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topics of interest to you

motorcycle share the road

In 2018, motorcycle rider deaths accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle crash deaths. While there was a 5% decrease in motorcycle deaths over the previous year, this was still a loss of 4,985 lives with the greatest frequency of occurrences happening in June, July & August. Based on miles traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles, in 2017, was nearly 27 times the number in cars according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Safe riding practices and cooperation from all road users will help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways. But it’s especially important for motorists to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists such as size and visibility, and motorcycle riding practices like downshifting and weaving to know how to anticipate and respond to them. By raising motorists’ awareness, both drivers and riders will be safer sharing the road.

tips for motorists

  • Research and state-level data has and continues to consistently identify motorists as being at-fault in over half of all multi-vehicle motorcycle-involved collisions.
  • NHTSA-funded research has shown that people behind the wheels of passenger vehicles are distracted more than 50 percent of the time.  Road users should never drive, bike, or walk while distracted.  Doing so can result in tragic consequences for all on the road, including motorcyclists.
  • It may seem inconsequential, but the improper use of a vehicle’s rear-view and side-view mirrors contributes to collisions, particularly with smaller vehicles like motorcycles.  With roughly 40 percent of a vehicle’s outer perimeter zones hidden by blind spots, improper adjustment or lack of use of one’s side-view mirrors can have dire consequences for motorcyclists.
  • If you are turning at an intersection, and your view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed, wait until you can see around the obstruction, sufficiently scan for all roadway users (pedestrians and motorcyclists included), and proceed with caution.  Slow your decision-making process down at intersections.
  • One’s reaction time and ability to assess and respond to a potential collision, such as a lane change, is significantly hindered if there are large differences in speed among vehicles in traffic.  When approaching a congested roadway, being diligent in modifying your speed to match that of the cars in traffic can be a lifesaver, particularly for motorcyclists.
  • Allow a motorcyclist a full lane width. Though it may seem as if there is enough room in a single lane for a motor vehicle and a motorcycle, looks can be deceiving. Share the road, but not the lane: a motorcyclist needs room to maneuver safely.  
  • Because motorcycles are smaller than most vehicles, they can be difficult to see. Their size can also cause other drivers to misjudge their speed and distance.
  • Size also counts against motorcycles when it comes to blind spots. Motorcyclists can be easily hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot. Always look for motorcycles by checking your mirrors and blind spots before switching to another lane of traffic.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows motorcyclists to anticipate your movement and find a safe lane position.
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle—it may not be self-canceling and the motorcyclist may have forgotten to turn it off. Wait to be sure the rider is going to turn before you proceed.
  • Allow more follow distance – three or four seconds – when following a motorcycle; this gives the motorcycle rider more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. Motorcycle riders may suddenly need to change speed or adjust lane position to avoid hazards such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.

tips for motorcyclists

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and use reflective tape and gear to be more visible. If you're in an accident, the best chances of protecting your brain is by wearing a helmet. 
  • Be sure your motorcycle helmet meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back of the helmet. While all motorcycle helmets sold in the US are required to meet the federal standard and have the DOT certification label, there are retailers that sell "novelty helmets” that do not meet safety standards and will not protect you in a crash. There are also fake DOT labels being sold to put on these unsafe helmets. Purchase from a reputable source.
  • Never ride while impaired or distracted—it is not worth the risk of killing or injuring yourself or someone else. Plus, a DUI costs $10,000 on average, and can lead to jail time, loss of your driver’s license, and higher insurance rates.

life insurance options

 

The decision to protect your loved ones is easy. Where people sometimes struggle is deciding whether they want term or permanent insurance. Your decision will be guided by want you want it to accomplish for those you’re protecting and will balance the factors of:

life insurance optionsCost – What you pay for the protection.

Time – How long you will be insured.

Face Value – How much money your beneficiaries receive upon your death.

Cash Value – How much money can be received by withdrawing, borrowing or cashing in the policy.

Your Murphy Insurance trusted associate will help you determine what makes the most sense based on your overall needs and budget. It may turn out that the best solution for you is a combination of the two types using term insurance to protect for short-term expenses and permanent insurance policy for long-term concerns. 

Term Life Insurance

  • Least expensive life insurance protection since there is no “cash value” component.
  • Best for filling a temporary obligation, i.e. mortgage, supporting children until they can become financially independent, college tuition, etc.
  • Available in 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 year "terms". Get protection for exactly the time you need.
  • Level premiums guaranteed not to increase during term.
  • Generally flexible payment schedule monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual.
  • Can’t be cancelled as long as you pay your premiums.
  • Pays a death benefit to your beneficiaries, which is generally income tax free.
  • Can convert some term policies into a permanent policy so use it as a starter for getting the coverage you need now and later convert it so that you can build “cash value” for the future.
  • May have the option of guaranteed renewal, which allows you to extend coverage beyond the initial term. The rate may change, but this feature can be very important if you should be come uninsurable during the policy term.

Permanent Life Insurance

  • Doesn’t expire and offers lifetime protection.
  • Can build tax-deferred cash value depending on how you set up your policy.
  • Pays a death benefit to your beneficiaries, which is generally income tax free.
  • Ability to access cash value either through withdrawals or loans to help with education, emergencies or as retirement income supplement.
  • Can cancel at anytime and receive the current cash
  • Option of choosing a “universal life” policy which can provide additional flexibility allowing you to make withdrawals or skip payments as long as the cash value of your account is sufficient to cover the insurance costs. 

NOTE:  The above discussion does not address Variable Life Insurance products.  This information is only a general description of the available coverages and is not a statement of contract. All coverages are subject to all policy provisions and applicable endorsements. Some coverage may be subject to individual insureds meeting underwriting qualifications and to availability within a state.   For further information contact a Murphy Insurance Agency Associate.

employee lawsuit protection

Does your business employ one or more people? If so, you need to be prepared for the possibility of an employee lawsuit. Small businesses are just as vulnerable as large corporations… even family businesses aren’t immune. There are steps you can take to prevent lawsuits such as:

  • create an employee handbook with set policies and procedures
  • document employee acceptance of handbook
  • document any disciplinary action

However, no matter how diligent you are, your business can still end up being sued, which is why having employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) for your business is essential.

EPLI insurance is different from general liability protection. It can include coverage for “injury” situations such as:

  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wrongful termination
  • Employment contract breach
  • Wrongful discipline
  • Emotional distress
  • Failure to employ or promote

An EPLI policy generally provides coverage for legal defense and court judgments; however, it may not cover punitive damages or civil and criminal fines.  Coverage availability varies by business type and the insurance company providing the policy.  Some Business Owner Policies may include limited EPLI coverage; however, it may not be sufficient. 

If you don’t have or aren’t sure about your EPLI coverage, our business insurance team can help you review options.

check your smoke detector

When it's time to set the clocks forward in Spring or backward in the Fall for Daylight Savings Time, fire safety officials recommend checking that your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Batteries don't last forever. Vacuum them to remove dust, replace batteries and test the alarms. This small effort could make all the difference in an emergency.

The life expectancy of smoke alarms is generally 8-10 years, after which point their sensors can begin to lose sensitivity. The test button only confirms that the battery, electronics, and alert system are working; it doesn’t mean that the smoke sensor is working. Over time dust gathers in detectors which diminishes sensitivity. You can test sensors using an aerosol can of smoke alarm test spray that simulates smoke. Both hard-wired and battery-operated detectors need to be checked and replaced as needed.

If your alarms are over 10 years, why take a chance? It's recommended to replace all detectors at the same time to ensure that you're using up-to-date technology throughout your home.  It's also easier to keep track of when it's time to replace them.

Most fatal fires occur at night. Thousands of lives are saved each year simply because people have working smoke detectors to alert them. Working smoke detectors decrease the risk of dying in a house fire by nearly 50%. Many fire deaths are caused by inhaling the toxic smoke and gases emitted in the states of a fire, so early warning can make all the difference between life and death. 

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. Exposure to CO can produce headache, dizziness, nausea, fainting, and at high levels, can cause unconsciousness and death. Hundreds of people die accidentally each year from CO poisoning caused by malfunctioning or improperly used fuel-burning appliances (EPA data). Therefore, knowing the symptoms and having an alarm to alert you to a CO buildup can be the difference in saving lives.

smoke & carbon monoxided alarms

Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector requirements can vary from town to town, so it's a good idea to check with your local fire department regarding local regulations for fire and smoke detector placement and type. Every home needs working smoke alarms to provide an early warning.

