Get to the Bottom of These Health Insurance Misconceptions

Health insurance can be difficult to navigate, especially with all the misinformation out there. Let’s get to the bottom of some ideas you have heard about health insurance.

The most important thing to look for is always a low deductible. True or false? The answer is false. The truth is you want to be aware of your deductible. Also, what are the co-payments or co-insurance costs? The most important thing to know is reaching that low deductible does not mean your liability ends.

I never go to the doctor, so I don’t need health insurance. True or false? The answer is false. The truth is you may be healthy now, but what if you develop a health condition that requires expensive treatment? Also, what if an unexpected accident occurs? The most important thing is to have some level of coverage.

Health insurance never covers my annual physical. True or false? The answer is true. The truth is if your policy was written before the Affordable Care Act, your annual physical may have a co-pay or co-insurance. Also, a basic well check may be covered, but any required lab work may not.

There is no one I can trust to explain insurance policy benefits. True or false? The answer is false. The truth is a licensed agent can assist you in understanding your policy. Also, they can share other plan options and rates.

Call or email us today to go over your options or to clarify any questions you have about health insurance.

Be Prepared with a Home Evacuation Checklist

The idea of evacuating your home because of a fire or a natural disaster sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but they are much more common than you might think. Although we would rather not think about the possibility of evacuation, it is better to be prepared. To make things easier, here is a checklist we’ve compiled to have handy in case it ever happens to you.

A grab-and-go kit

Gather a bag of essential supplies, water, snacks, blankets, warm clothes and practical survival tools such as a flashlight and a first aid kit.

Copies of important papers

Keep these copies in a waterproof folder with the go bag: your driver’s license, the deed to your house, proof of insurance, medical records, passports, Social Security cards and a list of personal contacts.

Safeguard your pets

Make sure they have IDs and microchips so that if you happen to become separated from them, you have many opportunities to be reunited.

Know how to shut down your utilities

Make sure you know how to shut off all your utilities in your home for the time you have to leave it. FEMA has tips for shutting off your water, electricity and gas.

Protect your windows

It may be worth putting cardboard aside and/or getting plywood barriers made for the windows in your home if evacuations are likely. Even just a small amount of cardboard and some duct tape would be good things to save.

Clear your yard

Something that sounds simple but could end up saving your house permanent damage is clearing your yard of debris or weak branches on trees. You may be gone for a while, and making sure your yard is maintained means that stray branches or piled leaves won’t cause more damage.

If you do have to evacuate, you want to have peace of mind that your property and belongings have the proper coverage. Call or email us today, and we’ll review your policies.

Is Mold Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance?

You’ve got home insurance, so you’re all covered, right? But is your home covered for mold? Mold sounds scary, but it shows up often and is usually harmless. However, whether you’re covered for it is usually due to the wording of your policy.

The issues with mold usually arise when areas of unchecked moisture have allowed mold to thrive. Moisture can result from something as simple as a leaky roof or dishwasher to something as drastic as flooding.

So are you covered?

That often comes down to the source of the moisture and whether the proprietor is at fault. If you’re unsure what your policy says on the matter, take some time to read the language. Look out especially for mold as a result of water damage. Look for mold exclusions or limitations. Call us if the wording is unclear.

Most basic insurance policies will provide coverage for mold and fungi, but with all types of policies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In most cases, remediation will be covered for mold as a result of something sudden like a burst pipe. If mold is a by-product of neglect, this is something the homeowner may have to fork out money for themselves. Most policies also don’t cover flooding damage, so you may have to opt in for an additional flood protection premium.

If you’re unsure whether you need to update your policy or change it, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you find the right policy for you.

Life Insurance: Charting a Course for the Decade Ahead

We are well into a new year, and many of the challenges we hoped to leave behind continue. COVID-19 lingers, forcing many of us to confront the possibility of our demise. But insurance companies are taking many steps to help customers set a course for a more successful future, regardless of what it brings.

Life insurance, admittedly, isn’t a very engaging topic. You pay an insurance company a premium now. In exchange, if you die, the insurance company pays your loved ones. No one likes to think about dying, nor do we like to think of our loved ones struggling to make ends meet after we die. That makes discussing life insurance uncomfortable at best. But life insurance is still a critical need for many Americans, and life insurance companies are working to make getting it as seamless as possible.

Customer focus, for example, has become critical to insurance companies. According to McKinsey, customers say their central insurance concerns are getting good value for their money (54%), convenience (48%), and fairness (24%). With that in mind, insurers are focusing on insuring customers against life-changing circumstances and resolving claims quickly, easily and fairly. Everyone talks about having a customer focus; now, more and more insurers are implementing such a focus successfully.

One way they are doing that is by rigorously expanding technology to the benefit of customers. Many insurers are using advanced analytics and automation to provide customers with the right product for their situation at the right time. The future will likely offer much more personalized insurance. Real transformation is occurring.

