Long-term Care Insurance Make Dollars and Sense

shutterstock_61894663Whether due to old age, mental or physical illness, or injury, many people find themselves in need of assistance with basic everyday activities. As we age, it is important to have a plan in place in the event that we are no longer able to care for ourselves. When the need for long-term care arises, long-term care insurance can help with the potentially devastating emotional and financial toll that can result.

Long-term care insurance helps with the expense of assisted living or nursing home and even an in-home care professional. When you or someone you love suddenly need help with getting out of bed, bathing, cooking, crossing the room, and shopping for groceries, the expenses that come with having to pay someone to assist you can add up quickly. If you need long-term care services and have to pay to obtain them, do you have the financial resources to cover it?

There is a common misconception that your health insurance will cover long-term care. However, neither your health insurance nor Medicare will pay for this expense. The longer you wait to purchase long-term care insurance the more costly it becomes. Because it is based on your age and health status, the sooner you make the investment in long-term care insurance the better your rates will be.

It is important that you make the investment in long-term care insurance to lift the burden of care from yourself and your loved ones. It is also crucial that you consider what would happen if you were not prepared or were unable to care for an elderly parent. Give yourself and your family a peace of mind knowing that you will be covered if the need for long-term care arises.

Call OceanPoint Insurance today at 847-5200, for more information on long-term care insurance.

Give your Family a Sense of Security – Invest in Life Insurance Today

shutterstock_119918665Life insurance is one of the most important investments you will make during your lifetime. If the unexpected were to happen, life insurance will help protect those who depend on you for financial support. Life insurance will provide your loved ones with a source of income, and can help cover medical, legal, and funeral costs. Give yourself and your family peace of mind knowing they will be able to continue living comfortably and won’t have to worry about daily living expenses.

As with all types of insurance, there are a number of different options for coverage. The two major categories life insurance falls into are Term Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance. Here is a brief explanation of each policy:

Term Life Insurance is designed to meet temporary needs. Term policies are purchased for a certain amount of time such as 10, 15, or 20 years and if the insured person dies during this period, a beneficiary will receive the dollar value of the policy. This is the most inexpensive form of life insurance because there are no cash values or dividends.

Whole Life Insurance provides you with coverage for your entire life. When you purchase a Whole Life Insurance policy, your premium is guaranteed to never increase, there are cash values, and some companies pay policyholders’ dividends. The cost is higher, but it is considered more effective for estate planning.

Universal Life Insurance provides permanent insurance protection and access to cash values that grow tax-deferred. A Universal Life policy allows for more flexibility where you are able to adjust the frequency and amount of your premiums.

A Variable Life Insurance policy offers more investment options than a universal policy. In addition to permanent life insurance, a Variable Life policy allows you to make investments that can help you accumulate money for your future needs.

Many times the conversation about life insurance is put off. In order to ensure your family’s financial security in the event of your passing, it is crucial you review all of your options. Call OceanPoint Insurance at 847-5200 to speak with an experienced agent about which option is best for you.

Hurricane Preparation Tips for Boaters

During hurricane season there is always a chance we could experience numerous storms, several of which may have the potential to become major hurricanes. It is crucial that you are prepared for whatever may happen.

docked

There is a special importance placed on hurricane preparedness for boat owners. To help ensure you take the necessary precautions, we offer a few helpful tips for how to prepare your boat in the event of a hurricane.

  • Have a plan of action in advance.
    • Boats remaining in a marina: Double all lines and attach them high on the strongest and tallest pilings, to allow for tidal rise. Make sure lines will not slip off pilings and that they are installed properly.
    • Boats remaining on a mooring: The mooring must be designed and maintained to withstand the weight of your boat (contact your marina to determine the maximum load their mooring will withstand and how that relates to a Category 3 storm). Inspect and service the chain and swivels that connect the mooring buoy annually.
    • Boats that can be  trailered: Haul your boat out of the water and move it to a safe location as far from tidal waters as possible.
    • Be aware of your lease or storage rental agreement with the marina or storage facility and know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as those of the marina.
    • Fully charge the boat’s batteries, and have backup batteries.
    • Shut off all devices consuming electricity except bilge pumps, and disconnect shore power cables.

