What Coverage Questions Should I Ask My Agent?

You want to make sure you get the best insurance coverage for your company. But what are the right questions to ask? Use the questions below as a jumping-off point for your discussions.

Is commercial insurance right for me? Business owners often believe they can skate by without insurance at the beginning. This can be a costly assumption. Even the smallest business should have adequate insurance coverage to cover any issues.

What types of coverage do I need? Every business has unique insurance needs. At minimum, most companies require property, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. Your specific operations and type of industry will determine which other policies are needed for your business.

Is a business owner’s policy (BOP) a good idea for me? A BOP is a bundle of policies that provides basic coverage for businesses. You may be able to choose this package to save on insurance, but depending on your operations and type of business, you may need more coverage than what is in this starter policy.

What questions should I ask about property insurance? Ask how much insurance you will need to cover your commercial property. Be sure to have coverage for equipment, inventory and intellectual property.

What about policy limits? When you’re thinking of insurance, you should think of policy limits and how much the policy will pay out as a maximum. When considering policy limits, you should also be cognizant of whether the limits will be enough to cover true losses in the event of a catastrophic or major event.

Does an umbrella policy make sense for me? You may want to consider commercial umbrella insurance if a basic policy doesn’t give you sufficient coverage in certain circumstances. A commercial umbrella insurance policy extends your liability coverage when a basic policy falls short. For example, if you are found liable in a costly lawsuit, an umbrella policy will protect your assets.

What about the claims process? Knowing the proper steps to file a claim and who to contact with questions is key. Ask us about how this process works so you can know these details in advance. In the event you should need to file a claim, you will have a smoother experience.

What ways are there to pay? For coverage to commence, you must pay your insurance premium, either as a lump sum or in monthly installments. Both of these methods have their advantages. We can help you determine which is the best payment plan for your business.

How can I save money on my insurance premiums? Lowering your risk factors can help lower your premium. Two common solutions are employee training and security systems. We can provide you with additional tips for lowering premiums and reducing the number of claims.

These questions are a good place to start when determining your insurance needs. Our office is ready to help answer any more questions you may have and guide you to the best options for your business. Call or email us today.

What Is Errors and Omissions Insurance and Who Needs It?

When you think of insurance for your business, you may think of the more obvious policies, such as property insurance, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. But if you provide a service to customers or clients, errors and omissions insurance is also a must.

What is errors and omissions insurance? Errors and omissions insurance, also known as E&O insurance and professional liability insurance, provides protection for your business from lawsuits that claim you made a mistake in your professional services. E&O insurance protects your business from claims of inaccurate advice, negligence, potential errors in services provided, misrepresentation, omissions or other applicable claims. This insurance can help cover your court costs, attorney’s fees and administrative costs to put your defense together. E&O insurance can also help cover settlements or judgments, which can be a few thousand to millions of dollars.

Who needs errors and omissions insurance? Business owners or operators whose clients depend on their judgment or services to accomplish goals need errors and omissions insurance. While some may believe this only applies to professional services such as medical, legal and accounting services, businesses such as website service providers, barbershops, advertising firms, consulting companies, pet groomers, engineering firms and many others could benefit from errors and omissions insurance. If you have a business that provides a service to customers, errors and omissions insurance should be part of your coverage.

Let us help you review your policies and determine what specific coverage is best for you and your circumstances. Call or email us today. We are always here for you.

The Importance of an Up-to-Date Medical Power of Attorney

In today’s uncertain world, a serious illness or an incapacitating injury can strike at any age. A properly drafted medical power of attorney (POA) allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’re never too young or too old to consider this important step. Even your child heading to college may require you to step in if he or she cannot act after an illness or injury.

Suppose you’re seriously injured and doctors recommend a risky procedure that is your best chance for recovery. You may be unable to make this decision yourself. The POA allows your signer to intercede, making critical care decisions for you only if you cannot act. Your POA can legally talk with your physicians, deciding on the best course of action. The medical POA gives no power to make financial or other decisions, just the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Only when you’re unable to act for yourself does the medical POA begin.

If you’ve signed a POA in the past, reevaluate it. Your signer may no longer be able or willing to help make these tough decisions. An up-to-date medical POA is essential to your healthcare and to your family.

You may hear medical providers call the medical POA an “advance directive.” Always provide a copy to your treating physician and to the hospital you’d likely visit with an illness. Discuss your wishes with your POA because it’s important he or she clearly understands what you do want and what you don’t want after a critical event.

Call us for information on POAs. We help walk our clients through many important life decisions. While these conversations can be difficult, it costs nothing for you to meet with us and discuss what’s best for you.

What You Need to Know about the Special Enrollment Period

The new presidential administration has reopened the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period for 2021 healthcare coverage. The 2021 regular enrollment period was from November 1 through December 15, 2020. After job losses reached record highs, more Americans lost health insurance. In response, the new administration reopened open enrollment with a three-month window and then extended it. Now open until August 15, if you missed the ACA deadline, the new special enrollment period opens the door to coverage for many Americans. In states with their own ACA exchanges, extension dates may vary.

If you lost your job, your previous employer may offer health coverage continuation through COBRA. For many, COBRA premiums are simply unaffordable. If you lose health insurance due to reduced hours or job loss, investigate coverage through the ACA. This can help you determine whether you should pay COBRA rates or opt into the often more affordable ACA. Remember if you choose COBRA, you’ll usually only have COBRA benefits for 18 months. You will then need to find alternative coverage.

