03. April 2016 · Comments Off on Purchasing the Best Car Insurance · Categories: Car Insurance

In the past, car insurance was not a necessity, as some people went for it and some did not. However, today an auto coverage policy is one of the crucial things in your life, if you own a car. People need proper coverage, no matter how luxurious or modest their car is.

The way people buy insurance has also changed. In the past, buying a car insurance just meant to meet your neighborhood agent and ask him for it. But now, it is somewhat different, as you have got lots of other options at your disposal from where you can get your vehicle insured, with some entirely new coverage choices.

Buying car insurance: Which method to choose?

When you want insurance for your car, you might be puzzled as from where you should get it. Should you deal with an insurance agent or should you go online? You can choose among different options for getting your car insurance. This includes:

  1. Buying from captive agents
  2. Buying from independent agents
  3. Buying online

People, who prefer personal services and like to form face-to-face relationships, should certainly purchase their policy from an agent. But, since there are different agents, they need to decide which one is the best for them.

Among these, some are called ‘independent agents,’ who sell insurance for numerous companies and some are ‘captive agents,’ who sell insurance for just one firm. Let us see the different features of these agents, so that you can decide easily and quickly the right agent for yourself.

1. Buying from captive agents

You should buy your coverage from a captive agent, if you are dedicated to a specific insurance firm. Since captive agents deal with only one company, they will know all the different insurance options offered by that company. And, thus they can assist you to build the right package based on your needs. However, captive agents may take more time to respond to your questions and to know your needs as compared to independent agents who work for commission.

2. Buying from independent agents

You should buy a policy from an independent agent, if you want to check out the different insurances provided by different companies, as independent agents deal with several companies and not just one particular insurance firm. This way you can get a better rate.

And, since independent agents are not directly employed by any one firm, they would not push one specific product and will tell you the right things about all the insurances. Thus, independent agents can aid you to find inexpensive coverage for your car. However, since they work for commission, they are under more pressure to grab a deal as soon as possible.

3. Buying online

The third option is to skip insurance agents completely and to work directly with the company online. However, for this you have to do most of the work yourself. You have to conduct a thorough research on different coverage providers, what they offer, the rates of their insurance, and what all their policies covers. Then, you can talk to the company, that best fits your needs to procure the coverage itself.

Among these, some insurance companies that employ agents do not necessitate you to work with them and a few of them do not employ agents at all. Buying auto insurance online is one of the best options for you if you do not have much time and want to get inexpensive car insurance, as it saves you from paying commission to an insurance agent. If you are not sure about your car insurance needs, then buying car insurance online, without an insurance agent can cause you to buy the wrong, too little, or too much insurance.

Select your type of coverage

Besides deciding which company to go with, you must also consider which policy you want. There are three main types of policies, including traditional, usage-based, and per-mile car insurance. So, have a look at these three car insurance coverage programs before you settle for one particular car insurance.

1. Traditional auto insurance

In this type of auto insurance, the insurers determine the quotes for the policy with the help of various personal factors, such as your age, driving history, gender, credit score, etc. Generally, the more risk you have as a driver as per these factors, the more high your insurance rates will be. In this, you can opt for a minimum coverage amount as per the state law or else you can select from a long list of different types of auto insurance coverage.

2. Usage-based auto insurance

As opposed to the traditional car insurance, where insurers presume your driving skills depending on a list of different risk factors and your accident history, usage-based car insurance providers offer you car insurance by seeing you in action in real. In this type of car insurance, like Allstate’s Drivewise or Progressive’s Snapshot, you get a telematic device, which you have to plug-in your car. This device records how you drive and your driving behavior, especially your bad driving habits like accelerating or hard braking.

So, if the device records that you are a low-risk driver, then you can save your money with usage-based car insurance. However, if it records that you frequently drive late at night or you drive fast, then it would not help you save money with your car insurance. Additionally, many usage-based car insurance programs are not available in each state. Therefore, if you are devoted to one insurance company, then you may have to switch your company, in case you move to a different state.

3. Per-mile auto insurance

Per-mile auto insurance providers also use a telematic device, but they focus on just one thing, that is how little or how much you use your car. However, this car insurance type is still new and is not available in every state. Among others, Metromile is the best provider of per-mile car insurance and is available in seven states until now, which are California, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Virginia.

Additionally, per-mile providers use the same elements as traditional insurers in determining your car insurance rates, but you can save some money through its telematic device. If you do not use your car much and use it only for emergencies, then your premium may be cut significantly. However, if you normally drive your car, then there are fewer chances of you saving money from it.

Shop around

No matter how you purchase your insurance, whether you go for a dedicated agent or you directly sign up with a car insurance provider, you must shop around in order to get the best rates. Do some homework and do not just settle for the first deal that comes your way. This is because rates for the same policy can differ from one company to the other by thousands of dollars. Therefore, comparing different car insurance offers is the best possible way to land up a good deal.

28. March 2016 · Comments Off on Group Health Insurance · Categories: Health Insurance

Health insurance is a type of insurance policy in which the insurer provides for the cost of any or all of the health care services. Today, there are many types of health insurance such as fee-for-service, managed care, and more. Health insurance is offered to individuals as well as groups. Group health insurance is designed to meet the health care needs of employees of large as well as small companies. Group health insurance policy provides medical expense coverage for many people in a single policy. Under group health insurance, the cost of premium is spread out among the members of the group.

Group health insurance offers health care coverage for student organizations, religious organizations, employers, professional associations, and other groups. Most Americans get group health insurance from their employer. In most cases, employer pays all or part of the health care insurance premium.

Group health insurance benefits both employee as well as employer. Employees covered by group health insurance plan, get medical treatment quickly with little or no cost. Compared to individual health insurance, group health insurance is less expensive. Another advantage is that no medical exam is required to qualify for group health insurance.

A wide range of group health insurance plans are available to choose from. Fully insured employer group, small employer group, large employer group, health maintenance organization (HMO), self-funded ERISA, group managed care, and preferred provider organization are some types of group health insurance.

Getting group health insurance quote through websites is quite easy. In order to qualify for a group health insurance policy, employer must have at least 2 full time employees on the payroll. While purchasing a group health insurance, it is advisable to seek the assistance of group health insurance broker. Golden Rule Insurance Company, UniCare, Aetna Inc., Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Health Net of California, and Time Insurance Company are some of the leading health insurance companies that offer group health insurance.

21. March 2016 · Comments Off on Health Insurance and Health Care Reform in 2014 · Categories: Health Insurance

The most significant changes implemented by health care reform legislation will come into force on January 1st of 2014. These changes will have at least some impact on all individual and family policy holders and will also effect grandfathered policies that were effective on or before March 23, 2010. The positive changes will be for those who have been rated up or declined for health insurance in the past, for those who are currently or plan to become pregnant, and those whose income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level (I will be developing a worksheet to help you determine whether you are eligible for a subsidy). The negative changes will be for those who have an average or better than average health rating and for those on the younger end of the health insurance spectrum (20s-30s).

If You’ve Been Declined or Rated Up

If you have pre-existing conditions, you are now in the sweet spot of health care reform. Starting in October of 2013, health insurance companies will be able to begin accepting applications for policies with a January 1st, 2014 effective date. These policies will not use health status or pre-existing conditions to determine benefits, to decline or charge higher rates. Moving forward, the only factors that will contribute to your health insurance premium is the plan you choose, your age, and tobacco usage. I am not yet aware of how currently effective policies will transition, whether your rating will simply be removed from your existing policy or whether you will need to apply for a new policy to get rid of your rating. I will know more as we get closer to the open enrollment period starting in October 2013.

Maternity Coverage

If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, starting on January 1st, 2014, all new health insurance policies will cover maternity automatically. It has not been made explicitly clear whether women who are currently pregnant will be covered. However, given the language of new policies regarding pre-existing conditions, I am comfortable in speculating that there will not be a waiting period for women who are currently pregnant and whose due date falls in 2014 and beyond. I will give updates as I become aware of definite regulations.

Health Insurance Subsidies

Health insurance policies sold through the NC exchange on or after October 2013, with January 1st effective dates, will be eligible for the subsidy. The subsidy amount will be based on your income and you will be eligible if your income is less than 400% of the federal poverty level. Based on income brackets, the premium you owe for your health insurance policy will be calculated as a percentage of your annual income. As previously stated, I will be creating a calculator to help you predict what percentage of your monthly income a health insurance policy will cost you. Health insurance agents will have the ability to assist you in purchasing a policy through the exchange.

Young and/or Favorable Health Rating

If you are young and/or have a favorable health insurance rating, in almost all cases, you can expect rate increases in 2014. This rate increase is due to required pre-existing coverage and to rate variance shrinking from young to old subscribers. The purpose of coverage penalties for currently uninsured individuals is an attempt to bring in healthy policy holders and temper this increase. There will be high deductible plans available to those who want to satisfy the health insurance mandate while minimizing monthly premium expenses.

There is a danger however, that individuals with low health care expenses will be driven to companies that have high complaint ratios, but offer coverage that fulfills the mandate, because those with poor health are likely to gravitate towards the health insurance companies that most reliably pay claims. If a scenario like this occurs, the reliable health insurance company’s premiums will be driven very high, which may even cause them to go bankrupt if they are unable to attract healthy subscribers. The tragedy of this type of scenario would be that the bargain basement health insurance company would come out on top for the very fact that they don’t do a good job of paying claims.

Grandfathered Versus Non-Grandfathered

If your health insurance policy was effective on or before March 23, 2010, and you have not made changes to your benefit level since then, you have a grandfathered plan. Grandfathered plans are not subject to many of the health care reform requirements, so if you are one of those who expects to see rate increases due to coming changes, it makes sense for you to stick with your current plan for now. If you are in your 20s or 30s, and/or have a very good health rating with your current plan then you probably fall in this category. However, in several years, up to 40% taxes will be applied to grandfathered plans that will cause them to lose their appeal. When these taxes are applied, then in almost all cases it will make sense to roll into a non-grandfathered plan.

When to Enroll (Open Enrollment)

Starting in October of 2013, you will be eligible to begin applying for a policy that falls under the new health care regulations. The initial open enrollment period will last for 6 months. After this time, there will be an annual open enrollment period at the end of each year (October 15th-December 7th) in which you may switch your benefit level or apply for a policy with a new company. Outside of open enrollment periods, you may change your policy during special enrollment periods created by certain life events such as moving your residence, losing group coverage, getting married, or having a baby.

How to Enroll

The enrollment process for policies sold outside the exchange likely remain much the same as they are today with two major exceptions. Medical underwriting will no longer be a part of applications and enrollment periods will be restricted as described above. Policies sold inside the exchange will have the same type of applications as outside except there will be required proof of income if you are eligible for a subsidized policy. It is not yet clear what specific documentation or tax form will be required to substantiate claims of income.

Current Policies

If you currently have a health insurance policy that you are happy with and plan to keep your policy beyond the open enrollment period, your policy will likely transition on January 1st of 2014 and be automatically modified to accommodate the new regulations coming into force. As previously stated, I am not aware of how ratings on current policies will be handled. They might stay on, in which case you would need to apply for a new policy without a rating to shed your old health rating. The more likely scenario is that non-grandfathered policies will automatically shed their health rating and transition into the new rating pool for that specific policy.

What Should You Do?!

There’s nothing to do immediately. As October moves closer and the NC health insurance exchange is up and running, I will be able to provide more specific details and directions in navigating the coming changes. I wish you well and invite you to contact me with questions or concerns.

15. March 2016 · Comments Off on Simple Finance – Money Saving Tips · Categories: Finance

Here are some things we can do to to stay current with the best deals and best prices.

1. Buy good products without the brand name.

You will know it’s a good product once you have tried it out. You can save up to 8 times the price for the same product.

2. Steer Away From Nutrition Supplements

The medical profession has proven that nutritional supplements are often an inferior source for our nutritional needs. Therefore stick with nutrition from it’s natural source. Food.

3. Buying New Cars

Again, buy a car for your needs and desires not for the neighbours. Buy a used car as cars devalue so quickly.

4. The Best Things In Life Are Free

It has been repeated enough times but it is still true. Give up the money sucking habits that people tend to do when they are in a mindless state. Smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling. They take without giving anything of value back.

5. Look After Yourself

Avoid medical bills by looking after yourself the very best you can.

6. Negotiate. Then Negotiate Again
Big ticket items always have a generous mark up. The sellers are often making as much as 100% profit. So be brave and go in and negotiate. When you do you’ll see the sellers eyes giving away the calculations he is doing in his head as you demand a lower price. He will know that he will still make a profit and it really is about how much you can squeeze out of them.

7. Keep Your Receipts

Keep your grocery receipts so that you can keep an inventory of how much items are costing and how they are varying over time. You may find that it is better overall to take your money elsewhere if there are too many pricing shenanigans from your regular supermarket.

07. March 2016 · Comments Off on Changes in Big Health Insurance for 2013 College Grads · Categories: Health Insurance

With all the fuss about the new policy, open enrollment period, the subsidies given by government and the necessity to have a health cover has created new choices and issues at the same time for the new college grads.

Some of the choices they make are; Mom & Dad’s plan, individually purchased coverage, short-term coverage, etc., but there is a whole new lot of options coming on for them.

How will health insurance options of today change for graduates when the last big provisions of the health reform law come into effect from January?

Here’s How!

Mom & Dad’s health insurance plan – A parent health insurance plan is best for you if you are thinking of moving back to your parent’s place, and you are looking for quality coverage or employer-based coverage is not available at the moment. With the help of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now a person graduating from college can stay insured under his parent’s health insurance plan till the age of 26. This is a very nice option for some of the graduates. But there are negative sides of this, like increased premium for the parents, or if you are not in the state then it is not possible to get the assistance of network doctor at the time of requirement. So these are the things that can hamper the benefits of your coverage.

In 2014: You will be treated as a holder of a health plan with your parents till the time you turn 26, but after that you are supposed to purchase a health cover of your own, in order to fit in the requirements of ACA.

Traditional individual health insurance plan -if you are looking for quality coverage and do not have an option of employer-based coverage at the moment, or you have an ambition of being financially independent, then you should go for a traditional major health insurance plan for yourself. A person with good health has many good and affordable options to choose from.You can get the best for you by getting the best information about your plan from an online marketplace. It is to be kept in mind that this is possible to decline coverage based on pre-existing conditions until 2014

In 2014: by the start of 2014, most of the people who are not covered under employer-based insurance will have to purchase these individual insurance plans. It will be a good thing if you will purchase one now. There is a chance of you getting the benefit of subsidies in 2014.

High-deductible health insurance plan – if you are not covered under any employer-based health insurance and want quality coverage, but do not have the need of it, as you are in a good health conditions and are not taking any kind of medical drug regularly, then you should go for a high deductible insurance plan. These are the traditional insurance plans with higher deductible. Here the meaning of higher deductibles is lower monthly premiums. Some of the higher deductible plans can be used in the health saving accounts, by which you will be getting some tax advantage and saving a considerable amount of money.

In 2014: At this time also the high-deductible plans and Health Savings Accounts will be available. Apart from these there will be plans available for everyone which are now a days only there for the people below 30 years of age.

Short-term health insurance plan – If all you want is the basic emergency coverage, or your employer-based coverage is not enough for you, then a short term health insurance will be a good option for you. The short term health insurance plans are easy to qualify and quite affordable. But it should be kept in mind that the short term plans do not cover the pre-existing conditions, preventive care or prescription drugs. You can easily purchase a short term health insurance plan.

In 2014: the short term health insurance will not be complying with the requirements of the health reform law in 2014. So you will be subject to a tax penalty on the federal taxes if you stay uncovered from a qualifying health plans for more than 90 days.

Going uninsured – It is a matter of concern that most of the young Americans are uninsured these days. The idea of health insurance sounds foolish at the time you are young and healthy. But a single medical emergency can cost to more than you can ever think with all the medical expenses these days. the success of the health reform will be vague without the involvement of young and healthy individuals.

In 2014: it is going to impact your finances if you are uninsured in 2014. Most of the uninsured people will face a tax penalty of 1% of their income or $95 (whichever is greater) and the penalty will keep increasing in the coming years.

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