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Finding A Properly Qualified Insurance Professional

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Finding A Properly Qualified Insurance Professional

When you’re sick, you go to a medical doctor. When you need to organize your finances, you go to a CPA. When you need someone to help you underst and and purchase auto or homeowners’ insurance, you should go to a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, or CPCU.

Just as these other professionals work with you as partners, so too is a CPCU your professional insurance partner. CPCU is recognized as the premier professional designation of the property and casualty insurance industry. When you choose a CPCU, you can be sure that you are working with someone who has significant experience and can offer you guidance on all of your insurance decisions. A CPCU must also agree to an enforceable code of ethics and pledge to put your interests above his or her own.

Simply put, CPCUs are dedicated to helping consumers make better insurance decisions- and they’re highly qualified to do so. To earn the credential, CPCUs must pass undergraduate- and graduate-level courses covering such diverse subjects as insurance law, ethics, accounting and management. These dem anding st andards ensure that when you choose a CPCU for your insurance needs, you are choosing someone who not only has your best interests in mind, but has the background and knowledge to prove it.

Many CPCUs are also members of the CPCU Society, a professional association that provides CPCU members with opportunities for continuing education and professional development. These opportunities ensure that CPCUs stay on top of the latest issues in the industry and can pass that knowledge on to their customers.

The CPCU Society was founded in 1944 with a mission to meet the career development needs of a diverse group of professionals who have earned the CPCU designation, so that they may serve others in a competent and ethical manner. There are 26,000 CPCU Society members around the world that help others make sound insurance decisions.

FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map: What Is and Where You Can Find One

FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map: What Is and Where You Can Find One

Flooding is a disastrous event that can occur in a wide number of locations. Despite the fact that flooding can occur just about anywhere in the United States, there are some areas that are more prone to flooding than others. It is often hard for individuals, especially those who are new to the area, to tell if they are living in an area that is prone to flooding. That is one of the many reasons why FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps were developed.

FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps are a collection of maps that detail the likelihood of flooding occurring in a particular area. In addition to keeping the public aware of flooding risks, the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate maps are also used to assist the National Flood Insurance Program in offering affordable flood insurance to Americans living in high-risk flood zones.

FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps are a valuable source of information to homeowners, business owners, construction workers, city officials, and others. While the maps are beneficial, there are many individuals who are unaware that there may be a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map for their area. If you are looking to purchase a home or a business in an area that you are unfamiliar with or you just want to educate yourself on flooding risks, you have a number of ways gain access to your local FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map.

The most common way to obtain access to your local FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map is to visit the FEMA’s online website. Once at FEMA’s website site you should be able to easily search for your local FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map. If you are only interested in quickly viewing a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map you can do so for free online. If you are interested in having your own printed FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map then you may have to purchase one.

In addition to obtaining a local FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you may also be able to view one by speaking to local government officials. Many cities, towns, and state offices have a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map on h and. You may not be able to take the map outside of their offices, but you may be able to quickly examine it.

Many individuals prefer to look at a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map, but sometimes hearing the information on those maps is just as good. If you are unable to find a free FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map, you can contact a local or national flood insurance agent for more information. These maps are taken into consideration when flood insurance is offered; therefore, most flood insurance agents would have access to multiple FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Many individuals who are searching for a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map are doing so because they are interested in obtaining flood insurance. If you contact a flood insurance agent, you may be able to determine your flooding risk and obtain flood insurance coverage all at the same time. In addition to providing valuable flood insurance information, a small number of agents are also able to offer National Flood Insurance Program coverage for a discounted price. That discount can be as high as 12%.

Eight Rules for Saving Money When You Buy Insurance

By following the eight rules explained here, you can save money, and just as important, you can save yourself from making serious mistakes when you shop for and acquire insurance policies.

Rule 1: Buy Insurance Only for Financial Risks You Can’t Afford to Bear on Your Own

The purpose of insurance is to cover catastrophes that would devastate you or your family. Don’t treat insurance as a chance to cover all your losses no matter how small or insignificant, because if you do you’ll fritter away money on insurance you really don’t need. For example, if your house caught fire and burned down, you would be glad you had homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance is worth having, because you likely can’t— and you certainly don’t want to—cover the cost of rebuilding a house. On the other h and, insuring an old clunker is a waste of money if the car is only worth $800. You would be throwing away money for something you could cover yourself if you had to.

