Are you prepared for hurricane season in Florida?

Hurricane season making you nervous? Many people may have post-Irma jitters after the storm we had in the fall. Worry no more with these tips on how to prepare and understand the protection you have.

  • Storm deductible vs All Peril deductible…. There is a difference. Most home insurance policies have a standard “AOP” (All Other Peril) deductible of $500, $1000 or even $2,500. This would apply for damage such as fire, theft, water, etc. The storm or “hurricane” deductible applies to damage directly caused by any named storm. Even if the damage can be proven to be from a spinoff tornado, wind or lightning, the storm deductible applies if it was a result of a named storm. This is typically 2% (but sometimes can be offered at $500), which is calculated from the dwelling coverage amount on the policy. Example: $200k dwelling, hurricane deductible: $4k.

 

  • Flood insurance isn’t always available right away so you have to plan ahead. Most times, there is a 30 day waiting period for flood coverage to be effective. Damage from rising water is covered by a separate flood policy, rather than the home insurance policy. Some may think they only need flood insurance if they’re in a designated flood zone or low lying area but flooding can still happen with heavy rain. If you are not located in a flood zone (per FEMA: https://msc.fema.gov/portal), you can still purchase elective flood coverage and simply wait 30 days for the coverage to be effective.

 

  • Other Structures can add up. This coverage on your home policy is usually 2% of the dwelling amount, automatically included on the policy. This covers things like a fence, shed, workshop, and sometimes a screen enclosure. There are typically endorsements you can add if you need more than the provided coverage. These items are commonly damaged by wind so it’s imperative to be sure you the coverage you need for repair or replacement.

 

  • Storm damage to a vehicle is covered under Comprehensive coverage on the auto policy. This applies for falling/flying objects, wind, rain, water as well as vandalism, theft, fire, glass, contact with an animal, etc. Comprehensive is exactly that… it covers a lot. If you have a lien holder on your car, your lender requires this coverage. Double check to be sure you have it as it’s an important one.

 

  • Helpful hints to prepare your home before a storm approaches: trim any trees or branches hanging over or posing as a threat for damage, tidy up any loose debris in the yard or equipment parked around the house, secure windows with shutters or boards, have your roof inspected to ensure no missing shingles, nails or clips. You can also be certain to have plenty of water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlights or even a generator and coolers of ice in the event of a power outage.

Follow these steps and rest assured that you’ve done all you can for whatever mother nature sends our way. Contact us at 352-371-7977 or info@mcgriffwilliams.com anytime you have further questions.

Disability Insurance Awareness Month

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Sometimes disability insurance is overlooked, but if it weren’t important would it have a whole month dedicated to its awareness? It’s safe to say that many Americans are unaware that they may need disability insurance beyond what their employer offers.

Do you need it though?

When most young people think of disability insurance they may think of ailments relating to age or serious occurrences. In reality there are several common and chronic injuries or illnesses that could keep you from working. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, more than 25 percent of 20-year-olds today can expect to be out of work for at least one year before they reach the age of retirement. With odds like that it seems that many young people need the coverage.

What could keep me from working?

The Council for Disability Awareness has released a great website for learning about all things disability insurance, RealityCheckup.org. The top five reasons they listed, according to an Integrated Benefits Institute database, are:

  1. Back and joint pain
  2. Cancer
  3. Pregnancy Complications
  4. Mental health challenges
  5. Accidental injuries

Even if you believe you are being careful or that nothing could happen to keep you from work there are instances that throw wrenches in your plan. Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared?

Why do I need more coverage than my employer offers?

Disability insurance is a great benefit that an employer may offer you. The only problem is that this coverage may come with limitations, as Nick Deas, our Financial Insurance Advisor, discusses in the video below. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, you will likely need 70 percent of your income covered. If your employer does not offer this then you may need private supplemental coverage.

If you have questions about disability insurance please give us a call at 352-371-7977 or email Nick at nick@mcgriffwilliams.com.

New Medicare ID Cards

Starting in April 2018, Medicare will be sending new medicare ID cards. As a part of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, social security numbers must be removed from all Medicare ID cards by 2019. What’s changing and when will you receive your new card? Keep reading to find out!

New Medicare ID Cards

The new Medicare cards will replace social security numbers with an 11-character Medicare Number. The new “numbers”, known as Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers or MBIs, are meant to decrease the risk of identity theft and fraud. Your card will automatically be sent to you and you need only ensure your address is current.

When will I receive my new card?

Medicare began sending cards in April 2018. If you are a Florida resident your replacement card will be sent after June 2018. Until then, you can continue using your current card.

What do I do when I receive my new card?

Once you have received your new card you should begin using it immediately and destroy your old card. There will be a transition period from the time you receive your card until January 1, 2020 when only new cards will be accepted. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan then the card you hold for that will still be your main identification, but you should carry your new Medicare card as well.

If you need more information please visit the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services website.

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?

When you consider your workplace benefits package, how much value do you see in your employer offering life insurance? This coverage can oftentimes be overlooked or undervalued but it can be very beneficial to your loved ones in the event something were to happen to you. Then there’s the question of whether or not the coverage your employer provides is enough. According to most experts, the answer is no.

There are several things to take into consideration if you depend on employer-sponsored coverage alone, especially if you are responsible for the care of others. The biggest mistake most people make is that they do not truly understand their need for life insurance and do not realize that the amount they have is inadequate. More individuals than ever before are using their employee perk as sole coverage over buying outside coverage, according to LIMRA. If you have a family, outside coverage will aid in paying bills, debts, and future expenses that employer-sponsored coverage could not fully pay.

Do not worry if you haven’t purchased life insurance separately because it’s not too late and we’re here to help! Those who are single, mostly debt free, and do not have dependents will probably be fine with their work coverage. Determining if you need more coverage is the first step.

At any point in the process, you can give us a call at 352-371-7977 and speak with Nick Deas, our resident life insurance expert. Nick can help you determine what type of life insurance your lifestyle requires and how much coverage you’ll need. Although discussing life without a loved one can be very difficult and a topic many people avoid, it’s extremely important to be prepared and all on the same page. Feeling confident and comfortable with your family’s financial stability can bring a lot of peace to an otherwise negative subject.

Florida Blue Member Website

Did you know Florida Blue has a member website? Did you know that creating a login for the site makes updating contact information easier, provides details about your claims and deductibles, and can earn you discounts?

Member Website

Setting up your account is quick and easy! Follow this link and the instructions. All you need is your Member Number that is on your member ID card. Once you are registered you can access your health insurance account on a completely secure and accessible site. You can view recent claims and the status of you and your family members deductibles. There is also information about your spending toward your out-of-pocket maximum. You have access to a provider directory and information about what is included in your specific plan as well. Another benefit of the account is the ability to compare costs. You can choose a service, provider, and location to estimate costs of x-rays, MRIs, surgical procedures, and specialty visits.

Need more reasons to create an account? By becoming a user on the site you have access to tons of deals. Go to https://www.blue365deals.com/browse-all-deals to get deals ranging from discounts on hearing aids to access to some of the top fitness centers at a reduced cost.

Mobile Application

Florida Blue also offers a free mobile application on Google Play and in the App Store. The mobile app provides the same great information as the member website on the go! When you need to find a provider in a hurry, the app ensures that you choose someone who is included in-network for your specific plan and based on your current location. If you need your member ID card the app also provides a digital copy.

Creating a Florida Blue member account helps to ease stress, provide convenient and quick information, and keeps you up-to-date on your plan and Florida Blue. Take the time to create your account today!