Summer’s Ending but Summer ‘Toys’ Still Need Protection
Summer is a time for toys! Warmer weather means afternoons on the water and evenings cruising in your convertible. Summer invites everyone to pull out classic cars, jet skis, or speedboats.
In warmer states these can be year-round vehicles, but if you use them infrequently in winter, it’s easy to overlook the need for insurance during the off season. Many vehicle owners are unaware of the requirements as well as the options available for boats and summer cars. Here’s the scoop:
Boat insurance: Small watercraft such as canoes and kayaks are typically covered under your personal property through your homeowners insurance. But larger motorized water vehicles such as wave runners, yachts, and speedboats require a separate policy. Boat insurance typically covers bodily injury and medical payments. And while you may not need this coverage after you dock for the season, boat insurance also covers property damage and theft. This is crucial for protecting your boat in storage, so don’t terminate that policy when Labor Day rolls around.
Summer car insurance: If you know you won’t be driving a car once summer has ended, you may be eligible for a reduced rate while your vehicle is in storage. Don’t cancel your insurance entirely; you’ll want to maintain basic coverage, as your vehicle remains at risk for damage when in storage. In fact, this may be required by law in some areas. Ask your insurance agent about reducing collision or comprehensive coverage, but be sure to maintain coverage for damage due to storm, fire, or theft.
Ostriches and Egos: How We Create Our Own Realities
Information avoidance is a common human tendency. It doesn’t seem to matter that we’re living in a hyper information age. We listen to news that supports our point of view, avoid information we don’t want to hear, and convince ourselves we have the facts we need in order to make informed decisions – even when we don’t.
In an article detailing recent research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Shilo Rea explains that people “are remarkably adept at selectively directing their attention to information that affirms what they believe or that reflects favorably upon them, and at forgetting information they wish were not true.”
In other words, we tend to create our own reality – because we like it that way. We choose what we want to believe and ignore what we don’t. Apparently, ignorance is bliss after all. Writer Chris Fleisher notes, in an article for the American Economic Association, “This behavior drives economists nuts. Ideally, we should absorb all the information we can get so that we can make rational decisions. But it doesn’t work that way.”
In Psychology Today, Alain Samson calls it “the ostrich effect.” Referring to the work of the CMU researchers, he writes: “Information avoidance has immediate benefits for people if it prevents the negative (usually psychological) consequences of knowing the information.” And while we all like to think of ourselves as savvy information consumers, we may be more like ostriches than we’d like to admit. Even more embarrassing, we’re probably egoists too. Says Samson: “Information avoidance is particularly pertinent when ego threat is involved.”
Higher Education: Easing the Cost Burden of College
Higher education is a huge financial undertaking. According to a recent U.S. survey, families spent, on average, $23,688 in the 2015-2016 school year (including scholarships and grants) to send their kids to college or university. And even though that figure is slightly less than the year before, and students borrowed 13% of their school costs in the form of student loans, it’s still a financial struggle for most parents.
No question, deciding which college or university to attend, what to study, and how to pay for it looms large. And it’s not just about tuition, fees, and room and board; there are other factors, including the cost of living, transportation, books, and more, that affect the decision. Location is also a key consideration; attending a school close to home can save on travel costs.
Students and their parents will also need to consider the possibility of any scholarships and/or financial aid packages available to help pay for college or university tuition. Aside from taking out student loans and working part time, there are other ways students themselves can help out. Here are some strategies worth considering:
Get a student bank account. Many major banks offer free banking for students.
Buy and sell your used textbooks online.
Ask about student rates at movies, museums, concerts, attractions, and activities.
Take advantage of free events and activities, especially if these events will include free food.
Pack your lunches and snacks.
Use the school gym and other on-campus facilities.
Your Collection Deserves to Be Protected
A vintage New Yorker cartoon pictures a character surrounded by his collections. The caption reads: “Possessions are part of the self.”
If you’re a collector of something – and many of us are – you’ll relate to the cartoon character. Whether it’s a prized art collection, Beatles memorabilia, or antique teapots, it means something to you, and it should be protected.
Many collectors underestimate the value of their collections, and while no one wants to consider the impact of a break-in, flood, or fire on their valuables, they should. Do consider insuring your collection before you’re faced with a disaster. To any serious collector, the alternative is just unthinkable.
Homeowners insurance: The assumption many collectors make is that homeowners insurance covers these items. However, this policy is typically limited in coverage and has maximums that are probably insufficient to cover your collection. To ensure proper coverage, consider adding an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy, or purchasing a separate floater policy that offers the right amount of coverage. Of course, this means knowing what your collection is worth. Even if you know what you paid for an item, its value in today’s market may be quite different. And that means getting a current appraisal.
Appraisal tips: To have your collection appraised, follow these steps.
Make a list of items.
Gather as much information as you can, including purchase receipts, restoration records, and other relevant details.
Let the appraiser know the purpose of the appraisal.
Avoid using an appraiser who also buys and sells the types of items you want appraised. It may constitute a conflict of interest.
You do, however, want an experienced appraiser. Get references from dealers, museums, and organizations such as the International Society of Appraisers.
Get a detailed, itemized report. This will provide the documentation you need in the event you need to file a claim.
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