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Love Your Heart

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Love Your Heart

February is quickly approaching and it’s American Heart Month!

While the month is close to being over, thoughts of forgetting about heart health should be far from your mind. After all, there is a direct link between your heart health and your life insurance coverage.

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women?
To better underst and the status of your current heart condition, first schedule an appointment with a medical professional. It is always best to know the medical facts first. After your doctor visit, consider making the following changes:

1. Increase or add exercise to your daily routine
2. Cook heart-healthy meals and avoid BAD FOODS
3. Stop smoking
4. Underst and the medication that you take and learn how it affects your heart
5. Avoid high-stress situations

That list can go on and on, but the one item that the majority of the people seem to have questions about concerns a heart-healthy diet.

Take the following advice under consideration:
1. Plan a healthy menu ahead of time and only buy food for those meals
2. Always control portion size. Use smaller sizes of plates and bowls, eat slowly, and never stuff yourself. Eat larger portions of smaller calories/healthy foods and smaller portions of high calorie foods.
3. Limit how much bad fat you consume
4. Load up on vegetables and be careful about eating too much fruit
5. Choose whole grains
6. Add more fiber
7. Eat proteins that are lower in fat
8. Dramatically reduce your sodium intake
9. Be careful about which condiments you use – READ LABLES
10. There is no such thing as a cheat day!
11. Allow yourself to have a treat (not every day), but don’t go overboard

Don’t forget that while February focuses on heart health, there are still eleven other months in the year where you should be treating your heart with as much love as possible. Changes in lifestyle, diet, and exercise can help make your heart the strongest it has ever been. Commit now to a healthy lifestyle that includes preventative measures to keep your heart healthy, your life long, and your premiums low.

Home Insurance Rates

Insurance premiums are calculated according to several risk factors. These are the factors identified by the insurance company as most likely to have an impact on the insured against risk occurring. Insurance is a significant cost associated with the item insured and should not be rushed into. It is always a good idea to shop around for the best price available. Insurance premiums will vary considerably from insurer to insurer so do your homework.

Shopping Around

Look up the various insurance companies you are interested in and ask them for a quote. They can usually give you a rough estimate fairly quickly and even more exact quotes should also be possible if you provide more details and wait. You should also look up insurers online and get instant quotes from their website. This is a very fast and effective way of shopping around. You will get a good idea of what prices to expect. You can also experiment with the quotation websites to see what effect it makes to your premium price if you select different options. With all insurance policies you will have a number of options that affect the price of the policy. Therefore you should think about these options and if there are risks that you do not wish to cover then let the insurer know as your premium should become cheaper.

Doubling Up

You should also try to make sure you do not double insure. It is a principle of insurance that you cannot benefit from the insured event’s occurrence. So you cannot get paid twice even if you have two insurance policies. So if a risk is already covered by one policy, again let your insurer know so they can remove it from their calculation.

Location, Location, Location

Home insurance rates depend on factors such as address. If your home is located in an are of high crime, or an area that flood often, or is prone to earthquakes, hurricanes or other significant risks, this will be reflected in the policy price. The security you have installed will also affect the premium you must pay. If you have a sophisticated security system this will obviously make your home safer and this will reduce the risk. Similarly, fire alarm systems and sprinklers can decrease your premium. In some areas, flood prevention measures may be taken into account. The size and value of your home will be another important factor, as clearly a more expensive home will cost more if it is damaged.

Many home insurance policies will require you not to leave the home unoccupied, and if you are renting out the home, this will also affect the premium.

Estate Planning – What About Life Insurance?

Copyright 2006 Ronald Hudkins

Not too many years ago life insurance was considered to be the indispensable platform upon which all other estate planning efforts should be based. In fact, for those in the median and lower income ranges, it was often the only recognized method for protecting one’s heirs, particularly in the event of untimely death. However, over the past twenty or so years, the concept of financial planning has changed considerably. The proliferation of varied retirement plans available through work (IRAs, SEPs, SARSEPs, mutual funds, etc) has changed people’s perspectives about the need for life large life insurance policies.

