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Valuable Articles Insurance

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What You Need To Know About Valuable Articles Insurance

While the majority of homeowners have appropriate insurance coverage, when it comes to protecting both their home and the possessions inside, all policies have a limit on how much property is actually covered. If you have valuable items inside your home and you’re aware the value to replace them might exceed what your typical homeowners insurance policy covers – valuable articles insurance may be for you.

Whether it be art, jewelry, expensive medical equipment, antiques, collectibles, or something else – you can add valuable articles insurance. This coverage ensures that you can replace and pay for these particular high-ticket items should the unexpected happen.

How valuable articles insurance works

Valuable articles insurance is not a standalone insurance policy, but rather a type of coverage that is added on to a new or existing homeowners insurance policy. So, the first step in exploring whether valuable articles insurance will make sense for you is by getting in touch with your homeowners insurance provider.

There are two different types of valuable articles insurance coverage available:

Grouped Coverage

This is the valuable articles insurance policy that will provide you with broad protection for all of your valuable items as a whole. You may add this feature on to your existing homeowners insurance policy. You may receive upwards of $5,000, with a deductible of $500 or less. Articles do not need to be itemized, nor do you need to provide proof of ownership before getting the coverage.

Itemized Coverage

On the other hand, a valuable articles insurance policy that includes itemized coverage gives even greater protection, as you specify the items for which you want coverage. If any articles need replacing, you’re not required to pay a deductible and will receive a previously agreed-upon payout from your insurance provider. However, articles will have to be listed in advance with proof of ownership.

Which items qualify for valuable articles insurance?

Providers of valuable articles insurance will be able to provide coverage on most property or equipment you deem worthy of this extra protection, so you should speak to an agent to find out more about your specific needs. Generally speaking, items that are most often covered by valuable articles insurance includes the following:

  • Fine art
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Expensive electronics
  • Musical instruments
  • Collections of fine wine
  • Medical devices like prosthetics or scooters
  • High-end fashion items like handbags or shoes
  • Jewelry and loose precious gems
  • Professional sports equipment like bicycles or golf clubs
  • Pedigreed dogs
  • Stamp and coin collections

Whether items of yours are valuable enough to warrant valuable articles insurance is a personal decision. To learn more and consult with an expert – reach out to Schechner Lifson Corporation. Schechner Lifson is an independent insurance agency with experienced and caring agents who can make sure you get the right coverage.

Key Person Life Insurance Plan

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Does My Business Need A Key Person Life Insurance Plan?

Key person life insurance is a type of insurance that protects a business in the event of the unexpected passing of an irreplaceable and critical member of that business. The policy is for the key employees; however, the business is the beneficiary and pays the premiums. If you run a small business that has a handful of irreplaceable members, you may want to consider purchasing a key person insurance plan to protect your company and prepare for the unexpected.

How does key person life insurance work?

If you’re considering key person life insurance, the first step would be to determine what the monetary value of the key individuals in your business is. Once you map out the financial effects of losing that person, whether it’s through lost sales, the cost to find that person’s replacement, or costs to close the business and pay off its debts – you can make a decision. The insurance provider would look at your company’s legal structure and determine how it would work for your unique business. It’s important that the key employees in question provide explicit and written consent to the company to own such a policy.

Do I need key person life insurance?

As every business and their respective employees are unique, there’s no one size fits all situation. That being said, there are some traits and circumstances to look out for.

  • If the reputability and ability to draw new business opportunities are explicitly tied to a single individual, then they could be critical to insure.
  • Some employees, particularly in sales, can be a huge asset in bringing in new business and maintaining pre-existing relationships.
  • When a couple of partners jointly own the business, and each partner would want the opportunity to buy out the others’ shares in the case of death, a key person insurance policy would aid in the financial viability of this scenario.

Key person life insurance can help protect your small business from collapsing under the weight of unexpected circumstances. If you think any individuals are essential to your business, you should definitely consider a key person life insurance policy.

Want to find out more?

Schechner Lifson Corporation is an independent insurance agency that can offer you help in key person life insurance for your small business. With experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can make sure you get the right coverage at a price that may just be more affordable than you think. Contact us today!

Whole Life Policy Benefits

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How Would A Whole Life Policy Benefit Me?

When shopping for life insurance, you’ll likely wonder whether you should buy term life insurance or whole life insurance. While term life insurance is more common, a whole life policy might be the right fit for you.

Whole life insurance is a lifetime commitment. Once coverage has been paid for and issued, it can no longer be taken back, canceled, or even have its terms reduced. This finality is unique when compared with term life insurance and requires a degree of certainty before purchasing a policy. Be sure to consider your options and look at your custom whole life policy benefits.

