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Colorado Insurance Blog

10 Things You Should Know About Insurance In Colorado

1. Extreme weather impacts insurance rates in Colorado.

Hail and heavy rains can cause damage to cars, homes, boats, motorcycles, etc. Many claims are filed when there’s a big storm, which leads to the average insurance rates to increase.

2. Car insurance is more expensive in Colorado than in many other states.

The average car insurance rates have increased by more than 50% in the past 10 years. There are plenty of reasons that car insurance is increasing across the country, and more specifically in Colorado.

Read more about the increasing rates in Colorado in our blog 5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado

3. Population increases lead to rate increases.

The rapidly increasing population and crowded roads in Colorado has led to more accidents and higher car insurance rates.

4. The minimum liability limits to legally drive in Colorado are $25K/$50K/$15K.

Although you can legally drive with the minimum limits, they aren’t enough to protect your family and your future. Higher limits can save you a lot of money in the long run.

3 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Attorneys

5. Homeowners in Colorado are more likely to file a roof claim than those in most other states.

Between 2017-2019, Colorado had the second most hail claims in the US. The only state with more in that span was Texas. With such severe hail storms in Colorado, most residents will file a roof claim in their lifetime.

6. As of 2019, 16.3% of drivers in Colorado are driving without insurance.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the national average in 2019 was 12.6%. Colorado is well over the national average, which is why our Uninsured Motorist coverage rates are on the rise.

Want to know more about the importance of Uninsured Motorist coverage? Check out our blog Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

7. Wildfires have a big impact on insurance in Colorado.

Homes in wildfire-prone areas are difficult to insure and come with a big price tag.

Here’s more information about the impact of wildfires on insurance in Colorado: What You Should Know About Wildfires and Insurance

8. Even though Colorado is a landlocked state, there is still risk of flooding.

Flooding doesn’t only happen near large bodies of water. Rapid rainfall or runoff from areas previously damaged by wildfire can cause severe flooding. You can add a flood endorsement on some home policies in Colorado, or buy a separate policy to cover your risk.

Read about flood insurance here: Flood Insurance 101 

9. Vacation rentals, like AirBnb and VRBO are becoming more popular in Colorado.

Colorado is an ideal vacation destination for many in both the summer and the winter. That means the demand for vacation rentals is skyrocketing. Renting out a second home or even a room in your current home is a great way to bring in some extra income. Luckily, there are plenty of options available for insuring homes used as a vacation rental, but it’s important to get the right coverage.

Vacation Rental Property Insurance: What You Need to Know

10. Rental car rates often skyrocket during hail season.

After a big hail storm, many people need a rental car while their car is getting fixed. With a limited inventory, most rental car companies sell out and the rates become inflated. Check your car insurance policy to make sure you have enough rental car coverage to account for higher costs associated with hail season.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Uninsured Motorist coverage pays for expenses incurred if you’re injured in an accident caused by a driver that is uninsured. It’s generally coupled with Underinsured Motorist coverage, which pays for the same expenses but if the driver is considered underinsured, meaning their liability limits are lower than your chosen Underinsured Motorist limits. Those coverages together are often referred to at UM/UIM coverage.

Are you required to have Uninsured Motorist coverage?

Uninsured Motorist coverage is required in Colorado unless a signed rejection form is signed. You also have to sign a form if you elect to have your Uninsured Motorist limits lower than your liability limits.

So technically, no. You don’t have to have Uninsured Motorist coverage. But it’s recommended and you have to waive and sign away the rights to the coverage if you don’t want it.

If you choose to reject or lower your UM/UIM coverage but you don’t return the signed form in a timely fashion, the insurance company will add that coverage back to the policy and add the premium to your bills. That’s because insurance companies are required by Colorado law to either provide the coverage or retain a signed rejection or coverage selection form.

Who does it cover?

  • Drivers on the policy
  • Family members who live in the household
  • Passengers riding with an insured driver

Why is Uninsured Motorist coverage important?

