Refinance and consolidate your debts

If you look back over the last several years, this has been a really exciting period of time. For the first years, banks and finance companies let us borrow more money than we needed. Fortunately, there was a property bubble forming so buying a new more expensive home was a big winner. The housing equity grew real fast and provided ever more security for more loans. Changing homes after four or five years let us cash in and keep on building up our net worth. Except, all we were doing was going ever deeper into debt so that, when the property bubble burst and the recession hit, there was nowhere left to run.

Well, we have had just over a year to start sorting out our problems. Hopefully, you are one of the lucky ones who have managed to stay in work and keep up the instalment payments on your home. Although you may have negative housing equity, this is not all doom and gloom. Let's start with how you have managed to survive. You stopped all the wild spending and began paying down the most expensive debts on your store and credit cards. You are still some way away from paying off all your debts. Very few people have managed to switch over to building up their cash savings. But you are better off than you were a year ago. Now look around. Interest rates have been at rock bottom for months. The Fed cut the headline rates to the bone and, slowly, this has filtered through the banking system. There is more cheap money around today. Except we still have the credit crunch. Banks are still reluctant to lend.

There are hundreds of neighborhoods around the country where repossessed homes are standing empty with resale values dragging along the bottom. While this persists, you only have one strategy. As soon as the value of your home rises above the amount outstanding on your current mortgage, you should consider refinancing. If you can switch from the existing more expensive home loan to one at current interest rates, you will shave thousands of dollars off the total you will pay over the lifetime of the mortgage. But there is a further possibility to consider.

Whenever you find you have some positive housing equity, you can negotiate a debt consolidation loan, i.e. instead of paying individual instalments to store and credit card carriers, you roll up all your debts into a single mortgage. This gives you a single monthly instalment to pay. With the right deal in place, you will find you save thousands of dollars a year in interest payments. You will pay off your debts at a significantly lower cost and soon be able to start saving. So the watchwords are patience and forward planning. You need to keep on paying down your existing debts. Show yourself as a responsible borrower and keep your credit score as strong as possible. Monitor the local housing market and see what is happening to resale values. You need to be ready to move when values start to pick up. You also need detailed accounts and a financial proposal ready to present to a mortgage or home loan broker. Be prepared with your own long-term rescue plan.

Is it true that men file more insurance claims than women?

We all know that there's a war between sexes on who are better drivers, men or women? And as men are claiming to be far better at the wheel the statistics are actually on the opposite side. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Report dated 2004 notes men being involved in 27,000 more fatal accidents, 432,000 more injury accidents and 1,369,000 more incidents with damaged property, resulting in total 1,828,000 more insurance claims filed by men in 2004 only. And since then the trend hasn't changed.

And it's hard to tell that the most risky drivers - men younger than 25 years old - are contributing to these statistics. These are actually men of all age groups.

As an insurance agent from Ohio, Brad Vermillion has stated: "Men are more aggressive in their very nature and pursue a riskier attitude when driving a car. You see a man not wearing a seat belt, speeding and driving under influence far more often than a woman. The amount of miles driven throughout the lifetime is also quite higher with men than with women, which of course means a greater risk of being involved in a traffic accident and filing an insurance claim. The less you drive the safer you are."

A righteous question rises consequently, whether do insurance companies take into account the statistics provided by the NHTSA and other organizations? "Insurers know about such statistics very well and they are reflected in their pricing guidelines," stated Vermillion. "A man will always pay a higher auto insurance premium than a woman, even if he lives in a safe area and has a perfect driving and credit record."

But the overall trend has started to shift in recent years, making the gap between men and women smaller in what concerns auto insurance premiums. "The last couple of years have shown more and more women driving at longer distances and for more extended periods of time. This results from a wider access to cars among women and more intense and active lifestyle attitudes, forcing women to move around a lot more than in previous years," states Dave Roush, CEO of "Women spend more time behind the wheel and raise the stress levels, which inevitably results in more aggressive attitude from women on the road. This trend is only starting to take shape and it's a matter of time to judge whether it will minimize the gap between men and women in what concerns auto insurance rates. But for now men are well ahead in this competition."

Types of cars and insurance costs

The car you own determines to a large extent the premiums you will have to pay for insuring it. Of course, your claims history, driving and credit records, your age, sex and location will also influence the rates, but not to the extent of your actual vehicle. You can make everything you can to improve the other factors but if your car is expensive to insure on its own, don't expect to have low rates on it.

Each car make and model is assigned with a certain rating according to its overall safety, repair costs, theft rates, clams history and possible damage to infrastructure. When a new car comes out it is rated like other similar cars before having a decent claims history on its own. The moment there's enough information to be analyzed, the particular make and model can either be rated higher or lower, which directly affects the insurance rates.

If you're thinking about insuring your fast sports car or a big SUV be ready to meet a hefty price tag in your insurance policy. These two groups of vehicles are quite expensive to insure due to various reasons. Sports cars are powerful and fast enough to provoke the driver for pushing the limits and violating traffic rules, which means that sports cars are generally dangerous and pose greater insurance risks to be covered. SUVs on the other hand tend to be safe for the driver and passengers inside it, which is good in terms of insurance, but they have increased potential to devastate the other vehicle or infrastructure during the accident. Luxury cars are also quite expensive to insure because they have high repair costs and often fall prey to theft.

