Category Archives: Cars

Knowing Your Car Insurance Options When You Travel

When you travel abroad or even in your own country, it’s important to know your car insurance options.

When you travel in the states, I suggest paying for your rental car with a credit card that has rental car insurance option. We have our Discover card and it has this option. Before we had a credit card though, we booked a trip with our debit card. Accidents happen. We were in Hilton Head visiting family and vacationing, when we parked our car at a beach. When were only at the beach for about 15 minutes when we decided this wasn’t the beach we were looking for and got up to return to the car. When we came back, someone had made a huge dent on the rental. Too big to be just an accident. Since our debit card did not have rental car insurance protection and we hadn’t bought rental car insurance through the rental car company, we had to file a claim against our own insurance. We didn’t know this will remain on my husband’s record, and be counted against him when insurance companies used their fancy algorithm to calculate his premium.

On a side note: I actually can’t wait for my husband to turn 25 in six months. It’ll suddenly be cheaper for  to rent cars, so we’ll be able to do some cool road trips and my husband’s insurance premium should decrease!

When you travel abroad, check with your credit card company if they cover your rental car. Also, ask for extra coverages. I know in certain countries, where roads are not necessarily as developed as in first world countries, you may encounter super bumpy roads that could hurt your rental car. Costa Rica is a country we hopefully will be able to go see, and I’ve read some rental insurance companies charge extra for needed coverage. Anybody had any sort of experience with this?

In the UK, you can Insure 4 a Day. You can choose the option of one day car insurance, for example, if your car is undergoing repairs. Traveling for a holiday? Choose the option for one week. Or if you don’t drive your vehicle very often, choose a short term solution.

Always have comprehensive insurance when renting abroad—especially in Europe, where your personal car insurance is unlikely to be valid and deductibles are high. If you want to learn more about rental car insurance options in Europe, check out this super informational article: How to Buy Car-Rental Insurance in Europe.

Here’s a recap of the tips that will be useful for all trips abroad:

Paula Lyons of says you are likely to get better CDW prices through an independent insurer rather than through the car-rental company. She recommends getting a quote

Credit-card coverage is good for 30 to 45 consecutive days, depending on the card.


Have you traveled abroad and rented a car? What has been your experience?


The Beginning Of Vehicle Insurance

I love Downton Abbey. Somehow the drama of it all pulls me in on it.

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Did Mary get any monetary protection when Matthew died in a car crash?

Not that Mary needed any more money, but I often wondered if car/vehicle insurance existed by then. But it got me wondering when did we have to start paying car insurance?

Vehicle Insurance is a must have in the United States. You can purchase it for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other road vehicles. Why buy vehicle insurance? Vehicle insurance provides monetary protection against physical damage or bodily injury that result from vehicle collisions. It protects against the liabilities that arise from these accidents.

Cars began to be used after the WWI in urban cities. Cars were being built to go faster and be more dangerous. When accidents happened, people were left on their own to cover the costs for injury and repairing damage. The UK introduced the Road Traffic Act 1930. The act stated all vehicle owners and drivers had to be insured whilst on a public road.

Additional provisions included:

  • Abolition of all speed limit for cars
  • Introduction of driving offenses including dangerous, reckless and careless driving under the influence of drink and drugs.
  • Compulsory 3rd party insurance
  • 1st UK driving tests, for disable drivers only
  • Classification of motor vehicles
  • Construction, weight, and equipment of motor vehicles
  • Issue of Highway Code

Another fun fact: The act actually removed all speed limits on UK roads for motor cars! Can you imagine not having speed limits!

Insure Daily

This act actually led Germany to enact similar legislation in 1939.

Other countries followed including:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Hungary
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • South Africa
  • USA

How do companies determine premium charges? Companies use algorithms that factor in the following:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Driving history
  • Marital status
  • Vehicle classification
  • Distance

Just wanted to share some interesting information about car insurance. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!



How Much Did Your Car Cost?

I Just Bought A Camaro!

Dang, don’t I wish that was true! No, I didn’t buy a Camaro, but I know someone who just did. I overheard one of my department’s director brag about how he just bought a brand new Camaro! He’s picking it up on Thursday.

His team members (direct reports) reacted by saying “That’s awesome!” “Super Cool!”

A quick Google search online for “Average costs of a Camaro” brings up an average range of $23,345 – $60,546.

I wonder if I could ever spend that much money on a car. I know even looking at the price tag of a $20,000 car scares me. This fear led me to buy a used car with 58,000 miles. Even then I cried a little inside when I exchanged the money for the car.

It’s not rare to see Directors at his level drive really nice cars. Well, actually it’s not rare for anyone to drive really nice cars. I know several people at my level who drive really nice Range Rovers, BMWs, and pickup trucks. This actually always surprises me because I don’t think I can afford a really nice Range Rover. I can’t imagine what the car payment and insurance alone cost.

I’m really lucky to have friends who are really savvy. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Since all of us are footing all our bills, we drive affordable, used cars. When we do buy new, it’s always looking at how much we can afford. If you can afford a nice Camaro, then go ahead, buy one. But I often wonder how many people can really afford those really nice cars. Especially really young people like myself.

