That New Insurance Smell

I’d like to state for the record that new cars are cool. I’ve backed up this statement with painstaking research involving me, a new car, and being cool. Ok, I’m still not that cool, but I have new wheels.Lots of other new things come with new cars as well. New $5,788 floor mats, new $3,927 stereo upgrade, and optional new engine and brakes, all of these things combined make for sweet transportation bliss. If you drive faster, you can forget the stress of making the payments.Yes, the world of automotive financing is an unfortunate side effect of entering the world of car ownership. Before, I just kind of drove cars. I didn’t stop to think about how much gas cost or whether my insurance plan should include medical. I didn’t even stop for most stop signs. Once I learned what a roll stop was, that is.After signing a bunch of papers in a haze I could be liable for just about anything. Really, all that needed to happen was the handing over of keys and me driving off. The car dealer insisted on “contracts” and endless spiels on “extended warranties” and speaking to “the manager.” Hopefully my soul is still intact.Lost in the getting my first car haze was some information that might be important. I know how much I owe per month and when. No one bothered to tell me what my payment options were though. Is there a car dealer conspiracy to withhold vital payment information so they can charge more hidden fees later? Is there really no need to pay for cars at all? You be the judge.Even though I became the first person in the history of the known universe to turn down the extended warranty, I bought some sweet LED lights to spice up the interior of my ride. They’re on back order, or not coming until I call three or four times. I also became the fourth person in automotive history to not sign up for pre-paid maintenance. I’ll be taking full advantage of the complementary oil changes in the back of my owner’s manual though. They probably thought I wouldn’t make it to the back of the owner’s manual.Reading through the owner’s manual kind of makes you want to give up driving. It contains warnings and yellow caution sections for every possible contingency involving something going wrong in a car. They could just sum this up by saying, “Please don’t sue us,” but even that could lead to a lawsuit from some ambitious lawyer.So far, the clock is set, the steering wheel has been moved so the airbag doesn’t destroy my neck, and the mirrors are in the right place. Proper head restraint settings, radio buttons, and removing the dumb bar in the middle of the trunk will be accomplished at a to be determined time. For the amount of money I’m paying them, couldn’t someone at the car dealer do all this for me?As if writing one big check wasn’t enough to send my system into shock, the insurance still had to be dealt with. This didn’t prevent me from driving my car around in a semi-legal, uninsured state. I do need the deductible. Big checks don’t leave much room in the bank account for paying car mechanics.In my meeting with the insurance representative, I learned that having more insurance makes insurance less expensive. Unless you’re under 25, then there really isn’t anything you can do. Except! If you fill out this book about safe driving we’ll knock $60 off your premium. This tells me that insurance is at least $60 overpriced.Something fishy is going on in the insurance business. They go out of their way to give you discounts, which no other business does. Yet, they still rake in the cash. Could it be you really don’t have to pay to fix the car? Perhaps. Or, there could be more demand for piece of mind than there is supply. Only so many people are allowed to feel secure. The rest of us have cut rate car insurance.Another supply and demand issue linked to cars is, you guessed it, custom shift knobs. That’s another bought and paid for extra I don’t have yet. I’m expecting my fun extras to pay for themselves because I bought a “high gas mileage car,” defined as containing half of the gas-saving technology there is, because the rest of it is “too expensive.”Right now, I’m on pace for a 400 mile tank of gas, city driving. That is as ridiculous as it sounds, so I’m guessing someone at the car dealer rigged my gas gauge. “Look how excellent of a purchase this was! It gets 400 miles to the tank!” I’ll probably run out of gas by the weekend, while the gauge still read half.My new car is great. It cost an arm and a leg, which is unfortunate since I got a manual transmission that requires two legs to operate. Other than that I’ve really enjoyed driving around making fun of all the old cars I see. I only get to do this for another week or so, and then I’ll either have to trade in, or buy more insurance.