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Auto insurance for teen drivers

car insurance for teen drivers

Is there a newly licensed driver in your home? Reduce the stress by understanding the implications for your car policy

For parents, the excitement of having a first-time driver in the house is usually tempered with worry. With little driving experience and raging hormones, immature drivers are at a higher risk for accidents. Of course, safety concern is uppermost in most parents' minds but other stressors—like the high cost of insuring your new driver and the financial liability implications of a teen driving mishap—can be reduced with these steps.

Before getting a learners permit, make a call to your insurance professional

Your agent or rep can clearly explain the costs involved in insuring a teenage driver. The good news is, as your teenager gets older, insurance rates will drop—providing he or she has a good driving record. Therefore…

Involve your teen in the car insurance discussion

From the outset, it's important to talk to your kid about the relationship between driving a car and the attendant responsibilities, including insurance costs. Explain and reinforce driving safety tips and the serious consequences of driving infractions or accidents, including increasing the cost of insurance.

Encourage positive behaviors

Auto insurers offer discounts or reduced premiums to:

  • Students who maintain at least a “B” average in school
  • Teens who take a recognized driver training course
  • College students who attend school at least 100 miles away from home and don't bring their car to campus

Choose the right auto insurance company

It's generally less expensive for parents to add teenagers to their auto insurance policy than it is for teens to purchase one on their own. By insuring your teenager’s car with your insurer, you may also qualify for a multi-vehicle discount. That said, insurance companies differ in how they price policies for young drivers, so do some research into prices to be sure to find the best fit for you and your teen.

car insurance for teen driversAssign your teen to the right car

Find out how your insurer assigns drivers to cars—some insurers will assign the driver who is the most expensive to insure (generally the teenager) to the car that is the most expensive to insure. If possible, assign your teen to the least valuable car.

Note that with this kind of arrangement there can be no exceptions; your teen must use only the car to which he or she is assigned, even in an emergency. If your teenager is involved in an accident with an unassigned car, penalties could be imposed and your own premiums might increase.

Increase your liability insurance for greater protection

If your teen gets into an accident, state minimums for liability insurance will not be enough to fully protect you from lawsuits. Consider purchasing higher amounts of liability coverage—if your teenager is found negligent in an accident and the damages exceed your insurance limits, you will be held financially responsible and could be sued in court for those amounts not covered by your insurance. Depending on the value of your financial assets, you may even want to have the extra protection that a personal umbrella liability policy provides.

Raise your deductible to save on your premium

The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premium, so consider raising your deductible from the minimum amount required. You may want to use those savings to increase your liability insurance.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

hurricane season preparation

Summer may be winding down, but historically, the worst part of hurricane season is just beginning. Fortunately, there are simple steps that you can take to protect your wallet, your property and even your life, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

September is the most common month for hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., followed by August and October, according to an analysis of weather data ranging from 1851 to 2011 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.hurricane season preparation

“Eight of the most catastrophic and costly hurricanes in the United States occurred in September and October,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer at the I.I.I. The other two both occurred at the very end of August, she noted.

These five actions can help you stay ready for whatever the remainder of hurricane season has in store.

  1. Review Your Insurance Coverage: Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. It insures the home itself and the things you keep in it. Because homes get upgrades and possessions get added and replaced, your insurance must reflect these ever-changing improvements. Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not covered. You need to have enough insurance to rebuild your home and replace all of your personal belongings. Contact your insurance professional and ask questions. Understand your deductibles. If you have a hurricane or windstorm deductible, make sure you understand how it works. “The time to review your insurance is before you need to file a claim,” said Salvatore. “You don’t want to find out after a disaster that you could have purchased additional coverage. For instance, many people should consider adding coverage for backup of sewers and drains or law and ordinance, which would pay to rebuild your home to current and more stringent building code standards.
  2. Consider Flood Insurance: A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is not only for those living in high-risk flood zones. More than 20 percent of flood insurance claims are paid to those living in low- to moderate-risk flood zones. While hurricanes do bring catastrophic flooding, rain can, too. As the current disastrous flooding in Louisiana demonstrates, heavy rain might also result in destructive and deadly flooding. Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private insurance company. Excess flood insurance may also be obtained from private insurance companies if more coverage is needed than the limits available from the NFIP.
  3. Conduct a Home Inventory: If a hurricane or tropical storm strikes your home, insurance companies may ask for an itemized list of what was damaged or destroyed. An up-to-date home inventory will make it much easier to file a claim. This also helps you purchase the right amount of coverage, and the documentation also may be required if you need to apply for aid after a disaster. The I.I.I. has a free home inventory app, available at https://KnowYourStuff.org/.
  4. Make Your Home More Disaster Resistant. The Insurance Information Institute for Business and Home Safety has information on things you can do to strengthen your home against a hurricane or other disaster.
  5. Know Where You Will Go and What You Need to Take If You Have to Evacuate. Advanced planning can make things much easier if you need to leave your home. This is especially important if you have children, pets, elderly relatives or anyone with special needs. The I.I.I. has KnowYour Plan software and other resources to help keep you safe.

