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6 Smart Packing Tips if You’re Going to Study Abroad

September 10, 2020

Were you given the opportunity to study abroad? If so, you are probably counting down the days until you leave.

Which now brings us to the question: What will you bring? 

Trying to stuff all the things that you need into your suitcase or carry-on can probably be daunting, especially if you are unsure what is waiting for you the moment you step off the plane. 

Fortunately, we have come up with six smart packing tips to make everything a lot easier:

Pack for the Weather

Make sure that you research first the usual climate in the new city or country you are moving to, then plan accordingly. We suggest that you bring a light raincoat, a warm jacket, and items that can be easily layered. Remember that the climate of your study abroad country will make or break what you pack. 

Check Cultural Norms

If you are traveling to a country that is more conservative with how they dress, checking the cultural norms first will save you from packing items that will deem inappropriate in that country. This especially applies to clothes like shorts, dresses, and swimwear. 

The last thing that you want to do is to wear culturally insensitive clothes. For instance, you will not be allowed inside spiritual areas like churches or temples if you are not all covered up properly. 

Use the 12-Day Trick

We suggest that you pack outfits that are good for 12 days. That’s about two weeks worth of clothes. No matter how long you will be staying or studying abroad, chances are, packing outfits that are good for 12 days will be enough for you to attend class and explore the new place. 

If you feel tempted to pack beyond 12 days, then you might consider that shopping abroad is also part of the experience. 

Pack the Essential Documents

When studying abroad, you might need an extensive list of documentation. This list will often include:

  • Passport: This is your first key to studying abroad. Without this, you cannot travel outside of the country.
  • Visa: Depending on your country of origin, some countries won’t require you to have a visa. However, you might need to apply for a student visa since you’ll be studying abroad.
  • Medical Certificate: This is proof that you took flu shots and that you are healthy enough to travel.
  • Return Flight Details: Although not all, there are countries that require return flight details. This is to ensure that you won’t be overstaying.
  • Student Finance Documentation: You might also be required to prove that you can financially support yourself while studying abroad. This includes a letter to prove the capability for financial support from your parents or guardians.
  • University Letter of Acceptance: This is another proof that you are to stay in a country to study. 

Don’t Pack Things You can Buy

So you might want to pack a certain brand of shampoo or lotion you are using. But the thing is, these can also weigh down your suitcase. To avoid excess baggage fees, leave some of these items behind. Instead, opt to buy local products at grocery stores or drugstores once you arrive.

But you should also consider bringing travel sizes of these essentials. That way, you will have plenty of time to settle in once you arrive where you are studying. You will not have to run to the nearest grocery or drugstore to buy these essentials. 

Bring Your Gadgets

For most gadgets and appliances (curling irons, razors, and hair dryers), you might need a voltage converter. Usually, plugs from different countries are different, so is the amperage. 

Make sure to check with the manufacturer; more than likely you will find information on their sites about travel. That way, you will know whether or not a certain device can work with a converter. If it is not, it could potentially become a fire hazard, and might even destroy your appliance. 

Packing your stuff when you leave to study abroad can be challenging, but you can breathe in a sigh of relief once you are done. So, better get your suitcase ready, and prepare yourself as your educational adventure begins!

Adulting

4 Money Management Tips That Will Make Your Paychecks Stretch Further

September 3, 2020

Getting a paycheck is always exciting, it’s money you have worked towards all week. However, if you’re not careful with managing that hard-earned money, you can accumulate interest and debt faster than you can pay it off, which can hinder long term financial goals. But fear not, there are different ways of making your paycheck work as hard as you.

Build a Budget

The first way to stretch out your paycheck is to know where your money is going and taking control of how much you spend. Living paycheck to paycheck is not a good plan and can lead to unnecessary stress. Tracking your expenses each month and setting a limit for how much you spend each week are great ways to start understanding what to budget for. 

Writing a list of monthly and weekly expenses helps you know where your money is going and assists with identifying areas where you can be saving instead of spending. Some people map out their expenses and categorize them in order to help with what is a necessary bill while locating unaffordable items. Although it can be difficult to stick to your budget, having one can help you reach a financial goal or pay off debt faster.

Take Care of Business

As an adult, you need to be responsible with your money. That being said, you should be using money from each paycheck to build up your financial stability. Some of the things that you should be budgeting for are:

  • Emergency Fund: Having an emergency fund is useful for unexpected expenses when they happen out of the blue. You can’t predict when your car is going to break down or if you lose your job suddenly. This safety net will help you avoid a free fall into more debt.
  • Savings: Aside from an emergency fund, you should also set aside money for a savings account. View saving money as a stepping stone towards a larger goal such as buying a home. Once it comes time to start searching for a home, check out online listings to help determine what a typical sales price is. This will help you learn more about what you should be saving.
  • Paying off Debt: Finally, you should be paying off student debt with a portion of your paycheck. All loans accumulate interest in addition to your current principal balance. Paying off loans sooner means spending less money over time on unnecessary debt. You can repay debt faster by picking up a side job, funneling extra money towards repayment, and refinancing loans.

Think About Unnecessary Expenses

One black hole for paycheck money is spending money on inessential items. A spending limit is part of a good budget, and that’s why it deserves to be called out. Impulse purchases like coffee and new clothes add up quickly, and it’s something you don’t want to suck up your money. 

However, you can treat yourself on occasion— no one is perfect! Paying in cash or prepaid cards are a great way to set limits for “want” items or rewards. Couponing and buying off-brand products are other methods to still get things that you want while staying in the green.

Manage Credit Cards Wisely

Credit cards are another area where interest can accumulate quickly and pull more money from your paycheck towards another institution. If you do need a credit card, make sure to shop around. Look at the pros and cons of each company and check out their cash back and reward programs.

If you do use a credit card, set a limit for yourself. Make sure you budget for purchases on your card and have a plan to pay your card in full each month. Remember late fees and interest are the enemies.

Paychecks are great and you should make them work as hard as you do. By following the tips above, you can work towards personal finance goals and great management practices! 

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The 10 Best Things I Bought for my Freshman Year

August 1, 2020

When you are first moving to college and getting ready to be on your own it can be overwhelming deciding what to bring. My freshman year I ended up buying a lot of things that never proved to be useful. It is important to pack smart since you will likely not have a lot of space. Here are a few things that I bought my freshman year that I still use today.

  1. A Good Mattress Pad

Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can be hard to get enough sleep amidst the excitement of freshman year. You don’t want an uncomfortable mattress to be the reason you can’t get enough sleep. If you get a quality mattress pad you can use it for years to come and you will definitely feel the benefit.

  1. Spotify Student Membership

One of the perks of being a college student are all of the discounts that are available to you. One of my favorite student perks is Spotify’s student membership. The membership only costs $5 a month and also includes Hulu and Showtime. This can satisfy all your entertainment needs and provides lots of music to study to.

  1. Yoga Mat

Exercise is always valuable for relieving stress and staying healthy. Having a yoga mat in your room is a way to workout at home when you don’t have time to go to your school’s gym.  

  1. Reusable utensils, plates, and cups

When you want to reheat some take out or have a snack, it’s always good to have reusable dishes on hand. Even if you have a meal plan, you will probably be eating in your room as well. Reusables are very handy and are better for the environment than disposables. 

  1. Weather appropriate clothing

If you are moving from a hot to cold climate or cold to hot, it is important to research ahead of time what kind of clothing is needed. You don’t want to be without a proper coat in the freezing cold!

  1. Power Strip

I would first check to see if your housing allows this but it can be very helpful to have a power strip for all of your chargers since you may only have access to one outlet. 

  1. Wheeled Laundry Basket

This may be a bit more expensive than a traditional laundry basket but it will be very useful when you are hauling your laundry to and from the laundry room. 

  1. Heated Blanket

If you are going to be living in a colder climate, a heated blanket is a necessary luxury. It can be hard to adjust to a new climate and this will give you some comfort on particularly cold nights. 

  1. HydroFlask

Staying hydrated can help you stay healthy. A hydroflask will keep your water cold all day and is a great motivator to drink water. 

  1. Polaroids

Pictures are a great way to decorate your room while bringing a personal touch. Whether you use a polaroid photo printer or a service like Parabo, photos can help to lift your spirits when homesick and document new memories in college.

Freshman year is without a doubt going to have its excitements and struggles! Regardless, these are somethings that you are sure to invest in that you will continue to use later in life.

