10 Ways changing your driving can save big bucks on your fuel bill.

Tweaking your behaviour behind the wheel can be a pain — but it could also save you minimum $500 or more in gas every year

Typically when drivers want to make drastic gains in their fuel efficiency, they’ll swap whatever gas-guzzler they’ve got with a less-thirsty alternative.

But you can save hundreds of dollars a year at the pump just by changing the way you drive. We’ve drafted this list of 10 tips that, collectively, should save you up to $500 or more in fuel per year, if applied properly and depending on your vehicle of course.

Some of these you might already know, some are just applied common sense, while some sound counter-intuitive. Like our first tip, for example…

Tip 1: Accelerate briskly

You’ve likely heard slow starts off the line at stoplights are one of the best ways to reduce your fuel consumption. Guess what? The longer you take to reach your cruising speed, the more you stretch the energy demand.

It’s actually better to accelerate adroitly — not peeling out or burning rubber, since, yes, your high-revving engine will make you pay at the pump later if you floor it. But applying about two-thirds throttle is perfect.

Does your car have a manual transmission? First gear should be used only to get the vehicle rolling, with a rapid gear change through all the following ratios to keep RPMs as low as possible. With some older automatic transmissions, shifting to a higher (and more beneficial) gear can be achieved by briefly taking your foot off the accelerator.

Tip 2: Stick to high-speed highways

Now you’ve reached cruising velocity, stay there. Nothing makes your engine thirstier than braking and re-accelerating. This is why it’s greedier at lower, variable speeds in-city compared to the higher, constant speeds of the highway. So when possible, choose highways instead of urban roads.

Have to go through heavy traffic in-town? Keep your distance from other cars and anticipate traffic movement, two tips that also save on brakes and tire wear. This helps cut down how much coming-to-a-complete-stop you’ll have to do, which in turns saves fuel.

Tip 3: Don’t coast to a stop in neutral

Remember when grandpa told you to let your vehicle coast in neutral because the reduced load on the engine would save gas? That hasn’t been true for at least 20 years, since while , yes, modern vehicles are designed to shut off their fuel supply when decelerating, they only do so if a gear is engaged.

You can test this one out on some new cars: with the on-board computer set to show instantaneous consumption, go into neutral gear. You’ll see a bit of fuel wasted, as if you were idling. Coasting could also adversely affect revs when you go back into gear, and full-on “free-wheeling” runs the risk of keeping you from reacting quickly in the case of an emergency where you might need to accelerate.

Tip 4: Keep your speed at a nice even 100 km/h

If you really want to save substantial money at the gas pump, don’t drive at 120 km/h on the highway. We’re not talking about avoiding fines for breaking the law, we’re talking about another set of laws — the laws of physics, which stipulates that the aerodynamic drag on your car at 120 km/h causes your car to burn at least 20 per cent more fuel than it would at 100 km/h.

If you commute along at least 50 km/h of highway per day in a vehicle with average-for-Canada fuel efficiency, this simple difference in speeds can save you around $400 per year (at an assumed $1.10 per litre for fuel). Double that if you drive a bigger SUV.

Tip 5: Don’t rely on adaptive cruise control

Your car’s cruise control is great for maintaining a steady speed on highway, helping save an average of seven per cent on gas, and at max, twice as much. That said, modern adaptive cruise control systems can negatively affect fuel mileage in high-traffic situations because they constantly alter your speed to match the car ahead. In those situations, it’s often better if you take control of the throttle.

Cruise control also might not be your best bet when roads are up hill and down; a system struggling to maintain a given speed on hilly terrains will not maximize your fuel efficiency. In those cases, not only you should forget about cruise control, but you should go with the flow, even if it means resisting the temptation to floor the accelerator. Rather, nurse your fuel consumption by being slight and gradual with pedal application, in tune with a low-RPMs-momentum.

Admittedly, your trip uphill might take a little longer, but you’ll catch up on the downhill letting your car coast – not in neutral, remember – while you mind the speed limits, of course.

Tip 6: Buy a block heater

If your car doesn’t have a block heater already, get one, and use it every time the temperature drops below zero. Every component of your car that needs to be warmed – the engine, its fluids, etc. – will get to temp faster. Warmer oil means less wear on your engine, savings in fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

How much can you save at the pump if you install a block heater? More or less the cost of a daily coffee. Indeed, CAA-Quebec did some experiments with vehicles it did and didn’t plug in. Over a two-month period at an average temperature of -10 degrees Celsius, the heated cars saw 15 per cent less fuel consumption for the first 20 kilometers of driving. Some vehicles showed a whopping 33-per-cent improvement.

To save energy overall, connect your block heater to a timer so it only starts three or four hours before your morning departure. Leaving it on longer turns your gas savings into wasted electricity.

Tip 7: Keep your tires inflated

We won’t repeat how and when you should check your tires’ pressure — that’s a topic we’ve already covered before. But we’ll tell you why you should. For every temperature drop of 6 degrees Celsius, your tires lose 1 psi of pressure.

