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What happens to my lease or loan if my car is totaled?

Accidents can happen to even the best of drivers. For many motorists who have just been in a serious collision, one of the first thoughts running through their head is determining how they’re going to pay for the damage. Fortunately, this can be a quick and easy process if you have the right insurance plan.

WRITE-OFF

For your vehicle to be deemed a write-off, a claims adjuster must determine that the cost of repairing the vehicle is greater than the current value of the car. If your vehicle is deemed a total loss, an insurance company will pay you what they believe the car is worth. If you don’t agree with the evaluation, you have the right to file an appeal under the Insurance Act.
While an insurance company is required to pay you back the value of the vehicle (minus any deductible), this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t owe any money yourself.

LOAN

If the value of your loan is greater than the value of your vehicle and you don’t have gap insurance, you’ll still be required to pay back the difference to your bank/financial institution.
For example, say that an insurance company deems that your vehicle is worth $10,000, but you still have $12,000 left on your loan. You will still need to pay back the difference ($12,000 – $10,000 = $2,000) in addition to any deductible.

If you get into a collision shortly after signing your loan, the amount you owe will be significantly higher than someone who totals their car near the end of their loan agreement.
If you have GAP insurance, you can simply ignore the above.

LEASE

If your car is totaled, you will still be required to make normal lease payments until the claim is settled. Just because your car doesn’t work, doesn’t mean the lease is suddenly void.
Also, just like for a loan, if the market value of the vehicle is less than the amount owed on the lease, you will still need to pay the difference unless you have gap insurance. Fortunately, many financial institutions require gap insurance with any lease, so you’ll likely be saved from owing any extra cash yourself.

NEGOTIATE

Many people don’t realize this, but you are under no obligation to accept the settlement number for your vehicle. Feel free to negotiate with the insurance company to find a figure that works for both parties. Sometimes, insurance companies may not have all the required information to determine an accurate settlement figure.
It’s also important that you take the time to do the proper research prior to making your counter offer. Look online and at various dealerships to see what your vehicle is selling for. It’s important that you stay professional and make an offer that’s sensible.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make a convincing case.

 

How Sunlight Damages your Vehicle

How excessive sunlight can damage your vehicle

If there’s one thing car owners should be worried about this summer, its protecting their vehicle against the hot sun. Believe it or not, there are a number of ways that sunlight can damage your vehicle and negatively affect its long-term viability.

Read ahead to learn more:

It will fade your paint

Your car’s paint will begin to fade and crack if it’s left out in the hot sun for too long. Your bumper and fender can also begin to fade if they’re exposed to sunlight for too long, so make sure to take the proper preventive measures to keep your car’s exterior in tip-top shape.

It could damage your interior

Not only can the sun harm your car’s exterior, but it can also damage the inside of your vehicle. Your upholstery could begin to fade over time – especially if its leather. When leather is left in the sun for too long, it begins to dry out, causing it to stiffen and crack.

Other parts of your interior could also become damaged, including the dashboard.

It could harm your tires

Tires – especially those that are underinflated – are more likely to blow out in extreme temperatures. If you leave your car out in the sun regularly, it’s a good idea to continually check your tires to ensure they’re properly inflated. Not only could you prevent a potential accident, but you can also save a few bucks on gas with this trick.

Tips for protecting your car

The easiest way to protect your car against the sun is to make sure your vehicle isn’t bathing in the heat for hours on end. This means parking in the shade whenever possible. If there is a parking garage available near your work, it may be a good idea to leave it there during the summer months.

If no parking garage is available, you should consider purchasing a windshield protector and seat covers at the very least. This isn’t a foolproof solution, but it’s better than leaving your car with zero protection while you work for eight-plus hours each weekday.

Regularly washing your vehicle will help remove any dirt that has accumulated since your last rinse. If you fail to wash regularly, any debris could begin to cake into the car from the hot sun. You should also consider adding a layer of wax to help resist cracking or fading.

Finally, make sure your fluids are topped off to lower the risk of your vehicle overheating. Otherwise, you could end up doing some serious damage to your car.

