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Nitrogen in Your Tires: Save Gas, Save Money, and Drive Safer?

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With gas near $4 per gallon, there’s extra incentive for drivers to find ways to cut fuel costs. One of the services many tire shops offer is putting nitrogen in the tires. They tout better fuel economy, less tire wear, and more consistent air pressure but is it true?

Why Nitrogen and is it Safe?

Air is about 80% nitrogen and about 20% oxygen. In order to qualify as a nitrogen fill up, the air added to the tire needs to be at least 93% nitrogen. So while this does not seem like a large difference, oxygen has properties that affect tires much differently. Oxygen is a very reactive element that induces oxidation and as it passes through rubber, it is corrosive. This yields greater wear that ages the rubber and corrodes the steel cords. This is one of the reasons why regular tire checks are so important.

Nitrogen is also a gas like oxygen but is much less reactive and non-corrosive. While it still permeates rubber, it does it much more slowly. Tire deflation rates are minimized, which makes for safer driving. This is also good news for those who too often forget to check and top off their tire pressure. However, this does not mean that tires filled with nitrogen don’t need to be checked for pressure. Nitrogen is still affected by changes in temperature and permeation and tire pressure should still be regularly checked and adjusted.

nitrogen tire diagram

Who is Already Using Nitrogen Filled Tires?

Nitrogen filled tires have already been in use for decades by airplanes and in auto racing. Because it is dry and inert, nitrogen filled tires run cooler, have a more controlled pressure, and actually combat fire, whereas oxygen fans the flames.

Nitrogen filled tires are also beneficial for drivers who have older vehicles such as classic cars, vehicles that may not be used as regularly such as motor homes, or off-road vehicles.

Is it Worth It?

While the costs to nitrogen fill tires varies, it typically should not cost more than $10 per tire. Check to see if the shop of purchase offers free refills or nominal refill charges. While it is okay to add compressed air into tires if needed, it is best to keep your tires at the proper nitrogen fill levels and the appropriate pressure to receive the maximum benefit.

Critics say that you don’t need expensive nitrogen in your tires – you just need to have a good tire pressure gauge and regularly check and fill up your tires. While regularly checking your tire pressure is important, if your like many people who don’t make a habit of regularly checking and adjusting tire pressure, nitrogen filling can be safer, reassuring and make life easier.

In short, since nitrogen filled tires are more likely to be at the correct pressure, they are more likely to allow cars to get better fuel economy. It is not uncommon for some nitrogen tire filled cars to get an additional gallon of fuel from their tank of gas in terms of improved fuel economy but results do vary.

Have you put nitrogen filled your car’s tires? How has your experience been?

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Highest Rated Auto Insurance Companies

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Americans love their cars and they’re increasingly liking their auto insurance companies. J.D. Power has released its 2014 U.S. Auto Insurance Study which showed that customer satisfaction with auto insurers is at its highest level since the study began in 2000. The survey of 44,661 auto insurance customers was performed in March and April 2014.

The reasons for the jump in survey scores may be attributed to lower rate increases. According to J.D. Power, rate increases averaged $86 in 2014, compared to $153 in 2013. Also, years of double-digit percentage increases advertising spending with some insurers spending hundreds of millions and GEICO topping over a billion dollars a year in advertising, much of it with plenty of humor, may also play a role.

Super Boat Racing
Creative Commons License photo credit: theSuperStar

Breaking Down the Categories & Regions

The annual study measures auto insurance customer satisfaction in five different areas: policy offerings, price, claims, interaction, and billing and payment. The annual study provides valuable insights into how companies are serving their customers.

The study ranked insurers by region, which were:

- California
- New York
- Texas
- Florida
- Southeast
- New England
- North Central
- Central
- Mid-Atlantic
- Southwest
- Northwest

first place
Creative Commons License photo credit: EvelynGiggles

The Results

Overall, the highest rated auto insurance company in the survey was USAA. Remarkably, it had the highest rating in each of the 11 regions. However, USAA insurance is only available to U.S. military personnel and their families.

