Give us a call
937.483.4363

November 2017

Are You Looking for Comprehensive Home Insurance Protection

Architecting accurate home insurance protection issues financial security for any home owner.

Comprehensive insurance provides protection for the structure of your home, the contents within it, and the liability risks of owning a home.

Home insurance is not a policy that should be built in a one-size-fits-all manner. Instead, it must be structured to the related risks, considering the property’s value and features. Without encompassing protection in place, a homeowner could lose their home and face financial ruin as a result of a claim or lawsuit.

Is Home Insurance Required by Law?

Currently, there are not legal ramifications for not having home insurance in place. However, most mortgage lenders place home insurance requirements in the contracts for any home loan. Not carrying this insurance can lead to the lender taking possession of the home, foreclosing on it, or forcing the purchase of it.

Traditionally, our clients find the cost of home insurance will pay for itself following a single claim. This is even the case if a home is owned outright.

What Does Property Insurance and Comprehensive Offerings Entail?

There are various components to a home insurance policy. Each one provides specific protections for the home owner based on a set of perils, or risks.

Below we’ll cover some of he most common types of protection typically issued:

Coverage for Specific Structures

Insurance protection built for structures provides protection for the actual framework of the home, and often encompasses attached property, like garages.

Structure insurance issues protection from relevant risks, such as fires, theft, vandalism, and storm damage. If a storm occurs and lightning strikes the home causing it to catch on fire, the insurance company can assist with covering costs to rebuild (depending on the type of insurance policy in hand). The insurance policy may also cover the cost of living at another location while repairs are being made.

However, there are limitations with structural insurance. Policies are limited by the amount of coverage purchased Also, some types of perils are not covered. Floods and earthquakes, for example, are common exclusions.

Coverage for Personal Assets, Including High-End Items

Most standard home insurance policies offer 10 percent of the value of the total coverage on a policy as contents coverage. The amount funded is typically used to replace items normally stored within a home, if they’re lost due to a covered peril. An example of this would be if someone breaks into a home and steals a computer; an insurance policy can cover that item up to the per item limit addressed in the policy.

Options are also available to secure high-end valuables, such as jewelry, art, collector’s items, and similar belongings. You just need to make sure these items are specifically stated as an owned asset.

Personal Liability Insurance

A critical aspect for any home insurance portfolio, liability insurance protects against claims of negligence made against a home owner. This is often necessary because anyone can file a claim against a property owner if someone falls and is hurt on the property, or slips on ice on the sidewalk.

It can also cover other risks, such as a dog biting someone visiting the home. Liability insurance often includes coverage for legal defense as well as the settlement or payment given for the claim.

What Are the Risks of Not Purchasing Home Insurance?

Without home insurance, property owners are financially responsible for these losses out-of-pocket. Natural disasters, storms, fires, or even theft can leave the property owner without a way of replacing their items or repairing their home.

Even a single negligence claim from someone who falls on the property could amount to thousands of dollars paid for medical bills, lost time at work, and, in some cases, pain and suffering. All of this may be avoided if the property owner maintains proper home insurance coverage.

Most insurers will personalize the policy for the homeowner to meet specific needs based on the property's value, the type of contents within it, as well as whether it will cover rebuilding the home in a total loss situation.

Policies list all exclusions, providing clear information about when the policy may not apply. Without this type of financial protection, anyone could suffer significant loss if an accident or incident occurred.

September 2017

The Historic 2017 Hurricane Season and Why Flood Insurance Matters

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked havoc across the Caribbean and United States this summer. Thousands were left devastated by the damage, and unfortunately, with hurricane season running through November, we may not have seen the last of these storms.

So many are dealing with the aftermath of these disasters, and many victims are also finding out they will be forced to recover without the assistance of insurance. Why is that? Only a small percentage of homes were covered by flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) — a federally-funded program that is, essentially, the only flood protection available to homeowners.

It is estimated nearly 70 percent of homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance. The homeowners policies will help them recover from wind and roof damage, but flood damage is not included.

So, it begs the question: Why isn’t a flood insurance policy a no-brainer for all?

For starters, it is estimated that 43 percent of homeowners believe their homeowners insurance covers them for flood loss. In reality, standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage — at all.

Additional misconceptions about flood insurance include:

  • Some homeowners believe if they live on higher ground, or nowhere near a coast or river, they’re immune from the devastation a flood can cause. However, that damage can happen anywhere.
  • Others believe that if a big storm hits then the federal disaster aid will cover the damage. That’s rarely the case. A typical disaster grant is only around $5,000, and anything more is a low-interest loan that the homeowner must pay back.
  • There is also a general lack of information. Additionally, calculating flood risks can be difficult, and many homeowners also believe they’re in a low-risk zone.

What is Flood Insurance?

