Why Life Insurance Makes Sense, Even for Retirees

Many people believe there is no reason to continue carrying life insurance later in life, but there are reasons to keep a policy alive even in retirement.

You are still caring for a child. Some children have greater needs than others, even in adulthood. Maybe the child is disabled; maybe he or she wants to return to school. If your child or grandchild needs support, you may want to consider coverage that is sufficient to pay for those expenses.

You are still working. Many retirees continue to work part-time during retirement. Others stop working, then get bored, take a part-time job, and come to rely on that income. If you fall into one of these situations (or think you could), you may want to protect your loved ones from the loss of that part-time income if you die.

You are in debt. If you are still paying off loans (from mortgages, credit cards, or failed business ventures, for example), you may want to consider a term life insurance policy that will cover the period until the loans are paid off. Be sure you have just enough coverage to eliminate your debt.

You are leaving a charitable legacy. Some people buy life insurance for the purpose of leaving a charitable legacy. For example, instead of making small annual donations to your college, you might buy a significant life insurance policy with the equivalent of those annual donations and make the charity the beneficiary.

You are estate planning. Proceeds from a life insurance policy can be an immediate source of cash for your heirs. That’s important because it allows them to settle your funeral expenses and pay any estate taxes due without having to sell assets, such as property.

We can help you determine if you need life insurance. Please reach out to us today to discuss your option.

Make Sure You’re Prepared for Travel When the Time Is Right

Americans love to travel. Most have family scattered throughout the US and abroad. The pandemic has cramped vacation plans, unfortunately. From cruises to flying, travelers are taking a cautious approach, while airlines are updating their safety policies.

With this increased focus on safety, when is the time right to plan again? First, watch for the State Department to lift its warning against international travel. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will post an “all clear” when the State Department lifts its coronavirus restrictions.

For your safety, consider masks and other protective equipment, such as gloves and antibacterial lotions. Travel insurance will be another important element in travel safety. Some policies let you cancel for any reason, while others are more restrictive. Viral outbreaks are typically not a reason for travel cancellation, according to travel experts. However, many other problems can cause you to cancel: for example, your illness, bad weather, or terrorism.

Buying travel insurance online is risky. You rarely see the policy and its exclusions before you buy. Working with a licensed travel insurance agent will help you buy travel insurance that fits your needs and helps you understand coverage limitations. For example, travel insurance usually includes medical care and evacuation or repatriation in emergency scenarios. Most travel policies offer helpline advisors who can find a healthcare provider if you’re abroad.

Dollar for dollar, travel insurance is the best investment you can make to safeguard your trip and your health. Contact us for information before you plan that next trip, whether stateside or abroad.

The Growing Use of Smart Thermometers and Other Smart Devices

From watches to thermometers, more Americans are turning to smart devices to improve their health. Smart infusion pumps can deliver medication to you or your loved ones. Features we love in our smart phones we may embrace more readily in our search for solutions to issues such as weight loss, heart monitoring, or blood sugar management. What are the pros and cons of these smart devices?

On the upside, smart thermometers that send your temperature to a national database can alert doctors to an early flu season. You can also share your medical history with your primary care physician. One recent study found smart thermometers can offer insight into flu trends three weeks in advance of the traditional in-office temperature check that might indicate you have the flu.

In 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first pump that could read blood glucose and, from that reading, adjust the insulin dose in type 1 diabetics. Specialists hailed this first pump as “an artificial pancreas.” However, doctors warn patients not to rely too heavily on the pump. User intervention is still critical in insulin management.

Even medical devices such as smart watches have downsides. From data breaches to device overreliance, many Americans believe smart devices need more safeguards. As one of the agencies that approves and oversees smart devices, the FDA struggles to keep up with smart device innovation. Europe has a faster approval process, so many medical designers seek approval there first.

Would you wear a smart device to check or enhance your health? How comfortable are you with the privacy aspect? Is your primary care physician equipped to help check the data when needed? Consider some of these questions when adopting a smart medical device as part of your health routine.

Types of Insurance Your Contractors Should Have

When you and your company embark on a building project, you work to get the best quality you can afford: an architect with a reputation for excellence, materials that will stand the test of time, and, ideally, a contractor that is fully insured and can take point on any issues that arise on the jobsite. While some contractors promise good work on the cheap, the minute something goes awry, you will be left holding the bag. That’s why you need a contractor with the right insurance because it’s not just a sign of quality, it’s a down payment on your peace of mind.

General liability insurance. When something goes wrong on the jobsite or related to the job that lies within the scope of the contractor’s work, general liability insurance saves the day. From construction defects leading to harm to any other occurrence, even the bizarre, such as a wrench falling on a passerby’s head, this type of insurance will come into play in order to pay the bills created by the contractor’s actions or lack thereof. Should any adverse incident occur, this type of insurance will also cover any court judgments and medical or funeral expenses that emanate from an occurrence related to your project.

