Personal Property Claims – The “Gotcha” in Every Property Policy

Personal property claims can be some of the most frustrating claims in the insurance claims process. The deck is stacked against you if you have any kind of insurance policy that insures your personal property. This is true for property owned by homeowners and renters as well as the personal property owned by businesses and other commercial entities.

Personal property, also commonly known as “Contents,” is usually described as any property in or on the insured premises not permanently attached to the building. Naturally, your policy will give you a definition that is more exact that this one, and will also have exclusions about some property that is not covered.

Many property insurance policies have the Replacement Cost (RC) Endorsement on the policy that covers the contents. The claims process for your Contents is the trap laid by the insurance companies. Don’t think that your insurer wouldn’t do that to you…they ALL do it.

Here’s the method of settlement found in all policies with the Replacement Cost Endorsement.

You submit your contents claim inventory. On that inventory you will have listed all of your contents, item by item, and the replacement cost. The insurance company will apply depreciation to each item of your contents, based upon its age and condition. Subtracting the depreciation amount from the replacement cost gives you the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of your property, whether business or personal.

The insurance company settles RC claims by issuing two separate checks. The first check will be for the ACV amount. According to the Loss Conditions in the policy, the insurer only pays you the RC of your contents once the replacement has been made.

For example, if you had an item with an RC value of $1000, and the depreciation amount was 30%, or $300, you would receive the first payment of $700. But, $700 does not replace the item. In order to receive the RC amount you will have to use $300 of your own money plus the $700 paid by the insurance company to make the replacement purchase. Then you are eligible for the second check, the $300 reimbursement.

Now…think about the same example if your entire contents claim is $100,000.

The insurance company “holds back” $30,000. In order for you to make the replacement purchases, you will have to find $30,000 of your own money, make the purchases, and then get reimbursed by the insurance company.

Where are you going to get that $30,000? Savings? Credit Card? Get a loan? Or perhaps you’re like many people that don’t have those cash resources available to them. They cannot make the replacements at all.

Do you see the trap?

Here is a strategy of three things you can do to minimize the effects of the Depreciation Trap.

1. Demand that the insurance company provide you a copy of the Depreciation Tables that they used to calculate your loss.

2. Compare each item, line by line, to be certain that the proper amount of depreciation was assessed by the adjuster.

3. Challenge any and all incorrect depreciation amounts.

By using this three-step strategy, you will maximize your Contents claim amount.

There is another Contents strategy that you MUST use when documenting your Personal Property claim. It relates to the personal property you won’t be replacing.

I knew a family that had a major fire loss. The wife was an attorney for many years. Then, when she had her first child, she decided to leave the business world and be a full-time mom. She had a closet full of expensive business suits, blouses, shoes and accessories. She was not going to replace them, since she was not using them any more for work clothing. So, we worked hard at establishing the highest possible value on her wardrobe. The ACV money that the family was paid for her wardrobe was used to make RC purchases of other items that did need replacing.

You can use this strategy in your Contents claim. Your home, condo, apartment or business is full of personal property that you’ve purchased over the years that (a) is obsolete or (b) you’re not using anymore. A business could have inventory items or office equipment that is unsold or obsolete. In each case, you have every right to be paid the correctly calculated ACV for those items. Then, you can use those dollars to offset the “holdback” amount when you are making your replacement purchases.

Characteristics of Speed Reading – What to Look For in a Speed Reading Class

It is useful to know the characteristics of speed reading before embarking on any speed reading course.

We always like to know what we are getting ourselves into, especially if it is something we know little about. There are basic characteristics of speed reading that need to be practiced to be able to speed read. How these are learned may vary, as courses can be taken through a personal instructor or bought as computer software. Some individuals have even mastered the techniques on their own. Others can speed read without even having a clue as to how they do it!

Scanning, skimming and glancing are methods used by many speed readers. Skimming and glancing helps us to preview the chapter before reading it to determine, in general, what the writing is about, what the main idea is and how the ideas are written. This initial preview usually takes about 30 – 60 seconds depending on the length of the section of work you wish to study. Quickly skim over the work, taking note of the chapter’s title, headings, subheadings and bold or italic print. Take note of any illustrations, graphs or charts. To understand a little more of the information in the paragraphs, quickly glance at the first and last paragraphs as well as the first sentence of each paragraph.

Scanning will be the characteristic of speed reading where you will very quickly read each paragraph. Taking note of the important key words in the sentences. What is a keyword? If one were to take out the key words the sentence would make no sense. Therefore, the other words that make up the sentence are unimportant – only ‘filler’ words.

