Over 250,000 Flood Damaged Cars on the Road Today

Posted on Sun, Sep 25, 2016

Fotolia_11251991_XS.jpg

Texas has the highest number of flood damaged vehicles in 2016 at 43,000.  And Houston is the dubious winner of the city with the most flooded vehicles in the same year – 19,314.  So, what happens to those damaged cars?   Surprisingly, according to recent research by Carfax, more than 250,000 flood damaged cars are resold.

By definition, a flood vehicle has been completely or partially submerged in water to the extent that its body, engine, transmission or other mechanical component parts have been damaged. If the vehicle is so damaged that it is no longer operable, the driver's insurance company settles the claim by buying the vehicle and selling it as a “salvage” at an auto auction, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Flood-damaged vehicles offer a tempting opportunity for unscrupulous dealers to defraud consumers.  Some states require that the words “salvage only” appear on vehicles with damage over 75% of its value.  The loophole is if the owner doesn’t have comprehensive insurance coverage, the vehicle may not get a “salvage” or branded title at all.  Or the dealer could switch or clone manufacturer’s serial number plates to conceal the damage.  And, of course, there’s an option to resell damaged cars in a state that has less strict title standards.

In recent years, some states in the hurricane-prone parts of the United States have adopted rules that require that the words “flood vehicle” be included on the titles of vehicles that have been water damaged and rebuilt. Before such a vehicle can be sold, the buyer must be notified in writing of the vehicle’s past flood damage. However, if another state doesn't have such strict laws, it can become a dumping ground for undeclared flooded vehicles.

Signs of Flood Damage

  • Water stains and mildew mean the vehicle may have gone for a swim.
  • Strong air freshener in the car could be a cover up for musty odor.
  • Upholstery or carpeting that is loose, new, stained, or doesn’t match. Brand-new carpet in an older car can be an important red flag.
  • Rust around doors, under the dashboard, on the pedals or inside the hood and trunk latches.
  • Fog or moisture beads in the interior lights, exterior lights, or instrument panel.

Inspect the Vehicle

  • Test the interior and exterior lights, air conditioning, windshield wipers, radio, turn signals, and heater repeatedly.
  • Check the seat-mounting screws to see if there is any evidence that they have been removed. To dry the carpets effectively, the seats must be remove and possibly even replaced.
  • Look at the heads of any unpainted, exposed screws. Unpainted metal will show signs of rust.
  • Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out and inspect for moisture, mildew, or grime.
  • Under the hood, check the engine oil by pulling the dipstick. When oil mixes with even a small amount of water, it becomes murky like a melted chocolate milkshake. 
  • Carfax offers a free flood damage check in addition to its for-pay history reports.
  • Get the car checked thoroughly by a trusted mechanic.
  • Trust your instincts. If you don’t like the answers or the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away.

Dean and Draper

We hope you have found this article informative, useful, and interesting.  We are here to answer your questions and support you in choosing insurance that is exactly what you need and want.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs..

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: auto insurance, Flood Damaged Vehicles

Playing Childhood Games Keeps You Young!

Posted on Sun, Sep 18, 2016

Fotolia_17892294_XS.jpg

As the Baby Boomers start hitting their 65th birthdays, we’re all realizing that we don’t want to simply age in place.  We want our lives to be full, exciting, energetic, and fun.  According to our friends at AARP Magazine, we’re never too old for recess and playing games can keep us young.  In fact, many studies indicate that playing isn’t just an enjoyable activity but also a good strategy to stay healthy.  Of course, before you run out to play, you might want to check with your physician to make sure you’re up for the challenge. 

So here are a few childhood games that we should resurrect. 

Jigsaw Puzzles

Putting together jigsaw puzzles decreases anxiety, stress and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping the brain active with this type of hobby lowers beta-amyloid protein levels. This protein interferes with neuron function, contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Chess

This old and famous “science game” helps create the neural connections we need throughout our lifetime so that we can think faster and more efficiently. It reduces the likelihood of having dementia and combats memory loss and depression. It’s also an excellent therapy after having a stroke.  

Board Games

Whether they involve strategy or are games of chance, board games are more than just entertainment; they also help people to stay focused and exercise their memory. In addition, they keep the mind sharp and, since they require several players, promote communication skills. 

