Are you getting your hot rod ready for summer?

Your choice for classic car insuranceAt Oak Tree Insurance we have several choices for insuring your hot rod. One of our most reputable companies for insuring collector cars is Hagerty Insurance. They are some of the most knowledgeable and experienced companies I've run across. Whether you're driving the vehicle now or it's in the restoration process, they can insure it.  Take a look around Hagerty's site for additional information or contact me to take the next step.

Appraisals are not needed to insure with Hagerty. Just send me photos and an accurate detailed description and I'll forward that information to Hagerty for an accurate quote. They'll let us know us know how much it's worth.

Thinking about adding a home security system?

GE Security SystemTake a look at the GE Home Security System. It is the Simon XT System. Most systems are around $45 per month for wireless service. You'll get sensors for each door, windows, garage doors, a camera, a motion detector and even wireless key fobs so you can turn on and turn off the alarm from outside the home, similar to the key fob for your car. Total value of the system is around $1300. The only cost to you is the monthly fee. Contact GE Home Security at 1-800-519-4350 for more details.

You will be eligible for a discount on your homeowners insurance for this security system or an other security system you choose.

*GE Home Security systems are not offered by Oak Tree Insurance, LLC and are not affiliated in any way . This is a service offered by GE Home Security.

Do you need ERISA coverage?

401KAre you a business owner that needs an ERISA bond because you offer a 401K? If you offer a 401K, you are required to have insurance coverage or an ERISA fidelity bond for 10% of the plan balance.

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry. ERISA does not require any employer to establish a pension plan. It only requires that those who establish plans must meet certain minimum standards. The law generally does not specify how much money a participant must be paid as a benefit. ERISA requires plans to regularly provide participants with information about the plan including information about plan features and funding; sets minimum standards for participation, vesting, benefit accrual and funding; requires accountability of plan fiduciaries; and gives participants the right to sue for benefits and breaches of fiduciary duty.

Contact me for more information and competitive pricing.

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Life insurance isn’t for you, it’s for those left behind

Your choice for life insuranceI was asked a couple days ago, how much life insurance do you have? I told the person "I have enough to take care of my family if I die, but so much that they want me dead!" It was a joke when I said it but it got me thinking more about life insurance.

Life insurance, especially term insurance, helps take care of those left behind. I typically go through a few different questions when determining how much you need. Here are some of those questions if you're wondering how much you need.

Final expenses - How much will your funeral be? Did you die with medical bills outstanding?

Debt - Your income is your biggest asset. Your income was also helping to pay down bills such as a mortgage, loans and maybe credit card debt. If your income is gone, will your spouse be able to pay the bills? Will your assets be seized to pay for outstanding debt?

Education - If you have children, did you intend to help them through college? Are they currently going to a private grade school?

Income replacement -You and your spouse are working towards goals of your own. If you die, many of the goals still remain. Retiring at a cabin up north with the grandkids, going on a vacation to Ireland, experiencing the Australian outback or taking your family to Walt Disney World. If you leave this earth, don't forget to take care of those left behind. It's not just money, it's dreams.

Special needs - Are you taking care of elderly parents? Do you have a child with special needs that depends on you? If you are gone it's a good idea to have funds set aside so they can continue to receive the quality of care they were receiving with you.

Often times the life insurance needs are $1,000,000 or higher. This is a lot of money, but's it's really not a lot over a lifetime, or to satisfy all of these needs. Final expenses could be $25000, debt could be $300,000, education could be $200,000, income replacement could easily be $500,000, special needs could easily exceed $100,000. When you really consider what the financial impact would be if you died and left a family behind, I hope you see the real need to evaluate what the true number is that you need. Then ask me if it's in your budget.

Click here for one example of what happens when you don't have enough.

Are you renting an apartment or a home?

new_york_empire_state_building_manhattan[1]Renting an apartment or a home? Do you have renters insurance?

You can't always control what your neighbors do and sometimes people have accidents, even you. If you find yourself displaced from your apartment or home you are renting, I hope you have a renters policy.

A renters policy will help you in a number of ways. Here's how you benefit.

1. Your "stuff" is protected in the event it is stolen, damaged in a fire, water damage, vandalism and more. I suggest you insure it to replacement value, meaning that the insurance company will provide coverage to buy new instead of deducting depreciation. Don't over insure yourself, be realistic. Go through each room and get a estimate of the value of each room, add up the total and insure yourself for that amount. Update coverage as you accumulate things.

2. You have loss of use coverage. This provides funds for hotels or temporary housing in the event your home is damaged to a point where you can no longer stay there. Picture an apartment fire where multiple units are damaged and people are panicking looking for a place to stay. You can go straight to a hotel. Keep your receipt, you'll be reimbursed.

