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4 Tips for Talking to Teens About Safe Driving

texting and drivingWhen a teen asks for the keys to the car for the first time so many thoughts and emotions begin running through a parent’s brain like:


“I’m so proud my son passed his test!”


“Will my daughter remember to look both ways before turning left?”


“What if he decides to drive with his friends? Do I really want to let him go?”


It takes a lot of trust from parents and responsibility from teenagers in order to allow teenagers to gain the driving experience they need in a safe way.


What types of conversations do you have with your teen before they hit the road?


Before handing over the keys, here are a few things to talk about with your teenager to help them learn how important it is to drive safely when alone and when they are with friends.


1. Set some ground rules: Before letting your teen drive off into the sunset, go over some driving ground rules. It may be a good idea to create a “driving contract” so your expectations are clear. A few examples of what this contract can include:

  • What happens if your teenager gets home past curfew?
  • What they will be responsible for if they rear end someone or scrape the paint?
  • Who will pay for their gas money?


Also, ALWAYS remind them that there is no wiggle room in the law against drinking and driving and it is always best to find a safe ride, even if they have only had one drink.


2. Keep your eyes on the road: Almost all drivers know this is a given, but this is an important tips for vehicle passengers. By no means does this encourage “back seat driving” but the general idea is to be an extra set of eyes and ears for the driver in case they don’t see a car in their blind spot, or fail to see a biker speeding past the passenger side of the vehicle. Also, remind your teenager that it is the passenger’s job to be the navigator when going to a new place, especially if they are using smartphone for directions.


3. The more passengers, the greater risk: Talk to your teen about driving with others and remind them that the more passengers they have in their vehicle, the more distractions there will be and the more responsibility there is to drive everyone to their destination safely. This doesn’t mean that all passengers should remain silent in a car, but loud music, games and other distractions heighten the risk of getting into an accident.


4. Put away all electronics

This topic of discussion can’t be stressed enough – teach your teenagers to put their phones away while driving and to never text and drive. It’s also important as a parent to set a good example and remember to keep your own phone tucked away while driving.


Think Safe, Drive Safe

By having the above conversations about safety with your teenager before they hit the road you are teaching them to be a responsible adult and to think ahead and make good decisions. Driving isn’t a right, it’s a privilege and if teens stay safe on the road then it’s a privilege they have earned!


Do you have any tips or tricks for talking to teens about safe driving? Share them in the comment section below!





Someone hit me and they don’t have enough car insurance coverage.

ford truck accident

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you were doing everything you could do to be responsible, but no matter how much you do your part, at the end, you’re still responsible for something that was out of your control?


That’s what happens when you’re in a car accident and the driver-at-fault doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance.  And while you think you can sue the other driver for not having insurance to pay for your damages, the truth is, it takes too much time, effort and cost to repair accidents that only involve car damage. In other cases, a lawsuit is absolutely necessary and justified, but for less serious accidents, the whole ordeal becomes such a big inconvenience and nuisance.


For example, let’s say you drive a suped-up $85,000 Ford F350. Unfortunately, one day while out and about running errands, another driver runs a red light and hits your truck right behind the passenger side door. Everyone is thankfully okay, but the damage to your truck will cost about $40,000 to repair. The driver at-fault only has the state minimum insurance policy coverage, which covers up to $20,000 in repairs. Where will the additional $20,000 come from to repair your truck?


Without underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), the $20,000 will come out of your pocket. However, with an underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage policy, insurance will pay the difference.


What exactly is uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) provides coverage if you are in an accident and the driver that causes the accident either doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully cover the damages.


There are two different types of UIM policies: UIM bodily injury and UIM property damage.

  1. UIM bodily injury insurance is similar to the bodily injury coverage that is provided in liability insurance. It will provide additional coverage if the person who caused the accident doesn’t have enough insurance or doesn’t have insurance at all. UIM bodily insurance will pay for medical bills and other injury related expenses. It will also provide coverage in the case that the at-fault driver can’t be identified, i.e. a hit-and-run.
  2. UIM property damage provides coverage for vehicle repairs in case the person who hit you doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all. Unlike UIM bodily injury, UIM property damage won’t provide coverage if the at-fault driver can’t be identified, so a hit-and-run is not covered.

Is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage right for me?

Even if you are the best driver in the world and have great insurance coverage, there is always a chance an accident can happen with an uninsured or underinsured driver. While it may not happen often, it only takes one accident to suffer the consequences of not having uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. Without it, you run the risk of having to pay for damages out of your own pocket.





Swimming tip for parents: beware of secondary drowning

poolWhether your children are experienced swimmers or not, it’s always important to be aware of swimming safety.  One fatal condition that swept the headlines this summer is known as secondary drowning.