In 2019, more than 16% of drivers in Colorado were uninsured. That means about 1 in every 6 drivers was driving with no insurance. If one of those drivers were to cause an accident and you, a family member, or a passenger were injured, they would have no coverage to pay for your medical bills, let alone any other expenses you might incur.

Coverage for things health insurance won’t cover

Many people assume they don’t need UM/UIM coverage because they have health insurance. While health insurance may help pay some of the bills, I wouldn’t put all of my eggs in that basket. For one, health insurance has limits of what they will cover and what is considered “in network.” If your ambulance ride or ER doctor isn’t in your network, you could be left covering that whole bill yourself.

Even if your health insurance does cover your medical bills, you’re still responsible for your health insurance deductible. With the rising costs of health insurance, many people are choosing higher deductible plans. That could leave you paying the first $5-10K out-of-pocket before you see your health insurance provider pick up the bill.

There are also some things that health insurance is never going to cover, like your lost wages, funeral expenses, or pain and suffering. Those are all things that Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage can help pay for. If someone loses their life in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if they’re out of work for a period of time while recovering, UM/UIM coverage can step in and relieve the financial stress.

Read more in our blog Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

You may not know what insurance your passengers have

Do you ask everyone that gets in your car what health insurance they have? My guess is no.

You might let a coworker ride with you to lunch one day, carpool with a cousin to a wedding, or pick up your kids friends from soccer practice. All of those passengers would be covered by your UM/UIM coverage. Without knowing what health insurance they have (if any) or what their deductible is, you’re taking a gamble with their financial future if you don’t have Uninsured Motorist coverage to help protect them.

Not only that, but your passengers may not be able to afford being out of work for an extended period of time if they are injured in an accident. Your UM/UIM coverage can go a long way in helping them get back on their feet.

Who do you or your family members ride with?

Your Uninsured Motorist coverage also follows you and your household members when you’re a passenger in other cars. I know I don’t ask people what coverage they have on their car insurance policy before I get in the car with them, so I feel more comfortable knowing that I at least have coverage for the limits I chose for my family.

Uninsured Motorist vs Underinsured Motorist

You’ll have the same limit for both coverages, but they each have a specific scenario for when they will kick in.

Uninsured Motorist coverage extends when a covered person is injured in an accident that is caused by a driver with absolutely no liability insurance.

Example:

Sally had $100K in medical bills from an accident caused by Bob. Sally’s UM limits were 100/300 ($100K/person and $300K/accident), but Bob didn’t have any auto insurance. Since Bob doesn’t have liability coverage to pay for her bills, Sally’s policy would step in and pay the full $100K. If Sally didn’t have UM coverage, she would have to pay out-of-pocket or sue Bob for the damages.

Underinsured Motorist coverage extends when a covered person is injured in an accident that is caused by a driver whose bodily injury liability limits are lower than the covered person’s selected Underinsured Motorist limits.

Example:

Mary had $100K in medical bills from an accident caused by Jim. Mary’s UIM limits were 100/300 ($100K/person and $300K/accident), but Jim’s liability limits were only 25/50 ($25K/person and $50K/accident). Jim’s policy would only pay up to $25K of her medical bills because that is the per person limit. Since Mary’s UIM limits were higher than Jim’s liability limits, her policy would step in to pay the rest of the $75K of medical bills.

The Deadly Reality of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is credited with causing thousands of accidents every year. As many as 1,000 people are injured in a distracted driving accident every day.

There are plenty of things that can go wrong while driving. You can blow a tire or slip on ice, both of which might be out of your control. Driving distracted is not an accident though, it’s a choice. You can help make the roads safer by keeping your full attention on the road.

Examples of Distracted Driving:

  • Talking on the phone, even if it’s hands-free
  • Texting
  • Browsing social media or the internet
  • Eating or drinking
  • Putting on makeup
  • Looking at a map or setting your navigation app
  • Changing the radio station
  • Smoking or vaping
  • Reaching for something

According to DriveSafe Online, there are 3 types of distracted driving:

  • Visual distractions take your eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving

There are many different forms of distracted driving, but texting is widely accepted as the most dangerous since it involves all 3 types of distracted driving.

