Happy New Year

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New year predictions

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A lot of bloggers go in for New Year predictions, the few times I've tried it, my success rate has been such that I know never to place money on anything at a bookies.

I suppose I could go for the obvious stuff, ie there will be a general election in 2010, then again the possibility of Gordon Brown trying to abrogate centuries of (apparent) democracy by engineering a crisis to stay in power simply because I have predicted a general election is too much of a risk to take for me.
I could go for areas where whatever happens wont affect me too greatly but then again why should I saddle anyone else with my wish list or the anti-version of it more likely.
Generalities wont work anyway people want specifics and more often good stuff, this is why fortune tellers never tell you bad things, just the old tall dark stranger myth, keeps the punters happy. Then again, why should I keep you lot happy?................Oh, you'll stop reading my ramblings and I'll return to being a social pariah, good point.
Political predictions are probably best left to those who have insider knowledge anyway, Iain Dale, Guido etc. I just can't bring myself to care enough about politicians in general, though I can bring myself to care enough to hate what they've done, but hate is a corrosive thing so I try not to dwell on their corruption, arrogance, wilful blindness to the wishes of the people and incompetence, at least whilst I'm away from the blog. I do believe the political classes in the UK are in for a rude awakening one day, I just can't predict when, probably the day the sheeple get tired of endless X Factor re-runs. But beliefs aren't predictions either, otherwise Newcastle United would be a top team at least on the level of belief I can generate anyway.
I suppose that I could try making a set of predictions with the view that the opposite will happen such as a Labour win in 2010, but that's a bit like washing the car to make it rain, it only happens when you don't want it too and knowing my luck Labour would win and I'd have hordes of bloggers tracking me down to beat the crap out of me.

So, I predict that 2010 will be pretty much the same as 2009, same shit, different year.
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Buying votes, hypocrisy, the Labour way

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There's a headline in the soon to be gone Independent about the Tories buying votes, it's a soundbite by Jack (I hate the English) Straw.
Tories trying to buy power, says Straw

David Cameron is today accused by a senior Cabinet minister of attempting to "buy" victory at the general election with a US-style campaign dominated by advertising.

Writing in The Independent, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, predicts the Tory campaign will be the most lavish in political history and denounces Mr Cameron for relying heavily on cash supplied by the party's deputy chairman, Lord Ashcroft, who has extensive business interests in Belize.
First off, this is the Tory party using donations to themselves from Lord Ashcroft legally gained and following all the rules, it does not matter if Ashcroft has extensive business interests on the moon, so long as he follows the rules, basically this is just spin from the Independent to try and paint the Tories as dependent on foreign cash (as opposed to Labour who are dependent on Union cash)

His provocative attack comes as the Conservatives prepare to launch a pre-election mini-manifesto next week backed by a flurry of advertising. Party chiefs are planning to unveil a succession of new policies in an attempt to persuade wavering voters they can offer a weighty programme for government.
Provocative? No desperate is closer to the mark, Labour are all but bankrupt and are seen as "losers" hence no-one in their right mind will fully support them and so they are having a bleat to a friendly paper to try and raise the issue.
With no limit on spending until an election is called, Mr Straw's comments also reflect Labour fears that the party is already being heavily outspent in the battle for crucial marginal constituencies. Lord Ashcroft is charge of the drive to capture those seats for the Tories.
Although Labour received donations totalling £2.25m before Christmas from three wealthy supporters, Labour's financial woes also mean it could struggle to match the Conservatives during the campaign.
Help, help the opposition can outspend us?
The Justice Secretary writes: "At the same time that Mr Cameron tells the British people we face 'austerity', he has ordered his party to fight the most expensive election campaign in British political history.
See above.

What people do with their money (including political parties) is up to them, if Labour had popular policies and fiscal credibility, they wouldn't be so worried, as it is the public know the mess we're in, who caused it and no amount of money or publicity for Labour will change that.

However it's the sheer breathtaking hypocrisy of Jack Straw complaining about buying power that's got me annoyed.


Poor families will also receive 12 months’ free internet use under the terms of the Home Access scheme, launched next year, which will allow parents to spend up to £500 on a computer from an approved list.
The move is part of a bid by ministers to drive up standards in deprived areas, with the white working classes thought to be at particular risk of being left behind.
This is Labour buying votes with my/our money not theirs.


John Denham, the Communities Secretary, admitted fast social change, including large flows of immigration, has led to resentment in some neighbourhoods that have also been hit hard by the recession.
It comes a day after academics warned the "traditional" white working class have been left behind and isolated in a changing Britain.
Mr Denham announced a £12 million programme to target such communities and make them feel more connected. 

A fierce debate within the government on how to tackle entrenched wealth inequality – possibly through a high pay commission or a tax on assets – is to be ignited by a report ordered by Harriet Harman, the Labour
The report is due to be published in January. Early drafts seen by ministers say wealth inequality has deepened, with the rungs on the ladder having grown further apart, reducing social mobility. It is also expected to underline the degree to which access to pensions and housing play a crucial role in entrenching inequalities in wealth and income.
Harman sees the report, which has been commissioned from a team of academics chaired by Professor John Hills, as a political opportunity for Labour to frame a progressive debate on inequality before the election.
Downing Street and the Treasury would be opposed to a new wealth tax, but there may be pressure for a tougher capital gains tax on main homes, or widening council tax bands. It is also likely to lead to calls for wider employee share ownership and home ownership.
Again this is Labour looking to bribe who they see are their core support.

So Jack Straw is complaining that the Tories are going to use their own money to outspend Labour in a political election campaign, yet Labour are prepared to use millions of taxpayers money funnelling it into areas of their core support via fake charities, free computers, equality taxation etc.

The man's a prize hypocrite!
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Breaking the law

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Lot of screaming in the media about Akmal Shaikh who was executed in China today for drug smuggling. I have a great deal of sympathy for his friends and family who have put up a major campaign to try and have his sentence commuted.
However I have little or no sympathy for Akmal Shaikh who smuggled drugs into a country where they have the death sentence for smuggling drugs. I also discount the mental illness aspect too, the man had bipolar disorder and whilst this is a mental illness it's not a debilitating one with regard to intelligence. He may have been in a fantasy world, but would still have known when on the opposing cycle that what he was doing was very wrong.
If you break the laws of a country that you are visiting then you have to face that countries legal system if caught, Shaikh had been found with more than 4kg of heroin, and being caught with 50g of heroin was enough for the death penalty under Chinese law. Now Shaikh might not have known about the death penalty but he certainly would have known that if caught he'd face justice.
Now a lot of people are criticising the Chinese government for their laws, but that's the system they have, it's harsh, but it followed their rules and Shaikh was found bang to rights by them. It's not as if he'd broken some quaint byelaw either, drug smuggling is a worldwide offence and China takes it as seriously as any modern country, that their law still has the death sentence for such offences may be upsetting to certain western sensibilities, but it's still China's law and that has to be respected.

It should also serve as a warning to any other would be drug smugglers to China too.
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Don't mind me, I'm from the council

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There are currently 1,043 laws that allow unrestricted access to your home, without your consent. Many are to do with public health and safety and seem common sense however a growing number aren't.
For instance....
  • To see if pot plants have plant pests or do not have a `plant passport' (Plant Health Order 2005). 
  • To  check  the  energy  ratings  on  refrigerators  (Energy  Information  Household  Refrigerators  and Freezers Regulations 2004).
  • Surveying the home and garden to see if hedges are too high (Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003).
  • Inspecting a property to ensure illegal or unregulated hypnotism is not taking place (Hypnotism Act 1952)

Spying on the public seems to be an obsession with public officials these days, what with the RIPA act where councils have used provisions to spy on recycling bin filling or on school catchment area applications. ID cards, cctv even the height of your hedges. Registered snoopers are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is legal and occasionally what isn't.
It's reckoned that every council has about 47 people who can simply stroll into your house without your permission. 2 years ago Gordon Brown pledged to review the power of councils to enter people’s homes without warrant. Never happened of course, it rarely does with this sort of legislation. The Tories have also made vague promises too, but nothing has been written down yet.

Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said:
“Once, a man’s home was his castle. Today the Big Brother state wants to inspect, regulate and standardise the inside of our homes.
"Councils are dishing out powers of entry to officers within their council for their own ease, without giving due thought to the public’s right to privacy and the potential for abuse.
"There needs to be a much closer eye kept on the number of officers granted the right to barge into private premises without a warrant.” 
He's right, we aren't the ones who need watching, it's those who think they have a right to watch us who need pruning back and kept an eye on.
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Get out of jail free card?

