Current Insurance May Already Cover Your College Student

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Students going off to college can be very expensive for parents and guardians providing for them. An average college student usually takes with them a laptop and printer, a television, cell phone, digital music players, clothing, bicycle, and more when they leave home for the first time. There’s protection available for these pricey items in case of the unthinkable.

There are several insurance options that can be purchased and depends on where your student goes to school at and the type of coverage you would like. There is coverage for internal problems, such as software, faulty wiring, or any other internal defects. There are also LO-JACK and GPS tracking devices available for almost all lost or stolen items.

All electronic items also come with some sort of manufacturer warranty for a certain amount of time. In addition, there are some stores, such as Best Buy, that sell a protection plan that can also cover problems with electronics and other similar items.

What many consumers do not know is that their current homeowners and property insurance can cover their students’ items while they are away from home. They may not even have to purchase additional coverage to protect their students’ valuable items in case of loss, theft, or damage.

If your student lives in a college dorm or any other college-owned property, possessions are typically covered automatically against any loss, theft, and damage under your homeowners, condominium, or renter’s policy. Coverage is often is limited to only 10 percent of the policy’s coverage. For example, if your policy covers contents for $100,000, the limit for your student’s stuff would be $10,000.

In case your student does not live in a college-owned property, your homeowners’ insurance will not cover their possessions. The best thing to do then is to take out a renter’s insurance policy for about $15 to $30 a month under your student’s name.

Renter’s insurance policies are similar to homeowner’s insurance. They are offered in two basic forms: Actual cash-value policy, which covers the value of the item at the time of loss, taking depreciation into account; and replacement-value policy, which covers the cost of replacing the lost item with a new one. Replacement-value policies cost more, though both types are subject to the coverage limits.

Whichever route you and student decide to take, it is in the best interest to take an inventory of all your student’s possessions and save all receipts ahead of time in case they would need to file a claim.

For all your insurance needs and questions, ask an Alandale Insurance agent! With excellent knowledge and customer service, our agents can be the best tool in preparing for your student being away from home. Call Alandale Insurance at (888) 854-4501 or visit us online at www.alandale.com.

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Obamacare Expected to Tax 6 Million Uninsured People

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A new report recently issued by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have discovered that nearly 6 million uninsured Americans will face the health care tax brought on by the measures of the Affordable Care Act. The new amount expected amount of people affected will be 50 percent higher than estimated.

The US Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional this past summer, and will enforce the law as a tax penalty. Therefore, in 2014, every legal resident of the United States will be required to have health insurance coverage or face the tax penalty. This penalty will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), just like all the other taxes.

There will be exemptions for those with a financial hardship, religious objections, or other circumstances. Most Americans will not have to worry about paying the tax since may have coverage through employers, covered by government programs like Medicare, or by buying their own individual policies.

The Congressional Budget Office also found that nearly 80 percent of those expected to pay the uninsured penalty are those who earn about $55,000 or less a year for an individual or earn about $115,000 or less for a family of four. The average penalty will be about $1,200 by 2016. There are currently 150 million Americans covered by their employer’s health plan, so the amount of 6 million is still only a small percentage of the overall picture.

The budget office has said that most of the increase in the new estimate is due to changes in the predictions of the economy, incorporating the effects of a new federal legislation, as well as higher unemployment and lower wages.

The budget office also reported that the penalty will raise $6.9 billion in 2016. The new law will also provide government aid to help the middle-class and low-income households better afford health coverage. California has already started this effort by establishing the Health Benefit Exchange where residents can purchase affordable, low-cost coverage to avoid the federal tax penalty.

Unfortunately, some people might still decide to remain uninsured because they object to the new law or because they feel it would be more affordable to pay the penalty rather than insurance premiums. Health insurance can be expensive, with employer-provided family coverage averaging nearly $15,800 a year for a family and $4,300 for a single plan.

Not all health insurance is unattainable though. There are affordable health plans available, but not very many people do the research or find a reliable and trustworthy agent. Alandale Insurance can help you and find the best coverage that fits your budget. Alandale agents are the best at giving stellar customer service along with honest insurance advice. Please call (888) 854-4501 for more information or visit them online at www.alandale.com.

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Restaurant Review: Slater’s 50/50

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Many residents and locals of Orange County know all about Slater’s 50/50 Restaurant in Anaheim and the unique twist they put on a hamburger. There are tons of specialty hamburger restaurants that anyone can go to for an amazing burger, but not quite like a Slater’s 50/50 burger.

