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Having Two Cars Can Be Twice as Nice

Jul 31, 2013

If you are considering buying a second car, you might want to think about getting new auto insurance as well because a multi-car policy can be cheaper than two individual policies.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect with your auto insurance if you buy a second car.

Why would I need it?

Having two cars automatically requires a second policy. If you drive a car, it must be insured.  That is the law.

Discounts

The multi-car policy offers one the most common auto insurance discounts. If you have more than one vehicle on a single policy, then the multi-car discount usually applies.

What can you do to lower your premiums even further?

  • Make sure that all of your policies are with the same company
  • If you have a seasonal vehicle you may be able to get  standard coverage, which reduces the amount of coverage on the vehicle and lowers your premiums
  • You can get a discount up to 20 percent if you combine your auto policy with your home and life policies
  • If you only drive the car occasionally and don’t put many miles on it, your premiums can be quite low
  • If you keep your second car in storage

Many of us think that a discount always comes with a catch. But there’s no catch here. Insurance companies save a lot of time processing paperwork when they include all of your vehicles in one policy. Saving time means saving money, which is a key factor for big companies. If you insure each vehicle separately, there is twice as much paperwork and time spent servicing you.

Other vehicles are welcomed

If you own a boat, motorcycle or other vehicle, then you can include them into your policy for an even greater discount.

Our insurance agents will always provide you with great customer service and excellent prices.


Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

Jul 31, 2013

According to the Pew Research Center, 26 percent of American baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – pursue an active lifestyle. Senior citizens can travel around the world, take up new hobbies and do things that they couldn’t do before they retired. However, with an active lifestyle comes the necessity of looking after your safety and well-being. Here are some tips for seniors who drive their own cars:

Tip #1

Choose the car according to your age needs

If you are an older driver, it’s important to choose a vehicle that will provide safe, dependable transportation. Always ensure that your car provides these features:
• allows you to sit at the proper distance from steering wheel
• provides adequate and safe views from side mirrors
• allows the proper seat height
• head rests can be adjusted to the proper height

Tip #2

Stay current with driving skills

Driving is an important part of maintaining an active, rewarding lifestyle. It’s no wonder that most of us want to keep driving as long as possible. Periodically assessing your driving fitness and sharpening your skills can help you to continue to drive safely as you age. To keep your skills sharp, you can take a refresher driving course. Seniors who accurately assess their fitness to drive, can adjust their driving habits to stay safe on the road.

Tip #3

Keeping your vision sharp

Make sure you always wear your glasses and that they are a current prescription. If you lose or break your glasses, don’t rely on an old pair; replace them right away with your newest prescription. Avoid eyewear with side pieces that may block your vision. Keep your windshield, mirrors and headlights clean, and make sure your headlight aim is checked when your car is inspected. Choose a car with larger dials and easy-to-read symbols. Turn brightness up on the instrument panel.

 

Tip #4

Take car of your health

With your doctor’s approval, do some stretching exercises and start a walking program. Walk around the block or in a mall. Also, check health clubs, YMCAs, senior centers, colleges and hospitals for fitness programs geared to older people. Get examined by a doctor if you have pain or swelling in your feet. If you have pain or stiffness in your arms, legs or neck, your doctor may prescribe medication and/or physical therapy.

Tip #5

Assess your fitness

Self-awareness is the key. People who can accurately assess their fitness to drive can adjust their driving habits, and stay safe on the road. With smart self-management, you can retain the personal mobility that comes with driving, while limiting the risks to yourself and others.


Tasteful Summer Holidays or Dolce Vita. Part 3

Jul 31, 2013

 There are plenty of fabulous places to visit, but one of the most beautiful and historic destinations is Italy.

Not only does Italy have 4,000 years of history, great artworks and a stunning landscape, it also has some of the world’s finest food. One of the best ways to experience it is by partaking in culinary tourism.

Culinary tours are trips dedicated to destinations where the local food and beverages are the main event. They are a great way to see new places and experience a variety of cuisines.

In Europe, the top three gastronomic destinations are:

      • Italy

• France

• Spain

Considered a food lover’s paradise, Italy is the top destination for culinary vacations.


Benvenuti Italia!

The best way to discover the depth and beauty of Italian food and culture is to take a guided culinary tour, or simply organize your own tour. Culinary tours in Italy often include cheese-making demonstrations, visits to famous wineries and meals at legendary restaurants. Not only can you taste delicious food, you may have the opportunity to participate in the culinary classes with Italian chefs. Some might even share a family recipe or two with you.

Culinary tours are offered in many different parts of Italy and focus on regional specialties, the art of cooking, and traditional cultivation practices.

