Top 4 Reasons to Pick Annual Travel Insurance

Choosing a travel insurance policy is not exactly an exercise one looks forward to with excitement. You rarely find anyone who is enthusiastic about premiums, the extent of cover, and the feeling of putting pen to paper on a policy document! Most people would much rather be wistfully imagining rolling waves, endless beaches, imposing monuments … Continue reading “Top 4 Reasons to Pick Annual Travel Insurance”

Choosing a travel insurance policy is not exactly an exercise one looks forward to with excitement. You rarely find anyone who is enthusiastic about premiums, the extent of cover, and the feeling of putting pen to paper on a policy document! Most people would much rather be wistfully imagining rolling waves, endless beaches, imposing monuments and mountains of fun.

But putting effort into finding the right policy is as important as putting effort into the itinerary of your trip, especially if you travel frequently.

Why face risk?

You may be an optimist, feeling yourself impervious to danger or thinking that most hazards in strange places are exaggerated by the fearful; or you may be a pessimist, feeling sure that if the worst could happen, its bound to happen to you. Risk does not care either way. A realist realises that risks are dependent not merely on your outlook, but the nature of your trip and destination. This is why for the frequent traveller, annual travel insurance is never a waste of money. In the event of an accident, injury, mishap or loss that affects you, your family or your belongings, you will not regret having the safety net of a solid policy.

Why waste money?

Once the regular traveller realises, however begrudgingly, the need for a solid policy, attention invariably turns to money. Since it all lies in the realm of risk and potential, you should ensure you only pay for what you need. The benefit of good annual travel insurance plans is that they focus on giving the consumer plenty of options, while making sure that in light of the destination and type of trip to be taken, you’re not paying for anything you won’t need.

Why waste time?

Your travel time is precious – and so is the time taken to plan every trip. Buying a separate policy every time not only wastes money, it consumes time. This is why annual travel insurance is so helpful. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to focus even more on making the most of a short business hop to Brussels, taking advantage of a regular foray into the Amazon for an ongoing field study, or spending your cash beach-hopping around the Mediterranean.

Why not benefit?

The greatest benefit of annual travel insurance lies in the peace of mind it gives you. But you also have access to extras like free cover for children, free cover for cruises and golf gear, 24 hour contacts, and even bonus access to certain perks. This makes your cover seem less like strain and more like shopping! But all the while you should remember that you can’t put a real price on peace of mind.

Preparing For A Flood: From Flood Insurance To Keeping Your House Safe

Nobody expects to find 10 inches of water in the living room. Did you know that floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States? Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, and the best thing you can do to protect your family and home is to be prepared. Read on to find out some things you can do before this natural disaster strikes.

Plan Ahead

-Buy flood insurance: Believe it or not, a regular home insurance does not cover water damage. This is why it’s highly recommended that business owners and homeowners purchase flood insurance. Just remember that it takes 30 days after your purchase for your flood insurance protection to become valid.

-Build your house on the right place: Avoid building your home and business on low-lying land next to a river. These areas extend from the banks of the river to the walls of the enclosed valley walls. Even when these areas remain dry for many years, when there’s abundant rain, your house can be in great danger.

-Take care of electrical appliances: You should elevate your HVAC and electrical systems, including the wiring, at least one foot. Doing this will help you prevent short circuits and potential fires. Also, take into consideration that any electrical components inundated, even if it’s just a short period of time, must be replaced.

-Build a barrier: In order to prevent water coming into your home, you can also build a barrier. You can either build a levee out of compacted earth or masonry. Masonry is a structure made of individual components that are bound together. Besides protecting your home, the greatest advantage of these types of barriers is that they won’t change the appearance of your house.

-Seal your house: Install water shields over the windows, doors, and any other openings. Also, coat the walls with waterproof sealant. Remember to seal all the lower areas of your house.

During A Storm

-Be alert: watch or listen to the news. Get updated information constantly, in case you need to leave your house.

-Move to a safe place: You don’t need to wait for instructions to move to higher ground. However, if you decide to stay home, and at some point the authorities determine that an evacuation is necessary, you must leave! If you have time, before you leave bring the outdoor furniture inside your house, and move important stuff to the upper floor. And don’t forget to lock your house!

-Be safe: Know what areas fill with water faster and try not to drive or walk near them. In addition, avoid all contact with floodwater. It’s dangerous because it contains chemical waste or sewage. If for some reason you come in contact with it, wash yourself right away with clean water and soap.

Are In Text Ads Relevant to the Content?

Yes, In Text Advertising is a form of Contextual Advertising

I was browsing through a magazine – a real one with paper pages – and noticed a lifestyle article about a new mattress that uses three-dimensions. Well, I wondered, don’t most mattresses have three dimensions? But then, on the next page, a full-page advertisement announced a new 3D mattress. Hmm… was that a coincidence? Of course not. The magazine sold the mattress ad and probably added an editorial article about the new technology. Most magazines try to separate editorial content from advertising, to keep appearance of professional writing. Separation of paid-for ads and actual content is considered ethical. In this instance, they were not that subtle. But wait, what’s so wrong about relevant ads? There seem to be a big difference in our expectations between the offline world and the online arena. While in traditional paper publications we prefer content which is clear of advertising interests, when it comes to the Internet, we actually expect the ads surrounding the content to be highly relevant to the content.

