Why Is Life Insurance Important?

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A Guide to Life Insurance Benefits and When You Need Them

One of the most important tools to have in your portfolio is life insurance, yet many people choose to ignore the benefits and protections it brings. As a result, surviving family members are left with your final expenses and debts. To help your family financially cope when you die, you should consider getting life insurance.

What is Life Insurance?

Life insurance helps provide your family with financial security when they can’t rely on your salary or income any longer. The policy’s death benefit can be used to pay off the mortgage, clear debts, and cover everyday expenses.

When you buy a life insurance policy, you pay a premium to the insurance company at regular intervals as defined by your plan. If you die while the policy is still active, then your designated beneficiaries will receive a payout.

Why is Life Insurance Important?

While life insurance isn’t an easy topic to think about, it is imperative for you to have so that your loved ones are protected when you pass away. Depending on the type of policy purchased, you can accomplish almost any goal, including:

  • Create an estate, pay death taxes and other estate settlement costs
  • Pay off a mortgage
  • Supplement retirement plans
  • Equalize inheritances

In the immediate aftermath of your passing, your life insurance policy will allow your family members to easily meet any financial problems that arise.

When Should You Get Life Insurance?

The best time to start considering life insurance is right now. Many people believe that life insurance isn’t relevant for them because they are young and healthy. However, you don’t know what’s coming around the corner.

Life insurance policies are less expensive when you’re young. And, if you delay, there is the possibility of a change in your health which can make the insurance more expensive or even impossible to buy at any price. The potential payout for your loved ones can grow over time if you start early, depending on the life insurance policy you buy. So, remember, don’t wait until it’s too late. Make sure your loved ones are protected from the unexpected today.

Are you considering a life insurance policy? At Schechner Lifson, we’re here to help provide all of your life insurance policy options. Reach out to us to learn how we can help protect you and your family.

5 Reasons to Purchase Group Health Insurance

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A Guide to Group Health Insurance for Employers

Did you know group health insurance is one of the most critical benefits employees look for when applying for jobs? Most potential employees will look at it as an essential part of any compensation package as it is the most basic way many people protect themselves and their families.

As an employer, it’s important to consider the benefits of group health insurance. Here are five reasons group health insurance is right for you and your employees.

Improved Employee Satisfaction and Retention

When individuals are applying to jobs, many seek out employers that offer health insurance coverage. A workplace that provides group health insurance will see employees less stressed by potential healthcare costs and improved satisfaction with the company.

Tax Benefits

Employers can directly benefit from several tax benefits in exchange for offering their employees group health insurance. In particular, small businesses can claim the small business healthcare tax credit. This tax credit is available to employers that offer their workers insurance and pay a portion of the insurance premium. So, rather than paying higher salaries with no health insurance, offering slightly lower salaries with good group health insurance coverage will benefit the employer and employee in the long run.

More Productive Workers

Not only will insured employees be happier and less stressed, they will typically be more productive on the job. An employee with health coverage is more likely to take advantage of regular checkups. As a result, these individuals will be healthier and take less time off.

Comply with Federal Healthcare Policy

When it comes to ensuring your company is in line with the Affordable Care Act, you may be required to offer healthcare coverage that meets specific predefined requirements. As an employer, it’s crucial to stay on top of the current healthcare requirements as policies and conditions are subject to change. However, employers with 50 or more full-time employees (or the equivalent in part-time employees) must provide health insurance to their employees or pay a fine.

Protecting Those That You Depend Upon

Offering group health insurance ensures your employees are protected. Especially for a young, small, and growing business, these employees become integral parts of your success and your growth. That’s why it’s essential always to make sure their health is a top priority by offering them the best healthcare coverage.

If you’re still unsure whether or not group health insurance coverage is right for your business, reach out to Schechner Lifson. We’re eager to review your situation and recommend a suitable health insurance plan for your employees. Get in touch with us today!

Should You Have Survivorship Insurance?

