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Coverage for my College Student?

 Article obtained from https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/back-to-college

Article obtained from https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/back-to-college

Is your child among the million students heading back to college any day now? If so, you’re probably busy helping them gather all the things they need for life away from home. 

One of the things that you’ll want to discuss with them before they go back to college is how to keep their car and their belongings safe and protected. Here are some answers to a few of the most common questions that parents of college students often ask us.

Are my child’s belongings covered by my homeowners policy when she goes back to college?

That’s a great question. Students also often take expensive items to school like laptops, bikes and TVs, which can be pricey to replace if damaged or stolen items. The good news is that most insurers’ homeowners policies are designed to cover your child if something is stolen or destroyed. 

At Erie Insurance, full-time students under the age of 24 are automatically covered under their parents’ policy. Part-time students and/or students who are 24 and older may need to take out a renters insurance policy to protect themselves and their belongings. 

Does insurance coverage differ if my child is living in a dorm versus an apartment?

Your children’s personal property is generally covered under your homeowners policy if they’re away from home. However, when students choose to live in an apartment, they should consider purchasing a separate renters insurance policy, which can provide for additional living expenses if an apartment becomes uninhabitable because of something like a fire. 

What steps can my child take to safeguard her belongings?

It’s a good idea to talk with your child about this since more than 13,500 burglaries were reported on U.S. campuses in 2014. In addition to taking personal safety precautions, your child will also want to keep these tips in mind:

  • Always lock the doors. Sounds obvious, but most dorm thefts occur during the day.
  • Fireproof things. Don’t leave candles, cigarettes and grills—the most common causes of fires—unattended. To be extra safe, consider flameless candles, indoor grills and simply kicking the habit.
  • Create a home inventoryIt is much easier to submit a claim if you save all receipts from major purchases, make a detailed list of everything of value in your home, and photograph or videotape your possessions.
  • Safeguard pricier items—or just leave them at home. Bikes, jewelry, watches and laptops are some of the biggest targets of theft. So be sure to lock them up or leave them at a trusted residence that doesn’t have a high level of foot traffic.

Another thing to keep in mind is that most insurers limit how much they will pay for theft of any one item (at Erie Insurance, the limit is $3,000). If a prized possession is worth more, you may want to add coverage.

You may also want to add identity theft coverage to your policy. At Erie Insurance, it’s automatically included in many policies and it helps a victim recover after identity theft or fraud. Talk with your agent to learn more about identity recovery coverage.

Do I need to make any adjustments to my child’s auto coverage if she’s away at school?

Because you’ll have one less driver living at home when your son or daughter goes off to college, your household might get a discount if the child doesn’t take the car to college.* If your child does take a car to school, review your coverage with an insurance agent to make sure he or she is properly insured. 

Are college kids eligible for any discounts?

This is an important question to ask your insurance agent. Erie Insurance has a college student auto discount that applies to young, unmarried, full-time college students who spend most of the year away from home without the use of a vehicle. If you’re renting and buy your car insurance and your renters insurance together from ERIE, you may be eligible for a multi-policy discount.* Ask your agent if you’re eligible for this type of discount.

*Discounts subject to eligibility and applicable rates and rules. Not available in all states

Do You Practice Safe Selfies? Start Now.

 Erie Insurance: http://bit.ly/2ouEB2A  by Leah Knapp

Erie Insurance: http://bit.ly/2ouEB2A

by Leah Knapp

The selfie: That simple act of holding up your phone and snapping a photo of yourself. (Please note: Having someone take a photo of you by yourself is not, by definition, a selfie.)

What once seemed reserved for teens obsessed with documenting every aspect of their lives and celebrity red carpet events now seems to pervade all corners of our lives. Even politicians have mastered the art of the selfie.

The practice seemed to hit its peak in 2013 when Oxford Dictionary declared “selfie” its word of the year. Yet, its ubiquity shows no sign of slowing.

And while selfies can be an easy way to capture a moment, they can be dangerous.

There are some statistics around selfie fatalities. But there is far less data about injuries resulting from selfies, likely because there is no reporting mechanism for such things.

…And let’s face it, who wants to admit to spraining an ankle taking a photo of themselves?

At last count, there were 13 landmarks around the globe that have actually banned selfies in some form or fashion.

