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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The SBA defines a small business as one that employs fewer than 500 people. By this definition, there are more than 27 million small businesses currently operating in the United States. These can range from incorporated, self-employed individuals to community banks and construction firms.  If you own a small business, it's a good to consider acquiring the proper insurance to protect your business venture.
If you are one of the millions of entrepreneurial Americans who have started their own businesses, you can turn to an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network for guidance when shopping for small business insurance. These agents can work with several different insurance companies to provide you with several policies and premium rates to compare. Contact a local agent near you to start comparing small business insurance quotes today.

U.S. Small Business Statistics

  • There are currently more than 27 million small businesses in the U.S.
  • More than 70% of these businesses are owned and operated by a single person
  • 77 million people, or 57% of this country’s workforce, are employed by small businesses
  • Approximately 70% of all small businesses remain in operation 2 years after inception
  • Approximately 50% of all small businesses remain in operation 5 years after inception
  • 54% of small businesses are home-based

What Types of Insurance Do Small Business Owners Need?

Very small businesses often do not have employees and are therefore exempt from insurance requirements. However, if your company does have employees, you may need the following insurance for small businesses:
  • Workers compensation insurance: This coverage can be purchased either through your state’s worker’s compensation insurance program or through a commercial insurance agent. Refer to the guidelines set by your state or speak with an agent in the Trusted Choice network for more information.
  • Unemployment insurance: This coverage is paid for through unemployment insurance taxes collected by your state. Once you establish and register your business with your state’s workforce agency, you will begin paying this tax.
  • Disability insurance: Small business owners are currently only required to purchase this insurance for their employees if they are located in one of the following six locations: California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Puerto Rico. Otherwise, this coverage is optional.
  • Medical insurance: Under the recently passed Affordable Healthcare Act, small businesses that employ more than 50 people could be required to purchase healthcare coverage plans for employees. Medical insurance for small business does not have to be unmanageably expensive. A Trusted Choice member agent can help you find insurance providers that offer affordable rates through group insurance for small business.
Regardless of whether or not you have employees, you may want to consider the optional coverage provided by a small business insurance policy.

What Is Small Business Insurance?

Small business insurance is an optional insurance plan that provides you with the coverage necessary to keep your business operational, especially in the aftermath of a catastrophe or a lawsuit. Catastrophes can include fires, major weather events, and accidents with extreme losses. Lawsuits can also devastate your business. These insurance plans can be customized to meet the inherent risks faced by your particular business.
Nearly half of all businesses that are forced to temporarily stop operations because of a natural disaster fail within 5 years. Of those that are unable to resume operations within 10 days, nearly 80 percent close within one month. A solid business insurance policy can prevent this from happening by allowing your small business to remain profitable, even in the face of disaster.

Small Business Insurance Protects Against Property Loss and Damage

There are many different kinds of small businesses, all with varying degrees of property coverage needs. Here are some considerations:
  • If your company is home-based and your business equipment and materials have a value lower than $2,500, you might be best served by purchasing a business property rider on your homeowners or renters insurance policy.
  • If your assets are between $2,500 and $10,000, a home-business insurance policy may be your best choice.
  • If your property coverage demands exceed this amount or your business is located outside of your home, you will most likely need the protection of a small business insurance policy.
  • If you own the building in which your business is located, you will want to make sure that you purchase enough insurance to cover the structure of the building as well as any contents within. This coverage will provide the compensation necessary to repair or replace lost, damaged or stolen materials and equipment.
  • These policies almost always exclude damages caused by floods, so you will want to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy as well.
An agent in the Trusted Choice network can provide you with more information about various property coverage options as well as flood insurance policies, and help you choose the right small business insurance for your unique needs.

Small Business Insurance Protects Against Liability

Small business liability insurance is one of the most important components of your commercial policy. Different industries have different liability risks, and for this reason, small business insurance policies can be customized. You need only purchase the type or types of liability coverage you require. Your small business liability insurance options can include:
  • General liability: This covers most liability claims that may be brought against you. It protects against payments for bodily injury, property damage, libel and slander. It will also cover court costs and legal fees associated with covered events.
  • Professional liability: This coverage is also known as errors and omissions insurance. It protects your business from liability claims due to malpractice, negligence and errors. Some states may require certain businesses, such as those in the medical field, to have this coverage.
  • Product liability: This is important for companies that manufacture, distribute or sell products. If a product defect results in illness or injury, your company may be sued. This will provide coverage for this type of lawsuit.
Your small business liability insurance rates will depend on how much coverage you purchase and the likelihood that your business will face liability charges.

