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Insurance Coverage for Your New Hoverboard

Bookmark and Share Marty McFly rode a hoverboard in the 1989 move "Back to the Future II", and today's version was one of the hottest gifts of 2015. If you received one or know someone who did, learn more about insuring your new toy.

What is a Hoverboard?

Basically, a hoverboard is a battery-powered skateboard without wheels. To operate it, you place it on the ground, stand on it and use your body's balance to propel yourself around your driveway, down the sidewalk or around town. Balancing can be tricky until you get the hang of moving forward, backward or to either side.

The hoverboard is small enough to place in a duffle bag or locker and weighs only 20-25 pounds. It's made from a metal alloy and features an anti-slip foot grip. Some models support up to 200 pounds and can go up to 15 miles per hour. Certain models hold a charge that lasts 10 hours and allows you to ride for miles. You can purchase the toy for $200 to $2000.

Hoverboard Safety Risks

Despite their popularity, hoverboards have faced criticism over their safety.
  1. Batteries

    The very batteries that give the hoverboard its power can also overheat. Some have been known to catch on fire after being ridden short distances and others have ignited while being charged.

  2. Obstacles

    You need to navigate sidewalk cracks, bumps and other obstacles to remain on your hoverboard. Watch out for other people, too, because you don't want to lose control and collide with anyone.

  3. Balance

    Riders need a strong core and abdominal muscles to handle their hoverboard successfully. Without these two physical traits, you'll lose your balance and could suffer from a concussion or break your elbow, wrist, tailbone or ankle.
Riding Tips

Stay safe on your hoverboard when you:
  • Know where you can ride them. Many cities, colleges, stadiums and other public places have banned hoverboards.

  • Wear a helmet and knee pads.

  • Do exercises that strengthen your core and abdominal muscles.

  • Practice balancing on flat surfaces and take short rides before trying to master uneven terrain or longer treks.

  • Stay with your hoverboard as it charges.

  • Supervise kids and make sure they can and do ride safely.
Insuring a Hoverboard

Your insurance agent will assist you in insuring your hoverboard under your homeowner's or renter's policy. If your hoverboard malfunctions, contact your agent. He or she will want to record any evidence and assess the damage before you toss the toy or clean up the mess.

How to Avoid Apartment Rental Scams

Bookmark and Share When you're excited to move into the perfect apartment or need a new home fast, you may overlook key red flags about a potential apartment or landlord. Learn more about apartment rental scams and how to avoid them before you sign your next lease.

Phantom Rentals

You see an apartment ad that features amazing views, low rent and large closets. The problem is that the landlord wants the deposit and first month's rent right away. You want the apartment, so you send the money. Unfortunately, the landlord conveniently disappears after your check is cashed, and you're out the money and the home. Chances are high that the apartment wasn't even real and you've become the victim of a phantom rental scam.

Multiple Rentals

After you find and tour a great apartment, you decide to pay the deposit and first month's rent. However, several other renters have the same idea. The landlord takes your money and runs, leaving you to deal with the aftermath of a multiple rental scam.

Renting for the Owner

You find an apartment you like and ask for a tour. The person who shows you around claims to have the landlord's permission to rent the apartment. You hand over the deposit and rent, but the actually apartment owner has no clue about the transaction, the tour guide skips town and you become the victim of a renting for the owner scam.

How to Protect Yourself From Rental Scams

Avoid these and other creative rental scams when you take these steps.
  1. Search for the property online. In a few minutes, discover if the apartment is listed on multiple sites and verify the legitimacy of the apartment and the seller.

  2. Never wire money. Legitimate landlords ask for a check.

  3. Sign a lease before you send payment. It's a legal document that ensures the landlord is legally able to rent to you and that you are the legal tenant.

  4. Meet the landlord. Instead of trusting the contact person, insist on meeting the actual landlord. If he or she lives far away and refuses to contact you, pass on the deal.

  5. Don't share personal information. There's never a reason for a potential landlord to know your social security, bank account or credit card numbers.

  6. Avoid doing business with anyone who claims to be affiliated with Zillow. It's a legitimate online real estate database with no involvement in the actual apartment rental process.

  7. Report any potential scammers to your local police and the Federal Trade Commission.
Apartment hunting can be stressful, but take your time and avoid these scams. Once you do find your next home, contact your insurance agent for renter's insurance that protects you and your belongings.

