3 Ways to Protect Special Vehicles

Man on motorcycle

Nationwide covers more than cars—and that can help you save.

As you review your insurance policies for day-to-day things, like your trusty car and your home, it’s wise to look at recreational equipment that also needs coverage. Often, these are items you may only use for part of the year. Here are some ways Nationwide can help:

  1. Motorcycle, ATV and scooter coverage. Whether you ride for fun or collect bikes and trikes, Nationwide motorcycle policies can cover your equipment in case of collision, theft, vandalism and damage caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. Policies are also available specifically for ATVs and scooters.You may be able to save with discounts for the completion of an approved safety course, membership in some rider associations, insuring multiple vehicles and combining your motorcycle, ATV or scooter policy with other Nationwide policies.
  2. Boat and personal watercraft coverage. Nationwide can insure 95 percent of all pleasure boats, including bass boats and ski boats, both on the water and on the road, with a variety of policy options to suit your specific situation. Liability boat insurance, in case you’re found at fault in a covered accident, can include payment for bodily injury, damaged property and the cost of defending claims against you.Discounts are available for boat policies, too. In addition to multiple-boat, multiple-policy and safety course discounts, you may be able to earn a discount by using diesel fuel or by being a claim-free boater.
  3. RV coverage. Nothing brings to mind a picture of vacation like a few days on the road in an RV, especially since an RV really is your home away from home. Nationwide offers such coverage as collision, property damage, theft, vandalism, Roadside Assistance, towing and labor and even vacation liability.In addition to safety course, association membership, multiple-vehicle and multiple-policy discounts, you may be able to save if you have installed certain safety accessories on your RV.
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Learn How to Snowball Your Way Out of Debt

Hand erasing the word debt from chalkboard

Paying off credit cards systematically could get you out of debt faster.

You’ve been faithfully paying on your credit cards for years, but you still haven’t made a dent. Maybe you’ve thought about contacting a credit counselor or debt settlement agency to negotiate lower payments. But these third-party solutions can carry high fees. Instead, putting your own low balance or high interest repayment plan in place is a simple, affordable and effective way to pay down credit card debt more quickly. These plans allow you to “snowball” your payments, paying off one card or loan and then applying that payment—along with the existing payment—to the next debt you’re paying off.

Of course, one of your first steps may be to consolidate your credit card debt. You might be able to get a new card with a lower annual percentage rate, which you can use to pay off all of your existing credit cards. Then, you’ll be able to apply one of the snowball techniques even more effectively—and save yourself some interest payments, too.

Snowball: Pay off the credit card with the lowest balance first.
The debt snowball repayment method requires you to make minimum payments on all of your credit cards every month, and add a little extra to the card with the lowest balance. Let’s say, for example, that you have two credit cards. One card carries a balance of $2,500 with a $100 minimum payment and the other a balance of $1,000 with a $75 minimum payment. If you pay the minimum on each card, and add an extra $25 per month to the payment for the $1,000 balance, you’ll accelerate the payoff. The “snowball” effect of this debt repayment method kicks in once the smallest debt is eliminated, because you’ll then apply that entire payment to the other debt—in this case, doubling your payment from $100 to $200.

Psychologically, this method makes sense because you’ll see progress sooner and be motivated to continue tackling your debt card by card. But what if you have several cards with similar minimum payments? Trent Hamm of the Simple Dollar financial blog suggests paying off higher-interest rate debt first because “it simply puts more cash in your pocket at the end.”

High-Interest Snowball: Focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate.
In our previous example, let’s say the card with the $2,500 balance has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 19 percent, and the APR for the card with the $1,000 balance is 13 percent. Hamm and others advocate putting extra cash toward the card with the higher APR so that you’ll end up paying less interest over time.

Either repayment method puts a future free of credit card debt within reach. Explore both options by using free debt calculator tools like the debt snowball tool at What’s the Cost.com or the reduce credit card debt calculators at Nationwide.com.

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Tips for a Safe Nursery

Man in a gray shirt holding a newborn baby in his arms

Before the baby arrives, make sure the room is safe and sound.

Getting ready to bring home baby? Outfitting the nursery is a pleasant way to pass some time while you wait for the arrival of your little one. Just think safety first. Home accidents send nearly 2 million children under the age of 4 to the emergency room every year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

“Whether you’re picking out the perfect paint color or putting the crib together, there are simple things parents can do to make their nursery safe,” says Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.

Best Bets for Bedtime
Babies under the age of one should sleep alone, on their back, in a crib, says Carr.

Use a safe, sturdy crib with slats no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, according to requirements set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The only thing in the crib with your baby should be a firm, tight-fitting mattress covered with a crib sheet. Use a sleep sack—it’s like a wearable blanket—to keep your baby warm, if needed.

As tempting as it might be to let your baby sleep with you, pillows and comforters can be harmful if your baby rolls over onto them, says Carr. A better option is room sharing: Put your baby’s crib in your room.