Insurance for Small Business Offers Other Coverage Options

Small business insurance policies can be customized to fit your business plan. Some other coverage options include:
  • Loss of income insurance: If your business is forced to temporarily cease operations because of a covered event, this coverage can provide you with continued income so that you can pay employees and cover your monthly bills and expenses. This coverage is usually limited to one year.
  • Fidelity insurance: This coverage will shield you from losses resulting from the illegal actions of an employee, such as theft or embezzlement.
  • Commercial vehicle insurance: If you drive a car, taxi, truck, delivery van or other vehicle for your small business, you will typically need a commercial vehicle policy to cover your risks. If your employees drive while on the job, you will also need this coverage.

Find the Right Insurance Policy for Your Small Business

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Tracy Arnold, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman Webb at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel ! 

We have 2 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.




Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup @southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Protection is Offered in Homeowners Insurance?

Crime, accidents and severe weather are part of life, and every home experiences loss or damage of some kind, at some point. You can’t predict when you will experience a loss, but you can protect yourself financially. Where do you begin, and how can you compare homeowners insurance quotes when it seems every company offers something different?
Start by getting a free home insurance quote from a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent. When you work with a local agent you'll get quality service and can compare different rates and savings that will match the insurance plan you are looking for. Your agent can also answer any questions you may have about the types of homeowners insurance coverage you need, including personal property coverage, liability and more. Call and find a local agent near you to get set-up with an the right policy.

Home and Property Damage Facts

  • In an average year, 374,000 residences catch fiesulting in an estimated $4.6 billion loss
  • 1,691 tornadoes occurred in the U.S. in 2011, a
  • re, resulting in $7.32 billion in loss
  • In 2010, 2,158,878 houses were burglarized, r
  • t a cost of $28 billion
Getting coverage for the risks of owning a home is simply a wise investment. Be sure to call a qualified Trusted Choice agent who understands your geographic area and can help you make sense of the many options available to you.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Broadly speaking, insurance covers you for potential loss resulting from risks such as burglary or theft, severe storms, fire and also your personal liability. The specific risks you may face as a home owner could include floods and earthquakes, which you must cover with separate policies, as these disasters are not included in home insurance.
Your home liability coverage protects you in the event that someone is injured on your premises or you are responsible for damage to someone else’s property. You homeowners insurance can even protect you against injury you cause to another person off-premises under certain circumstances. Note that liability insurance will not cover acts of violence or intentional damage.
Your liability insurance would also typically provide coverage if:
  • Your child throws a baseball through the neighbor’s window
  • Your dog bites a visitor to your home
  • A visitor is injured on your backyard swing set or trampoline, or by falling on your icy sidewalk
  • A dinner guest gets food poisoning and is hospitalized
If someone files a liability claim against you, your insurance can pay for property repairs, medical or funeral costs or even a lawsuit if the injured party chooses to launch a legal process.
When evaluating the amount of liability coverage that makes the most sense for you, be sure to fully discuss your limits and deductibles with your agent. Take time to understand your risks, and determine whether you will be well covered in various circumstances. In the event of a disaster, the costs of recovering can devastate household finances. Quality home insurance can make a difficult situation bearable and help you get your life back on track.

Is Homeowners Insurance Mandatory?

Homeowners coverage is not required by law. However, if you borrow money to buy a home, your lender will likely require you to buy a homeowners insurance policy in order for you to qualify for a home loan. In this case, your home is collateral and the lender wants the collateral maintained. The lender requires insurance so you can afford repairs if the home suffers an insurable loss.
At a minimum, your lender will want your policy to cover or exceed the amount you owe on the loan. Most home owners, however, want enough coverage to repair or replace the home. A Trusted Choice agent can help you decide how much insurance is right for you and if you qualify for any special savings.  

