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How to Get the 'Steal Me' Sticker Off Your Car
No one wants to attract the attention of thieves. Yet the actions of many vehicle owners practically beg thieves to take a crack at their cars. What are you doing that might tempt thieves? And, just as important, what are you doing to deter them?

Vehicle owners can easily reduce the risk of car theft and resulting insurance claims with a few simple steps. To properly protect your asset, consider the following list of dos and don'ts:

  • Lock your vehicle at all times. Even when you're in it. When choosing their prey, car thieves look for the easiest mark. It doesn't get much easier than an open car.
  • Etch your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) into each of the windows. Stolen cars are stripped of their identity for resale. Thieves would rather not replace all the glass.
  • If necessary, take a longer route to avoid high-crime areas. It's worth the extra few minutes to protect yourself and your car.
  • Park in well-lit areas. This removes the dark and shadowy atmosphere that thieves prefer for their work.
  • Install an anti-theft system. Good options include steering wheel locks, ignition cut-off systems, alarms, and police-signaling systems. Check with your insurance agent to see which systems might make you eligible for a discount on your premium.
  • Leave your keys in your car, and NEVER leave it running unattended. This seems obvious, but many car owners are guilty of this one.
  • Leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Nothing says "smash my window for some quick cash" like a purse, electronic device, or other potential prize sitting out in plain view.
  • Leave ownership information in your car. If a thief steals your vehicle, you don't want him or her to also have "proof" that they own it.

Overlooked auto insurance options

About one out of every eight U.S. drivers does not have an auto insurance policy, even though it is mandatory to purchase this coverage in 49 out of 50 states (New Hampshire is the exception), according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). In several states, more than one in five drivers do not carry coverage.

If you're involved in a serious accident with an uninsured motorist, you could be at risk for substantial financial losses.

For protection from losses arising from an accident with an uninsured motorist, consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. A handful of states require that this coverage be included in all auto insurance policies. Regardless of state requirements, you may already carry uninsured motorist coverage, so check your policy or ask your insurance professional.

Types of uninsured motorist coverage

Specific options for uninsured motorist coverage vary by state and insurer, but in general there are three types of protection:

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance—Also known as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) insurance, this coverage will pay your and your passengers' medical bills if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is at fault. In addition, UM insurance will reimburse you and your passengers for lost wages. UM coverage also kicks in if you are hit as a pedestrian by an uninsured driver, or if you're the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) Coverage—While UM insurance covers injuries, it does not extend to damage to your car or property. For this, you need UMPD coverage. Note that UMPD may not cover damaged property beyond your car, and this option may not be available from your insurer—it depends on what state you live in. In addition, UMPD may not cover hit-and-run accidents.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Protection—In some instances, an at-fault driver may have liability insurance, but the policy's limits do not cover the full extent of damage to your vehicle. In such cases, UIM insurance will cover the shortfall.

Auto insurance for lower-income drivers
Ideally, you'll have sufficient auto insurance to provide financial protection for any collision. Uninsured motorist coverage offers an important layer of protection, though making an uninsured motorist claim should be a last resort. You can help limit the chances of such an occurrence for someone else by making sure that you always carry auto insurance yourself.

Celebrate All Things Feline on Oct. 29 - National Cat Day
Did you know there are days devoted to our feline friends and designed to raise awareness of the number of cats without homes?

National Cat Day, which has a strong focus on adopting out homeless cats into loving homes, will be celebrated this month on October 29. And for those with good memories, this is the second such celebration this year: International Cat Day was observed earlier this summer on August 8.

There's no question we love our pets: The American Pet Products Association estimates that we will spend $69.4 billion in 2017 on everything from pet food and vet bills to other services, such as grooming and cat toys.

As well, many cat owners are building "catios" - screened-in patios for those catnaps in the sun - or buying cat condos that match their homes' decors.

So, how will you celebrate National Cat Day?

Possibly with cuteness overload, by watching the massive number of cat videos online. Or by adopting a kitty for yourself. Or volunteering at a local animal shelter. Or donating food, toys, and blankets to the many cats still waiting for their forever homes.

If you're already a proud cat parent, you can make it a purr-fect day by baking some homemade treats for your own cat. Or give Fluffy or Garfield a relaxing massage, followed by a comb-out session to get rid of all that excess fur (and hairballs).

But if you're not a cat person? Well, you may want to avoid the Internet altogether on October 29.

No Wildlife, Please: How to Protect Your Property from Pests
You didn't set up your guest room for a family of squirrels. Or finish your basement to provide a playroom for mice. Yet, as winter approaches, many pests are seeking a good place to nest for the season. If they choose your home, your property may suffer significant damage. Chewed wires, damaged drywall, and shredded insulation are a few potential problems.

To avoid this damage, and the resulting homeowners insurance claims, take the following steps to pest-proof your home:

Remove the welcome mat: Mice only need a quarter-inch hole to enter your space. And you'd be surprised at the spaces other critters can wriggle into. Some pest management companies may offer a free inspection of your garage, roof, and basement; if any unwanted openings are inviting the outdoors in, complete the necessary repairs or seals to block off access. Quickly.

Clear the clutter: Walk around the exterior of your home. Are there piles of trash, leaves, or construction materials around your foundation's perimeter? Remove them. Piled next to your house, these invite both rodents and bugs to expand into your home.

Trim it up: Branches that hang close to your roofline offer easy jumps from trees onto your home. Trim branches away from your house to prevent squirrels from moving in and starting families. This also helps protect your home from the tree itself. In high winds, branches close to your home can easily damage the roof, siding, or windows.

Keep pesky critters at bay and avoid the need to make an insurance claim.

Are You in Danger from Identity Theft?
At least nine million Americans have been the victims of identity theft. Don't be one of them!

Discover how to protect yourself and those you love from the pain and expense of having your identity stolen by requesting my free guide, "Inside the Mind of an Identity Thief."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

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Black Bean and Orange Chili
Serves 4 as a tasty Halloween night dinner
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
3-15.5 oz. cans black beans, drained
2-14.5 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
2 oranges, zested then juiced
Salt and pepper
Cayenne to taste (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes or until fragrant.

Stir in black beans, tomatoes, and half the orange juice. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the zest. If chili is too thick, add some or all of the remaining orange juice.

Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne if desired.

Serving suggestions: Spoon over rice or tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, and orange segments.
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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