Why Staying with Your Car Insurance Company Can Be a Good Thing

You’ve probably seen tips on other insurance blogs or heard advice through auto insurers directly about how important it is to shop around for quotes. While this is a strong practice to allow yourself access to the best rates for your car make, age, and driving history, it isn’t always the best idea. For some people, staying with the same auto insurer for an extended period of time has been the most cost-effective, practical solution for their circumstances.

What many people don’t think about when deciding to switch auto insurance companies is the quality of the services, not just the quantity of cash they’ll save. Just because a car insurance company is offering cheaper rates than your current insurance policy doesn’t mean it’s a better policy. Before you switch to a different insurance company that offers you a lower quote than the insurer you’re currently dealing with, make sure you weigh the options. Staying with your current car insurance company can be a positive decision.

 

Renewal Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for several years. Arbella offers an additional 1% loyalty credit for every year you renew with them. Ameriprise offers discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for three years. While some insurance companies offer discounts when you renew with them, most companies offer more substantial discounts on other fronts.

 

Bundling Discounts

A lot of insurance companies will give you a discount if you bundle your car insurance with your home or life insurance policies. Nationwide, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and other insurance companies offer discounts to people who purchase multiple insurance policies with them. If you have bundled policies and have earned a discount as a result, you may have to prepare yourself for higher rates if you decide to switch insurance companies or forego a policy.

 

Accident Forgiveness

Nationwide, Allstate, Travelers, and dozens of other insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to their clients. Accident forgiveness refers to a park in which customers do not have to pay extra rates after their first at-fault accidents. Most accident forgiveness discounts can only be redeemed after 5 or 6 years of loyalty to the insurer. If you’ve been with the same company for long enough to qualify for this perk (or are close to this threshold), staying with your auto insurance company could be beneficial.

 

Overall Loyalty

As a general benefit from staying with your auto insurance company, you’ll have a better relationship with your insurer. Building trust with an agent creates a positive working relationship. This trust may help you in the long run; if you ever need to file a claim after an accident, this process should be simpler and more successful if you are speaking with an agent you’re very familiar with. If your agent knows your driving habits and history well, he or she will be able to recommend the best coverage for you. Getting acquainted with your insurance company is a huge perk to staying loyal to your insurance company.


If you believe none of these benefits affect you directly right now, you might want to shop around for auto insurance quotes. If one of these perks applies to your current policy, sticking with your current company could be the best option, especially if the quotes you’re seeing aren’t significantly lower than your current rate.

ARE AUTO LOANS THE NEXT BIG BUBBLE?

  

The 2008 recession was caused by speculation in the subprime mortgage market, inflating a bubble in the housing market that eventually lead to its collapse along with the global economy.

It’s 2017 now and the bull market is on record as the second-longest in history. This relentless upward march has made investors nervous, prompting the question: where is the next bubble going to come from and when will it pop?

Wait, what is a bubble?

The term “financial bubble” comes into play anytime a mania surrounds a particular asset, leading to massive price speculation and an eventual crash.

Famous instances of financial bubbles include the Japanese real estate bubble of the late 80s and the Dot-Com Bubble, when the NASDAQ increased 10-fold over a decade, before dropping 80% over two years. During the initial bursting of the Dot-Com Bubble in March 2000, companies were losing between $10 and $30 million a quarter.

Are Auto Loans a bubble?

 

There is the talk of a bubble inflating in the auto loan market.

The overall debt market saw a deleveraging process occur after the recession in 2008. From a peak of about $12.67 trillion, total debt decreased by $2 trillion dollars. As of Q2 2017, total US consumer debt stands at $12.73 trillion.

Put another way, Americans hold $50 billion more debt today than they did before the onset of the 2008 recession that crippled the global economy.

Of the $12.7 trillion in debt held by US households, two-thirds are in the form of housing debt (mortgages). The next largest piece of the pie is in student loans and auto loans (in green) is third, weighing in at $1.13 trillion as of Q1 2017.

What people don’t realize is that car loans are a sizeable piece of household debt but are dwarfed by mortgage loans.

However, there is cause for concern.

 

Auto sales are on an upward trend since 2008, reaching a high of nearly 18 million vehicles sold in March 2017. At the height of the financial crisis, auto sales languished below 10 million. Since the crisis, mortgage loans have leveled off but auto loans have exploded. US consumers are buying cars with a fervor not seen since the early 90’s.

