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Warm Weather Auto Maintenance Tips

maintain car to keep it runningWarmer weather typically brings an increase in automobile travel as people head for vacation destinations.  While you shouldn’t leave home without having access to emergency roadside assistance, it is also a good idea to perform maintenance services on your car to decrease your chance of needing to use it.  Below are some tips to help your car be ready for your next trip.

1)      Check your tire pressure regularly.  A tire that is over- or under-inflated can be very dangerous in summer weather.  You should be aware that for every increase of 10 degrees in outside air temperature, your tire pressure can vary one to two pounds per square inch (PSI). [Read more…]

Road Trip Essentials

Road trip needs to protect you and your familyIf you plan to be on the road a lot in the coming months, you will of course want to make sure you are prepared by having a membership to an emergency roadside service.  You will also want to be certain you have your car serviced regularly, and possess the proper equipment to handle standard issues, such as a flat tire or a dead battery.  After you have stocked your practical items- jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, a tire iron and jack, an inflated spare tire, a flashlight, and an updated GPS- you can spend some time thinking about items that can make your road trip a bit more comfortable.  Consider packing the following:

  • Audio books- These can be rented from your local library and will help make the hours pass by more quickly.
  • An item that reminds you of the comfort of home- If you have a favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal, bring it along to remind yourself you won’t be on the road forever. [Read more…]

Items to Keep in Your Car

Plan ahead with all your car essentialsWhile you should never leave home without access to 24 hour roadside assistance, you of course hope you will never need to use it.  Regardless, there are some specific items you want to have in your car to use in the event of an emergency.

The first category of needed items falls under car repair.  These can get you back on the road and help you arrive safely at your intended destination. You should have the following on hand: [Read more…]

Best Roadside Service vs. Your Insurance Company

best roadside assistance v insurance roadside coverageTake a good look at the information you have for the emergency roadside assistance services offered by your insurance company and chances are you will find something you won’t like- restrictions.  A quick online search reveals companies that limit towing services to 15 miles, will only tow to the nearest service station, put monetary limits on how much they will pay for towing, or refuse to tow if you are not within 10 feet of a public paid road.  If you find yourself needing roadside assistance, chances are you are in a stressful situation. At that time, the last thing you want to deal with are restrictions.  Wouldn’t you rather choose a company that could provide you with peace of mind? [Read more…]

Day-to-Day Safe Driving

When it comes to our day to day driving habits, most of us don’t really give them a second thought. We get in our car, start her up and take off each day without a care in the world. Few people actually consider the chance of a wreck or break down. Some folks don’t really consider what they might do until it happens. That is a recipe for disaster in the world we currently live in. Here are some things to consider about our daily driving habits:

Do you have a backup plan?

If you did break down, do you have a plan in place to get help? Roadside assistance programs can give you that stability and are very reasonable these days. Make sure you have some plan in place to help you out if you break down, lock up those keys or have a wreck.

Do you have an emergency kit for basic problems?

You would be shocked at how effective duct tape can be if you have a busted hose. Also, having water in jugs can be very helpful if your car overheats or you break down in hot weather. Spare hoses, wipers, flashlights, flares and a basic tool kit are vital. Build your emergency kit based on your conditions. In other words, a spare coat is necessary in Alaska but not necessarily in Florida. Plan your emergency kit accordingly.

Check that spare tire regularly

This is another shockingly bad thing. The number of spare tires that are not even usable is incredible. Everything from dry rot to punctures can be missed if you do not check out your tires on a regular basis. In fact, you should have them checked each time you have your oil checked.

Have a plan ahead of time

Before you ever get behind the wheel of a car, even for daily driving, you should make sure you have a plan in place for emergencies. Who would you call if you broke down? Where is the nearest mechanic that I can trust? Do I know how to change a tire?

All of these steps seem like common sense and they are. Those are the types of things that get passed over because they seem so obvious. If you ever break down in the middle of nowhere with no plan, then you will quickly see the value in common sense. Implement these simple steps and you can do your driving with confidence.

Don’t Travel for the Holidays without Road Protection

Road protection has really started to be a part of our driving culture. Much like GPS systems, it is something that many people are looking at as a must-have. When you travel around the holidays, road protection becomes even more important. Holidays mean an increase in traffic, but they also mean possibly traveling to unfamiliar areas. Here are some very good reasons to consider getting a road protection plan in place before your holiday travel:

Travel means crazy traffic

When you get out on the road to travel for the holidays, you notice quickly that virtually every other human being on the planet has the same idea. Increased numbers of people on the road means an increase in potential problems. When you have roadside assistance, you can be sure that someone will be there to help in an emergency. That is rather important when you are neck deep in traffic with a car problem.

Holidays mean going to new places

When you are broken down at home, you generally have a plan in place. When you have problems out of town, then the risk factors are increased big time. You may not know where you are, and you almost certainly will not know who to contact about getting some help…unless you have roadside assistance.

Roadside protection provides you peace of mind

When you know that you have someone at your fingertips in an emergency, it changes the entire tempo of the trip. The last thing you want to worry about on a holiday road trip is the car. If you have some protective measures in place, then you can be certain that you will be safe in an emergency on the road.

Roadside assistance could save you big time money

Towing fees are only the start of it. Imagine you lock your keys in the car or otherwise lose your keys. Can you get a picture in your mind what it might cost to call a random lock picker? Now how much will he charge you on Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving during his meal? Roadside assistance is a far superior option.

Each of these things are great reasons to invest in roadside protection, but the bottom line is that it makes you safer. If you really want to travel with peace of mind during the holidays, this is a great investment of your money.

Is Progressive Roadside Assistance All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Many people feel that roadside assistance is the way to go when it comes to insurance and one of the largest insurance companies that offer this is Progressive.  Progressive roadside assistance is not, however, all that it is cracked up to be and there are a few reasons for this.  There are many other insurance agencies that also offer this plan and they are much different than what is offered by Progressive.

Is it Free?

This is one of the huge downsides to Progressive; they do not offer this service as a part of their regular insurance coverage.  Anyone who wants this is required to pay more monthly for the service.  There is no deductible however but with the high cost, many feel that it is not worth extra money.  With other agencies, there may be a small fee to add this and in some cases, it is a part of the policy whether it is requested or not.

What is Covered

With this addition to your insurance policy, your vehicle will be towed if it breaks down to the nearest qualified service center.  That means if you have a normal repair person that you want to work on your car, if they are across town, you cannot use them.  You can only go to the repair shop that Progressive deems is the closest and who they consider qualified.  Your flat tires will be changed, battery can be jump started, emergency fuel and fluids will be delivered and there is also a locksmith service.  Again, you have to take what you are given rather than being able to choose where the tires or fluids come from and you are stuck with the locksmith of Progressive’s choosing.  In most states there is no charge but there are states that limit the coverage.

What Vehicles are Covered?

You can get roadside coverage for any vehicle, recreational or road, that you want it to cover and which you want to pay for.  This includes boats, motorcycles, off road and on road, off road recreational vehicles, recreational vehicles, toy haulers and any other on or off road vehicle.  Of course the price is greatly different for those that are considered off road because they can be more dangerous than on road vehicles.  Keep in mind that when you are off road and have no phone coverage you will not be able to call for this service until you have coverage.

All in all it seems that there is a huge charge for a service that may not be necessary for those who simply do normal every day driving.  The cost for those on a budget can be more than it is worth if the service is never used.  There are other insurance companies that offer the same services and yet do not charge quite as much as Progressive roadside assistance costs so they are a better option for most people.

Is Your Teen Taking a Road Trip?

Having a teenager with a driver’s license is often a source of stress for many parents. Vehicles are dangerous and there are many careless drivers on the road. So you can imagine the stress if you find out your teen is taking a road trip. Long distances, unfamiliar places and other drivers on the road is enough to make any parent stress out. The good news is there are some things you can do to help prepare your teen for a safe road trip and you can rest easier while they are on the road as well.

Pack emergency snacks – In the event that there is no safe place to stop and your teen gets hungry, or if driving through bad weather and she gets stuck somewhere, it’s a good idea to have some snacks packed in the vehicle.

Get a tune up first – Before letting your teen take a road trip, ensure the vehicle is in tip top shape with a tune up. You will get everything from tires to oil to the engine checked and you’ll feel safer about your young one out on the road.

Pack an emergency roadside kit – An emergency roadside kit can include water, warm blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, a first aid kit and more. In the event of an emergency- small to large- this kit will come in handy.

Get a roadside assistance planA quality, dependable roadside assistance plan will also give you the confidence to let your teen go on a road trip, knowing that if something happens to the vehicle, she will be taken care of. It’s well worth the extra money you will pay in addition to your auto insurance to have a quality roadside assistance plan.

Know the weather – Before any trip, it’s a great idea to know what the weather will be like where your teen is driving. Will she be going through snow or storms? These are things to prepare in advance for and also to be sure she is prepared to drive in weather conditions that might be different from what she is used to at home and around town.

Keep large objects weighted down – You should pack the vehicle so that any large or heavy objects are weighted down, put in the floor behind the front seats or tied down. This is so that in the event of an accident, they do not become projectiles or crush you inside the vehicle.

As you can see, there are many things you can do to plan ahead of time for your teen’s road trip. Don’t trust your teen to be able to remember all of these things on her own. Instead, you might want to print or write down the list and go over it with her to make sure she is prepared before the road trip.

While driving is something we all do every day, there are still dangers involved. We cannot prevent every danger from happening but there are many things we can do to prepare and avoid as many dangers as possible.

How State Farm Roadside Assistance Compares to Others

Many different companies, including insurance agencies, cell phone providers and even credit card companies are offering roadside assistance.  With this many companies along with the traditional service companies, how does a consumer know which offers the best when compared with others.  There are many differences when it comes to this type of coverage and none of the roadside assistance is offered for free, though some are more affordable than others.  So how does State Farm compare to others?

Up Front Costs

One of the biggest issues with State Farm when compared to other insurance companies is that they require the policy holder to pay up front for any assistance.  The policy holder is then reimbursed at a later date which can be off-putting for many.  Suppose you just had a huge bill that you paid and next pay day is two weeks away?  Your car breaks down and you need a tow to get it fixed.  You don’t have any money and you can’t borrow it, you end up having to leave your vehicle because there really is no protection through your insurance.  The best type of assistance is when the company only has you sign an invoice so you can get your car off the road and in a shop that can repair it when you have the money.

Response Time

Since State Farm does not have their own service vehicles, you could wait for very long periods of time for a tow truck or the gasoline to get you back on the road.  This means if you have an important meeting the likelihood of you making it on time are very slim when you’re stuck waiting for assistance for an hour or two.  Some of the best roadside assistance companies, such as Best Roadside Service, offer a response time of forty five minutes or less.  This means you’re back on the road much quicker than with other companies.

Other Features

There are no other benefits from using State Farm’s roadside assistance program.  In fact, it is pretty lackluster all together.  Best Roadside Service offers a wider range of option and perks like discounts at hotels and an affordable price.  Their call center is based in the United States so you don’t have to worry about trying to understand a foreign representative and they speak three languages, English, Spanish and French to cover just about every demographic in the US and Canada.

Basic Coverage

The type of coverage that State Farm offers is only for the vehicle and driver that is insured.  Other companies offer two types of coverage, one for the vehicle which transfers to any other driver.  This option is great for families with more than one driver who may have an issue while driving.  The other is covering the driver and that transfers to any car that is being driven.  A plan such as this is perfect for anyone who drives a company vehicle or who has more than one that they drive on a regular basis.

So, while State Farm may say that they have great roadside assistance, it is not for everyone.  Those who live on a budget may not be able to afford the initial cost or they may not have funds when an emergency happens.  It does not cover everything and can actually cost the policy holder more down the road.  It is much better to go with a provider such as Best Roadside Service which is affordable and offers consumers a better deal.

Stay Protected on the Road this Summer Vacation

When we load up the car for summer vacation, it is imperative that we take certain safety precautions. Keeping your family protected is the number one priority. Summer vacation on the road can be particularly dangerous if you are not careful to prepare beforehand. Fortunately, if we take some basic steps to prepare for the worst, then road trips can be a heck of a bunch of fun. Here are some very important steps to take before you get out for that summer vacation.

Get your car squared away

If you were to book a ticket on an airplane, train or other public transportation, you would be quite angry if you found out that they did not make certain that the transportation was not travel-ready. Why then, do so many people climb into their cars for vacation without doing the same? Even if you consider your car to be in top notch condition, driving for long distances does something different to a vehicle. You need to have it checked by a respected technician to make certain it is travel-ready. Check the tires, battery, hoses, belts, exhaust, wipers and all of the fluids. This alone could save you a ton of roadside problems.

Buy (or prepare) an emergency kit

This is something that can’t be overstated. When you make your emergency kit, consider the weather that you will be driving through. If you are driving through the Ozarks, you might have a different kit than if you were headed to Daytona. Staples to always have include a flashlight, water, flares, backup food, cell phone and duct tape or electrical tape.  There are a million things you can add, but just think over rationally what you might need in the area you could break down in.

Consider a GPS

GPS systems are fantastic and are no longer terribly expensive. If you can possibly afford one, it could literally save your life one day. At a minimum it will save you time and frustration.

Make advance reservations

Don’t wing it when it comes to staying somewhere at night. The bottom line is that you could end up with nowhere to go in the wrong part of town.

Join a roadside assistance program

These are fantastic to have and they can quite literally be the difference between life and death. It only takes one time of needing these folks before you realize that they are worth every single penny. Loosen the purse strings and buy that security. Just know what you are buying and what you are not.

Give the kids something to do

I have no idea what the percentages are of wrecks that are caused by distracting kids, but my guess is that it would be way up there. Bring the entertainment along for the ride and you will be very glad that you did. You might not keep them quiet but you will certainly get more peace than you would without anything for them to do.

Make sure someone knows where you are and where you are going

This is absolutely vital when you are traveling. You need to have someone in place to know your destination. If something were to happen, then you have a plan in place to get to safety. It is very important to leave an itinerary for someone.