How Much, and What Kind, of Car Insurance You Need

Here is a great article from Kelly Blue Book on just how much Car Insurance you really need. There are many companies offering great rates, but is the coverage comparable? That is something you need to decide by doing your research.

How Much, and What Kind, of Car Insurance You Need

Finding the Car Insurance Coverage That’s Right for You

Many people view car insurance as a necessary evil. Making monthly insurance payments, especially when you’ve never had an accident, seems like a waste of money. But when you DO have a claim, auto insurance can be a financial lifesaver. Besides — and this is no small detail — automobile insurance is required by law.

Herein lies the age-old question: If you’re required to have car insurance, exactly how much do you need and what kind of coverage should you buy?

To help, we’ve put together a handy guide to assist you in identifying the type of insurance, and the amount of coverage, that’s right for you. All of this information will be helpful to know when it comes time to obtain a car insurance quote.

Auto Liability Insurance – The Basics

Let’s start with the basics. Auto liability insurance protects the person you hit if an accident is your fault. It’s divided into three numbers representing dollar amounts for three types of liabilities. For example, if you purchased an auto liability policy of 25/50/15, you would have $25,000 of bodily injury coverage for one person injured in an accident, $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for everyone injured in an accident and $15,000 of property damage coverage.

Determining how much auto liability coverage you need depends on two primary factors.

The first factor is the minimum amount of coverage legally required by the state in which you live. In some cases, there is no minimum amount. It’s important to remember each state has its own criteria, so ask your insurance carrier what’s required for your

The next factor depends on your financial situation. If you’re at fault in an accident and someone else is injured but your auto liability doesn’t cover all of their medical bills, chances are they — and their lawyer — will come after you for the remainder of the amount. It’s suggested that if you’re a high-wage earner, a home owner or an asset holder, you should have higher limits compared to someone who doesn’t own their own home, someone who has no real significant assets or someone whose income is lower. For ideas on how to finance your policy, read our article on the 10 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance.

Bottom Line: If you have finances and assets worth protecting, opt for higher liability coverage amounts.

Deciding on Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Simply put, personal injury protection covers you and your family members in the event of an injury during an accident. People who currently have health insurance for themselves and their family members usually opt out of the personal injury portion of their car insurance policy, unless it’s required by the state in which they live. Be sure to ask your carrier what the personal injury requirements are in your state.

Bottom Line: If you have health insurance for you and your family, personal injury coverage is usually unnecessary, unless your state tells you otherwise.

A Lesson in Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

If you’re currently leasing a vehicle or have a car loan, the lien holder requires you to have comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive covers non-accident-related damages to your vehicle, such as those caused by fire, flood or hail. Collision covers damages to your vehicle caused by impacts with other cars or objects.

If you own an older vehicle outright, you may not need comprehensive and collision. As a general rule, consider dropping them if the annual costs are more than 10 percent of the current value of your car. Also remember that the type of car you drive can affect your automobile insurance; new cars, or cars that are more likely to be stolen might warrant a higher premium. Read our article on the most and least expensive cars to insure to learn more.

Bottom Line: If your older car is worth $4,000, for example, and your comprehensive and collision coverage costs are more than $400 a year, you probably don’t need them.

Medical Payments Coverage

At face value, medical payments coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) are nearly identical. However, medical payments coverage starts where personal injury protection stops. For example, if medical expenses for the driver or passengers exceed the dollar amount covered by PIP, medical payments coverage would be used to pay part or all of the remaining expenses, depending on the policy’s coverage amounts.Cartoon Insurance

This is especially important in states where PIP only covers a certain percentage of overall medical expenses. If only 80 percent are covered, this means the policyholder is on the hook for the remaining 20. As such, medical payments coverage adds an additional layer of protection for the policyholder, especially when serious injuries are involved.

Bottom Line: Medical payments coverage may not be necessary, except in cases where personal injury coverage is less than 100 percent.

The Uninsured and the Underinsured

There’s nothing worse than being involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have car insurance or someone who doesn’t have enough car insurance to cover the damages or the injuries involved when they’re at fault. Even though it’s optional, uninsured motorist coverage is a good idea. What’s more, consider adding a collision deductible waiver that relinquishes your deductible-paying responsibility in the event that you’re involved in an uninsured motorist accident. Both options are affordably priced and worth every penny.

Bottom Line: Don’t foot the bill if you’re in an accident with someone who is at fault but uninsured. Uninsured motorist coverage is a best bet.