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5 Tips To Pass Your Cleaning Check This Semester

July 20, 2020

College is fantastic, isn’t it? Well, most of the experience is. There are things we could all do without, like the endless stacks of homework, the all-nighters that you need to pull to get ready for exams, and of course, the regular room inspections. Who wants to deal with that headache?

Fortunately, those who have gone before you have come up with some helpful tips for passing dorm room inspection, even when time is not on your side. Follow these helpful tips to pass your inspection with even the most discriminating resident advisor.

Don’t Panic! It Can Be Done!

Inspection of your dorm room can be stressful, but it is not a time for freaking out and stuffing things under your bed randomly. Believe it or not, they do check that as well. Take a deep breath, make some plans ahead of time to deep clean the bathroom and make your bed, and all will be well. 

Talk And Plan With Your Roommates

You are in this together, so why not plan to clean together? Divide and conquer; split up the workload and get everything ready for inspection at the same time so you don’t have to stress out when your advisor is knocking at your door. If for some reason your roommates are unwilling to work with you, let your advisor know ahead of time and get their support so that consequences don’t fall on your shoulders.

Get Supplies; Prepare For The Big Event

Don’t worry; the Center for Disease Control isn’t going to be at your doorstep anytime soon. You do have to pass certain sanitation requirements to keep your advisory staff happy though. Get the proper cleaning supplies for each area of your living space. For large carpet stains, using a device similar to commercial carpet cleaning machines might be the best way to take care of business. See what your advisor has available for use so that you don’t have to spend too much out of your own pocket to get the job done. Scrub, polish, and be proud of a job well done!

If You Have Contraband, Get Rid Of It!

If you have anything that is against your contract, you should probably have never gotten it or never signed the contract. However, it’s too late to go back in time, so you must get rid of it as soon as possible. Depending on what the contraband is, you may need to deep clean even more to get rid of the evidence of your violation of contract. For example, if you aren’t allowed to have pets but have had a dog for the past few months, it’s going to take some time and effort to get rid of all the dog hair and the dog smell. For future contracts, make sure you follow them exactly.

Once It’s Clean, Keep It That Way

Why do a marathon cleaning session once per semester if you can keep it tidy by picking up after yourself on a regular basis? Make cleaning a regular occurrence, and you’ll save yourself valuable time and energy when periodic inspections come around again. From time to time, advisors are asked to do spontaneous dorm room checks to ensure that students are living in compliance with campus and school law. Keep your affairs in order, and you’ll never be caught in a situation where you have to explain your personal habits or cleanliness to other school staff members.

Your dorm is your home for the length of your tenure at school, and like it or not, it does reflect on you and the kind of person that you are. You are setting up valuable habits for the future care of a home and possessions; maintaining a tidy space now will ensure your success with bigger responsibilities later on. 

Grab your gloves, get your brush, and start scrubbing! Celebrate your unique space, and know that you are learning a lot in the process of being accountable to others and keeping a clean environment for everyone.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

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Why You Need College Renters Insurance

July 13, 2020

As you start to prepare for the new semester, there is always something new around the corner that you forgot to think about when heading off to college. Did you pack enough clothes? Do you have your laptop and smartphone? Shower caddy? Dorm bedding?

These might make the top of your move-in list, but don’t forget to add renters insurance! GradGuard makes getting renters insurance easy and eliminates the hassle of understanding your policy or wondering if something is covered.

Our policy perks include:

  • Worldwide personal property coverage
  • Protection against the theft of electronics
  • Replacement cost value
  • Low deductibles
  • No credit score or cosigner required when purchasing

Not only do we protect your stuff, but we protect the residence you are living at with our liability coverage. Ever set off a sprinkler system in your residence hall? We sure hope not! But if in the event it happens, we are there to protect you.

Watch the video below to see why renters insurance is important for college students:

You can learn more about the protection we offer by visiting our website. Remember, we sell policies for both on-campus and off-campus housing; so even if you aren’t living in the dorms this year, be sure you take us with you.

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Pets on Campus: 3 Rules for Keeping Pets at College

July 1, 2020

For young adults living alone for the first time, college can feel like the perfect time to finally adopt that lizard they weren’t allowed to have growing up; for those who grew up with animals, missing the family dog might feel like a black hole that desperately needs filling. Keeping a pet at college can be wonderful for both the owner, who’s gained a cute friend guaranteed not to copy their physics homework and the pet, who can enjoy companionship and a loving home. In any instance, before getting a pet you need to check with your residence and understand their pet policies. Assuming they do, college living also presents unique logistical challenges that students should take into account before adopting a furry, scaly, or feathery friend.  

