It’s AZ Law: Put Your Phone Down while Driving

put your phone down
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It’s official! On Monday, April 22, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill prohibiting all motorists from “physically holding” or “supporting with any part of the body” any wireless communication device in the Grand Canyon State. The law, which goes into effect immediately, outlaws any phone related activity unless it’s hands-free. That includes typing, sending or reading text messages; talking on the phone; taking a selfie; browsing social media; surfing the internet; and typing, sending or reading an email.

The Law

The law gives law enforcement the ability to stop drivers from physically holding their phones. It makes using any “portable wireless device” while driving a primary offense, meaning that if a police officer sees a phone or another device in your hands, they can pull you over. No other reason is needed. While the law goes into effect immediately, there is a grace period, meaning that law enforcement can only issue warnings until 2021. can, however, be cited in these cities:

Drivers can, in the interim, be cited in these cities:

Tempe – Tempe mirrors state law; drivers can’t talk, text or hold their phone, unless hands-free or stopped at a red light. Fines are $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for subsequent violations within a 24-month period.

Fountain Hills – Texting and driving is illegal in Fountain Hills. Motorists caught violating local ordinance are subject to a fine of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for any subsequent violations within a 24-month period.

Phoenix – Texting while driving within Phoenix city limits is illegal.

Glendale – The Glendale ordinance prohibits talking, texting or otherwise using a cellphone while driving. The minimum fine for a first offense is $250.

Surprise – Talking, texting or anything involving a handheld communication device are prohibited in Surprise. The minimum fine for a first offense is $250.

Why This Law Was Needed

Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries. That is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It kills about nine people each day and injures thousands more. Standing behind Gov. Ducey, as he signed HB 2318 into law on Monday, were just some of the families of these victims.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies three main types of distraction:

“Visual: Taking your eyes off the road;

Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel; and

Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving.”

Each sent text, phone call or other phone related activity, combines all three types of distraction. That means that you’re endangering not only your life but the lives of your passengers and other people on the road. The latter includes pedestrians as well. It’s simply not worth it and now it’s against the law in the state of Arizona!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the penalties for the hands-free law? Beginning January 1, 2021, you can be fined between $75 and $150 for a first offense. Second and subsequent violations carry a fine up to $250. Meanwhile, existing local laws remain in effect and can be enforced, even if a city or county ordinance is stricter than what’s in the new law (see above).

Can a police officer pull you over before January 1, 2012? Yes! Because HB 2318 takes effective immediately, you can be pulled over for using or holding your phone while driving, although police officers can only issue warnings right now. The grace period before citations will be issued allows law enforcement to educate the public.

Are there any exemptions to the new law? Drivers can make and receive calls using Bluetooth devices (e.g., headphones or earbuds, digital media receivers, or wrist-worn smartwatches etc.). You must be able to voice activate and deactivate all functions. Drivers can send or read texts, as well, but only if their devices allow voice-to-text.

Is it legal to text at a red light? Arizona motorists can still read or send text messages while stopped at a red light, although that does not necessarily mean they should. “Texting while at the light” is not without risk, according to a 2015 study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As an independent insurance agent, Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. is committed to educating Arizona drivers and providing solid insurance quotes at competitive rates. Contact us today at (480) 820-2297 for a free auto insurance quote.

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How to Spring Clean Your Car

Spring Clean Your Car

There is more to spring than mild temperatures and blooming flowers. It’s also the season for refreshing your home and landscape, hence the term, “spring cleaning.” Your vehicle can also benefit from a deep cleansing. Use these tips to spring clean your car before the weather heats up.

Organize

Every vehicle owner knows that cars can get messy, especially when no organization system is present. First, declutter, using separate bags for trash and any items you still want to keep in your car. Once you’ve decluttered the car, purchase a trash can, trunk organizer, and other organizational products to help control clutter. Purchase a coupon folder for essentials (e.g., registration, insurance card, roadside assistance card, emergency numbers (in case your phone battery dies)) and store in your glove box.

Clean and Polish

After decluttering, spruce up your interior, starting by thoroughly vacuuming the carpets and upholstery. Use different attachments to get into tight spaces and for delicate surfaces. While you have the vacuum out, use a hard-bristled brush to clean your vents, vacuuming the dust up while you work. Next, wipe down your entire dashboard, console and around the steering wheel. Apply a protectant to these surfaces as well as any leather upholstery. This will help prevent sun damage.

Wash and Wax

Using warm water and a car wash solution (using dish soap is not recommended), thoroughly wash your car, working from top to bottom. Use the two-bucket method – one bucket for warm soapy water and the other for clean water – along with two separate sponges or microfiber cloths. Waxing your car after washing can add shine and help protect the paint. Consumer Reports recommends using liquid wax products. For best results, always follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Deep Clean the Carpets and Upholstery

Spring is also a great time to use a portable carpet cleaner to deep clean your vehicle’s carpets and upholstery. Fill a bucket with hot water, dishwashing detergent, and a cup of white vinegar. Use a hard bristle brush to agitate the fibers. Let sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing with water and blotting dry. You may need to crack the windows overnight to ensure it complete dries. Clean leather with a cloth soaked in water and a low-pH soap. Allow to thoroughly dry. Condition for added protection.

Inspect and Replace Wiper Blades

Damaged or worn wiper blades can reduce driving visibility during spring showers. Check your wiper blades for any signs of wear and tear or improper contact with your windshield semi-annually. Reference your owner’s manual for correct blade length. You can find replacement blades for under $20/each at most any auto parts store, big box retailer, and warehouse store.

Go Hands Free (it’s now the law in many cities)

There are drivers who think it’s alright to drive down a highway with a phone in their hands. They scroll social media, type out mile long texts, and even play games. Other drivers try to maneuver away from the distracted driver, hoping to put themselves a safe distance away, which is no easy feat in rush hour traffic. Distracted driving is a nationwide problem that, in 2016, claimed the lives of 3,450 people.

After an increase in accidents involving distracted drivers, many cities throughout the Valley are enforcing hands-free cellphone use; anyone caught holding a phone is subject to a steep fine. Arizona is currently considering a statewide ban as well. Drivers should assume that all cities have hands-free ordinances and use a wireless charging mount coupled with Android Auto or Apple Car Play. Hands-on activities can wait!

Review Your Insurance Policies

The Insurance Information Institute recommends checking your insurance policies (i.e., home, auto, life) annually to make sure everything is up to date. You may also want to compare your rates with other companies; you may even find a better rate. If you’ve recently purchased a new car, you risk being underinsured or over insured, depending on the age, make and model of your new vehicle unless you report the change to your independent insurance agent.

As an independent insurance agent, Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with superior service and solid insurance solutions at competitive rates. Contact us today at (480) 820-2297 for a free auto insurance quote.

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How to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

stay safe this holiday season

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Right now, there are just seven days until the biggest Holiday of the year, which means people are putting the finishing touches on their holiday decorating and purchasing last-minute gifts for family and friends. Many others may be finalizing their travel plans or preparing a feast for 12. If you fall into one or more of these categories, it is important to take several precautionary measures, thus ensuring you and your loved ones can enjoy the holiday season in the safest way possible.

Stay safe this holiday season using the following four tips.

Tip No. 1: Holiday Decorating

Between 2012-2016, U.S. Fire Departments responded to approximately 970 home structure fires that began with holiday decorations, including the holiday tree. Always make sure to choose LED (they generate less heat) light sets that are “UL Listed;” inspect strands for frayed wires, loose connections, or other damage; and only connect a maximum of three sets. Place holiday trees, whether real or artificial, away from all heat sources. If real, water frequently, and properly dispose of it as soon as it dries out. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a publication with additional safety tips to help you stay safe this holiday season.

