Shopping For A Used Car? How To Make Sure You Don’t Get Burned…

There are many ways to shop for used car. You can go from dealer to dealer and used car lot to used car lot, you can go on many of the used car sites online, or even an auction site online. Regardless of how you go about finding a vehicle it is important you understand what to look out for to make sure the you are not purchasing somebody else’s discarded problems. Here are some tips that might help you to find a high-quality vehicle that hopefully will serve you for many years to come…

1. Take your time when evaluating a vehicle. Take several walks around the exterior of the vehicle noting any imperfections you may find. Open the doors, trunk, and hood and look for anything that does not look like it was original or just doesn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions and evaluate the answers you received. Do the same with the interior, take your time and sit in the vehicle and make sure you try all of the equipment and accessories to make sure they are operating properly. Shift the vehicle into drive, neutral, and reverse and make sure it seems to shift quickly and smoothly. If not, expensive repairs may be imminent.

2. Ask for a vehicle history report such as Carfax or AutoCheck. Make sure the vehicle has no major negative events in its history and that there are no odometer discrepancies.

3. Start the engine and open up the hood. Your eyes, ears, and nose are your best friends here. You want to look for any visible oil leaks. You want to listen for any unusual sounds. And you want to make sure that there are no unusual smells, for instance something smelling like it’s burning. Check the transmission fluid by pulling out the dipstick and checking the level and giving it a quick smell. If the vehicle was just started the transmission fluid level should be near the cold marker. You want to make sure it does not smell burnt as this could identify a current or pending problem. When the engine is turned off again pull out the oil dipstick and again, make sure it looks like it is not dirty and does not smell burnt. The color of the oil should be similar to dark amber.

4. Now it’s time for a test drive. Before you start moving check the steering system. Open the windows and turned the steering wheel hard all the way to one side, and then the other. You want to make sure there is no resistance and that there are no loud squealing sounds which could signify a problem with costly parts of the steering system. You will also want to jiggle the wheel back and forth a bit from the center position and make sure that it doesn’t have any play. Going from one side to the other. It should feel firm when turning from one side to the other. Once you are confident the vehicle is safe to drive make sure you drive it with the windows open and closed. Make sure you don’t hear any noises that seem uncommon. If you do find any potential issues and you are not sure what they are make sure to have a qualified mechanic look the car over before you complete the purchase. While driving, make sure to pay attention to the brakes. Do they feel like they are working properly and stopping the car efficiently? If not, they may need to be addressed and that could help you as any other problems found, in negotiating a better purchase price.

5. Last, but certainly not least. Asked to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic or shop of your choice. If there is any resistance to having the vehicle inspected run, don’t walk away from the vehicle as is a telltale sign there are going to be issues found.

Once you have found the right vehicle and have made a purchase it is a sound financial decision and great idea to purchase a quality used car warranty. An auto warranty can protect you from the inevitable major or minor repairs that you will face down the road. There are few reputable companies that will allow you to purchase coverage directly, excluding the dealer and their profit, at wholesale pricing. A great place to start is Auto Advantage Inc.

 

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Three Things To Know About Car Warranties

Any car owner can feel at ease about bringing their car to the shop if they purchase a car warranty. Car warranties can lower the cost of maintenance and repairs performed on your car. Here are three things to know about car warranties:

First off, know where the warranty is coming from. Is it coming from an auto manufacturer or an aftermarket auto warranty company? Also, know who is handling your policy.

Second, be sure to completely read through the entire warranty. This way, you will be knowledgeable about what type of coverage you are receiving and how long the warranty will last.

Lastly, know what specific maintenance that you need to have done on your car because there are some car warranties that will only remain valid if this work is done on your car. Also, make sure that you keep all of your car’s maintenance records in the event that there is a claim.

Car warranties will allow you to have peace of mind each time your car goes into the shop for repairs and maintenance. However, it is important for you to know all of the details of your warranty if you want to get the most out of it.

 

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Do Research Before Buying An Auto Warranty

When most people research auto warranties, they mainly look at price. Everyone is looking to get the best rate possible on an auto warranty. However, though price may be important, it should not be the deciding factor when you make the final purchase.

When you look into buying a warranty, it is important to ensure that you buy one that is great quality. In order to get the most out of your auto warranty and to make a smart purchase, here are two very important things to take into consideration when you do your research:

First off, consider the price. Price is an important factor when you make any purchase. However, when it comes to warranties, it is important that price is not the only thing that you look at.

Secondly, make sure you research the company thoroughly. Is the company reputable? Is it an established company? Are they visible online? Are their contact details easily and prominently located? And lastly, is the company accredited and does it have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau?

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Auto Warranty Scam Warning

 

It has been reported that a variety of companies and marketing firms have been making unsolicited calls to offer customers an automotive extended warranty. When a customer is told that the warranty is about to expire, if they are not educated to the warranty business or their vehicles coverage may sometimes believe anything a telemarketing agent says. Unfortunately, in almost every case they are creating this information out of thin air with the hope that they can scare or pressure a customer into purchasing warranty coverage for their vehicle. This is obviously a dishonest practice but is borderline illegal as well.