That means it could be a good time to revisit your life insurance policy (or get one if you don’t have one). Call or email us, and we can discuss your needs and goals and determine what is best for you.

Discussing Health Insurance Options with Your Parents

Do you know whether your parents have taken steps to protect themselves when and if their health were to decline? When you need to step in, are you ready to have these difficult discussions? Let us review when and where to begin.

When should I begin this discussion? With 60 being the new 50, casually begin this conversation sooner than you might expect. Maybe they are dealing with their own aging parents or have friends dealing with healthcare decisions. This is a good lead into the discussion about their future wishes.

Break down these conversations into a few sessions. Communicate your desire to get educated right along beside them. Thinking about life and death can be difficult. Many parents prefer to keep their financial situation private. Be sensitive to their privacy and tread lightly. Ask them if they have an area where they would like to start this educational journey.

Ask open-ended questions. “What would I need to know if your health were to change drastically?” “Do you like your doctors, and are all your needs being met with little or no cost?” “If you were unable to speak for yourself, do you have a health directive to communicate your desires?” “Where are these important documents located?”

What is the purpose of speaking with a professional? Just as our life changes on a regular basis, so do the various options available in the health and life insurance arenas. A licensed professional should be someone you trust who is willing to evaluate your unique situation and offer options that might best meet your individual needs. Seek someone who listens and provides the time to answer all your questions.

We are here to assist as you have these conversations, and we are just a phone call away. We can be that resource to discuss all the various options.

5 Ways to Manage Your Small Business Insurance Costs

As the owner of a small business, one of your many responsibilities is likely managing business insurance costs. With everything else going on in the world today, you may feel like you don’t have time to keep on top of this responsibility. But it’s still a good idea to periodically review your business insurance coverage to ensure that you have the policies you need and are getting the most for your money. Here are five things to consider.

Are you reviewing coverages annually?  Business needs can change rapidly, so it’s a good idea to review your policy with us on a regular basis. You may find, for example, that you need to purchase additional protection (perhaps you’ve purchased new computer equipment, or perhaps you’ve increased or decreased employees). Or you may find that you can save money by adjusting some coverages. We can help you ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your business.

Can you reduce expenses by combining coverage?  It wouldn’t be surprising for you to have multiple policies with different insurance companies. For example, you might have general liability coverage from one insurer and cybersecurity coverage from another. By bundling all of your coverage, you may be able to reduce your premiums. And having only one policy can make managing your renewals a little less time-consuming.

Can you change your deductibles?  A general guideline for insurance costs is as follows: higher deductibles, lower premiums; lower deductibles, higher premiums. So increasing the deductible on your business insurance policy may reduce the cost of your premium. You might then invest the money you save back into your business. Before opting for a higher deductible, however, it’s a good idea to consider how much money you have available to pay out of pocket for a covered claim, such as a theft or a fire. You don’t want to risk your business’s future to save a bit of money each month.

Consider stronger risk management in your daily operations.  It’s important to think about your coverage needs in advance. Can you pinpoint potential business risks? For example, if your company could possibly experience a data breach, you will want to have cybersecurity coverage. Otherwise, you’d be responsible for costs related to your business’s recovery from a breach, such as credit monitoring services, legal fees and fines from your state if your business is required to have this kind of coverage. This could cost thousands of dollars, so having the right insurance coverage in place can be critical if the unexpected happens.

Plan for uncertainties. You might also consider taking measures to help reduce business risks. One measure is planning for a disaster, such as a destructive storm or fire or data breach, as mentioned above. But business succession planning is also critical. As a business owner, you’ll want to ensure that you leave everything in order should you need to leave the business unexpectedly.

We can help you review your current insurance coverage and make adjustments based on your company’s changing needs. Call or email us. We’re always here for you.

Small Businesses without Insurance Are Taking Dangerous Risks

s the owner of a small business who is likely very cost-conscious, it might be tempting to forgo certain types of insurance that aren’t required by law. In fact, Next Insurance found that 44% of businesses have never had insurance at all. But going without insurance could end up costing your business way more than the monthly premiums would and maybe even lead to ruin.

There are many types of business insurance, and some are required by law in certain states. For example, the Affordable Care Act requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer employer-sponsored healthcare coverage. Failure to obtain such coverage doesn’t just expose a business to risk; it could also lead to governmental action for violating the law.

But not purchasing insurance simply because it isn’t legally required isn’t a great move. You may not be required to have general liability insurance, which helps protect your business if someone makes a claim of bodily injury, property damage or libel/slander against your business. But if a customer slips and falls on your property, getting injured in the process, he or she may sue you.

So instead of avoiding insurance, it’s best to make strategic decisions about which insurance policies your business needs and which it doesn’t. To make this call, you need to know your industry well and may even need some assistance from experts like us.

Call or email us today to schedule some time to review your policies and make sure you are protected.