The trouble is: they are increasingly unable to keep up with their car payments. Between 2010 and 2016 car loan delinquencies have more than tripled (0.5% to 2%). Meanwhile, the average amount that car owners are financing has increased as well – rising more than 27% since June 2008 to nearly $30,000 as of December 2016.

Worryingly, subprime auto loans have increased as well and make up more than 20% of all auto loans. That means there is $300 billion in loans going to borrowers considered high-risk.

When you add it all up, the evidence does not bode well.But while the automobile debt market may be stretched, it’s not going to cause a financial crisis. The size of the total auto loan market is nowhere near the amount at stake during the housing crisis, and the subprime portion of that market is only about $300 billion.

It would be hard for a collapse in the auto market would not bring down the whole economy – especially when we are not seeing the amount of speculation in securitized debt as we did prior to the financial crisis in 2008. We’re also seeing a downtick in auto sales as of April and May of 2017, suggesting that US consumers are pulling back a little.

The auto loan market is overheating and worth keeping an eye on, but we are not in bubble territory – yet.

Will You Invest In A Chevy Maintenance Process

Invest in Chevy Maintenance Process

Just because you are driving a Chevy unit doesn’t mean that you can just bypass the necessary processes that keep the car’s performance in optimum shape by not performing the manufacturers required Chevy maintenance. Yes, it is true. General Motors, the makers of Chevy automobiles, is considered one of the world’s best when it comes to manufacturing vehicles. If you own a GM product then you should be happy about it. Probably so but you must take note that this American auto firm is investing millions of dollars in order to sustain the conditions of the unit you’re driving.

Why Chevy Maintenance Process Matters

Before plunging into an approach that involves Chevy maintenance, let’s try to keep matters in perspective. So you bought or probably choose a Chevrolet. Why? Backing your decision on why you purchased or acquired one is vital to how you will be able to keep your unit in tip-top for years to come.

If you think GM made a brand that can survive on its own, think again. In June last year, the organization is leading the auto industry with a 16.9% market share across the United States. While that is good news for Chevy owners, there is one troubling aspect in this scenario. GM is only leading by a percentage that barely reached 20%.

When you say the figure does not matter as long as the company is number one, that makes it all the more disturbing. Here’s why. The dominance is simply not there. When an automaker is solidifying its position in the market, it should be on top with around 40% share. The group should be off and be running. If your argument is the fact that there are numerous competitors on the heels of the Chevy, then justifying GM’s market leadership suddenly sounded thin. It means that other auto manufacturers are fast catching up with

General Motors Maintenance Process

Whatever we discuss here will not change the reality that GM is indeed up to the ladder board. Still, you have to come up with something that supports your decision to get a Chevy. If you tell me that the car is durable, fast and safe then I need to point out that, those things are exactly what Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler, and Honda have in mind all these years. Then why are not these firms enjoying the lead in the auto market?

The Road Ahead
Perhaps one main point that GM has over the rest is its approach to Chevy maintenance. The US firm has instituted a program to reinforce its after-sales campaign. By the time your Chevy has been hitting the road, the company is already thinking of ways to keep you happy whenever you are behind that steering wheel.
So how does GM keeps its Chevy owners satisfied? The answer is best attributed to the presence of sophisticated tools and platforms that will prolong the life of your unit. Within this context, GM’s service centers are ready to address your concerns just in case you drop by to discuss issues hounding your car.

If you think that this program for Chevy owners is unique, you need to be aware of Ford, Toyota, and the rest’s approach when it comes to keeping their respective clients happy. Each and every automaker in the world today is probably doing almost exactly the same thing GM is adhering to. If they don’t, then they get booted out of the industry. It is that simple.
Since we have somehow justified your option to choose a Chevy, perhaps you need to further reinforce your position when it comes to car handling. Be it known that GM wants every penny you’ve spent on their product to be worth it which is why offering services to upgrade or fix your unit is an immediate priority.

For the Long Haul
Here are some facts that back why Chevy maintenance procedures are helpful to your car. Primarily, General Motors are investing heavily in technology-driven platforms. This does not merely mean that new designs or new materials or new tools are being integrated into their products. The global coverage and partnership with other industries are fast strengthening GM’s presence.

