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When was the last time you ordered a credit report?

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When was the last time you ordered a credit report? That long ago? Enough said. You can go to annualcreditreport.com and order one for free. You can even view it online and print it out within minutes!

Generally, the better your credit, the less you’ll pay to borrow money to purchase a house or car. Better credit also could be your ticket to a lower rate on your credit card. But did you know that the quality of your credit also can play a role in what you’ll pay for some types of insurance? Read more here about how your credit report plays a role in your ‘insurance score,’ which is used, among other factors such as your driving record, to help determine what you pay for auto insurance.

Experts recommend that you order your credit report at least once each year. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — is required to furnish you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. To order, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228. You may order reports from each of the three credit reporting companies on the same day, or you can space out your requests throughout the year. One option, for example, would be to order your credit report from a different bureau every four months.

Once you have your credit report in hand, you’ll want to comb through your report for any errors. Studies show many consumers have some type of error! Here’s a great guide from the Federal Trade Commission designed to help you get any errors fixed and avoid any credit repair scams.

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Do your homework before your doctor’s visit

22305133_SA good health insurance plan is a key part of keeping you and your family healthy. Quality time with your doctor is another important aspect of your family’s health care.

Here are some tips to help you maximize the limited amount of time you have with your physician:

  • Make sure that your provider accepts your insurance. You can call or go online to your insurance website to see a directory of in-network providers.
  • When making the appointment, offer a few details about your concern so that the proper amount of time is allocated.
  • Come prepared with knowledge about your family medical history and any paperwork that might help the doctor better understand your health and risk factors.
  • Make a list of your current prescriptions, including the doses and frequency of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbs, supplements and vitamins.
  • Take advantage of annual preventative office visits. These appointments are typically longer and provide more time for you to ask questions and address longer-term health issues.
  • Use the buddy system.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information presented during your visit. It may helpful to bring a friend or relative to help you write things down, share medical information, and talk with the health care team.
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Don’t use these pin numbers with your credit, debit or ATM cards

If you lose your credit, debit or ATM card, how difficult would it be for someone to clean out your account? If you use any of the passwords pictured to the left, you can pretty much count on it.

More than one-quarter of all credit and debit card passwords could be guessed by attempting just 20 combinations of four-digit numbers, security experts say.

Here are other numbers you don’t want to use with any card that requires a PIN or password:

Your birthdate. If you lose your wallet, a thief has access to your birthdate from your driver’s license.

The ever-popular 1234. That’s one of the most popular PIN numbers – and one of the first thieves try.

The seven-digit 8675309. Remember that Tommy Tutone song?

Two-number combinations. Don’t use combinations such as 4545, 1313, and so on.

By the way, you also may want to pass on 3141592654. Those are the first digits of Pi. Want to know more about coming up with a password that thieves can’t crack? Check out this article.

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Make this the year to get prepared

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Each year, millions of families are impacted by disaster. Yet many of us are still unprepared. So why not make this the year you finally make being prepared a priority?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to make it easier to get prepared for a wide range of emergencies and disasters. Through the Resolve to Be Ready campaign sponsored by Ready.gov and FEMA, you can learn what it takes to prepare your family for natural disasters, power outages and other unpredictable events. Many families have taken few steps to get prepared because the process seems so time-consuming and costly. But in reality, even small steps that cost little or nothing at all can make a huge difference when disaster hits.

Want to learn more? Check out the Resolve to Be Ready web site. Your insurance provider can be a valuable partner in any preparedness effort. Give us a call today!

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Kid in college? It’s time for an insurance review

15228612_SHave a child in college? It’s a great time for an insurance review.

Students who reside off-campus may not be fully covered under their family’s homeowner’s or renters insurance policies and should consider acquiring their own renters insurance coverage. And whether a student lives on-campus or off, he or she may need a stand-alone policy to fully protect more expensive items they may bring with them to campus, such as jewelry, musical instruments or electronics. It all depends on the coverage limits of their family’s insurance policies.

One other area you’ll want to check is your auto insurance coverage. Is the student taking a family car with them to school? You’ll want to notify your insurance company if your child is now the sole driver of a vehicle and how far away from home they will be living.

Once you make sure your college student is adequately covered, you’ll want to document which items they are taking with them. With the help of the Insurance Information Institute’s free online inventory tool, you can do that quickly and easily.

Do you have additional questions? Don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are glad to help make sure your college student has the coverage they need.

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