Motorcycle Passenger Tips for Spring

    April 17, 2014 9:50 AM by Staff Writer

    As the weather heats up, motorcycle enthusiasts across the U.S. prepare their bikes for the first ride of spring. Whether you're the operator dusting off your favorite ride, or you need tips for riding on the back of a motorcycle, we've got you covered. Make sure your bike and your riding partner are ready to get back on the road again with the following motorcycle passenger tips and checklists.

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    Irrecoverable Property Loss? The IRS Could Be Your Friend

    April 14, 2014 10:46 AM by Staff Writer

    Even though we are big fans of insurance and its valuable place in your protection planning, we also understand this basic truth: No one wants to have a claim.

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    It's Not Easy Going Green

    April 2, 2014 9:23 AM by Staff Writer

    You’ve heard about “green.” You know it has to do with eco-friendly buildings, vehicles and systems. Now you’re hearing more and more insurance companies touting “green” offerings. What does this mean to you?

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    How to Get the Biggest Tax Refund for Your Car Donation

    March 21, 2014 11:09 AM by Staff Writer

    There aren’t many options available when it’s time to part with a beloved (or hated) vehicle. You can trade it in, sell it to a dealer or private party, give it to a friend, or consider a car donation in exchange for a tax deduction. Many well-advertised companies claim to make car donation easy, quick, and profitable, but they may not be as beneficent as they seem, and some might even lose you your tax deduction completely. Before you donate your car to charity, take the time to consider the pros and cons, and see if vehicle donation is right for you and your favorite charity. The following are a few important issues that may arise, and tips for how to arrive at the best tax refund results for you and your charity of choice.

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    Weekend Warrior: In like a Lion, Out on a Stretcher?

    March 3, 2014 3:02 PM by Staff Writer

    Ah, those first warm breezes of spring! Soon even the most devout winter couch potato’s dreams turn from football on television to those long-harbored visions of a major landscaping project or exterior home refresh. It’s not just baseball where spring hopes spring eternal!

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    Is Warming Up Your Car Really Necessary?

    February 24, 2014 2:51 PM by Staff Writer

    Is it necessary to warm up your car? Conventional wisdom says that warming up your car is a must, especially on frigid days. Unfortunately for many American cars, this is one instance when conventional wisdom is just plain wrong.

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    President’s Day: Buying a new car

    February 12, 2014 10:39 AM by Staff Writer

    We are sure you have seen the commercials already- a shiny red car coasting down an open road, followed by a graphic that breaks down affordable monthly payments, and finally, an eager and attractive salesperson who promises to take care of your car-buying needs all weekend-long. President’s Day Weekend is here and if you’re in the market to buying a car, you should keep a few things in mind.

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    'Groundhog Day' a Lesson in Risk Management

    January 31, 2014 9:43 AM by Staff Writer

    No, we’re not suggesting that Punxsutawney Phil has swapped his expertise in meteorology for a new career in loss prevention. As far as we know, Phil remains happily devoted to his annual February 2 prediction ritual, where, even after 121 years, his view (or not) of his shadow amazingly continues to predict the remaining days of winter.

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    Popping the Bigger Question: Who should insure the engagement ring?

    January 30, 2014 2:45 PM by Staff Writer

    Purchasing an engagement ring is a big decision and you should be equipped with the right information before making your purchase. Here’s a guide on making a purchase that will make your fiancée, bank account, and Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent say “Yes!”

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    Snowmobile and Avalanche Safety

    January 21, 2014 11:29 AM by Staff Writer

    It’s snowing in much of the U.S., and that means snowmobile adventures for millions of enthusiasts. Snowmobiling is more than a mode of winter transportation. It tends to be a family sport, with parents and children spending around $24 billion annually on backcountry fun. It can be dangerous to hit the trails and slopes in frigid weather, but with the right preparation and equipment, you can keep sledding risks to a minimum.

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    Unswerving Advice for Drivers: Steer Clear of Deer

    January 14, 2014 2:57 PM by Staff Writer

    Soaring deer populations and weather conditions during travel this season can be a dangerous combination for motorists — especially uninsured ones.  Animals, particularly deer, are a factor in many traffic accidents. Although most deer and other animal-related accidents do not involve human fatalities, they do contribute to insurance claims and auto damages each year.

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    Measure Your Workout in Reps, Not Stitches

    January 8, 2014 11:25 AM by Staff Writer

    It’s that time of year when thousands do the math: New Year's resolution plus overeating holiday food equals gym membership. No doubt the annual membership offers have already begun arriving in your mailbox.

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    New Year, New Financial Outlook

    December 30, 2013 1:08 PM by Staff Writer

    Consumers should reevaluate their insurance coverage and budget in the new year.

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    New Year and No Debt – How to Save in 2014

    December 26, 2013 9:02 AM by Staff Writer

    Getting out of debt is a resolution that many Americans attempt to tackle. In fact, 34% of Americans make getting out of debt a New Year’s resolution.  With over 80% of the nation struggling to get out of debt, it’s easy to see why this resolution tops the list.

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    Could You Be Serving Up a Lawsuit at Your Holiday Party?

    December 4, 2013 1:10 PM by Staff Writer

    Who is liable if a guest gets food poisoning or drives home drunk?

    As millions of Americans host and attend holiday parties across the street or across the country, many may be unaware of the risks. According to Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents, party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting others into their homes and serving food and drinks.

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    Make Room for the New, and Take a Home Inventory During the Holidays

    December 2, 2013 1:51 PM by Staff Writer

    The holidays are a time for celebration and family. Most people have a few extra days of vacation to relax, and some use this time to play catch-up or finish projects that have been looming for the past year.

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    Don’t Be a Turkey: Home Safety Myths

    November 20, 2013 9:21 AM by Staff Writer

    While there may be no place like home for the holidays, your Trusted Choice® agent hastens to remind you that persistent myths about home safety cause unnecessary home dangers. Here are just a few commonly accepted “safety tips” that may be increasing your chance of damage and injury:

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    The Ultimate 8 Fall Home Maintenance Tips

    November 6, 2013 11:40 AM by Staff Writer

    With spring cleaning far behind, and summer fun all but over, it’s time to start fall home maintenance.  Fall is the perfect time to perform important maintenance to your home so you’re not caught in the middle of winter with a drafty house or a malfunctioning heater.  We’ve compiled the top eight fall home maintenance tips, along with what you can do to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable this winter.

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    Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips from Trusted Choice®

    October 30, 2013 12:19 PM by Staff Writer

    Trusted Choice® agents and consumers offer the best safety practices for families during Halloween.

