Servicing DC, MD & VA

New Year’s Resolutions

January 6th, 2016 | Comments Off on New Year’s Resolutions | Posted in Live Well, Work Well

shutterstock_343367717According to research, only 8 percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. This could be due to people setting unrealistic goals or setting no goals at all. If you want to make a resolution in the New Year and actually stick to it, consider setting a “SMART” goal—one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

For example, let’s say that your goal is that you would like to take three CrossFit classes per week for 60 days. If you achieve your goal at the end of that 60-day period, you should reward yourself with something worthwhile. Then, keep your original goal going with consecutive SMART goals after you complete each one. Remember that when you set your SMART goal, you should determine your reward then, as well. That way, when you’re five weeks in and tempted to throw in the towel, you can set your sights on that specific reward and remind yourself how close you are to getting it.

View more Live Well, Work Well tips here.

Sudent -Driver Away Discount

January 6th, 2016 | Comments Off on Sudent -Driver Away Discount | Posted in Hedda's Hints

Student-Driver Away Discount – Do You Qualify?

Student-Driver Away Discounts help you save while they learn

shutterstock_84343456Your child is away at school for the year and not using the family car regularly, so you may think it’s time to drop them from your auto insurance policy. That is certainly an option when your child leaves home, but the student-driver away discounts can be a better fit for your family than taking your child off the plan entirely.

Let’s see if you qualify for student-driver away discounts, why the discount is worth it and how much you’ll save.

Who Is a Student-Driver Away Discount For?

Most auto insurance carriers consider you eligible for a student-driver away discount if your child attends boarding school or college at least 100 miles from home and does not have regular access to a vehicle. Some may also require the student to be under 23 years of age.

Why You Should Get a Student-Driver Away Discount

While it sounds tempting to remove your child from your auto insurance plan while they are at school, there are significant reasons to consider the student-driver away discount instead:

  • Driving During Breaks: Your child will likely come home from school to visit, and while they’re back, they might borrow the family car. Having your child on your policy means they are automatically covered in the unlikely event of a car accident.
  • Financial Responsibility: If you still declare your child as a dependent, then you assume financial responsibility for them. This means that, legally, you are their financial provider, no matter how much pocket money they have on the side. This is important because if your uninsured child drives a vehicle and gets into an accident, you are financially responsible for that accident, even though you weren’t involved. Medical and legal costs can be substantially more than paying for a student-driver away discount.
  • Better Future Rates: Auto insurance companies often give discounts to new clients who were previously dependents on their parents’ policy. Other carriers sometimes charge new clients a higher fee for joining as a young driver without that experience. Keeping your student on your auto insurance plan now can give them a foot up later.

How Can You Validate Your Child for a Student-Driver Away Discount?

Most auto insurance carriers will require verification that your child is at school. Providing your carrier with the correct validation for a student-driver away discount can be very easy. Here are some common ways to prove eligibility:

  • School Address: Providing the address of your child’s boarding school or college to your insurance agent is usually enough verification for some carriers.
  • Current Class Schedule: Providing your child’s class schedule shows that your student is currently enrolled in school.

How Much Money Will You Save?

Student-driver away discount rates can depend on which carrier you have. In most cases, you will save between 10 percent and 30 percent on your auto insurance. Though it might seem like a hassle to keep your child on your policy when they do not drive frequently, it may be smart over the long run.

Secure Your Student-Driver Away Discount Today

With a student-driver away discount, you won’t break the bank, and you’ll help your child start on the path to their own insurance policy one day. As your independent auto insurance agent, we take it upon ourselves to make sure that you and your family can drive safely with the peace of mind that you’re getting the best rates possible. Contact us today to find out if you qualify for a student-driver away discount, as well as other auto insurance discounts.

Source: Sudent -Driver Away Discount – Do You Qualify?

An Insurance Checkup

January 6th, 2016 | Comments Off on An Insurance Checkup | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

9140779_S1-199x300A lot can change over the course of just one year. You could have a new driver in your household or a child who has just started college. Perhaps you or your spouse started a new job or welcomed a new addition to the family. Maybe you’re settling into a new house. Change at home often means a change in insurance needs, as well.

That’s why January is such a great time for an insurance checkup. The right insurance coverages can help protect your family and your assets. We’re happy to review your needs and make sure you have the right coverage mix for your family. Here are some other start-of-the-year steps you may want to consider:

Make a financial New Year’s resolution (or two!). Are your New Year’s resolutions the same each year? The number one resolution nationwide year after year, not surprisingly, is to lose weight. What about making some financial New Year’s resolutions? Research shows that Americans are more likely to achieve personal finance-related resolutions than those involving fitness and health. The more specific, the better.

Look into refinancing. Who would have thought mortgage rates would remain near historic lows? Although rates have been low for years now, studies show many Americans still have higher-rate home loans, some in the 8 to 9 percent range! Even if your mortgage rate isn’t that high, you still may benefit from refinancing. Refinancing can lower your monthly mortgage payment, shorten the length of time it takes to pay off your home and if you have equity in your property, can even be a source of cash. Even if you weren’t able to refinance into a lower-rate home loan in the past, you owe it to yourself to visit a mortgage lender to see whether refinancing makes sense for you today. If you’re nearing retirement, look into 10- or 15-year home loan options.

Consider going ‘green’. Many simple changes can translate into big savings on your energy costs. Here is an Energy Star room-by-room guide to cutting your energy usage. Could this be the year you swap out older windows for new energy-efficient ones? Or look into a solar hot-water heating system? Don’t forget to do a bit of research to see if you are eligible for any rebates or incentives from your utility company, city or state, for switching to more energy-efficient products or appliances.

