Auto Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership - Page 4

The Importance of Vehicle Maintenance

When we are little, we don’t necessarily spend a lot of your time thinking about maintenance. After all, oftentimes, our parents prepare our meals, help us to bathe, and drive us to get our haircuts. We are not required to think about the idea of maintenance because our parents maintain everything for us. Of course, they could teach us the importance of cleaning our room, brushing our teeth, and keeping an overall organized way of living. But, unless they are proactive in that area, we are left to fend for ourselves. As a result, many of us may not appreciate the importance of maintenance until we are old enough to drive or when we buy our own car.

Nearly every child has dreams of growing up and being independent. It may seem a little ironic because once they reach adulthood, children long for those innocent, childhood years when they could depend on their parents to do everything for them. We’ve all heard the expression, “Ignorance is bliss”. There is a certain sense of pride one feels when they reach the point in their lives when they are able to take care of themselves. A young adult feels that sense of pride when they are handed the keys to their first home or their first car. Once an individual is given the responsibility to live on their own, maintenance may just be one of, if not the most, important parts of their everyday life.

For many, cars are an enormous investment. And although cars depreciate in value overtime, as the owner of a car, one wants to do everything they possibly can to prolong the lifespan of their car. Additionally, keeping up with the maintenance for your car can greatly impact its resale value in a positive way.

Inspect and Maintain Your Tires: Have you ever been driving along on the road and it feels like your car is leaning to one side? If so, one of your tires may have low tire pressure. Ignoring this can cause severe and unnecessary strain on your vehicle’s engine. Always keep an eye on your tires’ pressure levels and adjust them accordingly. When you take your car in to get an oil change, ask the workers to check the tire pressure for all of your tires. They will tell you if you are in good shape or if you need an adjustment.

Change the Oil: It is a common thought that changing your oil every 3,000 miles is sufficient, but, you may be able to extend that time period if you choose a higher-grade oil. Some oils allow your vehicle to perform at a higher level for up to 5,000 miles. When you take your car in to get an oil change, ask about the different types of oil that are available. Also, not every type of oil is going to be suitable for your car. This is generally based on three factors: the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic or non-synthetic oil, and your car’s mileage. Ask a service team member for assistance if you are unsure.

Check the fluids: To make sure your car keeps running smoothly, you should check:

  • Engine oil – lubricates the engine
  • Coolant – helps to prevent your car’s engine from overheating
  • Power steering fluid – acts as the pass through which power is transferred from the steering wheel to the steering mechanism of the car. Also helps to lubricate and protect all moving parts of the system.
  • Brake fluid – keeps your brakes lubricated
  • Transmission fluid – lubricates the internal parts of your engine and dissipates heat.

Check the Air Filter:

Remove the air-filter element from your vehicle. To check its condition, hold it up to a strong light. If you can’t see any any light passing through it, it is time to replace it. Having a properly functioning air-filter will increase your car’s fuel efficiency. Additionally, it has been said that changing a clogged air filter has the potential to increase acceleration by 6 to 11 percent on modern fuel-injected cars. Other studies have indicated that doing this can save up to fifteen cents per gallon at the gas pump. Changing your air filter can help reduce emissions as well.

Inspect your Brakes: Unless you are an expert in vehicle maintenance and know exactly what to look for in this area, it is probably best to have an experience professional do a thorough inspection of your cars brake system. They can tell you if it is time to replace them.

Check the Battery: Look closely at the battery’s terminals and cables to ensure they are securely attached. If your battery has removable caps, check its fluid level every few months.

We learn a lot as we get older. How to properly maintain and care for our cars will not only make us more confident in leading a healthy and happy life; it will save us loads of money over time.

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What To Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident

The sudden nature of a car accident can leave us alarmed, stressed, and disoriented. Hit-and-Run accidents may be even more startling because you have the guilty party fleeing the scene of an accident. This is against the law and is considered a crime.

