Sunday, November 09, 2008

Allstate Your Choice Auto

I have been a customer of Allstate Insurance for several years now. I have auto, life, renters and earthquake through an Agent. I like that I can make payments online, over the phone, through mail or even at the agent's office. In fact he has been to my home to handle the initial Life Insurance application for the policy and this past March came over to get my signature on my new auto policy for the vehicle purchase I made at the dealership that same day.

I received in the mail the other day an invitation to upgrade my auto policy to Your Choice Auto, which will forgive your next car accident. I have never had an accident, but I wanted to learn more about this option without having to call my Agent.

The website lists a platinum package, gold package, standard policy and value package. The Safe Driving Bonus takes up to 5% off your renewal bill every six month of accident-free driving. Accident Forgiveness limits the amount your rates go up just because of an accident, even if it is your fault.

The Deductible Rewards takes $100 off your deductible the day you sign up and earns another $100 for every year that you do not have an accident. This has a cap of $500 total. The Standard Policy offers Accident Forgiveness after five years for eligible customers. I might fit into that category, but I also read that Your Choice Auto just became available in the State of California in October 2008. It looks like I will have to contact my Allstate Agent to get quotes for the upgrade to Your Choice Auto.

I am looking for feedback from anyone who has upgraded to Your Choice Auto or switched to Allstate and now has this policy. They are at or call 1-800-allstate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Annoying Phone Calls from Companies

I went through the steps in signing up my land line phone number for the do not call registry and did it online for my cell phone number as well. This past March I bought a Dodge Caravan Sport from an auto dealership. I also purchased the extended warranty. A few months later these automated phone calls started. It would say this is my last chance for my auto warranty. I pressed the button to speak to someone and they hung up on me.

The calls continued and I would hang up until I got so frustrated that I pressed the number to talk to someone and asked them how they got my information. Again they hung up on me. I did google searches and found information for other states, but not California. I did go to consumer affairs and submitted a message. The calls stopped for about two weeks and then it would occur almost three times a week or every other day. These automated messages would spring up on weekends and evenings.

I decided to call the auto dealership since they were the only ones I dealt with in regard to the purchase as I went through Capital One Auto Finance online and my Allstate Agent came to my house for my signature on the new insurance policy. The dealership was not helpful at all. The guy claimed to get many phone calls from customers but could not tell me where these were generated from.

I wish I had some form of warning before I made the purchase, because this is downright annoying to the core. I might have gone the ebay motors route again with this purchase. Now I am stuck with the calls that have not stopped and I bought the vehicle nine months ago. It needs to stop, but how?

On another note I have Time Warner Cable, who has been calling me almost as frequently and mailing the same flyers over and over. I am not interested in getting their internet service as I have that with AT&T and the phone service. Will they ever leave me alone? These phone calls are from real people on the other end and not a recording, but I still hang up on them after letting them again that I have AT&T and not switching.

I have an unlisted phone number, but that does not stop the Satellite Dish Companies from calling me several times a week in a recorded message asking me when I want them to set up. How did they get my number? What can I do to stop these calls? They are confusing to my 13 year old son who does not know if they are live or memorex.

I am almost tempted to go back to dial up since I never took phone calls due to having computer on all the time until someone booted us offline. We need high speed for the homeschooling and this computer is on loan from the Company. The good news is that I have tracfone and no one calls me there but wrong numbers and tracfone texts their special deals, but not a nuisance.

Sometimes I answer the phone in a loud irate voice and this is always the time it is someone from school. It never fails... This reminds me that the new Middle School my son is attending has a message system to let parents know of events, school closures, emergencies, meetings, you name it they call. I think this is nice to be notified of many things, but I liked getting notices on paper in my son's backpack. I guess this is their way of saving paper and money.

Feel free to share the calls that you get at home that drive you mad.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Helping Families

I planned a yard sale for today seeing as the weather was not as warm here in Los Angeles, making it easier to endure being outside on a Saturday morning and afternoon. Turns out it rained here and there, so who says it never rains in Southern California? My 13 yr old has had some growth spurts, which has resulted in some jeans never being worn and others very gently used.

Due to my taking prednisone some of my jeans no longer fit me and I have not been able to afford to continue with my gym membership the past year. My 12 yr old is now at a Middle School that has a uniform policy. Many of the clothes in his closet had not been worn and have no need to be there.

I bought many tops that I changed my mind on, never even worn them and both boys have these thick large jackets that seem to be for those outside in the snow. We got this from an organization that used to adopt them for the holidays. It was nice to have people in a group wanting to help us out. I would get a phone call in mid October asking for a list and I would mention clothing and sizes along with issues my sons have - like no button down shirts, sweaters or turtlenecks. We never really received the right clothing. I much prefer a gift card so that we can get the clothing that suits them best.

Instead of trying to post signs about a yard sale and get a listing up on craigslist I would just rather give the stuff away. For awhile now I have been placing clothing and shoes in the yellow bins marked Planet Aid. One day driving home I saw a truck picking up bags and bags of stuff from the container at the gas station down the street. In the past I have called for pickups from Salvation Army. But they too place all the items in the stores for people to buy. I realize that sorting these items are jobs for those with disabilities, but I really just want to find a shelter or group home and see if they could use clothing, etc.

Many years ago I did just that and cannot remember how I found them - this was before I had a computer too. I have lots of extra samples of health and beauty aides that would benefit single moms and their kids. I am in Los Angeles and do not want to drive to areas that I am not familiar with or are dangerous.

Last year at this time I had adopted many families through Wish Upon A Hero and CafeMom and had six boxes that I filled with items I bought online with my monthly Amazon certificate and from Avon and Walgreens. It took a lot of time, but was fun in the process. I do not have the time or money to mail packages and I got tired of people contacting me from these sites for more things.

This year I have added expenses of a car loan, higher auto insurance premium and a rental increase that equals almost $400. I think I will try calling 211 and 311. These are numbers for LA City and LA County. Last year we also received vouchers to Toys R Us from the LAPD. Someone in our neighborhood added our name to a list. The officers delivered them to us and we were able to go to the front of the line to get inside and pick out a DVD and videogame. At first we were told they were $50 for each kid, but ended up being $40 each. We had only a few days notice and had to be there very early, leaving the house at 6 AM.

Please do share some ideas on how I can get these jeans, pants, tops and jackets to families that can use them now. I will be posting to sell some of the other items on craigslist.