Tips to Reduce Your Car Insurance Bill

Everyone is trying to spend less money these days, and one way to do so is to reduce your car insurance bill each month. This is one recurring bill that many people think just can’t be reduced, but that’s really not the case. In many cases, you can get a quick rate quote and find lower insurance rates.

Some things on this list can be accomplished over time, while others can be done right now. Get in touch with your insurance agent to see how you, personally, can save money.

Here are five tips that will help you reduce your car insurance bill.

1.  Get multiple quotes

Who says you have to stay with the same insurance company forever? Like you would with anything else you buy, shop around to find the best price. Some insurance companies offer the ability to get a quote over the Internet, thought that may not always be the best way to go.

Consider calling three or four agents and asking them to quote from all the companies whose insurance they offer. To make sure you’re being quoted the same thing each time, you’ll want to write down your current deductibles and other coverage information, and then ask each agent to quote based on that information to you can ensure your new policy with have the insurance coverage you need. You will be surprised to find out how much insurance rates can vary among insurance providers!

2.  Stack insurance policies

Some insurance companies offer discounts when you have multiple policies. For example, you may receive a discount if you have your homeowners, health, life, and auto policies with the same company. Be sure to ask for discounted rates for multiple policies, as well as separate ones. While it’s usually the case, a stacked policy might not always be the best way to go.

3.  Good driver discount

Almost every insurance company offers a good driver discount. They may be different in some ways, but in general they’re about the same. Some companies may offer a monthly or annual discount for those who haven’t gotten any tickets or had any accidents, while others may offer refunds based on your driving record.

4.  Take a defensive driving course

You’ll find that some insurance companies offer discounts to those who have taken defensive driving courses. You may think this is only for student drivers, but that’s not always the case. Ask your agent if this is something they offer to drivers of you age.

5.  Ask your agent

There are many other tips that will help you reduce your car insurance. These are often available through your agent. Some examples may be the kind of car you drive, security options available for your car, defensive driving or other driving courses, and more. So it’s a good idea to check with your agent to see what you can do to reduce your bill.

Car insurance is something every driver is supposed to carry by law. In some states you can’t get license plates without proof of insurance. But just because it’s a law doesn’t mean you will always receive the best price possible. Be sure to find out if you qualify for any discounts so you’ll be able to reduce your auto insurance bill.

We all want as much money in our pockets as we can have, and businesses are no different. When you’re trying to reduce your expenses each month, consider taking steps to reduce your car insurance. Ask your agent to review your policy to see if you’re receiving the best price. Also consider checking around and asking for quotes from other companies.

photo credit: perthhdproductions


Avoid These Mistakes When Buying Life Insurance

Life insurance policies can be essential to you and your family in the event of a catastrophic event. It can be extremely difficult to choose the right policy or select the correct amount of coverage for your family. However, if you follow these guidelines to avoiding ten simple mistakes people make when buying life insurance policies, you will find that it is not so difficult to purchase a good life insurance policy.

Do not assume that the primary breadwinner is the only one with value.

Many people pick their insurance policy coverage based on what will replace the primary income, especially if one spouse does not work. However, it can be difficult to place a monetary or budgetary value on what a non-working spouse does for the household. This includes general household upkeep, organization, domestic tasks, and childcare. It is generally estimated that if you factor all of these things in an additional $100,000 a year minimum is needed to replace that spouse’s contributions.

Do not rely strictly on employer coverage.

“Benefits” can go a long way, particularly for medical coverage. However, life insurance policies offered through your employer are rarely personalized, and are therefore less effective than going through an agent and shopping for your own policy. Employer coverage will only cover you, if that. If you have a family or additional expenses, such as debt or a mortgage, you may want to shop around for supplemental insurance or third party term life insurance policies.

Do not think that families are the only ones who need insurance.