 

road construction

How to drive safely through summer construction zones

The recent warm weather means a number of construction projects will soon commence throughout Ontario’s roads and highways. While these projects may be a necessity, they also make for more dangerous conditions, meaning drivers across the province could be putting themselves in harm’s way if they’re not careful.

Here are a few quick tips for navigating through construction zones this summer:

Drive slowly

The most important thing you can do to mitigate the risk of an accident is to drive slowly through construction zones. Lower speed limits are often posted to increase driver safety and the well-being of the workers.

You should be on the lookout for any work-zone speed limits as you enter the area. If weather conditions are poor enough, it is recommended that you drive even slower than the stated limit.

It should be noted that Ontarians caught speeding in a designated construction zone will receive a fine that is roughly double what they would normally be given.

Keep a safe distance

The odds of a rear-end collision increase considerably in construction zones since many unprepared drivers are often forced to slow down suddenly as they enter the zone. If you know that you’re nearing a construction zone, increase the distance between you and the car in front of you.

Watch for workers

Not only are construction zones less safe for drivers, but they can also be quite hazardous for workers if the surrounding motorists aren’t careful.  Always make sure you’re keeping a safe distance from the nearby workers to ensure they can do their job worry-free.

When entering the zone, make sure to follow the directions of the flag person. They could tell you to slow down or stop entirely to help reduce the risk of a collision. It should be noted that following their directions is mandatory and could result in a serious fine if not obeyed.

Be patient

Remember that any kind of road construction will ultimately benefit you in the long run, so it’s a good reminder to be patient.

Sure, it may be frustrating if you’re rushing to work and are forced to stop a minute or two to wait for the traffic to clear, but it’s important that you don’t allow any frustration you feel to negatively affect your driving.

Find an alternative route

The easiest way to reduce the odds of an accident are to avoid construction zones entirely.  Many times, highway agencies will post alternative routes for those who want to avoid construction. While the detour may not actually save you any time, it can help diminish the stress and worry that comes with driving through construction zones.

 

Best sunglasses for driving

What type of sunglasses are best for driving?

With the hot, sunny weather showing no signs of stopping, drivers across Ontario will be using their sunglasses more and more often over the next few months. While most people worry solely about their appearance when choosing a pair of sunglasses, it’s important to find a pair that’s practical for driving.

Here are some quick tips for choosing the right pair for you:

Tint

Tint can play a crucial role in how well you see the road ahead. The tint density is rated on a scale of 0-to-4, with 4 indicating the darkest tint.

While many people assume that a darker tint is automatically better, consider a pair that’s in Class 2 or 3. Class 4 is quite dark, and will inhibit your ability to see the road ahead for most day driving.

Colour

You likely already know this, but different coloured lenses can affect how you see different colours. As a result, wearing the wrong coloured lens could hinder your ability to see road signs and traffic lights. Pink, green, and blue lenses can sometimes make red lights indistinguishable.

Brown and grey lenses are typically the best for driving, as both are gender-neutral and won’t alter any of the colours you see. Yellow-coloured lenses are also good for driving.

Polarized lenses

If you truly want to reduce the amount of glare when you drive, you should really invest in polarized lenses. These lenses greatly reduce the glare from headlights reflecting off puddles, and can be extremely useful in any kind of foggy or rainy conditions.

They also provide UV protection, which will reduce the amount of strain on your eyes.

Lens Coating

You could pick the right tint and colour, but it won’t do you much good if your lenses are scratched. To counter this problem, consider an anti-scratch coating. Considering how often people drop their sunglasses, this can also increase the useful life of your lenses.

You could also choose a pair with an anti-reflective coating to improve your visibility.

Frame

When you’re choosing the frame of your glasses, it’s important that you can see clearly from all angles. While large-framed glasses may be more aesthetically pleasing, they can also obstruct your peripheral vision.

Glasses that wrap around are better at blocking the sun and will do a better job of allowing you to see from all angles. Otherwise, you could be creating unwanted blind spots for yourself.

