As a car owner, you are probably aware of the requirements under state law for insurance on your vehicle, and you may have a basic understanding of what that insurance covers. However, there are a few little-known facts you may not have been aware of that can actually save you money.

Tax Deductions

One little-known fact about auto insurance is that using your car for business entitles you to deduct auto insurance on your tax returns at the end of the year. You must deduct only the percentage of your insurance cost that equals the percentage you use your vehicle for business, however. For example, if you use your personal vehicle for business use 25 percent of the time over the year, you can deduct 25 percent of your auto insurance costs. Be sure to discuss this deduction with your tax advisor at the end of the year.

Occupation Discount

Some insurance companies offer discounts to those who work in certain professions. In most cases, these are professions that have been determined low-risk because statistics show they exercise less risky driving behaviors than those who perform other jobs. Professions that are often offered occupation discounts include:

• Engineers and Scientists
• Teachers and Professors
• First Responders
• Nurses
• Pilots
• Certified Public Accountants

Personal Items in Vehicle

Personal items left in a vehicle are not normally covered by automobile insurance. Instead, they are often covered by homeowner’s insurance. Items like GPS units, MP3 players and cellphones should be listed on your homeowner’s policy. Be sure to take a picture of the item and store it in a safe place should it be stolen from the vehicle.

Low-Risk Vehicle

Purchasing a vehicle that the insurance company determines is low-risk is another way to keep insurance premiums down. Surprisingly, low-risk vehicles are not necessarily determined by the size of the vehicle. Insurance companies lower premiums if the vehicle has less horsepower or is less likely to be stolen than others. According to Consumer Reports, the Ford F-250 pickup and the Cadillac Escalade had the highest theft rates between 2010 and 2012. The Jeep Compass and Toyota Sienna had the lowest theft rates, which may put them in the low-risk vehicle category.

These relatively unknown facts about auto insurance could help you save money and prevent problems in the future. Click here for more facts about auto insurance and information on how to save money on your insurance needs.

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3 Ways to Repair Your Credit

by Nick on September 17, 2014

3 Ways to Repair Your CreditThe American dream is one so that any person can do anything they want if they try hard enough and apply themselves.

So what happens when you wake up covered in flour and realize that your credit stinks?

(Yes, that sentence was solely for the purpose of including this picture in the post. I just HAD to use it. So there you go. A forced connection…)

Well… there’s a lot you can do.  Here are 3 thoughts on the topic.

1. Just start doing postive things from today on.

The best thing you can do is change your habits moving forward.  Pay every bill and pay it on time. If you don’t have the money, work odd jobs and odd hours.  Sell stuff.  Hustle.  It takes a long time to recover from even one late or missed payment. Above all of your bills, keep your credit cards and loans paid and on time.

2. Scour your report. Your true score may be higher than you think.

Inspect your credit report for errors. Be sure to look for accounts that you have closed being listed as open, late payments that were actually on time, or any other error. If you find an error, write a letter to the credit bureau and include any proof that you have such as receipts or letters from the creditor.

If that happens your score could go up quickly.

3. Stop opening new accounts, consider slowly and carefully closing newer existing ones, but consider your credit utilization ratio.

I know, I know… closing accounts can damage your history.  But you’ll get way more out of doing things well than trying to game the system.

Too much credit can also scare off lenders with how much you could potentially spend in a short period of time.  And new credit inquiries tell people you’re trying to borrow more money and drop your score too.

So if you’re trying to improve your credit score to restructure your existing debt to lower interest loans, having a lot of available credit could act as another barrier and applying for new cards or loans can work against you.

So how do you strike a good balance? Consider closing some newer accounts as you pay down your debt to keep a low ratio of credit utilization and not have a ton of available credit compared to your income!

This one is truly a delicate balance. But if you’re looking to move forward with a conservative credit plan, it’s be one to consider.

So there you have it. 3 Ways to Repair Your Credit.

It’s not get rich quick, although #2 might show a quick bump.  :)

Before you begin on your journey to repair your credit, take some time to work out a strategy for your future. Set goals to repair your credit and cut your spending where you can. You need to regulate your borrowing and financing in order to avoid getting knocked down on your credit again.

The bad news is you are in this mess.  The good news is you can get out of it.

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Dealing with Life’s Unpredictability

September 17, 2014

With John Hancock’s “Life Comes Next” campaign, the trusted life insurance provider expresses what they know best: you never know what life is going to bring. The evocative imagery hints at a story much larger than what is contained in the few seconds of film. The characters in the 4 films have something to communicate, […]

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Keep your landlord happy

September 4, 2014

Creating a comfortable home life for yourself and any dependents is one of the most important priorities there is. Whether you are renting a home privately, it is from a rental company, independent landlord or perhaps a relative, there are ways to ensure a hassle-free relationship. This makes enjoying many happy years in your home […]

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Reasons Why Travel Insurance Pays For Itself

August 29, 2014

Few of us can afford to be wasting money on stuff we don’t need. If you have enjoyed trouble-free holidays in the past, you may be tempted by the idea that you don’t need to buy travel insurance. Maybe you get to thinking that if you avoided this expenditure, you would have more money to […]

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5 Must Know Auto Repairs Everyone Should Be Able to Do

August 28, 2014

If you own a car, you know that basic repairs are a must to keep it running smoothly. Unfortunately, taking your car to the mechanic for every repair is costly. The good news is that you don’t have to take your car in for every repair job. The following repairs are ones that everyone is […]

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Should I invest in Life Insurance if I’m self-Employed?

August 21, 2014

If you make the change to being self-employed you may lose the cover of any life insurance provided by your employer.  So do you need to buy a plan in your one right? Whether you’re employed or self-employed your earnings are still going to be essential to your family if you have one.  The question […]

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5 Steps to Win the War with Paper

August 8, 2014

Today, for the first time in the 4 years that Step Away from the Mall has been active, the site is being taken over by someone who is actually qualified to talk about money… I’m doing a blog swap with Kristin over at Payment Free Life today.  What that means is that I’m knocking the quality of her blog down […]

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3 ways to turn your commute to a profit center. #3 Can make you a LOT of money!

August 5, 2014

For the first 5 years of working in NYC I lived on the same City block as my office. That means I didn’t even have to cross a street to get to work. Just down one elevator take about 30 steps and up another. I thought it was pretty cool at the time. And then […]

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Obstacles of Starting a Business with Bad Credit

August 5, 2014

If you have bad credit, you’re very likely to have a difficult time funding the start-up of a new business. Your credit is, in theory, an indication to how reliably you repay lenders and how likely you are to stay on financial track. Obviously, lenders aren’t usually biting their nails for bad credit risks to […]

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