Smoke alarms installed in all bedrooms, hallways that lead to sleeping areas, basements, and each additional level of your home. Generally, smoke alarms should be mounted on the ceiling 4” from the wall; wall mounts should be 4-12” from the ceiling. Do not install near windows, vents or other draft areas.

Carbon monoxide detector alarms are required to be located on every level of a home or dwelling unit including habitable portions of basements and attics. On levels with sleeping areas, the alarms must be placed within 10 feet of the bedroom doors. 

prepare and practice your escape plan

If a fire were to occur, how would you get out of your home? You should have an evacuation plan with at least two escape routes. Make sure that everyone in your family knows the routes and practices how to crawl low under smoke. Determine a location where to meet outside so that you'll know everyone is out. 

Fire officials also recommend

  • Testing smoke alarms monthly by pushing the 'test' button, which activates the alarm.
  • Install fire extinguishers in or near the kitchen
  • Preventative house cleaning to reduce or eliminate fire hazards

 

Technology upgrade

Murphy Insurance Agency will be upgrading our agency management system as part of our commitment to providing you with quality insurance protection and an outstanding customer service experience. On Thursday, March 11 we will upgrade to Applied Epic. We strongly believe that this decision will provide improved functionality as our team works with you to manage your insurance protection plan. We are excited about these new enhanced service capabilities that will be coming soon.

  • CSR24 Client Portal – Provides 24/7 online and mobile access to policy information and documents
  • Text messaging – Allows you and our team to communicate by text, if you choose to enroll
  • Mobile Insured App – Access information, initiate and track claims, document access & more

Technology UpgradeOffices closed Friday, March 12 for Professional Development. Please plan accordingly.

Our team has spent countless hours preparing and training on our new system. We anticipate a smooth transition. To help ensure a seamless transition to our new system with minimal disruption, our offices will be closed on Friday, March 12 for a team professional development day. Please plan accordingly if you have a change or a need that is time sensitive. Should you have a claim that requires immediate assistance, contact our claims emergency hotline by calling 800-222-8711.

We greatly appreciate your patience should you experience any delays. If you have any questions, please reach out. Thank you for being a client of Murphy Insurance Agency. We look forward to continuing to help you protect everything that matters most.

questions to assess insurance needs

Family, Home, Career Status Should Be Reflected In Your Policy Coverage

Our insurance needs change as circumstances in our lives change, which is why we recommend doing an annual insurance review. When you’re reviewing your insurance coverage, these ten questions can help you figure out whether you may need to talk to your insurance professional about making a change to your coverage.

questions1. Have you gotten married or divorced?

If you have gotten married, you may qualify for a discount on your auto insurance. Couples may bring two cars into the relationship and two different auto insurance companies, so take the opportunity to review your existing coverage and see which company offers the best combination of price and service.

If you are merging two households, you may need to update your homeowners insurance. And you may want to consider increasing your insurance for any new valuables received, such as wedding gifts, and for jewelry, such as wedding and engagement rings.

After getting married, it is important to review your life insurance needs. If one spouse is not working, he or she might be dependent on the working spouse’s income; if so, reviewing life and disability insurance coverage is prudent. The spouse who is not working outside the home should also consider having a separate life insurance policy because, in the event of premature death, the services he or she provides for the household would need to be replaced, and that could prove costly to the surviving spouse. Moreover, even if both spouses are working, couples often make financial commitments based on both incomes so the loss of one spouse’s income due to death or disability could be financially devastating without adequate insurance.

In the other hand, if you got divorced over the past year, you will probably no longer be sharing a car with your former spouse and have likely moved to a different residence. If this is the case, you should inform your insurer as you will need to set up separate auto and homeowners policies.

2. Have you had a baby?

If you have recently added a child to your family, whether by birth or adoption, it is important to review your life insurance and disability income protection.

If you are planning for your life insurance to match your survivors’ expenses after your death, the new child will no doubt add to those expenses, requiring more life insurance to keep your family secure. If you plan to save for your child's college education, life insurance can assure completion of that plan. And if you keep your current life insurance policy, don’t forget to update the beneficiary designations to include the new child.

