Sour Taste

Was chatting to my insurance guy the other day, and the result of said discussion was that as far as my VW Tiguan is concerned, I’m screwed if I ever get into a wreck because the book value of the 2013 model with 130,000+ miles is in the single-figure thousands.

This would be barely enough for a deposit on a “new” (i.e. second-hand) replacement, assuming I could even find one in acceptable condition — mine is near-perfect because I look after my cars, and it has the “leatherette” seats which are like hen’s teeth in this model.  (I’m a huge fan of the Tiggy because I’ve owned two, consecutively, and neither ever gave me any trouble, for a total of 210,000 miles.)

And to continue on the math of the thing, a $5,000 deposit would result in a $450+ monthly car payment, which I can’t afford #CrappyCashFlow.

So I’m stuck with what I’ve got, and the only thing I’ve got going for me is that a month’s total driving tops out at about 200 miles.  Had I not done Uber for a couple years, the mileage would now stand at about 40,000 miles, but I had no option in the matter (did I already mention #CrappyCashFlow?).

Anyway, I’ll just have to be careful out there, as a wise TV cop once said.

But there is an advantage to not having a modern — i.e. 2015+ — model, in that the electronics of the Tiguan are minuscule:  no keyless entry, no mapping software or any of that jive.  In fact, other than electric windows and -rearview mirrors, it’s about as electronics-free as one could imagine:  no seat “memory”, no “touchless trunk-closer”, none of any of those apparently-must-have “features” which are now common in cars nowadays.  Hell, my Tiggy doesn’t even have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) chip installed (that came after the 2014 model year).

This non-modernism is a real advantage when it comes to dealing with bastardy of this nature:

In a world where privacy is becoming increasingly elusive, drivers are facing an invisible foe that could be costing them money. A New York Times report details how automakers are sharing information on driving habits with insurance companies which can have a harmful impact on people’s wallets.

Insurance companies have “offered incentives to people who install dongles in their cars or download smartphone apps that monitor their driving, including how much they drive, how fast they take corners, how hard they hit the brakes and whether they speed.”

Car companies have established relationships with insurance companies, so that if drivers want to sign up for what’s called usage-based insurance — where rates are set based on monitoring of their driving habits — it’s easy to collect that data wirelessly from their cars.

But in other instances, something much sneakier has happened. Modern cars are internet-enabled, allowing access to services like navigation, roadside assistance and car apps that drivers can connect to their vehicles to locate them or unlock them remotely. In recent years, automakers, including G.M., Honda, Kia and Hyundai, have started offering optional features in their connected-car apps that rate people’s driving. Some drivers may not realize that, if they turn on these features, the car companies then give information about how they drive to data brokers like LexisNexis.

Here’s the thing:  I am one of the world’s most careful drivers;  in fifty-odd years of driving, I’ve had two wrecks of any consequence (and none at all in the past forty years) and two — count ’em, two — speeding tickets (both for doing less than 50 in a 40mph zone).  That’s it.

So if anyone would qualify for a lower insurance premium, assuming that I’d agree to let my insurance company snoop on my driving, it would be me.

But I’ll see them all burn in hell before I agree to this bullshit.  Fuck these assholes, fuck their Big Brother snooping, and fuck any car company who goes along with this foulness.  I’ll stick with my old ‘un, thankee:

No wonder ol’ Fred’s smiling.  He doesn’t have to put up with all this bullshit.


  1. The way you maintain your cars, that may never need replacement. My old 2004 Acura TL (fancy Honda) at 230,000 is still being driven in Chicago by one of my nieces. It’s acquired a few bumps and dents since the kid started driving it (to be expected) but it’s still going strong. And your mileage may allow a good mechanic to keep it going for the rest of your life.

    Your biggest risk is you’ll be hit by an uninsured illegal alien driving a junker. Keep your head on a swivel. If replacement is truly only a couple grand it might even make sense to drop collision coverage entirely.

    If you are hit by an uninsured illegal, set up a GiveSendGo account. It’s like GoFundMe but without the woke commie bullshit.

  2. Ditto. My 2014 Subaru has 130,000+ miles and no problems. Very shortly after buying it I realized it was probably the last car I would ever buy, or want to buy, for all the same reasons you cited. Occasionally I have shopped for another, identical one on the “two is one” principal. Apparently, I am not the only one who appreciates these pre-snoop cars as I have not been able to find one that anyone is willing to part with at a reasonable price. Rumblings that our criminal overlords want to eliminate older cars don’t help the anxiety in this regard.

  3. Same boat with older-lower numbers. 2001 Chevy Blazer 2dr 4×4 130k miles and I drive less than 2000 miles a year.

    I paid $3k for it 8 years ago and 2 years later had to put a $3k engine in it. I’ve also replaced most of the suspension, brakes, tires, etc. So I have more than $10k in this vehicle and it’s in fairly decent shape.

    The bluebook says my Blazer is worth about $800.
    Blazers like mine still sell in the $3k range.

    I have the minimal insurance required by law and it costs about $900/year (Progressive) for our 2 similar vehicles.

    There is no way in hell I can afford a new vehicle nor will my values allow me to pay the amount they charge even if I could afford it. Simply, to me, there is no vehicle in the world worth more than about $10k. Ever.

    All I need to do is go from A to B and I’ll be damned if I pay more than the bare minimal to do so. I got better things to do with my minimal coinage.

  4. Don’t trust the book value!! Insurance book values are based on typical car condition and mileage for the average driver. After all, once it’s totaled, who can tell that you kept it pristine and like new condition? Your individual vehicle could fetch several times the book value on the used market quite easily.

    Same as Ghost’s example above, I had a 20 year old pickup that was hit by someone while parked. The insurance adjuster came out, looked at it, said book value was only $800 and wanted to total it (for some basic body damage that in no way affected drivability). Then the bastard offered to buy it from me at twice book value. I may or may not have threatened to kill him. A year later I sold the truck, still dented, for $4500.

    So yeah, minimum liability insurance and head on a swivel. The #1 destroyer of cars here is Texas is illegals driving drunk, so there’s that. Maybe we can bill Biden for damages?

  5. I’m driving an older model as well and only carry liability because I understood I would never get the vehicle’s value back from the insurance in the event of an accident. Doesn’t matter the maintenance or condition, past 4 or 5 years old, there no point.

  6. Our two vehicles are 10 years old and we expect them to last until Justin Trudeau takes away our gasoline and or driver’s licences because of old age.

    Have you considered a small motorbike for short trips and simple errands? Cheap to buy, cheap on gas, cheap to maintain.

  7. I miss my ’02 Tacoma. It had everything I want and nothing that I don’t. the ’19 is nice but has a lot of electronic stuff that makes it too prone to electronic malfunctions and spying.

    What the government can’t do “legally” theyll get private industry to do on their behalf and turn the data over to the government in return for campaign contributions.

    1. Yep.
      That whole “permission” thing is bullshit.
      If they can track you and sell the data, they’re doing it.

  8. If you only drive 200 miles per month do you really need a car? Would an e-bike serve? If you run the numbers you may find yourself surprised. I do a very low mileage and once you include tax, insurance, maintenance, depreciation (on both sides), additional delivery costs, and so on. It’s very close, but the car does give me that element of freedom and – crucially hereabouts – protection from the elements.

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