Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lost…

“Hello, I would like to report that my car had been stolen,” I told the lady at the other end of the line. I did not make a 911 call, just a regular police report. She courteously asked me a series of questions.

When did you see it last? 10:30 pm last night after I was dropped off from a party.
When did you discover it gone? 8:10 this morning when we were about to go to church.
Where was it parked? On our parking spot.
Is there broken glass? No.
Any valuables? None.
Make?... Year?... Plate number?... Colour?... I gave all the information she needed. Then I was told that an officer would be calling me shortly.

This happened two Sundays ago when I discovered our ’91 Honda Accord gone from the parking lot. At first, I could not believe it. Who would want to steal our car? How dare he steal it when I just had an oil change and top up the day before.

Dismayed, I broke the news to my family. They too were stunned. Surprisingly, I remained calm, probably too shocked to feel the loss while trying to make sense of what just happened.

It was not too long ago when I was thanking God for that car as I was pulling out of our parking lot. “Unless You give me a new one, please prolong the life of this car and help me maintain it,” I prayed. I had uttered this prayer several times. So when the car was stolen, even though I was piqued by the violation committed against me and my family, I also felt a sense of anticipation that perhaps God was going to give us another one. There had to be something good to come out of this misfortune.

Within an hour or so of my phone call, a constable called me back and asked me similar questions. “We usually recover stolen cars within the day,” he said, sounding very reassuring. “Oh, thank you!” I felt reassured already.

I spent the rest of the day at home awaiting word from the police. We were unable to attend church. I had to cancel a Christmas carolling commitment that night. I later called the insurance company, ICBC, to report the loss and file a claim. I was told to come in Tuesday morning. Still no call from the police.

When Monday morning came, it was when I really felt the inconvenience of not having a car to bring the kids to school and myself to work. Still no word from the police. I was beginning to wonder. What are my options?

Tuesday, I went to ICBC and met with a claims representative. She asked me a lot more questions especially about the condition of the car and its contents.

When was it last used and why? Condition of the tires? What about the transmission? How much gas in the tank? Mileage? Any dent? Any other damage? Contents? Colour inside? Lien on the vehicle? Etc…This must be how they estimated claims, whether the car was recovered or not.

ICBC allowed me to get a rental car for 20 days within the allowable amount that would be reimbursed to me. I was also given a $300 deductible. I was given a list of things to do in case the car was recovered or became a total loss. Arrg, too much information to absorb in one sitting.

I called a friend who had two Hertz branches and told him my predicament and intent to get a rental car. “Please get me the cheapest,” I requested. “Don’t worry, I’ll find you one. I’ll have someone pick you up tomorrow.”

To be continued…

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