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All Posts in Category: Auto Insurance

Winter Car

How NOT to Drive in Winter Weather

Winter driving has its challenges. But throw an inexperienced — or inconsiderate — driver into the mix, and your daily commute can get much more difficult.

It’s always aggravating when other drivers put you at risk. Getting stuck behind a driver who is spinning their tires or not paying attention isn’t just annoying… it’s dangerous.

Related: The 7 Biggest Winter Driving Myths, Debunked

Winter driving calls for quick decision making, patience and a little bit of know-how. Below you’ll find ways to spot a rookie winter driver — and how to avoid looking like one yourself:

6 COMMON MISTAKES OF WINTER DRIVERS

  1. Tailgating: Usually, drivers tailgate because they want the car in front of them to go faster. This is never OK, especially in the winter months. It takes longer to come to a stop in the winter, so you should always put more distance between you and the car ahead. Impatience on the road rarely pays off – tailgating just puts you and others at risk.
  2. Speeding: Speeding can get you into trouble quickly. Make sure you’re never driving faster than what is safe for the conditions. In snowy or icy conditions, that probably means driving below the speed limit. The faster you’re going, the more likely you are to lose control or slide into another car. Expect traffic to move a little slower in the winter and allow extra time to get to your destination.
  3. Getting stuck: Driving through deep snow may sound like fun, but chances are it will leave your tires spinning. For your own safety, know when to stay off the road altogether and drive carefully to avoid losing traction in the first place. After all, getting stuck is easy – getting out isn’t.
  4. Ice on the windshield: If your car has snow or ice on the windshield, it can be tempting to save time by letting your wipers or defroster remove it as you drive. But driving without full visibility is like driving blindfolded. Use a snow brush or ice scraper to clear your windshield entirely every time you get behind the wheel.  (And don’t just clear a little “window” you can see through!)
  5. Snow on the roof: If you’ve ever driven behind someone with snow on their roof, you know it can be an accident waiting to happen. If your car is covered in snow, take the time to clear your roof before you tackle the windows. You’ll keep snow from falling in your field of vision and from hitting the drivers behind you.
  6. Driving with high beams on: This can be frustrating in any condition, but some people think that high beams will increase your vision during whiteouts or heavy snowfall. In fact, fog lights and low beams will do much better. Learn what to do if you get stuck driving in a whiteout.

Just like other people’s driving, winter weather can be unpredictable. But even the safest, most experienced drivers can get into an accident. That’s why it’s important to have the right insurance to protect you and your vehicle. Learn about the extras available with every Erie Insurance auto policy.

WANT MORE TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING?

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IIHS-Safety

IIHS: The Safest Cars of 2019

Shopping for a new car can feel a little overwhelming – especially with today’s high-tech safety features. From crash avoidance to emergency autobrake, today’s car shoppers have more options than ever before.

Luckily, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives us common folks a great place to start with their annual list of TOP SAFETY PICK awards. Whether you’re actively shopping or just seeing what’s out there, here’s what made the cut for 2019.

HOW IT WORKS (AND WHAT THEY SCORE)

Since 2006, the safety experts at the IIHS (a nonprofit research and education organization) conduct tests to determine which vehicles do the best job of protecting people in the most common kinds of crashes — front, side, rollover and rear.

Related: Learn more about the science of road safety at the IIHS

This isn’t a participation trophy. Standards for the TOP SAFETY PICK and TOP SAFETY PICK+ awards are tough. Over time, the IIHS has strengthened the criteria as new technology – and crash test protocols – become available. In the 2013 model year, they added the top-tier “plus” award to acknowledge the best of the best.

Here’s what this year’s winners had to do to earn each award:

  • TOP SAFETY PICK+: This year, 30 models were awarded the top-tier award. These all earned the highest rating for passenger-side protection in a small overlap front crash and have good-rated available headlights. (Headlight testing was added to the criteria just last year.)
  • TOP SAFETY PICK: The 27 winners of the second-tier award earned acceptable or higher rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test and the nighttime headlight evaluation.
  • Both: Together, all 57 award-winning vehicles have good ratings in the IIHS’ five other crashworthiness evaluations. They all also have an available automatic emergency braking system that rates advanced or superior for front crash prevention.

For more details on how crash tests work (and what they look for), visit the safety ratings page on the IIHS website.

THE 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ WINNERS

After the IIHS toughened up its testing criteria for 2018, only 15 vehicles earned the top-tier “plus” rating. In turn, auto manufacturers stepped up their game. For 2019, the winners’ list doubled to a total of 30 vehicles.

Here they are by category:

Small Cars:

  • Honda Insight
  • Hyundai Elantra (built after September 2018)
  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Niro hybrid
  • Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • Subaru Crosstrek
  • Subaru Impreza 4-door sedan
  • Subaru Impreza wagon
  • Subaru WRX

Midsize Cars:

  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Optima
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry

Midsize Luxury Cars:

  • Genesis G70
  • Lexus ES

Large Car:

  • Toyota Avalon (built after September 2018)

Large Luxury Cars:

  • BMW 5 series
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4-door sedan

Small SUVs:

  • Hyundai Kona
  • Mazda CX-5

Midsize SUVs:

  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Ascent

Midsize luxury SUVs:

  • Acura RDX
  • BMW X3
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Want more? See the remaining 27 winners in the TOP SAFETY PICK category (plus safety ratings for older cars) at IIHS.org.

AUTO INSURANCE FOR NEW AND USED CARS

If you’re shopping for a car, you’ll also need car insurance. Get an online auto insurance quote or check out these helpful links for further reading:

Whether you’re buying your first set of used wheels or moving up to your first brand new car, we’re eager to help you find coverage that’s the right fit for your pride and joy.

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Driving Insurance

Fall – Top 4 Fall Driving Hazards

The start of fall brings a lot of welcome things: a new school year, cooler temps and changing leaves. 

You may not notice it right away, but your daily commute is affected by the shorter days and changing weather, too. (For example: Did you know wet leaves can be as slippery as ice?) 

Stay alert this fall. Here are the top things to look out for when you’re on the road:
 

1. Rain and wet leaves
As the weather cools down, the rain picks up. Combine that with lower temperatures and you’ll find your tires may have less grip than they did in the summer months.

To start, always drive cautiously in wet conditions – that includes driving slower than you would on a dry road. And be on the lookout for wet leaves, which can be as slick as ice.

It’s also important to check your tires to ensure they have enough tread. Insert a penny into your tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you insert the penny all the way and all of Lincoln’s head is still showing, that means your tread has worn down and it’s time for new tires.

Driving too fast for the conditions or cruising on worn tires can lead to hydroplaning. So it’s important to know what to do if you start hydroplaning: take your foot off the gas, firmly grip the steering wheel and calmly make steering adjustments. 

2. Deer collisions
Deer are most active from October to January, especially during the dusk and dawn hours. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of a deer collision, you know it can do severe damage to your vehicle.

Avoid deer on the roadways by slowing down during peak hours, paying attention to road signs and using your high beams to increase visibility when possible. Learn more about how to avoid hitting a deer…and what to do if you hit one.

3. Earlier sunsets
The days get shorter in the fall, so you’ll find yourself driving in the dark more often. This is another peak time for accidents.

Make sure you’re staying alert during nighttime hours. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and turn your headlights on during dawn or dusk hours. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and know when to swerve if there’s an object in the road.

4. School children
The kids are back to school. The house is quieter. But if you drive just before the school day starts or after it ends…you’re in for lots of crosswalks and bus stops. Welcome to back-to-school driving.

Since more kids are walking and biking to school, you’ll need to stay alert around schools and neighborhoods. Be aware of bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. And if you’d like to avoid the risk altogether, consider finding a new route to avoid these high-traffic areas.

It’s always important to be prepared. But even the most cautious drivers can find themselves face-to-face with something unexpected. That’s why it’s important to have the right auto insurance.

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Car Broken Into

My Car Was Broken Into. Now What?

You walk out the door, ready to start your day. Then your heart sinks as you notice broken glass surrounding your car.

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. A car break-in is a scene that too many Americans encounter each year. And after those initial feelings of shock and disappointment subside, you may be left wondering what to do next.

Here are some steps you should take if your vehicle has been broken into:

  • Check your surroundings. Before you do anything else, look around to make sure you’re safe. Most of the time vehicle burglars are only after your valuables and quickly leave the scene. But if anything makes you feel uncomfortable, leave your vehicle and find a safe place to call for help. 
  • Record what you lost. If your car was broken into, chances are the thief found something of value. Check for missing purses, wallets, smartphones and other electronics. Then, make a list of anything that was taken. It’s also a good idea to take photos of your vehicle damage for reference. 
  • File a police report. To make a report, call the police office’s non-emergency number – not 911. While not all break-ins can be investigated, the report will help officers track local crime trends and can provide documentation for your insurer if you file a claim. 
  • Protect yourself from identity theft. If you discover any credit or debit cards are missing, immediately notify your bank to cancel the old cards and order replacements. They’ll also help monitor your accounts for suspicious activity.

    Pro tip: Getting back to normal after identity theft can be a lengthy, expensive process. Before you have to handle it alone, ask your Erie Insurance agent about adding identity theft recovery coverage to your homeowners or renters policy for around $20 a year. 

  • File an insurance claim. Should you file a claim or not? Here’s where a local, independent insurance agent can walk you through the process and help you understand what to do next. Damage to your car from a break-in is typically covered under your auto policy’s comprehensive coverage, but if any of your belongings were taken, they might be covered under your homeowners or renters policy.

One more thing: While break-ins are never completely preventable, you can take some steps to help lower your risk. Always lock your car doors, roll up your windows and keep valuables out of sight.

If you do have to file a claim, know that we’re on it. Your claim is how we start making things right for you, resetting the damage and distress of an unexpected loss so you can relax, rebound and get back to your life.

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Auto-Insurance

Ultimate Guide to Understanding Auto Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance, there are a lot of companies and coverage choices. How do you know who to trust and what’s essential? Some of the insurance terms like endorsements or comprehensive and collision coverage may also be a bit confusing. And what about those extras you can add on? Which ones do you need?

We’ve pulled together some of our best resources to make the experience of shopping for auto insurance easier. We’ll explore the ins and outs of coverage and what you should consider when buying or renewing your auto insurance policy.

Finding the auto insurance coverage that’s best for you
Whether you’re buying your first set of used wheels or a brand new car, you’ll need protection and service. Auto insurance kicks in for those unexpected mishaps—from a minor dent to a more serious crash. It also helps protect you, your passengers and your pets as well as some of the prized possessions being transported in your car.

Understanding auto insurance terminology
With coverage, you may wonder about some of the terminology used in your policy. Here are four common auto insurance terms and what they mean.

Exploring coverage options and additional protection worth considering
Almost in the same way that you could customize your car or truck, you can customize your auto insurance coverage. For instance, you may want to add emergency road service or rental car reimbursement coverage to your auto policy. The extra services do not cost a lot, and you’ll be glad to have them when you need them. Here’s more information about some of the options.

To review your current coverage, get in touch with an insurance advisor. Every Erie Insurance auto policy comes with a local insurance agent who will give you that personal touch—coverages you need and nothing you don’t, all at a great price.

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