26. April 2017 · Comments Off on Getting Temporary Car Insurance for Permanent Drivers · Categories: Car Insurance

By itself auto insurance is confusing enough for many people. Throwing in a wrinkle like temporary car insurance may be a bit much. But relax, temporary car insurance is quite specialized and really isn’t that scary.

As the name implies, temporary auto insurance is a policy designed to be in force for a short period of time and for a certain occasion. Terms for policies are usually measured in days or weeks. Temporary car insurance shouldn’t be confused with things like non-owned auto insurance, which is a full-term auto insurance policy that covers a driver instead of a vehicle.

Temporary Car Insurance for Rentals

Although there are other uses for it, the most common application of temporary car insurance is in a rental situation. Rental temporary auto insurance is not true car insurance as much as it is an agreement between you and the rental company for that company to reimburse you for damages. It’s an added charge to your rental and always presented as an upsell.

Many insurance companies will automatically cover you at least partially in a rental car as long as you stay in the United States or Canada. Temporary car insurance offered by the rental company may pick up the slack, or may be completely unnecessary.

If you plan to rent a car in the near future and are unsure of your coverage, consult with your insurance agent before renting. It could save you quite a bit in unnecessary rental car charges. If you do rent, plan on an extra $6 to $12 a day in rental charges – not cheap if you annualize that premium.

If you’re driving in any other country, however, you want to seriously consider taking the rental company’s temporary car insurance. Apart from Canada, most American auto insurance policies exclude international coverage in general and coverage in Mexico in particular. The chances are very good indeed your car insurance back home won’t be there when you get off that international flight. That rental auto insurance may be the only thing between you and an unfortunate international incident should you get in an accident.

Temporary Car Insurance in Mexico

Another common application of temporary car insurance involves driving south of the border, even if it’s your own car. Unlike in Canada, where your local auto insurance policy is valid and generally recognized by local authorities, legally driving in Mexico carries an entirely different set of requirements.

American insurance companies don’t do business in Mexico or sell Mexican auto insurance. You will have to strike out on your own to get the coverage you need.

Temporary Mexican car insurance may be available through your agent by way of an insurance brokerage, online, or through an agency based close to the border. When purchasing temporary auto insurance for use in Mexico – and especially when dealing with agents or firms you don’t know – be sure you’re actually getting Mexican auto insurance. Also be sure you’re not paying too much.

There are several reputable Mexican insurance companies to choose from including ACE Seguros, HDI Seguros, Grupo Nacional Provincial and others. Don’t be afraid to do some research on these companies as many have A. M. Best ratings for financial security just like their American counterparts. “Seguros,” incidentally, is Spanish for “insurance.”

Now that you have your Mexican insurance, you’re just about halfway done. You also need to get a Mexican tourist visa and a “Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit” for your automobile. Although this permit isn’t required in Baja California and parts of Sonora in the northwestern part of the country, don’t even think about driving without it elsewhere in Mexico. If you’re caught without one, your car will likely be confiscated and you might find yourself spending time behind Mexican jail bars.

The visa and permit are available at the customs port of entry at the border or at a Mexican consulate. An English-language online application for the permit is also available, which will help you save time at the border. All told the total investment for driving in Mexico will run you several hundred dollars, however much of that is a deposit on the permit. You’ll get the deposit back when you surrender the permit upon returning to the United States.

19. April 2017 · Comments Off on Personal Finance & Money Management Roles & Responsibilities Defined · Categories: Finance

The business of managing personal finances comes with myriad tasks. You earn, you pay bills, you invest, you write checks, you plan, you, you, you…. I think you get the idea. Handing the finances can be a lot of work for you. These tasks involved can be grouped into into three distinct and different roles that are similar to ones you might find in any professional business. I refer to the roles of my personal finance and money management business as the Money Leader, the Money Manager and the Money Handler.

The Roles.

The Money Leader provides the strategic leadership, vision, purpose and goals for your financial operations. He is your business’ chief executive officer. If we make the analogy that successful money management is like a trip in your favorite automobile, the Money Leader decides: Where are you going? What stops along the way should you make? When will you start your journey?

From a personal finance perspective, Money Leader tasks include:

  1. Establishing vision – What is the end state you are trying to achieve? Where are you going?
  2. Developing financial strategy – How do you link your Financial Ends (outcomes/desires), Ways (plans) and Means (resources)?
  3. Setting Goals that enable the strategy- This will drive many of the plans that are developed.
  4. Provide guidance and direction to the Money Manager (more on him in a moment) has he develops the financial plans necessary to ensure the plans achieve the vision.

The Money Leader decides where you are going, when you need to get there and why you’re on this journey.

Middle management is the responsibility of the Money Manager who helps develop financial plans and ensures the processes of money handling are running smoothly. He has a more narrow view than the Money Leader and focuses on the details of the route our financial vehicle will take when we drive it and monitors the systems within it along the way.

