Safety Features That Can Lower Your Car Insurance Rates

If you are looking for ways to lower your auto insurance rates, one of your best options is to look into the safety features and anti-theft devices that are installed on your vehicle. Most insurance companies do offer discounts on their insurance premiums for safety features such as anti-lock brakes and air bags. Anti-theft devices can also save your money. Some of these features may have been installed as standard features on your vehicle. Others you may need to add as an extra option or invest in after market products. Either way, safety features and anti-theft devices are solid investments. Not only can they save you money on your auto insurance, they also keep you safe and help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.

Here are some of the major car safety features and anti-theft devices that can help save you money on your auto insurance.

Air Bags

The cause of approximately twenty five percent of U.S. passenger vehicle deaths is side impact crashes. Side air bags can significantly reduce this risk. When purchasing a new or used vehicle, one of the most important safety features you should look for is their rating for side-impact protection. Choose a rating of good or higher. Vehicles with air bags can help lower the personal injury or medical payments part of your insurance premium by as much as forty percent.

Anti-Lock Brakes

Another very important safety feature that can help to lower your insurance costs is anti-lock brakes. Many insurance providers offer discounts for anti-lock brake systems (ABS). Anti-lock brake systems prevent the wheels on your vehicle from locking up and also maintains directional control when you are in a situation that requires you to brake quickly, such as driving on wet, icy or snowy roads. Many cars do come equipped with anti-lock brakes as a standard feature. However, on some models they may be an extra option you need to pay extra for. If you are not sure whether or not your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, turn the ignition on and check the instrument panel. There should be a yellow indicator light flashing.

Electronic Stability Control

This safety feature helps to prevent loss of control, spin-outs and sideways skidding through an electronic system comprised of a microcomputer and sensors. Collision losses on vehicles equipped with this technology are lower than those without it. This is another safety feature that many auto insurance companies provide a discount for.

Daytime Running Lights

Studies have shown that having daytime running lights on a vehicle significantly increases safety. Although they do assist drivers in being able to see ahead further, their biggest benefit is increasing visibility of the vehicle for other drivers and pedestrians.

Vehicle Response Systems

There are different types of emergency response systems such as unlocking doors after an airbag has been deployed, turning off the fuel, or other alerts that could be triggered if the system senses there as been an accident or or other dangerous situation. Emergency response systems are designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe and some also immediately seek help following an accident.

Anti-Theft System

There are various types of anti-theft systems that can not only help protect your vehicle, but also result in a lower insurance premium. They range from alarm systems, column steering devices, ignition deactivation devices as well as auto recovery systems. Check with your insurance agent to find out which anti-theft systems can save you the most money on your auto insurance premium.

Window Sketching

This procedure etches the VIN number for your vehicle into the window glass so that thieves cannot alter the vehicle identification number.

Stolen Vehicle Recovery System

LoJack and other types of vehicle recovery system assist police offers with finding your vehicle after is has been stolen.

In order to take full advantage of any discounts you may be eligible for on your auto insurance rates, make a list of all safety features and anti-theft systems or devices that your vehicle has. Consult the owner’s manual that came with your car to make sure you don’t miss any, and make note of any additional features you have installed. Discuss these with your insurance agent and make sure that all discounts are taken into account to insure the lowest possible auto insurance rate. Also, be sure to ask your insurance agent if there are any safety features or anti-theft devices that are eligible for discounts that are missing from your vehicle. It may be worth it to invest in these devices. Although you may need to pay some money upfront, it could save you money in the long term on your auto insurance rates in addition to helping keep you and your vehicle safer.

Using Taxis And Taxi Protection

Occasionally there is media coverage of an incident involving a passenger’s personal security and either a taxi driver or someone purporting to be so. 

Of course, the vast majority of taxi journeys are uneventful and entirely routine, however, there are a few steps that passengers may wish to consider when using any form of vehicle on a hire and reward basis:

1. In the United Kingdom, taxi and private hire (minicab) operations are subject to strict legal and local licensing authority controls.  If you are telephoning for a taxi you should ensure that you are using an organisation that advertises prominently and which explicitly quotes and shows its licensing information;

2. If you are trying to hail a taxi on the street, remember that legally there is a significant difference between a Hackney carriage and a minicab.  Only the former is allowed to collect fare paying passengers from taxi ranks or being hailed. Make sure you are only trying to hail a vehicle that you can see is clearly carrying an illuminated taxi sign and which has prominently displayed on its front and back bodywork, an official Hackney carriage licence plate;

3. Do not under any circumstances, get into an unmarked private vehicle which is canvassing for business at a taxi rank or outside of busy public venues such as railway stations.  Note that a hand written sign on the dashboard saying taxi or minicab is not an indication that they are an officially licensed vehicle;

