Help for School Age Children at Home
With every new Email or Facebook or Insta-post we are being reminded of what we CAN NOT do right now. It is disconcerting. So to take a different approach, here is something you CAN DO with your school age children to keep them happy and engaged.
My niece, who has been a school teacher for over 29 years prepared this Fun and Freechart of ways to learn from home. We hope it is helpful, and we hope that you and your family are well and stay well.
Why should I buy Earthquake Insurance when the government offers a FEMA Grant?
I hear that question with almost every conversation about Earthquake Insurance, so let me tell you all WHY! The most obvious reason is that you will not have to get in line with so many others who have damage and wait for help. But besides the inconvenience of that here are a few more things you may not know:
- Government assistance, if available, is limited. The maximum FEMA grant available in 2018 was just $34,000.
- The goal of a FEMA Grant is not to return a home to its pre-disaster condition.
- FEMA Loans can be available for rebuilding houses or replacing personal property but they are LOANS! They must be paid back with interest just like a mortgage.
- Insureds will say that they can’t afford the deductibles. Well, the insured does not have to pay their deductible out of pocket to receive payment on a claim. The deductible is subtracted from the covered damage, so they don’t have to pay any of the deductible up front before receiving their claim payment.
- Did you realize that one home that survived an earthquake could easily be demolished with a different earthquake? Since every earthquake is different, a home that was spared in one earthquake can be damaged or completely destroyed by the next.
- Even a renter can receive needed help when an earthquake hits. There is a CEA renters’ policy that will cover personal property along with help to relocate with your normal standard of living while emergency repairs are completed. There is not even a deductible!
- On the other hand, the owner of the rental property can receive help with the lost rent they would have received while damage is repaired. “If the part of the dwelling that you rent to others becomes unfit to live in as a result of an earthquake, we cover the fair rental value of that part of the dwelling.”
Who is your best friend?
The trend to humanize our pets is growing and our pets have become like children to us. This humanization is especially prevalent with millennials and is leading to a big jump in the availability of pet insurance. That is the finding of a recently released report from Researchandmarkets.com titled Pet Insurance Market Analysis & Projections. The conclusion maintains that in the next 5 years pet insurance is going to see a huge increase as it is designed to meet the needs of all types of pets who have found a place in our homes and in our hearts.
Coverage can extend to the reimbursement for accidents and illness, including hereditary conditions and behavioral challenges. All these areas of concern can create unexpected expenses which can leave us with heartbreaking choices to make.
Evidently millennials are willing to spend more on their pets so that they can have a healthy and a secure life. Premiums depends on the age and breed of the animal. The goal is to be watchful of your pets’ welfare and prevent expensive veterinary bills
If we can help you protect your Best Friend, give us a call. We have our own Best Friends at home and we can tell you first-hand how helpful having coverage can be.
Are You Guilty?
Take a minute and ask yourself this series of “have you ever” questions and then consider if there are any changes you want to make to your routine.
HAVE YOU EVER:
- arrived at a routine destination without paying attention to how you got there?
- reached for your phone while driving, even just to check the time?
- looked down at the controls to change stations or temperature?
- forgotten to make a turn because you were deeply involved in a conversation?
- checked the back seat to see if your child was sleeping?
- reached awkwardly for something in the back seat?
- looked in the mirror to check your lipstick while driving?
The stories we hear every day in our office of how an accident happened are disturbing and awakening! Do you have any idea how easily an accident can happen with just a simple distraction! This list could go on forever. Just remember, SMALL things can easily cause a HUGE disaster.
Look at these statistics from www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving to prove why distracted driving is so dangerous:
- Research shows that talking on a cell phone (even hands free) uses 39% of the brain energy normally devoted to safe driving.
- 16% of all distracted driving crashes involve drivers under age twenty. 800,000 vehicles are being driven during daylight hours by someone using a hand-held cell phone or driving distracted.
- Using a cell phone (hand-held or hands-free) while driving delays a driver’s reactions the same as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08%.
So, Are you Guilty?
It’s not over yet! But you meet the nicest people in the cold/flu remedy aisles!
