What You Should Know About College Living Spaces

What You Should Know About College Living Spaces

It is the best of times and the worst of times. You are sending your “child” off to college, another if life’s little mileposts reminding you the clock is ticking. That sadness, however, can quickly be replaced with pride and just a bit more time of your own at home.

Life at college just may not be the same experience you had, however. Here are some things to consider before Johnny or Jane heads out the door.

Your Choice May Be Limited

If your student is a freshman, or in some cases, even if they are a sophomore, they may be required to live on-campus in a traditional dorm. Check with your college or university to see if off-campus living may be an option.

Choosing Between Furnished or Unfurnished

You probably will have the option of some furnished or non-furnished apartment options. Choosing furnished living spaces may be worth considering, especially if the distance between home and campus is significant. If the difference in costs between furnished and unfurnished is doable, moving less furniture can be enticing. Keep in mind, it will also reduce work during a move-out.

The Joys of Modern Living

Most major campus areas feature at least one new or nearly new housing student living option filled with amenities. These may include game rooms, fitness centers, study areas, pools, basketball courts and more. These facilities can help to keep your student involved and active while “at home”, which could ultimately save you money and keep them close to their apartment.

Sharing a Large Home

Sharing a large home with roommates is still an option for many, but be sure to fully understand the lease to realize who is responsible for the lease and for how much.

Sharing Spaces with Individual Leases

The best option in reducing expenses is sharing a common space with individual leases for the rooms that each roommate inhabits. This limits your exposure on the lease to your student. If another individual doesn’t live up to the terms of their lease, it is on them.

Consider Renters’ Insurance

Check with your independent insurance agent to see how renters’ insurance can help protect the belongings of your student while limiting their liability should someone get injured while in a rented property. Renters’ insurance is inexpensive and provides valuable coverage and peace of mind.

Like homeowners’ insurance, renters insurance provides multiple benefits, but you need to contact one of our professionals to fully understand the benefits and limitations. We can help. Connect with us to talk about if renters’ insurance and your options. We look forward to assisting you.

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Things You May Not Know About Radio

Radio, specifically broadcast radio, was invented by Italian Guglielmo Marconi in 1895 when he both sent and received a radio signal to himself. Contrary to popular belief, the first commercial took years to hit the airwaves. The first commercial radio station in the United States was Pittsburgh’s KDKA, which signed on in 1920, some quarter century later. KDKA’s call sign is in itself an anomaly as stations East of the Mississippi start with a “W” and those West of the Mississippi start with a “K”. Here are some other facts you may not know about radio.

Radio Comes in Two Basic Flavors

AM Radio (Amplitude Modulated) and FM (Frequency Modulated) radio are its two basic choices. While AM radios have been in cars since the 1930s, it took until the early 70s for FM radios to gain popularity in cars. FM offers a clearer signal, and originally was host to classical and “underground” rock stations in its early days.

Radio Stations are Required to Keep a “Public Inspection File”

This file should contain the station’s license info, information about how it is addressing the needs of the community, how it posts jobs and other information about citizen concerns. Stations are required to make this info available to those who request it.

Those Annoying EAS Tests are Required

A follow-up to the old Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), EAS tests are required for broadcast radio stations. The required tests are initiated by large regional stations and outlets, and “trickle down” to small local stations. This is why some tests occur in the middle of programming, or your favorite song as you were singing.

Your City’s Favorite Station May Not Be Licensed to Your Community

Since radio has few borders, what you think may be a radio station in your city may actually be licensed to a nearby community. Radio station’s, however, must include the city of license in what is known as a “Legal ID” near the top of each hour.

There’s a Good Chance Those DJs Aren’t “Live”

More radio stations are being voice tracked than ever. This means your mid-day DJ may also be doing mid-days in two or three other communities. Their voices are recorded ahead of time and “tracked” between songs. Generally, you can tell if the announcer is live if they give the precise time of day and temperature during a broadcast.

