How to Winterize Your Car (Infographic)

Here in San Francisco, winterizing your car basically means firing up the defroster in the morning. But, for most of the country, winter casts a slightly more potent spell. Though powder-white snow and gleaming ice crystals make for beautiful scenery, these elements can cause dangerous road conditions and wreak havoc on your car.

With that in mind, our friends at SpareFoot (who offer car storage services around the country) have created this helpful infographic with 7 simple steps for getting your car winter ready.

Chock full of useful winterizing tips — like checking your fluids and keeping kitty litter in your trunk — this infographic is handy for anyone currently (or soon to be) experiencing the cold shoulder from Jack Frost.

how-to-winterize-your-car-infographic (2)

More tips for winter

Cables, kitty litter, and kafka: check out the top 11 must-haves for your winter car kit
Face down the fiercest winter conditions with these all-star winter driving tips
Winterize your home to avoid these 6 nightmare scenarios

Related links

Need to de-ice your driveway? See what should (and shouldn’t) use. 

If you need to drive in the rain, check out these safety tips first. 

When the roads are slippery, friction is your friend. Learn how to avoid skidding. 

Ride a motorcycle? We also have tips on how to winterize your bike.

For another way to get prepared, take a look at our winter driving safety tips.

Score 4 Tix to the 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game

Our Pac-12 sweeps has ended. Congratulations to our winners!

It’s one thing to watch the 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game on TV. But what if you could be there in person to see every Hail Mary, quarterback sack, and touchdown pass?

Well, who says you can’t?

This year, as the proud car insurance partner of the Pac-12, Esurance is giving you the chance to attend the Pac-12 Football Championship Game with 3 of your favorite friends.

Your chance to attend the 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game

To take your shot at winning 4 tickets to the biggest game in college football, just visit our Facebook page to Like us and enter. And if you already Like us (aww!), you can enter now.

The sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on November 24, 2013, but you can enter daily to increase your chances of winning.

We’ll notify 10 lucky winners around November 25. Good luck!

Pac-12 football championship predictions

It’s been an action-packed season. Stanford and the University of Oregon continue to battle it out for the top spot in the North Division while Arizona State and UCLA go toe-to-toe for the South Division title.

Until a victor’s crowned on game day, speculation runs high. Will the Cardinals defend their 2012 championship win? Will the Ducks reclaim their 2011 title? Or will another contender capture the championship crown?

Enter the 2013 Pac-12 Football Championship Game Sweepstakes for your chance to be there when all the action unfolds.

Stuff our legal team makes us say
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Sweepstakes begins at 10:30 a.m. PT on 11/19/13. Ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on 11/24/13. Open to legal residents of any 1 of the 50 U.S. or DC (excluding FL and NY) who are at least 18 & age of majority. Internet access, a Facebook account in good standing, and a “Like” of Sponsor’s page are all required. Void where prohibited by law. SUBJECT TO FULL OFFICIAL RULES. Limit 1 entry per person and per email address per day. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Esurance Insurance Services, Inc., 650 Davis St., San Francisco, California 94111-1922

Related link

Pac-12 students and alums could get a car insurance discount

West Virginia: From Secret Bunkers to B.A.S.E. Jumpers

Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong…

West Virginia!

Esurance car coverage is now available in West Virginia and we’re very pleased to be there. You may not know much about this mountain momma (other than the words to the John Denver song) — so read on for some fascinating facts.

West Virginians are an independent breed

The state motto of West Virginia is Montani Semper Liberi (“Mountaineers Are Always Free”) — and they mean it. The mountainous western counties were initially part of Virginia, but broke away when the Civil War began in 1861 and Virginia joined the Confederacy. West Virginia chose to stay loyal to the Union, thus becoming the thirty-fifth state in 1863 by proclamation of President Lincoln.

But that wasn’t the first time the self-reliant westerners tried to split from the east. In 1775, 2,000 residents of the west petitioned for the formation of a separate fourteenth colony. Then, in 1783, they made a similar plea to form a fourteenth state. (The Continental Congress ignored both attempts.)

