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What Ingredients Go into My Auto Insurance Cost?
It's not a secret family recipe, but your auto insurance cost does include three unique ingredients: you, your car, and your coverage. These three factors combined determine the risk and cost that shape your premium.

You: Your insurance carrier considers your driving record, insurance score(credit included), location, age, and gender. Those with clean driving records generally pay lower premiums. As for age and gender, statistics show that women get into fewer accidents and younger, inexperienced drivers get into more. As a result, males under 25 typically pay as much as 30% higher premiums than older females. 

Your car: What is the price tag on your vehicle? Will it be expensive to repair if damaged? Some cars cost more to repair than others. How much you drive your car. The more you're on the road, the more likely you are to have an accident. Similarly, where you drive the vehicle also affects your coverage cost. Highly populated areas experience more fender benders and theft. Even how many vehicle vs. drivers ( ratio) can impact rates, not enough to suggest buying a 3rd vehicle with 2 drivers but it will in whole blend into the final rates.

Your coverage: The final ingredient is the amount and type of coverage you prefer. While some coverage is mandatory in certain regions, you typically have a lot of say about how this ingredient is mixed into the recipe. Many coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, are optional. You can also decide what level of deductible to carry on your policy. The decisions you make about coverage will affect the final total of your premium.

To ensure you create the perfect blend, consult with your insurance agent. His or her expertise can help you maximize your ingredients for the best results.

Are Robots Really Taking Over Retail?
Since 1977, when R2D2 first showed up in the theater, it seems that robots have become commonplace. They now vacuum our floors, assemble our cars, monitor our homes, and even perform surgery. Indeed, our world is becoming more automated.

But what does this mean to us in our everyday lives? We order pizza from our computers, withdraw cash from an ATM that never sleeps, and push buttons on our phones in the hope of reaching a real person. A recent Vancouver Sun article claims, "Such automation has become so common that Starbucks is taking steps to make sure the process doesn't feel so, well, robotic."

When it comes to shopping, robots are becoming an integral part of the experience. Forbes reports that robots make buying groceries a lot easier with on-demand shopping. Lowe's is testing a "Lowebot" that helps shoppers find what they're looking for in their cavernous stores, and many companies are actually "training" robots to assume a customer service role.

Best Buy is testing "Chloe," a robot that retrieves products from the shelves. According to TechEmergence, "Customers can use touch screens in the store to pick out merchandise they want, such as earbuds, movies, video games, or other accessories. Shoppers can then watch the arm navigate the shelves to retrieve their products."

No, it's not about reducing staff. The hope is that robots will streamline the customer experience and make us all more efficient and happier shoppers. May the force be with them.

Shopper, Collector, or Hoarder - Which Are You?
With fall comes yearly rituals of back-to-school shopping and purging of unneeded items. Neither activity is bad. But how can you know if your shopping crosses the line? Are you simply adding to your fall wardrobe, building a collection of ties, or becoming a hoarder?

The main differences between hoarding and collecting are emotional. Hoarders gather items out of fear. They want possessions to fill emotional needs. Hoarders get anxious when they think about getting rid of things. They distrust anyone who may try to remove items. Hoarders are often disorganized and may live in unhealthy conditions. They want to hide their hoarding and can become defensive when asked about it.

Collectors may also have lots of things, but their motivations are different. They take pride in what they're collecting - often only a few, specific items as opposed to the many things hoarders have. They want to show their collections to others, and they keep things organized. Collectors have a budget and are strategic in their purchasing.

Hoarding can be treated through cognitive behavior therapy and support from family and friends. This is particularly true for animal hoarders, who often use animals to fill their need for relationships. Many object hoarders also hoard animals. They take in more animals than they can care for, putting themselves - and the animals - at risk.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be a hoarder, seek professional help.

How Much Homeowner's Insurance Do I Need?
Your home is worth $250,000 in the real estate market. Does that mean you should have $250K in homeowner's insurance coverage?

Not necessarily. When determining the amount of homeowner's coverage you should have, several factors come into play. You should consider each of these as you work with your insurance agent to set up your policy.

The Structure: What will it cost to rebuild your home if disaster strikes? Home Carriers will NOT allow less than 'replacement cost' coverage limits.

A basic way to calculate this figure, multiply your square footage by per-square-foot building costs in your area. $120-$150sq'. As you calculate, keep in mind the style of your home, the type of materials used, the features and upgrades, and any additions you have made since initial construction.
I typically use the industry standard Index with the majority of home details bathroom counts flooring finishing to be even more accurate.

The Codes: Have building codes changed since the construction of your home was completed?

If you have to rebuild, you may need to adhere to new codes, which can require additional expense. If you suspect this might be the case, consider adding an endorsement to your policy that allows funds for bringing your house up to code.
Most of our policies have at least 10% for such Law/Ordinance differances

The Possessions: Don't forget everything inside your home. You'll need coverage to replace your personal property as well. Conduct an inventory of your belongings. This will help you estimate the cost of replacement, and the record will be helpful to have on file if you ever need to make a claim.
This typically between 55%-75% of coverage (a) for the structure at no additional cost. That is more than enough for 99% of us.

The Liability: Homeowner's insurance also covers your liability as a property owner.

If you are sued due to bodily injury (your dog bites a neighbor) or need to repair property damage (your child's baseball shatters the neighbor's window), your liability insurance will cover the associated costs.

Most policies provide at least $100,000 in liability coverage, and it is often advisable to increase this amount to $300,000-$500,000 to ensure sufficient coverage.

Is Your Home - and Your Family - Really Safe?
Home is truly where the heart is, but that doesn't stop accidents, fires or thefts from happening at home.

Discover how to keep your property and your loved ones out of harm's way by requesting my free guide, "Three Ways to Keep Your Home - And Your Family - Safe."
Just reply to this email and I'll send it right out to you.

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Dijon Chicken Pasta
This simple but delicious dish can easily become a go-to recipe - perfect for fall evenings filled with activities.
Serves 6
1 pound short pasta (such as ziti or penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups cooked and diced chicken breast
2 cups quartered mushrooms
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté shallots until translucent. Lower heat and add cream and mustard, stirring until combined. Add chicken and mushrooms and gently heat through.

Add the cooked pasta and spinach and toss until leaves are just wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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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