From Furry Friends to Life’s Big Events: Sure, You Can Insure It!

Posted by on Apr 12, 2018 in Personal Insurance | Comments Off on From Furry Friends to Life’s Big Events: Sure, You Can Insure It!

From Furry Friends to Life’s Big Events: Sure, You Can Insure It!

When you think of insurance, the obvious might come to mind: health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, and homeowners or renters insurance. But life is full of many other important things and defining moments. Should you insure those, too? Here’s a look at some lesser-known policies that offer important coverage to those who invest in them.

Pet insurance

Pets are cherished family members for many, and there’s little owners wouldn’t do to prolong the length and quality of their pets’ lives. As veterinary advancements progress, however, the treatments used to aid sick or injured pets have become more and more costly. Pet insurance can ease the financial burden of medical care. It can also cover the loss or death of expensive exotic breeds. Pet insurance policy options can include:

  • Accident only — This is typically the least expensive policy type available and provides basic coverage. It can help pay veterinary bills if a pet is involved in an accident or succumbs to an emergency illness.
  • Time limited — This type of policy allows pet owners to make claims for eligible conditions up to a specified amount during a predetermined period, typically 12 months. When a 12-month policy expires, an owner can renew the policy but it would exclude any conditions for which claims had already been paid.
  • Maximum benefit — With this policy, no time limits exist on making claims for certain conditions, but a set monetary limit does. Once the insurer has paid out the claim, the pet owner must pay all remaining expenses associated with that condition out-of-pocket.
  • Lifetime — This is the most comprehensive and expensive basic pet health insurance option. It covers veterinary fees up to a certain amount each year for the life of the pet so long as the owner keeps the policy active.

For some, animals are more than loving companions. They can also be a person’s livelihood. Imagine losing a dog slated to compete at the esteemed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show or a prize racehorse: It could mean financial disaster on top of heartbreak. In these cases, animal mortality insurance can cover an owner’s financial losses if an income-producing animal dies, is injured, falls ill, or is stolen. What is and isn’t covered in an animal mortality policy can vary depending on the carrier, so those who rely on animals for their income should research all options to find the policy that best suits their specific needs and situations.

Personal watercraft (PWC) insurance

For some adventure seekers, there’s no greater thrill than a high-speed pursuit of white-capped waves aboard a Jet Ski, Wave Runner, or Sea-Doo. The insurance industry calls these “personal watercraft,” or “PWC,” and classifies them into two types: stand-up PWCs used by a single rider who stands or kneels while operating and sit-down PWCs used by one or more riders who sit while operating. Most insurance companies that offer boat insurance also offer PWC policies.

PWC insurance requirements vary by state but, required or not, it’s a smart choice considering the risky nature of personal watercraft. A variety of PWC coverage options exist including liability, collision, comprehensive, medical, total loss replacement, as well as on-water towing and labor. Policy types will determine rates as will other factors like the PWC make and model, horsepower, engine specifications, storage location, as well as owner credit and accident history.

Be forewarned: Exclusions may apply. If a carrier discovers a policyholder was operating the PWC without a proper license, was using it after dark, or had modified the PWC to operate at speeds higher than the manufacturer intended while investigating a claim, the provider may deny the claim.

While other nonmotorized watercraft like kayaks and canoes can certainly be insured, they may be considered personal property covered under homeowners or renters insurance policies, depending on their value. Talk to a knowledgeable insurance broker about your options for such watersports coverage.

Wedding insurance

The amount of money and time spent on the perfect wedding can be staggering. In 2016, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was just over $35,000, and most weddings take many months or even a year or more to plan. With that kind of money and time invested, insurance can be a savior if an unforeseeable circumstance crashes the wedding. What if the bride, groom, or close family member were to get sick or injured right before the wedding? What if a weather event like a tropical storm or ice storm rendered the wedding venue unusable? What if the caterer or wedding dress boutique were to suddenly go out of business and wouldn’t return your calls after you’d made a hefty deposit?

Basic wedding insurance can cost as little as a few hundred dollars, depending on the wedding cost and selected coverage options. Even a mega-wedding costing $175,000 can be insured for around $1,000. That may be a small price to pay considering the huge investment at stake.

One very important reminder for brides and grooms planning their big day: Get everything in a written contract from each vendor you hire. If a vendor fails to perform as outlined in a written, signed contract, having that documentation makes it much easier when filing an insurance claim to recoup any funds that vendor cost you.

And a final caveat to wedding insurance: It covers a lot of potential scenarios — but cold feet is not one of them. If a bride or groom backs out, the only thing a wedding insurance policyholder might get from his or her insurance agent is condolences.