Tuscany

This breathtaking region holds an international reputation for being one of the most picturesque and gastronomically interesting in all of Italy.

Imagine yourself in a gorgeous villa located somewhere between Siena and Florence. Local chefs guide you through the preparation of simple but delicious dishes, revealing their personal secrets. Your tour may include visits to organic farms to see how cheese,wine and olive oil are made.

While there, it is essential to sample the Tuscan region’s most famous wine, Chianti.

Sicily

This beautiful island is full of historic ruins. Sicilian cuisine is considered to be among the most unique in Italy because the region is in such close proximity to a host of exotic cultures.

Sicilian cuisine is well known for the cannoli, a cream filled pastry, along with other sweets.

Emilia Romagna

This is a region that includes Parma, Bologna and Modena. If you love Parmesan cheese and pasta Bolognese and dress your salad with vinegar, then you might know that this region is responsible for all three culinary staples. Apart from exploring local villages, open air markets and ancient Roman sites, you’ll love the atmosphere, rich lifestyle and unforgettable cuisine.

Liguria

The mild climate characterizes these charming port towns, as does the great local cuisine they produce. You may have heard of Portofino, Genova and Cinque Terre. All of them have a lovely and romantic vibe. The regional cuisine of Liguria is in part defined by its extensive coastline and proximity to France. Seafood and fresh vegetables rule the day. The famous pesto Genovese originated here.

Lombardia

Experience the elegance and beauty of one the most delightful regions in Italy, famous for risotto alla Milanese, polenta and panettone. This is also a great region for shopping. People from all over the world come here every year for Milan Fashion week. If you wish to escape to a quiet place, Lake Como is only an hour away. This is where celebrities and locals go to enjoy gorgeous views and first-class cuisine. Relax on the shores of Lake Garda, where the region’s famous olive oil and wines are produced.

When you are planning to travel, be sure to think about your insurance coverage. In the event of sickness while overseas, it’s essential to have the right health coverage. Be sure to consult your insurance agent before taking off.


Safety tips for outdoor games

Jul 31, 2013

Outdoor activities are a fun part of childhood, and they promote good health. Giving kids the opportunity to run, play with friends and breathe fresh air is a good first step in keeping them happy and fit.

 

 

One popular outdoor activity is trampolining.

Here are a few safety tips if you decide to purchase a trampoline or already have one.

Choose the right spot for your trampoline. When you choose a place to install a trampoline, make sure it’s flat, and that no trees, buildings or overhanging objects could injure your child.

Have the proper frame. Your trampoline should have a specialized frame that includes a safety net around the trampoline’s perimeter.

Who can play? If your children are less than 6 years old, a trampoline is not safe for them. Keep an eye on your children when they are outdoors. Make sure your kids have a sound understanding of safety before you let them play on the trampoline. Ensure that they stay away from the edges and avoid jumping too high.

Choose the right clothes for trampolining. Choosing the right clothes can make playing more fun. Comfortable outfits let your kids play more while remaining safe. Loose clothing could cause a child to slip off the trampoline or get caught on hooks. Form fitting clothes, however, can be comfortable while still being safe.

No toys on the trampoline. Some kids have toys that they take everywhere, but having toys on a trampoline can be dangerous.  A child can easily trip over a toy or a get hit with one while jumping.  It’s better to keep objects off the trampoline.

You also can help your children stay physically fit and healthy with other safe outdoor activities. There is a very wide range of activities you can offer to your kids.

Hide and seek is a classic kid’s game. It’s fun, easy and doesn’t require equipment. It gets kids to run, and teaches them to pay attention to details to solve a mystery.

You can organize a scavenger hunt for your kids.  This teaches kids to follow clues and read maps, and if organized in teams, it teaches them about competition and teamwork.


Car Care 101

Jul 31, 2013

You probably depend a great deal on your car, so that’s why it’s important to keep it running well, and for as long as possible, too.  After all, car trouble can cause a great deal of stress in your life.  Here are some tips for keeping your car running like new.

Treat your car like you treat yourself

If you think that a shortcut on a road riddled with pot holes will save you time, think again.  Pot holes take air pressure out of your tires and ruin your alignment, and those are short term problems.  Pot holes are just an example of ways that you can mistreat your car.  From braking too quickly to not changing your oil frequently enough, your car will treat you the way you treat it.

Reduce wear on your engine

Overburdening the engine is one of the most common ways to wear out your car. You may not realize how fast overworking your engine is killing the motor. Don’t hesitate to take preventive car care measures. It is much easier to fix little problems now than to wait for your car to break down and have to rebuild significant parts of it later.

