Teen Driver Monitoring Apps

Teen Driver Monitoring Apps

You gave your teen the keys to the car, and now they’re off. How do you know they’ll be safe on the road? The latest technologies can help. We’ve done a deep dive into some of the most popular driving monitoring apps that can help your teen establish safe driving habits. Here’s what you need to know.

What can apps measure?

  • Speed limits: With limited driving experience, your teen may not realize the dangers of driving fast. They may not know how much time it takes to slow down a car. There are apps that set a speed limit and notify you if the driver exceeds that limit.
  • Distractions: Distracted driving is an issue for us all but new drivers are especially vulnerable. They may not realize how much can happen if they take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds. Even responding to a phone call or changing playlists can lead to an accident. Some apps set a Do Not Disturb mode when the car reaches a certain speed. If your teen disables the setting, you will be notified.
  • Locations: GPS tracking can let you know your teen is where they are supposed to be. Some systems also have a silent alarm so that your teen can signal an SOS if they feel unsafe.

Before you install a driver monitoring app, it’s important to have a conversation with your teen. Make sure you include any other family rules such as the curfew for the car being home, and how you wish your teen to check in with you. Discuss distracted driving and how they should handle calls and texts.  In doing so, you are setting up your teen for a lifetime of safe driving.

The Apps

Auto Coach (free)

This app is designed to help parents teach teens how to drive safely. It was developed by the Shepherd Center Hospital in conjunction with the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. It includes interactive lessons for teens with cognitive and physical disabilities. The app tracks driving hours and keeps parents involved in the process.

Bouncie (monthly subscription plus one-time device charge)

This offers real-time detailed insights and driving reports on speed, location, idle time, and hard braking. Bouncie also can monitor gas mileage and fuel economy, battery level, oil level and vital alerts. Information is accessible on your smartphone or computer. Bouncie requires a device that plugs into your vehicle. It works for most vehicles made after 1996.

FamiSafe (monthly subscription)

This app goes well beyond safe driving. It also tracks screen time and inappropriate content on kids’ devices. From a driving perspective, the app reports on speed limit, total distance traveled, and real-time physical location. It instantly notifies you if your teen speeds or brakes suddenly. Weekly driving reports help to analyze patterns. You manage all devices from a FamiSafe Dashboard on your smartphone or computer.

Family360 (monthly fee)

This app synchronizes your family into a private “circle.” It tracks everyone’s locations in real time through mobile phones. You can be notified when someone in your circle leaves or enters the places you go to most frequently.

Life360 (free and paid options)

This app offers real-time location monitoring and detailed driving reports. It tracks speeding, hard braking, and in the paid version signals crash detection and sends roadside assistance. It does more than tracking driving, however. The app includes digital monitoring, stolen phone protection, medical assistance, travel support, and disaster response.

On My Way (free)

This app pays you for safe driving. Users get 5 cents for every mile they drive without texting. While they cannot withdraw real cash, your teen can use it toward food, gas, events, travel, and gift cards.

Road Ready (free)

Part of the Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, this app logs the state’s required drive time for learners and tracks driving experiences. It also provides tips for safe driving.

Teen Time: Parental Control (free and paid options)

This is a location app that also monitors screen time and how kids are using their phones. It allows parents to limit use of games and apps. You can use it to track use of devices while your teen is driving.

TrueMotion Family Safe Driving (free)

This app tells you where your family members are and how they got there, with details on exactly how they drove. It records phone use, texting, aggressive driving, speeding, and more.


Finally, make sure that your car is well maintained and fully insured with your teen listed on the policy. Talk to your insurance agent about ways that you can save with a teen driver.


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 www.calcas.com.

Best Cars for Teen Drivers in 2024

Best Cars for Teen Drivers in 2024

The hunt for the perfect set of wheels is a rite of passage for teen drivers. While they may want style and speed, you know it’s better to choose safety and value. How do you find the perfect car that will win them over and fulfill your wish list? Here’s what you need to look for when determining the best cars for teens in 2024. (Scroll down for a list of recommended vehicles by price.)

There are certain safety features that are helpful for new, young drivers. When you look for cars for your teen driver, look for these:

  • Blind spot monitoring to alert drivers of nearby vehicles
  • Automatic emergency braking systems to avoid collisions
  • Lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning systems to keep the car in its lane
  • Pedestrian detection systems
  • Speed warnings and audio muting while driving

Several automakers help parents monitor teen driving habits with technology that can set limitations, like maximum speed. Ford has MyKey and Chevy has General Motors’ Teen Driver Technology.

