Myths About Car Insurance

Everyone who owns or leases a car is basically in need of automobile insurance. The market for this product is huge and the options are basically endless. You can pretty much have as much or as little coverage as you need based upon your situation. Both the car you have and your financial situation are key factors into determine what insurance you may want. However many factors are also taken into consideration when insurance companies determine your coverage costs. So it is best to be sure to shop around when getting auto insurance quotes. Please take the following myths about car insurance into account when choosing your policy.

Your Credit is not a factor

As previously explained, there are many factors that are considered when pricing out your policy. A lot of people think that your credit does not affect you when it comes to auto insurance, but it does. Your credit reflects how you handle your finances so if you have good credit chances are you are responsible and will a.) be able to get a car and b.) get a better quote on your car insurance.

Bright Colored Cars Cost you

There is a myth out there that if you have a bright colored car that your auto insurance premium will be higher. The reasoning behind this is that the bright color will catch the eye of cops and they in turn will pull you over. This is simply a myth. Color is not factored into the cost of your coverage but the type of car (model, year, make, engine size, vehicle age, etc.) does.

Your insurance goes up when you are older

This is not necessarily true. You can get discounts for certain things like being retired and therefore driving less or having complete driving safety courses through programs like AARP. Most people think that the older you are, the worse of a driver you are. This does not necessarily ring true in the eyes of insurance companies.

Your Auto Insurance will cover you if your car is stolen/vandalized

When you sign up for coverage for your car there are different coverage options that you need to select. If you didn’t select Comprehensive and Collision coverage than you may be out of luck if you find yourself in this type of situation. You need to elect both of these coverages in order to be fully covered for any type of damage.

Please keep all of these in mind when shopping for car insurance quotes. They will help you select what is right for you and your family.

WHAT AFFECTS YOUR LIFE INSURANCE RATES

All consumers are out there to get the best deal on things. You want to get the lowest cost for something at the best quality. Well the same goes for Life Insurance. Pretty much every adult looking for life insurance shops around to get the most quality coverage at the best price. There are different websites and professionals out there to help you research policies, but the basis of all life insurance research revolves around the cost. Who likes to pay for something you don’t know when and if you will benefit from? Well below are some key factors that affect rates of your life insurance premium so you know which policy to choose.

Health

An individual’s health is a key factor in pricing out a consumer’s policy. A person gets penalized if they are not currently healthy or have family history of bad health or susceptibility to certain health concerns. The reason this is so is because life insurance companies want to make the most money by enrolling holders who will live the longest. Poor health leads to short lives. A physical and blood test are often required prior to enrollment to make sure they know your current health status. Things such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems, etc. are all red flags for an insurer.

Age and Gender

The average life expectancy in the United States is 71.5 in the year 2016. The average life expectancy for males is 67 years and the average life expectancy for females is 71.1 years. With these statistics, you can deduce that a younger individual will get a better rate as an elder and a female will also get a better rate than a male.

Occupation

What you do for a living effects your life insurance premium because they believe it affects your life expectancy. For example, if you have a non stressful desk job you have less risk of getting into a freak accident than a road worker.

Location

In the United States, life insurance is regulated on the state level. This means that each state in the country has their own life insurance laws and regulations. The regulations and laws include many different things such as who the policy belongs to, who it will go to, guaranteeing amounts, financial responsibility, etc. It is best to speak to a professional and do research in your state because it may make a difference.

Overall it is hard to price out a generic policy for individuals because there are many factors that go into it and the factors mentioned above are the main ones that would affect you.

5 Reasons most people need life insurance

Life insurance is one of the most important investments that you’ll ever make for your loved ones. It’s one of the only ways that you can ensure that your family is taken care of, regardless of what happens to you.

While life insurance is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make, but there are millions and millions of Americans that don’t have insurance coverage. Not having life insurance protection is one of the worst things that you could ever do for your loved ones. There are some reasons that more people should consider getting insurance coverage.

Spouse

One of the primary purposes of life insurance is to give your spouse the money that they need if something tragic were to happen to you. If your spouse doesn’t have a source of income, then your life insurance will give them the money that they need to pay for any necessary expenses. If you’re married, and your spouse doesn’t work, then you will need to ensure that you have the life insurance protection that they need.

Kids

On a similar note, if you have children, you will need to ensure that your kids have the money that they will need to get through the difficult time. The more children that you have, the more life insurance that you’ll need. If you have kids, but you don’t have life insurance, your children would be responsible for all of your debts and other final expenses.

