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Insider Tips to Make Buying Life Insurance as Easy as 1-2-3

| February 01, 2017
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Without a knowledge of industry terms, buying life insurance can seem complex and confusing. 

A little research (and some guidance from your agent) goes a long way toward finding the policy you need without a lot of hassle. 

When looking into life insurance, consider the following key components.

1. Determine your need for life insurance

Different people need different amounts of life insurance for different reasons. Do you need to pay for a child's college education? Do you need to pay off your mortgage to help a nonworking spouse? Remember, the primary purpose of life insurance is to provide financial support for your dependents in the event you are not able to do so. Understanding what your life insurance should cover, before you begin shopping, will help you choose the right policy.

2. Know when to choose permanent vs. term life insurance

Term life insurance provides coverage for a limited period of time, such as ten, fifteen, or twenty years. This is different from permanent life insurance, which provides coverage for your entire life. Typically, term life insurance is less expensive than permanent life insurance. Depending on how long your dependents will rely on you financially, a term life policy may be the best option. For example, children eventually move out of the house and get jobs. 

3. Know how much life insurance to buy

Finally, you'll need to understand the needs of your beneficiaries. How much money do each of your dependents need, and for how long will they need it? Keep in mind that your spouse and children will likely have different needs. Additionally, if your children are different ages, each of them might have different needs. 

It might help to calculate the life-insurance needs of each dependent, then add them together to determine your total coverage amount.

February is Life Insurance Awareness Month

How to best protect your loved ones? Review your life insurance.  Remember, it's not for you, it's for them.


 

Quick Cacao Facts for Chocolate Lovers

 
Chocolate Bars
Did you know February isn't chocolate's biggest month for sales? Close to 90 million pounds are purchased the week before Halloween. That's nearly double the 48 million pounds sold during the week of February 14. 

If you plan to be part of that 48 million, you can further impress your sweetheart with the following knowledge about your Valentine's Day gift. The alluring treat has a history both dark and sweet:

- The Latin name for cacao trees means "food of the gods." 
- The word chocolate comes from a Mayan term that means "bitter water." 
- Mayans used it in baptisms and marriages.
- Mayans also sacrificed children to ensure a good cacao crop.
- Between 40 and 50 million people are involved in cocoa farming and production.
- The Industrial Revolution made chocolate available to the masses.
- Chocolate drinks can boost energy more than sports drinks. 
- Dark chocolate's benefits include increasing memory and attention span. 
- The "buzz" from eating chocolate can outlast the highs produced by kissing. 
- To get the benefits of dark chocolate, make sure the top ingredient isn't sugar.

 

Only Superheroes Need Alter Egos: Keep Your Identity Safe

If Superman used Clark Kent's credit card to buy a new cape, Clark wouldn't mind. If Joe Theft bought a new jacket with your credit card, you would definitely mind. You would mind even more if Joe decided to assume your identity and not only use your credit card but steal from your bank account, open an unauthorized credit line, and establish phony policies in your name. This is identity theft. Joe isn't your alter ego. He's a thief. 

How can you protect yourself from Joe?

Insurance: Your homeowners or renters policy may provide coverage for theft. However, this coverage typically has a fairly low limit. Identity theft must be listed specifically in your policy for you to get the proper coverage for the scope that the situation may entail. You can also obtain a stand-alone policy or an add-on to your homeowners or renters policy. This coverage will reimburse you for the cost of repairing your credit score and restoring your identity. Expenses might include lost wages, mailing costs, phone bills, and attorney fees.

Caution: Recovering from identity theft can take years. While insurance will help, it's best to avoid the situation entirely. Try these tips:
  1. Don't carry credit cards, your Social Security card, or your passport with you unless they're necessary.
  2. Never throw credit card or ATM receipts in public trash receptacles.
  3. When shopping online, use only authenticated websites.
  4. Never give out passwords or personal information via e-mail.
  5. Install antivirus and firewall programs on all devices.
  6. Check your credit report annually.
  7. Use strong passwords for all accounts.
  8. Shred documents that contain sensitive information.
  9. Keep an eye on all accounts and report suspicious activity immediately.
  10. Contact your insurance provider for proper coverage, in case tips 1-9 fail to stop Joe Thief.

 

Have Water Problems? Don't Pass on the Plumber

 
Did you know water damage is one of the top hazards for small businesses? It makes up 15 percent of small-business claims. It can be expensive - and a huge hassle. 

Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid water damage. Use the following tips to keep your plumbing running smoothly:

Landscape with care: Your business may look nicer with a beautiful tree out front or lovely bushes along the building, but make these improvements carefully. Don't plant vegetation where roots will interfere with water lines. Plan where you plant to avoid sprinkler systems, pipes, and other water systems.

Gut those gutters: Your gutters are an important part of your building. When clogged, they can't keep moisture away from your foundation like they should. Keep these essential features clean and clear. This will keep drainage flowing properly and help protect your building from exterior water damage.

Watch the water bill: With so many things on your plate, it might be easy to miss a slowly creeping water bill. However, if your bill keeps increasing, this could indicate a leak. Contact a professional for an inspection to prevent further damage. 

Call the pros: It might be tempting to ignore "small" plumbing issues, or try to repair them yourself. A clogged drain might be temporarily cleared with the use of chemicals. A troublesome toilet can be fixed with a simple jiggle. The problem is, the annoyance is probably a sign of a bigger issue. If it persists, have it checked out by a plumber to ensure you deal with the entire problem.
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