  1. Respect your roommates. Since most college students live with other people, sharing a room, apartment, or house, they should take those other people into account when adopting a pet, and take their pet into account when searching for roommates. Dogs and cats, who roam the whole house or apartment and interact with all occupants, absolutely need the buy-in of all roommates if they’re going to enter a living space. Enclosure pets that stay in the owner’s room, like hamsters, lizards, or fish, only need enthusiastic buy-in from the folks living in said room, but everyone in the house should be aware of the animal – especially one that might sneak out of their cage and into other living areas. By making sure their roommates are ok with their pets before they move in, students will both protect their relationship with their roommates and ensure they’re living in an environment that’s good for their animal.     
  2. Respect your limits. College students are often busy, strapped for cash, and uncertain of their future, and pets, for all that they bring joy and companionship into someone’s life, can exacerbate these things. Students looking to get a pet should consider their own limits – on time, funds, travel, living space – before adopting a pet. Even seemingly low-maintenance pets, like cats or gerbils, can be expensive to provide for and have a need for attention and emotional energy from their owners. Animals are wonderful companions, but they’re also a responsibility, and college students should know how many things a pet could add to their already lengthy to-do list before adopting. 
  3. Respect your pet. This is the most important rule of pet ownership, in college or anywhere. While it’s understandable that college students experiencing independence for the first time might be desperate for an animal companion, the college lifestyle is not always good for an animal. For example, busy people living in small apartments should not adopt puppies who need attention all day and room to run – no matter how many cute girls walking said puppy attracts. Nor should people who move at least once a year invest in keeping chickens. The most important thing a prospective pet owner should consider is whether they are in a place to properly care for their pet – not just love, but care for. College students may love their dogs, but if they don’t have time to walk them every day, they’re not able to care for them. It’s a key distinction, and anyone looking to adopt a pet needs to be honest with themselves about their answer. 

Keeping a pet in college can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult. Of course, those struggling with the logistical challenges of pet ownership shouldn’t resign themselves to a life without animal companionship; some colleges bring “stress animals” to campus to help students relax during exams, and any town will need pet sitters and animal shelter volunteers. Everyone has room for animals in their life, if not their apartment. 

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The College-Bound Guide to Insurance: Be Sure You’re Protected as You Head Off to School

June 26, 2020

College students need a lot of supplies for college life. From bedding to electronics to school supplies, the costs can add up. In 2017, families spent as much as a mortgage payment or more on school supplies and that’s not counting tuition!

Is your college investment protected? Certain insurance products can help your family protect what you’ve invested in your student’s college experience, from personal property, to the cost of a trip to the campus health center during flu season.

In The Residence Halls

You’re probably bringing a laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, speakers, dorm decor, clothes, and school supplies with you to college. Maybe you’ll even bring a bike or some furniture. The cost of these belongings can add up – what would you do if they all needed to be replaced due to a fire on campus? Or if your big-ticket items, like your laptop or bike were stolen – could you afford to replace them? Insurance can help you and your family protect your belongings if you face a loss or damage because of a covered reason, like theft, fire or water damage.

There are two primary types of insurance that can help you and your family protect your belongings while you’re at school: homeowners and renters insurance. If your parents have a homeowners insurance policy, you may already be covered, but be sure to check the specifics of the policy. Many homeowners policies will only cover full-time students living on campus, and often at a percentage (usually 10%) of the policy limits. Be sure to take into consideration the deductible, as well as a claim’s effect on the premium. Renters insurance can be a good alternative in these areas, as renters plans typically feature low deductibles and often low monthly rates.

To make the most of your insurance protection, you should create a home inventory of everything you’ve brought with you to school and how much it cost. Taking photos and carefully taking a record of everything you have will make it much easier to determine what has faced a loss if you need to make a claim. The total cost could surprise you, and knowing how much all of your stuff is worth can help you determine whether 10% of your homeowners limits or the limits you chose on your renters insurance policy are adequate protection.

