Having a car has many perks and advantages but there are also negative things when one owns a car. One of the things that car owners should be familiar with is with regards to car repairs and another issues would be auto insurance. Here are some tips and guidelines about car repairs and auto insurance.
Depending on the state you live in, there are different minimum levels of auto insurance coverage that is required, this is also known as the equivalent in financial responsibility waivers which ensures and assures the state that you will be able to pay and cover whatever damages you might incur to people or property in instances of accidents involving your car. Every state has a different requirement in terms of auto insurance. To learn more about the specific requirements and low cost auto insurance programs in your state, you can check with your state insurance regulator.
To be able to get the best deals on insurance coverage and the best prices on insurance programs, here are some of the basic steps that you should know:
Do not stick to one insurance company policy, there are numerous insurance companies in the market, taka time to do your research and know each one that will best suit your preferences and specifications. Ask for quotations from multiple companies to be able to have an idea on the price and deal differences and compare these.
Just like numerous insurance companies in the market the number of independent agents is more. Independent agents are your friends when it comes to looking out for the best deals in the market. Look for one who works with several insurance companies.
If you own an old car, you might want to drop some of the coverages such as collision and comprehensive coverages. If not, you might want to raise your deductibles on these coverages.
Make a smart move by taking advantage of the discounts you might be eligible for. Here are the different factors that will make you eligible for discounts:
- The number of miles you drive
- Your age (whether you are turning 25 or 50)
- If you are a student, you good grades can make you eligible
- You driving record for the past three years (if you have been an ideal driver for the past three years, you are most likely more eligible as compared to the driver with multiple driving offenses)
- If you have taken and finished a safe-driving course
- If you have more than one vehicle insured
- If you insured you home and your vehicle with the same company
- If you have anti-theft devices or safety features installed in your vehicle (air bags or antilock brake system)
Finally, before you close that deal and purchase that new insurance policy, should get yourself a free copy of your insurance claim report (PDF, Download Adobe Reader). This report will be used by your insurer to help them decide whether they should sell you a policy.
Complaints About Cars
To protect car buyers and clients, most of the states in the country have made a form of the “lemon law”. This protects car buyers in situations wherein they have purchased car that is defective and has been damaged beyond repair. Some states apply this rule only to new cars but you can check with your state’s consumer protection office to see if your state applies the law to used cars as well. Just like insurance policies and coverages, different states also have different requirements for the “lemon law”. However, the general rule with regards to the “lemon law” depends on a few things:
Number of miles or months driven – the defect within the car should have happened within a certain number of months or a certain number of miles the car was driven. This is not general, different states may have different requirements in the duration or the mileage of the car.
Substantial defects – the defects of the car should be substantial or significant such as damages in the car’s ignition, engine, brakes, transmission, or other major parts of the car. The said damages should directly have an effect on the car’s performance.
Reasonable repair attempts – multiple attempts and chances should be given to qualified mechanics to fix and repair identified damages. If the efforts are futile and the defects were not resolved despite the chances given, the car qualifies under the “lemon” law.
Number of days in the shop – a significant number of days should be counted. The car should have stayed at the mechanic’s shop generally for 30 days or more within a year.
To resolve your problems with regards to the defects, here is a step by step process:
Contact your car manufacturer
Send a certified letter (DOC, Download Word Reader) to the car manufacturer. The letter should include the problem of the car in details, copies of invoices and work orders, and your request for a refund or any other solution you might have in mind.
If the car manufacturer refuses to help, you can still resolve the problem through the mandatory arbitration clauses. Most car contracts have this clause that protects both consumers and sellers from these kinds of issues, however; the companies have more advantage to this clause than the client. You can contact your state attorney general or consumer protection office to be able to get the rules specified to the place where you live.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) AUTO LINE is a “lemon” law complaint program that covers car warranty issues against participating manufacturers.
Here are a few things you have to learn about recalled products such as: what are recalls and where you can go and find out about these products.
A recall is an action or a deed done to products that are deemed hazardous, unsafe or unhealthy for public consumption or use (these products may include but are not limited to foods, medications, vehicles, child safety seats, cosmetics, children’s toys and many more). A recall can be done by the manufacturer or the government to protect the public.
A recalled product can be banned from sale; some manufacturers ask clients and consumers to return the item for repair or replacement. There are also times when a seller provides a part of the product or something that reduces the danger of the item.
Before you decide to purchase a product or an item, make sure to check if the manufacturer has not recalled it especially if it is a second-hand item. Extra caution should be practiced when buying products for children such as toys, cribs, clothing and other things that come in close contact with the child. Here are some helpful websites that posts updates on product recalls:
- Recalls.gov – publishes a list of government recalled products that came from federal agencies. For free e-mail notifications on recalls, you can easily sign up.
- Safercar.gov – publishes a list with regards to safety in terms of vehicles and equipment such as child car seats
- FSIS.USDA.gov – publishes a list of recalls involving food such as meat, poultry, sausage and egg products that are processed
- FDA.gov – publishes a list of recalls of non-meat products including fruits, vegetables, infant formulas, seafoods. Also has a list of recalled medicines, medical devices, biologics, cosmetics, veterinary drugs, pet foods and radiation emitting products.
- Foodsafety.gov – publishes a list of recalls released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- SaferProducts.gov – site for complaints, reports of incidents, safety concerns and issues with consumer products. Also publishes complaints from other consumers.
Vehicle Repair Shops
Some vehicle repair shops can charge customers big time, sometimes bigger than what should only be the real cost of the damage. This is why it pays to know the basics of how your car works and how to identify common car problems and issues. Aside from this, you should also know a good mechanic, the kinds of questions you should ask and what your rights are as a client.
To choose the right repair shop and technician for you, here are some tips:
Auto Repair Basics – for more information in finding the right shop and mechanic, usual repair charges, preventive maintenance practices, etc.
Motorist Assurance Program – a nonprofit program that gives out reviews and seal of approval to credible shops
A is an assurance to customers that a manufacturer or seller’s product is a high quality item. Before buying an item, the Federal law requires that you should be assured of a warranty. A standard warranty should be given to you by the manufacturer of the product and you should not be charged additionally for it. The three main types of warranties are:
Written Warranties – printed documents and usually comes with the purchased item. For the warranty to take effect, manufacturers ask assurance of proper use and maintenance of the item.
Spoken Warranties – verbalized by a store or a company representative for free services such as repairs. Even when verbalized, you should still ask for a written warranty for your protection.
Implied Warranties – warranties that are created by state laws and are not usually specified of written. This is an assurance that the product will work and function depending on what it was designed for.
Products that do not have a written warranty is still covered under the implicit warranty laws depending in your state unless it is marked otherwise or “as is” upon purchase.
Service contracts or “extended warranties” are extended promises of a product’s quality and usually comes with an additional cost. This are offered by representatives of a company during the time of purchase, or months/years after purchase. Service contracts are usually offered when you buy a car, household appliances or other major electronics. Aside from manufacturers, third party firms may offer extended warranties. Some may not be worth the additional cost, here some of the questions you have to ask:
- Does the company or manufacturer back the service contract?
- How the claims are going to be handled? Who are where the work will be done?
- What happens to the contract if the manufacturer or company closes?
- What are the special instances wherein the coverage will be denied?
Problems With Warranties
Disputes and complaints regarding warranties can be filed at your local consumer protection agency especially if the manufacturer or the retailer is unable to help you out with your concerns.