We have been sitting in Harlingen for 10 days and still have not yet solved the car problems. The problems being, how to pay the deductible and whether to have it towed or driven to the border. Why should it be so difficult?
As to the first problem, how to pay the insurance company? I have never had so much trouble giving money away! About 9:30 this morning Carol Ann and I went to BankAmerica in Harlingen to wire funds to the insurance company. I found out you can’t send a wire transfer from a bank in which you have no account. Even if you pay cash for it. That’s because if the money is returned (and why would it be?) the bank would need an account in which to place it. Needless to say, we do not have a bank account at any bank in Harlingen, nor is there a branch of our Nacogdoches bank located in Harlingen.
I called my bank in Nacogdoches to see if they could wire the money. They could do so, no problem, if I was there to sign the transfer request. Well, I’m not there. I’m here. Here is 470 miles away.
Credit card! Surely a large insurance company would accept payment by credit card. I called the insurance company in Mexico. They said, “Of course you can. But you must do that at an HSBC Bank branch.” A check of HSBC Bank on the Internet revealed that the closest HSBC Bank branch to me is either in Florida or Illinois; I’m not sure which one would be closer. Probably a toss-up.
So, how else can you get money to someone in Mexico? Money orders! Of course. Except that they have to be mailed and that would take too long. Hmmm. WESTERN UNION! I have seen a lot of people in the grocery store sending money to Mexico via Western Union. Off we went to the local H-E-B Supermarket and, yes, you can wire money to someone in Mexico. Unfortunately, I was told that they could only wire the money to a person and not to an insurance company (????). That just doesn’t sound right. I should have asked for the manager to confirm that. But by then I had learned that one of our cats at home in Nacogdoches had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Jack was almost 19 years old and we have been stuck in Harlingen and weren’t there for him when he drew his last breath. I was feeling pretty depressed by this time.
We got in touch with someone at the Mexican insurance company again and their suggestion was to have the person who picks up our car from the repair shop just pay the repair shop the $500 US in cash! Great idea. But how do I get $500 US cash into the hands of the person in Mexico who will be picking up the car? Do you think they might just have an extra $500 US cash in their pocket? Hey, maybe I could wire them the money! Yeah, sure.
I phoned my bank in Nacogdoches again to see if they had any other ideas. Fortunately, they did and it was even simpler than having the pickup man pay cash. Why not just have our daughter in Nacogdoches wire the $500 US to the insurance company and then we could just pay her back? That’s what we decided to do at 2:30 PM, which gave us an hour and a half until the 4:00 PM cut off for wiring money. Carol Ann got in touch with our son-in-law who agreed to go to the bank and take care of it. All I needed to do was to email the payment information to the bank. That’s when I discovered that the “Account Number” I had been given by the insurance company was not really their bank account number. It was our claim number. It’s too late now. Everyone has quit for the day. We will have to try again tomorrow.
Our second problem. How to get the car the 1240 miles from Merida in the Yucatan to the US border? Well, we thought we had that covered, and we did. A transport company would truck it all the way and I would meet them in Matamoros in a few days and drive it back across the border to the US. The fee, however, had risen and it is now $45,000 Mexican Pesos (around $3,500 US). To have it hauled the same distance in the US would only be about $900. I know because I got several Internet quotes from companies to haul it from Nacogdoches, TX to Yuma, AZ, as that would be approximately the same mileage. I realize that the Mexican company will have to pay the driver “hazardous duty pay”, plus pay the “fines” that will be levied along the way. But, friends convinced me that $45,000 Mexican Pesos is still way too much money for the service.
So the transport company is on hold while my friends check with their friends in Mexico in order to find a “trustworthy” individual who, for a lot less money, would drive the car from Merida to Reynosa (they said that Matamoros was too dangerous!). They would also drive me across the border and go with me to pick up the car (which would make me feel a lot better about having to go back to Mexico). Just have to wait and see. Mañana. Mañana. Mañana. Mañana.