4. Reputable and official minicab operations will never attempt to canvass for business on the public street, as they know it is illegal and they may lose their licence.  Therefore, be very suspicious of anyone who is trying to do so and describing themselves as a minicab;

5. All taxi or private hire drivers must carry a photo ID card.  In addition to the steps above, if you are in any doubt whatsoever, ask to see this and inspect it carefully before getting into the vehicle. Note, however, that a photo ID alone is easily and cheaply produced – it is not proof that the vehicle is a taxi or minicab and nor is a radio;

6. Remember that if you use an unlicensed vehicle, it is almost certain that the driver’s cab insurance will not be valid and if you are involved in an accident you may have no recourse to compensation;

7. If you are using a pre-booked minicab service, make sure that someone knows the taxi office you have called and the details of the vehicle you are boarding.

It is worth remembering that problems may be rare.

Even so, adopting some of the above practices may be nothing more than common sense.

The Enhanced Motorbike Rider Scheme Explained

Here are some questions that are frequently asked on the subject of the enhanced motorbike rider scheme.

Is this scheme mandatory?

No, it is not. However, it may be something that is highly advisable for two reasons:

  • it might significantly improve your riding skills and therefore reduce the likelihood of you having an accident arising from your lack of experience;
  • you may find that it results in a reduction in your insurance premium.

What is the logic and how does the scheme work?

Although recent decades have shown a huge improvement in a road accident statistics, nobody disputes that those involving two wheeled vehicles are still disproportionately high.

Although some people in the biker fraternity may wish to attribute all accidents to being the responsibility of car drivers, in reality, a lack of rider experience may be a significant factor behind many motorbike related incidents.

That is why the government, with the support of the insurance industry, has put into place a training and enhanced rider scheme that is available to bike riders after they have passed their initial test.

The scheme basically involves additional training followed up by theoretical and on the road tests.  If you pass, you receive a certificate which can then be used through selected insurers to obtain a reduction on your insurance premium.

You can find a fuller and more precise description on the government’s website*.

What is the role of insurance in this?

It is obviously in the insurance industry’s best interests to try and reduce the number of accidents and subsequent claims.

That is why some insurance providers have worked closely in supporting this important government initiative.

Of course, insurance providers may also offer specialist policies to help bikers in other categories, by providing things such as convicted biker insurance and classic bike cover etc.

Is that the end of additional training?

No, it is possible to take an advanced rider training course for those who have more practical on-the-road experience over time.

Insurance providers may offer further reductions in premium if you hold an advanced rider certification.

Are the courses free?

No, there is typically a charge but remember that this may be partly offset by reductions in your premium once you pass.

Are there other ways of reducing my insurance premium?

Yes, there may well be.  Space does not permit a full discussion here but they may include things such as taking a higher excess on your policy and making sure that your bike is garaged overnight when not in use.

Your insurance provider will typically be only too happy to offer you further advice on this subject.


Senior Drivers Everywhere

In the United States, 10,000 people reach the age of 65 each and every day. This generation, known as The Baby Boomers, is the most active and mobile group of people ever. As they age, their driving skills will deteriorate in similar patterns to their predecessors. The difference for society is the volume of older drivers that will be present on the highways and byways. Most seniors live 7 to 10 years beyond their safe driving age. Everyone has a role in keeping them safe while they are behind the wheel of an automobile..

Senior Driver Responsibility

In 2009, older people were involved in 16 percent of all accidents. Each senior can take some positive actions to ensure that they are able to drive safely. Other people will notice if the senior’s skills deteriorate, but most people will not say anything directly. Respect for elders is an important part of the relationship with these wise individuals.

Take care of yourself – Regular medical examinations will reveal significant medical risks that have developed in the last checkup. Eye exams are important to make certain that objects are visible when behind the wheel.
Exercise regularly – Appropriate exercise routines, including walking, are essential for every senior in the effort to stay healthy. Balance and strength are essential for driving decisions. Even though aches and pains increase, the senior driver is wise to continue to exercise daily.

Admit when it is over – Every senior knows when the ability to drive is no longer present. Setting the keys down for the last time is one of the most difficult decisions in life. Those who decide to stop driving are brave and wise.

Attend refresher course – Insurance companies offer substantial discounts for senior drivers who complete driving courses. Approved courses are available all over the country. Senior drivers learn to use their slower reflexes to make good decisions behind the wheels.

Family Responsibility

People closest to the senior driver must take the initiative in early discussions concerning the senior’s ability to handle an automobile. Certain difficult driving situations, such as city driving, should be handled by the younger generation to avoid unnecessary stress for the senior driver.

Conduct regular assessments – Every six months, a family member should ask to take a ride with the senior driver. Casual observations will provide valuable insight into the senior’s driving ability.

