How Are Your Driving Skills?

If you are an experienced driver, you may wonder to yourself where today’s drivers learned their craft. Drivers frequently roll or even accelerate through stop signs. They often refuse to use turn signals and seem to take pleasure in cutting you off. It is as if you expect to see Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Princess Peach in the cars next to you. Drivers can’t seem to get to the next red light quick enough and a courtesy is when someone turns on their blinker after cutting you off, just to let you know “Yes I did.”

In a grocery store we seem to be more than willing to allow someone with just a few items ahead of us in the checkout line, but on the highway, we are accelerating until they run out of room on the berm. What gives?

Are we all using a different set of regulations? Did we all forget the rules of the road? How are your driving skills?

How Do You Approach a Four-Way Flashing Red Light?

A four-way flashing red light should be treated the same as a four-way stop sign. The driver who arrives at the intersection first, has the right of way. When in doubt, the driver to the right has the right of way after a complete stop. That being said, you should not move forward until any vehicles near or in the intersection has stopped, and you are sure it is safe to proceed.

How Far in Feet Should You Turn on Your Turn Signals When Approaching a Turn You Intend to Make?

With in-city driving, that distance should be about 100 feet, or about 10 car lengths. Your blinker should give those behind you the first indication you are turning, not your brake lights.

At what speed can a vehicle hydroplane and lose contact with the road?

Hydroplaning occurs on wet highways. It is one of the reasons maintaining appropriate tread depth of your tires is so important. In some cases, hydroplaning can cause you to lose control of a car at just 35 miles per hour. It is why you should slow down and heighten your defensive driving skills in the rain and on wet roadways.

You are the first car approaching an intersection to turn left, but there is oncoming traffic. Where should you stop and what should you do?

You should proceed cautiously into the middle of the intersection, and wait for the oncoming traffic to clear. This puts you in the best situation to make your turn through the intersection to the left when the opportunity arises.

Most people fail their driving tests today for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, not knowing how to properly merge into traffic and not knowing what to do at a four-way stoplight or stop sign. How would you do?

Safe driving is a critical component in reducing insurance rates. Perhaps a financial incentive could improve driving habits. It may not be incentive enough for others, but it could work for you. Contact us to get a no obligation auto insurance quote today.

 

Rumble Seats, Sticks, and 8 Tracks

Odds are if you know the definition of unsult (back-handed compliment), Hundo P (100 percent) woke (politically aware) and know that “V” is slang for “very” you are a young Millennial or a part of Generation Z. It seems like every generation has its own language and slang, much of it stemming from the products they use.

For Baby-Boomers, much of this language revolved around automobiles. Here is a quick reference guide for younger readers who may not know what the heck Baby Boomer relatives are talking about when it comes to older cars.

8 Tracks”

Before MP3’s, CDs and even cassettes, 8-track tapes contained pre-recorded music that could be played in 8-track players in cars. Most cars who had 8-track players featured after-market installations since the trend was relatively short-lived. The bulky tapes were large enough to have miniature full-color replica covers of the albums they contained.

Rumble Seat”

This referred to a fold up seat in the trunk area of a car that was neither comfortable nor spacious. Passengers in the rumble seat often bounced around like in the last car of a roller coaster.

Window Vent”

This was a small triangular window placed at the front end of the driver’s and passenger side windows. This window could be opened to better scoop outside air into the car when it was raining. It was a pre-air conditioning way to get better interior airflow.

Station Wagon”

This was like a low-profile, mini-van-like vehicle, popular with families in the 1950s and 1960s. The rear compartment contained lots of window space and often rear-facing seats. Drivers following a station wagon were often treated to a variety of funny faces and hand gestures from the kids in those rear-facing seats.

Sunday Drives”

Yup, there was a time when families would actually plan a Sunday drive. Just get in the car and, well…drive. It usually went nowhere in particular, but would often include a stop at an ice cream shop.

Four on the Floor”

A much larger percentage of older cars had manual transmissions, shifted by a ”stick shift”. A four speed with the stick shift on the floor to the right of the driver was often referred to as a “four on the floor”. It was a bit sexier than the “three speed on the column.”

Woodie”

These are station wagons with wood looking side panels and trim. Early “woodies” were made using actual wood, but later models turned to adhesive, wood-look vinyl. You can even spot them on the road today, as some car-makers will produce them every so often. Think “truckster” like in Chevy Chase’s car in “Vacation.”

What hasn’t changed through the years is the importance of carrying sufficient automobile insurance. State minimums may keep you legal, but may not be enough in a real-life accident. Contact our independent auto insurance agents today for a no-cost insurance review and quote.

