Auto Warranty Plans
An auto warranty is an agreement between the owner of the vehicle and a warranty company. The warranty company agrees to pay for repairs, identified in advance, during the specified warranty period. A warranty period is generally based on car mileage; anywhere from one thousand to several tens of thousands of miles. The longer the coverage, the higher the price of the auto warranty. Warranties are often purchased in lump sum amounts, but certain companies also offer monthly payment plans.
Auto warranties are generally considered a wise purchase, since the cost of car repairs can easily exceed thousands of dollars. However, that reasoning only holds true if the auto warranty covers the repairs needed. Auto warranty contracts have a lot of fine print. Understanding the scope of coverage is imperative to making a wise purchase. You also need to make sure the company offering the auto warranty is reputable – a warranty company that goes out of business will not be there to issue auto claim payments. Simply put, not every auto warranty is created equal.
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Auto Warranty Reviews
CARCHEX has a solid, comprehensive, easy-to-follow website that is full of helpful information. They are a highly rated company with many endorsements and positive consumer feedback. CARCHEX offers a strong array of service plans and is highly recommended.
Warranty Direct is a 30 year old company offering a long list of extended auto warranty plans to meet your needs. Rated highly by several independent agencies, customer service is a strong focus at Warranty Direct.
Endurance Warranty Services provides three different extended auto warranty plans. We liked their flexible premium payment schedule, 24-hour roadside assistance, and 30 day money back guarantee. They also have an A+ rating with the BBB. Read More.
AA AUTO PROTECTION
AA Auto Protection offers six extended warranty plans. They are a broker, thereby representing several companies that underwrite the warranties they sell. Their customer service representatives, while friendly enough, were not the most professional in speech and manner.
Before agreeing to purchase an auto warranty, you need to be sure to consider the following items:
- Repair Coverage. Will the auto warranty plan cover the costly repairs that may be needed?
- Cost. How does the cost of one auto warranty company compare to the next? Are you getting what you’re paying for?
- Reputation. If and when you have an auto repair claim, will the auto warranty company stand behind you and your claim?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best auto warranty plans available today. We hope you find these reviews helpful in finding the best auto warranty that fits your needs!
The Basics of Auto Warranties
Cars are expensive investments, whether you like to purchase new or pre-owned. In protecting that investment and to avoid future repair expenses on your car, you may want to consider purchasing an auto warranty.
Most new and some used cars are covered by some sort of warranty when purchased. For example, new cars are usually covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. These warranties vary greatly and are limited in duration. They may cover a variety of repairs until either a time limit or mileage limit such as three years or 36,000 miles. Once you reach that time or mileage limit, the warranty will either totally expire or much of what it covers will be void.
Some manufacturers also offer various program warranties on specific used or pre-owned cars, usually called certified used or something similar, that extend the original manufacturer’s warranty or parts of the warranty.
If you plan on keeping the car past the life of the manufacturer’s warranty, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty. Extended warranties are insurance policies against expensive, unforeseen repairs. In essence, extended warranties are actually service contracts. They cover expenses incurred that your warranty doesn’t cover.
Unlike manufacturer’s warranties, extended warranties are purchased separately from your car. They can be purchased either through the original manufacturer or through a third-party, independent warranty company. In some cases, you’ll receive offers to purchase extended warranties in the mail or over the phone from the manufacturer just as the original manufacturer’s warrantee is expiring.
Extended warranties are all different. They each differ on what repairs are covered, how much is covered, duration of the coverage and cost of the warranty. Before purchasing any extended warranty, determine what is still covered on the warranty you possess, determine how long past the life of the warranty you’ll keep the car, what you want covered and for how long.
When researching the details of the warranty you want to purchase, look for information on the policy’s deductible, whether the policy is transferable if you sell the car and whether repairs can be done anywhere or only with specific shops. Also, look for specifics on what is covered and what is not. For instance, does the warranty cover breakdown of parts as well as wear and tear? A warranty that only covers breakdown requires the part to break before the warranty will pay to replace it. A wear and tear policy will cover parts that need to be replaced because they are too worn to work efficiently.