While listening to actual physical radios may be down, we still enjoy radio through smart devices and internet streaming. Radio remains popular, particularly in the morning when many are still too busy to pay attention to TV or alternative choices.

Commercial radio in the United States is celebrating over 100 years of broadcasting, and in spite of reports of its imminent demise, it is still going strong.

The Dramatically Changing Workplace

The Dramatically Changing Workplace

It really isn’t anything new. The workplace has been evolving for generations. A significant change occurred when women entered the workforce in large numbers during World War II. Many of the changes have been related to equal rights, gender equality and respect, equal pay and technology. Large companies at one point had their own switchboard operators and mainframes. We’ve seen fax machines come and largely go and computers are playing a larger role than ever. The pandemic accelerated some major additional changes in the workplace. Here are a few.

Working From Home

While some worked from home prior to Covid, the pandemic accelerated the process. Some businesses have actually seen an increase in productivity and worker moral after implementing work from home policies.

Tele-Meetings

Video conferencing and “Zoom” meetings have accelerated dramatically. Again, this is largely improving efficiency and use of time.

Fewer In-Person Conferences and Travel

The increase in Zoom meetings and social distancing has minimized how many conventions and conferences are taking place. While devastating to the travel and convention industry, it is saving many other companies significantly. It also has given birth to a new “virtual” convention industry.

Lack of Workforce Issues

Many companies have experienced challenges in hiring new employees. This is impacting everyone from restaurants to hotels and hospitality, to CDL truck drivers and retails stores. This, in turn, has led to increased recruiting activities for many companies, use of financial incentives, and significantly increased pay rates.

How We Conduct Transactions

From plexiglass barriers between customers and clerks to virtual property showings and online ordering, many businesses have fundamentally changed forever. Many consumers have changed purchasing habits to include having meals and even groceries home delivered for safety and convenience.

We are sure to look back on this period as not only one of challenges, but of a time that produced great change. Some of these changes will likely serve us well. If history has taught us anything, there are still changes to come.

Is your business insurance adequate to protect your business? Have you reviewed it recently? We have business insurance experts on staff to not only review your current policy, and make recommendations but can seek out quotes from a variety of insurance companies to suit your needs. Business insurance may be more affordable than you think. Contact us to get started today.

Life’s Important Numbers

Life’s Important Numbers

Have you ever been in a crowd and heard someone call out your first name? There could be hundreds, or even thousands of people in the crowd, dozens of which could share that name, but you will be compelled to turn around and try to find the person to see if they were seeking you out. Even fathers and mothers will be caught up if someone in a large crowd yells out “Hey Mom” or Dad!”. But few would even turn their heads if someone yelled out their street address or first five numbers of their social security number. That doesn’t mean, however, that numbers aren’t as important as names. Here are three numbers that will impact your life.

Your Credit Score

Many don’t realize how important a credit score can be until it starts costing money. The difference between a great and poor credit score may not only impact whether you can get a loan or not, but how much you pay for that loan. It can cost hundreds or thousands over the life of a car loan and tens of thousands over the cost of a mortgage. Your credit score may also impact whether you can get certain jobs or not. Work on improving your credit score. It is a number that can make life easier and even more affordable.

Your Birth Date

We are talking more about age here than astrology. How old you are impacts many of your rights and freedoms. You can drive at 16, vote and serve in the Armed Services at 18, and depending on the state, drink alcohol or gamble. At 25, you can rent a car, you can become President at 35, and apply for Medicare at 65. As you get older, your car insurance rates may go down but your life insurance rates may increase. Your age impacts more that what we think.

Your Physical Stats

Your height, weight, cholesterol count and blood pressure, among other stats, will influence your ability to get life or health insurance and how much you pay.

Of course, other numbers like your Social Security Number, Address, Phone Number and Password and ID numbers are important as well, but none may be as critical as your age, credit score and physical stats. They are worth noting and paying attention to.