The Slater’s menu has several specialty burgers, such as the Burger Carbonara, which has sundried tomatoes, pancetta, creamy alfredo, basil, and served on a Ciabatta roll. They also have great appetizers, which included Fried Dill Pickle Chips, Fried Artichoke Hearts, Beer Battered Onion Strings, and Panko Fried Mac N’ Cheese. There are also other specialties you can choose from such as a Wedge Salad, Pittsburg Pastrami, and Fried Chicken and Pancakes

There are so many delicious options to choose from, but Slater’s is a bacon-lovers paradise. Slater’s 50/50 gets their name from their signature bacon upon bacon menu- their infamous 50/50 patty is 50% beef and 50% bacon, which can be topped with bacon-infused ketchup, and seasoned with bacon salt. Their actual bacon is thick-sliced and grilled to perfection.

Slater’s 50/50 also gives you the option of creating your idea burger -“Burgers by Design” is their motto! They give you many options to choose from, starting from the type of bun to the meat type and weight, different cheeses, toppings, and sauces, plus you can also name your burger creation. When your burger is ready, they bring out your very large burger and call out the name of it!

Slater’s 50/50 also has a very extensive beer menu, which not only has the domestic and typical beers, but also from local breweries and specialty beers, such as Fat Tire, Hangar 24, and Stone Brewing Co. beers. There are also several flat TVs on the walls for sports fans. The overall feel of the restaurant is very clean, friendly, and full of life.

The popularity of Slater’s 50/50’s creative menu and amazing delicious flavors has even been featured on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise. They have also been spreading out and establishing a few new restaurant locations in Huntington Beach, San Diego, and will be coming soon to Pasadena. Check out their site and menu at http://www.slaters5050.com for more information!

Watch Travel Channel’s Food Paradise review on Slater’s 50/50 here!

 

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Health Insurance Rates Spike Up Despite Government Appeals

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Advocates of consumers are now beginning to question the fairness of the Affordable Care Act since the law requires Americans to purchase healthcare, but the government cannot control the rates that health insurance companies infringe on their policy holders.

The Affordable Care Act, even though the law has until 2014 to be active, has been causing a lot of concerns and for health insurance companies to raise the rates for consumers. The federal government has approached these companies, but the appeals to reduce the rates have been ignored.

The federal government is attempting to keep health insurance rates from rising using by utilizing the health reform law procedure known as rate review. Rate review is where the state insurance departments evaluate the insurance carriers’ proposed premium hikes of 10% or more to determine whether they are justified. Despite rate review, the federal government cannot force carriers to lower rates.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, rate review has saved consumers over $1 billion in rate hikes in their health insurance coverage. There would have been more money saved in all 50 states, but they cannot prevent all the companies from continuing on charging the unjustified rate hikes.

With the new legislation that cleared the US Supreme Court, more young adults are getting coverage either through their jobs or on their own, which is lowering the rate of uninsured. Although this, along with rate review, is a great change in health insurance news, the insurance premiums are still skyrocketing.

Rate review does have some power over the insurance companies at the state level by rejecting the hike in rates that companies issue. Unfortunately, rate review may not completely help out consumers. It is unknown as to what the next step will be for the government to make to help ease the transition of the Affordable Care Act.

For those that think it is a better deal to go uninsured and pay the tax rather than be insured and pay the insurance carriers, think again. Regardless of the costs, you and your family’s health are worth it! Health insurance is there for more than just getting a check up; it’s also there in case of a medical emergency or an unforeseen health necessity.

If you need help finding the best and lowest cost in health insurance, Alandale Insurance can help you! Our agents do whatever they can to get the coverage you need at a price you can afford! Call us at (888) 854-4501 or visit us at www.alandale.com

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Wildfires Return and Pose Serious Risk to Southern California Homes

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If you have been following up with the local news or happen to look to the hills, you may have noticed that there has been a considerable amount of fire activity in the past couple of weeks. Fortunately, the San Gabriel Mountain fires have stayed within the forests and not yet reached the cities or spread to the other nearby forests.

It turns out that, although we are no strangers to wildfires, there are other states that also experience this natural disaster as constant as Californians do. CoreLogic, a real estate and financial services research firm, issued a Wildfire Hazard Risk Report and identified more than 740,000 residences across 13 states in just the Western US alone that had with high levels of risk for wildfire damage. Those homes represent a combined property value of more than $136 billion.

The ongoing drought, heat waves, and high winds during this summer have caused several record setting wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado – California is predicted to have a severe wildfire season this year.

Thousands of homes nationwide are at serious risk of fire damage; about 168,000 homes fall into a “very high risk” category, with a projected overall value of more than $32 billion. California homes that were projected to be at a high risk of fire were total of 49,258 homes.

Now is the time to make sure your home is properly covered in case of a wildfire in your area. If you have questions about fire protection for your home and property, Alandale Insurance Agents can help! Not only do we provide amazing customer service, our agents are very well informed and will help you get the coverage you need. Call us at (888) 854-4501 or visit us at www.alandale.com.

