Teen Drivers

Freedom of the Road

One of the great moments in a teenager’s life is receiving their driver’s license. For parents, it is a moment of pride in their son or daughter growing up. That pride is quickly overcome by fear, doubt, and uncertainty. What of their child’s safety? Will their teen be one of the many teen driver accident statistics? What will having a teen driver in the household do to my car insurance rates?

Parents primary concern is, of course, for the safety of their first-time driver and others sharing the road. With little prior driving experience, inexperienced drivers are at an elevated risk for accidents. Although safety certainly is a main concern, controlling cost and confirming sufficient coverage to protect against liability claims is also a major consideration. Even in the absence of any claims, many parents might also be concerned about the increased cost of auto insurance.  

Auto insurance, whether acquired through an insurance broker or insurance agent, can be expected to increase between $100 to $250 a month or more once a teen driver is added to the policy.

Parents should also take proper steps to further reduce risk by understanding how teen driving affects car and home policies. Working with your Aspen Insurance advisor is a great place to consider available options in coverage and in reducing financial exposure.

Include Your Teen in Car Insurance Discussions

Begin by making teens fully aware of the potential consequences of their actions. No one sets out to hit another car, hence the reason they are called “accidents”. Your teen should recognize driving is a privilege, a privilege which comes with responsibility.

Driving a car is piloting more than 3,000 pounds of steel and gasoline. A collision even at a slow rate of speed can cause a great deal of damage, including severe bodily injury. Teens should be aware that 98% of the time, driving is a low-risk endeavor. However, that risk increases greatly when drivers are distracted by high rates of speed, mobile phones, friend’s conversations or altered states.

As a result, automobile accidents can have far reaching financial consequences affecting your family’s financial future. As parents, we should continually reinforce driving safety and alert our teen to the negative consequences of receiving a driving citation or being at fault in an acciden, both of which result in insurance rate increases.

Teen Driving Statistics

Younger drivers may feel invincible, as in: “I can text and drive”, “I’ll keep my phone handy in case someone calls”. Statistics demonstrate something very different:

  • In their first year of driving, 1 in 5 16-year-old drivers will have an accident!
  • In 2019, distracted driving was a reported factor in 8.5% of fatal motor vehicle crashes.
  • Over 74,000 young people die or are injured each year by not wearing seatbelts.
  • 42% of high school students across the United States admitted that they text or email while driving.
  • Two-thirds of teen passenger deaths are in vehicles driven by other teenagers.
  • In 2018, 2,500 adolescents (ages 12-19) died and approximately 297,000 had nonfatal injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes according to the most recent teen driver safety statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Underage drinking and drug use is illegal. Your automobile policy may be void if a car accident involves illegal activities.  

Taken together, these statistics show an alarming pattern of risk for less experienced drivers. In-car distractions and inexperience all contribute to a higher rate of accidents for teenagers.

Distracted Driving

According to the CDC, eight people are killed in the US each day in crashes reported to involve a distracted driver. Although not just a problem affecting teen drivers, teens are over-represented in distracted driving statistics. We should remind our teens that in three seconds, a car travels over 170 feet at thirty-five MPH.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

In the U.S. in 2018, over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2018 were not riding in vehicles: they were walking, riding their bikes, or standing in their front yard.

Have frank discussions with your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and what distractions they need to prevent. Both holding a mobile phone or texting while driving are distractions, as is having a phone conversation while driving. Not only is cell phone use a distraction, but it is also against the law and a citable offense in many states.

Twenty-five states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all prohibitdrivers from using handheld cellphones while driving. All are primary enforcement laws; a traffic officer may cite the driver for using a cell phone. Thirty- states and D.C. ban all cellphone use by novice drivers, and 23 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers.

Currently, forty-eight states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers.

Cell phones are not the only possible in-car distraction. Driving large groups of friends may cause the driver to lose road awareness for a few seconds: in those few seconds, a car traveling at 60 MPH will have traveled close to 200 feet!

Teen Education Discounts

One way to reduce the increased cost of auto insurance is with education discounts. Many insurance companies offer premium reductions for teens maintaining good school grades. Some discounts your teen driver may be eligible for include:

  • Students maintaining an average of “B” or above.
  • Teens completing a recognized driver training course, either through AAA, school or through local programs.
  • College students attending school a minimum of 100 miles away from home who do not bring their car to campus.
  • Teen (and adult) drivers using SafeDriving or TeleTrack applications receive discounts for verifiable safe driving habits.

