Should I Consider a BOP or CPP Insurance Bundle?

To briefly discuss a critical and complex topic for small business owners, let’s do a quick overview with an analogy to something simple we can all enjoy: pizza!

Business Owner Insurance (BOP) is like a standard Domino’s pizza. Its preset bundle of ingredients is designed to meet the needs and requirements of most small businesses and is practical in terms of cost and coverage.

A Commercial Policy Package (CPP) is more of a build-your-own, à la carte menu of options for those with more specific appetites or dietary requirements when there are unique risks within that business’s industry that necessitate extra coverage. This might sound expensive, but because it can be built from the ground up, it facilitates nearly unlimited options and has the capacity to be more cost-effective (rather than purchasing a standard BOP policy and adding additional menu items to your order).

Keep in mind, while BOP and CPP packages cover the majority of the gamut of coverage business owners need, they often do not include vital coverage for other key ingredients, such as commercial flood insurance, workers’ compensation and other crucial liability insurances.

Also, with the impact that COVID-19 has had on many brick-and-mortar businesses, it is critical for those now operating businesses out of their homes to know that homeowners insurance policies specifically exclude liability coverage for all business operations.

We’re here to help you painlessly place your order; we’ll assist you in understanding and confidently deciding which policy type is best for you. Our goal is to help you navigate toward options that make the most holistic sense for your business in terms of risk management, budgets and bringing you a personal sense of stability.

What Coverage Questions Should I Ask My Agent?

You want to make sure you get the best insurance coverage for your company. But what are the right questions to ask? Use the questions below as a jumping-off point for your discussions.

Is commercial insurance right for me? Business owners often believe they can skate by without insurance at the beginning. This can be a costly assumption. Even the smallest business should have adequate insurance coverage to cover any issues.

What types of coverage do I need? Every business has unique insurance needs. At minimum, most companies require property, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. Your specific operations and type of industry will determine which other policies are needed for your business.

Is a business owner’s policy (BOP) a good idea for me? A BOP is a bundle of policies that provides basic coverage for businesses. You may be able to choose this package to save on insurance, but depending on your operations and type of business, you may need more coverage than what is in this starter policy.

What questions should I ask about property insurance? Ask how much insurance you will need to cover your commercial property. Be sure to have coverage for equipment, inventory and intellectual property.

What about policy limits? When you’re thinking of insurance, you should think of policy limits and how much the policy will pay out as a maximum. When considering policy limits, you should also be cognizant of whether the limits will be enough to cover true losses in the event of a catastrophic or major event.

Does an umbrella policy make sense for me? You may want to consider commercial umbrella insurance if a basic policy doesn’t give you sufficient coverage in certain circumstances. A commercial umbrella insurance policy extends your liability coverage when a basic policy falls short. For example, if you are found liable in a costly lawsuit, an umbrella policy will protect your assets.

What about the claims process? Knowing the proper steps to file a claim and who to contact with questions is key. Ask us about how this process works so you can know these details in advance. In the event you should need to file a claim, you will have a smoother experience.

What ways are there to pay? For coverage to commence, you must pay your insurance premium, either as a lump sum or in monthly installments. Both of these methods have their advantages. We can help you determine which is the best payment plan for your business.

How can I save money on my insurance premiums? Lowering your risk factors can help lower your premium. Two common solutions are employee training and security systems. We can provide you with additional tips for lowering premiums and reducing the number of claims.

These questions are a good place to start when determining your insurance needs. Our office is ready to help answer any more questions you may have and guide you to the best options for your business. Call or email us today.

What Is Errors and Omissions Insurance and Who Needs It?

When you think of insurance for your business, you may think of the more obvious policies, such as property insurance, workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. But if you provide a service to customers or clients, errors and omissions insurance is also a must.