 

cleaning bugs from car

How to clean those nasty bugs off of your vehicle

After a crazy-long winter, spring is finally in full swing! And while the warm weather is likely a breath of fresh air for the majority of Canadians, it eventually also means more bugs and insects.

Here are five tips for cleaning bugs off your vehicle:

Be in the low-blast Business

When cleaning insects off your car, it’s best to be slow and gentle. Avoid using a pressure washer to blast the bugs off your vehicle. Instead, you should soak your vehicle with a low-pressure rinse before beginning your wash. This will lower the risk of damaging your car’s exterior.

Go Micro

In order to avoid any scratches, it’s vital that you use the right kind of cloth to wash off the bugs. Even something as common as a terry cloth may be too abrasive and could damage your vehicle’s paint.

If you want to be safe, you should pick up a few microfiber clothes and use those to clean your car. They won’t cause any scratches and also won’t leave much lint behind.

Choose your weapon

Before starting, you’ll need to determine what product to use to clean off the splattered bugs. While there are specialty bug-remover products available, they are typically overpriced and won’t necessarily do the job any better than most household products.

If you want to keep it as simple as possible, mix some water and dish detergent in a spray bottle and apply that to your vehicle. For some people, this can actually work better than some of the fancy products.

Wax On

Once you’ve cleaned all the bugs off your vehicle, it’s important to apply a car wax solution to mitigate the problem in the future. A good coat of wax will create a layer between the bugs and your car’s paint, making them easier to clean off going forward.

It’s ultimately up to you, but it’s recommended that you shell out a few extra bucks for a high-quality wax. If you settle for a cheaper one, you’ll probably end up wondering why you spent so long applying it in the first place.

Bug Build-Up

Despite their ugly appearance, most people wait weeks before cleaning the dead insects off their car. While this may seem harmless, you can actually damage your car’s paint since bug splatter is acidic. This is especially true with darker cars, as they tend to attract more heat during the hot, summer months.

Get into a routine of clearing off any bugs at least once a week to avoid any long-term damage.

 

Don't leave these items in car

These items you should never leave in your vehicle

For some people, their car is not only used for transportation but also to store their personal belongings. While it’s perfectly fine to leave a few important items in your car, others should be kept at home.

Here are seven things you should never leave in your car:

Water bottles

Believe it or not, one of the potentially dangerous items you can leave in your car are plastic water bottles. If you leave a water bottle in your car for too long, there’s a chance that BPA can leak into the water – a chemical believed to cause cancer. Even if it’s not especially hot out, it’s best to avoid drinking from a water bottle that has been sitting in your car for a while.

Medication

As you’re probably already aware, many medications are meant to be stored at room temperature. Therefore, it’s not a great idea to leave it in a hot vehicle for an extended period of time. If the medication sits out for too long in hot temperatures, the potency of the drug can greatly decrease and negatively alter its effectiveness.

Sunscreen

Like medication, sunscreen can lose its effectiveness if it’s left out in the heat for too long. Hot temperatures could also cause the bottle to explode, creating a mess that no one wants to clean up.

Glasses

You could be in for quite the surprise if you leave your glasses in your car for too long – particularly if you leave them sitting on a hot dashboard. If they’re left in the sun for an extended period of time, the heat will likely make them too hot to wear. If you’re unfortunate enough, the sun’s rays could even warp the frames.

It should go without saying, but you should always leave your glasses on your head.

Personal Belongings

Always take any personal belongings with you when you leave your vehicle. This means taking your wallet, cell phone, keys, and passport when you exit your car. Even your belongings aren’t left out in the open, a potential thief likely won’t have a difficult time finding them. Simply put, you should either take your belongings with you or leave them at home.

Lighters

They may seem harmless given their small size, but lighters can present a significant fire hazard if left in your vehicle on a hot day. In general, it’s a good idea to keep flammable liquids away from your vehicle, especially during the summer.

Aerosol Cans

Cans of deodorant, hairspray, or spray paint can all expand in extreme temperatures, potentially creating a full-on explosion if they’re left in the hot or cold weather for too long.

If you want to be safe, leave the hygiene products in your bathroom.

