How Insurance Protects You from Holiday Shenanigans

The holidays are a stressful time around the home. There’s gift wrapping, cooking big meals and, of course, family and friends coming to visit. Not being protected from any accidents that might happen at this time is an extra stress you don’t need. Here’s how insurance protects you from holiday shenanigans.

Let’s say you have family over and the eggnog has been poured. Everyone is feeling merry, and your uncle decides to show you his party trick, which ends up in a nasty fall and a broken leg. Since he broke his leg in your house, is it your responsibility to pay for the medical bills? Good news: if your homeowners policy has liability insurance, you’re covered. In fact, this policy covers all sorts of accidents and incidents that can happen around your home, including food poisoning, your dog biting a partygoer and an array of other trips and slips.

What else does your home insurance cover? Well, say you’re driving around town picking up gifts for your friends and family when all of a sudden, you hear the back window smash, and someone steals the contents of your back seat. Although this is a terrible thing to occur, this would be covered by your homeowners (or renters) insurance as “personal property off premises” coverage.

Protection from theft doesn’t end at your car, either. Let’s say you have a party and the new person at work comes along with a plus one. They wander through your home and have a root through your personal items, taking a few pieces of jewelry. Your trust may be broken, but your insurance will cover the theft, depending on your deductible. Remember, if you are letting strangers into your home, it’s safer to lock valuables away.

If you’re unsure what circumstances your insurance will cover, call or email us.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Identity while Holiday Shopping

In recent years, many of us have moved on to doing our holiday shopping online. It’s quick, it’s easy, your gifts get delivered to your door (even the heavy ones!), and you can do it from the comfort of your sofa. But shopping online comes with its own risks. Here are some tips to protect you from identity theft.

Shop securely

Check that the website you’re shopping on starts with https instead of http. The “s” stands for secure.

Use a private Wi-Fi network

The safest way to access the internet is on your own secure, password-protected network. If you’re using a shared or public network, don’t input your private information.

Use a credit card

If you do run into some nasty hackers who start to steal your money, cancelling and reclaiming funds on a credit card is much easier than with the funds on your debit card.

Be careful with emails

If you get an email from an address that doesn’t seem right, often promoting a deal or suggesting you’ve bought something you haven’t, don’t open it. It’s probably a phishing email that will hack your information.

Following these tips can help you avoid identity theft this holiday season. If you want to add another layer of protection, consider identity theft insurance. This helps cover the costs related to recovering your stolen identity and credit rating if you fall victim to identity theft.

Reach out to find out how you can add identity theft insurance to your homeowners or renters policy.

Risks to Consider when Completing Life Insurance Applications

You may think your physical health is the main criteria when applying for life insurance, but a number of other factors could raise your premiums.

Life insurance companies try to identify people who are at high risk for death. And some of the ways they do so are obvious. For example, most insurance companies first divide people into smokers and nonsmokers.

But it doesn’t stop there. Life insurance companies then further subdivide both smokers and nonsmokers into three risk categories: from lowest risk to highest, these categories are often called Preferred Plus, Preferred, and Standard. There are even some categories below Standard for particularly high-risk people.

And what a life insurance company considers “risky” may be different from what you do. Having high blood pressure is risky, but it can be managed with medication.

But if you’re depressed, life insurance companies worry that you may eventually take your life, so if you take an antidepressant or are in therapy, watch out.

And watch out if you have a poor driving record. Just two or three tickets in a five-year period could land you in the Standard category.

Lastly, life insurance companies may also be wary of applicants with poor credit histories because people with bad credit or a bankruptcy might not pay their insurance premiums or might commit suicide due to financial stress.

And don’t try to lie on your application. If your death is related to something you lied about and the life insurance company finds out, it won’t pay your benefit.

A better way to keep your rates low is to shop around. Different life insurance companies view risk differently.

If you want a life insurance policy but are concerned about risk factors, we can help you. Call or email us for more information.

3 Tips for De-Stressing This Holiday Season

Despite the cheer that descends on us during the holidays, the sheer amount of planning, socializing and entertaining involved can actually be a recipe for high stress levels if not managed properly. These days, it’s becoming more widely known just how much our levels of stress can actually affect our physical health, so to stay in tip-top condition, here are a few tips for reducing your holiday anxiety.

Plan things in advance. Medical professionals at Mayo Clinic have actually concluded that organizing your holiday plans early can help reduce stress-related issues. Put specific days in the diary for getting your shopping done or seeing friends and family, set clear budgets for spending and have your food menu ready to go so you can manage the emotional output these things require.

Get plenty of time outdoors. Even though it’s colder at this time of year, it’s important to still get out into the sun when you can. Exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin, the hormone related to body functions such as sleep and digestion. It also raises levels of vitamin D, which plays a strong part in healthy bones and reducing depression. These types of natural boosts to our bodies are vital in staving off the winter blues.

