Accident Tow/Storage/Repair Costs

Dear Friends,

 As many of you know, I was in an auto accident on June 18, 2017, on my way home grading AP exams in Kansas City, MO. In what could be termed a series of unfortunate events or a comedy of errors, I was traveling at speed on the highway when I came upon two cars in the right lane. I had my cruise control on, and since I was moving faster than they, I decided to pass. As I moved over into the left lane, the car directly in front of me moved over at the same time. Up ahead in the emergency turnaround lane, a large tow truck was slowly pulling toward our side of the road. As the car directly in front of me came even with the one we were both trying to pass, it slammed on its breaks. I’m assuming the driver saw the tow truck and panicked, assuming it was going to pull out in front of us. As I went to hit my breaks, my foot for some reason hit my clutch instead. Because I had cruise control on, I did not slow down and the distance between me and the other car shortened precipitously. To avoid rear-ending the car at high speed I chose to swerve into the median, which was a grassy ditch. I bounced along the median until I came to the embankment where the tow truck sat in the emergency vehicle lane. Luckily, I was able to maneuver my car so that I hit the embankment behind the tow truck. I flew over the lane and landed wheels down on the other side, still in the median. The car that cut me off stopped to ensure I was OK but did not remain long enough to give me any information about himself.

I am lucky because I survived with only a concussion and my medical expenses are mostly being covered by a worker’s compensation claim (I hope, anyway!). However, it turns out that my bad luck with insurance continues: my auto insurer sold me a policy without collision coverage and because I avoided hitting anyone, collision coverage is what I needed. When I bought the policy, they told me I wasn’t able to purchase collision coverage in Illinois, which is patently false, and despite filing a formal complaint with the Illinois Department of Insurance, they continue to deny coverage on my car. Aside from hiring a lawyer, I’ve exhausted all reasonable avenues toward reconciling this issue and am now left to cover the costs of towing and storing my vehicle, in addition to either repairing it or purchasing a new one.

My car is a 2008 Toyota Yaris, with only 41000 miles on it. I may be able to repair it, but until I get it out of storage, I can’t get an estimate on the cost. My other option is to purchase the vehicle a very generous friend has loaned me, or another used car since I can’t afford to finance a new one at the moment.

My mother has been incredibly supportive and generous, but I’ve had an extraordinarily bad year and I can’t continue to tax her for financial assistance. Last year, I had to replace my main sewer line. My home was burglarized and family heirlooms were stolen. Because I filed homeowners insurance claims for both those issues, my homeowners insurance dropped me and I was forced to go with a more expensive insurer (not to mention the costs associated with replacing the sewer line and both my front and side doors. Now, with this accident, the first in my life, my car insurance rates will go up as well. My student loans, some of which are private, have come due and I must make payments on them that I can't really afford either.

I could really use some help. So many people stepped up to help me with trips to the doctors, groceries, and other travel when I couldn’t drive from the concussion. I hate so much to ask for financial help, but I don’t know what else to do. If you can afford it, any donation would be a help.

Here’s the breakdown of costs:

$1300: tow and storage fees (I have until Wednesday, August 9, 2017, to pay this amount or I’ll start accruing fees again).

$5500: purchase of the used vehicle I’m driving now or one of similar condition and reliability (a 2008 Rav4. I've looked at used cars for less, and it appears the $5k range is the minimum to get a decent car that won't end up costing me more in unexpected repairs).


$TBD to repair my Yaris if it’s lower than the purchase price of the borrowed vehicle.

The timeline for repairing or replacing my Yaris is more flexible, since the borrowed car doesn't need to be returned any time soon.

I don’t expect I’ll actually raise that much money (it's a lot!), but anything people are willing to give would be of great help. Once I know whether the Yaris can be repaired I’ll update the campaign to reflect either a lower goal or to notify people that it has to be totaled. If I have to total it, I'll deduct the amount I get for scrapping the car from the campaign goal. 

Thank you!


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Alaina Pincus 
Champaign, IL

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