It’s like preventative health care.  A flu shot now will save you time and money later. Always remember that an overheated engine can be the beginning of the end.

Change the oil

Getting an oil change is pretty much the easiest part of car maintenance.  It’s inexpensive, and if you make an appointment, it takes no time at all. Oil lubricates your engine and keeps it running smoothly. Without oil, friction will cause moving parts to seize.

If you do a quick Internet search, you will likely find a coupon for a local garage that will give you a discount on an oil change. Remember the kind of oil recommended for your car. Ask for a windshield sticker to remind you next time.

Choose a reliable car

There are many different kinds of cars on the market, and some are built better than others. They say that you get what you pay for, and that pearl of wisdom is often repeated for a good reason.  Although you can buy a well-built, safe car that fits into your budget, finding the right vehicle can take a bit of work.

Do your research before you buy. Dealers probably won’t tell you everything you’ll need to know, so look to see what consumers online are saying. Also, read consumer reports on official websites to get a more complete picture of what you are buying.


Keep Your Steel Horse Running Well

Jul 31, 2013

Forgoing a car for a motorcycle or having a motorcycle as a second means of transportation is becoming more and more popular. But no matter how fun a motorcycle may be or how useful it is in traffic, safety should be your main priority.

Finally, it’s riding season!

Because winters are so cold in most parts of the country, motorcyclists take some time away from their bikes.  But once the snow starts to melt and spring rolls around, people get right back on their bikes.

Before you hit the road after the off season, check your bike to make sure the following things are working properly:

  • The lights, brakes and turn signals
  • Oil and fuel levels
  • Adjust lube and chain according to the manufacturer
  • Check the cables to make sure they are not worn
  • Having a first aid kit can save your life. Things like an emergency sleeping bag and blanket and a high visibility vest are very light and do not take much space, but they can really come in handy.

Don’t skimp on armor

Good gear can really protect you in case of an accident.  Here’s how to choose:

  • Choose a good helmet that fits you well and is not too loose. Helmets saves lives!
  • Pick a leather jacket that protects your upper body.
  • Leather pants will protect your lower half.
  • Do not forget about boots, either; choose ones with a high ankle.
  • A durable pair of leather gloves could really protect your hands.

Already on the road?

Be careful and respect your own and everyone else’s personal space. Too many drivers forget this and think they own the road. Here’s how:

  • Be attentive and intuitive. Keep an eye on the road and the drivers, and always expect the unexpected.
  • Be sure that you are seen. Do not ride in blind spots and always use your headlights.
  • Make sure to use all the signals. If your lights are out, use hand signals.
  • Do not take all the space, and don’t drive on the shoulder.
  • Use both brakes at the same time, to stop slowly and safely.
  • Know your bike’s limits and stick to the speed limit.

Insurance, definitely

If you are caught without insurance, you will either be fined or have your license revoked.

When you talk to an insurance agent, you will need to provide them with your motorcycle’s information. This is important, since the newer the bike is, the higher price will be. With some  research you will undoubtedly find the right policy for you.

Regardless of your gender, age and the type of vehicle you ride, nothing is more important than safety on the road. Always make sure your equipment is all set and properly maintained. Ride safe!


Health Insurance for Immigrants

Jul 31, 2013


Immigrants are twice as likely to be uninsured as other Americans.

You might wonder why you need health insurance, especially if you are young and healthy.

Health care is very expensive, and if you can’t pay out of pocket, then you do need health insurance. With health insurance you can seek medical assistance without having to worry about falling into debt.

If you are an immigrant or visitor, there are several factors to take into account.

Documents

One of the most important documents in the U.S. is your Social Security card. Insurance companies will always require it to enroll. How do you get it?

If you are age 18 or older you can apply for a Social Security number in your home country when you apply for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. government will use the same information that you supply for an immigrant visa to apply for an SSN (Social Security Number). Your Social Security card will arrive at your mailing address about three weeks after you arrive in the US.

If you are not an immigrant or did not apply for a Social Security number when you applied for an immigrant visa, you must have your papers from the Department of Homeland Security showing your immigration status and authorization to work in the United States. Then you should apply for a Social Security number and card by visiting a Social Security office in the U.S.

The choice

When you  have an SSN, you should start looking for the right insurance policy. Insurance regulations are a bit different for immigrants than they are for natural born citizens. That does not mean that you will obtain low quality services. If you do not have friends or relatives who could guide you through this difficult process, then use the Internet as your personal adviser. The Internet is loaded with information that is available to everyone. After some research you might find these options:

Immigrant Health  Insurance

For immigrants, it is easy to qualify immigrant health insurance since it is exclusively designed for non-US citizens. Moreover, it offers a great flexibility in insurance duration. You can choose just one month of coverage, which is short term insurance, or you can also get insurance for five years, which is the long term insurance.