Mother Nature sends us a cold front? If you haven’t topped off your tires recently, that snap could see them underinflated by roughly eight psi (56 kPa), at which point you’re wasting about four per cent more fuel, says Natural Resources Canada. In the long run, not only will you be frittering away pennies at the pump, you’ll be cutting down the life expectancy of your tires by up to 10,000 km, the government body says.

So when’s the last time you checked your tires’ pressure? If you don’t remember, you’re among the one-third of Canadian drivers, says tire industry research, who likely has at least one tire underinflated by more than 10 per cent.

Tip 8: Mind where you park

The last time you went to the shopping mall, where did you park? Did you start at the entrance then zig-zag down the rows searching for the spot? When you found it, did you drive in nose-first? Know that you would have saved gas – and time – if you started your hunt in a more remote corner of the lot full of spots, especially if you found a space you could leave without backing up from.

It’s a small savings, but every little bit helps — and if you’re able, the exercise walking to the store entrance isn’t bad either.

Tip 9: Lighten your load

This tip won’t break the bank either, but sort through the stuff you leave in your car. That old hockey bag, that sacks of de-icing salt, that old box of books you keep forgetting to donate — they don’t weigh a lot on their, but altogether, getting rid of them may save you gas. Every 25 kg of extra mass increases the fuel consumption of a mid-size car by about one per cent.

Hypermilers” maximizing their economy will go as far as unbolting their rear seat, but we’ll stop short of that and other controversial techniques they employ.

Tip 10: Try not to idle so much

You already know it, but idling does little but waste gas. We’re talking between a quarter and a half-litre for every 10 minutes in a car going… nowhere. (That’s just one good reason a block heater works better than a remote starter.)

Natural Resources Canada says, balancing “factors such as fuel savings, emissions and component wear,” you should shut off your engine if you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds. There is one exception, and that’s if you’re in traffic. Don’t turn off your engine on the road like that, just try to avoid said congestion.

Use the radio traffic reports to your benefit, try Google Maps or Waze, choose less-known and -crowded roads, whatever. Anything’s better than watching your on-board computer undo your hard-earned low-fuel-consumption average after sitting five minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Source: https://driving.ca/features/feature-story/10-ways-slightly-changing-your-driving-can-save-big-bucks-on-your-fuel-bill

Why oversharing on social media might be overrated.

Sharing a photo of your engagement ring or honeymoon is tempting, but perhaps unwise.

In October 2016, Kim Kardashian was in Paris for Fashion Week when five armed men broke into her hotel room and made off with almost $10 million in jewellery. How did they know that at that exact moment the star was alone in her hotel room without her bodyguard? Easy. All they had to do was to check social media to track her movements.

Of course, not all of us are walking around the ritziest areas of Paris with a 18.88-carat diamond on our finger. But if you’re not careful, the tracks you leave on social media can reveal a great deal to someone with bad intentions—where you live, what valuables are in your possession, your movements, etc.

study conducted with 50 ex-burglars in the UK found that 78% of them used social media to identify houses whose owners were absent.

Troubling? Here’s a little guide to help protect you.

Social media and break-ins: top mistakes to avoid

1. Revealing your address

Never post photos of the front of your home or any detail that could give a clear indication of where you live (like the house number). Are you putting your apartment up for rent on a site like Kijiji or Craigslist? Settle for indicating the neighbourhood instead of the full address. This way you’ll avoid taking inventory of all your valuables and making them available to just about anyone.

2. Showing where you are

Avoid telling everyone where you are by doing check-ins or using geolocation features on social media platforms for every move you make. Remember, if your profiles are public, then the data is, too! Also check the settings on your mobile device to make sure that the geolocation feature isn’t permanently activated. Otherwise, a simple photo will allow you to be localized, owing to the GPS data contained in the file.

3. Sharing your vacation photos… while you’re still on vacation

Nothing says your house is unattended more than a photo of your toes in the sand in Punta Cana. Wait until you get home to share your memories, just like in the good old days. Yes, it’s hard. But you’ll be protecting yourself from those who would take advantage of your absence and relieve you of your valuables.

4. Displaying your riches on social media

You’ve decided to treat yourself to the watch of your dreams or start a contemporary art collection? Congratulations. But it would be much wiser to not show such things off on your social media accounts, even if they’re private. After all, you wouldn’t share your stock market earnings report!

Source: https://www.intact.ca/blog/en/why-oversharing-on-social-media-might-be-overrated.html

Aviva to start using credit info as auto rating factor in this province.

Aviva Insurance Company of Canada and Traders General Insurance Company have permission to use consumers’ credit information as an auto rating factor, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board announced Monday.

Insurers are specifically prohibited from using credit information as an auto rating factor in both Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, the NSURB noted.

But in Nova Scotia, Aviva and Traders (which is part of the Aviva group) proposed to add a “responsibility factor.” This means Aviva and Traders would use customer credit information as a new rating factor. Before giving Aviva the green light, NSURB considered whether current Nova Scotia regulations, which do not specifically prohibit the practice, nonetheless preclude auto insurers from using credit scores to rate auto.

