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The Stat


The number of taxpayers expected to file income-tax returns via the Internet this year: 54 Million. That's 7 million more than last year.

Data: Internal Revenue Service Talk of war and fear of terrorism are prompting more vacationers to buy travel insurance. In fact, since September 11, about 20% of the traveling public has been purchasing such coverage, up from 10%, says Jim Grace, president of InsureMyTrip.com.

But these policies will not pay off just because you're too scared to go, unless, perhaps, the U.S. State Dept. issues a Travel Warning about your destination country. Or suppose you wanted to ditch your plans to visit Bali now that terrorists have struck there. Insurers generally would have compensated you if you were to be in Bali within 10 to 30 days after the attack, but not for a tour scheduled any later.

While insurance companies may not pay the fearful traveler, some tour operators and cruise lines are becoming more accommodating in allowing you to reschedule your trip. So ask when booking. The main reason to buy insurance, which costs about 6% of the trip's cost, is to get your money back if you cancel because of illness, accident, or weather. On those counts, the policies won't disappoint. Jabra takes up the slack in a redesign of its classic EarSet for cell phones. The EarSet WindUp has a built-in, spring-loaded winder to keep the cord untangled and taut between you and your phone. As in the original, there's no boom mike: It's hidden in the earpiece. The new version lists for $40. Welcome to the Broadband Bazaar. When BellSouth (BLS) began promoting its high-speed digital subscriber lines, a guy we know who uses Time Warner Cable's home-office cable TV and broadband Internet service wondered if TWC would cut its $79.95 monthly rate if he mentioned BellSouth's DSL offer of $75 a month, plus a one-month cash-back rebate. Bingo--TWC lowered the monthly charge for his business cable TV and the broadband service by $22.82, with taxes. It never hurts to ask.


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