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Keep Your Pets Safe & Healthy During Winter

How to Keep Your Pets Safe & Healthy in the Winter

Winter can be a fun and exciting time for your pets who enjoy watching the snow fall or running around in the cooler weather. However, winter can also pose several new dangers to your pet’s health and safety. It’s important to use common sense, plan ahead and exercise some caution to be sure you furry friends are kept comfortable. Take a look at these seven tips for keeping your pets safe and healthy this winter!

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Keep them inside

It’s a myth that pets are more tolerant of the cold than humans. For most breeds, dogs and cats get cold just as quickly as we do. Try to keep your pet inside during the coldest winter days and especially overnight. Provide several sleeping options so they can choose if they need to be warmer or cooler in the home. Finally, watch for signs that they may be seeking more warmth or are too hot. Trust your intuition!

Offer protective coverings for fur & paws

It’s likely that avoiding the outdoors altogether is simply not possible. Your pet will need to go to the bathroom and get exercise at some point! When you do take your furry friend outside, cover their paws with booties or paw pads that add an extra layer against the cold and ice. Also consider investing in a pet coat or vest to insulate their core while still giving them full mobility.

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Wipe down their fur after being outside

Once you bring your pet in from outside, wipe down their coat and paws. This ensures any ice that may have gotten stuck will be removed before it can cause damage or discomfort. It will also keep your home a lot cleaner!Additionally, a quick wipe down will remove any potential chemicals like anti-freeze or salt that your pet may have picked up during their time outside.

Make guests aware of food allergies & rules for table scraps

If you plan to host a holiday gathering of any size, be sure to mention to guests your ground rules for feeding the pets. If your furry friend is not used to table scraps, they can become very ill. Additionally, a house guest may not be aware of a food allergy and accidentally slip them a treat that turns deadly. Avoid this scenario by being upfront about pet feeding policies in your home.

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Keep them up to date on vaccines & their medicine in stock

Preventative care is one of the easiest and most obvious ways to keep your pet in good health throughout the winter months. Keep them up to date on check-ups and vaccines. Also, if you pet is on medication, be sure to stay well stocked especially if there is a threat of a winter storm that might prevent you from getting to the vet for a refill. To help lessen the financial burden of visits to the vet, consider investing in pet insurance.

Be sure their collar information & microchipping is up to date

Now is a smart time to check your pet’s collar information to be sure it reflects your current address and phone number. In the winter, a pet can get lost more easily because familiar scents and landmarks may be covered up by snow. This is an especially dangerous time of year to get lose due to the cold temperatures. Give your pet the best chance of being found and returned by keeping their emergency information up to date.

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Give your car a quick check before starting the engine

During the winter, stray animals will seek out any available heat source which includes your car engine. Its takes only a few seconds to give your vehicle a quick glance for any sleeping critters before you turn on your engine. Make some noise and give any potentially sleeping animals some time to scurry away!

 

What steps do you take to ensure your pets are kept safe and comfortable during the winter months? We’d love to hear your ideas!

Best Advice for Traveling Over the Holidays

Best Advice for Traveling Over the Holidays

It’s the holiday season and it’s likely that many of you will be doing some type of travel to celebrate with your family and friends over the coming months. While the time spent together is priceless, the stress and frustration often associated with holiday travel can be downright painful.

Check out this helpful advice for making traveling over the holidays just a little more enjoyable, whether it includes an international plane ride or merely a couple hours in the car. Take a look!

Holiday preparations. Pre teen children enjoy many Christmas presents in car trunk. Cold winter, snow weather.

Give yourself a lot of extra time

Especially if you’re traveling with children, give yourself ample time for setbacks and pit stops along the way. You are likely to also encounter some holiday traffic and having some time to spare will make you less stressed while you’re inching along. Even if you don’t use all of your buffer travel time and end up arriving at your destination a little earlier than planned. All the better! This means more time to visit with family.

Share driving responsibilities

If your holiday travel includes driving for long distances, you will want to share this responsibility with at least one other driver. Have a schedule for when each person will go behind the wheel and let the other person rest. This will keep you and your family safe while making the long travel a little more enjoyable for you.

Be flexible with your travel dates

If possible, try and avoid the heaviest holiday travel days which tend to be the day before or the day of a holiday. If you can swing it with your work schedule, take a long weekend or use an extra vacation day to make your stay a little longer. Not only will you avoid the headache of holiday traffic, you’ll have more time to spend with your family.

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Ship presents in advance

Having presents directly delivered to where you’ll be celebrating the holidays is a smart and savvy idea. You’ll reduce the amount of luggage you have to carry with you, which is valuable no matter how you’ll be traveling. Just be sure to let the recipient know to not open the packages before the holidays!

Keep your essentials within arm’s reach

Water, snacks, a book, phone or iPad are all items you’ll be grateful to have nearby to make your travel a little more bearable. Don’t make the mistake of packing these items away deep in your suitcase. Rather, be sure to pack them in your carryon or a bag you keep in the front seat of the car.

