insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3139/all en-US Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here's What It'll Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/healthcare-stethoscope-money-Dollarphotoclub_64769213.jpg" alt="stethoscope money" title="stethoscope money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The ACA. Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act. Whatever you call it, your finances will almost certainly be affected by it, especially if you choose <em>not</em> to be covered by an approved plan in 2015. While many taxpayers are just now starting to feel the pinch of opting out in 2014, the penalties for this year are much stiffer.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here's what you need to know</p> <h2>How Much Are the Fines?</h2> <p>Straight from the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/fee-for-not-being-covered/">Healthcare.gov website</a>, the penalty or &quot;tax&quot; for 2015 is either:</p> <ul> <li>2% of your yearly household income over the tax filing threshold (usually anything over $10,000 for an individual); or<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>$235 per adult and $162.50 for each child under 18.</li> </ul> <p>The government wants you to pay the higher of the two amounts, but the maximum for option one can't exceed the &quot;national average premium for a bronze plan.&quot; Just what is that number? For 2014, the average was $204 per person per month or $1020 per month for a family of five or more. The national average for 2015 won't be known until the end of 2015, but the <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/18/obamacare-bronze-plan-premiums-expected-jump-14-20/">Washington Times states</a> it could go up by as much as 14% in some parts of the country.</p> <p>The maximum for option two can't exceed $975.</p> <h2>How Are the Fines Paid?</h2> <p>Since the health care law is enforced strictly through the IRS, it's quite simply a &quot;tax&quot; thing. If you don't make enough to file (under $10,000 in most cases), you wouldn't pay a fine, anyway. If you do file, you'll have a place to indicate your penalty on your return, and that amount will come off your refund (or you'll have to pay in, like any other tax owed). All major tax filing software services have been updated accordingly to help you fill out the right forms and make paying the fine just a part of the tax process.</p> <h2>Can I Get Out of the Fine?</h2> <p>In a word: yes. But it may take some work. People covered by an ACA or another plan that is considered &quot;minimum essential coverage&quot; don't have to pay.</p> <p>Others are exempt from fine if they had coverage for more than nine months of the year, are a member of a federally recognized tribe, have coverage through a health care sharing ministry, or have religious objections to insurance (including Medicare and Social Security). You can also avoid fines if you are in jail during most of the year or aren't in the U.S. lawfully or face certain financial hardships.</p> <h2>What If I Can't Afford Insurance or the Fine?</h2> <p>If the lowest-priced coverage would cost more than 8% of your household income, you can get an exemption. Additional <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/hardship-exemptions/">examples of hardship</a> that may qualify for an exemption include:</p> <p>1. Being homeless;<br /> 2. Eviction or foreclosure;<br /> 3. Facing shut-off from your utility company;<br /> 4. Experiencing domestic violence;<br /> 5. Experience the death of a family member;<br /> 6. Suffering substantial loss due to a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster;<br /> 7. Filing for bankruptcy;<br /> 8. Being unable to pay medical expenses that resulted in substantial debt;<br /> 9. Experiencing increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.</p> <p>There are also exemptions that can be granted due to changes in your state's Medicaid and CHIP programs, cancellation of your individual policy, and your difficulty in getting insurance.</p> <p>Note that all of these require you to fill out an application that can take weeks or months to approve. In the meantime, if you fail to get covered and your application is denied, you will still be held liable for any penalties earned during that time. It's is also suggested that you don't wait until the end of 2015 to apply for the exemption if you have proof of hardship now.</p> <h2>Should I Ever Choose to Pay the Fine?</h2> <p>That's really a personal decision, but I will say that there have been instances where you may owe less by simply paying fines. If you are a healthy adult that can get approved for a traditional pre-ACA plan without pre-existing conditions, you may be eligible for a short-term plan. These plans don't offer some of the benefits required by Obamacare, including maternity coverage or certain free preventative services. They are, however, more in line with pre-ACA pricing for premiums, and many have much lower deductibles and premiums than the subsidized plans offered on the exchange. These plans are good for 3-12 months and make you subject to ACA fines, but may still cost less after fines than better plans on the exchange.</p> <p>All of this will change again in 2016, with another increase in fines, so you'll need to stay abreast of developments. With open enrollment ending soon, however, whatever choice you make should be done without delay.</p> <p><em>Will you get insurance or pay the fine this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/signing-up-for-obamacare-in-2015-heres-whats-new">Signing Up for Obamacare in 2015? Here&#039;s What&#039;s New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-fall-for-these-common-obamacare-scams">Don&#039;t Fall for These Common Obamacare Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-obamacare-for-less-financial-risk-and-more-freedom">How to Take Advantage of Obamacare for Less Financial Risk and More Freedom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance ACA health care health insurance insurance IRS obamacare taxes Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:00:07 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1284842 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Survive the 5 Most Common Emergency Situations http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-the-5-most-common-emergency-situations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-survive-the-5-most-common-emergency-situations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-flat-tire-177572755-small.jpg" alt="woman flat tire" title="woman flat tire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nuclear fallout, asteroid strikes, and sinkholes are rare. But, yes, emergencies do happen. And while you'd be foolish to spend time preparing for any of <em>those</em> three disasters, it's smart and doubly worthwhile to prep for some of the more common ones. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore?ref=seealso">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our round-up of likely red alert scenarios, complete with tips on how to prevent and get out of them.</p> <h2>1. A Bad Case of Frostbite</h2> <p>If you spend time at high altitudes or in sub-zero climes, chances are you've flirted with frostbite. A mild case can mean your skin becomes partially frozen &mdash; and when it warms back up it's going to hurt like heck. But a bad case of <a href="http://www.ncemi.org/cse/cse1104.htm">frostbite can lead to severe blistering</a>, permanent cold sensitivity, and long-term loss of feeling. Not to mention it's a warning sign of life-threatening hypothermia.</p> <p>So if you think you've been exposed to frostbite of this magnitude &mdash; or if you're at all uncertain &mdash; it's important to remove yourself from the elements as quickly as possible and seek professional emergency medical treatment. As you make your way to the medics, keep in mind two important don'ts. Never use friction to warm body parts that have been exposed to frostbite, for this can further damage the tissue. And never rewarm frostbitten skin while you're still out in the elements &mdash; you'll run the risk of refreezing and doubly damaging your skin.</p> <h2>2. Flat Tires And Blowouts</h2> <p>Prior to 2007 when tire pressure monitoring systems were installed in all vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated flat tires and blowouts as the cause of 414 fatalities, 10,275 non-fatal injuries, and 78,392 crashes on American roads annually. Tire pressure monitoring systems have made us safer, but <a href="http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811617.pdf">tire troubles are still one of the most common problems faced by drivers</a>. That's because the tires are the only part of the car that are in constant contact with the road, making them extremely vulnerable.</p> <p>The best way to prevent a faulty tire situation is to check your air pressure regularly, rotate your tires every time you change the oil, and keep an eye on the treads, making sure to replace any tires that appear worn out. And <a href="http://www.procarcare.com/icarumba/resourcecenter/encyclopedia/icar_resourcecenter_encyclopedia_emergency2.asp#blowouts">if you do hear a tire pop</a> or experience a sudden lack of control in steering while whizzing down the highway, follow these steps: Get a firm grip on the wheel and slowly apply the brakes (sudden braking can propel your car into a spin-out), pull over to the side of the road, and activate your flashers. Once you're safely stopped out of the way of traffic, change the tire yourself or call for help.</p> <h2>3. A Severe Storm Threat</h2> <p>Be it a hurricane, blizzard, or wildfire, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on our lives. Where you live will help determine what kind of storm event you ought to prepare for, but nonetheless most disaster kits contain many of the same key ingredients. These kits should be assembled well in advance of an emergency, and they should contain <a href="http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit">everything you need to survive for 72 hours</a>.</p> <p>Some of those items include nonperishable food for you and your pets, bottled water, a sleeping bag or warm blanket for everyone in your household, prescription medications, first aid supplies, matches, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a whistle to signal for help. Be sure to keep your kit in a secure location &mdash; and be sure that everyone in the house knows where it is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters?ref=seealso">Safest Cities in America From Natural Disasters</a>)</p> <h2>4. Getting The Pink Slip</h2> <p><a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168563/job-loss-quickly-lead-hardship.aspx">Four in 10 Americans would feel financial hardship</a> a month from now if they were to lose their job today. Gallup's 2014 Economy and Personal Finance Poll also found that 23% of Americans earning $50,000 or less said they are very or fairly likely to lose their job in the near future. For Americans earning more than $50,000, it's 12%.</p> <p>&quot;With long-term unemployment a serious problem in recent years, many U.S. workers are not in a position financially to go a month, or even a week, without finding a new job if laid off,&quot; the Gallup poll concludes. &quot;That underscores the economic hardship that unemployment of any length can bring on U.S. families, particularly for younger and lower-income workers.&quot;</p> <p>One of the top reasons so many Americans fall into a financial black hole when they lose employment is that they didn't see it coming. So the best way to prevent yourself from falling into this trap is to prepare for the unexpected by creating an emergency savings fund. Paul Golden, spokesman for the National Endowment for Financial Education, recommends setting aside three to six months of living expenses to <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/12/26/why-you-need-an-emergency-fund-in-the-new-year">offset any future potential job loss</a>. During a recession, that amount should increase to six to nine months of expenses, Golden says.</p> <h2>5. House Fires</h2> <p>Every year there are <a href="http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-by-property-type/residential/home-fires">more than 360,000 house fires</a>, killing about 2,500 people and causing more than $7 billion in property damage in the U.S. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of house fires, followed by cigarette smoking and faulty heating equipment. And since two of every five house fires starts in the kitchen, one of the best ways to prevent one in your home is to fire-proof the area around your stove by removing anything flammable (think dish towels, anything made of paper or plastic) within three feet of the burners. It's also important to install and <a href="http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/prevent-home-fires">test your home smoke alarm</a> to ensure that it's working properly.</p> <p><em>Are you prepared? For what? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-the-5-most-common-emergency-situations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-stages-of-dealing-with-financial-disaster">The 6 Stages of Dealing With Financial Disaster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-wonderful-uses-for-witch-hazel">15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/109-random-acts-of-kindness-you-can-start-doing-today">109 Random Acts of Kindness You Can Start Doing Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips disasters emergencies insurance preparation Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:00:07 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1257139 at http://www.wisebread.com Not Insuring These 6 Things Could Bankrupt You http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-budget-468144843-small.jpg" alt="couple budget" title="couple budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting ahead financially isn't easy. It requires hard work and persistence. So why risk years or even decades of hard work and sacrifice only to lose everything in one unfortunate, very costly event? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marketing-life-insurance-and-behavioral-psychology?ref=seealso">Marketing, Life Insurance, and Behavioral Psychology</a>)</p> <p>&quot;It won't happen to me,&quot; you say? I felt the same way years ago. But life happens. However unfair it may be, over time we all see some of our friends and family members face difficult challenges or even catastrophes. (I'll include a few examples of my own below.) As much as we hope to avoid them, we just can't predict or control all events. But we can at least hedge some of these risks by insuring against them.</p> <h2>What Should I Insure?</h2> <p>Insurance is for the big things. It's to protect you from major events that would cost you more than you can pay for from your short-term financial reserves. In other words, its purpose is to help shield you from serious and potentially devastating financial setbacks.</p> <h2>What Shouldn't I Insure?</h2> <p>As a rule, then, insurance is not for smaller financial risks or expenses you could absorb and pay for in the short term. This is where we often make a mistake &mdash; purchasing insurance or service contracts for goods and services that cost hundreds of dollars or less.</p> <p>Is that to say that you should never consider taking insurance on a cell phone or a computer printer, for example? Maybe not, but be aware of the cumulative opportunity cost of those expenditures. That money could have been used to help you get ahead financially, by paying off an outstanding debt for example. Also, remember that companies that encourage you to buy their service contracts and warranties often make more profit on the warranties than on the actual product or service being insured.</p> <p>So, what are the big things requiring insurance? And what types of insurance can protect you from being wiped out financially? Here are six that cover most if not all of the bases.</p> <h2>1. Health Insurance</h2> <p>By far, the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States is unpaid medical bills. A <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/pf_article_109143.html">study done at Harvard University</a> identifies medical expenses as a leading cause of 62% of all personal bankruptcies.</p> <p>Even the shortest of hospital visits now costs thousands of dollars. Just a few months ago one of our sons experienced sudden stomach pains, requiring a trip to the emergency room. After a number of tests (isolating the problem as an intestinal disorder) and some antibiotics he was released four or five hours later. The bill? Over $20,000. Thankfully our insurance covered most of the bill and his subsequent treatments. But it's easy to see how a single serious injury or disease, if not adequately covered by health insurance, could deplete your entire savings.</p> <p>And even if you have health insurance, the ever-rising deductibles (sometimes $5,000 or more) can tip you over a financial cliff if they exhaust your short term funds and force you to delay credit card, vehicle, mortgage, and other payments in an attempt to recover.</p> <h2>2. Life Insurance</h2> <p>This one should be a no-brainer. If you have dependents or any unpaid debts or financial obligations that would need to be paid upon your death (not many people can answer &quot;No&quot; to all of those), then you need life insurance. The question is, how much?</p> <p>There are many ways to estimate how much life insurance you need, but I like the following approach:</p> <ol> <li>Determine your household's current TOTAL annual income needs and SUBTRACT income that's available to your spouse/survivor(s) from other existing sources. This will be their NET annual income need.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Multiply this net annual income need TIMES the estimated number of years your beneficiaries will require it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>ADD your total current outstanding debts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>ADD future unfunded expenses (your funeral expense, children's college, etc)</li> </ol> <p>This total should give you a good initial estimate. For a more complete assessment I suggest Tony Steuer's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984508104/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0984508104&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZNPG3SINGOTXRIYR">Questions and Answers on Life Insurance</a> toolbook .</p> <p>My strong preference is term life insurance, not permanent life policies like whole life or universal that include an investment component. As a rough guide, I purchased a $300,000 supplemental term life policy at age 40 for $300 per year, or $25 per month. That premium amount will not change until my mid-60s.</p> <h2>3. Vehicle Insurance</h2> <p>Auto insurance is required by most states. It's actually a collection of policies that protects you from financial loss in three ways:</p> <ol> <li>Property coverage pays for damage to your car, either from a collision or from vandalism, storm damage, or theft (if you have &quot;comprehensive&quot;).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Liability coverage pays legal expenses to others for injury to them or damage to their property in an accident.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating accident injuries, and sometimes for lost wages and funeral expenses.</li> </ol> <p>According to <a href="http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/money-girl">Money Girl podcaster Laura Adams</a>, you ought to have &quot;enough auto insurance to cover the total value of all your assets &mdash; such as your home, vehicles, savings accounts, and non-retirement investments &mdash; [in case you are] involved in a lawsuit.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Homeowners Insurance</h2> <p>Like vehicle insurance, homeowners insurance is required when you have a mortgage. It should cover the replacement value of your home and its contents, and it pays for claims associated with fire and certain natural disasters. A liability portion also covers you if someone gets hurt on your property. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>If you rent, and the loss of your personal belongings would cause a financial hardship, then you should consider renter's insurance.</p> <h2>5. Disability Insurance</h2> <p>As a young girl my grandmother excelled in school. She loved to read and looked forward to attending college. Her father was a successful stone mason and the family lived comfortably, so paying for college was within their means. Then a work-related accident left him disabled. He never recovered, and he didn't have disability insurance, so his daughter had to quit high school and get a minimum wage job to help the family make ends meet. Needless to say, my grandmother never attended college, and she never had an opportunity to achieve her dreams.</p> <p>This is why having disability insurance is so important.</p> <ul> <li>Approximately one out of four workers entering the workforce today will become disabled for some period of time before they retire.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>More than 90% of disabling accidents and illnesses are not work related, which means they aren't covered by worker's compensation insurance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Social Security is only available after you've been out of work for a year and are completely disabled.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Disability is the leading cause of about 50% of all mortgage foreclosures.</li> </ul> <p>Most employers provide short-term disability insurance to non-contract workers, but they are less likely to offer long-term disability coverage, or if they do it's often less than you need. So look into supplemental disability insurance to make sure your family's needs are covered.</p> <h2>6. General Liability Insurance</h2> <p>Sometimes referred to as umbrella insurance, this is a &quot;miscellaneous&quot; policy. It covers amounts in excess of maximums in other policies, and it provides primary insurance for losses that aren't covered by other policies. Take personal injury lawsuits. However frivolous the claim, defending against a lawsuit can cost thousands. For example, my stepfather works for his local township and he spent over $40,000 clearing himself of an unfounded charge against him by a citizen of the town.</p> <p>Also, have you noticed that insurance companies are narrowing the scope of what they cover in their traditional insurance policies? That same stepfather had storm insurance to cover his primary residence but didn't learn until after last year's Hurricane Sandy that the insurance company wouldn't cover $20,000 in damages to the garage on the same property.</p> <p>Our household has a $1 million umbrella policy that costs about $50 per month. It gives us peace of mind.</p> <h2>Protect What You've Worked Hard For</h2> <p>Joni Mitchell wrote: &quot;Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.&quot; I think that sums it up nicely. It's hard for us to appreciate the consequences of a serious accident or unforeseen event until after it occurs.</p> <p>But bad things do happen &mdash; we see it all around us. So do what doesn't come naturally: protect yourself against your big risks before they happen. Take stock now of your insurance needs and make sure you're covered.</p> <p><em>Have you covered your big risks? How many of these insurance policies do you have? Can you think of any others?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keith-whelan">Keith Whelan</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-fall-for-these-common-obamacare-scams">Don&#039;t Fall for These Common Obamacare Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/generic-drug-price-lists-for-six-major-pharmacies">Generic Drug Price Lists For Six Major Pharmacies - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance bankruptcy health insurance insurance life insurance Fri, 22 Aug 2014 13:00:02 +0000 Keith Whelan 1190088 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Premium http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-lower-your-car-insurance-premium <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-lower-your-car-insurance-premium" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/insurance-agent-134214747-small.jpg" alt="insurance agent" title="insurance agent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on lowering your car insurance premium, helping friends who are bad with money, and what to buy in August.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://smartmoneychicks.com/2995/5-ways-to-lower-your-car-insurance-premium/">5 Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Premium</a> &mdash; If you want to lower your car insurance premium, ask about discounts and change your coverage. [Smart Money Chicks]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/how-to-help-friend-who-is-bad-with-money">Money Matters: How to Help a Friend Who Is Bad With Money</a> &mdash; To help a friend who is bad with money, point him or her in the direction of financial tools. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://savingslifestyle.com/2014/07/what-to-buy-in-august/">What to Buy in August</a> &mdash; August is a great time to buy linens and bicycles. [SavingsLifestyle.com]</p> <p><a href="http://simplefinanciallifestyle.com/is-fear-preventing-you-from-simplifying-your-finances">Is FEAR Preventing You From Simplifying Your Finances?</a> &mdash; Just doing it and starting small can help you simplify your finances. [Simple Financial Lifestyle]</p> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/depression/">How Depression Threatens Financial Well-Being</a> &mdash; Since depression causes people to not have the same thoughts as someone who isn't depressed, it can threaten their financial well-being. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.frugalrules.com/frugal-tips-foodies/">3 Frugal Tips for Foodies Who Love Eating Out</a> &mdash; If you have a friend who is a foodie, take them to a restaurant week. [Frugal Rules]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Uses-Lemon-23121786">Beyond Lemonade: 25 Cool Uses for Lemons</a> &mdash; You can use lemons to disinfect wounds and refresh your garbage disposal. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://frugalbeautiful.com/blog/iced-coffee-home-coffee-maker/">How to Make Iced Coffee at Home (Without a Coffee Maker)</a> &mdash; You don't need a coffee maker to make iced coffee. All you need is a jar, a strainer, and coffee grounds! [Frugal Beautiful]</p> <p><a href="http://ptmoney.com/dealing-with-small-business-debt/">3 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Dealing with Small Business Debt</a> &mdash; Before you deal with business debt, figure out the debt time frame. [PT Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/where-and-how-to-celebrate-world-breastfeeding-week-this-august">Where (and How) to Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week This August</a> &mdash; Did you know August is National Breastfeeding Month? [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-lower-your-car-insurance-premium">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dead-car-battery-give-it-a-glass-of-red-wine">Dead car battery? Give it a glass of red wine.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-up-your-car-may-be-easier-than-you-think">Giving Up Your Car May Be Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation best money tips car insurance Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1178258 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3125086563_ea5a5a766a_z.jpg" alt="anti-vandal paint" title="anti-vandal paint" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've got home security systems and car alarms and bike locks. Yet our belongings still get stolen from time to time. When the mainstream anti-theft devices just aren't cutting it, it may be time to get creative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-a-home-alarm-system-you-probably-already-have-one?ref=seealso">Can't Afford a Home Alarm System? You Probably Already Have One</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top seven outside-the-box things you can do to protect your assets.</p> <h2>1. Invest In Kidnap Insurance</h2> <p>So your beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed twenty-something is studying abroad in Colombia. And you're thrilled he's embarking on this eye-opening, cultural experience until you read that Colombia is a hot bed for kidnappings. We kid you not, one person was <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0621/Kidnapping-in-Colombia-The-role-of-abductions-in-decades-long-conflict">kidnapped in Colombia on five</a> different occasions.</p> <p>What's a parent to do? You could put the kabosh on the trip and accept that you won't be receiving a Father of the Year Award &mdash; or you could purchase <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/11/kidnap-ransom-insurance-leadership-ceonetwork-ceos.html">kidnap insurance</a>. This type of highly unique travel insurance comes at a cost of several thousand dollars a year. Experts say the best plans cover not only a reward paid to informants who can provide tips that lead to an arrest, but also things like lost income, psychiatric expenses, and loss of fingers.</p> <p>Yes, we know, these aren't pleasant thoughts. The price tag isn't pleasant, either. But for journalists, business executives, and other frequent travelers, some form of kidnap and ransom protection may be a smart idea. A less expensive way to go about it is <a href="http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-blackberry/">The Executrac</a>, an app ($29.95 with a $19.95 monthly subscription) that turns any smartphone into a covert GPS tracker with a panic button.</p> <h2>2. Plan for Death When You Say, &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>If you came to your end this very moment, what would happen to your family, your dog, your home, your internal organs, your online passcodes, and your social media accounts? Even if you're young and healthy, experts say it's all worth thinking about.</p> <p>Perhaps you want to commission <a href="http://www.lovedonesart.com/">artwork made with your ashes</a> blended in paint. Or, like Michael Jackson, <a href="https://www.everplans.com/blog/the-10-biggest-inheritances-ever-left-to-pets">maybe you want to leave $2 million to your pet chimpanzee</a> payable upon your death. Services like <a href="https://www.everplans.com/">Everplans</a> can help delineate such requests, starting with a free online personal will developer.</p> <p>The company's founders started creating the will developer as a young married couple concerned about the future. They recommend others start the process as soon as they begin to build their own family. It might seem premature, but the alternative to this kind of planning can be grim.</p> <h2>3. Channel Your Inner Kevin McCallister</h2> <p>When you'll stop at nothing to keep your belongings safe, it's time to implement the booby trap. The term was coined in 1850 and has been wreaking havoc on enemies, thieves, and otherwise unsuspecting victims ever since.</p> <p>In a modern day example, a Missouri homeowner fed up with pranksters driving their cars in his yard <a href="http://www.bnd.com/2014/07/20/3310581/off-the-beat-did-homeowner-go.html">buried a bed of nails in the ground</a> along the perimeter of his property. Tire tracks on the front lawn? Not on his watch.</p> <p>A word of warning: Some of these rigs can trigger police involvement, leading us to very cautiously recommend the booby trap, which is only sometimes legal. Please: be safe.</p> <h2>4. Paint It Neon</h2> <p>Investigators dealing with a rash of car battery thefts in Richmond County, Georgia two years ago recommended residents invest in a can of brightly colored paint. Car batteries &mdash; and other items whose value isn't tied to its outward appearance such as lawnmowers and construction equipment &mdash; can benefit from a coat of <a href="http://www.wfxg.com/story/19473021/investigators-working-to-prevent-vehicle-battery-thefts">high visibility paint that deters theft</a> and makes it easier for police to identify and return your item to you in the event that it does get stolen.</p> <h2>5. Make It Slippery</h2> <p>Got a problem with trespassers jumping the fence around your property? There's a paint for that. Aptly named <a href="http://www.decoratingwarehouse.co.uk/buy/paints&mdash;coatings/anti-graffiti-coatings/coo-var-anti-climb-paint&mdash;vandalene-/416">anti-vandal paint</a>, this slippery residue makes climbing near impossible when applied to fences, support beams, gutters, or gates. The paint, which can also be used to stop graffiti artists, is colorless, weather resistant, and <a href="http://www.anthonylatimerandson.co.uk/?page=antivandal_painting">it never dries</a>.</p> <h2>6. Strap a GPS Tracker On It</h2> <p>If Spot has a tendency to roam, it's not a bad idea to consider investing in a dog collar with GPS tracking capabilities. Embedded with mini GPS units, these collars can <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/04/how-to-track-a-lost-animal/index.htm">pinpoint your pet's exact location</a> should he stray from the yard. The <a href="http://www.whistle.com/gps/">WhistleGPS</a> (preorder for $129) tracks not only your pet's location, but all of his activities in an easy-to-use app on your smartphone. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Tracking-Unit-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B004HFRA7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406467661&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=garmin+gtu-10">Garmin GTU 10</a> ($200) allows the pet owner to configure up to 10 &quot;geofences.&quot; If your dog crosses the boundary, you get a warning emailed to your account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile?ref=seealso">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</a>)</p> <p>Dog collars aren't the only things that come GPS-equipped. The list of things you can track using this advanced location technology is endless &mdash; <a href="http://wallet.thetrackr.com/">wallet</a>, <a href="http://www.securusgps.com/eZoomGPSforAssets.aspx">speed boat</a>, <a href="http://bluetrackgpstrackers.co.uk/shop/gps-trackers/bluetrack-prime-1-gps-tracker/">luggage</a>. Kanye West, who is internationally known for taking things one step too far, allegedly installed a GPS tracker on Kim Kardashian's cell phone so he can <a href="http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/560194/20140724/kanye-west-stand-hearing-wife-s-ex.htm">keep track of his wife</a>.</p> <h2>7. Hide It With Camouflage</h2> <p>If you live in a wooded area, you can quite easily use <a href="http://camoclad.com/products/sheet-goods/">camouflage paneling</a> to conceal your storage sheds, vehicles, and boats. You can also hide your home. Even if you don't live in the forest, you can camouflage your living quarters in other ways to blend in with the natural surroundings. There's a home in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for example, that's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekezUcALys">built inside a sand dune</a>.</p> <p>Casa do Penedo in Portugal's Fafe Mountains is perhaps the ultimate example of covert housing. <a href="http://obviousmag.org/archives/2009/12/casa_rochedo.html">The home is made of four giant boulders</a>, giving it a rugged aesthetic that would probably be pleasing to the likes of Barney and Betty Rubble. There's no electricity, but there is a swimming pool and living room fireplace. Not bad for a house made of nothing but rock, right?</p> <p><em>Ever heard of a crazy, creative way to keep things safe? Let us know in comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-calls-you-can-make-now-to-save-hundreds-to-thousands-of-dollars">Five calls you can make now to save hundreds to thousands of dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe">The $25 gadget that keeps my home and family safe.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-steps-you-must-take-if-youve-been-in-a-car-accident">10 Steps You Must Take If You&#039;ve Been in a Car Accident</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living General Tips Insurance insurance protection safety security Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1175047 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Stages of Dealing With Financial Disaster http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-stages-of-dealing-with-financial-disaster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-stages-of-dealing-with-financial-disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/worried-couple-bills-180413004-small.jpg" alt="worried couple" title="worried couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes, no matter how frugal and prudent we are, financial disaster hits and turns our lives upside down. Maybe it's an unexpected health issue that we're not insured for, a whopping and unavoidable housing expense, or a job loss that leads to a long stretch of unemployment. It happens &mdash; and if it hasn't happened to you, you probably know someone who's been down that rocky road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-finances-fragile?ref=seealso">Are Your Finances Fragile?</a>)</p> <p>Whatever the cause, it seems people have similar reactions to financial disaster and similar phases of recovery. Here are six common stages we go through as we grieve our loss and work to rebuild our financial lives.</p> <h2>1. Shock and Denial</h2> <p>Understandably, dramatic changes in our financial fortunes can initially inspire a sense of shock, disbelief, and denial. Whatever path brought us up to and over the edge of our financial cliff may have been paved with the best intentions and highest optimism &mdash; buying a new house, investing in a business, or pursuing an advanced degree. Part of the recovery process is waking up to the fact that the dream is over &mdash; at least for now &mdash; and who wants such a rude awakening? Shock and denial insulate us from a painful reality and forestall the inevitable packing-up of our dream.</p> <h2>2. Depression</h2> <p>Once the shock wears off and constant denial simply can't be maintained, depression fills the void. Depression prepares us for acceptance and is both a part of admitting defeat and its logical result. Depression is the clearest mourning phase in financial upheaval &mdash; it's the point at which we acknowledge a very real loss, grieve the plans we made, and emotionally and financially hibernate.</p> <h2>3. Acceptance</h2> <p>Acceptance is the first stage of active recovery. The shock is passed, the denial is over, and depression is giving way to reality (however wince-worthy it may be). At this point, it's helpful to remind ourselves of the things we still have &mdash; marketable skills, the support of family and friends, zero debt, or a car that's modest but dependable and paid for. However deep you have to dig to find the positives, find them and use them to fuel your momentum.</p> <h2>4. Analysis and Learning</h2> <p>In marketing, we call this the post-mortem stage. It begins by asking and then honestly answering a few very simple questions.</p> <h3>What (Really) Happened?</h3> <p>Getting a clear answer is trickier than it sounds. Often, we struggle to understand the nature of the problem. What led to the foreclosure &mdash; was it an unmanageable interest rate? An ill-advised refi? Out-of-control spending? All of the above?</p> <h3>How Did This Happen?</h3> <p>Digging a bit deeper, asking &quot;how&quot; helps us link behavior to circumstances and outcomes. The answer is the first step toward making the changes necessary to minimize the chance of future trouble.</p> <h3>What Could I Have Done Differently?</h3> <p>Once we understand what happened and how it happened, we can begin to reflect on options that might have helped us dodge the disaster, or do so in the future.</p> <h3>What Have I Learned for Next Time?</h3> <p>This question links everything together. And while the answer isn't always crystal clear, asking it is important. The lessons we learn from financial upheaval are some of the most valuable things we're left with. Making them an honest part of our story helps turn them into foundations of future success.</p> <h2>5. Rebuilding</h2> <p>This is go time. The rebuilding stage gives traction to the analysis and learning we've done. Here, we've fully surrendered the Plan A and are focused on creating a just-as-wonderful (although perhaps more modest) Plan B. New insight and smarter approaches take shape (complete with redundancies and safeguards) as we plot the next <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals">steps to achieve our goals</a>.</p> <h2>6. Fortification</h2> <p>This stage can be summed up perfectly in a famous quote by Scarlett O'Hara in <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1416548947/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1416548947&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HQA67X2JCMUSPMID">Gone With the Wind</a>: &quot;As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.&quot; Fortification is &quot;recovery plus&quot; &mdash; an attempt to make any sort of hiccup or failure extremely unlikely by having extra savings, additional resources, or deeper knowledge. For example, re-entering the real estate market might happen only after a person is sure of securing a better interest rate, borrowing far less than she's qualified for, having a healthy emergency fund, and securing a space large enough to take in a rent-paying roommate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <p>A wise and dear friend of mine used to say, &quot;Few things in life are irreversible&quot; and those words are especially important to remember if you're facing or recovering from financial disaster. As remote as the idea may seem in the thick of things, we live in a world that still gives second chances; don't ever feel like you can't claim your own. Again, in the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, &quot;After all&hellip;tomorrow is another day.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you weathered a financial disaster? What were the most difficult stages as you coped and recovered?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-stages-of-dealing-with-financial-disaster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-often-do-you-get-your-paycheck">How often do you get your paycheck?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-money-facts-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-counterfeit-money">Weird Money Facts: 10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Counterfeit Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ow-do-you-deal-with-family-members-who-are-bad-at-managing-money">How Do You Deal With Family Members Who Are Bad At Managing Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance General Tips disaster financial disaster insurance recovery Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Kentin Waits 1174401 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Insurance Edition http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-insurance-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-insurance-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/insurance-484624179-small.jpg" alt="insurance" title="insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles from around the web on insurance.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Insurance-Policies-Arent-Worth-19090574">7 Insurance Policies You Can Live Without</a> &mdash; Chances are you can live without specialty disease insurance and extended warranties. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/5-ways-to-save-money-on-insurance/">5 Ways to Save Money on Insurance</a> &mdash; To save money on insurance, increase your deductible or boost your credit score. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/08/14/11-tips-every-home-owner-needs-to-know-about-insurance/">11 Tips Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Insurance</a> &mdash; If you are a homeowner, make sure you know what your insurance covers and how to save by bundling. [Fox Business]</p> <p><a href="http://moneyning.com/insurance/do-you-regularly-shop-around-for-insurance/">Do You Regularly Shop Around for Insurance?</a> &mdash; If your coverage needs have changed, it is essential to shop around for new insurance. [MoneyNing]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/renters-insurance-why-its-worth-it/">Renters Insurance: Why It's Worth It</a> &mdash; Did you know renters insurance can cover the cost of additional living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable? [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/are-you-taking-care-of-your-family-make-sure-you-have-life-insurance/">Are You Taking Care of Your Family? Make Sure You Have Life Insurance!</a> &mdash; When thinking about purchasing life insurance, consider your family's income needs over the next couple of decades. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2006/05/why_i_buy_disab.html">Why I Buy Disability Insurance</a> &mdash; Did you know 48% of foreclosures are a result of a disability? [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/avoidable-disasters-dont-go-without-insurance/">Avoidable Disasters: Don't Go Without Insurance</a> &mdash; Could you afford to replace all the items in your home if you lost them? If not, you need homeowners or renters insurance. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/how-to-lower-your-auto-insurance-bill/">How to Lower Your Auto Insurance Bill</a> &mdash; If you want to lower your auto insurance bill, get multiple quotes. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-get-low-cost-medical-care-for-your-child">How to Get Low-Cost Medical Care For Your Child</a> &mdash; To get low-cost medical care for your child, take advantage of free or low-cost clinics. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-insurance-edition">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-obamacare-for-less-financial-risk-and-more-freedom">How to Take Advantage of Obamacare for Less Financial Risk and More Freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you">Not Insuring These 6 Things Could Bankrupt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance best money tips insurance Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:00:03 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1146779 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things Insurance Agents Don't Want You to Know http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-insurance-178525693-small.jpg" alt="senior insurance" title="senior insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ignorance is bliss.</p> <p>The less that you know about how insurance works, the happier insurance agents are. As friendly as geckos, generals, cavemen, and ducks may look on TV, you shouldn't forget that insurance is a multi-billion dollar industry. These companies are out there to make money. It is the job of insurance agents to make as much as they can, too.</p> <p>Here are 14 things that insurance agents don't want you to know.</p> <h2>General Tips</h2> <p>Let's start with some tips that apply to several types of insurance.</p> <h3>1. Non-Smokers Pay Less</h3> <p>Non-smokers pay less than smokers for any type of insurance, including car insurance, home insurance, and life insurance. If you don't see a non-smoker discount listed on your policy, call your company and ask about it. Usual discounts for non-smokers range from 5% to 15%.</p> <h3>2. Quick Settlements Are Often Not the Best Deal</h3> <p>A quick settlement offer is never a good sign. This means that you are entitled to a payout, but the insurance agent is aware that if you look into it, you could get more. Remember that insurance companies are for-profit, so don't fall for those &quot;get on with your life&quot; and &quot;put this tragedy behind you&quot; comments. Take the time to carefully review a settlement offer before you accept it.</p> <h3>3. Payouts Can Be Extremely Slow</h3> <p>The airline insurance industry is an example of how slow insurance payouts can be. Lawyers are speculating that the litigation for <a href="http://fortune.com/2014/05/01/the-big-money-surprise-about-malaysia-airlines-flight-370/">Malaysia Airlines flight MH370</a> could take five years, with some families waiting up to 10 years for compensation. Airline insurance litigation in the U.S. can be complex as different states have different caps on damages for victims, so lawyers battle to file suits in states that benefits their clients. For example, in 1949 an <a href="http://ghostsofdc.org/2012/02/27/planes-collide-near-national-airport-killing-55-d-c-loses-home-rule-advocate/">Eastern Airlines plane</a> was cut in half. One half fell in Virginia, where then the cap was set at $15,000, and the other on Washington, D.C., where there is no cap.</p> <h3>4. Low, Low Premiums Can Hide Real Costs</h3> <p>Some insurance agents present you a quote so low that you won't believe your eyes. The reason that the quote is so low is that you would be opting for high deductibles and low coverage limits. These cookie-cutter policies may not only be a bad fit for you, but also end up costing you a lot in case of a claim.</p> <p>To avoid falling for a low-ball price and inappropriate insurance, compare apples to apples by requesting a quote for a policy with the exact same features. Take a second look at any quote that is way below the price of the others.</p> <h2>Car Insurance</h2> <p>Don't fall for cute mascots and look deeper into the coverages for those policies.</p> <h3>5. Credit Score Is a Major Criteria</h3> <p>Not used by just money lending institutions, credit scores provide insurance companies a look at your credit history as a predictor of potential payouts. The FTC also agrees that <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/reports/credit-based-insurance-scores-impacts-consumers-automobile-insurance-report-congress-federal">credit scores are effective predictors</a> of risk for auto insurance policies. This is why insurance agents request your social security number &mdash; so that they can pull up your credit report.</p> <p>Despite the validation by the FTC, this practice has been labeled as discriminatory by many consumer advocacy groups. Those struggling with debt or starting to build their credit history are hit with another big bill. This is why the states of California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts have prohibited car insurance companies from using credit-based insurance scores. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h3>6. If You Move or Change Insurance, You Get a Refund</h3> <p>It is a good practice to pay your car premiums in a lump-sum payment because you prevent insurance agents from tacking on a &quot;convenience fee&quot; to smaller payments. However, this doesn't mean that they have all of your money for good. They have to earn it. Your lump sum payment covers several months, so if you have to move to another state, the insurance company owes you a refund for the unused months.</p> <p>Make sure to check the fine print on your policy before cancelling. Some companies may have an early termination fee or require a 30-days notice. Also, plan to have new insurance already in place when the old one is done.</p> <h3>7. &quot;Optional Coverages&quot; May Be Necessary</h3> <p>Insurance agents have to meet sales quotas. Sometimes they may suggest to leave certain &quot;optional coverages,&quot; such as underinsured motorist coverage, to lower your quote and get you to sign.</p> <p>For example, residents of California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Louisiana are not mandated to get coverage for underinsured drivers. Still, it is a good idea to get it. Across the U.S. about <a href="http://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/IRCUM2011_042111.pdf">one in seven drivers</a> is uninsured. But in some states, such as Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Tennessee, the estimated percentage of underinsured motorists is 24% and above.</p> <p>If you are the sole breadwinner in your family, does it make sense to risk the chance of a huge, unexpected bill?</p> <h3>8. You Don't Have to Speak to the Other Guy's Claims Adjuster</h3> <p>Just like in those cop dramas, &quot;you have the right to remain silent and everything you say may be used against you in a court of law.&quot; In the case of a car accident, the claims adjuster from the other party might claim that she &quot;must&quot; have your recorded statement or &quot;requires&quot; your medical records.</p> <p>Don't cave in to these requests, unless ordered by a court or other authority, because the claims adjuster is trying to gather evidence against you. Even your most innocent comment could be twisted as an attempt to delay or deny your claim.</p> <h3>9. &quot;Captive Agents&quot; Cannot Offer You the Best Deal</h3> <p>For the next 30 seconds, write down all the car insurance companies that you can think of. Once the time is up, count how many you got. Three? Five? Ten?</p> <p>Here is some food for thought: There are about <a href="http://www.cheapcarinsurancequotes.com/car-insurance-companies/">100 car insurance companies</a> in the U.S. By only looking up the quotes from two or three companies, you're decreasing your chances of getting the best possible price for your insurance. On top of that, an insurance agent from a company can offer you only options that that company sells. Don't fall for their online comparison tables because those quotes are not accurate &mdash; they are just estimates. The final price can only be achieved by considering your credit score, driving history, and other factors.</p> <p>The easiest way to cover the most ground is to work with an independent insurance agent. She represents several insurance companies, so she is not limited to offer you products from a single company.</p> <h3>10. Rental Car Insurance May Be Unnecessary</h3> <p>Check what your policy has to say about car rentals. You may be surprised that your car policy may provide sufficient coverages. Also, some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">credit cards</a> offer rental car insurance when using them as form of payment.</p> <p>Before you rent a car the next time, make sure to have read the contracts from your existing car insurance and credit card(s). Remember that personal auto insurance often doesn't cover rentals for business use.</p> <h2>Home Insurance</h2> <p>Home sweet &quot;appropriately insured at the right price&quot; home.</p> <h3>11. Force-Placed Insurance Is Expensive</h3> <p>While home insurance is necessary, it doesn't need to be prohibitively expensive. Some banks will try to issue you a Force-Placed insurance, which is very expensive and provides the bank a kickback from an insurance company. This practice is not only unfair to the homebuyer, but also illegal in the eyes of the <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations/2013-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-regulation-x-and-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z-mortgage-servicing-final-rules/#date">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a>.</p> <p>Make sure to read all letters from your lender because they have to provide a written notice in case of a Force-Place insurance policy. If the bank is trying to force you into a insurance policy, find an alternative policy that meets the required coverages (e.g. hazard insurance, replacement cost) but at a lower price. If you are able to find an appropriate policy, contact your lender to cancel the forced policy immediately.</p> <h3>12. Little Known Home Insurance Coverages</h3> <p>Your home insurance policy may be stronger than you think. Here are some lesser-known coverages:</p> <ul> <li>If you're out of power for several days due to a natural disaster and your refrigerator is full of food that goes bad, you may be able to claim compensation.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your children's property is protected by your homeowner's insurance as long they are living in campus dorms.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Home updates required by law, such as a storm cellar, may be covered by your home insurance.</li> </ul> <p>Check your home insurance policy for more details. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso">8 Surprising Things Covered by Home Insurance</a>)</p> <h3>13. Private Mortgage Insurance Can Be Removed</h3> <p>The <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/supmanual/cch/hpa.pdf">Homeowner's Protection Act</a>requires homebuyers, who finance more than 80% of a new home's value, to purchase Private Mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an expense that you have to keep for several years. The good news is that once your loan-to-value ratio is close to 20%, you can request your lender to remove PMI from your mortgage.</p> <p>Here is an overview of requirements:</p> <ul> <li>No second mortgages on your home</li> <li>Current on all payments by the anticipated cancellation date</li> <li>No late payments within the last two years</li> <li>Good credit score</li> <li>No dramatic market value change of home</li> </ul> <p>Finally, here is a type of policy that is so easy for insurance agents to sell that it deserves a mention of its own.</p> <h3>14. Disease-Specific Insurance</h3> <p>The slight mention of AIDS and cancer are enough to send a shiver down anyone's spine. This is why policies for these diseases are an easy sell for insurance agents. By preying on your fear, they get you to hand over cash for something that you may never use.</p> <p>If you have a health plan or life insurance, you may be already covered for these diseases. By duplicating the coverages, you're just wasting money. If a specific disease runs in your family, get a comprehensive health plan that includes treatment for that specific disease.</p> <p><em>What are some other things insurance agents don't want you to know?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-mechanical-breakdown-insurance-worth-it">Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-3-cut-spending">Getting by without a job, part 3--cut spending</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Real Estate and Housing car insurance homeowner's insurance insurance life insurance Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1145900 at http://www.wisebread.com Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bulb-77292958.jpg" alt="changing light bulb" title="changing light bulb" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here is some good news: The number of deaths from fires has been steadily <a href="http://www.usfa.fema.gov/statistics/estimates/trend_overall.shtm">on the decline</a> since 2001. However, the risk of accidental death or injury from fires has not been eradicated. In 2010, for example, one person was <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/fire-prevention/fires-factsheet.html">injured in a fire every 30 minutes</a>, and another human being lost his or her life every 169 minutes. Yes, the risks are still out there, and most of them are in the home. That's why it's important for everyone, individuals and families alike, to tick off the boxes on the checklist below to ensure their home is risk free when it comes to accidental fires.</p> <h2>1. Use Appropriate Light Bulbs</h2> <p dir="ltr">The idea of being diligent when selecting light bulbs may seem silly to some, but a healthy number of accidental home fires are the direct result of using light bulbs with wattages incompatible with certain household sockets. That's why it's important to ensure the wattage of each light bulb used in a home is properly rated for the specific socket. Homeowners can also err on the side of caution and use 60-watt bulbs at all times.</p> <h2>2. Check Cords</h2> <p dir="ltr">Frayed or otherwise damaged cords can present a serious fire hazard in the home and therefore should be periodically checked to ensure they are in top condition with no exposed wiring. Also, it is crucial never to cover cords with rugs, carpets or tape, as this can cut off airflow to the wiring, which can lead to damage.</p> <h2>3. Position Home Appliances Correctly</h2> <p dir="ltr">This goes beyond the basic rule of keeping portable heaters at least three feet away from flammable objects. Even the cord of a toaster oven running near a stove can present a serious fire hazard. A good rule of thumb is to keep any appliance &mdash; plus its wiring &mdash; away from direct heat sources.</p> <h2>4. Look for Faulty Switches and Outlets</h2> <p dir="ltr">A dysfunctional outlet or switch is, unfortunately, one of the prime causes of accidental dwelling fires. The good news is there are easy ways to spot damage to a home outlet or light switch. Warning signs include:</p> <ul> <li>Outlets or switches that are hot or warm to the touch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Humming or buzzing sounds emanating from the switch or socket.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Loose plugs.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Homeowners should perform periodic checks of their switches and outlets to ensure safety and functionality.</p> <h2>5. Maintain Working Smoke Alarms</h2> <p dir="ltr">The tragedy is that so many of past years' accidental dwelling fires could have been prevented had homeowners simply installed working smoke alarms. As a standard, smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home as well as outside of sleeping areas. Also, residents should perform once-a-month checks on every smoke alarm in the home and change the batteries once a year.</p> <p dir="ltr">By following these simple guidelines, residents across the country should be able to maintain a home free of accidental dwelling fires and do their part to continue the decline of death and injury by fire.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Have you taken additional steps to protect your home and family from fire? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-mcmurphy">Chris McMurphy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cutting-your-landline-is-a-bad-deal">6 Reasons Cutting Your Landline Is a Bad Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family">Must-Do Home Maintenance That Saves You Money...and Might Save Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home fire home safety insurance safety Wed, 14 May 2014 08:12:22 +0000 Chris McMurphy 1139230 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How You Decide If Dental Insurance Is Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-decide-if-dental-insurance-is-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-you-decide-if-dental-insurance-is-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dentist-454389001.jpg" alt="dentist" title="dentist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Despite its limitations, dental insurance may be the most progressive insurance out there, in that it leans heavily on preventative care. Regular cleanings and examinations may prove to be what stands between you and big bills down the line. In that sense, while coverage of major procedures is often downright disappointing, a University of Maryland <a href="http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/mar11/0311RA29.html">Dental School study</a> shows you will end up ahead with dental insurance, because you will visit the dentist more often and that extra care will pay for itself.</p> <p>Let's take a closer look at when dental insurance is worth it, and when it isn't.</p> <h2>You Can't Cheat the System</h2> <p>Insurance companies have anticipated the patient who has a sore tooth and no insurance, who signs up for a plan hoping to pay one $7 monthly premium and then stick the insurer for the bill for a $1,500 root canal. They do this by instituting waiting periods of 12 to 18 months before they will help with bills for anything beyond routine dental exams and by flipping the percentage of coverage from an average of 80% for check ups, cleanings, and X-rays to a measly 50% (or less!) for serious procedures, such as bridges or root canals.</p> <p>If you want the coverage, you have to buy it before you need it.</p> <h2>A Very Painful Root Canal</h2> <p>What does this mean? If you buy a relatively expensive plan that runs $350 per year and test it with a $1,500 root canal procedure within a month or so, you will end up paying $350 plus $1,500, and you will have to cough up $100 for the annual deductible. You just paid $1,950 for a $1,500 procedure.</p> <p>Now you have that same root canal, but you waited for the insurance on major procedures to kick in. In this case, you paid the annual premium of $350 twice and the deductibles twice, which is $900 right there. The insurance company pays 50% of a major procedure, so you end up paying another $750 or $1,650 for a $1,500 procedure.</p> <p>Ouch!</p> <h2>Over Time You Benefit From the Benefits</h2> <p>Is that your last trip to a dentist? Most likely not.</p> <p>As an insured patient, you will now make an <a href="http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/mar11/0311RA29.html">average of 2.83 visits</a> per year to the dentist compared to an average of 2.49 visits per year for someone without insurance. You'll also make fewer visits for expensive dental care &mdash; .83 visits versus 1.58. As a result, you are now part of a statistical pool that pays $560 per year on dental expenses, while the uninsured group pays an average of $822 per year on dental bills. The point is, the routine dental care does pay off to the tune of $262 per year. As the major procedures are never going to be covered generously, anyway, the quicker you start getting regular check-ups and cleanings the better. After all, this might prevent that root canal from ever showing up in the first place.</p> <h2>Other Options to Consider</h2> <p>One option to consider is a <a href="http://www.deltadentalins.com/individuals/plans/plan-types.html">discount plan</a>. This is not insurance. This is a group of people who negotiate a discount with one or more dentists, usually a small network. For annual membership dues of $100 or more, you simply get a percentage reduction on your bills &mdash; generally 15% or so. For this, there are no deductible payments, no co-pays, no paperwork. Just a straight discount.</p> <p>Another way to save is with a <a href="http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/taxes/pages/health-savings-accounts.aspx">Health Savings Account</a>. This is a federal program administered by local banks. Basically, with limits $3,300 per year for an individual and $6,550 for families, you start an income-tax-free account that can only be used for qualified medical bills. Here, the math is simple. If you are in a 25% income tax bracket, you would normally pay $825 in tax on $3,300 and $1,670.50 on the family limit of $6,550. In some cases, dental insurance premiums qualify as medical bills recognized by the HSA plan. That puts you ahead before the year even starts.</p> <h2>Take Advantage of Employer Insurance</h2> <p>There are, in fact, some $7 per month plans for individuals, but you might be wise to check their benefits thoroughly against other options. In point of fact, 99% of dental plans are set up by employers so that those signing up can get the benefit of group rates. What does this tell you?</p> <p>It tells you that there is a clear advantage to a group rate &mdash; so much so that it has been advised that employees ask their employer to set up an insurance plan for them. Even if the employer doesn't contribute a nickel, but just donates administrative time, it is worth it for those signing up.</p> <p><em>Do you have dental insurance either through your own policy or through an employer? Does it pencil out for you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anthony-hall">Anthony Hall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-decide-if-dental-insurance-is-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-individual-dental-insurance-online-my-experience">Buying Individual Dental Insurance Online: My Experience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar">13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/burn-more-calories-with-these-8-frugal-foods">Burn More Calories With These 8 Frugal Foods</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-keep-your-dispoable-razor-blades-sharp-use-your-arm">Want to Keep Your Disposable Razor Blades Sharp? Use Your Arm</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-big-dental-bills-with-safe-and-inexpensive-products">Avoid Big Dental Bills with Safe and Inexpensive Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Health and Beauty dental insurance dentist insurance Fri, 09 May 2014 08:24:23 +0000 Anthony Hall 1138514 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Know What Annuities Are? You Might Be Missing Out http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-86497392.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to finance, most people like stability.</p> <p>Having the certainty of when and how much cash you will receive for a set period of time provides you peace of mind that allows you to focus on more important things. This is the reason that annuities may be an attractive long-term source of income for some investors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/intro-to-5-super-safe-investments?ref=seealso">5 Super Safe Investments</a>)</p> <p>Let's take a look at what are annuities and when they are a good choice.</p> <h2>How Annuities Work</h2> <p>Annuities are contracts between you, referred to as the annuitant, and a financial institution, such as a mutual fund or insurance company. In these contracts, you commit to make a lump sum payment or to follow a schedule of periodic payments in exchange for a guaranteed income stream. Under most annuities, you have to hold the annuity until age 59 1/2.</p> <p>The financial institution, often an insurance company, uses your annuity contributions to make investments based on your target start date for your distributions. Financial institutions make money from annuities by charging recurring monthly, quarterly, or annual fees, which are all deducted from your annuity funds. The more complex the annuity, the more additional fees you can expect. Additionally, there is the infamous surrender charge. If you decide to cancel your annuity during the surrender period (ranging from 4 to 15 years), then the financial institution is entitled to keep a portion of your deposits.</p> <p>Despite all of these fees, do not hesitate to negotiate for a better deal. The annuity business is very competitive so make sure to get several quotes. Insurance agents are able to increase your annuity rates or lower your fees, but only if you ask. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-costs-you-should-always-negotiate?ref=seealso">Costs You Should Always Negotiate</a>)</p> <h3>Tax Deferral Benefit</h3> <p>During the &quot;ramp-up&quot; period, all monies contributed to an annuity grow tax-deferred until they are withdrawn. You are still responsible for applicable income taxes on your contributions, but your earnings are tax-free until withdrawal. Unlike retirement accounts, annuities have no limits on how much you can contribute. The tax deferral benefit and absence of contribution limit make annuities attractive for wealthy individuals as retirement planning tools. Most annuities allow you start collecting payments at age 59 1/2, but there are some exceptions (e.g. immediate annuities). The financial institution issues distributions for a fixed amount of time (usually 10, 15, or 20 years) or until the death of the beneficiary.</p> <p>You are responsible for income taxes on earnings only when you start receiving distributions. Note that a fixed amount of each distribution is not taxable because it is considered to be a return of your contributions, which were already subject to tax. This allows annuitants to defer applicable income taxes until they are in a lower tax bracket during retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-worst-tax-moves-you-can-make?ref=seealso">The 10 Worst Tax Moves</a>)</p> <h2>When Are Annuities a Good Choice?</h2> <p>Annuities offer an option for those who have maxed out their contributions to other retirement accounts. They fall under three broad types: fixed, variable, and indexed. Each type offers different income potential and is appropriate for a different purpose and reason. Let's start with fixed annuities.</p> <h3>Fixed Annuities</h3> <p>Fixed annuities offer you the most stability because they guarantee a stream of income. The financial institution holds all of the market risk. This is why fixed annuities are a good choice for people that are very risk averse when it comes to their retirement planning.</p> <p>Within fixed annuities, there are two subtypes: immediate annuities and deferred annuities. Immediate annuities require a single and very substantial lump sum payment, but they start issuing distributions after a short period of time. This makes immediate annuities a great choice for people that are very close to retirement age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-fast-with-this-6-step-plan?ref=seealso">Boost Your Retirement Savings Fast</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, deferred annuities require several smaller payments over several years. These annuities start issuing distributions once you turn age 59 1/2. If you receive distributions earlier than that, then the IRS applies an additional income tax. Young workers should look into deferred annuities so that they can take advantage of the tax deferral benefit.</p> <p><strong>Fees and Rates:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Fixed annuities typically offer a 5% return.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When investing in deferred and immediate annuities, you can expect around 1.5% of your total investment to be assessed towards expense charges. For example, if you invest $10,000, then you can expect about $150 to go towards expense charges.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When investing in deferred annuities, you can expect the surrender charge to be around 7% of the total investment if the annuity is cashed during the first year. The surrender charge usually decreases by 1% per year until it reaches zero. Remember that withdrawals before age 59 1/2 receive an additional 10% income tax by the IRS.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The minimum investment requirement for deferred and fixed annuities is typically between $1,000 and $5,000. For example, Prudential requires a <a href="http://www.prudential.com/view/page/public/11628">minimum of $3,500</a> for an immediate annuity.</li> </ul> <h3>Variable Annuities</h3> <p>Unlike fixed annuities, variable annuities offer you a higher income potential. The catch is that your return is no longer guaranteed and you do hold part of the market risk from the annuity investments. Variable annuities provide you more freedom in selecting investments. Some variable annuities offer a death benefit so that the beneficiary is guaranteed your original investment, in case you pass away.</p> <p>Variable annuities are useful tools for estate planning. If you would like to set up a steady source of income for your children, grandchildren, then variable annuities may be a good choice. It is a good idea to add the death benefit to your annuity to protect your estate.</p> <p>Additionally, variable annuities are a good match for people who would like to have a more &quot;hands on&quot; approach on directing their investments for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-killer-free-investment-tools?ref=seealso">Awesome, Free Investment Tools</a>)</p> <p><strong>Fees and Rates:</strong></p> <ul> <li>On the average, variable annuities provide a 7.1% return.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>They offer a minimum return on your investment in case of your death (known as the &quot;death benefit&quot;) while not forgoing excess gains in case of good investment performance.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Financial institutions may or may not charge a fee for the death benefit. Make sure to check this when shopping for a variable annuity.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On top of the average 1.5% expense charge, you can expect an extra 0.82% of your total investment to go towards subaccount management fees. The greater availability of investment options comes with an extra cost per selected subaccounts. This means that if you invest $10,000 in a variable annuity, you can expect to pay at least $232 in fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>When investing in variable annuities, you can expect the surrender charge to be around 7% of the total investment if the annuity is cashed during the first year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The minimum investment requirement for variable annuities is typically $10,000. For example, Fidelity requires <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/annuities/FPRA-variable-annuity/overview">$10,000 for a variable annuity</a>.</li> </ul> <h3>Indexed Annuities</h3> <p>Under this scenario, the annuitant receives distributions that are indexed to a market benchmark, such as the Dow Jones or the S&amp;P 500. Indexed annuities often offer a minimum return, but it depends on the financial institution issuing the annuity.</p> <p>Indexed annuities are a good choice for people that would like to have just a bit more market exposure than that of fixed annuities but less than that of variable annuities. Indexed annuities are full of additional rules and fees.</p> <p><strong>Fees and Rates:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Most indexed annuities put a cap on your return: <ul> <li>If your selected market benchmark returned 12% over a period, and your annuity has a cap of 6%, then you only get 6%. The cap of an indexed annuity determines the maximum return you can get on an indexed annuity.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Another way that an indexed annuity can limit your return is through the participation rate, which is the annuity's participation in the index's return. For example, if the annuity's participation rate is 90% and the benchmark went up by 5%, then your return is 4.5%.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On an indexed annuity, you can expect a spread fee. This is a percentage fee that may be subtracted from the gain linked to the market benchmark. If the benchmark gains 15% and the spread fee is 5%, then your annuity return is 10%.<br /> &nbsp;</li> </ul> </li> <li>The minimum investment requirement of an indexed annuity ranges between $5,000 to $10,000. For example, Jackson requires <a href="https://www.jackson.com/annuities/fixedindex/AscenderPlusSelect.jsp?&amp;framework-guid=ff0035dc661c8679453b01210091007a">$5,000 and $10,000 for indexed annuities</a>, depending if you meet its qualification criteria.</li> </ul> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>From these three broad categories: fixed, variable, and indexed, you can find all kinds of different annuities. In general, the terms of fixed annuities are easier to understand than those from variable and indexed annuities. However, the return of a fixed annuity is lower than that from variable and indexed annuities.</p> <p>No matter the type of annuity you prefer, the consensus among financial advisers is that you should not choose an annuity within an existing retirement account because those products already have a tax-deferral benefit. Plus, the management fees of annuity within a retirement account are quite high, particularly the more features you add to your annuity.</p> <p>Different financial institutions provide different annuity features. Make sure to read the fine print and choose one that matches your level of risk tolerance, your investment objective, and your desired start date for distributions.</p> <p><em>What is the type of annuity that appeals to you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Advisor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-to-fire-your-financial-adviser-soon">5 Reasons to Fire Your Financial Adviser Soon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-hidden-cost-sapping-your-retirement-savings">Is This Hidden Cost Sapping Your Retirement Savings?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-retirees-are-using-annuities-instead-of-early-social-security">Why Retirees Are Using Annuities Instead of Early Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-your-401k">The Step-by-Step Guide to Rolling Over Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities insurance retirement Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:24:18 +0000 Damian Davila 1136591 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Insurance That Saves You Big in the Long Run http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-insurance-that-saves-you-big-in-the-long-run <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-insurance-that-saves-you-big-in-the-long-run" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hospital-151908388.jpg" alt="hospital" title="hospital" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on insurance that will save you big, people who can save you time, money and stress, and getting started with investing.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneywisdom.com/looking-ahead-five-types-insurance-save-big-long-run/">Looking Ahead: Five Types of Insurance That Save You Big in the Long Run</a> &mdash; Life insurance and health insurance can save you money in the long run. [Free Money Wisdom]</p> <p><a href="http://sweatingthebigstuff.com/5-people-who-can-save-you-time-money-and-stress/">5 People Who Can Save You Time, Money, and Stress</a> &mdash; A mechanic is the number one person who can save you time, money, and stress. [Sweating the Big Stuff]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2014/03/18/how-to-get-started-investing/">How to get started with investing</a> &mdash; To get started with investing, put investing in the foreground of your mind. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2014/03/six-reasons-for-financial-accountability/">Six Reasons For Financial Accountability</a> &mdash; Leaving a legacy should motivate you to be financially accountable. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/pay-for-things-want-paying-off-debt/">How to Pay for the Things You Want While Paying Off Debt</a> &mdash; Pay for the things you want while paying off debt by planning your purchases. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.themoneyprinciple.co.uk/three-kitchen-appliances-that-will-help-you-slash-your-food-budget/">Three kitchen appliances that will help you slash your food bill</a> &mdash; Hand blenders are a great kitchen tool that can help you slash your food budget. [The Money Principle]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Facts-Make-You-Smile-32288928">15 Facts That Will Instantly Make You Happier</a> &mdash; Did you know blind people will smile even if they haven't seen a smile before? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/03/19/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-impending-obamacare-deadline/">What you need to know about the impending Obamacare deadline</a> &mdash; The Obamacare deadline is March 31st! Make sure you are aware of the exemptions. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://reachfinancialindependence.com/business-mission-statement/">Six Steps to Take Before You Start Writing Your Business Mission Statement</a> &mdash; Before you write your business mission statement, research other effective statements. [Reaching Financial Independence]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/celebrate-national-nutrition-month-every-day">Celebrate National Nutrition Month Every Day</a> &mdash; Being active and avoiding liquid calories can help you celebrate National Nutrition Month every day. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-insurance-that-saves-you-big-in-the-long-run">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner&#039;s Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-obamacare-for-less-financial-risk-and-more-freedom">How to Take Advantage of Obamacare for Less Financial Risk and More Freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you">Not Insuring These 6 Things Could Bankrupt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance best money tips insurance Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:00:27 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1132133 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Steps You Must Take to Protect Your Family Financially http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-you-must-take-to-protect-your-family-financially <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-steps-you-must-take-to-protect-your-family-financially" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family-451554125.jpg" alt="family cutouts" title="family cutouts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="210" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all looking for ways to make our money grow, to build the family fortune, and secure our financial future.</p> <p>But creating that empire is only half the equation; preparing for the unexpected is what will ensure its longevity. After all, life is full of surprises &mdash; an accident for example, or an extended period of unemployment &mdash; can throw a wrench into your otherwise perfect path to financial security. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-emergency-situations-you-must-prepare-for-and-5-you-can-ignore?ref=seealso">5 Emergency Situations You Must Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>The key, then, is to anticipate those surprises so that you can protect your family and your assets. The question is&hellip; how?</p> <h2>1. Simplify Your Lifestyle</h2> <p>A couple of years ago, we had a power outage that lasted for almost two full days. It was cold, so we cranked up the propane heaters to stay warm. We ate takeout (my oven is electric), and we moved around the house at night using candles and flashlights. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-things-to-have-on-hand-for-power-outages?ref=seealso">Things to Have in Case of a Power Outage</a>)</p> <p>No Internet. No TV. And once the battery operated handhelds went out, that was it. For me, it was a minor inconvenience that would eventually be over. For my kids, it was Armageddon.</p> <p>And that's when I realized just how dependent they had become on all the little extras we were used to having, a dependency that must immediately be corrected.</p> <p>We've forgotten how to appreciate the simple things in life. How to play board games or tell ghost stories for example, or how to pass the time without being plugged in. We've become accustomed to a lifestyle that requires very little effort, yet requires a lot of &quot;stuff,&quot; and not just the electronic kind. Clothes, shoes, cars, boats, toys, books &mdash; you name it, we'll buy it in bulk.</p> <p>But the &quot;better&quot; you're living now &mdash; that is, the more stuff you're used to buying &mdash; the harder it would be to adjust if catastrophe struck and that happy little bubble suddenly fell apart.</p> <p>To lessen that shock, you can start making changes now. They don't have to be big. Simply introduce small, gradual changes into your lifestyle that cuts some of what you don't need, so that you can make room for more of the things you do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists?ref=seealso">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a>)</p> <p>Clear out the clutter, prioritize your to-dos, and learn to live simply and below your means. Discover the pleasures of having free time again and the freedom that comes from not being chained to the world of materialism.</p> <h2>2. Start, and Grow, Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>There is a reason that staying on a budget continues to be a popular New Year's resolution. Theoretically speaking, budgets keep us on track. They help manage our money by controlling our spending and allocating funds to save.</p> <p>There's also a reason why budgets are so difficult to maintain: too many variables. Once you get past the regular fixed expenditures like your mortgage, insurance premiums, and car payments, you're in a very gray area. Groceries, gas, entertainment, and the like can all fluctuate, and one big unexpected expense can throw your budget completely out of whack.</p> <p>That's exactly why you need an emergency fund.</p> <p>In the past, experts suggested having six months of salary stashed away as sufficient, but depending on your circumstances, that might no longer be enough. Families with small children for example, might need to stash away a bit more; likewise if you're the primary breadwinner and concerned about the possibility of extended unemployment, it might make sense to look past that six month mark. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Emergency Fund Guide</a>)</p> <p>One solution in these instances would be to increase your emergency fund to a flat dollar amount, say $10,000 to $15,000, for example, to meet your projected financial needs. Alternatively, you could create a separate &quot;long-term&quot; fund and stash away twelve to eighteen months of salary for those big, catastrophic scenarios.</p> <p>The problem is, how does one build an emergency fund when you have no extra money to work with?</p> <p>First and foremost, start small. Yes, you want to reach that twelve to eighteen month milestone, but don't set that as your original goal. Instead, start with something much smaller, and then devise a plan to get there. The goal will seem much more attainable, and you'll experience a sense of security knowing you have a few hundred dollars stashed away should you need it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-steps-to-achieving-all-your-goals?ref=seealso">How to Achieve All Your Goals</a>)</p> <p>Now, let's talk about how to make it grow. Create a budget that's workable and realistic&hellip; and then stick to it. Can you save $5 to $10 out of each paycheck? Could you possibly save more?</p> <p>If you get a bonus on your paycheck or a little extra for working overtime, deposit it into your savings. Did you follow my earlier advice and start cleaning out your clutter? Have a garage sale and use the money you make to grow your emergency fund.</p> <p>Get serious about simplifying your life and you may discover other ways to save you hadn't seen before. Maybe you're able to cut some expenses that you no longer need. Gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, eating out once a week instead of two or three. All these small changes add up to big savings, and if you'll deposit those little surpluses when you get them, you'll find that your emergency fund grows bigger and faster than you could have imagined.</p> <h2>3. Pay Off Your Debt</h2> <p>And since we're talking about budgets and lifestyles, let's also talk about debt. Nothing depletes a nest egg faster than a mountain of debt, so it's time to buckle down and pay it off. Of course, that's often easier said than done, which means you'll need a plan that works with your shiny new budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-trick-could-help-you-finally-pay-off-your-debt?ref=seealso">The Ultimate Trick to Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <p>In general, you should pay down balances with the highest interest rate first, but for some, knocking out those smaller balances creates a sense of accomplishment and thus, motivation to keep going (the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-debt-snowball-method-0">snowball effect</a>&quot;). How you choose to prioritize your debt repayment plan is ultimately up to you, but consider using a debt repayment calculator to make that decision an informed one.</p> <p>As you pay one bill off, apply that money to the next in line, or better yet, split that extra cash between your debt and your emergency fund &mdash; that way you're tackling two goals at once.</p> <h2>4. Buy Insurance</h2> <p>You need insurance. Auto insurance, homeowner's insurance, life insurance, and yes, disability insurance. According to the Social Security Administration, one in four 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before they retire. The average disability claim lasts just over 31 months, but one in eight workers will suffer a disability that lasts more than five years.</p> <p>Now, what would happen to your finances and your family if you were suddenly disabled for five years?</p> <p>Yet, not buying insurance continues to be one of our biggest financial mistakes. And when we do buy, we tend to go for the cheapest policy without looking at what it covers.</p> <p>So do some research. Do you know the difference between term and whole life? Do you understand how an all-risk policy compares to a named peril form? Insurance companies are notorious for putting the important stuff in the fine print &mdash; I should know, I worked in that industry for years &mdash; so read your policy. Read all of it and make sure you understand what you're buying.</p> <p>Insurance is a must-have that should be in the &quot;can't do without&quot; category of your budget. But it's only as good as the policy it's written on, so buy wisely.</p> <h2>5. Invest in Yourself</h2> <p>I've written before about our tendency to get stuck in our comfort zone, and one of the unfortunate consequences of this mindset is that it limits our ability to earn and succeed.</p> <p>The best investment you can make for your long-term financial security is in yourself. Expand your skills, broaden your horizons, improve your education. The more things you know and can do, the more valuable you are as an employee, and the more marketable you are in the workforce.</p> <p>Making professional growth a priority ensures that you're never left behind. It enables you to apply your skills and talents to a variety of industries and compete for a variety of jobs. It also enables you to venture out on your own and explore new possibilities for wealth, possibilities that allow you to determine your own value in the workforce and set financial goals that don't require someone else's approval to make them happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forget-your-weaknesses-and-build-on-your-strengths-to-find-success?ref=seealso">Build on Your Strengths to Find Success</a>)</p> <h2>6. Leave Your Legacy</h2> <p>I handle the family taxes every year. I know how to do it, because my mother taught me. My husband is a brilliant negotiator and can work a deal where there simply wasn't a deal to be had. He learned how to do that by watching his father do it.</p> <p>We've faced financial highs and lows. We've lost everything and then bounced back more times than I care to count. And we did it &mdash; <em>we knew we could do it </em>&mdash; because our parents showed us the way.</p> <p>When we talk about leaving a legacy, we often think about the big trust fund or the family business that is passed down through the generations. But that's not all a legacy is. It's also about teaching your family members to stand on their own two feet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-your-kids-to-be-financially-independent?ref=seealso">How to Raise Financially Independent Kids</a>)</p> <p>Show your children how to balance a check book, how to invest wisely and not fall for the get-rich-quick schemes, how to make ends meet, how to prioritize expenses, how to work with a budget, and set up emergency funds of their own. Help them see past the things that don't really matter, so that they can focus on the things that do.</p> <p>Give them the tools they need to discover their own potential, and your family's financial security will always be protected.</p> <h2>7. Begin Estate Planning</h2> <p>And last (but certainly not least), it's time to think about the unthinkable. What if something happened to you? What happens to your family's finances if you're not around to manage them?</p> <p>Estate planning addresses those questions by walking you through all the possibilities and formulating a plan of action for each one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-great-tech-tools-for-planning-your-own-death-0?ref=seealso">Tech Tools for Planning Your Death</a>)</p> <p>Yes, wills are a good place to start, but this is about more than just deciding who gets what. A good estate plan encompasses a variety of instruments to not only divide your property but also protect your assets, provide for your family, and eliminate any uncertainty about their future security.</p> <p>You can create a nest egg for future generations, provide for disabled dependents, and stipulate control over financial and medical decisions if you become incapacitated. A good estate plan can also minimize taxes on your estate, create performance incentives for your offspring, and protect that legacy you've worked so hard to build.</p> <p>Granted, you'll need more than just a DIY form off the Internet; a good estate planning attorney is a must if you want to really maximize the benefits of having a plan. But it is by far the most thoughtful gift you can give your family, and well worth the expense.</p> <p><em>Now it's your turn&hellip; what tips do you have for ensuring your family's financial future?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-steps-you-must-take-to-protect-your-family-financially">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/becoming-financially-secure-what-to-do-first">Becoming Financially Secure: What to Do First</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-habits-of-financially-happy-people">10 Habits of Financially Happy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-stages-of-dealing-with-financial-disaster">The 6 Stages of Dealing With Financial Disaster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-upwardly-mobile">How to Be Upwardly Mobile</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-principles-for-a-seismic-economy">5 Financial Principles for a Seismic Economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance family financial security financial security insurance Fri, 28 Feb 2014 10:48:24 +0000 Kate Luther 1128105 at http://www.wisebread.com Must-Do Home Maintenance That Saves You Money...and Might Save Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home-80295644.jpg" alt="home maintenance" title="home maintenance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Certain home maintenance matters are a given. But what about those not-so-obvious ones, and are they really worth it? Here is a quick breakdown of several home safety and prevention items so you can learn more about the protection they provide and how they might save you money down the road. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-maintenance-and-repair-whats-an-emergency-and-what-can-wait?ref=seealso">Home Maintenance and Repairs That Shouldn&#39;t Wait</a>)</p> <h2>Water Alarms</h2> <p>A simple water alarm device is a great precautionary measure for helping to protect homes from undetected water damage. These alarms serve as leak monitors to alert a homeowner when water is first detected from anything from overflowing sump pumps to a busted pipe. Early warning means you may be able to stop a problem and avoid the costly repairs associated with water damage.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002Q8GRPG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002Q8GRPG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">cheapest alarms</a> are passive battery devices that give off an audible alert tone and flashing light when water is detected. You can find these at home improvement stores for as little as $10. We use a couple on the floor in our basement near our sump pit and water heater. <a href="http://www.statefarm.com/learning/loss_prevent/learning_loss_business_waterdam.asp">State Farm Insurance</a> provides some useful information on the usual places where water damage can occur.</p> <p>More advanced alarms also exist, but they can cost upwards of several hundred dollars. These active leak systems not only detect water, but also perform shut-off functions. You can contact a plumber or a flood specialist to find out more.</p> <h2>Dryer Vent Maintenance</h2> <p>You may know it&#39;s important to clean your dryer lint screen after each use, but you also should periodically clean out dryer vents and ducts. Cleaning allows for better operation and prevents your dryer from becoming a fire hazard. According to the <a href="https://www.cpsc.gov/Regulations-Laws--Standards/Voluntary-Standards/Clothes-Dryers/">U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission</a>, clothes dryers cause thousands of residential fires per year, mainly due to people not properly cleaning the ducts.</p> <p>Luckily, keeping your dryer vent maintained is a pretty easy thing to do. It is typically recommended that you have your vent cleaned once a year. For professional duct cleaning, make sure to do a little research. I found quotes for as low as $50 and as high as $250 for a simple duct cleaning. You can also have them change your duct to ensure it is fireproof (many flexible ones are not). Some people even DIY the job, but you need to know what you are doing and do so safely. Check out <a href="http://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/home-insurance/clean-dryer-vent.aspx">Allstate&#39;s overview of dryer vent cleaning safety</a> for additional information. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-diy-projects-you-can-do-in-one-day?ref=seealso">Home DIY Projects You Can Do in a Day</a>)</p> <h2>Radon Testing and Remediation</h2> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/radon/index.html">EPA</a>, radon is a cancer-causing, radioactive gas that is produced from the natural decay of uranium found in most rocks and soils. Radon moves out of the ground up to the air above and can get trapped in your home. According to the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html#risk">EPA</a> and <a href="http://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/env/radon/en/index.html">World Health Organization</a>, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer (behind smoking). Sounds scary, but the good news is that radon in homes is fixable.</p> <p>The EPA recommends testing to ensure radon in the lowest level of the home is below 4.0 picocuries per liter. You can buy test kits or get free kits through some state offices to test on your own. Or, many people rely on professional testers to do a short-term test, especially for real estate transactions. Professional testing prices vary, but the ones in my area are around $100. Check out the <a href="http://www.epa.gov/radon/radontest.html">EPA&#39;s listing of how to find test kits or qualified radon professionals</a> in your area.</p> <p>If your levels are above 4.0 pCi/L, get a qualified radon professional to give you remediation quotes for options to reduce your levels. The most popular method is usually a vent pipe system connected to a radon exhaust fan, which pipes the radon out of your house.</p> <p>I live in a very high radon region, and luckily the builders of my home had already installed a radon vent pipe. We ended up spending $300 for a professional to hook up a radon fan and make a few modifications to our existing system to bring our levels down. If a brand new system or additional vent pipes need to be installed, keep in mind the cost will be significantly higher. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for?ref=seealso">Costly Things New Homeowners Don&#39;t Prepare For</a>)</p> <h2>Lightning Rods</h2> <p>Lightning can cause everything from surge damage to electronics and appliances from indirect strikes to structural damage and fires from direct hits. However, lightning protection systems (LPS) on homes can prevent such destruction as they work to provide a path for lightning to safely travel to the ground, leaving the home unharmed. And contrary to popular belief, lightning rods do not attract lightning, but rather provide a safe place to dissipate the electricity rather than having your home take the hit. The <a href="http://www.lightning.org/">Lightning Protection Institute</a> has a library of information for learning more about lightning and home protection. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-financially-for-a-natural-disaster?ref=seealso">How to Prepare Financially for a Natural Disaster</a>)</p> <p>Some people can go a lifetime without lightning damage, while others are all too familiar with the threat. If you decide on getting an LPS, you need to know it&#39;s not a small investment. It can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the size of your home and if you choose to conceal the system (hide the wires below the roof) or do any kind of decorative rod. Most importantly, installing a LPS is not a DIY job. It must be done by an experienced and reputable UL-listed and <a href="http://www.lightning.org/installers/">LPI certified contractor</a>. Additionally, when our LPI contractor installed our system, he gave us documentation, which we used to receive a small credit on our homeowner&#39;s insurance for protecting our home with a certified LPS.</p> <p>These are just some items to consider as you go about maintaining your home. While it may feel like investing in your home is never-ending, certain items may save you money in the long run, while also keeping your family safe, should you decide to implement them.</p> <p><em>What other home safety or maintenance items do you think are worth considering?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-5-hidden-costs-of-winter">How to Avoid These 5 Hidden Costs of Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-tips-to-winterize-your-home-for-cheap">7 DIY Tips to Winterize Your Home for Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-dishwasher-last-almost-forever-with-these-6-tricks">Make Your Dishwasher Last (Almost) Forever With These 6 Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home home maintenance insurance Thu, 05 Dec 2013 11:24:05 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1098855 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner's Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-5181226-small.jpg" alt="woman holding house" title="woman holding house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance companies often get grief for what&#39;s <em>not</em> covered in a typical policy. But a standard homeowner&#39;s policy &mdash; often known as an HO-3 &mdash; does have clauses that cover you in ways you may not expect. And even if you aren&#39;t covered under a standard policy, you may learn that there are endorsements tied to your policy that offer extra coverage you didn&#39;t realize you had. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#39;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>It&#39;s important to review your homeowner&#39;s insurance policy carefully to see what applies to you. but you may be surprised to know that these seven things are covered under many standard policies or as part of <a href="https://www.travelers.com/personal-insurance/home-insurance/types-of-coverage/optional-coverages.aspx">low-cost endorsements that are often routinely included</a>.</p> <h2>1. Spoiled Food</h2> <p>A typical policy will cover the loss of up to $500 in food if your freezer or refrigerator stops working due to a power outage.</p> <h2>2. Tombstones</h2> <p>If a grave marker of a loved one is damaged, the insurance company will pay for repairs, usually up to $5,000. It&#39;s important to note that grave markers must be established as your &quot;personal property&quot; for them to be covered. (In essence, you&#39;re covered if you are the one who bought the plot.) So that&#39;s something to keep in mind when burying a loved one.</p> <h2>3. Dog Bites</h2> <p>If your dog bites someone and causes injury, most policies will cover that person&#39;s medical expenses, even if the bite didn&#39;t happen on your property. Most policies also cover medical expenses for other injuries in which an insured person is at fault, and will pay for legal expenses if you are sued. (Check your policy to be sure of limits to this liability coverage.)</p> <h2>4. Kids and Their Stuff at College</h2> <p>Under most policies, the &quot;insured&quot; includes anyone in your household as well as anyone under 24 who is attending college full time. However, policies aren&#39;t crystal clear on whether this applies only to students living in dorm, so it may also be wise to get low-cost renters insurance if they are living off campus. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Get Renters Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>5. Volcanic Eruptions</h2> <p>This may not be relevant to you unless you live in Hawaii, but it&#39;s nice to know that if lava is flowing toward your house, you&#39;re covered. Keep in mind, however, that most standard policies will not cover loss due to earthquakes or tremors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-financially-for-a-natural-disaster">How to Financially Prepare for a Natural Disaster</a>)</p> <h2>6. Identity Theft</h2> <p>It can be distressing to learn that someone has stolen your personal information, and cases of identify theft can cost victims thousands of dollars, not to mention the time and stress of dealing with law enforcement, attorneys, and financial institutions to get your case resolved. Thankfully, many homeowner&#39;s policies will reimburse you for expenses you incur when working to resolve an identity theft case. This could include attorney&#39;s fees, travel costs, and even lost wages if you have to miss work. Some policies will even cover things like babysitting and elder care if you need them while you resolve the identity theft case. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-taking-jack-how-to-deal-with-identity-theft">How to Deal With Identity Theft</a>)</p> <p>Note: In many cases, identity theft coverage is not part of the standard HO-3, but a special endorsement. But such endorsements are often routinely included without homeowners even knowing it. Check your policy.</p> <h2>7. Some Flood Damage</h2> <p>Typically, if your house floods, you&#39;re out of luck, unless you purchase flood insurance. However, many policies do have endorsements that cover flood damage in some instances. I recently saved thousands of dollars in repairs when I learned that my policy actually did cover repairs resulting from a failed sump pump. Check your policy to see if it includes such a provision.</p> <h2>8. Your Bike, Even 3,000 Miles From Home</h2> <p>Most policies include &quot;<a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/homeowners-insurance-can-leave-home-with-you-1.aspx">off premises</a>&quot; coverage for your personal property. (It&#39;s the same clause that covers your child&#39;s property when she&#39;s away at college.)&nbsp;One Wise Bread IT staffer discovered the value of this when his very pricey touring bicycle was stolen midway through his cross-country bike tour &mdash;&nbsp;all the way on the other side of the continent. He called his agent, and soon he had the funds to replace the bike and continue pedaling.</p> <p>In addition to protecting your property from theft or loss, off premises coverage offers liability protection, too. That means if you shank a drive through the picture window of the house edging the fairway, your insurer picks up the tab. Amounts vary based on your total coverage amounts, so check your policy for the details.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Anything surprising in your homeowner&#39;s insurance?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-obamacare-for-less-financial-risk-and-more-freedom">How to Take Advantage of Obamacare for Less Financial Risk and More Freedom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you">Not Insuring These 6 Things Could Bankrupt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance homeowner's insurance insurance Thu, 17 Oct 2013 10:36:04 +0000 Tim Lemke 994621 at http://www.wisebread.com