5 Reasons Young Drivers Pay More

Auto insurance premiums for young drivers can be heart-attack-inducing. More than a few parents must have been forced to choose between using their savings for their child’s college fees, or for their auto insurance. But why exactly are teen drivers such an expensive proposition for insurance companies?

  1. Young Drivers Are An Unknown Risk: Insurance calculations partly base their calculations on a driver’s prior history. Teens are an unknown quantity because they only just started driving. Therefore, insurance carriers assume the worst-case scenario when assessing premiums. It’s up to the young driver to maintain a clean driving record for the first few years and then premiums will start to come down.
  2. Young Drivers Have More Accidents: A fact of life is that young drivers have more accidents than older ones. This is supported by a large amount of data gathered over many years. Insurance is a risk pool where everyone must pay for the accidents of others – therefore it is not surprising that younger drivers are expected to pay a higher proportion of the costs!
  3. Young Drivers Are Less Experienced: It takes a long time to build good driving skills, especially when handling emergency situations. Defensive, risk-averse driving is something that takes many years to master. Young drivers tend to misjudge situations on the road, and are more prone to panic or over-correct.
  4. Young Drivers Are More Prone To Distracted Driving: Ever seen a young person NOT using a cellphone?! Take a moment to observe other drivers on the road (but obviously not while you are driving!). It is hardly surprising that distracted driving contributes to an ever-increasing percentage of serious accidents among young drivers.
  5. Young Drivers Are Crazier Drivers: Science supports the assertion that teen drivers are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors. High-risk driving on the highway is not an attractive prospect for insurers. Young men are especially likely to speed, tailgate, and have an overly inflated opinion of their own driving skills.

One of the best ways to save money is to shop your auto insurance with a range of different providers. At Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston, Texas, we have a wide range of options to choose from – give us a call for a quote today.

Road Rage and Auto Insurance

Want to know why “road rage” is not covered by many auto insurance policies? The simple answer is that property damage or liability claims resulting from aggressive driving are not considered to be accidental, but rather, an avoidable consequence of risky behavior.

Even if you’re feeling calm, you don’t want to become part of someone else’s auto accident as a result of their bad driving choices. The following tips may save your bacon on Houston’s high-octane highways:

  1. Stay far away: Slow down or change lanes to leave as much space between you and the offending driver as possible. If you are being tailgated, move aside to reduce the chance of being run into from behind if you are forced to brake sharply.
  2. Note the vehicle details: Pull over and report the aggressive driver to the police. Remember – do not make a call on your cell phone while driving!
  3. Don’t use hand gestures: A middle-finger salute could quickly escalate the situation out of hand if the other driver is already feeling angry, aggressive, or upset.
  4. Don’t confront another driver: In a moment of madness, it may be tempting to follow the person who just cut you off, force them off the road, and teach them a lesson using a tire iron or firearm. Don’t do this.
  5. Practice empathy: Maybe the aggressive driver is running late for work, or just had an argument with his wife. Perhaps the slow driver is lost, or has a mechanical issue with his vehicle. At some point, everyone has been one of those drivers – try not to take the bad driving of others personally.

Stay safe on those crazy roads and if you need auto insurance advice, call your friends at Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston, Texas!

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Auto Insurance

When it comes to auto insurance in Houston, “honesty is the best policy”. Leave out important information on your application, and you could end up incorrectly insured – which is a scenario you may come to regret if you are involved in an auto accident.

Full disclosure applies not only to new business, but to renewals as well. Your account manager at Memorial Insurance Agency will review all your policies with you on an annual basis, as part of our service. Those discussions often revolve around premium, liability limits, and deductibles – but it is also important to let us know if you have made any major life changes, changed your garaging address, vehicle use, or added a household member of driving age. So please make sure you mention all relevant information to your agent!

CLICK HERE for a full rundown of the things you need to consider!

Latest Happenings at MIA!

Our Director of Operations, Dominic Le Croissette, with other real estate professionals at Sweet Bribery in The Heights.

What has the team at Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston been doing recently?

Last week, we sponsored a fantastic Champagne Floats event for real estate professionals at Sweet Bribery in The Heights. It was great to see such a big turnout of realtors, mortgage brokers, and other people involved in the flourishing Houston real estate market.

Our team continues to go from strength to strength! The new arrivals on our production team, Shannon Broll and Kevin Feehery, are really proving their expertise when it comes to writing home insurance, auto insurance, and flood insurance policies. It’s great to have them both on board!

And finally ….. our customer service manager, Denise Martinez, is leading by example with her awesome service to her clients – check out this lovely, heartfelt thank you letter from one of her customers.

Have a great weekend everyone!

4 Reasons to Get a QUALITY Auto Insurance Policy

Some people think auto insurance is all about price. Those people get the cheapest possible policy because – obviously – no one wants to pay more for insurance than they have to, right?

