Posts tagged with: auto insurance

How Midlife Affects Your Insurance Needs…Are You Covered?

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You’ve no doubt heard of a midlife crisis: the time in life where you realize that you aren’t going to live forever. As a chance to take stock of the plans you had in your youth and square them up with where you stand now, midlife can be a time of great strife for some people who haven’t achieved their goals.

The good news is that by definition “midlife” means that you are only halfway through. That means you have just as much time left to change your situation as you had getting into it. That also means that there is still plenty of time to turn your financial ship around. If finances are an area where you have not lived up to your plans, dreams, and goals, now is the time to take the bull by the horns.

One critical way to tackle your midlife financial goals is by doing an insurance audit to make sure that you are not only managing your union bank credit card rates and wealth but also that you are protecting your assets along with growing them. Reviewing your insurance plans to ensure that you are fully protected and safe is a good place to start gaining financial control.

The insurance audit should cover all of those things that you use insurance to protect:

Health Insurance

It is not uncommon to develop chronic conditions in your 50s and 60s, which is why it is so important to choose your healthcare plan well. Make sure that you have the proper out-of-pocket caps and deductibles to fit your overall health needs. Having a small deductible is nice, but you also want to ensure that if things go terribly wrong, you have reasonable out-of-pocket costs.

Your risk for serious health conditions increases as your age does, so taking a good look at the structure of your health plan can help you to cut costs and ensure that you are getting the right coverage for any prescription, rehabilitation, or therapy needs.

Midlife means that you have to take a better overall look at your health needs and anticipate what they might be going forward. It may also be a time when you will have to make decisions about the transition between your health insurance and Medicare. Don’t make the assumption that things will be covered. If you need to purchase supplemental insurance, make sure you know exactly what will and will not be covered before the transition occurs.

Life Insurance

When you have young children, a house, and other dependents, it’s a good idea to have a hefty life insurance policy. But it isn’t inexpensive. As you get older, the price of life insurance will continue to increase unless you have a set policy. If you are paying a lot for health insurance and you aren’t supporting anyone but yourself, it really doesn’t make any sense to overpay. Unless you have someone depending on you, reevaluate your life insurance needs.

Disability Insurance

If something should happen to your income, then having disability insurance is a must. The average policy will cover about 60 percent of the income you are earning. Short-term policies will cover your costs for up to two years post-disability. Long-term policies will typically cover you until you turn 65 and you can start to collect Social Security. You can reduce your premium by shortening your benefit period if you are closer to 65.

Auto Insurance

If it has been a while since you compared rates for your car insurance, it is definitely something to investigate. Most insurance carriers consider older individuals lower-risk and will reduce premiums. Also, things like your credit score can reduce your auto insurance payments. It is worth it to call around and talk to several insurance companies to ensure that you are getting all the discounts you can. Go the extra mile to phone the carriers directly to get the discounts you deserve.

Midlife can be a difficult time emotionally for people, but it doesn’t have to be one, financially. Making sure to initiate sound changes to maximize your insurance coverage by minimizing the costs is the best way to protect your assets while still growing them.


4 Smart Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

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The cost of auto insurance often causes people to lower their deductibles until they find a premium that they can afford. Unfortunately, that generally leaves people with deductibles that they can’t meet if anything ever happens, making the insurance pointless. Before you start lowering your deductibles, follow these money-saving steps to save money and still have proper coverage.

Re-Evaluate Collision and Comprehensive

If you are in an accident and it’s ruled someone else’s fault, the other driver’s insurance pays for the damage to your vehicle. However, if it’s your fault or you hit something other than a car, the collision insurance comes into play. Comprehensive pays you if there in an event other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, or a flood. Your insurance company will pay you the value of your vehicle if it is totaled. If you drive an old car that isn’t worth much more than $1,000-$2,000, it doesn’t make much sense to pay for the insurance every month, and pay a deductible after the accident. If your car isn’t worth the cost of the comprehensive and collision insurance, just remove it completely.

Ask About Discounts

One important and effective way to save money on your car insurance is by asking about discounts. There are discounts for more things than you can imagine. However, the exact discounts depend on the insurance provider. Different companies choose the discounts that they offer, so it’s not all the same. Some companies might offer discounts to college students. Some only offer discounts to students who have a B average or higher. Most car insurance companies all carry discounts for active duty military and people with a clean driving record. While military veteran discounts aren’t always specifically advertised, most companies will give the military discount to veterans if they ask. You can also receive discounts if you affiliate with different unions or agencies. The insurance agency should have a list of affiliations that you can choose from.

Monitoring Programs

Some car insurance companies will give you the option to participate in monitoring programs. These programs give you a device to put on your car, and they will record when the car is speeding, when there are sudden stops, and also audio and video footage. If you want to put the monitoring devices on your teen’s car, you can also set up e-mail and text alerts that let you know when your child arrives in the locations that they’re going. The insurance can be reduced significantly; usually between 10 and 15 percent.