For instance, its affiliation with ride-sharing service firm Lyft is boosting GM’s exposure. What it intends to do is to establish networks way beyond its comfort zone. The organization’s decision to develop autonomous vehicles is also a step in the right direction which is why putting up the right pieces around its units including the Chevy further clarifies things that GM is in for the long run.

Auto Security: Do Feds Have Our Back?

Government agencies in the U.S. and the U.K. are working to get ahead of the curve and let the public know that they are concerned about vehicle cybersecurity.

 Consumers should be aware of the possibility of a hacker attack on their cars. We now know that what used to be considered a movie scenario — remote hacking — could be done.

The current reality is that, while a variety of connectivity technologies have been transfused into cars, the equal and opposite security measures are yet to be deployed.

Surely, car hacking is the last thing automakers want to mention as they push the connected cars into the vast consumer disconnect. But government watchdogs in both the U.S. and the U.K. are working to get ahead of the curve and let the public know that they are concerned.

 Principles of cyber security for connected and automated vehicles

"Whether we're turning vehicles into WiFi-connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks," said Martin Callanan, a minister in the Department for Transport at the British government.

He said this last week when the U.K. agency issued new guidelines, requiring manufacturers of Internet-connected vehicles to put in place tougher cyber protections to ensure a stronger shield against hackers.

It isn’t just the U.K. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States also issued last fall the federal guidance to the automotive industry for improving motor vehicle cyber security.

Questions to ask
So should we all sleep well, confident that the feds have our back?

Not so fast, Gracie.

Questions that come to my mind include:
1. Do the guidelines issued by NHTSA and British Department of Transportation have any teeth for security enforcement? 
2. More important, have they gone far enough to suggest effective cybersecurity measures for cars?
3. What are the differences in the proposals of the two separate governments?

As Roger Lanctot, director automotive connected mobility in the global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, told us, “All of the work and guidance today is advisory vs. compulsory in nature.” Things will become real, in his opinion, “when financial and liability consequences are in fact defined.”

Sources of vulnerability in connected cars are many. Lanctot listed: “diagnostic ports, hobbyist/enthusiasts, dealers, suppliers/supply chain, criminals, and terrorists to say nothing of incompetence, bugs, and the management of multiple onboard systems crossing domains with different development standards.”

Facing so many areas inside cars that must be protected as cars morph into always-on computing devices, it isn’t easy to come up with comprehensive guidelines. And yet, “Regulators need to demonstrate they are doing something,” said Lanctot.

How do security experts see the development of government guidelines?

Gene Carter, vice president of products at OnBoard Security, for example, believes that “both the U.K. and NHTSA guidance documents included basic security tenets.”

He explained such measures should be followed by any company connecting hardware or software to the web — including security by design, defense in depth, principles of least privilege, etc.  In Carter’s opinion, however, these are basics. “I would hope that the automakers have learned enough from the IT world’s experiences, and they [should be] already doing those essential things.”

A few experts, including Carter, pointed out that the U.K.’s guidance does not go far enough in the area of software updates after a vulnerability is discovered.

Carter said, “The guidance merely states ‘organizations plan for how to maintain security over the lifetime of their systems.’”

In his view, “Over The Air (OTA) updates should be a requirement for automobiles.  It is impossible for a manufacturer to create a car that is free of vulnerabilities throughout the 10-20 year life of a car.  Without OTA, automakers are relying on car owners to bring their cars into a repair show every time a new vulnerability is discovered.  This will leave many cars exposed to known attacks, while OTA would allow the fix to be pushed to the at-risk vehicles immediately.”

Of course, car makers “will save a lot of money in recalls by offering OTA, so it is likely they will move to that technology on their own,” said Carter. Still, “I would have preferred the UK specify its use and not leave it so ambiguous.”

Meanwhile, David Barzilai, chairman and co-founder of automotive cybersecurity firm Karamba Security, weighed in on the U.K. government’s guidance. While applauding pre-emptive action they might take, he pointed out that there is one area “we don’t feel these guidelines go far enough toward effectively preventing car hacking,” he said. 

Again, that’s the area of how to deal with security bugs.

Five Ways To End Your Car Lease Early

At the time, leasing a car sounded like a great deal: You got to drive home in a brand-new car for far less than you would have paid if you bought it outright. And in two or three years, you get to return it the dealership, buy it, lease a newer model, or just walk away. Great!

