Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Home Window Safety

With fall starting to creep in on us and temperatures already starting to drop a little here at the Lake, many people will be taking advantage of the pleasant weather by opening up their windows. While windows allow us to enjoy a breeze of fresh air indoors, they also play a big part in the safety of our homes. Here are some tips for keeping the right things in and the wrong things out!

1. Keep Children and Pets Safe. 


Falls from windows are more common than you would think. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide 2015 Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home, about 8 children under the age of 5 die each year from falling out a window and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital. Here are some suggestions for keeping both your children and your pets safe:
  • Adult supervision is key. Never leave children unattended in rooms with open windows and keep their play safely away from windows. 
  • Keep windows closed and locked when children are present. 
  • When opening windows for ventilation, make sure children cannot reach them. 
  • For a double-hung window on an upper floor, open only the top sash nearest the ceiling, leaving the bottom one closed. 
  • Don't rely on insect screens to prevent a fall because they are not designed to hold the weight of a child. 
  • Keep furniture away from windows as they could tempt a curious child to climb and potentially fall. 

2. Keep Intruders Out. 


Window safety also includes devising strategies to keep intruders out. Examine window hardware and make sure windows lock properly. Also, make sure any locks, window guards or other safety devices open from the inside, to enable your family to exit in the event of an emergency. Window alarms and impact-resistanct glass films or screens can also help secure your windows. Keep window areas lit and trim tree branches or other vegitation that might provide cover for intruders away from the windows.

3. Accessibility for Escape Route. 


According to most residentail building codes, bedrooms must have a secondary means of escape in case of fire or smoke, and often times that exit is through a window. Therefore, it's important that those windows are safe and easily accessible. Follow these tips to make sure your windows are in proper working order incase of an emergency:
  • Test windows to make sure they open easily and are not sealed shut by paint, dirt or weathering. If windows can't be opened quickly and easily, be sure to replace them. 
  • Keep escape routes free of clutter to speed your escape and to help prevent potential falls. 
  • Practice fire escape routes with everyone in the home, both during the day and at night. 
  • Keep emergency escape ladders in second- or third-story bedrooms and teach everyone how to use them. 

While it's imporant to follow these safety measures, sometimes accidents do happen. That's why it is important to talk to your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent to make sure you're fully insured for whatever might occur. Make sure your health insurance is up-to-date incase you have to take a trip to the ER and make sure your homeowners insurance is also current. At Insure the Lake, we can help you with all aspects of your insurance - give us a call today at 573-348-2794! 

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Health Insurance Jargon: The 411

When it comes to understanding health insurance jargon, things can get a little confusing. Now with the Affordable Care Act in place, understanding health insurance can be frustrating. Here are a few important health insurance terms and their meanings to get you started; then give Insure the Lake a call to help you out with the rest!

Key Health Insurance Terms


1. Allowable Charge - the amount considered by a health insurance company to be a reasonable charge for medical services or supplies based on the rates in your area.

2. Benefits - refers to what kinds of things your insurance company will pay for.

3. Claim - a request by the insured person, or their health care provider, for the insurance company to pay for medical services.

4. Co-Insurance - the shared cost of the insured person and the insurance company, usually referring to the amount paid by the insured person for a given service or product, once any deductible is met.

5. Co-Pay - a set amount that your insurance company has decided you will pay each visit after your deductible is met.

6. Coverage Limits - maximum benefits (typically annual or lifetime) on certain services or expenses, i.e. maximum of 10 permitted chiropractic visits per year or a 1 million dollar lifetime maximum on prosthetics.

7. Deductible - the amount of money you must spend out of pocket before your health insurance will cover anything.

8. Dependant - any individual, either spouse or child, that is covered by the primary isured person's plan.

9. Drug Formulary - a list of prescription medications covered by your plan.

10. Effective Date - the date on which a policyholder's coverage begins.

11. Exclusion - any medical expense that is not covered by the insurance policy.

12. Explanation of Benefits - the health insurance company's written explanation of how a medical claim was paid, including detailed infomation about what the company paid and what portion of the costs you are responsible for.

13. Group Health Insurance - a coverage plan offered by an employer or other organization that covers the individuals in that group and their dependents under a single policy.

14. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) - a health care financing and delivery system that provides comprehensive health care services for enrollees in a particular geographic area.

15. Health Savings Account (HSA) - a personal savings account that allows participants to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars.

16. In-Network Provider - a health care professional, hospital or pharmacy that is part of a health plan's netwrok of preferred providers, generally offering services at a lower cost in exchange for the insurance company sending more patients their way.