Be Sure Your Home Insurance Provides Adequate Coverage

A recent study concluded that 69 percent of home owners are under-insured. Unfortunately, many home owners think they are fully protected and are stunned to find out at the time of loss that their coverage is inadequate.
Getting the right homeowners insurance coverage for your home and belongings depends on many things, from crime rates, tornado risk and wildfire hazards in your area to the specific personal property coverage and deductibles that make the most sense for your household.
Here are a few key strategies you may want to consider to make sure you have adequate home insurance:
  • Increase your liability insurance with an umbrella liability policy, which will provide liability coverage up to $1 million or more.
  • Get replacement cost home insurance to cover what it would cost to replace your home and personal property, instead of “actual cash value” coverage, which will only cover the current depreciated value.
  • Be sure to read over the policy's exclusions carefully and ask your agent if any of these items are a risk, and if you can purchase additional insurance to cover them.
  • Add coverage for specific items of value, such as jewelry, art and collectibles, through “endorsements” or “riders” on the policy.
While you may be able to buy online homeowners insurance, consider working directly through an agent who can provide in-depth explanations of each aspect of your policy. When you buy home insurance, you are protecting your financial future. Take time to seek good advice from a knowledgeable independent agent.

Making Sure Your Personal Belongings Are Covered

When choosing the amount of personal property coverage you want for your belongings, consider what it would cost to replace all of your personal items after a total loss from a fire. Many home owners assume that all of their belongings are fully covered until they experience a loss. Depending upon the type and amount of coverage in the policy, personal items may not be covered, or may only be covered up to a depreciated value. In most cases, this amount is far less than what it would cost to replace them.
The following steps can help you determine the value of your items and be prepared in the event that you need to file a claim:
  • Compile an inventory of what you own, room by room.
  • Take pictures of your belongings, particularly anything of high value.
  • Keep receipts for all valuable items you purchase, including appliances.
  • Record a replacement value for each item on your inventory.
  • Go over this list with your insurance agent and determine whether you need to purchase additional coverage to be protected in the event of a loss.
  • Place your inventory list, images and receipts in a secure place such as a fire safe.
These records will help you to complete the claims process more efficiently and accurately if you suffer a loss.

Why Work with an Independent Agent?

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Tracy Arnold, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman Webb at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel ! 

We have 2 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.



Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup @southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Flooding is coming your way - how to protect yourself

Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area of that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies.

Before we get into how you can prevent, limit or react to flooding, it’s important to note that flood damage is typically not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. There are specialized flood insurance programs that we at SouthGroup Insurance can discuss with you. Just contact us at 228-466-4498 or 228-385-1177 or info@southgroupgulfcoast.com for more information if you live in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, or Texas.

Preparing for a flood

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a number of steps to stay safe during emergencies and limit damage from flooding. You should:

+ Build an emergency kit for your family containing such items as drinking water and nonperishable food for each member of your family (two-week supply), flashlights,  a radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, personal hygiene items and copies of important documents.
+ Create a communication plan so family members can reach one another.
+ Elevate your air conditioner, water heater and electric panel in your home if live in an area with a high flood risk.
+Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
+If possible, employ flood mitigation measures to stop floodwater from entering your home.

During a flood


If a flood is likely in your area, quick action may be necessary to protect your family and property. You should:
+Get information from the radio or television.+Move immediately to higher ground if there is any possibility of a flash flood. Do not wait for instructions to move.+If you need to evacuate, secure your home and move essential items to an upper floor. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so, and disconnect electrical appliances. However, do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.+Do not walk through moving water — it can make you fall. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.+Do not drive into flooded areas. If you are caught in your vehicle in floodwater, abandon your car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.+If you have evacuated your home, do not return until authorities tell you it is safe.

After a flood

Flooding can cause emotional stress along with physical hazards, so be mindful of the well-being of you and your family during the aftermath.
+Floodwater can be contaminated by oil, gasoline or sewage, so avoid contact as much as possible.+Make sure your city’s water supply is safe to drink.
+Clean and disinfect everything that was in contact with floodwater.


The Red Cross has a free book available called “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” which contains useful information as you clean up. It’s available at www.redcross.org. Of course, don’t hesitate to contact us as well — we’re ready to help!


If you have flood insurance, contact the claims center of your provider as soon as possible.

Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. Being prepared for any emergency is crucial for the safety of you and your family. Don’t be caught off guard!



We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Tracy Arnold, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman Webb at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

We have 2 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.




Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup @southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Friday, May 12, 2017

Prom and Graduation Safety

Teen driving tips to keep prom and graduation safe

High school is full of defining moments for teen,s and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation.

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments - serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

At SouthGroup Insurance, we want to help make this season one to celebrate for you and your teen. So, with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some tips that can keep your teen safe.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:
+Absolutely no alcohol
+Always use seat belts
+No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances
Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance, and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

+Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.
+Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.
+Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.
+Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.
+Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

Prom and graduation are special times in a teen’s life. And just a little common sense will go a long way toward making sure your young adult is around to enjoy the other milestones that are sure to come.

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

We have 2 Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.




Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup
#southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What Is Covered by Standard Homeowners Insurance?

Most standard homeowners insurance policies include four essential types of coverage:
  1. Coverage for the structure of your home
  2. Coverage for your personal belongings
  3. Liability protection
  4. Additional living expenses if you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of an insured disaster

1. The Structure of Your House

Your homeowners policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, remember this simple guideline: Purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.
Most policies also cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home.

2. Your Personal Belongings

Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disasters. The coverage is generally 50 to 70 percent of the  insurance on the structure of your home. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.
The I.I.I. offers a free home inventory tool that lets you create, maintain a photo home inventory, and store it safely in the cloud. To learn more, visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
Personal belongings coverage includes items stored off-premises— this means you are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You also have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.
Expensive items like jewelry, furs, art, collectibles and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its officially appraised value.
Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants are not covered for damage by wind or disease.

3. Liability protection

Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter or dog accidentally ruins a neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. (However, if they destroy your rug, you’re out of luck.)
The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit stated in your policy documents.
Liability limits generally start at about $100,000, however, it’s a good idea to discuss whether you should purchase a higher level of protection with your insurance professional. If you have significant assets and want more coverage than is available under your homeowners policy, consider purchasing  an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits.
Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage, so if a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your own family or your pet.

4. Additional living expenses (ALE)

ALE pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from a an insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other costs, over and above your usual living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.
Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowners policy has limits—and some policies include a time limitation. However, you can generally increase the amount of ALE coverage for an additional premium.
Your ALE coverage limit is separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. Even if you use up your ALE your insurance company will still pay the full cost of rebuilding your home up to the policy limit.
If you rent out part of your house, ALE also covers you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

source: www.iii.org

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

We have Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.



Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup
#southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Smart Steps For Buying Life Insurance

Shopping For Personal Life Insurance That Meets Your Needs And Budget
Life insurance can form a vital part of your family’s financial stability and well-being but, if you’re like most people, you may find the thought of shopping for the right type of coverage a little daunting. Fortunately, these eight simple steps can guide you along the way.
  1. Determine whether you actually need life insurance. Most people do, but not everyone. If no one depends on you financially, if you have no debt and would leave an estate with enough cash to pay its own taxes and expenses, you probably don’t need life insurance. If you do not meet these criteria, you probably will need individual life insurance.
  1. Calculate how much life insurance you need. There are two important questions to ask:
    1. What financial resources will be available to survivors after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of resources: (1) Social security and other retirement-related survivor benefits; (2) group life insurance; and (3) other assets and resources. It is also important to know when these resources will become available—for example, social security survivor benefits are payable immediately to a surviving spouse with dependent children, but only after age 60 if there are no children.
    2. What financial needs will your survivors have after your death. For simplicity, consider three categories of requirements: (1) final expenses; (2) debts; and (3) income needs.
    3. Then subtract your survivors’ financial resources (step #2) from their financial needs (step #3) to determine how large a policy to buy. Many people are underinsured, often because they skip these steps or take a shortcut (such as simply buying a multiple of annual income). For more help in determining the right amount of life insurance, see: How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
  1. Consider other objectives you may have for your life insurance. Some types of life insurance policies include a savings feature that can be used for purposes other than paying death benefits.
  1. Determine what type of life insurance best meets your needs. Essentially, there are three types of life insurance policies—term life, whole life and universal life. If you need the insurance for only a specific period of time, or are on a limited budget, a term policy, which has lower premiums, may be a good fit. If, however, you need the insurance for as long as you live and want to accumulate savings, a whole or universal policy may be a better choice.
  1. Find out if you need to add any “riders” to the policy. There are two that you should consider—waiver of premium and guaranteed insurability. Some policies come with one or both included with the basic contract but, if not, it is generally a good idea to add them. Waiver of premium pays the life insurance policy premium for you if you are disabled. Guaranteed insurability permits you to add to the death benefit without providing additional evidence that you are in acceptable health.
  1. Shop around. There are many ways to save money when buying life insurance, but they don’t always entail paying a lower premium immediately. That said, life insurance is a very competitive business so quotes can vary significantly between companies.
  1. Decide whether to pay premiums annually. In most cases, it is better to pay annually rather than in installments because there is often a relatively large additional charge for paying smaller amounts more frequently.
  1. Tell your beneficiaries about your life insurance policy. Once the policy is issued, inform your beneficiaries the company that issued it, where to find the paper copy of the policy and any specifics about what you want them to do with the death benefit. While is rare for people to be unaware they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it does happen and you want to make sure that the benefit will not go unclaimed. And store your documents so that they can be easily accessed by your beneficiaries.
These tips apply to personal life insurance purchases. For information on the uses of life insurance for businesses see: Insuring Against the Loss of Key Personnel.