Many young adults and singles fall into the assumption that if one does not have children; one does not need to think about life insurance. This simply is not true. If you have debt, such as a mortgage, think about life insurance to tie up any loose ends you may leave behind. Also, if you have elderly parents or siblings you are close to, or a charity organization you would like to leave a legacy to, consider a life insurance policy. The fact of the matter is cheap life insurance is easily attainable.

Do not assume that price is the only way to shop for the best deal on life insurance.

Just because your life insurance is cheap doesn’t mean it’s the best deal. When you are shopping for insurance, you need to take into account what you would like to wrap up, provide for, or pay off. You also need to consider what health problems run in your family that may come up as potential issues. Find a life insurance policy that fits your needs well, rather than simply being the cheapest life insurance policy you can find.

Do not let your life insurance policy lapse.

When you get a new life insurance policy, you will generally have to undergo a physical. Things that tend to crop up as you age, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, can negatively affect your rate. Even if you do have a good rate now, should you let your policy lapse you may have to submit to a new physical exam, which could increase your rate. Letting your life insurance policy lapse could cost you hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars over the years, so you definitely want to avoid this.

These are just sample of the life insurance buying mistakes you should avoid in the process. Buying life insurance shouldn’t be that difficult, but as you can see there are important things to consider.


How To Get Life Insurance With No Medical Exam

Virtually everyone needs a life insurance policy. There are many resources for finding quality life insurance but many of the insurance agencies writing policies for life insurance coverage require a complete medical exam before coverage can be granted. For some, a medical exam would prevent a person from getting a good rate on an insurance policy. For others, they would not be eligible for insurance coverage due to medical issues. That is where no medical exam life insurance policies can be a good option.

Finding No Medical Exam Life Insurance Policies

There are many insurance companies that advertise no medical exam life insurance, including many online companies. Their websites proclaim coverage without exam and advertise that all consumers have to do is answer a ‘few simple questions.’

While it is possible to find good deals on life insurance without a medical exam, some of the insurance companies offering no medical exam life insurance coverage are more expensive than their counterparts. The reason is because the insurance company has to rely on the individual’s answers about their medical history, current conditions, and other health aspects. For the insurance carrier, their risks are much higher.

Many ‘no exam’ coverage companies offer insurance policies with low monthly premium rates, such as $1 for the first month and premiums based on the age of the applicant. Coverage ranges from $5,000 to $50,000 or higher. The more insurance coverage, the higher the premiums will be.

What to Look For When Shopping for Quotes

A person of a younger age without pre-existing medical conditions and a good health history can get life insurance policies without a medical exam relatively inexpensively. Anyone else may want to consider using this type of insurance as supplemental coverage to another life insurance policy. If you choose not to get a medical exam, you can find a policy to meet your needs but you will pay more out of pocket for the policy coverage.

Consumers need to be wary of signing up for any insurance company that will accept their application for coverage. It is important to compare all costs, coverage, and terms with each individual company and insurance plan before making a decision. Only you can determine what type of coverage you need and what rates you can afford to pay.

When you have narrowed down a few companies and are ready to request quotes, make sure you check up on each company you have selected. Check their standings with the Better Business Bureau and also ensure the company or agent is a licensed insurance provider.

You also need to make sure you are totally upfront and honest when answering questions if you want an accurate life insurance quote. Any fraudulent information or misleading data can result in the total cancellation of your coverage, making it potentially harder for you to get other insurance in the future.

It’s Up to You

The medical exam required by insurance carriers is relatively simple and can be done at your own home by a contractor of the insurance carrier. The exam will help to ensure the underwriter you are in good physical health. There will be questions to be answered about your medical history and a brief physical exam will be conducted at that time. After the exam is complete, the report will be sent to the insurance carrier to make a coverage determination.

If you are in good health, you may want to consider going through the required medical exam if rates are your primary concern. No medical exam life insurance coverage may cost you more in the long-run and may not provide the adequate coverage you desire.


Who Needs Life Insurance?

Do you need life insurance if you don’t have dependents?

