Are You a Vinyl Record Collector? Make Sure You Do This

We know, it really does sound better on vinyl! But what doesn’t sound good is damage to your precious collection. You’ve spent years finding those rare 45s and 78s, and they’re valuable in more ways than just sentimental. If you have a vinyl record collection worth protecting, make sure you follow this advice on how to protect and insure it.

Check your homeowners insurance

Sure, when you took out your insurance, you only had a few singles and one rare album, but that’s changed now. Your homeowners insurance protects your belongings against theft or damage, but what most people are unaware of is standard insurance only protects collections of any kind up to $200. This means you’re going to have to find another way to protect that copy of Prince’s The Black Album that’s worth quite a lot more.

Schedule an endorsement

This is usually the cheaper of the two options. This will give you added coverage specific to your collection, and it means you get to stay with the same carrier. This could be handy if you need to file a claim for the collection and other contents in your home. However, depending on your collection, it might not go as far as you need it to.

Buy a personal articles floater

This means taking out a new policy with a company that has specialized experience in what you want to insure. Sure, it will come at a higher cost, but you’re paying for the expertise.

Get an appraisal

No matter which option you choose, you should have an appraisal conducted of your collection as well as creating your own inventory with notes and pictures.

If you don’t want to be singing a sad song, get in touch with us for more information on policies and the right one for your collection.

What to Do if Disaster Strikes (Why a Home Inventory Is Vital)

Sometimes, even though we’ve taken all the precautions, the worst happens, and disaster strikes our homes. It can be hard to know what to do first, and the insurance claim process can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips from us to help make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Retrieve your home inventory

A home inventory is absolutely vital. If you have one, you have a clear and up-to-date record for your claim. It will help you verify your losses and settle insurance claims faster. Be sure to update your home inventory at least once a year and every time you update your home or buy a new item.

Get started right away

It might not be the first thing on your mind, but contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and start the claims process. They will be able to walk you through it. Once this process is started, a carrier will come to inspect the damage to your home.

Get the details

Your insurance agent will be on hand to help you through the process. They’ll be experienced in situations like these, so find out:

1. Whether the disaster damage is covered under your policy

2. How long the claims process will take

3. What they need from you

Once you know what is covered, you can move forward with repairs and reimbursement.

Not sure if your inventory is up to date? Call or email us today, and we can help guide you through the process.

Is Employer-Provided Life Insurance Enough?

Many of us receive our life insurance through our employers, and it’s often cheaper that way. But there are ways to get creative: namely, buy life insurance on the open market. Here are three reasons to consider that.

First, your employer may not offer enough life insurance to meet your needs. If your death would burden your loved ones, experts often recommend you obtain coverage worth five to 10 times your annual salary. And be sure you include all your income (wages as well as bonuses and commissions) in your calculations. They are easy to overlook, and they count.

Second, when you move between employers, you could lose your policy. Your new job may offer new life insurance coverage, but it may not be as comprehensive. This is particularly problematic as we age, because we’re then less likely to be healthy enough to qualify for an individual life insurance policy. And if we are, it might be very expensive. Additionally, it’s always possible that your employer may stop offering life insurance to save money, leaving you without coverage.

Lastly, with employer-sponsored life insurance, you don’t get to choose the provider. It’s possible that the insurance carrier your company has chosen is rated lower than you’d like and the insurance you paid for won’t be there when you need it. Your carrier’s AM Best rating will tell you whether the company is financially stable or not.

While it’s certainly wise to take advantage of any low-cost or no-cost life insurance your employer offers, you may want to supplement that insurance with insurance from other sources. Just be sure you purchase enough!

If you decide you need supplemental life insurance, purchasing it costs more as your age increases. Before doing so, then, you should talk to us. Call or email us for more information.

Critical Illness Coverage Can Help Avoid Medical Bankruptcy

One in three employees spent more on their health costs in 2021, according to a recent survey. Higher healthcare costs can translate into negative credit ratings, more financial debt or even a medical bankruptcy. Americans today search for solutions, and critical illness coverage can be one of the keys to financial security.

To save costs, some employers cut healthcare benefits, imposing higher deductibles and more out-of-pocket costs. Critical illness insurance offers protection for medical emergencies such as cancer, heart attacks and strokes. These health emergencies are costly and in some cases may exhaust benefits available under group or individual health policies. Because critical illness policies are catastrophic coverage, their cost can be quite reasonable.

Additionally, high-deductible health plans may mean you face high bills in the event of a critical illness. The bonus to these types of plans is that you can use payouts for other nonmedical costs that arise after a covered illness. This can include skilled nursing, childcare and transportation costs. Critical illness insurance helps you maintain your current lifestyle while recovering after your illness.

Some employers offer this coverage at an additional cost, while your life insurer may offer this as an additional benefit under your life insurance plan. There are many illnesses protected by this insurance, including kidney failure, head trauma, brain tumors, chronic liver disease, blindness, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Each company that provides this vital coverage words their policies differently, with distinct insuring agreements and exclusions. Why worry about a sudden illness that can financially devastate you when this type of coverage is available?

If you’re concerned that a sudden illness could catch you or a family member flat-footed, contact us for more information about critical illness coverage. Working with an agent skilled in providing critical illness coverage can help you choose a policy that fits your lifestyle.

What Does a Fresh New Year Mean to You With Regards to Health?

In honor of International Creativity Month, let us start your fresh new year with a creative way of looking at healthcare definitions. Here are some ways to look at how they might relate to our daily lives.

What does a plan deductible mean? Some healthcare services, such as lab work, will require you to pay toward the plan deductible before services are covered. Think about the coffee at your local coffee shop. You pay in advance for that coffee before it is brewed and given to you.

Why is my copay different depending on services received? A copay is a set amount you pay based on services received. An emergency room visit may have a higher copay then going to urgent care. Think of your coffee purchase at a local convenience store. It may be less expensive than the coffee you receive at your local coffee shop.

Should I monitor my maximum out-of-pocket expenses? You should be aware of your plan’s maximum out-of-pocket cap. Expect to have coinsurance until you reach your maximum out-of-pocket limit. Unlike your coffee shop gift card, once you have met your maximum out-of-pocket expense, coinsurance no longer applies.

Your health plan sends an explanation of benefit recaps on how much was paid to providers and how much you might expect to pay for services. Just like the receipt you receive for your coffee purchase, review this recap so you know what you are paying for. Grab your favorite beverage and call or email us so we can assist in your fresh start to the new year.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All with Commercial Insurance

Different businesses have different needs. The mom-and-pop juice bar or shoe shop, for example, doesn’t have the same needs as a nationwide big-box electronics chain. And there are plenty of businesses in between. But it may be difficult for an owner to determine how to categorize their company, especially as it grows. With the start of the new year, perhaps it’s a good time to make an evaluation: find out where your business falls on the size spectrum, and understand what that means for your insurance needs.

There are generally accepted numbers for categories of businesses based on the number of employees, total sales and earnings. Once you know your size, you can then follow guidelines for the appropriate insurance for your business’s size.

Sole proprietors.  If you are running a business out of your home, you are likely the sole employee and are not yet generating a great deal of revenue. But this doesn’t mean you should skip business insurance. Homeowners insurance is often not enough to cover your home-based business. Even if it does, property loss or liability related to your company may require a different policy. An insurance carrier can help you determine the appropriate insurance.

Small businesses. Typically, independently owned and operated businesses with 50 or fewer employees are considered small businesses. How much insurance do they need? For a small business with fewer than 100 employees and revenue of $5 million or less, insurers usually offer what is called a business owners policy (BOP). These policies are generally sufficient to provide coverage for your company against common risks. However, if your business has unique risks that you feel might not be covered, you should consult with your insurance agent to determine if you need a customized policy.

Medium-sized businesses. Typically, businesses that employ between 50 and 1,000 people and generate between $10 million and $1 billion in revenue are considered medium-sized businesses. These businesses generally need more insurance coverage than small businesses. Standard policies for this category may combine liability and property coverage, but again, businesses with unique needs (such as expensive equipment or locations in several states) may need customized policies.

Large businesses. Let’s say you hit the big time. When a business has more than 500 employees or more than $1 billion in revenue, it is considered a large business. As such, it likely faces multimillion-dollar risks. Thus, these businesses typically have at least one employee dedicated to risk management. That employee can identify areas of potential losses, recommend insurance coverage and manage claims with the company’s insurance carrier. He or she will also work with the carrier to customize a policy based on the company’s unique needs.

Are you still unsure about your business’s size? Or does your company have special services, products, or circumstances you feel might not fall into a typical category? We can review your options and help you ensure your business has all the protection it needs.

Please call or email us today to get your New Year’s insurance checkup going.

Protecting Your Business from Employee Litigation

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) plays an important role in all types of businesses: serving as a financial safeguard against unexpected workplace exposures. Do you have this critical kind of insurance and in the right amount?

Like virtually all employers, you likely want to do the right thing by your employees: keep them safe, happy and fairly compensated. But however hard you try, employment practices claims can arise, and they can be lodged against a business, its officers, owners, employees and/or managers.

What kinds of claims? Well, under federal law as well as some state and local laws, claims may be made regarding harassment (sexual or otherwise), wrongful termination, hostile work environment, or age, sexual or gender discrimination. But that’s not an exhaustive list.

Sometimes these claims are merited; sometimes they are not. Regardless, defending against them can be a costly proposition, with legal fees alone running tens of thousands of dollars. Then there are any awards to consider if you lose or feel forced to settle.

That’s where ELPI can be critical. After your deductible is met, ELPI covers the cost of your legal defense, along with the costs of judgments and settlements, up to your coverage limit. EPLI typically offers $1 million to $25 million in coverage (but not for criminal conduct; this is civil).

The best way to mitigate employment practices risks is to have solid insurance coverage. Give us a call today to see how we can support you in finding the best policy!