3. Did your teenager get a drivers license?

It is generally cheaper to add your teenagers to your auto insurance policy than for them to purchase their own. If they are going to be driving their own car, consider insuring it with your company so you can get a multi-car discount. And choose the car carefully—the type of car a young person drives can dramatically affect the price of insurance. You and your teens should choose a car that is easy to drive and would offer protection in the event of a crash.

Also, encourage your kids to get good grades and to take a driver training course. Most companies will give discounts for getting at least a “B” average in school and for taking recognized driving courses.

If your teenagers move at least 100 miles from home—for example, to go to college—you can get a discount for the time they are not around to drive the car (assuming they leave the car at home). 

4. Have you switched jobs or experienced a significant change in your income?

If you had life and disability insurance through your former employer, and your new employer does not provide equivalent protection, you can replace the “lost” coverage with individual policies.

In the case of an income increase, you may have taken on additional financial commitments that your survivors will depend on. Make sure to review your life and disability insurance to ensure it is adequate to maintain those commitments.

If your income decreased, you may want to cut your life insurance premiums. Term life insurance is a good option, as the premium rates are very reasonable. And if you already have two or more policies you might be able to replace both with a single policy at a lower rate because you may reach a “milestone” amount of insurance. (For example, at many life insurance companies, $500,000 of insurance costs less than $450,000 because of the milestone discount.) But don’t drop existing life insurance until after you have a new policy in place.

5. Have you done extensive renovations on your home?

If you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch or expanding a kitchen or bathroom, you risk being underinsured if you don’t report the changes to your insurance company. An increase in the value of the structure of the home may require an increase to your homeowners insurance coverage limits.

And don’t overlook new structures outside of your home. If you built a gazebo, a new shed for your tools or installed a pool or hot tub, you should speak to your insurance professional.

If, as part of a renovation, you purchase furniture, exercise equipment or electronics, you may need to increase the amount of insurance you have on your personal possessions. Keep receipts and add any new items to your home inventory. To create a personal home inventory, try the I.I.I.’s free Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory Tool.

6. Have you decided to buy a second home?

If you are searching for a vacation home or a second home you might retire to, make sure you research the availability and cost of homeowners insurance before you commit to the purchase.

The very factors that make a vacation home seem ideal, whether it is a waterfront property or a mountain retreat, can often introduce risks that make it costly and difficult to insure, such as proximity to the coast and the likelihood that it will be vacant for long periods of time.

In the event you have already bought a vacation home, don’t skimp on the insurance. The risk of theft or disaster is just as significant, if not more so, in a second home as in your primary residence.

If your new property is close to the water, be sure to ask about flood insurance. Damage to your home or belongings resulting from flood is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as some private insurers, and is generally sold though private agents and brokers. You can ask your insurance professional whether your home is at risk for flood, or enter your address on the NFIP website to find out whether your home is in a flood zone. If you have a very valuable home, some homeowners insurers offer excess flood coverage over and above that provided by the NFIP policies.

7. Have you acquired any new valuables such as jewelry, electronic equipment, fine art, antiques?

A standard homeowners policy offers only limited coverage for highly valuable items. If you have made purchases or received gifts that exceed these limits, you should consider supplementing your policy with a floater or endorsement, a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy, such as accidental loss. Before purchasing a floater, the items covered must be professionally appraised. Keep receipts and add the new items to your home inventory.

8. Have you signed a lease on a house or apartment?

If you are renting a home, your landlord is responsible for insuring the structure of the building, but not for insuring your possessions—that is up to you. If you want to be covered against losses from theft and catastrophes such as fire, lightning and windstorm damage, renters insurance is a good investment. Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance includes liability, which covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home, or elsewhere, by you and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Regardless of whether you are a renter or an owner, you will have the following options when it comes to insuring your possessions:

  • Actual cash value pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation.
  • Replacement cost pays the cost of rebuilding or repairing your home or replacing your possessions without a deduction for depreciation. Replacement cost coverage is preferable and typically doesn't cost significantly more especially when you consider the additional value of the coverage.