Choose the Appropriate Auto Insurance Company

It will normally be cheaper to add teenagers to an existing parent policy rather than having teens purchase their own. Adding an additional automobile to an existing policy may enable a multi-vehicle discount.

Different insurance companies use proprietary methods for pricing young driver policies. Ask your insurance agent to research alternative possible policies, searching for the best fit for your specific circumstances.

Assigning Your Teen to the Correct Car

Some insurance companies will “assign” the most expensive-to-insure driver to the most expensive-to-insure car, increasing the total cost of your auto insurance. One possible way to reduce your insurance cost is to have the company assign your teen to the least expensive car. This will reduce the potential cost of damages and lower the monthly fees.

However, your teen must use the car to which they are assigned. If your teenager is involved in an accident driving a car they were not assigned to, there could be penalties, premium increases or negate the policy coverage.

Increase Liability Insurance for Greater Protection

Be advised that state minimums for liability insurance may not be sufficient to fully protect from lawsuits, were your son or daughter to be in a collision. It may be in your best interest to purchase umbrella policies with higher amounts of coverage for increased financial protection. If your teenager is involved in a collision and is found to be negligent, the damages could easily exceed the state minimum liability.

If you (or your teen) are found financially responsible, you could be sued in court for the amounts above and beyond your coverage maximum.

Changing Conditions

Depending on your state of residence, teens may have to contend with driving in changing conditions. The road to your house on bright, sunny can easily be navigated at 50 MPH. In high winds, or heavy rain, that same road may be unsafe at 35 MPH. Let your teen know of the varying road conditions which could impact speed and safety:

  • High water
  • Hydroplaning
  • Bright sun shining on the windshield.
  • Snow
  • Ice

All the above conditions change the operating safety and should also alter rate of speed. Teens should be advised of the increased caution required for driving in adverse conditions and the appropriate response to such conditions. They should know how to control a skid on snow, ice or mud, and proper driving speed for weather conditions.

These are all things which may not have been taught in driving classes and could increase the possibility of sliding into either other vehicles or stationary objects on the side of the road.

21st Century Driving

Cars continue to get larger and heavier, with the ability to cause considerable damage even at the lowest rates of speed. Cars are safer, and that safety engineering comes at a cost of more expensive auto repairs. Cell phones, text messages, after-school friends, dating, unfamiliar roads are all common situations which could cause your son or daughter to lose concentration with devastating results.

Make sure you and your family are protecting your financial security while minimizing the risk for your driving teen.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Commercial Auto Risks

Auto insurance rates have increased steadily over the last few years, well exceeding the rate of inflation over the same period. Why? What is driving this upward trend? There are six reasons for the increase in commercial auto insurance rates.

#1 Cost of Bodily Injury

While the frequency of auto claims involving bodily injury has fallen over the recent 9-year period, the average cost of claims that do involve bodily injury increased by 32% over the same period. The Covid pandemic reduced the number of cars on the road, but initial projections suggest the cost of each claim will be higher due to higher speeds at impact.

#2 Attorney Involvement

“Call the hammer!” …” For the people” …” we’ll get you money!”

With attorneys actively pursuing auto accident business, more claimants now have legal representation. These claims see higher rates of expenditures for medical procedures and treatment. A complete fleet management program can help reduce your exposure.

#3 Driver Distractions

Distractions behind the wheel, whether from vehicle in-car entertainment systems and mobile devices or from driving under the influence, can lead to significant risks. 77% of 1,000 drivers surveyed reported making or taking calls while driving. 31% said they have had a near-miss crash because of distracted driving.

#4 Inexperienced Drivers

A shortage of commercial operators is leading to increased rates of drivers switching companies and increases the chance for less-experienced drivers to get behind the wheel. Operators in new vehicles and covering new routes may also contribute to an increase in accident rates.

Here are ways that good drivers benefit your bottom line:

  • Reduce the cost of loss. Fleet vehicle accidents are among the costliest of injury claims for business. The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000. Safe drivers can help lower the possibility of loss due to accidents.
  • Lower liability in case of loss. Effective screening, hiring, training, and monitoring can help reduce liability.
  • Boost your public image. Every driver has the potential to send a message. When your truck is headed down the highway, you want it to tell a positive story about your company.

#5 Vehicle Repair Costs

Newer vehicles are outfitted with advanced materials and technologically advanced systems designed to make driving more comfortable and safer. Cars are designed to crumple to dispel the force of an accident. That also means when vehicles are involved in an accident, the cost of repair can be much higher.

#6 Business Interruption

A claim can cause significant disruption for business taking vehicles off the road and slowing or stopping shipments or deliveries. Having an established business continuity plan can help your organization prepare for and overcome such an interruption.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Aspen Insurance Agency Named As One of the Best Insurance Agencies in Denver

Best Insurance Agencies in Denver

Aspen Insurance Agency was recently awarded and named as one of the Best Insurance Agencies in Denver for 2020, by Expertise. We are thrilled to receive this recognition and continue to remain committed to delivering the best customer service experience for our clients.

Although we were founded in Denver, Aspen Insurance Agency continues to support clients nationwide. Check out all of the states that we do business in here.

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What Are Insurance Claims

Insurance Claims are requests on behalf of policyholders to insurance agencies in order to receive coverage and/or compensations for a loss that is covered by their policy. Once a claim is filed, the agency then confirms that the claim is either valid or invalid. If validated, the agency will then make the approved payment to either the policyholder or an interested third party that has been approved. 

These claims can offer a wide array of coverage, ranging from basic medical procedures to death benefits and almost everything in between, depending on the services offered by the agency. In certain scenarios, a third party can also file insurance claims on behalf of the policyholder. However, that is not always the case.

How do Insurance Claims Work?

The purpose of an insurance claim is to compensate policyholders against loss, often financial loss. In the legal world, this is called indemnification. The policyholder pays premiums to maintain their policy and ensure that they are covered for whatever their policy encompasses. The claims that are most frequently filed are for medical services or goods, loss of life, liability from owning/renting a home, and liability from the operation of vehicles. 

For policies regarding causality/property insurance, the main determinant of your coverage cost comes from the amount of claims you file, regardless of who was at fault or the size of the accident. As the amount of claims you file increases, so does the amount you pay to stay covered. 

That being said, if the claim you are filing is based on damage that is not your fault, your rates may not rise. If the claim is for damage that you caused, you should expect to see a rate increase. Common examples of damage that are not at the fault of the policyholder are weather damage or your car being hit while parked. 

Many other circumstances can increase your rate as well. Things such as your driving record, being in an area prone to natural disasters that can damage whatever you are trying to insure or even having a low credit score can also all lead to a rate hike. To read more about ways to keep the cost of your auto policy down, check out our blog post here.

Not every type of claim is viewed the same by a carrier. Claims that indicate liability in the future, such as having mold or water damage, if your dog bites someone, or if someone is injured on your property are all examples of claims that can act as a red flag for agencies. These types of claims often lead to rate increases. 

What are the Different Kinds of Insurance Claims?

Casualty / Property 

For many individuals a house is one of, if not the, largest asset purchased in their lifetime. When the policyholder files a claim to damage to their home (or other insured property), the claim is usually filed online and sent to a claims adjuster. The policyholder must report the damage of whatever they own directly to the agency. The claims adjuster will evaluate the claim and the damage, and then verify the claim. If the claim is approved, the adjuster then makes the payment to the policyholder. 

Life Insurance 

When someone files a life insurance claim, that person must show the original policy, a certificate of death and a claim form. After that, the agency will conduct an in-depth examination of the circumstances of the death to confirm that the death was not categorized under a contract exclusion, such as the result of a crime or a suicide. 

Without any extenuating circumstances, the process often takes one to two months. This allows the beneficiaries of the claim to replace the income of the deceased.


Costs of most medical procedures and health care can be prohibitively expensive. Health insurance policies, whether for an individual or group can protect patients from these costs, which often amount to burdens because of the expensive nature of health care. Most claims are filed by health care providers and are on behalf of the policyholders, unlike property claims. After the provider files the claim, the process is handled electronically and generally requires minimal effort from the policyholder. 

The only time a policyholder must actually file a paper claim themselves is when the medical provider does not take part in electronic transmittals, but the services provided are still covered by the insurance policy. 

Special Considerations

There is no specific, black and white way to determine what constitutes a rate hike. Some agencies can be more lenient in some areas and stricter in others and each agency can be different. It is important to understand regardless of your insurer, filing any claim can put your rates at risk. Learning as much as you can about your agency is the best way to understand what filing a claim can do to your rates. 

No matter what, filing as few claims as possible is crucial in protecting your rates and keeping them constant. Only filing claims in the case of devastating loss is the best way to keep your rates what they are. 

As an Independent Agency, you should always consult us before you file a claim so we can consider your unique circumstances.

Written by Max Chaitin.

Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only. Each person should consult their insurance or business advisor with respect to matters referenced.

Tips to Cut The Cost of Car Insurance

In a country that is increasingly reliant on cars, not only is the cost of cars on the rise, but also the cost to insure them. While there is no reason to expect a decline in car insurance rates anytime soon, there are things you can do to reduce the stress that it can put on your finances. 

While there is no reason to expect a decline in car insurance rates anytime soon, there are things you can do to reduce the stress that it can put on your finances. 

More Vehicles = Less per Vehicle

Often, when receiving a quote for a single vehicle, it can end up costing more than if you inquire about insuring multiple vehicles. This is because agencies want the guarantee of your business and are willing to give a better deal for more business. 

Keeping that in mind, it is still important to ask your agent if you meet the qualifications. In order to do so, the drivers all must live in the same place and be related. Unrelated people can sometimes qualify as well, but they must own a vehicle together. 

If a driver is a teenager, their rates are generally higher than other age groups. However, many agencies offer what is called a good student discount, meaning that if your teenage driver has a grade point average above a certain threshold they can qualify for a rate decrease. A good student discount can be rather large, in some cases up to 39% and can last until the driver turns 25. 

Safe Driving

While this may seem obvious, the importance of being a safe driver can not be understated. Driving safely can potentially lead to a safe driving discount of around 10% to 25%. Insurance companies will also take your driving history into account.

Get Certified

Taking a driver’s ed class is probably the last thing on your list, but the benefits of taking a defensive driving course can be amazing when it comes to lowering your rates. Occasionally, agencies offer discounted rates to policyholders upon the completion of pre-approved defensive driving courses. In addition, some states can take points off of your license by taking defensive driving courses. 

Take the Bus, Train or Subway

When starting the process of receiving a quote, you will often be asked to report your vehicle’s mileage. Potential policyholders that have to drive multiple hours to and from work each day will be asked to pay increased premiums. Using public transportation as much as possible can help reduce the mileage increases of your vehicle and thus your premiums. 

Bigger is Not Always Better

While it can be tempting to buy the biggest SUV on the market, it can end up costing much more to insure than a smaller, safer car for your daily commute. Many agencies even offer incentives for driving cars that use less fuel and are better for the environment, such as discounts for hybrid vehicles.

Deductible Increases

When choosing a car insurance plan, you will also select a deductible. Your deductible is what you pay in the event of a collision, prior to your insurance paying for the rest. Deductibles can have a wide range of costs. Choosing a more expensive deductible can lower your annual premium. While, increasing your deductible can raise your premium. It’s important to consider these two options. If you choose a more expensive deductible, be prepared to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident.

Better Credit = Better Premiums

While many of the factors listed above can play a large role in determining premiums, it can come as a surprise to many drivers that an agency can look at your credit score when deciding what your premium will be. 

Different States, Different Rates

Depending on your agency, they might offer different rates depending on what part of the country you call home. While this may not always be the case, if you are planning to move, factor a potential rate change into your budget. For example, Idaho has one of the lowest rates in the country, and Michigan has one of the most expensive.

Comprehensive Coverage 

If your vehicle is old and is on its last leg, it can make sense to drop collision coverage. This is because your vehicle might not even be worth the rate that you are paying for this type of coverage. 

Theft Protection

Some insurance agencies offer discounted rates to policyholders that install protective anti-theft measures in their cars. Some carriers will even tell you which devices are approved to qualify for such discounts.

Avoid Unnecessary Bonuses

While it may be tempting to get all of the bells and whistles, such as rental insurance or roadside help, they are rarely used in reality while often adding a large amount to your premium. 

One of the benefits of working with an independent insurance agent is that we work with many insurance carriers to provide you with the best coverage at the most competitive pricing. You can learn more about the Personal Auto Coverage by clicking here, or calling Aspen Insurance Agency at 303-777-2991

Written by Max Chaitin.

Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only. Each person should consult their insurance or business advisor with respect to matters referenced.