Top Ten Car Buying Mistakes

May 18, 2010

Lots of people buy a new car, and then regret their purchase soon thereafter. If you don’t take a lot of precautions, you will be a car buying victim instead of a smart buyer. So, here are the top ten mistakes that buyers make when shopping for a new car. These mistakes are not listed in order of importance…but don’t miss the message in every mistake.

1. Impulse buying

An impulse is an emotion. The worst reason to buy a car is emotion. Car sales people are taught that they must try everything they can to sell you a car during your first visit. Statistically, they know that if they don’t, they won’t get a second chance. If you pull into a dealer lot to just “kick a few tires,” but you have not sworn to yourself that you will not buy on that visit, you’re doomed. Don’t say things like “I love this car” or “I’ve got to have this car.” Don’t get your emotions involved in this buying decision. If you’re talking too much, the car salesman will read that as buying signals. And salesmen are much better at clubbing you with your own buying signals than you are at resisting them.

Tons of people make impulse car purchases. You cannot do your research and wise shopping if you make an impulse buy.

2. Lack of research

Goes hand in hand with an impulse buy. You need to go online and research about cars, including:
a. safety
b. recalls
c. resale value
d. maintenance and repairs
e. range of car prices for the make and model you want

Research will give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

3. Unrealistic about your car needs – new vs. used.

Many car shoppers grossly overestimate their needs. Instead of buying a car that reflects their actual driving experience, they buy a vehicle that feeds their future plans or perceived future needs. For instance, a buyer who plans to own a boat and trailer may buy an SUV or heavy pickup. But he does not own the boat YET. Overall, it’s best to buy a vehicle for your present needs, not your future desires.

4. Not calculating the true cost of a hybrid

Hybrid vehicles, like the Prius, are priced far above a regular gas or diesel. When you subtract the cost of the regular vehicle from the hybrid price, you’ll see the premium you pay for the hybrid. Now, will the fuel savings pay for themselves over the number of months you own the vehicle? Hardly ever! Most times you’ll pay more overall for a hybrid vehicle. Gas and diesel vehicles are becoming more and more efficient. Remember, over 50% of the vehicles in all of Europe have diesel engines, and it’s been that way for 50 years. Must be a reason, eh?

5. Not shopping for car insurance before the car purchase

Here’s a big no-no. How many times have you called your insurance agent and gotten a quote on the car you WANT to buy? If you’re upgrading from an average car to a different kind of car…like going from a Toyota Altima to a Corvette…the increase in insurance premiums could make the new car purchase unaffordable. Unfortunately, most people find this out AFTER they buy that shiny new car. But just going from an older car to a new car could drastically increase your insurance costs. What if your old car didn’t have collision coverage, but your new car will? That could mean hundreds of dollars in added premiums.

6. Talking trade-in during negotiations for the new car purchase

Don’t include trade-in for your old car in the new car deal. It’s too easy for the car dealer to structure your deal to look like you’re getting much more for your trade-in. Make your car deal apart from any trade-in consideration. Then, get the trade-in offer and deduct it from the total. Also give serious consideration to selling your old car yourself. You’ll get much more money for your old car.

7. Dealer financing

This is a mine field, and the dealers have set the mines in your path. The most dangerous place in a dealership is the Finance and Insurance (F&I) office. The F&I office accounts for a big percentage of the total profits of a dealership. You must be wary of every offer here…financing, warranty, insurances like life insurance that pays off your loan balance. I recommend that you decline everything offered from an F&I office except a low interest rate on a loan of no more than 36 months.

8. Not buying at the end of the month and end of the year.

At the end of the month…any month…the salesmen and dealership are trying to maximize their bonuses and incomes. You’ll get your best deals if you buy in the last couple days of the month. The same goes for end-of-year purchases. Dealerships are desperately trying to get rid of last year’s models, and finish the year strongly. So, when’s the absolute best time to buy a car? The last couple of days in December of any year. You can hardly lose if you’re a smart buyer.

9. Leasing a car

Do you know why you see so many auto ads on TV that feature low lease payments? Because the car companies and dealers make a TON of money on a lease…far more then when they just sell a car. The lease agreement you sign is written totally in favor of the lease company. You never own the car, you only rent it for a number of months. You are responsible for maintenance and insuring the car. Plus, your lease limits you to a certain maximum number of miles driven. If you exceed the limits, the mileage penalties are staggering. I’ve looked at leases every time I’ve bought a car since the early 80s, and I’ve never once found a scenario in which I could come out ahead with a lease.

10. New vs. Used.

Most people do not need a brand new car. When you buy a new car, you get hammered on depreciation in the first year. Sometimes the value of your car drops as much as 20% the moment you drive your new ride off the dealer lot. The car lots are jammed with excellent used cars. You can save a bunch of money by buying a used car. But you won’t know that for sure unless you do some research. Compare the TOTAL cost of a new car versus the used car, including finance costs, maintenance and insurance. Most times, the used car will win…even when dealers offer zero percent car loans.

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Buying cars are some of the largest, most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. You might only buy one house in your lifetime, but you’ll likely buy many cars. Become a smart buyer and you’ll keep tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Top Ten States For Staged Auto Accidents

January 11, 2010

My previous article about staged auto accidents is found at: Staged Auto Accidents Best to read these articles together.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a total of 70,844 Questionable Claims (QC) were submitted within in 2007 and rose to 74,676 QCs in 2008 (a 5.4% increase).

On the national level, the first quarter of 2009, 1129 staged accident claims were referred for further investigation, according to NICB. This is a 34% increase over the same time period in 2008, which had 845.

Top 10 states for “Questionable Claims” by loss in 2008 were:

1.California (15,609)
2.Florida (6,508)
3.Texas (6,455)
4.New York (6,378)
5.Michigan (2,691)
6.Georgia (2,244)
7.Illinois (2,231)
8.North Carolina (2,194)
9.Pennsylvania (1,881)
10.Arizona (1,854)

Staged auto accidents are no accident, and they are not victimless crimes. They are designed to receive payment for personal injuries and all the costs involved in a seemingly innocent fender-bender. They endanger lives and drive up insurance costs for everyone.

•Fraud costs insurance companies millions of dollars a year in direct and in-direct expenses.
•Every dollar saved on fraudulent auto claims is a dollar spent on protecting safe and law-abiding drivers.

This report was provided to the media from Allstate Insurance.

Best P&C Insurance Companies: How Do You Find The Best?

October 14, 2009

In 2008, The Department of Insurance of the State of New York released a report showing the 40 P&C insurance companies that had the most complaints. We did an article about this previously. We showed the ten worst companies, the ones that got the most complaints. But we did not feature the ones that got the least number of complaints in New York, a tough insurance market.

Here is the list of New York’s best P&C insurance companies as determined by the least number of complaints, higher number of complaints as you go down the list:

1. Long Island Insurance
2. Infinity Property & Casualty
3. Interboro Mutual
4. Tri-State Consumer Ins. Group
5. American International Group (AIG)
6. Safeco Insurance Group
7. Countrywide Insurance
8. White Mountains Group, OneBeacon, Esurance, Auto One Ins.
9. State Wide Insurance
10. Hannover RE Group, Clarendon National (no longer writing business)

You may find that some of these companies are only local or regional and that you cannot do business with them where you live. But notice that AIG, Safeco, OneBeacon and Esurance are national companies that got fewer complaints.

It’s not as easy to list a Top Ten Best P&C Insurance companies for America. We would have to contact all 50 state Departments of Insurance and find out which insurers had the least complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners presently does not have any such report. In addition, complaints are not the only criteria that should be used to evaluate an insurance company.

Think about this statement, my friends.

The only thing that truly matters about your insurance is what happens when you submit a claim. It doesn’t matter how good your agent is…or if the company sends you a calendar every year…or buys you dinner. It really doesn’t matter if you pay a low premium or a higher premium. Claims handling is EVERYTHING!!

    Claims are about KEEPING PROMISES.

When the insurance companies don’t keep their promises, the complaints pile up!

Lowest premiums are not the only criterion you should use, either. Shopping for insurance is confusing and complicated. Determining if your quotes are “apples and apples” comparisons takes strict attention to detail.

You may need the help of a dedicated, experienced agent to determine your insurance needs and buy the right policy. Still, my recommendation is to shop widely for your insurance needs. Get quotes from captive agents (who only write for one company) and independent agents (who write for multiple companies).

Getting quotes on the internet makes shopping for insurance very easy these days. But look for an insurance quote service that can give you competitive quotes PLUS strategies on submitting insurance claims that will help you collect thousands of dollars more in your claim settlements.

So, which insurance company should you do business with?

1. Choose a company that has an A+ or A rating from the insurance rating services like A.M. Best.
2. Get multiple insurance quotes at least every two years, then choose the company whose policies give you the most coverage for the least money. Don’t worry about company loyalty. The companies don’t care and neither should you.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who experience a loss of any kind, you’ll need to know how to handle your insurance claim so that you maximize your recovery. You will need to know how to take control of your insurance claim, and add hundreds or even thousands more dollars to your claim settlement. For more information, check out:

For the only online insurance quote service that provides you competitive quotes and claims strategies, check out:

You can win the insurance game if you have the right information. So go and win!

Automobile Accidents: Four Tips To Avoid Car Versus 18-Wheeler Accidents

June 28, 2009

Automobile Accidents between cars and big trucks favor the trucks. It’s just a matter of physics, really. Cars weigh 2-3 tons. Tractor-trailers have a weight limit of 80,000 pounds, which is 40 tons. An 80,000 pound truck, traveling at 55 miles per hour, generates 1 million foot-pounds of forward energy. Getting hit by a moving object that weighs 20 times as much as your vehicle is a recipe for death and destruction.

Here are four tips on avoiding accidents involving your vehicle and “Big Rigs:”

1. When you’re driving near a big rig, make sure that you can see his mirrors. If you can see his mirrors, then you know that he can also see you. Big rigs have enormous blind zones. If your car is in his blind zone, the trucker doesn’t know you are there.

2. Don’t stay next to a big rig while you drive. Either get behind him or move forward of him. Give him the chance to see you, and you’ll lower your chance of getting hit by his vehicle.

3. Trucks need long distances to stop. If you are in traffic, do not merge into the lane directly in front of a big rig unless you are going faster than the trucker. I’ve handled many accidents…some which were fatalities…in which a small car darted into the lane in front of a big rig and then slowed down suddenly. The trucker didn’t have any chance to slow down and avoid striking the vehicle directly in front of him.

4. Turn on your headlights while driving. “Running Lights,” as they are called, increase your visibility. Tests done on cars with running lights by the Society of Automotive Engineers showed a 38% reduction in collisions. Test results by Avis Rent-a-Car showed a 64% reduction in car damages, and a 69% decrease in repair costs for cars using running lights.

If you’ll follow these four tips, you’ll drastically lower the chance that you will have a traffic accident involving a big rig.

Drive Defensively! Watch out for the other guy!

Now, I’d like to offer you two special reports at no cost. One is “5 Things To Do When Shopping For Car Insurance,” and the other is “5 Things To Avoid When Shopping For Car Insurance.” Each one is a $9.95 value, but free to you when you sign up for my newsletter at the website address below.

P.S. WARNING!! Do Not Buy Insurance, or Submit an
Insurance Claim Without Visiting This Website!

check out: Get Special Reports

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New book, “Commercial Insurance Claim Secrets REVEALED!” coming soon!

Insurance Quotes: Save Hundreds Of Dollars, Prevent Financial Disaster

June 22, 2009

Insurance quotes are a terrific way to help lower your monthly expenditures. I used a quote service earlier this year and saved $590 on my homeowners and car insurance package.

