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Should Your Company Choose Self-Funded Insurance?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When it comes to choosing insurance for your company, you generally have two choices: fully funded and self-funded plans. The former means paying a company each month to manage and cover your claims. The latter means covering your own claims, usually with the help of an administrator. Although you may think a self-funded system exposes you to excessive risk, it can actually offer you a number of advantages.  Benefit Customization Because you have control over the plan and know exactly what type of claims are being filed, you can better manage the benefits of your plan. If you see your employees need stronger benefits in one area, you can offer those benefits. If your employee pool is collectively suffering from obesity or high blood pressure, you can tailor preventative programs aimed at making your employees healthier and, as a result, lowering the number of claims filed against the policy. You can also offer additional incentives for your employees to get healthier, such as free gym memberships and healthy food discounts. Self-funding allows you flexibility in offering your employees coverage tailored for their needs.  Cost The reason even smaller business are shifting to self-insured policies is cost. Since your company is only paying for actual claims, you can save thousands of dollars each year in expenses. Of course, fully-funded plans cost more because the insurance company is assuming the risk. In some years, you end up paying a great deal of money even though your employees are quite healthy. If you are self-funded, you save a huge amount of money in the years your employees have few big claims. Of course, if you are a small business and just one employee has a serious illness, you can end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims for that one person. Fortunately, you can buy insurance that limits your risk, establishing a limit on how much money you have to pay toward claims. The cost of your self-funded insurance will most likely rise in the next year, however. Self-funded insurance is risky but also carries big rewards. For some companies, it is the best way to offer employees quality health care. Choosing between self and fully funded insurance requires a true risk assessment. If your company can afford to absorb serious losses every now and then, the lower yearly cost of the policies may well be worth it. If you are a smaller company, you need to consult with your financial advisor to see if the risk is worth the...

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5 Reasons to Ditch the Classroom and Take Insurance Courses Online

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Would you like to become a licensed insurance agent? You may be discouraged by the amount of time it takes to complete training courses in order to take the licensing test, but did you know that you can complete your insurance training courses online? Here are five great reasons to enroll online instead of in a traditional classroom. Study in Your Pajamas You can take online insurance courses anywhere you have a computer and an Internet connection. This means that you can learn what you need to know while you sit in the kitchen and enjoy your morning cereal, at night in your bedroom, or even in a local coffee shop or park.  Some coursework can even be completed on your smart phone.  Don’t Neglect Your Family Online insurance classes take significantly less time than regular classes do. This is because online courses cut to the chase and only present the important information. There is no time wasted on discussion of irrelevant topics or listening to a teacher who just likes to talk.  Add to that the amount of time you don’t have to spend driving back and forth, and you are way ahead. Spend that extra time hanging out with the people you love or catching up on your sleep.  Make the Most of Your Down Time If you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, you can hop online and get some studying done. If you are waiting for a child to come out of a piano lesson, have a few minutes before your job begins, or find yourself with an hour to kill between appointments, you can use that time to your advantage.  Save Your Cash Online classes typically cost less than courses held in a classroom. This is because no one has to rent a space or provide supplies, so there is less overhead to pay for.  Learn More Did you know that online classes are actually more effective than traditional classes? The New York Times reports on a study done by the US Department of Education showing that students actually do better on tests when they have had training online rather than in a classroom. This means that you are likely to do better on your licensing exam if you have learned the material online.  You don’t need a ton of time or money to take an online insurance licensing course, and you don’t have to drag yourself to a classroom. Consider online learning and discover how easy it is to learn what you need to know before taking your insurance...

