You can buy a lot of services based on how much you use them. Cell phones are just the tip of the iceberg; you can get everything from stock photos to video games on a pay-as-you-go basis. So what about car insurance? Can that also be pay-as-you-go?
It can be, but it depends on how much privacy you're willing to give up, something that infuriates consumer advocacy groups -- even as they cheer the idea of more granular pay scales so consumers pay only for what they need.
At the heart of the problem is the metering device most insurers require you to install as part of the program. The device tracks how far you drive and when you drive: those who drive fewer miles at safer times of day, namely during daylight hours and especially not late at night, are qualified for lower insurance rates. The idea is that it allows the insurer to match your data against the criteria of the program, and if you fit the criteria, you get the lower rates. If not, well, tough.
The insurers point out that the device isn't a tracking device: there's no GPS in any design. Nor does the device track how fast you're going: it's limited to mileage and times of day only. Still, that's more than some people want to allow, and many consumer insurance advocates find it frustrating that insurers want people to surrender their privacy in order to try for a discount they might not even get. Similarly, some people are shut out of the program altogether: if you work the late shift, you're essentially wasting your time trying to get the discount. Driving at late hours puts you at higher risk of a collision, with more drunk drivers and sleepy drivers on the road.
Even worse, from the consumer advocate's viewpoint, not all insurers are willing to pay for a custom device, and only make the program available to customers driving cars equipped with services such as OnStar. Once again, it creates a financial barrier: don't feel like paying for OnStar service, or don't want to drive an OnStar vehicle? Find another insurer. And, just to rub it in, the OnStar vehicles are clearly equipped with GPS; the insurer may not collect the data yet, but that might change in the future.
If this sounds like a bad deal, well, it depends on your situation. Most customers who qualify save around $150 on their car insurance. Some programs offer a small discount, usually 5%, just for signing up for the program in the first place. For others, the data collected is used to qualify the driver for a variety of discounts that they may not even be aware they can get on their insurance.
Even consumer advocacy groups want pay-as-you-go insurance. For years, they've argued the systems put in place by the insurance companies give people more insurance than they need. This means people drive more, putting them at more risk for accidents and polluting the environment.
It's likely a debate that will go on for a while, but if you drive relatively little and mostly during the day, consider asking your insurer if they have a program like this. The savings could be well worth it.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, car insurance, fast
Hummer limo? Pfft! F-650 limo? Please. You think that's the weirdest limousines get? Well...OK, so did we. We thought a hot pink stretch Hummer was the most bizarre limo in existence. We were very, VERY wrong.
Your eyes do not deceive you: that is a stretch (well, to use the term loosely) Volkswagen Bug. If you look closely, it even has the license plate “LIMO BUG”, just to get the point across that these people chose what amounts to a station wagon to ride around in. (At least it’s a cute station wagon.)
We're not really sure what the story is behind this particular limo. We know it's a Mini Cooper, or, rather, two Minis seemingly welded together in some unholy union (look in the back: there's a steering wheel). But the flames? The stretch? The paintjob? Don't ask us. We don't know. We don't want to.
Why, yes, that is in fact a stretch Ferrari. What we like about this design is that it really does look like it's about to snap in half, possibly out of shame for being made to look so utterly ridiculous. Somewhere, Enzo is crying.
We guess this qualifies as a “limo”. It's long. It's got a lot of seats. It's ostentatious. It obviously isn't cheap.
On the other hand, is there a country in the world that will actually let you drive this beast on the road?
We can't mock this. This is brilliant. Somebody sat down and thought “what's the best way to announce that I absolutely mean business, need to get to where I'm going, and will brook no crap in my way?” And hit on this. Traffic is no longer an excuse: you can go over it!
The Jeep limo! Because, uh...well...we guess if you were in a place without a lot of roads, and wanted to get somewhere in style, your options are kind of limited. We'd really hate to see how this thing performs on a terrible back road, though. Also, if you hit a mud puddle...what happens?
When you absolutely, positively need to get somewhere on time, don't resort to this. The Anaconda or “Hawg Limo” seems like a terrible idea simply because motorcycles are designed to go fast, and this seems roughly as safe above speeds of five miles an hour as making a pass at Mike Tyson's sister.
Now this, on the other hand, is what the perpetually tardy desperately need. OK, so you'll show to the big meeting or the gala premiere or your own wedding with helmet hair and possibly some bugs in your teeth. On the other hand, you will be on time.
There isn’t anything capitalism can produce that Communist states can’t poorly imitate, and as proof, we offer this, the Trabant limousine. The Trabant was an East Germany car famous for being so bad the Yugo trembles in shame to be from the same area. We bet this limo lived up to Trabant's sterling reputation.
Finally, we have this, the infamous “Art Limo”. Supposedly worth $1,000,000 or so, at least according to the guy who tried to sell it. We're not sure of the Blue Book value, but we think that might be just a little high.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, limos, top ten
There are lots of things you can say about the station wagon: roomy, reliable, dependable, useful ... but notice that “attractive” wasn't among the adjectives. Yes, the station wagon is many things, but eye-catching? Not one of them. Of course, some are worse than others, and here are the worst of all time.
Part of the problem is that station wagons were generally made by extending the cab of the vehicle back to create what amounts to a roofed over flatbed. For most American sedans, mostly this just means making the blandness longer. For cars with actual construction and style, like Lotus...well, the results speak for themselves.
Yes, that is a station wagon built by luxury car manufacturer and usually respected carmaker Ferrari. No, we have no idea what the engineers were drinking, but we bet it was cheap, strong, and tasted absolutely horrible.
Dear Aston Martin: James Bond is very disappointed in you. And so are we. It's fine until you get to the actual wagon part, and then it's kind of like everything that was hideous about early '90s car design dropped on this beast.
You might notice this is similar to the Ferrari design up above, but instead of it being a Ferrari, it's the Ferrari's wannabe younger brother, the Pontiac Trans Am. Not that the Trans Am isn't a gorgeous car, but it's not a station wagon. Thankfully the execs at Pontiac started smoking tobacco again and took this prototype out of production.
We will never, ever understand the tendency to paint Cadillac’s bottle green. This looks like a rolling Sprite can from the '60s. Not that a better paint job would repair that hideous circus tent in the back, but it might help.
The only place this thing is going marauding to is the local drive-in, the supermarket, and the pharmacy. We also like how the wood details of your typical wagon are turned into semi-space age curves here. It's like the designers charmingly thought two bad ideas would make a good one.
So named because the design imparts fury into anyone who looks at it. Wow, Plymouth really made a hideous beast with this one, didn't they? You can practically see where they just tacked on some extra roof at the planning stages. But, hey, Plymouth had forty years after this ugliness before they were shut down, so they had to pick up some cues in the meantime to make some better cars.
Ah. Sooooo....not so much, then.
We'll give the designers credit: it looks like this car is leaning forward, giving it the impression of speed. Now if the back end didn't look like something that 1950’s housewife used to scrub the washing...
The Ford Country Sedan
Then again, considering Ford inflicted this dumpy little bug-eyed creature on America for twenty years, maybe we should be grateful any design went into the Falcon at all. Come back, Falcon! All is forgiven!
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=371881 (I got several from this)
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, car, top ten
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