What is errors and omissions insurance? Errors and omissions insurance, also known as E&O insurance and professional liability insurance, provides protection for your business from lawsuits that claim you made a mistake in your professional services. E&O insurance protects your business from claims of inaccurate advice, negligence, potential errors in services provided, misrepresentation, omissions or other applicable claims. This insurance can help cover your court costs, attorney’s fees and administrative costs to put your defense together. E&O insurance can also help cover settlements or judgments, which can be a few thousand to millions of dollars.

Who needs errors and omissions insurance? Business owners or operators whose clients depend on their judgment or services to accomplish goals need errors and omissions insurance. While some may believe this only applies to professional services such as medical, legal and accounting services, businesses such as website service providers, barbershops, advertising firms, consulting companies, pet groomers, engineering firms and many others could benefit from errors and omissions insurance. If you have a business that provides a service to customers, errors and omissions insurance should be part of your coverage.

Let us help you review your policies and determine what specific coverage is best for you and your circumstances. Call or email us today. We are always here for you.

The Importance of an Up-to-Date Medical Power of Attorney

In today’s uncertain world, a serious illness or an incapacitating injury can strike at any age. A properly drafted medical power of attorney (POA) allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’re never too young or too old to consider this important step. Even your child heading to college may require you to step in if he or she cannot act after an illness or injury.

Suppose you’re seriously injured and doctors recommend a risky procedure that is your best chance for recovery. You may be unable to make this decision yourself. The POA allows your signer to intercede, making critical care decisions for you only if you cannot act. Your POA can legally talk with your physicians, deciding on the best course of action. The medical POA gives no power to make financial or other decisions, just the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Only when you’re unable to act for yourself does the medical POA begin.

If you’ve signed a POA in the past, reevaluate it. Your signer may no longer be able or willing to help make these tough decisions. An up-to-date medical POA is essential to your healthcare and to your family.

You may hear medical providers call the medical POA an “advance directive.” Always provide a copy to your treating physician and to the hospital you’d likely visit with an illness. Discuss your wishes with your POA because it’s important he or she clearly understands what you do want and what you don’t want after a critical event.

Call us for information on POAs. We help walk our clients through many important life decisions. While these conversations can be difficult, it costs nothing for you to meet with us and discuss what’s best for you.

What You Need to Know about the Special Enrollment Period

The new presidential administration has reopened the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period for 2021 healthcare coverage. The 2021 regular enrollment period was from November 1 through December 15, 2020. After job losses reached record highs, more Americans lost health insurance. In response, the new administration reopened open enrollment with a three-month window and then extended it. Now open until August 15, if you missed the ACA deadline, the new special enrollment period opens the door to coverage for many Americans. In states with their own ACA exchanges, extension dates may vary.

If you lost your job, your previous employer may offer health coverage continuation through COBRA. For many, COBRA premiums are simply unaffordable. If you lose health insurance due to reduced hours or job loss, investigate coverage through the ACA. This can help you determine whether you should pay COBRA rates or opt into the often more affordable ACA. Remember if you choose COBRA, you’ll usually only have COBRA benefits for 18 months. You will then need to find alternative coverage.

The current administration issued an executive order that instructs federal agencies to ease reenrollment challenges. However, buying coverage through can be confusing. Simply determining which plan to choose (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) is just one decision. Ensuring the plan covers your doctors is another.

The most important factor about the ACA is there are no restrictions for preexisting conditions, and free annual healthcare checkups can keep you healthy, ultimately reducing your healthcare costs.

Don’t navigate open enrollment alone. Call us to help find the best plan for your budget.

The Importance of an Up-to-Date Medical Power of Attorney

In today’s uncertain world, a serious illness or an incapacitating injury can strike at any age. A properly drafted medical power of attorney (POA) allows someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. You’re never too young or too old to consider this important step. Even your child heading to college may require you to step in if he or she cannot act after an illness or injury.

Suppose you’re seriously injured and doctors recommend a risky procedure that is your best chance for recovery. You may be unable to make this decision yourself. The POA allows your signer to intercede, making critical care decisions for you only if you cannot act. Your POA can legally talk with your physicians, deciding on the best course of action. The medical POA gives no power to make financial or other decisions, just the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. Only when you’re unable to act for yourself does the medical POA begin.

