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End of Year Insurance Review

End of Year Insurance Review

2017 is winding down and 2018 will be here before you know it. Various web sites and blogs will soon be posting articles and tips on end of year financial planning and moves to make before the new year arrives. Some will address tax moves you can make now, while others address rebalancing your portfolio, opening an IRA, and steps to improve your financial position for 2018. I enjoy reading these posts and articles, however there’s one topic most of them ignore. It happens to be one I believe you should include with your end of year financial review, and that is conducting a review of your insurance policies. An insurance review confirms whether you’re adequately covered, not paying for coverage you don’t need, and sometimes it may even lead to paying less than you have been paying! Grab your policies, flip to the declaration pages, and let’s see what we can accomplish in 30 minutes or less! Home Insurance: Did you add square footage, remodel your kitchen, or create a master suite? If so, you may need to increase the amount of your home’s dwelling coverage by the cost of your home improvement project to ensure you have enough insurance to replace your home in the event of a total loss. Did you update your wiring, HVAC system, or plumbing? What about replacing your roof? Updates can lower your annual premium (see http://wiseinsurancegroup.com/home-insurance-home-updates/_). Do you have or did you activate a monitored alarm system? It’s worth a discount! If you were being charged for a prior insurance claim that happened 3 or 5 years ago, point this out to your agent. It should lower your premium depending on how long your company factors them into your rate and when it “rolls off.” For individuals who work from a home office, determine how much you paid for home insurance for the year. You’ll need this for taxes. If you bought a home in 2017, remember to file your Texas Homestead Exemption with your county tax office in January. If you never filed your Homestead Exemption, do so now! This won’t save you anything on your home insurance, but it will lower your property taxes! Car Insurance: Did you buy a new car this year? Review at the uninsured / under insured motorist property damage coverage. It needs to be enough to cover your loan amount should you be involved in an accident and the car is considered a total loss. If you drive an older car and there’s no loan, it may be time to remove the collision deductible and move to liability coverage (see http://wiseinsurancegroup.com/when-should-you-drop-full-coverage-car-insurance/), which provides a nice savings. Before doing so,...

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Why Net Neutrality Is Important to Small Business

Why Net Neutrality Is Important to Small Business

A free and open internet was cemented by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Obama’s administration. On Tuesday, the FCC, under the leadership of the current administration, announced it wants to reverse net neutrality. Reversing net neutrality is not a Republican versus Democrat or liberal versus conservative decision. It’s about money. Before we delve into the politics of net neutrality, I think it’s important to review what it is. Everyone – individual, small or large business, and political persuasion – has the same access to whatever we want to access on the internet regardless of size, interest, etc. No one must pay the broadband carriers extra to have that access. Under President Obama’s administration, he guaranteed net neutrality even after broadband carriers proposed there be fast lanes and slow lanes. The fast lanes would carry a cost and could get preferential treatment in delivery of content and searches to those on the slow lanes. FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has called for the end of net neutrality which would clear the way for telecom providers to implement fast and slow lanes for companies, charge different rates for the delivery of any content, and stop those who are unwilling to pay. I believe the approach proposed by the broadband carriers will have a negative impact on small businesses making it cost prohibitive to be on the fast internet lanes. Large companies will be able to afford the cost of faster internet lanes while many small businesses will not. As a small business owner, I understand the value of being discovered through a local Google, Yahoo, or Bing search. My blogging has helped me be discovered by people wanting comparison quotes for home, auto, life and business insurance. More importantly, it’s allowed me to provide educational content which helps consumers make informed decisions about their insurance needs. A free and open internet is imperative for continued economic growth, especially in the small business arena. Small businesses continue to lead the economic recovery in hiring and new job creation. They account for half of all private sector jobs, 60% to 80% of net new jobs annually, and employ about 130 million US workers. Having a tiered internet delivery model penalizes small business. Large internet tech companies including Google and Amazon believe it would end free speech. How we ensure net neutrality is the big question. Should it be regulated like electric and telephone utilities are under an expanded version of their law which was created decades ago, or should there be little or no regulation giving carte blanche control to the telecom companies? I believe it’s too important an issue to blindly follow either political party, rather,...

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