Driving in cold weather

woman using ice scraper on car windshield

photo credit: pigstubs via photopin cc

So here’s the scenario: You’re laying in your nice, warm bed when your radio alarm clock wakes you up with another weather forecast filled with freezing temperatures and more snow expected. In a perfect world, you turn the alarm off, close your eyes and forget everything you just heard because you aren’t going anywhere today.   But most of us live in the world where you have to get up, scrape your windows, jump in your vehicle and face the elements, so here’s a small checklist for your vehicle to help keep you safe when the weather turns bad.

A winter checklist for your vehicle

The following items should cover most situations:

  • windshield scraper and snow brush;
  • lightweight shovel;
  • bag of sand, wire traction mat or other abrasive substance;
  • large box of facial tissues;
  • properly inflated spare tire;
  • wheel wrench and jack;
  • first aid kit;
  • flashlight;
  • flares;
  • battery jumper cables.

For long distance travel take extra precautions: bring a blanket, candles, lighter or matches, emergency rations, lined winter boots, hat and other warm clothes, and small heating cans.

It only takes a few dollars and very little time to make sure your car is fully prepared and equipped for harsh, winter conditions. It’s worth the effort.

 

Take time to take care.

Ron Lapointe
Registered Broker

 

* Some information for this checklist supplied by the Canada Safety Council.

 

Winter is Coming – Don’t forget: Your car is not a Sherman Tank!

Be prepared - winter driving

photo credit: OregonDOT via photopin cc

Clean off Your Car in Winter

How often have you been driving down the highway in the winter when you approach a car in front of you that is hurtling down the road resembling a giant white tank? Let me paint this picture a little clearer for you. The ‘car’ in front of you has so much snow left on it that the wind is firing frozen missiles from it’s roof at you that come crashing down on your windshield, making for some pretty anxious moments.

After a few kilometers following this nitwit, you cautiously take your opportunity to pass them to get out of the barrage of ice and snow only to discover that all of their windows are covered in snow except for a tiny credit card sized hole that they’ve scraped off of their windshield with what looks like their finger nails.

This driver is a huge liability on the road as they can’t see you, and because of all the flying snow, you have a hard time seeing them.  They could also be subject to a sizeable fine* for their carelessness in making sure that they are operating a safe vehicle, especially in adverse conditions.

Winter driving is stressful enough at the best of times, so how can you make sure that you are not the one driving the Sherman Tank?

Clear ALL snow and ice off your vehicle before getting behind the wheel. This includes your windows, trunk, hood, roof and sides of the vehicle if necessary. This will make it much easier for others to see your vehicle and avoid you being at fault for flying snow and ice into other vehicles that could cause a serious accident, especially when traveling at highway speeds.

Slow down. Your vehicle is NOT indestructible, and can’t stop on a dime, especially when traveling on snow covered, wet or icy roads, so give yourself extra room between vehicles and drive according to not just the speed limits, but the conditions around you.

– When it’s snowing, use your full nighttime lights even when driving during the daytime. Again, giving people the best chance to see you will help minimize your chances of getting hit by someone else.

Just some simple, common sense tips to help get you safely to where you want to go.

Take time to take care.

Ron Lapointe
Registered Broker

* Ontario Highway Traffic Act: 74.(1) Windows to afford clear view. All your windows must be clean and clear enough so you can see clearly out

Why Are My Insurance Premiums Still Going Up?

Insurance Premiums Rising

The Insurance industry is experiencing another year of increased insurance premiums. Why? Below is some information to help you understand what is going on within the insurance industry.

The cost of insurance is influenced by many varied factors. Details like the increased costs to repair damaged vehicles, increased instances of insurance fraud, and rising medical and rehabilitation costs for accident victims all play a role in the determination of your insurance premiums. In the past few years:

  • The number of Collision claims, and cost to repair or replace vehicles has been increasing over 10% annually.
  • Costs associated with Accident Benefits claims have been increasing 14% annually.
  • Overall claims costs were up to 50% higher in 2000 than they were in 1999.
  • The Investment Income on premiums collected by Insurance Companies has decreased drastically. (You will have experienced this in your own personal finances).

While the insurance industry has implemented cost-savings measures to try to control some of these issues, many of these factors are beyond industry control.  Like all businesses, Insurance Companies need to try to maintain profitability.  An unprofitable company cannot compete in any market place. If Insurance Companies cannot stay in business, then the number of competing Insurance markets is reduced and the effect on the insurance consumer is the elimination of choice and competitive pricing.  In light of these factors, Insurance companies have increased the premiums they charge to the consumer in order to try to remain profitable. As a result, even if you have not had a loss or claim against your policy, your insurance premium will likely go up.

There are some things you can do to help offset these increases:

  • If you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company, but on a separate policy, you could qualify for a Multi-vehicle Discount.
  • If you insure both your Home and Automobile insurance policies with the same company, you could qualify for a Multi-Policy Discount.
  • Additional savings can be obtained through Higher Deductible limits.
  • If you have a child away at College or University, and that child does not have the use of your vehicles, you may be entitled to a Discount of 15%-50% on the premium you pay for the Occasional Driver coverage for that child.
  • If you have a monitored home alarm system you may qualify for an Alarm Discount on your home insurance premium.

As your Independent Insurance Broker, we are here to represent you.  Should you have any questions or should you want to make any changes to your policy coverage, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. Increased Insurance premiums are beyond your control.  Let us help in any way we can to ensure you receive the best insurance coverage at the best value.