5 Tips To Keep In Mind When Buying Insurance

This Sunday, June 28, is National Insurance Awareness Day. Given data indicating that about 13 percent of drivers in the US do not have insurance and that a staggering 50 percent of residents may not have adequate homeowners insurance coverage, Financial Partners Credit Union – a California-based credit union with over 84,000 members and their own in-house insurance agency – is sharing important tips to “ensure” that you aren’t vulnerable when an accident or damage happens and it’s time to file a claim.

“Many times, we see drivers and homeowners opting for the lowest cost option when it comes to insurance,” says Mario Osorio, President of Partnership Insurance Agency, a wholly owned subsidiary of Financial Partners Credit Union. “While we all want to save money, it’s important to ensure that you have adequate coverage and that your deductible is appropriate. In the event of an accident or damage to your home, you could end up spending much more without proper coverage.”

Here are some basics to keep in mind when purchasing and maintaining insurance – whether homeowners, renters, or auto – the same rules of thumb apply. 

Rule #1: Shop Smart! Price is an important factor for your budget; however, your monthly payment or annual cost should not be the determining factor when it comes to insurance. First, look at what your lender requires as your baseline. For example: what is the maximum allowable deductible? What are the minimum coverages? Then, assess how you may want to add-on to those requirements based on your personal needs. Working with an insurance agent can help you ensure you have the proper coverages.

Rule #2: Avoid Monthly Payments if Possible: While it’s certainly budget-friendly to take the monthly payment option when it comes to premium payments, you can save when you pay quarterly, every six months or annually if you’re able. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your coverage is secure, and you can save a few hundred dollars or even more in the process.

Rule #3: Look for Deductions: With auto, renters and homeowners insurance, you can qualify for deductions based on some “hacks” like having a surveillance system installed in your home, having a tracking device on your car or other tactics that can save you money and provide added security. Also, if you keep your car in a garage at night instead of parking on the street – you can save! There are many little hacks to save money that a qualified professional can help you determine.

Rule #4: Never Let Coverage Lapse: If money is tight – as it may be considering the current economic climate – it’s important NOT to let your insurance coverage lapse. If your policy falls behind, the insurance company may cancel your coverage which not only puts you at risk but also could mean a higher premium when you re-apply. Additionally, many lenders will “buy insurance coverage on your behalf,” which gets added to your auto or home loan. “If you’re having trouble making insurance payments, it’s important to reach out to your insurance agent right away to discuss ways to avoid cancellation,” Osorio says. “We’re here to assist and often can help determine strategies to help you maintain coverage.”

Rule #5: Re-Evaluate Your Insurance Annually: Circumstances change so it’s important to look at your insurance coverage regularly to make sure it still meets your needs and that you are getting the best coverage for the money. Additionally, an annual review helps you plan for potential issues. For example, if you know you will be adding a teen to your auto policy, you may want to talk to your insurance agent in advance to determine the best policy adjustments.

“One of the many benefits of a credit union over other financial institutions is that we are member-owned and not for profit. This means as a member, you are part owner. So we are always looking for added benefits like insurance services, to help our members save money,” says Osorio. “We want to help our members stay financially fit – which includes looking at their coverage to make sure members aren’t caught off guard or worse, uninsured and that they aren’t overpaying for their coverage. Basically, at Financial Partners Credit Union, we’re committed to helping our members build their best financial lives.”


Thinking About Self-Publishing? Read This

Did I ever tell you that one of my brothers wrote a book? I mean, I think I did, in a blog post about it a while back. It was something he had wanted to do for a long time and he finally did it. When it first became available to buy his book was in the top 200 on Amazon..I think it was back then. Which, when you consider all the books on Amazon that’s not too bad. Want to know something else? He self-published his book.

My brother wrote Night of the Dancing Puppets which is a horror genre. Some people say it fits in with the popular game “Five Nights At Freddy’s” I’ve never played that game or saw the movie so I can’t personally speak on that. What I do know is that it was a constant up and down adrenaline rush. My brother has lived in Florida for many years and you get a sense that the book takes place in Florida.

This book is not recommended for children as it is a horror book and some profanity is used in the book. To self-publish, he went through a site called fastpencil.com but I’m sure there are other sources as well. There are also publishing companies that can help with reviewing, printing, publishing, etc but of course there is more cost involved with that. I think if I decided I wanted to write a book someday I’d go the self-publishing route too.

Being that my brother had self-published this book and never wrote a book before, I thought this was a pretty good start. I know he was talking about doing a sequel to the book but I don’t know where he is on the process of that. I know it can take a long time until a book is finally finished and ready for shelves.

You may be shocked to know some pretty famous authors have self-published at some point or another like Mark Twain. Did you know John Grisham and Tom Clancy started off self-publishing? This an interesting piece of information from an article on the huffpost website:

Tom Clancy’s first novel, The Hunt for Red October was acquired by the Naval Institute Press in Annapolis, Md., when an editor there, Deborah Grosvenor, became enthralled by Clancy’s novel, convinced she had a potential bestseller in her hands.