To help you get started, here’s an overview of what a whole life policy can get you and what you need to know.

Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance is permanent. As long as you pay the premiums, your policy stands. A unique part of whole life insurance is that it comes with an extra savings component known as the ‘cash value.’ This cash value is essentially a savings account funded by the premiums you pay while living. Your payments slowly shrink the death benefit, which in return increase the cash value component. At one point in time, you may be left entirely with the cash value. As that savings account earns interest and dividends, you will see a minimum yearly return.

Pros and cons of whole life insurance

When deciding whether whole life insurance benefits are right for you, take into account the following factors:

Pros

  • The death benefit is fixed and won’t expire. So, if you buy a $1,000,000 policy when you’re in your twenties and your passing comes much later in life, your family or other beneficiaries will still receive the full death benefit.
  • Because you sign and buy your life insurance policy once, you agree to pay a single premium, and the monthly payments remain consistent. This provides security and value compared with term policies that may increase.
  • The cash value can be looked at as an involuntary savings account.

Cons

  • While the benefits are higher with whole life, the policies do cost more than term policies, sometimes even upwards of 10 times the amount.
  • If you fail to keep up with your payments, you will have to surrender your benefits. Unfortunately, this can happen when people overestimate their ability to pay, with over one-quarter of policies abandoned within the first three years.
  • Due to the high cost, it can happen that people are buying less coverage than they need.

Is whole life insurance right for you?

While the benefits of whole life insurance policies are clear, you’ll have to pay a premium to unlock those rewards. Determining what’s right for you will depend on your unique circumstances. Schechner Lifson Corporation, an independent insurance agency, can offer you help to determine which type of policy is best for you. With experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can make sure you get the right coverage at a price that may just be more affordable than you think. Contact us today!

Is My Insurance Score Important?

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Deciphering Your Insurance Score

Many people are familiar with their credit score, and its importance in determining what kind of loans and terms financial institutions can offer. Fewer people have heard of an insurance score, and even fewer people know precisely how it’s calculated or what it means.

A person’s insurance score will greatly affect the insurance you’re able to acquire, the terms of insurance, and the direct impact on the overall budget you keep for your family. To maximize what’s possible, you must first understand your insurance score so you can understand what’s possible and what to do about it.

What Is An Insurance Score?

Much like the credit score, an insurance score is a number rating given to people to predict their risk. The calculations that determine an individual’s insurance score is the product of a complex and non-public calculation intended to boil down someone’s risk factors into one single number. The goal of doing this is to determine what a person’s premium should be on their insurance, the higher the number – the higher the premium.

What Types of Insurance Use An Insurance Score

Insurance scores are mainly for insurance on property. Auto insurance and homeowners insurance are the two most common types to use an insurance score to determine the terms of insurance acquired. However, insurance scores are sometimes used to determine premiums required for renters insurance, boat insurance, RV insurance, and motorcycle insurance.

How Is The Insurance Score Calculated

Despite the differences between an insurance score and credit score, they end up using a lot of the same factors. Studies done by insurance companies have found quite a strong correlation between credit scores and the number of insurance claims filed by an individual. However, your insurance score will also heavily factor in additional variables – namely the history of insurance claims filed in the past. These data points are considered effective at determining the risk an insurance agency takes when offering insurance.

Improving Insurance Scores

Given the importance of insurance scores in determining the price of necessary coverage, many will find it advantageous to work to improve their insurance score.

Individuals can undertake actions that are known to effectively increase credit scores. By paying all debts on time, keeping the oldest lines of credit open, decreasing overall debts, and increasing overall credit limits, a person can improve their credit score, bringing the insurance score up with it.

Filing fewer insurance claims, or even allowing time to pass with no insurance claims – the insurance score will naturally rise as a result.

Unfortunately, these tactics both take time. There’s no quick fix to improving your insurance score overnight, and insurance companies are instead looking for long term records of reliability and low risk.

Want to find out more?

Schechner Lifson Corporation is an independent insurance agency that can offer your business insurance guidance and help pick out plans. With experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can make sure you get the right coverage at a price that may be more affordable than you think. Contact us today to see how we can make sense of the often overly complicated and confusing world of insurance, providing you with the best and most affordable coverage possible.

No Health Insurance: The Employer Mandate For Small Businesses

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No Health Insurance? Changes For 2019

From battles over the Affordable Care Act and the rising costs of medical care that makes insurance critical, as a new law declares that businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees be exempt from the employer mandate fine – group health insurance should remain a top priority for business owners regardless. The importance of offering group health insurance to all full-time employees and providing affordable minimum value coverage should remain in full effect.

It is a possibility that some small businesses are ill-informed about the benefits of group health insurance or they are unsure whether they are eligible to offer it to their employees at their size. Here’s what we know.

The benefits of group health insurance

With the Affordable Care Act, a primary aim of this piece of legislation is to ensure that no business operates without providing health insurance. But what about businesses with less than 50 employees? The employer mandate was implemented to guarantee full-time workers affordable coverage, reducing the number of people without healthcare and avoiding an increase in costs for health insurance for the rest of the population. Just because the fine no longer stands doesn’t mean these realities disappear. Offering your employees health insurance goes beyond its respective medical benefits. It’s an incentive for loyalty, providing your employees with a peace of mind that their needs are carefully looked after. In return, you will see more productivity and less turnover.

Your group

So, if you’re wondering if your business qualifies for group coverage, the answer is yes. Owners, partners, and sole proprietors are all considered employees. The good news is, every state guarantees access to group health benefits for businesses between 2 to 50 employees, and in some states, coverage is even available to groups of 1. Because of the nature of a small group, to reduce risk, insurance providers do require a minimum participation requirement to offer these policies. 70% of full-time employees must be on board or at least have coverage from another source.

Establishing your eligibility to offer group health benefits to your employees and navigating health insurance options can be a lot to keep track of. With the help of experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can offer your business health insurance, making sure you get the right coverage at a price that may be more affordable than you think. Contact us today!

Is Now a Good Time to Buy Life Insurance?

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Is Now a Good Time to Buy Life Insurance?

Life insurance is one of those considerations you know you should have, and you hope you never need. But if you’re one of the many people who has not bought life insurance yet, how do you know when the right time is? There are a couple of factors you can take into account.

Age

When purchasing a life insurance policy, age is the first factor taken into account when setting the price. As such, the best time to buy life insurance will technically be as a newborn, as the policies become more and more expensive as you age and the risk factors increase. If you’re asking when the best time is to buy life insurance is, it’s likely too late for you to take advantage of policies for infants or minors. But as a parent, you may consider buying whole life insurance policies for your children. Upon turning 18 years old, the policy can be transferred to the insured for either further funding or to be cashed in if any equity is held.

If you missed out on the childhood life insurance policies, there’s still an optimal time to buy a life insurance policy while under the age of 35. Between 18 and 35 years old are the least likely to buy a policy. The largest advantage is the cost, as it’s so reasonable because the relative risk is low at that young age.

Marital Status

The purpose of buying life insurance is to protect your household. While young people may not see the value of a life insurance plan while single, getting married significantly changes that equation. Getting their partner protected should the unspeakable happen suddenly becomes a priority. As such, post marriage could be an ideal time for people to think seriously about buying life insurance.

Children

Even more than with a spouse, the arrival of children into someone’s life increases the need for health insurance. Life insurance is there to cover the amount of income you bring into your family should you not be there anymore. Having your family depending on you and your ability to provide only hastens the need to buy life insurance. Once your first child is born, if you have not yet jumped on the life insurance bandwagon, this landmark would be a good time to do so.

No Good Reason to Wait

The main takeaway about health insurance is that you’ll never know when you need it. Delaying buying it inherently puts you or your family at risk should something happen. The best time to act may have been yesterday, but the next best time to buy life insurance is today. Not only does going about life without it put you and your family at unnecessary risk, but it also increases the cost. For example, a 20-year policy with a death benefit of $500,000 would cost a 35-year-old about $430 per year, compared with $1,300 per year for a healthy 50-year-old. When you eventually come around and recognize the need to buy life insurance, you won’t be impressed with the extra costs.

Want to find out more?

Schechner Lifson Corporation is an independent insurance agency that can offer your business life insurance for your employees or a personal life insurance plan for yourself. With experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can make sure you get the right coverage at a price that may be more affordable than you think. Contact us today to see how we can make sense of the often overly complicated and confusing world of insurance, providing you with the best and most affordable coverage possible.

How Will the Affordable Care Act of 2019 Affect My Company?

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Updates on the Affordable Care Act of 2019

Even though President Obama is no longer in office, his health care legislation continues to dominate discussions, evolve, and affect businesses and their employees everywhere. The Affordable Care Act of 2019 is no longer like previous versions, as legislation has removed or changed key provisions. So, if you’re relying on last year’s knowledge of how the Affordable Care Act impacts your company, then you’re already a few steps behind.

But fear not, the changes brought from the Affordable Care Act of 2019 are not difficult to wrap your head around. Read on to see what the key points are in how your company should expect to be affected so you can plan accordingly.

Increased Premiums

The part of the Affordable Care Act of 2019 that will be on everyone’s mind, of course, is among the most important: What will it cost me? The most significant change to the healthcare legislation was the repeal of the individual mandate, which does mean that certain customers and markets will see their premiums increase from year-before levels. These increases have the unfortunate effect of making healthcare more expensive for individuals and their families, pushing people to choose policies that are lower cost, but with higher deductibles. With these changes, it’s important for companies to communicate the new prices to their employees, while listening to concerns they may have.

Need to Shop for Best Rates

As a response to these higher premiums, companies and their employees will see an enhanced need to find the best rates. The jolt of potentially seeing higher rates will be shocking, but certain regions and providers out there will see a slight drop in rates. The difference now, though, is that it requires some hunting to find these opportunities for savings. All that to say, if the rate increases from the legacy health insurance provider look to be prohibitive to the company or the consumer, there is more incentive now to shop around.

Employee Response

As a business owner, one of the effects of these changes to the Affordable Care Act of 2019 that may not seem obvious at first, is how employees will treat health issues. If shopping around does not find you an option that is cost-effective for employees, the result will be employees who are more incentivized not to seek out healthcare. If they are sick, they could look at the high charges they’ll face when going to a clinic or hospital and decide that seeking treatment is not worth the price. This puts other employees at risk for contagious illnesses, lower performing employees, or even an increase in sick days as employees hope the problems simply go away. These real effects are important for employers to monitor and address with employees as issues arise.

Want to find out more?

Schechner Lifson Corporation is an independent insurance agency that can offer your business help in navigating the Affordable Care Act for you and your employees. With experienced and caring agents, Schechner Lifson Corporation can make sure you get the right coverage at a price that may be more affordable than you think. Contact us today to see how we can make sense of the often overly complicated and confusing world of insurance. We want to provide you with the best and most affordable coverage possible.

Totaled Your Car? We Can Help!

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What To Do When Your Insurance Won’t Pay

Should an accident total your car, you can be left with a lot on your plate. Not only have you lost your means of transportation and may be suffering from an injury, you also have to work with an insurance company to sort out the damage.

Recouping the cost of a totaled car can be a challenge, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. If an insurance company says your car is a total loss, they’re only required pay you fair market value for the car. A car is categorized as a total loss if the cost of repairing the car exceeds a certain threshold of its worth. Usually, if the cost of repair is more than 80% of the car’s value, the car is “totaled”.

In some cases, getting fair market value for a totaled car leaves you coming up short. Your insurance company might say your vehicle is only worth $10,000, even though you still owe your lender $12,000 for it. The insurance company may give you $10,000, but you still have to pay $2,000 for a car you’re no longer able to drive or even repair yourself. And to that last point, note that if you accept an insurance company’s payout for a totaled car (that $10,000), they have the right to take the car itself and sell for salvage. Usually, they do.

If all of this leaves you feeling low and lost, know that there are a few ways you can try to make the best out of a bad situation.

Understand the laws in your state. Every state has different laws about who is obligated to cover the cost of an accident. There are some states that require that a driver be “0%” at fault in order for the other party to provide a full payout. In other states, “fault” is assigned based on the extent to which each party contributed to the accident, and insurance companies pay respective to that percentage. Understanding the laws in your state can help level set who will be on the hook for owed money from the outset.

If you think the insurance company valued your car incorrectly, find ways to prove it. Your vehicle might be worth more than the insurance company says it is. You can seek out a qualified appraiser to evaluate your car, or you may wish to file a lawsuit (although, this should be a last resort). Perhaps the easiest course of action is to start with your own research and show how similar vehicle models are going for more money on the market. You can also double check that the cars your insurance company used to estimate the value of your car are truly comparable. Did the vehicles used for comparison have the same number of miles as your car? Did your car have other accessories that would increase its value?

Check to see if you have gap insurance. Does your auto policy include gap insurance? This can help cover the difference between the payout you received from your insurance company and what you still owe your lender. Gap insurance is something to check for when purchasing a new policy, too. Note: if you are less than halfway through the term of your loan, gap insurance is probably a good idea.

Look for other ways to get money back. If your insurance company gives you a loaner rental car after the accident, know that you’re not obligated to take it. Instead, you may be able to opt out and get money for it, which you can put toward your expense. This won’t be true for every insurance company, but if a rental car is on the offering table and you’re able to go without it, ask about your company’s policy.

Find more information about all things auto insurance by exploring the Schechner Lifson Corporation blog!