Fall Prevention
“Babies can suffer injuries from falls involving beds and changing tables, as well as stairs, high chairs, baby walkers and strollers,” says Carr. “So for your rollers, wigglers and crawlers, make sure they’re secure in their space.”

Another tip from Carr: Place baby carriers on the floor instead of on top of a table or other furniture.

Also keep chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows. Once your little one starts crawling and toddling, use a safety gate if there’s a chance he or she could open the nursery door.

Decor Do’s and Don’ts
You want your baby’s nursery to be charming and comfortable, but think through your choices carefully.

  • Select cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation.
  • Buy toy boxes without lids, or use models with spring-loaded mechanical arms that won’t come crashing down on your little one’s arm.
  • Keep changing table necessities out of reach of children. Even baby products can be poisonous if ingested.
  • Use plug protectors on every electrical outlet.
  • Choose lightweight artwork that can’t hurt your baby if it falls off the wall. Stencils and murals are the safest option.
  • Use water-based paint. Complete decorating in plenty of time to air out the room for baby—and steer clear of fumes yourself.
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Big-Money Bargains Year-Round

Sale sign

Get the best prices on big-ticket items by shopping at the right time.

Even shopping has a season. Learn the best times to buy these items throughout the year.

Appliances: September and holiday weekends. In the fall, new models are coming into showrooms, so older models are discounted. Appliances are nearly always part of holiday weekend sales year-round, including minor holidays like Columbus Day.

Boats: March. Boat show season has ended, so prices come down.

Cars: September. New models arrive in the fall. Dealers need to make room, so they discount the current year’s models from Labor Day weekend through the rest of the month.

Digital cameras: February. Look for discounts on the previous year’s cameras when the newest models come out after trade-show season.

Furniture: January and February. It’s a slow time of year for big purchases, so furniture makers offer incentives.

Grills and air conditioners: January and February. It’s off-season and new models aren’t likely to be dramatically improved. You’ll also find end-of-season deals after July 4 and into August.

Laptops: April and August or September. New models are introduced in the spring, so prices drop on existing models. August and September are filled with back-to-school deals.

Lawn mowers and other yard gear: August and September. This is the end of the season for these products.

Outdoor furniture: July and August. Retailers need to clean out inventory before the change of seasons. You might also find early-season discounts in May.

Snow removal equipment: August and September. Save on winter gear before you need it.

Sporting goods and bicycles: January. For many parts of the country, it’s off-season for these goods. Treadmills and other indoor gym equipment are also on sale, thanks to New Year’s resolutions.

Televisions: November, December and early February. Big electronics are on sale around the holidays and in the run-up to the Super Bowl. Look for HDTV and home theater discounts in January, too.

Toys: October and November. Stores offer discounts to kick-start the holiday buying season.
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How to Handle Carsickness in Kids

Toddler girl asleep and young boy rubbing his eye in the back of a car.

Keep the queasiness to a minimum with these tips.

Even the most anticipated of outings can cause family-wide dread when carsickness comes into the picture. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children ages 2 to12 years old are especially susceptible. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk by following these guidelines:

Fuel up. You don’t want your children starting a long drive on an empty stomach, or it may make them feel queasy. “Just a small, light meal or even a couple of crackers will help ease nausea,” says Sally Black, a former pediatric nurse who now runs the family travel site VacationKids.com. “During the drive, ginger ale and gingersnaps can help settle an upset tummy.”

Meal plan. As for road food, resist the classic fast-food routine. “You want to avoid greasy, fatty, heavy foods like burgers and fries,” says Diane Flynn Keith, author of Carschooling, which features a chapter on carsickness. Seek out meals with healthy fruits, veggies and proteins.

Prime position. You may be tempted to seat a child near the window so they can get fresh air if they need it. “Actually it’s best to seat them in the middle whenever possible,” Black says. If you’re making the trip in a three-row minivan, “the middle [row] is best because it forces kids to face forward and look toward the horizon.” Why is this important? Because looking forward to a point on the horizon helps kids’ brains interpret motion senses that their ears and eyes are receiving. In other words, you want to match what they’re seeing with what they’re feeling.

No close-ups. If your child is prone to carsickness, ditch activities involving reading, watching DVDs or video gaming. “Any activity that involves up close eye work will only aggravate a carsickness situation,” Black says. Try reading them trivia questions or playing 20 questions.

H2O rules. Make sure there’s an abundant water supply so your crew stays hydrated. “Avoid acidic beverages such as orange juice,” Keith says. “Keep a cooler of ice and fresh water.”

Under pressure. It may sound like an old wives’ tale, but many parents have reported lots of success with bands that apply pressure to the wrist. The technique dates back to ancient forms of acupressure.

Nothing smelly. Eliminate strong odors within the vehicle to the best of your abilities. “Don’t wear perfume or heavy after-shave,” Keith says. “Try to stay away from congested areas where car-, truck- and bus-exhaust fumes are prevalent.”

Easy does it. Avoid high speeds and frequent, sudden stops and starts. Build in frequent rest breaks so your kids can get out and stretch their legs.