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ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a bit of a strange condition, there are those out there who simply do not believe it exists and those who claim to have it are simply "bad" lads/lasses and there are those who use it as an excuse for their behaviour, both are of course at the extremes of the situation.
Now my partner has a son who has been diagnosed with ADHD, fortunately quite mild, he hasn't shown any criminal intentions or even been in trouble with the law, he's a pretty good lad and he does know right from wrong and doesn't use his condition as an excuse for some of his occasional outbursts.

So, when I saw this in the Guardian, I looked at it with interest.
Police, courts and prisons will test all adult offenders for attention deficit disorders in a bid to reduce reoffending rates and cut aggressive behaviour in prisons.

The scheme is being set up by the Department of Health after research revealed a disproportionately high number of undiagnosed and untreated sufferers in the criminal justice system.

"We know that conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can contribute to people turning to crime," said health minister Phil Hope. "We are concerned that ADHD is not understood well enough in the criminal justice system so cases go unnoticed. In addition, when prisoners are released, they might be helped to find housing and employment but, if a health issue is not recognised, it can leave that person vulnerable to falling back into crime."

Research by the UK Adult ADHD Network revealed that almost 20% prisoners probably suffers from undiagnosed ADHD. Those with the disorder were at least one third more likely to reoffend than non-sufferers.

A second research paper produced at the meeting revealed that 10% of drug and alcohol addicts have ADHD. Both figures are much higher than the estimated prevalence of ADHD in the adult population of 2.5%.

Professor Philip Asherson , chair of the UK Adult ADHD Network, welcomed the initiative: "ADHD should be considered as a mental disorder that may impair criminal responsibility. They are vulnerable at every stage in their interface with the criminal justice system."
It may well be that ADHD is at the root of some prisoners re-offending, however that isn't any reason to excuse their behaviour, certainly medication can help to reduce the effects of the condition, however ADHD sufferers are perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong too it is emotional outbursts which often cause the problems, things that would mildly stress the average person can produce some fairly extreme anger and physical outbursts from someone with ADHD, but these can be controlled, but only of course if they know they have ADHD.
So, overall, yes by all means test the prison population for ADHD, perhaps it will help, however I do hope that ADHD will not become a catch all for avoiding prison sentencing. People who can't control themselves do not need an excuse to simply go out and cause more problems knowing that they have a get out of jail free card. If they can't control themselves even if on medication then the certainly should not be able to escape the consequences of their actions. ADHD should be recognised as a factor yes, but it should also not be an excuse and that's what I fear is coming from this decision, instead of building more prisons, they come up with more excuses not to put criminals behind bars.
The vast majority of ADHD sufferers aren't criminal in any way, don't cause problems and don't need their condition to become a crutch for those who can't control themselves.
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Auto Insurance in France

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Auto insurance is legally required in France
Auto insurance is a legal requirement in France, as it is in Britain. Make no mistake about this, because not having Auto insurance is an offence punishable by six months in prison, and that is not the ideal way to spend your holiday or new life in France! However, although there is a lot of conflicting information out there about Auto insurance in France, it isn't as complicated as it may at first appear, and you can take heart from the fact that millions of Brits have already managed to sort it out satisfactorily.

Auto insurance options
There are a number of options open to the British driver who wishes to drive in France. The best way forward depends very much on individual circumstances and requirements, and depends to some considerable degree on whether or not you are a resident of France, of another European Union country, or of a non EU country.

Auto hire in France
If you are a short term visitor only, then you may find that a simple Auto hire agreement is the most straightforward solution for you. Auto hire firms may offer special deals, and rates are usually competitive and reasonable. The advantage of doing this is that the Auto is easily available from your point of arrival in France, and can be dropped off at your point of departure, and you do not have to worry about insurance or “controle techniques” or complex registration processes! Auto insurance through Auto hire firms in France differs as it does in the UK. It would always be best to hire the Auto through a reputable company, check what fully comprehensive insurance actually covers, and look into the costs of paying extra for collision damage waiver which may not be included initially.

Long-term solution for your Auto insurance in France
If, however, you are going to be in France for long periods of time, or on a very regular or permanent basis you will need to take the bull by the horns and finds a long term solution.

Auto insurance for residents of Non European Union Countries
If you are resident of a non EU country such as Canada or the USA, you can take advantage of a great system known as the TT scheme. Citroën run one such scheme, in which you receive a Auto under temporary ownership at a very low price. Tax, insurance etc. is all taken care of for you, and you can use the Auto for a minimum of 17 days and a maximum of 180. The Autos are fitted with easily recognisable plates, so you are unlikely to get any hassle from the police.

Auto insurance in France using your existing Auto insurance company
The easiest way to insure your Auto in France if you are still resident in the UK, is to contact your existing Auto insurance company, to extend your UK policy to cover France. Usually Autos are covered for third party in EU countries, but it would be advisable to increase cover to fully comprehensive. It would be well worth looking into the breakdown insurance that is offered too, as many offer an excellent package with English speaking assistance provided. Check the options on offer as some Auto insurance companies include everything in one package, while others offer a cheaper initial deal but leave out important cover. It would be worth making sure that the cover includes road-side assistance, replacement parts cover and providing over-night accommodation when necessary. Some will get your Auto back to the UK, others won’t.

Green card system
If you have an English registered vehicle which you wish to drive in France, you may wish to take out a Green Card .This is not an insurance policy in itself, but simply an internationally recognised card which guarantees that you have suitable legal insurance from your own country. It is not, strictly necessary for EU drivers in France, but it can be a useful item should you be stopped or, involved in any accident. Your insurer in England should be able to issue this card on request, and there should be no extra cost although some agents charge a small administrative fee. This option, however, is only suitable for those who are UK residents. If you are resident in France the rules are quite different. Please note also, that this is only suitable for those who only need to drive the vehicle in France for less than 90 days per year.

Auto insurance for a second Auto in France
One option which you may consider is that of keeping a second Auto in France for use when you are in the country. This is feasible, but you must understand that the legal requirement for insuring such a vehicle is different from the requirement in Britain. In the UK, once you have filled in a SORN form you can legally withdraw insurance payments until such time as you wish to re-use the Auto. In France, although you must notify your insurer that your Auto is off the road, as in the UK, you are legally bound to maintain third party insurance on the vehicle at all times. Another factor to consider is the cost of second hand Autos in France... if cost is an issue, which it is for many of us! Second hand Autos in France are much more expensive, as a rule, than they are in Britain, so this needs to be built in to the planning if you are considering this option.

Auto insurance for French residents
If you are a permanent resident in France you are bound by French law. French law states that if you are resident in France, insurance on your vehicle is part of your "responsibilité civile". If you are a French resident, to comply fully with French law you must register and insure your vehicles within the French system, which means changing your UK plate to a French plate. It is possible to legally drive an English registered vehicle which is insured with a French insurer, but usually only for six months, and only when you are involved in the process of changing the registration of the vehicle to a French plate. (Although some have been told that as a French resident, you have one month to complete the registration unless there is a valid reason that will take you beyond that time.) It will be necessary to go the local Hotel des Impots and ask them for a quittus fiscal certificate. The certificate is free and incorporates your authority to drive your UK vehicle on its foreign plates for a month (or however long agreed by the authorities), whilst you arrange the registration.

Auto insurance for English number plates
Many French insurance companies are not keen to offer a service of insurance for English plated vehicles, but if you shop around you will find one who can. AGF are a company who are usually amenable to this, and are very reasonably priced as well. Do begin the process of changing to a French plate as soon as possible though... like everything that you do in France you will find it takes for ever, requires more paperwork than you ever thought possible and is inevitably more complicated than you expected!

Auto insurance and tax in France
There is another reason too, for changing to a French plate as soon as possible. If you have an English plated vehicle which is based in France, yet you make trips to the UK in that vehicle, you can run into the problem of tax. In France there is no system of tax discs as there is in the UK. This means that unless you continue to pay to maintain a UK tax disc, when you enter the UK you are immediately driving illegally. A fully French registered vehicle in England does not face this problem, as the differences in the systems are recognised and accepted.

French Auto insurance
French Auto insurance is similar to, but different from the British system in certain ways. It is basically three tier, with the minimum legal requirement being third party insurance (au tiers) only. Remember this is essential on all vehicles even if off road. The next level is third party, fire and theft, (au tiers illimité, or au tiers complet) and the third is the fully comprehensive, (tous risques). After this, bespoke packages can be created to suit, with your agent adding cover as required. Generally the cost is considerably less than the cost of similar insurance in the UK. Your no claims can usually be carried over from your British insurance, but you will need to supply... guess what... lots of paperwork! Your insurer will send you a ticket to place on the windscreen to show that the insurance is in place. He will also send you an accident form (constat amiable), which you should carry in your vehicle at all times.

