What Exactly Is Inland Marine Insurance and What Does It Cover?

Your business property is only covered by commercial property insurance at the location on the policy. If your business property, such as tools, equipment and products, goes for a ride over land or is stored at a location that is off-site, you may want to consider inland marine insurance.

Your business property insurance covers your tangible assets when they are stored at your main location and for a distance of about 1,000 feet away. It doesn’t cover those assets outside of that distance, and it doesn’t cover them in transit. Although the term may be confusing, inland marine insurance protects your business property specifically while in transit over land or if it is stored at a site other than your main location. It does not cover property shipped by sea or air. Inland marine insurance can also cover specialized high-value assets typically not covered by property insurance.

What does inland marine insurance cover? It covers property in transit over land (such as construction equipment), property that is part of the infrastructure (bridges and communication towers), property stored at an off-site facility (such as a vending machine at a customer’s site) and property stored in a moving vehicle (such as the kitchen in a food truck). It also covers high-value assets stored at the location of your fixed business (such as an artist’s work displayed at your café).

If you ship property by land, move property between sites or store property at third-party-owned locations, inland marine insurance can help ensure you rest easy at night knowing that your property is covered. Contact us to see if it’s right for your business and if we can bundle your policies to save you some money in the process.

Who Qualifies as a Dependent for My Health Insurance Plan?

Is your current employer considering offering group health insurance? If so, who will qualify as a dependent? Let us look at a few scenarios.

Is my spouse considered a dependent? Typically, a legal spouse can be added to your group health insurance. Some employers may even offer to subsidize the cost. When offering benefits to domestic partners, this coverage must be the same as the coverage offered to legal spouses. Offering benefits, however, to domestic partners may vary based on state regulations and may require proof you are in a committed relationship.

If my kids rely on me financially, are they considered dependents? Generally speaking, children under 26 will be provided coverage, and some employers may offer to subsidize the cost. These dependents must be legally related to you as your biological, adopted, step, or foster child or a legal ward in your care.

When can I make changes to my dependent coverage? Annually, your group health plan is renewed. This is the window when employees can make changes to their existing coverage or add dependents. Another window is a change that would reasonably be expected to impact your health insurance needs. This 60-day special enrollment period is considered a qualified life event and occurs with a new marriage or when having or adopting a child.

A good rule of thumb is if you claim someone as a dependent for tax purposes, you can generally claim that person as a dependent. It may be important to discuss your unique situation, so we are here to help and just a phone call away.

Recent Survey Finds 1/3 of U.S. Seniors Lack Medicare Knowledge

Whether you are turning 65 or have been a Medicare recipient for years, many seniors find Medicare benefits confusing. According to a recent article from the RISE Association network for healthcare professionals, one in three U.S. seniors lacks knowledge of their Medicare benefits. This lack of information may cost you money.

You may hear the words “Medicare Advantage” (MA) and “Medigap” used interchangeably. Both provide supplemental benefits beyond original Medicare, but they are not the same. Each plan can impact which physicians you visit, your copays and other supplemental offerings. Scheduling time with a licensed health insurance agent can inform you of the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches to coverage because the differences are many.

Original Medicare consists of hospital and medical insurance, known as Part A and Part B. Private health insurers offer plans called Part C, also called Medicare Advantage plans. These MA plans offer parts A, B and D for prescription drug charges. In an MA plan, you’ll work within the provider network created by your insurance company. Medigap plans pay after Medicare pays, while MA plans pay instead of Medicare. Medigap is a supplemental plan that covers much of your deductibles and copays. Medigap and MA plan costs vary by state. Since many supplements are “community rated,” states with higher living costs can mean higher Medigap costs.

If you plan to travel internationally, consider this: some supplemental plans cover many of the costs arising from sickness or injury while traveling internationally, while some do not. If you plan to travel overseas, be sure to call us to determine if a travel policy is right for you.

Medicare can be bewildering. Even if you have been on the same plan for years, call us to discuss your plan. We can help you find out which coverage approach is best for you and make sure you are in the know.

