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Insurance Checklist for Any College Student

By | Auto Insurance, Educate, Home Insurance, Millennials, Personal Insurance | No Comments
College Insurance Checklist

Insurance Checklist for College Students

Insurance coverage for college students can get overwhelming if you do not how to assess risk and understand the coverage of each policy. This insurance checklist is to serve as a primary tool for any parent or student to reference when it comes to covering every angle for the student in college.

Let’s start the insurance checklist with the living situation.

1. Does the student live on or off campus?

[ ] Yes 

If the student lives on campus in a dorm room, their “stuff” will most likely be covered by their parent’s standard homeowners policy. Typically, you will get 10% of coverage (of total coverage) for belongings “off premise” for all people on the insurance policy including your college student. However, all insurance policies have different coverage limitations and exceptions so check with an insurance professional to see if your student’s “stuff” is covered.

[ ] No

If the the student lives off campus in a house or apartment, the student is most likely not covered under the parent’s homeowner policy. In this case, the student will most likely need to get their own renter’s insurance policy. You insurance agent will be able to tell you if you need a separate policy in this situation.

Renter’s insurance policies have several benefits including liability coverage. Depending on the policy, if the student inadvertently harms someone at their place and is held responsible they should have coverage. Make sure liability coverage includes personal injury coverage as this will include lawsuits from a student posting on social media as well.

2. Is your smartphone, TV, or computer insured?

A student’s smartphone, TV, or commuter is not covered under their parent’s homeowner policy and would need a stand alone policy. Typically, you will get offered insurance when you purchase the item from a retailer or the provider. This is most likely the best option of insurance if these are the two most valuable items that the student owns.

3. What are some college pre-cautions my student can take?

a).  Create an inventory list of everything your student is taking to college. Not only list off the name of each item but also list the replacement cost of each item. By doing this, you will know exactly what the student left with at the beginning of the year and if they return with it all. Also, this list is very valuable to your insurance agent as he/she will tell you exactly what policy you need to cover each item.

b) Make sure all of your smart phones and laptops have some sort of tracking app installed on them so you can locate them if they get misplaced or stolen. Many iPhones and Androids have these apps built in the phone. Here are the top apps to track smartphones and laptops.

c) Leave your valuables at home or get a special floater or endorsement added to your existing policy to insure your most valuable belongings such as a luxury watch, jewelry, or heirloom. If you are unsure whether your extremely valuable items are covered, contact your insurance agent right away.

d) Make sure your student has an easily accessible document, photo, or ID card for proof of health insurance. Children are usually covered under their parent’s health insurance policy until 26, but sometimes health insurers have geographical limitations for students attending college outside their home state. Be aware of any on-campus health or medical assistance that is offered to students as well. Ensure your student is covered and able to access medical help any time necessary by having the proper documentation.

4. Is your student still driving a vehicle while at school?

[ ] Never

If the student is going to a college that is over 100 miles away and is not taking a car with them, they will most likely be able to apply for the distant-student discount. Contact an insurance professional to see if your student is eligible for this discount.

[ ] Sometimes

If the student does not bring the car to school with them and only drives the vehicle during school breaks for holiday or when they come back home, then you must leave the student on a policy as if he/she lived at home.

In regards to occasionally driving a friend’s vehicle, the friend’s insurance carrier would most likely serve as the primary insurer then your insurance policy would serve as a backup.

[ ] Always

If the student brought a car to school and is still listed on the insurance policy of their parents, then the insurance carrier should be notified of this change. Sometimes coverage for vehicles changes when it is in a new location, new state, and/or primary driver. This will most likely affect your premium as well. This will avoid any discrepancy if a claim needs to be filed down the road (no pun intended).

Insurance Checklist Reminders

  • The student needs proper coverage for their living situation. This is the most important coverage as off campus living could leave the student without any insurance.
  • Special items likes luxury watches, laptops, and smartphones most likely are not covered and need their own specific insurance policies. Making an inventory list and showing it to your insurance professional is a smart and efficient way to find the right coverage for each item.
  • Auto insurance should remain the same if the student drives moderately. However, if the student does not drive at all then he/she could be eligible for the distant-student discount.
  • Looking into life insurance at a young age is a great idea as it is less expensive and builds a foundation for the individual at a relatively young age.
  • Health insurance is usually active for the student until they are 26. However, students outside of their home state might have limitations when it comes to getting treatment from certain health providers. Look into which health providers are eligible on their policy and what resources the school has available to them.

Avoid Accidents and Astronomical Rates for Your Teens

By | Millennials, Uncategorized | No Comments
Teens Driving

Teens Driving

 

It can be a very exciting and scary moment when your teen is officially allowed to hit the streets as a licensed driver. It’s exciting to start to see your kid begin to mature and develop more independence into a young adult, but at the same time it can cause a lot of stress and worry.

And rightfully so…..

Here are Some Statistics Around Teenagers Driving:

  1. Car crashes are the number 1 cause of death among teens
  2. The crash rate for a teen is 4x the rate for adults
  3. Crash rate is higher for teens at night if others are in the car
  4. 16 year olds crash rate is 2x the rate then 18 and 19 year olds

Not only are teenagers a high risk of losing their life but they are also a huge liability when it comes to making sure you provide sufficient insurance coverage for their early years. This results in ASTRONOMICAL insurance rates.

Instead of worrying and losing sleep at night thinking about how to solve these problems, we have created a list of action items to decrease the danger for your teen and their auto insurance premiums as much as possible.

To ensure you are setting up your teen to thrive as a responsible, safe, driver on the roads, here are some best practices:

Choose the Right Vehicle

The vehicle you want your teen to start their driving career should be known as a reliable, safe, and relatively easy-to-drive car. (Check out top recommended cars for teens.) You will notice that these cars do not have high horsepower because most teens will want to test their limits and underestimate the power of acceleration in certain vehicles.

Some other characteristics to look for in a car is size. Bigger and heavier vehicles take longer to accelerate, provide a higher view to overlook the road and traffic, and provide more safety for your teen if heaven forbid they were to get in an accident. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is another mission critical feature to have in a car which provides stability and control on curves and slippery roads.

Prepare for Success

The are many ways to prepare for success when it comes to helping your teen feel confident on the roads but nothing is better than PRACTICE. Your teen should practice 70 hours either by themselves or with you before they even consider driving with a passenger that is not a trustworthy adult. This will allow them to become comfortable, confident, and responsible when they start driving friends around.

At first, limit their time at night, complex road-systems, and during extreme weather conditions. Obviously all three of these scenarios must be mastered to become a well rounded, responsible driver, but at the beginning start out simple and easy.

Once your teen masters roads that are straightforward during the day, you can then have them transition into the same routes at night. After that, you can propose specific roads in your areas that are more complex like roundabouts, 5 way intersections, and highways. Then, they can try these scenarios at night. Finally, the most difficult challenge as a new driver or driver overall is adapting to weather conditions. Slippery, icy, and sleek roads are extremely dangerous so limited practice with a trusted adult is highly recommended once you are ready for it. Then once you are able to drive on weathered roads at night you empowered to become a responsible and successful driver.

Lastly, as a teen driver you do not want to be in a rush. Please ensure your teen understand the importance of having adequate time to arrive to places in order to drive responsibly versus swerving through traffic and going through yellow lights. This will empower your teen to follow the speed limit as well.

Ninja Tactics to Reduce Auto Rates ASAP

  1. Assign your teen to the least expensive car you own: With one simple adjustment on your auto policy you could save hundreds and even thousands of dollars per month. Make sure you assign your teen to the car that would be the least expensive to replace if it were to get totaled.
  2. Good student discount: This discount can save you hundreds by simply obtaining one of the following: full time student status (12 credit hour min.), maintain a “B average” (3.0 or higher), dean’s list, honors, rank in the top percentile in your graduating class, and/or rank in the top percentile for your ACT and/or SAT test scores.
  3. Telematics: it’s an insurance data-base usage tool that tracks the following metrics: number of miles driven, time of day you drive, and driving behaviors such as hard acceleration or braking. The less you drive, the less you drive during rush hour and night, and the less you accelerate or brake quickly will result in lower premiums. Different insurance companies measure various metrics differently by using an app, a device you attach in your car, or sometimes even a camera.

If you would like to see if you could make any of the adjustments listed above and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month on your premiums, contact us at 216-696-3000.

Be the Role Model for Your Teens

1/3 of teens crash from speeding. One great way to lower the possibility of this occurring for your teen is through setting the example. Any time your teen is with you make sure you follow the speed limit. You do not want to be a hypocrite.

In addition to following the speed limit, make sure you stay away from multitasking while you drive such as: texting, calling, eating, personal makeup or grooming, and especially drinking. Finally, always wear your seat belt to inspire your teen to follow and do likewise.

Insurance Industry Offers Vibrant Opportunities for Millennials

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Insurance Industry, Brooks & Stafford

The insurance industry is completely shifting as the largest generation on Earth are now millennials. Just like any industry, adjustments need to be made to keep up with demand and the needs of the market.

Unfortunately, the interests of millennials in regards to insurance are practically non-existent. Millennials are now the largest generation alive totaling over 80 million in population. Due to this size, they drive the nation’s overall home ownership statistics.

The statistics and research show that homeowners are on the decline. Why?

  • Student Loans
  • Limited Supply of Affordable Homes
  • Starting a Family and Owning that Perfect Home is not the “Millennial Dream”

America’s owe over 1.48 trillion dollars in student debt. Millennials are in over their head with student loans and opt to live with their parents to save and avoid digging themselves a deeper hole.

Home contractors and builders have picked up on this trend and are now focusing on building more luxurious and expensive homes that target the older affluent market.

In addition, the “American Dream” is not cut out for millennials. According to Science Daily, 25% of women born in 1940s were unmarried vs 81% of women born in 1990s are unmarried. Owning that dream home with a white picket fence is not as desirable as a laptop lifestyle traveling the world with no obligations to owning a home (or car).

Not to mention, there is a technological shift. The future of insurance is painted clearly through the use of AI. A man gets in his autonomous driving vehicle, relaxes as he enjoys the ride, the car does not stop properly while parking, damages the bumper, updates the passenger that he needs to takes photos of the damage, uploads photos to insurance carrier, and files the claim.

The decline of homeownership, increase in student loans, limited supply of affordable homes, the “Millennial Dream”, and the advances in technology may serve as huge gaps and problems within the insurance industry but they are actually huge opportunities.

Use Life Insurance to Pay Off Student Loans

The elephant in the room for insurance companies and millennials are students loans. How can someone afford to pick up a monthly payment for insurance when they are struggling to stay afloat with thousands of student loan debt?

Life insurance. It’s called a Universal Life Insurance Policy. In simple terms, this type of policy serves as a cash growth vehicle allowing you to take tax free withdrawals that can be used to pay down student loans.

If this is confusing and completely out of your scope of competence (it’s okay we understand), call us at 216-696-3000 and receive a free quote, consultation, and road map for the best solution.

Less Home Buyers, Less Worries

Due to student loans, prioritization of freedom, and lack of monthly income, homeownership is out of the question for most millennials.

However, renting and renter’s insurance is not. Most people who know about the costs of renter’s insurance compared to the coverage actually excites them. If you are not informed and excited, read this article.

You can expect to pay something around $15-20 a month for renter’s insurance and reap all these benefits:

  • Insure all personal belongings (even when you travel)
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Payments
  • Additional Living Expenses

If you are unsure about what all these benefits truly mean, check out some examples or contact a licensed professional by getting a free quote on the total value of your stuff.

Future Opportunities in the Insurance Industry

Stock images with family, white picket fence homes, and children will not cut it any more. Especially when over 80% of women born in 1990s are not married. Not only are millennials not interested in buying insurance, they are not interested in pursuing career opportunities.

This may make sense if you look at the insurance industry as a dying market, but here is the reality: Insurance has been around since the 1760s, Warren Buffet is an owner of multiple insurance companies, technological advancements with cars create uncharted waters for everyone in the insurance industry.

It’s been around for over 200 years, everyone needs it (whether they know it or not), and there is a huge opportunity for millennials to help “aging” companies connect with other millennials by pursuing careers in marketing and sales positions.

In addition, insurance policies renew every year which means you get paid every time someone renews their policy. Talk about the life: reoccurring revenue while you sleep, play golf, or travel the world.

Also, insurance and coverage surrounding autonomous vehicles is extremely fresh. Everyone in the industry has question marks surrounding this topic which provides a huge benefit to any one who is willing to create a concrete solution.

I hope this articles helps shift your view of the insurance industry from bland, boring, and dying to a vibrant, filled with opportunities, and preferred career path for millennials.

5 Safety Tips for a Memorable Spring Break

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(Spring Break Safety Tips)

Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner for many schools, and everyone will be flocking to the vacation destinations of their choice. Everyone wants to have a memorable break with their friends and family, but the truth is the spring break environment can be very dangerous. Here are five safety tips you can follow so that your spring break is a fun, safe, and memorable one:

1. Stick with your Friends

Use the buddy system. Make sure you don’t lose track of any of your friends.

