2020 Open Enrollment Period and What You Need To Know

It’s surprising to find out a lot of people don’t realize that individuals not offered health insurance from their employers (or their family member’s employer) have a fixed period of time to buy health insurance or to make changes to their existing policy for the upcoming calendar year. If you miss the window, you won’t be able to pick up coverage that covers pre-existing conditions, for example, until this same time next year, effective January 2021.  So, what are you waiting for?

Open enrollment for on-marketplace plans begins on November 1, 2019, although there are some people who can purchase insurance starting October 1st .  We all know health insurance is important.  If you find yourself uninsured because your employer does not offer health insurance and frankly, you just can’t afford the age-based premium, we can assure you finding yourself on the losing end of an unexpected $89,000 hospital bill is no fun.    

Did you know that an estimated two million Floridians eligible for the federal advance premium tax credit   designed to offset the cost of health insurance are not taking advantage of the program?  Unfortunately, many people believe that they earn too much or are not eligible because they’ve been offered COBRA, but that is often not really the case. While each situation is unique, the basics are these: the tax credit is offered to individuals who:

  1. Are not offered health insurance from an employer and
  2. Earn enough to file a tax return but have household incomes that are less than 40% of the federal poverty limit.*

Self-employed individuals like small business owners, realtors, and independent sub-contractors in the construction industry as well as seasonal or part-time employees not offered benefits by an employer often assume they make either too much or not enough money to qualify for the credit.  It has been my experience that these same people incorrectly calculate their income.  Additionally, these same people also incorrectly assume this is somehow affiliated with Medicaid or some sort of handout, so they refuse to have a discussion with a trained and well-informed health insurance agent, much to their own detriment.

If you’re uninsured and you haven’t recently checked your options, if you’re navigating the purchasing of health insurance on your own without an agent thereby possibly leaving money on the table, reach out to Peoples First Insurance for more information.  While we are pretty sure dealing with health insurance isn’t anyone’s favorite thing, we can assure you that you’ll be grateful for it if you find yourself needing it.

*This is an oversimplification and does not cover every possible scenario.  All individuals are encouraged to discuss their unique situation with a trained agent and eligibility is ultimately determined by the federal government upon submission of a completed health insurance application.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

The Importance of Life Insurance Awareness Month

Life Insurance is one of the best ways to protect your loved ones especially if they depend on you financially. Every September we celebrate Life Insurance Awareness Month to educate and inform others of its importance. It’s not an easy topic to discuss but it may be one of the most important decisions you could make for your future and your family.

A study done in 2019 by Insurance Barometer (Life Happens/LIMRA) said only 57 percent of Americans have life insurance. The question then comes up why do only a little over half of Americans have life insurance? There is no solid answer to this question, but we can clarify on many misconceptions about life insurance.

The cost of life insurance varies depending on your age and health so it’s important to seek out the best products from reputable carriers that fit your needs. Many Americans think life insurance is too expensive which leads them to not even get a quote. Another misconception to life insurance is that people are simply misinformed and don’t realize the purpose of it and all the good it can do for you and your loved ones. Life insurance can pay certain bills, cover funeral cost, serve as an inheritance for a family member, and much more.

Life Insurance doesn’t have to be a hassle to purchase and our friendly staff can guide you along the way. If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about life insurance call us or use our online quote center and we will do our best to serve you.

The Benefits of Flood Insurance

The Benefits of Flood Insurance

What Protection Does it Offer?

A standard homeowners policy does not cover damages from flooding. A separate flood policy is needed to cover losses to your property caused by flooding, which provides coverage for things such as:

  • Structural damage
  • Furnace, water heater and central air-conditioning
  • Flood debris clean up
  • Electrical and plumbing systems

Cost of Coverage

As a homeowner, you can insure your home for up to $250,000 and its contents up to $100,000. For this $250,000/$100,000 building and contents coverage, yearly premiums average $405 in low- to moderate-risk areas. If your home is located in a high-risk area, talk to the professionals at Peoples First Insurance Services, LLC to determine your premium.