It’s always a good time of year to talk to your insurance provider. Now may be the best of times, considering that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) revised its 2016 Atlantic hurricane outlook, calling for the higher likelihood of a near-normal or above-normal season.

Source: Insurance Information Institute


business recovery after storm

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers small business owners free, user-friendly resources that can help assure their business continuity, along with checklists to help them protect their business investments and property when bad or severe weather threatens.

business recovery after storm“No matter where in America they are located, small businesses face a significant risk from severe weather events. The good news is with some basic, thoughtful planning, these risks can be managed, reduced and often prevented from becoming true disasters,” said Gail Moraton, IBHS business resiliency program manager. She went on to note that while sources may vary, “the government estimates that 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a weather-related disaster. Lowering that percentage by helping small businesses stay open is good for business owners, their communities, and our national economy.”

IBHS urges small business owners to use its two free, non-technical digital tools. OFB-EZ®, a business continuity tool, can help even the smallest business focus on long-term planning for any type of business interruption, while EZ-PREP®, a severe weather emergency preparedness and response planning toolkit, helps small businesses develop short-term plans for imminent operational disruptions.

“One of the most useful features of EZ-PREP is that actions are organized chronologically. If a business has adequate warning of an extreme weather event such as a hurricane or a severe storm front expected to hit their area, this tool walks them through what should be done five days before, 72 hours before, 24–48 hours before, during and immediately after the event, and during the recovery process,” explained Moraton.

Creating simple, straightforward plans using the complementary OFB-EZ and EZ-PREP toolkits enables small businesses to maximize time and focus energy during any emergency. Having a business continuity plan in place, along with an emergency preparedness and response plan, arms small businesses with the necessary tools for a rapid response to emergency situations and effective recovery.

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities. After a severe weather event, we often gather at the first open places to get goods or coffee, share stories, check in on friends and neighbors,” Moraton said. “Remaining ‘open for business’ is a demonstration of true resilience, and helps the broader community recover.”

Source: IIBHS

workers compensation sole proprietor coverage


Workers' compensation policies issued to Sole Proprietors and Partnerships do not provide coverage for the individual sole proprietor or partner(s) unless they elect coverage for themselves. This can leave a gap in workers’ compensation coverage as shown below:   

Workers' comp sole proprietor coverage chart

What does this mean to you? 

Sole Proprietors & Partner(s) – Make sure you have elected the proper coverage as most companies already expect that you have it in place. You have bills to pay and could be injured just as any other employee.  Be sure that you are protected so that you'll have income in case you you can't work. 

Other Businesses – Do not accept a certificate of insurance unless it lists the coverage status of the sole proprietor or partner(s). If you hire a sole proprietor or partner, who has not elected coverage, he will revert back to your workers’ compensation policy in an audit. This will increase your premium, especially if there is a loss. Ultimately, it is your decision whether or not to accept a certificate of insurance with excluded sole proprietors or partners; however, we recommend that you require “your” subs to have coverage in place to keep your costs down.  


NOTE: This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a statement of contract. All coverages are subject to all policy provisions and applicable endorsements. Some coverage may be subject to individual insureds meeting underwriting qualifications and to availability within a state. For further information contact a Murphy Insurance Agency Associate.

rental vehicle insurance

Where you travel, the vehicle rented, the rental contract and other factors can all impact coverage, so it really depends on the situation. Below is a general overview, as it relates to a Massachusetts Auto Policy (MAP), of issues to consider.