Does that mean that you don’t need life insurance? No. Most people, perhaps with the exception of the very wealthy, do need some sort of life insurance, although even the very wealthy may opt for a life insurance policy (generally whole life) to defray the costs of burial and estate taxes.

In general, the options are whole life (also called permanent insurance) and term life, with variations like universal life or variable life that combine some of the benefits of each. Different companies offer different options, but which you need and how much you need are matters for heated debate. Those who sell one and make most of their commissions from it will vehemently try to convince you that the other is not a good investment. Here are some facts for your consideration.

Whole Life Insurance Advantages:
• Offers a guaranteed death benefit no matter how long you live
• Is generally not subject to rising premiums; rates stay the same
• Many policies become “paid up” at some point (15 years, age 65, etc.) after which no more premiums are paid
• Has investment value which can be cashed out after some specified interval
• Can be borrowed against in case of financial emergency
• Can, in many cases, occasionally earn dividends depending on the company’s solvency and accuracy in predicting actual costs
• The income from a whole life policy is tax deferred
• Can be cashed out after age 65 and used for retirement

Whole Life Insurance Disadvantages:
• Costs more than term life insurance
• Generally returns a fairly low rate of interest
• Does not begin to accumulate any real value for the first 10-15 years
• If the policy is surrendered within the first few years, money paid into it is lost
• Does not provide the investment value of a mutual fund or other investment

Term Life Advantages:
• Premiums are generally very inexpensive
• Lower premiums allow the buyer to purchase more insurance with higher death benefits
• Can be quite useful if the buyer only needs coverage for a specified period (while paying off the mortgage or while kids are in college, etc.)
• Leaves the buyer with more money to purchase other investment vehicles like mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. that provide higher rates of return than whole life
• Often beneficial for younger families who can’t afford whole life rates, but need to insure the primary income earner

Term Life Disadvantages:
• Only pays if and when you die; you can never personally recoup any of the money spent on term life insurance
• While premiums are lower than whole life, they also tend to go up and can become unaffordable
• Term life is only available for a specific term (up to 30 years), and then goes away; if you don’t die within the term, your premiums are lost

Almost everyone needs life insurance of one variety or the other. The type of insurance and the amount to purchase depend entirely upon you, your family and your mutual goals and needs. In any case, make sure the company you purchase insurance from is reputable and financially solvent. Don’t be convinced by a fast-talking sales person without doing your homework first. There are few remedies if your life insurance company dies before you do.

Deciding if you need Life Insurance?

Most people are aware of how life insurance works and what are the events and dangers that it is designed to protect against. They may also have family commitments and people who they provide for and know that some sort of life insurance would protect their family financially, if something were to happen to them. However, it is still often a very difficult decision to make if you are trying to decide whether or not you need life insurance.

Life insurance is a big commitment financially speaking. The premium can vary in cost but can be considerable, then there is also the issue that life insurance often extends over many years, even decades. This means that not only are you committing to pay the premium for this year, but also for many years into the future. There are not many people who can say with certainty what their earnings will be in ten or fifteen or twenty years time.

There are also early termination penalties, which means if you want to end the policy before the expiration of the entire term, you will be financially penalised. This is generally more relevant for life assurance but can also apply to life insurance if your rate has been calculated on the condition that you remain insured for so many years into the future.

If you have life assurance, then it will also be a method of saving for the future. This is a very popular concept, especially these days with the growing concern about the state of pension funds, but it again deserves careful consideration. There are many ways to save for the future, and by deciding to do so by way of a life assurance policy still entails deciding that life insurance is something that you want and are willing to pay for. If you do not need life insurance, then there are probably more efficient ways of saving for retirement than with life assurance, which places a proportion of your savings against the insurance aspect of the policy.

In general, most people will really only be considering life insurance if they have a family to support. This can be a spouse and generally children. However, situations frequently change, people get divorced, and children always grow up and become independent. If your family situation is likely to change, you should familiarise yourself with the ways you can end the policy early and what penalties would apply. However, if you have a young family and are concerned about their financial security for the future, then life insurance will be a great opportunity for you to provide for these concerns.

