What will they think of next?

Neck spritzingMove Over Starbucks!!!

Harvard student Ben Yu gets jittery, then crashes after drinking a cup of coffee.  She he invented a sprayable caffeine that offers a consistent level of energy without the jolting buzz-then-crash that can come from caffeinated beverages.  The colorless, odorless spray comes in a slim pocket-sized bottle containing 40 doses.  One dose (4 squirts) on your neck offers about the same effect as a cup of coffee.  It sells for $15 exclusively through Sprayable.co, though the goal is to get it in gas stations and convenience stores.  To Yu’s surprise, it took only 24 hours to raise start-up funds via Indiegogo.

 

Source: Entrepreneur

Tips for Surviving Severe Cold Weather

Extreme ColdMuch of the country periodically experiences severe and sustained cold weather, with snowfalls interspersed with periods of melting and freezing. This can inflict considerable damage on homes.
Here are some tips and steps you can take to keep your home safe and make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather.

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
  • If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.
  • If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
  • Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.
  • If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.
  • If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.

A Worst-Case Scenario

  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
  • Make a list of the damaged articles.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Standard homeowners policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.
However, most policies do not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood damage, which can also happen in winter. To be covered for flooding, you need a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, while coverage for sewers and drains is generally offered as an endorsement to a standard homeowners insurance policy.
If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold can not survive without moisture.
Check with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.

If you are looking for Home Owners Insurance or just what someone to look at your current policy to ensure that you do have adequate coverage, give Long’s Insurance Agency a call!  It’s a free call for your peace of mind.  Now serving the greater Denver area!

 

Source: http://www.iii.org

Umbrella Insurance…Why should I have it?

Umbrella InsHave you ever heard about an Umbrella Insurance Policy and thought, I have no idea why I would need that?

Here are a few things to know about Umbrella Insurance:

  • A lot of coverage costs you very little.   $1 million in coverage can run as little as $250 to $400 annually.
  • An umbrella policy pays for legal fees and settlements above your regular insurance limits.  Without it, your wages and assets may be at stake.
  • Liability risks are everywhere.  Have a teen driver?  Host a lot of parties?  Got a pool, hot tub, or boat?  Employ a nanny or housecleaner?  You have risk factors.
  • You’re insuring against the worst-case scenario, so an umbrella is most useful for protecting your net worth.

Questions about Umbrella Insurance?  Contact Long’s Insurance Agency and we can help you determine what insurance policies are right for you!  Now servicing Greeley, Boulder, Longmont, Denver just to name a few.  Call us today!

Source:  Money

Friday Food for Thought

Food for thoughtSome Blunt Food for Thought

  • Hang in there.  But don’t be an idiot about it either.  Eventually there comes a time to walk away and let it go.  As the saying goes, “When you find yourself on a dead horse, get off”.
  • Healthy arguments are good things.  When two people always agree, one of them is no longer necessary.
  • It doesn’t matter where you start out in life; it only matters where you end up.
  • Success come from what you do, not from what you say you are going to do.
  • If you have to ask whether it’s right or wrong, it’s wrong.  Trust your gut.
  • It’s rarely personal

 

Source: No Time for Tact

Costly Insurance Mistakes You May Be Making

MOney pinchingNational Survey Finds Many Consumers Are Making Costly Insurance Mistakes

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 19, 2013—A new national survey reveals consumers have an alarming lack of knowledge about their own insurance coverage. As the new year approaches, Trusted Choice® and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) say consumers should resolve to get their insurance coverage in order.

The independent survey conducted for Trusted Choice® and the Big “I” found that more than one-third, an alarming 38% of respondents, said they have never conducted their own research prior to purchasing an insurance policy. Almost 40% of respondents said they were not confident or only somewhat confident that they have adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for their needs.

“It’s critical that consumers understand the basics of protecting their family, home and property,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “This survey shows that many Americans may not even realize they are vulnerable to serious losses. A lot can happen in a year. The start of a new year is a perfect time to dust off your insurance policies and review them thoroughly.”

Since there are so many types of insurance available today, consumers should sit down with a reputable insurance professional to help sort through the confusion. The new survey also found that more than one-third of policyholders have not met with or even talked to their insurance agent within the last year.

“Keeping your agent updated on changes in your family or to your property is crucial to your financial security,” says Madelyn Flannagan, Big “I” vice president of agent development, research and education. “A new baby, marriage, divorce, death, home renovation or a major purchase could significantly impact your insurance needs and costs.”

This broad lack of understanding can lead to serious and expensive insurance coverage mistakes. Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents identify the following as some of the most common errors they see.

Mistake 1: Not Knowing Your Limits.

Trusted Choice® agents report that too many customers don’t know the limits of their insurance coverage and don’t understand how inexpensive it can be to increase them. This is especially true regarding liability coverage.

“The limits of your policy dictate how much coverage you actually have,” explains Rusbuldt. “For example, an independent agent can increase the liability limits on a typical homeowners policy from $100,000 to $300,000 a year for as little as about $25 annually.” Not enough consumers have separate umbrella liability policies which can provide $1,000,000 of protection a year for as little as $130.

In fact, the new survey says only 29% of respondents considered coverage limits, or the amount of coverage, the most important criteria when selecting an insurance policy. Your coverage limits deserve a closer look.

Mistake 2: Disregarding Discounts.

A previous study by Trusted Choice® and the Big “I” showed that many consumers don’t take advantage of all the discounts that may be available to them.

“Many consumers foolishly throw money away because they fail to ask about insurance discounts for which they may qualify,” continued Flannagan. “Companies often offer some unique, regional, very specific and, at times, quirky discounts. When every dollar counts, some may be able to nickel and dime their way to big savings.”

Companies often have discounts on homeowners insurance for installing a security system, living in a gated community, updating the roof and/or wiring in a house, and remaining claim-free. Some of the more unusual discounts on auto insurance include discounts for teen drivers with good grades, graduating from certain colleges or universities, or carpooling. In addition, many companies are offering significant new discounts within the last five years that consumers may be unaware of. Check with your agent to see if any apply to you. These discounts can make a substantial difference in premium costs.

Mistake 3: You Can’t Take It With You: Consider Insurance in Estate Planning.

While your family gathers together for the holidays, it may be a good time to discuss your estate and final wishes.

Many people put their homes in trusts as part of their estate planning but fail to tell the agent that the trust owns the home. In those cases, the home is no longer insured since the owner is not on the policy. This can create major problems at the time of a claim.

Also, in order to avoid a larger estate tax bite, people sometimes don’t list valuables or collectibles as part of their estate. But these items require special coverage beyond a standard homeowners policy, or they won’t be insured.  If there is a loss on these items, your heirs won’t be compensated and will be deprived of part of the gift you intend to make to them. Making certain that everything is properly documented–and insured–is crucial to guaranteeing that your final wishes are executed after your death.

Mistake 4: Not Assessing Your Biggest Asset.

Too often, people do not properly protect their biggest asset—their home! That leaves them vulnerable to devastating losses. This is particularly true with regard to a change of occupancy. Selling, renting or leaving your home for an extended period directly changes the terms and conditions of your coverage. When there is a loss, your insurance company can deny the claim because you are no longer in control of what happens to your home. That could cost you everything. Homeowners should check with an agent to learn the time limit on vacancy or change of occupancy before it alters or cancels the terms of the policy.

In addition, not having certain specialty coverage could cost homeowners dearly. Failure to purchase sewer and drain back up insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance, ordinance or law coverage, or to adjust coverage as property improvements are made could have detrimental consequences in the event of a disaster. Keep your agent apprised of any and all changes regarding your home, no matter how minor they seem.

Mistake 5: Taking the Cheapest Route.

The survey found that 25% of respondents thought price was the most important criteria when selecting an insurance policy. While price should be a factor in insurance decisions, choosing coverage based on price alone could ultimately be a costly mistake.  Insurance policies differ widely, with varying deductibles, coverage limits and exclusions. Alarmingly, about 61% of survey respondents said they were only somewhat familiar or not familiar with the details of their insurance policies.

Source: independentagent.com

Yes! Income Tax Refund!… Delayed?

Tax RefundIt’s that time of year again…..