As website publishers we in fact insist of showing the most relevant ads, hoping they will yield higher click-through rates and revenues. The visitors somehow accept this as being supplemental to the content. Google AdSense ads are responsible for this revolution. Since the ads are placed through automated algorithms, we don’t see them as affecting the editorial considerations of the publisher. Moreover, if the ads are not relevant, we usually complain about it.

In text advertising is a form of contextual advertising. As such, in text ads are attached to hooks – highlighted terms within the content – and they are relevant to the terms and the content of the page. So, if your question is simply – are in text ads relevant? The answer is positive. Yes, in text ads are relevant to your content. But since there are examples where they are less relevant, this question calls for some further discussion.

No Perfect Guarantees

One of the publishers I’ve been working with has integrated in text ads for the first time. During the first month, we served ads to no less than 20 million unique visitors. When summarizing the first month’s results, the publisher was generally very happy with the revenues and feedback, but he highlighted one email from a frequent visitor, who complained about an ad that was not relevant. My first response to the complaint was – Great, this is good news! How come? Simple. It’s true that an irrelevant ad is not a good user experience. But, if we had one complaint out of 20 million visitors, we have a very good success ratio. There are no guarantees that any contextual advertising technology would be perfect. There’s nothing like a bullet-proof method with perfect relevance, not even Google AdSense, and as long as the vast majority of ads are relevant, this should suffice.

Is it really not relevant?

In text ads can be less relevant when the content is not focused. Any contextual algorithm, as smart as it can be, would have problems with pages that are a mix of issues. In such cases, the ad should at least be relevant to the hook – the highlighted term.

Another factor that can reduce relevancy is geography. When the visitor comes from a country with less online advertising, it could be difficult to match the ads with high relevancy. To improve this, make sure with your provider that he has enough advertising coverage in the countries where your most important visitors come from, and be tolerant to less relevant ads in other regions.

Last but not least, relevancy is in the eye of the advertiser. While you may think that an ad is not relevant, take into consideration that the advertiser has specifically chosen to match the ad to the term and context. A professional in text ads provider only places ads with direct response to advertising campaigns which target context and terms. For example, if the chosen term was “London Hotel”, you would probably expect a travel ad. But then, if you see an ad for a t-shirt website, don’t be alarmed. It could be that this t-shirt website is now selling new Madonna merchandise, and Madonna is on her way to a big concert in London; hence, the advertiser is trying to target tourists who head to London for the show.

Are your Hooks Relevant?

In addition to measuring the relevancy of the ads to the content, another important factor would be the relevancy of the highlighted terms to the content. Before any visitor hovers over an ad, visitors show interest in links which are relevant to the content. When the highlighted terms are relevant, you should see higher rates of hovers. Matching the ads themselves comes next. So first, ask yourself – are the terms relevant? This should be a good start.

You can improve In Text Ads Relevancy

In these cases when you still feel that the in text ads on your website are not relevant enough, consider the following options. First, calculate how serious this issue is. If you’re thinking about just a few ads out of thousands, then it’s probably not a serious problem. Second, consider the context and the geography – the more focused the content, and the bigger the market for online advertising in this country, the higher the relevance should be. If the market is not that big and the content is not very focused, achieving high relevancy would be difficult. Third, look from the advertiser’s point of view – he thought the ad is relevant, so try to understand it.

If, after considering these options, you still feel that the ads are not relevant, then it’s time to contact your in text ads provider. There’s much you can do together. Your provider can work with you to improve the algorithm and customize it to your website, direct specific advertisers to your website, and assist you with monitoring and analyzing results. After all, it is contextual advertising.

Courier Driver Insurance: What You Need to Know

There are many things that you need to set in place when you first start out working as a courier driver. However, one of the most important things on your list should be to ensure you have adequate insurance.

Finding suitable insurance is essential. Not only is insurance a legal requirement, but a policy that covers all your needs will also serve to provide you with peace of mind while you work. Here is what you need to know.

Courier Insurance is not Standard

Insurance is a legal requirement for every driver – in fact, even if you are not using your van a lot, it must still be insured. However, if you use your vehicle to carry out delivery work, you should be aware that you’ll need more than just standard vehicle insurance. As a courier driver, you will be considered a higher risk than other road users, because you will stop frequently, you have deadlines to meet, and you may also transport valuable goods that need to be covered under a policy. It therefore makes sense to spend adequate time researching the most suitable policy, even if that means spending a little more on it.

Different Types

There are different levels of policies that you can choose from. Everybody’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to find the most suitable policy for your personal situation when working as a courier driver. Various factors could influence your insurance, from the type of vehicle you drive to how far you travel and how many drop-offs you make.

One of the most important things to look for is goods in transit cover. This provides coverage for all the cargo you transport, some of which may be very valuable. If you have an accident or the goods are stolen, you are liable for the damage or loss, and this could cost you a lot of money. So to have complete peace of mind you’ll need to invest in decent goods in transit cover. (You should also find out what is not covered under a particular policy, as it may not include high-value goods like jewellery.)

Breakdown cover is another thing you should definitely consider including. This will provide you with protection should you experience problems on the road, as it can be very difficult if something goes wrong when you are working to a deadline.

Other things that may be covered in a policy include vandalism, overseas travel, public liability, employers’ liability, personal belongings and replacement van cover. You may also want to get a fleet policy if you have numerous vehicles. It’s important never to assume that any aspect is covered; always check the details carefully and understand exactly what you’re covered for as well as how much excess you will have to pay when you make a claim.

Look Around for a Suitable Policy

When you start your research for insurance, always search around and get quotes from various providers, as they’ll all provide slightly different policies at different prices. This is an important decision for any courier driver, so do spend some time over the process. And remember, don’t simply buy the cheapest you can find – you need to make sure it really does provide the cover you need.

Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world’s largest neutral trading hub for same day courier driver jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 3,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading courier jobs and capacity in a safe ‘wholesale’ environment.

Pay For Delete Letter – Does It Really Work?

If you look on any financial website on how to remove a negative item from your credit report you’ll more than likely see the ‘pay for delete’ option listed. Pay for delete is a negotiation strategy to get a negative listing or trade line removed from your credit report. You negotiate a full or partial payment in exchange for a complete removal.

Do they work? It really depends on who you ask! Some will state they know from experience that it works and they’ve been able to get from under their debt while simultaneously improving their credit from the deletion. Others will vehemently deny its effectiveness saying the creditor will get their money and leave you hanging. To add, if you look at one of the credit bureaus website; they’ll even hint that it is illegal to remove a negative item via this method (go figure, huh).

Honestly, it has worked on occasions yet I would be lying if I stated it works all the time. I can also state that I have not found anything in the law that flags the practice as illegal; the reason credit bureaus are against the practice is because it cuts into their profit. Bad credit is big business. Of course, they’ll state that the integrity and authenticity of the report is ruined by this practice, but so is their inability to accurately report true and authentic information on a credit report so that theory is out the window. I will admit, I personally am not a fan of the pay for delete method. And I’ll share why.

First and foremost, it really only works with collection agencies or 3rd party debt collectors. So, if you have negative information on your report from an original creditor the chances of them deleting anything for payment is pretty slim. They’ve more than likely already charged off your account, have gotten their tax and insurance claim benefit from the write off and sold your debt to a collection agency, so their cool. Why make your life easier?

So, what you’re really doing is negotiating with a company that purchases bad debt to make a profit. You’re offering to pay them money to delete the negative item from your credit report. Let’s say they accept. You get their agreement to delete in writing and send them the money. Now you wait, and wait and wait. Hmm, they haven’t deleted anything! You have it in writing so you send a dispute letter to the three credit bureaus with a copy of the agreement that they promised to delete for payment and… the credit bureaus refuse to delete as well. There’s nothing you can do about this. Collection agencies can revoke their ability to access or report any information with the credit bureaus if they delete what’s believed to be accurate information from your report. Further, by giving the credit bureaus proof that you paid the debt, you pretty much have admitted the debt is yours and can forget about disputing it with them for removal. Now, if it’s in writing you can sue them for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; which states that a collector cannot lie or use deceptive practices in order to get payment for a debt. But, as one of my clients stated: “Who has time and money to go through that?”

The goal is to rebuild your credit and to restore your score. If you settle a debt with a company, they legally have the right to send you a 1099 tax form for the remaining balance; the IRS views the amount you did not have to pay as income; which you have to pay taxes on. Thus, you’ve just created another bill.

Another thing to mention is that if your debt is being reported by the original creditor and by the collection agency, paying for a deletion will not remove both debts; just the collection. Your score will still be negatively affected by the charge off that is reporting.

If you do decide to go ahead and offer a Pay for Delete, please do so after you have asked them to validate the debt. What you are asking them to do is prove that you owe the debt and that they own the debt and can provide documentation to back it up. If they can’t provide this, they have to delete it anyway. In addition, check your state’s statute of limitation to see if they can legally collect from you according to your state laws. The time frame for a creditor or collector to enforce payment of a debt is limited, if you pay less than the full amount you risk restarting that time limit to day one. You also want to see when the debt will be deleted from your credit report. If it’s going to fall off soon why pay anything towards it? By paying, you risk them adding an additional trade line to your credit report that details the payment received and possibly a new negative ‘Paid Collection’ notation on your report. Lastly, send everything certified mail return receipt and keep copies of everything!

Hope this helps!

If you’d like assistance pinpointing the items that are negatively impacting your credit score, please do not hesitate to contact me! We’ve helped thousands of people successfully removed over 700,000 derogatory items from their credit reports.