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New Home

In the market for a new home? How about your FIRST home? This is both exciting and stressful. However, to elevate some of the stress and confusion, there are lots of things you can do to help make the house hunt easier and the entire process less stressful.

–        Make sure you are saving/have saved for a down payment, closing costs, taxes, and insurance.

–        Constantly work on improving your credit score

–        Calculate exactly what you can afford and don’t go over budget

–        Get pre-approved to see if it matches your budget

–        Choose a realtor

–        Make at ‘wishlist’ of what you want in a home

–        Visit homes – hopefully find your dream home and make an offer

You also want to make sure you look at safe neighborhoods. While crime happens in all areas, moving to an area that is less prone and already has a low documented crime rate will give you peace of mind.

Don’t forget to add in other costs as well – utilities, l andscaping, remodel/renovations. You might find an amazing deal on the house with a mortgage you can afford and then go WAY over your monthly budget, because of all the extras.

Take your time and don’t rush. Purchasing a new home – especially your first home – should be taken very seriously with a focus on every detail.

1st-time-hb

Monthly Priorities

Okay…so I am going to pretend that all of you reading this do in fact have a life insurance policy. You planned accordingly and know what you final expenses will be and underst and the importance of providing for and protecting your loved ones after you are gone. From the day you signed up for the policy, you have made the payments accordingly and faithfully. Good for you!

Did you know that not everyone is like that? A friend of mine recently told me she was thinking about cancelling her policy, because she can’t afford the payment. She said he budget is too tight and she is living month-to-month on her paychecks.

I am no stranger to finances being tight. I too have lived month-to-month and barely squeaked by. The economy has been tough on all of us. However, life insurance is not something that you cancel or stop paying on. There is always another option to consider. For example, that fancy latte that you are buying everyday on the way to work. You spend more on that than the average monthly premium. Buy a coffee pot. Make coffee at home. Keep the premium. That is just one example. I am sure there are plenty of frivolous items we all could cut out of our spending.

Your life and the coverage of your loved ones is WAY more important that a foofoo latte or a new blu-ray.

Priorities people!

priorities

Car Insurance, Save On Premiums!

Everyone has to agree to an excess of some kind when getting a car insurance policy – it’s the way the system works. Basically it means that if you have an accident and your car needs to be repaired, you will have to pay a set amount towards the bill. If the accident is your fault, you lose the money. If the accident is not your fault, the third party insurer reimburses you for the excess payment. If your car is written off, then your insurance company will deduct your excess from the settlement payment.

Things aren’t always that simple however, unfortunately there are a number of drivers on British roads that don’t have any insurance, so the question is, what happens with your claim if you have an accident with an uninsured driver?

The 1988 Road Traffic Act, section 143 clearly states that all drivers on the UK roads must have insurance for the vehicle that they are driving. The point of the insurance is that if you have an accident and it is your fault, you have the means to cover the cost of the damage incurred by way of your insurance policy. It’s a sad fact that a significant minority of drivers choose not to bother with insurance, disregarding UK law and saving themselves hundreds of pounds a year as a consequence. Someone has to pay for these drivers though, and it’s the people that do have insurance that foot the bill!

The Department of Transport estimates that as many as 5% of drivers are not insured on the vehicle which they are driving. Statistics also show that uninsured drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. It’s a growing trend and is proving very difficult to eradicate.

If you have an accident, you are not at fault, and the third party is not insured, then you will be reimbursed by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. Who funds them? The car insurance industry! That’s where some of your inflated premiums end up. You will also find that you’ll have to pay the agreed excess yourself, there will be no-one able to refund that for you.

Here’s the low-down on the basics about ‘excess’:

Compulsory Excess – this is the amount that the insurance company regards as the minimum amount that you must pay towards the cost of damages . This is agreed at the outset and depends on a few details you’re your age and your driving record. For example, if you are older and have a clean driving record, you could only have to pay a minimum of £50. Those with a more chequered driving history, or those that have not been driving for very long, could feasibly have to agree to pay £500. The average for most drivers is £100 .

Voluntary Excess – this is the amount over and above the minimum ‘compulsory’ amount set by the insurer that you are prepared to pay. This is an opportunity to lower your premiums, because if you can agree to a high excess, then the insurance company knows it won’t have to pay out as much if you need to make a claim. It’s one of the few sure fire ways of saving a few pounds on a car insurance policy, but you may not be offered the choice, it depends on individual insurers.

The garage won’t give my repaired car back until I give them a cheque for the excess – is this what usually happens?

This is completely normal, and you will have to pay and then get the money back from the third party insurer. Always give the car a good once over to ensure that the repairs have been satisfactorily completed. You also need to keep the receipt to get the excess back from the insurer, and just in case they dispute the charges, get a copy of the repair schedule so the insurer can see exactly what work was completed on your vehicle.

Auto Insurance 101 Explained

Auto insurance can be confusing for most consumers; there are so many different types of insurance and it can be difficult to determine the type of coverage you’re required to carry versus the types of coverage that you really should carry in order to protect yourself but that are not required.

When considering how much car insurance you should have, it is best to do some research and find out what type of insurance is required by the state in which you reside. Not all states require the same levels of insurance. Some states require more types of coverage than others and states also vary in terms of the amount of coverage that is required. So, be sure you know exactly what the minimums are in the state where you live.

You should also underst and what is covered by the different types of insurance in order to underst and whether you need insurance coverage above and beyond the minimum required by your state of residence.

Bodily injury liability covers injuries that you cause to someone else while driving your vehicle. Generally the rule of thumb for this type of coverage is to purchase more than is required by your state minimums in order to protect your private assets from a law suit in the event that you injure someone.

Medical payments or personal injury protection, commonly known as PIP covers the treatment of injuries for the driver and the passengers of the vehicle. Depending on the level of coverage, this type of policy will compensate lost wages as well as medical payments.

Collision covers any damage that occurs to your vehicle in the event of an accident, even if it is your fault. Of course, a deductible will apply. Your lender will generally require this type of coverage while you still owe on the vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage is for the loss of your vehicle due to damage by something other than a collision such as theft, fire, natural disaster, v andalism, etc. Again, your lender will probably require this coverage for a financed vehicle. Once your loan is paid off, it’s up to you whether you want to continue carrying comprehensive and collision coverage.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can come in h andy in the event that you are either involved in a hit and run or if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance or who is underinsured.

When considering how much insurance to take out, start with the amount that is required at a minimum by your state and then consider whether you’re required to take out any additional coverage due to lender requirements. Remember that while we all hope we won’t have a need for insurance, in the event that we do, it can be a financial lifesaver.

Finally, don’t forget to consider your options regarding deductibles. Raising your deductible can help you lower your premiums and that can make taking out additional insurance coverage more affordable. Just be sure you can reasonably afford the deductible in the event you need to use it.

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