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.

7 Things To Do Before Buying Travel Insurance

Going back to Roman times, risks have been shared during times of tragedy and unforeseen circumstances, such as earthquakes, floods and the like. The first formal and recorded insurance company, Lloyd's of London, was formed in 1769 and their founding principal remains intact today - to gather the premiums of clients as a pool of resources in order to return to clients who experience unexpected and unforeseen but covered events. So, that is the secret really, plan for the unexpected and unforeseen and make sure you're covered, especially when you're travelling. Whether your trip is a quick one or a round the world cruise, there are many good reasons for travel insurance. Here are just 7 things you should do before you buy your travel insurance:

    Whatever you do, please explore the market and educate yourself with all the terms and terminologies of the travel insurance cover that will help you to avail the best travel insurance.

    Certainly check what is included in your travel insurance policy but most importantly, check what is EXCLUDED from your travel insurance policy.

    Research the area you are going to. What is the weather likely to be like? Is there any danger of hurricanes or tropical storms? Floods? How about Mosquito borne disease? What is the crime rate like? Whatever the perceived dangers your research uncovers then make sure that your travel insurance covers you for that eventuality. It is no good after the event to find out that you are not covered for rabid dog attacks (because there are so many in that particular area).

    Discuss Your Existing Medical Conditions and Requirements - You need to carefully assess your likely medical requirements and make sure that these are declared to the travel insurance company.

    If you intend to drive make sure that you are adequately covered. Many hire companies charge astronomic excesses in case of an accident. Make sure that you insured for that excess (and it will be a lot cheaper than paying the hire company's rates for that same cover).

    Make sure you have the necessary documentation for travel in that country. Take Spain for example which is part of the European community and will offer free health care say to a UK citizen on holiday or living there. There are certain conditions, one of which is that you must have a UK E111 form, if you don't have that, you will not be treated. You must also go to a national health hospital, which are not in abundance in certain areas of Spain.

    If travelling in Europe, it may pay to get a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) as this will remove a lot of worry should you need any emergency treatment.

Okay, so there you have it. 7 things to do before buying travel insurance for the next trip you make. The other alternative of course is to not take out travel insurance, or to stay at home. Now, there's an idea. But seriously, as always when taking out insurance, especially travel insurance, read the fine print first. Importantly, find out before you go what is excluded, not just included. So, always read the fine print. For example, accidental coverage is not provided in case of drunken driving, driving under the influence of narcotic substances etc. Exclusions are also provided for accidents during risky sports like bungee jumping, car racing, (insert for your favourite potentially dangerous sport here), scuba diving, white water rafting, flying (except as passenger in regular airliners), gliding, skiing, bike racing, diving, mountaineering, windsurfing etc. The list goes on. That means in case of accidents in these situations the insurance company is not liable to pay any amount to the insured.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

7 Things Seniors (and Everyone Else) Should Know About FDIC Insurance

Older Americans put their money… and their trust… in FDIC-insured bank accounts because they want peace of mind about the savings they've worked so hard over the years to accumulate. Here are a few things senior citizens should know and remember about FDIC insurance.

1. The basic insurance limit is $100,000 per depositor per insured bank. If you or your family has $100,000 or less in all of your deposit accounts at the same insured bank, you don't need to worry about your insurance coverage. Your funds are fully insured. Your deposits in separately chartered banks are separately insured, even if the banks are affiliated, such as belonging to the same parent company.

2. You may qualify for more than $100,000 in coverage at one insured bank if you own deposit accounts in different ownership categories. There are several different ownership categories, but the most common for consumers are single ownership accounts (for one owner), joint ownership accounts (for two or more people), self-directed retirement accounts (Individual Retirement Accounts and Keogh accounts for which you choose how and where the money is deposited) and revocable trusts (a deposit account saying the funds will pass to one or more named beneficiaries when the owner dies). Deposits in different ownership categories are separately insured. That means one person could have far more than $100,000 of FDIC insurance coverage at the same bank if the funds are in separate ownership categories.

3. A death or divorce in the family can reduce the FDIC insurance coverage. Let's say two people own an account and one dies. The FDIC's rules allow a six-month grace period after a depositor's death to give survivors or estate executors a chance to restructure accounts. But if you fail to act within six months, you run the risk of the accounts going over the $100,000 limit.

Example: A husband and wife have a joint account with a "right of survivorship," a common provision in joint accounts specifying that if one person dies the other will own all the money. The account totals $150,000, which is fully insured because there are two owners (giving them up to $200,000 of coverage). But if one of the two co-owners dies and the surviving spouse doesn't change the account within six months, the $150,000 deposit automatically would be insured to only $100,000 as the surviving spouse's single-ownership account, along with any other accounts in that category at the bank. The result: $50,000 or more would be over the insurance limit and at risk of loss if the bank failed.

Also be aware that the death or divorce of a beneficiary on certain trust accounts can reduce the insurance coverage immediately. There is no six-month grace period in those situations.

4. No depositor has lost a single cent of FDIC-insured funds as a result of a failure. FDIC insurance only comes into play when an FDIC-insured banking institution fails. And fortunately, bank failures are rare nowadays. That's largely because all FDIC-insured banking institutions must meet high standards for financial strength and stability. But if your bank were to fail, FDIC insurance would cover your deposit accounts, dollar for dollar, including principal and accrued interest, up to the insurance limit. If your bank fails and you have deposits above the $100,000 federal insurance limit, you may be able to recover some or, in rare cases, all of your uninsured funds. However, the overwhelming majority of depositors at failed institutions are within the $100,000 insurance limit.

5. The FDIC's deposit insurance guarantee is rock solid. As of mid-year 2005, the FDIC had $48 billion in reserves to protect depositors. Some people say they've been told (usually by marketers of investments that compete with bank deposits) that the FDIC doesn't have the resources to cover depositors' insured funds if an unprecedented number of banks were to fail. That's false information.

6. The FDIC pays depositors promptly after the failure of an insured bank. Most insurance payments are made within a few days, usually by the next business day after the bank is closed. Don't believe the misinformation being spread by some investment sellers who claim that the FDIC takes years to pay insured depositors.

7. You are responsible for knowing your deposit insurance coverage.

Know the rules, protect your money.

7 Good Reasons For Travel Insurance

For thousands of years, risks have been shared during times of tragedy. The first formal insurance company, Lloyd's of London, was formed in 1769 and their principal concept remains today - to gather the premiums of clients as a pool of resources to return to clients who experience unexpected but covered events. So, that is the secret really, plan for the unexpected and make sure you're covered, especially when you're travelling. Whether your trip is a quick one or a round the world cruise, there are many good reasons for travel insurance. Here are just 7:

    Medical Emergencies: If you fall sick or are injured during your travel, your travel insurance will give you financial coverage.

    Flight Cancellations: If your flight is cancelled or delayed then your travel insurance should help. Depending on the cover available, a room for the night and even alternative travel home can be included.