The New York Insurance Association recommends that students ensure they have adequate insurance protection as well as taking a common-sense approach to protecting their valuables. They offer these tips to help students be mindful of their belongings:

  • Leave valuables at home if possible – While it may be necessary to take a computer or sports equipment to campus, other expensive items, such as valuable jewelry, luxury watches or costly electronics, should be left behind.
  • Mark your electronics – Label electronic items such as computers, televisions and portable devices like iPods with the student’s name or other identifying information that can help police track the stolen articles.
  • Always lock your room door and keep your keys with you at all times, even if you leave briefly. And not just at night—most residence hall thefts occur during the day. Insist your roommates do the same.
  • Do not leave belongings unattended on campus. Whether you are in class, the library, the dining hall or other public areas, keep book bags, purses and laptops with you at all times. These are the primary areas where property theft occurs.

Health

Newfound independence, the stress of classes, dining hall food, all-nighters, community living, partying – the college lifestyle, if unchecked, can take its toll on students’ health. Many schools require that students have health insurance, and for good reason: it can help protect students and their families from the high costs of medical treatments in the case of an injury or illness, like a sports injury during an intramural game or a case of mono.

Many schools offer students a health insurance plan, but often the most inexpensive option is for students to remain on their parent’s plan. Under health care law, young adults are allowed to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. Check with your parents to see if their plan may be an option or speak with a licensed insurance agent to see what’s available to you.

In addition to health insurance, there are many ways students can take control of their well-being throughout the semester by setting time aside to eat well, exercise and manage stress:

  • Eat right. There’s a lot of temptation in the dining halls, but adding a side salad and ensuring that you get protein and vegetables and fruits each day will go a long way to giving your body the vitamins and nutrients it needs. It is important to maintain a varied diet and stay away from eating the same bowl of cereal for dinner everyday.
  • Stay hydrated. Swap sugary drinks for water. Getting 8 glasses a day can help fend off fatigue and keep you feeling good. It can be helpful to carry a water bottle such as a Hydro Flask with you to avoid becoming dehydrated during class.
  • Get sleep. It can be difficult to get enough sleep when there are so many deadlines, due dates, and social events, but you should do your best to get in bed at a reasonable hour and if not, take a nap during the day. Sleep helps your immune system and can help you retain information, so you’re not studying in vain!
  • Manage your stress. College comes with an inevitable amount of stress, but setting aside time to deal with it will make it much easier. Exercise, taking time to relax, reading a book for fun or setting aside an hour to catch up on your favorite show each week will help you unwind and appreciate the many opportunities college presents. If the stress of college life is too much, there are many resources on campus that you can turn too. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
  • Get moving. Exercise is an important part of a balanced lifestyle, and not only will it help you stay healthy, but it will also make you feel good too. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several times a week and try to walk as much as possible. Getting your blood pumping will relieve stress and help you study smarter. Your school may even offer fun classes such as spin or yoga which you can attend with your friends.

Tuition

Perhaps the largest expense of all, more than airfare, a laptop, gas or a flu shot, is tuition for many families. Luckily, this too can be protected by insurance. Tuition insurance can help refund lost tuition if a student should be forced to completely withdraw from school due to a covered reason. Many schools do not refund most tuition after the first couple weeks of the semester, which could leave many college families vulnerable. Be sure to check your school’s refund policy, which you should be able to find on their website, and consider whether you need more protection than it affords.

Travel

Whether it’s traveling to campus from home, traveling to study abroad, or bringing a car to campus, insurance can help protect students from costs that may arise if things don’t go according to plan, like a health issue abroad, a canceled flight or fender bender while at school. Depending on your situation, you may want to consider insurance protection.

Car insurance is required if you bring a car to school. Look for a plan that gives you adequate coverage, though you may have to spend more to get more coverage, it will minimize your exposure. Speak with an agent about what coverages are right for your vehicle. Don’t forget to ask if you qualify for a “good student” discount – you could save 5-15%!

Depending on how far away from home your school is or where you travel to during the school year, travel insurance could be beneficial to you and your family. Travel insurance has different levels of features that you can customize for your trip. Most people think of travel insurance as just covering airline ticket reimbursements in case something goes wrong, but it can also protect you financially if you lose your luggage or need to be airlifted to better healthcare, depending on the plan you select.

