Tips for Getting Cheap Auto Insurance Rates

Getting a quote for auto insurance online is easy... but finding cheap insurance can be more of a challenge. It takes diligence and knowledge.

Here are a few tips to help you find the cheapest auto insurance available.

Safety Features
Make sure your vehicle is well built and "safety" feature rich. You should get cheaper premiums for adding anti-theft devices, car alarms or a good tracking system since these items reduce the risk of your car being stolen.

Defensive Driving
Take a defensive driving class. Certification will help you in your quest to locate cheap auto insurance and can reduce your premium for up to three years.

Comparing Rates
The automobile industry is fiercely competitive. Premiums can vary by as much as 300% for the same coverage. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples on the features you need the most when searching for cheap auto insurance.

Complete Application
If you don't complete the application in full, the insurance companies are not going to give you a quote for their cheapest auto insurance and you won't find out about any of the discounts you may be eligible for. You'll simply get a higher rate quote by default. Be sure to enter your marital status, how many licensed drivers are in your home, your car's safety features, your zip code, the miles you drive, etc.

Increase Your Deductible
You can also reduce your rates by selecting a higher deductible. Generally the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. Your savings can be as much as hundreds of dollars by increasing your deductible from $250 to $500.

Cut Back on Your Miles
If you travel less than an average of 40 miles a day, you'll more than likely qualify for a low mileage discount. If you must travel more, car pool or use the public transportation one or two days a week to reduce the miles you drive.

Color of Your Car
Statistics tell us that red cars are involved in more accidents than any other color. If you want to find the cheapest auto insurance, avoid buying a red vehicle.

Who Drives What Car the Most?
Compare quotes with the man as the main driver and the woman as the second driver and vice versa on each of your vehicles. Always, place your younger drivers (teenagers) on the safest vehicle you own, such as the family station wagon or the family car. You'll never find cheap auto insurance by putting your teenager on a sporty little two door vehicle.

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Tips For Choosing Boat Insurance

Unlike home or auto insurance, boat insurance policies can vary widely from one company to the next. So which type of boating insurance is best for you? Try these tips. They come from experts at the nation's largest recreational boat owners association, BoatU.S.

• Know Thy Insurer-One way to find a good insurer is to ask friends who have had a claim in the past. Insurance companies may be good at taking monthly premiums, but how a company lives up to expectations when something goes wrong is a better indicator.

You can also research potential insurance carriers at The ratings are the industry's benchmark for assessing an insurer's financial strength; look for an "A" rating (excellent) or better. State insurance regulatory agencies are also a good reference and can be found online.

• Homeowner's or Separate Policy-Consider buying a separate insurance policy for the boat, rather than adding it to your homeowner's policy, as the latter often limits certain marine-related risks such as salvage work, wreck removal, pollution or environmental damage. Whatever amount the boat is insured for, it should have a separate but equal amount of funds available for any salvage work. This means that you're compensated for the loss of your boat and not having to pay additional, out-of-pocket costs to have a wreck removed from a waterway.

• Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value-These are the two main choices that boaters face and depreciation is what sets them apart. An "agreed value" policy covers the boat at whatever value you and your insurer agree upon. While it typically costs more up front, there is no depreciation if there is a total loss of the boat (some partial losses may be depreciated). "Actual cash value" policies, on the other hand, cost less up front but factor in depreciation and only pay up to the actual cash value at the time the boat is declared a total or partial loss or property was lost.

• Customize-Bass boaters may need fishing gear and tournament coverage as well as "cruising extensions" if they trailer their boat far from home. You may want "freeze coverage" if you live in a temperate state because, ironically, that's where most of this kind of damage occurs. A good insurer will tailor your coverage to fit your needs so there will be no surprises.

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Timing is Everything--Especially With Travel Insurance

Few things in life are as satisfying as a trip abroad, and most of us can hardly wait until we leave on our great adventure. Anticipation of things to come merely heightens our delight. Planning our trips is part of the enjoyment. Running around, buying our tickets, luggage, clothes and other items that we plan to take with us don't even seem like chores. It's not even painful to pay for these things because we know that soon we'll be exploring places we've never been before. However, there is one "fly in this ointment", one more expense that we'd rather not have because even though it costs us money, we receive no tangible benefit. What am I talking about? Why, travel insurance, of course!!!

Is Buying Travel Insurance at the Last Moment Okay?

I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, paying for travel health insurance is not exactly my favorite way of spending money. Could it be because travel insurance is not exactly sexy? Or is it because it just adds to the cost of an already expensive trip? Whatever the reason, I'd rather not spend the bucks on travel insurance. However, because I know that it really is a necessity, I buy it. Nevertheless, I tend to put off the purchase as long as possible because it still feels like an "extra". Am doing myself a favor or not?

Are You a Gambler?

Is keeping my money in my pocket for as long as possible helping me or hurting me? By delaying my travel medical insurance purchase until the day I leave, I'm actually hurting myself. This is because I'm actually gambling that nothing will happen to me before I buy my insurance. I'm betting that I or someone in my family won't fall ill or get injured prior to departure. Also, if I haven't bought it and something bad does happen, I won't have any insurance coverage and I'll be out of luck. Wouldn't I be smarter to get my travel insurance ASAP in order to minimize my risk and maximize my potential benefits?

Don't Lose Your Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

There is another reason to buy travel insurance without delay. Sometimes we make our travel arrangements in stages and don't book our flights at the same time. We travelers are eligible for pre-existing medical condition exclusion waivers provided we buy our travel insurance from 7 to 21 days (depending on the policy) of making our arrangements. If we wait longer, we may not be eligible for those benefits, especially if a previously unknown health condition should materialize.

Don't Wait To Finalize Everything Before Buying

Whenever I have traveled, I have known in advance what my plane tickets were going to cost, but what about you? Maybe you've made travel plans but have not yet bought your plane tickets. I suggest that it's a good idea to buy your travel insurance even if you haven't bought your tickets because doing so will ensure that you will qualify for the pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. If you don't know what your flight will cost, estimate the cost and include this figure in the total cost of your trip. Later, when you have purchased your flight tickets, you can advise the insurance company. That way you will not risk being ineligible for coverage for a medical conditions that crops up prior to departure.

What If You've Already Left on Your Trip?

I happen to be one of the world's greatest procrastinators. My motto is, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow because you might get lucky and not have to do it at all!” Maybe you, too, are a Great Procrastinator and you avoid buying travel insurance before you leave on your trip. What happens if you have delayed buying your travel insurance or expatriate insurance until AFTER your departure? Are you out of luck? Are you ineligible for insurance because you didn't buy it before you left home?

Fortunately, the good news is that, even if you decide to buy after departure, you are still eligible for insurance. If you can get access to the internet, both travel insurance and expatriate insurance can be found and purchased online, even after you've left on your trip or taken up residence abroad. As the old saying goes, "Better late than never," especially in this case!

Can You Get Insurance for Someone Else Who Has Already Left?

Here's another scenario. What if there is an emergency and a family member (including minors) or a friend or employee has not bought travel insurance but has already left on their trip? Do they have to travel uninsured? The answer is no, they don't have to go without travel insurance. You, or someone else they designate, can go online and purchase travel insurance on their behalf. It's good to know that when friends, family or employees are too busy to get their own travel insurance, they don't have to go without it.

In this case, all you need to do is fill out an online application and make the required online payment. You'll get instant confirmation and can even print out a copy of the policy. There is one cautionary note though. If you're purchasing travel insurance on behalf of a minor, you'll first have to register as an adult in order to get the insurance. It is also important to note that they will not be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions that occur during the trip after departure and prior to purchasing their insurance. This is merely another reason why purchasing travel insurance should not be delayed.

In the World of Travel Insurance, Timing Definitely IS Everything

Timing is everything, they say. Purchasing travel or expatriate insurance was probably not on the mind of whoever coined that phrase. Nevertheless, those words apply as much to buying travel insurance as they do to anything else. Given the potential for financial ruin if you're not insured, the time to buy yours is before you need it because buying it after you need it is impossible and much too late. Learn from the "Great Procrastinator" and get the insurance you need before you need it.

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Life Insurance: Is it Right for You?

Though Life Insurance is neither an investment plan nor a savings scheme, it still plays a significant role in the financial portfolio of most individuals. The main purpose of Life Insurance is to protect the dependents of a person from financial loss in the event of his death.

Financial obligations arise out of many situations in life like when getting married or divorced, having a baby, buying a house, sending your child to college, starting a business, taking care of a parent who is aged or sick or on retirement. If a person is shouldering these responsibilities he must ensure that these obligations continue to be fulfilled even after his death. If he has a family who depends upon his earning capacity, he is a perfect candidate for life insurance. A person should consider the long term as well as the short-term financial obligations to decide whether he needs life insurance. The questions to ask are:

1. Do you have people including family and business partners who are financially dependent upon you over a long period of time?

2. In the event of your death, do your dependents have enough assets and resources including liquid cash to take care of all their needs and to pay off your financial debts?

The second question requires a further assessment of the short-term financial needs of the family of the deceased. These include working out the following factors:

Inheritance procedures can be time consuming and the family will need funds till they get access to the property of the deceased.
The availability of other liquid assets like bank accounts or stocks can reduce dependency on life insurance.

The existence of a large amount of non-liquid assets as against liquid assets makes it necessary to have insurance.
The amount of debts and taxes the person stands to owe after his death.

Businessmen must ensure there is enough cash flow in the business for his inheritors to maintain his business.

Considering the above questions, one would find most people do need life insurance, though one can do without it if one has no dependents or young kids to support. Still, other obligations like a home mortgage or a sole proprietary business or planning for a comfortable retirement for yourself or your spouse are some of the reasons why a life insurance is still a good financial program to pick up.

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Life Insurance: Getting Better Rates by Refinancing

Your life insurance needs naturally change over time. Children grow up and move on, financial situations change and families grow. If your lifestyle has changed, it’s probably time to “refinance” your term life insurance policies. By periodically examining your life insurance needs, you can explore more cost-efficient options that will save you in the long run.

The cost of life insurance has dropped 60% in the last ten years. This is mostly due to the fact that we are living longer. Competition has also caused companies to offer better rates. By changing your policy, you could have a much lower rate than was set years ago.

Take the time to consider how your life has changed. If your children have grown up and gone out on their own, you may want less expensive coverage. If you’ve changed your lifestyle, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, you could be eligible for cheaper premiums due to a raise in your health status.

You may be happy with your policy, but if you’ve had it for a while, it could be worth it to simply look into your options. There are more features offered, longer premium guarantees and better conversion options available today than there were five years ago. You can buy a cheaper policy with more features.

You have nothing to lose from simply looking into your coverage. Start with calling your current life insurance agent and ask him or her what they can do to fit your existing coverage to your needs.

Many insurance web sites will give you a basic idea of the variety of coverages available. Remember that quotes are usually based on the healthiest level of being, which you may not qualify for. Always assume that you are receiving a low figure. Make sure that you double check with an insurance agent before committing to the coverage off of the internet sight. You can often do this by phone, or they will come to your home.

Independent agents represent many different companies and can offer you more choices. They are knowledgeable of many different policies and can find one that will best fit your individual situation.

Even if you decide to stay with your current insurance company, you may find that you need to rethink the amount of coverage. You may have too much or too little. Do the math, you could save money.

Don’t terminate your old policy until the new policy is in force. You don’t want any gaps in coverage to occur.

If your health has gone downhill since your initial policy was created, you may not want to change policies – your rates will increase. Most insurance companies write in a two-year contestability period on new policies. That means they have the right to challenge a death claim.

Do the research and honestly evaluate your coverage needs. Refinancing you life insurance could be very beneficial to your finances.

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Life Insurance: 7 Myths About Life Insurance

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to life insurance.

You need to know the truth when it comes to what you are purchasing, don’t just assume based on rumors you’ve heard. Mistakes made when buying life insurance have long-lasting consequences. If your family isn’t provided for as they need to be, you won’t be here to fix it.

You need to choose the life insurance that is right for you. You can do so by avoiding these seven common myths:

Myth #1: You should buy seven times your annual earnings.

The rule of thumb that says you should have so many times your annual income isn’t necessarily true. The average American has a policy three times his or her annual income. Your dependents should be able to withdraw 5% each year from your insurance policy money without having to touch the principal. If you are making $60,000 annually and you purchase three times your annual income, you have an $180,000 policy. This means your heirs will only be able to withdraw $9,000 each year.

Most people have less coverage than they need. To calculate the amount you actually need, estimate how much your heirs will need to maintain their lifestyle without you. Include the costs of child care, education and emergencies. Add up all other sources of income and subtract it from the expenses. This will show how much of a policy you need to have.

Myth #2: Agents don’t give you the best deals, the internet does.

The internet is a great place to shop and research life insurance. But don’t assume that you’ve gotten the lowest price just because it’s the internet. Good agents will find a competitive rate that’s comparable to your online quotes.

Often, the premiums posted on internet sites are misleading. They are usually quoting you are rate that only those in the healthiest of conditions receive. They may give you an initial rate that will increase significantly in a year.

You can’t just compare rates. You need to also compare the policy that you are receiving. Shop around on the internet and with various agents for the best policy for you.

Myth #3: All policies are the same, you are just charged more

You have to read your policy. It is a contract between you and an insurance company. It tells you what is payable and what isn’t. All policies have different features. Make sure that you have received what you were told you were getting. Make sure that all names are correctly spelled and all numbers are right. Your written policy is what matters, not your phone conversations or your agent’s promises.

Myth #4: You should always name your estate beneficiary

If you do, the proceeds will go through probate. This means that your policy proceeds could be tied up for several months to over a year. Your heirs will not have access to the money during this time.

The proceeds will also increase the value of your estate, which means your family might have to pay estate taxes. If you have an estate over $1.5, you will pay taxes depending on your state. Estate taxes are often as high as 48%, so do everything you can to avoid them.

Myth #5: If you are in poor health, you are uninsurable

This simply isn’t true. There are a lot of companies out there that specialize in coverage to those who have or have recovered from a serious illness. The coverage is often expensive, but you can get it.

Being turned down once doesn’t mean it will happen again. Shop around, one company might charge you an added surcharge, while another will charge you a standard to preferred rate. It really depends on the company, not just your health status.

Myth #6: Insurance agents know what you need

Many life insurance agents are looking out for your best interests, others aren’t. That’s the way it is. Agents are compensated differently for selling different products; that often influences what they sell you.

If you need help, also ask your CPA what type and how much life insurance you should buy.

Myth #7: Life insurance is more important than disability coverage

Most people recognize life insurance as an important part of their financial planning. They often overlook the importance of disability insurance. You are 50% more likely to be disabled than you are to die when you are under the age of 50.

Most people will find that term life insurance best fits there needs and offers less expensive premiums. If you do, you also need to have disability insurance.

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Life Insurance: 6 Good Things To Know

We know the importance of life insurance as we want to make sure that our loved ones are taken care of when we die. But do some research so you'll be sure to get the best possible coverage at the right price. Here are some helpful tips:

1. Shop for your life insurance coverage
2. Never buy more coverage than you need
3. Buy sooner rather than later
4. Realize the importance of reviewing your coverage
5. You will be paying more by paying monthly
6. Don't rely solely on the life insurance offered by your employer


When it comes to life insurance, it pays to shop around because premiums can vary widely. And thanks to the Internet, it's now easier than ever.Make sure the website considers the factors in your medical history that can affect the premiums.


The key to purchasing the right amount of life insurance is to have enough to meet your needs. It's important not to have too little coverage as it would be difficult to purchase if you get sick.

The healthier you are, the better the life insurance rates
Healthy people get better rates on life insurance. You will be asked to pay a higher rate if you smoke, take medications regularly, are overweight or have a bad driving record.


If you've been putting off purchasing life insurance because you don't want to pay the premiums, you may be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. If you are in good health, buy it now.


You'll want to make sure that a major life event such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce or perhaps that the children are grown won't leave you underinsured or overinsured.


You will be paying more for your life insurance if you pay your premium in monthly installments.


Don't rely solely on the life insurance offered by your employer
Many employers offer their employees some sort of group life insurance. But this amount of coverage is usually not enough and group life insurance policies are not portable, meaning that if you leave your job, you can't take your life insurance coverage with you.

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Life Insurance. How The New Regulations Affect Policies Written In Trust.

In his spring Budget the Chancellor Gordon Brown announced swinging measures to tackle the use of Trusts being used to avoid Inheritance Tax. The immediate reaction amongst the financial and legal fraternity amounted to panic and confusion. Within ten days of the budget speech the estimates of the numbers of people that could be hit by the new anti-trust provisions hit 4.5 million.

Then, following the publication of the draft Finance Bill, the estimates fell to 1 million people. So, with specific reference to life insurance policies written in trust, what’s happening?

Well firstly before we go any further, we have to make the point that this article is commentating on the position based on the first draft of the Finance Bill – and it’ll be early July 2006 before that bill becomes law. As I write, the legislation still has to pass through parliament and it’s possible that the situation could change yet again. If it does I will keep you informed.

Within weeks of the budget speech, the Government retreated from its previously held position that all life policies written in trust are caught by the new legislation. The current position is that if your life insurance policy was written in trust before budget day 2006, then the money in the trust remains totally free of tax and fees. The legislation is not now to be retrospective. That’s one headache dispensed with.

However, if your policy was written in trust after the Spring Budget Day in 2006, then the new tax rules do apply.

For most people, the purpose of writing a life insurance policy in trust is to ensure that the policy pays out quickly and directly to where you want the money to go – often to a mortgage provider to repay the mortgage or to beneficiaries in the family to allow them to spend straight away as they like and tax free. These trusts that break upon death, are not now affected by the new regulations. That’s because only trusts that continue to hold money after the policyholders’ death are targeted by the new rules.

New life insurance policies written in trust will now be caught by a tax charge if the policy’s payout makes the deceased’s estate exceed the Inheritance Tax Threshold (IHT) of £285,000 and the policy is written in a type of trust known as an “interest-in-possession” trust.

Interest-in-possession trusts have been used to hold and invest the money paid out from a life insurance policy and pay the trust’s income to the spouse. The capital then passes to the children on the death of the spouse. Following the budget, these arrangements will be subject to a 40% IHT charge when then money passes into the trust for your spouse - plus a 6% tax charge every ten years and an “exit fee”. These taxes can be avoided if the you give your spouse significant control over the trust, which many people may perhaps not want to do especially if they are in a second marriage with children from previous relationships. The alternative is to use a bare trust as this type of trust is not caught by the new regulations. However, if you do use a bare trust, the money automatically goes to your children when they reach the age of 18.

If you are buying a new life insurance policy and want to use it to pay off a mortgage or provide immediate money for your family if you were to die, then you should still consider writing our policy in trust. However, it becomes more important than ever to buy the policy through a broker who is fully versed in the current requirements for trusts and can ensure you get exactly the type of trust you need.

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Life Insurance. Fat Customers Tell Porkies.

According to a recent survey almost a quarter of UK citizens are over weight but, says Cancer research UK, 25% of these are simply not interested in losing weight. We are in fact the second most obese nation in Europe, second only to Greece.

This not only concerns the UK Government, who have just announced a concerted campaign to tackle the problem via GP's, but also the life insurance industry.

The problem is that many people are still sensitive about their weight. Sensitive to the extent that they'll convince themselves that they're sticking to a diet when they are patently not. The loss of a pound or two occasions celebration, whereas the same two pounds going back the next day remains unannounced. Ring any bells for you?

Well normally, a porky or two about your true weight doesn't harm anyone - other than perhaps yourself. But now life insurance companies are having to take a much closer interest. They suspect that lots of people are telling lies about their weight on their life insurance applications.

Consequently, Scottish Provident, one of Britain's biggest life insurers, is tightening up its application procedures. Now, as well as asking applicants how much they weigh, they'll be asking when they last weighed themselves. It's an attempt to encourage applicants to answer more accurately rather than pluck a figure out of thin air or being economical with the truth.

A spokesman for the insurer said, “We know that people normally understate their weight, mainly because they are in denial about the subject, although there are also some people who will lie just to get cheaper premiums”.

The British Medical Association classifies someone as “obsess” if their Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 24 but most insurance companies are now using 30 as their obesity definition. Above that figure and you'll find that they'll load your premium and even ask to have a medical examination. Anyone who is overweight could easily see their life or critical illness insurance premium loaded by up to 50% - and extreme cases, cover will be refused.

So, if you want to know your BMI, take your height in meters and multiply it by itself. Then take the result and divide it by your weight in kilograms. The result is your Body Mass Index.

Whilst BMI has become the accepted method of assessing someone's weight, it does have limitations as it doesn't discriminate whether the weight is being carried in fat or muscle. And a study of 33,000 adults reported recently in The Lancet, concluded that the medical profession's “over 24” BMI obesity definition could be raised to “over 25” without harming health. That's the equivalent of adding an extra half stone. Their research also found that only adults with BMI's in excess of 35 suffered a pronounced lowering in life expectancy.

But in accepting a BMI level of 30, the life insurance industry has taken a cautious mid position. Well, if it was your money at risk, wouldn't you?

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Life Insurance. Fat Customers Tell Porkies.

According to a recent survey almost a quarter of UK citizens are over weight but, says Cancer research UK, 25% of these are simply not interested in losing weight. We are in fact the second most obese nation in Europe, second only to Greece.

This not only concerns the UK Government, who have just announced a concerted campaign to tackle the problem via GP's, but also the life insurance industry.

The problem is that many people are still sensitive about their weight. Sensitive to the extent that they'll convince themselves that they're sticking to a diet when they are patently not. The loss of a pound or two occasions celebration, whereas the same two pounds going back the next day remains unannounced. Ring any bells for you?

Well normally, a porky or two about your true weight doesn't harm anyone - other than perhaps yourself. But now life insurance companies are having to take a much closer interest. They suspect that lots of people are telling lies about their weight on their life insurance applications.

Consequently, Scottish Provident, one of Britain's biggest life insurers, is tightening up its application procedures. Now, as well as asking applicants how much they weigh, they'll be asking when they last weighed themselves. It's an attempt to encourage applicants to answer more accurately rather than pluck a figure out of thin air or being economical with the truth.

A spokesman for the insurer said, “We know that people normally understate their weight, mainly because they are in denial about the subject, although there are also some people who will lie just to get cheaper premiums”.

The British Medical Association classifies someone as “obsess” if their Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeds 24 but most insurance companies are now using 30 as their obesity definition. Above that figure and you'll find that they'll load your premium and even ask to have a medical examination. Anyone who is overweight could easily see their life or critical illness insurance premium loaded by up to 50% - and extreme cases, cover will be refused.

So, if you want to know your BMI, take your height in meters and multiply it by itself. Then take the result and divide it by your weight in kilograms. The result is your Body Mass Index.

Whilst BMI has become the accepted method of assessing someone's weight, it does have limitations as it doesn't discriminate whether the weight is being carried in fat or muscle. And a study of 33,000 adults reported recently in The Lancet, concluded that the medical profession's “over 24” BMI obesity definition could be raised to “over 25” without harming health. That's the equivalent of adding an extra half stone. Their research also found that only adults with BMI's in excess of 35 suffered a pronounced lowering in life expectancy.

But in accepting a BMI level of 30, the life insurance industry has taken a cautious mid position. Well, if it was your money at risk, wouldn't you?

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Life Insurance 101 Explained

While most of us do not like to think of the subject of our own death, the fact of the matter is that death is a part of life and in order to protect our families we need to give some thought to the subject of life insurance. The more you understand about life insurance the better you can prepare not only for your final expenses and protect your family.

First, understand there are different types of life insurance. The type that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors including your current age and health condition. The two major types of life insurance policies that you need to concern yourself with are term life insurance and permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period of time. This type of coverage will usually be less expensive than permanent life insurance. Policy periods are usually divided up into easy periods such as one, ten or twenty years. In the event you die within that time period, the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries. On the other hand, if you should reach the end of the time period and you are still alive your protection will end unless you elect to renew the policy. The option of building up cash value is not available with this type of insurance policy.

Individuals who only need temporary life insurance and those who need a large amount of coverage but who can’t afford to spend a lot benefit from this type of policy the most.

Permanent life insurance is designed to provide coverage for the duration of your life, although in some cases, the policy may be limited up until a specific age. When you reach that age, the cash value of the policy will be paid to you. Because you are building a cash value with permanent life insurance you can also withdraw from the policy in order to pay for important expenses such as education or home improvement costs. Another major advantage to permanent life insurance is that it allows you to build up cash value that is tax-deferred. This generally only applies while the policy is in force; however.

There are two divisions of permanent life insurance; whole life and universal life. A whole life policy will pay dividends under certain circumstances and also has the advantage of premiums that do not fluctuate.

With a universal life insurance the premium payments can be changed by the owner of the policy. This type of flexibility can be advantageous when you have a life changing event.

Permanent life insurance works well for individuals who are interested in long term insurance and who like the idea of building up cash value with their policy they can use to meet future needs. It is important to recognize this type of insurance is more expensive than term insurance. It should also be noted that if you take out a loan against your policy, your death benefit will be reduced.

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Life Insurance & Why It’s Important For Your Family

It’s sad to think about, but life insurance is something that everyone needs to consider. In the event of an unfortunate loss, an individual often wants to have the peace of mind in knowing that his/her family will be financially secure.

Life insurance can be obtained in a number of ways, including from a national insurance provider, various credit cards and/or certain employers. Depending on the amount of coverage, which is usually available in varying amounts, monthly payments will range from being affordable to very expensive. The amount of coverage that is selected will determine how much a family will receive if their loved one should pass away.

It is important for many individuals to purchase life insurance so that their loved ones will not have to worry about money in addition to being upset over their loss. When bills begin to come in and utilities are due, this can be a very difficult time for anyone who is also dealing with the loss of a family member. This is especially true if the loss was that of the family’s provider, which often means that little or no income will be coming into the household. A life insurance policy will help to ease some of that stress by providing financial help to the family that is left behind. In order to make sure the proper beneficiary is noted on any life insurance policy, the holder must make sure to provide all of the requested information to the insurance provider.

If life insurance is obtained when the policy holder is young, it will be very affordable. The more time that passes and the older an individual grows, the more expensive the policy will be. In addition, anyone with known health problems will likely pay a much higher life insurance premium if they are fortunate enough to find a carrier to provide them with a policy. As unfortunate as it is, many life insurance companies will not provide coverage to anyone known to be in poor health. The wellness, or lack thereof, relating to a patient will likely be determined by a mandatory physical. While not all carriers require this procedure, some will before confirming coverage. This is their way of making sure that the policy holder is in good health before issuing any type of coverage.

On a final thought to life insurance coverage, it is not a pleasant thing to discuss or even consider. It is, however, a necessary part of every family’s life.

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Life Insurance – Why Does The UK Have A £2.3 Trillion Protection Gap?

According to Swiss Re, one of the world's largest re-insurance companies, less than half of the UK population has any form of life insurance protection. They then go on to put a figure on the value of this protection gap. Using an average income of £20,000 and assuming that the value of protection needed ranges between 5 and 10 times income, they put a value on the protection gap at £2.3 trillion.

But in all probability, whilst the gap is huge, £2.3 trillion is likely to be somewhat over stated. After all there are people who are disqualified from having life cover due to their age - just over 1 in 5 are under 18 years old, the minimum for life cover, and 1 in 6 are effectively uninsurable as they're over 65. Then there's a raft of persons for whom life insurance is just not necessary. These are people aged between 18 and 65 who do not have dependents. Having said that, without doubt, there are still many families in the Swiss Re survey that have been correctly identified as desperately needing life insurance.

So if they need life insurance, why do they hold back?

Undeniably there are still many people who have no understanding what life insurance provides and because they don't think about it, they don't care, and nothing ever gets done. After all life insurance isn't a fun buy - there's no enjoyable window-shopping or pleasure in owning it. The chances are that unless financial advisers sit down and talks to these, they'll remain totally uninterested and uninsured.

Newspaper reporting given to the insurance industry also tends not to help. The Sunday papers in particular are regularly full of stories about one family or another that has had a claim turned down. These stories make the headlines, as behind them there's invariably a poignant tale of personal tragedy and distress. It all gives the life industry a tarnished image and creates a feeling that they can't be trusted. In practice, when you read the stories, the reason for the claim being refused often comes down to the fact that the policyholder missed off some relevant information from their application form. Nevertheless, some refusals are clearly wrong and this undoubtedly damaging.

Then there are those people who fully appreciate that they need life insurance but just can't be bothered or say they can't afford the premiums. More realistically, for many “can't afford” actually means, “I choose not to afford”. They might be happy to spend £100 at the pub each month but are unwilling to cut back a little to pay the premium that protects their family's future.

For sure, there is no disputing the fact that some life insurance applicants have found the final quote to be genuinely unaffordable. Whilst for the majority, cover at standard premiums is affordable, over the last seven years we've seen a huge rise in the number of people who have seen the proposed premium substantially increase once the insurer has looked at their application form. It's a result of the life companies making it harder for people to meet the company's definition of “healthy”. Seven years ago half as many applicants were seeing the price increased as a result of the insurance companies classifying them as an above average health risk.

Even a few years ago it was usually obvious who'd have difficulty getting insured at standard rates – people with heart or circulatory problems, former cancer suffers and diabetics for example. How the picture has now changed. Application forms are much more detailed and medical problems that were previously acceptable are now only acceptable with a higher premium. Take weight for example – these days insurers clamp down when they judge an applicant's weight to be a risk to their longer-term health. And it's not just the obviously obese that attract the insurer's notice. Companies are now using the Body Mass Index to identify weight problems. This is your weight divided by the square of your height. Most life companies now want a BMI of no more than 29, whereas previously up to 40 was acceptable. This means that a woman weighing 83 kilos and 1.66 meter tall will now face a higher premium.

The application process can also be put some people off. Whilst about 30% of people will receive an immediate decision, for others the process can become one delay after another. As if a 14-page application were not enough, some people are being asked to complete more forms in addition to medical examinations. The whole process can take up to 9 weeks, sometimes even more, before the applicant finds out precisely how much their premium will be. If that premium works out more that they can afford, the applicant is often too tired of the whole process to start applying again to a new insurance company. The result is yet another family without life insurance.

Despite these problems, the life companies say that thanks to more sophisticated underwriting procedures, prices are lower today that they were a few years ago. The arrival of the Internet has also had a profound affect on prices. Around 10% of life insurance is bought online and discounting has become the norm. This too has helped more families to become insured.

However, in the author's view it will take more than a decade to get people covered by life insurance above the 50% level.

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Life Insurance – What is it?

If something were to happen to you, you would want to know that your family is taken care of. With today’s economy as it is, more and more people have been trying to “cut corners” to help save on their budgets. A penny saved is a penny earned as they say. This goes towards saving money and trying to find low cost life insurance coverage that will take care of your family’s needs.

Life insurance is pretty simple these days. If you are protected and you were to pass away, your beneficiaries will be left with a cash benefit. These benefits can be used towards anything that they need to use them for. They maybe used to replace lost income, medical expenses as well as funeral expenses. There is no certain set term’s that these benefits must be used for.

Life insurance cash benefits are paid out by your terms in your written Life Insurance Policy and can protect a lot of things. If your spouse is dependant on your income for retirement, it can also help to keep those plans in tact. If you have a mortgage, it can help to pay off that debit so that your family will not loose their home. Perhaps you would like for your children to go to college, or you would like to leave money behind for them. With any decisions you make, you can do exactly what you have planned ahead for.

One great thing about Life Insurance benefits is that it is usually paid out tax-free. So when you look at the amount of coverage that you want to buy, what you actually see is what you will actually get. It’s nice to know before hand that there is no guess work about how much will be taken out of your spouses or loved one’s death benefits.

As you can now see, Life Insurance is very flexible. It makes a lot of sense for people now days, even if they have different goals in mind.

There are two types of Life Insurances. One is Term Life Insurance and the other is called Permanent Life Insurance. Let’s first explore Term Life Insurance.

Term Life Insurance is a Life Insurance that last during a certain term. These terms can be from 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 30 years. During this time, your premiums are guaranteed not to increase. If you were to pass away during this time period, then your beneficiaries get the cash death settlement benefits. If you were to live longer than the given term period, you then have the option to continue your coverage for an annual, renewable premium, which is generally much higher. You can usually convert a term Life Insurance policy to a permanent one with out getting a medical exam.

There are two big ways that Permanent Life Insurance differs. First off, the policy is meant to last the rest of your life and as long as you continue to make the required premium payments. Secondly, part of the money that you pay in with is set-aside in an account where it can grow to cash maturity. These funds can be tapped into later on during your life. There are also several different types of Permanent Life Insurances, each with different advantages as well.

Be sure to find a Life Insurance Company and Agent that best suit your family’s needs. Take the time to get at least three different estimates before selecting your company. These estimates are free and most agents are more than happy to even come to your home.

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Life Insurance – Smokers and Overweights pay over 50% more!

The life insurance industry is becoming tougher on smokers and those of us who are overweight.

When an insurance company calculates its premiums, it has to work out the risk of you dying whilst the policy is in force. (Or with Critical Illness Insurance, the risk that you will become critically or seriously ill during the policy's term.) In this context, smoking and obesity have become increasingly important issues.

The life insurance industry pointedly ignores the views of some Pro Smoking Pressure Groups which argue that smokers under the age of 40 have around the same probability of dieing as non smokers. David Pickett, Life Insurance Manager at Sainsbury's spoke for the insurance industry when he confirmed “Health risks associated with smoking can have a big effect on life cover costs. It is vital for those who have kicked the habit to review their policies”.

Just how big an effect smoking has on life insurance costs was highlighted in a recent snapshot study by This found that the average smoker paid 56% more than a non-smoker. The study was based on nine of the UK's top insurance companies and examined the premiums quoted for two men aged 30 asking for £100,000 cover over 25 years. The only difference between the application details was that one was a smoker and the other wasn't.

The life insurance industry has also recently tightened its belt on the overweight members of society. Previously, only people with a Body Mass Index of 33 or more were considered as overweight. This level has now been reduced by 16%. Now anyone with a BMI of 28 or more is likely to face premiums loaded by 50%. If you're anxious to know whether that includes you, you'll need a calculator! BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilos by your height in meters and the result squared.

So if you're intending to apply for life insurance is may be as well to loose a few pounds first – oops kilos - and they're much harder to lose than pounds!

It's not quite so straightforward for smokers. To qualify as a non-smoker, most insurance companies insist that you must not have “smoked or otherwise consumed any form of nicotine products during the previous 12 months.” Indeed, some companies go further and extend the qualifying period to 5 years!