Driving licences for French residents
And something else to bear in mind is that if you are now a French resident insuring with a French insurer, you may have to get an International driving licence or a French driving licence. It may sound simple but it isn't necessarily so. You have to be resident in France six months before you can apply to change your licence. The form to be filled in is obtainable from the Sous-Prefecture or similar office, and you also need two passport photos, proof of identity (passport) and proof of domicile (EDF or FranceTelecom bill, or better still, a French medical card obtained from a doctor).

UK driving licences for French residents
However, to avoid having to apply for an International driving licence or French one, it is now possible if you are a French resident, to keep your UK driving licence until it's date of expiry, but you must be aware of a few things. Firstly, this used to be a problem and still is with some French insurers, as many wouldn't accept a UK driving licence. As this is now EU law however, this shouldn't be a problem for much longer. Secondly, you must still have a UK address for your UK driving licence, even if it is your previous UK address. Thirdly, you will still need to follow French law regarding driving licences, eg: age restrictions, validity of licences, medical checks. And finally, if you incur penalty points or road traffic offenses on your licence in France, you will need to change to a French licence. This is more likely to occur if stopped in person by the police.

How to get French Auto insurance
There are insurance (assurance) agents in every town... probably several of them. If your French is good enough you could try the straightforward “walk in” approach and see what services they can offer you. (Learning to speak French - Misadventures in a Foreign Tongue). If your French is shaky, however, the tried and tested “word of mouth” system is useful. Talk to other ex-pats in your area, find out what companies they use and what services are offered.

French Auto insurance companies AXA and AGF
Failing this, there are two large Auto insurance companies which are well versed in dealing with British drivers who need to insure vehicles in France. These are AXA and AGF. AXA have UK agents, and both companies have many English speaking staff (although not necessarily in every office). You do not, of course, need to insure with a local agent as everything is done by post, so you can use an English speaking agent from the other end if the country if you can't find one locally. Shop around until you find the package... and the agent... that suits you.

Final Auto insurance advice
Insurance is one of those things in life which can seem an expensive hassle until you need it. Then it magically becomes the wisest and best thing you ever did!

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California Department of Insurance Contact Information

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California Department of Insurance Contact Information The California Department of Insurance is responsible for enforcing many of the insurance-related laws of the state. We are foremost a consumer protection agency. Our number one priority is to protect insurance consumers by regulating the industry’s practices and encouraging a healthy marketplace, which is one of the largest in the world.
Consumer Inquiries and Assistance
Consumer Communications Bureau
300 South Spring Street,

South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013
800-927-HELP (4357)
Out-of-State Caller

Producer Licensing Bureau
California Department of Insurance
320 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814

Sacramento Office

Fraud Division
California Department of Insurance
9342 Tech Center Drive
Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-854-5760
Fax: 916-255-3202

* Complete list of Fraud Division Regional Offices

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Auto Insurance in California

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Auto Insurance in California for more visit insurance.ca.gov California Department of Insurance This California auto insurance company comparison chart is meant as a guide only.
Be sure and get several quotes, before buying auto insurance. There are many bogus marketing claims.
Auto Insurance in California
21st Century Insurance Company (AIG)
Woodland Hills, CA
Merged with AIG auto insurance

AAA - American Automobile Association
Refuse to say - no "About"
Must enter ZIP
Northbrook, IL
#1 in negative comments

California State Automobile Association
San Francisco, CA
Must enter ZIP

Eastwood Insurance
Anaheim Hills, CA
Nor. Cal.

Esurance (White Mountains Insurance Group)
San Francisco, CA

Farmer's Insurance Group (Zurich Financial Services)
Los Angeles, CA
Must enter ZIP

Geico (Berkshire Hathaway)
Chevy Chase, MD
Many TV ads

Mercury General Corp.
Uses many names

California Automobile Insurance Company
No website

Mercury Insurance Company
Los Angeles, CA (PDF)

Mercury Casualty Company
Los Angeles, CA
no website

Nationwide Auto Insurance
Columbus, OH (contact)
"A few days"

Progressive Auto Insurance
Mayfield Village, OH

Safeco Insurance
Seattle, WA

State Farm Auto Insurance
Bloomington, IL
Must enter ZIP

The General Auto Insurance (General Automobile Insurance Services)
Nashville, TN
Many TV ads

Allstate seems to be the worst, regarding negative comments on the web.
Progressive and State Farm also have many negative comments.

California Auto Insurance Quote Information
(for online quote comparison purposes, liability-only for simplification)
Form Info Required

Quote Info
Low income neighborhoods pay much more

Expect to be spammed senseless
Expensive neighborhoods pay much less

Young drivers pay much more - more accidents
Male drivers pay much more - more wild
Single drivers pay much more
Experienced drivers pay far less
Accident drivers pay more, esp. if young
Drivers with traffic tickets pay more
Homeowners pay much less - more responsible

SUV drivers pay more than compact drivers
Models with high accident rates pay more
High mileage drivers pay more
"Paid for" results in paying less

In almost EVERY case, you must give ALL your personal information FIRST, or you cannot proceed. This is unfortunate, because at any point, if you don't like the subsequent questions (some are too personal), and decide to stop, they ALREADY have your personal information, so that they can spam you senseless with emails and phone calls.

That's why I don't do this, except with a throwaway email address, and false information. I refuse to become their relentlessly targeted pigeon, before I have reviewed all my other alternatives. I prefer the "soft" sell.

Many web pages claim a "List of California Auto Insurance Companies", yet not a single one actually has a list.
That's why I made this summary page - an actual list of the top California Auto Insurance Companies.
The above data was summarized from each company website listed above.
The author is not perfect, and errors can occur.
This California auto insurance company comparison chart is meant as a guide only.
Be sure and get several quotes, before buying auto insurance. There are many bogus marketing claims.

My personal thought: An innovative company might want to supply a "Quick Estimate Quote", which DOES NOT REQUIRE an email address. They would get A LOT MORE inquiries if they did this. Many, many folks are tired of email spam. If the quote is in the ball park, an interested driver could then, and only then, supply the personal information for a formal quote. If they lowball the initial quote, everyone will know about it soon enough, and develop a "bad taste" in their mouth about the company. BOTH PARTIES could benefit from such an arrangement. (It will never happen though, due to the "hook 'em and bombard 'em" mentality of the marketers). Personal privacy on the web and freedom from spam have become huge issues.

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Lowering Your Auto Insurance Costs

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Vehicle insurance - a cost we all must bear if we want to drive. But you might be surprised at
how varied the rates for car insurance can be in your area. Definitely shop around for your car
insurance. Don’t just go with the first agent you speak with.
Now, thanks to the internet, you can shop around right from the comfort of home. Go ahead and
get at least three price quotes from different kinds of insurance companies.
If you’re in the market for a new car, call to see how much it will cost to insure in the first place.
Having a car alarm and other anti-theft devices can help lower your costs.

Always ask about discounts. Don’t be shy. Companies expect this!
What’s my cost if I have a $500 deductible? (Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500
could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by as much as 30 percent.)
How about a $1,000 deductible? Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or
more. (Now if you don’t keep at least this much in the bank, don’t choose this option!)
If your car is worth less than 10 times the annual insurance premium, purchasing extra
coverage may not be cost effective. That’s one great thing about owning an old car!
My credit rating is excellent. I always pay my bills on time.
What if we insure more than 1 car with your company?
I haven’t had an accident in more than three years…
I haven’t had a traffic ticket in three years…
I’ve taken a driver’s training course.
My car has an anti-theft device.
I don’t put a lot of mileage on my car in a year’s time.
I carpool.
My car has air bags.
My car is quipped with anti-lock brakes.
I have daytime running lights.
I’m a student driver with good grades.
Since I have both auto and home coverage with you, do I qualify for a discount?
I’m a college student away from home…
I’ve been a long time customer…
My mom and dad use your company…
Do you offer any other discounts? Some companies offer reduced rates to drivers who get
insurance through a group plan from their employers and other professional groups. It can’t hurt
to ask.
Not every company will offer the same discounts. Compare the final prices the various
companies offer you. It pays to shop around for your car insurance!
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How To Choose The Right Body Shop

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You don’t want to fool around when choosing a mechanic for your car. Keep an ear open for
recommendations and warnings when your friends and family have car troubles. If you know
beforehand of a body shop you feel comfortable with, you won’t need to make a rushed or
incomplete decision when you need one.
Ask friends and associates for their recommendations. I stay in touch with homeschooling
families. They’re often part of a larger group that can share recommendations for mechanics
they’ve felt were honest and reputable