They were almost called Kanawhans

When delegates from western Virginia gathered to form a new state in 1861, they initially proposed to call it “Kanawha,” after a local Native American tribe. A major river already bore that name (and still does), but West Virginia won out as the name of the state.

They know how to keep a secret

One of West Virginia’s most celebrated places is the Greenbrier Hotel and Resort near White Sulphur Springs. Famous for the curative powers of its waters, it was also an Army Hospital during World War II — and, for 30 years, it was the home of a massive, top-secret bunker constructed 720 feet beneath the resort. Built between 1958 and 1961, during the height of the Cold War, the bunker was meant as an emergency relocation site for the U.S. Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. After its existence was revealed in 1992, it was decommissioned and is now open for public tours.

They love their mothers

Mother’s Day was founded by West Virginia native Anna Jarvis. On May 10, 1908, Jarvis arranged the first official Mother’s Day service in Grafton, WV to honor her mother (a well-known women’s activist). She began a tireless campaign to make the day a national holiday and the practice soon spread to 45 states. In 1914, President Wilson officially declared the second Sunday of May as “Mother’s Day.”

They (apparently) lack a fear of heights

Every year on the third Saturday of October, hundreds of B.A.S.E. jumpers plunge from the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville. This was was the world’s longest steel arch bridge when it was completed in 1978, and though it was surpassed by Shanghai’s Lupu Bridge in 2003, it’s still impressive at 3,030 feet long. The annual Bridge Day festival has been held since 1980 and currently attracts some 80,000 people.

Other interesting West Virginia firsts and facts

  • The world’s first brick street was laid in Charleston, WV on October 23, 1870
  • On July 1, 1921, West Virginia became the first state to institute a sales tax
  • In 1928, Minnie Buckingham Harper of McDowell County was appointed to the House of Delegates, making her the first female African-American legislator in the U.S.
  • In 1947, West Virginia native and Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager became the first human to break the sound barrier (aka Mach 1)
  • Weirton, in West Virginia’s panhandle, is the only city in the U.S. that touches the borders of 2 other states

For more info about the Mountain State, check out these West Virginia car insurance facts. And be sure to let your West Virginian friends and family know we’re there.

10 Things to Look for When Buying a House

Buying a house is a bit like planning for your wedding day — there are months packed with excitement, stress, planning, and then, finally, the big payoff. I know because I have 2 exceedingly interesting sisters (a hummus-making social worker and a gluten-free marketing maven) who both committed to the big stuff — husbands and houses — within the last 2 years.

Although I can’t help you with happily-ever-after, I can share the insight I gained while helping my sisters on their journeys to homeownership. Here are 10 things to watch for when buying a house.

1. Recognize a roof in need of repair

Before you ever set foot inside, check out what’s happening on top. Does the roof look relatively new or is it caving in? If the roof is eye-catching (as in, “My, look at that gaping hole”), chances are it could end up costing you.

A newer roof, on the other hand, could mean a lower homeowners insurance rate. Likewise, a roof made of an especially sturdy material is better equipped to defend against wind and hail (and can save you from a potential claim).

2. Don’t judge a room by its paint job

When you step inside your prospective abode, focus on the structural stuff — aging appliances, loose wires — and tune out any freshly painted walls or upscale decor. The foundation will be there long after the paint has started chipping and you want that to be what lasts.

3. Take its temperature

When you’re buying a house, keep in mind: if it looks rickety or old, it probably is. Heating and cooling systems are expensive to fix and replace, and inefficient ones can eat away at your utility bills. Make sure the furnace is up to date and in good repair.

4. Decide on your dealbreakers

Aside from the basics, like quality windows and countertops, think about the purpose of your home and the requirements for your lifestyle, like storage for a large book collection or a big backyard for barbecuing.

