Tire Talk: The Difference Between All-Wheel And Winter Tires

Car driving through snow

Let’s face it – driving in winter-weather conditions can be unnerving. And when the tires on your car aren’t up-to-par, driving in the winter can be downright dangerous. However, when it comes to choosing which type of tire is best for your car, things can get a bit confusing. Should you purchase a set of snow tires? Would all-weather tires be better for your particular situation? Should you splurge for a set of both, just to be safe?

Pros Of Winter Tires


  • Snow tires have better grip. Do you frequently drive on roads that are covered in snow or a sheet of ice? If so, snow tires trump all-weather tires largely because they have superior grip. Not only are these tires designed with a soft, adhesive rubber, but they also have very deep treads that allow for ultimate traction even in the most hazardous conditions. In fact, studies show that winter tires deliver 25 to 50 percent more traction than all-season tires.


  • Winter tires are best for breaking in bad weather. You’ve probably been there: that moment when you’re driving in snowy, icy conditions and the moment you attempt to break, your wheels lock up and you slide uncontrollably to a frantic hault. With a set of winter tires, the chances of this happening are greatly reduced. Thanks to the exceptional gripping abilities of winter-tire tread, you can break where you need to, when you need to.


Cons of Winter Tires


  • Winter tires wear quickly. Though the soft, grippy rubber is ideal when it comes to providing ultimate traction, the material tends to wear down quicker than all-season or summer tires. Sure, winter tires are great in winter conditions, but dry roads or non-wintery conditions can quickly deteriorate the tread quality of the tire.


  • Snow tires can affect the handling of your car. Snow tires are known for less-precise handling than all-weather tires simply because of the way they are designed. The soft rubber of winter tires has more give and mobility, and the durable rubber of all-season tires offers better handling in dry conditions.


Pros of All-Weather Tires


  • You don’t have to change all-weather tires as the seasons change. One of the greatest benefits of all-weather tires is that you don’t have to worry about changing them the second the seasons change. All-weather tires can stay on your car year-round and are also designed with winter-driving conditions in mind. The tread pattern on all-weather tires was created with high-tech compounds that can handle snow, slush and ice, just as they can handle warm, dry conditions. 


  • All-weather tires are ideal for unpredictable climates. Do you live in a place where it could be a blizzard one day and spring-like conditions the next? If so, all-weather tires are the best solution for you. They work better on winter roads than summer tires and better on summer roads than winter tires. In places where the weather can be unpredictable, all-weather tires are the best solution.


Cons of All-Weather Tires


  • All-weather tires could lose grip as the temperature drops. Though all-weather tires undoubtedly have better grip in winter conditions than summer tires, their quality does deteriorate as the temperature drops. Once the temperature reaches about 44 degrees Fahrenheit, the rubber compound reaction within the tire begins to lose its softness, meaning you could be losing a noticeable amount of traction in any type of wet-weather condition.


  • All-weather tires wear quickly in warm conditions. Most all-weather tires should have a symbol on the side that indicates they are certified for driving in harsh winter conditions. However, in hot summer weather, the temperature within the tire could become too soft for its own good, meaning that spring and summer driving causes significant wear and tear on your all-weather tires and will ultimately require you to change these tires more frequently.


At Heuer Insurance Agency, we deeply value the importance of winter car safety. Use these pros-and-cons to help you determine which type of tire will keep you safe and sound in even the most harsh winter conditions.

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella blocking water

Generally speaking, umbrella insurance offers an extra layer of liability protection and peace of mind should you find yourself responsible for an accident with substantial costs. However umbrella insurance is more beneficial for some people than others, and there are some exclusions you may not know about that would be important for your specific situation.

To learn more about umbrella insurance and if it would be a good fit for you, here are five things you probably didn’t know about umbrella insurance.

1.     There are Certain Risk Factors That Could Impact Your Coverage

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of an umbrella policy is the liability coverage, because we all know how expensive lawsuits can be. However some people are more prone to lawsuits than others. Here are some risk factors for people likely to be involved in a lawsuit and who should consider purchasing umbrella insurance:

  • Those who have a long commute
  • Those who regularly travel during rush hour
  • Those who own dogs
  • Those who have a swimming pool, trampoline, or outdoor jungle gym
  • Those who entertain others frequently

2.     Not All Lawsuits Will Be Covered

As previously mentioned, lawsuits are one of the main reasons to consider purchasing umbrella insurance. Once the limit has been paid out for your primary liability coverage, the rest can be covered by your umbrella policy. The exception to this is if you commit a crime or an intentional act of harm. This includes sexual harassment, discrimination, intentional bodily or property harm, or damages from driving under the influence. Umbrella insurance is meant to protect you from accidents, even if you’re at fault, but not malicious acts.

3.     “Attractive Nuisances” Could Influence Your Coverage

This is the term for features or equipment on your property that can be hazardous. These include swimming pools and hot tubs, trampolines, swing sets and outdoor jungle gyms, and sports equipment. Your umbrella insurance will cover personal and property injury sustained from attractive nuisances.

4.     Dog Owners Could Benefit from Umbrella Insurance, but Some Breeds May Not Be Covered

Dog bites are more common and harmful than you may think. More than one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims are from dog bites and dog-related injuries. Although the liability coverage from your primary insurance may cover dog bites, it’s important to realize that some dog-related injuries require reconstructive surgery as well as compensation for lost wages, etc. This is when umbrella insurance will save you. Additionally, some dog breeds are excluded from coverage and should be inquired about if you suspect your breed may not be covered. You may purchase a rider in this situation.

5.     You Might Need to Purchase Additional Riders to Adequately Protect Yourself

Although umbrella insurance is meant to cover those who are injured on your property, there are some scenarios that may not be covered. Domestic workers, such as nannies or housemaids who do not have their own insurance, are likely not covered by yours either. In this situation, do not assume your umbrella insurance will cover them if they fall down the stairs or receive other injuries on your property. In this situation, you will need to speak to your insurance agent about acquiring a special rider to further protect yourself.

Learn More

Even if you are free from the above risk factors, accidents can and do happen to even the most cautious individuals. The safest thing you can do is be well-insured to protect yourself from even the most unlikely of accidents. To learn more about umbrella insurance in Reno, visit the professionals at Heuer Insurance Agency.

Should You Insure Your Family Pet?

A dog lying on its stomach looking sad

In a country of pet-lovers but also ever-advancing technology, it can be quite expensive to provide medical care for your pets. All of the advances in technology mean that new and improved procedures and equipment are available to help your pet return to and maintain good health, but also come with a cost.

Fortunately, you have some options to help you cover those costs, including pet insurance. Check out these facts about pet insurance to help you decide if it’s right for you.

What does it cover?

Here are the basics of what pet insurance will cover:

  • Death

Whether your beloved pet passes from illness or accident, your insurance policy can cover what your pet is worth monetarily.  However this coverage usually only applies to pets under a certain age, generally 7-10 years old for cats and 7-8 years old for dogs. Other costs associated with death that may be covered including euthanasia, cremation, and burial coverage.

  • Dental coverage

Usually this coverage only applies to dental problems caused by accidents, but make sure you understand what kind of coverage you have when you take out a policy.

  • Promotional materials for missing animals

If your animal is lost, the cost of advertising materials can be covered by insurance.

  • Liability

If your animal injures someone else or damages their property, the expenses can be covered by your pet insurance policy.

  • Overseas travel

If you travel internationally and your pet becomes ill, your insurance can cover their care.

  • Cattery/Kennel fees if you are hospitalized.

You typically must be hospitalized for a minimum of 2-4 days for this coverage.

Pre-existing conditions are almost always excluded, as are routine or preventative care. Pregnancy and birth-related care is also usually excluded.

What types of policies exist?

There are a few different kinds of policies you can choose from, including:

  • Lifetime

This is the most comprehensive coverage without time limits for illnesses.

  • Non-lifetime coverage.

