What Are the Functions of Insurance Companies? : Insurance Questions & Answers
Insurance companies are deigned to protect the insured financially in the event that something unfortunate happens. Find out about the functions of insurance companies with help from a longtime insurance professional in this free video clip.
Expert: Susan Combs
Filmmaker: Alexis Guerreros
Series Description: Each different type of insurance that you purchase throughout your lifetime is designed to protect you financially in the event that something unfortunate happens to either you or your property. Get tips on insurance with help from a longtime insurance professional in this free video series.
Shopping for Term Life Insurance
Having term life insurance is an important part of a person’s financial plan. The good news is that shopping for life insurance is easy and the costs are lower than in the past. However, people who are shopping for term life insurance have a number of decisions to make to find the best life insurance companies and policies that meet their needs. Carefully considering the following three features of term life insurance plans will help an insurance shopper to choose the right plan to financially protect his or her family.
A general rule is that a person should have insurance that is equal to ten times his or her annual income. For stay at home parents, a calculation should be made based upon the cost to replace his or her services of child care, meal preparation and home care to determine an annual income. However, this rule may need adjusted up or down to fit a person’s needs. For example, a person with a particularly large mortgage may need more than ten times income, while a person who has little debt and a large amount of savings may need less.
Level or Renewable Term
Term life buyers often have the choice between level term and renewable term insurance. Level term policies provide a set premium amount that will not change during the life of the policy. Conversely, annual renewable policy premiums can change from year to year. Annual renewable plans may be tempting due to a low initial premium, but the premiums will be much higher in the later years which may make the policy difficult to afford.
Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans
When you are looking into all of your options for Medicare and supplemental insurance plans, you are going to find that you have an advantage if your state has competitive MA plans. Medicare Advantage plans allow members to make changes to their choice in companies each year without having to deal with medical underwriting. Each year during the Annual enrollment period, changes are able to be made depending on the needs and desires of the recipient.
Today, there are many people who have health insurance for their retirement years. When you combine this insurance with Medicare is it referred to as the Senior Advantage Plan. For the most part, HMO groups have adopted this same program. With this type of a plan, retirement insurance works to pay out the difference whenever there is a leftover amount when Medicare is done paying. Many people in need of extra assistance will find this program to be very helpful if they are no longer working or have extra expenses.
As you are looking at Medicare Advantage plans, it is very important that you read through any and all information before you make a decision. If you have any questions, you can refer to a local agent dealing with these plans or look into some of the information that can be found online. While these different types of coverage and supplemental insurance plans can be confusing at first, you can find a great deal of benefits that come along with quality Medicare Advantage plans.
When you want to make sure that you are fully covered as you make your way through your retirement years, picking out the best choices in Medicare plans will help by giving you added peace of mind. Knowing that you have coverage for all of your medical expenses and care needs can be a tremendous weight lifted off of your shoulders.
Buying Life Insurance With Sleep Apnea
At one point in time, people with sleep apnea had a terribly difficult time trying to obtain health insurance, but this is no longer the case. This is because scientists and doctors are starting to understand the disorder better and the life insurance companies are giving better health classifications to people with sleep apnea.
Now, life insurance with sleep apnea is nowhere near the type of struggle that it used to be. In fact, just back in 2009, the best health class you could be considered for if you had sleep apnea was “standard”. Now it is quite common for people with sleep apnea to be classified as “preferred” or even “preferred plus” in some cases.
In fact, if you have sleep apnea and have obtained life insurance within the past five years, then it might even be possible to go back and get reclassified to help you obtain a better rate.
Just like with any other medical condition, before offering you a quote, the insurance companies are going to need to assess the terms for your life insurance policy. If your sleep apnea is being treated and you have had a sleep study done within the past three years, then preferred or preferred plus rates are definitely well within your reach. It is only when your sleep apnea is untreated that you will start to see standard rates. If your sleep apnea is untreated though, then you should consider getting treated before applying for life insurance. Not only will it be a great decision for your overall health, but it will do a lot of good in helping to lower your rates.
The insurance companies aren’t even concerned whether you are using direct treatment or indirect treatment. Direct treatment is considered using a CPAP machine since it is the most effective tool for treating sleep apnea. Indirect treatments though, include weight loss, not using sleeping pills and staying away from alcohol before bed time. The best news is that if you are using ANY of these treatments, you are eligible for the best life insurance rate class. Even just not drinking alcohol at night will help you get great rates on life insurance with sleep apnea.
So if you have looked into life insurance years ago, but found it to be prohibitively expensive due to your sleep apnea, you may want to check into things again. The way in which they assess people with sleep apnea has changed and some great rates should be available to you now.
Is There Anything To Worry About When Shopping For Life Insurance Online?
While a life insurance broker does play a role in the world of insurance, they are compensated for their work and you pay a higher fee for your insurance policy as a result of purchasing an insurance policy through them. As an alternative, you can shop for life insurance quotes online and purchase an insurance policy directly from an insurance provider. While many are worried about the safety in doing so, if you perform your due diligence and only choose an insurance company that is well known and well regarded in reputation you are not likely to encounter problems with your life insurance policy. As such, you are generally safe in shopping around and purchasing a life insurance policy online. Just make sure that you use a qualified insurance carrier when you do so.
There are also life insurance comparison sites that you can use to shop around to compare rates between different insurance providers. This can provide you with the different insurance rates available for your use and to see the impact that different choices make on your ultimate purchase price. This can help you to understand what factors make up your insurance premium and how you can lower your premium amount by selecting different options on your plan.
Having said that, if you are unfamiliar with the terms used when shopping for life insurance or feel uncertain about what you planning on buying, it may be worthwhile to use an insurance broker. However, if you are looking for the best rate and are willing to do some research on the different types of life insurance options out there then you can safely shop for and purchase life insurance online.
Is Funeral Insurance a Good Option?
Burial insurance is a type of policy that will pay for your final costs when you die. It can pay for the funeral home costs, the casket, your burial clothes, and several other items that you might need. It doesn’t pay for anything that is unrelated to your burial.
The costs of funerals continue to go up every year. It’s not uncommon for a simple funeral to cost more than $10,000. Some of the more elaborate funerals have been known to cost $30,000 or more. Most people don’t just have this sitting around in a bank account somewhere. Because of this, buying burial insurance may be a good idea so that you do not have to burden your family members financially when you pass away.
If you have life insurance, you may be hesitant to purchase a burial insurance policy. Whether you should purchase a burial insurance policy depends on how big of a life insurance payout your family is going to get. For example, if you have a $1 million life insurance policy, then you probably shouldn’t worry that much about them having to take $10,000 of that to pay for your funeral. However, if the payout of a life insurance policy is only $50,000, then taking $10,000 or more out of it would be a big blow. Your life insurance policy is designed to cover the loss of your wages and the inconvenience that comes with your death. This means that you’ll want to make sure your family has plenty of money before you allocate some of it to the burial.
Most of the time, the cost for a burial insurance policy is very low. For only a few dollars, you can buy a policy that will cover your burial costs, so that your family doesn’t have to worry about it. If you determine that you need a burial policy, determine how much you need and then pick up a policy.
Do I Need A Medigap Plan For My Healthcare Costs?
One of the best things about becoming a senior and reaching the Medicare age is the opportunity to join the millions of other men and women receiving government healthcare like Medicare Part A which is hospital insurance and helps cover inpatient hospital care plus nursing, hospice, and home health care. Part B is medical insurance and helps cover outpatient services like doctor’s visits; however unlike Part A, this plan is not free.
If you can get along with what original Medicare health care services covers without any additional help, fine. If not, you can take the next step to more coverage called Part B. If that protective healthcare blanket still leaves you with the need for more coverage not available in A or B, you must take a look at a Medigap or Medicare supplemental policy. You are not eligible for a Medigap policy unless you are already a participant of Medicare Part A and Part B.
Medigap plans for your healthcare offer coverage for services that original Medicare does not. Every Medigap policy insurer must be Medicare approved. Also your Medicare Medigap supplment plan is renewable which basically means the company cannont cancel you out unless you fail to make the required policy payments in a timely manner. The one thing any Medigap insurance policy consumer should be aware of is that different insurance companies may charge different premium costs for the exact policy. Their premiums may even differ in different parts of the county.
Shopping for a healthcare Medigap plan that fits your “cost budget” is what you should be looking for when shopping around on the Internet. Medigap Plan F is the most popular selection among participants and the one most insurance experts would recommend. In combination with Original Medicare, it covers nearly every out-of-pocket healthcare cost you might incur.
Remember that when you buy a Medigap policy you will pay a monthly premium plus the premium you’ll still be required to pay on Medicare Part B. But in the end if you choose the right Medigap policy offering the blanket of protection you need you will save money in the long run.
Why You Need Life and Disability Insurance
So you started a family. Got the wife, kids, dog, house, etc. but you haven’t thought about what would happen to it all if something were to happen to you. For this reason you should really look at disability and life insurance.
How Does Disability Insurance Work?
Disability insurance is there in case something happens to you and you can no longer do your job. Disability allows you to either heal while you cannot work or puts you in a situation where you can make sure that you can retrain yourself for another occupation. You need to make sure that you have a decent size period where you have “same occupation” coverage. This makes sure the insurance company cannot come back and tell you that you are able to take a job that pays significantly less than what you were making and thus stops your disability payments.
How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
While life insurance is kind of self-explanatory, what most people fail to see is how much and what type of life insurance they need. For most people you should get ten times the amount of life insurance as money you make in a year. So if you are a $40,000 a year person then you want to get $400,000 of life insurance. The reason you want this much life insurance is that your family is depending on your income. With that amount of insurance you can be sure your loved ones can pay off any debt, pay for college and have money to live. If you have a spouse that does not produce income then you should look at making sure you have enough to pay off any debt (including the house), and pay for college for your kids. By getting your mortgage out of the way you can most likely handle just about any other financial needs with the cash flow from your job. The type of insurance that most people choose to handle their life insurance need is term life insurance. This is probably the most common form of life insurance that all of the top life insurance companies carry. You should get twenty to thirty year term life insurance. This will allow you to get the most life insurance for the least amount of money.
By getting these two types of insurance squared away you can guarantee that your family is financially protected should the worst happen.
Does Medicare Help Seniors
Medicare is a controversial topic in politics even though it is a wildly popular program. To get a better understanding of why Medicare gets brought up frequently when campaign season comes around, it is important to see how Medicare helps seniors with the cost of their health insurance.
What Is Medicare?
Medicare is simply a health insurance program designed to help people over the age of 65. The need for Medicare arose as companies who had previously allowed their retirees to continue on health insurance found it too expensive to keep their former employees on their health insurance coverage. The reason that Medicare works so well in this instance is that it is not a profit making institution. That means that if it can just break even then that is great. So instead of having to pay VERY high premiums someone who has paid into the Medicare system will have much more affordable health insurance in their retirement years.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Aside from the cost of the program to the country the biggest drawback is that Medicare insurance does not cover all of the expenses that you can incur from health care. So if you go to the hospital you have a deductible and coinsurance. If you go for a doctor’s office visit you have a deductible and coinsurance. If you need to receive blood you have to pay for it. The good news is there is private insurance that can help complete you Medicare coverage.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance
Medicare supplement insurance (also called Medigap insurance) is specially designed to fill the coverage gaps left by traditional Medicare coverage. A Medicare supplement plan works hand in hand with Medicare insurance so if your current doctor accepts Medicare they will also select whichever of the ten Medicare supplement plans that you purchase. The plans themselves will fill up to all nine of the Medicare coverage gaps. Only Medicare supplemental insurance plan F will fill all nine gaps, so as you can imagine it is the most expensive of the group. Picking a plan depends on how much risk you want and what makes financial sense for you on a month to month basis. You can quickly visit a website like GoMedigap.com to get a Medicare supplement quote and compare the different plans versus their coverage options.
As you can see Medicare is not some big scary program but a way for seniors to buy affordable health insurance in the part of their life where it would cost the most.
Tips for Getting the Cheapest Auto Insurance
While liability auto insurance is required for most vehicles in Florida, there is no law requiring you to pay too much. There are numerous ways to lower your insurance premium. Here are some tips for finding the coverage you need at the price you want.
