Insurance, Stereos and Drivers Ed

I have a friend who’s daughter is sprinting through a drivers’ education class.  She and her classmates are coming up with A LOT of really great questions.  I thought one blog devoted to the driving/insurance Q & A’s would help.  These answers might differ from mine, depending on the company who insures you.

1.   Am I covered by my parent’s auto policy when I drive in drivers ed class?

  • Yes, you are.  Depending on the company (Progressive wants to know before you start the class) you only need to call your agent when you get your license.   After answering some questions, you will then be added to your parents’ policy.

 2.  I’m buying a new stereo and speakers for my car.  Will they be covered if I have an accident? 

  • Yes, AS LONG as the stereo and speakers were installed by the dealership that sold you the car, or a dealer for the car’s manufacturer.  They must be installed and made a permanent part of the car.

 3.  Are my ipod, notebook and laptop covered by my auto policy?

  •  No.  Those would be covered under your parents home or renters insurance, as would your backpack and jacket.  Best practice is not to leave anything in the car that you don’t want stolen.

 4.  Am I covered by my policy if I drive someone else’s car?

  •  Your friends’ parents’ policy would cover first.  Then, if there is still damage that needs to be fixed (either damage to a car or hurt people), yours would act as backup.  It’s best not to either borrow or lend a car.

 5.  What do I do if I am in an auto accident?

  • I wrote a blog describing what we suggest you do and say.  I have attached it to the end of this one (Auto Accident 101).

6.   My friends’ brother got a DUI ticket and had to get SR22 insurance.  What is that?

  •  An SR22, required by the Washington State Department of Licensing, isn’t insurance.  It is a form that your insurance agency sends to the DOL that advises them if you do or do not have auto insurance.  Your friend was ticketed for driving when he shouldn’t have.   The state just needs proof that, if his poor driving choices cause an accident, he has the financial means to fix everything as much as possible.

Auto Accident 101

Around this time of year I receive a lot of calls from concerned parents.  It is drivers education season, followed quickly by drivers license season.  Our state laws help a bit, limiting passengers and where a newly minted driver can go, but parents are still concerned that their immortal holders of all knowledge know what to do when they are involved in an accident.   So, here we go.  Parents, you can listen in, too.

Accidents can happen, even to the most careful driver.  Knowing what to do and what to say just after an accident will help you remain calm and in control.  The following tips are important to review now because, when an accident happens, you will be a bit shockey and your mind might go blank.  If you’ve read this you might be able to remember the most important points and do what needs to be done:

  1.  If you are not injured, check to see if anyone else in your car or the other vehicle is.
  2. When you are checking the other car and speak with the people in it, do not ever talk about whose fault the accident was.  Ever.  Don’t say you’re sorry (implying you caused the injuries).  Just check to see if anyone is hurt.  Only discuss the accident with the police and your insurance agent.  Do not accept any monetary settlement at the accident scene.
  3. If you are injured and unable to get out of your car, skip to number 4.   For the rest of these tips, I will assume you are not hurt.
  4. Call the police and let them know:
    1.  Where the accident happened
    2. If anyone is injured
    3. If your cars are driveable to move them
    4.  Exchange information with the other driver:
      1. Name, address and phone number of driver, names and addresses of passengers
      2. Drivers license number, license plate number and state
      3. Insurance company name, policy number. 
      4. make, model year, color of vehicle
      5. If there are witnesses, get their names and phone numbers
      6.  If you have a camera (phone?) take pictures of both cars showing the damage, the scene of the accident and the weather (are the roads wet?).
      7. Diagram the accident, noting time of day and weather condition of the roadway (wet, icy, dry).  Note:
        1.   Show positions of all vehicles before and after the accident
        2. Show locations of signs, streets and medians
        3. Note any apparent damage to not only your vehicle, but all vehicles involved in the accident.
        4. Write down any important details

A lot to do when you’re not thinking straight.  Just keep in mind:  Check for injuries, keep your mouth shut and call the police.  Then call us SILVERMARK



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