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Protect Your Pets

Bookmark and Share 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.

Planning a Home Party? Get Covered!

Bookmark and Share If your Super Bowl Sunday plans include throwing a party, you’d better be sure you have adequate insurance in the event of an injury claim by one of your guests. This advice stems from a new study sponsored by Trusted Choice, the independent agent’s branding campaign launched by the Alexandria, Virginia-based Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

The study was conducted by TRC, an independent research company in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. The researchers polled 1,009 adults in a telephone survey about their plans for a social gathering. Their research revealed that of 28.5 million Americans who plan to have parties in their home, 21 million do not have a Personal Umbrella insurance policy, making them vulnerable to lawsuits, which could result in financial ruin. The remaining seven million didn’t know what coverage they currently carried.

The importance of proper coverage cannot be underestimated because in 30 states, hosts can be held legally responsible for guests who drink, drive and cause an accident. Interestingly enough, 53% of those surveyed said the host should be held responsible; however, most of those who responded in this manner have not taken any steps to protect themselves.

The researchers concluded that people don’t buy Umbrella policies because they think enough coverage is offered by their Homeowner and Auto policies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Large jury awards coupled with substantial health care costs make it commonplace for lawsuits to exceed the liability limits on the average Homeowner/Auto policy.

The researchers made the following recommendations:
  • Discuss your insurance coverage with one of our agents before hosting a party to familiarize yourself with your state’s host liability laws, and to make sure you are insured properly.
  • Limit invited guests to people you know.
  • Host the party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather than in a home or office.
  • Be sure that you provide filling food for guests and alternative nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Schedule entertainment or activities that draw partygoers away from drinking.
  • Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive.
  • Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end.
  • Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to monitor guests’ sobriety discreetly or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.

Insuring Your Prized Flatware

Bookmark and Share When you sit down to dinner, your eating utensils probably include a fork, spoon and knife. The fork is only a few centuries old, but knives were used by Stone Age diners, and the first man-made spoons were fashioned from horns, bones and wood. Today's silverware has come a long way from its early predecessors, and it's a popular wedding gifts. Protect your priceless silverware with an insurance policy.

Why Purchase Silverware Insurance?

Your homeowners insurance policy covers most of your possessions. However, it may not cover silverware, including the pieces passed down from generation to generation. If your policy does cover silverware, it may limit the amount of money it pays for valuables and antiques, limit coverage to $500 or less or not cover your silverware if carry it out of your home and with you on vacation, to an appraisal or to a family gathering.  

Purchase silverware insurance to protect your collection and give you peace of mind. The coverage is typically an endorsement or rider on your homeowners insurance policy and can cover your entire collection or your most valuable pieces.  

What Does Silverware Insurance Cover?

Insurance cannot prevent theft, loss, fire, or weather or other physical damage, but it can give you peace of mind. Your insurance company may reimburse your for the value of your insured silverware, whether it's new or antique.

How to Determine the Value of Your Silverware

You can easily determine the value of household items like furniture and electronics. Silverware can be trickier to valuate, though, especially if you're not sure of its age, value or authenticity.

Contact an antique or silver dealer for an accurate appraisal of your collection. You may try to find the value online, but you'll need a written appraisal for insurance purposes.

Once you have that appraisal, take pictures of your collection. Include the appraisal and pictures with your policy in a fireproof safe or lock box.

How to Purchase Silverware Insurance

While you may be lucky enough to own an entire collection of rare silverware, you can also insure a single item such as a valuable piece you purchased at an estate sale or a special spoon your grandmother owned. Many insurance companies suggest you insure each piece individually. That way, each piece is appraised and listed on your policy, allowing you to receive the item's full value if you must file a claim.

Your insurance agent will assist you in understanding the coverage options and in finding the best coverage for your needs.  

Silverware insurance is valuable coverage for your precious flatware. Purchase a policy today to give yourself peace of mind and protect your valuable silverware collection.

Houseplants Work Better than HVAC Systems

Bookmark and Share 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.