Happy Holidays!

Happy New Year! It’s Time to Review Your Insurance Coverage
Exercise more. Eat better. Learn something new. It must be New Year’s resolution time again. As 2016 approaches, it’s a good opportunity to make New Year’s insurance resolutions by reviewing your coverage and deciding if changes are needed. As you examine your policies, consider making these resolutions for next year:

Update home inventory: Is your home inventory up to date? What have you sold, donated, or pitched in the past year? What devices will the family splurge on this Christmas? An up-to-date home inventory is essential to make the most of your coverage in case of theft or disaster. Include all items and their cost. Store this list off-site or in the cloud.

Assess car policies: Does your vehicle coverage accurately reflect your car’s value? As autos age, you may want to reduce coverage. Who drives the car? Are primary and occasional drivers designated properly?

Check for savings: Are you currently taking advantage of every savings opportunity? A call to your agent will be worthwhile. Check for new programs, multiline discounts, and changes in policy requirements; they may save you a few bucks in the coming year.

Life changes: Be sure to discuss with your agent any life changes, such as marriage, divorce, death, or births as well as home purchases, renovations, job changes, and health concerns. These can impact your insurance needs and may affect everything from your homeowner and life insurance policies to health insurance. You may even need commercial insurance if you’re starting your own company in the new year.

This Month’s Smile: Kids’ Letters to Santa
Christmas Letter

Ever since 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote the editors of the-then New York Sun newspaper querying whether there was a Santa Claus, kids have been curious and sometimes even scared by the jolly old gift-giver.

Virginia’s 1897 letter may have inspired these kids (who wrote right to the source) courtesy of Timbuktu.me…with grammar and spelling intact.

“If you bring presents with batteries, bring batteries.” D.K.

“I have been a good boy. Will you please bring me presents. I will leave cookies and milk on the fireplace.” Todd

“Do you go to the bathroom at peoples houses?” Devin C

“If we get a dog we would be happyer thin ever if we don’t we would be sad – but still like you!” Porter.

Helping (Parents) Deal with Math Anxiety

Math anxiety is a common affliction affecting 10-20 percent of the adult population. But more alarming, children can catch it from their parents.

In a recent New York Times article, writer Jan Hoffman refers to the findings of an interesting study reported in the journal Psychological Science: “Children of highly math-anxious parents learned less math and were more likely to develop math anxiety themselves, but only when their parents provided frequent help on math homework.”

Apparently, when math-anxious parents avoided helping their children with homework, the kids did just fine. Adds Hoffman, “The more the math-anxious parents tried to work with their children, the worse their children did in math.”

As Sian Beilock writes in her book Choke, it’s because math-anxious parents precondition their children to experience a pain response when confronting numbers. In other words, math hurts.

So what can you do to help your kids improve their math scores? Experts suggest workbooks, apps, journaling, and games. Most importantly, they tell parents to model a positive attitude and keep their anxieties to themselves.

Pets Are Family: Do You Insure Them Like Family?
You insure your car. You insure your house. You insure your life. But should you insure your pet? Fluffy may feel like part of the family, but is pet insurance really necessary?

In some cases, it may be worthwhile. In 2014, Americans spent over $2 billion in pet purchases and $15 billion on vet care. For those with high-maintenance or high-value animals, insurance could be a wise investment. The market currently offers several types of pet insurance. Consider your furry family members and decide if these policies meet your (and their) needs.

Health insurance

Similar to human health insurance, these policies include premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Also like people insurance, the cost varies based on the animal’s age and health and the level of insurance purchased.

Life and theft insurance

Intended primarily for exotic animals, this coverage reimburses owners for stolen animals and pays benefits upon death. It’s commonly held by zoos and owners of high-value animals such as championship racehorses or police dogs.

Homeowners and renters insurance

Standard homeowners and renters policies offer protection for pet owners. Depending on your situation, customization may be necessary to provide the coverage you need.

Liability Protection – If your dog bites someone, this coverage will kick in. However, if he or she has a history of biting, or is classified as a dangerous breed, limitations may be placed on policy coverage. In these cases, you may need to purchase a separate liability policy specifically for your pet.

Personal Property – Pet accessories can be pricey. Large cages or other accessories for bigger animals can be especially expensive. Keep in mind that these fall under the personal property coverage of your homeowners or renters policy. If Clifford’s dog house or Morris’s “gold” collar is damaged or stolen, you should be reimbursed. But check to be sure you don’t need a special rider for that collar.