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Insurance Tips & FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions and Helpful Tips

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A high school prom is considered quite important; often it represents a first chance to participate in a formal event. It is also considered a chance to act as a full-fledged adult. The event involves arranging a complete evening of dining, dancing and socialization. However, not as much time is usually devoted to making the event as safe as possible.
It is almost inevitable that a prom will involve serious exposure to alcohol or other intoxicants. The evening also involves many young, inexperienced drivers who are excited about making their way to different destinations such as pre and post prom activities. Sadly, these factors have combined to make prom season a dangerous one. Serious traffic accidents often become the main feature of what should be a night of joy.
Potential prom-goers and their parents need to create a strategy to help make prom night both memorable and safe. Here are some tips:

• Parents should get all activity details, including dinner and pre and post prom events
• Confirm the night's events with school officials and other parents
• Consider arranging a safe, group post-prom activity where participants can be supervised
• Clearly lay out your expectations to your son or daughter about acceptable behavior regarding their evening
• Discuss all details about transportation, whether they are drivers or passengers
• Be sure that communications are set up. If the child does not have a cell phone available, find out the numbers where he or she can be reached during different phases of the evening
• If practical, consider arranging for a third party to handle transportation (limo or taxi service)
• Consider an amnesty arrangement. In other words, let your child know that they can contact a parent for emergency transportation should something go wrong and, for that evening, they'll be no lectures or punishments
Help your son or daughter make prom night a bright memory rather than a tragedy. Plan on making safety and fun everyone's priority.

The following tips are provided by Countryway Insurance Company:

The most tragic accident is the one that easily could have been prevented. By observing safety guidelines, your clients can reduce the incidence of boating and swimming accidents and keep their families safe.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Know your swimming ability limits, and those of your family, and stay well within them.
  • Learn the proper way to dive, and always check the water depth before diving.
  • Always have a spotter for water skiing, etc.
  • When boating, carry a first aid kit, as well as prescription medicine and any other needed personal care items.
  • Equip the boat with a radio, or have a cell phone available in case of emergency.
  • Everyone on board must have a personal flotation device.
  • The alcohol should be left behind when swimming or boating. Of the 850 boating fatalities yearly in the nation, 15 percent are attributed to alcohol.

For more information about boating safety, visit the U.S. Coast Guard Safety website.

NO. Boat Insurance coverage varies greatly from one company to another. The time to decide on what you need is before you have a claim NOT after. Here are a few things to consider:

Towing cost: We have paid many claims on towing losses for boats (that's right... towing!) What do you have for towing coverage on your boat? Did you know that the cost can easily be $500 for one tow!

Equipment: Is your fishing gear covered under your boat policy? How about the attached gadgets and equipment that you have collected over the years? Talk to your agent before the loss, and you may be surprised at how inexpensive it is to add these items to your policy.

Statistics are starting to stack up, indicating a move in gender equality that no one should be glad to hear. Young female drivers are now just as dangerous behind the wheel as their male counterparts. The reason? Cell phones and its most popular teen use......texting.

Just in case you're not familiar with texting, the term refers to messages that are sent via a cell phone keyboard. The messages tend to be very short, making use of abbreviations and codes and are very interactive; typically requiring a high level of back and forth responses.

Among the differences between men and women is the fact that the latter are far more social and communicative. Young females have taken their love of communication and embraced the fact that it is teamed up with mobility. No matter the time or place, one can be in constant contact with friends; even when driving.

The problem is obvious, yet teens are largely oblivious. Texting requires use of hands and eyes to send and receive.....those are two elements that are also fairly important to operating a vehicle. Increasingly, the attention given over to texting is resulting in a spike in accidents; both minor and serious.

In a study performed by Liberty Mutual Ins. and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), it was found that nearly half of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving. SADD suggests that parents try to control the issue by making clear that it's unacceptable to use cell phones, especially texting, while driving. It is also important to clearly tell teens of a significant punishment for noncompliance and enforcing the rule. Just as important, parents should model the desired behavior. In other words, don't use cell phones or text in a vehicle.

Texting is a nightmare when paired with driving....make sure you do your best to minimize this serious problem.

Another survey performed as a joint venture between Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company enforces the importance of parent drivers. However, it does it in a negative manner. The survey involved roughly 1,700 teen drivers. The object of the survey was to determine how teen driving behavior was affected by their parents. The survey indicated that teens, largely, drive quite similarly to the way they see their parents drive cars. That's a problem.

Unfortunately when it comes to distracted driving, it turns out that parents use the old rule of "Do As I Say, Not As I Do!" Sadly, the survey indicates that a significant number of teen drivers have observed their parents driving a vehicle while:

  • using cell phones
  • texting
  • under the influence of alcohol or marijuana
  • not wearing seat belts
  • speeding

Past SAAD surveys indicated that two-thirds of teen drivers considered their parents as their primary driving influence. Therefore, parental expectations that are different for their driving teens do no good when such parents also voluntarily drive while distracted.

If you are a driver with young drivers (or future drivers) in your household; the best way to get them to drive with fewer distractions is to model that behavior. "Do As I Do"!

A new driver can send a parent's stress-level soaring. Here are some strategies to control a young driver's impact on your peace of mind.

  • Consider preparing your child with a course in defensive driving as a tool for avoiding accidents and increasing that driver's confidence.
  • Require your young driver to understand, sign and comply with the Youthful Operator Driver Safety Agreement.
  • Be a proper model by using seat belts and never using alcohol or drugs.
  • Provide your child with a well-maintained vehicle, equipped with air bags and anti-lock brakes. Also, avoid vehicles that are vulnerable to serious damage during collisions or due to "rolling over."
  • Control your child's driving privileges...don't hesitate to curtail or revoke them in response to poor behavior.
  • Be certain that he or she can properly pass vehicles, maintain a correct distance, park, merge and exit, change lanes, make turns, obey speed limits and be aware of pedestrians.
  • Make sure your child understands traffic laws and has a healthy respect for the power of the automobile.

Don't let your child become licensed until he or she passes YOUR driving test which must include the ability to drive under adverse conditions (dark, fog, rain, ice, snow, rush-hour traffic, etc.). Another good idea is to talk to an insurance expert about other strategies to keep your new driver safer.

                                                                    My Driver Safety Agreement

Driving is a privilege that I may lose by violating this agreement or may have suspended for other reasons such as (but not limited to) unsatisfactory school grades and violations of family trust.

I will obey any curfews or restrictions imposed by my driver's license.

I will obey all traffic laws and speed limits.

I will not drink and drive, or use illegal drugs, or drive if I am taking ANY medication that may affect my driving.

I will not ride with anyone whom I know or suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs (legal, or illegal).

I will not permit any open or empty containers of alcohol, or transport anyone who I know or suspect may be carrying illegal drugs in any vehicle I operate.

I will not ride in any vehicle where I know there are empty or open containers of alcohol or where anyone who I know or suspect may be carrying illegal drugs.

I agree not to drive with or transport anyone who is in possession of any weapon.

I will always wear my seatbelt and shoulder harness. I will not ride in any vehicle in which there are more people than seat belts.

I will make certain that I can always hear emergency vehicles and traffic sounds.

I will drive defensively.

I will avoid being a distracted driver, particularly avoiding texting or operating a cell or smartphone

I will not transport passengers unless they are properly secured by a seatbelt.

I will always wear a helmet if I am driving or riding on a motorcycle. I will not transport a passenger unless he or she also wears a helmet.

I will drive in a manner that respects the safety of myself, my passengers, other drivers and pedestrians.

I will ignore peer pressure. While driving, I am in control. I can stop and ask others to leave my vehicle and, as a passenger, I can ask a driver to stop and let me out.

I will not drive unless I feel safe and certain of my ability.

I will be especially alert during dangerous conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, wind, heavy traffic, fog, unlit roads, construction zones, and accident scenes.

I will always lock every door and take the keys when I leave the vehicle. I will park in areas where I believe the vehicle will be safe from damage or theft.

I will obey the driving instructions of my parent(s) and of law enforcement officers.

Additional Conditions Required By My Parent(s):



I have read, understood and I will comply with this agreement.

Signed______________________ Witnessed_________________________



The majority of companies do not charge you an additional premium until your teenage driver successfully passes their driving exam. In most cases they can drive with you on their permit for "free". Once they pass their license exam, you need to inform your agent so that they can process this for you and get them added to your policy.

We at Down East Insurance encourage our clients to call us to discuss the different cost factors ahead of time. By calling us when your teenager secures their permit, we can review and research the options available to you so that you are aware of the cost ahead of time and can plan accordingly. We have several tips and ways to keep this exciting time affordable while they are in their first years of driving.

Let Down East Insurance shop and compare insurance products for you. We personally review EVERY insurance policy that renews with us and we do the shopping for you. Call us today for no obligation quote.

It is our recommendation at Down East Insurance that you carry the highest limits that you can afford. No one can predict exactly how much you would need to pay if you were to cause an accident. The time to think about this valuable coverage is BEFORE you have an accident, not after. The higher the limits you purchase, the more your policy will be able to satisfy the damages. Why not ask your agent how much the additional cost is to increase your limits? You may be surprised how inexpensive it is.

Another way to get more coverage is to secure a personal umbrella policy. Contact Down East Insurance for a no-obligation quote and see if you qualify!

Most companies do offer discounts for higher deductibles. Usually the higher savings is on the newer vehicles, but as the vehicles age, the discount also gets smaller. Ask your agent to quote you three different options and then you decide what you can afford out of your pocket, if an accident was to occur. Our agents are working for you!

Did you know that paying in convenient installments can sometimes cost you money? Review your billing fees and make sure those convenient payments are to YOUR advantage. If you like the convenience of monthly installments, why not look into having your payments set up through an EFT account, which has NO fees attached. And, if you are a member of Down East Credit Union, you may even be entitled to another 5% off!

Small home businesses are popping up everywhere and this is an exciting time for entrepreneurs! In some situations, your homeowner policy can extend coverage to your business, but you need to talk to your agent to see if your type of business qualifies. Down East Insurance Agency can work with you to help you decide the best policy for your home or for your business. Don't wait to make this very important decision, as you may be surprised to learn how affordable a business policy is. Protect your investment and let us be a business partner with you.

Holiday Safety Facts

According to NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), one of every three home Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems. A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every five of the fires.  NFPA recommends connecting no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of fifty bulbs for screw-in bulbs.  Inspect all light sets before using and read the manufacturer's instructions for the number of strands to connect. 

NFPA also states that more than half of all candle fires start when things are too close to the candle.  When placing your Menorah, have at least twelve inches of space between the candles and combustible objects, such as mantle decorations and curtains.  Never leave lit candles unattended, especially at bedtime. For more holiday safety tips, visit


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You should know that links from our Web site to external Web sites are not under the control of Down East Insurance Agency. We can make no representation concerning the content, quality, safety or suitability of these sites or their contents, nor are we liable for the content or availability of external Web sites. These links are listed only as a convenience to our members.

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Down East Insurance Agency has offices located in Baileyville, Calais, Richmond, Topsham, and Unity Maine.

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