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Personal Protection Bulletin
What To Consider Before You Buy Someone A Car
Granting a loved one’s wish list for a car is exciting. Here are the factors you need to consider first.
Make Sure you can Afford It
In most states, you cannot legally purchase a vehicle and put it in someone else’s name or apply for financing on someone else’s behalf. That means you will need to finance the vehicle yourself and manage ongoing payments. Review your finances and credit to ensure you can afford this purchase.
Clarify Future Financing
You may decide to pay the down payment only and allow your loved one to take over future car payments. Be sure your loved one qualifies for financing, is willing to cosign for the loan, if necessary, and can afford the payments.
Choose the Right Vehicle
You want your loved one to like their gift since you can’t return it, so carefully choose the vehicle you give. First, select the right size. For instance, a new or inexperienced driver may prefer a small or midsize car while a family requires a larger SUV or minivan. Second, make sure your gift includes the features your loved one wants. Review car ads or take test drives together to discover if your loved one prefers a high-tech vehicle, an automatic or manual transmission, or a certain color or style.
Consider Ongoing Costs
Car ownership involves more than a monthly car payment. Your loved one will need to afford a variety of ongoing expenses as he or she keeps the gift running properly.
Maintenance - Verify that your loved one can afford tires, fluids, parts, and the vehicle’s annual registration and inspection.
Insurance - Coverage requirements and costs vary by state so research this expense based on where your loved one will drive the car.
Fuel - Check the vehicle’s fuel economy and your loved one’s driving habits as you clarify the vehicle’s fuel costs.
If your loved one can’t afford these ongoing expenses, reconsider your gift or make the decision to cover these costs yourself.
Verify Driving Privileges
Before you purchase a vehicle for someone, make sure he or she has valid driving privileges, including a current driver's license. The vehicle could be impounded if your loved one drives with a suspended license or without a license.
Ask the Dealership to Keep the Surprise
After putting so much effort into purchasing a vehicle for someone, you want to keep it a surprise. Ask the dealership to contact you via a private phone number or email so their calls about financing or delivery don’t spoil the big reveal.
It’s exciting to give someone a car as a gift. Consider these factors before you take this step.
Scurich Insurance Services
10 Holiday Meal Kitchen Safety Tips
It’s your turn to host the family holiday meal, and you’re prepared with the menu, table decorations and updated homeowners insurance. Is your kitchen safe? Consider 10 kitchen safety tips for your holiday meal.
Handle Raw Meat Properly
Raw meats can spread salmonella and other bacteria if they’re handled improperly. Thaw meats in the refrigerator, never rinse raw meat, use separate cutting boards and knives for meats, and cook meats thoroughly.
Greasy Range Hood
Accumulated grease on range hood can start a fire. Clean the hood thoroughly, and check the filter to make sure it’s clean, too.
Dirty Sponges, Dishcloths and Kitchen Towels
Sponges, dishcloths and towels can harbor bacteria that can spread throughout your kitchen as you wipe spills and messes. Disinfect wet sponges for one minute in the microwave. Remember to replace used sponges, dishcloths and towels often, too. As an alternative, spray surfaces with sanitizing spray and wipe with paper towels.
Poor Refrigerator Storage Habits
Holiday meals include all your favorite dishes. Keep the food safe and prevent bacteria growth when you:
Place raw meats in a sealed container.
Store raw fruits and vegetables in a plastic bag or container.
Immediately wipe up spills.
Refrigerate prepared foods as soon as possible.
Refrigerate leftovers within four hours of cooking.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Gas ranges and ovens can emit carbon monoxide, an odorless, invisible gas that can make you sick. Hire a professional to clean and inspect your range and oven to ensure they work properly and safely.
Faulty wiring accounts for 33 percent of all residential fires according to the U.S. Fire Administration. When you must plug multiple appliances into your electrical outlets, use power strips. If possible, unplug the appliances you don’t need.
No Fire Extinguisher
Your kitchen fire extinguisher can prevent the spread of a fire and protect your family. Buy a multi-purpose fire extinguisher, and be sure you know how to use it.
While cooking, you may get distracted with a conversation, cleaning or other duties. Unattended food or oil can start a fire, so stay focused as you cook.
Your aunt arrives and immediately volunteers to prep the dinner salad. Be sure she washes her hands first, and insist on proper handwashing for all your kitchen helpers.