Check with your local Better Business Bureau regarding the reputation of a particular body
shop. Ask about the number of complaints, if there were any, and how the complaints were
resolved. Don’t be too anxious if there were some complaints. No one pleases everybody, and
there are some people you can’t satisfy no matter what. But if you see a pattern of the same
kinds of problems, beware.
Next, pay a visit to the shop and ask if they handle your vehicle make and model. Check to see
how long they’ve been in business. What kind of feel do you get about the place? Are you
treated with courtesy? Does the staff behave professionally?
You don’t need to “white glove test” the place, but it should be neat, and organized. Also, times
are a’changin’, and modern equipment is an absolute must.
Sometimes, vehicle manufacturers recommend specific repair procedures and tools for the
repair of their vehicles. Ask if the shop is trained in these procedures and has the necessary
Are there any civic and community service awards hanging on the walls? It’s a nice touch. Do
you see diplomas or certificates of competence? You want a technically competent staff.
Look around the place. What kinds of vehicles seem to be in the repair stage? Does everything
look like it’s being handled professionally? Don’t be shy about talking to folks in the waiting
room to see they’ve tried the shop before and how pleased they are with the service they’ve
received in the past.
My number one suggestion is to ask around and see where others have had satisfactory car
repair work done. Even if you’re feeling stressed and in a hurry, ask at least 15 people. That
way, you’re likely to get the same place mentioned more than once. A little time spent on the
basics can save you a load of trouble in the long run. And once you find mechanic you trust,
your car’s future looks a lot brighter.
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Getting The Best Automotive Service

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Just as clear communication between you and your doctor can equal better care for your body,
communicating carefully with your mechanic means the best care for your body of your car!
When you think about it, you know your car better than anyone else. You drive it every day and
know how it feels and sounds when everything is right. So don't ignore its warning signals. If
something doesn’t feel quite right, get your car checked out.
The following tips should help you along the way:

“Preventative Medicine”
Follow the recommended service schedules.
Keep a log of all repairs and service.
Check your car for:
 unusual sounds
 odors
 drips
 leaks
 smoke
 warning lights
 changes in acceleration
 changes in engine performance
 changes in gas mileage
 changes in fluid levels
 worn tires, belts, hoses.
 difficulty in handling, braking, steering
 unusual vibrations
When there is a problem…
 Write the information/symptoms down to give to your repairman.
 When did the problem first start?
 Exactly when does the problem occur?
 Is it constant or does it occur now and again?
 Does the problem happen when the vehicle is cold or after the engine has
warmed up?
 Is the problem noticeable when you accelerate? When you brake?
 At all speeds? When shifting?
Remember to let the technician diagnose and recommend a remedy, even if you think you
already know what the problem is. Plus, it’s important not to demand an on-the-spot diagnosis.
The technician needs to thoroughly examine the vehicle before knowing what’s really going on.
Stay involved. And don’t be shy about asking as many questions as you need to understand
the problem. Mechanical terminology can be confusing to the layperson.
Ask for simple definitions of technical terms you’re not familiar with.
It’s hard to be patient, as most of us feel completely incapacitated without our vehicles. Make
sure you ask to be called and informed of the problem, recommended action, and costs
BEFORE work begins.
Before you leave, ask about labor rates, guarantees, and what methods of payment are
Leave a telephone number where you can be called.
The information you share with your auto technician will enable him to more easily locate the
problem, diagnose it, and repair any damage. Then you and your car will be on the road again!
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Buy A Car: What Not To Do

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There are a lot of important considerations when buying a car, and a lot of things you can do to
make it easier for yourself. There are also a lot of things you shouldn’t do, either because it will
mess up your negotiations, or could end up more directly costing you money.
• Don’t let your car buying be an emotional choice. Just because your Uncle Bob is selling
a car, and hey, you need a car, does not necessarily mean that Uncle Bob’s old car is your best
choice. Uncle Bob may have smoked. Uncle Bob may have driven a car big enough to fit your
high school soccer team.

• Don’t give out your personal information. Especially if you are buying a car from an
individual who is selling their old car, all they need is for you to fill out the information on the
transfer papers. If they are concerned about your check, go to the back and have a certified
check done. At the car dealership, they only need numbers like your social security number if
they are going to be doing your financing, and then only once you have actually agreed to buy
the car.
• When negotiating, don’t talk too much. Once you make your offer, let it sit. Wait for them
to say something. This can be difficult, as you may feel the urge to add something onto your
offer, such as “…or maybe we could go a bit higher” when the salesperson doesn’t say
anything, but let it sit. Smile and wait for them to respond, and when they do, ask them why they
can’t meet your offer. Go through their offer fee by fee and charge by charge.
• When negotiating, the salesperson may leave his or her desk momentarily, perhaps to
talk to someone else. While they are gone, don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say in front of
the sales person.
• Don’t express excitement about the car. Sellers can sense this, and will exploit it. If you
feel like you’ve appeared too eager for the car, leave and come back another day.
• Don’t sign anything until the entire deal has been negotiated. Treat your signature as
the end of negotiating, even if it isn’t, and don’t sign until you’re willing to accept the terms – you
can make the deal conditional on an inspection
• Avoid paying a deposit. Deposits, while they may be refundable, usually aren’t. Or it’s just
very difficult to get the deposit back.
• When buying a used vehicle, don’t skimp on the background checking. Make certain
that the car does not have a lien against it.
Buying a car is a very exciting event. Avoid buyer’s remorse by researching carefully and
making certain that everything is right. Be sure that this is the right car for you and that you’ve
gotten the best possible price.
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Buy A Car: Make A Visual Inspection

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When shopping for a used car, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of a potential
lemon. A visual inspection can be enough to steer you away from a bad deal. It should not
replace a proper inspection by a qualified mechanic, but the visual inspection can tell you if you
should continue to that point.

The first thing to consider is whether the odometer is reasonable. The average car is driven
about 15,000 miles each year. Now the world may be filled with little old ladies who only used
their car to drive to church on Sundays, but there are also those who will roll back the odometer
to try to get a higher price. If the mileage seems low, check to see if the dashboard shows any
sign of tampering, like scratches or missing or mismatched screws. Check the wear of the
driver’s seat and floor mat as well as the steering wheel and pedals. Does the amount of wear
seem to match the reported mileage? Try to find an oil change sticker and see if the information
on it matches the odometer.
Every vehicle has a unique VIN, or vehicle identification number. You can use this number to
obtain a vehicle history report. This report will be able to tell you the vehicle's complete history,
including its place of assembly, accident, repair, and odometer history, whether the vehicle has
been leased or used as a rental car or taxi and whether there is a lien paced against it.
Before purchasing the report, however, it is a good idea to check to see if you have the correct
VIN. The VIN can be found in three places, on the vehicle registration card, on the bottom of
the windshield on the driver’s side and on the manufacturer’s label, which is usually found on
the driver’s side door or door jam. Check that the VIN is in all three places and is the same.
Also, check to see if any of the labels show signs of tampering. A missing or altered VIN is a
sign that the vehicle may be stolen.
Next you should look for signs that the vehicle has had bodywork done. These signs include
paint splatter or over spray in the seams between panels, areas where the paint doesn’t match
or feels rough to the touch, and bumps, dents, or ripples in the paint. Recent bodywork is
evidence that the car has been in an accident.
Other things you should look for in a visual inspection include signs of rust, leaking fluids and
excessive tire wear (tires may be expensive to replace, especially immediately after purchasing
a vehicle). Also check the condition of the interior. Make sure that the lights and signals have
not burned out, and that all the switches and fittings work as they are supposed to. Your goal in
doing a visual inspection should be to find that the vehicle appears to have been properly
maintained. If everything looks good at this point, you can ask to take the vehicle to a mechanic
for a proper inspection.
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Buy A Car: Should You Trade In Your Old Car?

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Trading in your old car often knocks quite a bit off the purchase price of your new car, and can
be a convenient way to get rid of your old car at the same time, without having to go the hassle
of finding someone to buy it. Trading in a car, however, tends to give the most advantage to the
dealership, as they will pay you the wholesale price or less for your used car and will sell the
used car for retail price or more. Their profit margin is often higher on the traded in car than on
the new cars they sell.
A trade-in can still be to your advantage, as many states calculate the sales tax on the new car
as the price of the new car minus the trade-in value, so you would be paying less tax. Not all
states do this, so you should check – any dealership in your state will know what your state’s tax
policy on trade-ins is.

Another option you may wish to look into if you don’t want to privately sell your car is to sell your
car back to its own dealership. If your car is a Volkswagen, and you’re buying a Toyota, sell
your car back to the Volkswagen dealership. You may be able to get more for it than you could
from the Toyota dealership, because a Volkswagen is worth more to a Volkswagen dealership
than it is to a Toyota dealership.
To find out the value of your car, you can ask your insurance agency. They have access to the
Kelly Blue Book, which you may also be able to get a hold of, which tells the values of each car
based on its model and year. You can also look online to find cars of similar makes and
compare prices and mileage. Make sure you know all of this information before you go to tradein
or sell your used car.
A small but important detail when looking to trade-in or sell your used car is cleanliness. Before
you take the car in, spend a bit of time removing all of your personal belongings, vacuuming the
car, and airing it out. As a bonus, you may find some coins in the cushions. A professional detail
job may also increase the perceived value of your car. A clean car can sell for a couple of
hundred dollars more than a messy car, and dealers are people too. They too are affected by
the appearance of a car, even if they will detail the car again before they put it out onto their lot.
Trade-ins can make your new car buying experience easier. You won’t have to worry about
what to do with your old car, and it definitely feels better to have a lower price on your new car.
But don’t forget that you paid money for your old car, too, and you deserve some of the value.
Also, don’t let a trade-in damage your negotiating power – try to keep the negotiating about the
trade-in separate from your negotiations about the purchase price of the new car.
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Buy A Car: Should You Buy Online?

