Preparing Your Vacation Home for Hurricane Season

With the start of the 2017 hurricane season almost here and the potential to impact the entire East Coast from vacation home owners to those vacationing in places like the Outer Banks, it's important to be prepared. This article from Money Q and A provides some great insight into getting yourself prepared.

How to How To Prepare Your Home For Hurricane Season Right Now!

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season predictions call for 11 named storms – four hurricanes, two of which are estimated to be major ones. While a slower season is expected, there is an increase in historic-level storms, floods, and fires that cause massive devastation. Hurricanes activity is up 80% since 1980.

The increased activity is one of the main reasons why a preparedness plan has become so essential. But, so many don’t take the time to put together a thorough plan that protects their family.

Hurricanes are unpredictable. You need to have your finances in order as the heart of hurricane season approaches in September. Now is the time to prepare your finances for the hurricane season.

Additional Supplies and Provisions

After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, my family and I were without power for almost a week. I can remember walking through our neighborhood and all of the neighbors cooking food before it spoiled on their barbeque grills. I ate a lot of free hamburgers and hot dogs in the neighborhood that week.

My parents were fortunate. Cousins from the upstate where we stayed to ride out the storm lent us a portable gas generator to use when we got home.

It’s also a good idea to have plenty of non-perishable food and water set-aside for every member of your family in the case of a hurricane. Don’t forget about your pets’ food and water too.

Another item that many people forget about is cash. If the power is out for an extended period of time, you could find it near impossible to use a credit card or get cash out of an ATM. You should consider having a small stockpile of cash in the event of an emergency. Maybe you keep a small portion of your emergency fund at home in a fireproof safe in cash.

1st Crowdfunded Real Estate Investment Trust

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE), a leading online marketplace for commercial real estate investing, today announced the launch of its first commercial real estate fund, MogulREIT I. Structured as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) with a minimum investment of $2,500, the fund is open to nearly all* investors and offers the potential for consistent cash dividends and equity appreciation.

MogulREIT I has been designed to offer investors a number of distinct advantages. By investing in the “REIT,” investors will gain access to a diversified pool of commercial real estate investments with one single investment. The fund intends to invest in a variety of commercial real estate, including multifamily, retail, self-storage and office.

The fund is also designed to have low fees. Traditional non-traded “REITs” employ a highly manpower-intensive sales method, resulting in upfront sales commissions of 7 percent, on average, and total expenses of up to 15 percent.** By offering MogulREIT I exclusively on its platform, affords investors direct online access to the product with no sales commission and offering expenses capped at 3 percent.***

“Beyond the zero commissions and lower fees, the fund’s strategy is exciting because it allows us to leverage’s hundreds of inbound inquiries for financing on commercial real estate and curate them to find suitable opportunities,” said CEO Jilliene Helman. Read More

How to Choose the Right Auto Insurance Company

It seems as if there is a car insurance company for just about every type of vehicle, every type of coverage, and every type of budget. The way to find the right car insurance provider for your needs is to define that those needs happen to be, and then identify the car insurance providers that will meet those needs.

From there, it is just a matter of setting up the criteria to compare auto insurance providers with one another, so the best option is chosen. Here are some guidelines to help identify auto insurance companies that will work for you.

Should You Choose A National Or Local Car Insurance Company?

Some people simply do not feel comfortable dealing with car insurance providers that are not well known. If name recognition is important, then there are plenty of excellent choices. Check into Progressive Auto Insurance or State Farm Auto Insurance. Both companies have reasonable rates and agents in just about every city and town in the country. Both will provide a car insurance quote that breaks down the costs so you can compare apples to apples.

Perhaps something more localized, such as a regional car insurance provider might be more to your taste. If that is the case, you can check into such offerings as the quotes by USAA Auto Insurance and Safeco Auto Insurance.

The advantage there is that the regional providers often have a streamlined operation and may offer some really good rates. Plus, they often try to cultivate stronger ties with their clientele than some of the larger players in the market. If you are looking for New Jersey car insurance, Georgia car insurance, or Utah car insurance, going regional may be a good choice.

How to Find Cheap Car Insurance

For cheap car insurance, you may find it helpful to check with some of the independent insurance agencies in your area. While many of them specialize in high risk insurance coverage that is often costlier, many independent agents will also have one or two low cost insurance providers in their arsenal as well.

