In a House With a Basement Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some sturdy protection (heavy table or workbench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where hefty objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall through a weakened floor and crush you.
In a House With No Basement Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bathtub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should surround yourself with some thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.) to protect against falling debris if the roof and ceiling fail.
In an Apartment, Dorm or Condo If you live in an apartment on the upper floor, immediately get to the lowest level of the building that you can; this could be an underground parking garage or a neighbor's first-floor apartment. Then move to the most interior area possible, away from windows. If you live in a high-rise apartment building, you may not have enough time to get to a lower level, so picking a place in the hallway in the center of your building is the best idea, such as a stairwell. If that is not available, then a closet, bathroom, or interior hall without windows is the safest spot in your apartment during a tornado. Expect power loss during a tornado storm, so avoid elevators and keep a flashlight handy.
In an Office Building, Hospital or Store Follow instructions from facility managers. Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building — away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.
In a Mobile Home Get out! Even if your home is tied down, you are probably safer outside, even if the only alternative is to seek shelter out in the open. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes, and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. If your community has a tornado shelter, go there fast. If there is a sturdy, permanent building within easy running distance, seek shelter there. Otherwise, lie flat on low ground away from your home, protecting your head. If possible, use open ground away from trees and cars, which can blow onto you.
In a Car or Truck Vehicles are hazardous in a tornado. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive away from its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Otherwise, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can accelerate the wind while offering little protection against flying debris. In The Open Outdoors If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and facedown on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may blow onto you in a tornado.
Your golden years are for devoting yourself to the passions and activities you love. All that free time also opens up new opportunities for generating income if you aren’t ready to stop working yet. Starting a home-based business is a great option, especially if mobility issues have slowed you down physically. Here are the steps needed to turn your talent into a business of your own.
1. Assess Your Skills You gathered many skills while working and probably became an expert at a few of them. Share your talent with others through a consulting or coaching business. Transform a room in your home into an office space to meet with clients or do consultations through video calls.
Hobbies transition easily into a virtual business. Many painters, photographers and artists sell their products online. Writers can offer their services as freelancers to create social media posts, marketing material, blogs and articles or complete the next great American novel.
2. Create a Plan Create a business plan to detail the steps needed to launch your new endeavor. Be realistic about the time commitment involved and how much money you need for start-up costs. It is wise to factor in enough funds to support your business until it becomes profitable.
You may be surprised to discover you don’t need a large amount of money to begin. Often, all that is needed is a way to sell your product or promote your service online. You can hire a freelance web designer to create a web page for your business or sell your wares on an established e-commerce site such as Etsy.
3. Analyze Your Funds Make sure you have the necessary money you've identified in place before you start your business. If you need additional funds, share your business plan with friends or family members and invite them to invest in your company. Talk to your local bank about obtaining a small business loan or contact the Small Business Administration about securing a microloan.
4. Protect Your Assets At this stage in your life, it is important to protect your personal assets. Setting up your business as an LLC will provide the protection and flexibility you need along with tax advantages, and it doesn't cost a lot to set up. Learn how to start an LLC in MN and file the paperwork yourself to save money instead of hiring a lawyer. You also will find companies on the internet ready to handle the entire process for you.
Set up a separate checking account for your business and only use it for company-related expenses. Borrowing from it for personal needs opens you up to legal and financial issues since it negates your LLC's liability protection.
5. Promote Your Business The last step is to get the word out about the products and services you are offering. You can ask a retired friend with a marketing background or hire a freelancer to help you create a logo for your company and some marketing materials.
Following these steps gives you your own home-based business and extra income doing what you love. Being your own boss may make your retirement even sweeter.
Your parents have held onto the family home for years, committed to aging in the same home where they raised a family. But lately, you’re wondering if that’s such a good idea. From more frequent trips and falls to housework piling up, there are signs that it’s time for your senior parents to downsize their home. Instead of putting it off, use these resources to help plan your senior parents’ downsize. What to Consider Before DownsizingDownsizing isn’t a decision to rush into. In addition to the logistics of moving to a smaller home, there are a lot of emotions tied up in downsizing too. Here’s what to consider before you commit.
Weighing Your Senior Living OptionsAfter making the decision to downsize, it’s time to weigh senior living options. The right answer for your senior loved ones depends on their preferences as well as their care needs.
How Seniors Can Afford a New HomeDownsizing can cut costs related to utility bills and upkeep, but it doesn’t always mean a lower house payment. Here’s what seniors should know about financing and affording a home in retirement.
Downsizing is never easy, least of all when you’re 60+. However, the benefits outweigh the burden for seniors who choose to downsize. Whether they move to long-term care or an age-friendly home, your parents will gain a manageable house and more independent lifestyle by downsizing. Take the lead on your parents’ downsize and enjoy the peace of mind you feel knowing they’re safe and healthy at home.
Image via Pexels Author Andrea Needham http://eldersday.org/
You are sound asleep at 3 a.m. when you hear suspicious noises. You pull out your pistol, investigate, see a burglar in your living room, and shoot him in order to protect your life and/or property. Can the burglar or his estate sue you for his injuries or death? Since the burglar is a trespasser, the duty a resident or home owner owes is less compared to, say, an invitee. And a key factor—deadly force—certainly comes into play. The use of deadly force, in most states, is not legally justifiable to protect property alone. Are you covered by your insurance policy?
The homeowners policy's liability exclusion precludes coverage for intentional injury with a key exception. This exclusion does not apply to "'bodily injury' or 'property damage' resulting from the use of reasonable force by an 'insured' to protect persons or property." So how have the courts ruled on this intentional injury exception for trespassers?