What does the word Quadrivalent mean? To you and me it means the flu vaccine this year has a better chance than ever of getting it right. The Flu season typically runs from October to May, and this year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has sent out over 116 million doses. This is where that word “Quadrivalent” comes in. In the past, vaccines have only handled two or three strains of the virus, making its effectiveness iffy. But this year they have pin-pointed 4 strains making the flu shot much more effective. The advice of the CDC? Get one! Even now in January if you can still find them.
If you are not interested in the shot, the next best thing to do is to avoid the flu. Washing your hands is the most effective step you can take to avoid the flu. Hopefully others will do the same. Next best advice is to boost your immune system by following the advice of Harvard Health Publishing in the following ways: Don’t smoke, eat a lot of fruits and veggies, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation, get adequate sleep, minimize stress and cook meats thoroughly.
It is up to you how you want to avoid it, but if you don’t you can expect the flu to run its course in 7-10 days. Wish us all luck, nothing fun about the flu.
It could happen today, are you ready?
Not much warning comes our way before a damaging earthquake, but the dawn we woke up to this morning, could look entirely different tomorrow morning. Your typical residential Homeowners policy does not cover earthquake damage. Government help (if available) is limited and is not even close to enough to make you financially whole. You may qualify for a loan, but you would need to wait for it and it must be paid back.
We strongly suggest that you protect your way of life and your family home with an Earthquake insurance policy that is flexible and affordable. You can choose the deductible which helps make the premium reasonable. Call us, let us give you a quote, then you can make an informed decision.
We are local, just off the 5 freeway at Camino de Estrella. Located just across the street from Trader Joes for the past 28 years, we have been in business since 1947, when my father started General Insurance Services 949.661.2201. We are here to help.
Drivers need to watch out for these fall road hazards:
Whether it’s wildlife or children darting across the road unexpectedly or the onslaught of cold and rainy weather, the fall season presents extraordinarily high road hazards for drivers. Here are some tips to keep in mind as we enter the fall and winter months:
Fall road hazards from wildlife crossing the road: Sep – Nov are high animal collision months, presenting greater road hazards for drivers. In fact, you’re 3.5 times more likely to hit an animal — especially a deer — in November than in any other month, cautions the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Some 36 percent of auto claims resulting from a wildlife collision occur during autumn, primarily due to animal migration patterns. More specifically, deer are likely to be mating in November; that’s why you see more of them. Some 10,000 drivers strike wild animals every year; 89 percent of them occur on two-land rural roads.
Because wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk, drivers should avoid the roads during these times if possible, keeping to broad daylight hours. Stay in the middle lane when possible, because you’ll have more time to spot animals as they attempt to cross.
Hitting a large animal such as deer can be just as dangerous as colliding with another vehicle. If an animal collision occurs, pull over and call local law enforcement, who will explain what you need to do next. Some states have special requirements regarding animal collisions. Don’t forget to take photos to provide your claims adjuster.
Kids back to school: Often kids are as bad as animals for not checking the road before they try to cross, creating additional road hazards for drivers. Avoid school zones and be hyper-vigilant just before and after school hours. Remember that it’s illegal to pass a bus that’s loading or unloading kids on an undivided road.
And don’t forget about student drivers. According to the National Safety Council, teen crashes spike in September when kids head back to school, particularly just before and after school hours.
Shorter days and worsening weather: Dusk, dawn and darkness happen more often during the fall and winter, making it harder for drivers to see. While just 25 percent of our driving is at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths occur then, says the National Safety Council. They also say that often a 50-year-old driver needs twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old.
Rainy days also impact visibility, as does a fogged windshield on a cold, wet day. To combat these road hazards, you are better not to start your trip until the visibility is clear in the windshield, windows and mirrors. Also, slow down on rain-slick roads, particularly if it’s the first rain in awhile.
Probably because it’s the start of the winter season, but 34 percent of skidding and snow claims happen between October and December. Remember to ensure your vehicles have plenty of tread left on their tires, and that tires are properly inflated. Check the battery, windshield wipers, wiper fluid and anti-freeze levels, and keep gas tanks at least half full.
Holiday shopping: As the holidays approach, shoppers converge on malls and shops, short on time and patience. Reports indicate that 25 percent of parking lot claims happen between October – December. They recommend:
- Park further away from cars. Tight spaces can increase the chances of being hit by a car door or another vehicle.
