Thursday, January 29, 2009

Texting-While-Driving Ban Update

Even though Washington was the first state to pass laws about texing-while-driving it's yet that the law has been really enforced.

Only 2 tickets have been issued in Seattle Municiple Court since the ban took effect January 2008 to September 2008. Statewide, there were 58 citations and 61 warnings during that time which is only a small percentage of the 983,000 traffic stops troopers made total.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), "Given that crash risk increases substantially with drivers' use of either hand-held or hands-free phones, bans on hand-held cellphones will not eliminate the problem entirely. The problem with laws prohibiting hands-free phones is that they are difficult to enforce."

There are only 4 other states that have followed suit with the texting-while-driving law: Washington, Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Jersey.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Q & A

A few frequently asked questions for parents of teen drivers like you...and maybe a couple you hadn't thought about! If you have additional questions, we'd be happy to answer them! Please e-mail us at or call one of our 6 locations at 1-888-867-2866.

What should parents consider when insuring teen drivers?
Parents should consider 3 factors when insuring their teen driver. First, they need to do everything they can to prevent their teen from causing an accident. Lack of education and experience are the leading factors in teen driver accidents. Parents need to give their teen as much training and experience behind the wheel as possible to keep them safe and avoid costly tickets and accidents. Second, parents need to make sure they are protected in case their teen causes an accident. Teens are 5 times more likely to cause an accident that can result in a lawsuit than experienced drivers. Good insurance coverage is a must for parents with teen drivers.
Third, parents need an agent that understands how to protect families with teen drivers and how to help them get the right protection at the lowest cost. This agent can find ways to save money while offering coverage that can protect them from lawsuits.

Why are insurance rates high for teen drivers?
Teen drivers are five times more likely to cause accidents than experienced drivers. The cost of these claims are on average 3 times higher as well. Insurance companies know this and have to charge higher rates to cover the higher risk of costly and more frequent accidents.

How can parents reduce the cost of insuring their teen driver?
First, parents need to understand that the rates are highest during the first three years they are licensed and if their teen gets a ticket or causes accidents their rates can triple. If parents do everything they can to make sure their teen drives safely, they will save a small fortune in rate increases due to tickets and accidents. If they have an agent that specializes in protecting families with teen drivers, that agent most likely knows what companies offer the lowest rates and can help them save by increasing deductibles and finding every discount possible, i.e. like a discount for good grades.

What should parents do to make sure they are protected in case their teen causes an accident?
When a parent adds a teen driver to their insurance policy, the chances of them being involved in a lawsuit increases dramatically. Insurance companies will only pay what their liability limit is on their policy. If the accident is serious enough, the parent’s assets are at risk. They will have to pay the difference between the liability limit and the amount awarded by the lawsuit. This is the most critical time when they need an agent that specializes in protecting families with teen drivers. This agent can review their coverage and offer the right liability limits to protect their assets.

How can parents reduce the likelihood of their teen causing an accident?
Education and experience is most important for safe driving. Unfortunately, new drivers are lacking this. It is up to the parent to give them as much structured practice time behind the wheel as needed to learn the most important driving skills and reactions. A home study driving course such as the Safe Teen Driver Guide is an excellent way to give the teen the necessary education and experience. Parents should also consider a GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System to make sure that their teen continues to drive safely while the parent is not in the car.

Many parents consider placing the teen on a separate policy. Is this a good idea?
No, this is not a good idea. As long as the teen is dependent on the parents, (they live in the household or the parent owns the car, even if the child is away at school ), they can be held liable for their teen’s mistakes. When you place a teen on a separate policy, it is very difficult to get adequate coverage for the teen because they are considered “high risk” and most high risk insurance companies will only provide lower limits than what teen drivers need. Since the teen cannot get adequate coverage, the parents can still be sued for their teen’s accidents. It also costs more to insure teens on separate policies. They are charged higher rates since they are insured by companies that insure higher risk drivers. When the teen is on their parents’ policy, they get multi-car discounts and are usually insured by preferred companies with lower rates.

