Purchase A Reliable Auto Warranty

When investing in an auto warranty, the last thing you want to find out after you make the purchase is that it is not providing the coverage that is necessary for your car and that it does not meet your expectations. If it necessary to inspect a car before you buy it, then it should also be necessary to inspect an auto warranty before purchasing it.

To make certain that you are making a worthwhile investment in an auto warranty that will get you through all of the wear and tear that your car is sure to endure, it is essential to make sure that it meets all of your expectations. Do not settle for less. Luckily for consumers, the Federal Trade Commission has a law that makes it a requirement for a warranty to be available for inspection by any potential consumer.

A lot of the time, consumers find themselves being swayed by a seller’s suggestions about an auto warranty. A dealer will try to be as succinct as possible with their words when discussing what coverage that a car will receive. It is essential that the consumer thoroughly and entirely reads through the auto warranty and has a full expectation of the guarantee it says it provides. After reading through the auto warranty once completely, it is also a good idea to read through it again and thoroughly look through the fine print before making a final purchase.

 

The difference between an Automobile Warranty and an Extended Auto Warranty / Extended Service Program

When you buy a vehicle you will be provided various options to buy along-side of it and one such choice is that of extended automobile warranty. Sometimes referred to as a service contract, or extended service program, an extended automobile warranty is designed to offset repair expenses following the purchase of a new or used automobile. In essence, an extended warranty is a safeguard against costly, unforeseen repairs. Not to be confused with manufacturer’s warranties, an extended warranty kicks in subsequent to the expiration of the manufacturer’s bumper to bumper warranty. An extended auto warranty is typically sold as a separate contract, and – unlike a manufacturer’s auto warranty – is not included in the purchase price.

You need to be aware of the benefits of this extended service program which coincides with this option even as you consider whether to obtain this kind of warranty for your car and this will assist you to find out whether an extended auto warranty is a suitable choice for you. There are a couple of benefits of having this kind of warranty. First, it provides the car owner of with peace of mind in recognizing that a number of aspects are covered. Because each warranty type will differ with regards to what’s covered under it, it’s imperative to peruse the extended service program document in order to see the coverage points included. By choosing an extended auto warranty you will understand that certain areas are covered on your vehicle in case something happens, which will result in the vehicle requiring to be fixed.

Extended auto warranties will also ascertain that your financial investment gets protected. Because many people live on a restricted budget, it is usually a good idea to put forth the finances whenever you have them in order that you won’t be caught short in the future should anything go wrong with the automobile and you’ll have to get it fixed. Besides, the cost of an extended automobile warranty is oftentimes much more reasonable as compared to what you would be needed to pay should one necessitate to have their car fixed in the future. As a result, by you spending a smaller sum of money, in the beginning, you might save quite a couple of dollars eventually should replacement parts or repairs be necessary for your automobile.

In the strictest sense of the word, this is not a warranty at all. Like auto warranties, this plan covers repairs for an agreed upon period of time. True warranties, however, are included in the cost of the car; extended auto warranties are actually service contracts, or extended service program because they cost extra and are sold separately. An extended automobile warranty may be bought at the time you purchase your vehicle; it is also possible to buy one much further along in your car ownership experience. If you are the type who prefers to be prepared for all eventualities, an extended warranty may be just what you are looking for. Considering the ever-increasing cost of car repairs, these service contracts do make a lot of sense. If you are interested in buying an extended automobile warranty, you need to know that the car service contracts industry is slowly moving away from the phrase “warranty” since it is confusing to consumers. Try looking for “Extended Service Programs” instead.

How Important Is Exterior Painting Surface Preparation ?



You could spend $80/gallon on the best lifetime-warranty paint on the market and apply six coats, but if you're not spending the time to do your surface preparation correctly it would all be for naught.  Without a doubt, the amount of prep you do will determine the longevity of your exterior painting job.  

When I used to work for one of the largest coatings manufacturers, part of my job description was resolving paint failure complaints.  And I can tell you from experience, the overwhelming majority of paint failures are the direct result of inadequate surface prep.  Period.

