I recently received a friendly reminder from my car dealer not to forget to winterize my car. With winter weather fast approaching, it makes sense to tackle some of the simple maintenance tasks that could keep your car in top running condition. Timely maintenance does more than keep your vehicle running smoothly. It can help increase its trade-in value, improve its mileage and save you time and costly repairs down the road.
Belts. With the engine off, check your car’s belts for cracks and missing pieces. To check for proper tightness, press down on the belt with your thumb. If the belt gives more than half an inch, it needs tightening.
Hoses. When the car is cold, feel your car’s hoses for bulges, cracks, soft spots or brittleness. With the engine running, look for (but don’t touch) bulges or leaks. If you detect any, have the hose replaced. Note: Avoid replacing air conditioning hoses yourself. Their pressurized gases can cause serious injury.
Coolant. Check the level of coolant in your radiator by looking at the coolant overflow tank. Maintaining a 50/50 mix of antifreeze will keep your engine cool in hot weather and prevent damage when temperatures fall as low as 40 below zero. Note: Do not remove the radiator cap until the engine is turned off and has cooled down.
Oil. Depending on the driving conditions your car is subjected to, change your oil and filter as recommended in your Owner’s Manual. Also, use the recommended oil grade.
Power Steering Fluid. To check, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean, and insert it again. Pull it out again and check the level. If it is below the HOT range, add the recommended steering fluid up to the upper level mark. Note: If the fluid level is extremely low or fluid has been replaced, contact your dealer.
Brake Fluid. Check the fluid level on the outside of the tank using the lines on the reservoir as a guide. If the level is below MIN, add brake fluid from a sealed container to bring it up to MAX. You’ll notice a significant drop in fluid levels when there’s a leak. Note: Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Any absorbed moisture can cause a dangerous loss of braking performance. If your brake fluid tank requires frequent refilling, there may be a leak. Contact your dealer immediately.
Air Filter. Again, depending on the condition of the roads traveled by your vehicle, routinely check your air filter for accumulated debris.
Battery. Check your battery terminals regularly, removing any corrosion with a toothbrush and a mix of baking soda and water.
Tires. Check your tire pressure (with tires cold) once a month or more. Keep tires inflated to manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found on the driver’s side door frame placard and in the owner’s manual.
Wipers, Washers, Horn And Lights. Finally, be sure to check the operation of your car’s wipers, windshield washers, horn and lights. Tip: Isopropyl alcohol makes wiper blade clean-up a snap!
Have you ever wondered how your car insurance rates are calculated? What affects that number on the bottom of the page? Here’s the answer:
What type of car you drive- some cars cost more to insure than others do. Your rate can be affected by how likely your car is to be stolen, its age, the cost of any future repairs, and how safe it is (or isn’t).
Your driving record- your driving record largely determines how well you drive (at least in the eyes of your insurance provider). The fewer incidents you’ve been involved in, the lower your premium will be. If you have a slew of accidents and driving violations on your road resume, expect to pay significantly more than if you have a clean record.
Where you live- Outside of your own driving ability, some areas are simply safer to drive in than others, both in terms of crime and accident statistics. Your rate can vary depending upon where you garage your car as well.
The number of miles you drive each year- Statistics says by the law of large numbers that the probability of an accident increases with the amount that you drive. Therefore expect a higher rate if you put hefty mileage onto your vehicle each year.
Your age- Young drivers (especially males) will have to pay augmented rates. Generally insurance providers divide the “steps” into drivers who have been on the road for under three years, three to six years, and more than six years.
Your credit- for many insurance providers, your credit score can have an impact on your insurance rates.
Coverage- like any other insurance rate, the price is partially determined by the coverage you already have. Make sure you shop around and get the best possible price for the coverage you need.
Gap protection is an automobile coverage that helps protect you in the event of a financed total loss vehicle. Gap protection is offered by some insurance companies, lending institutions and leasing companies. It pays the difference between the total loss settlement and the outstanding loan amount of your vehicle.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you buy a new car for $30,000 and that your vehicle is totaled. You racked a lot of miles on the car and that lowered the book value to $20,000.Your insurance pays your claim, based on the book value of $20,000. Let’s also assume that you took out a 6 year loan with a very small down payment, thereby reducing the outstanding loan amount minimally. Your outstanding loan amount is $24,000. Your Gap insurance will pay the difference of $4,000.
There can be eligibility limitations, depending on the company offering Gap insurance.
Age of vehicle owner
Use of vehicle (personal vs. business)
New vs. used vehicles
Age of vehicle
We, at Andrew G. Gordon Insurance Agency, are here to assist with all your personal and business automobile needs. Visit us at www.Agordon.com.
We make insurance make sense! Learn more about auto insurance here.
Some of us are very familiar with cars driving out and about with broken headlights or brake lights (both of which are very dangerous, regardless of how fun the game "padiddle" might be). But I recently learned something else- something about a license plate light (circled in yellow in the picture below).
Did you know?