source: www.iii.org

We are your LOCAL Trusted Choice Advisors, SouthGroup-Gulf Coast http://www.southgroupgulfcoast.com ,  SALES AND SERVICE AGENTS: Angelyn Treutel Zeringue, Tammy Garfield, Tammy Hogue, Brittany Jones, Denise Russell, Melissa Moran, Alex Treutel, Anne Gillam, Ashlie Moody, Mark Strickland, Johnny Walton and Whitney Zimmerman at SouthGroup Gulf Coast. You can reach us by snail-mail or in person: 412 Hwy 90, Suite 6, Bay St Louis MS 39520, email: info@southgroupgulfcoast.com, phone: 228-466-4498 fax:888-415-8922,  FaceBook www.facebook.com/southgroup.gulfcoast, or Twitter www.twitter.com/atreutel !

We have Gulf Coast locations to serve you - 2505 Pass Road - Biloxi, 5400 Indian Hill-Diamondhead, and 412 Hwy 90 Suite 6-Bay Saint Louis, MS. We write coverage in 40 different states and can assist you with Mississippi insurance, Louisiana insurance, and Alabama insurance and many other states.



Insurance is stressful, but we make saving easy.  We help you save money on insurance!
#trustedchoice #southgroup
#southgroup   @stateauto  @libertymutual @TRV_insurance @safecoinsurance @progressive #savemoney @atreutel

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Financial New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep

Did you resolutions concerning your personal finances last January? If so, how did you do? Did you attain your financial goals, or was this year a total financial washout for you? While Dec. 31 is a day to reflect on the year gone by, Jan. 1 is a time to look forward to the New Year, review your financial scorecard for the past year, and then look for ways to improve in 2017.
There’s a good chance last year’s resolutions didn’t stick. According to a report from the University of Scranton’s “Journal of Clinical Psychology,” only 8% of us actually achieve our New Year’s resolutions. The good news about New Year's resolutions is that you get a fresh crack at them each year. Here’s some financial changes you should resolve to make in 2017.
Calculate Your Net Worth
If you haven’t done so already, The New Year is as good a time as any for determining what you’re worth (financially, of course). Calculating your net worth is a key step to assessing your financial health and reaching your financial goals. Looking closely at all your assets and liabilities helps create a clear picture of where you are prioritizing your current spending and saving and where you need to make changes in your spending and saving habits.
It’s a good idea to recalculate your net worth each year to keep on top of your progress towards your financial goals and correct any mistakes you’re making before they create overwhelming debts. Many sites, including Investopedia, offer free tools to help you calculate your net worth. The resolutions you need to make will become more obvious after making this calculation.
Reset Your Retirement Savings
At work, you probably have the opportunity to save for your retirement through a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan sponsored by your employer. If so, consider that most people find it easier to max out their retirement contributions by budgeting to contribute a set amount each month.
Employer Plans
If you have access to a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plan at work, consider instructing your employer to withhold enough through salary deferrals to ensure that you reach the maximum limit each year. If you'll be 50 or older by December 31, bump that amount to account for the additional catch-up contributions you're allowed to make. If you are paid on some other frequency, such as weekly or bi-weekly, simply divide the contribution limit by the number of your pay periods for the year.
Of course, you should save only amounts that you can realistically afford, as contributing more than you can afford may result in having to incur debts to cover everyday expenses. To determine how much you can save each period, incorporate your retirement savings into your regular budget.
Are you self-employed? If so, depending on your income, you can contribute to an SEP IRA, profit-sharing plan or independent 401(k) plan. And if you'll be 50 or older by Dec. 31, the contribution limit jumps for independent 401(k)s, helping you save even more.
Don't Forget About IRAs
Even if you're covered under a retirement plan at work, you and your spouse can each contribute to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA, as long as your combined taxable wages and net self-employment income is not less than the total amount contributed. Anyone 50 or older can contribute an extra $1,000, increasing the total allowable contribution to $6,500, or $541.66 per month. Keep in mind, however, that in 2014, a modified adjusted gross income of $60,000 to $70,000 ($95,000 to $115,000 for married couples filing jointly) puts you in the phase out range for deducting your IRA contributions.
Update Your Savings and Debt Reduction Goals
Creating easy access to your funds can be quite tempting, and if you are like most people, you will spend money that you can easily attain. Therefore, to help you reach your goal, be sure to transfer amounts earmarked for savings from your checking account to a designated separate savings or investment account that is not easily accessed, making it less tempting for you to spend the money that you have managed to save.
Take a few minutes now to set new savings goals for 2014, including how much you would like to add to your retirement nest egg, your children's education fund or the down payment on your home. You should also reset how much you plan to pay on your personal loans, debts and home mortgage accounts.
And don't forget about paying some extra principal toward your mortgage payment each month. By doing so, you'll earn a risk-free return on that money equal to your mortgage interest rate. Plus, you'll cut down on the number of years it will take to pay off your mortgage. However, if you must choose between adding to your retirement nest egg and paying extra on your mortgage, talk to your financial advisor to determine which option is more suitable for you.
Other Resolutions
Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio
The previous year was no different from any other year: some sectors over-performed and some sectors under-performed. Chances are that the sectors that did the best last year may not enjoy a repeat performance this year. By rebalancing your portfolio to its original or updated asset allocation, you take steps to lock in gains from the sectors with the best returns and purchase shares in the sectors that have lagged behind last year's leaders.
Pay Down Your Credit Cards.
If you owe money on your credit cards, determine how much you can realistically afford to pay off during the year. For best results, try not to charge additional purchases on those cards while you're trying to pay down what you owe. If you have high interest credit card balances, consider whether it would be more beneficial to pay off those high interest debts or to add to your savings.
Review Your Credit Report
Review your credit report, and take steps to repair any negative aspects. Now that you're entitled to three free credit reports each year, there is no excuse for not reviewing what is one of your most important financial reports, especially since errors in these reports are not uncommon. That said, obtaining a truly free credit report isn’t as easy as some companies claim, so be sure you know all the terms and conditions before requesting a report. A poor credit report could adversely affect the amount you are able to save, as it could result in you paying higher interest rates on loans, which reduces your disposable income.
Review Your Life Insurance and Disability Insurance Needs
As you move through your career, your life and disability insurance need to continue to change. Give some thought as to how much protection you need and compare it to the coverage you currently have through your employer's benefit package. Consider whether you need more or less life insurance, and whether your needs would be better satisfied by term or permanent life insurance. Also, review your disability insurance coverage to determine whether you have enough coverage.
The Bottom Line
Be cautious about setting too many or unrealistic financial goals. Otherwise, you may be unable to accomplish any of them. Take this opportunity to restate your financial resolutions simply and clearly for the New Year. It may be a good idea to maintain a checklist to keep track of how you are doing throughout the year, so that you can make any necessary modifications. Consider meeting with your financial advisor to review the goals and objectives that you have established.


Read more: Financial New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/06/newyear.asp#ixzz4SZyYFKzM
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