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Prepare for winter driving, suggests PIACT

The Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut Inc. reminds motorists that driving carefully in winter weather will help them arrive at their destinations safely, and keep their car insurance rates down too. Being prepared is smart protection for drivers, their loved ones and others on the road, especially in the upcoming winter conditions.
 “Make sure you have adequate coverage, including personal injury protection immediately—before the winter weather hits this season,” says PIACT President Augusto Russell, CIC. “Don’t fall victim to promises of cheap insurance that won’t meet your needs in the event of an accident. Your professional, independent insurance agent can review your policy and offer affordable suggestions that will help you recover your losses and protect your assets in the event of an accident. And, if an accident does occur, having a professional agent on your side will help make the claim process smooth and less stressful.”
 Once you are sure you have the right coverage for your unique circumstances, remembering these safety tips can help keep you safe this winter: 
• Stay alert, slow down, and stay in control—three key elements of safe winter driving.
• Drive according to highway and weather conditions.
• Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
• Make sure your vehicle is mechanically ready for the rigors of winter with a maintenance check.
• Have your tires checked before winter begins. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather.
• Keep your fuel tank at least half full.
• Make sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid in the reservoir that is rated a minimum of -40°C temperature range. Keep an extra jug in the vehicle.
• Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors, and the roof of your car before getting on the road.
 f you are involved in an accident, PIACT says, remember, safety comes first. If you or someone in your vehicle is injured, do not get out of the car unless you are in immediate danger. Call the police or 911. If everyone is alright, and your cars are in traffic, move them off the street and into a safe area. It can be tempting to leave the police out of it if the damage appears to be minor. However, your insurance company will need the accident report from the police to file your claim. Your claim can be delayed if you don’t have it.
 While you wait for the authorities to arrive, exchange information with the other driver, such as insurance information, drivers license number, name, address and phone numbers on
how to reach them. If there are witnesses to the accident, get their information with their phone numbers. If possible, write down as many details as you can about the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the accident and have the claim process started. If you have a camera or camera phone, take photos of the damage to all the vehicles involved as soon after the accident as possible. This will come in handy should the other driver try to claim more damage than the accident actually caused.
 “Call your insurance agent to review your policy,” says Russell. “Your agent can offer suggestions that will help you recover your losses quickly in the event of an accident. Should an accident occur, the value of having an independent agent on your side will help make the claims process go smoothly and help relieve some of the stress from the loss.”

 PIACT is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.
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