    Halloween is just around the corner, and many people may not realize how frightening this spooky night could really be for their personal safety, property or bank accounts. Earlier this month, we collaborated with consumers to help Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents identify the Top 10 Halloween Safety Tips that keep families safe:

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    Cyber Bullying

    October 16, 2013 9:20 AM by Staff Writer

    Once considered a “rite of passage,” bullying is now viewed as a disturbing form of abuse. In many cases, bullying has caused long-term emotional damage to children and their families, and in some instances, even death. According to the iSAFE foundation, “over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.”

    Cyber bullying, a recent phenomenon that has coincided with the growing use of Internet and mobile devices, has tragic consequences for children, their families and communities across the world. As cyber bullying has become more common, it is important for parents to understand both its nature and how to be more hands-on when it comes to prevention.

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    Make Fire Emergency Readiness an October Tradition

    October 1, 2013 10:30 AM by Staff Writer

    Add a new custom to the October traditions of Halloween candy, costumes and setting back your clocks: The end of Daylight Savings Time is the perfect time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms and to check the readiness of your fire extinguishers.

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    Hunting Safety

    September 25, 2013 3:12 PM by Staff Writer

    As hunting season comes to a head, many professionals are gearing up to find game for the holidays. Whether a professional or amateur hunter, you can never be too safe. Here are a few tips on doing that!

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    September 18, 2013 9:05 AM by Staff Writer

    After 17 years of marriage, Ann and David have recently decided to end their union.  One can imagine that this time is emotionally devastating for them, but for many couples in the midst of divorce, finances and a secure future are at the forefront of their thoughts as well. Losing a partner can equate to losing half of your assets and financial security, and beyond restructuring monthly bills, insurance policies must also be restructured. If you are going through a divorce, talk to your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent about the proper steps to making your insurance changes.

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    RV Trip? Make Happy Trails, Not Painful Travails

    September 11, 2013 2:18 PM by Staff Writer

    The concept of sightseeing no doubt predates the invention of the wheel. The cave man equivalent of “Kilroy was here!” has been discovered from the highest mountaintops to the deepest caves. When the weather is right and the mood strikes, there is clearly something in humans that cries, “Road trip!”

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    School’s Back in Session: Back to School Tips

    September 5, 2013 9:02 AM by Staff Writer

    It is that time of year again! Uniforms are laid out, lunches are packed, and school buses are on the road everywhere. As the school year begins, you may think, you have everything in order, but here are a few things to consider adding to your Back-to-school list of things to do for children at every age:

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    Your Grill Should Cook, Not Burn

    August 28, 2013 11:02 AM by Staff Writer

    … the barn. Or the house. Or a child.

    Every year, what should be a fun outdoor occasion for family and friends instead turns into tragedy at nearly 9,000 homes, causing deaths, injuries and tens of millions in property damage. Your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents can remind you that fire damage and potential liability for injury to friends will be covered by your homeowners policy, but we’d much rather you sidle up to the picnic table than hunker down in the emergency room.

    Gas grills represent the greatest risk by far, and are involved in more than 80% of all grilling fires. But all types of grills represent a danger if used incorrectly or carelessly. A few simple precautions, courtesy of the experts at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), may make the difference.


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    August 14, 2013 10:31 AM by Staff Writer

    After a long day of work, you check the mailbox and see the letter your family has been waiting to receive for weeks.  The letter is from one of the colleges your child has applied for, and it feels heavier than the other letters that have come. As a parent, no matter how old they get, you can never stop worrying about your children. It is easy to think about what you can do to protect your baby when they leave you soon, because you know that this letter is the ONE.   Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agents are here to help you and your soon-to-be college student.

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    MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE: Only two wheels, same great coverage

    August 2, 2013 10:11 AM by Staff Writer

    The open road should be the only thing on your mind when you’re on your bike this summer. Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agents understand that anything can happen, and can answer questions you may have about protecting your bike, yourself, and anyone else. Here are a few things to consider when adding or renewing your motorcycle insurance:

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    DOGS & INSURANCE: The bite is worse than the bark

    July 24, 2013 2:00 PM by Staff Writer

    You don’t have to search far to find a story about the numerous dog bite incidents that happen in the country each year. While our cuddly companions are often considered a member of the family, they may not be as friendly to strangers. That said, our furry friends should be insured for the same reasons a young driver is insured- just in case there’s an accident!

    Under most homeowner policies, your dog may be covered in the event of an incident; however, there may be some exceptions, which is why it is important to speak with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent.

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    Peace of Mind for Summer Home Renters

    July 18, 2013 9:06 AM by Staff Writer

    A home away from home is what most renters look for during summer vacation.  The perks of more space and privacy in a vacation home are invaluable, but if a disaster like theft or fire strikes, replacement damages can be very costly.  When renting a vacation home, the oceanfront view isn’t the only thing to consider, as many people are starting to grasp the importance of understanding just how far their insurance policies reach. Here are a few tips and answers to your vacation insurance questions:

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    Fourth of July Fireworks: Beautiful, Patriotic… and Dangerous

    July 2, 2013 3:07 PM by Staff Writer

    According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, 60% of all fireworks injuries occur around July 4th. While these loud bursts of light and color add flair to celebrations, it should be remembered that fireworks are explosive devices and must be handled with care. Many communities celebrate the Fourth of July with firework shows they are often managed by professionals and are executed under controlled circumstances, which allows for the safe enjoyment of the show by the public. However, lots of people also celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at private events, like backyard barbecues, picnics and beach parties.

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    Make Sure Your Stuff Is Protected When You Move

    June 25, 2013 10:37 AM by Staff Writer

    Moving generally indicates an exciting time of transition and life change- whether it’s moving from the parents' basement to a first apartment or parents downsizing because the kids have all moved out. Whether you’re handling the move yourself with the help of friends and family or whether you hire professional movers, moving can be as stressful as it is exciting, and one way to relieve some of that stress is knowing that your possessions are protected during the transition. Whether your move is across the street or across the country it’s important that you discuss your move with a Trusted Choice ® independent insurance agent.

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    In Sickness and In Health: Health Insurance for Newlyweds

    June 25, 2013 10:17 AM by Staff Writer

    Getting married and embarking on a new life together is one of the most exciting experiences in two people’s lives. It’s a time of hope, promise, romance and … reality. Whether a couple is planning their wedding or deciding where to live, there are a lot of decisions to make before saying “I do,” especially when it comes to insurance. A common part of many wedding vows is to promise care for one another in sickness and in health. It’s important to realize that one way to help care for your spouse is to make sure you are both covered when it comes to health insurance.

