Back to School: Insurance Checklist for High School grads, College grads and their Parents

As we are celebrating high school and college graduations across the country, these same graduates are planning on moving to college or entering the workforce. A part of these plans often include buying new computers, furniture and vehicles. Since the graduate is now out of the house, parents often want to save a little money and remove that individual from their policy. In response to the above, here are some things to consider and things about to make sure a high school or college graduate has the correct coverages.

  • Vehicle: Check with your agent to make sure the vehicle is listed and properly insured.
  • Furniture and Electronics: Does the renters or homeowner’s policy have enough contents coverage?
  • Laptop: If a student is traveling a lot with their laptop, scheduling the device to provide expanded coverage may be prudent.
  • Apartment Lease: Do you have a renters policy? Chances are the apartment complex will require this, but make sure it has enough contents coverage for the all of the electronics and furniture you moved with.

A couple of tips for parents: 

  • Check with you agent regarding state rules on removing your student from your policy. If your home is still listed as their primary residence then they are considered a household member and will need to stay on your policy if they will be driving your vehicles on the weekend or holiday breaks. In some states you are able to ‘exclude’ them from your policy and ‘include’ them when they come home for breaks…if you are looking to save a few bucks. But again check with your local agent for the rules of your state.
  • In most instances, your homeowner’s policy will extend personal liability coverage while your son or daughter is away at school, this is good a time to consider a Personal Umbrella Policy to provide extra protection for you and your family.

If you have any questions regarding your policies or specific coverages listed above, call your local agent to guide you through this process. This is a very important time in your family’s life, but it also comes with additional exposures. Congratulations to all of our WTM friends that are graduates and their family!

Protecting your Income: Disability Insurance

 

diamMay is Disability Awareness Month, this is an important aspect of insurance to look at. Everyone is concerned to make sure their Auto and Home are covered as these are very valuable assets. So what about Disability Insurance? What about another important asset, your income? Disability insurance protects your income should an unexpected event happen to keep you from being able to work. According to statistics a person is more likely to lose their home from disability than a fire or death.

Many people have no idea if they have this coverage through their employer or if this is something they are even interested in. This is a conversation you should have with your employer and then your agent if you need additional disability coverage.

Have no idea how much disability coverage you would need? Here is a tool to help:

Try this Disability Calculator from Auto Owners as an interactive tool to see how much coverage you will need based on your income and a few other factors found in the calculator.

Click here to access the calculator.

Let us know if you need any assistance with this process!

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts She will Use

Oops…waited une week of Mother’s Day to start your shopping. Here are some good last minute ideas that your mom is sure to love and use.

1. Treat Your Mom to the Spa-You can’t go wrong with the gift of some R&R.

perfume

2. Sweeten up Mom’s Life with some perfume-always a safe and much appreciated gesture.

gas pump

3. Wash and fill up mom’s , a kind and practical gesture… both are things that mom loves.

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4. Cater to her interests by getting a monthly subscription to her favorite magazine.

5. Try the popular Infinity jewelry collection for a modern twist on a classic gift for mom.

6. Try ordering a pre-made burlap or flower wreath for her door from a crafts store or online, but make sure to get priority shipping if you are ordering online!

7. Give mom some pampering by getting her a gift card to her favorite Mani-Pedi spot!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Sure the Heartbleed Bug doesn’t Bleed any Information Out of your Online Accounts

 

hbbIf you are not familiar with the Heartbleed Bug that surfaced this month, here is what you should you know. This is important information for anyone who has accounts with any of the below listed affected websites and the full list should be viewed as well to make sure your accounts and personal information are not exposed.

What is it?

  • It is a virus that makes certain versions of the popular OpenSSL(Secure Socket Layer) websites information vulnerable to more easily expose log-in and password information for internet hackers and thieves.
  • It affects some web addresses that begin with “https.”

Who was affected?

  • Most financial institutions do not use the OpenSSl protocol, however there were thousands of sites affected, though there is no documented evidence of an actual data breach.
  • Anyone with an account with the following may have been exposed to the Heartbleed Bug: Yahoo, Gmail, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. These are some of the more popular but it is far from limited to this list
  • Many companies have responded by sending emails or putting alerts on the account to request that you change your password or notifying users that their website was not exposed or the issue has been resolved.

What can I do?

  • Promote safe and secure passwords that are changed often on your online accounts.
  • Use different passwords for the multiple sites you have an account with.
  • Re-set passwords only after the provider has fixed the vulnerabilities.
  • Keep a close eye on your transactions.
  • Check sites where you have an account and change passwords for the following: financial institutions, shopping sites, any website with auto debit set up, web mail providers, and social networks.

How can I check on what sites were and are still affected?

  • Check this continually updated site of affected websites at Github Heartbleed Masstest.
  • You can also enter a web address and have this site check the security of that link by doing a Heartbleed Test.

 

 

 

 

Putting a Different Spin On the Easter Egg Hunt

If you are looking for some different ways to have an Easter Egg hunt with  your children or grand children, here are some creative ideas to switch it up and take it up a notch.

Tired of the same old Easter egg hunt? Have you ever thought of some of these ways to outsmart the easter bunny this year?

Treasure Map Hunt

This can be completed by making a map where the eggs are hidden and have clues in the eggs to where the final treasure is buried. This works best if you have a large area where you are hiding. Difficulty levels will need to be adjusted for different age levels.

 

 

Check-List Hunt

If you are having a large easter egg hunt with a large group of children, try making a check list and instructing the kids that they are ONLY to find what is on their list. For Example: Find 2 blue eggs, Find 3 yellow eggs, Find 4 purple eggs… This way every kid will be able to find eggs

Color-Coordinated Eggs

Along the same lines as the Check-list, color coordinate the eggs and assign a color to each child.  But to keep a little it of healthy competition, tell them that each child is looking for one color in common: Gold. Hide a golden egg for the grand prize.

