Is Gold and Money Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Not all of us have everything in the bank. Especially in these times of financial instability, more and more citizens are investing in cash and gold rather than keeping everything in one place. But whether it’s stuffed under the mattress, buried six feet under in the backyard or locked tightly away in a vault, are you insured if someone manages to break in and steal it?

Most standard home insurance policies will only cover up to $200 worth of money, notes, medals, coins, bullion, silverware and gold. If your belongings add up to much more than that, you may need to alter your insurance to match.

Floater policy

Floater policies cover any kind of loss. This means even things your homeowners policy won’t cover, such as a gold bar or an antique coin. Any items that fall under a floater must be professionally appraised, which gives you a higher coverage limit.

Scheduled personal property insurance

This is a policy that extends coverage beyond the standard protection provided by a homeowners’ insurance policy. You can even take this out on items stored in a safe deposit box at the bank. By purchasing a scheduled personal property policy, owners can ensure full coverage of expensive items, such as silver and gold, in the event of a claim.

Use a safe

Of course, this isn’t the only thing you should do to protect your valuables. However, if you insist on keeping items such as gold bars in your home, invest in a vault. You can also use an authorized depository at companies such as HSBC Bank and JPMorgan Chase.

If you’re still unsure about what option works best for you, get in touch with us. We can talk you through your options and help you make the decision that’s best for you.

Does It Make Sense to Have Pet Insurance?

Picture this: Your beloved family pet has wandered home with a limp. You take them to the vet and find out they need surgery on their leg. This is the time you’ll be thanking yourself for taking out pet insurance. But what if disaster never strikes? Here are some things to consider when choosing a pet insurance policy.

Pets are expensive

A study by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals predicted owning a cat can cost up to $30,942, and owning a pup can cost up to $42,545. Factor in routine medical checks, flea and deworming medication and old-age problems. If you end up at the vet, how much is that going to cost without a bit of protection?

Policies with preventative measures

Not only can pet insurance help in the case of an accident or a major health condition, but many policies actually cover your pet for the smaller procedures like spaying or neutering and microchipping.

Preknown conditions are not covered

The mistake that many pet owners make is waiting to see if they need pet insurance. But if you decide to get covered after your furbaby gets sick and needs constant checkups, you won’t get a payout for it.

Better safe than sorry

Our furry friends become a part of the family. The last thing you want is to have to decide between financial stability and the loss of a pet.

If you’re wondering if pet insurance is right for you, get in touch. Our policy advisors can help you make the right decision for you.

Key Ways You May Need to Use Life Insurance

Life insurance is typically used to provide replacement income for those who depend on you. That includes spouses, children or other dependents, such as minor grandchildren, disabled adults and the like. But what exactly does “replacement income” refer to? There are many ways to consider the idea.

First, replacement income could refer to funeral costs and estate taxes. When you pass away, you may leave behind taxes due on your estate or other end-of-life costs, such as funeral expenses. In 2021, for example, the national median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial was $7,640, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (and that doesn’t even include cemetery, monument, marker, flower and obituary costs). A life insurance policy can be used to cover these expenses.

Second, replacement income could refer to college tuition or college loans. Perhaps you have children who have not yet attended college; perhaps your children are older, either in college or recently graduated, in which case they may have tuition due or loans outstanding. In these cases, your life insurance proceeds could be used to finance your children’s college education or pay off their related debts.

Replacement income could also be used to pay for accumulated medical expenses. Unfortunately, the population is aging: in 2019, the latest year for which data is available, 16.5% of the American population was 65 years old or older, and that figure is expected to reach 22% by 2050, according to Statista. And as people get older, they tend to get sick more often. Prolonged illnesses can be expected. Earmarking your life insurance policy to cover such costs is a prudent step.

If you decide you need life insurance (or more 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.

Avoiding a Fall Can Be a Key to Better Health

In 2018, almost 36 million senior citizens suffered falls. A fall at any age can be deadly, however. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that trips, slips and falls accounted for more than 1,100 construction fatalities in 2019 alone. Preventing a fall can avoid expensive medical treatment, pain and wage loss.

For our aging population, the National Institute on Aging offers advice on preventing falls. Reducing clutter around the home and being mindful of potential obstacles, such as throw rugs and pets who seem to delight in lying directly in our paths, can reduce the likelihood of a fall.

Proper lighting can help as well. Avoid a fall in dimly lit rooms or in the middle of the night by installing a motion-activated night light. Avoiding slippery surfaces can help, too. In winter, snow and ice cause many broken hips and other serious injuries. Routinely using bathmats can also reduce your chances of a trip and fall.

Thinking of installing new floors? Choosing a slip-resistant floor tile can help. Both ceramic and porcelain tiles, while beautiful, may pose an extra slip hazard, especially when wet. Ask your salesperson for the tile manufacturer’s dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) before you buy. Look for a higher DCOF, and double-check the standards supplied by the National Floor Safety Institute. Floors with higher traction ratings offer the best protection against falls. Remember, too, that floor waxes and other topical tile treatments can increase slipperiness.