In case you are looking for cheap auto insurance and haven't bought a car yet, experts suggest looking in the middle section of the car model and making class. Small cheap cars often have good gas mileage but due to low mass they aren't quite as safe as their bigger mid-class peers. What you need is a reliable car with good controls, good crash test results, increased safety and low repair costs. Most car manufacturers (except for luxury car brands) have such models and different variations to satisfy the needs of everyday drivers.

If your car is equipped with such safety features as airbags, additional seat belts, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices it is a good chance that you will get cheap auto insurance you've been looking for. If your auto doesn't carry these features, no one restricts you from installing them on your own. But make sure to inform your insurance agent about these modifications to get the discount you deserve. Otherwise your insurance rates will remain the same.

In case you own an old car, it is likely that you will have lower insurance rates compared to the same car but new. However, you should ask your agent about the necessary coverage types, because some older vehicles can safely drop certain types of insurance coverage making your policy even cheaper.

Your baby’s weight and insurance

There's a school of thought that says, "the number don't lie". The assumption is that numbers are facts and facts are always true. So if someone counts the number of times something happens, this gives you a basis from which to estimate the probability of the same thing happening across a population. This is the basis of underwriting for insurance purposes. Teams of highly trained people called actuaries count how many traffic accidents there are. They break it down into the age, make and model of car, the age, gender and profession of the driver, the time of day, the weather conditions, and so on. We happily accept information that, in the first half of 2009, only 16,626 people were killed in crashes, a 7% drop as against the same period last year. We are not surprised when we read this proves that there are 1.15 deaths per 100 million miles driven. The facts are facts and must be true.

Except when we apply the same approach to health insurance, some people get upset. Perhaps it's appropriate to be writing this at Halloween but the same actuaries have been counting the number of people who die from various diseases. For the purposes of this article, one of the main areas of interest has been the question of obesity. There are detailed numbers available across the country showing that people who have a high Body Mass Index (BMI) are more likely than thin people to die of heart disease. The medical evidence proves what are called "comorbidities", i.e. the presence of two or more conditions which, more often than not, suggests a cause and effect at work, or that there's an underlying vulnerability to both conditions. We are not so unhappy to accept a link between drug abuse and mental illness, but mention a possible link between body weight and disease and, suddenly, people are upset. People do not want to hear a link between their lifestyles and the probability of early death.

The reality is that adults with a BMI of 30 and above are either being turned down for health insurance or charged a higher premium. No matter how politically correct it may be to talk about obesity, insurance companies protect themselves by classifying obesity as a pre-existing condition justifying refusal or a premium loading. So welcome to baby Alex, a newcomer to Grand Junction. He's four months old and breast-feeding. He's a happy, bouncing baby weighing in at seventeen pounds. With a length of 25 inches, this puts him in the 99th percentile for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's height and weight charts for babies of the same age. So the health insurance company refused coverage. Their cut-off point is the 95 percentile. When you think about it, this is a dramatic piece of news. It seems you are never too young to be overweight. This is not something to be dealt with through an increase in health insurance rates. This is a blank refusal of coverage. At four months, the actuaries have already decided this baby is too big a risk to insure. The parents are naturally upset. Even though their pediatrician has no health concerns, they are talking about putting the baby on the Atkins diet. They may joke but this may be a real sign of change in the health insurance industry. There is no sentimentality here. After all, the numbers don't lie, except the insurers changed their mind when the publicity hit. Alex is now insured. Some good news to end on.

The reason you are in need of disability insurance

Usually, people purchase property and disaster, or casualty insurance to secure their possessions and life insurance to supply profit for their survivors. Nevertheless, lots of people don't think of securing their profit with disability insurance. But how fine could you live if you weren't capable to go to work at all? Disablement is an unforeseen event, and if you once become disabled, your capability to make a living could be limited. Although you might have enough finances in the bank to meet your short-dated necessities, what would occur if you were incapable to work for months, or even for years? The real price of disability insurance is in its capability to secure you over the long distance.

What would if you become disabled? What's then?

What would happen if you undergone an injury or disease and couldn't function for days, months, or even for years? If you're alone, you can have no other ways of financial support. If you're married, you might be capable to count on your spouse's income, but you perhaps also have many fiscal obligations, like supporting your kids and returning your mortgage loan. Could your spouse truly support you and the whole family? Also, remember that you don't need to be working in a dangerous occupation to be in need of cheap health insurance; accidents befall not only on the workplace but at home as well, and disease can strike anybody. For these causes, everyone who operates and gains a living has to consider getting disability insurance.

But isn't disability insurance through the government or a boss enough?

You may consider that you are sufficiently insured from disability because you have health insurance through your boss or through government programs like Social Security and employees' compensation. Anyway, only fifty percent of employers cover short-dated disablement and just forty percent cover long-dated disablement. Government programs can pay you advantages, but only if you meet a direct definition of disablement. Here's an idea of the advantages you can already possess, as well as their restrictions:

  • Social Security

    Though you shouldn't review the disability advantages you might be acceptable to get from Social Security, you don't have to count on them either. Social Security rejects more than fifty percent of the claims applied, in part because of its direct definition of disablement. Even if you are deemed acceptable for advantages, you still won't start getting them till at least half a year after you become disabled for Social Security sets a wait state. Also, your advantage can replace just a portion of your pre-disablement profit.