In Colorado, texting while driving is prohibited. For drivers under the age of 18, no cell phone use is allowed, even if it’s hands-free. Teens have a higher risk of being in an accident caused by texting and driving due to the combination of their lack of driving experience and the desire to constantly be connected to their phones.

In 2019, 39% of high school students reported texting or emailing while driving during the past month.

-Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

It’s important for parents to teach their teens the importance of focusing their attention solely on driving and not on talking, texting, or posting on social media. The first step is modeling that behavior. If your kids see you on your phone while driving, they will assume it’s okay to do and are more likely to engage in distracted driving themselves.

Frightening Statistics:

  • 3142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019
  • An estimated 36% of drivers use a smartphone app at a red light or stop sign, and 35% continue to use their phone while driving
  • Texting while driving doubles the chances for a car accident and triples the odds of your vehicle leaving the road, going over a curb, crashing into a tree, or colliding with a sign
  • Using a cell phone while behind the wheel reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%
  • High school students who admit to texting while driving are also less likely to wear a seat belt and more likely to drink and drive
  • If you text while driving 55 mph, it’s the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field without looking up
  • A person who texts while driving is 6 times more likely to be in an accident than someone who is driving drunk

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia suggests the following strategies to break the habit of teen cell phone use while driving:

  • “Do not disturb while driving” settings can remove the temptation to use a cell phone while driving because notifications and messages are silenced while behind the wheel and can be set up to automatically come on. To increase adoption, this could be the factory default setting.
  • Applications that track driving behavior are being used by auto insurance companies to offer personalized rates for safe driving behaviors. A recent survey of 16- and 17-year-olds led by Dr. Delgado found those who admit to texting while driving may be convinced to refrain from this risky behavior if there was a financial incentive.
  • Applications that passively track cell phone use while driving give parents the opportunity to monitor their teens’ behaviors behind the wheel and to enforce house rules that prohibit cell phone use while driving for any reason and at any time.
  • Parents need to model safe driving behaviors, including no cell phone use while driving, well before their teens reach driving age.
  • Parents need to refrain from contacting their teens when behind the wheel. A CIRP/Penn School of Nursing study found that teen drivers receive the most calls from their parents.
  • Parents can provide their teens with safe alternatives to talking or texting while driving:
    • complete any call or text before starting the car
    • check in only after arrival
    • pull over to text or make a call

Understanding the risks of distracted driving is just the beginning. The best way to keep yourself and others on the road safe is to pledge not to drive with distractions.

You can put your phone on Do Not Disturb before you leave, know where you’re going before you start the car, and avoid eating and drinking during the trip. It’s also important to be aware of the distracted drivers around you so you’re ready to react if they make a sudden move that puts you in danger.

Help your loved ones stay safe by talking to them about the dangers of driving distracted.

Sources:

Staff, D. S. O. (2020, October 2). 12 Important Texting and Driving Statistics. DriveSafe Online®. https://www.drivesafeonline.org/defensive-driving/12-important-texting-and-driving-statistics/.

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2020, December). Overview of motor vehicle crashes in 2019. (Traffic Safety Facts
Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 813 060). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Opportunities to Reduce Youth Distracted Driving. Center for Injury Research and Prevention. (2021, April 1). https://injury.research.chop.edu/blog/posts/opportunities-reduce-youth-distracted-driving-0.

Cell Phones. Teen Driver Source. (n.d.). https://www.teendriversource.org/teen-crash-risks-prevention/distracted-driving/cell-phones.

Thinking About a Side Hustle? Check Your Insurance Policy First!

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, need some extra money in addition to your other income, or just want more flexibility in your life, you might be able to find a side hustle to make money in your spare time. There are tons of options out there to make some extra cash.

Before jumping in with both feet, you should consider talking to your insurance agent or reviewing your policies to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Renting out your house

Whether you have a second home or just a room or floor in your primary home that you plan to rent out, it’s important to make sure you have the correct coverage on your home insurance policy. Even if it’s only rented a few times a year, you may still need specialized coverage.

