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Beck Insurance Agency is committed to advanced education.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Joe Beck, CIC & Vice President at Beck Insurance Agency is in Millford, MA this week attending a “CPRM” class “Evaluating & Protecting the Lifestyle. The CPRM(or Certified Personal Risk Manager) is a designation earned by passing series of 5 classes on insuring and risk management coverage and techniques for affluent, high net worth, and super high net worth clients.

Topics in the current class are marine/yacht, aviation, kidnap & ransom, domestic employees, farm/ranch, and on site business exposures.

Wait to Text!

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Jordyn Wieber, partnering with Auto-Owners Insurance, speaks on the importance of not texting while driving.

W82TXT

While this video is over six years old, the message is more important today than ever.  Distracted driving is at an all time high and we must reverse this trend.  Please wait to text!

 

6 Tips to Make House Hunting Easy

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

Buying a home can be one of the biggest purchase decisions an individual or couple will ever make. It is no wonder that when we start the journey of searching for our first—or next—home, we can get a little overwhelmed. Besides the things that are out of our control, like the housing market (supply and price), there are a few things you can do to make home shopping easier.

Before you make an offer, consider the following:

1.Find somewhere you feel safe. Research the community and neighborhood. Talk to people you know who live near the area. If you have kids, researching school districts is also important.

2.Cast a wide net to start. While you may have an idea of your dream home and what it looks like, don’t narrow your search criteria too quickly. Some of the items you see as “must haves” may not be necessary in the end. Part of getting the best deal is knowing what is out there and available.

3.Evaluate the home closely. When you get to the point of touring homes, be sure to pay close attention to details. Are the windows in good shape, or will they need to be replaced? How old are the major mechanicals and roof? Are there signs of structural concerns? These are all costly repairs—especially if they are unexpected!

4.Get an inspection. While this is more commonplace than not, make sure you have a professional inspection of the property. A thorough evaluation of the home can identify safety concerns that need to be addressed.

5.Don’t ignore red flags! The conditions of each contract offer can vary, but if your purchase is contingent on inspection, don’t overlook problems. If it is not something that can be resolved through negotiations with the seller, you must be willing to walk away from a bad deal.

6.Is it a good fit? While all the prior points are important, it is also important to make sure the home is a good fit personality wise. Make sure there is enough space for all your stuff in the bedrooms and closets. Kitchen size and layout can also be important elements.

While there is no doubt that the charm of a home can make you want to buy it on the spot, following a few simple tips can help avoid the headache of a rushed and underinformed purchase. Do you have any home buying tips you’d like to share?

This content provided by Acuity Insurance, written by Addie B. on 08/16/2018.  Original content found here.

Interested in Homeowners Insurance? Contact Kylie Schultz, Natalie Grieser, or Joe Beck at Beck Insurance Agency, Inc.  Phone (419) 446-2777, email info@beckinsurance.com, or submit a request online here.

How Medicare Coordinates with Employer Health Care

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

If you’re 65 or older, working and have an employer group health plan based on your current work, you may have questions about how your job-based insurance coordinates with Medicare. On the Medicare Rights Center National Consumer Helpline, such questions are among the most frequent ones we get. Here’s what you need to know:

For people who work and have job-based insurance, knowing when to enroll in Medicare falls on them. There is no formal notification from the Social Security Administration or Medicare. Some people are misinformed by employers or don’t have reliable information about Medicare enrollment, leading them to delay enrollment in Medicare Part B and then incur penalties and high medical costs.

The Rules on Coordinating Medicare and Employer Coverage

Having job-based insurance does allow you to delay Medicare enrollment without penalty and delay paying the Medicare Part B premium (the standard Medicare Part B premium is expected to be $134 a month in 2019). However, it’s important to know whether your job-based insurance will pay primary or secondary to Medicare.

In most cases, you should only delay enrollment in Medicare if your job-based insurance is the primary payer (meaning it pays first for your medical bills) and Medicare is secondary. There are additional enrollment considerations if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA); if you enroll in Medicare Part A and/or B, you can no longer contribute pre-tax dollars to your HSA.

Job-based insurance is primary if it is from an employer with 20 or more employees. Medicare is secondary in this case, and some people in this situation choose not to enroll in Medicare Part B so that they do not have to pay the monthly premium.

