Home and Life Insurance

Make Money Blogging and Finally Get to Travel

July 11, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

Before I became a blogger, the extent of my travels was to a few Southern states in the U.S. (near where I grew up), and one quick trip to a super touristy area in Mexico. I also made it to Alaska once because my best friend’s grandparents lived there.

I was dying to travel more but I had been working as a full-time tax accountant for 5 years and had JUST gotten my CPA license. With two weeks of vacation a year and family to see, who has the time?

Oh, and then there’s the fact that I was living paycheck-to-paycheck as well. So, uh, yeah…this gal can’t AFFORD to travel anytime soon, even if she did have the time!

 

Sound familiar? I think most people are fighting similar battles in the 9-5 world.

Fast forward 3 years, and I am now a full-time blogger with a business that makes over $100,000/month. And I’ve been able to travel to places like Peru, Bali, Portugal, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.

My boyfriend and business partner, Alex Nerney, and I own two blogs together: Avocadu.com, a health and wellness blog, and Createandgo.co, a make money online blog.

Alex was a personal trainer for years and I was formerly a pretty hardcore vegan for a couple years. We started in the health and fitness space because we were passionate about it! After reaching six figures with Avocadu, we started Create and Go, where we teach others how to chase their dreams through blogging.

It’s these two blogs that we owe everything to.

Most jobs don’t provide you with both in large quantities. You either have the time but don’t have the money, or you make enough to travel but you just don’t have the time.

Sad day.

A blogging business gives you the potential for BOTH – in ample quantities, if you do it right.

For our first international trip as full-time bloggers, Alex and I spent the month in Nicaragua and made $10,000 with our small health and wellness blog.

We worked a lot while we were there, but we also got to surf, explore volcanos, meet some really incredible people that we are still friends with today, and so much more!

Fast forward a year, and we spent an entire month in Portugal and earned $75,000 the month we were there. We explored castles, beaches, beautiful cities, wined and dined, and of course did some work here and there.

Being able to work from anywhere you want and earn passive income while you sleep opens up doors to possibilities and opportunities in life that you can only dream of.

How do Blogs Make Money?

You can make money blogging in a variety of ways, but there is an important path to follow if you want to make the big bucks. Some monetization methods are easier, some more passive, and some have the potential to make you a lot more.

Here are a few of the main ways to monetize a blog:

  1. Ads
  2. Sponsored Posts
  3. Affiliate Marketing
  4. Selling Your Own Products

Some people also do freelancing on the side, which is a GREAT way to help supplement your blogging income.

  1. Ads are the most passive way to earn income, but they will also be your lowest income-earner on your blog. They are best utilized as a tool to supplement your income and make a few hundred dollars extra (or a few thousand if you have TONS of traffic) per month.
  2. Sponsored posts are another way that bloggers make money but they are the least passive because you get paid per post that you write. You are still technically trading your hours for dollars and writing posts does take time.
  3. Affiliate marketing is when you sell other people’s products and receive a commission for it. It can make you great money very passively and is something that all bloggers should use as part of their monetization strategy.
  4. Creating your own products is the best way to scale your income because you control your prices, profits, marketing, and every other step of the sales process. This is the final frontier of monetizing your blog and is generally the difference between making $2,000 per month or $10,000 per month as a blogger.

All of these ways to make money blogging have advantages and disadvantages, so the real power comes from diversifying and using several different strategies with your blog.

The point that most new bloggers miss here is how and when to implement these strategies into your business. This can make or break you.

Tips Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Insurance

June 6, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

Insurance requires you to think about bad occurrences … medical problems, car accidents, emergency home repairs. But although it may sound pessimistic to dwell on what could happen (carpe diem, anyone?), it’s important to protect yourself from some of life’s biggest surprises.

When it comes to protecting your home, it’s not just about safeguarding against structural damage or theft—it’s just as much about feeling secure in where you live. If disaster strikes, your focus should be on reclaiming your sense of stability. The last thing you should worry about is money.

We spoke to LearnVest Planning Services certified financial planner Ellen Derrick—and some real homeowners—about the top 11 things you should know about homeowner’s insurance.

1. What It Covers

A typical policy will pay for damage to your property and your possessions in the event of certain storms, fire, theft or vandalism. Like renter’s insurance, it also provides liability coverage if someone gets hurt on your property and decides to sue. Homeowner’s insurance also covers shelter costs, so you don’t have to face crazy hotel bills if you’re temporarily displaced from your house.

Homeowner’s insurance can protect belongings outside the home, too. If something is stolen from your car, auto insurance won’t cover it—but your homeowners policy likely will. “Most policies will cover your belongings when they are traveling with you,” Derrick says. “If you have a $1,200 laptop and it gets lost by the airline, call your insurance agent—right after you file the claim with the airline, of course.”

2. What It Doesn’t Cover

A standard policy has exclusions, including earth movements (landslides, earthquakes, sinkholes), power failure, war, nuclear hazard, government action, faulty zoning, bad repair or workmanship, defective maintenance and flooding. Windstorms are typically covered, including tornadoes, although insurance companies exclude tornadoes or hurricanes in some high-risk areas.

Water damage is tricky. As a rule of thumb, water from above (rainwater or a burst pipe in an upstairs apartment) is usually covered, but water from below (backed-up sewers or ground flooding) generally isn’t. If your region is prone to floods and earthquakes, you should consider supplemental coverage.

3. Why You Should Shop Around

Before committing to a policy, take the time to research an agent whom you trust—preferably one with good reviews online or via a personal recommendation. It’s certainly something that Ramzy Ayyad, who struggled to receive benefits following a house fire in November 2008, recommends that prospective homeowners do. “I had to deal with a rude adjuster,” he says. After complaining assertively to the adjuster’s boss, Ayyad finally received a check for the damages—but the process was exhausting.

By contrast, Terri Corcoran has nothing but glowing reviews for her adjuster. After a snowstorm caused a major leak in Corcoran’s laundry room, an insurance agent came to her home to assess the damage—and promptly determined that the entire room needed to be redone. “They wrote me a check on the spot for what it should cost,” Corcoran says. “I was really impressed by how the company responded!”

Bottom line? Don’t just shop for a policy. Make sure you also select the best agent.

4. Which Preventive Actions Can Reduce Premiums

It may sound like common sense to have a working smoke detector, but did you know that it might also help you land a lower insurance quote? The same goes for a burglar alarm. According to insuranceagents.com, you can reduce your premium by about 5% if you install something as a simple as a deadbolt, and up 15-20% for a burglar alarm system.

Insurance companies price your premium based on how much risk they foresee, so you can reduce the premium by reducing your liability risk, thanks to some smart preventive measures. For example, if you have a pool, you may be able to reduce the likelihood of a claim—and thus, possibly lower your premium—by installing a fence and a pool cover to minimize the risk of a neighborhood kid wandering onto your property and falling in.

5. How Replacement Coverage Differs From Market Value

There are two key distinctions that every homeowner should know: “replacement cost” versus “market value.” Replacement cost covers repairing or replacing your entire home. Market value is how much someone would pay to buy your home and accompanying land in its current downtrodden condition.

When you’re considering the type of coverage to take out, a policy that’s based on market value is typically less expensive but, as State Farm puts it, “for a cash-strapped homeowner, buying a policy based on market value offers the best chance to recoup at least partial expenses after a loss.” In other words, you won’t recoup as much in the event of a serious disaster.

For those who have a good emergency fund in place, Derrick says that there is a way to possibly get more substantial coverage and still pay lower premiums: “You might consider getting a policy that covers more in terms of replacing or rebuilding your property, but with a higher deductible.”

6. Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File a Claim

When buying a policy, make sure to ask about time limits to report a claim, and then abide by them! If you wait too long, you may not be eligible for benefits—especially if waiting has made the problem worse. David Baxter works for a residential and commercial restoration company in Florida, and he remembers a customer with water damage who waited almost a month to do anything about it. “When the mold set in, and he decided to call, his insurance didn’t cover him because it was outside of the 14-day window required for reporting the problem,” Baxter says.

7. Why You Should Write Everything Down

Senen Garcia, a lawyer in Coconut Grove, Fla., represents homeowners against insurance companies that fail to pay out on valid claims. He’s seen many denied claims because people don’t keep good enough records. “Homeowners must document everything that occurs during a loss, do as much as possible to mitigate [the loss]—and document such mitigation,” Garcia says.