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Advantages of Having Survivorship Insurance

Life insurance is an important asset to own as it has a potentially high yield, excellent tax-favored benefits, and can solve many financial issues. Unlike traditional life insurance, survivorship insurance, also known as “second-to-die”, is a type of life insurance that insures two lives-usually a husband and wife. This policy pays the death benefit to the insured’s heirs only after both insureds have passed away. Because it does not pay out until both parties have passed, it is less useful as an income replacement and is best applied towards protecting the financial health of future generations.

Typically, the death benefit from a survivorship insurance policy is meant to pay federal estate taxes, inheritance taxes, and to cover the financial needs of the insured’s children or dependents. Some of the key advantages of a survivorship insurance policy include:

Preserve the Couples Wealth.

Individuals may choose to purchase a survivorship insurance policy after consulting with an estate planning attorney in order to preserve their wealth and assets.

Build Wealth for Heirs.

Some individuals may choose to purchase a survivorship insurance policy to build wealth for their heirs. In circumstances where individuals believe they will have used up their assets and will not have a large estate upon their death, this policy is a good option to leave a legacy for their heirs.

Take Advantage of Cash Value.

When one spouse has died, if there is cash value built up in the survivorship insurance policy, then the surviving spouse may be able to take advantage of the cash value of the policy as needed.

Easier to Purchase.

Survivorship insurance may be easier to qualify for than single insured life insurance. Since both policyholders need to pass away before any benefit is paid out, the insurance company is less concerned about whether one of the spouses is healthy or not. However, it is important to remember that each insurance company will have differing definitions of what is “uninsurable”.

Save on Costs.

A survivorship insurance policy can potentially save an individual money in the long run as opposed to having two separate life insurance policies. Especially when one of the spouses has medical issues or may have trouble finding affordable life insurance.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing

If you’re looking to use life insurance as an estate planning tool and want to ensure your heirs will receive the death benefit when you and your spouse pass away, then a survivorship insurance policy will work to your advantage. However, with any type of insurance policy, it is vital to find out how the policy with be impacted by a change in estate tax laws and in the event of a divorce.

As a full-service insurance provider, Schechner Lifson can help you determine whether or not a survivorship insurance policy is right for your individual circumstances. Contact us today!

What is Prescription Drug Insurance and How Much Does It Cost?

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Breaking Down the Benefits of Prescription Drug Insurance

Prescription drug insurance plays a significant role in a comprehensive health insurance plan. Individuals who have this coverage pay a monthly premium and an annual deductible in order to take advantage of the benefits. There is usually a copay for each individual prescription as well. As prescription drug prices have increased, many insurance companies have placed more restrictions on how they will cover prescription drugs and medications. This means that Americans who are enrolled in a health plan with prescription drug insurance may begin to see out-of-pocket expenses rise.

How Health Plans Cover Prescription Drugs

Health plans cover prescription drug costs in a wide variety of ways. Although rules vary from state to state on how costs are covered, health plans are designed with similar benefits to cover prescription drug insurance.

Copays are a set amount that you pay for prescriptions and are typically based on tiers according to the health plan’s formula. For example, the health plan may charge $10 for Tier 1 generic drugs and $50 for Tier 3 non-preferred brand-name drugs.

Coinsurance allows you to pay a percentage of the prescription’s cost. The other cost is covered by insurance. The ratio is typically an 80/20 or 70/30 spilt, meaning you will pay 20% or 30%, and insurance will cover the rest. Many health plans with coinsurance require you to pay the full price of the prescription until you have met your deductible, after which you pay a percentage of the full cost. However, other plans require only the percentage until a pre-determined limit is met, then they’ll cover 100% of prescription costs.

  • Prescription Deductibles can be separate from medical deductibles and will need to be met before any coverage starts. After the deductible is met, a copay will be applied.
  • Integrated Deductible includes both prescription and medical costs. When the full deductible is met, prescription coinsurance or copays will apply.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum. Health plans usually contain an annual maximum out-of-pocket limit. This is the most that you will have to pay for medical services, including prescriptions, before the insurance carrier picks up 100% of the cost. For out-of-network doctors, this limit and rules for what is included can be different.

