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Rutt Insurance Blog: 8_2016

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance.

Driving can open up new opportunities for teens but with those opportunities comes responsibility. It’s important for teens to understand those responsibilities and for parents to set appropriate expectations. Here are five subjects you’ll want to cover with your teenager when it comes to driving.


1) Distracted Driving

According to the FCC, distracted driving accounted for 16% of all fatal crashes in 2008 and 21% of accidents involving injuries. Distractions can include texting, talking on the phone and even scrolling through a playlist on your phone. When you’re in a car, remember that no text or phone call is worth injuring or killing yourself, your passengers and others on the road. If you need to call or text someone for directions or to let them know you’re on your way, pull into a parking lot or a safe area along the road with plenty of room between your vehicle and moving traffic

2) Driving under the influence

Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, with one third of those deaths being alcohol related, according to the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Avoiding situations with alcohol and drug use is the best way to avoid driving under the influence or riding with someone who is under the influence. If necessary make arrangements to have a designated driver or call someone else for a ride. There are no consequences that are worse than injuring or killing yourself or others.

3) Passenger Safety

As a driver, you have a responsibility for the passengers in your vehicle. Make sure you and your passengers all have their seatbelts on before leaving and during all trips- whether down the street or outside town. A driver should make sure that passengers don’t lean out of windows, throw things from a moving vehicle or engage in other horseplay.

4) Obeying traffic laws

While this seems obvious, making an effort to follow all the laws as a new driver will help establish good driving habits and avoid bad ones like excessive speeding and rolling through stop signs.

5) Protecting the vehicle and its contents

Whether going to the mall or driving to school, remember to lock the car doors. Thieves look for easy targets, and if they see a GPS unit, a phone, tablets, etc. in an unlocked car you’ve made their job easy. Remember to do a quick scan for anything that might be tempting to a thief and either take it with you or stow it in the glove box, or under a seat.

Posted 2:51 PM


Thinking of getting a “Lyft” from a ridesharing service? Make sure you’re covered if you get hurt as a passenger.

 

Ridesharing is becoming more common around the state and the nation, particularly in large cities. Capitalizing on the new “sharing economy” and to a certain extent the coolness factor, this simple concept is thriving. Passengers, however, are generally not aware of the insurance implications, and that their driver’s insurance may not properly cover them. If you’re thinking of becoming a driver for a Transportation Network Company (TNC), also read our companion flyer.

Q: What is ridesharing?

A: In the new sharing economy, ridesharing allows vehicle owners to transport passengers in their own cars for a fee or a “donation.”

Drivers sign up with a service that charges a fee to connect passengers with drivers via a website or smartphone app.

Passengers arrange rides and pay with a credit card using the app.

Q: Why is ridesharing an issue?

A: Ridesharing is not the same as riding in a taxi or limousine. Taxis are licensed by the state or a local authority and subject to strict standards, from vehicle inspection and driver licensing to insurance that protects passengers and others who could be hurt in an accident.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft are not subject to the same requirements. However, they have drawn increasing attention from state regulators and legislators concerned that the public may not be properly protected. In fact, various state regulators have issued consumer alerts to warn the public about possible risks of using a ridesharing app when riding as a passenger.

Q: How is the ridesharing company insured?

A: Insurance is the crux of the issue. Drivers are using their personal vehicles. Personal auto insurance generally excludes coverage when transporting passengers for a fee.

An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to provide some protection by covering the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. The nature and scope of coverage provided by the TNC varies from company to company, and its coordination with the driver’s personal auto policy can leave uninsured gaps, in some cases significant.

 

Q: How do I know if I’m covered as a passenger?

A: If  you are considering using a ridesharing service, you should:

Research the companies that operate in your city Find out how these companies protect their drivers and passengers, including their liability limits

If you have a personal auto policy yourself, you may be able to claim some coverage under your policy if you are hurt in an accident as a passenger. If you do not own a car, you will not have that option, unless you purchased a “named non-owner” policy. We can tell you more about this if you’d like.

Q: Why should I worry? How likely is it that a bad claim will occur?

A: There is no way of knowing what kind of accident will occur. Hopefully, none. However, many of the insurance issues that have come to light have stemmed from catastrophic claims. One in California where a six-year old girl was killed in a collision with a rideshare car.

While often downplayed by those who have an interest in the ridesharing business, coordination between the commercial and personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of any accident will have a bearing on whether coverage extends to the driver and the passenger. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Q: Is this insurance issue settled?

A: No. A number of state legislatures have passed laws to address proper insurance coverage (amongst other things), but the issue is not fully settled. Some personal auto insurers are revisiting the issue and considering new ways to close those gaps in insurance.

    -Content used by permission of Trusted Choice www.trustedchoice.com/

Posted 10:00 AM


NOTICE: This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state. By using this blog site you understand that there is no broker client relationship between you and the blog and website publisher.
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