Life insurance, in particular, is a number focused product. It is least expensive when you are young and healthy. Premiums factor in numbers like mortality rates and gender. Your height and weight ratio, blood pressure and other numbers can also influence life insurance premiums.

The bottom line is that if you are in good health and young, you can likely get a significant amount of life insurance even without a physical or medical exam. When is a good time to buy life insurance? Well, you are not getting any younger, so the answer may very well be now.

Contact one of our independent life insurance agents to compare rates for you. All numbers considered, this may be the best time.

Want an SUV? Could It Be a Porsche?

Want an SUV? Could It Be a Porsche?

There have been some interesting changes in the automotive industry in recent years. Sure there have been changes in fuel efficiency, technology and infotainment systems, but there have also been changes in the types of vehicles consumers are choosing. It is much more likely consumers will select a truck or SUV today than the traditional sedan. In fact, many brands have stopped producing traditional sedans.

At the same time, luxury, premium brands and even super car labels have moved into the SUV market. Are you considering an SUV? It could be a Porsche.

The New Porsche SUV

It doesn’t even sound like an SUV. It is the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT.

To put things in perspective (for non-automotive enthusiasts) the 2021 Honda Accord has a horsepower range of about 195hp to 255hp, That’s a nice expectation for a sedan.

The twin-turbocharged V-8, 4.0 liter engine in the 2022 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, however, generates 631 horsepower along with 626 pound feet of torque. Porsche says it is the most powerful V8 engine the brand has ever made. This is an SUV that can rocket from zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds. It can do the quarter mile in 11.6 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph. Oh, remember, it is an SUV.

The 631 HP Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT SUV proudly sits on 22-inch tires made specifically by Pirelli for the Cayenne. There’s a rear carbon fiber diffuser along with a rear spoiler that adapts to its speed.

Sure, this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT has an MSRP of over $180,000, a bit more than your average SUV. But it is a Porsche that can reach 186 mph, and it is an SUV. That is amazing.

Your SUV may not be a Porsche or come with a $180,000 price tag, but you still want to make sure it is properly insured without over-spending. We can help. No matter what you drive, compare auto insurance rates with one of our independent insurance agents. We look forward to assisting you!

Five Surprisingly Easy Home DIY Projects

Five Surprisingly Easy Home DIY Projects

We’ve all been there. That point when you need to make a decision on whether to pay someone to fix, replace or repair something around the house or attempt to take on the project yourself. Here are five projects around the house, however, you should never have to pay someone else to do.

Changing Your Furnace Filter

Furnace filters are inexpensive, easy to change and virtually foolproof. In fact, dollar for dollar, it is one of the most cost-effective things you can do in your home. It is simply a matter of pulling out your old filter, buying one of the same size and replacing the old one with the new one. It can be done in minutes and for just a few dollars.

Fixing or Replacing a Sink Garbage Disposal

If your garbage disposal has stopped working, it may be a simple jam. With the power off, use a 1/4” Allen wrench inserted into the center bottom of the disposal to attempt to free the jam by moving it in both directions. If that doesn’t free up the jam, replacement is surprising easy. With the power off, disconnect the electrical wiring and disconnect the plumbing. Use the universal wrench (usually included) to remove the old disposal from under the sink. Reverse the process. The biggest challenge may be in supporting the weight of the new disposal while you are installing it.

Replacing a Light Switch or Replacing it With a Dimmer

With the breaker off, remove the wall plate and two mounting screws for the switch. Make note of where the wires are connected and compare it to the new switch. They should be similar or the same. Remove the wires from the old switch and connect the wires to the new one. Make sure wires are securely connected with the connector nuts or otherwise connected without bare wiring showing. Carefully replace the switch in the wall box and replace the cover. Turn on the breaker and your new switch should be good to go!

