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Holiday Home Security

Holiday Home Security

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday have come and gone. In case you missed it, you have less than 2 weeks until Christmas, so you still have plenty of time to find the perfect gift for loved ones or yourself! It’s a beautiful and festive time of year, however, there are those who look to take advantage of people during this season. Break-ins occur during this time of year, both homes and cars, yet it only takes a few precautionary actions to lower your risk of being a victim. Here are 6 actions you can take to prevent a home break in when we should be celebrating! Lock all Openings: Take a moment to check each window and door to ensure they’re locked. Even windows on a second story should be locked. Criminals would rather not attract attention by breaking glass or kicking in a door, and too many home burglaries happen because a window or door is unlocked. Use Automatic Timers: Buy several automatic timers and put them on different lights throughout your home. Set them to come on and go off at different times so it appears someone is moving from one room to another. Save one of the timers to put on a TV or radio. The sound alone will make most burglars believe someone’s home. Do not put one on a Christmas tree since the tree should not be lit if you’re not home. Don’t Advertise: Gifts should not be visible from any window or door. Many people love to open a front window to display their tree as a part of their holiday decorations. If you do this, don’t put presents around the tree until Christmas Eve. Why tempt someone to window shop your home with beautifully wrapped presents under a tree or in gift bags from popular stores? Once gifts are open, be sure to break the boxes down and / or cut them up into smaller pieces and place them in opaque trash bags before setting them out for pick up. Sticking boxes of a flat screen TV or other popular items out at the curb or in the alley advertises what you have and invites unwanted attention. Package Delivery: If you’re ordering presents from your favorite online store, have them delivered to your office instead of your home when no one’s there. Boxes on your front porch invite someone to take them. If you can’t do that, schedule the delivery for a day when you’ll be home and are able to sign for them. Travel Planning: If you’re traveling during the holidays, have your mail delivery stopped and held until your return....

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Car Insurance: Guidelines on When Your Kids Have Their Own

Car Insurance: Guidelines on When Your Kids Have Their Own

I was talking with a prospective client this week who has a daughter graduating later this month from a university in Texas. The question they were grappling with was whether to keep her on their car insurance that I would be quoting, or to have her get her own policy since she has a pretty nice job lined up. I run into this a few times a year and thought we’d examine how I suggest they approach the decision. There is no “right” age for an adult child to get their own car insurance, however, there are some factors that tend to guide this decision. Where the adult child will live upon graduation The financial ability of both the parents and the new graduate The graduate’s age What the carrier will “encourage” If the newly minted graduate will live in the same state, they can leave them on their policy. The one change the parents should make to their car insurance policy is to change the garaging address of the vehicle the adult child has to their son or daughter’s new address. Such a change could lower or increase the rate based on rates where the graduate lives, whether they’ll be renting a house or an apartment, etc. If the child is moving out of state, then I recommend they go ahead and secure their own car insurance with an agent in their new home town. The reason for this is that the son or daughter are establishing their own residency and usually means registering the vehicle in their name in the new state. Next, the parents should evaluate the adult child’s financial ability to pay for their own car insurance. Launching out on your own requires funds to secure an apartment, buy furniture, work clothes, and in some cases, begin paying off student loans. It may be financially helpful to delay requesting a son or daughter get their own policy until a later date when they have fully transitioned to paying their own bills and are able to manage a budget, provided they remain in state. Most insurance companies in Texas don’t recognize a man or woman as an adult until they reach the age of 25. This is usually the age where we see a significant decrease in the car insurance rate, provided they have no claims or tickets. When the adult child lives in the same state, and the parents are willing, I recommend they leave their son or daughter on their policy until they turn 25. This keeps the adult child’s premium lower because they can take advantage of the multi-car discount and the lower rate the adult may have...

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