To Tow or Not to Tow

Adding towing coverage to your auto insurance policy is entirely up to you. However, most automakers provide emergency roadside assistance for cars that are still under warranty. What’s more, motor clubs like AAA offer emergency roadside assistance in addition to all the perks that go along with your membership. If you don’t belong to a motor club and you’re driving an out-of-warranty car, you might consider opting for towing coverage since your insurance company will usually offer the lowest rates.

Bottom Line: Nix the towing coverage and go with AAA instead.tow-truck-cartoon

Rental Car Reimbursement

Chances are, if someone hits you and you need a rental car after the accident because yours is being repaired, the car insurance company of the person at fault will cover the expense. However, you may need rental car reimbursement coverage if you’re at fault or if you were involved in an uninsured motorist accident.

Bottom Line: Good if you’ve got it, not bad if you don’t.

When it comes to car insurance coverage, cheaper isn’t always better. Be sure to do your homework to find a balanced policy — one that covers you adequately in the event of an accident but one that doesn’t make you pay for coverage you don’t need. Most importantly, don’t skimp on liability coverage. It’s better to pay a few hundred dollars more a year than to wind up in the poor house from accident litigation.

Reference article: Kelly Blue Book

Owners Manual, A Must Read

Have you ever taken the time to read your car’s Owners Manual?

If you haven’t, you should, because in your glove box lie’s a book full of knowledge that is not only simple to understand, but it can also help save you money down the road.owners manual inside

A friend called to ask me where her spare tire was in her style vehicle, something quite simple, right. Wrong. Did you know that some vehicles actually come with run flat tires? It is important to know this because if you ever replace the tires and do not purchase the same type, such as the run flat type then when if you ever have a flat, you will be searching for a spare tire that doesn’t exist. These tires contain an extra lining within the tire that self-seals in the event of a small hole due to a nail or screw. In this way, the loss of air is prevented from the outset such that the tire is either permanently self-repairing or at least loses air very slowly. So checking to see if you have a spare tire can save you a lot of anguish.1994_Lincoln_Town_Car_Owners_Guide_Kit

Your Owners Manual can also guide you on your regular maintenance, help you locate the cars fuse panel and how to operate the accessories that came stock in the vehicle. This is one book that I guarantee will save you money. If  you do not have your owners manual, check out this website where you can download or order a printed copy for your vehicle.

Camero Chicks Christie Christofferson

Camero Chicks  Christie Christofferson

More and more women are starting to surface at your local car shows as participants, and that is where I found Camero Chic Christie Christofferson, during the Summer Salute Car Event.

I walked past a 2014 Black Camero and was immediately drawn to investigate the owner for two reasons. One, on the windshield read  Camero Chicks, in pink,     and the other was all  those  touches  of pink under the hood. IMG_1788

I struck up a conversation with the car’s owner, Christie Christofferson, who has owned this Camero for only 3 months, but her passion for cars started earlier than that. At the age of 9 years, Christie would tag along with her father and uncle, who were car enthusiasts, and always attended Hot August Nights.  As long as Christie can remember, she never missed one.

At the age of 15 ½, while in high school, Christie purchased her first car from her parents. Back then, you were able to obtain your Learner’s Permit at that age. Christie worked as a Veterinary Technician while in High School, which allowed her to save up for her first set of wheels.

Excited and determined to have her first car, it wasn’t long before her brother trashed it, according to Christie. This put her on the lookout again in search of another vehicle, which lead her to a 1992 Chevy Camero. Then one day, a friend who worked for a dealership, contacted Christie to let her know of a 2014 Chevrolet Camero that had just been turned in. The car was not for sale yet. The car was specially painted as a Cancer Awareness Vehicle. Christie knew she would have to own this car since it was painted black with pink strips and had a very nice accent of pink under the hood, to bring awareness that Cancer is a large cause of death among women.IMG_1793

It wasn’t long before Christie became the proud owner of this 2014 Camero. I asked Christie what improvements she would like to see on the Camero? She replied, “I want to add some pink touches to the door panels that will flow into the dash and a few more pink accents on the exterior. She went on to explain, “This car is not just a show car, but an everyday driver.”

I asked Christie what she likes best about car shows, she stated that she would like to meet or empower other women to take the leap and start attending car events.

Christie Christofferson works as a nurse for a private practice physician and trains horses in her spare time. You can check out her website She put herself through college, which wasn’t an easy task, and encourages other women to do the same. Never give up on your dream.