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Plan your pit stops

Pit stops are a necessary part of travel. If you’re traveling with multiple children, you should plan out your pit stop strategy to avoid someone needing to stop every 20 minutes. Give everyone a heads up as to when the next stop will be so they can plan ahead with their bathroom and food needs.

Always be kind

Finally and most importantly, remember to be kind to one another even during the most stressful moments. This goes for your family members traveling with you as well as strangers who you pass at a pit stop or sit by on a plane. The holidays should be a happy and care-free time where people go out of their way to spread some cheer. Let this be your inspiration for doing something nice for someone else and hopefully they will pass it along too!

What piece of holiday travel advice did you find most helpful? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Could Be Covered by Insurance

6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Could Be Covered by Insurance

When you purchase insurance for your home, automobile, life or anything else, you likely have a good understanding of the most obvious things you expect the policy to cover. But did you know that there are a ton of other scenarios that may also be included under your insurance plans?

It’s important to keep in mind that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!

In case life should throw you a curve ball, there’s a lot of value in being informed of your insurance policies so you can fully utilize your coverage. Here’s a look at six things you probably didn’t know could be covered by insurance.

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Food spoilage in freezers and refrigerators due to loss of power

If your home should lose power for a prolonged period of time, causing your freezer or refrigerator to turn off and get warm, you will likely have to toss the food you had stored in there. Depending upon your homeowner insurance policy, you could be eligible for a reimbursement to cover this loss. This could be especially important for homeowners who have a freezer chest or spare refrigerator in which they store steaks or bulk food.

Temporary repairs to your home

If your home should get hit by a storm or sustain some other type of damage, such as a tree falling on your roof, you will likely need to make immediate, temporary repairs to avoid further damage to your home. Most property insurance policies provide a reimbursement of a certain

amount to put towards temporary repairs to protect property from further loss, such as tarping the roof or parts of your home. When in doubt, protect your home, but don’t take risks to yourself in the process, hire a contractor to do the work that’s dangerous or specialized.

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Identity theft expenses

We live in a day and age where identify theft is a daily threat to our finances, credit and private information. Many people are unaware that some insurance companies offer Identity Theft Expense Coverage, which for about $30/year, covers expenses related to identity theft, such as taking time off work, attorney’s fees and credit repair and monitoring services.

Loss of wages after an auto accident

If injuries from a car accident cause you to miss work, your car insurance may be able to help get back some or all of the lost wages. This benefit is part of personal injury protection, which covers injuries for you and your passengers regardless of who caused the crash. Note, personal injury protection is only required in 12 states, so make sure you check with your insurance agent!

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Dog Bites

If your dog bites someone and causes injury, your homeowner policy may cover that person’s medical expenses (even if the bite didn’t happen on your property). A lot of policies will also pay for legal expenses, if that injury results in a lawsuit.

Personal vehicle rental

Most national auto insurance companies extend your coverage on your best covered vehicle to any personal vehicle you rent for personal use in the US, at no extra cost. (Note: Smaller local or regional insurance companies don’t offer this outside of the state(s) they work in.) Credit card companies may also offer some coverage if using their card for the rental. Keep in mind that insurance companies are strict about personal vehicles for personal use. So if you are renting a car for commercial use, or if you are renting a U-Haul or dump truck, your personal auto policy most likely won’t extend coverage to it.

Again, we must emphasize that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!

What insurance benefit did you find most surprising? Share your thoughts or ask a question by commenting below!

 

What You Really Need to Know About Life Insurance

What You Really Need to Know About Life Insurance

Many people put off having a conversation about life insurance for a variety of reasons.  Maybe it’s because you think you’re young and healthy or maybe it’s because you don’t think you can afford it.  No matter the excuse, the fact remains that right now is the best time to educate yourself on the topic of life insurance.  While there is a vast amount of information on this topic, what you really need to know can be boiled down into these six main points.

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You likely need a higher death benefit than you think. 

A million dollar life insurance policy may seem like a lot, but you need to consider everything this will go toward paying.  Funeral costs and any debt you leave behind can take up a good portion of this money.  If you’re the breadwinner in your household, your dependents will need this money to pay for their needs until they can earn income for themselves.  Working with a qualified life insurance agent can help you determine the right death benefit for you.

Understand the difference between Term Life & Permanent Life. 

You may have heard the words “term life” and “permanent life” before, but do you really know what theses mean? Term life insurance will cover you for a set time period (most commonly 10 to 30 years), after which you will no longer have insurance.  This is a good choice for young families who can’t afford permanent insurance, or for those who only want to be insured for a certain time period.

In contrast, permanent life insurance covers you as long as you pay the premiums.  In addition to the death benefit, it also has an investment component that builds cash value over time.  You can choose from whole, universal, and variable permanent life insurance that offer different investment options and the ability to use your cash value to pay premiums.

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Pay your premiums on-time. 

