We admit that buying insurance for your new car isn’t quite as exciting as buying the car itself, but it just might be your most important purchase. Why? Well, first of all, it’s usually required either by your state, your lender, or both. More important, however, is the financial protection auto insurance provides.

Auto insurance coverage options.
• The type and amount of insurance everyone needs is unique. You most likely know about collision coverage, which pays for damage when you cause a collision with another vehicle or an object, and comprehensive coverage, which pays for repairs when your car is damaged by something you can’t control, like a fallen tree.

Other coverage options aren’t as well-known, but can be crucial when it comes to protecting both your car and yourself.

You should buy as much personal liability (PL) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage as you can, because both can protect you from having to pay large out-of-pocket repair and medical bills. And once you have basic liability coverage, increasing your limits won’t cost you much more at all.

Don’t skimp on property damage (PD) coverage, either. It’s expensive to replace a new vehicle, and if you are at fault in a crash, not having enough insurance can expose you to unnecessary financial risks.

source: SafecoInsurance

Do Teenage Drivers Increase Car Insurance Rates? 🔞

In most cases, yes. After all, you’re extending your coverage to another driver, and that typically costs more. And, not just any driver, but an inexperienced one.

The direct impact on your car insurance rates can vary depending on the state where you live. That said, most states allow insurance companies to utilize the following factors in pricing coverage for a young driver:

• Male or Female: Premiums are often driven by statistics. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for young male drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 the motor vehicle death rate for drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost twice as high for males vs. females.

• Primary Driver: If your teen has her own vehicle, she will likely drive it more often than if she were sharing it. More time behind the wheel can mean higher rates, as your teen has gone from an occasional operator with limited use to a primary operator.

• Type of vehicle: The make and model of a vehicle always impacts your car insurance costs. If it’s a high-end vehicle, you can expect to pay more, particularly for an inexperienced driver. Always check how much a vehicle will cost to insure for a teen driver before you plunk down the cash for it.

source: SafecoInsurance


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10 Reasons to Contact Your Auto Insurance Agent

1. File a Claim

•After an accident, it can be stressful filing a claim. The easiest solution is to contact your auto insurance agent and ask him to file the claim for you.

2. Trouble with Your Claim

•If your claim isn’t going smoothly, your auto insurance agent is a great source to get things straightened out.

3. Add or Remove a Driver

•If you are looking to change drivers, you should call your auto insurance agent. Lots of reasons exist to change the number of drivers on your policy.

4. Add or Remove a Vehicle

•Taking vehicles on and off is a common occurrence on auto policies. It is a good idea to call and get a quote from your auto insurance agent to see what the price will be when adding a vehicle.

5. Moving

•Always notify your agent of a move. It is important your insurance company can contact you through both mail and phone.

6. Questions about Payment

•Billing questions are extremely common. Changes to your policy, renewals, and late fees can all affect your payment and raise questions.

7. Change Coverage

•Sometimes you just need to change the coverage on your existing vehicle. Maybe you are putting your sports car in storage for the winter.

8. Inquire about Cheaper Insurance

•The only stupid question is the one you do not ask. Asking your agent to review your policy is a great way to potentially save some cash.

9. Adding more Policies to Get Multi-Policy Discount

•Always call your auto insurance agent if you are purchasing a home and need home insurance.

10. Sponsorship for Kids

•Insurance agents are members of the community. Many like to sponsor local kids and especially support the kids of their clients.

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Weather safety

Hurricanes, hail, tornadoes, flooding — these and other extreme weather conditions can threaten your driving safety and damage your car. Learn how to prepare for hazardous weather and help minimize the damage to your vehicle using our weather driving safety tips.

Weather driving safety tips

Driving safety practices can protect you, your passengers and your vehicle. We give you the facts about safety equipment, and we keep you informed about the most important driving safety tips, including how to handle natural disasters and weather emergencies, how to keep your family safe when you’re on the road, and more. Another way to stay protected is by routinely checking your car insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need.

Weather driving safety tips include:

Driving during an earthquake

Our driving safety tips can help you stay calm and put yourself in the best position possible during an earthquake.

Flood safety

Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States. Most flood fatalities happen because people try to drive through deadly waters rather than avoid them.

Driving in a hailstorm

When in a hailstorm, you can follow specific driving safety tips, including staying inside the vehicle, pulling off the road to a safe place, keeping your car angled, and more.

Hurricane safety

Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes, landslides and floods, so if you’re in a hurricane’s path, you should take extra precautions to ensure a safe evacuation and return to the area. Our weather driving tips can help.


Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.

Staying sane during traffic

When I’m stuck in traffic, my mind often wanders to this beloved scene from the 1999 hit, “Office Space.” The dull, all-over pain of having places to go and things to do and being met with nothing but brake lights and bumper stickers.

We mostly think of our cars as aluminum portals to take us from point A to point B. But what if we think of our cars as a sanctuary from the stress of our daily lives? A temple of total you-time where you can tune out and plug into the present moment. With some wisdom from cool-headed commuters, we gathered a few tips and tricks to turn your wheels into your zenmobile.

Engage your brain

Keeping your mind occupied with stimulating, educational content can significantly ease your suffering. Downloading podcasts, audiobooks or tuning into talk radio is a great way to stick it to the traffic man.


Many technologies exist now to help drivers avoid high-traffic areas. Use an app like Waze (a community-based traffic app) to find out about real-time road issues. Because sometimes it’s all about outsmarting the streets.

Roll down the windows

When your body is all wound up from stress, it’s prime time to do some deep breathing exercises. Fresh air can help release some of that tension by flooding oxygen to your body and brain.

Make a pit stop

If all else fails and traffic is just unbearable, find a stop along the way that gives you a break from all the braking. The park or the mall can serve as the intermission you need to get home safely and sanely.

Car Karaoke

An in-car concert is a fast, fun and easy way to turn your mood right around. Whether it’s turning on the radio or tuning into your ‘favorites’ playlist – let the music move you into your happy place.


Dealing with aggressive drivers

Here are a few tips on how to deal with aggressive drivers, plus helpful hints to reduce your own stress while driving.

Protect yourself

If you are dealing with an aggressive driver, make sure your doors are locked. If you’re stopped in traffic, leave enough room to pull out from behind the car you’re following. If an aggressive driver confronts you, dial 911 or go to the nearest police station.

Don’t take it personally

Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver isn’t. Avoid any conflict, if possible. If another driver challenges you, take a deep breath and move out of the way! Never underestimate the other driver’s capacity for causing mayhem.

Reduce your own stress

Allow plenty of time for a trip and listen to soothing music when you drive. Make sure your seat position and climate are both comfortable for you. And mostly understand that you cannot control traffic, only your reaction to it. In the end, you may find that personal frustration, anger and impatience are the real danger zones on the highway.

Report aggressive drivers

Some states have a phone number that you can use to report dangerous driving to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Keep the number handy on your cell phone. If you make a call, be sure you give a vehicle description, license number, and the location and travel direction. You could prevent a tragedy.

Be a courteous driver

You can set the example, which can help make our roads safer.

  • Control your anger.
  • Don’t take traffic problems personally.
  • Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.
  • Don’t make obscene gestures.
  • Don’t tailgate.
  • Use your horn sparingly — even a polite honk can be misinterpreted.
  • Don’t block the passing lane.
  • Don’t block the right turn lane.

Talk to others

Share a recent road rage incident with members of your family and friends, or even with community groups. This will help you better understand the situation and protect you in the future.

Now that you’ve got some ideas on how to save on your car insurance, you may want to check with your carrier to review your coverage. You can get a quote from Southwest Federal Insurance.


5 tips for RV’ing with dogs

Hitting the open road in a RV with your pet is a fun way to include your special furry family member in your vacation plans. According to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, 61% of RV owners travel with their pets. When RV’ing with dogs, follow these five tips below to ensure that your pooch stays safe and has all the comforts of home.

1. Stay at a dog-friendly RV park or campground

For a stress-free vacation with your pup, do your research and reserve a dog-friendly RV park or campground. Not all RV parks and campgrounds are pet-friendly so call ahead and ask about their pet rules. If you plan to explore outdoor activities, research nearby hiking trails and park/recreation areas that welcome dogs.

2. Buckle up your dog while driving

Keep your furry companion safe by using a dog harness while riding inside the RV. Another option is to use a dog crate or pet travel carrier (for small dogs), but make sure the carrier or crate is secure and doesn’t slide around the RV while driving. A safety harness or crate prevents your dog from becoming injured in case of an accident and keeps him from distracting you while driving.

3. Bring along essential dog supplies

To make it easier while traveling, pack a separate bag for your dog and store the bag in a convenient spot inside the RV. Here is a list of essential pet items you’ll need on the road:

  • Non-spill travel water and food bowls
  • Leashes and collars
  • Water and food
  • Dog treats
  • Bedding and blankets
  • Favorite toys
  • Medications and a copy of your dog’s medical records
  • Cleaning supplies – in case of accidents
  • Doggy waste bags
  • Pet clothing – for cold weather travel

4. Keep your dog safe while exploring the outdoors

It’s natural that your curious canine will want to explore and sniff out his new surroundings, especially outside. When walking your dog outdoors, always keep him on a leash. Most RV parks and campgrounds have dog leash laws follow their pet rules and guidelines. If you hike with your dog or if your RV is located near water, supervise your dog at all times and make sure he remains safe.

5. Be a courteous and considerate dog owner

If you plan to stay a week or two at a campground or RV park, be courteous to your surrounding neighbors. Always pick up after your dog and make sure he uses the designated potty areas on the grounds. The last thing you want is a rowdy pup running all over the park and disturbing your RV neighbors. Keep him active by taking him on daily walks or visit nearby dog parks and recreation areas so he can run around and play.


What to Do If Your Car Breaks Down

Follow some of these steps if your vehicle breaks down, and take extra precaution if you are in a busy intersection or on a highway.

Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

1.Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you have been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.

2. If you cannot drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic, under most circumstances, is a bad idea.

3. Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning of your location can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!

4. In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair – even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.

Source: Insurance Information Institute;