Do you drive safely with your dog?

Do you drive with your dog? Mostly likely, your answer is yes! 🐶🚘

A recent survey from Selective Insurance found that 89% of licensed drivers who owned a dog have driven with their dog in the last year. 65% drove with their dog at least once a week.

Follow up question: do you drive SAFELY with your dog? Really think about it…

91% of the drivers in this survey admitted to interacting with their dog while driving. So, if you’re a dog owner, you’re most likely driving with and interacting with your dog while on the road.

Consider these additional findings from the survey:

  • 50% pet their dog while driving.
  • 36% gave them food, water, or a treat.
  • 33% turned around to look at them in the back seat!
  • 40% admitted to demonstrating reckless driving behaviors like hard braking, swerving, or not using turn signals due to being distracted by their dog.
  • 17% even had their dog sitting in their lap while driving.

It can be easy to forget your best driving practices when you are distracted by your sweet pup. But, it is not impossible!

Try implementing these safe driving tips when you’re driving with your pet:

  • Have your dog ride in the back seat or, if appropriate, your trunk.
  • Try using a partition to separate the front seat from the back seats.
  • Consider a dog seatbelt, safety harness, or anchored crate for your dog.
  • If you have to pull over for your dog, don’t go to the shoulder of the road. Instead, search for a quiet parking lot.

How Is Your Auto Insurance Premium Determined?

Unfortunately, prices are going up everywhere, including insurance rates.

Insurance premium is determined by several factors. These factors evaluate the risk the insurance company takes on by insuring you. The company want to reduce their risk of paying out on expensive claims. So, if they consider you more likely to have claims, your premium will increase.

Here are some key factors that may affect your auto insurance premium:

  • Driving record
    • This includes any speeding tickets, driving violations, or anything else that gets a point on your license.
  • At-fault accidents
    • Carriers may consider at-fault accidents as an indicator that you are more likely to incur more accidents in the future.
  • Annual mileage
    • If you drive less, you are simply statistically less likely to get in an accident.
  • The drivers on your policy
    • Newly licensed drivers or drivers with points on their record are considered more “risky”.
  • The condition of your car
    • Newer cars and cars with modern and unique technologies are likely to cost more to repair or replace in the case of an accident.
  • Inflation
    • Inflation impacts everything — including auto parts, labor, rental rates, medical fees, and more. Insurance companies cover those fees in the case of claims, so they have rapidly rising bills as well.

While inflation unfortunately cannot be helped, you can control those other factors!

Additionally, many insurance companies offer useful discounts you can take advantage of. The simplest and most universal is to bundle your home and auto policies together. Many companies offer discounts for safe driving as well. Another convenient discount available for Mapfre policyholders in MA is the Pan-Mass donation discount.

If you’d like to work on lowering your premium, give us a call at 617-965-1830! We’d be happy to collaborate on saving you some money.

Earn a Discount by Driving Safely

Many of our carriers may reward your safe driving with a discounted premium! Mapfre, Travelers, Progressive, Safeco, and Safety policyholders: read on to learn how to earn an additional discount!

Mapfre

New Mapfre clients can download Mapfre’s MotionSmart mobile app and you can receive up to a 10% discount on their Auto policy!

Click here to learn more.

Travelers

Traveler’s IntelliDrive mobile app tracks your driving habits and adjusts your premium accordingly.

More about IntelliDrive here.

Progressive

Progressive’s Snapshot mobile app personalizes your auto premium based on how and how much you drive. In fact, drivers who save with Snapshot save an average of $156 a year (excluding AK, HI, & NY).

Get more info at this link.

Safeco

Policyholders can download the Safeco mobile app and enroll in RightTrack. After 90 days of safe driving, you could see savings between 5% and 30% on your policy! The more drivers on your policy that use RightTrack, the higher your potential savings.

Learn more from Safeco’s website.

Safety

Safety offers several discount programs for their safe drivers in MA!

  • Up to 24% for Excellent Driver Plus Discount (no accidents or incidents in past 6 years)
  • Up to 10% for Excellent Driver Discount (no accidents or incidents in past 5 years)
  • 5% Group Discount for drivers who participate in In Control’s Crash Prevention Training. Sign up for the program at a discounted rate here.

If you have any questions about these programs, please call us at 617-965-1830, text us at 617-958-5929, or email info@smollerinsurance.com. We’ll be happy to help you figure out the best possible way to save you money.

How to Read Your Home Policy

Coverage A, B, C, D… what does that even mean?

Whether you live in a house, condominium, or apartment, your home needs to be protected — and you need to understand how it is protected!

Here is your guide to understanding every kind of coverage listed on your home policy‘s declarations page (AKA your full policy document).

  • Coverage A/Dwelling: This is probably the most important part of a homeowners policy! This covers the structure of your home and many parts that help create it, such as floors, windows, and doors.
  • Coverage B/Other Structures: Covers stand-alone structures on your property, like fencing or sheds.
  • Coverage C/Personal Property: Covers personal belongings that aren’t built into the structure of your home. This includes furniture, clothing, electronic devices, etc.
  • Coverage D/Loss of Use: Covers temporary living expenses while your home is being repaired from a serious claim.
  • Coverage E/Personal Liability: Pays for expenses related to an injury or property damage sustained by others for which you or covered residents of your household are liable.
  • Coverage F/Medical Payments to Others: pays for expenses related to an injury that occurs on your property — whether you’ve been found liable or not
  • Deductible: The amount you pay to repair damage in a claim before your insurance starts to pay

If you have a condo policy, then you have all of the above coverages except for Coverage B/Other Structures.

If you have a renters policy, then you only have Coverages C through F.

Still confused? Let us know. We’ll be happy to discuss your coverages.

How to Read Your Auto Policy

Deciphering insurance terminology can be frustrating…

We are the first to admit it: insurance policies can be confusing. When reviewing your declarations page (AKA your full policy), we want you to be able to quickly identify what your coverages are without having to decode fancy terminology.

Have no fear! The Smoller Insurance team is here to help!

Here are the most important points on your auto policy.

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Covers costs associated with injuries that you or another driver causes while driving your car. This includes collisions with insured drivers, underinsured drivers, and uninsured drivers.
  • Property Damage – Covers damage that you or another driver operating your car causes to another vehicle or other property.
  • Collision and Comprehensive
    • Collision coverage – Covers damage to your car resulting from a collision with an object. This number is the amount you pay out of pocket as a deductible before your insurance covers the rest of the damage.
    • Comprehensive coverage – Covers damage to your car caused by disasters other than collisions.
  • Rental car coverage/Substitute Transportation – The numbers listed here show the amount per day your insurance will pay for a rental car for you if your car is damaged in a claim, and the maximum amount they will pay for a rental in total.
  • Towing and Labor – The number listed here is the amount of money your policy will cover for expenses associated with car breakdowns, like towing.

If you want to discuss or adjust your levels of coverage, let us know! We will be happy to help.

Heating Equipment Safety

Now that it is winter, it is prime time for us New Englanders to use our fireplaces or space heaters to keep the house warm. However, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in the USA.

Consider these stats from the National Fire Protection Association:

🪵 From 2016-2020, an annual average of 44,210 home structure fires were caused by heating equipment.

🪵 Space heaters were responsible for the largest shares of losses, one third, of those fires.

🪵 46% of these fires occurred between December and February.

🪵 The number of home fires involving heating equipment has declined over the last 20 years. It is likely thanks to improvements in safety standards.

So, how do you use your heating equipment safely? The NFPA’s top tip is to maintain three feet of clear space between your heating equipment and anything else! Learn more here.