What tools do you offer to parents to help them make their teens safer drivers?
Our agency offers many tools to help parents keep their teen drivers safe. First we have the Safe Teen Driver Guide. This is a 16 step home study driving course that parents can use to give their teens the education and most importantly, the experience they need to drive safely. We also offer a GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System. This system can alert parents when their teen drives at high speeds, after curfew or beyond a specified driving range. It can also allow parents to “check in” on their teen to make sure they are safe. Another tool we offer is the Parent/Teen driver contract to help teens get a clear understanding of the rules set forth to have the privilege to drive. Our website offers other tools such as 101 teen driver safety tips, information on how to get protected at the lowest cost, and much more. Coming soon, we will be offering a “How’s My Driving” bumper sticker and incident reporting service.

How does the GPS Teen Driver Monitoring System work?
This amazing system can give parents peace of mind knowing that their teen is driving safely. It has a small GPS unit that is installed under the dash in the teen driver’s car. This unit is connected to a website that parents can access to set parameters and view the car’s location, speed, and even unlock the car doors if the teen locks his or her keys in the car. Once parameters are set for speed limits, driving distance, and curfew, parents can receive alerts when a teen break these parameters. It can also let parents know by text message, e-mail, or phone call when their teen arrives at a destination, such as arriving at school every day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Protecting Your Teen's Vehicle in Economic Crunch - Part Two

With economic pressure, crime is on the rise. This is part two on tips of how to keep your teen and vehicles safe.

Lock the car and pocket the keys. Don't walk away swinging them around like a tasty treat. And never leave your vehicle running unattended. This is just an open invitation to take your car. Most stolen cars were left unlocked or with the keys in the ignition!
If you really want to warm up your car first... get a "Remote Starter" or "Automatic Starter". You can press a button to get your car running and it will run for 10 minutes and then shut off. The vehicle will remain locked and will not remain running for more than 10 minutes until you unlock the steering wheel and put the key in the ignition giving you the best of both worlds: safety and convenience.

Don't leave valuables in plain view. Even if you cover it with a blanket in the back, do you really think they're that stupid? Another option is to put valuables in the trunk or don't leave it in the car at all!

Park in well lit, busy areas. For your protection too! FYI-- if your young student is leaving class late and it's dark-- many colleges will urge you and would be happy to provide a security escort if the student feels it's unsafe.

Don't leave your registration in your vehicle. Carry it with you!

ID your things There are engraving devices to engrave your rims, sound system, etc. in case of theft.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Protecting Your Teen's Vehicle in Economic Crunch - Part One

Burglary and theft are up in these times of economic crisis. People are feeling the pressure and some are turning to crime.

Here are some ways you can protect your vehicle and your teen's safety...

First, install a car alarm. In a pinch, you can get one for as little as about $150 through places like Best Buy and Car Toys. Keep your eye out for their promotional sales as many of these types of business have them often.

Put comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. In case there is a break in or if the vehicle is stolen, this will cover the vehicle-- less the deductible. Depending on how much you'd like to spend and the value of the vehicle you can go with a deductible from 100 to even 2000.

Purchase a tracking device. LoJack has a 90% success rate at getting the vehicle back and average recovery time is 24 hours. Some insurance companies will even offer a discount. The downfall is the cost is about $600-$700 but there is no monthly fee. We also offer Teensurance powered by Safeco Insurance which retails at $169 for the device and then $19.99 per month for the tracking, however we offer it at the discounted $99 for the device and $19.99 monthly for tracking. Note: Teensurance is not just for teens and does not have to be bought by teen parents. Many people use it to track their own personal vehicles as a lower cost option to the LoJack or other tracking device.

You are welcome to call or e-mail us if you'd like to find out more about Teensurance! 1-888-867-2866 or

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

WIN $500 College Bond

By completing this survey you can win a $500 college bond.

The deadline for the drawing is March 31st. You can only register once and it is only open to parents of teenagers 15-19.

Go to