Insurance can help college students and their families protect their investment in education. Some of these protections may be beneficial to your family, while some may not. It depends on your situation and risk tolerance. If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage for college, speak with an insurance agent for more information. Have a wonderful and safe semester!

Adulting Uncategorized

Helping Students Transition into a Remote Learning Environment

June 26, 2020

For most of us, life today looks almost nothing like it looked just a few short months ago. The world’s major cities are virtual ghost towns. Schools and businesses worldwide are shuttered. Airports are mostly empty, as are our highways and interstates.

And “the college experience” meant something very different in the Spring of 2020 than it used to. If you’re an educator or administrator used to working with students in a traditional on-ground environment, chances are you’re going through quite an adjustment crisis yourself.

But now, more than ever, your students need you. And supporting them through this transition into the remote learning environment is going to mean more than finding new ways to teach your standard content. It’s also going to mean providing your students with the emotional support and practical advice they need to accommodate this new normal.

First Things First

The shelter-in-place orders that have been instituted virtually nationwide have meant that many colleges and universities have closed their dorms with very little advance notice. And, unfortunately, not every student is going to have parents, relatives, or friends to crash with until this crisis passes.

Supporting your students means helping to ensure they have their most essential needs met first before you start worrying about getting back to your curriculum. You may need to help students locate resources in their community to help with basic needs like housing and food. 

You can also advise them on strategies they can use to quickly secure safe and affordable housing on their own. Students might consider renting out a bedroom or motel room, or converting a shed or RV into their new, if temporary, digs.  

Tricking Out the Tech

Once students have safe and affordable shelter to ride out the pandemic, then they can start worrying about getting themselves set for online learning. Again, though, this could be a challenge for some students, particularly those who may have been relying on on-campus resources for their tech needs.

Fortunately, most communities, even in rural areas, now have access to at least 4G LTE network speeds. That means that students should be able to get fast, secure, and reliable access from their smartphones or tablets. 

Best of all, a host of productivity tools are available for download on Android and iPhone at low or no cost, including Google Docs and Microsoft Office. To be sure, “attending” online classes and doing homework on your smartphone isn’t exactly ideal, but it’s doable. And if this pandemic is teaching us anything, it’s how to make do.

Building a Virtual Community

And when it comes to making do, teachers have always been pros. Now is no different. You probably never could have imagined that you’d be ending the semester and potentially teaching a new one in front of a computer screen rather than standing before a sea of bright young faces, eager for summer break.

But here you are, and while teaching online is not the same as teaching on the ground, there are a few important similarities. The first, and most important, is the need to turn your class into a community. In fact, that particular need is more important than ever, as your students grapple with the fears, uncertainties, and, yes, the loneliness of lockdown. Fortunately, for many of you, the semester was well underway when the pandemic hit, meaning that you and your class had already had time to build strong relationships. 

Now is the time to affirm and strengthen those bonds, to provide a sense of continuity for your students, even as you transition to online learning. Continue to model the empathy, compassion, and humanity you have shown all semester, even though you must now do it from a distance. Your students need that now more than ever.

When you’re teaching online, it’s imperative that you model the same passion and the same level of presence that you exhibited on-ground. Try to be active and “visible” every weekday in your online classroom, from posting announcements to actively and frequently contributing to discussion forums. 

Be as positive and encouraging in your public communications as possible. Remember, also, that your students don’t have the benefit of your body language or tone of voice, so soften your written communications and use mild humor, if any. Provide emojis (used judiciously) to temper what may be read as a harsh or critical message, and be as clear and specific as possible in your instructions and class requirements. 

Not only will all this help your students succeed in the class, but it will also help them feel more confident and more engaged in the work. And it can provide a sense of normalcy and accomplishment in these troubled times.   

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

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June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day

June 25, 2020
National Insurance Awareness Day is June 28

Insurance is often one of those things we forget about until we need it. 

Here’s something that can help you keep insurance top of mind: June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day.

The annual day gives you the opportunity to check your insurance policies and make sure everything is up-to-date. While that probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to do, your future self will thank you if and when you’re ever in a tough situation and find yourself relying on that insurance coverage. 

Insurance policies exist to protect you from the unexpected, whether it’s a natural disaster, theft, damage, illness, injury or death. 

Some of the common types of insurance:

It’s one thing to know if you have insurance, and it’s another to know what the policy covers, and how exactly you go about filing a claim. Make sure you know what questions to ask!