Rule 2: Buy from Insurers Rated A or Better by A.M. Best

Insurance companies go bust, they are bought and sold, and they suffer the same economic travails that all companies do. Between 1989 and 1993, 143 insurance companies declared bankruptcy. You want to pick a reliable company with a good track record.
A.M. Best is an insurance company monitoring service that rates insurance companies on reliability. Look for insurers rated A or better by A.M. Best, and periodically check to see whether your insurer is maintaining its high rating. If your insurer goes down a notch, consider finding a new insurance company. You can probably get A.M. Best’s directory of insurance companies at your local public library, and you can find A.M. Best on the Web at www.ambest.com.

Rule 3: Shop Around

There are many, many, many kinds of insurance policies, and insurers don’t advertise by price. You need to do some legwork to match your needs with the cheapest possible policy. Talk to at least two brokers to start with. Look for no-load insurance companies—companies that sell policies directly to the public without a broker taking a commission—since they usually offer cheaper prices.

Rule 4: Never Lie on a Policy Application

If you fib and get caught, the company can cancel your policy. If you lie on an application for life insurance and die during the first three years you hold the policy, the company will cancel your policy, and your beneficiaries will receive nothing. Health, life, and disability insurers run background checks on applicants through the Medical Information Bureau, so you can get caught lying. The medical examination you take for life insurance can also turn up a lie. For example, if you smoked tobacco in the previous year, it will come up in the test.

Rule 5: Don’t Buy Specific-Risk Policies—Buy General Policies Instead

When it comes to insurance, you want the broadest coverage you can get. Buying insurance against cancer or an uninsured motorist defeats the purpose of having an insurance policy. If you have ulcers, your cancer insurance will not help you. Get comprehensive medical coverage instead.

Uninsured motorist insurance is supposed to protect you if you get hit by someone who doesn’t have car insurance or doesn’t have adequate car insurance. But, in my opinion, you don’t need it if you have adequate car insurance yourself, as well as health, disability, and life insurance. I should point out that some attorneys advise you to carry uninsured motorist insurance because, by doing so, you may be able to recover damages for “pain and suffering.”

Rule 6: Never Cancel One Policy until You Have a Replacement Policy in Place

If you cancel a policy without getting a replacement, you will be uninsured for however long it takes to get a new policy. And if disaster strikes during this period, you could be financially devastated. This rule goes for everyone, but especially for people getting on in years, since older folks sometimes have trouble getting health and life insurance.

Rule 7: Get a High Deductible

You save money by having insurance policies with high deductibles. The premium for high-deductible policies is always lower. Not only that, but you save yourself all the trouble of filing a claim and needing to haggle with insurance company representatives if you have a high deductible and you don’t need to make as many claims.

People who buy low-deductible policies usually do so because they want to be covered under all circumstances. But the cost, for example, of a $400 fender-bender is usually worth paying out of your own pocket when compared to the overall cost of being insured for $400 accidents. Statistics show that most people have a fender-bender once every ten years. The $400 hurts to pay, but the cost of insuring yourself for such accidents over a ten-year period comes to far more than $400.

One other thing: If you have a low deductible, you will make more claims. That means you become an expensive headache for the insurance company. That means your rates will go up, and you don’t want that to happen.

Rule 8: Use the Money You Save on Insurance Payments to Beef Up Your Rainy Day Account

While you can save money on your insurance premiums by following the rules mentioned earlier, it’s probably a big mistake to use that money for, say, a trip to Hawaii. Instead, use any savings to build a nice-sized rainy day fund that you can draw on to pay deductibles. A big enough rainy day fund can cover both periods of unemployment and your insurance deductibles.

Critical Illness Insurance – The Press Are Giving Insurers A Hard Time.

Recent stories in the press have again lambasted the insurers over critical illness insurance. The core problem is that a critical illness claim is not as straightforward as, for example, a claim under life insurance. With life insurance it’s going to be hard for the insurance company to argue that you’re not dead!

By their very nature, critical illness claims are much more complicated. The insurer will need to satisfy itself that the claim is validated in three key areas before it meets the claim: –

Has the illness been correctly diagnosed?

Is the confirmed illness included in the schedule of insured critical illnesses covered by the policy?

Did the policyholder fully disclose their medical history and current state of health on their original application form?

On the first point, it’s obviously in the policyholder’s interest to verify the medical diagnosis – so there’s rarely ever any conflict between the insurance company and the policyholder on that issue. It’s the next two areas which the insurer needs to validate, where conflicts seem arise.

With constant development in the medical knowledge, from time to time there can be some situations where validation falls into a grey area – a policyholder will argue that their specific illness is insured whereas the insurer will argue that it isn’t. Insurance companies are aware of this problem and they often change the wording in their policies in an attempt to clarify the scope of the cover and eliminate areas for dispute. Nevertheless, disputes do happen all too frequently and sparks fly when a policyholder thinks his illness is covered but the insurer disagrees.

A case in point comes before the Courts shortly. Mr Hawkins from Staffordshire is suing Scottish Provident for £400,000 under the terms of his critical illness policy. Basically, his medical advisers believe his illness is insured whereas the insurers’ medical advisers disagree. If the Court find in favour of Mr Hawkins the press will have a field day – and the critical illness insurers will suffer further bad press they can sorely afford.

Another summons, filed recently in the High Court and again involving Scottish Provident, highlights the problem when an insurer considers that a claimant mislead them on his or her original application form. Our underst anding is that if an applicant omits relevant information or provides misleading information on their application from, this amounts to obtaining insurance on false pretences. This summons has been issued on behalf of Thomas Welch from London who is suing Scottish Provident for £206,800. The issue goes back to 2000 when, a few years after first starting his critical illness policy, Mr Welch received confirmation that he was suffering from testicular cancer. The insurer refused the claim because of “non-disclosure alleging that Mr Welch had not been honest about his smoking habit. He does admit that he did smoke earlier in his life but is resolute in saying that he had long since given up when he applied for critical illness insurance. As such, Mr Welch believes that he did complete the application honestly.

We assume that the case will centre upon whether Mr Welch accurately answered the smoking questions on his application. Most insurers define “a smoker” as someone who has smoked, or has otherwise used, nicotine products within the previous 5 years. (Some insurance companies adopt a 1year cut off.) If Mr Welch had indeed smoked during the specified years, he would have been obliged to disclose such information on the application and the insurer would have priced his insurance accordingly. In this context, it is relevant to note that smokers are charged as much as 65% more for critical illness over than non-smokers. We anticipate that Mr Welch’s lawyers will argue either that he did not smoke during the period in question or he omitted the smoking information by pure oversight and in any event, his past smoking is not irrelevant to his testicular cancer. Interesting issues and we’ll let you know the outcome.

Mr Hawkins case is fundamentally different. It illustrates the problems that can arise if policy documents imprecisely describe an illness or if the technical diagnosis of an illness provides the scope for medical professionals to disagree. Either way the issues are entirely outside the policyholders control at a distressing time for them and their families and we must appreciate their anguish. The long-term solution must lie in improving the medical definitions within the policy. It is probable that this will result in more medical jargon that the average man in the street will find difficult to underst and – but perhaps that is preferable to what Mr Hawkins is going through.

Mr Welch’s court case must st and as a clear reminder to everybody that applications for insurance must always be totally accurate and completed in good faith. We recognise that in some cases this may still leave room for dispute ( and Mr Welch’s case may be an example), but if an applicant fails to complete the forms accurately, they are taking the great risk and any claim they make could be rejected.

Rightly or wrongly, the newspapers have a history of giving the insurance companies a hard time, casting them as heartless big business. This serves to reinforce the public’s feeling that insurance companies are devious and not to be trusted – especially it seems, in respect of critical illness insurance. This view is reinforced by the fact that around 20-25% of critical illness claims are rejected (although this rejection rate does vary between insurers). This issue is something that insurers must come to grips with – it’s bad for clients and undermines confidence in insurance – and that must be bad for the development of the insurance industry.

In fact to put no finer point on it, it’s a tragedy. As many as 1 in 6 women and 1 in 5 men will be diagnosed with a critical illness before their normal retirement age*. As such, critical illness insurance is vastly important for the protection of family finances. The problems we have highlighted are obviously contributing to a situation where almost everybody needs critical illness insurance, but fewer and fewer of us are taking it up.

(* Source: Munich Re.)

Critical Illness Insurance – Another Scam?

Unless you have substantial savings, even in the UK, contacting a serious illness, such as cancer, can be a very costly affair. Above all, not only do you need to consider how contracting such a critical illness will affect your savings in any medical care bills, but you also need to consider that you may well not be able to earn any income to cover you day-to-day expenditure. As a result, making sure you take out a critical illness insurance may well be one of the wisest and astute financial decisions you make.

What Is Critical Illness Insurance?

In short, a critical illness insurance policy is very much like any other insurance policy you take out. Here, however, your premiums go towards insuring that you do not contract a critical illness. In the event that you do contract a critical illness, your UK insurance provider will pay you out a tax-free lump sum to help you cover the day-to-day costs of having to live with your new medical condition.

