General Information

The Importance of Using a Single Agency
Why Are My Premiums Going Up?

 

Life & Health

Long Term Care
Nursing Home Tax Deduction
Term Life Rates
Term Insurance: One Step Beyond 

 

Personal

In-Home Businesses
Back-up of Sewers and Drains
Updating Umbrella Insurance

 

Commercial

Vacant Buildings
Updating Umbrella Insurance
In-Home Businesses
Trailers: The Long and Short Of It

 

Safety

Watch Out For Farm Equipment During Planting
Wear Helmet When Biking or Skating

 

 

 

 

General Information

 

The Importance of Using a Single Agency

C F & H would like to remind everyone of the benefits associated with placing all your insurance in one agency. You are much less likely to have a gap or duplication of coverage if all coverage is contained in one office. Additionally, discounts are available for multiple lines of coverage with one company in many situations. If you are interested in an umbrella policy, many companies require all the underlying insurance be placed with them. Lastly, often a client with multiple policies has a better possibility of being insured in a special or unique situation. If you have interest in adding to your insurance portfolio with C F & H Insurance, please contact your agent.

 

Why Are My Premiums Going Up?

Is this a question you've asked yourself recently? If not, you may be soon! The insurance marketplace has changed in the last year and we expect it to continue for the next few years. This shift in the marketplace is causing premiums to increase and companies to become conservative about the business they write. What's causing this sudden change in attitude? We've seen a drastic drop in the stock market. When companies were making higher returns from their investments, they could give you bargain rates on your insurance. Now, they must collect the proper premium for the risk because they have less income from investments to offset losses.

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What can you do to lower your costs?

While this is very frustrating, there are things you can do to lower your premiums:

  • Place both your home and auto coverage with our agency. Most companies offer home/auto discounts.
  • Take a look at your deductibles. Increasing them may save you 5-10% a year.
  • Ask what adjustments can be made to your home or building for additional discounts.
  • Keep your driving record clean.
  • Encourage your kids to remain eligible for the "good student" discount.
  • Keep your credit history in good shape.
  • If you're 55+ take a Defensive Driving class for an additional credit.

 


Life & Health

 

Long Term Care

If you are 50 years old, or will soon be there, you may want to consider your options concerning your long term care needs. Many people find the topic of long term care unsettling to discuss, however the financial problems associated with advancing age and declining health can present a devastating burden upon a family. Please call us to see how this burden can be lifted by proper long term care planning.

 

Nursing Home Tax Deduction

As of 1/1/1998, new legislation allows for certain Long Term Care policies to be tax deductible. These plans are referred to as "Qualified" plans, and are considered to be deductible as a medical expense. Consumers need to be aware that those deductions are subject to a 7.5% "floor" before they can be deducted. In other words, the total medical expenses must exceed 7.5% of the adjusted gross income, before they are eligible to be deducted.

Consumers also need to be aware that some of the claim benefits paid to the insured can now be considered income. Tax advisors are informing us that they have recently begun to see 1099 L. T.C. forms being sent to claimants. These forms are used to report taxable income to the IRS. If you are considering the purchase of a long term care policy, be sure to discuss the tax implications with your tax agent and tax advisor.

As we watch Congress slowly erode the government's support of home health care and nursing home benefits, the need for quality long term care and nursing home benefits, the need for quality long term care insurance will continue to rise dramatically. Some analysts state that the driving force behind this reduction of government support, is the fact that "Baby Boomers" will soon begin to retire, and the budget cannot handle such a heavy expense load. The "bottom line" is that we all need to be making arrangements to provide for our own long term care, as our government can not afford it.
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Term Life Rates

Do you have a need for life insurance? Now is the time to purchase! Several companies have dramatically reduced their term rates and some are now offering a 30-year guaranteed rate.

Due to recently enacted legislation by Congress, these rates may be short lived. Rates are expected to go back up in 2000, as the legislation requires companies to hold higher reserves.

For those of you currently carrying term insurance, it may be possible to lower the rate you are paying, while increasing the length of time the rate is guaranteed.