While it is up to the property owner to decide if they want to cover the building, if you are a renter, you can cover your belongings up to $100,000.

Stay Protected

Flood insurance means you’ll be reimbursed for all of your covered losses. As long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you’re eligible to purchase flood insurance.

In general, a policy does not take effect until 30 days after you purchase flood insurance. However, if your lender requires flood insurance in connection with the making, increasing, extending or renewing of your loan, there is no waiting period.

For more information on flood insurance, including premium costs, levels of coverage and the flood risk for your area, visit Floodsmart.gov or contact Peoples First Insurance Services, LLC.

Water Losses and Flood Damage

For your losses to be covered under a flood insurance policy, the following definition of a flood applies:

“A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: overflow of inland or tidal waters; and unusual and rapid accumulation.”

Federal Disaster Assistance

Federal disaster assistance is only available if the president formally declares a disaster. Even if you do get disaster assistance, it’s often a loan you have to repay with interest.

Helpful tips for keeping you hydrated in the heat

Helpful tips for keeping you hydrated in the heat

In the simplest terms, dehydration occurs when you lose more water than you take in. Staying hydrated is important to keep all your body functions running smoothly. Whenever you are outdoors or in warm environments, you’ll want to take extra precautions as summer heats up.

Water Loss

Woman drinking water

 

 

 

 

 

 

On average, adults lose almost 10 cups of water a day simply by sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom. Along with water, you also lose electrolytes, which are vital because they help maintain the balance of fluids in the body. When you become dehydrated, your body cannot function, possibly resulting in heat stroke or even death.

Symptoms

How do you know if you’re dehydrated? You’ll begin to experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

If you start to notice these warning signs, do not ignore them! Immediately take a break and give yourself time to recover.

Preventing Dehydration

The best defense against dehydration is prevention. That sounds easy enough—consume lots of fluids and foods high in water such as fruits and vegetables—but determining how much fluid can be complicated.

Unfortunately, determining appropriate water intake isn’t an exact science, especially because so much depends on age, physical condition, activity level, location and body chemistry. The best overall approach is to make a conscious effort to stay hydrated, and continue drinking even if you don’t feel thirsty. In hot weather, skip coffee or soda, and make water your beverage of choice.

Pace Yourself

During periods of heavy exertion, take frequent water breaks. Adjust your intake to match your activity level and working conditions to stay healthy and alert.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Firework Safety

National Insurance Awareness Day

National Insurance Awareness Day

Insurance can be a complicated matter and many people do not pay much attention to it until they need it.  This is why it is important that you have the proper knowledge and awareness of your insurance prior to needing it. Damage, Illness, or even death can occur at any moment in life. For this reason, you will want to make sure that you and your loved ones are insured. Insurance Awareness Day reminds you to take time and talk to your insurance agent about all of your policies to ensure that you are properly informed.

 

History of Insurance

Insurance has been around far longer than most people think. Insurance’s birth year was around 3000 B.C. when the Chinese introduced it by spreading out their goods upon several ships to avoid major loss if an accident were to happen. In 1666 A.D., Nicholas Barbon created the first insurance company after a massive fire broke out in London. Then, in the 1850s along came health insurance. After that, in 1897, car insurance was introduced. Fast forward to present day and now almost anything you can think of can be insured. Although the basic principles are the same, insurance has come a long way since 3000 B.C.

Actions

The best way to participate in Insurance Awareness Day is by talking to an insurance agent that can review various policies for you and your family. And remember, always stay informed.

 

The Importance of Insurance Awareness Day

Life comes at you fast and if you are not insured this could make the matter even worse. Insurance offers security for both you and your loved ones and can it be crucial to have in times of need. The importance of this day is to make sure that not only you are covered, but your loved ones as well. Even though it may seem like a hassle, it will surely pay off in the future.

Preparing for the 2019 Hurricane Season

HOME MATTERS

The Importance of Being Prepared

Hurricane season lasts from June through November, when storms with heavy rains and catastrophic winds can severely damage or destroy homes in low-lying coastal areas. There is no time like the present to work together to create emergency kits: one for use if you need to evacuate your home and one for use if you get trapped in your home for several days.