When a hurricane is coming, after you have made anchoring or mooring provisions:

  • Remove anything portable such as sails, dinghies, electronics, cushions, etc. and securely tie down anything that cannot be removed.
  • Keep a list of everything left on the boat and what was removed.
  • Have all records including insurance policies, a recent photo of your boat, boat registration, equipment inventory, and the lease agreement with the marina or storage facility, together in one place.
  • Make sure you know the telephone numbers of appropriate authorities, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, Harbor Master, National Weather Service, and your insurance agent, and keep them on hand.
  • Do not stay aboard.

After the hurricane has passed.

  • Be aware of possible downed electrical wires. There may be stray AC current from submerged outlets, shore cords in the water, damaged vessel systems, etc. Do not enter the water!
  • Check for leaking natural gas and propane by smell only, not with matches or candles!

The most important things to do to protect your boat from hurricanes or any severe storms are planning, preparation and timely action. It is also critical that you have the proper insurance coverage in place, and fully understand your policy. Call your OceanPoint Insurance agent today, to ensure you are fully aware of what is covered under your policy, and we’d be happy to give you a complimentary policy review.

Be Prepared for Flood Insurance Rate Changes

In 2012 congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which requires the phase out and removal of subsidized rates. This law extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and requires significant program reform. You should expect changes in your rates beginning October 1, 2013. Over the years, storms like Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina have caused flooding costs to continually increase. Many of the changes will be phased in over time and are designed to make the NFIP more financially stable, ensuring flood insurance rates more accurately reflect the real risk of flooding.

Some of the changes are as follows:

  • Premium increases
  • Exclusion of certain properties from receiving subsidized rates
  • No extension of subsidy for Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) new business policies or Pre-FIRM lapsed policies in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) or D zones
  • Policies issued under the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension will incur an average of a 20% premium increase annually, beginning with new business and renewals.
  • Introduction of Reserve Fund – The Biggert Waters Act of 2012 requires FEMA to build up a reserve fund to help meet the expected future obligations of the NFIP in higher than average loss years. Reserve Fund amounts will be part of the premium calculation for applicable policies and is about 5% of the total premium.
  • The Federal Policy Fee will increase to $44 for Non-Preferred Risk Policies and $22 for Preferred Risk Policies.
  • Elimination of no waiting period due to lender requirement
  • NFIP form changes

Many of these changes can be confusing, and it is important that you are fully aware of what to expect.  It is crucial you stay in contact with your agent while these modifications come into play to ensure you are properly protected at all times.

For more information or for a free complimentary policy review call OceanPoint Insurance today at 401-847-5200.

Auto Insurance is About More Than Your Vehicle

Many insurance policies boast their “low prices” or  “extra savings” when switching to their policy. At OceanPoint, we always try to find the best price for our customers, but we do so keeping in mind that auto insurance isn’t just about protecting your vehicle – it’s about protecting your loved ones inside your vehicle.

When determining the right coverage for you, we often take into consideration two important coverages that are more about you and your loved ones, than about the vehicles damaged in an accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage will protect you during an accident with someone who does not have any auto insurance or did not have enough insurance to cover the damages. This coverage can pay for your medical bills as well as those of the passengers in your car. Depending on the laws in your state it can also cover the damages to your vehicle, pain and suffering, loss of income, or loss of care and services.

Bodily Injury Liability covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other special damages incurred from an accident in which you are legally responsible for accidently injuring someone else.

The next time you’re tempted to go with an insurance policy that can lower your rates by reducing your coverage, remember, your policy is meant to not only protect your vehicle, but also to protect those you care about inside it.