The board considered Section 2 of Nova Scotia Regulation 183/2003, Matters Considered in Automobile Insurance Rates and Risk-Classification Systems Regulations, which says a rating factor may not be subjective, arbitrary, contrary to public policy, or one that “bears little or no relationship to the potential risk to be assumed by the insurer.”

In giving Aviva the go-head, NSURB took into account Aviva’s assurance that a customer would not be required to provide credit information in order to obtain insurance.

“A customer may be able to obtain a better rate if [credit rating] information is provided, but won’t be denied insurance if they do not. Considering all of this, and in the absence of specific evidence providing a justification for doing otherwise, the board finds that approving the proposed rating variable would not be contrary to public policy,” NSURB member Stephen McGrath wrote for the board in its ruling.

The board ordered Aviva and Traders to provide an update on whether experience emerges as expected for the responsibility factor when they start the next round of rate approvals this December.

In Ontario, insurers may use credit scores to rate home insurance but not auto. The Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario opposes the use of credit scores to rate home or auto insurance. IBAO has said in the past that it is not clear to brokers exactly how the credit scores are used and that credit rating has nothing to do with the risk that is being covered.

For their part, insurers tend to argue there is a statistical correlation between how insureds manage their personal finances, as represented by the consumer credit score, and the likelihood that they will have to make an insurance claim. For example, if insureds are careful managing their finances, they are also more likely to be diligent in other areas of their lives, such as doing regular maintenance and upkeep on their personal property, as insurance company CEOs have explained the correlation to Canadian Underwriter in the past.

In Nova Scotia, Aviva supplied confidential data supporting its argument that credit information is predictive of risk in property insurance and that this would carry over to auto insurance, McGrath wrote.

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Source: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/legislation-regulation/aviva-to-start-using-credit-info-as-auto-rating-factor-in-this-province-1004173831/

Ins and Outs of Travel Insurance Amid Coronavirus Outbreak.

VANCOUVER – Travellers nervous about globe-trotting during the novel coronavirus outbreak may be eligible to receive a refund for cancelling their travels, say insurance experts, but it depends on the destination, their insurance policy and other factors.

“I think in any case of sort of an epidemic like this, it’s really an evolving situation and every day is different, something new happens,” said Joan Weir, director of health and disability policy for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. CLHIA represents 99 per cent of the country’s life and health insurance companies, according to its website.

Travel insurers watch the unfolding situation very carefully, she said, and the association is frequently checking in with all its members about what they’re experiencing.

There are now more than 31,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, according to the World Health Organization.

The bulk of these are in China, where there have also been 637 deaths. Across 24 other countries, there are 270 confirmed cases and one death. There are five confirmed cases in Canada.

The WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency in late January.

The Canadian government issued a Level 3 advisory for China, asking Canadians to avoid non-essential travel. There is only one higher level, which advises travellers to avoid all travel.

The government recommends people avoid travelling to Hubei Province, where Wuhan city is located. The province has recorded 22,112 of China’s 31,211 coronavirus cases, according to the WHO.

As soon as the Canadian government declares a Level 3 or 4 travel advisory, a person may cancel their upcoming trip and their insurance should cover any lost expenses, said Weir.

“You’d have to submit receipts,” she said, but travellers should receive refunds for flights, hotels and other costs.

Trips booked before the government issues these advisories are often covered by travel insurance, said an emailed statement from the insurance company RSA Canada.

“Trips booked after this point are not eligible for medical coverage or trip cancellation/interruption coverage.”

Allianz Global Assistance Canada, which declined to comment due to “how quickly the current coronavirus is evolving and the changing advisories” from Canada’s government and others, posted a notice on its website to customers about the outbreak indicating booking timing mattered for coverage eligibility.

People travelling to China whose trip cancellation benefits kick in if the government issues a Level 3 advisory would be eligible to submit a claim if they purchased insurance before Jan. 29, when the government issued its advisory, according to the statement.

For those who do qualify, it doesn’t matter whether their trip is next week or in six months, said Weir.

However, the destination matters. While 24 countries have confirmed coronavirus cases, Canada’s travel advisory applies only to China. That means a person who feels uncomfortable travelling to any of the other countries won’t be able to get a refund for cancelling their trip, she said.

That is, unless they purchased what’s known as cancel-for-any-reason insurance, she said, which does exactly what the name implies.

Those who haven’t purchased any travel insurance may still be able to secure a refund, Weir noted, as many major credit cards offer some kind of coverage.

“But it depends on which credit card you have and what the benefits are,” she said. “So it’s good to know what your credit card covers for trip cancellation, for trip health, all that.”

For instant quote and purchase on travel insurance, visit www.24webquote.com

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2020.

Source: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/claims/ins-and-outs-of-travel-insurance-amid-coronavirus-outbreak-1004173736/