  • Employees' compensation

    If you're damaged at your job or get ill from job-associated reasons, you can get some disability advantages from employees' compensation insurance, which is by the way fairly cheap health insurance. How much you get depends on the state of your abide. Nevertheless, when you survey your disablement insurance necessities, remember that employees' compensation only returns advantages if your disability is job-related, so it proffers only restricted disability maintenance. Certain states also cover just the illnesses or disabilities enclosed in that state's employees' compensation laws.

  • Retirement plans

    Certain government and personal retirement plans pay disability advantages. Frequently these plans pay advantages found on complete, constant disability, or lower your pension benefit in correlation to what you have already got for a disablement. Also, remember that these advantages are normally federated with Social Security or employees' compensation, so your advantage can be less than you anticipate if you as well obtain disability profit from these government origins.

Ways you can lower your rates with this

When it comes to insuring your life you'll see that the price largely depends on certain factors such as your sex, age, health condition and general lifestyle. And it's evident that if you're a senior person with serious health issues you will get a heftier price tag on your policy than a teen with no health issues and bad habits. But still, there are certain methods you can employ to lower the final cost of your insurance policy no matter how old or how many bad habits you may have. You may find them really useful and effective in lowering your final rates.

1. Choose the right payout amount

Quite often, insurance companies offer lower premiums for larger multiples within the policy. For example, you may be charged with $260 per year for $250,000 in coverage while having $10,000 less in the multiple will actually cost you $275 per year. So before you consider taking the policy, learn what the rates are for every $1000 in coverage, and compare these correlations across different providers. Sometimes the difference is quite big to let the chance go by.

2. Work with a social-conscious insurance provider

Usually, insurance companies tend to offer higher rates for people with complicated and severe health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. But there are companies that actually offer discounts to people with such conditions and tend to analyze each case separately, being more social-oriented in their business. So if you have a serious health condition you might want to check out a company like that.

3. Kick bad habits

It's a well-known fact that when you stop smoking and start exercising (and improving your lifestyle to a healthier extent) the cost of insuring your life will be lower. Only that most people don't realize how much lower it can be until they actually stop smoking! Sometimes smokers are charged double the rate that non-smokers of the same age and health group pay each year. Losing weight and engaging in special exercise programs will also lead to significant discounts. But don't think about lying to the insurance company about your habits. If you end up developing a disease related to a bad habit you've claimed you don't have, your policy will be voided and you will get nothing in the end.

4. You don't need riders

Riders provide coverage in case of events not specified by the standard insurance policy. Or, as it always happens in reality, events that are very unlikely to happen. And paying additional money just to have this additional coverage will unreasonably increase your final insurance rates. Think about it and see if you really need this additional coverage.

5. Learn if there are any hidden fees

You will probably be offered with different payment options such as monthly installments to make your payment process more "convenient". But in the end you will end up paying more than you would with a single payment as there are additional fees for using such services. So before you decide on a payment option, calculate what would be the less costly for you rather than convenient.

6. Do some comparison shopping

When speaking about life insurance the rule of shopping around applies just as in case of any other product. Learn what all the companies providing life insurance in your area have to offer, see which one provides the most benefits for the lowest price and choose the one you like. You can compare life insurance offers online too.

Umbrella coverage for insuring your home

You have definitely heard the expression "umbrella policy"and maybe someone has even suggested that you get one. But why would you need such a policy if you already have homeowners insurance? Well, you surely hear numerous stories about odd and even a\outrageous lawsuits going on every now and then. And umbrella coverage is one way you can protect yourself from being involved in such a story for everyone to talk about.

What umbrella policies provide is additional coverage that goes beyond your limits in exceptional case, and the good news is that such policies apply both for homeowners and auto insurance coverage. Experts claim that it's a good tool for covering your risks, especially connected to legal action. In many cases the liability insurance you carry with your standard policy is not enough to cover court costs and that's exactly where you have a good use of umbrella coverage. Having such coverage will protect your main assets (car, house, other property) from being legally claimed, and that's definitely a good way to minimize your risks.

Who will get the most benefit by using umbrella policy?

When considering getting umbrella coverage, you have to evaluate what is your chance of facing legal action and what assets should be protected against such risk. Sometimes it would be cheaper to just increase your coverage amounts than getting an umbrella policy. Increasing your deductible would also lead to lower insurance rates. But if you ultimately risk facing a court case (with those crazy multi-million verdicts) having an umbrella policy will definitely be useful.

To be more exact, having a swimming pool, trampoline, hot tub or dangerous pets with frequent guests at your house, you will definitely find a good use for umbrella coverage. But if you don't have such risks of being sued, you can have the regular home insurance policy without any worries.

What is protected by umbrella coverage?

When you get umbrella coverage it means that you have much broader insurance protection with higher coverage amounts. Simple insurance policies provide coverage for bodily injury and property damage, however with umbrella coverage, such protection goes beyond the standard policy and will work in cases when the damage or injury is caused by your, your family members, dependents or even pets. You also get coverage in cases of:

  • Arrest by mistake

  • Imprisonment by mistake

  • Defamation

  • Privacy invasion

  • Malicious prosecution

  • Eviction

  • Wrongful entry

With some umbrella policies you will even get protection in case of facing legal action while working in charity, civic or religious organizations. You have to keep in mind that no matter how odd or stupid the case may be, you still have to pay for legal costs associated with it and that's always a lot of money.