Among larger insurers, the highest ranked were State Farm, Auto-Owners Insurance, The Hartford, and GEICO. They scored in the top 3 in at least 3 of the 11 regions. Looking back at a 2012 Insure.com Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction study, these companies also fared well in that survey. Some insurance companies were excluded from the survey results due to not having enough of a sample size.

The study also showed that consumers are spending less time shopping for new insurance, which helps decrease customer churn, and is important for insurer profitability.

In the confusing landscape of insurance, the results of the J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance study is a valuable tool providing useful information to help consumers make more informed and intelligent auto insurance buying decisions.

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Walmart Auto Insurance

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Walmart, wanting to be a one stop shop for it’s customer, has added auto insurance into the mix of products it offers customers. Walmart is not providing the insurance itself but has partnered with an insurance matching website to allow customers to comparison shop for auto insurance.

As part of the agreement, Walmart will promote the insurance service to its customers in stores and on its website with a link to the insurance matching provider, AutoInsurance.com. Walmart receives a monthly fee from the partner, while AutoInsurance.com receives compensation from the insurers for customer leads.

Walmart-World

The Insurers Offered

The AutoInsurance.com website allows users to review prices of different insurance companies and prepare them with their current insurance rates. The six providers they offer are: Progressive, Travelers, Esurance (an Allstate company), 21st Century Insurance, Safeco Insurance, and General Insurance.

This does not necessarily mean that rates will be lower. The two largest insurers in the U.S., State Farm and Geico are not among the available companies to comparison shop for rates and coverage. Furthermore, price should not the only consideration when shopping for insurance. Policyholder service, a record of evaluating claims fairly, and available types of coverage are also important factors.

Also, insurance is not provided in all areas. The service is launching in eight states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Walmart hopes to expand the service to the rest of the country in the next few months. In the meantime, much of the country will see a message like this on AutoInsurance.com:
Walmart Car Insurance Quote

Walmart Aggressively Expanding Its Offerings

Walmart has been moving aggressively to add new customer offerings to stay ahead of its competitors and boost revenues. In addition to what it’s more traditionally known for: household goods, groceries, sporting goods, electronics, and pharmacy, Walmart also offers home & garden, banking, money orders/transfers, optometry services, lube and filter, a sandwich shop, and a salon in many locations. Car insurance is another indication that this trend is continuing.

Shopping for car insurance can be time consuming and complicated. Walmart hopes to leverage its millions of visitors to its stores and website each week and reputation for low prices to grow profits in a widening range of services.

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What Do Driverless Cars Mean For Auto Insurance?

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It seems like only yesterday that the public was being introduced to hybrids and EVs. With their typically high sticker price than purely gas powered cars, these vehicles can have higher insurance rates. Now it’s time to get ready for another technological vehicle breakthrough, known as the driverless car.

Google’s concept vehicle as well as several drawing board designs by German engineers has the entire automotive community buzzing. The idea is to completely control a vehicle through the use of electronic sensors.

These cars will still be able to function as a fully drivable vehicle – including the steering wheel, of course – but considering how a system of sensors both on the car and in the surrounding environment can practically eliminate collisions and allow passengers to relax or perform work during a commute is cause for both elation and alarm.

Google Robocar Racetrack Ride

Changes In The Industry

Google and other conceptual designers have indicated that the market will be ready to accept these vehicles by the year 2022. Much of the infrastructure associated with the operation of vehicles – specifically traffic lights, road signs, and driving lanes – will still be around, but threaded into this will be a system of sensors and warnings that communicate with the vehicle.

Satellites can already track the path of a moving vehicle, but the new design includes a complex computerized program that actually responds to traffic, weather conditions, and parking preferences.

If the idea is feasible in terms of ownership cost, automakers may have to prepare for a whole new platform on which to construct their car models. Because of the supposedly lessened chance of collisions, the business of auto repair shops may suffer. Even more likely is the impact this technology is likely to have on the insurance industry.

