Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3150/all en-US 5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medicare_application_form_with_stethoscope.jpg" alt="Medicare application form with stethoscope" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There is no larger health insurance program in the United States than Medicare. According to the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services, more than 57 million people were receiving health benefits through the program as of March 2017.</p> <p>But just because millions are on Medicare doesn't mean that most people, especially those who have yet to hit 65, understand how this government program works. Most people instead believe several easily debunked myths about what Medicare does, how financially healthy it is, and what it doesn't do.</p> <h2>1. Medicare won&rsquo;t be around for me</h2> <p>You might worry that Medicare won't be around to cover your health care needs by the time you retire. Here's some good news: Medicare is not broke ... yet.</p> <p>The Medicare program had about $200 billion in reserves at the end of 2015. So the program does have money.</p> <p>There is some concern, though. Medicare is projected to run a surplus every year through 2020, when a growing number of Baby Boomers will start retiring. This means that Medicare will then run at an annual deficit beginning in 2021. If nothing is done to prevent this, the program will exhaust its reserves by the year 2028.</p> <p>That will be a big problem if it is allowed to happen. There are possible solutions, though, even though they will require some financial pain. The most obvious one would be to raise Medicare taxes. That won't make anyone happy, but it is the simplest way to ensure that Medicare does have enough dollars to cover all of its beneficiaries.</p> <h2>2. There's only one type of Medicare</h2> <p>Medicare is a complicated system. In fact, there are actually <em>four </em>types of Medicare coverage.</p> <p>Medicare Part A and Part B are part of what is known as original Medicare. Medicare Part A, known as hospital insurance, covers inpatient care received at hospitals and nursing facilities. Part B covers services and supplies that you need to treat health conditions. This part of Medicare covers outpatient care, preventive services, ambulance rides, and medical equipment.</p> <p>Medicare Part C is a bit more complicated: It's the part of the program that makes it possible for private health insurance companies to provide Medicare private health plans &mdash; in the form of HMOs and PPOs &mdash; known as Medicare Advantage Plans. You can elect to receive your medical benefits through a combination of Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B or from one of these private Advantage Plans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-your-medicare-plan?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Medicare Plan</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-compare-medicare-part-d-plans-a-beginner-s-guide" target="_blank">Medicare Part D</a> subsidizes the cost of your prescription drugs. This part of the program is often referred to as the Medicare prescription drug benefit.</p> <h2>3. You'll never have to pay for health insurance once you're on Medicare</h2> <p>Medicare will cover much of your health insurance needs. But there are some costs that you'll still need to cover on your own.</p> <p>For instance, Medicare does come with deductibles that you must pay before the insurance kicks in. These deductibles can change each year. For 2017, Medicare Part A comes with a $1,316 deductible per benefit period for your hospital stays. This means that if you do end up in the hospital, you'll have to pay this amount out of your own savings before Medicare will cover the rest of your expenses.</p> <p>Medicare Part B has a deductible of $183 for 2017. Again, you'll have to pay this amount before your Medicare coverage kicks in. And even after Part B coverage begins, you'll still have a copay. Medicare Part B generally covers 80 percent of your medical services. You'll have to cover the remaining 20 percent of these costs on your own.</p> <p>There are also coinsurance payments. If you must stay in a hospital for more than 60 days, you'll have to make a coinsurance payment for your Medicare Part A benefits.</p> <h2>4. Medicare covers all my medical needs</h2> <p>There are some medical services that Medicare does not provide any coverage for. Unfortunately, these services aren't exactly frivolous ones.</p> <p>Medicare does not provide dental coverage. It also doesn't pay for vision examinations for glasses. You can't rely on Medicare to cover the costs of dentures or hearing aids. And if you need long-term care, Medicare again won't provide coverage.</p> <p>You can purchase specialized insurance programs to cover these medical expenses. But you'll have to pay for the plans on your own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>5. I won't have to pay any premiums for Medicare</h2> <p>Most people won't pay any monthly premiums for their Medicare Part A coverage. That's the good news. The bad news? You will pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B.</p> <p>As of 2017, the Part B premium stood at $134 a month. Medicare, though, says that most people who get Social Security benefits pay less than that, for an average monthly premium of $109. This premium is usually deducted directly from your Social Security benefits. You won't be writing a check each month, but you'll still be paying for that Part B coverage.</p> <p>You'll also have to pay a premium each month if you elect to sign up for a Medicare Part C plan. These premiums will vary depending on your plan. Medicare Part D comes with a monthly premium, too, though this will vary according to your specific plan.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-common-medicare-myths-debunked&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Common%2520Medicare%2520Myths%252C%2520Debunked.jpg&amp;description=5%20Common%20Medicare%20Myths%2C%20Debunked"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Common%20Medicare%20Myths%2C%20Debunked.jpg" alt="5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">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/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</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/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</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/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Women Pay More for Health Care — Here&#039;s How to Pay Less</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-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</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/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance coverage deductibles health care medical medicare myths premiums retirement social security Thu, 05 Oct 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2030973 at http://www.wisebread.com How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medical_costs.jpg" alt="Medical Costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you run your own business, times like the present &mdash; when there is a lot of uncertainty about health care policy &mdash; can be challenging. Many self-employed Americans are already struggling to pay for insurance and medical costs. And it's hard to predict whether your premiums or out-of-pocket costs will rise substantially in the near future.</p> <p>So how do you insulate yourself? There isn't an easy answer, as I found during the roughly 10-year period when my husband and I were both freelancers raising four children in New Jersey, a very high-cost state when it comes to health care. (Last fall, he went in-house with a client, so now we get our health care through his job.) This is what worked for us.</p> <h2>Opt for a high-deductible plan with a health savings account</h2> <p>When it comes to health insurance, many people prefer plans that cover most of their out-of-pocket costs &mdash; such as a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan. Unfortunately, the premiums for these tend to be extremely high. For us, enrolling in a PPO plan would have been like taking on a second mortgage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Right Health Care Plan</a>)</p> <p>If you don't use a lot of medical care, you may find yourself over-insured with a PPO plan. Generally, if you're self-employed, the most affordable option is a high-deductible health care plan (HDHP), which allows you to open and use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=internal" target="_blank">health savings account (HSA)</a>.</p> <p>The premiums for an HDHP tend to be lower than those for a PPO plan. Like most health care plans, an HDHP will completely cover preventive health services such as routine physicals and vaccinations &mdash; meaning you don't pay anything. However, there's a catch. Outside of preventive care, with a high-deductible plan you need to pay a certain dollar amount of medical costs &mdash; your deductible &mdash; before the plan starts covering your medical expenses. Often the deductible for an HDHP is thousands of dollars.</p> <p>A health savings plan can help you save for those medical costs in a tax-advantaged account, which is only available to people who have an HDHP. To use a health savings plan, your insurance plan's annual deductible in 2017 must be at least $1,300 if you're an individual, or $2,600 per year for a family plan (these numbers are adjusted every year).</p> <p>Putting that money into a health savings account on a pretax basis can reduce your taxable income. Because this helps cut your tax bill, there are, of course, limits to how much you can contribute ($3,400 for yourself only, or $6,750 for a family plan). You can use the money you put into the HSA to pay your medical expenses with a special debit card or checkbook you get when you open the account. The IRS publishes a <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf" target="_blank">list of expenses you can use an HSA for</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</a>)</p> <p>To be sure, it is not easy to come up with the money to fund an HSA, especially if you are a freelancer with uneven income. We have funded ours by cutting down on extras. Sometimes making a small change, like switching to a better mobile phone plan, can make a difference. Even if you can only put in a quarter of the amount you're allowed and gradually increase the amount you contribute each year, you'll be further ahead than if you don't put anything into an HSA.</p> <h2>Get second opinions and shop around</h2> <p>There have been many cases over the years where the medical community has revised evidence-based recommendations as new information has become available for treating particular conditions. Given that reality, I've realized that there are many gray areas in medicine and have taken time to get second opinions any time a family member is advised to get a test or treatment that comes with risks or could be very costly. Sometimes, the doctor giving me a second opinion will suggest a way to tackle a problem using a simpler, less expensive solution that I haven't considered.</p> <p>I've found that functional medicine doctors can be fantastic allies in this respect. These MDs tend to be oriented toward finding the root cause of a problem so you can eliminate it, rather than simply treating the symptoms. Some don't take insurance, but there are a few who do, so it's worth asking health-oriented friends if they know one.</p> <p>Sometimes, it's even possible to shop around for medical procedures, despite the general lack of transparency in U.S. health care costs. I haven't personally used it, but the site <a href="https://www.mdsave.com/" target="_blank">MDsave</a>, which one entrepreneur highly recommended to me, allows you to compare prices and pay for medical procedures in advance at prearranged prices. There are also a number of other websites that let you compare medical costs.</p> <h2>Live a healthy lifestyle</h2> <p>None of us has total control over our health, but by doing what you can to eat well and stay fit, you can at least reduce your chances of developing health problems that have a lifestyle component or mitigate the harm they cause if you already have developed one.</p> <p>Many chronic conditions can be very costly, as a recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans pointed out. Employers who completed the survey said the number one condition impacting their medical costs was diabetes, cited by 41 percent of respondents. Obesity, heart disease, and hypertension/high blood pressure were also among the top 10 medical costs.</p> <p>Two simple things you can do to stack the odds in favor of staying healthy, without any added expense, are buying fresh, unprocessed foods and preparing your food at home as often as you can. When you eat a lot of prepared frozen foods or eat out all the time, it's hard to avoid unhealthy ingredients, unless you can afford the highest-end options. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>The less-is-more approach can work with fitness, too. Instead of waiting for that perfect day when you can afford to sign up for a CrossFit or Barre class and do it regularly, find some type of enjoyable physical activity that is available to you now, whether that's taking a yoga class at your YMCA, going for a walk or jog around your neighborhood, or playing actively with your kids. And if you participate in an activity that gets you away from your computer, you'll probably meet some new friends, too, which is another good way to reduce stress. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifestyle-changes-that-will-always-pay-off?