Most importantly, an efficient reader will not read every word separately. He will read large groups of words or paragraphs simultaneously. This is done by increasing our natural peripheral visual ability when reading. When you look at a picture, you don’t focus on only a tiny section, you see the whole image. Speed readers have learned to apply this tactic to their reading.

The elimination of back-skipping and sub-vocalization habits are also important characteristics of speed reading. Back-skipping is the bad habit of many readers, without them realizing it, of re-reading the same word or sentence once, twice or even more times. This drastically slows down the speed of reading.

Sub-vocalization is also a habit done by the majority of us without us even realizing that there is anything wrong with it. Perhaps not wrong, but definitely not helpful in speed reading. Sub-vocalization is the reading of words out loud in our heads. The problem with this is that it allows us to read only as fast as what we can think, and not as fast as our brains can process information. Which is faster than you ever imagined.

Efficient speed readers adjust their rate according to the difficulty of the text. Higher speeds can be maintained for easier reads, while slower speeds will be necessary for difficult or more technical writings. Of course, high speeds are not very applicable to fictional reading or poetry, but practicing with the characteristics of speed reading whenever you can is important.

All the characteristics of speed reading have excellent benefits for the reader. Even if only one of these tactics were achieved, your reading speed would improve significantly.

Education Career – Top 10 Online Education Career Opportunities

Pursuing a career in education is one of the most noble career options. What better way to have a fulfilling life and career than by educating young minds? A mind must be nurtured and taken care of in order for it to achieve something. That is why having the right education one to reach one’s true potential. Education goes a long way in shaping not only one’s career but also one’s mind. The benefits of education are endless. Not only does having a higher education earn you respect and a position in society but it also prepares you to face the challenges that life has to offer.

For many people who are working or are managing their homes, going to college or university was an impossible option. If you are one of them but still wish to achieve the education that you missed out, then using the tools and technology around you such as the internet might take you a long way. Online education is the next big thing as this allows you to learn at your own pace and according to your own timings. With the spread of internet all over the world, colleges and universities have decided to offer online education in order to help those who are unable to be physically present when it comes to attending classes.

Students who are in need of higher education will find the answer to their prayer with the advent of online education. This gives you an official degree that will help you in later life. Using the internet as a tool has many advantages as this lets you research the topics you are studying. Online education is a great option for those who are unable to attend college for some reason or the other. Even at an older age one can enroll oneself in an online education course. This has a greater intake of students that traditional courses thus higher chances of getting selected for the courses. One can choose from a large number of online schools to select the one that is the best suited for him/her.

The opportunities for pursuing a career subsequently are endless.

Online education programs allow you to enter the teaching field. There are numerous jobs available for those trained in an online course to enter a teaching job. If teaching is your passion unlimited opportunities are open to you.

Online programs can enable you to embark on a psychology course that will later allow you to take up psychology as a career option. If delving into the human mind is your passion then this is the right career option for you.

One can also do an MBA online and enter into the field of management.

Online education allows you to achieve a doctorate degree that lets you work in the field of research on the topic of your interest.

Online film courses can help you become a successful film maker with the expertise that you have gained in the course of your online education.

Photography courses are also available. This can give you the necessary guidance to pursue your passion as a photographer.

Other courses that you can opt for include:

• Food science
• Engineering
• Mass communication
• Journalism

What Are the Fabric Dyeing Methods?

The process of colouring, by applying fabric dyes to loose fibre, thread and fabric are called fabric dyeing. Being carried out for thousands of years, it has experimented in many different ways until today, and good results have been obtained. At the present time, Viktoria Fabric Dyes, which is one of the biggest brandmarks of fabric dyeing, suggests 3 different styles of it. These are; Bucket or Sink Method, Boiling Method and Washing-Machine Method. These methods will be explained in the following passages.

