Add medical evacuation coverage to your vacation checklist

When Evelyn Paschen suffered a stroke in Florida, her husband faced a $20,000 medical transport bill just to get her home to Wisconsin. Thankfully, the Paschens had Travel RescuerSM coverage from SECURA, and Evelyn was flown home at no personal cost. 

Accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere. And when serious health issues occur away from home, patients often need to travel via special medical transport. As the Paschens can attest, those flights can cost thousands of dollars in the United States; the price is much more outside the country. In fact, many families have been known to remortgage a house to bring a loved one back. 

Medical evacuation coverage, included on MILE-STONE Gold and Agri-Protector Plus policies from SECURA Insurance, ensures you get back home if you become seriously ill or injured while traveling.

The U.S. State Department recommends knowing what kind of medical services your health insurance will cover before you travel overseas. Although some will pay for reasonable treatment costs, very few cover evacuation back to the United States. (Be aware that Medicare will not pay for medical costs incurred outside the country.) It’s also important to note that medical evacuation coverage is different from a trip cancelation policy, and it may be secured at a lower rate than comprehensive travel insurance packages. 

Policyholders with a SECURA MILE-STONE Gold policy already have evacuation coverage, but other coverages to look into are: 

  • Family transportation – If evacuation is not recommended, will the policy transport a family member to your location? What deductible and out-of-pocket expenses are there?
  • Special activity exclusions – Is the policy still valid if you engage in extreme sports like paragliding, canyoning, scuba diving, or off-roading? 
  • Pre-existing conditions – If you have a diagnosed illness or medical concern, will coverage still apply if your condition takes a turn for the worse?
  • Medications and medical devices - Will the policy replace glasses, medications, or medical devices lost or stolen on your travels?
  • 24/7 medical support – Is the policy supported by a medical team to assist with consults and travel coordination? 

Travel Rescuer from SECURA also includes assistance with lost travel documents, legal and medical referrals, and translation services when you’re on the road. And unlike trip-specific travel insurance policies, Travel Rescuer is in effect all the time, whenever you’re more than 100 miles from home. There’s no need to activate coverage. It’s always there, working for you. 

Call your insurance agent today and find out if you have travel evacuation insurance. Or talk to your SECURA agent about a MILE-STONE Gold or Agri-Protector Plus policy. 

Customize your coverage with home insurance riders

If you have valuables in your home like jewelry or artwork, you’ll likely need an insurance rider (also known as an endorsement or scheduled personal property) added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance policies have limited coverage on high-value items, so insurance riders provide the protection you need if your items are damaged, lost, or stolen.

Here are a few things in your home you might find worthy of added protection:

  • Artwork, antiques, and collectibles – Standard homeowner coverage limits are typically set around $2,000 for artwork and other special collections. If you’re a collector, get an appraisal to determine your collection’s value. 
  • Firearms – If you have a high-value firearm or gun collection, you may want a rider. Your insurer may request serial numbers and other specifics for each gun and will likely require that guns are stored securely. 
  • Electronics – Coverage for your computer equipment, high-end cameras, and gaming systems may be limited. Standard coverage is generally $5,000 or less. If you’re a true technophile, add up the value of your electronics and check it against your policy limits. 
  • Jewelry – A standard homeowners policy may cover about $2,000 for jewelry. If you have a larger collection or want to protect a piece against damage, loss, or theft, a jewelry rider might be right for you, protecting your valuables when standard coverage does not apply. If you lose your wedding ring in the garden, for example, that loss is typically not covered by a standard policy.

The best insurance coverage begins by talking with your agent about what kind of coverage makes sense for you. Find a trusted insurance agent today to start the conversation. 
A special note on depreciated and replacement value: Some policies may insure your household items at their depreciated value, or what something is worth at its current age. With this type of policy, if your 10-year-old bedroom set is lost in a fire, you would not receive the full amount you paid at the time of purchase. 

Other policies provide replacement value. That means you’ll receive the full cost to buy a new item of similar quality. Talk to your agent and find out what type of coverage you have. You may be able to purchase a rider that offsets depreciation.  

Also, some policies require an appraisal in order to get a rider on high-value items. Keep an up-to-date home inventory, and store copies of your receipts and appraisals in a secure, off-site location like a safe deposit box or the cloud

Winter car seat safety: 5 tips to keep kids warm

Winter is a tricky time for parents of children who use car seats. According to safety experts, bulky winter clothing like jackets and snowsuits should not be worn in a car seat. That’s because puffy winter gear creates enough space under the car seat harness to allow children to slip through during a car accident.

Skeptical? Watch the video from an official crash test lab in Michigan. A dummy, which appears to be securely strapped in, flies from its harness in a simulated 30-mile-per-hour crash.   

Most winter coats should not be worn underneath a car seat harness. Wondering how to know whether your child’s coat is safe? Consumer Reports offers a nice explanation on how to check if your child’s winter coat is too bulky to use in a car seat. 

Since winter is here but the coats are off limits, here are some tips to keep your children warm and safe in their car seats:

  1. Keep the carrier warm. Store the carrier portion of the car seat in the house so it stays warm. That way, your child will lose less body heat in the car. 
  2. Use hats and mittens. Keep kid’s extremities warm with hats, mittens, and booties. These don’t interfere with the car seat straps and help hold in warmth. 
  3. Layer. Dress your child in a thin, tight-fitting fleece jacket over other flat base layers like a sweater and long-sleeved shirt. 
  4. Cover after. Add a swaddling blanket or slip the child’s coat on backwards after they’ve been strapped in. You can also buy hooded car seat ponchos that drape over the top of the seat. A general rule of thumb is that kids need one more layer than adults to stay warm.
  5. But cover carefully. Don’t use aftermarket products that could interfere with the car seat’s tested safety operations. Avoid any bags or covers that add a layer of fluff under the child’s body. Shower-cap style covers are best because they don’t obstruct the harness routing or add bulk under the straps. 

And remember, keep an emergency bag in your car with extra blankets and winter clothes in case you get stranded on the roadside. 

‘I Resolve’: A New Year’s Insurance Checklist

It’s that time of year again when many of us look at our lives with renewed energy and fresh eyes. As you make resolutions to improve your overall wellbeing this year, take some time to include an insurance review. It’s a quick and important investment in your financial security. 

Ideally, you’ve kept your insurance agent up-to-date on any significant home improvements you made in the last year, but take a moment to review anything you might have forgotten. Consider whether any life changes or home business practices could impact your insurance, too. 

  • Significant home improvements, such as a kitchen remodel, bathroom, or addition that could impact your home value
  • The entire roof of your home was replaced
  • New safety features such as a sprinkler or alarm system
  • New swimming pool, wood burning unit, or a dog
  • New boat, camper, snowmobile, ATV, or other recreational vehicle
  • New jewelry that was acquired which may need to be scheduled on the policy
  • Any business conducted from your residence
  • Any tenants or short-term rental practices

Now is also a good time to update your home inventory with any notable purchase (jewelry, furniture, antiques, art, electronics, etc.) you made in the last year. If your household inventory has significantly increased in value, you may want to adjust the limits on your policy. 

Drivers and Families
Changes in your personal life or family structure can impact your home and car insurance needs. Review the following list and identify any changes that occurred in the past year:

  • New driver in the house
  • Child left the house/went to college
  • New car
  • New job that changes your regular driving habits

Ask your insurer if any cost savings are available if you sign up for autopay or pay in biannual instead of monthly installments. Review your deductible too. If you have a good emergency fund, you may feel comfortable increasing your deductible in exchange for lower rates on your insurance premiums. 

Business Owners
When was the last time you updated your insurance policy? If your business has grown or evolved since then, you may be exposed to added risk.

  • Employees – Has your workforce increased? Are you using more contractors? 
  • Sales – Have annual sales grown? If yes, consider whether your liability limits are high enough to cover your current exposure.
  • Services – If you’ve expanded into new service lines, you may need to add new endorsements to your liability policy. 
  • Drivers - Check safety records and licensing for all the drivers in your business. Tell your agent if drivers are frequently using rented vehicles.
  • Contracts – Have you engaged in any new contracts that could affect your liability? Review the “insurance and indemnity” sections with your insurance agent. 
  • Property – An increase in equipment could impact your commercial property policy. 

A quick conversation with your insurance agent never hurts. Even if you haven’t experienced any significant changes in the last year, your agent can help determine if a new insurance option might better suit your needs.

Contact your insurance agent today to review your coverage and mitigate risk. Or find your local SECURA agent and find out if a SECURA policy might be right for you.