I know my hubby dreams of owning an Audi. Right now that dream is just a dream. No way can we afford an Audi right now! I don’t really have a dream car. I love my Honda Civic! It’s gas efficient and super nice. Despite the huge scratch on the back bumper – I accidentally hit a pole while attempting to back into a parking spot – I have asked for a quote to fix it, but have yet to do it. It’s not a necessary expense right now.

How much did your last car cost? Is it financed or fully owned?

Chevrolet Camaro Bumblebee  from the Transformers

Chevrolet Camaro Bumblebee from the Transformers (Photo credit: Paladin27)

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Last Check for The Mitsubishi Car loan

On Friday, I wrote the last check to officially pay off our Mitsubishi car loan!!! We will be debt free, other than the credit cards we pay off every month, five months earlier than I had planned. Instead of waiting to August to pay off our car loan, I decided to rip off the bandage and pay it off with money in our savings. Especially since March is a three paycheck month for me.


I feel like Emma Stone saying “Oh yeah” to the man. In this case, “the man” is the bank.


My bank account on the other hand felt like Tina Fey or “Lemon” in 30 Rock as she discovered a terrible truth/revelation about her team. $2,300 horrible truths!!! That’s how much I wrote the check for by the way! :)


Interest sucks. I checked the balance, and from last August to this month, March, $238 of interest had accumulated on a balance of less than $5,000. We had the money all along sitting in the bank, but I didn’t want to write the full amount due to the psychological feeling of seeing our savings account decrease by so much. In the meantime, we paid an additional $238 when the money in our savings account was earning 16 cents. Bahhhh!!! But it was the peace of mind I needed for a couple of months, as we built up our savings. I probably should have written the check for the remaining balance as soon as our savings hit $20,000 back in January. Maybe I would have saved $50?

Fifty bucks is fifty bucks!

Right now, we are completely debt free. Now we hustle and bustle in order to save the house down payment.

Since, we now don’t have a loan check going off every month, I am going to up our monthly savings goal from $2,500 to $3,000. If my projections are correct, we should hit the $50,000 in 6 months not counting any additional money we may come across outside of our regular salaries. April, May, June, July, August, September. 

How is your debt payoff? Did you notice I switched to self host? How do you like it?

I bought a car!

Friday was an awesome day for me. I bought my first car!!! Here is how the process went:

  • I started looking at cars from dealerships. We test drove a Hyundai Elantra (too small), Nissan Sentra (ok), Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda Civic Sedan, Honda Civic Coupe.
  • During my run Wednesday, I saw a Honda Civic Coupe for sale in the neighborhood and immediately called the owner to test drive. We test drove it that night, and I fell in love with the car. After test driving so many other cars, the coupe was the king.

Negotiation Process:

  • We looked up KBB and Edmunds value to compare. We, also, saw the car fax to make sure the car had received proper maintenance.
  • We sat down with the private owner and showed him the cash we were willing to offer. Cash talks! The private owner was asking $13,900 for a 2007 Honda Civic EX Coupe with 58K miles, navigation system, leather seats, and sunroof. We brought $12,500 to the negotiation. He, only, went down to $13,000.
  • We decided to walk away from the negotiation to consider the deal. In reality, $13,000 was our max price, so at that point we were ready to pay for it. We called back an hour later to accept the $13K price. We, also, asked for permission to take the car to the nearest Honda dealership to get a Pre Purchase Inspection.
  • We took the car to get a Pre Purchase Inspection ($100). The service department came up with a couple of minor things (brake light, power steering flush, side motor mount replacement because its worn out a little bit, and the need for new tires in the next 5K to 10K miles). The total came up to be $1200. A little overprice due to dealership inflation. However, we used these facts to further negotiate a better price!
  • After the PPI, we sat down with the owner and explained to him what the inspection found out. We convinced him to drop the price by $500. After a couple minutes of agony, he agreed. He signed over the title and we gave him $12500 in cash!
  • We paid $700 in taxes, title, and license (TTL).
  • In total, my car came out to $13,300 ($12500 + $100 + $700). The best thing is that I will have no car loan to pay in the future! The car is all mine :) Evil laugh.

