How PDA’s Can Replace Your Laptop

If you are thinking about differences between cell phones and PDAs, you might be wondering how PDAs can replace your laptop because you realize they are like a mini-computer. A “Personal Digital Assistant” has become more sophisticated, with advances in technology. You are not the only one wondering how PDAs can replace your laptop, because they are becoming more popular.

You might already know somebody that carries a Blackberry, but there are similar devices made by Nokia and Samsung. If you were to ask them how PDAs can replace your laptop, they will tell you they are easier to carry and you can take advantage of Internet access, almost anywhere through cellular data packages. These palm-sized devices are capable of giving you access to everything you use your laptop computer for, besides offering communication, GPS navigation and other applications that your laptop might not be capable of.

They are also more affordable and you can buy PDA accessories that allow you to plug them into full-sized computer monitors and keyboards. There are many accessories for the iPhone, iPhone3G and iPhone 4, but you can also find additional accessories for the different models of Blackberry, Nokia and Samsung.

If you are trying to discover how PDAs can replace your laptop, it might be noted that they are more portable and have just as much capability, if not more. Many traveling professionals use them as a portable office, especially those that are in the insurance or financial service industries and real estate professionals find them invaluable for performing searches, accessing office files and performing GPS navigational tasks.

If you are searching for an electronic device that can make you more efficient, you might have been looking at different models of cell phones and PDAs. Once you find out how PDAs can replace your laptop computer, you will see why so many business professionals believe they are irreplaceable, when it comes to portability and ease of access or convenience.

Not only can PDAs replace several electronic devices, including your laptop computer, GPS hand-held units and your cellular phones, but they are offered by all of the major cell phone carriers. This includes Verizon cell phones, ATT cell phones, Sprint cell phones and T-Mobile phones. It is easy to find the models that offer all of the features you need to provide the convenient functionality your life requires.

PDA Phones – Packed With Feature and Functionality

Sometimes you may wonder how great it would be to have a gizmo that can perform the work of your mobile phone and the laptop together! And it comes in classy design and comfy size! Well, your wish is at the threshold of fulfilment. Just log on to the internet and search for PDA phones. They are the gizmo of your dream. Replace your laptop with this ‘palm-top’ or do away with your mobile with this smartphone. This power-packed device has almost all the features of both these two gadgets.

The new PDA phones are a combination of the past Personal Digital Assistant and a phone. They are fast catching up popularity among the business and executive class together. It has also become a must-have accessory among young urban professionals as well as others connected with sales industry. Those who work in insurance, finance, real estate need to be out of the office very often and hence find it highly handy. It keeps them connected with the office and enables them to conduct much of the office activities while on the move.

From busy bureaucrat to shrewd businessman, PDA phones have very quickly won the heart of all. It is really nice to be able to be a part of the proceedings in the office while you are on your way to a new assignment. What makes this possible is PDA phone that is also variably known as smartphone. The definition of this type of phone may continue to vary, but the application is the same: giving access to the internet as well as the office files that only a laptop can carry.

As time is passing by, PDA phones are coming with more sophisticated features and functionalities. So, in spite of giving you respite from carrying a laptop and keeping you connected, it may even be able to do some other amazing works for you in near future.

An Insurance Brokers Guide To Ensuring A Successful Move!

As an Executive Search Consultant specializing in the recruitment of senior level executives, Producers and Producer teams for the retail brokerage community, I have had the opportunity over the past several years to assist dozens of individual Producers and several Producer teams to make the transition to a new brokerage house. I realize this can be intimidating if this is the first time you have made such a move. This short guide is designed to help you navigate through the process so that when come out on the other side with your new firm, you have all the information necessary to service your client’s needs without violating or breaching any non-competes or employment agreements.

Remember, bottom line is that your employer’s property is your employer’s property. Electronic form, paper form, and human form, take any form and you’ll find yourself in trouble, or at least having difficulty defending yourself should your old employer decide to take legal action against you. Your new employer should indemnify you against any litigation as part of your employment contract. When negotiating your deal, this should be part of your employment agreement. However, if you have taken any form of your former employer’s property it can in many cases void the indemnification section of your employment contract. If you follow the suggestions and steps outlined in this guild you should minimize any litigation that may arise as a result of you jumping ship. This is not to say that there won’t be a law suit, anyone can sue anyone. This guide is meant as a “how to” manual and should not be a replacement for legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any legal questions regarding your situation.

SECTION ONE
Client Information

The good news is that this is the easiest area to deal with when it comes to making a move. The bad news is that this is the area most often violated by Brokers when making a move and there is absolutely no reason for this to happen. Without failure, every time I talk with a Broker for the first time I warn them about the dangers of emailing client information to their personal email or their spouses personal email account. Without failure at least once a year I have a broker get in hot water because they thought they could sneak one email in and not get caught. Most companies’ IT department’s today have implemented off boarding processes whereby when an employee leaves a company they review all outgoing email records for the past 30 to 60 days to determine if any proprietary information was transferred from the company. Any files that are determined to be “proprietary” are “red flagged”. Don’t email files to spouses, friends or other emails accounts. This is what will get you in trouble! Don’t think that if you erase it from your computer it’s gone, a good forensic IT department can recover such files with no problems what so ever. If it was sent over the internet, it can’t be erased. You can erase it from the computer that it was sent from and the one that received it. But if it went through a server, and chances are certain it did there will be a recoverable record to be used against you in a court of law.

