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4 Steps to Protect Backseat Passengers

Man, I look back at these old photos of my babies when they were in their car seats as newborns and so many feelings flood through me. I remember being so nervous about bringing these newborn babies home. In a car. In a car seat. I mean, what if I got into an accident. Would their car seat hold up? Would they be OK?

Studies show that the safest place for your child to ride in the car is the backseat. However, simply riding in the backseat isn’t enough to ensure your passengers’ safety. Certain precautions should still be taken for both children and adults riding in the back to reduce their risks of injury or death.

Aim For Buying a Newer Vehicle

When you’re in the market for a vehicle, keep backseat passengers in mind. The average car on the road is 11 years old, but there have been many advancements in car safety just within the last decade. Some particularly old cars aren’t even equipped with headrests, which are key to protecting passengers’ necks from whiplash. However, many newer models come with safety features just for the backseat, like side airbags and inflatable seat belts. Buying used is the budget-friendly way to go, but try to get a car that is at least fewer than 10 years old if you can.

Secure the Kids

Being equipped with the proper restraints is the most important factor in child passenger safety. Determine whether your child needs a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt based on his or her age, weight, and height. Not sure what to trust? Use this handy page from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine which restraints are best for protecting your child passenger.

Put Them In The Middle

Believe it or not, the middle seat is the safest seat in the entire car. It offers the most distance from impact during a collision, so the middle passenger is more likely to be protected from a crash in any direction. Just make sure the passenger is wearing a 3-point seatbelt. If a lap belt is the only option, they’re better off sitting in a window seat.

No Distracted Driving!

This one seems so obvious, but distracted driving is still the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S. It is always valuable to remember that activities like talking on the phone, texting, reading, grooming, or eating compromise the safety of you and your passengers.

Remember these tips when you’re buying a car, picking out a carseat for a child, or just running an errand with a friend. The backseat is known as the “safe seat,” but there are definitely measures you can take to make it even safer and protect the ones you love. Make sure you’re covered in case of an accident or injury with the right insurance plans!

As always, please don’t hesitate to call us with Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-2106 to discuss your insurance and coverage options. We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

What to Know Before Letting Someone Drive Your Vehicle

It happens. Sometimes we are in situations where we have to lend our vehicle to other people. Maybe you are not fit to drive and give the keys to someone who can. Maybe your family member needs to use it when moving items around. Regardless of the reason, you probably are a little cautious before letting someone else drive your car. After all, there are major consequences that can arise if something bad were to happen. Take a look at what you should be aware of the next time someone asks to borrow your car, even if it is for a minute or two.

Make Sure You Trust the Driver

While this is common sense, we still highly encourage drivers not to lend their keys to someone they do not know. Even if they are a good friend, make sure they don’t have a history of getting into wrecks. Because the second they get behind the wheel and take your car on a joy ride that ends unfavorably, you are going to be the one at fault.  This is because insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver.

Their Insurance Does Not Matter

Regardless of the fact that the person driving your car has insurance, it is not going to be their agency that covers the wreck. It will be yours since your car is covered through your agency. While the driver’s insurance may cover things like personal injury or medical expenses, you will still have the majority of the bill to take care of. Again, this is because insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver.

What to Do If You Have a Regular Driver

If it turns out that someone borrows your car more than occasionally, especially someone that you employ, please contact me so that we can discuss the situation and, if warranted, add them onto your policy.

Don’t Panic

While it is true that there are major consequences that can occur, this is really just for worst case scenarios. More than likely, you will be covered if you give someone verbal consent to drive your car. If you are nervous, feel free to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call to make sure all your bases are covered. We will be more than happy to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of lending your vehicle.

If you ever have any questions about your auto policy, don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency. We are always here to help make life (and insurance) a little less complicated.  And, we always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

Is Ridesharing Covered Under My Insurance Policy?

Did you know that nearly every insurance carrier and insurance policy excludes coverage for incidents that occur when a personal vehicle is used to transport paying passengers, such as during ridesharing.

