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March 5, 2010

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How Could We Possibly Connect Valentine’s Day and Insurance?

February 15, 2010

love sculpture

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers! In which Valentine’s Day category do you belong? 

  • 15% of women will send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. 
  • 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine’s Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
  • 61% of men of all ages say they would like to receive flowers from a woman for Valentine’s Day.
  • 53% of women in America would dump their boyfriend if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day.
  • 3% of people give their pets a Valentine’s Day present.
  • Approximately 11% of Americans will be engaged on Valentine’s Day… *

If you and your significant other are a couple of the 11% who became engaged, congratulations and best wishes! Immediately following the proposal, your thoughts probably landed on wedding insurance, didn’t they?!  

wedding insurance
Beyond the heart, soul, passion, beauty and commitment which weddings represent lies the undeniable fact that a wedding also symbolizes an incredible financial investment.  It is not romantic, nor  is it glamorous, but a wedding must be protected like any other investment. Couples across our nation grow up envisioning their fairytale wedding; insurance is available to protect that vision. Considering the average wedding costs over $28,000—the same as a car!—more couples should think about insuring their big day like they insure their big car purchase.  

Wedding Insurance through the Wedding Protector Plan

The incredible thing about insurance is that it offers something that is so hard to find, especially when it comes to the things we value most: peace of mind. The Wedding Protector Plan from Travelers is an insurance policy that offers financial protection if certain unfortunate, unforeseen events should occur during the period leading up to and including the wedding day. Starting at $160, wedding insurance can offer that peace of mind to a bride, her groom and their families.  The Wedding Protector Plan offers a number of coverages including: 

  • Cancellation or Postponement
  • Special Attire
  • Additional Expenses
  • Special Jewelry
  • Event Photographs/Video
  • Lost Deposits
  • Event Gifts
  • Liability Insurance 

These coverages can (but are not limited to): 

  • Reimburse you if an important item related to your wedding (for example, your rings or your dress) is lost or damaged before you get married or during the ceremony.
  • Reimburse you in case you lose non-refundable deposits if a vendor (for example, your florist, photographer or caterer) goes out of business before your wedding or does not show up.
  • Reimburse your deposit if something happens to the wedding site or reception hall  (for example, a fire) before your wedding.
  • Reimburse you and pay for re-scheduling if events beyond your control cause you to postpone your wedding (i.e. weather; sickness or injury to the bride, groom, or anyone essential to the wedding; military or job duties; vendor no-show).
  • Add coverage to protect you in case someone at your wedding is injured or causes damage to the property of others.
  • Pay for damage to or theft of wedding attire, photos, videos, and gifts.  

These coverages cannot

  • Reimburse you if you or your fiancé have a change of heart 😦

Click the image below to learn more about the Wedding Protector Plan. You can also purchase insurance for your wedding online in minutes. If you would like assistance, feel free to call us at Asset Security (914-598-3004) and we can provide you with more information and walk you through the process.
Wedding Insurance through the Wedding Protector Plan 

For some more information, review the following articles: 

  • Read this article, which underscores the importance of wedding insurance and what a savior it can be: “Vendor and Venue Mishaps Top List of Wedding Insurance Claims in Faltering Economy: Majority of claims tied to wedding cancellations, bankrupt venues, no-show vendors; Travelers urges couples and parents to review insurance options.”
  • Here is an article about Wedding Insurance from the Better Business Bureau.
  • The Insurance Journal featured an article on wedding insurance, too.  

* Statistics Sources: The U.S. Census Bureau, The Diamond Information Center, Bruskin/Goldring Research for the Society of American Florists (SAF), and Hubpages.com.


Insure Your Holiday Goodies

December 29, 2009

Tiffany&Co Diamond Necklace, Jewelry InsuranceWere you on Santa’s “nice” list this year? Did he leave you diamonds rather than coal in your stocking? Or maybe you received a timeless piece of fine art on the 8th day of Hanukkah? If you received any valuable articles for the holidays (or any time of year!) now is the time to contact your insurance specialist to be sure your gifts are covered.

