It may not be on your radar, but there are important factors to consider when determining if your college student needs life insurance.

College student writing paper

While students of all ages are currently making their way to the digital and physical seats in college classrooms, higher education – particularly undergraduate college – is defined by younger attendees. Fresh out of high school with decades of learning and living ahead of them, life insurance isn’t typically even a blip on a college student’s radar – but should it be?

Determining if your College Student Needs Life Insurance

Indeed, the life situations and needs of a 19 or 20-year-old are often significantly different than someone 40 or older, but that doesn’t mean there are not important overlaps to consider, such as:

Debts Linger On – Even for Students

Large debts have a stubborn way of sticking around, even if the original debt holder isn’t able to pay them. That means that a new, reliable vehicle financed to help ferry a college student to and from campus ends up as an expensive liability in the event a student can no longer pay their car note.

While college students may be living out of the dorms or renting a partial or full apartment in the short term, a car or truck can end up being a financially painful burden in an uncertain time. If the student carried an appropriate amount of life insurance, the remaining debt could be paid off and a liability transforms into a resource that may help in a trying time.

Grants and Loans Need Repayment

Unexpected situations, by definition, won’t wait for a convenient moment to strike. If a life insurance policy is needed mid-term, all the school debts associated with that semester (or even that year, depending on a college’s billing practices) may come due from an estate. That means considerations like tuition, room and board, books, equipment or lab rental, and more all need to be paid, regardless of how much they’ll go unused in the future.

If a college student is relying on a conditional grant or an on-campus work-study program to pay their debts as they go along, this is an especially important consideration. A college student’s life insurance policy takes the stress of the unknown out of settling a semester’s financial obligations.

Cohabitation Concerns

It’s not unusual for groups of college students to rent a home or apartment together for school, or for college student couples to do the same as they start their lives together. With so much time and energy devoted to studies, the types of jobs that college students typically have are generally more of a hand-to-mouth variety than positions with generous pay.

The loss of even partial income can be devastating if it occurs without warning, which is why a life insurance policy for college students can be a genuine lifesaver for those they care about. Partners, friends and family can be financially provided for in nearly every life scenario – plausible and improbable alike with a bit of forethought.

If you’re looking to lock in financial security for yourself as you attend higher education, or to secure that stability for a student in your family, consider buying a term life policy for college students. It’s one less worry at one of the most stressful periods in an academic lifetime, after all.

Source: SafeCo Agents

Think you’re a good driver? No matter how safe you are behind the wheel, you’ve probably done things like:

If so, you may not have even realized you were doing everything wrong. After all, most everybody has a bad driving habit or two. But, most everybody doesn’t have to pay for your auto repairs. You do.

So, take a look at these seven driving habits that are bad for your car and learn why you should avoid them. It may be time to change the way you drive!

  1. Running on empty. You might enjoy living on the edge, but driving around without much gas can put your car’s fuel pump on edge, too. That won’t necessarily ruin your car, but having to replace your fuel pump probably will hurt your checkbook. Keep your tank at least a quarter full.
  2. Shifting too soon. If you have an automatic transmission, it’s easy to pop the car into drive while it’s still rolling in reverse. Don’t! Unless you want to put additional stress on your transmission, that is. Come to a stop, then shift.
  3. Braking too much. Following other cars too closely can wear your brakes and rotors out more quickly, because you’ll probably have to use them more than other drivers. (Of course, you should maintain an adequate following distance for safety reasons, too.) But, even in situations where braking seems unavoidable, such as going down a steep hill, you have another option: Shifting into a lower gear will slow you down without riding the brakes.
  4. Gunning it. Maybe you drive a fast car. Or, maybe you want to feel like you drive a fast car. Whatever kind of car you have, punching the gas from a stop can be hard on it, even more so if the car is cold and the oil hasn’t fully dispersed throughout the engine. Those fast starts mean faster wear on your tires, too.
  5. Forgetting the parking brake. Do you know what holds your car in park? One small piece of metal in the transmission. Not using the parking brake puts more stress on that bit of metal. So, use it.
  6. Packing on the pounds. Just like with your body, extra weight puts stress on several different areas of your car. So, clean out that trunk and remove unnecessary items from the interior. Your suspension, brakes and transmission will thank you. Thanks to better gas mileage, your bank account will, too.
  7. Holding down the clutch. Have a manual transmission? Keep the car in neutral at intersections so you don’t need to press the clutch until you’re ready to roll. Riding the clutch is a great way to burn it out eventually.

Even if you don’t do anything on this list, you’re still not out of the woods. (But you’re probably closer than most of us.) Keep your ears and eyes open for strange noises, warning lights or anything out of the ordinary — and don’t ignore them. Inspect the issue, or get your car to a mechanic, before it becomes a bigger problem.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
Top image by Flickr user Elliott P. used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Source: SafeCo Agents

Summer is here and people are flocking to the water — whether it’s the beach, a lake, a river or a backyard pool. But, wherever there’s water, there’s also danger.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people drown every day — and two of those are children 14 or younger. Even seasoned swimmers can find themselves in dangerous situations, so brush up on these basic safety tips before your first – or next – swim:

Swimming Safety Tips

  1. Consider the swimming level of everyone in your party before selecting a place to swim. Just because swimmers are comfortable in a pool doesn’t mean they can handle swimming in the ocean.
  2. Swim in designated areas with a lifeguard present, and follow any posted warnings or instructions. However, don’t rely on the lifeguard alone. Never leave young children or other inexperienced swimmers unattended or in the care of another child.
  3. Teach children to ask permission before going near the water. If a child is missing, always check the water first.
  4. Young children should wear swim diapers and Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Even still, maintain constant supervision.
  5. Avoid alcohol or drug use during water activities.
  6. Know CPR and other life-saving measures.
  7. Don’t dive into unfamiliar water. You never know what might be below the surface.
  8. In open bodies of water, watch for dangers that just aren’t present in pools. These can include plants and animals, as well as riptides, currents, waves and rapids. If you see someone in danger, reach out to them with a pole or tree branch – anything that extends your reach – or throw them a floating object while someone else alerts the lifeguard. Wading in yourself could put you in just as much danger, so leave the water rescues to the professionals.
  9. Don’t swallow the water, no matter where you’re swimming. It could cause illness.
  10. Check the weather and be aware of changing and potentially dangerous conditions.

If you happen to have a pool on your property (lucky you), you have even more responsibilities. Your pool should be completely surrounded by a locking fence, at least 4 feet tall, and all pools and spas should have compliant drain covers. Keep life-saving equipment, such as life rings and poles, within easy reach. If you have a small kiddie or wading pool, be sure to empty it after each use. A baby can drown in just 1 inch of water.

Summer fun in and around the water is for people of all ages — just keep in mind that some people need more supervision than others, and everyone needs to keep safety in mind at all times. Happy splashing!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user Virginia State Parks used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Source: SafeCo Agents

bride and groom holding hands

You’ve fallen in love and plan to say, “I do.” Now your every waking moment is filled with visions of the dress, the rings, the flowers, the honeymoon and more. But, have you thought about insurance?

No, it’s not romantic, but it is a practical way to gain some peace of mind. After all, what would happen if something went wrong with the venue or your rings got stolen? Insurance can help you plan for these and other scenarios – find out how below.

The Big Day

According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding now exceeds $25,000. When you make an investment of that size, it’s a good idea to protect it. What if the caterer cancels the morning of your wedding? Hiring a replacement the day-of might cost you four times as much. What if the reception site floods a few days beforehand and you have to change venues? What if the groom gets sick and must be hospitalized? Event insurance typically covers unforeseen and sudden issues like these related to the reception site, inclement weather, vendor no-shows and illness or injury.

So, where to start with purchasing a policy? Talk with your venue and vendors about their liability insurance to help determine where you might need additional coverage. Then, work with an independent insurance agent to purchase event insurance for your wedding.

The Bling

Engagement and wedding rings can represent a sizeable investment in and of themselves. You’ll want to update your renters insurance, condo insurance or homeowners insurance – as well as your home inventory – to reflect their value. Is there an opportune time to do so? Yes: as soon as possible. Don’t put it off until after you’ve settled in to a regular routine following the honeymoon. As soon as you purchase the rings, call your independent agent to protect them.

The Presents

We’ve all heard the horror stories of wedding gifts being stolen. You can always purchase an extra policy to cover yourself from potential loss – whether the gifts are stolen off your front porch or lifted from the gift table at your reception. Policies typically cover a pre-defined period of time before or after the wedding and require you to file a police report if something does go missing.

After the wedding, you’ll want to add your new household goods to your home inventory in case of a personal property claim on your renters, condo or homeowners policy. You can check with your independent agent whether you need to purchase more personal property coverage to protect your new belongings, especially items such as china, silver, collectibles and family heirlooms. These and other items that appreciate over time may need separate coverage. Create a list of these items and discuss them with your independent agent.

The Honeymoon

Finally, it’s time to relax after months of sweating over pulling off the perfect day. But, the honeymoon isn’t exempt from unforeseen circumstances, which is where travel insurance comes into play. Polices often address trip cancellation, trip delay, medical insurance and more. The travel experts at Frommer’s say a policy should cost about 3 to 8 percent of your trip’s value. If you’re interested in protecting your trip, talk to us about the policy that’s right for you.

Your wedding day and your honeymoon should be some of the happiest times of your life. Putting a little extra effort into insuring your investment will put you on the path to living happily ever after. Best wishes and congratulations!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®

Top image by UnSplash user Jeremy Wong Weddings used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Source: SafeCo Agents

Home improvement: It’s a never-ending process for many people, and for those of us who aren’t necessarily handy, it can be a hassle, too.

But there are plenty of simple maintenance tasks and other improvements you can handle to make your home safer – whether you’re handy or not. And you won’t have to break out the power tools (or any tools at all in some instances) or worry about getting in over your head.

Water Works
You need running water in your home – but not water running in your home, if you know what we mean. Even minor leaks can cause major problems, from higher water bills to damage requiring costly repairs (maybe even the kind you can’t tackle yourself). Here are some easy ways to make sure your water stays where it should:

Keep Your Family (and Your Guests) On Their Feet
Millions of Americans are injured in falls each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in four older adults report a fall each year. Look around your home. Should you make some of these fixes?

Give Everyone Some Air
Pollution isn’t just an outside thing – the air in your home can be unhealthy, too. But helping people breathe a little easier isn’t hard when you follow these steps:

Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a kitchen remodel or finishing the basement. Making your home safer, in fact, just might be the best improvement of all.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Unsplash user KJ Styles used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Source: SafeCo Agents

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