Because premiums for smokers and chubbies are so high, it becomes even more important to seek out the cheapest possible prices. As you're an internet surfer, the odds are you'll land a good discount. Just search for cheap life insurance and let your fingers do the walking!! You'll still pay more but the discount will soften the impact on the wallet. Expect online savings of 10% - 15%.

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Life Insurance - One More Step On The Insurance Ladder

The recently over 60’s are the post-war baby boomers. Their insurance needs are very different from that of a young family or someone just starting out in their first job.

A typical 60 something couple will have raised their family, finished paying off their mortgage and are into or nearing retirement. More and more of this age group of people spend part of their year abroad or maybe are planning to move to the sunshine on a permanent basis.

Maybe it would be a good idea to assess their insurance needs at this stage in their lives. Something that is almost certain to crop up is the worrying matter of inheritance tax. House prices have risen considerably over the past years and the family home that suited their lifestyle some years ago will probably be worth an amount approaching or over the inheritance tax limit. Even if they downsize their property, they may invest in something like a holiday home and the actual capital is still there.

Inheritance tax is charged on taxable estates with a value of more than £300,000 in the 2007/8 tax year. This amount rises annually – 2006/7 was £285,000 for instance.

To work out the value of their estate, they will need to take the value of their home, savings, investments, life insurance policies, any business interests and any other assets which they have accumulated. When the total of this has been reached, any liabilities will need to be deducted. Typically this will be any mortgage outstanding, loans and other debts. The remaining figure, less the amount exempt from Inheritance Tax is the one that Inheritance tax will be calculated from.

Inheritance tax would be charge on the death of the second partner. There is no inheritance tax between spouses.

To put it simply, if their estate – their assets minus their liabilities - is worth around £400,000, then using the 2007/8 allowance of £300,000 there would be £100,000 which would attract a tax of 40%. That’s £60,000 to their beneficiaries and £40,000 to the taxman.

You may think this is a fairly large estate, but do consider what your home could be worth at today’s values.

Now this couple may be quite happy to potentially give £40,000 of their hard earned money away, but we think probably not!

The couple would be advised to take some specialist advice at this stage, but a solution could well be to take out some whole-of-life insurance cover. An amount that would cover the estimated inheritance tax bill would relieve their beneficiaries of any worries when the inevitable time comes. The policy must be written “in trust” and the result will be that the payout will not be counted as part of the estate. By using this important proviso, there should be no delay in the payment of the policy to beneficiaries.

Most policies designed to help with inheritance tax dues are investment linked and offered on a reviewable basis. The plan will be reviewed at five or maybe ten yearly intervals. If the investment part of the plan has not performed as hoped, then the cost of the premium could rise and our couple need to be aware of this.

For an easy way to get some advice on this important subject, an on-line broker will be able to steer our couple towards the right product for them, at the right price.

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Life Insurance - Money Saving Top Tips

More and more people are buying life insurance online and the numbers seem to be doubling every two years. The reasons are clear. Prices are lower on the Internet and life insurance is fundamentally a simple insurance product.

Despite the underlying simplicity of life insurance, most web sites channel their online clients through a telephone based help and advice service manned by experienced personnel. They represent your safety net so if a little technical knowledge is called for, help is at hand.

But it’s always a good idea to have a few Top Tips in your back pocket when you’re shopping online for life insurance. They’ll help you ask the right questions and find the best policy.

1. Always have your Life Insurance policy “Written in Trust”.

This means that in the event of a claim, the money goes directly and immediately to the person(s) you nominate when you first take the policy out. It also avoids all possibility of your estate having to pay Inheritance Tax on the proceeds of your policy and that could represent a 40% tax saving !

All you have to do is tell the online brokerage organising your policy that you want your policy “Written in Trust” and the names of the people who the life insurance company pay in the event of a claim. They will then sort it all out for you. The extra good news is that this service is invariably free of charge. So it’s a win win situation and there aren’t many of those around these days !

2. In the early years a Reviewable Life Insurance Policy will be cheaper but a Guaranteed Policy will work out a better buy in the longer term.

With a “Guaranteed Policy” the insurance company guarantees never to increase your policy’s premium.

With a “Reviewable Policy” you agree that your insurance company can review the cost of your policy at regular intervals. But don’t be kidded – in our experience a “review” is just another word for a price increase. After all, who’s ever heard of an insurance company passing up a chance to charge you more! The review intervals are usually between 2 to 5 years but this does vary between insurance companies. You will find the details of the review intervals on the documents sent to you before you accept the insurance – these are called The Key Features Documents.

So, comparing otherwise like for like policies, in the early years the premiums for a “Reviewable Policy” will undoubtedly be lower than the premiums for a “Guaranteed Policy”. Thereafter, the premiums for a Reviewable Policy increase eventually catching up with and overtaking, the premium for a “Guaranteed Policy”.

In our experience, you can expect the monthly premiums for a Reviewable Policy to exceed those of a Guaranteed policy in about 7 to 10 years and then within the following 10 years, more than double again. If your budget is currently tight then by all means choose a Reviewable Policy - after all your salary may increase in coming years and ease the strain. On the other hand, if the premiums for a Guaranteed Policy are affordable, we think they represent your best buy.

A footnote. Many insurance companies have stopped offering “Guaranteed” rates for standalone critical illness insurance policies. This because they have experienced much higher claim rates than they initially expected. However, you may still find a Guaranteed life insurance policy that also provides critical illness cover. As we have explained, “Guaranteed” rates are especially good value and if you can get a quote for a Guaranteed life policy that includes critical illness cover, you may have a real bargain.

3. Thinking about a Joint Life Insurance Policy?

A Joint Life Insurance policy is usually written on a first death basis. This means that the policy will pay out on the death of the first policyholder, subject to the policy being in force at the time. This leaves the second person uninsured and older. Older people can struggle to get life insurance at an affordable premium, so rather than a Joint Policy consider taking out separate policies now. Overall it will work out a little dearer - but you get twice the cover and double the peace of mind.

4. Taking out a Life Insurance Policy? Now would be an ideal time to include Critical Illness cover.

Are you likely to need Critical Illness Insurance in the future? Yes? Then consider adding it now to the life insurance policy you’re arranging. Why? There are three reasons.

Firstly, a Life Insurance policy combined with Critical Illness cover will work out significantly cheaper than buying two separate policies. Secondly, as we have already explained in the footnote to Tip 2, you may be able to buy a combined Life and Critical Illness policy with a guaranteed premium. That could be a real bargain. Finally, premiums for critical illness cover increase rapidly as you get older – so the sooner you take it out, the cheaper it will be.

5. Don’t confuse Terminal Illness cover with Critical Illness cover.

There’s world of difference between Terminal Illness and Critical Illness cover so it’s important to understand the difference.

Terminal Illness cover pays out the insured lump sum if a Medical Doctor diagnoses you with an illness from which the Doctor expects you to die within 12 months. Most good life policies automatically include Terminal Illness cover at no extra cost. It’s basically an early, and welcome policy payout.

A Critical Illness policy pays out the insured lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of a wide range chronic illness and there is no life expectancy criteria. Indeed, with many of the insured illnesses you could expect to survive for many years. For example: certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, loss of speech, sight or hearing, onset of Parkinsons or Alzheimers disease, third degree burns etc. Say you were an engineer aged 40 and you lost your sight. A Critical Illness policy would pay out immediately and that money could well be vital in helping you and your family through many difficult financial years ahead. If you just had Terminal Illness cover there’d be no chance of a payout.

So as you can see, Critical Illness cover is far more comprehensive than simple Terminal Illness cover and for that reason critical illness cover always costs you extra.

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Life Insurance – Medical history increases the cost for 66% of applicants

Lucky applicants for life insurance can be insured within 48 hours and at the premium quoted - but 2 in 3 applicants are faced with delays plus the prospect of having their premium loaded.

So who are the lucky ones? Basically, you'll have to be as fit as a flea with no family history of serious illness, under 45, in an office type job and probably applying for less than £250,000 cover. For everyone else there is going to be some hassle.

When an insurer provides an initial quote for life insurance, all they know is your age, sex and smoking status. They use these details to make an initial prediction of how long you are likely to live and on that basis they give you an initial quotation. They call it their “Standard Terms”.

If you want to progress your application you'll have a multi-page application to complete. This isn't as daunting as it may seem, as most online operators take your details over the phone and send you a copy of the completed application for you to check over. But the questions are extensive and if you miss out anything that later turns out to be significant, your insurance may well be invalidated. So be warned and take care!

The insurers use your application details to look out for anything that signals current or future concerns about your health or life style. Besides the obvious questions that reveal health problems, they also evaluate your weight, alcohol and nicotine intake, and any potentially inherited health problems. So if your father died of a heart attack or mother died from breast cancer, they'll be concerned.

Then there's your life style. If you're in a type of job where accidents do happen, construction jobs are a good example, or you are involved in any form of dangerous sport or flying, your premium is in line for loading. They'll even want to know whether you regularly travel to countries that are known to represent health risks for visitors. And whilst the law doesn't allow discrimination against same sex relationships, the insurance companies will almost always insist on a medical for these applicants.

