How to Get the “Steal Me” Sticker off Your Car

No one wants to attract the attention of thieves. Yet the actions of many vehicle owners practically beg thieves to take a crack at their cars. What are you doing that might tempt thieves? And just as important, what are you doing to deter them? Vehicle owners can easily reduce the risk of car theft and resulting insurance claims with a few simple steps. To properly protect your asset, consider the following list of dos and don’ts.

Do:

Lock your vehicle at all times, even when you’re in it. When choosing their prey, car thieves look for the easiest mark. It doesn’t get much easier than an open car. If necessary, take a longer route to avoid high-crime areas. It’s worth the extra few minutes to protect yourself and your car.

Park in well-lit areas. This removes the dark and shadowy atmosphere that thieves prefer for their work.

Install an anti-theft system. Good options include steering wheel locks, ignition cut-off systems, alarms, and police-signaling systems. Check with us to see which systems might make you eligible for a discount on your premium.

Don’t:

Leave your keys in your car, and never leave it running unattended. This seems obvious, but many car owners are guilty of this one.

Leave valuables visible in your vehicle. Nothing says “Smash my window for some quick cash” like a purse, electronic device, or other potential prize sitting out in plain view.

Leave ownership information in your car. If a thief steals your vehicle, you don’t want him or her to also have “proof” that they own it.

Call or email us with any questions you may have about protecting your vehicle. We can also look over your auto insurance policy and make sure you have the coverage you need.

First-Time Home Buyer? We Have Your Insurance Answers

There are a lot of things to consider when buying your first home, and unfortunately, the ins and outs of homeowners insurance is definitely one of them. Navigating what to put on your first policy can be confusing, so we’re here to answer a few questions you may have.

What should I consider when choosing insurance?

Make sure your insurance covers not only you and your home but also the things you own. Homeowners insurance is unique. There is not a one-size-fits-all policy. For example, your policy can change if you have a large collection of priceless items, you’ve bought an antique house or you’re moving into an apartment.

How do I make a claim?

One of the pros of homeowners insurance is it helps you prepare for the unexpected. It can’t protect your house from a fire, but it can help you recover the damages if one occurs. If you need to make a claim, speak to your insurance agent, who will help you through the process.

Is there anything not typically covered by homeowners insurance?

Flooding and earthquakes are usually not covered by most policies, so if you live in an area prone to these dangers, it’s worth talking to your insurance agent. Also, look out for water backup from drainage. There may be ways to extend your coverage.

If you’re confused or having trouble deciding which coverage works best for you, get in touch with us. We’re happy to walk you through the best policy for you.

Should You Convert a Term Life Policy to Permanent?

If you’re looking for life insurance, you’ll probably know there are several options, including term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Which of these is right for you?

Term life insurance provides coverage for a certain number of years, such as 10 or 30 years. When that period ends, the insurance expires. On the other hand, permanent life insurance provides coverage until you die.

Which you choose will depend on several factors. Term life insurance may be appealing because it is often the most affordable. You might consider it if you’re trying to ensure you’ve provided for a specific event, such as the payoff of your mortgage. Permanent life insurance typically costs more. However, it ensures that your beneficiary’s needs will be covered for your entire life. You might consider this type of life insurance if you don’t have a limited event you’re providing for.

While term and permanent life insurance are two major options, they aren’t the only options. For example, with “convertible” policies, it’s possible to convert term life insurance into permanent life insurance later; this may be useful if you develop a chronic health condition that makes it difficult to qualify for new coverage after your term expires.

It’s always a good idea to seek professional guidance when looking into life insurance. The quality of the life insurance policy is often connected to the quality of the life insurance company, and a financial advisor can help you check rates and ratings. Of course, he or she can also help you choose the policy that is best for you, given your individual circumstances and goals.

We can review your circumstances and goals and help you choose the term or permanent policy that works best for you. Call or email us for more information.

Knee Replacement Surgery Pain with Newer Pre-Surgical Treatment

Did you know that physicians perform about 600,000 total knee replacement surgeries annually in the U.S.? Remarkably successful, the total knee arthroplasty (TKA) replaces a patient’s knee joint with a prosthesis that acts like the patient’s own knee. The downside? Post-operative pain can be significant. High pain levels post-TKA surgery can complicate healing. Today, there are new treatments pre-surgery that can significantly reduce post-surgical knee replacement pain.

One treatment uses a cold application that freezes the peripheral nerve and helps to block post-surgical pain. A physician performs this treatment in the office without anesthesia.

Pre-surgical peripheral nerve blocks are another way to help with pain after the procedure. Patients who underwent these procedures report reduced use of opioids, decreased pain and shorter hospital stays than those who did not undergo this procedure, according to a study cited by Global News Wire. Additionally, some surgeons use the femoral block; however, this may offer a shorter-term solution to TKA pain management. Because not all surgeons use the same methods to control post-surgical pain, it may be best for you to consult with several physicians to decide which surgeon is right for you.

