Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How to Choose the Best RV Insuranc

RV insurance rates
One of the best ways to travel around the country is in a recreational vehicle. RVs are spacious, save you money on hotels, and many come with all the amenities and comforts you need in your day-to-day life.
To ensure that you, your loved ones, your belongings and your RV are protected, you should purchase the best RV insurance that meets all your needs. Aside from the fact that some types of RV insurance coverage are mandatory, you want to find the appropriate coverage and limits that will shield you and your valuables should anything happen. Of course you also want affordable RV insurance rates.
The following are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best RV insurance:

The types of coverage for your RV

When you’re financing an RV, you’ll most likely have to purchase coverage until your vehicle is paid off. If not financed, you will want to protect your investment with the proper physical damage coverage.
Insurance companies can provide comprehensive coverage, which will cover the costs of accidents that don’t involve other vehicles. This may include a fire or theft.  Collision coverage is for when your RV is damaged in a collision with another vehicle.
There’s also liability insurance, which will assist you with the medical bills for injury to others or property damage done to another vehicle or property you hit.
Another concern is vacation liability, which will cover your liability for any medical expenses or property damage you need during short term use. This applies only when your RV is being used for vacation purposes, such as when you go camping.
You might want to consider buying roadside assistance coverage. When your RV breaks down due to mechanical issues, flat tires or other covered disablements, roadside assistance will come out and get you up and running.

Considerations to take into account

When you’re looking for RV insurance, first decide how you’re going to use your RV and what you’re taking with you. Are you a full timer?  Do you plan to tow your car behind you? Are you going to attach additional objects to your RV, such as a satellite dish or awning?
For full time RVers, there are additional considerations ….
Many providers won’t protect attachments such as satellite dishes and awnings. You’ll have to ask if there is replacement coverage in case these items get damaged. If not, do they at least provide coverage at a depreciated value for these objects?
If you’re towing your vehicle behind your RV, it’s best to insure with the same company for both. Let’s say you’re rear-ended in a collision. Both your car and RV will suffer damage, so do you then want to have to deal with two separate insurance providers? This could cause a lot of headaches for you and your family. You will also want to make sure your equipment to tow that vehicle is covered properly.
Also, you’ll need to look around at your belongings inside your RV and calculate how much they’re worth. If you purchased a television, bed or any other item, keep the receipts and take pictures and/or videos of these items when they’re in your RV. Many companies will only cover a few thousand dollars’ worth of goods. You need to make sure that if you have $15,000 in valuables in your RV, they’re going to be fully covered in case anything happens.
Though you may want to save money in the short run by purchasing cheaper insurance, if anything happens it can cost you down the line. It’s best to buy insurance that will be there when you need it, because the open road is unpredictable.

Finding the best RV insurance rates

You’re committed to purchasing insurance that’s going to cover you if anything happens. However, you still need to save on your RV insurance.
To find the best coverage at the most affordable rates, first go to your current insurance provider. You may already bundle together your homeowner’s and car insurance. Ask about the kinds of discounts available if you take on RV insurance as well.
Before signing on the dotted line, do your research and ask fellow RV owners about their providers. If you don’t know any, go on RV forums and ask experienced owners what to do. Getting feedback from longtime RV owners will be valuable in helping you make a decision.
You’re excited about your RV of a lifetime. Just make sure that you’re protected under any circumstances by investing in the best RV insurance available.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Should I Buy a Convertible?

buying a convertible
Once the weather heats up, every driver wants to roll their windows down and feel that warm breeze. Some may even take it a step further by owning a convertible. But if you’re on the fence about buying one, you may still be wondering, are convertibles safe? Furthermore, since convertibles tend to be slightly pricier, are there enough benefits to justify spending more? The following information about convertibles can help you decide what’s right for your lifestyle.  Read on for a breakdown of the pros and cons of buying a convertible car.

Pros of Buying a Convertible:

  • Visibility. Without a roof and door frames you’ll probably be able to see more around you.  It can be easier to maneuver and park with the wider radius of vision that a top-down convertible offers.
  • Versatility. Most convertibles can easily be transformed back into a coupe or sedan with the push of a button. This versatility allows you to have the best of both worlds – the wind in your hair, but a roof over your head if you hit nasty weather.
  • Style. Most convertible owners love the classic, sporty look of convertibles. If you’re a style enthusiast, the wow factor of convertibles could be a pro.
  • More head room. For tall drivers who have trouble finding cars to suit their height, a convertible can be a comfortable solution.

Cons of Buying a Convertible:

  • Chassis shudder. Without a fixed roof, a car loses a major part of its structural support system, which can lead to what’s called “chassis shudder.” Reinforcements added to a convertible’s undercarriage do not always make up for loss of the roof, leading to particularly rough riding over bumps in the road.
  • Price. Convertibles tend to be $5,000 to $9,000 more expensive on average than comparable sedans or coupes. However, if the car is worth it to you personally, this isn’t necessarily a con.
  • Noise. Even with the top up, convertibles with soft tops can be noisy.
  • Leaks. Roof materials have improved, but not enough to guarantee that water will stay outside. Whether you drive a hard-top or soft-top convertible, heavy rain and snow can still make you susceptible to leaks.
  • Compromised security. Obviously, it’s easier to break into a “rag top” than a sheet of reinforced metal. For a thief, convertibles can be an easy target.
  • Faster aging of the interior. Exposing your skin to the hot summer sun takes its toll, and the same is true of convertible interiors. Seats, dashboards and other surfaces may become sun damaged and cracked over time, though proper maintenance can slow the process.

Are Convertibles Safe?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), convertibles as a group aren’t more likely to get into crashes. However, some models are more associated with crashes than others. You can look up your dream ride’s insurance-risk “score” on this IIHS tool.
Whether you want to buy a convertible, a sedan or any other type of car, having the right auto insurance coverage is essential to staying safe on the road. Learn more about the benefits of insuring with Nationwide.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5 Easy Ways to Save Money

saving money
We all want to find ways to save money and have more in our savings accounts at the end of the month. If you’ve tried and abandoned sweeping changes to your financial habits, focus instead on the little things you can do to save without sacrifice. (And, no, you don’t have to give up your morning latte for the office coffee maker!) Here are 5 easy changes you can make to save more and spend less this year.

1. Check your tax withholdings

“My very favorite tip, particularly at this time of the year, is to adjust your W-4 so you don’t receive a federal income tax refund,” says Gail Cunningham, vice president of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Sure it’s nice to get a lump sum check around tax time, and the average refund in the U.S. is around $3,000. But if you strive instead to get no refund you would have $250 more to spend each month. “People are giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan each month, and they jump for joy when he returns their own money to them once per year,” says Cunningham. “These are often the very people who could have used an extra $250 in their pocket each month during the year to either save, pay bills or invest.”

2. Unfriend the deals sites

Sites like Living Social, Groupon and others can offer great prices on a variety of interesting products and services, but they are rarely necessities. Is it really a deal to cut the cost of something you would not otherwise buy? Delete these sites from your daily feed, and you will may be surprised by how little you miss those “can’t miss” deals.

3. Calm down behind the wheel

Fitting the rising cost of gas into your budget is a challenge for most drivers. If you can find cheaper fuel, great, but in the meantime there are other things you can do to cut down on the cost of driving. Simply driving less aggressively can help improve fuel economy. Curb your expensive driving habits by sticking to the speed limit, getting regular oil changes and maintenance, and keeping your tire pressure in check. Keeping these factors in mind can also help you control the costs of your auto insurance premium.

4. Reconsider your cable options

No one is asking you to give up cable, which, for some of us, is far more difficult to part with than that daily latte. But these days there are plenty of entertainment sources to take the place of cable. Rob Berger, who runs the blog Doughroller.net, found that by cutting a monthly cable package at an average $80 per month, he could save about $48,000 over 50 years. (Put that $80 into an S&P index fund each month and that money could grow to more than $600,000.) Research the impact on your life and budget if you were to switch to Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Netflix or a combination of these or other inexpensive or free entertainment options. If you are determined to stick with cable, call your provider and try to renegotiate your monthly price. Cable providers often have money-saving packages available to customers who ask. (You may have to lock into a contract to get a great deal. Compare this to your current package to determine the best move.)

5. Make an extra mortgage payment

It may seem counterintuitive, but spending more on your house payment can actually save you money. With only one extra payment per year—or about $100 per month if you owe $200,000 on a 30-year mortgage at 6%—and over time you can save thousands and shave years off your total mortgage cost. Do it painlessly by signing up for bi-weekly payments through your mortgage company. You know those months when you get three paychecks instead of two? Biweekly mortgage payments will help you leverage those extra weeks and pay off a bigger chunk each year.
Save money on insurance by bundling your policies. Protecting all of your property with Nationwide can help you save up to 50% on your insurance premiums.

Quick ways to save money:

1. Check your tax withholdings (Smaller tax refund means saving more)
2. Unfriend the deals sites (Cut out unnecessary spending)
3. Calm down behind the wheel (Save money by using less gas)
4. Reconsider your cable options (Consider a cheaper cable or streaming option)
5. Make an extra mortgage payment (Pay off your mortgage and save on interest)
Contact a Nationwide Financial Advisor for more ways to save and invest.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Condo vs. Townhouse: What’s the Difference?

Condo vs. townhouse
If you’re thinking of buying a townhouse or condominium, there are some important differences between the two that you should know about. To help you decide between a condo or townhouse, we’ve provided definitions and put together a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision, before you buy.
Let’s start with condo and townhouse definitions.

What is a condominium?

A condominium, or condo, is a building or community of buildings in which units are owned by individuals, rather than a landlord.

What is a townhome?

A townhome is defined as conjoined units that are owned by individual tenants. They are architecturally similar to row houses in that owners usually share at least one or more walls.
Now that we have the definitions of townhomes and condos, let’s look at some of the factors you should consider when picking between the two. Below is a side by side comparison of townhouses and condos to help you make an informed decision.
Townhouse vs. Condo
Condo Townhome
OwnershipCondo owners only own the interior of their unit. All other areas, including the building exterior, lawn and communal areas, are property of the Homeowners Association (HOA).In most townhome communities, owners own their unit’s interior and exterior, including the roof, lawn and driveway, but not the communal areas.

ArchitectureCondos come in many different styles. They may be part of a large high rise, a cul-de-sac of cottages or anything in between.Townhomes are designed in rows, so tenants usually share at least one wall. It’s common for townhomes to have two or more stories.

CommunityCondominiums often have a community focus with a club house, pool, golf course and/or similar amenity.

Some townhouse communities offer the same types of amenities as condos, but others are more private.

Homeowners Association FeesHOA fees for condos are typically higher than townhouses because they pay for exterior upkeep, such as lawn care, trash removal and pest control.

Townhouse owners pay lower monthly HOA fees because they pay for much of their own upkeep. Certain types of maintenance and trash removal are still handled by the HOA.
Home Insurance RatesHome insurance rates are usually lower for condos because owners have to insure only the interior of their unit.

Townhouses may have higher home insurance rates, since most owners need insurance that covers both the exterior and interior.

SizeAlthough condos come in many sizes and styles, they are generally smaller than townhomes.

Townhomes can be quite large and often feature multiple stories.

Maintenance FeesCondo owners often pay higher monthly maintenance fees, which go toward exterior and community space repairs.As with HOA fees, townhome owners typically have lower monthly maintenance fees, but pay more out of pocket for exterior and interior care.

PrivacyDepending on the style, condos could be private, individual homes or apartment-style units.

Townhomes share one to two walls with neighboring units, but don’t have units above or below them.

If you’re also considering co-ops, take our Condo vs. Co-op quiz and see which is right for you. And when it comes to deciding on location, take a look at our latest health of housing markets report to find out which U.S. metro areas are healthiest.
And remember, whether you choose a condo or a townhouse, Nationwide has you covered. Learn more about insurance options for condos and townhomes today.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Make a Small Business Website: 9 Tips for Success



It’s not enough nowadays to throw open the doors of your brick-and-mortar location. It’s important to have a website as well. Too many small businesses neglect this aspect of their marketing. The Service Corp of Retired Executives (Score) reports that a mere 51%  of such companies have their own websites. Meanwhile, customers are busy scouring the Internet for goods and services, with over 97% performing online searches for what they need.
Where’s a business owner to start? The process doesn’t need to be daunting. Here are nine easy steps to making a small business website:


1. Play the name game

Like parents choosing a lifetime moniker for their child, be selective in choosing a domain name. You want customers to remember it easily and even to think it’s clever. But you don’t want to be inappropriate. Do not use words or word combinations that might be deemed vulgar, insulting or mean-spirited. If you have doubts, tone down the name or change. A domain name is a key part of branding. You want to get it right.


2. Kiss website clutter goodbye

This is not the time to show off your computer acumen, with lots of distracting sounds and lights on the site and every icon known to web-kind. You want to keep it simple and make it easy for customers to discover what you’re all about while navigating the site.


3. Introduce yourself in your “about us” page

Metaphorically look potential customers in the eye, tell them how you came to start your business and what it means to you. Let them become invested in your story and want to reach out to you for what they need.


4. Make contact easy

Let customers know where you’re located and how they can get in touch. Put your business ‘contact information some place customers can’t miss, such as the top left or right corner on each page. You may also want to include a Google map to your location to put your locale in context.


5. Broadcast business hours

Before people run out to pick something up, they want to know that you will be there. Just as you would have your hours posted on your door, have it on the site as well.


6. Be mobile friendly

This means making sure your webpage loads easily onto smart phones. While customers rely on these more and more, 90% of small business websites don’t keep the smaller mobile device’s screen size in mind when they create their sites, making it difficult for some customers to view.


7. Build trust

Include testimonials and reviews from customers. Many customers feel more comfortable purchasing a product that others like. Even if you have just one testimonial, shine a spotlight on it. You may also want to link to other review sites where your product has been featured.


8. Ask for the business

This is not a time to be coy. Explain what you want people to do. Use terms such as, “Make your reservation now” or “Call us for a free quote today.”


9. Keep people coming back

Include information that changes on a regular basis such as a blog or newsletter on which customers come to rely.
Building a successful small business website is a huge step towards launching your small business. If you’re trying to get a small business off the ground, make sure you don’t make these 5 common small business mistakes.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Staging Your Home for a Quick Sale

staging your home

There’s a lot of conflicting advice about how to stage a home, and the details often vary with the home and the neighborhood. Talk with your realtor about local trends and buyers’ expectations, and then stage your home with those preferences in mind. “A realtor can see your home through buyer’s eyes and can provide the guidance to make it look its best,” notes Bill Golden, Re/Max Metro Atlanta Cityside realtor.
Obviously, before listing your home should be scrupulously clean and freshly painted in neutrals colors such as pale blue, gray or tan that will pair easily with almost any d├ęcor. Remove knickknacks and extraneous furniture to help your home appear spacious and organized.
Here are several more subtle tips to help your home sell fast:

Kitchens

Spruce up your kitchen by replacing dated light fixtures with modern styles and old drawer pulls and cabinet handles with the newer styles and finishes that are most popular in your area. If your cabinets look tired, reface them with new doors and drawer fronts or have them restrained and finished or painted. Adding a band of crown molding where the cabinet meets the ceiling also contributes to a more polished look.

Baths

Bright white sells. Hang new, fluffy white towels and use white accents, such as soap dishes and bath mats, to suggest luxury. Give the room a spa feeling with candles and natural accents. For powder rooms (and accent walls in the bedroom and dining area) consider deep tones. These rich shades add drama and make rooms more intimate. Here, you can add a bit of bling without overdoing it.

Living room

Ensure that traffic flow is functional and promotes conversation. Float furniture away from the wall and into conversational groupings to make this space feel larger and more inviting. Be willing to move pieces from other areas of the house to emphasize the beauty and function of the room.

Bedrooms

Update each room with coordinated bedding in a neutral color pallet. “If any of the bedrooms are unusually small, large, or oddly shaped, use furnishings to show how they may be used. This helps potential buyers see themselves living in the space,” Golden says. Consider staging one bedroom as a dual function guest room and home office or exercise area.

Dining areas

Show off these areas with contemporary flair. Rather than setting the table for a formal dinner, consider an attractive floral arrangement gathered from your yard. For example, a few sprigs of bougainvillea, fern fronds or autumn branches each lend interest and color for the price of a few minutes’ gathering time. If you must set the table to hide scratches, choose contemporary place settings and neutral table linens. Use napkins for a pop of color.

Undefined spaces

Transform these bonus spaces into functional areas. A chair and reading light can transform a stairwell nook into a cozy reading spot. A rubber mat and exercise ball can create a yoga studio in a basement. A desk and bookcase can turn a bonus room into a home office.
On the day of the open house, turn on all the lights to help your home feel bright and airy. Lighting experts recommend 100 watts of light from multiple sources for each 50-square-foot section.
Each room should include ambient lighting (recessed lights or chandeliers, for example), task lighting (pendants or desk lamps) and accent lights (such as sconces and table lamps) to create layers of light on multiple surfaces – including walls – making a warm, inviting environment. During the day, make sure your windows are spotless, then raise the blinds to let in light and highlight the view. Use mirrors to reflect light and bring the outside in.
Staging your home to sell needn’t be expensive, Golden stresses. Often you can re-purpose pieces you already have. Even if your home is empty, he says, “Stick to basics. Remember that you are demonstrating the function of the space. So focus on key pieces, not accessories and art.”
If you want to sell your home quickly and keep your costs low, check out these tips for home staging on a budget.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pet Insurance Buys Peace of Mind for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Pet Insurance Buys Peace of Mind for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his dog.
As Nationwide’s current ad campaign highlights, Dale Earnhardt Jr. knows how important it is to insure and protect his “many sides” including his car, his small business, and his home. He takes that same protective approach to his beloved pets.
“Pets are great, because they’re another personality in the house,” he says. “They like to do things with you. Wherever you’re at, that’s where they want to be. I think we humans appreciate that affection and camaraderie.”
In addition to enjoying his dogs’ companionship, Earnhardt says part of his responsibility as a “pet parent” means keeping them healthy. Junebug, a Pomeranian, and Gus, an Irish Setter, are so much a part of the family that they even get to travel with him and wife Amy.
“They like to go to the beach, or anywhere there’s a lot of grass for them to run around on,” he says, adding that even when he’s traveling for work, they can find a place for the dogs to play.
“Some of the tracks we go to have fenced-in areas and dog parks nearby where they can play.”

Healthy = Happy

Maintaining good health in both dogs is a priority in the Earnhardt household. Both he and his wife, Amy, make sure that proper diet, exercise and veterinarian visits are part of the routine.
“Amy has a special food that she gets from the vet, and we take [the dogs] to the vet quite regularly, any time we notice something isn’t quite right,” he says. “They’re always around us and we play with them a lot, so we can tell when they’re not feeling well. We really try to stay on top of that.”
That’s where pet insurance can come in handy, he says, by helping defray costs of visits, treatments and, in case of a more serious disease, it can help cover the cost of surgical procedures.
“I had an 11-year-old Boxer named Killer [who got cancer] and we were hoping it was treatable, but it wasn’t,” Earnhardt recalls. “His treatment was very expensive. Having pet insurance gives me peace of mind, knowing if something like that happens, we have it covered.”
While he has loved all of the pets he has had throughout his life – everything from hamsters, cats, dogs and even a rabbit – he says that the bond he has with Gus is unlike any other he has experienced.
“My connection with him is stronger than any pet I’ve had,” he explains. “Keeping him healthy and safe is so important to me, and having pet insurance is critical to that.”
If you’re a pet owner, make sure you have a plan in place to protect your pet’s health and safety. Learn more about the benefits of pet insurance