Homeowners insurance does not cover damage to a home caused by flooding. You must have a separate policy to cover flood-related losses. Most flood insurance policies are written by the NFIP.

You are eligible for flood insurance if:

  • You live or own a business in a high-risk area
  • You live or own a business in a moderate-to-low-risk area — and possibly at a lower cost
  • Your home or business has been flooded before
  • Your mortgage company doesn’t require it

All properties are at some risk for flooding. The NFIP is dedicated to making property owners and renters aware of the need for flood insurance.

Homeowners can insure a home for up to $250,000 and its contents for up to $100,000. Renters can cover their belongings for up to $100,000. Non-residential property owners can insure a building and its contents for up to $500,000 each. On average, a flood insurance policy premium is roughly $700 per year.

Flood Damage vs. Water Damage

The first step after water damages your home is determining whether you have a water damage claim or a flood claim. How can you tell the difference? Let’s turn to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s definition of a flood?

A flood is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land. Flood damage can only be caused by the following water sources:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Mudflow
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  • Collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in flood as defined above

The main difference between a water damage claim and a flood claim is that the water comes from a natural source, and two or more properties are involved. If you and your neighbors are all having water issues due to heavy rains, then you are likely dealing with a flood insurance claim.

What Is and Isn’t Covered?

Most flood insurance policies include building property and personal property coverage. Some insurable assets under these policies include, but are not limited to:

  • The insured building and its foundation
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
  • Refrigerators, stoves, and other built-in appliances
  • Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment

However, not everything is covered by building property or personal property coverage, such as:

  • Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
  • Property and belongings outside the building
  • Currency, valuable papers, and metals

It doesn’t take much for damages to occur. Just a few inches of water can cost you thousands of dollars. Flood insurance can help you avoid that situation.

For additional information regarding our flood insurance policies, please contact us at your convenience. 

August 2017

Independent Insurance Agents or Online Insurance? The Choice Should be Simple

The process of purchasing insurance is anything but a walk in the park. The options can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing.

If you watch TV these days, there are countless advertisements for quick, easy, and cheap insurance. You’re promised significant savings on your insurance in exchange for just a few minutes of your time.

However, it’s not always like that. It’s a bit more complicated.

With factors like price, coverage, bundles, exclusions, and more, it’s necessary to work with someone who is experienced in the business. Finding the right coverage usually involves research, but that doesn’t need to be done alone. You can — and should — choose to work with an independent insurance agent who will go over rates and coverage options from various companies to determine the right fit for you.

Here are three reasons why it’s in your best interest to work with an independent agent, as opposed to an online company or 1-800 number promising to provide the fastest and cheapest quote around:

Customer Service

Would you rather speak to a real person or an automated recording when you call your insurance provider?

Yeah, same here.

With an independent insurance agency, chances are much higher you’ll speak with someone when you make a phone call. They’ll greet you, understand your coverages, and assist with any needs you might have. In the event of a claim, your agent can help you report that claim and explain exactly what your policy covers.

By calling an independent agency, you’ll speak with someone who is familiar with your coverage and can walk you through the process. However, an online insurance company may require you to go through several automated prompts, or keep you holding for far too long if you have questions.

Options

Independent insurance agents represent a variety of different companies that offer a wide range of coverage options and price points. There’s no need for you to accept only a single option from one insurance agency, and there’s no reason for you to spend time filling out various online applications to get your own comparisons.

Your independent insurance agency can often find a better value for your insurance dollar than you might find on your own.

Knowledge

In addition to having numerous years of experience in the business, independent insurance agents have worked with plenty of insurance companies over the years, and are knowledgeable about their individual strengths.

One insurance company may provide unmatched claims service. Another may offer more comprehensive coverage. A third could have highly competitive rates. An independent agent can find the best match based on what’s most important to you.

July 2017

Is Your Insurance Ready for Summer?

The temperature is rising and the sun is shining. But before you put your boat in the water, get your motorcycle out of storage, or make big vacation plans, contact your insurance advisor to review coverage. Make sure you and your family are protected for the increased risks that come with outdoor summer activities!

ATV Insurance (Covers UTVs, 3-Wheelers & 4-Wheelers)

ATVs are certainly fast and fun, but they can also be dangerous, especially when young, inexperienced riders take to the trails. It’s important to keep in mind all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not covered by standard automobile insurance policies. However, your homeowners policy might partially cover your liability on an ATV.

If your ATV is involved in an accident, you may be financially responsible for the rider's medical bills and other damages, as well as repairs to your ATV. An Ohio ATV insurance policy can protect you from the cost of damage and litigation.

Some questions to ask your agent:

  • Are there age restrictions on who may operate the ATV?
  • Does my policy cover friends or family who are operating the ATV?
  • Is there a discount for taking an operator safety course or for riding with a helmet?

