Category: Auto

How to Take Control Behind the Wheel

What did we do before we had backup cameras?

The driver-assist features found in newer cars and trucks often make driving safer, and most of us rely on them every day. But it’s worth remembering: Technology can’t always perform better than your own quick reflexes.

Find out how to make the most of your vehicle’s safety features without letting them lull you into a false sense of security.

Benefits and Limitations

Here are a few features you may be familiar with (along with their limitations):

  • Lane departure and change sensors can help you avoid a collision, but they won’t necessarily alert you to ice on the road or a sharp curve ahead.
  • Adaptive cruise control helps you maintain a safe following distance, but it may not be able to change your speed quickly enough if someone cuts you off.
  • Safety cameras give you more information while driving, backing up and parking — but you should still keep your eyes on your surroundings.

Smart Habits 

Regardless of how smart your car seems to be, don’t let go of these essential habits:

  • Check your mirrors before backing up
  • Check your blind spot before changing lanes
  • Stay aware of weather conditions
  • Always drive defensively (watch out for other drivers who may not be paying attention)

Common Distractions

While texting may get the most attention, it’s not the only dangerous distraction on the road. Here are other behaviors to avoid:

  • Checking or posting to social media
  • Scrolling through your phone to find a song or podcast
  • Tending to children and other passengers
  • Eating or grooming

Check Safety Ratings

When car shopping, search for the year, make and model you’re interested in to review safety ratings. You can use the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Ratings or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s vehicle ratings.

Have questions about your coverage? Reach out to a Vick Insurance team member and we’ll be happy to help.

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How to Choose a Reliable Mechanic

Have you ever looked over a vehicle repair estimate and felt a sinking feeling in your stomach?

Maybe you have reason to believe that something isn’t right, but due to a lack of knowledge, there’s not much you can do about it.

Is it possible to avoid this moment altogether?

There are lots of trustworthy mechanics out there, so you just have to find one. Here are a few tips for connecting with someone reliable.

Ask for Recommendations

While online reviews can be helpful to your decision-making process, they shouldn’t be the only factor. Ask friends, family, co-workers and neighbors if they’re happy with their current mechanic.

Check for Certifications

Many reputable mechanics have been certified by particular vehicle manufacturers or the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Ask the shop if they have any certified mechanics on staff and check the website or waiting area for any other licenses or certifications.

Be an Active Participant

Show up informed about the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle as well as any major repairs you’ve already completed. This will help your mechanic be the best possible partner to you. It will also alert you to any red flags, such as a recommendation for a repair that you just had done.

Review Everything

You also want a mechanic who is willing to answer your questions and explain why a repair is needed. The best technicians can also tell you when the repair isn’t urgent but should be completed within a specific timeframe.

Have questions about your insurance coverage? Reach out anytime to one of team members here at Vick Insurance Group.

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4 Driving Emergencies You Can Prepare For

Would you know how to quickly and safely react if your tire suddenly blew out? What if your gas pedal got stuck?

These aren’t everyday incidents, but they’re not unheard of, either. And they can be extra stressful if you have no idea how to handle them.

Do yourself a favor: Take a look at a few ways to help keep yourself safe just in case the unexpected happens while you’re out on the road.

4 Driving Emergencies (and How to React)

Your tire blows out.

What to do: Grip the steering wheel tightly with both hands so your car doesn’t swerve as the air leaves your tire. Don’t slam your brakes; accelerate carefully to maintain your speed. Then, take your foot off the gas, let the car slow naturally, turn on your hazard lights and pull over. It’s safe to gently brake once you’ve slowed to 25 mph.

You start to hydroplane.

What to do: Resist the urge to hit the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the accelerator. Look and steer in the direction you want to go. If you’re still skidding, gently tap the brakes.

Your accelerator sticks.

What to do: Jiggle or stomp the gas pedal if an object has lodged underneath. If that doesn’t work or you need a faster response, put your car in neutral, tap your brakes repeatedly to alert other drivers, and pull over.

Your brakes stop working.

What to do: First, try pumping the brake pedal. If your car still won’t slow down, shift into neutral or a lower gear. For a faster response, gently engage your parking brake. Another option is to nudge your car against an object like a guardrail or curb; its friction will slow you down. Your car will get damaged, but you may avoid a crash.

Your insurance can take care of vehicle damage, so always put your life and your safety first. Not sure if you have the right coverage? Get in touch with one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group. You can also find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

As always stay safe!!


5 Ways to Help Teen Drivers Succeed

Learning to drive is a summer rite of passage for many teenagers. It’s also a chance for parents to truly make a difference in their child’s life. By instilling smart habits from the beginning, you’ll be helping to keep them (and everyone on the road) safer overall.

Are you getting ready to help your teenager become the best driver they can be?

Here are four key things to keep in mind (and one thing we should all remember):

Take It Slow

Just because a teenager is old enough to get their permit or license doesn’t make them automatically ready to get behind the wheel. Before they start their lessons, take the time to discuss expectations, quiz them on driving laws and then move forward at the right pace for everyone.

Explain the Insurance Fundamentals

Learning to drive also means learning about adult responsibilities like insurance. Go over the essentials and walk through a few scenarios they may encounter. What’s a premium? What should they do if they get into a fender bender? How much is the deductible on the car they’ll be driving?

Discuss Other Costs

Will your teen be expected to cover gas for themselves? What about maintenance? Whether they’re borrowing your car a few times a week or taking over your hand-me-down, be clear about who will be paying for what.

Keep Talking

Most importantly, make sure you continue to have honest conversations about boundaries, curfews, peer pressure and responsibility. Emotions can run high around these issues, but helping your kids stay safe is what’s most important.

Set a Good Example

Finally, here’s something we should all keep in mind: Are you demonstrating solid driving habits yourself? Follow the speed limit, use turn signals and don’t text and drive. If you’re not following rules and prioritizing safety, you’re putting everyone on the road in danger.

Do you have questions about adding a driver to your policy or anything else? Reach out today to one of our team members at Vick Insurance Group. You can also find us online via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


4 Driving Mistakes to Watch Out For

You’re driving to work when your favorite podcast suddenly stops playing. You know you shouldn’t look at your phone, but you hate sitting in silence during your commute. What do you do?

Do you glance around for cops, then tap around on your phone until the story starts up again? A lot of us do this — but it isn’t the safest choice.

Beyond breaking the bad habit of distracted driving, here are four more behind-the-wheel behaviors to leave behind.

1. Don’t rely too much on fancy technology. If we let ourselves become less engaged drivers because we’re expecting blind-spot notifications and attention assist to save us when we’re tired or preoccupied, we aren’t really any safer. Continue your same careful driving habits and let these innovations give you an extra boost.

2. Don’t assume other drivers are paying attention, well rested or sober. Learn to spot the signs of impairment: wandering out of their lane, swerving, erratic braking, inconsistent speed and getting too close to other cars or objects. Keep a safe distance from these potentially dangerous drivers.

3. Don’t let your insurance make you complacent. Even if your collision deductible is low, don’t let your guard down. Dealing with car repairs and the other driver after an accident — not to mention the injury risk — probably isn’t worth it.

4. Don’t neglect routine maintenance. Overheating, breaking down or blowing a tire can be terrifying and dangerous. Fortunately, these problems can often be prevented with regular maintenance. Check your tire pressure and fluids monthly and have a trusted mechanic inspect your car thoroughly once or twice a year.

Have questions about your auto coverage? Reach out today to discuss your policy with one of our team members.

Be sure to also check us out on our social media sites, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


How should you handle a fender bender?

Would you know what to if you were involved in a fender bender?

Even if the damage doesn’t seem significant, you might have a time-consuming and stressful process ahead of you and it’s important to proceed carefully.

If it’s a serious wreck, call 911. Otherwise, here’s what to keep in mind in the event of a minor accident.

What should you do at the scene? 

If you accidentally bump another car (or if they bump you), here are a few steps to take:

  • First, make sure everyone is okay. Then, if it’s safe, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic.
  • Even if the damage seems minimal, call the police.
  • Exchange information with the other driver, including full name, phone number and insurance details.
  • Take photos of the vehicles involved and document the location, road conditions, the weather and any other relevant details about the scene.
  • Were there any eyewitnesses? Try to take their names and contact information, as well.
  • When the police arrive, be direct and polite. Make sure you gather their names, badge numbers and contact details and ask about obtaining a copy of the accident report.

It’s also important to contact your insurance company, so reach out as soon as you can to let us know what happened. We’ll walk you through the next steps, start the claim process and guide you through any necessary repairs that need to be made.

What if the other driver leaves the scene?

If the other driver doesn’t cooperate, doesn’t share their information or refuses to stop altogether, you should still stop and call the police. Try to remember as many details as you can (the color, make and model of the car, details from the scene, etc.) and share them with the police.

If you have any questions about how to handle a fender bender or any other claim, reach out to one of our team members today at www.vickinsurancegroup.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Smart Ideas for a Safe and Happy Winter

Winter is known for being a time of celebration, family gatherings and staying cozy by the nearest fireplace. It’s also a season of potential challenges when it comes to your home, vehicle and health.

Want to keep the season as festive and problem-free as possible? Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the rest of 2019 and beyond:

At Home

It’s good advice for any time of the year: Give your home a thorough once-over and complete the maintenance tasks that can prevent you from having to make expensive repairs later on. This includes:

  • Examining your roof and gutters and looking for any leaks or obstructions
  • Trimming dying tree branches or those that are too close to your house (or your neighbor’s)
  • Checking the bulbs in your outdoor lighting
  • Insulating pipes in unheated areas and inspecting your windows and doors for any areas that need recaulking or new weatherstripping

On the Road

Winterize your car by checking all its vitals:

  • The battery
  • Tire tread and pressure
  • All fluids, including antifreeze

It’s also wise to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially during the winter. A flashlight, blankets, portable phone charger, first-aid kit, extra batteries and a small supply of food and water are safety must-haves.