Insurers freely admit that the number of questions they ask is increasing. They claim it's to reduce the number of claims they refuse. Whilst that may be partly true, the trend has also coincided with an increase in the proportion of applicants who are seeing their premiums loaded. Some years ago it was nearer 40% - today's for some insurers the level is virtually 66%.

How much extra might you be asked to pay? That's a bit like how long is a piece of string. But to give you a feel, a woman aged 40 receiving medical treatment for post-natal depression was recently faced with a 50% loading on an initial quotation of £7.60. A woman whose mother had breast cancer similarly faced a 50 % loading. Seriously overweight people can also expect loadings of 50% to 100% or even refusal.

Faced with a loading what can you do? It's important to appreciate that the insurance companies giving the cheapest initial quote are also likely to have particularly choosey medical criteria. That's how they keep their quoted prices low. So if you're faced with a loading, the best advice is shop around, Try one of the more expensive providers like Friends Provident who are sometimes a bit more lenient.

Whilst this may sound overly complicated, remember that over the years, an extra £10 a month on a 25 year policy represents £3,000 of your hard earned money. If you don't have the experience or time to do this, and after few of us do, speak to an online life insurance broker.

Competition is high on the Internet and online brokers will normally reduce your premium by cutting their commission. Their systems are also well versed in finding alternative providers to alleviate loading problems. So keep things simple. Let your keyboard fingers do the walking and let the online broker do all the hard work!

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Life insurance - make sure your family is cared for

No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you should make sure that you have some sort of life insurance policy. However, this is even more the case if you are one of the only sources of income for your family. In this case, you should keep in mind that your family will lose your income should you die prematurely - but with life insurance, they will still be taken care of afterward. These are not situations that anybody likes to think about, of course. However, it is always best to be prepared for the future.

There are two types of life insurance that can apply to most people. The two policies are both term life insurance and permanent life insurance. While ideally, everybody would be able to get permanent life insurance, that might not be the best choice for you due to the price of insurance. Term life insurance is usually cheaper than permanent life insurance. This is both due to the fact that the term is shorter than the permanent plan - and because you will have to pay for this insurance for a shorter period of time.

Term life insurance is a good idea if you are only worried about your family for a short period of time. This type of life insurance can be purchased for a different period of time depending on how long you need it. Most people who are going to start a family usually go for the 20 year long life insurance policy - that way you'll be protected as long as your children live in the house. One thing to watch out for, though, is that if you are going with term life insurance and decide that you'll need to extend it with another policy later, you may end up spending more money on your monthly premiums.

The reason for this is that most life insurance policies are priced based on how likely it is that you'll need the coverage (this is just like any other type of insurance as well). As a result, generally the premium cost will increase as you get older. If you have somebody in your family that you expect to care for during the rest of you life, then you should open a permanent life insurance policy now, in order to save yourself money in the future.

Either way, even if your occupation is not particularly dangerous, it is still a good idea to have a life insurance policy.

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Life Insurance - Apprehensive About Insurance Coverage

Life insurance is a very important issue that you should address sooner than later. As we all know all good thing s come to end and in some sad unfortunate cases it is where we may have lost a loved one (suddenly) therefore leaving you unprepared for all the expense involved to give your dearly beloved a decent burial/funeral - so therefore Life insurance is the best plan B any one could have at times like this to help with funeral costs and any debts left behind by the deceased.

Just how important is Life insurance and what will you gain from coverage - well for one it offers peace of mind for those at troubled times where there may have been a bereavement or an accident and it also provides instant cash payouts if a death has occurred.. Insurance proceeds you will find are a reliable source that you can depend upon when times are hard and the going gets tough.

Claim peace of mind by going along to an insurance broker to talk on Life insurance. Insurance companies have well trained staff at hand that can give you good advice and support on what best suits you and your family`s needs and better still your budget. By doing this you will have secured your own and anyone close to you a little sense of security.

Insurance means assurance where you can rest assured that you have done the right thing. After talking to experts in the field of Life insurance you will find that they also can help with all types of insurance policies, like home content and accidental breakage. Payouts can help with hospital treatment and expenses that may incur from dental surgery even pet coverage options.

If you have a young family dependant of you then this is more reason to finalize some financial backing in your time of need should you be unfortunate to lose a partner or family member through a tragic accident or a sudden premature death.

Information on insurance policies can be found online. If you still feel a little apprehensive, don`t be, speak to others who have insurance and is familiar with the whole procedure - this may help you a great deal in understanding the importance of it all. Remember the decision is yours but if you decide to go forward with taking out some security like Life Insurance then you will find that you have made the best decision you are ever to make.

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Life Insurance - A Beginner’s Guide

When it comes to life insurance we have two primary types of policy to choose from – term life insurance or whole of life insurance. Many people find it hard to come to a decision about which type of policy to take out but the decision you have to make really isn’t that complex and both will offer good levels of cover for the majority of people. Let’s take a closer look at your options.

The most popular type of life insurance is, without a doubt, term life insurance. This kind of policy will be set out to last for a specified ‘term’ – i.e. it will last for a set time period. So, you can take out a life insurance term policy for 25 years, as an example. During this 25 year period you will make your policy payments and you’ll have the protection of the policy if you die. So, your next of kin can claim against the policy in the event of your death. But, at the end of the 25 years your policy will be finished and you’ll get no further protection from it.

Many people opt to take out a term life insurance policy because they know that they will no longer have a great need for insurance at the end of the specific term. For many people this kind of policy will end at around the time that they retire so their mortgage will probably be repaid, their families will be grown and they won’t need to make provision for their family to have such a large lump sum or income if they die. So, a term policy can suit them very well indeed, giving them cover during the years when they really need it and finishing when they don’t.

A whole of life policy, on the other hand, will suit those of us who want protection for the rest of our days. This kind of life insurance is designed to last until you die – so you’ll be covered in the short, medium and long term. A lot of people who opt for this kind of life insurance do so because it can be set up to help with issues such as inheritance planning, although many people simply prefer to get cover that is guaranteed to make a payment at some point so that they feel that they are getting some return on their policy payments. There is a guarantee of payment with a whole of life policy that isn’t there with a term policy. Once your term policy is finished that really is it – you are only guaranteed a payment if you do die while the policy is in force.

Many people make their choice here based on their budget. The fact that a term life insurance policy may not ever make a payment (i.e. the fact that you will probably survive your policy) means that insurers can offer lower costs. A whole of life policy – with its guaranteed payment at some point – is consequently more expensive. The choice you make here will be a personal one and may well depend on your financial circumstances. The vital thing to remember is that some form of life insurance cover is vital for most of us – especially if we have a family to consider and we can consequently get great protection from either kind of policy at the end of the day.

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Life Insurance

With life insurance, the insured is transferring the risk of death on to the insurer. It is not always the case that the insured is insuring their own life. Therefore there are three parties in a life insurance contract, the insurer, the insured person, and the owner of the policy. The other vitally important party is the beneficiary; this is the person who receives the insurance money if the insured’s death does occur. One or more of these parties could be the same person, for example, if I insure my own life and make my spouse the beneficiary, then I am the insured and the owner. Likewise, if my wife insures my life and makes herself the beneficiary, then she is the owner and the beneficiary.

An important concept in this regard is insurable interest. You must have what is known as an insurable interest in the life of the person you are insuring. Believe it or not there was a practice in the nineteenth century whereby people would take out speculative insurance policies on the life of another.

For example, if I knew you were going on a dangerous voyage, I might take out a life insurance policy on you in the hope that you wouldn’t make it and I would get a big payout. These days you cannot insure anybody’s life. You must show that you have an interest in that person being alive. You are presumed always to have an interest in the life of your spouse and guardians, if you are a minor, but all other relationships will have to prove the insurable interest. If employers have a very highly valued employee, or sports teams have a star player, or a famous actor contracts to make a film, their employers will be able to insure their lives.

Most life insurance policies will have a suicide clause stating that if the insured commits suicide, usually within a period of two years, the policy will not pay out. There is also a contest period. This will also be approximately two years and if the insured dies within this period, the insurance company has greater rights to investigate the death before deciding whether or not to pay out.

The value of the insurance policy will be subject to the principle of insurable interest also. For example, if your spouse provides you with $10,000 per year in support, you probably will not be able to take a $50 million insurance policy on their life. The premium will be calculated based on the amount to be paid out and the assessed risk of the insured’s death.

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How to Buy on Home Owner Insurance

After buying a brand new home, the next big thing you should consider is how to protect it. This calls for home owner insurance shopping. But if you are only familiar with “how to buy your dream house”, then it is only the right time that you keep on reading this article for it will teach “how to buy a home insurance policy”. Not only that, you will learn how to save on your insurance.