I. Bucket or Sink Method
• This fabric dyeing method is carried out by filling a bucket or a large container with water or occluding the drain of the sink; so as to fill it with water.
• If the operation is carried out somewhere out of the sink; the cover should be spread so as not the water to flow out.
• Before starting this fabric dyeing operation, the sink or the bullet should be filled with 60 C hot water, as the experts advise, and the powder fabric dye should be dissolved with hot water in another container.
• If the colour is too light, a little bit more dye should be added, but if it is too dark hot water should be added.
• The dissolved dye should be poured to the place where the water is and should be stirred for a while.
• After being cleared of all of its stains, the object to be dyed is put where the dye is, by being wet, and water and the dye are stirred for 10 minutes, without giving a break.
• The fabric that is kept in the water for at least half an hour and mostly for an hour, is taken out of the water when decided that it has the expected colour.
• Just after dyeing, Fiske fabric dye stabilizer is applied in accordance with the instructions.
• You should then rinse the dyed fabric with cold water. After this, wash your fabric with warm water and a soft detergent; rinse it and dry it. After getting dried, your fabric will have the expected colour.

II. Boiling Method
Boiling is another method used for fabric dyeing.

• A large pot in which fabric can move easily is filled with water and this pot is put on the cookstove. The cookstove is switched on and when the water begins boiling the dye is added into the water.
• The object to be dyed is wetted and thrown into the water.
• The object to be dyed is put where the dye is, by wetting; after being cleaned of all its stains. It is stirred in the first 10 minutes without giving a break.
• After this step, rinse the dyed fabric with cold water. Then, wash your fabric with warm water and soft detergent, rinse and dry it. After drying, your fabric will have the expected colour.

III. Washing Machine Method
You can easily dye your fabric with washing machine fabric dyeing method.
• The temperature level of the washing machine should be fixed at the highest level. Also, the time setting should be fixed in a way that the machine will operate at least 30 minutes.
• The fabric dye is melted completely by stirring it with hot water in a plastic pot. In it, 1 teaspoon of washing-up liquid is added.
• In another pot; if cotton or linen is being dyed, salt should be dissolved in 4 glasses of very hot water; and if silk or nylon is being dyed, a cup of vinegar and 2-4 glasses of hot water should be blended(mixed( together.
• Firstly the dye, and after that, the vinegar and salt are spilt into the detergent box of the washing machine and it should be switched on.
• After the machine stops, the dyed fabric is washed one more time with warm water and it becomes ready to use.

Elderspeak and Invisible Old People

This past September (September 1st to be exact) I was in a wheelchair in an emergency room with a fractured knee cap that occurred in a moment of fully lucid but impaired equilibrium. But here’s the good news: the bottle of beer I was carrying remained unscathed. No shattered glass or a drop of foamy goodness was lost. (That takes talent!) I should have known better than to imbibe in the second bottle of brew but as the saying goes, “What the heck. I was having a good time.” Even better news: the white jeans I was wearing survived without a mark or tear.

Have I learned my lesson? Yes, of course, I have. I’m not a dumb bunny. I no longer drink beer. I now drink white wine. Best of all, my sense of humor remains intact.

After a long wait in the emergency room, I was wheeled into a room by an attendant who thought I was his “sweetie” and waited some more for a nurse (or anyone) to appear. My daughter and son-in-law were standing behind my chair when a nurse arrived. Then the fun began. As if I was not there, the nurse asked my daughter for details about how my injury occurred.

I was thinking, “Why isn’t the nurse asking ME those questions. It’s MY injury!” Irritation gnawed at me until I finally swung the bulky chair around to face the nurse, hitting a few cabinets in the process. (I should have turned the chair before she entered the room but the space was small.) In a calm, polite tone of voice, I said, “Excuse me, I can hear and understand everything you say and I can answer all your questions. You can speak to ME. I’m not senile.” And I smiled.

The poor woman was taken aback. No one had probably spoken to her like that before. After all, she was just applying the accepted protocol for dealing with an old/older person – it’s a cultural thing, a “given” – white hair equals incompetence or senility. In her eyes, she had done nothing wrong. I knew that and that’s why I intentionally spoke to her in a calm, polite tone of voice.

Old people get used to and even expect (but don’t like) to be treated as if they don’t exist or are incompetent. It’s a societal assumption that old people can’t think clearly or remember much and they can’t hear or understand if you speak too softly or too fast. After all, most old people are senile or close to it so you have to be patronizing and deal with them as if they are children. Really? REALLY?

Not all old people are on the brink of senility – most are not even close. Mature people function quite well if they are spoken to with respect and treated with the assumption they are competent. If they are mentally impaired, acknowledge their existence and treat them respectfully.

Let’s get to the elderspeak element of the “old people are invisible” syndrome which I already experienced before I became invisible. It is beyond annoying and disrespectful. Here is an unrelated example, but typical of the elderspeak iceberg:

My sister and her husband were dedicated runners. They were “mature” – not teenagers. On their daily run around the community and their neighborhood, neighbors, sitting on their front lawn, many with a can of bubbly in their hand, yelled to them as they flew by, “you guys are so cute!” Was my sister angry? You bet. Please don’t call mature persons “cute”. A six-year-old child is cute. To call an elder “cute” is as demeaning and infantilizing as it gets.

