Is travel insurance a good idea?

 

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“Should I get travel insurance for my upcoming trip?”
You may have asked yourself this question right after booking a flight, a cruise or any type of tour as you are usually asked by online companies if you would like the extra security added to your total at checkout.

But how useful is travel insurance? And is it really needed?

We break it down for you:

First, you need to understand the three basic types of travel insurance and what they are good for. One type of travel insurance covers any penalties or some extra costs that you may get if you have to withdraw your reservations or change your travel plans. This can cover things from reimbursing prepaid expenses such as flights, hotels or reservations due to a death in the family, weather related issues, or missed flights. Another option is to purchase travel health insurance. This covers any gaps in your already existing insurance for such things as emergency medical expenses if you are out of the country or if you need a medical evacuation. The third travel insurance option is insurance that protects against damage, loss or theft. This covers any expensive equipment or personal items that fall outside of any preexisting insurance coverage you may have.

When considering if you will need any type of travel insurance you should base your decision on potential losses or what you feel you can afford to lose. So, check and make sure what the cancelation polices are for your flights, hotels and any pre-booked tours. This will help guide you as you weigh what needs to be covered and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that all venues and items have the same cancelation polices. Also, assess your risks. If you are traveling to a place prone to hurricane weather, during hurricane season, it might be worth your while to insure your trip in case you need to cancel because of inclement weather or an evacuation is needed.

Do keep in mind there are limits to travel insurance. Your reason to put in a claim has to be significant and verifiable. For example: if you wish not to go on a trip at the last second because the city you will be visiting is on high alert due to a security risk, you might have a compelling case. But if you simply have changed your mind and don’t wish to go, that typically isn’t a good enough reason. But it is always a good idea to make contact with the airline or places with reservations to attempt a penalty free cancelation if your insurance ends up not covering it – sometimes companies can be very understanding to your unique situation.

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Is your home secure against burglary?

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No one welcomes the feeling of knowing you personal belongings have been ransacked and rummaged through. And many times items that have are irreplaceable. If you wish to keep your house secure, (and keep your insurance premiums low) here are some basic, yet helpful ways you can protect your home and belongings from theft or vandalism.

  • Invest in simple home security devices like padlocks, proper locks for your doors and windows. Bolts and bars are also good choices to slow a thief down.
  • Arm yourself with technology. A good security alarm and security cameras are great ways to deter unwanted snoops. The alarm not only can notify authorities that there’s a break in, but also it could scare a thief away. Security cameras allow you to keep a watchful eye on your property, while also being able to identify suspects if a break in does occur.
  • Trim your trees around your house. You may be  giving up a bit of privacy, but you are cutting back on the amount of cover accessible to burglars.
  • Don’t display your most precious possessions. Consider keeping your prized items out of view of windows and glass doors. Prying eyes like to survey the area, don’t give away where you are keeping the goods!
  • Your entry points should be strong to ward off any criminals. Doors should be strong, built from metal or solid hardwood. Suggested thickness is at least one-and-three-quarters thick. A good lock is nothing without a strong door.
  • Speaking of locks, deadbolt locks are the best. Ask your hardware professional to recommend a trusted brand that is pick-resistant.

It is also a good idea to create and maintain some home security habits of your own. For instance, establish a routine of going around and making sure doors and windows are locked and your alarm system is set. Avoid telling people on your social media your plans to leave your home. Don’t hide keys in “secret” places on the outside of your home – thieves are smart and they know where to look.

When you do have to leave your home unattended for a trip, ask a neighbor to check in on things. Stop newspaper deliveries so the unread papers don’t pile up in the driveway, signaling that you are not there to get them. Use automatic timers to turn lights, radio, or TV on in various parts of the house. These measures will help give the appearance that someone is home, which is a big turn off for burglars

Check with your insurance company to see what discounts they offer for having qualifying security devices in your home. This could lower your premiums and make you safe all in one go!

How safe is your sport of choice?

different_sports_cropped_and_coloured_header_for_sector[1].jpgHow safe is your sport of choice?

If you or your child is actively playing a sport, you should know the risks and be prepared for any medical treatment that might be needed as a result of an injury. Good, solid health insurance will make paying for injuries a bit better, but knowing the potential risks and costs up front is smart. For questions on health insurance, please visit the SCDOI website. 

Visits to emergency departments for concussions, especially among children, are on the rise according to a new study.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics these serious visits have doubled for children 8 to 13 and increased over 200% for young adults (age 14 to 19).

Hard hits to the head are potentially very dangerous and when left undetected and untreated concussions can result in long-term brain damage. In extreme cases they can be fatal.

“While the first hit can prove problematic, the second or third head impact can cause permanent long-term brain damage,” according to an article published by HeadCase.  “Cumulative sports concussions are shown to increase the likelihood of catastrophic head injury leading to permanent neurologic disability by 39%.”

It is important to know the signs of a serious head injury.

These include:

  • Unconsciousness.
  • Inability to remember the cause of the injury or events that occurred immediately before
  • or up to 24 hours after.
  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Difficulty remembering new information.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Trouble speaking coherently.
  • Changes in emotions or sleep patterns.

If you suspect an injury, seek medical help immediately.

So how safe is the sport that you or your child plays?

Here are the top ten most dangerous sports for concussion-related injuries, according to Insurance Information Institute.

  1. 12% Ice Hockey
  2. 10% Snowboarding
  3. 9% Water Tubing
  4. 8% Football
  5. 8% Lacrosse
  6. 7% Horseback Riding
  7. 7% Rugby
  8. 7% Wrestling
  9. 6% Soccer
  10. 6% Cheerleading

While concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are a concern, it should also be noted that South Carolina ranks in the top five for most water related deaths and accidents. In 2017 there were 151 accidents, 13 deaths, 85 people injured and just under $3,000 worth of property damage caused by watercraft accidents.

For sports injuries in general, According to the National Safety Council (NSC) basketball was the most dangerous sport in 2015, with 493,011 injuries reported followed by biking, with 488,123 injuries, and football, with 399,873 injuries.

This year, be aware of the dangers associated with your sport of choice. Choose well reviewed protective gear where needed, and always practice safety within the game.

And for those unfortunate moments when accidents do occur, be sure to have health insurance for you and your dependents.