Connected Cars Create New Security Challenges

Connected cars are essentially computer networks on wheels. The dashboard is now the control center for telecommunications, web surfing, car diagnostics, navigation, and a host of other functions. The rolling computer network monitors the car’s systems using built-in sensors to make sure everything is running properly. A wireless connection can also be used to send telemetry to the telematics service provider or the manufacturer to facilitate service and update software. Once a vehicle is connected to the internet it becomes susceptible to hacking.


Car hacking is the latest in a long series of consumer security threats and has been getting a lot of attention in the news. Major carmakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Tesla have already had to address car hacking threats. Clearly, automotive hacking is posing a safety concern. And as consumers demand more from their connected cars, it will likely mean hacker attacks will target personal data and private information as well.

What Are the Primary Motivators for Hackers?

Hacking has a life cycle like almost everything else in the world. The initial wave of hacking is based on an inherent desire to ‘see what is possible’. This is both the cause of great innovation and the beginning of the opening of a Pandora’s Box. Once something is known to be ‘possible’ there is a natural attraction to the hacker communities, who are seeking some level of self-gain. In the automotive arena, there are currently two or three use cases where a hacker may be motivated to take advantage of vulnerable vehicles. 

We believe these can be summarized into three categories:

  • Phishing Attacks - Hackers take a long-term view of gaining an economic return for their efforts. The point of phishing is to ‘learn something of value’ about a person or a group of people. They are casting a very wide net.

  • One to One Attacks - Let's face it, some people are more interesting than others and hackers are going to go after high-profile opportunities. Sometimes this is just to make a name for themselves and other times it is to target an enemy of their cause.

  • Mass Attacks - What motivates the hacker is to make a big splash and hacking a mass number of vehicles would generate a lot of buzz in the media. We can all imagine the economic impact of waking up one morning and finding that an entire set of vehicles can’t start due to a hacking incident, or worse, that there has been a rash of accidents caused by hackers remotely interfering with cars while they are been driven.

While we think the chances of a major event remain remote at this time, we cannot continue to believe that vehicles are ‘islands’ protected from foreign elements by their disconnected nature.

Manufacturers Need to Be Proactive about Hacking

Over the last year, the high-profile car-hacking events in the news have dramatized the vulnerability of the connected car. 

Using simple wireless communications systems, hackers have demonstrated that no connected car network is safe:

  • BMW was one of the first to report a hacking incident. To dramatize the vulnerability of the new connected cars, the Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), the German automobile club, was able to reverse-engineer the telematics software that controls BMW’s Connected Drive system, which is installed in more than 2.2 million vehicles. Exploiting security weaknesses in the software, ADAC was able to access the air conditioning system, traffic information system, and the door lock controls using a wireless computer.

  • Chrysler suffered a similar embarrassment when two hackers were able to shut down a Jeep by remote control. In a profile published in Wired magazine, the hackers were able to take control of a Jeep Cherokee traveling at highway speed, first operating the windshield wipers, taking over the radio, and ultimately shutting down the vehicle altogether by locking the transmission.

  • Tesla was also the victim of a cyber attack. Two mobile security experts demonstrated their ability to hack a Tesla Model S at the Dev Con hacker conference in Las Vegas. In order to hack the Tesla, they first had to gain physical access to the vehicle’s network infrastructure to introduce a Trojan. Once the virus was inserted, the hackers were able to convince the car that their laptop was the car’s controller, allowing them to take command, including the ability to shut off the engine.

While all these hacking incidents demonstrate the vulnerability of the connected car, how these carmakers dealt with the problem demonstrated manufacturers’ preparedness to deal with hackers. Chrysler’s approach was the old school ‘sneaker net’ approach, essentially shipping USB drives with a software patch to 1.4 million car owners. BMW’s solution was more elegant; they were able to develop a patch and then send it wirelessly to all affected cars so the software update was automatic. Tesla had the most sophisticated solution. The company already sends regular software updates wirelessly to all its vehicles, so the software patch to fix the security bug was ready for delivery.

What this demonstrates is that with connected car advances, OEMs need to be prepared to address security problems before they occur. Patching faulty software is one thing, but OEMs need proactive security measures to protect vehicles, such as firewalls and data encryption to protect vehicle telematics.

