Buying Peace of Mind: How to Buy a Used-Car Warranty

A certified pre-owned car with a warranty provided by the manufacturer is the safest bet in the used-car world. But if you’re not buying a CPO car from a franchise dealer, can you still get a warranty? Yes, but buying one can be tricky. The fact is, we all hope to find a company that will warranty a used car with 150,000 miles on it, sight unseen. But such companies don’t exist because there’s no way they can, as an example, buy everyone a new engine and transmission and still stay in business. So let’s look at the realistic options: Some dealer groups and used-car chains offer their own CPO warranty programs, but coverage is usually minimal. CarMax, which has more than 100 locations across the country, certifies its own cars, and everything it sells has a “limited 30-day warranty,” which is actually 60 days in Connecticut and 90 in Massachusetts due to local laws. CarMax also offers “MaxCare,” an extended service plan that expands the coverage to most of the mechanicals except for wear-and-tear items, fluids, wheels, glass, and trim. Check the website, which details what is and isn’t covered. Prices vary according to the coverage and car.

2010–2012 Chevrolet Camaro: A Certified Pre-Owned Guide
Feature: Pre-Owned Programs by Make and Model
Certified Pre-Owned: 2005–2009 Ford Mustang GT
There are also aftermarket warranties: In December 2009, we checked these out, and we didn’t like what we saw. A cluster of companies, most based in the St. Louis area, used high-pressure tactics to get signatures on warranty deals. One of the biggest, US Fidelis, previously known as National Auto Warranty Services, went bankrupt, and at least two of its executives went to prison. To avoid a scam, look for a company that has been in business for a long time. EasyCare, for instance, has been around since 1984. It was formerly purchased and owned by Ford, but the company’s employees and equity partners bought it back in 2007. The company sells its contracts outright, or through more than 2000 dealers, and while it recommends that you use the selling dealer for service, any licensed repair facility is acceptable. There are four different levels of coverage, and price varies by the level, the vehicle, and its mileage. The costs, however, are often negotiable.

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New Car Warranties Can Provide 4 Types Of Coverage

It is wise to buy an auto warranty when investing in a new car. New car warranties can provide four kinds of coverage for your car:

1. The first kind of coverage that you can receive is basic coverage, or a bumper-to-bumper warranty. This kind of warranty provides coverage for the parts of the car from the front bumper to the back bumper.

2. Another kind of coverage that you can receive is a powertrain warranty. This provides coverage for the parts that make the car run. Such parts include the engine, the driveshaft, the drive axels, and the transmission.

3. In addition, your auto warranty can cover corrosion and rust. This will cover the rust-through problems that you may encounter later on.

4. A final kind of coverage that you can receive is roadside assistance. This is a service that may be given to you when your basic warranty is active. It offers professional assistance when you find yourself stranded on the side of the road due to a vehicle breakdown. It offers many beneficial services such as lockout assistance, refueling assistance, flat tire assistance, and towing.

If you wish to become even more familiar with the details of the coverage that come with your auto warranty, look at your warranty booklet or owner’s manual. If you still do not believe that you are receiving enough coverage and that you want more, it is smart to purchase an extended auto warranty for your car that will suit all of your needs.

 

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When It’s Time To Replace Your Transmission, Have An Auto Warranty

One of the most vital parts of your car is your transmission. However, it is one of the most expensive parts of your car to have replaced. If you own your car for a long period of time, there is a good chance that you eventually need to replace the transmission. Here are some clear signs that you are having transmission issues:

One sign is leaking transmission fluid. The fluid pools beneath your car when it is parked and can be easily identified by its red color. You then should check to see if there is any metal in the fluid. If there is metal, a new transmission is essential since broken metal is a sign that your transmission is worn down.

In addition, inspect the fluid levels in your car’s transmission. If they are low, this could be an indication that your transmission is burning too much fluid or overheating.

If you notice that your car is making rough transitions between gears, this is an indication of a transmission problem. Your gears could slip and take a longer time to switch between gears, resulting in a slower acceleration of your car.

Since transmission replacements are expensive, it is smart to look up an aftermarket auto warranty company and purchase an extended auto warranty in order to reduce the costs of your car repair bills. In addition, make sure that you buy an auto warranty that provides the right amount of coverage for your car.

