How To Save Money on Car Insurance in the Winter
Bad weather conditions are responsible for nearly 100,000 car accidents a year, and if you live in an area with harsh winters, your chances for filing an insurance claim can skyrocket during those months. Winter can be rough on vehicles, and combined with drivers who don’t know how to curb their dangerous habits, the road can present all kinds of problems. But if you know how to prepare your car for the cold, you can prevent your risk of an accident and prevent your insurance rates from going up. A few extra precautions every winter can help keep your family safe and keep your car running efficiently, saving you time and money in the process.
1. Check Your Fluids
The same cooling system that keeps your car from overheating also protects your engine from corroding, which can be a risk in ice and snow. Make sure you have antifreeze combined with water in your radiator. Also make sure you have enough oil to deal with the changing temperatures, and try to keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the winter. Having enough gas in your car can make it easier to start the engine in winter months. Also check windshield wiper fluid, and think about exchanging it for de-icing fluid, which is designed for the cold – it could make a huge difference in a winter storm.
2. Check Your Car’s Exterior Condition, Too
Your tires can be of utmost importance when it comes to keeping you safe on the road in winter. If your tires are losing tread, the safest thing to do is replace them – all four at the same time, if possible. Or if you’re concerned about the snowy terrain where you live, invest in snow tires. Also make sure all your lights are in good condition, including high beams and especially hazard lights. You can replace your windshield wiper blades with ones that get rid of ice and snow, to go along with the de-icing fluid. It might take a bit of extra money to get your car ready for the winter, but it’s worth it to avoid the cost of an accident.
3. Prepare To Drive Ahead of Time
Before you drive, know the weather conditions and forecast for your area and don’t go out on the roads if it’s too dangerous. Also find out if there are road closures or traffic jams you want to avoid. If you’re going to go out, take a few minutes to clear the ice and snow off your car to maximize visibility for yourself and avoid creating hazards for others. Remember, the need to warm up your car in winter is largely a myth – at most you only need a minute or two to get the fluids circulating, even in very cold temperatures.
4. Practice Safe Habits
The first and most obvious rule for driving in winter weather is to go slower. Also, increase the distance between you and the car in front of you, because of visibility issues and increased stopping time. If you need to, carry shovel or a scraper in your car so you can pull over and clear off your windows when it’s difficult to see. Watch out for stalled vehicles, traffic, and other obstacles ahead. If you get stuck in snow, remember to move your wheels side to side instead of spinning them, and remember to turn on hazard lights whenever you need to signal to other drivers that there’s an issue.
Driving in winter weather can be complicated and expensive if you don’t take the time to prepare. There’s a reason why car accidents are the number one cause of death in winter storms, and why insurance companies find themselves paying out a fortune every year. The best way to avoid your rates going up because of a potentially serious car accident is to keep driving safely – and when in doubt, stay home and keep warm.
Wendy Little blogs for Kanetix. If you live in a state with extreme winters, you may be curious to find out how that can affect your insurance costs.