2. Don’t Drink and Drive

This is an obvious one, but still a necessary one. Be sure to have a designated driver if you are driving some place far away. Consider downloading a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft if no one can drive.

3. Drink Safely and Avoid Alcohol Poisoning

Everyone wants to party and have a good time during their break, but don’t overdo it! The last thing you need during your break is a trip to the hospital.

4. Avoid Dehydration

Drink plenty of water. Drinking out in the hot sun will make you dehydrated and can put you at risk of heat stroke. Keep a water bottle with you during the day.

5. Stay Safe at your Hotel

Lock up all valuables in your hotel safe, like laptops, wallets, etc. when they’re not in use. Be sure to lock your hotel door when you leave your room as well.

Spring break is supposed to be a fun time where you can escape the daily grind and relax. These tips will help you avoid dangerous situations and stay out of hospital. In case you are worried about anything that could happen, why not get a quote on our travel insurance policies? You can never be too prepared. Stay safe, and happy spring break!

Cybersecurity: Are You Secure?

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Cybersecurity: Brooks & Stafford

Cybersecurity needs to be top of mind in the digital age. It’s normal for us to see people walking up and down streets with their phone in their hands. They’re either talking on the phone, texting someone, or looking through an app of some sort. And with technology becoming more advanced as time goes on, we will only be seeing much more of this. Various information, such as our credit card numbers, account passwords, and even our current location, can all be found by going through our phones. You wouldn’t want someone to get their hands on this information and have it become available for anyone to use.

This is what we use cybersecurity for. Cybersecurity protects your personal information from
potential hackers. Are you cybersecure? Do you know how to be cybersecure? If not, then here
are some helpful tips on how to be cybersecure:

Secure Your Passwords

Next, people commonly have the same behavior when it comes to passwords; they write them down,
they use the same password for every account, they keep it simple, etc. In addition to, if your password is just “password” or “guest,” then congrats on having the most common passwords out there. Your
passwords should be complex and hard for hackers to pick out. Capital letters, lowercase letters,
numbers, and special symbols (i.e. !@#$%&) should be used in each password made. The more
complex your password is, the better your password is, which means your information is that
much safer.

Authentication Methods Improve Cybersecurity

Also, many websites require you to authenticate yourself or verify who you are before proceeding on
with the site. But for some of our devices and accounts, it is an optional yet highly
recommended setting that you can turn on. Having this extra step to get to your information
will help you be more protected in the event of some type of security breach. There are
numerous methods of authentication that you could use. One such method is to use a
confirmation email, which is an email sent to you while attempting to access an account that
contains a link for you click on. This link will verify that the person logging on is you, allowing
you to proceed to your account.

Another method is to use a temporary code that is texted to
your phone. The codes usually last for about a minute at a time before becoming useless to
help prevent other people from gaining access to your account. In the case of some automated
program trying to access your information, you could use a captcha. This will require the user to
type in some letters or numbers that “robots” can’t read. Having authentication requirements on
your accounts, such as the confirmation emails, the temporary codes, and the captchas, will
make all of your personal information much safer.

Keep All Programs and Applications Up to Date

Over time, hackers can figure out ways to easily break into old programs. By keeping programs
and applications up to date, the hackers will need to relearn how to break into these programs
thanks to new security measures that may be in place. This is a very simple security measure and
it will make that much of a difference in your cybersecurity.

Be Careful About Your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connections

These sneaky methods of hacking are very dangerous to your devices. When connecting to a
Wi-Fi network, make sure that you connect only to trustworthy ones. Therefore, Connecting to a random
Wi-Fi network could potentially give a hacker access to your device and your information. This
also goes for Bluetooth connections. If you connect to a random device on Bluetooth, it could
also give hackers access to your information. Because devices may also connect to you
automatically, it might be best if you turn off your Bluetooth connectivity when not in use. By
being careful about your connections, your personal information will be that much safer.

Take Care of What You Post on Social Media

People love to post pictures and statuses on social media to see what other people think. As a result,
you have to be careful of what you post and where you post it. Be sure to keep your social
media accounts set to private. If set to public viewing, anyone could be reading what you post.
For example, if someone you don’t know sees that you’re going on vacation soon, it would tell them that your home is free to rob while you’re gone.

Be wary of what you post and make sure your account settings are safe enough to your liking, as these settings may help prevent a real-life security breach on your personal belongings.

