Are You Prepared for Opening Day?

Opening day is the result of a substantial amount of work. Entrepreneurs in the Buena Vista, VA area with a marketable product or service must decide how to reach their target audience. A solid business plan is often the key to a successful opening. The team at Stonewall Grace Insurance is here to help you prepare for opening day. Remember, the amount of preparation new business owners put into the initial stages of development often prepares them for the inevitable turbulence of running a new business. 

Have you chosen a location?

Make sure your real estate agent knows what your priorities are regarding needed space and adequate utilities. If you expect a significant amount of traffic to your new location, have you considered whether you have sufficient parking to cover both employees and customers? Developing a contingency parking plan for special events like grand openings or community appreciation days is wise. A location that makes customers comfortable while meeting a need can be a factor in whether some customers return. 

Did you secure the proper licenses?

Contact the appropriate government agencies to ensure you have the proper licensing in place before you open your doors for business. Make sure the building is up to code and equipped with smoke detectors, proper lighting and labeled fire exits. If there is a product involved, do you hold a patent or rights to distribute said product? It is important to understand what types of coverage is needed to protect against defective products.

Do you have an experienced insurance team on your side?

The team at Stonewall Grace Insurance can answer your questions about commercial insurance needs. From commercial liability insurance to workers’ compensation and commercial property insurance, we have your needs covered. Proper insurance protection is often the reason any business around Buena Vista, VA survives legal difficulties.

 

Eminent Domain Effects

When dealing with the effects of eminent domain a homeowner’s protection, it’s important to understand a little bit of how the law works. At a high level, the powerful law is constitutional. Then comes state laws and municipal codes. The next level usually is regulations. And below all the above are contractual rules and rights. A homeowner’s insurance policy is, in essence, a contract, definitely out-powered by a state power such as eminent domain.

Eminent domain in Buena Vista, VA is the power of the government to take and use property, even private property, to reuse it for public purposes. The most modern frequent instance would be making a road or highway through private property. However, the law also requires the government to reimburse a private property owner for losses due to eminent domain at market value.

So clearly if a government agency has to take a home for a project, then the homeowner can only seek market value reimbursement. A homeowner’s policy won’t provide any protection.

However, what happens when an adjacent or nearby eminent domain project damages a home but doesn’t take the property? Depending on the damage and cause, a homeowner’s insurance policy may cover and financially protect from a loss in some instances. The insurance provider would then seek recovery from the government agency by civil action.

For the most part, eminent domain situations are usually not clearcut decisions, according to Stonewall Grace Insurance. Even seemingly obvious cases end up in litigation for desired endings of either side. If in the Buena Vista, VA region and you think your area may be impacted by eminent domain, consider a consultation with Stonewall Grace Insurance. Their trained agents can provide clear, accurate answers on what kind of damages would like to be covered and protected from with a good homeowner’s insurance policy.

Documentation for a Traffic Stop in Virginia

No one likes getting pulled over for a traffic stop, but it is one of the easiest ways for law enforcement to keep an eye on the community, do their job enforcing laws, and catch problems before they become worse in terms of crime. So traffic stops aren’t likely to disappear or go away anytime soon. Given that fact, one of the best ways that Virginia drivers can anticipate the issue and resolve it as quickly as possible at a stop is to have one’s documentation fully in order and available to provide an officer on request.

Under Virginia state law, the following documents should always be on hand and ready to provide to a traffic officer when stopped:

  • A personal driver’s license that is up to date and valid (i.e. not expired).
  • A copy of the vehicle registration for the car or truck the person is actually driving at the time.
  • Documentation of an approved disability placard permit if using such symbols for the purpose of driving or parking at the time.
  • Proof of valid auto insurance coverage for the vehicle being driven at the time of the stop.

The above short list seems easy to keep together, but more often than not people find themselves missing something at the time of a stop. If that’s the case, don’t panic and don’t act jumpy or erratic. Simply explain to the officer you thought you had the paperwork and it was left at home. Try to remember as much as possible which insurance company or your driver’s license number if those are missing. They can be looked up by the officer based on the information provided. You may still get a ticket for not having the paperwork on hand, but you won’t get arrested if valid. For those in Buena Vista, VA your local insurance agent can help explain the details of the above.

Five Ways to Ready Your Yard for Fall

Fall has officially arrived and it is time to make sure your home is ready inside and out.  Keeping your yard well-maintained during fall not only makes your home look good, it protects your investment against potential risks caused by weather and seasonal changes.  At Stonewall Grace Insurance of Buena Vista, VA, we recommend these five tips to ready your yard for fall.

#1: Make Sure Trees are Trimmed – Any limbs that are dead or broken need to be removed.  If there are branches that have grown close to power lines, contact your local utility company to remove.   

#2: Fertilize and Clear the Yard – Fertilizing your lawn and regularly picking up leaves and debris helps the grass survive through the colder months. 

#3: Regularly Clear Roof and Gutters of Debris – Leaves and debris can accumulate in the gutters and on the roof resulting in clogged gutters and potential drainage issues.

#4: Ensure Flowerbeds are Properly Graded – Flowerbeds should always be graded away from the house so that rainwater does not collect at the foundation. 

#5: Mulch Flower Beds – Spread a two to three-inch layer of mulch in flower beds to help protect your plants’ root structure as the weather grows colder.

With preparation, your yard and home will be ready for any seasonal changes that arise.  Not only is it important to prepare for the change in seasons, it is important that you have the right insurance coverage.  At Stonewall Grace Insurance of Buena Vista, VA, our agents will work with you to find the right homeowner’s insurance policy to fit your needs and budget.  Contact us to see what options you have available to make sure your home and family is safe and secure.

Keep Your Business Safe with Commercial Insurance

You work hard to make your business successful. Every day you make sure your bills are paid to keep the lights and water running. You ensure your mortgage or rent is paid, so you have a place to do business. And, you keep your employees happy, so you have staff to keep things running smoothly. But, you also have to keep your business safe from things that are beyond your control. That’s why you need commercial insurance.

Protect Your Business From Liability

Liability insurance is one of the most important types of commercial insurance a business could have. This type of insurance protects your business from claims of bodily injury and property damage. If someone gets hurt or property gets damaged at your business or while you’re conducting business operations, your business could be put in jeopardy. Liability insurance covers this type of situation.

Protect Your Property

Property insurance is another type of commercial insurance that is important to business owners. If you own your building, property insurance can protect your business from losses if it becomes damaged. Not only could property insurance help with repair costs, it could also cover losses if your business has to shut down for repairs.

Invest in Your Business

Commercial insurance is among the most important investments you can make in your business. You don’t want to be left unprepared when unforeseen situations occur. By protecting your business from liability and property damage, you’re making sure you and your employees have a business to come back to every day.

Stonewall Grace Insurance is here for your commercial insurance needs. If you own a business in Buena Vista, VA and you’re in search of commercial insurance, don’t hesitate to call or stop by our office.

Buena Vista, VA: How Much Life Insurance Does One Person Really Need?

The amount of life insurance you need will depend on several different factors. In most cases, the amount of life insurance you need should be able to pay your bills for at least a year or more. If you have a large family, you will need to purchase a policy that will provide enough money to pay the family’s bills. 

If you who have a mortgage, car payment and other types of loans, you may need to increase the amount of your life insurance policy to make sure you have enough to pay them off if you pass away before the loans are taken care off. Some loans will have a survivor clause built in that guarantees that the loan will be paid off if something happens to one of the borrowers. It is important to know whether or not your loans have these types of benefits so you can prepare accordingly.

If you are alone and have no dependents, the amount of life insurance you choose to buy should be sufficient to pay off any debts that you may have as well as cover your final expenses. Whatever is left over will be distributed throughout your estate according to your specifications. You can choose whatever amount you want if you plan on passing the additional benefits on to your heirs.

The agents of Stonewall Grace Insurance serve the residents of Buena Vista, Virginia. The agents are extremely knowledgeable about life insurance and how much a person needs depending on the size of their family and their financial obligations. If your circumstances have changed, you may need to have your need for life insurance re-evaluated so that you are sufficiently prepared.

Renter’s Insurance and You

Did you know that there is an affordable way to make sure that your belongings are covered and that you are protected from unexpected damages and/or injuries?  There is.  It is a little thing called renter’s insurance and it is incredibly affordable.

So what does it cover?  Well, different carriers will offer different types of coverage, but in general it would cover things like your belongings, your apartment and guests in case of mishaps or accidents and most of the time even the expenses for a hotel should your apartment become uninhabitable due to damages.  Again, these things will vary.

Yes, your landlord already has insurance but the thing is, his insurance will more than likely only cover the property itself and not what you have inside of the property.  However, renter’s insurance will cover most everything from your wardrobe and furniture to your electronics and even more.  Some carriers will even reimburse you for what they would cost to purchase now too, as opposed to what they cost when you paid for them.

If someone gets hurt in your apartment, they will be able to get the care they need.  If you cause any damage to the apartment, it can also be covered.  The damage might be able to be repaired by you paying your deductible and your renter’s insurance policy taking care of the rest. 

If you aren’t able to stay in your apartment while damage is being repaired, you may even be able to be reimbursed for the cost of the hotel.