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The Real Hazards of Being Without Insurance

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Countless individuals are worried about saving money in this rocky and rough economy. For many people, they need to make ends meet and drop their auto insurance. By dropping their policies, some drivers may be able to bank a few hundred dollars a year. This is not only dangerous, but in the state of California, against the law.

According to California vehicular law, a certain amount of insurance must be maintained to legally drive on public roads unless you used an alternative method of proving financial responsibility. Failing to provide this information could result in a citation and fine.

If the insurance carrier reports to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that your insurance was dropped and not covered by another policy, you will have your licence suspended or even revoked.

Also, without the proper insurance or other approved option for proving your ability to pay for a collision, you may be able unable to register your vehicle. In addition, should the DMV find out that your proof of insurance is no longer valid, your current registration may be suspended.

When you find yourself involved in an auto accident without insurance, you may find yourself facing hefty expenses. Repairs for both vehicles as well as the medical bills of both drivers could leave you bankrupt and possibly liable for negligence.Any of these situations is nowhere for any driver to be at, no matter what age or financial burden. Alandale Insurance agents can help you find the best coverage you need at the affordable price. Call Alandale Insurance at (888) 854-4501 or visit us at www.alandale.com for a free, no obligation quote.

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The Dangers of Cell Phone Use and Driving

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Ever since the technology of the cellular phone has been introduced into our society, we have taken this very useful tool into our lives and cannot be apart from it since. Americans are always on their phone – whether it’s talking, texting, and now with smart phones, doing a million other things online. Rather than phones making it easier, it is making our lives more dangerous, especially when we are on the go.

Using cell phones as we drive has come from being a convenience to being fatal or damaging. According to a research study by Carnegie Mellon University, driving while distracted is a factor in 25 percent of police reported crashes. They also found that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

There are so many statistics everywhere that tell us how dangerous using your phone as you drive can be. For example, the University of Utah found that distracted cell phone use makes a driver’s reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into serious injury accidents.

Texting while driving is even worse than speaking on your phone. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute back in 2009 reported that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into an accident than a non-texting driver and 4 times more than likely to crash than drinking and driving.  All the statistics keep stacking up against cell phone use as you drive; it is also why it’s banned in 35 US states, including California.

Americans across the nation are pledging to not text and drive. There are sites and organizations that at popping up online – either for every person with a phone or teens to pledge to not text as they drive. Even large companies and celebrities, such as AT&T’s “It Can Wait” Campaign and Oprah’s “No Phone Zone” are out advocating distraction-free driving.

If you would like to sign a pledge to not use your phone, you can visit http://nophonezonepledge.org/ and other organizations. As mentioned earlier, there are teen specific pledge sites, such as http://teensagainstdistracteddriving.com/sign-the-pledge/. If you are interested in the issue, the American Automobile Association (AAA) has a foundation site with tons of information that you can visit at http://www.aaafoundation.org/.

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All About Life Insurance and Why You Need It!

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Life insurance is an essential piece to protecting your family and future.  Some of us have a policy in place since it’s always good to be prepared for the unknown. For those that do not have coverage by any sort of policy and maybe hasn’t even crossed their minds, life insurance awareness month was made for them!

September is recognized nationally by all insurance companies as Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). This is the ninth year, which was created to raise awareness among insurance producers and consumers about the need for life insurance and the different types you can purchase.

This year, the non-profit organization running the LIAM, the LIFE foundation has recruited as its spokesman TLC’s “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro. Buddy was 17 years old when his father, their family’s breadwinner, had passed away, leaving them without being insured and having to figure it out on their own.

The most important reason you need life insurance is that it can replace the income in your family that they depend on if and when you die, especially if it’s premature.  Think of it as an investment for your family’s future. If you are the primary bread winner of your household, it’s more than important. Can your family afford for you to die and all the other expenses to come afterwards?

Another issue that some come across is what type of life insurance should they buy and how much of it should be purchased. Unfortunately, there’s not a one-policy-fits all for consumers; it is all based on what you need. You can also purchase through your agent or through your employer. Here some basics that can help you better understand the choices on life insurance:

  • Term life insurance:  Affordable for young, single workers who don’t have many financial obligations and for young families who need a lot of income protection during their working years.  A term life policy does not accumulate cash value and rates typically go up as you age, but are generally lower than whole or universal life policies.
  • Interest-sensitive whole life insurance: Offers premiums that will never change and the policy is active as long as premiums are paid. These policies accumulate cash value, and when layered with term life, can provide the protection needed throughout an individual’s life stages. Interest-sensitive whole life can also offer a reduced or paid-up policy option that requires no additional premium at age 65 when the individual’s income and income protection needs decrease.
  • Universal life: Universal life premiums are flexible and can be adjusted to fit an individual’s changing financial lifestyle. So premium contributions can be adjusted to balance against someone’s financial status or needs, which typically reduce at retirement.