It is also been reported that a variety of third-party companies have been sending a postcard a flyer in the mail with the same general information hoping to coax a customer into calling them so they can attempt to sell them warranty coverage. This process is a high-pressure process, usually involving several levels of sales professionals to try and close the deal.

What these companies never tell you is that in many cases, your car may still be covered by an existing warranty as they have no knowledge of the vehicle’s actual existing warranty status.

Also, there are many levels of warranty coverage that are available that are generally not explained in clear detail to a customer. They simply sign you up, collect your money, and then send you documentation later where you find out there are many loopholes that would allow a claim to be denied. This is assuming the company even has a claims department and any legitimacy at all.

In most cases, you may have simply given money for a product that either doesn’t exist or is not an actual insurance company product.

If the company does have any legitimacy, not having an underwriter simply means that in the event that they have any type of claims activity at all, they can easily be wiped out as they very rarely leave much money in a claims fund to protect the consumer.

The bottom line is a customer’s best option is to reach out to a legitimate warranty provider that is directly underwritten by a US-based, “A” rated carrier. The other option, of course, is to visit a local dealership and find out what they are offering. The downside to this is that dealerships are generally 50-100% more expensive the same level of coverage you can get in the automotive warranty aftermarket.

The bottom line is you will almost never hear a radio ad or receive a notice by mail from any legitimate warranty company so buyer beware!

 

 

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Plumbing Issues

 

Plumbing issues will soon be a thing of the past with these quick fixes you can do at home! Intimidated or don’t have the time? No problem, simply request service with America’s Choice Home Warranty and a couple clicks will get you fixed.

Plumbing Problem 1: Water Trickling Into the Bowl, or “Phantom Flushes”

Periodically, you may hear your toilet begin to voluntarily refill, as though someone had flushed it. Indeed, no one has, but don’t worry, your toilet isn’t haunted. A toilet that cuts on and off by itself, or runs intermittently, has a problem that plumbers call a “phantom flush.” The issue is a slow leak from the toilet tank into the bowl. This problem is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper or flapper seal. The solution is simple: drain the tank and bowl, check and clean the flapper seat and replace the flapper if it’s worn or damaged. 

Plumbing Problem 2: Water Trickling Into the Tank

Do you hear a steady hissing sound coming from your toilet? This is a result of water trickling into the tank via the supply line. First thing’s first, check the float, the ballcock or inlet-valve assembly and the refill tube. The hissing sound is typically caused by water coming through the inlet valve. First, check to see whether the float needs adjustment, or if it’s sticking. Next, check to make sure the refill tube isn’t inserted too far into the overflow tube. (It should extend only about 1/4″ below the rim of the overflow tube.) If neither of these adjustments solves the problem, you’ll probably need to replace the ballcock assembly. 

Plumbing Problem 3: The Bowl Empties Slowly

A weak flush, or a bowl that empties really, really slowly, is usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. This is the easiest fix of all: use a curved piece of wire to poke gently into each flush hole to clear out any junk and bacteria. Coat-hanger wire works fine, and a small mirror will help you see under the rim. You can also use wire to loosen debris that may be blocking the siphon jet in the bottom of the drain. Be careful not to scratch the bowl, and make sure to use gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

Plumbing Problem 4: The Dreaded Clog

Clogs are definitely the most common of toilet problems. The good news is several tools can help you clear a clogged drain. A force-cup plunger is more effective for clearing minor clogs. Insert the bulb into the drain, and pump forcefully, careful not to spill waste water all over yourself or the floor. Slowly release the handle, letting a little water in so you can see whether the drain is clear. Repeat if necessary.

For serious clogs, use a closet auger. Insert the end of the auger into the drain hole, and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward. Use caution not to scratch the bowl.

Plumbing Problem 5: Leaky Seals

A standard toilet has at least five seals; each seal has the potential for leaking. The straightforward solution is to identify the faulty seal and tighten or replace it. The seal between the tank and bowl is the largest and most problematic. A break here will cause a major leak, with water shooting out from underneath the tank at every flush. Although it sounds intimidating, replacing this seal involves draining and removing the tank. First, turn the tank upside down for better access. Then, remove the old seal and pop on a new one.

The smaller seals at the mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock may also fail and cause smaller leaks. Replace these in the same way. Occasionally tightening the bolts or mounting nut is usually enough to stop the leak.

The final seal is the wax seal mounted on a plastic flange underneath the toilet base. This is a big deal because if this seal fails, water leaking underneath the toilet base will eventually rot the floor. Caulking around the base of the toilet without repairing the leak will only trap the water, making matters worse. To repair a leak around the base of the toilet, you’ll need to remove the toilet and replace the wax seal. If the leak is caused by a broken flange, request service with E-Exchanreg Home Warranty and we’ll hook you up with a professional plumber if you don’t have your own in mind.

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Life Insurance with a Felony Conviction


When applying for fully underwritten traditional life insurance, most insurance carriers are going to inquire about any felony convictions you may have had in the past. It makes sense – if a life insurance company is willing to check your motor vehicle record for your driving behavior, then they would likely search your history for any felonies that may have been committed. These are just some of the things that go into the underwriting process to determine how acceptable a potential insured person will be to purchase life insurance with a felony conviction.

