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What is the Right Amount of Life Insurance?

What is the Right Amount of Life Insurance?

You work hard for your money. It’s yours, and we want you to maximize every dollar spent. We also want to make sure that you have the right life insurance coverage that provides you with the peace of mind that your loved ones will be comfortably covered. While there are many important reasons to purchase life insurance, here are a few thoughts to help you determine how much life insurance you’ll need.

Ask yourself these few questions:

  • Are your dependents financially prepared for the death of a family member?
  • Does anyone in your life depend on you?
  • How much debt do you have?
  • What are your future financial obligations?

Let’s discuss why these questions are so important.

Are your dependents financially prepared for the death of a family member?

The death of a family member is stressful enough. Words can’t and will never be able to articulate how stressful, never mind the added financial burden of the loss of a loved one is. This is why it’s important to ask yourself how financially stable your family and dependents are. If you think there is the possibility of any struggle, or if you want to even prevent the possibility of financial struggle, a life insurance policy in this situation makes sense.

Does anyone in your life depend on you?

The main purpose of life insurance is to make sure that your family and beneficiaries are taken care of financially if anything happened to you.  So, plain and simple, if you said “yes” to the question of, “does anyone depend on you?” then you need life insurance. When determining the right plan, ask yourself what kind of life standard do you want your family to have if something unfortunate happened to you. Most people simply want to maintain the same standard of their current living situation. This question is important to determine when scoping out your policy.

How much debt do you have?

All of your debts need to be paid off. So if you have a $250,000 mortgage, $15,000 car loan, and $5,000 in credit card debt, you’ll need at least $270,000 in your policy. However, be smart and have a little more to consider interest. This is just the baseline number that you would need to cover your debts.

What are your future financial obligations?

This I often the hardest section to answer.  Simply because it’s difficult to predict the future. It’s hard to know what we’re having for dinner tomorrow, let alone what our life will look like in 10 years. As you’re thinking about your future obligations, consider if you’re going to help pay for your children’s college or any other large financial contributions in the future.  In addition, map out your family’s cash flow to get a better sense of the entire landscape and how much you should have in your policy.

Now it’s time to determine how much life insurance you need. Always remember this, life insurance can be complicated, but knowing what your options are and why you’re paying for specific aspects of your plan is why we’re here. So, give us a ring, we’re more than happy to talk through your current or potential policy.

What Is an Umbrella Policy and Why Do You Need One?

Umbrella Policy
Take a second and imagine that you’re 61-years old. Imagine that you’re well-seasoned in your career, just a few years away from retirement, and have a healthy portfolio of assets. You have two homes – one permanent and one vacation – and a car that is all fully paid off.

Suddenly, as you’re driving up to your vacation home, you, unfortunately, get into an accident. Luckily, you’re not hurt too bad and insurance will cover the damage to your car and any medical bills that you incur. However, the car you hit and the people in it were not as lucky. Everyone is okay, but there is damage and injuries to the people in the other car.

The judge concludes that you are liable for the accident, responsible for the damage to the car, for the medical bills, for the lost wages, and additional money for their pain and suffering.  Your auto policy covers much of the costs, but the total amount could exceed what your auto policy covers and is close to your entire retirement savings.

Not good.

This seems like a disaster, right?

Unless you have an umbrella policy, this disaster could, in fact, be a disaster. Yet, with an umbrella policy, most of this can be avoided. Umbrella policies take over when your other policies run up against their coverage limits – in this case, saving most of your retirement account from this ill-fated accident.

How Umbrella Insurance Works

Typically, insurance policies render one distinct coverage for one specific thing. For example, your homeowner’s insurance covers your home and everything in it.  On the other hand, an umbrella policy includes most every corner of your financial life. An umbrella policy covers:

  • Bodily Injury
  • Legal Fees
  • Legal Damages
  • Property Damage

So this means that whenever you approach your liability limit, your umbrella policy is right there to help counteract the additional expenses – saving you, your retirement account, and your peace of mind.

Give us a call today to learn how you can set up your umbrella insurance.

Why You Should Know What “Coverage Gaps” Are

Surprises are a part of life.

Month in and month out, we confront new obstacles, and no matter the size, these obstacles can be surprising and sometimes undesirable.

In the insurance world, these “undesirable surprises” are called “gaps” and they’re never enjoyable. However, if you know these policy gaps it can lessen the impact of their severity if they ever occur.

Coverage Gap: A coverage gap is an area or type of risk that an insurance policy does not cover.

How to Avoid Coverage Gaps

No matter what, coverage gaps will always continue because there is no such thing as an insurance policy that doesn’t have gaps. To learn a little more about these gaps, here are two seasonal scenarios where coverage gaps may occur:

The Roaring River

You live next to a beautiful stream that gently flows close to your backyard. It’s never been a problem until now. One weekend, after an ominous forecast by your local weather station, torrential rains came down and that quiet stream turned into a roaring river. Your backyard is now gone and your basement is under four feet of water.

Flooding is not covered by your homeowner’s policy. In order to be covered, You’ll need to obtain a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer. This is a gap people sometimes face. Give us a call if you have questions about your homeowner’s policy and we’ll gladly go over it.

The Summertime thief

During the summer months, you decide that it’s okay to leave your windows open while you head out to your job. As you get home, your screen is broken and you realize that some of your belongings are gone. A burglar has broken in.

Chase Clarke Stewart and Fontana

Here’s where coverage gaps come into play. You have personal property coverage on your homeowners/renters policy, and your policy covers $1,000 toward jewelry in a single incident. Unfortunately,  the burglar walked away with $5,000. You’re out $4,000. There’s the gap.

In order to lessen the gap, you can “schedule” these expensive jewels. Don’t know what “scheduling” is? To learn more about scheduling, give us a call and we’ll gladly make sure your belongings are covered.

Want to learn more? Give us a call.

It’s important to understand your policy and address any coverage gaps that seem particularly concerning. That’s why we’re here to help.

Cyber Liability Insurance: Are you Covered in the Event of a Cyber Attack?

What do Kmart, American Express, Target, Home Depot, and eBay, have in common? They are all part of massive data breaches where hackers stole and exposed customer records for monetary gain. The frequency of these cyber-attacks has increased year over year which has put Cyber Liability Insurance in the spotlight.

Odds are that if you’re reading this post, you most likely have a LinkedIn account. In May of this year, hackers stole 167 million (yes, you read that right) accounts from the social media giant. This left Cory Scott, LinkedIn’s Chief Information Security Officer, with a logistical nightmare trying to sort out the mess.

In addition to LinkedIn, Target was unfortunately struck by a similar breach. 40 million credit cards were compromised and 70 million accounts were hacked.


Yes these are global brands, but small businesses also see breaches on a consistent basis — really any company that relies upon technology is vulnerable to an attack.

If your business is hacked, having Cyber Liability Insurance can greatly help you through this tough time. In this post, we’ll quickly explain the scope of a cyber policy and how it can help you in the event of a hack.

What Cyber Liability Insurance Covers

Cyber Liability Insurance is a combination of four components:

  • Errors and Omissions
  • Media Liability
  • Network Security
  • Privacy

Errors and Omissions: E&O covers claims arising from errors in the performance of your services. This can include technology services, like software and consulting, or more traditional professional services like lawyers, doctors, architects, and engineers.

Media Liability: These are advertising injury claims such as infringement of intellectual property, copyright/trademark infringement and libel and slander. Coverage here can extend to offline content as well.

Network Security: A failure of network security can lead to many different exposures, including a consumer data breach, destruction of data, virus transmission and cyber extortion. Network security coverage can also apply if you’re holding trade secrets or patent applications for a client, and that information is exposed due to a failure of your security.

Privacy: Privacy doesn’t have to involve a network security failure. It can be a breach of physical records, such as files tossed in a dumpster, or human errors such as a lost laptop, or sending a file full of customer account information to the wrong email address. Companies have also faced liability from returning a photocopier with a hard drive that contained customer tax records.

As the holiday season approaches and online sales increase, we at Chase Clarke Stewart & Fontana, recommend that businesses, large and small, make sure they know if they’re covered in the event of a hack. Fill out the form or give us a call at 1.413.788.4531 to talk to a friendly representative.

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Energy Assessments for the Fall season

Did you feel that cool crisp air? Fall is in the air, so it’s finally sweater weather! Time for apples, pumpkins, the Big E and more fall fun!

This is also a good time to discuss your home heating habits and how you can save money during this fall and winter season! Saving money on your heating bill is always a good assessments

Have you considered having energy assessments done by an energy auditor?

These trained professionals will help find leaks and determine if your heating units are running well.  Leaks can cost you a lot of money when you are trying to heat your home.