New Home

One common reason that more people should buy life insurance is because of their mortgage. More than likely, your biggest bill is your mortgage. If something tragic were to happen to you, that mortgage payment is going straight to your family. Most family members are not going to have enough money to pay off a mortgage, and that additional financial strain is going to make the situation a thousand times worse.

Because the vast majority of Americans have a mortgage loan, that means that a great majority of Americans should also have a life insurance plans to take care of that mortgage.

Salary

As we already mentioned, your salary is going to play a huge role in life insurance. In fact, your income is one of the most important factors when looking at life insurance coverage. If you’re the main sources of income in your home, and you were to pass away, your family would struggle to pay for any basic expenses. In fact, your salary is the second thing that you should calculate when you’re shopping for life insurance protection, right after you’ve calculated your debts.

There is no “perfect number” that is going to work for everyone, but most professional insurance agents suggest getting at least ten times your annual income. 

Your Work Coverage

A lot of large corporations have started offering life insurance coverage as a benefit to their employees. The problem is that life insurance from companies are typically not enough for most families. Not only that but if you were to lose that job, then you would no longer have the insurance coverage.

It’s important that you get life insurance coverage apart from your employer sponsored plan. These plans are excellent supplemental coverage, but you should never rely on that plan for your main coverage.

Not Having Life Insurance

Not having life insurance protection is one of the worst mistakes that you could ever make for your loved ones. You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, which means that you shouldn’t wait any longer to get the coverage that your family needs.

If something awful were to happen to you, and you didn’t have life insurance coverage, then your family is going to be stuck with the mountain of debt. Losing someone that you love is never going to be easy, but all of the debts and final expenses is going to make the situation a million times worse. Not only are they going to experience the emotional grief, but they are going to experience financial strain as well.

Because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, you shouldn’t wait any longer to get the insurance protection that your family deserves. Your life insurance plan is not for you, it’s for the people that you love. Show them that you love them by taking the time to purchase a quality life insurance policy.

Buying Home Insurance

When buying a new home, there are so many decision to make and processes to go through. One of the main concerns when buying a new home is the amount of money being spent on the investment. Your family is spending so much, you want to do everything possible to save every penny you can. It can be stressful. Below are some helpful hints to help you save money during your home buying endeavor.

Realtor Fees

One thing people should know is that Realtor fees are often negotiable. Now when you are purchasing a home it is typically the seller who has to pay the realtor fees, but most likely you are selling a house to buy a home (not everyone is a first time home buyer). It is important to realize this because it could save you some cash.

You can also sell your house on your own. You can do this by doing a for sale by owner or by using services like Make Me Move by Zillow. This allows you to eliminate your realtor fees all together.

Home Insurance

A key element to buying a new home is finding homeowners insurance. This is an integral part to the home buying process. What you need to know to save money on your firs home insurance policy is that it is ok to ask questions and shop around. Know what you are looking to insure to make sure you have the proper coverage that your home and family need. Is there something specific that you need covered? Make sure to ask! There are also different factors that determine your cost of your insurance so it is important to go through each thing with your broker. A particular location of your home or materials/set up of your home can easily affect your plan.

Know the Market

You can save money when buying a home just by being educated on the market you are looking in. This will allow you to know if you are overpaying or underpaying on your investment. If you know your area well, as well as the schools and neighborhood factors you will make sure you are getting the best deal possible and won’t be taken advantage of.

Inspections

A lot of home buyers are frustrated by paying money for inspections and other testing on a home before going through the deal. This is very true but it is also important to know what you are getting into before making the big investment. Since you need to get inspections it is important to choose which houses to put offers on. You can also save money by asking to see the Sellers Disclosure that may disclose information on the home.

 

Hopefully these hints will help you make some good decisions while buying your home.

 

PPI CLAIMS

When receiving a large loan, it can be overwhelming to think about its repayment. One thing that is concerning is the fear of the inability to pay back the loan due to unforeseen circumstances. Payment Protection Insurance is available to ease this fear. In the UK there is a scandal that has arose from the sale of PPI (Payment Protection Insurance). It can be referred to as a scandal because PPI  policies are sometimes sold without the consumer knowing. This causes the consumers to file claims against lending companies to get back money they have paid towards the policies that they were unaware they had.

Resources

If you are reading this and are someone who has been thrown into this type of situation, there are many resources out there to help you through it.

You are not alone! Companies are out there that can be hired to help you get the money back. For example, http://www.lowfeeppiclaims.co.uk, offers a competitive fee to help file these claims which can make the task less daunting. Most claims management companies will charge fees of 25% or more, whereas they charge a fee of 12% on your PPI claim, which is one of the lowest in the UK. A claims management company has the resources that will allow you to get your refund in a hassle free and timely manner.

