Vehicle theft prevention tips

Professional thieves can steal any car, but make them work for yours. To prevent thefts, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends “Layered Protection.” The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it is to steal.

The number of layers your vehicle needs varies depending on your vehicle and geographic location. Your budget and personal preferences should determine which anti-theft device is best for you.

Layer #1 — Common Sense

An unlocked vehicle with a key in the ignition is an open invitation to any thief, regardless of which anti-theft device you use. The common sense approach to protection is the simplest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves.

You should always secure your vehicle, even if parking for brief periods by:

  • Removing your keys from the ignition
  • Locking your doors
  • Closing all your windows
  • Parking in a well-lit area

Layer #2 — Warning Device

The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device that alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular second layer devices include:

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Steering column collars
  • Brake locks
  • Wheel locks
  • Theft deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle
  • Window etching
  • Laminated glass

Layer #3 — Immobilizing Device

The third layer of protection is a device that prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle.

Popular third layer devices include:

  • Smart keys
  • High security locks & keys
  • Fuse cut-offs
  • Kill switches
  • Starter, ignition and fuel disablement

Layer #4 — Tracking Device

The final layer of protection is a tracking device that emits a signal to a police or monitoring station when the vehicle is reported stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.

Passive and Active Anti-Theft Systems

Passive and active anti-theft devices are the two options available when considering an anti-theft system. Passive devices automatically arm themselves when the vehicle is turned off, the ignition key removed, or a door is shut. No additional action is required. Active devices require some independent physical action before they are set, such as pushing a button, or placing a “lock” over a vehicle component part. This physical action must be repeated every time the anti-theft device is set or it will not function.

(Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau)

Dealing with aggressive drivers

Here are a few tips on how to deal with aggressive drivers, plus helpful hints to reduce your own stress while driving.

Protect yourself

If you are dealing with an aggressive driver, make sure your doors are locked. If you’re stopped in traffic, leave enough room to pull out from behind the car you’re following. If an aggressive driver confronts you, dial 911 or go to the nearest police station.

Don’t take it personally

Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t. Avoid any conflict, if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way! Never underestimate the other driver’s capacity for causing mayhem.

Reduce your own stress

Allow plenty of time for a trip and listen to soothing music when you drive. Make sure your seat position and climate are both comfortable for you. And mostly understand that you cannot control traffic, only your reaction to it. In the end, you may find that personal frustration, anger and impatience are the real danger zones on the highway.

Report aggressive drivers

Some states have a phone number that you can use to report dangerous driving to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Keep the number handy on your cell phone. If you make a call, be sure you give a vehicle description, license number, and the location and travel direction. You could prevent a tragedy.

Be a courteous driver

You can set the example, which can help make our roads safer.

  • Control your anger.
  • Don’t take traffic problems personally.
  • Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.
  • Don’t make obscene gestures.
  • Don’t tailgate.
  • Use your horn sparingly — even a polite honk can be misinterpreted.
  • Don’t block the passing lane.
  • Don’t block the right turn lane.

Talk to others

Share a recent road rage incident with members of your family and friends, or even with community groups. This will help you better understand the situation and protect you in the future.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.


5 tips for RV’ing with dogs

Hitting the open road in a RV with your pet is a fun way to include your special furry family member in your vacation plans. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 61% of RV owners travel with their pets. When RV’ing with dogs, follow these five tips below to ensure that your pooch stays safe and has all the comforts of home.

1. Stay at a dog-friendly RV park or campground

For a stress-free vacation with your pup, do your research and reserve a dog-friendly RV park or campground. Not all RV parks and campgrounds are pet-friendly so call ahead and ask about their pet rules. If you plan to explore outdoor activities, research nearby hiking trails and park/recreation areas that welcome dogs.

2. Buckle up your dog while driving

Keep your furry companion safe by using a dog harness while riding inside the RV. Another option is to use a dog crate or pet travel carrier (for small dogs), but make sure the carrier or crate is secure and doesn’t slide around the RV while driving. A safety harness or crate prevents your dog from becoming injured in case of an accident and keeps him from distracting you while driving.

