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The Perzel Agency Blog

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Jun 24 – To buy or lease your Auto?

auto w family

For motorists in the market for a new set of wheels, that is the question. Here are things to consider before going either route.

By: Jennifer Kubiak

Deciding to invest in a new set of wheels is just the beginning of a long string of choices. Should you lease or buy? If buy, new or used? What about the interior: fabric or leather?

While we can’t speak to your upholstery preferences, we can offer tips that will save you time, money and stress. (We also have a few helpful ideas about car insurance, too!)

Lease or buy?

Although the decision to buy or lease comes down to money for most people, Ron Montoya, consumer advice editor at edmunds.com, advises auto owners to look beyond the dollar amount. “It depends on your lifestyle, how you treat your car and how long you plan to keep it,” he says.

Buying may be the perennially popular choice, but leasing continues to gain traction. (Right now, a quarter of all drivers are going this route.)

Typically, leasing is a good option if you:

  • Don’t want to worry about repairs—if they happen, the warranty usually covers them.
  • Consistently drive an average number of miles per year (between 10,000 and 12,000).
  • Have a stable income and don’t mind payments with no set end date.

Also consider these pros and cons of leasing:

Leasing

Pros

Cons

  • Less or even no money down and lower monthly payments.
  • A new car every few years.
  • Low to no maintenance costs.
  • Resale value doesn’t matter.
  • A tax deduction for small businesses.
  • May require a higher credit score.
  • May contain hidden monthly costs like taxes or fees when you turn the car in.
  • Mileage cap (and penalties if you’re over the limit).
  • If you decide to buy the car, it’s more expensive at the end of the lease than if you bought it outright.

If leasing seems like the choice for you, also keep in mind the following:

  • Although most leases allow 12,000 miles per year, many now offer as little as 10,000. Make sure you know exactly how many miles you can drive as penalties can run upwards of 15 cents per mile. Yikes!
  • Lease companies offer several time periods in which to pay your lease. According to edmunds.com, a three-year lease is often best since most manufacturers’ warranties cover at least that long.
  • Some manufacturers will offer incentives on cars that aren’t selling well, so make sure to ask your car dealer about them.
  • You pay taxes and fees monthly on a lease versus initially when buying, so make sure you get the actual monthly payment with taxes and fees before making any decisions.

If buying is more your style, you’re in good company. “Ownership is in our nature,” says Dave Freeman, vice president of personal lines underwriting at ERIE. “Americans want to be able to say ‘I own it’ rather than ‘I’m borrowing it.’”

Buying is typically a good idea if you:

  • Are okay with driving your car well after it is paid off.
  • Drive more than 12,000 miles per year.
  • Want to recoup some of the money when you sell.

Also consider these pros and cons of buying:

Buying

Pros

Cons

  • It’s all yours.
  • The payments stop once the car is paid off.
  • You’ll avoid the extra charges that can come with leasing.

 

  • More money due at signing and higher monthly costs.
  • Repair and maintenance expenses.
  • Depreciation incurred if you plan to resell the car when it is paid off.

If you’re still on board to buy, keep this information in mind:

  • Make sure you know the total cost of the car, not just the monthly payment. “Ask your dealer for the out the door price,” Montoya advises. “That number includes the payment, taxes and any other fees associated with the purchase.”
  • Negotiate before you discuss financing. In some cases, dealerships will offer a different price if they assume you’re financing through them.
  • Ask about financing options. Dealerships often offer their own financing, so they may steer you in that direction. Just keep in mind that local credit unions and banks can offer competitive rates.

 

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/

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Jun 11 – Lessons From Superstorm Sandy 8 Steps Every Homeowner Should Take

Damaged Roof

Superstorm Sandy shattered lives and damaged property. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your property against the damaging effects of wind and water. By taking these steps now, you stand the best chance of getting your life back in order after a disaster. Learn eight important lessons for getting through severe weather.

Lessons from Superstorm Sandy: Steps Every Homeowner Should Take

Superstorm Sandy was a powerful storm that packed some memorable lessons. The wind and water damage hit the East Coast the hardest, but the remnants of the fall storm stretched as far north as eastern Canada.

The property damage and losses from the superstorm are estimated to be in the billions for the Northeast region of the U.S.

To protect yourself and your property from severe weather, review these important steps, recommended by consumer safety advocates, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

1. Check your home insurance coverage – Be sure you have the right kind and amount of insurance, enough to rebuild your home and replace your belongings. It’s always best to review your coverage with your insurance agent every year.

2. Get flood coverage – You may also want to consider flood insurance, which is not covered under a standard homeowners policy. It is important to purchase flood coverage well in advance of a storm because there is a 30-day waiting period. Erie Insurance offers flood insurance coverage through American Bankers.

3. Beware of contractor fraud – Dishonest drifters often go door-to-door, especially after disasters, to try to convince you that need a new roof, even if your roof is not damaged at all. Read more about the scams on the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud’s website. If you need a suggestion about who to hire, contact your local ERIE Agent or claims adjuster.

4. Inspect your roof – Keeping wind and water out of your home is critical. Make sure the roof covering is well adhered and there are no missing pieces. Secure roof shingles and seal any openings, cracks and holes. Refer to the IBHS roof inspection checklist for help.

5. Check your basement – In the basement, IBHS recommends using water resistant paint on the interior basement walls, sump pumps and other methods that can prevent flood damage to your home and belongings. Sump pumps are most often used in cases where the house’s basement is below the water table level and in places where flooding is common. If you have a sump pump, use a battery backup system in the event that the power goes out during a storm. You may also want to consider adding sewer and drain backup coverage to your homeowners policy. It covers a loss caused by water or sewage that backs up through sewers or drains or overflows from a sump pump.

6. Prune the trees – Good pruning can prevent damage to your home in extreme weather conditions. If a tree hits a home or other insured structure such as a detached garage, most homeowner policies will provide coverage for damage to the structure and contents inside it. Some insurance policies also provide coverage for the cost of removing the tree. However, coverage is often limited to trees that fall because of a windstorm, hail, weight or ice, snow or sleet. It does not cover dead or diseased trees.

7. Create a home inventory – An up-to-date home inventory will speed up the claims process by substantiating losses. It can also help you determine how much insurance to purchase. To make the process easier, I.I.I. offers free web-based software at http://www.knowyourstuff.org and Erie Insurance has a home inventory form that you can print out and fill in.

8. Have an evacuation plan – Decide where you will go and how you will get there and have more than one option. Keep a map, phone numbers and addresses handy. Think about what you’ll need to take with you ? items like medicines, important documents, clothing and food ? and have them ready to go.

The I.I.I. recommends practicing your evacuation plan by doing a 10-minute challenge – giving yourself just 10 minutes to pack up and get out.

By taking these steps now, you stand the best chance of getting your life back in order after a disaster. More storm preparation information is available on iii.org or the Institute for Business and Home Safety’s Web site, disastersafety.org.

CONTACT: The Perzel Agency, 800-440-3480, http://www.PerzelAgency.com/

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