Here are some suggestions on what to do before, during and after a storm.

BEFORE:

  • Refill prescriptions, fill up your car’s gas tank and withdraw a week’s worth of cash
  • Store valuable papers and items in waterproof bags
  • Cover windows and secure any outdoor items
  • If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately

DURING:

  • Tune into a battery-operated radio or TV and follow instructions
  • Seek shelter in an interior room away from windows, such as a closet

AFTER:

  • Stay inside until an “all-clear” is issued. If you have evacuated, don’t return until the area is re-opened
  • When inspecting your home, wear sturdy shoes and clothing for protection
  • Allow only those trained to turn off damaged utilities and appliances
  • Use only bottles water until tap water is determined safe
  • Contact your agent promptly to report damages. Be patient, as delays are likely.

To download a printable version of the information provided please click the link below:

Home Matters – Preparing for a Hurricane

Boating Safety Tips

Head Out to Sea without Injury

Water sports, relaxing in the sun and splashing in the water are great ways to make memories with family and friends. Sea lovers must be careful near the marina and dock, though, to assure that their getaways are safe ones. If you are hitting the open waters this season, don’t forget these safety tips!

Docking Tips:

  • Use forward and reverse at an idle speed when docking and moving your boat near the marina.
  • Have bumpers, mooring lines and boat hooks ready before docking.
  • Keep all body parts in the boat until you have come to a complete stop.
  • Tie the line that holds the boat against the wind first when docking.

General Boating Precautions:

  • Dock at a marina that has standpipes, fire extinguishers, good lighting, surveillance cameras and security measures in place.
  • Always wear personal flotation devices when on the water, especially those that cannot swim and children.
  • Do not swim near a marina since boaters cannot see you when they are trying to dock.
  • Wear non-slip shoes on the boat and dock.
  • Keep your boat in good condition with all equipment meeting safety standards established in your area.
  • Assure that the marina has the proper power voltage for your boat.
  • Add fuel to portable tanks on the dock only; never on the deck of your boat.

    Safety First

    To avoid a potential fire onboard, inspect fuel hoses and containers on a regular basis to prevent the escaping vapors from going into bilges. Also, check the wiring and all appliances on deck for damage frequently.

    As a safety precaution, keep fire extinguishers on deck and fit smoke detectors to the cabin.

National Life Insurance Day

The Basics of Life Insurance

If you are married, it’s important for both spouses to have a life insurance policy. If both people bring in an income, a death can be a difficult financial loss. Also, if a stay-at-home parent should pass away, expenses such as childcare and other domestic items can create financial hardship, too.

There are two basic types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. The type of life insurance policy that best suits you will depend on your unique needs.

Option #1: Term Life Insurance

Just as its name implies, term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, or term, that you choose. Since it offers a death benefit but no cash value, term life insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries for a specified period of time.

Renewal term life insurance can be renewed at the end of the term, at the option of the policyholder and without evidence of insurability, for a limited number of successive terms. It can also be converted, or exchanged for a permanent insurance policy, without evidence of insurability down the road. It’s important to note that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.

Option #2: Whole Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is any form of life insurance other than term. Examples are whole life, universal life and variable life. These policies combine term life insurance with a long-term, tax-sheltered savings plan.

Whole life is the most basic type of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts a lifetime and also builds up a cash value that you can borrow against, withdraw or use to pay future premiums.

A life insurance policy with a cash value is ideal for those who have a lifetime need for insurance protection, prefer stable premiums over the life of the policy, want a policy that allows them to build tax-deferred values, and value the high degree of coverage the policy affords. While rates for a whole life insurance policy remain stable over the life of the policy, premiums are initially more costly than for term insurance.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

To find the right amount of coverage, it’s important to weigh your dependents’ current lifestyle and spending needs against their future sources of income and assets. We can help you figure out how much your family will need to replace this lost income over this length of time should something happen to you. Call us today at (850) 770-7047 to learn more.