Tip No. 2: Preparing Holiday Meals

Each year, U.S. Fire Departments respond to hundreds of kitchen fires caused by unattended cooking, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The leading dates for these fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. That’s why it is so important to remain in the kitchen while cooking; keep flammable items, like oven mitts, wooden utensils and kitchen towels away from the cooking area; make sure kids stay three-feet away from appliances and hot food/liquids; and turn handles away from the edge to prevent pots and pans from being knocked over. Additionally, you should unplug all small appliances, including pressure and slow cookers after each use.

Tip No. 3: Prevent Grinch’s from Taking Your Packages

According to a 2017 survey conducted by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service, 30 percent of Americans report experiencing package theft. Unfortunately, most of these follow the biggest shopping days of the year; Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Thanks to modern technology, you have several options for protecting your packages from holiday Grinch’s, regardless of which delivery service the sender may choose to use.

First, there are security cameras, which stream and record live footage of the area surrounding your front door. These devices have motion sensors that are designed to alert you as soon as even the slightest movement is detected. Most also feature infrared technology for night vision. You can find a wide range of outdoor security cameras online and at local electronic stores.

Another option is to send your packages to a nearby Amazon locker. You are instantly notified once the package has arrived. The notification includes a unique six-digit code that you can use to pick-up your package within the provided 72 hours. This code can also be found by going to “Your Orders” then “Track Package.” If you have multiple orders, one code unlocks all lockers used, one at a time. Follow on-screen prompts.

Tip No. 4: Have the Police Check on Your Home while You’re Away

If you’re traveling during the holidays, arrange to have your city’s Police Department keep an eye on things; several precincts offer vacation watch programs. The cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Peoria, Scottsdale, and Queen Creek can all patrol your home more frequently. You must notify them of your plans at least one week prior to your absence. Each city requires you to complete a “Request Vacation Watch” form.

This form, which can be filled out online, asks for your contact information (e.g., name, address, email, and phone number) as well as your travel schedule. Pertinent information, like whether your house lights are on or on timers, the make/model of any vehicles parked in the driveway, if anyone is watching your home, etc. is also requested. This ensures officers/volunteers know what to expect when watching your home.

Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. would like to wish you Happy Holidays and a joyous New Year. Also, remember to stay safe this holiday season! As an independent insurance agent, we are committed to providing our clients with superior service and solid insurance solutions, all at competitive rates. Contact us at (480) 820-2297 for a free insurance quote.

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Scenic Fall Foliage Day Trips

Scenic Fall Foliage

Vibrant fall foliage, brisk air, and warm apple cider – there’s a lot to love about the season. Now that the temperature has dropped a bit, the season is also a prime time for exploration. A seasonal favorite for many people? Taking a day trip to see some of the Grand Canyon State’s most scenic fall foliage.

These are the most picturesque places to see fall foliage.

Please note that according to the U.S. Forest Service, fall colors typically reach optimum viewing time around Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim during the first few weeks of October, while lower elevations won’t see vibrant fall colors until the end of October or the beginning of November.

Two Favorites for Scenic Fall Foliage

Fill up your tank and set course for either one of these two locations.

Snowbowl

You’ll find three great nature trails at Snowbowl. One of the best options for scenic fall foliage is Aspen Nature Loop. This 1.5-mile trail winds through colorful ponderosa and aspen groves. For a leisurely cruise, by bike or car, take Snowbowl Drive to the top (seven-miles). Here you’ll go past spectacular ponderosas and aspens. At the top is where your find the chairlift which you can use to take in all the fall colors.

Oak Creek Canyon

Sedona offers a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts’ year ‘round, but to see the colors of fall, you’ll need to head over to Oak Creek Canyon. Nestled between Flagstaff and Sedona, this river gorge is home to maples and oaks, with glistening reddish-gold hues set against iconic red rock buttes. Beautiful vistas can be viewed by walking along West Fork Trail or driving the canyon’s length on Route 89A.

