Frees Advice: Millennials

Children Moving Out of the House

Details. Details. Details…

They can be annoying in life, but they are VERY important in insurance. Who is an insured is defined within all policies. Most policies define an insured to include the named insured and “resident relatives.” This eliminates the need to add all of your children, aunts, parents, etc. But it also excludes coverage for children when they move out and establish another residence (typically, this is not while they are simply students away at school).

If your son or daughter moves out and takes one of your cars with them, you are still covered, but they have NO protection. There is no coverage for their medical bills and no coverage for their uninsured or underinsured motorist protection. What should you do? Put the car and the insurance in their name. What if they move out and don’t take a car? They should buy coverage called “Non-owned” coverage to protect them while riding in taxis, Ubers, etc.

What if they move out? Renters insurance provides them coverage for their personal liability exposure, protection for their personal belongings, and coverage for them to live someplace else if their apartment is damaged by a covered loss.

Questions about this? Call your insurance professional. Don’t have an insurance professional? Please contact us or call us at 610-933-4950.

Teen Driver Safety Week

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year olds in the United States. More than 59% of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt. Speeding was a factor in 30% teen driver fatalities. These shocking statistics are why the National Teen Driver Safety Week was established. The week of October 21 is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to preventable teen deaths and injuries on the road.

For Parents…

An important part of teaching your teenagers safe driving skills is to “practice what you preach.” If you frequently break the speed limit laws, run red lights and text illegally, you shouldn’t be surprised when your teen follows your example. Remind your teen driver of the importance of reducing distractions, which includes multiple passengers, loud music, and of course his or her cell phone. Teenagers often feel invincible now that they have a new sense of freedom and independence; however, they may not understand the immense responsibility that comes along with these privileges. Frees Insurance has a Teen Driving Contract that we encourage parents and teen drivers to read & sign.

NHTSA’s website,, has detailed information and statistics on teen driving and five basic rules parents can use to help save the lives of teen drivers:

No Drinking and Driving. All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Remind your teen that driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences.

Buckle Up. Every Trip, Every Time, Everyone—Front Seat and Back. Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. Yet, too many teens are not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen (15-19 years old) drivers, and 59 percent of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. When the teen driver was also unrestrained, the percentage of those passengers who were not restrained jumped to almost 86 percent. Remind your teen that it’s important for everyone to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what.

 Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving are more than just risky—they can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers (15-19 years old) involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. But distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.

Stop Speeding Before It Stops You. Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially teens. In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Remind your teen to drive within the speed limit.

No More Than One Passenger at a Time. Extra passengers in a teen’s car can lead to disastrous results. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.

Parents can help protect their teen drivers by talking with them about these risks.  Surveys show that teens whose parents set firm rules for driving typically engage in less risky driving behaviors and are involved in fewer crashes.


Back to School: Lending & Borrowing Cars

The new school year is quickly approaching and many students have already moved back into their college dorms and apartments. If you are living at college, it’s important to know the implications of borrowing a friend’s car or lending your car to others. If your son or daughter is at college, be sure he/she is also aware of the associated risks of sharing cars. It is a common misconception that the insurance follows the driver; however, insurance actually follows the car.

For example, your roommate needs to run to the grocery store to pick up a few items and borrows your car. On her way to the store, she rear-ended another vehicle. The primary coverage that would pay for damages to the other driver is your liability coverage. This means you’d have to:

  • File the claim with your company

  • Pay the deductible

  • Accept any resulting rate hikes

If the damages exceed your available limits, only then would her coverage step in as excess coverage.

Be sure to think twice before lending your car, otherwise you may be looking at a much higher premium and a strained relationship with your friend or roommate.




