Car Talk, Deals, Education, Money Saver, Tips and Tricks

Finding The Best Car Insurance in Washington Is Full of Surprises…

Trying to find the best car insurance can be a trial. We all know the big car insurance brands: State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate — but after browsing those sites, I’m never sure if I’m actually getting the best deals. So this time I used Clearsurance, and what I found totally caught me by surprise. All those household brands we all see advertised so often? They aren’t ranked very highly. Clearsurance, which is a website that collects reviews from people about their insurance company, uses the data it gathers to create unbiased rankings of car insurance companies, both by state and nationally for 2018. The detailed breakdown helps you compare companies and find coverage that’s actually the best deal for your location and driving history.

Once I got over my surprise, I decided to see what companies other consumers ranked as the best car insurance options in Washington and if my car insurer was rated highly by other consumers. I didn’t even recognize some of the companies that ranked ahead of the giants in car insurance, including my own insurer.

For instance, Amica Mutual, which offers a home ownership discount, was founded in 1907 and ranks as the third best company in all of Washington. Amica Mutual’s 4.46 rating out of 5 on Clearsurance is significantly higher than that of Progressive (4.16) and Allstate (4.1).

Take a look at what companies are ranked as the top 5 car insurers in Washington on Clearsurance:

  1. USAA — 4.68
  2. California Casualty Group — 4.47
  3. Amica Mutual Insurance Company— 4.46
  4. Metromile— 4.45
  5. American National Property & Casualty Company — 4.43

These aren’t the names we typically associate with car insurance. So why are these brands so much better than the big companies we all know? Clearsurance has tons of great information to help you navigate your car insurance coverage, and one of the things I discovered is that companies like Geico and Allstate spend billions of dollars a year on advertisements to become the names we think of when it’s time to buy car insurance or consider switching car insurance. But those advertising dollars have come to from somewhere, and it ends up driving up the cost of our insurance premiums.

 

Why should we be paying more to insure our cars so that our insurer can solicit new business?

For the most part, the companies rated highly in Washington are lesser known than the big names. But the bottom line is, they’re better. These are the companies that other policyholders have found offer fair prices with good customer service and claims handling.

Still, we’re not all eligible for these top insurers, and we don’t all have the same insurance needs. That’s something else Clearsurance understands and helps you navigate. For example, USAA is the best car insurance company for Washingtonians, but it only serves active and former military members and their families. And at a company like Metromile, it offers a multi-car discount. Plus, not all car insurance companies cover high-risk drivers, so if you have a lot of accidents on your record or a DUI, you may not be able to obtain coverage from one of these companies.

What’s a good option for high-risk drivers in Washington?

I did some digging into the car insurance companies that sell in Washington and offer policies to high-risk drivers, often referred to as non-standard drivers. If you’re looking for a cost effective option, The General offers affordable coverage. The General has a rating of 3.68. Consumers seem to believe The General offers cheap prices, but the low rates are reflected in the customer service and handling of claims.

 

Finding the best car insurance for you or your family shouldn’t have to be completely mind-boggling. Once you step outside the buzz of all those big name brands, figuring out which companies actually offer the best customer service at the best price becomes a lot easier, especially if you’ve got Clearsurance on your team.

Car Talk, Healthy Living, Home, Natural Products, Reviews, Travel

Gurunanda Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser For Car

I have partnered with Gurunanda for the feature. Samples were sent and opinions are my own

Gurunanda Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser For Car

How much do you love your essential oils? If you are like me you love using oils. Everyone has their preferred way to use oils. Many rely on them for healing, some may use them to make household cleaners and beauty products and my preferred usage is to fill my home with pleasant aromas (I’m a Mom of boys, so….)

Gurunanda has many essential oils and diffusers and now they have some portable diffusers so you’re oils can leave you pleasant aroma wherever you go. The Gurunanda Ultrasonic Essential OIl Diffuser for the Car is more than just a unit that can fit in your car’s cup holder. It comes with a USB cord as well as a plug for the cigarette lighter unit of your car.

I see this essential oil diffuser as useful in a hotel room, in the RV and even at your personal work space. I have USB ports on my laptop so when traveling or at my home office I can plug in right near me and burn some lavender or peppermint if I have a headache or stomach aches. It has the ultrasonic mist so it is great for healing.