One of the interesting thoughts that arise out of this discussion is what role the consumer should play in security management for their vehicle. In the computing space, consumers play a fairly active role. Will they necessarily play a similar role in the vehicle? Do OEM’s want consumer consent and participation in applying updates?

Personal Security Part of the Connected Car Risk

Security to promote driving safety is a primary consideration. However, manufacturers are also going to have to start thinking about securing personal data as well.

As cars increasingly become an extension of today’s connected lifestyle, car owners will start storing sensitive data in their car systems to handle music downloads, toll payments, and other transactions. Credit card information and identify theft are attractive targets for hackers and something automakers need to consider.

For example, a hacker could set up a wireless sensor to access credit card data stored in cars driving past a given location on the highway. Hackers wouldn’t even have to go looking for targets; the data drives right past their door. Or what about hacking navigational data? If you can match a car’s GPS location to a known home address, then a housebreaker can tell when you are away from home.

To address these security concerns, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act, also known as the SPY Car Act. The legislation would establish a rating system for consumers to rank how well cars protect security and privacy. The senators’ proposal also asks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish new standard of protection. These standards would require OEMs isolate software systems and take steps to secure connected vehicles. They also want to require technology that would detect, record, and stop hacking attempts in real time.

Smart OEMs are becoming proactively involved in connected car security. By being proactive and taking positive steps today, manufacturers can become part of the security solution and help shape industry standards and legislation. They also can be ready to reassure customers that the next generation of connected cars is safe and secure.

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Why You Should Protect Your Car With An Aftermarket Used Car Warranty

 

Owning a car is an investment in itself. From the price of the car itself to all attendant costs for maintenance and repair, being a car owner requires you to have a strong sense of financial responsibility even without an aftermarket used car warranty. Brand-new cars these days come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which covers the costs for maintenance and repair within their first few years of purchase. However, you shouldn’t rely on your manufacturer’s warranty alone, given that it only covers the time when your car has yet to sustain damage arising not from carelessness, but from wear and aging. Worse, once your manufacturer’s warranty expires, your car becomes more vulnerable to damage sustained from fortuitous circumstances, given that it’ll understandably be way past its brand-new shape by then. Those reasons provide for the very purpose for which an aftermarket used car warranty for cars is offered – to continuously cover for your car’s well-being if you plan to keep it beyond the coverage period of its aftermarket warranty.

Generally speaking, an aftermarket used car warranty is meant to cover for long-term maintenance and repair costs – say, five to 10 years from the time you purchased your car. An aftermarket used car warranty serves you well since it is designed to provide you with security against the increasing frequency of costly maintenance and repair processes relative to your car’s age. If you wish to be convinced further on the benefits of protecting your car with an aftermarket used car warranty, take time to read through the following reasons.

1: An aftermarket warranty effectively covers high maintenance and repair costs

An aftermarket warranty can save you from hefty maintenance and repair costs, and you’re bound to benefit from it further the higher your car’s value is. Such makes purchasing an aftermarket warranty a great choice for luxury cars, sports cars, and other kinds whose values are way higher than the average family sedan. Those kinds of cars may prove to be highly-polished machines that provide you with irreplaceably pleasant driving experiences, but their high value automatically translates to exorbitant prices for parts and services. Having an expensive car typically means that you’d intend to keep it for the long term, but selling it to recoup returns may prove to be an option if you can no longer afford to cover for maintenance and repair costs. So to say the least, an aftermarket warranty helps strengthen your love affair with your car – the more expensive it is, the more that you’d benefit from having your maintenance and repair costs covered outside the manufacturer’s warranty.

2: An aftermarket warranty takes care of routine checkups

Performing routine checkups is advisable for keeping your car in top shape. However, it is understandable that you may not have the time to check your car even on a monthly routine. That leaves you exposed to risks related to faults that simply could’ve been prevented had they been detected through routine checkup on your car. But time is truly of the essence, and you need to balance that with a responsible examination of your car. An aftermarket warranty therefore works in your favor in the event your car starts showing problems that are otherwise preventable had you been checking your car routinely. Like a safety net that catches your car’s problems as they emerge, an aftermarket used car warranty provides you with the security you need in the absence of the proper skills and ample time needed for conducting a well-rounded routine checkup.

3: An aftermarket warranty is best for frequently-used cars

More often than not, your purpose for purchasing a car is to have a machine that can bring you from point A to point B efficiently. Given that, you’re more likely to use your car more often than leaving it in your garage to sit, and that may involve long distances and greater time spent for your commute, whatever your case may be. Frequent use of your car may even lead you to clock in more than the industry standard of 12,000 miles a year, and that is possible depending on your circumstances. Such, in turn, would expose your cars more to breakdowns, which may be troublesome for you especially if your manufacturer’s warranty is already way past its duration. To prevent financial headaches triggered by said possibilities, you must purchase an aftermarket warranty for your car. An aftermarket used car warranty provides great financial coverage for when your car begins requiring repairs due to frequent usage. You’d be able to use your car for longer and more frequently with the protection an aftermarket warranty provides.

4: An aftermarket warranty is a practical addition for cars kept for the long term

Most car owners purchase cars with the intent of keeping them for long. As things stand, cars are by no means inexpensive, what with the complex specifications it possesses to become capable transportation machines. With that, you’d more likely keep your car within your possession for a good number of years, and that would most probably extend way beyond the duration of your manufacturer’s warranty. But along the way, you’d have to brace yourself to cover for your car’s numerous costs for maintenance and repair, which is why an aftermarket warranty simply provides you with a practical option. Although an aftermarket warranty is in itself an investment since it gets more expensive the older your car is, it can save you from going overboard on your maintenance and repair expenses.

5: An aftermarket warranty simply provides the protection you need

The love you have for your car is due to its reliability in taking you to places. Yet, with many uncertainties abounding your car’s well-being, it definitely pays to extend that love you have by purchasing an aftermarket warranty. As your car is frequently exposed to the elements and with its components slated to wear out eventually as you use it frequently, it requires a specific form of protection that extends beyond the one initially provided by your manufacturer. Needless to say, you need an aftermarket warranty to allay your anxiety with peace of mind in the form of continuous protection. Purchasing an aftermarket warranty is therefore an investment that enables you to share more memories with your beloved car.

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Car Insurance vs Car Warranty, Do you really need both?

 

Car Insurance vs Car Warranty and the best reasons to carry both types of coverage plans to prevent any auto-related financial burden on you or your family.  Both a car warranty and car insurance is the answer for your car’s repair and maintenance, but you must keep in mind that both are fundamentally different from one another. To guarantee yourself of the right investment for your car’s overall well-being, you should understand the importance of carrying both types of coverage and the fundamental differences.

What Does A Car Warranty Do?
A protection plan provides support for your car’s repair and maintenance over a specified amount of time or mileage. By default, brand-new cars come with bumper-to-bumper factory warranties. When you purchase a new vehicle, your purchase will include the manufacturer's warranty for no additional cost – you just need to make the most out of its validity to ensure your car’s continued protection.

A car warranty, however, is a policy that protects your vehicle but in the unfortunate situations where your car breaks you now have a company to contact for 24/7 roadside assistance, free tow services, rental car coverage and all you need to pay out of your pocket is the deductible of $100. An extended car warranty is an option you can purchase from your dealership for vehicles that are outside the manufacturers warranty based on the vehicles age or mileage or an aftermarket car warranty industry leader like Protect My Car.

An extended car warranty is something you can purchase before or after your manufacturers warranty expires – if you choose to purchase the extended car warranty while you’re at the dealership you will have the choice to roll the cost into your new loan.   If you do not want to pay interest on your extended auto warranty there are companies like Protect My Car that offer the same coverage plans with low monthly payment with no added fees or taxes.

How About Car Insurance?
Car insurance is a type of policy that provides specific coverage for your car’s repairs in case of an accident.  State law requires consumers to carry car insurance to protect you and other drivers in the event of an accident.  Simply put, car insurance provides you with the financial clout required when your car ends up in an accident putting you in an unfortunate situation.

There are at least three kinds of car insurance: comprehensive insurance, collision insurance, and liability insurance. Depending on the circumstances that caused your car’s damage, it’s wise to understand how each of those kinds work to your benefit. Each company will offer different payment terms and options for purchasing coverage making it affordable.

