Puppy Shopping? Avoid the Insurance Doghouse
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but when you introduce your new friend to your home insurance company, watch out. Some breeds make the unofficial “Bad Dog” list – which may mean higher premiums, or even worse, difficulty in obtaining insurance coverage.
While you see your dog as a family member, your insurance company sees him or her as a liability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Insurance companies must look at the bottom line and gauge the risk your dog poses. Below are five breeds that make insurance companies howl.
Owners claim this breed is unfairly judged; insurance companies are wary. One study reports that Pit Bull type dogs were responsible for 32 percent of deaths from dog bites.
Originally bred as herding dogs, Rottweilers are calm and confident, but very protective. Their strength and bark can intimidate strangers.
Known for their intelligence, German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds used for police work. As a house pet, they must have proper socialization training.
Dobermans were originally used as protection, so their size and inherent need to protect and defend make them easy targets for shady breeders and dog fight promoters.
Originating in China, Chow Chows are one of the oldest dog breeds around. These dogs are fiercely protective and dislike strangers, a combination your insurance company doesn’t like.
To some owners, the companionship offered by a dog outweighs a potential premium increase; for others, it’s a deciding factor when picking out a puppy. Regardless, the worst thing you can do is not change your policy. So, be honest with your insurance company, and you won’t end up in the dog house.
It’s summer: Is Your Deck Where It’s at…or Where it Was?
Ah summer. Is there anything better than sitting on the deck with family and friends, cold drink in hand and burgers sizzling on the BBQ? Yes, your patio is calling. Unfortunately, it’s calling for help.
If your deck isn’t up to the demands of another busy summer season, why not give it the TLC it deserves? And while you’re at it, make it special with some of the latest fixes guaranteed to turn a has-been deck into a happening spot.
Add some variety
Try mixing and matching to revitalize your deck. Your railing doesn’t have to be made from the same material as the flooring; a metal or iron railing provides instant contrast to your existing deck. Or add post caps. These are versatile and available in any color or size to top off your perfect railing.
If you don’t need to overhaul the structure, accessorize; why not add some multi-functional furniture, lights, or nature to your deck? Instead of building a railing around a low-lying deck, surround it with a hedge for a private, colorful solution that is relatively maintenance-free.
Light up the night
If you already have a gazebo on your deck, try lining the inside with net lights. These tiny lights aren’t just for Christmas anymore; for a small investment, you can add an intimate glow that will extend the use of your deck through summer well into fall.
Outdoor life is what summer is all about; this year, why not make your deck outdoor central?
Today’s Foodies are Turning to “Social Cooking”
Visiting the latest restaurant used to be a way of life; now it’s all about DIY.
“Social cooking” has become the new way to entertain, as everything from cooking parties and gourmet groups to those blasts from the past, potluck suppers and fondue experiences, are bringing foodies together at home.
We’re seeing the rise of cooking “events,” attended by groups of friends.
Celebrating a birthday or promotion? You can hire a local chef to demonstrate techniques and help attendees craft their special meal at home.
Or a group of like-minded foodies can get together to prepare a meal, then sit down to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Even easier – and just as much fun – are potluck suppers.
Once the purview of young couples who couldn’t afford to wine and dine friends on their own, a potluck supper now becomes a showcase for guests’ signature dishes and an opportunity to try something new.
Many guests bring copies of their recipes to share.
The fondue party is another retro alternative. But with a twenty-first-century twist. Today’s foodies have switched up the 60s throwback, beef fondue, to make it healthier; strips of raw beef and veggies are cooked in beef stock – not boiling oil as before – then dipped in healthy sauces such as guacamole.
With social cooking, the focus is on the food and the company, not so much the environment. This mindset marks a shift in how we think about entertaining.
Perhaps with “foodtainment” gaining popularity through TV shows such as The Chew, we now see cooking as a way to connect in an old/new way.
Hosting a fondue party may make food the center of activity, but the conversation is wide ranging, there’s lots of laughter, and maybe even a trivia game to play during dinner.
And not a smartphone in sight.
Insure Your Hot Summer Ride With Seasonal Insurance
Winter, spring, summer and fall. Each season has its unique characteristics. But depending on where you live, one season may last longer than the others. Do you tough it out through a long, harsh Vermont winter? Or do you escape to the beaches of sunny Florida? Either way, you quite possibly will need a vehicle that you may not use the rest of the year. Whether you’ve got sand in your tires – or snow – seasonal auto insurance is an affordable way to insure a car that has limited seasonal use.
A seasonal auto insurance policy can be as minimal or as comprehensive as you want. You still must meet legal minimum liability requirements, but after that it depends on the primary purpose of your vehicle. If you’re tooling around in a summer Jeep, you may not need as much coverage as for a four-wheel drive used as a snow plow. It’s a good idea to obtain collision as well as uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Short-term coverage is typically more affordable, but your premiums are still subject to normal factors, including your driving history, the vehicle make and model, and location. Compare the cost of a temporary policy with a full-year policy to see which one would provide the most protection at the best price.
You also might consider using a temporary policy when transporting a car you just purchased or when borrowing a vehicle from a friend for an extended period of time. Remember, if you’re driving, make sure you’re insured.