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When it comes to planning your retirement, a lot of agents will highly recommend that you invest in a permanent life insurance policy. In truth, this may not be the best move for you. The permanent life insurance policy is intended for individuals who have obtained a net worth of at least $11.7 million threshold as of 2021, in which federal estate taxes will kick in after death. Most individuals looking into a life insurance policy while planning for retirement should consider buying a simple term life policy with a death benefit and investment in any other disposable income in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. 

Organize an Emergency Fund 

Building an emergency fund is the first way to put savings from term life insurance to work. This emergency fund should be equal to three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Having this emergency fund is crucial to help cover any big, unexpected bills that may come along. With those potential obstacles curved by the emergency fund, you will now confidently be able to keep regular retirement contributions on track. Did you know that disability insurance can help protect your income (and retirement savings) if you are unable to work? 

Invest in Long-Term Disability Insurance 

We just mentioned that disability insurance can help protect your income, including your retirement savings, if you cannot work. Disability insurance has the main focus of replacing lost income if the individual cannot work. When it comes to life insurance, many people may have some form of disability coverage as an employee benefits, but that doesn’t always mean it is a great benefit. One other form of disability insurance is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), although the benefits are modest and can be difficult to qualify for. One last alternative is acquiring a disability policy from private insurers. There are a variety of life insurance policies out there such as an own-occupation and an any-occupation policy. An own-occupation policy covers someone who can no longer work in their previous field due to a disability, while an any-occupation policy covers someone who can no longer work at all. 

Your Funds Always Have a Home 

The end goal in mind is reaching retirement with a comfortable insurance policy and fund. If you are already planning for your retirement, a tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a traditional or Roth IRA is usually recommended by financial advisors. This is also assuming that you are meeting the income limits are other requirements set by these two IRAs.  Another potential way to increase your retirement funding is by maxing out your 401(k) or a plan that is similar at your place of work if you aren’t already doing so. If you are unable to qualify for these types of accounts, don’t worry as you can always look into investing outside of a retirement account with the lack of tax benefits. One last option for you could be an index fund from a mutual fund company or brokerage firm. 

If you have any questions or need more information on preparing yourself to plan for retirement, contact your local agent today. 

The process of owning a new home can be exciting, especially for a first-time buyer. But it can also be challenging to navigate, especially when trying to figure out the right types of insurance you’ll need. Here are five things you’ll want to keep in mind as you choose how to insure your investment.

  1. Insure for the Appropriate Value

A 2019 study found that three out of five American homes are underinsured by 20%. That means that if a $200,000 home is destroyed in a fire, an underinsured owner would still be left with $40,000 to pay when they rebuilt the home. A key reason for a home being underinsured is not accounting for the rising cost of construction. Owners can avoid this costly mistake by reviewing their insurance policy annually with their agent and obtaining an updated estimate of what it would cost to rebuild in the current year’s construction market. 

  1. Check the Landscape

Are you near a flood plane, large body of water, or fault line prone to earthquakes? These natural disasters aren’t covered under the standard “HO-3” insurance, which only covers the structure, personal belongings, and liability in the event of damage or injury. In some areas, federal law requires you to have flood insurance if your home is within a high-risk zone. Even if it isn’t, you may want to consider extra protection if you’re near a large body of water like a river or lake that could flood unexpectedly. The same goes for residents living near earthquake-prone regions of the U.S. Check with your insurance agent to determine the best supplemental insurance for your home’s environment. 

  1. It’s Not Just A Building

While your standard HO-3 insurance will cover personal belongings, you may want to obtain separate coverage for anything of significant value. This can include art, jewelry, collector’s items, heirloom furnishings, and more. While this does add a marginal amount to your premium, you will be protected in the unfortunate event of a theft, damage, or natural disaster. 

  1. Renting? You May Need Extra Coverage

If you purchased, built, or renovated this property with the intention to rent, it is a good idea to consider extra coverage in case damage is caused by a tenant. Your local insurance agent can help you determine the correct types of additional insurance. This could include landlord insurance, which covers the dwelling, other structures such as a detached garage, and personal property used to maintain the rental such as a lawn mower. You may want additional liability insurance as well, in case a tenant becomes injured on the property and wants you to cover his or her medical expenses. 