Cybersecurity: Brooks & Stafford

In conclusion, These tips will help you stay safe from cyber attacks on your phones and computers. Hopefully you will take them into consideration and double check your devices to make sure you’re safe
from any hackers. By doing that, your personal information will be much safer and you will be
much more cybersecure.

Safe Driving in the Winter

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Winter might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it doesn’t come without its vices. And there are a lot of vices.  From ice to slush to being snowed in, winter is a very unpredictable time for everyone behind the wheel. The last thing you want to happen is to get into an accident caused by sliding around on some ice or snow while on your way somewhere. Here are some useful tips to help you make it through winter safely.

Slow Down

This might be the biggest thing to do during the winter. If you’re on a road that isn’t properly salted or cleared, slow down. It doesn’t matter if you’re running late to a meeting or an appointment. It’s best to show up late than to possibly not show up at all. You are also more likely to avoid accidents that require emergency stopping by already going a slower speed. Also, be sure to watch your speed when coming down poorly plowed or salted hills. Your car may go down at an uncontrollable speed thanks to slipping and who knows what awaits you at the bottom of the hill.

Be Sure that your Car is Equipped for the Winter

Make sure that your car is winter ready. Will your tires work well with the snow? Do you have some emergency supplies in the car in case of an emergency? Are your brakes sufficiently functional? If you have thought twice about any of these things, check your car and make sure. If it isn’t ready, you’ve got some prep work to do before the first wintry storm hits. Look at the treading on your tires. If your tire treading is worn out, it might be time to invest in some new tires. If you get snowed into your car, what are you going to do? If you don’t have anything to warm yourself up with in the car, you risk getting hypothermia by the time help arrives. Be sure that there are blankets and other emergency supplies in your car, such as an ice scraper, flares, water, matches, and a cell phone charger. Having snacks with a long shelf life in the car may also be helpful. Finally, checking your brakes, as well as the rest of your car, is a great way to make sure you’re set for the season. Having a professional inspect your car might be wise if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Think Smart

Question what you’re doing before you do it during this time of the year. If you’re tired and about to drive, question whether or not you should actually be driving now. Perhaps another person could drive you. Or maybe you should get some coffee in your system as a pick-me-up so you don’t risk falling asleep while driving. If where you’re driving to isn’t a necessity, do you really need to go drive now? Stay at home and wait for the snow to clear up before driving. There’s no need to risk getting into an accident when driving to a store or a neighbor’s house. A drive in a snowstorm is not worth the potential damage you can cause to your car and anything you hit.

Are you trying to warm up your car so it’s nice and comfy when you finally get to driving? Is the car you’re warming up sitting in your garage? If you said yes to that second part, do not turn on your car. You risk dying from carbon monoxide poisoning by running an engine in an enclosed space. Warming up your car should be something you do when your car is outside. If it’s inside, just warm up the car while driving. It might be cold for the first couple minutes, but you’re better off dealing with the cold than the carbon monoxide.

There are plenty of things you can do to make sure that your winter is a fun and safe one, but the most important thing to do is to be smart. Winter can be a treacherous time of year for drivers. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure that they are able drive when they need to. Don’t drive around unnecessarily and always be equipped in case of emergencies. Follow these tips to ensure a safe winter. This time of year is also a great time to check your policies in case anything unfortunate happens. Feel free to call Brooks & Stafford and get a quote today.

Thanksgiving Fire Safety

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As reported by the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak time of the year for fires at home. Here are some tips on fire safety in the kitchen to help you make sure the only thing you roast this holiday is the turkey:

  1. Keep an eye on everything you have cooking, especially when using a stove. If you need to leave the kitchen for an extended period of time, turn off the stove. Anything that was cooking before will still continue to cook.
  2. Use timers if you are using the oven or boiling/simmering something on the stove.
  3. Keep kids away from the kitchen while it’s in use.
  4. Move anything flammable away from the stove. Papers, plastic bags, wooden utensils, towels, oven mitts, etc. should all be placed in a safe area away from the stove.
  5. Clean up all spills as they happen to prevent accidents.
  6. Be careful about grease and grease fires. Dispose of all grease properly. If any grease catches on fire, put it out with baking soda. Water will not help put out the fire.
  7. Check your smoke detector and make sure it is in proper working order. Replace the batteries if needed.
  8. Have a fire extinguisher readily available in case if anything happens.

Halloween: The Good, the Bad, and the Scary

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Halloween: Brooks & Stafford

It’s almost that time of the year that celebrates everything spooky and creepy. Halloween is a time for all things scary. Just be sure to take extra care when bumping around in the night. Who knows what dangers could be out there? Here’s some advice to take into consideration this Halloween.