It can also be smart to spring for a home with an extra bedroom if you’re planning on kids or guests. And if your significant other is a night owl while you’re a connoisseur of cat naps, it might be a good idea to look for a house with an entertainment area set far away from the master bedroom.

5. Plumbing: what lies beneath

When you’re poking around a new kitchen, don’t stop at eye level — get underneath the sink and examine those pipes. Check for leaks, water damage, and mold.

Not only is mold unsightly and foul-smelling, but it can also cause health problems. If you live with a baby, an elderly person, or someone with asthma, you’ll want to be especially careful before moving in with mold.

6. Check out the land beforehand

Don’t just look at the building — examine the area around it. Is the house in an area prone to flooding or wildfires? Is the driveway shared with another property? If there are fences, have they been built and positioned properly? It’s a lot to take in, but when you buy a house, you can’t ignore its surroundings.

7. Smell the roses (and more)

Do you smell sewage, gas, or anything equally unpleasant? Sewage systems in older homes can sometimes get clogged or damaged by tree roots. Luckily, some sewer or plumbing companies can send a camera through the pipes to detect any breaks or blockages.

Also worth noting: pet odors, cigarettes, and mildew.

8. Invest in a well-insulated house

Above all else, your home should be comfortable. Check the attic, water pipes, and heating ducts to make sure they’re properly insulated. This can reduce heating and cooling costs and keep you comfortable in summer and winter. Double-paned windows can also save you money down the road. Plus, they can help soundproof your place from outside noise.

9. Get your hands on everything

I mean that literally. Turn on every faucet and light switch, open every window and door, flush the toilets, even taste the water. Buying a house is a big step — maybe one of the biggest — and you need to know how everything works firsthand. That way, you can address problem areas and see if there’s a cost-effective solution.

10. Have a home inspection done

There’s only so much you can do with your own 5 senses. You’ll also want to enlist a professional to ensure the foundation is solid and the wiring is up to code. Home inspectors can even check for lead paint and wood-eating pests.

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents suggests that almost every house has a defect. Some will be obvious to you, and the vast majority will be fixable, but it’s best to know before you buy. Not only will that help you negotiate a lower price, but it can also prepare you for any necessary repair costs that may arise.

And once you’ve found your dream abode, make sure you have the right homeowners coverage to keep it protected. (We can help you with that!)

Related links

First-time homebuyer’s guide: coming up with a down payment
First-time homebuyer’s guide: shopping for mortgage rates
Top 6 reasons to winterize your home
Flame-retardant furniture: is your couch toxic?

 

Why I Ride: Meet a Man with Motorcycles in His Blood

Some guys* know a motorcycle is more than a motorcycle and a road is more than dirt and gravel. They know every back road and alley, every side street in town. They know it’s not always about the destination, and they know exactly how much fun you can have between Point A and Point B.

Some guys know what it’s like to have bugs in your teeth and dust from the road in your hair. They know there’s more to life than heated seats and a couple of cup holders. Some guys know adventure has 2 wheels and handlebars and everything can revolve around that machine.

Matt Work is one of those guys. Owner of Piston & Chain motorcycle club in San Francisco, California, Matt’s obsession with motorcycles began while putting through cornfields as a kid. Then, one day, he felt that tire hook up on asphalt … and there’s been no looking back since.

Meet Matt in the latest video from Esurance and find out how he ended up with motorcycles in his blood.

Need more motorcycles?

Check out esurance.com/whyiride for more on Matt and lots more on motorcycles.

#WhyIRide, motorcycle stories

Share your motorcycle mojo and connect with other bikers at #WhyIRide.

Motorcycle music

If you’re lovin’ the music from our “Why I Ride” video, you’re not alone. The Sam Chase is a San Francisco band that won Best Singer-Songwriter in the SF Bay Guardian’s Best Of The Bay Readers Poll 2013. Check out their video for Perfect World.

Esurance now offers motorcycle insurance in California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin. Insure your ride.

*Some girls know this too. And we salute all you motorcycle mamas out there.