Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor

Do you ever wish you could live your life backwards to undo certain mistakes you regret? Brad Pitt starred in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, starting out as an old man and gradually growing younger. The film is based on a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1922. So the idea has been around since at least 1922.

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Some people feel like everything happens for a reason and the “mistakes” you make were meant to happen to lead you to the perfect life you are now living. Maybe. I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken some expensive risks. I could be living my perfect life with more money.

Think about all the underwater houses like mine. I guess it’s futile to wonder, “What if I’d sold my house six years ago when the market was up?” or “Maybe I should have kept renting.” We keep paying on houses worth less than the mortgage. It’s maddening.

One expensive mistake I made was switching my car insurance from full coverage to limited. Let’s say you’re in an accident that totals your car. As long as it’s the majority fault of the other driver, you’d still receive full blue book value for your car less your deductible. Since I had a good driving record and my car was almost ten years old, I figured I’d save some money on insurance. I was tired of my insurance rate increasing every year even though the value of my car went down. What were the chances I’d be in an accident anyway?

Murphy’s Law

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Sure enough, I hit black ice on I-696 and my Honda spun out, smashing the front bumper into the engine against the guardrail. The tow truck guys laughed at me when I told them I had limited coverage. “You ain’t gettin’ nothin’ for this car,” they said. But it wasn’t my fault, I insisted. It was the ice.

When I called the claims hotline at AAA Insurance, the agent told me the accident was my responsibility. “We can’t collect money from the ice,” she sneered. I ended up donating my car to Charity Motors.

It had been a gamble. I saved $44 in reduced insurance costs by downgrading my coverage and lost about $4000 I would have received for my now totaled car. Ouch. That was an expensive lesson. Think of all the mattresses I could buy with that extra money.

My mom tells me to focus on the positives in life – on all the good decisions I’ve made. That’s sound advice because as much as I want to go back in time and not change my insurance coverage, among other things, I can’t. Life only goes forward, not backwards, much as we’d like to change some decisions.

And get our money back.

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