Wrong! While, naturally, price is a major consideration when it comes to choosing car insurance, it is by no means the only consideration. Here are four excellent reasons to spend a little extra for a quality policy:

  1. You get higher coverages: The difference in price between state minimum liability limits (30/60 in Texas), and something a lot better, is often surprisingly small. It makes sense to spend just a few extra dollars each month, for the peace of mind that you have enough coverage in the insurance to pay for an accident. So, you should pick the 100/300 limits as an absolute minimum. Many “cheap” auto insurance companies offer only the lowest coverage limits, which won’t go far if you’re involved in a crash with a Lexus or a Tesla – and especially if someone gets injured. Guess who they come after for the money, once your insurance limits have been exhausted? Yes, that’s right: you, and everything you own.
  2. You get broader coverages: Let’s say your son or daughter is home from college for a few weeks, or your friend desperately needs to borrow your vehicle. You don’t want to have to add them to your policy, just so they can have occasional use of your car. Quality auto insurance policies, such as those offered by Safeco, Travelers or Progressive, cover anyone to drive your car with your permission. Cheap policies offer no coverage for any driver except those named on the policy.
  3. You get a high-quality claims service: If you’re ever involved in an accident, the last thing you need is a lot of hassle to get your car towed or repaired. The top auto insurance companies have a fast, efficient claims service, and they work with networks of high-quality repair shops. So you’ll be back on the road in no time, and with the minimum of heartache.
  4. You can lock in to a rate for 12 months: Safeco, Travelers, Progressive and other high-quality auto insurance carriers lock in your premium for an entire year. Most cheap auto insurance companies, including Geico, offer only 6-month policies. You don’t have to be a genius to guess what might happen when insurance companies have the opportunity to increase your rates after six months!

Give your agent at Memorial Insurance a call today, and we’ll be happy to explain your current coverages, or offer a comparative quote with a quality auto insurance carrier. Safe driving!

5 Reasons to get Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage is an essential part of your auto insurance policy. Yes, it is optional and you can “reject” it in writing, but you’d be crazy to do this considering that an estimated one in five drivers in Texas may be driving around with no insurance at all, and millions more drivers have only the bare minimum of coverage.

How do UM and UIM coverages protect you? They step in to cover bodily injury and property damage if you get involved in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance, or whose insurance limits are less than the cost of the accident. Hit-and-run accidents – where the other driver flees the scene – would also be included in the UM/UIM part of your auto insurance policy.

So, why get UM/UIM? Here are 5 very good reasons:

  1. The number of uninsured motorists is increasing As insurance costs spiral ever higher, so too does the number of people willing to “chance it” and drive without insurance. This is especially true in large cities like Houston which have among the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation.
  2. The number of uninsured motorists may continue to rise Research has shown that the number of uninsured drivers is directly related to the strength of the economy. If we enter another recession, the numbers of people without insurance will increase, so you should be prepared for this well ahead of time.
  3. Minimum liability limits are too low Even if you already have UM/UIM coverage, if you have only the minimum 30/60/25 limits ($30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage) you will likely have too little coverage under your policy to pay for a serious accident. Guess what happens if you run out of coverage? Yup, you are going to be paying the rest out of your own pocket, and those medical bills do not come cheap.
  4. Increasing your UM/UIM limits is not expensive It usually costs just a handful of dollars a month to upgrade from 30/60/25 to 100/300/100 or more – giving you a lot more coverage (and peace of mind) for very little additional cost.
  5. The chance of collecting money from an uninsured motorist is low Someone who is driving without insurance most likely has few assets, so pursuing a claim against them will likely to be an expensive waste of time, especially considering the legal fees involved.

The moral of the story? Speak to your agent at Memorial Insurance today to make sure the UM/UIM limits on your policy have you covered if the worst should happen!

Telematics: the Future of Auto Insurance?

Telematics is a technology-based system whereby insurance companies assess your auto insurance premiums based on your driving habits. The idea is to create a fairer system of auto insurance, by rewarding safe drivers with lower premiums – as well as providing a much more accurate way for insurers to assess risk.

You may know Telematics by other names such as Right Track (Safeco), Snapshot (Progressive), or IntelliDrive (Travelers). Drivers participating in the program download an app to their phone, or plug a device into their vehicle, which measures their speed, acceleration, braking, and night time driving, for a period of 90-365 days. At the end, safe drivers receive a discount from their auto premium, or a lower rate for their auto insurance renewal.

Some industry analysts predict that nearly all auto insurance policies will be primarily telematics-based within five years. It’s good news for driver safety, and also for premiums. Most carriers offer a 5% discount just for taking part in the program, with up to a further 20-30% premium reduction available on completion.

Give your agent at Memorial Insurance a call to see which Telematics program is available for your auto policy, and whether it would be a good fit for you.

Drive safe!

Rewards for Safe Drivers

Insurance carriers are increasingly turning to technology to get a better idea of the risk profile of the customers they insure. One example, which is currently taking the auto insurance market by storm, is “telematics”. The exact details vary by carrier, but broadly speaking it involves installing a device in your vehicle, or downloading a smartphone app, which monitors your driving habits over a period of time (usually 90 days).

At the end of this period, insurance companies assess your results, factoring in your speed, how often you accelerate hard or brake sharply, and how often you drive in the dead of night when serious accidents are more frequent. Safe drivers who do not engage in risky behaviors see a reduction in their premium. Depending on the carrier, this can be as much as 20% off the entire premium. Be careful though, because several carriers INCREASE premiums for risky drivers, so it pays to chat to your friendly independent insurance agent to find out if telematics programs are a good fit for you!

The video above explains a little about Travelers’ telematics product, called IntelliDrive and launched in late 2018. Safeco (“Right Track”) and Progressive (“Snapshot”) also have similar products which differ in a few details.

Worried about data harvesting? Don’t be. These devices or apps glean only information directly relating to your driving habits. People worry about being “monitored”, but this fear is misplaced ……. if you own a smartphone or engage in any kind of social media, your data is already being used in far greater depth than with any telematics device.

For safe drivers, getting on a telematics program is a no-brainer. It is also the way of the future – by 2025 it is estimated that the vast majority of auto insurance premium calculations will be entirely or mostly telematics-based.

Safe driving out there!