3. Medical coverage. If you have guests to your home and someone is injured. This pays for first aid to the injured guest up to the limit chosen by you. I recommend at least $5,000. You can go higher or lower. This is not a significant expense to the policy, don't go lower.

4. Liability coverage. If a guest is injured and you are found negligent this gives you coverage. For example, if you are having guests over and someone slips on an icy sidewalk and receives severe or lasting injuries and sues you. This provides you with an attorney and settlement money up to the policy limit. Often the limit is $500,000. You can also purchase an umbrella policy to give you extra coverage of $1,000,000 or more. One great feature about liability coverage is that it follows you, except in the car or at work.

For an example where renters insurance was used, click here.

Key Person Life Insurance for business owners

life disability and ltcOwning a small business is a dream and a reality for many people. You've found a passion you can earn a good living doing and you've found partners that can help you succeed. When you have partners each person has their strengths and those strengths are what keeps the business successful and profitable. What would happen if one of those partners were to die? Not only would you lose a friend and crucial member of the business, but now you have the issue of dealing with that person's estate. After all, they did own part of the business, right? Typically the spouse or family members of the person that passed away don't have an interest in day to day operations of the business and would rather just sell the estate's portion of the business back to the other partners. That's where key person life insurance comes in. Each partner buys life insurance on the other partner(s) and the business pays for it. If one partner were to pass away, then the other partner(s) now have enough funds to buy out the interest the deceased person had in the company. This way the remaining partners can choose how to continue running the business. For more information and an example where key person insurance was used, follow this link from Life Happens.

Homeowners Insurance – extended coverage on jewelry

Wedding ringsHomeowners insurance covers many parts of your home. If you experience a tornado, fire or hail, you can expect the insurance company to cover your claim minus your deductible. But what about your personal property? Most personal property is covered under a blanket limit. There is no need to schedule things like furniture, clothes or personal electronics. However, jewelry is one item you should consider adding special coverage for. If you read through the actual language of a homeowners insurance policy you will see that jewelry is one of the items that has a limit. Typically the insurance company will cover you around $1000 per item (this will depend on the company). If you have jewelry that exceeds this amount you should contact your agent to see how much coverage you have. You can add special coverage to make sure you are covered to the full value of your jewelry. The average cost of the endorsement is around $10 per thousand per year. So a $10,000 wedding ring will be around $100 per year for coverage. You can start by getting an appraisal of the item(s) and contacting your agent. If you recently purchased the item(s) you may be able to use the sales receipt. As always, it's a good idea to review your policy with your agent each year or two.

Independent agent or captive agent?

PersonAskingQuestion-270x300A captive agent offers insurance from only one company. An independent insurance agent can offer insurance from more than one company, often many more. At Oak Tree Insurance we can offer insurance from more than 50 different companies. Isn't it always better when you have a large selection?

This morning I was quoting insurance for a client that had 2 nice autos and an upscale home. Their bundled insurance package ranged from $3008 per year to $5568 per year. What if my only choice was from the higher priced company? We chose a company that offered a great policy with great coverage. Do you know what else? It wasn't the cheapest company. We elected to go with a policy that offered better coverage, better features and a better claims service history. Cheapest isn't always the best choice, we went for better quality. But it's your choice, because after all, "It's all about choices."

Looking for home daycare insurance?

Istock girls on bouncy balls on sidewalkI am one of the more competitive daycare insurance providers around. Here are a couple things you should consider. First, if you would like a policy with minimum coverage we can go as low as $300,000/$600,000 for liability limits. Very basic policy, doesn't cover as much as other policies but if a child is injured in your daycare you'll have some coverage. Depending on how many kids you have, the premium can be as low as $400 per year. Second, since a daycare is your business there are endorsements you should consider. One of the main ones is loss of income. If you have a fire in your home, you're not only losing your home for a while, you're also losing your place of business and business income. Consider getting a better policy to help you temporarily relocate your business until your home is ready for the kids again. You could still be under $700 per year and have a top notch policy. Payments can be anywhere from paid monthly to paid in full once a year.

Car Insurance extras – gap coverage

Your choice for classic car insuranceI helped a client recently add his new car to his policy. He had traded in old car and owed a little more on it than the trade-in was worth. In car lingo this means we was "upside down" on his trade. The car he purchased was $18,900 on the car lot. His new loan ended up being close to $23,000. In the event he were to total his car out, he could end up owing $4000 or so after the insurance paid the bank. Not good! But, we added an endorsement called loan/lease gap coverage. Now if he totals out the car, the endorsement will pay for the difference. Much better than owing on a car you no longer own. And it was only about $5 per month and he can take it off when he's no longer "upside down".