Are There Any Limitations With Critical Illness Insurance?

Yes; it is essential that you look at the list of critical illnesses that your insurance policy covers, as these will be the only illness under which the policy will pay-out. In other words, the UK insurance provider will not pay-out on the policy simply because you have a doctor’s certificate that you have a critical illness, it needs to be one of the designated critical illness.

Moreover, if you are considered by the UK insurance provider to be a high risk – for example, if you smoke – then it is likely that either you will not be able to obtain the critical illness insurance, or your insurance premiums will be significantly higher than if this were not to the case. Importantly, you will need to disclose whether or not you have any existing conditions, in which case these will likely not be included, and whether or not your family has a history of the illnesses set out in the policy, in which case this will likely affect your premium payments.

How Will I Be Paid?

As mentioned, with a critical illness insurance your UK insurance underwriter will pay you out a lump-sum tax free amount once you contract one of the critical illnesses listed in the policy. Having paid out the lump-sum amount, your relationship with the UK insurance provider will come to an end. In other words, you will not have an ongoing relationship with the insurance provider paying you intermediate payments.

Is It Worth Having Critical Illness Insurance?

The question of whether or not there is any value in you having a critical illness insurance will depending largely on your age, expenses, and whether or not you have any other insurance. Essentially, critical illness insurance covers an area for which other types of insurance can be obtained. However, unlike other types of insurance, this is a very specific insurance policy paying out for a very specific purpose. That said, there is a strong argument that you can never really have too much insurance and will numbers seemingly showing that more and more of us contracting critical illnesses as we grow as an aging population, this type of UK insurance is always useful.

Contents Insurance – Check Your Cover

You’ve probably got contents insurance for your belongings but are you aware just how easy it is to fall behind in calculating the value of them?

What do you imagine the average contents of a family home are worth – £25,000 or £30,000? In fact this figure, for a typical home, is estimated to be over £45,000. Apart from your “moveable items” of carpets, furniture, curtains, it’s probable that electrical goods purchased over the last few years explain the sudden rise. It’s not unusual to have three or four mobile phones, a couple of computers, possibly also a laptop. Then there are the TV’s. Apart form the large family wide screen digital HD ready, singing and dancing set, there’s probably a another one in the kitchen and two or three others in the bedrooms, not to mention DVD and video recorders. Probably the children have iPods, gameboys and whatever else is “in” at present. Don’t forget your CD collection – Norwich Union values these at £10 each and DVD’s.

Apart from the risk of damage, all the above items are very appealing to the thief, being easy to h andle and finding a ready market. Don’t forget the garden, the mowers and garden machinery, contents of the shed and garage, garden furniture and even your tubs and hanging baskets. The value of plants can add up too!

Should you need to make a claim, it’s important that you’re not under insured. If the insurance company judges that you don’t have adequate insurance, the claim will not be fully paid. This means that if you have insured your contents for, say, £20,000 and your insurance company considers there would be a value of £30,000 to replace them, then there would be a shortfall of £10,000.

Insurers h andle things in different ways. For example Norwich Union Direct, one of the major insurers, will pay out up to the amount for which you’re covered. It’s left up to you to fund the difference. More Than tells us that their policy on underinsured claims is to reduce them by up to 20%. In fact More

Than are taking action to ensure that clients are more up to date with their cover and so have recently increased the this for all their clients, by 25%.

These increases will apply on the clients’ next renewal dates. No doubt more insurance companies will look at following suit soon.

Whilst you’re thinking of re-assessment, maybe it’s time to check the current figures on your buildings insurance. As well as the house, garage and outbuildings, you may have fixed items such as lighting, hot tubs and permanent garden features. These are covered by your buildings insurance, not your contents. Your insurer will normally work out a quotation based on the number of bedrooms, etc., and your postcode. The insurable figure will be the cost demolition and clearing of the site and re-building your home on the present site, of course.

To help you re-consider the value of your belongings and for additional advice there’s a h andy checklist for home owners on the Association of British Insurers, www.abi.org.uk

There are a large number of insurance companies h andling both contents and building insurance and, as always, it pays to shop around.

Considering Long Term Care Insurance – Is it An Unnecessary Expense?