Some vehicles could be dangerous for teen drivers. Knowing what to avoid is also important. 

  • Sports cars have excessive horsepower which might encourage teens to drive recklessly. These cars also are more expensive to insure.
  • Compact cars weighing less than 2,750 pounds may lack adequate crumple zones—important in a collision.
  • Large vehicles have prolonged braking distances. They are also harder to maneuver and park.
  • Vehicles that seat numerous passengers could raise the risk of distractions.

New Cars vs. Used Cars

New cars will automatically come with many safety features. However, they will also come with a higher price tag. Used cars are a better value. If you can’t get every safety feature, at minimum, you will want the following: anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control. Also, most cars from model year 2017 and later have rearview cameras.

Recommended Vehicles

The following vehicles offer top safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA. IIHS is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The ones we’ve selected also consider reliability and fuel economy and are recommended by the Kelley Blue Book. Prices listed are based on the Kelly Blue Book Fair Purchase Price national average and could vary due to purchase location, mileage, condition, and trim package.

Cars under $30,000

2023 Toyota Prius $27,450
2024 Honda Civic $23,950
2024 Toyota Corolla $21,900
2024 Kia Seltos $24,390
2024 Subaru Crosstrek $24,995
2023 Hyundai Kona $22,140
2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer $23,100
2024 Nissan Sentra $20,630

 Cars under $20,000 

2017 Toyota RAV4 $16,665
2018 Mazda CX-5 $15,176
2017 Honda CR-V $18,272
2020 Toyota Corolla $15,872
2019 Mazda3 $13,983
2017 Honda Accord $16,021
2017 Toyota Prius $17,157
2018 Kia Sportage $12,989
2018 Honda Civic $16,049
2019 Chevrolet Equinox $13,594

 Cars under $15,000 

2018 Kia Soul $10,807
2017 Toyota Corolla $11,959
2018 Mazda3 $12,299
2015 Honda CR-V $14,141
2016 Mazda CX-5 $11,969
2015 Toyota Prius $12,442

 Cars under $10,000 

2013 Honda Accord $9,626
2013 Toyota Camry $9,344
2014 Mazda3 $7,773
2013 Toyota Corolla $8,441
2015 Honda Civic $9,463
2009 Toyota RAV4 $7,926
2010 Honda Element $9,760
2011 Toyota Avalon $9,873


Final Thoughts

 There are ways to save when adding a teen driver to your auto policy. Check with your insurer to find out more.

Safe travels to you and your new driver.


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 www.calcas.com.


Resources for Auto Theft Victims

Resources for Auto Theft Victims

Your car was stolen. That sinking feeling hits hard. You feel violated and angry. Then, reality sets in. How are you going to get to work? Who’s going to pick up the kids? What do you need to do to get back on the road?

The good news is you’re not alone. There’s a network of support for auto theft victims. Here’s a state-by-state rundown.


Victim Services Compensation Program

Arizona Criminal Justice Commission


This program provides monetary assistance to victims of crime who suffered a direct financial loss because of that crime. The thief does not need to be caught for the victim to qualify for assistance. However, all other sources of financial support must be exhausted before victims can be considered for this program.


California Victim Compensation Board

The Board can help pay bills and expenses that result from violent crimes. Therefore, you must have a physical injury or be a victim of a hit-and-run to qualify.

Crime Survivors Resource Center


This nonprofit offers helpful resources for victims of crime by county.


Victims Assistance Grant Application

Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority


You can receive support such as reimbursement for storage and tow fees, vehicle cleaning, limited repairs, and alternative transportation methods. The authority may also cover catalytic converter theft. You will need to provide your driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance declarations page, and a copy of the police report. A victim’s advocate also is available to help crime victims and their families.


Crime Victims Compensation Program


This compensation program is related to victims who have suffered personal injury because of the crime. Reimbursable expenses include medical bills, wage loss, death benefits, funeral expenses, and counseling.


Property Crimes Compensation Fund


This fund covers financial losses from a property crime not covered by insurance for incidents in Douglas County, KS. The thief does not need to be caught for the victim to qualify for assistance.


Oregon Department of Justice Crime Victim and Survivor Services


This program was created to help victims of violent crime with expenses associated with the crime. While the program cannot replace stolen items, it can help with mental health counseling and medical expenses.


Wyoming Division of Victim Services


This program helps victims of violent crime deal with the mental, physical, and financial aftermath.


National Center for Victims of Crime


This nonprofit organization works with local, state, and federal partners to help victims rebuild their lives. It offers attorney referrals, confidential helplines, and information.

National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)


NOVA can put victims of crime in touch with local and state resources that can help.

Victim Connect


Crime victims can learn their rights and options through this referral hotline service. Hotline services are offered in over 200 languages, and victim assistance specialists provide emotional support, information, and referrals.


Does insurance protect you if your vehicle is stolen?

If you have comprehensive auto insurance, you will be covered in case your car is stolen. Insurance will cover the cost of a replacement car, minus any deductibles or rental car costs that you may need to pay. Drivers who are paying loans on their vehicles are required to have comprehensive insurance. However, once you have paid off your car, this insurance is optional. Check with your insurer to see what is covered in the event of theft.

You can often save on your insurance premiums if you install anti-theft devices. Ask your provider for more information.

It typically takes 30 days before a vehicle is considered gone forever. Work with your insurance provider to get your claim paid, so you can get back on the road.

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 www.calcas.com.

Vehicle Tires – Air vs. Nitrogen

Vehicle Tires – Air vs. Nitrogen

When it comes to keeping your tires inflated, you have a choice. You can fill up with air, like people have done for decades, or you can use nitrogen. What are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a closer look.


Remember when you studied molecules in science class? Molecules are the smallest amount of a substance that still carries its properties. Nitrogen molecules are larger and slower than the molecules in air.  As a gas, nitrogen also is drier. These properties give nitrogen some advantages.


    • Nitrogen won’t seep out of your tires as quickly as air because of its larger, slower molecules. That will help you to maintain your tire pressure longer.
    • The moisture naturally found in air can cause changes in temperature. With nitrogen, there is no moisture and therefore it is less susceptible to temperature changes that affect tire pressure.
    • Nitrogen is especially good for locations with very high or low temperatures. It is often used in race cars, heavy vehicles, and aircraft because it is nonflammable and able to more easily maintain its temperature.
    • Nitrogen will not react to rubber, steel, or any of the tire’s components. There is no oxidation which can damage tires. That should help preserve your tire over time.


    • You most likely will pay to inflate your tires with nitrogen. The initial charge to remove the air and fill them with nitrogen can cost about $30 per tire. Then, it will be about $7-10 per tire for topping it off as you need more nitrogen.
    • Nitrogen may not be significantly better than air at maintaining tire pressure. Consumer Reports found only a 1.3 psi difference between air and nitrogen over the timeframe of a year.
    • There is no scientific evidence that nitrogen helps with fuel economy.
    • It is harder to find places to fill up with nitrogen. You will have to search for locations that offer nitrogen, even for a fee.

 Note: If your tire is low and there is no place to get nitrogen, you can top your tire off with air. It won’t harm your tires, but it will reduce the effectiveness of the nitrogen alone.


You may be surprised to learn that air is composed of mostly nitrogen. In fact, the mix is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and about 1% of other gases. Air, which has been used to inflate tires for over a century, also has its advantages.


    • Air is often free. If it costs, it is minimal such as a dollar or two.
    • Air is readily available. You can find it at gas stations, convenience stores, wholesale clubs, tire shops, and more.
    • While air loses pressure over time, its rate is close to that of nitrogen. Plus, with air, drivers are more likely to check in often versus relying on nitrogen to stay pressurized.


    • You will experience more pressure changes with air. Air is affected by temperature changes due to water vapor in its mix. However, it is worth noting that most tire shops have moisture separators that limit the amount of water vapor.
    • The oxygen in air can cause oxidation, which can make rubber brittle over time.
    • You will have to fill your tires more often when you have air versus nitrogen.

Tire Pressure is Key

When you fill up with nitrogen, you get a green cap on your tire valve. When you fill up with air, your cap will be black. However, whether you use nitrogen or air, you still will fill your tires to the same recommended pressure. Check the inside of your door or your driver’s manual to find the right psi.

Maintaining the correct pressure helps your tires last longer, your car handle better, and could even help with fuel economy. Under or over inflated tires increase your risk of a blowout and increase wear and tear. No matter whether you use nitrogen or air, regularly checking the pressure of your tires is part of responsible vehicle maintenance.

Your car is one of your greatest investments. Protect it with the right insurance for added peace of mind.

Safe travels from all of us at California Casualty.


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 www.calcas.com.

Buying a Vehicle Online

Buying a Vehicle Online

You’re ready for a new set of wheels. Time to head to the dealership, test drive some models, and negotiate like a pro. Or you could boot up your laptop and start clicking from the comfort of your couch.

Online car shopping is a game-changer. You can shop anytime, anywhere, with access to a multitude of vehicles without the sales pressure. But is it right for you?

What it Means to Buy a Car Online

Many of us shop online for everything from clothes to groceries. A car, of course, is a larger purchase. It costs much more and so there is more at stake. You might be comfortable researching a car online, and even calculating loan payments. But there’s a comfort level to continuing the car buying process in the dealer showroom. However, more and more people are taking the plunge into online car shopping. They’re buying online from start to finish.

Pros & Cons

It’s ultra-convenient to shop for a car online.

  • You don’t have to go to a dealership during business hours. You can shop on your schedule from any place.
  • There is likely more inventory available online than at your local dealership.
  • You can get pre-approved for a loan before you even start shopping.
  • There is less sales pressure and no haggling. Prices are clearly posted, and what you pay ultimately depends on the base price, any trade-in, and your credit rating.
  • You can fill out paperwork online at your leisure.
  • Many online marketplaces have a short return window, so if the car wasn’t what you expected, you can return it.
  • You can get the car delivered to your driveway.

Of course, there are some downsides.

  • You can’t physically see the car or test drive it before you buy it. (Some services are offering test drives, however, and you can always test drive at a dealership before buying online.)
  • You can’t negotiate the price.
  • Online purchases often come with extra fees. It can cost $1,000 or more to deliver a car.
  • Your financing choices may be limited. The seller may restrict you to a single lender.
  • You cannot get your car the same day, as you would at a dealer.
  • You can potentially get more incentives onsite at a dealer, such as lease specials or cash rebates.

 Online Sellers

There are a variety of online vehicle sellers. Some new car dealers offer the full online experience, including car delivery. There are also services that sell used vehicles in online marketplaces. Still others connect buyers with private sellers. Each site has different terms and warranties, so make sure you understand them before you buy. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Carvana offers used cars, auto loan prequalification, and a 7-day return window. Car delivery is not available everywhere and may include a shipping fee.
  • CarMax also sells used cars. They can deliver a car for test driving (fees may apply). CarMax offers financing and has a 7-day return window.
  • Vroom sells used cars with a 7-day or 250-mile return window. Vroom also offers access to online financing.

You may buy from private sellers on sites such as these:

  • eBay Motors connects you with private sellers. The site offers free vehicle purchase protection that can cover you if there are problems with the sale.
  • CarGurus also connects you with private sellers and offers support for paperwork including title transfers. They offer financing through their partner, Auto Pay.

Red flags

  • Be careful with sellers that are not vetted by a third party. While you can find cars on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, it is more difficult to know if it’s a scam.
  • Avoid bait-and-switch scenarios, where the car you want is suddenly not available, but another similar more expensive model is. If a seller does that, chances are there will be problems later with other items such as warranties.
  • Beware of fraudulent websites. Make sure the site and the seller are legitimate. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Do not make a deal without a written agreement. Remember to read the fine print.

Ready to buy?

  1. Know what you can afford for a monthly payment, and then work backwards to determine how much you can finance.
  1. Know your credit score. Your credit rating is used to determine your interest rate.
  1. Pre-qualify for a loan. You can get a loan from a bank or credit union, or from the dealership or online marketplace where you will get your vehicle.
  1. Determine the type of car that fits your needs. Do you need a large SUV for off-roading and camping with the family? Perhaps you need the right car for your teen driver? Browse the online inventory to find the car that meets your budget and needs.
  1. Comparison shop across at least three websites to determine the best options. Consult Consumer Reports, Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book to ensure that your car is priced at current market value.
  1. If you’re able to arrange a test drive, do so. You want to make sure that you can fit comfortably in the car, and you like how it handles. If all checks out, then go ahead with the purchase.


A car is one of your greatest investments. For added peace of mind, protect it with the right insurance.

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 www.calcas.com.

How to Make Your Car Last Longer

How to Make Your Car Last Longer

Your car is more than just a mode of transportation; it’s a companion on life’s journey. But like any good friend, it needs a little care to keep it going strong. Whether you’re a road trip enthusiast or someone who relies on their wheels for daily commutes, extending the life of your vehicle makes sense. So, buckle up as we explore some simple yet effective ways to make your car last longer.