The only party you should be emailing client information to is the client or the carrier…and there lies the answers to your problem of having all your client information available to you when you set up shop with your new employer. Make sure your clients have a copy of your work product. It belongs to them and they can share it with anyone they want! Make an electronic copy of the file and all the loss runs and email them to the client. In many large shops you are required, in the name of transparency, to send the client this information. By doing so you’re just following company rules and guidelines. You can also advise client’s that they should have this as part of their business recovery emergency plan. Once you get to your new employer and you BOR’ed the account (we’ll discuss this in the next section) you’ll need to call the client and ask them if they can forward that information that you sent them. This is one way of getting your file information to the client. If your book of business consists of hundreds of small accounts ($2,500 to $7,500 in size) it may not be practical to electronically copy all those files and send it to the clients. In this case, after you have BOR’ed the account contact the carrier for all the information you would have had in the file. As you can see there is no need for you to take any files what so ever from your current employer. If you provide quality customer service, every piece of documentation you will need will be on the other side when you start with your new employer. Don’t take files, don’t take records, and don’t even take a pencil! Why open your self to the unnecessary liability? It’s just not worth it!

SECTION TWO
Clients

Let’s face it the insurance brokerage business is a relationship based business! If your client’s have been with you for any length of time they have told you “Where ever you go, I go” or “tell me what flag you’re operating under and I’ll follow you”. The truth is your clients do business with you because they trust you and have faith in your abilities to
manage their risks. Clients are seldom with a broker solely due to the name of the firm. Unless you have recently acquired an account that was solely based on price your clients will value you and likely follow.

This section is going to be formatted into a 30 day time continuum. It’s going to be based on a premise that you will begin having conversations with your clients 30 days prior to

you’re leaving your current firm. The goal is to have all your accounts broken down into three distinct categories. These categories consist of 1. In the bag! 2. I think so, or 50/50
and 3. You’ll have to compete for the business again at renewal time. In preparation of leaving you will want to have a conversation with your key accounts. This should be a natural conversation over lunch, dinner, golf, or some other meeting with you client. In the conversation you want to say “I’m considering an opportunity and I may be leaving my current firm”. (Don’t mention what firm you’re moving to) Just listen to what they say after you indicate you may be leaving you’re current firm. What you can’t say is “I want you to follow me”. Naturally there will be questions asked of you such as:

Client: Why are you leaving?

Your Response: Changes have taken place in my current firm that has caused the culture to change and ultimately I believe this will have an impact on how we service our clients. This is why I am choosing to leave the firm and go with a firm that is dedicated in supporting me in providing quality customer service.

Client: Where are you going?

Your Response: I can’t tell you, I’m still being paid by my current employer. It would be unethical for me to promote my new firm while still being employed by my current firm.

Client: When are you leaving?

Your Response: I haven’t made up my mind but it will be soon. Once I get to my new firm I’ll make sure you get a copy of the press release. You do have my cell phone number don’t you?

Out of this conversation you will get a sense of what category this client should be placed. Their either going to say “Where ever you go, I go” (Category #1 in the bag), or “Let me
know where you land”, no commitment (Category #2 I think so, or 50/50) and finally, “Come see me at renewal and let’s see how things pan out” (Category #3 You will have to compete for the business again at renewal time). Again, if your clients have been with you for any length of time and you have a good relationship with them they will understand the situation. Reassure them that you will be in contact with them in the near future, but also thank them for their business and support over the years. It never hurts to reaffirm your gratitude for their business.

Place all your clients into one of the three categories. This will be important especially when we get to the first day with the new firm. On the first day with the new firm you will want to send out a press release to all your clients. Do you know their email fax and mailing address? If you have a company phone/PDA you may want to consider getting your own personal one and start inputting this information into your unit. You’ll need address information to send the clients a copy of the press release announcing your move to the new firm. Don’t forget, only load information into your personal PDA that would be available in the public domain or call the client to get the information. Do not get any of the information for your personal PDA from your client files. Ideally, if you get a personal email address from the client all the better, you now have a personal relationship with the client.

On the day you give notice one of two things will happen. You will be asked to coordinate the smooth transition of the client files to your new firm (This happens when the sun comes up in the west) or most likely you’ll be shown the door and asked to leave immediately and told your personal items will be sent to you. If you have worked from home and have transferred files to home at any point in time, this is an excellent time to raise the question as part of your resignation letter as to how your former employer would

like for you to handle these files. This puts them on notice that you have proprietary company information that you would like to return and you would like for them to give you
a response as to how this should be accomplished. A lot of times the company will tell you to just delete the information. Bottom line it makes it difficult for them to come back after you and say that you took proprietary information, if up front you tell them you have company files on your computer at home and how do they want to handle the return of the information.

On the last day with your old firm you will call all your client’s and tell them “Today is my last day at X firm. I start Monday morning with my new firm” This is a common courtesy to a valued client. Hopefully the client calls you Monday morning and you can go over and get the BOR on the account and continue life as usual with that client. If the client asks “I want to go with you”, your reply should be “I can’t ask for your business while employed with X. You have my cell phone number. If you call me Monday I’ll be free to discuss it then. Do not solicit their business or discuss moving their business while still working for your old employer.