Purchasing an extended warranty can be a smart investment. Don’t forget to research the warranty specification and the companies offering them online before making the purchase.
How To Get Affordable Car Insurance
Do Some Homework and Don’t Settle for the First Deal
10/20/2011 – By Michelle V. Rafter, Contributor
If you lose your job, take a pay cut or encounter another kind of financial hardship, affordable auto insurance quickly turns from nice to necessity. While it’s easy enough to find companies offering cut-rate car insurance, is that the best way to go?
Not really, according to consumer watchdogs and insurance experts. To find the lowest possible rates from an insurer that’ll be there when you need it, learn what type of coverage you must carry, research the reputations of insurance companies and take advantage of every possible discount for which you’re eligible, experts say. They also recommend checking out pay-as-you-drive policies that peg premiums to how many miles you put on your car each year. Finally, if you’re eligible, look into low-cost auto insurance programs that such states as California, Hawaii and New Jersey offer to people with very low incomes.
When it comes to buying affordable car insurance, you’re your own best advocate. At the same time, it’s not always easy to take on that role, says J. Robert Hunter, a former Texas insurance commissioner and insurance director at the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America in Washington. Don’t settle for the first insurance company or agent you find, Hunter says. Shop around. “That’s how big buyers of insurance do it,” he says. “They put it out for competitive bids. That’s what you should do, too.”
Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding the lowest rates without getting ripped off:
1. Start with the car. What you pay for comprehensive and collision coverage depends on the year, make and model of the car you drive. Generally speaking, the newer, more expensive the vehicle, the higher the premium. Rates for comprehensive and collision coverage don’t vary much, so if you can’t afford to pay a lot for insurance and you’re in the market for a car, buy one that’s inexpensive.
2. Know your limits. Most states have set minimums for liability insurance coverage, both for bodily injury and property damage. Look up coverage minimums here or on your state insurance commission’s Web site. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners lists insurance commissions in all 50 states and U.S. territories. If you’re taking out a loan to purchase a new or used car, the lender will likely require you to carry a certain level of comprehensive and collision coverage, according to the NAIC.
3. Take the highest possible deductible. Want an easy way to lower your premium? Take a high deductible. By opting for an annual deductible of $1,000 instead of $250, you’ll pay less up front, but should you be responsible for an accident, you’ll foot more of the bill before insurance payments kick in.
4. Check your credit score. Some states allow insurers to take your credit history into account when compiling what’s called an insurance credit score, which they use to calculate your premium. Bad credit because of overdue bills or a personal bankruptcy means you could end up paying more for auto coverage. To improve your insurance credit score, pay your bills on time, monitor your credit report and do anything you can to fix problems that could be lowering your score.
5. Narrow the field. Use the process of elimination to come up with three or four reputable insurance companies or agents to approach for quotes. Start at your state insurance commission’s Web site, which usually lists several dozen of the area’s top insurers. Choose the half dozen or so companies with the lowest prices for coverage that’s closest to what you need. Next, check the reputations of insurers by going to the NAIC’s Consumer Information Source Web site to find the “complaint ratios” for each. Complaint ratios show the number of complaints that consumers filed against a company in a given year and then compare this to the company’s share of all premiums for a specific type of auto policy during that period. The national median is 1.0, and highly rated companies can score well below that.
Here’s exactly how to see where your candidate companies stand. In the search box on the right side of the Consumer Information Source page, type in the name of the insurance company you want to research, your state and “Property/Casualty” for the statement type. From the results page, click on “Closed Complaints.” To see complaint ratios for the company’s auto insurance policies, choose “Closed Complaint Ratio Report” and “Private Passenger.”
If a company’s ratio is substantially higher than the median, go back to your state insurance commission’s Web site to see if regulators have taken action against them. With that information, whittle your list down to the three or four insurers with the lowest complaints. Then contact them directly. Consumers who are really financially strapped to the extent of not having Web access at home for this research can ask a friend or relative with Internet access for help, or use free Internet service at a public library.
