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Six Signs You Need Insurance for Your Home-Based Business

 

home officeSo you just started your own business, congratulations! You’ve got a few clients, money is coming in and you are basking in your entrepreneurial success – what could go wrong? While you may be great at running your business, there are still things that can occur that are out of your control. If something happens, will your home or property insurance provide coverage?

 

Many of those entrepreneurs think their homeowners’ insurance policies cover their business needs when the unexpected happens, but the reality is that most homeowners’ policies don’t.

 

Homeowners insurance provides a limited amount of coverage for business equipment, but most standard homeowners’ policies exclude coverage for businesses operating in the home. Most policies don’t cover lost data, lost income or liability. How do you know when you need additional business coverage?

 

Here are 6 signs you may need insurance for your home-based business

 

  1. Does your homeowners policy limit coverage of business equipment? Most homeowners policies restrict coverage, and some even consider operating a home-based business a violation of the policy terms. Check your policy to ensure your equipment and business itself is covered.
  2. Do you have an office but work from home? You may need additional coverage to help protect yourself from work-related incidents that occur in your home.
  3. Do business contacts or employees visit your home, or do you do business in their homes? Many home-based business owners are surprised to learn that their homeowners policies often don’t cover third-party injury claims related to their work.
  4. Do you keep business data at home? Whether printed out or on a computer, security hackings and technology failures leave companies susceptible to lost income and client lawsuits. Insurers offer policy options that can help protect home-based businesses in these instances.
  5. What type of business are you running in your home? Your home business must comply with all federal regulations, health codes and city and state regulations. Failure to do so could make your existing coverage void.
  6. Does your business require you to drive? You may need a separate business auto policy. Your personal auto policy may not cover you if you are in an accident while visiting clients or using your car for other business purposes. Also, if you have employees working for you, you may need workers’ compensation coverage.

 

What’s Next?

Check with your insurance agent to see what policies make the most sense for your business. The right business insurance policy can help protect you against many of the common issues at-home business owners face. Running your own business takes a lot of work, make sure that you have the right insurance policies in place to avoid any setbacks to your success.  Still need more information?  Call us at this number and we’ll see how we can help. (844) 272-3420

 

 


 

 

So You Own a Firearm. Do You Have Insurance?

 

hunting firearm

You’re a master of the shooting range, a hunter that out hunts every other hunter alive, the shooter who is known for having a “perfect shot” every time . . . so why would you need to worry about accident insurance coverage?

 

Well, the truth is, no one is perfect. Accidents happen, and it’s important to be prepared. Being prepared protects your pocket book and your right to own a firearm.

 

Let’s say there’s an accident during a recreational shooting session, or you need to use your firearm as an act of defense, there are instances where you can be held liable for your own injuries, or the injuries of your perpetrator in question.

 

Three types of insurance policies to have if you own a firearm:

#1 – Civil Liability

In some cases of defending yourself using your firearm, the perpetrator or their family can make a claim against you for monetary damages. Civil Liability policies provide legal defense coverage, and coverage in case you are required to pay the monetary damages.

 

#2 – Criminal Defense Reimbursement

In rare cases, a motivated prosecutor can charge you with criminal activity. Criminal Defense Reimbursement policies cover the cost to defend yourself in court and then later be acquitted of the charges.

 

#3 – Personal Liability

The policy provide coverage of unintentional injuries while using the firearm for recreational use – i.e. hunting on public or private lands, in shooting competitions, at a gun club, etc.

 

Talk to your insurance agent about the policy that is best for you – while you may not need all 3 of these, it’s worth looking into to protect your pocket book and yourself.

 


 

 

It’s Getting Warmer: What You Need to Know Before Going for that Motorcycle Ride

guy on a motorcycleAs a motorcycle owner, and just like an owner of any vehicle, you know that you are at risk of being in or causing an accident, which is why you have purchased insurance! Included in that insurance is liability coverage and it’s important that you know the limits set on your policy to make sure you’re not caught in never ending payments should an accident happen.

 

What will my liability coverage pay for?

Here is one scenario where liability coverage will come into play. Let’s say that you run a red light and accidentally hit the drivers side of a passing car, causing damage to the door. Next, the driver of the car goes to the emergency room because of a broken leg and requires medical treatment including surgery and rehabilitation. Then, the driver sues you because of the accident. Luckily – your liability coverage will pay for this. However, how MUCH your liability coverage will pay for in each of the situations above depends on the limits that are set for your policy.

 

How do motorcycle liability limits work?

Each motorcycle liability insurance policy has three parts:

  1. Bodily injury for one person
  2. Bodily injury for all persons involved
  3. Property damage

 

Each one of these components has a limit that depends on the type of coverage you choose.

 

For example, if you buy an insurance plan with 30/60/15 limit, your insurance company will pay up to $30,000 for one person’s medical treatment, up to $60,000 for all medical expenses combined, and up to $15,000 for any damage to property.

 

Let’s pretend, from the first situation mentioned above, that the car you crashed into is a foreign imported car and the damage to the door is more costly that you had imagined it would be – the door is dented, the frame is bent and major works needs to be done. The passenger, while thankfully she is okay, suffered from a broken leg and will need 4 weeks of rehabilitation work to walk normal again. Your bills may look something like this:

 

The total cost for  car door repairs is $15,000

The cost for medical treatment is $80,000

 

Based on your 30/60/15 limit, Your property coverage is $15,000 and your bodily injury coverage is $60,000 — you would be responsible for the remaining $20,000 out of pocket.

 

Protect your pocket book and get some peach of mind

Check into your liability limits. If you think they are too low or if you are are unsure what the best amount is, talk with your agent for insight on adjusting your policies.

 

Accidents happen -everyone knows that- Just make sure your financial stability won’t be jeopardized because of it. You can always call your agent to double check on your policy, or you can also contact us (844-272-3420) to find the surest answers.

 


 

 

Be an Eye-Witness to the END of the Civil War

 

Take a trip back in time at the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Battles of Fort Stedman and Appomattox in Keokuk, Iowa. 

 

*photo credits: dailygate.com

re-enactment battle

It’s been a long standing tradition in the city of Keokuk as well as for myself and my family to attend these events where residents go to pay remembrance to the lives lost, and the great victories of the Civil War.

 

Join us in the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Battles of Fort Stedman and Appomattox April 24-26. Complete with realistic battle reenactments, performances in the Grand Theatre, and live music, this is one weekend a history fan of any age won’t want to miss.


Why are the Battles of Fort Stedman and Appomattox Important?


Battle of Fort Stedman

Fort Stedman is known as one of the last confederate offenses of the Civil War. As a last-ditch effort to win the war, General Robert E. Lee banded together nearly half of his army in an attempt to break through General Grant’s Petersburg defenses, hoping to get into his supply depot at City Point.

 

The battle ended up being a devastating loss for General Robert E. Lee’s army, and set the confederate army up to be defeated at Five Forks on April 1 and Petersburg on
April 2-3.

 

Battle at Appomattox

Following a series of lost battles, the confederate army was weak and exhausted. After many days of writing to each other, it was on April 9, 1865 that General Lee and General Grant exchanged notes and finally agreed to meet in the village of Appomattox Courthouse.

 

It was here that General Lee surrendered the Civil War to General Grant. Their final meeting lasted nearly two-and-a-half hours and pulled the curtain on the bloodiest war in American history to a close.

 

Remember the Civil War that Shaped America

Through out the entire weekend, visitors are welcome to tour military camps, visit Sutlor’s Row, enjoy delicious food and perhaps take a stroll with President and Mrs. Lincoln!

 

The activities begin on Friday, April 24 at 7:30 pm with a performance of “Destiny at Appomattox” and “An Evening with the Lincolns” at the Grand Theatre.

 

Saturday guests can spend all day taking a trip back in time with the Ladies Tea and Style Show, a Skillet Throwing Contest, the Battle of Fort Stedman reenactment, ending the day with the military ball.

 

Sunday begins with a 9:30 am Memorial and Worship Service at the Keokuk National Cemetery followed by the main stage event, the Battle of Appomattox.

 

For more information and for a complete schedule of the weekend events visit http://www.keokukiowatourism.org/civilwar.htm .

 

 


 

 

3 Types of Insurance Coverage All Restaurant Owners Need

restaurantAs a restaurant owner, you’re responsible for creating an environment for patrons full of great food, happy employees and a positive experience. As if that isn’t enough on your plate, you need to take care of all the day-to-day operations of running a business – including payroll, bill paying, human resources and managing your employees.

 

When it comes to managing your business, do you have the right protection should an accident happen or an event occur that is out of your control? A big accident with no coverage could cost you your business and your employees jobs – don’t let that happen.

 

Here are 3 types of insurance coverages to make sure you have:

 

Equipment Failure Protection

 

Restaurants run on food, and food can’t be made without a kitchen. What happens if your oven breaks down? Or your $5000 walk-in refrigerator stops working? What if the power goes out? When something breaks down, your business will quickly come to a stop, which means lost income.

Equipment failure protection can help pay for the cost to repair or replace the damaged equipment, the costs associated with the labor needed to repair or replace the equipment and any other expenses that you incur from the equipment outage.

There are also policies that will cover expenses if there is an equipment problem off-site that impacts your business. For example, if you sell tamales strictly through your website and rely on the website to take orders and process payment, what happens if the host of your website goes down? Causing your website to crash for a day or so while they work on getting it back up and running? Equipment breakdown coverage can help pay for the income you lost when your key supplier’s equipment breaks down.

 

Workers Compensation

Workers compensation provides protection and coverage for your most important assets – your employees. You rely on them to provide superb service and they reply on you to protect them should an accident happen while they are on the job. Here are a few examples of what workers compensation insurance can provide assistance for:

  • an employee is injured in an auto accident while running errands for the company
  • an employee gets hurt while working in the kitchen or supply room
  • an employee slips and falls while serving

 

Civil Authority

Let’s say a small tornado is headed towards your hometown, which also happens to be the location of your family run restaurant. Local authorities call a mandatory evacuation, and 3,000 people leave the area. What happens to your restaurant? Not only do you not have any employees to work, but you also temporarily have no customers. The situation is screaming “you’re losing money”. This is where civil authority coverage comes into play.

Civil authority provides income if your business is forced to close, or if access to your restaurant is prevented because of an act of civil authority such as a mandatory evacuation or disaster.

Having the right insurance is all about protecting yourself from loss and taking care of your employees.  Reach out to Ruffcorn Insurance to make sure you have the right coverage for your restaurant. There are a lot of different policies out there providing different types of coverage, your agent can help you weed through them and find the right plan for your business and budget.

 


 

 

The Construction Industry: The Young vs. Old Debate

constructions workers old and newThe construction industry has suffered through hard knocks since the market crashed in 2007-2008. Now, even as the economy slowly recovers and certain industries bounce back, the construction sector now faces personnel problems.

 

What issues are occurring in the construction industry?

 

While construction activity has increased as the economy has improved (and that demand is expected to continue in 2015), the sector is now dealing with a labor shortage, especially qualified new workers. Another big concern? The current labor force is aging.

 

What does a labor shortage mean for the industry?

 

Inexperienced workers are more likely to suffer from work-related accidents than skilled veterans. Additionally, injuries for inexperienced workers tend to be more severe than for seasoned employees.
 
In fact, Rick Keegan, president of the Construction Business Unit at Travelers, indicates that in certain industry segments, 40 percent of construction worker injuries occur during the first six months of employment. This can drive up contractor insurance claims and also hurt a business’s bottom line.

 

Why does an aging workforce hurt the construction business?

 

In contrast, while older workers are less likely to get injured on a job, those that do often cost contractors more in the long run.
There are several factors for this including:

  • Injuries often take longer to heal
  • Age-related medical complications
  • Higher salaries mean contractors pay more in lost wages

Also, older workers that suffer severe injuries are more likely not to return to the workforce, contributing to the workforce shortage.

 

How do injuries immediately impact business owners?

 

Accidents on the job can result in an extended disability period for the injured party and can leave a contractor with high medical and workers’ compensation costs.

 

What is the long-term impact?

While medical costs and workers compensation expenses are an immediate concern for business owners, there are also longer-term consequences that impact the construction industry as a whole. The lack of qualified workers is the biggest challenge.
Aging workers, injuries, lack of newly skilled workers and the economic downturn, which drove away many skilled workers from the sector, have all left dents in the workforce.
Now there is oftentimes not enough workers to get the work done. This trend applies to both blue-collar jobs and professional positions within the industry, such as project managers and safety professionals.

 

How do I learn more about injuries and insurance?

If you are involved in the construction business; whether as a worker, owner or insurance professional, it is important to monitor all aspects of the industry.
One of those aspects is medical costs and workers compensation. Check with your independent insurance agent to learn more about these topics, no matter what side of the business you work on.

 


 

 

Want to Stay Safe in the Dark? Read This!

glow in the dark clothingDo you love exercising outdoors or just being outside in general? Well, if you have the typical 9-5 job like many of us, then you probably find yourself only able to go outdoors when it’s dark out.

 

This is especially true in the winter when it seems to stay dark until after we get up each morning and is already dark again when we get off work.

 

So since it is impossible to avoid being outside while it is dark, it’s important to follow some simple rules to stay safe when the sun goes down.

The Clothing You Wear Can Make a Difference

Try to wear light colored clothes when outside at night or before the sun rises. Wearing black or other dark colors makes it harder for others to see you.

 

Invest in some reflective gear. There are many clothing options and other products available that contain reflective material to make you visible in the dark. Reflective stickers, tape, vests, helmets wristbands and other items are easily available at most sporting goods stores and online.

 

In addition, if walk your dog as your daily exercise or push your child in a jogging stroller during your daily run, it is imperative to deck them out in reflective gear as well. There are collars and leashes that light up and reflective gear that accommodates children.

Let Light Shine Your Way

If possible carry a flashlight with you when outdoors. Not only will you more easily seen, but the extra light can help you avoid objects you might have trouble seeing in the dark and could even prevent injuries.

 

Another alternative that could work if you forget a flashlight is the light from your cell phone (which is good to carry with you anyway in case of an emergency).

 

Also, it is not only important to see, but to hear too. Avoid wearing headphones when out in the dark. This way you will stay more alert of your surroundings and can hear approaching danger.

Beware of Traffic

Exercise on the sidewalk or a trail whenever you can to avoid busy traffic.

 

If you must exercise on a road full of cars, be sure to always go against the flow of traffic if walking or running.

 

This will enable you to see approaching vehicles and to move out of the way quickly if a driver fails to see you.

 

Cyclists need to always go with the flow of traffic, however. Equip your bike with a headlight and taillight so you remain easily seen.

 

You should not have to give up outdoor activities you enjoy, no matter the weather or if the sun or stars are out. By taking these precautions, you can protect yourself no matter what time of day (or night) it is.

 

 


 

 

Will You Be Hit Big? Tax Woes with Obamacare

stethoscope on top of dollar billsTaxpayers that who purchased health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace in 2014 or failed to buy health insurance entirely may be surprised this tax season with unexpected expenses.

 
According to tax industry leader H&R Block, an estimated 3.4 million Americans that bought through the marketplace will owe money for advance premium tax credits they received throughout the year.

 

What is an advance premium tax credit?

 

The U.S. government has been providing financial assistance to some Americans to offset the monthly cost of the coverage on an advanced basis and is looking to collect from individuals that overestimated the amount of assistance they qualified for.

 
Since the advance premium tax credit is based on household income estimates, consumers might have underestimated their income at the time of purchase. Now that they know their actual household income, they must reconcile the difference and pay back any money owed.

 

What are some other tax woes to worry about?

 

Americans who chose to remain uninsured and don’t qualify for any exemptions are also facing tax penalties. Penalties range from $47 for a child, $96 for an adult and up to $285 per household, or 1 percent of household income. Uninsured individuals will be made to pay the higher amount of the two penalties.

 
Many individuals are under the false impression that a flat rate penalty applies across the board. They don’t realize that the penalty for not having health insurance is actually based on their household income.

 
Other taxpayers mistakenly believe they are exempt from the healthcare reform mandate and its penalties based on income levels, coverage gaps and other situations, but fail to apply and receive approval for exemption status.

 

How do I avoid tax gauges and healthcare penalties?

It is  strongly encouraged that  individuals and families without coverage speak with a qualified insurance agent certified by the Marketplace. They can provide you with all the information and resources you need to determine if you qualify for exemption status or a lower penalty. Furthermore, they can assist you with finding appropriate coverage so you can avoid the penalties in 2015.

 

While it is too late for many taxpayers to avoid the penalties for going uninsured in 2014, the Individual Open Enrollment Period is still open through February 15 for those looking to obtain coverage.

 

Ask your Independent Insurance Agent for help if you need help navigating through all the options and we’ll provide you with a plan that suits your needs and meets your budget.

 


 

 

Fire Prevention and Safety Basics: You’d Be Surprised Who Doesn’t Follow Them

smoke-detectorMany of us learned about forest fires in our youth from Smokey the Bear. We also received lectures from the local fire department, were subject to scary fire prevention and safety films, and also were taught at home about escape methods.

 

Yet, despite our well-intentioned indoctrination, we still have trouble following fire safety and prevention rules.

 

What is the Main Fire Prevention and Safety Rule?

Sadly, about 3,000 people in the U.S. die annually in residential fires. In an interview with Trusted Choice during Fire Prevention Month, 20-year Grand Chute, WI Fire Department, Local 3655 veteran Lieutenant Brad Paltzer, he mentioned that 2/3 of residential fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors.

 

Is your house up-to-date with smoke detectors? You’d probably be surprised at how easy it is to forget about such an important topic.

 

You should always follow the installation and maintenance instructions from your smoke detector manufacturer.

 

In addition, most experts advise to check your smoke alarms monthly and to change your batteries on all devices at least twice a year, more if you detect a problem.

 

Any Additional Advice on Smoke Detectors?

Just having WORKING smoke detectors cuts down on your death rate by almost 50 percent. To make sure your house is adequately equipped, make sure there are detectors on every floor.

 

If possible, an alarm should be located in each bedroom. Detectors should be placed around all sleeping areas in a house. Also, detectors need to be put in the center of a ceiling. If placed on a wall then the detector should remain 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling.

 

Why You Should Consider a Fire Sprinkler

One basic element of fire prevention that is often overlooked is fire sprinklers. Many home owners think this option is too expensive to have. Inexpensive, yet effective sprinkler systems are available and in budget. I advise everyone to look further at this preventative measure.

 

What Other Considerations Should I Think About?

If you have kids, proper fire safety and prevention education is vital for a safe and happy home. Also, having a planned out escape route in case a fire happens is also very important for families.

 

Practice makes perfect when it comes to accomplishing a fire safety plan. In accordance with what children are taught at school and learned at home about prevention and safety measures, double reassurance doesn’t hurt anyone.

 

Contact Information is Important

Unfortunately, many 4th and 5th graders don’t know their full addresses and telephone numbers. These were vital everyday lessons taught to preschoolers in the past and should be re-popularized in child-raising today.

 

Talk to your kids daily about it and have him or her memorize the information. Put the information in a spot where your child sees it frequently for better memory skills.

 

Following prevention and safety rules doesn’t mean you are immune to fires. Yet, if you follow these strategies you can definitely ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

 


 

 

Don’t Lose Your Mind While Driving This Winter

slipper road yellow signWinter weather is in full swing, making driving even more dangerous with slippery roads and blizzard conditions. Unless you are able to hibernate like a bear for the next three months inside the warmth and safety of your house, you are stuck driving even when the weather is a nightmare.

How to stay safe on the roads this winter

The key is to avoid distractions and remain focused on the road. This can be easier said than done as our concentration is sometimes drawn away from driving without us even realizing.

 

Driving disturbances can be dangerous, even deadly, when the weather is ideal so throwing hazardous conditions into the mix adds another layer of risk to the situation.

 

Even the safest of drivers (those that swear off cell phones and other technology while driving or who drive alone) aren’t always aware of the dangers they face.

 

What is the most dangerous distraction?

It is common to hear media reports about drivers distracted by technology, taking their hands off the wheel or eyes off the road, or by fooling around with other car occupants. Rarely, however, do we think the repetitive act of driving itself as a real killer.

 

Surprisingly, however, the most dangerous driving distraction is our own minds, or being “lost in thought.” According to a 2013 Eerie Insurance report, daydreaming accounted for 62 percent of distracted drivers involved in road fatalities.

 

Long drives, traffic congestion and the daily grind of a commute cause many of us to not fully pay attention to the road. We may be worrying about what we’re cooking for dinner that night, problems going on at work, or other random subjects.

 

How do I prevent distraction?

Even with the radio off, the cell phone put away and no passengers in the vehicle, it is still easy to get lost in a “fog.” Clearing your mind, making sure you aren’t overtired and continuing to assess everything that is happening around you while driving can keep you safe.

 

If you are stressed or upset, wait to regain your composure before driving or pull over to a safe location and collect yourself.

 

Think of mental distraction just like the winter roads. They can cause bumps and delays, so preparation, concentration and blocking out all other outside noise will ensure you safe travels.

 

How do you keep yourself focused on the road during these winter months?

 


 

 

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