On the first day at your new firm, your new employer will want to send out a press release announcing that you have moved to a new firm. This press release should issued to all the existing clientele of the firm in addition to your clients via email plus carriers, key contacts, etc. Within two days of that press release going out, if you haven’t heard from all your category #1 clients call them to see if they got the notice (It gives you a reason to call). At that time set an appointment to meet with them at the earliest possible date to get the BOR. Category #2 will now take between a week and 60 days to move this business over. These clients will need to be called, wined and dinned. But in the end a good portion should come over if the relationship is strong. Category #3 will come down to you being the good Broker you were in the first place to win the business the first time around.

If you won the business purely on price you will have to be competitive. If you won it based on service then develop a new marketing strategy based on the strengths of your
new firm. If you have serviced the business effectively and have done your job, you should have a competitive advantage over the other Brokers you’re competing with.

In summary, if you’re going to make a move it should be for all the right reasons, and should produce the best possible outcomes for you both mentally and financially. The best way to ensure that you’re move results in a maximum financial return with minimal liability is to have a solid plan to execute against. So let’s review, prior to termination client files and work product must be transferred to the client or the carrier, it belongs to them. After you have sent it, call them to confirm they received the information. If after you get to your new firm and you didn’t forward the files to the client, get it from the carrier. Don’t copy or email files, remember your employer’s property is your employers property. Don’t even take a pencil! At 30 days out start having conversations with your key accounts to get a feel for what category they will fall into. In the bag, I think so / 50/50, or you’ll have to compete for the business all over again. On the day you resign, prepare a resignation letter that includes verbiage that puts the company on notice that you have files on your personal computer at home and request instructions on how they would like you to deal with this. Before resigning call all your clients and advise them that it is your last day with your current employer. Give them your new employers name and make sure they have your cell phone number. Leave your office clean, neat and orderly for the next person who will use it. Leave it in move in condition. Don’t tell your support staff you’re leaving ahead of time or that you’ll take them with you. Just let them know that your new firm will recruit who you need. Tell your staff to look on Monster or Career Builder for an advertisement and if interested to apply for the position or call your new employer and apply for a job.

On your first day at your new employer send out a press release. If by the 2nd day you don’t hear from your “In the bag” category #1 group, start calling them and ask if they got the notice. They may have a spam blocker that may have prevented the notice from getting through. This will give you a chance to set that meeting to go get the BOR. Once you have all the “In the bag” “tied up”. Start focusing on the “I think so / 50/50”. Call them, go visit them, and push to get the BOR. The third group work hard to get them at renewal. Good luck, if done right this should create a mental and financial boost for you!

Real Estate Professional in the Palm of Your Hand

GETTING THE MOST FOR THE LEASE-TRACKING YOUR REAL ESTATE

If you own rentals and/or investment properties, you know that you have to keep track of your portfolio, maintenance profiles, property managers, and related financial matters. There are a multitude of programs for the Palm-Pilot system to keep up with lease dates, lease expirations, and rent due dates. They will let you know when to send late notices and how much the late fees are for each rental you have in your list. Most of these programs will also alert you when you have a lease that will expire within the next two months, this allows you to prepare a new lease contract or plan the repairs and marketing for the unit. They’ll even give you yearly totals spent on property management fees and maintenance fees, and bounce those amounts against your rents collected. This will give you an idea of how the property is performing. Some will even “conduit” to your computer when you HotSync, which allows you to create Excel spreadsheets for the data produced.

These programs will also store information associated with each individual property, such as who the handyman is for that property, warranty company contact information, insurance information, and tenant contact information. Most programs out there will allow you to log and track the Gross Scheduled Income (GSI), Gross Operating Income (GSO), Net Operating Income (NOI) and Cap Rates for each property in your portfolio.

A few programs that you might try, you’ll have to figure out which one is best for your current situation. There are many more, just search around on http://www.palmgear.com and you should be able to find exactly what you need for your own rental and leasing situation:

Rental Manager 2.16. This program is great for vacation rentals! Keeping up with availability, accounts receivable, reservations, reservations not confirmed, and dates of expiration.

Rentulator 1.01. Is a free program that allows you to enter the price of the house or condo and the percent you would like to earn, and the program will calculate the rent you would need to collect for that situation. You will need to calculate total debt service and other factors before punching them in, but the program will tell you what you need with the correct amounts plugged in.

LANDLORDING

Most properties in my portfolio I have property managers that collect rent and inspect the units. On those properties that I manage myself, when a tenant calls with a problem, all I have to do is decide whether it requires the warranty company, just a quick fix by a handyman, or if I’m in the area, I might just run by and take care of it myself. All the information is right in front of me, regardless of where I am at the time of the call.
From experience, I can predict that whenever my tenants call, I won’t be anywhere near my PC or file cabinet! Fortunately, with your Smartphone, you won’t ever have to go to your office to access your files again. Sounds nice, huh?

Have all your important files with you 24/7, 365 a year!

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

Some of these programs will track every aspect of the business of real
estate. Realtors and brokers can track their listings and when they expire
and even search the entire MLS (Multiple Listing Service) anytime –
anywhere. The program will remember lockbox codes and cross-reference them
to the address and location of the property.

You can also track real estate commissions, both gross and net. You can even
set goals for closing a certain number of sales per month, which you can
then compare to your actual closings at the end of each month. Export these
files to your favorite spreadsheet to print monthly and yearly charts of
your progression.