Criticism of Insurance

Insurance policies work by taking premiums from customers in exchange for baring the risk of certain costly events occurring. For example, if there is one fire in your town each month, everyone could just sit tight and hope their house doesn’t burn down next, or could pitch in and pay an insurance premium each month and this is then used to rebuild the house that burns down. Very simply this is how insurance works. It is a method of spreading a risk over a far wider area, so that it will not be as devastating as if it was concentrated solely on the person who experiences the loss.

Exclusion Clauses

There are a few problems with this however and they attract much criticism. One criticism is that by taking on the risk for people, insurance makes people take greater risks than they otherwise would. For example, if you know your home contents are insured against burglary, then you may not be as careful about locking the doors and windows every time you leave the house. Or if your bike is insured, you may not bother to lock it as much as if it wasn’t insured. In the insurance industry, this problem is known as the moral hazard.

Insurance companies protect themselves against this by inserting exclusion clauses into their contracts, which remove their obligation to pay out if the insured performs or fails to perform certain stated actions. They might for instance require that you fit smoke detectors, or use good locks on your doors, or other things that will reduce the risk of the insured against event occurring.

Too Complex

There are also certain risks that you are not allowed to insure against in most countries. This is first of all because it would be too difficult for the insurance companies to quantify, but mostly it’s because they are risks that governments want the person at risk to bare himself or herself. They generally apply to multinational companies.

There is also the criticism that insurance policies are far too complex for the vast majority of consumers to underst and. It is simply unreasonable to expect the customer to underst and lengthy documents that have been drafted by not one, but usually teams of specialised lawyers. This can lead to consumers being misled or buying insurance policies on unfavourable terms. To get around this, most countries regulate the content of insurance contracts to ensure that they remain fair to consumers.

There is also the option of using the services of an insurance broker to shop the market for you.

Cheap Medical Insurance

If you want to get a good deal on your medical insurance, there are a couple of things you should consider doing. Some of them are optional and some of them are absolutely vital and cannot be passed by.

The first is to shop around. You really cannot get a good deal on medical insurance unless you are prepared to shop around and search the market. Finding out what is available on the market really is the only way you can know if any particular offer is good or not and whether or not you should accept it. By getting to know what kind of offers are out there, you will know what you should be expecting to pay for what kind of benefits and are far less likely to get ripped off by making an uninformed decision on which medical insurance to buy.

You should also consider speaking to an insurance broker. These will be able to advise you on the plans offered by a wide range of insurers and let you know what kind of offers are available. Therefore, they can save you a lot of the legwork of shopping around since they have access to an array of insurance companies. They will also have access to preferential rates and deals since they can bargain with companies and use their knowledge of the industry to get good deals. They can then pass these savings on to you in some form or another.

However, even if you are going through a broker, you cannot forgo shopping around and informing yourself properly of what is on the market. This is because you will not be sure if the offer the broker is giving you is any better than that of other brokers or even of prices you can find your self.

Shopping online is another good idea. The Internet gives you access to virtually all the insurers in the market. They are right there at your fingertips and can often give you instant quotes right there on the website. This means that you can do a lot of shopping around and get a good idea of what is on the market just be going on line and visiting their websites.

Medical insurance is a very important purchase for you and your family. It can determine the level of health care and service you will have access to in the case of an accident or serious illness and also represents a significant cost to you when you pay your premiums. Therefore you should always shop the market and make sure you are getting as good a deal as possible before you commit to any one policy.

Car Insurance Pricing Plans

The law requires liability insurance for all drivers and vehicles. This means that if you are involved in a serious accident, and it turns out that it was your fault, your insurance company will pay out any claims that are made against you. Extra coverage on your own vehicle, called comprehensive insurance, is optional.

Insurance companies based on a number of risk factors will calculate the price you pay for this insurance. Basically how it works is the more they feel you are at risk of crashing, and the more they think the resulting crash will cost them, the higher the premium you’ll pay.

Assessment

Common factors that will be to assess the premium are the value of the car you’re driving, the safety of that vehicle, the coverage you want, will there be deductibles or limits etc.? How much you’ll drive the car, how your driving record st ands, how long you’ve held your license, your age, and if you are young, also your sex.

The premium is then calculated. Usually there is a flat per car, per year rate that everyone pays, regardless of other factors. The other factors will then alter this rate, generally upwards. So if your car is especially fast or dangerous your rate will be increased by a set amount. If it is very old, your rate goes up. If you’ve had one or more accidents in the past, your rate will go up. If you’re young and male, your rate will go up. The more of these factors you satisfy, the more your rate will be going up.

Discounts

As a sales enhancement, many car insurers offer a “low estimated future mileage” discount to customers who predict that the car’s mileage will be below some stated limit during the next premium period. There is no verification involved and no additional charge if the car is subsequently driven more than the stated amount. This arbitrary discount tends to foster customer belief in the mistaken idea that “miles” are just one of many classification factors used to raise or lower prices from the territorial base rate. In fact, odometer miles (which insurers do not use) are not a factor but a metric – the only valid basis for measuring each car’s consumption of insurance protection in on-the-road use.

The best way to save on car insurance is to shop around, keep a good clean driving record, drive safely, and choose reliable cars that are not known for their power and speed.

Car Insurance How Can I Lower My Premiums?

During the last few years, the average car insurance premium has virtually been at a st and still. The reason is price competition. There are now over 100 car insurance companies fighting for your business and competition is fierce. There are always bargains to be found as companies cut their premiums to attract motorists in the hope you’ll remain loyal and stick with them in following years. Indeed, every year, 23% of us renew our motor insurance with our existing insurer.

But in recent years the Internet has created a revolution in the marketing of car insurance. It makes shopping around so easy without the need to make loads of phone calls and without spending time threading yourself through the automated phone systems beloved by so many call centres.

But you’d be wise to remember that the lowest premium is not always the best. For example, some insurers have recently pushed up the level of claims excess they want you to pay as this helps them provide you with a much lower quote. You should also check out whether a courtesy car is provided if your car is in for repair. You might also feel you want legal insurance cover and automatic windscreen replacement. An accident helpline can also very useful in the middle of an emergency! You’ll need to phone the broker or insurance company you’re thinking of dealing with in order to check out these points.

17 Top Tips

for cheaper car insurance

Get your online quotes through car insurance brokers. Their computer systems will search for the best quotes from 40 or more car insurers and save you lots of time. When you’ve got their cheapest quote, phone them to discuss the relative merits of the cheapest quotes they found.

Garage your car at night. Insurance companies know that a car left on the road at night is much more vulnerable to theft and damage. If you don’t have a garage, if possible keep it on your drive.

Update the estimate of your mileage each year. If you’ve moved home or changed your job you may have shorter commuting journeys. If so, your premiums should be less.

Your premium can be influenced by your job. L andlords, journalists, and professional footballers to name but a few, all pay more! Go for a job that’s a bit more boring! Accountants and civil servants pay less!

Getting married could save money on your car insurance, particularly if you’re male and under 30.

If you’re under 25, add an older experienced driver with a good riving record onto your policy as a named driver. But don’t let him be too old! – premiums start rising again after age 60!

Consider paying a higher accident excess. The average excess is about £100. If you are prepared to increase you claims excess, your premium will fall significantly.

If you have cheap or old car, consider buying just 3 rd Party cover. Get quotes for 3 rd Party and comprehensive insurance and weigh up the savings.

Are you aged between 18 and 21? Then consider pay as you go insurance. Norwich Union has recently introduced the first pay as you go insurance policy, which charges you exactly for the miles you drive. It also charges more for the miles you drive between 11 and 6 at night. The system works through a Global Positioning System which is fitted to your car for a one off fee of £199. The GPS black box tells Norwich Union how many miles the car’s been driven and they send you an monthly invoice.

Buying a new car? Then check out the insurance group before you buy. Cars fall into one of 20 insurance groups with 1 being the cheapest and 20 the most expensive. If the proposed insurance premium is too high, chose a car that’s in a lower group.