Some people skimp on prep work because it's hard, time-consuming work; some because they don't understand just how important it really is; and some because they don't know how to go about it.  While we can't do much about the difficulty of the job, this week's article will go through each step in the process so at least you'll have the know-how to get it done right.

 

1.)  Clean

Houses get dirty from dust and other environmental contaminants.  If you leave these contaminants on the surface when you paint, your paint will be sticking to the dirt and not to the surface that you want it to stick to.

When I was investigating paint failures it was easy to tell when lack of pre-paint cleaning was the cause of a paint failure.  I could just look at the back of a paint chip that was peeling off of the house and if I could see dirt then I knew that it hadn't been cleaned properly.

I can also tell you that if you begin the warranty claim process with the store where you purchased the paint, they will likely send a representative out to your home and go through the same steps to determine the cause of the failure.  If they find contaminated paint chips they will most-likely refuse to honor the terms of the 20-year, 30-year, or lifetime warranty on the label of the can that you paid so much extra money for.

So do yourself a huge favor and do a thorough pre-paint cleaning of all of the areas to be painted.  You will get far more life out of a mid-grade paint that's been applied over a clean, well-prepared surface than you will out of a top shelf product that's been put on a dirty house.

The only question really is how to do your pre-paint cleaning.  There are a couple of choices when it comes to cleaning -- high pressure washing or hand scrubbing.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods, so check out our blog article 'Pre-Paint Cleaning Methods:  Pressure Washing Vs. Hand Scrubbing' for specifics on how to go about doing both of them.

 

2.)  Let It Dry

This may sound a bit ridiculous but it should be said that paint, primer, and caulking do not stick well to damp surfaces.  Pre-paint cleaning will make your siding wet, and if you've used a pressure washer it can stay wet for days.

Always be on the safe side and allow several days for the surface to completely dry-out before you proceed to the next step.  For those of you in a rush to get the project completed, down-time can be frustrating, but at least this step doesn't require any physical labor on your part.

 

3.)  Scrape

By the time most folks get around to painting their home it's because they're starting to see peeling paint.  If that's also true in your case, you'll need to scrape all of the loose coatings until all that's left are sections of well-adhered paint and bare surfaces.  Leaving any peeling or curled edges will definitely result in paint failure.

There are lots of different types of scrapers on the market.  I personally prefer a long-handled pull scraper.  They make quicker work of removing peeling paint, and have replaceable blades for when it becomes dull.  Just be careful with them because they can gouge into the siding if you get aggressive with your work.

It's also helpful to have a painter's multi-tool so you can get into tight areas and corners easier.

 

4.)  Repair Damage & Set Nail Heads

If you have any rotted or damaged sections of siding or trim then you'll want to repair them at this stage of the game.  Check out this recent blog post on Exterior Rotted Wood Repair Tips for more information on how to do it.

Be sure to set any protruding nail heads just slightly below the surface as well, using a hammer or the butt end of your painter's multi-tool.

 

5.) Sand

The next step is to sand all of the surfaces smooth.  This includes sanding down any rough exposed wood as well as feather-sanding the edge of the remaining paint that's still on the siding.  This will reduce the appearance of the transition from the bare surface to the existing coating when you paint over top of it all.

Do yourself a favor and either purchase or rent an electric sander for this job.  A belt sander will work, but can be a bit aggressive at times.  The best choice would probably be a random orbit sander.  Pick up some medium and fine grit sandpaper.  If the surface is rough you'll need to start with the medium grit and finish with the fine grit, if it's not then you can skip straight to the fine.

After you've sanded everything down you need to remove the dust from the surface so the primer and paint will stick.  You can wipe it all down with a rags, blow it off with an air compressor, or give it a rinse with a garden hose or the pressure washer.  If you do use water, make sure you wait until it's completely dry before proceeding.

 

6.) Prime

If you didn't have any peeling paint you should be able to skip this step and go on to the next.  If you did then you'll at least need to do some spot-priming of the bare areas, because paint doesn't always stick well to bare substrates.  Make sure to use a good quality primer that's suitable to being used on the surface you're applying it to.  

There are several multiple-use primers on the market that will work for most applications.  One of my personal favorites is Bullseye 1-2-3 made by Zinsser.

