If you’re tired of sitting in a chilly car, treat yourself to greater comfort this winter. Here are five accessories that will help keep you warm.
1. Remote car starter
Nobody likes getting into a cold car. With a remote car starter, you can safely turn on your car a couple of minutes before leaving so that it’s nice and toasty when you climb in.
2. Heated car seat covers
3. Heated steering wheel cover
People who don’t like wearing gloves while driving can opt for a heated steering wheel cover instead. This accessory puts a warm, breathable layer between your hands and the wheel. Plus, heated steering wheel covers come in a variety of styles.
4. Leather gloves
A good pair of driving gloves not only keeps your hands warm but also offers protection, flexibility, and grip. Look for quality leather driving gloves with polyester, wool, or cashmere lining.
5. Windshield de-icer
With a windshield de-icer, you can spend less time out in the cold scraping your windshield. De-icer formulas are able to melt away frost, ice, and snow in a matter of seconds, allowing you to make quick work of an otherwise tedious chore.
Finally, make sure to be careful on the road. The last thing you want is to get stuck standing out in the cold waiting for a tow truck.
Your car is watching you–and that might be good news.
Your auto insurance rates could soon be set based on how you, personally, drive–not on your statistical risk.
General Motors Co. (GM) has launched an auto insurance program with its OnStar subsidiary to match data on driving patterns and usage to insurance costs. Tesla and Ford have also announced initiatives, according to Claims Journal.
Right now, insurance companies use criteria such as age, gender, neighborhood, and/or credit scores to set insurance prices. Consumer advocates have found this unfair because a good driver could live in a neighborhood that is unsafe and have a lower credit score.
Statistically, a teenage boy is the world’s worst auto insurance risk and insurance rates reflect this. But with usage-based insurance pricing, even a teenage boy might be able to demonstrate he is a good risk.
The mechanism of future insurance pricing will come from telematics–devices that collect real-time information on driving patterns and use. According to JD Power, demand for insurance based on telematics has increased during the pandemic as customers, working from home, though they could save money on insurance.
What that could mean for good drivers and drivers who don’t drive much is lower rates. Bad drivers would get higher rates. Depending on how the technology is deployed, drivers might get real-time feedback about how they are doing, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). That could be like having a permanent back-seat driver who is always right. But drivers do respond when they have incentives to drive better, according to iii.org.
A study by Willis Towers Watson showed that, in commercial fleets monitored by telematics, crash rates fell by 80 percent.
But will drivers have privacy concerns or will they resent having their every driving move monitored? Another survey by Willis Towers Watson suggests not. Resistance to the idea of cars monitoring driving is low, about seven percent.
GM will use data from its onboard concierge service, OnStar. The service helps drivers in emergencies and with navigation, but it also collects data on driving patterns. It takes special note of hard braking and acceleration.
Tesla’s initiative hasn’t yet launched.
Ford Motor Company has teamed up with Allstate Corporation to allow customers to share driving data.
GM says its OnStar program has provided the company with more data from connected vehicles than any other carmaker, as quoted in Claims Journal.
The company’s insurance offer will start in Arizona and use braking, acceleration, and general usage data to help set insurance rates. The program is set to expand nationwide using more data, including tire pressure, lane-keeping, and automated braking. More use of connected car data could be used if regulatory hurdles can be overcome.
Tips for choosing a roadside assistance plan
Roadside assistance provides you with 24-hour towing and other car-related services. Here’s what you need to know about it and some advice on choosing the best plan.
What do you get with roadside assistance?
A roadside assistance provider can help you in the following situations:
• Your car breaks down, and you need it to be towed to a garage
• Your battery dies, and you need a jump start to get moving again
• You have a flat tire that needs to be changed
• You run out of gas and need fuel to be delivered
• You lock your keys in the car and require a locksmith to get back in
• Your car is stuck in the snow or mud, and you need another vehicle to pull it out
Roadside assistance provides these and other services free of charge for members. You simply call the provider on a toll-free line or use a smartphone application, and they’ll come to your location as soon as possible.
Who provides roadside assistance plans?
Most new vehicles automatically come with at least several years of roadside assistance through the car manufacturer. However, if you want more extensive services than what your car manufacturer provides, or if your plan has expired, there are a number of other companies that offer roadside assistance services, including certain insurers, credit card companies, retailers, the AAA, and other organizations.
What factors should you consider when choosing a plan?
Here are some questions to ask when selecting a roadside assistance plan:
• If you have several vehicles, does it cover you in all of them?
