drivers education - 2/4 - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Tuesday’s Tip for Parents of Teen Drivers

Picking up the keys

Okay, let’s get it out in the open.

Having a new teen driver in the house can be nerve racking.  Hopefully we can provide you some tools to make this life event less stressful for both you and your teen driver. Check out our website , designed for the parents of teen drivers,  for tools like the Teen Driver contract and Teen driving laws.

However the topic I want to discuss today is how you can avoid paying outrageous insurance rates and protect your family’s future from a lawsuit.

My report “Spencer’s Tips: 7 Costly Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Insurance for Teen Drivers” highlights 7 traps parents fall into when getting insurance for their teen driver.  For the full report visit my website.

Let’s talk about the top 3 mistakes.

Mistake # 3:  Not taking advantage of your good credit rating.

Insurance companies have been using credit scoring for some time now.  They know that clients with good credit ratings generally will have fewer claims. Many parents have built up a good credit rating over time.   Your teenager driving a car has not had the time or possibly the opportunity to build up a good credit rating.  As independent agents we can look at our companies and see which ones are the best fit for your family. It may be best for you teen driver to be on your policy to get the best credit score.

Mistake # 2: Lower Liability Limits to Save Money.

Teen drivers are 5 times more likely to get into an accident.  Why is it then that parents think this is the time to lower liability coverage.  This could be devastating to your family’s finances. Let us discuss other ways to bring down the cost of your car insurance.  This may be the time to raise your liability limits and consider an umbrella policy.

Mistake #1: Using an insurance company employee as an agent

Don’t trust your hard earned dollars with someone who works directly for one insurance company. Their loyalty rests with the person signing their paycheck.  Use an independent insurance agent that represents several companies.  An independent agent can help you choose the company that is the best fit for your situation.  It may even mean having two car insurance policies.

Check out the other 4 mistakes parents of teen drivers make most often.  Then give us a call today at 215-885-2200 to review your situation and provide you more tips for teen driver safety.

Back to School Safety Checklist

school-bus

It is Back to School Time once again.  As drivers we all need to be more careful when driving as more children will be walking, biking and taking school busses to school.  Be patient and aware of Teen drivers on the road. Give them some space. Prepare your children for their walk or ride to school.

The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) provides some excellent safety tips for you as your children return to school.  If you do not have any school age children pass this onto someone who does.

Walking to School

  • Review your family’s walking safety rules
  • Walk on sidewalks when available. If one is not available then walk facing the traffic
  • Never dart in front of a parked car
  • Before you cross the street look all ways to see if cars are coming
  • Practice walking to school with your child

Riding a Bike to School

  • Make sure your child always wears a helmet
  • Teach your children the rules of the road they need to know to ride their bicycles.
    • Ride on the right side of the road and in single file
    • Come to a complete stop before crossing the street

Riding the bus to school

  • Go to the bus stop with your child and teach them the proper way of getting on and off the bus
  • Make sure your children stand six feet away from the curb

Preventing backpack-related injuries

  • Chose a backpack for your child carefully.
  • Don’t overstuff a backpack; it should weigh no more than 10 to 20% of your child’s body weight.
  • Ask your children to use both straps when wearing their backpack to evenly distribute the weight.

 

Have a great school year.  For more tips visit our website at www.spencerinsurance.com

 

 

Talk to your Teen Driver about their driving habits

Picking up the keys

All parents face several tough conversations with their children:  teaching them about alcohol and drugs, teaching them about sex, teaching them about death, teaching them about winning and losing.  Many parents also have to discuss divorce, loss of jobs, loss of stature and some, loss of freedom.  I know your plate is already full, but I need to make you aware of one more important conversation to have with your teenager:  The Teenager – Parent Teen Driving Contract that you can download from the Resources page of my Teen Driving website.  Also check out our “Careless Driving Consequences” which provide some talking points when discussing safe driving with your teen driver. Find these on our website at www.spencerinsurance.com. Click the “Have a Teen Driver” icon on the bottom of our home page.

Your first reaction to requiring your teen to sign a contract may be a negative one.  But think about it as a tool that:

  1. can clearly define your driving expectations of your teen
  2. can forewarn your teen of the consequences of making the wrong choices
  3. requires  your teen to promise to drive in a safe manner

Too many teens think driving is a right that comes with age; you need to make them understand that it is a privilege that must be earned and executed responsibly.  Protect your teen from making mistakes that could harm him and others, as well as the entire family.

