An Aftermarket Parts Q&A

An Aftermarket Parts Q&AAbout once a week I get a phone call about aftermarket parts. The usual questions are what are they, should they be used, and what happens to the value of your vehicle if you agree to use them. All are valid questions. The truth is that the use of aftermarket parts in repairing your damaged auto is really up to you.First of all what are aftermarket parts? Aftermarket parts are parts that are fabricated by someone other than the vehicle manufacturer or someone who is certified by the manufacturer to fabricate replacement parts on their behalf. The theory is that aftermarket part manufacturers only fabricate parts that are “close” to the manufacturer specification but are not to the exact specification. Some believe that since these parts are not to the exact specification, then they may not function as intended. Again, this is all a theory and there are times that aftermarket parts function better than the original equipment. Unfortunately, you may not know how “close” the product is to the manufacturer’s specifications until the repairs are completed. By that time, you are looking at a hood that is higher on the left side than the right and regretting your decision.Will aftermarket parts really affect the value of your vehicle? That depends on the age of your vehicle and the quality of the supplied part. Let us say you own an eight-year-old Toyota Camry. The use of an aftermarket driver’s side door may have less of an effect on the value than that of a three-month-old Camry. By that same token, if you replaced that same door...

Winter Tire Tips

Do You Need Winter Tires? You know it’s coming. Snow and slush. Freezing rain. Maybe even black ice. But do you know if your tires are ready for all of that? When driving in New Hampshire in the wintertime, your tires just might be the most important safety feature on your car. The right ones can get you to your destination safely. The wrong ones? Well, just look over in the ditch during the next storm. So how do you figure out what’s best for your vehicle? Here are five things to know about winter tires: 1.Winter tires really are different than regular tires. Winter tires have deeper tread, along with siping (slits in the tread blocks). This increases the number of edges that touch the road, resulting in better traction and handling. They also stay softer than other tires do in cold weather, thanks to special rubber compounds designed specifically for winter use. That helps increase traction as well.  2. If your area regularly drops below 45 degrees, you probably need winter tires. Winter tires don’t just perform better in snow and ice. They are better for cold weather in general. So if you get some chilly days where you live, consider a set – a full set. Installing just two winter tires can cause handling problems. 3.There are two main categories. Studless snow and ice tires are designed for extreme conditions. They are better in deep snow than performance winter tires, which are for light snow and ice. What about studded tires? Well, they give you great traction on ice but also damage roads. And some experts...

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance, and the thoughts start racing through your head. “Is this a rip-off? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?” At Knapton, Reade & Woods Insurance Agency, we are here to help. And while not every situation is the same, we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you’re standing at that counter. Know your personal auto policy. Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call — before you rent a car — to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto insurance policy will provide coverage for a rental car — but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees, so it’s best to discuss coverage with your agent before you depart. Also know your homeowners or renters policy. If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably...

Protect Your Business’s Vehicles with Commercial Auto Insurance in 3 Easy Steps

A business is only as safe as the tools it uses, and one of the best tools a business can use to protect its assets is commercial auto insurance. Although understanding insurance can be tricky, one of the first steps toward making an informed decision is to familiarize yourself with your coverage and service options. Here are three easy steps to help you determine your commercial auto insurance needs: 1. Choose an insurer with the right combination of price and service. Insurance isn’t just about price. It’s about service, too. How are claims handled? How long will it take to get your vehicle back on the road? Can you get questions answered outside of business hours or online? Know the answers to these questions. Your time is money. 2. Research your policy options. Securing the right coverage is important. A standard commercial auto policy generally includes coverage for: Injuries or damage that you cause Your driver’s injuries Injuries and damages caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers Damage to or theft of your vehicle(s) When it comes to damage that you cause, you may be required to purchase certain limits based on who you work for. For instance, if you work for certain home builders, you may be required to carry $1 million in liability limits. Consider how much you are willing to pay out of pocket if your liability in an accident exceeds your policy limits. 3. Know how the policy is priced. You can control your insurance costs to a certain extent. To get the best rates, run motor vehicle reports on potential drivers. If you let your...

8 Back to School Insurance Tips

College is expensive enough as it is; can you imagine finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current insurance policies? In order to prevent this from happening, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that dreaded tuition check) as you prepare to send your child/children off to school this fall: a review of your insurance coverage. Although policy language varies from one state to the next and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, use the following general guide to understand how your child’s move back to school may affect your insurance coverage: Homeowners Insurance Considerations Personal property coverage: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of personal property coverage for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For instance, if you have $100,000 worth of personal property coverage, your homeowners insurance policy will typically provide up to $10,000 worth of coverage for your student’s property if he/she is living in a dormitory – provided that the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. Certain items like jewelry or expensive electronics may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Liability coverage: Homeowners insurance policies typically exclude damage to property rented to an insured, so in most cases, damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered. Renters insurance: If your student rents an off-campus home, your policy may not provide coverage for his/her property, so don’t forget about renters insurance. It’s important to understand that landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the...

If I Borrow a Friend’s Car, Am I Insured?

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. But at Knapton, Reade & Woods, we get a lot of questions about borrowing or loaning a car. Now that spring is here and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information. If you’re asking yourself, “If I borrow a friend’s car, am I insured?,” it’s important to understand that insurance coverage generally follows the vehicle rather than the driver. So in most instances, as long as the owner of the car has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it, as long as they have the owner’s permission. The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage. It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. For example, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that he/she is allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else. So if your teenager allows one of his or her friends to drive your car, your coverage likely won’t apply. Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. And if the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that, either....