Key Benefits of Buying a Used Car

Buying a vehicle is a serious and expensive purchase, which is why you have to take your time and do an extensive research before you decide what car to buy. There are lots of things you have to take into consideration, including price, specifications, auto insurance, and payment methods. When looking to buy a car, a lot of people are faced with the dilemma of buying a used one versus a new one. Maybe a new car seems like the obvious choice, but there are some very significant benefits of buying a used car, related to price, maintenance and insurance, which should be taken into account by everyone who believes that new vehicles are the better option.

The main, and most obvious advantage of choosing a used car over a new one is the lower price tag. If you decide to buy a used one, you can get a pretty good model with great performances, at a very low price. For example, you could buy a used sports car that cost more than $80,000 a couple of years ago, when it was new, for as little as $40,000. This is because new cars lose much of their value the minute they leave the dealership.

Talking about depreciation, used cars are not affected by it as much as new ones are. New cars lose most of their value during the first two or three years. If you buy a used car, you don’t have to worry about it losing much of its value, since it already depreciated a lot when it was first sold as a new vehicle. This way, when you decide to sell the used car after a couple of years, you will be able to sell it at a price that will be pretty similar to the price you had bought it at.

Another reason why you should consider getting a used cars is the lower registration fee. DMV’s charge less for registering cars that are more than five years old, and you can save a couple of hundreds of dollars a year that way. Also, used cars are not subject to sales tax, which, for new cars, is as much as 7% of the purchase price.

Lastly, insurance for used cars is cheaper compared to new cars. This is because a new car is more expensive and has a higher value, and it costs more to replace parts and repair it in case it gets damaged in a collision.

In conclusion, owning a new car does have a lot of obvious benefits, but owning a used car has its own advantages, too, and you should consider this option before making your final decision.

Why Donegal Car Insurance Is the Best

The Donegal Insurance Group traces its beginnings way back to the birth of the Donegal and Conoy Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1889. It all started in Marietta, Pennsylvania when the area farmers decided to form the company to protect themselves preemptively from losing their properties in fire incidents and the potential impact that is sure to follow, especially the financial aspect of that impact. As time passed by, they changed its name to the Donegal Mutual Insurance Company. And one of the products it offered to the buying public is the Donegal car insurance.

Bodily injury and property damage liability is the main coverage provided by Donegal car insurance policies. It also includes a vehicle’s physical damage coverage. The bodily injury liability accommodates coverage for any legal responsibilities and obligations in the case of accidents that caused any kind of injury to other drivers, their pedestrians and passengers. The property damage liability coverage on the other hand, provides protection for unfortunate accidents that damages other people’s properties. And if ever that accident will involve any legal costs, especially defense, then it will also be covered as well. There is also a certain type of coverage intended for any uninsured individual, even the underinsured. The uninsured and/or underinsured coverage will protect that customer and his or her immediate family members from the costs of the injury in the event of an accident that was caused by a motorist not insured or those underinsured.

There are also other attractive features included in its auto insurance policies:

  • They offer good student discounts.
  • The Donegal insurance system can account for high chargeable accident thresholds
  • They also offer different programs regarding first accident forgiveness. This means that Donegal Insurance will not raise your insurance rate after the first at-fault accidents.
  • Excellent drivers are entitled extra edge discounts.
  • PACE protector endorsement program.

The car insurance policies offered by Donegal have various options to help you get the best out of your coverage. There’s also a collision coverage that handles the repair costs of your vehicle that is damaged by the other party in an accident. Another type, the “other than collision” coverage is offered particularly in cases like fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage and other known perils.

You also have the option to add coverage for the towing of your disabled car and other labor charges, and a rental reimbursement coverage to handle payment of the rented car cost in the event of a vehicular loss. You can also save on Donegal’s insurance coverage if your car possesses passive seatbelt restraints and air bags. It would also be ideal if you have anti-theft devices and anti-lock brakes in your car. You can be qualified for credits with these. There are also other wonderful discounts that you can enjoy if you car pool and if you have undergone a driver’s education class. Save additional money as you avail the multi-car discount program. You can qualify if you have more than once insured car. Now you can see why the Donegal car Insurance is the best.

How Significant Car Insurance Quotes Are

Planning to buy car insurance is really just easy but the situation is how to select the correct company. Some people have no single idea regarding how to do it while some are simply confused on which among the businesses should they go for. A lot of companies are there too which provides assorted interest rates. So the smartest thing to accomplish here is to collect lots of auto insurance quotes so it is also possible to match them. This way, choosing probably the most perfect insurance policy for the car could be done smoothly.

The best venue for clients get started on with these auto insurance quotes is nowhere else than the internet. A lot of insurance firms have created their websites which give and explains important information that revolves around their insurance policies. In order that you can lessen the doubts, you need to visit online companies that have reigned success for consecutive years. It is vital to choose those who have gained popularity and whose reliability will not disappoint you. Definitely they really are the safest and most perfect choices for auto insurance.

Once you visit their websites, it is also possible to come upon a web based insurance quote form that you are required to fill out in order that getting your quote from the company will likely be done. All you should do would be to type in some essential information that talks about yourself such us your name, address, etc. Right after filling out the form, the auto insurance quote will show up in a blink.

Aside from making use of the internet to know your auto insurance quotes, it is also possible to get them through approaching a good car insurance company. This step obviously requires you to exert effort making sure that requesting for the quote shall be done. Just exactly the same as what you are likely to do in the internet, you are likely to fill out a vehicle insurance quote form and supply some basic information. You will receive your quote once the company will post it. However, gathering car insurance quotes with the use of such step is indeed time consuming and you may not have the capacity to gather a lot. That is the main reason why the majority prefer to go online as compared with exerting too much effort without even getting assured.

You have to be aware of that vehicle insurance policies are not guaranteed by any auto insurance quotes. It only provides the chance to get an estimate with regards the car insurance policy. Gathering quotes gives you the chance to check them and you are required to select the very best among the businesses which provide the best interest rates.

Insurance Claims – Get an Advance Payment!

Insurance claim advance payments are not widely known by people who file claims. Often, when an insured has a loss of significant size, such as a flood, tornado, wildfire, hurricane loss or a big water damage loss, an advance payment of a portion of the anticipated settlement is issued by the insurance company. This situation also happens regularly when a business has a loss and needs money up front.

It is a customary and widely accepted practice for the insurance company to issue an advance payment in this type of instance. Be aware that there’s nothing in the standard property insurance policy that deals with advances. It is usually just a courtesy that the insurance company extends to their policyholder.

However, they don’t usually offer to do it. You have to request the advance.

Here’s an example. Joe Smith’s house is hit by lightning, and a fire damages most of the house. Joe’s policy has Building limits of $100,000, Contents limits of $50,000, ALE limits of $20,000. The house can be repaired for $70,000, which is less than the policy limits. However, the adjuster expects that the Contents loss will exceed the policy limits of $50,000, and the ALE loss will be $15,000. The adjuster sends in his first report to the insurance company, and tells them to expect the loss to be approximately $135,000 on these three parts of coverage.

The insurance company could easily issue an initial advance payment of $25,000 to $35,000 for Contents and ALE, and $40,000 to $50,000 for the Dwelling loss.

So, what do you do if your Contents are damaged and you need the most basic things, like a change of clothes and shoes? What if you need to have a contractor secure the building and put tarps on the roof to keep further rain out of the building? Most people do not have tens of thousands of dollars just lying in their bank accounts that could be used to begin repairs, or begin replacing personal property. That’s when the insurance company issues an advance.

It’s best to make your request in writing. Even if it’s just a hand-written letter, it’s best if it’s in writing. Write or type your request, keep a copy for your records, and give the copy to your adjuster. It’s also a good idea to send a duplicate copy to the claims department of your insurance company. Send it by overnight courier or certified mail. NEVER rely on the adjuster to ask for an advance on your behalf. He might get delayed with other work and it could be days before he asks. DO IT YOURSELF.

Take control of your claim, my friend! Make an EARLY request in the claims process for your advance payment!

Unlisted Drivers Can Cause Your Auto Insurance Rate to Skyrocket

Very few circumstances can cause your auto insurance rates to rise the way an unlisted driver can.

First, the basics. Auto insurance policies are written to cover your car, not necessarily the operator. What this means on the surface is that as long as you have given an individual “permissive use” of your vehicle, should that person become involved in an automobile accident, there should be coverage. The type of coverage that can be applied, of course, would depend on the type of car insurance you originally purchased. For instance, in the event your “permissive driver” is involved in an at fault accident, and you have purchased collision insurance coverage, collision would pay for the damages to your car, minus your deductible. But conversely, even if that driver was involved in a not at fault accident, you can expect your insurance company to take a closer look at your policy come renewal time.

As an example, assume that you loan your car to a friend on a one time basis for whatever reason. You can establish that this friend is not a consistent driver of your car, and you can verify that your friend does not live with you. What happens if your friend, the unlisted driver, becomes involved in an at fault car accident? Under the circumstances, your insurance policy would pay for the damages to your vehicle. Even if your friend has his own policy, that policy is not responsible to pay for your damages.

Will this create problems for you with the insurance company? Probably.

Normally, when insurance companies pay for an at fault accident, you can expect to suffer the consequences. Even though you are making payment on the relevant premiums, your insurance company will “penalize” you if you are involved in at fault accident. How is the penalty imposed? By way of a higher auto insurance rate.

And what about the fact that you permitted a friend to drive? Will that also boost your chances for a higher auto insurance rate? Probably so. Insurance companies tend not to respond well to “unlisted” drivers, at fault or not. In fact, with an unlisted driver in the driver’s seat, count on your insurance company to launch a claims investigation into the circumstances. More specifically, they will be looking into the possibility that the driver could live in your home. And, more than likely, they will also examine the driving history of the unlisted driver as well as whether or not that driver has insurance of his own.