Over-the-counter help. Motion sickness pills may help, but check with your child’s doctor to be safe. Even after you get the doctor’s approval, “you must read the package instructions carefully before purchasing to determine if they’re age appropriate,” Keith says. “Some may not be recommended for young children. Also, they may cause drowsiness.”

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The View From the Ground

Worker on framed house

Nationwide catastrophe response team members reflect on the year’s storms.

Over the course of spring and summer 2011, hundreds of Nationwide casualty claims associates volunteered to travel into storm zones to help customers file claims and begin rebuilding their homes, businesses and lives.

“Our hearts continue to go out to those who lost their homes, family members and friends,” says Mike Pollard, regional vice president in the Allied Insurance Lincoln Regional Office. Allied encompasses the independent agencies that are a part of Nationwide.

Here are reflections from some of the Nationwide and Allied staff that served on the summer’s catastrophe response teams.

Courtney Stroud, Field Claims Specialist: The losses were just devastating. Not only had people lost their homes and their belongings, but many also lost family, a friend or an acquaintance. They couldn’t believe they were sitting with us discussing that situation—and for the time being, they were homeless. Our team helped people in every way possible, setting up money advances on their claims and setting them up in hotels or temporary housing. Nationwide and Allied had a great presence and we made everything as smooth as possible for our members who had claims.

Amy Kalis, COA, Claims Specialist: One customer sought shelter from the storm in her laundry room. There was literally nothing left of her home except the three walls that supported that room, but we found her piano bench full of sheet music. It was all dry and intact. Her daughter lived a few streets away, and her home was damaged but still standing. We offered to drop the music off there. Then we realized we could salvage the piano bench. We put the music inside it, wiped it off and put it under the awning on her daughter’s front porch. Our customer arrived as we were getting ready to leave, and burst into tears thanking us. We were there to do a job, which is the job we do every day—catastrophe or no catastrophe. We help people.

Todd Ahrens, Blue Ribbon Manager: I adopted Twister at an animal shelter in Joplin, Missouri. She is a golden retriever yellow Lab mix who was picked up as a stray just before the tornado hit, so she lived through the tornado at the shelter, safely outside the tornado’s path. Even though Twister wasn’t hurt in the storm, the folks at the shelter were very happy when she moved to Wisconsin with my family because it freed up space for more than 300 injured and unclaimed dogs and more than 200 cats they took in, treated and housed until owners could reclaim them.

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Protect Your Identity During the Holidays

Woman's hand with diamond ring working on a laptop.

How to reduce risks to your identity when shopping online.

The holiday season is in full swing, and retailers are doing whatever they can to attract online shoppers—free shipping, easy returns, coupons and bargains. It’s no wonder, with U.S. online shoppers set to spend nearly $55 billion this season, an increase of 17 percent according to marketing analyst eMarketer. Unfortunately, increased online activity only entices scam artists who, like elves in the North Pole, work overtime during the holidays. Here are five things you can do to protect your identity while shopping online.

1. Know your vendors. Shop on sites you know and trust. If you start with a Google search, you could unwittingly land in a dangerous place. Online con artists are skilled at making web destinations look and feel like a familiar or legitimate retail site. But unless you type the address directly, you can’t be sure. Planning to use a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, for online shopping? More than one quarter of U.S. shoppers will, according to the 2012 Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture. Download apps from each vendor so you know you’re going straight to the source.

2. Confirm the site’s security.
There are two ways to verify a website’s security. First, examine the URL in the address bar of your browser. If it starts with https://, the site is designed to withstand third-party attacks. An address beginning with http:// may be perfectly legitimate, but it isn’t secure. Another security indicator is an icon that looks like a lock, which would appear in the bottom corner of your Web browser. This universal symbol informs shoppers the site is safe. If you can’t find either marker, your Web browser may be doing the verification work for you. Online browsers such as Firefox will now warn you before making a purchase from an unsecure or untrusted site.

3. Avoid unknown networks.
Restrict online-shopping activities to your home computer, rather than a community machine at the local library or Internet café. You can run regular virus checks and updates on your hardware, but you can’t be sure a community computer is secure. Plus, a computer used by the masses is generally not a safe place to share your credit card information. If you’re out and using your own laptop or tablet, stick with known wireless networks. And always shield any personal information from prying eyes.

4. Opt for credit over debit. Granted, not everyone can be trusted to use credit cards wisely. But credit cards offer a level of fraud protection that you won’t get using debit cards. And credit card providers will likely flag identity theft activity even before you do. If you’re worried about debt, shop instead with a cash-loaded disposable gift card. There’s no fraud protection, but there is also no connection to your personal information. (It can also help you stick to your budget.)

5. Say “no” to storing information. Decline vendor offers to keep your credit card information stored in their system. It may save time, but it’s risky in the long run. Data breaches are common, even among the largest retailers. Stored information could compromise your identity in such a breach.

Remember to take security measures offline too, when shopping at the local mall or retail store. Always be aware of your wallet or purse, be cautious entering your PIN at the ATM and cash register, and leave your Social Security card at home.

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