Category Archives: Auto

CAR INSURANCE – Tips & Myths

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5 USEFUL TIPS

Tip #1 –  Adding the OPCF 27 Endorsement to your existing automobile policy (often referred to as the Rental Vehicle Insurance Endorsement) is a cost effective alternative to purchasing the insurance offered by a car rental company when renting a car in North America.  Note: The OPCF 27 only applies to  the drivers listed on your policy, so if drivers other than those actually listed on your policy will be operating the rental vehicle, then the OPCF 27 will not be sufficient and you  should consider purchasing the insurance offered by the rental company.

Tip #2 – Tickets received outside of the province will show up on your motor vehicle record (MVR). Ontario has a reciprocating agreement with many US jurisdictions to report infractions. Also, tickets stay on your record for 3 years from the date of conviction. For example, if you got a speeding ticket in June 2012, and went to court in May of 2013 and charges were reduced, rather than thrown out, then it will be May of 2016 before the ticket comes off your record.

Tip #3 – If you car is hit while parked and the responsible party is not identified (hit and run), then the cost of repairs will only be covered if you have collision coverage.   A hit and run incident is considered a collision claim and is subject to your collision deductible. Why does the deductible apply if it’s not your fault?  Well, one of the requirements of waiving the deductible is that the responsible party can be identified, which unfortunately isn’t the case here. Note:  You must  report a hit and run  incident to police in order to avoid the claim being recorded as ‘at-fault’.

Tip #4 – Accidents must be reported to the nearest Collision Reporting Centre (CRC)– Report accidents as soon as possible to police local to the area of the accident. For example, if you live in Toronto but got in an accident in Hamilton, you must report the incident to the police in Hamilton and not Toronto. If you don’t know where the closest reporting centre is located, ask the police during your initial call to them.

Tip #5 – Accidents that occur with a rented vehicle often show up on your auto insurance history (autoplus) report.  While your current insurance company may not even be involved in the claims process, the accident itself does become part of your insurance history as it follows your driver’s license number.

 

DISPEL SOME MYTHS

Myth#1 – Red cars cost more to insure:  Wrong, but sometimes specific models within a model line-up may be more expensive to insure (the two door version versus its four door counterpart).

Myth#2 – Leased or financed vehicles cost more to insure: Not true:  type of financing on a vehicle has no bearing on the premium.  What does matter includes but is not limited to:  Where you live, the make and model of the vehicle, your use and the kilometers driven,  coverage’s purchased and the license and insurance history of all persons assigned as drivers to the vehicle.

Myth #3 – Tickets have no impact on your insurance as long as no demerit points were applied.  Wrong again!  Nearly any ticket you receive relating to your use or operation of the vehicle (other than parking tickets) will have an impact, regardless of whether or not it came with demerit points.

 

Let’s talk WINTER TIRES

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After years of justifying that my well thread all season radials were good enough for the winter roads, I finally decided to invest in a set of winter tires this year.

For the money, it was a wise move and it made a world of difference in my driving experience.

When you consider that winter tires lengthen the use of our summer tires, the cost difference is not that great.  A combination of snows and summers should last about 4 years on average vs just summer/all weathers with same mileage, about 2 years.

The majority of Ontario drivers understand the importance of snow tires for safer driving, but only about half actually install them on their own vehicles, according to a recent survey commissioned by Centennial College’s School of Transportation.

Among just over 800 Ontario drivers surveyed online, 79% said that snow tires create a safer winter driving experience, with 87% also understanding that all-wheel drive vehicles also require the special tires.

Still, only 53% of drivers in the province actually install snow tires, the survey suggests.

A slightly higher percentage of women install the tires (55% compared with 52% of men). That’s despite a higher percentage of women (47%) than men (28%) saying they get nervous and stressed about winter driving.

Forty percent of men also say they are confident in their winter driving skills, compared with only 16% of women surveyed.

Overall, 44% of drivers between 18 and 34 say winter driving makes them stressed, compared with only 31% for those 55 and older.

“The vast majority of Ontario drivers know they should use winter tires but only half do so,” Stephen Leroux, a Centennial College automotive professor commented in a statement on the survey results. “This truly is a conundrum for all road users.”

Several Ontario insurance companies now give discounts of up to 10%, if your car is equipped with winter tires from November – April of each year. Isn’t that another good reason to get them installed?

What to Do When You Are Involved in an Accident

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Being involved in an accident can be a very stressful event. To help you protect both yourself and your interests, we have provided some basic hints:

  • Call the police immediately, and an ambulance if necessary.
  • Do not admit liability.
  • Record details of the accident including date, time, location, a description of the accident, any injuries, and any charges laid.
  • Record details concerning the other party and vehicle such as owner’s name and address, phone number, and vehicle year, make and model.
  • It is very important to obtain the insurance information of the other driver. This includes the name of the insurance company and the policy number and the name of the broker or agent.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report from the attending officer as this will have the accident report number for future reference.

These tips are general rules of thumb only, and may not fit all situations. For the definitive word, contact your insurance broker for more information.

Cell Phones and Safety

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Cell phones can be valuable equipment in a car when you need to call for assistance. However, they can also be a distraction if they are used while driving, and many jurisdictions are considering restrictions on cell phone use while driving.

For safety’s sake, don’t use your cell phone while driving. If you need to make a call, stop your car safely away from traffic before picking up the phone.

6 Signs Your Brakes May Need Repair

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Your brakes are obviously one of the most important components on your automobile. Proper care and regular maintenance is essential to protect both yourself and others from the potential harm caused by faulty brakes. Some signs that your brakes may be failing or require maintenance include:

  1. The brakes squeal, grind or bang when applied. If this occurs you should immediately have your brakes checked
  2. The car pulls to one side when you apply the brakes
  3. The brakes stick or a loss of engine power when you are driving . Your brakes may not be releasing properly which can lead to total brake loss.
  4. The brakes grab when lightly applied. This could be caused by loose or broken brake parts
  5. The brakes need a lot of pressure to work or the pedal needs to be near the floor before it works. This may be a sign that your brakes are worn and replacement is necessary
  6. The brake pedal, steering wheel or entire car vibrates when you step on the brakes