Category Archives: Auto

Health Insurance and Its Need

But, talking about long term care insurance? Does it have value for money? And what is it anyhow? Isn’t it like that viable with the stoop in it that keeps receiving hurt?

Health Insurance

Extended health Care Insurance is more or less exactly what it sounds like a long period care insurance plan you purchase to help give for the cost of long-term concern further than a planned phase of time. Long term insurance covers care that is not usually covered by normal health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. It is surplus to what you may believe you are already having.

Folks who need long tenure care are not unwell in the wide-ranging sense. They more often than not require special care in their every day activities, bathing, dressing, and eating, getting in and out of bed or a chair, daily hygiene, and possibly walking. And this possibly will not even be necessarily long term care in the customary sense. This possibly will be care necessary to get well or rehabilitate from a mishap or an operation. A long term care insurance policy takes care for these and many other things.

If one thinks that he/she is too young to think about long term care at the present, think again. It doesn’t distinguish based on age. You have merely to imagine of the Christopher Reeve (actor) to know that. Due to an accident he becomes paralyzed at the age of 42 and it took about 9 years for him to get cured. The author Stephen King due to a car accident took a very long time to get cured that nearly took his existence while he was a walker in his 50. And Michael J. Fox (actor) struggles till now with Parkinson’s disease which was diagnosed at age of 30. And it is a fact that, about 40% of those receiving long term care is between the ages 18 – 64.

Medicaid normally does not reimburse for long term care in a home setting so long term health care insurance is best option and certainly a little to imagine. If home care coverage is bought, long term care insurance will reimburse for it, from the first day it is needed. It will shell out for a live-in care giver or personal duty nurse up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Assisted living is salaried for by long term care cover as is interval care, adult daycare and hospital care. Long term care insurance can also reimburse operating cost for caring for a person who suffers from Alzheimer or other forms of dementia.

So next time you go for a skydiving tripPsychology Articles, or any other adventurous work take some long term health care insurance. By doing this you will be doing a favor to you and your family.

What is an OEM Transmission or Engine?

Replacing an engine or a transmission is a huge expense, and you want to be sure you are getting the best replacement for your money. You are told there are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket parts. It’s important to understand what these parts and their differences are, especially if an insurance company is involved.

What Is An OEM Part?

According to About Money, OEM parts are made by the automobile manufacturer. Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, and other manufacturers make the original parts that are in the car when it comes off the assembly line. When the car is being assembled, if the manufacturer installs Bosch fuel injectors, Exide batteries, or Auto lite spark plugs, they are considered to be OEM parts on that car because they were original. If, however, the car manufacturer used a different brand of fuel injectors, then Bosch would be considered to be aftermarket parts. All determination is made by the manufacturer at the time of assembly. While an OEM engine or transmission will cost more than an aftermarket model, you can know it will fit perfectly and function exactly the same as the one being replaced did when it was new. You can know that your replacement parts are identical to those that came in your car when it was manufactured at the factory.

The Difference Between OEM and Aftermarket Parts

According to Bessler Auto Parts, there is a wide range of aftermarket parts manufacturers, which results in varying quality. These are generic copies of original parts and don’t fit perfectly like OEM replacements do. Aftermarket parts are cheaper to buy. The companies that build them have not invested millions of dollars in research and development. If your car is involved in an accident and the engine or transmission needs to be replaced, many insurance companies will only pay for an aftermarket replacement. You always have the option to pay the difference in price between the OEM and the aftermarket part.

The Choice Is Yours

Knowing the difference between the two types of replacement parts makes it easier for you to choose the one you want. If money is an issue, go with the aftermarket manufactured part. It will carry a full warranty because it is brand new. If you want the OEM replacement, you must get it through the car dealership.

Both replacement options will have your car back on the road and running great in no time. You decide which option is best for you.

Confessions From the Auto Body Shop

For most consumers, auto body shops are intimidating and mysterious. The good ones restore your beloved car to gleaming perfection. The bad ones hide problems and stick you with a big repair bill.

We talked with three veterans of the auto body industry, two of whom (Brian and Neal) run their own collision repair businesses and the third expert (Andy) who is a well-connected industry observer. Our sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, shed light on this shadowy world and offer suggestions on how to manage costs, avoid rip-offs and ensure that sure your car is fixed right.

Know That Body Shops Run the Quality Gamut
“I don’t care what state you live in, for every 10 body shops, three of them are unethical and five of them do mediocre work at best,” Neal says.

It’s clear that finding the right shop and building a relationship with the owner or manager is an essential first step in the repair process. There will always be fly-by-night shops, and even mobile dent-repair guys working out of the trunks of their cars. Consumers should look for brick-and-mortar body shops that have been in business a long time and have a solid track record of satisfied customers.

Most body shops are family-owned or second-generation businesses, says Brian.

