On Arbor Day: A Tree in Ohio with Your Name on It

What do Arbor Day and repaired windshields have in common? They both lead to more trees and a greener planet!

Today the goal of a healthier world took us to Springfield, Ohio. After a week of Midwestern storms, we met up with HSG (our glass claims partner) on a happily rain-free morning to plant red osier dogwood, red maple, and silver oak trees.

Back in 2009, we began a partnership with HSG to implement our popular Save a Windshield, Plant a Tree program. Created to keep millions of pounds of windshield waste out of landfills and conserve the amount of energy required to produce glass, the program pledges to plant a tree for every customer who opts for windshield repair over replacement.

To date, more than 13,500 customers nationwide have chosen to have their windshields repaired, and today we honored our side of the agreement by planting the second installment of trees with customers’ names on them (figuratively speaking, of course).

Representatives from both Esurance and HSG were happy to dig in and get their feet a little muddy to plant the first of 8,000 trees that will find permanent homes in Ohio in 2011.

A very special thanks to all our customers who’ve participated in the program, and happy Arbor Day to everyone.

Gender and Car Insurance

Auto insurance actuaries make generalizations about groups of people to help them determine auto insurance rates. Though it sounds surprisingly un-PC, your gender can generally predict driving behavior and, hence, how likely you are to be involved in an accident. And in spite of the stereotype of the ditzy female driver, you might be surprised to learn who pays more when it comes to gender and car insurance. Ready?

Generally, males between the ages of 16-25 pay more for auto insurance than females the same age. It may seem like gender discrimination but there are good reasons why:

  • Males typically drive more than females. The more miles you drive, the higher your chances are for accidents and auto insurance claims.
  • Young males take more risks behind the wheel. Insurance companies charge inexperienced drivers — both male and female — higher auto insurance rates since they’re more likely to file an auto insurance claim or get a speeding ticket sometime during their young driving careers.
  • Young adult males push their limits behind the wheel. As a result, men are more than twice as likely to die in car crashes as women.

However, male drivers can look forward to more equitable car insurance rates with their female counterparts as they mature. (Assuming they survive their young risk-taking days.) As their driving experience grows, males will find that they pay less for auto insurance — especially with a good driving record and few to no auto insurance claims.

Related links

MSNBC: Women drivers? They’re safer than men
Autos.com: Car Insurance Rates: Men vs. Women

Making Windshield Claims Easy

Ever driven down the road and heard the sickening sound of a rock flying into your windshield? Not a good thing to hear, huh? It happens all the time, though. In fact, glass damage is one of the most common car insurance claims. But there’s good news, too. With Esurance, you can file windshield claims online or through your smartphone. And it’s quick and easy.

Plus, when you file your claim online, you still have all the benefits of the Esurance windshield-repair program:

  • Lifetime warranty for as long as you own your car
  • Windshield repair options (you don’t have to replace your windshield)
  • Free mobile repair service
  • No paperwork

We hope you’ll never hear the sound of your windshield being struck by a rock, but in case you do, we’re here for you.

Save a Windshield, Plant a Tree

In 2009, we partnered with Esurance to kick off Save a Windshield, Plant a Tree. Through the program, we pledged to plant a tree for every customer who chose windshield repair over replacement. So far it’s been a huge success, with more than 13,500 customers opting for repair!

Last April, we planted the first 5,500 trees in Madison County, Ohio, as part of a program designed to create oak savannas in central Ohio. And this year, we’ll be planting 8,000 more in and around Springfield, Ohio. The first of these plantings will take root next Friday, April 29 — so check back for more info and pictures from that!

Oh, and happy Earth Day!

Related links

File a windshield claim online with Esurance

Download Esurance Mobile (to file a glass claim from your phone)

How to Make Hand Signals for Driving

We recently noted an increase in web searches for “hand driving-signals.” Hmmm. At first we wondered if this was in reference to the kind of hand signals you might make when someone cuts you off in traffic, but with a little digging we realized that people are actually curious about good, old-fashioned hand signals for driving.

Though they may seem antiquated and unnecessary, knowing the proper hand driving-signals can be a lifesaver if your turn signals or brake lights fail. But unless you’re a centenarian, a driving test instructor, or both (highly unlikely), you might not remember how hand driving-signals work. So what better time for a refresher?

Here’s everything you need to know about hand driving-signals:

Right turn hand signal

To signal your intention to turn right, rest your left elbow on the windowsill and raise your forearm up so it forms a 90-degree angle with your arm. Keep your left hand open.

Left turn hand signal

To make a left-turn hand signal, act as if you’re physically blocking someone with your arm. Just stick your left arm straight out with your hand extended past the side mirror.

Stop or slow down hand signal

To let other drivers know that you plan to stop or slow down, stick your left arm out the window, pointing down, with your palm facing the vehicles behind you.

Although seldom used anymore, these driving signals are standard across the U.S. and also used by an ever-increasing number of cyclists. Plus, you could also be tested on them during the written driving test (in which case, we’re happy to help you boost your score).


Safety First: Top 3 Car Seat Tips

Does your child really need a car seat? It depends on age and weight, but most likely yes! All 50 states and the District of Columbia have child-restraint laws, so check the laws in your state. If it says something like, “Must be in child restraint if 5 years and younger or less than 60 pounds,” this means any child 5 or under, no matter what his/her weight, must be in a car seat AND any child weighing less than 60 pounds, no matter what his/her age, must be in a car seat. Some states also specify which ages require a rear-facing seat.

But let’s back up a sec. First you have to buy one, right?

Buying a car seat

The biggest rule is never buy used. And replace the one you own if it’s ever been in an accident, even a fender-bender (the replacement seat is likely covered by your insurance policy). It’s also time to replace if: it’s more than 10 years old (some say 5), the expiration date on the plastic base has expired, or it’s been recalled.

Look for the following big safety features when you shop for a new seat:

  • 5-point harness with a 2-piece chest clip
  • top tether restraint
  • LATCH system
  • At least 4 shoulder-strap slots and 2-3 crotch-strap positions
  • Tilt indicator on the side of the seat

You can check Consumer Reports for the top-rated models, but keep in mind that the best seat is the one that fits your child’s size, is correctly installed, fits well in your vehicle, and is used properly every time you drive.

Installing a car seat

In a standard car, the safest place to put a car seat is in the middle of the rear seat. This places it in the very middle of your car’s crumple zone for maximum protection. The seat should be firmly installed and not wiggle or budge when you push it.

A neat trick to accomplish this is to put a thickly folded towel under the body of the seat before installing, and use the full weight of your body to weigh it down as you strap it in. Most important, read the seat’s instruction manual! If it’s missing, contact the manufacturer or download it online.

Never put a car seat in a seat with an active airbag — these can deploy at speeds of over 180 miles per hour and can be fatal to children.

Once you’re done installing your seat, check your work by going to a Child Safety Seat Inspection Station…just to be on the safe side.

Find out what experts consider the safest seat in the car.

Insuring a car seat

If the car seat’s occupied during an accident, Esurance will replace the seat automatically since its safety has been compromised. If the car seat’s unoccupied at the time of an accident, however, we handle it on a case-by-case basis, but usually err on the side of caution by paying for a new seat.

If your car seat’s stolen, it should be covered under your homeowners or renters policy. Since the seat isn’t permanently attached, it’s considered personal property, but policies vary, so read yours carefully to make sure.

There you have it. Not as complicated as you thought, eh? With a little research, a pass through the instruction manual, and maybe some help from the experts, even something as important as child restraints can be a snap!

Additional resources:

Rockaby Baby: lullaby renditions of rock bands