

  39. girlplease

    oh my god, the man just bought a caravan for work/personal use. he has to sell his navigator for financial reasons and now i feel like the ultimate mom.
    2 dogs in seatbelts
    driving around in a caravan
    oh the humanity

  40. Stephanie

    I feel your pain. I’m still dealing with the city trying to get them to reimburse me for the damage to MY car when THEIR tree fell on it. Their dead tree that had apparently been reported as a hazard to them SIX MONTHS EARLIER and they hadn’t done anything about it. Ugh. Apparently, they have until September to make a decision on my claim, but I want at least my $500 deductible back because I am poor and I like to eat occasionally.

  41. DogsDontPurr

    Wow….you get a lotof comments!
    Congrats on the new car! It looks sweeet! Have you tried spraying everything down with Febreeze? I’ve found that seems to work pretty good. Good luck!

  42. Suzy Q

    Another thing I though of (which someone may already have said above): Isn’t her insurance information on the police report? There IS a police report, right?

  43. Lucy's Mom

    Cool new van! Congrats. I’m a van owner too and do love my Grand Caravan. I totally understand van love. Also, Sharper Image online has an air freshener thingy that plugs into your phone charger spot in the car and totally cleans the air. It works. The Spouse smokes and her car stinks. I got her the air freshener thingy and it really helped a lot. Something about a charcoal activated filter or something. Anyway, her car definitely smells better. She’s not allowed to smoke in mine!!
    I tagged you for a meme. Come on over to my blog and read the rules. Hope you want to play. I imagine your experiences will be interesting.

  44. Reilly

    Congrats on the new van.
    I didn’t know you were speaking at BlogHer! Why don’t you have a button on your site about it so everyone will know? I am sure lots of people will want to attend your session if you publicize it.

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