And consider this: A 2015 survey by Erie Insurance found that 4 percent of drivers admit to taking selfies while they’re driving, while another 23 percent have seen others do it. With more than 420,000 people injured in car accidents involving distracted driving each year, it’s time to get serious about keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

With that in mind, we’ve created these simple reminders for you to share and encourage others to #PracticeSafeSelfies. Download them below and help us spread the word. To download, right click and select "Save As."

Just don’t post them #whiledriving.

Great Shot

 

 

 

Keeping Kids Safe in the Backyard

by Erie Insurance on August 2, 2017

 

Many of us love the idea of turning our backyards into an inviting oasis where the kids can let loose while the adults unwind. Who wouldn’t want to kick back and listen to the happy squeals of their kids as they splash in the pool, bounce on the trampoline or swing higher on the swings?

Play it Safe

It’s important to take an inventory of your backyard and identify potential risks. Your insurance agent can help you determine what liabilities you have and what coverage limits are best for your specific situation. It’s about the peace of mind knowing you, your family (and the neighborhood kids) are protected if something happened.

It’s important to understand that swimming pools and trampolines are known as an “attractive nuisance.” In other words, you may have something that's kept outside that could tempt a child to sneak into your yard and use it. If that kid ends up getting hurt or worse, you could be held liable, even if they were trespassing.

Bottom line, there are many situations where if someone gets hurt at your home, you’re financially responsible for his or her  injuries. To protect yourself, talk to your agent. Understand what is covered under your homeowners policy and what isn’t, and consider an umbrella policy for more liability coverage for your backyard enhancements.

In addition, take a few extra steps to protect your family and your visitors. We’ll walk through some of the most common causes of backyard accidents and what homeowners can do to protect their families, their guests and their finances — without sacrificing the fun factor.

Up first, trampoline safety.

Road Travel Maintains Increasing Trend in 2017

by Erie Insurance on July 8, 2017

 

U.S. road travel is already up 1.5 percent over last year.  So far, motorists have traveled 1.01 trillion miles on U.S. roads and highways in 2017. This matches similar travel trends seen in 2016.

This is positive news for oil refiners, as the driving season (typically the summer months) is just about halfway over. Increases in motor travel will likely have an effect on gasoline consumption, which was still down 2.7 percent at the end of the first quarter this year.

Read the full story from Thomson Reuters online news site, Reuters

Who Will Win the Self-Driving Car Race?

by Erie Insurance on June 16, 2017

 

Who Will Win the Self-Driving Car Race?

Every Memorial Day weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosts the Indy 500, the most prestigious event of the IndyCar racing calendar. Thirty-three racecars took to the track this year, but only one driver came out on top:  Takuma Sato. Sato knows the race is grueling and a long-distance test for every driver. He also knows the rewards are more than worth the effort.

In many cases the race to build the first saleable, fully autonomous vehicle for U.S. roads is the same, grueling test. (Except for having a driver, of course) According to a recent report by the data-research company CB Insights, the self-driving car competition currently has more than 33 entries of its own, from the top-selling automakers as well as unconventional ones.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released its first Federal Automated Vehicles Policy in September, saying that self-driving cars could lead to an “unprecedented advance in safety on U.S. roads and highways.” According to the DOT, “human error” was responsible for 94 percent of the last year’s auto crashes, during which an estimated 35,200 people lost their lives. So, you could say that whichever company wins the self-driving car race, the real winners will be the passengers.

Tesla blazing the trail

The auto company that’s furthest along—and the one that some say already has won the race—is the unconventional brand, Tesla.

The “Autopilot” technology in the Tesla Model S can operate the car in a wide variety of driving conditions, keeping the vehicle in its lane and on pace with traffic by digitally taking over the brakes, engine and steering wheel. So in a way, there are self-driving cars currently on the road.

To keep heading in the right direction, Tesla released its Autopilot Version 8 software update in September. Key advances include a “more detailed point cloud” that allows the system to access six times as many radar objects as before, as well as the ability to use those objects as part of 3D radar “snapshots” of driving conditions.

The updated Autopilot also allows a crowd-sourced solution to conditions that still challenge the system, such as when an overhead traffic sign seems like it’s in the roadway, due to changes in road elevation. Autopilot will “learn” what the Tesla fleet does in specific scenarios, and will then be able to compare that to what a given driver is doing in the future. When behaviors don’t match up, Autopilot will “know” how to react.