Job-based insurance is secondary if it is from an employer with fewer than 20 employees; Medicare is primary in this case. If you work at an employer this small and delay Medicare enrollment, your job-based insurance may provide little or no coverage. That’s why you should enroll in Medicare Part B to avoid incurring high costs for your care. The rules are different, however, if you are Medicare-eligible due to a disability or because you have End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

The Medicare Special Enrollment Period

If you are eligible for Medicare because you are 65 or older and are covered by your job-based insurance or your spouse’s, you have a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to enroll in Medicare Part B while you are covered by job-based insurance and up to eight months after you no longer have that coverage. This means you aren’t required to take Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), or the seven months surrounding your 65th birthday, when you become Medicare eligible.

Using the Part B Special Enrollment Period means you will not have to pay a Part B late enrollment penalty (LEP). Normally, for every 12 months that people who are Medicare-eligible and not covered by employer insurance delay enrollment, they accrue a 10% penalty, which is then added to their monthly Part B premium amount. In most cases, the penalty lasts for as long as someone has Medicare.

Retiree Coverage, COBRA, Affordable Care Act and Medicare

Many Medicare-eligible individuals do not know that employer-offered retiree coverage is almost always secondary to Medicare.

Similarly, health insurance coverage through COBRA (employer-sponsored coverage you can pay to keep after you leave your job, usually for up to 18 months) is also always secondary to Medicare coverage. If you have employer-offered retiree coverage or COBRA, you should enroll in Medicare when first eligible to avoid possible penalties, higher medical costs and gaps in coverage.

You should also make sure you understand how to make Medicare Part B enrollment decisions if you are enrolled in a Marketplace plan under the Affordable Care Act.

If you have an insurance plan certified by the Marketplace, known as a Qualified Health Plan, deciding what to do as you approach Medicare eligibility depends on your circumstances. If you delayed enrolling in Medicare so you could stay in your Marketplace plan, you may be eligible to request time-limited equitable relief. That will let you enroll in Medicare Part B without penalty or eliminate or reduce your late-enrollment penalty under certain circumstances. The opportunity to request time-limited equitable relief lasts until September 30, 2018.

Source:  Written by Joe Baker, Next Avenue Contributor, linked via Forbes.  Original content here.

In the Northwest Ohio area please contact either Natalie Grieser or Bill Beck at Beck Insurance Agency for more information.  Beck Insurance Agency is located at 120 N Defiance Street in downtown Archbold, Ohio.  Phone 419-446-2777.  Natalie Grieser email is Natalie@beckinsurance.com , Bill Beck email is bbeck@beckinsurance.com.  Or click here to contact via the Beck Insurance website for more information on medicare.

Why We Ask. Life Insurance Matters.

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Here is a moving video courtesy of Pekin Insurance on the importance of Life Insurance for you and your loved ones.

A new widow left with inadequate life insurance urges every family to make sure they have enough. In this Pekin Insurance video, new widow Catina Lawyer says that life insurance matters for everyone, even younger people, and explains what a difference good life insurance would have made for her.

Please contact Beck Insurance Agency today for a life insurance review. Click or call 877-446-2325 today.

Long Term Care Insurance

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

An estimated 70% of individuals 65 or older will at some point require some type of long term care services.

According to Genworth, the 2018 average monthly cost of service for Toledo area nursing homes is $7,017. That’s over $84,000 a year!

A private room averages $7,989, while a home health aide would still set you back nearly $4,200 a month.

If you become part of the estimated 70% that requires long term care services….how do you plan to pay for it?

If you are married, would these costs leave your spouse with anything? Your family?

Beck Insurance Agency has several products and methods available in addition to conventional LTC products to help leverage against these possible costs.  Contact us today to schedule a review.  Click here, or call Beck Insurance at 419-446-2325.

10 of the Best Lake Safety Tips Boat Owners Need to Avoid Accidents

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

What’s better than a day on the lake? Safety tips to make sure you have as much fun as possible while staying safe.

Fishing. Swimming. Sailing. These are but a few of the fun things you can do when you take your boat out on the lake. Safety tips can add to the fun by ensuring you and your friends don’t get injured or have an accident, leaving you stranded. Because no matter how much fun you have on the water, it feels good to get home and crawl into bed at the end of the day.

For some boaters, lake safety tips might not seem especially relevant. Waters are generally calm, visibility is excellent, and you’re probably just cruising. The reality, however, is that the majority of boating accidents happen on sunny days in calm waters. And according to the U.S. Coast Guard, accidents in lakes, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs account for nearly ten times as many accidents as those that happen in ocean waters.

This isn’t meant to scare you, though. Being aware and informed are essential parts of having fun. Follow these tips for a guaranteed good time on—and in—the water.

Boat Safety

Boat Safety

10 Lake Safety Tips

1. Follow your boating safety checklist.
Your boat safety checklist is your key to ensuring a good time on the lake. Use your checklist to make sure you don’t forget important safety items.

