Alcohol can cause problems for people of all ages, but it has particularly severe consequences for minors. While the United States makes it illegal to purchase or consume alcohol under the age of 21, many teenagers still drink. Unfortunately, teens who drink are far more likely to practice and develop unsafe habits. Studies show that roughly one in five teenagers are or become problem drinkers who get into personal, professional, or legal trouble due to their drinking. Here are just some of the risks and consequences of underage drinking. (more…)
Your driving record is an important part of life behind the wheel. Every traffic violation you commit—from recent minor tickets to major infractions—stays on your record and has a major influence on your life both on and off the road. Because of this, your driving record has a major impact on your life now and further down the road. Learn more about how your driving record affects your future with this overview.
What Makes Up Your Driving Record?
To understand how your driving record influences your life and future, it’s important to know how it all works. Each state handles driving records differently. Some use a point-based system, where violations are worth a certain number of points on your record. After a certain number of points, you start to face consequences such as losing your license or paying more for auto insurance. Infractions that might show up on your driving record include running a red light, causing an accident, driving under the influence, or any other type of moving violation. Some items stay on your record for a few years, but others might be there for much longer. For example, a red-light ticket might be on your record for three years, while a DUI might be there for life. The severity of the violation and the amount of time it stays on your record varies depending on your state.
How Your Driving Record Affects Your Future
Whether you commit a major violation, or you simply have one too many minor infractions, a poor driving record eventually catches up to you. You can probably predict the immediate effects of this. The actual traffic violation might result in fines, a revoked license, or even an arrest. Beyond this, however, the items on your driving record can cause some major complications for you down the road. From insurance rates to your career, your driving record influences many different aspects of your life.
Your driving record doesn’t just consist of traffic violations. Unpaid tickets also accumulate on your record, and they can have serious consequences if you leave them there for too long. Most states will place fines on unpaid tickets, which means you can end up paying much more for it over time. If left for too long, your unpaid ticket will seriously harm your credit score, which can then cause issues for you every time you seek a loan, credit card, or other financial help. In some states, an unpaid ticket is even cause for an arrest warrant.
Car insurance companies are more hesitant to insure riskier drivers. The items on your driving record play a major role in deciding your insurance premium. Someone with a poor record will end up paying much more every month than someone with a clean record. Depending on the type of violations you commit, you might even need to obtain SR22 insurance to reinstate your license and stay on the road. Because items stay on your driving record for a few years, you’ll have to deal with these increased rates for quite some time.
Just like auto insurance companies, life insurance providers are warier of high-risk drivers. As an unsafe driver, you are statistically more likely to experience a serious accident. Because of this, life insurance companies look at your driving record to help determine your premium. This can be extremely costly, especially if you have severe infractions—such as a DUI—on your record.
If you lose your license due to a poor driving record, you might also end up losing your job—especially if your career requires you to get behind the wheel. Even if you don’t drive regularly for your job, your status as a high-risk driver makes it harder to insure you when you use a company vehicle. Complications like this might lead your employers letting you go. This same logic applies to anyone trying to get a new job with a poor driving record. Many employers perform background checks before hiring new employees. When your traffic violations or unpaid tickets show up in a background screening, it might set you back from other candidates for the job. Some careers pay special attention to driving infractions. Public officers, law enforcement, educators, and pilots may all face severe professional consequences if they have a poor driving record.
Getting into College
There are some careers that are extremely strict when it comes to your driving record. These difficulties might start even before you try to get a job in that field. Many universities and academic programs take your driving record into consideration when accepting applications. For example, students applying for law school or medical school face strict acceptance policies. If they have a serious infraction on their driving record, programs are less likely to accept them.
The items on your driving record might also make it difficult to find your ideal apartment. It’s common practice for landlords to conduct background checks before renting to new tenants. Like employers, they want to ensure that they’re going to be working with safe and responsible individuals. For example, if you have multiple unpaid tickets, your potential landlord is probably wondering if you can keep up with rent payments. When looking over housing applications, landlords and leasing companies are less likely to accept a tenant with a poor driving record.
Adopting a Child
Adopting a child can be a rigorous process, and a poor driving record makes it even more difficult. While there is no law saying you can’t adopt after losing your license or committing a serious traffic violation, every adoption agency has its own policies. Many of them will look at your driving record when they review your application. This can sometimes result in a long, intensive interview about the infraction. It might also mean the agency automatically refuses your application.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to minimize the damage caused by a poor driving record. If you lose your license due to the items on your driving record, your first step is to reinstate your license and regain your freedom. If you need SR22 insurance in Denver, Las Vegas, or any other part of our service area, contact Serenity Group. We’ll help you find the best SR22 insurance policy so you can meet your requirements and start taking the steps to build a cleaner record.