3. Bring along essential dog supplies

To make it easier while traveling, pack a separate bag for your dog and store the bag in a convenient spot inside the RV. Here is a list of essential pet items you’ll need on the road:

  • Non-spill travel water and food bowls
  • Leashes and collars
  • Water and food
  • Dog treats
  • Bedding and blankets
  • Favorite toys
  • Medications and a copy of your dog’s medical records
  • Cleaning supplies – in case of accidents
  • Doggy waste bags
  • Pet clothing – for cold weather travel

4. Keep your dog safe while exploring the outdoors

It’s natural that your curious canine will want to explore and sniff out his new surroundings, especially outside. When walking your dog outdoors, always keep him on a leash. Most RV parks and campgrounds have dog leash laws follow their pet rules and guidelines. If you hike with your dog or if your RV is located near water, supervise your dog at all times and make sure he remains safe.

5. Be a courteous and considerate dog owner

If you plan to stay a week or two at a campground or RV park, be courteous to your surrounding neighbors. Always pick up after your dog and make sure he uses the designated potty areas on the grounds. The last thing you want is a rowdy pup running all over the park and disturbing your RV neighbors. Keep him active by taking him on daily walks or visit nearby dog parks and recreation areas so he can run around and play.


What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down

Follow some of these steps if your vehicle breaks down, and take extra precaution if you are in a busy intersection or on a highway.

Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

1.Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you have been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.

2. If you cannot drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.

3. Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!

4. In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair – even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.

Source: Insurance Information Institute;

The Importance of Regular Car Maintenance

Your car is made up of a number of different parts, and like any well-oiled machine, every part needs to be in tip-top shape to run smoothly. If one part starts to fail, it could affect how the whole car runs. There are a number of things you should do to help keep your car maintained, but do you know why performing certain regular maintenance checks on your car is important? From monitoring fluid levels to testing brakes, understanding your car’s needs can help you identify potential issues.

Monitor Car Fluid Levels

Cars rely on a number of fluids to help keep them running properly. While you may turn to your mechanic during routine maintenance visits, it’s a good idea to perform your own checks in between car inspections. Here’s a roundup of some car fluids to keep an eye on in case they run low, or else they could result in your vehicle not functioning properly.

Oil. Car engines need oil to lubricate the metal in the engine. If you allow the engine to run out of oil completely, friction caused by metal rubbing against each other could produce unnecessary heat and could make the metal meld together.1 If there is still oil present but it appears to be dirty, consider changing it. Dirty oil is thick and erosive, and any contaminants could start to erode the metal in your car.

Transmission fluid. Much like engine oil, transmission fluid helps keep a key part lubricated and functioning properly: the transmission. If transmission fluid runs low, it could result in contaminants forming, and can shorten the transmission’s life.

Coolant. Made up of ethylene or propylene and water, coolant helps to absorb heat and pass it through the radiator. Coolant breaks down over time because of the hot environment it lives in. As a result, the lack of coolant’s rust inhibitors could cause rust to form, blocking any cooling paths and overheating your engine.

Brake fluid. While brake fluid doesn’t get dirty or evaporate, it can potentially absorb moisture from the atmosphere. Since water boils at a lower temperature than brake fluid, it can lead to air forming in your brake lines.

Steering fluid. The power steering fluid helps to make steering easier – if you don’t change it, it could make the steering wheel difficult to turn.

Check Your Tire Pressure and Alignment

If you ever expect to make it from Point A to Point B, you can’t over- or underestimate the amount of air your tires need. Tire pressure that is too high or too low could affect your car’s cornering, braking and stability.6 When you have high tire pressure, less of the tire touches the ground, affecting your car’s traction and stopping distance. Low tire pressure means more of the tire touches the road; the tires could wear out more quickly and the risk of your tires overheating could increase due to friction against the ground. Check your owner’s manual to determine the recommended tire pressure for your car.