Five Reasons a “Human” Auto Insurance Agent is So Valuable

We’ve gotten so comfortable and so used to making digital purchases in our lives, many hardly give it a thought anymore. People rent apartments without ever walking inside, others purchase cars and have them delivered without a test drive, and still others will spend thousands of dollars on an engagement ring, all online. It has gotten so prevalent, most of us don’t give the “service fees” we are being charged for having a computer fill our order a second thought!

Making purchases online can be convenient and fast. But it also can have its downside, especially when it comes to auto insurance. Now, quite frankly, if you are just shopping for basic auto insurance, have a perfect driving record and good credit rating and your vehicle is pretty standard, shopping online may be fine. But here are five reasons why a “human” auto insurance purchase can be valuable.

  1. They Can Help Explain Valuable Options

A real person can better help explain the benefits of a rent-a-car benefit or uninsured motorist coverage. They can show how a small increase in premium may increase policy limits significantly. A checkbox on a screen can’t do that very well.

  1. They May Help You Find Discounts
    Many companies offer a variety of discounts that may help save you on your car insurance premiums. These can range from good student discounts and safe driver discounts to safety and security feature savings and discounts. You may even qualify to save when bundling insurance. A real life insurance agent is more likely to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  2. They Can Be Especially Valuable Helping High Risk Drivers

If you’ve experienced multiple moving violations or have been involved in an at-fault accident, your payments can sky-rocket. You may even be considered a “high risk driver”, placing you in an expensive club. Talking to an auto insurance agent, especially an independent one, can help you explore more options in finding more affordable rates.

  1. You Drive a High Performance or Vintage Car

If you drive a specialty or high value car, talking directly to an auto insurance expert can provide multiple benefits. They can help make sure your car is appropriately and sufficiently covered. Independent auto insurance agents can seek out companies who specialize in this type of insurance getting you full value for your insurance dollar.

  1. When You Need Assistance with a Claim

An independent insurance agent serves as your liaison with the insurance company before, during and after your insurance purchase. That means they are there to answer your questions and help facilitate a smoother claim process.

We invite you to experience why working with a real insurance professional can be so beneficial. Contact one of our auto insurance specialist for your personalized rate quote today.

Six Small Things About Cars and Driving Which You May Not Be Aware

Red means stop, green means go. If you run out of gas, your car will stop running. These are some of the big things everyone knows about driving and cars. But how familiar are you with the smaller, nuanced items? Here are six small things about cars and driving of which you may not be aware.

There is an arrow next to your fuel gauge. If you look at your car’s fuel gauge, you will notice a small arrow pointing to the right or left. Some are not even aware of its presence. This indicates which side of your car the filler tank for gas is located. It is particularly helpful when driving a rental or other unfamiliar vehicle.

Interstate route numbers indicate their location and direction. Interstates that run from north to south carry odd numbers, while east to west routes are even numbers. In addition, odd numbered routes get lower from east to west. For example, Route 95 runs along the Eastern U.S. coat while I-5 is in California. Even numbered routes get higher from south to north.

There are free services at chain auto parts stores. Many franchised auto parts stores will install items like batteries and wipers that are purchased there at no extra charge. They will also let you know what the codes indicate that are turning on your check engine light.

How long the white dashes are on a roadway. The spaced white lines on a roadway are longer than most people think. Most people think the lines are three to six feet long but they are actually ten feet in length. They are also spaced thirty feet apart. Most assume they are much shorter because of the speeds at which we experience them.

Your newer car collects tons of data. Some of this data is transmitted and some of it is stored onboard. If you connect your smartphone to your car, it can even access more. This can be problematic when you sell your car with some of your data stored on it.

The best way to save on car insurance is to compare. You won’t know if you are overpaying for auto insurance unless you compare. An independent insurance agent can help. They have relationships with multiple companies and can do the comparing for you.

We can help. Contact one of our independent agents today. There is no cost and no obligation. See if you can save by giving us a call today.

 

Why Now is a Good Time to Compare Car Insurance Rates

Are you getting the best possible coverage at a fair price for your automobile insurance? Some people only compare rates while others will make the effort to make “apples to apples” comparisons when it comes to coverage. Still others just keep paying their premiums whether because they are paid automatically or they just don’t want the hassle of changing insurance companies. There are reasons however, that now, right now, is a good time to compare. Here’s why.

  • Most consumers don’t compare rates for years. Insurance companies know this. Some companies will edge rates upward in small increments as not to cause too much financial pain. Simply put, they would prefer you don’t compare. That should tell you something.
  • As you age, lower rates are often available. This is especially true if you are 25 years or older. Insurance companies find older drivers more responsible and less risky. This can result in savings.
  • Life circumstances change. Did you know that married drivers often qualify for lower automobile insurance rates than single ones? You may not need to be driving a mini-van to qualify for these rates. Just contact one of our independent insurance agents to see how much savings you can qualify for if you have recently married.
  • People are driving less today. The popularity of working from home means less exposure on the roads for many drivers and certainly less miles. This can translate in significant savings.
  • Many auto insurance companies can now offer lower rates. In many states, regulations require insurance rate adjustments be submitted by companies on an annual basis, based on the previous years incidents. Many car insurance companies are just starting to be able to offer lower rates based on less than expected losses resulting from the pandemic. Now is a great time to see how much you can save!

