How Index-Linked Annuity Interest Crediting Works

One-Year Monthly Point-to-Point

The monthly point-to-point index change is determined by subtracting the prior month’s index value from current month’s index value and dividing it by the prior month’sindex value. If this results in a positive monthly point-to-point index change and is not more than the declared cap, then it is
used as the capped index change for that month. If it is more than the declared cap, then we use the declared cap as the capped index change for that month.

A negative monthly point-to-point index change is not subject to a cap.

A “capped index change” for each month is captured over a 12-month period. The sum of the 12 monthly “capped index changes” will be the index credit rate on the index crediting date. The index credit rate is multiplied by the option’s account value to determine the index credit.

One-Year Annual Point-to-Point

The annual point-to-point index change is determined by subtracting the prior year’s index value from the current year’s index value and dividing it by the prior year’s index value. If this results in a positive annual point-to-point index change and is not more than the declared cap, then it is used as the index change for that year. If it is more than the declared cap, then we use the declared cap as the index change for that year.

A negative annual point-to-point index change is not subject to a cap. The index change will be the index credit rate on the index crediting date. The index credit rate is multiplied by the option’s account value to determine the index credit.

Participation Rate

The participation rate may very greatly from one annuity to another and from time to time within a particular annuity. Therefore, it is important for you to know how your annuity’s participation rate works with the indexing method. A high participation rate may be offset by other features, such as simple interest, averaging, or a point-to-point indexing method. On the other hand, an insurance company may offset a lower participation rate by also offering a
feature such as an annual reset indexing method.

Annual Point-to-Point

The index-linked interest, if any, is based on the difference between the index value at the end of the one year term and the index value at the start of the one year term. Interest is added to your annuity at the end of the one year annual reset term.

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How Does My Driving Record Affect My Car Insurance Premiums?

In order to legally drive a vehicle on the roads of the United States of America, the vehicle being operated needs to have the appropriate auto insurance applied to it. Drivers are required to insure their vehicles in order to comply with the rules and regulations established by the federal government. Persons who have auto insurance will be required to pay car insurance premiums.

This is the amount necessitated by the insurance company which needs to be paid by insurance policy holders in order to cover the cost of the individual's coverage. Different policy holders will often pay different amounts, or premiums, either monthly, semi-annually or annually. Since there can be such a difference between one person's premiums and the next, many people are interested in learning why there are such variations in price. Primarily, what insurance companies look for in determining a person's car insurance premium is their driving record.

A person's insurance premium is a direct reflection of the information that is found within the person's driving record. Insurance companies look at the last three to five years of a person's driving record in order to determine how much of a liability the driver would represent to the insurance company. The reason that insurance companies look at these driving records is because individuals who have had tickets or accidents are more likely to have tickets or accidents in the future, as compared to drivers that have not been in any accidents or acquired any citations from law enforcement officials. Insurance companies order your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles from your state of residency, in addition to any other states in which you have been licensed to drive. The specific number of accidents and citations found in your file will affect the price of your car insurance premium.

Most states issue points for individuals who are in violation of the various driving rules that are put in place and sometimes for those who have gotten into auto accidents. Insurance companies often use the point system and the number of points in a driver's record in order to determine their auto insurance premium(s). In order to compete with other insurance companies, many insurance providers will try to offer the lowest insurance premium while still protecting their own company from any liability the driver may cause the insurance company.

Premiums can be established initially when the driver adopts a specific company's policy, but they can be changed over time if the driver gets into an accident or if they receive a ticket. Specific changes to a driver's premium as a result of accidents or citations will vary from company to company. If you have a question about how your specific policy will change, it will probably be easiest and most convenient for you to get individualized answers regarding your policy, and a potential premium change, by getting in contact with your insurance company. If you have your account number, you will be able to contact an insurance agent who can give you the information that you are looking for when it comes to your auto insurance account.

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How Does Dental Insurance Work

Bad oral hygiene like failure to brush or floss teeth, gargle your mouth after meals, or eating foods like chocolate or sugar can harm your teeth. This gives rise to many dental problems like bad breath, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and dental cavities. This means a visit to a dentist could leave a hole in your pocket. At times, a normal checkup can set you back by $50 without undergoing any treatment. Besides, good oral health is important for our appearance. Also, dental problems can signify underlying health problems like heart disease. But going for dental insurance will ensure that the insurer pays for the costs. Here we explain briefly how dental insurance works.

Good dental health is not only important for our appearance, it is important for our overall health too as problems in the mouth can often be a sign that something else in the body needs attention.

Why do I need dental insurance?
A dental insurance plan is useful in paying for the costs of both normal and emergency dental treatments. You need not worry about paying your dentist’s fees to take care of your oral health.

Where do you get dental insurance?
There are various healthcare cash plan insurers who cover the dentistry fees to a determined limit. Now some companies offer independent dental insurance. The cover will vary from insurer to insurer, but both the cash plan and an independent dental insurance policy will cover the charges for normal checkup, emergencies and any unintentional injuries to the teeth. Recently, an insurer has started providing cover for major dental problems like reconstructive surgery, which can include a plastic surgery after injury to the teeth or oral cancer.

Where should I buy dental insurance?
You can get the best insurance that fits your budget by shopping around. Visiting the websites will offer you detailed information on the dental insurers and their policies. This gives you adequate time to compare the terms and conditions of various policies. You can also find out about any discounts on dental insurance.

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How Disability Insurance Differs From Health Insurance

When faced with the option of whether to purchase disability insurance, many consumers say no without fully understanding the consequences of their decision. The major reason why so few people opt for a smart amount of disability insurance is that disability insurance policies are not as widely held or as commonly discussed as life or health insurance policies. This leads to the current situation, where many people remain uneducated as to the possible benefits that disability insurance can offer them.

Disability insurance works within a fairly simple framework. In the event you become disabled in some way and cannot do the job that you are trained for and accomplished in, your insurance will pay you some amount of tax-free replacement income. Disabilities come in many shapes and forms, and anything from vertigo to obesity to any other condition that interferes with your ability to work can potentially make it possible for you to file a disability insurance claim.

To many people, disability is a word that brings to mind hospitals and medical costs. To be certain, you may require a substantial level of care in order to recover from the injury or illness that has made it impossible to work, and having good health insurance is an important part of making it through this kind of situation with your bank account still in the black. However, it is all too easy to forget about the fact that if you find yourself in this situation, medical costs are just one piece of the financial pie. If you cannot work because of a health condition, trying to keep your home, car, and other assets can be a serious struggle without the assistance that a disability insurance claim can offer. The exact amount of money you will receive as income replacement varies depending on the kind of policy that you have, but most people who have disability insurance are insured for roughly half of their normal gross income. This kind of helping hand during the difficult period of recovery after an injury or illness can mean the difference between being able to make ends meet or falling deeply into debt.

Although few people enjoy planning for a worst case scenario, spending some time figuring out how you could financially weather becoming disabled may lead you to put some important plans into place. This kind of forethought can help make a difficult period much more bearable. Many people find that knowing they are prepared for the worst helps them enjoy more carefree times; so consider taking out disability insurance for your peace of mind as well as for its other benefits.

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Homeowners insurance: What’s covered, what’s not, and what to look for

Individuals planning on purchasing a home spend weeks if not months picking the perfect neighborhood, floor plan, and then home before they even consider purchase. In a similar way, buyers will shop around and compare the interest rates offered them on mortgages. Yet, when it comes to homeowners insurance, the norm is to still simply to defer the decision-making to the agent. But just as you wouldn’t consider purchasing your home without first researching and planning, so also should homeowners insurance buyers consider the major options available when it comes to buying a homeowners policy.

In its simplest form, homeowners insurance is an agreement between you, the homeowner, and an insurance company, that in exchange for you making monthly payments, they will compensate you for any significant damage that affects your home. This at least was the form of original homeowner’s policies. Today’s policies are more complex, both covering, and excluding a wide range of situations.

