Archive for the 'insurance' Category

Baja: Getting Ready

November 6th, 2014

This is part one of our trip to Baja.

After three plus years of wanting to sell the camper (it was way too big for our lifestyle), we finally put our backs into it and got it done. Yeehaw!

The camper's final days.

 

With that (4 hours) behind us, we were free to move about the country again. I knew that our friends were heading down to Baja California, Mexico in just under two weeks, so we decided to crash their caravan. That’s right 10 days to get everything in order and drive from Florida to San Diego. Go!

We had just spent the last few months getting the van expedition ready (huge thanks to Shawn and my folks) so the only vehicle related prep we had to do was get Mexican auto insurance. That part was so easy. We signed up over the internet and printed the paper work out at a truck stop in route. It cost about $500 for 6mo. There are also plans for half that amount. We weren’t going to the mainland, so importation paperwork wasn’t necessary.

Ready to go!

 

It took us about five days to make the trip from across the country. Once there, we proceed to get our ducks in a row for our journey south into Baja.

This being my first time camping in another country (Canada doesn’t count), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everything the media feeds us about Mexico sure puts the place in a bad light. So in a moment of paranoia, I opened a travel account with my bank. I considered it a disposable account that I could move small amounts of cash into as needed. They gave me an on the spot, temporary debit card. My bank offers these accounts without minimum balances or fees for up to 90 days. There are no fees or penalties to close it.

I got my bills set up on auto pay so that things would churn along without me. I wish that I had thought to put some of my accounts on hold. It would have saved me $100s.There’s no reason to pay for services I’m not using.

We have a lot of things that we didn’t feel needed to come south with us, so we rented storage bay near the border to store it until our stateside return. It’s $45/mo and the first month was free.

To be on the safe side, I got the required health certificate for the dogs. You are supposed to have one dated no earlier than 10 days before your border crossing. In order to get one, all you need is proof of current rabies vaccination and a healthy dog… oh and cash  I got our certs at the animal clinic in El Centro. They charged around $75 for Snowden’s booster shot and health certificates for both dogs. Much better than the $100 per dog the other vets were quoting.

The rest of our stateside time was spent shopping to fill up all of the space we made, by putting things in storage, with food and toiletpaper. I guess I just subconsciously assumed that, since I’d never seen TP in any of the Mexican bathrooms I’d been in, the whole country must be devoid of it. Oh and I bought tortillas… really?!? Haha I’m not quite sure what I was thinking.

 

We Are Still Floridians

May 20th, 2011

Highlands Hammock, FL

Highlands Hammock State Park

I posted the following in response to the comments I received on My You’ve Got Mail post. I decided to make a post out of it, in addition to the comment, as it will most likely get lost otherwise.

Wow! Seems like, if you are going to get a South Dakota address, MyDakotaAddress is the way to go. Not a negative review in the bunch. Thanks to everyone for your feedback.

After running all of the numbers, we have decided to remain Florida residents. For us, it all boils down to the points noted below. We calculated the following figures using American Home Base as our Florida address and MyDakotaAddress as the South Dakota address.

  • It turns out that our $1000ish a year auto/camper (Florida) insurance would only be reduced by about $80 a year in SD. Not the 1/2 price reduction everyone else experienced

  • Our registration would go down significantly. It is currently $185/yr in Florida. It would be $75/year in South Dakota.

  • We would have to find a new health insurance provider. Humana doesn’t do business in Madison, SD. None of the comparable plans that with providers that do service in that area were any cheaper than our current ones.

  • Our mail service, while HIGHLY recommended, would cost us $36 more per year.

  • We would have to travel to Madision, SD sometime within the next year.

So as of right now, the $230 savings are not worth the hassle nor the 1400 mile trip from our current location to Madison. If/when we do pass through South Dakota, we will most likely make the move.

Thanks again to everyone for your input. I am sure this post will be helpful to others in the future as they contemplate making the same choices.

You’ve Got Mail

April 26th, 2011


An unusual mailbox in Miami, FL
I have always been a resident of Florida. I had always planned to be. That is, until I realized how much I could really be saving as a resident of South Dakota. Turns out, my car/house insurance could be cut in half. Neither Florida nor SD have state income tax or yearly vehicle inspections so that’s a wash, but it would cost half as much to register my truck each year in SD. Unfortunately, all the stuff we heard about health insurance being cheaper doesn’t seem to hold true. The prices were comparable to our current plans in Florida (which btw have gone up 50% in the last three year w/o any claims.).

We have been pretty happy with our current mail forwarding service. They are only $15/mo for up to five mailings a month whether they are scheduled or on demand. They discard all junk mail and only send us items that are first class or higher. We can also call and see what mail they have for us at any time of day. We are bit leery of switching to another. As far as I know, there are seven mail forwarding services to chose from. So, now we get to the true point of this post: Are any of our readers residents of South Dakota? Do any of you have experiences or opinions on the mail forwarding/residency services in South Dakota.

Insurance

October 31st, 2007

Well something that I should have researched better is insurance. I have called my current agent a few times over the last couple months with questions about insuring the camper and F450s. Every time they would promise to research it and get back to me. Emails have gone back and forth as well. Neither yielded any results. I have given up on my agent. I have been spending the last week looking at my options. They are quite varied. GEICO being the cheapest and Good Sam (GMAC) being more than twice as much as anyone else. Just like my current Allstate agent, the folks that I spoke with at Progressive had no idea on how to insure the camper while it is off of the truck.