American Family Insurance watches out for teen drivers

Anna Jewell has been selling insurance since 1991. She opened Anna Jewell Agency, Inc., on 10th Avenue in Poulsbo two years ago. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
Anna Jewell has been selling insurance since 1991. She opened Anna Jewell Agency, Inc., on 10th Avenue in Poulsbo two years ago.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

POULSBO — Parents can’t look over their teenagers’ shoulders all the time, but they can have some help in documenting their teens’ driving skills.

American Family Insurance’s TeenSafe driver program uses a video camera to capture events both inside and outside the vehicle, said Anna Jewell, an insurance agent with American Family Insurance in Poulsbo. The insurance company offers its clients the service for free for one year.

If the car swerves, comes to a sudden stop or quickly accelerates, the camera records the few seconds before and after the event, she said.

The program also allows parents and their children to go online and log into an account that records the teen’s driving habits.

Often, when a teen driver is in an accident, it is assumed they were at fault, Jewell said. The information recorded through TeenSafe can vindicate a teenager if they were not.

In pilot studies, the program has decreased risky behind-the-wheel behavior by 70 to 90 percent and increased seatbelt usage by 100 percent in just a few weeks, according to a brochure for the program.

While auto insurance is only a fraction of what American Family Insurance offers, Jewell said it is important for parents to realize that any time inexperience is a factor, the slightest distraction can cause an accident. More teenagers from the ages of 15-19 die in car accidents than homicide, suicide, other accidents and cancer, she said.

Secondary to safety, Jewell emphasizes the importance of liability insurance, as it is vital to protect assets, she said.

“Especially now, in this economy. We work so hard for things that we want to keep them,” Jewell said. “The last thing you want is to get sued.”

If an accident occurs, the victim can sue the person at fault for all their assets and part of their income, said Jewell, who has been selling insurance since 1991. She has operated Anna Jewell Agency in Poulsbo for two years.

Her goal is to give people the information they need to make an educated decision about insurance coverage.

“A lot of people are driving around in cars and living in houses and if something happens they have no idea (the event) might not be covered,” she said.

For more information about American Family Insurance, call (360) 697-6700.

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