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There can be many advantages to buying a new or used car online. The internet, of course, is a
useful resource when you begin your car buying journey, regardless of where you decide to buy
your car – you can compare makes and models and determine what kind of car you want before
heading to the dealership. This is important because car salespeople will often try to sell you
what they want to sell you, not necessarily the car you want. (This can be especially true of
used car salespeople – who has not been to a used car lot and told that hey, this may not have
been the exact car you wanted, but look at what a nice color it is?)

For many people, the advantages of the internet can go one step further and they decide to buy
a car online. When buying a car online, it can be difficult to do things like a visual inspection or a
test drive, so an important thing is to buy from a website that is reputable. Read the feedback
that other people have left. Go to car websites or message boards and try to talk to people who
have bought cars online, to compare their experiences with different websites. Buying a car
online can offer advantages such as the greater choice in make, model, and color you can have
over going to a dealership, especially in used cars.
Remember that even over the internet, salespeople are still salespeople. Just because the voice
and face on your webcam are pleasant and you want to be nice, remember to act the same as
you would if you were at the dealership. Ask questions, and do your research.
Be certain that even after the car is shipped, there is a way you can return the car. If you need
to return the car, you may end up paying some of the shipping costs. Be sure to budget for this,
as you do not want to be reluctant to return a car that is not perfect for your needs.
Many people have happily bought and sold cars online. If you decide to buy a car online, make
sure you are one of the happy buyers by doing your research, choosing the right car for you,
and buying from a reputable website where there is a venue for complaints.
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Buy A Car: When Should You Buy?

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There are times during the year when it is better to buy new or used cars, depending on the car
and what you are looking for. For example, as you probably already know, it can be better to
buy a convertible or other summer fun car in the fall, when people are looking for more practical
cars and those who had convertibles and were planning to sell them after “one final summer”
are looking to sell.
If you are buying a car from a dealership, the best time to buy a new car can be in the fall as
well. Dealers are trying to empty the lot to make space for next year’s models. The downside to
this can be if you want a specific model or color, as that car may be less available and thus the
price can be higher. Also, if you are only planning on owning this car for a few years, the older
model will have depreciated more, even if it is bought on the same day as a newer model.

You do not always need to go during a sale to get the sale price. Unless the period of time is the
manufacturer’s incentive period, you can get the same deal the rest of the year. Manufacturer’s
incentives are only available during the incentive period. Dealer’s sales prices can be negotiated
at other times of the year, and often when people go to sales, they actually end up paying more
than they might have negotiated for on a different day, just because a car buyer might feel that
the car they want could be sold to someone else. Incentive periods, however, are good times to
On a day to day basis, it’s best to head to the dealership:
• On a weekday, such as a Tuesday or a Wednesday. These days are quieter at the
dealership, and you may feel less pressure. The sales people may feel more conducive to
giving you a good deal, so that they can make a few sales.
• Near the end of the month. Dealerships often keep monthly records of car sales, and
bonuses are given out on top of commissions based on meeting a monthly target. A
salesperson and a manager may be easier to negotiate with if they are trying to get a few more
sales to reach a target. Targets are based on numbers of cars sold, not on profits per car,
although the profit per car does effect commission at some dealerships.
• On a day when you have a lot of time available. While you do not want to waste too much
of your time, rushing through car negotiations can mean that you miss out on a potential for a
better deal.
The best time to buy a car, of course, is before you actually need one. Even if you do have to
have a car that very day, do give yourself some time to figure out the best car to buy and how
much you want to pay.
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Buy A Car: Choosing The Right One

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Buying a car, other than buying a house, is often the single most expensive purchases a person
can make in their life. How do you choose that car?
A car, SUV, truck, or minivan needs to basically do one thing: get you and your family from point
A to point B. What kind of car can do this most efficiently for you?

First of all, do you want a car? A minivan? An SUV? You need to consider what you will be
using the vehicle for. Just because you have two or three kids to taxi around does not always
mean you need a minivan. There are many larger sedan style cars, as well as station wagon
style cars, that car manufacturers are gearing towards the family on the go. Smaller minivans
can also work well for many families, while being more fuel efficient in these days of rising gas
and energy prices.
A Sports Utility Vehicle is a fun choice, and great for those who like to camp and go offroading.
Judging from the number of SUVs sold in North America, that seems like pretty much a third of
the population. SUVs may not be the best choice for many who don’t often camp or need a
SUV, because they are big and use a lot of gas.
A pickup truck with a crew cab can be a good choice for the driver who needs both the ability to
haul loads, and take their kids to hockey practice.
Do you want a hybrid car?
Hybrid cars are the newest form of car designed to be fuel efficient. They have two motors, one
gas and one electric. During braking, the electric motor generates electricity, which is stored and
used to run the car’s lights, etc. This can save gas, but not necessarily so much that you save
enough money in gas to make up for the higher price of the car. But for the environmentally
conscious, the commuter who has to drive a lot or far distances, or those who just like the look
of the car, a hybrid car can be great. The Toyota Prius, for example, can get up to 60 miles to
the gallon. This can work out to savings in the long run, depending on how long you keep the

Electric cars
Electric cars run off of fuel cells, and are thus more environmentally friendly than gas powered
cars – no air pollution. These cars may not be the best choice for everyone. If you decide you
want an electric car, be sure and research the individual model you want.
Another important decision which you will need to make is whether to buy a new or used car.
This is a personal decision, based on a variety of factors, including comfort, financing, trade-ins,
and price.
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Buy A Car: Get A Vehicle Inspection

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Once you’ve looked over your used vehicle, inspected it yourself, test driven it, and negotiated a
price, you may think you are done and the only thing you have left to do is sign next to the little
post it sticky and drive away with your practical new to you car.
Before you drive away, or sign anything, make sure that your car purchase is conditional on the
car passing a vehicle inspection by an independent mechanic. If you can’t take the vehicle to
the mechanic, automobile associations often have mechanics who will travel to the car and
inspect it at the dealership or the private seller’s home. This inspection can cost between $75 to
$100, so this should be one of your last steps in purchasing a car – you don’t want to spend
$100 on every car you look at.

An independent mechanic can make certain that the car is actually in good shape. He or she
might find small concerns with the car – brake pads needing to be replaced soon, or a worn belt.
This may allow you to go back and renegotiate the price of the car, perhaps deducting some of
the repair costs, or having the dealer do the repairs. If the dealer does the repairs, you may wish
to get another vehicle inspection after he or she is done.
So in your deal with a dealer, or while talking to a private seller, make sure it is known and
written down that the deal is dependent upon a vehicle inspection.
Have a clause added to the deal “this deal is contingent upon an inspection by mechanic Bob
and my accepting of that vehicle inspection”. If the dealer will not accept this clause, simply do
not sign the deal until the vehicle inspection has been done.
If the dealer or seller refuses a vehicle inspection by an independent mechanic, walk away.
Better yet, run away.
Also be willing to walk away from the car if the results of the vehicle inspection are not good.
You do not want to spend the next few years with a car that breaks down on the way to work.
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The way to ensure that you get the best deal possible on your next car purchase

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The way to ensure that you get the best deal possible on your next car purchase is research.
The internet provides access to a wealth of information that puts you in the driver’s seat when
negotiating with a car salesman. Here are some tips that you can use to save yourself some
The most important thing is to concentrate on the vehicle that you want. Don’t get caught up in
the deals being offered – you’ll end up choosing the car they want to sell you, not the car you
want to own.