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    Everyone in the Pool ? Safely, Please!

    June 5, 2013 10:03 AM by Staff Writer

    Here comes summer, and that means swimming pool season. Kids are breaking out the water noodles and beach balls. Adults dream of sunning on the poolside lounge or getting in a few laps. Your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent may like an afternoon at the pool, too, but also wants you to enjoy lounging in the water, not waiting in the emergency room. Pool-related injuries send unfortunate thousands to the emergency room every year.

    When you think pool, think safety. The usual parental commands – “Stop running!” and “Don’t push your sister in the water!” – are helpful, but not enough. Here are a few valuable tips for preventing accidents at residential pools:

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    'Jeopardy!' Category: Hurricanes

    May 30, 2013 9:53 AM by Staff Writer

    The answer may be “Blowing in the Wind,” but the question is, “Are You Ready?” No, this is not a game show category about the songs of rock bands Dylan and Grand Funk, but a serious question: If a hurricane strikes, is your disaster plan in place?

    June 1 is the official beginning of hurricane season, and your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent reminds you that thousands of folks failed to take even basic precautions before past storms rolled ashore and blew or washed away millions of dollars in property. Don’t be one of those unfortunate people when the next hurricane blows through. Our friends at the American Red Cross have weathered countless disasters and offer the following valuable pre-storm planning tips:

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    Summer Vacation Interrupted

    May 16, 2013 2:44 PM by Staff Writer

    Ahhh… Summer vacation, long holiday weekends…Travel- whether you’re hitting the road, hopping a plane or taking a cruise, you’re (hopefully) out relaxing and having fun! But what happens if your trip is interrupted by inclement weather, or an unexpected illness? Travel insurance and specialty medical coverage can give you peace of mind from the moment you book the flights.

    There are two broad types of travel-related coverage for those leaving the United States:

    Travel insurance covers the loss of the prepaid travel costs of a trip should it be canceled, interrupted, or postponed. It also can reimburse unexpected expenses incurred due to a sudden change in travel plans due to illness or other causes.

    Specialty medical coverage protects against personal insurance risks when someone is outside the United States.

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    Three Prom Night Issues to Discuss with Your Teen

    May 16, 2013 9:31 AM by Staff Writer

    If you’re a parent with teenagers you know that the prom is a special night for your teen, and while you want them to have a fun and memorable night with their friends, you also want to make sure they stay safe.  If your teen is driving on prom night or riding with a friend who is driving, here are three things to discuss with your teen before the big night:

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    Don't Get Robbed Twice!

    May 15, 2013 10:24 AM by Staff Writer
    • Your business has been burglarized and, you find yourself standing amid broken glass. There’s trashed shelving, broken displays and missing merchandise. While vowing revenge the thought comes to your mind: Will my insurance cover this?
    • You realize your favorite cashier is been stealing from you. Taking $20 here and $50 there for several months. Now your loss totals more than $2,000. You make a note to ask your agent: Will my insurance cover this?
    • You can’t believe it! Although your inventory records say you have 50,000 widgets in stock, there are only 1,000 in the warehouse. What happened to the other widgets? Lost? Stolen? Never delivered? As your heart sinks over the lost sale, you think: Will my insurance cover this?
    • You watch sullenly, held motionless by the gun, as the thief cleans out the cash from your register. As fear mixes with anger, it is doubtful you are asking yourself: Will my insurance cover this?

    The quick answers to the above are partially, possibly, unlikely and maybe.

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    3 Insurance Questions

    May 14, 2013 1:19 PM by Staff Writer

    Insurance comes in a wide array of choices for a variety of consumer and business needs. Even the best-educated consumer who spends time researching insurance issues will come across a topic he or she doesn’t understand.

    Let’s take a look at what consumers say when asked: “What’s one thing you don’t understand about insurance?” Here are three common questions that Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents hear:

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    Don’t Be Fooled: The Auto Insurance Minimums in Your State Probably Aren’t Enough

    May 8, 2013 3:22 PM by Staff Writer

    There are a wide variety of April Fool’s Day jokes out there- from telling people that dihydrogen monoxide is coming out of the sink (dihydrogen monoxide is the chemical name for water) to aluminum foiling your bosses office (not that Trusted Choice endorses such pranks, mind you).  But one thing you should avoid falling for is being told that carrying only the state mandated minimum coverage is adequate auto insurance protection

    In an auto accident, drivers can be legally liable for their passengers’ injuries. While most states have mandatory minimum limits of liability required of all drivers, many of these requirements may not be sufficient in covering injuries sustained in an auto accident. In some states, this required amount may be as little as $25,000 per person and $50,000 total for all injuries in an accident—which may not be enough when you consider the severity of certain injuries and the number of passengers that could be involved. Remember that this limit also applies for all injuries caused by an accident for which you are liable, including passengers of other cars.

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    Congratulations Class of 2013: Now It’s Time to Graduate to Your Own Insurance!

    May 8, 2013 3:01 PM by Staff Writer

    It’s a rite of passage for college students to don cap and gown and march across the stage for graduation ceremonies- in fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) almost 1.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2013. As those 1.8 million make the transition from undergraduates to careers, pursuit of advanced degrees or back into mom and dad’s basement, it’s critical that they understand how walking across the stage may have changed their insurance needs.

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    New Development, New Flood Risk

    May 8, 2013 9:41 AM by Staff Writer

    Floods are often associated with rivers and streams overrunning their banks, or with heavy rains from hurricanes and other major storms, and while those are very real hazards, the reality is that flooding can be caused by a number of factors that you may not have considered. One factor to consider when evaluating your risk of flooding is development and new construction in your area.

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    Death and Taxes: The Uncertainty of What Happens With An Insurance Policy When A Loved One Dies

    May 2, 2013 1:12 PM by Staff Writer

    As Benjamin Franklin said, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” While we all know that April 15th is the day our taxes are due, death has a way of sneaking up and surprising us. When a loved one dies there are many issues that their family and friends are left to deal with, but as family and friends settle their affairs, one important question should be asked: What happens to the insurance policy on the house when the owner dies?

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    The Graduate's Guide to Insurance

    May 2, 2013 11:09 AM by Staff Writer

    Congratulations! You’ve got your degree and you are ready to take advantage of the exciting new opportunities life has to offer. However, with new opportunities come new risks—particularly financial risks. Insurance is your major protection against financial risks, and knowledge about basic insurance facts can make you a better consumer.

