Today, many dealership Finance & Insurance (F&I) or Business Managers utilize a “menu” to offer a wide variety of products and services during your time with them while you finalize your purchase. Please be patient with them, they are simply trying to earn a living just like you and I. However, there are a few of the products they offer you should consider, some you may want to think about (depending on your own situation) and many you should avoid al all costs.
Tire & Wheel Protection (Road Hazard)
This is actually pretty valuable coverage. Especially when you consider the replacement cost of one of those alloy wheels and a decent tire. What this coverage provides is repair or replacement of the tire and/or wheel in the event you encounter a road hazard such as a pot hole, pick up a nail or screw or even run over any number of things we all find on the road these days.
The determining factor as to whether your tire and or wheel is going to be replaced or repaired is the extent of the damage. If they can repair it, they will. You’re not going to get a new tire because you ran over a nail. However, if an object becomes lodged in the sidewall, it can’t be repaired and replacement is in order.
Keep in mind they will pro-rate the age of the tire and the remaining tread so even though you’re told there isn’t a deductable, you may have to come out of pocket a little beciuase of the condition of the tire. Also be aware that most policies won’t cover “curb rash”. Curb rash occurs when you brush against the curb while parking etc. Rest assured that if you slam into a pot hole blowing out your brand new tire and cracking the wheel, you’ll be covered. Also, the coverage transfers to a new set of tires so if you purchase a 5 year program and you replace your tires after 4 years, you still have a year of coverage remaining.
WOW. Have you ever had to replace some of these laser cut, chip imbedded remote controlled keys lately?! I have and when I got the bill I told the cashier that all I wanted was one key, not their entire inventory! These things better do more than unlock and start my car for these prices. But there is little you can do except shell out the money…unless you purchase this coverage.
Most policies offer 3, 4 or 5 year options with choices of 1 or 2 replacement keys per policy year. So if your one to misplace keys frequently, you should seriously consider this coverage.
There once was a time that virtually all auto insurance policies offered “full glass” coverage meaning that you didn’t have to pay a deductable to replace your broken or non-repairable windshield. Not so much today. And did you know that when you do have to replace your windshield, its more than likely a cheap aftermarket windshield not an OEM (Original Equipment from the Manufacture)? Now don’t get me wrong, there are Federal Safety Guidelines for all windshield glass installed in the US so it’s not inferior when it comes to safety, just a less expensive product that meets only the minimum Federal Guidelines.
If you don’t have the $300-500 to shell out for a new windshield, then seriously consider the extra $5 or $6 it’s going to add to your payment. It’s a good investment as many states won’t even pass vehicle inspection with a badly damaged windshield.
But what if you have just purchased a luxury vehicle? You’re driving around town in a Lexus, a BMW, Audi, Mercedes Benz, or Aston Martin? Most of these automobile owners want their vehicle to remain as the manufacturer intended, with OEM glass. Well have no fear, there is an option for this for all you owners as well. Just be sure to specify that the policy you’re going to purchase will replace your damaged windshield with OEM glass. Sure this is a little more expensive, but well worth it, even if you’re that type of person that wants everything they want you bought it.
Credit Life & Disability
Back in the day, credit life insurance was so inexpensive, 43% of everyone I helped secure financing agreed to purchase the coverage. I mean, what a peace of mind to know that if you passed away during the term of your loan, you could ensure that your family received a free and clear title. Your family could continue to drive without the pressure of a car payment or even sell the vehicle and use the money for other things.
But how things have changed. In most markets, the cost for credit life and/or disability has made it cost prohibitive. However, if you’re the type of person seeking that peace of mind to know that even if you lose your ability to earn a living, your car loan will still be paid for you during your disability, then this may be worth the increased monthly payment. You may want to check with your insurance agent to see if you can purchase coverage cheaper.
Paintless Dent Repair
This coverage will remove small dents and dings from your vehicle keeping it looking new longer. Keep in mind that there are a lot of exclusions or restrictions. Most policies only cover dents that are credit card sized or smaller, the surface of the paint can’t have been compromised (scratches), dents on the creases of the vehicle can’t be removed and many exclude hail, natural disasters and horizontal surfaces (hood, trunk and roof).
Theft Deterrent and Recovery Systems
There are dealer principles, Finance Managers and General Managers sitting in jail today because of grossly overcharging their guests for theft devices such as window etch. In fact, some states have taken a stand against even the sale of such products.
Bottom line, this is a total waste of money!!!!! Don’t fall for the line that the dealership adds these products to every car and all you’re paying for is the activation fee. That’s a line of crap. Every product I’ve discussed in this and other articles are optional!! You don’t have to take them if you don’t want them!!!!
Most of these products have severe limitation prior to receiving any compensation. The most obvious, is that your vehicle must be stolen and never recovered (or at least for a specified period of time). A police report must be on file within a finite period of time as well as notification to your insurance company. If the guidelines aren’t followed to the letter, you risk not receiving the policy benefit.
Furthermore, recovery devices have their limitations as well. They have geographical limitations, antiquated technology, rely on an overworked police department and are only sold to you because the Finance Managers are well compensated by the company to continue to sell their products.
If you are the type of person that wants the peace of mind that if your vehicle is stolen and you want it back, look into a Geographic Positioning System (GPS) product that can tell exactly where you vehicle is in real time. There are products available for the everyday consumer similar to those used by trucking companies, ambulance and police dispatchers. These products won’t infringe on your privacy unless you ask it to.
I sincerely hope this has helped you to make an informed decision when or if you’re going to purchase any or these products. They all have their purpose, even it’s sole purpose is to increase the size of the bank account of the Finance Manager.
Happy car shopping!