If someone hits your vehicle and drives off, follow these steps:

Call the police: Hit-and-Run accidents happen suddenly. Once the shock of having another car collide with yours wears off, do your best to remember details about the accident: the color of the vehicle that hit you, the make and model, and the license plate (if you didn’t catch the whole license plate number, it’s okay. Write down as much as you can remember. Those details will help the police in their investigation)

Find out if there were any witnesses: If you see any witnesses at the scene of the accident, be sure to get their contact information in case either the police or your insurance company needs to reach them for information.

Take photos: If you can, take some photos of the accident scene and the damage to each vehicle.

Be sure to report the hit-and-run within 24 hours: it’s very important to report this within the 24 period because these incidents are considered crimes. Once you report the incident to the police, they may tell you to take your vehicle to a repair shop. It’s also a good idea to get the officer’s name, badge number, and phone number in case either you or your insurance company needs to follow up with additional questions. It’s extremely important to report this incident to the police. Otherwise, it may be deemed an “at-fault” accident by your insurer, thus increasing the cost of your insurance.

Does Car Insurance Cover Hit and Run Accidents?

These types of accidents are only covered by your insurance if you have collision coverage. Collision coverage is optional, but it is highly recommended that you get this coverage. If you choose not to, you may be responsible for paying for the damages to your vehicle.

Do I have to pay my insurance deductible after a hit and run accident?

Any time you file a claim through your insurance company, you are required to pay your deductible. Once you pay that, your insurance will kick in the cover the rest of the cost of your claim.

Will a hit and run accident increase the cost of my insurance?

As long as you report the accident to the police within 24 hours and your insurance company doesn’t deem the accident “at-fault”, your insurance shouldn’t be affected.

In the event of an accident, it’s important to remain calm, so you can gather yourself and focus on the important next steps you need to take. Getting all of the appropriate information from the police and the other parties is extremely important and will make the repair process that much easier.

 

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How Do We Minimize Distractions While We’re Behind the Wheel?

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of distractions we have while we’re operating a motor vehicle is by keeping our hands free, so that both of them can have complete control of the steering wheel.

Invest in a cell phone holder: For those of you who use your cell phone as a GPS, cell phone holders can be used to lock your cell phone in a fixed, secured position, so that you don’t have to be tempted to pick it up while you’re driving. The costs are minimal and these items can be found on amazon.com or at Best Buy.

Podcasts or Playlists: A lot of people like to listen to music or to podcasts while they’re driving. This is normal and perfectly safe as long as the volume isn’t so loud to the point where it hinders your ability to hear anything else around you i.e. a passenger’s voice or another car’s horn. It’s imperative that you keep your eyes on the road at all times while you’re behind the wheel. Podcasts are a great choice because they usually focus on one topic at a time, so you’re less inclined to use your hands to change to another topic or to another song. If you enjoy music more than podcasts, consider creating a playlist ahead of time for your travels, so you’re not tempted to touch the dials on your radio or your cell phone.

Don’t apply makeup in the car: Any time you do something that requires your eyes to move away from the road in front of you can present potential danger. Applying makeup is no exception. Serious injury could occur should you hit the vehicle in front of you!

Avoid eating or drinking: The truth is that no one can really multi-task effectively. Sure, you have two hands, so you think you can use one for one thing and the other for something else. It’s important to remember that you’ll never be able to give the proper attention to a single task if you attempt something else at the same time. Getting distracted is easy in these situations. Additionally, if you’re drinking a hot beverage, the possibility of spillage could result in a personal injury.

Limit distractions with passengers: When you’re having a conversation with another passenger, you may sometimes feel the need to turn your head towards them to acknowledge what they’re saying or to see if they’re acknowledging you. Don’t do this.

Let dropped items go: If you happen to drop something while driving, do not attempt to pick it up. Wait until you arrive at a red light to pick it up. If it’s easier for you, when you finally stop at the red light, put your car in park and then pick up the item you dropped. That way, the car won’t shift forward until you put the car back into drive.

Don’t become distracted by kids and dogs in the backseat: However adorable as they may be, rowdy children can present potential risks to your safety if they’re rough-housing in the backseat. That, compounded with shouting or screaming can escalate matters to a point you don’t want to have come to pass. As far as dogs are concerned, make sure they are properly secured in a pet seat. Many of them can be attached the your pet’s leash.

Don’t turn up the volume: You won’t be able to hear potential emergency vehicles attempting to pass you if your music is too loud. Keep your music volume to a reasonable level.

Avoid rubbernecking: Have you ever slowed down to see the aftermath of an auto accident? Don’t do it. It clogs traffic and requires your eyes to move away from what you should be focused on: what’s in front of you.

Avoid fixing your attention on pulled-over vehicles: In the words of Obi-wan Kenobi, “You don’t need to see his identification. Move along.”

Avoid tailgating: Maintain enough distance between yourself and the car in front of you, so that if you’re ever in situation that requires you to brake suddenly, you won’t slam cause a collision. You’ll avoid potentially injuring the driver in front of you, let alone getting them upset. No one wants that.

Avoid rowdy passengers: Being rowdy in the car isn’t worth causing an accident. Leave the rowdiness for when you reach your destination.

Wear sunglasses and use your visor: Make sure you have your sunglasses available at sunrise and sunset, when the sun is at its most powerful.

Don’t smoke and drive: This is similar to eating and driving because it requires one hand to not be the steering wheel.

Avoid basic grooming tasks: Don’t shave, adjust your clothing, or do your hair while you’re behind the wheel of your vehicle.

Don’t put your convertible top up while in traffic: Although some cars have this feature available that allows you to do this with the simple push of a button, it may become distracting for other drivers near you. If you must, pull over on the side of the road before adjusting your convertible top.

Don’t overreact to outside stimuli: Road rage is a serious issue. While it’s normal to react when someone honks their horn at you, it’s best to not fly off the handle at them. Instead, take a deep breath and remain calm. Road rage incidents have the potential to hurt you and others around you.

 

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Why You Should Never Drive Your Car on Empty

How often have you driven your car and noticed the fuel light on? This is a signal that you need to refuel your vehicle. Many drivers think they can push their vehicles to the limit when it comes to fuel, only refueling at the last possible moment. We strongly advise against this. We’ll explain why.

When you drive your vehicle while the low-fuel indicator light is illuminated, your car is running on reserves (10-15%) of your fuel tank’s capacity. When you run your car during these situations, the fuel pump is not getting the necessary lubrication it needs to function at its optimum level. Over time, ignoring this may erode and/or overheat the engine. To put it plainly, the cost to fill up your gas pails in comparison to repairing your car’s engine. The dangers of a failing fuel pump may range from poor performance, to not accelerating properly, to not starting at all.

In addition, your car’s fuel pump has a filter, which can get dirty rather quickly if you drive on low fuel. Because any sediment or dirt sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank, the result could be blockage of the filter, thus resulting in a costly repair.

When you’re driving your car with the low-fuel indicator light on, you don’t have the time to comparison shop for the cheapest gas. Also, driving under these circumstances leaves you little choice than to stop at the nearest gas station.

If you want to avoid running out of gas in the future, keep your eyes on your fuel meter to make sure you’re not running too low. Remember, filling up more often may mean you’re spending money at the gas pump more often, but the overall cost each time will be less. An easy way to find cheap gasoline is by using smartphone apps. They can tell you if you’re close to a cheap gas station.

Another way to increase your fuel economy is by turning off your vehicle’s air conditioning system. This is especially important if you’re in dire straits of running out of gas.

Go easy on the gas pedal. Driving aggressively also takes a toll on your vehicle’s fuel economy. The faster you drive your car, the less efficient your car’s fuel economy will be. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, fast acceleration and constant braking can decrease your gas mileage from 15% to 30% at highway speeds. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, fuel economy drops from 10% to 40%.

Generally speaking, it’s best to keep your fuel tank above a quarter full in order to avoid the possibility of driving on what is considered to be low fuel. Again, driving on low fuel can lead to you being stranded, it can be damaging to your car’s engine, and can seriously hurt your wallet.

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