- Park in well-lit areas and be aware of who is nearby when walking to a vehicle or pulling out of a parking space.
- Don’t park near cart returns. It reduces the chances of an errant cart drifting into your vehicle.
Auto theft: ‘Tis the season for auto thefts as well, as autumn turns into winter. It goes without saying, but we’ll repeat it anyway: Don’t leave doors unlocked. Don’t leave packages, electronics or briefcases visible on the seats. In fact, don’t leave anything of value in the car – even in the trunk.
Keep safe this season!
Keeping it simple this week. GET PREPARED AND BE PREPARED!
- Keep a full tank of gas in your car
- Gather important documents into one location.
- List all necessary medications so they are not forgotten
- Make written notes of valuables and who is responsible to quickly gather.
- Make arrangements with friends for pets, just in case.
- Walk around inside and outside of your house and video for your own records.
- Pack your “Go Bag” and leave by your door.
- Most important: LEAVE WHEN ASKED TO DO SO.
It’s here! It’s all around us. Even though Orange County as of this writing is not facing a specific WILDFIRE, there are enough in Los Angeles and Ventura County to keep our attention and also to cause a rate increase in our Homeowners Premium! So what can we do to be prepared if the Wildfires rage into Orange County? Here is a partial list of things you can do now to be prepared for when not if it happens:
1. Have a “GO BAG” packed. This should include water, snacks, medications, copies of driver’s licenses, insurance information and the deed to your home, good sturdy walking shoes, clean socks and a spare hat to keep the sun off your face. Not a bad idea to include copies of your social security cards, passports and medical records as well. Contact information of family and close friends. What if your phone battery died, none of us know phone numbers anymore! Add a flashlight and new batteries. Do you have a baby at home? Diapers and formula could be an important addition.
2. Do you have a video of the inside of your house? If a fire came to visit you personally it would be very helpful to have a video to review in order to list all your losses. Take a minute, or 10 minutes and walk around your house with another person opening drawers and cabinets while you record the contents of your home.
3. A Plan for your pets. If you are listening to the news reports it seems that the #1 reason people will not leave their home when asked to evacuate is that pets are not allowed inside of the evacuation shelters. Do you have a plan of where you can drop your pets off so they are safe? Ask a friend now, easier than later when you have a lot of decisions that need to be made. Put a copy of your pet’s vaccinations and medical history in your “Go-Bag” along with a few days of pet food.
4. A Plan for you! Make an action list which means, what do you need to do before you leave your home? Gather valuables, put pets and “go-bag” in your car. Turn off lights, turn off utilities and lock your house! Leave a notice posted for emergency personnel of how to contact you.
“I’ve paid my insurance premium for the past 10 years and I have never made a claim!”
That is exactly what I want to hear when a client is talking to me about Life Insurance. Let’s talk about life insurance NOW, not later. It’s on my mind right now because my sister-in-law passed away last week.
It’s really a lot simpler than you think. Consider the following and then give me a call or log on to our website at www.gen-ins.com and click on the life insurance tab and get your own quote within minutes.
- TERM life insurance is usually less expensive than you think.
- A TERM life insurance quote costs you nothing.
- TERM life insurance lasts for a set amount of time. You choose that amount of time at the beginning of coverage.
- I can get you a TERM quote either for what you think your budget can handle or the amount of coverage you think your family will need.
- The #1 reason people delay purchasing coverage is because they think their budget can't handle it. Considre the impact to your budget if a breadwinner passes away without coverage.
- You can provide financial security for your children and spouse by completing a short application, cooperating with a short physical and having an amount you are comfortable with automatically withdrawn from your checking account.
- The most common misconception I hear is someone thinking they have sufficient life insurance through their employer. What if you become sick, can no longer work and no longer have access to that group life insurance policy provided by your previous employer?
I can have you a quote the same day.
Let me do that for you, then you decide if it is too expensive for your budget.
I’ve Loaded The U-Haul And I Am Ready To Move. Is It Time To Cancel My Homeowners Insurance?