And it’s a tough business these days. After getting a high bill for collision repair, some people might think that body shops make a lot of money. Neal laughs at this. “At one time body work was lucrative. But today, the well-run shops are realizing profits of 4-7 percent. And it’s a very fine line between making 4 percent and losing 5 percent.”

In an environment like this, shops rely on good word-of-mouth referrals to attract customers. “The last thing we want is a bad reputation or reports of poor customer service,” Brian says. “We want to fix it right and make that customer happy.” (For more about choosing the right shop, see “5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop.”)

Once you find the right shop, the process of getting your car fixed right at the right price starts with getting an accurate, reasonable estimate.

Understand Your Estimate
Price quotes from different body shops seem to vary wildly, and this shouldn’t be the case.

Our three experts remind us that collision-repair facilities and insurance companies use one of three systems for estimating repair jobs to arrive at standardized, impartial quotes. Theoretically, this means three different shops will present similar estimates. But insurance companies will sometimes present their policyholders with a low quote that bears no relationship to the product of these estimating systems, Brian says. And if the consumer decides he can live with minor body damage and elects to pocket the check rather than pay to have the damage repaired, the carrier has quickly cleared another claim.

It’s increasingly tough for body shop owners to provide an accurate cost estimate that will cover the expense to fix the car properly and still make a profit. Brian says automakers frequently change vehicle designs as the Environmental Protection Agency raises fuel-efficiency standards. They are increasingly using lighter materials like aluminum and high-strength metals like ultra-hard boron steel, particularly in the frame and suspension parts. Such parts are expensive.

Body shops are supposed to restore cars to the standards of the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), but they know from experience that doing so is going to be prohibitively expensive. Instead, they don’t even consult the manufacturer’s specifications and fix the car according to time-tested methods. Those methods might not fix the car safely or completely.

“So all of a sudden the lowest common denominator — the insurance company’s quote — becomes the benchmark,” Brian says. And the shop with the lowest cost is likely the one the consumer will pick.

Neal adds that there is another factor that makes the process difficult for consumers. “One guy might have a different definition of what a fair profit is from the next guy for procedures that are identical between the two shops.” This is the dreaded gray area in evaluating cost estimates and it can hit your wallet hard. Here’s how it works.

Get an Estimate Breakdown
There are judgment calls in auto body work that can lead to huge swings in price quotes, our experts report.

Neal gives an example: Say you have a dent in your quarter panel. One shop might write a simple four-line estimate to repair the panel and repaint it. (Each line on the quote constitutes another charge.) Another shop might write a 20-line estimate that includes removing the taillight and bumper, instead of just taping them off. “There can be 20 steps for the repair if you want to do them all and if you want to charge for them all,” he says.

If a consumer doesn’t understand the steps, the estimate makes little sense. And many body shops don’t take the time to explain it, Brian adds. “There are a lot of shops that print their estimate, throw it at the consumer and say ‘Call me if you want me to do it,'” he says. Instead, he recommends looking for the shop with a staff that listens patiently and replies with reasonable answers.

Andy says consumers should be aware that some shops write lowball estimates just to “seize the keys” — get the car owner’s commitment to do the job. Once the car is dismantled, the body shop owner calls the consumer and lists additional charges, claiming that the shop discovered new damage after it started work.

Additional charges do occur because, “you can’t see through a car without taking it apart,” Andy says. Avoid this ploy by choosing a highly regarded body shop in the first place and making sure to the best of your ability that the estimate covers all the work required.

Turn Down the “Save the Deductible” Come-on
Andy warns that some shops will offer to help consumers “save the deductible” from their insurance claim — typically about $500. The shop is basically offering to scam the insurance company for the consumer by not collecting the deductible payment.

But Andy says that what such a shop is really intending to do is to either not perform necessary work, or overcharge for something to compensate for the waived deductible. “Collision repair shops are businesses, and like any business, can’t afford to not charge for work that is being performed,” Andy tells us. “If a shop says they can waive the deductible…that is something for consumers to be cautious of.”

Ask About the Parts
Our insiders say some unethical shop owners will try to boost profits by charging customers for new OEM parts when they’ve actually installed used ones, or have substituted aftermarket parts for OEM parts without telling the customer. In other cases, they repair the original part, reuse it in the vehicle and charge the customer for a new part.

It’s difficult for unwary consumers to protect themselves against these scams. However, they can ask to review the original quote and request documentation of the parts the shop used in repairing their vehicle. In most states, repair facilities are required by law to disclose in their estimates that they intend to use non-OEM parts. If you live in one of the states that doesn’t require disclosure, it’s even more important to ask.

Consumers also have to be alert to the terminology that shops and insurance companies use when they’re describing parts. Our experts talked about “imitation” parts, using the term to refer to parts that are made by aftermarket suppliers. The aftermarket industry says its products are built to industry standards and are as good as those produced by the OEMs. Your decision on which to use likely depends on the age of your car, the size of your wallet and the terms of your insurance policy. In any case, make sure you get your body shop to define its terms. Will it use OEM parts? Aftermarket? New? Used? Will it repair and reuse a part from your car?

