Auto Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

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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How Do I File An Insurance Claim?

We can never know when an accident is going to occur. That’s the whole point of having insurance, to protect us from the unexpected. We understand how shocking and traumatic accidents can be. When you’re involved in an auto collision, oftentimes, you’re not able to immediately process what’s just happened. And, filing a claim with your insurance company probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. Once the sheer shock of the collision has worn off, it’s important to take the next step. You’re probably going to want to file a claim. We’ll take you through the process to make sure it’s easy, understandable, and stress-free.

When should I file an insurance claim?

If and when you are ever involved in an auto collision, the first step you are going to want to take is to assess the amount of damage to the vehicles involved. Minor dings and scratches may present damage in which the cost to make repairs does not exceed your auto insurance deductible (this is the amount of money you have agreed to pay out of pocket before your insurance company covers the remaining costs up to your policy’s limit). If this is the case, filing a claim may not be your best option since filing too many claims may lead to an increase in the cost of your insurance or an outright cancellation. If you do choose to move forward with filing a claim, your insurance company will send out an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and will make a determination as to how much repairs will likely cost. If the claim is approved, you will receive a check in the mail to cover the cost of repairs. Again, you must pay your deductible beforehand.

There are certain scenarios in which you should strongly consider filing a claim:

When someone is injured.

If anyone involved in the auto collision is injured as a result of the collision, you should file a claim with your insurance company.

When it’s not 100% clear who the at-fault party is.

Sometimes, it’s not perfectly clear who is responsible for damages related to an auto accident. If this is ever the case, exchange insurance information with the other driver and let the insurance companies figure out what exactly happened. A police report may help aid you in this case as well.

When your vehicle is deemed a “total loss” or you simply cannot afford to cover the cost of damages.

In the event of a “total loss” accident, it is likely that you are looking at considerable costs pertaining to damages. In this case, filing a claim is the best way to go.

If you are ever uncertain about whether or not to file a claim, it’s a good idea to talk to your licensed insurance professional who can guide you through the claims process and answer any questions you may have.

When you’re at the scene of an accident, if it’s necessary, call the police. A police report may assist in determining what exactly happened at the scene and only makes the process run more smoothly for yourself and your insurance company.

Document Everything and Exchange Information

The information you’ll need from the other driver is as follows:

Name, address and phone number of the other driver, and, if possible, a photo copy of their driver’s license.

Insurance policy numbers

Year, make, and model of all vehicles involved as well as license plate numbers

Taking photographs of vehicle damage can help your present evidence in court if a lawsuit is filed against you. Additionally, photos provide evidence to your insurance company and help them determine payouts as well.

Notes regarding any conversations you had with those involved in the accident and any witnesses who were at the scene.

Call us at 301-948-2010

Our licensed insurance professionals are here for you to guide you through the claims process, so you’re able to have the peace of mind you deserve.

 

 

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Why Is It So Expensive to Rent a Car Right Now?

When COVID-19 first hit, home owners and renters all over the country suddenly became hermits, reluctant to leave the comfort, safety, and security of their own homes. The fear of becoming infected with a virus that, at the time, no one knew very much about, was paralyzing. Once distancing and travel restrictions were lifted, consumers stormed out of their homes and back into the world, eager to have some fun!

It is commonly understood that supply and demand have a direct and important connection. When supply is high and demand is low, prices go down. When supply is low and demand is high, prices go up. This is what we have been seeing as it relates to renting cars. And as such, consumers have been finding it hard to get their hands on a rental car when they want to travel. Why? Well, as travel restrictions eased and restaurants lifted their social-distancing limitations, people immediately took the first opportunity they could to return their lives to some semblance of normalcy, like a desperate fish out of water.

Areas with warmer weather are seeing the most dramatic jumps in prices. Hawaii and Orlando, FL have seen a drastic influx of travelers that has overwhelmed the supply of available rental cars. Before travel restrictions were eased, many car companies elected to sell off their unused inventory in order to stay afloat and not feel the painful effects of the loss of business. Businesses needed the demand to stay at a high level and that just did not happen during the virus outbreak. And, to make matters even worse, the current semiconductor chip shortage has made the process of finding new cars to fill their fleets a lot longer. Going back to that concept of supply and demand, if there is a shortage of supply, the cost of renting a vehicle is going to go up. That jump could be significant in certain areas of the country, especially in areas that attract a lot of tourists or vacationers.

Experts recommend planning farther ahead if you want to plan a family trip. The farther in advance you make your plans, the likelihood your rental car prices will be lower and more manageable are good.

Car Dealerships may be a good option for anyone who is planning to take a road trip. This is because, unlike what you see at rental car places where the prices are inflated, the prices are fixed at car dealerships.

The best way to combat high prices for rental cars is to plan your trips and vacations well in advance. Safe travels!

 

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Why Should I Have An Umbrella Insurance Policy?

Think of umbrella insurance as extra coverage. If you have certain coverage limits on your auto insurance policy and you’re involved in an at-fault collision, it’s possible that those limits may be exhausted through having to pay the costs for vehicle damages or medical payments for the other party if they’re injured. An umbrella policy kicks in once those initial limits are exhausted and will likely cover the rest of the costs.

No matter where you stand in regards to your career, whether you’re just starting a new one or you’re preparing to retire, having a solid umbrella insurance policy in place has some important benefits. If you don’t have one and you suffer a catastrophic financial hit, such as a lawsuit, you’ll certainly wish you had one in place beforehand. Every decision you make in life comes at a cost.

Imagine this scenario. You’re driving along on the road, going 65 miles and hour in a 40 mph speed limit zone. To add insult to injury, you’re texting while driving, so your eyes aren’t focused on what’s in front of you. You approach an intersection when the traffic light turns red. You’re still not paying attention. You fly through the light, crashing your car into two other cars in the middle of the intersection. This is just one scenario. Accidents can happen at any moment.

That’s a pretty terrible situation to imagine, isn’t it? Unfortunately, this kind of situation happens more often than you’d think. That’s why it’s so important to have that extra coverage in place just in case something unexpected happens.

Umbrella Insurance isn’t just limited to your automobile. It can also help you cover damages related to your home insurance. For example, if you host a part at your house and someone slips and falls, breaking their ankle, although having someone injured in your home is terrible and unfortunate, your umbrella policy can help you cover the costs of their medical care. Your umbrella policy can also help to protect you against being sued.

Every situation is different and it is understood that not everyone is going to have the same needs. However, in terms of protecting yourself and your peace of mind, it’s best to have that extra protect in case you face a catastrophic event. Call our office at 301-948-2010 to speak with one of our experienced insurance professionals to learn how umbrella insurance can benefit you now.

 

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