Plumbing Jams

Unless drainage issues are caused by root or physical damage to the drainage pipes, you should be able to handle the problem yourself. For sinks and bathtubs, problems are frequently the result of hair/soap clogs. These can be removed with an inexpensive small drain snake. Larger hand crank snakes are available for toilets for about $25. Insert the snake into the drain, “screwing” it up and down until the drain flows free again.

Fixing a “Running” Toilet

A toilet that constantly has water flowing can be annoying and expensive on the water bill. It is likely a toilet tank repair kit will fix it. These universal kits are available at a big box or hardware store for under $20. Shut of the water supply line and flush the toilet until the tank is empty. You may want to use an old towel to soak up any remaining water in the tank. Remove the water supply line from underneath the tank and remove and replace the old components with the new kit. Make sure all pieces are put in place securely, reattach the water supply line and turn on the water supply line checking for leaks. If you have no leaks, you are in business.

Taking care of your home is important in preserving its value. So is making sure you have sufficient homeowners’ insurance. We can help. Contact one of our independent homeowners’ insurance agents for a no obligation review and quote. It may be time to familiarize yourself with your home insurance coverage again. Contact us today.

The Humble Little Red Wagon

The Humble Little Red Wagon

Did you have a little red wagon when you were growing up? If it was simple and made of metal, you may be dating yourself.

A simple, humble red wagon was the SUV of its time for any six-year-old. You could get pulled in it, and you could pull someone in it. You could haul a load of toys or a load of dirt. Sit in front and fold the handle towards you, and provided you could get someone to push you from behind, you had a race car or a Batmobile If you didn’t fall out of it and scrape an arm or a leg while turning too suddenly, then you just weren’t going fast enough. Plus, that little red wagon was fun for the whole family. You could share it with a sibling or a bag of groceries. Mom could use it for gardening. It was a marvelous, simple, durable, sharable toy, tool and vehicle.

About the biggest option it had were some wooden sides that could be installed that could improve its carrying capacity. Alright, it may not have been the safest designs, but it was certainly no set of lawn darts either.

That humble, little red wagon has given way to something else. Something nearly unrecognizable. It has given way to a giant plastic monstrosity with a handle that doesn’t even fold back, so you can drive it like Mario Andretti or even Mario and Luigi.

No, instead these giant plastic beasts have mostly hollow bodies with hollow plastic tires. They can come with a sunshade, dual folding “stow and go” plastic seats, seat belts and cup holders. Cup holders?

Things change, that’s for sure. What hasn’t changed is the need to protect assets and your family through insurance. Whether it is home, life, business or car insurance, our professionals can help. They can assist you in finding the insurance you need and deserve at a price you can feel comfortable with. They can even help you find discounts you may qualify for. Contact one of our agents today for a no obligation price quote.

Special Events Insurance

Special Events Insurance

If your customers tend to come from a local or regional area, you may host some special events throughout the year. These usually involve some sort of sale or special pricing, but they may also include a variety of promotional activities that will attract a larger crowd. These can include things like free popcorn or hotdogs, live music, face painting and the seemingly obligatory bounce houses.

These events can be terrific for a business as they increase name awareness, bring people to your location and position you in a favorable light.

What if someone becomes ill after eating one of those hotdogs, got injured in the bounce house or tripped and fell over a power cord running across your parking lot? What if they sued you for their injuries during such an event? Would you be covered?

If you have liability coverage as part of your business insurance, you will likely have at least some protection. But such activities could be viewed as out of the day-to-day operating parameters of your business. This is where having a discussion about your plans ahead of time with your independent business insurance can prove to be valuable.

Your event may be covered just by letting them know it is taking place. You may also be better served by acquiring special event insurance for added protection.

Special event coverage can make sure your business is covered whether you are operating a car dealer, bank or real estate company. It can cover entertainment, kiddie events, or even athletic activities. It can help protect you in case injuries occur to visitors or volunteers.

