Losses and Lessons: ‘On a roll’ isn’t always a good thing

VEHICLE COVERED: 1961 Pontiac Catalina

WHAT WENT WRONG: We drive, park and walk away from our classics so routinely, we rarely consider the potential danger if the car should slip out of gear. But it happens more than you’d think. The owner of a 1961 Pontiac Catalina had just returned to his home in Virginia Beach after having the car detailed for an upcoming show. He parked in his driveway and walked inside to make a phone call when the Catalina rolled backward down the driveway, crossed the street and crashed into a neighbor’s tree.

DAMAGE/LOSS: Damage to the driver’s side rear of the vehicle – fender, bumper, trunk and taillights – was significant. The total repair cost was $10,048, which Hagerty paid, minus a deductible.

LESSON: Take nothing for granted when you’re dealing with a classic car. Parts wear out, gears slip, parking brakes fail. Always make sure the emergency brake works well, and set it whenever and wherever you park, along with leaving the car in gear or “park.” And carry wheel chocks in your trunk for those times when you’re parked on an incline or if you suspect your handbrake may need adjustment.

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