Protect Your Pets

Your four-legged friend is part of your family, and when your pet gets sick, it needs medical care. Veterinary services can be expensive, though. Pet insurance helps you afford the treatments your pet needs.

How Does Pet Insurance Work?

Every pet insurance policy is a little different, but in general you may visit any licensed veterinarian you want, including your preferred vet, emergency vets and specialists.

You’ll pay any bills for treatment at the time of service. Then, you may invoice the insurance company. The reimbursement procedure depends on the policy. Your policy may include a schedule of benefits that assigns a specific value to each procedure, or it may pay you a percentage of each invoice. Check your policy for reimbursement details.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Read your pet insurance policy for details on what it covers. Usually, you can pay for several different types of pet care, including:

  • Accidents – broken bones, bite wounds, toxic exposure, swallowed object
  • Illnesses – stomach issues, ear infections, cancer
  • Hereditary and congenital conditions
  • Behavioral and alternative therapies
  • End of life treatment and care
  • Preventative care – wellness visits, vaccines, dental cleanings, health screenings, tests

Keep in mind that most pet insurance policies will not cover everyday expenses such as grooming or boarding costs. They may not cover pre-existing conditions, either.

Also, your pet insurance policy cannot be cancelled unless you stop paying premiums. Purchase a policy before your pet turns 10, and the coverage should be in effect for the rest of your pet’s life.

Where Can You Buy Pet Insurance?

Numerous insurance companies sell pet insurance. The policy options normally include:

  • Whole pet care – covers everything from wellness visits to prescription medication to surgery and hospitalization
  • Major medical – covers common medical costs including those related to accidents, illnesses and certain hereditary conditions
  • Wellness – covers your pet’s annual essentials such as wellness exams, vaccinations and flea and heartworm prevention

Compare several options and talk to your insurance agent about your needs as you choose the best policy option for your pet and family.

What Does Pet Insurance Cost?

Pet insurance policy premiums depend on several factors. The type of insurance you choose, where you live and even your pet’s age and breed affect pet insurance costs. Compare all your options and discuss details with your insurance agent as you ensure you have the right pet insurance for your furry friend and budget.

Pet insurance helps you provide your pet with the health and wellness services it needs. Consider investing in this insurance for your four-legged friend.

Houseplants Work Better than HVAC Systems

The focus on energy conservation has been making our buildings get tighter and tighter, allowing less and less air exchange. This can result in “Sick Building Syndrome,” with pollutants trapped inside the building causing such symptoms as sensory irritation of the eyes, nose, throat; neurotoxic or general health problems; skin irritation; nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions; and odor and taste sensations.

Causes include flaws in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. contaminants produced by out gassing some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone, light industrial chemicals used within, or fresh-air intake location /inadequate air filtration).

Three major pollutants –formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene – are used in building materials, cleaning products, paint, adhesives, varnishes, and oils found in homes and workplaces throughout the nation.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and easy way to improve indoor air quality, look no further than the common houseplant, says a study by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) on improving indoor air quality. NASA was looking for ways to purify the air in space stations. However, the study turned out to have some down-to-earth applications: houseplants not only brighten the environment in homes and workplaces, but also have the ability to cleanse indoor air and remove harmful pollutants.

So how could a little houseplant get rid of these nasty, dangerous air contaminants when sophisticated, powerful HVAC systems can’t seem to manage the job?

The answer: To survive, houseplants use a process called photosynthesis that produces food from carbon dioxide and hydrogen, converting energy from light absorbed by chlorophyll in the plant’s leaves. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen, of course, are readily available in air. Because houseplants are so good at absorbing these gases, at the same time they also absorb other gases – including harmful indoor air pollutants!

Plant photosynthesis does us another big favor by releasing a waste product that we need to survive – oxygen. So having plants around not only removes pollutants, but refreshes indoor air with regular infusions of oxygen.

The NASA/ALCA study also found that some houseplants were better than others at removing specific pollutants. For example, bamboo palm, peace lily, golden pathos, red-edged dracaena, and spider plant were good at filtering out formaldehyde. Peace lily, English ivy, and bamboo palm worked best for removing benzene from indoor air, while peace lily and bamboo palm worked well for filtering trichloroethylene.

How Trusts Can Protect Your Assets

Most people do not look forward to planning the distribution of assets upon their death. However, it is a task that all of us must face. And, that’s where trusts enter the estate-planning arena. A trust is simply an arrangement whereby one person holds legal title to an asset and manages it for the benefit of another. In one form or another, it may be used in personal financial planning.

One of the most remarkable characteristics of a trust is the ability of the trust to bridge the gap between life and death. Essentially, the person establishing the trust is able to rule from the grave, not forever, but to the extent the law allows. Usually, a trust can be designed to last for many generations.

Trusts can also be set up for an individual’s own benefit, not necessarily for tax purposes, but for many other reasons. He might want investment management, or a desire to invest in a new business venture with strong potential but with a high risk. He could then use the trust to ensure an income in the event of failure. He might elect to set up a family trust with the primary purpose of observing its operation and eliminating any deficiencies that might appear in actual operation. Though he might feel that presently he is able to manage his affairs, he is not certain about the future.

In this instance, a “standby trust” could prove to be useful. On the other hand, trusts can be established for the benefit of others, such as children, a spouse, grandchildren, or even parents. Additionally, an individual might want to provide for what might be regarded as missing elements in the abilities, experience, or training of beneficiaries.