If you’ve signed a POA in the past, reevaluate it. Your signer may no longer be able or willing to help make these tough decisions. An up-to-date medical POA is essential to your healthcare and to your family.

You may hear medical providers call the medical POA an “advance directive.” Always provide a copy to your treating physician and to the hospital you’d likely visit with an illness. Discuss your wishes with your POA because it’s important he or she clearly understands what you do want and what you don’t want after a critical event.

Call us for information on POAs. We help walk our clients through many important life decisions. While these conversations can be difficult, it costs nothing for you to meet with us and discuss what’s best for you.

Is It Time to Recycle Your Old Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance is something you buy and then don’t think about until you need it, so it’s easy to forget. But as you near retirement, it may be a good time to reevaluate your needs. Is your old policy, which may have been purchased decades ago, still meeting your needs?

Life insurance is important as we start our adult lives. We get jobs, marry, buy homes, have children. And we want to maintain that lifestyle for our loved ones should we experience an accident or illness.

But then life goes on. Our children grow up. We pay off our mortgages. We retire. We live happily, thanks to our retirement savings and Social Security.

At the same time, we may have a life insurance policy purchased years ago that we’re still paying premiums on. What should we do? Do we maintain the status quo and keep the policy? Or do we stop paying premiums and let the policy lapse?

It’s a good question. After all, the money you pay in premiums could be used in a number of other ways. You could use it to pay down debt, add to your nest egg (investing in a manner that will hopefully grow over time) or even buy long-term care insurance.

But the life insurance policy may still benefit you. Just because you have no children living at home doesn’t mean you don’t need life insurance. The people in your life could be affected by your death in many ways. How would your life insurance proceeds help them? If you can come up with enough ways, it might be worth keeping your policy in effect and reevaluate in another one to five years.

We can help you decide if a life insurance policy still makes sense for you. Please reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions.

How Landscaping Can Lower Your Premiums

You can add beauty and value to your property with properly maintained landscaping, while poorly maintained or neglected landscaping can decrease both. Landscaping can have the same effect on your premiums. Here are some ways landscaping can lower premiums.

Trim your trees. Cutting and trimming your trees can lower your insurance premiums by reducing the risk to your property and others around you. Branches that are too close to your home can destroy roofs, damage siding and break windows. Dead branches pose a risk if they fall. They could cause property damage or personal injury.

Stop burglars. Landscaping can lower risk and thus potentially lower your insurance premiums by being a well-placed barrier to entry to your home. Trees or bushes in the right place, such as in front of easily accessible windows or other entry points, can serve as an effective barrier to thieves. Eliminate hiding places by keeping large bushes and trees neatly trimmed.

Watch the water. Landscaping can help lower your insurance premiums by acting as an effective barrier to floods and water damage. Place the right amount and kind of landscaping (such as trees, flowers and grass that crave and absorb water) so it does not reach any part of the structure and cause water damage that can then take thousands of dollars and months to repair. Avoiding such risks can potentially lower your homeowners insurance premium. Similarly, make sure the land is graded properly so that water can drain from it. Think about drainage, or better yet, consult with a professional with experience in land grading whenever you add or remove landscaping to protect your property from disaster.

Contacting our office today can help you make the right decisions so your landscaping choices not only improve the outside of your home but makes sense for your bottom line as well.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Covered by Auto Insurance

When it comes to fender benders, keyed cars and windshields damaged by stray rocks, you know your auto insurance policy has you covered. But did you know that your policy may also cover more unusual circumstances? Below are four such circumstances.

When rodents make your car their new home: Rodents can decide to make a new residence under your hood. This can lead to interfering with the operation of your vehicle. Especially if your vehicle is parked for a lengthy period of time, you should check to see if you have an “other than collision” clause that covers any rodent-created damage.