Lessons Learned

  • Dealing with a dealership is a hassle.  They wasted so much of my time with small talk! Plus, they never wanted to negotiate price unless you were willing to sign right then and there. I would have paid more than $15K for the car I just bought. Eliminate the middleman!
  • The process of buying the car was so much easier through a private owner. I think it helped that the private owner lives 3 minutes away from my in-laws. It felt good knowing the money was going to a friendly neighbor. I, also, did not have to sign pages and pages of fine print. When we decided on a price, we made a note explaining how much the car was bought for, and the title was signed over.
  • Always get a Pre Purchase Inspection if you are buying form a private owner. For us, it was a great investment that dropped the price of our car. It paid back in less than an hour. Plus, the things a dealership quotes, can usually be done by you or a trusted mechanic for less. As far, as the tires, I probably won’t need new ones until the winter.
  • Be friendly during negotiations. In the end, both parties felt satisfied with the negotiation. I was happy because I got my car for a great price. The owner was satisfied with the price we offered. I’m sure he was glad to be done!
Meeting my needs and budget
  • I really wanted to stay under $13K for my car. $10K would have been great, but I quickly found out I could not get the car I needed for $10K. I only went over by $300 and I stayed under $15K.
  • My parents did not want me to buy a used car. They really wanted me to get a new car with warranty so I would not have to worry about anything. They suggested I put down the $13k as a down payment and finance the rest. I put my foot down and explained that I did not want a loan and I wanted to stay under my budget.
  • Check out my post Buying a Car Part 1 to see what I originally wanted. I got the best price, great gas mileage, a car that drives well, ok insurance :), and on the plus side, a great interior!
  • I am really, really hoping this car lasts me till 150,00 miles :). Maybe even 200,000 miles!

What do you think???


Evaluating Your Car Needs Vs. Wants

If you have been reading my posts, you know that I am currently looking for a car. Part of my journey in becoming a grown-up! In my earlier post, I mentioned I wanted a four door, mid-size car with good fuel economy. I want to stay under the 12K range, no more than 15K.

Today I had the chance to talk to one of my buddies who knows a lot more about cars than I do. I told him about the research I had gathered up, and my thoughts so far. I did mention that I felt completely lost with no idea on how to start. I mean who isn’t lost when your buying your first car? The experience makes me want to NOT buy one. LOL

He asked me a couple of questions including: what kind of attributes are you looking for in a car? Do you care about brand, special features? I said that I really wanted to stay under 10K. Most people I had talked to, told me that I would not get what I wanted for that little, and should consider increasing my budget. He said that I did not have to. I just had to reevaluate some of my wants/needs.

Basically, I need a car with low miles and good fuel economy. In the end, it doesn’t matter what size, shape, or color. At first I wanted a four door mid size car, but then I asked myself why? My hubby already has a four door car that sits five people comfortably. So if we wanted to travel, we would just take his car. There is no need for a four door car. I am going to be using my car for city driving to get from home to work to the gym, etc. Switching to a two door makes my price point more achievable. A two door car also means better gas mileage, lower insurance, and lower overall price. Big win!

So, it looks like I will be looking at the Honda Civic, Mazda Miata, Mazda 3, and Ford Focus over the next couple of weeks to see which one I want.

Oh, he also mentioned that Mid May is the best time to shop for a car. Apparently, the 2013 models come out in May, and people buying a new car come in and trade their old cars. This gives us a couple of weeks to figure out which car I want. :)

I learned a lesson today. You really have to evaluate the needs vs. wants you desire in a car. Especially if you have a budget to stick to! I mean do I need heated seats? Nah. My tush is hot enough ;P. Do I need an mp3 player? Hmm, I don’t even have CD’s or songs to transfer to an MP3 player. I totally rock out to pandora for free! :) Plus, the radio is free :)

I hope everybody has a good Thursday! I have a busy day ahead since I put certain things off on Wednesday. It was just one of those days. On the other hand, we completed my hubby’s resume! :)

What are your thoughts?

P.S. I have been using CarSabi (The Used Car Engine) to browse through cars. I recommend it!
P.S.S. There is a part of me that wonders whether I can survive without a car. I mean that would save us $10K, car maintenance, insurance, gas. Britney at MoneyAfterGrad is attempting to not get a car. Looks like another post coming soon! :)


Buying A Car Part 1

It’s April! Graduation is six week away and this month is going to be crazy! Between finishing up graduate school, finding a job, getting a car, and moving, I am not sure how I am going to survive. This blog is the only thing keeping me sane! Let’s just say I cannot wait to graduate.The time to start researching for a car has come.

I initially thought I wanted to spend no more than $12,000 on my first car, but I am not sure if that is going to be enough. I am willing to stretch the budget to $15,000. Although that will require a bigger loan. I currently have $10K saved up. I want a small affordable car with great gas mileage and low total miles. Four door car is a must! I am planning to keep this baby for years!

I have been looking at US News Rankings of Best Affordable Cars. This is the new 2012 list, but I am looking at previous models of the ranked cars since I am buying used. My husband, currently, has a Mitsubishi Lancer (paid about 13K). I like the car, although, the engine is noisy and it shakes when it gets on the highway. All in all I would not mind getting another one. Some people have told me to look at the Honda Civic, Hyundai Accent, or Hyundai Elentra.

Things I am looking for in my car:

  • Great Gas Mileage
  • Best Price
  • Drives Well
  • Low Monthly Insurance Rate

I am not much of a car girl. I don’t care how pretty the interior is or if it can hit high speeds on the highway. I don’t drive over 70 mph, anyways. I honestly just want the best fuel economy for my buck. Oh, and I don’t want a super tiny car, unless it is a mini cooper ;P

I need to narrow down the list to three cars. Any preferences, comments, advice?