How to Tow a Trailer Properly

by Alex Buczynski on July 16, 2019

Whether you’re moving your child back home from college or hauling equipment for your business, a trailer helps when you need some extra space to pack things. While towing a trailer may not seem much different than driving a car, there are a few things to keep in mind before you hitch your trailer.


Just because you have a vehicle with a trailer hitch doesn’t mean it can tow any type of trailer. It’s important to verify that your vehicle’s towing capacity is adequate to tow the trailer you’re using. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting started and may cause damage to your vehicle.

Start by checking your owner’s manual, which will tell you how much weight your vehicle can safely tow. If you exceed the recommended weight, you run the risk of losing control. That often leads to overturning.

Remember: Never try to manipulate your hitch into towing something it’s not designed for. This can increase its risk of breaking free.

Also, never set off without securing the pin in the hitch. The pin keeps you from potentially losing your load when you go over bumps in the road. Continue reading “How to Tow a Trailer Properly”

How to Handle a Windshield Repair

by Erie Insurance on August 21, 2019

Ever been carefully driving along when—whack!—a rock hits your windshield? Your eyes scan for damage as you wonder whether you need a windshield repair or a complete windshield replacement.

The good news is that a chip or crack doesn’t necessarily mean you need a replacement. Certified repair specialists, such as those at Safelite AutoGlass®, can usually repair windshield chips, nicks and cracks up to six inches long. No matter what your situation is, it’s best to go to a windshield repair specialist right away. Here are two reasons why. Continue reading “How to Handle a Windshield Repair”

What to Know Before Trading In Your Car

by Justin Metz on October 2, 2019

There’s nothing better than that new car feeling. But before you drive your new ride off the lot, you often have to decide what to do with the car in your driveway.

When it comes to getting rid of a used car, you have two options: selling it yourself or trading it in. (If money isn’t an issue, cars also make great charitable donations.)

There are pros and cons to each approach. A private party sale can net you a higher profit, but it also takes a lot more work. Meanwhile, trading in your car to the dealer is fast and easy – but it will probably net you less cash in the process.

Looking to get the best bang for your buck? Here are a few ways to maximize your car’s trade-in value. Continue reading “What to Know Before Trading In Your Car”

Here’s Why You Should Always Sleep with the Door Closed

by Marie Turko on October 2, 2019

According to firefighters, every second counts during a fire. In fact, house fires can double in size every minute that goes by. About half of home fire deaths happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are sleeping.

But here’s the good news: There’s a simple step you can add to your nighttime routine to keep you safe.

Research from UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FRSI) shows that closing your bedroom door helps prevent a fire from spreading, lessens smoke damage and could even save lives.

Here’s why it works: Fires spread more quickly the more oxygen they have. Keeping your bedroom door closed can slow the spread of a house fire, as well as reduce toxic smoke levels.

Having the right kind of fire extinguisher nearby can help. But when it comes to fire-related deaths, it’s usually not the flames that are to blame. Smoke is actually more likely to cause suffocation and death. Continue reading “Here’s Why You Should Always Sleep with the Door Closed”

Is an Animal Living Under Your Porch? Here’s What to Do Next

by Justin Metz on

As a homeowner, you’ve probably entertained guests who overstayed their welcome. But unlike your in-laws or a former college roommate… an animal that’s made itself at home on your property has no intention of leaving.

Some of the usual suspects include raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, skunks or the occasional stray cat. And while they’re just looking for a safe place to call home, you’d probably prefer it wasn’t under your porch or shed.

How can I tell if an animal is living under my porch?

Wondering if an animal has decided to move in? Here are some things you should look for:

  • Animal sightings: This one’s obvious. But if you see an animal entering and exiting the space below your porch multiple times, there’s a high likelihood it’s not just visiting. Of course, many nuisance animals are nocturnal. So if you want to catch them in the act, think about investing in a motion-sensor trail camera – many models can be found for less than $50 online.
  • Damage: One of the reasons animals are worth evicting from around your home is the damage they can do to your home and property. Look for burrow holes, gnawed wood and eaten vegetation around the area.
  • Paw prints: Spread a light dusting of sand or flour around your porch at night, then check for prints in the morning.
  • Droppings: We know – ewww. But animal droppings, or scat, can help you confirm the identity of your newest neighbor.
  • Continue reading “Is an Animal Living Under Your Porch? Here’s What to Do Next”

What’s Cheaper: Insuring Old Cars or New Cars?

by Alex Buczynski on November 14, 2019

If you believe insuring an old car costs less than insuring a new car, you’re not alone. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to auto insurance.