    This guide is a product of Trusted Choice® and will introduce you to the different types of insurance—which ones you need and which ones you don’t. While this guide addresses the most common questions about insurance, your Trusted Choice® insurance professionals can answer your specific questions, and make sure you have the coverages you need.

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    You Posted What!? Teens, Social Media and a Parent’s Liability

    April 25, 2013 10:02 AM by Staff Writer

    Jealousy. Passion. Betrayal. No, not the hottest television drama, but high school. For many the high school experience comes with social pressures and obligations to fit in and belong, and sadly this can lead to exclusion and isolation of some students. At some point everyone probably said something in their teen years in the heat of the moment that they now wish could be taken back, but today’s teens face the added burden that if they convey those statements on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, their words could be around for a lot longer than just the heat of the moment.

    In addition to hurt feelings, cyber bullying could potentially damage someone’s reputation. With college admissions offices and employers beginning to look up applicants on social networking sites, rumors and gossip have the very serious potential to damage someone’s ability to get into the college of their choice, or find a job. For parents, this could create a potentially serious exposure to a lawsuit if their children engage in cyber bullying.

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    Are You Prepared for a Flood?

    April 18, 2013 2:45 PM by Staff Writer

    March 3-9 is National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and as we move from winter into spring, spring rains coupled with melting snow and ice can increase the risks of flooding, and it’s not just those in high risk flood zones who are vulnerable. Here’s some information on evaluating your flood risk and how you can protect your home with flood insurance.

    Floods are often associated with rivers and streams overrunning their banks, or with heavy rains from hurricanes and other major storms, and while those are very real hazards, the reality is that flooding can be caused by a number of factors.

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    April Showers: Umbrellas Are for More Than Water

    April 18, 2013 12:42 PM by Staff Writer

    At the mention of umbrellas, you likely think of protection from falling water drops. Your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent would like to remind you the proper “insurance umbrella” could also protect you from a “rain” of lawsuits. Personal liability claims against homeowners and drivers are increasing in frequency and severity. The question is simple: Are your current limits of liability on your homeowners, boat, and personal auto policies adequate?

    And accidentally injuring a single person who then receives a major jury award is not your only risk. Whether an accident occurs on the road, at a home party, or during an outing on the boat, it can result in injuries to multiple people, creating multiple threats of lawsuit or risks of property damage. For example, a personal auto policy liability limit for damage to property of others in an amount of $50,000 may seem adequate if you strike a single vehicle, but what if you are found liable for a multi-car pileup? Suddenly that $50,000 may seem more like a down payment than total protection.

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    Trusted Choice® Supports Make-A-Wish®

    April 17, 2013 3:46 PM by Staff Writer

    2013 Help Wish Kids Take Flight

    This April, Trusted Choice, will collect frequent flier miles to help Make-A-Wish get wish kids and their families where they need to go.  Many major airlines – including Delta, United and US Airways – enable their frequent flier members to donate to Make-A-Wish.  And donated air miles never expire!

    Please help by contributing any amount of miles you can – 5,000, 25,000 or more.  Every mile you donate helps wish kids take flight.

    Your miles go further this April because celebrity wish granter and WWE Superstar John Cena will match every frequent flier mile donated, up to 4.5 million. And United Airlines will match donated United MileagePlus® award miles, up to 3 million.

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    Calling Home Is Serious Business

    April 4, 2013 11:02 AM by Staff Writer

    Technology is tearing down the walls between our working and personal lives. Nearly one in four employed Americans reports working from home for some portion of the work week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To that telecommuting population, add the self-employed with home offices, the regular working denizens of internet-enabled food establishments, and those citizens who can’t resist checking work messages via tablet or phone even while at social occasions and the number of employees who work away from the traditional office may approach 100 percent.

    From desktop to tablet to smartphone to printer, digital devices have made business possible anywhere, anytime. And that brings us to a key question from your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent: Has your insurance protection successfully made the same transition?

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    How Can I Save Money on My Insurance? Asked and Answered

    March 28, 2013 10:59 AM by Staff Writer

    Earlier this month Trusted Choice® asked fans on Facebook what questions they had about insurance and what they would like to know more about when it comes to coverage and price. Responses ranged from “what to do after an accident” to “Am I covered if…,” but far and away the question on most people’s minds was “How can I save money on my insurance?”

    It’s a common question, and in tough economic times, one that warrants consideration. Of course, keep in mind that the extent of coverage is an important factor that determines the cost of your insurance, so the cheapest policy is not necessarily the best. Your insurance premium is also based partly on the level of risk the insurance company must take in order to provide coverage, so one way to save money is to reduce your risk. Here are a few ways that you might lower the premium on your homeowners and auto insurance, while at the same time taking steps to reduce your risk.

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    Snow Good: Don’t Allow Snow to Accumulate Into a Problem

    March 21, 2013 1:46 PM by Staff Writer

    In December of 2010 the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN, a nationally recognized sports venue, collapsed due to heavy snow accumulation and severe winter weather. Snow and ice accumulation can cause several potential problems for you, so here are some things you should know about snow.

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    How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Life Insurance

    March 14, 2013 9:08 AM by Staff Writer

    Okay, we know life insurance doesn’t rate as high on the “Romance Meter” as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s iconic sonnet or even the classic movie line, “You had me at hello.”

    But the simple fact is that purchasing life insurance is one of the least selfish acts you can perform out of love for another. What else would you call a product whose key purpose is to assure the financial care of others than yourself? Which is designed to enter the picture at the exact moment it is most needed ? your exit? Everlasting love, indeed! Altruism at its finest!

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    Cabin Fever? Make a Home Inventory!

    February 14, 2013 12:58 PM by Staff Writer

    Do you have the winter time blues? Cabin fever? Looking for a way to pass the time? Why not take a few minutes if you’re stuck inside this winter to make a home inventory? If disaster strikes or your home is burglarized and your belongings are destroyed or stolen, a home inventory makes the insurance claims process a lot simpler. Being able to provide a detailed home inventory to a claims adjuster can help you and your insurance company settle on a fair amount for your belongings and it helps you get your possessions replaced quicker. Creating a home inventory doesn’t have to be completely daunting. Here are a few tips for compiling your home inventory:

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    Driving in Snow? Go Nice and Slow!

    February 6, 2013 2:15 PM by Staff Writer

    When staying home is not an option and you must brave winter roads, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent advises you to remember the ageless moral of the tortoise and hare: Slow and easy wins the race.

    From snow blizzards and white-outs to the dreaded black ice, the hazards of winter roadways must be negotiated carefully if you and your vehicle are to arrive at your destination safely. Even with the use of de-icing agents and sand, your chances of slip, sliding away into a ditch, barrier or other car are great. Beyond keeping your vehicle in top winterized condition, caution is the rule of the winter road.

