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Are You Paying Too Much For Car Insurance?

Are you paying more than your neighbor is for auto insurance?  We all know that rates can vary from city to city, but there are many factors that can affect your car insurance premiums.  When was the last time you checked for discounts on your insurance policy?

Vern Fonk is dedicated to helping you find the cheapest car insurance policy that also provides you with enough coverage and peace of mind.  We believe everyone has the right to affordable and quality auto insurance, no matter what your driving history may be.

The first thing you should do when checking for ways to save money on car insurance is to ask your insurance provider if you qualify for any discounts.  There are many auto insurance discounts that companies offer, but you have to be the one to ask for them.  The most common discounts are:  safe driving, multi policy, multi car, and good student discounts.

Shop around to different insurance companies.  This can take some time, so schedule out some time to answer questions and make sure you are comparing apples to apples (same coverage amounts).  Vern Fonk partners with hundreds of local and national insurance companies, so we do the shopping for you to find a cheap auto insurance policy that works for you.

Lastly, make sure the information your insurance company has is accurate.  Even the smallest changes in information on your policy can make a huge difference in your premium.  Make sure they have all your personal information (name, social security number, address, date of birth) correct as well as the information about your vehicle.  You’d be surprised to see what the changes car insurance rates are for listing a car as a sedan instead of a coupe, for example.

Stay on top of your car insurance policy.  Review it periodically to see if you could be saving money somewhere.  Remember that Vern Fonk can do the shopping for you and we can find our customers the best auto insurance at the lowest price… period!

Winter Driving

From Thanksgiving to New Years, chances are you’re probably doing some kind of travel. 91% of all holiday travelers are using their personal vehicle to get to grandma’s house. This year, the weather across the nation is supposed to be unpredictable and extreme. Keeping yourself and your family safe during this journey can be easy if you prepare beforehand and drive safely.

Before you head out, take your car in for a quick visit to the mechanic. No one wants to get caught stranded along a lone and snowy road. Get your battery checked, antifreeze levels refilled, make sure your thermostat works, and check your defroster. Colder weather makes life more challenging for your battery. Make sure it’s all juiced up and working properly. Antifreeze helps regulate the temperature of your engine, and in extreme cold weather, it keeps your engine from freezing and locking up. Keep an eye on the antifreeze levels and top it off before you leave. Get your oil changed if needed and check your tire pressure.

In snow covered roads, having properly working breaks is a must. Check your brakes and make sure they are properly installed and working. Good brakes make stopping on snowy roads and ice a lot easier. Also, make sure your tires still have enough tread on them, and if you can afford it, buy snow tires.

Make sure you know where you’re going. This one may seem like a no brainer, but knowing your route can save you money and time. Gas used from circling around and around can add up. Print out directions even if you have a navigation system on your phone, you never know when service may be out or if your battery dies. Avoid high traffic areas or maybe leave earlier or later than most people to reduce stress.

Even if you feel confident and experienced while driving in less than perfect conditions, you need to remember that other drivers may not be so sure of themselves. Increase your following distance and make sure you clear off all of your windows from snow and ice. Most experts recommend keeping a following distance of 10 seconds from the car ahead of you. This should allow you enough time to stop on snowy and icy roads. The best thing you can do is slow down when you suspect there to be any ice on the road.

Watch Out for Deer on the RoadBe prepared for the worst. Your car could break down, you could hit a deer, or someone could hit you. You won’t know what will happen until it does. Try to keep your fuel take over half full always, so that you’ll have enough fuel to get you somewhere if you get stranded or to keep your heat going if you’re stuck. Keep an emergency kit in the car at all times. Make sure there is a warm blanket in there as well as water. If you get caught in a blizzard, the best thing you can do is stay in your car. Other cars won’t be able to see you through the snow, and you could get hit. Rescuers can find a stranded car better than a lone person wandering around in the snow.

Get prepared this holiday season before you head out. If you have the option to stay home, do it. Remember to be safe and to not push the limits.

Texting and Driving – A Dangerous Combination form of distraction while driving can lead to disasterous consequences. Texting while driving has become the #1 most dangerous distraction for drivers in the United States. It has gotten a lot of press lately but some drivers don’t seem to feel that it can affect them.

Many people consider themselves multitaskers behind the wheel. Some people even brag about the ability to text, eat, shave and even put on makeup while driving. What these drivers do not realize is that they are essentially driving blind, and that taking their eyes off the road, even for just a few seconds, can take the life of a stranger or loved one.

Distracted driving is the #1 cause of death of teenagers in the United States. 500,000 people were injured and 5,000 people died in 2009 alone from distracted driving, and that number has continued to climb. The average time eyes are off the road when performing a single text is 5 seconds. 5 seconds on the freeway is enough time to travel the length of a football field. What seemed so far away when you started will soon be right in front of you.

If you text and drive, you are statistically 23 times more likely to get in a car crash than someone who has taken the pledge not to text and drive. Of all the fatal car accidents in America, 18% of them were caused from someone reading or writing a text.

Texting - #1 Car DistractionTexting isn’t the only distraction that can cause accidents. Looking at Facebook, changing the music and playing games are also major factors too. Anything that causes you to look away, even for a second can lead to major disaster. Other non-phone related distractions are:

  • Eating
  • Changing the radio station or CDs
  • Children in the back seat – quieting them down or feeding them
  • Shaving, applying makeup, or doing your hair
  • Daydreaming or sleeping

As you can see, there are many other distractions that can pull your eyes away from the road. The best plan of attack is to take care of these things BEFORE YOU GET INTO THE CAR. These things can wait.

How to Protect Your Car From Thieves

A car gets stolen every 43 seconds in the United States. Depending on where you live, the theft rate can be higher or lower, but everyone should be aware of possibility they could be next. There are some things you can do to help make your car less enticing to thieves.

Park Your Car in a Garage. A locked garage if possible. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it really is the best deterrent for car thieves. Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t have a garage, consider using a tarp or car cover to conceal your car. Also, if you can park it away from the street (but not in a dark alley), close to your home or behind your home, it will make an easy steal-and-go operation a lot harder to pull off.

Use a Car Alarm or Anti-Theft Device. When leaving your car, turn on the built in alarm (if you have one). Good car alarm systems and anti theft devices can also give you a discount on your car insurance. If you don’t have one, you can buy one fairly cheaply, or buy a fake one to trick car thieves into thinking you do.

Keep Your Car Clean and Clutter Free. The less “stuff” in your car the less someone walking by will see and think they will get. Do not leave purses, valuables, computers, or gifts in your car, it will only invite the wrong kind of attention. This is especially true if your windows aren’t tinted. Many car thieves steal cars not only for the car itself, but for the valuables inside as well as information (IDs, credit cards, cash, etc.).

Don’t Leave Your Car Running or Keys in the Ignition. Not only is it bad for the environment to keep the car running, it is an open invitation for a thief to party with your car. Many older drivers are used to the good-ole-days when leaving your keys in the car was perfectly fine, but the truth is that times have changed. Even if you’re just running in the store for one thing and it’s freezing outside, turn the car off and lock it.

Close Your Windows. Close your car windows when you leave, even if it’s hot outside. This one is a pretty easy one to do. Cracked or open windows make it extremely easy for unwanted people to get inside your car. When the windows are up, it makes a thief’s job a lot harder and usually a window needs to be broken, causing extra attention and risk. Make it hard for someone to get in the car and just roll the windows up.

As you can see, these tips are pretty easy to follow and are all pretty common-sense oriented. The easiest way to keep thieves away from your car is to make your car invisible to them by parking off the street, keeping it clean, protecting by locking it an arming an alarm, and rolling up the windows.