In today’s economy millions of people have lost their jobs. Millions more will lose jobs as the economy worsens. Millions of unemployed persons have stopped looking for new jobs, which skews the national unemployment figures, and makes the unemployment rate appear smaller than it actually is.

Some people have had to accept pay cuts just to keep their jobs. Add to that the number of unemployed people who just closed an economy-sensitive business.

I have a good friend who is a home designer. She has been in business for over 25 years, and was a nationally-renowned designer. In 2008, her business stopped like turning off a water faucet. She has just gone out of business. Will her business ever come back? No one knows.

Colleges and universities across America just finished commencement ceremonies, where tens of thousands of young graduates got their degree and a handshake. However, job prospects look bleak for this graduating class. According to an ABC News story, last year over 51% of graduates had a job when they left school. This year, the number is only 20%. But they still live in homes and drive cars every day.

An increasing number of people are allowing their insurance policies to lapse, or they are cancelling them outright. They simply made a decision that they cannot pay the premiums anymore.

What a horrible and tragic decision! Cancel your cell phone…your cable TV…your internet connection…your gym membership…your electrical service. But don’t go without insurance!

“Cancel my home’s electrical service??” I hear you sputter. “Have you lost your mind?”

Listen to me. You could temporarily live without electrical service in your home and your life would not be destroyed. But just have ONE insurance loss without coverage, and your financial life could easily be destroyed for the rest of your life.

A fire, windstorm or flood could wipe out your home or business. An auto accident could destroy your vehicle. If the accident is your fault, the claimant could sue you for damages, which could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In every example shown above, those people have homes, cars and businesses. In the area of auto ownership, every state in the USA and every Canadian province requires auto insurance by law. So, if you cancel your auto insurance, not only are you without coverage, but you are also committing a misdemeanor in most jurisdictions.

In addition, if your home, business or vehicle is financed, your lender requires you keep Property coverage on the property at all times. If the lender finds out that you have cancelled your coverage, they likely have the right to declare you in default on your loan, and require payment of the balance. They could repossess your car, home or business. At the very least, they could purchase coverage on your car, home or business property for the loan balance and charge you for it. This is called “forced-placed coverage,” and is very expensive, inferior coverage.

Before you make a choice to cancel your insurance policy, stop and consider getting insurance quotes that could lower your insurance premiums.

The process of getting insurance quotes is simple and IT COSTS YOU NOTHING! All you have to do is go online and use the search term “Insurance Quotes.” You’ll find hundreds of quote websites, all eager to get that quote for you.

Simply fill out an easy information form, giving the quote services details about what you want to insure and submit the form. Within minutes, you’ll begin receiving contacts from agents and insurance companies who want to compete for your business. Make sure that the coverage quoted are the same, and choose which vendor offers the best deal. Most times, the agent will do all the paperwork for you if you are switching from one company to another. Then, choose your new insurance company and breath easier with YOUR SAVINGS!!

My Insurance Quote website will get you great insurance quotes and also give you valuable claim strategies if you have a loss. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Think like a claims adjuster! No other insurance quote website can give you great rates AND claim strategies that WORK EVERY TIME!!

Get Insurance Quotes and Claim Strategies at:

Auto Insurance: Is “Pay-As-You-Drive” The Next Big Thing?

April 24, 2009

Do you own a car and drive very little? Perhaps your situation is like this:

• You are elderly and only drive to and from the market.
• You live and work in a small town, or work close to your home.
• You travel a lot, and your car is parked at home for days or weeks at a time.
• You are in the military, and deployed outside the US for many months at a time.
• You own a pickup truck that you only use on weekends to run errands. (that’s me)

“Pay-As-You-Drive” (PAYD) is the concept of linking the amount you pay for auto insurance to the number of miles you drive each year. The more you drive, the more you pay. The less you drive, the less you would pay.

Drivers would gain the most savings from Liability and Collision coverage. If a person carried Comprehensive insurance (fire, theft, glass breakage, etc.) on their vehicle, that likely would not change much. A car doesn’t have to be moving for there to be damages under Comprehensive coverage.