Now for a program that carries a monthly fee. Supra and eKey. Found at:
http://www.supraekey.com

If you are a state licensed practicing Real Estate Agent, you can subscribe
to a service that will give you access to your listings and the entire MLS.
This software allows your Smartphone to act as an electronic Key to give you
access to Supra Keyboxes placed on listings. If the Keybox is the electronic
iBox type, you can open the Keybox just by aiming your Smartphones IR
(infrared) port at the Keybox and tapping the send button.

The software expires at the end of each day, to update the software you must
either HotSync or eSync your Smartphone or tap on update in the menu, which
allows your Smartphone to go online using its’ wireless connection and it
will update the software. The default will automatically log on between 12am
and 6am and update your key for you. It automatically updates each night and
tells you who has shown the listing; date, time, name, office name and phone
number. (If you are in a location that doesn’t have a digital cellular
signal, the software will attempt to find a connection every 30 minutes
until it updates itself. You get the information you need delivered to you
without having to drive to the listing to collect business cards). By the
time you wake up, all codes, lockbox activity, and your MLS will be updated.
You will know how many other agents accessed and showed any of your
properties that you have listed. If someone at the office added a listing to
your MLS, it will now show up on your Smartphone.

Some of the old lockboxes require metal contacts to be slid into the shackle
to open the lockbox, AEII type. On these older units, the “supra unit” is
needed, because the unit has the metal contact key built into the case of
the unit. You just insert your eKey shell of the PDA into an AEII type
Keybox. Or for the newer Keyboxes, the iBox type, just point your Smartphone
at the iBox and hit the button. Always remember, iBoxes relock after 30
seconds!

You can easily change your own iBox codes by changing them on your handheld
and transmitting them to your lockbox when you arrive at the location.

Messaging: Associations and brokers now have a way to quickly and easily
communicate with their agents through a tool the agent uses on a daily
basis. Need to change the date or time of a meeting and get the word out
quickly? Messages appear on-screen. Basically, SMS, which stands for (small
message service).

If you were driving through a neighborhood and found the perfect home for
your client or yourself, wouldn’t it be nice to punch in some numbers and
have all the information for the property in the palm of your hand? And you
might possibly be able to obtain the lockbox codes right on the spot, and
view the property that minute. This is called productivity, either get in
it, or get ran over by it!

You can search your own listings by any of the following fields: area,
price, class, status, bedrooms, bathrooms, and up to three additional
customizable fields that you can set to what ever you like or think is
important.

There are many other services out there that will assist you in being one of
the Top sellers in your area. One service from http://www.homegain.com will SMS
text page comparisons to you when prices rise or fall in your farm area. It
used to be free, but now they charge a few dollars a month to monitor
certain areas. This service is also nice if you own property and would like
to know when to either refinance the property or maybe it’s time to sale
that property. Real Estate prices usually don’t move very fast unless we’re
in a crash of some kind, and then of course, their moving down rapidly. But
it’s still nice to know what your properties are doing without having to
research all of them each and every month. This way you get the reports, and
you can either go on with life, or look closer at the numbers for a
particular property and take whatever action you should.

CALCULATING YOUR POTENTIAL CASH FLOW

When I go out to inspect potential real estate investments, I enter all the notes for that particular property under that property’s name and address. Later at the hotel or on the spot, I can run the numbers with my HP-12C calculator (see below), and know if I’m looking at a positive or negative cash flow. Of course, you will want to take in the consideration of the potential appreciation for that area. Some negative cash flows are worth having if you will make your gain in appreciation. Sometimes a small negative can be welcome in the face of a large appreciation factor for an area. When I get back home, there is no confusion about which property had what features and cash flow. Another program that helps you compare properties is TriLoan, (see below), to see which property is the best investment. This program allows you to set four different loans or properties side-by-side for easy comparison. All in the palm of your hand.

REAL ESTATE CALCULATIONS

KK-12C, by KK Technologies Co., Ltd., is a great program that emulates the HP-12C calculator. It even looks like the calculator on the Palm screen. If you are currently using the HP-12C, then you won’t need to learn anything about this program; you’ll already know how to operate it.
The HP-12C is one of the most popular RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) financial calculators ever made – it’s been out for a long time and is still popular mainly in the Real Estate arena. I like the fact that I always have it with me wherever I go. There are quite a few options on the KK-12C that the normal calculator doesn’t offer. One nice feature is that all registers can be saved at any time with unlimited sessions. This is nice for viewing later.

Damaged, Dropped Or Broken Mobile Phone

You may have noticed that that there is a very wide range of mobile phone handsets available out there to suit all pockets and requirements. They start from as little as £30 – right up to the top-end Blackberry and PDA handsets costing many hundreds of pounds. Because the best and most desirable handsets are so expensive, it is usual not to buy them outright but rather to have them on a Contract for 12 or 18 months. Actually in the long run, this can actually work out a much cheaper way of phone ownership.

However, what would happen to your Contract mobile phone if it got damaged or lost ??

Do you think the shop would give you another one ?? Do you think the Contract would stop and you wouldn’t need to pay because you were without the use of the phone ?

If you do not have mobile phone insurance then you may be faced with a large bill to get the phone repaired (if possible) or to go out and have to buy a brand new one to replace it with.

Experience has shown that most phones fail in very similar ways – usually resulting in the phone being totally unusable.

CRACKED LCD: – this is usually caused by the phone being dropped or twisted (inside pocket etc)
WATER DAMAGE: – this is very common and can be caused by dropping the phone in a puddle, down the toilet or even into a pint of beer.

These types of fault are VERY COMMON and can be a nightmare if the phone is uninsured.

If the LCD becomes cracked,then depending on the make and model, the LCD display can theoretically be replaced. But some of the newer dual-sided displays are VERY EXPENSIVE to buy and, when the labour charge and VAT is added to the repair you can end up with a sizable bill.

If the phone is water damaged then this is most serious: You need a specialized insurance policy to cover this problem – as most will not cover LIQUID DAMAGE to the phone. (When the phone gets contaminated by liquid, it starts off a corrosion process to the Circuit Board and Electronic Surface Mount Components). Once the corrosion is present it is very unlikely that the mobile phone will operate correctly again. Although there are companies and methods to “clean” the corrosion, the service will not carry a warranty because it usually does not provide a lasting repair. The only solution is to replace the entire Circuit board – and this usually would write off the phone due to the high costs involved.

Remember accidents CAN and WILL happen, but with sensible precautions your mobile phone will offer you security, peace of mind and be your faithful friend !

Major Benefits of Searching Online for Cheap Car Insurance

Are you in the market for cheap UK car insurance? If so, then you should certainly consider shopping online rather than offline. Here are some of the main benefits:

1. Expense:

How much money would you spend telephoning car insurers all day, or driving your car from one insurance company to another insurance company? Needless to say, the price tag would be quite steep. Whether you are in the middle of a slow economy, or are on a shoestring budget, it’s always a plus when you can reduce the overall costs for your car. While cheap car cover will obviously reduce the total costs of owning a car, you can further decrease the costs by saving money on the actual search for cheap car cover. Spending a small fortune when searching for cheaper car insurance is certainly counterproductive.

2. Options:

Because searching online for insurance is faster, you will be able to compare and contrast more companies. And ultimately that will give you more options when it’s time to choose a particular insurer and policy. In this Information Age that we live in, choices can definitely improve our quality of life. The more choices you have, the more likely you will find the best policy for your needs and the best price available. The whole process is essentially a numbers game, so why not give you the best odds at finding the right policy?

3. Productivity:

By searching for car cover while online, you can perform other online tasks during the same session. This is much more challenging when you search offline for cheap UK car insurance. In fact, when searching online you could even alternate between your search for car cover and another task. This will ultimately save you time and make your day more productive.

4. Convenience:

With the Internet becoming increasingly accessible, using the Internet has simultaneously become more convenient. Today you do not even need a PC or wires to connect to the Internet, making it even more convenient to search for inexpensive car cover. So from virtually anywhere in the UK you can access companies that offer cheap car insurance. This process is much easier than telephoning car insurance companies, or visiting their offices.

5. Speed:

How much time does it take to start shopping online for cheap car insurance? Basically, you are ready after you connect to the Internet. In the past, that always meant using a PC or laptop. But today, you can use an array of gadgets such as cell phones and PDAs. Regardless of which tool you use to connect to the Internet, surfing the Web makes it easy to compare and contrast the premiums offered by different insurance companies. Few of us have time to spend half our days waiting in traffic and then waiting in queues. Those will not be problems if you surf online for inexpensive car cover.

Are you looking for cheap car cover? These 5 tips reveal why searching online is one of your best options. It’s quick, easy and effective. What more could you want in a tool?

The Protection of Phone Insurance

Phone insurance (or any form of gadget insurance cover) exists to try and cushion the financial blow should something unforeseen happen to your phone.

Real risks

That may sound like stating the obvious and perhaps you’re thinking that such situations are unlikely to arise.

If so – you’re perhaps mistaken!

Since the first portable computers and other electronic gadgets arrived around 35 years ago, they have been prone to a series of potential risks including:

– theft;
– loss;
– breakdown outside of manufacturer’s warranty;
– damage through various forms of accident.

Perhaps you think none of these things will ever happen to you. You may carry on thinking like that right up until about just after one of your valuable gadgets become subjected to one of the above circumstances – and that’s when you might wish you had some form of gadget or phone insurance!

The cover

As you may expect, the cover typically available may help protect you from some of the worst financial effects of the above disasters.

Of course, each individual insurance company will typically offer a different phone or gadget insurance product that brings with it different terms and conditions. It is normally a good idea to scrutinise these closely when you’re making a decision as to what cover may be suitable for you.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that the specific provisions of cover may depend upon the exact nature of the gadget you’re insuring.

Typically, gadget and phone insurance cover will comprise:

– global cover;
– theft (this may not apply if your phone or gadget has been left unattended);
– data contact list back-up;
– accidental damage which may also provide for damage due to liquids;
– the replacement of items within 48 hours of claim approval.

Special notes

A few factors that you may consider:

– loss protection may only apply to mobile phones and PDAs – iPhones may typically be excluded;
– you may find that laptop computers are not covered by breakdown outside of manufacturer’s warranty provisions;
– for theft from home premises, you may have to provide evidence that the theft arose from forced entry;
– in many if not all cases, your claim may need to be supported by a formal police crime report and number;
– an excess may apply in some cases.