It is also important to check your tire alignment to ensure your vehicle’s suspension is performing properly. Bad tire alignment can cause your car to veer toward one direction or even result in vibrations while driving. If you notice your car has uneven tread wear, your vehicle pulls to one side over another, your straightened steering wheel appears off center or you experience vibration through your steering wheel, you should take your car to a service technician.

Perform Routine Brake Checks

Depending on where your morning commute takes you, driving in areas that feature more stop lights and stop signs could mean you are stepping on the brakes more often than if you normally take the highway. Your brakes are a hydraulic system made up of a set of pads that squeeze together when prompted, and run on brake fluid.9 If the pads wear too thin, it makes it harder to slow or stop. Your car likely has a service light that would turn on when it’s time to check your brakes, but don’t just rely on that technology; if you see any leaking fluids, notice how thick or thin your pads have become or hear a grinding sound, it may be time to replace your brakes.Depending on where your morning commute takes you, driving in areas that feature more stop lights and stop signs could mean you are stepping on the brakes more often than if you normally take the highway. Your brakes are a hydraulic system made up of a set of pads that squeeze together when prompted, and run on brake fluid.9 If the pads wear too thin, it makes it harder to slow or stop. Your car likely has a service light that would turn on when it’s time to check your brakes, but don’t just rely on that technology; if you see any leaking fluids, notice how thick or thin your pads have become or hear a grinding sound, it may be time to replace your brakes.

As a car owner, it is your responsibility to regularly maintain your car like you would any other type of property you own. If you ignore your car, it could put your safety at risk.


8 steps to preparing for a safe RV adventure

Nothing is more exciting than hitting the road for that epic RV adventure you have been planning for months. But dealing with RV maintenance issues or road side troubles during a trip is a real bummer, so make sure you check and double check your RV systems and route plans before leaving home.

In other words, your grandmother was right…an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. Here are our eight ounces of prevention, or things you should always do before a trip, to avoid the most common RV travel hiccups.

1. Give those tires a complete check up

Tire trouble is the number one cause of trouble for RV travels, and this is simply because most owners do not practice routine tire maintenance. Inspect your RV tires before every trip, looking for cracks or bubbles in the sidewalls. If the tires don’t look like they are wearing evenly, have them inspected by a professional.

Also use the information printed on the tire to determine age. Most experts would argue that your RV tires should be replaced every 3-5 years, regardless of how many miles you have traveled.

Lastly, check your tire pressure when the tires are cold on each and every traveling day. Over-inflated or under-inflated tires are the primary reasons for blowouts, and this can be easily avoided by taking this simple precaution before hitting the road.

2. Check all the basic systems in the RV and perform all routine maintenance

No one wants to head out for a beach camping trip only to find that the air conditioning is not working properly. Before taking a longer RV trip, you should check every RV system and perform all routine annual maintenance.

Walk the entire outside of your RV, including the roof, and look for any signs of cracking or stress. This is the perfect time to caulk seams and make sure your antennas and satellite dishes are firmly connected. Check the entire plumbing system, filling up your holding tanks to make sure there are no leaks and running all the faucets and showers. Turn on the propane and test your hot water. Clean the air conditioning filter and scrub those coils with a toothbrush to make sure you stay cool even in hot summer temperatures.

All of this should be done well in advance of an RV vacation, so that you have time to schedule any needed repairs.

3. Treat your tow vehicle to a tune up

We have a standing appointment with our mechanic in the spring season before we leave for any extended summer travel. In addition to the basic oil change and fluid top offs, he double-checks our mileage and any upcoming scheduled maintenance. He also carefully examines our belts, filters, and battery.

The bottom line is that we would rather replace the timing belt according to an expert’s advice than have it snap on the side of the road, hundreds of miles from our reliable mechanic. Developing a relationship with a qualified service professional has made our time on the road relatively trouble free, even though we drive thousands of miles from home each year.

4. Know your true rig height and weight

At some point on your journey, you are bound to come across a height or weight restriction. Be prepared in advance, and never, ever make a wild guess about whether you can fit under a bridge. You shouldn’t even rely on rig specs, since some might not take into account your air conditioning unit or antennae.