Once you know what car you want, research how much that car is selling for. There are
websites that will tell you the dealer’s cost for that automobile. This allows you to bargain from
the dealer’s invoice price, and not the sticker price.
Check with the other dealerships that offer that brand, and make them aware that you have
looked around. Let the different dealerships compete to offer you the best deal.
When dealing with car salesman it is important to remember two things. The first is that they
are probably as honest as the next guy. Their work is at least partially based on their
reputations, so they won’t go out of their way to screw you over. However, they are paid on
commission, so their goals are not the same as yours.
The current model year seems to come earlier every year, By waiting for the first new cars to
arrive, you can get yourself a great deal on a new car from the previous model year, which the
dealer will need to sell in order to make room for the incoming selections.
All the deals being offered on new cars lately has helped drive down the price of used cars.
Consider a two year old car may be 30% less than it was brand new, and will probably still be
under warranty.
Leasing provides lower monthly payments than buying with an auto loan.
But it's not for everybody. If you don't have money for a down payment or if you trade your car
every two or three years, you may be a good candidate for a lease.
Be careful after you’ve agreed to a deal with a salesperson. You will then be sent to the
financial manager. They are not there just for the paperwork after the sale has been made. He
or she wants to sell you high-profit financial and mechanical add-ons. These are seldom worth
the money
Finally, spend some effort shopping for the money before you shop for the car. Getting the right
deal on a car loan is just as important as getting the right deal on the car. If you plan to buy with
a loan, check your credit union or local bank quotations to find the lowest rate. Getting a preapproved
loan will give you added confidence in negotiating a good price.
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Buy A Car: The Art Of Negotiation

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When you head to the dealership, start out by being sure you are prepared. Have your research
printed out and available for reference. Be sure you are dressed appropriately and how you are
dressed does not belie what you are going to be telling the salesperson. If you are going with
your spouse, be sure you’ve decided in advance what you are willing to pay.
When you meet with the salesperson, do not give too much information. If the salesperson asks
what you are going to be doing with your old car, or if you will want financing, simply and politely
delay the discussion by saying you haven’t decided yet.
Stay focused on the car you want and do not tell the salesperson the maximum you are willing
to pay. You might say the low end of what you are willing to pay, and if the salesperson asks
what your max is, simply repeat the amount you’ve already stated.

Also, avoid getting overly excited about a car. Don’t show that you have to have this particular
car, or that you’ve wanted one your whole life. Treat buying the car the same as if you were
choosing an insurance provider: calmly looking at the pros and cons and negotiating each
individual fee.
While negotiating, do not sign anything or give any personal information, besides your name.
You do not need to sign anything until you are actually buying the car, and you do not need to
give your social security number unless and until you are getting financing.
Be certain you are getting a deal you are comfortable with, and always be willing to walk away.
There are a lot of dealerships out there, and no dealership is the only place in the world that has
a car that will work for you.
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When Should You Buy A Car?

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You should buy a car before you desperately need one. This gives you time to research
different makes and models, as well as allowing you to wait for incentive periods at the
dealership. The internet may be an excellent resource for research.
If you are buying a new car, or a car from a dealership, it can be good to go car shopping
around when the new models are coming into the dealership. The next year’s models often
come into the dealership any time between August and November, and dealers will be trying to
clear this year’s models.

On a regular basis, it can be best to head to the dealership on a day when you have a lot of
time. The negotiations can take a lot of time, and you don’t want to feel rushed. A day in the
middle of the week will be quieter at the dealership, and a salesperson may feel more pressure
to get your sale, because they have fewer customers available.
You may also want to head out to the dealership towards the end of the month. Dealers keep
track of their monthly sales, and often have monthly goals and targets. A salesperson may be
willing to make less of a profit on a car in order to meet a certain target of sales.
You do not necessarily have to buy a car during a sale in order to get the sale price. If you go
after the sale, you can still ask for the sale price.
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How To Buy Or Sell A Used Car

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You may already have a car that you would like to trade-in in order to lower the price of the car.
A car trade-in can confuse negotiations, however, as it adds another element to what may
already be very confusing car negotiations. You might also be able to get a better price if you
sell the car in a separate deal to a private purchaser or to the dealership you bought the car
A good way to make sure you will get full value from your trade in or sale is to present a very
clean car to the potential purchaser.

If you are buying a used car, it is important to do a complete visual inspection to ensure that you
are not looking at and wasting your time on a car that is a complete lemon. Just kicking the tires
is not enough.
Look for signs of odometer tampering, or for signs the car has been in an accident and had
bodywork done.
Check for rust under the wheel well, and anywhere else on the car. Make sure the tires are still
in good condition, and will last until you can afford to replace them, at least. Sit in the car, and
check for wear and tear on the upholstery, as well as for signs that someone smoked in the car.
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How To Choose And Buy A Car

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When you set out to buy a car, the first thing you want to do is research. Determine what kind of
car you want, starting from whether you want a car, a minivan, or an SUV. Do you want a hybrid
or electric car? A hybrid car has an electric motor as well as a gas motor, which definitely makes
them more fuel efficient than a regular gas car. An electric car runs off a fuel cell- there are
many new buses that run off fuel cells.

In choosing a car, you want to think about reliability, prestige, cargo space, and perhaps color. It
really depends on what is important to you and what you need.
When you go to the dealership keep in mind the kind of car you want. A dealer might try to steer
you towards a more expensive version of the car, or even a different car altogether if you are
not specific about what you want. Dealers do not always have your best interests in mind, but
they do want you to be happy, so if you stay firm, you will get what you want.
You may want to consider whether you want to lease or buy a car, a decision which really
depends on how often you buy a new car. A used car may also be the best choice for you,
especially considering how quickly cars depreciate. A car that has been leased for 6 months can
be worth considerably less than the same model year car that has been sitting on the lot. A two
year old car can be much less expensive, while still being under warranty, as well as having
many of the kinks worked out and any recalls having been done.
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8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips

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8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips . There are countless others types of insurance you can buy. Here are some
more general tips to help you get the best deal:
1. Make sure you actually need it. This seems like common sense, but it's
easy to buy more than you need. This is especially true if a salesperson
working on commissions misleads you. Before you buy, make sure you're
aware of all of the different options.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
2. Update your insurance policies as your situation changes. Kids might
move-out, you may gain more assets or income, and new opportunities to
get insurance from work or organizations may arise.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
3. Do your due diligence when researching your insurance company.
Make sure they have a good track-record of customer service and
financial stability. A short-term savings may cost you in the long-run.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
4. Read contracts and understand your policy. Then, make sure you're
following all of the rules. You don't want to pay only to find-out that the
insurance company has built-in loopholes to deny you coverage.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
5. Think and plan ahead of time. You qualify for better deals when you're
young and healthy. During this time, you can then plan financially for the

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
6. Look for ways you can gain tax benefits or other discounts. Getting a
tax deduction from a certain approach may make it the most affordable.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
7. Be aware of the resource of your State's Insurance Department. If
you're having a problem with a certain insurer, this agency may be able to
help you.

8 Best Insurance Shopping Tips
8. Focus on prevention. Quit unhealthy habits, maintain a good driving
record, and other preventive actions can help you save dramatically.
The bottom-line is that before you buy insurance do your due diligence and
make an honest assessment of your situation first. Then, once you know what
you're looking for, begin searching for the best deal. Often the internet is a great
place to search for the best policies
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Auto Insurance in Louisiana and Wisconsin

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Requirements for auto insurance will increase in Wisconsin, beginning Jan. 1, 2010, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Louisiana is expected to implement the same increase.

Both states will be raising minimum liability coverage requirements, which could cause higher premiums. Residents in Louisiana already pay some of the highest premiums in the nation.

Liability minimums will be increased to $15,000 for property damage, $50,000 for injury or death of one person, and $100,000 for injury or death of more than one person.

Both drivers and owners of vehicles will be required to show proof of insurance if asked by a police officer—whether they are in a car accident or at a traffic light. If a driver cannot show proof of insurance, he or she can be fined $10. If the driver has no insurance, however, the fine can be up to $500.
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Minding your own business

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The governments of todays UK are obsessed with meddling in peoples lives, be it in drugs, alcohol, health and safety, even hobbies and pastimes.
One of the great acts of spite from the Labour government was the hunting ban, it was a purely class driven piece of spite as a sop to those on the left of the party so that those who actually ran things could get on with ruining the country for generations.
Personally I don't have a problem with what people do in their spare times, if they want to get up in fancy dress and chase vermin around the countryside on horses and with dogs that's their affair so long as they don't ask me to pay for it and repair any damage done in the meantime by their activities.

Still we have a Labour government in charge and this activity is still being used as a class issue to try and get votes because the "evil" Tories will probably repeal the legislation Labour brought in.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is launching a campaign to boost support for the fox hunting ban.
Mr Benn is urging people to sign up on a website backing the ban.
He claims the Tories plan to make repeal of the Hunting Act "a priority". Party leader David Cameron has promised MPs a free vote on the issue.
The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance has said today's meets could be the last traditional Boxing Day hunts before the ban is repealed.
Hunting foxes with dogs was outlawed in 2005, although hounds are still allowed to follow a scent or flush out a fox, but not kill it.

'Barbaric act'
Mr Benn's campaign is being launched to coincide with the Boxing Day hunts and is backed by the actors Patrick Stewart, Jenny Seagrove and Tony Robinson.
The environment secretary said: "For David Cameron, getting the act repealed is a priority.
"He used to hunt foxes; he talked about fox hunting in his first ever speech to Parliament; and he has said that if he becomes prime minister he will get rid of the fox hunting ban.
 Note the emotive language there, "barbaric" etc, clearly designed to woo voters and paint a picture of the Tories as someone you wouldn't touch with a bargepole.
And yet the clues are still there in the text, Cameron has promised a free vote, no whips as Labour have used to force legislation through in the past. In other words it will be a vote of conscience, something Labour have foregone these days with their gutter politics and class warfare policies.
So, it's not a priority at all for Cameron, I doubt it will even be in the manifesto, though I may be wrong.
In my mind it's all about civil liberties and the libertarian in me thinks that so long as no one else is harmed why should the government interfere in any activity, it may be cruel and barbaric, but so what, it's what some people want to do and so long as they don't ride their horses through my house it's really not a major issue with me or I suspect a lot of people.

This whole hunting ban was simply an issue of Labour spite, for that reason alone it should be repealed. After that should come a repeal of the gun laws brought in after Dunblane, but then again I've always suspected that our politicians don't want the ordinary man in the street to have access to weapons in case they use them on politicians, quite happy with criminals having them though as the result of the legislation so it would seem.

Still a return to civil liberties and personal freedoms would be welcome, though I suspect that a repeal of the hunting ban would be as far as we get with the Tories, but at least it's a start.
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Merry Christmas

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To those who chose to read the ramblings of a mad Englishman, many thanks and may your Christmas's be as wonderful as mine.

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Celebrity Auto Insurance

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Celebrity Auto Insurance -The aim of the game is this. Round up as many celebrity Auto insurers as possible that will be interested in Express' camera-flashingly cheap immediate cover, red carpet-astic introductory 65% no claims discount, award ceremony nominated breakdown cover and acceptance speech proud association with 22 of the top insurers out there, and invite them all to flirt with the supposed celebrity car insurance competition - to keep the audience mildly amused - and then ask those that are still keen to walk off with the celebrity car insurance prize, to make a choice. To vote off the celebrity car insurer which in their star-struck eyes doesn't quite offer them the real deal. To sort the wheat from the chaff. The Two Ronnie's from the Chuckle Brothers so to speak.

Celebrity Auto Insurance There's nothing the rest of us love more than a celebrity. And especially ones that fall flat on their Armani-clad derrieres! (Boo! Hiss!-is it Panto season already??)... so those of us would-be A-listers here at Express insurance are gee'd up to hear that famous for being famous light entertainment presentation pack - Geordie and Geordier - are to front 'I'm a celebrity - get me some celebrity car insurance!" Remember, you heard it here first.

Celebrity Auto Insurance Only this isn't a reality show. Its reality itself. (Shock! Horror! And up to 65% No Claims Discount!) Backed up by over 180 staff in our UK call centre, our phone lines are as hot as the Priory's, and offer you far more hope for the future. With over 31 years experience in the biz, we aim to expose the celebrity car insurance cads and bag you the 3 lowest quotes on the planet. Does this sound like a ratings winner to you? If so, be sure to tune into Express Insurance right now then!
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Why celebs can’t get auto insurance

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Why celebs can’t get auto insurance - I got a letter from my insurance brokers the other day. They're threatening to revoke my scooter policy unless I write to them immediately confirming that I'm not a "television personality". What kind of a random request is that? They might just as well have written "Please confirm that you are not and have never been a member of the Moody Blues" or "Kindly send photographic evidence that you are not a

chief in the Sioux Indian tribe by return post".
Why celebs can’t get auto insurance
I called up the brokers demanding answers. "Someone saw someone with your name on the box", said the woman on the other end of the line. "Was it you?" It didn't seem like the most professional approach to checking out policy holders, but I was obliged to answer. "I don't know, it could have been I suppose," I said. "So you are a television personality then?" she said, as if she thought she was Colombo. "Well, I've appeared on telly once or twice," I said, recalling the odd occasion on
No one besides my mother is likely to have seen me more than twice on TV

which I've shambolically fleeted across the screen on the more obscure digital channels. "Well, how many times exactly?" she asked.
Why celebs can’t get auto insurance
How to answer? No one besides my own mother is likely to have seen me more than twice on TV. But maybe to this insurance company that's enough to earn TV personality status? I told her I'd get back to them in writing. She probably took this as evidence of guilt - the filthy guilt of a TV personality masquerading as an ordinary person. Why are they worried anyway? Do they think I might accidentally run over the Blue Peter dog? Or crash while giving Simon Cowell a backie to Tescos? Maybe celebrities just can't get motor insurance. That's why they go everywhere by chauffeured helicopter
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Selecting the best auto insurance company – best rates and best customer service

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Typically, new auto insurance buyers tend to choose the lowest cost provider, assuming that most providers are essentially the same. As they become more experienced, and after having made a claim or two, they become more wise to other factors that determine a good car insurance company. Let's be clear, all insurance companies are not alike.....

Selecting the best auto insurance company – best rates and best customer service
People use different criteria for choosing an auto insurer. Some base their decision on the opinions of friends, some on marketing and advertising promotions, and others simply on the cost of premiums.
Eventually, most automotive insurance buyers place the most importance on how companies treat them after filing a claim. Low premiums become much less important if a company won't pay when they should, or immediately raises rates after an accident.
What's the problem?
Many thousands of auto insurance customers are happy with their insurers. A significant number of people have been with the same insurance company for 15 years or more. However, other customers don't find their companies very satisfactory. The most frequent complaints that customers have with car insurance providers are:

* Refused claims
* Slow settlement process
* Unsatisfactory payout on claims
* Feel forced to use insurer's repair shop
* Poor repair quality
* High premiums
* Company raised rates after accident
* Lack of personal attention or compassion
* Billing, policy, and other non-claim issues
Unfortunately, most of these problems don't surface until after a claim has been filed, when it's too late to find another company. That is why it is important to do your homework before selecting an insurance provider.

If you have been involved in an accident and are being sued or are not satisfied with your insurance company, you may need to get help from an accident attorney. See our article: How to Find an Auto Accident Lawyer.
How to choose the best car insurance company
There are a number of ways you can go about choosing a good insurer.

Research consumer opinions - Consumer Reports magazine frequently surveys readers on auto insurance companies. The last large survey results were reported in the March 2006 issue. The survey measures overall customer satisfaction and claim problems. Of the 27 companies reported, satisfaction score differences between the best company and the worst company was only 16 points out of 100. This is hardly enough of a difference to make for a solid decision choice based on this information alone. Find the report on Consumer Reports' web site (a subscription fee is required) or look for the magazine at your local library.

Browse online forums - Consumer forums and automotive discussion boards often have sections in which car insurance is discussed. These sources change frequently and the quality of the information can vary widely, so don't use this as your only research source. Remember that people who have experienced problems are more likely to post comments than those who don't have problems.
Ask repair shop managers - Nobody knows about car insurance companies any better than body shops that have to deal with them. Ask the owners or administrative managers of accident repair shops about which insurers are the best to deal with – which are the least trouble when settling claims and paying for proper repairs. We've seen body shops in which auto insurance company ratings were actually posted on the wall in the waiting room. Don't forget your new-car dealer's body shop, if he has one.

Check state government data - Most states have departments that regulate insurance companies and and handle complaints against them. This may be the Attorney General's office of consumer affairs or it may be the office of the Insurance Commissioner. You can often find which auto insurance companies have the best and worse complaint rates on your state's website. Actually, it may be helpful to look at other state's web sites as well. Just be aware that most state web sites are not well designed or are out of date, and it may be somewhat difficult to find the information you need

Use broker web sites - Insurance broker web sites (see recommended sites below) are one of the best and easiest ways to compare auto insurance companies online. Brokers work with multiple insurance companies so that they can offer customers a variety of choices to meet their needs. It's easier than shopping individual companies on your own. Their services are free. Some of these broker sites contain comparative information and ratings.

Get rate quotes from as many companies as you can (quotes are free) so that you have plenty of data to compare. The more information you provide when asking for a quote, the more accurate your quote price will be. Many people overpay for their insurance simply because they do not shop around enough.

The absolute best, fastest, and easiest way to find the cheapest auto insurance rates is to get online rate quotes from muliple insurance companies and compare them. There is no other way that will let you get actual car insurance rates as easily and quickly — no other way.

After you choose a company
Many of the differences between car insurance companies are hidden in the details of their policies. Before you sign, make sure you read and understand these details. If you have questions or concerns, get it resolved before you sign. Later may be too late.

After you have selected a company, it's a good idea to reexamine your choice every year or two because company policies and rates change frequently. The best auto insurance company this year might not be the best next year.

