Halloween is fast approaching. All kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door hoping to find the full size candy bar.
A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you. Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.
Pets first. Dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening.
Clean up your yard. If your yard gathers stuff - like toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it - take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.
Are all your lights working? Make sure you offer a well-lit path.
Candles. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table.
Turn it off. When you’re done for the night, make it obvious by turning any and all inviting lights off.
Decorations. Don’t go overboard with decorations, they can cause fires and injuries.
Safety tips for kids
· Never, ever go into a house
· Go with friends
· Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling
· Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child
· Only go to homes with a porch light on
· Plan costumes that are bright and reflective
· Don’t eat homemade food
· Look at all wrapped candy, if it has been opened toss it out
· Use a flashlight
There are many insurance myths floating around, and most of them have been around for years. We want to respond to these myths with clear information, so that you can make educated decisions about your insurance purchases. Myth 1 Having two agents is better because they keep each other competitive.
Having two agents duplicates effort and can create coverage gaps and/or duplications. For example, there is certain coverage that can be included under a liability policy as well as under an auto policy. If you have two agents, who coordinates coverage? One agent is better able to manage your entire insurance program. Myth 2 The lowest premium is the best option.
Premiums are determined by a combination of exposures and coverage. If you select the lowest premium you may be missing needed coverage. For example, the lower premium may not include replacement cost coverage on buildings and equipment. Myth 3 The internet is a great place to get insurance deals.
Low cost internet insurance may allow you to select the coverage and limits you think you need, but in most cases you end up with a limited and inadequate program. Typically, you may only realize these limitations after you have an uninsured claim. Myth 4 Umbrella insurance is only for high net worth companies or individuals.
A small electrical contractor was at fault for the total loss of a historic property; a loss that exceeded his general liability policy. The contractor’s umbrella policy paid the loss in excess of $7,000,000. Umbrella or excess coverage is some of the least costly insurance you can buy. Don’t risk a big loss for a small expense.
Myth 5 The Medical Payment portion of my homeowners insurance will cover injuries to me and my family.
Medical Payments is a feature of most standard home insurance policies. It is there to protect you in the event that someone other than you or your family (a neighbor, friend, etc) gets hurt on your property. Myth 6 All my guns and jewelry are automatically covered in my homeowner’s policy.
There are limits on the amount of coverage you can receive for valuables such as jewelry, guns, furs, etc. For example, most companies put a cap of $1,500 on total jewelry lost during a burglary of your home. If you find that your jewelry is valued over $1,500, you will have to schedule it separately. In addition to providing adequate coverage on your jewelry and/or guns, scheduling the items will offer a lower deductible and broadened coverage. Myth 7 Flood insurance is only for people who live in a high risk area.
Flood insurance is defined as any ground water coming into your home from the outside. Flooding can happen to just about anyone (unless you live on top of a mountain). Myth 8 I don't need disability insurance because I can get Social Security.
Don't count on Social Security to take care of all your needs if you become disabled. If you are able to get Social Security benefits for your disability (not all get approved to receive disability benefits so don't assume you will) then you will still have to wait months before you receive benefits. Also, your disability needs to be long-term to qualify for these benefits. Myth 9 There isn’t anything I can do to manage my insurance costs except shop price.
There are many things you can do to reduce your premiums; here are a few:
· Consider increasing your deductibles
· Maintain good credit
· Develop a safety program at your work site
· Consider the vehicle when make a purchase, some are more expensive to insure
· Add monitored smoke and security alarms to your home or office
· Ask us about the many different discounts offered by our insurers Myth 10 There is no reason to insure a stay- at home- spouse.
Your stay-at-home spouse may not earn an income, but think of all he or she does to keep the household running: child care, meal preparation, transportation, housekeeping and more. With that spouse gone, life suddenly gets a lot more challenging — and expensive. Life insurance can defray the cost of hiring help or changing jobs or work habits to accommodate a new lifestyle in your partner's absence.
Over the last several years, cyber liability coverage has evolved from just insurance for information technology companies to coverage that nearly every kind of business should have if they don't already. From retailers, banks, contractors, distributors, restaurants and medical offices, many businesses are unaware of the great cyber liability exposure they face. Recent state laws require companies that have experienced a cyber liability breach to notify all customers that could be affected by the breach that their information has been compromised, even if the information hasn't been used. In most cases, the notification also requires an option of one year credit monitoring services and a new card or account number for customer. Costs can be as much as $250 per individual breach.