There are various ways that insurers would verify mileage under a PAYD program. Some would use GPS tracking systems that automatically tabulate and report mileage. Some use odometer checks or maintenance records.

The concept is becoming more popular in many states. Some insurers are already offering PAYD discount programs in most states. For example, Progressive Insurance and GMAC Insurance presently offer PAYD policies. Progressive ties mileage verification to GPS, and GMAC uses the OnStar system built into many GM automobiles.

PAYD has gained a strong foothold in Europe, with insurers from the UK to Italy offering the program.

Giving people a financial reward for driving less is good ecological and social policy. As with any new program, the devil is in the details, but it is very clear that the “pros” far outweigh the “cons.”

Issues relating to the “Pay-As-You-Drive” concept include:
1. Insurers must give appropriate discounts
2. Discounts must be high enough to motivate people to drive less
3. Miles driven must be monitored without violating people’s privacy

The Brookings Institute issued a report in July 2008 that estimates that the universal adoption of pay-as-you-drive plans would lead to a savings of $270 per vehicle for two-thirds of American households.

Would an annual savings of $270 be a sufficient incentive for the average American to switch to PAYD insurance? Time will tell.

Check with your insurance company to see if they presently offer PAYD coverage. Or, check with your insurance agent to see if he writes PAYD coverage. You could save some bucks!

UK Vehicle Breakdown Coverage: Europeans Have The Advantage

April 20, 2009

You’re all familiar with insurance policies on your auto or commercial vehicle. Those policies exclude mechanical breakdown.

You’re all familiar with Road Service memberships, or Towing and Car Rental Endorsements that you place on your auto policies.

Well, European insurers have bridged the gap between those coverages with a product called “Breakdown Cover.” Breakdown Cover is a full Europe-wide rescue and recovery service for both breakdown and accident.

Imagine going out for the day with the family to spend time together and your car breaks down on the way. This will ruin your plans and leave you by the road for hours until you can get the car fixed, not to mention costing a fortune. By adding Breakdown Cover to your auto policy, you can ensure that if your vehicle breaks down, you will be back on the road in the shortest amount of time. If your car cannot be fixed at the side of the road, you will be taken back home or to the garage where it will be fixed while you wait.

With Breakdown Cover, no matter what happens, help is less than an hour away.

If your vehicle is immobilized as a result of mechanical breakdown, fire, theft or attempted theft, Breakdown Cover will arrange and pay for:

• roadside repair (including one hour of labor) or recovery to a suitable repairer or your home
• up to one hour of assistance to try to repair the vehicle
• if the vehicle cannot be repaired at the scene, to arrange for it to be taken, with the driver and passengers, to a suitable garage for repair at your cost
• if the vehicle cannot be repaired the same day, it will arrange for:
– the vehicle, transport of the driver and up to six passengers to be taken home or to your destination and, at your request, the vehicle will be taken to a garage of your choice within 15 miles, or alternatively;
– we can provide one nights hotel accommodation for the driver and passengers, or
– a replacement hire vehicle for up to 24 hours
• chauffeur to your home if the sole driver is injured or ill and is unable to drive
• a message service, informing up to two people of your breakdown
• repatriation of driver, car and up to six passengers to your country, following an accident abroad, where the car cannot be repaired in time for your return home.

Don’t Be Misled! This Is More Than Towing Coverage

The main reason people do not add this inexpensive coverage to their Auto policy is that they think it’s just roadside assistance or towing service. But you can see here that Breakdown Cover is much more than towing coverage.

Strategy for Breakdown Cover

1. Call your insurance agent and add this valuable cover to your auto policy.

2. Go to any insurance quote service online and you’ll likely find Breakdown Cover. Simply fill out the online form to get a quote. Once you find the combination of best coverage and best price, purchase the Cover.

3. Once you receive your Breakdown Cover policy, take the time to read it carefully. It’s always best to know your coverage before you need to use it.