Go ‘Back to School’ with Education and Information from TDCIDivisions Offer Tips, Information as the School Year Begins
NASHVILLE – With a new school year getting underway this week for residents of the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is reminding consumers that education doesn’t stop in the classroom. TDCI’s divisions are offering consumers tips and reminders to help ensure your back-to-school season is safe and scam-free.
“The hustle and bustle of going back to school can leave little time for anything else,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We’re encouraging consumers to pause for a moment and refresh their memories with consumer tips that could give peace of mind and save money before sending their children off to school.”
TDCI’s divisions are sharing the following tips and information ahead of the back-to-school season:
Consumer Affairs: Identity Theft
- Check your credit report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act mandates that each of the major credit bureaus supply consumers with a free copy of their credit report each year. Get your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Don’t reuse passwords. As tempting as it may be to reuse passwords, it’s a really good practice to use a different password for every account you access online. By keeping unique passwords for every account, thieves will not be able to access your checking, brokerage and email accounts if they discover one of your passwords.
- Don’t put private information on public computers. If you’re away from home, make sure don’t save private information on a computer used by the public.
- Unfortunately, sometimes identity theft occurs. If you discover that you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you should immediately notify credit bureaus and creditors. Keep a log of all conversations you have about your identity theft. Confirm conversations in writing, send correspondence by certified mail and keep copies of all letters and documents.
Fire Prevention: Updated School Safety Measures
- The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office recently announced new guidance for classroom safety. Additionally, Tennessee recently adopted the National Fire Protection Association’s 2018 Life Safety Code rules for classroom safety measures. These enhancements give educators and administrators additional resources to help protect students in the event of an emergency.
Insurance: Car & Renters Insurance for College Students
- When adding a teen driver to your policy, consider revising coverage and deductibles. Review your current deductibles to determine whether you can afford to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the event of an accident. Raising the deductible and allowing the teen to drive your oldest vehicle can help lower costs.
- Regularly review your auto insurance policy to make sure the basis for your premium is as accurate as possible. A teen graduating high school or reaching age 18 can affect your premium.
- Teens moving into an apartment or rental home for college should consider and understand renters insurance coverage. Renters policies protect personal possessions in the event of an emergency. These policies are usually inexpensive and can even cover living expenses if your rental is deemed uninhabitable due to damage.
Motor Vehicle Commission: Buying a Car
- Before going to a dealership, decide what you can afford. Don’t forget to factor in insurance, parking, gas, and maintenance costs.
- Check into financing before choosing a car. Ask about financing terms, the number of months, down payments options, interest rates, and financing charges.
- Ensure your car dealer is properly licensed by checking verify.tn.gov.
- Review the purchase contract carefully. Make sure all agreed upon repairs and warranties are written on the purchase contract before you sign. Never sign a blank, incomplete, or unclear contract or buyers guide.
Securities: Financial Priorities for the New School Year
- Regardless of your age or life situation, it is wise to create a financial plan. These plans help know your present situation and where you want to go when it comes to saving money for the future.
- Before purchasing an investment, do your homework. Research all aspects of the company, and ensure your broker is properly licensed by checking finra.org.
- Monitor your bank accounts, investments, and financial plan closely. As life changes, so do your financial needs and plans. Doing a quarterly or bi-annual check of your financial portfolio is a great way to ensure your profile is up-to-date.