 

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5 Home Warranty Myths Debunked

While home warranties can be an additional level of protection for your home, some homeowners may have chosen not to purchase one and others may not even know what one is. If you’re wondering how a home warranty could help protect your home, here are five misconceptions and myths debunked.

Myth #1: “I don’t even know what a home warranty is, so I probably don’t need one.”

The more you know about the home systems and appliances in your home that may be covered by a home warranty, the more you may likely appreciate the value. Home warranties usually cover big-ticket items, like your furnace, air conditioner, plumbing, electrical systems and appliances — some of the essential things you use on a daily basis. A home warranty may help cover the repair or replacement of covered items that break down due to normal wear and tear.

Myth #2: “A home warranty is expensive; it’s not worth it.”

Have you ever thought about how much it would cost if you were to replace a major home system?  According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of replacing a furnace may range from $2,298 to $5,550. Generally, a basic home warranty may cost you between $350 to $500 a year.

Myth #3: “I don’t need a home warranty, because I have all new appliances.”

Unfortunately, new items may break down, too. Without a warranty, you may be leaving yourself open to a potentially expensive repair on a new appliance.

Myth #4: “I maintain all my appliances and systems, so I would never need a home warranty.”

Breakdowns can happen unexpectedly, even to the most attentive homeowners. Routine maintenance can be a great thing and certainly helps, but it is no guarantee that things may not go wrong.

Myth #5: “I have homeowners insurance, so I don’t need a home warranty.”

This is a common misconception. Homeowners insurance and a home warranty are two separate things and offer different coverage. Homeowners insurance may cover things that happen due to an unexpected event, such as a fire or theft. But a home warranty is a service contract that provides for the repair or replacement of covered items when they break down due to normal wear and tear — things that can happen to just about any homeowner at some point.

Make sure to weigh all of the facts, and then decide if a home warranty may be right for you and your home.

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5 Tips to Avoid Surprise Bills

 

Most of us know by now that our medical care will cost a lot less if we see a doctor who participates in our health plan’s network.

But it’s gotten harder to know for certain which doctors participate and which don’t, particularly if you’re hospitalized. For example, if you visit the emergency room you likely won’t know if the doctors treating you are in your plan’s network. Even if you have surgery or deliver a baby at an in-network hospital, you could be treated by an anesthesiologist or an assistant surgeon who is not contracted with your insurer.

Even if your insurer reimburses out-of-network doctors, the doctor you saw may decide the payment wasn’t enough, and send you a bill for the balance.

That’s when surprise bills show up. According to a recent report by Consumers Union, nearly one-third of Americans with private insurance got a surprise medical bill in the last two years.

So, if you’re planning a surgery or procedure, consider these 5 steps to reduce your risk of getting surprise bills:

1. Know what your plan covers. Surprise bills can often be avoided by simply taking the time to carefully read through your plan’s benefits and by calling your insurer to ask whether the procedure you need is covered.

2. Get the names of your providers. “You should have a firm understanding not only of what is involved in the procedure you’ll be having, but who will be involved in providing your care,” says Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare.

Get in writing the names of all the healthcare professionals providing your care and make sure they are all in the network, including physician assistants, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. “You have the right to request only in-network providers,” Ho says.

3. Call about your health plan. Provider networks change all the time. Before your procedure, get in touch with your health plan to verify that the doctors you plan to see are still in-network, and be sure to take notes on who you spoke with and what you were told. If you receive an unexpected bill after your procedure, contact your health plan again for assistance.

“Some insurers will serve as an advocate on your behalf and negotiate with the physicians to either lower the out-of-network charges or waive them all together,” Ho says.

4. Ask about cost. There are a number of pricing tools available today that can help you research the estimated cost of specific treatments and procedures. Most insurers offer price estimate tools, as do many large employers. There are also plenty of apps and websites available.

Keep in mind, however, that there is no comprehensive database of healthcare prices.
And, despite all the tools, finding accurate healthcare cost information is still generally difficult.

Still, it pays to talk with your physician and/or the hospital about the cost of your care and to request an estimate in advance.

If you receive a surprise bill, ask if your provider will accept your health plan’s payment as payment in full.

5. Know your state’s rules. Federal law does not protect patients from surprise billing. But some states have policies in place that help people with at least some of the common situations that lead to unexpected charges, such as emergency room visits that involve out-of-network doctors.

If you receive a surprise bill, contact your state’s department of insurance to see if there are legal protections against balance billing.

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