Insurance http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3150/all en-US The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace <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-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace" 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> <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-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/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/6-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</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-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/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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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-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/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/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/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/heres-how-a-claim-will-impact-your-car-insurance">Here&#039;s How a Claim Will Impact Your 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-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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> <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/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/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/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/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-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-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/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-4 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-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-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-cheap-auto-insurance-for-young-drivers">How to Get Cheap Auto Insurance for Young Drivers</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-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life 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/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> </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-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/why-you-should-have-renters-insurance">Why You Should Have Renters 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-facts-about-flooding-and-your-home">10 Surprising Facts About Flooding and Your Home</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/dont-let-your-bank-pick-your-homeowners-insurance">Don&#039;t Let Your Bank Pick Your Homeowner&#039;s 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-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</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/what-you-need-to-know-about-homeowners-associations">What You Need to Know About Homeowners&#039; Associations</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/rent-your-home-or-buy-heres-how-to-decide">Rent Your Home or Buy? Here&#039;s How to Decide</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 Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516008468.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've done it &mdash; you've finally landed a job that offers amazing benefits such as free life insurance. While employer-offered life insurance (also called group life insurance) is worthwhile, it shouldn't be your only source of insurance.</p> <h2>How Do I Get Group Life Insurance?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer a free level of life insurance for employees. Depending on your place of work, this can cover anywhere from $25,000 to your base pay. Since this is a free option, all employees should sign up for the benefit. It's free money if something were to happen to you. However, don't let that be your only coverage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>Is Group Life Insurance Enough?</h2> <p>If you are single, a $25K &mdash;$50K check sounds like a nice chunk of change for your parents or other loved ones you leave behind. However, in most cases &mdash; yes, even for single people &mdash; it's simply not enough. Final expenses can be greater than you think. Funerals can range in price, but a recent survey by the National Funeral Directors Association found a median price of $7K.</p> <p>Furthermore, if your private student loans, mortgage, or car loans have a co-signer, then that co-signer will be stuck with your debt after you die. To avoid this, you can either remove co-signers from loans through refinancing, or purchase term life insurance that will cover the cost of your remaining debt.</p> <p>For healthy, young individuals that do not need much coverage, term life insurance rates are very affordable, with some policies costing less than $20 a month. But for individuals who are married and/or have children, you'll likely need more coverage, To calculate how much coverage you need, add up the following:</p> <ul> <li>Funeral cost;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cost of paying off any debt not forgiven upon death;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Time you want your loved ones to have income and not worry about work &mdash; for example, even if your spouse works full-time in a successful career, they might need several months to grieve your loss;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Future college costs or other child-rearing expenses.</li> </ul> <p>For many families, the total will be around seven to 10 times your annual paycheck.</p> <h2>Can I Get Supplemental Life Insurance Through an Employer?</h2> <p>Many employers will offer supplemental life insurance for purchase. Since you are purchasing the policy through your employer, it could be slightly cheaper than purchasing individual life insurance. However, your company technically owns the policy. Therefore, if you quit or are fired, your group life is gone, too. Some employers will give you the option to continue carrying the policy after you leave, but it will be at a higher price.