Wet Roadways – 12 Driving Tips for Rainy Weather

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Rain driving tips:

1. Routinely check your tires…

Always check your tires before you hit the road. Make sure you do the following routine maintenance:

Keep your tires properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle door edge, door-post, and glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner’s manual. The number listed on the side of the tire is not the recommended air pressure for your tire – it is the maximum air pressure for the tire. You should check your tire’s air pressure at least once a month.

Check the tires tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and aquaplaning.

2. Slow down.

As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tire’s tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction.

3. Know how to recover from a skid.

Skids can happen even to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes. Do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead, apply firm, steady pressure to the brakes and steer the car in the direction of the skid.

4. Keep your distance from the car ahead.

Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator – and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and can easily slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly. It takes about three times longer to break on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep a little more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.

5. Drive in the tracks of a car ahead of you.

Avoid using your brakes. Whenever possible, slow down by taking your foot off the accelerator.Turn your headlights on, even in a light rain. Not only do they help you see the road, but they’ll help other drivers see you. If your car has daytime running lights, you should turn them on, so vehicles behind you can see you better.

6. Prepare for your journey.

Wet-weather driving demands gentle use of all the main controls – steering, clutch, brake and accelerator – and a larger allowance for errors and emergencies. When you begin a journey in rain, your shoes will be wet and liable to slip off the pedals. Scuff the soles on the rubber matting or carpeting of the car before you start the engine. All motorists should regularly check that their headlights, rear lights, brake lights and turn indicators are working properly.

7. Learn how to avoid and deal with aquaplaning.

Aquaplaning happens when the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car’s weight can push it out of the way. The water pressure causes your car to rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between your tires and the road. At this point, your car can be completely out of contact with the road, and you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of your lane, or even off the road. To avoid aquaplaning, keep your tires properly inflated, ensure that the tread non skid is above the legal limits on your tires and replace them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet, and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire tracks left by the cars in front of you. If you find yourself Aquaplaning, do not brake or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into a skid. Ease your foot off the accelerator until the car slows and you can feel the road again. If you need to brake, do so gently with light pumping actions. If your car has ABS, then brake normally; the car’s computer will mimic a pumping action, when necessary.

8. If the rain becomes too heavy, stop!

Heavy rain can overload the wiper blades, allowing an almost continuous sheet of water to flow over the screen. When visibility is so limited that the edges of the road or other vehicles cannot be seen at a safe distance, it is time to pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. It is best to stop at rest areas or other protected areas. If the roadside is your only option, pull off as far as possible and wait until the storm passes. Keep your headlights on and turn on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers.

9. First rains make the road very slippery.

The first rains always make the roads the most difficult to drive on, as the mud and oil on the dry road combines with the water and forms a rather slippery layer. Drivers are likely to experience reduced control, and are cautioned to be extra careful for the first half-hour after it begins to rain.

10. Cloudy weather reduces visibility.

Use extra caution when passing other vehicles.

11. Dry your brakes after driving through standing water.

If you have driven through standing water deep enough to get your brake shoes wet, apply the brakes lightly to dry them.

12. Don’t drive while fatigued.

Stop at least every couple of hours or every hundred miles to rest.

Giving Your Insurance Policies a “Spring Cleaning”

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Are you as ready for winter to be over as I am? The first signs of spring send me into spring cleaning mode.

As you’re cleaning out your closets, take some time to think about everything that remains and how you can give a “tune-up” to your insurance policies.

How much “stuff” do you have, and can you put a price tag on your belongings? To keep your insurance policies up to date, it’s important to figure out the value of your belongings and somehow track all the contents of your house. While you may be insured for a certain amount on your homeowner’s policy, it’s not as if the insurance carrier will just write you a check up to that amount.

Every household is different. You may have a studio or a thirty-million-dollar house. Either way, you are responsible for knowing what your household is worth so you can get paid should you experience a partial or total loss of contents.

We suggest the following:

  • Take photos or video of each room. Keep the documentation somewhere safe, such as a safe-deposit box or a server, not on your home computer.
  • I recommend keeping all receipts for larger purchases, such as furniture, appliances, and especially renovation projects. If you are particularly organized, scan the receipts and save them to an online server. This will protect your records in case you need to retrieve them in the event of a catastrophe, such as a fire.

What should be included in your home inventory? Use the following checklist to keep track of your belongings.

Insurance documentation checklist:

  • Kitchen contents
  • Clothes/shoes
  • Rugs
  • Lamps
  • Electronics
  • Plants
  • Furniture
  • Artwork
  • Recreation equipment (bike, ski, golf)
  • Jewelry

Have you seen the show “Hoarders”? I hope you’re not facing a spring cleaning job of that magnitude, but starting the process can feel overwhelming. If you can’t get organized, don’t know where to start, or don’t know how to purge, hire someone or ask a friend or family member for help.