Calculate your Claim

There are apps out there that can help you calculate what you could potentially be owed. You will need to know the details about your policy (Loan amount, term of loan, your premium amount and interest rate, etc.)

Buyer Beware

Consumers are also being mis-sold on PPI by not fully understanding their policies. There have been reports of a lot of consumers unhappy about PPI claims being turned down because of exclusion clauses in their policy. This is a form of being mis-sold on the policy because people buy into them thinking they would be covered for a particular situation and if that situation occurs, they may be denied coverage. Another issues is the coverage may not be explained in its entirety to the consumer when purchased, and the sum of money provided at payout could only be a percentage of your salary. There are often loopholes in the contracts that people are not aware of.

Overall PPI can be a very helpful tool to keep your family safe at times of crisis. However, it is  important to know what you are signing up for and to do your research before committing to a policy.

 

What to Consider Before You Switch Insurance Plans

Whether you have to wait until open enrollment to change your health insurance coverage or your coverage allows you to switch at any time, there are a few things to consider before jumping ship on your medical insurance. Often, the plan you enroll into has a period of time that you are “locked into” the plan, and you may have to wait up to a year to change again. Keeping that in mind, this is an important decision that requires some thought.

Is Your PCP Covered?

Being able to freely see your primary care provider when you need a doctor is one of the most important reasons to carry health insurance. If your doctor is out of network on a new plan, it’s a potentially bad idea to switch. Out of pocket costs can really add up, even for those that are in good health and only see a doctor a few times a year.

Other Types of Insurance

If one of the reasons you want to switch is to have better dental insurance and vision coverage, that’s a very important thing to consider. Paying out of pocket for dental care, even routine cleanings twice a year, can get really expensive, even if your dentist has a sliding scale. If your new plan includes general dentistry and vision exams, it may be time to switch. Another thing to consider is prescription coverage.

Waiting Periods for Eligibility

If your new plan has a substantial waiting period and it’s fairly on par with your current plan, it probably isn’t worth the wait. This is an important question to ask if you’re switching jobs, in which case changing insurance may be unavoidable. COBRA, the type of insurance that covers you between jobs, can be more expensive than staying with your original plan. Even if you have to pay a higher premium to stay with the insurance offered from your old employer, it may be worth it to stay on.

Quality of Care

Another important thing to consider is your quality of care. If you’re happy with what you’re receiving now, it may be a good idea to stick with the plan you have. If a new plan is less expensive and you can keep all of your same doctors, hospitals, and specialist choices, that is of course, a different story.

Bottom-Line Costs

Almost as important as quality of care, the bottom line costs are an important factor when you’re thinking about switching. What are your premiums and deductibles? Obviously, no one can predict the future, but if you’re a reasonably healthy adult with high premiums and low deductibles, it may be time for higher deductibles that may save you money in the long run.

Final Thoughts

Money isn’t the most important thing when it comes to deciding whether to switch health insurance. Your health is paramount, and if your quality of care will go down over just saving a few dollars, it’s better to stick with your current plan. However, if you find a way to keep costs down while keeping the same quality of care, it is a good idea to switch.

 

How to Save on the Cost of Life Insurance

All too often people avoid buying life insurance because they simply cannot afford it. However, it might be that you cannot afford your ideal life insurance policy, but you can afford something for less. The following article will cover money saving tips when purchasing life insurance.

Fifteen money saving tips when purchasing life insurance

  1. Buy cheap term life insurance

Life insurance comes in three main flavors: term, whole, and universal life. One of the best ways to save money on your life insurance premium is to purchase term life insurance. Here is a brief description of each type of life insurance.

Term life insurance is designed to last for the term of the policy. Usually, the term can be anywhere from 10 years up to 30 years. You can even find a 35-year term policy with a return of premium rider. Typically the premium is fixed for the duration of the term with the ability to renew on an annual basis. However, because the policy ends at a specified time (the term) your premium will be less than a product that lasts the rest of your life, such as whole or universal life insurance.

Whole life insurance lasts the rest of your life. The policy builds cash value. Typically the premium and face amount are fixed for the life of the primary insured. You can borrow against the cash reserve. Any interest owed on the money you borrowed against will typically be repaid from the death benefit when you die. And for those who want permanent coverage, single premium whole life insurance saves you on the cost of protection.