Believe it or not, cyber liability insurance makes lots of sense for all companies. Here's why:
· Many policies offer "first party" coverage--that is, they will pay you for things like business interruption, the cost of notifying customers of a breach, and even the expense of hiring a public relations firm.
· Is your website and any of your data hosted or stored in the cloud? Take a good look at your contracts: You're still legally responsible.
Most business insurance policies do not cover computer fraud by a third party or the liability arising out of a cyber-attack. The good news is solutions are available. Make sure your crime policy has electronic crime and fraud coverage with appropriate limits. Cyber- liability insurance can be added to your program to cover the costs associated with customer notification and recovery of hacked data. If you store data, including private information on computers; use e-mail; generate revenue online; or use your computer to control production, manufacturing, or inventory, your company is at risk!
In short, any business not making an effort to protect personal private information is seriously out of step with the emerging landscape of privacy law.
We know choosing the right Commercial Insurance for your new business is an important decision. Our agency has the experience to market your Commercial Insurance and provide you with options for your new business. Whether you're a store owner, distributor, office professional, or wholesaler, you need Commercial Insurance to protect you and your new business against the unique risks and exposures you face. Here are the types of Commercial Insurance you should consider when selecting and designing your business insurance program: Commercial General Liability: Covers third party liability claims, namely claims against you from a customer or visitor on your premises, or who may be injured by your business activity or product.
Example: A customer slips on your driveway, trips on your steps, or injures himself on your premises, or customer is injured as a result of your product or service. Commercial Business Property Insurance: Insures your building and contents both on and off premises.
Example: A fire destroys your entire building and equipment. Employee Dishonesty Coverage: Protects your company from financial loss resulting from employee theft of money, securities, or property.
Example: An employee steals money from your company. Workers Compensation: Provides compensation for your employees for medical care in the event they are injured on the job, including medical benefits, income benefits, death benefits, and rehabilitation benefits.
Example: You own a delivery company, and an employee is injured while making a delivery. Business Auto: Provides insurance coverage for your company’s cars, trucks, trailers, vans, or other vehicles.
Example: You’re a beverage distributor making a delivery in the company van when another vehicle runs a stop sign and hits you. Professional Liability: Covers you for the failure to perform professional services. If you design something or perform work which does not meet standards or expectations, you could be sued for the cost of the contract, damages, or lost business revenues by your customer.
Example: You are an architect and one of your buildings has developed a mold issue due to poor roof design. Business Interruption Insurance: Provides protection from loss of income and extra expense if your business suffered a loss and you were unable to operate for a period of time.
Example: A major storm hits and your restaurant is completely flooded. You have to close for a month to repair all of the damage. Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Provides coverage for the accidental breakdown of equipment.
Example: A power surge damages your computer network.
Health Care Reform
With the Affordable Care Act, most people will be required to have health coverage after January 1, 2014. They’ll have a new way to buy health policies through insurance exchanges. The employer mandate has been extended to 2014.
Employees will look to their employers for advice and assistance as they navigate the exchanges, so we’re providing you with information about their new options. Exchanges will provide individuals and small business owners with a place to find, compare, and purchase coverage, as well as get financial assistance to afford it.
Here are some questions you may have. Will I have to give up my current coverage?
No. When your coverage is renewed, it might contain new benefits required under federal law, but if your plan was already in effect on March 23, 2010, you can keep your current coverage as long as it is offered by your employer. What about pre-existing conditions?
You can no longer be refused coverage for pre-existing conditions. There may be more information coming and we will advise you. Can I maintain my primary care provider?
Yes, as long as they are part of the plan you select.
My child previously aged out of dependent coverage, but is still under 26 years old. Can I put him back on my plan?
Yes, check with your plan to determine the specific process. Does every employer need to provide coverage?
No, Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the law requires only employers with 50 or more full time employees to offer “minimum essential coverage. For small employers please consultant with your CPA to see if you qualify for a tax rebate on premiums paid.
As we try to understand and navigate through all this information, it is important to use an independent agent. Here are the benefits of using our firm
· We don’t charge fees or service changes
· You will pay same as if going direct to carrier
· We will compare many insurance options and bring you the best option to you