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Life Insurance Costs Less Than You May Think

| July 01, 2017
Many people avoid purchasing life insurance, especially later in life, because they think it will be too expensive. Not necessarily.

According to a 2016 study by Limra, 30% of US households do not have life insurance, and even those households with life insurance only have enough to replace three years of income. 

Although it depends on your individual circumstances, three years of coverage is likely not enough. Life insurance is designed to provide for a partner and/or children who rely on your income. However, they may not be able to get back on their feet as quickly as three years after your death. 

You may want to discuss life insurance with your survivors to determine their needs. Agreed, it is an uncomfortable conversation for all concerned; no one likes to acknowledge the possibility of the death of a loved one. But if your family members rely on your income now, it's important for you (and your family) to know they'll be taken care of later. 

And that may be less expensive than you think. According to Limra's study, 80% of consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance by a large margin. Millennials, for example, overestimate the cost by more than 200%, and members of Gen X by 100%.

For more affordable life insurance, it helps to purchase a policy sooner rather than later. The younger you are, the more likely you are to be healthy, and the healthier you are, the lower the premium will be.

There are also different types of life insurance, some more affordable than others. Term life insurance, for example, is the least costly; it pays a benefit to your survivors when you die within a specified period of time. Whole life insurance is more expensive, as it combines investing with term life insurance. For the right fit for you and your family, discuss the options with your insurance agent.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Summer's Fave Game Is Back
How did a stick, a ball, and a diamond capture the hearts of millions? For those who line the bleachers in big and small towns across North America, baseball's not just a game; it's everyone's summer lifestyle.

Baseball in North America traces its roots back to the late 18th century, when the first reference to the game was made in a Massachusetts law about playing it too close to the town meetinghouse. Since those early days, baseball has seen many changes that shaped it into the sport we love today. 

It hailed from two similar British sports: rounders and cricket, which eventually found their way across the pond and were played in schoolyards and college campuses in the 1800s. In the fall of 1845, the New York Knickerbockers Baseball Club was born. Knicks player Alexander Cartwright established the rules that form the basis for today's game, including the use of a diamond-shaped field and the three-strike rule. Cartwright has been established as baseball's true father, overturning a widely held, but deemed untrue, legend that a man named Abner Doubleday founded it.

Once the game was standardized by the Knickerbockers, other clubs were established. Baseball's popularity continued to grow, and eventually leagues formed. The baseball itself also underwent standardization, eventually morphing into the five-ounce, nine-inch sphere with 108 red stitches that we see in pitchers' hands today.

The sport continues to enthrall us. And best of all, nearly everyone is able to sing along when they hear, "Take me out to the ball game..."

It's Party Time! Keep Your BBQs Safe

It's time to fire up the grill and treat friends and family to your special secret sauce. But as you gather 'round the BBQ, the last thing you need is flames that extend outside your grill; personal injury and property damage are not going to win you the block-party-of-the-year contest. To avoid grilling your home or guests instead of the meal, take the following safety precautions.

Pre-party: Once every year, check the cylinder hose for leaks. Apply a soap-and-water solution to the hose. 

If there's a leak, you'll see bubbles where the gas is escaping. And always leave the lid open when you turn on the gas; a closed lid can cause gas build-up that may blow the lid off—not the kind of excitement you need at your BBQ.

Party time: If you smell a gas leak while cooking your meal, move everyone away from the grill immediately. 

Call the fire department, and don't try to move the grill yourself. If you're cooking with charcoal, be cautious with lighter fluid. Don't try to increase your flame with liquid fuel. If coals are already ignited, adding starter fluid can cause a flash fire. Instead, rekindle the flame with dry kindling or more charcoal. 

Post-party: Remove grease or fat build-up from the grill and grease trays. This will keep your grill operating at its best, and reduce the risk of a malfunction and fire. When you're finished cooking, make sure you close the gas valve completely.

For charcoal grills, remember these can remain hot hours after the flames are gone. Keep flammable objects away from the grill, and avoid moving it while the coals are still hot. Once it is properly extinguished and cleaned, store your grill and extra propane tanks outside—away from your house.

Now pass around that special sauce!

Five Must-Have Insurance Policies for Start-ups

With so many insurance options available, it's often difficult for start-ups to know just where to, well, start. For most new businesses, five policies form a solid foundation for commercial insurance coverage. They are:

Comprehensive general liability insurance (CGL): CGL protects the company's assets if a claim is made for damage of property or personal effects, third-party bodily injury, or an "advertising injury," such as libel or copyright infringement. It's the most basic coverage for every business—start-up or industry giant.

Directors and officers liability insurance (D&O): Start-ups typically need influential members on the board to grow the company, and must provide proper liability insurance to protect these board members against litigation relating to business decisions.

Cyber/media insurance: The need for this coverage is clear. With the proliferation of high-profile hacks, no business is safe from cyber attacks. As these policies still have no "standard" format, each start-up will need to work with an insurance agent to determine the right coverage for its needs.

Employee liability insurance: This policy is separate from state-required workers' compensation insurance, and provides coverage to defend the company against discrimination claims by employees. It's usually available as part of a package that includes workers' comp or D&O policies.

First-party property insurance: This covers company property against physical damage. While some start-ups have few physical assets initially, this is still an important policy to have, and coverage likely will need to increase as the business grows.