Reckless driving is a serious traffic offense, but it can mean a wide variety of behaviors. Every state defines and handles these violations differently, but in general, reckless driving refers to anyone who disregards traffic laws and creates an unsafe road for other drivers and pedestrians. As always, it’s important to stay informed about the different types of charges and why you might face them. To stay safe and knowledgeable, learn more about these four different types of reckless driving charges.
Distracted driving includes anything that might take your attention away from the road—even for a few seconds. This is the most common of the different types of reckless driving charges, which is why it’s crucial to always pay attention to the road and the other drivers around you. Even everyday activities such as eating and drinking, texting, or changing the music can lead to a distracted driving charge.
Because you can never be certain when other drivers or pedestrians will appear, street racing is extremely dangerous. There’s also the risk of property damage and injury to yourself and other drivers. Most of the time, street racing takes place on private property or at a seemingly abandoned location. However, these actions are still illegal and can lead to a reckless driving charge, fines, and other penalties.
Driving behavior often emerges as two different styles: defensive and aggressive. While defensive drivers are cautious and considerate of the people around them, aggressive drivers are usually forceful or careless behind the wheel. Aggressive driving behavior includes tailgating or cutting off other drivers, refusing to yield, weaving through traffic, or otherwise harassing or harming others.
Disregarding Traffic Laws
There are always legal consequences to disregarding traffic laws. However, if you do so with deliberate or malicious intent, it counts as reckless driving. Speeding, running stop signs or traffic lights, and passing illegally are all examples of traffic violations that can lead to a reckless driving charge.
In many states, a reckless driving charge can cause you to lose your license. If this is the case, you might need SR22 insurance to reinstate your license and get back on the road. Fortunately, Serenity Group is here to help you find the cheapest SR22 insurance in California or any other state where you received the reckless driving charge.
There’s something different about driving a car that’s your own. From the personal touches in and on your vehicle to the title with your name on it, there’s a rush of pride and independence that comes with your very own car. Of course, car ownership also comes with a lot of responsibility—such as insurance. If it’s your first time purchasing an auto insurance policy, all the requirements, options, and other information can seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though. Once you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find the perfect policy for you and your vehicle. To help you through the process, here are five tips for buying car insurance for the first time.
Know Your State Laws
Every state requires drivers to have car insurance, but the specific regulations vary depending on where you live. Some states only require liability coverage, which covers the costs for others and their property if you’re at fault for an accident; however, the minimum liability limits will change from state to state. Other states have additional coverage requirements, which you can read about below. Before you start shopping around for a policy, read up on your state’s minimum requirements so you know you’re meeting them.
Understand the Different Types of Coverage
Every driver is different, which is why auto insurance companies offer plenty of coverage options. More coverage options mean a more expensive policy, but they might offer the necessary protection for you and your vehicle. It’s important to understand what each of these coverages means so you can get the most out of your policy and money.
Bodily Injury Liability
Every state—excluding Florida—requires drivers to have bodily injury liability insurance. If you cause a car accident, this covers medical costs and other expenses for anyone else involved. The minimum liability requirement changes for each state, but most states have a requirement of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person and $50,000 for bodily injury to two or more people. If these are the coverage limits for your policy, it simply means that your insurance would pay up to $25,000 in injury costs to another person and $50,000 in costs for everyone involved in the accident.
Property Damage Liability
Property damage liability works the same way bodily injury liability does, except it covers damages to someone’s property rather than the injury of the individual. Every state in the U.S. has a minimum property damage liability cost, though it’s often less than bodily injury requirements. You can always purchase above your state’s minimum liability requirements, which is why it’s important to consider your options before making a final decision.
Personal Injury Protection
Unlike bodily injury or property damage liability, personal injury protection covers you and your passengers in the event of an accident. Details of the coverage vary depending on your state and insurance provider. In general, personal injury protection may cover medical bills, lost wages, and funeral costs. Only a handful of states require personal injury protection or similar forms of first-party benefit insurance.