Renters Insurance at School

So… it’s that time of the year. Back to school. I know I know. Summer 2k16 is quickly coming to an end. It’s time to pack your things up and head back to school. This year will be different though. You are spreading your wings and escaping the “dorm life.” You and your best friends have rented a “nice” house (or apartment) for the year. It’s going to be incredible. No RAs to tell you to turn down the music. No more mac and cheese from your dorm room microwave. The best part? You can throw parties whenever you want.
Flash forward three weeks. It’s the Sunday morning after the first weekend back at school. You wake up after throwing an “awesome” party and decide to check out your schedule for the week. For some reason, you can’t find your new Macbook. You go downstairs to look for it and you notice that brand new TV is gone too… What happened? I thought we just invited “friends” over. It turns out that your friend invited some “randos” on their walk over and now all of your stuff is gone. Luckily, you and your roommates were smart and all purchased your own renters’ insurance policies and were able to get all of your stolen belongings back. Phew. This is just one benefit of renter’s insurance.
A few months down the road and it’s your 21st birthday. Wahoo! You never tried this “alcohol” and are very excited to celebrate the big day. You start the celebration a little early so you are ready for the bars at midnight. All of your best friends come over to help celebrate. The house gets a little crowded and someone accidentally falls down the stairs. The party continues on and you have a great rest of the night. Unfortunately for the girl who fell down the stairs ends up with a broken leg. Her parents are not happy and end up suing you for the damages. I know this sounds far-fetched but unfortunately it has happened. Once again, your trusty renter’s insurance policy steps in and defends you against the suing parents and pays the settlement and defense costs.
One last thing about renter’s insurance. The included coverage called “loss of use” is incredibly important. You know how you always thought your landlord was a little sketchy? Well, unfortunately after a neighbor accidentally burns down the building from a kitchen fire, your landlord informs you that he does not have the appropriate coverage to pay for new housing for you. Also, that “confusing line” in the lease actually releases him from responsibility of providing somewhere else for you to stay. Once again, the trusty insurance company steps in and will pay to put you in a hotel or new apartment. Just another benefit of this affordable policy.

This fall, make sure you reach out to your insurance agent to discuss whether you need renter’s insurance. Most likely you need it. For about $125 a year (that’s $11 a month) you can purchase personal property coverage of $20,000 and up to $500,000 in liability coverage. Your landlord’s insurance will not protect you or your belongings. I promise you that your belongings are worth more than you think. I promise you that if people can sue, they will sue. Talk to your insurance agent today or give us a call to discuss this imperative coverage. 

Millennials: Debt and Credit

On a recent Facebook IQ report that looked at how millennials aged 21-34 manage their money, results concluded millennials hate debt (I’m not really sure who would like it) and don’t like using credit cards either.

In my experience, most millennials don’t use credit cards (that aren’t their parents) and most don’t realize that you need to establish good credit score in order to be able to do things like take out a loan, buy a car or house, etc. Simply put, millennials probably hate debt because so many of them are in it after graduating college.

The Class of 2015 had the most debt in U.S. History. On average each student had $35,051 in debt according to Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of This probably does not provide the strongest foundation for future savings or retirement planning. According to the IQ report, only 37% had a money management plan in place.

The report also revealed 86% save money each month but are less likely to invest it. These results may be because millennials were not taught to properly invest money unless they have some sort of business degree, considering simple money management/business courses are not required in high school. Another reason for this may be due to millennial’s experience with the Recession and their possible skepticism towards financial institutions.

Whether these survey results were due to general skepticism or lack of education, it’s important for millennials to understand the importance of a good credit score and establishing a future financial plan.

Startups Taking Over

According to an associate at venture capital firm General Catalyst Partner, startup companies have been recently interested in replacing insurance agents. Last year, there was a large growth in technology deal activity in the insurance business. A variety of factors may transform this business’ transactions. First, the average age of an agent today is 59 years old. Since millennials will be the next largest wave of insurance consumers, older agents need to adapt to the channels that millennials interact with, specifically through the internet and smartphone technology.


The successes of other markets that have also greatly reduced the need for a personal agent make this a compelling point. Companies like Kayak and Expedia have largely decreased the need for a travel agent. As startup companies begin to provide different methods of consumer education, they may also begin to substitute what a personal insurance agent does best – individualized consumer education. Startups have also found new ways to facilitate supportive customer service online. A Deloitte representative recently stated that the small-business insurance market may not be significantly affected in the near future, but having a presence through a variety of channels is important.

Have a 16 Year Old Getting Ready to Drive?

One of the challenges that all parents face is teaching their 16 year old to drive. What makes this even more challenging? Impatient motorists. We have all been there. You are late, trying to get someplace, and the car in front of you at the stop sign is letting all of the other cars go. It is hard to tell if the driver of that car is simply learning how to drive.

A solution? Frees Insurance is offering, to our customers, a magnetic and reflective bumper sticker to place on the rear of the car. Since it is magnetic, the sticker can be moved from car to car. This lets other drivers know that you are teaching a new driver and hopefully the other drivers will be more patient.

Do we want it back? No. Keep it for your next young driver or share it with a friend. If your insurance professional doesn’t provide these, maybe you need a new insurance professional.

Call us at 610-933-4950 or stop by the office at 120 Gay Street.