For a free insurance checkup call Radius Insurance Agency toll-free at 855-840-1277.

9 Reasons you should think about adding fire sprinklers to your home

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1. Safer fire service: The risk for firefighters decreases when home sprinklers are in use because sprinklers reduce the intensity of the fire by dousing the flame earlier.

2. Fast response: Modern home sprinklers are designed to respond to fire faster than commercial or industrial sprinkler systems, because they are more sensitive to heat.
3. Aesthetically pleasing: Home fire sprinklers are smaller and less conspicuous than commercial or industrial types. Some color variations are available and some can be installed flush with the ceiling.

4. Reliable: Sprinkler systems exceed a 95 percent “fail-safe” status in laboratory testing. Sprinklers are individually activated only if there is a fire in which the heat escalates past that sprinkler’s trigger point.

5. Investment protection: Sprinklers can prevent devastating home damage by extinguishing flames quickly. Sprinklers can limit the damage caused by smoke and fire and are less damaging than water damage caused by firefighting hose lines.

6. Simple installation: Installing a home sprinkler system to a home that is under construction or being remodeled requires minimal extra piping and labor and greatly increases the safety of residents.

7. Low water requirement: Home fire sprinklers can be connected to the domestic water supply and require less water than commercial and industrial systems.

8. Low cost: A sprinkler costs about $1.61 per square foot.  This cost is about the same as upgraded cabinets or carpet.

9. Lower insurance: Installing a sprinkler system has the potential to lower insurance rates by 5-15% by meeting code requirements.

First Apartment? – Renter’s Insurance: Explained

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After a long search and a mountain of paperwork, you’ve finally moved in to your first apartment. You’ve properly furnished your new home with everyday essentials and are eager to begin living on your own for the very first time. But hold the phone!  You should consider buying renters insurance before getting too comfortable in your new place.

Renters insurance can help protect you from fire, smoke, vandalism, and theft-related losses. It also provides liability protection in the case that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage. There are two types of renters insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost. Although replacement cost policies are a bit more expensive than actual cash policies, they help reimburse you for the full cost of replacing your belongings — that is, the policy does not take depreciation into account.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 31% of renters have renters insurance. This low percentage is likely caused by the common misconception that landlord’s insurance covers damage to personal possessions. The truth is, your landlord’s policy probably covers only damage to the building.

Renters insurance is a smart idea if you’re a college student living away from home or a recent graduate, as you may not be fully covered by your parents’ homeowners policy. This not only differs by policy, but also by carrier. To be on the safe side, double-check with your agent about specific policy details.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look into renters insurance:

  • Make sure to keep a record of items that may need to be replaced, such as a video or photo inventory. Make sure to store this in a safe place separate from your apartment.
  • If you are living with a non-relative, your roommate may not be covered by your policy. Be sure to check with your agent.
  • Lastly, take the extra step and personalize your policy with additional coverage options that suit your lifestyle.

While this may seem obvious, renters insurance policies often differ by insurance carriers. Did you know that you can be reimbursed under some policies if you become a victim of identity theft? Or that your policy rate may be discounted if your rental property has a burglar alarm? Your local agent is a great resource for coverage options and potential discounts.

Once you find a policy that fits your needs, you’ll finally be ready to begin living in your new apartment — with a lot more peace of mind. Best of luck!

RV Insurance and Coverage: Things you should know

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We wanted to thank everyone who stopped by our booth at the NC RV and Camping Show this past weekend and we also wanted to take a few moments to talk about RV insurance/coverages.

Your RV is more than a car, and your RV insurance coverage should protect more than what typical car insurance does. Rather than add your RV to your auto policy, consider RV insurance coverage with an RV policy. Keep the following in mind as you decide whether to buy RV insurance coverage, since the following situations are generally not covered under a standard auto insurance policy:

  • You keep things in your RV that you wouldn’t keep in your car, such as clothing, jewelry, binoculars, ,TVs, DVD Players, laptops, camcorders, or outdoor gear.
  • When you park your RV at a campsite, you may be liable for the area around your RV. If someone is injured, you may be responsible.
  • If your RV is damaged while you’re traveling, you’ll need a place to stay and a way to get there.

Since none of the scenarios above is covered in the event of a loss, they could end up costing you thousands of dollars. However, when you insure your RV on its own policy, you’ll know you have a wide range of RV insurance coverage for a wide range of incidents.

If you own a RV please give us the opportunity to quote your policy and see how much we could save you!

Radius Insurance Agency – (855) 840-1277 – http://www.RadiusIA.com

Are you a part of the 86%?

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I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My drive to work is short and sweet – very minimal traffic and very few miles. But even with a shorter commute, I have found that the worst way to start a work day is with a phone call from a friend or family member saying, “I am fine, but I can’t say the same for my car.”

Our country is a nation of drivers. According to an American Community Survey, approximately 86 percent of Americans drive to work.

The following Roadway Safety Tips will help keep you safe during your commute no matter how long or short it may be:

1. Focus your attention on driving.

The only thing you should be doing is driving. Put down the breakfast or the makeup and put away the cellphone. Distracted driving is estimated to be a factor in 25% to 50% of all traffic crashes.

2. Keep your distance.

Driving too closely behind the car in front of you will not get you to work any faster. Give yourself room to react. You’ll need it in a crisis.

3. Drive at a speed that is reasonable for conditions.

Speed Limits are posted for ideal driving conditions. When traffic, roadway, weather or visibility conditions are less than ideal, consider driving at a slower speed. Crashes at higher speeds generally cause more severe crashes.

4. Scan your environment.

Be aware of upcoming cross streets and decision points. Spotting a traffic sign or signal early allows you to be prepared to stop.

5. Maintain your vehicle.

See that all cargo is properly secured. Set your temperature controls and pre-set the climate control, radio and CD player prior to driving.

6. Create a “safety cushion” around your vehicle.

When merging into a lane make sure that you expand your “safety cushion” to allow adequate distance and reaction time between your vehicle and the vehicles in front of you.

7. Eliminate blind spots.

Adjust your side and rear-view mirrors in advance of driving to provide as much sight-distance as possible.

8. Know your limitations.

The decreasing daylight means you’ll be commuting in twilight or dark conditions. A driver’s vision, including depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision is affected by darkened conditions.

9. Know your surroundings.

Be aware of trucks and buses as they need more room to turn, change lanes and stop in traffic. Trucks and buses take longer to accelerate from a stop or slowing pace, be patient.

10. Share the road.

When starting from a green light at an intersection, always check one last time to verify that there are no pedestrians crossing or bicyclists in your travel path. Be considerate of other road users.

Last, but certainly not least – make sure you’re driving with insurance! If you’re in the market, consider contacting Radius Insurance Agency to talk about an auto insurance policy.

Shopping for a New or Used Car?

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Things to keep in mind when buying a car

Buying a new car is an exciting time — but it can also be stressful. After all, you’re trying to get the best deal on price, while also deciding on the make, model and features you need.

Here at Radius Insurance Agency, we can’t really help you become a master negotiator when it comes to buying a car. But we can give you some things to consider when you’re looking around the lot — and when you’re trying to answer the age-old question of “new, or used?” Read on with an open mind, and you might just come to a different decision the next time you’re on the car lot.

New Cars

Ah, that new-car smell. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s one of the things that people love about climbing into a brand-new car. And while they make air fresheners that supposedly give you that same smell for your used car, it just doesn’t seem the same, does it? Still, there are other benefits to buying new — and, of course, there are drawbacks as well.

  • PRO — maintenance: Some manufacturers offer free scheduled maintenance for a set period of time after you buy the car, and you likely won’t need a new battery, tires, etc., for several years after your purchase.
  • PRO — peace of mind: Your new car may have a warranty for up to 10 years, and also is covered by “lemon laws” that could allow for a replacement or refund if the car has serious defects.
  • CON — cost: Depending on the make and model, buying a new car is almost always more expensive (at least in terms of the purchase price) than a used car.

It’s also worth noting that if you purchase a new car in its first model year (meaning it’s a new model for the automaker), there won’t be many user reviews available, and data on reliability and repairs will be limited. In addition, sometimes newly introduced cars have some kinks that generally are ironed out by the second and third model years. These aren’t necessarily serious issues, and the warranty should cover them, but in some instances, you and your car could be headed to the shop more than you’d like.

Used Cars

Don’t care about the new-car smell? Looking to save some money on your purchase? Well, a used car might be right for you. There are many advantages to buying used, but you’ll want to be a little more careful. After all, it’s hard to know exactly how well the previous owner treated the car. But you can limit your risk with a little bit of work.

  • PRO — cost: New cars depreciate quickly after they’re purchased. By buying used, you’re letting someone else take that financial hit over the first few years of the life of the car.
  • PRO/CON — reliability: Buying a used car is less of a gamble than it used to be, particularly with the advent of “certified pre-owned” programs many automakers now offer. However, used cars generally don’t carry the same warranties as new cars, even though the original manufacturer’s warranty is usually transferrable to a second owner.
  • CON — maintenance: While a used car theoretically shouldn’t need more frequent maintenance than a new car, you’ll likely need to replace things like tires, headlights, etc., earlier. And scheduled maintenance probably isn’t covered by the automaker.
  • PRO/CON — history: You’ll need to check the car’s title history to make sure it hasn’t been in a serious accident or salvaged. Ask the dealership to provide this information, usually from Carfax.

Of course, whichever car you purchase, the important thing is that it’s a good fit for you. Bear in mind that certain makes and models can result in higher insurance costs for you, so feel free to check in with us before you buy.

Have fun shopping — and we’ll see you on the road!