This seems like easy questions to  answer, but each situation is actually specific to the person asking it. The first thing we need to do is explain that life insurance exists for the benefit of your survivors. Does that mean you shouldn’t buy life insurance if you are single, healthy, and don’t have anyone who relies on your income? Not exactly. Let’s first explain the two most common types of life insurance (term and whole life), then explain who they are best for. Then we can walk through some situations and explain who needs life insurance, and why.

Term and Whole Life Insurance – Who Benefits?

The two most common types of life insurance are term and whole life insurance. Term life is generally less expensive per month, and last for a set duration of time – often good for 10, 20, and 30 year policies. During this time, your premiums will never increase. At the end of the policy, you can often renew it, though probably for higher rates, since you will be older at the end of the next term. Whole life insurance is a lifetime policy, but it usually comes with more expensive monthly premiums.

First, let’s simplify this discussion and eliminate whole life insurance from the options. For most people without financial dependents, term life insurance is going to be the best option. Whole life insurance may be a good option for people with complex estate plans or who want to establish a trust with their life insurance policy, but if you don’t have dependents, you probably don’t have those issues. The second thing to remember is that life insurance is there to protect a source of income, not act as an investment. According to this article on HuffingtonPost, Life Insurance 101, you should keep your insurance and investments separate.

Now that we are on the same page, let’s look deeper at this topic.

Who needs life insurance

Buying a term life insurance policy when you are young may be a good idea. The benefits to buying a term life policy when you are young is that you can usually lock in lower rates because life insurance rates take many factors into consideration, including age, health, etc. Buying life insurance, as well as disability or long term care insurance, while you are young means you are probably the healthiest you will be in the next 30 years. And the best, and least expensive time to buy insurance is when you aren’t as likely to need it right away.

You should buy life insurance when:

  • People rely on your income (spouse, children, parents, other dependents, etc.)
  • You have debt (mortgage, business loan, consumer loans, etc.)
  • Your estate is complex
  • You are a business owner with a partner or other vested parties
  • Any of these items may apply to you in the future

Who can skip life insurance

Life insurance is actually good for virtually everyone, even if they don’t meet the criteria listed above. Even if no one is relying on your income now and you don’t have any dependents, that could change in the future. You could, for example, get married and have children, have to offer financial assistance to your parents, or open a joint business venture.

One of the main benefits of buying life insurance now is that you are buying into a life insurance policy while you are young, healthy, and able to do so. Locking into a policy now ensures you are insurable and that you have a policy should you need one in the future. It is possible to become ill or have some other health problem that makes you uninsurable, or causes your premiums to be prohibitively expensive. I know you think it might not happen to you, but don’t take my word for it. The folks at GenWorth have put together these life insurance stats to help you get a better idea of why you need life insurance.

So the answer to who can skip life insurance is anyone who wants to gamble on their family’s financial future.


What to Look For In a Long-Term Care Policy: A Checklist

If you’re considering long-term care insurance, then it’s a good idea to get a sense of the landscape before buying a policy becomes a necessity. Policies vary based on location (state), facility and age. Nursing home costs will be different from in-home costs. And as your needs will vary, you should understand the implications of all options. If location is important to you and your family then, there are certain things that you should consider now.

Long-term Care Policy Checklist

The following is a checklist designed to help you cull through available policies:

1. Understand the services covered by a policy. Does it include:

  • Nursing home care
  • In-home care
  • Assisted living
  • Adult daycare
  • Alternate care
  • Respite care
  • Anything else

2. What does the policy pay per day for the various types of care? (Go through the list covered in the first point and understand the answer to each of those types of facilities.)

3. How long do you foresee needing the benefits to last for each type of care? How long does the policy extend?

4. Can you calculate the RIGHT amount? Don’t buy too much – or too little. To help make an estimate of your needs, check out his long-term care savings calculator from the National Clearing House for Long-Term Care, provided by the US govt.