Rarely is there a need for complete stripping of the old coating prior to painting.  However, there are some situations when the old paint will not stop peeling.  Fortunately there is a line of primers that are on the market now that can even solve this problem and save you from a paint stripping nightmare.

Also check out our blog article entitle Primer Before Paint:  When Is It Necessary & When Is It A Waste? for more information on the topic of priming.

 

7.) Caulk

Caulking doesn't just make your paint job look pretty it also keeps water from getting into the structure and causing damage.  Make sure all siding butt joints, as well as gaps where siding meets trim are sealed to prevent water infiltration.  But don't get overzealous and caulk the horizontal laps on clapboard siding as this would prevent it from breathing.

Before applying new caulking be sure to dig out any existing caulking from the joints that has either cracked or pulled away from the joint.  With a little instruction and practice you can apply caulking like a professional painter and your project will turn out looking great.

FYI, there is a huge selection of caulking to choose from along with a wide range of prices.  There is absolutely a big difference in performance in caulking so buy the best that you can afford to use.

 

Once you've completed these steps, you're ready for paint.  There are some important things to consider when choosing an exterior paint so do your research before going shopping.  If you're going to put that much time and effort into prep work you want to make sure that you're picking a coating that will hold-up well for you for several years.

 

Obamacare Enrollment: 4 Things to Know

 

If you’re interested in getting coverage under the Affordable Care Act for 2016, now’s the time to start shopping. Enrollment opened on November 1 and will continue through January 31 (though, you’ll need to make your final selection by December 15 if you want a policy in place by New Year’s Day). Even if you’re happy with your current ACA policy, it’s a good idea to review your options in the Marketplace, since each new year brings changes to plan costs and benefit designs.

Here are 4 things to watch during this open enrollment period.

1. Rising premiums. This year, premium increases are steeper than last year. Benchmark plans (the second lowest cost silver plan sold in each market and to which tax credits are tied) will jump by an average of 7.5% for 2016. But that’s just the average across 37 states using Healthcare.gov.

Costs will rise much higher in some states. For example, if you live in Oklahoma, you’ll pay an average of nearly 36% more for benchmark plan premiums.

The good news is that most people will be able to offset rising costs by shopping and changing plans. A government analysis found that people who switched plans within the same tier level in 2015 (bronze, silver, gold) spent nearly $ 400 less for the year on premiums after tax credits than they would have if they stayed in their existing plans.

2. Changing costs. The price of a plan’s premium isn’t the only cost that will change. Each year health plans make adjustments to out-of-pocket costs as well. So, check plan deductibles – the amount you must spend before insurance helps cover the bills. You’ll also want to note co-pays and co-insurance associated with going to the doctor or filling prescriptions.

To help you get a sense of what your overall costs are likely to be with different plans, Healthcare.gov is now offering a cost calculator, as well as tools to help you search for plans by participating doctors and covered medications.

3. Provider networks and drug coverage. Generally, plans sold on Healthcare.gov will continue to offer limited provider networks with access to fewer doctors and hospitalsAnd, there are more plans being sold this year that offer no out-of-network coverage at all.

Narrower networks that include fewer doctors are generally cheaper. But there’s a trade-off. Going outside your health plan’s network can lead to high and unexpected costs.

Another detail to check: The list of participating pharmacies and the drugs each plan covers to make sure you’ll have coverage for the medications you take.

Also, make sure you understand the associated costs you’ll face when you go to fill your covered prescriptions. For example, most plans put medications on different tiers that come with varying out-of-pocket costs. And, some plans have a separate deductible for prescription drugs. The way in which these costs are applied can have a huge impact on how much you ultimately spend.

4. Tax credit calculations. Tax credits are available to help lower the cost of insurance for individuals earning between $ 11,770 and $ 47,080 per year. Those earning less than $ 29,000 per year may also qualify to have their out-of-pocket costs reduced.

If you’re already getting a tax credit and don’t renew your plan through Healthcare.gov, your income will be automatically updated by the government with the most current information available.