Keep Your Credit Score Good

Your credit score affects your insurance premiums more than you realize. When you get an insurance quote, they check your credit score along with your driving record. If you credit isn’t good, your payments are going to be higher. Keep your bills paid and your credit straight. So your premiums don’t go up as your bills go into collections.

If you’re tired of premiums you can’t afford or deductibles that are too high to even matter, you need to go over all of the different ways you can save money. Consider the monitoring program, re-evaluate your discounts, and decide if certain coverage is even needed on your vehicle.


Get Quotes Easily for the Insurance Plan You Need

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Insurance is something that many Americans often overlook, but one that you’ll never regret having if you need to use it. While you may already have some coverage, it’s possible you are unaware of its inadequacies. You could also be vulnerable because you don’t have certain policies that you need. With the help of an agent, it’s easy to understand policies and get an estimated cost.

It’s important to learn about the various options of coverage to invest in. It’s simple to be knowledgeable about the multiple policies available and get insurance quotes for your new potential plan.

Do You Need Auto Insurance?

Considering your needs means you should think about your coverage regarding your car. A recent study shows that 56 percent of deadly car accidents in the United States were due to aggressive driving. This is a serious problem that affects everyone on the road. Even if you’re a safe driver you could be vulnerable to dire financial consequences if you don’t have your own insurance. A liability plan is great to protect you in the event of an accident.

There are more types of auto insurance available depending on your needs. For example, you can get your car insured as your property in order to protect yourself against theft. According to an FBI investigation, there were 699,594 thefts of motor vehicles in 2013. Furthermore, you can get medical coverage in case of an injury through certain plans. If you need to be safeguarded while driving, consider getting insurance quotes for auto insurance today.

What About Homeowner’s Insurance?

If you own a home it’s a smart idea to get covered. There are multiple risks associated with owning a home, including natural disasters, property damage, and injuries. New statistics provide us with the information that 119 catastrophes resulted in homeowners’ losses of 15.3 million dollars in 2014 in the United States. Depending on where you live, you could be vulnerable to particular disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. Getting insurance quotes for natural disaster coverage is important to keep yourself and your property protected.

Did you know that owning pets could put you at risk? If any of your pets cause an injury to someone in your home, you could face major financial consequences if you don’t have the proper coverage. A recent national survey shows that 68 percent of homeowners have pets. If you’re one of those statistics, you could benefit from homeowners insurance greatly.

Do You Own a Business?

The responsibilities of owning and operating a business include ensuring the safety of yourself, your employees, and your property. There are different options available depending on the size and location for your business. For example, the same coverage isn’t going to apply to a small business and a large corporation. It’s important to work with an agent to get insurance quotes and find the specific plan you need. One of the most common plans for any business is liability coverage. This protects you against possible claims made against you.

It’s Easy

There are so many opportunities to make sure all of your assets are covered. Take the next step as soon as you’re ready. Contact an agent and get the insurance quotes you need to help make your decision.


The Embarrassing Position of Being a High Risk Driver

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By Dana Rather

Here is the sad truth that nobody ever talks about: when you are in debt (or other disastrous financial straights) it isn’t just the decisions you make about your money that affect your life. Every decision you make, even the seemingly small ones, is incredibly important and can have a huge impact on your life. Here’s an example from my life:

I was running late for a job interview, so I took an unfamiliar — but supposedly faster — route than I had originally mapped out. On the way, I blew through a stop sign because I wasn’t looking closely enough at my surroundings. A quick glance at the corner said “nope, no sign, no worries.” Had I been paying attention, I’d have seen the great big red octagon that was only partially obstructed by a leafy tree branch. But I wasn’t and so, suddenly, I had a huge ticket that I had to find a way to pay. It might not have ordinarily been a big deal, but this was my fourth ticket and I had so many points on my license that I was in danger of losing it completely. My insurance agent called me to talk about my premiums and suddenly I was at risk of losing my insurance. To keep it, I had to let the insurance carrier classify me as “high risk.”

This isn’t the only way to be considered high risk, of course. There are others. The most common one is being caught without insurance. Thank goodness that wasn’t the case with me; it might have meant a suspension of my license as well as a huge hike in insurance costs for me.

I can tell you, from personal experience, that being classified as a high risk driver is not the end of the world. It can, however, be really expensive, if you aren’t careful. it’s also embarrassing because it’s something that can be avoided and really shouldn’t happen to anyone, but I was lazy and found myself in this position. Here are the things I did to keep my “high risk” classification from ruining my finances.