Most insurance companies consider short-term rentals a business venture.  Home insurance doesn’t often cover business activities, so a standard policy might not suit your needs.

Each insurance carrier has their own way of covering a vacation rental, so talking to a licensed agent is the best way to ensure you have the correct coverage on your policy.

Read more about insurance for vacation rentals in our blog Vacation Rental Property Insurance: What You Need to Know

Rideshare

Another popular way to make some extra money is to drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft. Most rideshare companies require that you have your own car insurance, and some provide extra coverage once you have connected with a passenger.

There is an additional risk when you’re driving for a rideshare company, so insurance carriers exclude coverage for driving for hire. Luckily, many insurance companies offer a Rideshare endorsement that you can add to the policy.

In most cases, Rideshare coverage is inexpensive, and it covers a gap that would otherwise leave you exposed. If you don’t have the proper coverage you could be left without coverage if you get in an accident. Your personal auto policy may also be cancelled for violating the terms and conditions.

The best way to find out if your policy offers Rideshare coverage is to call your agent and ask.

Check out our blog, What Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know About Insurance for more information about Rideshare coverage.

Freelancing from home

If you have a special set of skills, freelancing may be a great opportunity to make some money in your free time. Being able to work wherever you are is a huge plus to freelancing. You can write a blog on the beach, teach a class from your living room, or build a website from your bedroom.

One important thing to consider when working from home is safety. Make sure you don’t have cords laying in high traffic areas that could cause someone to trip. If you’re going to be working quite a few hours, you may want to invest in an ergonomic work area. Good posture, a solid office chair and a workspace that is the appropriate height can go a long way to prevent injury.

Another aspect to consider is your homeowners or renters insurance. If you have expensive equipment, you may need to increase your coverage limits. Your policy may also have certain guidelines or limitations regarding foot traffic in your home, so if you have people coming in and out of your house for business purposes, talk to your agent.

Our blog Working From Home: Safety and Insurance Risks provides more information about working from home safely.

DIY, Crafts, Upcycling, Selling Products (like essential oils, clothing, or makeup)

Making and selling items is a fun way to express your creativity while earning some cash. If you have products in your home, you may need to look over your insurance policy to make sure you have coverage for those items.

Most home or renters policies don’t automatically cover property related to a business. You can often add an endorsement to your policy to extend the coverage that you need. If your policy doesn’t have enough coverage for your situation, you can also consider a commercial property policy.

If you have any questions about what coverage your insurance policy offers in relation to your side hustle, give us a call. We’re happy to review your coverages and find a policy that will fit your unique needs!

Coverage Options to Consider For Your New Car

Coverages you should consider when you buy a new car:

New Car Replacement

If your brand new car is totaled within the first year, you’ll be paid the full value of the car you lost or a comparable model. Without this coverage, you’d be paid Actual Cash Value, which would subtract depreciation. New cars depreciate the second they drive off the lot, so this coverage can save you thousands of dollars if you have to replace your new car in the first year.

Loan/Lease Gap Coverage

If you finance a new car through a lease or a loan, this covers the gap between the Actual Cash Value and the amount you owe. Without Gap coverage, you’d be on the hook for paying the difference between your loan/lease amount and the depreciated value of the vehicle.

Original Equipment Manufactured Parts (OEM)

Most leases require that you return the vehicle in good condition, with original equipment manufactured parts. For example, if you have a BMW, the lease may require that you only use BMW parts for repairs.

Most auto policies will pay for aftermarket parts if your car is damaged, which may not be from the same manufacturer as your car. With OEM coverage your policy will pay to replace damaged parts with new OEM parts. This coverage is important if you have a lease or if you would prefer brand new OEM parts.

If you’re investing in a new car, make sure you have the protection you need. Give us a call or Request a Quote to get coverage tailored to your needs.

What Is An Auto Insurance Deductible?

