Fall is finally here! It's a great time to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead
Five ways to improve your home for the fall season:
1. Clean your gutters!
Learn how to clean your gutters through tutorials or hire someone to clean out those gutters of yours!
2. Fix your windows and doors to avoid having drafts.
Check all of your windows and doors to prevent drafts throughout the season, there are plenty of ways to fix drafts on a budget!
3. Pile O'leaves!
Investing in a leaf blower or rake is an important factor with all the leaves falling. Keep your yard tidy and have a pile of leaves to jump in!
4. Fireplace clean up.
Having an inspection on your fireplace is up to code to ensure safety when the temperature starts to drop.
5. Garage Arrangements.
If you have a garage, make sure to mount items high on the walls so you're able to fit your cars in for this fall season!
For more information on home insurance, visit Trout Insurance's Home Insurance page today!
Highlights: For Our Medicare Clients with Stand Alone Medicare RX plans or Medicare Advantage plans.
For help - Call your Trout Insurance Agent. Main line: 828.279.4681
Over the next few months, you’re probably going to receive a lot of information about Medicare. It’s all meant to help you understand your coverage choices and make informed decisions during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7). There is one piece of Medicare mail, though, that you want to be sure to read. It’s called the Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC for short, and it comes from your current Medicare plan provider. Delivered by September 30, ANOC letters ensure that plan members have up-to-date plan information before the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins.
Your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan ANOC provides important information. It can help you decide whether to keep your current plan or look for a new one during the Annual Enrollment Period. Here’s what to look for when you get your ANOC, along with questions to help you understand plan changes and what they may mean for you.
Provider network changes:
Drug list and pharmacy network changes:
Check with your plan if you are unclear about anything in the ANOC or if you did not receive an ANOC letter. You can call the customer service number on the back of your member card. Your Medicare plan details may change every year.
Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare prescription drug plans are offered by private insurance companies under contract with Medicare. Each year, they review their plan details each year and make changes as needed to better serve plan members. Take time to Review your Plan. You don’t want to be caught off guard by higher costs or coverage changes after January 1. And whatever your decision may be—to stay with your current plan or to explore other Medicare coverage options—you want to make it based on the facts.
1. Know the Law
Having the knowledge of knowing the laws where you live is important and gives you a better chance of them working for you instead of against you.
2. Rating System
People are evaluated for coverage based on a rating. Generally, insurance companies use predetermined factors to generate a rating, however; companies have their own standards to uphold against the rating system. Accident history, age, and even where you live are other factors an insurance company considers when giving you a quote for a policy.
3. Get Discounts
You never know until you ask your agent about different discounts that are offered for things such as military service or an association with a financial institution.
4. Do Your Research
Ensuing that you choose the right insurance company to help you through your auto endurance is essential. Before signing up for the cheapest, quickest, and easiest plan, make sure you have the best coverage that is right for you.
5. Types of Coverage
There are different types of policies that may be a better fit for your vehicle. There may be a policy package that fits what you are looking for better, without you knowing it.
6. No-fault States vs Tort States
It is important to check if the state you live in keeps “No-fault” or “Tort” laws for car insurance. Non-fault” means the insurance company sends a check for overall damages regardless of who is at fault. Tort on the other hand, offers three types of insurance related to bodily injury, vehicle damage, and uninsured motorists.
7. Finding Insurance
Finding an insurance company that is easily accessible in your area might be the best option for you. Usually, you can find these insurance agencies through word of mouth, the internet will also assist in helping you find the right company.
8. Fact Checking
It is good practice to be familiar with your insurance agent and ask them the questions about being cited for a scandal. Making sure that you verify a company's legitimacy with the state is a strong precautionary measure.
9. Read the Fine Print
Making sure that you read the fine print of your policies from your insurance company to know all that you are paying for.
10. Policy Anniversary
If you committed to a policy for a year and it is time to renew, make sure you aren’t qualified for a better policy that might not have been available when you first received your policy. Making sure that you stay informed and being familiar with your insurance policy will make things a lot easier in the long run.
Want to know more about car insurance? Contact a Trout Insurance agent today!
1. You save big on annual eye exams.
Having a vision plan usually includes an annual eye examination. The exam may be free or cost a small fee and is focused on glasses, contact, or general eye health. Many don’t know, but you can save $100 or more on your eye exam each year with your vision insurance policy.
2. There are two main types of vision insurance.
Having a group plan gets you a group discounts, simplifies the application process, and can be attained through your job, association, and other groups. Even if your employer doesn’t offer group vision insurance, you may be able to qualify.
4. There are many ways to save through a good vision plan.
Receiving an annual eye exams isn’t the only way to save money with your vision insurance. By looking into your vision plan, you can find many different discounts. These discounts can be applied to, but are not limited to: glasses, contacts, LASIK, and optical lab work.
5. Insurers typically provide quality assurance services to members.
The good news about vision coverage is that insurers usually have a quality assurance service to facilitate resolutions of the questions, worries, or complaints.
For more information about how vision insurance works or are interested in a plan, please contact a Trout Insurance agent today!
Did You Know There are Three Types of Comprehensive Wellness Visits Available to Medicare Beneficiaries?
1. Disability statistics tell a story.
According to the Council for Disability Awareness, some of the most common reasons for disability include back injuries, cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. When a long-term disability occurs, the average time of absence from work is approximately three years. With no pay check and security, most workers feel that they are put into a financial pinch.
2. Disability benefits can be used for any expense.
Disability is a wise thing to have, even if it's not required. It allows you to receive a portion of your gross income, this can be used and spent any way you'd like. You could use disability benefits on things such as mortgage, rent, everyday expenses, credit card payments, and so much more.
3. Disability insurance is for all workers.
It is not required to have a high gross income to have disability insurance, coverage is suitable for anyone who relies on their income to pay their living expenses. Having an illness or injury could mean having medical bills and other expenses, for these reasons, just about anyone who works should have a disability policy.
4. You can purchase your own disability insurance.
If you don’t have the option of getting a disability policy at work, you may be able to purchase disability coverage on your own. In general, your health status will be a factor in the premiums charged for an individual disability policy. Having your own coverage gives you the flexibility because it typically stays with you if you need to change jobs.
5. There are different types of disability insurance.
There are two main types of disability policies:
6. Disability insurance comes with different protection features.
There are other benefits that you may be able to purchase at an additional cost with your disability insurance policy consist of (but are not limited to):
If you have any questions about your disability insurance policy or want to your own, contact a Trout Insurance agent today!
1. Yearly Maximum
Your yearly maximum is defined as the most money that the dental insurance plan will pay in order for your dental plan to work within one full year. This amount can vary for different insurance companies and is usually renewed every year at the beginning of the year. If you have not used all of these benefits they will not roll over into the new year. Make sure you utilize all of the benefits while they are still active.
The deducible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. These fees can vary from one plan to the next depending on which in or out-of-network you choose. Your deductible starts over when your plan rolls over.
If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any major dental treatments, you should always get routine dental cleanings to help prevent major dental issues and have early detection of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer, etc.
4. Fee Increases
There could be an increase in fees due to dentists raising their rates at the beginning of the year due to a rise in cost of living, materials, and equipment. This in turn can increase their copay, if you need to see a doctor for any reason, you should do it while your current rate and copay remain the same in order to dodge the increase of copay on the doctor's end.
5. Dental Problems Can Worsen
When you delay dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple fix now, can turn into a more complicated issue later. Often you find that many people ignore and leave dental issues alone until they become worse than the original problem.
For more information on finding or switching to a dental plan that is right for you, contact a Trout Insurance agent today.
Below are 10 tips that can help you save money when you need to add your teenage driver to your insurance policy:
1. Compare Policies
Getting quotes from several different car insurance providers to see who had the best premiums and deals for your driving record and your teen’s newness is highly important and can save you money in the long run.
2. Ask About Multi-Policy Discounts
There is a chance that insurance companies will give you a discount when you are bundling different policies with them. While you're shopping around, ask your agent for details regarding multi-policy discounts to save some money.
3. Safety Courses and Good Grades
There are two main perks for teen drivers that are often overlooked: safety courses and good grades. Many insurance companies will offer discounts for teenage drivers who have taken and passed specific safety courses. Teens that make good grades (B average) usually can receive a student discount on insurance, this is due to the likelihood of “good grade” students getting involved in less accidents.
4. Purchase a “Low Target” Car
Some types of cars are stolen more than others, when looking for a car for your teen you need to remember that these aren’t always the fanciest cars on the lot. These are the ones that are targeted by thieves because of the parts being so valuable.
5. Buy an Older Car
Not only are older/used cars cost less to purchase, they also tend to carry cheaper insurance rates. Instead of buying your teen a brand new car right away, get an older/used car until they become more financially responsible and safer drivers.
6. Get a Safe Car
Like older cars, a safer car will get you a lower insurance rate. Look for different vehicles that have a high crash test rating or top line safety equipment.
7. Put Your Teenager on Your Policy
When you are searching around for different policies, check with your current insurance company first to see how much it would cost to simply add your teen to your adult policy instead of getting their own.
8. Increase the Insurance Deductibles
If you are wanting to reduce your premium cost, you can always manipulate your deductible any way you see fit. Usually raising your deductible will do the trick.
9. Educate Your Teen
Most people know and understand that the more accidents you have, the higher your insurance rates will go. However, making sure that you have these talks with your teens is important in making them safer drivers. Teaching your teenager that maintaining a good driving record correlates with low insurance rates is important in helping them stay mindful and teaches them to prepare for this responsibility in the future when they have to pay for their own car insurance.
10. College Discounts
If your teenager is going to or planning on going to college that is more than 100 miles away from home, they may be eligible for a college discount if they don’t have a car of their own on campus. Talk to your insurance company about the details to find out if or how you can qualify for this particular discount.
To have your questions answered about adding your teen to your car insurance, contact a Trout Insurance agent today!
This week there will be a food distribution hosted by Second Harvest Food Bank in Erwin, NC. The distribution will take place from 4 - 6 PM on Thursday, June 25th at Nuclear Fuel Service, 1650 Jackson Love Highway.
To learn more or donate, visit netfoodbank.org or call 423-279-0430 or check the organization’s Facebook page.
When it comes down to it, it is up to your employer to establish a benefits package for you. It is up to you to figure out what is offered and take full advantage of it. Below are 10 things you really should know about you employee benefits:
1. Compare your Employer Plan v. Healthcare Exchanges.
One of the biggest purchases that an individual will make in life is their healthcare plan, the last thing you want to do to keep renewing your old healthcare plan without looking at all your options. If your employer offers to cover your healthcare plan and you decline it, you are not eligible for subsidies on the Obamacare exchange. If one of the options offered is a high deductible plan, you may need to consider the potential to build up a health savings account. In the end, making sure to research your healthcare plan with your employers at all angles is important.
2. Open a health saving account.
Nowadays, more and more employers are offering the choice for their employees a high deductible healthcare plan. This also means that you are able to set up a health saving account (money that you can contribute is tax-deductible). The best feature of having a health saving account is that it is your and has the opportunity to grow to a $150,000-plus health savings account.
3. Open a healthcare FSA.
When looking at having a flexible spending account for dependent care expenses, many forget that you don’t have to enroll in your employer’s health plan. You can contribute pre-tax dollars to the FSA and use it for out-of-pocket expenses.
4. If you have a child under 13, fund a dependent care FSA.
Ensure that you have no confusion about the rules for healthcare FSAs with a dependent care FSA, this is used to help pay for child care expenses. It’s safer to underestimate FSA care because you can always take the dependent care tax credit on your income tax return.
5. Seek out wellness incentives.
When you take advantage of your employer’s wellness incentives, you can cut personal costs or even bring in cash. There are many opportunities to cut costs such as: quitting smoking, having health screenings, participating in health coaching, having discounts on gym memberships etc.
6. Review your retirement plan elections.
Your retirement plan may seem too far in the future to consider, however, the earlier you start to save, the more likely you’ll have financial security for your retirement. If your employer offers a 401(K), make sure that you’re contributing at least enough to grab any free employer matching money. If you cannot establish a retirement plan at work, make sure you’re saving through an Individual Retirement Account.
7. If you commute, transit benefits put cash in your pocket.
If you are someone who pays to park or use some source of mass transit to get to work most large employers will offer to pay for your transit through payroll.
8. Look at employee stock purchase plans.
In the right scenario, having an employee stock purchase plans can be a perk with a guaranteed return of 15%. When doing this, make sure that you have a full understanding of the tax rules.
9. Have a look to see if you are covered with disability/life insurance.
Your employer may give you a certain level of coverage when it comes to disability/life insurance. Ask your employers if you can make salary deferrals to increase your coverage (the extra premiums can be fairly cheap).
10. Do you need all of the “deals” that come with employee benefits?
There are many employers out there that offer employees voluntary benefits provided by a third party, these many include: pet, auto, pre-paid legal services, etc. However, just because it is offered, it doesn’t mean it's the best deal for you. Ensure that you know all the options before committing to one.
Have questions about Employee Benefits? Contact a Trout Insurance agent today to have those questions answered.
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