Insuring Famous Rides: Santa’s Sleigh

Soon (very soon), Santa will climb into his sleigh, fire up the reindeer (on Donner, on Blitzen!), and set off on his epic annual trip around the world. Ah, but before he embarks on his 7-continent, trillion-stop journey, Mrs. Claus convinces him (finally) to invest in some car … er … sleigh insurance. The elves, unfortunately, while amazing with toys have yet to whip together anything like comprehensive or liability coverage.

Now Santa’s a pretty friendly guy and likes doing business face-to-face, but since there aren’t a lot of (make that any) insurance agencies at the North Pole, he decides to do his insurance shopping online. Through his travels, he’s heard that Esurance is a friendly car insurance company that loves people and cares about the planet, so he decides that sounds like the place for him.

But when Santa gets to, he quickly realizes that he has a problem. When it comes to determining the make and model of his trusty sleigh, he’s at a loss. It’s not a GMC, an Alpha Romeo, or a Volvo. It’s an 1823 one-of-a-kind magic ride with millions of miles on the odometer.

What to do. What to do. Santa’s in a pickle. If he doesn’t find some insurance, Mrs. Claus might withhold her cookies from him, and that’s a chance he’s not willing to take. So he decides to fudge* a little on the details. He reasons that with his goodwill toward mankind, no one’s really going to turn him down on a claim. (And of course, he’s right.) Plus, Rudolph and the team run the sleigh perfectly all on their own, so he knows he doesn’t need to worry about getting in an accident. It’s strictly a precaution to make the missus happy.

So he grabs a glass of eggnog and gets a quote online.

Insuring Santa’s sleigh

ZIP Code: Since there’s no ZIP at the North Pole, he picks one from a letter on his desk. Turns out to be North Prairie, Wisconsin. “Perfect.”
Year: He chooses the oldest available in the dropdown — 1981.
Make: Jaguar. “I like the sound of that.”
Model: XJ6
Type: Sedan, 4-door. “Eh, close enough,” he chuckles naughtily.
Is this vehicle equipped with a snowplow? “How’d they know?!”
Primary use: Pleasure. “Oh what fun it is to ride,” Santa hums.
How many miles per year: More than 15,000 — “24,906 around the world to be precise.”
Ownership status: Paid for. “This baby is mine!”

So far, so good. Now onto the next section: primary driver info.

First name: Santa
Last name: Claus
Gender: Male
Marital status: Married
Date of birth: 12/25/1950 “Don’t want ’em to know I’m THAT old.”
Do you currently have car insurance? “Nope. I’m Santa.”
Have you had any accidents or claims in the last 3 years? “Of course not.”
Have you had any speeding tickets or other minor violations in the last 3 years? “Clean as a whistle.”
Have you had any DUIs or other major violations in the last 5 years? “Does eggnog count? Kidding!”

And … quote!

It comes out to $66.98 a month or $394.00 for 6 months. “Well, that’s not bad at all,” Santa thinks to himself. And if it makes Mrs. Claus happy, then it’s well worth it. So he clicks “continue” and within just a few minutes, he has coverage for his sleigh … er … Jag.

With that taken care of, Santa kisses the missus, rounds up the reindeer, and gets ready for his milk-and-cookie–fueled globe trot, secure in the fact that should anything go wrong, he’s covered by Esurance.

We leave you with this before you head out of sight: “Happy driving to all, and to all a good night!”

*Just because Santa got away with it, Esurance doesn’t recommend “fudging” when you get your car insurance quote. If you provide incorrect info, it’ll eventually be discovered and you may end up with a higher premium or a canceled policy.

Related link

Insuring famous sleighs

Can Your Smartphone Count as Proof of Insurance?

Since we first posted this story, over half of U.S. states have legalized digital insurance ID. Check out the newest info on electronic proof of insurance.

Imagine, if you will, that you’re another happy Esurance policyholder out for a pleasant Sunday drive. You’re enjoying the grayly atmospheric winter day, not a care in the world, when suddenly you hear that dreaded sound — the whoop of a police siren telling you this isn’t going to be the best day after all.

A glance in the rearview confirms the feeling: You’re being pulled over.

The highway patrol officer issues a curt greeting, asking if you know how fast you were going back there. You sigh and admit that your eye had been on the odometer, fully aware that you were over the speed limit, if only by a mere 7 mph (or so). You think briefly about debating the matter but decide to chalk it up to a loss. No use arguing with the law, you think.

