Latest Posts

Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 key reasons why a person needs life insurance

Insurance is designed to protect a person and the family from disasters and financial burdens. There are many kinds of insurance of which, the basic and most important is considered to be life insurance. It provides for the dependants after your death.

Since there are certain financial commitments you need to meet throughout life and do contribute in some way to the family income, you need to provide something even in death—to secure the home, help the family meet expenses for a while, protect dependant parents, or secure the children or spouse.

Financial obligations could include funeral expenses, unsettled medical bills, mortgages, business commitments, meeting the college expenses of the children, and so on.

How much insurance a person needs would vary, depending on lifestyle, financial needs and sources of income, debts, and the number of dependants? An insurance adviser or agent would recommend that you take insurance that amounts to five to ten times your annual income.   It is best to sit down with an expert and go through the reasons why you should consider insurance and what kind of insurance planning would benefit you.

As an important part of your financial plan insurance provides peace of mind for any uncertainties in life.

1.    Life insurance correctly planned will on premature death provide funds to deal with monies due, mortgages, and living expenses. It offers protection to the family you leave behind and serves as a cash resource.

2.    It secures your hard earned estate on death by providing tax free cash which can be utilized to pay estate and death duties and to tide over business and personal expenses.

3.    Life insurance can have a savings or pension component that provides for you during retirement.

4.    Some policies have riders like coverage of critical illness or term insurance for the children or spouse. There are certain rules regarding eligibility for riders which you will need to determine clearly.

5.    Having a valid insurance policy is considered as financial assets which improves your credit rating when you need health insurance or a home loan or business loan.

6.    In case of bankruptcy, the cash value as well as death benefits of an insurance policy is exempt from creditors.

7.    Life insurance can be planned such that it will cover even your funeral expenses.

8.    Term life insurance has double benefits, it protects and you can get your money back during strategic points in your life.

9.    Insurance protects your business from financial loss or any liabilities in case a business partner dies.

10.    It can contribute towards maintaining a family’s life style when one contributing partner suddenly dies.

Insurance is vital to good financial planning and security but you would need to assess your personal risk and long term commitments. Insurance stands a person in good stead throughout life and can be used in case of emergencies during a life time by requesting a withdrawal or loan.

10 Auto Insurance Myths You Should Know About

The truth about fallacies of many car owners believing that the insurance premium coverage for their new car is covered, and maybe the truth just might make you change course.
(1) "No-fault insurance means, is it not my fault?" That means that your insurance company pays for your damages regardless of who's at fault. No they don’t!

(2) "Can the color of my car affect my insurance rate?" No!
What do influence your rate are your vehicle's year, make, model, body type, engine size, credit history and driving record.

(3)"If I lend my car to a friend and that friend is in an accident, his or her insurance company will pay for the damages…right?" Wrong!

Your car is your responsibility! And guess what, even though you weren't present at the time of the accident, you still will receive a mark on your insurance record and your insurance premium could possibly go up.

(4) "Is my insurance rate is set by the government?" No!
The government has nothing to do with your car insurance rate. Where you live, your credit score, marital status and your driving record is what actually affects your premium.

(5) "I recently paid my insurance premium. Is my new car I just purchased is covered?"

Not necessarily. Most automobile policies require that the policyholder notify the insurance company or agent within a specified number of days, if indeed coverage is desired for the newly purchased vehicle.

(6) "Is it a fact that male driver under the age of 25 pay more for auto insurance?" Yes! Male driver under 25 years old can potentially pay more for car insurance than female drivers. However, across the board, teenagers and mature adults pay more for auto insurance, due in large part because these age groups are typically involved in more automobile accidents.

(7) "Can my credit score have any affect on my insurance rate?" Your credit score really does matter! Many Insurance companies take your credit score into consideration when deciding to increase or renew your auto insurance coverage.

(8) "Even without comprehensive coverage, am I still covered for theft, windstorms, and hail and deer accidents?" Many drivers believe that if they only purchase collision insurance, which covers accidents involving objects, that they will also be covered for incidents that involve vandalism, hail, animal accidents and fires. That simply is not true. You need to purchase both collision and comprehensive coverage in order to fully protect your vehicle from all of these situations.

(9) "Can my personal auto insurance cover both my personal and business use of my car?"

If you occasionally use your personal car for business purposes such as transporting clients, going to and from meetings or hauling business equipment, then you will more than likely need to extend your personal car insurance to cover your business use as well. Plus, if your employees use their car while working for you, you will want to also obtain a separate non-owned car insurance policy.

