Look After Your Car
Did you know that how you care for your automobile can impact how much your insurance costs? Believe it or not, the cheapest car insurance might be just a car wash away.
Join the Car Care Club
Take good care of your car and your car will help take good care of your automobile insurance rates. Treating your vehicle with respect in its care and maintenance reflects on the respect with which you operate your car, and respectable driving translates into safe (and cheap!) driving. If you currently treat your car as nothing more than a vessel that gets you from Point A to Point B, then it’s time to step up your game and honor your car for what it truly represents: your freedom to go wherever you like.
You don’t need to go overboard, but it wouldn’t hurt to spruce it up and generally improve the level of care you extend to your vehicle. Do your best to store your car in a protected area; preferably within a garage. When motoring, try to avoid or carefully navigate potholes and other road hazards that wreak havoc on your tyres and suspension.
Keep your vehicle well-maintained and in top operating condition, so that it will respond quickly in sudden traffic maneuvers. Check safety equipment to make sure it’s all in proper working order. You may not think of windscreen wipers as “safety equipment,” but you’d be driving rather unsafely without them. Wipers are integral to clear visibility and the safe operation of your car. Unfortunately, many drivers put off inspecting or changing wipers until the moment they’re needed most, which usually ends up being too late. It’s best to give the wipers a look-over every month, even if they haven’t been used in the past 30 days. This is because UV rays from the sun, salty moist air and other factors can break down the rubber without your ever noticing it, unless you intentionally check for damage. Give wipers a full inspection at the six-month mark, when they may be ready for replacement; wipers should be replaced every six to twelve months. Don’t overlook these sentinels of safety, as they are key to ensuring clear visibility, which is a vital factor for defensive driving.
If you’ve had your car for quite a number of years, inspect the seat belts for any signs of fraying or weakening, and check the back seat belts if they aren’t used often, to confirm that the straps haven’t stiffened, as sometimes can happen over a long period of disuse. Make your insurer aware of the care and attention you pay to your automobile, providing a list of any safety equipment installed on the vehicle.
Brush Up on Your Driving Skills
Maybe you’ve been driving ten, twenty or thirty years. That means you have a great deal of experience, but it doesn’t prove that you have the right kind of experience. Perhaps you learned a safe driving technique long ago, and have dutifully continued adhering to the tenets of the technique all these years, but in the meanwhile, experts have discovered that a different technique is actually safer or more effective, and perhaps the method you learned is no longer safe but actually dangerous. One example of this kind of situation is the long-held advice to hold your hands at the positions of ten o’clock and two o’clock on the steering wheel. The reasoning was that such positioning gives the driver the greatest amount of control when steering. Driving experts and institutions now recommend placing the left hand at the nine o’clock position and the right hand at the three o’clock position, due to the addition of air bags to the centres of steering wheels. When air bags deploy, they do so at great speed, and having hands and arms in the path of deployment, as would be the case with the ten-and-two positioning, could result in broken or even severed limbs.
Take a refresher driving course to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest safe driving techniques.
Cleanliness is Next to Cheapliness
About that earlier claim that the cheapest car insurance might be only a car wash away: it’s true--allowing your vehicle to remain dirty and unkempt reduces windscreen visibility. Further, a dirty outside typically goes hand-in-hand with a car filled with all manner of debris, which become projectiles in an auto accident. Keeping your car clean helps it to be kept safe, and a safer car is a car that costs less to insure.
Carry a Basic Tool Kit in Your Car
Amazon Price: $89.99 $43.78 Buy Now
(price as of May 15, 2014)