Accidents Rise During Pandemic: Staying Safe

Accidents Rise During Pandemic: Staying Safe

Less traffic has been hitting the roads, but cities and states across the country are actually seeing an increase in accidents- in adults and in teens. Fatal accidents involving teenagers has already hit an all-time high. Preliminary data from The National Safety Council indicates a 14% increase nationwide in fatal miles driven in the spring of 2020, compared to 2019.

While many people across the country stay inside and continue their “new normal” – working from home and only leaving the house when necessary, drivers on the less crowded roadways may be prone to take advantage of open lanes of traffic by driving recklessly, resulting in fatal accidents.

States all across the country have experienced increases in roadway deaths including California, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

If you have to get back on the road, follow these safety tips to avoid a deadly collision.


Brush Up on Traffic Rules & Regulations

It’s never a bad idea to re-familiarize yourself with traffic laws, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been behind the wheel. Before you get back on the road, take some time to go over basic traffic rules and regulations for your state, and minimize the risk of getting in an accident.


Don’t Speed

Speeding is a bad habit that most of us are guilty of, and when traffic is light the urge to speed increases (especially on the interstate). Not only is speeding against the law, but it also makes the road extremely dangerous for everyone on it. Speeding alone causes over 100,000 deaths every year. With clear roadways during the pandemic, more drivers are speeding to get to their destination causing fatal accidents. Avoid injuring yourself and/or others, and don’t speed.


Drive Defensively

It’s more important than ever to stay alert and aware when you are on the road. Defensive driving is a set of driving skills that allow you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by other drivers. These skills include: preparing to react to other drivers, avoiding distractions, and planning for the unexpected. You should always drive defensively, even if you are obeying all of the traffic laws, because other drivers may not be.


Watch Out For Pedestrians

In the early months of the pandemic, we saw more and more people turn to walking and biking for socially distant exercise, and many people have kept up with these healthy habits. When you are behind the wheel stay alert and keep an eye out for pedestrians that may be biking in streets or using crosswalks.


Educate Your Young Driver

Every May – September is considered the “100 Deadliest Days” for young drivers, as many hit the road for the first time (even during the pandemic). Teens are inexperienced behind the wheel, which makes them more susceptible to reckless and distracted driving – the number one killer of teens in America. Pair inexperience and reckless driving with an increase in fatal accidents and you have a recipe for disaster. Before your young driver gets behind the wheel this summer, educate them on following the rules of the road, even when there is no traffic. For more tips on teaching your teen driver click here.


Lastly, Make Sure You Have the Proper Coverage. Although this will not help you avoid a collision, it will save you time and money in the event you do get into an accident. While collision rates are on the rise, it’s important, now more than ever, to have the right auto insurance protection for when you get back on the road. This will not only help with out-of-pocket expenses due to an accident, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that your insurance is one thing you don’t have to worry about during these trying and uncertain times.


Drive smart and stay safe. For more auto insurance tips click here.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Top 6 Risk Factors for Boating Accidents

Top 6 Risk Factors for Boating Accidents

In 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard counted 4,145 recreational boating accidents that caused 633 deaths. That’s a fatality rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 recreational vehicles. There were also just over 2,500 injuries and about $46 million dollars of property damage.

The weather’s beautiful. Your boat’s ready. The rivers, lakes, and shores are calling. We get it! But here’s a reminder to keep safety top of mind while enjoying excursions with friends and family.

Here are the top 6 causes of boating accidents, as reported by the U.S. Coast Guard.


  1. Alcohol

By far, the leading known contributor to accidents is alcohol use, which contributed to 19 percent of deaths. Remember that blood alcohol content laws are the same for drivers of cars and boats. Underage drinking laws and penalties also still apply. Alcohol use while boating can lead to reckless boating, excessive speed, and other avoidable risks.


  1. Operator Inattention

The boating vibe is definitely one of relaxation and fun. But it’s imperative that drivers remain attentive to their surroundings. Rocks, swimmers, submerged trees, floating debris, other watercraft and changing weather can quickly turn conditions hazardous.


  1. Improper Lookout

Besides the driver, every vessel must have an appointed lookout — someone who monitors for boat traffic; nearby vessels; and risks of collision, stranding and grounding. If anyone in the group is doing water sports, the lookout must alert nearby boats that someone’s in the water. Accidents in this category were due to there being no designated lookout or the lookout was not doing their job. For every boat trip, make sure you appoint someone and that they understand and fulfill their duties.


  1. Operator Inexperience

Safely operating a boat is not only about knowing how to drive and handle that specific vessel, but also knowing the relevant boating laws and regulations (including locale-specific rules). Boater education classes are a great first step to gain experience and know-how. Anyone driving a boat must also know how to handle emergency situations.


  1. Equipment Failure

Just as with cars, boats need regular maintenance, repairs, and upkeep. Make sure your boat is “water-ready” before taking it out for the season. This includes the engine and mechanical parts, as well as life preservers, flares, navigation lights, and other safety items. Do a test run of the safety equipment so you don’t have an unexpected failure out on the water.


  1. Excessive Speed

High speeds make debris, hazards, swimmers and other boats harder to see, and decreases reaction time. Be mindful of posted speed limits and speed laws, which should be followed at all times. Also, inexperienced drivers sometimes forget that boats don’t have brakes like cars, which can get them into trouble quickly in an emergency or unexpected situation.


Some Final Reminders…

Although related to the above top causes, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the following 4 boating risks to keep in mind.

    • Busy Summer Days — Beautiful weather translates to crowded waters. More traffic means the driver and lookout must remain vigilant and attentive to hazards.
    • Reckless Boating — This encompasses any risky or unsafe driving behavior, and exponentially increases with alcohol consumption and/or operator inattention and inexperience.
    • Weather Conditions — Inclement weather such as strong winds, heavy rain, or sudden lightning is a hazard in itself but can also cause swells and large waves that threaten to capsize boats.
    • Hydration —It’s easy to become dehydrated when out in the sun and the elements — and paradoxically, when surrounded by water. Remember to always have enough water on board and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Many crashes can be avoided by knowing the risks and following safety guidelines. With precautions in place, you’ll have peace of mind to enjoy those beautiful summer days and sunsets on the water.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

How to Change Car Insurance Companies

How to Change Car Insurance Companies

You don’t have to wait for your auto policy to expire to change insurance companies. However, you do need to make sure you’re fully covered without any gaps in insurance. We’ve compiled some guidelines to help you decide if a change is right for you.


When should you think about changing policies?

While you don’t need a reason to change your auto insurance, there are some times when it makes sense for you to revisit your policy—even if you don’t change insurance companies. You may end up modifying your current policy to meet your evolving needs. For example:

• If you’ve had a major life change, such as getting married or divorced, you may need more or less insurance.
• If you’ve moved to a new zip code or state, the new location could affect your premium.
• If you’ve become a homeowner, you can bundle your auto and home and save money.
• If you’ve gone from working out of the home to remote work, your annual mileage may be less.
• If you’ve bought a new car, you will want to check insurance policy options.
• If your teenager is about to get his or her license, that will add to your policy.
• If your credit score has improved, you may qualify for a lower rate.
• If you’re unhappy with your current insurer, you can consider a change.
• If you’re approaching your renewal date, you can terminate a contract without cancellation fees.


Follow these steps to make the change.

Step 1: Consider your coverage options.
Figure out how much coverage you need. If you depend upon your care, you want to make sure that you have enough to replace it if necessary. Also, check your state laws. Some states will require you to have certain car insurance. If you lease or finance a car, your lender or lessor will require you to purchase collision and comprehensive insurance.

Step 2: Compare quotes from multiple insurers.
Get quotes from several insurers, and make sure you are comparing the same coverage, limits, and deductibles. Sometimes policies are cheaper because they don’t have the same coverage. This is also a good time to contact your current insurer to find out about discounts, or other ways to lower your cost. California Casualty offers discounts to nurses, educators, and first responders.

Step 3: Check for penalties and perks.
If you’re in the middle of your policy contract, there may be a penalty for canceling. Make sure you figure that into the decision to switch. You also will want to look for the perks, or little extras, that are offered. Some insurers offer inexpensive roadside assistance or accident forgiveness for qualified customers. Some have smartphone apps or are available 24/7 online.

Step 4: Do your research.
You want to know how your new insurer handles claims, and whether they have a good customer service rating. It may not be worth a lower price if it’s going to be a hassle dealing with the new company. Check out your insurer with the Better Business Bureau, JD Power, or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Step 5: Make sure there’s no gap in coverage.
Car insurance lapses can be expensive, especially if you have an accident on the day in between. If you cancel one policy, make sure the other one is already in place. Your new insurance company can provide proof of insurance to your old company. However, they cannot cancel your policy. You need to do so. You’ll receive a refund for any unused portion. There may be a cancellation fee.

Pro Tip: Also remember to cancel automatic payments to your old insurer with your bank or credit card.

Step 6: Notify your insurer and lender.
Make sure to officially cancel your policy with your old insurer. Otherwise, your insurer will think you simply stopped paying your bill, and you could be liable for charges. Some insurers require 24 hours before canceling, so make sure you are aware of the terms. Also let your lender or lessor know about your new insurance if you are leasing or financing your car.

Step 7: Replace your insurance ID.
Once you make the change, ask for a digital copy of your insurance card. You can also order a printed card. Remember to place your new insurance card in your car’s glovebox.

Finally, if you have an open claim, wait to make a change.
You may not be able to change insurers if you have an open claim with your current insurance company. The claim has to be paid and closed. Also, the rate quoted from your new insurance company may not take into account that most recent claim. If that’s the case, you could have a big increase when you renew with the new company, or even be responsible for a retroactive fee.

Get started with a free quote today at


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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