insurance policy

May Is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month!

teen driver

The National Organizations For Youth Safety is celebrating Global Youth Traffic Safety Month again this May!  The official U.S. launch was on May 8th in Washington, D.C.  and it’s an important initiative to unite youth across the country to focus on the leading cause of death for them and their peers: traffic related crashes.  In honor of this month, we’ve contacted driving schools across Massachusetts and gotten some top tips for new drivers from the schools’ owners, instructors, and even a police officer!  These tips are coming straight from the experts, so be sure to share them with your new driver and make sure they’re staying safe on the road!

  • Parents and teens need to respect and obey junior operator laws.  Teens need to focus on driving without distractions for the first 6 months of driving.  As teens get more experienced and better at driving, they get more confident and their speed creeps up.  This can be both good and bad, they are now keeping up with the flow of traffic but going too fast and being distracted can lead to accidents which is why it’s so important for them to focus.  Parents also need to list their teen on their insurance policy, and if the teen isn’t listed on your policy, don’t let them drive your car!  If they were ever to invite their friend along for a ride in a parent’s car and get into an accident while they were still a junior operator, not only is that against the law and dangerous, but it also creates insurance issues for the parent.  Obeying the junior operator makes everything safer and easier for both teens and parents.  – Driving instructor and Police Officer Dave Avery, Avon Auto Academy
  • Look ahead and be aware of what other drivers on the road are doing, for example if you see brake lights or a traffic light ahead, slow down.  Try and think a step ahead so that you can prepare for what’s coming on the road! – Donna, Elm Auto School
  • Make sure you come to a FULL stop at stop signs, which lasts for 3 seconds.  If you’re stopped behind the line but can’t see if any cars are coming, pull up a little and stop again.  – Sarah Warren, Lexington Driving School
  • When you’re on the entrance ramp of the highway and are about to merge, look for a gap in highway traffic into which you can safely move.  Remember to yield the right-of-way to drivers already on the highway.  Never stop short at the end of the on-ramp, instead take the on-ramp slowly while preparing to merge.  Always, always, ALWAYS signal so that drivers are aware that you plan to enter the highway.  Upon leaving the on-ramp and entering the flow of traffic, you must accelerate to match the speed of vehicles already on the highway.  In a perfect world other drivers would move over to let you onto the highway but that doesn’t always happen, so be alert and plan your merge accordingly! – Molly Sullivan and Anthony Parolisi, Methuen Auto School
  • Before you do anything, whether it’s merging, making a turn, or pulling out of your driveway, the two most important things to remember are to signal and look!  Put your directional on and make sure you look both ways before doing anything, it will keep you safe and make sure that all other drivers are aware of what direction you plan on going. – Jay, Chelmsford Auto School

These are great things for all drivers to keep in mind, but especially those that are new to the road.  These great tips are easy to remember and cover the most important things that new drivers should focus on.  Share these with any new driver you may know in honor of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, stay safe!

Photo By: State Farm

Is Your Child Going Back To School? Find Out What You Need To Adjust On Your Insurance!

Back to school season has begun and college students are packing their bags and heading back to school where many will be without a car.  If your child is on your insurance policy and even if they have their own policy there are certain steps that need to be taken to ensure that you are not overpaying on your policy.  These simple changes can save money on your policy and there are even certain discounts that can be applied for students!

If your child is going away to school and will not have access to a car at all, the best thing to do is call up your insurance company and have their operator status changed to “excluded”.  Basically this means that your child is still listed on your policy, but is not insured to drive unless you change their operator status back to “included”.   Doing this will also save you big bucks, since younger drivers are inexperienced, they typically bring a premium way up, but once you list your student as excluded, your premium will likely go down significantly.  However, if they do drive your car while they are listed as an excluded driver and get into an accident, it will not be covered by your insurance.

If your child is going away to school and you choose to keep them on your policy, they are still able to drive and will be covered should they get into an accident, but if they go to school more than 100 miles away most insurance carriers offer an away at school discount.

If your child has their own insurance policy but they won’t be using a car while away at school, it’s best that they keep it active because cancelling a policy can have negative ramifications later.  If you do cancel a policy and then attempt to sign up for another one a few months or years down the road, most insurance companies will require you to pay the premium in full.  There are some that won’t, however someone that does not have prior insurance will have a higher premium than someone who has maintained insurance.  The best thing to do in a situation like this is to have your child maintain their policy, but lower the coverage to as low as possible.  If they won’t be using the car, there is no risk of an accident but lowering the coverage will make the payments less expensive.

If your child has their own policy and is driving their car to an out of state school and keeping it there, within 30 days they must get an insurance policy in that state or they will be committing insurance fraud.  This means that if they did get into an accident in a state where they are residing but do not have a policy they can potentially be sued for damages.  They need to change their license plates but may not be required to change their driver’s license state, however that varies by insurance companies.

Now you know what to adjust on your policy once your child leaves for school, and you also know what they have to do if they have their own policy.  However, whether your child has their own policy or not, definitely ask about a good student discount!  Most carriers offer a discount if a full time student is on your policy with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and same goes if they have their own policy.  So, call up your insurance company and find out exactly what your best option would be!  As always, if you are looking for insurance in Massachusetts or New Jersey, give us a call at MassDrive!  Our agents would be happy to help you out and we are open until 9PM on weeknights!

Photo By: Siena College

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