Other competitors in the race

Some of the industry’s mainstream titans are hot on Tesla’s wheels. General Motors, for instance, received a Popular Mechanics “Breakthrough Award” for its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technologies in 2013, and the technology is being fine-tuned in the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan for a production launch later this year. That’s a little later than originally planned, but GM is taking extra time to address the specific concerns shown with Tesla’s Autopilot. A key will be technology similar to that used in drowsiness-alert systems, which can analyze driving behavior and use facial recognition to tell if a driver may be getting sleepy. For Super Cruise, the technology will ensure owners remain engaged in the driving experience.

Separately, GM also spent $1 billion to buy Cruise Automation, an outside company that specializes in autonomous-driving technology. GM also invested half that amount in the Lyft transportation company, a major competitor for Uber. GM expects its investment to pay off in a fleet of self-driving Lyft taxis that’s scheduled to begin testing sometime next year.

Among the automakers setting the pace with GM and Tesla are Audi and Volvo. Audi’s autonomous RS 7 has successfully lapped racetracks in Spain and California with journalists on board, even breaking the track record at the Parcmotor circuit in Barcelona. Further, Audi claims that when its next-gen A8 luxury sedan goes on sale next year, it will offer Level 3 autonomy. That means the driver can “cede full control” to the vehicle in certain scenarios, and “rely heavily” on the automatic driving functions.

At Volvo, the brand is building on its present line of driver-assistance measures with self-driving versions of its XC90 SUV. They’re part of the Drive Me project in Gothenburg, Sweden, where the vehicles will be given to “normal, everyday families” for testing on public roads. From there, the automaker expects to have autonomous driving technology ready for commercial use by 2021.

Volvo also serves up a fair amount of self-driving technology for its 2016-2017 roster. The new Volvo S90 is a prime example, thanks to a Pilot Assist function that can automatically steer the car even when it’s not following traffic.

Tech companies revving their engines

Conspicuously missing from the discussion so far are the self-driving cars from the technology companies. With all the buzz about those cute little Google-mobiles and continuing rumors about an Apple car, neither is likely to end up in customer driveways anytime soon. The barriers to entry in the auto industry are sky-high, from the costs needed to produce them, to who gets to sell them.

Remember, in many states, it’s illegal for Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to the public. Tesla got its start by repurposing cars built by another company—Lotus—and still only sells about 5,100 vehicles a month. Ford sells that number of F-150 pickups in fewer than 2.5 days. A future based on self-driving cars will require production capabilities closer to the former than the latter.

That helps explain why Google, for one, has partnered with Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles for a new phase in autonomous-driving research. This time, the initiative is backed by a fleet of 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and a focus on ways to add autonomous-driving technology to the assembly line.

Other prominent tech collaborations include that between Microsoft and Toyota, as well as between Intel and BMW. Also, mirroring GM and Lyft, Uber has turned to Ford to explore self-driving cars. Meanwhile, The New York Times notes that Apple has “shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees.”

As each carmaker makes its final lap toward the finish line, consumers await this cutting-edge technology that will also be a big win for passenger safety.

Make sure you and your car are adequately protected. Talk to an Erie Insurance agent about auto insurance coverage or get a quote online.

From a young age, Charles Krome felt destined to work in the automotive industry, growing up in Motor City with a last name like Krome. As an automotive writer for CARFAX, a leading used-car shopping website, Charles shares consumer advice on how to keep up with emerging technology when it comes to car buying.

5 Security Tips for Your New Home

by Jessica Thiefels on April 5, 2017

 

When you think of home security, you probably imagine expensive, intricate systems that cost more than you’re willing to shell out—especially after buying a new home.

But that’s not always the case. Good home security doesn’t require a pricey, state-of-the-art system. In many cases, small changes and habits are all you need to keep burglars at bay.

Keep these five security tips in mind as you move into your new home. They can save you from spending on an expensive system, while enjoying the same peace of mind.

1. Fake cameras actually work. Fake security cameras sound funny—and ineffective—but don’t rule them out. Not only are they a fraction of the cost of an actual security camera, but, "Most fake security cameras have a noticeable blinking LED light that deters criminals at night when they’re most active," according to home security experts. If the light stops blinking, just replace the batteries.

Purchase a few to place around the front and even rear entrances to your house to provide maximum protection. Don’t forget to pair them with “This home is protected by…” security stickers. These stickers can be purchased for less than $10 online. This makes your fake cameras seem even more real.