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Lifestyle Changes That Will Always Pay Off</a>)</p> <p>These steps do take some effort, but they can pay off in lower health care costs. That's a big benefit if you're paying for your premiums and medical bills on your own.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520the%2520Self%2520Employed%2520Can%2520Cut%2520Health%2520Care%2520Costs.jpg&amp;description=How%20the%20Self%20Employed%20Can%20Cut%20Health%20Care%20Costs"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20the%20Self%20Employed%20Can%20Cut%20Health%20Care%20Costs.jpg" alt="How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elaine-pofeldt">Elaine Pofeldt</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">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/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having</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-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Health and Beauty Insurance freelancers hdhp health care health savings accounts healthy living high deductible plans HSA medical care PPO self employed small business owners Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Elaine Pofeldt 2028483 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural Disaster http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/flooded_street.jpg" alt="Flooded street" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The worst has happened to your home: a tornado, hurricane, or other natural disaster has damaged or destroyed it. Now it's time to rebuild. But what steps do you need to take when filing an insurance claim after a natural disaster? How can you increase the odds that your insurer will pay out as much as possible to help you rebuild not only your home, but your life? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-arent-prepared-for-an-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Signs You Aren't Prepared for an Emergency</a>)</p> <h2>Call right away</h2> <p>The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you call your agent or insurance company immediately after a disaster. You need to determine whether the damage to your home is covered under your policy, how much time you have until you must file a claim, and how long it will take to process the claim.</p> <p>You might want to talk about your deductible, too. If your home is destroyed by a natural disaster, the costs of rebuilding will certainly exceed your deductible. But remember that you'll have to pay your deductible amount first. If you have a deductible of $1,000, you'll have to pay that amount before your insurer starts kicking in its payments to help you rebuild your home.</p> <h2>Re-educate yourself on what your policy covers</h2> <p>Hopefully you understood the amount of coverage your homeowners insurance policy provided when you signed it. But if you've since forgotten, make sure to ask your insurance agent how much coverage you can expect to rebuild.</p> <p>Some policies provide what is known as replacement-cost coverage. This means that your insurer will pay the current value of a damaged or destroyed item even if you've owned that item for several years. Say your home's furnace is destroyed, for example. A replacement-cost policy will cover the cost of that furnace today, even if you bought it 10 years ago.</p> <p>An actual-cost policy isn't quite as good. Under such a policy, your insurer will pay for only a portion of the replacement costs of a new furnace because your 10-year-old furnace isn't worth as much as a new one.</p> <h2>Prevent more damage, within reason</h2> <p>The Insurance Information Institute also recommends that homeowners, once they set the claims process in motion, take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to their property. You might, for instance, pump water out of your home's basement. Or maybe you can cover or board up broken windows.</p> <p>Just be careful not to make more extensive permanent repairs. The temporary work you do &mdash; such as boarding up windows or doors &mdash; will be covered by your insurance company, if you provide receipts of this work. But hiring a contractor to make more extensive repairs before getting the OK from your insurer is a mistake; the odds are this work won't be covered.</p> <h2>Always keep receipts</h2> <p>If you have to move your family into temporary shelter such as a hotel, be sure to keep receipts. Your homeowners insurance policy will cover the costs of these additional living expenses if your home is destroyed. But you need to keep a record of what you're spending if you want to receive full coverage.</p> <h2>Make an inventory of damaged or destroyed items</h2> <p>Your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to determine the damage and the costs of rebuilding. Your insurer might also send you a proof-of-loss form to fill out, either before the adjuster shows up or after.</p> <p>You'll use this form to list all of the items that were damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster. You should also gather any receipts you have for the items that were destroyed. You'll give this sheet to your insurance company's adjuster.</p> <p>It's also smart to take photos of damaged or destroyed items. These images can provide more evidence to adjusters looking to determine how much money is needed to rebuild your life.</p> <p>Do not throw away damaged or destroyed items until after the adjuster's visit. It helps for them to see the damage in person.</p> <h2>Make a list of the damage to your home's physical structure</h2> <p>List individual damages such as cracked walls, lost roof tiles, damaged electrical systems, broken windows, and demolished chimneys. Again, the more information you can provide to an adjuster about the specific damage to your home, the more compensation you are likely to receive.</p> <h2>Answer questions promptly</h2> <p>If a natural disaster hits your area, be aware that it might take insurance companies longer to process claims and sign proof-of-loss statements with homeowners. To avoid further delays, make sure to answer any questions that your insurance company has as quickly as possible.</p> <p>If your insurance company needs a document, send it as quickly as possible. Any delay on your end will only lengthen your wait for payment.</p> <p>In these times, you might not feel up to dealing with insurance process, but the longer you delay, the longer it'll be before you can start rebuilding. It must be done, so try to find a way to get it done now.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Filing%2520an%2520Insurance%2520Claim%2520After%2520a%2520Natural%2520Disaster.jpg&amp;description=What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Filing%20an%20Insurance%20Claim%20After%20a%20Natural%20Disaster"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Filing%20an%20Insurance%20Claim%20After%20a%20Natural%20Disaster.jpg" alt="What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural Disaster" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-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-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/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance</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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</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/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</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-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners 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/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing claims damage deductibles hurricanes natural disasters rebuilding receipts storms tornadoes Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Dan Rafter 2019384 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-to-update-your-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/beautiful_couple_relaxing_at_home_and_loving_their_pet.jpg" alt="Beautiful couple relaxing at home and loving their pet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you took out your mortgage loan, your lender required you to sign up for a homeowners insurance policy. Chances are, you haven't thought much about this policy since.</p> <p>That might be a mistake. You should review your homeowners insurance policy whenever you make changes to both your home and your lifestyle. Doing so could save you money in the form of valuable discounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Things Covered by Homeowner's Insurance</a>)</p> <p>And not reviewing your insurance policy when you make these changes might leave you with inadequate financial protection should a fire or other disaster damage your home or a thief steal your valuables.</p> <p>Here are the times when it's wise to review your homeowners insurance policy.</p> <h2>1. You've remodeled your home</h2> <p>If you've updated your 1970s-era kitchen, added a master-bedroom suite, or completed another large remodeling job, it's smart to call your homeowners insurance agent. That's because a major remodeling job could increase the value of your home. And this could make it more expensive to rebuild your home should disaster strike.</p> <p>You might need additional coverage after a remodel to make sure that your policy will pay for the entire rebuild of your now more-valuable residence.</p> <h2>2. You've purchased big-ticket items</h2> <p>Your homeowners insurance policy will cover the loss of valuables inside your home if a thief steals them. But if you've recently purchased big-ticket items such as pricey artwork, jewelry, furs, or electronics, it's time, again, to call your insurance agent.</p> <p>You'll want to make sure that you have enough insurance to cover the replacement value of these expensive items. If you don't update your insurance policy, you risk coming up short.</p> <h2>3. You've stopped smoking</h2> <p>Kicking the smoking habit is a smart move for your health. But it can also save you money in the form of lower homeowners insurance payments.</p> <p>Most insurers will reduce the premiums of your policy &mdash; at least by a bit &mdash; if you don't smoke. Smokers are riskier to ensure. The chance of a fire damaging or destroying your home is higher if you smoke. If you've stopped, contact your insurer to see if you're eligible for a reduced premium.</p> <h2>4. You've retired</h2> <p>Retirement might come with an insurance discount, too. The Insurance Information Institute says that some companies offer discounts of as much as 10 percent to retirees who are at least 55 years old.</p> <p>Why? Retired people usually spend more time at home. They're more likely, then, to spot the signs of a fire before it gets out of control. They're also less likely to be burglarized and have more time to spend on maintaining their homes. If you've left the working world, it's time to call your insurance agent.</p> <h2>5. You've added an alarm system</h2> <p>Adding an alarm system makes it less likely that a thief will break into your home. It can also bring you a lower homeowners insurance premium. After installing your system, call your homeowners insurance company. The Insurance Information Institute says that a new alarm system can usually save you about 5 percent in premiums each year.</p> <h2>6. You've added a swimming pool</h2> <p>Some changes can actually increase the cost of your homeowners insurance policy. One of these is adding a swimming pool. You'll be liable if someone is injured or drowns while using your swimming pool. This holds true even if the person using your pool didn't get your permission first. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <p>Insurance companies take on more risk when insuring homeowners with swimming pools, and will often increase their premiums.</p> <p>You might be tempted to keep your swimming pool a secret from your insurer. Don't. If someone is injured in your pool and sues you, your insurance company won't pay out if you added the pool without its knowledge.</p> <h2>7. You've bought a dog</h2> <p>Your homeowners insurance policy will most likely cover you if your dog bites someone on your property. But, again, you'll have to inform your insurer about your new pet to guarantee this protection. Again, your rates might rise, but keeping your new pooch a secret could cost you in the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Times%2520to%2520Update%2520Your%2520Homeowners%2520Insurance.jpg&amp;description=7%20Times%20to%20Update%20Your%20Homeowners%20Insurance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Times%20to%20Update%20Your%20Homeowners%20Insurance.jpg" alt="7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-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-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/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for 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/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners 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/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your 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/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</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/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing big purchases big ticket items homeowners insurance new dogs pools premiums remodeling retired security alarm Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 2019187 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hands_protecting_house.jpg" alt="Hands Protecting House" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Homeowners insurance provides plenty of protection for your residence. If a fire destroys your home, your insurance will help you rebuild. If a thief breaks in and steals your electronics, your policy will help you replace the stolen items.</p> <p>But a standard homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover everything that could go wrong with your home. That's why you should investigate supplemental insurance policies that cover everything from earthquake damage and flooding to sewer line failures.</p> <p>Here are some additional insurance coverages you should consider to provide the most financial protection for your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sewer and water line protection</h2> <p>The water coming out of your kitchen faucet comes from somewhere &mdash; a water line traveling under the ground to your home, to be exact. And when you flush your toilet? That wastewater leaves your home through an underground sewer line.</p> <p>If these lines get clogged, damaged, or break, you're responsible for paying for the repairs. That can be expensive, as contractors will have to dig through the ground to get at the damaged or broken pipes. Not only will you have to pay for this work, you'll probably need to hire landscapers to fix the mess left behind in your front yard from all the digging.</p> <p>You can protect yourself by purchasing a water and sewer line protection plan from your utility company, or from a private insurer if your utility company outsources this job. These plans are usually affordable &mdash; about $5 or so a month added to your utility bill &mdash; and will often cover $5,000 for the repair work to sewer and water lines and $5,000 for the street repairs necessary to fix this problem.</p> <h2>2. Sewage backup</h2> <p>It's an unpleasant surprise: Sewage has risen through your basement's floor drains and is now covering its floors. It's not only a mess, it's unhealthy, too.</p> <p>And here's another surprise: Most homeowners insurance policies don't automatically cover sewage backups. If you want this covered, you'll have to pay for a rider &mdash; additional coverage &mdash; that specifically covers damage and cleanup costs relating to sewage backups. You can usually purchase this additional coverage for about $50 a year.</p> <h2>3. Flood insurance</h2> <p>You might think that your insurance policy will automatically cover the damages caused when heavy rains send water flooding into your basement. But this isn't the case. Standard policies don't provide coverage for flooding.</p> <p>If you want this coverage, you'll need to purchase flood insurance.</p> <p>The Insurance Information Institute says that homeowners can buy flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA. The Insurance Information Institute says that the average residential flood insurance policy starts at $112 a year. The maximum protection is $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for its contents. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Flood Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>4. Umbrella insurance</h2> <p>You were involved in a car accident and found at fault. The driver you struck was injured and now faces a $500,000 medical bill. You likely have a personal auto insurance policy with a bodily injury limit to help offset some of that cost &mdash; say $250,000. How will you come up with the other $250,000? And what if, three months down the line, the injured driver decides to sue?</p> <p>An umbrella insurance policy is designed to protect you from the financial dangers of liability beyond what is covered in your current policies, such as your homeowners, boaters, or car insurance. Homeowners with a pool are usually advised to purchase umbrella insurance in case somebody gets hurt there. In addition to coverage for bodily injury or property damage, umbrella insurance also provides protection from certain lawsuits against you, such as slander, libel, false arrest, malicious prosecution, or mental anguish. It's also a smart investment for landlords who own rental units.</p> <p>Umbrella coverage can be purchased in million dollar increments, typically between $1 million and $5 million. The Insurance Information Institute estimates the cost for a $1 million policy to be between $100 and $300 per year. Note that umbrella coverage does not protect against damage you caused to your own property, business losses, contract violations, or legal issues stemming from an intentional criminal act.</p> <h2>5. Earthquake coverage</h2> <p>Most homeowners insurance policies don't cover damage caused to your home by earthquakes. You might not think this is a risk worth insuring, especially if you don't live in California, but the Insurance Information Institute says that 42 states are at risk of suffering earthquakes.</p> <p>The cost of this insurance varies according to where you live, but earthquake insurance usually comes with a high deductible. The Insurance Information Institute says that the standard policy offered by the California Earthquake Authority comes with a deductible of 15 percent of a home's replacement costs. This means if it would cost a homeowner in California $300,000 to replace a destroyed home, that owner would have to pay $45,000 before the insurance policy would kick in to cover the additional costs.</p> <h2>6. Home business insurance</h2> <p>Do you run a business out of your home? You might need additional coverage to protect it.</p> <p>Insurers offer home-based business insurance that will help cover damages if someone visiting your home business is injured, your business inventory is damaged because of a fire or other disaster, or you have to shut down your business temporarily if your home is damaged. A policy can also provide liability insurance if you have employees working at your home.</p> <h2>7. Extra coverage for valuables</h2> <p>If you have a large amount of jewelry, collectibles, art, or furs in your home, you might consider buying additional coverage to protect yourself if these valuables are damaged or stolen.</p> <p>The standard coverage offered by basic homeowners insurance might not provide the full replacement value for these items. To protect yourself, you can purchase a rider that will provide a coverage boost for these more expensive items.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Other%2520Kinds%2520of%2520Insurance%2520You%2520May%2520Need%2520to%2520Buy%2520for%2520Your%2520Home.jpg&amp;description=7%20Other%20Kinds%20of%20Insurance%20You%20May%20Need%20to%20Buy%20for%20Your%20Home"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Other%20Kinds%20of%20Insurance%20You%20May%20Need%20to%20Buy%20for%20Your%20Home.jpg" alt="7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">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/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</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/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners 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/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here&#039;s Why</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/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s 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/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing business earthquakes flood insurance homeowners insurance protection rider policies sewage sewer lines water lines Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:30:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 2007683 at http://www.wisebread.com The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Health Care Plan http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515605374.jpg" alt="Choosing the best health care plan based on one question" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Health insurance: That term alone may be enough to give you a headache, considering all of its confusing language, acronyms, high costs, and pages upon pages of fine print. If you're feeling lost, you aren't alone &mdash; and I'm here to help.</p> <p>As someone who has purchased their own insurance from health care marketplaces in several states, and worked professionally for a health insurance company, I've learned quite a bit about buying health insurance. Here are the main points you need to know to choose the best insurance plan for you and your family.</p> <h2>The two main health care costs</h2> <p>Health care costs are broken down into two main categories: fixed monthly costs and variable service costs.</p> <h3>1. Fixed monthly costs</h3> <p>Your health care bill is a fixed monthly cost that you pay in order to keep your insurance in good standing. Your bill is often referred to as your &quot;premium&quot; or &quot;monthly premium.&quot; It may change from year to year, but within a given calendar year, it's the same every month provided you don't have any life changes such as adding a new dependent to your plan.</p> <p>It's critically important that you pay this monthly charge every month when it's due. If you miss a payment or multiple payments, the insurance company could cancel your coverage or charge you a late fee. If you're having trouble paying your monthly premium, ask for help. Call your insurance company. There are often programs and payment options to help you manage your payments and keep your insurance active.</p> <h3>2. Variable service costs</h3> <p>These are costs that you will pay when you receive medical services such as doctor visits, prescriptions, visits to the emergency room or hospitalizations, and lab tests, just to name a few. The costs to you for these services depend upon your insurance and the provider of those services such as the doctor or pharmacy you use. When you pay these costs, they count against something called your deductible.</p> <p>Your deductible is the amount of money set by your insurance plan that <em>you </em>must pay before insurance contributes money to your medical costs.</p> <p>Your copay is the amount of money you must pay upfront to a service provider before you can receive care, medication, or tests.</p> <h2>An example of how all of these costs work together</h2> <p>Let's say you sign up with ABC health insurance company. These are the terms of the plan:</p> <ul> <li>Monthly premium: $100.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Variable costs: $25 copay for a visit to your doctor (often called your primary care physician or PCP), $200 copay for a visit to the ER, $10 copay for prescriptions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deductible: $1,000 in-network, $2,000 out-of-network. In-network means that a provider is approved by the insurance company. As a general rule, you should check to see if all of your providers are in-network with your insurance company, because in-network providers will be cheaper for you than out-of-network providers.</li> </ul> <p>Every month, you must pay the $100 premium, whether or not you receive any medical care that month.</p> <p>Now let's say you get a bad cold. You go to the doctor and they write you a prescription for some medicine to help you manage the congestion in your nose and chest. They're also a little concerned that this is more than just a cold, so they recommend a few tests from an in-network lab. Since you are feeling very sick, you agree to the lab tests. You pay the $25 copay to the doctor for the visit, and the $10 copay at your pharmacy for the prescription. Total variable costs so far are $35.</p> <p>The lab tests come back and it turns out you have an infection and need a second prescription. You pay another $10 copay to your pharmacist for the second medication, and the lab that ran the tests sends you a bill for $50. Total variable costs are now a total of $95.</p> <p>Now what about the deductible? Copays usually do not count toward your deductible, but billed costs do. Let's say this is the first time you're seeing a doctor this year. You can count your $50 lab cost against your $1,000 in-network deductible because the lab that ran the tests is in-network.</p> <p>Because you haven't yet hit the $1,000 in-network deductible of medical expenses, you must pay the lab the $50 for your lab tests. Your insurance doesn't cover any of that cost so long as your total billed in-network provider costs for the year (not counting copays) are below $1,000. Insurance does not cover any of your copays &mdash; you are responsible for those costs as well.</p> <h2>The one question you need to answer to choose the right plan</h2> <p>Health care is a complicated industry. There is one main question you need to answer to choose the right plan for you on the exchange: Would you rather pay a higher fixed monthly premium and pay lower costs for a serious illness or injury, or would you rather have a lower monthly premium and pay higher costs for a serious illness or injury?</p> <p>Once you answer that question, you significantly narrow down your choices and the decision becomes much simpler.</p> <h2>Narrowing down your choices</h2> <p>If you need some help answering the question above, here is a way to break it down into two smaller questions.</p> <h3>1. What is your risk tolerance?</h3> <p>You have to be able to sleep at night. If you are worried about a high monthly premium and not too worried about your potential for getting sick or having some kind of accident, then you could choose a higher-deductible plan with a lower monthly fee and higher service fees. If you would rather have the peace of mind of a lower-deductible plan with higher monthly fees and lower service fees, then a high monthly premium plan may be better for you. That is a very personal choice and there are no right or wrong answers.</p> <h3>2. How much financial flexibility do you have if you get sick or injured?</h3> <p>Another point to consider is your financial flexibility. In the event that you become sick or have an accident, do you have a substantial enough savings to cover high medical costs? If so, then you may be just fine with a plan that is cheaper on a monthly basis and has higher fees and a higher deductible. If you don't have significant savings for services, but you do have money to cover a higher monthly premium, then a more expensive plan upfront may be better for you.</p> <h2>What's covered in every plan (for now)</h2> <p>For now, the Affordable Care Act (commonly called the ACA or &quot;Obamacare&quot;) is the law of the land. When it was passed in 2010, it included a required set of services that all health insurance plans on the marketplace (also called &quot;the exchange&quot;) must include.</p> <p>That means that all of these services must be offered by all plans that wish to be a part of the marketplace. It does not mean that these services are free of charge. It just means that they have to be offered as part of the bundle of services, and there can be costs to you associated with them.</p> <p>The mandatory services, as long as the ACA is in effect, are:</p> <ul> <li>Ambulatory patient services. This includes any service outside of a hospital such as visits to a doctor's office, a clinic, or urgent care center.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Chronic disease treatment. Chronic conditions are illnesses that must be consistently treated to prevent or slow their progression, but may never be fully cured. These include conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Emergency services.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hospitalization.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Laboratory services. Lab services include all tests that help doctors diagnose your illness or condition. Blood work is an example of a lab service.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Maternity and newborn care.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mental health services and addiction treatment. This includes services in which you go for an office visit to a therapist as well as services that require you to check in to a facility for multiple days of treatment (known as inpatient services).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rehabilitative services and devices. This includes services that help you to recover from a mental or physical illness, injury, disability, or chronic condition. It may be inpatient or outpatient depending upon the recommendation by your physician.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Pediatric services. This includes checkups, vaccines and immunizations, dental care, and vision care.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prescription drugs.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Preventive and wellness services. This includes physicals, immunizations, and screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies that are meant to prevent and/or detect certain medical conditions that would need treatment. For women, this also includes annual visits to a gynecologist. Many times these services are included in the insurance plan with no extra fee other than a copay provided you go to a service provider who is in-network.</li> </ul> <p>Remember, no matter which plan you choose on the exchange, it must include some provision for these services though the costs to you for providing them may vary significantly from plan to plan.</p> <h2>The main drivers of your health insurance costs</h2> <p>There are several factors that determine your monthly charge from the insurance company.</p> <ul> <li>Your age.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your home address. Where you live makes a difference in cost, for now, so you must go to the marketplace that is associated with the state in which you live. <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/" target="_blank">HealthCare.gov</a> will tell you which exchange is yours based on the ZIP code you enter. You will then be able to see the plans available to you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How many dependents you want to cover, if any.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whether or not you smoke. Some states have an extra charge if you are a smoker.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The insurance company you choose. Exchanges can have more than one insurance company in the marketplace.</li> </ul> <p>The health care exchanges do an excellent job of giving you side-by-side, apples-to-apples comparisons between different plans. If it's too much for you to figure out online, call your state exchange directly. They have excellent customer service representatives who are very knowledgeable and will help you through the online application. Be well.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20One%20Question%20You%20Need%20to%20Answer%20to%20Choose%20the%20Best%20Plan%20on%20the%20Health%20Care%20Marketplace.jpg" alt="The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-health-care-plan">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/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-medicare-myths-debunked">5 Common Medicare Myths, Debunked</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance ACA affordable care act copays costs deductibles doctors health care networks obamacare the exchange Tue, 08 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 1994456 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/loss_adjuster_inspecting_car_involved_In_accident.jpg" alt="Loss Adjuster Inspecting Car Involved In Accident" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Erika Plank Hagan knows all too well the value of buying rental car insurance. In July 2013, Hagan and her family drove from Connecticut to Ohio in a rental car to attend her brother's wedding. While they were on the road, Hagan's eldest son, who has special needs, got bored in the back seat and decided to wrap the middle shoulder harness belt around his neck &mdash; when it suddenly locked.</p> <p>They happened to be driving through a construction zone at the time, meaning there was no place for them to pull over. Hagan's husband was driving, so she leapt into the back seat and wedged two fingers between the seat belt and her son's neck, and they drove that way until they were able to pull over. The belt would not unlock, and so the Hagans had to cut their son out of the shoulder harness. Thankfully, he was shaken, but unharmed.</p> <p>This terrifying story has Hagan almost believing in premonitions, however. Her husband just happened to pack a pair of scissors, which he normally wouldn't do because he was so used to traveling by air. In addition, though the Hagans do not usually buy car rental insurance, they happened to agree to the rental insurance for this trip, meaning they did not have to pay for the cut shoulder harness.</p> <p>This is the story that also got me to question my own belief that rental car insurance is an unnecessary add-on that car rental companies use to upsell their customers. While few drivers will experience a scenario like the one Hagan and her family went through, it is important to recognize that there are definitely good reasons to sign up for the rental car insurance.</p> <h2>1. You will have to pay your auto insurance deductible</h2> <p>Relying on your own personal insurance can be more costly than signing up for the rental car insurance because of your deductible. Depending on what you have set as your deductible, you might find yourself staring down a bill as high as $1,000 after an accident in a rental car. The daily cost of rental insurance will surely be less expensive than your deductible, and paying that cost can provide you with a great deal of peace of mind.</p> <h2>2. Your auto insurance does not cover &quot;loss of use&quot;</h2> <p>The majority of auto insurance policies will cover your rental car within the limits of your collision and comprehensive coverage. As long as you are prepared to pay your deductible in the event of an accident or other damage to the car, then it can seem as if your personal auto insurance should be enough.</p> <p>Unfortunately, that assumption does not take into account all of the costs of damage to a rental car. In many states, automobile insurance does not cover what's known as &quot;loss of use.&quot; When the rental car is in the shop for repairs, the company is losing the money it would earn from renting that car out. You will be on the hook for that cost if you are relying on your auto insurance to cover damage to a rental car.</p> <h2>3. Rental car insurance might protect you from auto insurance rate hikes</h2> <p>One major downside to relying on your personal auto insurance to cover a claim on a rental car is the fact that your insurance rates will probably go up afterward. However, using the rental car insurance you purchased from the company will not increase your auto insurance premiums in certain cases. According to Hannah Rounds, Consumer Finance Expert at Unplanned Finance, &quot;If you hit a pole while insured by a rental car company, you'll probably escape rate hikes. If you hit another vehicle, you should expect to see your primary auto insurance rates increase.&quot;</p> <p>Here's how it works: National rental car companies sell primary collision damage waivers, which means your rental vehicle is covered at 100 percent. If you purchase the rental car insurance and have an accident, the rental car company won't go after your personal insurance for money, and they normally don't report damage. As a result, your insurance claim remains outside of mainstream reporting, and your rates remain unchanged. However, if there are police involved in your accident, then the incident will be reported to your Motor Vehicle Record, which means you might see your premiums rise even if you don't make a claim with your insurance.</p> <p>Finally, there are multiple types of rental car insurance. Supplemental liability insurance through the rental car agency covers any damage not already covered by your personal auto insurance, meaning that a claim will be made to your insurance and you will likely be seeing a rate hike as a result.</p> <h2>4. Insurance provided by your credit card may not cover enough</h2> <p>Travelers who have both a robust automobile insurance policy and a credit card that offers car rental coverage may believe that they are completely covered in case of a rental car mishap. Unfortunately, credit card coverage is not nearly as comprehensive as you might think. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Does Car Rental Insurance Really Cover On Your Credit Card?</a>)</p> <p>To start, some cardholders may not be aware that they need to use the specific card offering rental car insurance benefits when they rent the car. It's not enough to be a cardholder. You must use the card with rental insurance benefits to rent the car in your own name in order to access the benefits. You must also decline all optional coverage offered by the rental car company.</p> <p>In addition, not every card offers these insurance benefits, so you need to know ahead of time if your card will protect you.</p> <p>Credit card rental insurance also has some pretty specific limitations. For instance, some types of vehicles are excluded from credit card rental insurance coverage, including pickup trucks, some SUVs, and expensive and/or exotic vehicles. The traveler who dreams of exploring the city in a Porsche needs to remember this limitation.</p> <p>Furthermore, many card policies won't cover administrative fees charged by the rental car company, and none will cover diminished value. Diminished value refers to the reduction in a rental car's resale value caused by an accident. If you get into a crash that is serious enough to lower the car's value but not serious enough to total it, you'll be on the hook for that diminished value if you are relying on your credit card for rental insurance coverage.</p> <h2>5. Business travelers may not be covered by personal auto insurance</h2> <p>My father used to fly to Arizona for an annual business conference, and then stay for a few extra days to enjoy the sunshine. That kind of business/pleasure trip can be a land mine for car renters. That's because while their company may cover the insurance for car rental during the business portion of the trip, their personal auto insurance will likely not cover them for the pleasure part of the trip. One workaround for this would be returning the car and then re-renting it once the trip ticks over from business to pleasure &mdash; but you might find that buying the rental car insurance from the start is an easier fix for this problem.</p> <h2>6. International travel is often excluded from personal auto insurance</h2> <p>If you are renting a car outside of the United States, you may or may not be able to count on your personal auto insurance and/or your credit card's rental insurance for coverage. Many auto insurers specifically limit their coverage to driving in the States, and credit cards specifically exclude several countries from their rental insurance benefits.</p> <h2>Better safe than sorry</h2> <p>By its nature, insurance is something you hope you never have to use. The cost of rental car insurance can make it seem like it's financially smarter to skip it and hope for the best. But if you ever do have a problem with a rental car, you'll be glad you bought the insurance and didn't rely on hope to keep you financially fit.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Reasons%2520You%2520Should%2520Buy%2520the%2520Rental%2520Car%2520Insurance.jpg&amp;description=6%20Reasons%20You%20Should%20Buy%20the%20Rental%20Car%20Insurance"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Reasons%20You%20Should%20Buy%20the%20Rental%20Car%20Insurance.jpg" alt="6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-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-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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster">What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural 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/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">Here&#039;s How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun</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/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car 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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance accidents auto policies collision damage deductibles international travel loss of use rate hikes rental car insurance waivers Thu, 13 Jul 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1981389 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Times You Shouldn't File an Insurance Claim http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_examining_broken_down_car_on_sunny_day.jpg" alt="Friends examining broken down car on sunny day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem like a waste of money to pay insurance premiums every month, then avoid filing a claim when you actually have damage. Yet sometimes, this is exactly what you should do to save money.</p> <p>The strategy of filing a claim whenever you have home or auto damage may get you more payout from insurance companies, but your insurance premiums will likely go up significantly, and you may even be dropped from coverage altogether. Both home and auto insurance companies report claims to industrywide databases, so all of the major insurance companies can see your claim history. Even if you move on to a new insurance company after filing a lot of claims, your premiums will likely be very high.</p> <p>Filing a lot of claims is almost certain to cost you more in higher premiums over time than you will get from claim settlements. According to a 2015 study from InsuranceQuotes.com, a single auto insurance claim can drive your rates up 41 percent to 76 percent, and multiple claims can drive rates up even higher.</p> <p>Insurance companies set your rates based not only on their assessment of your risk of having property damage, but also for the risk to them that you will file a claim. As a result, there are situations where you are better off not filing a claim with the insurance company &mdash; even if your damage is more than your deductible and you could get a payout.</p> <h2>1. The claim would be less than the deductible</h2> <p>The first thing you need to know before deciding to file an insurance claim is your deductible. The deductible is how much you have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance company will pay to settle a claim.</p> <p>For example, if your auto policy has a deductible of $1,000 and your total repair bill is $1,100, then the insurance company will only pay $100. If the total damage is $900, then the insurance company won't pay anything, and your premiums could still go up.</p> <p>There is not much point in going through the hassle of filing a claim, getting the damage appraised by an insurance adjuster, and risking higher insurance premiums if it is likely that the damage is below your deductible and you won't get a payout anyway.</p> <h2>2. You have filed recent claims</h2> <p>Even if your claim would be more than the deductible and you would get a payout, if you have filed other recent claims, you are risking a significant increase in rates by filing another one. The average person files a claim about once every eight to 10 years, so if you file claims more frequently than average, you could be setting yourself up for higher rates.</p> <h2>3. There is no accident report and no injuries</h2> <p>For auto insurance, the payout from a small damage claim can easily be offset by the years of higher rates you'll pay afterward. For small incidents, it can be much less expensive to simply pay to repair the damage without going through the insurance company if there are no injuries and no accident report is filed. If a police report is filed, your insurance company will likely find out about the incident whether you report it or not.</p> <h2>4. There is no potential for lawsuit</h2> <p>One of the benefits of getting your insurance company involved is to handle a potentially very expensive lawsuit. Even if your incident is minor, you may want to talk with your insurance company if you get the feeling that the other party may pursue a liability claim. If a lawsuit does not seem like a possibility based on the incident and the parties involved, this can tip the balance in favor of paying for the damage yourself without involving the insurance company.</p> <h2>5. You have an emergency fund</h2> <p>If the damage is a few thousand dollars or less, you might still come out ahead by paying out of pocket rather than filing a claim. You can avoid the risk of higher premiums for years, and getting a record that can follow you even if you look for insurance from a different provider. For example, the back window of my car shattered, and I decided to take care of this $300 repair without going through the insurance company at all.</p> <h2>6. Watch out for expensive home policy claims</h2> <p>Dog bites, water damage, and slip-and-fall claims are most likely to trigger rate increases on your homeowners insurance, according to Bankrate. Think twice before making a claim in these categories if the claim would be fairly small and you can handle the expense on your own.</p> <h2>7. Inquiries can make your rates go up without even filing a claim</h2> <p>Some insurance agents are obligated to report inquiries to the insurance company, and a mere <a href="http://www.aarp.org/money/insurance/info-12-2011/phone-call-raise-insurance-rate-ask-sid.html" target="_blank">inquiry about your coverage</a> can be used to raise your rates due to the increased risk that you may file a claim.</p> <p>You may want to investigate your coverage on your own by looking at your insurance policy and deciding whether it is worth it to call your insurance agent. You can also ask your agent if they are obligated to report the inquiry to the insurance company before you start talking about a potential claim.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Times%2520You%2520Shouldnt%2520File%2520an%2520Insurance%2520Claim.jpg&amp;description=7%20Times%20You%20Shouldnt%20File%20an%20Insurance%20Claim"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Times%20You%20Shouldnt%20File%20an%20Insurance%20Claim.jpg" alt="7 Times You Shouldn't File an Insurance Claim" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">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/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</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/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-filing-an-insurance-claim-after-a-natural-disaster">What You Need to Know About Filing an Insurance Claim After a Natural 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/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car 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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance accidents auto insurance claims damages deductibles homeowners insurance policies Fri, 07 Jul 2017 08:31:04 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1976049 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_riding_jet_boat.jpg" alt="Couple Riding Jet Boat" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer can be a great time to get the big toys out of the garage. Jet Skis, off-road vehicles, RVs, and other expensive forms of transportation can make a summer trip more enjoyable.</p> <p>Those toys also need insurance to fix or replace them if they're damaged or destroyed in an accident. Here's what you need to know to keep all your forms of transportation protected this summer.</p> <h2>RV insurance</h2> <p>Most owners of recreational vehicles, or RVs, only use their vehicles for a few months a year and may be able to get their existing auto and home insurance policies extended to their RV for those few months a year. But if you live in one full-time or rent an RV, you'll want separate RV insurance. A bank may also require you to have it if you're financing the purchase of the vehicle.</p> <p>Insurance for an RV isn't as straightforward as auto insurance. Because an RV is essentially a house on wheels, it requires a mix of travel, auto, and home insurance. Your existing auto insurance policy may cover some insurance needs for an RV, but because of the high value of an RV, specific RV insurance will also likely be needed.</p> <p>An RV insurance policy can provide personal property coverage, which will cover your RV when it's parked at your home and when it's out on the road. Your home or auto insurance policies may cover <em>some </em>things stolen from an RV, but only up to certain limits or on specific items. Expensive camping equipment and a flat-screen TV inside an RV, for example, will likely require extra personal property coverage in an RV insurance policy.</p> <p>If an entire RV is stolen or damaged in an accident, you'll want full replacement cost coverage. It's offered only for newer RVs, while the actual cash value, or depreciated value, is available for older vehicles. Full replacement coverage can be worth having if you just bought a new RV and don't have the money in the bank to pay for repairs. Without it, the depreciated value may only be covered, and new vehicles depreciate quickly in the first year.</p> <p>Laws in your state may require a minimum amount of liability insurance, and some also require uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. You can set the collision and comprehensive insurance limits.</p> <p>RV insurance averages $550 per year for a motor home and $250 for a trailer that doesn't have a motor. This low cost is partly due to the fact that RV owners are usually more experienced drivers. Age, driving record, and credit score also affect rates.</p> <p>RV insurance rates will also be affected by how often you drive the vehicle, the type of RV you have, how old it is, where it's stored, and if you use it as a primary home.</p> <h2>Personal watercraft insurance</h2> <p>Personal watercraft insurance, or PWC insurance, is for a Jet Ski or other watercraft that's part boat and part motorcycle. It protects against accidents, vandalism, and liability, regardless if you use the vehicle yourself or loan it to someone else. PWC insurance can be bought as a separate policy or can be added to an existing boat policy.</p> <p>PWC insurance can cover you in many instances. For example, you may crash into a dock or another boat, causing death or injury. PWC insurance can include bodily injury liability to pay the medical bills of someone you injure in an accident. It can also include property damage liability coverage in case you damage someone else's property. Or, if you let someone else use your personal watercraft and they're negligent &mdash; such as by towing water skiers or wakeboarders, or getting too close to other watercraft &mdash; PWC insurance could help.</p> <p>Areas that typically aren't covered include a craft that's been modified to improve speed or performance, after dark usage, and operating a PWC without a valid driver's license.</p> <p>Depending on the type of watercraft, coverage options, deductibles, and your driving record, PWC insurance costs $300 to $500 per year.</p> <h2>ATV insurance</h2> <p>A standard homeowners insurance policy doesn't normally cover off-road vehicles such as an ATV, golf cart, dune buggy, or dirt bike. It will cover your off-road vehicles when they're on your property &mdash; but once the vehicle leaves your property, you're probably no longer covered by a homeowners policy.</p> <p>ATV insurance can protect the vehicle and owner against liability, collision, and other things. For example, collision coverage can cover the cost of replacing a fence you've hit, and then can pay to repair your vehicle.</p> <p>Like extra coverage for watercraft, there are two types of liability insurance you may want for ATVs &mdash; bodily injury liability and property damage liability.</p> <p>Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your ATV during a severe storm or other natural disaster, or if it's stolen.</p> <p>Annual premiums for ATV insurance range from $99 for bodily injury and property damage coverage to $1,500 for every type of coverage.</p> <h2>Yes, your toys need insurance</h2> <p>However much money you've spent on your summer toys, factor in</p> <p>their cost and how much liability you're willing to expose yourself to if you cause an accident. Chances are they weren't cheap, and they can cause just as much damage as an accident in a car.</p> <p>That's what insurance is for &mdash; to cover catastrophic expenses you can't cover on your own. Even during the joys of summer that's something worth remembering.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHere%2527s%2520How%2520the%2520Right%2520RV%2520and%2520Vehicle%2520Insurance%2520Protects%2520Your%2520Summer%2520Fun.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20How%20the%20Right%20RV%20and%20Vehicle%20Insurance%20Protects%20Your%20Summer%20Fun"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Here%27s%20How%20the%20Right%20RV%20and%20Vehicle%20Insurance%20Protects%20Your%20Summer%20Fun.jpg" alt="Here's How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">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/6-times-when-its-okay-to-drop-insurance">6 Times When It&#039;s Okay to Drop Insurance</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/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car 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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car 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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-flood-insurance">Everything You Need to Know About Flood 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/the-easiest-ways-to-save-on-your-next-rv-camping-trip">The Easiest Ways to Save on Your Next RV Camping Trip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance atvs collision coverage jet skis liability off road vehicles policies recreational vehicles rvs summer watercraft Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1966174 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/enjoying_a_trip_together.jpg" alt="Enjoying a trip together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a long day of traveling, being forced to listen to an upsell for extra insurance at the car rental counter can be frustrating.</p> <p>Some extra rental car insurance may be worthwhile, however. Your own personal car insurance policy may not cover rentals, for example, or maybe you don't have car insurance at all.</p> <p>On the other hand, you may not want to buy insurance from a rental company if it duplicates what your credit card offers, or if your auto insurer already provides rental car coverage through your regular policy.</p> <p>Here are some things to be aware of before a car rental agent tries to pressure you at the rental desk.</p> <h2>Know what is and isn't covered by rental car insurance</h2> <p>There are two types of damage waivers that are commonly sold by rental car companies: Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). They're often packaged together as CDW/LDW coverage.</p> <p>They serve the same basic function. These waivers aren't necessarily insurance so much as an optional service where the rental car company will cover you if an accident or some other event damages your rental car, or in the case of theft. The waiver only covers the rental car and waives the rental company's right to pursue you, the renter, for damage.</p> <p>What a rental damage waiver won't cover are hospitalization costs if you cause an accident and someone is injured &mdash; that falls under liability coverage. The rental damage waiver also won't cover risky behaviors such as drinking and driving or speeding. If <em>you're</em> hospitalized, your auto insurance policy will take effect.</p> <p>Another type of insurance that you may be offered at the rental counter is supplemental liability insurance. This covers damage to other people's property, such as their cars, and their medical costs if you caused the accident.</p> <p>This extra liability insurance may be worthwhile if your auto or homeowners insurance policies won't cover you. Another option is to buy umbrella liability insurance through the company that provides your auto or homeowners liability insurance, so that you have extra protection while driving a rental car.</p> <h2>When you should consider buying</h2> <p>If you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your personal auto policy, it will typically cover damages to a rental car. However, you will still need to pay your deductible in the event of a claim &mdash; and of course, filing a claim can cause your personal auto insurance rates to spike. Rental damage waivers will typically cover all of the vehicle repair costs, including a deductible. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of paying a high deductible, or filing a claim, you can consider purchasing the CDW/LDW coverage.</p> <p>You may also be renting a vehicle with a far higher market value than the car you own. Your insurer will only pay the value of <em>your</em> car &mdash; not the value of the rental car that's damaged. So if your car isn't worth as much as the rental car, then you may want to consider additional coverage to account for the gap between the value of your personal car and the value of the rental car.</p> <p>If you have <em>no </em>auto insurance, or a personal auto policy with bare minimum liability coverage, you may also want to consider adding supplemental liability protection through the rental company. This will protect you in the event you damage someone else's vehicle or property, or cause injury.</p> <h2>Don't overlook your credit card benefits</h2> <p>When renting a car with a credit card, you're likely to get insurance protections that you may not even realize you have. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Does Car Rental Insurance Really Cover On Your Credit Card?</a>)</p> <p>Many credit cards provide free collision damage protection for rental cars, with some caveats. First, you must pay for the rental in full with the card, and then decline all optional coverage offered by the rental company.</p> <p>Coverage can vary, but typically a credit card's coverage will be secondary &mdash; meaning it only pays what you can't recover from other insurance. Sometimes cards do offer primary insurance, which would prevent you from having to file a claim with your personal auto policy. You may have to pay upfront for the full damage and get reimbursed later by the credit card company, and coverage is often limited to a two-week rental.</p> <p>Call your card issuer to find out the specifics of what your credit card offers. If you have multiple credit cards, it's worth comparing them to find out which one offers the best coverage on rentals.</p> <p>Credit card rental coverage typically excludes injuries, as well as damage or loss of personal items. Many cards also won't cover any of the rental car company's administrative fees, &quot;loss of use&quot; charges, or the difference between the rental car's actual value and its replacement value.</p> <h2>The bottom line</h2> <p>However you buy rental car insurance, know that you could be on the hook for the costs of an incident until your insurance provider or credit card company comes to an agreement on the cost of repairs with the rental car company.</p> <p>Before driving your rental car off the lot, check it carefully for existing damage and document anything you find with photos. Then, tell the clerk at the rental counter. You don't want to end up paying for damage you didn't cause or fighting with a rental car company. That certainly won't make for a pleasant vacation.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-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-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/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance</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/heres-how-the-right-rv-and-vehicle-insurance-protects-your-summer-fun">Here&#039;s How the Right RV and Vehicle Insurance Protects Your Summer Fun</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/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your Car 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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</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-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters&#039; Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance accidents auto policies damage waivers deductibles liability protections rentals cars theft travel vacation vehicles Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1957905 at http://www.wisebread.com Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498559502.jpg" alt="Man learning his insurance may not cover these losses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that you have enough insurance protection. After all, you have car, homeowners, life, health, and disability insurance coverage. What else could you possibly need?</p> <p>Here's an unsettling truth: Even if you've taken out all the insurance policies necessary to protect yourself and your family, you might still face coverage gaps. Review your policies regularly. And when you do, watch for these potential gaps in your coverage.</p> <h2>1. Life insurance</h2> <p>Many employers offer group life insurance to their workers as an important financial benefit. The American Council of Life Insurers said that at the end of 2015, group life insurance represented 44 percent of all life insurance policies issued in the United States.</p> <p>Employees like this insurance because it is usually inexpensive. But there are some negatives: Most group life insurance policies end if you leave your employer, and the next company at which you work might not offer this coverage. Secondly, the payouts for group life policies tend to be smaller than for an individual life policy that you'd buy for yourself. Usually, the death benefit with a group life policy is one to two times your annual salary. That's a nice bit of cash, but it's certainly not enough to provide for your family long-term should you unexpectedly pass away.</p> <p>That's why you should use a group policy as a supplement, not a replacement, for an individual life insurance policy. Yes, an individual policy will cost more, but you'll also receive a far larger death benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>2. Dog bites</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability funds paid out in 2016. That equaled 18,123 claims, with the average cost for each claim coming out to $33,230.</p> <p>The challenge with dog bites is that many insurance providers won't insure homeowners who own certain breeds considered &quot;dangerous.&quot; Insurance companies vary on this, but many won't insure pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, or Doberman pinschers. If you have a dog, check with your insurance company to make sure that it is covered. Paying for a dog bite without the help of your insurer can prove costly.</p> <h2>3. Transportation expenses</h2> <p>Your car insurance policy will cover the damages to your vehicle following an accident as part of its collision coverage. But what if you need to rent a car to get around while your vehicle is in the shop? That can be expensive.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most auto policies don't provide what is known as transportation expenses coverage. And when policies do provide it, the amount they'll give you to rent a car &mdash; often as little as $20 a day &mdash; might not be enough to cover the whole cost.</p> <p>Check your policy to determine if it will cover a rental car. If it does, make sure you know exactly how much you'll be getting. If you're not satisfied, it might be time to pay to boost this coverage.</p> <h2>4. Extra liabilities</h2> <p>What if a neighbor drowns while swimming in your pool? Will your homeowners insurance provide enough coverage if your neighbor's family files a costly lawsuit against you?</p> <p>Probably not &mdash; and that's where an umbrella insurance policy comes in. An umbrella policy provides extra liability coverage above the limits of the coverage provided by your auto or homeowners insurance. Maybe your homeowners insurance policy provides liability coverage of up to $500,000. If someone sues you for $1 million, you then might be on the hook for the extra $500,000.</p> <p>An umbrella policy can protect you from this. It kicks in when a legal action against you supersedes the amount of liability coverage you have. In the example above, your umbrella policy would cover the extra $500,000 that the homeowners policy would not. An umbrella policy can offer you the same kind of extra protection if you cause a serious car accident.</p> <p>Umbrella insurance isn't overly expensive. The Insurance Information Institute says that consumers typically pay between $150 to $300 a year for $1 million worth of umbrella liability protection. This investment might help you avoid a financial catastrophe.</p> <h2>5. Not enough disability coverage</h2> <p>You might think you've taken the steps to protect yourself and your family by taking out a disability policy. If you are injured or become ill and can't work, this policy will kick in to provide you and your family regular payments.</p> <p>Here's the challenge, though: Most group disability insurance plans only pay out 60 percent of the insured's base salary. And employees who rely on bonuses and overtime won't receive any pay out for those extras.</p> <p>Receiving 60 percent of your pay even though you are not working might sound like a good deal. But it can be challenging to live on just a portion of your regular income. Could you afford to cover all your monthly expenses if 40 percent of your income suddenly disappeared, especially if you've got medical deductibles and other costs to cover?</p> <p>If not, consider investing in supplemental disability insurance. You will have to pay for this, of course, but this extra coverage could protect you in case medical problems keep you out of work.</p> <h2>6. Wind or hurricane damage</h2> <p>A 2016 report from Travelers Insurance identified heavy wind storms as the cause of the greatest number of homeowners insurance claims from 2009 through 2015.</p> <p>You better make sure, then, that your homeowners insurance policy provides adequate coverage for wind damage.</p> <p>The Insurance Information Institute says that many insurers, especially those clustered along the Atlantic seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, include deductibles for hurricane and wind damage that are separate from those for incidents such as fire or lightning strikes. These can be expensive. Your standard deductible for most forms of home damage might be as low as $500, meaning that you'll have to cover the first $500 of any repairs before your homeowners insurance kicks in. But an extra deductible for wind or hurricane damage may instead be a percentage of the insured value of your home.</p> <p>Say your home's insured value is $300,000 and your insurer's wind or hurricane deductible is 5 percent. This means that you'd have to cover $15,000 in damages out of your own pocket before your insurance coverage would kick in.</p> <p>If you live in a storm-prone area, check your coverage. If the deductible for wind or hurricane damage is too high, it's time to shop for a new policy.</p> <h2>7. Flooding</h2> <p>If a heavy rainstorm causes your basement to flood, a standard homeowners insurance policy won't cover the damages caused by the water.</p> <p>If you want to protect yourself from floods, you'll need to purchase a separate form of protection known as flood insurance. You can usually purchase one of two policies &mdash; one that covers your home for up to $250,000, and a second that covers your personal property for up to $100,000.</p> <p>Flood insurance will <em>only</em> cover water damage resulting from a flood. It won't provide coverage if your water heater bursts and floods your basement or if water backs up from your toilets.</p> <p>Flood insurance doesn't do much to protect your personal belongings if they are stored in a basement, either. This insurance only covers damages to mechanical systems, electrical systems, and structural elements. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover</a>)</p> <h2>8. Fire</h2> <p>What if a fire destroys your home? Yes, your homeowners insurance policy will help you rebuild. But don't expect it to pay for the full cost.</p> <p>Most insurance policies place caps on the amount of coverage they'll pay out. They also factor in depreciation when determining the value of the possessions that were destroyed in the fire. You might receive a much smaller payout than you expect when it's time to rebuild your home.</p> <p>Call your insurer to make sure that you will receive enough coverage should a fire destroy your home. If that coverage isn't enough, you might have to pay for extra protection.</p> <h2>9. Theft</h2> <p>According to the Insurance Services Office, the average loss in a home burglary is $3,786. Your homeowners policy can help you recover some of the costs from your stolen personal property, but don't assume it'll reimburse you completely. Often, the payout comes up very short.</p> <p>In order to keep premiums down, homeowners policies put caps on some valuable items, such as jewelry, electronics, or artwork. Even cash often has a measly limit of $200. Let's say your homeowners policy puts a $1,000 threshold on jewelry, and your $3,000 diamond ring is stolen, along with several other expensive necklaces. You'd be out thousands of dollars. The payout wouldn't come close to the value of what was stolen.</p> <p>If you have valuable items in your home, you may want to consider purchasing an additional rider (or &quot;floater&quot;) policy that will cover items beyond what homeowners will offer. Some providers offer special riders for unique items, such as jewelry or camera equipment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">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/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn&#039;t Make Sense</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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</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/11-unexpected-things-covered-by-homeowners-insurance">11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners 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/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability 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/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance damages disability dog bites fire floods gaps homeowners insurance hurricanes liabilities life insurance policies theft weather Fri, 19 May 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1949204 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's How a Claim Will Impact Your Car Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-475427309.jpg" alt="Man learning how a claim will impact car insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You sideswiped a parked car. Or maybe you slammed on the brakes too late and rear-ended the driver ahead of you. Whatever happened, the accident is clearly your fault. Now it's time to give your insurance a call.</p> <p>When you file a claim, your auto insurer will pay for the repairs to your vehicle and, if you are at fault in the accident, whatever repairs are needed for other vehicles involved in the collision. Your insurer might also pay for any injuries suffered by you or other drivers.</p> <p>But filing a claim also comes with a negative: In most cases, it will cause your insurance rates to rise. How much your policy's rate rises depends on a host of factors.</p> <h2>Mitigating Factors</h2> <p>On its website, Geico says that drivers' rates don't automatically rise after an accident. Instead, the insurer looks at several factors before deciding whether to issue a rate increase. These include your driving record, the number of claims you've made in the past, and the amount of money that the insurer has paid out to you during the life of your insurance policy.</p> <p>Esurance also states that insurance rates don't automatically jump after an accident. The company says that minor accidents and fender benders don't always equal a rate increase, especially if you have a record of safe driving.</p> <p>Fault matters, too, of course. Esurance says that if you weren't at fault in an accident, your premium might not jump.</p> <h2>When Are Rates Most Likely to Jump?</h2> <p>Both Geico and Esurance say that premiums are more likely to increase if you are found at fault in a major accident. Again, your past driving record plays a big role in determining not only if your rate jumps after a major accident, but by how much.</p> <p>Your insurer, though, might increase your rate even if you weren't the driver who caused the accident. That's because car insurers have determined that even after an accident that isn't your fault, you are still statistically more likely to get into another accident. This makes you more of a risk to your auto insurer.</p> <p>Some states regulate how much of an increase you'll see after an accident, no matter who was at fault. Consider New York. Here, insurance companies can boost rates only if you were found at fault in an accident that caused injuries or more than $2,000 in property damage. In Massachusetts, insurers can only raise your premiums if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault in an accident.</p> <p>You might also live in what is known as a no-fault state. In these states, each driver's insurer pays part of the costs involved in an accident, no matter who caused the incident. If you live in a no-fault state and file a claim, odds are that your insurance premium will rise even if the other driver was the cause of your accident.</p> <h2>How Long Before Your Rates Fall Again?</h2> <p>Fortunately, a rate increase isn't permanent. Esurance said that several factors play a role in how long your insurance premiums will remain at an elevated level after an accident. These include the severity of the accident, who was at fault, and whether alcohol was involved.</p> <p>Some states will regulate how many years back insurers can look when calculating premiums. In Massachusetts, drivers' at-fault accidents can only impact their auto insurance rates for three to five years.</p> <p>In general, you can expect your elevated rates to remain in place for three to five years.</p> <h2>How Much of an Increase Will You See?</h2> <p>Here's the big question: How much will your insurance rates rise after an accident? Again, this depends on a host of factors: Who caused the accident, were people injured, was there significant property damage, was speeding involved, were you drinking?</p> <p>A 2016 report by NerdWallet found that rates typically rise by $300 or less a year for an accident that you caused resulting in under $2,000 worth of damage. That rate increase jumps to $300&ndash;$600 a year if you cause an accident with $2,000 or more in property damage. If you cause an accident that results in any human injury, your rates will typically increase by $400&ndash;$800 a year.</p> <p>And if you are found at fault in multiple accidents causing $2,000 or more in property damage, your rates could rise by $1,000 or more a year.</p> <p>If your rate is going to rise, it won't come as a surprise. Insurers will notify you of any upcoming increase. Geico, for instance, says it will send you information about any rate increases about 30 days before your policy is up for renewal. At that point you can shop around to see if another company might give you a better rate.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-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-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/6-reasons-you-should-buy-the-rental-car-insurance">6 Reasons You Should Buy the Rental Car Insurance</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/3-things-you-should-know-about-rental-car-insurance">3 Things You Should Know About Rental Car 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/4-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance">4 Tips to Save on Car 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/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</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-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance accidents at-fault auto insurance crashes fender benders no-fault premiums rate increase Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1909972 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Times When Bundling Insurance Doesn't Make Sense http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-486437284.jpg" alt="Learning when bundled insurance doesn&#039;t make sense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Insurance companies offer a host of ways to reduce the premiums you pay for auto, life, home, and health insurance. If you have a clean driving record, you might qualify for a discount on your auto insurance rates. If you install a security system to protect your single-family home, you might have to pay less for your homeowners insurance. And if you don't smoke, you'll certainly pay a lot less for life insurance.</p> <p>One of the most popular ways to qualify for a discount is to bundle different insurance policies together &mdash; say, your homeowners and auto policies &mdash; from the same insurer. Insurers will give you a discount as a reward for buying more than one policy from them.</p> <p>Bundling is popular. A 2016 story by InsuranceQuotes.com cited a U.S. National Auto Insurance study by J.D. Power and Associates saying that 58% of policyholders bundle their homeowners and auto insurance policies. InsuranceQuotes.com also reported that bundling insurance can save policyholders about 10% off their annual rates, if they land the best bundling deals available.</p> <p>But, there is a catch here, and sometimes taking out life, auto, and homeowners policies with different companies makes the most sense. Even though bundling might sound like the obvious choice for consumers hoping to save money on insurance coverage, there are a few times when bundling actually doesn't result in the biggest financial savings.</p> <h2>You Didn't Shop Around</h2> <p>The best way to nab the lowest rates on insurance is to take the time to shop around with different companies. This is far easier today, with insurers providing online quotes to potential customers.</p> <p>It can be tempting to skip the shopping phase if, for example, your auto insurer offers to provide a bundling discount for your homeowners insurance, too. But resist the temptation to take your insurer's offer until you've shopped around. You might find another insurer that will provide you a policy with a premium low enough to outweigh your first insurer's bundling discount. Armed with a lower quote from a competing insurer, you might even be able to convince your current insurance company to provide you an even bigger discount.</p> <h2>You Have a History of Health Problems</h2> <p>You'll pay far less for life insurance coverage if you have a history of good health. If your past is dotted with serious health issues, you can unfortunately expect your life insurance premiums to be higher. This spotty health history might also make it less financially sound to bundle your life insurance coverage with auto or homeowners insurance. Again, it's especially important to shop around with life insurance providers, especially when you have a complicated health history &mdash; including if you smoke or have a chronic condition.</p> <p>It's also worth noting that you may not want something as important as your life insurance coverage bundled through a company that specializes in say, auto insurance. In that case, it may be worth having it be its own separate policy.</p> <h2>Your Driving Record Isn't Exactly Flawless</h2> <p>Claim an accident on your auto insurance, and you can expect your premiums to soar. Again, it makes sense to shop around with different insurers to find the lowest rates when you are stuck with a spotty driving record.</p> <p>If you instead simply bundle your auto policy with the company that provides your homeowners insurance, you might miss out on lower premiums that will outweigh the bundling discount. Do your homework &mdash; even if it takes time &mdash; to discover if there are other insurers out there willing to give you a bigger break for your past driving mistakes.</p> <h2>You Need Specialized Homeowners Coverage</h2> <p>What if you need your homeowners insurance policy to cover an expensive jewelry collection? What if you need to insure solar panels on your home's roof? This coverage can be complicated, and cost more. Again, when you have such specific needs, if often makes more sense to talk to different insurers than blindly accept your provider's bundling offer.</p> <p>The main point here is that often, bundling will save you the most money. But there are exceptions, and you won't know the savings you might enjoy if you don't first shop around with other providers &mdash; even if your current insurer is promising a bundling discount.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-when-bundling-insurance-doesnt-make-sense">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/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</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/7-times-you-shouldnt-file-an-insurance-claim">7 Times You Shouldn&#039;t File an Insurance Claim</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-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It?</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/4-ways-being-a-safe-driver-will-save-you-big-money">4 Ways Being a Safe Driver Will Save You Big 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/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance auto insurance bundling discounts homeowners insurance life insurance policies rates savings Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:30:18 +0000 Dan Rafter 1905172 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Unexpected Things Covered by Homeowners Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/11-unexpected-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="/11-unexpected-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/611293320.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This post brought to you by <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive</a>. See how much <a href="https://bob.dmpxs.com/bob_007.gif?s=post&amp;l=289%7C921%7C3488&amp;e=click&amp;p=disclaimer&amp;ids=null&amp;imp_hash=%7BIMP_SIGNATURE%7D&amp;bobredir=http%3A%2F%2Fad.doubleclick.net%2Fddm%2Ftrackclk%2FN4492.127014FEDERATEDMEDIA%2FB10893953.145514384%3Bdc_trk_aid%3D317173286%3Bdc_trk_cid%3D78536406%3Bdc_lat%3D%3Bdc_rdid%3D%3Btag_for_child_directed_treatment%3D&amp;c=113322" rel="nofollow">Progressive </a>could save you when you bundle your policies.</em></p> <p>Homeowners insurance is absolutely essential if you want to protect your house and assets. If you take a look at a typical insurance policy (commonly known as an HO-3), you&rsquo;ll find it protects homeowners from a wide range of mishaps, from fires to vandalism, lightning strikes and tree falls. But do you know the full scope of what your homeowners policy covers?</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a look at some of the surprising things that you may find are covered by homeowners insurance.</p> <h2>1. Patios, Gazebos, and Sheds</h2> <p>You may think that you&rsquo;re only buying insurance for your home. But in reality, the homeowners policy usually covers your entire property, including all structures such as storage sheds, gazebos, and that luxury doghouse you just had built for Fido. Be sure to let the insurance company know ahead of time, however, that you have these structures on your property. This will ensure you have documentation for coverage.</p> <h2>2. Tombstones</h2> <p>Believe it or not, grave markers at a cemetery are considered &ldquo;personal property&rdquo; and are therefore covered under most homeowners policies. Thus, most people are covered up to $5,000 worth of damage. It&rsquo;s important to note, however, that some gravestone damage is caused by the cemetery&rsquo;s own landscaping equipment, and would therefore be covered by the cemetery&rsquo;s perpetual care fund. So be sure to check the source of damage before making an insurance claim.</p> <h2>3. Riots</h2> <p>A typical HO-3 will cover your home and personal property in the event that they are damaged during civil unrest. (Some policies refer to it as &ldquo;civil commotion.&rdquo;) Vandalism, fire, and explosions are usually covered. If a State of Emergency is declared in your area due to rioting that could help your case when filing a claim. If not, it&rsquo;s a good idea to get a police report to document the event and damage.</p> <h2>4. Volcanoes (But Not Earthquakes)</h2> <p>Most of us outside Hawaii don&rsquo;t have to worry about this, but if your home is in the path of an erupting volcano, rest assured you&rsquo;ll be covered. It&rsquo;s worth noting, however, that earthquake damage (sometimes referred to as &ldquo;ground movement&rdquo;) is not covered under most standard policies.</p> <h2>5. Flooding (In Some Specific Cases)</h2> <p>A typical homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. You&rsquo;ll need separate insurance to cover damage caused by persistent rainfall, an overflowing creek bed, or flooding of a similar nature. But, some policies will cover water damage caused by things like a faulty sump pump, busted water heater or broken pipe. And you may find that water problems may be covered if the water is the indirect result of other kinds of damage (for example, a roof blowing off during a storm). Be sure to check your policy carefully to see what&rsquo;s covered when it comes to water.</p> <h2>6. Your Kids&rsquo; Stuff at College</h2> <p>If you send your child off to school and he&rsquo;s living in a dorm, his items are usually covered under your homeowners policy. That&rsquo;s because most policies cover anyone in your household as well as students under the age of 24. Not all policies cover students living in off-campus housing, however. It&rsquo;s also worth noting that liability limits on students&rsquo; items may be lower, so if they have expensive items like a computer or bicycle, it may be a good idea to get some renters insurance as well.</p> <h2>7. Identity Theft</h2> <p>If some nefarious person gets ahold of your sensitive data, it can become difficult to straighten out. Fortunately, many homeowners policies now allow for reimbursement of the cost of fixing your credit reports and restoring your identity. This can include the cost of lost wages, phone bills and possibly even legal representation. If this coverage is not included in your basic policy, it may be available as a low-cost add-on or endorsement, so check with your insurance provider.</p> <h2>8. Anything You Travel With</h2> <p>Most homeowners policies cover your belongings wherever they go, under something called an &ldquo;off-premises&rdquo; provision. That means that if your laptop or luggage is stolen while you&rsquo;re on vacation in Europe, you&rsquo;re usually covered. For pricey items, like your engagement ring or your triathlon bike, it may be worth getting an additional rider to ensure you have enough coverage.</p> <h2>9. Spoiled Food</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s say a big storm blows through your town and you&rsquo;re without power for six days. Say goodbye to whatever was left in your refrigerator. The good news is that most homeowners policies will cover the cost of replacing spoiled food. Just make sure you take pictures of the food. Also, take note of the deductible on your plan. Some policies have no deductible on food spoilage claims, others may have a high deductible, which would make filing a claim pointless.</p> <h2>10. Dog Bites</h2> <p>If your dog bites someone, your homeowners policy may cover the cost of medical care, usually up to as much as $300,000. Just be aware that some dogs can do serious damage when they bite, and may require additional insurance to cover the cost of any potential claims.</p> <h2>11. Home Upgrades Required by Law</h2> <p>If your local government passes an ordinance requiring your home to have a new roof, the cost of that improvement is often covered. This is nice to have if, for instance, your home is damaged in a storm and the repairs must be in line with new zoning laws. There are usually limits to this coverage &mdash; insurance may not pay for full demolition, for instance &mdash; but it&rsquo;s nice to have for homeowners who may live in older houses. Check your insurance policy to see if this coverage is included in your basic plan or available as a low-cost endorsement.</p> <script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="https://vc.cdn.fm/video_conversationalist/system/published/opportunity/113322921/289_3488.js"></script><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/11-unexpected-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-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/7-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for 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/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners 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/beware-your-insurance-may-not-cover-these-8-losses">Beware: Your Insurance May Not Cover These 8 Losses</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/9-surprising-things-your-homeowners-insurance-doesnt-cover">9 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Doesn&#039;t Cover</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/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing coverage dogs flooding homeowners insurance progressive insurance state of emergency theft volcano Wed, 08 Feb 2017 14:15:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1888619 at http://www.wisebread.com Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance — Here's Why http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470522924.jpg" alt="Man learning why he needs home title insurance" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The closing costs on a typical mortgage loan can seem overwhelming. According to Zillow, the <a href="http://www.zillow.com/mortgage-learning/closing-costs/" target="_blank">closing costs</a> for a $150,000 home can range from $3,000 to $7,500, with an average falling around $3,700.</p> <p>So when you discover that you'll also have to pay for something called title insurance when closing your loan, you might wonder if this fee is necessary, or if title insurance is something you can skip.</p> <p>Here's the short answer to those questions: Yes, title insurance matters. And no, mortgage lenders won't let you skip it.</p> <h2>What Title Insurance Does</h2> <p>To sum up, title insurance protects you from clerical errors, mistakes in property records, or unpaid taxes involving the home you are purchasing.</p> <p>Maybe the past owner of the home hasn't paid property taxes in years. If you buy the home, the government agencies levying those taxes will come after <em>you</em> to pay them &mdash; unless you have title insurance.</p> <p>Or, maybe a past seller bought the home with a sister. Maybe these two siblings had a falling out, and the brother sold the home without telling his sister. That spurned relative could come after you for the profits she says she is owed from the sale &mdash; again, unless you have title insurance protecting you.</p> <p>Title insurance is like most other forms of insurance: You pay for it in the hopes that you'll never need to use it.</p> <h2>What Title Insurance Doesn't Do</h2> <p>Title insurance covers the window of time before your ownership of the home, protecting you from certain claims and legal fees that were beyond your control. Even though it extends backward through time indefinitely, coverage ceases on the date you take ownership. If you decide not to pay property taxes once you're the official homeowner? That's on you.</p> <h2>A Two-Part Transaction</h2> <p>Title insurance will be included as part of your third-party closing fees, charges levied by companies that work with your mortgage lender to originate your home loan.</p> <p>There are actually two parts to title insurance. First, the title company providing your insurance will search all the property records associated with the home you are buying to make sure there aren't any unpaid taxes, long-lost heirs, or charges of fraud associated with the property. This is known as the title search.</p> <p>Once the search is complete, and the title insurer is confident that the seller has legal ownership and the right to sell the home, it will create two title policies. The lender's title policy protects your lender from anyone claiming rights against your property. It also reimburses your lender if you lose your house to a title claim and are no longer making your mortgage payment. All lenders will require that you pay for a lender's title insurance policy.</p> <p>The second part of title insurance is the part that actually protects you: the owner's policy. This policy protects you from the above mentioned unreleased liens, people who might claim ownership of your home, or public record errors that were missed during the title search. Most lenders will also require that you purchase an owner's policy, too.</p> <h2>How Much Will It Cost?</h2> <p>Title insurance is not cheap. In fact, it ranks as one of the biggest fees buyers will pay when closing a mortgage loan.</p> <p>The cost of this insurance does vary quite a bit, usually depending on where you live. But you can generally expect to pay a one-time premium between $1,000 to $3,000 for title insurance.</p> <p>Most lenders will select a title insurance company for you. But you aren't required to work with that company. You can shop around for lower rates. This is usually a smart move: You can often shave hundreds off the cost of title insurance by shopping around.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why">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/heres-whats-included-in-a-homes-closing-costs">Here&#039;s What&#039;s Included in a Home&#039;s Closing Costs</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-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</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/heres-why-your-house-is-not-an-investment">Stop Thinking of Your House as an Investment</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/weak-credit-you-can-still-get-a-mortgage-despite-tough-lending-standards">Weak Credit? You Can Still Get a Mortgage Despite Tough Lending Standards</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-other-kinds-of-insurance-you-may-need-to-buy-for-your-home">7 Other Kinds of Insurance You May Need to Buy for Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Real Estate and Housing closing costs fees homeownership mortgages property liens property taxes protection public records title insurance Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Dan Rafter 1885598 at http://www.wisebread.com