This Was No Accident and That Means No Insurance

Insurance companies design policies to cover their customers’ risks of accidental loss. A contractor excavating earth on a city street hits an underground telephone cable and knocks out service to a few thousand businesses and homes. A supermarket employee has partially mopped a floor when a manager summons him to help at the cash registers. A customer trips and falls over the mop left on the floor. Both of these are accidents, not injuries or damage that the businesses or their employees intended. Insurance will cover these incidents, but what about situations where the harm might not have been accidental?

The standard commercial general liability insurance policy provides coverage for “occurrences,” defined as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.” Therefore, for the policy to apply to a specific incident, the incident must be an accident. Moreover, the policy goes on to state that it does not apply to bodily injury or property damage “expected or intended from the standpoint of any insured.” The questions of whether incidents were accidents and whether an insured expected or intended resulting injuries or damages have been fodder for the courts for years.

Courts in every state have tried to develop a precise meaning for the term “accident.” The definitions vary somewhat, but they all seek to evaluate the responsible person’s intentions. For example, one state defines accident as an “unintended and unforeseen injurious occurrence.” Another state holds an incident to be accidental if the insured did not intend the resulting damage, even if he intended the specific act. Still another calls an accident, “something out of the usual course of things…not anticipated and not naturally to be expected.”  Therefore, it’s an accident when a painting contractor sprays paint all over ten parked cars because he intended to operate a spray-painting gun but did not intend for the wind to blow the paint on the cars.

Courts settle the question of whether a person intended harm to occur when they determine the facts of a case. However, they tend to rule that harm resulting from some actions can never be accidental. The high court in one state held that an act is not accidental when it is so “inherently injurious” that it is certain to result in an injury. Examples of this type of conduct are sexual molestation of children and firing a weapon at close range. Other states have held that a court can infer that someone intended to cause an injury only when a reasonable person can reach no other conclusion. Therefore, if two conclusions are possible and only one of them points to intent to cause harm, the court must assume that the person did not intend harm. The CGL policy would provide coverage for the person in this situation.

Public policy prevents insurance companies from insuring people against liability for injuries or damages they intentionally cause. Otherwise, people could commit these sorts of acts with little risk to themselves. Besides, businesses pay good money to insure themselves against accidents. It is unfair to these organizations when intentional injury claims raise the cost for everyone.

However, proving what someone’s intentions were at a particular moment is difficult. If your organization has an incident that you believe might result in a liability claim, you should report it to your insurance agent as soon as possible. Let the insurance company investigate, and know that your insurance is there to protect you from the consequences of true accidents.

Wise Up When It Comes to Auto Theft

In 2006, almost 1.2 million vehicles were reported stolen in the United States, according to the annual Hot Wheels study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The 1995 Honda Civic topped the most-stolen-vehicle list, followed by the 1991 Honda Accord. Car thieves continue to prefer imports to domestic brands, and vehicles that are 10 or more model years old over newer models. That’s because these cars have been consistent top sellers for many years and some of their parts are interchangeable. Thieves steal these cars for their parts.

Anyone can be a potential car theft victim. Since just 59% of stolen vehicles were recovered, according to the study, all car owners have a strong motivation to do what they can to protect their vehicles. To help consumers lessen their risk of auto theft, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Insurance Information Institute have joined forces to create the “Wiser Drivers Wise Up” program. Here are some of the tips from this program:

·   Don’t rely solely on manufacturer-installed vehicle theft protection. Experienced thieves can disable these devices, as well as unlock a Club and other such anti-theft deterrents. Aftermarket vehicle anti-theft systems are usually more sophisticated and are worth paying a professional to install.

·    Don’t think your old clunker is safer than a new model. It is also a myth that a luxury sedan is more attractive to thieves than a less expensive model. Older vehicles are usually stolen for their parts, which are no longer being manufactured; newer cars are stolen for their popularity.

·    If your car is stolen, contact the police immediately, preferably while still at the scene of the crime. Speed is essential to recovering stolen cars, since any delay means your car is more likely to be in a chop shop or driven out of town. In addition to knowing the make, color and model of your car, you should also know the license plate number and vehicle identification number (VIN). Keep a copy of these identifying numbers and your insurance card in your wallet, and keep a photocopy of your registration and insurance card at home, so you can provide information quickly to both law enforcement and insurance claims agents.