Newer vehicles with safety features like back-up cameras and automatic braking do a better job of preventing accidents. However, it typically costs more to repair and replace a car with the latest technology. (See also: Can You Guess The Real Cost of a Fender Bender?)

If your car was made overseas and parts will have to be shipped to you if they need replaced, that can also drive up the cost of your insurance.

We spoke with Dave Freeman, vice president and regional underwriting officer at Erie Insurance, to find out how insuring old cars and new cars works. Continue reading “What’s Cheaper: Insuring Old Cars or New Cars?”

30 Screen-Free Activities Your Family Can Enjoy This Summer

by Justin Metz on

Summer is finally here! As a kid, few times of the year bring more joy. But for parents, all that unstructured free can bring its own share of struggles.

When you were growing up, summer probably meant spending more time outdoors than inside. It meant swimming, bike rides and games of pickup basketball. Today, however, many children are content to replace those activities with television, video games and social media.

According to health professionals, all that screen time can have a negative effect on your child’s development. So how can you get everyone outside and away from the television or iPad? Continue reading “30 Screen-Free Activities Your Family Can Enjoy This Summer”

Yep! Accidents Happen. (Then What?)

by Scott Westcott on

You pride yourself on being a good driver. You drive defensively, avoid texting and other distractions, take safety precautions, and keep your car in good shape.

Still, accidents can happen. And when they do, you’re faced with the question: What now? For Erie Insurance customers, the best first step is to seek the advice of an expert: your ERIE agent.

See also: 6 Reasons You’ll Love Having an Insurance Agent

Even if it’s minor, there may be considerations that you’re not thinking about regarding your deductible or certain features in your auto insurance policy. This is where your agent can coach you and offer guidance about filing a claim.

We’ve enlisted the help of longtime ERIE agent Jill Yaekel of Yaekel & Associates in Belleville, Illinois, to walk us through some common scenarios in which customers often call to seek guidance from their agent. Come along for the ride to see what some of your options might be if something similar happens to you. Continue reading “Yep! Accidents Happen. (Then What?)”

This Program Uses Brain Science To Help Teens Drive Safer

by Erie Insurance on June 7, 2019

For many teens, getting a driver’s license is a prized rite of passage. But with drivers age 16 to 19 involved in more accidents than any other age group – it’s also a risky and nerve-wracking time for parents.

So, what’s a safety-minded family to do?

Enter teenSMART®, an award-winning crash reduction training program from ADEPT Driver®. A new partnership between Erie Insurance and ADEPT Driver offers special discounted access to the program to teen drivers covered by ERIE policies in Wisconsin and Virginia.

Read more: What To Know About Insuring a Teen Driver

Using advanced behavioral science and research, teenSMART offers youthful drivers realistic and challenging driving simulations. Teens that complete the computer-based course learn skills proven to dramatically reduce teen driver crash frequency and severity.

Even better? Teens who complete the program may be eligible for an auto insurance premium reduction when they’ve finished. Continue reading “This Program Uses Brain Science To Help Teens Drive Safer”

How to Parallel Park Like a Pro

by Justin Metz on

Will my car fit in that parking space?  How do I park without hitting the cars around me? I don’t have time for this!

If you’ve ever been forced to parallel park your vehicle, chances are these thoughts have crossed your mind. It’s sometimes an intimidating and frustrating task. And the potential for embarrassment can leave you wanting to just find somewhere else to park.

But in some cases, parallel parking may be necessary. And if you’re just learning how to drive, it may even be required to pass your driving test.

See also: What To Know About Teen Drivers and Auto Insurance

There are some self-parking cars on the market today that will do the job for you. However, they do come with a hefty price tag.  So, what’s the easy way to parallel park without taking too much time – or worse, causing a fender bender? Continue reading “How to Parallel Park Like a Pro”