Beware! Auto Warranty Buyers.



For me, not a day goes by that I do not receive some type of unsolicited telemarketing phone call or piece of mail trying to sell me something.

Unfortunately many of the companies that do direct marketing have a terrible reputation and are generally very poorly rated with the Better Business Bureau. The reason for this is most higher-quality companies do not participate in direct marketing as they generally get enough business through traditional marketing methods. And no business is this more true than in the auto warranty business. There isn’t a single company we have found that direct markets warranty plans that actually has an insurance company underwriting their business. This is the gold standard for determining whether a warranty company is reputable and upstanding. These unscrupulous marketing companies are simply sham companies set up to scam you out of your money. Unfortunately this also goes for auto warranty companies that advertise on the radio or cable television. No “reputable” auto warranty company does any type of television or radio ad.

Purchasing an auto warranty is actually one of the best financial decisions the vehicle owner can make. The way to protect yourself and make sure that you purchase an auto warranty from a company that will be there to pay claims when the need arises is to make sure that you follow certain criteria. Some of the things to make sure of are…
• Be certain that the auto warranty company is in business for 10 years or more to assure that they are successfully paying claims, not just selling warranties.
• Check to make sure that the company is not only A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau but also an accredited BBB company.
• And perhaps most importantly, you want to make sure that the warranty company is backed and insured by a United States-based insurance carrier that has at least an A rating with AM Best. This means that even if the warranty company itself goes out of business your claims will still get paid directly by an underwriter.

The bottom line is you need to do more than just get a quote and assume the plan is a quality auto warranty program. You should always do your research to make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into. An excellent place to start is one of the most reputable companies in the industry, Auto Advantage Inc. who have been offering automotive warranties and roadside assistance since 1979.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Excluding People From Auto Insurance

As one’s household grows, so too, does their auto insurance policy. While this is a pretty standard and expected occurrence, it’s important for people with an increasing number of licensed drivers under one roof to realize they have options. Should any of their family members threaten their driving reputation and quotes, policyholders have the option to remove and exclude them from their insurance plans, making auto coverage someone else’s problem and responsibility.

REQUESTING AN EXCLUSION

If you’re a policyholder interested in excluding one or more individuals from your policy, then you need to contact your insurance company and/or agent. Your request will have to be in writing and might also come with additional forms and paperwork, depending on who your insurance company is. It’s also important to note that requesting an exclusion may cause your rates to increase a bit, but some view this cost as a much more affordable expense than the potential damages they might be held accountable for when the dangerous driver(s) in question get in a serious accident or have repeated traffic offenses.

Whom Should I Exclude?

Now that you know how to request an exclusion, it’s important to understand WHO to exclude. You should exclude anyone you see as high-risk, unreliable and irresponsible. Individuals who show no regard for rules and regulations and could care less what happens to your name and record in the process are other obvious options. To help make the choice easier for you, below is a list of three individuals you definitely don’t want on your policy.

Mittens, the Family Cat

While a fluffy, cute member of the family, Mittens also has a wild side with which you are all too familiar. She is open about her late-night romps with her neighborhood friends, often coming home as the sun rises. She’s practically nocturnal! Those crazy hours coupled with her sassy attitude are a recipe for disaster for you and your record, so nip this problem in the bud while you still can — before Mittens brings you down with her.

Your Six-year-old Who’s Going on Sixteen

Six-year-old Ben is your pride and joy. He’s cute and sweet, but let’s be honest — the boy is growing up too fast. Rather than run the risk of him growing up, stealing your car and running away, it’s probably best to exclude him from your policy to keep that from happening. You might not be able to stop him from physically growing, but you will darn sure try to stop him from leaving you!

The Neighbor Next Door Who Thinks He’s ALWAYS Welcome

Sure you let him borrow a cup a sugar once, but does that really warrant unannounced pop-ins or the dreaded ‘surprise I was waiting for you to get home from work’ visit? The answer is obviously no, but that doesn’t stop your too-close-for-comfort neighbor from doing just that and more. A sweet, eager individual with no concept of social norms, this neighbor is here so often you’re worried he thinks he’s actually a part of the family. While you technically shouldn’t have to cover him on your insurance, the lines that surround your whole relationship — and evidently your property— have been blurred. So, just to be on the safe side, you better exclude him. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll get really comfortable and decide to take your car for a spin and get locked up for grand theft auto — maybe then at least you’ll get to cook in peace again!

Reality Check

Obviously, these examples of potential exclusions are extreme and ridiculous, but that’s just the point. Auto insurance exclusions are a serious issue that should be treated as such. They shouldn’t be added to policies willy-nilly and on a whim, but rather after serious thought and consideration has been given to the situation. It can be a pricey and potentially lengthy process that should only be implemented after you have determined there is no other feasible option.

You should only opt to exclude drivers with repeated violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding or any other behavior that shows a disregard for the law. It’s also important to note that exclusions can also apply to non-related roommates. Depending on your policy and location, it might be a smart idea to exclude any irresponsible roommates you might have, should they try to drive your vehicle without permission and thus endanger your reputation and record.

We do hope you’re never presented with having to exclude a family member from your auto policy. Keep in mind, it’s only advisable when the said-driver is extremely toxic. Most of the time, excluding a single driver will only lead to higher rates for everyone involved.