Still, it’s a good idea to update your information during open enrollment to ensure that you’re not receiving too much or too little help, and to report any changes to your income or household size during the year to keep your information current and to avoid surprises at tax time.

Do Your Research Before Buying An Auto Warranty

When a consumer takes purchasing an auto warranty into consideration, they usually select mainly based on the price. Consumers want to try to get the best deal that they can when buying auto warranties. Price is important to take into consideration, but it is also important to realize there are other factors that should be looked at when choosing the auto warranty to buy as the final purchase.

When conducting research about auto warranties and which one will be the best option for you, make certain that you are going to be buying one that is of a higher quality. Keep these things in mind when doing research:

1. Look at the cost of the auto warranty and be sure that it is affordable. However, make sure that this is not the only deciding factor for what will be your final purchase.

2. Look into the company that you want to buy the warranty from. Ask yourself a couple of very important questions: Is this company reputable? Is it an established company? Is the company visible online? In addition, make sure that the company is both accredited and has high ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

Can I Find Out if Someone Purchased Life Insurance on Me Without My Permission?



One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is: How can I find out if someone purchased life insurance on me without my knowledge?  You should feel relieved knowing that it is nearly impossible to purchase life insurance on someone without their consent.

Life insurance companies implement a number of obstacles in order to prevent insurance fraud.  These obstacles include:

  • Application questions – When applying for life insurance, there are certain questions that the insurance company uses to verify identity. These questions include:
    • Full name
    • Street address
    • Social Security number
    • Driver’s license number
    • Employer information
  • Signatures – All life insurance applications require the signature of the proposed insured.
  • A release form – Most policies require the proposed insured to sign a consent form to release his/her medical information.
  • Phone interview – After submitting an application, the insurance company will contact the proposed insured for a confidential phone interview to review the application’s accuracy.
  • A medical exam – After applying, most life insurance policies require the proposed insured to take a medical exam. The medical examiner will check the insured’s ID to ensure it’s the correct person and will ask the insured many of the same questions from the application to verify answers.
  • Insurable interest – In order for someone to purchase life insurance on someone else, life insurance companies require insurable interest. Insurable interest means there has to be financial dependence.  For example, spouses rely on one another’s income for their standard of living.  Your neighbor does not have a financial interest in your life and could not buy life insurance on you.

After taking those obstacles into consideration, if you still think someone may have bought coverage on you without your permission, there are steps you can take, but it may take some effort.  It is not possible to just Google your name alongside the words “life insurance” to find out.  Life insurance is personal, so protecting privacy is important.

Step 1 – If you think you know which insurance company the policy in question was purchased from, you can call their customer service and explain the situation.  They will be able to confirm if there is a policy on you and then help you make the appropriate steps to terminate it.  There are many, many life insurance companies, however, so this option only realistically works if you know the name of the life insurance company.

Step 2– You can request your MIB Consumer File.  Life insurance underwriters use MIB’s services when assessing individual applications.  The consumer file may include the name of any MIB member company that:

  • Received a copy of the medical and personal information that MIB has in its database about you during the three-year period preceding your request;
  • Made an “inquiry” to MIB about you within the past two years.

It is free to request your MIB (Medical Information Bureau) file.  You will not have an MIB Consumer File unless you have applied for individually underwritten life, health, disability income, long-term care or critical illness insurance within the past seven years (or earlier depending on applicable law) and the insurance company to which you applied (or its reinsurer) was an MIB member company that submitted an MIB inquiry.  So, if you get a letter stating you don’t have an MIB file, you can rest assured there is likely no policy out there on you.  If you do receive a file, you can look for any companies that you did not personally apply to and contact them.

Step 3 – You can hire policy locator services.  There are online services that for a fee will send out emails and letters to life insurance companies on your behalf to discover if there is a policy in your name.  The MIB website mentioned earlier is one company that offers this service.  It costs $75 and it is important to note that the locator service generally will not report on policies with a $100,000 face amount or less, guaranteed issue policies, employer-based life insurance, or military issued life insurance.

As you have read, it is unlikely that there is a life insurance policy out there with your name on it that you did not sign off on.  Life insurance companies take privacy and security very seriously.  We hope this information was helpful and answered your question.