(10) "I've never had nor been involved in a car accident, do I still need automobile insurance?" Yes!

Some drivers are lucky enough never to have been or to be involved in an accident. However, if by chance you do have an accident; your risk of losing everything is great. Car insurance is the best protection you can have in the event an automobile accident occurs. It's also a legal issue - you are required, by law, to have some basic form of auto insurance, and failing to do so carries some fairly strict punishments.

8 Ways To Save Money On Your Motorbike Insurance

Motorbike insurance can cost you a lot of your hard earned money each year. In this article you will find out about 8 different ways you can cut the cost of your motorbike insurance. The savings you make may add up to quite a bit of money over the years so it is usually worth the effort involved. So here are the ways to save on your motorbike insurance:

1. Well first of all, for those of you who have not actually bought your motorbike yet, you have an opportunity of getting your motorbike insurance down from the start by getting quotes for several different motorbikes that you are considering in order to find a motorbike with lower insurance costs. This is because motorbike insurance premiums can vary considerably depending on the type and model of bike that you go for. Another benefit of doing your homework before you buy your motorbike is that you avoid buying a motorbike which you later find out you cannot afford the insurance on.

2. When deciding which excess level to go for on your motorbike insurance policy, the best thing to do is to go for as high an excess as you can afford to pay in the event of claim as the higher your excess the less you pay.

3. If the bike you are insuring is an old one or does not have much value, then you can save some money by opting for third party fire and theft insurance cover instead of comprehensive insurance cover.

4. Some insurance companies take into account your credit record when deciding on how much your insurance premium is going to be, so make sure you keep a good credit record which is a good thing to have anyway.

5. It always pays to shop around different insurance companies to find the best deal and also bear in mind you may get a discount for buying online.

6. Avoid adding a young rider to your insurance policy if possible and keep the number of riders on your policy to a minimum, you pay the lowest amount by just having yourself on your insurance policy.

7. You should only have guest passenger liability on your policy if you actually do have guest riders on the back of your bike. If you ride alone always, then you can get your insurance down by not having the guest passenger liability on your insurance. However you must be aware that you must never have a guest rider on the back of your bike in this case as you will not be insured for this.

8. And finally it is a good idea to only make a claim when it is a large claim and try not to make smaller claims as this will keep your future insurance premiums down.

8 Ways To Lower Auto Insurance Rate

Are you looking out for a low cost auto insurance rate without dipping into your coverage? After all low cost auto insurance is fine when it comes to paying, but if you choose a wrong insurance company then the same would turn out to be terrifying. Hence, you need to select the right insurance company that offers the best low auto insurance cost.

Now let us look at 8 ways to lower your insurance cost

1. Deductible Amount

Firstly, analyze the deductible amount as this is the amount to which the insurance policy is directly related. This means the higher the deductible amount, the cheaper the insurance policy. If you are ready to pay a higher amount towards the claim and are confident about your driving skills, then go ahead and increase your deductible amount.

2. Sport Cars and Exotic Cars

Exotic cars and sports cars require higher insurance policy, so shop for a low cost auto insurance policy suitable for your car model.

3. Driving Records

Keep your driving records clean as a clean record may yield a good car insurance policy with better discounts.

4. Anti-Theft Devices

Always install safety and anti-theft devices in your car. If your car were at a less risk then it would be cheaper to insure, as these accessories affect your risk policy. So make sure your car company knows about these installed devices.

5. Read The Fine Print On Your Policy!

Read the policy carefully. When it comes to renewal, read the document well before signing, as you may find some points overlapping with the new ones. Eliminate those that are necessary so that your insurance cost reduces.

6. Get More Than 1 Quote

Shop around for a better quote once your old policy expires. You can also browse the net if you want a wider choice. Car insurance companies can differ by 300%, thus you can save your hard-earned money, if you select the appropriate company.

7. Package With Your Home Insurance

If you bundle your housing insurance policy with your car insurance policy then you may get a larger discount. Therefore, try and club other insurance policies with your auto insurance policy.

8. Mileage Discounts

Drivers whose average drive time is around 40 miles per day generally qualify for low mileage discounts and if the driver does not fall into this category, he or she can avoid using the car for a few days. This idle time can reduce your car’s mileage, to get low mileage discounts.

The most important out of these 8 tips is getting multiple quotes. When you have more than 1 quote you can start comparing and calling each company, then telling them you got a cheaper quote. Ask if they would price match.

If they price match then ring the other company and tell them what you got. See if you can further reduce your insurance rate even more!

It’s a myth that a car insurance policy is very expensive. If you explore all the options well and invest in a smart policy then you can get the best low cost auto insurance. So start your search today!

8 Easy Tips for Cheaper Home Insurance

No one likes paying for home insurance, but it's a necessary evil for most of us. This doesn't mean you have to pay through the nose for it though - try these 8 easy tips for cheaper home insurance and see how much you could reduce your premiums by.

- Shop Around

By comparing prices from several insurance companies, you'll probably be able to reduce your premiums by a substantial amount. This may seem obvious, but research has shown that a surprisingly large proportion of people either just renew their current policy, or get only one or two quotes. Many insurance web sites will automatically compare dozens of policies for you, making this one of the easiest ways to reduce your insurance bill.

- Buy online

If you buy your policy online you can often get a discount of up to 20% on normal prices, because there are less administration costs involved and the savings can be passed on to you.

- Combine your buildings and contents policies

Many insurers will give you a discount if you take out both types of home insurance with them, and this usually works out cheaper than getting the two kinds of policies from different companies.

- Pay upfront

Although most insurers let you pay your premium in monthly instalments, many will charge interest for this. If you can afford to pay a full year's premium in advance, then this will work out cheaper in the long run.

- Don't claim for small amounts

Making many small claims can increase your insurance costs, as your insurer may see you as a greater risk and increase your premiums. You will also lose any no claims discount your policy has. Of course, you're entitled to claim for anything your policy covers, but ask yourself if making a small claim is really worth the hassle and possible future costs.

- Voluntary excess

This is related to the last point. Insurance policies feature something known as 'excess', which basically means that the policy won't pay out on claims below a certain value. On some policies, if you choose to raise your excess to a higher level, then your premiums will be lower.

- Increase your home security

Beefing up your home security with better door locks, window locks, outdoor lighting, and alarm systems can all result in lower premiums. Ask your insurer what you could do to get extra discounts.

- Reduce your cover

Many policies feature benefits that you might not need, such as cover for personal possessions while travelling, or 'free' legal advice. Look through your policy and see what parts of it you really need - by cutting your cover down to size you may be able to reduce your premium.

8 Easy Routes to Cheaper Car Insurance

Car insurance is one of the most expensive costs involved in driving a car, and it's not something you can avoid - a minimum level of insurance is required by law. That doesn't mean you have to blindly pay whatever your insurer quotes though, as there are several simple things you can do to reduce the cost of your premiums.

1) Shop around and buy online: Figures show that many people simply renew their current policies without shopping around. The internet makes it easy to compare prices from different insurers, so why not take advantage of this? Plus, you'll usually get a discount of 10% or more just for buying your policy online.

2) Policy type: do you really need a comprehensive policy with all the extras? Going for a third party fire & theft policy can reduce your premiums hugely, and is definitely worth considering if your car isn't an expensive model.

3) No claims discounts: Nearly all policies feature a discount that increases for every year you don't make a claim. The higher the discount available, the more you could save. Also look at insurers offering a 'no claims bonus for life' feature, where your current discount level can be fixed forever, even if you have to make a claim somewhere down the line.

4) Excess: The excess on a policy is the amount of a claim you have to pay before the insurer pays the rest. Choosing to have a higher than standard excess level will usually mean lower premiums.

5) Security: Fitting your vehicle with an alarm, immobiliser, or other security devices can lead to premium reductions. Parking you car off-road, for example on a driveway or in a garage, will also mean a cheaper policy.

6) Pay annually: Many insurers charge you interest for the privilege of paying in monthly installments. Pay annually if you can afford it to avoid this, or look for one of the companies who don't charge extra for monthly payment.

7) Mileage: The more mileage you run up every year, the more your insurance will cost. Even if you can't reduce your mileage, make sure you're not overestimating how much you actually do drive, and give your insurer an accurate figure.

8) Drivers: The more drivers you have on your policy, the more it will cost. Reduce the number of people insured to drive your car to the minimum possible, and try to get the policy in the name of a driver with the lowest risk profile. For example, if a car is driven by both a man and a woman, insuring it in the woman's name will often result in a cheaper quote.

