Charlie's Blog | Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Every business needs these 3 things for winter!

Winter has hit our area. Does your business have the necessary equipment to survive the rest of the winter? With these 3 basic tools, your business and employees can remain safe through these long winter months!

 

Yellow Caution Sign: This bright yellow sign is a great warning for pedestrians or employees that something is wet or slippery, and they should use caution while crossing this area. Not only can you use this in the winter for icy sidewalks, you can also use it year around when there is a spill, or just a wet floor! You can pick up one of these caution signs at your local hardware store.

Snow Shovel: We will have snow this winter. How much, is the question. Your business should always have a snow shovel on hand. This way you can keep your entrance ways clear of snow for customers to visit your business easily. Use caution while shoveling! Always lift with your legs and take breaks often. There are many types of shovels, so choose the one that best suits you! https://www.amazon.com/s?k=snow+shovels&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Rock Salt: Another necessity for business owners in the winter is rock salt. Rock salt can dissolve ice and snow on sidewalks and parking lots. Sprinkle this over your sidewalk or parking lot before, or after, snow or ice has fallen and watch it dissolve. You can purchase rock salt at most stores including: hardware stores, dollar stores, Walmart, and many more.

 

This is only a very basic list of the tools your business can use during the winter months to keep you, your employees, and your customers safe. We are the areas leader in business insurance policies and can advise on any type of industry. You can reach us at (215) 885-2200 or on our website spencerinsurance.com

Getting Your Life in Order

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the wealthy. Wealthy people have a lot of money, lots of land, and lots to divvy up to their heirs, so it makes sense that they need to plan out how and where their things will end up. However, everyone with any net worth needs to do basic estate planning to make sure that their possessions, no matter how large or small, are distributed according to their wishes. If you need a resolution for 2020, make it working on your estate to-do list.

The first (and arguably most important) document to put in order is your will. Wills ensure that your possessions are distributed in accordance with your wishes; therefore, the wording is of utmost importance. When looking over the wording of your will, be sure that all items are consistent with named beneficiaries. For example, if you’ve named your child as a beneficiary on a retirement account, you don’t want that same account on the will named to someone other than your child. This could result in a bitter will contest that will result in a lengthy legal battle.

The second document to draft is a durable power of attorney (POA). A POA is someone who acts on your behalf if you are incapable of doing so. A common example is someone who handles the distribution of assets upon your death. In many cases, spouses set up reciprocal POA’s, but POA can be given to anyone the person chooses.

When it comes to healthcare there is power of attorney for healthcare decisions as well. You can assign someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you in case you’re incapacitated.

One other document to get started is a life insurance policy. The life insurance policy should be the first item on your to-do list and the one you need to start as soon as possible. Life insurance premiums only go up as you get older, so the sooner you start, the more money you can save. Life insurance policies are bought in an amount and when you die, the money on the policy will pass to your beneficiaries. There are multiple types of policies and different amounts to buy when it comes to life insurance. Use a professional agent to help you decide which amount and type makes sense for you.

There are many other financial documents to go over when estate planning, but hopefully this list gives you a good base to start from. When it comes to estate planning you may also need long-term care insurance, annuities, and many other items. When it comes to life insurance, Spencer Insurance Agency is just the place to get expert advice regarding life insurance policies, amount sot purchase, and what makes sense for you.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about life insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

Winter Driving Tips

As the winter rolls on, driving in snow will become a common occurrence. An ounce of preparation will pay dividends when it comes to staying safe while driving in poor road conditions.

Get Your Car Serviced: It doesn’t matter what season we’re in, no one wants their car to break down. However, this is especially true in winter. Get your vehicle a check-up to make sure everything is running smooth.

Check for Recalls: Part of that check-up should be a check for recalls. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a handy tool you can use to check if your vehicle has had any recalls issued. Critical issues can be fixed for free at your nearest dealer for free!

Know Your Car: Every car handles differently in snow. Take time to learn how your car reacts to poor weather conditions.

Clear off snow and ice from your vehicle: Turn on your defrosters and brush off the roof of your car while the defrosters work on your front and rear windshields. By the time you get to brushing off the windshield, the ice will be falling off!

Brakes: Allow for longer braking distance in the winter. The snow and ice, more than any other road condition, will require you to brake two or three times longer than usual. And as anyone who has ever driven in large amounts of snow can tell you, sometimes braking doesn’t help. In those situations, it would be best not to attempt driving at all.

One action at a time: Doing multiple driving actions like braking while turning will cause your car to slide in the winter. When planning on turning, brake first, and then turn. Completing one action before starting another will allow you to course correct if something goes wrong during one action.

No false moves: Any sudden actions can cause your car to be thrown off balance. Driving like you have a hot cup of coffee in your lap is the best way to describe how you need to drive in the winter.

How to correct a slide: If the back end of your car is starting to fishtail (sliding out left or right), turn your steering wheel in the direction of the slide. However, do not overcorrect, because that will cause your car to spin. Hitting the brakes will also make things worse.