Great question and one that I wish a friend of mine had asked before the U-haul they were driving across state was stolen from the parking lot where they stayed overnight recently. Yup! The whole darn truck was stolen from the parking lot while they were sleeping. Yup! They cancelled their homeowners insurance before they left on their cross-country move. Yup! No coverage for the contents of the U-haul. Basically their whole life was in that truck including clothes, appliances, furniture and computers for a family with 4 children.
Gracious friends have started a “Go-Fund-Me” in their behalf, but it would have been a lot better if they had left their Homeowners policy in place a few more days until they were able to get settled in their new home and bought new coverage. “Coverage C” would have replaced all Personal Property up to the stated limit by submitting an inventory of the lost items. The policy specifically states “We cover personal property owned or used by any insured while it is anywhere in the world”.
By the way, spend the extra $$ and buy the insurance when you rent the moving truck. Most likely your Auto Policy will not cover a stolen U-haul that has more than 4 wheels or is larger and of greater value than any auto listed on your auto policy. Your Insurance agent has value, ask the questions first, we are happy to be of service.
Why it Pays to be a Mercury Customer
Literally! Seriously! Money in your pocket and time saved too. I love dealing with an insurance company that likes what I like and is aware of our community. Mercury Insurance is a sponsor of our brand new FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine. What that means for me and for you, if you are a Mercury customer is:
1. VIP PARKING UPGRADE: Simply show your Mercury Insurance ID card to the parking attendant to get your instant upgrade. Space is limited however, so get there early.
2. FAST LANE ACCESS: Mercury customers can skate past the crowds and skip the long entrance lines. Look for the “MERCURY FAST LANE” entrance and you and three friends are in!
3. BONUS: PRE-SALE OPPORTUNITIES: Mercury customers have early access to concert tickets! Mercury will email you opportunities if you let them know you are interested.
Not a Mercury customer? We can help you with that! Call us for a quote today and let us show you how much you can save and the value we can add to your Insurance dollars!
Don't Drink and Drive!
Which statement is true in the State of California?
A. A DUI's effect on Auto Insurance premium could be as high as a 250% increase.
B. Over 1.5 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics last year.
C. A DUI remains on your Driving Record for 10 years from date of arrest and on your Criminal Record permanently.
Well, the bad news is ALL 3 ARE CORRECT. Frankly, there is no GOOD NEWS when it comes to a DUI. Along with the impact on your driving record, the emotional cost and the physical cost of a DUI or DWI, driving under the influence could wind up costing as much as $20,000 additionally in legal fees and fines according to the Insurance publication, CoverHound. Auto insurance premiums are calculated based on what insurers calculate individual risk to be, and a DUI is among the costliest factors that could determine individual risk.
Nationally, the first year after getting a DUI, car insurance premium can go up as high as 94.13%. After the second and third year, granted no additional moving violations, premiums could lower slightly. On the third year after a DUI, the average premium comes in at a 63.75% increase. California is among the states with the highest premium rate increases at more than double the national figure at186%.
We all know someone whom this hazard has affected. Driving under the influence is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous decisions a person could make, threatening the wellbeing of not only the driver, but every other driver and passenger on the road.
The bottom line, DON’T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, AT ALL, EVER.
Our companies implement reviews of their clients’ limits for homeowners coverage annually. These limits are based on estimates of the replacement costs within neighborhoods. The outcome of the calculations may lead to adjustments of the policy limits. The estimates are usually related to each area’s general factors and are provided by various appraisal agencies.
This is only one part of the entire systematic process. We also suggest that you get an agent to check your insurance for you at least annually. This will allow you to choose carefully the proper coverages you will need. Nobody wants to pay a higher premium than is necessary. However, the costs of construction continue to rise significantly each year. As a homeowner, it is important for you to ensure that possible future losses are satisfactorily covered by your insurance policy.
This is true, especially, if you have made new improvements to your house but have not yet included these within your coverage. And even if improvements have not been made, we still suggest that you review your insurance coverage in order to make sure that it is enough to cover the costs you have to incur when rebuilding your home. Also, remember that rebuilding costs can be different in different areas and neighborhoods.
Things to Consider
It’s always best to review your coverage and ensure that your assets and your family’s future are protected. The following is a list of some of the things you should consider as you review your policy with your agent.
- When did you last evaluate the cost to rebuild your home? Has it been a year or more? Then, you seriously need to talk to an agent with regards to your coverage.