Moving insurance

It’s difficult to realize how much “stuff” we have until all our possessions are boxed up and stacked in a moving truck. What if the moving truck was to pull out of the driveway and was stolen or in a bad accident? While it may be impossible to replace the sentimental value of certain belongings, moving insurance can at least reimburse those on the move for what they could lose. Here are some important points for those relocating to keep in mind:

  • Federal law requires all moving companies include “released value protection” to customers. This is liability insurance that covers the moving companies if any or all the moving truck contents are damaged or stolen. However, they set the value at 60 cents per pound, so that doesn’t do much for those who lose $500 pieces of art that weigh 10 pounds.
  • To offer added protection and a more realistic reimbursement cost, movers can purchase “full value protection,” which takes into account the real value of the contents in transit. Full value protection costs about 1% of the total valuation. So, if the items being moved are valued at $100,000, the protection plan would cost approximately $1,000. It may seem like a big investment if everything goes smoothly from Point A to Point B, but if disaster strikes, it could seem like the best $1,000 you’ve ever spent, considering the time and money involved in replacing everything you own.

Be smart with what you let others move for you: If something is simply too valuable to ship off on a moving truck, make special arrangements to transport it yourself. This is especially easy to do with smaller items like jewelry that may have both high sentimental and monetary value.

Life is full of unique events and circumstances. Offering protection for these important elements can be very subjective, which is one reason why the insurance industry is so complex. For some, pets are far more important than vehicles. For others, a wedding could be the biggest financial investment they will ever make. To ensure you have coverage for the most important aspects of your life, find an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands the options available for protecting what matters to you. Even if the coverage is a bit unconventional, that doesn’t mean it’s not available.

Questions about insuring your pets, watercraft, and life events? Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your options and ensure you have the insurance coverage you need.

Rental Car Insurance: Money Wasted or Well-Spent?

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Personal Insurance | Comments Off on Rental Car Insurance: Money Wasted or Well-Spent?

Rental Car Insurance: Money Wasted or Well-Spent?

Have you ever rented a car and felt awkward confusion when the representative asked you to accept or decline rental car insurance? Could you have made a big mistake if you’d declined? Would you have wasted money if you’d accepted? Understanding your regular insurance policies and what they cover when you’re behind the wheel of a rental car can help you make an educated choice next time you’re at the rental counter.

The minimum requirement

If you don’t have an auto insurance policy of any kind, it’s a good idea to purchase the rental company’s insurance. Rental liability coverage, which would protect you if you were to cause injury or property damage to others while driving, costs between $7 and $14 per day on average.

Anyone who does have an auto insurance policy has, at minimum, his or her state’s mandated liability insurance level. Therefore, you probably don’t need to sign up for more liability coverage unless you aren’t satisfied with the level of liability coverage you purchased in your personal auto insurance policy. In that case, it might be time to call your insurance agent and obtain more coverage. But there are many available layers of protection beyond liability coverage car renters should understand before checking “yes” or “no.”

Beyond liability insurance

If your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive and collision protection, that coverage should extend to you as a rental car driver. This means your comprehensive coverage would protect you if someone was to steal or vandalize your rental car, and your collision coverage would protect you if you were to damage the rental car in an accident.

In addition, if you plan to pay for your next rental car with a credit card, check with your credit card company to see if it offers any additional insurance. While the coverage credit card companies offer is typically secondary to primary auto insurance, it can provide significant protection. For example, some credit card companies will even reimburse you for your auto insurance deductible.

Car coverage considerations

Many people decline rental car insurance when certain they’re covered by their own auto insurance policies and their credit card companies. However, some scenarios may still make rental insurance worth considering.

  • Be sure to check if your primary auto insurance covers “loss of use” charges, which are fees rental companies may charge to make up for the rental income they lose during vehicle repairs. The “loss-damage waivers” rental companies offer cover both damage and loss of use and tend to cost $9 to $19 per day.
  • Are you driving the rental car for commercial or business use? If so, your personal auto insurance may not cover you.
  • Are you driving the rental car in a foreign country? If so, your personal auto insurance may not apply.
  • Do you have adequate health insurance that covers you in the event of an accident? If so, the rental company’s “personal accident insurance” is likely redundant but, if not, the $1 to $5 per day added to your rental agreement could be worth it.
  • Do you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy that covers personal belonging theft? This coverage may extend to any personal items you leave in the rental car, but your deductible would still apply if you were to file a theft claim. If your deductible is higher than the value of the high-ticket belongings you travel with or you don’t have a policy to protect your personal items, selecting a rental car company’s “personal effects coverage” could be wise. It often costs $1 to $4 per day.