Neal says that aftermarket parts have their place and consumers shouldn’t always be hesitant to approve their use.

“If you came to me with a damaged year-old vehicle, I wouldn’t even suggest an imitation part because it doesn’t belong on a vehicle that we’re trying to protect the value of,” Neal says. “But if you came to me with your daughter’s eight-year-old transportation car, we would price it both ways.” There would be a small risk in lowering the resale value of the car in exchange for the savings.

For more on this subject, please see “How To Tell if Your Body Shop Did the Job Correctly.”

Beware of Shops in Cahoots With Adjusters
Insurance work is the lifeblood of the auto body business. Nearly 85 percent of the work for most collision repair facilities comes from claims, according to the insiders we interviewed. Brian says that he knows of many shop owners who attempt to ingratiate themselves with insurance adjusters by detailing — or even painting — their personal vehicles for free. “We know of it happening all the time,” he says.

(For the insurance industry’s side of the story, see “Confessions of an Auto Claims Adjuster.”)

This unethical relationship puts the consumer at a disadvantage, Neal says. “Your repair shop is supposed to act as your advocate,” he says. “If your insurer wants to put an aftermarket part on a vehicle that’s six months old without your permission, the shop should tell you so: ‘Mr. Jones, I have to let you know that your insurer is playing games.'” There are consequences for that, though, as Neal notes. “But if you do that they’ll take you off the list — that’s the dirty reality,” he says.

Once again, your best defense is a good offense. Only work with shops that have a track record of dealing fairly and honestly with their customers.

Don’t Get Pushed to “Preferred” Auto Body Shops
When an insurance company is paying for repairs, Neal says it often tries to steer clients to its “preferred” list of body shops. Insurance companies control these collision repair facilities by promising them steady work in exchange for corner-cutting, according to the insiders we interviewed. This control may encourage some body shops to “back charge,” or build in extra costs to cover areas not covered by the insurance company. If a shop begins doing this, Neal says, “It’s a slippery slope, and when you get on that path it’s hard to get off.”

Andy says that most state laws allow consumers to choose their auto body shops, even when an insurance company is paying for the repair. But insurance adjusters will still coerce clients toward the “preferred” shops using a variety of tactics to discourage them from going elsewhere, the insiders say. For example, the adjuster might say if you go to a shop that’s not preferred, some costs won’t be covered, or the non-preferred shop won’t guarantee the work, while the preferred shop will.

In many cases, Andy has seen consumers pay out-of-pocket for repairs that the insurers said they won’t cover. Then, when the consumer files a complaint with a state’s department of insurance, the insurer is forced to pay for the repair. “Some insurance companies will put the onus on the customer to prove that they will pay for it themselves before they will agree to indemnify them for it,” he says.

All three experts agree that consumers place a lot of trust in their insurance companies to look out for their best interests. What most people don’t consider is that the insurance company is trying to cut costs to the bone while still retaining policy holders. “Consumers are at a disadvantage because they’re not knowledgeable about the services that they’re procuring,” Andy says.

Be Your Own Advocate
Sad to say, the body shop experts we spoke with say that the consumer can’t rely completely on body shops or insurance companies to watch out for their interests. You have to act as your own advocate, choose the best shop and remain alert to overcharging and misrepresentation.

“Most body shop owners are very concerned about getting good feedback and building a list of customers who’ll come back next time work is needed,” Andy says. “Find those shops, work with them, and nine times out of 10, things will go smoothly.”

 

Do I Have To Use the Manufacturer’s Oil?

Ten or 15 years ago, choosing the oil for your car was simple. All you needed to know was the viscosity — 5W-30, for example — and you could get a few bottles at the local auto parts store. But this simplicity is starting to go away.

General Motors’ transition to a new oil specification for all its 2011 and newer vehicles is bringing new attention to the issue of manufacturer oil specifications. GM isn’t the first to require such a specification, but its move signals a change in the car-maintenance landscape.

A manufacturer’s oil specification is a unique blend that an automaker creates and mandates for use in its vehicles. GM’s new oil product, Dexos, consolidates its five prior recommended oil specifications into two blends: Dexos1 for gasoline-powered vehicles and Dexos2 for diesels.

GM and other automakers warn that failure to use their factory-specified oils could void a car’s warranty. These new oil specifications can also create confusion and cost issues for consumers who change the oil themselves or take their cars to local mechanics who may not be aware of the changes.

Oil Has Changed
The oil inside a modern engine might look just like it did a decade ago, but it actually is far more advanced. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) have set the standards for oil for the past 60 years and have changed the specifications roughly every five years. Oil needs to change to meet increasing emissions regulations, offer better protection against sludge and improve fuel economy.

