What to Check Before Buying Your Next Car

What to Check Before Buying Your Next Car

Car buying has changed dramatically in recent years, to the point where some select a car, apply for a loan, and schedule the car for delivery right online. For most, however, it can still mean looking at classified ads, visiting a dealer, or meeting up with a private seller. Here are some things to check for before buying your next car.

Maintenance Records

Even a car that is just a few years old should have some maintenance records, including oil changes. This can verify how well the car was cared for.

A Car History Report

A car’s history report can detail any accidents or insurance claims that were made on a vehicle. It also should verify that the car has the appropriate title and has not been “salvaged.”

Carefully Check the Body

Many buyers just glance at the car’s body. Look closer for dents, dings, and scratches. Check the corners of the vehicle, which are more likely to have been dented. These small damaged areas may not be a deal breaker, but you want to know about them in advance of your purchase.

Check the Oil

While it’s not foolproof, if the oil is clean it may be a good indication the car has been taken care of.

Check Details

It can be easy to forget some details when buying a car. Does it have its own jack, spare tire or “donut” tire? Does it have the owner’s manual? Is everything working, including all the power windows?

Check Insurance Rates

A newer car will likely mean adjusted car insurance rates. You can avoid a negative surprise by checking insurance rates on a car before making a commitment. A newer car may have some safety features that your older car may not have had. Whether you are buying a new car or not, it is always a good idea to compare car insurance rates every year or so. One of the best ways to do that is through an independent insurance agent. Independent agents have access to a network of companies and can do the shopping for you. The final choice, of course, is always yours. Contact us today to get started!

What Your Car Knows About You

What Your Car Knows About You

Who knows you best? Your spouse? Your smartphone? Google? Perhaps it is your car. Over the past decade or so, cars have become increasingly adept at retrieving and storing data, including that from smartphones. Your car may know more about you than you imagine.

It Knows What Makes You Happy

If your car has modern memory features, it knows where your seats need to be positioned for your comfort, what temperature the cabin should be, and even what music you like. Some vehicles can even adjust interior mood lighting to preset levels.

It May Know What Your Smartphone Knows

If you’ve connected your smartphone to your car, odds are your car knows the data that is in your smartphone. This can include your contacts, text messages, emails, call histories, and photos.

How You Drive

Cars are now constantly collecting data on how you drive, including speed, acceleration, and braking patterns. This information can be used in determining insurance rates and even to determine blame in automobile accidents. Yes, your car may even know if and when you are wearing your seat belt.

Where You Go

Your car’s navigation system knows where you go, how long you spend there and the routes you are most likely to take. As part of this information, it knows where you are likely to eat lunch, dinner, shop, and buy gas. Some buy-here / pay-here car dealers install GPS tracking so they know where to repo a car if payments are missed.

Why is it important that you know what your car knows about you? Because, at some point, you will want to sell or trade in your vehicle. Do you really want those private messages, contacts, and photos left in the car’s database?

Thankfully, they can be cleared through a series of steps and your car dealer can even help clear the data. There are a lot of reasons it is convenient for your car to collect data. It also can be a bit problematic when selling your car.

Protect yourself, your car, and your passengers with sufficient car insurance protection. We can help. Our independent auto insurance agents shop with a network of companies to find you the best value in car insurance. Contact us to get started today.

Should You Own a Collectible Car?

Should You Own a Collectible Car?

Do you get a little envious when you see someone driving a vintage Mustang or a classic Corvette? Do you find yourself tempted to stop at a car show when you see one? Have you ever thought about owning a collectible car? There can be some pretty good reasons for doing so.

Classic Cars Can be a Good Investment

Unlike a brand new car that can lose about half of its value in the first seven years, a vintage car tends to hold its value and may even increase its worth. Classic cars can be more like fine art or antiques in this regard.

It Can Expand Your Social Network

Vintage car collectors are known for being helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. You can build friendships as you build upon your knowledge of your classic car.

It Is a Terrific Hobby

There are so many aspects and nuances to owning a classic car, and it can be a terrific hobby. The hunt for original parts alone can have its own thrills.

You Can Choose Your Own Level of Entry

You don’t have to start with your dream car. Instead, you can select a car within your budget and that meets your skill level. Of course, if you have some sort of personal connection with the make and model of car, it can help make the experience even better.

It Is Enjoyable.

Owning a classic car can be fun. They can be enjoyable to drive, fun to show off, and exciting to improve. Owning a vintage car can be an exceptional experience.

If you are considering the purchase of a classic, vintage, or antique car, you should know that your standard car insurance is not sufficient to properly insure it. You should look into specialty car insurance that covers classic and vintage cars. Classic car insurance can insure your car for its real value as opposed to its “book value.” To learn more about this special form of car insurance, contact one of our independent car insurance specialists. They can help make sure you have the appropriate car insurance for your investment.

What To Know Before Answering the Question “Can I Borrow Your Car?”

What To Know Before Answering the Question “Can I Borrow Your Car?”

It can come up so quickly and casually that you may not give it much thought. Perhaps you should. A friend, relative, or neighbor asks, “Hey, can I borrow your car for a couple of hours?”

If they are close enough to you, you may not hesitate. While your desire to help someone out may be admirable, there are some things to consider.

First, it is not only understandable but prudent to check your insurance policy to verify that the person borrowing your car will be covered. If the person isn’t covered under your policy and doesn’t have his or her own coverage, you shouldn’t allow them to borrow your vehicle. You, of course, should also not allow them to use your car if they don’t have a valid driver’s license or if they appear intoxicated or otherwise impaired.

You should be aware that even if the borrower has superb insurance coverage, your policy serves as the primary insurer. That means any claims will be funneled through your policy first. Their policy may provide some supplemental protection, but it is you and your insurance that will be on the hook.

You should also be aware that if you don’t have comprehensive coverage, damage to your car may not be covered. This could be problematic. There also may be deductibles that may have to be accounted for.

If someone asks about borrowing your car and you are unsure of your coverage, check your policy or contact your auto insurance agent. If you are comfortable with your coverage, the rest is up to you. It may just be a matter of them refilling your tank.

When you are comparing car insurance rates, it is a good time to inquire about the details of your coverage. Would a friend be covered when borrowing your car? Will you be covered when renting a car? Does your policy provide for a rental car and how large are the deductibles? Now is the time to get the coverage you want and expect at a price you can afford.

Contact one of our independent insurance agents for a no-obligation car insurance review and price quote today. We look forward to assisting you.

Does Your Car Color Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?

Does Your Car Color Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?

There can seem like an almost endless list of factors that can affect car insurance rates. Your age, driving record, make, model, and year of the car you drive, and where you live. Your credit rating will even impact your car insurance premiums.

What about the color of your car? Can that make a difference to how much you pay for car insurance?

The short answer is no. Unless you have an exotic orange Lamborghini or have a super custom paint job on a classic car, paint color will not affect your rates.

Your car color can affect you in other ways, however.

White cars, for example, are cooler than darker colored vehicles. This is why white cars are so popular in Southern states. White cars are also more prone to get pulled over and cited for traffic violations. This is not because of their color, however, but due to the fact that there are so many of them. That being said, white cars are said to be about 12 percent less likely to be involved in an accident than a black one.

A car color could impact its resale value. In this case, many experts say that an unusually colored car (yellow, green, gray, etc.) may actually improve the resale price over more common colors. There may be an overall smaller market for an orange pre-owned car, but the buyer may be willing to pay more.

If you are concerned about saving money on your car insurance, you don’t need to concern yourself about its color. You can, however, improve your driving record, drive a safer vehicle, and, most importantly, compare car insurance rates. Our independent auto insurance agents can help you accomplish that. They can connect with their network of insurance companies in search of the best value for your particular circumstances. The final choice is yours.

Getting started is as easy as making contact with us and answering a few short questions. It may take just a few minutes, but your savings can last for years.

What Happened to the Mini-Van?

What Happened to the Mini-Van?

It was a time that now seems like ancient history. In reality, it was less than 40 years ago. It was 1984 and a pair of vehicles, the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Plymouth Voyager, made their debuts. America was introduced to the mini-van, a versatile, roomy, and practical vehicle designed for young families.

What happened next was the rapid rise, and almost equally rapid fall, in popularity of the mini-van. As it began falling out of favor with the next generation of drivers, it almost became vilified and stigmatized as sales dropped dramatically.

Following the popularity of the Grand Caravan and the Voyager, other carmakers followed Chrysler into the segment. Honda had the Odyssey and Toyota introduced the Sienna. Kia manufactured the Sedona, and Ford and Chevy gave us the Transit and Venture. None could ever surpass Chrysler as the king of the mini-van, however. In 2000, when mini-van sales hit their peak, 1.33 million mini-vans were sold. The following year, just 482,000 mini-vans were sold. In 2021, the most popular mini-van was the Pacifica, but its sales only reached 35,000.