Cheap auto insurance does not necessarily mean bad insurance. Most states have minimum standards and these options will meet those standards. If you need to think in terms of budget car insurance, an independent agent may be able to provide you with just what you need.

Finding Classic Car Insurance

Classic car insurance is also a concern for many auto owners. There are a number of options when it comes to protecting a vintage automobile.

Look for an auto insurance quote from providers that specifically have packages for classic vehicles, such as AA Car Insurance. Gather three or four car insurance quotes and compare the deductibles and coverage amounts. Chances are you can insure your classic vehicle for a lot less than you think.

When Should You Choose to Buy Insurance for Your Home Business


Unfortunately, many home based business owners don’t realize they have little or no coverage under a standard homeowners policy. If something were to happen such as a delivery person slipping while making a business related delivery, then as homeowner you could find yourself without any coverage.
If you have started a home business, then obtaining home business insurance may have not been high on your list of priorities. In fact, you may have never heard about home business insurance before. But the fact of the matter is that everyone who operates a small business has a great  need for insurance coverage as any other type of business. Many professions that work from home like real estate agents, can benefit from learning how home business insurance should be an important part of their personal risk management program.
Here are some points to consider on home business insurance, including some tips on where to look for affordable home business insurance.
There is more than one type of home business insurance to consider. One that will perhaps be more familiar is affordable home business health insurance. Since you now work for yourself, you will have to make decisions about health coverage. Small business associations are often great resources for health insurance options. Also, many health insurance providers will allow you to participate in a group plan with as few as two enrollees. Check into your options for health insurance for home business needs and you may find something that is less expensive that you might think.
Along with health insurance, you need to think about home business liability insurance. If your business sells goods in particular, this is a good idea. Home based business liability insurance protects you from any issues that may arise from use of the product, and allows you to keep operating even if something went wrong with one product. Craft home business insurance would also protect you in the event someone is injured while in your home performing work for your company, which is another matter you should consider. 

Insurance for Home Based Businesses

Business insurance for home based businesses runs the gamut of what any business needs, from health to liability to workman’s compensation coverage. Finding home based business insurance that meets the needs of today and will grow with your company is what every home business owner needs to think about. Fortunately, there are all sorts of avenues for locating in home business insurance that were not there just a few years ago.

A number of providers now make their insurance available on the Internet. Spend some time investigating the terms and conditions you have to meet in order to comply with basic criteria. While you are at it, look for home business insurance coverage endorsement from small business associations for one home business insurance company or another. This will help you to steer clear of some of the more questionable firms and focus on those that have established a solid reputation.

How Safe Are Water Slides?

With the recent death of a 10-year old boy at a Kansas amusement park USA Today has a look, Water slide death casts shadow on summer tradition, at the safety levels of water slides and amusement parks?

In New Jersey, water parks are the biggest source of injuries for amusement park-related incidents, reported.

From 2009 to 2014, 122 of the 552 amusement park accidents happened on a water slide and 40% of all accidents occurred in some water-related attraction, reported, citing state Division of Community Affairs statistics. Water rides only account for 11% of all rides allowed to operated in the state.

Make Sure Your Small Business Marketing Events Are Insured

Saw this article on a small business marketing blog and thought it worth mentioning. Many times when doing one-off events, small business owners neglect to think about the insurance ramifications. It is especially important to consider the liability if people are going to be on your property or you are hosting an event.

Innovative entrepreneur Neil Patel (QuicksproutCrazy EggKISS has a great article in Forbes with some excellent ideas for how to market a small business, from using handwritten notes to hosting/organizing events. One thing that immediately jumped to mind is that for many of the ideas it would be important to check or change your small business’s insurance coverage.
Sponsor a kids day.
What do kids love? Bounce houses, balloons, candy, and games.
What do parents love? Taking their kids to the aforementioned events for free.
What are you waiting for? Rent a few bounce houses, hire a balloon artist, and turn up the music. A rousing kids day at your place of business is good clean fun. Plus, it showers your business with the good graces of kids and parents alike.