For more tips for parents of teen drivers go to our website and click the “Have a Teen Driver” icon.  Call us if you need any help finding or printing these items.

 

7 Costly Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Insurance For Teen Drivers

happy girl in the car

I don’t have space to discuss all 7 Costly Mistakes.  Check out the full Report on our Website.  I want to concentrate on the 3 Most Costly mistakes parents make when buying car insurance for teen drivers.

#3 Insuring your home and cars with 2 different agents – If you insure your home and cars with two different companies then you may be paying 25% more than you need to pay.  Since the price of car insurance for a policy that includes teen drivers is higher, that 25% extra could add up to a lot of your hard earned money.  An advantage of using an independent agent is that your agent can look at your entire account and place your insurance with the company that gives you the most competitive rates and the proper coverage.  On some occasions that may be two different companies but your independent agent can research which companies are best for you.

#2 Lower Liability Limits to Save Money –This mistake can be a financial disaster!  We get many requests to lower coverage to save a few bucks.  However, when you have a teen driver that is the time you need those higher limits.  Teen drivers are five times more likely to have an accident and the cost of a teen driver claim is 3 times higher.  As the saying goes. . . Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  A little savings now could cost you dearly in the future!

#1 Using an insurance employee as an agent – Don’t trust your hard earned money with someone who works directly for an insurance company.  Does that employee have your best interest at heart or the insurance company’s best interest?  You need an agent that can find ways to save you money even if that means splitting up your coverage with multiple companies. The insurance company employee can only offer you one company.  At Spencer Insurance we have many top notch insurance companies to offer you.  Our goal is to give you the proper protection at a very competitive price.  “Your Protection and Peace of Mind is our only Business.”  Make sure your family and friends have the proper coverage.  Pass this information to them and have them give us a call at 215-885-2200.  We reward you for your referrals!

A Great Resource for Parents of Teen Drivers. . .

Spencer Insurance has long been an advocate for the Parents of Teen Drivers.  I wanted to put the spotlight on one resource we can provide that is very valuable to the parent of a teen driver.

Have you seen our “Safe Teen Driver Guide?”

Our Safe Teen Driver Guide is a must for parents who are getting started in training a teen to be a safe driver.  The guide provides parents a 16 Lesson Plan.  Each lesson can be the basis for a one hour driving session with your teen driver.  Some of the lessons include tips for teaching teens to drive at night, in bad weather, on city streets and country roads.  It also provides lessons on what to do when an accident happens and vehicle orientation and maintenance.

Lesson 12 is a very timely lesson: Driving in Bad Weather.  This time of year, with wet leaves and snow, provides a great opportunity for parents to help their teen practice to drive in bad conditions.  Many of us avoid taking our teens out in these conditions.  Eventually they will need to learn how to drive in these conditions so why not try it out in a controlled area like a parking lot?

The Guide starts with an introduction, instructions on obtaining a PA Learner’s Permit and the Top 5 Mistakes teen drivers make.

This Guide is available to our clients at no cost.  Just email or call us for your copy.  We will also send a copy to your friends and family.  Just pass the information on to them and have them call our office for their free copy.  Make sure they tell us you told them to call us.

A parent’s responsibility to teach their teen to drive does not stop when their teen gets their license.  Continue to drive with your teen and practice driving in all types of conditions.  Make sure they master these 16 lessons even if they are already licensed.  Remember, driving is a privilege not a right.  Discuss with your teen consequences of their actions which could lead to them losing this privilege.   Let us help you.  Call us today to learn how we can help.

Check out our website for more valuable tips for Parents of Teen Drivers!

What did you do to help your teen driver become a safer driver.  Share your stories with us.  Comment below.

Did you pay your car loan or mortgage off?

When you pay off your car loan or mortgage it is important for you to let your homeowner’s or auto insurance agent know this has been done.

Why?  During the recent storm (Sandy), our office had many homeowner insurance claims. Some of the claim checks were needlessly delayed.

If you have a mortgagee listed on your homeowner’s policy, you have given your mortgage company some rights on your policy. If you have a claim and you are sent a check from the insurance company to pay for your damage, you may be surprised to see the check made out to you and your mortgage company.

Your mortgage company wants to make sure you are repairing the property damaged, so they will not endorse the check until the work is contracted or completed.

This is why it is very important to let your agent know when the loan is paid off.  That way the agent will notify your insurance company to  remove the mortgage company from your policy and their name will not be on your claim check.

The same applies to your car loan. When you pay off your car loan, call your insurance agent to have the lien holder removed from your auto policy.

