10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
11 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Fall is officially here on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Managing your property includes caring for the landscaping. Proactive measures this fall protect your plants and ensure vitality next spring. Implement several tips as you maintain attractive landscaping and improve the safety of your property.
Mow the Lawn
During the fall, grass will continue to grow so mow all season. During the final cutting, mow the grass as short as possible to prevent winter matting and promote lawn health all season.
Remove dead leaves, grass clippings and other debris from the lawn, flower beds and hardscape. This debris can encourage harmful disease to grow, block drainage systems and damage the environment. It’s also an eyesore.
Fertilize the Soil
Add nutrients to the soil for landscaping health. The ideal fall fertilizer is rich in phosphorus and potassium, two nutrients that stimulate grass root growth in the future.
Summer drought can affect plants long into the fall and winter. Water plants if necessary to combat water deficits.
Prune and Wrap Plants
Create a neat and tidy appearance, reduce storm damage risk and invest in healthy landscaping into the future when you prune shrubs and trees. Then wrap plants with burlap to protect them during the cold winter months.
Protective mulch prevents weeds from growing and insulates soil from water loss and cold weather damage. It’s also attractive, so spread a healthy layer of mulch around all your plants.
Insects, mites, voles, and other pests can wreak havoc on your landscaping in the fall and winter. Hire a professional exterminator to treat your property.
Plant Winter Greenery
A variety of flowers, shrubs and trees bloom during the winter and brighten your property. Consider planting greenery that adds texture, color and style to your property’s appearance.
Inspect your parking areas, sidewalks and other hardscape. Repair and seal the cracks and holes to prevent further damage, improve safety and protect your investment.
Drain the Sprinkler System
If you have a landscaping sprinkler system, drain it during the fall months. Remove the water to prevent frozen or burst pipes and expensive repairs.
Perform a Storm Damage Audit
Walk around your property and identify any areas that could be affected by storm damage. You may need to trim tree branches that hang over power lines, move dumpsters that interfere with snow removal or repair perimeter fencing. Remember to update your property insurance coverage, too, before winter storms strike.
Schedule Snow and Ice Removal
Plan for winter weather now. Schedule snow and ice removal to reduce slip, fall and accident risks.
When you take care of your property this fall, take proactive steps that enhance the landscaping. Keep it attractive and healthy all season.
11 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Life insurance gives you peace of mind as it provides financially for your loved ones, favorite charity or another purpose. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and it matters for several reasons.
Spouse or Life Partner
A successful marriage or partnership includes sharing life and provisions with each other. Continue this arrangement after your passing when you purchase life insurance. It provides financial resources that can pay for final expenses, debts and daily living expenses. You continue to provide for and support your loved one when you purchase enough life insurance.
Caring for your kids is one of your greatest responsibilities in life. Continue caring for them in the future with life insurance. It covers their daily living expenses, funds college or provides additional support as they grow and mature. With life insurance, your legacy lives on as you care for your children.
The home you buy often includes a 30-year mortgage, utilities, insurance, and taxes, expenses that continue even after your passing. Life insurance can pay for these expenses, allowing your family to remain in the home you shared. You minimize stress and give your family peace of mind when you purchase enough life insurance to cover home expenses.
You may save an adequate nest egg to fund your retirement. Life insurance provides an additional supplement for your surviving spouse or partner. Your loved one may reinvest the money in a retirement account or use the money to pay daily living expenses, finance a move to a retirement community or cover other expenses.
Continue to support your favorite charities after your passing. Name one or more charities as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy or donate the policy to charity. In this way, you continue to support the causes you believe in.
As a business owner, you may provide group life insurance for your employees or purchase extra life insurance coverage for key staff members. Life insurance can also fund a buy-sell agreement. For these reasons, it’s a valuable asset for your business.
Your life insurance death benefit could become part of your estate. As such, it increases the amount of money you can give to heirs and other important causes.
Every life insurance policy includes a beneficiary. Review your policies this month and verify that you have chosen the beneficiaries you want. You may change your mind, choose more than one beneficiary or purchase additional policies to provide for your chosen loved ones or charities.
Life Insurance Awareness Month in September matters to you for several reasons. Make an appointment today to discuss your life insurance policies and needs with your insurance agent as you prepare for the future.
11 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
With data breaches becoming a fairly regular thing, everyone needs to know that they can freeze their credit to prevent identity theft. With a significant data breach, hackers are able to access the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of millions of consumers, which put their identity and credit at risk. A credit report freeze is one protective measure Equifax (and other agencies) recommended. Every consumer, including you, should understand this protective measure as you protect your data, identity and credit.
What is a Credit Report Freeze?
A credit report freeze allows you to restrict who can access your credit report. When a freeze is in place, only certain professional entities can see your information, and it’s less likely that an identity theft can access your data.
Ways a Credit Report Freeze Affects You
When you place a credit report freeze on your account, it affects you in several ways.
1. It prevents certain entities from accessing your credit report. This includes potential employers, mortgage companies and car dealers.
2. Existing creditors and any debt collection agencies they hire and government agencies responding to a court order or subpoena may continue to access your credit report.
3. You can continue to access your free annual credit report.
4. It does not affect your credit score.
5. You will continue to receive pre-screened credit offers for credit or insurance. Call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online to optoutprescreen.com if you wish to stop receiving these offers.
How to Place a Credit Report Freeze
Contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies to freeze your credit report.
To place a freeze, you must provide your name, birth date, Social Security number, address and other personal information. You will also have to pay a fee. It typically ranges from $5 to $10 but varies based on where you live.
How to Know if Your Credit Report Freeze is Successful
After placing a credit report freeze, you will receive a confirmation letter from the credit reporting company. It includes a unique password or PIN you will need if you ever choose to lift the freeze.
How to Lift a Credit Report Freeze
Your credit report freeze remains in place indefinitely. However, you may want to lift it so you can apply for a job or credit. To do that, simply contact the credit reporting company to request a lift. You will provide your password or PIN, pay a fee that varies by state and indicate if you want a temporary or permanent lift.
A credit report freeze can protect your personal data and identity. Consider monitoring your bank, insurance and credit card statements, though, too, and purchase cyber liability insurance as a further protective measure.