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Summertime and You Know What That Means: Road Construction

 

iowa rcNothing puts an end to the excitement of a road trip with friends like getting stuck in gridlock traffic. Let’s just hope you or your friends have an endless playlist to get you through the orange cones and flashing sings of “ROAD CONSTRUCTION.” Will you ever get there? Will you survive the pain and devastation of waiting to arrive at your planned destination?

 

There are ways to get over the road construction frustration this summer, but it will require a little effort on your part.

Check for Road Construction Ahead of Time

Other than listening to traffic reports on the radio, did you know there are a variety of websites you can check ahead of time to see if there is any traffic or road construction going on along your route? Yep! Check your city’s website, your state’s Department of Transportation website or even use Google Maps to map out your route and then select the option to “Show Traffic.”

 

Checking ahead of time gives you the opportunity to alter your drive if possible so you don’t hit any road construction traffic.

 

Try to Remember Road Construction is Good!

Yes, this is a hard thing to keep in mind once you’ve been sitting in traffic for the past 45 minutes and moved 3 miles, BUT one way to make the road construction blues disappear is to remember that road construction is GOOD! The one thing that may be worse than waiting in traffic is constantly driving on a terribly bumpy road or hitting a huge pothole and popping a tire.

 

Help Road Construction Workers Stay Safe

Always keep in mind that those construction workers slaving away on the road are doing their job to keep the roads safe for you, your family and your vehicle. They repair deficiencies in the road, lay new smooth surfaces and help make your travel easier in the long run. Keeping your cool means you’re less likely to drive erratically and are more likely to pay attention.

 

Don’t Let it Get You Down!

All in all, don’t let summer road construction get you down this year. Remember to plan ahead, stay calm and that the workers on the road are there to keep you safe, so do your best to keep them safe as well.

 


 

 

Parents: Has Your Child Moved Out? Here are 3 Reasons They Need Their Own Auto Insurance.

parents waving goodbye to their kidsAs a parent, having a child who is able to live independently and successfully is a great feeling. It’s a sense of accomplishment – you did your job raising your child to be the strong person they are.

 

There’s nothing wrong with helping them once they have “left the nest” such as paying for groceries every now and them, helping them furnish their new apartment or leaving them on your insurance.

 

But, did you know that allowing your child to remain on your auto insurance may cause more problems if there is an accident than protection?

 

Why does your child need their own auto insurance once they have moved out?

Under most personal auto policies, the definition of an “insured” includes “family members.” While child is a family member by any other definition, in the world of insurance family members are limited to “a person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household.”

 

So, now that your child has moved out and is living on their own, they no longer meet the “family member” status and they may no longer be insured on your auto insurance policy. You may have them listed as a “permissive user” on your insurance, but this still leaves a lot of gaps in coverage.

 

Here are 3 Instances your moved-out child won’t be covered by your auto insurance:

 

1. Let’s say your son borrows his roommate’s truck to run a quick errand and accidentally rear ends another vehicle and causes minor injuries to the other driver. Your son won’t be covered with liability coverage for the other driver’s injuries or for the property damage to the other vehicle.

 

2. It’s summer and your daughter and a few friends have decided to rent a vehicle to take an epic roadtrip. She decides not to buy rental insurance from the rental car company — she won’t be covered for any property damage if there is an accident.

 

3. If your son is driving with a friend who doesn’t have insurance and gets in an accident, he won’t have any medical coverage for his injuries from the car accident.

 

Protect your child and yourself with their own auto insurance policy

 

Without coverage from an auto insurance policy your child will have to pay those expenses from their own pocket and you may have to help. It’s in your child’s best interest (and your pocket book’s best interest) for your child to have a personal auto insurance policy in his or her own name. They’ll have the protection they need and it could prevent potential financial difficulties that could easily follow an accident.

 


 

 

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.

 


 

 

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