Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Reduce Their Risk: Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
It’s time for a teen to get their driver’s license. Who is more nervous – the teenager or the parent?

Parent anxiety during this rite of passage is understandable. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death among those age 15 to 20.

Fortunately, teens and parents can take steps to improve safety on the road. If you have a teen behind the wheel, try these best practices.

Choose a safe car: Sure, your teen will probably prefer to drive that sporty convertible, but giving a teenager the keys to a sleek, fast car will only encourage speeding and other unsafe driving habits. For a teen’s first vehicle, choose a car that is easy to drive and offers solid protection during an accident. Avoid small cars and SUVs, which are prone to rollovers.

Limit their risk: Consider following a graduated driver’s license (GDL) program. These are in place in some states, and parents can institute similar policies in areas where they aren’t required. Under these programs, teens’ driving privileges are restricted until the teen has gained experience behind the wheel. Restrictions may prohibit driving at night or with teen passengers.

Emphasize safe habits: Talk with teens about risky driving behaviors. Explain the dangers involved with distracted driving caused by phone use, radio use, or conversations with passengers. Stress the importance of remaining focused while driving.

Additionally, certain practices, such as enrolling teens in a safe driver program or using electronic devices to monitor their driving, may qualify you for insurance discounts. Contact our office to discuss what programs are available in your area.


Beware of This Common Pet Owner Mistake

We humans aren’t the only ones who need to watch our waistlines. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for a long and fulfilling life for our pets, too. But they don’t have control over their weight; we, the pet owners, do, and we often overfeed our four-legged friends.

In an interview for petmd.com, Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian in Charlotte, North Carolina, said one of the simplest ways to gauge a pet’s weight is to stand above it and look down. Both cats and dogs should taper in between their abdomen and their hip socket.

“You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see them, they are too skinny,” Dr. Dobies said. “If you can’t see their ribs, and place your hands on the side of their chest and still can’t, they’re overweight.”

Pet owners can also use body condition score charts from sources such as www.mypetsdoctor.com. These score images of a dog or cat at different weights according to how healthy they are and provide a visual guide to measure your own pet against. Feeding our pets the correct amount is critical to warding off issues that arise from obesity, such as congestive heart failure, some types of cancer, and musculoskeletal problems.

Start by consulting your pet food packaging, which typically provides a recommended serving based on an animal’s size. Pay careful attention to the wording and whether the serving amount is per meal or a daily total to be divided into meals. Two meals are recommended for most adult dogs, while more frequent feedings are suggested for puppies. For cats, petmd.com recommends between 24 and 35 calories per day per pound.


The Ultimate Back-to-School Shopping Hacks

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be stressful or costly if you have a plan and stick to a budget.

If your child’s school provides a supply list, use it to find deals in stores or online. Take an inventory of what your child already has and compare prices before heading out to shop. Follow thekrazycouponlady.com or download her app to get the scoop on the latest deals.

But don’t shop too early. The best prices on school supplies show up in late August and early September. Many states also have sales tax-free weekends in the fall. When you shop, consider midyear replacements your children will need. Stock up at Costco while things are on sale and stash the extra supplies away for next semester.

And wait a bit longer to get the best prices on clothes. The best time to buy fall clothes is in October, especially over Columbus Day weekend.

Do a combination of online and in-store shopping. For variety and value in clothes and backpacks, look online. But basics like notebooks, pens, and binders are cheaper in-store. Include office supply chains in your shopping plan as they sometimes offer great deals. Shopping at Target? Check out Raise.com, where you can get great deals on used, discounted gift cards. Also, don’t forget the dollar stores. Check these first, then finish your shopping at the larger retailers.

Lastly, consider pooling resources with other parents to buy in bulk and divvy up supplies among yourselves or swap any items left over from last year.


Boat Insurance Basics You Need to Know
A spin around the lake or a cruise down the river can be a great way to spend an August afternoon. Just make sure you have the necessary coverage to protect your boat (and your wallet).

The type and amount of boat insurance you need depend on the kind of vessel you own and how you use it. Simple craft such as kayaks, smaller sailboats, and small powerboats may be covered by your homeowners policy. Larger, more powerful vessels such as yachts and Jet Skis require separate coverage.

A boat insurance policy typically covers damage to the boat itself, theft, and general liability. Additional coverage, including protection for trailers and boating accessories, may also be available.

These insurance policies typically offer one of two types of coverage: actual cash value or agreed amount value. Actual cash value pays for the cost of replacement minus the depreciation of the boat. Agreed amount value policies pay the total that you and your insurer have agreed upon as the value of the vessel. Under this coverage, old items are replaced with new without subtracting depreciation.

As a boat owner, you may be eligible for discounts to your insurance premiums. Common discounts include those for multiple policies with the same provider, safety equipment onboard the vessel, and crew’s completion of safety education courses. Remaining claims-free for a certain period of time may also qualify you for a discount.

In addition to obtaining proper insurance, maintain best practices to protect your boat and its passengers. Equip your vessel with proper lighting, an emergency signal (horn, whistle, or bell), and life jackets. Stock your boat with an emergency kit that includes fresh water, a flashlight, a radio, flares, tools, and a first aid kit, and keep a fire extinguisher readily accessible. Lastly, always adhere to marine traffic laws.

Not sure if you have the coverage you need for your boat? Give us a call to review your current coverage and discuss the options available. We’ll make sure you and your vessel are well protected the next time you set sail.