    Here are a few helpful winter safe driving tips direct from the experts at AAA:

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    Three Insurance Resolutions for the New Year

    January 31, 2013 1:16 PM by Staff Writer

    Some people vow to exercise more, or to quit smoking or to read more books, and these are all admirable New Year’s resolutions. But what about resolutions that help provide you with peace of mind, more protection and a little more money in your wallet?  Trusted Choice ® Independent Insurance Agents encourage you to review these three straightforward “insurance resolutions" that can help you start 2013 on the right foot:

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    Don’t Unwrap a Coverage Problem: Insuring Your Gifts

    January 24, 2013 1:43 PM by Staff Writer

    Are you one of the people from the car commercials who will find a surprise in the driveway with a big bow on it Christmas morning? For most of us, the answer is probably not, but just like you’d insure a new car, you may want to look into insuring some other gifts this holiday season. Certain gifts, such as cars, obviously require their own insurance policy, but sometimes it’s not always as clear.

    Most of the gifts that you find in their stockings or under the tree will be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance, but there are a few gifts that may be exceptions to that. Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents encourage you to review your insurance if you unwrap one of these gifts this year:

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    The Insurance Behind Adding a Pet to the Family

    January 7, 2013 1:32 PM by Staff Writer

    A cute puppy or cuddly kitten may seem like a good idea when you're at the pet shop, but Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents recommend considering the risks and liabilities you may also be bringing home.

    A national survey by Trusted Choice® found that 29% of respondents, representing more than 65 million households in the United States, said they have either given or received a pet as a gift. Of those, 73% said they never considered liability or risk factors of pet ownership such as higher insurance rates or the need for specialty coverage.

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    Make 2013 a No-Keys New Year’s Eve

    December 31, 2012 11:59 AM by Staff Writer

    On Monday night, millions of people will ring in the New Year with friends, family, and loved ones. However, amidst all the festivities, toasts, and celebrating, safety can quickly take a backseat to a good time – especially when alcohol is added to the mix.  Impaired driving be deadly but alcohol related crashes cost more than $37 billion annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety  Administration.

    Whether you’re planning to stand in Times Square to see the ball drop or you’re celebrating by throwing a party for friends, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent wants to ensure you usher in 2013 safely. Don’t let your New Year’s celebration turn tragic, follow these safety tips to ring in the New Year responsibly.

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    Holiday Party Hosts Could Be Serving Up Lawsuits

    December 27, 2012 9:59 AM by Staff Writer

    Who is liable if a holiday guest gets food poisoning or drives home drunk? As millions of Americans host and attend holiday parties across the street and across the country, many may be unaware of the risks they may be taking. Party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting people into their homes and serving food and drinks.

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    Cyber Attacks: Protecting Your Small Business from Data Theft

    December 20, 2012 1:42 PM by Staff Writer

    Recently cyber-attacks were back in the news, and the latest attempted victim was the White House. According to an October 1st report from the Washington Post the White House acknowledged that hackers attempted to remove data from a White House computer. While the attempt wasn’t successful thanks to mitigation efforts, the attack should serve as a reminder to all small businesses that they face risks of similar attacks from data thieves, and they may not have the same level of mitigation systems in place.

    In addition to a hacker getting into your system, data theft can occur if an employee’s computer is stolen, or if an unauthorized person is able to access a computer in your office. It could even be a disgruntled employee who carries out data theft. Any business that collects and stores sensitive information from customers, including credit card information, contact information, credit information, social security numbers, medical information, etc. is at risk for data theft.

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    Well, At Least We’re Not Dueling Anymore: Are You Covered If You Damage Someone’s Reputation?

    December 13, 2012 2:29 PM by Staff Writer

    America has just come through a hard-fought election, with negative attacks and mudslinging on both sides. But compared to some of the political disagreements of the past, one might say today’s elections are relatively tame affairs. Early in our nation’s history the sitting Vice President, Aaron Burr, shot and killed former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel that began over political disagreements that turned personal and escalated to a war of words and character attacks in letters and newspapers.  In the early 19th century issues of defamation of character were settled through a complicated “code of honor,” that brought Burr and Hamilton to Weehawken, New Jersey and pistols at dawn. Today, issues of defamation of character are often settled through lawsuits, and if you’re ever caught up in such a situation, it’s important to know that you may be able to turn to your insurance coverage instead of a dueling pistol.

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    Holiday Fire Safety Tips

    December 10, 2012 9:31 AM by Staff Writer

    Approximately 30 million people will celebrate the holiday tradition of buying and decorating a real Christmas tree this year, and thousands more will adorn artificial trees. With such high-value items present, a house fire originating from a Christmas tree can often result in thousands of dollars in losses, even if the fire is localized. Having the proper insurance is the only way to protect the most frequent victim of Christmas tree fires—your new, valuable possessions. Experts agree that most of these fires can be easily prevented. People need to be cautious and use common sense when buying and decorating cut Christmas trees. Many people tend to get wrapped up in the holiday season and purchase their tree too early, leaving it exposed and without water for days or weeks.

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    6 Things to Know About Protecting Personal Information When Shopping Online This Holiday Season

    December 4, 2012 1:25 PM by Staff Writer

    It’s the season of giving, but don’t give away personal information to identity thieves! Between crowded big box stores, packed mall parking lots and long lines, more and more Americans are doing their holiday shopping online. While this has become a tremendous convenience for many people, it comes with a few risks. Here are six ways to make sure your online shopping experience is a jolly one:

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    A Christmas Tree Glow, Not a Blaze

    December 3, 2012 11:33 AM by Staff Writer

    For many Americans, scouting the perfect Christmas tree, whether at the local lot or a rural tree farm, is a treasured holiday tradition.

    If the ambiance and aroma of a real tree far outweigh the convenience of an artificial tree in your home, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) remind you that bringing a real tree into the house also brings a real risk of fire, particularly if the tree is allowed to dry out in a room filled with flammable furniture, carpets, and gifts. Your glowing centerpiece can quickly turn into a flaming disaster. 

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    Get Deals, Not Steals: Tips for Shopping Safely Online

    November 26, 2012 2:44 PM by Staff Writer

    Thanksgiving is over, and the holidays are in full swing, which means stores and malls are bustling with holiday shoppers looking for presents to put under the tree. While some people enjoy the adventure of going from store to store in search of that perfect gift, others seek refuge from the holiday crowds by buying their gifts online.

