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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

What Kind of Auto Theft Isn't Covered by Insurance?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pixabay

Only once have I had to deal with the theft of my car.  That was way back in 1997, when I awoke one morning to discover my Jeep wasn't parked in my driveway where I left it the night before.  Two calls later; One to the police and the other to my insurance agent and the problem was soon solved.  No, I didn't get my Jeep back, although the cops eventually caught the culprit and recovered the vehicle.  By that time the insurance company had cut me a check and I purchased another car.  But it was sure nice to find out that I wasn't on hook for the balance I owed the lender.  I even walked away with enough to put a $1,000 down payment down on my new ride.  That isn't always the case for victims of auto identity theft.  This is a high-tech crime that involves forged documentation intended to get you to plunk your hard-earned cash down on a stolen vehicle.  So prevalent is this form of fraud that even some dealers have been duped.  If this should happen to you, not only will you be out the purchase price, but the cops will confiscate the vehicle, leaving you with no cash and no ride.  To keep you from falling into this money pit, I've come up with ten tips designed to help you recognize this 21st Century ripoff before you get taken to the cleaners.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Is Your Home Gone with the Wind?

 Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

As I sit here writing this, the wind is howling outside my window.  The wind speed is predicted to gust as high as 70 MPH today.  Even though it's mid-winter here in Jacksonville, a passing storm front can make it seem like hurricane season any time of year.  When the windows are rattling and the shingles are threatening to blow off your roof, it doesn't matter whether it's winter, summer, spring, or fall.  The only thing that matters is that you're covered for the worst that Mother Nature can do to your property.  That's why I've decided to clue you in on what you need to know to successfully file a wind damage claim.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Could You be Replaced by a Robot?

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

I was scanning the news feeds yesterday when I saw something that caught my eye: The world's first robotic McDonald's restaurant.  One Ft Worth, Texas fast food eatery has done away with almost half its staff by eliminating the employees responsible for taking and delivering orders.  Instead of speaking to a person, all orders at the restaurant are placed by a touchscreen at the restaurant or via app.  While the food is still prepared by humans, all orders are delivered robotically.  This particular Mickey D's only offers takeout which also eliminates the employees who typically bus the tables.  (Check out the YouTube video below.)  While this particular fast food restaurant hasn't entirely done away with its staff, a quick web search discovered at least two that do in the US, which I'll detail below.  This got me to thinking about how many of us could wind up being replaced in the near future by robots.  The answer to that question could shock you.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Can Squatters Move In and Move You Out?

 By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy Pxhere

A couple months ago I wrote a blog that showed how phroggers can secretly take residence in the home in which you currently reside  To kick off the new year, I'll show you how squatters can move into your home and move you out.  That's right, the way the laws are in many states, including Florida, strangers can wait until you're away from home to commandeer it right out from under you.  And there's little you can do about it since the law is on the squatters side.  If this sounds like an episode of the Twilight Zone, just be grateful you aren't this week's costar.  Below I'll detail several owner ordeals that cost a lot of time and money to rectify.

How Ghost Jobs Can Come to Haunt You

 By Catherine Powell Image courtesy Alpha Stock Images They say it's hard to find good help.  While this little ditty has stood the test...