- Does your policy include extended replacement coverage? Our companies offer up to 150% of the dwelling limits on your policy. When a disaster happens and you lack extended coverage, your insurance policy might not be adequate to cover the costs you incur for rebuilding your home or restoring its contents.
- Did you make improvements to your house? Are these improvements already covered? If not, you should make sure the improvements have adequate coverage for replacement when necessary.
- Make sure you get an appraisal from a licensed professional. This will help you make an informed decision as to the right amount of coverage necessary in case something happens. Remind the appraiser to calculate the cost to rebuild using the same quality features at today’s costs.
- Make sure you have a record of your house, its contents, and its unique features. It is best to keep photos and even videos of your house and its contents. This will make the claim process go faster.
- Make sure you have read your coverage documents and your entire policy carefully. You can talk to your agent if you have any questions.
You, as the homeowner, know more about your house than anybody else. That’s why you have to decide what’s best for you, your property, and your family. As agents, we are happy to help with whatever you need especially when it comes to evaluating your policy, its coverages, and its limits.
Natural disasters such as storms can result in long periods of power loss. Portable generators can be used to provide temporary power. However, there are potentially numerous risk associated with their use. Improper use of generators can result in illness, injury or even death.
For the safety of you and those in your home, it is extremely important that you take precautions when utilizing portable generators. We recommended that you follow the guidelines below in order to safely utilize generators:
- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s manuals before actually utilizing your generator.
- Do not leave your generator unattended. Do not leave it running when you are away from the generator’s location at your home or business.
- Regularly check your generator during use.
- Always be alert when touching the generator as many parts are hot and can cause burns.
Ensure the Generator is Properly Connected To Prevent Electrical Hazards
Electricity provided by your generator is prone to similar hazards as that of regularly-supplied electricity. Additional risks are imposed on you especially if the generator bypasses safety devices (e.g. circuit breakers) built into the electrical systems. It is best to get the help of an electrical contractor (or device manufacturer) to correctly install your generator.
- Always heed the instructions of the manufacturer when it comes to correctly grounding the generator. This is to prevent electrical shock.
- Before you actually touch the generator, ensure you have dry hands and you’re not standing on a wet surrounding.
- Never use a wall outlet to plug in your generator.
- When you want to plug your appliances into your generator, you should use cords specified by the manufacturer. Also, you can utilize extension cords that are three-pronged and have the correct amperage rating.
- Always remember that generators are extremely hot while in use and remain at high temperatures for a long period of time after being shut down, and should be considered fire hazards.
Generators Should Not Be Operated Indoors
Generators should not be used indoors, in basements, in garages, or even near windows, doors or vents. Your generator should be kept at least 25 feet away from your place of residence or business. It is best to check the recommendation of the manufacturer and your local ordinances as well. Take into account your neighbors windows, doors and vents as well. This is due to the fact that a generator’s exhaust can build up carbon monoxide. This odorless, colorless toxic gas can lead to serious illnesses (or death).
- There should be a clear space of about 4 feet on every side of the generator and above it as well. This is to ensure proper ventilation.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms with backup batteries should be installed within your house or place of business. Regularly test these alarms and reinstall batteries according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Safely Refuel Your Generator
You must always be cautious when you refuel your generator to avoid starting a fire or incurring burns. Below are some safety tips to follow when refueling your generator.
- Turn your generator off first and wait for it to completely cool off before you refuel. Fuels used for generators can actually ignite if they are poured on hot parts such as engines.
- Do not refuel while your generator is operating.
- Generator fuels should be stored and transported within approved containers.
- Generator fuels must not be kept near your house. They should be kept in well-ventilated locations separate from your house or business, or in storage cabinets approved for flammable liquids.
- Never smoke when you are refueling the generator or are around the fuel containers.
5 Reasons For Choosing Mercury Insurance
Getting an insurance policy that’s right for your needs can be frustrating. There are a lot of choices with a variety of options and limits for coverage. Mercury Insurance will make the insurance shopping process easier. They provide high-quality coverage at affordable rates. You will also have your own insurance agent, ensuring that you have the knowledge and help that you need to get the best policy to cover you and your family.