In addition to saving receipts, contracts and appraisals, document phone calls by writing down who you spoke to and when. And be sure to stow it in a secure place! Don’t want to invest in a safe? Consider keeping digital copies online using a program like Dropbox.

8. How Jewelry Is Covered

When David Cohen lost his wife’s rings, he was relieved that his homeowner’s policy covered jewelry—but it was only up to a maximum of $3,000. “My wife gave me her rings to hold,” he says. “So I promptly put them in my jacket pocket … and then forgot about the rings when I took the jacket to the cleaners. As you can imagine, they were gone.”

Within three weeks, the Cohens received a check from their insurance company, but they were still out a good deal of money because his wife’s engagement ring was worth $6,000 alone. The lesson? When signing up for homeowner’s insurance, note the limits on jewelry. “Most people don’t realize that things like wedding rings aren’t usually covered by the basic limits in their policies,” Derrick says. “You can get an appraisal at your jeweler, and then consider buying a supplemental policy to cover it.”

9. Why Good Maintenance Matters

Insurance companies would rather pay as little as possible to repair damage, so they prize early detection and prevention. Deacon Hayes and his wife paid for a routine checkup on their air conditioner because they live in Arizona and wanted to make sure that the system was ready for summer. “The specialist told us that the unit was on its last legs because of a hail storm,” Hayes recalls. Thanks to his diligence, Hayes’s insurance policy ended up paying for a new $4,000 A/C unit.

According to Derrick, one very important thing to keep an eye on is your water bill. “If you notice an unusual spike or trend upward (and it’s not just because it’s 100 degrees outside, and you’re watering your lawn more), you could have a leak somewhere,” she says. “Finding the source early could save you from dealing with a bigger headache when a major pipe bursts.”

10. How to Save by Bundling

One way to save money is to bundle your homeowner’s insurance with other policies that you already own. “But don’t just buy a bunch of policies in order to ‘save’ money,” Derrick cautions. “For example, it makes a lot of sense to have your car and homeowner’s policies with the same company because you’ll usually get some kind of discount. However, if you don’t have a need for life insurance, don’t buy a policy just because the agent says you’ll save money on other policies.” After all, if you’re spending money on something that you don’t need, where are the savings?

11. When to File a Claim

A large section of Richard Clayman’s wooden backyard fence came down in a storm. “I didn’t think there was any way my homeowner’s policy would cover it—and my neighbors assured me that it wouldn’t,” he says. But he called his insurance company, just in case. “The agent asked how high (the fence was), what kind of wood it was and how much of it needed replacing. Next thing you know, I get a $700 check in the mail!”

Theresa Roma has a similar story: A bad windstorm took roof shingles off her house, and she almost didn’t file a claim because it didn’t feel worthwhile. In the end, she received over $25,000 for a new roof.

The obvious mishaps aside (fire, major flood, etc.), it can be beneficial to file a claim when in doubt, but Derrick cautions restraint. “Don’t file a bunch of frivolous claims,” she says. “The claims history for your property is also what determines your rates, so it’s better not to cry wolf, unless you have a real claim.” The repercussion if you file needlessly? A possible uptick in your premium.

Save Money on Your Homeowner Insurance Policy

June 6, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

Shopping for homeowner insurance is one of those nagging home buying details that sometimes manages to slip though the cracks. It’s not unusual for insurance agents to receive last-minute frantic phone calls from title and / or escrow companies requesting a home insurance binder. To save yourself trouble, it’s a good idea to start shopping for a homeowner policy as soon as your purchase offer is accepted.

Further, realize that homeowner’s insurance is different from a home warranty plan.

Here are a few tips about buying homeowner insurance that are designed to save you time and money:

Determine Insurability

Your insurance agent needs extensive information from you to quote you the best rate for your policy. To determine insurability, an agent will ask:

When was the home built?
How old is the plumbing and electrical?
What type of roof?
What’s the square footage?
How many claims have been filed over the past 5 years?
Where is the home located?
If the home is located in a rural area without a nearby fire department or there is no fire hydrant on the street, some companies may refuse to insure it. In that case, you may have to inquire at a specialty or surplus-lines company, and this quote will take longer to obtain.

