Does My Child Need Auto Insurance to Take a Drivers Test? And Other Answers About New Drivers

We receive many calls throughout the week asking when do I need to add my child to my insurance policy?  Are they covered right away?  A child is automatically covered for their driving test on their parent’s policy.  Parents have 60 days to call their insurance agent to add the child to the policy, the sooner the better.  To add a child to an auto policy all that is needed is the child’s license number and date of birth.

Another great question we get about listing children on a parent’s policy is concerning divorced parents.   If my husband has our son on his policy, do I have to list him on my policy?  Quick answer is yes, but he will be deferred.  Deferred means that the child has coverage elsewhere, specifically on the father’s policy.  Depending on the insurance carrier you could still see a premium increase even if the child is deferred.  Since the child has opportunity to drive vehicles at both the father and mother’s house, the premium will reflect that.

Should you have your child open their own auto insurance policy or should they stay on your policy?  It depends.  If you/your child (whoever is paying) want to save money put them on your auto policy.  Adults usually qualify for more discounts than children.  Adults usually have a home owners discount along with multi car discount and AAA.  If you want your child to have independence earlier or your child is older when first getting their license and they are financially independent, then they can get their own auto policy.

If you have any further questions about adding a child/new driver to an auto policy please call us

Vacationing Again, Keeping Burglars Away!

Now that vaccines are readily available and the Covid numbers are declining, a lot of us are planning vacations!  It will feel great to get away for a break.  Brushing up on home safety tips to deter burglars will help you vacation with peace of mind. Here are some things you can do to your house before leaving:

  • Take a walk around your property, can you see any valuables from a distance?  Expensive electronics, jewelry or artwork? Put them away.
  • Check for overgrown bushes near your house, these are good places for burglars to hide
  • Check the locks on all doors and windows
  • Lock your door from your garage to your house
  • Secure sliding glass doors with a door stopper, like a metal rod or piece of wood in the door track
  • Don’t leave clues that you aren’t home: uncollected mail, trash barrels at the end of your driveway, unmowed lawn. A trusted neighbor or friend can collect these things for you or you can hold your mail at the post office.  If you are away for more than a week arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  • Keep your house well lit, use timers on lights.  If you have a Nest (or similar products) turn on lights at different times of the night
  • If you have the ability turn on radios or tvs remotely, do so at random times
  • Leave your blinds as they are when you are home.  Drawn blinds can be an alert that you aren’t home and they conceal if someone goes in.

A secure home, will let you vacation freely!  If you have any questions about your homeowners policy and your coverage call us:

What is the Difference Between Comprehensive and Collision Insurance?

You know you have auto insurance, but what do all the different coverages on the policy mean?  And are some of these coverages necessary?  Let’s look at Comprehensive and Collision, specifically.  Both Comprehensive and Collision cover damage to your own car.  Comprehensive covers damage to your car if it is stolen, damaged by weather-related events, fire, vandalism.  Many consider it “other than collision” coverage.  The coverage that helps pay for your car when it is damaged not in an accident. Collision insurance covers your car if you are in an accident with another car, a building, or object like a fence, or in a single car accident.

Comprehensive: theft, fire, vandalism, falling objects (hail, a tree), damage by animals.  Also, includes glass coverage.  Usually required if you are leasing or financing a vehicle, not required if you own your car.  Kept on when your vehicle is in storage or not being driven for a season.

Collision:  accident with another vehicle, accidents with an object (fence, building), single car accidents.  Usually required if you are leasing or financing a vehicle, not required if you own your car.  Can be removed for a season or while in storage and not being driven.

When do you no longer need to keep Comprehensive and Collision on your policy?  Check out the Kelly Blue Book value of your vehicle.  Take how much you pay for Comprehensive and multiply by 10.  If the value of your car is less the price you pay for the coverage then you probably don’t need it.  You can do the same for Collision.  It is a good idea to call us to discuss taking either of these coverages off your policy.  We want to make sure you have adequate coverage.

National Unplugged Day Motivation!

Planet Fitness has created some tech free ways to spend your time on National Unplugged Day.  Here they are:

Replace Facetime with FIT-TIME!

Substitute those screen minutes w/ Mighty Minutes:

  • Replace TEXTING with…
    • Squat Jumps
  • Replace FACETIMING with…
    • Slow-Mo Lunges
  • Replace SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS with…
    • Plank Jacks
  • Replace SCROLLING with…
    • Flutter Kicks/Scissor kicks

Unplug your Tech & Reconnect Your FLEX!

Rediscover the importance of:

  • The importance of MOVING to increase your blood flow
    • Star Jacks
  • The importance of MENTAL STIMULATION to maximize your mental mojo
    • Single-leg crossovers
  • The importance of CREATIVITY to break monotony
    • Icky Shuffles using imaginary agility ladder
  • The importance of POSITIVE POSTURE habit stacking for corrective movement
    • Hip Hinge to Trunk Twists
  • The importance of KEEPING THINGS FUN & FRESH to keep those muscles guessing
    • Fast Feet Karaoke

Power down the device & Power UP the MOJO!

All you NEED is YOU and take hold of the Power of RE:

  • The POWER to RE-CONNECT Mind + Body
    • § Single-leg dot drill for balance and coordination
  • The POWER to RE-DEFINE your cardio routine
    • § Fast feet to burpee
  • The POWER to RE-DISCOVER your center with core exercises
    • Crunch to oblique twists combo
  • The POWER to RE-IMAGINE your strength with alternative weights
    • Back lunge to triceps kickback with water bottles or other alternative items

Difference Between a Minor and Major Accident

Unfortunately, accidents do happen.  That is why we have insurance!  Many customers ask us what is the difference between a minor and a major accident, in terms of insurance.  There are two main differences between them.

Minor Accident:  this is when the accident claim payment is more than $1000 and up to and including $5000 for damage to someone else’s property, collision, limited collision or bodily injury to others.  A minor accident results in 3 points on your driving record for 6 years.

Major Accident: this is when the accident claim payment is more than $5000 for damage to someone else’s property, collision, limited collision or bodily injury to others.  A major accident results in 4 points on your driving record for 6 years.

The more points you have on your driving record the more you will pay for car insurance.  If you have any questions on whether to file a claim or on claim payments and points, please give us a call

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month.  In typical 2020 fashion the number of named storms this hurricane season has increased significantly since first predicted.  What better reminder to prepare safety plans than to have 25 named storms predicted for this year.   

Preparation is the best way to be ready for a dangerous storm such as a hurricane or tropical storm.  Have a few flashlights with extra batteries, your cell phone fully charged, a battery powered radio. Keep all of your personal documents in a fire proof box in a readily accessible area. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food items, such as canned food, bread, peanut butter, crackers, protein bars and lots of water. The American Red Cross suggests having 1 gallon of water per person per day.  A first aid kit is essential, the Red Cross outlines exactly what to put in that first aid kit.

Massachusetts coastal regions are labeled as Evacuation Zone A, B, or C. It is important to know your zone at home and at work (if this is actually a different place!), since people still commute to Boston which is part of all three Evacuation Zones. The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has created a map to help residents determine if they are in a hurricane Evacuation Zone.

The most damaging element of a hurricane is the storm surge. A storm surge is when the winds from a hurricane force huge amounts of water from the ocean on to the land. If a hurricane hits at high tide the storm surge is most destructing. It is important to have an evacuation route and destination planned out in case your home or work is evacuated.  Homeland Security has outlined how to make an evacuation plan.

Since it is National Preparedness Month, you should be prepared with proper insurance coverage for both your home and auto.  Call us with any questions on your coverage.  If we have a hurricane this season make sure to contact us with any damage that has occurred to your home or auto. Remember that flood and earthquake damage are not covered by your homeowners policy unless you add the respective endorsement/policy. Read our blog about what type of storm damage is covered by your policy, 

One Last Road Trip Summer 2020!

Summer 2020 has been an interesting one, different from summers past.  But one thing that has not changed has been our love of a good road trip!  Going to different states has been a bit tricky with Covid-19, but why not road trip in Massachusetts?  Our state has some great spots to check out before summer ends: Gloucester, Provincetown, or Lenox. All of these towns have lots of socially distanced activities for the whole family.  Since safety has been the summer’s main focus we will add a couple of our own safety tips while hitting the open road.

Make your last summer road trip a memorable and safe one!  Happy last month of summer vacation!

Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Coverage Explained!

Insurance can be confusing! We have found that one of the more confusing types of coverage for auto insurance is Uninsured and Underinsured coverage. In Massachusetts Uninsured coverage is compulsory with limits of $20,000/$40,000 and Underinsured coverage is optional. From our experience we feel that limits of $100,000/$300,000 should be the minimum to carry for both Uninsured and Underinsured coverage (Parts 3, 5 and 12 of your auto policy should all be the same, so we recommend the $100,000/$300,000 limits for all three parts).


The Uninsured and Underinsured limits can cover: medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages. Consequently, the higher limits are recommended.

If another driver hits and injures you and does not carry auto insurance your limits of $100,000/$300,000 for Uninsured coverage will apply. Medical costs quickly add up and you don’t want to end up paying out of pocket. If you are out of work for an extended period of time these higher limits will allow you to collect sufficient wages that would otherwise be lost with low limits.

If another driver only has low limits such as $20,000/$40,000 for Bodily Injury and he/she causes the accident you may not receive enough money to cover the injuries you sustained. Once again the medical costs and lost wages will most likely exceed $20,000/$40,000 limits. Therefore, your coverage would apply after their limits were met – Underinsured coverage.

You are involved in a hit and run accident, then your Uninsured coverage limits will apply if someone sustains bodily injury. The state minimum limits of $20,000 may not be sufficient.

Uninsured and Underinsured coverage is relatively inexpensive, so it is wise to increase Bodily Injury Coverage in the event of a major accident caused by another vehicle with no or little coverage.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how Uninsured and Underinsured coverage works and what limits are best for your protection. If you have any further questions, please call us!

Black Ice – Know the Facts

Winter in New England can bring us treacherous driving conditions.  We can see the 1ft of snow outside when we get a big snow storm and can be prepared.  However, we don’t always know if there is black ice on the roads.  Black ice is not actually black, it is clear so you can’t see it on the roads.  It gets its name from its ability to blend into its surroundings.  Black ice has less water bubbles in it making it harder to spot.  It could look like wet spots on the road.

Black ice forms when snow or ice melts then refreezes.  This can happen with fluctuations in temperature in the winter.  It could be very sunny during the day and the snow melts.  Then at night into early morning the puddles of water from the melting snow freeze.  Black ice can also form when it’s raining out and the temperature is below 32 degrees.  The most common areas for black ice are shaded areas, bridges and back roads.

Here are a few tips on handling black ice while driving:

  • Have good tires on your vehicle with excellent treads.  Winter tires are the best.
  • Drive slowly in uncertain road conditions.
  • If you hit a patch of black ice decelerate, take your foot off the gas.
  • Never slam on your breaks when you hit ice.
  • Do not pump the brakes if you have anti-lock breaks, the breaking system pumps them for you.
  • Do not jerk the wheel just keep your car pointed in the direction you want to go.
  • If you start skidding on the ice gently steer into the skid.
  • If your car starts to lose control head for an area of traction like grass or snow.

Black ice is very deceptive.  The best way to handle black ice in the winter is to be prepared for it.  Watch the weather and temperature outside.  And most importantly drive slowly!

Tips for Hosting a Party During the Holidays!

Are you expecting lots of guests at your holiday party? Navigating a crowded home can be difficult and sometimes not safe if you are not organized about it. Maintaining a clean, welcoming, fun, and festive residence can allow for everyone to enjoy a the day without worry.

If you feel overwhelmed by the expectations of family and friends, don’t let this bring you down. Instead, have confidence in your hosting abilities. As you prepare to have those you love into your place of comfort, it is important to keep safety in mind. The last thing you need is for someone to get hurt during a time of celebration.

Here are some tips to be a great host for your guests:

  • Celebrations are supposed to be all about fun, not stress. One person can’t do everything alone, enlist some help – before, during and after the party.  Everyone loves to feel useful!
  • Ask guests if they have any serious food allergies before purchasing the food. This way, you can avoid serious medical issues.
  • Prepare beforehand if children are coming to your home. Put away all dangerous items and leave around kid friendly activities to keep them occupied as the adults mingle.
  • Just because it is a holiday party doesn’t mean you have to offer alcohol. Provide a variety of drinks, such as soda, sparkling water, and juice.  Here is an amazing mocktail to serve:
  • Be prepared for potential disasters to occur. Remove slipping and falling hazards and don’t leave anything out that could cause an accident.

At Mancuso-Nowak Insurance Agency, we hope these tips help you make your guests feel right at home this holiday season. Of course you want your celebration to go without any problems, but sometimes these are unpredictable. We care about providing comprehensive coverage that won’t let you down. Our team also wants to make sure that Massachusetts residents understand their insurance options. Let one of our professional agents work closely with you to find reliable products that give you peace of mind today.