Sunday, November 18, 2012

Suze Orman Thinks Long-term Care Insurance is a Good Idea - And You Pick the Best Option to Pay for It

In a recent “Ask Suze Orman” column, Suze discussed the limited-pay option for long-term care insurance (LTCI). She explained that many people don’t know about this option and recommended it as a great way to pay off your premiums while you are still healthy and in your wage-earning prime.

We agree. A big advantage of paying off your premium costs in 10 years is that you will avoid the nasty surprise many LTCI policyholders with ongoing payments are encountering: Their premiums can rise sharply over time. A 10-year plan insulates you from that risk.

Keep in mind that if you buy a regular LTCI policy, it should include an annual inflation adjustment for the simple reason that costs rise over time and you are buying something today that you may not use for 20 or 30 years.

On the other hand, a limited-pay plan will be more expensive than a longer premium schedule, and adding inflation coverage will increase it even more. But if you can afford both the limited-pay and the inflation option, you will be in great shape.

You can save money by skipping the cash-back option that would pay the “return of premium” to your heirs after your death. It is an expensive option and the money is better spent on an inflation rider. 

Call Allied Brokers for details about LTCI and the best option for your particular needs. Visit our website at for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Suze’s full article appears in the November 2012 Costco Connection

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How to Deep-fry a Turkey without Burning Down Your House

You’ve seen the TV commercial about the annual spike in insurance claims due to fires caused by people trying to deep-fry turkeys for Thanksgiving. Although deep-fried turkeys taste terrific, it’s not a method for amateurs or friends who want to stand around the backyard drinking and cooking.

The deep-fat turkey fryer is dangerous in itself; the pot is filled with 3 gallons of boiling oil and it’s easy to tip over, spilling hot oil over a large area. Inserting the turkey without splashing oil on yourself is very tricky- and if you dribble some onto the burner, it can cause an inferno. Also, without thermostat controls, deep-fryers can overheat the oil to the point of combustion.

Here are some tips to minimize the dangers of deep-frying your turkey:
  • Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.
  • Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.
  • Do not overfill the fryer.
  • Never leave the fryer unattended because the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
  • Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.
  • Use well-insulated oven mitts and wear long sleeves and safety goggles to protect from splatter.
  • Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before placing it in the fryer.
  • Keep all-purpose fire extinguishers nearby.
  • If a turkey fryer fire occurs, call 911 immediately.
If you plan on deep-frying your turkey this Thanksgiving, you should call Allied Brokers to review your homeowners’ insurance policy. We can help you be sure that any gaps in your coverage are filled in case something goes wrong.

Visit our website at for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Protect Your Small Business from Disaster

With unpredictable weather on the rise, the time for small business owners to plan for disaster is now. Being unprepared can be costly- an estimated 40% of businesses don't reopen after a disaster. Of those that do reopen, 25% fail within one year.

Here are some key tips to protect your small business:
  • Recognize the potential threats that nature poses in your geographical area. Consider the usual types of events for your region, like earthquakes, as well as the freak ones that may not be the norm, like tornados in Palo Alto. Then take measures to reduce or eliminate your exposure. A structural engineer or your community building or zoning offices can identify ways to shore up your facility against the effects of earthquakes, high winds, flood and fire.
  • Make sure you have protective systems in place. For example, an emergency generator can provide power during outages. Surge protectors can prevent damage to electronic equipment.
  • Back up your computer data – regularly. This is a critical risk management step that most small business owners overlook. Make computer backup part of your daily operations and store copies of your files at an offsite location.
  • Develop a business continuity plan that identifies the specific steps your business will take to return to operation after a disaster. It requires time and effort, but in the long run, it can help reduce loss, save lives and speed your business' recovery.
  • REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICY! Many businesses don’t discover that they're not properly insured until after they've suffered a loss. The results can be financially devastating.
Call us at Allied Brokers to review your insurance coverage, especially if you haven't done so in a while. Together we can determine if you have the right coverage – and the right amount of coverage – if your facilities are damaged or operations are interrupted for a period of time. This could include coverage for loss of business income or loss of perishable stock as well. Plan today to stay in business tomorrow.

Visit our website at for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fireman's Does the Right Thing for Its Clients

Fireman's Fund Insurance announced last week that it will provide a Blanket Extension of Coverage for policyholders who were hit by the storm. Customers get temporary leniency on premium payments and non-pay cancellations. They have until November 30, 2012 to pay insurance premiums due on or after October 27, 2012- without any late fees, penalties, or cancellation due to nonpayment. In addition, Fireman’s Fund is waiving deductibles for clients hurt by the storm.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Beat the Tax Man with a Living Trust

Living trusts are all about avoiding probate fees, which can be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Basically, you appoint a trustee before your death who transfers ownership of your estate to the beneficiaries you’ve  already selected. In many cases, the whole process takes only a few weeks and there are no attorney or court fees to pay.

Here are answers to common questions about living trusts:

Is it expensive?
The cost of creating a living trust depends on what you want to achieve. The more complicated a living trust is, the more expensive it will be. The value, however, is in the money and time you will save by avoiding probate court.

Is a trust document ever made public, like a will?
A will becomes a matter of public record when it is submitted to a probate court, a living trust does not.

Does a trust protect property from creditors?
No, a creditor who wins a lawsuit against you can go after the trust property just as if you still owned it in your own name.

After your death, however, property in a living trust can be quickly and quietly distributed to your beneficiaries. By the time creditors find out about your death, your property may already be dispersed. Trusts are not public record so, except for real estate, creditors have no way of knowing exactly what you owned and are unlikely to go after the beneficiaries.

Probate, on the other hand, can offer a kind of protection from creditors. During probate, known creditors must be notified of your death and given a chance to file claims. If they miss the deadline, they're out of luck forever.

Do I need a trust if I'm young and healthy?
If you don’t own real estate, probably not; a will and perhaps some life insurance is sufficient.

Can a living trust save taxes?
A simple probate-avoidance living trust has no effect on either income or estate taxes. More complicated living trusts, however, can greatly reduce your federal estate tax bill if you expect your estate to owe estate tax upon your death.

If you're wondering whether you need a living trust, call Allied Brokers. We'll help you figure out the answer.

Visit our website at for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Woman Commits Insurance Fraud From Ambulance

A Philadelphia woman was arrested last week in a very unusual case of insurance fraud. She wrecked her car and did not have comprehensive or collision insurance. Although injured, the woman called her agent from her gurney, en route to the hospital, to increase her coverage.

In an attempt to get her insurance company to pay for the damages to her car, she reported a claim shortly after the incident. The woman lied about when the accident occurred, claiming it was after she obtained the additional coverage. The story didn’t fly and the woman was arrested and charged with one count of insurance fraud and one count of “attempt to commit theft by deception”. She was released on $10,000 bail.

Repairs after an auto accident can be expensive; call Allied Brokers today to review your policy and fix any gaps in your coverage.