2. Fewer windows=good move. Adding more windows to boost the amount of natural light into your home might look good, but they make your house a more attractive option for intruders. Nearly 30 percent of burglars gain access to a home through an unlocked door or window—and windows on the first floor are especially common targets. It’s easy to forgot to lock windows after opening them to get fresh air, and that can be a costly mistake. If your garage door has windows, tint them so intruders can’t see if you’re home or away. The same goes for your front door and first floor windows—invest in blinds and keep them closed for the best line of defense. You can also put a frosted coating on the lower half of your windows, which only lets outsiders  see only through the top half. These come in peel and stick form, so you can make this update quickly and economically.

3. Make your home look occupied. It’s become increasingly common for break-ins to occur during daylight hours, since most people are away at work, the kids are at school and the neighbors aren’t out and about to notice anything suspicious. Here are a few ways to make your home look more active during the day to deter potential burglars:

  • Have landscapers come at all different times of the day so there’s someone there in the morning, afternoon and evening. It will be harder for burglars to spot a pattern this way.

     

  • Keep lights on in the most visible rooms in the house. You can install a timer to have them turned on and off if you don’t want them on for eight hours straight.

     

  • Don’t let mail pile up while you’re away, which is a clear sign that no one is home. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick it up each morning and leave it in your home. This way, if anyone is watching, it appears as though people are checking in and going in and out of the home.

4. Consider your landscaping. Believe it or not, your landscaping can deter criminals. People who are attempting to break into a house want somewhere to hide if the mailman drives up or a neighbor comes outside. If you have large trees or bushes planted along the first story of your house, it gives burglars a great place to wait it out.

Avoid this easy hideaway by keeping your landscaping simple, trimmed and polished. Plant bushes that are low to the ground and provide maximum protection—think rose bushes or citrus plants that have spiny leaves. Also consider using gravel instead of mulch so you can hear when someone approaches your home.

5. Video doorbells are worth checking out. One new way to keep your home safe and deter your kids from opening the door to strangers is a video doorbell. More affordable than most security cameras, these easy-to-install gadgets provide on-demand video, a live view of your front porch at all times and motion detection alerts sent straight to your smartphone.

Several of the newer models allow two-way audio so you can communicate with anyone who rings your doorbell, even if you aren’t home. These are a great security feature if you have kids who open the door for strangers or if your door doesn’t have a peephole.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a lifestyle blogger. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, Lifehack, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for money-saving ideas, health tips and more.

Will Self Driving Cars Eliminate Distracted Driving? Most People Think So, Says New National Survey

by Abby Badach on March 30, 2017

 

If you had a self-driving car, how much attention do you really think you’d need to pay to the road?

That’s what we wanted to find out when we asked nearly 3,000 licensed U.S. drivers in a new national survey to coincide with Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The survey, commissioned by Erie Insurance and conducted online by Harris Poll, finds almost six in 10 (59 percent) think that self-driving cars will eliminate the problem of distracted driving.

We’re still years away from a future where self-driving cars are the norm. But that hasn’t stopped these survey respondents from making plans for what they’d do with their downtime behind the wheel of a self-driving car.

Survey Says: Nap

Sleeping promises to be a popular pastime in self-driving cars. Roughly half of licensed drivers (51 percent) say one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars would be the ability to go longer distances without worrying about being drowsy while driving. About one-fifth of licensed drivers (19 percent) say they’d sleep or nap while operating a self-driving car.

How else would people spend the extra time? Other survey responses include:

  • Texting (34 percent)
  • Checking and sending emails (34 percent)
  • Reading (27 percent)
  • Playing video games (11 percent)
  • Meditating (10 percent)

A small percentage admitted they’d use their commutes to – ahem – get a little cozy. Seven percent of licensed drivers say they would engage in “romantic activities” while operating a self-driving car, with men almost four times more likely to do this than women (11 percent vs. 3 percent, respectively).

When asked to write in what they would do, a few others said they would pray.

One honest driver admitted he’d be “a nervous wreck.”

Slow Your Roll

We can daydream all we’d like, but the reality is a future with totally autonomous vehicles is likely a long way off.

"The term ‘self-driving car’ suggests I can hop in my car, enter a destination and have it take me from point A to point B. But that car doesn’t exist yet,” said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Currently, driving distracted has stark consequences. In 2013, Erie Insurance analyzed police data and found that daydreaming was the most fatal distracted driving behavior behind the wheel. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is a factor in 94 percent of car crashes.

