Did You Know Certain Car Safety Features Can Lower Your Premium?

When shopping for a car, many people look at a variety of features on a vehicle, such as interior and exterior color, make and model, stereo, electronics and other options that will make their drive time more pleasant. However, few consider the effect the safety features can have on lowering their insurance premiums. The next time you go car shopping, look for some of these safety features that protect not only you and your passengers but your wallet as well.

Size and weight. Many potential buyers think bigger is better, but that’s not necessarily so when it comes to cars. Very large vehicles, such as SUVs, often have the potential to roll over and can be less safe than midsize sedans. Make sure to review your vehicle’s safety ratings.

Restraints. Far from the days when only seat belts were offered, today’s vehicles now have more extensive restraint systems. Some of the key elements to look for are locking head restraints, side airbags and lap and shoulder belts with crash tensioners.

Make sure you can reach the pedals without putting yourself too close to the steering wheel. Steering column airbags can cause serious injury if they’re too close.

Daytime lights. More vehicles now feature daytime running lights that allow them to be more visible to all motorists no matter the weather, decreasing the chances of daytime accidents.

Backup cameras. Video systems that allow you to see what is happening behind your vehicle dramatically increase safety by eliminating blind spots. Backup cameras can help prevent collisions and save lives.

Other safety features like warning systems and anti-lock brakes can help reduce the likelihood of a crash and further reduce the likelihood of claims.

Next time you’re in the market for a new vehicle, check with us about potential discounts on premiums based on specific vehicle features. We are just a call or email away.

What Insurance Coverage Does Your Hobby Need?

So many Americans pass the time with hobbies that keep them entertained and add value to their lives. From collecting model trains to restoring antique furniture, there are a variety of ways that your hobby can add up to a substantially expensive endeavor. Some hobbyists’ collections or work are worth thousands of dollars.

Most collectors rarely think of the value of their hobbies, instead of focusing on the enjoyment they provide to them and their families. Hobbies can quickly add up to significant amounts of money whether you build, collect or play. If you’ve invested quite a bit in your hobby, it is worth it to do a quick review.

The first question you should ask is if the value of your items and supplies themselves is worth more than $500. If so, you should take action to make sure they are properly protected.

Carefully review your insurance policies to ensure your homeowners or renters policy covers the items you use for your hobby in case of damage or theft.

For some very expensive hobbies, you may want to look into a separate rider that covers the amount of money you would need to replace your collection or hobby supplies. There are certain limits to most policies, and high-value items may max out the coverage.

Even if your hobby investment is less than $500, make sure to include the high-priced items in your home inventory list.

If you have any questions about how your insurance policy covers your hobby or if you need a separate rider, contact our office today via email or phone. We are always here to help.

Why Life Insurance May Be More Affordable than You Think

A life insurance policy can be an affordable way to protect your family. But some people don’t purchase life insurance because they think it will be too expensive. That is not necessarily the case, however.

Life insurance is designed to provide for a partner or a family that relies on your income. If you pass away, your family members may not be able to get back on their feet easily.

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely made people more aware of their own mortality, with life insurance applications jumping in 2020, according to MIB Group. But it may not be enough. According to a 2020 study by Limra, just 59% of Americans have life insurance, and about half of those who do have life insurance do not have enough.

You may want to discuss life insurance with your spouse or partner to determine what his or her needs are. Certainly, it is not an easy discussion. No one likes to anticipate his or her own death. But if a loved one relies on your income, you will undoubtedly want to ensure he or she is cared for if something happens to you.

If you’re concerned about cost, you can make life insurance more affordable by purchasing a policy sooner rather than later. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be healthy, and the healthier you are, the lower the premium will be. There are also different types of life insurance, some more affordable than others. Term life insurance is the most affordable. It pays a benefit to your survivors when you die within a specified period of time. Whole life insurance is more expensive. It combines investing with term life insurance.

If you’re concerned about your life insurance coverage, reach out to our office so you can get the best information to help you determine how much insurance and which policy make the most sense for you.

Is It Safe to Visit the Dentist in Light of COVID-19?

Is your dentist still seeing patients? Whether dental practices have closed shop or are seeing patients only on an emergency basis depends on the dental office.

Early in the pandemic, some dental practices closed, as ordered by their states. However, as early as May 2020, many dental practices began to reopen, either for emergency services or for all routine and elective procedures. The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommend each dental practice evaluate its specific risk, given the area’s COVID-19 situation. According to the CDC, “Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel.”

Many people are avoiding dental care unless they are in pain, delaying routine visits like cleanings and semiannual checkups. If you decide to visit your dentist, here are a few things you should expect from your dental practice.

Your dentist’s staff should contact you prior to your visit to determine whether you’ve traveled outside the country or experienced any COVID-like symptoms.

Your dentist will probably ask you to come alone. If you’re disabled or have difficulty walking, ask your dentist to make an exception. It’s better to ask than risk falling on your way into or out of your dentist’s office. Alternatively, a staff member should be able to assist you into and out of your vehicle.

Be sure to wear a mask. The practice should have removed all magazines, but don’t touch anything once inside.

It’s not a bad idea to ask your dentist what additional precautions they may be taking and whether they’ve had any COVID-19 infection issues within their practice.

Dental insurance is surprisingly affordable. Call or email us to learn more about dental insurance plans. We can help determine what options are best for you.

Laid off? How to Manage Your Disability Coverage

With the high unemployment rate due to COVID-19 , many Americans are losing their short- and long-term disability benefits. Just like life insurance, your disability insurance is a benefit your employer may offer on a group basis. If you’re laid off, you may lose access to that coverage because you’re no longer part of that group. If you lose your job, you may lose the group rate or lose access to your disability coverage entirely. Whether you can buy your own coverage through that plan or lose access will depend on your company’s policies and how the insurance company writing the group insurance policy administers its coverage.

If you’re furloughed, you may still have disability coverage for a short period. In response to COVID-19, some employers have worked directly with their disability carriers to extend benefits for the expected length of the furlough. Some group plans will offer laid-off employees the ability to convert their short- and long-term disability coverage to an individual plan. However, you’ll be responsible for the entire premium, whereas previously, your employer probably paid the bulk of the premium.

Should you face this situation, ask your group disability carrier for a quote to continue coverage if your group plan offers that option. Then shop that coverage with an insurance agent who specializes in disability coverage. No two plans are alike. You may be able to purchase a policy with richer benefits for the same or even a lower premium.

If you’re facing a layoff, call or email us for more information about managing your disability benefits. We are always here to help.

Don’t Roll the Dice with These Insurance Gambles

Taking calculated risks is part of a good business strategy for millions of small business owners. However, taking a gamble on business insurance can be potentially devastating. For many inexperienced small business owners struggling to juggle their own day-to-day worries, mistakes abound when considering and making decisions on insurance coverage. Some of these mistakes even include going without insurance coverage in the hopes that the business can save money. This often proves to be much more costly in the end than simply having obtained a business insurance policy to begin with. Below are the three most common mistakes that are always losing gambles for your small business, no matter how you roll the dice.

“Let it ride.” Work closely with your insurance agent to determine the optimal coverage for your business no matter where it is based. For example, a home-based business is not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy that did not take a business into account when it was created, and if you do contract work, any insurance a client may have on their own business will not cover your business. If your security blanket rests on the hope that your business is covered without verifying the specifics of the insurance policy, you may well find out none of your losses are covered, and you will be on the hook for a significant amount of money.

“All in.” Businesses need certain tried-and-true basic policies that they can rely on and refer to. These necessary policies include property insurance, liability insurance, business vehicle insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. However, viewing these basic policies as the only solution could leave your business at risk. A cookie-cutter approach will not help your business, as each business has its own industry-specific risks that may require specialized policies.

“Winning streak.” You may have been lucky and no disaster has befallen your business yet. However, this does not mean that disaster cannot hit your business and that you will continue to live without an accident or other occurrence. You are not invincible. Without sufficient coverage, your business, reputation and future profits are likely at risk. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not survive incidents that lead to large claims. You should ensure you have appropriate business insurance policies in place and, if you haven’t, consider business interruption insurance so you can maintain cash flow even during the most trying of times.

Rather than gamble with your business and fritter away its potential growth, ask our office for any counsel you may need. No question is too insignificant or too complicated. Our insurance experts will prevent you from gambling with your company and walk you through how you can select the best insurance policy for your business in both the short and long term. With extensive insurance knowledge and your best interests in mind, we are a sure bet. Call or email us today. We are always here to help.

Identity Theft Happens in Business Too

Millions of Americans scrupulously guard their identities and personally identifiable information for fear that their bank accounts will be compromised, identities stolen and a parade of difficulties will follow them at the hands of those who wish to steal their identities. However, they will often not exercise the same care with their business “identities.” Even for small businesses that try their best with free tools, professional identity thieves can evade this type of protection and gain access to lines of credit or accounts. Here are some of the ways businesses can protect their identities.

Monitoring service. Businesses can enroll in monitoring services that continuously monitor any activity on their companies’ credit reports, looking for any red flags.

EIN. For many small business owners, using their Social Security numbers and establishing sole proprietorships are the easiest things to do practically. However, this could lead to exposure for both your personal and business finances if either is compromised. Small business owners should obtain Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to separate both and reduce risk.

Data protection. Keeping your passwords in a safe, protected place is a crucial part of protecting your data. Use anti-virus and anti-malware software in addition to a secure password manager.

Insurance. A cyber insurance policy can make all the difference in recovering from significant loss related to identity theft in the unfortunate event it does happen. Call or email us today, and we can review your insurance coverage to make sure your business is protected. We are always here to help.