To Buy or Not to Buy Rental Car Insurance

Posted on Sun, Jul 26, 2015

Rental_CarRemember the last time you were standing at the rental car counter holding that contract that is pages long and in really small print?  Did you hesitate in the section about insurance?  That’s the point where you have to decide to buy or not to buy the rental company’s insurance.  Ugh! What to do?

The Insurance Information Institute has some great tips on making that decision in their article Rental Car Insurance.  Some of their ideas are included below.

Make two phone calls before you rent a car

Call Your Insurance Company

If you own a car, find out how much coverage you already have. In most cases, whatever insurance and deductibles provided by your auto policy would apply to a rental car, providing you are using the car for recreation, not business. However, if you have dropped either comprehensive or collision on your own car as a way to reduce costs, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Ask if your insurance company pays for administrative fees, loss of use or towing charges. An insurance rider may be available to cover some of these costs, which would make it less expensive than purchasing coverage through the rental car company.

Talk to Your Credit Card Company

Most credit card companies provide some level of insurance for rental cars.  Call the toll-free number on the back of the card you plan to use to rent the car.  Ask them to send you the rental car coverage information in writing.  Usually the credit car benefits are secondary to either your personal auto insurance policy or the coverage offered by the rental car company.

Insurance benefits differ widely by both the credit card company and/or the bank that issues the card, as well as by the level of credit card used. Credit cards generally do not provide personal liability coverage. Some credit card companies may provide coverage for towing, but may not provide for diminished value or administrative fees.

Considering Alternative Rental Options?

The Internet has made other alternatives to brick and mortar car rental companies easy to find.  Like Peer-to-Peer car services which enable consumers to rent personally owned cars from others and car sharing programs allowing consumers to pick up cars in a wide range of locations for short or long periods of time and usually require a monthly or annual fee.

Car Sharing and Peer-to-Peer Car Rental Insurance

The insurance offered by these companies is not standardized. It is therefore important to go to the company’s website to read the insurance coverage information carefully. If you have any questions, call the customer service number listed on the website. And contact your auto insurer if you feel you need more information to make an educated insurance coverage decision.

Need Some Help Sorting Out the Options?

That’s exactly what we are here for – to answer your questions and to  meet your insurance needs.  We welcome your calls.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: rental car insurance, credit cards and car rental insurance, auto insurance

Combating Cybercrime on a SMBs Budget

Posted on Sun, Jul 19, 2015

binarycodebluetunnel366Which businesses are most frequently the victims of a cybercrime?  Most of us immediately think of the massive cyber breaches of Target, Neiman-Marcus,  Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS, and Walmart to name a few.  According to Verizon’a 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report, 71% of the data breaches investigated by the company’s forensic analysis unit targeted small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.  Of that group, businesses with less than 10 employees were the most frequently attacked.  Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are now a major target for cyber attacks.

Our friends at Atiwa Computing Inc. have provided an eGuide – Combating Cybercrime on a SMBS Budget.  We have selected the excerpts below from their publication to share with you. 

To Stay Secure an Good Defense is the Best Offense

SMBs must understand that the time has come to get serious with their security. Sadly, many small businesses have a false sense of security. In the McAfee/ Office Depot joint survey of 1000 SMBs, over 66% were confident in the security of their data and devices despite admitting to obvious flaws.

Cybercrime is only one cause of compromised data. There are 3 primary causes of breached security at businesses according to the June 2013 Symantec Global Cost of a Data Breach study. Only 37% are attributed to malicious attacks. The remaining 64% are human error and technology errors.

Data breaches aren’t always about bad people doing bad things. Many are the result of good employees making mistakes or of technology failure. SMBs don’t necessarily need a large budget or dozens of employees to adequately protect sensitive data. A secure environment is possible even on a SMBs budget. Here are a few steps to improving data and network security.

STEP 1: KNOW ALL DEVICES CONNECTING TO YOUR NETWORK

Keep a frequently updated list of every device that connects to your network. This inventory is especially important given today’s BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) workplace where employees can access your network through several different devices. Knowing what these devices are and ensuring they’re all configured properly will optimize network security.

All it takes is a regularly scheduled review to add or remove any devices and affirm that every endpoint is secure. Much of this process can be inexpensively automated through a Mobile Device Monitoring (MDM) tool.  A MDM tool will approve or quarantine any new device accessing the network, enforce encryption setting is sensitive information is stored on such a device, and remotely locate, lock, and wipe company data from lost or stolen devices.

STEP 2: EDUCATE & TRAIN EMPLOYEES

Every employee should participate in regular general awareness security training. This will not only reduce security breaches directly tied to employee error or negligence but also train employees to be on the defense against cybercrime. Employees are critical to your security success and the prevention of data breaches. Hackers commonly break into networks by taking advantage of unknowing employees. Phishing attacks – legitimate looking emails specifically crafted to mislead recipients into clicking a malicious link where they’re asked to provide their username and password - are still successfully used by hackers to capture login credentials.

If a large company makes the news for a data breach tied to an infected email, be sure to share that news with employees with a warning. Come up with fun ways to teach employees how to identify spearphishing email attempts and better secure their systems and devices.

It is also important to have a security policy written for employees that clearly identifies the best practices for internal and remote workers. For example, password security is critical and passwords should be frequently updated to a combination of numbers, lower case letters and special characters that cannot be easily guessed. Security policy training should be integrated into any new employee orientation. This policy should be updated periodically. More important than anything, this security policy must be enforced to be effective.

STEP 3: PERFORM AN AUDIT OF SENSITIVE BUSINESS INFORMATION

If you want to keep your most sensitive business information secure, it’s important to know exactly where it’s stored. A detailed quarterly audit is recommended.

STEP 4: USE CLOUD AND MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDERS

Overall, the cloud is likely a more secure data solution for small business. Any conception that the cloud isn’t safe is outdated. Most of 2013’s security breaches were the result of lost or stolen devices, printed documents falling into the wrong hands, and employee errors leading to unintended disclosures. It’s fair to speculate that many of these breaches wouldn’t have occurred had this information been stored in the cloud rather than computers, laptops, and vulnerable servers.

SMBs with limited budgets are actually enhancing their security by moving to the cloud. Since there is no way a SMB can match a large enterprise’s internal services, moving services like emails, backups, and collaborative file sharing to the cloud not only reduces total-cost-of- ownership, and gives access to top-level security to better defend against internal and external threats.

Meanwhile, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can assume responsibility for security measures like the administering of complex security devices, technical controls like firewalls, patching, antivirus software updates, intrusion-detection and log analysis systems.

MSPs are also capable of generating a branded risk report for any potential client or business partner reviewing your security measures. This third-party manual assessment of your network security can instill confidence in prospective business partners by proving to them that any possible security risks or vulnerabilities will be properly managed and addressed.

ATIWA Computing Inc. is ready to answer your cyber breach prevention questions.  We hope that the information in this article will be useful in protecting your business. 

At Dean & Draper we are your source for information and choices for your cyber breach insurance protection.  We welcome your calls.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Tech Alert, Cyber Liability Inaurance, Cybercrime

Vacation Security for You Home

Posted on Sun, Jul 12, 2015

Multi-Generation Family Unpacking Car On Camping Trip © flairimagesJuly is the most popular month for vacations, with 44 percent of Americans taking at least one summer vacation saying they would vacation that month according to Morpace Omnibus. 

The FBI reports that crime rates increase approximately 10% in June, July, and August.  87% of burglaries are considered preventable and that approximately 30% of all burglaries are committed without force courtesy of an unlocked door or window.  The simple reason for the crime rise could be because people let their guards down. In the rush to get ready for vacation, home security is often forgotten.

The moral of this story is to take a few extra minutes to secure your home before you take off on that well deserved vacation. Here are some tips to help you relax on vacation knowing your home is safe and secure.

Burglars won't find your home an "easy mark" if they are forced to work in the light, if they have to take a lot of time breaking in, or if they can't break in without making a lot of noise.  Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.