More Features include:

  • Water Capacity: 55 ml
  • No wick required
  • Overheating protection.
  • Auto shut off when water is low
  • Compatible with most laptops or USB wall/car outlets, cable included
  • ETL certified

Modes of Operation

    • Continuous mode – Mist lasts up to 4 hours.
    • Intermittent mode – Mist lasts up to 8 hours.

While visiting Gurunanda to learn more, see their new Essential Oils Roll Ons! I actually own a few roll ons and the Gurunanda Jasmine Kiss is by far my favorite scent. Every time my eye catches the bottle even if I’m just at home with no plans, I stop to open it and swipe my wrists or neck to just have the scent near me.

Comment with Gurunanda on their website and follow on Facebook and Instagram

Buy It at Gurunanda.com or on Amazon: Gurunanda Ultrasonic Essential OIl Diffuser for the Car \ Gurunanda Essential Oils Roll Ons

Car Talk, Gift Guides, Holiday Gift Guide 2017

3 Meguiar’s Holiday Gift Kits for Cars

I have partnered with Meguiars for this feature

Meguiars Logo

Shopping for the guys? That is such a feat and when they want something they usually get it themselves leaving few ideas. Last year I shopped hard for my husband on several gifts and the most popular was the gift our 9 year old gave him. I let him loose in the store to find his Dad a gift and he ended up in the car aisle and started grabbing cleaners.

My husband loves the Meguiar’s brand and so we grabbed a variety and a bucket and new microfiber towels and made a gift basket. You don’t have to stand in the aisle and guess what makes a complete car care kit because Meguiar’s has several kits already put together and ready to wrap.

3 Meguiar’s Holiday Gift Kits for Cars

 

  • Meguiar’s® Clean & Shine Car Cleaning Kit, sold exclusively at Kmart and Sears, includes Deep Car Wash, Gold Class™ Quik Wax®, Quik Interior Detailer and Perfect Clarity™ Glass Cleaner.

 

  • Meguiar’s® Complete Car Care Kit, sold exclusively at Walmart, includes a 16-ounce Gold Class™ Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner, 15.2-ounce Ultimate Quik Wax®, 15-oz Hot Shine Tire Foam, 24-ounce Perfect Clarity™ Glass Cleaner, 16-ounce Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner, 2.5-ounce Whole Car Air Re-Fresher Odor Eliminator – Spiced Wood, 16-ounce All Purpose Cleaner Spray, Car Wash Sponge and Microfiber Towel. 

 

  • Meguiar’s® Essentials Car Care Kit contains a variety of products you’ll find on any auto enthusiast’s wish list. The kit is exclusively available on Amazon and includes a 48-ounce Ultimate Wash & Wax, 15.2-ounce Ultimate Quik Wax, 15-oz Hot Shine Tire Coating, 24-ounce Perfect Clarity™ Glass Cleaner, 25 wipe canister Quik Interior Detailer Cleaner Wipes, Meguiar’s Yellow 3.5 Gallon Bucket, 8” x 10” Microfiber Wash Mitt, full size 22” x 30” Water Magnet® Microfiber Drying Towel and 3 full size 16” x 24” Supreme Shine® Microfiber Towels.

No matter your budget you can find the gift that will get used and a brand very well-known and loved by car enthusiasts. Meguiar’s Ultimate Quick Wax is the only wax my husband uses on all of our cars. I love the using the Hot Shine Tire Foam because spraying a layer on my tires adds that finishing touch to a clean car.

Apps, Car Talk, Sponsored, Tips and Tricks, Travel

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

This post is in sponsorship with Cars.com. I was compensated but topic/words are my own

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

Almost more dreading than deciding on the car you want is the negotiating process at the dealership. We have 2 older boys and my husband and I can’t hold onto cars for long so we are typically in a car dealership a few times a year. Not only are we in a dealership for ourselves but because friends and family ask my husband to come car shopping with them because they know how much my husband loves the negotiation process. It is a bit of a weird obsession he has as a negotiator. So I had him help me gather our thoughts into 3 (proven by us over and over again) negotiating tips when buying a new or used car.

