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Common Insurance Coverage Gaps

Bookmark and Share You've purchased auto and homeowners or renters insurance like a responsible consumer. However, you could have insurance coverage gaps that threaten your assets. Here are a few common ones that you should consider closing as you save money, protect yourself and gain peace of mind.
  1. Transportation Expense Coverage
    Your auto insurance covers medical expenses and liability. Does it also provide you with a rental car or other transportation after an accident? Transportation Expenses coverage can cost as little as $8 per vehicle per year and gives you access to a rental vehicle or other form of transportation. It lessens your stress after an accident and minimizes disruptions to your daily life.

  2. Personal Catastrophe Liability Coverage
    Also known as an umbrella policy, personal catastrophe liability coverage protects your assets if you are sued after an accident. It can cover any expenses related to a personal injury or liability lawsuit and any lawyer fees, hospital bills and related expenses you may incur. This coverage starts at $150 per year and provides priceless peace of mind for you and your family.

  3. Valuables Coverage
    The average homeowners insurance policy includes a $3,000 limit on personal items. Does that amount cover the replacement of your expensive electronics, jewelry, artwork and furs? If not, buy an endorsement or rider. It gives you extra coverage for valuables and protects your items if they are lost, stolen or damaged.

  4. Flood Insurance
    While you might not live in a high-risk flood area, one in five flood claims occur outside of high-risk flood areas, and an inch of water can cause major damage to your home and possessions. Protect yourself with flood insurance. In many cases, there's a 30-day waiting period for this coverage, so apply for it today and reduce your risk.

  5. Life Insurance
    Your group life insurance policy may cover you for twice your annual salary, but that money is probably not enough to cover your final expenses and care for your family. Purchase your own policy with a death benefit of six to eight times your annual salary. Investigate different types of life insurance policies and coverage amounts as you care for your loved ones.

  6. Outdated Insurance Polices
    You pay your insurance premiums on time so that your policies don't lapse. When was the last time you reviewed your coverage? Adjust your homeowners coverage after renovations or when you sell collectibles. Check your auto coverage, too, to ensure it's sufficient for your household vehicles and drivers. Policy reviews take a few minutes but can save your thousands of dollars and give you hours of priceless peace of mind.
Your insurance coverage protects your assets. Consider closing any gaps today.
 

What to do if a Bee Flies Into Your Car As You're Driving

Bookmark and Share In 2015, a man in Montana decided to transport five Russian honey bee hives in a cardboard box in his vehicle. He was observed driving all over the road, and when he was pulled over, a highway patrol officer found thousands of bees flying freely in the vehicle as the man drove. He was cited for careless driving. What can we learn from this story? Don't transport bee hives in a cardboard box in your vehicle and take several steps to be safe if one or more bees do fly into your car.
  1. Don't panic. Even though it's scary to drive with a bee in the car, stay calm. Remind your passengers to stay calm, too, since you need to think clearly and not be distracted as you prevent an accident.

  2. Stay focused on the road. Take your eyes of the road for even a second to find or swat the bee, and you could cause an accident. Remain focused at all times as you stay safe.

  3. Keep your hands on the wheel. Swatting at the bee might make you feel better, but you're more likely to swerve into oncoming traffic or onto someone's property if you take your hands off the wheel.

  4. Slow down gradually. Instead of slamming on the brakes, slow down gradually. Put your four-way or hazard lights on to alert other drivers that you are driving below the speed limit as you help everyone on the road drive safely.

  5. Find a safe place to pull over. Never stop in the middle of the road, on a hill or in another unsafe area. Find a safe spot and pull over.

  6. Shoo the bee out of the vehicle. Use a shoe, rolled up newspaper or other item to shoo the bee gently out of your vehicle.

  7. Be prepared if you're allergic. Always carry a current EpiPen or allergy medication when you drive. It can be stored safely in your emergency kit, glove box or somewhere else in easy access. You want to be prepared in case you are stung by a bee.

  8. Drive with your windows up. If you absolutely do not want a bee to enter your vehicle, drive with your windows up.
It can be annoying and even dangerous to drive with a bee or other insect in your vehicle. Take these precautions as you protect yourself and everyone on the road. You should also make sure to purchase the right insurance for your needs since even your best efforts may not be enough to prevent an accident when a bee flies into your car.
 

