Tag: Vehicles

Teacher Savings on Car Insurance

Teacher Savings on Car Insurance and Major Vehicle Repairs

Despite one’s best efforts, sometimes costly vehicle repairs are unavoidable. This can be due to an accident, neglect, or a vengeful student skilled at avoiding camera detection in the parking lot.  When it comes to these repairs, it is good to know what car insurance providers have special deals for educators, how to save on engine repair, and how to save on interior and exterior body work.

Car Insurance Providers with Teacher Deals

If major repair work is required on a vehicle, and it is due to an accident, it will generally involve your insurance company. Two major car insurance providers that offer special educator incentives and discounts are Horace Mann and Liberty Mutual.

Horace Mann insurance proudly displays that they were “Founded by Educators for Educators”. They offer a program called Educator Advantage® that adds certain perks to their insurance policies. The most significant perk includes “a waiver or reduced deductible for covered vandalism losses on or near school property, or while at a school-sponsored event.” So if a passive aggressive student bent on revenge decides to slit your tires or key your car, it most likely will be covered. This program also offers added roadside coverage, new car replacement if a new car is deemed a “total loss”, assistance with veterinary bills if your pet is injured in an accident, and liability coverage if you transport students in a vehicle they insure.

Liberty Mutual offers Teacher’s Auto Insurance which also covers instances of vandalism on or near school property. They also offer Personal Property Coverage which covers stolen teaching materials or school-owned property up to $2,500. Another advantage is their Collision Coverage, which covers your car if you are driving it for school business.

Major Repairs on Engine/Transmission

According to Robert Bookout, owner of Bookout’s Tire and Lube for over 40 years, “The cheapest car to have is the one you already own.” Paying outright for repair damage can be costly. It may be difficult to not think about a new vehicle when one gets a $2500-$3000 repair bill on a transmission or engine, but in the end it is generally cheaper to pay this bill rather than purchase a different vehicle.

When it comes to the engine/transmission , a repair shop is generally better than a dealership because they have more specialized equipment. To find the best shop, ask other individuals about who repairs their vehicles and do a search for local providers. After narrowing the results, see which ones have the best reviews. Also if they offer any type of military or student discount, always ask if they will extend it to teachers as well.

Interior and Exterior Repairs

For interior repairs, an auto upholstery shop or an auto trim shop will usually be the best. Sometime engine repair shops can recommend a good provider for this; if not, it is back to the faithful word-of-mouth and internet search.

Exterior work can be completed in a few different ways. There are shops that will do all exterior work or you can choose to go to a specialist for each different item that needs to be repaired. If only repairing one specific part of the car, a specialty shop may be the best route since they will have more expertise in that specific area.

When researching a shop, ask them if they have used parts that they either receive from a supplier or a vehicle junk yard. If there is a local junk yard in your area and the shop does not partner with them, it will be worth your time to call and see if the junk yard has the specific undamaged part your vehicle needs; this will make the repair cost significantly less.

For tire repair, ask local shops if they keep any moderately used tires. Some shops advertise used tires, so check there first. If money is tight, and on an educator income it definitely can be, used tires will hopefully last until enough can be saved to purchase new ones.

In Closing

Many non-accident repair bills can be avoided by simply keeping up with vehicle maintenance; you can read how to save on that here. Since many repair bills can quickly reach thousands of dollars, using the tips listed above will help keep the price as low as possible. This leaves more money for us to buy classroom supplies; just kidding!

The author would again like to thank Tommy and Robert Bookout for their expertise in writing this article.

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Ways for Teachers to Save on Vehicle Maintenance

Ways for Teachers to Save on Vehicle Maintenance

Purchasing a vehicle is a major expense, especially on an educator’s salary. In order to receive the most benefit for money spent on the vehicle, it is imperative to keep it properly maintained. Doing so will extend the life of the vehicle and keep costly repair bills at bay.

Where to Service a Vehicle

If looking at a car engine sends you into the throws of panic, it is best to find a trustworthy auto shop or car dealership for your vehicle’s maintenance needs.

Dealerships tend to be more costly than locally owned auto shops. However, the dealership may have better diagnostic equipment and more parts in stock for specific vehicles. Be sure to compare prices before making a decision.

If choosing the auto shop route, begin by asking others where they service their vehicles; then, look at the internet reviews for those specific shops and find out how long the shops have been in business. After narrowing down the list, see how much each business charges for their services. This research will help in finding a quality shop.

General Maintenance

Certain maintenance is required on every vehicle, such as: changing the oil, replacing the air filter, rotating the tires, and changing the brake pads. Maintaining all of these aspects will extend the life of a vehicle and save money over time.

Generally, the oil and oil filter need to be changed every 3,000 miles. If using synthetic oil, it can be used up to 15,000 miles. Neglecting to properly change the oil will lead to extremely costly repair bills.

Every time a vehicle is serviced, the air filter should be checked. Depending on how much and where one drives, an air filter could go a few months or a few years without being changed. If the car is driven heavily in a city or dirt roads, it will need to be changed more frequently.

With tires, it is important to rotate them approximately every 5,000 miles or roughly every other oil change. Keeping them properly rotated will extend the life of the tires and the money spent to purchase them.

When it comes to brakes, the pads and rotors should be inspected when the mechanic rotates the tires, and he/she should provide an update of their condition. The brake pads will wear over time and it is important to replace them so they do not cause wear on the rotors. If left unchecked, the pads and rotors will both have to be replaced instead of just the pads.

Any other maintenance specific to a vehicle can be found in the owner’s manual or the maintenance manual that comes as a supplement to the owner’s manual. This manual details what maintenance needs to be completed at certain mileage intervals.