Riddles

Solving riddles and word puzzles is good for cognition and oral expression. Remembering questions and thinking of answers help both grownups and kids to exercise their brains. Riddles and word puzzles also stimulate conversation, which is a good tool to fight depression at any age. 

Blindman’s Bluff

Games involving sensory stimulation help cognitive performance and foster an improved, faster motor response after perception of a stimulus. Exercising our senses (such as touch) ensures a better quality of life should we at any time lose another of our senses (such as sight or hearing).  

Jump Rope

This is undeniably a fun activity at any age and particularly great for heart health. In fact, it’s considered one of the best cardiovascular exercises. It is excellent for losing weight and staying in shape, since doing it burns a lot of calories and tones muscles.

Outdoor Games

Playing outdoors combats stress and can be the best medicine, since it increases the body’s defenses by releasing endorphins — known as “joy hormones.” So don’t be afraid of looking silly — whenever you have the chance to go to a park, get on a swing, fly a kite or play baseball.

Family Fun, Too

Kid’s games are great for the whole family.  Engaging “kids” of all ages can create a great time for everyone. 

Dean and Draper

We hope you found good ideas and some inspiration for your family in this blog.  We welcome your call with your insurance questions and will quickly find you the answers you need for your situation.  Contact us.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Aging Well, Staying Fit

National Preparedness Month – Part 2 Communications

Posted on Sun, Sep 11, 2016

FEMANPM2016_logo_vFinal.png

This week we’re continuing our National Preparedness Month information with tips on communicating effectively along with a list of documents and banking arrangements that make sense in emergency situations.  For more information from the Department of Homeland Security, click here

Communicating with Friends and Family

Keep your contacts updated across all of your channels, including phone, email and social media. This will make it easy to reach out to the right people quickly to get information and supply updates. Consider creating a group list serve of your top contacts.

  • Learn how to send updates via text and internet from your mobile phone to your contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available. Text messages and the internet often have the ability to work in the event of a phone service disruption.
  • Keep extra batteries for your phone in a safe place or purchase a solar-powered or hand crank charger. These chargers are good emergency tools to keep your laptop and other small electronics working in the event of a power outage. If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger because you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
  • Program "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone. Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.
  • If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless receiver in your home because it will work even if you lose power.
  • If you are evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your cell phone number.
  • If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.
  • Prepare a family contact sheet. This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.
  • Have a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio or television available (with spare batteries).

The following are additional tips when making phone calls and using your smartphone during or after a disaster:

  • Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to convey only vital information to emergency personnel and/or family.
  • Conserve your cell phone battery by reducing the brightness of your screen, placing your phone in airplane mode, and closing apps you are not using that draw power, unless you need to use the phone.
  • If you lose power, you can charge your cell phone in your car. Just be sure your car is in a well-ventilated place (remove it from the garage) and do not go to your car until any danger has passed. You can also listen to your car radio for important news alerts.
  • Immediately following a disaster, resist using your mobile device to watch streaming videos, download music or videos, or play video games, all of which can add to network congestion. Limiting use of these services can help potentially life-saving emergency calls get through to 9-1-1.
  • For non-emergency communications, use text messaging, e-mail, or social media instead of making voice calls on your cell phone to avoid tying up voice networks. Data-based services like texts and emails are less likely to experience network congestion. You can also use social media to post your status to let family and friends know you are okay. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you can use resources such as the American Red Cross's Safe and Well program.

Important Documents

Store your important documents such as personal and financial records in a password-protected area in the Cloud or a secure flash or jump drive that you can keep readily available. This flash drive can be kept on a key ring so it can be accessed from any computer, anytime, anywhere. Remember important documents, such as:

  • Personal and property insurance
  • Identification: Driver's license/passport (for family members, as well)
  • Banking information

Don’t Forget Your Pets!

  • Store your pet's veterinary medical records documents online.
  • Consider an information digital implant.
  • Keep a current photo of your pet in your online kit to aid in identification if you are separated.

Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance. Create an Emergency Information Document  (use Google Chrome) or Family Communication Plan for Parents and Kids (PDF - 1.2 Mb) to record how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations.

  • Make sure to share this document with family members, friends and co-workers who will also need to access it in an emergency or crisis.
  • When handling personal and sensitive information always keep your data private and share it only with those who will need access in case of emergency.

Banking

Sign up for Direct Deposit and electronic banking through your financial institution so you can access your payroll funds and make electronic payments regardless of location. Federal benefit recipients can sign up by calling (800) 333-1795 or at www.GoDirect.org.

Dean and Draper

We hope that you find this information useful and will make plans with your family before the next disaster arrives.  When you want to know more about your insurance options, please contact us.  We’re happy to answer your questions quickly and efficiently.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month

Posted on Sun, Sep 04, 2016

FEMANPM2016_logo_vFinal.png

Do you have a plan for dealing with a disaster?  That’s a really broad statement and sounds like a headache waiting to happen.  Which disaster?  How can I plan for all of the potential disasters that could happen?  Enter September’s National Preparedness Month.  The Department of Homeland Security is providing great ideas and tools for planning for disaster. 

We’re encouraging you to take a look at some of the planning tips below, check out the Ready.com website, and then get your family together to make your plan.

Questions to Consider for Your Plan

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to think about the following situations and plan just in case.

How will my family/household:

  • Get emergency alerts and warnings?
  • Get to safe locations for relevant emergencies?
  • Get in touch if cell phone, internet, or landline doesn’t work?
  • Let loved ones know they are safe?
  • Get to a meeting place after the emergency?

Emergency Communications Plan

Here are a few easy steps to start your emergency communication plan:

  1. Understand how to receive emergency alerts and warnings. Make sure all household members are able to get alerts about an emergency from local officials. ready.gov/alerts.
  2. Discuss family/household plans for disasters that may affect your area and plan where to go. Plan together in advance so that everyone in the household understands where to go during a different type of disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or wildfire.  
  3. Collect information. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family that includes:
  • phone (work, cell, office)
  • email
  • social media
  • medical facilities, doctors, service providers
  • school
     4. Identify information and pick an emergency meeting place. Things to consider:
  • Decide on safe, familiar places where your family can go for protection or to reunite.
  • Make sure these locations are accessible for household members with disabilities or access and functional needs.
  • If you have pets or service animals, think about animal-friendly locations.

5. Share information. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin     board.

6.   Practice your plan. Have regular household meetings to review your emergency plans, communication plans and meeting place after a disaster, and then practice, just like you would a fire drill.


Through the use of everyday technology, individuals, families, responders and organizations can successfully prepare for, adapt to and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies and/or disasters. With effective planning, it is possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs.

Next Week

We continue our National Preparedness Plan information with tips for getting the best use out of your cell phones and which documents to take with you.

Dean and Draper

While you are putting your Plan together, you may also want to take a look at your insurance, review your coverage, and even consider making changes in that coverage.  We invite you to reach out to us for answers, great advice, and an excellent selection of insurance options. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

Topics: homeowners insurance, Disaster Recovery, National Preparedness Month

Labor Day Holiday History

Posted on Sun, Aug 28, 2016

Fotolia_90607657_XS.jpg

For most of us Labor Day means the end of summer, a long weekend for the last trip to the beach, or a backyard barbeque.  The original intent of the holiday was to recognize the contributions that laborers make to the United States as a whole. 

Origins

The origins of the holiday are still under debate.  In Canada, the first Labour Day was April 15, 1872.  The Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for work’s rights.  Twenty-four of the Toronto Typographical Union members were imprisoned for striking for a nine-hour working day.

In the United States, the first Labor Day parade was in New York City on September 5, 1882.  In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected for the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organization in other cities to celebrate a “workingman’s holiday” on that date.  The holiday was recognized in cities around the country through municipal ordinances in 1885 and 1886.  Oregon was the first state to pass the Labor Day holiday bill on February 21, 1887 followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. 

Founders

The actual founder of the U.S. Labor Day is still under discussion over 100 years after the first Labor Day celebration.  Some of the records name Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor as the first to suggest a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” 

The challenger, Matthew Maguire, a machinist and secretary of the Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, NJ, apparently proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as the secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. 

President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide – interesting because Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. 

