Teen Driving

Teen Driving

Auto Insurance Series Part One: Teen Driving

Getting a driver’s license is a milestone that everyone looks forward to; that taste of freedom when you finally get behind the wheel and drive wherever you please. Maximum freedom, minimum responsibility.

Parents, on the other hand, may have a slightly different take on the situation. Putting your teen behind the wheel can be a nerve-wracking experience. Technology has changed and grown over the years, and so have the potential distractions that could affect your teen’s driving skills. Luckily for drivers, technology on cars has also improved with time, adding some counterbalance to the distractions that could pull your child’s attention away from the road. These challenges and improvements have an impact on auto insurance. While your new driver (and maybe you) may be eager to hand over the keys, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when it comes to your auto insurance policy and your new teen driver:

A new driver’s insurance policy typically costs more than the average policy, but for good reason. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teenagers are the most likely age range to get into car accidents and are 2.5 times more likely to get into an accident than 20-24 year olds. The likelihood of teen driver deaths also increases with every additional passenger in the car. While these statistics can be scary, these odds decrease as your child’s age increases. The bottom line is that teenager’s lack of driving experience and its implications impact the cost of the policy to protect you and your family financially should an accident occur. Newly licensed drivers are charged a surcharge for the first three years they are driving. Rates can begin to decrease after the first year but significant decreases do not start to occur until after the seventh year of driving. Since there are still a significant number of people who do not get their license at age 16, the rates use experience rather than age.

It may feel like there are distractions everywhere that could take your teenagers attention away from the road, particularly their favorite accessories: cell phones. 26 percent of American teens admit to texting while driving. We recommend setting the expectation that your child is not allowed to text or talk on the phone while driving. You can have your child sign the pledge to drive distraction-free by clicking here. 48 percent of teens from ages 12-17 report being in a car where the driver was texting and driving, so be sure to set the example and refrain from texting and driving, especially in front of your impressionable children.

Having a new driver in the family can seem daunting when considering the number of potential distractions coupled with high auto insurance premiums. Keeping these things in mind can help you not only keep your sanity but also keep your child safe behind the wheel.

Penny Insurance wants to keep new drivers and first car memories positive while protecting your family. With 86 years of experience, Penny Insurance can help you find the most competitive policy and address all of your teen driver’s needs.

Increase in Auto Rates Due to Distracted Drivers

Increase in Auto Rates Due to Distracted Drivers

Auto Insurance Series Part Two: Distracted Drivers

Drivers are taking their eyes of the road more than ever before, contributing to an increase in auto insurance premiums. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, eight people are killed and 1,161 injured every day as a result of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is more than simply taking your eyes of the road. It includes removing your hands from the wheel or letting your mind wander while driving. Activities like texting, using your cell phone, eating or programming your car’s navigation system are sources of distraction that endanger you, your passengers and other drivers on the road. In fact, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions because it takes your mind off driving, your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. On average, people take their eyes off the road a full five seconds while texting. If you are traveling 55 mph, that is long enough to travel the length of a football field without ever looking up. Not only is texting while driving dangerous, it is also illegal in 48 of the 50 states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

In response to the increase in traffic accidents due to distracted driving, auto insurance companies are increasing rates. More accidents mean higher costs for insurance companies. As cars become more technologically advanced, they also become more expensive to fix and the same principle applies to medical costs. Accidents cost auto insurance companies a great deal when it comes to medical cost, auto repairs, lost wages and property damage.

According to the Charlotte Observer, insurers in North Carolina are requesting auto premium increases averaging 13.8 percent and, in neighboring South Carolina, rates increased an average of 8.7 percent last year. The increase in smartphone usage directly correlates with these rising rates.

So, how can you avoid a hike in your auto insurance premiums and, more importantly, keep yourself safe on the road?

Put down your cell phone and keep your eyes (and mind) on the task at hand
Likely the most obvious tip, it is key to remain focused when you are behind the wheel. Find a secure place for your cell phone – your purse, glove box, center console – that keeps it out of sight and out of mind. When you are involved in an accident, the insurance company will raise your auto premiums to mitigate the extra risk. On the flip side, many insurance companies offer discounts on rates for those with a safe driving record.

Slow down and obey traffic laws
Auto insurance companies pay close attention to your driving record so traffic violations, such as speeding tickets, unsafe driving and infractions, may send a negative signal to your insurance provider.

Designate a sober driver

Never get behind the wheel if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The consequences can be deadly and, if arrested, remain on your record. A DUI on your record is also a major red-flag for auto insurance companies who will classify you as a high-risk driver. You will almost certainly be disqualified from any safe driving or other discounts available through your insurance provider.

Be on the lookout for discounts

Many insurance providers offer discounts ranging from safe driver to multi-line discounts. It is always a good practice to assess your coverage on a regular basis and ask your provider about any discounts for which you may be eligible.

At Penny Insurance Agency, we have been helping people in North and South Carolina with auto insurance for over 80 years. Over that time, we have seen a lot of changes but one thing remains the same: the right protection is key.

While we are very price conscious, our main focus is making sure you have the protection you and your family need. Our licensed professional agents know how to take advantage of every discount for which you qualify and, since every insurance company is a little different, we shop among the top-rated companies to find the coverage you need at the best possible price. If you need help with your auto insurance or any insurance needs, we invite you to contact us today!