</p> <h2>Individual Life Insurance Versus Group Life Insurance</h2> <p>While signing up for free group life insurance is a must, it is much better to sign up for supplemental term life insurance individually. The policy will stay with you even if you move jobs. Furthermore, you can lock in a low premium now when you are still young and healthy.</p> <p>Say you were to secure a low-cost policy with your employer's group life insurance at the young age of 25. Your rates should be quite low. Now fast forward eight years. You want to quit your job and have your own term life insurance policy. You will still get a great rate because you are under 40, but your monthly premium will be more at 33 than it was at 25.</p> <p>To sum it all up, cash in on your employer's free group life insurance perk, but also secure term life insurance when you are still young. This will allow you to lock in the best rate possible.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life 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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</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-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries benefits coverage dependents employers life insurance premiums Tue, 31 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1877983 at http://www.wisebread.com Women Pay More for Health Care — Here's How to Pay Less http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_glases_hat_495205748.jpg" alt="Woman learning she plays more for health care than men" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's no secret that a variety of factors can affect your health care costs. For example, people who smoke usually pay more for health insurance, and an unhealthy lifestyle can increase the risk of chronic illnesses and lead to more trips to see the doctor. But among the many factors triggering higher health care costs, it's being a woman that's perhaps the most obnoxious.</p> <p>Before the Affordable Care Act, women buying health insurance on the individual market paid premiums as much as <a href="http://www.healthline.com/health-news/should-women-pay-more-healthcare-services" target="_blank">50% higher than men</a> due to gender rating, a practice where health insurance providers charged women more because they were considered a higher risk. Gender rating is now illegal, but this doesn't mean women are saving big bucks on health care costs.</p> <p>According to data provided by the health care company Vitals, women spend on average <a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/women-pay-more-healthcare" target="_blank">69% more out-of-pocket</a> than their male counterparts for health care. That's a huge difference &mdash; even from the now-abolished gender rating system. Considering how women statistically earn less than men in just about every occupation, many women feel the pinch. But the question remains, why do women pay more, and what can they do about it?</p> <h2>Women Use More health Care Services</h2> <p>Compared to men, women typically <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10718692" target="_blank">use more health care services</a>, which could explain higher health care costs. Go figure. They're more likely to ask questions about their health, get routine screenings, and schedule appointments when sick. Being proactive helps women maintain their health, but it comes at a cost.</p> <p>Additionally, some women experience higher health care costs because of certain procedures, including gynecologic surgeries. Women are also six times more likely to have knee replacement surgery &mdash; a cost that can soar up to $65,000 &mdash; and women are two times more likely to develop cataracts, which can cost up to $5,000 per eye to correct.</p> <p>And let's not forget the cost of labor and delivery for women. That's big business with the average national cost for a routine delivery at $8,775, and the average for a C-section at $11,525. (Worse, this number doesn't include prenatal care or post-delivery care.) And even if women have health insurance, high deductibles typically mean paying a large percentage of services out-of-pocket.</p> <h2>Women Live Longer Than Men</h2> <p>Women also pay more for health care because they live on average two years longer than men. That's an extra two years of paying health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health care services. Even if a woman is healthy during her younger years, she may develop at least one ailment later in life that requires regular doctor visits, especially as she moves closer to retirement age. Studies suggest that a 55-year-old healthy woman retiring today would spend about $79,000 more than a similar man on health care costs during her final years.</p> <h2>How Can Women Protect Themselves From Higher Costs?</h2> <p>When it comes to the cost of health care, it is what it is &mdash; but there are plenty of ways for women to prepare and possibly reduce their expense.</p> <h3>Don't Ignore Health Screenings</h3> <p>Preventive care reduces risk factors that trigger many chronic illnesses and can thus lower overall health care costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, you don't have to pay for many preventive care services delivered by a doctor or medical facility within your insurance company's network. These include immunizations, annual physical examinations, colonoscopies, mammograms, and other screenings.</p> <h3>Make Healthy Choices</h3> <p>A healthy lifestyle can also reduce your number of trips to the doctor. Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat foods, and lean meats. Exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Apply sunscreen when outdoors to reduce your risk of skin cancer and stay physically fit during your retirement years.</p> <h3>Compare the Cost of Services</h3> <p>To lower your health care costs, compare the cost of services at different facilities. You'll find that some facilities within your insurer's network charge significantly different prices for the same services. For example, an in-network hospital may charge $1,500 for an overnight sleep study whereas an in-network sleep clinic may only charge $600 for the same study.</p> <h3>Don't Underestimate Health Care Costs</h3> <p>Prepare for health care costs now and in the future. This includes having adequate health care coverage to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses &mdash; as much coverage as you can afford based on your present health care needs. And while you're saving for retirement, don't forget to plan for future health care costs. Women who live longer than their spouses are left to manage health care costs on their own. Therefore, look into purchasing long-term care insurance. Don't wait until you are ready to retire to buy a policy; it's more expensive once you're at that stage of your life. If you lock in a price while you're young and relatively healthy, however, you'll pay lower premiums over the long-term.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-pay-more-for-health-care-heres-how-to-pay-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-about-a-price-list-at-the-hospital-or-doctor-s-office">How About a Price List at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance doctors gender cap gender rating health care life span medical preventive care women Thu, 12 Jan 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1871076 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_driving_car_540836094.jpg" alt="Woman learning if pay-as-you-drive auto insurance is worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't drive much throughout the year? Your wallet may be in luck, in more ways than one. Pay-as-you-drive car insurance plans (also known as usage-based car insurance plans) can provide a money-saving solution for drivers who don't drive often. Each month, your rate will vary based on how much you drive. The less you drive, the more you'll save.</p> <h2>How Does the Plan Work?</h2> <p>These unique auto insurance options work a bit like pay-per-minute cellphone plans, where you're only charged for what you use. In order to accurately determine how much you're driving, you will receive a small wireless device that plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port. This will alert your insurance company to how many miles you drove, so they can determine your monthly bill.</p> <h2>Who Qualifies?</h2> <p>Pay-as-you-go insurer <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12479902-1459881208000" target="_blank">Metromile</a> estimates that if you drive less than 200 miles per week, you can save money with their pay-per-mile insurance plans. They also found that if you drive less than 5,000 miles a year, you could pay 40%&ndash;50% less than you would with a traditional insurance plan. In fact, they estimate that 65% of drivers are overpaying for their insurance. These types of plans are especially beneficial to drivers who don't drive very often and people who are paying high insurance rates due to their age or credit history.</p> <h2>How the Pricing Works</h2> <p>Once you enroll, you will pay a low monthly base rate, plus a charge per mile of driving. Through Metromile, if you drive more than 150 miles per day (or 250 per day in Washington), you won't be charged for the extra miles above the cap, which means you won't overpay on a long trip. Other factors can also affect your rate, including age, vehicle, and driver history.</p> <h2>How Much Can You Save?</h2> <p>Many drivers will limit their coverage in order to save money when they don't drive often. However, this can end up costing you more in the end if you <em>do</em> get in an accident. Instead, a pay-as-you-drive plan can provide the coverage you need and save you money every month.</p> <p>Some insurers claim that you will save anywhere from 20%&ndash;50% on your premium, and certain providers will even offer an immediate discount just for installing the tracking device to your vehicle's onboard diagnostics port. You can get an accurate idea of how much you can save by comparing your current auto insurance costs to what you would spend using a simple plan, like those that Metromile offers.</p> <p>As an example, we will use Metromile's estimate of $46 per month, which includes a $30 flat monthly rate and 500 miles driven x $0.032 per mile. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the national <a href="http://www.dmv.org/insurance/average-car-insurance-rates.php" target="_blank">car insurance average</a> rate is just over $900 per year for a single driver. Compared to the $552 per year that you would spend on pay-as-you-drive plans, you'll save about $350 per year if you drive 500 miles per month, on average.</p> <h2>Who Offers It?</h2> <p>Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Travelers, Esurance, Nationwide, The Hartford, Safeco, American Family, and GMAC are some of the bigger insurance companies that offer these types of plans, but many have additional stipulations. For instance, Progressive also monitors what type of driver you are by also collecting information about how hard you brake, how much you accelerate, and your driving patterns. Insurance companies like Metromile only monitor how many miles you are driving.</p> <h2>Is It Right for You?</h2> <p>Along with deciding whether to sign up for this type of plan, you will also need to find the right insurance provider. Sites like <a href="http://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/pay-as-you-drive-discounts.aspx" target="_blank">carinsurance.com</a> can help you determine what type of discount you can expect, what's measured, and what's available in your state.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pay-as-you-drive-auto-insurance-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/repair-the-car-or-spend-the-cash">Repair the Car or Spend the Cash?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Insurance car insurance mileage pay as you drive premiums rates savings usage based car insurance Mon, 09 Jan 2017 10:30:23 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1869650 at http://www.wisebread.com Health Insurance: How to Fight Back Against 4 Common Claim Denials http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/xbxvbc.jpg" alt="repeal these common health insurance claim denials" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Denials of medical claims are all too frequent. Roughly 14% of all claims are <a href="https://billadvocates.com/8-common-claim-denials-appeal/" target="_blank">denied every year</a>, according to Department of Labor records. Not only that, but almost 10% of claims processed by insurance companies contain errors. Your claim could have been denied because it was coded as a different procedure than what you received from the doctor!</p> <p>There is a silver lining in the clouds of denial or error, however. You can always appeal a health care claim denial. Patients who appeal win about 50% of the time. Not only that, but the more familiar with health care claims you become, the more you will learn about what's covered &mdash; and what is not.</p> <p>The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased rights to appeal, whether you are covered under ACA or not. Think of it this way: You or your employer, or both, are already paying a hefty price for health care. Appealing your denial and knowing how to determine errors is part of getting what you and your company have already paid for.</p> <h2>Before You Appeal: Know the Codes and How to Appeal</h2> <p>Any appeal to a health insurance company has to contain some basic knowledge of the information they provide you, as well as your rights.</p> <p>After a visit to a physician's office or a procedure, you will receive a form called an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance company. An EOB arrives for all claims, approved or denied. It details what was charged, what the insurance company paid, and sometimes a remainder of what the patient is responsible for.</p> <p>If a claim was denied, it will receive a code. Most insurance companies provide a key to the code. (Check the back of the form.) If it does not, call and ask the insurance company what the code means.</p> <h2>The Four Most Commonly Denied Claims</h2> <p>At times, knowing the code will immediately help you appeal a denial. Sometimes the denial is the result of sheer error. Here are the four most commonly denied claims.</p> <h3>1. Your Plan Does Not Cover the Procedure</h3> <p>If the code indicates that the denial occurred because the plan did not cover the procedure, check your plan to see if it is, in fact, covered. If you received a vaccination, for example, double check what kinds of services your plan covers. Many plans cover preventive care (care received to prevent disease before it begins, rather than to treat a condition that exists). Vaccinations and flu shots are both examples of preventive care. This type of denial is surprisingly common.</p> <p>A similar situation can occur with vision claims. You may receive a denial stating that vision care is not covered. However, many policies cover eye care if it is needed medically. People with diabetes, for example, are covered for annual exams because the condition can affect vision, while regular eye exams are not. Plans can cover surgery for cataracts, but not eyeglasses.</p> <p>Errors of this kind can be appealed fairly easily. If you were denied because of lack of coverage and the procedure was in fact covered, call the health insurance company. Be sure to make note of the name of the person you spoke to, their title, and the date.</p> <h3>2. Errors in Coding</h3> <p>Knowing the code can also help you discover a coding error. You may find that the code for the service doesn't actually match what you visited the doctor for. The procedure or diagnosis code could have been entered incorrectly. You should also check every piece of information, including your name, date of service, place of service, and provider number. If any of these are erroneous, it can result in a denial.</p> <p>If you find a coding error, call the billing office of the doctor or hospital involved and ask them to resubmit the bill with the correct code. Again, it's vital to get the name of the person, their title, and the date.</p> <h3>3. Payment for a Procedure Was Included in the Allowance for a Related Procedure Performed the Same Day<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Patients are not responsible for a charge like this. Call your provider's office and ask for an adjustment to the bill.</p> <h3>4. You've Reached the Maximum Amount of Times a Service Is Covered</h3> <p>Again, the best action is to double check your policy. Is it true that it is only covered a maximum amount of times? If there is a dollar limit, check it against what you received. Contact your insurance company in the case of any errors.</p> <p>For a denial of this type, check what the provider's discount is as well. Many doctor's offices and suppliers contact an insurance company to set a price for goods and services that is less than the market rate. You could be charged the market rate unless you specifically follow up about the discount. Even if you are denied legitimately for the maximum number of times a service is covered, you are still eligible for the discount the provider offers.</p> <p>Given the frequency of denials and related errors, it's wise to be on your guard every time a denial is issued. Don't assume the denial is correct! Appeal and follow up on your appeals as needed.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/health-insurance-how-to-fight-back-against-4-common-claim-denials">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-question-you-need-to-answer-to-choose-the-best-plan-on-the-health-care-marketplace">The One Question You Need to Answer to Choose the Best Plan on the Health Care Marketplace</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-about-a-price-list-at-the-hospital-or-doctor-s-office">How About a Price List at the Hospital or Doctor’s Office?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance affordable care act appeals denials doctors explanation of benefits health care health insurance insurance claims medical Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Anum Yoon 1858109 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sunglasses_happy_91229393.jpg" alt="Woman finding surprising things her HSA covers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">Health Savings Accounts</a> (HSAs) are medical bank accounts that are paired with low premium, high deductible health insurance policies. The high deductible/low premium insurance policy is counterbalanced by the ability for the individual to save income that is not subject to federal or state taxes. The money in the HSA can then be spent on IRS approved medical expenses.</p> <p>If you have an HSA and you have only used it to pay doctor's bills, you might be missing out on some real tax savings. Why spend taxed money on IRS approved medical expenses, when you can utilize pretax dollars? Check out 11 items you can purchase with your HSA.</p> <h2>1. Allergy Medication</h2> <p>If you have allergies (either food or environmental) that you need medication for, you can purchase prescription medication with your HSA. Over the counter medication cannot be purchased with your HSA, unless prescribed by a doctor.</p> <h2>2. Arch Supports</h2> <p>Purchasing arch supports are sometimes necessary for a pain-free life, and they can cost anywhere from $5 to $150. Custom or mass produced arch supports can be an HSA-approved medical expense if you receive a prescription from your doctor.</p> <h2>3. Bandages and Band-Aids</h2> <p>Over the counter bandages and Band-Aids can be purchased with your HSA.</p> <h2>4. Birth Control</h2> <p>Both over-the-counter and prescription birth control are HSA-approved medical expenses. Here are just a few of the items you can purchase with your health savings account: IUD, Norplant, condoms, spermicide, and pregnancy test kits.</p> <h2>5. Braille Books or Magazines</h2> <p>If you are vision-impaired, you can utilize your HSA to reimburse yourself part of the money from purchasing Braille books or magazines. In order to calculate how much you can reimburse yourself, you should utilize this formula: cost of Braille book less cost of the traditional book equals HSA approved reimbursement.</p> <h2>6. Contact Lens Solution</h2> <p>If you wear contact lenses, you can purchase the solution necessary to clean the lenses with your health savings account.</p> <h2>7. Guide Animals</h2> <p>The costs of purchasing, training, and caring for guide animals are an IRS-approved HSA expense. You will need to register your service animal in your state in order to utilize this HSA-approved expense. (If you try to say that a non-qualified animal you own is a service animal, the likelihood of being fined will be high.)</p> <h2>8. Lead Paint Removal</h2> <p>If you live in a home with lead paint, and your child has or has had lead paint poisoning, you can pay for the paint to be removed with your HSA.</p> <h2>9. Mouth Guards</h2> <p>Mouth guards that have been prescribed by a dentist due to teeth grinding can be paid for with your health savings account.</p> <h2>10. Prescription Sunglasses</h2> <p>Prescription sunglasses can be an expensive necessity for the vision-challenged. If you either cannot or will not switch to contact lenses, you're stuck with purchasing prescription sunglasses or going without. You can, if you want, pay for the prescription sunglasses with your HSA. If you want to save money on the second pair, you might consider asking for the prescription and shopping around at various chain eyeglass stores.</p> <h2>11. Prescription Goggles</h2> <p>If you spend a lot of time swimming or diving, you need to ditch your glasses for long periods of time. This can make your adventure (or job) harder and less enjoyable. Like sunglasses, goggles can be purchased with your HSA. (You might need to check online to determine if anyone in your areas sells prescription goggles).</p> <p>A Health Savings Account can be a great way for the relatively healthy individuals to save money on medical expenses. Just remember that as you make purchases with your HSA to file copies of your prescriptions and receipts with your tax returns. You'll need them if the IRS decides to audit you. If you can't prove the expenses were HSA approved expenses, you might end up paying a fine (even if you followed the rules).</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/7-ways-you-can-save-money-on-prescription-medications">7 Ways You Can Save Money On Prescription Medications</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wait-are-you-about-to-lose-more-money-in-your-fsahsa">Wait! Are You About to Lose More Money in Your FSA/HSA?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance health care health insurance health savings account HSA IRS medicine prescriptions Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:30:13 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1828889 at http://www.wisebread.com