  • Comprehensive Insurance – Pays for fortuitous circumstances (i.e. natural disasters, damage from falling objects)
  • Collision Insurance – Pays for accident-related damage
  • Liability Insurance – Paid by the party that crashes into your car

What Are The Key Differences?
Again, car insurance vs car warranty they are not the same thing – each has specific peculiarities that, while ultimately providing for your car’s protection, are rooted in technicalities. To make sense out of the benefits both provide, it’s essential to pinpoint what exactly makes them different from one another.

Legal Obligation – Whereas a car warranty could both come in the form of factory coverage or you could purchase an aftermarket extended warranty, a car insurance is a legal necessity for any car owner. Sure, a car warranty may cover for your car’s bumper-to-bumper defects within its validity, but a car insurance works best for crashes and other unexpected damage brought forth by external elements.

Both accident and non-accident-related damage tend to be costly, and it also concerns the lives of the people involved. That’s where car insurance enters – its coverage answers for both your car’s repair and the medical expenses of any person that incurred physical damage resulting from the car’s damage.

Thus, the necessity of making a car insurance a legal obligation lies on the costly circumstances a car’s damage in relation to the persons and property involved. Without ample financial clout for damages to persons and property arising from the car’s damage, greater difficulties would arise in terms of exacting accountability due to sheer costliness.

Nature of Damage – A car warranty is different from a car insurance simply because the former pays greater attention to the manufacturer’s accountability in ensuring that your car runs properly. If the damage is connected to manufacturing, your car warranty can get your car covered for free parts replacement.

Events beyond your control that cause damage to your car fall under the protection car insurance provides. Do note that without a car insurance, you’ll risk having to shell out a large sum of money all at once to pay for your car’s damage. Premium payments, in that sense, serves you with great convenience – you get to pay periodically for the opportunity to get instant repairs.

So, Should You Get Both?
Given the differences, it’s essential that you get to have both a car insurance and a car warranty – one can cover for the other’s shortcomings, and that’s certainly a worthy investment for when you want to provide lasting protection to your car. Moving forward, the choice to set your preferences related to the two rely on your well-informed wisdom.

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How To Save Money On Car Insurance

Are you a driver under age 25? Are you the parent of a new driver? Then buckle up, because you’re about to head uphill with your car insurance rates. While it’s true that auto insurance rates are higher with a young driver on the policy, there are a few secrets to keeping those rates as low as possible. Follow our survival guide to car insurance so that buying a policy for the first time or adding a teen to your existing policy won’t be so scary after all.

Understand That Your Rates Will Increase

Teens and young adults are considered to be “inexperienced drivers” by insurance agencies until they turn 25 years old. And because agencies are assuming more risk with an inexperienced driver, they charge more to have that driver on the policy.

If you’re a parent, it’s hard to say just how much your insurance will increase with a teen driver because so much of it depends on individual circumstances. According to an Allstate agent who spoke with Aceable, for some people, adding a teen to their insurance only increases it by a few hundred dollars, while for others, the cost of the policy can triple. Meanwhile, if you’re under age 25 and buying car insurance for yourself, the price is almost guaranteed to be higher than it would be for someone older. That’s why it’s crucial to compare policies and find out which agency will give you the best discount. 

Know When To Add Your Teen To Your Policy

It’s tricky to know when to add your teen to your insurance policy because it differs by state as well as agency. For the most part, however, you won’t need to list your teen as a driver on your policy until they get their license. It’s a good idea, though, to notify your insurance agency as soon as your teen gets a learner permit. This way, in the event of an accident, you’ll know if they’re covered by your policy.

Consider Switching Insurance Agenics

Adding a new driver to the family brings about many exciting changes. (Less carpool duty for you, hopefully.) During this time of change, you might also consider changing insurance agencies to better suit your needs. Your current agency might not be the most affordable option, and in fact, it might actively be using pricing to get rid of you! Even if you’ve been with the same insurance company for years, now might be the perfect time to shop around.

Use An Aggregator To Shop And Compare Plans

An online aggregator for insurance companies is the fastest, easiest way to compare policies. There are several available to you.

