My teenage daughter recently turned 16 and now has her driver’s license.  The car she now gets to use does not have a smart screen, it doesn’t have an aux port, it only has two things… AM/FM Radio and a Compact Disc player.  You remember CDs, right?  Well, my daughter didn’t really have a clue, she just saw the large black binder with lots of shiny circle things that Dad had in college.  I know… it burns, but nonetheless, I saw the opportunity and struck.  Time to teach her the magic of the black CD binders.

A few things crossed my mind as I blew the dust off, unzipped, and opened the binder.

First… Good lord, how much did I spend on CDs as a kid?  I know I had a PT job through high school and college, but holy smokes, each folder holds 200 CDs, and I had three of these binders!  I procured my CD collection in one of three ways – going down to the Sam Goody and physically handing another person~$15 in cash for a new CD (in the hopes there was more than one song worthwhile on the album), or my personal favorite, going to my favorite second-hand music store, ‘The Finest Records, Tapes, and CDs’ in Fort Collins and again, physically handing a human being $5-10 in cash money to add the musical adventure to my collection.  And the third and most dangerous manner in which I bought CDs was via the ever-enticing Columbia or BMG music club offering 10 CDs for $0.10 (at least they would have you think).  That all came to over $6000 PER BINDER!!  In some ways, I feel a sickness now knowing that I can spend virtually no money and have the world of music at my fingertips, and at other times I look at and think, ‘Ahhhh, money well, well spent.’

Second, it now makes sense to me when a car window would get smashed, and some poor soul lost their $6000 in CDs because they left them sitting on their car seat.  It never happened to me, but I do know some people who were inconsolable for a few weeks, months, years, whathaveyou due to their musical loss in the family.


Gen X had our own distracted driving problems.

The third – Distracted Driving.  As you probably know, distracted driving is among the hottest topics today regarding car accidents and injuries.  With a very social and energetic teenage daughter with a penchant for being on her phone, yes… I worry.  The second thought was about my generation (X) and this generation (Z) was this… ‘these amateurs.’  Try steering, reaching for the heavy binder in the back seat, finding the right CD for the ride, ejecting the last one and placing it into the binder while inserting the new one into the player.  Not to brag, but if there were a recognition for excellence in this category, I would be All-Conference Varsity Champ.  And my third thought was…’Are you serious?  You moron.’  Distracted driving, however, is not the primary topic of this post, but we will touch on it later.

Now as an insurance professional and a parent of a teenager, I look at things in a little different light. However, one question my younger self would ask my adult insurance agent self would be… what if one (or all) of my binders were stolen from my car?  Would insurance pay for me to restore the stolen items? Well, one thing is for sure, the insurance carrier wouldn’t simply hand you a check for $6000.  There are several things to consider and some steps that would need to be taken.

  1. Know that things being stolen from your car is not an auto policy issue… it is a personal property coverage connected to your home or renters policy.
  2. Consider would be whether or not the CD collection was significantly higher than my insurance deductible.  With a Renters Insurance policy, a personal property deductible could be as low as $500.  So, yes… $500 to replace $6000 in CDs could be worth it.
  3. You would need to file an official police report documenting the crime and theft.
  4. You would now need to be able to prove to the claims adjuster with the insurance company what and how many CDs were there.  Did you have a record of what was in there?  Probably not, but who knows, maybe you could.  I had some friends whose OCD on the subject of organization and documentation seemed to have no bounds.
  5. If the claim were approved, the carrier would likely give you a check of actual cash value (ACV) for the stolen CDs, which would be a depreciated amount.  If you had replacement cost coverage, you would then take that ACV payment and begin purchasing your collection back on CD at a time.  Anything that you spent over the ACV amount, they would reimburse you for until the collection is restored.

It is not a snap of the fingers to get everything back.  This applies to almost all personal property claims relating to theft.  Today, you could go online search and purchase all of the CDs in a day, however ‘back in my day’, it would involve going from Sam Goody to Best Buy to Virgin Records to The Finest Records and Tapes, spend time to find the CD and then to physically had $15 in legal tender, but now I would have to keep all my receipts to give to my insurance claims adjuster and wait for reimbursement.  It would have been a PT job in itself and gas money spent… worth it?  I don’t know… maybe.

This blog post was meant to provide some levity and humor for my generation as now that we are adults with teenage drivers, we realize that losing $6000+ in CDs, although it would make for a bad day, is nothing in the big picture of life once you have a family and people that rely on you.  We face the risks, implications, and possible realities of having a young teenage driver behind the wheel, but the reality is it is a part of raising a kid and watching them grow up.  Fortunately, our world is becoming more and more aware of these issues.  The state of Colorado provides access to several resources to programs like Alive at 25 and Drive Smart Colorado.  For more information, you can also visit the CDOT Safety page.

As always, if you have any additional questions about how having a teen driver may impact your insurance coverage and rates, you can always reach out to us!