Are you expecting a tax refund from your 2013 income tax return?  Be prepared for a slight delay.  Due to the government shutdown in October, the IRS pushed back the date it will accept returns by ten days.  Originally scheduled for January 21, the IRS won’t ‘process‘ any returns until January 31.  The IRS is using the extra time to update and test the computer systems that process tax returns — a task that was delayed by IRS workers being furloughed during the 16-day shutdown.  Because of the delay, you may not get your refund as quickly.  You can speed up the process by using e-file with direct deposit.

Source:  Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Tis the Season…. For the Flu

flu If it’s the Flu…

  • The flu hits hard and fast.  It’s possible to feel fine in the a.m. and steamrolled a few hours later.  Head straight home.
  • Antiviral meds won’t nix the flu, but if used ASAP, could shave a day off.
  • Expect to be bedridden for at least 72 hours.  Rest is now your only friend; it allows your immune system to focus.
  • Two to three cups of green tea per day may help speed up healing.  Dairy is not what you need.
  • You’ll need to suck down twice the amount of liquid you normally would.
  • Return to the office only after symptoms have totally resolved.

Source:  Health

Beware of Signs of frostbite, hypothermia

Cold Temps

It’s so cold it hurts.

If you must leave home on days like today or Tuesday, make sure you put on multiple layers of clothes as well as your winter boots, hat, scarf and gloves.

In a short time, single-digit temperatures can damage exposed extremities with frostbite. And the cold can lead to hypothermia, especially for those who are most vulnerable, such as the homeless and elderly.

Across the country forecasts are predicting wind to blow between 15 and 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph, plunging wind-chill values to as low as 35-below zero.

Warning signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Infants have low energy and bright-red, cold skin.

Signs of frostbite include white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels firm or waxy and numbness.

Dr. Alan Gora, emergency department medical director at Mount Carmel West hospital, said simple precautions can keep most of us healthy. Layers. Dry clothes. Covered ears.

If your extremities begin to feel numb or painful, that’s bad news.

“When you start to say ‘I can’t feel my fingers or my ears,’ that’s when you’re starting to literally freeze the external surface,” Gora said.

Most patients with hypothermia or frostbite either lack warm shelter or are elderly, Gora said.

As we get older, our bodies don’t respond as well to the cold. Medical conditions including heart and thyroid problems, decreased muscle mass and some medications increase the risk of hypothermia.

A body temperature below 95 degrees is an emergency requiring immediate medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children can also be prone to trouble if left to their own devices because they’re having fun and don’t pay attention to the warning signs, Gora said. The CDC says that babies sleeping in cold bedrooms also are at particular risk.

“It can get you pretty quick, 30 minutes or less,” said Dr. Paul Gabriel, director of OhioHealth Grant Medical Center’s emergency department. “You need to be in five, six layers when it’s like this.”

Source: State Auto Twitter

Sticking to Your Healthy Resolution!

Healthy New YearStick to your healthy resolution by planning ahead

When the holidays come to an end we find our wallets empty and fridge full of holiday leftovers.  We also find ourselves at work after the holidays with an array of goodies and treats that your coworkers have brought in; only to lessen the load in their fridge.   However, we must remain focused on the promise we made to ourselves that this year will be different; this year I will live a healthier and more active lifestyle!  Once you have proclaimed your resolution the next step is follow through.

When at the workplace you must keep in mind that although it is offered you don’t have to accept.  Below is a list of tips that can be used to keep you on track and focused:

  1. Instead of reaching for the cake, bring a healthy snack option.
  2. Decrease the amount of time spent in the area where the leftovers are held.
  3. Planning your menu for the week is also beneficial when trying to avoid the temptation of the treat table.
  4. Display positive reminders around your workspace to help you remain focused and encouraged.
  5. Tell a friend at work and make it a team effort.
  6. Don’t skip physical activity! Yes, this can be done at your desk or workspace.
  7. Set small weekly and monthly goals that you can reward yourself for accomplishing.

Remember, a resolution is not meant to be broken but to be accomplished!  With everyday and every new year we have the opportunity to make a change toward a healthier lifestyle.  The benefits of those changes will do nothing less than make you a better you.  Keep in mind there will be speed bumps along the way but with a positive and persevering attitude you can excel and accomplish your goal.

Source: State Auto Twitter