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Why Did My Auto Insurance Premium Increase?

| March 01, 2019

Did your auto insurance rate go up? If you noticed an increase in your premium, this is often due to one of three reasons. Fortunately, there are three things you can do to push that figure back down. Here’s the scoop.

Tickets: Did you receive a traffic citation? Tickets are a common cause of insurance rate increases. The severity of your citation is considered in this rate adjustment. For example, a speeding ticket for doing 50 MPH in a 40 MPH zone typically affects your rate less than a DUI conviction would.

Claims: Filing claims may cause a rise in your premium. Multiple claims in a short time period further increase the chances of a rate adjustment.

Conditions: If the risk factors in your area change, this could affect your insurance rates. Increased crime rate and extreme weather events are factors that can cause premium increases.

If your rate has increased (or you want to lower your current rate) take the following steps that can reduce your premiums.

Package: Ask your insurance provider about discounts for multiple policies. Sometimes, if you bundle your home and auto coverage with one company, you can receive a discount.

Protect: Does your car have any safety features that reduce your risk? Security systems and certain safety features can lower your premiums.

Prepay: Pay for your full premium up front. By paying for coverage for six months or a year at once, you may be eligible for a discount.

Contact your insurance agent for more details.


Where Will Technology Take Us Next?

Products like smartphones and voice-command speakers used to be the stuff of Jetsons-esque fantasies. Then they became reality and altered our world dramatically. So, what’s next? Here’s a roundup of the emerging technologies with the greatest potential to change our lives.

Drones: These aren’t just for taking Instagram-worthy aerial shots. Drones are being explored as tools for farm crop assessment, law enforcement, and disaster relief.

Blockchain: This technology is much more than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. By facilitating the distribution of digital information without copying, blockchain can power all kinds of activities, from providing financial solutions to unbanked people to auditing supply chains around the world.

Artificial intelligence: Computers with human smarts get a lot of flak for the scary side of their potential. But there’s plenty of good stuff too, like an A.I.-powered system that analyzes a baby’s cry to instantly diagnose birth asphyxia, a top cause of infant mortality.

Driverless vehicles: Autonomous vehicles are already here. When they become widely available, they could help those who are underserved by public transportation, reduce the space needed for parking, and improve road safety.

CRISPR: Named after CRISPR DNA sequences (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), this DNA-altering technology can be used to precisely edit genetic information. While it received bad press after a Chinese scientist used it to create genetically edited babies, the tech has potential for everything from healthcare to agriculture.


Dunk Your Prescription Costs to Avoid the Donut Hole

Donut hole: This pleasant-sounding name actually describes a coverage gap in Medicare Part D. The donut hole appears when your non-generic prescription costs exceed your plan’s initial coverage limit ($3,820 in 2019), but have not yet reached the catastrophic coverage level.

You can avoid the donut hole longer and perhaps entirely by reducing your prescription costs. Here’s how.

Before each year’s end, determine whether you have enough of each medication. If you do, don’t fill those prescriptions until January 1. If you don’t, ask for a smaller quantity for less cost to get you through to year end. Your doctor may have samples as well to carry you over.

During open enrollment, look for a plan that covers your prescriptions for less. Always ask your doctor to prescribe generic drugs. Changes to the donut hole in 2019 mean it affects only non-generic drugs.

To reduce costs, look for pharmacies offering discounts or rewards programs. Ask your pharmacist for a “Medication Therapy Management consultation.” All Medicare Part D plans cover this option. Ask for your prescription’s “best price,” which is the price when you don’t use insurance. However, before buying, call your insurance company and ensure it will reimburse you for “best price” drugs and count their cost toward your out-of-pocket costs. Price shopping can also save you money. Ask your insurance company to recommend pharmacies that offer lower costs, offer 90-day fills rather than 30, or deliver by mail.

Additionally, you can avoid the donut hole if you qualify for Medicare’s Extra Help/Part D Low-Income Subsidy. Visit Medicare.gov for more information.

Worth Reading

How to Save Money: 20 Insanely Simple Tips

Every Dollar

This article summarizes how to cut expenses with technology while shopping, being at home, or out having fun. Apps can alert you to upcoming deals, compare prices, or help you buy and sell used items. When shopping, consider buying generic or store brands. Before leaving the house, turn lights off and reduce the temperature. Entertainment doesn’t need to be expensive, either. Host friends for games. Go for walks. Track your progress with a budget. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0319a


Help Your Kids Clean Their Rooms with the ‘Mountain Method’

Kristen Mae


Are you dreading spending school vacations reminding your kids to clean their rooms? This article describes a method that might make it easier for them and less stressful for you. Have your children put everything that’s scattered around their floor in a pile. Go through each item and have them decide if they want to keep it, throw it out, or give it away. Use this strategy for smaller areas like desktops too. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0319b


How to Decorate a Living Room: 11 Designer Tips

Yanic Simard


Decorating living rooms can be tricky, partly because they’re used for so many different activities. The advice in this article can help simplify your next renovation. For example, contrasts matter. Use contrasting neutral-colored paints. Vary the textures of furniture and pillows. Use white-and-black. Want to vary the space without a full overhaul? Purchase furniture you can move easily. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth0319c


Is Your Home Riskier Than Your Neighbor’s?

Did you know two homes can have identical square footage but vastly different insurance costs? They might even be right next door to each other. How is this possible?

The cost of premiums is based on the risk factors of the homes. With vastly different features, the two properties don’t have the same likelihood of claims. What features influence this risk? Following are a few of the top factors.

Construction: Older homes often cost more to insure due to their construction. Features such as ornate moldings, stained glass windows, and plaster walls are typically more expensive to replace than are modern amenities, so insurance premiums reflect this. Other construction factors include the age of the electrical system and the type of exterior used.

Safety: If a home offers features that reduce the risk of fire, burglary, or other damage, the insurance costs go down. Smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, and security systems are examples of safety features that can reduce your homeowners insurance premiums.

Amenities: Certain features can not only add appeal and ambiance to a home but also increase the cost of insuring the property. A swimming pool or spa, for example, can add fun and relaxation appeal, but it also increases a homeowner’s liability and requires additional coverage. A wood-burning stove can be charming, but it can be seen as a fire risk and increase your premium.

Pets: While a hamster probably won’t affect insurance premiums, a pit bull might. Homeowners insurance includes liability, which protects the property owners if they are sued by a person who is injured by the homeowner’s dog. If you own a dog, especially one whose breed is considered dangerous, you might pay more for insurance.

Upgrades: Remodeling projects typically increase the value of the home. A new addition, a finished basement, or an updated kitchen may require additional insurance to adequately cover the upgraded property.

If you’re considering purchasing a house or altering the features of your current home, consult with your insurance provider. They can provide premium estimates and offer further insight into how your choices would affect your insurance costs.

How to Pick the Perfect Haircut

There’s no absolute right or wrong, but choosing the perfect haircut can be tricky. There are several things to consider.

Find a style that’s right for the shape of your face. For example, a pixie, tousled shag, or layered bob flatter a woman’s round face while blunt-cut bangs complement a heart-shaped face. Men with round faces look strong-jawed with hair shorter on the sides and longer on top. The web has tons of good info, and many sites and apps allow you to upload your photo to preview different looks.

Pick a style for your hair type. Is your hair thick or thin? Curly or straight? Coarse or silky? Keep these qualities in mind. You can find a product that changes your hair’s natural characteristics or choose a cut that works with them.

Consider the occasion. A serious job requires serious hair. An evening on the town is special, and you might want a hairdo appropriate for the occasion.

Choose the style you can live with. If you’re happy blowing, fluffing, and taking your time, your options are much broader than they are if you’re looking for a wash-and-wear do.


That Word Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means

English changes rapidly. And rapid technological changes mean we can expect more confusion about what words mean and how to use them properly. For example, it isn’t ironic to get words confused or to make some mistakes. “Ironic” describes events that are unexpected or saying something that’s unexpected.

Or, have you ever referred to a funny incident as “bemusing?” Bemusing means to cause puzzlement or confusion.

It does not mean to cause laughter; however, something that is bemusing can also cause laughter, which means it can also be amusing.

How about this one? If something “literally” happened, it means it is a fact. So, it is literally wrong to use the word literally metaphorically.

The best app to invest in today might be an old-school one: the dictionary.


Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes about computers.

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

Emo Philips

Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.

Steve Wozniak

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.

John F. Kennedy

The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers.

Sydney J. Harris

Computers do the calculating to allow people to transform the world.

Conrad Wolfram

The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do.

Ted Nelson