Travel Insurance – 5 Tips to Avoid Hefty Bills Abroad

Travellers are more aware nowadays than ever before of the importance of taking out travel insurance before a trip. Most travels are likely to go smoothly, but why take a chance and risk ruining that much-needed holiday.

A variety of travel mishaps and problems have dominated the news in the past few years and the importance of having travel insurance, as well as understanding your rights, has never been more in people’s minds. Here are a few tips to consider before planning your next trip:

Tip No. 1 – Check that your travel insurance policy covers all your planned activities

Not all activities are covered under all policies, so this is important. If you are on a package holiday and choose to engage in activities outside those included you may find they are not covered unless you have taken out separate travel insurance. However, beware of travel insurance that seems very cheap or is offered as an incentive as the levels of cover may have been reduced – or the excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) increased. Your travel insurance policy should include a list of covered activities, such as elephant rides, scuba diving, bungee jumps, etc. Never assume that everything is automatically covered!

Tip No. 2 – Check that your policy includes adequate medical cover, liability and legal expenses

If you pick up a nasty stomach bug it could potentially put you in hospital. If you trip and break a leg, or sustain a serious injury it could result in very high medical bills for hospital treatment. If you cause injury to another person you could be liable and incur legal costs. If an injury results in medical repatriation to bring you home by air ambulance the need for additional seats on the plane, and/or medical escort, could set you back many thousands of pounds. Your consulate or the airline does not cover these costs. Someone has to pay and – without insurance – that someone is you, or your unsuspecting family or loved ones.

As well as adequate travel and medical insurance, always check that your policy includes cover for air ambulance and medical repatriation. This is vital.

Air ambulance fees to bring you back to the UK from your holiday destination could potentially cost thousands of pounds alone, and up to a staggering £50,000 from the USA! If it is necessary to fly you home on a stretcher with a medical escort the fees from even closer holiday destinations could be almost as financially devastating.

Tip No. 3 – Obtain a European Health Insurance Card

If you live in a EU country and are travelling within the European Union apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and carry it with you. Depending on the country, it entitles you to free or reduced-cost emergency treatment on the same basis as a national of that country, in a state-run facility (not private). The EHIC should not be used instead of travel insurance, but will save you a lot of expense and inconvenience if you should sustain an injury or become sick while travelling. It is important to realise that the EHIC does not cover anything much other than emergency medical care. It does not cover repatriation to the UK or air ambulance costs. You will need travel insurance to cover an array of travel problems, such as non-urgent medical care, ongoing treatment, lost luggage, missed flights, scheduled airline failure, etc.

Tip No. 4 – Do Your Homework!

Research has shown that few people actually take the time to research the local laws and customs of their destination country before they set off. Awareness of potential pitfalls could save a lot of expense and grief. For example, do you know your destination country’s rules for a single adult travelling with a child? Do you know which over-the-counter medicines you can and cannot legally take into the country? Do you know the basic rules of the road before driving in another country? The purchase of a good travel guidebook, or time spent reviewing travel advice provided online, such as on the Foreign Office website could help you avoid becoming the victim of a scam, or being arrested or fined for violating a local law that you were not aware of.

Tip No.5 – Make a note of Consulate/Embassy and Emergency Numbers

Before you travel, why not programme emergency numbers into your mobile phone and also keep a note of them with your travel documents. Having the number for the local emergency services programmed into your mobile phone could save time in the event of a robbery or accident – and even save lives. Consider registering with the Foreign Office ‘Locate’ service (or your own government’s equivalent) to better enable the authorities to assist you if an emergency should arise. Their assistance in contacting friends and relatives would be a very welcome lifeline if needed and save you time, frustration, and expense.

5 Home Improvement Projects to Improve the Resale Value of Your Home

If you are planning to put your home on the market any time soon, you will certainly want to do everything you can to increase the value of your home. At the same time, you don’t want to invest so much money into home improvements that you don’t enjoy a return on your investment. To that end, here is a look at five home improvement ideas that you might want to put into place in order to get more for your home.

Home Improvement #1: Energy Upgrades

A growing number of home buyers are looking for homes with energy-efficient features. Therefore, anything you can do to make your home more “green” will make it more appealing to potential buyers. Some steps you can take to improve the energy-efficiency of your home is to replace the windows, roof, doors and windows. Adding extra insulation will also be appealing to potential buyers.

Home Improvement #2: Apply Fresh Paint

Applying fresh paint inside and outside of the home will give it the face-lift it needs to draw in potential buyers. Not only will a new layer of paint freshen up your home’s appearance, but it is also an inexpensive way to make your home more up-to-date while also making it more appealing to a broader range of buyers. Just be certain to use neutral colors when repainting your home, as unusual colors will only appeal to a small segment of the population.

Home Improvement #3: Upgrade the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Therefore, bringing it up to date is one of the keys to increasing its value. Simple improvements such as installing new cabinetry and hardware, a granite sink, new counter tops and energy-efficient appliances will go a long way toward appealing to buyers and increasing the value of your home.

Home Improvement #4: Update the Bathroom

The bathroom is generally the second most important room with potential buyers. Therefore, you want to make certain your bathroom is one that reaches out and grabs those who tour it. Remodeling the bathroom with a new sink, faucet, counter tops, cabinetry, flooring and light fixtures are all great ways to make it more appealing. If you have only one bathroom and space allows, you might want to consider adding an additional bathroom as well.

Home Improvement #5: Add a Deck

Adding a deck is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, but expanding your outdoor living space with a deck is an excellent way to increase the value of your home while also boosting its overall appeal. Whether using treated lumber of a composite material, you are likely to regain most if not all of the cost of putting in a new deck.

Technology Implementation in Business and Life and How Important It Is

Technology is the buzz word today. Almost everything we do, use, or consume is processed through some kind of technology. Computers and Internet has changed the face of modern society. Still there are people who are resistant to get themselves adapted, to latest technologies. They are so much involved into the affairs of their business, that they feel getting updated with technical stuff is not going to help them anyways. They feel it is a waste of time. I Am going to share a real life story to highlight, why it is so significant to cope with technology in the modern society.

My father has a trading business, which is doing good. However couple of years back all his accounting and office work was done 100% manually. He was comfortable with it as he was simply unaware of the magic of computers. He was also resistant to get systems and learn them, as he found to it be a waste of time and money.

When I stepped in, I realised that the work for which my father and other employee’s were investing their day and night, is actually not more than couple of hours work with the help of computers. I somehow convinced him to get me some IT stuff like laptops, printers, scanners and specially Internet in the office premises. He was reluctant but I had to hold on to my demands. When I got them a year passed by with no significant implementation of IT in the office. But I learnt lot about how things work in real life and in software applications.

Slowly but steadily I started to automate the office tasks. I automated accounting. After a lot of issues and reluctance from employees, things started to appear in perspective. Almost 80% of the accounting work was simply eliminated. There was no need to manually reconcile financial statements, no balance sheet preparation or different types reports. We dropped one of the employees as accounting became a piece of cake. We started saving hundreds of dollars right from the start. My father became so much relaxed which he never thought he would. He Could now work on more important things in life. Slowly he automated all other aspects such as attendance management, payroll etc. Couple of months later the profits were all time high and there was very less work to do in the Offtime. Now when he looks into the past, it seems unimaginable for him to work the way he used to. He is now a successful entrepreneur with good health. His working hours are 10 to 7 and takes off whenever he feels he needs one, which is very good considering he is a sole proprietor of the firm.

Implementing technology may seem a costly affair and will attract reluctance from the employees. However if successfully implemented technology can turn your firm around and bring out the true potential of your business.

From business to home, from daily life issues to entertainment, technology has a tremendous potential. However first one needs to invest time, to understand things and then use technology effectively for a better and more comfortable life.