What, you don't have life insurance?! Now is a great time to purchase a reasonably priced life insurance product which can later be converted

Call Rick Rhodes or your agent at C F & H for more info! 217-762-2182
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Term Insurance: One Step Beyond

Term insurance is typically purchased to protect a growing family from the catastrophic loss of a "bread winner." Lower initial premiums offer the flexibility to fit immediate needs. However, over time, a more permanent and valuable life insurance contract may be needed to provide security and more stable premium payments for the future.

The low cost/high benefit of term insurance is the most attractive feature. Typically, however, term insurance premiums continue to rise with age. Some term contracts do offer premiums that remain level for a pre-determined number of years, but these contracts will experience significant premium increases in the future, or death benefits that decrease yearly. A policy that has long-term value and benefits and the flexibility to help cope with change is important. Therefore, converting a term policy to a permanent contract may make sense.

 

A Permanent Solution:

 

Why Convert to Permanent Insurance?

Converting your term policy to a permanent insurance contract can be important to your overall financial plan. Like term insurance, permanent insurance provides a guaranteed death benefit. There are also some other appealing benefits:

  • Premiums are designed to remain level for the life of your policy.
  • A portion of your premiums accumulate tax-deferred (cash value) and can be borrowed at favorable rates or withdrawn at any time.
  • You can use the policy's underlying cash values to help supplement retirement, college funding, or other future cash needs.

Converting your term insurance to a permanent contract may help provide maximum security and protection. You will be comfortable knowing your family will be provided for in the event of your untimely death. In addition, you will also feel a great sense of confidence knowing that your premiums are working hard at building tax-deferred cash values which may be important in the years to come. While this approach may not be for everyone, it is always wise to review your insurance options.

Please contact any of our agents if you are interested in converting your term policy to a permanent policy.
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Personal

 

In-Home Businesses

We are concerned that some of our clients have businesses in their homes which may not be covered if a loss occurs. If you file a Schedule C on your tax form or if you have a hobby or business activity where you sell a product you need to talk to us to be sure that your coverage is correct and would not create a problem on your homeowners policy, such as a denial of payment if a loss occurred.

 

Back-Up of Sewers and Drains

Backup of sewers and drains is not an automatic coverage under your homeowners policy. It must be added. It is a misconception that only homeowners with basements and belongings kept downstairs would have need of this coverage. Sewer and drain back-ups can happen in the upstairs area as well. The majority of claims paid under this coverage are for the clean up of the back-up into the crawl space or basement. Cleanup expenses can easily run $2000 and up. You may add this coverage to your homeowners policy in varying limits dependant on your company.
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Updating Umbrella Insurance

In today's society, lawsuits seem to occur over anything. For many years, we have recommended umbrellas for those who own their home and have automobiles, for farmers and for businesses. An umbrella is usually not very expensive and provides a large amount of additional coverage. All umbrellas require specific underlying coverage. They pay once a loss has occurred which exceeds those underlying limits. Companies are now taking a harder stance and will not pay if an insured fails to carry the required underlying limits. This situation often occurs when a new car, cycle, snowmobile, rental property, home, etc. is purchased and we are not informed of the change or addition. This is dangerous! Additionally, most companies require that they write the underlying coverage in order to provide the umbrella. Fortunately, we have a few companies that are less strict. The advantage is, we can write your underlying business at the lowest rates we have and still place your umbrella. The key to eliminating any questions about coverage is to call us when you add property, autos, or recreational vehicles so we get the necessary coverage put into force.


Commercial

 

Vacant Buildings

C F & H would like to remind customers to notify us immediately if their buildings become vacant. Adjustments must be made to your policy in order to compensate for coverage changes.

 

Updating Umbrella Insurance

In today's society, lawsuits seem to occur over anything. For many years, we have recommended umbrellas for those who own their home and have automobiles, for farmers and for businesses. An umbrella is usually not very expensive and provides a large amount of additional coverage. All umbrellas require specific underlying coverage. They pay once a loss has occurred which exceeds those underlying limits. Companies are now taking a harder stance and will not pay if an insured fails to carry the required underlying limits. This situation often occurs when a new car, cycle, snowmobile, rental property, home, etc. is purchased and we are not informed of the change or addition. This is dangerous! Additionally, most companies require that they write the underlying coverage in order to provide the umbrella. Fortunately, we have a few companies that are less strict. The advantage is, we can write your underlying business at the lowest rates we have and still place your umbrella. The key to eliminating any questions about coverage is to call us when you add property, autos, or recreational vehicles so we get the necessary coverage put into force.