Universal life insurance is a permanent policy. It is very similar to whole life but has more flexibility when it comes to the payment. There are three main types of Universal Life: Guaranteed, Indexed, and Variable. Guaranteed Universal Life typically has a fixed premium amount. Indexed Universal Life has the premium you paid tied directly to a benchmark, such as the stock market. So if the market does well you pay less and vice versa. Variable Universal Life allows the owner to invest the policy into various investment vehicles which can make the premium and cash reserve go down or up depending on the performance of the investment index the policy is tied to.

You might need life insurance for the rest of your life. In that case, term will not be the best choice. However, you cannot beat cheap term life insurance for the savings it will provide compared to Universal or Whole Life.

A word of advice when choosing the type of life insurance for you: You need to consider how much life insurance you need today, not some hypothetical day in the future. All too often people get hung up on cheap term life insurance because they are too fixated on what may or may not happen once the term expires. The problem is this misses the point of term life insurance. Term should be used to meet your needs in the here and now.

For example, if you know your family needs $500,000 of life insurance proceeds to pay off the mortgage then you should get $500,000 of coverage. What tends to happen is people will purchase $100,000 of whole life instead of the $500,000 of term they need because they are too focused on the term expiring and “then what?” But consider if that person dies in a few years or few months from now.

That $100,000 policy is not going to do the job. And further, how much will $100,000 be worth in 30-40 years when the insured dies? That is why a healthy husband or wife age 40 and younger should consider a million dollars of life insurance. The idea is to buy the amount of insurance you need in case you die today and deal with the future when it comes.

  1. Have your beneficiary or beneficiaries pay for it

Another great way to save on the cost of life insurance is to have your beneficiary pay your life insurance premium. Often older clients will be saddled with a high premium that makes paying life insurance painful. As a result, many people will simply let the life insurance lapse, cash it in, or sell it for a life settlement because it does not fit into the budget. But a good idea would be to see if your life insurance beneficiary will help or completely pay the premium. After all, they are the one who stands to benefit from the policy. Why shouldn’t they help pay it?

  1. Stop smoking

An important money saving tip on life insurance is to know the requirements of getting a non-tobacco rate class. As you may already know, smoking and life insurance are poor bedfellows. Typically, the premium is three to five times higher for a smoker compared to a non-smoker. To save on your life insurance, you will need to quit for at least one year. There is a company that will offer a preferred rate class after one year of no tobacco use. But you need to quit for at least one year to qualify for a non-tobacco rate. For those of you who use other forms of tobacco besides cigarettes than make sure you apply with a company that has favorable underwriting for tobacco products other than cigarettes. And if your tobacco product happens to be marijuana, make sure you apply with a marijuana friendly life insurance company.

  1. Get healthy

Easier said than done, we know. However, many steps can be taken today that will help you qualify for a much better rate class down the road. And going from one rate class to another can save you between 10-25% on your premium. In fact, the difference between a preferred plus rate class and a standard rate class is typically 200%.

The two primary contributors to getting healthy are diet and exercise. Think baby steps. You don’t need to run a marathon or go vegan. Instead, take small steps to improving your diet and fitness. For example, you could cut down on the fast food you eat or take an evening stroll around the neighborhood in the evening. You would be amazed at how a few small changes can make an enormous difference over time.

If you are currently working on getting healthier but you need life insurance today, consider a cheap term exam or no exam life insurance policy. A 10-year term will provide ample length and you can easily re-apply for life insurance once you have reached your desired health goals six months or so down the road.

  1. Pay annually

Here is an often overlooked tip for saving money when purchasing life insurance that adds up over the years. You receive price breaks by paying less frequently. For example, the best way to buy life insurance is with a single premium policy where you put down a large sum of money to purchase an even larger death benefit. Single premium is a great deal for some who have a lot of liquid cash but for those of us who do not have an extra $50,000 or more lying around, there are still ways to save money.

The lowest premium is the annual premium. Paying your premium once a year will provide you the most savings, followed by semi-annual, then monthly and then quarterly. Yes, quarterly is the most expensive way to pay for your life insurance.

  1. Buy it while you are young

Age is the primary factor that a life insurance carrier will consider when determining your premium. The reason is, the actuarial tables that an underwriter looks at considers your life expectancy above all else. Therefore, the older you are, the closer you are to that fateful day. Therefore, the younger you are, the more money you will save on your life insurance.

For all you 20, 30 and 40-year-olds looking for cheap term life insurance, there is no time like today to lock into a policy. Once you get into your 50s, life insurance premiums jump up around 5-10% year over year.

