5 Tips To Protect Your Possesions With Valuable Items Coverage

5 Tips to Protect Your Possessions with Valuable Items Insurance Coverage 

You may think that a homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for all your valuables, but policies may provide limited or no coverage for certain items — including generally expensive items — that are damaged or stolen.

For example, many homeowners policies generally have a $1,000 or $1,500 coverage amount for jewelry if the loss is due to theft. Such limits are in place to help keep homeowners policies affordable. However, if jewelry valued at $2,000 is stolen from your home and you have a $1,000 policy limit, you can only receive $1,000 from your insurer to replace the missing items.

That is when an insurance endorsement (sometimes called a rider) can provide increased coverage for your possessions. For an additional premium, this coverage can help protect you from the loss of high-end valuables such as jewelry, furs, antiques, artwork and collectibles.
Here are five tips that may help you decide whether you need valuable items coverage.

1. Read Your Insurance Policy

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your carrier. This document includes the limits of how much you will be compensated when certain valuable items are damaged or stolen. Note that certain items may not be covered, so be sure to carefully review your policy to determine whether you have insurance that meets your needs. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent.

2. Have Your Valuables Appraised

You may have possessions that are worth more than you think. To help you decide whether you need additional coverage, it may be helpful to have them appraised. An appraisal can help you determine if your homeowners insurance policy covers the full value of your property, as some items may not be covered.

The value of some items, such as collectibles or jewelry, may be difficult to determine without professional assistance. It may be necessary to have your valuables reappraised periodically. If they increase in value, you may need additional coverage.

3. Create a Home Inventory

You may not be able to make a decision about whether to buy additional coverage until you know exactly what you own. You may want to take stock of your possessions by creating an inventory. Do not forget to check your garage, basement or attic for stored valuables, such as antiques and coin collections.

Be sure to list all items of value and include copies of receipts or appraisals when possible. This may help you if you ever need to file a claim with your insurance carrier.

4. Check Your Neighborhood's Crime Rate

If you live in a community where the crime rate is high, you may have a greater need for additional coverage to protect your valuables. Police departments may track crime statistics and share this information with the public. You can consider asking your police department about home burglary trends in your neighborhood. Also consider installing a security alarm system. An alarm system may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount.

5. Take Stock of Your Electronic Equipment

In our increasingly high-tech world, people use their electronic equipment to perform their jobs and maintain social connections. In recent years, many new gadgets and devices have been developed that may enhance our lives. If you keep high-end computers and other electronics in your home, you may want to make sure your homeowners policy will cover their loss.

Safeguard Your Personal Valuables

Your need to insure valuable items is something you may want to discuss with your agent whenever you buy a homeowners policy. If you purchase additional coverage for high-cost items, it is a good idea to understand its limits and exclusions.

8 Reasons Not to Warm Up Your Car

You may think "warming up" your car for a few minutes on really cold days is no big deal — or even essential to keep you car in good shape. Our partner site TheDailyGreen.com explains why idling is not only unnecessary, but also dangerous.

By Jim Motavalli

1. Driving warms the car faster than idling.
If your concern is not the health of the car, but simply your own creature comforts, Bob Aldrich of the California Energy Commission points out that "idling is not actually an effective way to warm up a car — it warms up faster if you just drive it." Some electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, allow the owner to use a cellphone to tell the car (which is plugged into the grid) to pre-warm or pre-cool the interior. No idling necessary.

2. Ten seconds is all you need.
Environmental Defense Fund, which produced the Idling Gets You Nowherecampaign, advises motorists to turn off their ignition if they're sitting stopped for more than 10 seconds. "After about ten seconds, you waste more money running the engine than restarting it, said Andy Darrell, deputy director of the EDF Energy Program. "Switch the car off at the curb and you'll be leaving money in your wallet and protecting the air in your community."

3. Idling hurts the car.
According to the Hinkle Charitable Foundation's Anti-Idling Primer, idling forces an engine "to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, over time, can degrade the engine's performance and reduce mileage."

4. Idling costs money.
Over a year of five minutes of daily idling (which causes incomplete combustion of fuel), the "Anti-Idling Primer" estimates that the operator of a V-8-engined car will waste 20 gallons of gasoline, which not only produces 440 pounds of carbon dioxide but costs at least $60.

RELATED: Winter-Proof Your Car

5. Idling in the garage can kill you.
Idling a car in a garage, even with the door open, is dangerous and exposes the driver to carbon monoxide and other noxious gases. If the garage is attached, those fumes can also enter the house.

6. Block heaters beat remote starters.
Lori Strothard of the Waterloo Citizens Vehicle Idling Reduction Task Force in Canada says, "Remote starters can too easily cause people to warm up their cars for five to 15 minutes, which is generally unnecessary. A block heater, which is designed to heat the engine and can cost under $30, on a timer set to start one to two hours before driving does the trick in very cold climates.

7. Quick errands aren't quick enough.
Natural Resources Canada points out that "quick errand" idling is another way to waste gas and pollute both your town and the planet. "Leaving your engine running is hard on your pocketbook, produces greenhouse gas emissions and is an invitation to car thieves," the agency says.