Union Membership

In the United States membership in labor unions reached an all-time high in the 1950’s with about 40% of the work force participating in a union.  Today, union membership is about 14% of the working population.  Teachers are the largest group of union workers nationwide.  The lowest number of union members is in agriculture, finance, restaurants, and bars – about 1% of the population.

Dean and Draper

We invite you to have a relaxed Labor Day with family and friends celebrating the last days of summer and, of course, the American worker – creator of so much of our nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Labor Day History

What Do 5 Major Car Makers Have in Common?  Driverless Cars!

Posted on Sun, Aug 21, 2016

Fotolia_104748353_XS.jpg

Most of us think that driverless, self-driving, or autonomous are years away.  What is actually happening is each year more features are added to cars making them require less and less driver attention.  For instance, Tesla’s Autopilot allows the car to maintain a set speed, brake automatically, and stay centered in its lane.  Sounds amazing until you realize that most luxury vehicles and even mainstream Honda Civics can do the same.  Car companies in the hunt for driverless cars include Tesla, Honda, Volvo, Ford, and Subaru.

Autonomous Features

To meet U.S. and European government mandates, automakers have been adding driver-assisted features for years.  Including the Mercedes adaptive cruise control that automatically maintains a distance from car in front that was introduced in 1999.  Or the Ford automatic parallel parking option introduced in 2009. 

Driverless Car Study

In 2011 Google announced plans to develop fully self-driving cars by 2020 touching off automaker’s rush to get there first.  The Boston Consulting Group in a recent study expects that partially autonomous vehicles will hit the road in large numbers for 2017, with the biggest growth coming in the next two decades.  Mass adoption of self-driving technology will result in tremendous economic and societal benefits, and with it, far-reaching implications for automotive companies and other players in the value chain.  By 2035, more than 12 million fully autonomous vehicles and 18 million partially autonomous vehicles are expected to be sold per year globally.

Tesla Accident

What about that Tesla accident in May that killed the driver?  The accident appears to have happened because autopilot – a self-driving mode still in its testing phase – could not distinguish between a white truck and a bright sky, according to Tesla.  If auto manufacturers aren’t cautious enough, and driverless cars are deemed unsafe by consumers or regulators, a potentially life-saving technology might not make it to market.

Dean and Draper

Autonomous or drive-it-yourself, we’re ready to answer your questions about auto insurance.  From one car to a fleet, we can help you find the best insurance.  Contact us for more information. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs..

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 ©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: driverless cars, autonomous cars, auto insurance

5 Olympic Events You Probably Haven’t Seen

Posted on Sun, Aug 14, 2016

Fotolia_98292229_XS.jpg

Now we’re about halfway through the Olympics you might be looking for something unusual to watch.  We have some suggestions for events you may have missed on your schedule.  Here are our recommendations for something exciting, interesting, and somewhat strange to check out.

Race Walking

Race walking is the world’s greatest race that doesn’t look like a race, but more like a group of people trying to beat each other to the bathroom. It’s been in the Olympics since 1904, starting out as a half-mile walk that has since grown to be a 20 kilometer race for men and women, and a 50 kilometer race that’s only for men. The sport itself originated from pedestrianism, a British competitive walking sport that was popular in the mid to late 19th century.

So what makes it race walking and not just long distance running? Athletes must have one foot in contact with the ground at all times, and race judges watch competitors during the event to make sure nobody breaks into a full jog. You can watch the women’s 20km and men’s 50km on Friday, August 19th.

 Hammer Throw

You know what sounds fun? Grabbing something heavy and seeing who can throw it the farthest. The hammer throw is odd-looking, dangerous, and super fun to watch. The sport originally dates back to the 15th century, has been absorbed into the super hardcore Scottish Highland games, and it’s one of the oldest official Olympic events in existence, debuting in 1900.

The hammers the athletes throw are actually hammer weights, with the men’s hammer coming in at 16 pounds and the women’s at nearly nine pounds. To throw the hammer, competitors swing the weight on a cord twice while stationary, then make four or five full-body rotations before releasing the weight into the air. Strength is essential for the hammer throw, but the speed an athlete can build up when spinning is just as important when it comes to gaining distance. Winning is plain and simple: whoever throws it the farthest wins.

You can see the women’s hammer throw competition on Monday, August 15th. You can watch the men’s competition on Wednesday, August 17th, and Friday, August 19th.