Insurance 101: Deductibles

An auto insurance deductible is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing coverage for your vehicle. Because your deductible will impact your monthly premium as well as the amount you’ll pay for damages after making a claim, it’s critical you choose wisely.

So, what is a deductible and how does it work? Here are some points to consider when evaluating car insurance options to decide what will work for your needs.

What Is an Auto Insurance Deductible?

An auto insurance deductible is the fixed dollar amount you’re responsible for paying as the policy holder toward the financial loss from a covered car accident. If your damages exceed your deductible, the insurance company will cover the remaining balance up to your coverage amount. You choose your deductible amount and your coverage limits, and are required to pay up to the deductible amount before your insurance company steps in to cover the rest. For example, let’s say you choose an insurance policy with a $1,000 deductible. If you’re involved in an accident and the estimated damages are $2,000, you would be responsible to pay $1,000 of a covered loss before insurance kicks in.

There are two main types of car insurance coverages that typically include deductibles:

  • Collision: This coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle if it hits another car or object, is hit by another car, or rolls over.
  • Comprehensive: This coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle that are not caused by a collision. Examples include theft, vandalism, glass-only damage, hitting a deer or other animal, and storm damage.

After you’ve paid your applicable deductible, your insurance will cover the cost of the damages to your vehicle, up to the limits of your policy.

How Does a Car Insurance Deductible Work?

Unlike with health insurance, your deductible is paid for each accident that you have. For example, if you get into three separate accidents during a given policy period, and you have a $500 deductible, you will pay a $500 deductible for each accident. It’s also important to note that your insurance company may only cover the cost of damages that exceed the deductible amount.

For example, if you have a $500 deductible and the damages to your car total $450, you would pay the full $450. But if the damages to your car total $1,000, you would pay your $500 deductible, and the insurance company would cover the remaining $500.

When Do You Have to Pay A Deductible?

You only pay a deductible when there are covered damages to your vehicle, not when there are damages to another person’s car. That said, it can be difficult to understand every situation in which you’ll be required to pay a deductible. Here are a few scenarios to help you understand, but be sure to check with your insurance agent to verify what your specific coverages include.

  • Another driver hits your car. If another driver is determined to be at fault for the accident, typically, their insurance company will be responsible for paying for your repairs if you file a claim with the other company. If you choose to file your claim with your insurance company, you will owe your deductible, but your insurer will likely seek reimbursement of your deductible from the other driver’s insurance company. However, if a driver hits your vehicle and both you and the other driver are determined to be at fault, then you may be responsible for paying at least a portion of your deductible if you file a claim with your own insurance company.
  • You hit another driver’s car. If you strike someone else’s vehicle and in doing so, damage your car, your insurance company typically will pay for the damages to your car, and you will be responsible for paying the deductible.
  • Your car was damaged by something other than a collision. With comprehensive coverage, if your car is damaged in a storm, fire, flood or if you strike an animal, typically your insurance company will cover the damages and — depending on your policy — you are likely to have to pay your deductible.
  • Your windshield was damaged. Generally, comprehensive coverage covers glass damage. In this case, your insurance company would pay for the cost to repair or replace your windshield. Depending on your policy, you may have to pay a deductible. Again, check with your insurance agent to confirm what your coverage will do.
  • Your vehicle was damaged in a hit-and-run. If you have collision or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and someone hits your car and flees the scene, you likely will be responsible for paying your deductible. This type of claim would be worth a phone call to your insurance agent for guidance on your coverage and what you may owe.
  • Your vehicle is totaled. If your insurance company determines your car is a total loss (e.g., generally, the cost of the damages exceeds the value of the vehicle), then it will typically pay for the fair market value of your car before the accident, minus your deductible.

How Does A Deductible Impact Your Car Insurance Premium?

Your deductible has an impact on your car insurance premium, so you’ll need to decide this based on your budget and perhaps several other considerations. In general, the higher the deductible you choose, the lower the premium you’ll pay. Conversely, the lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium you’ll pay.

For example, if your current policy has a $500 deductible and you decide to increase your deductible when your policy is up for renewal, your monthly premium will likely decrease (assuming all other factors remain the same).