The officer asks for proof of insurance, so you pull out your smartphone and head to our mobile app to pull up your ID card. Unbeknownst to you, as you do this the officer is giving you a look like you’ve just pulled a live trout from your pocket and tried to call your mother on it.

All logged in, you find your ID card and turn your phone’s touchscreen toward the officer. And realize he’s shaking his head.

Not to mention adding another infraction to the ticket he’s writing up.

What happened!?

Although handy for your own reference, the mobile version of your ID cards doesn’t cut it when Johnny Law asks to see proof of insurance.

Just in case you may have missed it, we offer this advice on the “your ID card” page of the mobile version of our site:

Please note that the following electronic ID card is a courtesy copy. It doesn’t replace your real card, and it isn’t considered valid proof of insurance. You can print a copy of your real ID card by logging into your account at As always, feel free to contact us at 1-800-ESURANCE with any questions.

Much as we wish you could use the mobile version of our site as your legally valid insurance ID card, you just can’t. (Hey, maybe someday.) So remember to print your real ID card by logging in to your policy at our customer login.

And why?

Most states require that drivers have their insurance ID card in their vehicles at all times, and be ready to show it whenever asked to by a representative of the law.

But those aren’t the only legal requirements when it comes to your insurance ID card. Far from it! The different states also mandate what kinds of information the card needs to display, how it should be formatted, what dimensions it should be, what abbreviations are acceptable, and much, much more (trust us, you don’t really want to know all the specs).

Not the least of these pertinent requirements, however, is that it be printed. Many states also incorporate some form of anti-fraud measure to keep people from falsely using your info. In New York, for example, your card must feature an encrypted bar code that contains 20 vital bits of data about you, your car, and your insurer.

The moral of the story? If you’ve been driving around thinking your smartphone is smart, you’re probably right. But if you’ve been driving around thinking your smartphone counts as an insurance ID card, think again. We’re working hard to make car insurance as smart as possible, but for a wide variety of reasons, you still need to carry a printed copy of your insurance ID card — so, if you haven’t already, go download and print yours today!

Recycled Rides™: Putting Totaled Cars to Good Use

Wrap your mind around this figure: 9.6 million. It’s the number of vehicles involved in reported car accidents each year (according to the most recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). Now, not all of those vehicles are totaled, but many are (one estimate puts the number of totaled vehicles at roughly 5 million annually). So what happens to all those cars?

In some cases, their owners opt to repair them, even though the repair costs exceed the vehicles’ values. This can appeal to those who just can’t part with their trusty old rides, even though it often costs more to insure salvaged cars.

More often than not, however, owners turn their totaled cars over to their insurance companies. These cars then make their ways to salvage yards, where they’re stripped down for usable parts (helping to keep other cars on the road).

But a rare few have the chance to do something special, to brighten lives through the Recycled Rides program.

Recycled Rides: an alternative

Recycled Rides takes donated (totaled) vehicles, fixes them up, and gives them to families and service organizations in need. Since 2008, Esurance has participated in the Recycled Rides program, donating vehicles from our salvage inventory to charities all over the U.S.

Helping a veteran in need

Casey Salmon, network advisor at Esurance, shared his thoughts on a recent Recycled Ride event.

On November 8, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a Recycled Ride event in Tacoma, Washington, where a 2002 Honda Odyssey was donated to Sandra Lynn Prouty-Lemleys. Sandra is a veteran of over 20 years with the U.S. Army and is on leave, battling pancreatic and breast cancer.

Her fight against cancer has taken a physical, emotional, and financial toll, and requires her to rely on her church, family, and fellow soldiers for general needs like transportation, meal preparation, and child care.

Despite the adversity in her life, Sandra continues to serve her country, spending her free time helping others at the Real Life Family Center in Tacoma. I couldn’t think of a better candidate to receive this vehicle. It’ll help her get around for her volunteer efforts and when she needs to see her doctor.

Currently, Sandra’s cancer is in full remission and she attributes this to her faith and support from everyone around her (who she considers family). At the event, Sandra had 3 fellow soldiers, who serve at the same community center, share in her excitement for this wonderful gift.