There is one major point that should be made here. Simply because a person has been charged with a felony does not make them a felon. Only if a person has been convicted of a felony are they classified as a felon. The vast majority of the time, the insurance carrier will need to know how much time has passed since you were convicted of your felony charge. Most carriers will also need to know the details of any sentences you were to serve for said conviction. Of all these things, the most important to almost any life insurance carrier will be, what was the nature of the charge and conviction you received.

Insurance Companies look at Felony Convictions Differently

As far as the underwriting process goes, many insurance carriers have very different criteria that are examined and weighed through the process. Each carrier interprets the information they require differently, and many have completely different types of information that is required. Infractions, (whether felony or not) that are most likely to cause problems for a life insurance applicant would be:

  • Larceny
  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol (1st offense is a misdemeanor)
  • Crimes involving property
  • Drug-related crimes
  • Assault

Because these five crimes make up over half of the current prison population, these are the offenses that pose the greatest concern to life insurance carriers. These crimes, in some cases, are not life-threatening inherently when committed. However, the time that one will spend in prison once convicted could be. Moreover to this point, convictions are much less likely to become a barrier to buying life insurance with a felony when the crime committed is larceny or assault.

Some Good News

The bright side of this story for individuals seeking life insurance coverage that have one or more felony convictions is that not all insurers have the same guidelines. There are some carriers that will offer an individual coverage, however, there are some that will not. That being said, an individual’s first step when seeking insurance coverage should be to contact us and discuss your current situation in order for our licensed insurance professionals to be better able to determine ahead of time which, if any, insurers will be able to offer coverage.

The quality of the insurance professional you utilize is just as important as the insurance carrier you choose to apply to. Submitting a life insurance application with a life insurance carrier that has a track record of denying coverage to individuals with felony records would make no sense. The independent life insurance professional that we connect you with will know exactly who will be your best option when seeking coverage.

The Deal Breakers

Some felony convictions are all but a guarantee that a traditional life insurance company will deny life insurance coverage. These are :

  • Child molestation
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed above

A conviction for any of the aforementioned charges will result in a declination of coverage from all traditional life insurance carriers. However, individuals in this category will still be permitted to purchase “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance from a carrier and also Accidental Death life insurance as well.

Drug-Related Felonies

Individuals who may have previously made an attempt to obtain life coverage through a traditional life insurance carrier and were denied may still have remaining options that are not simply limited to “Guaranteed Issue” life coverage.Generally speaking, most life insurance carriers will automatically decline applicants that have prior drug-related felonies. However, there are carriers that will still consider offering coverage depending on how the individual may answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever been incarcerated?
  • If so, how much time did you spend imprisoned?
  • How much time has passed since you were charged and then convicted of the crime?
  • How long ago were you released from your last incarceration?
  • Are you currently on probation or parole? If so, for what time frame?
  • If you were on probation or parole, how long ago was it terminated?

The answers given to these questions will be the best determining factors in allowing an underwriter to assess how eligible an individual is for life insurance coverage. The exact nature of an individual’s charges and convictions are important because some convictions have a higher recidivism rate than others. Generally speaking, underwriters use this information about an individual’s criminal record to determine how likely they are to be reincarcerated for another criminal offense.

Be mindful of the fact that being incarcerated is considered a life-threatening circumstance. The amount of time that has passed between the date of application and the date an individual was convicted and or released from prison is the most important detail here. The reason this detail is so important is that the underwriter assigned to this case will want to see exactly how much a potential insured’s lifestyle has changed since they were released from prison.

Felonies involving Alcohol or Violence

Primarily felonies involving alcohol usually are related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. However, violence related felonies can be just as likely contributed to the use of alcohol.

In cases of this sort, underwriters are on the lookout for at least a two-year gap between the time of conviction and the time of probation before considering the opportunity to offer life insurance coverage. In the event you have been denied life coverage after two years has passed, you have likely applied for coverage with the incorrect insurance carrier and should give our office a call for help.

Challenges Agents Face when You Reveal Your Felony

Good insurance agents know on initial contact that it will take a considerable amount of work to find life insurance coverage for an individual that has a record containing a prior felony conviction. If you take the typical call center agency approach, most likely you will be denied coverage based on criminal history due to the agent not being motivated to spend additional time and resources on your case because it may result in a declination even after the agent has invested the necessary time to properly scout the potential carriers to obtain life coverage for you.

This, however, should not deter you from contacting an independent insurance agent that has access to multiple life insurance carriers and is willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to see to it that you acquire life insurance with a felony conviction.

A knowledgeable independent insurance agent will know after your first conversation if traditional life insurance is the route that you should take, or if a “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance carrier will be more suited to your needs based on your particular situation. Your agent will have the necessary experience and know how to assist in your life insurance purchasing decision to allow you to make the most informed decision possible.

Independent insurance agents that specialize in hard-to-place and high-risk cases appreciate the challenge that comes along with this type of business and are more than willing to represent you and your best interest to block any hindrances and help you obtain the life insurance coverage you need.

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