6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Could Be Covered by Insurance
When you purchase insurance for your home, automobile, life or anything else, you likely have a good understanding of the most obvious things you expect the policy to cover. But did you know that there are a ton of other scenarios that may also be included under your insurance plans?
It’s important to keep in mind that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!
In case life should throw you a curve ball, there’s a lot of value in being informed of your insurance policies so you can fully utilize your coverage. Here’s a look at six things you probably didn’t know could be covered by insurance.
Food spoilage in freezers and refrigerators due to loss of power
If your home should lose power for a prolonged period of time, causing your freezer or refrigerator to turn off and get warm, you will likely have to toss the food you had stored in there. Depending upon your homeowner insurance policy, you could be eligible for a reimbursement to cover this loss. This could be especially important for homeowners who have a freezer chest or spare refrigerator in which they store steaks or bulk food.
Temporary repairs to your home
If your home should get hit by a storm or sustain some other type of damage, such as a tree falling on your roof, you will likely need to make immediate, temporary repairs to avoid further damage to your home. Most property insurance policies provide a reimbursement of a certain
amount to put towards temporary repairs to protect property from further loss, such as tarping the roof or parts of your home. When in doubt, protect your home, but don’t take risks to yourself in the process, hire a contractor to do the work that’s dangerous or specialized.
Identity theft expenses
We live in a day and age where identify theft is a daily threat to our finances, credit and private information. Many people are unaware that some insurance companies offer Identity Theft Expense Coverage, which for about $30/year, covers expenses related to identity theft, such as taking time off work, attorney’s fees and credit repair and monitoring services.
Loss of wages after an auto accident
If injuries from a car accident cause you to miss work, your car insurance may be able to help get back some or all of the lost wages. This benefit is part of personal injury protection, which covers injuries for you and your passengers regardless of who caused the crash. Note, personal injury protection is only required in 12 states, so make sure you check with your insurance agent!
If your dog bites someone and causes injury, your homeowner policy may cover that person’s medical expenses (even if the bite didn’t happen on your property). A lot of policies will also pay for legal expenses, if that injury results in a lawsuit.
Personal vehicle rental
Most national auto insurance companies extend your coverage on your best covered vehicle to any personal vehicle you rent for personal use in the US, at no extra cost. (Note: Smaller local or regional insurance companies don’t offer this outside of the state(s) they work in.) Credit card companies may also offer some coverage if using their card for the rental. Keep in mind that insurance companies are strict about personal vehicles for personal use. So if you are renting a car for commercial use, or if you are renting a U-Haul or dump truck, your personal auto policy most likely won’t extend coverage to it.
Again, we must emphasize that each insurance company and each policy they offer vary, so check with your insurance agent or policy to verify your coverage!
What insurance benefit did you find most surprising? Share your thoughts or ask a question by commenting below!
When the Weather Changes – Clean, Inspect, and Be Safe!
The weather is changing fast! The three main things you and your clients need to remember is to clean, inspect, and follow these basic common-sense safety precautions. These will help ensure that your home is warm and cozy for the chilly nights coming up! These tips will help make your home safer and more energy-efficient, as well as help prevent mold and water damage during the cold weather months coming up!
A very easy first step to getting ready for the cold seasons is to clean all of your household humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These are easily cleaned with vinegar and water. Be sure to replace or wash the filters as well. As the air inside and outside your home gets colder and dryer, you may want to put a humidifier in. The down side of using a humidifier is the possibility of too much humidity. This may cause mold growth. To avoid this possibility, the humidity in your home should not exceed more than 45%. On the opposite end of the spectrum are dehumidifiers. As this time of the year is also hurrricane season, your basement may become cold and damp. A good way to stop or slow mold growth is to have a dehumidifier drying out those damp areas.
When was the last time you cleaned your furnace? Check with your local HVAC company for cleaning guidelines. If you don’t, you could get a buildup of dust or sediment (depending on if your basement is finished or not) and it could become a fire hazard! It’s a good idea to change the furnace filter at this time of the year also. Be sure to stock up on filters so that you can change them as necessary! When considering cleaning your heating system, don’t forget the ductwork. When was the last time your ductwork was cleaned? Think of all the dust and debris that has built up in you ductwork. Once the heat goes on, that dust and debris begins to circulate as well. If you have pets, it is recommended that you have your ducts cleaned at least one every 4-5 years.
Doors & Windows: While some items may require professionals, there are many things homeowners can do to ready themselves to get ready for the winter. The first such is to inspect your property’s doors and windows. They are a homeowner’s first line of defense against the cold and elements. Check for any drafts. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping. Inspect all weather stripping around windows and doorframes for leaks. Replace weather stripping, if necessary. Further, examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity as needed. A little maintenance now can help save on big repairs later! In older hoomes, with single pane windows, hang insulated curtains or seal the windows with 6 millimeter plastic. Installing storm windows on the outside gives homeowners a more permanent fix. All of these suggestions could help with savings to your cold-weather heating costs.
