Hastings Insurance Solutions LLC
872 Tanglefoot Ln
Bettendorf IA 50401
Is Your Auto Insurance Up for Renewal?
The wrong auto insurance could end up costing you. With so many options available - and so many "deals" that aren’t really good value - it pays to get good advice.
Discover how to get the best coverage that doesn’t cost a fortune by requesting my free guide, "The Secret to Finding the Right Auto Insurance Coverage."
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What was the first breakfast cereal to be commercially made?
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Recipe: Fresh Berry & Ginger Granita
This sorbet-like dessert is refreshing on a hot August day.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
- 1 cup fresh raspberries, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Remove pot from heat, add ginger root, and set aside for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup into a blender and add the berries and lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Place in the freezer and scrape the mixture in the baking dish with a fork about every hour for at least five hours to get a more even mixture.
To serve, let the mixture sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes then scrape into chilled bowls.
This month, some famous quotes on the topic of the past:
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.
The past becomes a texture, an ambience to our present.
Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future.
Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.
Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past, what to enjoy in the present, and what to plan for in the future.
Arnold H. Glasow
Want Lower Premiums? Look to Your Own Agent
When searching for ways to lower insurance premiums, you don't have to look very far. By going over your policy and goals with your agent, you can find ways to save on your current policy. Here are three ways to get lower rates on your current policy.
Cut extra fees
Ask if you're paying extra for such conveniences as monthly installment fees. If you pay your premium monthly, virtually every insurance carrier will charge you an installment fee of up to $5 a month.
By paying your premiums in full, or as much as possible over a couple of months, installment fees will be lower or removed completely (when paid in full). Setting up an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your bank account can reduce or eliminate fees as well.
Some carriers also provide "paperless discounts," easily obtained by agreeing to have all your policy documents sent electronically.
Improve your credit
Credit ratings are significant factors when calculating premiums. Some companies have become so strict with this they'll sometimes refuse to write a policy for someone with poor credit, and existing policyholders may see premium increases at renewal or even policy cancellation notices for a worsened credit rating. The takeaway: improving your credit can help lower your rate.
Avoid making small claims
You don't necessarily have to make a claim for minor damage. For example, if your rear-view mirror breaks, instead of filing a comprehensive claim, you could absorb the cost yourself. Most claims, regardless of size, will affect premiums for three to five years, and claims history plays a big role in premium calculations.
As well, once you've paid the deductible, you may end up paying more in higher premiums than by covering it yourself.
Go For the Win-Win
By working with your current insurance professional, you can avoid the disruption and frustration of looking around and reduce your premiums - a win-win.
This Month's Smile: Medical Miscommunication
They say laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes that comes from innocent medical miscommunication. Take, for instance, the elderly woman whose allergies were printed on her medical wristband. Later that day, the woman's son called and complained that his mother had been labelled "bananas."
Nurses face another sort of communication problem: Excuses from patients and colleagues.
The most common excuse for missing a long-postponed appointment is a grandmother's death. As one nurse confided, "This was (the patient's) sixth grandmother to die within two months." Interestingly, they also hear an equal number of excuses from doctors, who are usually stuck "on a boat" in the middle of nowhere and therefore can't make rounds.
Protect Your Child from Hazards in the Kitchen
If you have toddlers, it's hard to imagine a more dangerous area of your home than the kitchen. Knives, stovetops, and potential toxins all pose hazards to your kids, who can and will want to touch.
If you have a small child entering a particularly "grabby" phase, try these tips to childproof your kitchen.
Move things out of reach
Cleaning supplies, glassware, and knives should all be stored where small children can't reach or climb to them. Don't leave glasses on counters where they can be knocked over; store bleach and other household cleaners in a locked cabinet, and leave knives in a drawer that can be locked.
Cover knobs and outlets
Kids can easily stand on tippy-toe to turn oven knobs and dials, or sit on the ground and play with electrical outlets. Purchase plastic knob and outlet covers to prevent disasters.
Lock the fridge
A curious little one may be inclined to open the fridge to root around for a snack. Protect their tummies, your food, and the floor by using a fridge guard to keep it closed when you're not looking.
Ditch the linens
Tablecloths and runners are just begging to be yanked by a chubby little hand. Get rid of them entirely to protect your child's head (plus your nice dishes and glassware).
Not every safety tip is a matter of hiding, installing, or removing; being mindful of your own behavior in the kitchen is important. Use the dishwasher at night while children are asleep, so they won't unlock the door and scald themselves.
Give them Alternatives
Take pressure off yourself and your little ones by giving them something to play with when you're in the kitchen. Why not store your plastic storage bins and containers in a low unlocked cabinet? They'll spend hours building and knocking down the containers. And avoid other, more dangerous, playthings.
Life insurance: Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too
Today, many retirees have enough income to live on, plus a small nest egg they've saved to pay for emergencies or leave to heirs if it's not needed before death. The problem: The money in the nest egg is sitting in a low-interest account such as a certificate of deposit. That will reduce what is available for emergencies or what gets passed on to heirs.
What to do? Life insurance may be the answer. It usually is considered a way to provide for heirs in the event of one's death, but there are many more creative uses, as indicated by the example below:
Take Jane Doe, who has $50,000 saved. She can buy a single-premium life insurance policy, which, when she dies, could provide her heirs with a lot more - maybe even as much as double the purchase amount. As well, her heirs could avoid probate and taxation.
On the other hand, Jane doesn't want to tie up her nest egg in a life insurance policy in case she gets a terminal illness and can't afford to pay for her medical expenses. Her solution: a single-premium life insurance policy with a built-in confinement and terminal-illness benefit. Policies such as these may accelerate the full death benefit to which the policyholder is entitled if he or she becomes ill. Some even offer a guaranteed surrender value no less than the money put into the policy.
In another example, retirees who want to make a contribution to a charitable organization without disinheriting their children put money into a single-premium life insurance policy, donating the dividend to charity and giving the death benefit to their children.
These are only two of many examples of the creative use of life insurance. Discuss them and others with your advisor who can help you decide which of these creative uses will work for you and your family.
Understanding Dual Dental Insurance Coverage
It could be said that limits on dental insurance plans are "vintage": The general model hasn't been updated since the 1970s, plus many health insurance plans don't include dental coverage, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) considers dental coverage essential for children - but not adults.
Most existing plans offer maximum annual limits of $500 to $1,500, and although that may have been adequate in the 1970s, now a couple of fillings or one root canal will likely max out one's benefits. As a result, many go without much-needed dental care.
There is a solution to this dilemma. Think "dual coverage." But while it is possible to have two dental policies, there are restrictions around carrying two plans.
If you have dual coverage, you'll have a primary plan and a secondary plan. The two insurers work together - known as "coordination of benefits" - to determine which is which, and which policy will pay for what. The general rule is that employer-sponsored coverage is the primary plan, and other plans - such as those bought privately or through a spouse's employer or a retirement plan - would be secondary. The primary plan may also be the plan you've held for the longest time.
How dual coverage works
Assume each plan covers 80 percent of two cleanings annually. The two policies wouldn't pay for four cleanings annually. Your primary plan pays first. Your secondary policy would be supplementary to the primary.
In the case of non-duplication clauses - which are standard in most policies - secondary policies only pay if the primary plan doesn't pay up to the primary plan's allowed amount.
For example, the primary plan will often cover 80 percent of services, while you have a co-pay 20 percent. But if, for some reason, the primary plan only pays 70 percent, the secondary policy would pay the 10 percent difference after you've paid the 20 percent co-pay amount.