High spec and performance cars attract thieves and are more expensive to repair – so they always cost more to insure. Consider something with a little less voroom!

It’s hard we know, but try hard not to speed! Most insurance companies will ignore one fixed penalty fine but get more and your premium will rise.

Got 4 or more years no claims discount? Pay the extra get the discount protected.

Fit a satellite navigation system. Some insurance companies have noticed that sat nav cuts the accident rate by letting drivers concentrate on the road. Insurers will soon be giving discounts if you have it fitted.

Get a engine immobiliser or alarm fitted. It could save you between 5-8%.

Got more than one car in the home? Some insurers will give a discount for insuring them all in one policy.

Car insurance for lady drivers

Car insurance companies prefer lady drivers to their gentlemen counterparts because they are considered as much less risky drivers. It is not that the accident rates of ladies are low. They face as many accidents as males do. However, the damage caused by them is not as much in most of the cases. So, their claims after the accident are also less. That is why on an average women’s car insurance premiums tend to be 30% lower than that of the male counterparts having same demographic profile.

They drive at speeds lower than men. Hence, accidents caused by lady drivers are not serious. So, even if they might claim as often as males do yet, in all they claim less amounts, giving insurers lesser premiums. Since the male drivers drive at higher speeds so even if they crash on their own, the loss is high. In case, the accident involves two vehicles in high damage state, it becomes an insurance company’s nightmare.

A lady is regarded to be a better risk right from the age of 17. There are many premium discounts available for a young lady driver, like pass plus certificate. It is a series of extra lessons that a young lady driver learns following their test. It can gain you a discount of around 30% for the first year.

Some car insurance companies specialise in auto insurance for women drivers. Literally, these companies try to insure women drivers only. They don’t even encourage getting a lady insured with her husb and under combined policy. Because they can’t give too much discount, as they have to think about her husb and’s high risk factors as well. So, they would prefer woman with woman. It means providing less risk in total, meaning lower premiums in total. That really clicks for them.

So, the calculation is simple – the lower premiums might mean that they don’t make much profit. However, if they can get as many women as possible, then the volume of business can go high. Look out these companies if you are a woman. Lady car insurance quote includes legal cover as well. It helps you to claim back your excess from the third party in the event of a non-fault claim. You can further lower your premium by parking your car overnight in the garage, by getting extra driving license course, and maintaining a good driving record.

Car Insurance – How Did They Calculate That?

Insurance premiums are calculated according to several risk factors. These are the factors identified by the insurance company as most likely to have an impact on the insured against risk occurring. Insurance is a significant cost associated with the item insured and should not be rushed into. It is always a good idea to shop around for the best price available. Insurance premiums will vary considerably from insurer to insurer so do your homework.

Shop Around

Look up the various insurance companies you are interested in and ask them for a quote. They can usually give you a rough estimate fairly quickly and even more exact quotes should also be possible if you provide more details and wait. You should also look up insurers online and get instant quotes from their website. This is a very fast and effective way of shopping around. You will get a good idea of what prices to expect. You can also experiment with the quotation websites to see what effect it makes to your premium price if you select different options. With all insurance policies you will have a number of options that affect the price of the policy.

Therefore you should think about these options and if there are risks that you do not wish to cover then let the insurer know as your premium should become cheaper.

You should also try to make sure you do not double insure. It is a principle of insurance that you cannot benefit from the insured event’s occurrence. So you cannot get paid twice even if you have two insurance policies. So if a risk is already covered by one policy, again let your insurer know so they can remove it from their calculation.

Factors

Car insurance premiums usually depend on factors such as what kind of car you are driving, how old it is, how big the engine is, what make and model it is? What type of insurance you require also plays a part, do you need only liability, or also comprehensive? What use you will make of the car, for example will you commute to work and how many miles do you plan on driving?

Your driving history will be a strong factor in determining your risk, and linked to this will be the age of the driver, with younger drivers being significantly more at risk of being involved in an accident. If you are young, your sex will also be an important risk factor, however if you are older sex usually becomes less significant.