“There has been a significant increase in lubricant quality in the past 20 years,” says Robert Sutherland, principal scientist for Pennzoil passenger-car engine lubricants. “But there has also been a significant increase in the stress that the engines put on the lubricant.”

Sutherland says it’s a game of leapfrog. As the hardware moves forward, the oil specifications must also change to handle the additional heat and properly lubricate the engine. He adds that the tolerances in a modern engine are closer and tighter, which means that the oil’s ability to keep critical engine parts clean is more important than it used to be.

Automakers’ Own Recipes
The API and ILSAC standards are the baseline, says Timothy Miranda, senior engineer for race oil and field testing for Castrol Lubricants, which manufactures oil for automakers such as Audi, BMW and Volkswagen. Automakers are free to improve upon the standards as long as they meet the minimum requirements.

“They may choose to have their own specifications because of a unique aspect of their engine design,” Miranda says. For example, if a car is turbocharged, it might require synthetic oil rather than conventional oil.

This manufacturer standard is more common among the German automakers, thanks to more stringent European oil specifications, Miranda says. Rather than have numerous blends for different regions, each automaker created one specification for its vehicles. They have brought those standards to the U.S., as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all have their own oil formulations.

According to Miranda, most American and Japanese automakers have tended to stick with the API guidelines. This means that they recommend any oil with the API “starburst” or “donut” symbol on its label.

GM distanced itself from the API guidelines with the introduction of Dexos. According to GM, the Dexos oil specification will decrease harmful piston deposits by up to 28 percent and improve fuel efficiency by up to 0.3 percent compared to the older ILSAC GF-4 specifications.

GM licenses the Dexos certification to motor oil manufacturers that can then choose to offer a full-synthetic variation, as long as it meets the requirements. Since Dexos-certified oil is compatible with older cars, the specification will also affect owners of pre-2011 GM vehicles who get their cars serviced at dealerships. Though Dexos isn’t being mandated retroactively, chances are dealers will fill their bulk tanks with it to consolidate their oil inventory.

What This Means for the Consumer
More expensive maintenance: “The OEMs are looking for protection and the customer wants longevity,” Miranda says. This protection comes at a cost. As manufacturer oil specifications become more common, the auto industry moves farther away from conventional oil and toward synthetic blends or fully synthetic oil. While these newer oils offer better protection and longer intervals between oil changes, they also have a higher price tag.

This price bump can be offset by the automakers who offer free maintenance programs. But when the coverage runs out, a customer who is not used to paying for a synthetic oil change could experience some sticker shock when faced with a $90 oil change.

Potential warranty problems: The language in some owner’s manuals suggests that using an oil other than the one specified by the manufacturer will void the car’s warranty. This is not the case, says Thom Smith, Valvoline’s vice president of branded lubricant technology.

According to the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, the onus would be on GM or another automaker to prove that a non-manufacturer oil damaged the engine. If dealers deny the warranty claim without first investigating it, they are in violation of the act, Smith says.

Consumers just need to make sure that any alternate oil they use is comparable in quality to the automaker’s specified oil. Many oil manufacturers, including Valvoline, are so confident of their product that they offer their own warranty against engine damage that their products might be alleged to have caused.

If talk of voided warranties and engine damage makes you nervous, just use the manufacturer’s specified oil for the duration of the warranty. Keep in mind that a vehicle’s engine falls under the drivetrain warranty (also known as the powertrain warranty). In most cases, this is longer than the traditional bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Your local mechanic or quick-lube facility may not be aware of your car’s specific oil requirements. You can still go to these places, but be sure to ask ahead of time what kind of oil they will use. Or bring your own oil to avoid any confusion.

Required manual reading: Not all cars require a manufacturer-specified oil. They do have a recommended viscosity, such as 0W-20, however. Check the owner’s manual for any mention of a required brand or specification. If the manual doesn’t name one, you can save money by buying oil at an auto parts store. Make sure it’s the correct viscosity.

There are money-saving opportunities to be had even if your vehicle does call for a manufacturer-specified oil. For example, GM has a Web site that lists the approved Dexos oil manufacturers. Most of their products are available online or at auto parts stores and may cost less than at the dealership.

In some situations, the manufacturer-specified oil may not be in stores or it might cost more than you want to spend. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will usually list the specifications for an equivalent oil that meets the automaker’s standard. Does that mean it’s just as good as a manufacturer-specified oil such as Dexos? There’s controversy on this point.

Flack from the oil wars: Tom Read, a spokesperson for GM’s powertrain technology group, warns that using an alternative oil might diminish performance.

“If a customer uses a non-licensed engine oil that is simply ILSAC GF-5 quality, they will not enjoy the benefits of using a Dexos-licensed product,” Read says. Those benefits could include better low-temperature performance, cleaner pistons and better aeration performance, he says. “This could be especially important as the engine oil ages.”

Read’s case for Dexos sounds compelling, but Valvoline’s Smith isn’t buying it.

