Mark Your Calendar for the 2015 Open Enrollment Period

With all the new rules and regulations surrounding health care, it can be confusing knowing when you have to sign up, or even if you have the right amount of coverage. If you have not already signed up for health care in the Open Enrollment period for 2014, make sure to mark your calendar for the Open Enrollment for 2015 so that you can avoid paying the fines associated with not having health insurance.

The proposed Open Enrollment period for the 2015 year is from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. There are also many other specific situations that may allow you to qualify for a Special Enrollment period that is not during the Open Enrollment period. To qualify for the Special Enrollment period, you must have gone through a specific life event that led to a change in your family status, such as the birth of a child or getting married. You can also qualify if you lose your current health coverage. The Special Enrollment period is only available for 60 days after one of these specific events.

In the past few weeks, almost 11,000 California residents were denied coverage because they did not sign up for health insurance through the Open Enrollment Individual Marketplace during the specified Open Enrollment Period. Most of the denials were the result of a change in the health insurance coverage law, which changed the start of Open Enrollment from October 15, 2014 to November 15, 2014.

For all of your health care insurance coverage needs, contact Access West Insurance Services in Murrieta, California at 951-696-4466. We are a certified enrollment agency and can help to ensure that you are have the right amount of coverage that meets all of your needs, and ensure that you are not denied coverage in the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

Fleet Insurance 101

There are many special insurance policies that business owners have to consider to ensure their business is properly covered. If your business has any number of company vehicles, it is important to make sure you have the right fleet insurance, or commercial auto insurance, to cover your employees and vehicles. Fleet insurance covers the physical damage of a company vehicle, as well as providing liability coverage for different amounts, situations, and usage that is not provided by a personal auto insurance policy. A fleet insurance policy is needed if your business has just one vehicle that is used for deliveries, or if your business has a fleet of 40 moving trucks. Fleet insurance policies provide some of the same coverage options as a personal auto insurance policy, just at a different level. Some of these coverage options include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage – will provide payments for bodily injury or death that is the result of an accident that is your fault.
  • Property damage liability coverage – will provide protection if the company vehicle accidentally damages another person’s property. It will also provide the financial means to hire a legal defense.
  • Combined single limit – this provides the same dollar amount of coverage per covered occurrence whether property damage or bodily injury, either to one person or several.
  • Medical payments, no-fault or personal injury coverage – will pay for the medical expenses of the driver and the passengers in the company vehicle who are part of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage – will pay for the medical expenses and property damage that is associated with an accident with another motorist that either has no insurance, or does not have enough insurance.
  • Comprehensive physical damage coverage – will cover the cost of damage to the company vehicle due to theft, vandalism, fire, flood, and other named perils.

For the most comprehensive fleet insurance coverage in the Murrieta, California area, contact Access West Inc.

How do Tickets Affect your Auto Insurance?

It is no secret that traffic tickets can create a huge hassle. Along with the fees associated with paying off the ticket, the ticket will also most likely make your insurance premiums increase. While the exact amount that a ticket will make your auto insurance premiums rise is kept a secret by insurers, most experts agree that a minor violation will increase your premium by 10 – 15 percent.

A minor violation is not a very serious offense. These are tickets for driving situations such as making an illegal u-turn or going a couple miles per hour over the speed limit. These tickets are taken care of in traffic court, and do not carry a very heavy fine. Most of the time, your first minor violation will not cause your auto insurance premiums to increase.

Correctable violations are also taken care of in traffic court, and include things such as having window tint that is too dark or having a broken headlight. These tickets are not very expensive to take care of, and will not stay on your driving record if they are taken care of.

A major violation is handled in criminal court, and can come with jail time for committing one. Major violations are instances such as a hit and run, a DUI, and vehicular manslaughter.

Every time you get a ticket, points are added to your license. If you get a certain amount of points in a certain amount of time, your license can be suspended, or the DMV can revoke your driving privileges altogether. The number of points on your license will also be used to determine your insurance premium. If you have too many points, certain insurance companies will not insure you. Insurance companies also have the option to not renew your insurance policy if you get to many tickets.

For the most comprehensive auto insurance coverage in the Murrieta, California area, contact Access West, Inc.

What’s Up Wednesday

Since summer is the perfect time to find events in your local area to enjoy with your friends and family, keep these fun family friendly events in the local Murrieta area in mind.

The City of Murrieta is hosting Movies in the Park. On August 2nd, there will be a showing of The Lego Movie, and on August 9th, there will be showing of The Karate Kid. Both movies will be shown at the California Oaks Sports Park. The movies are free for everyone to enjoy and start at dusk. Make sure to bring blankets and chairs to sit on and pack food for the whole family. Everyone is encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters from the movies.

On August 17th, come join professional artist Jill Roberts and learn to paint at the Viva Vino Spanish Tapas & Wine Bar. There is no experience necessary to join the class, since it features easy step by step instructions. The class is $45, or $80 for two people. All art supplies are provided, and there is also food, wine, and sangrias that are available for purchase.

