All posts tagged car

5 Easy Tips for Lowering Your Car Insurance Rate

Every time you flip on the TV or drive past billboards, you’re likely to see at least one advertisement for car insurance. Providers everywhere bombard us with their competitive rates and incentives for choosing their plans. But no matter your insurance provider, you can do several things to lower your rate. These few tips can get you started.

Drive a Low-Cost Vehicle

Driving a clunker certainly has its drawbacks, but insurance isn’t one of them. The lower the value of your car, the lower your premium.

Why?

Because car insurance is there partially to pay for any damages to your car in an accident. But if you’re driving a car from the ’90s in 2014, chances are that car wouldn’t last much longer after your accident anyway. For the most part, it costs your provider much less money to pay for those repairs.

This doesn’t mean you need to drive a straight-out clunker. Your premium will also be lower if your car is considered safe. If your car scored highly in a crash test, your provider will usually lower your rate for that too.

Drive Fewer Miles

Many auto insurance companies reduce your premium if you drive less than 7,500 miles per year. If you can, limit how much you use your car. Switch up your commute by taking public transportation or carpooling with coworkers. You don’t have to drop your car altogether (why else are you paying auto insurance?). Just cut back on unnecessary miles.

Get an Insurance Package

Insurance companies tend to provide a discount if you combine insurance plans. Rather than using three different providers for car, home, and life insurance, combine them into one package.

Make the Most of Good Grades

Insurance companies reward good students. If your teenager or college student is driving a car you insure and they do well in school, tell your provider. They’ll typically provide a discount (of about 15%) for students on the honor roll or with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Sometimes, the higher the GPA, the higher the discount.

Why?

Because good grades tend to indicate safer drivers. Insurance companies use statistics that show good students have better decision-making skills and safer driving habits. So if your student driver qualifies and is under the age of 25, get that discount.

Be a Safe Person

Hopefully, you have higher incentives than your car insurance to be safe, but safe habits will definitely lower your rate. Most providers recognize a clean driving record and habits that indicate strong decision-making skills, like grades do. Try the following ideas to be safer every day:

  • Kick bad habits like drinking or smoking. Drinking puts you at a higher risk for driving under the influence, and a DUI charge may mean that you must find a great DUI attorney in Athens or your particular area or risk a criminal record. Furthermore, both smoking and drinking risk your health. The healthier (and less distracted) you are while driving, the less likely you are to get in an accident.
  • Take a driver’s ed course. You’ll learn valuable skills like how to avoid accidents and combat driving in poor weather.
  • Avoid getting into accidents or getting tickets. Easier said than done, but drive defensively and stay within the speed limit. Be more careful with those preventive measures. Your driving record helps establish the rate you pay.
  • Establish good credit. Like good grades, solid credit indicates you’re responsible.

Inherent factors like your age and gender also play a role in your rate. If you’re an older driver or a female, you’ll pay less because you’re considered lower-risk.

Ask whether any of these qualities and habits qualify you for a lower rate. Wherever you get your auto insurance, it’s very likely you qualify for a discount and can cut back on that rate. Just communicate those qualifications to your provider so they can reward you for being a safe, low-maintenance driver.

Bought a Lemon? 4 Signs You Should Cut Your Losses and Sell

In economics, there is a principle called sunk costs. It simply means that the money you spent on a product or service is gone. No matter how many times you throw good money after bad money, you cannot get your initial investment back.

When you purchase a car, it can be a gamble. You hope you are getting a good product, but you will not know for sure until you take it home and drive it around town for a while.

It can turn out to be the most reliable car on the lot, or a certified lemon.

If you purchased a car that turned out to be a lemon, one of the most intelligent things you can do is cut your losses. Here are four signs that indicate it is time to let your lemon go.

Your Car is a Money Pit

It is understandable for you to spend money on routine maintenance costs such as oil changes and tire rotations. However, if you frequently spend more money on repair costs than your monthly car payment, it is time to find a more reliable mode of transportation.

You Have to Frequently Tow Your Car

For most people, it is rare that they have to get their cars towed because of mechanical failure. If your car is a lemon, you may know tow truck drivers on a first name basis. According to the towing service experts at Sheffield towing, frequent automobile breakdowns are the primary reasons people have their cars towed. You are wasting countless hours and money by keeping a car that needs to be towed frequently.

Your Vehicle is Causing Stress

There is nothing more stressful than having to deplete your savings account in order to keep your car working properly. Financial stress can take a toll on your health. If you are constantly worried or losing sleep because of the money you are spending on your car, purchase a new car.

Your Car is Unreliable and Unpredictable

Your goal for purchasing a vehicle was to provide you with reliable transportation. When you put your key into the ignition, you want to be certain that it will start. You should not have to guess whether your car will operate from one day to the next.

At some point with your vehicle, you will have to face the fact that your car is more trouble than it is worth and move on.

Prepared for a Break Down? 4 Crucial Items to Keep in Your Vehicle

When it comes to your personal safety and well-being, it always pays to be prepared. This includes preparing yourself for any emergencies that you might experience when you get in your car and head down the road. Here is a look at four emergency items that everyone should keep in their vehicle at all times.

First Aid Kit

Every single vehicle should have a stocked first aid kit in the trunk or cab at all times. Smaller kits that are created specifically for vehicles are quite affordable and can be purchased at practically any store. These kits will typically include a handful of bandages in various sizes, pain relievers, a tourniquet, latex gloves, antiseptic wipes, and tweezers. Larger kits might have an assortment of additional gear such as hand-crank radios and sterilized water.

Blankets

Anyone who lives in a climate with freezing temperatures or will be driving through a colder area should keep extra clothing and blankets in their vehicle. A human’s internal temperature only needs to drop by two degrees in order for hypothermia to take place, and this can result in permanent damage to their organs and other soft tissue. At the very least, drivers should have a water-resistant jacket and thick blanket in their trunk. Those who would like to be even more prepared should consider a sub-zero sleeping bag.

An Old Cell Phone

It might seem counterintuitive to keep a second charged cell phone in your vehicle, but these devices are important for a few different reasons. The first reason is that cell phones can make emergency calls even if they do not have an active calling plan. A driver can also switch out their SIM card if their first phone dies. Plugging your SIM card into the second phone will allow you to make calls to anyone that you need including a heavy towing service in Texas or other emergency services.

Water

Going just a few hours without water or any other liquids can impair one’s judgment as their body begins to shut down to protect itself. Having a couple jugs of clean water in your car will allow you to protect yourself from the harsh side effects of dehydration. Typically, drivers will want these water jugs to contain distilled water so that they can use it in their radiator if their car begins to overheat. Most cars require a mixture of 50 percent radiator fluid and 50 percent distilled water.

Having just these four items in your vehicle will keep you safe and comfortable if your car breaks down and you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Snow Approaches: 4 Winter Weather Checks for Your Car

Before winter weather and heavy snows hit, it is vital for automobile owners to check some things on their vehicles. By being prepared, drivers can prevent a breakdown in frigid temperatures. Many automobile products can be purchased ahead of time to fit into any budget.

Coolant and Windshield Washer Fluid Levels

Checking the fluid levels of the coolant and in the washer bottle is an important part of maintaining a vehicle for winter. Antifreeze may not sound important, but it is the fluid that keeps a vehicle cool. An automobile can overheat in the winter without proper coolant levels, which can lead to catastrophic engine failure.

Tires

Every driver should regularly check their tire pressure and the tread level on their tires. A low tire can not only cause more fuel to be consumed, but it can also cause a vehicle to slide on ice more easily. It is easier to get an under-inflated tire stuck in deep snow.

Restock Emergency Kit

The U.S. Government suggests that one of the most important things that drivers can do is to prepare their emergency road kit with items needed for snow and ice. Adding a bag of sand and salt to the car can help when getting stuck in the ice or heavy snow. A shovel, warm clothing, extra blankets, and food rations are other items that should always be in an emergency kit during the winter.

Hoses and Belts

Hoses and belts can easily rip or break from dry rot. The cold temperatures of winter make it more difficult for hoses and belts to maintain their shape because of contraction during freezing temperatures. Any hairline cracks, bulges, or weak spots will burst or rip when the temperatures drop and the snow flies.

Windshield Wipers

Every driver wants to maintain clear vision while they are driving. Regularly replacing windshield wipers by purchasing them at a local store (including with coupons for Sears.com) is a huge part of keeping a good view. Drivers should think about replacing their wipers every fall to make sure they have excellent visibility when the weather turns cold.

Battery

A car or truck battery is stressed to the max when the temperatures drop. The cold can zap the energy in a battery quicker than anything else. Drivers should always make sure the terminals are clean and free of corrosion before the snow hits.

Getting a vehicle ready for snowy weather is a simple process as long as the driver follows the above strategies. Keeping a car or truck prepared for winter is a crucial part of being safe. Many products can be purchased ahead of time like windshield wipers and coolant.