The bottom line is that it is always a good idea to compare, but now is an exceptionally good time. There may be lower rates waiting for you and all it takes is a call to one of our independent insurance agents. Our agents can compare the rates from multiple companies to see how you can benefit best. We look forward to assisting you in taking advantage of your present conditions when it comes to auto insurance. Contact us today.

Six Assumptions About Auto Insurance That Could Be Costing You $$$

Would you save money on your automobile insurance if you had the power to do so? Most people would say yes. But we often make assumptions about our coverage that may actually be costing us money. Here are six of them.

  1. All Auto Insurance Companies are the Same

This couldn’t be further from the truth. While insurance companies must operate within certain regulations, they are competitive in nature and provide varying degrees of customer service. Some spend extensively on advertising and some spend little. It pays to compare.

  1. Insurance Premiums Are Close to if Not the Same

Automobile insurance companies use some common factors when pricing their insurance policies but they also use their own loss experience in setting pricing. This can make significant differences in the rates you may pay from company to company.

  1. All I Need is State Minimum Coverage

States mandate minimum automobile coverage but it is important to remember that these coverage levels are legal minimums, not logical minimums. Your financial position can dictate you carry larger amounts. Uninsured motorist insurance often isn’t mandated but most legal professionals will agree, it can be a good idea. Assuming you just need “the minimum” may cost you in the long run.

  1. There’s no Easy Way to Compare Insurance Rates from Different Companies

If you think you have to call multiple insurance companies or fill out detailed online forms to get quotes for automobile insurance from multiple companies, you could be making a costly assumption. A call to an independent insurance agent will put them to work comparing the prices of multiple companies for you. You can quickly get multiple quotes from several companies when you call one of our independent agents.

  1. I Need High Risk Insurance So I am Resigned to Paying More

While it is true that non-standard or high risk insurance will likely cost more than standard auto insurance, it still pays to compare. Like standard insurance, high risk insurance can be priced differently between providers so it pays to compare.

  1. All Insurance Agents Can Compare Rates

There are what are called “Captive Agents” who only represent the offerings of a single brand of insurance. This limits what they can quote you and limits your choices. An independent insurance agent has no such restrictions.

Don’t let assumptions about auto insurance cost you money. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to get a quote today.

New Vehicles: The Ways and What We Buy Have Changed

If you haven’t purchased a brand new car in a while, you may be surprised to learn how the process and available choices have changed. Families would often plan an entire weekend for visiting car dealers, taking test drives and the ever-popular negotiation process. Looking back, the process has changed fairly dramatically over the past decade or two, prompted by consumer demand, technology, convenience, and to some degree, the pandemic.

Here’s a look at how things have changed.

A shrinking popularity of passenger cars. As recently as 2012, passenger cars accounted for more than 50% of vehicle sales. Now cars account for only 22% of new car sales, dropping 5% worldwide in model year 2019 alone. SUV’s, vans and pickup trucks account for the remaining 78%.

Disappearing brands. Changing consumer demand has forced some car companies to just go away. These include Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn and Mercury. Of course, along with the brands, models like the Cougar, Sunbird, Firebird and Cutlass are no longer available as new models.

Stick-shift? What’s a stick-shift? The number of cars available with a manual transmission are shrinking as well. As of 2020, only 41 of 327 new car models available in the United States that were available could be purchased with a manual transmission.

The growing list of “standard features”. Today, most car models featured what were once options as standard equipment. These include power locks and windows, air conditioning and air bags. Even rearview cameras are now becoming standard.

The presence of infotainment systems. Those who haven’t purchased a new car for many years are often surprised by the technology available and the robust infotainment features vehicles now have. Plan on spending some time with that owner’s manual.

How vehicles are purchased. Rather than trekking to a new car dealer, many consumers now purchase cars virtually. They will view vehicles, select options, fill out financing forms and order it, all online. Some will even go a step further and have the car delivered to their home.

Negotiating. Since the internet has made price comparisons so easy, many car dealers have turned to flat, “no-haggle” pricing. This simply means the price listed is the price you pay. Be careful to read the fine print about dealer fees and other charges, however. Some will miss the “dance” between buyers, salesmen and, of course, “the new car manager.”

When purchasing a new or a pre-owned car, be sure to check its impact on your insurance rates prior to your purchase. Differing years and models are some of the factors that will impact pricing. Knowing the impact ahead of time can keep you within your budget. Contact one of our independent insurance agents and have them do the shopping for you. They have the ability to compare policies from multiple companies. Contact us today!

Car Insurance Add-On’s You May Want to Consider

We fully understand that it is the intent of many people to find the least expensive auto insurance possible. They just want to meet state minimum standards with no add-ons just so they can meet legal requirements. This may be prompted, in part, by a fear of being sold something they don’t need. If you are just purchasing automobile insurance at state minimum levels, however, you may be putting yourself at financial risk, and not taking advantage of protection that may be both valuable and affordable. Here are some things to consider.

State Minimums are Minimal

You should first understand that minium standards will meet legal requirements but not likely provide sufficient protection even for modest incidents. You should also keep in mind costs increase, but minimum standards do not. If you have any significant financial resources, invest in higher than minium coverage.

Uninsured and Under-insured Driver Coverage

A few states actually require this coverage, for good reason. Odds are greater than 1 in 8 that you will be involved in an accident with someone without insurance. This is an affordable addition to your car insurance protection.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

This is required in some states, especially those with no-fault insurance. It is vital if you don’t have health insurance or insufficient health insurance.

Roadside Assistance

It is reassuring knowing if something should happen to your vehicle while traveling, you can call professional roadside assistance to help. This is an extremely affordable option if not already included in your auto insurance policy.

Car Rental or Replacement Coverage

Getting a car repair can take weeks depending on how severe the damage is. Having your insurance company pay for a rental car while it is in the shop can not only be convenient, but save you significantly. Again, it can be added to most car insurance policies at minimal expense.

If you are looking for inexpensive car insurance, we understand. But you may be missing out on some valuable additional coverage at affordable pricing. Contact one of our independent insurance agents today for a quote you can live with.

Lending Someone Your Car? Here’s What You Should Know.

At some point, many of us have been asked to lend a car or truck to someone. It may be because they are moving, have their own car in the shop or simply don’t own a vehicle. Lending someone your car is a bit like lending them money. You had better be clear on responsibilities and expectations. Here are some factors about lending your car to a friend or family member you should know.

Gas and Repairs

It is not beyond reason to ask someone to replace any fuel in a car you are lending. But what if they have a flat tire or experience some other mechanical issues? It is best to at least talk about this in advance.

Car Insurance

The main issue is making sure auto insurance will cover your vehicle when it is loaned for an occasional use. You will likely be held responsible for property damage or injuries if a friend who borrows your car is involved in an accident. Most automobile insurance policies will cover a friend or family member when using a car once in a while. The problem is if use becomes regular or if the person lives in your home. If a person you lend a car to lives with you, they may be required to be listed on your auto insurance policy. This may be true even if it is a roommate. The same may be true for anyone who uses your vehicle regularly.

It Is Understandable If You Don’t Want to Loan Your Car

If you loan out your car and it is involved in an accident, you will likely be held responsible. This is why it is completely understandable if you are hesitant to do so. If you are uncomfortable about lending your car to someone, explain logically and firmly that you just are not comfortable with the risk. There may be other alternatives including ride sharing or a rental that may solve their issue.

If you have questions about automobile insurance or would like to get a quote, we invite you to talk to one of our independent insurance agents. They can compare policies and prices from a variety of companies to find your best option. Contact us today.

Why You Should Consider Uninsured Motorists Coverage

When purchasing automobile insurance, one of the questions you will be asked is if you would like to add under-insured or uninsured motorist coverage. While this coverage is not mandatory in many states, and some may view this protection as unnecessary, there are some very good reasons to consider it. The first reason is that nearly 15% of all drivers on the road are uninsured. This, in spite of the fact that automobile insurance is a requirement in every state except New Hampshire. But there are other good reasons to add uninsured motorist coverage beyond the fact that almost one in seven of your fellow drivers don’t carry insurance at all.

What is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance steps in to provide you protection in case of injury or damage caused by a driver who either lacks insurance or doesn’t have sufficient coverage to cover your damage or injuries.

Is Uninsured or Under-insured Motorist Coverage Expensive?

You may be surprised at how affordable this type of coverage can be, especially with an independent insurance agent working for you. They can search multiple companies to find coverage you deserve at a price you can be comfortable with.

Can’t I Just Sue an Uninsured Motorist for Damages?

Good luck with that. If a person is driving illegally without insurance, odds are they may not have the financial resources to pay, even if you won your lawsuit. You will also want to consider that your life will become a bit more complex following any injury/damage accident. Adding legal proceedings to that situation will not help.

If you would like more information on under-insured and uninsured motorist insurance, we encourage you to contact us. Our independent insurance agents can not only answer your questions but may be able to provide a money-saving quote on your automobile insurance. If you don’t currently have uninsured motorist insurance coverage included in your automobile insurance policy, consider adding it. Let us show you how affordable it may be.