Don’t give up your good habits. It might be tempting to take a break from your daily run or weekly yoga class over the holiday period. Try to resist that temptation and instead stay on any wellness regimes you have. They’re habits that improve both your physical and mental health all year round, so it’s worth keeping them going in order to keep yourself healthy and happy across the holidays.

If your health insurance policy is piling on extra stress this year, give us a call and let us help ease your burden.

ACA: Deadlines for Enrollment and Other Important Things to Know

Open enrollment began nationwide on November 1, 2022. Although this may vary from state to state, we are now almost halfway through this window to consider changes to your current health insurance plan. This critical time will end in January, so now is the time to educate yourself on what this window means to you.

How can I be sure my policy will begin January 1? In most states, for your policy to be effective January 1, your enrollment needs to be completed by December 15. If you wait beyond December 15, your enrollment date will be February 1. Be sure to check your state’s enrollment periods for your state’s deadline.

What happens if I do not make a change? If the enrollment window is over and you made no change, your existing policy will continue into the new year. Although your benefits may have changed, you may have missed the opportunity to make a change to your policy. There are exceptions, referred to as qualifying events, which could allow a change throughout the year.

When I have no insurance, is this a time to apply for coverage? Yes. Use this time to review the various plans and rates to select and enroll in a plan. If you miss this deadline, you will remain uninsured until open enrollment begins next year. Use this time wisely.

If you are struggling with whether a change is needed or interested in making plan comparisons, we are here to educate you on your options. Don’t miss out on this critical window to review your options.

The Basics of a Business Owners’ Insurance Policy

Many small business owners mistakenly believe that they need only a general liability insurance policy to protect themselves from all potential losses. But that is not true. A general liability policy does not provide coverage when it comes to property. For that, you need commercial property insurance, which is part of a business owner’s policy.

What is a business owner’s policy?

A business owner’s policy combines general liability insurance with commercial property insurance. With both types of policies wrapped into one business insurance policy, you are covered from a variety of claims.

What is the difference between general liability insurance and commercial property insurance?

The general liability insurance element of a business owner’s policy provides protection from lawsuits resulting from things like a customer sustaining an injury after slipping on the floor of your offices, a defective product damaging a client’s property or the items you manufacture injuring someone. It can also protect you from libel and slander and some other claims related to advertising.

The commercial property insurance element of a business owner’s policy, on the other hand, provides protection for business property you own or rent. This includes buildings but also equipment, furniture and inventory. It also includes property that is not owned by you but was in your care at the time it was damaged. This type of insurance policy helps cover repair or replacement costs for stolen, damaged or destroyed property. Depending on the policy, it can also cover loss of income and help you pay for certain financial responsibilities, such as rent and payroll, while your property is being repaired or replaced after a covered loss.

How much does a business owner’s policy cost?

The cost of a business owner’s policy is not set in stone. It is based on a number of factors: your industry, your location, the size of your business and the amount of coverage you need, for example. There can be cost savings, however, when you purchase a business owner’s policy instead of separate general liability and commercial property insurance.

Why do I need a business owner’s policy?

All business owners need general liability insurance: it’s the bare minimum needed to protect your business in case of a loss. But a business owner’s policy also provides commercial property insurance, which you likely need if you own or rent your office, you rely on tools or equipment to do your work or you maintain inventory.

What else should I consider?

Most insurance companies allow you to customize your business owner’s policy so you pay for what you really need. For example, you can add hired and non-owned auto coverage, which provides protection for companies that rent, lease or borrow vehicles or allow their employees to use their personal vehicles for company business. Or you can add cyber liability coverage, which protects your business against the costs of data breaches and other cyber security issues.

What next?

We can help you review your current insurance coverage and determine if you need more insurance, including a business owner’s policy. Call or email us today.

Why You May Need Business Income Insurance

If you have a small business and there is any risk that business could close temporarily, you need business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance. Here are some scenarios in which you might consider this coverage.

Could your office be damaged by a fire?

No one plans a fire, but it can happen. And if it happens to you, business income insurance can cover rent, payroll and tax payments during the restoration period.

Could theft of your equipment make it hard to work?

No business owner plans to have equipment stolen, but what happens if your computers, services and printers are stolen? How long would it take you to get up and running again? By covering your lost income until you can reopen again, business income insurance can help you continue to pay operating expenses.

Do you have employees who need to be paid?

Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you have employees who rely on a paycheck. Business income insurance can make payroll when you are temporarily shut down.

Do you need to pay rent or a mortgage?

Almost all businesses (except those that are home-based) pay rent or mortgages. Business income insurance can make those payments when you are temporarily shut down.

Business income coverage may be included in another type of policy or can be purchased on its own. The best way to find the right coverage is to discuss your specific needs with us so you can get coverage tailored to your circumstances. Call or email us today.