    Pre-existing Medical Conditions: Even if you have a pre-existing medical condition and it flares up while you're on vacation, as long as you've advised your travel insurance company prior, you should be covered.

    Damage or Loss Of Personal property - What are you going to do when your luggage gets stolen? Yes, it happens, all the time. There are organised gangs that work in airports doing just that. Guess what? You need travel insurance.

    Loss of Cash or Traveller's Cheques - You're in a foreign country far from home. You either lose, or have stolen, your entire holiday fund. You're going to need help and quick. Again, travel insurance is a must.

    Emergency Evacuations - What with global warming and economic pressure more and more holiday destinations are being built in potentially dangerous territory. Who would have wanted to be in Thailand on that Boxing Day? Travel insurance will help if you have to get out quick.

    Car Crash - It can be very difficult driving on the wrong side of the road in a strange country. Accidents happen.

Okay, there you have it. 7 good and solid reasons why you need travel insurance the next trip you make. The other alternative of course is to not take out travel insurance, or to stay at home. Now, there's an idea. But seriously, as always when taking out insurance, especially travel insurance, read the fine print. Importantly, find out before you go what is excluded, not just included. So, always read the fine print. For example, accidental coverage is not provided in case of drunken driving, driving under the influence of narcotic substances etc. Exclusions are also provided for accidents during risky sports like bungee jumping, car racing, scuba diving, white water rafting, flying (except as passenger in regular airliners), gliding, skiing, bike racing, diving, mountaineering, windsurfing etc. The list goes on (insert for your favourite potentially dangerous sport here). That means in case of accidents in these situations the insurance company is not liable to pay any amount to the insured.

7 Easy Ways To Slash Your Auto Insurance Costs

Here's 7 easy ways to get the best possible auto insurance deal.

* Multiple Quotes

Get multiple quotes - use the internet and call a few brokers. It's easy to gather some good comparison quotes.

Remember to get different types of quotes e.g one from a direct-sell insurance company; another from an offline broker who keeps a database of quotes; and a couple from the internet.

Cheapest might not mean best. Will they pay out if you make a claim ? How financially secure ? How reputable ? Check around with family and friends, and look for online reviews.

* Different type of car

Insurance costs vary depending on car type. Obviously, that $100k sports model costs more to insure than your average runabout. If you're planning to buy a new car, check insurance costs before you buy. I once set my heart on a beautiful, high performance, highly tuned Pontiac.

Luckily I checked the auto insurance before I bought it, because I couldn't get insurance. Every broker, every insurance company flat turned me down because I lived in a high car-crime area. So I had to forget the car of my dreams until I moved up-town.

* Age and Value of Car

Maybe you're buying a used car ? Maybe your car saw better days a few years ago, and now values much lower ? So why pay for high-priced auto insurance ? In particular, do you still need fully comprehensive coverage ?

A good rule of thumb multiplies insurance premium by 10, and compares that figure with your car value. So if you're quoted $1000 premium and your car is worth less than $10,000 you may want to think if comprehensive represents good value. If you drop collision and/or comprehensive coverage, you should get big savings.

* Higher deductibles (excess charges)

Most auto insurance companies use deductibles to keep policy cost down. Deductibles, or excess charges, show what you pay before your auto insurance policy kicks in. Try requesting quotes with different levels of deductibles, and see how your quotes vary.

Most internet quote forms contain a box where you can specify preferred level of deductibles. Ask your broker his recommended level. For example, going from $250 to $500 deductible can slash your insurance costs by 20% or more. Go to $1000 and you save a lot of money. But you must pay the deductible if you need to make a claim !

* Multiple Insurances

I guess this might come under the 'Get Multiple Quotes' heading, but it's still worth mentioning separately. You usually get an insurance break if you buy multiple policies with the same insurer.

This might mean multiple vehicles, or homeowner and auto insurance. Either way it's worth asking about multi-policy discounts.

* Low Mileage

More and more people work at home. No more commuting. Fewer business trips. Low mileage on your car. Maybe you do travel to work, but car pool ?

Either way, look for low mileage discounts.

* Good Driving Record

A good driving record always reduces your auto insurance costs. Keep a clean drivers license. Don't speed, don't drive dangerously, and you'll save money (apart from other benefits !)

* Bonus Tip

Okay, I said '7 Ways...', but here's some extra tips. Fit anti-theft devices to your car. Go on an advanced driver training course. Use daytime running lights. If you're a college student away from home, consider adding to parents policy.

This short article covers the things you must consider when shopping for auto insurance. Follow these tips and you'll slash your auto insurance costs.

7 Auto Insurance Tips

1> Raising your deductible
Deductible is the amount you pay from your pocket before making an insurance claim. The disadvantage of raising your claim is when you make a claim, you will pay more. However, if you are a safe driver, you will overtime save more money by raising your insurance deductible. Look at your previous insurance claim history and make a discreet decision for yourself.

2> Older Auto - Drop comprehensive / collision coverage.
If your car is not worth much, why pay for comprehensive and collision insurance coverage. You can visit a myriad of online sites to find true worth of your car. Additionally your insurance broker might be able to pull up the true worth of your vehicle.

3> Taking advantage of low mileage
Some auto insurance companies will give discounts if you drive less than a certain number of miles or drive less than a certain distance to work.

4> Moving - Consider insurance costs.
If you are considering moving, it will be a good idea to call your insurance agent and get his opinion on the insurance costs in the new city or state.

5> Low profile vehicle
Your vehicle will also determine your overall insurance costs. Some of the cars are favorite for thieves since they fetch a good price. Some cars are more expensive to repair. It makes a lot of sense to do adequate amount of research before you make your auto purchase.

6> Make sure your vehicle is correctly listed by your insurance agent.
Many manufacturers offer somewhat similar model names for vehicles but insurance costs may vary. Additionally 2 or 4 door or the wrong model can impact your auto insurance quote.

7> Have your insurance broker check other insurance company discounts.
A lot of companies will offer discounts if you and your spouse are insured with the same insurance company. Additionally, if you seek home insurance, life insurance, auto insurance from the same insurance company, you will get some discounts. Check with your insurance agent on saving money.

6 Common Property Insurance Mistakes - You Could Lose Everything

Getting the right property and casualty insurance coverage may not rank high on your list of financial priorities. Compared with investment decisions and estate planning issues, questions about the language in your homeowners policy, say, may seem hardly worth considering. Yet the more successful you become, the more complicated your asset-protection needs are likely to be—and the more you have to lose. Suppose, for example, that in addition to your primary residence—a historic home—you also own a house at the beach and a condo in the city. The properties are in three different states. The value of your collection of Abstract Expressionist paintings has grown rapidly. And you just volunteered to serve on the board of directors of a charitable organization.