Look For Extra Discounts

With a young driver on an insurance policy, you’ll want to scrounge up any discounts that you can. Check with your insurance agent for discounts related to: taking a defensive driving course, making good grades, driving a fuel-efficient car and more. 

Feeling a little more sure of yourself when it comes to car insurance? Good. Trust us: This process is way less scary than you think. And if you do need help, remember that Aceable is here for you every step of the way!

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Should A Car Be Inspected By A Professional Before Purchasing?

 

Purchasing a used car is an exciting experience through a bit intimidating for the average person. Once you find the vehicle that you’d like to purchase you need to be cautious that you are not inheriting somebody else’s previous problems. Whether you are purchasing the vehicle privately or from a dealer, it is always advisable to have a professional mechanic trained to perform used vehicle inspections check it out prior to completing your purchase. This can be done for a nominal fee and can save you many headaches you may run into later on if you haven’t had the car checked out first.

Dealers sometimes claim that they have thoroughly checked the vehicle and that it is road ready. The fact of the matter is dealers are not always honest and sometimes have not done anything other than drive the car onto the lot and offered for sale.

Buying the car privately is no better as there is a reason the person is selling the car. In many cases, because they don’t want it because it has been a problem and would rather somebody else have to deal with it.

All of that being said, there are still some excellent values out there and many of the vehicles for sale will end up being reliable transportation. Your job as a consumer is to make sure you don’t get stuck with one of the problem vehicles. The best way of doing this is to have a professional used vehicle inspection service check out the vehicle before completing the purchase.

Of course once you’ve purchased the vehicle it is also an excellent idea to purchase an extended used car warranty to protect you from the inevitable failures that will occur, even on quality vehicles as time and mileage. To find out about extended auto warranty coverage find an auto warranty company that has been around at least 10 years and has a solid rating and accreditation with the Better Business Bureau. Also, make sure that the company is directly underwritten by a US insurance carrier. One such company to check would be Auto Advantage Inc. found at www.autowarranties.com. Auto Advantage can also provide a professional inspector to check out the vehicle for you prior to completing your purchase.

 

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When Should I Pull The Trigger On A Credit Application?

 

The credit application process can be confusing. You may know that submitting an application can affect your credit. When a prospective creditor accesses your full report, it registers as a “hard” inquiry, which demonstrates that you are in the market for credit. But not all inquiries are hard inquiries, and you can minimize the effect of hard inquiries by planning ahead.

THE SOFT TOUCH

The one concept every adult with credit should understand, at a minimum, is the difference between hard and “soft” credit inquiries.

  • Soft credit inquiries result from credit checks executed by any party that is looking for a general idea of your current credit profile. The most common example is a creditor that uses public records to check long lists of people who may be candidates for “pre-approval” offers. Some states allow prospective employers to access a limited version of your credit report as part of a background check. These types of credit checks don’t require your explicit permission, they do not include many specifics, and they don’t affect your score.
  • Hard credit inquiries are a completely different matter. They do require your permission (and, in most cases, your Social Security number), they do result in a full credit report, and they will reduce your credit score by a few points. They will also appear on the report your next prospective creditor sees. Note: Only enter your Social Security Number into a loan application if you are ready to apply and have your credit pulled. When you submit a loan application with your Social Security Number, your credit will almost always be pulled immediately.

Generally speaking, having two hard inquiries or less on your report at any given time isn’t going to have much impact overall. Three or four might not even make much of a difference. But any more than that will. Your score will be reduced appreciably and creditors may be reluctant to work with you if it appears you are desperately seeking more lines of credit than you can afford. They have to minimize their risk.

There is an exception: When a number of hard inquiries register within a short period of time, the credit reporting agencies will group them together as “one” inquiry on your report. If you are in the market for an auto or home loan, it is critical to plan accordingly.

PULL THE TRIGGER

To minimize the effect of the application process on your credit score, go as far into the process as you possibly can before you pull the trigger on a hard credit inquiry. If you can determine only one creditor is worth applying to, or if you can submit multiple applications at once, you will only lose a few credit score points. And if you have a very long credit history, have paid your bills on time, and have no other red flags, your score will likely recover in a few months, at most.

