That cool, crisp air can only mean one thing: Fall's here. Time for sweaters, changing leaves and ... football! Of course, with football comes the inevitable tailgating - that social ritual that takes place in the parking lots of countless stadiums. For hours before kickoff, fans gather to grill food, sing rousing fight songs, and congratulate - or console - one another over their team's play on the field. While you don't need a tailgate on your vehicle to take part in the festivities, you do need to be prepared in case any accidents or other unpleasant incidents occur by having the proper car insurance policy in place. Here are some tailgating tips that can help you score big this football season:
First, before heading out to the big game, be sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Does your car insurance policy cover non-moving accidents? What if your vehicle is damaged by a grill fire, a vandal or just a poorly thrown football? For full protection and peace of mind, make sure your car insurance coverage includes collision and comprehensive. The good news: a 2008 report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners indicates the cost of the average car insurance policy has decreased over the past few years.
Secondly, remember to remove any valuables from your vehicle. Car thieves are notorious for prowling large parking lots, especially during football games or other events where they know the owner will be away. Proper car insurance coverage can certain items stolen from a car are protected. However, in addition to your wallet or purse, be sure to take your cell phone, iPod or MP3 player, portable GPS system and other devices. In many cases, your car insurance policy won't cover such items. Second, if you plan on listening to that music player or running other electronic equipment, consider bringing a portable generator. You'll save your car's battery and alternator.
And finally, never drink and drive. Driving while intoxicated is not only dangerous - it can be extremely expensive. If you are convicted of a DUI, count on your car insurance premiums going up for at least three years, in many cases doubling or even tripling. According to a recent article by MSN Money, when you add in legal fees, fines and other expenditures, the cost of one DUI conviction can mount to $10,000 or more. Therefore, always choose a designated driver ahead of time. But choose that driver wisely: if your car is in an accident, it's your responsibility, even if someone else is behind the wheel.
Have fun while tailgating, but be safe, and make sure you're prepared in the event of something unexpected.