8. Idling is bad for your health (and your neighbor's health).
According to Minneapolis' anti-idling ordinance, "Exhaust is hazardous to human health, especially children's; studies have linked air pollution to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies." Isabelle Silverman, who runs EDF's anti-idling campaign, says that car idling "is the second-hand smoking of the outdoors. One of the problems is that cars idle close to the curb, where pedestrians are walking. And when you have a child in a stroller, they are particularly close to the tailpipe. Studies show that children's IQ levels are lower when they live near major roads with lots of traffic."

A 20-something entrepreneur who asked Warren Buffett for his best advice….

A 20-something entrepreneur who asked Warren Buffett for his best advice says the legendary investor didn't mention portfolios or investment strategies

Scott Mautz, Inc.


Warren Buffett.

Dennis Van Tine/AP

  • Warren Buffett is a legendary investor who's known for his advice.

  • He recently told a young entrepreneur that honing your communication skills is an "easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now."

  • Anyone can start honing their communication skills immediately through two strategies: being clear and concise, and remembering the value of nonverbal communication.

Warren Buffett is like that old EF Hutton commercial (and I'm dating myself here) — when he talks, people listen. And they listen because he talks and writes quite well. Which brings us to his latest gem of advice. 

Recently, he was with a young entrepreneur who asked him to share one piece of advice for 21- to 22-year-olds who just graduated. Buffett answered: 

"Invest in yourself. One easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills. If you can't communicate, it's like winking at a girl in the dark: Nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you've got to be able to transmit it." 

It's almost as if Buffett consulted me first before answering (which I can assure you he did not). In my more than 25 years of corporate experience, without question, the most common trait I saw among those leaders who performed the best and rose the fastest through the ranks was that they had superior communication skills. 

Buffett has even said that he doesn't hang his college or graduate school diplomas on his office walls, but he hangs his certificate from when he completed the Dale Carnegie communication course — because it changed his life. Before overtly working on his communication skills, Buffett said, "I was terrified of public speaking when I was in high school and college. I couldn't do it. I mean I would throw up and everything." 

So how can you be included in the group of fast-rising, non-vomitous leaders? 

In case you're not ready to sign up for a full-on course, here are two powerful ways you can get started immediately:

Make 'clear and concise' your mantra

When I was doing research for my first book, "Make It Matter," a survey of more than 1,000 executives revealed the No. 1 problem in communication is a lack of clarity and precision. I offer an acronym to help you cut to the chase and keep your communications SHARP: 

  • Start by thinking, not talking. "I think out loud" is the enemy of clear and concise. 

  • Home in on the main idea quickly. Don't wander, or your audience will wonder what your point is. 

  • Add details sparingly. Don't over-explain. Give just as much context as is necessary. 

  • Relate to the audience. Think through who you are talking to and why, and tailor your approach accordingly. 

  • Prepare. "Winging it" and clarity are like the snake and the mongoose (mortal enemies). 

Be a nonverbal ninja 

So much of our communication is unspoken. It's critical to be tuned into nonverbal communication — which you can practice. I use this reminder to keep nonverbal cues top of mind and avoid letting poor nonverbal skills FESTER: 

  • Facial expressions — watch for them. 

  • Eye contact — maintain it (without being creepy). 

  • Space — keep the appropriate amount between yourself and others. 

  • Tones — listen carefully for the tone in someone's voice. 

  • Expressive motions — be alert for cues like fist pounding or fingers excitedly wagging. 

  • Real frame of mind — as seen in their posture. 

So whether your goal is to raise your net worth or just your relatability, make 2019 the year you brought your communication skills to the next level. Maybe eye level. Like the diplomas on my office wall.

How to Survive Holiday Travel

How to Survive Holiday Traveling

This time of the year is always hectic, especially when you add traveling into the mix. Between standstill traffic on the roadways, packed airports, crying kids and canceled flights – it can put a damper on your holiday spirit. To avoid all the craziness, we put together some tips and tricks to get you to your holiday destination safe and sound. Remember, it's always important to do your research, plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected!

  • Don’t travel during high peak times. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is no fun. If you want to avoid this, leave earlier (or later) than everyone else. The few days before Christmas and the day after New Year's Day are all peak travel days. However, if you do end up traveling on these days, plan for more cars on the road and add to your driving time. The same advice goes for airports if you want to avoid long check-in lines and crowds. If you have to fly during peak travel days, add some patience to your travel gear so you are prepared for whatever experience awaits at your local airport.

  • Check your flight information often. If you show up to the airport without having checked the status of your flight, you may be in for a rude awakening. During this time of the year, weather changes frequently and can delay or cancel flights unexpectedly. To stay on top of things, follow your airline on social media, check-in online 24 hours ahead of your flight, download the airline's smartphone app or call the airline before you leave your house!