6. Find an agent. If the insurance companies you’ve identified as possibilities sell directly to customers, you can plug information into a form on their Web sites, get a quote and have someone contact you. If the companies sell through an agent network, ask friends or family who they use, or go back to your state insurance commissioner’s Web site to look up agents in your area. Give anyone you contact specific details about the coverage you want and let them know you’re comparison shopping. “Say, ‘I’ve talked to this company and got a quote for $480. Can you beat it?'” says Hunter, with the Consumer Federation of America. “Then you’ve put them to the test.”
7. Grab those discounts. Insurers offer a multitude of discounts, including lower rates for drivers with short commutes, retirees, students with good grades or vehicles with safety devices such as car alarms or motorized seatbelts. If you’re over 55, you could lower your premium by 10 percent by passing a defensive driving course, according to the Insurance Information Institute. When you’re talking to agents, don’t forget to inquire about the group discounts that some insurers offer to members of professional organizations or other groups. Companies including State Farm, Auto Club of Southern California and Progressive have begun offering pay-as-you drive discounts, with premiums tied to your annual mileage, with a cap at approximately 19,000 miles. In many of these programs, you report your mileage online or to your agent when your policy’s up for renewal.
8. Consider opting out of some but not all coverage. If you drive an older car and own it outright, consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage. If the vehicle is really old, you could be paying more in insurance than what it’s worth. But hold onto that liability insurance. It’s illegal in most states to drive without it, and insurers in some states charge significantly higher premiums if you let coverage lapse, even if you haven’t been driving.
9. Investigate state-run low-cost insurance programs. If you live in California, Hawaii or New Jersey, and if your household income is close to or less than the poverty level, you may qualify for state-run low-cost or no-cost insurance programs. Policies under the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program, for example, cost less than $400 a year and cover about 12,000 low-income drivers at any given time, according to Doug Heller, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group in Santa Monica, California. He expects more people to sign up as a new state law takes effect that lets agents sell the program online for the first time. “That’s important not just for people who can get online from their homes, but for agencies that provide resources for low-income families,” Heller says. Lawmakers in Nevada and Michigan recently proposed or approved pilots for similar programs.
10. Assess insurance needs and premium costs annually. Life isn’t static, and your auto insurance premiums shouldn’t be either. Review your policy once a year, especially if you’ve moved or switched to a job that has you driving more or less. A review is also a good time to check on whether you’re eligible for additional discounts.
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Best Insurance Companies 2017: Customers rate today’s top carriers
Jennifer Shelton – Last updated: Nov. 9, 2016
It s easy to feel like you got your money s worth from a delicious meal or a much-anticipated vacation, but what about when it comes something you don t necessarily want but need like which are the best insurance companies?
Fortunately for you, there are people like us who earn that money by combing through information about insurance companies (and actually really enjoy doing it).
Each year, Insure.com s Best Insurance Companies Survey reveals the 20 best auto insurance companies and the 15 best insurers for health, home and life insurance.
So instead of worrying that you re not getting the best that our hard-earned money can buy, you can enjoy that sweet satisfaction that comes with being a savvy consumer.
Auto, health and home insurers were ranked based on the ratings from surveyed policyholders in the categories of customer service, claims service, value for price, plan to renew, and would recommend. These five weighted categories reflected the priorities customers ranked the highest when considering insurance needs.
Our survey is a great tool in helping alleviate the anxiety of wondering if there s something better out there that you re missing, says Jennifer Shelton, managing editor of Insure.com. You might ask five or six family members for recommendations or spend hours online or on the phone. We ve asked more than 3,700 people, and in one glance, you can make the best determination for your needs.
Best auto insurance companies
Companies rate factors different, so variables — such as road construction, crime rates and accident frequency in your city, which change from year to year — can make a difference in the way a company would quote a policy. One company might rate the area in which you live more favorably than another, so it s always worth comparing quotes at least every couple of years so you can take advantage of best rates available.
For 2017, USAA reclaimed the top spot for auto insurance. The insurer has established reputation for treating its insurance members very well, but maybe that s because not just any John or Jane Doe can sign up. USAA requires military affiliation in order to have an account.