  1. Documentation is Key

After you’ve moved into your new home, be sure to take accurate photos and video recordings of your property, personal belongings, and assets located within the dwelling. Make a list of your major features of the home and assets, and also note the cost of these items. Keep this documentation stored off-site or digitally on a cloud-based software to ensure it is protected in the case of fire or severe damage. Be sure to share this with your insurance agent as well. Should the unthinkable happen, it is best to avoid the added stress and have a very accurate record when filing your claim. 

A personal home, even if it is a rental, is often your most valuable possession. While the chance of damage or total loss may be low, you never want to underestimate your home’s value to obtain a lower premium. By working with your local insurance agent to determine a fair and comprehensive policy, you can rest assured knowing your valuable investment will be protected for years to come.

Slips, trips and falls are the number 3 cause of accidental death in the United States, right behind motor vehicle accidents. No matter where you are in the world, if you are indoors or outdoors, you can experience a slip or fallSlips and falls can naturally happen indoors when going up stairs or walking on wet hardwood or uneven flooring, but they are more common outdoors in parking lots and on sidewalks, stairs, decks, and other areas that are affected by the weather 

Follow these tips to keep yourself safe and avoid having a dangerous slip, trip or fall.   

Consider Your Shoe/Footwear Choices 

Depending on the weather in your cityyou may need to change your plans for the day. If your area is experiencing lots of rain, opt for shoes that have traction, like tennis shoes. If it’s really muddy and slick outside, look for shoes that are fit for hiking. When it comes to footwear in the wintertime, store your steel toe boots. If you wear them too long in the cold, they could cause hypothermia in your feet. Waterproof shoes that have good traction on the bottom should be the top qualities to look for when buying your next pair of winter shoes. 

Planning an outfit that requires heels or sandals? Make sure that the weather is sunny with no chance of ice, snow, rain, and the terrain is dry – or if the weather is wet, wear better shoes until you reach indoors safely. You’ll be protecting your ankles from any potential harm. If you are climbing stairs in shoes with heels or sandals, take mind to grip the stair railing to help keep balance you don’t fall.  

Tread Forward with Caution 

Wintertime environments are some of the most dangerous when it comes to the risk of a trip or fall due to the ice and snow that can accumulate. Another dangerous climate is one with a ton of rainfall. Rain can cause even the flattest of areas to become slick and offer up a one-way ticket to a fall. In order to protect yourself from experiencing a fall in these two dangerous climates, choose to wear shoes that are high in traction and waterproof. Another big tip is when entering or exiting buildings, do your best to avoid walking on curbs or steps if you can help it. Walk with caution and do not run in these conditions or you are increasing your chances of falling.   

Take All the Precautions You Can 

Here are a few things to be mindful of when faced with an inclement weather situation. When getting out of your vehicle, keep a hand on the vehicle to support yourself because you don’t know how slick the ground is. Did you know that putting your hands in your pockets to keep warm is more dangerous than it is worth? Keeping your hands free is necessary because by putting your hands in your pockets, you risk your balance since you’ve now lowered your center of gravity. 

What Happens If You Fall? 

The number one thing that you should do if you do happen to take a tumble is to tuck your head in towards your chest to avoid hitting your head. Keep your elbows and knees bent when you fall and try to land on your butt to help protect your body from sustaining any injury. If you’re unsure how your insurance would protect you in the event of a slip, trip or fall related injury, reach out to your local agent to make sure you’re covered for this common risk. 

Employee Practices Liability, often referred to as EPLI, covers businesses against claims by workers that their legal rights as employees of the respective company have been violated. There has been a considerably large rise of lawsuits employees have been putting against their employers. Traditionally, most lawsuits are filed against larger corporations such as Walmart or Target, but no company is fully immune to the risk of a lawsuit via an employee. Smaller companies are now beginning to understand that they, too, are going to need the type of insurance protection that EPLI provides. Some insurance providers add this as an endorsement to a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) they offer, but remember that an endorsement will change the terms and conditions of the policy. Other companies tend to offer EPLI as a stand-alone coverage policy.  