General liability insurance will also cover job completion. Thus, if a contractor fails to meet the deadline or does work that was not contemplated in the plan, the insurance policy will cover the cost of fixing the mistake. Given the number of incidents that can occur, you should insist that any contractor you hire carries a quality general liability insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation insurance. Jobsites are dangerous places, even when the most stringent precautions are taken. Employees can be trained in safety procedures, and signs can be placed reminding all workers of the dangers they encounter on a daily basis, but workplace-related accidents can and do occur despite prior preparation. Workers’ compensation insurance ensures that bills arising from a workplace-related accident are able to be paid by the insurance company instead of impacting your bottom line. Verifying a potential contractor’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage is an important step toward protecting the investment you’re making.

Both of these types of insurance go hand in hand with a valid contractor’s license, and a contractor wanting to work on your project without one or the other, or both, should be an immediate red flag. In some cases, your own insurance policy on a property may refuse to pay an otherwise valid claim if you do not hire a contractor who is licensed and carries insurance. Some may want to skirt the cost of hiring a more expensive contractor, but paying for cheap work in the short term often carries hefty long-term consequences.

If you’re considering engaging a contractor for a commercial building or construction project, the more information you have before you sign on the dotted line, the more informed you’ll be. Contact our office for professional input on the types of insurance your contractor should carry. We’re happy to help.

The Ins and Outs of Cyber Liability Insurance

When considering types of insurance to buy, many people gloss over an important type of insurance for their businesses: cyber liability. While some may think a slip and fall or other workplace accident is the most likely reason they need insurance coverage, cybercrimes and data breaches are becoming increasingly common workplace “accidents” that require insurance as well. Below are two types of cyber liability insurance that every business should consider obtaining before they’re the victim of a cyberattack.

First-party coverage. When hackers strike your secure server and wipe out business records and other crucial online documents, there is a real cost to that. Coupled with the cost of informing your customers, purchasing equipment, upgrading software, and engaging information technology professionals, there is the likelihood of a substantial financial loss. First-party coverage pays for damages directly suffered by your business.

Third-party coverage. A cyber breach can impact your clients and partners in ways not foretold. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to litigation or other claims for damages from others, which can take a larger toll than the breach itself. Third-party coverage helps ensure that you have a policy in place to cover others’ losses as a result of a data breach impacting your business.

Let us help you review your cyber liability policy in order to make sure you have the coverage you need to safeguard the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

Protect Your Home with These Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

With summer in full swing, we think about the joys of warm weather and BBQs but not always about the possibility of home fires, which can cause severe damage. Below are just a few fire safety and prevention tips that can keep your home and family safe to help ensure the worst never happens.

Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Few preventative methods are as effective as battery-powered smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at alerting you to a true emergency. For the hearing impaired, alarms with bright flashing lights are a necessary purchase.

Have a fire extinguisher at the ready. Most fires that occur in homes do not start out as five-alarm blazes. From kitchen fires to mishaps in the garage, having a fire extinguisher nearby can mean the difference between a burnt stovetop or workspace and the loss of your home and property.

Invest in a home fire sprinkler system. For fires that accelerate quickly, a home fire sprinkler system can quickly spring into action and douse the affected areas with water in order to control the spread of the fire and protect your loved ones.

Check your home for fire hazards. Oftentimes, simply checking your home for fire hazards makes a crucial difference in the likelihood of a fire occurring. Old or frayed cords, extension cords that are overloaded, decaying or corroded batteries, and other hazards are easy to take care of before they cause a fire in your home.

Make sure your family has a fire preparedness plan. Speak to your children about fire safety, plan ways to exit rooms, and determine a meeting place outside your home should a fire occur.

When thinking about how to protect your home from a fire and the lengthy recovery process, reach out to our office so you can be sure you have the best insurance coverage possible and have covered all your bases so that you and your family are fire ready.

4 Reasons You Should Only Hire Insured Contractors

Any home project job site can become a place of danger that can harm you, the contractor, or any other people working onsite. Here are four reasons why you should only hire insured contractors.

Damage liabilities. When job-related damages arise, uninsured contractors may not be able to foot the bill. This leaves you with the double headache of solving the underlying problem and seeking to collect from a contractor or other responsible party. Working with an insured contractor ensures that there will be an insurance company that is able to cover the damage up to the limits of the policy, giving you peace of mind.

Contractor responsibility. When evaluating contractors, it is difficult to make a true determination of a contractor’s level of responsiveness and responsibility toward clients and their obligations. While a person can rely on online reviews, a contractor who is licensed and insured demonstrates that the person and his or her employees take their obligations seriously.

Property value. Working with an uninsured contractor may impact the value of your property. If the work was not up to code, you will have to disclose that information to potential buyers.

Correcting errors. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning contractors can make mistakes that end up costing you down the line. An insured contractor will be more likely to fix their mistake or at least have the funds to enable you to fix it.

If you have an upcoming home project, call us so we can walk you through the types of insurance contractors should have to make sure you are protected.