Turn off traction control: When driving on a snowy hill, momentum is your friend! Traction control is great for maintaining stability, but will cut down on your momentum. Turning off the system on hills and turning it back on once on you’re on level ground can help during the winter months.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about auto insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

Winter Maintenance Tips

 

Well, many of us got our first taste of snow this week. Home Maintenance never stops – even in the winter! While it may seem like the perfect time to not go outside, your home will need occasional maintenance. This maintenance will help save you money in the long run, especially if you get hammered with the worst winter has to offer. Bundle up, and head out to check the following items off your list!

Gutters and Drainage. Cleaning out the gutters can be the worst, but it is essential in any season with large amounts of precipitation. Your gutters can fill with ice in the winter which can lead to damage when the ice thaws and expands. This expansion will put a strain on your gutters.

Check Window Wells. Window wells are a great way to let some natural light into your basement. However, if not properly maintained can cause moisture to seep into your basement. Make sure the well is properly cleaned, and the window liner is sealed. This is especially important when expecting a large snowfall.

Clean your Dryer Vent. Dryers cause 15,00 fires a year and tend to get the most use in the winter. To reduce your fire risk, clean off your lint filter with every drying cycle. You can also clean the lint vent located on the back of most dryers. Once cleaning the dryer, let it run for about 15 minutes to flush all remaining lint from the machine.

Bleed your Radiators. If you have radiators, be sure to bleed them each winter. This is a simple process for anyone. Simply, turn on all your radiators to their max setting. Then turn them off and let them cool. Go to each radiator, turn it off, and open the bleed valve. Put a tray under the valve and let out the air. The tray will catch the water (this is normal). Then close the valve and repeat for all radiators.

Avoid Ice Dams. Ice dams build up on the edge of your roof in the winter. They prevent melting snow from draining. This melted snow can get under your shingles and into your home. Adding insulation and increasing ventilation will keep your whole roof the same temperature. You can also manually knock off these ice dams using a telescopic rake.

Prep before Blizzards. Winter can bring freezing rain, sleet, and blizzards. Any of these can cause a mess of issues. Make sure your generator is working. Keep a stash of lanterns and flashlights if you lose power. If you get poor cell phone reception, keep a battery powered radio around to keep up to date with news and weather. Put your heavy snow gear all in one place for ease of access when you have to shovel. After the storm passes, knock off any snow on tree limbs that could pose a threat to your home.

Use these tips to keep your home in tip-top condition. If anything else needs to be done in the winter, call a service professional to help you repair any items that might need immediate repair like pipes, windows, or doors. If you suffer any major damage during the winter, don’t forget your homeowner’s insurance policy was made just for these events.

Be sure to give us a call at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions about homeowners insurance. Your protection and peace of mind is our only business!

 

Is Long Term Care Insurance right for you?

 

In less than 10 years, all of the nearly 70 million baby boomers will have reached the age of 65. As this massive generation starts to reach an age where extended care is needed, how will families shoulder the cost. Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can be an integral part of any family’s plan no matter what route they decide to take with their older relatives.

 

LTCI is a policy that will reimburse policyholders a pre-selected amount for services to assist their loved ones with daily living activities. This insurance is essential because it can help lessen the financial burden caused by long term care – whether that means home-based care, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or any variation of extended care.

 

LTCI is important because while some boomers may have invested wisely and have the disposable income to take care of themselves, there is no guarantee that something disastrous might not happen that would cause that income to dry u, leaving them with no backup plan. Investing in LTCI should be a part of any future planning especially considering that 60% of people over the age of 65 will require some form of long-term service.

 

Not only is LTCI helpful for those receiving the care, but family members can struggle to support their relatives if they choose to pay for long term care services themselves. These cost are expected to increase anywhere between 50-120% over the next 10 years. Talking to your loved ones about their long-term care goals and if they have considered LTCI should be a conversation that should start now even if they will not need long term care in the near future.

 

Contact us at Spencer Insurance Agency to see if LTCI is right for you.  Start the conversation now before you need the care.

Open Enrollment is coming soon. What you need to know . . .

Q: Should I purchase the supplemental Life Insurance offered by my employer?

A: Many employers offer Group Life Insurance coverage. Some of this coverage is provided free as an employee benefit. Many times you can purchase supplemental coverage and the cost will be deducted from your paycheck.

Should I buy this additional coverage? There are pros and cons.

Here are the pros:

  • Very convenient as the premium is deducted from your paycheck
  • Few medical questions are asked so it is easier to apply
  • No blood tests or other lab work is required
  • Many times the rates are blended with non-smoker rates making them lower for smokers.
  • Many times the rates are unisex which will make male rates less expensive

Here are the cons:

  • Group life rates are banded based on rates and typically increase every 5 years.
  • Group life rates are blended so if you are a healthy non-smoker you could get the same rate as a chain smoking unhealthy person.
  • The amount of life insurance you can purchase is limited and may not be sufficient for your needs.
  • May lose the coverage if you leave the employer
  • Rates can increase immediately if the employer chooses a new life insurance company.

LIfe Insurance and Disability Insurance. Get protected

What should I do?