Should you expect an increase in your auto insurance rates? Most definitely if the investigation divulges factors that increase your risk rating.

If the insurance company investigation reveals that the unlisted driver has a poor driving record, you can be fairly sure that this will be used against you when your auto insurance rate is calculated at the end of your insurance policy period. By association, if you allow an irresponsible driver to operate your insured vehicle, your risk scoring increases. The higher the risk, the higher the rates. And, if the insurance company can determine that the unlisted driver does not have his own insurance, your insurance company will certainly want to know why? Is it because that driver lives with you?

Applying for insurance without disclosing relevant and applicable risk data – such as the identity of all drivers in that residence – is what auto insurance policies define as “misrepresentation”. If a subsequent claims or underwriting investigation determines that you failed to reveal all drivers in the household, it is likely that the auto insurance policy will be cancelled for misrepresentation. In the event that happens, there will be no coverage for that at fault-unlisted driver accident.

Behave responsibly if you must loan your car to other drivers. Should it be revealed that those drivers are unlisted members of your household, you’re in for some major problems. If the unlisted driver is simply a one-time, responsible driver you can expect to be questioned, but you can also expect to be covered. In the long run, however, once your auto insurance policy is up for renewal, you can expect to face either a non-renewal, or a higher auto insurance rate. Unlisted drivers can be “expensive”.

Auto Insurance Quote – BIPD and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

How many of you have sat down to get an auto insurance quote and quickly realized you don’t know what you are looking at? Getting an auto insurance quote can be downright frustrating, but the following can help you through two major steps of the process!

First off, what does BIPD stand for? When looking at your auto insurance policy BIPD is the area that deals with the liability coverage to your vehicle, or, the coverage used to pay for the other party’s damages when you are at-fault for an accident. BIPD stands for Bodily Injury and Property Damage liability and here is how to read those three blocks you will be requested to fill out.

(1) Auto insurance quotes online will make you select the liability limits for your vehicle in three different boxes. The first box is for the property damage to the individual in the other vehicle. In short, if you have 100/300/100 BIPD coverage on your vehicle, you will have up to $100,000 to pay for injuries to each individual in the other vehicle.

(2) The second box of your auto insurance quotes online with respect to BIPD is for the total amount you can pay for injuries to passengers in the other vehicle. For example, if you have 100/300/100 BIPD on your vehicle, you will have up to $300,000 total to pay for injuries to the passengers in the other vehicle or vehicles.

(3) The final box of your auto insurance quotes online for BIPD is the total amount you can pay for physical damage to the other auto or autos in an accident that was your fault. To put it plainly, if you have 100/300/100 BIPD coverage on your vehicle, you will have up to $100,000 to pay for physical damage to the other vehicle or vehicles.

Uninsured motorist coverage basically works in reverse of liability coverage in that if you are hit by an uninsured motorist and it is their fault, the repairs or medical bills are paid under your uninsured motorist coverage. However, there are some tricky aspects of uninsured motorist coverage when it comes to your auto insurance quotes; here is how uninsured motorist coverage breaks down.

(1) The first part of your uninsured motorist coverage on auto insurance quotes is just the same as BIPD except in reverse. In other words, if you have 100/300/100 in your uninsured motorist coverage then you have up to $100,000 to pay medical bills to the passenger or driver in your vehicle. This is, of course, if the uninsured motorist is responsible for the accident.

(2) The next part of your uninsured motorist coverage on auto insurance quotes is also the same as BIPD in reverse. For example, if you have 100/300/100 in your uninsured motorist coverage then you have up to $300,000 to pay medical bills to all of the passengers in your vehicle.

(3) The final third of uninsured motorist coverage is where it gets tricky with auto insurance quotes. Why? Because depending on the state where you live it may or may not be available at all! This would be the part of your quote that has to do with the property damage to your vehicle. Some states don’t offer uninsured motorist property damage coverage and some do.

Personal Injury Calculator – Top 5 Questions For Calculating Your Car Accident Claims

Using a personal injury calculator can help you figure out how much your car accident claims are worth. Here are the top 5 questions people ask about calculating the value of their auto insurance settlement.

1. How Does the Personal Injury Calculator Determine my Car Accident Claim?

The most basic formula that is known to be used for car accident injury claims is:

Pain Multiplier X Medical Expenses + Loss of Income

The “pain multiplier” is a number typically between 1.5 and 5. This multiplier number is chosen based on the severity of your car accident injuries; the more serious your injuries, the larger the multiplier.

For example, a minor injury like a sprained neck is more likely to get a low multiplier (1.5-3). While a more serious and painful injury, like a broken leg, would get a higher multiplier (3-5). The multiplier range may even go to higher figures (10) for more severe and long term injuries.

The next thing that is included in the claims formula is your medical expenses, also known as “special damages.” These expenses include the cost of your medical treatments, visits to the hospital, ambulance ride, X-Rays, pain medication etc.

The final thing that is added in your insurance settlement is your loss of income. This refers to the amount of income you lost as a result of your injuries. For example, if your injuries forced you to stay home from work, then your lost income would equal your daily pay rate times the number of work days you missed.