Deductibles

You can save money by having a higher deductible on your policy. Typically, insurance companies will start giving discounts at a $500 deductible and increase the discount as your deductible increases.

Most companies offer deductibles up to $10,000. Be careful, however, because many mortgage companies will not allow you to exceed a $1,000 deductible, so check with your lender before opting for a higher deductible.

How Much Insurance Do You Need?

Most agents use a cost estimator to figure cost replacement estimates.

This will ensure that your home is insured for the correct amount. Insurance companies do not insure dirt. If you buy a home that includes a large lot, do not be astonished when you receive an insurance policy for a lot less than what you paid for the home. This is because you are buying coverage for the home and not the land.

In the past, replacement coverage was called Guaranteed Replacement Cost. There is no such coverage anymore. Today it is Replacement Cost Coverage, which means each insurance company designates a percentage of additional coverage on top of the insured amount. This is designed to protect the homeowner who has suffered a loss from having to pay additional construction costs to rebuild. It can cost more to build because of inflation or simply because material prices have increased. For example, if the dwelling coverage is insured for $300,000, and the company has 125% replacement cost coverage, the homeowner would receive an additional $75,000.

Insurance agents often recommend 200% replacement cost coverage, which gives homeowners double the coverage.

Policy Options

You have other choices on your home insurance policy that you can tailor. Liability coverage is a part of your homeowner’s insurance policy that is often overlooked.

This protects the insured against claims arising from bodily injury and property damage to others. For example, if your five-year-old was playing with matches and set your neighbor’s house on fire, your liability coverage would pay for this damage. You might have to move out of the neighborhood, but your insurance policy would pay your neighbor.

It is common to see $300,000 in coverage for liability, but the cost to raise it to $500,000 is about $20 more a year. You can have up to one-million coverage on most policies. Over that, you need an excess liability policy or “umbrella” policy. Umbrella policies give you an additional $1,000,000 liability coverage for a $300 to $500 premium.

Available Discounts

Make sure that you are getting all of the credits for which you are eligible. If you have an alarm system that reports to a central station (a company such as Brinks or ADT), in some cases, you can get up to a 10% discount.

If you are over 50 and care to admit it, you may be eligible for a discount. Companies have different names for age preference policies, from senior discount to mature policyholder discount.

The most common discount is the multi-policy discount. This will save you money on your home and auto insurance. By combining the two policies with the same company, you are given a certain percentage discount on both. the percentage discounts vary among companies, so it’s best to shop around.

Review Your Policies

Call your agent and review your homeowner policy at least every three years. Needs change, markets change and coverages change. You should stay up-to-date on your insurance because you never know when you will need to rely on it.

How to Protect Your Child

June 6, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

Act like a child

Explore your home at the child’s level – by getting down on your hands and knees and moving around each room. Ask yourself what looks tempting and what’s within reach (between the floor and about 40 inches above). Remove or secure any items that could be dangerous.

Also, check carpets for buried dangers like pins, coins or other things a child could choke on.

Post emergency numbers by all telephones

Check your state law to find out the age you can allow your child to stay home alone. Then set your child up to have a safe experience while you are gone. Make sure your child has easy access to this information:

  • 911 for emergencies
  • 1-800-222-1222 for the Poison Control Center
  • The number for a pediatrician, police, fire department, emergency medical services and a neighbor
  • Your home address so that caregivers and children can easily tell emergency personnel how to locate the home

Create house rules

Establish house rules and make sure your child is comfortable with them. Some common guidelines:

  • Don’t answer the door
  • Let the phone go to voicemail
  • Do not allow friends in the house unless a parent is at home

If your child stays home alone after school, agree on a daily check-in procedure. Set a time when you’ll call home or your child will call you. Tell your child how to contact you and what time you’ll return home at day’s end.

Walk around the house together

Take a tour of your house and point out potential hazards to your child, such as electrical appliances and heating equipment. Discuss which appliances and electronic devices can and can’t be used when you’re not home (e.g., the microwave is OK, but the oven is not).

Make sure your child knows the location of the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, make sure they know your family’s fire escape plan. Remind them to get out of the house immediately if an alarm goes off, and to call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone.