Christie is carrying on the family tradition by attending as many car shows as possible, not just in hopes of winning her car class, but to meet others who share the same passion.

At the end of this event Christie’s 2014 Black and Pink Chevrolet Camero was chosen as first in her cIMG_1786ar class, and, as you can see, Christie was proud to bring home a trophy. I bet it was the Pink that was the deciding factor.IMG_1803 IMG_1809

What Does It Mean When My “Check Gauges” Light Comes On?

What Does It Mean When My “Check Gauges” Light Comes On?

I recently had a customer call me because her check gauges light has come on several times when stopping at a light or parking. She wanted to know if this was something she needed to bring in or was it just a bad gauge.check gauges

Usually when the Check Gauges light illuminates it is due to one of the gauges going out of range, such as your electrical system,  low engine oil or other type of fluids being monitored through the gauges. I asked her when was the last time she checked her engine oil and her response was, “I am not sure”. I always recommend checking the fluids under your cars hood at least once a week. The engine oil lever was so low it wasn’t even registering on the dipstick. Low oil levels reduce the life of the engine and could cause it to seize up depending on how low it had fallen.

If this lady had checked her engine oil regularly, she may not be looking at having to install a rebuilt engine due to lack of lubrication. A very costly mistake. So remember to check your fluids weekly and don’t forget your tire pressure, this too can cost you money.

The Woman Warrior Project

The Woman Warrior Project

Finding Women passionate about working on cars is becoming easier than it was five or ten years ago. Recently I received a message on Teresa’s Garage Facebook page from a young woman who liked the page. Being inquisitive, I responded back to see if she too was an admirer of vintage iron.

It turns out she was, and in turn, she referred me to another Facebook page where a group of women were more than admirers, but actually mechanics, or currently working in the Automotive Industry in some capacity. I find it exhilarating to see that other women are performing incredible things with cars.

This group is undertaking the Warrior Project. Just what is the Warrior Project? Their Mission Statement says it all: To encourage participation of women in all aspects of the automotive industry.

So what is this project all about? AMX-rolls-to-loading-300x176

The Warrior Project started out as a conversation about doing a rebuild project on a car. This was during the annual SEMA Show, the world’s premier automotive specialty products trade event in Las Vegas. This was the initial idea and it grew from there. This project is like no other; and it will demonstrate the talents that women have in the Automotive Industry.

According to the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) women, the number of certified female technicians has more than tripled in the last ten years, but still makes up only one percent of the total ASE-certified technicians.

Let’s look at how women add up in the automotive corporate world. There are seven women out of 52 officers for Ford Motor Company, and their female engineers have more than doubled since 1990. The number of men has only jumped 21% during the same period.

So are women really good for the industry? Absolutely! They think differently, are well balanced, and have core values. Women are relationship builders with a strong sense of community responsibilities. And since women make up 80% of the buying decisions, they are able to understand the needs and desires of a woman when it comes to their cars.

AMX-at-Paint-and-Body-Show-740x431This project, known as the Valkyrie Project, has a wide range of talented women in the automotive industry working hard to design, fabricate and rebuild this beautiful, powerful 1969 AMX, which will debut at the Hot Rod Power Tour 2015, the largest road trip in the world, with several thousand cars traveling to seven cities in seven days.

The exciting part for me is that a few of these women will soon be guests on Teresa’s Garage Radio.

Who makes up this amazing group of women and what role does each play in bringing this project to reality?

Susan Carpenter – President, JR Products

A fearless leader, Susan has successfully served the automotive and recreational vehicle related industries for over 20 years. Leading JR Products into their 15th consecutive record sales year, she credits the company’s industry leading retail packaging design, aggressive marketing and specialized merchandising programs along with award winning customer service as contributing factors to their continued success.

Dr. Karen Salvaggio – Owner, Thunder Valley Racing

Personal motto: Dream big; Work hard!! Karen brings a wealth of motorsports, education, and leadership experience to any project. A military veteran and master mechanic, Karen served nine years in the U.S. Air Force as a crew chief on B-52’s and KC-135 aircraft. Karen garnered numerous Distinguished Service Medals before leaving the military to pursue her advanced education. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Nan Gelhard – Advertising Manager, Summit Racing
Nan is an advertising and PR pro and knows the performance automotive aftermarket industry. Since she has worked directly with many of the industry’s movers and shakers, from manufacturers to the media, she will be working with manufacturers to get parts for the AMX, and with the media to bring the project to enthusiasts. Nan also currently serves on the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network Select Committee.

Christina Kwan – Kwan International Marketing & Media

Since founding her company in 2007, Christina has dedicated her efforts primarily to representing clients in the capacities of marketing and public relations in the automotive and motorsports industry. Having represented an NHRA Nitro Funny car, to building her own drag boat from bare block, Christina enjoys writing press content equally as much as she enjoys working on engines and racing.


JoAnn Bortles – Owner, Crazy Horse Custom Paint

JoAnn Bortles is an award winning custom automotive painter, airbrush artist, certified welder/fabricator, author, and photo journalist with over 30 years of experience in the automotive industry. She has appeared on The Today Show, NBC News, Musclecar TV, and TruTv’s Motor City Masters.

Julia Johnson – Instructor of Automotive Technology, Skyline College

Julia Johnson began her automotive career as an auto tech student at Skyline College. During her student years she built a 12-second drag car, won 9 scholarships, worked in independent repair shops, earned 6 ASE certificates, and an EA Smog License, and started teaching automotive classes, just for women.

Amy Fitzgerald – Owner, Cool Hand Customs

Amy Fitzgerald is co-owner, along with her husband EJ, of Cool Hand Customs, an old school Hot Rod Shop and a high-end painting, airbrushing and fabrication business in Middleton, Wisconsin. Amy’s lifelong passion for cars has helped the business expand; moving from working on motorcycles in their garage to managing a broad range of projects on new and vintage automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. In the world of custom vehicles, Amy is used to being one of the only women in the room, but that doesn’t bother her at all. Her favorite part of the industry is working with the younger generation.

Reference: Warrior Projects

Will Tinkering With Your Own Car Soon Be Illegal?

Will Tinkering With Your Own Car Soon Be Illegal?

Have you ever thought that someday you might not even be allowed to tinker with your own automobile? Or how about repair shops? They might not be allowed to perform repairs because they might be infringing on Copyright laws.

Well, all of this just might come true sooner than you think. There have been more than 300 written comments submitted to the Federal Copyright Office. Soon they will decide whether to grant an exemption in Copyright Law that preserves the legal right of outsiders to fix or modify their vehicles.

The opportunity to comment on this issue ended on April 30th, 2015 and in the next week or so, the Copyright Office will release the latest comments, which come from organizations and individual citizens alike. A broad majority of those who wrote in support an exemption.cartoon under hood

Ever since internal combustion engines were invented, many American motorists have maintained and personalized their cars and trucks. They do it to save money, to fix a problem, to adjust a vehicle to better meet their needs, or they just enjoy working on their cars.

So what has changed on this issue over the past century you might ask? The difference is that cars aren’t just mechanical in nature anymore. Whether you realize it or not, today’s cars are largely controlled by many small computers called electronic control units or ECM. In this whirl wind of copyright laws, automakers and equipment manufacturers have argued the software and computer codes that run these units, are proprietary and are protected under the copyright laws.

To sum it up, they do not want you or me messing around with that coding, or making unauthorized modifications, which they feel could lead to malfunctions or even car accidents.

What does this mean? It means that the home mechanics may no longer be able to continue working on their own cars. These restrictions not only effect car enthusiasts, but it could also mean you may no longer even be able to choose your own repair shop.

If the Copyright Office denies an exemption to the Copyright Act’s Section 1201, automakers could only authorize repairs at dealerships, or sell the access codes necessary to perform the repairs to preferred shops.under car

John Deere and General Motors have argued that motorists don’t necessarily buy a car, they merely buy the license to use the car for the duration of its life.

So you pay upwards in the 10’s of thousands for a car and you own the car, but not what controls it. To me, where is the sense in this as a consumer?

This would leave some 6800 aftermarket auto parts makers out of business at a time when the country is trying to bring back jobs. Many of the devices on vehicles today originated outside of the automotive industry long before automakers made them standard equipment. Now they feel they own them.

DMCA, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States Copyright Law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures (commonly known as Digital Rights Management or DRM) that control access to copyrighted works. It also criminalizes the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. In addition, the DMCA heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet. Passed on October 12, 1998, by a unanimous vote in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 28, 1998, the DMCA amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright, while limiting the liability of the providers of online services for copyright infringement by their users.

This is readdressed every three years and 2015 it is up for review again. This year there are 27 different proposed exemptions and a half dozen apply to the automotive industry. The report will be out sometime in June or July of this year.