If you change from one car insurance company to another, and have already pre-paid some of your premiums, your old insurance company will refund your unused premiums

Finding the best auto insurance company requires finding those with the best combination of rates, discounts, and customer service. Finding the best rates is quick and easy if you get online rate quotes and compare them.
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WOW..Daily Car Insurance

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Imagine learning how to get an daily car insurance on line quote. Apart from theft and natural events this can be one of the best options for basic and reasonable policies. You may want to avoid an insurance company if too many complaints have been filed against them. That’s right cheap car insurance company can be found much easier for one gender than the other. Men largely live with a prejudice that women can’t drive. There are several particular companies who cater for females.

Maintaining the clean record given you from the beginning will amount to a decrease in teen car insurance over the years but doing the reverse can cause a great increase in rates. The reason for this is because teenagers are more apt to accidents, then if they were over the age of 25. Insurance companies will insure an older vehicle for a more reasonable rate because of these facts and because an older car is less likely to be the focus of theft. Also, check out how to get cheap auto insurance for senior. So if you going to have an insurance that would result in the end that you’ll be having a good saving done. It is the quickest and easiest way to find affordable auto insurance for your children.

Insurance for a new driver or young drivers is always a little expensive, since chances of claims from these drivers are statistically quite high. Get several different quotes from different companies. License is a legal mandate and underage are not allowed to use cars until and unless they acquire it. But, if you look around with patience, you will be able to get insurance for a day under 21s without spending a fortune and without much trouble. It is not uncommon for teenagers also to avail these special forms of insurance policies. Insurance for a day under 21s is always expensive. If you explore the web methodically, you can find numerous sites that offer online cheap car insurance quotes for new and used cars as well. The goal of most parents is to make their young child to be driver safe. People, who have expensive cars, should be mentally prepared that their insurance coverage will not be very cheap.

Now, there are a few good ways to get short term car insurance under 21, and you just have to follow a couple simple and easy guidelines. Getting multiple cars covered and being loyal to an insurance company are great ways to lower the cost. You will also need to consider carefully whether you can really afford to pay the amount of deductibles stated on your policy in the event of an accident claim. For anyone under 21 insurance is often very expensive and you often have to work hard to age 17 – 25 temporary insurance. Shop around with a few ny car insurance companies. You should re-quote your insurance every six months to make sure that you are always getting the best rate.

So can you find a company that will offer you a car cheap insurance online quote if you have a couple speeding tickets or accidents on your record? Internet is of course the best way of getting the cheapest car insurance quote, and also it takes less time as in comparison to other methods of finding the above quotes. Check online with one of the websites that offers a way to compare rates from several insurance companies at one time before you purchase a policy. First, search for insurance companies that specially deal in cheap car insurance for young peoples. If you get online and do a little research, it won’t take you long to realize that you can find good deals, especially if you have multiple vehicles and drivers on the same policy. Personal injury protection to cover medical expenses for the insured driver themselves, whereas in ohio, liability coverage is only required for drivers to have. Keeping a clean driving record is the best way to find teenage auto insurance ratess. This is because these companies see most teen drivers as being more reckless and accident-prone than adults. If you take a look at the websites that specialise in offering women cheaper car insurance, you will notice the use of nice pictures, curvy images, persuasive scripts and the use of light colours and pinks. Car insurance value should be a major factor in the quest to find daily car insurance.
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Ways to achieve discount car insurance

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Insurance companies will use your postcode as a means of assessing the risk of theft or damage and where your car is stored will play a contributing part. Keeping your car in a locked garage overnight can result in lower insurance premiums compared to if you park on the street as well as providing protection against the elements.

It is always helpful if you can cut the cost of essential bills and car owners across the nation will be pleased to hear there are several ways in which you can lower the cost of your car insurance premiums.

One of the simplest ways to reduce insurance costs is to keep your car as safe as possible. The less likely your car is to be damaged or stolen, the less the insurance premium will be.

Insurance companies will use your postcode as a means of assessing the risk of theft or damage and where your car is stored will play a contributing part. Keeping your car in a locked garage overnight can result in lower insurance premiums compared to if you park on the street as well as providing protection against the elements.

As more than 50% of vehicle thefts occur during the night it makes sense to keep your car locked safely away if possible. If you don't have access to a garage or private car park then parking on a driveway is generally considered a lower risk than street parking.

When it comes to the car itself there are various ways to drive down the cost of insurance. Fitting an approved alarm and immobiliser and/or tracking device can help to lower costs as will most improvements to overall security, such as remembering to keep your car locked whenever you leave it parked.

Remember that the engine size of a car can affect insurance costs. A practical and economical car could not only save you money on fuel but may well minimise insurance costs too as cars with smaller engines and good safety records are generally in lower insurance groups.

Another tip for securing discount car insurance is to carefully assess the yearly mileage you are likely to clock up. Many insurers average the yearly mileage at 12,000 miles but if you don't drive this much then you can inform your insurer who may offer a reduction in the cost of your premium.

Take care when you're out and about and drive safely as one of the most effective ways to achieve discount car insurance is by building up a no claims discount.

Generally, the longer the period without a claim the cheaper the premium will become. Keeping your car safe and taking an interest in security can help reduce a premium further and the less your car is on the road the less likely you are to be involved in an accident so maintaining the lowest annual mileage possible is advantageous in several ways.

This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.
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Does everyone have to have auto insurance?

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Answer: Yes, automobile liability insurance, or proof of financial responsibility is required in all fifty states. Although each state sets their own limits on how much insurance is needed, these are only minimum limits and in most cases additional coverage is needed if you don't want to have to pay additional expenses out of pocket. If you have a lease or loan on your car you are usually required by the lender to have comprehensive and collision coverage in addition to the state required liability coverage.

Do I Have Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car after a Car Accident?
Having a car accident can be devastating. Not having an extra car available to drive while your car is being fixed can just add to that feeling. A motor club will not guarantee that you have a rental car so you will want to make sure rental car coverage is provided in your car insurance policy
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How does my driving record affect my insurance premium?

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Answer: The premium you pay is a direct reflection of your driving record for the past three to five years depending on the insurance company. Insurance companies order driving records from the DMV of your residence state and from other states where you've been licensed. Statistics show that drivers with tickets and accidents are more likely to have accidents than drivers with clean records.

Why is it harder to get insurance if drivers in my household have bad driving records?
Answer: Many companies will not insure you if you live with a relative who has a poor driving record. If your teenager has a poor driving record, you may have trouble getting a preferred rate because he or she is defined as an "insured" under your policy.

Some companies will exclude this person by name from the insurance policy. Many companies will not insure anyone in the family unless every driver in the household meets their requirements.
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Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would?

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Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would? Answer: This is called a misquote. Determining your premium depends on many factors, including where you live, the kind of car your drive, how much you drive, how much coverage you want, your driving record, and your age.

Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would? If an error is made in reporting any of these facts, your rates won't be quoted correctly. Misquotes can also happen if your agent makes a mistake in applying the company's rating system. Auto insurance misquotes can happen when your application information differs from your actual driving record.

Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would? Companies ask states' motor-vehicle divisions to verify the records of drivers they insure. If you told your insurance agent you have a perfect driving record, and you don't, your insurance company will charge higher premiums than your agent quotes.

Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would? To avoid misquotes, provide accurate information about your driving record and any other facts affecting the cost of insurance, such as the make of your car or how far you commute to work. Verify all information before signing the application.
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Auto Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

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What are Car Financial Responsibility Laws?
This is the state law that says you have to prove that you are financially able to pay for anything you may be responsible for while driving your car.
What Happens if I Choose Not to Purchase Car Insurance and Still Drive My Car?
That depends on the state you live in. Most states have stringent laws about having car insurance and if you don't choose to follow these laws by not purchasing car insurance, there can be tough penalties and fines.
Here are some common automobile insurance frequently asked questions. Just click on the question you are interested in to find the answer.

Is anyone who drives my car covered?
What are the best liability policy limits?
What is the difference between comprehensive and collision?
What are the minimum requirements?
Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would?
How does my driving record affect my insurance premium?
Why is it harder to get insurance with bad driving records?
My car was totaled and my policy did not pay for all of my car, why?
What happens if my loan was more than my company says my car is worth?
My teenager just got his license, does he need to be insured?
What do insurance companies consider when deciding cancellations?
Does everyone have to have auto insurance?
Do I Have Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car after a Car Accident?
Having a car accident can be devastating. Not having an extra car available to drive while your car is being fixed can just add to that feeling. A motor club will not guarantee that you have a rental car so you will want to make sure rental car coverage is provided in your car insurance policy.
Do I Have Insurance Coverage for a Rental Car after a Car Accident?
Having a car accident can be devastating. Not having an extra car available to drive while your car is being fixed can just add to that feeling. A motor club will not guarantee that you have a rental car so you will want to make sure rental car coverage is provided in your car insurance policy.
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