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Posts Tagged ‘car’

Buying Car Insurance

My precious car.

My precious car.

Moving to Washington I need to get a new auto-insurance policy. Not because my old insurance could not move, rather I was covered under my Dad’s plan since the car was registered at his address. Now I have a new registration and so a new insurance policy in my name.

I am faced with the question on how to pick an insurance company. Previously I was under someone else’s policy with no interaction with the insurance company directly however I have heard good things about the agent (Allstate) whom my Dad has worked with. Thus I turn to TV commercials. I checked out several of the prevalent ones: eSurance, Gecio, Progressive and Allstate. For some reason eSurance did not impress me since I never did a follow up visit to their site. Geico called me a few times, though I did not pick up since it was an unknown area code, the message the agent left just did nothing for me.

Out of the initial four it has come down to Allstate and Progressive for comparisons. Before rechecking the price I tried to find review online and quickly encountered nothing but negative reviews. Unlike books on Amazon or restaurants on Yelp people with good experiences probably do not review insurance companies as often as those with bad experiences. Even assuming some efficiency ratios I just ignored all of the online reviews and returned to the websites.

For the same basic coverage Progressive is one third the price of Allstate. So I e-mailed two Allstate agents, my Dad’s (a third party) and a local agent asking them a simple question: Why should I go with Allstate and pay triple what Progressive offers? I hope to hear back in the next day or so.

So I am left with three choices: pay the cheaper monthly cost and get basic Progressive insurance, pay the basic Allstate price for basic Allstate insurance or pay the basic Allstate price but get the maxed out Progressive insurance plan.

The fundamental problem I have with almost all of this stuff is that I have no grounding for what the numbers mean for liabilities. The only ones I have a firm grasp on are the deductibles for the optional collision/comprehensive insurance because I know how much I value my car. It is hard to be rational about decisions of numbers for underinsured motorist liability and bodily injury liability. It all seems like the thing where a higher priced item is offered to encourage people to buy the middle priced one, there is a more technical name for that I am sure.

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Speakers

6.5" 220W max speakers for the low price of $50!

6.5" 220W max speakers for the low price of $50!

So I ran into a few problems while installing new speakers into my car (1991 Nissan 240SX Hatchback).

The first was the mounting brackets for the front door did not fit, a dremel tool and some extra long screws fixed that problem.

The second is a little harder to fix. The instructions I was working off of said that the rear speakers were 6.5″ speakers, so I went to Bestbuy and bought a combo package of stereo deck and 6.5″ speakers. It was not until I already installed the stereo deck that I looked at the back speakers to find that they were in fact 4″ x 6″ as well.

Now two options stood before me: I could start cutting and make the 6.5″ speakers fit or I could get new speakers. But what to do with the old speakers? I could return them but then I would have to take out the stereo deck that is already all wired up. Furthermore I looked at the receipt and they are not even listed, it just lists the front speakers and the stereo deck, I got the 6.5″ speakers for free. This leaves me with the option to sell them.

If anyone in Sonoma county and wants to buy a pair of 6.5″ speakers let me know. Until then I am driving around with just the new front speakers on.

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Cold Pipe

A bit of frosty condensation.

A bit of frosty condensation.

Seems that stereo installations are never simple tasks.

Front speakers down and just the rear speakers to go. Except that I now realize that I had the wrong information on speaker sizes and bought 6.5″ instead of 4″ x 6″ speakers. Now I have the choice of either selling the ones I bought and getting some 4″ x 6″ or cutting myself some new speed holes in my car.

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Driving Stress

I just like taking photos of flowers, maybe I should just save for a dedicated macro lens.

I just like taking photos of flowers, maybe I should just save for a dedicated macro lens.

I realized today where a large portion of stress and concern related to young drivers come from: they are often driving their parents car.

Today while driving my car and still getting used to the clutch (only killed it twice today!) my Mom was rather relaxed about it. Compared to when I was initially learning to drive a few years ago and when my brother learned it was a large departure from her normal teaching-to-drive behavior. Then it dawned on me, any damage I do would only be down to my car.

While the odometer only registers 87k while learning how to use a manual transmission must have put a few more miles of wear then is actually registered. Also I washed it today and noticed the sad fact that many of the dirt spots are not so much spots as features of the paint.

Worse case scenario: a $1000 experiment in learning to drive a clutch.

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Dead Battery

A bit blurry, still plenty angry though.

A bit blurry, still plenty angry though.

I went out to my car today to continue practicing with the manual transmission and it did not start.

Poking some buttons and attempting to get even a flickr of life out of the engine led me to the simple conclusion: the battery died.

I was able to charge it a bit off my brothers truck and jumped it successfully, I hope that it starts up fine tomorrow. I don’t want to have to buy a new battery.

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Half-Way There

 

Halfway There

Halfway There

Finals are half-way over and as such there is not much work ethic in me at the moment.

So a picture of half a car!

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Driving

 

Some places are particularly flat.

Some places are particularly flat.

Driving up Highway 5 in the middle of California we found only two types of radio stations: country or hispanic. They alternated fairly evenly throughout the entire FM band. Then at the bottom of the band there was an oddity – Dane Cooke.

As it was something different we started to listen. He started to swear on the radio. Odd, we thought, doesn’t the FCC have something to say about curses on the radio?

So we kept driving, well driving at that point was a very loose term, we kept sitting in random traffic. Eventually the traffic yielded to actual movement that came up to near the speed limit, the speed limit of a school zone anyway.

The radio cut out. Dane Cooke was replaced with fast tempo mariachi music. Again, odd.

Continuing forward we hit another (of many) spot of traffic, Dane Cooke came back. Three seconds later we figured it out: someone’s iPod FM transmitter. The SUV in front of us had a nice bubble of comedy. We tried to stay within that bubble to hear the end of the joke, we ended up tailgating until they pulled aside and let us pass.

We never will know how the joke ended.

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