Put down the phone and drive!

Want to know how to save a ton of money with your cell phone? Ignore it. Yep, while you’re driving, put the thing away. Georgia has had a particularly bad year for accidents, and the one glaring, major cause is distracted driving. The majority of times, that’s going to mean the use of a cell phone. The state already has a ban on text messaging or “the sending of internet data,” but you’re liable to get stopped if a police officer so much as sees you with a phone in your hand if it’s not up against your ear. Easiest way to save yourself $150 and a point against your license? Turn the phone off, pull over to answer it, or hand it to a passenger.

That said, phones can still be extremely dangerous even when your eyes are still on the road. Mythbusters is a favorite of ours, and they did the dirty work for us to discover that a phone conversation can actually be as detrimental to your driving as having a blood alcohol level high enough to get you put away for DUI. Whether your eyes are on the road or not, if there’s a phone occupying your attention, you’re putting yourself and others at serious risk, even though it’s not illegal (yet) to talk on the phone while driving.

So, think of it this way. Even if the state doesn’t penalize you for talking on the phone, any use of it while driving has the potential to lead to an accident that could have disastrous consequences for your auto insurance premiums, let alone the fact that you could seriously harm or even kill others. Nearly everyone who’s been involved in an accident related to cell phone usage will say that whatever conversation they were having at the time was simply not worth the damage it caused. So please, if the conversation is that urgent, it’s important enough to pull over for.

My dog doesn’t bite… neither should my insurance company!

At Client First, we are, among other things, dog lovers. Statistically speaking, according to the Humane Society, there’s a pretty good chance you are too – in fact, nearly half of all American households have at least one dog. Rusty is our little mascot and like most dogs, he’s affectionate and fun, if a little excitable for his age. Unfortunately, as companies, many insurance providers aren’t too fond of dogs, especially dogs of certain breeds. If you own one, you might face higher homeowner’s insurance premiums, limited coverage due to restricted policy options, or even outright denial.

In most cases, this is just an unfortunate roadblock for homeowners that also happen to be responsible for dogs that are for all intents and purposes, harmless. That said, the CDC reports millions of bites each year, and the insurance claims that accompany the serious bites average in the neighborhood of $30,000 each. One method insurance companies will take in order to safeguard against this (in the states where this practice is legal, which isn’t all of them) will look at the dog breeds that are most often responsible for those bites and create breed blacklists which they use to adjust your coverage depending on the breed you have. This is designed to make sure owners of Chihuahuas and similarly harmless breeds don’t have to pay out based on a risk of violence that those breeds aren’t really capable of, in theory.

There’s definitely an argument to be made against breed blacklisting, and many argue that one breed isn’t inherently more aggressive or violent than another, but that’s currently the way things are. This isn’t to say that the insurance companies are big evil dog haters or anything, and they’ll often take things like fences and obedience training into account and adjust your insurance according to your efforts to make sure your furbaby plays nice with visitors to the property. Insurance companies are businesses though, and they can’t provide coverage that’s more expensive to them than what they’re paying out in claims.

So, if you’ve got a dog or are considering getting one, give us a call and we’ll take a look at your situation with you and make sure you’ve got an insurance solution you and the pup can both agree on!