Auto Insurance for Teens

Summer is Over… and that Means More Teens on the Road!

Summer will officially be over on September 21, but most kids in Colorado have already started the school year. While most parents can’t wait for their children go back to school, some who have teens are a bit apprehensive. Why? Because many teens will be driving themselves to school for the very first time. This can make parents of new drivers very nervous and makes auto insurance for teens top of mind.

It’s Important to have the Right Auto Insurance Coverage when You Have a Teen Driver

Not only are your teens new drivers, but navigating a high school parking lot can be overwhelming for teenagers. Any time hundreds of young drivers are grouped together in a parking lot, accidents are sure to happen. This is just one reason it’s important to make sure you have adequate auto insurance when you have teen drivers. In other words making sure you have adequate auto insurance for teens at this time of year is especially important!

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, “Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways – traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.”

Here are some other scary facts about teen drivers:

  • Teens (16-19) are 2.5 times more likely to get into an accident than the next highest risk age group (20-24).
  • The likelihood of a teenage driver’s being in an accident increases with each additional passenger in the car.
  • Youthful drivers pay the most for auto insurance because they are the highest risk.

So, Mom and Dad… get ready for your rates to go through the roof when your teen is a fully licensed driver! But auto insurance for teens can be kept under control if you are careful.

What You Can do to Reduce Your Policy Rates for Auto Insurance for Teens

  • Enroll your teen in a driver education class. Completing this type of class can often result in an auto insurance discount.
  • Make sure your teen focuses on school. Good grades can earn your teen a “good student” discount with most insurance carriers.
  • Avoid high risk cars. Although your teen might think it’s cool to drive a fast sports car when they are in high school, it can  drive up your rates.
  • Limit your teen’s passengers. Only allow your teen to drive alone or with a maximum of one other person in the car. Fewer people in the car means fewer distractions.
  • Do not allow your teen to use a cell phone while driving. No texting either!
  • Encourage your teen pay for his or her own auto insurance – or at least part of it. If teens pay for it, they’re likely to show more respect for their driving privilege.

Colorado Driver’s License Requirements
for Teens

In order to obtain a driver’s license in Colorado, a teen must:

  • Hold a permit for at least 12 months
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Complete and sign a drive time log
  • Get a 6-hour behind the wheel certificate if they are younger than 16 years, 6 months
  • Pass a driving test
  • Provide their social security number to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Show their proof of address

If your teen is just getting behind the wheel, please call us to review your auto insurance. We appreciate the stress parents feel with new teen drivers.  Our goal is to increase your peace of mind by helping you have the right auto insurance in place to protect your teen and manage your risk.   Call us at 303-777-2991 or e-mail us today.

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

by Cindy Chase

Unfortunately there are many drivers on the road without any type of insurance coverage. Some drivers have coverage but not enough to cover the damages from a serious accident. You may wonder what happens if you’re involved in an accident with one of these uninsured drivers. Will you be able to get the money needed to pay for damages?

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection (UI/UIM) was created for this purpose.  They are two separate issues but often purchased and grouped together on a policy. UI/UIM can protect you in an accident if the other driver has no coverage or inadequate coverage on their vehicle.

The other driver must be deemed legally responsible for the accident in order for UI/UIM to kick in. The coverage can pay for damage to your vehicle as well as medical bills for physical injuries received by you or your passengers during the wreck.

What is an Unisured/Underinsured Driver?

A driver is considered uninsured if he or she:

  • has no insurance coverage
  • has coverage that does not meet state liability requirements
  • has insurance with a company who refuses to pay

A driver is considered underinsured if he or she:

  • has insurance coverage with payment limits too low to cover the accident

Unfortunately not everyone is aware of UI/UIM and may not include the coverage in their policy. According to the Insurance Research Council, close to 25% of drivers may not have UI/UIM in some states. In fact, it isn’t even required in every state.

Colorado Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Colorado does require drivers to carry UI/UIM at a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 up to the amount of bodily injury liability limits selected. You are allowed to reject the coverage but it must be done in writing.

At Aspen Insurance, we always advise our clients to carry the Colorado state required UI/UIM minimums.  We also encourage our clients to evaluate their risk of loss in the event of the unexpected. In today’s world, the Colorado minimums are really just that, and an increase in coverage is often needed to protect your assets.