Auto Club of Southern California took second place this year, and while it is a state-specific insurer, the AAA affiliate insures more than six million members. Rounding out the top three is another AAA insurer: CSAA Insurance Group. Don t be fooled by the name; CSAA doesn t just service the state of California. The insurer writes coverage in 23 states plus the District of Columbia.
It shouldn t discourage you that the top three companies are affiliated with organizations. First off, USAA has a number of ways to show military association. And while the Auto Club of Southern California does require a AAA membership, CSAA does not, so anyone can purchase an insurance policy. However, you could also become a member of AAA and reap the additional benefits that come with that, such as road service.
Residents of the Golden State aren t short of choices, but going with an insurer who is completely focused and familiar with one of the most densely populated areas of the country seems to be a good choice.
Best health insurance companies
Health care in the U.S. can be an overwhelming field to navigate, so finding a company with which you can feel satisfied and cared for is like winning the Olympic Gold Medal at Adulting. Whether you have insurance through your employer, the Marketplace, or an individual policy, familiarizing yourself with the players in the game and their plan offerings and can help you make better choices come open enrollment.
Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates appeared to have done a good job keeping consumer happy this year. Florida Blue and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan took the number one and number two spots, both earning 4.75 stars for customer service — the highest in the health survey.
A New York-based provider, EmblemHealth, received the third spot on our health insurance survey.
Between these three state-specific health insurers, they service over 12 million members of the 289 million Americans with some form of health insurance.
Best home insurance companies
Car insurance commercials constantly urge you to switch and chances are — unless you are an undiscovered superhero you re using your health care benefits a couple of times a year. But homeowners insurance is often not thought of much past the requirement to have it with your mortgage loan or in the unfortunate event of a home disaster. Your home insurance protects what is likely your most valuable asset. Understand your needs or your current policy, then compare the options carefully, and rest a little easier.
After earning the top spot in the auto category, USAA earned its second first-place finish this year with an overall score of 97.5, the highest score of the entire survey.
The distance between first and second place was the widest in the home category with a seven-point difference. Chubb has a reputation as the go-to company for high-end insurance needs, and it s high and consistent scores would indicate its clients are pleased with the result. Currently, the runner-up writes coverage in 31 states.
Allstate came in just a sliver behind Chubb with an overall score of 90.3, despite the nationwide insurer earning a perfect five in claims processing,
Best life insurance companies
Due to the unique nature of life insurance products, claims processing and likelihood of renewal are omitted from the scoring. The categories of customer service, value for price, and would recommend are the weighted factors measured in ranking the best life insurance companies.
In the only category where national and non-state or member companies reigned supreme, Voya Financial, formerly ING, came out on top this year in the life insurance category with a stellar overall score of 97.1 and a perfect five stars in customer service. The multi-line insurer, State Farm, came in second, and John Hancock Life Insurance finishes the top three.
Smaller companies may be keeping customers more satisfied
The overall trend observed is that smaller, leaner companies specializing in their particular line or region seems to be more successful at keeping their customers happier than those that are large enough to spread to every type of coverage and financial product. That said, there were a couple of successful Goliaths.
Penny Gusner, consumer analyst for Insure.com notes, It s remarkable that State Farm and Allstate are able to maintain such high marks in customer service. It s not uncommon to see companies as large and with such diverse products lose the ability to keep customer service at the heart of the company values.
Insure.com commissioned Op4G to survey more than 3,700 insurance customers nationwide in June 2016. The survey collected customer ratings for 20 leading companies in the auto category and 15 leading companies in each of the home, health and life categories. Only current customers of the insurers on our lists were surveyed, and the survey was not open to the general public on the Insure.com website.
Auto, home and health insurers were ranked according to a weighted 5-point measurement of the following factors: customer service, claims processing, value for price, would recommend and would renew. Life insurers were rated on a weighted 5-point measurement on customer service, value for price, and would recommend. Weighted measurements were derived from surveyed policyholders rank of prioritization of these factors.
The A.M. Best ratings, discounts and coverage options noted in the survey do not affect the scores, but are provided as a supplementary resource.