“While we believe that fully autonomous vehicles will greatly reduce that number, it’s hard to predict how soon they will be widely available,” said Cody Cook, Erie Insurance vice president and product manager of ERIE’s auto department. “Current technology is going a long way to keep us safer on the road, but the last thing we want is for people to become over-confident as this technology continues to evolve. Unfortunately, our survey finds that many people are getting ahead of themselves—making plans for what they’ll do in the car instead of paying attention to the road.”

Rush Hour Happy Hour?

The prospect of self-driving cars also raises some interesting questions about a serious topic: Driving under the influence. It’s hard to speculate how current drinking and driving laws would change (or not change). Still, 13 percent of our survey respondents believe you wouldn’t get cited for DUI/DWI if you have a few drinks and then operate a self-driving car.

One-third (33 percent) believe that one of the biggest advantages of self-driving cars will be the ability to get home safely if under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, a much smaller percentage of those 21+ (5 percent) admit that they would drink alcoholic beverages while operating a self-driving car.

What’s in a Name?

What are we calling this new class of vehicles, anyway? “Self-driving” or “autonomous” are the current front-runners. But those terms largely ignore the fact that car operators may still need to pay attention to the road and be ready to take control.

So, we posed the question to our survey respondents: What else should we be calling these new vehicles?

Many of the suggestions revealed drivers’ fears about the safety of self-driving cars. Responses included:

  • “Boy are you lazy”
  • “Potential disaster car”
  • “Bad Science car”
  • “Take your chances car”
  • “Accidents waiting to happen car”

“While some of the responses may have been written in jest or taken on a lighthearted tone, if our survey gets people talking about a serious issue like distracted driving, it will have served its purpose,” said Cody. “We hope people will remember that despite technological advances, it’s still critical—for now, anyway—to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on what you are doing.”

Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance from February 28 - March 2, 2017, among 2,932 U.S. licensed drivers ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Leah Knapp. 

17 Loves Worth Insuring

by Amanda Prischak on February 8, 2017

 

Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day—February may be the shortest month of the year, but there is a lot going on.

You can also add Insure Your Love Month to that list. The nonprofit organization Life Happens creates and coordinates the campaign each year in recognition of the number one that people buy life insurance:Because they love someone and want to make sure they’d be financially protected if something unfortunate happened.

When people think of who they’d protect with life insurance, they typically think of kids and spouses. But there are many other people—and nonpeople!—who can benefit from life insurance. Here’s a list of “loves” that can be protected or benefit from a life insurance policy.

  1. Your husband
  2. Your wife
  3. Your domestic partner
  4. Your child
  5. Someone who’s like a child to you
  6. Your stepchild
  7. Your grandchild
  8. Your niece
  9. Your nephew
  10. Your mom
  11. Your dad
  12. Someone who was like a mom or dad to you
  13. Your favorite waitress who could really use a windfall
  14. Your place of worship
  15. Your favorite charity
  16. Your alma mater
  17. A trust that can benefit your pet

If someone or something on this list could benefit from life insurance protection, now is the time to talk about how to insure your love. An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance agent can tell you about options that work with your life and budget.

 

 

4 Things to Avoid When Using Public Wi-Fi

by Carolyn Sennett on March 8, 2017

 

Public Wi-Fi helps us stay connected no matter where we go. It’s convenient to use at a coffee shop, a neighborhood restaurant or the airport, but how safe is it? Unfortunately, cyber criminals can log in to the same free network that you do and attempt to gain access to your devices and personal information.

“The Wi-Fi may be free, but that doesn’t mean your online activities are safe,” says Cheryl Lorei, a senior IT analyst at Erie Insurance who has worked in information security for 15 years. “The big concern with public Wi-Fi is that your information could be available to anyone on the network. It’s nothing against the businesses that offer free Wi-Fi, it’s just that they’re not in the business of keeping your personal information safe.”

Four tips to help make your online activities more secure

Here are a few key things that you need know about public Wi-Fi security and how to keep your personal information safe.