Sam Haskell also talks about self-publishing books. He wrote the book Promises I Made My Mother. Sam Haskell has an impressive resume including being an Emmy nominated producer.

So in the end, I guess what I’m trying to say is that, self-publishing can be done. If you checked out any of the links in this post then there is hope for new authors with big dreams and small budgets

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.


American’s Finances Are Changing During The Pandemic

If you have read just about any financial report even pre-COVID-19 then you know there were already a good chunk of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. But this pandemic has cause increased financial stress for many areas of business and many households.

In a survey completed by Clever Real Estate on April 28, they surveyed 1000 homeowners and 1000 renters. Here are some highlight and noteworthy statistics from their April COVID-19 Financial Report

  • 64% of renters are concerned about being able to pay rent in the coming months
  • Home buyers were 5.5x more likely to put their buying plans on hold for the foreseeable future in April compared to March
  • 33% of homeowners are concerned about their ability to pay their mortgage in the coming months
  • 40% of respondents said they were receiving unemployment benefits because of job loss or other reason. More than half of those said it’s not enough to cover their expenses.
  • More than 25% of people that were planning to sell their homes have put off that decision due to the pandemic. This is a sharp increase from only 3.5% in March.
  • More than 50% of Americans are concerned about feeding their families

The report is worth checking out to get a better idea of American’s financial situation. If you’re planning on buying or selling a home soon these statistis could be some valuable resources for bargaining.

Yet another issue is those who are self-employed. Those that are self employed aren’t able to get unemployment benefits. I talked to one small business owner who did get access to some of the resources our state was offering for small businesses but it’s not enough. He actually said “I’ll put myself in a lot of debt before I let my business fail” This has led him to try new avenues for his business that could be new services for the future. In a way, I think the businesses that do find new ways to offer their services legally are the ones that will survey and perhaps even prosper.

Yet another small business owner I talked to owns food stands and makes their living by traveling to fairs, community events, etc With so many being canceled their income is gone. This has led many to get more creative with setting up locally, taking orders locally, and more.

Sadly, with many businesses having to close all together during the pandemic and others working at a small capacity, job availability is not always there. Even as many states and counties enter re-opening phases, business are expected to follow social distancing guidelines and run at a reduced capacity. With businesses running at only 50% capacity some small business owners are saying it’s hard to make a profit.

There are small business loans available and self employed loans for those determined to keep their business going during the pandemic. Be sure to shop around though to get the best rates.

Check your state resources for self employed and small business assistance as well. Pennsylvania did have an option for each category.

This post is sponsored by Diamond Links. Any opinions expressed are my own.


Don’t Be Fooled By Influx of Coronavirus Scams

The National Consumer League (NCL) is warning consumers of an expected rise in Coronavirus related scams. Scammers are looking to take advantage of fearful customers by offering fake products, spoof calls/emails, and more.

“When news captures the public’s attention – think major hurricanes, terrorist attacks, and economic slowdowns – scammers come out of the woodwork to take advantage of legitimate fears and concerns,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “With coronavirus dominating the news globally, there is an unprecedented opportunity for criminals to use the public’s fears about the virus and the resulting economic downturn to defraud consumers.”

The NCL is working to educate customers before they fall for one of these scams.

Coronavirus-related robocalls

Robocalls are, at the very least, a major annoyance for most consumers. However, as the coronavirus has upended daily life, robocall operators have quickly shifted to blasting out spam phone calls offering all manner of coronavirus-related products and services. YouMail, a cloud-based telecommunications provider that tracks robocall volumes, estimates that at least one million robocalls per day are inundating Americans’ cell phones. Fraudulent robocallers are offering air duct sanitation services, work-from-home opportunities, cut-rate health insurance, and immune-system boosting nutritional supplements. Other robocalls have reportedly offered free insulin kits to diabetics, along with free coronavirus testing kits.

“At best, consumers who respond to these calls are setting themselves up to lose money for a non-existent product or service,” said John Breyault, director of NCL’s Fraud.org campaign. “At worst, delaying needed emergency treatments on the belief that a fake coronavirus treatment will save your life could be deadly to you and those you come into contact with.”

NCL’s advice to consumers is simple:

  1. If you receive a call from a number you don’t recognize, the safest course of action is simply to ignore the call.
  2. If you answer a call and suspect it’s a robocall, simply hang up. Don’t press any of the numbers the message tells you to.
  3. Never give any personal information, such as financial account number, Social Security number, full name, or mailing address to someone who contacts you via an unsolicited phone call or text message.
  4. Do not click on any links sent to you via text message from someone you don’t know. They could lead you to malware or phishing websites.
  5. If you’re being inundated by robocalls, your cellular provider may offer services that will increase the likelihood that the calls will be blocked.

Stimulus check scams

Last week, President Trump signed the biggest stimulus bill in U.S. history into law. Most American adults will receive a stimulus of $1,200 or more in the coming weeks thanks to the legislation. Crooks are already using these promised payments as a way to defraud consumers. Scams that have been reported involve crooks promising to expedite payment in exchange for a fee, impersonating a government official, and requesting sensitive personal information in order to process a check. Inaccurate social media posts have also circulated suggesting that consumers need to fill out the 2020 Census before they can receive a stimulus check.

“Stimulus checks will help millions of American households weather the coming economic downturn,” said Breyault. “Unfortunately, the phrase ‘free money from the government’ is magic to scammers’ ears. Consumers should be on the lookout for fraudsters who will try to use the coming stimulus checks to steal their money.”

Consumers can protect themselves from these scams by learning to spot these red flags:

  • The stimulus checks will be deposited automatically by direct deposit into consumers’ bank accounts for the vast majority of citizens who filed their taxes last year. Consumers without a bank account on record with the IRS will receive a paper check, but it may take several weeks longer to arrive than those who have bank accounts.
  • Anyone who emails, texts, messages, or calls you claiming to be able to expedite your stimulus check is a scammer.
  • Anyone who contacts you requesting sensitive information like PayPal account details, bank account information, or credit card numbers is trying to scam you.
  • Your answers to the Census, and whether you’ve completed it, have no impact on your eligibility for a stimulus check.

NCL asks consumers to share their stories by filing a complaint at Fraud.org via its secure online complaint form. Complaints are shared with NCL’s network of nearly 200 law enforcement and consumer protection agency partners who can and do put fraudsters behind bars.

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneering consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.


Science Resource for Homeschooling: Greg Landry Homeschool Science

This post is sponsored by College Prep Science.

My kids love science. It’s one of their favorite classes in school. Homeschoolers don’t have to miss out on the science projects and education. Greg Landry is a veteran in the homeschool science subject.

Greg Landry is a homeschool science pioneer and offers online classes (for science leaning students and “non-science” students, science labs, ACT prep, a podcast for homeschool moms, and homeschool student-produced print publications.

Greg says he is first and foremost grateful. “The Lord has made me very aware of my need for a grateful heart. I’m grateful for a God who knows me and loves me (with all of my faults), for my family, for the thousands of homeschooling families I’ve had the privilege of  working with over the past 20 years, for the magnificence of His Creation, and for the trials in my life (James 1:2-4 ) that shape and mold me, humble me, produce perseverance, and mature me in my faith.”

Greg is a husband to his bride of 30+ years, a homeschool dad, and a former college professor. He and his wife homeschooled their two daughters. Both of them have graduated from college, and Greg says, “most importantly, both of them love Jesus. For that, we are very grateful.”  He grew up in French / Acadian South Louisiana (three of his grandparents were French speakers) and he loves the South Louisiana culture. At age 18 was invited to tryout with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball organization. He played baseball and football in college and holds a master of science degree from LSU (Louisiana State University).

He has a heart for students and a passion for science… but more specifically a passion for teaching students to see God’s hand in every aspect of His creation that surrounds us. His goal is to help them see that God’s creation didn’t just happen by chance – it wasn’t an accident, a fluke of nature.

Greg has spent the past 20+ years teaching science. He taught at a university, taught thousands of homeschooled students, has mentored students planning to pursue science / pre-med degrees, has designed and directed a university anatomy and physiology/biology cadaver lab, has published and presented scientific research, has academically counseled hundreds of college pre-professional (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, etc.) sophomores and juniors, has designed science labs for homeschooled students, and has written science lab manuals. 

Ten years ago he originated the “pre” classes (Pre-Biology, Pre-Anatomy & Physiology, Pre-Chemistry, and Pre-Physics) as a means of minimizing the intimidation of high school level science and preparing middle school age students for specific high school level classes. As one homeschool mom described it, “Greg has a unique ability to pull out the most important information and present it in a way that’s interesting and easy to understand.”

The thrust of Greg Landry homeschool science is to give homeschooled students access to Christian Worldview science that is focused on scientific inquiry, critical thinking, process reasoning, data collection, and the graphical and written representation of research. Greg says, “we want to prepare competent, confident students for their remaining high school years, their college years, and life. 

Greg and his wife live near Nashville, TN. His desire is to follow the Lord’s leading in teaching students to illuminate the incredible creation the Lord has put all around us. It reveals His glory!

​Homeschool dad, scientist, and former college professor, Greg Landry, offers live, online homeschool science classes, Homeschool ACT Prep Bootcamp, the Homeschool Mom’s Science Podcast, in-person two-day science lab intensives nationwide, freebies for homeschool moms, and student-produced homeschool print publications.