What You Need to Know About Snow Tires

Before the first snow falls, you’ll want to freshen up your car emergency kit, check the antifreeze and throw in that bag of kitty litter in case you need a little extra traction.

And speaking of traction: How are your tires?

If you think your tires aren’t up to the job of winter driving, it’s time to swap them for a set of snow tires. Here’s what you need to know.


Winter brings some of the most difficult driving conditions including slush, black ice and snow. Unlike regular tires, snow tires were created to endure these harsh conditions. Snow tires have a deep tread and special pattern that provides extra grip and traction. The design packs the snow while they’re moving to avoid slipping.

Related: Here’s what to do if you get stuck driving in a whiteout

While they are great at withstanding snow, they are even better with weathering the cold. A snow tire’s rubber formula allows them to remain flexible, even at the lowest of temperatures, which helps ensure optimal performance in snow and ice. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to slow down or stop on an icy road.

Tread depth, pattern and tire compound are three things you’ll want to consider if your car needs snow tires.


If you live in an area where snow and ice are a frequent reality through the winter, snow tires can make driving easier and a lot safer. That’s especially true if you have a steep driveway or often drive on unplowed roads.

Related: Whoa: Here’s what road salt can actually do to your car

Parents of teen drivers can also find peace of mind knowing that the family car is equipped with reliable winter tires. (Learn more about auto insurance for teen drivers.)

If you live in an area where it doesn’t snow very much, you might be better off without snow tires. That’s because snow tires are made from softer compounds than regular tires – so if you’re driving on regular pavement that isn’t covered with snow, they are likely to wear out faster and be noisier on the road.

One more factor to consider is your car’s drive. Depending on your vehicle, snow tires might be more beneficial to its performance in snow.

  • FWD (Front-Wheel Drive): Heavy snowfall and icy roads sometimes make it harder for a FWD vehicle to stop as quickly. Adding winter tires will help improve your vehicle’s braking system in winter conditions. These cars handle better on slippery conditions than their rear-wheel drive counterparts, and usually provide better tire traction because the weight of the engine is over the drive wheels.
  • AWD (All-Wheel Drive): These vehicles have a definite advantage in winter conditions. Experts recommend them for drivers living in areas with heavy snowfall because they provide more control on slick surfaces. Winter tires can help your AWD vehicle’s ability to stop on icy roads.
  • 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive): This option is typically found in trucks and SUVs and is reliable for driving in deep snow or areas that don’t get plowed regularly. As with AWD vehicles, snow tires can come in handy to provide more traction on slick, icy roads.
  • RWD (Rear-Wheel Drive): While in the minority, this drive usually doesn’t do well in slippery conditions. Most of the weight of the car is in the front, which means less weight is on the drive wheels. The drive wheels won’t have enough weight on them to maintain their traction, which could result in sliding sideways on slippery roads. Cars with this drive could benefit from winter tires.

Regardless of what’s in your garage, remember that while a car’s drive supplies torque and power – only tires provide traction. That’s what makes all the difference as soon as you hit the brakes.


You may have heard of some drivers only buying two tires, such as two front tires for a front-wheel drive car. When driving in the snow, you want all four of your tires gripping the road… not just two. When it comes time to switch over to your snow tires, changing all four tires will give you the best control and stability when stopping or turning on a snowy or icy road.

Wondering what else you’ve gotten wrong? Check out this list of 7 debunked winter driving myths.


If snow tires aren’t what you’re looking for, here are a few different traction devices. Before you invest in any one, it’s important to review the laws in your local area. Some alternatives – like chains – may be prohibited.

  • All-Season Tires: Changing tires from season to season can be a nuisance. All-season tires provide reliable performance in most weather conditions. However, they don’t perform quite as well as winter tires when weather becomes more severe. In Consumer Reports’ tests, snow tires outperform all-season tires in heavy snow and ice.
  • Studded Tires: Studded tires are fitted with lightweight metal studs and are more adept at gaining traction on ice. When the road is clear of snow and ice, however, the studs can often damage the road. They can also be very loud and are outlawed in many states.
  • Tire Chains or Cables: Metal chains wrapped across tires can provide additional traction, but legality varies widely. Many states have outlawed chains because of the damage they do to roads, while other regions experiencing treacherous snowfall and ice make them mandatory. Either way, tire chains are not recommended for high-speed travel. If you’re considering chains, first make sure they are legal in your area. Then make sure you understand their recommended speed limit and whether that limit will work with your driving style.
  • Tire Socks: As an alternative to chains, reusable snow socks pull over the wheel like a pillow cover to form a tight fit once they are strapped down. The socks get their grip from specially designed textiles and from the friction the spinning wheel causes. Snow socks exist for all tire sizes, making them a versatile option.


Fall is a great time to begin shopping for winter tires. You’ll want them on your vehicle before the snow starts to fly. Consider installing them when the temperature drops to a steady 45 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for winter – and that includes a checkup of your auto insurance policy. At Erie Insurance, our local agents can answer your questions, help you with a quote and help you get the right coverage for your needs and budget.

Choosing Your Medicare Supplement Plan

We’re here to help. Simple solutions from people you trust.


Health care and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare participants are on the rise, making the need for supplemental insurance even greater.1 With the advice of your ERIE agent, selecting a Medicare Supplement plan can help alleviate some of those costs.

ERIE offers several supplemental plans2 designed to meet your needs and fit your budget. Our agents are standing by; ready to answer your questions and provide the information you need to make your decision.

As always, we’ll be there when you need us. That’s our promise of service.




1. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report on Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health care spending.
2. These plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.
This is a solicitation of insurance. An agent (or the company) may contact you.
ERIE® life and health insurance products and services are provided by Erie Family Life Insurance Company. The policy has terms, limitations and exclusions under which the policy may be continued in force or discontinued. For costs, complete details and licensure information, contact an ERIE agent. Eligibility for insurance coverage will be determined at the time of application, based upon applicable underwriting guidelines and rules in effect at that time. In some states, Medicare Supplement policies are available to disabled individuals under the age of 65. Not all plans are available in all states and not all ERIE agents offer Medicare Supplement insurance. Medicare Supplement insurance is not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin. Life insurance is not available in New York.


Happy Holidays!

We hope you and your loved ones have a safe and festive holiday season!

Our office will be closed December 25th and 26th. Then again on January 1st. Our claims line is always open in case you need to review any potential claims.
Call 804-675-4300 x 6.

Heather and Kevin Perry
Perry Family Insurance Agency

Consumers’ response to Natural Disasters : 87 percent of participants worry but 42 percent haven’t assessed insurance coverage

Consumers’ response to Natural Disasters in the U.S. – findings from recent Clearsurance survey


November 16, 2017 12:12 PM Eastern Standard Time

NEWBURYPORT, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Clearsurance, the first-of-its-kind crowdsourced review, rating and educational platform exclusively for the insurance industry, today released results of a consumer survey about insurance that protects their property against natural disasters. The online survey of 1,000 U.S. individuals uncovered that the majority of respondents (87 percent) are concerned about a natural disaster striking their area, but very few have taken action to adequately protect themselves from being uninsured or underinsured. Of those that said they took action, the majority went no further than reviewing their policy. Only 18 percent enhanced their homeowners coverage and 12 percent purchased a new insurance plan.

“We conducted this survey following a string of devastating events across the country and the findings highlight a clear problem: consumers’ lack of knowledge about their own homeowners policies and what is and is not covered”

However, data from CoreLogic stating that 70 percent of flood damage from Hurricane Harvey was uninsured underscores the concern that an overwhelming majority of victims were not adequately covered.

“We conducted this survey following a string of devastating events across the country and the findings highlight a clear problem: consumers’ lack of knowledge about their own homeowners policies and what is and is not covered,” said Clearsurance Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer Todd Kozikowski. “This is why we created Clearsurance. Our aim is to help people make smarter insurance decisions by empowering them through education and reputable reviews shared by other consumers. This knowledge will ultimately help homeowners secure proper coverage for property losses, and be ready for inevitable natural disasters in the future.”

Other findings include:

  • The most frequently noted natural disaster claim filed was wind damage at 28 percent, followed closely by flood at 25 percent
  • Wind and flood were followed by ice (15 percent) and earthquake (12 percent)
  • The least commonly filed claim was wildfire at 10 percent nationally, though it was notably higher for respondents from the West at 25 percent
  • 82 percent of participants are expecting a rate increase for their policies following the 2017 storm season
  • 35 percent of those expecting a rate increase think it will be 10 percent or more and 47 percent expect it to be between 1 and 9 percent


To download a survey summary, please go to: http://bit.ly/NaturalDisasterReport. To learn more about Clearsurance or one of more than 370 personal lines insurance companies currently reviewed on the site, please visit www.clearsurance.com.


SOURCE: https://coverager.com/consumers-response-to-natural-disasters-in-the-u-s-findings-from-recent-clearsurance-survey/

Fire Prevention Week: It’s All about a Plan

Crayon drawing of house fire

Fire Prevention Week serves as a reminder to have an escape plan, practice fire drills and make sure all family members know what to do in the event of a fire. If a fire breaks out in your home, you may only have a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. We’ve compiled some tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) about planning your family’s escape route and practicing fire drills at home:

  • Make an Escape Plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows.
  • Discuss the escape plan with everyone in your home. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.
  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily. Have an outside meeting place (this could be a tree, light pole or mailbox). Just make sure it’s a safe distance from your home.
  • Practice your home fire drill. Make sure you practice with your family during the day and at night, with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • Practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave.

If the smoke alarm sounds

  • Get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke on your way out.
  • Call the fire department from outside of your home.

Facts about House Fires
A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected – when one smoke alarm sounds, they all should sound.

According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.

While 71 percent of Americans have a family escape plan, only 47 percent of those have actually practiced it.

One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least six minutes before a house fire would become life-threatening. The time available is often less. And only 8 percent said their first reaction of on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

It’s important to create family escape plans, review and practice the plans at least twice a year. Preparation and proper alarms could be the key to saving you and your family’s lives.

Additional information can be found on the National Fire Protection Association’s website. This information was reproduced from NFPA’s fire Prevention Week website © NFPA 2017. 


Kidde 468094 Three-Story Fire Escape Ladder with Anti-Slip Rungs, 25-Foot

Our family just purchased this fire escape ladder from Amazon for $53. Well worth the investment. Go to amazon.com for more information.