Broadly, a homeowner’s policy covers four major areas of liability. These include:

1. Coverage for the structure of the home

2. Coverage for the contents of the home

3. Liability protection

4. Temporary displacement costs in the event of disaster

Coverage for the structure

This structural protection is what most people commonly conceive of when they think about homeowners insurance. Purchasing a home is a major investment in the lives of most individuals, and as a consequence, the threat of loss of that property, would be so devastating financially that it motivates individuals to seek out insurance as a means of protecting their financial interest. But despite common perceptions to the contrary, homeowners insurance does not cover any and all damages to the home. While each policy varies slightly, most commonly floods and earthquakes are excluded from coverage. That means that if you have a standard policy and your home floods, you will not be recompensed by your insurance company for your loss. On the other hand, other disasters such as hurricane, fire, and hail are typically covered under the standard policy. In addition, most standard policies cover other structures that are fixed or attached to the home, most commonly garages or porches. While these general guidelines hold true for most policies, the variance between insurance providers is significant enough that you should investigate the particulars of what is covered, and more importantly what is excluded regarding coverage for the structure of the home.

Coverage for Personal Belongings

Homeowner’s insurance policies cover not only the structure of a home, but much of its contents as well. Because the coverage to items within the home is not complete, however, it is important to know the limitations of your policy. The industry standard is between 50 and 70% of the value of the policy. That is, if you have the structure of your home insured for $100,000 that policy typically covers the value of your possessions up to $50,000 or $70,000 if they are stolen or damaged in non-excluded circumstances. But, just as with the structure of the home, this coverage is not all-inclusive. For example, there is typically a limit on the amount your insurer will pay out on high dollar items such as jewelry or expensive clothing. This limit can vary but typically maxes out at $2,000. An oft forgotten possession related to the home, is the landscaping. Under most standard policies insurance that will recompense the insured for up to $500 in landscaping damage is also covered. But once, again payment can only be attained if the causal factor (i.e. fire) was covered in the first place.

Liability Protection

Moving farther away from most common conceptions of a homeowner’s policy, it is important to note that policies also cover personal liability for you, your family members and pets. This means that by virtue of owning the homeowners policy you are covered in case, for example your dog tears up your neighbor’s lawn, or far worse, if your neighbor hurts himself while visiting your home. Even more in this aspect of the policy than in any others, the exceptions are vitally important to understand. The amount of liability coverage that comes with a basic policy is a rather standard $100,000. But depending on the exclusions, that similar number belies a world of difference when it comes to actual personal protection.

Temporary Displacement Compensation

If an accident befalls your home and you are unable to inhabit your home temporarily, your homeowners insurance provider will cover the costs of your housing and some additional costs during the interim. Included under this coverage, for most standard policies are things like food, and other basic living expenses. But some policies go farther by compensating you for slightly more extravagant costs like clothing purchases. The coverage for displacement costs varies here more than anywhere else. Some companies use a percentage calculation to determine how much in temporary displacement compensation you can receive to cover hotel bills, food, and the like. This number is most typically set at 20% of the value of the insurance on the structure of the home. Other companies take a different approach, however. They offer unlimited, or at least higher valued, temporary displacement compensation, however, these benefits are time-dependent. This means that once your coverage time expires, you receive no more benefits, no matter the costs you may still be incurring.

In all of these categories, insurers offer a wide variety of options dependant upon your willingness to pay. For example, you can up your protection for high-dollar possessions if you have a lot of jewelry. In the same way, if you are particularly concerned about liability you can pay extra for higher coverage and the same is also true of temporary displacement coverage. While what I have outlined here, provides you with a basic framework for understanding the various components of homeowners insurance and the general standards of the industry, the differences between individual policies can vary widely. Consequently, it is important for those considering the purchase of homeowners insurance that looking into the particulars of what has been covered here be made a priority. Only by understanding the precise offerings of competitors policies and understanding their functions, can you the customer come to find the policy that best suits your needs and those of your family.