Here are a few scenarios in which you can feel safe pulling the trigger on a credit application:

  1. You are ready to buy. You have done your research, you know what you need to buy and how much it costs, and you have narrowed your selection of prospective creditors.
  2. You need a place to live. If you are in the market for a new apartment, and you find the perfect one, don’t hesitate. The credit application is just part of the process.
  3. You need a job. If your state allows employers to run a credit check, employers are within their rights to make it a condition of employment. This should, however, only count as a soft inquiry.
  4. You get an offer for a department store credit card. While there are times when store cards can be beneficial, it is in your best interest to limit the number in your wallet. If the savings are real, and you are not now or soon will be in the market for a more important purchase, it’s OK to pull the trigger.
  5. You need a credit card. Diversity is key to a healthy credit profile. If you have never had a credit card, and you are preparing for a major purchase, it may be worth obtaining one to add a “revolving credit” entry and activity to your report — even if it knocks your score down by a few points.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to manage credit inquiries. A good rule of thumb is to limit hard inquiries to those times when you know you wish to purchase something and avoid them the rest of the time. However, by maintaining otherwise excellent credit practices — particularly paying your bills on time and keeping revolving balances low — the impact that hard inquiries will have will be minimal.

 
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Everything You Need to Know About Excluding People From Auto Insurance

As one’s household grows, so too, does their auto insurance policy. While this is a pretty standard and expected occurrence, it’s important for people with an increasing number of licensed drivers under one roof to realize they have options. Should any of their family members threaten their driving reputation and quotes, policyholders have the option to remove and exclude them from their insurance plans, making auto coverage someone else’s problem and responsibility.

REQUESTING AN EXCLUSION

If you’re a policyholder interested in excluding one or more individuals from your policy, then you need to contact your insurance company and/or agent. Your request will have to be in writing and might also come with additional forms and paperwork, depending on who your insurance company is. It’s also important to note that requesting an exclusion may cause your rates to increase a bit, but some view this cost as a much more affordable expense than the potential damages they might be held accountable for when the dangerous driver(s) in question get in a serious accident or have repeated traffic offenses.

Whom Should I Exclude?

Now that you know how to request an exclusion, it’s important to understand WHO to exclude. You should exclude anyone you see as high-risk, unreliable and irresponsible. Individuals who show no regard for rules and regulations and could care less what happens to your name and record in the process are other obvious options. To help make the choice easier for you, below is a list of three individuals you definitely don’t want on your policy.

Mittens, the Family Cat

While a fluffy, cute member of the family, Mittens also has a wild side with which you are all too familiar. She is open about her late-night romps with her neighborhood friends, often coming home as the sun rises. She’s practically nocturnal! Those crazy hours coupled with her sassy attitude are a recipe for disaster for you and your record, so nip this problem in the bud while you still can — before Mittens brings you down with her.

Your Six-year-old Who’s Going on Sixteen

Six-year-old Ben is your pride and joy. He’s cute and sweet, but let’s be honest — the boy is growing up too fast. Rather than run the risk of him growing up, stealing your car and running away, it’s probably best to exclude him from your policy to keep that from happening. You might not be able to stop him from physically growing, but you will darn sure try to stop him from leaving you!

The Neighbor Next Door Who Thinks He’s ALWAYS Welcome

Sure you let him borrow a cup a sugar once, but does that really warrant unannounced pop-ins or the dreaded ‘surprise I was waiting for you to get home from work’ visit? The answer is obviously no, but that doesn’t stop your too-close-for-comfort neighbor from doing just that and more. A sweet, eager individual with no concept of social norms, this neighbor is here so often you’re worried he thinks he’s actually a part of the family. While you technically shouldn’t have to cover him on your insurance, the lines that surround your whole relationship — and evidently your property— have been blurred. So, just to be on the safe side, you better exclude him. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll get really comfortable and decide to take your car for a spin and get locked up for grand theft auto — maybe then at least you’ll get to cook in peace again!

Reality Check

Obviously, these examples of potential exclusions are extreme and ridiculous, but that’s just the point. Auto insurance exclusions are a serious issue that should be treated as such. They shouldn’t be added to policies willy-nilly and on a whim, but rather after serious thought and consideration has been given to the situation. It can be a pricey and potentially lengthy process that should only be implemented after you have determined there is no other feasible option.