Think carefully about what your financial position would be in the aftermath of a disaster, and make sure you have the type of policy that is right for you.

9. Have you joined a carpool?

If you are a frequent carpool driver, whether it is to work, or ferrying kids to school and other activities, your liability insurance should reflect the increased risk of additional passengers in the automobile. Check with your insurance professional to make sure your coverage is adequate.

10. Have you retired?

If you commuted regularly to your job, in retirement your mileage has likely plummeted. If so, you should report it to your auto insurer as it could significantly lower the cost of your auto insurance premiums. Furthermore, drivers over the age of 50-55 may get a discount, depending on the insurance company.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Every homeowner, renter and college student should have an inventory of their possessions. Just imagine…if you had a fire or burglary, would you be able to remember everything you own and what it cost? Having an inventory can save you time, money and stress if you have to make a claim.

get started…a partial inventory is better than none

Set a time goal. Setting a deadline helps keep you on track.

Break it up into pieces. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all at once. Go room by room. Start with your most valuable possessions. 

Get help. Have someone help you take the inventory and review it. 

home inventoryhow to tips 

create a list

Find a method that works for you. Using a computer, can make storage, duplication and updates of your inventory easy. If you don’t have a PC, paper works fine, too.  Click below for sample home inventory worksheets:

There is even a new iPhone app from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners myHOME Scr.APP.book app. The app will guide you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then storing them electronically for safekeeping. The app even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.

what to document

Describe all items noting make, model, where purchased and price paid as applicable. List serial numbers for expensive electronics and major appliances. Count up clothing items by category noting high value items. Keep receipts or appraisals with your list if you have them.

take photos or video

Take pictures and/or video of everything using the time stamp feature if available. Label all photos with descriptions. Digital photos are inexpensive and easy to store. Video is great to give verbal descriptions of items. You may want to do this step first to create a quick inventory.

document high value items  

Items worth over $500 should be described in detail and photographed. High value items may need to be insured separately since home policies have certain personal property limitations.

safely store your inventory

Keep a copy handy for yourself. But most importantly, store your inventory documentation away from your home in a safe deposit box or with some one you trust.  

keep it up to date!

Once you’re done, update your inventory when you make big purchases. It’s a good idea to review your list at least every couple years or when you move. When you’ve completed your inventory, talk with us to be sure that you have enough insurance to cover all your possessions.

diamond ring

Imagine how you’d feel if you looked down and saw the stone missing on your diamond ring? Would it be covered by your homeowners', condo owners' or renters' policy? Unless you have the ring "scheduled" on your policy, the answer is probably NO. 

Most home/condo/renter policies provide coverage only in specific situations (named perils) listed on your policy, i.e. fire, theft, etc.  In the the above situation, the stone simply fell out and was accidentally lost, which is not a covered situation by most standard policies.

Even if you're not worried about accidental loss and are comfortable with having coverage only for the name perils, you also need to consider that home/condo/renter policies generally limit coverage for jewelry losses in a theft situation to $1,000—$3,000 per incident depending on the policy. So, if your house is broken into and your jewelry is stolen you may not have coverage for the full value.

The best way to insure valuable jewelry and other items is to have them "scheduled" on your home/condo/renter policy, which provides broader coverage. Scheduling expands covered loss situations as well as increases your theft dollar amount limit for the listed items.

To diiscuss coverage options for your valuables and obtain a quote, take a moment to complete a scheduled valuables quote request.

 

NOTE: The information provided here is a general description and should not be relied upon as being complete, correct or accurate for every situation. All coverage information is subject to policy provisions, endorsements and may be subject to your meeting underwriting qualifications.

disaster recovery planning

Businesses that are forced to close down following a disaster run the risk of never being able to open their doors again. While there’s no way to lower the risk of a natural disaster like a hurricane, there are critical measures that can be taken to protect your company’s bottom line from nature’s fury. A disaster plan and adequate insurance are keys to recovery.

disaster planningdevelop a disaster recovery plan

No matter how small or large a business, a business impact analysis should be developed to identify what an operation must do to protect itself in the face of a natural disaster. Large corporations often hire risk managers to handle this task and some companies hire consultants with expertise in disaster planning and recovery to assist them with their plans. But small businesses can do the analysis and planning on their own.

