Moving? Here’s What to Do about Your Car Insurance

Moving around the corner or to a street closer to a better school district is stressful enough. There are the boxes to sort, addresses to change and new bedrooms to assign.

But when you move out of state, do you have to change your car insurance? The short answer is it depends.

If you have any doubts about what your car insurance coverage entails, the best thing to do is call us and ask any nagging questions you may have. But we can also help you figure out where to start.

Not only can different states have some slightly different laws when it comes to the road, but some also require an increased level of coverage.

Your new state might have lower coverage limit requirements, but that also means you’re increasing your risk. Think carefully if you decide to do this.

If you’re moving to what’s called a no-fault state, you’ll have to check to see if your insurance policy covers this.

No-fault insurance means that all medical bills, funeral bills and income losses due to a car accident are covered no matter which side caused it.

There are 18 states that require no-fault insurance, including New York, Oregon and Washington.

You’ll also need to register your vehicle in a new state once you move. Make it a priority so you don’t get caught out on the road.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need, call us. We’re the experts, and we can help you find the best policy for you.

Do You Need Whole or Term Life Insurance?

Life insurance doesn’t always last for your whole life. For some individuals, it could last for a specified period, perhaps 10 or 15 years. That type of policy is referred to as “term” life insurance. So how is it different from whole life insurance?

Life insurance policies that stay in effect for your entire lifetime are called “whole” life insurance policies. As long as you continue paying premiums, you have insurance until you die.

On the other hand, there are term life insurance policies. These policies provide coverage for a limited period of time. If you choose a 15-year term, for example, the insurance company will pay your beneficiary the death benefit if you die during the next 15 years.

The type of policy that is best for you depends on your needs. Whole life policies generally work well for people who want to take care of spouses or dependents if they die, even if their beneficiaries’ circumstances change. But people whose beneficiaries will only need financial support for a limited period of time may prefer term life insurance policies.

Let’s say you have coverage primarily for your children, and you expect your children to grow up and provide for themselves. If this happens, you may not need life insurance anymore, and a term life policy may be a good choice because it probably costs less than a whole life policy.

Generally, the longer the term, the higher the cost. But you should consider other factors when choosing between a whole and term policy, such as reinsurability. If you fall ill during the term of a policy and want a new policy, it may be hard to get one.

Let us help you navigate what’s best for you. Please call or email us if you want to better understand your life insurance options.

Important Considerations for 2022 ACA Open Enrollment

If you choose coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), open enrollment is a critical deadline you won’t want to miss. Open enrollment is that time when new members can enroll and existing policyholders can switch plans to provide a different level of coverage.

While your state’s open enrollment dates may differ, national open enrollment for the policy year 2022 begins on November 1 and ends December 15. Some states, such as California, Colorado and Connecticut, offer slightly longer periods.

And while you may request a change on day one of open enrollment, those changes aren’t effective until January 1, 2022.

What Can I Do in Open Enrollment? 

During open enrollment, you can initiate ACA coverage for yourself and/or your family. Absent a “qualifying event,” which means a major life event like a divorce, marriage or loss of group health coverage, open enrollment is your only time to obtain coverage.

During open enrollment, you can also change plans. There are four ACA plans, from the leanest to the richest benefit offerings: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Additionally, you can choose from several access plans, from a preferred provider plan to a health maintenance plan. You may have initially chosen a Bronze plan with a health maintenance organization due to its lower cost. If you find that plan too restrictive, you may want to consider a richer plan with a wider range of providers.

Choosing the right insurance plan for your unique health needs is one of the most important decisions you will make this year. As you can see, choosing the best plan for you and your loved ones is more complex than just punching a few computer keys. Call or email us today, and we can help you make the better choice for your insurance coverage.

Here Are 4 Things You Should Know about Medicare

Are you about to reach that magical age of 65? Are you receiving material making you feel like some decisions need to be made? The information can be confusing, so here are a few things you should know.

Original Medicare is not free. Individuals who meet the work history requirements do not usually pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage. The standard monthly cost for Part B coverage in 2021 is $148.50. Some will pay an extra monthly cost based on their modified adjusted gross income.

Enrolling in Medicare is not automatic. Unless you are collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits or are disabled, you will need to sign up for Medicare. Applying for these benefits can be done online at www.ssa.gov or by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213.

Do I need additional coverage? In addition to Original Medicare, you may want to add a Part D prescription drug plan and supplemental coverage to help pay out-of-pocket costs. Others might prefer a Medicare Advantage Part C “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These plans usually include the Part D and use doctors who are in specific plan networks.

Should I enroll in Medicare if I am still working? If you are actively employed and have health coverage through your employer, contact your benefits administrator to ask how your coverage works with Medicare. You might be able to delay your enrollment until your active enrollment ends.

We are just a phone call away and available to assist you in navigating the various options and answer your unique questions.

How Additional Insured and Loss Payee Differ

It can be easy to confuse additional insureds and loss payees because both can be added to your business insurance policy, but they are not the same thing, and you should understand the difference.

Additional Insureds

An additional insured is a person or a business that is exposed to liability in its business relationship with you. To reduce that risk, that third party asks you to name it as an additional insured on your insurance policy declarations page.

That is still complicated, so let’s use an example. Imagine that you own the building out of which your company does business, and you hire a cleaning company to clean your premises. If a visitor is hurt after tripping on some equipment left in a hallway, the cleaning company could be sued. To protect itself, the cleaning company asks you to list it as an additional insured on your general liability insurance or business owner’s policy.

You can also be the additional insured. For example, you may own the cleaning company. In this case, you would want to think about asking for additional insured status any time your own business’s legal liability increases as a result of working with a third party.

Loss Payees

A loss payee, on the other hand, is a person or business that has first rights to insurance payments made after a property loss. That may sound complicated, so let’s use another example. Say you’re a plumber, and you take out a loan to purchase a truck. The bank requires you to use the truck as collateral against the loan, so if you stop making payments, the bank can repossess the truck.

Now, what happens if you damage the truck in an accident and file a claim with your auto insurance company? In theory, you could stop making loan payments, refuse to repair the vehicle and keep the insurance money. The bank would be out of luck (and money).

So the bank asks you to name it as a loss payee on the declarations page of your auto insurance policy. When you file a damage claim, your auto insurance company must notify the bank, and any check issued to pay for repairs must be made out to you and the bank. Both you and the bank are protected.

Next Steps

It is not possible to add a loss payee or an additional insured to every small business insurance policy, but we can help you determine whether someone’s request to be added as an additional insured or loss payee is appropriate and what coverage is right for the circumstances.

How much does this cost? Adding an additional insured increases your premium, but it will be a relatively nominal charge compared to the cost of the policy itself. And adding a loss payee typically will not increase your premium because it creates no additional risk.

We’d be happy to review your business insurance needs and determine if you are adequately protected. Please contact us today to get your insurance checkup going.

Why Protecting Your Reputation Is Important

Reputational harm is one of the greatest business threats today. How can business owners best protect their companies?

Your business reputation is simply what others think and feel about your business. Those thoughts and feelings could be based on experiences with your business or on what people have heard about your business. And these experiences could be true or not.

Your reputation is important because potential customers don’t wait until they’ve verified accurate information about a business to decide whether to engage with it. They make decisions based on whatever information is available to them.

Your reputation can be created both online and offline. Online, it is created through your business website, your social media posts and online customer reviews. Offline, it is created through the appearance of your office or store, your events and your phone calls.

How can you maintain a good reputation? Carefully craft the appearance of your store. Maintain your offices. And think about how your behavior may be perceived. We hate to sound like a nagging mother, but if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

If you aren’t careful, more than your reputation could be at stake. Libel and slander claims are pervasive, and the average cost to defend and settle these types of claims is more than $750,000.

For small businesses without proper coverage, these suits can prove devastating, so make sure you have the right insurance in place. Give us a call today to see how we can support you!