Ditch the heavy keychain.

When you put the key into the ignition, a heavy keychain can drag it down. That puts pressure on the tumblers inside the ignition. Over time, that can cause the ignition switch to fail. If your car keys share space with lots of other keys, consider a car-only keychain.

Watch for this warning sign: your key sticking in the ignition when you turn on the car. Get the ignition replaced before it leaves you stranded.

Use your parking brake.

The parking brake has an important job: to keep your car from rolling when parked. However, you don’t just need a parking brake on an incline; you need it whenever and wherever you park. Parking brakes help take the stress off the transmission. In addition, if not used, your parking brake can corrode over time. This can lead to expensive repairs. So, engage that parking brake whenever you park.

Don’t idle in the driveway.

It’s not a good idea to idle your car for long periods of time. Not only does it waste gas, but it can also do some damage. During idling, the oil pressure may not send oil to every part of the engine. The engine also won’t operate at its peak temperature. That means there could be incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, contaminated oil, and damaged components.

Be mindful of moisture.

Moisture can do a lot of damage to your vehicle. Water that seeps into your car’s body panels can cause rust. Extreme heat and humidity can reduce your car’s battery life. Moisture inside your car can also lead to mold and mildew. Finally, salt water can damage your car’s paint. Don’t drive through water, which can expose your undercarriage to unnecessary moisture. Clean corroded battery terminals if you live in humid areas. Make sure to keep your car dry and as cool as possible during the hot, humid months to avoid expensive future repairs.

Change the oil and the air filter.

If your oil is dirty, it can affect the components in your engine. Without proper oil changes, your engine could seize up, which will cost you more than nearly any other car repair. Most manufacturers suggest changing the oil every 5,000-7,500 miles. Newer vehicles will alert you when you need an oil change. You also need to change the air filter, although not as often as the oil. The air filter removes dirt and debris, which also can harm your engine. Change your air filter every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Help your tires wear evenly.

Tires naturally wear down over time. Keep them working well by inflating them at the recommended pressure. That will help prevent blowouts. Tires also wear unevenly; that’s why it’s important to rotate them every 6 months or 6,000-8,000 miles. Otherwise, your tires will wear out faster and have to be replaced.

Wash your car.

Cars get dirty, and that dirt buildup is more than cosmetic. It can slowly destroy your paint, which can lead to rust. That’s why washing your car is important. How often depends on the weather, whether you park outside, and if your car is exposed to pollen, bugs, sap from trees, salt on winter roads and more. Wash biweekly or as needed and wax every month or so.

Prevent pests.

If you leave food and wrappers in your car, you could attract mice and bugs. They in turn can do damage that requires repairs. Clean up all food items, wrappers, and containers. Block broken seals or holes where they can get in. If you suspect pests, have your upholstery professionally cleaned.

Protect the interior.

Leather can become dry and brittle after years of exposure to the sun. Apply a conditioning solution routinely to help prevent cracks and keep seats in good condition. Use a windshield shade to help slow upholstery fading.

Don’t fill your tank if you see the tanker.

Gasoline tankers can stir up sediment as they refuel the tanks at gas stations. That could cause you to get dirty gasoline, which can clog your fuel filter or fuel injector. Avoid filling up at a station when it is being filled by a tanker. You’ll avoid a potential expensive repair.

Avoid bad driving habits.

Certain driving habits can reduce the lifespan of your car. Don’t brake hard all the time, it can lead to deterioration of your brake pads. Don’t turn at high speeds; that’s hard on your tires. Don’t strongly accelerate when the engine is cold. Don’t rev your engine when your car isn’t properly warmed up. Avoid potholes and running over curbs which can harm your tires. Good driving habits can help reduce the need for expensive repairs.

Pay attention to maintenance lights.

Don’t skip routine maintenance. It may cost you now but save you money in the long run.

If you have a newer car, it will let you know when it needs service. When the maintenance light is on, schedule your appointment. However, you can look out for things, too. If you hear an unusual noise, take your car in. Watch for puddles under your car. It’s better to get ahead of potential problems than to pay for them as they become big issues.

Keep your car protected.

You may do everything right but accidents still happen, including some that could total your car. Your car is one of your greatest investments. Protect it with the right auto insurance for added peace of mind.

Check out our blog on Pro Tips to Keeping Your New Car Ageless for more tips.


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 www.calcas.com.


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