California Considers Mileage Based Auto Insurance

In an effort to both develop a fairer auto insurance pricing structure for consumers and encourage people to drive less, lawmakers in California are considering legislation that would make mileage based car insurance a reality in that state. If the bill passes, it could dramatically change the way auto insurance companies do business and the way consumers drive.

Mileage based auto insurance is insurance that you pay for based on the number of miles you drive. If your car rarely leaves the driveway, your auto insurance rates would be low, while if you drive long distances frequently, your insurance would be more expensive. Insurance companies could approach this in a few different ways. You could purchase a policy based on your predicted number of miles driven, or you could “settle up” for miles you actually have driven at regular intervals. You would be required to have regular mileage check-ups, either at an insurance company office, a garage certified by the insurance company or via a GPS system installed in your car.

Proponents of the plan think that the benefits are twofold. First, it levels the playing field a little bit in terms of auto insurance rates. People who rarely drive will no longer have to pay the same monthly premium as people who drive long distances daily. Second, mileage based auto insurance could encourage people to drive less, which is good for the environment. If people knew their insurance was going up with every mile they drove, they might think twice about some of the trips they make and think more about using public transportation.

Mileage based insurance opponents are concerned about the way insurance companies plan to track mileage. Installing a GPS tracker in a car invades the privacy of the driver. Even if the stated purpose is solely to track the mileage, once the GPS is in the car, the ability to use it for other purposes is there. There is also concern that mileage based insurance puts an undue burden on those who have no choice but to travel long distances every day, such as those with long work commutes.

The bill proposed in California would not make mileage based insurance mandatory. It would simply open the door for auto insurance companies to offer it as an option to their customers. Oregon and Georgia are considering similar ideas, and many other states are expected to follow suit. The mileage based insurance alternative has had some success in the UK, but it has yet to be tried in the US. However the legislation pans out, consumers will remain in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing the right California auto insurance policy for them.

Why New Autos May be More Affordable than Used Autos Today

There is a preconceived notion among consumers that buying used autos saves lots of money. This may be true in some circumstances, but should not remain the sole influence on choosing between new and used autos. There are benefits to purchasing both types of vehicles, especially for consumers who want affordable cars. Most pre-owned vehicles cost much less than new autos, and receive lower quotes for auto insurance rates. This quickly makes used autos more attractive to prospective buyers.

Average car owners tend to drive recklessly and take less care of used autos, increasing their maintenance costs. Drivers who purchase new autos are typically more careful to not become involved in accidents. Auto insurance rates will be less likely to increase for drivers that take good care of their new vehicles. Responsible drivers with modern vehicles can get the best rates on auto insurance. The driving behavior and quality care habits help to make new autos more affordable than used autos in the long term.

Consumers who want an affordable car may buy used autos with a plan to be responsible drivers. This still does not guarantee that used car owners will obtain affordable rates on auto insurance. These rates on insurance vary among new and seasoned drivers, which should be taken into consideration when purchasing used autos. Consumers with a questionable driving history may have to pay higher auto insurance rates than other car buyers. Purchasing new autos may be a more affordable choice in these circumstances. These cars tend to be packaged with rebates, accessories, roadside assistance and other promotions that are not offered on used cars.

Special promotions can help to significantly reduce the expenses of new cars and make them affordable for many drivers. Consumers should also know that many pre-owned vehicles have additional short-term and long-term expenses. Used autos tend to require more cosmetic and systems maintenance that end up costing car buyers more money. These heavy maintenance requirements reduce their affordability when compared to new autos. A lot of maintenance expenses that buyers pay for used autos are not covered in auto insurance plans.

New autos can be more affordable than used vehicles for many drivers depending on their individual circumstances. Driving history, maintenance costs, perks, and resources are some of the factors that determine how much consumers have to pay upfront and in subsequent months. The level of responsibility for proper care and driving will also influence auto insurance rates, even for used vehicles. Consumers are in a better position to obtain affordable new autos when considering the fact that these vehicles have more long-term benefits.

5 Tips for Saving Money on Auto Rentals

Auto rental rates have risen this year, but the consumer can realize considerable savings by comparing details before making a reservation.

1. Do your research.

• Go to travel websites like Travelocity or to search for deals on auto rentals at your desired location. Visit the websites of rental car companies, too.
• Before making an online reservation, phone the rental company’s local office at your destination to see if there are any special offers. If the agency knows you’re shopping around, you may get a better quote – auto rental firms are seriously competing for your business.

2. Be aware of extra fees.

Include these when comparing prices. Some of these costs can be avoided; others are unavoidable, but you should be aware of them.

• Don’t prepay for a tank of gasoline. Fill it up yourself, and you’ll likely need less than a tank full. But you’ll pay a hefty fee for a tank that’s not filled.
• Some auto rental agencies charge a refundable deposit, up to hundreds of dollars, against failure to return the car. This will be charged to your credit card, though unprocessed until the car is overdue. However, it may cut into your card’s spending limit.
• Ask if there any mileage fees.
• Avoid a portion of state and city taxes by picking up the car at a suburban auto rental location.
• If the agency charges airport fees, pick up your car at a non-airport location. That “free” shuttle from the airport to the agency may cost several dollars a day.

3. Decline the insurance.

Check with your auto insurance agent to see if your policy covers rented cars. A credit card used to pay for an auto rental often provides collision coverage. Resist the rental agency’s efforts to sell you additional auto insurance, such as a collision damage waiver.

4. Be flexible with size and time.

• Smaller cars have lower auto rental rates, but a larger vehicle may provide comfort worth a couple of dollars a day.
• If you’re offered a free upgrade to a larger vehicle, remember that its fuel will cost more.
• A weekly rental rate may be almost as low as rates for as little as three days.
• Weekend rates are often lower than weekday rates.

5. Look everywhere for discounts.

• These may come with membership in AARP, AAA, a discount store, frequent flier programs, or with credit cards or hotels. Can you use your employer’s corporate code for personal travel?
• Earn upgrades, free rental days, and other benefits with “frequent rental programs” adopted by many auto rental agencies.

Be a good consumer; arm yourself with knowledge, and the savings are yours to enjoy.

Turn Your Clunker into Cash — Escort or Ram Van?

How do you turn your hot 2002 Ford Escort into cold, hard cash? No problem, Uncle Sam can help. In an effort to stimulate the challenged U.S. auto industry, in June, Congress passed what is now being hawked as the “Cash for Clunkers” Act. Officially, it’s a government program called CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System). Unfortunately, you won’t actually ever see the cash. Instead, you’ll save up to $4,500 on top of any other savings at your auto dealer when you trade in your beaten up jalopy. Your dealer then gets the rebate from the government. It’s not a bad deal. You could end up double or even triple dipping on the savings. If you purchase a fuel-efficient hybrid, you can still qualify for a federal tax credit. Add on top of that any dealer incentives, plus the $3,500 or $4,500 from the government and all of a sudden that new ride is looking pretty good.

Plus, you’ll finally be able to retire that late 80’s hunter green, high-top Dodge Ram Van with the wicked panel art, running boards, and after-market Blaupunkt cassette player. Hmm, on second thought, trade in the wife’s mini-van instead. You never know when you’ll need to find a quiet escape in the warm embrace of your coffee-stained captain’s chair with Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” setting up on entertainment system.

OK, let’s get to the basics. Here are the rules to know:

1. Your trade-in vehicle has to be less than 25 years old.

2. You need to be purchasing or leasing a new vehicle to qualify.

3. In a nod to the Green movement, the program is designed to take old, gas guzzlers off the road. So your trade-in vehicle must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements). Be safe, and double check that your vehicle qualifies before you race over to your auto dealer.

4. Trade-in vehicles must be registered and have auto insurance continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in date

5. Act fast because the program runs through the earlier of November 1, 2009 or when the $1.0 billion program funding runs out. As of today, there was $858 million left in the kitty, or just about enough for another 200,000 sales.

6. Because the program is intended to permanently remove these wasteful, rust-buckets, the dealer is also required to estimate the scrap value of your trade-in and will throw that amount, however small, on top of the rebate as well.

More detailed Program FAQ’s can be found here or call the CARS Hotline at (866)-CAR-7891.

Last, but not least, it is critically important that you get the right auto insurance for your new vehicle. Remember, cruising around in a brand new gem is going to be a lot different than your last ride. And with your hard-earned $$ at stake, you need to make sure you’re covered. In keeping with the money-saving spirit of the “Cars for Clunkers” program, go no further than to get the lowest quotes on your auto insurance.

Search for Affordable Auto Insurance Online

Getting your vehicle insured is important and absolutely necessary. What you should be looking for is affordable auto insurance. To get cheap and affordable insurance rates as well as good quality coverage, you need to do your homework by thoroughly researching auto insurance quotes. So where do you start? The right place to begin your search for auto insurance quotes offered by the many trustworthy auto insurance companies is the Internet.

How to get affordable automobile insurance

You need to allot some time for going through auto insurance quotes and also the kinds of coverage offered. If you have a few minutes to hunt for affordable auto insurance, you can conveniently decrease your auto insurance premium and save a lot of money. For a particular kind of car, you may have a good insurance policy, but in case you change your car for another model, you can be eligible for even more affordable auto insurance.

Use an insurance comparison website

To make your task of comparing auto insurance companies for the most affordable insurance easier, there are various insurance comparison websites. Look for a site that is reputed and gain maximum information out of it. This will be highly beneficial for you. The insurance comparison websites just require you to spare some of your time and fill a simple form that asks for all the information relevant to auto insurance. You can also go for comparison sites which provide you an online chat service; this will help you get unbiased advice and will provide answers to your queries through an insurance expert. Apart from saving your time, the auto insurance quotes received from an insurance comparison website makes the entire process of hunting for various insurance quotes really easy.

Look for discounts

When looking for affordable and cheap auto insurance, always look for discounts that you are eligible for. Auto insurance discounts are offered for owning renter’s or homeowners’ insurance, for driving less miles in comparison to the average driver, and for having safety features like seat belts, air bags and anti-lock brakes. Discounts on auto insurance are also available in case you are a senior citizen, have not met with any accident for three years, or have security features like anti-theft devices and burglar alarms.

When you are looking for affordable auto insurance, do not randomly opt for the cheapest one. It is best to find the coverage you are being offered and get the best lowest possible price available for that. Hunting for affordable auto insurance should be a happy experience.

Auto Insurance for the Military

Auto insurance quotes are often seen as a necessary task for obtaining the correct documents for your vehicle. It’s often easy to avoid spending the extra time on the phone or filling out the auto insurance quote online to answer additional questions that could lead to deeper discounts. Working in the military on active duty or part time in the reserves can help you to pay less for your auto insurance. Here are some tips to help you secure lower rates for auto insurance quotes online.

While you are in the process of receiving your auto insurance quote, be proactive. In business each day, billions of dollars are saved by simply asking the right questions. Many business men would never leave a meeting without doing some type of negotiation. Keeping household expenses as low as possible is worth spending a few moments answering additional questions to receive a discount. Look within the online quote for a military discount.

Many reservists and military dependents may improperly believe that military discounts are not available to them, but only the service member. If you are a spouse, dependent, or reservist with a military ID, you qualify for the discount. You may be required to fax or mail in a photo copy of both sides of your military ID upon request.

Auto insurance quotes taken over the phone may be done by a skilled professional. Simply being nice and asking about the military discount can only improve the auto car insurance quote you receive. If the main service member is deployed, ask if there are additional discounts while the family is experiencing this hardship tour. If you are a service member who will have one or several vehicles in paid secured storage while you go overseas or on an assignment where you won’t be taking a vehicle, inquire about a specific military discount for cars that will not be used for an extended period of time.

Being a service member is full of many life challenges. Family life can sometimes be strained due to financial pressures. Moving often, demanding work schedules, and child care problems may make it challenging for a military spouse to consistently work full-time. Many spouses are left for months at a time to be single parents, while the service members serve the country.