Gadget protection insurance and peace of mind

No insurance can avoid the trauma and inconvenience that losing your gadget can bring. It is also important to note any insurance policy will be subject to policy limitations, exclusions, terms and conditions.

What it may do is:

– significantly reduce the financial impact on your finance;
– hopefully also reduce the inconvenience by virtue of the 48 hour replacement provisions.

These two things may be worth the price of the gadget and phone insurance premiums.

The Advantages of BlackBerry Insurance

It’s probably fair to say that BlackBerry insurance isn’t quite as exciting a subject as the BlackBerry itself.

Understandable as that may be, if your BlackBerry is stolen or damaged then you may suddenly wish that you had been a little more interested in the insurance side originally!

What types of insurance are available?

Some insurers offer specialized gadget insurance protection for a whole range of modern-day devices. That may cover things such as cameras, PDAs, laptops, iPhones and, of course, the BlackBerry.

What the insurance covers may vary depending upon the exact nature of the device you’re trying to insure.

Typically, for the BlackBerry, the gadget insurance cover will provide insurance for:

– theft;
– loss;
– accidental damage and;
– breakdown outside of manufacturer’s warranty period.

Are there any other benefits?

That depends upon the insurance provider you’re using but in some cases you may find:

– free data backup facilities;
– guaranteed replacement of the item after claim approval within typically 48 hours.

These sorts of additional benefits may prove very useful as a way of minimizing the logistical inconvenience of being without your BlackBerry.

What are the conditions of BlackBerry insurance?

All insurance policies have terms and conditions, exclusions and limitations that the potential purchaser would be well advised to read.

In the case of the BlackBerry, they may include an excess (an excess is the amount you have to pay in the event of making a successful claim), an obligation to inform the police in the case of theft, and not leaving your device unattended.

Some companies may insist that if left in your car, the BlackBerry is secured in the boot or other lockable compartment and out of sight. You may be required to show forced entry to the compartment concerned in the event of a claim for theft.

These may all be seen as common sense and not hugely demanding. Note that if the theft is from your home or any other premises, you once again may be obliged to confirm that the event involved a forced entry.

Is it value for money?

No third party can answer that question for you because it depends upon your expectations, lifestyle and financial situation.

PDA Insurance – 3 Sneaky Ways to Save Plenty of Money

I almost fell off my chair when my local mobile phone shop (I won’t name them!) quoted me an outrageous amount for my PDA insurance. It was about a third of my monthly tariff which to me didn’t seem right. I flat out refused to pay, and then forgot about it. That was a big mistake. I left my new Blackberry in the back of a can the following week and had to fork out a lot of money to replace. Please don’t be stupid like me! Check out my tips below:

PDA INSURANCE – TOP 3 TIPS

1. Go with an independent online company

At the time of writing this article, the best online PDA insurance company could save you between 20%-22% on the high street prices. And you know what, you get exactly the same cover. So why would you pay more if you don’t have to? You must be 100% sure that the company you are using are legitimate and FSA (Financial Service Authority) regulated as there are quite a few cowboys out there. As an absolute minimum, your cover should include the following:

Fraudulent calls – protect yourself against calls made by the thief!
International cover – When you lose your phone on holiday
Water damage – protect against dropping your phone in your pint!
Theft – Did you know that 1.3 million mobile phones were stolen in the UK last year?
Loss – many online companies do not offer this protection. its a must
Extended warranty
Accidental damage

Another important factor to be aware of is that many companies will not get a phone or the cash out to you immediately. As a bare minimum you should be looking at 48 hours.

2. Make sure you receive a ‘No Claims Bonus’

This is very important. The reputable and respectable companies out there on the internet actually offer a ‘no claims bonus’. This means that if you don’t make a claim within a certain period of time you will be rewarded. As a minimum you should be offered something like a free PDA battery after 12 months, and a free upgrade of an equivalent handset after 24 months. That’s pretty cool! And not something I expected when I started out my research. The high street providers definitely don’t offer this little PDA insurance bonus!

3. Try insuring with your bank

Who would have though in this day and age that a banks will actually offer you something for nothing. I spent a lot of time researching PDA insurance and one of the pleasant little surprises I discovered was that banks will insure your PDA for free. Not many people know this! If you bank with Lloyds TSB and have a premium account then you will be covered up to a certain monetary value. I think last time I checked it was £350. Please be aware though that you will have to fill out a mountain of paperwork, and probably wont have your money or new phone within the 48 hours offered by the independent insurance company (in point 1)

The independent insurance company I went with can be found at http://www.insureit.2u.co.uk. These guys are honestly the best, and most professional company I have seen online. And trust me I spent some time carrying out research! The good and reassuring news is thated they are back by Comparisure Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA Firm Reference no. 314346)

Electronics Insurance – Are Your Electronics and Computers Covered by Your Insurance?

There is a lot of misinformation today about consumer electronics and how it is treated by insurance companies. Most people I talk to think that if they have homeowners or renters insurance, their consumer electronics are covered.

But they usually find out that their assumptions aren’t true… at claims time.

Sure, some of the property is covered. But there are a bunch of limits and exclusions that will surprise you if you have a loss and file a claim.

Don’t wait until claim time to learn about this important coverage. Read this article carefully and make good decisions about your coverage.