“Our SynPower 5W-20, 5W-30 and DuraBlend 5W-30 went through all the Dexos testing and passed all the requirements,” Smith says. “But we felt that carrying the Dexos name was not providing the consumer with any value.”

Rather than raise the price of its oil to offset the cost of licensing the Dexos name, Valvoline chose to forgo the license and keep the prices lower, he says.

Smith says that GM’s engine-performance warnings are part of its goal to drive consumers to dealerships for their maintenance. “We feel that they are taking choice away from the consumer,” he says.

Focus on the Oil Basics
Setting aside the claims and counter-claims of manufacturer-specified oil superiority, here’s all you have to remember: As long as you follow the oil specifications shown in your owner’s manual, you have nothing to worry about.

In the event that the dealership tries to void your warranty over the use of non-manufacturer oil, know that the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act will protect you. If your vehicle doesn’t have an oil specification, you have more flexibility in choosing your product. Finally, make sure you know the proper viscosity for your car and change the oil at the proper interval.

How To Fix Your Car’s Oxygen Sensor

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If your car’s “Check Engine” light is glaring at you, it’s probably because the oxygen sensor is malfunctioning. That’s right, the oxygen sensor. It’s a little device that’s a mystery for most drivers but its misbehavior is the problem that most commonly triggers a Check Engine light, according to CarMD.com, which sells an automotive diagnostic tool and provides repair information. The oxygen sensor unseats the formerly most common Check Engine light culprit: a loose gas cap. There are fewer reports of that problem because savvy motorists have learned to fix it themselves and consumers now buy new cars with capless gas tanks.

But don’t despair. Replacing your car oxygen sensor will keep you from wasting money by burning extra gas, and the repair isn’t horribly expensive. We know this firsthand. We had to replace the O2 sensor on our 1996 Lexus ES 300, the subject of our Debt-Free Car project, and it wasn’t as much of a hassle or expense as we had feared.

After the dreaded Check Engine light appeared in our Lexus, we plugged the CarMD device into the car’s computer to read the error code. In our case, the code was P0135, which meant that the oxygen sensor in “bank 1” was malfunctioning. It was surprising to learn that something was wrong with the car, since it still seemed to be running fine.

Even though a car seems to be behaving normally, a faulty oxygen sensor will cause the engine to start “gulping down gas,” says Kristin Brocoff, director of corporate communications for CarMD.com. She says this problem can cause up to a 40 percent reduction in fuel economy. Sure enough, when we checked our fuel record for the driving we did while the Check Engine light was on, our mpg had taken a hit.

The oxygen sensor, developed in the early 1980s, is an essential part of the car’s emissions control system, says John Nielsen, director of engineering and repair for the American Automobile Association (AAA). The sensor is about the size and shape of a spark plug and protrudes into the car engine’s exhaust stream. It determines if there is a lot or a little oxygen in the exhaust, so the engine can make adjustments to the amount of fuel being used in the engine to run at maximum efficiency.

Oxygen sensors in older cars fail for a variety of reasons, according to Bosch, a leading manufacturer of auto components. In some cases, sensors are fouled by gasoline additives or oil from worn engines. Newer oxygen sensors can last 100,000 miles if conditions are right, but often problems occur sooner.

After we plugged CarMD’s diagnostic device into the Lexus’ onboard computer port, we connected it to our desktop computer. It accessed a database of information about this engine code and how to have it repaired. Among other things, the report included an average estimate just to buy a new oxygen sensor: $168.82.

At the first sight of a Check Engine light, most owners of new cars that are still under the factory warranty would simply make a beeline for the dealership’s service bay. But car owners on a budget might want to go the do-it-yourself diagnosis route to save money. By using the CarMD device, or any engine code reader, drivers can learn what the problem is, and the skill level required to fix it, before attempting the task.

Modern cars have two to four oxygen sensors, Nielsen says. A V6 engine, such as the one in our Lexus, has one sensor in each exhaust manifold and one after the catalytic converter. The sensors simply screw into place, but reaching them can be a problem for do-it-yourselfers. Additionally, since the exhaust subjects the sensor to extreme heat, it can “seize” (become frozen in place) and be tough to unscrew. A new sensor comes with anti-seize compound to apply to the threads, but the compound should never be put on the sensor itself.

Nielsen says that while a code reader might indicate that the problem is the car oxygen sensor, there are other problems that can trigger the identical code — a disconnected vacuum hose will do it, for example.

As a first step, a car owner can look under the hood to see if there are any wires or hoses disconnected, Nielsen says. In some cases, a wire leading to the oxygen sensor could be broken or burned out. If nothing obvious is visibly awry, it’s time to go to what Nielsen calls “a trusted mechanic.” Reputable garages use an expensive diagnostic machine called a scan tool — not to be confused with an inexpensive code reader — that can watch the operation of the engine in real time and see if the oxygen sensor is actually the problem.