Boat and Personal Watercraft Insurance

Many residents in Ohio make the mistake of believing their boat, and their liability for injuries to others while operating their boat, are covered by their homeowners or renters policy. While there are limited situations where damage to your boat might be covered by your homeowners policy, you would be best served to speak with an Insurance Advisor about your coverage needs if you own a boat.

Personal watercraft (PWC) coverage or boat insurance may cover the following:

  • Bodily injury to yourself, another rider, or a swimmer injured in your path (this is arguably the most important coverage because the damage amount is unknown, but can be significant if someone is seriously injured... work with your Insurance Advisor to make certain you have enough liability coverage)
  • Property damage to items such as docks, other PWCs or boats
  • Guest passenger liability
  • Medical payments
  • Theft of your boat

Additionally, most policies include water sports liability coverage, which provides protection when you engage in sporting activities such as waterskiing, knee boarding or tubing.

Flood Insurance

In Ohio, flood insurance is a simple policy: It only provides coverage for losses resulting from a flood.

Many Ohioans believe coverage for losses caused by flood are covered under their homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy. Unfortunately, they're not. Losses caused by a flood are customarily excluded on these policies.

However, Ohio is divided into floodplains (essentially, how likely a certain area is to flood), and those areas more prone to flood are likely to purchase flood insurance. The Ohio Insurance Institute estimates that only 10% of the structures in Ohio's floodplains are protected by flood insurance.

If you believe you need flood insurance, there are several options available to you:

  • Coverage for homeowners to protect their house and their personal property.
  • Coverage for renters so they can protect their personal property.
  • Condominium unit owners can purchase coverage to protect their condo and their contents (but check your condo contract, your association might already have purchased flood coverage)

Flood insurance is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program so there are standard restrictions and guidelines when it comes to purchasing a policy. Make sure you talk to an experienced insurance agent that can help you purchase the policy that's best for you.

Golf Cart Insurance

Golf carts are a popular recreational vehicle both on and off the golf course. Coverage for personally-owned golf carts under the homeowners and auto policies is typically only provided by endorsement.

Golf carts regularly used off premises may require a separate policy, or may be added to your personal auto policy as a recreational vehicle. Be sure to discuss coverage options with an experienced insurance advisor.

Some questions to ask your agent:

  • Are golf carts permitted on public roads if this is their primary use?
  • Are they required to be registered?
  • Are there age restrictions on who may operate the golf cart?

Motorcycle Insurance

Insuring your motorcycle is simple: Make sure you’re protected before you hit the road. It’s pretty easy to forget about your insurance when you’re caught up in the excitement on the first ride of the season after your bike has been in the garage for three or four months. 

The coverage on a motorcycle policy is like that provided by your auto policy and there are six clear coverage options. Some are required by law in Ohio while others can be added at your discretion (for the most part). Additionally, you may be able to qualify for other various discounts. Contact an Insurance Advisor to review the best coverage options.

Pool Insurance

Whether you have an in-ground pool, or plan to blow up an inflatable kiddie pool this summer, it comes with great responsibility. It is vital to let your insurance company know you have a pool since it will increase your lability risk. Be sure to ask if your homeowners policy specifies any safety guidelines you are required to follow, such as a fence or locked gate.

Insurance companies can deny coverage or cancel your policy if you don’t follow the safety guidelines, or do not inform the company when you install a pool, so be sure to check with your insurance agent for rates and safety guidelines before installation.

Rentals

For some, renting summer fun is the way to go. However, rentals also carry their own set of insurance risks and exposures.

Motor Homes

Most standard personal auto policies don’t typically provide coverage for damage to a rented motor home. While liabil­ity coverage for personal use might be provided, considering the size of a motor home and the potential damage they can cause, the liability limits on your personal auto policy may be not be enough.

Rental Cars

Car rental companies offer optional insurance coverage called collision damage to protect you from fi­nancial responsibility should the vehicle be stolen or damaged while under your control. Personal liability, bodily injury, and property damage would still be covered under your personal auto policy.

Travel Insurance

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway or a long road trip, it’s important to know what your homeowners and renters policy will cover while you’re away. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you're not at home. Off-premises' coverage means your belongings are covered anywhere in the world.

Contact your agent or insurance company to find out what's covered under your policy.

Umbrella Insurance

An Umbrella Insurance policy is one of the most important policies that will cover many of your summer activities. Typically, Umbrella policies are available in increments of $1 million, and are designed to provide coverage over and above that which is provided by other liability policies, such as home and auto insurance. Since the cost of an Umbrella policy can be as little as $150 or $200 per year, these policies are often referred to as “the most bang for your buck.”

There are many different types of situations and summer activities where an Umbrella policy could help cover the high price tag associated with a bad claim. Check with your agent to determine what coverages will be under your homeowners policy and consider adding an umbrella insurance policy to provide additional coverage.

June 2017

The Impact of WannaCry Ransomware – Why Cyber Insurance is a Must

 

WannaCry – What is it?

Largely regarded as one of the largest global cyber attacks in history, WannaCry ransomware spread quickly to universities, hospitals and businesses across 150 countries over the span of a few short days. Many were left trying to determine if they should pay the ransom to regain access to their own files, or rely on their backups to avoid giving in to the attackers.

This form of ransomware locked users out of their computers by exploiting a vulnerability in outdated versions of Microsoft Windows. It then demanded money from users who wanted to regain control of their data.  Once a computer was infected, it could spread to every computer in that network within seconds.

Ransomware is a Growing Trend

A growing trend in recent years, Ransomware is a sophisticated piece of malicious software, or malware, that blocks the victim’s access to his or her files. It infects a desktop or laptop computer, sometimes locking up the machine, but more often encrypting data and files, rendering them unusable. Then an ominous message from the attacker pops up, demanding a ransom be paid to unlock the computer or decrypt the data. Cyber criminals can even reach a user’s computer through programs like Adobe Flash Player, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Silverlight.

Creators of ransomware are constantly embedding advertising, shopping and other highly trafficked online networks with their software, which seeks out browser vulnerabilities and infects computers when the end-users click on activating links. Additionally, they will use spam emails that contain an attachment including ransomware. The email is often disguised to look like it is from a bank or delivery service, or even the IRS.

Then comes an urgent ransom note, intended to scare the victim into paying-up, or else. And the victim is left with a decision to either pay the extortionist, or lose valuable files forever.

How Can Individuals, Small Businesses Protect Their Data?

In today’s technology driven world, unfortunately, there is no guarantee in preventing a cyber attack. Every organization is vulnerable, as you can see with the high profile companies who were victims of the WannaCry attack (i.e. FedEx).

However, an organization should take measures to protect its data, including:

  • Ensure you have backups. Your backups should be on a separate source or a cloud storage service, as any servers, hard drives or other backup sources connected to a network will probably be infected, too. At least one backup should also be stored in a different physical location.
  • Keep browsers, plug-ins and operating systems up-to-date. When you see the update requests, make sure you do as they say. Additionally, you can purchase an additional layer of protection with anti-virus software programs.
  • Urge everyone to be extremely cautious with spam. Never download unknown files or click on unknown links.

Ransomware Implications for Small and Medium-Size Businesses

In theory, every business and consumer using the internet is a potential target for ransomware perpetrators, though small and medium-size businesses have become particularly easy marks. Large companies typically have IT departments and robust cybersecurity programs, while small and medium-sized businesses lack the resources and defense programs to protect themselves. 

A small business may not be able to afford to pay a large ransom to restore files. If the files are not restored, a small business may be faced with purchasing all new computers, programs and more.

Or, what about the business interruption or downtime that a business suffers while the files are locked? Even if a business pays the ransom and the files are restored, do you trust that those files haven’t been tampered with?

In these cases a cyber liability insurance policy would be vital to the survival of the business.

Cyber Liability Insurance

Typically, Cyber Liability Insurance reimburses the costs you incur in the event of a data or information breach. And while there are many variations among policies and premium costs for cyber security insurance in Ohio, two distinct risk categories can be determined and this is a good place to start: first-party and third-party liability. Both of these categories of liability are relevant to companies of all sizes.

First-party liability is where your or your business’ private information is breached. This could look like a virus or malware damaging internal IT systems or tax records being exposed.

Third-party liability is when the private information of your clients is breached such as a hack into the Netflix user database where account information is compromised.

Regardless of the type of business, one thing is certain: If you’re a business in operation today, you face multiple cyber liability risks. Which means, you need to thoroughly understand your risk of a loss, how you would respond if a loss did occur, and whether Cyber & Data Breach Liability coverage makes sense for you.

Some types of cyber coverage to consider when fighting against ransomware:

  • Cyber Threats or Extortion: reimbursement for payment resulting from a threat to prevent access to your computer system, introduce a virus to your system, reveal your confidential information, or damage your brand or reputation by posting false comments on social media sites.
  • System Damage: costs you incur to retrieve, restore or replace any of your computer programs that are lost or damaged.
  • Business Interruption: replacement of your lost income resulting from a computer system outage because of a cyber attack.
  • Regulatory Actions or Investigations: coverage for costs, expenses, fines and penalties because of a regulatory investigation arising out of an actual or suspected breach.

The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations, and can vary depending on your range of exposure. It’s important to work with an Insurance Advisor that can identify your areas of risk, and customize a policy to fit your unique situation.

We can help you recover from a data breach.

Businesses are operating in an environment where it’s not a matter of IF a data breach will occur, it’s only a matter of when. The two most important questions you need to answer as a business owner are:

  • Will I know how to respond when a breach occurs?
  • Will my business survive the devastating consequences of a data breach?

