Understanding the Term ‘Totaled Vehicle

You've had an accident and your vehicle is in bad shape. After you report your claim, the insurance company sends out an adjuster to determine if it is worth paying out for the required repairs or instead of paying you for the value of the vehicle at the time of the accident. If the cost of repairs exceeds the value, the insurer may tell you the car is "totaled," even if it doesn't look that way. Before an accident occurs, it is wise for you to learn how insurance companies determine the value of your vehicle, which will mean one…

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Five Tips for a Safer New Year for Your Family

As we ring in the New Year, one of your resolutions for the year should be to improve safety for you and your family.  There are many things we can all do better in terms of ensuring that we are safe and that our home and valuables are protected.  This year we offer up these five actions you can take to reduce the chances of one of your family members or a house guest getting hurt, and to see your possessions are well protected. Remember too that after the New Year, robbers are on the prowl, looking for opportunities to…

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Losing Everything Due to Inadequate Auto Liability Coverage

All states set minimum coverage levels for drivers, but if you are involved in a serious accident, minimal coverage may not get you off the hook for the full extent of damages.  Your state's goal is to make the required insurance affordable, but in many cases the established minimum coverage is not adequate to cover the liability costs if you are found to be at fault in a costly accident. Even limits that are several tiers above the minimum may not be adequate for some drivers, because once those limits are exhausted, any remaining damages must be paid out of…

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New Fitness Guidelines for Children and Adults

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued new fitness guidelines that recommend adults get two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week, at a minimum. The slogan of the new guidelines is "move more, sit less," in an attempt to address the two main reasons many of us don't get enough exercise. This new guidance is the first update to the guidelines since 2008, when they were first released. Here are the report's main suggestions: Adults At least two and a half hours of "moderate-intensity aerobic" exercise a week. Exercise should be done in intervals…

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Health Insurance Rates Mostly Holding Steady

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, personal and family health insurance rates are staying stable going into 2021. In fact, it's the third year in a row of premiums barely moving in most areas, while the number of insurers writing policies in the personal market continues to grow. According to the ACAsignups.net website, which tracks enrollment, the average requested premium increase for 2021 is 2.1%, and in 18 states where regulators have approved rate hike requests, the average increase was just 0.4%. Under Affordable Care Act rules, insurers every summer must file proposed rates for the next year with the states they…

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Pandemic-related Charity Fraud Booms: FBI

Many Americans want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to charities, but the FBI is warning that scammers also are angling to get at your money by posing as charities to help coronavirus victims. Nationwide, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have received reports of scammers fraudulently soliciting donations for individuals, groups and areas affected by COVID-19. They are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both. Don't let them. Charity scams often occur when a fraudster poses as a real charity or uses the name of a real charity to get…

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Fewer Medicare Advantage Plans Receive High-Quality Ratings

There are fewer Medicare Advantage plans receiving high-quality ratings for their 2021 offerings than for this year's.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reported that 49% of 400 Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage received four stars or more (the maximum is five), compared to 52% in 2020. Also, there are fewer people enrolled in plans that will have four or five stars in 2021.  The star ratings measure the quality of service enrollees receive and are based on actual experience of seniors with their plans.  The CMS rates Medicare Part C plans according to hundreds of specific…

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