Removing the mortgage or lien holder from your Homeowner’s and Car Insurance policies will speed up your claim payment since the check will not need to be endorsed by them or reissued to remove their name from the check. Take a few moments now to make sure your policies are correct.  Save yourself the headache of having your claim payment delayed.

Do you remember the Transistor radio?

I age myself when I say I remember and have used the rotary telephone, pagers, 8 track tapes, transistor radio, encyclopedias and the record player.  Yes at one time music came on big and small disc called records.

Well, times have changed and now my cell phone is not only my phone but how I get my email, play my music, watch video and movies, take pictures and videos, get directions to your home, play games and search for information. Let that sink in for a minute.  My cell phone now has more power than the first computer our office used back in the early 80s.

I mention this because how we communicate with you has also changed dramatically over the last few years.  You and I have many methods to communicate to each other.  No way is the best way.  The best way is the way that is easiest for you!  So, our agency has many methods for you to use.  You choose which way works best for you.

 

What are the options?

  • Mail – Yes the US postal service is still in business and we will continue to communicate with you by mail.  Our mailing address continues to be PO Box 54 Jenkintown, PA 19046-0054.
  • Email – Feel free to send us an email.  You can also attach a document to the email. Each member of our staff has an email address.  Our general email address is info@spencerinsurance.com.  You can send us an email 24 hours a day.  All our staff member’s email addresses are located on our website.
  • Telephone – This could mean your work phone, personal land line or a cell phone.  Our main phone number is 215-885-2200.  As much as I hate to use it voice mail is important in our business. When all our staff is busy helping other clients you may get sent to our voice mail.  Please leave us a message.  We constantly monitor our voice mail and one of our staff members who you have known for a long time will return your call.   If you find this is not the case I want to know, email me personally at cspencer@spencerinsurance.com.
  • Fax:  Our fax number is 215-887-9538.  You can fax us a request or send us a document.  Our fax machine is on 24 hours a day seven days a week.
  • Texting:  Spencer Insurance has the ability to text your cell phone when we have important information for you or need important information from you.  You can reply to our text and we will receive your text back on our computer as an email.  We will not abuse texting.  The only time our staff will use texting is to get important information from you that we are missing or to alert you concerning a policy we have with you.
  • Social Networking – The newest means of communication, social networking, allows you to message us directly.  Spencer Insurance has just updated our Facebook page, so search for us as Spencer Insurance Agency.  You will see our familiar logo when you get to our page.  “Like” our Facebook page so you get all our valuable alerts and tips.  Our Facebook page also has a link to our website.
  • Our Website – Our website was recently updated.  You can get valuable tips and information on our website.  You can request an ID card, send a service request, request a quote and contact one of our staff through our website.  There is a list of our companies’ phone numbers and websites so you can go directly to them to immediately make a payment or report a claim. Our website is available to you 24 hours a day every day of the year.

The key to all these options is to provide you, our clients, with an easy method to contact us.  We strive to provide you the best personal service. When you call our office a staff member will update your file by asking you for your cell phone number and email address.  Please remember to contact us should your phone number or email address change.

All of us at Spencer Insurance Agency are constantly looking for ways to make it easier for you to contact us.  We value your suggestions and feedback.  Please send any suggestions or feedback directly to me by emailing me at cspencer@spencerinsurance.com, faxing me, sending me a letter, messaging me on Facebook, contacting me through our website or calling me. Whatever you prefer!

Thank you for your Business!

The 5 Most Common Auto Accident Claims

Auto insurance claims aren’t typically due to nasty weather, hectic rush-hour
accidents or the occasional wayward tree branch. In reality, there are five
different incidents that make up the majority of auto insurance claims and
unfortunately, many of them are based on common, everyday events.

Parking lot damage: That wayward cart in the parking lot of your favorite
supermarket? You might want to make sure it’s corralled before you do your
weekly shopping because damage that occurs in parking lots is a relatively
common cause for auto insurance claims. But it’s not just errant carts causing a ruckus; people who park too close and nick your car door with theirs are also
to blame. Park as far away from other cars as possible and you are likely to
avoid this type of damage.

Windshield Cracks: As you’re driving each day all manner of debris can come
pummeling toward your car windshield. Rocks hitting windshields and cracking or shattering them is quite common. While there is no real way to avoid this as you
drive, you can at least make sure your driveway is clear so there is one less place
for you to incur this kind of damage.