2. Boat defensively.
Be aware of your surroundings and what other boaters are doing. Watch out for wakes and other hazards like sandbars, submerged tree limbs, and debris.

3. Boat courteously.
Take it slow in populated areas, and be conscious of your wake.

4. Wear a lifejacket.
At the very least, there should be one lifejacket for each person on your boat, and children should always have a lifejacket on.

5. Keep an eye on the weather.
Just because it’s calm when you cast off doesn’t mean the weather won’t change. Check the forecast before you take your boat out and know what to expect.

6. Check your surroundings before swimming.
Don’t let anyone jump off the boat before carefully checking the surroundings. There may be large rocks or other hazards in the water that are just deep enough to be out of sight, but still dangerous.

7. Be constantly aware of children.
If a child is missing, check the water immediately. Seconds count.

8. Don’t drink the lake water.
Lake water can be full of microorganisms, some of which can cause severe illness.

9. Know how to escape from strong currents when swimming.
Everyone on your boat needs to know how to get out of strong currents. While this might not be an issue on a calm lake, if you’re boating on a river or in the Great Lakes, it can be a concern. The first step is to remain calm and don’t fight the current. Try to swim parallel to the shore or float until the current subsides, then call for help. The same goes for river currents: relax and go with the current. Swim toward shore if you can, but fighting against the current will only deplete your energy.

10. Know what drowning looks like.
The last thing anyone wants to think about when you’re heading out for a day on the lake is drowning, but that fact is, this knowledge could save a life. According to WebMD, someone waving their arms and calling for help may be in distress, they may need help, and it’s important to recognize that and get help to them quickly. However, active drowning looks very different. Our physiological response to drowning is a “silent, almost calm behavior.”

Water rescue expert Francesco Pia, Ph.D., points out what someone drowning will look like:
•Silent: There’s no spare breath to call for help.
•Bobbing up and down: His mouth sinks below the water’s surface, pops up just enough to breathe and sinks back down.
•Stiff-armed: Instead of waving for help, his arms are out to the side, hands pressed down on the water to keep him afloat. He can’t even reach out to grab a life preserver.
•Still: He won’t be kicking. His body will be straight up and down, almost like he’s standing in the water.

Any time you’re at the lake, safety tips are a vital part of having a good time. And the more you know, the more power you have to ensure the best time possible for you, your family, and your friends.

Courtesy of Pekin Insurance, “Beyond the Expected”.  Original content here.

Home and Auto Insurance Quotes

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Interested in home and auto insurance quotes?  Has it been awhile since you last looked?  Are you confident that your coverage provides adequate protection against financial devastation?  Are your premiums fair for the coverage being carried?

The insurance industry as a whole has done the buying public a great disservice with their continual “cheapest insurance is best” marketing.  Everyone is going to save you hundreds by switching to them, but what protection are you getting in return?  What good does it do if the worst happens and you are financially ruined?

If any of this concerns you, please give Beck Insurance a call for free, no obligation review and quotes.  We will evaluate your needs, identify exposures and propose plans to do just what insurance is intended to do in the first place….protect you.

Natalie Grieser & Kylie Schultz, two of our personal home and auto insurance specialists…are ready to quote your business and earn your trust.  Contact one of them today.

Phone 419-446-2777  /  Online Request Here  /  Email – Natalie@beckinsurance.com or kylie@beckinsurance.com

 

Medicare benefits: 7 frequently asked questions

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Here are seven things all Americans should know about Medicare

Medicare covers, or will eventually cover, virtually all American workers, but this massive health care program isn’t well understood by millions of people. Many don’t know when they will become eligible for Medicare, what it covers (and doesn’t), and what it costs.

With that in mind, here are seven frequently asked questions about Medicare and the answers to each.

1. When can I get Medicare benefits?

Unless you’re disabled, the answer is 65 years old. A common misconception among Americans is that you can get Medicare as soon as you claim Social Security benefits, which can be as early as age 62. Unfortunately, even if you retire early and claim your Social Security benefit early, you’ll have to wait until 65 before you’ll be covered for Medicare.

2. How do I apply for Medicare?

You may not have to. If you’re already receiving Social Security retirement benefits when you turn 65, you’ll be enrolled in Medicare automatically. If this is the case, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Parts A and B of Medicare (more on the parts in a bit), and you can expect to receive your Medicare benefits card about three months before you turn 65.

If you aren’t receiving your Social Security retirement benefit when you turn 65, you’ll have to apply for Medicare, which you can do quite easily on the Social Security Administration’s website. Your initial enrollment period begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday and extends for three months after.

