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RV on the RoadWhen it comes time to take a family vacation, wouldn’t it be better if you could bring along your dog as well? It might be a chaotic mess trying to fly with your dog and then finding a hotel that allows dogs; but, everything is simpler when you have an RV. Not to mention, dogs can serve as a theft deterrent to any would-be burglars lurking near your mobile home.

Before hitting the road with your pooch, read over these tips for caring for Fido on the road. A little bit of preparation helps ensure your family—furry friends included—will have a fun and safe trip.

  • Crate: An appropriately sized crate is perfect for traveling because it helps keep your dog safe while on the road. You wear a seatbelt, so it makes sense to also restrain your pet for his or her own safety. Plus, you’ll always know where your dog is while crated so you can keep mischief in check. Make sure your dog has a comfortable bed, pillow or blanket, along with a favorite toy to keep busy.

  • Food: Bringing enough dog food along is obviously important, but so is keeping it fresh during travels. Storing food in an airtight container promotes freshness and prevents bugs (and other pests) from being attracted to the smell. Get spill-proof bowls with non-slip bottoms to take along. While the RV is moving, you can put out a pre-frozen bowl of water so your dog can lick at it to stay hydrated.

  • Medicines and records: You’ll need to bring along any medicines that your dog needs for the duration of the trip. This includes supplements, homeopathic remedies or anything else that helps your dog with pain, stress and other conditions. Keep photocopies of your dog’s medical records in your RV in case you need to make an emergency trip to the vet.

  • Identification: During your travels, your dog should wear a collar with proper identification, meaning the tag should display your pet’s name and your cell phone number. Microchipping your dog provides extra protection in case your dog gets lost and his or her collar is lost or removed. Along with a collar, bring a leash and plastic bags for rest stops and walking around campgrounds.

Keeping your pet safe during RV travels is in your hands, but you don’t have to protect your vehicle all by yourself. Call your independent insurance agent to learn about the benefits of RV insurance.

We’ve got your back. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan RV insurance.

Medical SymbolMost of us are now aware that there is a tax penalty assessed if health insurance has not been purchased.  

> The penalty in 2014 was the greater of 1% of the annual household income OR $95.00 per adult and $47.50 per child under 18 years old, subject to a maximum of $285.00.  

> The penalty (or "fee" as it is called on the website) for not purchasing health insurance in 2015 increases sharply to the greater of 2% of the annual household income OR $325.00 per adult and $162.50 per child under 18 years old, subject to a maximum of $975.00.

> The penalty for not purchasing health insurance will increase again in 2016 to the greater of 2.5% of the annual household income OR $695.00 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18.  The Healthcare Marketplace Website ( does not indicate any maximum cut-off for 2016.

> The penalty will continue to be adjusted for inflation in years after 2016.

In spite of the penalties or fees being assessed by the government for not purchasing health insurance, the cost of medical costs in the absence health insurance can be staggering.

Be sure you have proper health insurance to protect your family!

White HouseWhile the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as the "ACA" or "Obamacare") brought about some positive changes to our healthcare system, it has also stirred up some changes that are less than positive for many Americans.  

Before the ACA took effect, approximately 86% of Americans were covered by some form of health insurance including individual or employer plans, Medicare, Medicaid, or a host of others.  Of the remaining 14%, a certain number of people living in the US are not eligible for Obamacare.  The primary goal of the new law was to make health insurance affordable and available to those who are uninsured and eligible - less than 10% of Americans.  Of this eligible group, many were not insured because they couldn't afford health insurance and others were not insured because they simply did not want to purchase insurance.  

Most Americans are now aware that the burden of making insurance affordable to this eligible but uninsured group of Americans has come at the expense of the 86% who were insured and happy with their insurance.  There are also numerous hidden taxes that have and will be coming into effect to cover the cost of government subsidized health insurance and the broadened Medicaid program.  

The first wave of major changes took effect on January 1, 2014.  Individuals were mandated to purchase health insurance and the ACA specified the plans that had to be made available to individuals and families - either on the website or by going directly to insurance companies.  Because of this, many insured on INDIVIDUAL health insurance plans found they were not able to keep the plan they had, and many insurance companies were forced to cancel all of their policyholders and offer completely new plans that met the new government requirements.  Many who had been insured found their premiums to be higher AND that their out-of-pocket costs within the plan were much higher. 

The second wave of major changes had been scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2015 - when the small business mandate was to take effect.  This change may affect the largest group of people in the country - more than the group of individuals or those employed by large businesses.  The effective date of this mandate has been pushed back until 2016 and many believe the primary reason was to avoid a new level of angst to Americans just prior to the mid-term elections.  

Another thing that has been quietly changed behind the scenes is the open enrollment period to purchase health insurance for the 2015 calendar year.  October 15 had been the date for open enrollment to begin but, with elections on November 4, the date has been pushed back until November 15, 2014.  USA Today has an interesting article on this, titled "Obamacare is in Hiding Until After the Election".  You may recall that, prior to 2014, a person could purchase health insurance at any time.  With limited exception, Obamacare allows only a window of time that will run from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015 to purchase health insurance for the 2015 calendar year.  

We're all hoping that the enrollment process will function more smoothly this year.  If you have questions or need health insurance contact us online or call us at 800-220-5582.

Image source:  vitasamb2010 /
Posted 4:32 PM


As an independent insurance agency we strive to provide our clients with the solutions and plans to bring you low cost, innovative health insurance plans. We have recently added HealthPlus to our portfolio of insurance carriers. Whether you are an individual looking for your own coverage, an employer looking for coverage for employees or you are looking for a plan for your family HealthPlus can help. HealthPlus is consistently ranked among America’s best insurance carriers by providing exceptional service, unsurpassed clinical and service quality and has earned consistently high marks from the National Committee on Quality Assurance rating #1 in overall rating of health plans, doctors, specialists and the ability of providing care quickly.  All HealthPlus Signature individual plans are health care reform compliant which includes essential health benefits with no medical underwriter or pre-existing condition exclusions.   HealthPlus has always been the right plan for a healthier you and has had to make very few changes to plans and policies to comply with changing regulations.  All plans are sold off the healthcare marketplace exchange to consumers through independent insurance agents. 

Call Bobbie Ajamy at 1-800-220-5582 or contact us online with your health insurance questions or to get a quote.

What happens to your insurance coverage when your building becomes vacant or unoccupied (idle)?

Most insureds are not aware of the restrictions in their property insurance when a building is unoccupied or vacant.

One of the more common coverage forms includes this provision:


When this policy is issued to the owner or general lessee of a building, building means the entire building. Such building is vacant unless at least 31% of its total square footage is:

  • Rented to a lessee or sub-lessee and used by the lessee or sub-lessee to conduct its customary operations: and/or
  • Used by the building owner to conduct customary operations

When a building has been vacant for more than 60 consecutive days before a loss or damage occurs, there is NO COVERAGE for vandalism, sprinkler leakage (unless you've protected the system against freezing), building glass breakage, water damage, theft, or attempted theft. For other types of covered claims, such as fire or wind, the amount payable would be reduced by 15%.

The logic is that buildings that are vacant for extended periods are vulnerable to vandalism and arson, partly as the result of only occasional maintenance and security oversight.

The Solution to waive these restrictions:

Tell your insurance agent if 70% of your building is vacant or unoccupied, that is, it's not being used by the owner, lessee, or sub-lessee to conduct their customary operations. Your agent will work with the insurance company to provide the proper coverage.

There is an endorsement available - Vacancy Permit - which reinstates coverage for the types of losses mentioned above. The Vacancy Permit endorsement is designed for use when the hazards that are normally associated with vacancy do exist, but the insurer has elected to underwrite the exposure. A premium is charged for this endorsement.

Premium or coverage considerations (by the policyholder or the insurance company) may affect whether vandalism or sprinkler leakage claims would continue to be covered.

AGAIN, we stress that building owners keep their insurance agents informed of the occupancy conditions in their property so proper coverage can be continued under the policy.

Call Insurance Planning Service at 800-220-5582 or contact us online today.  We can help with questions you may have about your building insurance.

Source:  West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake