The tragedy of teen drivers' death rates and how insurers are encouraging safe driving

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a the bearer of bad news when it shows statistic with teenagers behind the wheel. Collecting all the available information from the auto insurance industry, law enforcement, hospitals and clinics it has all the tragic statistics. Thus it reports that, between 2006 and 2010, some 18,000 teen drivers died on our roads. That’s three times the death rate for drivers aged 20 and over. There’s also a pattern with the most deaths in Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming, and the lowest death rates in Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. It seems teens drive fast on the open roads, and have less chance to speed in the northern cities. It’s a tragedy that the combination of inexperience and natural recklessness, can have such a terrible effect. When you add in all the distractions new mobile technology brings, we should be grateful manufacturers have been improving safety design. The new crumple zones absorb the energy of impacts. There are stronger cages to protect the passengers. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of our young are seriously injured.

Some insurers are trying to encourage young drivers to take their own safety more seriously. There are a number of peer programs to pass on self-defense driving tactics, there are safe-driver videos online, and competitions with cash prizes to build interest. States have also been changing over to a graduated driver licensing system but the results are not consistent. The real problem is there are no real deterrents to teens getting behind the wheel. If they are not earning, either their parents pay the higher premiums or they drive uninsured. No matter if they get the cheapest car insurance rates or the full-price ones, they drive the same. Worse, the penalties they face if they are caught breaking the law are not considered serious. Indeed, some teens seem to think collecting tickets is part of the rite of passage, that they are not proper teens unless they have been caught speeding. There’s a real need for a major rethink on the right to drive. Denying teens (or their parents) the cheapest car insurance is not the answer. There need to be penalties with teeth.

How low are auto insurance quotes in the safest US cities?

Insurance companies regularly analyze their statistics showing the frequency of collisions and identify where all the safest drivers live. Every year, Allstate publishes a list of the top 200 cities based on population, traffic density, and so on. The national average is that a driver is involved in an accident every 10 years. This year, Sioux Falls has headed the list again. The drivers in this slightly remote city manage to avoid crashing into each other for about 13.8 years. That’s more than 27.5% better than the national average. So what are the trends and how can we encourage drivers to be more patient and forgiving of others when they drive around cities?

The most detailed statistics have been collected since the end of World War II and this decade has seen the lowest number of deaths behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not complacent. More than 32,000 deaths a year is still unacceptably high. Indeed, there’s cause for concern because the number of collisions is showing an increase. There are two factors at work here. The first is the improving design of vehicles. Sixty years we were driving relatively unsafe vehicles. Now people are more complacent because they believe they are more likely to walk away from a crash without serious injury. The second factor is “distraction”. More people are using their mobile technology to talk with and text to their friends instead of watching the road.

Cities enjoying the road safety and cheaper auto insurance

So where are the safest drivers who receive the lowest insurance rates? In the smaller cities, Sioux Falls has won this competition in five of the last eight years. In cities where there’s more than 1 million population, Phoenix drivers have an accident every 10.2 years. Sadly, the more people crowding around you on the roads, the more likely a collision. If you have the chance to move, check the list of safest cities and get a round of the local auto insurance quotes. May be it’s a sound decision move there…

Action that should be taken after an accident

The Government has a direct interest in assessing the cost of traffic accidents to the economy. The more people who are injured, the more days are lost from work, unemployment may increase, and with earning power potentially reduced, there’s less money to spend. When you add in the auto and health insurance costs in paying all the bills, everyone ends up poorer. So the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promotes greater safety in design from the manufacturers and tries to persuade us to drive more carefully. Why bother? Because there are more than 5 million wrecks every year. If you are one of the unlucky ones this is a quick do and not to do checklist.

The first important fact to note is the law does not require a blanket disclosure of all your personal details. All you need share is your name and full contact details for your insurer. Letting the other driver use their cellphone or handheld camera to take a picture of your driver’s license is the worst possible thing you can do.

Remember how many retailers ask for license information as proof of your identity over the phone. If you give your home address or personal telephone number, identity thieves can target you by going through your mail or garbage. Or knowing you’re not home, telephone an accomplice to burglarize your home. Then notify local law enforcement. Although this is not always required unless someone is injured, making a report improves the claims handling process.

Things that would matter for car insurance

It may not seem an obvious link but the risk of identity theft is rising fast with the FBI estimating some 9 million people find their privacy and identity compromised every year. To help guide you through the process following an accident, the NAIC has created a mobile app to give step-by-step instructions and then email the completed report to the insurance company. If you support the effort to reduce false claims, the chances of retaining cheap car insurance are improved. Fail to protect yourself, you could lose both your unique identity and your cheap car insurance. Your choice.

Looking at common health insurance exclusions

Even after you’ve purchased new health insurance coverage, you may find later on that you’re not take care of for every single health issue that may arise. Although it’s a good idea to double-check your policy to see if you may be the exception, there are several common exclusions from your average health insurance plans which it’s good to keep in mind.

Cosmetic Surgery

One of the most common exclusions in any health care policy is cosmetic surgery. If the surgery is elective (optional) and is for purely cosmetic reasons, with no proven medical benefit, then the procedure will likely not be covered by your existing policy. There are exceptions in cases of medical necessity, however. For example, reconstructive surgery of the breast following a mastectomy is covered by health insurance, or a rhinoplasty (nose job) needed to repair respiratory issues may also be covered. In most cases, though, optional procedures are simply excluded.

Fertility Issues

You could be in for a disappointment if you cannot naturally conceive, and are hoping that the cost of expensive fertility treatment will be paid for by your insurance company. Although some procedures related to fertility, such as a vasectomy or tubal ligation, may be covered by insurance, elective procedures generally are not. Typical exclusions include hormone shots and in-vitro fertilizations. However, medical costs related to adopting a child may be covered.

Experimental Treatments

You will not be covered on your insurance for any treatment that has not been approved by the FDA. Examples of this include herbal supplements or unproven treatments such as energy healing. Some treatments which were previously considered alternative, such as acupuncture or chiropractic visits, have now started being covered at least partially by normal insurance policies. Some providers will also cover massage therapy or treatments under a naturopathic physician. However, this is another place where you will need to check your specific policy, because coverage varies widely among different providers.

As with any contract, be sure to read all the fine print before committing to a new health care plan. Remember, if your main provider does not offer the complete coverage you’re looking for, you may also be able to purchase supplemental health insurance coverage to fill in the gaps.

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