Host a block party.
Why is it that residential neighborhoods get to have all the fun? Get your small business in party mode.
You can start a party wherever you are. Invite other local businesses, rent a barbecue barrel, prepare some free soft drinks, and have some fun!
If you’re lucky, you might even get some news coverage!
Definitely take the time to read the whole article and see what you could apply to your business.
As a small business owner it’s definitely important to check your insurance coverage before planning and hosting a kids day or block party. Bounce houses have a high number of injuries and every now and then make the news for coming untethered. (Bounce House Injuries Become an ‘Epidemic’ – Time Magazine)
You wouldn’t want what could be an excellent marketing opportunity to become a nightmare. Taking the simple step of checking your insurance coverage and the insurance coverage on any vendors you use to provide like the bounce houses.
The same advice goes for anyone planning a block party or summer barbeque. If there is going to be alcohol at any event, it is especially important to be sure you are covered for the liability associated with having alcohol, catering, and an on-site event.
Definitely build-in any insurance cost associated with the event into your total budget for the event.

Mitigating Your Family's Social Media Risk

As social media use becomes increasingly ingrained in our daily lives, the potential for something we post to be taken out of context or misconstrued is only going to increase. When adults are being sued for negative yelp reviews and parents are being held liable for their child’s Facebook use, it seems the more active your family is on the Internet—and particularly social media—the greater the potential you could have to defend yourself from a lawsuit.

Just take cyberbullying, for example. A recent study found 43% of teens were victims of cyberbullying the previous year. A Google search for “cyberbullying lawsuit” results in 276,000 results, pointing to specific suits filed in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and elsewhere.

For parents the risks associated with social media use are magnified due to several factors. Children, especially teenagers, often have multiple social media accounts, are the most active of users and the earliest adopters of new technologies. These factors when combined with a lack of understanding for the permanence and potential repercussions of information they share can lead to significant problems for parents.

How to Determine Your Family's Risk on Social Media 

Since there is no exact formula for determining the exact amount of risk you face, the key is to understand what you could be liable for and just how serious these risks can be.

During a recent conversation about liability and social media use, Joe Clark of Willis Private Client mentioned, “Most people aren’t aware of the risk they face from children posting, tweeting, and blogging. Unrealized risks like Internet and social media—especially for the affluent—are some of the most often overlooked areas of personal risk programs.”

Everyone’s Risk is Not the Same

For those in prominent positions or in professions considered high earning, it is exponentially more important to take steps to mitigate as much of the risk as possible. In today’s litigious society, paying to defend you or your family from a mere accusation could easily exhaust the limits of even a high-end homeowner’s policy. It is important to take a concrete look at how much risk you are willing to accept. An in-depth look at your assets, liabilities, and earnings potential provide a basis for calculating your risk potential.

Best Way to Cover Your Family’s Risk

In addition to mitigating your family’s social media risk, it is important to consider a cost-benefit analysis of proper insurance coverage. One of the most cost-effective ways to ensure you and your family are protected is through purchasing excess liability coverage. This type of coverage is most often referred to as a “personal umbrella.”

Before you decide to purchase any insurance policy, it is important to understand what you are buying. For a “personal umbrella,” it is important to understand that this type of coverage is secondary. This means it requires you having primary insurance such as a homeowners or renters policy. The reason it is called a “personal umbrella” is that it sits over your primary insurance policies.

Since it is supplemental, it works when the limits of the primary policy have been exhausted. For this reason, it is important to understand the relation between the limits on your primary insurance and excess liability coverage. The coverage on personal excess policies does not start until the underlying limit has been reached. In this instance, it is extremely important to match your primary policy limit to your umbrella limit, so no gap in coverage exists.

The coverage offered under personal excess liability policies varies. One important item to consider is whether or not the money for defense is included within the coverage limit or is separate.

Having a Family Social Media Policy

While insurance coverage is great, the best way to protect you and your family is to adopt a family social media policy. A family social media policy can include a number of items but most of all, you should look to establish what is ok to be shared and what type of information needs to remain private. Below are a few best practices to consider when establishing a family social media policy.

Additional Steps to Protect Your Family on Social Media

  • Use the privacy settings on social networks
  • Use strong passwords – (12 characters, include numbers, symbols, capital and lower-case letters)
  • Talk to your kids about the dangers of social media, emphasizing that once something is posted, is there forever.
  • Consider establishing family rules to govern social media use
  • Regularly check your child’s privacy settings
  • Keep your security software, operating systems, and firewalls up to date.

Planning Is the Key to Mitigating Risk

The fact that a lifetime of work and assets could be wiped out with one settlement, is a very real possibility. Start by assessing your family’s potential for risk. Take steps to mitigate the risk by incorporating social media best practices. Finally consider the benefits of how a properly designed personal risk program can protect you and your loved ones.