Gap in Insurance

There may be a gap in insurance coverage between the driver’s personal automobile insurance policy and the commercial policy maintained by the company, such as Uber or Lyft. And, your personal auto insurance typically excludes coverage for business use or when drivers are “available for hire.” This exclusion means that a driver’s standard personal auto insurance would not likely cover them while a Transportation Network Company (TNC) application is turned on, even if they haven’t accepted a ride request and have no passengers in the vehicle.

In addition, the largest known TNCs operating in the U.S. only provide contingent liability coverage. If there is an accident, only third parties are covered for limited damages. . Due to coverage gaps with insurance provided by TNCs, you could be left to pay for physical damage to your vehicle and a personal injury in the event of an accident. You could also be on the hook if your vehicle is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver as TNC insurance does not provide coverage for these situations.

So, what can you do?

Langlois Insurance Agency can offer an insurance policy that fills in that gap in coverage.

Extend your personal auto policy: With RideSharing Coverage, you get nearly the same coverage during applicable ridesharing activities as you do any other time you drive. First, we will identify which vehicle you use for ridesharing. Your RideSharing Coverage will only apply to the vehicle specified on your policy. If you have other vehicles insured, the coverage will not apply to them unless you purchase coverage for each one.

Rideshare More & Worry Less

So if you are a rideshare driver, you can still continue to generate extra income or even work full-time using your personal vehicle to transport others. But you can now be assured that you have the proper coverage for this business venture. You can still love the freedom of setting your own hours and traversing the city with interesting people in tow. The difference – you will have the appropriate auto insurance coverage when you drive for a transportation network company (TNC), such as Uber or Lyft.

Call #815-485-2106 for Information

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions.  We want to ensure that you are properly covered.

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

Tips for New Teenage Drivers

Throughout the year, Langlois Insurance Agency receives many phone calls from anxious parents who are taking their kids to the DMV to get their driver’s license. These parents are, in insurance terms, freaking out. And, as a parent of an-almost-sixteen-year old, I can completely understand.

Ever since Henry Ford created the first mass produced automobile, parents have dreaded the moment when their child asks, “Hey mom and dad, can I borrow the car?”

Parents have so many worries with allowing their teen behind the wheel of a car. Distracted driving, speeding, texting & driving, adverse weather conditions, are just a few that come to mind. And, with these worries come questions that I am always happy to go over with my customers. Here are some common questions that I often hear from parents as they allow their children to take the wheel:

How can I lower my car insurance rates with my teen driver?

Younger drivers often face paying higher car insurance premiums than more experienced drivers because they are more prone to accidents and, as such, statistically present a higher risk. Fortunately, if you are a young driver (or the parent of a young driver), you can be eligible for a Good Student Discount. This Good Student Discount can be a wonderful way to save money on car insurance coverage for teen drivers. Please contact me for more information about this Good Student Driver discount. My favorite saying to parents, “Good grades can save you money!”

Another discount that your college-aged-driver could be eligible for is a Distant Student Discount. If the student leaves the car at home versus bringing it to school, you may see a decrease in your insurance rates. I have seen rate decreases for college students called a “distant student discount”, which is for a student who is at a college at least 100 miles away and chooses to leave their car at home. As always, please review your specific policy to confirm.

How can I help prevent texting and driving?

Studies have shown that people who read or compose text messages while driving are 23% more likely to be involved in a car crash than other drivers.

Let’s take a second to reread that statement.

Because of this, the law strictly forbids texting and driving. Unfortunately, many of our teen drivers (and let’s be real – adult drivers too) ignore this regulation. Who what can be done about this? Check out this great article that lists driving apps, which prevent texting while driving to help enhance safe driving and reduce the distraction rate.

One of my favorite apps is called SafeDrive. SafeDrive is a well-known app that disables texting while driving on an iPhone. One interesting feature of SafeDrive is that it rewards you for not texting while driving. This app will award you points that can be used toward discounts at participating stores.

Does my 16 year old even need to get their drivers license?

I get this question all the time. Some parents simply don’t believe that 16 is old enough for their child to get their drivers license and that this “rite of passage” into adulthood should be delayed. And, we are also seeing that many 16-year-olds simply aren’t in a huge rush to get their license.

According to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of all adults with a driver’s license has, in fact, declined in recent decades. And, the trend is strongest among teenagers.

In 1983, nearly half of American 16-year-old had a driver’s license. By 2016, that number had fallen to about 25% of 16-year-olds. So, if you feel like your teen simply isn’t ready to be behind the wheel, there’s no need to rush.

As always, please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions regarding your teen drivers insurance coverage. I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,
Matt Langlois

Will Insurance Cover My College Student?

During this time of year, Langlois Insurance Agency receives many phone calls from anxious parents who are sending their kids off to college. They have so many worries – the cost of room & board, how crazy expensive the textbooks are, the overall safety of the college campus, just to name a few. They are also worried about how this life change can affect their insurance. Here are some common questions that I often hear from parents as they send their kids off to college:

Will my child still be covered under my auto insurance policy?

College students are normally covered under their parents’ auto insurance policy, as long as they reside with their parents when they aren’t at school (ex. summer break). As always, please review your specific policy to confirm.

Will I see my auto insurance rates increase?

The short answer to this is “it depends”.

Rates may increase – or decrease – depending on the driving habits of the student. For example, if the student is driving the car in an urban-located school, you may see your rates increase. This is because drivers in urban locations generally pay more for insurance than those in rural areas.

On the flip side, if the student leaves the car at home versus bringing it to school, you may see a decrease in your insurance rates. I have seen rate decreases for college students called a “distant student discount”, which is for a student who is at a college at least 100 miles away and chooses to leave their car at home. As always, please review your specific policy to confirm.

(Check out this bad boy above – the car that I took to college back in the day.  It’s a classic beauty.)

Are there any “good student” discounts available?

You now have another excellent reason to push your student to study hard since students with good grades may qualify for a “good student” discount. As always, if you have a child either in college, or about to head off to college, please contact Langlois Insurance Agency to review your individual policy.

Will my homeowner’s insurance policy cover my student’s belongings if they live off campus?

If your child is living off campus, you may want to purchase a renter’s insurance policy for them. Renters’ insurance protects your student’s personal property and provides most of the benefits of home insurance, including liability insurance. However, it does not protect the dwelling or structure of the dwelling itself, which is the landlord’s responsibility to insure.

Our carriers can protect your college student and their property against the following:
Fire
Theft
Vandalism
Liability if someone is hurt or accrues damage to personal property in their rental home
Additional living expenses (ex. If your child has to live somewhere else while the home is being repaired)

As always, please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions regarding your child’s insurance coverage.  I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency partners with ValChoice

In order to continue to provide our customers with exceptional service, Langlois Insurance Agency decided to partner with ValChoice. ValChoice awards recognize the best insurance companies, state-by-state. The company’s data analytics engine is the first to let consumers know which insurance companies offer the best claims handling, service, and value.

“I founded ValChoice to bring transparency to the insurance industry and help consumers find the protection and value they deserve from the insurance they must buy,” said Dan Karr, Founder and CEO of ValChoice.

One company that Langlois Insurance Agency sells for, Rockford Mutual Insurance Company, has won the prestigious ValChoice® award as A Best Value for car insurance in the states of Illinois and Wisconsin for the award year 2017/18. To win this award, Rockford Mutual provided their customers with a unique combination of excellent customer service, claims handling, and value in the car insurance products they sold over a three-year period.

“Rockford Mutual’s mission is to provide exceptional service, innovation, security, ease of doing business and pay claims promptly and fairly” said Kent Shantz, President and CEO of Rockford Mutual. “Receiving this award from ValChoice, an analytics company, is a welcomed recognition of our dedication and commitment to our agents and policyholders and serving them well in their time of need.”

“It’s great to see Rockford Mutual achieving such excellence in service, claims handling and value. The level of excellence Rockford Mutual has achieved is something in which both the company, and the communities they serve, can take great pride.”

About Rockford Mutual

Rockford Mutual Insurance is helping families, individuals and businesses today and during their time of need by helping to put their lives back together. Our mission is to provide exceptional service, innovation, security, ease of doing business and pay claims promptly and fairly. This is accomplished by hiring the best associates, cultivating their talents, living our core values while leveraging technology.