Watch for the Tricks and Go for the Treats

When taking family out around the neighborhood, be careful of where you walk. Not everything can easily be seen at this time of the year.  Piles of leaves lining the sides of roads could also be masking a variety of dangers, such as trenches or holes. Be sure to avoid traffic if you live in a neighborhood with no sidewalks. Make sure your children won’t be falling over themselves in their costumes. Nothing quite ruins Halloween like a trip to a doctor.

Be Wary of the Tricks While Handing Out the Treats

Some houses love to show off their true Halloween spirits this time of the year by letting people inside for a haunted house of sorts. Be sure that these entrants are only staying in the allowed part of the house. You may be handing out candy, but you don’t want to unintentionally hand out your valuables as well. Be careful of where you place your decorations as well. Make sure that nothing is in the path of any visitors to your house. Furthermore, make sure you have nothing flammable nearby any open flames, such as jack-o-lanterns and candles.

For the Adults

Halloween: Brooks & Stafford

Halloween is also a time to dress up and party with your friends. If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, the previous rules still apply. Watch where you put your decorations and make sure everyone stays where they’re supposed to be. In addition to that, make sure that anyone drinking has some means of transportation, whether it’s a designated driver, a taxi, a rideshare service, etc. The less accidents out on the road during Halloween weekend, the better.

These pieces of advice will ensure that you have an enjoyable Halloween. One last piece of advice to impart: Have fun! Halloween is a time to scare the pants off of everyone and laugh about it. Just don’t end up scaring yourself into the hospital. If you’re worried about that happening, call up Brooks & Stafford and get a quote today!

Home Buying Process Simplified for Millennials

By | Business Insurance, Educate, Millennials, Personal Insurance, Uncategorized | No Comments

As millennials get older, understanding the home buying process is essential.

Picture of home: home buying process

During your 20’s, you are in your prime. You are continuing to find ways to start new chapters in your life. You graduate college, then you start your first job, next you rent your own place, and finally you are completely financially independent.

Once, you start to progress in life and start seeing increases in your bank account. You realize that most of that money is going to rent. You ask yourself, “Should I buy a home?”

This is the first step in the home buying process.

1. Decide If You are Ready to Be a Homeowner

The early phases of buying a home are exciting as you have limited responsibilities. You have no property to sell because you are simply renting. As the buyer, you have all the power and flexibility to choose what you want.

However, along with this freedom of choosing your dream home, considering if you are ready to make this commitment mentally, physically, financially is crucial. Ask these 5 Questions to Determine if You are Ready to be a Home Buyer.

Buying a home is a huge commitment mentally. You must be ready to live there for an extended period of time. Depending on the loan and monthly payment, it could take you over 15 years to pay off your house.

Answer these questions to determine if you are ready for the commitment.

This means not being able to hop around at will and relocate freely. If you do plan to commit mentally, do you plan to have a family? Will you be happy staying at your current job? All of these questions need to be asked when considering buying a home.

Physically, owning a home can be tough. Homeownership comes along with a lot of responsibility as you must take care of your lawn, maintain the structure (roof, exterior, interior, etc.), and be ready to fix it if breaks.

If your hot water take breaks or your furnaces blows out, be ready to take cold showers and live without heat. This is your home so this means this is your responsibility to take care of it. In these situations, you are most likely going to hire a contractor. But what if your windows need to be replaced? There’s a leak in your ceiling or your carpet needs repair?

These smaller tasks can be do-it-yourself jobs. Not only would it save you money, but it will take up your time and physical energy to figure it out. Hopefully you can keep these inconveniences to a minimum, but if you are faced with them keep this complete DIY Guide handy.

Now you have understood the commitment it takes to own a home mentally and physically, what about financially? This leads me to the next part of the home buying process:

2. Understand Your Finances

You should know down to the tee how much your monthly expenses are currently before you go any further in the home buying process. This is extremely important as your planning to make a huge purchase that could be an unpleasant financial burden if not planned out accordingly.

Think about your standard of living right now. How much money do you make right now per month? What type of house could you afford?

These questions must have definitive answers as your realtor and bank will provide variants. It is not uncommon for a bank to quote you for a mortgage that is 2x more than you can afford.

Understand the 30/30 Rule to Understand the Home Buying Process

The rule of thumb to use when deciding what type of house you can afford in the home buying process is using the 30/30 principle. This law states that you must be able to put down 20% of the total price and have 10% buffer left in the bank to cover any unexpected expenses.