Collision and Comprehensive
Both collision and comprehensive insurance are optional in the United States. They serve to help repair your vehicle or reimburse you if something happens to it. Collision coverage pays for car repairs after an accident. This policy also reimburses the value of your car if you total it in an accident. On the other hand, comprehensive coverage pays for damages your vehicle suffers outside of an accident. This can be storm damage, vandalism, theft, or collision with an animal.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
If you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance, you might have to pay the medical bills yourself. Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for these and other costs if an uninsured driver causes an accident. If the other driver has an insurance policy but it isn’t enough to cover your bills, underinsured motorist coverage can make up for what their policy doesn’t cover. Some policies also offer uninsured or underinsured property damage coverage, which reimburses you for vehicle repairs when the other driver’s policy cannot. About half of the states in the U.S. require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy.
SR22 insurance is a type of coverage for drivers with severe traffic violations such as reckless driving or a DUI. Almost every state requires drivers to add SR22 insurance (or a similar policy, such as FR44 insurance in Florida and Virginia) to their policy after a DUI or reckless driving charge. The exceptions are Delaware, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Like with bodily injury and property damage coverage, SR22 insurance rates depend on your state’s minimum liability requirements. Not all insurance companies offer SR22 insurance, but an online SR22 company such as Serenity Group can help you find a provider and policy that’s right for you.
Consider Your Coverage Needs
All these coverage options can add up quickly. Fortunately, there are a few different ways you can lower your rates and save money. Carefully consider your coverage options and decide what works for your budget and driving record. For example, a higher deductible means you’ll save money on your premium, but you would pay more out-of-pocket if you’re in an accident. You should also consider the market value of your car. If you have an older car, the cost of collision or comprehensive coverage might not be worth what your insurance provider would reimburse you if the vehicle becomes damaged or totaled.
Other Ways to Save Money
There are a few other ways to lower your car insurance rates. Many providers offer discounts for students with high GPAs, members of the military, individuals with a safe driving record, and more. You can also often get a discount for bundling your car insurance with home insurance or other policies through the same company. Here are a few other ways you might be able to save money:
- Take refresher courses, such as a defensive driving class
- Install anti-theft devices and other safety features in your vehicle
- Choose a paperless billing option
- Pay your premium in full rather than in monthly installments
One of the most important tips for buying car insurance for the first time is to take your time and look at a few different providers before making your decision. Most insurance companies will provide you with a free quote so you can compare prices and coverage options. Before committing to a company, consider your budget, your required coverage, and the type of coverage you want. Having all of these in mind will make it easier to find and choose a policy that fits you and your needs.
While driving is a big part of everyday life, many variables come into play when you get behind the wheel. In order to become a safer, more responsible driver, you must know what influences your driving skills and judgment. Here are some of the factors that can affect your driving ability while on the road.
Alcoholism, like any addiction, can have some major consequences. Heavy drinking impairs an individual’s judgment, and it increases aggression and other distressing or harmful behaviors. This is why there’s such a strong tie between alcohol abuse and criminal activity. While not all alcohol abusers are criminals, heavy drinking does increase the chances of someone committing a criminal act. We explore some of the most common types of crimes that can stem from alcohol abuse. (more…)
If you find yourself needing SR22 insurance, it’s important to know exactly what your state’s rules entail. Once you have a clear idea of what you’re facing, you can fulfill your requirements, reinstate your license, and get back to your normal life. For anyone with an SR22 requirement in the Golden State, here’s our guide to how SR22 insurance works in California.
There are many consequences to a DUI conviction, but some of the most permanent repercussions have to do with your professional life. If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence, that conviction becomes part of your criminal record, which shows up every time an employer conducts a background check. Some employers don’t have a strict policy when it comes to applicants with a DUI on their record, but some occupations become much harder to obtain. Here are the types of careers affected by DUI convictions. (more…)
Driving is a privilege, but for many people, it’s also a major factor of adult life. This is why losing your license can seriously affect your daily routine. Like many laws, the reasons why you might lose your license vary from state to state. While some—such as driving under the influence or neglecting your car insurance—may seem obvious, there are other ways to lose your license that you may not have thought of before. Some don’t even have anything to do with your driving history. Find out some of the most common ways to get your driver’s license suspended with this overview. (more…)
College students lead stressful lives. Between classes, homework, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs, it’s easy to understand why these young adults would want to kick back and have a few drinks with some friends. However, like all people, college students face severe, life-changing repercussions if they decide to mix drinking with driving. Here are some of the consequences of getting a DUI in college.