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Homeowners Insurance: Lessons from Katrina and other gulf storms

Homeowners Insurance is supposed to protect us in case of disasters. That is what we have come to expect from our homeowners insurance over the years. But what if the disaster is the costliest in U.S. History? What if your insurance agent’s home and office were destroyed in the disaster also?

That is what happened to many customers and homeowners insurance agents and companies after Katrina hit the Gulf coast. Many agents' homes, offices and insurance Companies' claims centers were in the same situation as their clients due to the storms. So what did they do? They set up “office” in tents and mobile trailers. Then Hurricane Rita blew away these temporary offices and the agents and companies set them up again. These temporary shelters acted as a communications center for all people in the surrounding areas. Local people would come by to ask questions, meet with their claims adjustors and just catch up on the news with their neighbors. Extreme circumstances dictated unconventional responses: some agents even filed claims for their clients without even talking to the clients just so they could get the claim “in the queue.” Allstate allowed customers to submit claims through any agent in the country and set up a priority line to assist. They sent email to agents in the areas surrounding the disaster areas to act as messengers by “word of mouth” to their fellow agents in the effected areas. The larger companies such as State Farm & Allstate that service claims for the national flood Insurance Program even used satellite imagery to determine damage in some neighborhoods that were entirely flooded.

Lessons Learned: Those of us not effected by these disasters can learn a few lessons about coping with future disasters from the thousands of policyholders that are still waiting to get their claims paid. As soon as possible, take steps to prevent further damage to your home if possible: such as covering the roof with a tarp if possible. You can hire a contractor if you can find one, as that would be safer for most of us than climbing on our roofs. Hold off making any repairs until you see or talk to an adjuster first. Plus, keep your receipts, as you’ll need them to prove expenses that can be re-imbursed later.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

You can generally expect your homeowners insurance to help pay for additional living expenses for up to 12-24 months while your home is being repaired. But, homeowners insurance usually pays only after they verify you have a legitimate claim. After Katrina, many insurers made an exception, automatically distributing enough to cover two weeks’ worth of additional living expense to anyone in an area subject to mandatory evacuation. Some companies even gave small advances on contents under the personal property part of their homeowners insurance policies.

If you have to wait to get your check, it helps to have cash that is easily accessible in a bank account or money market fund. Stashing cash at home isn’t a great idea because if your home burns down and you weren’t able to get to your cash, most homeowners insurance policies only cover $100-$200 in cash whether it is stolen or burned up in a fire. Your goal should be to have an emergency fund available to take care of your family for 2-4 weeks (minimum)if possible. In a disaster it might be hard to even find a local bank to get cash. Debit/credit cards with a statewide or national bank would perhaps be better.

Your biggest problem in getting your claim handled may be in either not having the proper homeowners insurance coverage or not having enough coverage. Most good homeowners insurance policies today cover up to 120% of your dwelling coverage limit. It is important that you review the dwelling limit with your agent every couple of year’s at a minimum. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover Flooding, but you should again see your agent for this coverage.

If your homeowners insurance falls short, you may qualify for money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or a disaster-assistance loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Homeowners can borrow up to $200,000 for rebuilding and $40,000 to replace personal property at very low interest rates for up to 30 years.

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Homeowners Insurance Discounts: The Best Methods Of Finding Them

There is no way around needing Homeowners insurance if you are about to embark on the journey of purchasing a home. Depending on the size of the home, Homeowners insurance can cost as little as $400 a year to as much as $2000 a year, if not more in some parts of the country. The amount of Homeowners insurance you receive will also be determined by the value of the interior property, including the upkeep of remodeling on the home, as well as whether your policy will include valuable electronics and jewelry.

Once you have determined what type of policy you would like to implement, you can begin discussing yearly and monthly costs with insurance agents. One thing to keep in mind while you are searching for Homeowners insurance is that the rates won’t vary that much between each company, but there are small ways to save a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, simply by finding some Homeowners insurance discounts that are available.

One of the easiest ways to receive a discount on Homeowners insurance is to install a home security system, and not the type that barks and growls. Many insurance companies are actually paired up with security companies like ADT or Brink’s and will give you a discount for using that insurance company and that security company as well.

