Speed Limits by State: an Infographic

Some state laws have changed. See updated speed limits here.

This summer, we’re all about road trips. Short trips, long trips … any trip that lets us see more of our beautiful, expansive country. But when traveling across state lines, it’s easy to forget that speed limit laws can vary. And nothing puts a damper on a road trip like a speeding ticket.

To help keep your driving record in good standing, here’s a handy breakdown of highway speed limits by state. (Giddy up, Texas!). Of course, this is just a guide. It’s your responsibility to abide by posted speed limit signs wherever you may find yourself. Happy (and safe) travels!

Speed limits infographic
(Click to enlarge.)

Related links

Read about one writer’s experience driving from Chicago to Los Angeles
Greetings from Esurance: Cape Henry, Virginia
Greetings from Esurance: Highway 1, California
Greetings from Esurance: Mud Creek Hogan Trading Post

Domestic Partners Get the Married Rate with Esurance

When you get a car insurance quote, the price you see reflects numerous factors about you — where you live, your driving history, and much more. And some of those factors might seem to have little to do with car insurance. For instance, any newlywed who has decided, in a blissful post-honeymoon haze, to get a new car insurance quote stands a good chance of seeing some significant savings.

Why? Well, the fact is that car insurance companies base their rates (in part) on personal characteristics that have proven statistically significant. Married people, for example, tend to be safer drivers. Guess it’s just something about tying the knot that makes people decide to take fewer chances behind the wheel.

But what about domestic partners — shouldn’t the same logic apply? You’d think, but with some insurers, domestic partnerships are a whole different ballgame.

Not at Esurance.

The married rate for domestic partners

If you’re not already hip to the nature of domestic partnerships, here are the basics: two cohabitating people of any sex and sexual orientation can register a domestic partnership with their state.

The basic purpose of domestic partnerships, in states that recognize them, is to recognize gay and lesbian couples for their commitment. A domestic partnership isn’t technically a marriage, but it can offer some of the same benefits.

Here in Esurance’s home state of California, for instance, the Family Code (section 297.5) states that:

Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law … as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

(Emphasis ours.)

The benefits vary across states, however, and many don’t recognize domestic partnership at all.

But if you are (or want to be) an Esurance customer, you can enjoy at least one benefit of domestic partnership in most states where we do business: the chance to save on your car insurance with the married rate. Whether your state offers domestic partnership registration or not.

That’s right. If you’re in a committed relationship with a domestic partner (same sex or not), we value that commitment. No matter what your home state has to say about it. In fact, Esurance was one of the first car insurance companies to extend the married rate to domestic partners.

Why we offer the married rate to domestic partners

Our support of equality isn’t about standing on a political soapbox. It’s simply about making sure everyone gets the savings they deserve. Our goal is to provide as many drivers as possible with the best rates possible.

Historical data and prediction models help us determine how certain characteristics (like driving history, education, and, yes, marital status) will affect insurance risk. We know that married couples have proven to be a lower risk than their single counterparts and our analysis shows that the same is true for domestic partners.

Where the married rate applies

At present, we offer the married rate to domestic partners in all but 4 states where we do business:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky


  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota


  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

The departments of insurance in Florida and North Carolina won’t allow us to extend the married rate to domestic partners at present. Massachusetts doesn’t allow the married rate, regardless of gender.

In New York, where gay marriage is legal (yay!), you must choose “married” to get this rate. And if you’re in a registered domestic partnership in California, select “domestic partner (registered)” when you get your quote.

About the married rate

It’s important to note that the married rate isn’t a discount, and it’s not necessarily a shoe-in for savings — it’s just one of the many things that we consider when rating policies. But it could mean a lower overall premium for domestic partners.

Esurance values diversity

If you’re acquainted with Esurance, you’re probably aware that we’re big supporters of Pride nationwide and sponsor events all across the country, from Seattle to Orlando. We’ve also helped raise funds for The Trevor Project, GLAAD, and PFLAG. In short, we’re all about celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of this nation, our customers, and our associates.

Related link

Find out more about the married rate for domestic partners.


What’s Next for Driverless Cars?

Photo by Steve Jurvetson

Last week we discussed how Google’s driverless car gets around. This week we look at what’s next for the self-driving car.

So far, Google’s been tight-lipped regarding plans for their autonomous vehicles. But state legislators, car manufacturers, and even the insurance industry are already responding.