Health and Safety

Last but not least, take good care of your family and yourself during cold and flu season by getting a flu shot, washing your hands often and regularly wiping down commonly used items like light switches and remote controls.

And whether you’re getting your home ready for colder weather or the upcoming holidays, always exercise caution when using ladders, power tools, fireplaces and candles.

Want more tips before the upcoming new year? Need to discuss your coverage? Reach out to one of our team members anytime. Stay connected with us through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Try These 4 Tips to Reduce Your Costs

Do you wish you had more control over certain things, including your auto insurance premium?

It’s true that many factors can’t be changed, like your age or how many years of driving experience you have. But with a little effort, you might be able to influence other factors (and potentially lower your premium).

Here are four steps you can take that might help you save a little money on your policy.

1. Follow the Rules of the Road

Even a minor traffic violation can increase your premium. It’s crucial to buckle up, slow down, keep your eyes off your phone, and when possible, avoid the path of dangerous and distracted drivers. Parking in safe areas is helpful, too.

2. Make Smart Financial Choices

It may surprise you, but your credit score can often have an impact on your premium. A higher score may predict less future risk, so try to stay out of debt and avoid making late payments.

3. Don’t Claim the Small Stuff

A long history of insurance claims or gaps in coverage are red flags that typically cost you. Consider taking care of small claims on your own (especially when the repair costs are lower than your deductible) and maintain continuous coverage.

4. Check In Annually

It pays to review your coverage every year or after a significant life event. We can look at possible bundling options and discounts for factors like safe driving.

Need to check in? Have questions about how to reduce your costs? Reach out anytime to one of our team members. Also find us on our social media Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Would you be covered in these 5 scenarios?

Accidents happen on the road. A deer could dart across your path, a tree branch could come crashing down or you could make a simple mistake as you hurry to get to work.

Does your policy kick in after these kinds of events?

Let’s look at five things that could easily happen to any driver and see if they’d be covered.

Your Friend Wrecks Your Car

Your friend’s car is in the shop, so you lend them yours for the day. What happens if they end up involved in a fender bender?

Your insurance typically follows your vehicle. If you have collision insurance, the damage may be covered. If your friend caused the accident, your liability insurance could help cover the losses others suffer, too.

A Tree Falls on Your Truck

A storm rages through the night and you wake up to find a big tree lying across the hood of your truck. Not to worry — comprehensive auto insurance most likely covers damage from storms.

A Pothole Takes Out Your Muffler

What looks like a shallow puddle ends up being a massive pothole, resulting in a jolt, a thud and some serious damage. Though your deductible may be too high to cover minor issues, in a situation where significant repairs are needed, you may choose to file a claim.

Your Car Is Vandalized

Someone keyed your car and damaged your paint job pretty badly. Your comprehensive insurance should cover you, so you might want to file a claim if the damage exceeds the amount of your deductible.

Oops! You Backed Into Something

In a rush to get to work, you forget to open the garage door and backed right into it. (Hey, it happens.) With collision insurance, you can file a claim for the damage.

Need to adjust your coverage? Have questions about your deductible? Reach out to someone on our team today to discuss your policy. You can also find us on our social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Is it finally time to buy a new car?

Do you ever have car envy? Maybe a shiny new vehicle caught your eye the other day and now you can’t stop thinking about upgrading.

Before you head to the lot and make an impulsive decision, consider whether it’s really time for a new ride. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Think About Safety

A safe car is a valuable investment. New vehicles offer a variety of features to help reduce risks and better protect your family. If you don’t feel safe on the road with your current car, it makes sense to trade up for the benefit of having curtain air bags, backup cameras, blind spot assistance and more.

Consider the Costs

You’ll also need to ask the basic question: How much will it cost? Calculate how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a car payment and don’t forget to include any taxes and interest fees.

You also need to estimate insurance costs. Newer cars are more valuable, which means your premium will likely increase. And remember that the type of car is also a factor. You’ll probably see your rates rise quite a bit if you buy a flashy sports car, but not so much if you choose a traditional family vehicle.

On the other hand, if you’re putting a lot of money into your existing car for repairs and maintenance, it’s costing you more than it should. And are you currently getting great gas mileage, or will buying a more efficient car allow you to save some money at the pump?

The Takeaway

You’ll know it’s time to buy a new car when you’re putting too much money into your old vehicle or you no longer feel safe in it. When it’s more of a “need” than a “want,” it’s probably time to take the plunge.

Need to change your coverage? Have questions about your premium? Reach out to our team anytime, or check out our social media on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.