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Winter is arriving quickly this year! Road have already been covered in snow or ice from overnight temperatures that drop below freezing. It’s always good to review good habits for winter driving to keep you and your family safe on the roads this winter.

Dress for the Weather

When the temperature drops, it can be dangerous to stay outside too long. Whether you’re just running to the shop or you’re on a road trip, always dress for the possibility that you’ll run out of gas and have to walk to get a refill.

Take Time to Warm Up

You’re not the only one suffering in cold temperatures! Take care of your car and always let it run for a few minutes to warm up before you drive.

Update your Emergency Kit

Freshen up your regulars, like spare clothes, your first aid kit, water bottles, and non-perishable foods.

Add winter specifics like a warm blanket, an ice scraper, salt, cat litter, and a shovel.

Leave more Space

Keep an eye out for ice on the road, especially on bridges and wide-open spaces. Black ice doesn’t discriminate and is especially dangerous when you’re changing speed or direction, whether there’s a bend in the road or you’re braking at a light.

Always leave more space between you and the cars around you when icy roads are a possibility!

Check your Braking

During the winter when roads can be slick, it’s important to brake correctly.

Most new cars (those less than 20 years old) have ABS brakes that are designed for slick roads. If your car has ABS braking, don’t pump the brakes on ice – your car will do it for you.

If you don’t have ABS brakes, don’t slam on the brakes – instead make sure to pump them!

Top up Your Fluids

Low temperatures keep everything in your car much more dense than usual, which makes levels of everything, from fuel to antifreeze, a little lower.

To keep your lines from freezing and your levels correct, keep your gas at least ¼ full. Check your antifreeze and don’t fill it with water, which does freeze at 32F.

Keep an Eye on your Tires

Liquids aren’t the only thing that gets denser at lower temperatures. Check your tire pressure especially when the temperature drops and watch out for flat tires.

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There are certain topics that every car owner should know when having their vehicle repaired. Taking your car to the repair shop isn’t generally something people are familiar with (because hopefully it doesn’t happen all that often!) But, if you are in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights as a consumer.

These consumer rights can help you ensure that your car is repaired correctly, safely, quickly, and within your budget.

You have the right to choose your own repair shop.

In most cases, when your car is in an accident, you can choose the shop you want to repair it. Ask your friends, have a quick Google, and look for local shops!

You can ask your insurance company for suggestions but if they’re telling you that you only have a few options, don’t believe them. This is called steering and in most states, it’s illegal.

You have the right to choose your repair parts.

If parts of your car need to be replaced, you can have a say in which parts are used!

Usually, you can choose from three kinds of parts: OEM, non-OEM, or recycled parts. However, depending on your insurance policy, only certain kinds of parts may be covered. (This doesn’t mean that’s your only option!) Each kind of part has unique benefits and costs so if you’re not sure, ask your repair tech or do a little research.

In many states, if a shop is going to use anything other than OEM parts, they’ll need to notify you. To be proactive, ask your repair shop before the repair.

You have the right to a safely and correctly repaired car.

When you take your vehicle to be repaired, you are paying for a service and you can rightfully expect that your vehicle will be repaired correctly and when repairs are completed, it will be returned to you in a safe condition for driving.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand how your car is repaired, what is being repaired, what is being replaced, and what to expect. You can ask about your technicians and their qualifications or experience, what they’re doing and why, and what your options are.

Get involved!

The first step in successful collision repair is knowing your rights. The next step is to get involved! When you’re choosing your repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great repair shop will answer them and help you understand.

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The required car insurance depends on the state in which you live and register your vehicle. Most states require insurance, and those that don’t still holds drivers financially responsible for damaging property and people in the case of an accident.

What does minimum car insurance cover?

Again, insurance coverage is different in each state, so it’s important to check the insurance commissioner for requirements. The purpose of car insurance, especially required car insurance, is to ensure that medical costs and property damage can be paid in the case of an accident.

The minimum insurance required in each state usually includes at least one of the following four types of coverage. It’s common to require only the first two. Each state may require coverage only up to a certain amount, but after reaching that limit you’ll still be responsible to cover the rest of the costs.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Usually, this coverage is designed to protect the person or people in the other car in the case of an accident. That way if you injure someone while you’re driving, you’re not left with a hefty medical bill.

You can also add protection for yourself and your passengers, but in a different part of your policy.

Property Damage Liability Coverage

This coverage is meant to cover the cost of property damage caused in an accident. This might include a building or signpost, another car, or something else. It is not intended to protect your own vehicle or cover the cost of your own vehicle repairs.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Unlike bodily injury liability protection, which only covers others involved in the accident, PIP covers the cost of injury or death for you, your passengers, or any pedestrians involved in the accident.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

When you’re in an accident with another person whose insurance is meant to cover your costs, but they either don’t have insurance or the funds to cover it, or their insurance limits don’t cover your costs, this portion of your policy can step up and cover the difference so you aren’t stuck with the bill.

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There are certain topics that every car owner should know when having their vehicle repaired. Taking your car to the repair shop isn’t generally something people are familiar with (because hopefully it doesn’t happen all that often!) But, if you are in an accident, it’s important that you know your rights as a consumer.

These consumer rights can help you ensure that your car is repaired correctly, safely, quickly, and within your budget.
You have the right to choose your own repair shop.

In most cases, when your car is in an accident, you can choose the shop you want to repair it. Ask your friends, have a quick Google, and look for local shops!

You can ask your insurance company for suggestions but if they’re telling you that you only have a few options, don’t believe them. This is called steering and in most states, it’s illegal.

You have the right to choose your repair parts.

If parts of your car need to be replaced, you can have a say in which parts are used!