This is especially a consideration when minors, or others deemed legally incompetent, are the intended recipients. But trusts may be set up for the benefit of competent, responsible adults too-for the same reasons the person establishing the trust might want to set up a trust for himself. These reasons include freedom from management burdens, expert administration, mobility, and other practical reasons, the most important being cash savings.

Although avoiding probate might be a consideration, the estate and gift tax savings made possible by the use of trusts might be even more important in many cases. Use of the trust device can often permit a donor to transfer assets for the benefit of a beneficiary, while shielding such assets from the reach of creditors. The laws of most states permit the creation of so-called “spendthrift trusts.” Use of such trusts might allow the individual establishing the trust to place both trust principal and income out of the reach of the beneficiary’s creditors.

Usually these laws prevent the beneficiary from assigning any part of the interest in the income or principal of the trust since most creditors look to property that could be assigned by the beneficiary. Their attempts to reach assets can be thwarted or at least made more difficult. The person establishing the trust is generally permitted to make free use of his own assets, even if the result is to prevent a beneficiary from dealing with the trust’s assets at will.

Careful consideration should be taken before trusts are established. In addition, be certain to seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before establishing trusts.

Why Do You Need Business Insurance?

Most business owners would agree that it’s important to maintain insurance to protect business assets. When they think about insurance, business owners generally consider protection against hazards such as fire, flood or theft at their company sites. This is obviously an important protection to have. However, there are other types of hazards that may not be quite as high on the list, but protection could be every bit as important to offset significant financial losses. Here are five examples that underscore the need for comprehensive business insurance protection:

Company vehicle contents

If you operate a business with employees on the road making service calls to customers, chances are there is valuable equipment contained in the company vehicles. But a typical auto insurance policy would probably not cover the contents of a company vehicle if that valuable equipment is lost or stolen.

Tenant property improvement insurance

Do you rent space to conduct your business? Have you built out the interior of your space or made improvements to accommodate your business needs? If so, you probably made a considerable investment in the improvements. But many property insurance policies don’t include the value of the improvements made by a tenant to the existing structure. If you’ve invested in improvements, it’s worth taking a look at securing coverage to protect it.

Home-based business equipment

More and more people are working at home at least part of the time, even if they maintain an office or site elsewhere. Most don’t have insurance on the business equipment they keep at home; many assume their homeowner’s insurance would cover it. However, homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover business equipment. If you have expensive business equipment at home, you may want to consider purchasing additional protection.

Business interruption insurance

Remember the series of hurricanes that hit Florida? The wild fires that damaged cities and towns in California? The flooding that disrupted life in the Midwest? In addition to the effect that disasters have on individuals, they can bring businesses to a standstill for weeks or even months. Business interruption insurance can provide a way to get back on your feet.

Key person insurance

In many companies, the knowledge and skills of a single person or a top few are absolutely essential to the enterprise’s success. Key person insurance can help a company recover if an essential employee dies or becomes disabled for a lengthy time. The coverage can provide needed funds that allow the company to continue operating during a search for a successor or until the key employee returns.

As you can see, there are many hazards businesses face that aren’t covered under a typical insurance policy. However, you can get extra protection with the types of coverage outlined here. Since you invest so much time, money and effort into your business, it pays to make sure you have the protection you need. Call us for a consultation today!

Covering Your Non-Profit and Volunteer Workers

The challenge in running a non-profit is that it still takes money and resources. Just because you’re not interested in getting rich off of this idea doesn’t mean that money is not an issue. If a worker suffers an injury on the job, their compensation has to come from somewhere.

Something that may come as a surprise to many: Volunteers are not typically covered by worker’s compensation policies. In more states than not, worker’s compensation only covers, well, workers. If you are paying actual employees at food banks workers’ compensation insurance will cover their injuries. Likewise Meals on Wheels insurance policy will cover the organization’s workers. If you’re working with unpaid volunteers this is not the case.

Your volunteers may wind up covered by a general liability claim, but this is not always the case. If you want to make sure that your people are covered no matter what, then you’re probably going to have to bring them in as paid employees, or at the very least, under an internship program that includes medical and worker’s compensation benefits and so on.

A problem with relying exclusively on volunteers for your workforce is that you don’t really get to pick your staff from the best and brightest. Many who volunteer will bring their A-game, they will take the task just as seriously as they would take their dayjob. This isn’t always the case, unfortunately, and without any payment or compensation or even the safety net of worker’s compensation to draw talent, you wind up taking what you can get.

Non-profit doesn’t mean nobody gets paid. Non-profits are usually devoted to a humanitarian cause and their primary concern is not making anybody rich, but making a difference, but that doesn’t mean that everyone involved is simply donating time and resources without compensation. Typically you’re going to have benefactors and other income streams that will allow you to hire qualified people for your food bank, and provide them with the appropriate coverage they need in order to provide them, and you, with peace of mind.

To put it bluntly: a volunteer force is a great idea in concept. In reality, you’re asking some of the kindest, most generous people in the world to foot the bill themselves if they get hurt on the job. That’s a recipe for, if not a lawsuit, at least a guilty conscience. The most effective way to make a difference in the long term is to get some money behind your cause and treat your workers like you would paid employees at any other business.