Teen Driving Tips

October 10, 2010

As the mom of a new teenager, I know it’s only a matter of time before he is ready to get in the car and learn to drive. Scary as that may seem, I need to start learning to prepare myself for that day. Below are a few tips I found that I thought would be helpful to pass along to those of you who are facing the same dilemma as me:

1.   Be a Good Example: If you have a lead foot, weave in and out of traffic, talk or text on the phone while you are driving, chances are your teen is watching you and will mimic your habits. Slow down, be more mindful of the cars around you, and PLEASE do not text while driving. If you feel you need to use the phone, at least invest in a hands free device. Your teenager will see you making good, conscious decisions while driving and will see what it means to be a responsible, defensive driver.

2.   Let Them Practice: Allow your teen to practice driving in a safe environment. Also, sign them up for driver’s education class. The more practice they get, the chances of them being a safe, responsible driver go up! Remember when you are driving with your teen, remain calm and have a plan in place for when you go driving. Let them know where you will be going and what skills you will be working on.

3.   Point out Potential Risks: Scan around the area as a second pair of eyes. Point out potential risks, such as dangerous intersections, that your teen should be noticing.

4.   Teach Them the Dashboard: Show your teen where the controls are and what each one does. The last thing you want is for your teen to be driving the car, get caught in a rain storm and not know how to turn on the windshield wipers! It has happened to me and it is not fun. If they know the mechanics of the car they are driving, it will make things safer for them as well as for the cars driving on the road with them.

For those of us who like gadgets and want to be on top of where our teens are when they are out driving around, there is a wonderful tool out there called Teensurance. It is a service that provides roadside assistance, parent resources, a safety beacon (a GPS tracking device) that would track the vehicle if it were stolen, provide speed limit reminders, notifies you if your teen has driven outside of a certain perimeter you have given them, curfew reminders, vehicle location tracking and arrival and departure notifications. It’s a handy little tool to keep track of your teenager. If you would like to know more about this package, feel free to contact me for more information.

Understanding Auto Insurance

October 3, 2010

If you are like many Floridians, you have no idea what kind of auto insurance coverage you have, let alone what each coverage means. Often when I am reviewing coverage with a new client and see coverage that I feel is not adequate, I ask the customer about why they chose to have that kind of coverage. You would be surprised to know how many people tell me that they had no idea what they carried and that they just trusted their agent to provide them with what they needed. Once I explained the details of their coverage to them, they couldn’t believe they had such a gap in their insurance.

Below is a brief description of some of the auto insurance coverages you should be familiar with:

• Bodily Injury: This is the amount of money available to the person you hurt in an accident, if you are charged with being at fault.
• Property Damage: This is the amount of money available for property you damage, i.e someone’s vehicle, if you are charged with being at fault in an accident.
• Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – (Also referred to as Florida No Fault): This is coverage for you, in the event of an accident, regardless of fault. You are covered up to the limits of your policy. It is a required coverage by Florida law to all owner/registrants of motor vehicles with 4 wheels or more. You must carry a minimum of $10,000.00.
• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: This is an optional coverage that means exactly what it says. If you are involved in an accident and the other person is at fault, and either they do not carry insurance OR they do not carry as much insurance as you do, this coverage would kick in. I have seen many people who choose not to carry this coverage, however, most people don’t realize that this is an important coverage that protects YOU. You carry the bodily injury for the person that you hit, why not make sure you carry it for yourself as well.
• Comprehensive: Helps to pay for covered losses cause by natural disasters, fire, theft, vandalism and similar events, subject to your deductible.
• Collision: Helps to pay for repairs or replacement to your car if you are in a covered accident that involves other vehicles or stationary objects, subject to your deductible.
• Medical Payments: Helps to pay medical bills if you are hurt in a covered accident. It helps to cover the gap between the 80 percent of medical payments your Personal Injury Protection covers and the $10,000 you are responsible for.

It is important that you have an understanding of these coverages to make sure you are properly protected. If you have a good agent, you should see these coverages on your policy. If you do not, or you would like me to review your coverage to make sure you are insured properly, give me a call for a complimentary, no obligation review of your current coverage.

What to Look For in an Insurance Agent

September 27, 2010

Finding the right insurance agent may seem to some like a daunting task, but it is an important one when it comes to having peace of mind for you, your family and your investments.  Below are a few tips in helping you choose the right agent for you:

1.  Look for a licensed professional with strong customer and community ties. 

2.  Ask what your agent specializes in.  Is it a full service agency, meaning they can handle all of your insurance needs?

3.  Ask your agent if they are a captive agent or an independent agent.  Captive agents mainly represent one company while independent agents represent many companies.  If the agent is independent, ask them which companies they represent.

4.  Expect excellent service and competitive prices, along with a thorough knowledge of their product as well as any special programs to help reduce your insurance cost.  Keep in mind that the lowest rate is not always the best value for you.  Your agent should be able to discuss all options with you so that you can make an informed decision.

5.  Make sure that you feel comfortable with your agent and their answers.  If you do not, find another agent. 

Take the time to find the right agent for you and your needs.  You want an agent that listens to you, asks you about your insurance needs and only wants to sell you policies that you need or can afford.  You’ll be glad you did.


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