Below are five reasons why Mercury should be the insurance of your choice
Vehicle Repairs Made Easy and Hassle-Free
Mercury provides you the option to have your vehicle repaired at their Authorized Repair Facilities. As a bonus, the repairs done at their authorized facilities are “guaranteed” for as long as you own your vehicle.
Mercury customers consistently give them great reviews. Mercury Insurance makes the complicated process of having your vehicle repaired easier. They do the heavy lifting for you.
Have you tried having one type of insurance policy with one company and another type with yet another company?. This can be very confusing. Mercury Insurance makes it easier and less expensive for you by allowing you to bundle policies. They give you up to a 15% discount if you bundle both your auto and homeowners insurance policies together.
Commitment to Providing Low-Cost Policies
Insurance fraud costs are estimated to be more than 100 billion dollars a year. In addition to hurting the insurance companies, this drives premium costs upwards. Mercury Insurance is committed to keeping insurance costs low. They have been a pioneer for application of fraud prevention measures. In 1978 they were one of the first companies to form Special Fraud investigation Units. These units work closely with law enforcement to stop hundreds of scammers and fraud rings every year, helping bring down the costs of premiums as phony claims payouts are prevented. Mercury Insurance has a mission to do everything possible to keep its rates low for their policyholders.
You are ensured of partnering up with a financially-stable company once you come onboard with Mercury Insurance. The company has been named by Forbes as one of the most trustworthy companies in America. Plus, they consistently get an “A” rating from A.M. Best. In addition, a recent survey by Insure.com of auto insurance customers ranked Mercury Insurance as one of the five best auto insurers in the nation.
Agents Committed to Excellence
Mercury works with a wide network of independent local agents that are dedicated to providing you and your family the products and services that best meet your insurance needs. Your agent will provide you personalized service and make sure you receive all of the discounts that you are entitled to.
Mercury has been recognized by Forbes as one of the best mid-sized employers in America, and they are proud of the positive ways their company culture reflects onto their interactions with their customers.
These are just some of the many reasons why Mercury Insurance is the best choice to protect your family and property. Call General Insurance Services in San Clemente, CA for a fast, no-obligation quote or visit our website at www.gen-ins.com to see how much you can save with Mercury Insurance.
Should You Buy The Insurance When Renting A Car?
You have prepared everything you need for your vacation. You’ve booked your plane tickets and made arrangements for a rental car. However, once you land and get to the rental car counter, the company representative asks if you want to get their insurance for the car you’re renting. You don’t want to run the risk of having to pay big expenses if something happens to the rental car. What should you do in this case?
Understand The Offer
The car rental companies usually offer to cover the car for collision and theft. This coverage could cost as much as $19 a day. Liability insurance could also be offered at a rate of $7 to $14 per day. And medical insurance that provides coverage for ambulance and doctor costs might also be offered.
However, the coverage offered by the rental company doesn’t actually include everything. If you clearly are negligent, like leaving the keys in the car with the doors unlocked, you won’t have coverage if the rental car is stolen.
Although the coverage they are offering you is referred to as insurance, what they are actually offering is a loss damage waiver. This waiver releases you from the financial responsibility in the event your rental car gets damaged or stolen while you are renting it.
Understand The Coverage You Already Have
Do you own a car already? If so, you surely have a personal auto insurance policy that provides liability coverage. Plus, if you already have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, that coverage will extend to your rental car as well, and it wouldn’t make sense to pay extra for coverage that you already have.
You should consider that the comprehensive and collision coverage offered by the rental car company may have no deductible, or a deductible that is lower than you have on your own policy. If you do not have comprehensive and collision insurance, you should definitely get the coverage offered by the rental car company.
Coverage Provided By Your Credit Card Company
Almost all credit card providers provide collision-deductible waivers if you pay for your rental car with their credit card. This means the credit card company will pay for any deductible that you might be responsible for. Check with your credit card company to make sure this coverage is included.
Understand the Details
If you’re actually buying the rental car company’s insurance coverage, ensure that you have read the fine print. Understand the coverage of the policy. You might be surprised that some policies provide coverage for only one driver, meaning you will have to pay extra for another driver.
Do Your Homework
In most cases, your auto insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage when you rent a car overseas. Sometimes, your credit card company might give you the coverage you need abroad. Do your homework by checking out what you already have before buying into the rental company’s offer.
