Auto Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Deal With Snow & Ice on Your Car

Did you know that in some states, it’s actually against the law the drive with snow and ice on your car? Even in states that do not have an this, police still have the authority to issue citations for offenses such as driving with an unsecured load. Driving safely during winter is challenging enough as it is. Why make your time behind the wheel more risky than it needs to be? Here’s what you should know to deal with snow and ice on your car.

How to Effectively Remove Snow and Ice from Your Car

When you are brushing off your car, it’s important to make sure you clear as much snow and ice as possible.

Roof: As you’re driving, especially at higher speeds, snow and ice can easily fly off of your roof, potentially hitting other cars. This can cause accidents and in some cases fatalities.

Windshield & rear window: Clearing your windshield and your rear window increases your visibility. Break up snow and ice around your windshield wipers and washer fluid nozzles as well.

Side windows and side view mirrors: Removing snow and ice from these areas is just as important as doing so from your windshield because you are better able to see the traffic on each side of your car. In the event you need to maneuver away from someone, you will be able to do so because you will see it coming. Always pay attention to your surroundings.

Headlights and taillights: This is more about helping other drivers see you, which is equally as important when you’re out on the road, especially in bad weather conditions.

License plate: Front license plates may be required in the state in which you live. Having your license plate obstructed in any way may result in a citation from a police officer.

Hacks for Cleaning Off Ice and Snow from Your Car

Using your defrosters: Turning on your front and rear defrosters as soon as you start cleaning off your car will greatly assist in the process and save you a lot of time, especially with ice. The best and safest way to clean off your car is to do so before you start driving. This means you should afford yourself some extra time before you start your commute. When you turn on your defrosters, it’s very possible that your windshield will fog up, compromising your vision and making it more difficult to drive safely.

Give yourself time: As stated earlier, to be safe, you should give yourself some extra time to thoroughly clean off your car before you start driving. Especially if hard ice is stuck to your car, you’ll most likely need to exert more physical energy to get the job done. More time allow you the opportunity to breaks if you get tired.

Watch your wipers: Never pull on frozen windshield wipers. Doing so could ruin them. Instead, use an ice scraper to carefully chip away at the ice. Make sure your car’s defroster is turned on while you’re doing this to assist in the process.

Avoid hot water: Pouring hot water directly on ice-cold glass can be risky and dangerous. You’re leaving your windshield at risk of cracking.

User proper snow brush: Using the wrong kind of brush for this task could leave scratch marks behind.

Start from the top: Don’t neglect the snow and ice on top of your car. Handle that first. The snow and ice at the top of your car can and will slide down to the bottom, thus doubling your work.

Consider using a deicing spray: Spraying a thin sheet of deicer over all windows of your car can help save yourself some time. Commercial-grade sprays will help make the job faster and easier.

At the end of the day, the best way to protect yourself and you family is by having sufficient auto insurance coverage. And while states around the country have different requirements with regard to limits of liability, we recommend having at least $250,000 coverage per person for bodily injuries if involved in an at-fault auto accident, $500,000 per accident, and $100,000 coverage per incident.

 

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How Long Can I Stay On My Parents’ Car Insurance Policy?

Getting older is a natural part of life. There are those moments we all look forward to as adolescents: getting our driver’s license, buying our first car, or buying our first home. As we gain more and more independence from our parents, however, we do begin to realize a certain reality that is painful to some of us; living independently in the world can be expensive!

We do have good news for you! If your parents are insured with ERIE Insurance, when it comes to you being covered, your age does not matter. As long as you live under the same roof as your parents, you are able to keep your name on their car insurance policy. Once you buy your own vehicle or get your own place, you’ll need to obtain your own insurance. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call at 301-948-2010.

When I Go Away to College, Do I Need My Own Insurance Policy?

With regard to you going away to college, distance does not matter when it comes to staying protected by your parents’ policy. As long as you do not plan to make your college town your permanent place of residence, you are covered and you do not need your own policy.

If I Move Out, Can I Stay On My Parents’ Insurance?