Also, all of these plans are completely renewable, which means that you can make use of monthly, semi-annual, quarterly and annual plans. So, it is extremely easy for immigrants and visitors to find an insurance plan tailored to their specific needs to get several benefits, including the following:

  • Deal with your hospital expenses along with clinical and doctor`s expenses in the best possible way
  • Financial help with prescription drugs
  • Get emergency services
  • Get accidental death and dismemberment insurance

International coverage

For those who are planning to stay in the U.S. for no more than a few months, this type of insurance could be a good option. You can obtain it in your home country before leaving.

Insurance through an employer

This is one of the best ways to get insurance. So, if you are employed, your employer may provide your health insurance benefits.

Government sponsored programs

If you qualify you may get help from government sponsored programs, such as:

  • Medicare and Medicaid that are designed for the families with a low income
  • State CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) plans are designed to provide affordable health insurance to children in low income families.

Depending on your situation, you have different options available for you. The best course of action for you is to consult with an insurance agent.

Coverage and benefits

Not all insurance policies will cover every person’s needs. However, you should shop for insurance that will cover as many specific needs as possible. It will definitely influence the price of your policy, but to protect your health, it will be worth it.

Moving to another country is exciting and frightening. Immigrants are required to fill out a lot of paperwork and meet certain guidelines and regulations. But getting health insurance is an important part of living a secure, happy life in your adoptive country.


12 Features that Homebuyers Want Most

Jul 31, 2013

 

More people are ready to pay extra for a home that has exactly what they want. At least 60% of buyers said they would be willing to pay more for central air conditioning, an up-to-date kitchen and walk-in closets.

Here are the 12 main features that buyers are ready to pay extra for:

12. Energy efficiency – Since people tend to be more environmentally conscious lately, they prefer to buy a house with high energy efficient appliances. Budget conscious buyers take a long-term approach to saving money, choosing to spend a little extra on the purchase price of a home to lower their monthly energy bills.

11. Nice laundry rooms – Buyers would like to see larger laundry rooms that are more functional, making laundry a more pleasant chore.

10 State of the art kitchens – For anyone who’s ever had an apartment, a large kitchen is a treasure. Large kitchen islands and concealed pantries are highly in demand.  If there’s one thing that people want in a kitchen, it’s space. The kitchen should be big enough for two cooks to work together without feeling crowded.

9. A beautiful landscape – Every home buyer wants to buy a home that’s beautiful both inside and outside.  It’s a way to show off to strangers.  But it should also be low maintenance if possible.

8. Luxurious bathrooms – The most important bathroom features for the buyers are:

  • Separate tubs
  • Multiple shower heads
  • Large mirrors
  • Places to sit

Buyers usually want the highest quality bathrooms that they can afford.

7. Specialty rooms – These are rooms that won’t necessarily be the main bedrooms. They are commonly used simply as a guest room.

6. Storage and space – Normally buyers are looking for storage space in every room. They want to have built-in closets, especially in the bedrooms. Organized storage spaces can make a small home feel more spacious.

5. Tech capabilities – Satellite and cable TV, satellite radio, high-speed internet and central air conditioning are all features buyers would like to plug-in to.

4. Outdoor living spaces – Buyers would like to see:

  • Patio
  • Deck
  • Exterior lights

3. Fireplace – Those who already have one would love more. Fireplaces have always been popular with Americans, since they make a house cozy. It is a place where you can gather your family and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

2. Parking – Parking is very important. Not being able to find parking near home is a nightmare.  Plus auto insurance is cheaper for those who have covered parking.

1. A new home – It is quite normal to want a new home. It is also logical; maintenance costs are considerably cheaper in newer homes than older homes.

Your home is your castle, and it should be exactly what you want.  You should immediately feel comfortable and at home in it.  So spend the appropriate time searching for exactly what you want.

At the end, there is one thing you should never forget: home and renters insurance. If you want to protect your beautiful new home, consult your insurance agent and insure your house. It is the smartest investment you could ever make.


Wedding Insurance and Life Insurance

Jul 31, 2013

A wedding is a huge occasion.  It marks the time when two people’s separate lives combine into one life and they create a family. Suddenly you are responsible for another person as well as yourself. The two of you have to be financially responsible together.  And if you are thinking about growing your family, you’ll have even more responsibility.

