The winter is a lovely season, but it does come with a certain set of risks for your car. While it is not possible for drivers to avoid these risks altogether, being aware of what they are is the first step to minimizing them.
Here are three of the most commonly filed winter car insurance claims:
Collision After Sliding on Ice
Ice is the ultimate enemy of winter driving. Collisions that result from sliding on ice are perhaps the most common type of winter car insurance claim. This includes rear-ending the car in front of you, hitting parked cars as a result of losing traction, hitting a curb, and sliding off the road.
To avoid this problem, do the following:
- Drive slowly. There is no better way to avoid losing control on ice than slowing down.
- Get winter tires. With softer rubber and the ability to expel ice and water, winter tires make a huge difference in traction. Metal studs are optional.
- Be generous with braking distance. Give the car ahead of you more distance than you think you need.
- Brake effectively. If you have anti-lock brakes, press firmly on the brake pedal. If you do not, press the brake pedal firmly to the point where the wheels almost lock — known as “threshold braking” — and if they do lock, ease off the pressure gently.
Damage From Trees
The amount of extra weight that snow, and particularly ice, can heap on trees is staggering. Overloaded branches and trees land on cars too often, causing expensive damage and leading to many insurance claims.
Here are some preemptive steps you can take to avoid this:
- Hire an arborist. Dead branches and at-risk trees need to be taken down by a professional to avoid damaging your property.
- Keep an eye on the weather. If a heavy snowstorm or an ice storm is coming, park your car away from overhanging trees.
- Get comprehensive insurance. This coverage will protect against tree damage, though you’ll need to pay your deductible.
Freezing weather does a number on roadways, and potholes are one of its most destructive byproducts. Potholes are also responsible for a large number of winter auto insurance claims.
These small craters form when water trickles into cracks in the asphalt and then freezes. This fractures the pavement, and the pothole is born when car tires dislodge chunks of asphalt. The pothole then returns the favor by damaging tires and wheels.
To avoid this type of damage:
- Watch the road. You should have a heightened awareness of the road surface in the winter and spring. Paying attention to the road ahead will let you avoid potholes without erratic maneuvers.
- Drive slowly. If a pothole is unavoidable, you’re far less likely to pinch your tire or dent a rim if you take it slowly.
Be alert and safe this winter and avoid these common accidents!