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In-Home Businesses

We are concerned that some of our clients have businesses in their homes which may not be covered if a loss occurs. If you file a Schedule C on your tax form or if you have a hobby or business activity where you sell a product you need to talk to us to be sure that your coverage is correct and would not create a problem on your homeowners policy, such as a denial of payment if a loss occurred.

 

Trailers: The Long and Short of It

Do you drive a vehicle insured on a Business Auto policy? Do you also pull trailers (business or recreational) with that vehicle? If you are, you need to be aware of what and how the coverage for trailers apply on a business auto policy.

Unlike personal auto policies, there is no automatic liability coverage for a trailer you attach to your vehicle. A business auto policy will extend liability only to a trailer with a load capacity of 2,000 lbs. or less. Any trailer with a larger capacity must be specifically listed. Additionally, Hired and Non-owned coverage does not provide automatic coverage to all non-owned trailers. Trailers borrowed from your employees, partners or any members of their households are excluded. Some companies offer an endorsement to cover these gaps and others require the specific listing of each trailer.

Please let us know what you are pulling with your business auto so we can be sure to provide you with the correct coverage!

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Safety

 

Watch Out For Farm Equipment During Planting

"During planting and harvest seasons, farmers are hurrying to beat the weather and working longer hours. This fact and an increase in traffic on rural roads as subdivisions expand outside of city limits can contribute to an increase in the number of accidents involving farm equipment and other vehicles," says Brad Sayre, risk management and safety specialist.

The majority of these accidents occur between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. when many drivers are tired from a long day's work and less alert. Those accidents involving farm vehicles are about five times as likely to produce a fatality than other types of motor vehicle accidents, according to the Department of Transportation.

One in five farm vehicle accidents are rear-end collisions. Remember it only takes five seconds to close the gap the length of a football field if you are going 55 miles per hour and a tractor is going 15 mph.

Approximately 4% of farm equipment accidents involve passing, often drivers underestimate the length of the equipment being passed and pull back into the right lane to soon, clipping the machinery. Don't assume the farmer can move over to let you pass safely, the shoulder may be unable to support the equipment. Always be sure you can see the equipment in your rearview mirror before pulling back into the right lane.

Farmers can do their part by making sure they have slow-moving symbols clearly visible on their equipment. Additionally, they can make sure to check behind the equipment for driver's pulling out to pass them when making a left turn, another common farm equipment accident.

Farmers need to remember that traffic will inevitably try to pass. Others need to slow down for farm equipment. Drive defensively, because no one wins in a contest between farm equipment and a car or pick-up truck.

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Wear Helmet When Biking or Skating

Warmer weather, longer daylight hours and children playing from sunup to sundown are sure signs streets are streaming with cyclists, skateboarders and inline skaters of all ages. The most dangerous accidents these athletes face involve head injuries.

"The number one rule is to wear a helmet! While prices may vary, an approved helmet can be purchased for less than $10, a small price for safety," says Brad Sayre, risk management and safety specialist. "A proper-fitting helmet is the single most effective safety device one can wear. It reduces the risk of head injury or death associated with head injury," he says. Parents can set the best example by wearing helmets when they ride or skate.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety commission (CPSC) has issued a uniform, mandatory federal safety standard for all bike helmets. All helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States carry a label indicating they meet CPSC standards and provisions. When buying new helmets, look for the CPSC sticker label.

When buying a helmet, make sure it fits the wearer snugly. "This isn't an item for your child to grow into. It should be comfortable and sit level on the head. The strap should be cinched snug enough so the helmet doesn't rock back and forth more than an inch. Always buckle the strap before riding or skating." Sayre says.

When riding or skating, remember to follow the rules of the road: Ride with the flow of traffic; Obey traffic signs and signals at all intersections; Wear reflective clothing.

Skater should always wear a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, kneepads and gloves. Wrist guards and elbow pads reduce injury risk by 80%.

Whatever sport you or your children play this summer, think safety first and use sunscreen," Sayre says.

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