About ValChoice

ValChoice® is the only company to provide consumers, agents and advisors with information on which home and auto insurance companies offer the best value: price, protection (claims handling) and service. The company’s analytics platform collects and analyzes millions of financial and complaint data points and delivers the results in an easy-to-use service that Forbes Magazine describe as “Carfax for insurance.”. Using ValChoice, consumers are finally able to shop for insurance based on value rather than making decisions blindly based on price or advertising campaigns.

If you would like us to analyze your insurance company, please feel free to give me a call at #815-485-2106. I always love to hear from my customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois

What to Do After You Have Hit a Deer

Accidents are sudden and very nerve-wracking. Although we try to avoid them as much as possible, they still occur in great volume. On average, there are almost 1.23 million deer-related accidents in the United States every year. This number grows around the later months when mating season is in session. This causes more deer to accumulate in populated areas, making some roads very dangerous for drivers. Hitting them is sometimes unavoidable because they appear in your direct path. While we hope this never happens to you, here are the steps you should take if it does.

Move Over

We understand that during a wreck you are so shocked that your priorities are all over the place. However, you should try to stay calm and pull to the side of the road as soon as possible. You are still at risk for being hit by oncoming traffic even though the wreck has already occurred. If you are able to move your car over, do so. Once you are safe, turn on your hazard lights, check your passengers, and take a deep breath.

 

Alert Authorities

Don’t wait to give the police a call. Alert them of the situation immediately so they can handle everything. If the wreck is bad enough, they will need to direct oncoming traffic out of the way so you and others are kept safe. If the deer is still at the scene, it could block traffic and needs to be removed. When authorities do arrive, you will probably need to fill out an official report with them. Having the details fresh from the scene will be handy when filling out your insurance claim.

 

Document the Incident

When the road is safe, it’s time to start documenting. Take pictures of the scene including your surroundings, your car, the road, and any injuries you or your passengers have sustained. This will all be important information for your agent to look over when filing your insurance claim.

 

Stay Away from the Deer

Although it’s okay to check on the deer, you might want to do this at a safe distance. If the deer survives the collision, it will be rattled up and might pose as a threat if it decides to attack out of fear. Deer are known for having powerful legs and sharp hooves that provide a damaging kick.

 

Contact Langlois Insurance Agency Immediately

Like with the authorities, don’t wait to give any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency a call. The sooner, the better. We can immediately get started on your claim when the situation is fresh on your mind rather than later when you might forget some details.

 

Examine Your Car

Although you are probably more than prepared to go home, take a moment to examine your car thoroughly. If it has sustained a significant amount of damage, you should not drive home in it. You could put yourself in even more danger if you do. Instead, contact someone you trust that will take you and your passengers home while you have your car towed.

 

When you are met with a tough situation such as a car accident, the last thing you need is added stress. Having the right agent on your side will give you peace of mind. Let us take care of you today. Give our office a call at #815-485-2106 to see how we can assist you and your family.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions that you might have.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Are You a Distracted Driver?

Are You A Distracted Driver?
Did you know that 2016 was the deadliest year on American roadways since 2007? And, the number of driving-related fatalities had the largest two-year spike since 1964.

The National Safety Council (NSC) found that 83% of drivers do believe that distracted and impaired driving is a major safety concern. BUT, 64% admitted that they are comfortable speeding, texting (47%), driving while being impaired by marijuana (13%), or driving after they felt they had consumed too much alcohol (10%).

And, so many of us engage in activities (eating, daydreaming, letting our pets roam loose in the car) that we don’t feel are dangerous, but still cause so many accidents.

Let that sink in for a moment…

As a parent of three children, one who is about to get her learner’s permit in about 2 ½ years, these figures are alarming.

I mean, I can barely watch this Subaru commercial without turning into a blubbering mess.

I can’t imagine the day that I allow her to get behind the wheel of a car without me there to protect her. Especially with these statistics circling around in my thoughts.

So, what can we do about this? How can we keep ourselves, our children, and those around us safe while operating a motor vehicle?

“The good news is we know what works to save lives: high-visibility enforcement of strong traffic laws coupled with public education and awareness,” notes the NSC.