3. What are the “parts” of Medicare?

There are four “parts” of Medicare. Here’s a quick rundown, along with links to learn more about each part:

•Part A is Hospital Insurance, or HI. This primarily covers hospital stays and some stays in skilled nursing facilities.
•Part B is Medical Insurance. This covers doctors’ visits, lab tests, and outpatient procedures, just to name a few.
•Part C is Medicare Advantage. These are plans offered by private companies to provide Medicare benefits.
•Part D is Prescription Drug Coverage. This is optional for beneficiaries.

Parts A and B are collectively referred to as “Original Medicare,” and are generally what’s being referred to when I use the term Medicare.

4. How much does Medicare cost?

Medicare Part A is free for the vast majority of American seniors, but has a deductible of $1,340 per benefit period, as well as coinsurance requirements if your hospital stay lasts more than 60 days or if your skilled nursing stay extends beyond 20 days.

Medicare Part B has a monthly premium. For 2018, the standard monthly premium is $134, but high-income seniors pay significantly more than this. At the high end, seniors with incomes over $320,000 (joint tax return) or $160,000 (individual) have to pay $428.60 per month. In addition, Medicare Part B has an annual deductible of $183 for 2018.

Part D, prescription drug coverage plans, come with an average monthly premium of $35.

5. What does Medicare not cover?

One of the most important things for seniors to know is what Medicare doesn’t cover. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care, dental care, eye exams or glasses, dentures, acupuncture, hearing aids, and routine foot care.

This list is what Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover. Certain Medicare health plans may cover some of these services.

6. What is Medigap?

Since there are many copays and deductibles, private insurers sell Medicare Supplemental Insurance Plans, or Medigap plans. There are 10 different varieties of Medigap plans, with Medigap Plan F (the most comprehensive) the most commonly chosen option. While Medigap plans are standardized in terms of the coverage they provide, costs can vary significantly.

7. I have health insurance already through an employer. Do I have to enroll in (and pay for) Medicare at age 65?

It depends what kind of health insurance you have. If you have insurance through your employer or your spouse’s employer and the primary insured is still working, you may not be required to enroll in Medicare as long as the company sponsoring your coverage has at least 20 employees. In this case, you’ll have a special enrollment period after you (or your spouse) retire or leave that employer.

On the other hand, if your insurance is through an employer you’ve already retired from, you still have to sign up at 65. If you are required to sign up for Medicare Part B, and don’t, you’ll face a permanent penalty of 10% of the Medicare Part B premium for every year you were supposed to enroll but didn’t.

It’s also worth noting that since Medicare Part A is free, it generally doesn’t make sense to delay signing up for it, even if you’re not required to. Your employer’s insurance will be your primary coverage, and Medicare will be secondary. However, since Part B comes with a premium, it does make sense to wait if you’re still covered by your employer’s plan.

Source of this content is Matthew Frankel of The Motley Fool via USA Today. Original link found hereShould you want more information on Medicare and Medicare Supplements please call Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777 and ask to speak to either Bill Beck or Natalie GrieserOr click here to request a call back.

How Much Home Insurance is Enough

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

How Much Home Insurance is Enough

The cost to rebuild your home is its replacement value. This can be very different from the estimated market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one.

Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia How much home insurance is right for you?

Based in Archbold, Ohio, Beck Insurance Agency understands the home insurance needs of our customers. We’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.

It is critical that you provide us with accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your dwelling limit accurately reflects your home’s true replacement cost, some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is greater than the limit on your policy.

Once a review of your home and possessions indicates you are properly insured, it’s a good idea to reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially whenever you make additions or improvements. Beck Insurance Agency can help you re-evaluate your insurance needs, just give us a call at 419-446-2777 to speak with one of our agents.

Be Sure You Have Enough Homeowners Insurance
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:

1. Call Beck Insurance Agency.  If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.

2. Read your policy. Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, is better insured or only available separately. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, contact Beck Insurance Agency at 419-446-2777 and ask for an explanation.

3. Review. At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.

4. Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?

Make sure you know:

• Will your insurance company stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim? Some companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.

• Does your policy include replacement cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.  If you have an art collection, antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, talk to your agent about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra protection, and often the deductible is waived.

Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 50-70% of the coverage limit for the structure. . Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.  Inventory your home. Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items. Beck Insurance can advise you on ways to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the sound track.

Personal Liability

Besides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible.  In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.

The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.
The right coverage for you is unique – talk to Beck Insurance Agency today to find out how to get the best price and value on home insurance for you.