Car Insurance Ratings

Car Insurance Ratings

Shopping for a new Vehicle Insurance Company? Isn’t it great that you can shop for car insurance and get a car insurance quote online? Isn’t it great you can actually find cheap car insurance and car insurance policy information online? Isn’t it great you can even get your car and home insured, and have your entire policy approved and paid for online within minutes? Yet, why isn’t it the overall experience as great as it could be? Simply because there are so many choices, and finding the best car insurance company is about more than just an affordable car insurance policy. How many of us really have the time or desire to fully exhaust all of the possibilities and find more than just a cheap car insurance policy, and know we actually are getting the best car insurance company for our needs? It could take days, weeks – maybe even months to price out all of the different policies from various car insurance companies. Even then, there is more to a decent car insurance company than just price.  If it was only a matter of finding a cheap car insurance policy, we’d be done in minutes. So, what else do we need to know?

Short term leases – no money down!

What is a Good Vehicle Insurance Company?

Price is the first thing we all think about when choosing a Car Insurance provider. This is because cost is the easiest, most visible commodity in which we can shop, measure and compare to our current provider. Getting the bargain policy coverage may seem like a good deal until you actually have to use your provider or deal with them for claims, asking questions or making changes to your policy. Wouldn’t it be great if someone did an extensive research study on all of these car insurance providers, so you could know more about them than just their policy price ahead of time? You can. Thanks to an exhaustive 2008 National Auto Insurance Study by J.D Powers, Auto Insurance Provider Ratings are available to everyone, making it easy to find a starting point when choosing your next Car Insurance company. Auto Insurance Providers are rated on five different criteria and rated accordingly. Here is how their performance is broken down:

Auto Insurance Criteria

  • Customer Experience

    How satisfied are you with your provider?
  • Your Policy Options

    What kind of coverage do you have?
  • Your Policy Pricing

    How much does your policy cost?
  • Paying Your Bills

    How easy is it to pay your bills?
  • Contacting Your Provider

    How easy is it to get a hold of your provider?

Making Sense of Car Insurance Ratings

Using the information from the 2008 National Car Insurance Study, Product Review Ratings (PRR), thought it would be worthwhile to rank the Top-10 Car Insurance providers. So, with the same ranking system utilized in our Top-10 Monthly Car Lease Specials, we have broken down the Car Insurance Companies in a similar manner.Keep in mind, that what’s best for some, might not neccessarily be best for everyone. Just like leasing automobiles, Car Insurance can be dependent on personal needs and circumstances. These Top-10 Car Insurance Ratings should serve as a starting point and guideline when you are ready to shop for your next provider.

Top-10 Car Insurance Ratings

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Solar Security Light

Solar Motion Light

Should We Keep Our Burglars in the Dark?

According to FBI research, outdoor lighting is an effective theft deterrent.  According to your home security salesman, outdoor lighting is an effective way to help burglars see what they’re doing as they break into your home.  I am not joking.  Several months ago this is what a home security installation company told me.  Obviously, the goal of professional home security companies is to make prospective customers feel unsafe and vulnerable to those bold burglars who appreciate the generous amounts of lights around your home.  So, who do we believe?

I pondered the odd, far-fetched notion of the security salesman for a moment, while I looked outside at the windows in back. I imagined the number of convenient hiding places the darkness of night provides for burglars. Three conclusions about the salesman’s advice became rather obvious:

  1. This guy is full of the stuff a burglar would step in if there were horses in my backyard.
  2. If I were a burglar who feared the dark, I’d probably have a flashlight with me.
  3. If I needed generous amounts of light to break into a door or window, why would I be doing it at night in the first place?

If for some strange reason you still believe a burglar prefers a blazing, bright spotlight glaring upon his back as he attempts to break-in through your windows at night, you might consider what a security light means to other types of intruders.

Four-Legged Burglars

Besides a bashful human burglar, nothing loves the dark more than a raccoon. This is one more excellent reason to keep your outdoor perimeter well-lit at night. Raccoons can be trouble. They might not be interested in that LCD Television, camcorder or jewelry that you have in your home, but they will steal food – right from your garden. Unless, Rex, the Barking Electronic Watch Dog is on guard, you won’t even know they were there. They will rob you blind. Worst of all, if you allow raccoons to get comfortable enough around your yard they will eventually make themselves a comfortable home right in your attic or roof. While raccoons hate the daylights out of lights, the makers of Solar Security Lights obviously love these little critters for helping burglars keep them in business. Meanwhile, anyone who tells you that a human burglar prefers being a movie star under bright outdoor lights while breaking the law, probably doesn’t want you to know about raccoons either. At any rate, I think the two different types of intruders give us enough of a reason to keep our yards well lit at night. So the next question is, “what is the most practical and affordable way to acquire security lighting?”