What does this policy cover?

This is SUPER important to ask and have an understanding of. For example, if you want to have renters insurance in case someone breaks in and ransacks your apartment, just be sure that theft and burglary is a covered peril under the policy you are wanting.

How long does this policy last?

This depends on the company that you are purchasing through and what you opted to pay for the policy. If you paid annually, then the policy likely lasts for a full 12 months from the date that you chose your coverage to begin. If you are only needing the insurance for a certain amount of time, be sure to ask your agent about their cancelation process and what is required to terminate the coverage.

How much is the policy?

See if your insurance agency is charging you monthly, annually, semi-annually, or another billing option. Talk through it with them to see if there is a benefit to one billing option as opposed to another.

How do I know what my coverage limits should be?

For renters insurance, most policies come with both personal property coverage and personal liability coverage. Personal property coverage is the limit that protects your personal items that are inside of your residence, and personal liability coverage is what protects the actual structure itself. Be sure to talk to your university or rental property to see if they require any specific limits while you are living there.

How do I file a claim and how does that process work?

This is a general question with an important answer. Most people have no idea how to make an insurance claim if needed and it should be one of the top questions to ask your renters insurance agent. The claims process can be different for each agency, so just to be sure you clarify it if needed

Takeaways: 

National Insurance Awareness Day only comes once a year. So on June 28, use the day as a reminder to get a little more educated on insurance and your individual policies that you have or are interested in buying. This is especially important in college when you’re living on your own and away from home. And remember, when it comes to purchasing any sort of insurance policy, it’s very important to ask questions! At GradGuard, we’re here to help you when you have questions about your renters or tuition policies.

“Adulting” isn’t easy, and we’re here to help in any way that we can!

Adulting Uncategorized

5 Major Spending Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

June 5, 2020

As a college student, socialization can come with the unfortunate downside of being fairly expensive. Going to bars and clubs, shopping for an outfit for a night out, or even just ordering food with friends can all be costs that add up quickly.

In order to save more money on a tight budget, read on for common spending mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.

Not Planning

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to avoid overspending. By having a set idea of what you need ahead of time, you are placing a limit on what you can and cannot buy. This can be beneficial, as it helps you set your mind on what exactly you need to avoid distractions. As a smart shopper, take the time to create a shopping list and a strict budget that’s associated with it.

Taking on Fees

Many spending sprees can be bogged down by hidden transactional fees. Credit cards often have excessive interest rates associated with them if not paid off in time. Similarly, paying directly from your bank account puts you at risk for paying overdraft fees if you aren’t keeping a close eye on your spending.

One way to avoid this is to pay in cash, which also helps prevent overspending. If you’re someone more inclined to pay with a credit card, make sure you are aware of all the fees associated with the card you’re using. Similarly, if you’re in favor of using a debit card, find an account that has overdraft alternatives in order to avoid even more additional costs. Ultimately, this can keep you from taking on unnecessary fees if you do happen to spend more than what’s in your bank account.

Making Extra Purchases

Even with a budget and shopping list in place, there’s still a chance you might overspend on things that you don’t necessarily need. When shopping, it’s important to avoid impulse purchases and only focus on the list of items you’re planning to buy. Always stick to the plan you came in with, and if possible, avoid spending too much time looking at the smaller items available in the checkout aisle of many stores, which are designed to grab your attention, but probably aren’t the best for your budget. 

Not Finding Alternatives

The shopping world is forever changing, due to sites like Amazon, along with other websites that offer coupon and discount codes for a variety of internet stores. There is an abundance of money-saving alternatives available for the savvy shopper. Therefore, it’s important to take your time when shopping, both online and offline. After all, the first item you find may be convenient, but also might not be the most cost-effective to buy. Spending extra time looking for alternatives could be what saves you more money than expected.

Indecisiveness

On the flip side of this, taking too much time to shop can hinder your ability to save money. This is because most discounts are offered for a limited time only. While there is value in taking time to shop around and find deals, it shouldn’t be done in excess. Instead, pick a few items, compare their prices and the coupons available, and go with the most cost-effective option.

Before your next shopping trip or spending spree, make sure to plan ahead, and be ready to look for deals that will help you save money and avoid some common spending mistakes!