In Cooperative Fire Ins. Ass'n v. Bizon, 166 Vt. 326, 693 A.2d 722 (1977), the insured shot and killed a burglar fleeing his garage. The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that the intentional injury exclusion applied, particularly since the insured's life was not threatened in this particular situation. The insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify.
In Vermont Mut. Ins. Co. v. Walukiewicz, 290 Conn. 582, 966 A.2d 672 (2009), the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that injuries arising from an insured's act of self-defense were accidental and, therefore, fell within the scope of homeowners coverage. In this case, the insured was involved in an altercation during which, in alleged self-defense, he grabbed and pushed the claimant, causing him to fall down several porch stairs and sustain significant leg injuries. The insurer denied coverage on the ground that the claimant's injuries did not arise from an "occurrence" and that the expected/intended harm exclusion applied.
The Connecticut Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the term "occurrence" encompasses actions taken by an insured in legitimate self-defense because those actions are spontaneous and prompted by unforeseen circumstances that warrant an immediate response. It ruled that "when a person legitimately acts in self-defense, his primary intent is not to cause injury to another, but to prevent harm to himself." (See Allstate Ins. Co. v. Novak, 210 Neb. 184, 313 N.W.2d 636 .) The court concluded that it does not offend public policy to afford insurance coverage for acts of self-defense because they are not wrongful.
These cases are a reminder that there is no automatic protection under criminal law (and no automatic liability coverage) when a home owner or resident injures or kills a trespasser. On the insurance side, the courts look at the circumstances of each situation and the policy wording to ascertain whether the insurer owes a duty to defend or indemnify the resident.
If you would like to know if your policy will cover you, ask your agent.
I am always available to review your existing policy and give you my opinion.
This article contains information from International Risk Management Institute, Inc.
This article was written by Michelle Aliperti-Urbielewicz in 2017. It does an excellent job explaining why Miscellaneaous Professional Liability is something to think about.
Imagine this: You operate a call center that provides 24-hour service to a number of different businesses, including tow truck operators. Call volume is heavy, and callers are often placed on hold and at times, even disconnected. As a result, certain customer information received by the call center was lost, incorrectly communicated or delayed in transmission to the client. Consequently, some businesses cancelled their contracts with the tow service, which resulted in a loss of more than $150,000 in revenues. Upon discovery, the tow truck company fired the call center and filed suit, alleging negligence in handling the calls and seeking recovery of lost profits.
Unfortunately, a situation like this is all too common in today's litigious society. And despite the occurrence of these situations, it's a common misperception that purchasing Miscellaneous Professional Liability (MPL) coverage isn't necessary. However, this misperception can't be further from the truth.
I have heard some businesses give the following eight reasons when they consider cutting their MPL coverage. Here, I'm going to tell you why those reasons could have disastrous results:
I need to cut costs. This is the No. 1 reason why a business cuts its MPL coverage. However, lawsuits can arise when you least expect and the defense costs can run tens of thousands of dollars — far more than an insurance policy premium charge.
Doesn't my General Liability (GL) policy cover MPL claims? No. Both policies cover liabilities, but not the same ones. A standard GL policy typically excludes coverage for claims arising out of professional services, such as in cases that allege your business provided negligent professional services, failed to uphold contractual promises, provided incomplete work, or made mistakes or omissions. This could lead to a potential gap in coverage if your business does not carry MPL insurance.
The quality of my work is excellent, and any lawsuit would be meritless. You don't have to be at fault to be sued. Frivolous lawsuits still have legal fees, and even winning a lawsuit costs money. But if you carry MPL insurance, your defense costs can be covered to what's allowable under the policy.
My business has never faced a lawsuit. It's not if, but when. In fact, a report by the Small Business Administration (SBA) notes that between 36 percent and 53 percent of small businesses are involved in at least one litigation in any given year. Therefore, it's imperative that you seek to insure your business' assets. It is too time-consuming and costly to defend a claim without MPL coverage and your business operations may suffer.
Even if a lawsuit arises, I can pay out of pocket. A lawsuit is more than a settlement or judgment. It also includes attorneys' fees, expert witness fees and other court costs. According to that same SBA report, litigation costs typically range from $3,000 to $150,000. Don't assume defending your lawsuit will be on the low end of the spectrum. According to the SBA, Just one- third of the lawsuits against small businesses cost less than $10,000 to defend.
MPL insurance isn't required by law. Unlike Professional Liability insurance for other professions (e.g.., lawyers or doctors), MPL insurance isn't required under laws and regulations. However, it is often contractually required. For example, a client may ask a management consultant to carry $1 million in Professional Liability limits as part of the assumed contractual obligation.
I don't see the value of MPL insurance. MPL coverage isn't designed to be used as a bank: You don't deposit premium dollars with the expectation to collect on it later. Therefore, its value can be difficult to quantify if a lawsuit doesn't arise. But know this: When claims are asserted against you, they are expensive, time-consuming, complex to navigate and take you away from running your business. Additional value? Some professions, particularly consultants, can promote their MPL coverage as a value-added asset when soliciting clients, which may lead to new client acquisition.
My business is undergoing a transition. If your company is changing management teams, operations may be in flux. This could lead to a liability risk exposure if formerly routine activities are slipping through the cracks.
In addition, if you carry MPL insurance, don't allow your coverage to lapse. The last thing your business needs is a lawsuit when you mistakenly think that you were appropriately insured. In those cases, your business would be left to defend the lawsuit without the experience and engagement of qualified claim professionals.
If you would like to learn more or receive a quote, drop me a line.