2. When Should You Use a Personal Injury Calculator?

The best time to use the injury calculator is at the end of your medical treatment. You should always have your injuries thoroughly diagnosed and examined before filing an injury claim. This gives you a more accurate estimate of your total medical expenses that should be included in your final settlement.

3. Who Should NOT Use the Personal Injury Calculator?

Most personal injury claims involve minor injuries that do not require you to immediately hire an expensive lawyer. For these types of claims, you should use the injury calculator to get a rough estimate of what your auto accident settlement might be worth.

However, there are insurance claims which cannot be handled without the help of a skilled injury lawyer. These types of car accident claims involve more serious and long term injuries like permanent disabilities, lost or severed limbs, traumatic head injuries etc. If you were severely injured, your best option is to meet with a lawyer who is familiar with claims related to your specific injuries.

4. How Accurate is the Personal Injury Calculator?

The injury calculator does not give you the exact final settlement, but an initial estimate of how much your injuries are worth to the insurance companies.

Many people would argue that the injury calculator is too simplistic. That it does not address the complexities and subtleties of an individual’s personal injury claim. Others are quick to bring up Colossus, a sophisticated software program used by the insurance companies to evaluate insurance claims.

However, the biggest benefit of using the personal injury calculator is not to tell you what will be your specific settlement amount. The biggest benefit is to help you understand how your specific settlement amount will be calculated. The settlement calculator emphasizes that the range of your final settlement amount will be primarily based on:

  1. The seriousness of your injuries.
  2. Your total medical costs.
  3. Your lost income.

These are going to be a key factors in your injury settlement regardless of which specific software program you use.

5. Should I Use the Personal Injury Calculator?

You will always have the option of bringing in a lawyer further down in the claims process. The best advice is to use the settlement calculator to get a quick assessment of what your auto accident claims can be worth.

Florida No Fault Auto Insurance – Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Required – Questions With Answers

What is PIP?
PIP is the common abbreviation for Personal Injury Protection. PIP is for benefits payable under the Florida auto insurance policy which is mandated by the Florida motor vehicle No Fault Auto Insurance law.

What is the name of the Florida law that requires PIP?
Florida Motor Vehicle No Fault Law is the name of the Florida statute that requires PIP coverage on all vehicles registered in the state of Florida.

Who is insured by PIP?
The named insured and all resident relatives are covered under the PIP coverage of your Florida auto insurance policy. Resident relatives are not required to be listed drivers on the policy for coverage to apply.

Which vehicles are covered by PIP?
All cars owned by you and listed on your Florida auto insurance policy is covered by the PIP portion of your policy. Also, any trailer designed for use with a private passenger vehicle and not used for business is considered a covered vehicle.

What does PIP cover?
Personal Injury Protection benefits include: Medical benefits, disability benefits, and death benefits.

What is the amounts payable when PIP coverage applies?
The amount of death benefit payable for an insured person is $5,000.
Medical benefits are payable at 80% of the amount incurred due to a covered injury. Disability benefits are payable at 60% of any lost wages incurred due to a covered injury. The total amount payable under PIP for any one accident is $10,000.

Is there a deductible under PIP coverage?
Florida Motor Vehicle Law allows a deductible of no more than $1,000 for PIP coverage. Choosing a deductible is optional and will lower the premium if you elect one. Also, work loss exclusion is allowed under the law and if elected your premium will be lower and you will not receive any benefit from lost wages due to a covered injury.

Is PIP an optional coverage?
PIP is not optional coverage for any vehicle registered in the state of Florida as mandated by the Florida Motor Vehicle No Fault Law.

Does someone else have to be at fault to collect payments under PIP?
No. Regardless of fault PIP coverage from your insurance policy provides benefits for a covered injury.

Do all insurance policies have PIP coverage?
Not all states require automobile insurance policies to have PIP coverage. All registered vehicles in Florida are required to carry PIP coverage. When Florida FR44 insurance for DUI drivers or Florida SR22 for other high risk drivers is required they are in addition to PIP.

When does coverage under PIP apply?
Coverage applies when the named insured or any resident relative is injured while occupying a motor vehicle. Also, coverage applies if an insured person is stuck by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian.

Do PIP benefits increase by the number of cars on my policy?
No. A premium is collected by your insurance company for each motor vehicle listed on the policy; however, this does not increase benefits.

If I have health insurance to cover my injuries does PIP still apply?
If an insured person sustains injury due to a covered event benefits are payable under PIP regardless of any health insurance the injured person carries.

Are an attorney and a law suit required to collect payments under PIP?
No. All top rated standard insurance companies will pay the PIP benefits to a covered person with out the need of an attorney or law suit.

What happens if I cancel my PIP policy and have a registered vehicle?
Your insurance company will notify the Florida Motor Vehicle Department of the cancelled policy. A notice will be sent to the registered vehicle owner inquiring about the status of any new policy which may have been purchased. Failure to respond to the notice or maintain required PIP coverage will result in the registered vehicle owner’s driver’s license being suspended.

I live in Florida part of the year do I still require PIP coverage?
Any vehicle registered in the state of Florida is required to carry PIP coverage even if that vehicle is not in use or is in another state part of the year.

Am I covered by my PIP if I’m driving outside the state of Florida?
A Florida resident who is covered under the PIP portion of a Florida auto insurance policy is covered while driving that vehicle outside the state of Florida.

What is extended or additional Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
This is optional coverage not mandated by Florida Motor Vehicle Law which is offered by some companies. For an additional premium your insurance company may increase the total amount payable under PIP over the $10,000 mandated by law. Your company may also increase the percentages payable under the medical and disability portion of the PIP benefits. Typically the increase for medical would be from the 80% required by law to 100% and the disability benefit from the required 60% of lost wages to 80% of lost wages.

What happens if PIP coverage applies from more than one policy?
If there is other applicable Personal Injury Protection for the same injury the most that is collected is the maximum $10,000 amount required by law. Each company’s policy will be responsible for their pro-rata share of benefits payable.

Does the insurance company decide which doctor or hospital I use?
No. Any doctor or hospital will be paid under the PIP benefit for medically necessary treatment due to a covered injury.

What exactly does resident relative mean?
Any relative by any degree of blood or marriage and usually resides at the home of the named insured. This includes a resident relative residing temporarily somewhere else, such as a student away at college.

What is excluded from benefits being paid under PIP?
If you own a car that is not insured under your auto insurance policy and are injured in that vehicle benefits will not apply. Any injury sustained by a person operating a covered auto without your express or implied permission. Any intentional bodily injury will not be covered. Any injury sustained in the commission of a felony will not be covered. A person other than you or a resident relative and has coverage under another Florida auto policy which has PIP benefits.

Is PIP insurance the same from one company to another?
Yes. Florida law prescribes all aspects of PIP insurance which companies and policyholders must adhere to. Mandated Florida FR44 insurance for DUI drivers and SR22 insurance for other high risk drivers are also the same from one company to another.

12 Steps to Divorcing a Drug Addict

1. Put Your Trust In Your God. The Universe is controlled by a divine power. Put your trust in the power of prayer and listen to the answers. Throughout my marriage, I prayed for the strength to get through some very difficult times. Not being an addict myself, I cannot understand putting a chemical in my body and holding that chemical in a more important place than my family. I just don’t get it but in the end, if your spouse won’t seek professional help for drug and alcohol addictions, it’s probably time to go. I was so frightened, and I felt I had not option but to leave to protect myself (and the children). In the beginning, I was dumb-founded (I still am) that he would choose drugs over us, his family, but THAT WAS his choice. Although I can’t control his choices, I AM affected by his choices, and I CAN control HOW I will react to those choices. So, I pray…a lot.

2. Get Legal Advice – Know that anything a drug addict says, no matter how sincere it seems at face value, is driven by the drugs. Whether the discussion is about the children or money, don’t trust anything an addict says. A professional told me that when you are divorcing a drug addict, you MUST face the fact that a drug addict is having an affair! You (and the children, if there are children) are no longer the primary focus for a spouse with drug/alcohol issues. An affair with the drugs is very difficult for the other spouse to “fight”. (A friend of mine went through a divorce with a partner that was a chronic “cheater”, she felt my situation was easier. Divorcing a drug addict is the same as divorcing a “cheater” – the trust is gone! Once the trust is gone – it’s gone!) So, unfortunately, you must have legal representation, unless the addict is willing to sign everything over and just walk away. If your spouse is willing to “give” you everything, you should still have an attorney and perhaps an accountant review and advise you on any short term, long term and/or tax implications. Check with friends or go online and get referrals from chat rooms, web forums or even Twitter can guide you to websites to help you do some research, but in the end, get professional advice.

3. Get Support from Friends. A divorce is emotionally draining. Typically, your friends and family don’t want to hear it, but it’s really important to have someone that is willing to listen and just offer support. Not guidance, just support.

4. Get Therapy. If you can afford to visit with a therapist, I would highly recommend that you do that. A trained professional can help you understand the inner brain workings of a drug/alcohol addict. AND, whether you want to hear it or not, at some level you have some responsibility in all this. A therapist can help you see the areas where you have to take ownership of this crisis. There are studies out now, that have revealed that people with addictions have a gene that can be identified. You may have to face the fact that, perhaps, you were an “enabler”. Ultimately, though, the responsibility for the addictions rest squarely on the shoulders of the addict. Unless, of course, you were the one that held your spouse down and physically forced the drugs into their body.

5. Blog. If you live in a bubble, where you haven’t access to friends, family and therapists then I would suggest that you blog or at the very least journal. Even if you do have friends and family, these support systems, firstly, get tired of hearing about your indignations and hurts and secondly, your friends and family, unless they have been through it, may not know how to support you. It’s one thing to have friends and family that can support you in a divorce, however, divorcing an addict is NOT like going through a “normal” “irreconcilable differences” divorce. Go online and find others that are fighting the same dragons, find chat rooms and forums that can give you guidance in finding lawyers and therapists etc. in your area of the country. It will give you a chance to rant with someone that understands and you can compare horror stories, that, trust me, may eventually, with time, seem mildly entertaining. Maybe, even funny.

