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When It’s Time for Teenagers to Take the Wheel

| June 01, 2018
He has matured past the tricycle phase, grown beyond the bicycle stage, and is ready to try his hand at something with an engine. Your teen says he's ready to drive. Are you ready?

Whether or not you're emotionally up for the task, you can at least prepare yourself financially. Take the following steps before your teen takes the wheel.

Assign for savings: Which car will your teen drive? If possible, ask your insurer to assign your teen to the car with the lowest value. Keep in mind that this must be the car that the teen drives. By linking your teen to the least-valuable car, you can save on insurance premiums.

Boost your coverage: If you currently have minimum liability insurance, consider increasing your coverage. You may be fortunate to have a responsible teen, but statistics are still stacked against him. Research shows that teens are more likely to be involved in car accidents than adults, and their chance of being held accountable for a crash is twice that of adults. You'll be grateful for greater coverage if your teen has an accident that results in costly repairs or lawsuit payments.

Balance the cost: As you raise your liability, you may pay higher premiums. To balance this, consider raising your deductible. Higher deductibles typically result in lower premiums. You can apply this savings to your increase in overall coverage.

Make the call: As with any life changes that may affect your insurance, contact your agent to discuss what solutions are best for your new teen driver.


Best Backyard BBQ Ever: How to Make It Happen

Nothing says summer more invitingly than steaks sizzling on the grill. Whether it's a small family gathering or a fabulous shindig, when you start up the grill, you have an instant party. How can you make sure your culinary creations are a hit? It doesn't take study at the Cordon Bleu, but it does take a bit of know-how.

The first rule is to stay safe. That includes washing everything, never reusing the plate you designate for raw meats, and keeping water handy in case of flare-ups. It also means no rare hamburgers. The Official Scott Robert's Website offers additional tips that are certain to make your party pop. Here are 10 of his best.
  1. If you're using briquettes, light them about 30 minutes before starting to grill. This gives them time to heat and avoids the taste of starter fluid.
  2. When using charcoal, line the inside of your grill with aluminum foil for faster cleanup.
  3. Choose marbled meats for tenderness.
  4. Make chicken skin crispy by rubbing it with oil or butter before cooking.
  5. Don't pierce meat during cooking lest the juices escape.
  6. Coat salted veggies with butter, wrap tightly in aluminum foil, and "throw it on the grill."
  7. Add salt to meats after cooking to avoid drying them out.
  8. Use a stiff wire brush or a piece of crumpled foil to keep your grill grate clean.
  9. When using a marinade, marinate overnight or at least an hour before grilling.
  10. Experiment with different marinades to find a flavor you love.


Get Peace of Mind With a Short- or Long-Term Disability Policy

Disability can strike at any time. It can be the result of a chronic disease like hypertension or the result of an accident. In 2016, over half of those in the U.S. with a disability were of working age. Would you be prepared if you suddenly joined their ranks?

Perhaps you rely on your disability coverage where you work, but if you lose your job or are unable to continue working, that coverage may cancel. 

You may think that Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is a speedy solution to your disability problems, but the initial wait once you have filed a disability application is between 30 and 90 days. According to experts, absent a very serious medical condition, Social Security reviewers deny the majority of claims for SSDI the first time an applicant applies. The next step is reconsideration, which can take up to six months. Denial rates by Social Security at the reconsideration level are about 87%, so you cannot depend on a speedy process or a positive outcome.

A disability policy can be your best option as part of your insurance planning process. Based on your current age and health, you can pay a monthly premium for a short- or long-term disability policy that guarantees a set amount of your average pre-illness salary. The amount depends on your choice of coverage and the insurer; however, many typically pay 60% of your pre-illness earnings. 

Contact your local health insurance agent to explore your individual costs and benefits of a disability policy.


Your Kids Are Grown - Do You Still Need Life Insurance?

We often purchase life insurance when we are young (and it is less expensive), then forget about it. Life goes on. 

We get married, buy houses, have children, send them to college, and have grandchildren. At this point, do you still need your life insurance? 

It depends on your needs. Chances are, you purchased life insurance to support a spouse, child, or other dependent in the event of your demise. 

You might have intended it to allow your spouse to stay home with your children or pay for a child's college education if you weren't around to cover the bills. When you retire, however, you may not need to cover the same bills. 

You and your spouse have a nest egg, and your children are supporting themselves.

In this case, you may want to consider decreasing or canceling your life insurance, as the money you will spend on premiums can be reallocated to long-term care insurance.

Long-term care insurance protects you from the cost of home-health care or a nursing home, which can quickly diminish your financial resources. 

The national average cost of long-term care in the United States, as of 2016, is $225 a day or $6,844 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home, $253 a day or $7,698 per month for a private room in a nursing home, and $119 a day or $3,628 per month for care in an assisted living facility.

Chances are, you will need such care. As the population ages, the prevalence of age-related diseases increases. Even if you plan to stay healthy (as we all do), there is a good reason to take on the expense of long-term care insurance now: being younger and in good health means long-term care insurance costs less. 

So, while you might not need long-term care insurance in your 40s and 50s, you may not want to wait too long to buy it.