We understand the negative effects a data breach can have on your organization, we’ve seen first-hand how it impacts clients.  We also know which insurance companies provide the broadest insurance coverage to help you recover after a breach occurs.

But we don’t stop there.

The best place to begin is with your own internal operations, the security measures you have in place, and the controls implemented to avert a data breach. Contact us to begin working on a policy.

Additional Helpful Resources

Data Breach Insurance

What is Contingent Business Interruption? 

10 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from a Data Breach

A Lesson from the Sony Data Breach

May 2017

Landscaping Insurance in Ohio

Are you a landscaping contractor in Ohio wondering if there is an insurance package tailored specifically to your unique, small-business needs?

As small business owners ourselves, we know better than anyone that you're busy. And we can only imagine how hectic your professional life gets in spring and summer when projects add up. Having the right insurance gives you an opportunity to take the time you may spend worrying about whether or not you're covered to take on a specific job, and put it toward getting that job done right. We are all about helping you work with confidence and peace of mind.

 

The Insurance Landscape in Ohio is Changing

Several key laws were changed earlier in 2017, and as a result, requirements on what type insurance landscaping companies are required to have became more stringent. 

Now, your policy needs to be more comprehensive than ever before, and there are currently, only a few insurers in the state offering the kind of coverage you need. Speaking to an independent insurance agent will reveal gaps in your coverage that now need to be remedied due to the new laws.

 

What Insurance do I Need?

There are a number of different kinds of insurance policies that anyone who runs a landscaping business should consider. Each policy contains specialized coverage that will work toward your benefit in a particular situation. The three main types of landscaping insurance are:

  • Commercial general liability insurance
  • Commercial auto insurance
  • Contractors Equipment Insurance

Consider these three types of insurance if you are a landscaper, arborist, lawn irrigation contractor, landscape designer, landscape architect, or landscape general contractor.

 

Commercial General Liability Insurance

Commercial General Liability Insurance is key; it's a landscaper must-have. It provides protection against potential lawsuits that could shut your business down.

General liability claims are far from uncommon. In fact, you don't have to be in a high-risk line of work for a liability claim to crop up. We once had a policyholder whose employee was mowing a client’s property. The mower accidentally sprayed a shower of gravel into the parking lot, hitting and damaging a number of cars. Luckily, the landscaper had general liability insurance, which covered the cost of damages.

Even if a lawsuit filed against you holds no grounds, it can still waste time, cost money, and damage your reputation. Having a landscape liability policy in place before an incident like occurs lets you rest easy knowing you'll be covered.

 

Commercial Auto Insurance

Every vehicle used for business purposes should be covered under a commercial auto insurance plan, as should any trailers or trucks that used to transport equipment or employees. Ohio has a variety of different commercial auto insurance plans available, including policies that feature at-fault accident insurance, vandalization coverage, physical damage due to an accident that was not your fault, bodily injury coverage for you and your employees if anyone is involved in a crash, and coverage for a stolen automobile.

Contractors Equipment Insurance

Commercial property insurance covers your equipment when it is on your property--not always the most practical move for landscapers who travel from job to job maintaining multiple locations.

Consider contractors equipment insurance to protect your equipment while it is away from its storage facility. For instance, if a mower was stolen from a client's property overnight, your commercial property insurance would not cover it, but your contractors equipment insurance policy would.

 

Give yourself peace of mind and don’t let a lawsuit, stolen equipment, or accident jeopardize your business. Get the right kind of contractors insurance today.


April 2017

Why does my Small Business need an Umbrealla Insurance Policy?

 

Liability insurance covers you if another party sues you for damages that you or your company are accountable for. Without liability insurance, you risk losing your business, your assets, your vehicles etc. Liability coverage comes in many forms including through your company auto insurance, business building insurance, etc. This coverage is very minimal and will not be sufficient should you find yourself in a tricky situation. Your business and everything you have invested in it could be lost in a lawsuit without proper coverage

What is umbrella insurance and why is it useful?

Commercial umbrella insurance is one of the least understood insurance policies. Its main purpose is to extend your liability coverage. You might already have liability coverage in a general liability, employer’s liability, or hired and non-owned auto liability policy.

 

A common minimum coverage amount for umbrella insurance for small business is one million dollars. This is often double what you would get with your other policies. The starting price for such a plan tends to be around $500 to $800 per year. The way umbrella insurance works is that it's an amount on top of your current liability coverage. If you have one million in umbrella liability and you get sued for one and a half million, the first amount would come out of your general business liability insurance or your employers liability, and any additional costs come out of your umbrella liability policy.

