Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Holidays!!!

Pinnacle Insurance
Wishing you health and happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year. We value our customer relationships and thank you for being our customer. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the coming year.
All the best to you and your family,
 Pinnacle Insurance Group
Mark, Kirk, Mike, Ed, Joe, Pam, Lynn, Carol, Linda, Judy & Wendy
Our holidays hours:
Monday December 23rd 9am to 3pm
Closed Christmas Eve & Christmas
re-open December 26th at 9am
Tuesday December 31st close at 3pm
Closed New Years Day
for more information visit or call 412-816-1000

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Week Office Hours

Happy Thanksgiving from Pinnacle Insurance
In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday our office hours will be as follows:
Wednesday, November 27th the office will close at 3:00 PM
Thursday, November 28th the office will be closed
Friday, November 29th the office will be closed
We will return to regular office hours (8:30 to 4:30) on Monday, December 2nd
Visit our website at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall back this weekend!


Daylight Savings Time ends on Sunday November 3rd at 2:01 AM; don't forget to turn your clocks back one hour.
 This is also a good time to:
   *  Check your fire extinguishers
   *  Change the batteries in your smoke   
       & carbon monoxide detectors
   *  Update your virus protection on your computers
   *  Schedule annual inspection for your furnace
Enjoy your extra hour of sleep this weekend.  As always, if you have questions or feel we can be of service, call Pinnacle Insurance at 412-816-1000 or visit us on the web at

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) Enrollment Starts TODAY!

The enrollment period for healthcare coverage is set to begin today under the new Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). There is a great deal of confusion about the program itself as well as the enrollment process due to the amount of detailed information currently available. The initial enrollment period for individual and family coverage will run from October 1st, 2013 to March 31st 2014.

Some of the things we currently know:

  • In 2014 all eligible Americans will be required to carry health insurance or be subject to a fine.
  • Tax incentives will be offered to offset premiums and out of pocket expenses based upon income levels tied to the federal minimum poverty level.  
  • No one can be excluded or charged a higher premium for pre-existing health conditions.
  • Qualified Health Plans will be available through Marketplaces (previously called exchanges) for individuals and families who do not have access to affordable employer-sponsored plans.
  • The marketplaces for each state will provide a place to compare coverage options and to purchase health insurance. The selection of a plan that works best for you may be determined with the assistance of a certified agent or broker.
To Read more about the Affordable Care Act, see below:
  • Consumers can use agents and brokers to help guide them through the process of enrolling and selecting their health insurance plan without additional cost.  We are here to help.
  • Insurance carriers can not limit or exclude coverage for pre-existing health conditions.  This provision is called guaranteed issue.  Insurers must also offer to renew or continue all in force coverage at the option of the policyholder, which is called guaranteed renewability.
  • Insurance carriers are limited to basing premium variations to age, family composition, geographic area and tobacco use.  Tobacco use premium surcharge is limited to 1.5 times the non-tobacco users rate.
  • Premium rates can very by age for enrollees between the ages of 21 and 63 on each birthday until age 63.  Older enrollees can not be charged more than 3 times the amount that younger enrollees are charged.
  • Health plans must make coverage available to children up to the age of 26.  Young adults can join or remain on parents insurance coverage even if they are married (coverage does not extend to married child’s spouse), not living in Parent’s household, not attending school, not financially dependent or even if they are eligible to enroll in their own employer’s plan.
  • All plans must include 10 Essential Health Benefits (EHB): Doctors Visits, Hospitalizations, Mental Health & Substance Abuse, Rehabilitative Services & Devices, Laboratory Services, Emergency Services, Maternity & Newborn Care, Prescription Drugs, Preventive & Wellness Management and Pediatric Services.
  • Lifetime and annual coverage limits are eliminated on all plans under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Out of pocket expenses (deductibles & coinsurance) are capped for 2014 at $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for families enrolled in individual market plans.
  • The plans available in the Individual Marketplace (Exchanges) will be: Catastrophic – offers least amount of coverage but must comply with above maximum out of pocket limits, Bronze – 60% of cost paid by insurer, Silver – 70% paid by insurer, Gold 80% paid by insurer, Platinum – 90% paid by insurer up to out of pocket limits above.
  • When the application process begins on October 1st 2013, an individual must live in the United States, be a resident in the state where enrolling.  Also they must be a United States citizen or national (or a lawfully present non-citizen), not be incarcerated, other than incarceration pending the disposition of charges.
  • To apply for coverage you will need to visit your states Marketplace website and complete one application.  By completing a single, web-based application, you will receive health insurance coverage options, eligibility guidelines for premium tax credits and cost sharing reductions.
  • When completing the application your information will be verified through various government agencies.  If there are inconsistencies you will need to resolve them in order to continue the process.
  • Premium Tax Credits is a new income tax provision that helps individuals and families afford health insurance coverage through the Marketplace.  You may choose to apply all or some of your tax credit towards the premium cost on an advanced basis which will be paid directly to the insurance company.  At the end of each year your account will be reconciled.  You also have the option of taking the tax credit on your tax return.
  • Cost sharing is also available to some, which is a tax credit applied deductibles and coinsurance.  Premium tax credits and cost sharing eligibility are based on income requirements.
  • In order to qualify for premium tax credit your income must be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.  The federal poverty level for 2013 is $ 11,490 for an individual and $ 23,550 for a family of four.
  • To be eligible for cost sharing programs you must have an annual household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level and also be enrolled in a silver level plan through a Marketplace.
  • In order to receive premium tax credits and cost sharing, you must select the Silver (70% co-insured) plan through the Marketplace.
  • There will be open enrollment periods annually with special enrollment periods for certain triggering events such as: becoming or gaining a dependent, becoming a citizen, loss of Medicaid eligibility, loss of affordable employer sponsored coverage, permanent move to another state or other exceptional circumstances as identified by the Marketplace.
  • You will have 60 days to enroll for new births, adoptions and marriage.  If the Individual Marketplace is notified before the last day of the month that the marriage occurred, coverage will begin the 1st of the following month.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act you may have an agent or broker assist you through the process.  There is no additional cost to you by having an agent or broker assist you!