No. If you are moving to an apartment or buying your own home, and you have your own car, you will need to get your own policy with yourself listed as the first named insured on the policy. This rule applies to renters as well. Again, we do have some good news for you! If you bundle your auto insurance with your home or renters insurance, you are eligible for certain discounts!

Is It Cheaper for Me to Stay On My Parents’ Policy?

The short answer is…not necessarily. There are a number of factors which determine your auto insurance rates: your car’s safety rating, your own driving history and your age. While staying on your parents’ policy may mean you are eligible for the same discounts that they have i.e. a multi-policy discount, if you get your own policy, you may also be eligible for certain discounts.

When I Buy a New Car, Do I Need My Own Policy?

If you are planning to buy a new car and have it listed in your name only, you will be required to get your own auto insurance policy.

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Tips to Keep Your Car Running Smoothly During Winter

Winter can certainly present significant challenges to your everyday life. Harsh weather conditions combined with frigidly cold temperatures can reek havoc on both your home and your vehicles. If you want to make sure your car and your wallet are both protected, pay attention to these tips:

  1. Tires – Good tires are extremely important when you’re on the road. If your tires have little to no tread left on them, you are leaving yourself at risk of a potentially serious injury from a car crash, not to mention hurting other drives in an accident. Depending on the circumstances, that insurance claim may leave you footing some of the bill out of your own pocket. Additionally, having tires with little to no tread leaves you in danger of hydroplaning when it rains.

 

If you are in need of new tires, get replacements before it snows. Snow, ice, and slush can present dangers on the roadways. Snow tires are best if you live in an area where snow is frequent. Also, keep an eye on your tire’s pressure. Tire pressure tends to fluctuate when temperatures change. Having proper tire pressure can also help you save money at the gas pump.

 

  1. Wipers – Having properly functioning windshield wipers is essential to keep you and your loved ones safe when you’re behind the wheel. Torn wipers can cause serious visibility issues. Contour blades work best that have a metal blade in them. Consider changing your wipers to winter wipers, so that you’re in the best position possible to stay safe in harsh weather conditions.

 

  1. Winter windshield washer fluid – Winter washer fluid is better able to tolerate colder temperatures in order to prevent freezing. Warm-weather fluid doesn’t have the ability to handle the colder temperatures, thus being at risk of freezing and cracking. Inspect your windshield for any chips or cracks as well. When temperatures drop, any small chip or crack can become much worse. It’s better to fix these problems sooner rather than later to protect your wallet.

 

  1. Don’t forget the basics – Routine maintenance such as oil changes and tire checks and rotations are of paramount importance. Any cabin air filters or engine air filters that are dirty should be replaced immediately.

 

  1. Clean windows and mirrors – Having good visibility is extremely important when you’re behind the wheel. Not only are you able to see what’s in front of you, but you can see what’s around and behind you as well. Your windows and mirrors need to be clean. If you have any advanced safety systems in your car, keep them free from snow and mud to ensure all cameras and sensors are working properly. If areas around your car freeze, you are leaving yourself at risk of blockages and buildup, thus potentially allowing water to come into your car. If this happens, you’re looking at a messy and potentially expensive situation.

 

  1. Alignment – In ordered for your advanced safety systems to operate correctly, your vehicle needs proper alignment.
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Are You Killing Your Car?

Ignoring Your Check Engine and Other Warning Lights

When you first purchase a vehicle, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with your owner’s manual. There, you will learn how to properly care for and maintain your vehicle. If you follow the appropriate steps related to your vehicle’s maintenance, you will undoubtedly prolong the life of your car.

With the introduction of hybrid vehicles and other advancements in technology, car manufacturers have been able to modify cars in such a way that makes it very easy to know when it is time for you to take it in for a maintenance check. For example, the 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid has a 15% oil indicator that becomes illuminated once the vehicle reaches that point. Once you see this light, you know it is time to take your car in for an oil change. It is important to stick to these maintenance guidelines if you do not want your car to malfunction down the road (pun intended). Ignoring these warning signs could be extremely detrimental if not catastrophic for both your car and your wallet. Repairs for these circumstances are not cheap.