First things first, before you contact any home owner insurance company and close a deal with them, you should allow yourself some time to do research and learn the basics of home owner insurance shopping. Along with it, you need to know more about your home since its details will become the basis of your insurance policy.

Know the dimension, the size, the structure, the age, location and everything in between. Also make an inventory of your appliance and furniture. Then ask yourself this question: what type of coverage do I need.

Usually, a home owner insurance policy covers perils such as fire, vandalism, burglary, and earthquake. Other higher home owner insurance policy will cover anything you can think of. If there is a need to purchase basic coverage or the upgraded one, it all depends on how you know and study the details about your home.

Here is an example: You live in a state where storm is frequent. Thus, it is important to you to get coverage that would enable you to have a claim on damages cause by storm. Same thing applies if you live in a neighborhood where burglary is rampant or if you have a home that is somewhat a fire hazard, etc.

It is helpful also if you do some research online. Research not only on things about home owner insurance but also on the types of insurance that you might need. Doing this will support your initial idea of what type of home owner insurance policy you need.

Shop around. There are several home owner insurance companies out there. Each offers different rate. To get the best rate, all you need to do is to visit at least 3 sites and compare one after another. If you want to get better rates, one tip is to stick on your current insurance company. If you already have car insurance with one company, ask about the special rate they give if you decide to purchase a home owner insurance policy with them. Normally, one company would give 10-15% discount on the second policy.

If you don’t have current insurance policy at hand or if you are not satisfied with your present insurance policy, you still have the freedom to select from other companies offering home owner insurance. Ask discounts. There are several insurance companies that are willing to lower down the rates for you. There is nothing to lose. Just feel free to ask.

After you have done this all, more or less you already have found one for you. But before making a deal, it is advisable to read carefully the terms and conditions. In this way, you can clarify the things you cannot understand or ask question about the provisions on the policy you are purchasing. If you are totally sure about your chosen policy, you can sign it, go home, and spend the rest of the day enjoying your new home.

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How To Be An Insurance Agent Without Cold Calling

One of the most known and downright unflattering perceptions on insurance agents is that once they’re done with their warm markets, i.e., have sold policies to all their relatives, friends, and acquaintances, it will only be a matter of time before they quit.

That perception is not entirely baseless. Insurance companies and brokerage firms alike are wrought with insurance agents who seemed like go-getters at the beginning, but eventually lost steam after saturating their warm markets.

Part of the problem lies in the ongoing sales process of insurance companies and insurance brokerage firms alike.

Anyone And Anything Prospecting

Prospecting is probably the least favorite of an insurance agent’s list of things to-do, and for good reason. Nine times out of ten your prospects will reject you, and that’s on the whole. An agent might get lucky closing ten sales in a row, then end up getting rejected 20 times in a row.

Now it takes an agent with a superhuman positive attitude to withstand this kind of cycle.

Anyone and anything prospecting requires little effort. You can look up the white pages in the directory, or walk up to people in a bar. Remember, anyone and anything breathing is your prospect.

Pre-qualified Prospecting

Insurance companies and insurance brokerage firms these days are smarting from the high attrition rate of insurance agents and are, in fact, finding ways to make the sales process a little less bloody.

One of these is building insurance-related websites that are already optimized for insurance-related keywords. If you know how websites and search engines work, you will know that with websites, companies are getting quality prospects, or prospects who are looking for their products and thus are already pre-disposed to buying. All this makes the insurance process less bloody, so to speak, and actually increases sales.

This had even made some insurance companies confident enough to recruit insurance agents from all fifty states through their websites, with some even offering free sales leads and a free website you can use to lure prospects to you.

In all, now is the best time to be an insurance agent and benefit from the monetary rewards of actively selling insurance policies. (Insurance agents in 2006 earned $58,450 on average while the average family in the United States just earned $48,201.) It’s not anymore necessary to go through the whole frustrating routine of cold calling. You simply have to find those people looking for insurance and make them find you through your website.

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How to Appeal When Your Medical Insurance Declines Your Claim

If you are like most people, when your medical insurance declines your claim, you are left feeling helpless and frustrated. After all, if you need health care and your insurance is saying you don’t, you have two choices – appealing your claim or paying for the treatment out of pocket.

Most claims are declined for specific reasons and causes. The most likely cause for your health plan to deny your claim is a direct consequence of missing data. Before appealing your denied claim, you can verify that by assuring any and all pre-authorization requests were filled out with accurate patient information.

For example, is your social security number correctly listed? Does the doctor have the most current copy of your health plan’s identification card? Does your doctor have the most up to date copy of diagnosis and procedure codes in order to fill out the forms correctly?

By verifying that you have submitted the good documentation to the physician and they in turn submitted good documentation the health plan, you are ready to move to the next level. When it comes to dealing with your health insurance company, think paranoid.

Document every phone call, every contact person and every piece of information you are given. It only takes one break down in communication to cause a problem; by documenting all of your communication with the insurance company, you are pre-preparing for any appeals case.

If you are facing an appeals claim for treatment coverage, be sure you’ve reviewed the appeals process in your company’s health insurance handbook. Most patients overlook reading through the handbooks their insurance company will provide. Plan requirements and appeal processes are detailed in these handbooks and you should make sure that your plan covers any treatment you are going to receive before the treatment is received, if possible.

When An Appeal Is Necessary

Since every plan should have a clear appeals process, you should follow it explicitly. You should talk to your doctor about appealing the claim so they can provide supporting documentation and expertise as needed. Remember, most insurance claims must be appealed within a limited amount of time, so if you wait six weeks after a denial and you only have 60 days to appeal; you may already be out of time.

You should always appeal internally to your insurance provider before going to an external source such as a government or state appeals process. Most appeals have a process that goes as follows:

· Phone Complaint
· Written Complaint
· Written Appeal

This is another area where you should be very specific citing the coverage rules of your plan as well as documenting each contact you have with the insurance company. While the insurance carrier will approve the majority of valid appeals; there has been documented cases of insurance fraud and health plans that do not play by the rules. By documenting response times and any required response times; a patient can exhaust their option against the insurance carrier for a valid appeal and then take it to the next level.

Laws in many states govern an appeal to a state or federal insurance oversight process; these requirements often allow for an external, expert review of the appeal. By providing accurate documentation and detailed medical support from your physical, a board of qualified experts can then judge your case on an individual basis. If an external appeal validates the claim and overturns the denial, then your insurance company will not be able to deny the claim.
Knowledge of your health plan, your doctor’s knowledge of procedures and a detailed review of the appeals process are your best tools to getting the approval of the treatment you need. Do not overlook the details, keep accurate documentation and review your coverage plans if you have any questions. Remember, there are always options.

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How The Health Insurance Industry Fights the High Costs of Medical Care

For many families, finding affordable health insurance is a task akin to the search for the Holy Grail. Depending on where in the country you live, a family health insurance plan can cost as much as $800-$1000 per month. Even when you split that cost between employee and employer, that's a major chunk of nearly anyone's monthly budget. And while it's popular to swear under your breath at the greed of the health insurance industry, a look at the cost of medical care is an eye-opening shock for many people. The expenses associated with a broken arm, for instance, can easily mount into several thousands of dollars.

** The Health Insurance Industry has a stake in keeping people healthy.

The high cost of health insurance is the direct result of the high cost of medical care. It's a simple matter of economics. The more it costs to take care of each subscriber, the more the insurance companies have to charge all their subscribers. This cost/expense ratio is what has made most health insurance companies embrace the idea of providing preventive care to their subscribers. It's a simple matter of business sense - healthy people don't cost the insurance companies a lot of money.

Accidents may be the first type of medical need that springs to mind when people consider buying health insurance, the major insurance companies all agree that accidents aren't the major cost drain on medical resources. That place is reserved for chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. Because of this, it makes good business sense for health insurance companies to encourage their subscribers to adopt preventive health strategies. That pays off in special benefits for health conscious consumers.

** Preventive Health Benefits Help Keep Costs Low

Among the benefits that have become commonplace for major health insurance providers are routine physicals, medical screenings for all subscribers, discounts on health club and gym memberships, payment of dues for weight loss groups and lowered subscription fees for non-smokers.

Some health insurance companies and HMO's go even further in their preventive efforts. Because of the high risk of serious injury or fatality for infants in automobile accidents, Fallon Community Health Plan of Massachusetts has for years teamed with local organizations to provide free infant car seats to families with newborns. In the same spirit of prevention, many HMOs offer free stress management and stress reduction workshops to all subscribers because stress has been identified as a leading risk factor in nearly every major illness.

** Seeking a Cure
The quest for affordable health care has also prompted health insurance companies and HMOs to help fun research and health initiatives all over the country. The health insurance industry underwrites millions of dollars of medical research annually in an effort to lower the costs of health care. Their dollars fund grants to enroll low income and other hard to insure populations, and to offer eye, dental and health care to inner city and poor rural populations. The industry estimates that routine preventive eye and dental care, as well as routine medical screenings and physicals can identify illnesses at early stages and prevent conditions and costs from escalating out of reach.

** Get the Most from Your Health Insurance
You pay for it - you should certainly get the most possible benefit from your health insurance plan. Here are some suggestions for ways that you can make your health insurance plan work for you:

  • - Join a gym.
    Check the benefits that your HMO or health insurance plan offers. Chances are good that one of them is a discount good on membership at a local gym or health club. Get fit - it saves THEM money... but it saves YOUR life.

  • - Lose weight.
    Take advantage of nutritional counseling and memberships in weight loss support groups to get down to your ideal weight. Added bonus? Many health insurance plans offer a lower tier cost for subscribers who are at healthy weights.

  • - Quit smoking.
    Non-smokers are another group that often enjoy lower health insurance premiums. Many HMOs and health insurance providers offer free smoking cessation programs to help you get smoke free and healthy.

  • - Attend medical screenings and health fairs.
    Many health insurance providers sponsor 'wellness fairs' where you can have your blood pressure tested, get free medical screenings and learn about alternative medical techniques like massage therapy, acupuncture and yoga. Take advantage of special events to learn more and get healthy.

It may be popular to demonize the health insurance industry, but today more than ever, the health insurance industry has a stake in keeping you healthy. Find out what your health insurance company has to offer you by visiting their web site, or calling customer service.

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How Much Should You Spend On Life Insurance

It might be hard to know how much one should pay for life insurance. But it is something that you need, because you never know when you will die. The sooner you get life insurance the better it is for you and your family. Save them the pain of leaving them with nothing.

Expensive life insurance can be a deterrent to some people as some people might not be able to afford it. But not having life insurance can result into a bigger hassle down the road, as funerals can cost a lot of money. Leaving your spouse with nothing is also something to consider about. They can suffer more then just a loss of a loved one. Bear then in mind before you make the decision not to get life insurance.

When you calculate the amount of life insurance you need you should think about immediate and short terms need as well as long term needs. What would fall into the current term need would be funeral costs. So would mortgage payments and child care. And example of future expenses would have to be college. If you look online there are places that can help you calculate exactly how much life insurance you need. So don’t worry if you’re really sure what to do or how to go about calculating it.

If money is one of the reasons you hesitate about life insurance, don’t worry you can get many quotes so you can get the best deal out there. And these quotes do not cost you anything. You can shop around as much as you want to see which life insurance is right for you and fits your budget. Go out there and do something that will not only benefit you, but your family. Don’t leave them with any burdens.

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How Much Car Insurance Should You Buy?

How much insurance should you buy? Any insurance agent worthy of their salt will tell you that you should buy as much as you can afford. While this is a good rule of thumb, it's about as useful as a stock broker's tip to buy low and sell high. It might be sound logic but it doesn't get you any closer to an educated decision. There are a few filters that need consideration in order to make that educated decision. First, what is the state required minimum coverage where you live? Second, what does the minimum cover? Third, what other coverage is available and can you afford it? And fourthly, what are you protecting?

What do the minimums cover?

Now that you know what your state requires, what are you actually covered for once you purchase the minimum? Using the coverage definitions that follow, find the types of coverage required and see what your state says is the accepted minimum.

Coverage Definitions

Bodily Injury Liability
Covers other people's bodily injuries or death for which you are responsible. It also provides for a legal defense if another party in the accident files a lawsuit against you. Claims for bodily injury may be for such things as medical bills, loss of income or pain and suffering. In the event of a serious accident, you want enough insurance to cover a judgment against you in a lawsuit, without jeopardizing your personal assets. Bodily injury liability covers injury to people, not your vehicle. Therefore, it's a good idea to have the same level of coverage for all of your cars. Bodily Injury Liability does NOT cover you or other people on your policy. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage
Covers your vehicle, and sometimes other vehicles you may be driving for losses resulting from incidents other than collision. For example, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car if it is stolen; or damaged by flood, fire, or animals. Pays to fix your vehicle less the deductible you choose. To keep your premiums low, select as high a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Collision Coverage
Covers damage to your car when your car hits, or is hit by, another vehicle, or other object. Pays to fix your vehicle less the deductible you choose. To keep your premiums low, select as large a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket. For older cars, consider dropping this coverage, since coverage is normally limited to the cash value of your car. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Medical Payments
Covers medical expenses to you and your passengers injured in an accident. There may also be coverage if as a pedestrian a vehicle injures you. Does NOT matter who is at fault. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Covers bodily injuries to you and your passengers when the other person has no insurance or not enough insurance in a crash that is not your fault. In some states, there is also uninsured motorist coverage for damage to your vehicle. Given the large number of uninsured motorists, this is very important coverage to have, even in states with no-fault insurance. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy

Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Covers within the specified limits, the medical, hospital and funeral expenses of the insured, others in his vehicles and pedestrians struck by him. The basic coverage for the insured's own injuries on a first-party basis, without regard to fault. It is only available in certain states.

Property Damage Liability
Covers you if your car damages someone else's property. Usually it is their car, but it could be a fence, a house or any other property damaged in an accident. It also provides you with legal defense if another party files a lawsuit against you. It is a good idea to purchase enough of this insurance to cover the amount of damage your car might do to another vehicle or object. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Rental Car Reimbursement
Covers renting a car if your car isn't drivable or while your car is being repaired because of a covered accident.

What else is available and can you afford it?

Did you come across a coverage and think, "I need that but it isn't required by state law" when you were reviewing the coverage definitions? Chances are you did. Can your budget afford the additional expense of these protections? Or maybe more to the point; can you afford NOT to have these additional protections? At it's easy to get multiple quotes all with a click of your mouse. And during the quoting process, it's simple to add or remove coverage to see how additional coverage will affect your budget.

What are you protecting?

What assets need to be protected from being plucked away if you cause injury or damage?
A) Your car itself. If this is a significant asset, or at least the bank you owe money to thinks so, then you will need comprehensive and collision.
B) Your net worth. Do you have an enormous net worth to protect. If so, either get it out of your name and into a trust or buy all the insurance you can. If you have little or nothing to protect, then you can get by with less and still be financially responsible.

However, after you determine how much protection to get, always ask how much more it is for the next level higher. Very often, you can get significantly more coverage for very little cost.

Car insurance isn't flashy. There is no "wow" factor and the opposite gender isn't going to be impressed by the size of your policy. But not having enough can be the difference between financial stability and financial ruin. For what its worth, finds financial stability incredibly appealing.

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How Life Insurance Can Cover Your Mortgage Balance

Discussing the need for life insurance is never a pleasant topic, and certainly combined with talk of mortgage payments, it can be downright distasteful. But it is your responsibility as the principle breadwinner in your home to consider what might happen if you or your spouse were to perish. Would your spouse be able to meet the most basic needs of food and shelter? While the money necessary to pay for basic amenities like food and transportation are attainable through a single income source, most families simply cannot afford to meet their most basic requirement, the mortgage payment, without the income from both spouses.

How it Works
If you are in this situation, it is important to take the necessary precautions in case you or your spouse dies unexpectedly. While saving enough to cover your mortgage is certainly an ideal solution, it is largely unfeasible for most contemporary families. As a result, individuals often opt for mortgage protection life insurance policies. These policies are designed specifically to meet the needs of your home mortgage payment in the event that you or your spouse dies.

The idea behind mortgage protection life insurance is simple: you pay a monthly premium in exchange for which the insurance company agrees to pay off the rest of your mortgage should you die.

Pricing for mortgage protection life insurance policies parallels that of traditional life insurance price criteria. For example, if you smoke your rates will be higher, just as if you are an older individual. But certainly the most determinative factor in your price will be the amount of coverage you need. The more you owe on your home, the more insurance you will need to pay it off, which of course means the more expensive the insurance premium will be.

Alternatives to Consider
While mortgage protection life insurance will cover your mortgage payment, as all home owners know, this is only part of the cost of owning a home. In addition there are taxes and repairs to prepare for. For a family that has lost a breadwinner, making these types of allocations can be difficult. As a result, many individuals opt for coverage which goes beyond just mortgage protection and instead provides payments sufficient to cover all the expenses associated with owning a home. This type of insurance often comes in the form of a term life policy which is for an amount which exceeds the price of your home. Of course, this extra coverage comes with a price. But with this coverage also comes quite a bit more flexibility. Under a term life policy your family is not bound to pay off the house with the money they receive, but can instead use it in whatever manner they feel most compelled to. This can be especially helpful if there are other medical costs to consider or if you have children approaching college age.

Life insurance is not a pleasant concept to consider because it requires that we think about the potential for our own demise and the resulting consequences of our death. It is vital, however, that as individuals who are responsible for the financial support of others, we consider these difficult questions and decide whether a life insurance policy is the best solution for us.

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