Fast-forward a year or so, and your situation has changed. The same, shiny new vehicle you loved at lease signing might not be the right fit anymore. Maybe the small car you leased can’t accommodate your growing family. Maybe your financial situation has changed, and you can no longer afford the monthly payment. Or maybe you have changed jobs, and your new commute threatens to blow your yearly mileage limit.

Whatever the reason, if you need to get out of your lease early, there are options. Unfortunately, none of them are going to let you walk away without penalty. Dealerships and banks make money from leases by predicting what your car will be worth when you turn it in and charging you the difference. Essentially, you are paying for the vehicle’s depreciation in value plus a little extra for as long as you drive it.

If you decide to terminate your lease before the end of the agreed-upon term, your titleholder stands to lose money. They are likely to make an early exit difficult and expensive to discourage lessees from trying to do exactly what you want: get out of the lease early.

That being said, it happens all the time. Here’s how.

1. TRADE IT IN.

This is both the simplest and quite likely the most expensive of your options. Many dealers will allow you to get out of your lease early if you are looking to get into one of their newer or pricier models. But you are likely going to have to pony up all the fees and penalties that were spelled out in your lease contract. According to DMV.org, those penalties can include:

  • Remaining payments on your lease
  • An early termination fee
  • Costs related to preparing the vehicle for sale
  • Storage and/or transportation of the vehicle
  • Taxes associated with leasing, if any
  • Negative equity between your lease amount and the current value of your car

You may be able to roll penalties into your new monthly lease payment. If not, it’s a hefty premium to pay to switch vehicles.

2. SWAP YOUR LEASE.

Lease-swapping involves finding someone else to take possession of your leased vehicle and fulfill the remaining terms of the contract, including monthly payments and any penalties or fees assessed at turn-in. You can find a new lessee on your own or use a lease-swapping website, which may charge you a fee in the $250 to $500 range if you are successful. If you are desperate to get out of your lease, swapping it could cost you a good deal less than termination.

Here’s the catch: Some lessors simply don’t allow it. You will have to take a close look at your original contract to see if it is even an option.

Many lease companies require the original leaseholder to remain on the paperwork in the event of a swap. If that is the case, you essentially become a cosigner for the new lessee. If they default or incur penalties they can’t or won’t pay, the titleholder can still come after you for the funds.

3. BUY IT OUTRIGHT.

Every lease agreement includes a clause that allows you to purchase the vehicle outright at any point during the term. Look for the “buyout amount” listed on your most recent statement. It’s a close approximation of the total of your remaining payments plus the predetermined residual value of the vehicle.

To decide whether this strategy might work for you, the first thing you will want to do is determine how much your vehicle is actually worth and compare it to the buyout amount. You may be able to resell it and recoup or even exceed the purchase price.

Even if there is a small difference, a buyout may still be worth it — at least you will avoid all those penalties. But if the buyout amount is substantially higher than current market value, then this path will likely cost too much.

4. TALK TO YOUR TITLEHOLDER.

If you don’t actually want to get out of your lease entirely, but you do need a break from your monthly obligation, your leasing company might be willing to work with you to find a solution. They may suggest temporarily reducing (or even suspending) your payment amount and making it up on the back end. It’s not ideal, but if it gets you out of a jam and prevents an early termination, it could be the best option for both parties.

5. JUST LET IT GO.

Faced with the need to exit a lease, some lessees simply take their vehicles back to the dealership, hand in the keys, and leave. In auto finance lingo, this is known as a “voluntary repossession.” This option should be your last resort. It will have a profound impact on your credit score, just like any other repossession.

You may also be tempted to simply stop making your payments and allow the titleholder to attempt to repossess the vehicle. This is no more advisable than a voluntary repossession. The combination of missed payments and the repo will stain your credit report for at least the next seven years. These derogatory entries will severely hinder your ability to open new credit cards, get approved for a mortgage or, in some cases, land a new job or apartment.

For more advice on getting out of your lease the right way, talk to the experts at Innovative Funding Services (IFS). We specialize in car lease buyouts, and we may be able to help you buy out your lease early. If you are ready to buy out your car lease, apply now. We offer up to 100% financing for those with credit scores of 525 to 850.

Hot Weather Remote Start FAQs

Summer 2017 is shaping up to be one of the hottest North American summers in history, and there’s nothing worse on a summer than a burning-hot vehicle to drive in. Compustar remote starters are the perfect solution for cooling down your vehicle before you hit the road so that you and your passengers can ride in comfort and safety.