·    Don’t assume your insurance covers you for all the costs associated with having a vehicle stolen. Review your policy to see if you are covered for a replacement rental car after a theft, and if there’s a waiting period before you’re allowed to rent a car. Many people waive the rental car coverage, even though it costs only a few dollars a month.

·    Make sure you have roadside assistance. Your insurance company will likely offer this for a few dollars per term, or you can go through an outside company such as AAA or even your automaker. Be sure you understand the terms of the coverage.

·    Don’t overlook simple theft deterrents. Park in well-lit areas. If you park in a lot, resist the temptation to park near the exit, because it makes your vehicle a more likely target for thieves. According to the FBI, more than one-third of all vehicle thefts occur at a home or residence. Always lock your car, even in your own driveway.

Following these simple tips can help you avoid being an auto-theft victim, and minimize your damages and inconvenience in the event that you are one.

Goldilocks Workers Compensation Reserves: Too High, Too Low, or Just Right?

Workers’ compensation is often one of the largest items in a business’ insurance budget. Relatively small claims for injuries like cuts or abrasions can impact the coverage’s cost, but more influential are the larger claims for more serious injuries. This type of loss requires the insurance company to set up a reserve, or estimate of a claim’s ultimate cost. The accuracy of a reserve has important implications for both the employer and insurer.

Businesses may feel that insurers set reserves too high, and that can happen. Over-reserving unnecessarily inflates the insurer’s liabilities and reduces its surplus (net worth.) This in turn reduces the amount of insurance the company can provide without raising fears about its financial stability. Although the experience modification formula penalizes a firm more for frequent claims than for severe ones, over-reserving does make the firm’s modification greater than it should be, resulting in higher premiums. Finally, over-reserving distorts a firm’s loss ratio, which makes the firm’s business less attractive to underwriters.

Under-reserving presents the greater threat to insurers. If the company sets the reserve too low, the claim can develop more rapidly than expected. The company may eventually find itself with a large obligation for which it is not prepared to play. Also, company managers tend to focus their attention on large claims and delegate handling of smaller ones. This means that an under-reserved claim will not receive proper management attention; the company will not apply claim control measures until it is too late for them to make a difference. Inadequate reserves can also affect a company’s financial stability ratings. Rating agencies such as A.M. Best may decide to lower a company’s rating if it finds significant under-reserving. This may cause customers to move their business to companies with higher ratings.

Certain types of claims are more likely than others to develop into high-dollar ones. Back injuries tend to be very expensive. Aging factory or warehouse laborers who have endured years of stress may need long-term treatment and, in some cases, surgery. Depending on the worker’s age, he might not return to work. Older employees who suffer injuries to their feet and legs may also have expensive claims. These employees may have pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, which worsen the consequences of an injury, resulting in amputations or heart attacks. Other injuries may aggravate conditions such as obesity or spinal problems, making the worker’s diagnosis more severe and increasing the disability period.

Other claims may develop into large losses because of the worker’s circumstances. Suppose a two-earner household has been paying for childcare for years, and the youngest child reaches the age where such care is no longer necessary. The parents are accustomed to a standard of living where they live on the after-childcare income. Workers’ compensation benefits with no childcare expense may be similar to a parent’s wages after paying for childcare. This gives the worker less of an incentive to return to work. Workers who are nearing retirement also have a reduced incentive to return to the job after experiencing a period of disability, as they may be mentally prepared to stop working. Conversely, seasonal employees who need income to carry them through the off-season have incentives to prolong their disability periods. So do workers whose companies are laying off employees or whose plants are closing.

Employers should work closely with their insurance agents and companies to monitor workers’ compensation claim activity. Claims that fit into any of the types described above need special attention. The art of claim reserving is one of making educated estimates based on evidence and experience. Employers should verify that their insurers’ claim reserves are both fair and realistic.

What You Need to Know About Auto Body Repairs

According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, consumers must be just as cautious about checking the credentials of the collision repair centers that fix their cars as they are when choosing contractors for home repairs. That’s because with more than 35,000 auto body repair shops nationwide, there are a lot of choices.

And, as is typical with commercial ventures, the supply of repair shops is a result of the huge demand for their services. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent statistics, approximately 6 million reported non-fatal motor vehicle crashes occurred in 2005. Most of these vehicles ended up at a collision center, where the average repair bill was $2,200 to $2,300 and where 80% to 92% of the work involved auto insurance claims.

Statistics like these indicate you are likely to become involved in an auto accident and hence need vehicle repairs at some time during your driving life. If and when this does happen to you, how should you proceed?

1.   Never drive a vehicle after an accident. It could be unsafe for you or others until you know the extent of the damages and deal with them.

2.    Always insist on professional body repairs. This will keep you and your passengers safe, and preserve the value of your car.

3.    Take your car to be inspected at the auto body shop you feel most comfortable with. Your insurance company may ask you to take your car to its drive-in claims center before it is repaired. However, you can take the car to your own body shop and ask the insurance company to inspect it there.

4.    Get as many estimates as you feel necessary. Keep in mind that you aren’t legally required to get more than one estimate or appraisal.

5.    Use the body shop of your choice for the repairs. Your insurance company may offer suggestions, but it cannot require you to use a particular shop.

6.    Have the body shop explain the charges. Differences in repair estimates are common. A lower estimate may not include all of the necessary parts or labor. Be sure you are getting all of the repairs necessary to restore the car to proper working condition.

7.    Insist on original equipment parts, if that is what you feel comfortable with. The insurance company may want to use replacement parts as opposed to original equipment. Generally, there is little or no difference between the two except for price.

8.    Choose a body shop that utilizes the most current equipment and I-CAR and/or ASE certified technicians.

9.    Ask the body shop about its warranty coverage on the repairs it makes.

10.   Ask the body shop personnel if they will help negotiate your claim with the insurance company.

11.   Request an explanation of any hidden damage the body shop finds, and immediately report it to your insurance company.

The above tips can help you cope with the auto accident and repair experience as economically-and painlessly-as possible.

What the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Means for Your Business and Your Insurance

On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Congress approved this law to make it easier for workers to win wage discrimination lawsuits against their employers. What does the law say, and what does it mean for employers? Will a business’s employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policy cover the suits that this law will allow to go forward?

Lilly Ledbetter was a production supervisor at a Goodyear tire plant in Alabama. Shortly before her retirement, she learned that for years the company had paid her substantially less than it had paid male employees for the same job. Because the company calculated her pension benefits based on her earnings while employed, the lower wage affected both her past and future income. Six months before her retirement in 1998, she sued the company for equal pay under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law imposes a 180-day statute of limitations for filing a discrimination lawsuit, meaning that the worker must file the suit within 180 days of when the discrimination occurred. Ledbetter argued that the company unfairly discriminated against her due to her gender, while Goodyear claimed that it based evaluations only on competence.

The trial court ruled in Ledbetter’s favor. Goodyear appealed on the grounds that the law barred all claims for discrimination occurring more than 180 days before she first inquired into it; the appellate court agreed. She appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in 2007 a divided court ruled in favor of the company. Soon after, Democrats in Congress introduced a bill to overturn the ruling. It passed the House of Representatives but was unable to overcome procedural obstacles in the Senate, and the 110th Congress adjourned without further action. The new Congress quickly enacted the bill in January 2009, and it became the first law President Obama signed. It amended the Civil Rights Act to provide that the statute of limitations resets with every payment of unfairly discriminatory wages. This allows employees to file suits at the time they learn of alleged discrimination, even if the discrimination began years or decades earlier.

An EPLI policy covers an employer for a variety of acts, including discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, retaliation, and other types of inappropriate conduct. Most policies define discrimination as including violations of federal, state and local laws that give protected status to certain individuals. Because of these provisions, EPLI policies should cover employers for damages they must pay as the result of violations of the Civil Rights Act. In addition, the policy will pay the costs of defending the organization against the claim, even if the claim is groundless.

EPLI policies cover claims made during the policy period, but only if the alleged wrongful act occurred on or after a specific date, known as the “retroactive date.” For example, a policy written for the period January 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010 and with a retroactive date of January 1, 2005 will cover a claim made on November 1, 2008 for an act that happened on July 1, 2008. It will not cover a claim made on the same date for an act that happened on July 1, 2001. There is no standard EPLI policy, so the policies will vary by company. An insurance agent can explain the differences among different policies to an employer.

The Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act makes employers more vulnerable to successful wage discrimination suits. To avoid financial loss from this, employers should be certain that their wage practices comply with the Civil Rights Act, and they should obtain a comprehensive EPLI policy from a reputable insurance company.

Take Steps to Protect Your Valuables

If you’re like most people, you own at least a handful of items that are extremely meaningful to you. Whether these objects hold financial or sentimental value, it’s important to protect your cherished treasures.

From jewelry and silverware to antiques and art, countless valuables are stolen or destroyed each and every year. The FBI estimates that more than 6 billion home burglaries take place in the United States every year. And, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, a residential structure fire occurs every 82 seconds in America. These statistics are good reasons why you should take the appropriate steps to safeguard your valuables.

Here are a few things you should consider when it comes to protecting your valuables from burglary, fire or another disaster:

• Make a list. It can be difficult to remember all the things of value that you own, especially in the wake of a difficult situation, such as a burglary, house fire or other catastrophe. Therefore, one of the simplest yet most effective steps you can take to protect your valuables is to make a list of these items.

The more detailed the list, the better. If any of your valuables have serial numbers, be sure to include that information. You also should include any identifying features of the object as well as information about the object’s value.

Keep a copy of this list either in a locked fire safe or a safety deposit box. This way, in the unfortunate circumstance that your home is burglarized or damaged, you can refer to your list to determine which of your valuables have been stolen or destroyed.

If you lose items in a house fire or burglary, it is your responsibility to prove loss to your insurance company. Providing the insurance company with a detailed written record of your valuables will increase the odds that your claim is processed fairly and quickly.

• Take photos and videos. You also should keep photos and/or videos of your most valuable items. For insurance purposes, even a simple snapshot is sufficient. However, it may be easier to shoot an entire “home inventory” video. This type of video will allow you to account for all of your belongings. Remember to keep these photos and videos in a safe place-either in a locked fire safe or a safety deposit box.

• Engrave your items. You also may consider using an electric engraving pen to engrave your name or an identifying number on all of your most valuable items. If law enforcement authorities find a thief in possession of these marked items, it will be much easier for them to prosecute the criminal and return the objects to you. Additionally, engraving your name on valuables may discourage a thief from stealing the objects in the first place because marked items are much more difficult to sell.

• Invest in a safe. You may want to purchase a fire-resistant, combination safe where you can store some valuables, as well as information about your valuables. There are a wide variety of safes available on the market today. Depending on the features included, the price of safes can range anywhere from $150 to $2,000 and above. Although this may seem costly, a good safe could prove to be well worth the expense if it protects your valuables from theft or harm.

Additonal Insureds Coverage: Look for Holes in That Blanket

Any contractor who has been in business for a while is familiar with additional insured coverage. This coverage insures an outside organization, usually a project owner or general contractor, under the contractor’s own policy. It is often a requirement for construction projects, and it can be the source of insurance disputes if not handled correctly.

Owners and general contractors who hire subcontractors are also assuming responsibility for issues that arise during the project. If sparks from a welder hired by the general contractor start a fire that damages the building next door, the building’s owner will likely sue both the welder and the GC. The GC does not want liability for the welder’s actions since it cannot control them. In addition, the GC has the power in the relationship, since it makes the hiring decisions and controls the purse. Therefore, most construction contracts require a subcontractor to assume the GC’s liability for losses that arise from the sub’s work on the job. The sub finances this additional liability through contractual liability coverage on its commercial general liability policy and by covering the GC as an additional insured on that policy.

Traditionally, insurance companies have covered an additional insured by attaching an endorsement to the policy. This endorsement lists the additional insured by name and insures it against liability arising from the named insured’s ongoing operations. This works well if the insured has relatively few requests for this coverage. However, it presents some risks of errors. The subcontractor may forget to tell its insurance agent that it needs the endorsement. The agency staff might fail to send the request to the insurance company. The insurance company might receive the agent’s request and never act on it. Any of these scenarios may cause the company to deny coverage to the GC when a loss occurs, forcing the GC to submit a claim to its own company. The GC may then sue the subcontractor for breach of contract. Because of the potential pitfalls, organizations that receive many requests to add additional insureds often want their insurance companies to provide a blanket additional insureds endorsement.