One of the best things about insurance is the way that it offers something that is very hard to find: peace of mind. The key to acquiring this success is to invest time with your agent to establish an insurance policy that is perfectly attuned to the needs of your lifestyle. Your agent is the expert on insurance coverages, but you are the expert on what you have that should be covered. Your home and family grow over the years and whether you add, subtract, renovate, move, upsize or downscale to meet your needs, your insurance coverage should also change and grow with you.

Van Gogh; Fine Art Insurance

Homeowners, Condo and Renters Insurance policies provide a certain amount of personal property protection, but your coverage has limits and may not cover valuable additions. The limit on these policies refers to the maximum amount payable for each loss of or damage to unscheduled property. Unscheduled property is that which has not been specifically named  for coverage on your policy.

The scheduled personal property endorsement is available as an addition to your Home/Condo/Renters Insurance policy. For an additional premium, your policy will cover loss or damage to personal property items whose value exceeds the personal property coverage limit available under your standard Home/Condo/Renters policy.

The following is an example of the limits imposed on different categories of property and may not reflect your specific homeowner’s policy provisions:

  • $200 on money, bank notes, gold, silver, platinum, coins and metals;
  • $1,500 on securities, accounts, deeds, personal records, passports, tickets and stamps;
  • $1,500 for jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semiprecious stones;
  • $2,500 for firearms;
  • $2,500 for loss by theft of silverware, goldware and pewterware;
  • $2,500 on property at the residence premises used at anytime or in any manner for business purposes.

Other items you may want to schedule:

  • Digital, still and video cameras plus any additional equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Fine Art (paintings, drawings, sculptures, vases)
  • Antiques
  • Sports equipment  

Stradivarius Violin; Musical Instrument Insurance

Simply, if any of your prized possessions are worth more than the limits specified on your policy, the full amount for the items will not be covered. That is when you may choose to schedule the item, or list it specifically on the policy so that it will be covered. The best way to decide if you should schedule items on your policy is to communicate your concern with an insurance professional; we can help. Call or e-mail us today: 914-598-3004 or jaime@assetsecurityrm.com. Remember, as your life changes, your insurance needs tend to change along with it.

Side note: Get a load  of this gem–it’s Saudi Prince Waleed’s Mercedes-Benz SL 600. Holy bedazzling, Batman. Are those skunks on the seats?


Winter Driving Safety

December 22, 2009

Driving in Snow Winter Safety TipsThe snowy season is a thrilling time for winter sports, building snowmen, admiring nature’s beauty and curling up by a (closely-tended) fire with loved ones.  Winter driving, however is not a winter sport and it poses daunting threats to even the most cautious drivers.  The surest way to remain safe is, of course, to avoid driving in snowy and icy conditions, but we understand that the snow days of yore may be a distant memory.

While you may not have the luxury of staying home and building snowmen, you can minimize the special risks of traveling in snow and ice by heeding certain precautions while driving and by employing defensive driving to anticipate the mistakes of others.

Travelers, one of Asset Security’s trusted insurance carriers, has created a Winter Driving Safety Quiz where you can test your automobile acumen and learn valuable safety tips. Topics include defensive driving, speed, safety concerns, weather conditions, driving habits, and accident reduction techniques.  I scored a cool 10/10! What will you score?

Travelers Winter Driving Safety, Asset Security, Inc Insurance

Take the Travelers Winter Driving Safety Quiz now and then continue on below for more safe driving tips!

Consider the following:

  • Get an engine tune-up in the fall.  Switch to winter-weight oil if you aren’t already using all-season oil. Be sure all lights are in good working order. Have the brakes adjusted.
  • Battery and voltage regulator should be checked. Make sure battery connections are good.
  • If the battery terminal posts seem to be building up a layer of corrosion, clean them with a paste of baking soda and water. Let it foam, and then rinse with water. Apply a thin film of petroleum jelly to the terminal posts to prevent corrosion, and reconnect.
  • Be sure all fluids are at proper levels. Antifreeze should not only be strong enough to prevent freezing, but fresh enough to prevent rust.
  • Make sure wiper blades are cleaning properly. Consider changing to winter wiper blades, which are made for driving in snow. They are covered with a rubber boot to keep moisture away from working parts of the blade.
  • Don’t idle a cold vehicle’s engine for along time to warm it up – it could harm the engine. The right way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it.

