5 Things to Consider Before Traveling This Holiday Season

The holidays are a great time to visit friends and relatives, but holiday travel can be a hassle. Learn how to take the stress out of holiday travel by making these five considerations prior to embarking on a trip.

Avoid Illness

Traveling can expose you and your family to cold and flu germs, but being proactive about staying healthy while on the go can greatly reduce your risk of becoming ill this holiday season.

Stay hydrated and pack healthy snacks to take on a lengthy car trip or flight. Wash hands frequently, and be sure not to touch your face after touching a railing, seat back or anything else that someone who is ill could have touched.

Seek Off-Peak Travel Dates

Holidays are notorious for expensive travel. Fortunately, travelers can reduce costs by choosing to leave on an off-peak date. Avoid travel on the date of a major holiday, and try to choose a weekday near the holiday instead of a weekend. Hundreds of dollars in savings can be realized through a simple adjustment in travel dates.

The cheapest flights tend to be on Wednesdays, but Wednesdays directly before, after or even on a holiday will still be expensive. Consider leaving the week prior to a holiday in order to enjoy discounts on travel and avoid a crowded airport or roads.

Drive at Night

If you’re going to be driving a long distance this holiday season, consider scheduling your drive overnight instead of during the day. Driving during the day causes problems with rush hour, holiday shoppers jamming the roads and accidents that peak during the holiday season.

Drivers who travel far during the holidays are often unaware of events that may cause heavy congestion on the roads, and traveling overnight tends to eliminate this issue. However, remember not to travel overnight if you are drowsy. Get plenty of rest prior to leaving, and divide driving responsibilities between the adults in the vehicle. If no one is able to safely drive at any point during the trip, find a place to stop for the night and get on the road again once everyone is rested.

Leave Time for Dealing with Crowds

Anywhere you go this holiday season will be packed with crowds, and travel is no different. Airports, travel rest stops and train stations are all going to be crowded. If you’re taking your family on vacation and plan to see the sights during the holidays, remember that museums, zoos and other tourist destinations will require you to be patient because of an increase in visitors.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

What would happen if someone in your family suddenly became seriously ill before a flight? What if your job insisted that you work over the holiday? Most people fail to plan for unseen events during the holidays, and a failure to properly plan for trip cancellations can prove to be costly.

Travel insurance not only covers cancellation costs, but it also covers illness, theft and loss resulting from the covered trip. Insurance can help pay for medical bills incurred when health insurance cannot be utilized on a trip and typically reimburses policyholders for lost luggage or damaged personal items.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, remember to plan ahead and know what to expect on the road or in the air. Consider purchasing a travel insurance plan for added peace of mind.

This article was contributed by Kyle Telenko, a writer for the homeowners insurance site homeownersinsurance-qutoes.org. Kyle primarily writes about home safety tips but also covers vehicle maintenance and travel precautions as well.

Riding the See-saw of Auto Insurance: Your Deductible

You may spend more time deciding on the deductibles for your policy than you do on which liability options to include because there are so many variables to consider, and when you change one thing, it has a ripple effect on other aspects of the coverage. That, and it affects you where it hurts the most—your bank account.

The best thing about a deductible is that it only applies if you have comprehensive and/or collision coverage on your policy, and that is only necessary if you still owe money on your vehicle.

If you own or lease your vehicle, you can stop reading now!

If you do have comprehensive or collision coverage, you only pay the deductible if and when you have an accident. These kinds of coverage are about the physical aspect of a claim rather than liability for personal injury.

The deductible is the portion of a payout that the insurer won’t pay or reimburse you.
The most challenging aspect of deciding on your deductible is probably due to the “unknown factor”. You just can’t know if you will ever be called upon to pay your portion—that first $100, $250, $500 up to $1000 per accident to repair your vehicle due to your causing an accident.

Why are there deductibles? It encourages motorists to pay for small car repairs themselves rather than filing a claim. Insurance companies are in business to make money, so they have many strategies to maximize their profits.

If you have an accident and you’re not at fault, you have two courses of action available to you, depending on State law.

 

  1. You can file your claim through the at-fault party’s insurer and avoid paying any deductible.
  2. You can file through your own insurance company, pay your deductible, and wait for them to recover the costs from the at-fault insurer and refund your deductible.

If your state of residence has a Comparative Negligence law, however, you may, in the end, be deemed to be partly at fault, in which case your insurance company will not be able to recoup the full cost of repair to your vehicle and will not refund your deductible.

The Pros and Cons

The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your premium; the lower the deductible, the higher the premium. That’s the see-saw. The easiest way to see the big picture and all the variables so you can compare them is to request multiple quotes for each deductible option available to you. Make a chart, if the agent or insurer doesn’t present the comparables that way, and it will be easier to make sense of it.