Vandalism: Vandals can come in all shapes and sizes. From little kids keying your
car on a dare to adults enjoying the creation of mayhem, the chance that your car
will get vandalized is high. Car alarms that trigger when someone gets too close
can help—but parking your car in an enclosed space, like a garage, is the ultimate
protection.

Rear-End Collisions: No matter how careful you are, if the person behind you is following too closely or is not paying attention to the road, then you could get hit
from behind. Or if you aren’t paying attention while you drive, it could be you that does the hitting. While this is one of the most common types of auto claim incidents,
it can be easily avoided if you maintain a safe distance from the cars in front
of you; make sure your brake lights are working, and pay attention to the road.

Theft: Whether you have one of those vehicles that is very attractive to thieves or
you have just a regular old car, there’s every possibility that it might be stolen by
professional thieves or kids looking for a joyride. To help avoid the likelihood that you will have an auto insurance claim due to the theft of a vehicle, be sure to always
lock your doors, park under streetlights when possible, and invest in an anti-theft
device like a car alarm or steering wheel clamp.

The next time you review your auto insurance policy, consider the types
of risk you and your automobile are exposed to each day and then, instead of buying
insurance because your state says you must, buy insurance that will actually protect
you from those risks. That is the only way to ensure that you have the coverage you
need and your family deserves. For more information on auto insurance go to the auto section of our website.

Schools Back! Check out these safety tips.

You probably have children back in school, returning to school or know someone who has children returning to the class room. Here are some safety tips and links.

• Obey school zones for the safety of our school children. Failure could result in a violation which would cost you a fine and points on your license. This could increase your auto insurance. Note: Not all school zones have flashing lights.

• Be careful of children walking to school. In many areas there are no sidewalks and the children walk on the side of the road.

• Be careful when driving near a school bus stop location. Children could be overflowing into the street or become a distraction. Drive slow.

• Be aware that many teens are driving to school. Be patient with them and understand they are new drivers.

• School Bus safety is critical. Some 25 million students nationwide begin and end their day with a school bus ride. Pennsylvania has some valuable safety tips. Go to their website to view these tips.

• Know your state’s School Bus stopping law. To view Pennsylvania’s Law go to their website.

At Spencer Insurance Agency we care about the safety of your children. Please pass this information on to your friends and family. At Spencer Insurance Agency “Your Protection and Peace of Mind is our Only Business!

New PA Teen Driver Law became effective on December 24, 2011

Starting December 24, 2011 the new Pennsylvania Teen Driver Law (Act 81 of 2011) became law.  Are you familiar with the changes?  Here are the highlights:

  • The number of hours of supervised, behind the wheel skill building increased from 50 to 65. Ten of these hours must consist of nighttime driving and five of these hours must include driving in poor weather conditions.
  •  For the first six months after receiving their junior driver’s license, a driver is not permitted to have more than one passenger under age 18 who is not an immediate family member (brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister of the junior driver and adopted or foster children living in the same household as the junior driver) in their vehicle unless they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If they have not been convicted of a driving violation or been partially or fully responsible for a reportable crash after six months, they may have up to three passengers under age 18 who are not immediate family members without a parent or legal guardian present. If they have any convictions or are partially or fully responsible for a reportable crash while a junior driver, they are once again restricted to one passenger. This restriction of only one passenger continues to age 18 for junior drivers who have crashes or violations.
  • Drivers and occupants in a vehicle who are under the age of 18 must wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt, and
    children under the age of eight must be securely fastened in a child restraint system. Failure to comply with the new law’s seat belt provisions is a primary offense, meaning that a driver can be pulled over and cited solely for that violation.

For more information on the law go to http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/teenDriversCenter/newTeenDriversLaw.shtml.

Here is where Spencer Insurance Agency can help you .. .

  •  Ask us for a copy of the Spencer Insurance FREE Home Study “Teach Your Teen to Drive” course. This course will provide 16 lessons to help train your Teen Driver.
  • Check out our website  to be directed to our website designed for Parents of Teen Drivers.  Just click on the “Have a Teen Driver” icon.
  • Sign up for our monthly online newsletter exclusively for the Parents of Teen Drivers. Send an email to info@spencerinsurance.com to start receiving these valuable newsletters.
  • Call our office at 215-885-2200 to review your auto policy to make sure you have the proper coverage now that you have a teen driver.

These changes were designed to help protect Teen Drivers. Make sure you take the time to properly train your teen drivers.  Let
us know what you think about our teen driver website, monthly online newsletter and other materials we provide.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Make your comments  below.

Close

Check out how you can win an iPad mini.

Open