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Swimming Pool Safety

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Swimming Pool Safety & Liability Precautions

Did You Know?

Fun in the sun is even better when you have a swimming pool in your backyard to stay cool on hot, summer days. Despite all the entertainment that a swimming pool offers, there are also homeowner liabilities. To help you minimize your risk, we’ve gathered some safety tips to keep you in the know as you swim.

To Minimize Drowning Risks:

  • Install safety fences around the pool with a locked latch and place a cover over the pool when you are not using it.
     
  • Always supervise welcome swimmers at all times.
     
  • Keep lifesaving equipment near the pool and learn how to properly use it.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers to horseplay in the pool.

To Minimize Disease Risks:

  • Keep the pool water properly filtered and chemically treated.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers to drink pool water.
     
  • Keep pets out of the pool.
     
  • Do not allow swimmers with open wounds or illnesses to go in the water.
     
  • Do not allow babies to swim unless they are wearing swim diapers.

To Minimize Chemical Risks:

  • Avoid over-shocking the pool; keep chemicals at the proper levels.
     
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully when adding chemicals to the pool or filtration system.
     
  • Store chemicals in a cool, dry place where they are away from fire hazards and lawn care products.

Safety First

As the homeowner, you are liable for the safety of all swimmers. To ensure that you can adequately protect people on your property, consider taking lifeguarding, CPR and first aid courses so you know what to do in an emergency.

Lock Up Your Car Safely

May 3rd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

The Importance of Locking Up

Locking your car is easy, right? Well, it’s more complicated than you might think, especially if you are the target of thieves. Read on to learn more.

Picture the following scenario:

You pull in to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of milk and some hamburger buns for tonight’s family meal. You are only in the store for five minutes and come out to your car to find your valuables have been stolen from your vehicle. You locked your doors, yet there is no sign of a break-in.

What happened?

When leaving your car and locking it with the key fob on your key chain, thieves sitting in the parking lot can actually use a device that clones your vehicle’s security code emitted by the fob. Then, they can use that device to easily unlock your vehicle and sail away with your belongings without leaving a mark behind.

To combat this theft danger, ALWAYS LOCK YOUR CAR FROM THE INSIDE WITH THE LOCK ON YOUR CAR DOOR. When pushing the lock button on your door, you are not emitting your vehicle’s security code. In addition to being fully aware of your surroundings, this safety precaution may prevent a break-in.

Safety First

Consider purchasing a vehicle theft protection alarm for your car. If someone tries to break in, the alarm will sound and may deter the thief. If nothing else, it will alert others around your vehicle that there is a problem and to call the police.

Smoking Cessation Tips

April 5th, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

 

Quitting smoking is one of the best choices you can make to improve your overall health, but it’s also extremely difficult. The following are some suggestions to get you started on your journey to being smoke-free:

  • Make a quit plan. A quit plan will help you stay focused and motivated. This plan should outline your quit date, reasons for quitting, smoking triggers and ways you intend to fight cravings. You can build your own quit plan from scratch or with help from Smokefree.gov.
     
  • Avoid smoking triggers. These triggers differ from person to person, but include the people, places, things and situations that set off your urge to smoke. In general, it’s a good idea to spend time with friends and family who can encourage you or in places where smoking isn’t allowed
     
  • Try smoking cessation tools, like nicotine patches. While some individuals have used e-cigarettes to limit cigarette usage, the long-term health impact of these devices has yet to be seen. In general, it’s better to try and quit cold turkey.
     
  • Focus on the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle. Within a few days of quitting, you may notice that your sense of taste and smell is improving. In addition, as you quit, your breathing will become easier and your smoker’s cough will lessen over time. Best of all, quitting smoking will extend your life expectancy.

Don’t be discouraged if you slip up. One cigarette is better than an entire pack, but that doesn’t mean you can safely smoke every now and then. Speak to a doctor for more ideas on how to quit smoking.

Read the complete inSIGHTS newsletter here.

Roadside Emergency Kit

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Technology to Improve Home Safety

March 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

As a homeowner, one of your top priorities is keeping your property and family safe from intruders. With the advent of smart homes and new technology, home security is easier and more affordable than ever.

The following are some new technologies that can protect you and your loved ones from criminals:

  • Doorbell cameras—Doorbell cameras are a great way to see who is at the door before you open it. This is especially useful if you have children who are frequently home alone.
  • Smart door locks—Smart door locks allow you to lock or unlock your doors remotely. This can be helpful if you forget to lock your doors before you leave the house.
  • Motion sensors—Homeowners can attach motion sensors to doors and windows. Even the slightest movement can trigger these devices and alert you to intruders.

Above all, it’s important to have a strong security system in place. These systems should include Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, smart smoke detectors and an alarm system that notifies the authorities in an emergency.

Read the complete inSIGHTS newsletter here.

Know Your Insurance

February 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Life Events that Affect Your Insurance Needs

As we age and reach different milestones in our lives, our insurance needs change. In order to ensure adequate coverage, contact your insurance broker if you’re affected by any of the following life events:

  • New home ownership— Purchasing a new home is a big investment—one that you will want to protect. After purchasing a home, ensure that you have homeowners insurance to protect against things like fire, weather damage, theft, vandalism and accidental damage. This advice also holds true if you are buying a new condo or vacation home.
     
  • Home renovations—Once you own a home, you may want to make updates to create a better living space. Be sure to report major home improvements to your insurance company to protect any increased value to your home.
     
  • New children—Having or adopting children is not only a huge life change, but it’s also a major financial commitment. As such, it’s important to purchase the right policy to secure your child’s future. Add your child as a beneficiary on any life insurance policies, and make sure your coverage is sufficient.
     
  • Teenage drivers— Teen drivers often carry the highest risk of auto accidents. While you want your teen driver to remain safe on the road, costly accidents can happen without warning. Consider adding your teen driver to your auto policy, as it is generally cheaper than purchasing a separate policy.
     
  • Retirement—When you retire, you may change residences. If you have more than one home, this is a good time to let your insurance provider know where you plan to spend your time.
     
  • Valuable purchases—A standard homeowners policy has limited coverage for highly valuable items. Supplement purchases and gifts that exceed the policy’s limits with a floater—a separate policy that provides additional insurance.
     
  • Marriage—When your marital status changes, so do your insurance needs. Marriage typically leads to the combination of households, vehicles and other property, so it is critical to update your insurance policies accordingly. What’s more, life insurance is vital to married couples as it can ease the financial burden in the event of an untimely death of a partner. Ask about discounts on car insurance for married policyholders.
     
  • Purchasing or selling a business—If you’re an entrepreneur, there will likely come a time when you will either buy or sell your business. During these times of major change, the proper coverage is crucial.

Insurance is critical for nearly every stage of life. Seeking coverage should be an active process, and individuals shouldn’t assume their insurance needs remain steady over time. Consider contacting your broker today to better understand your insurance and future needs.

Good Student Discount

February 2nd, 2018 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Specialty Drug Benefits Overview

July 6th, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Specialty drugs (or specialty pharmaceuticals) are the most expensive prescriptions you can buy—around $1,000 or more per month. Unfortunately, they are also the only option for many people who have complex, and otherwise untreatable, conditions.

What are Specialty Drugs?

Specialty drugs are expensive prescription medications that are used to treat chronic, complex conditions. Individuals suffering through cancer, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis might be prescribed a specialty drug.

Special handling—like refrigeration and supervised injections—is often required for these medications, contributing to the high costs. Patients who need a specialty drug are usually monitored before and after it is administered to check for side effects and treatment progress.

Are Specialty Drugs Covered?

Whether a specialty drug is covered depends on your benefits plan. A

specialty drug could be covered under medical or prescription drug insurance. How the drug is administered often determines which benefit covers the medication. For instance, self-injections at home might place it under prescription drug insurance, whereas supervised injections in a clinic might place it under medical insurance.

What Do I Pay?

Specialty drug costs are steadily rising and projected to reach around $400 billion by 2020, according to UnitedHealth Group. In 2016, the United States spent about $121 billion on specialty drugs. Similarly, specialty drug spending is predicted to surpass traditional pharmacy spending by 2018, according to the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).

Specialty drug costs are steadily rising and projected to reach around $400 billion by 2020.

Due to the high costs of these prescriptions, many benefit plans include a separate tier for specialty drugs. The tier specifies how much an individual must pay for the specialty medication. For instance, the specialty drug tier would differ from what you pay for normal prescriptions. Your plan will determine if you pay a flat copay or a percentage of the specialty drug costs.

Where Can I Find Help?

Your doctor is the first person you should speak with regarding lower specialty drug costs. It is possible there are more affordable alternatives to your prescription or there is an option that would treat multiple conditions.

If you have any questions about your specialty prescriptions being covered under your benefits plan, please speak with HR to review your options.

Antique & Classic Car Insurance

June 2nd, 2017 | No Comments | Posted in Insurance Discount Strategies

Since you have purchased a classic or antique vehicle, you’ll want to insure it properly, as it is an investment.

Coverage Inclusions

A typical classic car insurance policy includes the following:

  • Agreed value coverage: Pays for the car’s full-insured value with no depreciation in the event of a total loss, less your deductible.
     
  • Inflation guard: To compensate for how classic cars increase in value over time, the policy increases the vehicle’s value quarterly.
     
  • Spare parts coverage
     
  • Flexible usage: Ability to drive the vehicle up to 2,500 or 5,000 miles annually. Not limited to “parades only.”
 

Since classic and antique vehicles are all so different, your insurance coverage will be specific to your vehicle and how often you plan to use it. There are many considerations which you and Hodge, Hart & Schleifer will discuss while creating a policy to suit your classic car.

Additional Coverage Options

You can also purchase these additional coverage options for more specific protection:

  • Emergency towing in case of a breakdown.
     
  • Roadside assistance for items such as a flat tire, dead battery or running out of gas.
     
  • Emergency lockout
     
  • Lost key return
     
  • Emergency travel expenses in case your classic vehicle breaks down while away from home.
     
  • Car show expenses: Policy will pay for expenses associated with missing a car show due to a breakdown.
     
  • Theft reward
     
  • Personal effects: Policy will reimburse you for items that are vandalized or stolen when reported to police.

Live in the past while protecting your vehicle for the future! Contact Hodge, Hart & Schleifer today at 240-644-6000 to learn more about all of our insurance solutions for your automobile needs.