Below are some tips from our friends at the Insurance Information Institute.  

Take Time to “Case” Your Home

Where is the easiest entry?  How can you make it more burglar-resistant?

  • Trim trees and shrubs near doors and windows and think carefully before installing a high, wooden fence around your back yard.  High fences and shrubbery can add to your privacy and also be an asset to a burglar. 
  • Force any would-be burglar to confront a real enemy – light.  Exterior lights and motion detectors mounted out of easy reach can reduce the darkness a burglar finds comforting.
  • Simple security devices – nails, screws, padlocks, door and window locks, gates, bars and bolts – can increase the amount of time it takes to break into your home.
  • Invest in a burglar alarm.  The most effective ones also notify an outside monitoring service.
  • Are any of your valuables—paintings, a silver collection or a computer—easy to see from outside the house? Rearranging your furnishings might be advisable if it makes your home less inviting to criminals. 

Vacation Tips

  • Stay off social media. Don’t post travel plans, “check-in”, or post photos while you are away.
  • Have mail and packages picked up, forwarded, or held by the post office.
  • Lower the sound of you telephone ringer and answering machine so they can’t be heard outside.
  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed.
  • Stop newspaper deliveries.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up “throw away” newspapers and circulars.
  • Use automatic timers to torn lights on and off in various parts of the house at appropriate times.  Consider connecting a radio to a timer.
  • Tell police and dependable neighbors when you plan to be away and join with your neighbors to keep a close watch on what’s happening in your area.
  • Put all tools and ladders away after you’ve used them. Ladders can be used to climb in second story windows and tools like hammers or screwdrivers can be used to gain entry.

At Dean & Draper we wish you a relaxing and safe vacation.  We also welcome your calls and questions about your home owner insurance coverage. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: homeowners insurance, Home Safety, Vacation Tips Protect Home, Prevent Home Burglaries

Home-Based Business Insurance

Posted on Sun, Jul 05, 2015

Fotolia_84459949_XSSetting up an office in your home is a great, low cost idea for housing a new small business.  While you’re planning you business expenses, consider your insurance needs as well.  In an article from the Insurance Information Institute, some thought provoking questions are listed.  The Small Business Administration also has great information for building a successful business including business plans, SBA loans, business management, and educational seminars. 

Whether you’re running a part-time, seasonal or full-time business from your home, you’ll want to carefully consider your risks and insurance needs. Starting a business—even at home—can be a challenging venture, and having the right insurance can provide a financial safety net and peace of mind.

Your insurance choices should, in part, be based on the type of business you operate. For instance, if you’re a sole practitioner home-based accountant, you’ll have very different insurance needs than your neighbor who runs a childcare business. When considering insurance for your business, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What type of business do I run? What are the potential risks faced by your type of business?
  • What is the value of my business property? Do you have expensive equipment, such as cameras or commercial printers? Do you stock valuable business inventory, such as gemstones?
  • Does my business have employees?
  • Do customers or contractors visit my business at my home?
  • Do I use my car or other vehicles in the course of my business operations?
  • Does my business store customers’ financial and personal information on a computer or through a cloud computing service?

The answers to these questions will guide which types of insurance to purchase—and how much coverage you’ll need. For your home-based business, the main types of insurance to consider include the following:

Property and Liability Insurance

Depending on the nature of your home-based business, you’ll need insurance to protect the value of your business property from loss due to theft, fire or other insured perils. You’ll also need liability protection to cover costs if someone is injured as a result of visiting your business or using your product or service. Your homeowners insurance may provide some protection for your business, but it may not be sufficient. Options for property and liability insurance for home-based businesses include:

  • Adding an “endorsement” to your homeowners policy
  • Stand-alone home-based business insurance policies
  • A Business Owners Policy—or BOP—which combines several types of coverage

Business Vehicle Insurance

Your personal auto insurance may provide coverage for limited business use of your car. But if your business owns vehicles or your personal vehicle is primarily used for business purposes, you’ll need business vehicle insurance.

