Your Teen Driver and Insurance

teen driverOne of the most exciting and terrifying moments for any parent comes the first time they watch them drive away alone. You trust your child, and you’ve either taught them well or hired a professional to do so. Still, there might not be anything quite as scary as the moment your teen driver and those taillights disappear from view… and no wonder! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.

Having a solid Auto insurance policy for your teen is essential to give you peace of mind when they’re on the road without you. Although insuring your teen driver won’t be cheap, it is possible to get the coverage you need at an affordable price.

Most Auto policies will offer discounts to teen drivers who maintain good grades, usually rewarding a B average with some not insignificant savings.

Because the vehicle your teenager drives will significantly impact the cost of coverage, when shopping for that first car look for reliability, not flash. Choosing a car with good safety ratings and consumer reviews will help keep premiums under control. Pick a model that’s not too old to need constant maintenance, but isn’t so new that repairs will break the bank. Most insurance companies keep a list of vehicles and the cost of insuring them.

Many companies also offer premium discount if you have your teen driver receive some extra driving instruction. Most states require a minimum number of hours of driving spent with a certified professional.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is far better than a pound of cure. It makes sense to pay for a comprehensive, cost effective Auto policy now, rather than shell out big dollars for repairs and legal costs after your teen has a car accident.

As always, our insurance professionals stand ready to help you make the right choice – just give us a call.

10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

It seems as though everything has taken on a vibrant green hue, almost overnight! Spring is here – the time for barbeques and enjoying the fresh air… and also the time for some routine home maintenance. We’ve compiled a list of items to help you in giving your home a checkup along with its Spring cleaning.

    1. Tackle your furnace – Now is a great time to clean or replace your furnace filter.
    2. Check your water heater. Examine the base of your water heater for leaks, rust or other corrosion.
    3. Look over your clothes dryer. Clean the exhaust duct and the space underneath your dryer. Remove any lint, dust or scraps of material that might have collected there through the year.
    4. Inspect your roof for damage. Between winter weather and the blazing sun of summer, shingles often take quite a beating. If it appears that your roof is due for repair (or even replacement), now is a good time to start budgeting for that.
    5. Don’t forget the gutters. Make sure they are clear of leaves and debris. Are they securely attached? Check for leaks as well, and also see that the downspouts direct water away from your foundation, rather than leaving it to collect there.
    6. Examine your foundation. Check for cracks, and either seal them up or call for professional help. Look for areas around your foundation where water could pool (and then leak in) and fill them with compacted soil.
    7. Check the chimney. Have your chimney and flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep to ensure it will be ready for use next season.
    8. Trim the trees. Remove all dead trees in your yard, and keep the healthy ones (and bushes, too) trimmed away from utility wires.
    9. Level the walkways. Repair cracked, broken or uneven pathways to provide level walking surfaces.
    10. Pull out your fridge and clean the coils. It’s amazing what getting rid of that dust will do for your electric bill! Oh, ok. One more, just cuz we like you:

Oh, ok. One more – just cuz we like you. :-D

    1. Check your AC System. Whether you have central AC or individual window units, the time to ensure they are in working order is now. Don’t wait for an insanely hot day to discover they’re not functioning properly.

Is there something you do each Spring that didn’t make our list? Leave it here so others can benefit from your routine!

Enforcement X2 – EPA & OSHA to Team Up

There has been buzz this week in the construction industry over a recent Memorandum of Understanding between OSHA and the EPA that spells out exactly how the two government agencies are planning to work together in the Northeast in regards to RRP regulations and their enforcement. Basically, the two agencies will not only communicate with each other, they also may conduct join inspections as appropriate to carry out the purposes of their respective statutory authorities.

 

Both RRP Specialist Shawn McCadden and the Contractor Coach Mark Paskell have written recent articles about this MOU and what it means for contractors. They are worth the read…

 

Double Trouble for RRP Renovators: OSHA and EPA to Work Together

Region 1 EPA and OSHA to work together on RRP/OSHA Enforcement

 

Understand that enforcement IS ramping up, and you can expect to be visited at any given time. Compliance is important, and having the proper documentation will be a tremendous aid to you when the government comes knocking. If you’re not sure how to handle them, check out our previous blog post here:

 

Have You Received a Request for RRP Information from the EPA?

 

Got questions? We’ve got answers… give us a call today.

 

 

“Keep Your Eyes on the Road and Your Hands Upon the Wheel” – Dangers of Distracted Driving

The trivia question on our facebook page this week dealt with driving and cell phone use. It sparked some passionate opinions, and I thought it appropriate to take a deeper look at this issue of distracted driving here on the blog.

Let’s start with some research findings.

The #1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device (Virginia Tech).

Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

Texting while driving extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a Blood Alcohol Content level of .08% – the legal limit (University of Utah).

The National Safety Council has estimated cell phone use while driving to cause:

  • 636,000 crashes
  • 330,000 injuries
  • 12,000 major injuries
  • 2,600 deaths
  • $43 billion in damages

Carnegie Mellon reports that using a cell phone while driving reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. The statistics speak for themselves, cell phone use while driving is not just distracting, it’s dangerous. Even so, 7 out of 10 drivers admit to text messaging while driving. That means it’s more likely than not that you’re among them.

 

Texting while driving is illegal in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and while studies show that the ban has had an effect on driving habits, many continue to ignore the statistics (and law), and use their cell phones while navigating the road.

 

Legislation can have an impact, but it really all comes down to personal responsibility. You and I need to take an honest look at our own habits, and make some changes, if necessary. Keeping our eyes off the cell and on the road is a good start, but there are other things we can do to limit distracted driving as well. Program the GPS before getting behind the wheel. Designate a DJ to play with the radio. Make time to stop for lunch, rather than juggling sandwich and steering wheel.

What really drives it home for me is having a daughter who began Driver Education last week. They can give her all the statistics and warnings about the dangers of distracted driving (and they will), but I know that what she sees in me will leave a deeper impression than any PowerPoint presentation she sits through. I need to own that responsibility. Because not only does my life depend on it… hers is riding on it as well. Now that’ll teach.

Don’t Forget Your Carbon Monoxide Alarms


More than 400 people are killed each year in the United States from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The American Medical Association reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States.

Other CDC studies indicate that more than 20,000 people are hospitalized each year from this gas, and these poisonings are on the rise due in part to economic reasons. With a stressed economy and high unemployment, more families face utility shutoffs. As a result, they employ other sources of heat, such as kerosene heaters, gas generators, and improperly maintained wood stoves and fireplaces. Such heat sources carry a heavy risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide alarms are essential protective devices in homes with gas appliances, gas heaters, and fireplaces. Here are some tips to consider concerning these important alarms.

To ensure a high-quality alarm, look for the Underwriters Laboratories certificate on any detector you purchase.

Connect these alarms to the smoke alarm system so that any alarm in the house becomes activated if a problem arises.

Periodically test these devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Batteries should be replaced at least once per year. Replacement of the alarm itself is often necessary after a few years since the average life span of carbon monoxide alarms is relatively short.

Verify that you have alarms in bedrooms and other locations where people may sleep since people who are sleeping can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without experiencing any symptoms.

Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.