Auto Insurance Relief Refunds pending approval

Our agency is proud to partner with several companies that not only provide great coverage for our clients but also keep their best interest at heart. Our goal is to help protect our clients and their families during these challenging times and we are excited to share some good news!

Many drivers are using their vehicles less as they abide by our current stay-at-home orders. Therefore, Nationwide, Safeco, Auto Owners, Mercury, Progressive, Chubb and AAA will all be issuing a one-time premium refund for personal auto policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each company is handling it slightly different so we’ve included the details below. This only applies to motor vehicle policies (not including golf cart, motorcycle, ATV or boat). This is still awaiting final regulatory approval but is headed in the right direction.

The best part about this is that policyholders don’t need to do anything! Refunds will automatically be either credited to their policy account or refunded to the most recent method of payment (for example: automatic withdrawal, credit card, personal check), likely within the next 30 days.

$50 per policy active as of March 31, 2020

15% of premium as of April 7, 2020 for 2 months

Auto Owners:
15% of premium for April and May, 2020

15% of premium for April and May, 2020

20% of April premium (refunded in May) and 20% of May premium (refunded in June)

35% of premium for April and May, 2020 upon annual renewal

20% of auto premium for April and May, 2020

Again, we are honored and grateful to do business with companies like these that really look out for their clients and do what’s right in times of need. Please reach out to us any time you have questions regarding auto insurance. You can call us at (352) 371-7977 or email [email protected]. Stay well and safe!

Health insurance options during COVID-19

Unfortunately during the current pandemic we’re experiencing, some people are losing their jobs. While there’s hope to be rehired once this has passed, one of the immediate concerns is the benefits that go along with that job. Here are some options that may relieve a little bit of the worry and fear surrounding this.

Current Options for Health Insurance:

  1. Purchase Individual Health Insurance Plan – Losing a job with employer-provided coverage qualifies for the Special Enrollment Period (“SEP”) exception outside of Open Enrollment. Some may even be eligible for subsidies based on their income, which would offer premium assistance.
  2. Temporary Plans – These are also available if someone is only interested in more catastrophic coverage for a short period of time.
  3. Cobra – One’s employer (if they have 20 or more full-time employees) may offer this to extend coverage for up to 18 months after employment ends. It is recommended that anyone eligible for Medicare avoid this option but details can be discussed further on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Direct Primary Care – These are membership based clinics that focus on proactive, preventive care by establishing a relationship and individualized plan of care. They do not accept or file with health insurance companies and don’t include coverage for major health needs or hospitalization. However, it may be worth a conversation to see what they offer since it could be a lower cost option during tough times. Here is a map that shows where DPC’s can be located:
  5. If 65 years old and Medicare eligible – It’s most important to be timely in applying and seek guidance on Advantage Plans, Supplements, and Prescription Drug coverage. It’s best to start this process around 64.5 to avoid any potential penalties financially.

We are happy to help navigate these options to see which is the best fit for your needs, whether it’s temporary or long-term. Please reach out anytime at (352) 371-7977 or [email protected]. Stay safe!

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 25, 2020 the Department of Labor (“DOLâ€) published a required notice under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for employers with fewer than 500 employees. Those employers must post this notice by April 1, 2020. The notice is available here. This notice must be placed in a visible location within the premises and/or it can be emailed directly to each employee. 

The DOL has provided a few resources which are linked below:

Action Items for employers with fewer than 500 employees before April 1st, 2020:

  • Draft a handbook policy for Emergency FMLA and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (contact us for a sample)
  • Post and/or distribute DOL notice poster Update leave and FMLA policies to anticipate these new required policies

As you face the day to day questions of balancing business concerns, the law, and health and safety, we are here to help and assist in any way we can. Stay safe!

Business Interruption Insurance

In a time like the current pandemic of COVID-19, we are all experiencing some serious interruption. As individuals, it’s come in the form our personal relationships, children’s schools, sports, social events, networking, and even the everyday errand of running to the grocery store. Those restrictions are inconvenient and may be aggravating but in the end, not totally life changing. After all, some may even be enjoying the forced slow down and more time at home with their families.

But for businesses, it’s a different story. Think about your favorite restaurant, retailer, hardware store, caterer or event venue… your dentist, your hair stylist, your daycare and your gym. Think about how difficult it would be to tell employees of 20 years that you can’t afford to pay them or that you have to close the doors. Think about the students that work hourly to pay their way through school and support themselves, already living paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet.

This is a tough time, no doubt about it. It’s terrible. And it’s forcing business owners to look anywhere and everywhere for options. One avenue business owners are exploring is Business Interruption coverage on their commercial insurance policy, which is what we’d like to clarify.

Unfortunately, in most cases, this type of coverage does not apply to any type of disease or outbreak. In the event of a natural disaster or man-made crisis, this coverage would help protect businesses against financial losses if they had to suspend operations or operate at a reduced rate/capacity.

Some of the things Business Interruption typically covers are:
• lost revenue
• rent and lease payments
• mortgage payments
• other loan payments and taxes
• employee payroll or relocation costs

This coverage may not extend for the situation we’re in right now but it’s comforting to know it’s there when applicable. If there’s property damage, closure, or lack of operations that does qualify for coverage, this could get a company back up and running rather quickly. Suffering from economic shock and financial losses is stressful enough, so the silver lining in those situations would be that this is there to help.

There really isn’t a great solution or magic answer to how we’ll recover from this Coronavirus situation but if we can stay positive, band together, and help where we’re able… surely, we’ll come out of it okay and as best prepared as we can be to get to work on recovering.

Benefits of Auto Pay for Your Insurance Premiums

We currently happen to be in a time of uncertainty with some businesses temporarily closing or being short staffed due to Covid-19 social distancing recommendations. One of the concerns that has developed is people still being able to pay their bills, such as insurance premiums.

Thankfully, most insurance carriers accept payment either online or via an automated phone system but Auto Pay could alleviate any worry or doubt you might have about these payments being processed correctly and on time. There are several benefits to Auto Pay, depending on what type of policy it is.

• When it comes to life or disability insurance, a lapse without timely reinstatement could mean that you will now require an underwriting review, sometimes involving medical evidence… or you could even have to secure new coverage at your current, older age and possibly lesser health.

• For a health insurance policy that cancels due to late or non-payment, it cannot be reinstated at all and you would be left without coverage until the next open enrollment period for the following year. Scary, right?!

• For auto or home insurance, it would depend on the company if they were willing to reinstate or rewrite the coverage. The biggest risk here is that something detrimental and very expensive could happen in that lapse period where you would have no coverage at all.

Auto Pay is convenient, yes. It saves paper and printing costs, yes. It’s peace of mind and one less thing to worry about, yes. But it’s also imperative for maintaining some pretty important coverage. This is coverage that you may not be able to get back if you elect to receive a paper bill that gets lost or doesn’t get paid. An Added bonus is cost savings as well… you can almost always save on installment fees by going this route.

If you’re able to arrange Auto Pay either through EFT (electronic funds transfer from a checking account), recurring credit card, online bill pay with your bank, or whatever options there are… it’s definitely the safest way to ensure that your coverage will not be interrupted or affected.

If you have questions about a specific policy or company that we work with, please let us know anytime at [email protected] or (352) 371-7977.