• Does it matter if you’re the driver or passenger?
• Does it cover your motorcycle, RV, trailer, or ATV?
• Is there a family plan available?
• Does it cover you if you travel to Canada or Mexico?
• What distance can your car be towed free of charge?
Everyone has unique needs, so take the time to shop around and find the right roadside assistance plan for you and your family.
Consider assets when buying auto insurance
We’re inundated with car insurance ads at every turn, each pledging better rates or more personal service. But aside from knowing what your premium is, do you know what your coverage is and whether you have enough?
Your policy will cover liability, bodily injury liability (BIL), property damage, personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, collision, and comprehensive.
Many states require a minimum amount of coverage, but you probably want to consider insuring for more. Medical bills can add up to many thousands in a hurry, and you don’t want to be on the hook.
Liability packages often have three numbers, like 100/300/100. This refers to the amount of coverage for bodily injury per person (100k), per accident (300k), and property damage (100k).
Individuals with higher net worths may want to boost the first two.
The Wall Street Journal says a good rule of thumb is to get coverage for an amount equal to the total value of your assets (house, car, savings, and investments). Those could be seized to cover repairs or medical expenses otherwise.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also vitally important. This pays for damage to your car and passenger injuries caused by an at-fault driver who doesn’t have liability insurance or a hit-and-run driver. Consumer Reports suggests buying the same limits as on your liability insurance.
Remember also to sign up for the highest deductible you can afford, which will reduce your premiums.
Winter safety tips: coats and car seats
Did you know that wearing a puffy coat or snowsuit while sitting in a car seat can put your child in danger? Here’s what you should know about keeping little ones safe and warm in the car this winter.
A thick winter coat gives the illusion that a car seat’s straps are snug and that your baby is securely fastened. However, that bulky material will compress upon impact in a crash and create a gap between the harness and the child’s body. This space is large enough that your baby can easily slip through the straps or be thrown from the seat entirely.
How to test the seat
To keep your child warm in the car without compromising their safety, dress them in fitted layers such as a thermal knit sweater and fleece jacket. Once your child is fastened in the car seat, you can cover them with blankets or their coat. Just be sure to leave their face uncovered.
For a baby, you can use a car seat cover, but only if it doesn’t have a layer that goes underneath the infant.
To find everything you need to keep your child safe and warm in the car, visit the stores in your area.
After an accident, here are the people who’ll be by your side
A car accident can be traumatic, even if you don’t suffer any physical injuries. Fortunately, a variety of professionals will be by your side every step of the way to ensure that you and your vehicle are in good hands.
If a car accident causes an injury or property damage over a certain value, the police must be notified. You should also call the police if you suspect the accident was caused by a violation of the highway safety code.
Tow truck drivers
If you’re injured or your car’s unsafe to drive following the accident, a towing company will be called to bring your vehicle to a nearby mechanic or auto body repair shop.
Call your insurer as soon as possible to report the accident. They’ll make arrangements with you to assess the damage and, if applicable, guide you through the process of filing a claim.
Car rental agents
While you wait for your car to be repaired, which can take days or even weeks, your local car rental agency can provide you with a temporary set of wheels. This makes it easier to resume your day-to-day activities following an accident.
Finally, be sure to turn to friends and family members for emotional support following an accident. If you experience anxiety, nightmares, or panic attacks following the accident, consider speaking with a mental health professional.
It’s important to note that all drivers are obliged to stop if they’re involved in an accident, no matter how minor. If no one is injured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and document details about the accident.
5 unsafe winter driving habits
When the roads are covered in snow and ice, motorists need to be extra careful to avoid being in an accident. Here are five driving practices that have no place on the roads in winter.
1. Driving too fast
Fast driving and icy road conditions can be a lethal combination. Slow down, especially in bad weather.
2. Following too close
3. Using the wrong tires
Driving with summer or all-season tires on winter roads is simply unsafe. Winter tires improve traction and vehicle handling on snow-, ice- and slush-covered roads.
4. Neglecting to clear off your car
Clearing snow and ice off your car can be tedious, but it’s a must if you want to have adequate visibility on the road. Make sure to clear off your car’s headlights and taillights too.
5. Looking at your phone
Distracted driving is always dangerous, but it’s especially hazardous on snowy and icy roads. Drivers must be able to respond quickly to changing road conditions.
Finally, try to limit how often you drive and choose your route carefully. In winter, accidents can happen to even the most careful drivers.