I ended up being labeled high risk due to a combination of unlucky situations that compiled upon each other to raise a bunch of flags when it was time to renew my insurance policy. There are a lot of other ways to get labeled this way, but all have to do with poor driving, but those aren’t the only reasons. Getting a DUI will also have a lasting effect and, even if you are lucky enough to keep your license, will definitely qualify you as high risk. Even age can have an impact. Drivers under the age of 25 and those over the age of 75 can and in most will be considered high risk. A friend of mine found out that her bad credit, and a cancelled insurance policy due to a missed payment lowered her into the high risk category. Fast sports cars and expensive vehicles, and/or living in area with high crime rates can also be considered high risk.

NOTE: I’d be remiss if I didn’t make sure you know that being caught without insurance can also land you on the “high risk” list. This is especially worth knowing because, if you get caught without insurance — especially if you have a DUI on your record, not only are you considered “high risk” but you will likely not be able to actually get regular insurance. Instead, you will be forced to purchase a special type of insurance coverage called SR22 insurance. This type of insurance can be incredibly expensive, so if this happens to you, be sure to spend some time shopping around for the best rates. Speaking of which… Shop around

One thing that I noticed when I was trying to find a high risk insurance policy that wouldn’t bankrupt me is that insurance companies are always competing. This means that there are lots of opportunities for you to shop around to find the best price. What made things much easier for me is that the high risk market is big and getting bigger and many online companies are fighting for space. The online market is a great place to check offers and compare prices, even if you have to get special SR22 quotes.

I spent a few weeks diving into the details of a bunch of different policies, determined to get the best deal, so be prepared to spend some time doing your own research. It’s easy to get impatient but try to remember that a few weeks of taking the bus and bribing friends for rides is for a good cause. You can save lots of money by shopping around and comparing rates. I did. And then I used some of the money I’d saved to buy presents for all of the friends who had been so great about ferrying me from place to place while I was uninsured.

One of the things that surprised me the most was just how easy it is for the DMV to make mistakes on your driving. Like with a credit history, a driving record changes over time. Old tickets, accidents, etc fall off of it over time (the amount of time varies by state). This meant that by keeping my head down (not literally) and staying out of trouble, I could actually wind up with a seemingly perfect record after a few years. Unfortunately, like with credit companies, the DMV doesn’t really keep up with these things. I had to keep a close watch on my record to make sure that my strokes of bad luck were actually removed when they were supposed to be. You might have to spend some time on the phone with or, like me, actually visiting the DMV to make sure things are removed properly, but it’s worth the effort.

Everything becomes a major balancing act. I found out that the cheapest cars were often the hardest to insure because they rarely had clean title records. Plus, very old and very cheap cars can also be very unsafe and that makes them more expensive to insure. So it was important for me to spend time searching around for a reasonably priced and very safe car. I quickly learned, the safer the car, the cheaper the insurance, and helped me to save money in two ways! It’s possible to overcome a high risk insurance status. I know it’s possible because I did it. It takes time and it might be frustrating, but you can do it.


Auto Insurance Spies?

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I was reading an interesting article about auto insurance and discovered the average rates increased an estimated 10% between 2008 and 2010 thanks to the increase in medical costs and a higher number of uninsured drivers.

I went through a couple years of my auto insurance bills and discovered…

my rates went DOWN about 7% during those years, and decreased another $2 a month this year. Why? It’s a combination of multi-line discounts, accident/ticket free discounts (great, now I just jinxed myself), and driving age discounts but I the reality is, I don’t care why, I’m just glad they did what they did. Plus, the article shared the industry estimates of the average annual auto insurance cost in 2010 ($865) and mine hovers slightly less than that with great coverage. Whew!

Still looking to save? The writer suggests allowing your insurance company install a device in your car to monitor your driving habits. Progressive and Allstate both offer the device and State Farm and Nationwide are testing similar devices as well. Safe drivers can save up to 30%.

Rather not share your Indy style driving with your agent? The writer suggests calling your insurance agency and asking, ‘How can I lower my premiums?’



What to do when someone steals your identity…

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My brother called me yesterday to tell me someone had stolen his credit identity and he wanted to know what to do.

Naturally, I pulled out my ‘What to do When Someone Steals Your Identity’ contingency manual and relayed step by step instructions accompanied by contacts and phone numbers.

Well, that’s what I wish happened.

It was more like, ‘Hey sis, someone is using my cards! What do I do?!?’

‘Um. Er. Uh’ was the best I could manage.

I’m the equivalent of an auto insurance salesman with no idea what to do in the event of a car accident.

In light of that embarrassing fact, I did some research and discovered the four steps to take when your identity has been stolen…

1.) Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.

2.) Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

3.) File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

4.) File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

The Federal Trade Commission’s website tackles these steps in a simple manner AND supplies pertinent contact information with the most appropriate methods to communicate. They also define identity theft and ways to prevent it. Check it out and bookmark it on your computer… just in case.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html