Is Your Vehicle Burglar Repellant?

Is Your Vehicle Burglar Repellant?
Every 45 seconds, a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States, according to reporting from the Insurance Information Institute.

What can you do to protect your car from becoming part of this statistic?

Use the following tips to make your car less appealing and more secure. These precautions can prevent crime as well as keep your auto insurance premiums lower.

Lock It Down

When the weather is warm, it can be tempting to leave the windows open while your car is parked. You may even decide to keep the doors unlocked, if you are running a quick errand. Don’t do it.

Always keep your windows shut and your doors locked if you’re not in your vehicle. Thieves are faster than you think.

Tuck Them Away

If you have personal property in your car, hide it. Purses and other bags should go in the trunk, where they will not be visible to potential thieves. You don’t want to create a temptation by leaving unattended items in sight.

Light It Up

Make smart choices when parking your car. Look for well-lit areas that are highly trafficked. Try to find the most secure spot in a parking garage, such as near entrances or guard booths, that also offer plenty of light.

Turn Them Off

Let thieves know your vehicle is not a good choice by using anti-theft devices. A steering wheel or gearshift column lock can be an effective way to make your vehicle unappealing to a thief.

If your car is stolen, a tracking device can prove helpful to locate the vehicle. These are included in many newer cars, and they can be purchased to install in older models. These devices may even qualify your vehicle for a discount on your auto insurance.

Is your vehicle fully protected? Contact our office for additional tips or to find out if a particular anti-theft device would reduce your premiums.


Is Your Family History Preserved for Posterity?

It used to be that family histories, stories, and traditions got passed down orally from the older generation to the younger generation, to be continually preserved and shared.

Nowadays, in a world where life moves fast and almost everything happens online, that kind of oral storytelling happens less and less. But without it, the memories of our elders will disappear when they pass.

The solution: combine that storytelling with the power of technology to record those stories and make them permanent. Here’s how.

Get your elders on board. This could be your parent, grandparent, or even a neighbor whose stories you enjoy. Explain to them that you love hearing their life’s tales and want to record them so that you’ll never forget.

Choose your equipment. If your storyteller agrees, set up a camera or smartphone on a tripod so that you can capture their voice and their physical presence. If they’re nervous, stick with a recorder or app that does the same.

Use prompts. You’ll want to provide some direction to help inspire your storyteller. This could take the form of a stack of family snapshots, heirlooms, or a list of interview-style questions. (Where did you grow up? Tell me about your wedding day.)

Turn the recordings into a keepsake. This could mean editing your footage into a family movie, interspersed with photos and clips. Or you could create a scrapbook that includes transcriptions of your recordings, along with a USB key that can be popped into a computer to play the audio file.


Listen Up: Here’s How to Become a Better Listener

If you can believe it, listening is a complex process. It involves receiving information; taking meaning from it; recalling and sorting the information conveyed; evaluating its credibility, completeness, and value; and responding in both verbal and nonverbal ways.

Being a good listener is tougher than you might think. Consider that, when it comes to recall, we forget half of what we hear almost immediately. We lose another 15% within eight hours. And 24 hours later, we can barely recall 20% of what was said to us.

Still, it is possible to train yourself to be a better listener. Here are a few tips:

Lean in and focus attention on the speaker. Try to eliminate any distractions. Watch for visual communication cues, such as facial expressions and body language, that affect meaning. Paraphrase concepts to put them in your own frame of experience, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or a re-explanation. Pause and think before responding or giving input.

If appropriate, offer verbal and nonverbal feedback to the speaker to indicate you are engaged. Verbal signals might be things like “oh,” “uh-huh,” or “right.” Nonverbal signals could be eye contact, forward posture, or nodding.

You can also train yourself to listen more critically so as to better evaluate the credibility and worth of the messages you receive. First, consider whether statements are facts or inferences. Then weigh the arguments and evidence presented. Try to be aware of any biases or possible feelings about the other person that might impact your judgment.


Why You Should Read Your Loss History Report
Did you know homes and cars have report cards? Do you know what grade your property deserves?

If you haven’t checked your report, you might want to look into it.

This statement is called a Loss History Report. It provides a record of the insurance claims and losses that are associated with a particular property or car. The report typically covers the previous seven years of claims history. The information is gathered by the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.).

When insurers underwrite a policy, they typically refer to this report. The history helps define the risk level and determine the rates for future insurance.

As a consumer, you can check your Loss History Report to ensure accuracy for auto claims. Since errors on the report could result in higher premiums, it’s good to verify that all information is correct. You can obtain one free report per year.

If you discover any mistakes, you can contact LexisNexis, which will look into the claim. Depending on the situation, you may be able to add an explanation to the information that will be included in future reports.

Consumers can also make use of a Loss History Report for real estate transactions. If you are considering a home for purchase, you can request a copy from the sellers. (The owner of the property has to make the request directly to C.L.U.E.)

A review of this report will shed light on any previous damage to the house, which you can then follow up on to verify any repairs before you purchase the home.