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.
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.