Top 5 reasons why a small business needs to have umbrella insurance:

  • It's more cost effective to get umbrella insurance than to raise the limits on your existing liability policies.
  • You can expand your coverage on several policies under one umbrella policy.
  • Umbrella coverage gives you extra coverage for certain types of claims that might not be covered by your other liability policies.
  • If you deal with high-net-worth individuals in your business, umbrella insurance is particularly useful in covering higher lawsuit settlements.
  • Umbrella insurance gives you an overall peace of mind that you have plenty of coverage across all your policies.

Something that commercial umbrella insurance will cover that regular liability typically does not, is your legal expenses. It's important to have coverage for that so your overall business stability is not threatened.

 

If you're interested in getting more information about how an umbrella insurance policy could benefit your business, please contact us to request a proposal. By talking with an independent insurance advisor, you can get advice on the best policies for your industry. 

 

March 2017

The Home Improvement Store Insurance Buying Guide

 

In the home improvement industry, you make it possible for customers to update and protect their homes which can often be their most valuable asset. You can provide products that help home owners increase the value of their investment. You also offer safety devices like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and high quality dead bolt locks.

 

But have you ever stopped to consider if you're doing the same for your own business? There are so many risks your business faces, and without proper planning, you could be risking everything you've worked to achieve. Unfortunately, you can't predict everything that could adversely impact your business. Sometimes, terrible things just happen. There is one step you can take now is to protect your business from these unforeseen events by putting the correct policies in place.

But buyer beware!

A generic insurance plan could end up costing you much more money than you anticipated, at a time when you need your insurance protection the most. Many business owners have this perception that all insurance is similar.  They purchase an 'off-the-shelf' policy because it appears to be cheap, easy, and effective. But your business is not like every other small business out there. You do not all offer the same products or benefits as others.

 

As a business owner, you shouldn't expect an insurance policy that's the same.  You deserve a policy that's as unique to your business and should accept nothing less. It is important to work with your independent insurance agent who can help you determine your risks, what type of coverage will fit your business needs, and how to accomplish this within a budget.

What are your business risks?

Owning a home improvement store is not typically a high-risk business; however, there are some risks that you should be aware of including:

  • Identity theft and customer data breach
  • Lawsuits
  • Slips and falls
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Extreme weather events
  • Equipment failure

Most home improvement stores face additional risks to their business that need to be thoroughly considered before a loss ever occurs.

 

February 2017

Am I Overpaying my Ohio Life Insurance Company?

Life Insurance is the best way to insure that most important people in your life are protected from having to take on the responsibility of your debt, your funeral expenses, your mortgage or other such burdens. In other words, Life insurance is a smart choice for most individuals who have dependents or loved ones that would be financially-impacted if you passed away unexpectedly. If you have children it can ensure that their college expenses are paid for, or your partner has income to live on for a year while they put their life back together. In other words, it's hard to deny the benefits of life insurance coverage.  

 

Most often we have found people are still asking themselves, "how much life insurance should I get?", “Am I overpaying?” or “What can you do to lower your premiums?”

3 Tips to Avoid Overpaying Life Insurance in Ohio

To make navigating your life insurance needs, here are a few practical basics that affect your rates and that's worth looking at to see if what you're paying is reasonable.

Maintain good health and healthy habits

Similar to health insurance, life insurance risk factors include the level of health you maintain. Insurers spend a lot of time trying to get this risk factor right. You will have to get a medical exam as part of getting life insurance, and this exam looks for a variety of factors such as obesity, mental health, high cholesterol, your family’s health history etc. Of course, many of these health risks are out of your hands, but there are some that you do have control over. One example is smoking. If you're a smoker, one of the main ways in which you can lower your premiums for life insurance is by quitting your smoking habit.

Maintain a good driving record              

Your driving record does affect not only your car insurance rates but also your life insurance premiums. Life insurance companies focus on calculating risk. Anything in your life that raises your risk will raise your premium. Like most, if you're planning ahead to get the most affordable life insurance, you must be smart about your lifestyle choices. Not only is your driving record a factor, your credit history is also considered when life insurance companies work up your cost of coverage. Take a look at your overall risk profile and see if there are any areas in which you can improve.  

Avoid unnecessary or out of date riders

If you aren’t sure, a rider is something you add on to your policy to provide additional benefits. One example of this is a disability rider that allows you to collect regular income from the insurance company if you become totally disabled and cannot work. Certain riders are very good to have, but others may not be necessary and are worth looking over again. Some riders may also be out of date or no longer necessary because of changes to the basic policy, or to your life circumstances. 

It's a smart idea to check in with your life insurance advisor to go over your current policy, and to be sure you stay updated on any changes. Make it a habit to have these periodical meetings and you will feel more reassured.

Choosing the right insurance company is very important.  Heeter Insurance Agency is dedicated to putting our clients first and this starts by providing you with the information that's meaningful for you. We have put together a useful guide that tells you what you need to know about life insurance. Download the comprehensive free ebook about Life Insurance below. If you have any questions, please contact us directly!