Key elements of a business recovery plan 

  • Set up an emergency response plan and train employees how to carry it out. Make sure employees know whom to notify about the disaster and what measures to take to preserve life and limit property losses.
  • Write out each step of the plan and assign responsibilities to employees in clear and simple language. Practice the procedures set out in the emergency response plan with regular, scheduled drills.
  • Compile a list of important phone numbers and addresses. Make sure you can get in touch with key people after the disaster. The list should include local and state emergency management agencies, major clients, contractors, suppliers, realtors, financial institutions, insurance agents and insurance company claim representatives.
  • Decide on a communications strategy to prevent loss of customers. Post notices outside your premises; contact clients by phone, email or regular mail; place a notice in local newspapers.
  • Consider the things you may need initially during the emergency. Do you need a back-up source of power? Do you have a back-up communications system?
  • Human Resources. Protect employees and customers from injury on the premises. Consider the possible impact a disaster will have on your employees’ ability to return to work and how customers can return to your shop or receive goods or services.
  • Physical Resources. Inspect your business’ plant(s) and assess the impact a disaster would have on facilities. Make sure your plans conform to local building code requirements.
  • Business Community. Even if your business escapes a disaster, there is still a risk that it could suffer significant losses due to the inability of suppliers to deliver goods or services or a reduction in customers. Businesses should communicate with their suppliers and markets (especially if they are selling to a business as a supplier) about their disaster preparedness and recovery plans, so that everyone is prepared.
  • Protect Your Building. If you own the structure that houses your business, integrate disaster protection for the building as well as the contents into your plan. Consider the financial impact if your business shuts down as a result of a disaster. What would be the impact for a day, a week or an entire revenue period?
  • Keep Duplicate Records. Back-up computerized data files regularly and store them off-premises. Keep copies of important records and documents in a safe deposit box and make sure they’re up-to-date.
  • Identify critical business activities and the resources needed to support them. If you cannot afford to shut down your operations, even temporarily, determine what you require to run the business at another location.
  • Find alternative facilities, equipment and supplies, and locate qualified contractors. Consider a reciprocity agreement with another business. Try to get an advance commitment from at least one contractor to respond to your needs.
  • Protect computer systems and data. Data storage firms offer offsite backups of computer data that can be updated regularly via high-speed modem or through the Internet.

review your insurance plan

Make sure you have sufficient coverage to pay for the indirect costs of the disaster—the disruption to your business—as well as the cost of repair or rebuilding. Most policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage and you may need to buy separate insurance for these perils. Be sure you understand your policy deductibles and limits.

New additions or improvements should also be reflected in your policy. This includes construction improvement to a property and the addition of new equipment.

For a business, the costs of a disaster can extend beyond the physical damage to the premises, equipment, furniture and other business property. There’s the potential loss of income while the premises are unusable. Your disaster recovery should include a detailed review of your insurance policies to ensure there are no gaps in coverage. Your policy should include business interruption insurance and extra expense insurance. Even if your basic policy covers expenses and loss of net business income, it may not cover income interruptions due to damage that occurs away from your premises, such as to your key customer or supplier or to your utility company. You can generally buy this additional coverage and add it to your existing policy.

basic commercial insurance to consider

  • Building Coverage provides coverage up to the insured value of the building if it is destroyed or damaged by wind/hail, or another covered cause of loss. This policy does not cover damage caused by a flood or storm surge nor does it cover losses due to earth movement, such as a landslide or earthquake, unless added by endorsement.
  • Business Personal Property provides coverage for contents and business inventory damaged or destroyed by wind/hail, or another covered cause of loss.
  • Tenants Improvements and Betterments provides coverage for fixtures, alterations, installations, or additions made as part of the building that the insured occupies but does not own, which are acquired and made at the insured's expense.
  • Additional Property Coverage provides for items such as fences, pools or awnings at the insured location. Coverage limits vary by type of additional property.
  • Business Income provides coverage for lost revenue and normal operating expenses if the place of business becomes uninhabitable after a loss during the time repairs are being made.
  • Extra Expense provides coverage for the extra expenses incurred, such as temporary relocation or leasing of business equipment, to avoid or minimize the suspension of operations during the time that repairs are being completed to the normal place of business.
  • Ordinance or Law provides coverage to rebuild or repair the building in compliance with the most recent local building codes.

 

For more information:

Source: Insurance Information Institute

family life insurance

You’ve purchased life insurance as part of your estate planning efforts. You deserve to be commended for taking this step, and certainly there is a temptation to file away your policy and forget it.  However, there are a few key things you should do right away after buying life insurance to ensure that in the event of a tragedy, your loved ones will easily be able to receive the money you want them to have.

1. Discuss it

While life insurance is personal, it’s also something to discuss with your loved ones. Certainly use your discretion and judgement, as there may be individuals who you feel should not know. If you have an executor, he/she should be aware of your plans, and often the beneficiary is informed. Your loved ones can’t be protected if they don’t know the protection exists. 

Typically, beneficiaries, who will receive a life insurance payout, are asked in advance as part of your planning process.  If you haven’t previously discussed it, you should tell them now. By being open and clear about your plans, you can provide them with basic information so that they know how they are protected and where to locate documents in the event of your passing.

2. Safely store your documents

Keeping your life insurance and other end of life planning documents safe is critical.  Make copies of the originals in case they are lost or damaged. Be sure to store the original and copies in two or more different place, so if something happens that destroys copies in one location you have a backup elsewhere.

Life InsuranceStoring at home – At home there is always the risk of documents being destroyed by fire or other natural disaster. Keep documents in a fireproof/waterproof safe or chest.  Just be sure your executor has the key or combination in case they need access. But be sure to find a way to store documents off site, too.

Storing in safe deposit box – This is a traditional way that people have chosen to store documents and valuables off site; however, even if your executor has a key and is authorized, a bank may secure the box after your death and require a court order to open it.

Digital storage – Keeping digital copies can be a wise option.  Scan your policy and other documents and keep them on your computer. You may want to back up to an external thumb drive. Online storage resources like Dropbox , Google Drive and others provide offsite storage for important documents in case your computer fails or is damaged.  Just be sure that there is a way for your executor or other trusted person to also know how to access documents.

3. Leave instructions…leave a ‘paper’ trail

Leave written instructions about what to do in the event of your death.  Some refer to this as a “love letter” to your family and loved ones. Clearly outline with detail what steps need to be taken upon your death including:

  • where important paperwork is stored as well as how to access it if passwords or keys are required. 
  • describe the documents and what to do with them including details they will need.
  • provide contact information

If you need help preparing such a document, ask your insurance agent, accountant or legal advisor for assistance. Providing this guidance will help your executor/family to navigate more easily during an emotional time.  

Other future planning issues to think about include having an up to date will, health care proxy, power of attorney and other legal documents.  If you haven’t yet made such preparations and don't already have a provider you trust, please let us know.  We can provide you with a list of options.

4. Don’t just file and forget it

While you may be set for planning for the moment, your life is always changing.  If you change jobs, have a child, move to a new home, enter a different stage of life where kids are grown, etc., your needs can change requiring updates to your life insurance plan.  Issues to keep in mind:

Beneficiary changes – There are a variety of life events that can result in a decision to change your life insurance beneficiary. Your insurance company needs to know your intentions so that the loved one(s) you want to protect receive insurance funds.

Moving – Update your insurance agent with your current contact information.  This is important to ensure that premiums are paid on a timely basis so that your policy doesn’t lapse or if any other issues/opportunities arise.

Policy review  – Every 3 years or so, it’s smart to talk to your agent.  Together you can discuss anything that may have changed and review your needs to ensure your current policy is still the best fit for you. There might be different policy options to consider or perhaps you need to change coverage amounts. If you become disabled or have financial challenges, contact your agent as your policy may have options that can assist you depending upon how it is structured.

Taking the extra time every now and then to consider your plan helps ensure your loved ones stay properly protected. 

 

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The information provided in these articles are only general descriptions and should not be relied upon as complete, correct or accurate for your specific situation. All coverage informaiton is subject to policy provisions, endorsements and may be  subject to your meeting underwriting qualifications. Murphy Insurance Agency is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other noninsurance professional services. Consult an appropriate professional for advice regarding your own situation.