License plates lights are lights in the rear of your car that illuminate your license plate to all other drivers. It allows other drivers to read your license plate number- most likely for if they need to report you for anything illegal. Now, if you were doing something illegal, you wouldn't want your license plate to be showing anyway. However, there have been instances in which license plate lights have gone out and people have been doing completely innocent things. That happened to my friend while I was in the passenger seat; he was pulled over by the police.
Most people don't consider license plates lights, but it's something that we should not forget about. If you find that you or a friend has a car in which the license plate lights have do not work, do NOT drive at night. It's an illegal offense and you will be pulled over.
What should you do?
If you do find that your license plate lights have gone out, as I've said, do NOT go out driving at night. You can get these lights fixed at several car shops and mechanics, or you can do-it-yourself. If you do-it-yourself, make sure you order white lights for your license plate. Other colors are not acceptable in Massachusetts and any form of a blue or red light on a moving vehicle is reserved for emergency vehicles. You do not want to get pulled over and face consequences for incorrect license plates lights as well as impersonating an emergency vehicle- especially over something as tiny as a license plate light!
License plate lights are one of the things checked during a safety inspection in Massachusetts, just like headlights and brake lights. While those two may seem higher and of more importance on the hierarchy of car lights, don't forget the license plate lights. They'll get you every time!
If you have any other questions about safety, auto insurance, or any other car questions, feel free to contact us at Gordon Insurance. Learn more about auto insurance here.
We have all seen them. Sometimes they force a laugh; sometimes they tell a story. No matter what, license plates are something that some drivers do not leave up to chance.
These personally designed license plates are known as vanity plates. In Massachusetts, vanity plates are made available to nearly every type of vehicle (personal vehicle, commercial vehicle, motorcycle, etc.) Certain restrictions apply to these license plates, such as a six-character maximum (five-character max for motorcycles), and numbers and letters cannot be intermingled with each other. Example: The "INFO4U" sample license plate in this title would not be valid... oops.
If you choose to request vanity plates, just know that when you go to pick up your plates you will have to A) pay a fee, B) turn in your old plates, and C) provide a RMV-3 form that must be stamped by your insurance company.
Vanity plates can be fun. Whether you're trying to send a message or begin a conversation, discussing your unique license plate is always a good starter. **Disclaimer: I have no idea if it is a good starter. I'm assuming if people are gathered around your car then YES it's a good plan.**
Making a bench is another way to be creative with license plates. Personally, I think ordering a vanity plate would be a lot easier, but that's just my opinion.
However, just know that if you get a vanity plate, you no longer are part of the crowd. That is, people can feel free to take a snapshot that may make it to the internet. If you Google "vanity plates," then some funny cars and plates come up. What if that were your car? Would you feel comfortable with people being able to look up your vehicle? Clever vanity plates also run a high risk of being stolen off the front of cars, and where would you be without your plate on your vehicle? The answer: a bad situation. When you draw attention to your vehicle, not all the attention is going to be good attention.
Be sure to consider all aspects of vanity plates before choosing, and if you have any other questions feel free to contact us! Learn more about auto insurance here.
You’ve just had a fender bender and then find out your insurance company won’t go to bat for you to avoid the dreaded ‘at-fault’ tag for the accident. Aren’t they supposed to? Isn’t that what you’d expect from a risk partner?
Yes, they are.
In fact, it’s always in your insurance company’s interest to have the other driver considered at-fault. And having your financial interests and the insurance company’s financial interests both trying to find the other driver at-fault is the best alignment possible.
Here’s why your interests align:
The insurance company for the at-fault driver ends up paying most or all of the cost of the accident. That’s a big incentive. If you’re at-fault, they’ll pay your collision AND the repairs to the other driver’s car, even when the other driver goes through his own insurance. (This is a process known as subrogation, where the non-at-fault company gets paid after the fact by the at-fault driver’s company).
So why don’t they fight harder?
In short, legal reality. Massachusetts traffic law has been litigated and argued for about a hundred years. That’s a lot of case law. And even the most skilled lawyering can’t get you ‘not at-fault’ if the case law is against you (excepting documented extenuating circumstances).
Massachusetts traffic law has been summarized in the “Standard of Fault”. Distilled down to the very basics, the at-fault driver was usually in one of these situations:
Not yielding to oncoming traffic
-Crossing traffic to turn left
-entering a main road from a side road
Hitting someone in the rear
–not stopping in time
While in reverse
It’s always good to get fresh information at the accident, to avoid ‘description drift’. See our tips on right after an accident to understand how to protect your interests. Or call us at 800-649-3252. Learn more about auto insurance here.
With the beautiful summer weather we’ve been having, there are more motorcycles than ever on the highways. Due to their relatively small size, they are not always easily visible to the larger vehicles on the road and thus can present a potential risk of accident. It’s important to be aware of them when on the road, and to give both extra space and extra attention to the two-wheeled cousin of the car.
Motorcycle fatalities have also been climbing,
reaching 4,976 in 2015. There has also been a dramatic jump in the number of deaths among motorcyclists age 40 and older in recent years.
Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time it is the motorist, not the motorcyclist, who is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle – they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots (door/roof pillars) or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car (bushes, fences, bridges, etc). Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. It may also be difficult to judge a motorcycle’s speed. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
Motorcyclists often adjust position within a lane to be seen more easily and to minimize the effects of road debris, passing vehicles, and wind. Understand that motorcyclists adjust lane position for a purpose, not to be reckless or show off or to allow you to share the lane with them.
Turn signals on a motorcycle usually are not self-canceling, thus some riders (especially beginners) sometimes forget to turn them off after a turn or lane change. Make sure a motorcycle’s signal is for real.
Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.
Stopping distance for motorcycles is nearly the same as for cars, but slippery pavement makes stopping quickly difficult. Allow more following distance behind a motorcycle because it can’t always stop “on a dime.”
Looking into buying a new car? Debating between the reliable mini-van or that indulgent sports car? If insurance factors into your budget, keep in mind the type of car you drive will affect how much your insurance costs.
So if you’re looking to go the sports car route, you might want to think twice. The way those cars are driven and who’s driving them statistically produces more accidents. Therefore, it makes sense that companies would charge more if there is greater risk.
Top 10 least expensive cars to insure
1. Toyota Sienna LE
6. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab
2. Toyota Sienna 4 cyl
7. Dodge Grand Caravan SXT
3. Jeep Patriot Sport
8. Ford Escape XLS
4. Jeep Compass Sport
9. Toyota Sienna 6 cyl
5. GMC Sierra K1500 Regular Cab
10. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab
The converse is also true. People who drive safe, reliable family vehicles are more likely not to get into an accident; therefore, not costing the companies replacement prices. So what are the reasons these cars are placed in their own category above? Safety, top speed, anti-theft, and cost all factor into the bill you’re sent.
Performance: how can it drive on the autobahn?
Engine size is a large factor in insurance price. If you can produce 1.21 gigawatts (the equivalent of a bolt of lightning according to Back to the Future) you may be able to travel in time, but it will cost you more on your insurance.
How many miles your car logged just getting to the dealership can adversely affect your costs. Foreign/ exotic parts are harder to come by and therefore more expensive should you need them.
Is Bigger Better?
Not necessarily. You’re not always safer in a larger vehicle. Rollover rates and other inherent safety flaws exist within SUVs and trucks. Even if the SUV is safer than an alternative, large vehicle still cause more damage in accidents, leading to higher liability coverage rates.
A fast performing, poorly protected auto in a parking lot is more likely to catch someones eye if they're in the market for a free vehicle. Since that type of car is more desirable to thieves, they will cost more to protect on your insurance.
Cars involved in routine and safe driving will be less money on your insurance. Insurance is a game of numbers and those "soccer mom" vehicles are in less accidents statistically.
“Remember: insurance companies play a game of numbers; if your car is going to cost more to replace, then you’re going to pay more for it. With that in mind, go forth and buy the right car for you and your insurer.”- Corbin Foucart
Many people with insurance have good, reliable used vehicles that they depend on every day. There comes a time, however, when a decision must be made regarding the purchase or continuation of physical damage coverage. At some point the premium for comprehensive and collision coverage plus the deductible charged for the at fault collision may outweigh the value of the vehicle damaged. Oftentimes we recommend keeping comprehensive coverage in force when deleting the collision coverage since if provides for windshield repair or replacement with no deductible applied for a fairly low premium. For more information about this, go to our auto insurance page.
The other big decision regarding older vehicles is when is it time to stop repairing and buy a new vehicle. People insist they would rather “drive their used car into the ground” rather than take on new car payments. However, in some cases, purchasing a new car may actually be the less costly way to go.
Some examples of a good time to buy new might be:
1.) If the monthly repair bills exceed a new(er) car loan payment
2.) When the used car needs major work, such as a transmissionor engine fix which may cost several thousand dollars with no guarantee that the car will be as good as new
3.) When the car has high mileage and may not have a lot of life left as evidenced by a mechanic
4.) When you’re spending more and more time and effort on constant repairs
If any of the above applies to the situation, it may be time to walk away from the old and consider the new purchase.
For information about insuring you're new car, check us out at agordon.com and watch a few of our whiteboard videos. Learn more about your automobile insurance options here.
If you have an in-experienced driver (0-6 years of experience) and are looking for ways to save money on your auto insurance, then here are a few things to consider:
Driver’s Education – this qualifies your child for a lower rate by applying a different Driver Classification versus a driver without Driver’s Ed. I am always surprised when I come across a driver that has not taken Drivers Education. Sadly, in this economy, this is happening a little more often and then the child is not given the proper tools/training for driving safely.
Advanced Driver Training – Usually a 5% reduction with the companies that offer this discount for completing a course with programs such as In Control or Driving School.
Good Student – A 10-15% reduction if your child is maintaining a B average or higher.
Student Away at School – A 5-15% reduction if your child is attending a school over 100 miles from home and does not have access to a car.
The above discounts, other than Driver’s Education, are not offered by all companies, the discounts vary depending on the company and the discounts are off certain coverage for the vehicle that the child is rated on. Contact us for any questions about our discounts and check out our website for other new driver insurance resources.