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5 Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Homeowners Insurance

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Unless you paid in full for your home, your lender most likely requires that you have homeowners insurance. Even if you aren’t required to have homeowners insurance, you should definitely still consider it since you will want to be protected financially in case of an emergency. To ensure that you are paying for homeowners insurance that is worth the cost, you will want to know these five tips for getting the most out of it: Know What Kind of Home You’re Buying: The first place to start is with the purchase of a home. When shopping for a home, you want to know what the history of the home is like and if there are any current problems with the home that can make your homeowners insurance rate increase. To find out this information, you will want your real estate agent to request a home disclosure report that will go over all these details. You also want to have a home inspection done before you purchase the home to ensure that it is in decent condition. At this point, you can request that the current homeowner resolve these issues before you buy or you can ask for a significant decrease on the price of the home.  Keep Good Credit: Many homeowners aren’t aware that their credit report will affect their homeowners insurance rate. The reason for this is that homeowners insurance companies prefer to work with those who have good credit because it indicates responsibility. Those with good credit are more likely to be taking care of their home instead of letting problems build up because they don’t want to spend money on maintenance.  Check Consumer Reports: The consumer reports on insurance companies are going to tell you which insurance companies have provided the best outcome when a homeowner has filed a claim. Each company will be ranked by a certain percentage that indicates the number of customers satisfied with how the homeowners insurance company processed their claim. Don’t Make Unnecessary Claims:  Whenever damage does happen to your home, you don’t want to make a claim unless it’s necessary. Damages that aren’t going to cost you more than your deductible, for example, are not worth making a claim on because you are going to be paying out of pocket for the repairs anyway with no help from your insurance company. The reason this is important is because it ensures that your rates won’t go up. The less claims that are made on your home, then the less of a risk your home is to the insurance company. When you consider these four tips for getting the most out of your homeowners insurance, you can be sure that what you are paying is worth it in the end....

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3 Questions You Should Ask Before Purchasing A Health Insurance Plan

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Choosing the right health insurance plan for you may seem difficult. Many people wonder if they should choose a plan with certain features, such as a high deductible, or extra add-ons, such as vision and dental care. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you purchase a health insurance plan. Is Your Family Generally Healthy? If your family is generally healthy and you are only seeing the doctor for preventative care, such as well child checkups and physicals, then you should consider getting a plan with a high deductible. Many insurance providers offer no cost preventative care. So when you go in for a yearly physical, Pap smear, well child checkups and so forth, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket, or at the very most a small co-pay. The amount that you save in premiums will be significant, and then if something major happens, such as a hospital stay, you can access your savings from all of the money that you saved in premiums. However, if you have young children who tend to be accident-prone, if you have a pre-existing condition, or if you are planning on getting pregnant, you should consider getting a smaller deductible. It is simply a guessing game based on your lifestyle. Do You Have Specific Doctors That You Like? It is important to know that doctors do not accept all insurance plans. You may have a primary care provider that you love, but they only accept certain health care plans. If you choose a health insurance plan that your provider doesn’t accept, you will either have to pay more because they are out of network or even pay in cash. For this reason, you should contact your favorite providers and see what insurance plans they take before choosing your insurance. This will help you determine what plan you should go with. Do You Want To Bundle The Plan Or Buy Separately? In some cases, your insurance plan will allow you to include dental, vision, and other services in your regular health insurance plan. In some cases, the insurance company will charge a great deal more to have these services included. In other cases, you can save more money if you go with a completely different company to get your dental and vision insurance. This is why you should always shop around before you start adding on additional services. By asking yourself these questions you can be confident that you are getting the right plan for your needs. For more information, contact Davies-Barry Ins or a similar...

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Opportunities To Lower Your Auto Insurance Cost

Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Being stuck with a high car insurance rate can definitely take its toll on your finances, especially if you are living on a tight budget. If you have recently purchased a new car insurance policy, then there are still opportunities for you to cut your policy’s rate. A few things that you can do to obtain a lower monthly rate is to do the following: Increase Your Vehicle’s Protection: There are likely opportunities that you are missing out on that could help you reduce your insurance rate. Opportunities like parking your car inside a garage, rather than street parking, or by installing a security system in your car could potentially save you a good amount of money each month. If these are options you could apply, then be sure to do so as they can be very effective at making your car insurance more affordable. Find Other Coverages to Add to your Policy: Only having one insurance coverage on your policy could also be a reason that you are likely paying a higher rate. Taking advantage of other coverages that your insurance provider offers can help you obtain discounts by having a multi-coverage policy. Insurance companies offer saving incentives for their policyholders that obtain more than just one insurance coverage as a way to gain more business, which taking advantage of this could benefit you just as much in the long run. See if Your Driving Record is Impacting Your Rate: Though you may have been involved in a car accident a few years ago, this accident could still be taking its toll on your insurance rate. Make sure that you consult with your insurance agent to see if there are points against your record so you can take action and potentially remove these points so you can lower your rate. A great way to remove negative points from your record is to attend a driving school and to pass the course. Taking advantage of this could be a very easy and effective way to save money on your insurance costs, so be sure to check your driving record before you continue to pay your current rate. Using these tips to help lower your car insurance can be very effective and can do a great job at not only reducing your current rate, but keeping your rates low in the future. So, before you consider customizing your policy so you receive less coverage to obtain lower rates, consider applying these...