Special event coverage is not only valuable for businesses, but for churches and non-profit organizations who routinely schedule fundraisers and community events.

If you are considering planning an event to celebrate a holiday, business anniversary, or even to serve as a way to raise money for a special project, contact us about the benefits of special event insurance. You certainly don’t want those free hotdogs to come back and bite you.

For special event, liability and the full range of business insurance products, we invite you to learn more by contacting us. Let’s talk about your business and its activities. We will compile a plan designed specifically for your business. Connect with us today!

Your Life Insurance Application Can Be Your Guide to Living Longer

Your Life Insurance Application Can Be Your Guide to Living Longer

Do you want to live longer? The steps to a longer, healthier lifestyle just may be contained in the questions in a life insurance application. No, there may not be much you can do about your age or gender, but that application can provide some keys to helping you live longer.

How? Because life insurance companies view specific behaviors, habits and physical attributes as positives or negatives to your health and will adjust your rates accordingly.

This isn’t your mother nagging you or your doctor telling you (again) to drop a few pounds. It is a black and white, unbiased application based on statistics.

So what is this application telling you the keys are to living longer?

Stop Using Tobacco

Tobacco use is considered so harmful to your health, its use will likely lead to higher life insurance rates. It is no longer restricted to just smoking either. Want to live longer? Stop the tobacco use.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

You don’t have to be a body builder to maintain a healthy weight. As long as you are within reasonable height and weight ratios, you’ll likely be just fine. The problem is overweight applicants tend to have more heart issues and are more susceptible to diabetes. It is reasonable that life insurance trace many health issues to being overweight.

Minimize Use of Alcohol and Drugs

Excessive use of alcohol and drugs can impact the length of your life in several ways. It can lead to riskier behaviors, and they can impact your physical health.

Don’t Engage in Risky Hobbies

Sure, you only have one life to live, but if you want to help ensure a longer life, note the risky hobbies and activities noted in a life insurance policy. Skydiving? Mountain or rock climbing? Motorsports? Your life insurance application can serve as your guide.

It seems we are always looking for ways to look younger, feel better and live longer. We always seem to be in search of new products and services to help us. All along, the advice is right there in a life insurance application.

Your life insurance rates may never be less expensive. Connect with one of our independent insurance agents to discuss your needs. There is no obligation to get a free quote. We look forward to assisting you.

Is Auto Insurance Really That Complicated?

Is Auto Insurance Really That Complicated?

You hear words like deductible, comprehensive, at-fault, premiums, exclusions, liability and others, and it can give you the impression automobile insurance is extremely complicated. Make no mistake insurance has its nuances. It is one of the reasons buying it from a qualified insurance agent is so nonofficial. At is very core however, it is pretty simple.

When you drive, you take risks. You risk injury to yourself and others. You also can put property in jeopardy, like your car, the vehicles of others and property like utility poles, fences and even buildings.

These risks could cost you into the tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some instances, automobile accident injury claims have reached into the millions of dollars. Car insurance helps spread the risks over a group of drivers that a company insures.

Most don’t have these financial resources. That’s where automobile insurance plays such an important role.

Auto insurance companies pool the premiums or payments from their clients to pay covered claims from that same group. Depending on the coverage each customer decides to choose, payments may be paid to cover medical costs, repairs to vehicles and other associated costs that may occur in an incident.

So while we may complain occasionally about the cost of car insurance, the protection it provides is well worth the expense. In fact, it is so important, every state in the country (except New Hampshire) mandates that drivers maintain at least some minimum levels of coverage.

Your independent insurance agent can help explain specific terms, limits, and coverages of your automobile insurance policy.  As an independent agent, he can obtain price quotes from multiple companies to find the coverage and pricing you can feel comfortable with. They will even seek out potential discounts you may qualify for. Contact one of our agents to get started today. Automobile insurance may seem complicated, but it is far too important to ignore. Let us help make it simple for you.