How to Ensure Your Pet is Cared for After Your Death

Bookmark and Share As a pet owner, you would do anything to care for your furry friend. Have you ever thought about what will happen to your pet when you're gone? Millionaire Leona Helmsley's dog Trouble received $2 million, which allowed him to live in a hotel with the best security, grooming and food. Because you may not have millions to spend on your pet, consider several options that ensure your pet receives ongoing care if something were to happen to you.

Rule Out Life Insurance

Life insurance is one asset that allows you to declare a beneficiary. Before you select your pet to receive your death benefits, realize that because pets are considered property and are unable to sign legal documents, they are disqualified from this option.

Ask Someone to Care for Your Pet

You could ask a trusted family member, neighbor or friend to care for your pet after you die. Check in with your trusted caretaker regularly to ensure he or she is still interested and financially able to care properly for your furry friend.

Purchase Pet Insurance

Like your health insurance, pet insurance covers medical treatment your pet may need. It's a valuable resource that a caretaker can use to care for your pet after you're gone.

Establish a Trust

A trust is a legal entity that safeguards money for specific purposes, in this case pet care. To set up a trust for your pet, take these steps.
  1. Choose a trustee. Select someone who will be ready and available to care for your pet according to your specifications. It's also a good idea to choose a backup trustee.

  2. Decide the worth of the trust. Calculate the total cost of your pet's care per year multiplied by the estimated number of years your pet has left to live. Remember to factor in extra expenses like medical treatment, medicine or a special diet.

  3. Do not name your pet in the trust. Generic wording that ensures all your pets are cared for when you die eliminates the need to rewrite the trust when you get a new pet or pets.

  4. Select a trust duration. Unfortunately, your pet will not live forever. Word the trust so it provides care for your pet for 21 years or until the death of your pet, whichever occurs first.

  5. Choose a remainderman. This person will receive any money left in your trust after your pet dies. Verify that the remainderman will not kill your pet to get your money.
You can care for your pet even after you're gone. Talk to your financial advisor or attorney to ensure your wishes and your pet's needs are met.
 

Protecting Seven Soft Targets Around Your Home This Summer

Bookmark and Share The U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that most burglaries occur during the summer months. While some burglars enter your home, others are interested in soft targets, the items stored outside of your home. One in three homeowners do not protect their soft targets, but you can with these tips.
  1. Vacant Properties
    Thieves and vandals typically target vacant homes as they steal scrap metal or take other items to sell. If you're on vacation, keep your windows and doors locked. Install outdoor motion activated lights and use a timer to turn on indoor lights at random times, too. You can also install a video camera that allows you to monitor your home while you're away.

  2. Vehicles and Loose Items
    Experienced car thieves can steal a vehicle in less than 10 seconds. Always keep your car locked inside the garage or make sure the alarm is turned on and install an anti-theft device that disables the ignition or locks the steering wheel. You should hide any loose items, too, including electronics, garage door openers, toll booth passes and parking garage passes, either in the glove box or trunk.

  3. Unlocked Sheds and Garages
    Tools and lawn equipment are easy to resell. Always lock your garage, including windows, even if you're working in your lawn. Be sure your valuable tools and equipment are stored inside the shed or garage, too.

  4. Sports Equipment
    Whether your summer activities include baseball, kayaking or tennis, resist the urge to store your sports equipment outside. Secure it safely in a locked garage or shed, in a locked bin or in your vehicle's trunk.

  5. Bicycles
    Ideally, you should store your bike in a locked garage or shed. If you have to store your bikes, don't use thin bike chains and wheel locks that are easy to unbolt or cut. A heavy chain threaded through the bike's wheels and frame and a thick padlock are more secure.

  6. Air Conditioning Units
    Your outdoor air conditioning units contain copper coils and other metal piping that thieves can scrap for cash. Install a bright security light that's motion activated near your outdoor AC unit or install a locked fence around it.

  7. Pool Pumps
    Pool pumps are easy to resell. Remove the pool pump and store it inside during your vacation. If that's not possible, install a bright, motion-activated security light near the pump. You should also install a fence around your pool and keep it locked at all times.
Protect your home from thieves when you take steps to protect these seven soft targets. Be sure your homeowners or renters insurance policies are up to date, too, as you protect your home and possessions.