Are You Keeping Your New Gifts Safe and Insured?

Valentine’s Day often means flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner at home or out on the town. It also sometimes means the purchase of expensive jewelry, electronics or other items. Here are five tips to keep those new gifts protected.

Don’t store gifts in a car. If your car is broken into, your insurance may cover the damage to your car but not the loss of the gifts inside. Once you are home, bring the gifts inside right away. Don’t leave them in your car.

If you must store gifts in the car, be safe. Store your gifts out of sight in the trunk or glove box, not under coats or blankets. That’s an invitation for thieves to break into your car. If you have multiple shopping stops, move your car multiple times. Thieves keep an eye out for shoppers who drop off items and go back into the mall.

Your home should always look occupied. Around holidays like Valentine’s Day, when there is a lot of shopping happening, thieves will target empty homes and break in and look for gifts and boxes from stores.

Keep receipts and get appraisals. If the value of an item is disputable, it can’t be properly insured. Receipts and appraisals prove value. If you buy art, collectibles or jewelry, make sure you don’t skip the important step of getting an appraisal.

Expand your insurance coverage. As soon as you buy an expensive item, call us to expand your coverage and make sure your new gifts are safe with the option that is right for you.

True or False: Insurance Is Cheaper for Leased Cars

Cars are significant investments for millions of Americans, from the price of the monthly payments to gas and maintenance costs. It’s helpful when you can save on car insurance. Some wonder whether insurance is cheaper for leased cars or cars that you buy outright.

However, the idea that insurance is cheaper for leased cars is nothing but a myth. Car insurance is not based on how you purchase a car. Car insurance is primarily based on your driving record and the make, model and year of the car.

One of the considerations with leasing a car is that you may have to add the lender to your insurance policy, given that they have an interest in the vehicle. Thus, if you get into a crash and make a claim, the lender will be able to recover the portion they are still owed.

Besides that, the coverage options for car insurance on a leased versus owned vehicle should remain the same. The premium has to do with the condition of the car and the cost to make repairs, not the lease option. Typically, the newer, more expensive and rarer the vehicle, the higher your insurance premium will be due to the higher cost of making repairs.

Whether you buy or lease a car, consult with us for sample quotes before you make a decision that could cost you thousands in the long run. We are always here to help, and we’re just a phone call or email away.

Let’s Debunk 5 Common Life Insurance Myths

Life insurance may seem simple, but that is not always the case. Even when buying the most basic policy, which is called term life insurance, you still have to consider the appropriate time and level of coverage. To make things a bit easier, here we dispel three common myths about life insurance.

Myth #1: You do not need coverage because you have no dependents. Some people think they only need life insurance if they are the primary breadwinners in their families, but that thinking is outdated. Yes, life insurance is often used to cover your salary if you pass away. But life insurance can also be used to cover personal debts and end-of-life expenses, such as a funeral service.

Myth #2: You have employer-paid coverage, so you do not need any additional life insurance. This may be true, but it may not be. How much insurance does your employer provide? If you have dependents, you may need more life insurance than your employer provides. And what will you do for insurance if you leave that employer for any reason? Will the insurance come with you? You may need a supplemental policy outside of your employer to ensure full coverage regardless of your employment circumstances.

Myth #3: Your coverage should be a multiple of your annual salary. Traditional wisdom often says that your life insurance coverage should be around twice your annual salary. But how much life insurance you need should be computed based on outflows, not inflows. Your life insurance needs depend not on how much money you have earned and accumulated but on how much you spend.

There are other considerations when purchasing life insurance, of course; these are just a few factors among many that you may want to consider.

We can provide additional input and help you choose the right life insurance policy to keep your family properly protected.

Hearing Loss Is a Social Problem: Deafness Is More than Physical

Are you straining to hear? Do your loved ones snap at you when you ask them to repeat themselves? It may be time for you to get a hearing test. Hearing loss is a common problem as we age. The National Institute on Aging estimates about one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffers hearing loss. For those over 75, more than half have trouble. There’s a hidden risk to hearing loss: isolation.

The American Academy of Audiology finds that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression. Some doctors ignore the signs of hearing loss, rationalizing, “You’re just getting older.” However, recent studies conducted by the National Council on Aging found that hearing-impaired adults age 50 and older reported higher levels of depression, anxiety and even paranoia than a non-hearing-impaired group. The study also found that those with untreated deafness were less likely to engage in social activities. This avoidance can create a cycle leading to even more depression.

