Lower Car Insurance Premiums

Florida Highway

International Trend

Right now, there is an international trend in lower car insurance premiums. In Great Britain premiums have fallen sharply. Even most states in U.S. see lower costs.

The reason? Safer cars and lower costs for insurance companies.

Averages in U.S.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) uses a five-year running average of annual premium costs. This year’s data shows that premiums have declined in most states. Some states, as much as 2 to 4 percent. Drivers with good records and modestly priced cars can benefit even more from this trend. Oklahoma is the only state where the average increased by more than 1 percent.

Premiums vary greatly between states. An annual car insurance policy in Washington, D.C., as an example, is twice as expensive as the average premium in Iowa. A car owner in Florida pays 27 percent more than the average U.S. vehicle owner.

Read more: bankrate.com


Back to School

School bus loading children

Stop for a Stopped School Bus

All states have laws requiring a driver to stop for a stopped school bus with flashing red lights. Unfortunately, the laws differ slightly from state to state.

The typical state law requires you to stop when meeting or overtaking a school bus from either direction. You must stop before reaching the bus and you must remain stopped until such school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer activated. Remember, red lights are turned on whenever a school bus is stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children. Even if you cannot see any children, you must remain stopped.

When are you Allowed to Pass?

You may be allowed to proceed with care when meeting a school bus which is on a different roadway. The definition of a different roadway varies. You may also be allowed to proceed on highways with limited access when the bus has stopped in a loading zone where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

Study the Rules in Your State

Make sure you know the laws in your state and any state you plan to visit. Penalties for passing a stopped school bus are often severe. Watch for the flashing lights and stop arms on school buses. Always obey crossing guard instructions, as well as speed restrictions. Focus on traffic and be aware of your surroundings. Do not use your cell phone in a school zone. It may distract you and may be against the law.

Summer Heat

Heatstroke: Get Involved

Know the Facts

In ten minutes a car can heat up 20 degrees. What if you keep a window open? Unfortunately, rolling down a window does very little to keep your vehicle cool.

Higher Risk

A child is at a much higher risk than an adult of dying from heatstroke in a hot vehicle – especially when the child is too young to communicate.

Always Remember

Never leave a child alone in a parked car, even with the windows rolled down, or air conditioning on.

More Safety Tips for Parents: Safercar.gov



Crackdown on Messaging

NTHSA Information Logo

Nationwide Campaign

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching a nationwide campaign against distracted driving.

States where text messaging is both prohibited and a primary offense may get $8 million in grant funding to support this and other efforts designed to fight distracted driving.

Several states have already started crackdowns by law enforcement agencies. In New Jersey, as an example, the crackdown started on April 1 and will continue until April 21.

Deadly Epidemic

Drivers talking and messaging on their phones while driving are in focus for this campaign.

Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel“, says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

What is the leading cause of death among teenagers in U.S.?

Is it:

 A. Drug overdose.

 B. Intentional self-harm (suicide).

 C. Traffic crashes.

 D. Cancer.

You guessed correctly. It is traffic crashes. American teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. 16 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted while driving.

The Laws in Your State

Make sure you know the laws in your state. When you apply for your first permit, you are very likely to be asked about cell phone and messaging restrictions.

Currently 43 states and District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers, regardless of age.

12 states and District of Columbia prohibit all drivers, regardless of age, from using a handheld cell phone while driving.

Even if the use of a handheld phone is allowed in your state, the safest thing you can do is not to use your phone while driving. Pull of the road if you must use your phone. Using your phone with a hands-free device is also an option, but limit all use as much as possible.

More Information

For more info visit: www.distraction.gov


Getting Your First Car with the Student Loan?

Student - Copyright: Elliot Burlingham

Borrowing Money

If you are heading for college, it is more than likely that you will borrow money to help pay for your education. You will exhaust all scholarship and grant options. You will look for federal student loans and maybe loans sponsored by your school or other private institutions.

Imagine you are suddenly flush with cash. More money than you ever had. You want new clothes. You want a cool car. You want your own place to stay.

Can You Pay Back?

Make sure you understand that all money must be repaid. It doesn’t matter if you get your degree or not, or if you get a job or not. The lender wants his money back.

The point here is that missed payments on your student loans can hurt your credit rating and cause lots of other financial problems. Once you start digging that hole, it may stay with you for a long time! Make sure you know your limits.

How Much Should You Borrow?

A common rule is to borrow no more than your expected starting salary. Unfortunately, starting salaries have been slipping the last couple of years. Don’t overestimate your future earnings. You may be confronted with a harsh reality.

It is true that the federal repayment plan comes with a better safety net, but you should still borrow wisely.

Keeping a good credit rating is a large part of your dream to get your driver’s license and your own car. Don’t mess it up!

Some Good Sources

Credit Karma gives you access to free credit scores, free monitoring, and free advice on how to improve your credit.

FinAid can help you figure out how much school will cost. They have tools for calculating college costs, loan payments, savings, and more.

The US Department of Education has tons of information about choosing and applying to schools, and taking required tests. You will learn if you are eligible for financial aid or not. They will help you with repayment plans and how to get help with problems.