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How Much Commercial Insurance Should I Get?

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Business insurance can be a significant expense, and many business owners wonder if they have too much coverage or not enough. Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can test out your own coverage to make sure you have the right amount.  Following the Crowd One thing to be aware of is that businesses spend an estimated 20 to 30 percent of their gross sales on different types of commercial insurance, so if you fall into this category you’re not alone. If you’re outside of the range, you may want to meet with your insurance broker to consider beefing up your coverage or paring down unnecessary expenses.   Asking Your Peers Another thing that can be helpful is to ask other business owners in your area, especially ones that are related to your industry. Sharing data on insurance coverage can be mutually beneficial to each business, and as long as you’re not directly competing with them, there can be little harm in sharing your numbers.  Sizing Up Your Risk You may also want to get a professional opinion to determine how much you should be spending on insurance. A professional risk assessor is great for reviewing your business practices and estimating the cash value of the risk you’re taking on. They may also give you ways to increase your business safety so that you need a less robust insurance policy. Consulting a Broker Your commercial insurance broker is another great resource when you’re unsure about your insurance spending. They can help you pull the data to see what has worked for similar-sized businesses in the past. They are also a good resource for making sure you have all the right types of coverage, and that you aren’t paying an unusual amount for anyone. Since these brokers have their eyes on a lot of business’ insurance numbers, they are a great place to turn when you’re unsure that you’re going in the right direction.  Testing it Out  Each of these steps can help you come to an insurance spending amount that is reasonable for your business practices. But the best way to really get the right coverage is through trial and error. You may start with a coverage that’s too low in some areas and then discover that you need more, through the claims and incidents that occur over time. Having a responsive business insurance plan is the way to go since you can increase or decrease coverage as you need it. Contact a local provider, such as Matlack & Company, for further assistance....

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What To Do After A Car Break-In

Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Uncategorized |

A car break-in can result in multiple types of loss. There is usually damage to the vehicle, since thieves tend to take the easiest option and break the glass. Then, there is the property loss involved, which can range from items in the car to the removal of accessories, like a stereo. Finally, you have to deal with the loss of confidence in your car’s security. Knowing what to do next is important to ensure you get the coverage you are owed. Call and report You do need to file a police report, even if the damage is only a broken window and even if nothing was stolen. In most cases, an officer will not respond directly unless the damage is exceptionally high or if the break-in is part of a larger slew of break-ins in a concentrated area. The reason is that your insurance may require a police report in order to cover the repair. If items were stolen, a report may also help you get them back eventually. In some cases, you can make a report online or over the phone, and in others you may need to go and make the report in person. Contact your local non-emergency police number to find out. Contact your insurance agent For a car break-in, your auto insurance company is your first insurance phone call. If you have comprehensive coverage, then it may cover the repair to the vehicle if the cost is greater than your deductible, but it may not help with the replacement of any stolen belongings. Auto insurance tends to only cover the vehicle and its accessories; so, for example, theft of a stereo system or the hubcaps will be covered, but not your laptop. Contact a company like Central Florida Insurance Agency of Town ‘N’ Country for more information. For the belongings, you will need to contact your home or renters insurance company, since these may cover your stuff even if it was in your car. Keep in mind both auto and home insurance will have a deductible, so if the loss or damage is less than your deductible, you will need to pay for everything out of pocket. Protect your identity Hopefully there was nothing too valuable in your car, like credit cards, check books, or even bank statements. If there was, you will need to call and cancel all accounts immediately. If items with personal information like a name, birth date, or social security number were lost, identity theft can also be a concern. You must contact one of the three credit reporting agencies and place an alert on your profile so that no new accounts can be opened without your knowledge. Verify your home security Another commonly stolen item from a car break-in is your garage door opener, or even a spare key to your home if you keep one in your car. Equipped with this and your address, which the thief can get off your car registration, they can break into your home later. If either of these items were stolen, make sure to change your locks on your home and reprogram your opener to a new code. Feel more secure in the future Make sure to never leave valuables in your car. If you must do so, make sure they are stowed...