At any age, starting any new medication may have side effects like dizziness. Be sure to discuss the risks of all new medications with your pharmacist before you pop that first pill.

Falls are serious business. Avoiding a fall can literally mean the difference between life and death. With some simple precautions, you can avoid a potentially serious injury.

The Ins and Outs of Health Savings Accounts

Are you considering a health savings account (HSA) but don’t understand enough about them or whether one would be right for you? Let us answer a few questions that might help in your decision.

If I were looking for a tax advantage, would an HSA help? Contributing money to an HSA is pre-tax and can reduce your modified adjusted gross income. When you are ready to withdraw funds for qualified medical expenses, it is still tax-free. If your HSA is through your employer, this money is yours, and you can take it with you if you go.

Are there medical expenses I can pay using my HSA? You can withdraw money anytime for qualified medical expenses. The actual list is long and may even include some benefits not covered under your current health insurance plan, such as hearing aids and eyeglasses. Plus, there is no limit on when you can withdraw these funds to reimburse yourself for these medical expenses.

Do I need an HDHP health plan? You must have a high-deductible health plan to contribute to an HSA. These plans are becoming more popular because the deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket amounts can be lower than other health insurance plans. The maximum out-of-pocket costs for 2022 are $7,050 for an individual and $14,000 for a family.

There are a number of advantages to an HSA. If you are interested in discussing whether it might be right for you, we are only a phone call or email away.

The Key Elements of an Insurance Contract

Insurance is the backbone of every established business’s operation plan, offering reassurance of financial stability should the worst-case scenario come to fruition. But understanding the elements of an insurance contract can seem daunting when it applies to a business versus a person. Below is a brief guide to the components of an insurance contract that make it legally binding for both parties.

Offer and Acceptance.  When you seek an insurance policy, you fill out an application that is legally known as an offer. Acceptance occurs when the insurance company formally issues the policy.

Legal Consideration.  This refers to the dollar value of the premiums you agree to pay and the dollar limit of the coverage the insurance company provides in return.

Competent Parties. Insurance contracts are only valid if both parties are of sound mind and body, both parties are at least the legal age of majority and the insurance company is licensed in your state.

Free Consent.  Both parties in any insurance contract must enter into the contract of their own volition, with no fraud, misrepresentation, intimidation or coercion involved.

Legal Purpose.  The insurance contract must adhere to all state-specific laws that apply to the contract and cover only legal activities.

Insurable Interest.  You have an insurable interest when you benefit financially from whatever is being insured (and you cannot get coverage for something in which you have no insurable interest).

Utmost Good Faith.  This means that both parties have acted without any type of deception, omission or misrepresentation.

Material Facts.   Material facts are those things the insurance company needs to know in order to insure your business.

Full and True Disclosure.  Both parties are required to completely disclose all material facts pertinent to the insurance policy.

Principle of Indemnity.  The insurance company will compensate you with a cash settlement if a covered loss occurs.

Doctrine of Subrogation.  This says that the insurance company can pursue reimbursement from a third party that caused the covered insurance loss.

Warranties.  Warranties are the promises specified in an insurance contract, such as conditions that can trigger a claim and the actions that will be taken by the insurance company as a result of the claim.

Conditions.  Conditions determine whether a claim will be paid. They include you paying the policy premiums, notifying the insurance company in a timely manner and such.

Limitations.  Limitations are the parameters of the insurance coverage, such as maximum amounts that will be paid for a specific type of loss.

As you might have gathered, insurance contracts are complex legal documents, and it’s best to have assistance when entering into one. Please call or email us today to get help with your commercial insurance coverage.

Why You Need to Think about Uninsurable Risk

Uninsurable risk refers to potential losses insurance companies simply will not insure, regardless of how much you pay. And knowing what is uninsurable will help you plan for the future of your business.

Common uninsurable risks include reputational, regulatory, political and pandemic risk. Generally, these risks fall into four broad buckets.

First, the potential loss is catastrophic, meaning it is extremely rare (such as a war or pandemic), but should it occur, extraordinary losses could result.

Second, the potential loss is commercially uninsurable, meaning it is illegal to insure. If an insurance company is in a jurisdiction in which cannabis is illegal, for example, it may not insure a cannabis business.

Third, the potential loss is an uncommon loss. If there are a handful of people with unusual risks in an insurance pool, all other policyholders would be paying more to protect against an unlikely loss, so insurance companies exclude these types of losses or create a separate product specifically for them.

Lastly, the potential loss is the result of damage that is either natural or cumulative. These are losses that are so predictable they naturally do not fall under insurance protection. Some examples include natural spoilage of food, wear on equipment or discoloration of apparel in a store display.

Insurance is meant to protect you from unknown losses, but some losses could be uninsurable. Call or email us today to see how we can support you in finding the best policy that covers your potential losses.