Waiting Too Long On Routine Vehicle Maintenance

If you skip routine engine coolant changes, you are risking early water pump and heater core and radiator failure. Coolant changes can cost around $175. Replacing a heater core is far more painful for your wallet, costing around $1,300.

Delaying oil or transmission fluid changes can cause problems for your car where the repairs cost even more. If your engine fails, you’re looking at forking up at least $4,000 while rebuilding your transmission will cost you around $3,500. These are not inexpensive repairs, so keeping up with fluid changes for your car are of paramount importance.

Ignoring Unusual Noises

Have you ever been distracted by something while behind the wheel that had forced you to brake suddenly? Did you hear an unusual or alarming sound? Whether your brakes are squeaking or grinding, you may have a problem on your hands.

Light squeaking may mean it’s time to change your brake pads and/or rotors. It definitely means it’s time to have your car serviced by a professional. Remember, ignoring these tell-tale signs could spell certain doom for your car if you don’t act sooner rather than later.

If you hear something that sounds more like a screeching or grinding sound, you may have a serious problem on your hands. What it could mean is that your brake pads are so wore down and thin that the brake disc and caliper and rubbing together. The average cost of replacing your brakes is roughly around $235. It may cost you more depending on how new your vehicle is. Just as there are different models and grades with cars, the same goes for brake pads. You pay more for higher quality pads.

Ignoring Smells

Another reason why it’s so important to keep up with regular maintenance checks is that by the time you notice an unusual smell coming from your car, you may be in trouble. An oily burning smell means either that oil or fluids are leaking onto your hot engine and exhaust components. If you don’t take care of this problem immediately, burning fluid has the potential to cause a fire under the hood of your car. This can outright destroy your vehicle!

If you smell burning rubber, it could mean that your drive-belt system is about to fail. If this happens, your car’s engine may overheat and become damaged. If you have a burning smell coming from your brakes, it means they are not operating the way they should be. The bottom line is if you smell anything unusual coming from your car, take it in for an inspection immediately!

Driving On Worn Tires

We all know that tires cost a lot of money. So, it is understandable when car owners try to wait as long as possible before having to replace them. The problem with that is, when you wait to replace your tires, you run the risk of getting into an accident.

When tires wear below the 4/32-in. mark, traction decreases. This makes it noticeably more difficult to have your vehicle come to a complete stop and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning on wet pavement. For example, a car traveling at 70 mph requires 100 more feet to stop with 2/32-in. tire tread than 4/32-in. tread.

It’s not just driving at high speeds with low tread tires that presents a problem. If you’re driving along with worn tires at just 20 mph and slide into a curb, you could potentially suffer damage to your vehicle amounting to around $1,500. Of course, you could file a claim through your insurance company, but, in that case, you’re still responsible for paying a $500 deductible before your insurance kicks in. Additionally, this incident would count as an “at-fault” accident on your driving record.

Driving Your Car When It’s Overheated

Several factors can contribute to having your car overheat. Coolant leaks, a failed radiator fan, and a failing water pump, and a handful of other reasons can cause overheating. Ignoring the warning signs of your car overheating can result in an enormous cost for repairs.

Many cars today have aluminum engines. When an aluminum engine overheats, it has the potential to suffer total head gasket failure. Once the gasket fails, coolant can then leak into the crankcase where it can completely destroy engine bearings. It can also leak into the exhaust, resulting in the destruction of the catalytic converter. It’s like the epitome of a snowball effect. When something goes wrong, and then something else, and then something else, your problems progressively and steadily get worse and worse. And when it comes to your car, those problems—when left unattended—can cost a considerable amount to fix (if they can be fixed at all).

If you ever see pools of wet stains on your driveway, it could mean that your car is leaking some kind of fluid. Motor oil is brown in color while coolant can either be green, yellow, orange, red, or blue. Transmission and power steering fluid is either bright or dark red. Sometimes, power steering fluid can be gray. New brake fluid is more of a honey color while older fluid is darker.

It’s extremely important to keep all of your vehicle’s fluid levels at the recommended levels to ensure it operates at its highest level. Ignoring the warning signs could spell catastrophe for your wallet.

 

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