When potholes cause issues: Pothole accidents are categorized as collisions by many auto insurance policies. If so, the damage caused by a run-in with a pothole will be covered by your policy.

When your child’s car seat is part of an accident: During crashes, various parts of your vehicle can be impacted in a severe manner. One less obvious point of impact may be your child’s car seat. After an accident, it may be damaged, and it’s a good idea to replace it. Your auto insurance policy may cover the cost of replacement.

When your furry friend needs care: Dogs love their owners’ cars, and if your dog is ever injured as a result of an accident, your auto insurance may cover the vet bills.

When you miss work due to a car accident injury: Your policy may cover a portion of your lost income.

If you experience any of these issues, call or email our office to determine whether your policy covers them.

Did You Know Certain Car Safety Features Can Lower Your Premium?

When shopping for a car, many people look at a variety of features on a vehicle, such as interior and exterior color, make and model, stereo, electronics and other options that will make their drive time more pleasant. However, few consider the effect the safety features can have on lowering their insurance premiums. The next time you go car shopping, look for some of these safety features that protect not only you and your passengers but your wallet as well.

Size and weight. Many potential buyers think bigger is better, but that’s not necessarily so when it comes to cars. Very large vehicles, such as SUVs, often have the potential to roll over and can be less safe than midsize sedans. Make sure to review your vehicle’s safety ratings.

Restraints. Far from the days when only seat belts were offered, today’s vehicles now have more extensive restraint systems. Some of the key elements to look for are locking head restraints, side airbags and lap and shoulder belts with crash tensioners.

Make sure you can reach the pedals without putting yourself too close to the steering wheel. Steering column airbags can cause serious injury if they’re too close.

Daytime lights. More vehicles now feature daytime running lights that allow them to be more visible to all motorists no matter the weather, decreasing the chances of daytime accidents.

Backup cameras. Video systems that allow you to see what is happening behind your vehicle dramatically increase safety by eliminating blind spots. Backup cameras can help prevent collisions and save lives.

Other safety features like warning systems and anti-lock brakes can help reduce the likelihood of a crash and further reduce the likelihood of claims.

Next time you’re in the market for a new vehicle, check with us about potential discounts on premiums based on specific vehicle features. We are just a call or email away.

What Insurance Coverage Does Your Hobby Need?

So many Americans pass the time with hobbies that keep them entertained and add value to their lives. From collecting model trains to restoring antique furniture, there are a variety of ways that your hobby can add up to a substantially expensive endeavor. Some hobbyists’ collections or work are worth thousands of dollars.

Most collectors rarely think of the value of their hobbies, instead of focusing on the enjoyment they provide to them and their families. Hobbies can quickly add up to significant amounts of money whether you build, collect or play. If you’ve invested quite a bit in your hobby, it is worth it to do a quick review.

The first question you should ask is if the value of your items and supplies themselves is worth more than $500. If so, you should take action to make sure they are properly protected.

Carefully review your insurance policies to ensure your homeowners or renters policy covers the items you use for your hobby in case of damage or theft.

For some very expensive hobbies, you may want to look into a separate rider that covers the amount of money you would need to replace your collection or hobby supplies. There are certain limits to most policies, and high-value items may max out the coverage.

Even if your hobby investment is less than $500, make sure to include the high-priced items in your home inventory list.

If you have any questions about how your insurance policy covers your hobby or if you need a separate rider, contact our office today via email or phone. We are always here to help.

Why Life Insurance May Be More Affordable than You Think

A life insurance policy can be an affordable way to protect your family. But some people don’t purchase life insurance because they think it will be too expensive. That is not necessarily the case, however.

Life insurance is designed to provide for a partner or a family that relies on your income. If you pass away, your family members may not be able to get back on their feet easily.

The COVID-19 pandemic has likely made people more aware of their own mortality, with life insurance applications jumping in 2020, according to MIB Group. But it may not be enough. According to a 2020 study by Limra, just 59% of Americans have life insurance, and about half of those who do have life insurance do not have enough.