You may feel a lower deductible is preferable because times are lean; you’re living paycheck to paycheck and can’t accommodate a large unexpected bill if you have to repair your vehicle. If you go that route, you will, of course, have a slightly higher monthly, semi-annual or annual premium payment. When the increase is spread out over the course of a year, however, it may be very manageable for you. You understand that over all, you are paying more, even though you haven’t needed the coverage. Your overall disposable income will help you determine what you can afford.

Having said that, however, before you decide which way to go you need to check your loan agreement to see if there is a maximum deductible stated.

On the other hand, you may feel that saving a lump sum with a lower premium payment and forking out $1500 to repair your car IF you ever need to, is preferable. In that case you would have a slightly lower premium payment—which is a known expense—and would save money; from 10 – 30%. Your decisions are based on your own unique position at this point in time. There is no right or wrong.

One way to take a little of the guesswork out of the “unknown factor” is to research the average repair costs for your particular vehicle. If you’re driving an old beater you will probably be comfortable with a lower deductible because the cost of repairs would be less than for a high-end vehicle.

On a lighter note, there are “zero deductible” policies out there, though not necessarily in every state, so check that out first. Several of the major insurance companies offer information on their web sites about this aspect of service. You can search on the term “zero deductible” to find them.

You may or may not qualify for zero deductible, so be sure to discuss with an agent or insurance company representative. If you’re in a high risk category (young, a new driver, have health issues,  a history of driving citations or accidents) you may be denied this kind of policy.

You’ll also want to compare the numbers on a zero deductible policy vs. a standard policy to see what would work best for you. The same rules apply: the lower the deductible, the higher the premium payment. Some feel it’s worth it to have a zero deductible policy when an accident occurs, particularly when we may not be able to work as a result of it.

Business Gap Analysis

It is believed that your business performs better if all required business planning is done in advance. Irrespective of what type of company you own, business you carry out or services you offer to customers, your business firm or company will run smoothly if and only if all planning is done in time with all resources ready for use. Carrying out any kind of business or owing any type of company is not just about making profits and earning income I larger amounts. You definitely need to think about all risks associated, possible threats, performance, resources, business opportunities, environmental factors, as well as the nature of business to set up.

The business performance definitely depends on the way everything is planned, controlled, managed, coordinated, communicated, and stabilized from time to time. Business continuity plan is important. Performance is measured by any kind of business owners in order to study the strengths and weaknesses and make changes in work flow and assessment of responsibilities accordingly. During the flow of services and growth of business from small scale to large scale, certain restrictions or disasters arise in between. All these create a gap in performance. In order to reduce and remove the gap it is essential to be ready with certain business gap analysis procedure.

Very often any kind of negative performance in the business or services results in to gaps and hammers the progress ahead. Small or big business owners need to analyze the reasons of gap and take efforts to make changes in working accordingly. Sometimes the business gap can be due to improper performance but at times it can be due to disturbance of disasters. Lack of performance can be due to many reasons like:

  • Unclear about responsibilities of the department
  • Unclear about low level performance in the firm
  • Improper supply of resources and working environments
  • Improper skills and knowledge of working out any specific task
  • Ineffective procedures

Business gap analysis procedures

With certain steps followed the business gap can be analyzed and removed in less time to bring the business or growth on track again. It is essential to think from every aspect of business department, resources, possible natural calamities, disasters, performance failure, and all other factors that may come in between the performance level. Basically you need to start business gap analysis procedure from inside factors and later from outer factors.

  • In order to review and remove the business gap it is essential to study the firm’s goals and responsibilities. If in case all duties are not assigned properly to all employees, there will definitely be a gap in business growth. While making such calculations all quantitative, qualitative, financial, as well as cost factors are to be considered.
  • It is also essential to define the desired results for all procedures and assign all responsibilities accordingly to the staff. If firms focus on expected results and work accordingly there will be no issues of gap. Measuring the individual performance as well as keeping documented records will help a lot in knowing the required training for any particular employee. If in case there is lack of performance it results in delay in meeting deadlines. All this affects overall progress creating a business gap.
  • Comparing all actual results with desired results will let the business owners understand all about required improvements. One other trick to try out in order to study the reasons of gap can be identifying any other areas of personal or team weaknesses. If priority is given to correct the weakness and improve the team’s routine, lots of things can be stabilized.
  • The basic reasons of business gap can be analyzed by self-asking certain questions like: Why did the gap occur? Due to whom did the gap occur?What went wrong in routine procedures?  When actually did the gap begin to take place? What all individual, environmental, and team performance factors are responsible for the gap? What all can be done to remove the gap and bring the business back to normal in less time and with less efforts? How much time and money will it cost to analyze entire business gap?

Once all possible business gap reasons are known and studied, possible options are to be put in to practice to make things better. Identifying all possible business-gap-removal solutions is easy if its root cause is recognized. Implementing the solutions will definitely work out well to remove all kinds of gaps in business. Business gap can be analyzed and improvements can be implemented in order to stabilize everything. Monitoring all problems and keeping the solutions ready will help a lot to permanently remove the business gap. To be on the safer side all possible elements that may create business gap can be studied in advance and work flow can be continued accordingly.