6. Protect your Credit. Any divorce will cause disruptions with your credit score, and especially today with the current economic situation and problems with identity theft, it becomes even more important to protect your identity and your credit score. This is not just directed at outsiders, your spouse might try to hi-jack your identity, not just for their own self-serving practices but, sometimes, as was in my case, an attempt at causing you harm. In a divorce, both parties have the potential (and the motive) to cause harm to the others’ credit. Horror stories abound about credit catastrophes caused by angry spouses – like….. running up credit cards in the other spouse’s name and walking away. Enlist a service, that for a monthly fee, will monitor your credit score and advise you by email, if there are any changes to your credit score.

7. Set Up Your New Separate Identity. If it’s not time right now, it will be soon. So, there’s no time like the present to start using your own name and identity. Start recognizing yourself as YOU. Separate and apart from your identity as a spouse, having others recognize you as a person standing alone will help you feel more empowered. Think about reverting to your single name.

8. Take Your Time. Decisions made now, while not set in stone, are important and will have an impact. Whether you decide to move to a new home or city, whether you choose one lawyer over another. All these decisions are important. So make your choices wisely and be informed as best you can. Take advice from any and all sources you can, but remember you are the one that has to live with the long term impact of the choices. So make your choices and decisions wisely!

9. Don’t Take Advice from Friends. All that being said, in number 8, recognize that you shouldn’t take advice from friends as “set in stone”. Take the input, weigh in out, balance it with information from searching the internet but just know that friends are biased. Unless your friends are trained professionals, and even then, while their input may be heartfelt, it might be totally wrong for your situation and they could be biased. Take all the input and apply what works to your individual situation.

10. Insurances. Make sure all your insurances are up to date. Medical, vehicle, home, life. In my situation, for whatever reason (I surmise his processes were clouded by the drug/alcohol usage), the car insurance didn’t get paid and we were driving for months with no car insurance. In my state, that’s illegal and it was reported to the state and that opened another can of worms, which caused further damage to my credit score. So take responsibility and make sure ALL your insurances are current.

11. Your Finances. Your finances are a very crucial part of a divorce. If at all possible, I would suggest that you should, unfortunately, preplan by tucking some money aside, before the divorce, in the event that things turn ugly. You will, at least, have access to SOME money to see you through some difficult roads ahead. Money in should always be more than money out, but particularly important during a divorce. Work diligently towards keeping credit cards in order. Continue, if at all possible, to add to your savings plan every month.. You really should be aware of tax ramifications and the long term impact – things that your lawyer may not have expertise in. Work with an accountant or a divorce planning financial expert. Hindsight is always 20/20 is how the saying goes and in looking back I realize that during my marriage, we lived off of one salary and banked the other. While in the marriage, I thought that was a great idea. Now though, when he closed the bank accounts and took all the money, I realize that wasn’t such a good idea. Get an accountant.

12. Look After Yourself. The road ahead will be taxing and probably difficult, depending on how much of a time/emotional investment you made into your marriage. Take the time to relax, do whatever it is that brings some “you” time. Go for walks, play cards, ride horses, yoga, read, play the piano, it’s important to find time to experience the things that bring you stress relief. Stress can be difficult to manage at any time in your life, but particularly during a divorce. The point is that a divorce CAN consume you, IF you let it. So, take the time to take time for you. Make sure you still get your hair done, your nails, pamper yourself and just know, that no matter what someone else may be telling you – you are worth it. Looking after yourself reinforces your energy levels, your resolve and your determination.

In the beginning of the end, (or the end of the beginning), I watched “Diary of a Mad Black Woman, I watched, “Enough”, I watched, “Sleeping with the Enemy” and while I recognized parts of each of those movies in my marriage, more than anything I recognized that the common element is a certain “system” of emotions that run amuck. First comes the rush of fear, then indignation, then anger, then, fear again. More indignation, anger and then acceptance and resolution. Through it all, runs the desire to “hate” – eventually you come the resolution that these negative emotions fuel more of the same – through the Law of Attraction – so it’s healthier (not easier – but healthier) to let it go. The Law of Attraction is very clear, whatever you focus on – whatever you think about you will bring more of into your life. Anger, brings more anger, conversely peace will bring more peace.

Drug and alcohol addicts don’t do drugs and alcohol because of something you have done, they do drugs and alcohol because of something going on in their own reality. I used to get upset every time I opened an email offering to supply me with drugs without a prescription – somehow I was able to easily hit the delete button. I can’t say the same thing for everyone – otherwise these websites would not survive. You give yourself too much credit if you think that you had anything to do with turning your spouse into an addict. At some level, even the addict can’t control the behavior. Hopefully, at some point, the addict will realize and reach out for the professional help that will help them heal.