You may want to discuss life insurance with your spouse or partner to determine what his or her needs are. Certainly, it is not an easy discussion. No one likes to anticipate his or her own death. But if a loved one relies on your income, you will undoubtedly want to ensure he or she is cared for if something happens to you.

If you’re concerned about cost, you can make life insurance more affordable by purchasing a policy sooner rather than later. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be healthy, and the healthier you are, the lower the premium will be. There are also different types of life insurance, some more affordable than others. Term life insurance is the most affordable. It pays a benefit to your survivors when you die within a specified period of time. Whole life insurance is more expensive. It combines investing with term life insurance.

If you’re concerned about your life insurance coverage, reach out to our office so you can get the best information to help you determine how much insurance and which policy make the most sense for you.

Is It Safe to Visit the Dentist in Light of COVID-19?

Is your dentist still seeing patients? Whether dental practices have closed shop or are seeing patients only on an emergency basis depends on the dental office.

Early in the pandemic, some dental practices closed, as ordered by their states. However, as early as May 2020, many dental practices began to reopen, either for emergency services or for all routine and elective procedures. The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommend each dental practice evaluate its specific risk, given the area’s COVID-19 situation. According to the CDC, “Dental settings should balance the need to provide necessary services while minimizing risk to patients and dental healthcare personnel.”

Many people are avoiding dental care unless they are in pain, delaying routine visits like cleanings and semiannual checkups. If you decide to visit your dentist, here are a few things you should expect from your dental practice.

Your dentist’s staff should contact you prior to your visit to determine whether you’ve traveled outside the country or experienced any COVID-like symptoms.

Your dentist will probably ask you to come alone. If you’re disabled or have difficulty walking, ask your dentist to make an exception. It’s better to ask than risk falling on your way into or out of your dentist’s office. Alternatively, a staff member should be able to assist you into and out of your vehicle.

Be sure to wear a mask. The practice should have removed all magazines, but don’t touch anything once inside.

It’s not a bad idea to ask your dentist what additional precautions they may be taking and whether they’ve had any COVID-19 infection issues within their practice.

Dental insurance is surprisingly affordable. Call or email us to learn more about dental insurance plans. We can help determine what options are best for you.

Laid off? How to Manage Your Disability Coverage

With the high unemployment rate due to COVID-19 , many Americans are losing their short- and long-term disability benefits. Just like life insurance, your disability insurance is a benefit your employer may offer on a group basis. If you’re laid off, you may lose access to that coverage because you’re no longer part of that group. If you lose your job, you may lose the group rate or lose access to your disability coverage entirely. Whether you can buy your own coverage through that plan or lose access will depend on your company’s policies and how the insurance company writing the group insurance policy administers its coverage.

If you’re furloughed, you may still have disability coverage for a short period. In response to COVID-19, some employers have worked directly with their disability carriers to extend benefits for the expected length of the furlough. Some group plans will offer laid-off employees the ability to convert their short- and long-term disability coverage to an individual plan. However, you’ll be responsible for the entire premium, whereas previously, your employer probably paid the bulk of the premium.

Should you face this situation, ask your group disability carrier for a quote to continue coverage if your group plan offers that option. Then shop that coverage with an insurance agent who specializes in disability coverage. No two plans are alike. You may be able to purchase a policy with richer benefits for the same or even a lower premium.

If you’re facing a layoff, call or email us for more information about managing your disability benefits. We are always here to help.

Don’t Roll the Dice with These Insurance Gambles

Taking calculated risks is part of a good business strategy for millions of small business owners. However, taking a gamble on business insurance can be potentially devastating. For many inexperienced small business owners struggling to juggle their own day-to-day worries, mistakes abound when considering and making decisions on insurance coverage. Some of these mistakes even include going without insurance coverage in the hopes that the business can save money. This often proves to be much more costly in the end than simply having obtained a business insurance policy to begin with. Below are the three most common mistakes that are always losing gambles for your small business, no matter how you roll the dice.