Insure.com makes these ratings freely available via this site. The views and opinions expressed by users do not reflect the views and opinions of Insure.com. Insure.com expressly disclaims any and all liability in connection with the ratings.
How to find the best auto insurance
When it comes to auto insurance, best depends highly on the individual. You may be seeking a cheap solution for your old, rarely used car or the maximum coverage for your new family wagon. Here are several tips on getting the best auto insurance for any situation.
Start shopping online
Before you make any calls, try to do your own research online. When you pick up the phone, you might surrender to an auto insurance sales pitch without knowing all of your options. Use Bankrate.com’s auto insurance quote finder to get a conclusive comparison to narrow down your options.
Focus on four auto insurance companies
Pick four reputable car insurance companies and visit their official websites for additional information. Learn as much as you can about each company and read customer reviews. You may find more negative reviews than positive, but at least it will give you a little insight to others’ experiences. The more comfortable you are with your decision, the more you will feel like you have chosen the best auto insurance for your situation. Sometimes price isn’t as important as quality.
The value of face-to-face
Sometimes an in-person interaction adds significant value to your plan. Being able to walk into an office and discuss your auto insurance is empowering. Before you lock into a deal, make sure the auto insurance company is local. Developing a real relationship with your agent can only better your chances of getting the best deal on auto insurance.
Know what will save you money
If you are looking for the best deal on auto insurance, make sure you aren’t overlooking money-savers like being married or your car’s safety features. There are many individual qualities that can lower your premiums and save you money. Here are some additional tips to save money on auto insurance.
Review your plan annually
Keep up with your plan to ensure you still have the best auto insurance possible for your situation. If anything in your life changes, you could be eligible for a lower premium. Again, having a good relationship with your auto insurance agent will help you save.
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*National average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Progressive in 2016.
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No. 1 commercial auto insurer from SNL Financial’s 2015 national written premium data.
Savings based on 2015 consumer data collected by Hagerty on single car policies, with premiums $5000 and under, from several daily driver (“Everyday”) auto insurance carriers.
Learn more about comparison rates, which are available from Progressive Direct in most states and situations. Rate comparisons provided here are based on our Progressive Direct auto insurance price and product and Progressive Direct’s credit evaluation, and do not include prices and products available from Progressive agents. Consumers can select a different credit evaluation when they obtain competitor rates through our comparison rate service.
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Best used cars
While owning a brand-new car is an experience to cherish, buying used can leave you with more money in your pocket. Choosing a pre-owned car means you won’t suffer the initial period of depreciation the first owner will experience. This is the value a car loses as soon as it’s driven away from the showroom.
Although Carbuyer is strongly focused on new cars, we certainly appreciate why buying used continues to be such a popular alternative. This has led us to consider which cars offer the best value for money on the used market – there are some that can save their second owner a huge amount of cash.
The rate at which a used car loses its value – its rate of depreciation – can vary enormously between models and it’s not always easy to predict how a car will perform in this regard. There are some truly excellent cars out there that, for a variety of reasons, perform poorly on the used-car market and have to be priced low to attract a buyer. This is bad news for whoever buys such a car brand new, but excellent news for subsequent owners.
Depreciation tends to slow down once a car has reached three years of age – if you plot it on a graph, the initial steep curve gradually flattens out as the car becomes older. This means it’s possible to buy a used car and experience considerably less loss of value than a new-car buyer is likely to endure. It means that buying used can be a very cost-effective method of car ownership, as long as you don’t mind missing out on the latest design and cutting-edge technology.
High-spec models – those priced markedly higher than lower models in the range – are likely to depreciate faster than others and can offer spectacular value secondhand. And some cars that are so expensive that the first three years of depreciation takes tens of thousands of pounds from their value. However, the cars on our list of the 10 best used car buys were all sensibly priced when new and some are likely to hold on to their remaining value strongly – great news when the time comes to sell.
Used car buyers have never had more choice – both in variety of cars and the range of places you can buy a used car with confidence. Check out online sellers such as our sister site BuyaCar.co.uk.
Read on for a little used car inspiration and also see our guides to getting a good deal on a used car and questions to ask when buying a used car to give you an edge during negotiation.
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