How to Tell a Coworker to Stop Sexual Harassment

Bookmark and Share Employees are entitled to a safe work environment. Any unwelcome sexual conduct, including slurs, physical assaults or interference with work, is considered harassment and violates federal law. If you or someone you work with is the victim of sexual harassment, learn how to tell your co-worker to stop.

Take it Seriously

Any incident of sexual harassment is a big deal. Don't dismiss the little touches on the arm or the subtle innuendo. Every incident of sexual harassment is illegal and wrong. Plus, it's degrading and negatively affects office morale, and if you let it ocntinue, the offender can argue that you were okay with it, which could hurt your case.

Write It Down

Documentation of sexual harasment is important. Whether the incidents happened a minute or a year ago, record as much about them as you can in a formal letter. It should include when the incident happened, where you were, who was involved, what was said and the witnesses. Keep a digital and paper copy of the letter in a safe place for future reference.

Confront the Offender

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that you address sexual harassment as soon as possible to show the offender that you have taken a stand against harassment. This step is important if you decide to sue later and removes any argument that the harassment isn't a big deal.

When confronting a sexual harasser, be professional, firm, direct and specific. Tell him or her what you don't like and how it makes you feel. If you need support, ask someone you trust to participate in the conversation with you. You should also send the offender a copy of your documentation letter, the company's sexual harassment policy and a clear statement asking him or her to cease the offending behavior.

Maintain Distance

Stay away from the offender as much as possible. If you work with him or her every day, continue your professional relationship but avoid unnecessary contact.

File a Complaint

If the harasser doesn't listen when you confront him or her, follow EEOC protocol and file a complaint with your employer. Follow every detail of the company's sexual harassment reporting policy, save a copy of your compliant and record when you filed it and with whom.

Go to Court

Your employer is obligated by law to investigate any sexual harassment complaints, but the harassment may continue. In this case, contact the EEOC and file an administrative charge. The EEOC will review the documents and then authorize you to sue, set up mediation between you and your employer or dismiss the claim.

Sexual harassment is illegal and wrong. If you're the victim, confront the offender. Talk to your HR manager for more information as you create a safe workplace environment.

How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

Bookmark and Share What do important documents, expensive jewelry and antique collectibles have in common? They're all valuables you store in your home. Instead of worrying if they'll be safe while you go on vacation or when contractors works on your home, protect them.

Rent a Bank Safe Deposit Box

For items that you don't access regularly, consider a bank safe deposit box. It's ideal for collectibles, photographs and coins, and your valuables will be protected from theft, fire, flood and other disasters when they're stored safely in the bank vault.

There are several drawbacks to this storage solution. One is accessibility. You'll only be able to retrieve or inspect your valuables during bank hours. Also, your box will be sealed when you or the owner dies, so it's not the ideal solution for protecting your advance directives or will. The contents are not insured by the bank or Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) either. Your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy should cover your valuables, though, in the event that they are damaged.

Buy a Home Safe

Items you want to access regularly could be stored in a home safe. It sits in your closet, under the bed or anywhere in your home and protects your legal documents, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, photos, passports and other items.

Select a small safe when you wish to protect jewelry, papers or coins. You'll need a larger safe for large, bulky or odd-shaped items like artwork, guns and furs. Some models include adjustable shelves for increased versatility, and you can choose a safe that locks with a key, combination, electronic lock or mix of lock options.

Next, choose a safe that is certified to provide protection from a variety of threats.

  • Theft and Vandalism

    Purchase a safe with solid steel construction, pry-resistant doors and a bolt-down kit.

  • Fire

    Look for the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) symbol that shows your safe is fireproof, and be sure to latch and lock your safe to ensure it remains fireproof.

  • Water

    Live in your home for 30 years, and you have a one in four chance of suffering water damage. Select a safe with an ETL verification that certifies one of two things. Waterproof safes allow only eight drops of water to the safe when it's submerged in water. Water-resistant safes keep the interior dry when the safe stands in six inches of water for one hour or when it's sprayed with 1,000 gallons of water within a 15-minute time period.
Protecting your valuables should be a priority. Whether you choose a bank safe deposit box or home safe, be sure everything you own is insured. Contact your insurance agent today to purchase or review your coverage.