Heating Systems: Some inspections should be handled by professionals only. The fall is the time when it is a good idea to have your furnace inspected by a qualified HVAC company. It is always a good idea to make sure it is in good running order for the cold weather ahead. Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. They can also do a carbon monoxide check to ensure air safety.
Hot Water Heater: Hot water heaters require maintenance too. This is the time of the year when homeowners should flush hot water heater tanks to remove sediment. Check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order. Consider an insulated blanket for your hot water heater. Insulated hot water heaters are more energy efficient! If you hot water heater is part of your heating system, this is the time of year to bleed valves on the radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside from the months of non-use.
Fireplaces & Chimneys: Check your chimney and fireplace before you burn anything in it. It’s been ashile since it has been used, so make sur they are safe to use this season. If you are doing it yourself, you’ll need to inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fir hazard. Check your firplace for drafts. It it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly (for your safety, consult a professional before you undertake this option!). Clean out any ash or soot in your fireplace. If you aren’t comfortable doing this yourself, hire a professional. They will be able to inspect and clean it the right way!
Outside Faucets: A big thing that many people forget about is their outside hoses. Be sure to turn off any spigots and remove any hoses from outside your home. Interior pipes close to your outisde walls can burst and then your basement can fill with water. Some older homes even have a shut off valve in the basement that will turn off all your outside water. Depending on your climate, you irrigation system may need to be drained and checked as well. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
Programmable thermostats: If you have one, program it to make your home more efficient by automatically raising and lowering the temperature as your schedule allows. You can even program it for vacations to be at a low temperature that is still high enough that none of your pipes or windows freeze while you are gone, but return to a warm home.
Ceiling Fans: Make sure fans are switch to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort. During cold spells, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly those in the kitchen and bathroom.
Make sure you also test all your home safety devices! Test all your smoke detectors, fire alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors. These are a homeowner’s first line of defense against potentially life-threatening situations! Since you will be spending much more time in the house, you will need to make sure these are all in excellent working order.
Always have a fully-stocked emergency kit at hand. Include batteries, a flashlight, candles, matches, and a lighter; warm clothes and blankets; a battery-powered radio; non-perishable food items and water (two liters per adult per day); a first-aid kit and specialty products like medicine, baby formula and pet food (if necessary.) Try to store at least three days worth of supplies for everyone in your household.
These tips with provided by Major Restoration. If you need any assistance with the inspecting or cleaning items listed above, give them a call.
Many people put off having a conversation about life insurance for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s because you think you’re young and healthy or maybe it’s because you don’t think you can afford it. No matter the excuse, the fact remains that right now is the best time to educate yourself on the topic of life insurance. While there is a vast amount of information on this topic, what you really need to know can be boiled down into these six main points.
You likely need a higher death benefit than you think.
A million dollar life insurance policy may seem like a lot, but you need to consider everything this will go toward paying. Funeral costs and any debt you leave behind can take up a good portion of this money. If you’re the breadwinner in your household, your dependents will need this money to pay for their needs until they can earn income for themselves. Working with a qualified life insurance agent can help you determine the right death benefit for you.
Understand the difference between Term Life & Permanent Life.
You may have heard the words “term life” and “permanent life” before, but do you really know what theses mean? Term life insurance will cover you for a set time period (most commonly 10 to 30 years), after which you will no longer have insurance. This is a good choice for young families who can’t afford permanent insurance, or for those who only want to be insured for a certain time period.
In contrast, permanent life insurance covers you as long as you pay the premiums. In addition to the death benefit, it also has an investment component that builds cash value over time. You can choose from whole, universal, and variable permanent life insurance that offer different investment options and the ability to use your cash value to pay premiums.
Pay your premiums on-time.
This is an important one. If you forget to pay your premium, your life insurance policy may be canceled. Should something happen during this lapse in coverage, your beneficiaries will not receive any of the death benefit. This is a risky game to pay and one that can be easily prevented simply by paying your premium on time! Set a calendar reminder or set up auto-pay.
Fill out your application honestly.
It seems obvious to remind you not to lie on your life insurance application, but it happens more than you might think. Should you be anything less than honest, you could be disqualified from your policy and leave your beneficiaries with nothing. Take the application, and your answers, seriously.
Make beneficiaries aware of where they can find your policy.
Another important reminder is to make sure your family or someone you trust knows where to find your policy information. If you are the only one who has this information, it won’t do your beneficiaries much good should something happen to you. Have a plan and keep your life insurance policy information in a safe, accessible place.
Don’t wait to get coverage.
Finally and most importantly, don’t put off getting coverage. When you’re young and healthy, you may not feel the urgency to plan for your death; however this is the best time to invest in life insurance. The premiums are cheaper when you’re younger, so buying into a plan now will save you — in many ways — in the long run.
Do you have another question about life insurance that wasn’t covered in this article? Leave a comment or contact me & I’ll provide you with an answer!
In 2006, Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz wrote a book on how to be a smart patient. They felt it was important for patients to be active participants in getting good care. Some of their suggestions include:
1. Stop being passive. Remember the doctor works for you and you are the boss of your healthcare. Smart patients are more assertive and ask questions and politely challenge what they don’t understand.
2. Make a list of questions before you see your physician. Patients who are prepared for their visits and ask questions will have a better understanding of their health condition. Also consider bringing along a family member to your visits to help you remember what was discussed at the visit.3. Know your family history to determine if you have any risk factors for genetic or family related conditions.
4. Bring a list of all your medications to all medical appointments. This helps to avoid duplications of medications and possible drug to drug interactions.
5. Get your medications from the same pharmacy and become friendly with your pharmacist. Consultations are free and pharmacists have a wealth of information about drug side effects, drug to drug interactions, and ways to reduce drug costs.
6. Understand how to take your medications. It is important to know the following:
What is the medication treating?
Does it replace anything else you are taking?
How do you take it – should it be taken at a certain time of day, on an empty stomach, or with food?
How long will you be taking the medication?
What are the common side effects?
Is it safe to take with my other medications?
7. Stop playing the waiting game. Ask when a test result is going to be available and call the office that day to get the results. Don’t depend on the office to call you with results in a timely fashion or to notify you when your test results are abnormal.
8. Keep a copy of your medical records and sign up for patient portals to get copies of the most recent lab tests, office notes, or x-ray reports.
If you need assistance with:
Facing the challenges of a new or existing health-related condition
Navigating the details of your treatment
Understanding costs and coverage associated with your insurance
Or managing the care of an aging parent or loved one
Call Sue Severino at Severino Health Advisors with a free and confidential 15 minute phone consultation at absolutely no risk and no obligation. Once your or your loved one’s needs and goal for care have been identified, Sue Severino will provide you with a quote for her services. Fees are based upon an hourly rate and can be tailored to fit your budget. Whether you want Sue to handle everything from research, recommendations, implementation, and follow-up or whether you simply want advice on the best options available to you, services can be customized to meet your need.
Contact Sue at 717-561-2720 for you free 15 minute phone consultation!
Severino Health Advisors has helped clients reduce their healthcare costs and gain peace of mind. Ultimately there is no better investment than an investment in your health!
Upcoming Medicare Open Enrollment October 7th through December 15th 2016.
If you are either turning 65 or are already enrolled in a Medicare Supplement with a Part D plan & you did not review your RX plan last year, it is imperative that you review this during open enrollment.
Changes are Happening
With changes to plan premiums, increasing deductibles, co-pays, and formulary differences, you can potentially save hundreds – possibly even thousands of dollars on a new plan. Open enrollment time is limited so you have to act fast.
Contact my Friend Todd Olejniczak
Todd is the owner of the Capital Senior Services Insurance Agency. He specializes in Medicare Supplements & Advantage Plans. Todd helps seniors make educated decisions about their healthcare options. As an independent agent licensed with many Medicare companies, he can help you choose the best plan for your specific needs.
The Major Pitfalls of Not Having Business Insurance
As a business owner, you want to do all that you can to set your business up for success and protect it from risks that may hurt its growth. One of the best ways to prepare for the unexpected is to find the right business insurance to meet your needs. Yet so many businesses overlook this critical step and are blind-sided when something like fire, theft, or injury cost them big.
Here are just a few of the major pitfalls that could occur without business insurance. Take note if any of these are applicable to your business!
If something happens to your equipment or products, you can’t run your business
Imagine if fire or water damage destroyed your electronics, inventory, and all the files you had carefully stored in your office. How would you keep your business running? Without business insurance to cover the cost of these damages, you’d either have to pay out of pocket to replace all of these items or shut down your business altogether.
You’re unprotected if a lawsuit is filed against your business
No one wants to think about getting sued, but it’s an unfortunate reality of the world we live in. Ignoring this risk could lead to a costly court battle that could ruin your reputation as well as your finances. With three different types of business liability coverage – general, product, and professional – a knowledgeable business insurance agent can recommend the coverage you need.
An employee could get injured on the job and hold you responsible
Did you know that all states, except Texas, require businesses with a certain minimum number of employees (differs from state to state) to have workers compensation coverage? This coverage helps with the costs if an employee gets injured on the job. Don’t make a mistake of thinking you have a “safe” business where no one is likely to get hurt. Injuries occur all the time form everyday objects!
If your company car is in an accident, you could be left liable and without a means of transportation
Many businesses own or lease a company vehicle and rely upon it to meet with customers and deliver product. Just like for your personal vehicle, you also needbusiness auto coverageto protect your company against liability arising from accidents in your company’s vehicle.
A hacker or computer virus could get a hold of valuable and sensitive customer data
Even some of the largest and most respected businesses have recently become victims of a data breach. Not only will this cost you customers and your reputation, you could also face a lawsuit over it! Data compromise coverage, or data breach coverage helps protect against legal or other associated costs in the event of sensitive information being leaked.
If one or more of theses major pitfalls hit home, it’s time to have a conversation with a business insurance agent to learn how you can get protected.