  1. Avoid Dangerous Hobbies

The dangerous hobbies that do raise a red flag for life insurance companies will either make your premium go up, require an exclusion, or cause your application to be declined. And you will have to wait two years after quitting the hobby to qualify if you do engage in particular dangerous hobbies. For thrill seekers, refraining from dangerous avocations is not realistic. However, if you don’t regularly participate in adrenalin sports and have plans to purchase life insurance, don’t go skydiving or make plans to go skydiving before you secure that policy.

  1. Consider the term length

Here is another great tip to save money when buying life insurance. If you are pressed for cash because your monthly budget is precarious close to swamping you but you want life insurance to protect your family as their primary income source, then consider a shorter term length. There are two distinct advantages to doing so.

One advantage of a shorter term length is the premium will be less because the chances of you dying in 10 years or 15 years is less than you dying in the next 30 years.

Also, most term policies come with an additional life insurance rider called a conversion option that will allow you to convert all or a portion of your policy into a permanent policy at your original rate class. That way, even if you do come down with some condition that precludes you from life insurance, you can convert your term policy to a permanent policy with no proof of insurability.

Further, you can always add additional coverage or buy a new policy when you are not so financially strapped, but at least you have some life insurance in the interim.

Also, be aware that some life insurance carriers offer term coverage for every year from 15-30. That means 16, 17, 18, 19, and so on. So you can tailor a policy to your particular need.

  1. Actual age versus insurance age

Some life insurance companies will use your nearest age to determine your life insurance “age”. How this works is the life insurance company will date you at the age you are closest to. So if someone 44 years old was born in August and they apply for life insurance in March, that person is one year older for life insurance purposes because they are nearer to turning 45, rather than 44.

Now you can backdate the policy to save age but you will end up paying more premium up front to do so and it is not in everyone’s best interest to backdate although at times it makes sense.

Other companies will use your actual age. That means as long as you apply and are approved for life insurance before your birthday then you are your actual age. If you have a birthday during the underwriting period, than you are your new age for that insurance carrier. Therefore, you want to make sure you applied with an actual age company with a few weeks or months to spare to lock into your current age.

The difference between the costs for an actual age company versus a nearest age company will probably be a few dollars. However, for longer terms, such as 20 or 30 years, that will amount to thousands of dollars of savings on life insurance premiums. It pays to know which company to choose.

  1. Know your insurance companies weight chart

Different companies have different build tables. Your build is your height and weight allowance that a life insurance company will use to determine your rate class. Another way to say this is that some companies allow for a larger body mass index than others.

The key for overweight or big boned clients looking to save on life insurance is to apply with a carrier that has a more liberal build chart. As we mentioned above, the difference between rate classes can save you 10-25% on your premium. That is sizable savings over the life of your insurance.

  1. Buy in bulk (discounted rate bands)

Life insurance companies bundle policies in much the same way that a company like Costco bundles its food. You receive a price break when you buy more life insurance. Face amounts $0-249,999 are in the lowest band, although some companies have it $0-199,999. The next typical band is $250,000-499,999. There is a price break at $500,000-749,000 and then another price break on cost per units at $750,000-999,999. Another price break on cost per units at $1,000,000-1,249,999. Therefore, a great way to save on life insurance is to inquire into that specific companies price breaks.

You might find that your $700,000 policy actually costs more than a $750,000 policy because the larger policy had a bigger price break on costs per unit.

  1. Take an exam compared to a no medical exam policy

If every penny counts, then this is another awesome tip for saving money when purchasing life insurance. Life insurance companies want to get a complete picture of who the company is offering life insurance to. Therefore, taking an exam provides a company a complete picture of your health and lifestyle.

As a result, exam policies (called “fully underwritten”) are less than a no exam policy. For those of you with a fear of needles or that have superior health, there are still affordable life insurance companies available that do not require an exam. It is these instances when the premium is very close or when it makes sense to choose a no exam policy versus an exam because of a potential health issue not yet discovered that a no exam policy can save you a lot of time and money.

  1. Consider a second-to-die policy

If your goal is to leave money to your estate, then a survivorship life insurance policy might be right up your alley. With a second to die policy, the premium is lower, up to 40% lower in some cases, than buying coverage on an individual. The reason being, both spouses have to die for the policy to pay out. But if neither spouse needs money, an excellent way to increase an estate and pay any estate taxes is with a second to die life insurance policy, perhaps in an irrevocable trust.

And a second to die policy can be purchased on two business partners, siblings, and many other potential scenarios as long as there is an insurable interest. Buying coverage on two business partners is a great way to create a business succession plan with life insurance, such as funding a buy sell agreement, or key man business insurance.