With help from a buddy, use a measuring tape to calculate the height from the ground to the tallest part of your RV. Then also measure the width of the unit, making sure to notice any protruding pieces on the stairs or awning. Write your measurements down and store them in your vehicle. We also keep them in a notes app on our smartphone.

5. Double check that you have insurance and registration documents, as well as the appropriate coverage

It’s not easy to admit, but we have discovered missing vehicle registration and insurance documents at inopportune times. Papers get lost…it happens. Just make sure to double-check everything at least one week before departing on your trip. That way, you have plenty of time to track down a new copy if necessary.

We also review our roadside assistance and personal effects coverage in order to make sure we are protected in the event of an emergency.

6. Create a basic tool kit to override any automated systems on your RV

Automated tongue jacks, stability jacks, and slide-outs are super convenient. However, anything that is motorized could stop working at any moment. You don’t want to be stuck hundreds of miles from home and not be able to pull your slide in for departure.

Make sure that you know what tools you need to override any of the automated systems on your RV. Practice in advance so you feel confident in manually operating all of the features.

7. Research routes in advance, check any restrictions, and download or print out maps

We are a bit spoiled these days by GPS and smartphones, so sometimes we head out on the road less prepared than we ought to be. When traveling with an RV, you really need to research routes in advance to find out about height, weight, and propane restrictions. There are some highways that restrict recreational vehicles altogether, and some bridges and tunnels do not allow propane tanks. Discovering this information in advance is crucial.

It is also important to download or print out directions in advance, since you can loose satellite or cell connectivity in many remote locations. Having a good old-fashioned atlas on hand is not a bad idea at all. Just make sure you remember how to use it…

8. Prepare your Sticks and Bricks abode for your absence

In all the hustle and bustle of preparing for an RV adventure, it can be easy to forget about your sticks and bricks home. Make arrangements so that your home does not look too empty and quiet while you are away on vacation. Pause newspaper delivery and hold your mail at the post office. Set some lights on timers, and arrange for a couple of neighbors or friends to stop by and check on the property.

You might also check out some of the new smart technology that allows you to control lights and temperature, or even respond to the doorbell, right from your phone no matter where you are in the country.

Big adventures can always bring some bumps in the road, but when you take the proper safety precautions, you increase the likelihood of a smooth, stress-free RV trip.

Happy trails!


Should I Buy a New or Used Car?

Before you decide whether to buy a new or used car, it’s important to consider the reasons you’re making the purchase.

If you’re simply looking for an economical mode of transportation, a used car may be an option. Price isn’t everyone’s top priority, however. Many buyers are willing to pay extra for a car that’s free of mechanical problems. Others like the idea of being a vehicle’s first owner.

Here’s a checklist of seven things to consider before you buy your next car.

1. Is Having the Latest Car Technology Important to You?

Car manufacturers have embraced new technology to improve the driving experience and improve passenger safety. The newer the car, the more high-tech features it’s likely to have. Are you looking for a Bluetooth stereo system that connects to your smartphone? How about a rear-view camera that makes it easier to back up? Do you want an automatic braking system that deploys when a collision is imminent? If so, you should think about buying a new car.

2. How Much Are You Willing to Spend on Car Insurance?

New cars are more costly to repair or replace than used cars. In general, the more you pay for a car, the more it costs to insure. If saving money on insurance is important to you, a used car may work out best. The Insurance Information Institute says agents can estimate how much your insurance will cost before you make your purchase.

3. Do You Want a Car That Enhances Your Image?

Many people view new cars as status symbols.2 Any car can take you from Point A to Point B, but a new car has more cachet. There’s nothing like the gleam of a factory-fresh paint job to turn heads. If impressing friends or business associates is a priority, a new car may be right for you.

4. Are You Prepared to Deal with Maintenance Issues?

While used cars cost less than new ones, they typically require more maintenance. The older the car, the more often you’re likely to visit the repair shop. According to,3 you can minimize the chances of buying a used car with serious maintenance problems if you first have it inspected by a mechanic and obtain a vehicle history report from companies like Carfax or AutoCheck. No matter how well a car has been maintained, nothing lasts forever. If you dislike upkeep, you may dislike owning a used car.