Almost every aspect of this situation could cost you dearly. Insurance laws may vary widely from state to state, different kinds of property require specialized coverage, and collections of art, antique cars, and other unique items may be difficult to protect fully. Meanwhile, serving on a nonprofit's board could subject you to additional personal liability.

Safeguarding yourself and your family may mean buying additional coverage, but more insurance isn’t necessarily the solution. Rather, it’s important to review all of your needs, consider specialized policies or policy options, and coordinate your coverage with other aspects of your financial situation. Here are 6 different shortcomings that could prove costly.

1.  Leaving gaps in homeowners coverage. Any homeowner needs to review coverage regularly to keep up with rising replacement costs. But insuring different kinds of homes in different locales poses extra challenges. If you buy insurance from more than one carrier, you may face contrasting rules, limitations, and policy renewal dates. For example, the liability limit on the policy for a second home might fall below the minimum on an excess liability policy designed to complement the insurance on your primary home. You could wind up responsible for the difference.

2.  Ignoring properties unique characteristics. One perk of affluence is the means to own exceptional homes; one drawback is that they may be difficult to insure adequately. Standard homeowners coverage won’t pay for the materials and craftsmanship needed to rebuild that 19th century showplace you’ve painstakingly restored. Coastal homes may face hurricane damage, while a place in the California mountains could be subject to earthquakes or wildfires. Meanwhile, city co-ops or condos may need policies tailored to their buildings or associations coverage.

3.  Under insuring art and collectibles. Standard homeowners policies limit coverage for the losses of antiques, furs, and other valuables. And while you could schedule additional coverage, insuring the real value of a collection of contemporary art or vintage muscle cars likely will require a specialized policy addressing several critical issues. How is the value of the collection determined? (You’ll need a professional appraisal when the policy is designed, with frequent updates as items appreciate.) Will a damaged or destroyed item be paid for with cash, or will you be required to have it replaced or restored? Will additions to your collection automatically be covered?

4.  Forgetting to insure household employees. When someone works for you or your family, as a nanny, landscaper, personal assistant, or in another role, you could be liable for medical expenses and lost wages if the worker is hurt on the job. Several states require household employers to pay into a workers compensation fund, while in other states it’s optional, but providing such insurance may be mandatory for ensuring your financial well being. If an employee drives your car, also make sure he or she is included on your policy.

5.  Neglecting your liability as a board member. Excess liability coverage could help protect you if you’re sued as a director of a nonprofit's board. Or for more comprehensive protection, you may want to consider special directors and officers liability insurance.

6.  Failing to get frequent policy reviews and updates. Your financial life isn’t static, and neither are your insurance needs. The value of a collection may increase; extensive home renovations could mean a sharp rise in the value of your property; and the re titling of assets as part of your estate plan—or because of divorce, a death in the family, or the birth of a child—could necessitate policy changes. Even lacking major events, you probably need a comprehensive review of all your insurance coverage at least every two years.

5 Ways To Choose The Best Travel Insurance For Your Holiday

Travel insurance is one of those areas that mean nothing to you until you decide to hit the road – or the air – then suddenly every ad is for travel insurance and everywhere you look another company is touting for your business. So how do you choose the best insurance company and the best travel insurance for your unique travelling needs?

5 Points To Consider

1.The cost of the policy could be more than what you pay

When reviewing the policy options never start with the price first. As with most things in life you get what you pay for and while you want to be sure to get the best value for your money, this does not necessarily mean the cheapest price. Comprehensive cover that delivers and supports in time of need is what you should be looking for.

2.What back up do you receive in an emergency?

Are you being sent on your world tour with a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday contact number or are you provided with fully comprehensive numbers providing 24/7 contact and support, reverse charge options and 0800 numbers.

3.What is included as standard in your policy

Some companies come in with a low rate and then charge extra for every doorknob eventually leading to over inflated cover. Go through the company’s policy offerings to be sure exactly what you are covered for. The range should be extensive as the company should know and have addressed a range of pitfalls you may not have thought of.

4.Who underwrites and supports the company

Establish who your support company will be should you face a medical emergency or the need for evacuation. Most companies do not handle these highly specialised areas themselves but have aligned themselves with skilled and experienced worldwide organisations to ensure the best possible protection and support for their customers.

5.Does the company cater for varying needs?

Does the company provide a one size fits all policy? Beware, you may be paying for cover you don’t need or be under insured in some critical areas. Look for a company which provides a range of covers including NZ only travel policies, backpacker, group or duo options, long stay, one way or gap insurance and more.

5 Tips to Finding the Right Dental Insurance Company

With so many dental insurance plans to choose from it can be a daunting task to determine which plan is best for your needs or the needs of your employees. And to note, these needs are extremely important, as the dental care should never be overlooked. There are five tips that may help you discover which plan is right for you.

1. Consider Online Comparisons - While a trusted broker can provide you with several options to choose from, an online comparison of companies and dental insurance options can provide a means of insuring the greatest flexibility and price. The available plan types are extremely varied and an online comparison can allow you to see what a plan will and will not be able to do.

2. Price Comparison - It may be easy to make a quick decision based on a simple query, however, if you are working with a broker there may be other options they can present that may decrease the overall cost. Again by using an online comparison, you may be able to view all options and all price ranges. This information can provide information that can help you select a plan that fits your budget.

3. Benefit Comparison - There are several questions that you should consider when purchasing a dental insurance plan. Here are a few samples to consider.

Ÿ    Will I be able to select my own dentist?
Ÿ    Are there select dates and times that a dentist may restrict visits by individuals that are a part of a particular plan?
Ÿ    Do I need insurance with co-pay?

4. Determine Personal Needs and Objectives - No one likes change, but you must ask yourself if certain components in a dental insurance plan are really a need or a want. You should determine what your objective is in obtaining dental insurance. When you understand your motivation and needs you’ll be better able to select a plan.

5. Understanding the Importance of Coverage - Once you understand that a dental insurance plan removes the barrier to oral health and that improved oral health is linked to improved physical health, a dental insurance plan begins to make sense.

Like major medical insurance, dental insurance provides a means of managing the rising cost of dental care. In certain cases premiums for dental insurance is tax deductible.

5 Tips For Cheaper Life Insurance Premiums

1. Consider an income policy instead of a lump sum

Most people know that life cover pays out a lump sum if you die. But far less know that you can buy cover that pays a regular tax free income instead of a lump sum. It’s official name is Family Income Benefit and is often cheaper than the more common Level Term lump sum payout option. So why would an income be better than a lump sum?

Many people who take out a life insurance policy simply want to provide an income for their family to replace the earnings lost if they died prematurely. But many policies are bought with a lump sum benefit requiring the surviving family to find a suitable savings or investment vehicle to generate an ongoing income. In addition, the interest generated from a lump sum is taxable whereas the income from a family income benefit policy is paid tax free.

For many people not used to managing large amounts of money, suddenly having to find the right savings account or investment can prove an additional burden at an already distressing time. This is where Family Income Benefit can offer the best of both worlds.

2. Consider a reducing policy for mortgage life cover

One of the most common reasons for needing life insurance is to protect a mortgage loan. The type of mortgage you have will largely dictate what form of life insurance you need but this is often one of two types of term life insurance.

If you have an interest only mortgage then you will need level cover as the mortgage debt will remain constant unless you increase or reduce the mortgage loan. However, those with a capital and interest mortgage can opt for a decreasing term policy where the cover reduces in line with the reducing mortgage loan. As the cover reduces over time so does the risk to the insurance company making this type of life insurance cheaper than the level term option.

So if you have a capital and interest mortgage with a level term life insurance policy and only need to cover the mortgage amount, you could save money by switching to a reducing policy. The downside to this is that you will lose any surplus cover provided by a level policy as the mortgage loan reduces but the level insurance benefit stays the same.

3. Stop smoking

All insurance is based on risk and so to cut the cost you have to cut the risk. With life insurance, the risk is based upon your chances of dieing whilst the policy is in force. Insurers measure the risk by assessing your health and medical history.

Anything that increases your risk of dieing prematurely will increase your premiums. These risk factors can include your current state of health, family history, hazardous occupation or hobbies but most commonly being a smoker has the greatest impact.

Now, I know you’re not going to stop smoking to save money on your life insurance but its one more reason in a long list to quit. Not only will you save money on the cigarettes but you can also add a saving of around 40% on your life cover premiums too.

4. Shop around

Life insurance is a very competitive market and prices can vary widely depending upon where you look. The easiest way to compare lots of insurers and policies at once is to use one of the many free online comparison websites. The only caveat to this is to be aware that these sites only compare premiums and not cover, so have a firm idea of what type of cover you need first. This will help you to compare like with like and discover the true bargains.

Alternatively, you can use an insurance broker to do the shopping for you and this route can yield some substantial savings if you use a particular type of insurance broker.

5. Use a discount life insurance broker

If you know which type of cover you need and don’t require any advice, a discount online insurance broker can save you hundreds of pounds in lower premiums.

Due to the low costs and large audiences available via the internet, many life insurance brokers have launched websites offering life insurance quotes with major insurers at discounted premium rates. These brokers are able to discount cover from major insurers by rebating much of the commission they receive from these insurers to reduce your premiums.

Savings vary but can mean genuine reductions of between 10% and as much as 40% over the insurance company’s standard premiums. Many sites provide instant online quotes comparing multiple policies from leading insurance companies.

A simple Google search for discount life insurance will provide a list of most brokers or use an insurance directory like UK Insurance Index which also features customer reviews.

5 Tips For Cheaper Home Insurance

Home insurance is a basic term for two different types of insurance policy. Buildings insurance to cover the construction of your property and home contents insurance to protect your valuables and other household objects.

The problem is that not all home insurance policies are created equal making it difficult to compare like with like. The areas and level of cover provided vary from policy to policy along with the premiums. So having a definite idea of what you need to insure and for how much will help minimise the overall time and money spent buying it.

TIP 1: Cut the risk, cut the cost

All insurance policies protect against the risk of financial loss. So to cut the cost, cut the risk to the insurer and you'll get a lower premium. To give you an idea, here’s a quick summary of the most effective tactics...

• Contact your home insurance company or local neighbourhood watch scheme and they will send you a list of steps to make your house more secure and less likely to be targeted by thieves.

• Fit locks to all windows and level 5 (BS3621) mortise deadlocks locks to the doors. Most insurance companies will give you up to 10% off your home contents insurance if you have these kind of locks fitted around your house.

• Having a good alarm fitted by a recognised alarm fitter, which your insurance company can recommend, can give you up to 10% off your policy. Bear in mind that these are expensive alarms which require an annual check up.

• Higher policy excess. You will usually have to pay the first £50 of any insurance claim, but if you're willing to pay more then, your premium will fall now.

• Neighbourhood watch schemes. Some home insurers offer discounts if you live in a neighbourhood watch area; however this is less common.

• No claims bonus. As with your car insurance; a record of no previous claims will reduce your premium. If you need to make a claim, consider whether it may be cheaper to pay for the loss yourself and avoid an increase in premiums.

• Your age. Statistically, the older you are, the less likely you are to make a house insurance claim. So if you're a lower risk this will be reflected in your premiums. Some companies offer extra benefits to those over 50 such as Saga.

• Extra security. Declare any special safety precautions you've made for your valuables such as a home safe.

• Your lifestyle. If you have a dog, are teetotal and don't smoke, be sure to declare this as such factors are used by some insurers to reduce premiums.

• Occasionally applying to your existing insurer as a new customer can reduce your premiums. Many insurers offer discounts to new customers which won't be repeated when you come to renew.

• If you can apply online you will normally get a discount of around 5%.

Before you carry out any security improvements to your home, always check with your home insurance company first. They will confirm which improvements will have the biggest cost cutting impact.

TIP 2: Know what home insurance you need

Working out an accurate figure for the buildings and contents insurance value can be awkward, which is why a lot of homeowners are either under insured or paying for levels of cover they don't really need.

Buildings insurance covers the re-build cost of your property not its market value. The re-build value of your home is the cost of re-building it in the event that it is destroyed by fire or subsidence for example. The re-build value of your home can usually be found on your mortgage agreement, or property deeds. The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) produces a range of detailed information on the cost of rebuilding houses and flats together with a re-building cost calculator.

Alternatively, you can opt for a policy that has an unlimited or high standard buildings sum insured so you don't have to worry about insuring the right amount.

Then there is the home contents insurance which covers almost everything else you would take with you if you moved house. Make a list of the rooms in your house and write down all the items contained in each with there value. Then, total the individual amounts to see what contents insurance protection you need. Remember to value items such as music CD's, videos and clothing as their total cost is often missed or under insured. Whether your wardrobe is full of jeans or designer labels, make sure you include the cost of replacing them.

TIP 3: Look at separate buildings & contents insurance

If you need both buildings and contents insurance, get quotes for separate policies for maximum potential savings. Most insurers do provide them as separate policies and just because one is cheap for buildings cover doesn't mean they are equally competitive to insure the contents. Find the cheapest providers for each component and consider buying each from different insurers.

TIP 4: Shop around for home insurance

Shopping around will yield the biggest savings on home insurance.

Firstly, don't simply opt for the home insurance supplied by your mortgage lender. They can be convenient when your busy sorting your mortgage but they're often over priced and chances are they won't have been compared against other policies on the market.

When shopping for insurance you basically have three options; go direct to the insurer, browse the web or use a broker. If you have the time and commitment you can do all three, but the fastest and most effective route is to log on and use the reach of the internet.

The best insurance websites compare dozens of brokers and home insurance companies in minutes. You only have to fill in one form to get a list of premiums displayed on your screen from major insurers and brokers. However, if you have unusual or very specific requirements the final premium may increase when confirmed direct with your chosen insurer.