The Compustar Marketing Team (CM) sat down with one of Compustar’s technical support agents, Josh W. (JW, MECP), who answered some common questions regarding remote starters in hotter climates.

CM: How do Compustar remote starters work in hot weather?
JW: Just like you would remote start your vehicle’s engine to turn on the heater during winter, you can also remote start your vehicle to turn on the A/C system to cool down your vehicle. To do this, turn on your A/C and set your temperature on your vehicle’s dashboard before leaving your vehicle. When you remote start, your A/C will automatically activate at the preset temperature.

CM: Can a vehicle’s A/C cool down the vehicle, even when it is not moving?
JW: Yes! A vehicle’s air conditioning unit can cool down the vehicle, even when idling. The vehicle does not need to be moving or at high RPMs for the condenser to charge the air conditioning. Once the engine operating temperature is reached, the cooling fan(s) attached to the radiator will start up to keep the engine from overheating provided the vehicle’s cooling system is within proper operating parameters.

Note: older vehicles may take a little longer to cool down when idling. But remote starting the vehicle also circulates the air and alleviates some of the pressure that causes the intense heat inside of a vehicle. So regardless of your vehicle’s age, your car will be much more comfortable to drive in if you start it at least 5 minutes before hitting the road.

CM: Is it safe to remote start a vehicle in hot weather?
JW: It is generally safe to remote start your vehicle in hot weather. We recommend remote starting the vehicle while it is in open air, in a well-ventilated area and not in a garage or enclosed space. In extreme heat, you will want to make sure that your vehicle’s cooling system is functioning properly before using the remote start feature to avoid overheating the engine.

Most automotive manufacturers recommend that you have your engine coolant flushed and refilled every 30,000 miles or 5 years. Mechanics will usually test other parts of your cooling system at the same time, including the thermostat and hoses; to make sure they are within operating parameters.

CM: Can I customize my Compustar remote starter too, for example, lower my windows or open my sunroof?
JW: If your vehicle is equipped with power windows and/or sunroof, your installer can connect those features to your Compustar remote start system so that you can activate them using your Compustar remote or the DroneMobile app. Your installer can also add a temperature sensor to your vehicle so that remote start functionality is automated. Make sure to ask your installer/dealer about climate control and customization options ahead of time and they can go over your options with you before beginning the installation of our system.

We hope that Josh’s answers provided some additional insight for you as you consider a Compustar remote starter for your vehicle. Contact your local authorized Compustar retailer today to request pricing, options, and more info for adding a remote start to your vehicle.

Important Note: Compustar remote starters do NOT make it safe to leave a child or pet unattended inside of a hot vehicle! Please use your Compustar remote start system to cool down your vehicle before you and your passengers re-enter your vehicle.

OESA President Cites Warranty Collaboration as Industry Imperative

Neil De Koker, president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, OESA, recently called for automotive industry executives to work together to focus on reducing industry warranty costs. In a brief address to attendees of the Management Briefing Seminars, De Koker said that OESA has created a Warranty Management Council, responsible for developing recommendations to reduce warranty costs.

According to Warranty Week, the industry spent $11.5 billion on warranty claims in 2004. OESA proposes that it is the responsibility of both suppliers and car companies to seriously look at warranty and other non-value added costs.

"We heard from speakers today who tell us that the next two years will require significant and extreme action to maintain profitability," De Koker stated. "It is imperative that members of the industry collaborate to reduce warranty costs to keep companies competitive.

"OESA proposes that suppliers work with the car companies and each other, to provide insight into best practices that can reduce warranty costs," De Koker added. "The objective of this OESA group is to share best practices that reduce warranty costs for the benefit of the entire industry."

OESA anticipates releasing a publication that outlines a process the automotive value chain should consider to systematically reduce warranty potential during product development. Through this activity, suppliers exchange experiences working with various OEM warranty systems and collectively increase individual company knowledge.

Formed in August 1998, OESA provides a forum for automotive suppliers by addressing issues of common concern through peer group council; serving as a reliable source of information and analysis; and providing an industry voice, when appropriate, on issues of interest. With nearly 400 members having global automotive sales exceeding $300 billion, OESA represents more than 60 percent of North American automotive supplier sales.