Archive for the 'testimonial' Category

Why credit life/disability is good for everyone

With the Great Recession, there has been a wave of financial industry regulations affecting everyone from small banks to giant investment firms – and credit unions like American 1. The Credit CARD Act, the opt-in regulations on overdraft protection, and now a scary-looking form that wants to scare you from opting out of credit life insurance on your loans.

Credit life works like this: if you die, your loan gets paid off. That’s it. Your family doesn’t have to come up with the payments. Nothing gets taken to court. It saves a giant hassle on your family’s end – and on our, the lender’s, end since we’re still getting paid. Win-win, right?

Credit disability works in a similar way, except if you get sick or injured, your loan payments are made while you’re off work. Accidents happen all the time, and so does sickness. None of it is expected. Disability coverage helps protect you from the unexpected.

We’ve gathered up our members’ best stories on insurance products and sharing them with the review board before this thing becomes law. We’re also urging them to reconsider this law because of its unintended consequences. You can read it for yourself.

The fact is, credit disability has helped a ton of American 1 members. They have peace of mind knowing that, if the worst happens, they don’t have to worry about their loan.

Here’s the thing: no member or member’s family who benefitted from credit life or disability protection ever regretted their decision. It’s not like a family member dies, the loan gets paid off, and the survivors think, “Gosh, why did Uncle Joe get that silly insurance?”

Or a member gets sick and says, “Man, why did I opt to have my loan paid for during this difficult time?” That doesn’t happen. Not ever.

No, these products equal peace of mind. It’s best to have fewer things to worry about when a loved one dies, gets injured, or becomes ill. And no one likes to think about it, but we’re all responsible adults here. Family members die. Family members get sick and have to take time off work. What counts is that we’re ready when the unfortunate time comes.

There’s no sense in scaring your away from valuable protection like credit life and disability. And for us, it helps all our members because we’re not trying to collect on past-due debts. Products like credit life and disability help to keep costs and rates down.

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Credit life takes care of payments

When Ralph Fiebig’s wife Mary retired, the couple decided that taking a bigger pension payment instead of more benefits seemed the right thing to do. After all, any bit of extra income helps.

But when Mary passed away last year, so did her pension income. That left Ralph with a mortgage, car payment, and Visa payment. Luckily, The Fiebigs decided to opt for credit life on both their auto loan and Visa card with American 1 Federal Credit Union.

“Everything was taken care of,” Ralph says. “I didn’t have to worry about my car payment or my Visa payment anymore.”

Because Ralph and his wife put credit life insurance on both loans, a total of $11,000 was paid off in full after Mary died. Now, with Ralph facing more medical costs and less income, paying off his auto loan and Visa balance leaves him with two less things to worry about.

He says credit life isn’t that expensive, and pays for itself when the unexpected happens.

“And I was surprised and how smooth it all went,” Ralph says. “It wasn’t a bunch of haggling and phone calls. I just went to the branch and they took care of everything for me.”

Ralph now has his own American 1 Visa, and he chose credit life on that card, too, so his children won’t be burdened when he dies.

American 1’s GAP more affordable

Jessee Frey-Cochrane

People say good things come in threes, but Jessee Frey-Cochrane found out that bad luck can come in twos.

In the span of one year, Jessee had to use American 1’s Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) twice on different vehicles.

In August 2006, Jessee’s “summer vehicle,” a 1995 Pontiac Bonneville in great condition, suffered from a sunroof seal leak and was wrecked by mold damage. Her insurance company ruled the damage as a total loss. The next year, in April 2007, her 2004 Ford Freestar caught fire after an electronic harness defect, leading to another ruined vehicle.

Thanks to her GAP coverage, the difference between what Jessee owed on her vehicles and what the insurance company offered her in settlement disappeared.

“It really paid for itself,” Jessee, an American 1 member since 1998, says, “especially after I used the $1,000 GAP Advantage towards my next vehicle.”

Jessee, a Grass Lake resident, knew about GAP coverage as a licensed insurance agent, and shopped around for the best deal. She didn’t find it at a typical dealership, where the GAP price is based on the vehicle’s cost – and can be double or triple the price.

“American 1’s GAP was a flat rate,” she says. “So now I tell people to go to a local credit union – it’s cheaper than the dealership.”

It could just be bad luck that two of her vehicles were totaled within a year. American 1’s GAP coverage, however, helped Jessee balance the score.

“I won’t purchase a vehicle without GAP ever,” she says.

MBP an affordable repair option

Jamie James

Sometimes, good decisions don’t reveal themselves until a bit of time passes.

Take Jamie James from Brooklyn. When she financed her 1998 Mercury Sable in the spring of 2005, she had never heard of American 1’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP), and had never been able to afford a manufacturer’s warranty.

But the small bump in her loan payment was very affordable.