 

 


 

January 2017

How to Find Affordable Health Insurance Companies in Ohio

Health insurance or medical insurance is incredibly important to have and yet sometimes it can feel complicated and expensive for many seeking it out. According to an article published by the Yale School of Management last yearsixty percent of Americans under the age of sixty-five are covered by private health insurers. And yet, finding affordable health insurance companies in Ohio, or anywhere else in the country, is a challenge.

 

Cheap insurance can seem attractive as you begin to look at your options, but cheap can often be expensive in the long-run. If you are among the sixty percent, this blog article will explore why health insurance is so expensive and provide a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the industry. 

 

What makes Health Insurance expensive

One of the big reasons why health insurance is so expensive for the privately insured, is that the cost for hospitalization, surgeries, medical scans etc., is negotiable between private insurance companies and the healthcare providers. This makes for a huge variance between geographic regions and hospitals all across the country. Price is therefore the driver, the focal point that changes with each health insurance company and every hospital. For example, a Yale Insights article states that “Across the country, the price of a knee replacement can vary by up to a factor of 17 — the most expensive hospital is 17 times as expensive as the least expensive hospital.” 

 

For Medicare patients, on the other hand, cost for treatments are regulated by the government and do not vary. What makes some parts of the country more expensive for Medicare is that they offer more care. They may take the time to do an extra MRI for instance. Here, it's the quantity of care that drives the industry, not the price. But with sixty percent of the population choosing private health insurance for better care, and more comprehensive coverage, prices are very high. Healthcare providers set them, and thus the insurance companies must raise their premiums to match the costs.  

 

These are some of the reasons why health insurance premiums are so expensive, and can vary significantly in price. Healthcare reform has made it easier to find medical insurance, but it can be time consuming and difficult to navigate on your own.  Getting a trusted insurance advisor is helpful when choosing an insurance provider. However, it's always a good idea to start by educating yourself on what you're looking for so that you can make informed decisions. 

 

Check out our insurance resource center for more in-depth information on insurance with our free eBooks and articles.  

5 Tips for finding affordable medical insurance in Ohio

Whether its affordable medical insurance companies in Ohio you are looking for or in another state, there are certain valuable considerations to keep in mind that will help you find the best coverage. When you're properly covered, you can rest assured that if an illness or medical emergency arises, you won't have to drain your savings or go into debt. Use the following tips as a way to navigate the health insurance world and find what’s best for you and your family.

 

1. Know what you spend on medical expenses 

 

Do you mainly get annual check-ups at your family doctor with the occasional physical therapy session? Or do you seek out chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists or physiologists on a regular basis? How much money do you spend at each?  We have found one of the best places to start as you begin your search for an affordable health insurance company, is to take a careful look at what medical expenses you typically incur and with which providers.

Even if you don't have exact numbers for each healthcare service using, a rough estimate can be very helpful as well. This gives you a place to start as you begin to look at what medical insurance plans are out there. 

It's of course important to know that another key reason for having health insurance is to have coverage for emergency medical situations. According to WebMD, there is a 1 in 5 chance of someone between the ages of 25 and 44 needing to go to the Emergency Room and 1 in 4 people who are uninsured end up losing all of their savings to medical bills. Therefore, no matter your age, you want to be covered if you're in an accident or have to spend time at a hospital. These are not the kinds of events we can predict, and yet because they are very expensive when they do happen, it's essential we are covered for them.

 

2. Know how the Affordable Care Act affects your state

 

Politics aside, and despite the fact that times are somewhat uncertain with the changing administration in the White House, it's still worthwhile to know what this act has done with health insurance in your state. 

Due to the Affordable Care Act, there are now a number of areas that all health insurance policies must cover. Whether or not this act remains in effect, knowing these foundational areas of coverage can help you in determining your own coverage. These areas include the following:

  • Emergency Room Visits
  • Outpatient Care
  • Inpatient Care
  • Lab Tests
  • Care before and after a baby is born
  • Prescriptions
  • Mental Health and Substance use services
  • Certain preventative health services
  • Dental and Vision care for kids
  • Services that help deal with a chronic condition or disability

Coverage of these areas still vary under the act, especially in deductible amounts and annual limits, but every plan currently must include all of these to some degree or another. So when you take stock of how much you already spend on health services, consider these foundational areas. In addition, it's worth noting which services you use that are not included here, so you know what you may want to add to your plan. Even if this act is repealed, taking stock of these basic areas of coverage is a good place to start when determining what kind of medical insurance you need.