Here’s more: If you are a healthcare worker, a mature female patient you just met is not your “sweetie” or “honey”. Terms of endearment are appropriate only when there is a romantic relationship. Egads! What a revelation! An old person in a romantic relationship? [gasp!] That’s disgusting! Really? No, it’s not. Oh, one more thing: Do not call me “young lady”. It’s patronizing, demeaning, condescending and disrespectful. (Okay, okay, I’m being overly sensitive – and grumpy.)

If those in authority call you cute or utter another term of endearment, it’s tempting to want to haul off and smack them into reality, but don’t give in to the temptation. Turn it around on them and tell them how cute they are, and what a sweetie pie they are for telling you how cute you are. Be sure to smile as you do it. Take note of their flustered or confused reaction.

Facts About Medicare Insurance The Government’s Website Doesn’t Explain

When it comes to investigating Medicare options, many personal financial educators refer individuals to the Medicare.gov website. The official U.S. government website for Medicare is, without question, the most comprehensive of informational portals.

But it can be overwhelming. Especially for the 11,000 men and women who turn 65 every day and first become eligible for Medicare. For most, the terminology is tantamount to learning a new language. Medicare health care plan options are more complex and varied than most are used to.

And, there are some important things the government website doesn’t tell you. For example, it fails to clearly point out the importance of your first plan enrollment. Nowhere on the website does it say that the Medicare plan choice may be irrevocable.

Nor does it really explain what questions to ask before choosing a plan. The Medicare.gov does a great job of offering impartial comparisons, such as premium rates. But when it comes to subjective elements, these are something the website can’t obviously address.

Anyone who has been Medicare eligible for a few years will tell you that selecting the right Medicare plan is not easy. In fact, some industry estimates find that between 25 and 40 percent of people switch after making a choice. Navigating the complexity is especially hard when you are first eligible for Medicare. That’s more so if your current or prior healthcare coverage consisted of a few options pre-selected by your employer or trade union.

One of the Medicare.gov features is the appearance of being able to directly connect with an insurance company. And while it’s logical to think that ‘buying directly’ is going to be better and save you money, it’s simply not true. Quite the contrary. It could be a significant and costly mistake.

The following are things to consider when using the Medicare.gov website as shared by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance, a national advocacy and educational organization.

1. Medicare.gov is much easier to use for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. But that is just one of the options available to you. It may or may not be your best option. For those who prefer to see any doctor or specialist, only a Medigap plan offers that option. For those who travel or spend time in another state, a Medicare Advantage might not cover you outside of your primary area.

2. The Medicare.gov website doesn’t make it easy to understand things that matter such as in-network, out-of-pocket costs, drug plan coverage, coordination with Veteran’s coverage and Medicaid. “In Network” matters if you decide a Medicare Advantage plan is best for you. Knowing which local doctors, hospitals and especially specialists participate can be tricky to find on your own.

3. Medicare.gov’s Plan Comparisons seem very detailed. But they miss some important information that’s vital. For example, the decision you make when turning 65 could be irrevocable. Switching Medicare plans is not always possible. Medicare.gov does not tell you what’s possible if you don’t like your choice or when your chosen plan changes. These are all very important things to know before locking in a choice.

4. Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder prescription drug search can be confusing for those taking multiple medications. It’s especially important for the millions who take insulin medications.

5. Medicare.gov lists Medicare Advantage plan ancillary benefits (vision, dental, etc.). Unfortunately, there’s little detail of specifically what’s covered in terms of benefits and service providers.

Buying direct from an insurance company such as UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH), Aetna (NYSE: AET), Cigna (NYSE: CI), or Humana (NYSE: HUM) — several of the leaders – or calling an 800-number may or may not be your best option. Is the person on the other end of the line a captive agent for the particular insurance company? Do they get some incentive for touting one particular plan over another?

Comparing Medicare plan options is always your smartest move. A local Medicare professional who is knowledgeable in local options including Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and prescription drug plan choices can be a well spent hour. Today most insurance agents will arrange an online meeting to discuss options and answer questions.

A national online directory listing Medicare insurance agents is offered by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. Access is free and private, unlike most websites that require you enter information before displaying results. Whether you are turning 65 or just have Medicare insurance questions you want answered, it’s a resource worth knowing about.