The Money Manger is thinking about which highway or streets can I take to avoid traffic? How fast am I going? Do I have enough fuel to get there? How’s the car running? When is the next scheduled engine maintenance? Is there anything wrong with the car that needs to be fixed right now? What kind of gas mileage are we getting? Does the motor need a tune up?

From a personal finance perspective, Money Manger tasks include:

  1. Developing financial plans to achieve your goals – Choosing investments, selecting insurance policies etc.
  2. Guiding, monitoring and assessing the execution of financial plans – Things like monitoring earnings and expenses so you can create and maintain positive cash flow.

The Money Manager develops financial plans and monitors our performance executing the plan. He seeks to improve the efficiency of the processes use to handle the details of your personal finances.

When it comes to finances, many of us wind up getting mired in the details of handling money and will feel most comfortable with our final role.

The Money Handler is the role that most people will find familiar. This role deals with the nitty gritty bits and pieces necessary to keep your financial vehicle running. The Money Handler changes the oil, adds wiper fluid, puts air in the tires, replaces light bulbs etc. To quote an English friend of mine, he “works at the coalface.”

From a personal finance perspective, Money Handler tasks include:

  1. Paying bills – writing checks, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.
  2. Making investments – filling out paperwork, writing checks or making e-transfers.
  3. Moving money – between accounts as necessary (e.g. on payday, etc.)
  4. Reconciling accounts – balancing checking, savings, etc.

The Money Handler accomplishes the tasks necessary to implement the financial plans that the Money Manger developed and monitors in order to fulfill the Money Leader’s vision and strategy for financial success.

Each role is necessary in order to properly handle your finances. However, the Management and Leadership roles are most important as they determine what success means and how you plan to achieve it. I’ve often said that a “failure to plan is a sure fire plan for failure.”

Unfortunately many of us get mired in the details of being the Money Handler and miss or fail to accomplish the bigger picture vision and planning tasks of the Money Leader and the Money Manager.

13. April 2017 · Comments Off on Cheap Car Insurance For Damaged Cars · Categories: Car Insurance

Car insurance varies depending on various factors such as the price of the car, the purpose for which it is being used, capability of the driver, own or rented car, safety features of the car, etc. It is recommended to go for the best insurance quote that would cost less to the car owner, yet gives all the benefits of auto insurance. There are many so called cheap auto insurance agents in the market who promise to offer low premium insurance quotes.

Preliminary requirements for car insurance are:

• The car should fall below a stipulated number of miles

• It should have been manufactured after a particular date and be of a certain level

• Do not be gulled into believing that the car has none but scrap value; be sure to get a second opinion

Several insurance agents offer low auto insurance premium quotes compromising with the benefits the car owner would get in case of an accident or damage to the car. For example, the insurance premium would be high for rented cars and one may not rent a car if the driver is not willing to pay the insurance premium. The premium for rented cars is high because there may be individuals who wouldn’t drive a rented car as carefully as an owned car.

Used cars attract better auto insurance premium as the damage may be higher in an accident to used car. The damaged cars should also be insured properly to avoid lesser payout if met with an accident. For brand new cars, the auto insurance has to be taken considering all the features like the airbags in the car and other safety features apart from the driver’s profile of the car. Check out for more details on auto insurance quotes on the website.

Damaged vehicle insurance can be easily to find as it is easily available from several top insurance providers. You can also get cheap auto insurance for your damaged vehicle, simply because the liability coverage amounts remain about the same. Most difficult part is to get comprehensive coverage. Most of the insurance firms won’t offer comprehensive coverage on damaged cars, in case you find a firm that offers, you will notice a huge jump in premiums.

So, it is better to work with a licensed insurance broker, who is familiar with the ins and outs of the several insurance companies in your locality. Hey can help greatly in finding a company that fits with your needs. Consulting a broker is a great source for various insurance problems.

07. April 2017 · Comments Off on Aetna Health Insurance Leaving California – Recommended Replacement Plans · Categories: Health Insurance

Aetna Health Insurance announced they are leaving the California marketplace for individual and family plans. The end date of all their plans is December 31, 2013. All 49,000 Aetna clients still have six months to figure out what health plan they should move to. In this article we’ll give you a simple mapping that recommends which plans you should move to based upon the Aetna health plan you currently have, a “gotcha” to watch out for, and a couple of silver linings to feel good about.

The simplest way to replace your Aetna Health Insurance is to simply look for an alternative plan with the same (or similar) deductible amount. The recommendations below will make that easy to do. With just a little more effort, you could re-think what you need in yearly medical benefits and pick a plan the is a better fit for your current needs. Either way, you should be able to find a good solution listed below.

Aetna Health Insurance Underwriting Is More Lenient

This will be the gotcha for some people. Aetna has always been more willing to accept people with some health conditions. I know a number of my clients are in Aetna plans because they had specific health conditions that the other carriers either would not accept, or would “rate” much higher than Aetna. So this is something you have to be aware of and be careful about.

If you have existing health conditions, or are “too short” (okay… a little over-weight), or have a rated plan with Aetna, then you should definitely talk to a broker before you apply with another health insurance company. You’ll want to have the broker do Pre-Screen Requests for you to see how the other insurance companies will treat your application.

It’s important to do the pre-screen step first, because if you just pick a health plan, apply for it, and then get declined or rated even higher, it will be very hard to get other insurance companies to consider your application.

Let’s start mapping replacement plans…

Aetna Open Access MC Value Plan Alternatives

The Aetna Open Access Value plans are Aetna’s low-cost option. The Value plans offer a number of different deductibles, $8,000, $5,000, $2,500, and provide 3 office visits for a simple copay, and coverage for Generic prescriptions.

This plan description matches very closely to what is offered in the Anthem Blue Cross SmartSense plans. If you only need two office visits rather than three, then the best choices are the Health Net PPO Advantage plans and the ClearProtection plan from Anthem Blue Cross.

If cost of the plan is one of your major factors, then here is how the alternative plans above should be used.

  1. Health Net PPO Advantage 3500 – offers the best overall value (cost vs benefits)
  2. Health Net PPO Advantage 6500 – is usually the lowest cost option
  3. Anthem Blue Cross ClearProtection 3300 – Anthem’s lowest cost solution
  4. Anthem Blue Cross SmartSense 6000 – closest match to Aetna’s Open Access Value 8000, but lower cost
  5. Anthem Blue Cross SmartSense 3500, 2000, 1000 – if you feel more comfortable with lower deductibles

In the majority of cases, the alternative plans from Anthem and Health Net will be lower cost than the comparable Aetna Value plans. You’ll need to review health insurance quotes to see how the pricing looks for your location in California.

Aetna alternative plans from all major health insurance companies in California. The best plans!

Aetna Open Access MC Plan Alternatives

The Open Access plans are Aetna’s high-end offerings. These plans offered unlimited office visits for just a copay, provided both Generic and Brand name prescription coverage, and offered deductibles of 5,000, 3,500, 2,750, and 1,750.

The best mappings of the Open Access plans are the following:

  1. Cigna Open Access Value plans – Cigna’s entry plans, but very similar to the Aetna plans but without brand name prescription coverage
  2. Anthem Blue Cross Premier plans – these plans are the top of the line from Anthem
  3. Cigna Open Access plans – the high-end Cigna plans
  4. Blue Shield Shield Secure Plus plans – Blue Shield’s top end plans

Health Net does not have any plans that provide unlimited office visits and coverage of brand name prescriptions, so there are no options listed.

Aetna Open Access MC High Deductible Plan (HSA Compatible) Alternatives

These are Aetna’s entry in the Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible market. Like all HSA plans, they provide no benefits except zero-cost preventive care until after you reach the deductible. The plans come with two deductibles, either 5,500 or $3,500.

The mappings for these HSA plans is the following:

  1. Health Net CFB HSA 4500 plan – this is the best value HSA plan in the market
  2. Health Net CFB HSA 6000 plan – this is the overall lowest cost HSA plan
  3. Blue Shield Saver HSA plans – these are lower cost than the other non-Health Net HSA plans
  4. Cigna Health Savings 4900 plan – good general purpose plan
  5. Anthem Blue Cross Lumenos 5950 plan – Anthem’s last remaining HSA plan

Are You Looking For Lower Out Of Pocket Risk?

Some shoppers may be looking to lower premiums AND lower the OOPM’s they have had in the past. If this is your wish, then here are a couple of options you should explore:

  1. Health Net CFB PPO Standard plans – the OOPM in these plans is equal to the deductible, and 2 office visits for a copay
  2. Cigna Open Access Value 5000/100% – the OOPM is the same as the deductible, and the plan offers unlimited office visits

These alternative plans will cost a little more than the direct replacement options listed in the sections above. However, the attractiveness of having lower risk if an accident or a medical condition starts is very compelling.

Silver Linings In The California Aetna Health Insurance Decision

I believe that Aetna is just the first in a line of large and small health insurance companies that will leave the California individual and family health insurance marketplace over the next 3-5 years. Aetna had a very small market share, and would have a hard time competing with the insurance companies that dominate the California market. So having Aetna leave now will reduce the turbulence we see during the Health Care Reform roll-out later this fall.

The first silver lining in all of this is that Aetna plans tend to have very high Out-Of-Pocket Maximums (OOPM). As an example, for a family, the Open Access Value 8000 plan has an OOPM of $25,000, while the Anthem Blue Cross SmartSense 6000 plan and the ealth Net PPO Advantage 6500 have a $19,000 OOPM.

This is one of the reasons people have stayed away from new Aetna plans unless no other health insurance company would accept them. There are plenty of plans from Health Net, Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna, and Blue Shield that will have lower OOPM’s than the Aetna plans.

The last silver lining of this change at Aetna, is that Aetna plans have not been very competitive the last couple of years. So changing to comparable plans will give you a reduction in premiums. With the information we’ve given you above, you should be able to find a good Aetna replacement plan, now go forth and prosper.

Aetna alternative plans from all major health insurance companies in California. The best plans!

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