It’s a question for the ages: which state holds the dubious distinction of housing America’s worst drivers? Just in time for increased summer holiday traffic and related accident claims, SmartAsset.com has the answer.
Researchers with the group trawled through National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data to craft rankings based on the percentage of insured drivers in the state; DUI arrests per 1,000 drivers; vehicular-related deaths per 1,000 drivers; and Google trends on automobile ticket-related searches.
According to that methodology, the states with the worst drivers in the country are:
There are some interesting regional patterns here. The South and Southeast regions of the US account for six of the top 10 states, with common problems including DUI and lack of insurance. Only 74% of drivers in Oklahoma are insured – the worst rate in the nation – followed by Florida and Tennessee.
Florida also tops other states in its Google searches for “speeding tickets” and “traffic tickets,” perhaps leading to its status was the worst driving state in the country.
Yet these statistics do not necessarily translate into high auto insurance rates across the board. Just two states – Florida and New Jersey – appear on Insure.com’s list of states with the most expensive premiums in 2015. Drivers in Florida pay the fifth highest premiums in the nation, with an average of $1,742 in annual payments, while New Jersey pays an average $1.595.
The entire top 10 list includes:
Yet producers in states on this list say their drivers are rather poor, as well.
New Orleans insurance agent Allen Bordeaux said he’s not surprised by the figures.
“It seems it’s always pretty much been this way as far back as I can remember,” Bordeaux said. “I hear that drivers here a little bit more adventurous than in other places. They tend to run yellow lights regularly and things of that nature.”
Bordeaux said this lack of attention to detail is reflected in the policies he sells, with Louisiana being “at the bottom of the barrel for a while, as far as rates go.”
“It’s relative to where we live, the condition of the highways and streets,” he said. “It probably also has something to do with the amount of people trying to get around every day.”
There are, of course, several other factors that contribute to an auto insurance premium. In the most expensive state, Michigan, unusual no-fault auto insurance regulation drives much of the higher prices.
Unlike other states, Michigan requires drivers to carry auto insurance policies with unlimited medical benefits. Insurers pay medical claims up to $530,000 in Michigan, while the nonprofit Michigan Catastrophic Claim Association covers any additional costs.
Car owners are also required to pay an annual assessment to the association, which is currently $186 per vehicle.
Researchers with Insure.com conducted the study by compiling rates from six large insurance carriers in 10 ZIP codes in every state. The rates were for a full-coverage policy for a 40-year-old man with a clean driving record and good credit. Vehicles included the 20 best-selling vehicles in the US, which represent roughly 40% of all vehicles sold. The models were rated on their “cheapest-to-insure trim level.”
by Caitlin Bronson
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
If you want true choice of the best available coverage for your home, start with where you seek that choice. One big example of true choice is to look at the difference between buying home insurance from USAA, Geico, and Emerge Insurance Agency. Let’s start with USAA:
Most people don’t know that USAA does NOT write new homeowners insurance in Florida. USAA will broker it with ASI which was bought by Progressive and is now Progressive Home. USAA only offers one choice for home insurance currently. You call an 800 number and will get a different person every time. They are licensed customer service representatives and typically not fully licensed agents.
Like USAA, Geico does NOT write new homeowners insurance in Florida. They will broker it with Security First insurance company. Geico only offers one choice for home insurance currently. You call an 800 number and will get a different person every time. They are licensed customer service representatives and typically not fully licensed insurance agents.
Emerge insurance agency represents both ASI/Progressive Home, Security First and about 22 other homeowners’ insurance companies in Florida. When you call Emerge Insurance Agency, you get a fully licensed insurance agent and you will keep that agent beyond an initial transaction, but have a relationship that allows you to call the same person when you have a problem. We don’t send you off to a call center where you will get a different person every time you call.
So ask yourself why would anyone call USAA or Geico when you can call Emerge Insurance Agency and get quotes from more companies, have your own licensed agents, and receive consistently good service?
