ATM Safety

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ATMs are a great convenience. But they can compromise safety and require some awareness and planning. Most ATM robberies occur at night between 8pm and midnight.

Tips to make this process a little safer:

  • Try to limit your use to daylight hours especially if it is walk-up ATM.
  • Try not to go alone and scan the area to make sure there are no suspicious persons standing nearby or sitting in a car. (Robbers often approach from the rear of the driver’s side)
  • If the lights around the machine are not working, do not use the ATM.
  • Remove your card and cash quickly. Memorize your PIN number so that you cannot lose  or have the sheet taken from you.
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry or bring valuables so as to make you a target.
  • Do not count the cash at the machine or in public, wait until you are in the car.
  • Avoid ATM’s on corners that create blind spots or have a lot of shrubbery.
  • If you are approached by an assailant who demand the money, comply.

 

Photo Credit: TaxCredits.net

Internet Safety for Kids and Teens

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Parents, we know that it can be nerve wracking letting your kids and teens on the internet. By letting your kids in on some basic safety tips it can go a long way in giving you peace of mind as your kids navigate the internet. With the  internet being a great resource for finding information, doing school work and general use it is important that your kids and teens have this available, however, it’s important to be aware of potential dangers. Kids should definitely go over these and/or parents should be passing this along….

Here are some tips specifically for kids and teens to remember when surfing the net…

  • Do not give out personal information without your parent’s permission(address, phone number,etc..)
  • Have a conversation with your parents before you post pictures of yourself or others online
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone(even your best friend) other than your parents
  • Make sure to not go onto any chat rooms
  • Let your parents know if you receive any messages or come across any content you are not comfortable with. Don’t talk to strangers
  • Don’t agree to meet anyone in person that you have met online
  • Do not download or install anything without your parents’ permission
  • Use privacy settings on any social media sites

 

6 Term Life Insurance Mistakes to Avoid

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There are several types of life insurance to choose from. Life insurance is a very important coverage to have for you and your family. This particular blog will discuss Term Life insurance and more specifically some things to think of and avoid when you are purchasing this coverage. Also remember that you can call WTM and talk to someone at any time about life insurance if you have any question.

Here are some things to avoid when looking at and for your  Term Life Insurance Policy.

  1. Not the right limit to income ratio-When you are looking at the limit you need to think big… Ten to twelve times your income especially on the primary source of income to the family. this coveraged needs to take care spouse kids, and household for a long time if something happens to you. They need plenty of coverage to allow time and life style maintenance until they can figure hot the next step. But don’t forget to get coverage for both souses even if one is a stay at home parent.
  2. You ain’t getting any younger-  The longer you wait , you leave your family vulnerable to if something happens to you. Also, insurance premiums for the same coverage go up as you age. So buying sooner rather than later is a money saver. Even if you are young unmarried and no kids…it is not too soon to think about life insurance. In fact, that is when you can lock in a cheap rate for 30 years and make sure everything is taken care of for the future.
  3. Not enough time on your policy- Make sure you select a length of time that gets your kids moved out. What if you try and save a few bucks, get a 10 year policy, develop some medical issues that increase your premium later. it would be worth to pay a little extra premium than face a large increase later, Not to mention the amount it will naturally go up with age. That scenario would cost you even more in the long run.
  4. Health Concerns-  Tobacco use will on average double the cost of your policy. The rate will be better if you do not. However, if you do then it will be even more important that you comparison shop as some companies rate it differently than others.
  5. Policy Cancellation before you obtain a new one-Term Life insurance rates have come down making it worthwhile in some cases to switch. Just make sure that you do not cancel your existing one before the new one is in force.
  6. Not reviewing your Life policy occasionally- It is always a good idea to review this coverage and make sure you have exactly what you need for your current situation. What was good 10 years ago might not work for you now. Maybe you had a baby, bought a house, quit smoking, got a raise at work or other health improvements. These life changing events could lower your rates or require more coverage. Talk to your agent about this.

Photo Credit: www.SeniorLiving.Org,Ken Teegardin

Tips to Avoid Senior Scams

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Here are some types of scams that are specifically targeted to the senior population and can be common. But if you are aware you can be forewarned about some of the scams out there to avoid.

Mail- This can be a common method and can be solved with “if it sounds to good to be true, it is” These direct mailers often say that something is free or almost free(i.e. cruises, lottery etc..) The best policy is to ignore these or read the fine print. If you are not sure, consulting a trusted second opinion would be wise.