And, insurance companies are starting to take note as well. One company that Langlois Insurance Agency works with, Pekin Insurance, has put together a great website where you can learn more about the dangers of distracted driving.

Plus, it has a fun, interactive Quiz, Focus 2 the Finish, where you can find out if you are engaging in common distractions that put yourself and others at risk.

Check it out! I took the quiz and was shocked – shocked – to learn that even your trusty, local Insurance agent had a few things to improve on (Sorry, Sunny, no more road trips in the Langlois-mobile for you!).

So, let’s keep our roads safe. Because you all are on the roads.

Your loved ones are on the roads.

And, because my Olivia will be on the roads soon.

And – simply – because driving safely is so very important.

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency

Roadside Assistance: Once Call Does It All

Roadside Rescue: One Call Does It All
Last week, I’m sitting in my office. Doing my insurance work. And, as you can see, it’s been a pretty good day at Langlois Insurance Agency — just check out my smile.

Then, I get a frantic phone call from my wife. She has a flat tire and is not happy. She’s stuck in the Jewel parking lot and is hoping that I can come and change the tire for her.

At this point, my instincts correctly instruct me not to give the lecture that she should have learned a loooong time ago to change her own tire. Seriously, this stuff should be taught as a basic life skill in high school.

But, I digress.

We’ve all been there … a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, car keys locked in the car, a battery that needs a jumpstart, or a gas tank that didn’t stretch those extra miles. Now you’re stranded on the side of the road, and you need a little emergency roadside assistance to get your car back up and moving.

Fortunately for my wife, Erin, we did have Roadside Rescue Coverage, which is part of our auto policy.
One quick phone call to our insurance carrier brought tire-changing-extraordinaire Larry to the rescue!

Do you have this coverage? I highly recommend it. It offers tremendous peace of mind if the situation arises that you or your loved one is ever stranded and you can’t quickly get there. Please feel free to call me at any time to learn more about various Roadside Rescue programs, which include tire changes, towing & winching, fuel delivery, concierge claim services, lockout service, minor mechanical repairs, and battery jump starts.

Or, if you want to start saving on your auto insurance policy today, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free car insurance quote. Langlois Insurance Agency has great automotive insurance policies, which cover cars, trucks, motor homes, motorcycles, trailers, campers, recreational vehicles, commercial fleets, antique cars, and classic vehicles. I even have a policy that covers this super-cool auto…

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois
Langlois Insurance Agency

What are the Dangers for Teen Drivers?

What are Some Dangers for Teen Drivers?
Did you know that motor vehicle/car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States?
According to a statistical study conducted by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), over 2,000 teenagers (ages 16-19) in the United States were killed and approximately 200,000 were treated in the ER for injuries suffered in crashes in 2014.

As a parent of three children, I find these statistics to be quite alarming.

Overall, Illinois has done its job to reduce these numbers by banning hand-held mobile devices while driving, as well as instituting a GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing) system that gives teenagers more supervised driving time before they are fully-licensed drivers.

But, even with these extra steps in place, motor vehicle accidents still remain the top cause of teenager deaths in Illinois, and unfortunately “tough” laws alone won’t prevent these deaths.

So, the IIA (Illinois Insurance Association) created the “5 to Drive” campaign, which offers tips for talking with your teens about safe driving habits. The greatest dangers that face teenagers when driving are:
1) Alcohol consumption and driving.
2) Distracted driving. Teach them not to use cell phones, put on makeup, eat a burger, etc…while driving.
3) Extra passengers in the car while driving.
4) Speeding.
5) Always use your seat belt, even if going a short distance.
6) Driving drowsy. Always be awake and alert.
The idea behind the “5 to Drive” campaign is that parents can foster safe driving habits in their teens through real discussions of what is and is not OK when driving.

It is going to take a collaborative effort to save the lives of teen drivers. The Illinois Insurance Association will continue to discuss safe teen driving habits not only during this “Teen Driver Safety Week”, but all year long.

If you have any further questions on this topic, or about insurance your teen driver, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-6676.

Safe driving teens!

Matt Langlois