Friday, May 29, 2015

Prepare Now for Winter Risks

The winter months are some of the busiest times of the year for insurance companies. That’s because winter, with its ice, snow, and freezing cold temperatures, brings all kinds of risks. There is a marked increase in snow and ice related car accidents, fires from improperly used heaters, and a host of other winter-related problems. One of the most common is a collapsed roof, caused by too much heavy snow and ice accumulating on top of a roof. Hopefully, that won’t happen to you- there are things you can do to reduce your risk- but if it does, you’ll want to make sure it’s covered by your insurance provider!

Risk Factors             

First and foremost, you should determine how at risk you are for a collapsed roof. Certain factors can make your roof more vulnerable than others. If you find that your roof is vulnerable to collapsing, you’ll want to take certain preventative steps to reduce the chances of that happening. Take action if your roof has any of the following high risk factors:

·        Faulty or outdated building design/building or home not up to code
·        Lightweight roofing material
·        A flat roof surface
·        Having a skylight or vent
·        Drainage problems
·        Problems with ventilation
·        Poor insulation

Bear in mind that none of these factors guarantee that your roof is going to collapse. They simply indicate that it’s more likely to do so and that you should be on guard as the winter months approach.

If you know that your roof is vulnerable, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of a collapse. Calling in professionals to inspect your roof and to fix any serious problems is always a smart idea. You can also make the effort to manually clean your roof on a regular basis, especially before and after snow. This is especially important for roofs that are flat, have poor drainage, or have skylights or vents, all features that make it harder for a roof to get rid of snow on its own. If your roof is in serious trouble, and cleaning and professional help aren’t really enough to make much of a difference, you may want to consider a roof replacement before winter really sets in.

Check Your Coverage

No matter how much care you take to protect your roof, unexpected accidents and events do sometimes occur. Since you never know when a roof collapse might happen, at least make sure your roof is covered by your property insurance. Many policies, surprisingly, don’t cover collapsed roofs, so you might want to get that coverage written into your policy if you know your roof is vulnerable. The bottom line is that if your roof is causing you concern, you want to do everything within your power to get it covered…just in case.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Insure Your Furry Friend

You probably love your pet just like a member of the family, and chances are, you’d be devastated if your furry friend needed surgery or some other medical procedure that you weren’t able to pay for. Sadly, this is a reality for many pet owners. Vet care is expensive, and sometimes, pet moms and dads are forced to let their fur-babies suffer because they can’t afford the care they need. You don’t ever have to find yourself in this dire situation, however- not if you have pet insurance.   

Just about any pet can qualify for pet insurance. The cost will vary somewhat depending on the pet’s age, breed, overall health, and other factors. In general, however, the healthier and younger your pet is, the more likely it is you can find a good deal on your insurance. For unique or less commonly insured pets, such as reptiles or rabbits, finding an insurance policy can be a little more challenging, but not impossible. You can rest assured that if your pet is important to you, there’s someone out there who is willing to insure it.

Furthermore, there are some good and often cheaper alternatives to pet insurance as well. One of your best resources is your veterinarian. Your vet’s office may offer a wellness package. These packages typically require a small monthly fee but come with great benefits, such as discounted pricing on a variety of services and products. There are also similar programs offered through large companies.

And, what if you’ve already found yourself in a dire situation? Don’t give up hope yet. There are many non-profit groups and vet’s offices that will work something out with you to help save your pet’s life. Whether it’s a payment plan or a gift given in kindness, anything you can do or accept to help your pet get the care it needs is worth it. Remember, pets are people too!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Disability Insurance: You are Taking a Risk Without It

According to Daily Finance, around 100 million people in the world currently do not have disability insurance. These people might think it’s a coverage they can live without, and maybe they can for a while, but disability insurance is the kind of thing people don’t really miss until they need it.  

This is the insurance that will protect you in the event that you get seriously injured or even permanently disabled in a car or other type of accident. It will also protect you if you fall seriously ill. In these kinds of circumstances, you will likely be unable to work, perhaps even permanently, and you may also require long-term care. In either case, who would pay for your expenses in the event that the responsible party can’t or while you’re waiting for him to pay up? Chances are you wouldn’t be able to out of pocket, nor would you want your family to carry this burden. However, if you didn’t have disability insurance, that would be what would have to happen.
If you did have disability insurance, however, and something like this happened, you would be taken care of. Disability insurance policies offer up a monthly payment to those who suddenly find themselves unable to work and with expenses related to their disabilities. Since these policies are obviously quite beneficial, why don’t more people have them?
Well, as mentioned, some people just plain don’t think about them. They don’t think becoming disabled is something that could happen to them though it could happen to anyone, at any time. Also, disability insurance can be quite expensive, but there are ways to get the coverage you need for less.
To begin with, some level of disability coverage may be offered through your job. Check with the human resources department to see if coverage is available. Often, if you secure your policy through work, it will be at a reduced rate. You can also shop around to find the lowest-priced provider and/or the one who offers the most discounts that are applicable to you.
If there’s really no way for you to afford full-on disability coverage, talk to your car insurance provider about special add-on coverage options that can, at the very least, protect you from uninsured or underinsured drivers on the road. It’s a cheap alternative to disability insurance, and while it won’t protect you in all circumstances, it will protect you on the road at least.

Really, though, as soon as you can, you’ll want to get disability coverage, even if it means cutting back or sacrificing in other areas of your life. Without it, you’re taking a serious risk each and every day of your life. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tips for Insuring College Students

If you have a young person in your life who is due to start college soon, chances are he or she has quite a few expensive, high-tech gadgets. Whether the soon-to-be student in your life has a costly tablet, computer, cellphone, or, as is more likely the case, all three, it’s important to make sure these items are covered before he or she goes off to college. Expensive gadgets often have a way of going missing in the busy, party-hearty college culture, so insurance for your student can often really come in handy. Just make sure you keep a few tips in mind so that you end up with the right  
coverage...without paying a fortune for it.

1. Check to See if Coverage is Needed
We know we’ve just lectured you on the importance of having coverage, but let us take a small step back. There is a chance your child and his belongings might already be covered. Before you rush out and buy an unnecessary policy, check to see if your homeowner’s coverage extends to your student’s personal belongings. Typically, as long as your address is still listed as your child’s primary or permanent address, you’re in the clear. Always make sure you know the specifics of this policy before you make any assumptions however.

2. Go the Extra Mile
Even if coverage is offered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, it may not be enough to truly protect your student’s belongings.If your child’s vulnerable valuables are priced above what your policy covers, you may want to look into additional coverage options, such as the blanket coverage offered by a “Valuable Items Endorsement” policy.

3. Take Advantage of Discounts

Having a child in college is expensive. Fortunately, most insurance providers are well aware of this fact and will cut you a few breaks where they can. Car insurance providers, for example, will often offer “good student” discounts if your student makes above a certain grade point average. Conversely, if your student is leaving the car at home for the semester, you can often get a nice non-usage discount. Inquire with all of your providers about college student related discounts, and you might just save a bundle!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tips for Taking Out Your First Insurance Policy

Many people are fortunate enough to be put on their parents’ insurance when they first start driving. Some are even lucky enough to have their parents actually pay for their insurance too. However, the time will come for everyone when they’re expected to open up their own insurance policies for the very first time. Whether the people in your life are insisting you do that from the get-go or you’re opening a policy after years of having someone else handle your insurance, know that it’s not as hard or as frightening as it might seem. By following a few simple tips, you can take out insurance, get a great deal, and be feeling pretty proud of yourself before you know it!

Compare, Compare, Compare                  

First things first, know that there are a lot of insurance providers out there, and the moment they find out that you’re in the market for one, they’re going to be vying for your attention. Put aside all the hype and pushy marketing gimmicks, and do some real research on different providers on your own. Compare rate quotes from different insurers. Think about price, especially if you’re on a budget, but don’t think only about price. Also really consider what you’re getting from each provider- the “bang for your buck,” and go with the most affordable provider who still manages to offer you everything you need.

Carefully Consider Your Comprehensive and Collision Deductibles

When you’re comparing the details of different policies and what they offer, be sure to pay special attention to your comprehensive deductible. It’s one of the most important parts of any insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage is there to protect you in the event that something unexpected, like a flood or a fire, damages your vehicle. The deductible, however, is the amount of money you’ll be expected to pay, out of your own pocket, for repairs resulting from these types of things. The higher your deductible, the lower your cost, but the lesser your protection level, so you’ll have to think about budget, risk, and many other factors as you find that perfect deductible to meet your needs. And you get to do it all over again when it comes to choosing your collision deductible, which abides by the same basic principles, too. Lucky you!

Know How Much You Get in a “Total Loss” Scenario

Finally, you must know the value of your car because if you get in an accident and the damages are going to cost more than around half the value of the car, it’s probably going to be deemed a “total loss.” When that happens, your insurance provider gets to write you a check- which you can use to get a new car- and then be done with it. Sadly, though, these checks aren’t always as nice as you might expect and can vary in amount depending on a provider’s specific policies. So, read the fine print carefully and never sign on the dotted line until you know and are happy with what you’d get in the event of a total loss.

As you can see, a lot of thought has to go into choosing your first insurer, but take it one step at a time, and you should end up with a great policy and, even more importantly, a sense of pride.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Do You Need Renters Insurance?

These days, companies will try to sell you all kinds of insurance. There’s car insurance, life insurance, and a multitude of other types of insurance. If you rent a home or apartment, you’ll probably also be pressured, or, in some cases, even required to purchase renter’s insurance. You may be wondering whether or not you actually need this type of insurance, and the short answer is that yes, you do.

Renter’s insurance protects you, first and foremost, from unforeseen accidents. You might think
things like flooding and fire will never happen to you, but the truth is, they do happen to people every day. If, God forbid, you ever come home to find your neighbor’s bathtub has overflowed onto your floor, or an outlet sparked and started a fire, you want to know there’s restitution for your belongings and funds to provide you with a place to live. With renter’s insurance, you have that peace of mind.

On the flip side, what if you’re the one responsible for that fire, flood, or other incident? If an accident on your part causes damage to others’ property or injuries, your renter’s insurance can protect you from having to foot the entire bill yourself.

The good news is that renter’s insurance, with all of the coverage it provides, is surprisingly cheap. Most people pay under $20 per month for their coverage, and discounts are available for things like installing protective devices, such as fire alarms. If cost is something you’re worried about, shop around for the best deal and ask your provider about possible discounts. No matter what you end up paying, it will be worth it when the time comes to actually take advantage of the protection your renter’s insurance offers you.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Whats Affecting Your Premium

When you go to an insurance provider and inquire about automobile insurance, you’re probably provided with a rate quote pretty quickly, right? Well, despite what the quick turnaround suggests, a lot of factors are used to determine how much you’ll have to pay, and, unfortunately, there are many different “red flags” that can send your premium amount through the roof. If you’re curious to discover what could be affecting your costs, read on to learn more.   

Your Driving History

First things first, an insurance provider is always going to check to see what kind of driver you are. If you’re someone who drives a lot of miles, for example, your premium is going to be higher since the more you drive, the more risk you face. Likewise, if you have a history of accidents, tickets, or other wreckless behavior on the road, you can expect to see your past mistakes reflected in your premium. Don’t despair too much if you have a less-than-stellar driving history.  Reforming yourself, being a good driver, and not having any incidents can slowly but surely reduce your rate.

Your Credit Score

Insurance companies want to feel secure in the fact that you’ll be responsible when on the road. So, they often look to see how responsible you’ve been in other areas of your life. If you’re someone who isn’t smart with money and who doesn’t take your finances seriously...or who appears not to based on a credit check, you can expect to pay a higher premium than someone with good credit.

Your Car

The car you drive also plays a role in determining your insurance rate. So, this is the one case in which driving an old, beat up clunker can actually work in your benefit. The more expensive a car is and the higher its value, the bigger the risk to the insurance company if it’s damaged or stolen. And the bigger the risk to the insurance company, the higher your premium.

Your Life

Finally, insurers look at who you are in general when they determine your insurance cost. The younger you are, for example, the higher your premium is likely to be. What you do for a living, whether you’re married or single, and even where you live and how busy its traffic is are all used to determine your policy pricing. You can’t stop living your life, but you can do things, such as shopping around for a good, affordably priced provider and opting for all possible discounts, to help you pay less for your car insurance, all things considered.