You’ll know they are a real risk if they cause you to be subjected to higher rates, or worse, put you in danger of losing your coverage altogether — those are costly expenses worth the fees that come along with an exclusion.

If you are seriously considering opting for an exclusion, talk with your insurer to explore all of your options and alternatives. They should help point you in the right direction for your future.

New Car Warranties Can Provide 4 Types Of Coverage

It is wise to buy an auto warranty when investing in a new car. New car warranties can provide four kinds of coverage for your car:

1. The first kind of coverage that you can receive is basic coverage, or a bumper-to-bumper warranty. This kind of warranty provides coverage for the parts of the car from the front bumper to the back bumper.

2. Another kind of coverage that you can receive is a power train warranty. This provides coverage for the parts that make the car run. Such parts include the engine, the driveshaft, the drive axels, and the transmission.

3. In addition, your auto warranty can cover corrosion and rust. This will cover the rust-through problems that you may encounter later on.

4. A final kind of coverage that you can receive is roadside assistance. This is a service that may be given to you when your basic warranty is active. It offers professional assistance when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road due to a vehicle breakdown. It offers many beneficial services such as lockout assistance, refueling assistance, flat tire assistance, and towing.

If you wish to become even more familiar with the details of the coverage that come with your auto warranty, look at your warranty booklet or owner’s manual. If you still do not believe that you are receiving enough coverage and that you want more, it is smart to purchase an extended auto warranty for your car that will suit all of your needs.

 

An Energy-Efficient Home for the New Year



The New Year is a time for resolutions. Have you thought about the things you could do to make your home more energy efficient? How about changes that you will ACTUALLY DO?

It isn’t necessary to invest a lot of time and money to make a difference. Little changes such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs add up. Here are some simple, inexpensive measures that you can do to ensure you homes remain energy efficient, warm and comfortable.

Install programmable thermostats

Investing in a programmable thermostat allows homeowners to monitor the indoor temperature of their home remotely via a smart phone or online. By keeping the temperature low when no one is home and programming the thermostat to increase the temperature when everyone is home, annual heating costs can be reduced anywhere between 5 and 15 percent, according to the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). The same principle can be applied during summer months to help save on cooling costs.

Replace air filters

Replacing the furnace’s air filter every three months can also help create a more comfortable environment; a clogged filter can reduce the unit’s overall efficiency and lifespan.

Weather strip and caulk doors and windows

For less than $100, weather-stripping for windows, a door sweep strip and some caulking can help fill any air leaks to limit energy loss.

Install low flow shower heads

For maximum water efficiency, select a shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gpm. Choose from two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water.

Use auto turn-off power strips

Smart power strips automatically turn off electricity to all the things you don’t need. The new generation of power strips has quietly evolved to confront the energy usage problem head-on, without losing any of those old winning personality traits like lots of outlets and surge protection.

Install CFL or LED lights

An average American household can save over $200 per year by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs.

 

Charged up on hybrids? Here are answers to five questions you are likely to have !

 

While hybrid electric vehicle sales make up a small percentage of total vehicle sales in Canada, big incentives and increased competition within this segment have increased sales over the past several years. There are a number of financial and environmental reasons to consider making your next vehicle purchase a hybrid one. To assist you in making this decision we’ve compiled some essential questions you might want answered before buying a hybrid.

  1. How does a Hybrid Vehicle Work?

A Hybrid electric vehicle (or HEV) combines the benefits of a conventional internal combustion engine with those of an electric motor. Hybrid vehicles have on-board computers that constantly calculate when to make use of the electric motor, the gas motor, or a combination of the two to achieve maximal fuel efficiency. Most HEVs use the electric motor at low speeds and revert to the gasoline engine at speeds above 30 km/h, or when the electric battery runs low. The gasoline engine is also used in combination with the braking action of the vehicle to recharge the hybrid’s batteries as you drive.

  1. What about Plug-in Hybrids?

A plug-in hybrid differs from a traditional HEV in that it makes exclusive use of the electric motor in normal driving scenarios and makes use of the gasoline engine only to extend vehicle range by recharging the battery when it runs low. As the name suggests, the electric battery is also recharged by connecting it to an external power supply. Plug-in hybrids can achieve even better fuel economy than traditional hybrids, especially in city driving scenarios where the electric motor is the sole power supply. Statistics show that plug-in hybrid vehicles use between 40 to 60 percent less fuel than a conventional gasoline vehicle of the same type.

  1. Why do Hybrids cost more?

In a word: batteries. The material cost of state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries and engineering costs associated to developing hybrid systems significantly increase the cost of producing a hybrid vehicle. These costs are passed on to the consumer and result in a price up to 20% higher than a comparable gasoline model. The good news, however, is that these extra costs are steadily decreasing, and most experts believe that the price of a hybrid or electric vehicle will match that of a gasoline model within the next 10 years. Some manufacturers even offer cash incentives on their hybrid models.

  1. Will buying a Hybrid car pay for itself in savings?

The financial payoff of owning a hybrid will depend largely the vehicle, your driving habits, and the price of fuel. The savings achieved by driving a fuel efficient hybrid will increase as the price of gas increases. Additionally, driving a hybrid will yield better efficiency for city drivers, where the electric motor is used most frequently. This benefit is even more apparent with a plug-in hybrid, as a city driver may often use no gas at all. We recommended that you research the environmental policies of your local, provincial and national government, as there are often cash and tax incentives available to hybrid vehicle owners.