Try to be equipped with the following, especially for emergencies:

  • Snow shovel.
  • Scraper with a brush on one end.
  • Tow chain or strap.
  • Tire chains.
  • Flashlight (with extra batteries).
  • Abrasive material (cat litter, sand, salt, or traction mats).
  • Jumper cables.
  • Warning device (flares or reflective triangles).
  • Brightly colored cloth to signal for help.
  • Sleeping bags or blankets, ski caps, and mittens.
  • First-aid supplies.
  • Compass.

Getting Unstuck:

  •   Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way. Keep a light touch on the gas, and ease forward. Don’t spin your wheels–you’ll just dig in deeper.
  • Rocking the vehicle is another way to get unstuck. (Check your owner’s manual first–it can damage the transmission on some vehicles). Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.
  • Front-wheel drive vehicles, snow tires should be on the front – the driving axle – for better traction in mud or snow.
  • Turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
  • If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  • If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your foot on the pedal. If not, pump the pedal gently, pumping more rapidly as your car slows down. Braking hard with non-anti-lock brakes will make the skid worse.
  • Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but  don’t try to steer immediately.
  • As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently. 

Source: The National Safety Council’s “Winter, Your Car and You.”

If your rear wheels start to skid:

  • Turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
  • If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  • If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), keep your foot on the pedal. If not, pump the pedal gently, pumping more rapidly as your car slows down. Braking hard with non-anti-lock brakes will make the skid worse.

If your front wheels start to skid:

  • To avoid skids, brake carefully and gently on snow or ice. “Squeeze” your brakes in slow, steady strokes. Allow the wheels to keep rolling. If they start to lock up, ease off the brake pedal. As you slow down, you may also want to shift into a lower gear.
  • When sleet, freezing rain or snow start to fall, remember that bridges, ramps, and overpasses are likely to freeze first. Also be aware that slippery spots may still remain after road crews have cleared the highways.

Source: New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual

Remember: Ice and Snow? Take it slow!


Ben Stein Loves Insurance Agents

December 15, 2009

An excerpt from Ben Stein’s article in the New York Times:

Many years later, an insurance broker came to call on my wife about disability insurance. I scoffed at him and told him how incredibly unlikely it was that a healthy woman like my wife would ever be disabled. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘That’s what we think, too. That’s why it’s so cheap and pays so much if she does get disabled.’

I bought the policy, and when my wife did get temporarily disabled, it paid off magnificently and we needed it.

In particular, I’ve come to love insurance sales representatives. After many years of skepticism, and despite many warnings from consumer ‘experts,’ I have come to believe that you can rarely have too much insurance, and that whatever insurance you don’t have is exactly what you will wind up needing. The fact that so many people in insurance sell you what’s good for you, even when smart alecks are telling you not to buy it, makes their work extremely impressive. I wish I had paid more attention to them.

As Ben Stein has come to appreciate, we hope that you also trust that at Asset Security, Inc. operates in a different league. We are genuinely concerned with helping you realize the best ways to protect your livelihood and your financial health.  At Asset Security, we realize the unique risks that each of our clients face and work tirelessly to safeguard them from catastrophe.

To let us help you choose personal or business insurance that is “good for you,” contact us at 914-598-3004 or jaime@assetsecurityrm.com.