 

Road trip vs flight

Why road trips are better than flying

It may be hard to believe at this point, but summer will soon be here, which means that vacation time is just around the corner.  If you’re planning on going away this summer, you’ll need to decide how you’re getting to your desired destination. While flying may have its benefits, road trips are the way to go.

Here are five reasons why you should avoid the airport if possible:

Your schedule is more flexible

One of the worst parts of buying a plane ticket is being locked into a specific time and date. While this may be preferable for a select handful of people, many prefer a little flexibility when they go on vacation.

If you drive instead of fly, you have the option of staying an extra day if you really like a particular destination. Being able to adapt on the fly could turn your trip from good to great.

You can pack more

Unless you’re willing to fork over the extra cash for additional luggage, you likely won’t be able to pack everything you’d like when you fly. Sure, you’ll likely over-pack if you choose to go on a road trip, but that’s still a lot better than leaving behind a much-needed item.

You can save money

If you’re going on a trip with three or more people, you’ll likely be able to save a significant amount of money if you choose to drive as opposed to flying.

Being able to split the cost of fuel four ways will make it cheaper for everyone involved – especially if you’re planning to accomplish all the driving in a single day. Remember that plane tickets can end up being quite expensive, especially if you’re checking bags.

Traveling will be more fun

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that airports aren’t the most enjoyable place on the planet. They are often overcrowded and the constant fear of either missing your flight or having it delayed makes for a stressful environment.

Sure, driving in a car for hours on end may be tiresome as well, but at least you can travel on your own schedule. If people need a break, you can stop, stretch, and grab a bite to eat.

There’s also no waiting around. You can move when you want to move.

You can experience more of the country

One of the best parts of road tripping is all the great scenery you can see along the way. Instead of taking the most direct route to your destination, consider planning a route where you can experience all the beautiful nature that Canada and the United States have to offer.

You may be able to see some scenery if you have a window seat on a plane, but it will still pale in comparison to driving through a beautiful landscape.

 

Waterless Car Wash

Washing your car without using water? Really?

Many people assume that water is needed to wash their vehicle. While it certainly helps, it isn’t a necessity.  If you live in a condo/apartment or are looking for a more eco-friendly way to wash your car, you’ll be happy to learn that you can clean your vehicle’s exterior without the use of H₂O.  Here are some tips below:

Use microfiber towels

One of the best fabrics to clean your vehicle with are microfiber towels. Unlike other cheaper materials, microfiber towels prevent smudging/smearing and do a terrific job of collecting dirt and debris.

Tip: Never use a dirty towel. While microfiber towels are great at picking up dirt, they won’t work well if the towels are dirty. Buy a large supply so you won’t have to worry about re-using a dirty one.

Use waterless cleaner liberally

Whatever you do, don’t hold back on the amount of waterless cleaner you use. If you’re cleaning your car properly, one bottle should only last you about two-to-three washes. Make sure to use the cleaner on the entire vehicle – not just spots that look dirty.

Wipe in one direction

The best way to avoid scratches is to wipe in one direction and stick with it throughout the wash. Wiping in circles forces you to use a dirty towel to wash a clean area. This could of course create scratches if you’re wiping too hard.

Start spraying at the top and work your way downward. You’ll likely have to spend some extra time near the bottom of your car since the majority of the dirt tends to form there.

Clean your wheels separately

Since your tires tend to pick up a lot of extra dirt and dust, it’s best to use a separate towel to clean your wheels. If you want, you could consider purchasing a special cleaner designed for cleaning tires. It may cost you a few extra bucks, but your car will likely look a lot better when you’re finished.

Clean it regularly

The more often you clean your vehicle, the easier it will be to remove dirt and debris from your vehicle. If you wait a month or more, you will likely have a hard time removing all the dirt and may need to go to a professional to have it washed. Waterless washes can be great, but they won’t work if you wait too long in between washes.

Water doesn’t clean your car

If you’re still skeptical about cleaning your car without water, you should realize that it’s not actually the water that’s doing the dirty work. If you want to test it out, rinse your dirty car with just water and leave it to dry. You’ll soon realize that it’s not that much cleaner than it was just a few hours earlier.

How to get your Vehicle Ready for Spring

Tips for preparing your vehicle for spring driving

It may not seem like April given the recent weather, but springtime is officially upon us, which means you’ll need to prepare your vehicle accordingly. While winter is often considered the most dangerous time to be on the road, spring driving can be just as hazardous, especially when it’s wet and/or foggy outside. Therefore, it’s important to keep your vehicle in the best shape possible.

Here are some tips for getting your car ready for the next few months:

Switch your tires

If your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, you’ll need to switch them in the coming weeks for a set of all-season or summer ones. A general rule of thumb is to wait until the temperature has reached double-digits for at least a week’s time. While it’s natural to worry about the temperature dipping immediately after, all-season tires should be able to handle any quick dip in temperature.

If you’re replacing your tires with your previously used set, make sure to inspect the tread for any wear and tear.

Replace your wiper blades

Everyone knows that April showers bring May flowers, so it’s important that you prepare for the rainy weeks ahead. If you want to ensure you stay as safe as possible when it’s pouring outside, it’s vital that your windshield wipers are in top form.

Wash your undercarriage

If you’ve driven a fair amount this winter, there’s a good chance that a significant amount of salt and sand has accumulated underneath your vehicle over the past several months. In order to avoid erosion, you should have your car’s undercarriage washed by a professional in the coming weeks. You could try to wash it yourself, but you’ll likely have a hard time getting rid of all the grime that has been stuck there for months. Rust is a serious problem in Canada, which is why it’s crucial that you remove any salt as soon as possible.

Clean the interior

If the outside of your car is covered in salt, there’s a good chance the inside is covered too. Use a steam cleaner or rug-cleaning spray to remove all the salt and sand from the interior. If you’ve accumulated a lot of junk and garbage over the last few months, this is a good opportunity to get rid of that as well.

Check your fluids

After a long and cold winter, you’d be wise to take a trip to the mechanic to have your fluids topped off – especially your windshield wiper fluid. While you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to have your oil changed too.

 

Tips for driving in wet weather

Driving safe on wet roads can be tricky, here are some tips

The winter weather may soon be behind us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that driving conditions will improve significantly over the next couple months. Spring weather is often consistent with warmer temperatures, but it also means a lot more rain, which could make for dangerous driving conditions, particularly at night.

Here are some tips for staying safe in the wet conditions:

Allow your windows to defrost

Your windows tend to fog up when it’s raining.  Fortunately, there are a couple things you can do to avoid this problem. The easiest and quickest way is to just press the defrost button in your car – ohh technology!  If it’s not raining too hard, you can also try rolling down your windows a crack to lower your vehicle’s temperature. This approach should remove some of the humidity in your car which will allow your window to clear up.

Replace your windshield wipers

If there’s one thing you want working when it’s raining hard, it’s your windshield wipers. Many drivers don’t realize, but your windshield wipers should really be replaced every year – especially after a long and cold winter like the one we just experienced.

Clean your windshield regularly

The cleaner your windshield, the easier it will be to see the road ahead when it’s raining outside. Make a habit of cleaning your windshield once a week. This will help to remove any debris or streaks that have accumulated over the previous several days.

Check your tires

If your tires are worn, you’ll have a harder time gripping the road, especially if it’s raining hard or there are puddles on the road. Before switching out your winter tires this spring, check to see if your all-season/summer tires are due for a replacement.

Replacing tires can become quite expensive, but it’s more important that you stay safe when you’re driving in a bad rainstorm.

Turn your headlights on

One of the biggest issues with wet-weather driving is it hinders your ability to see your surroundings. To help counteract that problem, you should turn your low-beam headlights on, even if it’s relatively light outside. Your headlights will help give other drivers a better point of reference and could help prevent an accident.

Avoid puddles whenever possible

You should try to avoid puddles whenever you can. If you absolutely have to drive through them, make sure to slow down. Puddles can often look much shallower than they actually are. If you drive too quickly, you could lose grip of the road which could cause you to slip.

Remember to tap on the brakes once or twice after you’ve driven through a puddle to help dry off the brakes.