17. Medicaid - a health insurance program created in 1965 and funded by the federal and state governments, that provides health benefits to low-income individuals who cannot afford Medicare or other commercial plans.

18. Medicare - the federal health insurance program that provides health benefits to Americans age 65 and older and those who are disabled.

19. Network - the group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that insurance companies contract with to provide services at discounted rates.

20. Out-of-Network Provider - a health care professional, hospital or pharmacy that is not part of a health plan's network of preferred providers.

21. Out of Pocket Maximum - the maximum amount an insured person can be responsible to pay, besides premiums and co-pays in a given year. 

22. Pre-Existing Condition - any medical condition the insured person has prior to the start of hte insurance policy.

23. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) - a health insurance plan that offers greater freedom of choice than HMO plans.

24. Premium - the amount of money you must pay to keep your health insurance current.

25. Preventative Services - routine health care that includes check-ups, patient counseling and screenings to prevent illness, disease and other health-related problems.

26. Rider - coverage options that enable you to expand your basic insurance plan for an additional premium, for example a maternity rider.

27. Underwriting - the process by which health insurance companies determine whether to extend coverage to an applicant and/or set the policy's premium.

28. Waiting Period - any length of time after a policy beigns during which certain medical expenses may not be covered, i.e. a 6-month waiting period on expenses related to cancer.

Now that you understand health insurance terminology a little better, you're prepared to make sure you have the right coverage for you! A lot of changes have been made to the health care industry since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, so be sure to discuss your coverage with a trusted insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks. At Insure the Lake, we can help you determine your best course of action and if you are eligible for premium assistance.

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Friday, August 14, 2015

8 Little-Known Insurance Gaps

While you probably have homeowners or renters insurance, car insurance and health insurance at the least, you could still have gaps in those coverages. In a worst-case scenario, these gaps can unexpectedly drain your savings account. Here are a few little-known coverage gaps you may have in your insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks:

1. Not all Auto Insurance is the Same.


While all states require vehicle owners to have auto insurance, but not all types of coverage are mandatory. For example, some states may only require liability. Since not all auto insurance policies are the same, it's important to work with a Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent to customize your policy to fit you and your family's specific needs. You don't want to end up in an accident, just to find that you're covered for one thing and not the other.

2. Transportation Expenses Coverage. 


Does your auto insurance policy cover the cost for a rental car while yours is in the shop after an accident? These transportation expenses can really be a burden if not covered by your insurance. Talk with your insurance agent to see if transportation expenses are covered by your current policy or not.

3. Undervaluation of a Home. 


In 2013, it was found that roughly 60% of homes in the United States were undervalued by an average of 17%. Any remodels or improvements made to your home need to be updated on your Lake of the Ozarks homeowners insurance policy. If the additions add significant value to your home, you may be left with a gap in your coverage.

4. Home Replacement Cost. 


In the event of a total loss, your homeowners insurance policy will pay up to the dwelling limit stated on the policy. If that amount is less than the cost to rebuild it, you have to pay for that difference. It is important to make sure that your home is not just insured for the market value, but rather the value to actually rebuild it back to the way it was before the disaster occurred. 

5.  Residence Loophole. 


If you move out of your home while you continue to own it, your homeowners insurance may have coverage exclusions or limitations due to the vacancy. Most consumers are not aware that once they stop living there, their homeowners insurance coverage may have limitations with regards to the dwelling itself. Before you plan to move out, be sure to call the best insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks to switch to the right policy with the right coverage.

6. High-Value Possessions. 


Many homeowners insurance policies will cover your personal belongings up to 50% of your dwelling limit. Generally, there are limits for reimbursing jewelry, silverware and collectibles, typically $1,000-$2,500. Also, many policies will cover your items if they are stolen, but not if they are lost or damaged and only pay out actual cash value rather than replacement cost. If you have valuable items, it's important to schedule items for additional coverage that will allow you to replace them. 

7. Too Little Too Late. 


If you have someone dependent on you then you need life insurance. Even if you have a life insurance policy, it may not be enough to cover all the expenses when you're gone. For example, a life insurance policy through your employer is likely only 1 to 3 times your salary. While that's better than nothing, it may not be enough coverage. The American Council of Life Insurers recommends that your life insurance coverage is 7 to 10 times a person's annual salary. Consider purchasing additional life insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks to cover the gap.