Free Year-End Tax Planning Seminar

November 19, 2009

Like securing good insurance converage, managing your taxes is an important component of ensuring your financial health. I found information about this free seminar to be held in Hartford, CT through the  University of Connecticut Alumni Networking Group on LinkedIn:

“Ameriprise Financial invites you to join us for a special seminar, Managing Your Taxes: Use the Opportunities in Current Tax Laws*

Wednesday, December 2, 2009
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108

This is an informational seminar. There is no cost or obligation. During this complimentary seminar, you’ll learn ways to: 

  • Manage the amount you pay to the government in taxes.
  • Align tax treatments with your investment objectives.
  • Find the right balance of before- and after-tax investments for your situation.

Space is limited.  Please make a reservation by Monday, November 23, 2009 for you and up to 4 guests. Call 860-334-1404.”

*Disclaimer: Asset Security, Inc. may periodically provide information about other companies or websites, which might be useful for you.  Asset Security, Inc. does not endorse any of these companies or websites.  Asset Security, Inc. accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for their actions, contents, or for any consequences arising from any use of, or reliance on, the information provided by them.


Thanksgiving Insurance plus Pumpkin Spice Bars Recipe

November 18, 2009

Okay, there is no such thing as Thanksgiving insurance, but you can manage risks by cautiously cooking up that Thanksgiving storm (Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires and home insurance claims according to the National Fire Protection Association) and by ensuring that your home is protected with adequate insurance coverage.  Although financial times are tough, now is not the time to retreat and skimp on insurance; you may even consider increasing your limits.  During the holiday season, your home sees more guests bustling in and out, which may increase liability risks, and more cooking, which may expose safety hazards.

Below are a few things to be mindful of when entertaining your family and friends for the holiday:

  • “You can’t tell if a food is safe to eat by how it looks or tastes. Proper storage, cooking and handling are the only ways to ensure safe food.” Read this food safety information to prevent food poisoning.
  • If you are deep-frying your turkey, consider doing it in the garage or out on the deck. If you must do it inside, do not leave it unattended!
  • Stay in the kitchen while anything is being cooked. You want to make sure nothing spills, catches fire or boils over.
  • LEARN HOW TO PUT OUT A GREASE FIRE.
  • Be the Top Chef in your kitchen and make sure anyone helping you is being cautious.  Beware of letting children help in the kitchen–they can be injured and if it is a friend or relative’s child, a liability risk can arise.  
  • Invest in a fire extinguisher. It could stop a fire from becoming overwhelming and it can grant you a discount on your homeowner’s policy!
  • Push your sleeves up and wear fitted clothing so that loose articles don’t get set ablaze.
  • Keep your kitchen tidy and make sure paper towels, pot holders and packages are away from the stove.
  • Clean up spills or anything on the floor immediately to prevent slips and falls.  
  • Learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver in case anyone is choking.
  • If anyone has had a bit too much to drink, do not let them drive away from your house. If they are involved in an accident, the subsequent liquor liability lawsuit could absolutely devastate your financial stability.
  • One guarantee for a great Thanksgiving is this recipe for pumpkin spice bars! It is yum in the tum and will give you a little insurance that everyone’s stomach is happy! 

    Make Pumpkin Spice Bars

    Pumpkin Spice Bars
    4 large eggs
    1 3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 cups fresh pumpkin puree*
    2 cups all purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (avail in gourmet dept)
    2 cups golden raisins 
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • In mixer, beat eggs until frothy.
    • Add sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
    • Beat in vegetable oil and pumpkin.
    • Sift dry ingredients over the raisins and fold dry mixture into the egg mixture. Do not over mix.
    • Pour into a greased and floured 13″x9″ pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm to touch in center.
    • Cool on rack and cut into 24 squares.
    • DEVOUR.

    *To prepare fresh pumpkin for baking, follow these steps:

    • The best and sweetest pumpkin to use is the sugar pumpkin. Baking it concentrates the sugars and flavors.
    • Wash the pumpkin, discard the stem and quarter the pumpkin.
    • Remove seeds and save.
    • Place skin side down in a roasting pan filled with one inch of water
    • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until knofe pierces flesh easily.
    • Remove from pan and cool
    • Spoon out flesh infor food processor and process until smooth.