Keeping Teens Safe While Driving

There is a reason teens have higher insurance premiums than other adults, they are inexperienced drivers. Inexperience often leads to more accidents. The number one killer of teens is motor vehicle accidents. Only with experience is a driver more educated on how a car handles, what to do in an emergency and how to drive in many different weather conditions.

For parents of new drivers there are things you can do to make the learning experience safer:

  • Be a good example. Your children watch you. If you text and drive they will think it is safe to do so.
  • Let them know it is against the law to text and drive. Do not ever do it. And do not get into a car with a driver that does.
  • Set up an agreement about safety in the car. This website has a great program: Countdown2Drive
  • Make sure they use their seatbelts at all times! Twenty-five percent of teens do not use a seatbelt every time they get in a car.
  • Even though talking on the phone is legal while driving, make sure all calls are made when the vehicle is stopped. A study found that it is 8x more likely for a teen to get into an accident or near accident if they are trying to dial a phone.
  • In addition to Drivers Education, a skid school is a great place to learn. In Control is a local crash prevention school.  Insurance discounts are given with some carriers.

Learning to drive is a joint effort with parents and their teens, make it a safe experience. If teens know that their safe driving will result in lower insurance premiums it will motivate them to keep these guidelines in mind. Call us with any questions on your teen’s insurance.

* Statistics are from Safe Kids Worldwide (image at right)

Be Safe and Have Fun on Spring Break

Spring Break is a part of college life. Many kids like to take road trips with their friends during spring break. As a parent you want to make sure your child is safe and they take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Here are some items to go over with your children before they leave:beach

– Check the Auto Policy. Is it active? Have you/him/her paid the premium? Are your children listed as users on your policy if they are driving your car? Do you have sufficient limits of liability? We recommend a minimum of $100K/$300K for line items #3, #5 and #12 on the policy.

– Have a tune up done on the car at least a week prior to departure. A tune up should find any issues with the car and make sure all fluids are sufficient.

– Check the tires. Use a pressure gauge to check the pressure. The recommended tire pressure is different for each car so check on the front door panel when you open the door or the owner’s manual.

– Know the cell phone laws in each state that the child would be driving through. Some states require hands free devices such as CT while other states don’t have a restriction as MA.

– Have a windshield/dashboard GPS or a factory installed GPS, make sure the child is not using his/her cell phone GPS as it is not safe to try to read a small phone while driving.

– No texting while driving!

– When your child reaches his/her destination make sure he/she remembers to lock up all valuables. Hotels have safes, use them!

– No crazy Facebook/Twitter/Instagram posts. They will come back to haunt. Think before posting.

– Always have a designated driver or a reliable taxi service in the area to get everyone home safely.

Keeping safety in mind during spring break will benefit both college kids and parents. Everyone will have more fun!

Super-Sized Outdoor Kitchens and Your Homeowners Policy

The new trend in backyard living is bringing all your indoor amenities outside. We are talking flatscreen TVs, music piped throughout the yard, huge grills, refrigerators, couches, fire pits, all the bells and whistles. These renovations are costing homeowners thousands of dollars. With such a big investment, it is important to know if it is well protected.

outdoor kitchens

As the homeowner you would want to make sure your Coverage C (Personal Property) on your policy has adequate limits. Typically Coverage C is 50% of your Coverage A (Dwelling). In most cases this is sufficient, but if you have a lot of expensive furnishing outside, you may want to increase your Coverage C to 70%.

In addition to your Homeowners Policy limits, you will want to make sure your property is safe. To monitor all of your expensive items outside you can install security cameras and have it connected to your indoor security system. There are some systems that you can access from your smart phone and always keep an eye on your investment. Lighting is also important especially when it is dark out and there are people visiting that are unfamiliar with the property. Both ground lighting and above head lighting are a good idea. This will prevent people from tripping and hurting themselves on your property.

As with all outdoor furnishings, it is important to take all non-stationary items indoors during bad weather. Make sure to tie down all other items so there is no risk of flying items during heavy winds. You don’t want to damage your house with furnishings from your yard.

If you have any questions about your Homeowners Policy in connection to your outdoor amenities please call us for more information. And more importantly, enjoy dining al fresco!