    While shopping online can be a less stressful and often money-saving alternative, the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home comes with some risks. Cyber attackers and scammers are just waiting to prey on those who don’t properly protect their personal information, such as credit and debit card numbers and bank account information.

    If you’re planning to be one of the millions of people who shop online this holiday season avoid the holiday blues by following these cyber shopping safety tips.

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    Holiday Parking Lot Safety Tips

    November 23, 2012 9:43 AM by Staff Writer

    Malls and shopping centers will be jammed this holiday season. Unpredictable traffic patterns and preoccupied drivers cause thousands of parking lot mishaps that cost consumers millions of dollars each year. Parking lot safety is especially important during the holidays. Consumers should be particularly cautious about where they park because parking lots are also prime territory for thieves, pickpockets, carjackers and vandals.

    Surprisingly, many parking-lot mishaps do not involve two drivers —but rather the result of improper backing into parked vehicles. That increases the likelihood of hit-and-run incidents and the chance that you will be left to pick up the tab. Simple caution is the only real cure to avoid being a victim of parking lot accidents or crime.

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    Safety Tips for Black Friday Shoppers

    November 21, 2012 2:24 PM by Staff Writer

    The day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, is the biggest shopping day of the year.  When it comes to cashing-in on the day’s deals, the motto is “If you snooze you lose.”

    Many stores will open at 12:01 a.m. on Friday and some retailers will even open their doors on Thanksgiving eve in hopes that they can entice people out of their post-turkey dinner food coma. For serious bargain-hunters, the day is the ultimate shopping extravaganza that requires a strategic plan, including store maps and item locations, that’s hatched days in advance. Others take a less organized approach, but are still hungry for a deal or this year’s hottest holiday toy. 

    The combination of too-good-to-be-true deals and shoppers hopped up on copious amounts of caffeine and tryptophan can be dangerous, though. Overzealous drivers can make parking lots a zoo and sleep-deprived shoppers are less likely to pay attention to the road. Unfortunately, Black Friday, which is considered the unofficial start to the holiday season, also brings out thieves, pickpockets, and others who are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers.

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    ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving: If You Go Out, Stay Safe

    November 21, 2012 9:45 AM by Staff Writer

    The Los Angeles Times calls it “Black Wednesday” and Miller Lite refers to it as “Beersgiving.” Both are referring to the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, which has become for many people 21 and older one of the most popular nights of the year to go out and reconnect with friends from high school as they travel back to their hometowns. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Kelton Research for Miller Lite, over half of men ages 21-34 spend Thanksgiving Eve with friends.

    While reconnecting with friends can be an important part of any holiday celebration, Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents want to remind everyone that celebration should always take a back seat to safety, and offer these reminders to make sure that no matter what happens Wednesday night, you can be thankful on Thanksgiving.

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    Fight the Flames: Seven Tips for Protecting Your Home from Fire

    November 20, 2012 2:48 PM by Staff Writer

    In 2011, fire departments in the US responded to over 1.3 million fires that resulted in 3,005 civillian deaths and over $11.6 billion in direct property loss, according to the National Fire Protection Association.  As part of National Fire Prevention Week, Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents offer the following fire prevention and preparedness information:

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    Is Your Home Ready for Winter?

    November 19, 2012 10:53 AM by Staff Writer

    Is your home ready for winter weather? Many consumers don’t realize that lack of preparation could mean unwelcome home damage and unexpected repair expenses. To help families and businesses protect themselves against winter risks and enjoy the season, Trusted Choice® offers tips that can help families prepare for risks and hazards that may come during the winter months.

    Snow or ice is the fifth leading cause of homeowners’ insurance claims. Also, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the average homeowners’ claim for water damage and freezing is a whopping $5,531. Follow these tips to protect you and your home from serious financial liability:

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    We’re Moving In Together, But Are We Covered? Insurance Answers for Unmarried Couples

    November 7, 2012 11:53 AM by Staff Writer

    According to statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, over the past 30 years more and more people live with someone with whom they have a relationship with prior to or instead of getting married- including about half of all men and women under 44 in the most recently available data. No matter the reason, living with your partner when you aren’t married can present some unique (but not impossible!) challenges to making sure you both have the right insurance coverage to protect your belongings and your liability.

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    Fry the Turkey, Not the House!

    November 1, 2012 3:35 PM by Staff Writer

    Thanksgiving is near and visions of fried turkeys already are dancing in more than a few heads.

    Yet even as you are salivating, your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent hastens to caution you. The old joke that men love cooking only if it involves flames and danger is not so funny after an accident. Every year too many folks are harmed and homes are burned due to the combination of large pots of hot oil and big turkeys. Your homeowners insurance may respond for the fire damages and your health insurance for the emergency room visit, but is that really the new Thanksgiving tradition you had in mind?

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    Protection from Luggage Looters and Baggage Bullies

    November 1, 2012 2:04 PM by Staff Writer

    The holidays are a popular time of year to travel – whether it’s to visit family and friends, relax on the beach, or hit the slopes – but taking a vacation during this time of year often means hauling a lot of extra luggage, such as skis, golf clubs, and holiday gifts. The chance of your luggage getting lost or stolen isn’t high – less than one percent of travelers reported mishandled luggage, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2009 Air Travel Consumer Report. Yet baggage-handling accidents and thefts do happen, which is why it’s important to have the proper insurance in place before your depart for your destination.

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    Downloading that Music or Video? Avast, Me Hearty!

    October 30, 2012 11:42 AM by Staff Writer

    No doubt that music video just begs to be shared with your friends. That latest song will be perfect as the soundtrack for your slide show. And look here—a link to that blockbuster that’s still in theaters! Best yet, all yours for the downloading and all free! You gotta love this Internet!

    Piracy, it appears, is no longer just a practice for the high seas. Even if a video or song is publicly posted on popular websites such as Hulu or YouTube, there are rules regulating proper use. For example, here is the paragraph from YouTube’s Terms of Service Agreement for “Your Use of Content”:

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    Halloween Safety Tips

    October 29, 2012 9:17 AM by Staff Writer

    Halloween is just around the corner and many consumers may not realize how scary this ghoulish night might really be for their personal safety, their property…or their pocketbooks. Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents can help families better prepare for Halloween hazards that may come in disguise or under the cloak of dark.

    To help families and businesses have a good time and protect themselves against more scary Halloween risks, Trusted Choice® offers the following safety tips:

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    First Car, First Insurance Question: Does My Teen Driver Need Their Own Policy?