Staying Safe on the Road

Here are some tips for navigating Arizona’s roadways during the fall:

Watch your speed. Always drive the posted speed limit and leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. You should also be mindful of road work and school zones; slowing down as directed by flaggers or signs.

Watch out for wildlife. Since you’ll be driving through rural areas, it’s important to be alert for Arizona’s abundant wildlife, both large and small. Wild horses, deer, or other critters may be crossing the road. You should be especially cautious after dark.

Check your tire pressure. As temperatures drop, tires can expand and contract, causing them to lose air pressure. Each month, check tire pressure and tread. Reference the decal on the driver’s side door jamb for your vehicle’s correct tire pressure.

Drive with your headlights on. Shrinking daylight hours and fall showers can decrease visibility. Combat this by driving with your headlights on. Use your headlights on rural or mountain roads and two-lane highways as well.

As an independent insurance agent, Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with superior service and solid insurance solutions at competitive rates. Contact us today at (480) 820-2297 for a free auto insurance quote.

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Safe Driving Tips for Arizona’s Monsoon Season

monsoon season

An Arizona summer provides many opportunities for staying active, boating in area lakes, and visiting popular venues. Families may also choose to escape the heat and camp up at the Mogollon Rim.

This can result in a lot more people on the roadways – sometimes in less than ideal driving conditions. Arizona’s monsoon season often causes these conditions.

Arizona’s monsoon season runs from June 15th to September 30th each year. Residents of the Grand Canyon state can generally expect frequent lightning strikes, heavy downpours, and strong winds. Haboobs and flash floods are not uncommon.

Here are some safe driving tips for Arizona’s monsoon season.

Be Aware of Local Weather

The National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings. If emergency alerts are enabled, you may receive these on your phone. You can also tune into local television and radio stations for the weather. @NWSPhoenix Tweets warnings as well.

Information such as area(s) affected, potential hazards and exposure, and an estimated time to expect the “storm in effect” are included within these alerts.

It is a good idea to stay off the road during severe weather. That, however, is not always feasible. If you find yourself caught in a foreboding wall of dust like the one we witnessed last Thursday, August 2nd, pull safely off the road and wait for it to pass.

Although most storms are short, keeping a well-stocked emergency roadside kit, along with bottled water and non-perishable snacks in your vehicle is advised.

Keep these rules in mind: Do not stop in travel or emergency lanes – you want to pull as far off the road as possible; and stay inside your parked vehicle with your seatbelt fastened, your headlights off, and your emergency brake on.

Tips for Getting from Point A to B Safely

Exercise Caution in Areas Prone to Flooding

Avoid areas prone to flooding. According to the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AZEIN), “six inches of fast moving water can knock down an adult, and 18 inches of water can carry most vehicles away.” Obey all posted signs and barricades. Exercise extreme caution when driving through standing water as well. There is no way to know what condition the road is in under it. It is also possible for the depth of water to be deceiving.

Turn on Your Headlights

Always use your headlights in poor weather. This can make your car visible to other drivers around you, thus improving your safety. Yellowed, foggy lenses can have the opposite effect, and may even restrict your headlights’ ability to illuminate the road. They should be regularly cleaned or restored.

Turn Off Cruise Control

Depending on cruise control, even adaptive cruise control, is not recommend during rainy weather. Here’s why: It can cause the vehicle to lose traction and ultimately hydroplane (slide uncontrollably). Refrain from using any type of cruise control whether it is raining, or the roads are wet.

Slow Down

When it is raining, or the roads are wet, driving too fast can be dangerous. The friction between your tires and the road are reduced in these conditions. Water can also affect your brakes response time. Experts recommend slowing down and increasing the traveling distance between you and the car in front of you.

As an independent insurance agent, Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc. is committed to providing our customers with superior service and solid insurance solutions at affordable prices. Contact us today at (480) 820-2297 for a free auto insurance quote.