TIP 5: Ask for a bargain

Home insurance has a margin of profit built into it which can be negotiated down if you're armed with the right information. Not all insurers will buckle and concede an additional discount but if you don't ask you won't know.

• First, find the cheapest quote after using internet comparison sites and phoning a few brokers.

• Select the cheapest quote and contact your existing insurer first asking them to beat it. If they won't budge contact the second cheapest insurer and do the same.

• If after your best efforts, the insurer won't budge, ask them to throw in some extra cover to sweeten the deal or move on to the next home insurance company and repeat the same steps.

5 Things To Look For When Buying Health Insurance

The comfort and security of knowing you can see a doctor whenever the flu strikes or when you’ve broken your leg on the ski slopes is a privilege that many take for granted. Whether you have to select health insurance through your job or need to choose an independent company, there are plenty of factors that can affect your final decision. Weighing the pros and cons of various options is the best way to choose the health insurance that will accommodate your needs as an individual or family. Below are a few points to consider as you search for the best health insurance plan for you:

Know Your Choices

There are many different kinds of health insurance plans offered to the public. Knowing the various options you may qualify for will help satisfy your needs in the future. There are five type of health plans to consider: traditional indemnity, health maintenance organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Point of Service Plan (POS), and Health Savings Account (HSA). You should familiarize yourself with each option.

Know the Advantages and Disadvantages

Out of the five main types of health insurance plans, each one contains their own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, with a traditional indemnity plan, individuals seeking complete freedom in the medical providers they can select should choose this option. But freedom comes with a price; the insurance plans produce higher rates and costs. This means individuals will face few restrictions, but also have to cope with no financial incentives that lessen patient financial responsibility.

Coverage and Benefits

An important factor to consider when choosing a health insurance plan includes the type of benefits offered and whether or not they will accommodate your needs. Some of the coverage capabilities to ask about include maternity, prescription, childcare, immunizations, emergency visits, and annual checkups.


Seeking information on the premium or employee contribution associated with a particular health insurance plan is important to make an effective decision. The cost you are responsible for will depend on the type of plan you choose; the deductible, coinsurance and co-payment; lifetime maximums, and the limitation of plan benefit coverage.

Are You Considered “Hard to Insure?”

If you are labeled as a “hard to insure” case, you may not find the most cost-efficient or accommodating health coverage. A few things to keep in mind include: avoiding lifetime maximums of less than $500,000, straying from plans that only offer hospital and surgical benefits, seeking out an HMO plan that tend to be the least expensive, and researching health insurance coverage provided by professional organizations, school alumni programs or unions.

5 Things To Look For When Buying Dental Insurance

When it comes to taking care of your teeth, purchasing the proper dental insurance is essential. Dental insurance really comes in handy for those who cannot deal with the increasing costs of seeing a dentist. The decision to select dental insurance that is right for individuals or families (depending on the situation) becomes an important task to conclude.

Whether you are buying dental insurance through your place of business or looking for independent options, it is vital to analyze a variety of plans to ensure you are getting the best deal. Many different factors listed below may come into play when making a final selection.


When selecting dental insurance, it is important to compare yearly maximum coverage on a regular basis. The amount in benefits that a plan will pay in one full year is one of the most important aspects to choosing the best dental insurance plan. Yearly maximums also renew on an automatic basis every year. It is also important to know that anything not used within a year will not roll over into the next. Many dental insurance companies only allow an average yearly max of $1000. 


In the case of independent dental insurance, most plans will only cover your dental services if they are administered from a dentist that is contracted or participating in their network. It is important to find out if you are required to receive your dental work from a participating dentist. Some plans may allow individuals to stay with their current dentists, but checking the policy for these allowances is essential.

Major Coverage

Dental insurance companies separate their dental procedures into three different categories. When comparing plans, you should ask about their policies regarding preventative, major, and restorative work. Varying dental companies will view different dental procedures in many different ways. For example, one dentist may consider root canals and crowns a major procedure while another will not. This is important to know before choosing a dental insurance plan.

Waiting Periods

The length of time that an insurance company will make you wait before you can enjoy coverage is called the waiting period. For example, some plans hold policies that make you wait 12 months or longer before you are covered for a crown.

Cosmetic Dentistry

If you are interested in seeing your dentist for any cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or bleaching, you should know dental insurance companies rarely cover cosmetic dentistry. For the few that do, prepare for high rates.

5 Situations It Would Pay To Have Travel Insurance

No one likes to think about the worst when you’re planning a holiday – that’s for the journey back when you’re thinking about the stack of papers that need dealing with on Monday when you’re back in the office.

Sadly, there are hundreds of things which could go wrong when you’re on your travels around the world. And ‘away from home’ is the last place you want to be when things start to go wrong. Unfamiliar surroundings can make a bad situation considerably worse, but having appropriate global travel insurance can really lighten the load.

“I never thought it would happen to me” is a phrase you hear a lot in my trade – fortunately the types who say it to me are the types who took the smart decision to buy global travel insurance anyway. You can never be too sure, and for that reason here are 5 scenarios when your UK travel insurance company would swoop in to save the day wherever you are in the world:

You have to cancel your vacation for a death in the family

No one can accurately predict when a loved one will pass away, and with holidays booked months in advance, it’s no wonder that the unexpected often occurs and a family is forced to cancel or delay their vacation plans. If you don’t have travel insurance though, the losses will be firmly for you to soak up. With global travel insurance, the provider should reimburse you the costs involved so you can rebook at a more appropriate juncture.

Your daughter is hospitalized after a nasty fall abroad

A child playing in unfamiliar surroundings is often a recipe for trouble. If your daughter were to fall and break bones while on your holiday, a timely and expensive visit to the local hospital will be on the cards. While everyone would be happy to pay for their daughter’s recovery, it is always easier if your UK travel insurance company is on hand to foot the bill – leaving you with more cash to sightsee when your daughter is able.

Your holiday apartment is broken into and your valuables are stolen

There’s no disguising the fact that affluent holiday makers are an obvious target for crime, and holiday apartments often contain rich pickings for burglars. If your possessions are stolen while you’re out enjoying the sunshine then it can ruin a holiday – fortunately, appropriate travel insurance can save the day by replacing or reimbursing you for the items stolen.

You injure a complete stranger by accident

Suppose you’re minding your own business by your hotel’s swimming pool, when you bump into someone, causing them to slip and break their arm. Without travel insurance, you could be held liable to pay damages including their hospital fees. With travel insurance, your personal liability cover will pay for their medical expenses.

Your business’ future is in jeopardy after you fall ill

Picture the scene: You’re representing the company on some urgent business abroad, and suddenly you fall terribly ill. The company’s future is at stake! Fortunately, your travel insurance company can save the day by paying for an early return home for you, with a business associate taking your place. They’ll pay the travel and accommodation expenses, to boot.