Keep your floors and walkways clear to avoid tripping. As guests arrive, they should place their bags and other items in a designated spot away from the kitchen
Your holiday celebration can be a safe and fun event when you follow these 10 kitchen safety tips.
Scurich Insurance Services
Holiday Shopping Safety Tips
Shopping for holiday presents is one necessity of the season. This year, take several safety precautions as you protect yourself and your gifts.
Observe your Surroundings
As you check out the pretty displays and find the best deals, remember to stay observant. Look at the faces of the people around you, and watch where you’re walking to reduce your vulnerability.
Park in a Well-Lit Area
Even if you have to park far away from the store entrance, choose a well-lit spot. Also, have your keys ready, and be aware of strangers hanging out near your vehicle. When you get home, carry your purchases into the house right away.
Carry Only what you Need
Your risk of being a theft or a pickpocket victim decreases when you carry less stuff. So leave your purse or heavy wallet at home and carry just your credit card, cash and phone in your pocket as you shop. If you do need to carry a purse or bag, hold it close to your body.
Use One Credit Card
Minimize the risk of unauthorized purchases when you use one credit card for all your in-store and online purchases. Then keep all your receipts and reconcile your credit card statement to ensure accuracy.
Place all your purchases into one or two bags. It’s easier to protect a few bags from theft or loss.
Be Aware at the ATM
Only use well-lit ATMs, hide the keypad with your body so no one can see your PIN, and place your cash immediately into your pocket. Keep your receipt, too, instead of tossing it into the trash.
Keep your Distance
Crowded stores and malls make it more challenging to maintain adequate personal space, but try to practice crowd control. Move away from shoulder surfers, and hide the keypad as you make purchases.
Protect your Children
In a crowded store, it’s easy to get separated from your children. Remind them to stay close to you, and never use an arcade or toy store as a babysitter while you shop. If possible, shop with another adult so you can take turns watching the kids.
Securely Shop Online
Online shopping is convenient, but you need to protect yourself. Save your online purchases for when you’re home on a secure Wi-Fi network, and never enter your credit card number or passwords over public Wi-Fi. Avoid phishing scams, too, by not opening suspicious emails or attachments. You can also verify coupon code sites and only share your mobile number or email with legitimate sites.
This holiday season, you can buy presents for everyone on your list and maintain your security. Follow these tips for your protection and cheer.
Scurich Insurance Services
Seven Tips To Negotiate An Auto Insurance Claim
After a severe hail storm or vehicle accident, your insurance company totals your car. The settlement amount they offer is fairly low, though. Use seven tips to negotiate your auto insurance claim.
Prove the Vehicle’s Worth
If you can prove that your vehicle is worth more than the insurance company offers, you may get more money. Examples of acceptable proof include:
The vehicle's purchase price if you bought it recently
Recent photos that show your vehicle in pristine condition
Receipts for recent upgrades such as new tires, a security system or a paint job
While it will take time for you to assemble this proof and submit it to the insurance company, the extra cash could make the effort worthwhile.
Ask for Financial Sources
The insurance company should provide you with a detailed report of the figures they used to determine your settlement amount. Ask them to provide sources for their numbers, too. You can use those sources to verify the insurance settlement or run your own comparison.
Find a Comparable Vehicle
Most states require auto insurance companies to provide a fair settlement. It allows you to purchase a comparable vehicle to the one that’s totaled. You can do your own search for a comparable vehicle if you don’t think the insurance company has offered a fair settlement.
Search online and in person to find a local vehicle that’s the same make, model, year, mileage, options and condition as your totaled vehicle. Share your findings with the insurance company, and they may accept this proof and give you more money.
Ask if you can Keep the Car
Sometimes, a totaled car is still drivable. If that’s the case, the insurance company may allow you to keep and drive the car. However, you may need to pay a salvage fee and drop comprehensive coverage.
After an accident, you may feel stressed and upset as you navigate the insurance claim and adjust to life without your vehicle. Try to remain calm, however, as you state your case and show that you are confident in your facts and serious about your desire to get a larger settlement.
Contact the State Insurance Commissioner
Your state’s Insurance Commissioner protects citizens like you. Appeal to the office if your settlement amount truly is low and your negotiation efforts are unsuccessful.
Give it a Try
You may doubt that your efforts to negotiate will succeed. It’s always a good idea to try. You may surprise yourself and succeed!
Sometimes, you can get more money for your vehicle after it’s totaled. These seven tips can help you successfully negotiate a new settlement.
Scurich Insurance Services
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