Handball

Handball isn’t all that weird for most of the world, and it’s been in the Olympics since 1972, but its lack of popularity in the U.S. makes it a bit of an enigma for Americans. It’s a team sport where two teams of seven players pass a ball around with their hands and try to throw the ball in the other team’s goal. The simplest explanation is “soccer with your hands,” and it’s the closest you’ll get to Olympic Quidditch sans the brooms.

If you want to watch the best sport you probably don’t know about, it’s going on almost every day at this year’s games. Both men and women’s handball have kicked off, but there are games on every day through the end of the Olympics on August 21st.

Steeplechase

Why run around a boring ol’ track when you can add some crazy obstacles like fences and pools to the mix? Enter the steeplechase. It originated in Ireland as a horse race, where riders would go from one town’s steeple to the next jumping over streams and the stone walls that commonly separated estates at the time.

The race is 3,000 meters long, and has 28 barriers to jump over—seven of which are jumps into pools of knee-deep water. Competitors’ shoes get wet and slippery, people trip over barriers, and it’s not uncommon to see someone face plant into a pool of water. Knowing that makes watching the race a lot fun. This year it takes place on August 17th.

Dressage

Dressage is, in essence, horse dancing. But make no mistake, the event requires just as much training and athleticism as any other Olympic-level competition — both for the horse and the rider (those who say otherwise have probably never ridden a horse). In French, dressage literally means “training,” and that’s what’s truly being tested during the competition. As the International Federation of Equestrian Sports puts it, dressage is the “highest expression of horse training.”

If you want to see some finely dressed folks riding a dancing horse (you know you do), you can catch dressage finals on Monday, August 15th

Dean and Draper

We hope that you are enjoying the 2016 Olympics and find our off beat suggestions interesting.  When you have questions about personal or commercial insurance, we also hope that you will call us.  We welcome your questions and are ready to provide answers.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Source: Patrick Allan, lifehacker.com

 

Topics: Olympic Events

Getting Ready for Retirement with Life Insurance

Posted on Sun, Aug 07, 2016

Fotolia_112604248_XS.jpg

Yes, you are surrounded by people who want to help you plan for retirement.  In other words, want to sell you something.  Admittedly we have the same idea.  The difference is that we have some solutions that can save you money when you are dealing with your 401(k) and Roth IRA.  We hope that you will find the information interesting and useful.

Bypassing Roadblocks

The difficulty with some traditional retirement vehicles, such as 401(k) accounts and individual retirement accounts (IRAs), is that if maximum marginal tax rates rise, as they have recently, these accounts may become less effective at preserving wealth. The benefits of making deductible contributions and enjoying tax-deferred growth may be

outweighed by high marginal tax rates when the need to begin making taxable, mandatory withdrawals (required minimum distributions, or RMDs) kicks in, currently at age 70 ½. (Keep in mind that all tax statements in this blog post are based on current tax law and that a qualified tax expert should be consulted when considering one’s individual circumstances.)

In addition, when IRA or 401(k) plan assets pass through inheritance to the owner’s (non-spouse) beneficiaries, they do so as regular income and often are taxed at high rates, as beneficiaries often are in their peak earning years and are subject to correspondingly peak tax rates.

Watching for Potholes

Some retirement plans address these problems by allowing participants to accumulate and distribute assets without paying taxes, although with a significant drawback: the initial contributions are nondeductible. The Roth IRA is an example of this type of plan. In addition to providing a vehicle for tax-deferred growth and zero taxation on qualified distributions, the Roth IRA requires no mandatory withdrawals by the owner, and the money passes income-tax-free to the beneficiaries after the owner’s death. But again, initial contributions are nondeductible.

The Roth IRA also has other drawbacks which may be significant for some people, particularly high-income earners. Single taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross incomes exceed $132,000 (and married couples who file jointly, with adjusted gross incomes above $194,000) are ineligible to contribute to Roth IRAs.

Even for people with incomes below those thresholds, the Roth IRA, like its traditional IRA cousin, limits maximum annual contributions to $5,500 (or $6,500 for people ages 50 or beyond). Also, people who skip making contributions to a Roth IRA in one or more years are not allowed to “make up” the contributions later; those potential contributions and the benefits that may have accrued to them are lost.