5. What is the maximum lifetime benefit? Maximum Lifetime Benefit and the total lifetime amount are separate things and policies offer a fixed lifetime dollar amount of your choosing (for example, $200,000) that corresponds to a certain amount of time (as in a three-year policy). It’s also possible to choose coverage with no dollar limit. “Lifetime” or “Unlimited” coverage allows you to receive benefits as long as you continue to need long-term care.

5. Does the policy have a maximum length of coverage for each period of confinement? If so, what is it for nursing home care? For home health care? For an assisted living facility?

6. Are certain common conditions including Alzheimer’s and stroke covered?

7. You can opt for certain services and settings, including in-home care in a “comprehensive care” plan, or “facility care only.” Most policies are comprehensive, but if you look for an often less expensive  “facility care only,” then determine beforehand that the facilities covered will be sufficient for your needs

8. Can you customize coverage with additional optional benefits or “riders?” The cost of care is rising beyond the rate of inflation, so it’s a good idea to look for Inflation Protection (this functions the same way as it does in homeowners’ insurance plans). Types of long-term care Inflation Protection vary, so review the options in the policy. Commonly, Inflation Protection riders build the cost into the starting premium, so that cost doesn’t increase with inflation

9. Are there certain preconditions or assessments that need to be done including an assessment of activities of daily living or cognitive impairment? Are there any physician certifications? Is a prior hospital stay required (as it is in Medicare)?  Other?

10. Is there a renewable guarantee?

11. Is there a free look period that guarantees 30 days to reconsider your policy choice?

There is a lot to navigate within the long-term care insurance market. It’s a good idea to talk to an agent or representative who can let you know the options. Also, remember that there are insurance standards that are upheld by every state. But even before that, know what the landscape is.


Long-Term Care Insurance: Planning and Considerations

Long-term care is any kind of long-term support that becomes necessary. At least 70% of people over age 65 will require some long-term care and 40% of people under age 65 already require long term care, yet there exists a huge discrepancy in the number of people that think they will require long-term care; only 35% of people over 65 years-old actually believe they will need long-term care of some sort.

The cost of care is rising beyond the rate of inflation. There is an increase in the cost of care among facility-based providers of roughly 4.35% compound annual growth. People can expect to pay more than $17,500 annually today than they did five years ago. Long term care insurance is becoming more and more important to consider for most families. A lack of preparedness can cause serious financial, emotional and even physical hardship.

long term care insurance
Do you need long term care insurance?

However, another fallacy is that everyone is eligible for long-term care insurance. Insurance companies and policies operate differently, and you may be turned down by one company while you are accepted by another. Here is a LTC policy checklist to help you compare plans.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, here are some factors that will probably contribute to denial of coverage:

  • Long-term care services are already in use
  • You already have difficulty performing daily activities on your own
  • Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or cognitive dysfunction are an issue
  • You are diagnosed with AIDS or AIDS Related Complex (ARC)
  • Any progressive neurological condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease
  • Stroke or history of stroke within the past one to two years
  • Metastatic cancer is in effect

Given the wide variety of health conditions common today that can affect your ability to receive and pay for the care you need, it makes sense to consider looking into long-term care insurance early on, before it’s a vital issue. There are a number of different policies and benefits available today, from in-home care to facility care.

Most people prefer to receive care in the comfort of their own homes, although sometimes that’s not possible. Personal Care Assistants or Companions can aid with household care like cleaning and cooking, as well as provide a conduit to the outside world by running errands. Home Health Aides have a more personal role in care and are able to provide bathing and dressing assistance. For those people with serious health issues, nurses can help with IVs, administer medications, and provide solutions to more complex health issues.

If home care isn’t an option, there are a range of assisted care facilities, and it’s vital to choose the one that best suits your needs. For some people who are in fact able to live at home but still require some sort of support, an adult day health care center will be able to provide daytime social and therapeutic activities. Some individuals prefer to live independently with on-site support for daily activities in an assisted living facility.  If skilled and intense care is needed, then a Nursing Home is the best option for skilled supervision, medication administration, therapies, and rehabilitation.