So what happened to the mini-van?

The fall of the mini-van was started by Americans having smaller families and moving back into more urban areas. There was a reputation that the mini-van was a soccer mom’s vehicle, and the next generation was moving away from that. Then, of course, the SUVs and Crossovers stood ready to take their place. Similar to the mini-van, SUVs and Crossovers signaled a new generation of more contemporary vehicles.

There is hope that vanlife enthusiasts may bring new life to the mini-van segment, but any comeback is likely to be slow. Chrysler has stopped production on the Grand Caravan and is placing its bet on the Pacifica.

The station wagon gave way to the mini-van, which gave way to the SUV and Crossover. What’s next?

No matter what you drive, you will want to be assured you are not overpaying for your car insurance. The only way to do that is to compare, and our independent insurance agents can help you do just that. In fact, they can do the shopping for you. You then decide on the policy that is best for you and your budget. Contact us for your free price quote today.

Three of the Biggest Factors Impacting Your Car Insurance Premiums

Three of the Biggest Factors Impacting Your Car Insurance Premiums

You may sometimes feel helpless about the amount of your car insurance bill. The reality is, you have control of the three biggest factors impacting your car insurance premiums. Even beyond the three big factors, there is still hope in saving money on your car insurance. Here’s what you should know.

Age

The bad news is that there is not much you can do about your age. The good news is that as you age, your car insurance rates should get better. From the time you are a teenager until you turn 21, and then 25, if your driving record is solid, your rates should stabilize or even get reduced. Get married in the meantime, and you may even see lower rates. Other than watching the clock tick and the calendar turn, there’s not much you can do about your age and its impact on your automobile insurance rates.

Driving Record

If you want to see savings on your car insurance rates, stop driving like you are Mario or Luigi. Wear your seatbelt, stay within reason of the speed limit, stop at stop signs, and otherwise practice defensive driving techniques. Sure, it may take you an extra 39 seconds to get home or that one car may get ahead of you, but think about basking in that now perfect driving record. Car insurance companies love safe drivers and even offer discounts for those who have proven they drive safely.

Credit Rating

It may surprise you to learn that your credit record impacts your car insurance rates. This is due, in part, to the fact that insurance companies have discovered that credit-worthy drivers tend to be more responsible. Those with better credit ratings also tend to keep their coverage in place longer and more consistently. This makes them more valuable to insurance companies and can lead to better rates.

Even if you think your rates are still out of control, you have another option when it comes to your auto insurance. That option is to compare. Contact one of our independent insurance agents and let them do the shopping for you. They will explore their network of insurance companies to find the most appealing rates for your particular situation. There is no cost or obligation for a price quote, and you can potentially save significantly. Contact us today to get started and stay in control of your automobile insurance rates.

Little Known Facts Even Jeep Fans May Not Be Aware Of

Little Known Facts Even Jeep Fans May Not Be Aware Of

For over 80 years, the Jeep has been a part of American and military automotive history. What started as a versatile, durable mode of transportation during World War II has evolved into a line-up of iconic vehicles that are still off-road capable.

Jeeps are not just a mode of transportation; they are a lifestyle. There are Jeep clubs, an abundance of Jeep after-market customization products, and owners who are often proud to show off their off-road capabilities.

Here are some lesser known facts that even Jeep aficionados may not be aware of.

The First Civilian Jeep Was Sold in 1945

After its success in World War II, the first civilian Jeep, the CJ-2A, was sold in 1945, followed by the CJ-3A, sold in 1949, and the CJ-3B, which debuted in 1953.

The Jeep Cherokee Is in Its Fifth Generation

Jeep’s first compact SUV and Crossover had far different origins. It began in 1974 as the Jeep Wagoneer, a large full-size SUV.

The Jeep Renegade is Made in Italy

This subcompact crossover SUV is mainly assembled in Italy, with assembly plants also in Brazil and China. It has been a part of the Jeep line-up since 2014.

What Enzo Ferrari Had to Say About Jeep

Enzo Ferrari is quoted as saying “Jeep is the only true American sports car”. Rather than a compliment to Jeep, however, the quote was directed as a criticism of America’s efforts at competing in the world’s sports car market.