Another tidbit that I will impart, I have been told by the drug addiction doctors that the drug addict will tell you that they have recovered. This was certainly the case in my personal story. Most drugs cannot be controlled by the addict going “cold turkey” on their own. Usually, these drugs have to be “de-toxed” out of the body using other drugs and a course of therapy and these things cannot be done on an out-patient basis. Once an addict has “recovered”, that person’s life will, forever, be “in recovery”. Whatever the addiction gambling, drinking, drugs, on and on the list goes…… once the addiction has been “conquered”, it will always be a challenge AND one addiction can be replaced for another! It’s really important that addiction issues be dealt with by a licensed professional, under controlled settings.

So, let it go – don’t take their choices personally, and as hard as it may seem, let them go…and pray for them.

I am not a professional, I encourage you to seek the advice of a licensed professional to help you make critical decisions.

Which Costa Rican Car Company Is Best?

Renting a Car in Costa Rica? Which company should you choose?

There are so many rent-a-car companies to choose from in Costa Rica – from the large international firms to the smaller national agencies. Reviews on the internet invariably either damn or sing the praises of each company to the extent of being almost useless. So how do you choose the best place to hire a car for your trip?

Many tourists that rent vehicles in Costa Rica complain that they have been ripped off when they realize the extra cost of insurance they are obliged to pay or that they have been charged a dollar rate that reflected the currency rate and not the quoted rate. Understanding the insurance laws and charges that bind the Costa Rican car rental companies may help you to ask the right questions when you are reserving your vehicle and avoid a nasty shock upon arrival. If a company is not upfront about its additional costs; you may wish to consider whether it is a company that you choose to take your business to.

I have worked within the tourism industry in Costa Rica for the last six years and have lived here since 2000. I am familiar with the feelings that many visitors to the country experience when dealing with rent-a-car companies. These can range from delight to discomfort to outright fury; sometimes due to the inefficiency, or even dishonesty of the rental agency, but also due to the renter’s lack of understanding of the legally binding restrictions within which Costa Rican car rental firms must work. I hope that while this article won’t guarantee you trouble-free vehicle rental; it might make you a more knowledgeable customer.

Insurance needs, additional costs in rental and surcharges are considered in more detail below:

Insurance:

Basic insurance is mandatory. Costa Rican law is very clear on this and your rental car company cannot allow you to leave with their car without having agreed to pay it. Expect to pay somewhere between $9 and $20 per day on top of your car rental rate. An honest, car rental agency will make this very clear in their pricing. If it is not clear whether the insurance is included in the rental cost; ask for clarification and be aware of other potentially unstated costs.

Check whether your insurance policy covers you to drive in Costa Rica. Some policies include Collision Damage Waivers and will cover Central America. If you are covered, bring proof (in writing) for your vehicle rental company. If not, consider whether you would be safer to pay the extra cost of this additional coverage. This part is not mandatory.

Zero liability is offered by rent-a-car companies. You may wish to consider whether you would feel more at ease knowing that you would not be liable for any costs should something occur while you are renting their vehicle. You are not obliged to buy this supplemental insurance.

Additional Fees:

Many car rental companies will charge additional fees for a child/baby seat, an additional driver, luggage racks or cooler. You can expect to pay up to $8 daily for each of these extras. Although by shopping around, you can find companies that will offer some or all for a lower price, or even free.

With Costa Rican roads being notoriously poorly signposted and the whole country operating on an address system based on landmarks rather than road names or numbers, a GPS is essential for many car renters. You will usually pay between $8 and $15 a day for this service. It is fairly common practice to allow renters to use one of their cell phones for the duration, but if you wish to use it for your own calls; you’ll obviously be charged.

Surcharges:

Some rental car companies incorporate taxes and additional fees into their rental cost; others don’t. Make sure you know what you will be charged for on top of your rental fee. Airport fees can be charged at 13% of your rental cost which is a sizable fee to pay in addition to an agreed rental charge. You may also be charged a license plate charge, environmental fee and/or any other charge that the rental car company has to meet (or pocket).

Prices for the rental will be given in US dollars, but as the local currency is colones, you should understand that exchange rates change daily and what you are charged on your credit card on the day of payment may vary slightly from what you were quoted.

Criteria for Rating Car Rental Companies:

For this article, three (3) main points were considered for each company:

1) Value: Is the rental rate competitive?

2) Efficiency: How fast do they respond to the needs of the client?

3) Transparency: How clear is the information provided by the company?

You may have your own criteria, but based on complaints from previous customers on community websites like Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, etc., the requirements of those clients seemed mainly based around these three basic areas.

The companies surveyed below are a mix of local and international firms. Each company was researched based on a week’s rental of a Daihutsu Bego with mandatory insurance.

Dollar Rent-A-Car:

Value

– $300+ USD.

– Extras are at average prices.

Efficiency

– They have 3 offices nationwide.

– Email inquiry returned within 24 hours.

Transparency

– The prices for rental vehicles are displayed on site but a side box contains a ‘Daily RA’ with dollar amount. This is the mandatory insurance.

– Reservation price is listed as ‘Base rate’ and doesn’t include insurance.

– Dollar has received mixed reviews in sites such as Trip Advisor.

– A toll-free number is available.

Vamos Rent-A-Car:

Value

– $300+ USD.

– Only GPS and cell phone use are charged. All other extras such as child seats are free.

Efficiency

– They have 3 offices nationwide.

– Email inquiry returned within an hour.

Transparency

– The website clearly states prices and insurance.

– Toll-free number and live chat are provided.

Wild Rider:

Value

– $300+ USD.

– Additional driver is free.

Efficiency

– Email inquiry returned within 2 hours.

Transparency

– Prices are displayed very clearly onsite and include insurance.

– The company has almost 100% positive reviews, but with a fleet of only 30 vehicles and one central office; it may be difficult to help clients who are in difficulty outside the capital.

– They cannot provide a vehicle for the Liberia airport, just San Jose.

Budget:

Value

– $400+ USD.

– Extra charges for baby seat, additional driver etc.

Efficiency

– The company has 9 offices nationwide.

Transparency

– No prices displayed with vehicles information.

– Budget has received mixed reviews.

– Surprisingly for a large company, it provides no live chat or toll-free number for clients in the USA.

Service Car Rental:

Value

– $400+ USD including mandatory insurance and taxes.

– Extras such as additional driver and child seat are charged, but at cheaper rates than most companies.

Efficiency

– The company has 5 offices nationwide.

– Email inquiry returned within an hour.

Transparency

– Their rates are clearly shown on site.

– Service has received mainly positive reviews.

National Car Rental:

Value

– $400+ USD.

– Extras are priced a little above average.

Efficiency

– They have 23 office locations, although some are Alamo.

Transparency

– Price estimates online do not include insurance or additional charges; however, they are displayed in the full quotation.

– They have received mixed reviews.

– Both live chat and a toll-free number are provided.

Economy Rent-A-Car:

Value

– $200+ USD, but it seems possible to reserve a vehicle without inclusion of any insurance.

– Extras are average in price.

Efficiency

– They have 12 offices nationwide.

– Email inquiry returned within an hour, but email inquiring about insurance was not returned.

Transparency

– Website does not make mandatory insurance clear.

– Economy has numerous negative reviews.

– Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Hertz Costa Rica:

Value

– $400+ USD, but actual rental price is not made clear.

– Extras are pricey.

Efficiency

– 6 offices nationwide.

– No contact email.

– Telephone numbers are available for different offices around the country.

Transparency

– Very confusing quotation system. Two rates are offered for a vehicle and chosen dates. The cheaper option does not include mandatory insurance and it is in very small print under the final quotation price. The more expensive option includes non-mandatory insurance along with mandatory.

– Mixed reviews.

– Both live chat and toll-free number are provided.

Adobe Rent-A-Car:

Value

– $400+ USD.

– Extras are at low prices.

Efficiency

– The company has 9 offices nationwide.

Transparency

– Online estimate includes insurance.

– Adobe has received mixed reviews.

– A toll-free number is provided.

Tricolor Car Rental:

Value

– $300+ USD.

– No charge for pick-up or airport fees.

– Extras aren’t listed or provided in quotation email, although cell phone price is given.

Efficiency

– 3 offices nationwide.

– Email returned within 2 hours.

Transparency

– Website is not very user friendly.

– Reviews are mixed.

– Toll-free number is provided.

Finalizing the Three Criteria:

Economy, at first, appear to be the cheapest company to rent from, but unfortunately this is due to their failure to declare all costs incurred by the renter, rather than a genuine, good deal. For real value, Dollar, Vamos, Wild Rider and Tricolor come out on top for competitive pricing for the basic rental fee, plus mandatory insurance. Vamos is noticed for being the only firm that does not charge for extras such as a child seat or surcharges. Adobe and Service have low cost extras, whereas Hertz has the most expensive rates for extras. Wild Rider does not charge for an additional driver.

Only Economy failed to respond to email inquiry. All other companies responded quickly and with clear answers to inquiries. Wild Rider, as the smallest firm, cannot offer nationwide service, but reviews suggest that they have met customer needs to date. All other companies can offer services from offices in locations outside of the capital city — increasing their ability to serve clients effectively.

Adobe, Wild Rider, Vamos and Service have websites that clearly show rental prices and insurance. Economy and Hertz somehow seems to be deliberately misleading on their websites. The other companies’ websites provide the required information – even if it can take some time in hunting it down.

Conclusion:

This brief survey would suggest that Vamos, Service, Tricolor and Wild Rider would be the best companies to begin your rental research, whereas Economy would be best to avoid.

Now you know as much as I do! The information here is supposed to be your starting point and not the end point. Hopefully, you will know the right questions to ask when you’re looking for a rental vehicle to ensure that your dream vacation begins smoothly without any nasty shocks, like hefty extra charges when you land. Enjoy the drive!