Finding A Way Forward

Despite their drawbacks, a 401(k) account, an IRA or a Roth IRA may be useful in retirement planning. However, their utility may be greatly enhanced when other financial products are utilized to help offset some of the limitations and add diversification to a retirement plan.

Life insurance is a prominent example. The IRS does not impose limits on the amount of life insurance premiums a person can pay or the amount of money someone can earn while still being allowed to fund life insurance premiums. Additionally, with a properly structured life insurance solution, the policy holder has the option to miss a payment, or make only a partial payment, and then contribute the missed amount anytime.

Furthermore, life insurance death benefits generally pass income-tax-free to beneficiaries after the policy holder’s death. And unlike a 401(k), an IRA or a Roth IRA, life insurance is a “self-completing” asset. If the insurance policy terms have been met, beneficiaries may receive the full death benefit even if the policy holder died before the contract was fully funded.

Here’s the Bottom Line

Leveraging multiple types of financial products in a long-term strategy may help achieve retirement readiness. With its tax-advantaged treatment, flexibility and other features, life insurance merits thoughtful consideration when planning for retirement and the leaving of a legacy.

Dean and Draper

Jerry_Linville.jpg

For more information about the role of life insurance in retirement planning, please call our expert, Jerry Linville, 281-794-3783.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: retirement planning, Life Insurance

Watermelon - Things You Don’t Know

Posted on Sun, Jul 31, 2016

Fotolia_86283949_XS-1.jpgOne of my favorite summer treats is watermelon.  Little did I know that watermelon is not only a great cool treat, it’s also “nutrient-dense” or loaded with stuff that’s good for you.

In her article in AARP Magazine, 6 Things You Didn’t Know About Watermelon, author Candy Sagon reveals her list of things we all need to know about the summer’s favorite melon.

Here is the amazing thing about watermelons: They are 92 percent water, which is why we want to dive face first into a cold, juicy slice on hot summer days. But that’s not the only reason to gorge on this delicious fruit. Here are six surprising things you may not have known about summer’s favorite melon.

It’s a fruit! No, it’s a vegetable!

Most of us consider watermelon a fruit, because it’s sweet and juicy; it also has seeds — the botanical definition of a fruit. But watermelon is also a vegetable, from the same family that includes cucumbers and squash. So which is it? Oklahoma thinks it knows. In 2007, watermelon was officially declared the state vegetable — probably because the state fruit was already taken.

The redder the better

Fully ripe, deeply red watermelons are the ones you want. That deep color signifies the most lycopene, an antioxidant and the bright red pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their rosy color. Seedless watermelons also tend to have more lycopene than the seeded variety, say scientists with the government’s Agricultural Research Service. Research suggests that lycopene may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. A recent Finnish study found that men with the greatest level of lycopene in their blood had a 55 percent lower risk of stroke.

Beyoncé believes in it

Beyoncé recently announced that she was investing in WTRMLN WTR, a company that turns surplus watermelons into cold-pressed watermelon juice. The entertainer, who has invested in other wellness-oriented companies, called watermelon juice “the future of clean, natural hydration.” Somehow she forgot to mention that it also helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise, according to a 2013 Spanish study.

Good for prostate protection

Chow down on watermelon, guys — it can help with prostate health and erectile dysfunction, thanks to phytonutrients like lycopene and citrulline. Lycopene — also found in other red fruits and vegetables — plays a role in protecting against prostate cancer. And citrulline, according to a recent study published in the journal Urology, can help with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow.

Eat it with a little fat

Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, which is important for vision, healthy skin, teeth and gums. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning it needs to be consumed with some fat to help the body absorb it. Try making a simple summery salad of watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, minced fresh mint and a lime dressing to get the most nutrients.

Kidney disease? Don’t go overboard

Watermelon is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain a normal blood pressure and helps muscles and nerve function properly. That’s great for most of us, but those diagnosed with hyperkalemia — too much potassium in the blood — or who have kidney disease and are at risk for the condition, probably should not eat more than a cup of watermelon a day, say kidney experts.