If you have a dog who’s breed is more susceptible to a certain condition, you can take out a policy for that specific condition with or without a time limit.

  • Accident-only coverage.

This coverage would only pay out for accidents such as car accidents, dog attacks, etc. No illnesses are covered.

What about older or sick pets?

Most companies will not insure pre-existing conditions. Premiums also tend to rise each year for older pets. These facts are important to know because if you find your premiums really expensive and find that another company offers lower premiums, you may not be eligible for the other insurance for pre-existing conditions and the company may exclude older animals altogether.

Is pet insurance affordable?

With several policy options to choose from and so many condition-specific policies available, there is a large price range in pet insurance policies. Some policies are even priced based on the specific breed, if you have a breed that is generally more susceptible to health problems. If you spay and neuter your pets, or purchase coverage when they are very young, then you may be able to lower the costs of pet insurance.

For more information on pet insurance or to get quotes, visit us at Heuer Insurance Agency in Reno, Nevada to have all of your insurance questions answered.


Water Losses!?!?

Welcome back to the Heuer Insurance Agency Blog.  We hope you are enjoying this winter as much as we are!  El Nino has really helped our water outlook for 2016 and beyond, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Please continue to do your part in helping conserve water for what’s really important in life – like fishing and boating and enjoying a day at the lake with your kids!  I know our family has made a concentrated effort in reducing our water consumption. Just recently TMWA sent out mailers to each home advising them what they used, and where they stand Statewide in comparison to how much they use versus the rest of the State.  It’s important we all do our part!

Speaking of water, those of you that follow this blog know that I have mentioned many times in the last few months about how costly, and upsetting water losses can be!  So…. we go from talking about the drought, to water in your house and how nasty water in the wrong place can be in the event of a claim. Ironic isn’t it?    After 43 years in the insurance industry, I can tell you the insurance industry acts like a single entity if and only if, a particular type of claim brings industry wide losses too large to ignore!    And it’s no surprise, we once again are talking about water losses.  Review our blog an entry or two back for some great ideas on how you can mitigate a water loss.  After I published that blog, the insurance industry came out in droves with all sorts of software and related articles designed for insurance agents to talk to their clients about water losses and how to prevent them.  I don’t take credit for getting the onslaught of articles started, it’s really more of another case of social media picking up on the fact that so many of us have had to suffer through these tough losses and it’s got the conversation started. You will be reading some future blogs about ideas others are bringing to the table on how to prevent water losses.  And I ALWAYS promise to keep them short….

Here are a couple of industry websites attacking the problem:

1)       Safeco Insurance Company has an interactive page on their site working, educating and discussing all facets of water losses. From how to detect them, what tools are available for the average homeowner, to helping you keep your HOT water, in the tank and not all over your floor.  Check it out…its brand new!   http://www.safeco.com/homeowners-insurance/do-more/detect-and-prevent-home-water-damage 2)       CIG or Capital Insurance Group also has some new and interesting articles on their website, such as their most recent one, “25 ways to winterize your life”. Tons of useful information from these two sites. www.ciginsurance.com

For more links and information check out our Heuer Insurance Website (www.heuerinsurance.com) and click on partner links and look for both Safeco Insurance as well as CIG for some awesome free information. And don’t forget that interactive website page of Safeco’s….brand new this week!  So that’s all you have to read from me about water and its ugly neighbor….unfriendly water.  Unfriendly water is water somewhere where it’s not supposed to be, and is causing damage to your property.  Both are wet, one is just way more fun than the other…..

And finally, I would like to highlight one of the longest tenured professionals ever to work at Heuer Insurance.   If you think me being here 43 years sounds like a lot, let me introduce Debi Baucom from my Commercial Lines Department.  She came to work for me 38 years ago, and still has my back and yours to this day!  If you know Debi, I don’t have to say any more, other than call her up and congratulate her on her 38th anniversary.  Stop by and say hello or enjoy a fresh brewed cup of coffee on your friends at Heuer Insurance Agency.


Thanks for all the years of loyalty and friendship…..GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Larry Heuer