Resources:

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Home Security Measures to Consider

home security measures

Ensure your household’s safety and security with the following home security measures. Bonus: Some home security products like alarm systems and motion-activated doorbells may make you eligible for homeowners or renters insurance discounts. Contact your independent insurance agent to see if you would qualify.

Reinforce Entry Points

The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends installing either steel or wood entry doors that are, at minimum, one-and-three quarters inches thick. Combine with a pick-resistant deadbolt. Windows can be secured with key locks or metal security bars. The latter can add extra protection to sliding patio doors as well. Tip: Never leave your garage opener or keys in an unattended vehicle or “hidden” location.

Protect Your Packages

The convenience of home delivery has made online shopping increasingly popular – especially around the holidays. In recent years, however, packages left on doorsteps have proved too great a temptation for thieves. In fact, according to Ring, 23 million Americans had a package stolen from their home in 2015.

Ring suggests shipping packages to another location, such as an Amazon locker, or having the delivery company hold them as well as requiring a signature or requesting a text when a delivery has been made. Another option is to install motion-activated security cameras around your home to monitor activity even when you’re away from home.

Get to Know Your Neighbors

Getting to know your neighbors can prove invaluable. Neighbors can contact you, and you them, if anything out-of-the-ordinary happens in the community. They can also check up on the exterior of your home when you go on vacation. Introduce yourself by joining a neighborhood watch or hosting/attending a street party. Joining an online social network like Nextdoor for your neighborhood is another great resource.

Install Motion-Activated Lights

Install motion-activated LED security lights around your property to deter intruders who are generally attracted to dark houses. Spotlights designed to detect motion can be purchased at local home improvement stores or online for under $50. Security lights with built-in cameras are now available as well. You may also want to consider eliminating potential hiding spots by trimming your landscaping.

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Dead Car Battery? Here’s How to Jump Start It!

dead car battery

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You should always keep jumper cables (also called booster cables) in the trunk of your car. Available in varying lengths, 12 to 25 feet, jumper cables can really come in handy in the event of a weak or dead battery. You can also purchase a portable jump start instead, or in combination, of jump cables.

Follow these steps to jump start a dead car battery.

Step 1: Position the functioning car as close as possible to the vehicle with a dead battery. Nose-to-nose tends to work best. Turn off the engines, removing the keys, and open the hood to both cars. Locate the batteries and remove any plastic coverings.

Step 2: Attach the red, positive cable clamp to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Ensure you have a solid connection to the terminal by wiggling the clamps. Connect the other red end to the functioning vehicle’s positive (+) terminal.

Step 3: Attach the black, negative cable clamp to the live battery’s negative (-) terminal. Connect the black, negative cable clamp to an unpainted, metal part of the stalled car. This “grounds” it, ensuring a safe jump.

Step 4: Start the booster car.

Step 5: After five minutes have passed, try starting the vehicle with a dead battery. If the car doesn’t start, you can try waiting a few more minutes, or revving the engine of the working car. That should do the trick.

Step 6: Once the stalled car is running, disconnect the jumper cables, starting with the black (-) cable clamps on the stalled vehicle and then the working vehicle. The red (+) cable clamps should be disconnected last. Be careful not to let the jumper cables touch.

Step 7: Take a short, 30-minute drive, allowing the battery to build up a charge.

If that doesn’t work, or if the car starts but then quickly dies again, there may be another culprit at play. Most local replacement auto parts stores can conveniently test for several issues, free of charge, including:

  • a blown fuse
  • battery corrosion
  • a faulty ignition switch
  • a faulty alternator or starter
  • a battery that has lived past its prime (a battery lasts about three years in Arizona)
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Must-Have Vehicle Gadgets

Vehicle Gadgets

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Make your car smarter and safer in 2018 with the right products. These must-have vehicle safety gadgets, all of which can be purchased aftermarket, are designed to help you be better prepared for whatever the road may throw at you.

Here are just a few of our favorite vehicle gadgets.