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Should You Get That Auto Body Damage Fixed?

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

You love your vehicle, but life is busy, so when you get a ding or two in the parking lot, you may choose to ignore them. After all, your insurance policy has a deductible, and you may think repair is not worth the effort and expense. Even when you have a larger dent, you may choose to do nothing. In reality, you should probably have this damage repaired for several reasons. Aesthetics You may not be particularly image-conscious, but other people are. If you let your vehicle’s body collect dents, rust, and grime, it presents a negative image to the world. Unfortunately, people judge you by surface issues, and that includes the surface of your car. You look more disciplined when your vehicle is kept in good condition. If you use your car for business, you certainly need to drive a well-maintained vehicle. Your clients will see your vehicle as a reflection of your company.  Rust Un-repaired dents can lead to a rust infestation that leaves the outside of your vehicle looking like an unattractive patchwork quilt. Dents invite this rust explosion as well as advanced corrosion. Even if the appearance of your car does not personally concern you, what it does to the inner workings of your vehicle should. Rust can cause holes in the body, allowing exhaust fumes inside the cabin, potentially damaging your health. The frame of your car can be weakened and have pieces break off. Your gas and brake lines can even be affected. What starts out as a cosmetic issue becomes a huge safety issue.  Resale Value Unless you are planning to drive your car until it dies a premature death, you need to have body damage repaired. The resale value of your car plummets when the body has significant damage. When people are shopping for a car, they are often as interested in the appearance of the vehicle as they are its mechanical workings. If you trade in your vehicle, you will lose money for every dent since the dealership will have to repair that damage before they can sell it.  Ignoring damage to the body of your vehicle is not a good idea for numerous reasons. If the damage is small, invest in repairing it yourself. If your car suffers serious injury, do file a claim with your insurance company. Yes, you may have to pay a deductible, but you are protecting the value and integrity of your vehicle. Talk with insurance companies, like the one represented at http://esiinsurance.com/, to learn more about the importance of making proper...

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3 Tips For Saving Money On Your Auto Insurance When You Add A Teen Driver To Your Policy

Posted by on Mar 20, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Getting a driver’s license is a milestone in the life of most teens, but as a parent you may cringe when thinking about adding your teenage to your insurance policy. Teens are typically considered a high risk to insure, so whether you’re allowing your teenager to drive one of the family cars or he or she will have his or her own car on your policy, you can expect rates to go up. Luckily, there are several things you can do to keep premiums from being sky high. Use the following tips to save money on your auto insurance when your add your teenage driver to the policy: Have Your Child Take a Drivers Education Class Extensive driving training is a great way to help ensure your teen is ready to hit the road and operate a vehicle on his or her own. As a parent you should spend ample time helping your child learn how to drive safely, but it is also important to have you teen enroll in a drivers education course. These courses are often offered as an elective in high school, or you can opt to have your teenager take a course through a private company. In addition to educating your child about important driving rules and laws, many insurance companies will provide a discount for teens who successfully complete a drivers education course. You may have to provide a copy of a report card or a certificate of completion in order for your child to qualify for the discount. Make Good Grades a Priority Most parents want their teens to get good grades in high school — education is important, and success in high school can help a teen get into a good college. But good grades can also equal a nice discount on auto insurance premiums with a teen driver on the policy. Many insurance companies view good grades as a sign that a teen is responsible and may take more care when driving which lowers the risk of insuring him or her. Contact your insurance company to inquire about this discount and find out what their minimum grade point average is to qualify. Have Your Teen Drive a Sensible Car Auto insurance premiums are often calculated based on the value of a car, the safety features that it has, and the perceived level of risk of the covered drivers. When it comes time for your teen to get a car, it is in your best interest to steer him or her towards a quality used car that is several years old, has as many air bags as possible, and an alarm system. In addition to knowing that your teen is driving in a safe vehicle, you can also feel good about the fact that you’re saving money on your auto insurance. Visit sites like http://www.unitedsecurityagency.com for more...