Medicare Cards- Callers claiming represent various government agencies tell seniors that their Medicare or Medicaid cars must be replaced. This is to target their personal information for identity theft. Y0u can check with Medicare online or at 1-800-MEDICARE to check the source.

Telemarketing- Telemarketing scams on land lines are numerous. And for seniors can range anywhere from medicare cards, charities(that aren’t) contests and others like this. Other telemarketers can also call acting like they know you and ask for financial help. To cut back on this problems you can reduce these calls bay registering with the federal government’s “Do Not Call Registry” online or by calling 1-88-382-1222.

Information- avoid disclosing personal or financial information to avoid scams. As discussed above this can be in forms or phone, mail or email. For example, calls saying there is a problem with your bank or credit card info. Fake governmental calls, the actual IRS does not need proof of income because they can access your records. So avoid giving bank or personal info such as social security numbers.

Direct Deposit- If you receive checks on a regular basis (social security,disability,stock dividends etc…) set up to have these checks automatically deposited directly into your bank account. This will help mail  and identity theft,

 

Six Popular Holiday Lights Drive-Thrus in Georgia

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Looking for a good spot to take your family to see lights? How about loading up the family and going to a holiday lights drive-thru. There are several great options in Georgia to consider.

Magical Nights of Lights at Lanier Islands (Nov. 20-Jan.3, 5-10pm)

  • The drive through this magnificent holiday display of lights is also accompanied by a companion app for a holiday track you can listen to while enjoying the drive through this display.

Holiday Light Spectacular at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Nov.27-Dec.30, Sun-Wed 6-9pm, Fri & Sat 6-10pm)

  • See the speedway light up the season with the Holiday Light Spectacular. Drive through this display of more that 3 million lights including Santa village and carnival rides.

Christmas as The Rock Ranch (Nov. 26-Dec. 31, 6-10pm)

  • Drive through Christmas Lights at the Rock Ranch, this mile long display of lights was hung by volunteers and ranch hands and is a Georgia favorite.

Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens (Nov. 13-Jan.2, 6-10pm)

  • Bundle up for a trolley ride or drive through your own car through this lighted wonderland of more than 8 million lights. This was named one of the top 10 places to holiday lights nationally.

Life College Lights of Life (Nov.26-Dec.31, 6-10pm)

  • More than 100 displays on a 1.5 mile drive thru the whole campus that the family is sure to love.

Pettit Creek Farms (Nov.28-Dec.31, Mon-Thurs 6-9pm, Fri-Sun 6-10pm)

  • Enjoy this well lit one mile drive through this farm in Cartersville sure to be a family hit.

Common Property and Liability Insurance Claims on a Homeowner’s Policy

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Photo Credit/kattekrab

We buy homes to be a safe and happy place. There are quite a few potential hazards and large amount of money in claims paid on the homeowners claims. The natural elements and events are typically what you think of when you think about claims around the home, things like wind, water and fire. Events surrounding the property. Talk to your agents if you are also interested in flood coverage and that you have limits you are comfortable with for the above mentioned natural events.

But what about claims around our homes?Slippery floors, pets that bite, trampolines and injuries resulting in lawsuits are a  few things revolving around liability coverage. Home Owners policy generally have this up to a certain limit. To add more coverage Umbrellas are very effective.

Here are a few of the most common claims for property and liability claims related as relates to your homeowners’s policy.

 

Property Claims:

  • Fire Damage-Homeowners policies generally respond for these damaging events just make sure it for “Guaranteed Replacement Cost” make sure your amount is correct for debris removal and rebuilding. It also important to keep receipts, photos and records for your belongings so they can be replaced at proper values following an event.
  • Water Damage-This is the most common cause of loss. There can be a lot of causes, roof leaks,  broken washer hoses or piping issues. Bring up with your agent if your home is older or you think you may need water back up or sump dump overflow coverage for your residence.
  •  Storm Damage-This included wind damage. This can be anything from tornadoes to straight lines winds or any other more common weather events. Make sure these events are covered sufficiently on your policy.

 

Home Liability Claims:

  • Home Accidents- Whether invited or uninvited, accidents happen. This could be a door-to-door salesman that is injured, a guest tripping on loose carpet, stairways in disrepair or trampoline accidents. There are lawsuits around these events for home owners. Intoxicated guests can increase this exposure as you would be responsible for any injuries or property damage.
  • Pet Bites-A typical home insurance policy for damages or injuries caused by members of the household is covered . This would encompass pet bites, however, some dog breeds are excluded such as (pit bulls,German Shepherds, Akitas, etc..) For excluded breeds separate often more expensive coverage must be added or found with another carrier. These claims are on average thousands of dollars for injuries.
  • Neighbor Related- What happens when a tree or branches fall on a neighbor’s house or fence? Or if there are resulting injuries. This can be a costly claim
  • Hired Workers-If you hire a domestic worker to clean your house or do other odd  jobs around the house, think about your potential liability. Check for them to carry a contractor’s liability policy as well.