The many available rental car insurance options can add up quickly. A $40-per-day rental car suddenly can cost double that for those who add on various insurance options. It is critical to review your auto, health, and homeowners or renters insurance policies before being put on the spot at the rental car counter. Doing so can help you ensure you have the protection you need without paying for redundant coverage. Your insurance agent can help you understand the fine print in your policies and decipher the scenarios in which you may want to consider added rental car coverage.

Renting a car? Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your policies and ensure you always have the vehicle coverage you need.

Travel Insurance: A Friendly Foe in the Wake of Potential Vacation Woes

Posted by on Mar 14, 2018 in Personal Insurance | Comments Off on Travel Insurance: A Friendly Foe in the Wake of Potential Vacation Woes

Travel Insurance: A Friendly Foe in the Wake of Potential Vacation Woes

Travel Insurance

Vacations: We dream of them, save for them, and plan their every detail months in advance. They’re our escapes from everyday doldrums, monotonous routines, and nagging responsibilities. Unfortunately, life’s unforeseeable twists and turns don’t take breaks just because we do. Accidents, illnesses, theft, lost luggage, and weather disasters can upend vacations before they even start. But when is it necessary to invest in travel insurance — and when is it best to skip unnecessary added expenses?

Travel insurance types

Travel insurance can ease financial blows of vacation-spoiling events. But not every type of travel insurance provides the same coverage, so it’s important to understand the various available types and what each covers. The most common types of travel insurance include:

Trip cancellation or interruption insurance — Trip cancellation insurance makes most sense for trips requiring large deposits like cruises or group tours. This insurance type can also be a good idea for pricey non-refundable elements like airfare or prepaid accommodations. With cancellation insurance, if you, a family member, or a travel companion were to fall ill, get injured, or even lose your job, the travel insurance you’d purchased in advance would reimburse you for the money you’d invested in the trip but couldn’t take. Cancellation insurance would also reimburse you if a natural disaster in your destination prevented you from traveling there or if your tour company or airline suddenly went out of business or couldn’t perform as promised. Cancellation insurance can cost 4-10% of a trip’s total cost, so insurance for a $2,000 family cruise could cost $80 to $200. Without it, however, you’d be out the full $2,000 if you needed to cancel.

While cancellation insurance would protect you for the “trip that never was,” interruption insurance would protect you if you had to end your travels earlier than expected. In this case, your policy would reimburse you for the portion of the trip you didn’t get to enjoy.

Emergency medical and medical evacuation insurance — Understanding what your everyday health insurance covers is key to knowing if and what level of medical insurance you should consider purchasing for your travels. Some health insurance plans don’t cover medical care administered overseas, so check your policy if you are headed abroad. If you’re not covered, you may want to put an emergency medical policy in place before traveling. If you were to purchase such a policy and opt for a primary coverage plan, the emergency medical policy would pay a claim first no matter what your regular health insurance policy covers. You would then submit claims to your regular coverage plan after you’d filed with your emergency health insurance provider.

Medical evacuation insurance could help immensely if you or a family member were to get sick or injured in a remote area with limited medical services. Imagine needing an appendectomy while on a remote jungle tour in South America. This type of policy would pay expenses related to emergency surgery and treatment transport — even if it were to require ultra-expensive means like a chartered jet.

One warning: If you were to become injured while on vacation participating in an activity your insurer deemed especially dangerous — like skydiving or mountain climbing, for example — your travel insurance may not cover you. If you know you’ll be seeking such thrills, you may also want to seek out a supplemental adventure-sports policy.

Theft insurance — Thieves love to prey on unsuspecting tourists who often travel with high-ticket items like personal electronics, cameras, jewelry, skis, or golf clubs. Most homeowners or renters insurance policies cover theft no matter where in the world it happens. However, deductibles would still apply in such cases. If, for example, your deductible is $1,500 and a thief were to steal your $800 camera, you’d be out of luck unless you’d added a specific rider policy to cover items you brought along.

Comprehensive insurance — If all these options sound confusing, you could get one single comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover it all, including lost or damaged luggage and even expenses you could incur if you were to miss your flight or experience other travel delays.

Travel insurance considerations

International and high-risk adventure travels are good candidates for at least some level of travel insurance. Domestic leisure travel may or may not be, depending on how much you plan to invest. Here are few tips to remember when deciding on or shopping for travel insurance:

  • Travel insurance policyKnow what your health and homeowners or renters insurance policies cover … and where. If you’re traveling internationally, you shouldn’t assume you’re covered. Consult with an experienced insurance agent who can help you discern what would and wouldn’t be covered based on your travel plans.
  • If you’re planning to book your trip with a credit card, check with your credit card company to see whether it would provide any travel protection. Some cards cover lost luggage, flight cancellations, and additional prepaid expenses.
  • Purchase travel insurance when you book your trip or very close to booking time. If the government in your destination were to declare an illness outbreak or weather or security threat and you’d purchased insurance after such an announcement, your travel insurance likely wouldn’t cover you under those circumstances.
  • If you travel frequently, talk to your insurance agent about an annual travel insurance policy that could cover you year-round on every trip you take. The more you travel, the more likely you could encounter a travel hiccup or two, so extra protection could make sense for frequent jetsetters.

Lastly, if you’re considering any type of travel insurance for a future trip or even year-round travel, talk to an insurance expert, not a travel agent. Travel experts typically earn commissions on extra policies they sell, so they could sell you on coverage you don’t need. Plus, only a true insurance expert can help you better understand your policies and what gaps you could fill with a travel policy.

Planning your spring break or summer vacation? Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your policies and ensure you have the travel insurance coverage you need.

Achieving Financial Fitness in 2018 Starts with Knowing Your Numbers

Posted by on Feb 22, 2018 in Business Insurance, Franchise Insurance, Life Insurance, Personal Insurance | Comments Off on Achieving Financial Fitness in 2018 Starts with Knowing Your Numbers

Achieving Financial Fitness in 2018 Starts with Knowing Your Numbers

It’s a new year, a clean slate, and a fresh beginning: Although we’re nearly two months into 2018, it’s not too late to define your goals for the year and make a plan to accomplish them. While health-related goals like losing weight and eating better seem to top the list of Americans’ most popular New Year’s resolutions, financial fitness is a top goal for many, too. A YouGov survey of 1.2. million Americans revealed 37% of respondents said they want to “spend less money” in 2018, while making better financial decisions was the third-most popular response in survey data compiled by analysts at Statistic Brain.

So, what does it mean to be financially fit, and what’s the best regimen to attain “fit” status? When it comes to your insurance policies, it’s knowing how much you spend on insurance and exactly what each policy covers. A regular, proactive review of each of your policies can help ensure you are adequately covered yet aren’t overpaying. Start by listing every active policy you have. Then, for each policy type, consider the following questions:

Auto insurance

  • Is your coverage still appropriate for your situation?
  • Look at your liability coverage — the part of the policy that pays for injuries or damages to others if you cause an accident. Are you adequately covered? If your liability insurance is too low, you could be sued for damages above your liability limit.
  • Are you satisfied with your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage? Raising or lowering deductible amounts can affect your premium.
  • Are you thinking of getting a new vehicle this year? This would likely change your premium, so be sure to research how much it could lower or raise your rate.

Homeowners or renters insurance

  • Have you added anything significant to your home inventory in the last year you should note on your homeowners or renters policy? You should list high-ticket items like artwork, antiques, collectibles, and jewelry on your policy to ensure such items are covered if your home is subject to theft or disaster.
  • Did you modify your home in any way that may affect coverage? For example: If you recently finished your basement, you should ensure you have adequate flood insurance.

Health insurance

  • Has your health dramatically changed for better or worse in the last year? If you made significant and lasting changes to improve your health — like stopped smoking or lost weight that was causing health problems — you may qualify for a better, less expensive policy.
  • Did your profession change in such a way that your health risk factors are higher or lower? Those in jobs with high injury rates or in which workers are exposed to dangerous chemicals typically pay higher health insurance premiums. Make sure your health insurance reflects your profession.
  • Did you get married in the last year? Getting married usually causes a health insurance premium drop because members of married couples generally live longer and are perceived as more healthy than single persons.

Life insurance

  • If you have life insurance, could you make any significant lifestyle changes that could lower your premium? These may include quitting smoking, losing unhealthy weight, improving your driving record, or beginning work in a safer occupation.
  • Are the beneficiaries listed on your life insurance policy still accurate?
  • If you don’t have life insurance, does it make sense for you to get a policy now? Better policy options and rates tend to be available to younger people.

As you look at each policy, write down questions you have or areas that may be subject to change based on your life circumstances. Work with a trusted insurance provider to get answers to your questions and learn about opportunities for greater savings or added coverage. Insurance laws can change from year to year, and a knowledgeable expert can help ensure you have enough coverage without wasting funds on anything unnecessary.