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3 Things To Know About Roadside Assistance Coverage

Posted by on Mar 20, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you are looking into car insurance policies, you might be thinking about adding roadside assistance coverage. This allows you to have protection in case your car breaks down or you lock the keys in your car, without having to pay these costs yourself. Here are some things to know about this type of insurance coverage. A Variety of Services Are Included The first thing you should know about roadside assistance coverage is that many types of services are included. You might even be surprised by the fact that it covers more than just towing your vehicle if the battery dies or your car breaks down. Roadside assistance may also cover changing a flat tire, bringing you gas if you ran out, or helping you jump your battery so you can get to a mechanic. They may also be able to help you get your keys if you locked them inside or provide basic roadside auto repair services. There May Be Some Exclusions Roadside assistance coverage includes a lot of different roadside services, but it is not meant to be a mobile mechanic service. It is simply to get you out of an emergency situation and get you the help you need. For example, the tow truck can jump start your car and possibly help you put in a new battery if you have it, but they can’t buy the battery for you. They can put just enough gas in your tank to get you to a gas station, but won’t fill it up completely. They might be able to perform minor auto repairs to get your car moving, but not major auto repair services. It May be Stand-Alone or Part of Another Policy When you purchase roadside assistance coverage, you need to decide if you want it as its own policy, or add roadside assistance to another of your car insurance policies. If you are planning on getting full or insurance coverage, there will be some roadside assistance, but you might also want additional roadside coverage to add to it. There are also auto insurance policies that sell roadside assistance policies on their own in case you are not getting one of these policies. This is the ideal policy to get if you want liability insurance with only the roadside assistance coverage and not the other benefits that come with a comprehensive policy. Talk to a company like Kirby Soar Insurance to learn more about roadside assistance...

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Making Life Easier For Your Loved Ones When You’re Gone: Life Insurance

Posted by on Mar 4, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Having life insurance is a great way to make sure your family is taken care of after you’re gone, but it’s also easy to overlook the particulars if you’ve carried a policy for a long time. To avoid creating additional hurdles for your loved ones, it’s important to take steps to keep your policy up to date. Similar concepts can be applied to other aspects of your end-of-life plan, but it’s important that you remain as objective and pragmatic about these things as you can. Who Are Your Beneficiaries? Life insurance policies are extremely useful when it comes time to pay for things like final tax returns, property taxes, medical expenses and funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, they’re rendered far less useful if none of your named beneficiaries are available to collect on a policy. After age 50, it’s a good idea to review your policy every five years or so, just to make sure that the people to whom the policy will pay out can actually be present to help handle expenses. Like your life insurance policy, your will should also be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that a valid executor is still named. Not only will this avoid the additional delay in settling your estate when you’re gone it will prevent potential conflict between your inheritors too. In the absence of an executor a personal representative (PR) may need to be named, which can lead to disagreements between family members, and make the entire affair far more difficult than it needs to be. What Happens When There Aren’t Named Beneficiaries? In the absence of named beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, the benefit amount will be paid to your estate and distributed in accordance with your will. In a worst case scenario, these policies can take between 30 and 60 days to pay out, a duration which will be extended if no named beneficiaries are available. This is further exacerbated in the absence of an executor of the estate. This can be extremely challenging to deal with if yours is an older policy intended to take care of a spouse you’re no longer married to and your grown children are now responsible for dealing with your estate. As a result, they’ll need to cover your final expenses out of their own finances and wait for probate on your estate to close. This can all be avoided simply by updating your beneficiary information on a regular basis to make sure your policy can actually do what it’s intended to. Dealing with the prospect of death is naturally uncomfortable for most people, but it’s an inevitable fact of life. Putting off addressing these critical issues can end up leaving a great deal more hardship for your family to deal with in an already stressful and emotional time. For more information, talk to a life insurance professional like Amberg Insurance Center...

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