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Emma San Filippo

Tips for Safe Driving at Night

By Personal Insurance

Driving at night is often more hazardous than driving during the day. In fact, over 40 percent of deadly car accidents occur at night. Here are some steps you can take to lower your risk of getting into a car accident while driving at night.

1. Drive More Cautiously

Drivers make approximately 90 percent of decisions on the road based on what is visible to them. Due to the lack of sunlight afforded at night, you must pay even more attention to what you can perceive, such as reflectors on the surfaces and sides of roads and the headlights and taillights of other cars. You should drive a bit more slowly and be prepared to safely stop at any time, as you will have less advance notice if someone or something comes in front of your car.

2. Use Your Lights

At night, headlights are vital tools that not only allow you to see what is around you, but also allow other people on the road to see you and know you are there so they can give you ample space. Before driving, you should ensure that your headlights and taillights are fully functional and that you are aware of how they operate. You should also only use your high beams when there are no other drivers around, as high beams are more likely to dazzle other drivers and potentially cause a crash.

3. Be Aware of the Risks of Drunk Driving

People are generally more likely to drink in the evening hours, and while you cannot control the actions of other drivers, you can still make good decisions to try to protect yourself. It is best not to drink if you know you will need to drive afterwards. If you do decide to drink, be aware of how much you can drink before you become too intoxicated to drive. Charts can be found online that can tell you how many drinks you can have before reaching the legal BAC limit (0.08) to drive according to your gender and weight. If you encounter a car that seems to be moving erratically or is otherwise disobeying traffic laws, regardless of what time of day it is, stay well away from it as the driver may not have sound enough judgement to drive defensively and avoid causing a crash.

4. Don’t Drive Drowsy

You and other drivers will likely be more tired at night than during the day. If you feel that your drowsiness is seriously impacting your judgement or reaction time while driving, pull over in a safe area to take a brief rest if possible. Alternatively, you could call an Uber or Lyft, or ask a trusted friend or family member to pick you up and take you home as long as you are comfortable leaving your car where you are and you can get back to where you left your car the next day. If you must drive, try your best to remain as alert as possible.

In case of an accident, you should have an auto insurance plan that will offer you the protection you need. Contact American Insurance to find the right plan for you today!



Tips for Safe Driving with Your Kids

By Personal Insurance

Like any good parent, you love your kids and would do anything to keep them safe. Here are some tips to ensure their safety and yours while driving with them.


1. Make Seat Belts Mandatory

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that seat belt usage was responsible for preventing over 14,000 deaths in 2017. Although you may feel that you are a good and responsible driver, there is no telling what other drivers on the road will do at any given time. Ensuring that your kids stay buckled up helps prevent them from more extreme injury and from becoming a projectile in the event of a crash.

2. Use the Proper Car Seat

Securing your children in the appropriate car seat is required by law and vital to their safety. Your child should be in a rear-facing car seat until they are 3 years old or they exceed the seat’s weight or height capacity. After that, they should be in a forward-facing seat until they once again outgrow it, and then they can move to a booster seat. When your child is big enough to wear a seat belt without a car seat (i.e. the lap portion of the belt crosses their thighs), they will likely no longer need a car seat. Be aware that car seats have expiration dates and ensure you know when your child’s seat expires so you can buy a new one when needed. Additionally, you should register your child’s car seat on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website ( so you can be notified in the event of a recall by the manufacturer.

3. Keep Your Kids in the Back Seat

It is highly recommended to drive with your kids in the back seat of your car until at least 13 years of age. This is because if you were to get into a collision in which the front of the car is hit, which unfortunately happens very frequently, your child could be more severely injured by the crash or by the rapidly moving airbag if they are seated in the front passenger seat. Even if your child asks you to allow them to sit in the front seat, firmly tell them “no” and explain that it is not safe for them to do so.

4. Teach Proper Passenger Etiquette

When you hear the phrase “distracted driving”, you may picture someone who is texting or otherwise using their phone while driving. However, distractions can come from a wide variety of sources, and if you have children, you know how distracting they can be. Instruct your child to not make unnecessarily loud or excessive noises during car trips, and to not touch you or kick your seat while you are driving. If you have multiple children that are prone to arguing with each other, perhaps promise a small reward for not arguing in the car, or the removal of a privilege if they do argue. In addition, any electronic device your child is using in the car should be muted or turned to a low volume if you do not have headphones for them to wear or you do not feel comfortable with them wearing headphones.