Sure, I understand that the majority of people have a wonderful time on their holidays and don’t encounter any of these problems – I mean they’re not the kind of thing that happens to you everyday. But they do happen – I’ve seen the claims to prove it! And those are just the stories from the people who have bought global travel insurance: I can’t prove it, but I suspect the number of people who wish they had bought travel insurance for the peace of mind it offers must be a significant figure.

5 Quickest ways to lower your Life Insurance Premium

Worried about the spiraling life insurance premium? We have enlisted 5 quickest ways to lower your life insurance premium. Well, keep these points in mind but do tread with caution and act prudently.

Shop around and Bargain
Shop, Compare and Bargain! Well, the oldest principle, old as dirt, but still going strong. Once decided on your coverage, don’t just sign up for the first plan that crosses your eye. Ensure that you shop around (internet is a great place to start) and get a feel of the market. This would help you to bargain hard and get the greatest coverage at the lowest possible price.

Opt for Term Life Insurance – The quickest way to lower your life insurance premium is to opt for Term Life Insurance policy instead of a whole-life policy. The idea is to keep insurance as what it is and not turn it into an investment product. Thus, you can get yourself insured under term life policy at the fraction of the cost of a whole-life scheme with typically the same coverage amount. However, do not forget that Term Life Insurance covers you only for a pre-defined period of time.

Keep yourself Fit – Be a low risk proposition for your insurance provider by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping yourself away from addictions such as smoking, drugs and alcohol. A good health record will result in considerable reduction in your life insurance premiums.

Consult an Insurance Advisor - To reduce your life insurance premium, the easiest thing you can do is to consult a good Insurance Advisor. Since the advisor will be pro in the insurance marketplace, he/she would be able to get you to the most affordable deal in line with your coverage requirements. Essentially a good insurance advisor would compare different market rates for you and would also negotiate the best rates on your behalf. Well, internet is a great place to identify an agent.

Start at a young age!
Insure yourself at a young age. Life insurance premium at a young age is only a fraction of what it could be when you are well into your middle-age. The premise is young and healthy people are the lowest risk segment. The low mortality risk is a great incentive for insurance companies to insure you at lower premiums.

5 Quickest ways to lower Your Health Insurance Premium

It is an old saying — “Health is Wealth.” The most important step to maintain this wealth is to get a health insurance policy for you as well as your family. But, sometimes the premiums of such policies can leave you in and out of the budget situation. Can you really do something to bring down your premium? Read on to learn about the 5 quickest ways to lower your health insurance premium.

1.    Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Living a healthy life has many benefits. Your healthy lifestyle can easily help you in bringing down the health insurance premium. Exercise regularly, eat healthy diet, avoid smoking and heavy drinking — and your visits to the doctor will surely be minimized. The healthier you are, the lesser you are represented as a risk for the insurance company.

2.    Shop for the best available price

One of the best options to keep your premium lowest is to go out and shop around for the health care policy. This will ensure that you find the best available policy that fits in your budget. Do a thorough research before investing in any policy. You can get information from your friends and relatives or even Internet.

3.    Take up plans with higher deductibles

Insurance plans with higher deductibles tend to have lower premiums. Typically, deductible is the amount you are expected to pay toward hospital, doctor, and other medical bills. Taking up a plan with a higher deductible may not be a universally applicable idea. If you’re generally healthy and do not fall ill very frequently, then you can take up this plan. This way you can keep your premium at a lower rate and avail basic health care facilities as well. But, if you have a history of some major consistent illness, avoid taking this plan.

4.    Take up a policy early in your life

The premium varies to a great extent with the age of the person. Try and get a policy as early in your life as you can. For example, if you buy a policy at the age of 25, then you’ll have to pay lesser premium but, if you go for the same policy at the age of 50 you’ll end up paying a raised premium amount.

5.    Get in touch with independent insurance agents

You can take help from independent insurance agents. These agents represent several insurance agencies and can guide you to pick the right kind of health insurance policy and then plan your premiums at an affordable rate. Since independent agents will compete to get the business – so you’ll get serious offers quickly.

5 Quickest ways to lower your Auto Insurance Premium

Are you looking for ways to lower your Auto Insurance Premium? Auto insurance rates can spiral depending upon factors that include your age, past driving record, and other factors such as credit history. However, the trick is to find ways to lower the annual pay-off. We have pulled up for you the 5 quickest ways to lower your Auto Insurance Premium.

Tip 1: Hike up your deductible

Stop trying to get the ‘lowest deductible’, instead go in for a comfortably higher out of pocket payment plan. ‘Deductible’ is the amount that you would pay before your insurance policy kicks in. This is an easy way to reduce your periodic premium amount, however, be warned, in such a case, if something happens to your vehicle - you need to shell out more to cover the initial expenses, prior to going in for a claim.

Tip 2: Park your vehicle in a garage

One of the simplest ways to cut down on insurance premium is to park your vehicle in a garage, personal or commercial establishments. This helps in knocking off, in some cases, close to 20% of the premium. In a garage, the chances of your vehicle getting stolen or sideswiped are considerably lower. From a transaction perspective, parking in a garage could mean a difference between a preferred rate and a standard rate.

Tip 3: Shop around and bargain 

Nothing beats the traditional ‘shop around to bargain’. Make sure you at least have three to four price quotes with you, prior to fixing on the service provider. Ensure that you are not shopping for price alone, but the whole deal.

Tip 4: Take a Defensive Driving Course

Not many people are aware of this. By volunteering for a state-approved defensive driving course, you can avail discounts in premium of up to 10%. However, do cross check with your insurer on this.

Tip 5: Downsizing Coverage

Well, downsizing coverage is perhaps the easiest way to lower your auto insurance premium. However, we suggest you to be careful and prudent, while taking this decision. This might save money, but, would also limit coverage.

5 Easy Steps To Lower Your Auto Insurance Quote

It was not too long ago when contracts were made on a handshake and a promise.  Individuals were not particularly concerned with things like insurance because they relied upon the goodwill of their neighbor to compensate them for wrongful damage.  For a variety of reasons, including an increase in the speed and cost of auto wrecks, auto insurance soon became an important purchase for responsible individuals.  Not long after, the federal government mandated that auto insurance be carried, at least minimally, by all car owners. The increase in the need for auto insurance over the last 10 years has led to increases in the complexity of insurance, while at the same time, amplifying the need to be more cost conscious in auto insurance purchases.

Buying auto insurance today requires as much dexterity as buying the automobile itself. It is important to know the factors that an auto insurance company considers when offering quotes. This will allow you, as the consumer, to know what steps you need to take in order to qualify for a lower quote. The five easy steps to a lower insurance quote are:

1.     Portray yourself as a ‘safe’ candidate: Insurance companies are interested in managing risk.  Consequently they offer drivers who are less likely to get into wrecks or at a minimum into wrecks of less severity, a lower insurance quote.