Solar or Electric Lights?

A Motion Light is a Security Light – a spotlight that goes on when motion is detected. Security lights can be programmed for motion sensitivity, light sensitivity and for how long the light stays on. A Solar Security Light behaves exactly the same way as an Electrical Security Light. There are some good reasons to go with a Solar Powered Security Light, but there are also a few reasons to choose electric or battery-powered lighting.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Powered Security Lighting


* Advantages

  • Convenience. No electrical wiring required. Easy to install.
  • Saves Energy. Since they are powered by the sun, saves on the environment and your utilities bill.
  • Looks and Appearance: No cords means clean looks and installation.
  • Versatility. Can be placed anywhere the sun shines.

* Disadvantages

  • Initial Cost. Solar products are more expensive than electrical
  • Requires solar energy and needs to be installed where it is exposed to generous amounts of sun.
  • Solar Security lights are generally not as bright as electric lighting
  • Solar panels lose energy over time and are more susceptible to the weather elements and wear and tear.

Do You See The Light?

A solar powered security light doesn’t have to be the one and only outdoor lighting solution for your home, but they certainly are welcome in areas that lack convenient power outlets and other locations where you cannot bury or hide cabling. What prompted me to write this article was the success and good luck I’ve had with landscape lighting and solar motion lighting in both the front and back yard of my home. Solar Lighting has made it possible for me to make household improvements I would otherwise not attempt without an electrician or at the very least; a brave or possibly drunk relative who owes you a favor.

LED Security Light

This Solar Powered Security LED Light deserves strong consideration for two reasons:

  1. Extremely Low Cost
  2. Small, portable yet very bright LED Lights


Batteries last for 2-3 years and are easily replaced. The LED lights are nice and bright and are advertised to last for 10 years! This is the perfect light solution to put around windows, patio, garden, pathways, etc… For $25 or less, you will get your money’s worth from these right away. Comes with 16 foot cord so you can position the solar panel just about anywhere.

Give Me a Brighter Light

Find one that literally looks like a car headlight beam is shining down upon you. Great way to light up an entry way or patio.

Need to Light a Larger Area?

Some are more reminiscent of the very bright, common electrical security lights, this one will light up a whole section of the house as soon as motion is detected. They come with dual lights which are perfect for mounting along dark corners or even along wide, straight areas of the property. Also, has long cable and replaceable battery packs as options.

Do you have a garage without light or dark basement or closet? Solar lights will not work for areas that do not receive the energy from the sun. However, other, battery powered units are perfect for those situations.

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The Gin Martini and a Dirty Little Secret

Dirty Martini
– An Idea

Dirty Martini with this?
Dirty Martini with this?

The nation’s top drink, the gin martini, is perhaps the most expensive drink we can least afford not to buy. In tough times like these, the last thing we want to do is give up our favorite brand of liquor. Yet, according to the latest government research, millions of consumer household liquor cabinets are running dangerously low on alcohol. The sad truth is, many of us simply don’t want to degrade ourselves and downgrade to discount brands of booze. We may think the fallout of the mortgage and loan crisis has reached rock-bottom, but what happens when Americans can no longer afford to buy their favorite brand of gin, vodka, scotch, tequila or bourbon? We could be facing a crisis that makes the Great Depression look like a Chucky Cheese birthday party. While the one trillion dollar stimulus package proposed by our current president has several millions allocated towards a lavish golf course, apparently there is not enough money leftover to provide a good bottle of gin. If you’ve been waiting for the government to supplement your latest stimulus check with a case of 1.75 liter bottles of Bombay Sapphire, I have a sneaking suspicion that’s not what this young, new president meant when he talked about, “Hope.” In this case, hope comes in the form of a drinkable, cheaper substitute brand of liquor. Once again, it is Taaka to the rescue.

As my recent review on Taaka Vodka proved,  premium brands of liquor may not be worth the extra cost. Do you like a dirty martini? Then this article is really for you. How does Taaka Gin stack up against your favorite brands like Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Quintessential?

Dirty Martini – That’s the Secret

I won’t lie to you.  Taaka is not quite as smooth and clean tasting as these other three brands, but it is still a very drinkable gin with a very nice, juniper-flavor and it won’t leave you having to ask for a federal bailout to continue your martini habit. Recently, when I did a side-by-side comparison I noticed that while Taaka did not quite taste as clean, it did have more of a distinguished juniper flavor than the Quintessential. A clean taste may be good, but what if you like a dirty martini (with olive juice)? If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why someone would pay 4 or 5 times more for a clean-tasting gin than ask their bartender to make it dirty? A while back, my wife and I were waiting for a dinner table at the bar at Bucca Di Beppo. I ordered a Beefeater Gin Martini, and was surprised that the  bartender asked if I wanted it dirty. I thought, why drown the flavor of an expensive gin with olive juice?  This is akin to mixing the expensive Grey Goose vodka with the very bitter taste of cranberry juice.  Can you imagine anyone thinking they can make a clean-tasting vodka taste any worse than an unclean, cheaper vodka after mixing it with the most bitter fruit juice on the planet? Now, consider what makes a clean, clear liquor:. Filtering. What happens when you shake the heck out of your vodka or gin in a stainless steel shaker of ice? You are filtering the living daylights out of it. Drop in a lemon slice, olive or splash of vermouth and you’ve pretty much nullified the difference between clean, expensive gin vs. a less-clean, cheaper one. And if you like your gin martini dirty, you could just as well filter your gin through a moldy sock because olive juice has a little bit of that sour flavor, anyway. In fact, the salty, tart olive juice will make it indistinguishable from a rock-bottom cheap bottle of gin. I’m not quite being fair to Taaka, however. I don’t believe it tastes like a rock-bottom gin at all. In fact, it’s distinguished juniper-flavor makes me think of it as a poor-man’s Bombay Sapphire and that my friends, is the Dirty Little Secret about the Gin Martini. I give Taaka Gin a thumbs up.

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P Touch Label Maker

PT-1280 Label Maker
PT-1280 Label Maker

The Brother P Touch Label Maker has probably made more lables on things that you see than any other device. In fact, if you don’t have a Brother P-Touch, I will show you some who isn’t labeling their stuff. Face it, if your stuff isn’t properly labeled, you may forget what it is called and never know what it was that you were looking for the next time you are unable to find it. Fortunately, Brother P-Touch Labelers have been around for years, helping people label and find their stuff and properly identify and know what that stuff is used for once it is found.


Brother P-Touch PT 1280 Label Maker

The PT1280 Label Maker by Brother is a portable, hand-held device that makes it possible for anyone on a small budget to label household items, folders, files, and/or just about anything they want. Brother P-Touch label makers have been around for over a decade. At one time, they were larger and didn’t do nearly as much or perform as well as models like the PT-1280.  The Brother P Touch label maker uses a small, familiar-looking Qwerty keyboard. It runs on 6 AAA batteries and features a 15-Character LCD Display. Other features include 5 framing options, 2-line printing, auto formats, 3 type-sizes and three-keys dedicated for saving and printing your favorite labels. For an additional cost, you can buy an AC Adapter for it.


How Does the PT-1280 Work?

The PT-1280 produces labels using a common, reliable printing method known as thermal heat-transfer. The key to thermal-heat printing is actually in the tapes. The Brother PT1280 prints on four different size TZ tapes: 9/64″, 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″. Type size is automatically selected based on the size tape and is not adjustable. This is not much of a drawback for a label maker for under $30.00. The one thing that I do find annoying with the PT-1280 and other Brother P-Touch printers is the way they produce a 1/2″ lead before and after the label, which unnecessarily wastes tape and forces me to trim them before applying them to objects. All-in-all, the Brother P-Touch PT-1280 does a decent job. Labels print relatively fast and it is a breeze to use the first time.
Black-on-white, black-on-clear, black-on-red, black-on-yellow, black-on-green, black-on-blue, black-on-orange, white-on-black, white-on-clear, white-on-blue, red-on-white, blue-on-white and Colorado Buffaloes gold-on-black.  Costco or any office supply store. a 26′ long roll of tape sells for $9 to $12.00.


Uses for the P-Touch Label Maker

  • Years ago, when running my own computer business, I used a Brother P-Touch label maker for serializing computer components, and labeling merchandise for sale. I found it to be a very fast, convenient way to keep organized in an office or warehouse environment.
  • Have you ever loaned Music CDs, DVD Videos or movies to friends and/or relatives and worried they might forget to give them back to you? Putting your name, address and phone number on your valuables is a great way to remind them who it belongs to and greatly increase your chances of getting it back.
  • How about labeling the wires, cables and connections on your stereo and computer components? Put labels on the back of your computer where your connections go and make it easy to reconnect all of them if you ever need to move or replace them.
  • Neatly label your file folders in your home office.
  • Lastly, stay organized and find your stuff and remember what your stuff is once you’ve found it!


PT-1280 Review Ratings

  • Performance: 80
  • Features: 80
  • Value: 90
  • Overall: 85
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