You should only opt to exclude drivers with repeated violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding or any other behavior that shows a disregard for the law. It’s also important to note that exclusions can also apply to non-related roommates. Depending on your policy and location, it might be a smart idea to exclude any irresponsible roommates you might have, should they try to drive your vehicle without permission and thus endanger your reputation and record.

We do hope you’re never presented with having to exclude a family member from your auto policy. Keep in mind, it’s only advisable when the said-driver is extremely toxic. Most of the time, excluding a single driver will only lead to higher rates for everyone involved.

You’ll know they are a real risk if they cause you to be subjected to higher rates, or worse, put you in danger of losing your coverage altogether — those are costly expenses worth the fees that come along with an exclusion.

If you are seriously considering opting for an exclusion, talk with your insurer to explore all of your options and alternatives. They should help point you in the right direction for your future.

 

 

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Car Choice Comes Last for Bad Credit Buyers

Here at LivAuto auto loan, we often receive comments from consumers who are looking for their next car. Typically, people who are looking for an auto loan tend to pick out a car first and look for financing second. This process may work for someone with good to great credit, but for many people—especially those with bad credit—the process works differently.

 

Take this customer who recently wrote to us about finding a vehicle:

“I'm looking for a dark purple car would love to get Camaro but I would be willing to get a different model like Impala or even an SUV but I can't afford a new one…”

To be clear, we are not a car finder or a finance company. We help people with bad credit get connected to local special finance dealers who can help people get the vehicles they need.

Why the Bad Credit Process is Different

Wanting a particular car is one thing, but when you have damaged credit, it's more important to get what you need—or what you can afford—rather than trying to find the exact car you want. This is due to the fact that when you are looking for financing with bad credit, you first have to get an approval from a subprime lender.

Subprime financing is typically needed when you have a credit score around 640 or lower. This type of auto loan is done through indirect lenders who work with special finance dealerships. Not all dealers have subprime lenders, so choosing the right one to meet your needs is important. Once you have found a dealer with a sub prime finance department, you will need to sit down with the special finance manager, fill out an application and submit the necessary documents.

You will need to provide:

  • A valid driver’s license or state ID.
  • Proof of income – your most recent check stub.
  • Proof of residence – a current utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone – a landline or cell phone from a national carrier, in your name.
  • Six to eight complete references – including names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Once you have completed this process, the dealer will transmit your application and documentation to the lender. The lender will either approve or deny your loan request. If you are approved, the lender will transmit a “payment call” to the special finance manager with the program you qualify for along with any additional requirements.

Choosing Your Vehicle

Once the lender has approved your auto loan request, the dealer will present you with a list of eligible vehicles that you qualify for, based on the information from the lender. Then, you can test drive them and choose the one you like that best fits what you need.

The good news is your choice of vehicles will typically be restricted to those that are less than 10 years old and with less than 100,000 miles. It is also good to note that your loan term can vary depending on vehicle mileage and model year.

As you can see, when you are dealing with subprime financing, choosing a vehicle comes at the end of the buying process, rather than the traditional loan process where you choose your vehicle first, then get financed.

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MONEY SAVING TIPS FOR YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP

Road Trip Savings

A road trip is always a fun experience, but it’s not exactly known to be an affordable one. That’s why it pays that you know how to manage your financial matters well when going on a road trip. You’ll never know when you’ll have to pay extra especially when you’re having too much fun. Let these money saving tips ensure your next road trip does not turn into a financial owe.

Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with making your road trip financially savvy. After all, we all like saving money. Anyone can always have fun for less, even in the case of road trips. For that, consider our money saving suggestions for your next road trip.

1. Money Saving Tips Start With Setting a Budget

Oftentimes, road trips become frustrating ordeals the moment it starts prompting you to spend more. Although you can always derive pleasure from the fact that you’re trading in your cash for leisure-related goodies, the fact that you’re creating for yourself a tiring cycle of earning money just to suffice for that lifestyle can drain you to no end.

That’s why it’s essential that you identify a budget cap when going out on a road trip. Make sure that you’re judicious enough in setting the right allocations for each aspect of your road trip. For that, you should always do your research – derive experiences from other people’s feedback, consider money saving tips, and read up on typical financial pitfalls in road trips.