Long-Term Care Insurance is still fairly new on the market and a lot of people don’t know that it even exists or what it covers. Even those who have heard the term don’t know always when benefits are paid, how they are designed, and who qualifies or needs coverage. Many people don’t think about this type of coverage until it is too late to get a great rate and higher benefits. They wait till they are past retirement age and closer to needing to cash in the benefits instead of investing earlier and maximizing your options. It is becoming more of a common practice for people to start thinking about what will happen 30, 50, or more years ahead. Many people invest in 401Ks, IRAs, stocks and bond, and other types of investments to prepare for the future. Many people think this will pay for living expenses and leisure activities once retired. Things don’t always go according as planned.

What happens in the unfortunate incidence of an accident and you need help with your daily living activities? Or, you get to a point in your elder years that you require home care, as you grow older? You may decide you would rather live in you home for a long as possible and would need to have enough for personal home care. Some seniors enjoy assisting living facilities that provide 24 hour nursing care, but still let you be as independent as you can. There are also those unfortunate instances where nursing home facilities are need to tend to varying degrees of illness. Long-term care is designed to provide you help with these services due to a long-term illness or disability. The average cost of these types of care can cost around $40-$100 thous and per year and sometimes more. It is a very quick way to eat your saving and social security benefits. If you think Medicaid or Medicare will help, think again. Even if and when you qualify, your saving is now gone and they will only pay up to 50% of the cost, someone has to come up with the rest. Long-Term Care insurance can help with these costs in the unfortunate event you require nursing care.

Who should consider Long Term Care Insurance? If you think you will not qualify for Medicaid or full Medicare benefits due to a large saving, assets, or high income, this is a program for you. You do not want to end up having your children to pay for these expenses while you have to have them and possibly well after your death. It will keep you able to leave your loved ones a little something instead of sucking all your assets dry. Also if you can afford to pay the premiums you will likely not qualify for assistance so would truly benefit. If you currently have chronic health issues or have a family history of a long-term illness you would be off purchasing now than waiting. It will be too late to get a policy after you have already developed a long-term illness or disability. If you think at any point you might fall into any of the categories you might want to consider getting a plan earlier to be safe and covered. You can purchase a policy from most large insurance companies. As always, every state has different insurance regulations, therefore it is best to check with your state on specific determining factors and qualifications.

This coverage will help provide nursing-home care, home-health care, personal or adult day care usually for individuals above the age of 65 or with a chronic or disabling condition that needs constant supervision. LTC insurance offers more flexibility and options than many public assistance programs. Long-term care is usually very expensive, which is why most people need insurance. For example, on average, nursing facilities providing skilled care charge $150 to $300 per day, or over $80,000 a year or more. Even custodial home care at three visits per week, can cost over $9,000 a year. Most LTC insurance policies will cover only a specific dollar amount for each day you spend in a nursing facility or for each home-care visit. Thus, when considering an LTC insurance policy, read the policies carefully and compare the benefits to determine which policy will best meet your own needs.

Computer Insurance

Investing in a personal computer is not less an amount. It is next only to investing in a house or a car. So, it’s not unwise an idea to insure your computer and its allied accessories like peripherals and software. However, how much coverage you get for what accessory depends on individual market offer. There are several threats your computer might face. Such as virus attack, data corruption, system crashing down, peripheral malfunctioning and many more. Thus, it is important for you to protect your investment by proper insurance coverage. There are certain aspects of computer insurance you must know.

Coverage under homeowner or renter’s policy

In most of the cases if you have homeowner or renter’s policy your home accessories and assets are also covered in that and so is your computer. It is covered against all the threats and disasters listed in the policy. Thus, if your computer gets stolen or gutted in fire you can claim for the damages. However, your computer gets covered only for the amount listed in your policy.

Replacement cost and actual cash value

Though replacement cost is 10 percent more expensive as compared to Actual cash value, keeping in mind that things depreciate fast, this is a very wise move. The reimbursement you get on replacement cost is the same as the current cost of your computer and not the petty depreciated cost you would get with actual cash value policy.

Coverage for Laptop and portable computer

Laptop and portable computers are considered personal possessions away from home under the homeowners or renter’s policy. Thus, they are also covered under this policy. However, there is a dollar limit on personal possession that are stolen or damaged away from home.

Computers don’t only get covered under the homeowners or renter’s policy. A number of insurance companies offer individual insurance policies for computers as well. It is important to remember that when you buy a computer insurance policy you must retain the receipt of the policy as well as that of the computer and its peripherals very carefully.

Computer insurance is vital for students, business professionals, small business owners, schools, home users with heavy usage and many more people who use computers for their critical applications. Computer insurance does not cover certain items such as maintenance costs, electrical or mechanical breakdown, wear and tear, fraud and dishonesty, consequential loss, and loss or damage caused by sonic bangs. However, they are well covered under the warranty/extended warranty of the equipment.