For example, if you are looking to buy a $300,000 home you must be able to put down $60,000 and have $30,000 saved up in your bank account.

The theory driving this principle is that: The best time to purchase property is when you can afford it.

Follow the 30/30 rule and you should be prepared for the purchase, but if you are yet to have your money right make sure you take the steps necessary to save for your down payment.

In addition to saving up for your down payment, you need to make sure your credit score is in check when applying for loans. Aim for anything above 700 to ensure a reasonable interest rate on your mortgage.

Keep in mind any expenses that you are currently obligated to (those dreaded student loans) and combine them with all the unexpected expenses that come with owning a home.

To name a few, home inspections, property tax, insurance, and maintenance can add up. This is only the beginning so make sure you check out 11 Hidden Costs of Owning a Home.

Now that you understand where you are financially and where you need to be at, you need to find the right home as the next step in the home buying process:

3. Prospecting the Right Homes

Now, there are many factors when picking out the perfect home for you or yourself and spouse. This includes price, current condition of the home, location, and the market.

Knowing all the costs in addition to the retail price for a home, the costs can be expensive. In order to make this huge commitment physically, mentally, and financially you must understand your needs.

Do you want to live in the peaceful countryside? Would you prefer being in an upscale urban area or would you prefer a nice suburban area to start a family?

What lifestyle do you want to live?

The answers to these questions depend on the lifestyle you want to live. Do you want to start a family? Do you want to be close to the city for the social aspect? Would you rather live in the country side to pursue your outdoor hobbies?

Many of these questions have to deal with location. Different locations are associated with different tax amounts. Derek Carr the QB for the Las Vegas Raiders saved $8.7 million for the upcoming year in taxes alone for moving from Oakland to Las Vegas.

Not to mention location is extremely important when it comes to the school systems available to you and your kids if that is the route you plan to take.

After you figured out your lifestyle and location, you can start narrowing your search by looking at specific houses in the neighborhood.

What type of home do you want?

Some key things to remember when looking for specific houses in a neighborhood are: do you want to save money through a “fixer upper”, are you financially stable for the purchase of a brand new home, or would you prefer building it from scratch?

The most expensive option would be building it from scratch, but it would be well worth it. You are literally customizing every square inch of your dream home. This could be a viable option if your other prospective homes need repairs and if you are financially capable.

Even though a custom built home would be amazing, it’s expensive. However, there are really nice houses already made at reasonable prices.

In terms of looking at already built houses, understand all of the home buying deal breakers. This includes the roof, plumbing, flood zone, and more.

What could a faulty roof cost you?

A faulty roof could cost you over $10,000 so make sure you are buying a house with a roof that’s intact.

In terms of flood zones, use this tool provided by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to find out what type of flood zone your house would be in. Depending on your flood zone, will determine the price of insurance you would have to purchase.

Any information needed to be learned can be found and purchased from the The National Flood Program.

Next, make sure you have a home inspector look at the house to examine the plumbing and electrical system of the house which could be very costly to replace.

After you know what your deal breakers are, you can confidently search for the right home. Do not get caught up on imperfections like paint and tile as you can make these repairs relatively inexpensively.

Make the Offer

Once you have made the commitment of buying a home, got pre-approved for your mortgage, saved up for the down payment, chose the house perfect for you, you are know ready to make an offer.

Please note you can always contact a trusted realtor during any step in the home buying process. This person will make sure all the necessary paperwork gets filed correctly along with any necessary inspections of the home to ensure quality.

Also, understand that buying a new home is a huge deal. There is a lot of paperwork. Be prepared to create a contract that clearly states the transaction taking place.

Most importantly, after that dream house is decided. You need adequate insurance coverage to protect it. The best way to find the best price is through an independent insurance agency who could quote your through a variety of insurance companies. Get a quote today!

Millennials Focus on College not Insurance

By | Educate, FAQ, Millennials, Uncategorized | No Comments

Millennials

As the largest and most educated generation, you would expect that millennials would take insurance coverage seriously. Sadly, studies reveal that one in four adults between 18 years to 29 years do not have health insurance. Furthermore, millennials are less likely to take up other forms of insurance like auto, life, home, and renters. As the most educated generation, millennials need to learn the importance of having insurance.

According to research and interviews surveyed among millennials, it was found that millennials view insurance as an unnecessary expense. To them, they don’t need it and won’t need it any time soon. To the older generation, they appear as a generation that is subservient of the punches and curve balls that life throws at people each day.