2. Identify all Possible items in your Expenditures

Given the costliness of road trips, it pays that you know very well the things that you need to do when you’re confronted with situations that prompt you to take out money out of your wallet. Identifying those situations is an ideal step to the right financial track: restaurants, lodging accommodations, admission payments, vehicle-related expenditures, and the like.

One important thing that you must remember is that all vehicle-related expenditures are almost always better when used with credit cards, in that those offer incentives in the form of discounts and points. A CarCareONE credit card, for instance, allows you to take advantage of various financing options related to any car related concerns, specifically for repair and maintenance.

3. Apps, apps, and apps

If you think that you’re bad at monitoring expenditures related to your road trip, then always remember this popular saying of late: “there’s an app for that!” Apps, may it be on the App Store or Play Store, that allow you to manage your road trip-related expenses can help save the day, especially if you only have a specific budget that can only last as much when spent judiciously.

Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze can help you save both time and money through travelling along the shortest and most effective routes. An expense manager like Road Trip can help you keep track of your road trip costs. Repairpal enables you to call roadside assistance with one click. Altogether, those sorts of apps can help you conserve your road trip resources.

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4 reasons it's time to refinance your auto loan

Bills are a lot like bad weather. They’re going to come anyway, so you might as well not try to fix them, right? For some bills, that’s the case. For others, though, you can make a big difference in your monthly budget with a little legwork.

One of the bills you can change is your car payment. Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower If any of these factors have changed since you bought your car, you owe it to yourself to check out your refinancing options. Let’s look at some common life changes and when they might be caused to look at refinancing. Read on to learn about three scenarios where refinancing makes sense for your car or truck:

1.) Your credit improves

One of the biggest factors in determining your auto loan status is your credit score. When your lender is building a loan package, a credit report is pulled as a central part of that process. That number helps define your interest rate, whether or not you’ll have to pay a premium for insurance, and what other fees your lender might charge.

It’s worth keeping a copy of the credit report your lender pulled. That can let you see if your credit score has improved. It can take as little as nine months of steady repayment to boost your credit score, and that could result in a cheaper loan if you refinance.

If you didn’t have much experience with credit when you purchased your vehicle, refinancing can do you a world of good. Interest rates as high as 18% are common for borrowers who have little to no credit history. Having even a few months of solid payments on your side can cut that rate in half or more.

2.) You didn’t shop around before you borrowed

Many people feel railroaded throughout the car-buying process. They pick a car they like, then they are told what the price is, what the monthly payment is and everything else. It may seem like the choice of lenders for your car loan is predetermined.

Dealers tend to have a smaller range of lenders with whom they work exclusively. Those lenders know they have limited exposure to competition so they can charge slightly higher fees and interest rates. By doing your own comparison shopping, you can save quite a bit on both the loan and any ancillary insurances or warranties you may have purchased. Dealer rates tend to be 1 to 1.5% higher than those offered at smaller lenders, like credit unions.

If you’ve never shopped around for a car loan, it’s definitely worth doing. By getting multiple offers, you can ensure you’re getting the best price available for your loan. Try to do your shopping inside a 15-day period. Otherwise, the multiple checks on your credit could negatively impact your credit score.

3.) You need to change your monthly payment

You may be in a much better financial situation now than when you bought your car. You may have a better job or more security. You may have paid off a credit card or other debt. All of these things free up how much you can pay per month.

Most people don’t go into the refinancing process looking to increase their monthly payment, but you can save yourself money in the long term by committing to a faster repayment plan. If you can afford to pay more per month now, you can pay off the balance on your car faster. Shorter term loans usually also have lower interest rates, since the lender assumes less risk in making the loan. Once the car is paid off, you’ll have all that money to devote to other saving or spending priorities.

On the other hand, if money is tight, it might be a good idea to refinance into a longer term. While you might end up paying more in interest, you can reduce your monthly payment and save the money you need right now.

Your Turn: What do you do to save money on your car payment? Let us know your best tips and tricks in the comments, and don’t forget to stop by [CREDIT UNION] to find out how refinancing can improve your financial life!

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