  1. Watch out for phony Wi-Fi access points. Fake routers are designed to look legitimate, but hackers operate them. With this popular method, called a man-in-the-middle attack, the invader tries to get between you and your personal information that is stored on a banking website or in an email. “These situations can be difficult to detect,” says Lorei. “If you don’t know who is running the network, don’t use it. Always ask the business owner or hotel to verify the network name before you connect to it.” Once you’re finished, remove the public Wi-Fi connection from your device. If your device is still in the mode of actively trying to connect, a hacker may notice and create a phony access point.

     

  2. Limit your activity while using public Wi-Fi. When you’re using free Wi-Fi, it’s not a good time to shop online, use social media or access your bank account or email. “You want to avoid visiting websites that save and store your personal passwords or credit card numbers,” says Lorei. “You could inadvertently make it easy for someone to access your personal information. Once they have your password, they will try to reuse it repeatedly to access other sites to gain more information about you.”

     

  3. Use secured websites or a VPN service. Generally, it’s best to access secured websites that begin with https rather than http. The s in the address is an indication that the site uses a secured encryption Web protocol to protect the confidentiality of online activities or transactions. A virtual private network (VPN) also offers a connection that is encrypted and secured. VPN can help protect you from digital eavesdropping even when you’re on public Wi-Fi. The fees for basic VPN services are less than $10 a month.

     

  4. Turn your smartphone into a secured personal hot spot. Most mobile phones can be turned into hot spots and support several devices at once. However, check your data plan before you try it to avoid unexpected expenses. “Personal hot spots are popular alternatives, but you still need to do your research about how to protect and secure the connection,” Lorei says.

Once your identity is stolen, it can be difficult to recover. “Unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to flip a switch to restore everything,” Lorei says. “It’s a smart move to do all you can to protect yourself.”

Insurance coverage is available for identity theft and fraud. With Erie Insurance’s Identity Recovery Coverage, you’ll get help with the recovery process and coverage for expenses like charges for credit reports, lost wages and even some legal fees. The cost of the coverage is low—about $20 a year—and it can be added to a home or renters insurance policy. A local Erie Insurance agent can tell you more about the details.

On the Horizon: Better Seat Belts for Seniors

One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Now, researchers want to make the standard seat belt even safer for seniors who account for tens of millions of drivers in the U.S.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, close to 600 older adults are injured each day in car crashes. Common life-threatening injuries include cracked ribs and broken pelvises. If the seat belt is positioned incorrectly around the neck or under the arm of an older driver, it can cause injuries and even fatalities.

Better safety solutions

Researchers at Ohio State University are collaborating with automakers to investigate other options to help reduce severe injuries in drivers 65 and older. Just one includes an inflatable seat belt. The project is also using simulations and smaller crash test dummies to help design better protection for older drivers.

Inflatable seat belts are available in the back seats in some Ford, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz models. Ford introduced inflatable seat belt technology in 2011 saying it would enhance safety for backseat passengers like young children.

In addition to inflatable seat belts, future technology may offer a personalized car key fob to activate a customized safety system within each vehicle. The key fob could adjust a seat belt based on a driver’s individual physiology. To learn more, check out the source article on Reuters for more information.

What Can Go Wrong with an Older Car?

by Erie Insurance on December 29, 2014

 

Today’s vehicles are built better than ever, redefining what it means to be a high-mileage car. An odometer that reads 100,000 miles is no longer the maximum life expectancy for a vehicle; in fact, with a little maintenance, you can push your vehicle to 200,000 or even 300,000 miles. Knowing what problems commonly arise in older cars is key to keeping your vehicle running.

Here are some of the most crucial car components and when you can expect to replace them.

Automatic transmission

Almost all passenger vehicles have an automatic transmission today. While it’s a major convenience, solving transmission problems can be one of the more expensive aspects of owning an older car.

Repairing a transmission is rare; instead, most transmissions are simply replaced. This job can easily cost thousands of dollars. Transmission failure is more likely to occur once a vehicle eclipses the 100,000-mile mark; however, some transmissions can fail in the 60,000 to 70,000 mile range.

Battery

You can expect your battery to grow weak after four or five years, regardless of the miles you’ve put on your vehicle. Some batteries will last into a sixth year. If you live in a warm-weather climate, you can expect to replace your battery every three years on account of the heat.

Gel-cell batteries typically last longer than lead-acid batteries, so consider them for your older car.

Brake pads

Brake pads wear out the more you drive and apply the brakes. The way you drive is also a factor. Aggressive drivers who brake hard and spend most of their driving miles in stop-and-go traffic will wear out their brake pads more quickly than drivers who mostly cruise on the highway.