On August 22nd, make sure to check out the Hot Summer Nights in Old Town Temecula. The night is full of entertainment on all of the stages, including:

6pm – Magic Show at Front and Main Streets
6pm – Rudy T Band at Mad Madeline’s
6pm – Luciano Duo at East Main Street
6pm – Jolly Jumps at 4th Street
6:30pm – Caylie Gregorio at Pub & Grub
6:30pm – Hoodoo Blues at Third St. Smokehouse
7pm – Sligo Rags at Baily’s Courtyard

To stay cool in the hot summer heat, make sure to check out one of the splash pads throughout the Inland Empire, including:

Monte Vista Park in Chino

The Shoppes at Chino Hills in Chino Hills

El Barrio Park, Memorial Park, and Wheeler Park in Claremont

Victoria Gardens Shopping Center in Rancho Cucamonga

Veterans Park in Colton

Lake Skinner in Temecula

Mojave Narrows Regional Park in Victorville

For all of your insurance coverage needs in the Murrieta, California area, contact Access West Inc.

Superfoods for Summer

With the laid-back lifestyle that comes with the warm summer weather, it is important to remember small healthy eating choices to keep your body feeling good this summer. Keep these 5 everyday superfoods in mind the next time you are shopping at the market this summer.

  1. Berries. All berries are a great source of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient that can help to promote weight loss, and is very important for a healthy digestive system. Raspberries have the highest amount of fiber, with 8 grams per cup. They also contain ellagic acid, which is a compound that contains anti-cancer properties. A cup of blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber, but it also has anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that can help keep your memory sharp as you age. A cup of strawberries has 3 grams of fiber, as well as more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C, which can help firm skin.
  2. Eggs. Eggs are a source of high-quality protein. They also leave people feeling more satisfied for a longer time. Egg yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin, both which help keep eyes healthy. Lutein also helps shield skin from damage from the sun’s UV rays.
  3. Beans. Beans are a great plant-based source of iron, which transports oxygen from your lungs to the different cells in your body. Beans are also a major source of soluble fiber that benefits blood cholesterol levels.
  4. Nuts. Nuts are a source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Walnuts contain a high level of alpha-linolenic acid, which has been linked to heart health and improved mood.
  5. Broccoli. Broccoli is full of vitamins C, A, and K, which helps with bone health. It also delivers a healthy dose of sulforaphane, a special type of isothiocyanate that is thought to prevent cancer by stimulating the body’s detoxifying enzymes.

Access West Inc. would like to remind you to make healthy choices this summer, and to contact us with all of your insurance coverage needs in Murrieta, California.

Special Enrollment Periods for Covered California

Although we are barely halfway through the year, it is important to start thinking of your health care options for next year. The individual insurance market is closed until October, unless you qualify to register early due to a special event in your life. These life changes that may qualify you for a special enrollment period include:

  • Getting married or entering into a domestic partnership.
  • You have a new child or adopt a child. Also if you receive a child into your foster care or place a child into foster care or place a child up for adoption.
  • If you lose your health coverage, such as if you are no longer eligible for Medi-Cal or if you lose health care though your job.
  • If you move to a new place, such as you move to California, you will gain access to the different Covered California health insurance plans. This also includes people who are released from jail or prison.
  • If you become a citizen, national, or lawfully present individual. Only people who were not citizens, nationals, or lawfully present individuals before.
  • If your income changes so drastically that you are newly eligible or ineligible for help paying for health insurance.
  • If your enrollment was wrong or mistreated, due to the misconduct or misrepresentation of your current health insurance company, covered California, or a non-Covered California entity, which includes a Certified Enrollment Counselor.
  • You can change your health insurance plan once a month or enroll in health insurance even if the open enrollment period is over if you are a member of a federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native tribe.

Unlike the individual insurance market, the group insurance market is open year round if you own a business and would like to start a medical plan for your employees.

Contact Access West Inc., in Oakland, California for any questions regarding your health insurance coverage and to see if you qualify for special enrollment.

Cover Your Assets With Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance may seem like the insurance policy that you can skip and save a couple dollars. However, with the tremendous number of lawsuits, umbrella insurance can protect your assets beyond what typical insurance policies offer. If there is an unfortunate accident that is your fault, chances are that your normal insurance policy will not cover everything. Investing in an umbrella policy is a good way to make sure you are covered in any situation.

Typical umbrella insurance policies provide $1 million in liability. This protection is designed to take effect once the liability coverage of other policies have been exhausted. Liability is the portion of the insurance policy that covers the medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, and lost wages of a person who is injured that is cause by you. It also covers the legal defense that comes along with a lawsuit that comes out of the accident. Most of the time, the liability of a classic homeowners insurance or auto insurance policy will not cover all of the medical expenses and legal fees of the injured person.

Umbrella insurance is that added liability that will cover all of the fees that are associated with an accident and all the fees that are associated with it. An umbrella insurance policy will also provide protection against any lawsuit that deals with slander or the defamation of a person’s character. It will also cover you for any decisions that you may have made while working as a member of a nonprofit board that resulted in a lawsuit.

For more information about how you can protect yourself from beyond the typical insurance policies, contact Access West Insurance Services Inc. As an independent insurance agency, located in Murrieta, California, they will work with their affiliate companies to ensure you get the best protection at the right price.