Over-the-counter hearing aids don’t require a prescription and may help with mild hearing impairment. Better, ask your doctor to refer you to an audiologist, who can measure your hearing and fit you with hearing aids if needed. However, before you shop for hearing aids, check with your health insurer regarding coverage. Hearing aids are expensive. You may want to visit an audiologist who allows a trial period to see if the recommended hearing aids work.

Hearing loss can arise from other factors. Noise-induced hearing loss arises from long-term exposure to loud noises, such as military service or factory work. If you’re a veteran, visit your local Veterans Benefits Administration office for audiology services. If you suspect your hearing loss is work related, you may find treatment under your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Don’t suffer in silence. Get hearing help to live the best life possible. Contact us if you have questions on what is covered by your medical insurance policy.

Improving Social Determinants of Health: A New Factor in Healthcare

Do you wonder why your doctor asks you a lot of personal questions? Your doctor may be evaluating your “social determinants of health” (SDOH). According to the Centers for Disease Control, SDOHs include the following questions:

Are you safe in your home?

Is food readily available to you, and can you prepare your meals?

Is your home uncluttered and tidy?

Can you access your prescription drugs?

Many hospital readmissions occur when these factors cause problems. A new focus on SDOHs by Medicare and other health insurers not only helps ensure the health of the patient but also helps doctors address these risk factors. If you’re hospitalized, your prerelease evaluation should tackle these factors. Determining if you can obtain your medications, cook your meals, and clean your home are just a few considerations healthcare practitioners should discuss with you.

In 2021, 64 percent of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans will offer supplemental benefits to improve patient care and decrease hospital readmissions. While covered skilled nursing assistance provides wound and ostomy care, issues like a cluttered home environment or weakness from hunger can seriously impede healing. Adding benefits like home care, in which non-skilled providers offer in-home assistance with activities of daily living such as cleaning and prescription pickup, can greatly reduce healthcare costs.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor asks personal questions. Request in-home assistance if you need it. If your MA plan provides these benefits, it can help with healing and prevent a possible hospital readmission.

If you’re choosing an MA plan, contact us about these important benefits.

5 Top TED Talks on How to Change an Industry (and the World)

March will celebrate the anniversary of the first motion picture (1885), Alexander Graham Bell’s patent for the first telephone (1876), Coca-Cola’s accidental formulation (1886) and the day light was first created from electricity (1877). All of these changed the world of their time.

How do we change the world? How do we change an industry? How can we do things differently, challenge “the way it has always been” and foster innovation? Here are some insights from TED Talks that are all about ideas that can change the world.

The Art of Innovation. Famed marketer and author Guy Kawasaki shares his top 10 evergreen lessons about the art and heart of curve-shifting innovation. Watch here

How Play Leads to Great Inventions. Many of today’s technologies have surprisingly been born out of good, old-fashioned fun. Pulling from history’s revolutionary ideas, Steven Johnson explains how “necessity isn’t always the mother of invention.” Watch here

The Puzzle of Motivation. Career analyst Dan Pink explains the research behind how our brain’s reward systems change when tackling a creative task. Incentives can actually harm creative performance, whereas autonomy, mastery and purpose are linchpins of highly engaged work that is productive and innovative. Watch here

The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers. Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies “original thinkers” and shares the key ways these dreamers innovate to create tomorrow’s breakthroughs. Watch here

The New Rules of Innovation. In this talk, Carl Bass discusses the five most powerful trends that are accelerating the rate of innovation at an extraordinary pace. Watch here

Choosing Just the Right Coverage for Your Business

Insurance coverage is rarely an exact science for many people. They have an idea about how much is too much and how little is too little, but few know what is just right. Depending on the size of your business, you might need varying levels of coverage.

Home-Based Businesses

Many businesses start out of a garage or home office with little thought about insurance coverage outside the homeowner’s insurance policy. However, this policy may not provide all the protection needed. Discuss the operations of your business with us so we can help determine whether you need additional limits or a commercial policy.

Small Business

A small business, that is, one that has less than $5 million in revenue and employs fewer than 100 people, probably qualifies for a BOP, a business owner’s policy that combines several policies. These policies include liability protection, property insurance and business interruption insurance. These can be customized depending on your business’s needs.

Medium to Large Businesses

Medium and large businesses have different needs than home-based businesses and small businesses. You may be able to combine property and liability coverage, but you may also need additional coverage for equipment or multiple locations. We can review the specifics of your business to customize a policy that is just right for your company’s needs. Large businesses often have risk management staff to assess risks and develop plans to minimize them. We can help with this task, too.

Whatever size business you have, we can help customize your coverage to ensure your company has the right protection.