8. Low Disability Insurance Coverage. 


In 2013, according to the American Council of Life Insurers, only 32% of workers were covered by disability income insurance. Even if you have a policy through your employer, it might not be as comprehensive as you think. Most group disability plans will pay 60% of your income up to $10,000 per month. Most of us probably couldn't live on just 60% of our current income, let alone pay for the additional medical expenses associated with the disability. Also if a portion of your income is from commissions or bonuses, that amount is not used to calculate that 60%, so it could be even less that you receive. Consider purchasing supplemental disability coverage from your Lake of the Ozarks insurance company to fill the gaps.

To avoid having to make up the difference that insurance doesn't pay in the event of an accident or disaster, talk to your insurance agent today! At Insure the Lake, we're here to make sure you're covered for any possible scenario. We will work with you to get the best plan for you and your family. Contact us today at 573-348-2794!

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Top 5 Business Insurance Claims

According to an analysis of The Hartford's Small Business Claims, 4 out of 10 small businesses are likely to experience a property or general liability claim in the next 10 years. While the most common business claim is burglary, the most costly claims fall under reputational harm. Here are the top business insurance claims based on frequency and cost to the business, plus some ways to try and avoid them.

5 MOST COMMON CLAIMS


1. Burglary & Theft  


To help deter burglaries and theft, be sure to conduct pre-emplopyment background checks on all employees. Drug testing is also another option for minimizing theft within the company. To prevent outside burglars from entering  your business, consider installing devices that prevent unauthorized entrance into your building, installing fencing and gates around your parking lot and building, and installing exterior lighting and cameras.

2. Water & Freezing Damage  


To prevent water damage, be sure to keep the heat on when it's extremely cold out, even at night and while you're away. Keep your roofs clear of excessive snow and ice. Also, make sure that key personnel know where the water shutoff valve is located.

3. Wind & Hail Damage


Damage to your building caused by wind often involves dead tree limbs. Be sure to prune the trees around your building and remove any dead or broken branches. You should also conduct regular surveying of the grounds, making sure to move anything that could become a projectile during high winds. You also want to anchor any outdoor equipment that could be damaged or carried away by high winds.

4. Fire 


Be sure to create and familiarize employees on what to do in the event of a fire. Go over the emergency plan and test the evacuation route. Mark the evacuation route and practice fire drills regularly. Make sure the building is up to code, and test all fire and life safety equipment.

5. Customer Slip & Fall 


Slips and falls account for a significant number of injuries to customers and employees every year. From wet or greasy floors, clutter and debris, to uneven surfaces, improper cleaning, and lack of hazard identification, slips and falls are the most preventable accidents that occur in the workplace. Check out one of our previous blogs on slip and fall prevention.

5 MOST COSTLY CLAIMS


1. Reputational Harm 


Reputational harm claims include financial damages from libel, slander, defaming products or services, or violating privacy. While sometimes avoiding reputational harm can be out of your control, there are some things you can do to try and keep your reputation in great shape. Firstly, avoid criticism of  your competitors. Also, avoid copyright violations by either obtaining permission to use others' photos and content, or taking your own photos and writing your own content.

2. Vehicle Accident 


If you use a company vehicle to do any type of work, for example deliveries, you need to do everything possible to minimize the risk of an accident. Be sure to screen driving records before allowing any employees to drive the company vehicle. You should also never offer incentives for those who can deliver the fastest. You don't want anyone causing an accident based on somehting you told them to do for their job.

3. Fire 


In addition to making sure all employees know what to do in the event of a fire, you should also do everything you can to prevent a fire hazard. This includes checking your fire detectors regularly, securely storing flammable supplies, and never leaving cooking food unattended.

4. Product Liability 


Product liability insurance protects the business from claims related to the manufacture or sale of products, food, medicines or other goods to the public. There are generally three types of products "claims" a company may face: manufacturing or production flaws, design defects, and defective warnings or instructions. Often times these claims are also unavoidable, but you can have checks and balances in place to ensure that you're providing a great product to the public, including testing the products before distribution.

5. Customer Injury or Damage 


If you welcome customers to your office or store location, make sure that you have insurance coverage for both property and injury claims. As a business owner, you should do everything you can to make your store hazard-free and as safe as possible for your customers. However, with thousands of customers coming and going, there's bound to be an accident and many of those are caused by some form of negligence.

Unexpected events happen more often than small business owners realize. Making sure you have proper Lake of the Ozarks insurance coverage is vital to any business no matter the size. Contact Insure the Lake today to take a look at your coverage and make sure you're prepared for the unexpected.

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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