Cost of care varies by state, setting, age at the time you elect the policy and health status. Most importantly, know that once accepted for coverage, coverage cannot be cancelled for any reason other than non-payment of premiums, or if you have already received the policy’s maximum benefits.

Photo credit: chrstphre


Pros And Cons Of Cheaper Car Insurance

For anyone that owns a car, they know that it is imperative to have car insurance. Unfortunately, it can be time consuming to find affordable insurance if you don’t know where to look. Thankfully, with the Internet it is more possible than ever to find and get easy quotes for cheap car insurance.

What Is Car Insurance?

Why You Need Car Insurance
Why You Need Car Insurance

Insurance for your vehicle is a way to protect you and your car from damage from a result of an accident or traffic collision. It will also protect you against any liability that could arise from the accident as well. In most places, it is illegal to drive a vehicle without it being insured.

Why Is Insurance Important?

Our vehicles are our lifelines to the outside world. Without them, how would we get to work, visit our friends and family, or get to the hospital in the case of an emergency? It would be difficult to say the least. There are not many places in the world where you can own a car and not have to have some car insurance.

The problem with insuring your car is that it can cost a lot of money. When you first start looking into getting insurance coverage, you might be shocked at the cost of premiums from some companies. But don’t worry, with a little bit of time and patience, there are many places to get cheaper insurance.

Pros And Cons Of Having Cheaper Insurance

There are many reasons to seek out cheap car insurance. The most important reason being that you will be able to afford it. When you do an initial search for policies, you might be outraged at the cost of them. But with some time and effort, you can find affordable insurance. Be sure to look into any discounts that a company might offer you. Some of these include multiple car discounts, student discounts, as well as many others.

There are less cons than pros for obtaining cheaper insurance. One of the main disadvantages for affordable insurance is that the deductibles are usually higher. Generally, the higher your deductible is, the lower your monthly payments will be. For some, this can be a deal breaker because if you happen to get into an accident, you might not be able to afford the deductible to get your car fixed.

Photo credit: shrff14.


UK Drivers Feel the Effect of Continuous Insurance Enforcement

The days of cars sitting unused in garages or on driveways across the UK are over. The introduction of the Continuous Insurance Enforcement legislation this month has forced drivers to either have insurance for their vehicle or to declare it as officially off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification. The legislation was introduced with the intention of clamping down on uninsured drivers using Britain’s roads – a problem that was becoming widespread until recently.

Earlier this year, as many as one in six motorists told researchers from that they had driven a car they weren’t insured to drive, with seven per cent of those surveyed having driven on someone else’s insurance policy and seven per cent having driven with no insurance at all.

Continuous Insurance Enforcement
Continuous Insurance is now required in the UK

Moneysupermarket, which helps drivers find cheaper car insurance quotes by comparing deals offered by a range of insurers, also found in its research that 56 per cent of motorists would be more vigilant about making sure their car was covered appropriately.

Worryingly, one in 10 drivers surveyed said that CIE wouldn’t change their approach to car insurance, suggesting that they would simply accept a fine if caught driving without the appropriate insurance cover.

Peter Harrison, car insurance expert said: “The number of drivers prepared to hit the road without insurance is a huge concern. It is illegal to get behind the wheel without adequate cover and should you be involved in a crash when not insured you could face thousands of pounds in liability, a conviction including six points on your license as well as charges of up to £5,000.”

Ashton West, Chief Executive at the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, said: “The change in law is a stepping up of enforcement activity, so that not only those vehicles driven without insurance will be caught.  Now the registered keeper must make sure that their vehicle is insured all the time.

“In order to make sure everyone is aware of the new scheme, a national awareness campaign will be shown on satellite and terrestrial TV channels.

“Around four per cent of vehicles have no motor insurance at any given time and this needs to change so that is why this new enforcement approach is so important.”

photo credit: :: shodan ::.


Be content with home contents insurance

Peace of mind is something we all crave in our home lives.