7 Things You Should Know About Health Savings Account Plans

Health savings accounts (HSAs) are wildly popular.  Since their introduction in 2004, approximately 2.5 million Americans have enrolled in these so-called consumer-driven health plans.  But, alas, HSA plans are not for everyone.
Here are some pointers to help you consider whether an HSA will benefit you and your family.
1. An HSA plan can cut healthcare costs by an average of 40% for many people.
Nevertheless, some people will not realize any net savings. Those most likely to realize significant savings are people who pay all of their own health insurance premiums, such as the self-employed, who are relatively healthy with few medical expenses.
2.  restores freedom of choice.
An HSA plan puts individual consumers back in control of their own health care. This also means that each individual must be more responsible for his or her own health care decisions. This approach of self-reliance is not always popular with or appropriate for everyone, especially those who have become comfortable with HMO-type "co-pay" plans.
3.  reduce income taxes.
Every dollar contributed into your HSA account is deducted from your taxable income in the same manner as contributions into a traditional IRA account--regardless of whether you spend it or just save it.  Interest and investment earnings in a HSA accumulate tax-deferred, just like a traditional IRA. Unlike an IRA, withdrawals are tax-FREE when used to pay qualifying medical expenses.  In many situations, new account holders are able to almost fully fund their HSA with money saved on premiums from a prior, higher priced plan.  By stashing all or most of those savings into an HSA, the account holder realizes instant, additional savings in the form of reduced taxes.
4. You must have a properly qualified high health insurance policy in place first before
you can open a health savings account. One of the biggest misconceptions about HSA plans is that any insurance policy with a high deductible will qualify the policyholder to establish an HSA account. IRS regulations, however, are quite specific.  Not just any policy with a so-called "high deductible" will suffice.  It is important to be certain that you are insured under a properly qualified policy.  Your best bet is to work with a qualified and duly licensed health insurance broker who is experienced in marketing properly qualified HSA plans.
5. You must be insurable in order to qualify for the HSA-qualified health insurance policy.
Because most people do not have a properly qualified high deductible insurance policy, they will need to switch insurance plans in order to become HSA-eligible. Unless coverage is being offered under small group reform laws (generally groups with 2-49 employees), the new high deductible policy will be individually underwritten by an insurance company.  This means that some "pre-existing" conditions may not be fully covered.  Alternatively, some companies may opt to cover certain "pre-existing" conditions in exchange for slightly higher premiums. Unfortunately, some health conditions simply render an individual uninsurable (examples: diabetes, chron's disease, heart attack, etc.).  Underwriting requirements vary by state, which is another reason to rely on an experienced health plan broker.
You should not switch to a HSA plan when the management of existing medical expenses is more important than saving up-front medical insurance premiums. Do not change health plans: in the middle of ongoing medical treatments; after a major health issue has been diagnosed; or if any family member is pregnant.
Generally, it is relatively hassle-free to qualify, i.e. no medical exams, etc. Most insurance companies offering HSA coverage will issue based on your application answers, perhaps accompanied by a follow-up telephone interview. In some cases, medical records may be requested, and companies always reserve the right to order a paramed exam.
6. Although HSA insurance premiums are low, they are not always as low as you might expect.
This happens for one main reason. Simply stated, the underlying insurance policy is just that—a health insurance policy.  Although it has a "high" deductible, as required by law, the insurance company still must compensate for the risk it is assuming over the deductible amount, which it does by charging premiums.  Many companies offer policies with “one deductible” that all family members contribute toward.  With those plans, it is not uncommon for premiums for a 5000 family deductible with 100% coverage after the deductible to be comparable to a 2500 "per person" deductible plan with 80/20 coverage after the deductible.
Lower premiums represent just one element of the lower net cost achieved with an HSA plan.  The low net cost of an HSA plan is achieved after factoring in the benefits of lower taxes, made possible by the tax-deductible contribution to the HSA account. Thus, if obtaining the lowest possible gross premium is your main concern, you may wish to consider a high deductible, non-HSA policy, especially if you do not see the benefit to contributing to a tax-deductible savings account.
7. An HSA offers your best chance to keep a lid on health insurance rate increases.
Make no mistake-you will have rate increases with your HSA insurance policy. Because an HSA qualified policy is still a health insurance policy at heart, there is no logical reason to presuppose that an HSA policy would be immune to rate increases required by an insurer to keep paying claims and stay in business. But what you can expect is that the actual dollar amount of any future rate increases will be substantially lower compared to traditional health insurance plans (regular PPO and HMO plans).  This is true because insurers base increases on percentages, and the same percentage of a lower base premium results in a lower dollar increase. It's not a perfect solution-but it is the most cost-efficient solution for many qualified people.