Usually, you can choose from three kinds of parts: OEM, non-OEM, or recycled parts. However, depending on your insurance policy, only certain kinds of parts may be covered. (This doesn’t mean that’s your only option!) Each kind of part has unique benefits and costs so if you’re not sure, ask your repair tech or do a little research.

In many states, if a shop is going to use anything other than OEM parts, they’ll need to notify you. To be proactive, ask your repair shop before the repair.

You have the right to a safely and correctly repaired car.

When you take your vehicle to be repaired, you are paying for a service and you can rightfully expect that your vehicle will be repaired correctly and when repairs are completed, it will be returned to you in a safe condition for driving.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand how your car is repaired, what is being repaired, what is being replaced, and what to expect. You can ask about your technicians and their qualifications or experience, what they’re doing and why, and what your options are.

Get involved!

The first step in successful collision repair is knowing your rights. The next step is to get involved! When you’re choosing your repair shop, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great repair shop will answer them and help you understand.

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After you’ve been in an accident, you have a lot going on. The last thing you need when you’re worried about getting your car repaired quickly, safely, and affordably is a bunch of confusing car insurance terms to work through! Check out our guide to auto insurance words you might hear in a collision repair shop.

Act of God

When something out of human control or influence happens (that damages a vehicle) it’s called an Act of God. Things like forest fires, tornadoes and other storms, earthquakes, floods, or a volcanic eruption fall into this category. Acts of God are generally covered under comprehensive coverage, not collision or liability.

Additional Insured or Additional Interest

A person other than the main insured person who is also covered on an insurance policy is an additional insured. For example, if your car is leased, your leasing company is likely an additional insured on your policy.

Carrier

The insurance company, or insurance carrier, is the entity that issues an insurance policy. It’s called a carrier because it carries certain risks in lieu of the main insured person.

Claim

Any request or demand for the carrier to pay according to the insurance policy is called a claim. The person who makes the claim is the claimant.

Coverage

The benefits and protections that are named in an insurance policy constitute the coverage. Each portion of the policy is subject to the terms and conditions of that specific policy, so your coverage may not be the same as your neighbor’s even if you use the same carrier.

No Fault Insurance

Some states require insurance companies to pay losses of their policyholders that are covered in the claims without regard to fault in an accident. This doesn’t mean they have to pay for everything, it just means that the policy kicks in when a covered accident happens and not when fault is determined.

Comparative Negligence

This legal principle is applicable in certain states and means that even when a driver is partly at fault for an accident, they’re still able to make a partial claim. The negligence of each party is compared to that of the other party and the claim depends on the percentage of responsibility.

Contributory Negligence

This legal principle is applicable in certain states and means that a driver who is at fault, even a little bit, is not able to make a claim on their insurance policy.

Deductible

Insurance policies include a deductible, or a set fee that the covered party is responsible to pay toward damages before the insurance can be paid out.

Exclusions

An exclusion is something that is not covered under an insurance policy. It may be a certain event, person, property, situation, or something else. For example, it’s unlikely that damage caused by drag racing is covered under an auto insurance policy, even if an accident occurs.

Loss

This is the amount the insurance company pays out on any given claim.

Steering

If an insurer tries to get a vehicle owner to use a certain repair shop, it’s called steering. Steering is illegal in most states and vehicle owners have the right to choose their own repair shop.

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Your car has been to the collision shop, it’s been repaired, made to look new, and you’ve taken it home. If it had a new paint job, your body shop technicians were meticulous in ensuring that the new paint matched the old paint. Paint is tasked with protecting your car from rust, so it’s up to you to keep it in shape.

Look for Flaws

As with any repair, if you notice something isn’t right, say something as soon as possible. This goes for paint too! One of the hardest parts about painting a car after a repair is matching the original paint.

  • Look at the color on a bright sunny day.
  • Check up close and from a distance.
  • Look for hairs, dirt and overspray.
  • The paint should be smooth and even.

Take Extra Care for 30-60 Days

When your car was new, you were probably extra careful with it, protecting its shiny new paint and treating it with some fragility. After a major repair, this is a great way to treat fresh paint! It needs time to cure and harden before it can truly protect your car. While new cars have time in a protected environment before they’re sold, a fresh repair is back out on the road ASAP. Make sure to give your paint a little extra love and care.

The following are some everyday things that can damage your paint.

Dirt Roads & Construction Zones

Loose gravel and dirt is on the road, it’s unavoidable. If you can avoid dirt roads and major construction zones while your paint is fresh, it will go a long way in protecting your paint, which is vulnerable to chips and scrapes from flying debris.

Scraping or Chipping at Snow or Ice

In winter (or long-lasting spring), chipping away at snow and ice on your windshield is necessary. Make sure you’re not scraping it from the paint too!

Splattered Bugs

Splattered bugs on the windshield are an obvious annoyance, but thanks to the acidity of bug splatter (ew!) they’re also damaging to your paint and can become permanently etched into the surface.

Bird Droppings

As gross as it is go find bird poop on your car, the droppings can also be full of acidic berries, hard seeds, and other grainy bits that can dull and scratch the paint on your car.

Tree Sap

Parking under a tree leaves your car vulnerable to more than damage from animals, it might leave your car covered in sap! Sticky and full of chemicals that aren’t meant to interact with car paint, it’s best to find another shady spot to leave your car.

Sunlight

Sunlight can also damage your paint. The UV rays cause paint to dull and fade, just like they can damage your skin.

Commercial Car Washes

Keeping your car clean is an important part of protecting the paint! It’s best to hand-wash new paint in cool water with mild soap with a soft sponge or cloth. Don’t use chemicals, avoid dish or laundry detergent, and make sure your water is clean and not full of dust and pebbles. Avoid leaving it to dry in the sun.

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