For more information about the coverages associated with your auto insurance policy, contact OceanPoint Insurance Agency in Barrington at 401-245-3900, or in Middletown at 401-847-5200.

BankNewport and OceanPoint Insurance Agency Children’s Book Drive

Date: June 17-29, 2013

child reading

We Need Your Help to Collect Over 1,000 Children’s Books for Local Youth!   BankNewport, OceanPoint Insurance Agency (OPIA) and the United Way of Rhode Island’s Women’s Leadership Council are partnering with Books Are Wings on a children’s book drive that will run from June 17 through June 29 at all BankNewport branch and OPIA office locations. The goal is to collect over 1,000 new and gently used children’s books during the two-week long drive.

All of the books collected will be distributed during Back to School Celebration RI’s backpack distribution event sponsored by BankNewport at the East Bay Community Action Program (EBCAP) Health Center, Six John H. Chafee Blvd. in Newport on Saturday, August 17.

Click Here for recommended children’s reading lists to reference when considering your book donation.

For more information on the children’s book drive, please contact 401.845.8673.

Home Inventory Can Save Money and Time on Home and Renters Claims

During spring storm season, it’s shocking how quickly your home can become an insurance claim. Heavy rains and  hurricanes rarely provide much advance warning. If storm damage hits your home this season, the insurance company may not pay for your belongings if you can’t prove what was lost.

Do yourself a favor and create a home inventory. Simply shoot video or photos of everything you own. (Don’t forget your clothes and shoes, which can really add up!)

Then, store the photos, data files or videotape in a fireproof safe. Make a copy for your safe deposit box, if you’ve got one. It’s also smart for you to save or photograph receipts, owner’s manuals or other proof of purchase of valuable possessions.

Having a home inventory can mean thousands of dollars to you, should your home be damaged by a storm or other catastrophe. You have worked hard for your home and possessions, and you will never regret making the effort to keep track of them. It’s time well spent for a time you hope will never come.

At OceanPoint Insurance Agency, we have built our business by helping our customers be prepared for unforeseen events. Call us at 401-847-5200 today if we can help you in any way.

OceanPoint and BankNewport Win the Highest Level of Worksite Health Award!

I am pleased to announce, on May 29, 2013, BankNewport will be awarded the “Exemplary” category award for the 2nd year in a row, by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. The 19th Annual Worksite Health Awards ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. This is the highest level of Worksite Health Award given to an organization.

The Worksite Health Awards is co-sponsored by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is designed to recognize those Rhode Island businesses that are working to promote worksite wellness. The awards honor businesses that support prevention through written materials, seminars, lectures, and a demonstrated commitment to education through committee development and policy change. Four award levels are acknowledged: Achievement, Outstanding, Superior, and Exemplary.

Thank you for helping to make BankNewport and OceanPoint Insurance Agency a healthy place to work!

 

 

Carolyn Odell
HR Generalist

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Simply put, uninsured motorist coverage protects you financially for bodily injury, including death, from an accident caused by a driver who does not have car insurance. It includes you and any family members who may be in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The intent of uninsured motorist coverage is to pay for medical costs and loss of work but not the physical damage to your car, as it would be covered under the collision part of your insurance policy.

There are many scenarios when you may be in a car accident where you are not at fault, yet you would not be protected if you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance coverage. An uninsured motorist might be:
  • Someone who has car insurance but coverage for this accident is denied,
  • Someone who does not have a driver’s license.
  • Someone whose driver’s license has been revoked.
  • Someone driving a stolen car.
  • Someone who may have let their car insurance lapse because they couldn’t afford the premium.
  • Someone whose auto insurance has just been cancelled.
  • The driver who speeds away from a hit and run accident.

Damages recoverable with uninsured motorist coverage include those amounts you would be legally entitled to collect if the at fault party could be identified and had insurance, up to the limit on your policy. Many states, including Rhode Island, have laws that address whether uninsured motorist coverage may be required and how it works.

