When you face what appears to be a minor claim, have you ever been tempted just to handle it yourself? After all, the loss is minimal, and you’re “saving” your insurance coverage for when you really need it. Some contractors also feel that filing too many small claims could increase the risk of losing the policy, or driving up their premium.
However, there’s more to consider. Bear in mind that every policy contains language to the effect that “No insured will, except at that insured’s own cost, voluntarily make a payment, assume any obligation, or incur any expense, other than for first aid, without our consent.” This means that that if you pay a small claim yourself, and anything goes wrong, the insurance company can say, “You’re on your own.”
For example, suppose someone walks through your job site and steps on a nail. It appears to be a minor puncture wound, and you agree to pick up the cost of an emergency room visit. You might feel that you’ve closed this incident quickly. However, a few weeks later, the injured person calls to say they have a raging infection in their foot and the doctor is checking them into the hospital for what proves to be a long and expensive stay.
If you then report this claim to your insurance company for the first time, will they step in and take over, or tell you that since you never informed them of the incident they’re not responsible? Even if the insurance company pays the claim, you’ve run an unnecessary risk.
What you should have done – as the policy wording suggests – is to inform your insurance company immediately and ask its consent for you to pay the claim. This approach would have made a substantial difference because notifying the company of the claim fulfills your obligations under the policy.
Why go it alone when you have a partner waiting to help?
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that most burglaries occur during the summer months. While some burglars enter your home, others are interested in soft targets, the items stored outside of your home. One in three homeowners do not protect their soft targets, but you can with these tips.
- Vacant Properties
Thieves and vandals typically target vacant homes as they steal scrap metal or take other items to sell. If you’re on vacation, keep your windows and doors locked. Install outdoor motion activated lights and use a timer to turn on indoor lights at random times, too. You can also install a video camera that allows you to monitor your home while you’re away.
- Vehicles and Loose Items
Experienced car thieves can steal a vehicle in less than 10 seconds. Always keep your car locked inside the garage or make sure the alarm is turned on and install an anti-theft device that disables the ignition or locks the steering wheel. You should hide any loose items, too, including electronics, garage door openers, toll booth passes and parking garage passes, either in the glove box or trunk.
- Unlocked Sheds and Garages
Tools and lawn equipment are easy to resell. Always lock your garage, including windows, even if you’re working in your lawn. Be sure your valuable tools and equipment are stored inside the shed or garage, too.
- Sports Equipment
Whether your summer activities include baseball, kayaking or tennis, resist the urge to store your sports equipment outside. Secure it safely in a locked garage or shed, in a locked bin or in your vehicle’s trunk.
Ideally, you should store your bike in a locked garage or shed. If you have to store your bikes, don’t use thin bike chains and wheel locks that are easy to unbolt or cut. A heavy chain threaded through the bike’s wheels and frame and a thick padlock are more secure.
- Air Conditioning Units
Your outdoor air conditioning units contain copper coils and other metal piping that thieves can scrap for cash. Install a bright security light that’s motion activated near your outdoor AC unit or install a locked fence around it.
- Pool Pumps
Pool pumps are easy to resell. Remove the pool pump and store it inside during your vacation. If that’s not possible, install a bright, motion-activated security light near the pump. You should also install a fence around your pool and keep it locked at all times.
Protect your home from thieves when you take steps to protect these seven soft targets. Be sure your homeowners or renters insurance policies are up to date, too, as you protect your home and possessions.
Around 65 million Americans have high cholesterol, a condition that can affect anyone from young kids to senior adults. September is Cholesterol Education Month, and you can improve your health when you understand the definition of cholesterol and the best ways to prevent high cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol circulates in your blood and resembles wax or fat. It supports metabolic processes, such as cell membrane stabilization, vitamin D formation, and steroid hormone and bile acid production. It While your body makes cholesterol naturally, it’s also found in food. If you make or consume more cholesterol than your body needs, the excess will accumulate in your arteries and narrow those passageways, which could increase your heart disease and stroke risk.
You have good cholesterol (HDL – high-density lipoprotein), bad cholesterol (LDL – low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. The lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from your body’s cells.
- HDL – Removes bad cholesterol as it flows through your bloodstream.
- LDL – Becomes part of the plaque that lines your arteries.
Your cholesterol levels can depend on several factors, including a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, and your weight can also affect cholesterol levels.
What are Normal Cholesterol Levels?
The ideal cholesterol level is under 170 mg/dL. Your LDL level should be under 110 mg/dL, and your HDL level should be over 35. Aim for a triglyceride level of under 150 mg/dL. While these numbers are confusing, your doctor can explain them and help you achieve healthy levels.
How do you know if you have High Cholesterol?
You might have high cholesterol and not know it. Visit your doctor for a blood test that shows your cholesterol levels. Typically, adults over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol checked every five years. High-risk children should have their cholesterol checked regularly, too.
How is High Cholesterol Treated?
Often, lifestyle changes can reduce your cholesterol levels. Your doctor may recommend exercise and dietary improvements, such as:
- Engage in two hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week.
- Eat more high-fiber food, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Limit the amount of saturated fat and sugar in the foods and beverages you consume.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking and lower your alcohol intake.
- Reduce stress.
Your doctor may prescribe medication, too. Statins reduce the amount of cholesterol your body makes and can lower your bad cholesterol levels.
This month, raise your cholesterol awareness levels. Visit your doctor for a cholesterol check, and discuss the steps you can take to achieve a healthy lifestyle that improves your health now and into the future
To be compliant by January 2020, California employers that have 5 or more employees must complete the mandatory training for employees.
Some highlights –
- Part-time, temporary and independent contractors MUST be included in the count of employees.
- Managers need at least 2 hours of training.
- At least one hour of training for non-managerial employees.
- Training must occur within 6 months of hire or promotion to managerial position.
- New businesses with 5 or more employees have 6 months to comply.
- Training can be individual or group based.
Read more at CDA.org
Teenagers can be a valuable asset to your company. In addition to their youthful energy, teens bring their fresh perspectives and financial incentives to the table. Before you hire teens, consider these and other benefits that help you decide if teen employees are a good fit for your company.
Meet Seasonal Demand
When is your company’s busy season? Hire teens to help carry the load. They’re often eager to make extra money and can work flexible hours as they fill in where you need them and help you meet deadlines.
Gain a Tax Credit
Depending on where you live, you might qualify for a tax credit because you hire teens. You also may receive a tax break if you hire your teenage children to work for you.
Pay Fewer Benefits
Many eager teens willingly work for lower pay and fewer benefits than older employees, making them financially attractive for your company. You can even follow a Labor Department loophole that allows companies to pay workers under 20 years of age a subminimum wage of $4.25 an hour for the first 90 consecutive days of their employment.
Follow Teen Employment Law
Despite the financial savings, hiring teens does require you to follow protective federal and state laws. Check with your attorney for the details, but in general:
- Teens must be older than 14 to work in non-agricultural jobs.
- Teens who are 14 or 15 must work less than three hours a day, no more than 18 hours a week and no later than 7 PM while school is in session. In the summer months and on school holidays, they may work eight hours a day, 40 hours a week and no later than 9 PM.
- Teens who are 16 or 17 may work unlimited hours at a non-hazardous job.
Your company can benefit from teen employees. Simply follow the laws and enjoy the benefits of your young hires.
Spring cleaning does more than remove dirt and grime left over from winter. It also protects your house and reduces maintenance costs. So, try four spring cleaning tips this season as you cleanse your home.
1. Wash walls, windows and baseboards.
Often overlooked during weekly cleaning, the walls, windows and baseboards of your home harbor plenty of dirt and dust. Wash them at least once a year to ensure they look nice and to protect their finish.
*Move the furniture away from the walls, and wipe down the walls with a slightly damp cloth or magic eraser.
*The baseboards are also easy to wash off with a damp cloth. A toothbrush reaches into all the crevices.
*Use vinegar on the windows instead of glass cleaner to cut through accumulated dirt and prevent streaks.
2. Scrub the carpet.
Accumulated dirt, pet dander and odors can quickly ruin your carpets. Instead of merely running the vacuum each week, deep clean the carpets at least once a year. You can easily rent a carpet cleaner and do the job yourself or hire a professional cleaner as you prolong the life of your floors.
3. Care for furniture.
Modern or antique, your furniture will last longer when it’s free from dirt. Take time this spring to wipe off each piece from top to bottom. Use a soft cloth on wood to prevent scratches, and remember to spot treat dirty upholstery, flip the cushions and repair any tears or holes in the fabric.
4. Reduce clutter.
In addition to attracting pests and rodents, clutter reduces your ability to exit your home in an emergency. Commit to tossing or donating clutter like piles of books, excess furniture or anything you haven’t used in six months. Your home will thank you.
With these four spring cleaning tips, you’re able to reduce maintenance costs over time. So, look forward to protecting your home this season.