If you are in the Buena Vista, VA area and have questions about renter’s insurance and what type of coverage is offered in your area, call or come by Stonewall Grace Insurance.  There are friendly and knowledgeable agents ready to answer all of your questions and get you covered.

Tax Facts on Life Insurance

Taxes, nor insurance, is universal across all fifty states. Laws vary on both which often confuses people. However, there are universal tax facts that apply to life insurance that the insured should both know. Stonewall Grace Insurance is up to par with both the state and federal laws. Educating clients before they purchase life insurance is essential. Most life insurance holders only know that their premiums are not tax deductible but the relationship between tax and insurance knowledge stops there.

Surrendering the Policy

By surrendering  a life insurance policy to the insurance company or for whatever reason the policy lapses, any profit obtained is taxable at regular income tax rates.  

Taxes on Loan Against Policy

The insured can borrow against  a life insurance policy.  In this loan against the policy, the money received is generally not taxable as long as it is within non-taxable limits.

When the Beneficiary is a Charity or Church

If a church or charity is the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, they are generally still tax exempt from the proceeds. However, the charity or church must be recognized by the state as well as the federal government to be free of taxation.

Exception to Rule Number One

There is an exception to the insured’s premium being tax deductible. If the policy was gifted to a trust, charity, or church, the premiums paid by the insured are tax deductible being they will be receiving the proceeds upon the policy holder’s death.

These are only a few tax facts a life insurance policyholder should know and each one answered are only answered in a way that IRS jargon does not confuse. By contacting Stonewall Grace Insurance, not only will life be insured, tax crisis is avoided.

 

 

A First-Time ATV Owner’s Guide to ATV Insurance

These days, more and more people are discovering the great outdoors with the help of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).  While these recreational vehicles can be an exciting way to explore those backcountry trails, they can be tricky for new riders.  Following these easy tips will help keep your ATV riding safe and enjoyable.

Keep Things Simple. 

If you’re a first-time rider, don’t buy the most souped-up ATV on the market, even if it is the flashiest.  A simpler machine will be easier to control and won’t overpower you.  In general, try to look for ATVs with an automatic transmission and a 200-400cc engine.

Safety First

There are few things less fun than an ATV ride that ends with a trip to the emergency room.  At minimum, always make sure you wear a proper motorcycle helmet, goggles, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, long pants, and long sleeves.  You might also invest in shin pads, a chest protector, and knee, elbow, and wrist guards for additional protection.

Practice

Many states require new ATV owners to complete a safety course if they’re under a certain age.  But you don’t have to be a kid to benefit from these classes.  As you get started riding an ATV, you’ll also want to stick to simple, flat terrain until you get the hang of riding.  As you gain experience, you can graduate to more challenging trails and routes.

Insurance and Paperwork

Many states require ATVs to be titled like cars; additionally, you often must have a permit and pay fees to ride on public trails.  Even if your state does not require ATV insurance, you may want to have it on hand for liability purposes, as homeowner’s insurance may not cover liability if you ride off your property.  Also, insurance can cover you in the event your ATV is ever stolen.  Make sure you register and insure your ATV appropriately, and look into season passes through the U.S. Forest Service.

At Stonewall Grace Insurance, we are committed to helping you stay safe when you’re out on the trails.  Call today to learn more about insurance coverage for your ATV, RV, or any other recreational vehicles you might own.  Our agents look forward to helping you.

How to Give Back to Your Local Community

At the beginning of the year, many people make resolutions that they struggle to keep. One resolution that will have a lasting effect and be easy to keep is giving back to your community. Giving back to your community creates a sense of joy that’s hard to mimic. And, it’s contagious. When others see you giving back, they will be motivated to do the same. The following are ways you can start giving back to your community.

Collect Supplies for Victims of Disasters

Whether you know a family who has experienced a fire or a flood, you can help them. You can organize a drive within your local area and give them the supplies they lost during their ordeal. With supplies and other resources, many families can get back on their feet in a few months; however, in the absence of your help, it may take longer.

Cook for Homebound Individuals

There are many seniors who are homebound due to illness or lack of resources. These individuals may not have the food they need to eat a home-cooked meal each day. If you only donate to a few homes, you will find that you can lighten the burden of so many who do not have access to assistance.

Repair Clothing for the Homeless

When a person is homeless, one of the last things they may be concerned with is what they have to wear. However, their clothing is critical to their survival. You can mend and donate old clothing and give it to homeless people so that they are warm during the cold months.

At Stonewall Grace Insurance, we believe that giving back to your community will ultimately help you. We encourage you to make a difference by volunteering or donating money to charities within your community.

While you are giving back, you should put your safety first. Make sure you have adequate auto insurance by comparing the coverage you have to the coverage on our website. If you have any questions about the coverage we offer, we will gladly answers your questions over the phone or in person.