Do Your Homework

You have searched cars galore and now you have narrowed it down to a model or 2 you may be leaning towards. This is where you begin your pre-dealership visit homework. When you hear the words from finance at the dealership “We’ll make you a great deal”, do you really know what a great deal on that car is? Not if you haven’t done your homework. We like using Cars.com to search for fair market values on the exact cars we want to look at.

Grab a notepad and pencil and write down the make/model of cars you want to see. List the fair market value that matches the exact features/series for that car. Do this for all of the cars you wish to see so it is handy in a moments notice. Make sure you keep Cars.com or the Cars.com apps available incase you find yourself liking a different model than you anticipated. Now, you have a number and a “great deal” will be that number or below.

Note Your Bottom Line

You know the fair value so now you can find your best bottom line! This will be what you want to pay after your trade in or down payment, etc.. Here is an example of the tone you can use in negotiation (right away) when it comes to fair value and your bottom line. For this example I plugged my car into Cars.com – 2016 Honda CR-V Touring Edition. I then clicked on comparison tool and see that the lowest it has sold for is $34,156 and the highest is $35, 139 with an average price of $34, 648. That gives me a good start to find my bottom line.

“I have a … to trade in. My bottom line is $34, 700. I know that fair value is $34, 735  so I am not asking for too much to come in at my bottom line. I don’t care how you work the numbers. You can discount the car or change the trade-in value on my old car but I need that bottom line top be $34, 735 (after registration fees).”

They may try and say you need to put more down (hence, the price becomes more than your bottom line), but you can tell them to please go back and rework the cost and trade in to get you to that number you gave. You may have to have a down payment especially if the car you trade in is a lot lower in value. Know your comfortable down payment mark and if they are close-get them closer!

Be Prepared For A few Hours Time (and no kids)

Most dealers play a game of wearing you down. You come in with a fair value, a bottom line and down payment and they will still try and stay away from your mark. Be prepared to send the dealer back to the sales manager again and again and be prepared for the finance guy to be “busy” and make you wait for a response. This wears you down fast. You just want to accept and go home. We have never walked out of a dealership because we allowed them to break us down-ever!

Keep the kids at home or with a sitter and most importantly, be prepared to walk away with no car! We have done that more than once. When they play hard to negotiate we turn to a phrase something like this,

” Listen. We don’t NEED this car today. You are our first dealership stop. It looks like we are too far apart so we will be taking off. Thank you so much for your time.”

If you have to walk away it is most likely because that truly is going to become your best deal. We have done it and we have been called back with the deal we wanted. We have also used it as leverage for the next stop by explaining to their team that we walked on place one for being too far off. It is a process and you need to be prepared to spend hours and even walk away and start again. In the end, it is your money and your monthly payment that will become your reward for taking the proper time.

So, head on out. Cars.com is truly a must visit before you head to the dealership. My note above says this is a sponsored post, but I am serious when I tell you that we never head out to shop before using their website to do our homework. I am honored now that I can team up with them for this post. We use it to browse cars, read reviews and find fair values. Plus, when you tell a dealership you found the fair value on Cars.com it is hard for them to argue with you. Hold your ground, it will work out for you and your wallet.

I’m curious, did you learn something new here? Are you less intimidated to car shop now?

Car Talk, Gift Guides, Giveaways, Home

Touch Up Your Car Imperfections with Chipex #Giveaway

Sample sent for feature on behalf of FlyBy promotions for Chipex

Chipex Logo

Welcome to the Chipex Feature and Giveaway!

Last week my Chipex arrived and I was heartbroken. It came after I traded my car in. It was a last minute decision to trade in my taffeta white CRV and take advantage of the new 2016 finance offer we came across so I went on the hunt for someone I know with a Honda in taffeta white and found someone who had that color on a civic and went to work on those chips in her paint. There are 3 steps to the repair process and on the first spot which was the bumper, the tasks were only daunting in making sure you are doing each step correctly. However once you get through the first repair it becomes addicting as you want to fix all blemishes. She continued all around the civic catching all the rock chips and other blemishes. It blends so well you want to just keep finding spots to repair.

chipex-bumper-repair-parenting-healthy

This was the bumper fix. Just look at the difference! Now do you see why you become so fixated in finding every spot you can to rub in and polish out? Below is a door repair and hood repair. We got the same great results.