  • Pack light. If you're flying, minimize added fees by limiting your baggage to carry-on items only. This way you'll also avoid the baggage check-in lines all together. A good packing tip is to plan your days ahead while packing. For example, if you're leaving for four days, you really only need 4-5 outfits (plus, you'll be wearing one already!). There are also packing techniques you can try that will give you more space in your carry-on. We also suggest you ship larger gifts to your destination instead of packing them. Or keep the gifts simple by buying gift cards for your family members!

  • Carry an emergency road kit. This is essential for long road trips. During the winter, the roads can be filled with ice and snow… and these conditions can take a toll on your car. Because of the potential for inclement weather and extra cars on the road, you'll want to be ready for anything. To ensure a safe drive with your family, read our winter auto safety checklist and consider taking some of those items along with you.

  • Pack food and drinks for the road. Doing this means less stops and happier passengers. Bring along nonperishable food like beef jerky or granola bars. If you have a cooler, pack easy meals like sandwiches and yogurt. If you're flying, solid foods like potato chips or apples are allowed through security, but skip the drinks.⚹

  • Bring items to entertain the kids (and yourself). We all know long car rides and layovers at the airport are tiresome. If you have a DVD player in your car, bring movies that will keep kids entertained for a while, or let them play games on a tablet with each other. If you want more fun ideas, purchase some road trip games that everyone can enjoy. Plus – there's always the classics: "I Spy" or "20 Questions." If you're driving solo, have your favorite playlist or podcast downloaded and ready to go! You'll be surprised how quickly time will fly. If you're stuck at the airport, you have a little more flexibility. Check out our list of fun ideas you can do there to help pass the time!

  • Most importantly, don't forget to bring a positive attitude! It will certainly make the traveling process a lot smoother, and remember - there's always a solution to everything. Have fun and save travels!

    ⚹ https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/printable

Tips For Effectively Filing Claims

Tips for Effectively Filing Claims

Experiencing a loss can be stressful, frustrating and disheartening, but having insurance coverage will help alleviate the financial burden a loss can cause. The first step in restoring your property and moving forward is to determine if your policy provides coverage for the loss. To do this you need to file a claim with the insurer.

While the claims process isn't something many eagerly look forward to, there are definitely ways you can make it a less stressful experience. To help you successfully navigate the process, here are several tips for effectively and efficiently filing claims.

Keep an inventory of all your insured possessions.

Be proactive! If you keep a written document of your possessions, it can help make the claims process much easier if you experience a loss. Go from room to room and record each item and its value to prepare an inventory. An easy way to do this is to take photos or videos of each room and all of the contents in the rooms. Consider keeping receipts with the purchase date and original cost for your records too, in case of total loss. Your inventory list should be consistently updated, which can be done easily if you record new items shortly after purchasing them. Pro Tip: Your inventory should be easily accessible. It is a good idea to keep a couple copies of your inventory at different locations, with one location being off-premises in case of a total loss, like a fire.

Reach out to your agent first.

In the event of a potential claim, it's best to contact your agent directly instead of the broader insurance provider. Your agent will be able to explain your options and advise on whether filing a claim is in your best interest. In some cases, your agent may even file the claim for you.

Report your loss promptly.

Always file your claim as soon as you possibly can. Of course, theft losses should be reported to the police first, and in other situations of danger and urgency, safety takes priority. But once it's safe and reasonable to do so, you should contact your insurance agent. This is important because your policy might require you to make the notification within a certain amount of time. Not filing a claim within the time required in your policy may lead to a denial of the claim or may result in the claims process taking longer. 

Be prepared with the right information.

When you file your claim or make follow-up calls regarding the process, be sure to have the right information so your conversation is easier and more effective. Have your inventory list and the details of your loss, and keep the following information handy for your claims representative:

  • The customer's name and address

  • The policy number

  • The date the loss happened

  • A description of what happened

  • A preferred telephone number for future contact

Provide complete, correct information.

Explain the situation accurately without downplaying or exaggerating your loss. Incorrect or incomplete information may cause complications and delays in processing the claim. Additionally, materially misrepresenting the facts of your loss may result in a loss of coverage.

Record important details from all correspondence.

While going through the claims process, be sure to write down important information from your phone conversations and in-person meetings with claims representatives and other contacts. This should include the time and date, as well as the name and title of the person you spoke with. This will help you stay organized and create records that may come in handy later.

Make appropriate emergency repairs.

If you're dealing with property damage it may be necessary to make immediate emergency repairs to prevent additional damages, such as calling a plumber to repair a broken pipe. Your policy might cover the costs of these emergency repairs, so be sure to inquire about them when filing the claim. It is also important to take photos or even videos before making the repairs, and save the receipts from all of the work that is done.

Ask questions.

Don't be afraid to ask your claims representative for more information or clarification. The process will go much more smoothly if you are both on the same page and fully understand each other. For example, if there is a disagreement about the coverage of the claim, ask for the specific language in the policy that is in question to find out if it is a matter of differing interpretations.

Overall, it's important to have patience because every insurance claim is different! Some may be completed quickly, while others may take a few weeks or even months to be resolved. You never know when problems will arise, but these tips can help you to effectively address the situations and smoothly navigate the claims process.