Today, doctors are hesitant to prescribe opioids for pain control for several reasons. Bowel strictures can occur with the use of opioids. Physicians grow concerned about possible drug dependency when prescribing opioids. Relying on these newer pre-surgical methods of pain control are quickly gaining popularity with patients and physicians.

Before undergoing these pre-surgical treatments, check with your health insurance provider to determine if your health insurer covers your chosen procedure.

With less post-surgical pain, you can more comfortably begin physical therapy. Increased mobilization through physical therapy can offer better outcomes.

How to Keep Health Insurance If You Lose Your Job

Have you been considering a career change? Did you just learn your employment is ending? Many of us get our health insurance from our employers. What do you need to know when a change happens?

Continue with your current coverage via COBRA.

Based on your employer’s size, continuation coverage through your current group plan may be an option. Your cost will change because you will be responsible for the entire portion of your coverage. This can be the smarter route if you have paid toward your deductible or maximum out of pocket and want to keep your existing doctors.

Consider purchasing your own individual or family policy.

When you know your coverage will be ending, begin looking at options. Apply before your coverage ends to ensure no lapse in coverage. Go online and review options through your state marketplace or exchange. You may qualify for a subsidy based on income. Even if you do not qualify for subsidy assistance, an individual or family plan may be less expensive.

Is Medicare in your future?

If you are eligible for Medicare soon, you will have the opportunity to leave your COBRA or individual plan when your Medicare is effective. Even if you are years away, you will not be left uninsured. All plans are month to month and have open enrollment periods to make changes each year.

Call or email us if your job is changing, and we can help you navigate what works best for you.

10 Factors to Consider When Buying Business Insurance

Every small business owner needs to manage risk, and obtaining insurance is one of the simplest ways to do that. However, your insurance needs will vary based on a number of factors, including your industry and assets. Here are 10 factors to consider to ensure you get the right policies for your needs (thereby meeting legal requirements and minimizing your business risks).

1. Research business insurance categories.  Your insurance needs will vary, but policies you may want to consider include liability insurance, commercial property insurance, business interruption insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and commercial auto insurance (or hired and non-owned auto insurance).

2. Consider the legal requirements.  Obtaining commercial insurance may be a legal requirement, depending on your state and industry and even your lenders and clients. For example, businesses with employees generally must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Your clients may also ask you to carry certain coverage before they hire you.

3. Think about the unique risks of your industry.  An accountant worries about making a mistake when preparing a client’s tax return, which would require errors and omissions insurance. But a restaurant owner is likely more concerned about a customer contracting salmonella poisoning after eating a meal at his or her establishment, which would require liability coverage.

4. Learn what might affect your rates.  Your company location, size and insurable assets will affect your premium and are out of your control. But you can help keep costs down by taking some steps, such as installing fire suppression systems and security alarms, creating a safe work environment and only allowing employees with good driving records to operate your business vehicles.

5. Balance coverage with cost. Once you know what type of insurance you need, you will naturally ask how much you need. Use reputable insurance providers and obtain the most coverage you can afford.

6. Decide on a deductible.  The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. While you might be tempted to choose a high deductible, you also need to be able to pay the deductible when you need to file a claim. It’s a balancing act.

7. Overestimate your needs.  Because the situations you insure against can be devastating, it’s better to buy more than the minimum insurance coverage if you can.

8. Work with top-rated providers.  When evaluating insurance companies, we can look together at their ratings to find the most reputable ones. Insurance providers with a high rating (usually A) are recognized for their financial stability. You can generally assume they offer reliable coverage and prompt payouts.

9. Read the policies thoroughly.  Insurance policies are different from insurer to insurer. Be sure you understand what is covered (and what is not covered) under a policy before you sign on the dotted line.

10. Ask for help.  As you might have gathered, insurance contracts are complex legal documents, and it is best to have assistance when entering into one.

Obtaining business insurance can be confusing. Call or email us today so we can give you guidance regarding the best insurance products for your business (or if you simply want a better understanding of insurance terms and coverage).

Common Commercial Insurance Policies and What They Cover

As a small business owner, your insurance needs will undoubtedly vary based on a number of factors, including your industry. But regardless of your type of business, there are some business insurance policies you will want to consider.

Liability Insurance. There are several types of liability insurance. General liability insurance covers liability lawsuits over injuries and property damage sustained by third parties; it also covers defamation (libel and slander). Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O), covers lawsuits over errors made when working. Cyber liability insurance helps cover the costs of a data breach or other cyber incident at your business.

Commercial Property Insurance.  This type of insurance pays to repair or replace stolen, lost or damaged business property, including your office or workspace, inventory, equipment and furnishings.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).  This type of insurance combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance and does so at a lower cost than when the policies are purchased separately. Business interruption insurance, which covers operating costs if your business is forced to temporarily close due to a storm, fire or other event, may be included in a BOP policy.

Other Types of Insurance.  You might also want to consider workers’ compensation insurance, which pays medical expenses and lost wages for work-related injuries, and commercial auto insurance, which covers various expenses if your business vehicle causes an accident.