5. Are You Aware of New Car Depreciation?

A new car begins depreciating in value the moment you drive it away from a dealership. New vehicles typically depreciate between 15 and 25 percent each year over the first five years of ownership.4 It’s not unusual for motorists to owe more on their new cars than they could recover if they resold them. If you’re not prepared to absorb this loss in valuation, you should consider buying a used vehicle.

6. Will a Teenager Be Driving the Car?

The modern safety technology that new cars offer seems made to order for inexperienced teenage drivers. The problem is that new cars are very expensive to insure for teens. That’s because inexperienced drivers are more likely than others to have collisions. If you’re buying a car for a teen, your challenge is to find a car that strikes a good balance between car safety and affordability. For guidance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides detailed safety ratings for vehicles manufactured since 2011.

7. How Much Time Are You Willing to Spend Shopping?

The process of buying a new car is fairly simple. You go to a dealership and pick the model you want. The car you choose should be in sound mechanical condition. According to, new cars come with a limited warranty of at least three years and a power train warranty of at least five years. That means you won’t need to consult a mechanic before making your purchase. In contrast, finding a used car takes more time. You may visit numerous car lots before you find one that meets your standards. If you lack the time, a new car may work out best.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.


ways to save on your home insurance

By Stephen Donohue and Atlantic Insurance & Benefit Company

This post is part of a series of insurance blogs on showcasing the expertise of local independent agents and aimed at helping you understand insurance coverage and other important issues

If you feel like you’re paying more for homeowners insurance than you used to, you might be right. Over the past 20 years, these rates have increased over 50% – and U.S. homeowners pay an average of $952 annually, according to ValuePenguin, which provides consumers with research and guidance on financial topics.

You want to make sure your home is protected, but you don’t want to pay more than you have to, either. Here are eight things you can do to make sure you get the best deal on homeowners insurance:

Shop around. Rates can vary dramatically from one company to another – and there are hundreds of different insurers that offer homeowners insurance. If you haven’t researched the market in the past 24 months, it makes sense to shop. Your local independent agent can help, and since they aren’t tied to one insurance company, they can offer you plenty of options.

Increase your deductible. Many policies are written with a $500 deductible, but depending on where you live, you could save 10% or more by increasing your deductible to $1,000. This one change can help significantly reduce or even eliminate your annual premium increase altogether. And some people opt for even higher deductibles, all the way up to $5,000 – but they need to be diligent about keeping funds set aside in case they need to file a claim.

Don’t file small claims. If a homeowners claim would cost less than $1,000, it probably doesn’t make sense to file it. Insurance companies track customer claims, and even a claim of a few hundred dollars could cause a client to miss out on “loss-free” discounts.

Don’t file small claims. If a homeowners claim would cost less than $1,000, it probably doesn’t make sense to file it. Insurance companies track customer claims, and even a claim of a few hundred dollars could cause a client to miss out on “loss-free” discounts.

Maintain good credit. In most states, insurers offer discounts to applicants with high credit scores, so keeping a solid credit history can lower your insurance costs. To protect your credit rating, pay your bills on time, keep outstanding balances low, and monitor your credit report regularly.

Review your policy carefully. You likely are eligible for a number of discounts and credits, so make sure you get them! Homeowners often receive discounts for having newer homes, multiple policies with the same company, good credit and a clean claims history. Even your proximity to a fire hydrant might save you money. And if your situation has changed, let your insurer know immediately as you could be eligible for even more discounts.

Look into group insurance discounts. Some organizations offer special insurance programs to employees, usually with discounts of 5% to 10% and features such as payment via payroll deduction. You also may qualify for discounts if you are a member of a union, auto club, alumni association, or professional group.

Improve your home security and safety. Deadbolts, burglar alarms, and other security devices are all ways to keep your home safe and potentially lower your insurance costs. For example, an alarm that connects to police, fire, or other monitoring stations can save you as much as 20% on your homeowners premium.