5 Types of People Who May Need Life Insurance

Life insurance, as you know, is designed to protect the people who depend on you for financial support should you die prematurely. But there is much debate about exactly who needs life insurance. Here are some tips that may help you decide if life insurance is the right choice for you.

Do you have a child? Life insurance: no. Children typically do not need life insurance since no one relies on income from them.

Are you a young single adult? Life insurance: maybe. If you’ve just become an adult and entered the workforce, the only reason you would typically need life insurance is to help support an elderly parent or to pay for your own end-of-life expenses (e.g., funeral costs).

Are you an adult with a spouse but no children? Life insurance: maybe. If both you and your spouse are earning income that could support either of you without the other spouse, life insurance may only be necessary if you want to cover your funeral costs. You should, however, seriously consider life insurance if you are thinking about starting a family. Your rates will likely be cheaper now than when you get older.

Are you an adult with an established family? Life insurance: yes. If you have a family that depends on you, whether it’s a spouse or children, you need life insurance now. Don’t limit it to the partner working outside the home, either. The cost of replacing someone to handle domestic chores and child care can cause significant financial problems.

Are you retired or elderly? Life insurance: maybe. Life insurance at this stage in life may only be necessary if you have people depending on your income for support or if you cannot cover funeral expenses.

These are guidelines, but remember, an article can’t replace the knowledge of your individual financial circumstances that a personal financial planner possesses. Let us help you navigate what’s best for you.

Is Identity Theft Covered by Your Insurance?

Victims of identity theft can deal with the disaster left in the wake of an identity thief for years. Avoid the possibility of this devastating experience by educating yourself about this crime, and make sure you have the right coverage in place to protect yourself in case it does happen to you.

Let’s look at some ways identity thieves can get their hands on your secure information. They can obtain information online via email scams and hacking, for example, or scammers posing as legitimate professionals can obtain information via phone calls. They can also steal physical documents (from your wallet, credit card bills or bank statements) or physical hardware (such as laptops, tablets, phones and thumb drives).

To ensure you are protecting yourself from these methods, secure all your documents, and never give out your personal information to sources that are not verified. Prevent online breaches with appropriate security software.

Unfortunately, you may still fall prey to a determined identity thief even with the proper precautions in place. It is vital to have the proper coverage in place should disaster strike. Some limited protection for loss of credit cards or cash is often included in homeowners or renters insurance policies. Some liability relief is provided by many credit card companies. But if your identity is stolen, this is not sufficient coverage.

Financial loss, credit issues and reputational consequences can result from identity theft, and there are insurance products that cover these costs. It is worth it to look into these policies. They vary and cover everything from minor assistance to major restorative services. Reimbursement of attorney’s fees, assistance with hearings and charges related to fraud, a consumer fraud specialist or case manager, replacement of government-issued identifications and assistance with credit restoration can be provided by your coverage.

These restoration services can be life-changing should you fall victim to identity theft. Contact us to discuss your current policies and review what specific coverage is best for you so we can help you plan for the unexpected.

I Didn’t File a Claim but My Home Insurance Went Up. Why?

A number of factors contribute to determining your insurance premium. It is possible for your home insurance to go up even if you didn’t file a claim. Here are some reasons.

Home changes. If you have upgraded or renovated your home, it is worth more, so in the event of a disaster, more insurance is needed to cover it. Other additions, such as a pool, can increase risk, which will increase your premium.

Area changes. If there are changes in your area when it comes to natural disasters, claims and the cost of living, this can impact your coverage costs. An increase in the rate of thefts, vandalism, natural disasters and claims related to these means there will be an increase in your premium.

Safety changes. Your insurance is affected by changes in safety. If risk is lowered or safety is increased (say, for example, by the addition of a fire station in your area), your insurance rates are lowered. If risk is raised, your insurance rate is raised. You can lower your risk and your rate by making your home safer with burglar alarms and other safety measures.

Not making changes. Your home ages, and if you don’t keep it updated, this can mean a hike in your premium. Homes that are not updated become more and more dangerous to insure, which translates to them costing more to insure. Ignoring necessary upgrades raises your risk and raises your premiums.

We are always here to help you understand what goes into determining your home insurance rate. Call or email us today with your questions, and let’s take a look at how you may be able to lower your premium.