Here are a couple other things to consider when choosing your car insurance deductible:

  • How much of a deductible could you afford to pay? If you’re in an accident, you may need to pay your full deductible, so it’s important that it’s an amount you can afford. Consider starting an emergency fund to save up some money in case you have an accident that requires you to pay your deductible. Also, some insurance companies have minimum deductible requirements, so keep this in mind when you discuss your policy details with your insurance agent so you will know what to expect if you have a mishap with your vehicle.
  • How much is your car worth? The value of your vehicle may make a difference in what deductible makes sense for you. For the most part, the more expensive your vehicle, the more it costs to insure. That can translate into greater savings if you choose a high deductible.

Several factors affect the cost of your car insurance policy, but your deductible will have an impact on your premiums as well as on how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket for damages to your car from an accident. Before you select a policy, consider your options for your deductible. Hopefully you may never face a situation where you’ll have to pay a deductible, but it’s important that you be careful to choose a policy with a deductible that you can afford to pay.

Who Is Covered By My Auto Policy

Everyone who owns a car relies on it for so much of the normal day-to-day activities they participate in. Most people would be lost without their vehicle, from work and school to shopping and socializing.

Generally speaking, anyone that lives in your household and has a driver’s license is required to be rated on your auto policy. Your car insurance can also extend to licensed drivers who you give permission to drive your vehicle.

Auto insurance makes sure your vehicle is protected, but it also protects you and your assets with liability coverage. Almost every state requires drivers to carry basic liability insurance, and Colorado is one of them. Liability coverage helps to pay medical bills for injured people due to an accident caused by the driver of your vehicle. This is something to consider before you allow someone to drive your car. Depending on the amount of coverage you have for liability, legal action against you could be very expensive.

Coverage for your vehicle itself is optional unless you have a lease or an auto loan. Then you’ll need to carry coverage for your vehicle in the form of collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage protects your vehicle itself in the event of an accident where the driver of your vehicle is at-fault. You’ll have to pay your deductible, which is also something to consider before allowing someone else to drive your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from things other than an accident. That can include fire, hail damage, theft, and more.

Integrity First Insurance has been doing business in Colorado since 2008. We are an independent agency with a focus on integrity and education. We want our clients to trust their insurance and we offer the residents of Colorado service beyond their expectation. Our agents will be there for them in the good times and the bad. Check out our website for more information about the products we offer.

What Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know About Insurance

Driving for Uber or Lyft is a great way to make a little extra money. You can work when you feel like it and all you need is an okay driving record and an eligible car. Other than that, there aren’t many requirements.

Both Uber and Lyft do require that you have your own insurance on your vehicle. But many people don’t really know when their own auto policy stops covering them and when Uber or Lyft’s insurance starts covering them.

Generally speaking, as soon as you log into the Uber or Lyft app, your auto policy stops extending coverage.

Continue reading “What Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know About Insurance”

Insurance Guide: Sending Your Kid to College

Insurance 101 – A Parent’s Guide to College Student Coverages

At the end of every summer, many parents are packing up their recent high school graduate and sending them to college. This is the start of many big life changes for everyone, which can also bring a lot of stress and questions.

As a parent, you’re probably not thinking about insurance in that moment. It’s important to consider what coverage your kid will have when they go off to college.

Are they covered under your homeowners policy?

Many homeowners policies provide coverage for your college student while they are away at school. If they’re living in a dorm, your home policy might cover their personal liability and personal property.

Carriers can vary in how much personal property extends while away at school or away from home. The average for property covered away from the home is 10% of the personal property limit.

If your child decides to rent an off-campus apartment, they might need a renters policy. Even if their personal property isn’t worth much, they still need renters insurance for the liability coverage.

College students don’t always make good choices. If your kid throws a party, they are at risk of a lawsuit. Someone could get hurt and sue. Or a guest could drive drunk and injure someone, leaving your child responsible because they served the alcohol.

Liability coverage offers legal protection from those types of situations. A renters policy can help protect the future your child is building.

What about their auto insurance?

Auto insurance is pretty specific about who can and cannot be a driver on a policy. Most insurance carriers only allow “household members” to be drivers on a policy. While your child may not be living in your home daily, most insurance carriers consider college students a “household member.”

As long as your child is in school, you should be able to insure them on your auto policy with most insurance providers. Once they have graduated and have their own permanent residence, they’ll need to get their own auto policy.

While they’re still on your policy they may be able to qualify for a few discounts, like Good Student and Distant Student.

Most insurance carriers offer the Good Student discount if your student maintains a B average (3.0 GPA) or higher. You may need to provide a report card showing their grades each policy term to keep that discount.

The Distant Student discount can vary, it’s usually available for a student that is attending college more than 100 miles away from home. Most carriers specify that they can’t have a vehicle at school with them. Some insurance companies will provide the discount if they have a vehicle, but it’s more common to see the “without a vehicle” stipulation.

Dorm Do’s and Don’ts for your college student

Over the next few weeks, your child may be getting a taste for living on their own for the first time. That can be scary to think about as a parent. Below are some safety tips to share with college students to help keep them and their belongings safe during the school year.

DO keep your dorm room door locked at all times.

Many kids will keep their doors unlocked when visiting a friend a few rooms away, thinking that no one will enter their room if they’re only gone for a few minutes. This can’t be further from the truth.

Many electronics are small and portable and can be stolen in 30 seconds if left unattended. Whether you’re making a quick trip to the restroom or hanging out in the room next door, keep your door locked.

DON’T leave candles/incense unattended.

Candles and incense are big on college campuses. Small rooms crammed with at least two people can smell a little funky, so many students use these items to help freshen up the air.

Leaving these unattended while lit can be a huge fire hazard. The flame is not the only issue with candles and incense. The heat from the candle and the ash from the incense are enough to start a fire.

DO remove dryer lint from lint trap before running dryer.

Many students are used to Mom and Dad doing their laundry. Living at college is their first real experience with washing and drying their clothes regularly.

Dryer fires are common on college campuses because many students don’t clean the lint trap in the dryer and dispose of the lint properly. Dryer lint is like kindling and can catch fire from the heat put off by the dryer. Be sure to clean the lint trap before turning on the dryer every time you use it.

DO plug electronics into surge protectors and frequently save all work.

There is nothing worse than being up until 2:00 a.m. finishing a 20-page paper only to have your computer shut down or short out before you’ve saved your work. Surge protectors will help keep your electronics from being fried due to an overload from your neighbor’s hair dryer. Saving your work frequently will help prevent a late-night meltdown if you encounter computer issues.

DON’T post when you will be away on Facebook or other social media sites.

In today’s social media-crazed society, many people think nothing of posting their plans, even when it means they will be away from their home for a weekend or longer. If you post that you’re going home for the weekend, this may give someone who sees that post an opportunity to break into your room and rob you blind.

Posting on social media is not like telling your friends your plans. It’s more akin to posting your plans in the newspaper.

Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but they are all derived from actual incidents. Many people have that old “it won’t happen to me” mentality. But these situations can and do happen, so it doesn’t hurt to have a quick conversation with your college student.

Telematics: Pros and Cons of Driver Monitoring

In an ideal world, safe drivers would pay less for their car insurance and riskier drivers would pay more. Telematics programs help insurance companies work towards that goal.

When drivers take part in telematics programs, they get real-time feedback about their driving habits. The programs generally last at least 90 days, sometimes longer. That gives drivers an opportunity to correct their bad habits and earn a better rate.

As insurance companies get data from the driver’s habits, they can adjust the rate accordingly.

More and more insurance carriers are offering telematics programs to help customize auto rates. These programs vary by carrier, but they will generally monitor your driving one of two ways. They will use either a device that you plug into your vehicle or a mobile app on your phone.

What driving behaviors are monitored by telematics?

Continue reading “Telematics: Pros and Cons of Driver Monitoring”

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