-Maintain a clean driving record, free of traffic violations or accident claims.

-Install anti-theft devices in your vehicle.

-Attend a Drivers Safety Training program.

-Buy a ‘safe’ vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety together collect information on safety related aspects of different vehicles. Buy an automobile that is officially designated as ‘safe’.

-Park your vehicle in a garage.

2.     Show your Credit worthiness: As a risk management entity, insurance companies are also worried about getting paid on time.  If you can show yourself to be credit worthy, there is less risk of you not making your payments on time, thus warranting a lower rate.

-Maintain a good credit score and clear up any errors on your credit.

-Cut down on the total number of outstanding credit cards to 2 or 3.

3. Practice Financial Wisdom: The way in which you structure and pay for your policy can lower the risk that an insurance company faces with respect to you as a customer.  By taking steps to lower their risk, you receive a lower insurance quote and policy.

-Buy an annual policy instead of a six monthly coverage to get you a lower rate that remains the same for a year.

-Opt for automatic payment deductions from your bank account or your credit card to avoid getting charged for mail payments.

-Increase your deductibles on comprehensive and collision policies to reduce on the rates.

-Get loyalty discounts by buying your home and auto insurance from the same company.

4. Assess your Insurance Needs accurately: This is obvious, the more coverage you get the more it will cost you.  Add-ons are killers in the insurance business, strip your policy down to just the minimum of what you need.

-If your vehicle is not used much or you have an old car with little market value, opt for minimum liability alone. It will cost you less.

-After fulfilling the legal mandate on auto insurance, insure according to your needs alone.

5.     Other wise things that you can do: There are a number of other considerations that go into your insurance quote.  Some of them are not reasonable steps to take, while others you can do with little effort which can translate into substantial savings.

-If your car is used only for a particular purpose, make your agent aware of it, as this will limit the cost.

-Students that make good grades are often eligible for a discount.

-Give up smoking; it can help you get better quotes.

-Change your occupation if you can help. A delivery boy carries a higher risk than a storekeeper.

5 Basic Facts About Health Insurance Policies In A Bad Economy


Many health insurance plans have specific exclusions that eliminate your benefits for anything that could have been covered under Workers Compensation or similar laws. Now read that last sentence again.


That is correct. Most self employed people and even some small business owners do not carry Workers Comp on themselves.

There are designed insurance plans that will cover you on and off the job — 24-hours a day, if you are not required by law to have Workers Compensation coverage.


Independent contractors (1099's), home based business owners, professionals and other self employed people generally are not taking advantages of the tax laws available to them.

Many people who are paying 100% of their own costs are eligible to deduct their monthly insurance payments. Just that alone can reduce your net out-of-pocket costs of a proper plan by as much as 40%. Ask your accounting professional if you are eligible and/or check out the IRS website for more information.

All true insurance plans use some form of internal controls to determine how much they will pay out for a particular procedure or service. There are two basic methods.

-Scheduled Benefits

Many plans, some of which are specifically marketed to self employed and independent people, have a clear schedule of what they will pay per doctor office visit, hospital stay, or even limits on what they will pay for testing per 24-hr. period. This structure is usually associated with "Indemnity Plans". If you are presented with one of these plans, be sure to see the schedule of benefits, in writing. It is important that you understand these type of limits up front because once you reach them the company will not pay anything over that amount.

-Usual and Customary

"Usual and Customary" refers to the rate of pay out for a doctor office visit, procedure or hospital stay that is based on what the majority of physicians and facilities charge for that particular service in that particular geographical or comparable area. "Usual and Customary" charges represent the highest level of coverage on most major medical plans.


If you are reading this you, are probably shopping for a health plan. Every day people shop, for everything from groceries to a new home. During the shopping process, generally, the value, price, personal needs and general marketplace gets evaluated by the buyer. With this in mind, it is very disconcerting that most people never ask what a test, procedure or even doctor visit will cost. In this ever-changing health insurance market, it will become increasingly important for these questions to be asked of our medical professionals. Asking price will help you get the most out of your plan and reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.


Almost all insurance plans and benefit programs work with medical networks to access discounted rates. In broad strokes, networks consist of medical professionals and facilities who agree, by contract, to charge discounted rates for services rendered. In many cases the network is one of the defining attributes of your program. Discounts can vary from 10% to 60% or more. Medical network discounts vary, but to ensure you minimize your out-of-pocket expenses, it is imperative that you preview the network's list of physicians and facilities before committing. This is not only to ensure that your local doctors and hospitals are in the network, but also to see what your options would be if you were to need a specialist.

Ask your agent what network you are in, ask if it is local or national and then determine if it meets your own individual needs.

4 Things To Remember When Renewing Your Home Contents And Home Buildings Insurance

Each year when our renewal notices come through the post for our home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance, most of us automatically sign the form and send it back to the insurance company – after all, we already know how much the premiums are going to be.  Big financial mistake, and here are 4 reasons why:

Did You Buy Anything New In The Last Year?

If you bought anything new in the last year, say a new television or video recorder, then the value of this new purchase will not be included in the renewal notice you just sent off to the insurance company.  Likewise, if you sold anything of value over the last year, and have not informed the insurance company, then you are paying home contents insurance for something you no longer own.  Either way, your not paying the right amount of insurance premiums.

Did The Costs Stay Static?

If you have home contents insurance then you are insuring your personal property for the replacement cost of buying the same thing new.  On the other hand, part of your home buildings insurance should cover the cost of labour and materials.  Now ask yourself, would the cost of replacing the picture hanging in your living room be the same today as it was last year?  If the answer is that it would cost you more, tough luck, you’ll only get paid out what you said the cost of replacing it would be!  The same can be said of your friendly builder, would he charge you the same for an hour of his time and for his materials today as he would have done last year?  If the answer here is no, then you should be expecting to pay him the difference.

Did The Value Of Your Home Stay The Same?

Similar to the above, with your home buildings insurance you need to be asking yourself whether or not the value of your home stayed the same this year as it was last year?  You need to be asking yourself this question even if you didn’t do any work to the house – such as building an extension – that would naturally automatically add value to your home.

Is Your House Any Safer Today?

Here the question is, have you done anything to your house over the last year that would mean your home would be considered safer today than last year?  For example, did you add any deadlocks to your doors or windows?  If so, then there’s a very good chance your home contents insurance premium would be reduced, as the security in your house is a major consideration in assessing your premium (along with the crime rate in your neighbourhood, so you may also want to check and see if this has gone up or down also).

Keep in mind that time stands still for no man.  As such, you need to read your home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance renewal notices very carefully to make sure that they reflect, as accurately as possible, your life today and not your life of yester-year.