Many auto insurance agencies realize this and offer discounts to those who deserve them. Take every opportunity you can to receive a military discount. Auto insurance quotes can be lowered by simply asking for the discount. Use these tips to save additional money off your insurance costs over the course of your military career.

Auto Insurance: Should You Go With a Well-Known or Little-Known Company?

When getting auto insurance quotes online, you’re often given information for both large and small companies, companies that you know, and companies that you’ve never heard of before. It can be unnerving to get an auto insurance policy for some of those lesser known companies, but they can be a good resource if you want lower cost insurance and you’re confident in their operations. There are advantages to doing business with both prominent and smaller auto insurance companies.

Reputable auto insurance companies offer many benefits to the driver looking to switch auto insurance companies. First, they’re generally rather stable in their business, so you know they won’t be disappearing. In addition, prominent auto insurance companies generally offer policies that insure other products as well, such as homes, apartments, and recreational vehicles. Because you can use the well-known auto insurance companies for multiple insurances, you may be able to get a discount. Of course, with these companies, you also have a good idea of where to go if you have a problem.

Getting an auto insurance quote from a lesser known company can be intimidating because their names are not advertised daily. Some people choose to go with smaller companies, however, because they’re local, dealing with just one area or state. Some feel that by doing business with these companies, they are supporting local businesses. Others may think that these companies know them better, and are able to recommend better policies. With smaller companies, customers may not have long hold times when they call. They may also be able to take advantage of lower introductory rates, if a company is new.

There is one major concern when it comes to doing business with a little-known company, however. That concern is that the business is somehow operating in an illegitimate or unethical manner. Some scammers pretend to be smaller businesses, only to end up taking your money in the long run. Other little-known businesses are not operated in a responsible manner, and they end up failing, meaning that your policies are not upheld.

Of course, there are downfalls to going with reputable businesses as well. These companies have long lists of customers and it might be hard to get individualized attention. You may experience long wait times on the phone, and it could be difficult to get answers to your questions.

When it comes to getting auto insurance quotes online, the best word of warning is to be prepared. Whether you get a quote from a prominent or little-known business, you need to do your research. Talk to the company, look up reviews online, and converse with current customers. By doing this, you will cover all your bases and be on your way to reliable auto insurance.

How to Get Reinsured After Being Dropped by your Insurance Provider

Have you been dropped from your insurance provider? Are you constantly afraid of having to get reinsured? If you’re a safe driver, odds are you won’t get dropped, but it’s always a possibility. Car insurance companies can drop customers for nearly any reason, including demographics. Of course, you can also be dropped because of your driving record, including points from traffic violations and being at fault in an accident. But don’t let these scenarios scare you, finding insurance after getting dropped isn’t as hard as you may think.

What should you do when you have been dropped? If you have been dropped from your insurance provider, you need to get reinsured as quickly as possible, since it is illegal to drive without car insurance in all states. Your first step to finding insurance after getting dropped is finding out why you were turned away. If it was for something as simple as the fact that your insurer went out of business, then you might not have any trouble getting reinstated. All you will need to do is shop around for the best policy available by getting free insurance quotes online, talking to family and friends, and seeing if you qualify for any discounts. Through diligent searching, you may end up with better insurance than what you had.

What if you’ve been dropped for cause? If your car insurance company has dropped you because you have accumulated points on your license from traffic tickets or because you were found at fault in an accident, it might be harder for you to find an insurance company willing to represent you. If you do not get reinstated, you will quickly run into more trouble – you could eventually loose your license or end up owing a great deal of money in fines. Even in this circumstance, getting reinsured is not impossible.

You should begin by comparison-shopping online. For you, comparison-shopping is extraordinarily important as your rates will no doubt be higher than what you were paying before. If you want to get the best deal, make sure to spend as much time as possible comparing auto insurance rates. Then, choose the company that best meets your needs. You may be forced to go with a company specializing in high-risk insurance policies, or you may have to purchase supplemental insurance. Regardless, getting reinsured is possible, but it comes with a price. Comparison-shopping is the only way to find the lowest available price.