Battery electric vehicles accounted for about 1.5% of U.S. new vehicle sales last year, a small and growing number that will grow over the next decade as automakers bring out more offerings and more consumers discover some of the advantages over gas cars.
Already there are enough different models for Consumer Reports and J.D. Power to create electric vehicle categories in their annual car ratings.
The reliability of electric vehicles turns out to be as varied as their gasoline counterparts, said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of automotive testing.
Surveys Find High Satisfaction and Reliability Issues
And both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power’s research found that electric vehicle owners typically report great satisfaction with their cars despite reliability issues.
Consumer Reports now tracks electric vehicles in a separate category in each price segment. The magazine also now identifies EVs and other vehicles that produce the least amount of greenhouse gases and pollution with a Green Choice designation in its car reviews and other ratings.
It found that EVs in the $35,000 to $45,000 score far better than those in the $75,000 and over segment.
The Tesla Model S and Model X, Porsche Taycan and Jaguar I-Pace all score second from the bottom on Consumer Report’s five point reliability scale in the latest ratings. The Audi E-Tron is at the very bottom.
But if you go to entry-level electric vehicles—the $35,000 to $45,000 range—reliability is much better. The Chevrolet Bolt is among the most reliable vehicles, regardless of powertrain, Fisher said. It carries the highest reliability rating. The Hyundai Kona Electric and the Nissan Leaf score in the middle of the magazine’s scale, indicating average reliability. But the Kia Niro gets worse than average marks.
The mid-priced tier—$45,000 to $55,000— is mixed. The Tesla Model 3 and BMW I3 have average reliability. The Tesla Model Y comes in at the bottom tier.
Fewer Parts in EVs, Less Wear on Brakes
Electric vehicles should be more reliable than a car with an internal combustion engine because they have fewer moving parts and less complexity, Fisher said.
“But the reason that we’re not necessarily seeing that is because the companies launching electric vehicles don’t have a hundred years of experience like they do with gasoline-powered vehicles,” Fisher said.
It won’t take long to catch up, he said, but until then, “we’re going to see some growing pains.”
Fisher said it’s not surprising that the Chevy Bolt is at the top of the reliability class. General Motors produced an electric car more than two decades ago and has more experience than most other automakers, he said.
“It’s possible that they’re going to do better with electric than they would with 10-speed automatic transmissions and turbos and all those other problems,” Fisher said.
Consumer Reports found that owners almost uniformly expressed high satisfaction with the vehicles regardless of the reliability. All but the Nissan Leaf and BMW I3 received the better than average to the highest owner satisfaction rating in the magazine’s latest report.
J.D. Power Finds Similar Satisfaction with EVs
That finding also appears in the J.D. Power U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Ownership Study launched by the auto market research firm this year.
Among the early purchasers of electrified vehicles, 82% of Power respondents say they “definitely will” consider purchasing another in the future, according to the report. The study surveyed nearly 10,000 owners of both battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The auto market research firm’s findings mirror another part of what Consumer Reports discovered. Tesla generally gets poor reliability ratings but owners don’t seem to care.
“It’s notable that, while Tesla is seen to have poor quality, Tesla owners are more highly satisfied overall, indicating their willingness to overlook quality problems,” according to the J.D. Power report.
It found that Tesla Model S owners demonstrated the highest ownership satisfaction experience giving the vehicle a score of 798 on a 1,000 point scale. The Tesla Model 3 ranks second with a 790 score. Both were rated in the premium vehicle segment.
The Kia Niro EV ranked highest in the mass market BEV (battery electric vehicle) segment with a score of 782. The Chevy Bolt was second at 745 and the Hyundai Kona EV was third at 743.
J.D. Power said shoppers are beginning to gravitate to electric vehicles because they like the expected lower operating cost compared to a gas car. An EV requires less maintenance. The brakes last longer because of regenerative braking, it doesn’t need oil changes and it has lower fuel costs.
Read the full article here >> https://www.forbes.com/wheels/news/ev-reliability-varied-as-gasoline-cars-consumer-reports/
Federal regulations provide a variety of protections for bank accounts and the people who use them. Regulation E is one of them and if you have a checking account or savings account, it’s important to know how it works.
Regulation E, or Reg E for short, applies to electronic funds transfers and outlines your rights and responsibilities when managing bank accounts.
Regulation E, Explained
Regulation E was issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), pursuant to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. This Act “establishes the basic rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of consumers who use electronic funds transfer and remittance transfer services and of financial institutions or other persons that offer these services.”
Federal Regulation E was designed to provide a framework for implementing the measures outlined in the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. In a nutshell, the Act and the resulting regulation are meant to protect banking customers who use electronic methods to transfer money. It also provides guidelines for electronic debit card issuers.
What Transactions Does Regulation E Cover?