Insurance And Legal Considerations

The insurance community is already responding to the assertion by some experts that driverless vehicles will indeed become commonplace in less than two decades. Today, insurance costs are the result of studies performed by research specialists and the efforts of actuaries who determine when and where accidents are occurring.

Self Driving Car

Drivers are placed in risk categories based on their past performance – or lack of – and their experience in handling a vehicle. These cars indeed drive and park themselves, either using a preset direction that is ordered by the owner or by voice command once the journey is underway. If a fault in the car’s operating system causes a mess-up in information and results in a severe accident, who is liable?

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p>The insurance companies are already compiling a detailed list of scenarios that show how the legal system could get very mixed up in a hodgepodge of claims, lawsuits, and settlements. A driver could claim that an accident was not his or her fault because control was in the hands of the car, not the individual. No one can walk into traffic court today and use a defense that consists of statements referring to a lack of attention. Someday soon, this may no longer be the case.

Lower Insurance Rates?

The times are a changing. Most likely, insurance companies will initially charge a lot more for the privilege of owning one of these cars because they will have a high cost to repair. As for who or what is at fault in the event of an accident, the industry will probably have to accommodate a very intricate check system in each vehicle that can show clearly whether a collision was caused by a faulty sensor, bad programming by the vehicle owner, or something else.

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How Traffic Increase Your Traffic Car Insurance Rates

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The list of factors influencing auto insurance rates is nearly endless. Statistical data gathered by research groups, the IIHS, and police agencies are put together and examined in detail by actuaries who determine the exact cause and frequency or road incidents. The result is an accurate probability model used by insurance companies to place drivers in a risk category.

Everyone knows that age, gender, marital status, and type of vehicle is important in determining insurance costs. Of course, the actual driving history of the individual is paramount when it comes to the final cost of an auto policy. However, one of the first things an insurance provider wants to know before issuing a quote is the zip code where the car is parked at night.

Traffic on 2nd Avenue

Congestion = More Accidents

Insurance costs are in part determined by the driving habits of the policyholder. In addition to his or her accident record, a motorist is actually placed in a certain risk category through examination of the probable routes used to commute to and from work, to get to the neighborhood shopping center, and to travel from one part of town to another.

While traffic patterns in a metropolitan area are complex, and the patterns change from one hour to the next, statistics show that typically the denser the traffic where the person lives, the greater the likelihood of an a vehicle collision. There is simply less room to operate and more accidents.

For example, certain freeway interchanges are the site of a high frequency of fender benders and partial-impact collisions during rush hour. Complicated street light setups at intersections, especially those near the freeway entrance and exit ramps, are especially dangerous when traffic volume is heavy.

Traffic congestion is not limited to freeways and highways and downtown cores. Arterials in residential neighborhoods can have an extremely heavy traffic flow in the early morning and late afternoon. Boulevards and avenues near shopping malls experience a heavy dose of traffic on the weekends. Insurance companies know of these trouble spots and invariably connect them with the policyholders who live nearby.

Rural Roads = Less Accidents

On the other hand, those who live in rural areas experience little or no traffic problems. The chief concern for these drivers is roads that are maintained less often, falling trees, and animals crossing the roadway. Insurance costs are likely to be lower because the danger of high-speed collisions are much less. Low auto insurance rates tend to be found in medium sized cities and smaller.

Country Drive

New Technology Can Help You Lower Rates

Many of today’s newer cars have some rather high-tech safety equipment installed as standard equipment. Designed to alert the driver to possible problems when in heavy traffic, these advances in motor vehicle safety should – and often do – influence insurance rates. Blind side warning sensors, lane drift alerts, and daytime running lights are often listed on an insurance quote form.

Insurance providers are certainly willing to give drivers a break on their insurance rates if the car has these features included. However, the discount may actually be more than outweighed by the increased price that was attached to the policy to begin with. If a driver lives in an area known to have a high frequency of accidents because of the traffic volume, he or she may not even realize a savings when the discount is applied.

Always Be Comparing

this is the ABC rule of auto insurance. Motorists have a lot of insurance choices and should frequently compare rates. Use of an online search and comparison tool often to see if you can save, no matter where you live.









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