Pinnacle Insurance is here to help you. As your agent, we can assist you in correctly identifying program eligibility, including potential options for financial assistance, as well as completion of the Affordable Care Act application to avoid enrollment delays due to application errors.

Affordable Health Care Reform is here and it will change the manner in which many people make coverage selections and buy health care coverage. Are you ready? We are here to make sure you don't take chances with your health.
Please feel free to call if you have questions or feel we can be of service, call Pinnacle Insurance at 412-816-1000 or visit our website

Thursday, September 12, 2013

When to change your tires & how a penny might save you $ in the long run.


While the seasons get set to change once again now is a great time to decide if you could use some new tires on your vehicle or not.  The real question becomes how do you tell if you actually need them?  Well here are a few tips we compiled that shed some light on that very question:

  • When the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, tires must be replaced.
  • All tires have “wear bars,” which are small, raised bars of rubber in the groove that indicate when tires are worn out. If your tread is worn down to the wear bars, it’s time for a new tire.
 If that still doesn't answer the question try this neat little trick:

  1. Take a penny and put Lincoln’s head into one of the grooves of the tire tread. If part of his head is covered by the tread, you’re driving with the legal amount of tread.
  2. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.

If all else fails try the eye test.  Visually check your tires for signs of uneven wear. You may have irregular tread wear if there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also make sure no nails or other objects are embedded in the tire. Consult your tire dealer from there.  While the cost of tires is something none of love the idea of paying for it really can make all the difference in the world in regards to keeping you safe as we approach the winter.

For more information visit or call the office at 412-816-1000.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back to School

As vacations wind down and summer comes to a close lots of parents out there face the reality of sending their children off to college.  With a million other things going on we wanted to add one more thing to your to do list, and that's simply what you need to do from an insurance standpoint.

Homeowners Insurance - Coverage is extended from most homeowners policies when your child lives in a campus dorm. The coverage limit is normally 10% of your homeowners personal property limit. If your child is bringing high-priced electronics and other items, make sure your limit is adequate. If that is not enough coverage, you can raise your homeowner's policy limit or look at purchasing a renters policy.  The cost can be as low as $ 150 a year.  Regardless of what you do remember that the more proof you own something the better off you are in the case of a claim. 

On the other end of the spectrum if you child has recently graduated and is living in their own apartment have them give us a call to discuss renters insurance and their overall insurance needs.  We can get them set up on their own auto policy and usually with a multi-policy discount they will pay even less than the $150 a year for renters insurance.  That money is well spent if they ever need to file a claim.

Car Insurance - If your child does not take a car with them to school, in most cases you can receive a premium discount on your car insurance and still have coverage for them when they come home for holidays and vacation or if they borrow a car while at school. It is usually based on miles away from home so if your child lives in Penn Hills and goes to Pitt or Duquesne or CMU then you might not get that discount.  If you child is taking a car with them to school, call our office so we can have the correct garaging information applied to the vehicle. Good student discounts still apply to college students whether they take a car to school or not.    

Life Insurance - While the thought of purchasing life insurance on a student may sound strange, if you are cosigning for school loans it can provide an element of protection.  Perhaps this is also a good time to reflect on your current life insurance policies and we'd be happy to come out to your home or have you in the office to discuss various options.

As always, if you have questions or feel we can be of service, call the office at 412-816-1000 or visit us online at

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Air Conditioning Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

This is the very first blog posting for us here at Pinnacle Insurance and seemed rather fitting due to the current swealtering temperatures. Check back to see future blog posts and let us know what you think as we try to incorporate more socail media into what we do here at Pinnacle.

Buying a bigger room air conditioner won’t necessarily make you feel more comfortable during the hot summer months. In fact, a room air conditioner that’s too big for the area it is supposed to cool will perform less efficiently and less effectively than a smaller, properly sized unit. The reason: an oversized unit will cool the room(s) to the thermostat set-point before proper dehumidification occurs, making the area feel “clammy” and uncomfortable. Central air-conditioning systems need to be sized by professionals.

If you have a central air system in your home, set the fan to shut off at the same time as the compressor, which is usually done by setting the “auto” mode on the fan setting. In other words, don’t use the system’s central fan to provide air circulation — use circulating fans in individual rooms.
Instead of air-conditioning, consider installing a whole-house fan. Whole-house fans work in many climates and help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. Use the fan most effectively to cool down your house during cooler times of the day: your home will stay cooler through the hotter times of the day without using the fan.

Cooling Tips

  • Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible in the summer, and ensure humidity control if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Consider using an interior fan along with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Avoid placing appliances that give off heat such as lamps or TVs near a thermostat.cooling_fan

Long-Term Savings Tips

  • If your air conditioner is old, consider buying an energy-efficient model. Look for the ENERGY STAR® and EnergyGuide labels — qualified room air conditioners are 10% more efficient, and qualified central units are about 14% more efficient than standard models.
  • Consider installing a whole-house fan or evaporative cooler if appropriate for your climate.
Learn more about air conditioners and alternative energy-efficient home cooling systems.

Please feel free to call if you have questions or feel we can be of service.  We can be reached at 412-816-1000 or visit our website