Just as many systems contributing to your physical health — circulatory, respiratory, muscular, skeletal — work together to define your overall fitness, many different but equally important parts define your financial fitness. Make your financial fitness a priority in 2018 by ensuring all parts of your financial picture — income, expenses, assets, debts, credit, and all insurance policies — work together efficiently!

Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your policies and ensure you have the insurance coverage you need for financial fitness!

How Could the New Tax Overhaul Affect Your Insurance?

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Business Insurance, Franchise Insurance, Life Insurance, Personal Insurance | Comments Off on How Could the New Tax Overhaul Affect Your Insurance?

How Could the New Tax Overhaul Affect Your Insurance?

Tax Reform

The most sweeping U.S. tax reform in 30 years became official when the federal tax overhaul passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump Dec. 22, 2017. The new law includes several major changes to the Internal Revenue Code and also repeals former President Barack Obama’s health care law, which included an individual mandate for health insurance coverage. Under “Obamacare,” nearly all Americans were required by law to have health insurance or pay a penalty. In 2017, the penalty was $695 per adult and $347.50 per child or 2.5% of one’s household income, whichever was greater.

Whether the health care law repeal is good or bad for Americans is a politically charged topic. Citizens have widely debated the law’s benefits and unfavorable aspects since it went into full effect in 2014, and its repeal may be equally contentious.

What is clear with the repeal is healthy people will no longer be under an incentivized mandate to obtain health insurance or face consequences. Last November, the Congressional Budget Office projected an estimated 13 million people will drop health coverage due to the repeal. The fear is that with fewer healthy people paying premiums, health care costs will rise as health insurance companies are left with a less healthy customer base.

Forms and application for health insurance coverage

I’m never sick, so why do I need health insurance?

Regardless of whether it’s government mandated, every American should have a health insurance plan in place — and options exist for those who think they can’t afford it. People really can’t afford not to have insurance, yet many learn that lesson the hard way when unexpected events happen.

Even a seemingly healthy person can fall victim to an accident or sudden illness that requires immediate medical care, hospitalization, and follow-up visits. Patients with no health insurance coverage are directly responsible for medical bills that, if unpaid, can lead to financial demise for the individual and those who depend on that person. In fact, the inability to pay high medical bills is among the most common reasons people file for personal bankruptcy.

Anyone seeking health insurance should know that many options exist to accommodate different needs and budgets. Whether you are between employers and need transitional coverage or you are at an age where you are no longer covered on a parent’s plan — typically age 26 — there are customizable plans available. And those who say, “I’m too healthy to pay for insurance” or “I can’t afford health insurance” should consult with an insurance professional to see what type of insurance best fits their situations. A few of the many options available include:

  • Major medical or catastrophic plan This type of insurance is for those who want to protect themselves from life’s unexpected emergencies but can’t or don’t want to pay premiums associated with full coverage. Catastrophic plans typically cover a large portion of bills associated with major medical events like heart attacks, hospitalizations, surgeries, or other traumas. These policies are generally suited for those who don’t frequent the doctor and are comfortable paying out of pocket for preventive care and more minor occurrences. Those who are self-employed or don’t have health insurance through their employers often purchase these plans.
  • Health InsuranceHealth savings account (HSA) plansHSAs allow those insured to make tax-free contributions into accounts they can use to pay for qualified medical expenses. Interest earned on the funds is tax-deferred, and any withdrawals from the account are tax-free so long as they are spent on approved medical expenses. This plan type is a great option for those who tend not to amass medical expenses or who would benefit from the tax savings.
  • Short-term medical — Those between medical plans who want to avoid the dreaded coverage gap may find solace in short-term medical coverage. This policy type can cover qualified applicants for up to 11 months and offer lower rates than other, more comprehensive plans. It is best for those who want to ensure coverage for major services, but not for those who require coverage for pre-existing conditions, regular prescriptions, or frequent doctor’s visits.
  • Senior medical coverage — Those turning 65 as well as those leaving a company or COBRA plan after age 65 may face specific needs and challenges related to their health insurance coverage. Various dental and vision plans are available to eligible seniors. Also, Medicare Supplement Insurance can help pay for some health care costs Medicare doesn’t cover. This may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.

As no universal health insurance exists for all Americans, your personalized coverage should fit your lifestyle, your needs, and your budget. The options vary and can be overwhelming and confusing, especially as our nation transitions out of the “Obamacare” era. But you don’t need to navigate the health care coverage map alone. A trusted and experienced health insurance provider can help you determine the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to learn more about your health insurance options.