Even if you get Homeowners insurance and decide to go back later and install a security system, don’t forget to go back and call your Homeowners insurance company once the system is installed so that you can receive a discount on your insurance. Further discounts may be given for motion sensors or even for video surveillance cameras installed on the home.

Another great way to receive a small discount on your Homeowners insurance is through fire and carbon monoxide detectors and fire resistant doors, brick and even walls. Remember that not all companies will offer the same discount for fire resistance and fire protection, so it is best to do research on how much of a discount can be received before diving in to remodeling the entire house for fire resistance.

Keeping up with newer appliances is another excellent way to help receive a Homeowners insurance discount. Older appliances are more likely to develop bad electrical connections, which can make the home susceptible to fire.

The first place to begin updating appliances is in the kitchen because kitchens are on the top of the list for places where fires begin. Many other insurance companies will offer a discount for new plumbing and electrical systems, or simply for a home that is less than ten years old altogether.

While some homeowners aren’t willing to consider a higher insurance deductible, or the price they will pay before the insurance will begin paying for loss or damages, asking for price quotes with higher deductibles is an excellent way to receive a discount on your insurance.

Most Homeowners insurance companies start out with a minimum deductible of $250 to $500 dollars, but try raising the deductible by $250 and see how much this will save you a year. Often times, this can make a difference of nearly $100-$150 a year on the total insurance bill.

Remember, though, that if you choose this route, you may end up paying more than that $150 savings a year if something happens to your home and you have to pay the higher deductible. Simply weight the negatives and positives and decide if a higher deductible is right for you.

The final sure fire way to receive a Homeowners insurance benefit is to belong to a club or certain group. This could simply mean being in the "65 and older" club and receiving a senior citizens discount, or it could also mean already being a member of the bank where you are looking to purchase Homeowners insurance. Some insurance companies also give a discount if you plan on having both your car insurance and Homeowners insurance with that company.

Before settling for the first set of numbers thrown at you by the insurance company, be sure to ask about these discounts and make your assets work for you when shopping for Homeowners insurance.

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Homeowners Insurance Coverage Needs: How To Determine Them

For first time homeowners or for those who have never really taken a serious look at their Homeowners insurance, determining what Homeowners insurance coverage you need can be a trying time. One of the most important tips to keep in mind when determining what type and how much Homeowners insurance you need is to make this determination before you get started talking with an insurance agent.

It is extremely easy to get sucked into buying extra insurance that you will never use by a sly talking agent on the phone. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take an insurance agent’s advice at all, but just be certain of a ballpark figure for the type of coverage and the amount of coverage you need and want before you get started.

One of the first questions an insurance agent will ask is the value of the home being purchased. This simply means the basic exterior and interior value of the home as it is when you purchase it, without belongings. Remember that an insurance agent should ask specific questions regarding the exterior of the house, such as whether it is brick, vinyl siding, wood or a mixture, as well as questions regarding a porch, deck or sunroom.

Insurance agents should also be asking specific questions regarding the basic appliances on the interior of the house, and will want to know how old the plumbing and electric system are, the air conditioning and heating unit, the appliances and will even ask questions about whether you have expensive countertops or flooring, such as granite or marble.

Keep in mind that while you purchased the home for a certain price, say $100,000, the Homeowners insurance company may want to allot payments for the structure of the house to be anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 over the current appraisal and market value of the house, to deal with inflation. It is up to you to decide if you want to agree to these terms, but remember that the price of repairing these items in the home will increase over the years, and you don’t want to be left with not enough money from the insurance company to cover full replacement of your home at any given time.

If you have purchased a home that will soon be remodeled or reconstructed, you may want to go ahead and add a considerable amount to this portion of the insurance coverage, that way if anything happens in the process of remodeling or as soon as the home is remodeled the total cost of remodeling will be covered without a problem. Of course you can always wait until the remodeling is completed to call and get a new price quote, but it is best to have the insurance set in place prior to the completion of the remodeling.