Twenty years ago, consumer computer usage and ownership was not all that common. If you owned a cell phone, you carried it in a bag the size of a small purse. There were few home fax machines. Answering machines were pretty common, but voicemail was still on the horizon. Scanners were non-existent. Printers and copiers were huge and expensive, and you didn’t see them in most homes. If you were the rare person who had satellite TV, the dish was about eight feet across and sat out in the back yard. And Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and MP3 players had not been invented yet.

But today…

In our home we have:
o two desktop computers with monitors
o four laptop computers
o four printers
o one stand-alone fax machine
o one combination fax, scanner, copier
o three TVs
o two VCRs
o one digital video camera with tripod for our home recording studio
o one audio mixing board, one microphone, one amplifier, two external soundcards, and a 500GB hard drive, all for our home recording studio
o two DVD players
o two cell phones, one smartphone, each with voicemail
o one satellite TV system with a 24″ dish on the roof
o two Ipods

Your home may not have that amount of electronics, but then again, you might have more. The way that consumer electronics prices have tumbled over the years makes ownership much easier for more and more people.

But… is it covered? Does your homeowners or renters insurance cover your electronics?

We run three separate businesses out of our home. Most of our electronics are used in our businesses.

Do you have a home business? There are millions of home businesses… everything from home daycare to a service business to multilevel marketing businesses. Many times, those entrepreneurs own office electronics for their home business. Do you use your computers and other electronics for any kind of home business? Even if you’re answering office email on your home computer, it could be considered “business use.”

Are they covered by YOUR homeowners policy?

Are they covered if they are business-related?

What happens if your desktop or laptop computer is stolen, either from home or away from home? Is the theft covered by your homeowners insurance policy?

If you’re carrying your laptop through an airport anywhere in America, your laptop is at huge risk for theft. (See more below) What if your laptop is stolen while you’re in the airport?

Here is the answer to those questions…

MAYBE!!

In the Homeowners or Renters Policy, Coverage C, Contents, there are special limits of $2,500 for “property, on the residence premises, used primarily for business purposes.” The policy says there is a $500 limit for “property away from the residence premises used primarily for business purposes.” Of course, you will have a deductible to pay first, so if your deductible is $500 or more, you won’t get ANY money from the insurance company for this loss.

Are your personal electronics covered? Yes, but only for the following perils:

o Fire or lightning
o Windstorm or Hail
o Explosion
o Riot or Civil Commotion
o Aircraft (not in aircraft, but if aircraft fall on your stuff.)
o Vehicles (not in vehicles, but if vehicles crash into your stuff.)
o Smoke
o Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
o Theft
o Falling Objects (stuff falling onto your stuff)
o Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet
o Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water or Steam
o Sudden and Accidental Tearing Apart or Bursting (of a steam or hot water system).
o Freezing
o Sudden and Accidental Damage from an Artificially Generated Electrical Current
o Volcanic Eruption

As I said above, the policy limit for business electronics at the residence is $2,500.

If your laptop or other portable electronics are stolen from your car, there is no coverage under your Auto insurance for the theft.

Also remember, that under Coverage C, Contents, payment is made on an Actual Cash Value basis, not Replacement Cost Value. The only way to get RCV is to add the Contents Replacement Cost endorsement to your policy. It’s not automatic, you have to request it.

How about other kinds of damage that your computer might sustain?

o Accidental damage, such as dropped equipment, falls, liquid spills and auto collisions.
o Water damage

Those kinds of damages are not covered under your homeowners or renters policy.

And what about the software and sensitive data in your computer? Is that covered, too?

Not likely. In the Homeowners and Renters policies, under the “Property Not Covered” section, “business data, including data stored in computers and related equipment” is not covered.

So, to be fully covered, you’ll need to buy some additional coverage.

COMPUTER AND PERSONAL ELECTRONICS INSURANCE

The leading company in the world for computer and portable electronics insurance is Safeware Insurance. They have programs for students, individuals, small and large businesses and schools at very competitive rates.

Let me take a few minutes and tell you about their outstanding insurance product.

If you own:

o Desktop or Laptop Computers
o Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
o Smartphones
o Digital cameras
o MP3 players
o Scanners/Faxes/Copiers
o Printers
o DVD players
o Flash drives
o Servers
o External hard drives
o Digital camcorders
o Peripherals that connect to your computers through an USB port, Firewire, PCMCIA or another input

All of these electronic products need special insurance coverage not provided in Homeowners or Renters policies.

Did you know these facts about computers?

o Accidental damage is the number one cause of loss
o Theft is number two cause of loss
o Power surge is number three
o Manufacturer warranties do not protect your computer from accidental damage or theft
o Even though some manufacturers do offer special “damage only” coverage, they do not offer coverage for theft, power surges, natural disasters or vandalism.

You already know how easy it is to have electronics with replacement value in excess of $2,500. There are loaded desktops and laptops that easily exceed $2,500 EACH.

So, you have some choices:

1. Call your agent and buy a Personal Property Endorsement to add coverage to your homeowners or renters policy. Downsides to this choice are (a) many endorsements only pay the Actual Cash Value of the damaged property, not replacement cost, and (b) perils like Accidental Damage, Drops, Falls, Cracked Screens, Liquid Spills and Auto Collisions are not covered.

2. Buy a custom policy that just adds special coverage for your computers and other electronics, like:

o Desktops
o Laptops and notebooks
o Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
o Smartphones
o Digital cameras
o MP3 players
o Scanners/Faxes/Copiers
o Printers
o DVD players
o Flash drives
o Servers
o External hard drives
o Digital camcorders
o Peripherals that connect to your computers through an USB port, Firewire, PCMCIA or another input

Safeware’s policies cover Accidental Damage, Drops, Falls, Cracked Screens, Liquid Spills and Auto Collisions.

Business Electronics

In May 2006, burglars stole a laptop from the home of a data analyst at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The laptop contained the sensitive personal information of over 26 million veterans and military personnel. The FBI said that the laptop was recovered after an informant “snitched,” motivated by a $50,000 reward.

But it’s not just organizations that deal with consumer data that are concerned about thefts. Companies whose employees have laptops are naturally concerned with the value of the computer when it is the company that owns the laptop.

The Ponemon Institute, a privacy risk management think tank, released an extensive study in June 2008 entitled “Airport Insecurity: The Case of Missing and Lost Laptops.” They studied laptop security at 106 American airports and found that there is an average of 12,000 laptops lost, missing or stolen at American airports PER WEEK! The airport with the worst record is Los Angeles International, with about 1,200 per week. The nation’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield, was in eighth place with 450 per week.

Further, the study found that only 33% of the laptops within the airport’s Lost and Found Departments are ever reclaimed! That means that the remaining 67% of unclaimed laptops are either sold or disposed of by airport authorities. Can you imagine the amount of sensitive personal and business data contained in those laptops? No one knows what happens to that data, but it is ALL at risk. The Identity Theft risks are astronomical.

Safeware’s policy covers business electronics for the hazards the homeowners, renters or business insurance policy does not cover.

Education Coverage

Students face a higher risk of damage or theft than a normal adult user. Students can experience accidents when they’re putting their stuff into their locker, or accidentally get bumped in a busy hallway, or when they’re running to the bus. A soft drink could be spilled on the keyboard, or they could sit their laptop bag down somewhere and later find it missing.

This policy protects students’ computers against Accidental Damage, Theft, Vandalism, Power Surge, and Natural Disasters at any location within the USA, Canada and while in transit.

Small Business Coverage is for any sized business with electronics property values up to $49,999, covering Accidental Damage, Theft, Fire, Vandalism, Power Surge and Natural Disasters.

Commercial Coverage is a group plan for organizations that have electronics property values in excess of $50,000. Coverage can be one of the following: Comprehensive (Accidental Damage, Theft, Fire, Vandalism, Power Surge, and Natural Disasters); Theft ONLY, or Accidental Damage ONLY.

The Commercial policy can benefit organizations such as:

o Schools and colleges that want to make their student’s notebook computers more safe and less at risk.
o Corporations issuing notebooks and laptops to their workers, and wishing to minimize their risk of capital loss.

In these organizations, the equipment is owned by the corporation or school and used by the employee or student. Experience has shown that if an individual does not own the computer, he or she is likely to take less care of the item than if they owned it themselves. Schools and businesses need to insure their equipment against the perils that could turn their expensive equipment into unusable junk.

Safeware Insurance policies do not depreciate for age and condition of your electronics. If you have a claim that requires replacement of your equipment, they pay for like kind and quality of the equipment you had. That’s a HUGE difference from the Homeowners and Renters policies, and could mean thousands more dollars to you in a claim.

Worldwide Coverage is an endorsement that adds global coverage to your policy for a very low price. Standard coverage is for the USA, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Mobile Advantage insures PDAs and smartphones. You likely purchased your unit at a big discount when you signed up for a service plan. If your device is damaged or stolen, you’ll have to pay full retail for another unit. However, with Mobile Advantage, you’re only responsible for the $50 deductible per incident to get a brand new device.

For more information about Personal Electronics Insurance for your student, yourself, your business or your school, contact Safeware Insurance at: safeware.com

LAPTOP RECOVERY COVERAGE

Can you get your stolen laptop back?

There is a way that you can protect your laptop, and then retrieve your laptop after it’s been stolen.

Three burglary suspects were arrested on February 1, 2008 by Albuquerque police, thanks to a stolen computer loaded with tracking software. The software is called LoJack for Laptops(TM), developed by Absolute Software. The tracking software told the police exactly where to find the suspects. The police were also able to recover thousands of dollars in other stolen property at the location.

Absolute Software is the leader in Computer Theft Recovery, Data Protection and Secure Asset Tracking(TM) solutions. It works this way: You install the LoJack for Laptops(TM) software and register it at the LoJack website. If the laptop is stolen, you notify your local police and notify the LoJack Recovery Team. The next time your computer is connected to the Internet, the laptop secretly notifies the Monitoring Center of its whereabouts. The Recovery Team can track its location, and provide police with the information they will need to get a search warrant and recover your laptop.

Pricing for LoJack for Laptops(TM) starts at only $39.99 per year.

My friend here in Atlanta, Cole Harrison, had his laptop stolen from his car recently. He had the Lojack system on the laptop, and notified them immediately when he discovered the theft. Lojack located the laptop the next day… in Thailand.

If you want protect your laptop so you can get it back after it’s been stolen, contact Lojack for Laptops at: www.lojackforlaptops.com Lojack boasts a 90% recovery rate for stolen laptops.