Click here for more information on Energy Audits


Once you have had the assessment, the auditor will usually tell you what needs to be done to fix any issues.

Common recommendations include…


  • Replace them with updated energy efficient products.
  • Apply weather stripping to seal leaks.

Heating Systems

  • Annual servicing by a professional.
  • Check filter for cleanliness. A clean filter helps the unit run better, longer.


We know how important your home is to you.  Your local agent is here to assist you with questions about your coverage options.


Do you need a contract Bond?

For contractors, a contract bond is often essential for bidding on a public job.  There are various types of contract bonds.contract bond

Contract Bond Types:

  1. Performance Bond.
  2. Payment Bond.
  3. Bid Bond.
  4. Maintenance/ Warranty Bond.


Contract bonds provide the financial assurance that the contractor (principal) will construct a project for the project owner (obligee), and will:

  • Perform the work according to the contract.
  • Pay certain subcontractors and laborers.
  • Pay material suppliers.


Is obtaining a bond preventing you from bidding on a contract?

Do you have questions about how to obtain a bond?


We are here to answer your questions about contract bonds.  Contact us today.

Is there insurance coverage for solar panels?

Solar, solar, everywhere!

Solar energy is one renewable energy that has become a hot topic among homeowners. (Pardon the pun.)

That being said, the question is, how are they insured?

Is there insurance coverage for solar panels?  Who is responsible for insuring them?

If you ownsolar panels

As of now, there is no specific insurance policy for solar panels.  If you own solar panels that are on your residence or property you would have coverage through your homeowners policy.  It’s key that you notify your local agency and update your policy as soon as you have them or better yet before you buy, or you may not have the necessary coverage.  Call us for more information.

If you lease

When leasing solar panels, usually the company you lease from is responsible for insuring them.  Be sure to have a clear understanding of your contract.  Also be aware that if you sell your home while still in a lease, the solar company could have a say in who buys your home.  Be careful whenever you have a contract.  Call you local insurance agent for more information.

For more fun facts about solar click here…

We are here to help with further question you may have.

Are you a recent high school graduate? What’s Next?

We want to say a big congratulations to all of you 2016 grads!!  What a wonderful milestone to have reached!

Are you a 2016 high school graduate??

What’s next?  Are you headed off to college or taking the year off?

Welcome to the next chapter of your life!! You have endless possibilities!

Staying informed of your options is always a good idea.  That is where we come in.

graduate highschool

For those of you heading to college there are a few things you may want to consider.

  • Headed off to college, out of state and taking your car? Be sure to let your agent know.
  • You may qualify for various student discounts.
  • Will you be renting an apartment? Do you have insurance for your items?

For answers to questions about insurance coverage and discounts available, contact your local agent today!


Helpful links for you…

Renters Tips

Auto Tips


Fall Hazards in the Workplace

fall hazardsDo you own a business? Are your employees at risk?

Slips, trips and falls are one of the most common accidents.  What can be done to protect your employees and customers?  OSHA has a lot of helpful tips about protecting your employees and clients from fall hazards, here are a few.

Prevent Trip or Fall Hazards by:

  • Implementing Daily cleaning and inspection procedures.
  • Cleaning up spills immediately.
  • Keeping designated walkways clear of cords and or boxes.
  • Making sure there is appropriate exterior and interior lighting.

Click here for more small business safety tips

A safe workplace is the best workplace.


Having the right insurance is also key for protecting your business from harm.

Independent Agency VS Agent

Imagine living in a world with only one flavor of Ice Cream and worse yet, only one serving size??  Sound awful? We agree!

We recognize how important choice is, and feel people should know that they also have many options when it comes to insurance.  As an independent agency we work for you, keeping you informed of your options and to providing you with a policy that best matches your needs.

While other agents are stuck representing only one company, we can shop around for you.




Chase Clarke Stewart & Fontana Insurance Agency would be happy to provide you with the free quotes you need…

Why is our Independent Agency right for you:

  • We work for you as opposed to one company.
  • When you have a claim we work for you, to get you the best results.
  • We are value hunters, whose priority is to bring you the best price, coverage and service.
  • We cover a wide range of products, including Home, Renters, Auto, Business, Cyber Liability and More.
  • We will review your coverage from time to time to make sure all your needs are covered.
  • Customer satisfaction is our number one focus.
  • You are a person and not a number and we are available to talk when you need us.
  • We are local, licensed professionals with a long history in this community.

Contact us today  413-788-4531