The current administration issued an executive order that instructs federal agencies to ease reenrollment challenges. However, buying coverage through HealthCare.gov can be confusing. Simply determining which plan to choose (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) is just one decision. Ensuring the plan covers your doctors is another.

The most important factor about the ACA is there are no restrictions for preexisting conditions, and free annual healthcare checkups can keep you healthy, ultimately reducing your healthcare costs.

Don’t navigate open enrollment alone. Call us to help find the best plan for your budget.

The Importance of an Up-to-Date Medical Power of Attorney

In today’s uncertain world, a serious illness or an incapacitating injury can strike at any age. A properly drafted medical power of attorney (POA) allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’re never too young or too old to consider this important step. Even your child heading to college may require you to step in if he or she cannot act after an illness or injury.

Suppose you’re seriously injured and doctors recommend a risky procedure that is your best chance for recovery. You may be unable to make this decision yourself. The POA allows your signer to intercede, making critical care decisions for you only if you cannot act. Your POA can legally talk with your physicians, deciding on the best course of action. The medical POA gives no power to make financial or other decisions, just the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Only when you’re unable to act for yourself does the medical POA begin.

If you’ve signed a POA in the past, reevaluate it. Your signer may no longer be able or willing to help make these tough decisions. An up-to-date medical POA is essential to your healthcare and to your family.

You may hear medical providers call the medical POA an “advance directive.” Always provide a copy to your treating physician and to the hospital you’d likely visit with an illness. Discuss your wishes with your POA because it’s important he or she clearly understands what you do want and what you don’t want after a critical event.

Call us for information on POAs. We help walk our clients through many important life decisions. While these conversations can be difficult, it costs nothing for you to meet with us and discuss what’s best for you.

Is It Time to Recycle Your Old Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance is something you buy and then don’t think about until you need it, so it’s easy to forget. But as you near retirement, it may be a good time to reevaluate your needs. Is your old policy, which may have been purchased decades ago, still meeting your needs?

Life insurance is important as we start our adult lives. We get jobs, marry, buy homes, have children. And we want to maintain that lifestyle for our loved ones should we experience an accident or illness.

But then life goes on. Our children grow up. We pay off our mortgages. We retire. We live happily, thanks to our retirement savings and Social Security.

At the same time, we may have a life insurance policy purchased years ago that we’re still paying premiums on. What should we do? Do we maintain the status quo and keep the policy? Or do we stop paying premiums and let the policy lapse?

It’s a good question. After all, the money you pay in premiums could be used in a number of other ways. You could use it to pay down debt, add to your nest egg (investing in a manner that will hopefully grow over time) or even buy long-term care insurance.

But the life insurance policy may still benefit you. Just because you have no children living at home doesn’t mean you don’t need life insurance. The people in your life could be affected by your death in many ways. How would your life insurance proceeds help them? If you can come up with enough ways, it might be worth keeping your policy in effect and reevaluate in another one to five years.

We can help you decide if a life insurance policy still makes sense for you. Please reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions.

How Landscaping Can Lower Your Premiums

You can add beauty and value to your property with properly maintained landscaping, while poorly maintained or neglected landscaping can decrease both. Landscaping can have the same effect on your premiums. Here are some ways landscaping can lower premiums.

Trim your trees. Cutting and trimming your trees can lower your insurance premiums by reducing the risk to your property and others around you. Branches that are too close to your home can destroy roofs, damage siding and break windows. Dead branches pose a risk if they fall. They could cause property damage or personal injury.

Stop burglars. Landscaping can lower risk and thus potentially lower your insurance premiums by being a well-placed barrier to entry to your home. Trees or bushes in the right place, such as in front of easily accessible windows or other entry points, can serve as an effective barrier to thieves. Eliminate hiding places by keeping large bushes and trees neatly trimmed.

Watch the water. Landscaping can help lower your insurance premiums by acting as an effective barrier to floods and water damage. Place the right amount and kind of landscaping (such as trees, flowers and grass that crave and absorb water) so it does not reach any part of the structure and cause water damage that can then take thousands of dollars and months to repair. Avoiding such risks can potentially lower your homeowners insurance premium. Similarly, make sure the land is graded properly so that water can drain from it. Think about drainage, or better yet, consult with a professional with experience in land grading whenever you add or remove landscaping to protect your property from disaster.

Contacting our office today can help you make the right decisions so your landscaping choices not only improve the outside of your home but makes sense for your bottom line as well.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Covered by Auto Insurance

When it comes to fender benders, keyed cars and windshields damaged by stray rocks, you know your auto insurance policy has you covered. But did you know that your policy may also cover more unusual circumstances? Below are four such circumstances.

When rodents make your car their new home: Rodents can decide to make a new residence under your hood. This can lead to interfering with the operation of your vehicle. Especially if your vehicle is parked for a lengthy period of time, you should check to see if you have an “other than collision” clause that covers any rodent-created damage.

When potholes cause issues: Pothole accidents are categorized as collisions by many auto insurance policies. If so, the damage caused by a run-in with a pothole will be covered by your policy.

When your child’s car seat is part of an accident: During crashes, various parts of your vehicle can be impacted in a severe manner. One less obvious point of impact may be your child’s car seat. After an accident, it may be damaged, and it’s a good idea to replace it. Your auto insurance policy may cover the cost of replacement.

When your furry friend needs care: Dogs love their owners’ cars, and if your dog is ever injured as a result of an accident, your auto insurance may cover the vet bills.

When you miss work due to a car accident injury: Your policy may cover a portion of your lost income.

If you experience any of these issues, call or email our office to determine whether your policy covers them.