Workers Compensation Insurance

If you have employees, you’ll want to strongly consider purchasing workers compensation insurance to cover costs if an employee is hurt on the job. Workers compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment, in exchange for relinquishing the right to sue the employer. In some states, workers compensation insurance is mandatory, so be sure to check your state’s workers compensation website for local requirements.

Other types of insurance may be suitable for your home-based business as well. We welcome your call and will happily supply you with the information you need to make a good, knowledge-based decision.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Business Insurance, property insurance, auto insurance, workers compensation, Liability Insurance, Home-Based Business Insurance,

D&D OFFICE CLOSING EARLY TODAY & CLOSED TOMORROW

Posted on Thu, Jul 02, 2015

have-a-happy-and-safe-4th-of-july-graphic

Dean & Draper's office will be closing at 3:00 p.m. today and closed on Friday, July 3rd. Regular business hours will resume on Monday, July 6th.  

Topics: Dean & Draper News

Lightning Safety & Insurance Coverage

Posted on Sun, Jun 28, 2015

Fotolia_53756145_XSThe recent storms in southeast Texas have given us all a new respect for lightning and possibly brought up some thoughts about insurance coverage for both home and business.

Just how much lightning are we talking about?  Thanks to its location on the Gulf Coast, Texas is among the world's hot spots for lightning strikes.  And Houston is the lightning center of Texas, recording about 1,700 strikes in June and July each year, according to research at Texas A&M University.

NOAA

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, lightning results from the buildup and discharge of electrical energy between positive and negatively charged areas. Most lightning deaths or injuries occur when people are on a golf course, near water, or standing under trees for shelter. The late afternoon or early evening hours during the summer are the most common times for lightning casualties nationwide, but they can occur just about any time of year near the Gulf coast. The Gulf coast has the highest incidences of lightning strikes annually throughout the U.S.  For more information from NOAA,click here. 

Lightning Mapping Array

Texas A&M University has installed a Lightning Mapping Array, LMA, around the Houston.  Twelve sensors are distributed around the Houston metropolitan area in order to provide total lightning data for the fourth most populated American city.

The primary research goals of the network are to investigate the structure of total lightning within thunderstorm development and to examine any potential impact of the urban environment on lightning characteristics. Furthermore, the proximity to the coast and the Gulf of Mexico presents the opportunity to examine the total lightning structure within tropical cyclones that impact the southeast Texas coastline. The availability of real-time LMA data additionally provides a decision support tool for advanced warning of thunderstorm development.  To see real time LMA maps of the Houston area, click here.

Lightning Coverage and Safety

Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard homeowners and business insurance policies. Some home and business insurance policies provide coverage for power surges that are the direct result of lightning striking a home or business. There is also coverage for lightning damage under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy.

With the explosion in the number and value of consumer electronics in homes, such as flat screen TVs, home entertainment centers, multiple computers, gaming systems and other expensive devices, it is more important than ever to take precautions.

The Insurance Information Institute offers the following tips to protect homes and businesses against power surges and lightning strikes: 

Install a lightning protection system. A lightning protection system supplies structural protection by providing a specified path on which lightning can travel. When a building is equipped with a lightning protection system, the destructive power of the lightning strike is directed safely into the ground, leaving the structure and its contents undamaged.

The system includes a lightning rod or air terminals at the top of the house that can be disguised to look like a weather vane and wires to carry the current down to grounding rods at the bottom of the house.

According to the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the lightning protection system needs to be securely anchored to the roof; otherwise it may whip around in a storm and damage the building. So make sure to have a licensed electrician install your lightning rod and protection system.

Use surge protectors. Today’s sensitive electronic equipment is particularly vulnerable to lightning. To assure the highest level of protection, UL-listed surge arrestors should be installed on electrical service panels. Installations typically include surge arrestors for the main electric panel, as well as incoming phone, cable, satellite and data lines. 