It’s hard to imagine but you could end up losing your hard earned assets if you’re in an auto accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist.  We drive every day so the right amount of UI/UIM coverage  provides  peace of mind to know you are financially protected in an accident.

If you would like to review your auto policy, please call us at  303-777-2991 or send us an e-mail. We’re happy to do a review of your current UI/UIM coverage to ensure your peace of mind.

Colorado Lifestyle: Safety Tips for Riding Your Bike

by Cindy Chase

I love riding my bike to work.  At the first sign of spring, you’ll find me happily pedaling to my Denver based office. It’s one of the things I love about the Colorado lifestyle.

So I was thrilled when there was finally a break from the Rocky Mountain winter.  Mid-March and 70 degrees!

Like so many other cycling enthusiasts in Colorado, that 70 degree March day inspired me to pull out my “cruiser” bike and enjoy my first ride to work in 2013. Within the first few minutes of riding…I was reminded of biker safety and the need for motorist to remember they share the road with cyclists.

Riding Your Bike to Work

I ride on side streets and most of them have cycling lanes.  Here is what I encountered on my 6-mile ride to work:

  • Crowding by BIG SUVS at corners…okay maybe, they really didn’t see me.  But that’s the point you need to be on the look-out for cyclists in the riding lane.
  • Motorists getting very close to me when we were the only ones on the road.
  • People getting in their cars, opening the car door and not looking to see if a cyclists or other motorist are coming.

Thank-goodness for my obnoxious bell!

Colorado Lifestyle:  Spring has Sprung and so have the Cyclists, Motorcyclists and Walkers

We all need to remember that in Colorado – Spring means we “spring” to the great outdoors. It’s time to put away our winter safety habits…snow, ice etc and polish up our spring safety habits.

Everywhere you turn, you’ll see cyclists, motorcyclists, adults and children out walking, biking and crossing streets.  Now is the time to slow down and turn up your awareness of what is going on around you as you drive.  Become more observant of riders in the bicycle lanes.  Listen for motorcycles.  And most importantly stop at all crosswalks to make sure there are no pedestrians in the area.

If the Unexpected Does Happen

Cyclists…here’s an important thing to know if the unexpected happens.  If you are in a biking accident, did you know that your uninsured/underinsured auto insurance covers you?  Your med pay also applies.

Be sure to review your insurance to confirm that this valuable coverage is in place.

Be Prepared with These Cyclist Safety Tips

As you get ready for bike riding season be prepared to ensure a wonderful experience with these safety tips:

  • Wear a helmet
  • Ride in the bicycle lanes
  • Look several cars ahead
  • Make yourself visible
  • Ride predictably
  • Be hyper aware when crossing intersections

As always if we can be of service please call 303-777-2991 or send us an e-mail.

Colorado Insurance: Who Needs Umbrella Insurance

by Cindy Chase

In today’s litigious world, I think umbrella insurance policies are a must.  Why? In exchange for a small annual premium, you get a significant amount of protection against the unexpected. Here is how the policy works.

  • Umbrella insurance is a special kind of liability policy.
  • Liability is the amount of money you are responsible for paying when an accident is determined to be your fault.
  • Umbrella policies  provide an extra layer of protection over and above coverage in your primary policies such as automobile and homeowner’s insurance, which have limited liability benefits.

Your umbrella policy kicks in and protects your property and assets from claims against you, when your other policies are depleted. Claims can include things like medical payments and lost wages due to negligence. Or, it can cover legal bills if you end up in court.

What Would Happen to Your Financial Assets
in This Situation?

Consider the situation of a car accident. Let’s say the judge decides you’re responsible for $750,000 in damages. In addition, attorney fees come to $250,000. That’s a total of $1 million. If your automobile policy only covers $500,000 in liability, you would have a balance of $500,000 to pay.

How would you get the remaining $500,000?  More than likely, you would have to sell personal assets like your home, jewelry or other personal property. Or cash out retirement and stock accounts.

But if you have an umbrella policy worth $1 million, the remaining $500,000 would be covered and paid. The result would be a zero balance, and you would have no other financial responsibility!

Today with the average cost of damages increasing and the affordable cost of umbrella policies, I recommend umbrella coverage to all my clients.  Our goal at Aspen Insurance is to protect you before you need it. An umbrella policy provides increased peace of mind in the event of the unexpected.

Umbrella Insurance Coverage and Cost:
How Much is enough?