Grandmother DrivingMake gradual adjustments – Older people, who have always been independent, consider abrupt decisions disrespectful. Simple adjustments to favorite routes around town can minimize the time spent on major thoroughfares. Slower roads are easier to navigate for the senior driver. The wise family member will begin to ease into the primary driving role before asking the senior to relinquish the keys to the car.

Identify alternatives – Other transportation options will prevent feelings of confinement for the senior as driving skills diminish. Grandkids, who are young drivers, can become a great source of mobility for the senior driver.

Other Driver’s Responsibility

Everyone must share the same roads that are driven by drivers of all skill levels. Anticipating the actions and movements of other drivers is the leading challenge on the crowded roads. All drivers must make special accommodations for older drivers.

Stay off the horn! – Startling an older driver is a sure way to cause an accident. Slower drivers cause everyone to consider the speed at which traffic flows. Patience is a virtue.

That is you, someday! – All “young” drivers must remember that everyone ages. Once the realization comes to mind, most people will allow for the slower reflexes and movements of a senior driver.

Admire their courage – Patient responses are easier when the younger drivers stop Courage and think about the courage driving requires. Senior drivers question their driving skills but still get behind the wheel.

Be prudent – Sufficient liability and collision insurance is important for all drivers. As the number of drivers increase, accident frequency will increase.

Final Word

Baby boomers will age gracefully because of their desire to live healthy, active lives. While their numbers are vast, they are responsible individuals with the ability to change the way many parts of life are handled. In response to their needs, many organizations will develop solutions for minimizing their impact on the roads shared by all drivers. Training courses will be enhanced to sharpen their driving skills for many years to come. Technology will play an essential role in reducing the risks presented by older drivers in previous decades. Car manufacturers and gadget inventors will rise to meet the challenges presented by this generation of aging drivers.

Student Guide to Saving Money

Savings AheadToday, students are having a harder time paying their bills and putting money away for the future. The Canadian Federation of Students notes that the grants and part time jobs that helped students pay for post secondary education have become rarer, leaving students with an average of $27,000 just in student loan debt upon graduation. This doesn’t factor in any credit card debt that may have been accumulated and that overwhelms many students. With some simple financial knowledge, students can avoid the mountain of debt and save money. There are more than 118 ways to save money in college but here are my top 5.

Cutting Down on Expenses

The first step to avoiding debt is by cutting down on regular expenses. College and University students often spend a lot of money on purchases like takeout food and drinks that can be easily avoided. Sitting down and figuring out a monthly budget for all expenses can help get these expenses under control. Factor in expenses including entertainment and takeout, as it is unreasonable to completely cut out this type of spending.

While having fun can account for much of student spending, tuition and housing typically makes up the majority of their expenses. Students should research their options for funding their education, paying particular attention to options that do not have to be repaid. While loans are easy to find, excessive loans burden millions of students. Look into funding like grants and scholarships to pay for College or University while cutting down on debt.

Handling Student Credit Cards

Credit card companies often market cards towards students, which can become a problem when students don’t know how to handle the responsibility of using a credit card. While students do not have to completely avoid credit cards, there are some practices that students should become familiar with before signing up for their first card.Choosing a Credit Card

Choose a Credit Card Wisely

There are likely to be many offers when a student starts College or University, and they may think that applying for as many as possible will give them the best chance of being approved for one or two. However, each application will result in a credit check, and multiple checks in a short period can negatively affect credit. It is also possible that the student will be approved for most or all of the cards that they have applied for, leaving them with entirely too many cards. Instead, students should research the benefits of each card available and choose the best one or two cards based on these benefits.

Control Spending

Credit cards should not be used for large or frequent purchases, and students should not charge more than they can afford to pay off in full per month. Paying the balance in full every month allows a credit card user to avoid interest and finance charges, and prevents a build up of debt. An effective method of avoiding mounting debt is including the amount that can reasonably be charged on credit cards every month in a budget, and using the card only for necessities that are already included in the monthly budget.

Prepaid Credit Cards

Students who are not ready to take on the responsibility of a credit card should consider a prepaid credit card. These cards have the logo of a major credit card company while working like a debit card. An added benefit of prepaid cards is that parents can add funds to a student’s card online while the student is away at college.


Saving for the FutureSaving for the Future

If they haven’t already, students may be interested in starting a savings account while in college. This is a worthy goal, but it is important to keep in mind that savings should not take precedence over paying off current expenses. Consider the fact that student loan interest is generally higher than the amount of interest that can be earned on investments. If a student puts money into savings and takes out more student loans to cover current expenses, they are actually losing money in the long run.

Finances are a difficult subject for students when student loan debt and credit card balances are mounting. Students should do as much research as they can into finding alternative ways to pay for college, particularly focusing on methods that do not need to be repaid. Credit cards are often a financial pitfall for students, but if used wisely can help build up credit, which will serve them well in the future.