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
If you're not putting too much thought into what you share on Facebook and your other social media accounts, this might be a good time to remember you must think before you post. Jacqueline Hammond didn’t thing before posting, and it cost her $500,000!
A couple of years ago, Jacquelyn Hammond allegedly posted just one sentence about a former co-worker, without actually mentioning the woman by name. That in itself shouldn't be a problem. Right?
Well, not exactly. The post said, "I didn’t get drunk and kill my kid." According to the complaint, Hammond was referring to the son of a colleague, who died in a gun accident with another boy back in 1976. That colleague, who is the plaintiff in the current case, Davyne Dial, was not drunk when she lost her son, and she wasn't responsible for his death, either.
She therefore had grounds to say that Hammond's post actually constituted a libelous statement, and sued her in 2015. (These type of defamation lawsuits can be made on grounds of libel, which means a written statement is defamatory, or slander, which is a spoken defamatory claim.)
The lawsuit was finally settled. Now, Hammond will have to pay Dial $250,000 in actual damages for the defamation and emotional distress, and she will also have to shell out an extra $250,000 in punitive damages. Her single sentence post came at a cost of a whooping $500,000.
If you have a personal injury endorsement on your homeowners policy, the insurance company will hire a lawyer to defend you and pay a claim in a situation like this.
The lessons from story are to make sure your homeowners policy has personal injury coverage, AND don’t make a post like Jacqueline Hammond did!
Emerge Insurance Agency recommends that everyone purchase the personal injury endorsement on their home insurance policy.
Call us with any question: 904-677-5884
By Dixie Somers
Many homeowners don't think about home maintenance until something breaks, but that's not the best way to take care of your home. Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been settled for years, it’s never too late to cultivate some home maintenance habits. Here are three tips to help you protect your investment and keep your property in good shape for years to come:
Create and Follow a Home Maintenance Schedule
A good place to start is by following a home maintenance schedule. Just as your car needs to have an oil change, your home and yard will need some regular maintenance. Home maintenance schedule apps such as HomeZada and Centriq are an easy way to get yourself on track.
You'll need to mow your lawn, clean your gutters and perhaps even top your trees from time to time. For pest control, you may need to spray or have ground treatment performed a few times a year, too. When it comes to appliances, make sure to send in any warranties and follow the maintenance recommendations in your owner’s manual. For older appliances, many documents can be found online.
Don't be afraid to do some research and speak with professionals about maintenance specific to your location.
Have All of Your Home Systems Checked Regularly
It's important to get your electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems checked annually to keep them in good shape. Some of these tasks can be done yourself; for instance, you might need to clean your air filters, remove debris from the vents and flush out your water heater.
For more technical inspections, check customer reviews on Yelp, Angie's List, Google, Facebook and the BBB when searching for a new company. Always go with one that is experienced, licensed, bonded and insured.
Follow a Cleaning Schedule
Home maintenance often focuses on repair work, but keeping your home clean can be just as important. In addition to once a week tasks such as vacuuming and dusting the shelves, deep cleaning every month or so can save you big in the long run. Moving furniture around, pulling out the washer and dryer to clean behind them and clearing out the garage gives you a chance to inspect for pest problems, water damage and similar issues that can quickly escalate into expensive repairs.
Being a homeowner is very rewarding on many levels, but homeownership comes witha great deal of responsibility. As long as you put in some effort on a regular basis, you should have no problem keeping your home in good repair.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
A home burglary takes place in the United States every 14.6 seconds. According to The Washington Post/Bureau of Justice Statistics, thirty-four percent of these burglars gain access to their victim’s home by simply walking across the welcome mat and through the front door.
Before you rush out to purchase an elaborate home security system or guard dog to protect your property, you should know there are 11 simple things you can do to dramatically reduce the risk of loss.
Employing these simple, precautionary measures and combining them with the protection you get from Mercury’s homeowner insurance can help provide peace-of-mind that comes from knowing your home is protected.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -