13. February 2019 17:54
by Jamie
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5 Reasons Why You Should Have Homeowners Insurance

13. February 2019 17:54 by Jamie | 0 Comments

 

Home ownership is one of the largest investments you will make, so protecting this investment with quality homeowners insurance is a crucial part of being a responsible homeowner. However, while many Americans understand the importance of homeowners insurance, some don’t understand the specifics of what it covers if a burglary, natural disaster or other property damage occurs.

Here are five things your homeowners insurance policy should cover if an unexpected or unforeseen loss were to happen.

1. Sudden and accidental flooding.

This coverage is for the overflow of water from systems or appliances within your home, including plumbing, heating or air conditioning units, an automatic fire sprinkler system or certain household appliances. For example, if your hot water heater suddenly springs a leak and floods the recreation room in your basement, the water damage to your furnishings and carpeting or flooring would be covered. There may be certain exceptions depending on the cause of the flooding, so be sure to discuss the details of this peril with your insurance agent ahead of time. Your homeowners policy would typically not cover flooding resulting from a naturally occurring event outside your home, such as an overflowing river, mudslide or storm surge near the coast. You must purchase separate flood insurance to cover events like these.

2. Fire.

Near 1.5 million fires were reported in USA, resulting in $14.3 billion in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, but heating equipment, electrical cords and wiring, and candles can also be culprits. Wildfires are another potential danger for U.S. residents living in dry climates, and as the temperatures heat up you should be prepare for this very real danger. Homeowners insurance covers your property if it’s damaged in a fire, but you should always be sure to never leave stoves or candles unattended while lit.

3. Theft.

The FBI reports there were nearly 1 million residburglariesrgulais during 2015, averaging $2,296 in property losses per offense. Most burglaries occur between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when most people are at work or school. Be sure to keep all windows and doors locked, even if they’re on a second floor – you don’t want to make it easy for thieves to access your belongings. A home security system is also a good deterrent and may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount. It may even cover property that is stolen from you while you’re traveling anywhere in the world. Check in with your agent on an annual basis to ensure you maintain enough coverage to protect against possible losses to your ever-changing home inventory.

4. Objects falling from the sky.

Imagine you’re home alone, binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix when, suddenly, you hear a loud crash in the next room. When you go to examine the cause of the ruckus, you discover remains of a defunct satellite have landed in your kitchen. The likelihood of this, a meteorite or other space debris hitting your home isn’t very high, but your insurance covers it if it happens.

5. Vandalism.

Acts of vandalism often happen under cover of night. For example, a group of unruly teenagers looking to create some Halloween mischief throws eggs and pumpkins at your home, breaking a window in the process. Or you wake up to find your garage door covered in spray paint. These types of situations are covered under the vandalism peril in your homeowner's insurance policy. If your home is vandalized, be sure to file a police report to aid with the claims process. Installing surveillance cameras and floodlights are also good ways to deter it from happening in the first place.

You should also make sure your homeowners policy covers additional living expenses. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to damage from a covered loss, your homeowners insurance may reimburse you for the expenses you incur while you’re living elsewhere. This coverage helps you maintain your normal standard of living while your home is being rebuilt or repaired, and includes hotel accommodations, meals and more. Be sure to keep all of your receipts for your adjuster.

Is there anything homeowners insurance doesn’t cover?

Homeowners insurance helps ease the process of getting back to normal after damage from an unexpected or unforeseen event. However, be aware the following natural events are not included in your coverage.

  • Earthquakes
  • Mudslides
  • Landslides
  • Flood damage caused by storms

Speak to your local insurance agent to learn how you can get coverage for these.

If you happen to be a victim of any of these scenarios, follow these steps when filing a homeowners insurance claim:

When filing a claim

  • Contact your insurance provider immediately to report a loss.
  • Be prepared to provide your policy number.
  • Do not remove debris or damaged property that may be related to your claim.

Steps immediately after filing a claim

  • Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged property.
  • Gather photos or videotapes of your home and possessions for your insurance adjuster, if these are available.

Steps while the claim is processed

  • Keep copies of communications between you and your adjuster.
  • Keep records and receipts for additional living expenses that were incurred if you were forced to leave your home and provide copies to your adjuster.
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16. January 2019 22:53
by Harry
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Corporate Health Insurance Trends You Need to Know

16. January 2019 22:53 by Harry | 0 Comments

The ever-rising cost of corporate health care is expected to increase by 4.4 percent this year. Couple that with rising pressure from hard-fought efforts to maintain compliance with the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, and some employers have chosen to waive benefits, placing more responsibility onto their employees, who pay more both in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

According to a survey released yesterday, workers are paying roughly $100 more per month in medical costs than they were three years ago, and can expect to pay 37 percent of the expenses acquired from company health plans this year. That’s an increase from the 34 percent in 2011.

A higher price tag isn’t the only change employees will have to deal with in the near future. The study suggests that employees also will be required to shoulder more of the costs for covering their spouses and dependents. Although today, roughly 70 percent of employers believe offering subsidized insurance for spouses is important, more than half believe it will not be important in 2015 and beyond.

Get fit for $50

Employers are looking to make proactive changes, too. Incentive health programs is a method many companies are implementing in order to improve the overall health of their workers, and therefore, decrease visits to the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.

In increasing numbers, companies are offering an array of wellness activities to the workforce, such as boot camps and weight-loss competitions. Oftentimes, cash is the ultimate prize; on average, employees who complete all available programs could be $50 richer.

Retired and uninsured

Another serious issue facing employees – especially those considering retiring before age 65 – is the possibility that they may not have insurance coverage upon retirement. Public exchanges may become the sole option for pre-65 retirees as a reported 66 percent of companies are likely to eliminate access to coverage.

Where do we go from here?

According to the survey, only 25 percent of companies were confident they’d be providing current benefits to workers by 2024. Employers and employees need to start planning now for what’s to come. With rapid change taking place on a daily basis, “later” could mean “tomorrow,” so action planning should start today. For employees, perhaps that just means educating yourself on these trends and options, while for employers, it could mean a reconfiguration of your benefits strategy.

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25. December 2018 19:54
by Harry
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Do All Parents Need Life Insurance?

25. December 2018 19:54 by Harry | 0 Comments




In May we celebrate and thank Mom for everything she does.  In June we celebrate and thank Dad for everything he does.  In July we celebrate and thank them both!  Did you know that the fourth Sunday in July is National Parents’ Day?  Parents deserve thanks every day, but three national holidays dedicated to them is a good start.

I imagine that being a parent is the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience you can ever go through.  When you have your first child, you realize the world is bigger than just you.  As you make decisions in life you think “How will this affect my kids?”  Buying life insurance is one of these important decisions.  “If I die and don’t have life insurance, what happens to my kids?”

Buying Life Insurance
Pros:
  • Children can stay in their childhood home
  • Surviving spouse can afford to take time off work to spend with children
  • Family’s standard of living won’t need to change
  • Spouse can afford to send children to college
  • It can be customized to fit in most budgets
Cons:
  • It’s not free

There are all kinds of parents:

  • Married spouses who co-parent
  • Divorced individuals who co-parent
  • Unmarried partners who co-parent
  • Single parents
  • Stay-at-home parents

No two parents are the same, but you know what they all have in common?  They all need life insurance to protect their loved ones should they die prematurely.  Term life insurance is affordable and provides many benefits.

Term Life Insurance for Married Parents

There is a gender gap in life insurance.  Fewer women than men have life insurance and, in addition, own less coverage on average.  If you have children and you both bring home a paycheck, you both need life insurance.  If you have children and only one of you brings home a paycheck, you both still need life insurance.

Is it written somewhere that dad is more likely to die unexpectedly than mom?  No.  You never know what life may bring – both parents need to own life insurance.

Married same sex couples need life insurance as well.  Same sex couples raising children need to think about what would happen if one or both of them should pass away.  With same sex marriage being legal across the U.S., same sex couples won’t have any issue purchasing life insurance on one another or naming each other beneficiary.

Term Life Insurance for Divorced Parents

In most cases, divorce doesn’t change the fact that you both love and care for your children.  Both parents need life insurance.  In fact, in some divorce cases the court may order the parents to buy life insurance policies to ensure the financial futures of the children.

In amicable divorces, some choose to leave their ex-spouse as their policy’s beneficiary still trusting that they will put their children’s needs first.  Others choose to change their beneficiary to their children.  However, if the children are still minors then an adult custodian would need to be named instead.

Term Life Insurance for Unmarried Parents

On average, today couples are postponing marriage, but not necessarily postponing having children.  You don’t have to be married to buy life insurance on each other, but it’s easier to prove insurable interest this way.  (Insurable interest exists when you would feel financial consequences upon the death of another person.)  However, having children together is proof of insurable interest.

You could also opt to own your own life insurance and name your partner as a beneficiary.  Be sure you name a contingent beneficiary whom you trust to use the policy benefit for your children in case both you and your partner die at the same time, such as in a car accident.  If you both pass away and you named no one else as a beneficiary, the policy benefits are then added to your estate and held up during the probate process as a court decides what to do with the money.

Term Life Insurance for Single Parents

Arguably, single parents have the greatest need for life insurance.  There is no other parent for your children to fall back on if you should pass away.  Making a plan to protect them financially if you are suddenly no longer around to provide is essential.  You’ll want enough life insurance coverage to replace your income, pay for child care, and cover your final expenses.  It’s also critical that you choose a responsible guardian who is willing and able to care for your children should you die.

Typically couples will name each other as beneficiaries since they hope one will survive to care for the children, single parents should consider creating a trust and naming it as the beneficiary of the policy.  Minor children cannot receive life insurance death benefits so a trust can be set up to ensure the death benefit is distributed and used according to your wishes.

Term Life Insurance for Stay-at-Home Parents

Term life insurance is always explained as “income replacement” so if you don’t provide an income, then you don’t need life insurance, right?  Wrong.  A stay-at-home parent may not generate an income, but this allows a family to save money by not hiring out for various responsibilities such as child care.  According to Care.com, child care is the largest annual household expense, averaging $18,000 for U.S. families.  If a stay-at-home parent were to suddenly pass away, would the surviving parent be able to find an extra $18,000 per year to hire someone to care of their children while they were at work?  What about someone to clean the house or transport children to and from school and extracurricular activities?

It’s a mistake to think that life insurance is only for breadwinning parents.  Unless the family is considerably wealthy, the mortgage is paid off, and there is a substantial amount in the savings account, a stay-at-home parent needs life insurance too.

How much does term life insurance cost for parents?

Term life insurance is quite affordable and the term length and coverage amount can be customized to fit in most budgets.  A term policy can ensure your family is able stay in their home, provide funds for college tuition, and pay for your final expenses should you die unexpectedly.  How much life insurance you need depends on your individual situation.  Consider the following questions.

  • Do you have debt you want life insurance to pay off? For example, a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or car loans.
  • How much monthly income does your family need? The amount your paycheck provides is a good place to start.
  • How many years do you think your family needs that monthly income before they are financially stable?

Remember: term insurance is structured to only last a specific period of time – typically when your family is most financially vulnerable.  How long you want the term insurance to last depends on a few factors such as how young your children are, how much time you have left on your mortgage loan, how close you are to retirement, and what your budget is.  For example, if your children are teenagers and you only have 10 years left on your mortgage, you probably don’t need a 30-year term policy.  However, if you just had your first child and want to make sure your child will have the funds to go to college, and recently purchased your first home, then you’ll want to consider at least a 20-year term policy.

Let’s take a look at some numbers to get an idea on how much life insurance costs.

Example:

 

The debt you want paid off if you die:

  • Mortgage loan = $215,000
  • Credit card debt = $10,000

The monthly income you provide: $4000

How many years your family will need this income = 5 years

Using the Needs Analysis Calculator on our website, $465,000 in coverage is a good estimate.  (Or you can manually add up 215,000 + 10,000 + (4000 x 12×5).) We’ll round up to $500,000 in the table below.

Your children are two and five years old.  You decide you want your term policy to last until they both are at least 25 years old so you decide a 25-year term policy is best.

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