This is an important one.  If you forget to pay your premium, your life insurance policy may be canceled.  Should something happen during this lapse in coverage, your beneficiaries will not receive any of the death benefit.  This is a risky game to pay and one that can be easily prevented simply by paying your premium on time!  Set a calendar reminder or set up auto-pay.

Fill out your application honestly. 

It seems obvious to remind you not to lie on your life insurance application, but it happens more than you might think.  Should you be anything less than honest, you could be disqualified from your policy and leave your beneficiaries with nothing.  Take the application, and your answers, seriously.

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Make beneficiaries aware of where they can find your policy. 

Another important reminder is to make sure your family or someone you trust knows where to find your policy information.  If you are the only one who has this information, it won’t do your beneficiaries much good should something happen to you.  Have a plan and keep your life insurance policy information in a safe, accessible place.

Don’t wait to get coverage.

Finally and most importantly, don’t put off getting coverage.  When you’re young and healthy, you may not feel the urgency to plan for your death; however this is the best time to invest in life insurance.  The premiums are cheaper when you’re younger, so buying into a plan now will save you — in many ways — in the long run.

Do you have another question about life insurance that wasn’t covered in this article?  Leave a comment or contact me & I’ll provide you with an answer!

8 Ways to be a Smart Patient

8 Ways to be a Smart Patient

In 2006, Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz wrote a book on how to be a smart patient. They felt it was important for patients to be active participants in getting good care. Some of their suggestions include:

1. Stop being passive. Remember the doctor works for you and you are the boss of your healthcare. Smart patients are more assertive and ask questions and politely challenge what they don’t understand.

A photo by Aaron Burden. unsplash.com/photos/xG8IQMqMITM

2. Make a list of questions before you see your physician. Patients who are prepared for their visits and ask questions will have a better understanding of their health condition. Also consider bringing along a family member to your visits to help you remember what was discussed at the visit.3. Know your family history to determine if you have any risk factors for genetic or family related conditions.

4. Bring a list of all your medications to all medical appointments. This helps to avoid duplications of medications and possible drug to drug interactions.

5. Get your medications from the same pharmacy and become friendly with your pharmacist. Consultations are free and pharmacists have a wealth of information about drug side effects, drug to drug interactions, and ways to reduce drug costs.

A photo by freestocks.org. unsplash.com/photos/nss2eRzQwgw

6. Understand how to take your medications. It is important to know the following:

  • What is the medication treating?

  • Does it replace anything else you are taking?

  • How do you take it – should it be taken at a certain time of day, on an empty stomach, or with food?

  • How long will you be taking the medication?

  • What are the common side effects?

  • Is it safe to take with my other medications?

7. Stop playing the waiting game. Ask when a test result is going to be available and call the office that day to get the results. Don’t depend on the office to call you with results in a timely fashion or to notify you when your test results are abnormal.

8. Keep a copy of your medical records and sign up for patient portals to get copies of the most recent lab tests, office notes, or x-ray reports.

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If you need assistance with:

  • Facing the challenges of a new or existing health-related condition

  • Navigating the details of your treatment

  • Understanding costs and coverage associated with your insurance

  • Or managing the care of an aging parent or loved one

Call Sue Severino at Severino Health Advisors with a free and confidential 15 minute phone consultation at absolutely no risk and no obligation.  Once your or your loved one’s needs and goal for care have been identified, Sue Severino will provide you with a quote for her services.   Fees are based upon an hourly rate and can be tailored to fit your budget.  Whether you want Sue to handle everything from research, recommendations, implementation, and follow-up or whether you simply want advice on the best options available to you, services can be customized to meet your need.

Contact Sue at 717-561-2720 for you free 15 minute phone consultation!

Severino Health Advisors has helped clients reduce their healthcare costs and gain peace of mind.  Ultimately there is no better investment than an investment in your health!

Learn more:

Severino Health Advisor’s Website

Severino Health Advisor’s Facebook

© 2015 Severino Health Advisors LLC.

Upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment

Upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment October 7th through December 15th 2016.

If you are either turning 65 or are already enrolled in a Medicare Supplement with a Part D plan & you did not review your RX plan last year, it is imperative that you review this during open enrollment.

Changes are Happening

With changes to plan premiums, increasing deductibles, co-pays, and formulary differences, you can potentially save hundreds – possibly even thousands of dollars on a new plan.  Open enrollment time is limited so you have to act fast.

Retirement

Contact my Friend Todd Olejniczak

Todd is the owner of the Capital Senior Services Insurance Agency.  He specializes in Medicare Supplements & Advantage Plans.  Todd helps seniors make educated decisions about their healthcare options.  As an independent agent licensed with many Medicare companies, he can help you choose the best plan for your specific needs.

You can find Todd on Facebook.

Visit his website at www.capitalseniorservices.net.

Call Todd on his cell phone (717) 991-8500.

Todd has offered up a free one hour policy review for any client & their friends or family members!

LOCAL AGENT

David Downey
Insurance Agency Owner
11 N US Hwy 15, Ste 7
Dillsburg, PA, 17019
717-432-1361
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