That local expertise and experience comes at no cost. And, the same plans that are available online or available directly from the insurance company can be sold by an agent appointed with the particular company. Perhaps most important, it’s available for the very same cost.

OK Preservities In Our Skincare, Natural or Not

There’s been a lot of talk on Social Media about the safety of preservatives these days and that’s a good thing! There is unfortunately a lot of misinformation as well. Let’s set the record straight!

Any product that is made with water requires a preservative. It’s to prevent bacteria, mold, fungus or other critters from growing in the product. Preservatives are needed to prevent contamination. Let’s talk about the preservative, Phenoxyethanol, specifically.

It rates a four on the Cosmetic safety database (0-10 scale, and four is measured at its most concentrated and isolated level, which means it’s not measured in a product). Pretty good, considered most other preservatives are measured at around seven or higher.

So let’s put it in perspective. Penoxyethanol is approved at 1% in products (Canada, Japan, and The European Union). When you consider toxicity is relative to dosage, 1% makes this is a very low risk. (Look at your label, and your preservative should be the last item on the list. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage, from the highest to the lowest. So the last ingredient on the list basically means it is the one at the lowest amount in your product).

It is also important to know how to decipher the information you read about. It’s sometimes easy to panic when you see a list of warnings, restrictions, numbers on scales, and jump to conclusions.

Penoxyethanol is a safe preservative that is approved for use at a very low dosage percentage (1%). Think of it in a 240ml/8oz bottle of lotion, for instance. At 1%, it is not a lot of preservative in your product.

Certain chemicals on their own can be concerning, but when combined are harmless. Let’s use the example of Lye. Horrible stuff on its own but mix it with water and oil and it creates soap. Add Olive Oil and you now have a soap gentle enough for children!

And.. be aware of those who might suggest that “if you can’t pronounce it, it shouldn’t be in your skincare. After all, Penoxyethanol is certainly not an easy word of the toung; but as we have disussed, you are better off to have this in your “Natural” or “Clean” skincare, than to put up with the many other chemicals available and so often utilized.

Finally, read your labels, ask questions and remember… Just because there’s a recipe on the internet for a great body scrub, it doesn’t make everyone a chemist.

Why You Don’t Need Laxatives for Weight Loss or Colon Health

Digestive health is easy to maintain, and you don’t need laxatives to maintain great colon health. Learning what your best proteins are, and combining them in your genetic zone of eating, you can keep being happy healthy and IBS free,even through old age.

Taking laxatives is dangerous for your health. Removing electrolytes from your body can damage your brain and cause seizures. Suppose you are driving and have a seizure. This could take your life unnecessarily.

Taking laxatives can have a rebound effect on your small intestine and colon. Your small intestine cannot absorb the nutrients your body needs, and the colon will stop working naturally, when it is being told when to work. This can lead to a damaged colon which has to be cut out and attached to your stomach with a colostomy bag to the outside for waste collection.

Taking laxatives causes your kidneys to shut down. When you remove all the water from your body through your colon, there is no reason for the kidneys to work, and they can shut down, causing you to have to go on dialysis.

Lastly, taking laxatives, can damage your heart. The electrolyte balance must be maintained for healthy signaling and rhythmic beating. Removing all the electrolytes from your system damages this delicate balance.

Learning how to fine-tune your eating for your best digestive health, starts with a book to learn which proteins work for your genetic blood type. Next learning which zone will work for you can be done by a simple genetic test. Are you low carb, or low fat. Are you balanced, or Mediterranean? Do you feel better eating protein, or vegetables?

Do you have any genetic aberrations, that could cause you to need additional nutritional support is another thing the simple genetic test will tell you. 40% of the population has MTHFR and eating the foods you need to support this condition will keep your colon clean and you happier and healthier.

Depending on supplementation can cause problems, because over supplementation, can cause a buildup of folic acid in the system, leading to cancer or an auto immune disease.

Learning how to manage your portion sizes, so you can help your colon heal. You may then learn how to maintain your best aging weight as well as keep your colon happy.

A happy balance of proteins and vegetables, for lunch or dinner.Fruits and fortified cereals with almond milk or fruit with yogurt or quinoa. You pick what you like best.

Learn which proteins are best for you, and which to avoid. Being open to change helps, because change is necessary to keep belly fat off.

The free newsletters, where you can get free coaching, and learn how to fine tune your eating.