Everyone’s situation is different.  Evaluate the following three factors to begin to answer how much is enough?

  1. Look at the amount of liability coverage you currently carry in your homeowners and auto policies.
  2. Next determine your financial assets. What is the value of things like your home, cars, jewelry, stock or retirement accounts, etc.
  3. Now look at your risks…the factors that could influence the likelihood of getting hit with an injury claim or lawsuit by someone else. For example, do you have teenage drivers, how many drivers are in your household, do you have a pool, do you own pets?

Umbrella coverage starts at $1million with an average annual premium of $200.  This fee is dependent upon the number of drivers and vehicles in your household, so the exact cost will vary.  But the point is, it’s very inexpensive coverage that provides additional liability protection for everyone in your household…should you need it.

Remember to Include the Fun Stuff

And remember many Colorado residents enjoy the great outdoors with “toys”. If you own a snowmobile, motorcycle, boat etc. you must add them to your umbrella policy. If an accident occurs while using them, you may be faced with liability damages that exceed your policy limits.  In order to get the extended protection of your umbrella policy, they must be listed on your policy.

If you’d like to discuss your situation and the right amount of umbrella coverage please call 303-777-2991 or send me an e-mail.

Colorado Auto Insurance: How Much Coverage Do You Need?

by Cindy Chase

In all my years of running Aspen Insurance Agency, this has always been a challenging question.  Working with many clients, I’ve observed it’s  a balancing act between protecting your families and assets versus “paying the insurance company more money.”

Here are the minimum Colorado Auto Insurance requirements:

  • Liability coverage of $25,000/$50,000 per accident for injuries caused by you to others
  • Property damage in the amount of $15,000

Is that enough?  Every individual and family situation is different. It really comes down to risk and protection of your assets.

We drive our cars every day.  Each time we pull out of our driveway, we’re trusting ourselves and other drivers. When you really stop and think about it, when you get in your car, you’re putting your life and assets at risk.

CO Auto Insurance: Understand Your
Level of Risk 

How much insurance do you need?  I always advise my clients to understand the risk or impact of the unexpected such as an accident. If you’re in an automobile accident that causes injury to others, your personal assets could be at risk.

On the other hand if you were hit and injured by a motorist that only had the minimum Colorado auto insurance state requirements, you could have significant risk for loss of income and medical bills.

When clients ask me how much coverage to buy, my answer is always as much as you can afford to protect yourself.  The first step is to evaluate increasing the minimum Colorado auto insurance coverage for liability and property damage.

Next, consider two cost effective options that are often overlooked but provide more complete coverage and asset protection, in the event of an auto accident.

Add an Umbrella Insurance Policy to Increase Protection of Your Assets

An umbrella policy is an extra layer of insurance that can pay for medical, court or other expenses you may be required to pay after basic home and car insurance policies stop.

This coverage is nominal in price for the protection it provides.  For example, a $1M dollar umbrella policy on average costs $200 per year.  This fee is dependent on the number of drivers and vehicles in your household, so the exact cost will vary.  But the point is, it’s very inexpensive coverage that provides additional liability protection for everyone in your household…should you need it.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
Liability Protection…is a Must

Colorado requirements are called minimum for a reason.  The high cost of medical care and potential loss of income due to inability to work would quickly exceed the minimums.  And if the motorist has no insurance, you are at increased risk.  I advise all my clients to have this insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Liability Protection is necessary for your own piece of mind and protection.

This two part series on Colorado auto insurance was inspired by my own recent auto accident.  You can read part 1 here.  I’m happy to say that I am feeling much better, my car is back like new and I experienced an easy and pleasant claims experience with my carrier.  It’s not often that one gets to experience what they sell and do for a living as “the client”.

I hope that the tips and ideas I have shared help you should the need ever arise.  And most importantly I want to encourage your to review your auto policies and make sure that you are adequately covered to protect your assets.

And yes, if you would like to discuss your current auto coverage and requirements for protecting your assets, please call me at 303-777-2991.

Colorado Auto Insurance: Be Prepared for Car Accidents

by Cindy Chase

Colorado auto insurance.  We all take our auto insurance for granted.  Even me. And I am in the business of selling multiple kinds of insurance including automobile coverage.

But…crash, in a split second I ran into a concrete pole in a parking garage. I sat there stunned not knowing how this happened. Trying to get to my exercise class, I was in a rush because I left the office late. Now I had the opportunity to be “the client” of my own policy.  This experience created a renewed sense of appreciation

Crash: Wake Up Call to Be Present

It happened so fast.  I was going 10 miles per hour, when I hit the pole. Suddenly all of the airbags went off, people stopped and the parking garage attendants called the fire department. In that moment I realized I had not really been paying attention to driving.  I was focused on getting to my class.

We often hear talk about teenage safety and senior safety driving courses.  The reality is, that we all need to be more present behind the wheel no matter your age. This was a big wake-up call for me.

The good news is I was not hurt.  Once the fire department confirmed I could walk and talk, the process of cleaning up my mess started.

Colorado Auto Insurance:  Helpful Tips for…
Auto  Accidents

You might find the following tips that I learned in the process helpful:

1. Carry a current insurance card and vehicle registration in your glove box.

I know this seems like common sense. But through the years, many clients have called from the scene of an accident to get their automobile insurance information.  Having it available, saves time and lowers stress.

2.  Put an extra pair of reading glasses in your glove box.

Print on insurance cards is small.  In my shock, I wasn’t able to read the card.  Fortunately, people had stopped and helped me.

3.  Airbags deploy with force.

Boy did I learn that.  My shins, ankles and knees had extreme bruising from the trauma. Make sure your seat is properly adjusted for driving.

4.  Check your auto policy to ensure you have enough medical pay coverage.

Medical pay coverage is for first dollar expenses, regardless of fault. Everyone in your vehicle is covered.  It’s optional coverage in Colorado, but worth the fee.  Many of us have other people and children in our cars.  Medical pay covers them as well.

5.  Talk directly to your insurance carrier.

I called my carrier the next morning and was guided through the process by the claims person.  Yes, this took a few minutes of time, but I was able to provide exact details of my accident. In my experience, the more people involved in the communication process, the more deluded the story becomes.  Miscommunication is the root cause of most claim problems.

The process of repair has started…me nursing my bruised body and my beloved auto taken away to be repaired. This experience gave me a firsthand view of the stress and trauma with the unexpected

I gained a renewed sense of appreciation for the value of insurance and the support I received.  Not only from my carrier, but the fire department and people who stopped to help me.

Yes, I’m in the business.  But this experience reinforced my commitment and passion to why insurance matters.  And the Aspen Insurance commitment to clients to protect them before they need it.

You may be wondering if I had enough insurance. Turns out the 30 days of rental coverage was not enough.  How much auto insurance is enough is a question that I frequently discuss with my clients.  Read part two of this series, where I share my perspective.

Meet Aspen Insurance Client Breakfast on Broadway

Fine dining meets farm fresh at Aspen Insurance client  Breakfast on Broadway .   Val Erpelding, Certified Executive Chef realized his lifelong dream, when he and wife Carolyn opened the doors to their Denver, CO restaurant Breakfast on Broadway (BOB). After a 20-year career of working at exclusive private clubs, Val was inspired to open a Diner similar to Kay’s Kitchen (located in Minnesota) where he held his first job.

BOB has a friendly and comfortable environment reminiscent of the down-home comfort that Val enjoyed about Kay’s and wanted to offer to the Denver community.  Val infused the traditional Diner menu with his 20 years of fine dining expertise to create food that your taste buds will thank you for!

Patrons stand in line to enjoy everything from epicurean delights to traditional dishes like:

  • French Toast stuffed with Cointreau cream cheese served with syrup and whipped butter
  • 7 mouthwatering variations of Eggs Benedict
  • Eggs, bacon and toast with a BOB twist of freshness

The combination of friendly service and a menu prepared with fresh ingredients cooked with attention to quality and presentation has made BOB a favorite for the local Denver crowd.

Service is Key for Restaurants and…
Insurance Brokers Too!

The sense of friendly service and attention to detail in providing the right insurance protection for Breakfast on Broadway is what Val appreciates the most about Aspen Insurance.

Running a restaurant is challenging and it’s great to feel confident that we have the right coverage to manage our risk and protect our most important asset… our business.

Breakfast on Broadway is open daily from 6 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  There is plenty of parking and patio dining is available.  Check their website for the latest update on their weekend special menu items and entertainment on Sunday. And when you stop in, be sure and tell them you heard about them from Aspen Insurance!