Nevada licenses autonomous vehicles

When Google wanted to get their driverless cars on the road in truly legal fashion, they turned to Nevada. The Silver State lived up to its reputation for leniency on May 7, 2011, by becoming the first state in the U.S. to give self-driving vehicles the green light for testing purposes.

The law worked up by Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles requires at least 2 people be present at all times — one behind the wheel and another in the front passenger seat. The law also stipulates submission of detailed test plans (including what types of roads will be traveled) and a bond that could rise into the millions depending on the type of car to be tested.

Other states jump on the driverless car bandwagon

Not to be left out on the new wave of transportation, several other states are looking to pass similar legislation. First up is California’s “robotic car bill,” sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla of Pacoima, which will require the California Highway Patrol to develop regulations for testing driverless cars on public roads by companies and, down the road, consumers.

Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Florida are also considering rules that will allow autonomous cars on state roads.

Several car manufacturers look to outpace Google

Not to be (entirely) outdone by some upstart California tech company, car manufacturers all over the world are hard at work on their own (semi-)autonomous rides. Detroit giant General Motors is working on a fully autonomous version of their Chevy Tahoe. Although according to one CES Las Vegas attendee, it “looks more like the Ghostbusters hearse than a road-ready truck.” Good thing it’s still a decade away from production.

Much nearer on the horizon is Cadillac’s Super Cruise technology, which employs techniques similar to Google’s but only for very specific driving situations. Bumper-to-bumper traffic and long road trips, to be precise. Which you have to admit are scenarios in which most drivers would love to tune out.

Mercedes is also getting close, having developed self-driving versions of its E- and C-class models. Unfortunately, testing is still happening on closed tracks far from prying human eyes.

Volkswagen has taken a slightly different tack with its Temporary Auto Pilot system, which aims to lend human drivers a hand rather than replace them, only taking the helm should its human pass out or fall asleep.

Then there’s independent German firm Continental, which has managed the driverless mode without any of the external arrays relied upon by other manufacturers (i.e. it looks like a normal car). And with over 10,000 miles of test driving logged in legally pliable Nevada, the little-known German car maker is already miles ahead of the competition.

Insurance companies brace for a whole new class of “driver”

Back in April, Anthony Levandowski, the product manager on Google’s self-driving car project, announced that representatives from the company have been meeting with an as-yet-unnamed insurance company to discuss just what the cost of insuring such a vehicle would be.

One of the major issues to be hammered out is whether an autonomous car will require 2 distinct insurance policies: one for when the car’s doing the driving, and one for when the human has taken over.

We haven’t heard any more details on this (for us) very exciting aspect of development, but you can bet we’ll let you know when we do.

Related link

Nevada’s autonomous vehicle testing license (PDF)
Find out just what it takes to get an autonomous vehicle licensed in Nevada.

Insurance Defined: Indemnity

We’ll be the first to admit that insurance — and especially insurance jargon — can be confusing. We’ll even go so far as to admit that it can, on occasion, be downright baffling. But we’re working hard to right this wrong.

Like the big brother who protected you from bullies on the elementary school playground, Esurance is here to help save you from intimidating insurance terms. You know, the ones that show off their lingo muscles and threaten to make you look dumb.

First lesson: indemnity. Though it sounds a little beefy, an indemnity is just a pre-determined sum paid for a covered loss. That’s it. No bulging biceps. Nothing to be afraid of. Just a svelte little word that describes what your insurer will compensate you with after an accident.

You’re feeling tougher already, aren’t you? To add more insurance definitions to your arsenal, visit our new-and-improved, jargon-free insurance glossary.

Don’t get pushed around. Get informed.

Greetings from Esurance: Mud Creek Hogan Trading Post

It’s the first day of summer (hooray!), so it’s only fitting that we post the next installment of our Greetings from Esurance series. The series highlights road trip photos taken by our hard-working associates on their much-deserved vacations. Maybe they’ll give you some road trip ideas.

Today’s road trip photo comes from Chris M., a customer service rep in our Sioux Falls, South Dakota, office. He and his car Silvia headed out to Mud Creek Hogan Trading Post in Mancos, Colorado, for a little sightseeing. Enjoy his photo. And happy summer solstice, everyone!

(Click to enlarge.)

Got your own road trip plans this summer? Tell us about them.

Related links

Greetings from Esurance: Cape Henry, Virginia
Greetings from Esurance: Highway 1, California