It might be required that you bring proof that you actually have an existing policy. You might have to show proof to the car rental company to avoid charges. Learn a particular country’s insurance requirements. Sometimes, it is a must for you to have higher coverage than what you have on your existing policy. Finally, you might want to add car rental coverage to your travel insurance policy, especially if you don’t have any other type of coverage.
Back To School Safety Tips
It is both exciting and hectic when your child leaves for college. Among the many new concerns you and your child should consider, safety and the proliferation of crimes on college campuses should be high on the list.
The US Department of Education stated that in 2014 there were 14,000 reported burglaries on college campuses in the U.S. Your children can be safer if you engage them frequently in safety discussions and encourage them to follow some common sense tips.
Safety At The Residence
Students can let down their guard and be complacent when it comes to their safety at college. Whether your student lives on campus or off, there are steps they can take to make them and their property more secure:
- Be in open communication with the Resident Assistant (RA) or any person in charge of the residential area.
- Immediately report damaged locks, lost keys, or any broken security item.
- Regularly check if carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are functioning.
- Lock the door always, even when making a quick trip to the restroom.
- When someone is knocking on the door, do not open it unless you know the person on the other side.
- Keep your valuables hidden as much as possible.
- Avoid keeping large amounts of cash in your room. Watch your checkbooks for missing checks.
- If your keys are lost, replace your locks immediately.
- Keep all windows locked when away, and when windows are open, limit the opening to 4 inches or less with special locks or a cut-off broom handle.
- Immediately report suspicious activity.
Safety Of Property
Usually, students will bring their valuable items, such as laptops, TV’s and other electronics to campus with them. They should be advised to leave artwork, jewelry, and other nonessential items of value at home.
Here are some recommendations for your child:
- Never leave valuable items, backpacks or purses unattended, especially in common areas.
- Secure lockers all the time.
- Ensure bikes are kept secure and are properly locked before leaving them in common areas.
- Keep vehicles locked and keep valuables out of sight.
- Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
- Keep a list of valuables and a detailed description of each item.
- Use protection devices such as backpack and laptop locks whenever possible.
- An engraver is usually available at the security office of the campus. Use one to engrave valuable items with a driver’s license number.
Department of Campus Safety
Usually, campuses have their own safety or even police departments. Your child should be encouraged to:
- Get familiar with the contact information and location of the campus safety departments.
- Be familiar with emergency phone numbers, and keep them in their saved numbers on their cell phones.
- Attend campus safety presentations and obtain college provided safety brochures.
- If you notice any suspicious activity, report it to the campus safety department.
Living through college can be tough for your child. That’s why it’s best to help them through the process by having frequent discussions on how to safely secure and protect not only their belonging but themselves as well.
Downsizing Your House: Here’s How To Do It In 6 Steps
Moving from one location to another can have its challenges, especially when you are downsizing your home. However, downsizing can actually have its perks. For example, it helps you cut on expenses and save money, and allows you to declutter your life.
So, how do you actually downsize your home properly? Let's get started.
Steps To Downsizing Your Home
1. Make An Inventory. Creating an inventory of every item that you own can be very helpful. Do you have three different microwaves or crockpots? It is probably not important to keep them all. The inventory you create helps you keep track of which items are duplicated, unnecessary, or outdated. Include the market value and condition of each item. The list of your belongings can serve as a packing list and can be helpful for estimating the cost of your move.
2. Take Measurements. You should check out the actual dimensions and the floor plan of the house you’re going to move into. This helps you get a sense of what actually needs to be moved in and what needs to be disposed of.
- Take the measurements of the new house and then do it again for your furniture including bulky items. In this way, you can check out items that will not fit inside your new house. Or, you can rule out belongings that won’t flow naturally with your new space’s layout.
It’s actually more convenient to dispose of these items ASAP as opposed to paying for them to be moved to the new house and finally deciding that they’re not a good fit.
3. Take Your Lifestyle Into Consideration. Do you have your own backyard in your old house? Are you moving to a condo complex or an urban place where a yard will not be a concern? If so, you garden tools and outdoor equipment might not be necessary.
