Games Can Change Your Commute from Boring to Brilliant, plus Auto Liability Information

Three Insurance Mistakes You REALLY Don’t Want to Make

Sometimes we make mistakes because we don’t know and don’t ask. This is often the case with insurance, so here are three important general insurance mistakes to avoid: Not carrying the right policy: Just because you can buy a certain type of policy doesn’t mean it’s the best fit for what you want to insure, even if it is cheaper. For example, standard auto insurance is cheaper than collector car insurance, so many people insure their valuable collector cars with standard auto insurance, just as they would any other car. In fact, collector cars should be insured on an agreed-value or stated-value basis. They present different risks than other cars, so a standard policy may be insufficient or not even cover a claim. Discuss what you want to insure and the kind of protection you want with your insurance agent. Failing to read your policy: Insurance policies can be a bit long-winded, but read them to understand what protection you have – or don’t have. Failing to do this can be devastating. For example, a large number of homeowners whose homes were completely destroyed in Hurricane Katrina learned – after the storm – that homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Leaving coverage gaps: Learn exactly how your policy works. Take homeowners insurance, for example. There’s quite a gap between insuring your home at replacement cost versus its market or appraised values. If you know how the policy works, you won’t be left with a gap, nor will you pay for more insurance than you need.

Games Can Change Your Commute from Boring to Brilliant

There are many millions of commuters across North America – 128.3 million in the US alone. They commute by train, subway, bus, bicycle, car…and nearly every one of them hates it. The global average commute is 40 minutes. According to research, a commute of more than 30 minutes diminishes life satisfaction and may spike blood pressure. In other words, the average commuter isn’t healthy…or wasn’t. Now that interactive gaming has arrived, the trip seems faster, blood pressure is stable, and anxiety reduced. Commuters are actually having fun on that used-to-be-awful ride to work. However, as  reports, there are two problems facing commuting gamers: First, many modes of transport don’t have Internet access, so your Angry Birds Season 2014 won’t work on your train commute. Second, you should be able to play your favorite game with one hand while holding the safety strap with the other. The digital game, Cart-Load-O-Fun (CLOF), has the second issue covered. A research project developed in Exertion Labs at the University of Melbourne, Australia, CLOF can be installed on buses, trams, or trains. Two players work together to move a dot around a laptop screen by manipulating pads fixed to safety straps. In the YouTube demo, passengers loved it! While CLOF isn’t for drivers, they and their passengers can still have fun (and be safe) on their commute with Licence Plate Poker, Dashboard Scrabble and more. Check out the oldie-but-goodie website,, for games drivers can play. And don’t suffer through your commute. Play something!

This Month’s Smile: Teenage Angst

The teenage years are described as “that awkward moment between your birth and your death.” Or maybe more…

Teenage Angst #5004: Not paying attention. With dire consequences. Like the 9th grader who accidentally transcribed a conversation with her best friend about a boy she liked into the school newspaper’s horoscope section.

Teenage Angst #387: Communication failure. Example: the boy who finally decides to confess his undying love to his secret crush but slipped the note into the wrong locker.

Teenage Angst # 4: Domestic miscommunication: “My parents say it’s their house, but when it’s time to clean, it magically becomes my house too.” Ah, those awkward but instructive moments!

Do You Have Enough Auto Liability Coverage?

When buying auto insurance, you may be tempted to opt for the liability limits your state legally requires you to carry, and pay lower premiums. However, this can be a dangerous decision. If you’re at fault for an accident, the liability portion of your policy would pay for two things:

  • Bodily injury liability would pay for another person’s medical expenses.
  • Property damage liability would pay for damage you cause to another person’s property.

If damages and medical expenses exceed the policy’s limits, you’re responsible for them out-of-pocket. If you can’t pay out-of-pocket, you could be sued, and if found liable by courts, your assets could be seized or wages garnisheed. According to the AAA, the average auto accident costs roughly $26,000. In some states, required liability limits would barely begin to cover the costs of repairing or replacing vehicles, other property damage, or medical expenses. For example, Ohio only requires $12,500 in bodily injury coverage and $7,500 in property damage protection. If you plow into a Porsche with two people inside who require emergency medical care, you could end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars from your own pocket because of insufficient coverage. Carry at least $50,000/$100,000 in bodily injury liability (limit per person/limit per accident respectively), and $25,000 in property damage. If that’s too costly, carry $25,000/$25,000 plus $25,000 for six months to a year, and step it up the following year. You’re unlikely to see skyrocketing rates, because you’re establishing “financial responsibility” as a policyholder, meaning cheaper rates in the long run – another reason minimum coverage isn’t really the cheapest. Carrying state minimum liability simply means you’re legal to be on the road – it doesn’t mean you have sufficient protection. Talk with your insurance agent to find a coverage you feel adequately protects you. Then be confident that your financial future is secure – at least insurance-wise.

Recipe: Coconut Braised Spinach and Chickpeas Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup seeded and chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger


Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to brown – about 5 minutes. Add garlic, pepper and lemon zest and stir for another 3 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook over high heat for a few minutes until everything is coated with the onion and garlic mixture. Add spinach in several batches until all is included and wilted. Add coconut milk, salt, ginger, and lemon juice. Lower heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until everything is warmed through. If needed, add more salt and lemon juice.