How You Can Lower Your Risk of Car Theft

By Personal Insurance

Car theft and carjacking are serious crimes that result in serious issues for the average car owner. While there is always some risk of having your car stolen, here are some things you can do to lower your odds of being victimized by this heinous crime and therefore raise your odds of receiving insurance coverage should these methods fail.

1. Take Your Key With You

While it may be easy to accidentally forget your key in your car when you park it, or to leave it in the car so you don’t have to carry it back and forth with you, leaving your key in your car is essentially handing over your car to a criminal. If you keep your key on you, it will be much more difficult for anyone to move the car very far from where it is parked.

2. Lock Your Car Doors

Locking your car doors will make your car more difficult to steal as thieves will likely need to use a tool to break your window if they want to steal your car. They may decide to choose an easier (that is, unlocked) car to steal, as it is faster and they will not have to explain why they are driving with a broken window if the situation arises. Furthermore, they will not want to have to pay the cost of getting the window fixed.

3. Park Your Car in the Garage When Possible

You wouldn’t leave your expensive clothing, jewelry, or electronic devices lying outside your house — so why would your car be any different? Parking your car in a passcode-protected garage when you return home is an excellent way to protect it and put up a barrier against would-be thieves. Make sure the passcode to your garage is not easy to guess and look over your shoulder to ensure no one sees you input the passcode. Additionally, consider purchasing a remote control to keep inside your car that connects to your garage door.

4. Install Anti-Theft Measures in Your Car

It can be annoying to hear someone else’s car alarm go off in the parking lot, but alarms and other anti-theft tools are invaluable to the honest car owner. It is a good idea to purchase an alarm if your car does not already have one, as well as devices that immobilize the steering wheel unless authorized or GPS systems that track the location of your car. If you can, ensure these items are easily seen from outside of the car to let potential thieves know you don’t intend to be their victim.

Let one of our agents at American Insurance help you find an auto insurance plan that best meets your needs today!




4 Tips for Defensive Driving

By Personal Insurance

Given that all American motorists are required by law to have auto insurance, you will want to be able to pay the lowest premiums possible on yours. Here are four ways you can drive more defensively to avoid getting into a situation that could see your premiums increase.

1. Leave Ample Space Between Your Car and Others’

Although it can be a frustrating experience when the car in front of you is driving under the speed limit, resist the temptation to tailgate in an attempt to annoy the driver or get them to increase their speed. Rear-ending a car could get you and/or the other driver seriously injured in addition to causing your insurance premium to go up. It is also a serious driving offense to tailgate as you will be given a fine of $85 and 5 points on your license if you get caught. Accruing 1 more point after that in 3 years or less will result in being charged a fine of $150. Don’t let an attempt to save time end up costing you money instead.

2. Slow Down

We all hope to spend the least amount of time driving as possible, but speeding on the way to your destination can end up costing you more of your precious time if you get pulled over by a police officer or get into an accident as a result. Not only can speeding make you lose time, it can also make you and other motorists lose their lives. Over 11 thousand deaths were found to be linked to speeding in 2020, a year when people likely drove less frequently than usual.

3. Obey All Traffic Lights and Signs

Traffic lights and signs serve as guides to help drivers drive safely and alert them of any hazards on the road. Therefore, disregarding or disobeying them can result in a dangerous situation that makes accidents more likely to occur. Even if there does not appear to be any oncoming traffic at that stop sign or red light, a police officer may be present, or a car may come at any time and get into a collision with your car. If you are determined to be at fault, your auto insurance premiums can go up.

4. Adjust Your Driving for the Weather

Driving conditions are not always ideal, so you must be prepared to be able to drive during certain weather events such as rain, snow, and fog. When it is raining, keep your windshield wipers and headlights on and drive more slowly than you normally would to avoid hydroplaning. You should also drive more slowly in snowy, icy, or foggy conditions. If you encounter a flooded or snow-blocked road, turn around rather than try to drive through the hazard. Always use your low beams in fog, never high beams — the increased light emitted by the high beams will reflect off the fog and reduce your visibility!

Contact American Insurance today to get in touch with an agent who will help you find the best auto insurance plan for your needs!