    October 24, 2012 1:52 PM by Staff Writer

    How to insure a teenager’s car has got to be one of the most common questions Trusted Choice ® independent insurance agents get asked year after year. Should parents title and insure a teen driver’s car separately from other cars in the household? This is normally done with an eye to save some premium dollars and to reduce potential liability for the parents- at least on the surface. The reality is that insuring a teen driver’s car separately can actually open some pretty big gaps in coverage that a parent may still find they’re liable for. So here are a few things to consider when deciding whether your teen should have their own policy:

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    Get a Life

    October 23, 2012 3:42 PM by Staff Writer

    Whether by a diligent insurance agent, concerned spouse or family member, chances are you have been asked this question: “Do you have life insurance?”

    For some, life insurance is easily obtained on a group plan as a workplace benefit. Those without this option must purchase life insurance individually on an open market. The life insurance marketplace is highly competitive and there are many products available for purchase. While the vast selection is a good thing for buyers, it can contribute to anxiety for those not sure which type of life insurance is best for them.

    If you are shopping for life insurance for your family and are overwhelmed by all of the choices, the following brief descriptions of some of the more common options may be helpful.

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    Who Let the Dogs Out?

    October 16, 2012 1:41 PM by Staff Writer

    There are times when man’s best friend becomes his worst nightmare. While many dog owners cite “security” as the reason they keep canines, less than 1% of those bitten by dogs are unlawful intruders. A majority of victims—more than 70 %—are children.

    Dog attack victims in the US claim over $1 billion in monetary losses each year, and the number is likely to climb. Costs are rising rapidly; the rate of increase in dog bite injuries requiring medical treatment is 20 times that of the number of dogs.

    Most dog owners understand the risk but may not realize if and how their home insurance will apply if their trusty hound takes a bite out of the neighbor.

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    When You Travel, Do You Need Special Insurance?

    October 11, 2012 11:34 AM by Staff Writer

    Travel- whether you’re hitting the road, hopping a plane or taking a cruise, you’re spending some time away from home and usually are spending some money to do it. But what happens if your trip is interrupted by inclement weather, or an unexpected illness? Travel insurance and specialty medical coverage can give you peace of mind from the moment you book the flights or start the car.

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    Auto and Home Insurance for Unmarried Couples

    October 9, 2012 2:59 PM by Staff Writer

    Sixty years ago, when the 1950 census data was released, it showed that eight in 10 households were occupied by married couples. Fifty years later, the 2000 census data showed that number had declined to just over 50%, signifying a sea change in the typical American household. Almost half of households were occupied by a single individual, roommates or unmarried couples (the 2010 census data is still in the process of being made public).

    If you are in the “living together but not married” category, you should pay close attention to the language in your home and auto insurance policies that specifies which individuals are covered—in insurance terms, the “insureds.”

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    Is a GPS Covered by an Auto Policy?

    October 9, 2012 1:57 PM by Staff Writer

    Some may view them as science fiction gone wild. Others see them as indispensable, possibly life-saving tools. Regardless of your feelings about Global Positioning Systems (GPS), they continue to occupy the dashboards of millions of U.S. vehicles each year. The pervasiveness and expense of the technology has drivers asking if their GPS systems are covered by auto insurance.

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    Prepare your home for winter now

    October 9, 2012 1:08 PM by Staff Writer

    Old Man Winter will soon be unleashing his full fury. Is your home ready for the onslaught of snow, ice and cold winds? If not, the time to prepare is now, before the first storm strikes and your home suffers significant damage from the freezing temps and winter conditions.

    Typical homeowners insurance policies protect against winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, wind and damage caused by the weight of ice or snow. But you can save yourself a huge headache and probably higher insurance premiums by acting now to head off these winter-caused damages.

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    Downside of Online: Cyber Crime & Stolen Data

    October 9, 2012 1:04 PM by Staff Writer

    How safe is private information when stored electronically?

    You may not want to know the answer to that question. But if you’re just a bit curious, consider visiting

    The site allows you to scroll through a frequently updated chronological list of reported breaches of private data. Some data are lifted from large companies everyone’s heard of. What’s surprising is how many of the breaches occur at smaller organizations.

    The information on this site should serve as proof that when it comes to the safety of personal data, businesses big and small must be on alert!

    While it’s the large breaches that make headlines—think Citigroup or Bank of America—smaller businesses may be at a greater risk. They often lack the infrastructure and resources to protect from cyber criminals. 

    What does a cyber crime cost? According to the Ponemon Institute’s First Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study, published in July 2010, a business can expect to pay an average of $204 per customer record that is lost or stolen.

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    What You Need to Know About Shady Home Contractors, Remodeling & Hiring Day Laborers

    October 9, 2012 12:40 PM by Staff Writer

    Ah, summertime, and the living is easy. Perfect for sitting in the shade out back with a cold drink. You may even decide this is the perfect time to finally add that deck, enlarge the patio for cookouts, or put in that new landscaping with a couple of strategically placed trees perfect for a comfortable hammock.

    But then the nightmare stories of friends and neighbors intrude. Those landscaping contractors who proved trees weren’t the only things shady. The day laborer whose total disregard for the safety of himself or others became a liability nightmare. And the friend who forever replaced Tim of “Home Improvement” as the perfect reason not to become a “do-it-yourself” by rolling that rented backhoe over on himself.

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    Condos: Easy Living, Tough Insurance

    October 9, 2012 12:00 PM by Staff Writer

    Do you own a condominium? To you, condo ownership may represent a feasible way to home ownership. Or maybe it represents a second residence in some exotic location you like to visit. Or maybe it’s an investment to generate rental income. Regardless of why you own, understand that insuring a condo is much different than insuring a traditional home.

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    Who Wants to Be You? Identity Theft a Common Risk for Consumers

    October 9, 2012 11:26 AM by Staff Writer

    Nine million. That’s how many Americans have their identities stolen each year, estimates the Federal Trade Commission.

    From January 2005 until November 2011, a staggering 543 million personal records were breached, reported the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The FTC noted that, in half of the criminal incidents in 2005, thieves obtained goods or services worth $500 or less. In 10 percent of cases, thieves stole at least $6,000.

    ID theft has only been a crime since 1998, when Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, but it’s escalated as a problem. Not only do criminals use identity theft to steal assets, they also commit crimes in the name and character of the victim.

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    Mobile Devices: Does Insurance Tag Along?

    October 9, 2012 9:29 AM by Staff Writer

    Mobile information devices like PDAs and MP3 players occupy the bags and pockets of tens of millions of Americans. These devices can be pricey, often costing hundreds of dollars. The cost to obtain the information programmed on these gizmos can be exponentially more. If your portable device is damaged or stolen, will these costs be covered by your insurance?