Surge arrestors protect against damaging electrical surges that can enter a structure via power transmission lines. By filtering and dissipating the harmful surges, arrestors prevent electrical fires and protect against electrical discharges that can damage a building's electrical system, computers, appliances and other systems. UL-listed transient voltage surge suppressors can also be installed to protect specific pieces of electronic equipment. Keep in mind that power strips offer little protection from electrical power surges.

Unplug expensive electronic equipment. As an added precaution, unplug expensive electronic equipment such as TVs, computers and the like if you know a storm is approaching.

Wondering if your insurance policy covers lightning strikes?  We would be happy to have a conversation with you to answer your questions.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: homeowners insurance, Business Insurance, Business Safety, Lightning Safety

6 Game Changing Medical Tests

Posted on Sun, Jun 21, 2015

senior-citizen-health-conditions-739389Seems like the array of medical tests increases daily.  Our friends at AARP published their list of the newest generation of tests that are game changers backed by real science.  Here are the 6 tests that identify who’s at risk for certain diseases as well as determine the best treatment.  For the complete article written by Margery D. Rosen in the AARP Bulletin, click here.

1. Less-guess prostate test

Men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a tough choice among a range of options: from surgical removal of the prostate — difficulty with urination and impotence can be side effects — to watchful waiting. The Oncotype DX prostate cancer test is making the decision easier. By analyzing genetic information in a biopsy, the test distinguishes between slow-growing tumors that warrant regular monitoring and faster-growing tumors that demand immediate treatment.

2. Meds and genes

Medications affect people in different ways. "By analyzing each person's genetic code, it's now possible to predict which drugs will work best for each patient and which ones are ineffective and possibly dangerous," says Dietrich Stephan, M.D., a professor and chairman of the department of human genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The Food and Drug Administration has posted on its website more than 150 medications for which DNA screenings can help avert futile treatments or adverse reactions and determine optimal dosages.

3. Blood simple

Elizabeth Holmes, a 31-year-old Stanford University dropout and self-made billionaire, vowed to revolutionize the field of blood testing — and she's doing it, one pinprick at a time. With a few drops drawn from a poke in your fingertip, the formula patented by Holmes' company, Theranos, can perform more than 200 blood tests — from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated DNA analyses. Theranos delivers results to doctors within a few hours. What's more, the cost is a fraction of what competing labs charge.

4. Dreading that colonoscopy?

Some people have a new alternative: the PillCam COLON2. Recently approved by the FDA, it's a disposable, battery-run video camera in a capsule you swallow. Traveling through you for up to 10 hours, the PillCam transmits high-speed color pictures of its journey to a recording device, attached to a belt around your waist, which relays those images for your doctor's review. For now, the PillCam is available only for people who can't have a traditional colonoscopy.

5. Heart trouble ahead?

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have found a correlation between people's level of a substance called TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide) and cardiovascular trouble. In a study, those with the highest levels of TMAO — produced when you digest choline, found in eggs, red meat and dairy products — had double the risk of death, heart attack and stroke compared to those with the lowest levels. "But with this test, we can give them personalized nutrition information so they can begin to make heart-healthy food choices," says Roizen, author of the book This Is Your Do-Over. The Cleveland Clinic expects TMAO tests to be commercially available this year.

6. Your personal ECG

AliveCor Heart Monitor (about $75), ECG Check by Cardiac Designs (about $129) and similar monitors use your smartphone to record an accurate electrocardiogram (ECG) and send it to your doctor. You simply attach a thin device with built-in sensors onto the back of your phone and download a free app. With a smartphone handy, you can whip it out at the first sign of light-headedness or heart palpitations and simply rest your fingers on the sensors.

Dean & Draper

We hope that you will find this new information about medical tests useful.  At Dean & Draper, we are here to answer your questions about your health insurance and to guide you through purchasing the insurance you need.

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: health insurance, Health Tips, Aging Well, Medical Tests

DEAN & DRAPER OFFICE CLOSED TODAY - 6/16/2015

Posted on Tue, Jun 16, 2015

As a precautinary measure and for the safety of our employees our office will be closed today. Weather permitting we will resume normal business hours on 6/17/2015. You can reach a customer service respresentative by calling our main number and pressing 7 during the message.  Thank you.