The second major factor that should be considered in determining the amount of Homeowners coverage needed is the interior value of the goods in the home. This is a difficult task for some people who have not kept good receipts of purchases and that makes it easy for insurance agents to suggest more coverage than needed in the interior goods department.

Before calling for price quotes, it is best to sit down and try to briefly itemize the major purchases in your home, including furniture, large appliances, and electronics. Many basic interior coverage plans do not cover certain electronics such as computer systems or laptops, so be sure to ask about laptop or computer coverage if this is an item you have in your home. As well, some insurance policies will cover jewelry but others will require a separate "special" interior Homeowners policy, although adding this on would only cost approximately $30-$80 a year for most jewelry owners.

The final determination for how much coverage needed should be location. It is extremely important to consider whether you will need hurricane insurance, flood insurance, wind and hail damage insurance, or even tornado insurance.

Bear in mind that even if you live in a hurricane zone, you may also be required to purchase separate flood or wind insurance, in case your home floods or the windows blow out from the storm. The same goes for tornado or earthquake insurance, as you may be required to have separate amenities added to the policy to cover wind damage or even flooding.

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Homeowners Insurance Company: How To Choose One

It is almost inevitable that when purchasing a new home the homeowner will be required to also purchase a home insurance policy. Many mortgage companies who are granting the mortgage loan will require that proof of the Homeowners insurance policy be shown before the closing on the house. This ensures that their investment into that home is safe in case of damage or destruction.

There are an overwhelming number of Homeowners insurance companies to choose from, making it difficult to determine what is right for you and your home. Many mortgage companies will suggest a Homeowners insurance company that they work in conjunction with, but this does not mean you have to use that insurance company to cover your home insurance needs.

Before jumping in and accepting the first quote that comes along, it is best to call around to a few different insurance companies and see which coverage plan is right for you, since different companies will offer different plans and different discounts.

The first thing you should ask about when determining which insurance company to use is whether they offer special discounts. Depending on the company you may find discounts ranging from fire resistant, security system discounts to senior citizen or dual insurance discounts.

A dual insurance discount usually means that you will receive a discount from the company if you have more than one type of insurance through them, so check with your current car insurance company to see if they offer special rates to loyal customers.

Keep in mind that in a similar fashion as creditors looking at your previous credit history, insurance agents will be looking at your credit history as well as your past insurance history. For those who may have a high car insurance crash history or for those who have a bad credit history, this could mean higher premiums in the long run.

Insurance companies are taking a gamble on you and although they assume that they may have to help replace something in your home along the way, if you are already a "high risk" client, this means you will have to pay for those risks because it is more likely their services will be needed sooner than later.

Most basic Homeowners insurance policies will cover the house for a total replacement cost as well as the possessions of the home for a total replacement cost. Because of this, insurance agents will be asking in depth questions about the home you are about to purchase such as square footage, the age of appliances, the air conditioning and heating units, the age of the plumbing and electrical system, and even the style of flooring, countertops and cabinets.

Although you might want to try and save money by stretching the truth about the age of the plumbing system or the style of the countertops, remember that you will only receive the replacement costs for what you have told the insurance company, so it is important to be as accurate and truthful as possible.

Many insurance companies will include in a quote special needs perils such as flooding, hurricane or earthquake insurance. Nevertheless, if you know you live in a high risk area for any of these particular perils it is best to ask if those are covered under the basic policy. You don’t want to get started on an insurance policy and realize that you are not fully covered.

The same can be said for special possessions like computer equipment and jewelry or furs. Often times a separate policy or a clause in the policy is needed to insure any special possessions for their full replacement cost, so be sure to ask the insurance company about these items.

All in all it is most important to find a Homeowners insurance company that is reliable, has a reputable name and has been in business for a long time. This may mean asking friends or family members who are current homeowners who they use for their home insurance, or even searching ratings for the best Homeowners insurance companies.

Remember that they will have a large portion of your financial investment and the possessions inside in their hands, so it is important that you feel confident in the policy and company you select.

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