Check Out Payment Protection Insurance

If you check your credit card bill carefully, you will notice that there is sometimes an optional extra charge there. You may have selected it and in that case it will cost you a set amount, or it may be that you have not selected it and in that case it will be zero. This payment protection insurance or PPI. Payment protection insurance has grown rapidly in the last couple of years and is now offered by virtually all credit card providers, on all of their products. It has had both praise and criticism, with one of the strongest criticisms being that it offers the customer no protection at all, and only protects the lender.

Payment protection insurance is an optional insurance cover that you can pay for. The cost will be added to your monthly credit card bill and will typically be assessed on the basis of your outst anding credit card balance. So, for example, the cost of the insurance might be five pence on every pound you owe on your credit card bill, so if you owed one hundred pounds, five pounds would be added to the bill as the cost of the payment protection insurance.

One of the fiercest criticisms of payment protection insurance is that it will not offer any protection. It is designed to guard you against such possibilities as losing your job or becoming unable to work. If you become unable to meet your repayments on a credit card, typically what happens is you will become subject to harsh penalty charges, your credit rating will be severely damaged, and eventually the debt will be referred to a collection agency.

What the payment protection insurance is supposed to do is step in in such situations and continue making the repayments on your behalf. However, there are very strict conditions attached to payment protection insurance. It will only meet your repayments if you have lost your job through no fault of your own. So for, example, if you are made redundant, or become ill, the insurance might step in, but if you simply quite your job, it will not. Also, there is the issue that many forms of illness will not be covered, or if they last too long, the repayments will only be kept up on your behalf for a limited time.

Therefore, you should consider carefully before committing to payment protection insurance. You can cancel it at any time, but it is one more expense that you should think about before incurring.

Many credit card companies make you choose their own payment protection insurance, however, did you know you did not have to?

Just recently the Office of Fair Trade announced that credit card companies were to allow consumers to choose their own payment protection insurance from a third party. This move is a welcome relief to consumers as now they can take their pick from a variety of payment protection insurers at a lower cost. It many cases consumers have found their payments have been halved and that they have more insurance cover than before.

Cheap Insurance Secrets

Can you find cheap insurance? Yes. You can not only spend less on all types of insurance, but you can get more of the coverages you need for less. Here are a few insider secrets to help you out.

Cheap Life Insurance

– Purchase multiple policies. Instead of buying one large policy, save money by buying two, or even three, and staggering the terms. Have one run until the kids are out of the house, for example, and the other until your retirement fund kicks in.

– Investigate the company. Visit www.naic.org/cis, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners site. It has links to check out companies, including their financial condition, and the complaints filed against them.

– Ask about rebates. Some states allow agents to rebate a portion of their commission to you. Check online or by phone. You don’t have to be from the state to buy insurance there.

Cheap Auto Insurance

Get several quotes, of course. You probably know that having as high a deductible as you can afford will also reduce the rate. Here are some money-saving tips you may not have known.

– Get the legal minimum for liability coverage if you have few or no assets. Many companies try to sell their “company-recommended minimums” on liability, and even pass them off as the legal minimums. Just get the legal minimums. If you have no assets, you’re not a target for a lawsuit.

– Once a year, review your policies. Have a policy review and get new quotes every year or so. If the ticket you had is past the three year mark (or whatever the company thinks is important) they will drop the rate, but not automatically, so ask.

– Remove your kids from your policy. If your kids are at a college that’s more than 100 miles away, you can have them taken off the insurance policy and save a lot of money. You can’t let them drive the car when they come home to visit though.

Other Cheap Insurance Secrets

– Health insurance tip: Find a group to join. If you don’t have health insurance through your employer, join a group that enables you to get a better policy rate. A fraternal organization or the chamber of commerce sometimes have arranged for group policies.

– Home owners insurance tip: Consider higher deductibles. Insurance is for disasters, not small stuff. Plan to pay the first $1000 someday when something happens. In the meantime you’ll save money every year on your policy.

– Credit life insurance tip: Just say no. These policies pay the balance of your auto, home or other loan if you die. If you feel you need it, regular life insurance for the same amount is much cheaper.

Whatever type of insurance you are buying, be sure to get several quotes. Ask questions about every part of the policy, and don’t pay for things you don’t need. Ask about any special discounts you might be eligible for. Asking many questions and really underst anding the policy is the key to getting cheap insurance.

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