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Don't Let Road Rage Ramp Up Your Claims
You're running late. Construction traffic is making things worse. Then, an SUV cuts you off, nearly clipping your bumper. What's your reaction? Many drivers suffer negative consequences when road rage rears its ugly head.

One of those consequences is insurance costs. Did you know that damage or liability that results from aggressive driving isn't typically covered by your auto insurance policy? If it is determined that you caused the damage with "risky behavior," you may pay for it in repairs and increased premiums. To avoid these costs (and the road rage that leads to them), use the following tips:

Slow and steady wins the race. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Patience runs short when you're in a hurry.

Let it roll off. Many times, other drivers are clueless about what they've done. They might be lost, affected by sun glare, or oblivious to how their driving has affected you. Don't take it personally.

Keep your distance. When you get stuck behind a slow driver, don't succumb to the temptation to tailgate. If they stop, the resulting rear-end collision will be deemed your fault.

Lay off the horn. Reserve honking for emergency situations. It's designed as a warning sound, not an aggression valve. Insistent honking only annoys, startles, and stresses other drivers and leads to more aggressive behavior.

Remain nonconfrontational. Don't stop to confront other drivers. Additionally, if other drivers are demonstrating road rage behaviors, try to put distance between your vehicles. Don't engage with the drivers in any way. Always put your safety first.

How to Save on Your Cell Phone Upgrade
From Samsung's Galaxy Note9 to Apple's iPhone XS, there's no shortage of options for anyone looking to buy a new phone. But as technology evolves and smartphones get smarter, the price tags on these devices continue to skyrocket.

Before you part with your hard-earned cash in order to upgrade your phone, make sure you follow these money-saving tips.

Out with the old: The easiest way to save coins on your new phone purchase is to trade in your old phone. In recent years, most wireless carriers and retailers have improved and expanded their trade-in programs to make the process smoother for customers. Best Buy, for example, offers a gift credit in exchange for most used devices, including smartphones, tablets, and even video game hardware. Once you've traded in your old device, you can use the gift credit toward your new phone.

Sell the old: Another option is to sell your device directly to another person, who may pay more for your phone than a trade-in program would. There are a number of sites to help facilitate your sale, including eBay and Swappa. That being said, make sure you prepare for the peskier buyers who ask endless questions or waffle on sending your payment.

In with the old: The best way to save money, though, might not be the most desirable: Skip the upgrade altogether. If your phone is still working but is just a little slow, there are ways to help speed things up, like replacing your device's battery or clearing out storage. You might not have the flashiest device this way, but the savings can make up for it.

Five Things Under $5 That Can Improve Your Day Fivefold
As you make last-minute dashes to the store this holiday season, keep in mind that some small impulse buys can be guilt free. In fact, some inexpensive items purchased on the fly can give you something truly priceless: peace of mind.

First, get yourself a decent pen. Too much time spent using screens and other digital technology can leave you tired and drained. Nonelectronic writing devices can rejuvenate you. Purchase good-quality pens that will make writing feel good. You may love writing so much that you'll revive the holiday tradition of sending cards and letters to friends and relatives.

Second, double the happiness with a good notebook or a paper day planner. Some planners even force you to carve out time for reflection and quiet.

The holidays, with mounds of wrapping paper and packaging, may give you a great opportunity to test out a third simple pleasure: a high-quality pair of scissors. Scissors that can quickly and cleanly cut through layers of tape, packaging, and the odd cardboard box can make opening tightly wrapped presents enjoyable and painless. They also come in bright colors, making holiday cheer last all year long.

For those not fond of returning to older technologies, there are still simple delights. Wireless earbuds are one such item. Listen to your playlist without cumbersome wires.

Last, if you're struggling to stay on budget this shopping season, try a simple budgeting tool. A free budgeting app can help keep your bank account in the black, both now and year-round.


Keep Your Home Safe While You're Away

Does My Insurance Cover Every Catastrophe?
A standard homeowner's insurance policy covers damages and losses to your property and possessions. It also provides liability coverage to protect you if an accident occurs on your property.

Does this coverage include every catastrophe that could devastate your home?

No. Two disasters in particular are not typically covered by a traditional homeowner's policy.

The first is earthquakes. These disasters are usually excluded from homeowners' insurance policies.

To obtain coverage for damage due to earthquakes, you will need to take out a special earthquake policy or add a rider. These often feature a high percentage deductible rather than a dollar amount. If you're not in an area that is prone to earthquakes, don't stress too much over this coverage. 

The second catastrophe that is often excluded is flooding. If your property is located in a flood zone, this fact was probably disclosed to you when you purchased the property. It's common for mortgage lenders to require flood insurance.

If you're unsure about your property's flood-zone status, contact your local government office to determine if your home is in a flood zone. If it is, you will need separate flood insurance. Your insurance carrier may provide this, or you may need to contact the National Flood Insurance Program.

And a third situation has become a more prevalent concern in recent years. Homeowners may wonder if terrorist attacks are covered under their policies.

While most policies don't mention terrorist attacks specifically under the covered conditions, they also don't exclude them. Since most policies cover damages caused by fire, smoke, and explosions, terrorist acts are typically covered.

If you're unsure about your coverage for a specific situation, contact your insurance agent to review your policy. Year end is a good time to review your coverage and determine if you should make any changes to meet your current insurance needs.

Are You Making a Mistake with Your Homeowners Insurance?
Buying a home is the biggest investment you'll ever make. With that kind of commitment, you owe it to yourself to protect it.

Before you make a decision on which policy to buy, it pays to be informed. Get up to speed by requesting my free guide, "What You Need to Know Before Buying Homeowners Insurance."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

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Peppermint Brownies
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
3 candy canes, crushed
Heat oven to 325°. Grease a 9x9 baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing some to hang over the sides.

Heat the oil in the microwave until warm, then add the cocoa powder and whisk until combined. Set aside. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars until light and airy. Stir in the peppermint oil. Add the cocoa mixture and dry ingredients, alternating in two to three additions until all ingredients are fully combined and the mixture is smooth.

Transfer to the prepared baking pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top, then bake for another 10 minutes, until the brownies start to pull away from the edges. (FYI: A knife inserted in the middle will not come out clean.)
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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