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The Globe and Mail

When it comes to auto insurance, everyone gets a lump of coal

To: Santa's Workshop The North Pole What's left of the Arctic…

Dear Santa,

I hope you are well and that you, Mrs. Claus and all your elves are ready for an eventful holiday season. You must be busy. I've never been one for being nice to anybody so I can only imagine what it's like having to give presents to every good boy and girl across the globe. What did Queen and David Bowie say? Under Pressure?

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Anyway, I have a Christmas wish, one that I believe you are the only person capable of granting. This may sound like something right up your alley but, trust me, it's harder than you imagine. I don't want a pony or a sailboat or any of the other stuff those spoiled brats are asking for. It's just that I love cars and driving and I don't think it should cost a small fortune to keep a Dodge Grand Caravan on the road.

Santa, this Christmas I want my auto insurance rates to go down. I want my car insurance to decrease. Is that too much to ask? Does it go against the spirit of the season? Let me know.

I still believe in you.

Your friend,

Andrew "Road Sage" Clark


To: Andrew Clark

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Behind the wheel of a minivan

"Same as it ever was"

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your letter. You may feel like you are the only good little boy who writes me asking to have his auto insurance rates go down, but take heart, you're not alone. So far this month, I have received 19,998,300 notes from boys and girls requesting the same gift.

I'll tell you what I've told them. In order to get an auto insurance decrease, there are a number of factors you must take into account. First, you need to identify what kind of insurance you need. I'll outline the basic "coverages."

Liability: If you injure someone while driving, this is the kind of insurance you want. That way, when you have liability insurance claim and you call in to report an accident the insurance agent will say, "I'm sorry sir but your liability insurance does not cover this kind of accident."

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Collision: This is just like liability insurance but instead of telling you your liability insurance doesn't cover you the agent will say that your collision insurance doesn't cover you.

There's also comprehensive, medical, personal injury protection and other forms of insurance but they all operate the same way. You pay for years and when you finally need to make a claim someone on the other end of the telephone tells you that by some fluke you're not covered. Then you say, "What have been paying for all these years?" and the voice on the end of the line says, "Peace of mind."

Now that you're acquainted with the various types of coverage, you need to identify your needs. Many factors come into play. For instance, if you drive a sports car, you're going to pay higher insurance rates than someone who drives a sedan or a minivan. Hold on, you're thinking, how can that be possible?

I agree. After all, who's more likely to be in an accident? The guy driving the Lamborghini or the guy driving the minivan? Who is more likely to get a thousand-yard stare and drive his car off a cliff? No offence, Mister Grand Caravan, but it's not the dude in the sports car.

The guy driving the Lamborghini has everything to live for! He's got a Lamborghini for gosh-darned sakes! Yet somehow he's considered a bigger accident risk. It's crazy, I know but that's how it goes. Put me in a sedan or a minivan and I can assure you that the first thought going through my mind would be, "Tree meet car, car meet tree."

Andrew, you should keep in mind that where you live comes into play. For example, if you live in Ontario multiply your rate by 10. Why? I don't know, but I think has something to do with karma and everyone in the country hating Ontario.

Your age and driving record come into play. If you are a new driver, your rates will be high because you are young and inexperienced and have no driving record. If you are an older driver with decades of experience without an accident, then your rates will be high because you are old and due for an accident.

If you are married, your rates will be lower. Why? No real reason. It's just meant to be an incentive. Otherwise no one would ever get married.

I suppose what I am trying to say, Andrew, is that I can't lower your insurance rates. No one can. You've got a better chance of solving the euro crisis with crazy glue and Ciao Darwin reruns.

Why do you think I'm still driving a sleigh after all these years? The rates on the fire-red 1971 Chevelle I have in the garage would be murder if I used it for work.

Anyway, thanks for the cookies and milk. I hope you aren't too disappointed. It's nothing personal, but, when it comes to car insurance, everyone gets a lump of coal in their stocking. It's called the deductible.

Your friend,

Santa Claus

Follow Andrew Clark on Twitter: @aclarkcomedy

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