Managing Credit Card Debt

Credit cards can be incredibly helpful, particularly when you need to make a large purchase. However, if you don’t keep up with your payments, credit card debt can compound and create a serious source of stress.

To get the most out of your credit cards without piling up debt, consider doing the following:

  • Treat your credit cards like cash. Avoid spending money you can’t pay back in a timely fashion.
  • Pay the entire balance of your credit card each month.
  • Select cards with no annual fees, 30-day grace bill periods, rebate incentives like cash-back or other incentive programs.
  • Conduct an assessment of your expenses on a quarterly basis, and make adjustments to your spending if you are going over budget.
  • Enroll in a prepaid credit card program where you load money onto the credit card for purchases. Once you’ve reached your set limit, the card will not work.

Seek out financial assistance if you feel overwhelmed by debt. By reaching to a financial advisor, you will be able to find specific ways in which you can minimize your debt and improve your personal financial situation.


Tips for Renting Out Your Home

With the rise of services like Airbnb, you may be considering renting out your home for extra income while you’re away for an extended period of time. Though this seems like an ideal solution for families with extra room to spare, it can create issues for those who don’t properly prepare.

To get the most out of renting out your home, keep in mind the following:

  • Review the terms of your insurance policy closely and talk with your insurance broker about renting out your home.
  • Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities, and occupancy guidelines.
  • Request a security deposit. Explain that this deposit will be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
  • Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
  • Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.

If you uncover any red flags while checking references, do not agree to rent your home. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your property.

Recognize Staged Car Accidents and Help Prevent Insurance Fraud

Staged accidents are a common type of insurance fraud.

Often, dishonest drivers will manoeuvre into auto crashes. While your car may only suffer minor damages, fraudsters can make large claims for fake injuries or charge your auto insurance company for damage.

The following are some tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a staged auto accident:

  • Call the police immediately if you’re in an accident
  • Report accident claims to your insurance broker immediately. Don’t settle on-site with cash
  • Use medical, car repair, and legal professionals you know and trust
  • Drive defensively and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

The best way to protect yourself from staged accident fraud is to drive safely at all times.

The best way to protect yourself after an accident occurs is to take detailed notes and photos. The more information you have, the more equipped you are to fight a fraudulent claim.

When possible, your notes should include driver’s licence numbers, VIN, car insurance information, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in a crash.

Take A LOT of photos. Even if you don’t think it’s important at the time, it may help prevent headaches in the future. Be sure to get multiple angles and closeups. You should also consider investing in a dash cam.

Accident Scams to Watch For

  • The Drive Down: You’re attempting to merge when another driver waves you forward. Instead of letting you in he slams into your car. The driver will deny ever motioning you.
  • The Swoop and Squat: The first car swoops in while another squats in front of you. After the “accident”, passengers will file bogus injury claims with your insurance company.
  • The T-Bone: You’re crossing an intersection when a car coming from a side street accelerates and hits your car. When the police arrive, the driver and several planted “witnesses” claim that you ran a red light or stop sign.

By comparing as many car insurance companies at once, you’re able to find the best combination of price and coverage that fits your needs. Compare insurance company now by getting a car insurance quote online in minutes.

1-Month Check-Up: How’s Your New Year’s Resolution Coming Along?

With one full month complete, how well did you do with your New Year’s resolutions? If you didn’t make it the whole month, don’t worry too much because only about 58% of people make it past one month.

The number 1 New Year’s resolution in 2017 was to lose weight or eat healthier so we’ve come up with 4 tips to help you get in control of your health!

It can be hard to navigate all the fad diets and misinformation out there but there are a few ways to simplify the process. It’s important to start by making small changes and gradually transform your lifestyle.

  1. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism, which in turn, helps you burn more calories.
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that poor sleep is a major risk factor for obesity. In fact, a good night’s sleep might be jsut as important as healthy eating and exercise.
  3. Drink black coffee or green tea. When trying to lose weight, avoid drinking your calories. Consider drinking zero sugar coffee and green tea, both of which can boost your metabolism and enhance fat burning.
  4. Go on a low-carb diet. Carb-restriction diets have been shown to be twice as effective as low-fat diets when it comes to weight loss.

When compared with diet only and exercise only strategies, lifestyle changes are the most effective forms of losing weight.

Restart your New Year’s resolution today!

Learn how to file an insurance claim the right way

Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning!

surprise flood

When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

To get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

Call your insurance broker as soon as an incident occurs.

  • The sooner you get the process moving, the better.
  • After you’ve contacted your insurance broker, you can ask the adjuster to come and inspect the damage.

Document your losses before the adjuster comes.

  • Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster.
  • Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.

Take photographs of the scene.

  • Don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurance broker and adjuster.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurance broker and what the conversation entailed.

At Scrivens, we keep detailed notes on every customer interaction.

This helps track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allows you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

Scrivens highly recommends everyone keep a thorough home inventory to help make the claims process run smoothly and quickly. You can download our Home Inventory Checklist in Excel format here.

Getting New Year’s Resolutions Right: Lifestyle Changes vs. Quick Changes

Historically, one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people look to fad diets and weight-loss products to achieve their goals quickly.

While fad diets may prove effective initially, research shows that many people don’t find long-term success with these types of diets.

Instead of setting a goal to lose weight fast in 2018, set a goal to lead a healthier lifestyle. Common lifestyle New Year’s resolutions include the following:

  • Exercise regularly – Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week and to do strength training exercises of major muscle groups at least twice a week. For example, “I will go for a 30 minute walk every day at lunch.”
  • Maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet – Try to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grain,s protein-rich foods, and healthy fats. Make it a goal to incorporate more fruits and veggies in your diet. For example, “I will eat a piece of fruit at lunch ever day”.
  • Increase the amount of sleep you get – One of the best ways to become healthier is to get enough sleep. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep, the expert-recommended amount, per night. For example, “I will turn off my phone at 10:00 PM every night.”

Regardless of what you choose to make your New Year’s resolution, make sure it is a “SMART” goal – one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – to increase the odds that you will stick to it.

How to safely store your leftovers for the best turkey sandwiches

Often, after a holiday feast and all the leftovers get into the fridge, a long period of time has passed. While this may seem harmless, it could put you and your family at risk from food-borne illnesses like salmonella and E. coli.

The following food storage tips can help prevent the growth of such bacteria and keep your food safe for making delicious leftover meals!

  • Never allow meat, poultry, seafood, effs, produce, leftovers, or other foods that require refrigeration to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours
  • Store meat on the bottom shelf or bottom drawer to prevent it from dripping onto other food
  • Avoid crowding your refrigerator or freezer, as this prevents air flow from circulating
  • Clean the refrigerator weekly for old or expired food items. Toss cooked leftovers such as meat and poultry after 4 days.

Have a safe and happy holidays from everyone at Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions!