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Should Teen Drivers Have Their Own Auto Insurance Policies?

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Now that your teen is driving, you need to purchase auto insurance for him or her. That means you need to decide if the family's newest driver will have an individual auto insurance policy or be added to the family policy. Learn the pros and cons as you make this important decision.


1. Teens reduce their future insurance costs when they get an individual policy. By proving that they're responsible and safe drivers, teens build a track record that can gain them favorable auto, renters and other insurance policy rates in the future.

2. Building credit is possible with a teen auto insurance policy. Of course, teens have to pay their premiums on time to earn this benefit, but they'll reap the rewards when they go to rent an apartment or open a credit card in a few years.

3. Teens have access to several unique auto insurance discounts. Taking a safe driving course, maintaining good grades, holding a steady job and paying premiums on time are four unique discounts that some insurance companies offer to teen drivers.


1. Many insurance companies won't give risky teen drivers an individual policy. Statistically, teens are the most dangerous drivers on the road because they are inexperienced and easily distracted. Remaining on a parent's policy may be the only insurance option available to teens.

2. Teen policies are expensive. Insurance companies typically charge higher rates to drivers under 25. Plus, teens can't take advantage of multi car and multi policy discounts. Because of these factors, teens face high auto insurance costs.

3. Parental auto insurance rates can increase by hundreds of dollars thanks to teen drivers. Not only does adding another driver and car cause the policy premiums to rise, but any claims also increases insurance premiums.

If your teen really wants his or her own auto insurance policy, shop around for the best rates and coverage. In cases, the higher premium costs for a teen policy provide benefits are a good trade-off for teens and their parents. 


Facts to Consider Before Serving Alcohol to Backyard Party Guests

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Now that summer's here, you're ready to invite guests over to party. What responsibilities do you have, though, if you serve alcohol? Consider these facts.

You're Responsible

If one of your guests drinks and injures someone or causes an accident during or after the party, you could be responsible thanks to social host laws that vary between states. Understand your state's laws and be prepared to serve alcohol responsibly because your intoxicated guests' actions could become your liability.

Protect Your Assets

Your home, bank accounts and paychecks are at risk if you're found liable for an intoxicated guests' actions. Lawsuits could run into the millions of dollars, especially if someone is killed. Protect your assets when you:

*Stay sober

*Limit drinks

*Don't play drinking games

*Say no when someone's had enough

*Designate a driver to take guests home, call a taxi or let guests crash at your house until they're sober

Never Serve Alcohol to Minors

Every state and even municipalities within a state enforce different laws about serving alcohol to minors. However, you'll stay on the right side of the law if you don't serve alcohol to minors during your backyard parties or leave alcohol available during parties your kids might host when you're not home. Doing so could get you fined or jailed.

All Home Insurance Policies are not Created Equal

Home insurance policies can include social hosting liability that you'll need if you serve alcohol to party guests. Review your policy today and make sure it includes adequate social hosting liability coverage. If it doesn't, discuss your options with your agent or shop around for a policy that will protect you and your assets.

Backyard party season has arrived, but be careful when you serve alcohol. Know the facts so that you can protect yourself and your guests. Be sure to review your homeowners insurance policy, too, as you maximize your coverage and prepare to have a fun and safe summer. 


Are Overnight Guests Covered by Your Renters Insurance Policy?

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Renters insurance covers your possessions if they're stolen, lost or damaged. It also gives you liability protection if you or someone else is injured while visiting you. You may wonder, though, if overnight guests who are not listed on your policy are covered by your renters insurance.

If Their Stuff is Stolen

Let's say you and your guest go out for the evening and come home to find that all the electronics in your apartment were stolen, including your guest's laptop. Would your guest be able to file a claim under your renters insurance policy?
Perhaps, depending on your coverage. When you purchased your policy, you included a value of all your possessions. If the value of the stolen items does not exceed your policy limit, then you can file a claim for all the stolen items, including your guest's laptop.

Next, see if your policy covers actual cash or replacement value. Actual cash value coverage reimburses you the amount of money you paid for the item when you first bought it. Replacement value coverage gives you enough money to buy a new item at today's cost. This policy detail determines whether or not your guest receives enough money to buy a new laptop.

Likewise, you have to prove what's missing. You're welcome to include your guest's laptop in your claim, but you'll need a physical description of the stolen item, including its serial number and value.

If They're Injured

When one of your guests fall down the steps, your renters insurance may pay for medical treatment. The same theory applies to guests who stay overnight. Check your policy for liability limits, but rest assured that injuries your guest suffers while staying with you could be covered by your renters insurance.

If They Do Damage

Suppose your guest becomes clumsy and accidently smashes your glass figurine collection. File an insurance claim to replace the items. Whether you damage your belongings or someone else does, your renters insurance will cover it.

When will your next overnight guest arrive? Update your renters insurance now to ensure you're ready for anything. 


Best Ways to Prevent Home Break-Ins

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Your home doesn't need an expensive security system to prevent burglaries. Several simple but powerful steps help you secure your home and prevent break-ins.

Lock the Doors and Windows

Forty percent of burglaries occur because robbers can simply walk, crawl or climb into houses. Even if you're at home, lock your doors and windows. Remember to lock basement, second floor and attic entryways, too.

Hide Valuables

Leave your valuables in plain sight, and you invite a break-in. Instead, be careful what you toss or recycle because thieves can use your trash to see what types of things they might find inside your home. Likewise, never leave valuables like your motorcycle or bike unattended in the driveway, and close your home's curtains.

Pretend You're Home

Even if you're on vacation, you can pretend your home and fake out potential burglars. Leave your front porch light or an interior light on, turn on a radio and ask a friend to grab your mail and newspaper every day as you protect your home.

Secure Doors and Windows

Wimpy doors and windows give thieves easy access to your home and garage. Invest in quality steel doors and double paned windows for greater security. You can also install nails on your window frames to prevent someone from opening an accidentally unlocked window.

Maintain Your Landscaping

Instead to surrounding your house with tall plants that give thieves a place to hide, use your landscaping as a criminal deterrent. Plant prickly roses under windows, and keep all exterior plants trimmed. Cut off tree branches that extend to your roof, too, to deter access to your second floor.

Know Your Neighbors

When neighbors unite, crime decreases. Start a Neighborhood Watch Program or agree to keep a casual eye on the homes in your neighborhood as you prevent break-ins.

These tips help you avoid break-ins, but you also want to purchase or update a home insurance policy. While it won't prevent a break-in, it does give you peace of mind if a burglar strikes.