We regularly travel from Hawaii to another island-state, Tasmania, south of the Australian continent. On a visit to Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain we met up with a large rock. Actually the car (not me) hit the bloody stone. You have to understand that the road was very narrow, one-lane in places and wove around some rocks two feet high. Instead of curving with the road we drove straight and hit a rock. Lessons learned.
What happened: The front tire on the Toyota Corolla exploded on impact. Damage estimate: $1,200.
What we found thereafter was worse. The rim was destroyed, as was the hub cap, and there appeared to be some paint damage to boot.
Checking into how much this accident was going to hurt our vacation, we telephoned then visited the local Toyota dealer to get an estimate of repair cost. To our amazement, their estimate was over $1,200.
Our car rental had a $2500 deductible that got us strategizing some alternative solutions:
– We asked around and found a very reputable tires and wheel repair shop. After a quick visit, they were able to located a rim, and mounted a new matching tire thereon.
– They were not able to find a used hub cap, so we did end up visiting the Toyota dealer and springing for a new one.
– Next we visited the local auto parts store and bought some rubbing compound. We were able to buff out all of the paint damage caused by the boulder.
– We returned to the tire store, paying them $150 for the new tire and rim.
The result: Total repair costs: $200.
Perhaps more interesting than that, it created an adventure and a series of relationships with people in Hobart that we would otherwise never had made.
What we learned plus $1,000 savings.
We intend to be more careful about car rental insurance coverage on all travels, especially on international rentals. Our own insurance did not offer coverage in Australia. If we’d looked into it more carefully, however, we would have found that the credit card’s car insurance coverage did likely apply to Australia (although that isn’t true in every country). On the other hand, if we’d have taken advantage of that, we would have missed this experience of a lifetime and the opportunity to share this with you. Aloha.
This beat of Hawaii post was previously published and just updated.