A young boy nearly lost his life after attending a pool party with friends. How? Earlier in the day, he was jokingly pushed into the pool, but was instantly rescued. He enjoyed the rest of the party and returned home where he started to feel lethargic and began coughing violently.


Luckily, his mom recognized these symptoms as secondary drowning and took him to the emergency room where doctors administered oxygen and saved his life.


What is secondary drowning?


Secondary drowning, sometimes referred to as dry drowning or parking lot drowning, is a potentially fatal medical condition in which water is inhaled into the lungs, causing swelling. The swelling restricts the lungs, not allowing them to exchange oxygen to the blood causing a drop in oxygen levels. A drop in oxygen levels will reduce the heart rate, affect brain activity and can eventually, in a worse-case-scenario, lead to death.


Just like the boy’s mother in the instance above, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of secondary drowning as it can save your child’s life.


What are the symptoms of secondary drowning?


Symptoms of secondary drowning can appear up to twenty-four hours after a water accident and can include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath


Symptoms of secondary drowning can be hard to diagnose because children are often tired from playing in the pool anyways, which is why it is important to keep an eye out for water inhalation.


How to prevent secondary drowning?

Secondary drowning can’t exactly be prevented, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms.


If it is caught early enough, secondary drowning is easily treated by administering oxygen at a hospital. However, if it is left untreated it can be fatal.





Protect Yourself and Your Boat from Accidents


boat stuck in rocks

What lake trips or fishing trips do you have planned this summer?


Whether you’re a professional fisherman headed to a competition or a group of friends hitting the lake for a hot August afternoon, there is always an aspect of risk every time your boat gets on the road and the water.


Typically, boat accidents happen from a brief lapse in attention, driver inexperience or excessive speed. And unfortunately, although you may practice safe boating techniques, some accidents aren’t preventable and injuries do happen.


According to the US Coast Guard, there were 4,064 boating accidents in 2014, which involved about $39 million dollars of property damage, 610 deaths, and 2,678 injuries.


Do you know what kind of boat insurance you have? Liability insurance should definitely be top of mind when purchasing the right boat insurance for you. Liability insurance protects you if something happens and you are at fault.


What Does Boat Liability Insurance Cover?


Liability insurance covers several different financial obligations you may have if you are responsible for an incident that harms or damage other people or property.


This coverage can include:


  • Property damage liability: Property Damage covers any harm that is done to another person’s boat, dock, water skis or other possessions.
  • Bodily injury liability: Bodily injury liability covers costs associated with treatment and recovery of the injured person –  such as medical expenses, hospitalization and rehabilitation.
  • Pollution liability: Pollution Liability covers you in the event of a fuel spill.
  • Wreckage removal: Wreckage removal covers your legal obligation to remove debris after an incident


What Happens without Liability Insurance?


Without adequate liability insurance in place, these expenses would have to come out of your pocket. When medical expenses and legal fees add up, you could be responsible for hundreds, even thousands of dollars of damages. Boat liability insurance typically covers anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in damages.


Liability Insurance = Peace of Mind


This summer have fun while you’re out on the water, but first make sure you have liability insurance. Don’t ruin your peace of mind and lake relaxation worrying about coverage should an accident occur. If you aren’t sure what type of coverage you have, talk to your insurance agent (844-272-3424) and have them double-check whether you’re covered, and if not, explore what level of coverage is right for you.


*Photo credits:




How to put on a great sports summer camp








Some of the most popular types of summer camps that kids and teenagers go to each year are sports camps.


Typically, high schools, colleges and other organizations in each town will offer a variety of sports camps each summer including basketball, soccer and volleyball, and can be say day camps or sleepovers.


One thing that all sports camps will have in common and is key to the success of a sports camp, other than a group of excited young campers, is having the right insurance.


Why is insurance important for a sports camp?


Let’s say that it’s day 1 of a 3 day basketball camp, and as most basketball camps go, the first few hours consist of running and agility drills. One hour into the drills, one young girl rolls an ankle, another young boy breaks a finger and one camp counselor strains his back. This sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Luckily these are all small injuries, and luckily, with the right insurance, all injuries will be covered and nothing will come at a cost to the camp.


Purchasing adequate medical coverage for your staff and participants, as well as general liability insurance for the camp grounds, gym, locker room, lodging, etc. is key to the success and safety of your sports camp.


Is sports camp insurance expensive?


The cost of your camp insurance depends on the amount of risk that will be involved. For example, a golf camp may not be considered as high-risk as a basketball camp or swim camp. All potential injuries are taken into consideration and will have an effect on the cost of the insurance you will need.


Take time to get multiple quotes from a variety of insurance companies to make sure the plan you purchase is the most complete package and meets all your potential insurance needs.


*photo credits:




Did You Know You Can Use Your Life Insurance Now?

Consider this scenario:


Hundred dollar bill buried in sawdust .

As an aspiring entrepreneur, Jim has spent the last 15 years considering the idea of starting his own wood shop and cabinetry business. While he has an office job as an accountant, his passion has always been in creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind wood pieces. So, he’s finally decided he is going to take the jump and start his own small business.


Now what?

Jim knows that he needs to find funding for his new business. He doesn’t want to dip into his life savings because he wants to keep that as a back-up, but the bank won’t give him a loan because he can’t prove he will be able to sustain revenue.


Does Jim have any other options?


Yes. He can borrow the cash value of his permanent life insurance policy.


How can he use his permanent life insurance?

He’s been paying his premiums for his permanent life insurance policy for the past 10 years, and it’s accumulated quite a bit of cash value. Jim can borrow against the cash value of his policy, and get started on his business.


What else can you do with your life insurance?

Life insurance is typically viewed useful only in the case that someone dies, but with permanent life insurance there are some benefits you can take advantage of during your lifetime.


Permanent life insurance provides lifelong protection. This means, you don’t have to wait until you pass to receive its benefits. It accumulates cash value from the premiums you pay.


Most people don’t know that money can be used for just about anything: To start your own business, send a child to college, take time off work to care for a sick family member.


Just like Jim in the example above, keep your life insurance as a possibility when you need cash and can’t take out a loan or dip into your savings. But before making any decision, check with your financial advisor to make sure that this is the right decision for you and your financial future.





10 Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

american flag with fireworks In 1777, fireworks were a way of giving American people hope that the war would soon be over and they would earn their independence. The light in the sky was a beautiful reminder to stay positive in what was a dark time.


Since then, fireworks have been a part of nearly every large holiday and celebration in America and act as a reminder to always look to the future and embrace the opportunities America has to offer.


How will you celebrate this year? Whether with a backyard sparkler show or a professionally produced display in a public park, one important thing to remember is fireworks can be dangerous!


According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, around Fourth of July nearly 200 people end up in the emergency room each day. So, if you do plan to use fireworks this year, use them safely!


Here are 10 tips for a safe Fourth of July fireworks celebration:

  1. Never, ever use fireworks indoors. Even sparklers!
  2. Always have a source of water ready in case you need to douse a fire.
  3. Alcohol and fireworks never mix – be sure that whoever is in charge of the fireworks isn’t also the reigning beer pong champion of the evening.
  4. Never relight a “dud” firework – leave it alone for at least 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water to make sure that it’s completely dead.
  5. After lighting off the fireworks, soak them in water before disposing them in an outdoor garbage can.
  6. When using sparklers always stay standing and don’t light more than one sparkler at a time.
  7. Never let children use fireworks without supervision. The same goes for teenagers.
  8. Never throw fireworks or sparklers.
  9. Ensure the people watching the show remain a safe distance from the firework itself in case it moves or is larger than expected.
  10. Remember to read the caution label before lighting a firework off – it may have specific instructions to follow.


Have fun, but stay safe this Fourth of July

There’s a laundry list of safety tips to keep in mind when operating fireworks and sparklers, they are after all, explosives. So when you celebrate Fourth of July this year, keep safety in mind. It’s never fun when a party has to end early because someone ends up in the hospital with a burn injury. Have fun, but be safe!





4 Types of Insurance All Farmers Need

Dougherty Farm Fresh Beef in FranklinOperating a farm is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a job and lifestyle in which natural disasters, crop failure and sick livestock can be a serious threat to your success and livelihood. The key to being a successful farming operation is to identify risks and plan for any worst case scenarios with a strategic and ample insurance coverage.


Do you have enough property and liability insurance if your barn roof collapses? What about disability insurance for workers who might get injured while fixing a tractor?


When you have the right farm insurance, you can focus on your farm knowing these will be taken care of if necessary.


Here are 4 types of farmers insurance to consider:

  1. Dwelling or home protections coverage covers your home in the event of major disasters, such as windstorms, hail and fires, plus accidents, theft or vandalism to your home.
  2. Farm liability protection protects you from losing your farm due to any liability issues, and covers bodily injury to another person, medical payments associated with their injury and damage to their property. It also provides for legal defense and payment of claims for which you are legally responsible.
  3. Barn insurance and other outbuilding coverage farms insure outbuildings including  barns, sheds, garages and other structures that store your equipment or livestock.
  4. Farm equipment coverage covers your farm equipment, supplies and other machinery. This includes items like combines, irrigation systems and feed.You can cover the whole of the equipment under a blanket policy at a certain dollar limit or list the separate high cost items you want to cover on a scheduled policy.