Ways to Save

The absolute cheapest option for vehicle maintenance is to learn to do it yourself. Now that so many do-it-yourself videos exist on the internet, this may prove a viable option for some. Teachers are supposed to be “life-long learners”, so maybe it is time to learn how to change oil. If choosing this route, AutoZone has a free “Loan-A-Tool” program where one can place a deposit for a tool, use it, and as long as the tool is returned in 90 days, the customer will receive a full refund. However, if doing it yourself would lead to imminent disaster, there are other avenues to save money.

At auto parts stores, they will generally check/charge a vehicle battery and change wiper blades free of charge. They will also typically discount oil, filters, and brake pads a few times a year. During the sale, purchase them and take them to the dealership or auto shop when it is time for each specified item to be replaced.

For tires, many businesses will offer free lifetime rotations if one buys the tires from their shop.
Also, never be afraid to ask the auto shop or dealership if they offer a teacher discount. Establishments that offer a military or student discount will generally give teachers a discount as well if asked.

As a side note, be sure to keep the service records. When it comes time to sell the vehicle, potential buyers will pay more if there is proof it has been properly maintained.

Final Thoughts

On a teacher’s salary, it may seem easy to justify prolonging vehicle maintenance, especially when nothing appears wrong with the vehicle. However, do not forego upkeep in an effort to save; in the end it will lead to costly repair bills and shorten the life of the vehicle.

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Tips for a Buying a Quality Vehicle on an Educator's Salary

Tips for Buying a Quality Vehicle on an Educator’s Salary

According to a 2015 report from Edmunds.com, the price for a used vehicle averages $16,800. This is a considerable amount of money, and generally speaking, living on an educator’s salary does not leave us with mounds of disposable income. Therefore, it is important to save money where we can, and when it comes to car buying, many tend to overpay for a vehicle simply because they are unaware of the various ways to save. Whether one is a seasoned car buyer or a timid first timer, the following tips are helpful for getting a budget friendly, quality vehicle.

Before Buying

Thorough research is imperative when determining the best vehicle to buy. The average price, customer reviews, cost to own, and depreciation rates all need to be heavily researched in order to evaluate vehicle quality and value.

When it comes to pricing, websites such as Edmunds, Auto Trader, Ebay, Kelley Blue Book, and NADA can all be utilized to determine a solid average price for the vehicle. One can also compare vehicles from a dealership’s online inventory to a similar vehicle for sale from an individual to determine which to purchase from.

Customer reviews prove valuable in choosing a make and model. One can learn specific issues with certain model years and see if the problem was corrected in subsequent models. If a vehicle earns mostly negative reviews, knowing this can prevent an individual from buying a “lemon”.

Cost to own and depreciation rates will vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. For imported vehicles, research part replacement and maintenance; specific parts may have to be ordered from the country of origin, which will add greatly to any repair bill.

One last item to mention, whether one decides to buy from a dealer or an individual, is to always ask for a history and maintenance report on the vehicle. A well-kept, wreck free vehicle will generally be the best value.

Buying from a Dealership

If buying from a dealership, be sure to research them. Many times, a quick internet search will provide satisfactory results. Also, if the dealership sells on Ebay, check their feedback rating.

When it comes to negotiating, be sure to review all of the applicable fees. Generally “doc fees” and “processing fees” are sheer profit. If the sales representative indicates that the fee cannot be waved, ask for a decrease in the vehicle price.

If financing the vehicle, be sure to compare the bank’s rate and the dealer’s rate. Sometimes dealerships upcharge for financing because it gives them more profit. Do not forget to check with a local credit union, or even better, a teacher’s credit union; their rates tend to be cheaper.

If trading in a current vehicle, it is best not to disclose this information to the dealer until a “rock solid” price for the vehicle is given. Dealerships tend to increase the price of the vehicle if they know the customer is trading. As a reminder, when trading in, sales tax will only be charged on the difference between the purchased vehicle and the trade in.

Finally, always be willing to walk away if the price is outside the budget. Sometimes the dealership will call back and accept the price simply to move the inventory, and this is especially true at the end of the month.

Buying from an Individual

Many dealerships have certain criteria for the cars they sell, and generally one will pay more for the same vehicle for that reason. If buying from an individual, the buyer will be responsible for finding out all the vehicle information. The following questions prove crucial in determining the condition of the vehicle:

Does the seller have current maintenance records? If the vehicle has been serviced regularly, the seller should have service records. If nothing else, check to see that the mileage of the vehicle is less than or close to the mileage printed on the “next oil change” sticker.

How many previous owners? How long have they owned it? Why are they selling it? All of these questions help one determine if the car has been maintained properly.

Does the vehicle have a clean and clear title? A clean title means the vehicle has never been salvaged or wrecked. A clear title means no liens exist on the vehicle.

When inspecting the body, look at the ground beneath the vehicle to check for leaking fluid. Also, open all doors, the hood, and the trunk, and look for a sticker that has the VIN number. If any sticker is missing, it has most likely been wrecked. If the seller does not have current vehicle information and appears uneasy at the thorough inspection of the vehicle, it may be best to walk away. As a safety tip, always meet an individual seller in a public place.

The Bottom Line

Being informed in these areas will aide in the buying process and provide more confidence whether buying from a dealership or an individual. As a final tip, it never hurts to ask for an educator discount; you never know what they might say! Even if the “car of your dreams” doesn’t work out, another one will come along. Be patient. In the end, it will be worth the time to buy a quality vehicle for the best possible price.

The author would like to thank Tommy and Robert Bookout for their assistance with the information in this article.

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