Heading for the Grocery

Enough talking about watermelons.  I’m headed for the grocery.  Wonder if they have some already chilled…

Dean and Draper

Now that you’ve had your watermelon, we welcome your call about your insurance.  We are here to answer your questions, give you solid information, and provide you with choices.

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  Contact Us.

 

The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 

©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: Health Tips, Staying Fit, getting healthy

Summer in Texas – One Heat Wave After Another

Posted on Sun, Jul 24, 2016

Fotolia_30673234_XS.jpgThe weather in Texas has been more challenging than usual this year.  First it rained until our drought was a distant memory and more than a few houses were flooded.  Now we’re roasting in the heat.  We thought you might be ready for ways to avoid the effects of overheating and some tips on staying cooler. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, high summer heat is responsible for more fatalities than all other types of weather events.  One reason could be that we don’t always take hot weather as seriously as we should. 

Defined as a prolonged period of excessive heat, a heat wave is dangerous business.  No one is immune, and the longer the heat persists, the more likely someone in your family will start showing signs of heat-related distress. Pollutants in the air and the reflected heat from city streets and structures can make conditions even worse.

We have shortened some of the ideas for dealing with a Heat Wave from our friends at How Stuff Works – Science.  Author Sara Elliott has more to say in her article, 5 Tips for Heat Wave Safety

Dress for the Weather

In the heat, fashion takes a back seat to safety and comfort.  Cover your skin with light, loose fitting clothing.  When you’re outdoors wear a hot to protect your face and head.  And keep your feet protected with sandals or shoes.  Be friends with your sun screen, too.

Avoid Strenuous Exercise

Potentially you don’t need this advice.  Strenuous activity outdoors should be last on your list of things to do.  If you must work outdoors, stay hydrated.  It’s best if you can arrange your schedule to work outside during the morning hours or evening when the temperature is cooler. 

If you experience dizziness, confusion, fainting, excessive sweating, nausea, a rapid pulse, headache or your skin is hot but you've stopped sweating, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion or possibly even heat stroke. Stop what you're doing immediately. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Drink Plenty of Liquids

Being outdoors in a heat wave means that you will be perspiring more than normal.  So it makes sense to replenish the liquid in your body.  Drinking four 16 ounce glasses of liquid an hour isn’t too much.  Even if you aren’t thirsty, drink up.  Stay clear of beverages that are high in sugars or contain alcohol.  Very cold drinks can also cause stomach cramps.

Stay Indoors

The best place to be in a heat wave is indoors – preferably in an air conditioned space.  If your home isn’t air conditioned, take yourself to cool public buildings like the mall, library, or theater during the hottest part of the day.

Protect Those Most at Risk

While the heat is tough on everyone, there are people who are particularly at risk.  Take a moment to check on people in these circumstances:

  • people living alone
  • young children
  • the elderly
  • outdoor laborers
  • the chronically ill
  • those without air conditioning in their homes
  • pets

Ways to Keep Cool When It's Hot

Medicine Net published a list of 15 tips for keeping cool.  We have listed our favorites here. 

  • Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  • Some people swear by small, portable, battery-powered fans. At an outdoor event I even saw a version that attaches to a water bottle that sprays a cooling mist.
  • Instead of hot foods, try lighter summer fare including frequent small meals or snacks containing cold fruit or low fat dairy products.
  • Finally, use common sense. If the heat is intolerable, stay indoors when you can and avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces.

Get Answers

The Center for Disease Control has some great answers to your FAQ.  Click here to see their Frequently Asked Questions About Extreme Heat.  Need a checklist? Click here to get the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist.

Dean and Draper

We hope you find the information in our blog interesting and helpful.  We appreciate your comments. 

When you have questions about your insurance, we welcome your call. 

Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

 The recommendation(s), advice and contents of this material are provided for informational purposes only and do not purport to address every possible legal obligation, hazard, code violation, loss potential or exception to good practice. Dean & Draper Insurance Agency specifically disclaims any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein will make any premises, property or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. Under no circumstances should this material or your acceptance of any recommendations or advice contained herein be construed as establishing the existence or availability of any insurance coverage with Dean & Draper Insurance Agency. By providing this information to you, Dean & Draper Insurance Agency does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you.  The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.

 ©2016 Dean & Draper Insurance Agency All Rights Reserved.

Topics: health insurance, Heat Wave Safety