Monthly Archives: June 2011

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Car Insurance: Payout Problem Areas

According to the Financial Ombudsman Service there has been a 70% increase in motor insurance complaints over the past six months.

With the value of cars rising, motor insurers are choosing to repair cars as appose to writing them off. This has resulted in the majority of disputes between consumers and insurers being based on bad quality repairs and valuations.

Repair costs for cars that are worth £30,000 to £40,000 can easily be in the region of £15,000. Because of this, many insurance companies prefer to have the repairs conducted at one of their garages, whereas the consumer may prefer their vehicle be repaired at a specialist garage. Read more articles Compare Vehicle Insurance Estimates And Pay Cheaper Prices Get cheap car insurance quotes To compare car insurance you must rely on us for best quote Your car's safety is priority for you and the insurance provider

Consumers that find themselves in this situation do not have to accept repairs at the garage their insurer offers. They can choose exactly where they would like their vehicle to be repaired.

Moreover, the vehicle should leave the garage in perfect condition. Any dissatisfaction regarding the quality of repairs and the insurer should commission a report from an independent engineer report.

Another big problem the ombudsman found is that there has been an increase in the number of consumers that have been denied payouts when their car has been stolen.

“The typical scenario is you get up one morning and your car has gone. The insurer somehow blames you for it, and refuses to pay up on the grounds that it can’t be stolen,” Robert Short, lead motor insurance ombudsman.

Insurance companies justify this move by saying that many of today’s cars are fitted with sophisticated security systems, and that the only way the car could have been stolen is down to consumer carelessness.

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Motorcycle Noise

Motorcycles are growing in popularity, especially as the cost of gas increases. But with the growing use of motorcycles comes the growing concern of their noise.

Not all motorcycles are noisy and most new motorcycles are built with federally mandated noise control standards. When a motorcycle is noisy it is due to the rider’s modification to the muffler tailpipe or an aftermarket exhaust system that is not street legal. Such modified exhaust systems can be heard and felt over a wide distance, rattling windows and traveling through walls. In the end, millions of people are adversely affected by this noise.

So if the motorcycles are so noisy, why do riders modify them? Mostly it is due to the fact that riders feel their sound will make them more heard by other motorists, which in turn will keep them safer. But this may be more a myth than truth. The American Motorcycle Association discourages cyclists in modifying their exhaust systems and have gone so far to create a creed that reads:

• All motorcyclists should be sensitive to community standards and respect the rights of fellow citizens to enjoy a peaceful environment.

• Motorcyclists should not modify exhaust systems in a way that will increase sound to an offensive level.

• Organizers of motorcycle events should take steps through advertising, peer pressure and enforcement to make excessively loud motorcycles unwelcome.

• Motorcycle retailers should discourage the installation and use of excessively loud replacement exhaust systems.

• The motorcycle industry, including aftermarket suppliers of replacement exhaust systems, should adopt responsible product design and marketing policies aimed at limiting the cumulative impact of excessive motorcycle noise.

• Manufacturers producing motorcycles to appropriate federal standards should continue to educate their dealers and customers that louder exhaust systems do not necessarily improve the performance of a motorcycle.

• Law enforcement agencies should fairly and consistently enforce appropriate laws and ordinances against excessive vehicle noise.

• The motorcycle industry and the safety community should educate customers that excessive noise may be fatiguing to riders, making them less able to enjoy riding and less able to exercise good riding skills.

To help combat noise problems, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets noise emissions standards for motorcycles. The standard for street-legal exhaust noise emissions is 80 dB(a). All motorcycles are required to display an EPA label on the chassis and exhaust pipe. The “label match-up” program was designed as regulatory measure for states and municipalities to control motorcycle noise.

Yet, the United States allow higher noise levels for motorcycles than in other regions and countries, notably Europe and Japan. In Australia, label match-up is also used in addition to annual inspections.

Affected residents are speaking up about the problem of motorcycle noise and lobbying their elected officials for better protection. There is increasing motorcycle restrictions on public lands, private roads and gated communities.

In California, police officers are forced to measure exhaust noise with a decibel meter using the dB(a) standard, which does not measure low frequency noise.

Citations are often challenged in court because the meters must be certified and calibrated for its readings to be used as evidence. In addition, police officers must be properly trained to use the expensive equipment. The result is that fewer riders are cited for noise violations.

Another enforcement measure is called ‘plainly audible standard’ that allows an officer to determine noise levels. In New York City, noise offenders can be cited if the motorcycle exhaust noise is plainly audible at 200 feet.

Because the problem has not been completely solved, residents of communities who have a larger than normal amount of motorcycle traffic are making efforts to help sound proof their homes. But in the meantime, maybe as motorcycle usage increases so will conscientiousness.