Contact us today at 215-885-2200 to review your life insurance needs and the cost of your employer’s life insurance coverage before your next open enrollment. Most open enrollments happen in the fall so this is a great time to review that coverage.

Consider purchasing life insurance on your own for the following reasons.

  • You can lock into a rate for up to 30 years. The cost of your employer group coverage changes based on age bands every 5 years. Your coverage may look inexpensive now but what will you be paying in 10 years?
  • You won’t lose your life insurance coverage if you get laid off or change jobs.
  • If you are a healthy non-smoker you may find less expensive rates.
  • You will be able to purchase the amount you need.

Go to our website www.spencerinsurance.com and click on the Life Insurance Tab for more information and a free report “What you need to know about Life Insurance and How to Make sure the People You Intended to get your Life Insurance Benefits Actually Get the Benefits!”

Check it out before it is too late!

 

Support your local fire company!

 

Help us pick a charity AND SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FIRE COMPANY!

For the 4th quarter of 2019 you, our clients will pick the charity that Spencer Insurance will highlight and send a donation.  October is Fire Prevention Month and we want to thank our first responders and support a local fire company.

Email Charlie at cspencer@spencerinsurance.com and vote for your local fire company.  In the subject line of your email write “my vote.” You must be a client to vote and you get one vote per household. Deadline to vote is December 1, 2019.

The fire company that receives the most votes will receive a check from Spencer Insurance Agency.  We will donate $5 for each referral you send to us in the 4th quarter of 2019.  The minimum check will be $250.  Help us send a bigger check by referring your friends, family and co-workers. Vote Today!

Want to avoid Claims . . .

Fall Auto and Home Maintenance - Abington, Glenside, Jenkintown Homeowners Insurance company Spencer Insurance

The start of fall was more like summer.  Hopefully, the crisp and cool fall days will be upon us soon.

Spencer Insurance Agency helps protects you should you have a claim.  But more importantly Spencer Insurance Agency wants to help you avoid claims.  Even with the best coverage claims are a nuisance.

With that in mind we have posted to our website our “Fall Section.”  This section provides many tips on how to prepare your home as fall and winter arrive to prevent claims. This section also has car safety tips and a list of items you should have in your car emergency kit.

So check it out now so you are ready for the winter months.  A little preparation now can go a long way in helping you to avoid future claims.  If you have any questions about your insurance coverage contact us at 215-885-2200.

Is Long Term Care Insurance right for me?

 

Long Term Care - Be Prepared

October is Long Term Care Insurance Awareness Month.

Traditional long term care (LTC) insurance policies have become less popular as the renewal cost rose each year making them unaffordable in many cases.  When LTC insurance policies were first introduced there was not much data on claims so a lot of assumptions were used.  As time passed companies experienced more claims than expected leading to increased premiums.

Long term care policies changed in recent years using a life insurance policy with a LTC rider.  Today there are many different options when purchasing LTC policies.

But you need to know that Long Term Care is a serious risk to your retirement assets.  You worked all your life and saved for retirement. You were not expecting to see those retirement savings being used up by your long term care needs.  Check out Genworth’s Compare the Cost Report to understand the risk to your retirement assets. In our area a home health aide could cost you $54,912 a year.  A nursing home stay could cost you $124,465 a year. At that rate your retirement assets are vulnerable.

Contact us today to have a discussion to see if LTC insurance is right for you. Go to our website to see our report: “Spencer’s Tips on Long Term Care . . . What is Long Term Care and how do I prepare for it.”

Since the new generation of Long Term Care Insurance policies are based on life insurance the sooner you start a policy the less the cost will be.  LTC insurance needs to be purchased before you need it.  Don’t wait until it is too late and you eat into those retirement assets you built all your life.

Is your child settled into college?

 

Now is the time to ask “How does my college student affect my car and home insurance?

Congratulation on your child’s achievement!  As you prepare to send your child to college let’s review some important items.

Is their “stuff” covered on while at a dorm or off campus apartment?

Generally, as long as your child is a full time student, was a resident of your house before moving to college, and is under age 24 there is some coverage for the students “stuff” while they are away at school. However, that coverage is generally limited to 10% of your contents (Coverage C) on your homeowner’s policy. For example, if the contents limit on your policy is $140,000, your child would have $14,000 of coverage for the “stuff” in his dorm room. There are limitations on certain items including computers, jewelry, musical instruments and collectibles.  If your child is taking any of these items with them to school, give us a call to review.

What if my child has a roommate and they buy “stuff” together?

In this situation you should consider a Renter’s policy to cover both your child’s and roommates stuff.  As long as both children are on the lease most companies will write one renter’s policy covering both children.  Call us to discuss your situation.

How does my child going to college affect my car insurance policy?

If you have a student away at a college that is over 100 miles and they do not have a car with them, we can add a discount for “Child Away at School.”  If your child is taking their car to a college that is in the same state you reside, then we may be able to rate the car as being “garaged” at the college, rather than your household.  If the collage is out of state, however, it would need to remain as rated at your home address.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 215-885-2200 or contact us from our website and discuss your situation with our experienced staff.

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