Get Your Auto Policy, Car Ready for Winter, Advises AutoInsurancePlanners.Com

Winter has arrived across the U.S., and in northern areas that means hazardous driving. Consider your auto insurance coverage and driving habits to stay safe on the road and keep claims down, advises

If you need to do a lot of winter driving, here are three auto insurance considerations:

1. Add roadside assistance to your policy. Check your carrier’s service to see if towing, jump-starts and other services might be a good value. These are also available through an auto club membership.

2. Check on mobile claims service. Is your insurer on the road, able to come to you after an accident? That may be a valuable service in times of extreme weather.

3. Consider raising your collision deductible. Often, icy conditions cause slow-speed bumps at intersections and in parking lots. If you can afford to pay for smaller repairs on your car, raise your deductible. The premium savings may offset the cost of repairs.

4. Drive defensively to avoid accidents. Here are some common winter driving tips:

— Drive more slowly, but not so slowly that you get hit from behind.

— Leave more space between other cars in case you have to stop on ice, especially on bridges and overpasses, which freeze first.

— Don’t slam on the brakes, which can cause skidding. Apply the brake slowly and firmly. If you don’t have antilock brakes, pump the brake slowly to gain traction.

— If you’re shopping for a new car, consider getting antilock brakes, which provide better stopping power in bad conditions. If your car has antilock brakes, don’t pump the brakes when stopping — the antilock feature does that for you.

— If you drive an SUV, don’t expect it to handle ice any differently than other vehicles.

— Completely clear windows of ice and fog for best visibility.

When checking for extra auto insurance features or revising your policy, use a comparison shopping Web site like to get the most choices and best car insurance rates.

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