My $1,227 pancake breakfast

On the way home from the hospital last week, we stopped to have a celebratory brunch at the International House of Pancakes. This time we went a bit overboard! Here’s the story of my $1,227 pancake breakfast.

My hospital visit last week went well, and since it was the start of our Thanksgiving holiday we stopped for something to eat on the way home. Mrs DL usually goes with an omelet and I picked a combination pancake / egg / sausage breakfast.

The meal usually costs about $25 or so, by the time coffee is included but this time we were joined by an unexpected guest and it cost a little more. $1,227 to be precise. So what happened? Well, let me tell you a story about our unexpected guest, Rusty.

The story of Rusty Wheel

Once upon a time there was a car Wheel. We’ll call him “Rusty”. Rusty was the 4th sibling of the Wheel family and belonged to a Toyota mini-van. Rusty was always a very attached and engaged member of the Wheels family; they went everywhere together. Their life wasn’t the smoothest road, with many potholes in their way and sometimes they would just get worn down.

But this morning, all seemed perfect with the Wheels family. At least on the surface, since shortly after leaving their garage they had an argument. We’ll likely never know the thoughts of Rusty Wheel at the time or what the argument with the other Wheels was about. Some say he had a screw loose, but for whatever reason, on this day, Rusty suddenly snapped!

Rusty made a bid for freedom from the mini-van at approximately 55 mph, suddenly veering left and crossing the four lanes to the meridian dividing the direction of traffic. He then hit a kerb and went airborne, bouncing across the grass meridian and another four lanes of north-bound traffic.

All this exercise made the exhilarated Rusty quite hungry and so he entered the IHOP parking lot. It was a good plan. Except Rusty, in his haste to depart, had left his brakes behind. Unable to stop, poor Rusty bounced over an ELR and into the side of a blue SUV. He then ricocheted back into the side of the ELR before fleeing the scene and proceeding into the parking lot of a neighboring business. At this point though, Rusty Wheel suddenly became very tired and had to stop and lie down.

The driver of the mini-van, after stopping by the side of the road, had the same thoughts as Rusty Wheel, since he ran away too, leaving the mini-van and the remaining Wheel family behind.

The second car Rusty hit was mine of course; the first car took most of the damage and wrecked their passenger front and rear doors. No-one was hurt in all of this fortunately, although it caused quite a commotion in the restaurant when a car wheel was seen flying by the window.

Here’s Rusty, a little tired after all the excitement.

Rusty - the incredible flying wheel who hit my car

Car insurance

Michigan has a ‘no-fault’ insurance policy which means that I must claim against my insurance for this bizarre event which damaged my car. The estimate is about $1,200 to repair the door. Hence my $1,227 breakfast.

I won’t be paying the full amount fortunately although it’s a little unclear how much I’ll actually pay until the insurance company gets the police report. To save money on my insurance premium, I chose a $1,000 collision deductible and a $500 comprehensive deductible. The claim is being considered a collision rather than an act of God type comprehensive accident. So I may need to pay the $1,000 deductible although the insurance company indicated they may waive this – let’s hope so!

I’ll also be getting a rental car while my car is being repaired. The insurance is covering that too fortunately. I just hope that the premiums don’t go up next year, but they seem to go up anyway even if I don’t make any claim.

Lessons learned?

1. I’ll be paying for any deductible expenses out of my Savings, and will not be touching my Emergency Fund for this. However, it made me realize that I don’t have a separate Savings category set up for insurance deductibles. Instead I’ll be taking any payment out of some other Savings goal that I have. So next year I’ll start to squirrel some money away in my Savings that’s dedicated for any insurance deductibles.

2. I’m not going to change my insurance policy deductibles. I prefer to self-insure where I can rather than pay higher premiums. This is the first claim I’ve had to make in 16 years so I’ve been fortunate.

3. I’m going to park further away from the street in the future. Just kidding. Although we were parked five cars away from the street, the nearer cars weren’t affected at all. It’s just one of those things.

4. Anything can happen at any time. Carpe diem.

What’s your approach for car insurance? High deductibles / coverage or Low?

Quote of the Day

People just hate the idea of losing. Any loss, even a small one, is just so terrible to contemplate that they compensate by buying insurance, including totally absurd policies like air travel.

10 thoughts on “My $1,227 pancake breakfast”

    1. Hi Doug,
      Wow I hope that didn’t leave you stranded in a bad place. I hope no-one was hurt. It’s pretty crazy what can potentially just happen. I guess there is some mitigation on personal vehicles, e.g. keep them maintained / checked etc, but failing that all you can do is keep some Savings / Emergency Fund available.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Best wishes,

  1. First of all, crazy lucky that no one got hurt or damage wasn’t more severe. A loose wheel at 55 mph can really mess things up. Regarding insurance, I always go for highest deductible lowest monthly premium but make sure to have enough emergency cash sitting on the side to cover all deductible and other expenses insurance might not cover. If nothing else, this story will always make IHOP a special destination.

    1. Hi DivHut,
      Yes it was very fortunate that no other drivers on the road were affected and that no-one was coming in/out of the restaurant at the time.
      I totally agree on your approach to insurance and keeping some money back for any expenses.
      Best wishes,

  2. Luckily no one was hurt in this scenario (except for your car and savings account). I think you have the right attitude about all of this because stuff happens sadly. Cars are nothing but a moving expense and I now shake my head every time something happens, I’m hit in a parking lot, or I incur an expense. What can you do??

    I’m glad you aren’t over-reacting and adjusting your insurance policy for this one time event. As you said, this is the first expense in 16 years and I’m sure the amount you saved in this time grossly outweighs the amount of this expensive breakfast. And having extra savings allocated in your emergency fund for your insurance deducible is a pretty reasonable action to take away from this.

    I’m sorry you had to go through all of this. Best of luck in your repair and hopefully poor Rusty can be retired to a nice home for out of service tires and not a landfill.


    1. Hi Bert,
      Thanks. Yes stuff happens unfortunately although sometimes it can be good things too. We just remember the bad more I think. It was a quiet day being a work day and during work-hours which probably helped no-one getting hurt.

      Thinking of all the past premiums paid definitely helps put things into perspective too – that’s a great point! Am trying to get the car repaired on Monday so hopefully it’ll be back soon. That’s one disadvantage of a lease compared to owning I suppose.

      Best wishes,

  3. That’s pretty crazy but the good news is that no one was hurt! It’s the reality of life that you’ll have a bunch of unexpected costs every once in a while(I just had some myself) so it’s a good thing to build some cushion into your budget.

  4. I carry $500 deducible. The difference between $500 and $1,000 is pretty low, less than $10 a month on my insurance, so it’s worth it to me. In your case, I would’ve just paid the entire amount. It’s an extra $267 out of pocket, but with a guarantee that insurance rates don’t go up. This may not have been possible in your case though. I’m not sure about the damage to the other car.

    All that really matters is everyone is fine and uninjured.

    1. Hi IH,
      I found out today that my insurance company decided to waive my deductible after they saw the police report and concluded I wasn’t at fault. I think they’re going to ask the other driver’s insurance company to pay, so it’s not supposed to have much impact on my premium next year. My premium seems to go up regardless of any claims and I wanted to shop around a little next year too, so we’ll see. My car’s in the shop now and is supposed to be fixed middle of next week sometime.

      Am very glad that no-one was hurt in all of this – the police report stated that a third car was involved too. All very crazy yet lucky.
      Best wishes,

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