Life insurance is an important coverage to consider when you plan on protecting your family and your interests. Unfortunately, no one lives forever and buying life insurance is in preparation for the inevitable so your family can survive and move on. If you have any questions or have decided that its time to get some coverage, Alandale Insurance agents can help! Visit us at www.alandale.com or call us at (888) 854-4501.

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Being Safe On Campus as a College Student

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As we enter September, school is back in session! Former high school students are all grown up and moving into a new college lifestyle. Whether you’re a parent or student, college brings new experiences and new found freedoms that come with new found risks.

College campuses are full of learning experiences in and out of the classroom. Sad to say, with the recent reports of campus shootings, colleges can be dangerous specifically for newer students who are just blossoming from the new found independence, even if they think the inevitable could never happen to them.

With youth comes a feeling of invincibility, but unfortunately, criminals take advantage of that ideology. College communities and residences can be targeted victims of crime. Consequently, the crimes of assault, robbery, rape, and home invasion are growing nationally at all universities and colleges.

How can your campus be dangerous? For starters, any one at any time can be on campus. A population on a campus can also be used as a primary place for any predator that can bypass Campus Security to seek out new victims. Students also go to and fro to class, the library, study groups, dorm, or car late at night.

Here are some ways to keep you safe and also have a positive learning experience. Also note that these tips

are not only for those who have moved away from home and live on campus, but for also those who commute to school:

  • Know where all the emergency call boxes are in the parking lot and on campus. Some campuses even offer students a police escort to their dorm or vehicles, just in case.
  • Avoid traveling alone. If it’s not possible, let a roommate or friend know where you will be and what time you’ll be home
  • Don’t wear headphones as you travel. Wearing your headphones stops you from being completely conscious of your surroundings and could be snuck up on.
  • Be prepared. Always carry your ID, your phone, and get a small tube of pepper spray to keep on you. Some campuses provide emergency texts to their students in case of an emergency.
  • Party Safe. Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or leave your drink unattended. Don’t travel to and from any parties by yourself, and always let a friend or roommate know your plans.
  • Lock down all valuables in your dorm. This includes digital cameras, laptops, mp3 players, and private documents like loan documents (that has your social security number on it).

College can be the most amazing and rewarding experience in your life, but it can be easily ruined by those taking advantage of a young person’s first time out on their own. The best way to ensure a great and safe college experience is by taking precautions before the worst happens. If students and parents would like more great information on being safe at college campuses everywhere, visit http://www.collegesafe.com/.

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Flood Risk Notices Sent to Thousands of Californians

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This past week, 275,000 California property owners have received notices from water officials warning them they may be at risk of flooding and should prepare. The Department of Water Resources sent these notices specifically to residential, commercial, and other property owners in 17 counties, who live near or in the levees of California’s Central Valley.

A levee is an embankment that is an elongated natural or artificial ridge fill or wall, which regulates water levels. It is usually earthen and often parallel to the course of a river in its floodplain or along low-lying coastlines.

The Central Valley levees are important to California overall because they protect our agricultural economy, farmlands, homes, and our state’s fresh water supply.  Over 100 years of time, these levees have become fragile and if an earthquake were to hit, these levees would release the water.  As a result of a major flood, homes and farmlands would be completely destroyed, and the saltwater from San Francisco Bay will pollute our fresh water supply.

California passed a bond last November to repair the levees, yet these efforts do not prepare for another major earthquake. California has been seeing many earthquakes recently, so the levees could be damaged and broken prior than expected.

The notices that were received suggest property owners should have an emergency action plan and consider flood insurance. The levees can also overflow in the case of a large storm caused by climate change and a rise in sea level.

Until the levees are repaired, it’s best to be prepared. Californians everywhere, not just the Central Valley, should be ready for the next disaster. If there’s an earthquake, flood, fire, or the depletion of our fresh water supply because of broken levees, we should be prepared.

An emergency action plan needs to be in place for you and your family, as well as have the proper coverage. Some homes and families do not have coverage for flood, fire, or earthquake damage to their properties. If you need coverage, or need to add coverage to your existing policy, Alandale Insurance Agency can help! Visit our website at www.alandale.com or call us at (888) 854-4501.

Posted in Alandale Insurance Agency, Commerical Insurance, Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Preparedness, Earthquake, Earthquake Insurance, Family Emergency Plan, Fire Damage, Flood Insurance, Home, Homeowners, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Advice, Liability Coverage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment