Buyer Beware!

Currently, there a number of ads running on television pitching how some insurance policies can save consumers large amounts of money in appliance and automobile repair costs. These ads give consumers the impression that air conditioner, refrigerator, or dishwasher repairs can run into the thousands of dollars. Similarly, engine, transmission, or coolant leaks can also result in very costly repairs. If you are considering the purchase of one of these policies, please be aware that maintenance is a key requirement. Regardless of the type of policy, your claim will most likely be denied if you can’t prove that you maintained your appliances or vehicle on a regular basis. For appliances, this means that you must keep your appliance clean. Use a vacuum cleaner to keep dust and lint out of motors and coils. Replace hoses when their use appears questionable. Replace wiring or have an electrician do the work before the wiring becomes worn and brittle. Similarly, you must change the oil in your vehicle at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. In addition, the transmission fluid and filter must be replaced, usually every 100,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer’s recommended interval. Coolant must also be replaced, here again, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Don’t forget the oil, air and gasoline filters, they also must be replaced. Lastly, don’t forget to save the receipts regardless of whether you do the work yourself or have someone else do it for you. You must have some documentation to show that you made an honest effort to live up to the requirements of the policy. For those things where you won’t get a receipt, I would suggest keeping a chart of the activity – list the date, time, a description of the appliance or vehicle and what was done. Hopefully, your carrier will step up when you need them and the settlement of your claim will go smoothly.

About R.J. Hill, P.E.
R. J. Hill is the author of two blogs: R.J. Hill Consulting and the Descendants of James Alexander Hill. Mr. Hill is a registered professional (mechanical) engineer with 42 years of experience, 37 years in private practice. Please visit www.rjhill.com to see the kinds of forensic investigations that Mr. Hill performs.

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