“Most motorists would be well served to find a shop that they trust and take their car there for all oil changes and tire rotations,” Nielsen suggests. “Then, when they have a problem with something like an oxygen sensor, they trust what the mechanic is saying rather than thinking that they’re trying to rip you off.”

In our case, we learned that the faulty O2 sensor was in the rear of the engine and difficult to reach, so the fix seemed above our skill level. Instead, we took the Lexus to Overseas Garage, in Long Beach, California. There, the mechanic told us that the new sensor would cost $117, plus $144 in labor for a total of $261. This was close to the $246 average cost cited by CarMD’s Brocoff.

While many people opt to simply ignore “Check Engine” lights, Brocoff says this can cause bigger, more costly problems later. “So the problem you could have fixed for a few hundred dollars turns into a repair of the catalytic converter, which would be over a thousand.”

Driving back from the garage, it was a relief not to stare at the glowing check engine light. This made us realize that fixing such a problem provides another benefit: peace of mind.

Everything to Know About Auto Insurance

So insurance is the coverage that is offered to you by the insurance company or organization in return for premiums paid. For auto insurance, auto insurance companies cover your vehicle or group of vehicles against breakdowns and accidents. The insurance policy offered to you depends on many factors namely:

* The type of vehicle, its make, cost, and age.
* The habits and individual history.
* Viable statistics.
The general principal is that a young driver driving an attractive sports car will have to pay a higher premium as compared to a senior citizen driving a family car. Premiums are therefore based on risk factors.
All insurance companies have to offer different packages for auto insurance and, each scheme has its own advantages and disadvantages. In order to obtain the best auto insurance you need to:

* Actually know as to how auto insurance works and what all leading insurance companies are present in the market. There are basically four main kinds of auto insurance policies: Collision insurance; Comprehensive coverage; Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage; and No Fault Automobile Insurance Policy. There are also policies offered by an auto insurance companies that cover: auto loans, vehicle towing expenses, car rental during car repairs and so on.

* You should do an online survey and evaluate the quotes from different auto insurance providers.
* Clearly specify the essential information so that the auto insurance provider is able to give you a competitive quote. Insurance brokers will need: your personal details, number of people who will drive the vehicle, age and make of vehicle, where you reside, how many times the vehicle will be driven, whether you hold any other insurance policies with  the same insurance companyFind Article, and also if you are a member of bodies like the AAA and so on.
* You should always read the policy document in detail and ask for clarifications if there are any terms and conditions that you may have not understood.
* Always keep your self updated with tips and also by reading articles so that you can help yourself lower insurance costs and select the ideal auto insurance. The internet has an endless number of articles on insurance that can totally help you out with your queries.
The world of auto insurance has changed remarkably with the coming of internet and now customers can buy auto insurance online as literate shoppers.

The Top 10 Safest Cars 2016

Commuting to work as well as weekend leisure driving tallies up to a substantial amount of time spent inside your car. It is advisable to investigate in buying the safest car to protect yourself and your family on the road.

The following is a list of the current top ten safest cars, ranked in the score order received from the independent body Euro NCAP.

The Euro NCAP evaluates cars in four categories: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, and pedestrian protection and safety assistance systems. The tested cars are given a percentage for each category and then an overall star rating out of five.

1. Volvo XC90 SUV | 4.6 / 5 stars

Not surprising Volvo tops the list, it’s most famous for car safety.

Best Scores:
97% adult occupant protection
87% child occupant protection
100% safety assist systems

2. Volvo V40 hatchback | 3.7 / 5 stars

The only reason the hatchback takes second place, is because it wasn’t tested in the last 12 months under the latest and strictest Euro NCAP regulations.

Best Scores:
98% adult occupant protection
88% pedestrian protection
100% safety assist systems

3.  Land Rover Discovery Sport SUV | 4.5 / 5 stars

An exceptional feature is the car’s autonomous braking system, reducing the likelihood and severity of a low-speed accident.

Best Scores:
93% adult occupant protection
82% safety assist systems

4. Mercedes C-Classsaloon 4.1 / 5 stars

Cutting-edge electronic safety systems ensure that you aren’t just well protected but also more likely to avoid getting into an accident.

Best Scores:
92% adult occupant protection
84% child occupant protection

5. Mercedes GLA-Class SUV | 3.8 / 5 stars

An exceptional feature is the two rear ISOFIX child-seat mounting points together with an automatic deactivation of the front passenger airbag when a child seat is fixed to an ISOFIX mount.

Best Scores:

96% adult occupant protection
88% child occupant protection
70% safety assist systems

6. Nissan Qashqai SUV |  4.7 / 5 stars

Few cars offer such comprehensive protection for the driver. The current model scored full marks for driver protection.

BestScores:
88% adult occupant protection
83% child occupant protection

7. Nissan X-Trail SUV | 4.2 / 5 stars

With very similar scores it was rated especially high for its protection from a side impact.

