Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Happens to Your Car During Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a difficult, emotional process that will burden you with stress and worry. But, sadly, it's often one of the best choices for those facing serious financial hardships. You'll probably have a ton of questions if you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy, one of which is what happens to your car. Transportation is a must for most Canadians, and understanding how a bankruptcy affects your vehicle is important. There are a few variables that will change just what happens to your car during bankruptcy.
Two things will be looked at in relation to your vehicle when you file for bankruptcy.
  • The first is just how much the value of your car is. You'll have to get an independent appraisal to turn in to the attorney or trustee handling your bankruptcy.
  • The second issue you'll need to address is whether or not you have any liens against your car or if you own clear title for the car. If you have a lien against the car, your creditor will turn in their claim to your trustee. The priority claim is the one that will be dealt with first.
If your vehicle is valued at or above what you owe you may have the option to continue making payments. If it is valued lower than the amount that you owe, you may be able to negotiate with the creditor to pay them the fair market value of the vehicle. If not, they do have the right to repossess the car. They can also do so if you decide not to make payments, regardless of the total amount owed. If you owe more than the fair market value for your car, it's unlikely that your creditor will accept less.
In the event that your car is repossessed but is worth less than you owe, the remainder of your balance will be structured into your overall bankruptcy proceeding. However, if you have clear title to the car you will still be required to pay the trustee the market value or surrender the car to them to help pay off your loans. Cars worth less than 5,650 dollars which have no liens are exempt from this and you will be allowed to keep them. You may be able to pay the difference in value, such as paying 1,000 dollars if your car is worth 6,650. In short, the odds are that your car may be lost in a bankruptcy proceeding. But in some cases, it's simply the only way. 

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Hybrid Versus Gas – What are the Pros and Cons?

There's a lot of talk today about the ever rising gas costs facing us, along with the damage we're doing to the environment through the greenhouse effect. These are two of the main issues that are driving the increasing popularity of hybrid vehicles. Using a combination of electricity and fuel to power themselves, hybrids have long been touted as the best way to drive. But if you're one of the many who remain unconvinced – and even if you aren't – it's a good idea to look at the pros and cons of both hybrid and gas powered vehicles to help decide which is right for you.
So what advantages does a hybrid hold over a purely gasoline driven vehicle?

Cost is a major one, and you'll save on fuel since the hybrid doesn't rely solely on gasoline and will get far better gas mileage.
Five Canadian provinces are offering a one-time tax rebate if you buy a hybrid. Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia all offer tax credits or rebates of between one and three thousand dollars.

The Vehicle Efficiency Initiative offered nationwide provides as much as a two thousand dollar tax rebate when you buy a brand new hybrid.

Here are a few main drawbacks to owning a hybrid.

There's a good deal of discussion going on at the moment about the cost of upkeep and maintenance for a hybrid vehicle.
Not all mechanics are even qualified to work on them, and there's a good chance that you may pay a little bit more for services.
The initial purchase price for hybrid vehicles is normally somewhat higher than that of gasoline only cars.

Additionally, the parts of Canada that get large snowfalls may not be the best place to own a hybrid.

Auto insurance doesn't really differ much from hybrid to gasoline vehicles, and rates aren't affected by the type of engine your car has. Most drivers agree that they drive and handle the same as well, although hybrids typically have a bit less room inside. If you're interested in saving money on fuel and helping the environment, hybrids are the right choice for you. The tax incentives offered by the government help offset their slightly higher costs, and you'll pay no more for insurance when driving one. The choice is ultimately up to you, but these facts should help you decide. 
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting a Mechanic You can Trust to Save on Car Repairs

Your car is a vital part of your life, and unless you live in an area with effective mass transit then you probably utilize it on a daily basis. And when your car breaks down or needs regular maintenance, you really have no choice other than to have it done. Unless you know how to repair it yourself, your only chance for saving on car repairs is to find a mechanic you can trust. There are plenty of jokes about mechanics and how they can take advantage of their customers thanks to the fact that those customers have no option other than to trust them, but in some cases those are much more than just jokes. Do some research to protect yourself.

Take a look at consumer sites like APA.
They post lists of reputable mechanics and repair shops for you to review. If the mechanic you're thinking of using isn't on the list, you may want to consider visiting another one. Their own tests found that thirty percent of repair shops they visited failed their simple tests. Those that passed will be on the list. Even if you live in an area that hasn't been reviewed by sites like these you still have a couple of options available to help you with the task of saving on car repairs.
A study in Calgary involving thirty different garages found that only eight received a passing grade. The rest failed to notice issues or charged extra prices for work that simply wasn't necessary. Because of this, customers could end up paying hundreds of dollars that they don't even need to spend.

Find repair shops that offer free inspections, or at least very cheap ones.
If you can get an inspection and estimate of repair costs from a few different shops then you'll be able to compare each one to see which seem to be trying to make unneeded repairs as well as which ones are trying to overcharge you. It may be a hassle you don't want to deal with, but driving to a couple of different mechanics could end up saving you hundreds.

There are a few points that can help you with saving on car repairs, and remembering them is important whether you need a brake job or a transmission repair. For those in a financial bind those hundreds can be the difference between making the rent or falling behind on it. 

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