Summertime Bugs, Bites, Stings, and Burns

Posted on Sun, Jun 14, 2015

 

It’s finally summer and we’re all ready for a change of pace.  The backyard, beach, and all outdoors beckon and we’re all too ready to oblige.  

Fotolia_69548423_XS

Before you head out, how about a few tips from our friends at AARP Magazine to keep you safe and comfortable?

Bugs, Bites, and Stings

Angry wasps

Wasps are aggressive, so hightail it out of there if you disturb a nest. If a wasp gets you, remove the stinger with a fingernail or tweezers and apply a topical antihistamine.

Buzzing bees

Swarming bees are not usually after you; they're protecting the queen. But if a swarm does attack, cover your nose and mouth, then call 911. Stings can be deadly.

Bloodthirsty mosquitoes

Repellents with DEET work best. Want to go chemical-free? Keep the bloodsuckers at bay with citronella or a fan — or try soybean oil on your skin.

Ticks

Ticks can transmit diseases and are notoriously hard to avoid, but tucking long pants into your socks and wearing long-sleeved shirts are a good first defense. Plus, consider planting American beautyberry. Crush the leaves and rub them on your skin to release chemicals that repel ticks and also mosquitoes, advise scientists at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service. If you do find a tick, use tweezers to grasp it as close to the skin as possible and pull up with steady, even pressure, making sure you get the whole bug. Clean the bite and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. If the area shows a target-shaped rash afterward, see your doctor — it could be a sign of Lyme disease.

Stinging jellyfish

If tentacles are sticking to the skin, rinse with salt water and scrape off barbs with a Popsicle stick or credit card. Depending on the type of jellyfish, vinegar can stop the stingers from continuing to fire, says Joseph Burnett, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Don't believe the old wives' tale that urine can relieve the pain of a jellyfish sting. It won't help.

Fire Ants

No blog about stings and bites would be complete without mentioning those pesky fire ants.  Fire ants are sensitive to vibration or movement and tend to sting when the object they are on moves.  For example, when fire ants swarn up a person's leg, the person jerks or moves.  Usually, whatever causes one ant to bite and sting triggers the other ants to sting to the same response.

If you get stung, there isn’t much you can do except watch the affected area for excessive swelling, itching or redness, or other symptoms like shortness of breath, thickening of the tongue, sweating, etc. that could indicate a severe systemic allergic reaction. If this occurs, seek medical attention. Otherwise treat stings as you would stings of other insects and keep them clean and intact to avoid secondary infections.  For FAQs from the Texas Extension Service and information on getting rid of fire ants, click here

First Aid

A splinter in your thumb

First, cut a square from a banana peel and put it white-side down on the splinter. Then cover it with a bandage. The enzymes in the peel will draw out the splinter.  No banana? Spread Elmer's glue on the splinter, let it dry and peel it off.

Sand in your eye

Rinse your eye with saline solution if you have it, plain water if you don't, says Jerry Sebag, an ophthalmologist in Huntington Beach, Calif. Rinse for three minutes, then apply eyedrops. Close your eyes and cover them with a cool compress for 10 minutes to reduce inflammation. Warning: Don't rub — doing so could scratch your cornea, a painful condition indeed.

Heat exhaustion

Your internal cooling system doesn't work as well as you age, so if you're feeling dizzy or light-headed and your skin is clammy, those are sure signs you're becoming overheated. Immediately find shade and elevate your feet, then rehydrate with cool water. (Avoid ice water, which is not as easily absorbed.) Pouring cool water on your wrists and feet can also help lower your body temp more quickly.

Summer Fun

We’re wishing you a fun-filled, safe summer.  When you have questions about insurance or want to shop your coverage we invite you to call us. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: health insurance, Health Alert, Summer Safety

Living Benefits for Life Insurance

Posted on Sun, Jun 07, 2015

imagesCARFPH6OGenerally Life Insurance is thought of as a benefit for loved ones on the event of the policy holder’s death or loss of income.  Now there’s another choice – Term Life that also features living benefits that can be used while the policy holder is still alive. 

Living Benefits

Three living benefit riders included with the policy at no additional premium include:

  • Critical Illness
  • Chronic Illness
  • Terminal Illness

How do these benefits work?

These three benefits are Accelerated Benefit Riders, meaning you have the option to accelerate, or take a portion of your death benefit early, in the event of a serious illness.  Here’s how these benefits work:

  • You have the choice to accelerate up to 95% of your death benefit
  • Your current health condition and life expectancy determine the actual amount you can receive, which will be less than your accelerated amount
  • You have the ability to accept the offer or maintain your initial death benefit
  • If you accept the benefit offer, your premium is reduced proportionally based on your new lower death benefit

Critical Illness Benefit

The Critical Illness Rider gives you the option to accelerate a portion of your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a heart attack, stroke, cancer, renal failure, major organ transplant, or ALS.

Chronic Illness Benefit

The Chronic Illness Rider gives you the option to accelerate a portion of your death benefit if you are certified by a Physician as being unable to perform at least two ADLs or activities of daily living (bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring) or if you require substantial supervision due to severe cognitive impairment. 

Terminal Illness Benefit

The Terminal Illness Rider gives you the option to accelerate a portion of your death benefit if you are diagnosed as terminally ill with a life expectancy of one year or less. 

Examples of the benefits

Critical Illness Benefit

At age 40 Randi purchased Term Life with 30-year duration and a $250,000 death benefit.  Randi is diagnosed with breast cancer at age 62.  Randi chooses to exercise her critical illness rider and receive a portion of her death benefit early.  She plans to use the money to help the family cover her medical expenses and make up for her husband’s lost income while he cares for her.

  1. Base Policy Death Benefit = $250,000
  2. Randi accelerates 95% of her death benefit or $237,500
  3. Her actually benefit amount will be based on the severity of her illness and its impact on her future life expectancy.  Given her condition, Randi receives a benefit of $143,238.
  4. Randi can use the benefit for any purpose.
  5. Her remaining death benefit is now $12,500.  Her future premium will be reduces based on her new lower death benefit.

Chronic Illness Benefit

Joe purchased Term Life at age 60 with a 20-year duration and a $200,000 death benefit.  Ten years later at age 70, Joe is suffering from complications related to COPD that have left him unable to perform two ADLs.  Joe decides to exercise his chronic illness rider to help pay for his care assistance.

Two years later, Joe’s condition has not improved and he decides to exercise his rider a second time to pay for his extensive medical costs.

Joe passes away one year later.  His beneficiaries will receive his remaining death benefit which will help them pay for his final expenses.

  1. Base Policy Death Benefit = $200,00
  2. First Election: 50% of death benefit or $100,000.  His actual benefit amount will be based on the severity of his illness and its impact on his future life expectancy.  In Joe’s case, he receives a lump-sum benefit of $82,030 which can be used however Joe wishes.
  3. Second Election: Joe accelerates 90% if his remaining death benefit or $90,000.  He receives a lump-sum of $73,469 based in his current life expectancy.
  4. Joe dies at age 73.  His remaining death benefit of $10,000 is paid to his beneficiaries.

Terminal Illness Benefit

At age 50 Howard purchases Term Life with a $150,000 death benefit and 20-year duration.  When Howard is 65, his doctor informs him that he has less than 12 months to live.  Howard exercises his terminal illness rider and plans to use the money to take his children and grandchildren on a family vacation while he is still able to do so.  He passes away 9 months later.

  1. Base Policy Death Benefit = $150,000
  2. Howard accelerates 95% of his death benefit or $142,500.  He receives a benefit of $134,434 which he can use for any type of expense.
  3. His remaining death benefit of $7,500 is paid to his beneficiaries upon his death.  His premium is reduced proportionally.

For More Information…

At Dean & Draper we are always ready to answer your questions, provide additional information, and help you make decisions about your insurance. 

Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients.  ContactUs.

Topics: Life Insurance