The size of the vehicle also plays a role. Large, heavy SUVs may wear through a set of brake pads after 30,000 miles, while smaller, lighter vehicles may travel 60,000 or 70,000 miles before wearing down the front pads.

Fuel pump

A fuel pump provides little warning before it fails. So it’s best to know that fuel pumps have the potential to fail after your older car surpasses 60,000 miles.

Poor electrical connections and clogged fuel lines could also stop the pump from working. So make sure your mechanic reviews all possible scenarios before replacing the pump. A more inexpensive repair option may exist.

Tires

Worn tires are perhaps the most visible proof that you own an older car. Your vehicle’s original tires will likely last you 60,000 to 80,000 miles before they need to be replaced. You can check your tires’ wear by inserting a penny in the tread. If you can see any part of President Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.

Inexpensive tires will last you about 50,000 miles, while more high-quality tires should last 80,000 miles.

It’s also a good idea to have your tires rotated during your maintenance inspections to ensure equal wear on all four tires.

Water pump

When the water pump wears, it will start to leak coolant. That can expose your engine to the risk of overheating. Water pump failure is possible around 70,000 miles. You should definitely consider replacing your water pump once your vehicle eclipses 100,000 miles.

The best way to keep your vehicle in proper working order is to follow a strict maintenance plan that includes changing your oil, rotating your tires and asking your mechanic to inspect the vehicle. Identifying any concerns before they become problems will keep you and your older car on the road.

In the final post, you’ll learn some trusted tips from super high-mileage car owners.

The Add-on Every New Car Needs

by Nancy Daniel on February 14, 2017

Ah, there’s nothing like that new car feeling when you buy a car -- that distinct new car smell and the lush interior. The techy gadgets and the sweet sound system. But after you finish selecting all the options you want, there’s one more you might consider. And that’s a small add-on to your auto insurance policy.

Let’s say you get into an accident a week after buying your new ride. Cars do depreciate the minute they're driven off the lot. According to Carfax.com, new vehicles lose value at an average decline of 15-25 percent each year during the first five years. That means if your new ride gets totaled, your insurance payout could be much less than what you paid for the car (or what you owe on your loan, for that matter).

How ERIE can help

Erie Insurance offers a coverage endorsement that makes sure you’re not left with a gap in coverage. It’s called New Auto Security, and you can add it to your ERIE auto policy for a nominal increase in premium. If you’ve had your car less than two years and it gets totaled, ERIE will reimburse you the cost to replace it with the newest model year (minus your deductible).

And if your new car is in an accident but it’s not a total loss, ERIE will pay to repair the vehicle without a deduction for depreciation. That’s good news for your wallet.  

Older cars are covered too

The endorsement from ERIE isn’t just for brand-new cars. Here’s another reason to add it to your policy: if you’ve had your car longer than two years, ERIE will pay the cost to replace it with a model that’s two years newer. That means the coverage is good to have no matter what the age of your vehicle.

Plus, you can add the New Auto Security coverage any time – it isn’t restricted to when you buy the car or when you first insure the vehicle with ERIE.

So don’t let worries over a possible accident ruin your new- (or used) car moments. Drive the car you love and rest easy knowing you’re a step ahead of depreciation with New Auto Security from ERIE. Talk to a local Erie Insurance agent today who can explain the details and give you a quote.

A vehicle is considered new when it is less than two years old. Eligible vehicles must carry both comprehensive and collision coverage. The endorsement is sold on a per-vehicle basis, not per policy, and contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. Coverage is not available in all states. Please refer to our disclaimer and talk to an ERIE agent for policy details.

Less Than Seven Hours of Sleep Ups Potential for a Car Crash

There’s been a lot of concern about how technology is leading to more distracted driving. Yet we also know that drowsy driving is also a major culprit behind auto accidents.

Now, new research reveals that drivers who only sleep five or six hours in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to crash as drivers who get seven hours of sleep or more. Getting less than five hours leads to even more crashes—in fact, these very tired drivers can be as impaired as drunk drivers.

These findings underscore the importance of getting enough shut-eye before you get behind the wheel for any holiday driving—and every time after. Check out the source article on npr.org to learn more about this report and why sleep matters so much.

- See more at: https://www.erieinsurance.com/Blog/2016/sleep-and-car-crashes#sthash.hJmxv2Ah.dpuf

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