A blanket endorsement typically provides automatic coverage for any organization that the named insured has agreed to cover under the terms of a written agreement. This eliminates the need to send individual requests for each additional insured, saving time and effort and reducing the chance that an error will lead to an uncovered loss. However, these endorsements also have their disadvantages. The standard ISO endorsement provides coverage only if a written agreement requires the named insured to cover the additional insured. If there is no written contract, or that contract does not require additional insured coverage, the endorsement will not provide it. Also, it provides coverage only while the named insured’s operations for the additional insured are ongoing. When the sub’s work is finished, so is the GC’s additional insured coverage. That could be a problem if something in the sub’s work causes injuries or damages months or years later. Further, the endorsement’s wording could allow an insurance company to deny coverage for an accident that occurs while the sub’s work is ongoing but that is not reported until after the sub’s work is finished.

An insurance agent experienced in writing coverage for contractors can be a good source of advice and information about blanket additional insured endorsements. Many insurance companies have their own endorsements that differ from the standard. For example, some guarantee advance notice to the additional insured if the policy is cancelled. It is well worth it for a contractor to spend some time investigating the different coverage options.

Car Care Tips for Colder Temperatures

With the winter season upon us, it is important to ensure that both you and your vehicle are road-ready and prepared for winter weather.  The first signs of car trouble often arrive with the first signs of winter. Sluggish performance, rough idling, and difficult starts are all potential warnings of problems that could get worse as the temperature drops.

Here are some key tips to make sure your vehicle doesn’t leave you stranded in the dead of winter:

Check your vehicle’s fluid levels. Maintaining a 50/50 mix of antifreeze will prevent your engine coolant from freezing as temperatures drop. Be sure your engine oil is ready for the season — when having the oil changed, remember that severe cold weather can require a switch to a different oil viscosity for better lubrication at lower temperatures. And don’t forget to check that your power steering, transmission and brake fluids are properly filled.

Test electrical system.Lighting on long, dark nights, combined with cold starts and heater operation, increase electrical demand. While most modern batteries are sealed and cannot be filled, a charge test will ensure enough cranking power to start your engine as temperatures fall. Also check starter, alternator and drive belts to ensure your electrical system is up to the task.

Examine braking system.Check hydraulic brake fluid to make sure it is clean and change it more than two years or 50,000 miles old. Ensure system components and the parking brake operate freely and safely.

Ensure all lights are working.Winter driving also comes with shorter daylight hours — and a greater likelihood of at least some portion of your commute being driven in the dark — so it is important to check all vehicle lighting. Check not only your headlights, but your taillights, instrument lights, back up lights, turn signals, parking lights and brake lights. These lights are important not only because they help you to see, but also serve as a way to help you communicate clearly with other motorists.

Keep an emergency kit.Motorists need to have supplies if they get stranded. Be sure to have a working flashlight, ice scraper, water, candy bar, kitty litter, shovel, blanket, fully charged cell phone, etc.

Replace worn tires.Make sure tires are inflated, according to your owner’s manual, and have sufficient tread. Take a penny, insert it into the tire tread, and if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, consider a new set of tires.

Install new windshield wipers.Don’t use your wipers to clear your windshield of frost – use a plastic ice scraper or your vehicle’s defrost button. Replace brittle or torn wipers.

Cut Jobs, End Up In Court?

The recession that began in December 2007 has been unusually severe. Through March 2009, employers shed more than five million jobs. In January 2009 alone, businesses took more than 2,000 mass layoff actions (actions affecting more than 50 workers.) Some affected workers have responded by claiming that their employers illegally discriminated against them. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported a 15 percent increase in discrimination claims in 2008, bringing the number of claims to a record level. The largest increases were in the areas of retaliation and age discrimination.