Family Fun for Summer

With the kids being out of school for the summer, it is easy for them to get bored since they are not kept busy by a full school schedule. Finding fun activities will not only keep them busy, but it will also help ease your mind as a parent. There are plenty of fun events and activities in the Murrieta area for the whole family to enjoy this summer, including:

  • Family night at Epic Rollertainment in Murrieta. The new skating rink is offering family night on July 17th, which include four admission tickets, four skate rentals, one whole cheese or pepperoni pizza, and 4 soft drinks, all for only $35. If you are not planning on bringing the whole family, there will be specials of only a $6 admission price and $4 skate rentals. The night of specials starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m.
  • Mulligan Family Fun Center is offering $12 Tuesdays, every Tuesday. For just $12 you can enjoy unlimited use of the rock wall, video arcade, train ride, tea cups, carousel, rookie go-karts, frog hopper, and lazer tag area. For only a $6 upgrade, you can also enjoy unlimited use of the miniature golf course, water slides, and go-karts. There is also a pizza special for a cheese pizza for only $9.99.
  • If you are looking for a fun event to go to without the kids this summer make sure to check out comedian Marc Patrick. He is putting on hilarious shows from July 25th through the 27th. He shares his humors stories about raising children, harsh realities of getting older, and the perils of managing money.

To make sure your family is covered this summer in any event, contact Access West Insurance Services Inc. As an independent insurance company in Murrieta, California they will work with their affiliates to ensure you get the most comprehensive insurance plans to best fit all your needs.

Protecting Your Home from a Wildfire

With all the recent wildfires, it is important to remember what you can do to protect your home from being destroyed from fires. Wildfires can start without warning and cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and belongings. Make sure to keep these tips in mind during the hot summer weather to protect your home from wildfires.

  • Make sure everyone in the family knows at least two different ways to get out of the neighborhood in case you are not able to evacuate together.
  • Cover the attic, eaves, and sub-floor with noncombustible screening with a mesh size that is no greater than 1/8 inch.
  • If you are building a new home in a fire area, make sure to use fire-resistant siding materials. Also try to limit the number of windows that face large numbers of vegetation, since the heat from a wildfire can cause windows to break before the fire even reaches the home.
  • Do not use any combustible mulch, such as bark and wood-chips.
  • Plant fire resistant, native plants whenever possible.
  • Remove all dry grass, brush, trees, and dead leaves within at least 100 feet of your home to create a defensible place.
  • Make sure to remove all dead branches that are within 15 feet of your chimney.
  • Do not keep any combustible materials under the deck.
  • Do not keep any flammable materials, including firewood, gasoline, propane gazebos, and patio furniture within 30 feet of your home.
  • Keep roof valleys and rain gutters free of any leaves, pine needles, and dry vegetation.

The most important way to protect yourself from a wildfire is to make sure your home is protected with the proper homeowners insurance coverage. Contact Access West Inc. in Murrieta, California to ensure that your home has the right amount of coverage in case of fires in the area.


100 Calorie Snacks for Healthy Eating This Summer

Mixed nutsMany people use 100 calorie-sized portions as a way to keep track of their eating in the summer. By portioning food into 100 calorie servings, calculating calories consumed is simple. Here are twelve tasty, quick snacks that are just 100 calories to help you simplify your diet plan this summer.

1. One banana–Bananas are loaded with potassium that can prevent cramps, and they are extremely portable, requiring no preparation or utensils to eat.

2. Three cups popcorn–Don’t use butter-loaded, microwave popcorn; however, air-popped popcorn is filling and tasteful.

3. Instant Oatmeal–For a warm, filling breakfast on a cool day, mix up a packet of plain instant oatmeal.

4. One cup Yoplait Light Yogurt–Available in a variety of fruit flavors, this snack provides calcium and beneficial yogurt cultures.

5. Shrimp–If you are at a party, eight shrimp and four tablespoons of cocktail sauce are about 100 calories.

6. String Cheese–Stash two light string cheese snacks in your purse for a 100 calorie, protein-rich, mid-afternoon snack

7. Baby Carrots and Hummus–One cup of baby carrots and about two tablespoons of hummus will give you a satisfying, filling, crunchy snack.

8. Cantaloupe–Like most melons, cantaloupe is mostly water. You can pig out on half a cantaloupe without ruining your diet plan.

9. Strawberries–Strawberries are long on flavor and short on calories. Pair a cup of berries with three tablespoons of Cool Whip Free for a tasty, summertime dessert.

10. Chocolate–Sometimes nothing but chocolate will do. You can have five Hersey’s Special Dark Kisses as a stress-reducing, 100 calorie indulgence.

11. Pretzels–Do you crave a salty snack? Portion a bag of Rold Gold Fat Free Tiny Twists into baggies containing 18 each for an easy-to-grab salty snack.

12. Chocolate Milk–Need something cool and creamy for a hot summer day? Stir one tablespoon of Lite Hersey’s Syrup into a cup of non-fat milk for a refreshing summer beverage.

If you need insurance coverage in the Murrieta, California area, contact Access West Inc. today!