Preparing this vehicle for Sandra was a team effort: CARSTAR Puget Sound Business Group (a local chain of repair shops) paid for the work, and 5 technicians from 2 shops donated 80 hours to get the vehicle back in working order.

It’s a real pleasure to work for a company that so clearly supports the community I live and work in. I can honestly say that attending the event last month in Tacoma on behalf of Esurance was humbling and marked one of the most memorable events of my career.

Related links

Recycled Rides
Want to know more about the Recycled Rides program? Check out this website dedicated to the project.

Are you protected?
If you’re leasing or financing your vehicle, you might not be protected in the event of a total loss. Find out if gap insurance is right for you.

Esurance Gives Back with Tree Plantings in Rocklin

What do you get when you mix 40 hardworking Esurance associates with the expertise of the Sacramento Tree Foundation? Why, 60 beautiful new trees, of course!! Trees that enhance the urban forest and help provide cleaner air. Not bad for a day’s work.

As part of Esurance’s Give Time, Get Time program, in which associates are given paid time off to volunteer in the community, a group of Esurance associates recently planted trees at Breen and Wesley parks in Rocklin, California.

It was a chilly morning as we gathered to listen to experts from the Sacramento Tree Foundation share their love and knowledge of trees. After learning the proper way to plant and care for trees, we quickly discovered that Rocklin is the perfect name for a city where the ground is literally full of rocks. Though the rocky terrain made for difficult digging, we planted sycamores, red maple, and native oaks — gifts the community will be able to enjoy for years to come.

At the end of the day, as volunteers, we felt proud to work for a company that allows us to take time away from the office to give back to the community.

What’s more, we have tree-planting partners across the nation, so be sure to look for Esurance do-gooders sporting green thumbs in your neck of the woods.

Related link

Sacramento Tree Foundation

How to Transport a Christmas Tree

Since German settlers introduced the Christmas tree (or yule log, holiday bush, whatever you want to call it) to the U.S. in the early 1800s, the evergreen has come to symbolize the spirit of the season. For many of us, the holidays wouldn’t be the same without a Scotch pine or Douglas fir (2 of the most popular tree types) adorning our living rooms.

But before you crack the eggnog, crank up the holiday tunes, and begin the tree-trimming party, you need to get said tree home. And that can be challenging, especially if you plan on strapping it to the roof of your car. Here are a few tips on how to transport a Christmas tree (and all its lovely branches).

Before you go

Before you head out the door, have the following:

  1. Bungee cord, rope, or ratchet straps. No matter how strong you think you are, you can’t hold onto your tree and drive home at the same time. (We’ve seen it attempted.) And even if you’re not going far, it’s a good idea to strap it down for safety.
  2. A tarp or old blanket. Your car does a lot for you. Spare it the indignity of being scratched up and sapped by a pretty little tree.
  3. Gloves. They’re called needles for a reason.

At the lot

Once you’ve found the perfect tree, the trick will be to load it onto your vehicle and secure it. If your tree seller offers to do this for you, great! If you have to go it alone, these tips can help:

  1. Lay down a tarp or blanket. Fresh trees tend to be damp and sappy so a blanket or tarp will help protect your roof. You can also wrap the tree in the tarp or blanket, which will make it easier to carry into your home (and spare you the trail of pine needles up the stairs and across the kitchen).
  2. Center the tree and aim the trunk end forward. This will help keep your tree stable and protect the limbs from wind damage.
  3. Secure your tree. Start by wrapping the rope or bungee cord around the tree. Then loop it through either your roof racks (if you have them) or the interior of your car. Repeat as necessary. Once you’ve secured the tree, give it a good tug. If it budges, you probably need to pull the ropes tighter.

If you come prepared with the above tips, you’ll be able to transport a Christmas tree like a pro. Of course, remember to drive slow if you can, since high speed, wind resistance, and having a tree tied to your car can be a dangerous combination. But above all, have a safe and happy holiday season (or yulemas).

Some more helpful holiday tips

Adverse weather conditions aren’t all you need to watch out for this winter: it’s deer mating season too. Find out how to avoid costly accidents with deer, which could save some serious bucks (in repair costs and, well, literal bucks)!

And to further protect yourself, you should winterize your car (in only 7 simple steps), and refresh your winter driving know-how. It won’t take long, and you’ll feel safer and more comfortable on the road all season long.