  • rental vehicle insuranceA MAP is not worldwide. It only covers you in the U.S., it’s territories, Puerto Rico and Canada.
  • As long as you have comprehensive and collision coverages on any of your own vehicles, it would cover physical damage to the rental car. Note that this only applies to a 'private passenger vehicle'. A U-Haul truck or 10 person passenger van are commercial vehicles and would not be covered.
  • Some rental companies limit where a vehicle can be operated. Driving the car beyond these limitations violates the contract, and your insurance would not cover.
  • Most rental agencies require all drivers to be listed and paid for at time of rental. If you allow anyone else to drive and there is an accident, there is no coverage.
  • Most rentals consider the rental contract void if driving under the influence. This also voids coverage. MAP excludes “regular use” of another vehicle. If you rent for an extended period, it’s best to check with your insurance company. To avoid this issue, you can add a “Use of Other Autos” endorsement for the rental period and then have it removed.
  • Many rental companies often require the auto to be replaced with a new one if a total loss occurs. The MAP only pays for Actual Cash Value not Replacement Cost, which is something to consider.
  • If you damage a car and it can’t be rented to others, the rental agency may expect you to pay for lost rental time. Loss of use is not covered by a MAP.

The Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) offered by the rental company can be a solution for situations not covered by your auto policy. However, you should never assume that the CDW absolves you of all issues. Always read the contract and clearly understand  what is and what is not covered. Also, if you rent a car using a credit card that offers some type of insurance protection, be sure to read the contract and understand coverage limitations.

If you’re planning to rent a car, our Associates are always glad to review specifics of your auto policy protection. However, it’s ultimately your responsibility to understand the terms and requirements of the rental contract and determine if your policy provides the coverage you need.

Grilling Safety

grilling safety

Every year, millions of Americans safely enjoy outdoor barbecues, but accidents do happen. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, causing an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 deaths. The majority of grill fires are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.

In the rare instance of a grill fire spreading to your property, your homeowners insurance would provide financial protection as fire is a covered peril. A homeowners policy covers the following:

  • Damage to the house itself.
  • Damage to personal possessions such as lawn furniture.
  • Damage to insured structures on your property, such as a shed or gazebo.
  • Injuries to a guest, under the liability portion of the policy.

grilling safetyKeep in mind you’ll have to pay your deductible before your insurance kicks in, so if damage is minimal and your deductible is high, it may not make sense to file an insurance claim.

However, the best way to enjoy a summer of outdoor barbecues is to take steps to prevent accidents, including maintaining your grill and using it safely.

Grill Maintenance and Storage

Gas grills are generally safe if they are properly maintained and checked for leaks. In some instances, grills are unsafe due to faulty design or construction. (You can search the website of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if there has been a recall on your grill.) When setting up at the start of each grilling season, the following tips can help ensure everybody’s safety:

  • Check grill hoses for cracks, holes and brittleness. Look for blockages as well, especially in the Venturi tube that runs to the burners. Clear blockages—caused by food drippings, spiders or insects—with a wire or pipe cleaner.
  • Run a soap solution (one part liquid soap, one part water) along hoses and at connections, then open the valve at your tank and check to make sure that gas isn’t escaping, which will be indicated by bubbles at the leaking points.
  • Adjust hoses as needed away from hot areas or where grease might drip on them.
  • Store propane tanks outside, away from your house. Always check to make sure valves are firmly turned off.

Safe Barbecuing Practices

When barbecuing, use common sense and follow these guidelines:

  • Operate your barbecue on a level surface, away from your house, garage and landscaping. Don’t move the grill once it is lit.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill.
  • Protect yourself—or whoever is doing the grilling—with a heavy apron and oven mitts that reach high on the forearm.
  • For charcoal grills, use only lighter fluid designed for grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
  • Never grill indoors or in enclosed areas. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, which can be fatal in unventilated areas.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • When you’re done with your cooking, remember that the grill will remain hot for a while. Don’t cover or store your grill until it has cooled, and soak coals with water before throwing them away.

In Case of an Accident

If a grill accident—or any kind of accident—does occur, injuries should be addressed immediately. Run cool water over minor burns, but do not cover injured areas with bandages, butter or salve. In the case of more serious burns, victims should visit the emergency room or an urgent care facility. If needed or when in doubt, call 911.

Once you have dealt with any injuries, assess your property damage and, if the situation calls for it, contact your insurance professional to discuss filing a claim.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

commercial auto protection

Business vehicle risksWhether you own or lease a single business car or an entire fleet of commercial vehicles, you’ll need to purchase commercial auto insurance. Your insurance professional can help you weigh your risks and evaluate coverage options.

But even with insurance in place, you’ll want to take steps to prevent accidents and protect your employees and vehicles. Your business can reduce the chance of an accident by establishing and enforcing the following practices and policies.

Hard-and-fast driving rules

When it comes to the safety of employees and the protection of your vehicles, you should set certain firm driving rules that must be followed at all times, including:

  • Mandatory seat belt use - Nearly every state has a seat belt law. Seat belt use helps prevent deaths and limit the severity of injuries in vehicle accidents. There is no reasonable excuse for not using a seat belt.
  • Zero tolerance for intoxicants - Even one alcoholic beverage can impair a driver’s reaction time. Employees should never drink or use other intoxicants prior to using business vehicles.
  • No cellphone use - Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, and cellphone use while driving is banned in some states. Prohibit employees from taking calls or texting while driving.

Vehicle use guidelines

Other rules may be more flexible, but you should consider instituting policies and adhering to the following practices yourself as appropriate:

  • Limit non-business use of vehicles - While some employees use the same car for work and personal use, generally limit business vehicle use to work-related travel.
  • Slow down - Scheduling should allow sufficient travel time between meetings and assignments. Do not create such a frantic pace of work that employees are encouraged to speed. In addition to reducing the risk of accidents, driving the speed limit also will help control fuel costs.
  • Lock and secure vehicles - Employees should always lock vehicles when on the job. Whenever possible, vehicles should be parked in secure, well-lighted areas.

Employee-focused practices to reduce vehicle risk

  • Know your employees - Before hiring employees to drive company vehicles, check their driving record with the motor vehicle department for past infractions. Limit or ban driving by employees with a history of accidents or moving violations. Employees should also be required to report any accidents they have while not working. In addition, recognize that some personality traits—such as a bad temper—can raise the risk of auto accidents.
  • Provide training - Employees who regularly drive work vehicles—or are taking on a new assignment requiring vehicle use—should be provided with drivers training. This course may just be a refresher for some, but it should cover key safety practices such as following distances and proper backing techniques.
  • Recognize safe drivers - For businesses in which driving is central—such as a florist or a moving company—establish a program to recognize and reward safe drivers. You may also want to reward a department or the whole company for accident-free periods.

Responding to an accident

The above practices and policies can help minimize the risk to your business vehicles, but they cannot entirely prevent accidents from happening. If a business vehicle is involved in an accident, you’ll want to help your employee-driver respond appropriately and proceed with filing an insurance claim. The following practices and steps will help your business and the involved employee recover and get back to work.

  • Establish procedures in the event of an accident - Employees using company vehicles should be trained what to do if an accident occurs. This includes not leaving the scene of an accident, contacting the police, and collecting information (license plate numbers, contact information, insurance information, etc.) from the affected parties and any witnesses. The accident should also be reported to appropriate personnel at work. Consider using the incident as an opportunity to educate all employees who drive company vehicles about what to do if they are involved in an accident.
  • Contact your insurance professional and file a claim with your insurer - As soon as possible, contact your insurance professional to report the accident and begin the claims filing process. It’s especially important to work immediately with your insurance team if anyone has been injured in the accident. Follow the guidance of your insurer in a timely manner, such as getting estimates for repairs.

Remember too, that auto insurance claims are not limited to accidents. You may also need to file a claim if your vehicle is vandalized, stolen or damaged from an event other than an accident, such as fire or severe weather.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it’s advisable to put together an emergency roadside kit to carry with you. A cell phone tops the list of suggested emergency kit contents since it allows you to call for help when and where you need it. Suggested emergency roadside kit contents: 

  • Cell phone 
  • First aid kit 
  • Flashlight 
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables 
  • Jack (and ground mat) for changing a tire 
  • Work gloves and a change of clothes 
  • Basic repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak!) 
  • A jug of water and paper towels for cleaning up 
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines 
  • Extra windshield washer fluid 
  • Maps 

Source: NHTSA


share the road

Whether your a new driver on one with years of experience, it's always good to review safe driving habits. Even if you know what good habits are, there are often times where you're put in a situation where you have to make a decision to drive.  When it doubt, let someone else drive, pull over or call a cab.  

Avoid Fatigue

The best way to stay focused while driving is to avoid fatigue. Schedule your trip to allow for frequent breaks. Stopping for food or beverages, taking time to pull over at a rest stop just to stretch your legs, staying overnight at a motel or local bed-and-breakfast, and sharing the driving are all good strategies for avoiding fatigue and staying alert behind the wheel. Driving when overtired is just as dangerous as driving drunk.

Share the roadShare The Road 

Warmer weather attracts different types of roadway users, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. 

Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable road users; they do not have the protection of a car or truck, and collisions almost always result in injury. 

If you expect to see motorcycles, you are more likely to detect them. Often we filter out things we don't expect to see. Look for motorcycles - especially at intersections. 

Motorcycles are much lighter than other vehicles and can stop in much shorter distances. This means that when you are following a motorcycle, you should leave more distance. If the rider has to make an emergency stop, the bike will stop in a much shorter distance than your vehicle. 

When you see a motorcycle approaching, realize that it's easy to misjudge the speed because the size of the motorcycle and the fact that it is coming towards you makes it difficult to estimate speed.

Pedestrians are just as vulnerable as motorcyclists and bicyclists. Things to remember as a driver: 

  • You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere - even in places where they are not supposed to be found.
  • Pedestrians can be very hard to see - especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can't see clearly. 
  • Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop. 
  • Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt. 
  • Don't assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired - or drunk. 
  • When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that "gap", pedestrians may have moved into your intended path. 
  • Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Drive there like you would like people to drive in front of your own home. 

Avoid Bad Driver Behaviors 

Distracted Driving 
The focus of any driver, at all times, should be driving. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving. The most obvious forms of distraction are cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices. 

Set down some safety rules with your co-drivers before you hit the road. These rules should include refraining from activities that take your eyes and attention off the road. Insist that your co-drivers agree to make every effort to move to a safe place off of the road before using a cell phone—even in an emergency. 

Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time. 
Everybody aboard must agree to wear their seat belts every time they are riding or driving in your vehicle. If you’re not buckled up, you could be thrown through a window or into other passengers, sent skidding along the pavement, or be crushed under a vehicle in a crash. Wearing a seat belt is also the best defense against a drunk-driving related crash. 

Drunk Driving 
Every 51 minutes and 32 times a day, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-impaired-driving crash. Be responsible and don’t drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out. 

Source: NHTSA


related articles:

Summer driving tips - Part 1: Before you hit the road

Summer driving tips - Part 2: Protect the kids

Summer driving tips - Part 4: Emergency roadside kit


Covid-19 Business Resources

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 situation, businesses have had to learn fast, be creative, and absorb an incredible amount of information related to not only their actual business activities but also their employees.  When you have questions, certainly it's good to rely on those trusted service providers that you use for your business such as your attorney, accountant, bank, insurance agent, etc.; however, doing independent reading and research can also help to understand the overall issue before determining how your business needs to react.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has worked to develop a variety of online resources that may be of assistance.

Health and Safety Resource Guide
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Employee Rights and Employer Obligations 
Atty. General's Office Resource Guide - Small Businesses 
Atty. General's Office Guide - Assisting Small Businesses During the COVID-19 Crisis
Exec. Office of Housing & Economic Development COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Businesses 


The information provided in these articles are only general descriptions and should not be relied upon as complete, correct or accurate for your specific situation. All coverage informaiton is subject to policy provisions, endorsements and may be  subject to your meeting underwriting qualifications. Murphy Insurance Agency is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other noninsurance professional services. Consult an appropriate professional for advice regarding your own situation.