When umbrella coverage takes force?

Umbrella coverage takes force when the standard amount of liability coverage within your auto or home insurance runs out. The amount that exceeds your standard liability coverage is what will be covered by the umbrella policy. However, some companies will give umbrella policies only to customers who have both car and home insurance policies with them, so make sure to learn your options before considering umbrella coverage. Sometimes you may even be required to have a certain amount of liability coverage in order to apply for umbrella policy.

What to do when you lose both your job and your health plan

Health insurance has become a hot button issue in US politics. With Washington making some progress in healthcare reform, this leaves Americans divided into three camps. Although estimates vary, it seems up to 50 million cannot afford private health insurance. The middle ground is help by those who do earn enough to pay for some private health coverage, and then there's the comfortable group whose employers provide health coverage. Movement from one camp to another can be painful. It's the difference between peace of mind and security on the one hand, and struggle and worry on the other. Because it can be a serious shock to a family to lose the health cover provided by an employer, Congress introduced the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) in 1986. The name may not sound important, but the Act has proved a vital reform to allow families a bridge between employer-provided and private health coverage. Almost all businesses employing 20 or more must join the scheme and tell their employees of their rights.

COBRA is available to the majority of those who lose their employer-provided insurance, whether by termination, lay-off or voluntary termination. It can also apply when people lose hours and no longer qualify under a health plan, go through divorce or lose cover through the death of a spouse or parent. The umbrella of protection lasts for up to eighteen months in the ordinary case. Where a family member is disabled, the protection can extend to twenty-nine months. If the conditions are met, ex-employees are allowed to buy health coverage at group rates. This is more than the cost of the plan run by their employers (plus a 2% administration fee), but less than the cost of private coverage. The coverage runs from the date the employment terminates. If there's a delay in putting the COBRA policy in place, the premiums have still to be paid as from the date employment terminated. This can sometimes be quite a large lump sum to find. The COBRA policy ends when the ex-employee or family member gets another health plan, no payments are made on the COBRA policy, or the period of protection ends. The advantage? While it's in force, the insured and family get the same basic entitlements as under the employer's plan.

The COBRA scheme has been working well in providing a subsidized breathing space during which people may find new employment with a health plan or with a rate of pay that can support private health cover. Unfortunately, with unemployment rising towards 10%, it's growing increasingly difficult for people to find new employment. Thus, as savings run out, families are dropping out of the group COBRA coverage and into uninsured status. It's a sad fact of life that if a family cannot afford a COBRA premium, it cannot afford a private health insurance policy. The best place to shop around for replacement cover is online. Term health insurance can be an economic way to fill the gap until full coverage can be restored. Hopefully, the economy will pick up and more jobs will come. As the economy revives, more will be able to find affordable health insurance online.

Keeping the perfect car insured respectively

Dream the perfect drive!

Your car is not that lovable to you when you see a huge bill coming your way. It is all understandable but also very ... reasonable. Yes, insurance companies do put something at steak before they set up a deal with you but you have to understand that mainly that is what you pay your bucks for. They promise you safety and safety is precious. Most drivers will try to combine safety and reasonable payment. But of the time they do succeed. It is possible to find a good insurance deal that you won't regret later on.

Usually, when we think of a discount - we start looking for reasons people might be offering it for. When you come to an insurer begging for a price reduction you give the impression of being ready to put your life at risks for a couple of dollars. Bargains are not acceptable here. It is not wise to pay double but don't expect to pay nothing and stay safe either. But don't get too many dollars out of your pocket just yet - there are certain possibilities to economize on your auto insurance without getting into trouble.

It is not true that insurance companies want to trap people with their lies. But being informed really helps the case. It is important for you personally to know what you are looking for. Of course, if you are fixated on discounts it is difficult to manage anything else. But hey, we are happy to inform you that due to all the competition going on companies are will to negotiate just to have you on their team. One of the most well-known reasons for offering a discount is when a driver has gone through formal training. The driver receives a document that allows him to receive a discount because it means he is more capable of driving good than any other person that has not done the training.

Cheap car insurance can be obtained by those who are well experienced in driving. If you driving record is perfect your premiums will be high and your discount may be even bigger as the insurance company doesn't risk almost anything with you.

Please remember to point out the most important aspects before you go to visit an insurer. You have to remember the major reason for getting one of those. Some people think that changing the insurance company every now and then is not harmful. But we say - why do you have to do it when you can stay happy with one and the same? Going for a wider coverage and thinking it is the best decision is not that good. The situation may change with time. So if your car gets old in a few years it means that you will require less coverage as the car is not that pricey anymore. So consider everything even if it doesn't seem to bother you now. Cheap car insurance can be found without a pray. You only have to open your eyes and be smart about it.

Hints on insuring homes in unfavorable areas

Houses in dark spot areas and insurance rules basics

If your surroundings are not too promising in terms of weather conditions when the wind is practically blowing in your ear all the time and raindrops keep falling down on your rooftop there is a very good chance that you might have to pay extra for your house insurance. England is famous for its rains and floods that have taken over the country lately have ended up costing millions and millions of pounds in claims. This fact, of course, could not be ignored by the insurance companies that have already stated that premiums will be raised not only in England but all around UK as well.

New statistics on house insurance have shown that over 90% of insurers guarantee that the premiums in flood-prone zones will be significantly higher if authorities do not begin the flood-protecting process in the nearest future. According to some other researches if this actually takes place, insurance companies may raise the premiums despite of the area and it will create a fuss on the insurance market. Those who live in flood-free zones are not likely to receive any benefits even if it makes sense to do so.

Insurers nowadays like to blame everything on the authorities. They defend their heart-breaking prices by telling the world that the Government doesn't want to commit to the flood-protection plan enough to help citizens get rid of the problem that can ruin their home and lives. The Government says that they are taking it step by step in order to offer the citizens a good flood-protection program.

Here are some of the notes you might want to take: Don't give in to it...

If you don't know exactly if your zone is considered a "black spot" by house insurers or if you are planning on buying a new house and you can't choose the right are, you should be able to check the Environment Agency webpage and get your answer. But this information can be confidential so don't expect to receive all the details this easily. But you can always check it with the house insurers because they should be competent enough to answer any questions related to homes.

Get steady

Weather is something you can't predict or control. You can save yourself from a risk by getting a flat in a flood-free area but even there you don't know what might happen. Disaster proofing is a perfect solution for those who are afraid of home damage or any other sort of catastrophe that has nothing to do with a person. If your zone is rainy and windy, install windows that will guarantee you maximum protection. You have to make sure you do enough to prevent any damage.

Get yourself covered twice

It is not easy to find a good solution. Cheap home insurance is not something you can find with a clap of your hands. But the one that seeks will find. If you don't feel like you are protected enough with your coverage, get yourself another one. One is always better than none and two is always better than one. You can get a cheap home insurance with the company that you already deal with if you have your car insured or health insurance, for example. This could definitely help your premiums. But it is always best to shop around and look for other offers as you never know what you may find. And remember to read quotes - they are important too.

Healthcare for children

Three years ago, the figures released by the Census Bureau suggested that almost nine million children in the US were uninsured. This is despite the fact that about 28 million children were allowed access to Medicaid and a further seven million received help from the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Put another way, almost 12% of children were uninsured. In a society that claims to protect the interests of children, this makes for depressing reading.

In recent years, the majority of children have been covered by health plans paid for by their parents' employers. Unfortunately, the cost of family plans has been rising more steeply than for individual coverage. With employee contributions rising faster than inflation, many parents have been forced to drop out of group cover. This has left Medicaid with the increasing task of providing cover for low-income families. Where parents earn more than the maximum allowed for Medicaid eligibility, State Children's Health Insurance Program targets families who cannot afford private coverage. Unfortunately, two factors have combined to increase the number of uninsured children.

As the recession hit in 2008, unemployment rose and the amount of tax collected fell. This meant the individual US states responsible for supporting State Children's Health Insurance Program began to run severe budget deficits. Since the idea of tax increases is politically impossible, this has forced states to cut back on all discretionary spending. Consequently, many have redefined the level at which they intervene to provide health coverage for children. As if this was not bad enough, there has been a reduction in the publicity given to the State Children's Health Insurance Program plans. Parents are no longer prompted to apply for coverage even when their income would make their children eligible for support. Put the two together and the Congressional Budget Office confirms the number of uninsured children has been rising steadily.

This is a difficult time for healthcare in the US. Almost everyone agrees the current system should be reformed, but there's no real sign of agreement between the political parties on what should be done. While Washington struggles to enact legislation, more children should be brought within the existing schemes - State Children's Health Insurance Program was reauthorized for a further 10 year term in 2007 with bipartisan support. So long as private health insurance policies remain unaffordable for the majority of families and employer-provided group plans are imposing sharply increased premiums, the number of uninsured children will rise steadily.

This trend will accelerate as unemployment rises during the recession. It's a national scandal that the health of children is being put at risk by denying adequate health insurance coverage. If no co-ordinated federal plan is put in place, families should protect themselves by applying to both Medicaid and their local State Children's Health Insurance Program for help. It's important to remember that the Congressional Budget Office confirms almost all the children currently uninsured would be entitled to access Medicaid or State Children's Health Insurance Program. This is your right and it protects the future of the country. Everyone loses if children die or suffer inadequate health care because health insurance is denied.

How to make a claim

The majority of policy holders will go through the year without making a claim. It's possible a major weather disaster could suddenly take out an area, but the actual risks of fires, thefts and accidents around the home are relatively low. Even high-crime areas do not produce excessive numbers of claims. That's why, when the anticipated cost of all the losses is spread among the policy holders, the premiums are not too high. That said, people find the claims process confusing, so here are some simple steps to keep technical problems to a minimum.

1. If a crime has been involved, notify the police immediately and cooperate with the investigation. Your insurance company will want full details of the investigation so keep good notes of the names and contact information for the officers who deal with it. Notifying the police also reduces the risk in the eyes of the insurer that you are making a fraudulent claim. Liaise with the police to get copies of any witness statements, police reports, fire department reports, and so on. Alternatively, be able to pass all the police or fire department contact details over to the insurer.

2. Never delay notifying the insurance company or your local agent that you have suffered a loss. There are a whole series of processes that have to be set in motion to handle the claim. If the loss is minor, your local agent will usually deal with it directly. Anything more serious will go through the claims office. At the earliest possible opportunity, confirm who will liaise with you and how you contact that person.

3. Depending on the circumstances, it's possible that emergency repairs are necessary. Most insurance companies operate a list of contractors approved to make these repairs. Many contractors can bill the insurers directly. If emergency repairs are necessary, get the necessary paperwork to authorize the work from the insurer at the earliest opportunity.

4. Document every aspect of the damage to your property or the contents. That means taking photographs or a video, and keeping a diary of all the events so you can write up a full report for the agent or claims adjuster. The key issues are the value of property damaged or lost, and the cost of repairs. Hopefully, you have kept the receipts for all the bigger ticket items to set a baseline value.

5. Deal with the home insurance company in writing as much as possible, keeping copies of letters and e-mails. If you speak to people by telephone, keep records of the date, time, the person you spoke with and a summary of what was said. This will help you if there is a dispute later on in the claims process.

6. Ensure you are present when the agent or claims adjuster comes to inspect your property and point out all the damage. Again, keep notes of what is said.

7. The home insurance company will make an offer of settlement. Take advice on whether the amount offered is fair. If building work is involved, talk to the building contractor. If you think the insurer is trying to take advantage of you in some way, discuss the issue with the insurance department or commissioner for your state.

An introduction to Auto Insurances

Auto insurance is mandatory in most states. The law mandates to have auto insurance on any vehicle you drive. And nowadays getting auto insurance is not a big deal at all. There are numerous insurance companies available today offering auto insurance policy and each insurance provider offers their own custom made schemes with a cover to match today’s industry needs. Hence the real game is to find out the best suitable one which suits you the best.

One of the basic things to take into consideration before getting any auto insurance policy is the type of coverage you need. Which ever policy you choose you have to pay a certain amount of money depending on the type of coverage you choose for your vehicle. Let us look in details what are the main types of auto insurance policies available in the market.

One of the most common types of auto insurance is the liability insurance. Liability insurance is considered as the least coverage an individual can take. Liability insurance is regarded as an important one it will cover up to its stated amount if any accident has occurred causing harm to some other's body or property, and the person operating the insured vehicle was found to be liable for the accident. The auto insurance company will pay the stated amount to the injured according to your insurance policy. But remember if you are injured or hurt in the accident, you will not get any coverage and will have to spend all the money for medical expenses as well as any damage happened to your vehicle yourself. In most cases after any claim, auto insurance companies usually increase your monthly payments if you are found liable for the accident.

The second popular type of auto insurance is the Full Insurance. If you are selecting the full insurance scheme your monthly payments will be based on your vehicle make and model. If you are using a highly expensive car then you monthly payments will be high for a standard car the premium amount will be less. Full insurance will cover both the parties involved in an accident. Full insurance would covers up to either the actual cost of repairs or the stated amount, less the stated deductible, when the insured vehicle is damaged in any accident.

Before sticking into any auto insurance it is better from you part to talk with various auto insurance providers to know the difference scheme provided by them. Ask them if they are able to send you insurance quotes on the policies and the types of coverage they provide. Study the auto insurance policies and compare their rates and advantages carefully before selecting a particular offer. And try to select an ideal auto insurance policy which suits you the best.

Nowadays there are numerous websites which offer instant auto insurance quote comparison services. This helps the customers to compare the same service provided by different auto insurance providers before selecting any particular insurance provider.

An Informative Review of RV Insurance Companies

There are a number of insurance companies that focus primarily on insuring recreational vehicles (RVs). These companies provide comprehensive policies that thoroughly protect RV owners. Some of the top RV insurance companies are Gilbert RV insurance, RV America Insurance, Progressive RV Insurance, and Good Sam RV insurance. Each of these companies has numerous options for RV coverage. RV owners will be able to find the coverage they need with one of these top companies for a reasonable price.

Gilbert RV Insurance offers several options for RV owners. Some of the best things about Gilbert are the replacement cost coverage, the purchase price coverage, and the full timer coverage. The replacement cost coverage guarantees that the client will receive a new RV of the same model, body and size if the original RV is totaled. The purchase price coverage is similar. It gives people the option of being paid the total price paid for the RV in the event that it is totaled. The full timer policy is perfect for people whose RV is their primary residence. This policy provides total coverage for the RV and has higher liability limits.

RV America Insurance provides a number of options for owners of all types of recreational vehicles. The most unique aspect of RV America Insurance is that it works with six different RV insurance companies. This insures that RV owners will get coverage that is specialized to meet their needs at a low cost. Some of the options available include flood, theft and fire coverage; full timer coverage; total loss replacement; and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Progressive RV Insurance is perfect for covering many types of recreational vehicles. Progressive is a top rated car insurance company. They apply their excellent vehicle coverage for RVs, but also understand that an RV is like a home on wheels. Progressive offers full RV coverage including personal effects coverage, campsite coverage, and emergency placement coverage in case RV owners need somewhere to stay while their RV is being repaired.

Good Sam RV Insurance is a part of the Good Sam Club for RV owners and campers. The Good Sam Club offers members emergency roadside service and extended warranties on RVs as well as comprehensive insurance. Some of the many features offered are full RV replacement, full timer coverage, permanently attached items coverage, and personal effects coverage. Good Sam saves RV owners on average of $312 a year on RV insurance and received an “A” rating from A.M. Best.

These top-rated RV insurance companies can provide RV owners with the coverage they need. From occasional RV users to full timers, everyone can find a policy to fit their needs.

Amusement Ride Safety Considerations

The amusement ride operator/attendant has full control on most rides and must be proactive and capable of reacting quickly to situations as they arise.

The safety record of the amusement ride industry has greatly improved as a result of inspections, ride maintenance, safe operations and better ride designs, and ride operators/attendants play an important role in maintaining amusement ride safety.

Most countries have occupational health and safety legislation designed to protect the health and safety of workers and the public. Herein is a discussion of the role that amusement ride operators/attendants play in maintaining the highest possible level of safety on the rides on which they work.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should work safely, get as much training as possible in the safe operation of the equipment they are working with and stay alert to prevent safety hazards.
Amusement ride operators/attendants should not engage in any unsafe activities such as horse-play, showing off, or any unseemly behavior while on the job.

Every amusement ride operator/attendant is responsible for on-the-job safety. They are responsible for their own safety as well as the safety of other employees and that of the general public.

Here are some basic rules for a safe workplace that amusement ride operators/attendants should follow:

• Be sure that you know and obey all safety rules and procedures

• Keep your surroundings neat, clean and free of hazards

• Immediately report hazardous situations that might result in an accident

• Complete the inspection checklists prior to operating the ride

• Develop safe work habits and participate in safety training

In addition, there are a number of workplace hazards for which amusement ride operators/attendants should be on the look-out and attend to at once:

• Anything that can cause someone to trip

• Anything that can cause someone to bump their head

• Anything that can cause someone to get a splinter

• Anything that can cause someone to fall

• Anything that can cause someone to get a cut

Amusement ride operators/attendants must work in accordance with the Health and Safety legislation in affect in their area. They must also follow their employer’s policies and safety procedures. They should also be sure not to work when they are tired. Breaks should be taken away from the ride in order to enable the amusement ride operators/attendants to properly relax so that they may return to work refreshed and rested.

It is of the utmost importance that amusement ride operators/attendants be totally familiar with the rides that they are operating. They should observe how the ride operates, and the motions involved in their operation until they understand them completely.

Every ride has a safety zone, which is the area from which the ride is operated. This safety zone is usually designated by the manufacturer or owner of the ride, and should be clearly defined and fenced off, in such a way as to be easily identified by the riders. The safety zone should also be an area that is easily controlled by the amusement ride operators/attendants. The safety zone is for the personal safety of the amusement ride operators/attendants while the ride is in motion, and should never be left while the ride is in motion, or before it has come to a full stop.

The safety of the amusement ride operators/attendants and that of their riders is equally important. Unsafe riding practices are the major cause of incidents on all types of rides.
Rider responsibility should be encouraged, and the amusement ride operators/attendants can play an important role in this. Safety instructions should be clearly posted at the entrance to the ride and the amusement ride operators/attendants should strictly enforce all of them.

It is especially important to reach out to the parents of young children and to enlist their help and support in promoting safe riding practices and in enforcing all safety instructions.

• Be alert to unsafe conditions that could cause trips or falls on the ride platform or steps

• Be alert to unsafe conditions that could cause injury

• Always check that seat belts or safety restraints are fastened and locked in place before the ride starts

• Be careful not to close the door or restraint on any part of the rider’s body while the riders are getting on or off of the ride

• If there is even a suspicion that a rider is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they should not be allowed them

• Remind riders to follow the posted rules for the ride regarding age, height and/or weight restrictions

• Be sure to alert pregnant women and people with heart conditions to possible risks involved in using the ride

• Remind riders to keep hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times

• Remind riders to remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop

If there are any problems with a rider or parent because of ride restrictions or behavior, amusement ride operators/attendants should not operate the ride. They should stop the ride if in motion and only resume operation after the problem has been settled.
Amusement ride operators/attendants should always report all safety-related matters to their immediate supervisor, the insurance company and local safety authorities. They should also update the ride manufacturer and consult with them.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should never leave the ride while it is operating.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should watch the ride and riders at all times while it is operating.
Remembering and following these rules while operating amusement rides will significantly increase the chances of a safe and enjoyable time for everyone, riders and operators/attendants alike, while lessening the prospect of stricter insurance terms and licensing requirements for the amusement ride hirers/operators.

Americans Without Health Insurance Have New, Affordable Options

More and more Americans are going without health insurance because they can't afford it. But there is a solution. New health insurance portfolios are available that are specially designed to help meet the national need for affordable coverage for individuals and employees of small businesses.

This is good news for many Americans who often cannot afford to purchase health insurance for themselves or whose employers do not offer insurance. This includes individuals who are self-employed; those who are employed by a small business or who run a small business; and individuals in other circumstances that require them to buy their own health insurance.

"More than 45 million Americans fall into one of these categories. Many of these people are uninsured or are struggling to afford the traditional plans that insurance companies typically offer," says Melissa Crawford, senior vice president, Physicians Mutual.

The company bundles together existing and new products to provide an Integrated Health Portfolio (IHP) with a variety of choices and price points.

The IHP offers a choice of benefits, including coverage for:

• Doctor's office visits

• Preventive care

• Hospital stays

• Surgeries

• Catastrophic major medical

• Outpatient treatment.