3 Ways Your Life Insurance Company Is Scamming You

Although it makes sense to get in touch with a life insurance company to cover your dependents in the eventuality of your untimely death, there are integrity issues surrounding the insurance companies and agents. Broadly there can be 3 ways your life insurance company is scamming you. We have enlisted them for your benefit.

Selling Coverage that you don’t need!
The insurance companies thrive on the fact that most people don’t understand their life insurance needs. With standard products, they try to sell you coverage that you might not need, but, which are lucrative for them. The insurance agents expedite the process so that you skip the fine print and sign up for a coverage that is ill-suited to your needs. The trick is to play on your fear factor and sell you heavy insurance, even if you don’t have dependents.

Coaxing you to pay ‘Cash’
We strongly suggest, do not pay your premium through cash to an agent. Further, do ensure that you get a receipt for the payment. There are numerous fraudulent entities posing as genuine insurance agencies that extract hard cash from you in lieu of insurance premium. They ask you to sign at blank spaces in a form, assuring you that it is just a formality. Once you have fallen for their trick, you are left without an insurance coverage. The worst part is that most victims only come to know of this scam, when they have met with some mishap and there is not insurance to cover them.

Luring you with benefits!
Insurance agencies and agents have a way of promising you unbelievable benefits out a life insurance policy. Life insurance agents might offer you plans, with a guarantee that the policy would run premium-free for a specific period. Some agents play it smart and offer you great discounts for signing you up for a new policy, while replacing an old policy. The trick is that the old coverage gets terminated and new coverage does not get initiated due to the cumbersome procedural bottlenecks. Thus, exposing you to risk without cover.

3 Ways Your Health Insurance Company Is Scamming You

The growing number of consumers taking up health insurance plans has led to the mushrooming of scam health insurance providers. These providers often target new retirees and the elderly individuals and small-business owners, who can't negotiate better rates with legitimate insurers. Be very cautious before you invest in any health policy. Read on to get an idea about 3 ways in which your health insurance company can scam you.

1.    Failure to pay claims

Usually fraud health insurance agents sign up a huge number of people quickly by offering them lucrative deals. These insurance providers keep paying small premium amounts and medical claims, but if there is a substantial claim amount or regulators catch them, these illegal companies vanish as if they never existed.

So, just beware if you are getting delayed payments or your service provider is offering fake excuses for the failure to make the payments. If you have signed up for these illegal plans, you may be liable for the medical bills of your employees as well.

2.    Non-licensed health plans

If the company from which you have bought your health care policy is not licensed by State Insurance Commissioner, you can be in trouble. If all the protections of insurance regulation do not apply on your service provider, then the company may be phony. In this case your service provider is scamming you by selling non-licensed health plans.

Insurance agents are not allowed to sell any legitimate ERISA or union plan as federal law governs them. So, if your insurance agent tries to dupe you by selling an “ERISA” or “union” plan, report them to your state insurance department.

3.    Unusual coverage offered at lower rates

If you are offered an unusual coverage irrespective of your health condition and that too at lower rate and much more benefits in comparison to other insurers, its time for you too hit the panic button. Do not get fooled by the lucrative offer, else you can be taken for a ride. The ‘scamsters’ aim to collect huge amounts as early as possible so, they try to sell maximum number of policies at attractive prices.

3 Warnings Before Switching Auto Insurance Companies

We've all been bombarded with ads, emails, commercials, and billboards saying how much we can save on our auto insurance by switching to another company. It's a competitive industry. Just  because another company is offering a better rate doesn't mean you should rush to call and cancel your insurance and switch. There are a few things you need to make sure of before you do.

Here are a few things to watch out for before you switch your auto insurance to another company.

If you've been with one company for many years and they offer a credit that waives the first accident you have, you may want to stay or see if the other company can match it. Sometimes this is referred to as good driver discount or a longevity discount or accident forgiveness. The company rewards you for your loyalty by waiving the first accident you have.

This discount can be pretty significant. Since most accidents can raise your rate by 40% for 3 years the potential savings could be several hundreds of dollars over that 3 year period. But when you switch companies, you lose this credit you've built up. If you have an accident with that new company how much are you going to regret not having that accident forgiveness by seeing your rates jacked up by 40%?

Another thing to be mindful of is to make sure the company you are switching to is not offering you just a teaser rate for the first 6 months to get your business and then bump you up 6 months later once they've got you on their books. Since auto insurance is a profitable industry, companies may offer you a low ball rate to get you to switch and then once they've got you increase your rates at the renewal. If the rate the new company quotes seems too goo to be true do more research. Check out insurance forums or search Google for "XYZ insurance + Reviews."

Watch out for hidden fees. This is one that can surprise you. Some companies charge you for making monthly payments - usually $3-$5 a month. Over the course of a year that comes out to $36-$60. That one fee can take a big bite out of your potential savings so make sure you factor that into the rates you are comparing. Make sure you are really saving money when you switch.

Two other things to keep in mind when shopping around for auto insurance are the new company's website and hours of operation. Make sure their hours work with your hours. If they are only open from 8-5 and you work 8-5, when are you going to be able to call them if you have a question or need to make a claim? If you do all your business online you want to make sure the company you are looking at has a capable website that can help you 24 hours a day.

You can save money by shopping your auto insurance around. Just be sure to keep in mind the things I've mentioned to make sure the deal you're looking at is really a great deal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

about motorcycle insurance

If you look at the police records of road accidents, you will clearly notice that motorcycle accidents dominate them all. This is not a story as it tells a very significant fact. The motorcycles are the most favorite vehicles of the people of younger generation. These people are less skilled as well as they also lack in driving experience. The fun-loving attitude of these young men and women make them drive in a faster speed than what they can manage. Keeping all these things in mind, it can be said that these motorcycle riders need to provide the coverage of motorcycle insurance plans for their motorcycles.

A motorcycle insurance plan is also legalized by the law of every country. Today, you cannot ride a motorcycle unless and until you have purchased motorcycle insurance for your motorbike. This bike insurance policy can be purchased from any insurance company easily. These companies own many insurance plans that they specially design to meet the increasing requirements of motorcycle insurance. As the owner of your motorcycle, you need to understand the different aspects of these policies and then decide which plan you would like to insure your bike with.

You must know that these insurance plans are meant for the safety and security for you as well as for your bike. According to the different aspects of these motorcycle insurance plans, you can claim the sum assured if your motorcycle meets with an accident and has net some severe damages. You can also expect some compensation, if your motorcycle meets a theft. Now that you have got a new bike, you should seriously think about insuring your motorcycle with a proper insurance plan. You must remember that there are many insurance plans available with the insurance companies, and you must understand them well before you finalize the one that you think is perfect for you as well as your bike.

You need to contact the insurance company first. However, if you wish to get the services of these motorcycle insurance companies online, then you can easily do it as most of these companies are available on the Internet as well. It is better for you as well, because here you can get a chance to read the policy plans of different companies. This can help you to compare them to find the best one that suits your requirements most