Emergency Roadside Kit

A good emergency roadside kit should include:

  • Tow straps
  • First aid kit
  • Basic toolset
  • Car phone charger
  • A change of clothes
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Survival blanket or sleeping bag
  • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
  • Jumper cables or portable jump starter kit
  • Flares or reflectors to signal for help and warn other drivers

You should also include tire chains, a snow/ice scraper, and a snow shovel if you live in, or expect to visit or drive through, Northern Arizona (where freezing temperatures, snow, and ice may exist or be forecasted).

You can either buy a pre-made emergency roadside kit, adding missing essentials as needed, or build your own using the above item suggestions. Already have a kit? It’s a good idea to review its contents, replacing anything expired or damaged, once every season.

Smartphone Mount

This easy one-touch mount is made to keep your phone handy while you’re on the go, making tasks, such as navigating to the nearest Starbucks and hands-free calling relatively easy (and safe!). It securely attaches to your dash or windshield via a sticky gel coated suction cup. Adjustable viewing allows you to extend and pivot its telescopic arm for a variety of optimal positions.

Emergency Radio

Whether you’re going mountain biking, hiking or camping, an emergency radio could prove to be a vital tool during an emergency. In an emergency, having access to light, NOAA weather information, and alternate sources to charge your phone can be invaluable. Typically, emergency radios can be powered by hand crank, built-in solar or with a battery. They are also compact enough to store in an emergency roadside kit.

Travel Tray

It’s inevitable. From the grocery store, pediatrician’s office or local amusement park, today’s families are always on the go. Make car rides easier with Travel Tray; an innovative two compartment snack and drink travel tray. It can be taken anywhere and fits conveniently into vehicle, car seat and stroller cup holders. 100% food grade safe; BPA-free, PHT-free, and PVC-free; and top rack dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.

Dash Cam

A dash cam is to your car what a security camera is to your home. High-definition dash cams can help you prove who is responsible for a motor vehicle accident or record a memorable drive. Provides high-quality recordings during both the day and night. This dash cam features wide dynamic range, loop recording, and accident auto detection. It also automatically turns on and off when you switch the ignition on and off.

Advanced Navigation

The newest tech/safety feature on aftermarket navigational systems is a heads-up display. The idea behind this futuristic feature is simple: Eliminate distractions by displaying turn-by-turn directions directly in your line of sight. This tech attaches to your car’s dashboard and connects to your phone via Bluetooth, displaying maps, music, texts and calls on a transparent screen. Best of all, it can be controlled hands-free!

Tire Pressure Safety Monitor

Under-inflation is one of the leading causes of tire failure and poor fuel economy. Newer cars have a tire pressuring monitoring system (TPMS) that lights up a warning on the dash if low tire pressure is detected. While owners of older cars had to remember to check their tire pressure monthly, there are now aftermarket tire pressure safety monitors that can be purchased, and installed within minutes. This system includes four Bluetooth-enabled valve caps, a receiver, and a smartphone app.

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Safe Travels, Happy Holidays!

safe travels

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The holiday season is upon us, and with it, the busiest travel season of the year. Over 50 million people will journey away from home over the next few weeks. Enjoy all the tidings of comfort and joy in the company of friends and family with the following tips. Safe travels and happy holidays to you and yours!

Plan Your Trip

Map your route (even with GPS). By plugging your travel plans into an online route planner, you can get a good sense of what to expect, along with being able to determine your gas mileage and driving times. One of our favorite resources is Google Maps. In addition to turn-by-turn directions, which you can print or download, you can now find interesting places to stop along the way.

Vehicle Maintenance

AAA suggests completing the following vehicle maintenance:

  • Get an oil change
  • Test the battery
  • Replace wiper blades
  • Fill the windshield washer reservoir
  • Make sure your head, tail and brake lights all work
  • Check tire pressure and tread depth – you may also want to consider having your tires rotated

Emergency Road Kit

Before leaving home, prepare for the unexpected with an emergency car kit packed with all the essentials, such as jumper cables, a working flashlight and extra batteries, basic tools, a first-aid kit, blankets, water and nonperishable snacks (e.g., power bars, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, etc.). Already have a kit? Review its contents, replacing anything expired or damaged. Consider investing in road side assistance as well. If visiting Northern Arizona, make sure to pack snow chains!