Having security and stability within our own living space is an important building block that enables us to be relaxed and relatively care-free. Let’s face it; we all have enough to worry about with things like job security and our families’ welfare.

The last thing you need is any needless hassle or inconvenience, the type of distress that can be caused by not having home contents insurance if life suddenly takes a turn for the worse. It’s an easy mistake to make to think you can get by without cover and to simply bury your head in the sand, but it’s irresponsible and could be an expensive blunder.

Irrespective of whether you’re a tenant or a property owner, protecting and safeguarding your belongings will put your mind at rest that in the event of anything getting damaged or stolen, the funds will be made available for you to replace them with the minimum of fuss. Without cover, you’ll be left to foot the bill on your own and purchasing items like computers, jewellery or TVs for a second time may prove financially crippling. That is why everyone needs homeowners insurance.

You won’t even need to break the bank to get covered. To ensure you really are getting value for money think about increasing your excess, as this tends to lower the price of the premium and be aware of the exact value of your possessions and insure for the appropriate amount. Paying in one lump sum rather than by direct debit every month may also work out cheaper.

Here’s an interesting statistic to consider for the people who think they’ll never be a victim of household crime and reckon that home contents insurance is an unnecessary expense: figures recently published by the Metropolitan Police show that there were 61,422 residential burglaries in London between April 12 2010 and the same date one year later. That equates to roughly seven an hour. And while you may not live in London, it shows how frequently burglaries are being committed.

Fortunately, there a few ways of deterring any members of the criminal fraternity from breaking into your house and these good practises could also help to lower the price of home insurance in general. Install locks on all windows and doors and make sure you close them if you’re not in a particular room. You’d be surprised how quickly a thief can swipe any valuables left lying around, like a mobile phone, keys or wallet. Adding a burglar alarm to a property is the most obvious preventive measure, and consider getting CCTV and motion-sensor security lights, while timer switches used around the house will also give the impression that someone is always in at night.  If you own a lot of jewellery then it may be worth buying a safe.


Get Out and Explore the World

In travel terms, the world is shrinking. It has never been easier to get to all four corners of the globe and as far away as possible from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

More and more of us, it appears, want to leave all our cares and worries behind for a week or two at least once a year and jet off to a different country or even a different continent in search of some much-needed relaxation and downtime.

worldwide travel insurance
Insure your dream holiday!

Anyone who has immersed themselves in a new culture for any period of time will know only too well that the old adage that travel broadens the mind certainly rings true. Travel also stirs a range of contrasting emotions and can be a bittersweet experience for some, especially if something goes wrong along the way. Months of planning can often count for nothing as there are certain factors involved in traveling that you’ll be powerless to control and could mean that you end up being seriously out of pocket.

Worldwide Travel Insurance Gives Peace of Mind

Take a look at the events of the last few years, for example. Two Icelandic volcanoes have erupted and disrupted travel plans the world over. Several tour operators have ceased trading as a result of the tough economic climate and cabin crews and airport staff have gone on strike in disputes over pay and general working conditions. All these and many more issues have cropped up and, time and again, it’s ordinary holidaymakers who get caught in the middle and are left stranded with their travel plans in tatters.

Having worldwide travel insurance, though, can protect you and your traveling companions in the event of any unforeseen circumstances. If we were to foresee a list of unforeseen circumstances, it would be endless. Illness and injury could hit at any time and the cost of medical care in countries like America can be expensive.  You could lose your baggage on the way to a certain destination or have your possessions stolen. Of course, nobody wants to think of these things happening to them when they’re hundreds and possibly thousands of miles away from home. But we’ve all heard or been part of holiday horror stories in the past so think ahead and get covered.

Fortunately, the Internet has become an essential tool for travelers and as well as being able to book discounted transport and accommodation online, policies for travel insurances on the web start from a little as £3 on price comparison websites. It’s almost ironic that spending a little extra can actually help you save money on traveling.

It’ll take no time at all to sort out and, before you know it, you’ll be off enjoying the holiday of a lifetime.

photo: lululemon athletica