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Don’t lose work before Winter

electricianRight now the weather is still pretty moderate and there’s still last minute home-improvement projects that can be done before the dead of winter. It’s still a productive time of the year for electricians and other home-related industries.


If you’re an electrical contractor in Keokuk, how do you make sure you take full advantage of this season? Well for one thing, you’ve got to make sure you have the right insurance in place.


If you’ve been putting it off, then take this as your omen to get the proper insurance in place.


Four types of insurance all electricians need to have:

  1. Property damage coverage: Property damage provides coverage in the event there is any damage to the office, warehouse or any other space you own or rent for your electrician business. In addition to having this policy, you can also add a clause covering tools and equipment.
  2. General liability insurance: General liability insurance will cover your business if a third party (someone who doesn’t work for your company) is injured or sustains property damage as a result of your company doing business.
  3. Workers compensation: Workers compensation is the best thing an employer can provide for their employees. This policy covers your employees if they are injured, become sick or are killed because of a work related accident.
  4. Business income or loss of income insurance: Business income insurance provides coverage in the case something happens, like a natural disaster, that prevents you from running your electrical contracting business.


Insure the Money You Make

With the right insurance coverage for your electrical contractor business you can maximize the stream of revenue that flows into your income. Your insurance agent can help you find the right mix.


Talk to your insurance agent today to make sure there are no gaps in your coverage and if there are, what policies need to be added to provide your electrician company with complete coverage.




Pizza delivery companies need insurance too!


horse-deliveryThe topics of pizza seems to becoming more and more popular by the day – from funny pizza memes, to hungry college kids and easy Pinterest recipes – pizza is everywhere!


What does this mean for pizza restaurant owners? It means that business is booming. People want pizza and they want it fresh and they want it fast.  


But…did you know that delivering a fresh pizza can be a risky job? Cooks are rushing in the kitchen to get orders out the door and drivers are speeding to their delivery points – there is a lot of room for accident and error in this quick (and delicious) moving process. This is why pizza delivery business owners need to have insurance. Having the right insurance will protect the business, its employees and its customers.


Most pizza company insurance plans should include:


Car insurance: Auto policies can be for business-owned or non-owned cars and will protect your driver from liability risks while working. Every driver is required to be listed on a company-owned auto policy, which increases its cost, but insurance companies tend to prefer these policies because they know exactly how many vehicles your company’s employees are using to deliver pizzas.


Business owners policy: This policy is actually a combination of several types of coverages that are common for business owners such as general liability, property damage coverage and business interruption insurance.


Workers compensation: Workers compensation covers the driver in the event of any injury or illness that occurs while on the job. It provides for payment of medical expenses and lost wages.


Build your own pizza AND insurance

Just like you can build your own perfect pizza, business owners can build their own insurance plan. Talk to your agent (844-272-3420) to go over the policy options that are available and which provide the best coverage for your business and your employees.




Tips for a safe Halloween party


HalloweenCostumesHalloween is here! Kids (and adults) are piecing together their costumes (need a last minute costume idea?), buying their favorite candy, and getting ready for all the Halloween parties to share the excitement with friends and family!


Where will you be celebrating Halloween in this year? If you’re looking for a truly spooky haunted house or just a fun fall event, check these out.


Are you thinking about planning a spooky party of your own? Make it the best (and safest) one yet with these six Halloween party safety tips . . .


  1. DRY ICE: If you are going to use dry ice for spooky side-effects, use one large bowl and a smaller one that fits inside. The large bowl will hold the dry ice and the small bowl will hold the punch. Dry ice needs to be separate from the punch – it is not meant for ingestion and can cause serious damage to internal organs if swallowed.
  2. PARTY SPACE: If the party is in your home, make sure to clear a “party space” and move any breakable or valuable pieces of furniture to another room. A red punch spill on a family heirloom tapestry would certainly ruin the night!
  3. CHAPERONES: Planning a party for your kids? See if you can recruit any of the other parents to help with planning games, baking and decorations. Assign everyone a food item to bring so there are no repeats. Also, having a few spare parents around during the party will make it easier to keep an eye on the kids.
  4. BLOCK PARTIES: Consider asking your neighbors to partake in a block party! Set it up outside, in a low-traffic street or yard and get everyone involved.
  5. WALKWAYS: Make sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
  6. USE OF CANDLES: Consider using battery-operated candle lights in carved pumpkins instead of actual candles.


Whatever you plan to do this Halloween, make sure to keep safety in mind. A great party can be ruined pretty quickly if someone gets hurt or sick.


Do you have any other Halloween safety tips or stories to share? We’d love to hear from you!





Drivers – don’t get stuck paying for an accident you didn’t cause!



This blog is about uninsured drivers and how to avoid paying for damages they cause in an accident.


Have you heard of underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. But we bet you have heard a variety of horror stories of someone who was involved in an accident with a driver who either didn’t have insurance and fled the scene, or didn’t have “good” insurance and wasn’t able to completely cover all the damages.


No one wants to get stuck in either of these situations. And it happens much too often.  How do you avoid it?


Avoid covering damages from an accident you didn’t cause with underinsured or uninsured motor insurance.


Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM) is coverage that comes into play if an accident happens and the driver-at-fault either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to fully cover the damages.


There are two different types of underinsured motorist policies – UIM bodily injury coverage and UIM property damage coverage.


If you are injured in an accident and the driver-at-fault doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all the damages, then UIM bodily insurance comes into play and will pay for medical bills and other injury-related expenses. It will also provide coverage in case the at-fault driver can’t be identified, i.e. a hit-and-run.


UIM property damage covers the cost for vehicle repairs if the driver-at-fault doesn’t have enough insurance or any insurance at all. Unlike UIM bodily injury, UIM property damage won’t provide coverage if the driver-at-fault can’t be identified, so there is no coverage for a hit-and-run.


How does uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage work?


Let’s say you drive an $80,000 BMW and are in an accident with an insured driver with minimum state coverage. The damages total $30,000. While the driver at-fault does have insurance, they only have $15,000 in property damage liability coverage. If you don’t have UIM property damage coverage, you are responsible for the remaining $15,000 balance to repair the vehicle.


Don’t get stuck paying for an accident you didn’t cause.


Talk to your insurance agent and make sure the coverage you currently have will provide protection if you are in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. Without it, the cost to repair damages will come out of your bank account, which is something every driver who has been in an accident that wasn’t their fault wants to avoid.  




How to get your home ready for a bad winter


winter is coming

Summer is officially over. Leaves are beginning to change. Winter is coming! For most, this means putting up holiday decorations, shopping for winter clothes and perfecting fall recipes; while these are all great things, one important task that shouldn’t fall off your list when preparing for winter is preparing your home!


Getting your home ready for winter is great for two reasons – repairs can make your home more efficient, lowering your energy bill and most importantly, preparing for winter helps protect one of your largest investments, your home!


Here are 5 tips to get your home ready for winter:


  1. Clean your gutters

After fall leaves have fallen, take a look in your gutters and downspouts. Flush them out with water, check all the joints and tighten any loose brackets. Once winter hits, a clogged gutter can cause an ice damn which can cause major damage to your home.

  1. Seal windows and door frames

Sealing door and window frames is one of the least expensive ways to maintain your home through a cold winter. Any small openings around a door or window frame can allow heat to escape or water to get in, causing cracks and mold build up.

  1. Check out the roof

Take a look at your roof to ensure it is in good shape. Look for any missing or loose shingles. Ice, rain and snow can cause major damage to a roof, which is why it is important to deal with repairs in the fall rather than during a snowstorm.

  1. Prepare your fireplace

Contact a licensed heating contractor to check your heating system. If you prefer to use a more traditional form of heating like a fireplace, get your wood and fireplace in order before winter hits. You will be happy you did when it’s freezing out and you already have chopped wood!

  1. Seal the driveway

Inspect your driveway for any cracks. If there are cracks, repair the damage with driveway filler and then coat the crack with a commercial sealer. Sealing your driveway will extend the life of the asphalt and keep it strong and in tact through winter.


How do you prepare your home for winter? Share in the comment section below!





Cheers to Fall: Keokuk’s 6th annual fall event just got better!

Formerly known as Wine Over Water, one of Keokuk’s favorite fall kick-off events, the new Cheers to Fall is sure to be just as great of a party and celebrates friends, family and fall with great beer, wine and more.


This year, the event will include wineries AND breweries (a recipe for FUN) with more contests where the event patrons will choose the “Wizard of Wines, the Baron of Brews and the Master of Mustards.” There’s no entry fee for these competitions, so sign up early! Maybe we will see a few of our clients out there? (Ruffcorn is HAPPY to help taste test any potential entries, just to let you know.)


Cheers to Fall is from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, October 3, on the Observation Deck located at First Street and Lucas Avenue. The Observation Deck is the part of the historic Keokuk Bridge, built in 1915–1916. The Keokuk Bridge is the perfect place for a party – spanning the width of the Mississippi River and giving attendees a look into Keokuk’s past as boats pass through the swing section of the bridge. Plus – the Keokuk Bridge is a great place for a photo opportunity!


We can’t think of a better way to kick off the changing colors of fall, the end of summer and the beginning of the holiday season with beer and wine. Plus, one of the best things about this event, besides the great food, wine and beer, is that Cheers to Fall is a non profit and proceeds from Cheers to Fall benefit downtown revitalization efforts made possible by Main Street Keokuk, Inc. A revitalized downtown is great for community pride and for local businesses. Any event that benefits our town of Keokuk is fine by us!


Will we see you at Cheers to Fall? Let us know in the comment section below!




Will weather hurt my construction business?


With summer months coming to a close, winter is just around the corner. As an owner of a construction business, do you have a back-up plan for bad weather? What if a storm hits and either shuts down your operation or damages work you have already completed?


Did you know you can protect your business against weather disruption?


The type of insurance you purchase will depend on a variety of factors including how big your company is, the number of employees you have, and the type of work your produce.



What type of policies should you consider for your construction company?

  1. Business income insurance
    • Business income insurance will cover any loss of income for up to 12 months in the event that your business is shut down or put on hold due to weather damages or other events that are out of your control. This is an important policy to have come this winter.
  2. General liability insurance:
    • All construction companies, large or small, need to have this coverage. This provides financial coverage if someone is insured or property is damaged while working for you.
  1. Professional liability insurance:
    • In case you provide any consultation, design work or advice as a part of your construction business services, professional liability insurance is a must as it will provide coverage if a client experiences a problem or loss due to your consultation services.


How do I know what insurance is right for me?

Finding the right insurance as a business owner is important because it can mean the difference between being successful or struggling through times.


How do you know what coverage you need? Talk to your insurance agent (844-272-3420) and let them help you find any potential gaps in your coverage and offer insight regarding what coverage you may be missing.  




Obamacare and Small Business Owners



obamacare logo

Long story short, Obamacare means affordable health-care is here to stay. In a recent Supreme Court ruling, King v. Burwell, the courts ruled that health insurance subsidies that were granted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are legal, regardless if people are claiming them on the state or federal level.


Why was this even an issue?

There was specific wording in the Obamacare law that stated subsidies are available to those who buy insurance “established by the state.”


This is great for people who do buy insurance through the state but, if interpreted literally, roughly 6.4 million people who receive subsidies for health insurance bought on the federal exchange would lose those insurance subsidies.


The Supreme Court ended up ruling that Obamacare was created to make health insurance more affordable, not destroy affordable insurance opportunities, therefore subsidies will remain available to those who purchase insurance from either the state or federal exchange.


What does this mean for small businesses and entrepreneurs?

For most businesses who did not previously offer health insurance Obamacare now requires them to do so, which can be a pretty significant cost. (Check out the full list of Obamacare requirements for business owners here.) But for entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially those who are just getting off the ground, the health insurance exchanges and subsidies have been a blessing.


One reason being that a new entrepreneur’s income is quite low the first year, therefore they belong to a tax bracket that qualifies them for subsidies so healthcare is affordable. Without it, entrepreneurs have two other choices, one being to refrain from purchasing any insurance at all and hoping for the best, or finding a job at a large company and forgoing the entrepreneurial dream.


What do you think about Obamacare and small business – share your opinions below!




Tips to Grill Safely & In Style



Who in your family or circle of friends is known as the barbecue master? Perhaps you should forward this to him or her.


As easy and relaxing as barbecuing may seem, did you know that serious barbecue accidents can occur without the proper safety precautions?


Here are six safety tips that every barbecuer should keep in mind, no matter if they’re the local neighborhood grill-master or son-in-law firing up his new barbecue for the first time.

  • Location is Everything: Always make sure to choose a safe location for the grill. Placing a grill on a terrace or patio, balcony or porch is almost asking to start a fire. Keep the grill in an open spot and never leave the grill unattended.
  • Keep it Flat: Make sure the grill is placed on a level surface far away from any structure near your home (again, location is everything).
  • No Kid or Pets: All children should be informed to stay away from the grill and should know that it has a very HOT surface that will burn their hands if touched. Also, keep pets away from the grill to make sure an animal doesn’t accidentally get burned or knock the grill off-kilter.  
  • Outside ONLY: Grill outside only! Never use a grill in a garage, tent or other enclosed space, even if it’s well ventilated. There is always a risk that a harmful buildup of carbon monoxide could possibly occur and grilling outside eliminates this risk completely.
  • Keep the Gas Under Lock and Key: Always keep the gas and supplies safe.  Find a safe place to store the grill and propane tanks outside and away from your home.
  • Clean the Grill: Keep your grill clean by removing grease from the grills and the catch trays. If using a charcoal grill, remove the coals by soaking them in water to ensure they cool completely and place them in a closed metal container away from your home, garage or deck.


Do you have any grilling tips, tricks or horror stories to add? Share them in the comment boxes below!




Boat Accidents Happen. Are You Protected?


skiff boat accident

According to the US Coast Guard, there were 4,064 accidents in 2014 that resulted from recreational boating activities, which involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries, and about $39 million dollars of property damage.


Whether you’re a skilled fisherman, or a family of five cruising on the lake, it’s important to have the right protection and know what you’re really up against when owning a boat.


Here are two types of insurance to have before you hit the lake:

Liability Insurance:

Liability insurance offers coverage if you are responsible for an incident that harms or damages other people or property. Without liability insurance, these expenses would come from your pocket book. Boat liability insurance typically covers anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in damages.


There are a few different types of liability coverages available:

  1. Property damage liability: covers any harm that is done to another person’s boat, dock, water skis or other possessions.
  2. Bodily injury liability: covers costs associated with treatment and recovery of the injured person such as medical expenses, hospitalization and rehabilitation.
  3. Pollution liability: covers you in the event of a fuel spill.
  4. Wreckage removal: covers your legal obligation to remove debris after an incident.

Boat-Towing Insurance:

There are two types of boat-towing insurances to look into – on-road towing and on-water towing, both protecting you from accidents that may  require your boat to be towed.


  1. On the road towing: covers the costs of towing if you have a problem while trailering your boat on the road. On-road towing is sometimes covered in a standard auto insurance policy — be sure to check the fine print of your policy.
  2. On-water towing: covers the costs of towing if you have a problem on the water and need your boat towed in to shore. On-water towing will cover the hauling of your boat to a service area if it is stuck or stalled, runs out of gas or is in an accident.


Before Heading to the Lake, Check Your Coverage

Have fun this summer, be safe and most importantly protect yourself and your boat from potential accidents. Take a quick look at your current insurance policies or give your insurance agent a call (844-272-3420) to make sure your boat is covered. Nothing ruins a summer like a huge boat repair or hospital bill.


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