Check Weather Reports

We are big fans of checking the conditions along your route, not just the weather at your home and destination. Winter storm headed your direction? Plan another route or, if possible, head out a day earlier to avoid it. Take a few minutes to check current and forecasted weather conditions with the National Weather Service.

Stay Focused/Alert

Any time you’re traveling a long distance, breaking up the drive periodically – every two hours or 100 miles – will help you remain focused and alert. Spend 15 minutes stretching your legs. When you stop for breaks, choose a well-lit, populated facility that offers a good cell phone signal.

Increase Following Distance

According to AAA, the three to four second following distance should be more than doubled to eight to ten seconds during the winter months; even more in severe weather conditions. You should also accelerate and decelerate slowly; avoid using cruise control; and avoid applying extra gas when going up hills.

Note: This blog has been updated for 2017. The original blog can be found here.

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Five Common Auto Insurance Myths

auto insurance myths

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There are many common misconceptions associated with auto insurance coverage. Protect yourself from future misunderstandings by familiarizing yourself with the truth behind these five auto insurance myths.

Myth: If you loan your car to a friend, their auto insurance will cover any damages in the event of an accident.

Truth: Your insurance policy is considered primary. As the vehicle’s owner, you are responsible for any damages resulting from a vehicular accident, regardless of who was driving. In other words, auto insurance follows the car, not the driver. Every state, however, has their own rules and regulations so make sure to research those before giving your friend permission to operate your vehicle.

Myth: The color of your vehicle determines your policy rates.

Truth: The rate of your policy is determined by several variables. Among them are the make, model, body type, engine size, safety features, and age of the vehicle. Personal attributes that may also affect your rate include YOUR age, driving record, and credit history. Vehicle repair and replacement costs are also considered. Color is not considered when determining policy rates.

Myth: Your insurance company will pay off your loan if your vehicle is totaled in an accident.

Truth: Your insurance provider will pay fair market value for your vehicle in the event it is totaled. Usually, they determine fair market value by looking at comps; vehicles in your area that match your vehicle’s make, model, age, and condition. This is often, but not always, less than the balance of your loan.

In this situation, you, as the vehicle’s owner would be responsible for any remaining balance on the loan. For example: If you owe $10,000, but the fair market value is $7,000, you would be responsible for the remaining $3,000 on the loan. Therefore, you may want to consider purchasing GAP insurance, especially if you are leasing or financing a vehicle.

Myth: Thieves only steal new cars.

Truth: Vehicles with an established model line history, or cars that continually sell well year after year tend to be more attractive to thieves. Often, it’s more lucrative for a thief to steal a car for parts, than it is for them to try and sell the vehicle private party. Cars with an established model line are more abundant on the road, making it easier for thieves to find customers who are willing to purchase parts, no questions asked.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these were the top ten stolen cars in 2016:

  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Civic
  • Ford Pickup (full-size)
  • Chevrolet Pickup (full-size)
  • Toyota Camry
  • Nissan Altima
  • Dodge Pickup (full-size)
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Chevrolet Impala
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

Myth: Your auto insurance will cover items that were stolen out of your car.

Truth: Personal belongings, such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, purses and/or wallets are not covered under any auto insurance policy, including comprehensive. These items are not considered part of the actual vehicle because they are not permanently attached. Consequently, your insurer will not cover you if they are stolen from inside your car; even if the entire car is stolen. Instead, these items would be covered under your homeowners, renters or personal property insurance policies.

Familiarizing yourself with these auto insurance myths will help you purchase coverage that best fits your needs. For additional tips, we encourage to read our blog monthly. Click here to receive a free quote on auto, home, and/or business insurance. You can also contact us direct at (480) 820-2297.

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