While insurance does not inspire excitement, its impact on one’s life is virtually unrivaled. At some point in life, an individual will experience misfortunes such as theft, flooded home, fire, car accident, or others. Misfortunes are not planned and since they occur without any prior confirmation, it is wise to protect yourself.

Insurance provides peace of mind especially when faced with difficult situations. It can help you to settle financial problems brought about by misfortunes. Furthermore, getting insurance does not mean that you are paranoid, it means you are smart.

Here is an insurance checklist all millennials graduating college should keep in mind.

1. Research different types of insurance products

As a millennial, the first thing you need to do is learn about the different types of insurance products available in the market. There are those insurance products that have been around for a long time for example car, home, renters, life, and health insurance.

Today, rider share services like Uber and Lyft have offered millennials job opportunities but what many don’t know is that your personal car insurance does not cover commercial use and there is an insurance gap. It is important to learn more about comprehensive car insurance, smartphone protection plan, travel insurance and others. What are their pros and cons? What do they cover? Should millennials buy life insurance? This will help you to stay informed.

While researching, it is important to learn the terms and conditions, the premium rates charged for different levels of insurance products, and the best insurance companies.

2. Itemize your expenses

It is wise to take time and learn what you want and what you need. Today, millennials are faced with tough decisions when it comes to spending. Many will opt to order in rather than shop at a grocery store and prepare meals at home. Others will opt to own a car yet they cannot afford to maintain it properly. In order to plan your life, you need to itemize your expenses.

You can divide your expenses in three categories: ongoing, immediate and future. Examples of immediate expenses include mortgage, uncovered medical expenses, funeral costs, car loans, credit card debt, taxes and estate settlement costs.

Examples of ongoing expenses include food, rent, utilities, transportation, health care and clothing. Future expenses include retirement and insurance. If your ongoing and immediate expenses are more than your income, then it’s time to spend wisely. Take a bus or subway as the travel insurance costs are less, cook more instead of eating out and pay off your credit card debt to improve your credit score.

3. Talk with an experienced insurance professional

While your parents and older siblings have interacted with insurance brokers and have covered themselves with 2 or more insurance products, they don’t count. Millennials need to learn how to identify a good insurance company within your area. Walk in and make an appointment to speak with an experienced professional.

It is important to have a list of questions prepared early to allow for a constructive interview. Furthermore, it allows you to learn more about the products they have to offer. Experienced insurance agents will always provide you with tons of useful information even helping you create a customized insurance plan which covers important aspects of your life. This will not only help to ensure you are protected but it will save you money.

4. Find where to buy insurance

Today, there are several options of buying insurance not only health insurance but car, travel, smartphone protection plan, renters, home, and life insurance among others. If you are looking for health insurance providers, you can always start with the government health exchange or state exchange.

Millennials can also consult private companies. Doing so helps you to sample the different plans on offer and select one that fits your lifestyle. What you need to know is that when it comes to insurance, finding the best deals on premium should not be your goal but the best plan that fits you. Look at the options and support on offer too.

5. Read and re-read the fine print

Now that you have learned all about the different types of insurance products, their options and the market places where you can purchase them, it’s time to pick a plan. Once you have selected a plan that fits your lifestyle, you will be given forms to fill.

While millennials are said to be the largest educated generation, when it comes to contracts, many do not take time to read the fine print carefully. Scanning the documents quickly will result in you missing a key detail(s). This one detail can result in you not being compensated or result in you not being covered for something.

So, to avoid such mishaps, millennials should take their time to read and re-read the fine print. If you don’t understand what some phrases mean, consult an expert within or outside the insurance company. Having a better understanding of what you are getting into will save you a lot of money now and in the future.

Congratulations!

You have gone through the insurance checklist every millennial graduating college needs to know finally picking up a plan that fits their lifestyle. At this point, you need to know that you have added a new expense in your life – insurance premium. You need to keep up with the payments just like you do with your college loan, credit card payments, rent and other utilities. Not making the payments early will result in you not being covered and you may end up being penalized too.

Just a recap of the insurance checklist for millennials – start by learning more about different insurance products, itemize your expenses, consult an experienced insurance professional, learn where to buy insurance, select the right plan that fits your lifestyle and re-read the fine print before signing on the dotted line. It’s time to let go off the bullet proof attitude because misfortunes can occur at any time. Smart thinking will protect you.

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