Regulation E applies to electronic funds transfers, including a wide variety of transactions that you may make with your bank regularly. Specifically, Regulation E applies to:
- Point-of-sale transfers
- Automated teller machine (ATM) transfers
- Direct deposits or withdrawals of funds
- Transfers initiated by telephone
- Debit card transactions
Some electronic transfers are excluded, however. For example, the CFPB doesn’t consider checks or wire transfers to meet the definition of electronic transfers, as covered under Regulation E.
It’s also important to understand what types of accounts are covered by Regulation D. As it stands currently, Regulation D only applies to consumer accounts that use electronic funds transfers, such as checking accounts, money market accounts and savings accounts.
It doesn’t apply to business accounts, including business checking and business savings accounts. And it doesn’t cover credit cards either. Credit cards, however, are protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act, which outlines your rights and responsibilities for disputing unauthorized charges.
Regulation E Protections for Disputing Errors
If you have a bank account, Regulation E offers some important benefits. Specifically, it outlines your rights for disputing ATM or debit card transactions if you believe an electronic funds transfer has been made in error.
This includes fraudulent errors as well as accidental ones. For example, say you decide to cancel a TV streaming subscription service, but you see an additional charge for membership after the cancellation. You could ask the streaming service for a refund and, if they refuse, you could dispute the transaction with your bank under Regulation E rules.
Regulation E lets you dispute the following types of errors:
- Unauthorized electronic funds transfers
- Incorrect electronic funds transfers to or from your account
- Omission of an electronic funds transfer from your bank statement
- Computational or bookkeeping errors made by your bank regarding an electronic funds transfer
- Receipt of an incorrect amount of money from an ATM or other electronic terminal
- Errors involving preauthorized transfers
- Requests for additional information or clarification concerning an electronic funds transfer
CFPB rules don’t cover all types of electronic transactions, however. Excluded from the list are:
- Routine inquiries about account balances
- Requests for information for tax or recordkeeping purposes
- Requests for duplicate copies of documentation, such as bank statements
The process for initiating a dispute can vary based on your bank’s policies. For example, your bank might allow you to initiate a dispute online using an electronic form, or you may have to visit a branch and fill out the dispute paperwork in person.
When disputing what you believe to be an error, there are certain pieces of information you may need to provide. For example, you may need to tell your bank:
- When the disputed transaction or error occurred
- The dollar amount of the transaction you want to dispute
- The type of purchase involved, i.e., paying for services, purchasing merchandise, etc.
- The date the transaction or error occurred
- When the transaction posted to your account
If your dispute involves a lost or stolen debit card, you’ll also need to tell the bank when you first noticed your card had gone missing. In terms of timing, Regulation E offers guidelines banks need to follow for resolving disputes.
Specifically, banks are required to investigate claims and determine whether an error occurred within 10 business days of receiving a dispute. This can be extended to up to 20 days for new accounts if a disputed error occurs within the first 30 days of making an initial deposit. Assuming the bank finds that your claim is valid and an error did occur, they have to credit you back for the amount being disputed.
In some cases, it could take longer for your bank to investigate your claim and resolve it. Regulation E allows for up to 45 days for resolution in those scenarios, but, during that time, the bank must typically issue a provisional credit for the disputed amount. If the bank finds that no error occurred, they must notify you of that in writing. The bank can then take steps to debit any provisionally credited amounts back out of your account.
And if your bank doesn’t carry out its obligations under Regulation E to investigate a dispute in a timely manner, there’s another remedy available. You could sue the bank for damages or have any incorrectly applied electronic funds transfer amounts credit back to your account.
Fraud Liability Under Regulation E
Another key protection under Regulation E centers on your personal liability for fraudulent or unauthorized transactions if your debit card is lost or stolen. There are specific limits on liability in the case of a lost or stolen debit card, which hinge on when you first notify your bank.
Read the full article here >> https://www.forbes.com/advisor/banking/what-is-regulation-e/
In an effort to shore up health care coverage for Americans facing a double whammy of unemployment and health risks from the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden has reopened the health insurance marketplace for a special enrollment period. From Feb. 15 through May 15, 2021, anyone seeking coverage can apply for an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan.
Prior to Biden’s executive order, most states only permitted enrollment in a marketplace, or ACA plan, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, or if you experienced a qualifying life event, such as having a baby or losing health insurance you had through a job.
According to a study by Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a health care issues nonprofit, Biden’s order to reopen the health insurance marketplace gives nearly 9 million uninsured Americans access to free or subsidized health insurance.
However, there’s no singular plan that’s a fit for everybody, and parsing the various options can be challenging for anyone. Here’s what you need to know before signing up for a plan during this special enrollment period.
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1. Seek Professional Advice to Choose a Plan
Selecting the right health care plan for all but the most basic coverage requires a thorough analysis of your unique circumstances. Don’t go it alone.
“A lot of times people will enroll without help and find out when it’s too late that they signed up for the wrong plan,” says Jason Alford, VP of sales and business development at Health First Health Plans.