Look for ways to save on recurring expenses. A new year is a great time to examine major spending categories, including your cellphone, cable service and utilities. Are you paying for any features or time you aren’t using? Could you go with a cheaper plan? What about your land line — do you really need it? Call your service providers and see if they have any less expensive plans, promotions or ideas to help you save money. Shop around or ask for a better rate from the companies you regularly pay money to.

Set your savings on autopilot. Consider having an amount from your paycheck automatically diverted into a savings account or other savings vehicle. If your employer doesn’t offer this option, have an amount automatically transferred each month from your checking account to your savings account. With automatic savings plans, you don’t have to remember to save. And you’ll be surprised just how quickly automatic savings add up.

Pay down/off your credit cards. Research shows that even many high-income families throughout the United States carry a heavy credit card debt load. Make a plan to pay down credit card debt, with the ultimate goal of paying them off. High credit card balances in relation to your credit limit can lower your credit score, which could mean you pay higher interest rates on some types of consumer loans.

January 2016 Festivals and Events

January 6th, 2016 | Comments Off on January 2016 Festivals and Events | Posted in Spotlight on the Community

Christmas at Mount Vernon
Through January 6, 2016. Learn about the Christmas traditions of George Washington and tour the Mount Vernon Estate. The newly expanded programs extend through the first week in January.

ICE! – Christmas at the Gaylord National Resort
Through January 3, 2016. The award-winning holiday attraction is a winter wonderland created entirely of 5,000 BLOCKS of ice weighing 1.5 MILLION POUNDS! hand-sculpted by 40 international artisans and kept at a chilling nine degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter Theater in Washington DC
With dozens of performances around the region, here is the schedule of the top shows for the 2016 season.

Mercy Street Tours and Events
January-July 2016. Alexandria, VA.
Explore Old Town in a whole new way. Check out the tours and exhibits in Alexandria that highlight the real people behind the characters on the PBS miniseries Mercy Street.

Bridal Shows and Expos
See everything you need to plan an extraordinary wedding. Bridal shows include exhibits of bridal fashions, invitations, photographers, ceremony sites, music, wedding cakes, decorations, honeymoon travel and much more.

See the schedule of shows around the Washington DC area.

NBC4’s Health and Fitness Expo
January 9-10, 2016, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Washington DC Convention Center. The annual event offers fun activities to motivate you to take charge of your health. Try a new sport such as golf, skiing or snowboarding with the virtual simulators. Check your body mass index, take a heart risk test, learn about ergonomics and much more.

Washington Wizards Basketball
See NBA games live at the Verizon Center or enjoy the national broadcasts throughout the season.

Washington Capitals
The NHL Hockey team plays at the Verizon Center from January through April. Find information on tickets, schedules and more.

Giant Panda Cub Debut at the National Zoo
January 16, 2016. Washington DC. Bei Bei will be on display to the public. The cub was born in August and will make his first public appearance at the Zoo.

Howard County Restaurant Weeks
January 18-February 1, 2016. Participating restaurants will offer prix fixe chef’s menus with prices ranging from $10.16 to $40.16 (beverages, tax, gratuity not included) featuring local products, cut flowers, seafood, herbs, meats, eggs and game often paired with local wine or beers.

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Events
The national holiday is January 18, 2016. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday is a day of honor and commemorative events at a variety of sites in Washington, DC. Events honoring the civil rights leader run throughout the month of January.

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Rallies
January 22, 2016. Thousands of Americans will march in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the date of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Pro-lifers and pro-choice supporters will march in support of their stand on this controversial issue.

Home & Remodeling Show
January 22-24, 2016. Dulles Expo Center. 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA. Find out what’s new in home decor, gardening, remodeling, and more. Meet hundreds of experts and check out thousands of products and services.

Washington Auto Show
January 22-31, 2016. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington, DC. This special event features more than 700 new vehicle makes and models, live entertainment, celebrity guests and new car giveaways.

Bethesda-Montgomery County Restaurant Week
January 22-31, 2016. Restaurant Week specials return to Bethesda and some of Montgomery County’s top restaurants. Try some place new this winter.

DC Rollergirls
January 23, 2016. DC Armory, 2001 East Capitol Street, SE Washington, DC. Enjoy watching the region’s all women’s roller derby team compete.

Washington, DC Restaurant Week
January 25-31, 2016. Experience Washington, DC’s best restaurants at affordable prices. More than 250 of Washington, DC’s finest restaurants will be offering 3-course lunches for $22 and 3-course dinners for $35 for this gourmet event.

Alexandria Restaurant Week
January 29 – February 7, 2016/ More than 45 restaurants will be offering special menus and pricing to entice visitors to dine in Alexandria, Virginia, just five miles south of Washington, DC. The restaurants are offering either a three-course pre-fixe dinner or dinner for two, both priced at $35.

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals
January 29-31, 2016. Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Place Center, Chantilly, VA Enjoy the crafts of 500 artists, including jewelry, wood, leather, clothing, sculpture, glass and more. Watch live entertainment and feast on a variety of foods.

Maryland Polar Bear Plunge
January 30, 2016. Annapolis, Maryland. During the charity event for Special Olympics Maryland, thousands of participants of all ages are daring enough to take a dip in the wintry waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The event includes contests and live entertainment. See More Polar Plunges in Maryland and Virginia.

Summer Camp Fairs in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia
Various dates in January and February. Do you know what your kids are doing this summer? Attend a camp fair and find out about a variety of day and sleepaway camps in the Washington, DC area.

Source: dc.about.com