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Insurance

A Few Reasons to Take Out Life Insurance after Turning 50

You might think that life insurance is for younger people but there are a few good reasons for taking out life insurance after turning 50. Each case is obviously different but many people benefit from a greater peace of mind after taking out a policy for one of the following reasons.

To Cover Loans

No matter what age you are you won’t want to leave the burden of an outstanding loan behind you. This is why a life insurance policy can give you great peace of mind. The amount you need to cover will determine the premium you need to pay and you might very well find out this type of insurance cover is a lot less expensive than you thought.

To Pay Inheritance Tax

If you are going to be leaving behind a substantial amount of property then inheritance tax could be a big concern for your heirs. One way of helping them out with this amount is with a life insurance policy. You may need to ask an expert in the field to help you work out the amount you need to be covered for but you will feel a lot better once you have the policy in place.   

To Pay Funeral Expenses

A worry for many of us is how our family are going to be able to pay for our funeral expenses once we pass away. As the figure involved in arranging in most funerals is relatively modest the policy in this case shouldn’t cost a fortune. Often you can start getting quotes beginning with the minimum sum insured on offer and take it from there. If you find that even the minimum amount on offer is pretty high then you will be in the pleasant position of being able to think about leaving being a bit extra for your family.

To Help Out Relatives

In other cases the person looking to get insured on an over 50 life insurance policy will simply want to leave some cash behind for their family. This is a fantastic thing to do and it is especially rewarding if you know that your family will find that the money comes in really handy. Organising your own life insurance policy isn’t always the most exciting or pleasing thing in the world to do but if you can at least think about the good things which the eventual payout could do then it will be something well worth doing.  

Insurance

The Need for Getting Pet Insurance

Most of us take our property insurance obligations very seriously because the last thing we need in life is to be able to lose something big and not be able to replace it. Every year, we spend billions of dollars worldwide insuring anything from our cars, houses, and our medical expenses. Heck, even Heidi Klum insured her legs just to be sure. 

This raises an interesting question that has to be answered in the context of personal savings. Simply put, have we considered something like pet insurance to ensure that we all have our expenses covered? Think about it; we treat our pets like family and go out of our way to spend for their needs, not the least of which is medical expenditures. When ours pets get sick, it does not take an hour before we find ourselves running to the veterinarian and spending hundreds of dollars for doctor fees and medication among other things. All that spending can easily total to thousands of dollars over the course of a year and in these tough economic times, that’s a little bit more spending than we would prefer coming out from our wallets. 

Pet insurance provides a practical solution to these problems. Working much like our own medical policies, pet insurance are bought to cover vet treatment fees, or even medication depending on the exact policy bought. It is a handy and workable solution that allows pet owners to rest easy knowing that their beloved are well-taken cared of and that their wellness is not compromised simply because we are working on a squeezed budget. 

Most of the pet insurance policies today actually sell for very affordable rates, as low as ₤4.50 gross for a month for a pet cat. Dog pet insurance can be bought for ₤5.60 for basic medical care. There are also other variations that would allow one to insure pets that may go missing or coverage for bereavement counseling services in the untimely event that a beloved pet passes away. 

The important consideration is to remember that pets are equally important to us so much so that saving money is a reason we would never use to compromise our pet’s health and wellness. However, if it can be done in a practical way such as through legitimate and proven pet insurance policies, then there is no reason to shy away from the most practical and ideal solution out there. 

The next time you find yourself in the vet having to pay a good amount for your cat’s latest illness, think of how pet insurance can help ease your spending without having to lower your standards for health care towards your pets. With pet insurance, you need not worry, and yet still be able to save. In a world were good breaks are hard to come by, that’s as good an offer as any you will ever find. 

Insurance

Travel In Style: Get Yourself Holiday Insurance

It’s one thing to go out and enjoy your holiday, and another thing altogether to really enjoy it knowing you are adequately covered by the appropriate travel insurance. Sure, we all have the tendency to set insurance concerns on the side because we think that incidents happen to other people but not to us. But then again, that’s why we call these accidents: it is because we can never adequately plan for them. 

The right travel insurance is the perfect way to ease all of these concerns because you know that whatever happens, you have signed up for the right coverage to address all your needs while you are out traveling. For example, the Debenhams holiday insurance actually foots unlimited medical expenses should you choose this for your next trip. When you are out there on an adventure, whether enjoying an African safari or taking in the water attractions in the Great Barrier Reef, whether you are lazily lounging in theBahamas or skiing in the Swiss Alps, whether you are conquering Mt. Fuji in Japan or enjoying water sports attractions and the cozy, crystal clear beaches in the Philippines, you can be confident that your holiday and travel insurance will have you covered for any eventuality. 

The same holiday insurance can also be broken down to include or exclude things that you feel may or may not apply to you. For as low as £5, it is actually possible to get a “single trip holiday insurance.” Likewise, one can also get an annual travel policy for £30. Ski adventures are readily affordable at only £13 per trip while backpacker adventures can be bought for £15. And as if you need any more reason to try it out, consider that the kids are covered for free during the travel period so much so that you are practically care-free and worry-free because you know your concerns are adequately addressed. In fact, some of the best holiday insurance policies even allow for holiday cancellation coverage, refunding your travel booking expenses up to £7500 just so you know you can always re-schedule without losing any money from all that hullabaloo.

If you are a frequent traveler, no doubt you have seen all the good and the bad that can happen in a trip. Likewise, it would not be a stretch to assume that you have suffered through all the mess that comes with trip-related emergencies. These emergencies are so disrupting that even when they happen once every 20 trips or so, they can still get us off-balanced and leave us frustrated. 

Trust the best holiday insurance providers to take care of you during this period so you can focus on enjoying the scene and the attractions. After all, isn’t that why you chose to go out on a trip in the first place? Leave it to your travel insurance to put you at ease. At very affordable rates, you won’t have to fret about trip-related problems ever again. 

Insurance

Falling Through the Gaps in Obamacare

There was a time when health insurance was only available to people with money and/or with jobs that offered affordable insurance coverage. Today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, more people are able to afford the coverage they need.

Furthermore, many of those people are also getting coverage for things that had previously been left out of insurance policies, such as drug and alcohol treatment services.

In fact, according the ACA, substance abuse and mental health services are considered essential care for which insurance companies are required to provide coverage. There are also rehab centers that are aware of this, and can help people navigate the new insurance rules to get the help they need. (1)

However, although the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for millions of the poor and self-employed to get affordable health insurance, there are still those who fall through the cracks.

Falling Through the Cracks

When the Affordable Care Act was first introduced, there were provisions to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals who would be too poor to qualify for the subsidy, but not poor enough to normally qualify for Medicaid. The Supreme Court ruled that requiring states to expand Medicaid was unconstitutional, and the states were given the option to opt out – several states took that option.

As of this writing (2), 28 states and the District of Columbia have expanded their Medicaid coverage, three states are considering expansion, and 19 states have no plans to expand. This means that the millions of poor living in the states without Medicaid expansion will continue to fall through the cracks.

What the Obamacare Medicaid Provision Means

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, there were millions of working poor: people who had jobs – sometimes multiple jobs – that paid a subsistence wage. Additionally, many of these jobs did not provide health insurance. However, although they could be classified as poor, their jobs paid just enough they there were above the poverty line. (3)

With the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, the working poor under age 65 could qualify for Medicaid if they are at or below 138 percent of the poverty line. That means a single person, without kids, could make up to $15,857 per year, and a family of four cold make $29,700 per year. Those who make more than that would qualify for a subsidy if they apply for insurance through the marketplace.

The Federal government would have funded the expansion 100 percent the first year, meaning the funds would not have come out of the State’s coffers. Additionally, the federal government would have continue to fund 90 percent for the remaining years, meaning the expansion still would have been of very little cost to the states that participated.

Yet, 22 states refused to expand and, as a result, those millions of working poor fell through that gap that would have been closed by the expansion.

What the Gap Means

That gap means that individuals who are too poor for the subsidy, but not poor enough for Medicaid will get no coverage at all. Not only will they not have coverage for preventative care that could keep them healthy, such as yearly physicals, mammograms, and pap smears, but they will also not have coverage for the care they need when they are sick.

It also means that individuals with existing conditions, such as chronic diseases or drug and alcohol issues won’t, be able to afford the care they need to get sober.

Options for Care Without Insurance

Community health centers are often the only care option for people who don’t have insurance coverage. Some of these community centers offer everything from vaccinations and other preventative care to care for acute injuries and illnesses. In many cases, they can offer a sliding scale for fees and payment plans.

However, not every community has these types of clinics, and the few clinics that do exist are overcrowded.

For many, emergency rooms are still the first option for people with acute injuries and illnesses, because emergency rooms can’t turn people away. However, when it comes to treating and managing chronic conditions, or mental health issues like drug and alcohol addiction, there are still very few options.

The good news is that more states are looking to expand Medicaid, which means we could get closer to closing that gap and providing affordable coverage for all.

Resources:

1.  The Recovery Village: Insurance

2.  The Advisory Board Company: Where the States Stand on Medicaid Expansion

3.  Healthline: Healthcare Reform: How the Poor Continue to Fall Through the Cracks

Insurance

What should you do if your insurer is in trouble?

insurer

Is it possible to have a highly successful and seemingly profitable insurance provider to be in trouble? YES. A good example is the American International Group (AIG) $85 billion dollar bailout that happened in 2008 where the shaky foundations of the world’s largest insurer caused consumers to go into widespread panic.

Ironic, isn’t it, considering if there’s no ASSURANCE in INSURANCE, then the industry is basically devoid of any substance. Fortunately, insurers do not go bankrupt every other day, so it’s safe to say that you need not bail out of your policy this very moment. 

Reasons why insurers fail

With the existence of so many insurers in the world, it’d be understandable for some people to play the ‘What If’ game. The main question in everyone’s mind is: What IF insurers fail? This is a completely valid question to ask, because it’s happened before. Insurance companies HAVE failed in the past, and it will happen again.

Luckily, there are less insolvent insurers compared to failed financial institution. For example, approximately 700 insurers across the world failed to uphold their business (and their promise to consumers). This happened within the 30 years between the 1970’s to year 2000. Now, compare this number against the 500 financial institutions that went insolvent during the infamous economic crisis of the 1980’s. This figure is applicable to establishments that existed in the United States ALONE. So if you think about it, the low insolvency rate of insurers is pretty encouraging to instill high consumer confidence.

Main reasons why insurers declare insolvency:

  • Underreserving: This is usually caused by poor insurance practices.
  • Lack of insight: Inability to forecast risk of catastrophes will also cause insurers to close up shop.
  • Rapid growth: Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, right? CORRECT. When an insurance company expands too much and too soon using underpricing procedures, it stretches itself thin and pretty soon, causes its own downfall.
  • Fraud: Needless to say, fraudulent activities will cause ANY company to fail. When profitability is manipulated or incompetent management left to run the business, you can be sure that trouble will be brewing very soon. 

What happens when an insurance company goes bankrupt?

Should you hear that your insurer is going bankrupt, don’t panic just yet. Your insurance company may yet be saved by the state Department of Insurance which will decide to put the firm into rehabilitation in order to salvage the situation. If this isn’t possible, they will start the liquidation process.

 You have a guardian angel in the form of your state’s insurance guarantee association. They will do all they can to transfer policies belonging to the insolvent firm to other stable (rival) companies. Policyholders will still enjoy coverage that’s capped up to $300,000. 

Looking for the next best thing?

Should you have the misfortune of having your insurer fail, you should immediately make plans to shop for new coverage. You should have plenty of time before your old policy expires so do take the time and read up on these pointers to make an informed decision regarding which new insurer’s offer to take up.

  • Think about your needs before choosing a new policy. You may be tempted to take on a larger one (thanks to a possibly over-zealous insurance sales rep), but if you assess your needs and financial standing, you should be able to make the right decision and settle on a policy that fits you just right. A cheaper policy won’t provide as much coverage, but it won’t cost you an arm and leg either.
  • Shop around for price quotes. Don’t discount independent agents as they may have their own repertoire of insurance products that fulfill your needs.
  • Before enjoying a payout from your insurer, you must pay an amount called the deductible. Some policies come with higher deductibles, thus lowering your premium, but may not be such a wise choice as more money has to be paid out before your claim will be processed.
  • Contrary to popular thinking, it’s NOT all about the money. An insurance policy may catch your interest with its low premium but what’s even more worth your money is to sign up with a trustworthy insurance company that enjoys excellent financial standing.
  • Don’t be shy in asking for discounts from your sales rep. Some companies may offer discounts at their discretion so do take the initiative to ask if you’re eligible to have your premium lowered. 

Knowing when to quit

They say breaking up is hard to do. Not so, if you’re trying to sever relationship with your insurance company. If you’re not happy with your current insurer, it’s better to throw in the towel early than suffer heartache later. Here are some issues to mull over if you are thinking about switching insurance providers:

–          Are you kept in the dark when you have a question (or a series of questions) to ask? Are your insurance customer service personnel knowledgeable enough to satisfy your curiosity?

–          Does your insurer pay out quickly, or does it take a few angry phone calls to find out what happened to your claims?

–          Do you feel like you’re being short-changed by your insurer? Are their rates way higher than others? 

The conclusion

Let’s face it: finding crystal balls on the shelves of Wal-Mart isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be, so there’s really no way we can find out how to spot insurers that may one day fail to pay out.

The best thing is to only do business with companies that are licensed to sell insurance. It helps to keep yourself informed on the best life insurance companies around. Plus, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Know when you’re buying a product for protection (insurance) and when you’re paying for investment.