There’s no cost to you to use an independent insurance agent (because agents are paid commissions by the insurer) and they can help you identify a plan that will suit you and your family needs more efficiently than you might on your own. Insurance agents can review both plans on the health insurance exchange and plans with private insurers and your premiums will be the same cost whether you make use of an agent or muddle through the details yourself.
If you do use a broker, make sure they’re licensed and have a contract to sell marketplace health plans. Otherwise, they may not be able to provide the widest array of options for your situation and budget. Most importantly, if you qualify for savings and/or subsidies like tax credits from a marketplace health plan, make sure your broker knows this so they will review only relevant options. You can find a certified marketplace broker on the HealthCare.gov Find Assistance page.
2. Consider Whether You Want a Tax Credit or a Subsidy (It’s Not the Same Thing)
To qualify for a health care subsidy, which is a reduced cost health plan, your income must be too low to afford your employer’s health insurance, you don’t have access to health insurance through an employer or you don’t qualify for public health care assistance options like Medicare and Medicaid. For 2021, the subsidy income range in the continental U.S. is from $12,760 to $51,040 for an individual, and from $26,200 to $104,800 for a family of four.
If you end up earning more money later in the year, and are no longer qualified to receive those subsidies, you’ll have to pay back the amount that was subsidized. This can happen if you get a raise, for example. If you were financially affected by the pandemic last year, but expect that you will find a job before the end of 2021, an upfront subsidized plan may not be to your advantage.
If you think this might be the case for you and you qualify for a subsidy now, consider taking it as a tax credit when you file your taxes instead of taking it as an upfront reduction in your monthly premiums.
3. The Cheapest Plan Isn’t Always the Best
The four types of coverage on the health care marketplace are known as the “metal” plans: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Like their namesakes, a silver plan has higher monthly costs than a bronze plan and gold costs more than silver. Platinum is the highest level.
For the special enrollment period, these are the average monthly premium costs for a single 40-year-old before any tax credits or subsidies, according to an analysis by KFF:
- Lowest cost bronze premium: $328
- Lowest cost silver premium: $436
- Lowest cost gold premium: $481
With each increase in price, however, comes a corresponding increase in coverage:
- Bronze plans cover about 60% of your medical costs
- Silver plans cover about 70% of your medical costs unless you’re eligible for income-based subsidies or tax credits cost-sharing
- Gold plans cover about 80% of your medical costs
- Platinum plans cover about 90% of your medical costs
Although you may be tempted to pick the plan that costs the least upfront, this plan may cost you more over time through out-of-pocket costs, and because cheaper plans cover less of your overall health care costs.
If you have recurring medications, for example, and you choose a plan that has the cheapest premiums but little to no prescription coverage, you could end up paying much more then if you had bought a plan that costs a little more each month but had much richer pharmacy benefits.
“Really seek to understand the costs within the plan to avoid surprises down the road,” says Alford.
4. Consider Your Current and Future Financial Situation
If you’re unemployed as a result of the pandemic but expect that once a vaccine is widely available you’re likely to find a job within the next several months, that should weigh heavily in your calculations towards any health care plan.
“If you’re not eligible for a subsidy towards an health care marketplace plan, look to a short-term medical plan or similar alternative,” says Jeff Smedsrud, president of insurance services for Healthcare.com, an online health insurance marketplace. He says this may be a more cost-effective solution for someone who is likely to only need short-term emergency coverage.
Short-term insurance is commonly used to bridge a coverage gap during a time of transition, such as if you’ve retired a few months before you’re eligible for Medicare, or you’re in between jobs and want a fast and flexible solution. Although short-term insurance can often have lower premiums than health care marketplace plans, it’s not a guarantee that it will provide the coverage you need outside of an emergency.
Short-term plans only cover a handful of medical scenarios like emergency hospital expenses and limited preventative care, depending on the plan you choose. Because the coverage is limited and only expected to be held for a limited amount of time, the monthly premiums are generally less expensive than marketplace plans.
All plans on the government-sponsored marketplace, by contrast, are required to provide coverage to those with preexisting conditions as well as ten essential health benefits; short-term insurance plans are not. You’ll have to weigh the risks of having just minimal coverage before deciding which option might be best if you expect to get a new job that offers health care benefits within the next year or so.
5. If You Have COBRA, Don’t Discount It as Your Best Option
If you’re out of work, but had health care benefits through your previous employer, find out if you’re eligible for continuing coverage benefits. This option is commonly called COBRA, for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which established the right for employees to keep their coverage for a limited period of time after their employment ends. This coverage does come at a price, though: Former employees may be required to pay the entire cost of their premium, which could be thousands of dollars per month.
Although COBRA may seem like the most expensive option, Smedsrud says that may not be the case for everyone.
“If you had a job and you lost it in June, [with COBRA] you don’t start a new deductible, you don’t start new copays, all those things that can add up,” he says.
Read the full article here >> https://www.forbes.com/advisor/personal-finance/how-to-choose-health-insurance-marketplace-plan/