Are you heading to a warmer location? Then, you might not need winter clothing and gear. You should decide on disposing of items you might not need in your new location or that you would use rarely.
4. Weigh Costs. There is another factor you should take into account when determining which items to downsize. This factor is the quality and condition of each item. For example, if you have worn-out sofas and furniture, it might be more practical to sell them.
We are talking about cost effectiveness in this situation. You might want to discard items that are already worn out and replace them with new ones after your move. This leaves you with more room for antiques and other valuable items that you can bring to your new home.
5. Organize Yourself. Declutter your entire house if you haven’t already done so. It is important for you to have an actionable plan on what to do with items you will discard or leave behind. Mark the items in one of these categories:
- Recycle/ Trash - Some things seriously needs to be thrown away. These include broken appliances, old toiletries, and other items that cannot be donated. You can rent dumpsters to help you dispose of these items properly.
- For Sale - Those items that are in good condition can actually be sold to others. This can help you make a few bucks as well.
- Donation - You can actually donate some of your belongings to non-profit organizations. You can even give them to your friends, family members, or neighbors. There are even non-profits that visit your house just to pick up furniture that is in good condition.
- For Packing - Items that you wish to bring to your new house should be packed properly with related items and labeled as well. Your inventory can be taken to another level by including the specific box (number/ code) each item is packed in.
6. Be The Early Bird. The process of moving and downsizing takes up more time than you actually think. Give yourself about two to three months to create an inventory and sell unessential items or arrange for friends or family to pick them up.
Go through your “For Packing” items again. If you think it’s still too much for your new home, then try to trim it down a little bit.
Downsizing is a serious thing and you have to make hard decisions to pull it off properly. Remember that if you allow yourself a few months for preparation, the process will be much easier. You can actually evaluate each item you have and decide what is still useful and how it will fit into your new home.
Should I Hire A Mover Or Do It Myself?
Planning to move? You might be debating between hiring a moving company or doing it yourself.
One consideration you should look into is cost. However, your ultimate decision will depend on a variety of factors. These include the distance between the place you are moving from and the place you are moving to, the flexibility of your schedule, and how comfortable you are doing the moving yourself.
If you are simply moving across town, you can just ask for help from your friends. This could be less expensive and more convenient compared to hiring a moving company.
However, if you’re moving out of a two-story house with big furniture located on the second floor, you might look into getting a mover. This is true especially if you have to move long distances. Moving companies are more experienced in getting furniture through small staircases and loading them into a truck.
Doing It Yourself
What Are The Costs?
Doing the moving yourself can be less expensive compared to hiring a moving company. However you have to take all costs into account before you try doing the process yourself.
If you wish to rent a truck, for example, what specific truck size would you actually need to fit everything you want to move out? For insurance, what are the costs for coverage of both the truck and your belongings? How much will it cost to fuel the truck?
What Is The Timeframe Necessary To Complete The Moving Process?
When you move yourself, it provides a certain degree of flexibility. There is no moving company showing up at a specific time with the expectation that all boxes are packed, labeled, and ready for loading.
However, the actual process of moving yourself can take a bit longer. Also, you might have to make several trips from point A to point B to get the job done. You have to take into consideration the worth of your time and determine if you will have the free time necessary to do the moving yourself.
Who Is There To Help?
Do you have friends whom you can actually ask for help? You have to think about the meals they need while doing the entire moving process. You might also think about giving them a gift to show that you value the effort they have put in to help you.
Letting The Moving Company Do It For You
How Will You Select The Right Company?
You always have to select a reputable moving company. You can ask your friends and family for suggestions. You can also check out reviews online and look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for possible complaints or recommendations. Narrow down your list to about three companies and request quotes from each of them.
What is Included?
You need to know what is included in the estimate given. Moving companies usually charge a specific amount based on weight. You can also ask for a refund if your belongings end up weighing less than expected.
You can also inquire about other charges included in the moving process. One thing you have to consider is the cost of insurance. Tips are not included in the estimate. However, it is common practice to give tips to movers.
Do You Need Additional Help?
A lot of moving companies provide a comprehensive moving service. If you opt for it, the company usually packs your belongings, loads them into the truck, and unpacks them in your new place.
Obviously, this will cost more than a less comprehensive option. However, it might help you save time and free you of the stre