“I thought it was a good deal,” Jamie says. “It was cheaper than the dealer’s service plan.”

Then, a month later, her transmission went out.

She noticed the trouble a month after she financed her vehicle. When the Sable’s transmission became difficult to shift, Jamie asked her husband – who knows a thing or two about cars – what the problem was.

There was definitely a problem with the transmission, and Jamie needed to take it in for repair.

“The repair guy said he had good news, that my transmission was covered by MBP,” Jamie says. “Then he said, ‘I have better news: you don’t have to pay a deductible.’”

Several more problems – and several thousand dollars – later, Jamie is glad she sprung for the extra protection MBP offered. All the repair work on her vehicle was covered by MBP, with no out-of-pocket expenses for Jamie.

“It was the first warranty I’d ever purchased,” Jamie says. “And it’s because of the price.”

If she hadn’t decided to have her Mercury covered, “I would’ve been paying a lot of money on that car,” she says.

Instead, she paid nothing.

“I’d buy it again,” Jamie says. “The amount of money I saved on repairs made the whole thing worth it.”

Rebate 2010: In the market

Robert Baker took the rebate

Robert Baker wasn’t thinking about getting a new car until he learned about the loan rebate at our Battle Creek Branch last year.

The car? A 2009 Mercedes-Benz Clk.

“It was a car I’ve wanted for a long time,” Robert says. “And the price was right.”

Robert was one of the top rebate recipients this past January, earning back over $1,100. He and his wife used the rebate cash to travel to Florida with a motorcycle and cruise through the Keys.

To get the rebate, he financed a smaller, sporty luxury car that only had 400 miles on the odometer – but was still considered used. Robert spotted the Mercedes on eBay, waited until the auction ended, then called up the owner and made a deal.

“Without the rebate, I wouldn’t have even been looking,” he says. “All things considered, it wasn’t bad. Everything fell into place.”

Now he loves his car, and recommends that others take advantage of the rebate, too.

“Especially if you’re in the market,” Robert says. “I might just do it again this year.”

Learn more about our 2010 rebate.

MBP makes repairs simple

Julie Bumpus

No worries. That’s all Julie Bumpus wanted when she went to visit her daughter in Detroit one day.

Instead, her 2004 Chrysler Sebring stalled out on the way. Luckily, Julie was able to pull into a gas station, restart her car, and drive back home to Jonesville. She took it to a mechanic, who told her the O2 sensor was out.

Julie gasped when she heard the repair cost. Then she remembered: her vehicle was covered by American 1’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP), a vehicle protection product that covers the cost of most mechanical issues.

The mechanic looked over her policy and got right to work. It was as simple as that.

“They said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take care of it,’” Julie says. “It was simple. I didn’t have to fill out a yard of paperwork, and I didn’t owe them a dime.”

No worries, indeed. She handed over the keys to her Sebring and had it back later that afternoon. With MBP, Julie never filled out any paperwork, paid no deductible, and has had no problems since then.

“It was a lifesaver,” she says.

Thanks to MBP, Julie didn’t have to worry about the cost of her sensor repairs and paying the rest of her bills. It was one less thing to worry about. In fact, getting MBP added to her loan made perfect sense – the cost was simply added to her already-low car payment.

Julie would recommend other American 1 members get MBP protection on their vehicles, too.

“Especially if someone has a tight budget, or a car that’s a few years old, you won’t have to worry about it,” she says. “You should always have some kind of backup for repairs.”

GAP Advantage helps with next vehicle

dannydykesgap

When it comes to vehicle accidents, Danny Dykes has seen the worst of the worst not once – but twice.

One Sunday morning in August 2008, Dykes was driving a half mile from his home when a driver ran a stop sign and plowed into his 2004 GMC Canyon. Dykes’ truck rolled twice, and he woke up 12 days later in the hospital, sewn up with 128 stitches and several broken bones.

“But there was only one thing I thought about when I woke up,” Dykes says, “and that was my truck.”

His canary yellow GMC Canyon, a special order from Huff Auto, was totaled. Luckily, he didn’t have to worry about financing his next truck. American 1’s Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) gave him $1,000 toward the purchase of his next vehicle. It’s called the GAP Advantage.

Dykes’ horrific accident wasn’t the first time he used American 1’s GAP Advantage. His wife used it to pay off a totaled 2000 Dodge Intrepid after an accident several years ago.

“I never thought I’d use GAP, either,” Dykes, a regular at American 1’s Vandercook Branch, says. “But we’ve used it twice.”

Dykes opted to put GAP on his 2006 Dodge Dakota, of course, because of the two vehicle accidents. Now he’s a firm believer in the protection GAP offers.

“I recommend it most highly,” he says. “It’ll only cost a few bucks, and you never know what’s going to happen out there.”