Keep in mind that different companies offer different discounts, and your options might vary depending on where you live. An local independent agent who knows your market can help you find the best coverage at the best price for your needs.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.

Driving Safety

Our driving safety tips will help you develop safer habits that can protect you, your passengers and your vehicle.

We give you the facts about safety equipment, and we keep you informed about the most important driving safety tips, including how to handle accidents and emergencies, how to keep your family safe when you’re on the road, and more.

Driving safety tips and resources include:

Cell phone safety

Though we don’t recommend it, if you must use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel, follow these cell phone driving safety tips.

Safety equipment

Get the facts on seat belts, air bags and head restraints to make sure you’re properly protected every time you hit the road.

Car accident tips

These driving safety tips can help ease your stress if you’re involved in a car accident.

Emergency kit checklist

Make sure you have the right driving safety items in your car before you have a roadside emergency.

IIHS car safety ratings

Certain cars have higher safety ratings. Click the link above to see more on IIHS safety ratings.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.

How to Lower Car Insurance Costs

Having enough car insurance to cover potential losses is important for any car owner, but no one likes to spend more money than necessary. Consumers can take advantage of the fact that insurance companies are highly competitive. The Insurance Information Institute notes that annual policy costs can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the make and model of the car you drive and the insurance company you choose.1

Here are five tips for reducing your car insurance costs:

1. Seek Multiple Insurance Quotes

Before you buy car insurance, get at least three insurance quotes. The more comparisons you make, the better chance you’ll have of saving money.

Each insurance company has its own formula for calculating car insurance rates. They place different levels of importance on such factors as the type of car you drive, annual mileage, your age, your gender, and where you garage your vehicle(s).

Be sure to compare apples to apples when shopping for car insurance, advises Some less expensive policies may lack the coverage you need. For example, comprehensive protection pays to repair car damage from mishaps other than collisions, such as vandalism or fire. If you want this type of protection, you must buy a policy that includes this coverage.

2. Ask About Discounts

You’ll miss an opportunity to cut car insurance costs if you don’t ask about discounts. They’re available for a variety of reasons, such as meeting low-mileage thresholds, having a good driving record, using anti-theft devices, and completing driver education courses. There also are loyalty benefits for staying with the same company for a certain number of years. Teen drivers often receive discounts for getting good grades.

You can’t take advantage of discounts if you aren’t aware of them. To make sure you’re saving as much as possible, CBS News suggests that you ask your insurance agent or carrier to tell you about all available discounts.3

How to lower car insurance quote

3. Pay Your Bills on Time

Car insurance companies often consider credit histories when setting their rates. If you have a low credit score with the three major credit bureaus — EquifaxExperian and TransUnion — you may be penalized. Many insurers rely on credit bureau information when creating their own credit-based insurance scores for consumers.

A good way to improve your credit history is to pay your bills on time. Under federal law, you can obtain one free credit report each year from each of the major credit bureaus. Review your credit reports carefully to make sure they don’t contain errors.

Be aware that not all states allow insurers to use credit information to calculate car insurance rates. According to the Insurance Information Institute, states that restrict the use of credit histories in auto insurance rates include California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts.4

4. Consider Using the Same Insurer for Multiple Policies

Many insurance companies will reduce your rates if you purchase two or more types of insurance from them, such as car and homeowner policies. This is known as “bundling.” It offers the convenience of having just one insurance company to contact if you have questions about policies.

Bundling can save you money, but it isn’t always the best alternative. Before you agree to bundling, Equifax suggests that you shop around to see if you can get a better deal by purchasing your policies from separate carriers.5

5. Choose Your Car Carefully

Before you buy a car, it’s important to make sure you choose one that you can afford to insure. Insuring inexpensive vehicles costs less because they’re less costly to repair or replace following accidents.

According to Forbes, the cheapest types of cars to insure are family-oriented minivans and sports utility vehicles.6 New vehicles are more costly to insure than used ones.

Your insurance rep can help you determine the insurance costs for various makes and models that interest you.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.