“Let it ride.” Work closely with your insurance agent to determine the optimal coverage for your business no matter where it is based. For example, a home-based business is not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy that did not take a business into account when it was created, and if you do contract work, any insurance a client may have on their own business will not cover your business. If your security blanket rests on the hope that your business is covered without verifying the specifics of the insurance policy, you may well find out none of your losses are covered, and you will be on the hook for a significant amount of money.

“All in.” Businesses need certain tried-and-true basic policies that they can rely on and refer to. These necessary policies include property insurance, liability insurance, business vehicle insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. However, viewing these basic policies as the only solution could leave your business at risk. A cookie-cutter approach will not help your business, as each business has its own industry-specific risks that may require specialized policies.

“Winning streak.” You may have been lucky and no disaster has befallen your business yet. However, this does not mean that disaster cannot hit your business and that you will continue to live without an accident or other occurrence. You are not invincible. Without sufficient coverage, your business, reputation and future profits are likely at risk. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not survive incidents that lead to large claims. You should ensure you have appropriate business insurance policies in place and, if you haven’t, consider business interruption insurance so you can maintain cash flow even during the most trying of times.

Rather than gamble with your business and fritter away its potential growth, ask our office for any counsel you may need. No question is too insignificant or too complicated. Our insurance experts will prevent you from gambling with your company and walk you through how you can select the best insurance policy for your business in both the short and long term. With extensive insurance knowledge and your best interests in mind, we are a sure bet. Call or email us today. We are always here to help.

Identity Theft Happens in Business Too

Millions of Americans scrupulously guard their identities and personally identifiable information for fear that their bank accounts will be compromised, identities stolen and a parade of difficulties will follow them at the hands of those who wish to steal their identities. However, they will often not exercise the same care with their business “identities.” Even for small businesses that try their best with free tools, professional identity thieves can evade this type of protection and gain access to lines of credit or accounts. Here are some of the ways businesses can protect their identities.

Monitoring service. Businesses can enroll in monitoring services that continuously monitor any activity on their companies’ credit reports, looking for any red flags.

EIN. For many small business owners, using their Social Security numbers and establishing sole proprietorships are the easiest things to do practically. However, this could lead to exposure for both your personal and business finances if either is compromised. Small business owners should obtain Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to separate both and reduce risk.

Data protection. Keeping your passwords in a safe, protected place is a crucial part of protecting your data. Use anti-virus and anti-malware software in addition to a secure password manager.

Insurance. A cyber insurance policy can make all the difference in recovering from significant loss related to identity theft in the unfortunate event it does happen. Call or email us today, and we can review your insurance coverage to make sure your business is protected. We are always here to help.

Are You Keeping Your New Gifts Safe and Insured?

Valentine’s Day often means flowers, chocolates and a nice dinner at home or out on the town. It also sometimes means the purchase of expensive jewelry, electronics or other items. Here are five tips to keep those new gifts protected.

Don’t store gifts in a car. If your car is broken into, your insurance may cover the damage to your car but not the loss of the gifts inside. Once you are home, bring the gifts inside right away. Don’t leave them in your car.

If you must store gifts in the car, be safe. Store your gifts out of sight in the trunk or glove box, not under coats or blankets. That’s an invitation for thieves to break into your car. If you have multiple shopping stops, move your car multiple times. Thieves keep an eye out for shoppers who drop off items and go back into the mall.

Your home should always look occupied. Around holidays like Valentine’s Day, when there is a lot of shopping happening, thieves will target empty homes and break in and look for gifts and boxes from stores.

Keep receipts and get appraisals. If the value of an item is disputable, it can’t be properly insured. Receipts and appraisals prove value. If you buy art, collectibles or jewelry, make sure you don’t skip the important step of getting an appraisal.

Expand your insurance coverage. As soon as you buy an expensive item, call us to expand your coverage and make sure your new gifts are safe with the option that is right for you.