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    Back to School, Back to Practice: What You Need to Know About Your Insurance as a Volunteer Coach

    October 4, 2012 3:59 PM by Staff Writer

    As children return to school across the country, families know that can also mean a return to the practice field, whether through school sports teams or community sports programs and often parents may find themselves on the sidelines as a volunteer coach. It can be especially rewarding to teach children the skill sets of a sport or to impart important life lessons about winning, losing and sportsmanship, but volunteers should also know that being a volunteer coach may impact their personal insurance coverage. 

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    Not Owned, Not Covered, Not Good!

    October 4, 2012 11:23 AM by Staff Writer

    As the fall approaches across the United States, millions of young people will embark on that great journey we call life on a college campus. Others entering their golden years and their families will consider the benefit of moving into an assisted living facility. Still others, uninterested in or unable to secure a home loan, will choose to move into an apartment or rental home.

    What does each of the above circumstances have in common?

    None of them own the home in which they are living—thus preventing them from purchasing a standard home insurance policy.

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    Time to Winterize!

    October 3, 2012 11:15 AM by Staff Writer

    As the first leaves hit the ground and those fall breezes turn from cool to cold, it’s time to prepare for winter. Whether that means snowstorms and ice or just the heavy chills many experienced in last year’s milder season, experts advise preparing your home for whatever Old Man Winter has in store.

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    5 Things to Discuss with Your Teen Driver

    September 27, 2012 2:14 PM by Staff Writer

    Driving can open up new opportunities for teens but with those opportunities comes responsibility. It’s important for teens to understand those responsibilities and for parents to set appropriate expectations. With school starting shortly it’s a good time to sit down with your teen driver and have a discussion about your rules and expectations on how they use a car, whether they have their own or borrow yours. Here are five subjects you’ll want to cover with your teenager when it comes to driving.

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    Cleaning up the Mess

    September 27, 2012 11:42 AM by Staff Writer

    It’s after the wind blows or the fire burns. The insured is sifting through the rubble of what used to be his commercial building, looking for any savable scraps of what used to be.

    The good news is that the loss is covered and the insured will be getting a check for the cost to replace the building. The better news is that the policy limit was adequate and the insured will not suffer the consequence of coinsurance. But it’s not over.

    The insured discovers that, due to increased demand resulting from widespread damage, hiring a contractor to remove the debris will be more expensive than anticipated. But that shouldn’t be a problem because the policy limit is adequate…right?

    Most commercial property policies will cover the cost to remove debris resulting from a covered cause of loss. However, coverage may be limited or excluded depending on a few important factors addressed in the policy.

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    Photos of the Trusted Choice bike from Orange County Choppers

    September 21, 2012 3:29 PM by Staff Writer

    Trusted Choice and Orange County Choppers teamed up to build an unbelievable bike - all for charity! Check out the pictures of the official Trusted Choice Orange County Chopper!

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    Be Ready When the Wind Starts Blowing: Hurricane Preparedness

    September 19, 2012 3:50 PM by Staff Writer

    “Well the wind is blowing harder now
    Fifty knots or thereabouts
    There’s whitecaps on the ocean
    And I’m watching for waterspouts
    It’s time to close the shutters
    It’s time to go inside”

    - Jimmy Buffett, Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

    Who knew that when he wasn’t searching for his lost shaker of salt, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett was singing about hurricane preparedness? While hurricanes and tropical storms are often associated with the southeastern coastal United States, in 2011 Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene caused significant damage in Vermont and upstate New York and, while they're more rare, Pacific tropical storms have impacted California as recently as 2009. As we enter the peak of hurricane season, here are tips for before, during and after a storm to help you prepare your home and family.

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    Collectors Paradise: How Do You Protect Your Unique Treasures?

    September 19, 2012 1:58 PM by Staff Writer

    In 2007, the most expensive and rare baseball card in the world, a 1909 Honus Wagner tobacco card sold at auction for $2.35 million dollars.  While most collectibles don’t come close to that kind of value, collections- whether it’s baseball cards, coins, stamps or art, tend to not only have sentimental value to their owner, but often financial value as well. If you own a collection, you’ll want to protect it. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your collections:

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    Labor Day Barbecue Idea: Don’t Get Burned on Your Insurance

    September 3, 2012 2:27 PM by Staff Writer

    While the great menu debate between hot dogs vs. hamburgers will likely rage on for years, one Labor Day barbecue idea is making sure you don’t get burned on your insurance coverage. Here are some statistics from the National Fire Protection Association over the last five years:

    • U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
    • More than one-quarter (29%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.
    • In 50% of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 55% of the outside gas grills, and 36% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.

    The good news? That homeowners policy recommended by your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent should cover accidental damages such as the above whether you burn down your house or the whole neighborhood.

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    Home Fire Escape Plans Save Lives

    September 3, 2012 10:35 AM by Staff Writer

    Fall is officially here, and with it comes the National Fire Protection Agency’s National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9 -15. This year’s theme is “Protect Your Family from Fire,” which makes now a good time to come up with a fire evacuation plan or review the one your family already has in place.

    A small fire can escalate into a major blaze in less than a minute, and a sound escape plan greatly reduces fire-related deaths and protects your family if a fire occurs. Whether you have established an fire evacuation route or are coming up with one now, these are some important safety reminders and instructions you can you use when reviewing or planning your home evacuation plan.

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    Insuring Your Student’s Home Away from Home

    September 1, 2012 10:16 AM by Staff Writer

    When students go off to college they usually take their computers, TVs, stereo equipment, most of their wardrobe, and anything else that they can cram into the car. Whether they’re taking all their worldly possessions or just enough to get by, they’ll need insurance to cover the things in their dorm room or apartment. So before they take off for college, make sure they’re covered by your homeowner’s insurance or a separate renter’s policy.

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    Grill On: Safety Tips for Outdoor Grilling

    August 27, 2012 8:56 AM by Staff Writer

    Labor Day weekend signifies the unofficial end of summer, the closing of swimming pools, and the start of the NFL and college football seasons. For a lot of people this weekend also means partaking in an outdoor culinary ritual known as grilling.

    Nothing spoils a picnic or cookout faster than a fire, so before you throw the brats, burgers, and dogs on the grill, read these safety tips. Trusted Choice® independent agents enjoy a good cookout, but they would prefer not to pay you a visit because you accidentally grilled your home.

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    Trusted Choice® Pledge of Performance

    August 17, 2012 11:52 AM by Staff Writer

    Trusted Choice® agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy.

    As a Trusted Choice® agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy. This commitment means we shall:

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