Prepare a snack or meal for your child in advance, preferably one that does not need to be heated. If your child must use the stove or oven, remind him or her never to leave a pot unattended while cooking and to check that the stove, oven or burner is turned off when they finish.

How much home insurance do I need?

June 6, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

You know you need homeowners insurance to protect your home – but countless options can seem overwhelming. In addition to figuring outwhat type of homeowners coverage you’ll need, it’s also crucial to figure out how much home insurance you’ll need to adequately protect your property. It’s important to set realistic policy limits based on your specific home, property and belongings. Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to accurately estimate how much home insurance is right for you.

1. What would be the total cost to rebuild my home?

Insurance is designed to help you plan for the worst. In the unfortunate event that your home has to be completely rebuilt due to a covered accident, a home insurance policy would ideally cover the entire cost (minus your deductible). Rather than simply insuring your home for how much you paid for it, you should consider the cost of rebuilding, market fluctuations in your area and your home’s age when estimating the rebuild cost. It’s also important to factor in the value of any new features or remodeling you’ve completed while living in your home. You can even work with a contractor to get a more accurate figure.

2. What is the total value of my personal belongings?

One of the most important features of home insurance is that it can protect your belongings in the event of a fire, wind damage or other covered accidents. To ensure that your policy limits can cover everything in your house, take an inventory of all of your home’s contents, room by room. Beyond approximating the cost of valuables such as electronics and art, you should also remember to include furniture, clothing, appliances and home goods in your estimate.

3. What would be the cost to live elsewhere temporarily in the event my home has to be rebuilt or repaired?

In the event that you and your family are unable to live in your home in the aftermath of a covered accident, how much would it cost you to live in a hotel or other temporary housing? Beyond the per-night cost, there are other day-to-day costs that you would incur if you were temporarily displaced, such as increased transportation costs, food costs and more. Your insurance agent will be able to calculate an amount based on your specific home and property.

4. How much could someone sue me for in a personal liability dispute?

Home insurance does more than protect your home and your belongings. The right policy can also protect you from paying out of pocket if you are found responsible for a guest’s bodily injuries. If the costs associated with their injuries exceed your policy limit, they could take legal action against you. Although choosing a personal liability limit isn’t as cut and dry as estimating other costs, think about your long-term finances and net worth when estimating how much personal liability protection you will need. Choosing how much homeowners coverage you’ll need is a big decision. Once you have an estimate, you can start your homeowners insurance quote from our services. Our policies are customizable to your unique needs.

Want to now How Much Home Insurance Costs?

How Much is Homeowners Insurance?

June 6, 2018 Home and Life Insurance No comments

You bought a new house and are trying to get a handle on your monthly expenses, one of the most important being your homeowners insurance. Determining the average cost of homeowners insurance depends on a wide variety of factors. For instance, did you know that owning a specific breed of dog can impact your homeowners insurance cost?

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that determine how your homeowners insurance is calculated – and what you can expect.

1. Insurance and claims history

The following are some of the factors taken into account when determining your homeowners premium:

  • Credit history
  • Insurance score
  • Gaps in coverage
  • Amount of homeowners claims
  • Frequency of homeowners claims

2. Qualities of your new house

Your premium also depends on the type of home you own, including:

  • Age of the home – Older models may be more expensive to insure because they often aren’t updated to local building codes.
  • Type of structure – The primary material used (such as brick or stone), as well as roof type (such as composite shingle or slate), are taken into consideration.
  • Security and safety features – Having the latest alarm systems and smoke detectors installed could result in a lower premium. Other devices that could help reduce payments include deadbolt locks, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems.

3. The location of your home

One of the biggest impacts on your homeowners insurance cost is where you live. If you reside in an area prone to hurricanes or earthquakes, for instance, you generally will need additional coverage – which will likely impact your rate.

In addition to your region, the physical location of your house matters too. Being close to a police or fire station are contributing factors, as well as living in a neighborhood that experiences a high number of burglaries.

Remember, dependable homeowners insurance shouldn’t have to strain your budget. There are plenty of opportunities to save, such as bundling your auto and homeowners policies. Take a look at some of the discounts Nationwide has to offer.