True or False: Insurance Is Cheaper for Leased Cars

Cars are significant investments for millions of Americans, from the price of the monthly payments to gas and maintenance costs. It’s helpful when you can save on car insurance. Some wonder whether insurance is cheaper for leased cars or cars that you buy outright.

However, the idea that insurance is cheaper for leased cars is nothing but a myth. Car insurance is not based on how you purchase a car. Car insurance is primarily based on your driving record and the make, model and year of the car.

One of the considerations with leasing a car is that you may have to add the lender to your insurance policy, given that they have an interest in the vehicle. Thus, if you get into a crash and make a claim, the lender will be able to recover the portion they are still owed.

Besides that, the coverage options for car insurance on a leased versus owned vehicle should remain the same. The premium has to do with the condition of the car and the cost to make repairs, not the lease option. Typically, the newer, more expensive and rarer the vehicle, the higher your insurance premium will be due to the higher cost of making repairs.

Whether you buy or lease a car, consult with us for sample quotes before you make a decision that could cost you thousands in the long run. We are always here to help, and we’re just a phone call or email away.

Let’s Debunk 5 Common Life Insurance Myths

Life insurance may seem simple, but that is not always the case. Even when buying the most basic policy, which is called term life insurance, you still have to consider the appropriate time and level of coverage. To make things a bit easier, here we dispel three common myths about life insurance.

Myth #1: You do not need coverage because you have no dependents. Some people think they only need life insurance if they are the primary breadwinners in their families, but that thinking is outdated. Yes, life insurance is often used to cover your salary if you pass away. But life insurance can also be used to cover personal debts and end-of-life expenses, such as a funeral service.

Myth #2: You have employer-paid coverage, so you do not need any additional life insurance. This may be true, but it may not be. How much insurance does your employer provide? If you have dependents, you may need more life insurance than your employer provides. And what will you do for insurance if you leave that employer for any reason? Will the insurance come with you? You may need a supplemental policy outside of your employer to ensure full coverage regardless of your employment circumstances.

Myth #3: Your coverage should be a multiple of your annual salary. Traditional wisdom often says that your life insurance coverage should be around twice your annual salary. But how much life insurance you need should be computed based on outflows, not inflows. Your life insurance needs depend not on how much money you have earned and accumulated but on how much you spend.

There are other considerations when purchasing life insurance, of course; these are just a few factors among many that you may want to consider.

We can provide additional input and help you choose the right life insurance policy to keep your family properly protected.

Hearing Loss Is a Social Problem: Deafness Is More than Physical

Are you straining to hear? Do your loved ones snap at you when you ask them to repeat themselves? It may be time for you to get a hearing test. Hearing loss is a common problem as we age. The National Institute on Aging estimates about one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffers hearing loss. For those over 75, more than half have trouble. There’s a hidden risk to hearing loss: isolation.

The American Academy of Audiology finds that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression. Some doctors ignore the signs of hearing loss, rationalizing, “You’re just getting older.” However, recent studies conducted by the National Council on Aging found that hearing-impaired adults age 50 and older reported higher levels of depression, anxiety and even paranoia than a non-hearing-impaired group. The study also found that those with untreated deafness were less likely to engage in social activities. This avoidance can create a cycle leading to even more depression.

Over-the-counter hearing aids don’t require a prescription and may help with mild hearing impairment. Better, ask your doctor to refer you to an audiologist, who can measure your hearing and fit you with hearing aids if needed. However, before you shop for hearing aids, check with your health insurer regarding coverage. Hearing aids are expensive. You may want to visit an audiologist who allows a trial period to see if the recommended hearing aids work.

Hearing loss can arise from other factors. Noise-induced hearing loss arises from long-term exposure to loud noises, such as military service or factory work. If you’re a veteran, visit your local Veterans Benefits Administration office for audiology services. If you suspect your hearing loss is work related, you may find treatment under your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage.

Don’t suffer in silence. Get hearing help to live the best life possible. Contact us if you have questions on what is covered by your medical insurance policy.