The Jeep Wrangler is Almost Completely Made in Toledo, Ohio

With the exception of a few optional components, the Jeep Wrangler is almost completely built in Toledo, Ohio. This happens to be the home of the original Willys Jeep plant.

Ronald Reagan Was Gifted a Jeep

Nancy Reagan gave her husband Ronald a vintage, military surplus Jeep as a gift. It is said that while the president had multiple vehicles, that Jeep was his favorite.

Jeeps are a unique piece of American automotive history. Whether you drive a Jeep, a SUV, or another vehicle, our team can help make sure you are getting the most out of your auto insurance budget. Because we are independent agents and can offer insurance products from a network of companies, we can help do the shopping for you. Contact us for your free, no-obligation insurance quote. Let us do the shopping for you!

DIY Car Safety/Maintenance Checklist

DIY Car Safety/Maintenance Checklist

You don’t have to be a certified mechanic to help ensure your car is safe and well maintained. You can go a long way in keeping an eye on your car’s vitals with this routine checklist.

 Electronics & Lights

The last person you want to tell you you have a head or taillight out is a police officer. Take a routine visual inspection of your low and high beams, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, back-up lights, and flashers. Go ahead and give that horn a toot as well!

Fluids

It is easy to monitor fluid levels, including engine coolant, oil, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid. This is also a good time to check the wipers and wiper blades. Even if you don’t change oil itself, you should be able to monitor its level.

Tires

Many tire issues can be avoided by giving them a little more attention. Check for uneven wear, foreign objects, and keep the tires at the appropriate pressure.

Windows

Not only do you want to maintain clean windows, but if you notice any cracks or chips in your windshield, have them repaired or the window replaced promptly. Contact your independent insurance agent to determine your specific coverage when it comes to window glass and windshields.

Other Simple Tips

Squealing or squeaky sounding brakes frequently mean they are wearing out. If you feel a pulsing in the steering wheel, it could mean brake or tire problems. Have your car checked if you notice any plastic or rubber burning smells or a slightly sweet smelling  odor of steam.

To keep your auto insurance in top condition, get an auto insurance review and price quote from an independent insurance agent. They can help ensure you have the coverage you think you have at a competitive price. How can you possibly know if you are overpaying or not unless you take the time to get a comparison price quote.

Contact us today to get started. Make sure your insurance is as efficient as your car.

Best Car Names. Ever.

Best Car Names. Ever.

How important are car names? Just ask yourself if you are inspired by names like Rambler, Fairmont, Zephyr, Gremlin, Escort, or Fairlane. Now what about names like Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, or Mercedes? Sure, manufacturers spend billions building their brands, but some models seemed destined for success based on their names alone. While, of course, this list is subjective, here are some of the best car names. Ever.

Mustang

In spite of its equestrian connotation, logo, and reputation as a “Pony” car, the Ford Mustang was actually named after the P-51 fighter plane used during World War II. Ford quickly saw what potential there was in the Mustang, and the rest is history. If anything could be cooler than a fighter plane, it was Ford’s Mustang.

Corvette

Another name taken from World War II, corvettes were small and fast fighting ships of the period. Rather than decided upon by Chevrolet marketing gurus, it was actually submitted by an employee naming contest. Adding Stingray to a Corvette is like adding whipped cream and chocolate to a sundae.

Viper

When Dodge set out to create one of the boldest and most dangerous sports cars ever made, it went looking for something cobra-like. Viperidae is the Italian name of one of the most aggressive snake families in the world. “Viper” was chosen and, to this day, may just be the greatest car name ever.

Thunderbird

The Thunderbird made its first appearance at the 1954 auto show in Detroit. It got its name from Native American mythology and was suggested by a Ford stylist. It is reported the stylist won a $250 designer suit for his suggestion. While Thunderbird is a great name, T-Bird may even be better.

Firebird

General Motors had the name Firebird available from the mid-fifties. It was not until the Pontiac Trans Am of 1969 that the name caught fire and Smoky and the Bandit did the rest. It may lose some points because of its similarity to the Thunderbird, but Firebird is still a pretty cool name for a car.

No matter what you drive, insuring your car properly from the outset is critical. How and when you use your car, where it is kept, and who has access to drive it are all critical elements in obtaining proper coverage. Our independent insurance agents can help. Contact us for your review and price quote today.