As a consumer, prescription drugs and medications can be costly if you’re not careful. That’s why it is vital to choose a health plan that offers the best prescription drug insurance to offset the cost of the prescription drugs and medications you need.

At Schechner Lifson, we provide all forms of group employee benefits including health, life, disability, vision, and dental programs. Contact us to learn about our comprehensive set of insurance products and how we can help you.

Jewelry and Valuable Articles Insurance

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How Valuable Articles Insurance Protects Your Valued Possessions

Most people inherently understand the necessary insurance policies they should have, like homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance. Commonly, people don’t think twice about signing up for these policies because of how valuable their home and car are to them.

However, you should be aware that other big-ticket items in your possession may be as essential to insure. Specifically, you might want to consider investing in valuable articles insurance to provide peace of mind and protection should anything happen to your high valued items and those of immense personal value.

How Does It Work?

A valuable articles insurance policy protects and provides you with financial means of recovery if a valuable property piece is damaged, lost, or stolen. The amount your policy will cost depends on the item’s appraised value, the amount of deductible you agree to pay (many policies come with no deductible), and other common insurance policy terms.

If you have a valuable or even sentimental item in your possession, a valuable articles insurance policy will provide you with the protection you need. While you may have a homeowner’s insurance policy that does cover the possessions within your home, the chances are that policy may be insufficient to cover your valuables. Most homeowner’s insurance policies have a limit on the amount of leverage for jewelry, artwork, and other high value items. Valuable articles coverage also includes coverage for losses usually not covered by a homeowner’s policy, such as loss or disappearance.

In many instances, you will have the choice to add valuable articles insurance as a provision of your homeowner’s insurance, so everything is covered in one place. However, you may have the option to separate the two policies and choose a different provider for your valuable articles.

What Can Be Covered?

The most important items to consider for valuable articles insurance are those with the highest value, the hardest to replace, and those with sentimental value. Common types of property protected by valuable articles insurance include:

  • Art pieces
  • Jewelry and gemstones
  • High-value electronics such as a home entertainment center
  • Valuable musical instruments
  • One-of-a-kind memorabilia and collectibles
  • Expensive fashion items such as designer handbags, fur clothing, and more

Is It Right for Me?

Not everyone will require valuable articles insurance. However, it’s still essential to contact your agent to understand what is and isn’t covered under your current homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have any valuable items that you believe are not covered under your current homeowner’s insurance policy, you should look into valuable articles insurance to protect your precious assets.

What’s Next?

Everyone’s situation is different. Only you know which articles in your possession deserve consideration for valuable items insurance and what level of protection is right for you.

If you have any questions about protecting your valuable assets, we encourage you to contact us at Schechner Lifson. As a top full-service insurance provider, our trusted insurance experts can guide you through comprehensive insurance plans to determine which plan is right for you. Call today at 908-598-7800.

Hiring Contractors Without Liability and Workers Comp

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Risks of Hiring Contractors Without Liability & Workers Comp

When you hire a contractor to work on your home, you want the most suitable one to complete the project. Yet, many homeowners prioritize the project’s overall cost and cut corners to save money by hiring subpar contractors who are not insured. Homeowners who employ uninsured contractors may end up paying more out of pocket due to the low-quality work completed which may need to be repaired and replaced.

If you’re a homeowner looking to hire a contractor, consider why contractors should have liability and workers’ compensation and the potential risks if they do not.

What is Liability and Workers’ Comp?

Liability and workers’ compensation (or workers’ comp) are two distinct types of policy coverages for workers, but they often go hand in hand.

General liability insurance coverage, or liability, is critical for independent contractors to have. It protects their business and workers should the work performed damage client property, cause bodily harm, or advertise injury. Workers’ comp is an insurance policy that protects workers and pays for any harm or injury that comes to them while on the job.

As an individual employing the contractor to perform work, it’s up to you to ask and verify if they have proper liability and workers’ comp before signing the contract. Otherwise, you could be held responsible for the alleged wrongdoing or accidents caused by the contractor’s work without insurance.

What are the Risks of Hiring Contractors Without Liability and Workers’ Comp?

If you decide to roll the dice by hiring a cheaper contractor who doesn’t have liability and workers’ comp and an accident occurs while they’re on your property, the costs can be high. The contractor can attempt to make claims on your homeowners’ insurance policy. Not only does that mean you’re potentially responsible for paying out the appropriate fees and deductibles on such claims, but it guarantees your home insurance rates will go up.

Another risk you potentially face when hiring a contractor without proper coverage is that any faulty or defective work they complete will be your responsibility to pay to fix. When your contractor has liability and workers’ comp, you have recourse to get these future fixes paid. But when they don’t have these coverages, you’re accepting the risk that you’ll be put in the position to pay for future related fixes.

Liability and workers’ comp are like any other insurance policy in that you are paying to protect yourself from potential damages and economic losses that could occur later on. The difference, however, is that these policies protect the contractors and not you. As a homeowner, you must verify that they are covered because if accidents occur and the contractors are not insured, the costs will fall solely on you.

If you need help in navigating insurance types for contract workers at your home, you should speak with experts trained on the topic. Schechner Lifson Corporation is happy to review your situation and recommend a suitable health insurance plan for you. Contact us today, so we ensure all your insurance needs are properly met.

Motorcycle Insurance 101

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A Complete Guide to Motorcycle Insurance

If you have owned a motorcycle for a while or recently purchased a new one, you may have several insurance questions regarding your vehicle. Do you know what motorcycle insurance will cover, and the financial risks you possibly face in the event of an accident? Here are the top facts on why you should financially protect yourself with motorcycle insurance.

What is Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance provides coverage for motorcycles, choppers, fast street bikes, mopeds, and even Segways. In the event of a motorcycle accident, loss, damage, or theft, motorcycle insurance will provide you with financial protection. Liability coverage is covered under the insurance plan if you are responsible for another person’s injuries or damage to their property.

How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work?

Similar to how car insurance works, motorcycle insurance nearly mirrors it. Your liability coverage will cover some of the legal costs if an injured party files a lawsuit against you. If the claim amount’s value is beyond what your policy covers, you will be responsible for any out of pocket costs for the parties’ injuries or damages. Depending on the coverages in your policy, it may cover medical or hospital costs for you or your passengers on the bike.

How Much Motorcycle Insurance Do I Need?

What type of bike you own and how you plan to use it will help guide the amount of insurance you need. Any biker who possesses a high horsepower to weight ratio bike has a greater risk of serious injury to themselves and a higher potential for accidents, which causes damage to others. If you fall into this category, it will be a good idea to increase your motorcycle liability insurance.

How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?

The cost of motorcycle insurance is based on many factors, including what type of bike you own, how old the bike is, your driving record, and the engine’s size, and others. Motorcycle insurance can seem more expensive compared to car insurance. Some reasons for these higher rates are:

  • Motorcycles are more difficult to see on the roadway and in blind spots.
  • Crashes on a motorcycle usually result in a higher incidence of severe or fatal injuries due to little protection while the rider is on the bike.
  • Easier to steal, particularly sport bikes due to their weight.
  • Stolen motorcycles are harder to recover due to their parts being sold by thieves. Once stolen, they can be stripped down, rebuilt, and sold.

Is Motorcycle Insurance Required?

The precise amount of motorcycle insurance required varies from state-to-state. Knowing how your state operates is crucial to learning the costs of personal injury coverage and property damage coverage. New Jersey, for instance, requires motorcycle insurance. All motorcyclists are required to have the following minimum coverages:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage

These are the state-mandated minimum levels of liability coverage, though we recommend that you have higher limits to protect yourself in the event of a lawsuit.

Why is Motorcycle Insurance Important?

Motorcycle insurance is essential to protect yourself, others, and your bike. It is vital to get yourself covered if you plan to own a motorcycle, especially in you live in New Jersey – one of the more densely populated states in the country.

If you’re looking to purchase motorcycle insurance, the best place to find your plan is with Schechner Lifson. We are an independent agency that can help you get the best policy at a price that matches your budget. Contact us today!

What is Ocean Marine Insurance?

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How Ocean Marine Insurance Can Protect Your Business

Sailing the high seas may not be as dangerous as it once was, but it still poses a risk to your maritime business. Ocean marine insurance can serve as the foundation for your comprehensive business continuity strategy. If you source raw materials, distribute foreign manufactured goods, or sell goods overseas, having your business operations insured is crucial.

What is Ocean Marine Insurance?

Ocean marine insurance is designed to protect merchandise, goods, workers, passengers, and crews aboard shipping vessels and cargo storage during marine transport domestically or abroad. Business industries that fall into the category of ocean marine insurance include manufacturing, distribution, communication, energy, construction, and maritime.

Why You Need Ocean Marine Insurance

An important reason you need ocean marine insurance is to protect goods crossing international borders, including foreign or domestic overland transport connected to ocean shipment. Risks often arise when traveling the high seas with weather events such as hurricanes. Even worse, a fire could break out and sink your ship along with the valuable assets on board or machinery could breakdown causing your business operations to come to a standstill.

If you are in the global economy for manufacturing and distribution operations, having ocean marine insurance is necessary for protecting your assets.

Ocean Marine Insurance Coverage

Ocean marine insurance has grown over time to offer financial protection to many different owners of varying vessels. Today, the insurance addresses three major coverage areas of loss for vessel owners: cargo coverage, hull coverage, and liability coverage. The major types of vessels covered under these areas are:

  • Container Ships
  • Fishing Boats
  • Barges
  • Ferries
  • Tugboats
  • Yachts
  • Tankers
  • Sailing Charters
  • Research Vessels

Final Thoughts from Schechner Lifson

Unique risks and liabilities are ever-present for ocean vessels and the valuable cargo they transport. Having your business insured with ocean marine insurance is crucial to providing financial protection from potential claims, lawsuits, and costly scenarios.

Does your business transport your goods or goods of others, domestically or internationally, on your own conveyance or via another person’s conveyance? If so, you need marine insurance. Contact Schechner Lifson to learn how we can protect your business with marine insurance today!

When is Flood Insurance Needed?

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5 Considerations for Obtaining Flood Insurance

Floods can happen anywhere, damaging numerous homes or businesses. Just one inch of floodwater can destroy a property within seconds. Everything from the buildings, flooring, furniture, carpet, and priceless belongings and documents, can be ruined.

Many assume that a mop or wet-vac can solve a minor flood quickly. The truth, however, is more serious. Standing water leads to mold growth and damage to the home’s foundation. Water damage to drywall and structurally essential parts of a building is a significant concern as it compromises its structural integrity.

Whether your home or business experiences a major flood or a few inches of water, you should consider flood insurance to protect the life and legacy you’ve built.

Is Flood Insurance Required?

Depending on where you live or own a business, you may be required to purchase flood insurance by your mortgage lender, especially if you are located in high-risk areas. Flooding can be caused by seasonal runoff, heavy rains, overflowing rivers, hurricanes, tropical storms, plumbing or roofing problems, and more.

Not all properties are at high-risk but can still experience flooding. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) more than 40 percent of flood claims happen in low to moderate risk regions across the United States. Even if you are not required to purchase it, it’s still a good idea to protect your property and personal belongings.

Who Can Purchase Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance can be purchased by homeowners, renters, and business owners to protect their belongings, homes, and businesses. Landlords can buy separate flood insurance policies to help protect their properties. To purchase a flood policy, these individuals generally need to live in communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA.

What is Covered Under Flood Insurance?

Typically, flood insurance is a separate policy designed to help protect your home and belongings if damaged in a minor or major flood. Flood insurance offers two types of coverage:

  1. Building Property Coverage helps pay to repair your home’s physical structure and its foundation and components such as siding, interior walls, floors, and plumbing and electrical materials if damaged by floodwater.
  2. Personal Contents Coverage helps pay to repair or replace your belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronics.

The maximum amount of coverage provided by flood insurance is $250,000 for a home and $100,000 for its contents. Excess flood insurance can be purchased for the additional coverage you need.

How Do You Purchase Flood Insurance?

To purchase flood insurance, all you need to do is contact your insurance company or agent, such as Schechner Lifson. It is essential to plan when purchasing flood insurance, as there is typically a 30-day waiting period for a National Flood Insurance Program policy to go into effect. However, sometimes plans can move faster if the coverages are related to a community flood map change or are required by a federally backed lender.

What’s Not Covered Under Flood Insurance?

While it’s important to know what flood insurance covers, it is equally important to understand what it doesn’t cover. The following are types of property and expenses outside the scope of flood insurance.

  • Outdoor property such as fences, patios, decks, wells and septic systems, pools, and landscaping
  • Cars and other self-propelled vehicles
  • Precious metals and paper valuables, currency, and stock certificates
  • Below ground rooms including crawl spaces and basements, and their contents
  • Moisture or mold/mildew damage

Ready to Purchase Flood Insurance?

Protect your home and personal property against loss caused by flooding. Schechner Lifson can help you learn more about flood insurance and why you should purchase a policy. Contact our trusted Personal Insurance Team today.

HOA Insurance 101

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Questions to Ask About HOA Insurance If You’re A Condo Owner

When people buy a house, there’s a standard suite of insurances that they commonly know to buy, including homeowner’s insurance, flood or hurricane insurance, and others. But for urban dwellers who get into property ownership via condos, the landscape of critical insurance policies to carry looks different and may not be as well known. A key type of insurance policy that condo owners must understand is homeowner’s association (HOA) insurance.

Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what HOA insurance is, even after they buy and move into their new condo. Because it is less discussed, a quick baseline review of HOA insurance is necessary:

What is HOA Insurance?

HOA insurance is typically compulsory for condo owners, but it isn’t a type of policy that you would buy for yourself. Rather, HOA insurance will be purchased by the HOA in your building, which is where a notable portion of your HOA payment dues will typically go. So when you buy a condo, you typically are required to sign onto the terms of the building’s existing HOA, and that HOA will then mandate a portion of your fees to pay into the HOA policy, otherwise known as a master policy.

What does HOA Insurance cover?

HOA insurance policies are designed to provide that individual is held liable for any accidents that may occur in common areas of the condo building. While individual condo owners will be responsible for insurance coverage for liability to people and property within their condo’s walls, many condos have common areas and group amenities like gyms, pools, lounges, etc. HOA dues also maintain these areas, and because accidents can occur in them, the owners of condo units need to be insured against anything that may happen.

What else do condo owners need to know?

Just because the HOA insurance policy is baked into your existing condo fees does not mean that, as a condo owner, you don’t need additional coverage. HOA insurance won’t cover property damage or personal injury to anyone inside your condo unit, so condo insurance will be necessary to make sure you’re completely covered.

The key to any condo owner is recognizing and understanding what is and isn’t covered by the HOA policy. Some HOA policies will go above and beyond and include extra coverage that may allow you to reduce what your personal condo policy needs to protect. In contrast, others will do the bare minimum, and it may be necessary for you to add more than you initially thought to your condo insurance policy.

If you’re unsure what your HOA policy covers and what that means for the individual policy you buy, it is advisable to reach out to a trusted insurance provider and advisor. Schechner Lifson Corporation is happy to review your situation and recommend coverage custom made for your needs. Get in touch with us today, so we make sure all your needs are met.

Schechner Lifson Corporation