The life of a tire


This video clip contains all the essentials for tire safety in just over a minute and a half — take a look. .

Tirewise is your one-stop shop when it comes to tire safety and consumer protection. (It’s a part of safercar.gov). Here are just a few of the useful resources.

How to learn the age of your tires – Regardless of tire wear, the rubber can break down over time. Some vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires that are six to 10 years old, regardless of treadwear. Check out the diagram on this page to see how to date your tires.

Tire Rating Lookup – You can search for recalls, investigations and complaints on tires — and also for child safety seats, for auto equipment, or for your entire car.

Check for tire recalls – NHTSA has rated more than 2,400 lines of tires, including most used on passenger cars, minivans, SUVs and light pickup trucks. Consumers can select a tire brand from the drop-down menu below.

One other important safety notice: Make sure your auto insurance is current and provides adequate coverage. If you live in New England, find one of our member local agents near you.

Does your car make the grade? Check out IIHC 2014 Top Safety Picks


How good do you feel about your car’s safety? You can check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s lists of the 2014 Top Safety Picks to see if your car makes the grade. If you are in the market for a new car, it’s particularly handy information. Twenty-two vehicles earned the highest safety awards thanks to a high level of protection in crashes and the availability of front crash prevention technology to avoid many collisions in the first place. Another 17 makes earned awards by meeting the crashworthiness criteria alone.

In addition to the listings, the linked release (above) offers some good information on how these awards were determined – but to really get a sense of their testing and rigorous standards, check out this short video that shows some of the testing in action.

Are you ready for robot cars?


The race is on. Automakers are competing to bring self-driving or “autonomous” cars to the market by 2020. Are robot cars feasible? While it’s not likely that the highways will look like a scene from the Jetsons anytime soon, we can expect to see more and more “semi-autonomous” auto features being widely available starting in 2015 and beyond – features such as collision avoidance systems, lane departure warnings, advanced cruise control that can navigate curves and parking assist systems. But New Englanders and other people living in snowy climates take note: In a report on what it’s like to ride in Google’s driverless car, Joann Muller talks about some of the self-driven car limitations:

“…the driverless car can’t handle heavy rain and can’t drive on snow-covered roads “because the appearance and shape of the world changes. It can’t figure out where to go or what to do.” And engineers are still working on how to program the car to handle “rare events” like encountering a stalled vehicle over the crest of a hill or identifying debris, like a tire carcass, in the middle of the road.”

Are drivers ready for the auto technological innovations to come? Check out this fun infographic from Chubb’s Risk Conversation blog:

Driverless Cars

 

Car shoppers: Watch out for flood-damaged cars


News reports from various states are warning car-buying consumers to be alert for vehicles that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. In states directly affected by the flood, authorities are issuing alerts and consumer guidance – New Jersey state officials remind us that Sandy-flooded cars can be resold, but they must be properly been titled as such.
Car-buying consumers in other states should also be wary because damaged cars are often professionally refurbished and shipped to other parts of the country to be sold where consumers are unlikely to be on alert. We’ve noted before that even when cars “clean up nice,” they may well have electrical or engine damage that will surface later – this is particularly true of salt-water damage.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offers the following sensible steps that used car buyers should take before making a purchase:

  • Check the vehicle’s title history and be wary if the vehicle has been titled multiple times over a short time period.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report from the dealer, or get one yourself from a reputable source; this will let you know if the car has been damaged in the past.
  • Look for an insurance company’s name on the title history, and contact the company for vehicle information.

The NJ MVC also offers ways to spot a flood damage car:

  • A musty or moldy smell or the strong scent of a deodorizer all over the car
  • Rust on metal parts where water would not normally touch
  • Water-stained upholstery or water damage on the door panels or seat belts
  • Mildew, silt or debris in areas around the engine compartment, under the carpeting or in the trunk.

For more tips on avoiding flood-damaged cars, see our prior Consumer alert: don’t buy a flood-damaged car which we issued after the 2010 floods in Rhode Island.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Picks for 2012 Autos


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced its Top Vehicle Safety Picks for 2012. There are 18 new picks for a total of 115 winners in the following categories: 69 cars, 38 SUVs, 5 minivans, and 3 pickups. The award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations. The ratings, which cover all 4 of the most common kinds of crashes, help shoppers pick vehicles that offer the highest levels of crash protection.
Here’s a handy list of the 2012 Top Safety Picks with links to the ratings.
If you will be shopping for a new vehicle, you may also want to consult this list: Insurance Losses by Make & Model. And you will also want to talk to your local insurance agent.