Is your house going to be filled with guests this holiday season? Is your pantry filled? Are you ready? Do you have a dog? Do you need more insurance in case someone gets hurt while on your property?
What Does Homeowner’s Insurance Usually Cover?
Most homeowners buy insurance to cover property damages from storms or accidents. It also covers personal property that’s lost, damaged or stolen. Plus, homeowner’s insurance pays for medical treatment or lawsuits associated with injuries people sustain while visiting you.
Make Sure you Have Enough Liability Coverage
You don’t expect accidents to happen in your house, but a visitor could trip over frayed carpet, get food poisoning or fall off the backyard trampoline. Or maybe the traditional Thanksgiving day football game gets rough, and your cousin’s expensive watch breaks, a seasonal storm blows a branch on your friend’s vehicle or the toilet overflows on your uncle’s expensive leather shoes. These injuries and damages are all examples of accidents that liability insurance covers.
Increase Your Coverage Limit
To ensure you have enough liability coverage, check out your policy and talk to your insurance agent. Most policies include a liability coverage limit of $100,000, but you should consider increasing that limit to $300,000 or even $500,000. An accident that affects more than one guest could quickly use up that coverage and leave you with a big bill. The increased coverage limit ensures everyone can receive medical treatment, and it reduces your out-of-pocket expenses if you’re sued.
Buy an Umbrella Policy
An umbrella policy is another insurance product to consider. It adds additional coverage that could be very beneficial as you entertain guests this holiday season. It’s an inexpensive way to cover additional expenses (not covered by your home owners).
Because you plan to host holiday guests this year, do more than stock the pantry. Update your homeowner’s insurance policy. It gives you peace of mind and prepares you for anything that might happen. Get in touch with us if you have questions.
Are you planning to welcome trick or treaters to your home this month? Here are some suggestions to prepare your property for safe Halloween fun.
1. Clean your walkways.
Jack-o-lanterns are cute, but they are also tripping hazards. Remove decorations and all clutter or debris such as toys, yard tools or twigs from your sidewalks, steps and walkways.
2. Clear the yard.
Ideally, kids will stay on the walkway and front porch as they retrieve their candy. However, you will want to clear your yard so curious and excited kids don’t trip on any toys, branches or yard tools.
3. Repair broken sidewalks and steps.
Inspect your entryway and steps carefully. Then repair any broken stepping stones, loose railings or other hazards.
4. Install lighting.
Your front porch light is turned on to welcome trick or treaters, but you may also need additional lighting to ensure safety. Solar-powered walkway lights or a string of lights can illuminate your walkway and porch.
5. Change your location.
Instead of making kids walk up your long driveway or steep steps, stand or sit in a location that’s easy for them to access.
6. Lock doors and windows.
On trick or treat night, your attention is focused on your front door. Lock all the other doors and windows in your house so no one can gain access to your home while you’re out front. Remember to lock your garage and car, too.
7. Secure valuables.
Move your grill, mower and other valuables to the shed or another secure location. With this tip, you prevent potential burglars from adding your home to their future target list.
8. Protect your pets.
Some kids are scared of animals. Also, pets can become startled and bolt or bite when they see strange costumes or dozens of noisy kids. Always secure your pets so they and the kids are safe.
9. Extinguish candles.
Open flames pose a fire hazard. As an alternative, try battery-powered bulbs, or install Halloween-themed covers on your flashlights.
10. Consider allergies when choosing candy.
Many kids are allergic to nuts or dairy. Place a teal pumpkin on your step to show trick or treaters that you offer safe alternatives like books, stickers or toys.
11. Update your property and homeowners’ insurance policies.
Despite your best efforts to promote safety, someone could be injured while on your property (ask about Personal Umbrella Insurance – a surprising low annual cost for protection). Be sure your property and homeowners’ insurance policies are updated and include adequate coverage.
Trick or treating is a fun family activity. As you give out treats this year, follow these safety tips. They secure your property and reduce your liability risks.
October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) occurs annually in October. Started in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators that form the National Cyber Security Alliance, this annual event promotes cybersecurity and recommends resources for online safety. You, your family and/or your company can make several preparations this month.
Host an Educational Event
Begin planning an open house, expo, lecture, or other educational event that focuses on cybersecurity. Depending on your company, you may decide to focus your educational efforts on information that will benefit senior citizens, college students or families. For example, your IT specialist could present advice that helps consumers avoid cybercrime, or you could show customers how to implement security protocols on their electronic devices. Get creative as you prepare to raise cybersecurity awareness during an educational event.
Cybersecurity training should occur year-round, but your employees may be especially receptive to security tips during a month that’s focused on raising awareness. Take advantage of this annual opportunity to discuss topics like choosing secure passwords, securing electronic devices used for work and managing email safety. Or choose a different topic based on your unique needs.
Focus on Different Weekly Topics
This year, NCSAM includes four weekly topics. In summary, those topics include:
- Online safety at home.
- Training for a cybersecurity career.
- Ensuring online safety at work.
- Safeguarding critical infrastructure throughout the nation.
Your company can prepare to discuss these weekly topics during your events, through customer newsletters and on social media.
Utilize Your Social Media Influence
If your company has a large social media following, you have a powerful platform to raise awareness for cybersecurity. You can write blog posts that outline the importance of cybersecurity, share information about how to join the cybersecurity workforce or detail the ways your business protects data. Also, prepare infographs and other visual aids that discuss online safety tips.
Partner with Other Companies
Like NCSAM was started through a collaboration, your company can partner with other businesses as you increase cybersecurity awareness. Share the latest cybersecurity information, create resources that educate the public about cybersecurity or host an online safety seminar together.
Check your Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage
Cybersecurity insurance protects your business in many circumstances. Review your needs with your insurance agent as you ensure you have the correct amount of cybersecurity insurance for you and your company.
As your business prepares to celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, consider taking these steps now. They give you the tools you need to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees, customers and community.
If pets are part of your family, you schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure the health of your furry friends. Consider additional protective steps you can take during Pet Insurance Month, observed in September.
What is Pet Insurance?
Similar to health insurance for humans, pet insurance helps you pay for the expected and unexpected health care your pet needs. You may choose from a variety of policies.
- Accident – Pay for the treatment of unexpected accidents or injuries like animal bites or poisoning but not illnesses or diseases.
- Accident and Illness – Treat broken bones, ear infections, diabetes, and other accidents, sicknesses, diseases, and pet health changes.
- Routine, Preventative Care or Wellness – Cover annual exams, vaccinations, flea control, and teeth cleaning.
You may also purchase endorsements or riders. They cover specific issues that aren’t included in your regular policy.
Your policy will include limits, too. Choose the annual, lifetime, per condition, or unlimited lifetime limit as you prepare to provide your pet with the best possible care.
Keep in mind that pet insurance includes exclusions based on your pet’s age, breed and hereditary conditions. Your policy could also be denied because of a pre-existing condition, such as a diagnosed illness or disease.
Review your policy carefully to ensure it meets your needs. For example, ensure the policy covers cancer treatment before you schedule the procedure so you’re not surprised by a denied claim after your next vet visit.
How do you use Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance allows you to see the veterinarian of your choice. You’ll pay the veterinarian out-of-pocket and then submit a claim to your pet insurance company. After you pay your deductible and any co-payment, you’ll receive reimbursement as per your policy terms.
How much does Pet Insurance Cost?
Your pet’s age and breed affect your pet insurance costs. Other factors include your location, the type of policy you purchase, the deductible, benefit limit, and reimbursement percentage. Discuss your needs and budget with your insurance agent as you purchase the right coverage for your pet.
Why Would you Purchase Pet Insurance?
Ultrasounds, blood work, dermatology treatment, and other medical and surgical procedures can cost thousands of dollars. With insurance, you can afford the treatment your pet needs. It also allows you to seek medical treatment as soon as possible rather than put off diagnostic or treatment visits. You can and insurance to choose treatment rather than euthanasia for your beloved pet, too.
During Pet Insurance Month, learn how to enhance your pet’s quality of life and give your furry friend the medical treatment it needs and deserves. This valuable product protects your pet and could save its life.
Often these days, you hear about credit reporting agencies or large retailers announcing a significant data breach. Hackers are usually able to access the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of millions of consumers, which put their identity and credit at risk.
A credit report freeze is one protective measure that is highly recommended . Every consumer, including you, should understand this protective measure as you protect your data, identity and credit.
What is a Credit Report Freeze?
A credit report freeze allows you to restrict who can access your credit report. When a freeze is in place, only certain professional entities can see your information, and it’s less likely that an identity theft can access your data.
Ways a Credit Report Freeze Affects You
When you place a credit report freeze on your account, it affects you in several ways.
1. It prevents certain entities from accessing your credit report. This includes potential employers, mortgage companies and car dealers.
2. Existing creditors and any debt collection agencies they hire and government agencies responding to a court order or subpoena may continue to access your credit report.
3. You can continue to access your free annual credit report.
4. It does not affect your credit score.
5. You will continue to receive prescreened credit offers for credit or insurance. Call 888-5OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or go online to optoutprescreen.com if you wish to stop receiving these offers.
How to Place a Credit Report Freeze
Contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies to freeze your credit report.
To place a freeze, you must provide your name, birth date, Social Security number, address and other personal information. You will also have to pay a fee. It typically ranges from $5 to $10 but varies based on where you live.
How to Know if Your Credit Report Freeze is Successful
After placing a credit report freeze, you will receive a confirmation letter from the credit reporting company. It includes a unique password or PIN you will need if you ever choose to lift the freeze.
How to Lift a Credit Report Freeze
Your credit report freeze remains in place indefinitely. However, you may want to lift it so you can apply for a job or credit. To do that, simply contact the credit reporting company to request a lift. You will provide your password or PIN, pay a fee that varies by state and indicate if you want a temporary or permanent lift.
A credit report freeze can protect your personal data and identity. Consider monitoring your bank, insurance and credit card statements, though, too, and purchase cyber liability insurance as a further protective measure.