 

3. Shop around for the most affordable health insurance 

 

Since the medical health insurance landscape is quite complex and varies considerably, it's important that you don't just select the first medical insurance company that seems to offer reasonable rates. It's always worth taking the time to shop around and compare not only companies as a whole, but also individual plans. Research the market averages in your area to get a sense of what others are paying, and then take into account the kind of coverage you want. It could be that the average buyer is not seeking the kind of coverage that is right for your healthcare needs. Another thing to note: medical insurance costs are not only made up of your monthly premiums. Different plans have very different deductible amounts for certain services. You must take the time to calculate in these costs as well to get a real sense of how much you would be spending.

 

4. Look for the medical insurance plan that best fits your individual situation

 

Aside from knowing what health services you use the most and therefore which ones you need to be covered for, you may want to consider joint coverage with your partner or a family plan that includes your children. Often these package plans can save money for your family. However, it's worth really looking at the pluses and minuses of these joint plans before committing to one.

Sometimes they aren't the best deal for your situation. Looking into all these details and seeing how they fit into your situation will pay off in the end. If you've looked into this ahead of time, it's always easier to know when you need to change your coverage. If you have a baby or move, you know the coverage you have and can better see how you need to adjust it when your life changes in certain ways.

 

5. Work with an independent health insurance advisor

 

All of the tips above can help educate you about the health insurance landscape, but often times it's still well worth it to find an independent health insurance advisor in Ohio or somewhere close to where you live. These advisors can help you figure out what the best coverage is for you, and they can get proposals on your behalf from many different medical insurance companies. One of the most useful aspects about consulting an independent advisor is that they take you through the options, step-by-step, and ensure that you understand everything well. It's essential to find an independent advisor since they aren't bound to one insurance company and its products. Smaller health insurance agencies in Ohio also allow for more personalized attention. When tailoring your insurance to your situation is so important, going with a smaller agency can make all the difference.

By following this guide and seeking out an independent health insurance advisor, you will be well on your way to being insured. When you have done your research, the reassurance of being well covered is great! 

Medical Insurance Ohio

At Heeter Insurance Agency, we care deeply about our clients. We want to be there to pick up the pieces when tragedy strikes their lives. We exist because of our unwavering commitment to, and compassion for, our clients. For us, its about people, not policies. People have assets to protect. People have loved ones they care for. People have dreams to pursue. We believe it is our responsibility to safeguard the people we care about.


“What separates them from other providers is that it feels like I'm working with an insurance consultant, not a salesman. They understand business and how to make their client's lives easier, which seems to be a fading trend in the service sector.”  
- Greg Aler

 If you would like to know how to find affordable health insurance in Ohio, the fastest way would be to speak with one of our agents by calling us or emailing us.

.


September 2016

Key Person Life Insurance

All small business owners know how difficult managing day-to-day operations can be. Now consider what would happen if you had to do it without one of your key people. Would revenues remain consistent? Would your operations continue uninterrupted? Would you be able to easily find a replace with equal knowledge and experience that could pick up where that key employee left off?

 

Answer these questions honestly. If you answered ‘No’ to any of these, know that you are similar to nearly every other small business in operation today. Because of this, we are going to highlight Key Person Life Insurance to help businesses protect one of their biggest competitive advantages: their key employees.

How Key Person Life Insurance can be a solution

Key Person Life Insurance was created to help a business recover from the loss of a key member of your business. Having this type of coverage can be used to cover the loss of an owner, a partner, or even an employee that would be extremely difficult or even impossible to replace if she were to die.

The insurance mechanism is fairly simple and straightforward:

  • The business purchases a life insurance policy on one employee (or even several key individuals within the organization, if needed), with the company being named as the beneficiary and owner of the policy.
  • If something tragic were to happen to the employee (or employees) covered by the policy, the benefit would be paid to the business to help you hire and train a new employee so your business can get back on stable ground.

To provide you with a real life example of how Key Person Life Insurance can protect your business, watch this video about how Auto Custom Carpets recovered from a huge loss. 

We provide help with your coverage

We’re a local insurance agency who knows how important it is for small businesses such as ourselves to have a Key Person Life Insurance policy. The great thing is, we can help take the pressure off of you by putting this policy together on your behalf.

Our agents are ready and willing to get started on your Key Person Life Insurance policy. Give us a call or request a proposal, and one of our agents will start working right away. 

Our Location

Lewisburg

130 N Commerce St
Lewisburg, OH 45338
Main office: 937-483-4363
Fax: 937-962-2678

Our Providers

Testimonials

Accommodating, professional, helpful, and quick. Very comfortable experience and I was impressed by their capabilities. Highly recommended.

Brad M.
I feel lucky to have found an agent willing to provide this level of service. No need to look anywhere else!

Michelle D.
Over the years we’ve never once had to worry about our coverage. My husband and I are long-time customers and proud to be.

Carol S.
Surprisingly flexible and in-touch with my needs as a small business owner. Can’t ask for more.

Spencer F.
They have strong ties with the community, and it shows. It’s nice to do business with people that really show they care about you and your family.

Susan T.