 

Halloween Safety Tips

 

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Photo Credit

Halloween is a fun holiday for the whole family. As  parents with your little ghosts, goblins or super heroes, a safe holiday is the best kind of holiday to have.

Safety for the Neighborhood Walk: 

  • Use Cross Walks don’t cut corners.
  • Seems simple but you can forget on nights like this. Look right an d left, then look again.
  • Have the kids watch for car back or turning, no darting or walkign between parked cars.
  • Always use sidewalks when able, if not, walk facing traffic ad far out of the way as possible.
  • All kids under 12 should have adult supervision while trick or treating. If old enough to go without supervision, make sure they stick to familiar and well-lit areas.

Wow with the creativity, cuteness and safety of the costume:

  • Decorate costumes and candy bags with reflective tape if possible.
  • Face Paints or makeup can be preferable to masks, as masks can obscure vision.
  • Make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Have kids carry glow sticks and flash lights to be seen by drivers.

Watch Out Drivers:

  • Drive without distractions so you can be extra careful and full alert to any kids crossing.
  • Popular trick or treat hours are between 5:30-9:30pm so be especially careful during this time.
  • Slow down and take extra time at intersections, medians and curbs.
  • Turn your headlights on sooner to see from greater distances for extra pedestrian traffic.

Oh Deer! Time to keep a look out for them on the roads

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It’s that time of the year, time to keep a look out for deer on the road.

October through early December is mating season for deer and they are out and about more which includes roadways,

Deer are most active from dawn to dusk and with daylight savings time approaching rush hour will occur during their most active times of day.

Be aware that deer are wildlife and can be unpredictable. Just because they are calming standing on the side of the road does not mean that they will not dart out into the roadway so use careful and proactive driving techniques.

Also be aware that deer generally travel in groups so if you see one there may be others to look out for.

Road shoulders generally provide a green source of food during dry seasons and may increase deer population around roadways.

If it is too late to avoid a collision, slow down as much as possible. Resist the urge to swerve as this could cause more damage to your vehicle or cause a collision with another vehicle.

Just remember to keep an eye and use more caution during this time of year where more deer are out.

Make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle should an unavoidable collision with a deer occur. Your agent would be happy to discuss this with you.

Make sure you don’t Miss out on your Subsidy for the 2016 Plan Year

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Some of you who are Individual Pre-65 Public Exchange member may have recently May have recently received a notice from the IRS to file your 2014 Federal Tax Return Form 8962. this is for member who receive Advanced Premium Tax Credit(APTC) or Cost Sharing Reduction(CSR). This Tax Form is what must be completed for keeping the APTC and CSR  for the 2016 plan year.

If you have gotten health insurance from the marketplace please make sure you have completed the 2014 Tax form.

If you have completed the 8962 form no action needs to be taken.

If you have not files with this form you need to take action by electronically submitting this form electronically with your 2014 fax return.

The IRS site advises that you complete these steps within 30 days of receiving the letter regarding completing this information in order to avoid missing out of subsidies or having coverage dropped for affordability reasons for the 2016 plan year.

For more information you can visit the IRS site at http://www.irs.gov/Affordable-Care-Act, or contact WTM to speak with our benefits specialist to answer any questions you many have regarding this.

Personal Safety Tips for Yourself and Your Family

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  1. Choose a home in a nice area and safe community. Make sure that you choose a home with low crime ratings which are published and near law enforcement.
  2. Secure your home by getting a dog or a home alarm system.
  3. Spend the money when you are going out of town to get a house sitter. Have your mail put on hold, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway.
  4. Keep your car remote in your pocket or on your nightstand. The panic button can be a good tool as a loud noise to scare someone away. Keep a first aid and emergency road kit in the trunk on vehicle safety.
  5. Get a conceal permit for a weapon. Take classes, train at a range, take safety classes and decide if this is a good decision for your family.
  6. Establish safety fire escapes and meeting locations with your family.
  7. Put a GPS app on your phone for locating purposes.

Here are just a few personal safety tips to keep you and your family safe.