"This portfolio of products is designed for middle-income Americans for whom the only choice has been major medical plans with high deductibles-$5,000, for example. That's too much for them to absorb out of pocket," Crawford says. "They're looking for a plan that pays a portion of everyday health care costs such as doctor's visits, childhood immunizations, and screenings like mammograms and prostate cancer tests. They also need prescription drug and vision discounts.

"We have options with no deductible to meet, so policyowners receive benefits the first time they have a covered medical expense," Crawford says. "There are also no lifetime maximums on this type of policy."

Crawford points out that individuals and small-business owners usually do not have benefits managers who can talk them through their insurance options. The health portfolio offers a needs assessment to help customers determine which insurance products are right for them.

Physicians Mutual Insurance Company and Physicians Life Insurance Company, a member of the Physicians Mutual family, provide a full portfolio of health and life insurance products, as well as financial products. Both companies consistently receive high grades from independent insurance analysts.

Alternatives To High Priced Health Insurance

Most Americans are struggling to afford health insurance. In just the past few years, the cost of buying health insurance for your family has skyrocketed. I was talking with an insurance agent recently, who told me it's not unusual at all for his clients to be paying $1,000 to $1,400 per month for their family to be covered.

I don't know many people who can easily afford those kinds of monthly insurance payments. Most who are paying them are making major sacrifices in other areas. The vast majority of Americans put health coverage very high on their list of priorities, so the other things that get left behind might surprise you. No question, the quality of life is far lower for many people now that they pay so much to be insured.

Meanwhile, many employers are cutting back their employees' insurance coverage. Professions that once paid all their employees' health insurance premiums -- like teachers and firefighters -- are finding the employee footing the bill for larger and larger portions of their insurance.

How are people coping? Many Americans simply don't have health insurance anymore. That's a big problem not only for families, who often put off going to the doctor, but also for society in general. People who hesitate buying medicine or seeing a doctor often end up very sick in hospital emergency rooms.

Others are simply reducing the amount of health insurance they have. They pay a larger portion of their doctor visits and prescription medicine costs. If you are a young adult, it may not make a lot of sense to pay huge insurance premiums to be covered for major illnesses that you are very unlikely to experience.

There are a growing number of health insurance plans that let you pick and choose the areas of coverage you want to pay for. While this practice was prohibited in many states, more and more places are seeing the wisdom and necessity of this approach.

Even more pressing than the cost of health insurance is the cost of buying prescription medicines. Many people simply can't afford the spiraling cost of the medicines they need. Others might insist, willingly lowering their standard of living just to afford overpriced medicine. The solution to this problem increasingly has nothing to do with insurance. Organizations use their large pool of members to negotiate big discounts on prescription drugs at thousands of chain and independent pharmacies nationwide. Typically you can save up to 60% off generic drugs and up to 15% off name-brand drugs.

This is a big advantage for the elderly, families, businesses, organizations, and anyone who wants to lower their cost of medicine. Additionally, some programs also cover medicine for your pets. If you often care for an ill animal, this can save you a lot of money over time.

Unlike insurance, discount drug programs are often very low cost or free. Pharmacies participate in the discount programs to encourage you to buy from them. It's a win-win for both you and the medical industry.

Being responsible for your business

Be a professional businessman

If you are a respectful businessman you won't let yourself your company down by not having something that is required for good companies to have. You probably do have insurance yourself, whether it is car insurance, health insurance or anything else. You will never let people know you have weak points there for you will have your whole business insured. But don't think it is so easy to get a good deal. Before you actually pick up your phone and dial somebody's number you ought to know that there are certain requirements for each type of the company.

You probably have been asking your acquaintances around about a trustworthy insurance company or an agent that would be helpful. First of all, let us try to help you get some basic ideas about how your business should be insured and what it takes to do it accurately. You have to establish the reasons for the insurance. If you start off with gong online to check the rates and business insurance quotes please remember to request only liability coverage. The rates differ from one case to another. Don't come into the agent's office thinking you know everything when you don't even have a clue. We strictly recommend you to read some updates and feedback online before you start the conversation. The insurance that businessmen usually go for covers the boss as well as any clients for the small symbolic payment is known to be the best possible offer. If you only request quotes ad you are not sure whether you need the insurance now or little bit later you have to visit internet sites and order quotes through Internet.

There are specialized sites that will help you sort the whole situation out for very little money. What are the major Internet searching benefits, you might ask. Well, first of all, you can take all the time in the world going from one page onto another; you can make some calls and compare rates through the phone while your webpage is still open, you could easily check policies, service ad premium rates on any site you like, write them down and compare offers. You are free to search for a discount if you are fixated on receiving one as there are no obligations at all.

A business insurance quote will save you money. It is a commonly known fact. But you should also take a look at it from another point of view. Your situation may be totally unique so don't expect to pay for your insurance as much as you neighbor did. With hundreds of business insurance companies that are willing to compete for you. So never jump onto the first offer you got. That would be unreasonable.

Insurance turned out to be a vital importance nowadays. People don't treat it like luxury - they think of it as of having a meal. When you are running a business, you have to consider every little detail, think about tomorrow- how safe and secure it is, how you can control your investments and how to save on problems that might appear.

Get your business insurance quotes today and think about what you want to do. But remember one single thing - you do need your business insurance.

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