That’s why it is the perfect time to buy life insurance.  With your new financial dependence on your spouse, a loss of income would be greatly felt.  Here are some great reasons why the honeymoon period is a great time to get financially responsible and get life insurance:

  1. If either of you have debt, life insurance will prevent the surviving spouse from being burdened with debt if one of you passes away unexpectedly.
  2. If you have a joint bank account and share a mortgage, it would be tough for either one of you to pay the mortgage alone without life insurance.
  3. You can rest easier knowing that your spouse will be taken care of if anything were to happen to you.

But if you’re still stressing about the wedding itself, another useful thing that you could do is to get Wedding Insurance to insure your wedding day.

Never thought about it? Well then take the time to consider it. Wedding insurance can help you feel more relaxed as your perfect day approaches. From a sudden cancellation to stolen gifts to a damaged gown, wedding insurance can help protect you against the unforeseen and can also afford you great peace of mind.

Basically, wedding insurance protects a couple’s investment from circumstances beyond their control and reimburses expenses incurred. For example, what if your limo driver does not show up and you have to book another one the morning of the wedding for three times the price? Here are the possible problems that your insurance can cover:

  1. The cost of unavoidable cancellation; if your reception hall is unable to honor your reservation because it has experienced an electrical outage.
  2. Insurance covers rescheduling the wedding and all the details involved, such as flowers, tent rental, and reception food.
  3. If important people such as the caterer or the justice of the peace fail to show up, a wedding insurance policy usually covers cancellation or postponement of the wedding
  4. It may also include sickness or injury to the bride, groom, or anyone essential to the wedding.
  5. Bankruptcy of an airline or hotel.
  6. Damage or theft of gifts.
  7. Liability if your wedding is at home.
  8. Trip protection because of illness, bad weather or other unfortunate circumstances.
  9. Wedding insurance can also cover the postponement of the wedding because the bride or groom suddenly gets called to military duty.

Where to Start With Life Insurance?
So, if you have decided you want to get life or wedding insurance, or both, here are two main steps that you can take:

Estimate your needs – Use an online calculator to get an idea of how much coverage you need. If you already have coverage, the calculator will help you figure out whether it’s enough.
Go to a professional – Visit a certified financial planner who can help you decide which type of life insurance is best for you.

 


Planning the Perfect Vacation

Jul 31, 2013

In today’s busy world, one thing that helps gets us through the year is looking forward to a vacation. However, while being on vacation is relaxing, planning one can actually be an additional source of stress.

We’re compiled some tips to make planning a vacation exciting rather than stressful.

Make a List, Check it Twice

Make checklists for everything: what you need to bring, what you want to do, errands to run before you leave. The more you write down, the less you will forget (and you always forget something).

Choosing a Destination

There are so many fantastic potential vacation spots that it could be difficult and even overwhelming to choose just one. Do not worry; here are a few ideas that might help you:

  • Ask your friends, colleagues, and relatives about the places they have already been to and what they would recommend.  If they had a great experience somewhere, they can provide some tips for planning the trip, what to do when you’re there, and how much money to allocate. This will give you a few options, hopefully.
  • Check out travel blogs to see what other people are saying. Guidebooks are helpful, but they don’t always paint a full picture. Blogs will tell you about local food, good deals, what’s happening when, and how to travel cheaply.

The Earlier the Better

Usually booking earlier is cheaper than booking later, so plan early and book early.

If you want to save some money on your trip, remember that there’s a high season, and usually it’s summer. Prices in the high season are higher because it’s such a popular time to travel. Off seasons can be a really pleasant time to travel; weather can still be nice in April or September. But if you are traveling with kids who are in school, summer might be your only option.

Tickets

Subscribe to a newsletter or email list or frequently visit airline websites to find out about deals or specials. And of course book a few months prior to your trip.

Discounts and Coupons

We hear the word “discount”, and we jump for joy. Usually discounts are available, you just need to know where to look.

Many rental companies offer early bird discounts and specials at the beginning of the season. Another magic word is “coupon.”  You might find useful such websites as Groupon and Living social among others.

Personal Items

When everything is all set, the next thing you think about is the toiletries and personal hygiene products. Although that kind of stuff is available everywhere, it’s usually more expensive abroad, so it’s best to buy them at home and pack them.  Buy small quantities big enough for the duration of your trip so you can throw bottles away when you need to lighten your load.

Be Safe and Get Insurance 

Travel insurance is always important no matter where you are headed. Even if you are traveling within the country, you should be sure your health insurance covers you wherever you go.

If you still have questions and need assistance, go directly to a travel agent. Use a reputable travel agency or ask for recommendations from friends.

From time to time it might be nerve-wracking planning a vacation, but  with these tips you can get started planning the vacation of your dreams.


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