These lawsuits can cost businesses dearly. A 2008 report showed that, between 2001 and 2007, almost half of all court verdicts favoring employees exceeded $250,000, and almost a third exceeded $500,000. Half of all age discrimination verdicts exceeded $250,000, and almost a fifth exceeded $1,000,000. By 2007, almost two-thirds of age discrimination suits resulted in plaintiff victories. Even more dangerous for employers are retaliation claims: More than a quarter of judgments against them exceeded $500,000. Forty percent were for amounts between $100,000 and $500,000.

How can businesses lower the chances that they or their insurance companies will end up on the hook for these payouts? They can start by considering a number of factors before making job cut decisions.

  • What will be the criteria for choosing affected workers? Will the decision be based on seniority with the employer? Work performance? Job function? Employment status (part-time, temporary, etc.)? Department profitability? Some combination of these? The criteria must be such that a reasonable person would not find them to be unfairly discriminatory.
  • How will the employer select the workers to be let go? Will it apply the criteria strictly, or will it allow managers to use some judgment and flexibility in making selections? How will the employer ensure that all affected areas follow a consistent process? Lack of consistency could increase the employer’s vulnerability to successful discrimination suits.
  • Assess the risk of adverse impact on classes of employees protected by law, such as older employees or those with disabilities. Because older employees with long tenures with a firm are likely to be highly compensated, they may be attractive targets for a layoff action. However, an action that has a disproportionate impact on these employees may leave the firm open to successful age discrimination suits.
  • Early in the process, review the precedents and lessons learned from any prior workforce reductions. An ability to show that it followed precedent in making layoff decisions will give the employer a strong defense in court.
  • Obtain claim waivers and general legal action releases from employees to whom the firm will pay severance. Federal law requires these releases to meet certain requirements for workers over age 40.
  • Depending on the number of employees affected, the firm may have to comply with a federal law that requires advance notice of the layoff. Employers must give 60 days advance notice of a plant closing, termination of 500 or more employees or termination of fewer employees if they amount to one-third or more of the workforce. Certain employees are exempt from being counted in these figures, so employers should consult with labor attorneys to determine whether the law covers them.

In addition to risk management steps, employers should obtain Employment Practice Liability Insurance to finance those losses that do occur. An insurance agent experienced in placing EPLI and other types of professional liability insurance is a good resource for information and assistance in obtaining coverage. Loss control and proper insurance will help a firm survive a very difficult business decision and any challenges that occur in the aftermath.

Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Car Buying

You’ve been eyeing that new car for some time now, and finally your budget gives you the green light to go for it. So should you rush right out to the dealership? Only if you want to pay more than you should.

That’s because finding the best car deal is affected by when you purchase.  For the optimum bargaining position, the first thing you need to pay attention to is the time of the month. Both the dealership and its sales personnel have to meet monthly quotas. Shopping just before the month is about to end gives you more leverage because sales figures will soon be turned in for the month. A salesperson that has a slow month will be eager to make a deal to give those figures a last minute boost.

The second time factor that affects the deal is the season of the year. In early fall, dealerships are anticipating receiving inventories of next year’s models. To make room, they put remaining inventories of the current year’s models on sale. Typically this means taking significant markdowns so they can move the merchandise, which means big savings for you. The other seasonal advantage comes at Christmas time when shoppers are busy buying gifts, not cars. The light showroom traffic makes salespersons anxious to close the deal with a serious shopper.

Even the weather comes into play when you are trying to negotiate. Bad weather is another time when a dealer’s showroom will be empty. That leaves more time for a salesperson to try and make you happy enough to leave the lot the proud owner of a new car.

Of course, timing alone isn’t enough to put you in the driver’s seat without spending a fortune. You also need to do your homework and research prices before you set foot on any showroom floor. The Internet is the best place to find the information you need.

There are three web sites that you can use to research the dealer cost (invoice price), and the manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP), or list price of the model you’re interested in:

1.   Kelley Blue Book (http://www.kbb.com)

2.   Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com)

3.   MSN Autos (http://www.autos.msn.com/Default.aspx)

Always start your negotiations from the invoice price, not the MSRP.

You can also use Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to find out what car buyers actually paid for the model in your region, based on your zip code. When you are using these sites to research a car model, don’t forget to use the “incentives” tab to see if the manufacturer is offering purchasers any kind of rebate. You can also find a full list of rebates on MSN Autos by logging on to http://autos.msn.com/home/rebates_all.aspx.