Driving in the winter sometimes gets extremely risky due to slush, black ice, and poor visibility during a blizzard. Once fall sets in, people often rush to get their cars ready for winter so that they are prepared to drive their vehicles safely.
In this article, we’ll provide some pointers that you can refer to when you winterize your car.
Brakes and Oil Change
Once the temperature goes on the colder side, you should get your brakes checked and top them up with brake fluids. Getting an oil change will also save you the trip to the mechanic in the dead of winter.
Change to Winter Tires
Although using winter tires is not mandatory in Ontario, insurance providers in the province are required by law to provide discounts of up to 5% on car insurance premiums for drivers who install winter tires.
These tires are formulated for driving in colder weather so that your car does not skid when you apply the brakes, thus giving you more traction and control. The treads are also deeper than normal tires and designed to reduce the buildup of snow.
Remove All Snow from Your Vehicle
Because you will be driving in extreme conditions, it is important to ensure that you can see all around your car.
In Ontario, you can be fined $110 for not clearing snow off your vehicle’s roof, hood, lights, and signals according to section 74 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
Check Your Battery and Lights
Because it is tougher for the battery to get your engine running during the colder months, it is extremely important to check that your battery is in good shape and there are no corrosions or worn cables.
Get the Right Insurance
Drivers must have auto insurance in Ontario. Auto insurance protects you and your car from any damages that may become expensive.
At Marathon Insurance, we evaluate your driving history and the risks of your daily commute, and help you understand the best way to protect yourself. We have basic and enhanced coverage options that you can opt for depending on how much coverage you need.
1. Basic car insurance
Basic car insurance protects you with some high-level coverage that includes the following:
- Property damage. Get directly compensated for any vehicle damage and property inside when another insured motorist is at fault.
- Liability coverage. If you are held responsible for injuries, property damage, and death of another driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you get liability coverage.
- Uninsured motorist. This covers your property damage and provides you with accident benefits if an uninsured motorist is found at fault in your accident.
- Accident benefits. This covers you if you are in an accident, and includes medical bills, rehabilitation, and loss of income due to disability from an accident.
2. Enhanced coverage insurance
Under enhanced coverage insurance, you will get extended claims and protection against a wider range of issues that do not generally come under the basic insurance plan. Some enhanced coverage options are:
- Collision. If you are in a collision, the enhanced coverage covers the repairs or even a replacement of your car after the collision with another vehicle.
- Comprehensive. If there are other damages due to theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects, lightning, explosion, collision with an animal, and other hazards, the comprehensive claim covers you from the mentioned incidents.
- Income replacement. If you are in an accident that prevents you from working, then this is an extension of the standard accident benefit in case of catastrophic injuries so that you continue getting an income.
- Death and funeral benefits. Another extension of the accident benefits claim, this provides an additional lump sum payment to help with funeral costs in case of death due to an accident.
- Loss of use. Suppose your car is undergoing repairs after an insured loss. In that case, you may be entitled to a temporary replacement, like a rental car, or reimbursement for additional commute expenses under this claim.
- Damage to a non-owned vehicle. This extended car insurance policy covers any higher costs that come with repairing any damages done to your rental car.
- Towing. In case your car breaks down in the middle of the road, this claim allows you to benefit from emergency towing services on demand.
- Waiver of depreciation. Under this claim, you can get the full value of your car if it is considered new (less than 36 months) in case of a write-off following an insured loss.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
It is also vital to keep in mind that although you are insured and have taken all the necessary steps to winterize your car, you may want to always have an emergency kit in your vehicle that can come handy in case of a breakdown in an area where help is not always prompt.
Here are a few pointers that you can keep in mind while preparing your emergency kit:
- A first-aid kit. Keep first-aid items like bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wash, medical tape, and other items specific to you and your family’s medical conditions handy in this kit.
- Phone charger and flashlight. Keep a phone charger handy in case you are in an isolated area for a long period of time and your phone battery dies. Also, keep a flashlight with you if you get stranded at night.
- Non-perishable food and water. Keep snacks like energy bars, canned food, and water to sustain you in case you’re stranded hours away from help.
- Blankets, gloves, and clothes. Keep extra gloves, socks, and a change of clothes in a compressed bag, especially during winter.
- Hardware items. Keep a Swiss army knife, a jump starter, whistle, and a wheel wrench and jack handy in your emergency kit as well.
During winter, especially when there is heavy snowfall, it is always wise to stay prepared, as it may take a long time to get help.
Getting the right insurance goes a long way in keeping you covered in case of any accidents or mishaps. It is not possible to always pay out of pocket for expensive repair work, and getting the right car insurance will ensure that you save on the extra costs.