Start Protecting Your Farm Today

As you can see, the proper farm insurance coverage is really just a plan to cover any risk.


That’s why it is a good idea to work with an insurance agent who can help you find the policies that are perfect for your farming business. Buying the right insurance is an investment into your business and can make a huge difference in your financial stability if something were to happen to your home, farming equipment or to an employee.




It’s road trip season! Two reasons why you need rental car insurance



Summer is peeking just around the corner – warm nights, brisk mornings, time spent with family on vacation, and hopefully, a few adventurous road trips!


If you’re like most of us, you like to rent a car instead of putting your own car through the drama of a long drive. But if you’re not an insurance pro, you’re probably not aware of all the risks involved in renting a car.


When you’re renting a car, do  you ever feel pressured by the rental car agent when he or she asks you if you want to buy additional rental car insurance?


Well, we’ll break it down for you here.  When considering if you are going to buy rental car insurance or not, ask yourself these 2 questions:


  1. Does my personal car insurance policy include liability and full coverage?
  2. If an accident happens, am I prepared to pay out of pocket for loss of use? What about loss of depreciation?


If your answer to question #2 is “no,” then yes, you DO need rental car insurance. Sadly, if you answered “yes” to question #1, may still want to purchase rental car insurance because your own insurance won’t cover everything with a capital “E!”


While your personal auto insurance policy may cover any property or personal damage that you cause, there are still some gaps in your coverage.  And unfortunately, even if you have what we consider as “full” coverage, there are still holes in rental car coverage if you were in an accident.


So don’t ruin your road trip, here are two reasons to buy rental car insurance:


#1 – Loss of use

Loss of use it is exactly what it sounds like.  It is loss of use of the rental car.  If you wreck the car and it is your fault, during the time that vehicle is being fixed and unusable the rental car company is losing money because it can’t rent that car.  You are responsible for that cost.  99% of all insurance companies specifically exclude this coverage, meaning they will not pay and the bill is put on your credit card.


#2 – Loss of depreciation/value

This Is coverage that comes into play in the instance that you wreck the rental car and the value of the car becomes less than before the accident. For example, if you wreck a $25,000 car and after repairs it is valued at $20,000, you are responsible for the difference. This can add up to a huge expense and most insurance companies will not cover this.


Before you take off on your road trip this summer give yourself some instant peace of mind, and protect your pocket book by purchasing rental car insurance.  Don’t let the rental car agents pressure you into buying insurance.  Go in there decidingly knowing that you want rental car insurance and get rid of the other pressure that will hinder complete enjoyment and freedom during your road trip summer.




Parents: 3 Reasons for Your Child to Get Their Own Auto Insurance After Moving Out


children move outSo your son or daughter just moved out on their own, congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment for you as a parent and for your independent adult-child. You did your job raising your child to be ready to face the real world.


Now that they are on their own, there’s nothing wrong with helping them out once and a while by paying for groceries, helping to furnish their apartment etc. -there’s no doubt that they appreciate the help. But, did you know that allowing them to remain on your auto insurance could cause them more financial stress than help if they were in an accident?


Why does your child need their own auto insurance once they have moved out?

Under most personal auto policies, the definition of an “insured” includes “family members.” While child is a family member by any other definition, in the world of insurance family members are limited to “a person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household.”


So, now that your child has moved out and is living on their own, they no longer meet the “family member” status and the vehicle is no longer insured on your policy. You may have them listed as a “permissive user” on your insurance, but this can still leaves a lot of gaps in coverage.


Here are 3 Instances in which your child who has moved out won’t be covered by your auto insurance:

  1. Let’s say your son borrows his roommate’s truck to run a quick errand and accidentally rear ends another vehicle and causes minor injuries to the other driver. Your son won’t be covered with liability coverage for the other driver’s injuries or for the property damage to the other vehicle.
  2. It’s summer and your daughter and a few friends have decided to rent a vehicle to take a cross country roadtrip. She decides not to buy rental insurance from the rental car company — she won’t be covered for any property damage if there is an accident.
  3. If your son is driving with a friend who doesn’t have insurance and gets in an accident, he won’t have any medical coverage for his injuries from the car accident.


Your Grown Child Needs Their Own Auto Insurance Policy

Without coverage from their own auto insurance policy, your child will have to pay any expenses related to an auto accident from their own pocket and you may have to help. It’s in your child’s best interest (and your pocket book’s best interest) for your child to have a personal auto insurance policy in his or her own name. They’ll have the protection they need and it could prevent potential financial difficulties that could easily follow an accident.





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