Archive for November 2020

Texting And Driving is Illegal In Florida

On October 1, 2013, Florida became the 41st state to ban texting while driving, which is distracting enough to be responsible for 18% of fatalities involving a vehicle.  Due to the new ban anyone caught texting and driving may have greater financial consequences because they will be charged with 2 moving violations and, as a result, their auto insurance premium may increase.

4 of the 41 states prohibiting texting and driving have a law that makes it a secondary offense, meaning that law enforcement has to also bare witness to a different traffic infarction.  A driver pulled over for violating another traffic law and also seen texting on their cell phone, may end up with more than one ticket: the first one for the traffic violation and the second for texting.

Moving violations have varying degrees of severity and each one has a number of points.  The lowest amount of points is 3 while the highest is 6 points.  The first time a driver is caught texting and driving it counts against them as a nonmoving violation with a $30 penalty, not counting any court fees.  If there is a second occurrence of driving and texting within 5 years it is seen as a moving violation and 3 points are put on their driver’s license.  (Note: 12 points in 1 year gets a license suspended for 30 days, 24 points in 36 months will get a license suspended for a full year.)

Lynne McChristian, a representative in Florida for I.I.I. (Insurance Information Institute) says that, “Drivers who break traffic laws get ticketed for things like speeding, running red lights and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs—and now texting while driving is also illegal.  It’s a cost that is easily controlled by putting the phone down, focusing on driving and following the intent of the law, which is to save lives, prevent crashes and make roads safer.”

On top of prohibiting texting and driving, the new ban puts 6 points on a driver’s license for an accident that is a direct result of using one’s cell phone while driving.  In addition, if a driver is inside a school safety zone and is caught in a moving violation, illegal use of their mobile phone will result in 2 points being added to their driver’s license plus any points from the moving violation.

A government website dedicated to distracted driving information and how to avoid it said that drivers that text while driving are at a much greater risk of getting into a car crash.  According to McChristian, “Anything that test your mind off driving, even for a few seconds, can certainly have deadly consequences.  Thinking ahead about financial consequence may be added incentive for driving to put the phone down and keep both eyes on the road.”

Here are 10 tips to avoid getting distracted while driving
1. Turn the phone off or turn the volume all the way down before getting in your vehicle.  You could also place it somewhere, like the glove box, to remove easy access to the device.
2. Use a recorded message saying you are driving and will call them back when you are not driving, or sign up for a service with a feature that will do the same.
3. If you are driving and you need to make a call that can’t wait, safely pull off the road and then make the call.
4. If there are passengers in your car, ask them to please make a call for you or respond to a received text.
5. Please refrain from texting, using the Internet or reading e-mail on your phone while driving.  Even using voice-to-text comes with its share of risks.
6. Stay up-to-date with local and state laws before getting behind the wheel.  Talking on a cell phone may also be prohibited in your state or a state where you may be vacationing.
7. Should you need to use a GPS device, please provide your destination before you start driving.  Or, if you will be using a map or written directions, familiarize yourself with them ahead of time.  Unless you have someone with you in the car for help, please pull off the road if you need to check your GPS or map/directions.
8. Pets can be a distraction so make sure they are secured in your vehicle.
9. In the event that you have kids with you and there is a situation you need to address, please pull over first.
10. Trying to do more than just driving while behind the wheel is not safe.  Please refrain from drinking, grooming, eating, smoking, reading, and anything else that takes your full attention away from the road.

Whether speaking with a friend, family member or business client, a lot of people may be on the phone for a good portion of the day.  With the continued (and growing) use of the phone, that time has spilled over into the time we are behind the wheel of a car.  It is not easy to admit it, but no individual can be on the phone and not be dividing their attention between driving and the subject of their conversation.  There are so many accidents and fatalities on the road that we ask you to please be as safe as possible while on the road.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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Setting Your Insurance Resolutions

It’s not just your weight or your budget that you might want to make changes to in the New Year. Your thoughts about insurance and the way you see it fitting into your life might be good candidates for change as well. Here are a few tips to help guide you toward setting the right insurance resolutions:

  • Stop thinking minimums: Some people buy insurance just to keep their state and lenders happy. Buying just the minimum amount of insurance necessary to comply with lenders and regulators can leave you and your family exposed to unnecessary financial risks.
  • Think about the legacy you want to create: Life Insurance is about more than replacing an income for your family; it’s about finding the means to create the legacy you want to leave behind. Before you can do that, you need to know what your ideal legacy is.
  • Stay on the lookout for ‘soft’ spots: While it’s a good idea to do an insurance review annually, it’s an even better idea to identify any areas where your coverage falls short throughout the year. By keeping your eyes peeled and thinking about risk, exposure and protection on a more frequent basis, you might identify these situations more often and prevent coverage shortfalls from causing you financial harm.
  • Have your valuables assessed: If you chose limits by estimating the value of some of your higher-end antiques, art and jewelry, then this year resolve to actually get these items assessed by a professional. Not only can this help your legacy planning efforts but it will also ensure that your home insurance limits are adequate.
  • Read your policies: Reading your insurance policy document is the best way to get educated about what it does and does not cover. Not only will this help you get the most out of your policy but it may also help you determine any shortfalls that could occur and plan for them before they do.
  • Work with your agent on an insurance review: If you haven’t already planned to do an in-depth insurance review with your agent, your first resolution can be to do so.

Insurance is a vital aspect of your family’s financial plan. Don’t relegate it to the back corners of your mind throughout the year.  Instead, integrate it into your daily life so that you can make sure you get as much out of it as you need to. For more tips or to make changes in your policies, give us a call at 305-270-2100.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

Check our Facebook page for home, auto, and business insurance in Miami, FloridaLike us on Facebook!