What Types of Home Insurance Do You Need?

In most typical homeowners insurance policies, there are a few items of standard coverage that help ensure that losses are mitigated. Below are the types of coverage you can expect to see in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

Dwelling: This type of coverage is for the structure of the home, from roof to floors and ceilings to walls. Dwelling coverage provides the peace of mind that you have protection up to the limit of your individual policy when natural disasters, theft, and other incidents occur.

Contents: This coverage ensures that your valuables at home are replaced in the event of a covered loss, so that you don’t have to worry about your furniture, clothing, electronics, and other items that fall under this policy.

Personal liability: Accidents can happen in your home, but luckily, insurance can help cover injuries to an invited guest in your home. Additionally, if property damage occurs, your policy may cover it if it happens as a result of a qualifying accident.

Understandably, there are unique situations that call for additional coverage, depending on your circumstances, which every homeowner should take into account. Residents in areas with high amounts of rainfall might consider flood insurance, depending on the likelihood and severity of floods, while those in areas with earthquakes should consider appropriate coverage. Additionally, homeowners who want updated replacements of damaged items might consider replacement coverage that provides for new items, as most insurance policies will only cover the value of items when they were damaged, not their original price.

No matter your home insurance needs, we’re here to help determine and customize homeowner’s insurance coverage that is right for you. No two homeowners are the same, so contact us today to get the policy that will offer you maximum protection.

4 Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums always seem to be on the rise. For some, that’s unavoidable. However, for many, there are a few easy ways to reduce auto insurance premiums.

Utilize the same insurance company: Unlike the stock market, diversification does not usually lower your insurance costs. Being a loyal customer of one insurance company for several insurance products (home, auto, life) can help bring down total costs.

Reduce your driving distance and risks: Auto insurance companies make some of their decisions about premiums based on the amount of time you spend on the road and your driving history. If you can reduce your time on the road and any negative marks on your driving record, you’ll probably see a clearer path toward reduced premiums.

Choose your vehicle wisely: It’s no secret that an expensive hot-rod sports car will be more expensive to insure and, to some, may be more likely to be involved in a crash. Doing a little bit of research about the vehicle you plan to purchase on websites like www.kbb.com and www.edmunds.com or exchanging your vehicle for a safer one could go a long way toward reducing your auto insurance payments.

Ask your insurance agent: Many drivers are unaware there are discounts based on safe driving, age, professions (such as teaching and military service), and other factors that can help bring their premiums down. Asking your insurance agent will help ensure that you’re getting every discount you can to reduce your auto insurance premium.

If you want to see where you can save on your policy, give us a call.

Have You Outgrown Your Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance can be invaluable, but it is easy to forget you have it, since you do not use it until a tragedy occurs. Is your policy, which you may have purchased years or even decades ago, still meeting your needs? If you do not know, it may be a good time to reevaluate your policy and make changes if necessary.

Life insurance is particularly important as we get older. We get married, we buy cars and homes, we have children, and we save for college. And we want to take care of our families if an accident or illness prevents us from giving them the financial support to which they have become accustomed.

But then our lives continue. Our children grow up, and we pay off our mortgages, we accumulate nest eggs, and we retire. And as we pass through those life stages, we still have the same life insurance policies. What should we do?

You may be tempted to let your policy lapse at this life stage. After all, the money you allocate to paying premiums could be used in other ways: to pay down debt, add to your nest egg, or invest in long-term care insurance, for example. But that may not be wise because life insurance can be useful throughout all life stages. Just because your children are grown, you have paid off your mortgage, or you are retired does not mean life insurance serves no purpose. Your loved ones could be affected by your death in myriad ways.

Ask yourself how the money from your life insurance might assist your loved ones if you pass away. You will likely come up with many ways, making it worth keeping your policy in effect.

Want to review your life insurance policy and see if changes are necessary? Please reach out to us. We would be happy to help.

Do You Need Supplemental Disability Insurance?

The Social Security Administration says disability will affect about one in four US workers at some time during their working years. Disability mostly impacts workers who perform manual labor. However, research shows that it strikes 10% of white-collar workers. If you cannot perform all or part of your job because you become disabled and your employer provides disability coverage, that coverage will replace some of your lost income. However, for most people, it’s not enough.

Short-term disability insurance begins on day eight of disability and provides coverage for up to six months. However, most employers don’t provide short-term coverage. Long-term coverage begins six months after disability occurs and lasts until age 65.

Your group plan may cover 60% or less of your income. Because disability insurance is taxable, you actually receive even less, maybe as little as 40% of your income. Certain events can affect your group disability coverage, such as changing from full-time to part-time and, of course, changing jobs.

Consider supplementing your employer’s disability insurance with a private disability policy. This could increase your coverage to 70% or 80% of your income. Here are three other benefits of supplementing your disability coverage:

  1. Most employer disability plans have a coverage limit (often two years). You choose how long your private supplement will cover you.
  2. The income from a supplemental disability policy is not tax-deductible.
  3. You may receive Social Security disability payments if you cannot work at all. These payments will reduce your employer disability payments. However, they will not reduce your private disability payments.

Financial experts believe that disability insurance may be the most important insurance coverage because it ensures you can cover basic living costs.

We can help you decide if you need additional short- or long-term disability insurance and help you find the right policy for your needs.

Preventive Services Available Under the Affordable Care Act

Preventive medical services focus on keeping you healthy. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers 63 preventive services, all of which are covered before meeting your deductible and without copayment. Depending on your age or gender, these services are available to you.

For adults, some covered services include the following:
Alcohol screening and counseling
Blood pressure checks
Cholesterol checks
Colorectal cancer screening in adults over 50
Depression screening
Type 2 diabetes screening for any adult with high blood pressure
Diet counseling for adults with risk of chronic disease
Immunizations, including Hepatitis A and B, herpes, influenza, measles, mumps, pneumonia, tetanus, and more
Obesity screening and counseling

For women, here are some preventive services:
Breast cancer genetic test counseling (BRCA)
Breastfeeding support and counseling
Cervical cancer screening
Osteoporosis in women over 60
Well-woman examinations

Finally, here are some preventive services offered for children:
Behavioral assessments
Depression in adolescents
Lipid disorder screenings
Hearing screening
Height, weight, and body mass indexes
Immunizations, including tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and more
Vision screenings

Preventive services can keep you and your family healthier. In addition, if you catch medical problems before they become more severe, preventive services can greatly decrease your healthcare spending.

Understanding Professional Liability Insurance

Some business owners believe standard insurance policies they have obtained will protect them from claims arising during the course of doing business. However, standard business insurance policies often do not protect professionals or professional services from claims against the professionals or the businesses for negligence, inaccurate advice, misrepresentation, and other serious allegations. This is where professional liability insurance comes in. It protects against these claims in a way a standard business insurance policy does not. In some states, professional liability insurance may be required by law, by a board of bar examiners for attorneys, or by other professional societies. However, even when professional liability insurance is not required by law, it is likely a good idea for a multitude of professionals.

Who needs to have professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance is a must for those who provide professional services. For example, accountants, architects, doctors, lawyers, consultants, realtors, engineers, and information technology professionals are just a few of those who should acquire professional liability insurance. In today’s litigious culture, a professional liability insurance policy can make the difference between salvation and ruin. A good rule of thumb is if you can be sued for the advice you provide, you should obtain professional liability insurance.

What does professional liability insurance cover, and what is not in the policy?

Professional liability insurance usually covers any judgments against you, settlements, professional board penalties, and legal defense fees associated with claims arising from your professional services. Aside from your deductible, professional liability insurance will cover you up to the limits of your policy. Thus, the amount of money any professional services business needs will be highly dependent on the services provided and the potential for negative consequences.

There are also two types of professional liability insurance policies to consider.

One is claims-based, which requires you to have been insured both when the claimed event occurred and when the claim is filed. For example, if a negligence claim occurs today, you need to have professional liability insurance covering you today for the claim that occurred today.

Another is classified as occurrence, which covers any event that occurs during the period of insurance, even if the claim is filed after the insurance policy expires. For example, if an accident happened last year, coverage for that year would protect you even if you do not have any active insurance coverage this year.

It is important to note that coverage will not apply to acts that are deemed to be dishonest or that occur with intent to defraud. Occurrence-based insurance is particularly compelling for those who plan to retire in the foreseeable future, as it takes the burden of worry off any lingering incidents that may come back to bite a business owner.

A lifetime’s worth of work can go down the financial drain due to just one claim. Work with us today to help determine the best type of professional liability insurance for you and your business in order to protect your years of hard work

What Is Not Covered by a Business Owners Policy?

You may believe a standard insurance policy will cover any eventuality that occurs in your business. For many issues, such as dwelling, liability, and business interruption issues, you are likely right. However, there are a myriad of other circumstances under which a standard business owners policy does not provide coverage. Below are a few examples of incidences for which a business owner might seek additional coverage.

Car accidents: If employees are driving on the job, a business owner might wish to obtain a separate auto insurance policy to ensure that every vehicular eventuality is covered.

Professional liability: For professions such as medicine, law, and other professional services that can be subject to malpractice suits, separate malpractice insurance is often a must for business owners. This specialized coverage is often essential to the survival of many professional services businesses.

Workers’ compensation: Any business can have an on-the-job accident, and workers’ compensation is the employee’s remedy for lost wages and medical bills. Businesses should consider ensuring they are covered beyond legal minimums so their out-of-pocket deductibles are not debilitating to business operations.

Health and disability: Business health and disability insurance must usually be negotiated separately and is based on a variety of factors.

Given the rise of specialized businesses, it may be folly for a business owner to assume a standard policy will do. Contact us today to help you determine the risks to your business and pick the right insurance policy for you.