Types of Damages that Are Covered

Medical Bills:

Most health insurance plans include substantial deductibles and co payments. Even if you have what seems to be adequate health insurance, the direct costs of injuriesfrom an accident with an uninsured motorist can result in severe financial hardship. This exposure is multiplied when more than one member of a family covered under an auto insurance policy is involved in the accident. Even if you live in a state requiring No Fault (or Personal Injury Protection) coverage, the limits there may not be enough to pay all the bills from a serious accident.

Other Legal Damages:

Depending on the laws of your state, damages may be recoverable from an at fault party for pain and suffering, loss of income, or loss of care and services. If the at fault party is not found or does not have insurance coverage available, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay damages as a court would award you, up to your policy limit.

How Much Coverage You May Need

Consider buying uninsured motorist limits at least equal to your auto liability limits. While carrying less may be allowed, uninsured motorist rates are usually far lower than the rates for liability coverage. If you want to purchase lower uninsured motorist limits or even to avoid purchasing uninsured motorist coverage altogether, you may be asked to sign a statement to the effect that the coverage was offered and declined.

Considering the potential damage from an accident with an uninsured motorist, if you don’t already have high limits on your medical coverage, you should look into buying as much protection as you can afford and that the insurance company allows.

As your independent insurance agent, we can help you make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place in case you’re unlucky enough to meet an uninsured motorist. Call us today at 401-847-5200.

7 Tips to Selecting the Right Independent Insurance Agent

Selecting the right independent insurance agent to take care of your insurance needs should not be an “eeny, meeny, miny,moe” decision. You are looking for a long-­term relationship with someone you can trust. You wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around, and you shouldn’t select an independent agent without doing some research too. So what should you look for?

  1. Know the Difference between Independent Agents and other Insurance Agents.
    An independent agent may be a small-­business owner who represents a number of different insurance companies. In contrast, agents who represent large, national insurance companies are employees of their company and only sell products from that company. A direct insurance company sells directly to you without an agent, typically online. An independent agent has the opportunity to best match price and coverage for your needs, and if an insurance company is competitive one year but not the next, your independent agent can quote other carriers. That is why they are called independent.
  2. Ask for Referrals.
    Referrals from family, friends and colleagues are a good place to start. When you ask around, find out why they like their independent agent. Ask about their customer service and follow-­ through, if the agent is friendly and knowledgeable. Is their policy reviewed annually?
  3. Decide If Location Is Important to You.
    It may be important for you that your independent agent has offices in your community. You have the convenience of being able to stop by to ask questions or help with a claim and develop a trust relationship. Many independent agents are deeply committed to their community and are actively involved as coaches, scout leaders or civic leaders.
  4. Visit Their Websites.
    Websites are full of information. Read about the history of the agency, the staff’s bios, their customer testimonials. See if their website provides insurance information and easy access to price quotes, either online or via telephone. Websites can give you a feel for the personality of the agency, what they think is important, and the type of customer service they provide.
  5. Look for Credentials.
    A knowledgeable independent agent can provide the advice you need when deciding what coverage and limits you need to protect your family and you. Look for independent agents who have letters next their name on their business card. These represent professional designations, such as Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM). To maintain these credentials, independent agents must take continuing education classes.
  6. Interview the Independent Agents.
    You should interview the independent agents you are considering. Personality is important since you should like the agent you are going to work with, potentially for several years. You should feel respect for their knowledge and get a sense about their integrity.
  7. Knowledge and Trust Are Key.
    It is not so simple to determine knowledge and trust because these qualities are established over time. But you can start by asking the independent agents you are considering to explain the products they sell and how they determine which products, coverage and limits you need. This will give you a good feel for how the agent does business.

Remember that your relationship with a good independent agent is likely to last a long time, so it pays to take the time to choose the right one for you.

As your independent agent, our job is to help you select the best coverage and limits and with the most competitive premiums from a variety of the insurance companies we represent.