Rental Car Insurance, to Buy or Not to Buy?

Rental Car Insurance, to Buy or Not to Buy? 
Are you squeezing in one last family road trip before the school year starts? If your vacation includes renting a car, here’s what you need to know about insurance, before you sign on the dotted line:

USE YOUR OWN AUTO INSURANCE OPTION:   Do you own a car? Is it insured? Typically, the coverage and deductibles you have on your own car apply when you rent one IN THE USA AND CANADA. This can make rental car insurance an unnecessary expense, as you’d be duplicating most coverage. For example:

  • Your standard auto policy includes liability for rentals.
  • Collision & Comprehensive coverage usually covers rental car damage.
  • Your car insurance usually covers medical expenses.
  • Your homeowners or renters policy often includes protection against theft away from home for belongings.
  • If you charge the rental, your credit card company may also offer automatic protection for the collision or comprehensive deductible.  Check with your credit card for details.

Borrrrring … ! Why We Have the Attention Span of a Goldfish
Gold Fish

Why are we so bored? It’s a question scientists are asking as they research boredom in the 21st century. With so much to occupy our time (work, friends, devices) you’d think we’d be too busy being busy to be bored.

But according to a recent article in the Guardian, “Despite the plethora of high-intensity entertainment constantly at our disposal, we are still bored.” In fact, reports the UK newspaper, we now have an attention span of 8 seconds, that of a goldfish.

Online site Live Science highlights the work of York University researcher John Eastwood, who defines boredom as “an aversive state of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activity.” Apparently, our brains are now so accustomed to constant stimulation that anything less is unpleasant.

Quoting Eastwood’s findings, Live Science notes, “And while seemingly benign, though little understood, boredom can be a chronic condition that may lead to issues like binge eating, drug and alcohol abuse, and gambling problems.”

In Psychology Today, Temma Ehrenfeld explains that it seems our brains are hardwired to seek pleasure and fast-paced activities that stimulate the body’s release of endorphins, the opioid peptides that our brains love.

Ehrenfeld quotes Dr. Irving Biederman, a neuroscientist at the University of Southern California: “To stoke your inner opioids, keep trying new things, or delve deeper into an area you already know and love, triggering fresh insights.” Says Biederman, “The best way not to be bored is to do what you like doing. …”

Science Explains the Flab on Your Lab
Chubby Lab

You really can’t blame your pet Lab for begging for scraps. Recent research indicates nearly a quarter of the breed lacks a gene that helps control hunger.

Veterinarians estimate that more than 50 percent of pet dogs in North America are obese. However, as some animal health professionals are quick to point out, there’s no standard definition for obesity in animals. And these troubling numbers skyrocket among Labrador Retrievers as 60 percent of this breed is considered obese.

With a biological reason behind it, it’s easy to understand why your pup is so likely to beg for food. To prevent obesity in your dog, consider more active ways of engaging with your canine. Throw a toy bone instead of an edible one. Spend more summer evenings walking or playing in dog parks. Find something that can energize both of you.

That said, there may be some benefits to your dog’s cravings, so don’t feel too badly if Fido insists on scraps; your dog probably responds well to food rewards. Using a food reward system often makes breeds such as Labs easy to train, plus it explains why they make good service dogs. A breed’s trainability, not just its potential for obesity, is important to remember when choosing and caring for a family pet.

Dog Bites Person: That Will Be $40,000, Please…
One day, you are sure your beloved Fido could never hurt a fly.

The next, you are shelling out almost $40,000 for a dog-bite claim. Many dog owners can relate to this: last year, more than one-third of the funds paid out for homeowners insurance liability claims was the result of bites and other injuries by dogs. The average cost paid was $37,214. This average has risen by a dramatic 94 percent since 2003, due to increases in settlement amounts and the increased cost of medical care.

With these stats in mind, it is essential that dog owners take steps to minimize those dog-bites-person incidents. Follow these C.A.N.I.N.E. tips to reduce the chance that Fido’s actions cause an injury that results in a hefty insurance claim:

  • Consult with a vet or breeder before getting a dog to determine what kind is best for your family and neighborhood.
  • Always keep your dog secured if someone comes to your door. And don’t forget to securely fasten your dog’s leash before a walk.
  • Never leave young children alone with any dog. And never allow children to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating.
  • Immediately seek professional help if your dog becomes aggressive. There may be health issues involved, or your dog may simply need more training.
  • Never approach a strange dog (either alone or with your dog).
  • Expose your dog to other animals and people slowly and carefully to develop healthy socialization.

Even with these precautions in place, dog owners should have an insurance policy to cover any potential dog incidents. Homeowners and renter’s insurance typically cover dog bites; however, there are some exclusions, so you may need umbrella coverage to increase your limits to an appropriate level. Breed-specific policies are also available.

Check with your insurance agent to verify you have the proper coverage to protect yourself and your pooch.