US Economic Census, 2007
Do you too operate a home based business from your home?
Many home based businesses may involve acutal products and inventory, ie a catering business, cleaning business, ecommerce business. It might also involve other people’s belongings such as a sewing and alternation business. Did you know that your homeowners insurance will probably not be covering your business equipment, an inventory loss, or liability issues? Instead you should look into adding a “Home-business” endorsement for your business to cover possible inventory or liability losses. The next step up from this level of coverage would be a “Small-business” policy that protects your business property both at home and away. It also covers theft liability and some loss of income. And when you build up your home based business enough to move it out and to a business location – it will be time for a ”Business-Owners policy” that will provide even more liability coverage and expanded loss-of-income protection. Call Barton Scott to see how to grow your business safely and with the least expensive insurance costs – no matter which level you business is at!
If you have a dog in your home, did you know its breed could have an impact on your homeowner’s policy?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog-bite claims consist of a third of all homeownerer’s liability claims. In 2011 – the average dog bite claim cost insurers $28,799! Statistics show that a small percentage of breeds cause the vast majority of bites. If you are among the estimated 39% of American households with a canine in your family, you may want to check your breed and your coverage! Some companies will insure households with any breed of dog – while others might attach an “exclusion” for certain dogs or a dog that is known to have a record of biting.
Children are the most frequent victims of dog bites. Here are ways to help a child avoid dog bites: Always ask a dog owner’s permission for a child to pet it and let the dog sniff a closed hand before touching it. Train your child to just stand still and be very quiet if a loose dog comes close - do not to run and scream! Tell your child to never pet a dog when it is eating or sleeping. A youngster should never stare into a dog’s eyes, tease a dog, or approach a chained dog.
You are always welcome to call Scott Insurance to check on your beloved Fido and your current insurance policy and remember these good tips for the children.
Does an emergency in life present the need for some extra money? Did you know that aside from having a face value for your life insurance policy (the amount paid to beneficiaries you have named upon your death) – the policy has a cash value that you can use without surrendering the policy? This occurs when policies have been held long enough for their cash value to accumulate to a large enough amount that you can borrow against it tax free. The interest rate usually is at market rates. If you don’t repay it, the final death benefit is then reduced by the total amount you withdraw. Call Scott Insurance to determine if this is available on your current policy – and receive a review of your situation to see if it is a good idea.
Are you are dreaming of an early retirement ? Just remember one challanging consideration is what you will do for health insurance after leaving your employer and before Medicare coverage starts. COBRA plans can be very expensive! A good plan is to start funding the HSA or Health Savings Account while you are working. Hopefully your employer offers this plan as part of your group benefits. The benefits of this program are HSA’s are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit and the funds you contribute roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent. (As opposed to an employer owned Flexible Savings Accounts where funds are lost if not used in the year) You might also want to evaluate the benefits of a Long Term Care policy to help with the costs of a nursing home, assisted living or home health services. Scott Insurance can help you evaluate these plans for your specific situation, and can also advise on Medicare Supplement plans once you do finally retire!
2.8.13 Has Nemo got you calling out “uncle”? Are you trying to find someone to plow your driveway for the first time? The stress of dealing with this huge amount of snow may have you flagging down a snowplow truck this weekend. Keep in mind that you should still ask the contractor if they have the correct commercial auto insurance to protect against the cost of accidents. What kind of insurance should they have?
A common mistake is to assume that companies that are insured for services such as landscaping/paving etc. are also insured for snow removal. In truth, the majority of policies for such services do not generally cover snow and ice management. A strong, professional contractor will have specific insurance for their snow removal operations. It is also a good idea to have a written agreement or contract with the snowplow contractor. A good provider will always create a contract that defines the desired level of service. (i.e. – how many inches before plowing begins; where to place excess snow, etc). It will also actually help the contractor obtain a better rate on his insurance if the jobs they perform are in writing! And if you are a contractor that plows and removes ice and snow – after you rest up from the marathon of plowing – check with Scott Insurance to see you have the best coverage for the best price!
London Metropolitan University conducted a study that finds the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive (reported by NPR radio on 1.10.13). They subjected drivers to different play lists over a 500 mile road test. The safest driving occurred when drivers listened to soft and slow music like Nora Jones or Elton John. Hip Hop, dance music and heavy metal produced more aggressive driving. And listening to classical music produced the most erratic driving. Another study in Jan 2000 found that the decibel volume a song was played at also affected reaction time: The louder the music is played the slower the reaction time to stop. (Everyday conversation is approximately 55 decibels – the danger zone is when you are exposed to extended periods of noise louder than 85 decibels and a rock concert can ring in at 120 decibels.) This study found that loud volume can reduce a drivers reaction time by 3/4 of a second. That does not seem much until you multiply that by a driving speed of 60 miles an hour. Now, for an average driver, that car with the loud music will travel an additional 66 feet before the brakes are applied! So for the safest driving: choose music that is soft and that is played softly!
www.drdriving.org/misc/music_strick_report.html & www.npr.org/2013/01/10/169015936/the-last-word-in-business
While underage drinking itself poses a serious threat to the health and welfare of our youth and teens, combining underage drinking with driving produces even more disastrous consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that half of the drunk-driving accidents involving teenagers are reported on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and that half of these crashes occur between 3:00pm and 12:00am. This might give concerned parents some ammunition to say no or set limits when their son or daughter ask for the keys to go to a party-on-the-weekend. Teens driving and drinking constitute close to half of all alcohol-related fatalities in this country. Especially during the holiday season, remember to share these “sobering facts”.
The second devastating storm in CT in as many years should cause homeowners to take close stock of the health of the large trees surrounding their homes. It may be time to call on a certified arborist because of the finding that more than 75 percent of the fallen trees that succumed to bad weather displayed pre-existing signs of correctable conditions that made them vulnerable to falling. Half of the structural losses that were sustained by homeowners were due to these falling trees causing annual losses of between $3 billion and $4 billion dollars nationwide. Here is a link to an article to help you spot conditions that should definately result in a call to a certified arborist: http://bit.ly/VXqvRN to minimaliz losses to your home from tree damage.
The good news is that the number of motor vehicle fatalities is declining, but the sad news is that percentage deaths from disctracted driving is increasing – and that is totally preventable. Most of this distracted driving is caused by mobile phones and in particular texting. This is the most dangerous form because it requires not only the visual and manual skills needed for texting, but it requires congnitive distractions too. A driver texting is 25 times more likely to crash. According to AAA – on a daily basis – over 1200 drivers and their passangers are injured and 25 of them are killed. What could be so important to take your eyes, hands and mind off the road?
It is a sign of the times that “100-year-floods” now occur more frequently than every 100 years. The causes of this change range from changing precipitation patterns, environmental changes and even development. So it is quite possible that the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will have updated their flood hazard maps to show risks to property that may not have existed before. Homeowners should check to see if they fall into these new high-risk areas since previous incidence of flooding is no longer a good indicator of the future. In High-Risk areas, there is at least a 1 –in-4 chance of flooding during a 30 year mortgage period!
Call or email our office for an immediate, complimentary check to learn if there are changes that affect your property, and the cost of flood insurance.