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chipex-hood-repair-parenting-healthy

The Chipex Steps are as follows (simply put):

  1. Apply the paint with gloved hands or included brush. Allow to dry 40 seconds to 5 minutes depending on area size and paint amount used.
  2. Apply a small amount of blending solution to the included cloth and gently run across area, removing excess paint. Let dry a few minutes.
  3. Apply a small amount of finishing polish to the included  microfiber cloth and run over treated area. Let dry to a haze for a few moments then remove with the same cloth

Chipex Screenwash

Now Chipex not only has these chip repair kits you can buy in any size and easily find you car’s paint color to get the right shade, but they have more. I also have the Screenwash. This solution goes right into your windshield wiper reservoir and does wonders on your windshield for the rain and freezing temperatures. The Screenwash repels rain from the screen, delivers clear vision in any weather, anti-freeze to -5 degrees and tips on lowering that freezing point are included and it removes smears.

chipex-screenwash-parenting-healthy

Since my car is only days old and under 50 miles, my reservoir is full right now. So, my husband stole it for his car. You simply add about 1/4 of bottle on first fill and less on the subsequent fills. There is even a window guide with markers so you add just the right amount each fill. Because this is our first fill, we filled until bottom of the first line as shown below. This only costs you $19.99 and will last for about 7 fills. That is a great value. Make sure you get your bottle for the rain and snow hit.

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chipex-refill-lines-parenting-healthy

Giveaway

1 lucky reader will win a Chipex Car Paint Repair System.  Open to US, Canada and Europe only and ends on 11/3/2016. Enter below. Good luck.

chipex-giveaway-parenting-healthy

Win a Chipex Bundle #8

Giveaway and widget created by FlyBy Promotions for Chipex. Winner will be drawn by sponsor.

Car Talk, Home

Three Ways to Save on Car Repairs

automotive-1159508_1920
Image by Pixabay

For many families, car repairs are the budgetary Bermuda triangle where money mysteriously disappears. Car repairs have a way of being urgent and unavoidable, especially if you need to travel around the suburbs. Unfortunately, there is no way to plan in advance what repairs you will need, when you will need them, or how much they will cost you. In fact, the only thing you can be certain of is that something is going to break at the worst possible time. When these costs do arise, there are a few ways that you can make them easier to handle.
1. Invest in Preventative Maintenance
Cars are complex machines. Seemingly unimportant issues can quickly morph into huge problems if they are left unattended. If you want to stop small problems from escalating, then you should invest some effort into creating a schedule for having regular preventative maintenance performed on your vehicle.
For example, you should be able to recognize when you need to get your oil changed, when your serpentine and timing belts need to be replaced, and when your tires need to be rotated. While there will be costs associated with some of these tasks, they will be predictable and minimal compared to the costs you will incur if you neglect to have them performed.
2. Choose Pre-Qualified Providers
Everyone has at least one story about getting ripped off by a crooked mechanic. If you do not know much about cars, then you are basically at the mercy of the experts. Some mechanics capitalize on this situation by charging unfair rates for their services. Even if you do suspect that you are being taken for a ride, so to speak, there is usually not much you can do about it.
However, it is entirely possible to find honest mechanics if you know how to look for them. In fact, some local auto insurance providers take the job out of your hands by compiling databases of area repair shops that they consider to be trustworthy. The next time you need to take your car in to the shop, find out if your car insurance agency offers this type of assistance. If so, you will spend less time shopping around for good service, and you will end up feeling confident that you are paying a fair price for a job well done.
3. Do Your Own Repairs
One of the strongest cost drivers for car repairs is the price of labor. If you are already handy enough to have a well-stocked tool box, then you can save a great deal of money by doing certain repairs yourself. For example, if you change your own brake pads, you will go to bed that night over $250 richer than you would have if you had taken your car to a mechanic. YouTube videos are extremely useful tools for learning to make these fixes, but you can also consult your vehicle’s repair manual for help.
The Road to Savings
Car repairs are unavoidable, but it is possible to at least ease the financial blow that they bring with them. Take maintenance and repair matters into your own hands when you can. When you can’t, use whatever resources you have available to you to find honest service providers. Remember, in the end, the most important thing is that your family ends up with a safe vehicle to take from Point A to Point B.