How to Protect Yourself Against Insurance Fraud (And What to Do if You Can’t)

By Personal Insurance

Insurance fraud occurs when an insurance consumer, company, or agent attempts to dishonestly acquire money. It is a serious and costly crime that has resulted in the average American family paying an added 400 to 700 dollars in premiums each year, as well as over 40 billion dollars being lost per year. Given how much being the victim of insurance fraud can cost you, you will likely want to know how you can prevent it from happening to you. Here are some common types of insurance fraud, how to protect yourself from them, and what to do if your best efforts to protect yourself fail.

The most frequently-used insurance fraud scheme is called premium diversion. In this type of scam, your insurance agent will pocket the insurance premiums you intend to pay to the underwriter for themselves, sometimes producing sham insurance policies. Or, they will lack a license to sell insurance and you will not be able to receive money from them even if you decide to file a legitimate claim. The best way to protect yourself from this kind of scheme is to carefully research which insurance agent or agency you choose to use when you need to buy insurance, ensuring that they have a license with your state’s insurance department. You should also keep track of all conversations with your agent and obtain copies of your insurance documents. If your insurance agent is unable to provide you with a copy of your policy or another important document, get in touch with your insurance company and they may be able to help you. You should contact the insurance regulator of your state as well.

Another common kind of insurance fraud is auto insurance fraud. A well-known variant of this type of fraud is when the fraudster deliberately causes a crash between their car and yours in order to receive an insurance payout. To lower your chances of being victimized by this kind of fraud, practice safe and defensive driving. Leave a safe distance between your car and other cars on the road and obey all traffic laws. If you do get into a collision with another driver, make sure you record important details such as the cars’ license plate numbers and who is at the scene of the crash. Purchasing and using a dashboard camera, or “dash cam”, can help provide evidence as to whose fault the crash was, but you should also take photos of the vehicle after the crash has occurred. You should also notify the police and request a police report. If you believe someone may have committed auto insurance fraud against you, tell your insurance company as soon as possible.




Most Common Fire Hazards in Homes and How to Avoid Them

By Personal Insurance
1. Cooking accidents

​According to Baxter Restoration, the leading cause of fires in homes and resulting injuries is cooking. Becoming distracted while cooking food on the stove or in the oven can greatly increase the risk of a fire. It is recommended to keep flammable items such as oven mitts, wooden objects, and aprons away from the stove and to set a timer to remind yourself to take food out of the oven and turn it off when the food inside is finished cooking. You should also use a lid or a fire extinguisher to put out any grease fires.

2. Unwatched candles

​Candles can add a cozy ambience and relaxing scent to any room of your home, but even a tiny candle can turn into a large fire risk if left unattended. If you decide to light a candle in your home, be sure to keep an eye on it, clear the radius around the candle of flammable materials such as cloth, keep it out of reach of pets and children, and blow it out and put it in a safe place when you’d like to exit the room.

3. Dryer lint

While your home’s drying machine may seem innocuous enough, neglecting to clean the lint filter can result in a highly dangerous fire. In fact, the Red Cross reported that approximately 9 of every 10 appliance fires are caused by dryers. To reduce this risk, make sure to clear the lint filter after every load of laundry you dry, as the filter should always be inserted when the dryer is in operation.

4. Broken smoke detectors

​As the saying goes, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” — a smoke detector’s job is to alert your home’s inhabitants of a probable fire in the home so that you know to take the appropriate measures such as exiting the home. As such, a smoke detector that doesn’t work properly will fail to alert you of such a dangerous situation and put your and your family’s health and safety at great risk. Your home’s smoke alarms should be tested every month and have their batteries replaced if needed to ensure they are in working order.

5. Electrical hazards

​As our reliance on electricity and electronic devices grows, so too does the potential for an electrical fire to spark up. Improperly-used extension cords, uncovered light bulbs, and loose outlets all pose a serious fire risk. Always cover light bulbs with lamp shades, use the proper wattage of light bulb for the light fixture, and turn off the light when you exit the room or home. In addition, make sure to properly dispose of old or damaged electrical cords, and refrain from using a loose outlet until it has been fixed by an electrician. Last but certainly not least, never pour water on an electrical fire!

No matter how many precautions you take, the risk of a fire breaking out in your home is never zero. Call American Insurance to discuss your homeowners insurance options today!