Best Scores:
88% adult occupant protection
83% child occupant protection

8. Subaru Outback Estate |  4 / 5 stars

It provides good protection in a front-end crash, but performs even better in a side impact.

Best Scores:
85% adult occupant protection
87% child occupant protection

9. Volkswagen Passat Saloon |  4.5 / 5 stars

Adult occupants are well protected from front and side impacts, while its headrests do a great job of reducing whiplash injuries.

BestScore:

87% child occupant protection

  1. Jeep Renegade SUV | 3 / 5 stars

Its speed limiter and automatic emergency braking system secures the Renegade’s high safety assistance score.

BestScores:

87% adult occupant protection
85% child occupant protection
74% safety assist systems

This article about the 10 safest cars for 2016 was brought to you buy the car warranty insurance company Click4warranty.  Click4warranty is one the UK’s top car insurance companies and well respected among its peers.

Auto portal fully reviews the Automatic, Economic Tata Zica

Tata Zica is an all new Hatchback car from the Tata Motors, gearing for its launch in the early weeks of 2016. Tata Motors is known for producing economical cars like Tata Nano, good mileage provider and long distance traveler cars like the Tata Indica , Indigo and the very own SUV, the Safari Storme. The Tata Zica is a 5 seater, but it can also be used as a comfortable 4 seater that gets powered by both petrol and diesel engines. This Orange Zica will be an immediate attention seeker   with its complete makeover package and good in-built features.

What owes the Exterior?

The Exterior of the Zica is a simple and shining hexagon with a chrome finish. The Zica gets a new front honey combed grill making the car a bit furious and the side profile looks plain with its shoulder line running all across the side. The rear side has a euro modified look, with a dual tone bumper. The car is one of the progressive next generation from the Tata motors. We could see some standard fittings replaced, giving way for new design. The luminaries are also changed with black rear spoiler. The other fixtures are its 14-inch alloy spoke wheel and long front nose, that will makes the car, a larger premium hatchback of 2016.

Also check about Tata Zica Price in India, Specification, Features, Reviews, Photos, Mileage

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What owes the interior?

The interior is occupied with an uncluttered seating arrangement and a wide head and leg room. Tata Zica has a premium upper finish and the lower surface has some reasonable quality makeover. The infotainment meters are driver centric with the presence of fuel effective Eco switch. The presence of the large wheel base, 24 litre boot space and 22 utility spaces serves as a good storage provision. The other youth attractive features are the presence of Harman Speaker , giving a thundering audio experience and a brand new navigation system. The Zica is all set to pull the youth towards it.

Below the hood systems

Tata Zica is powered by more consistent and never tired, 1.5 litre, 3-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. The petrol engine is a revotron type with aluminium body giving a maximum of power of 85 PS and the diesel engine is a revotorq type giving a maximum power of 70 PS with an Automatic Manual transmission system (AMT). The suspension acts good making it suitable for driving in the Indian roads. The safety of the car is enhanced by the provision of ABS and EBD safety measures apart from the usual features. Tata Zica will give a good challenge to Hyundai i-10, Maruti Suzuki Celerio in the Indian market. We can bring home the Zica at a price range of Rs. 4-6 lakhs.

Also check Honda Amaze on carsexpert.in and Yamaha vmax at Bikeportal.in

Selling Your Life Insurance? Proceed With Caution

A growing number of Americans are selling their life-insurance policies to get cash for retirement expenses and long-term care. These transactions are commonly called “life settlements,” “senior settlements,” or—if the person is terminally ill—”viatical settlements.” While selling a policy may make sense in some circumstances, consumers should be cautious.

How Life Settlements Work

Life settlements involve selling a policy to a company other than the original insurance provider. As the policy owner, you typically receive more money than you would get if you cancelled or surrendered the policy, but less than the policy’s death benefit. You can either shop your policy around through a life-settlement broker or contact life-settlement providers directly.

The first step is to provide copies of your insurance policy and medical records. A settlement provider then makes you an offer based on your age and health, the type of insurance, the premiums, and the death benefit.

Candidates for life settlements are typically 65 or older and own a policy with a face value of at least $100,000. “Simply put, the lower the premium and life expectancy, the more a policy is worth,” says Doug Head, executive director of the Life Insurance Settlement Association.

If you choose to accept the offer, the life-settlement provider pays the amount agreed upon and takes ownership of the policy. The provider then becomes responsible for the premiums and eventually will receive the death benefit when you die.

“There are definitely instances where a life settlement makes sense,” says Wendy Goldband, an independent insurance agent in Baltimore. “Your life circumstances may have changed so that you no longer need the coverage. Perhaps you’ve just divorced. Or you may have been hit so hard by the economy that you can’t afford to keep paying premiums.”

What to Watch Out For

While life settlements may sound appealing, there are several potential drawbacks. “People often don’t realize that there may be tax consequences to selling a policy,” cautions Bonnie Burns, a policy specialist with California Health Advocates. “And money from a life settlement can affect a person’s ability to qualify for public assistance like Medicaid.”

You should also be aware that your personal health information could be shared widely during the application process. And once you accept a settlement, providers can frequently check up on your health. “You’re basically signing away your privacy,” Burns adds.

Another issue to consider is that it may not be possible for you to get another life insurance policy. Each person’s life has a maximum amount for which it can be insured. And even if you can get more insurance, you may end up paying higher premiums because you’ve grown older and your health may have changed.

When it comes to life settlements, one of the hardest aspects for consumers to determine is whether they’re getting a fair price for their policies. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority warns that the life-settlement industry can be prone to aggressive sales tactics and abuse. Commissions paid to brokers and other financial professionals can be as high as 30 percent. Along with the reduction of the policy’s value, the amount of money the seller receives can be substantially eroded.

Consider These Alternatives

Before pursuing a life settlement, financial experts recommend exploring other options. “If you have a cash-value policy and have been paying premiums for years, you should be able to borrow money from it,” says David W. Bennett, a certified financial planner from Newport Beach, Calif. “It’s typically tax free, plus you’ll be keeping the policy in force so your loved ones still get money later on.”

People who are terminally ill have another avenue for getting needed cash. Most life insurance policies—term and cash value—now include a rider called “accelerated death benefits.” This option allows you to tap into your death benefit early and use the money tax-free. Ultimately, the death benefit is reduced by the amount borrowed, plus some additional fees.

You can request accelerated death benefits by contacting your insurance company. Typically, the company will ask you to provide documentation of your health condition. Exact requirements vary, but generally you must have a life expectancy of less than two years.

When evaluating options, Bennett recommends involving adult children in the discussion. “A son or daughter may offer to help with expenses in order to keep a life-insurance policy in force, thereby preserving the value of the policy,” he says. “Often, that makes the most sense for everyone financially, since the life insurance money may ultimately be needed for future parental expenses or estate-planning purposes.”

Do Your Homework

If you do decide to proceed with a life settlement, do thorough research. “Call your state insurance department, and make sure everyone you’re dealing with is licensed,” says Thomas R. Sullivan, commissioner for the state of Connecticut Insurance Department. “Find out whether there have been any consumer complaints.”

It’s also important for you to understand the rules governing life settlements in your state. Many states have adopted model standards from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. Policy owners sometimes have the option of returning their life settlement and reinstating their life-insurance policy within 30 to 60 days.

Sullivan also urges you to consult with a financial or tax adviser: “Life settlements are a big decision,” he says. “You need to understand all the implications for you and your heirs before moving forward.”

Quick Guide to Chevrolet Cars

Like many cars brands today, Chevrolet has several different models of cars available in the marketplace from sedans, coupes, convertibles, crossovers to even the popular SUV. Each of the models offers a sleek and modern design that stand out in comparison to many other cars available for sale today. Each model can be customized based upon the customers’ preference, whether they want a basic car with minimal options to a fully-loaded car with all the bells and whistles. Three of their most popular models that include the Chevrolet Cruze, the Chevrolet Malibu, and the Chevrolet Camaro, which will all be discussed further in the upcoming paragraphs.

The Chevrolet Cruze is a basic sedan model that offers a 1.4-liter turborcharged I4 engine. This car offers great gas mileage with 29 mile per gallon and up to 41 miles per gallon on the highway. This car offers front wheel drive and comes with a surprising amount of amenities not found in other compact sedans. Some of these features include Chevrolet’s MyLink with a 7-inch touchscreen, onboard 4G LTE Wi-Fi, an acoustic laminated windshield to reduce noise, and was the first car in its class to come with 10 standard air bags for occupant safety.

The Chevrolet Malibu is a mid-size family sedan that has three engine choices: a 1.5-liter ECOTEC engine, a 1.8-liter Hybrid engine, or a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission making 250 horsepower. This car also offers great gas mileage with 27 mile per gallon and up to 37 miles per gallon on the highway. This front-wheel drive car has an agile stance and a surprisingly sporty ride. Some of the car’s high tech features include available LED daytime running lamps and taillights, USB ports, a backup camera, as well as a great stereo system with Ipod connectivity. Other features include a Navigation System that offers a 7 inch touch screen.

The Chevrolet Camaro is the legendary sports car that is available as a coupe or convertible. Under the hood of the SS model is a 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine with 455 horsepower, coupled to a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. This vehicle was recognized as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2016. This sports car offers rear wheel drive and comes with all of the bells and whistles that a performance vehicle should have. Some of these features include customizable interior accent lighting, 20 inch wheels, HID headlamps with LED accents, rear spoiler, and Chevrolet’s optional Magnetic Ride Control system. Other features include a Navigation System that offers an 8 inch touch screen with 3D graphics.

With so many great models from Chevrolet to choose from, there’s sure to be a car that is right for you! Stop by your local Old Bridge NJ new car dealer to check one of these models out today!