 

 

Hunt in the Dark

For older kids, why not send them on a twilight hunt with flashlights. This is best done at dusk when it is getting dark but just dark enough to send them with flashlights. The older kids will love this twist as it will make it a but more of an adventure for them.

 

Creative-Stuffers Hunt

 

Try not putting candy in the eggs, as most likely your child is already a hoppy bunny for the Easter basket earlier. fills the eggs with unexpected things like…money, movie tickets, stickers, small prizes etc..

 

 

 

Happy Hunting!

 

 

April Showers Bring May Flowers, But do They also Bring in Concern for Flooding?

Make sure you do not get into deep water this spring without your flood insurance. Floods are the number one occurring natural disaster in the United States according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA). The beginning of spring with increased rain falls and the overflowing of creeks and rivers makes homes and businesses especially susceptible to this problem.

What you may not know about flood insurance…

  • Flood damage is not covered on your home or business owners policies. Flood insurance is a specific coverage type to be acquired.
  • Many people think you only need flood insurance if you are located in a high risk flood zone or near a water source. The fact is, Georgia has designated flood risk zones all over the state and any form of precipitation can cause floods. While flood insurance is required for special flood hazard areas, floods can happen in all risk zones and coverage can be obtained at an affordable rate.

Flood insurance is obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program(NFIP), as this a government organization the laws and regulations regarding the flood program can vary, it is a good idea to consult your insurance agency as they are well-versed in the flood insurance process as well as current on the information regarding this program.

A list of communities participating in the NFIP program can be found at this link. This site also has a listings of flood plain areas and other useful information on the topic.

So don’t let these April showers catch you by surprise!

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is distracted driving awareness month, distracted driving is anything to take someone’s mind off the primary task of driving. The act of distracted driving is the culprit for thousands of automobile deaths and injuries each year.

While most reported accidents  arise from texting and cell phone use, distractions can also include eating, grooming, using navigation systems, adjusting the radio, and talking to passengers. The most often heard reason given by drivers for an auto accident to officials is “I just took my eyes off the road for a second.”

The National Safety Council has declared April as the official awareness month for this issue and seeks to raise awareness by educating Americans on the dangers of distracted driving. Many insurance companies also offer free courses during April to address this as this is a major cause to auto claims each year.

What are some of the best ways to combat this?

  • Turning off your cell phone while driving- you can set up an automatic response to callers that you are driving and will return the call when available
  • Using a hands-free device
  • Pulling over before using mobile devices
  • Have a passenger respond to texts and calls
  • Plan ahead- get directions and navigation ready before you being driving
  • Save any grooming and tasks that take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel for a safe location

Here is the official government website where you can get more information, if you have teen drivers this is an excellent resource…click here.

Also, if interested Philadelphia Insurance is hosting a free distracted driving online course, participants who complete this and take the survey will receive a certificate of completion as well as a First Aid Kit. Please click here for more information and to sign up.

Rising Breakfast Food Costs: Bringing Home the Bacon Has Become More Expensive

Noticed an increase in the price for breakfast foods in the grocery store? That is because the prices for such breakfast staples as bacon, coffee, eggs and orange juice has been on the rise. The biggest increase in nearly  2 1/2 years occurred last month with a 1.2% increase.

Cosumers are encouraged to be on a bargain hunt for these items. But already consumers are cutting back saying they may not be bringing home as much bacon.

What are the reasons?

  • Drought in Brazil- has decreased the coffee production by 20% this year
  • Disease epidemic to U.S. pig farms- this is increasing mortality rate in newborn piglets. Traders are not sure how much this will effect pork  production as it is the first time U.S. pig herds have been affected by this particular disease
  • The orange crop in Florida has also been hit this year. A citrus greening disease has orange production down almost 25%

These are the reasons breakfast has started coming with bigger sticker shock and this increase in food prices is forcing shoppers to search for deals and cut back. Couponing, making a list, and searching local ads for super market sales each week are the consumer tips to try and curb some of the rising costs.

 

 

Atlanta Film Festival 2014: March 28-April 6

Williams, Turner and Mathis would like to hightlight the 2014 Atlanta Film Festival as we are a proud sponsor of this event. Taking place from March 28 to April 6 this is the 38th annual Atlanta Film Festival.

It is one of the only 2 dozen qualifying Academy Award Festivals in the U.S.

It is a unique way to discover hundreds of new independent, international, animated, documentary and short films. This is a membership based program with events happening at their four locations all in Atlanta, The Plaza Theatre, 7 Stages Theatre, Goat Farm Arts Center and Callanwolde Arts Center.

Film viewings and workshops often include dialogues with with film makers and have premiered several celebrity producers and well known names in the insustry.

As this is an excellent and fun way to support the arts in Atlanta, click here for more information on events and how to attend!

Q&A with Lynn Mathis, Topic: Umbrella Insurance

umbrella-insurance

 

Question: Do I really need the extra Umbrella Coverage? What does it cover and why?

Answer: (Provided by Lynn Mathis)

The umbrella is simply providing an additional liability protection (umbrella coverage is usually an additional million or millions). The “rule of thumb” is to have enough liability to protect your assets. If you are working as a sole proprietor  consider this additional layer of protection primarily because you do not have the corporate veil protection afforded by operating as a corporation.

The reasoning is if someone is suing you they are going to go for a amount at least equal to your personal assets (current and future earnings included). We suggest you have your insurance at a higher level so they will be willing to settle for the insurance payout and not continue after your assets. There is no guarantee that will work, but it is a good place to start.   I don’t know what your personal assets are, so you will need to determine if 1 or 2 million (or higher) would be better.