What It Covers 

  • Sexual harassment 
  • Discrimination 
  • Wrongful termination 
  • Breach of employment contract 
  • Negligent evaluation 
  • Failure to employ or promote 
  • Wrongful discipline 
  • Deprivation of career opportunity 
  • Wrongful infliction of emotional distress 
  • Mismanagement of employee benefit plans 

Cost of Coverage 

As we see with every type of insurance coverage, the coverage cost you pay will always depend on the type of business you are insuring. When it comes to EPLI coverage, the cost depends on your business type, the number of employees you have, and various additional risk factors. Risk factors usually refer to if your company has been sued over employment practices in the past. The policies will reimburse your company against the costs of defending a lawsuit in court and for judgments and settlements. Whether your company wins or loses the lawsuit, the policy will still cover the legal costs. Typically, the policies will not pay for punitive damages, civil or criminal fines. If there are liabilities covered by other insurance policies, they are excluded from EPLI policies. 

How to Avoid Potential Employee Lawsuits 

When reviewing your hiring and screening process make an effort to make sure that you are avoiding discrimination the entire process. Ensure that you have the corporate policies posted throughout the workplace and a dedicated section in the employee handbook so the policies are easily accessible to all employees. Take care in teaching your employees the proper steps to take if they are the object of sexual harassment or discrimination while at the workplace. Express to all employees that they need to know where the company stands on what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not permitted. Keep documentation on everything that occurs and the steps that you and your company is taking to prevent and solve employee disputes.   

If you would like to learn more about the policies and coverages included in Employee Practices Liability insurance, reach out to your local agent today.  

Many people in the world still have jobs and positions that require them to complete work outside no matter the weather. Worker’s compensation benefits were indoctrinated to help protect those who work in labor intensive positions. While we can lean on the workers’ compensation benefits to cover work-related injuries, it is in everyone’s best interest to try and avoid all potential harm that could occurWinter is in full force and those workers who are out on the job should keep in mind the potential dangers that come with the territory. Working outdoors in cold, wet, icy, or snowy conditions can lead to cold-related illnesses and injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite. Below we’ve reviewed some of the best ways to help prevent any winter weather related injuries from happening to you or your staff.  

Who Is at Risk? 

As mentioned previously, those who work in a cold environment may be at risk of cold-related illnesses and injuries, or “cold stress.” There are many professions where workers must be subject to the harsh weather that comes in the winter months. These professionals include police officers, snow cleanup crews, sanitation workers, farmers, construction workers, and many others. If your employees take certain medications, are in poor health, or suffer from any illness (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease) it could mean they will face high risks in the work field.   

Prominent Winter Injuries and Illness  

There are three prominent illnesses that can be contracted through working in a cold weather position. Below we have listed the three illnesses, what causes them, and how to prevent them from occurring. 


What Causes It: 

When exposed to cold temperatures, the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Once outside for a prolonged period of time, the heat that your body has stored will be used up. As your body heat is released the temperature of the body will become abnormally low and begin the process of hypothermia. Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion, or disorientation. 

How to Prevent:  

Hypothermia is an illness that affects the brain. This will cause the victim to be unable to think clearly or perform normal functionality. To combat this, work with another coworker or work in groups. 


What Causes It: 

Your fingers, toes, nose, and ears are the most prominent body parts that are affected by frostbite and the most prone to it. Frostbite occurs when a part of the body freezes, causing damage to the tissue. Signs of frostbite beginning include numbness or tingling, stinging, or pain on or near the affected area.  

How to Prevent: 

Checking the weather and wearing protective clothing to combat the weather of that day. If working in icy and snowy conditions items such as warm gloves, insulated footwear, and warm hats will be the best choices.  

Trench Foot  

What Causes It: 

If your feet are kept wet and cold for an extended period of time, you may come down with trench foot. Moisture causes your feet to lose heat, and this can slow the blood flow and damage tissue. As an example, trench foot can happen when it is as warm as 60 degrees. 

How to Prevent: 

Be mindful of your footwear and the maintenance of them in order to help keep your feet warm and dry. 

If you need to add worker’s compensation to your business insurance plan or would like to know more about the policy, talk with your local agent today. 

Applying for disability can be a scary situation to be put in. The government has two different programs that are set in place to help assist those who are now needing disability assistance. If you are newly disabled, you may be wondering if you qualify for financial assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The two programs are known as Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  

The Social Security Disability (SSDI) program is a program that is set up to pay benefits to the insured and their family members. This means that the person applying for disability has worked recentlylong enough, and paid Social Security taxes on those earnings.  

 The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. To learn more about how to apply for disability, view the required documentation and information about you and your medical condition. See below for a list of items you need to provide when applying through the SSA.  

Information About You 

When you are in the process of applying for disability through the SSA programs. View the requirepersonal information below: 

  • Your place of birth, date of birth, and Social Security number. 
  • The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. It is important to know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate).  
  • Names and dates of birth of your minor children, if you have any. 
  • Your bank or other financial institution’s routing transit number and the account number. 

Information About Your Medical Condition 

Similarly, to the required information about you, you must also provide the required personal information below: 

  • Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application. 
  • Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions: 
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics. 
  • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them. 
  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them. 
  • Information About Your Work: 
  • The amount of money earned last year and this year. 
  • The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year. 
  • The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968. 
  • A list of the jobs (up to 5) that you had in the 15 years before you became unable to work and the dates you worked at those jobs. 
  • Information about any workers’ compensation, black lung, and/or similar benefits you filed, or intend to file for. These benefits can: 
  • Be temporary or permanent in nature. 
  • Include annuities and lump sum payments that you received in the past. 

Documentation Needed to Apply 

Along with the information listed above, the SSA may ask you to provide documentation that shows you are eligible, such as: 

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth. 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States. 
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968. 
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year. 
  • Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results. 
  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you received. 

Looking to apply for disability or want more information on the process? Reach out to your local agent, today.  

Prepare Your Vehicle  

In addition to the annual tune-up and maintenance your vehicle undergoes, there are more small things you can do to help winterize your vehicle in anticipation of the winter months. Below are a few tips to help you protect your vehicle:  

  • Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops 
  • Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops 
  • Check your wiper blades and replace if needed 
  • Make sure the cooling system is in good working order 
  • Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car 
  • If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch 
  • Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees 
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze 

 Before Heading on the Road 

Before starting your vehicle, there are a few things you should do to help you achieve safe driving. If there are any obstacles on your windows, mirrors, external cameras, or sensors, it is important to remove them before you get behind the wheel. Dirt, ice, snow, and general build-up can block crucial sensors that allow for assistive-driving features to work properly, such as automatic emergency braking. If your local weather forecast looks a bit troubling or like a storm is brewing it would be best to wait out the storm if possible. Of course, sometimes travel is unavoidable and if that is the case for you, share your travel plans and route with someone before you leave. If the weather is freezing, warming up your vehicle can help make sure everything is properly operating instead of rushing to run the vehicle that has been kept cold overnight. When warming up the vehicle, never leave it running in your garage – even if the garage door is up because the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning are increased  

How to Prevent a Car Accident 

While driving on icy, snowy, or wet roads your full attention is needed. Avoid using cruise control while operating your vehicle as this could cause some unintentional steering motions to happen, like skidding. If you do happen to skid while driving, steer in the direction of the skid so when your wheels regain traction, you will not have to overcorrect to stay in your lane.  Make sure to accelerate and decelerate slowly as to not cause any potential sliding or hydroplaning on the road. Increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds. If at all possible, do not stop when going uphill.  

While driving, if the visibility is severely limited due to a whiteout, pull off the road to a safe place and do not drive until the conditions improve. If possible, avoid pulling off onto the shoulder of the road unless it’s an absolute necessityLimited visibility means other vehicles can’t see yours on the shoulder. 

Looking to increase your auto coverage this winter season? Contact your local agent for more information. 

It’s another new year and everyone is listing off their new year resolutions. Many people forgo an important resolution that should beat out going to the gym weekly or eating a cleaner diet. What is this resolution that should beat out all the typical goals? Reviewing your insurance coverages. This is a resolution that you should take into account yearly and place it at the top of your new year resolutions list. You may be asking why is reviewing my insurance coverages so important? Below, we’ve listed the importance of going over your insurance coverages for you to know what to keep an eye out for. 

Create a Home Inventory 

One of the best ways to start off your insurance coverages is by first making a home inventory. This is great for determining if you have sufficient coverages for all of the contents within your home. Below is the information needed for each item included in a home inventory list: 

  • Description of the item 
  • Make, model or serial number, if applicable 
  • Appraisals or cost at the time of purchase 
  • Where the item was purchased 
  • Date of purchase  
  • Receipts or photos in an attachment, if relevant 
  • Estimated replacement cost if you bought today 

Changes in Your Life 

As years go by there are many life changing milestones. All of these milestones can have varying effects on your insurance coverages. Milestones such as: 

  • Getting married or divorced 
  • Children leaving home/empty nest/child off to college 
  • Starting a new job or business 
  • Starting a family/birth or adoption of a child 
  • Bringing aging parents into your home 
  • Purchase or receipt of an expensive gift 
  • Death in your immediate family 
  • Paying off your mortgage 

 Important Questions to Ask 

  • Do you have replacement cost or actual cash value coverage on your homeowner’s policy? Make sure that you can tell the difference between the two options, although, replacement cost is most preferred in any case. 
  • Do you need flood insurance or sewer backup coverage? As a reminder, neither of these are covered under your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. 
  • Should you change your deductibles? Knowing the ins-and-outs of your deductibles is crucial so there are no surprises if you have a loss. 
  • Are you eligible for any additional discounts or savings opportunities? Things may have changed during the year and you might be eligible for new discounts or other ways to lower your rates. 

Take the first step into a fresh new year by reaching out to your local agent to talk about your coverage options, today. 

The holidays are full of excitement and celebrations with family and friends. While getting ready for the festivities, meals, and decorating time that is planned can create excitement for you and your furry friends, there are several things to watch out for. As their owner, it’s important to consider how things like festive plants, lighting, and additional festive changes around your home could affect the safety of your pets. Below are some safety tips to help protect your pets during the holiday season. 

Hide and Cover Electrical Wires

Lights and electrical decorations typically lead to new cords being scattered around the house. This can lead to your pets trying to eat or play with the wires and this could cause harm if they were to break the protective coating. To ensure their safety, make sure all cords are secure or hidden from them. As an additional protection measure, unplugging the cord while you’re away can minimize the risk of electrocution. 

Cover Food

Holiday celebrations always come with delicious food at gatherings. It’s important to remember that your pets shouldn’t eat certain foods because it can make them severely sick. When you decide to wrap up mealtime, make sure that all of your countertops and surfaces are clear of any food, store all leftovers away and take the trash out. Double-check that all of your lids on your trash bins are secure to ensure that your dogs will be deterred from trying to dig into them. 

Remove Candles

Lighting candles during the holidays can add a charming glow and warmth to your home but, they can be a danger to your pets and create a potential fire hazard. Most importantly, never leave a lit candle unattended because your curious pet could burn themselves or knock over the candle. Look at using battery-lit candles instead to keep you and your pets safe during the holiday season.

Research Traditional Holiday Greenery

Did you know that common holiday plans are dangerous for your furry friends? Mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias can easily cause your cat or dog to have cardiovascular or gastrointestinal issues if they were to ingest them. Different plants can also affect different animals and breeds in unique ways. Do your research on how specific holiday plants may affect your pet before deciding to showcase them in or around your home.

Speak with your local insurance agent about policies that could help protect your pets and home during the holiday season. 

Life insurance policies can be confusing. There seem to be endless different options, plans, and policies to choose from. You might have simply selected the cheapest life insurance policy because you didn’t fully understand your options. Maybe you selected a pricier policy because “You pay for what you get!” If these describe you, you might not be getting the most out of your life insurance policy. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering your current life insurance policy.

Do I need term or permanent life insurance?

Although this seems like a tricky question, it can really be boiled down to a few simple assessments. What is your budget? What are your family’s needs? If you’re young and single with no kids, you could save money by choosing a short term life insurance policy. On the other hand, permanent life insurance offers an added amount of safety and security. Higher incomes, larger families, and greater expenses require deeply rooted insurance plans. With permanent life insurance, you can rest assured that you won’t need to worry about renewing, re-assessing, or dealing with insurance agents.

How much coverage do I realistically need?

In order to accurately assess how much financial protection your family needs from your life insurance policy, you must know how much money would be required for your family to continue on after your death. This means estimating your current expenses, understanding funeral costs, and accounting for your income. Make certain that your life insurance policy meets or exceeds this assessment. Knowing that your family is covered if something were to happen to you will bring you and your loved ones peace.

Can I make an annual payment rather than monthly?

Finally, you could save yourself money by paying for your life insurance annually rather than monthly. Most insurance agencies are charging you a small fee for making monthly payments. If you can’t afford to pay an annual fee, you may still be able to pay larger fractured payments every few months instead. If your provider allows, make as few payments as possible throughout the year; ideally, one annual payment. This way, you will ultimately pay less money in total.