The first tip for getting the cheapest auto insurance Florida coverage is to consider how much insurance you really need. Some insurance providers may try to sell you all of the extra bells and whistles in order to increase the premium you pay. Depending on your vehicle’s value, it may not be cost-effective to purchase additional options such as comprehensive and collision coverage. Talk with an insurance agent or broker you trust, and let them know about your specific budget needs.As you may have noticed from the abundance of auto insurance commercials, many companies attempt to entice new customers by offering discounts. You can receive discounts for factors such as how often you drive your vehicle, your driving record, and even your children’s grades in school. Discounts vary from company to company, so be sure to ask around.
Companies that offer multiple forms of insurance are particularly fond of bundling policies. If you choose to purchase your auto insurance from the same company that insures your home, you may qualify for a discount. Purchase your auto and life insurance from the same company, and you may be eligible for a discount as well. Bundling is a convenient way to save money while keeping all of your insurance policies in one place.
Determining the appropriate level of coverage, qualifying for discounts and asking about bundling are easy and effective ways to save money on your auto insurance Florida policy. If one insurance provider doesn’t meet your needs, keep looking until you find the right coverage at the right price.
3 Tips For Daily Money Management
Needs versus Wants
Why manage your money in the first place? Is it to save more? Do your expenses exceed your income? Do you want more control? To achieve your financial goal you need to know where your finances stand, and to do this you have to make a list of needs and wants. The best way to do this is to list your expenditures daily. Once you log a few weeks of what you actually need to spend daily and what you spend on extras (wants), then you’ll have a better picture of your spending habits. Now you have a starting point to make adjustments from – this will greatly help with your daily money management plan.
The Dreaded Word “Budget”
This is the last thing people want to talk about, because the word “budget” seems to relate to “restrictions,” and who likes that. So if you don’t like that word, then lets call it “daily allocation,” is this better? To incorporate a successful money management plan you must have a daily spending limit. Of course emergencies happen, and as part of your plan it would be a good idea to have an emergency fund set to the side.
Tracking Your Spending
Using debit cards, with the Visa credit card feature, is very common these days. We would suggest having two accounts: one for your personal use and one for your daily expenditures. The reason for this is fraud. With the luxury of electronic banking comes the increase in fraud; you limit your risk if you only expose one account to the outside world. Plus you will only be keeping a few hundred dollars in your daily use checking account, so the risk limit is low.
Setting up a system like this makes it much easier to monitor your daily spending activities. If you’re lucky enough to have a bank that categorizes expenditures, then better yet.
Most people have little to no idea of where they spend their money. Following the three simple tips above will start you on a path to controlling your finances. If you manage your money daily, then your long term goals will come true – promise.
A Few Quick Money Savings Tips
Here a couple of quick and easy thing you can do to save some money around the house.
Stop buying bottled water. Bottled water is most likely costing you anywhere from $0.25 a bottle (if you buy it by the case from the grocery store) to $1.50 a bottle if you are buying them as needed at a convenience type store. A family of four that each drink 2 bottles a day, conservatively, is spending anywhere from $730 to $4380 a year on bottled water. The price of equivalent water from your faucet? Around $4-5 annually. Even if you put a water purifier on your faucet and have to spend for new filters each month, you are still saving a ton of money.
On top of that, using a refillable water container is much better for the environment than going through thousands of plastic bottles a year.
Cut back on phantom power. Appliances that are plugged in, but turned off, do still draw enough electricity from the outlet to account for 5 to 10 percent of a home’s electricity bill. Appliances that you only use occasionally such as printers, DVD players, gaming systems, and stereos can be plugged into power strips and the power strips can be turned off when the appliance is not in use. This can easily save you $50-100 a year.
Do not buy premixed. Foods mixed with sugar, spices, or sauces already mixed in are up to 50% more expensive. You can save up to 60% on juice by buying the concentrate instead of the juice in cartons.
Buy your gifts throughout the year. Keep a closet or shelf that you can use to stock items you find on sale that will make good gifts for future events. This way you will not be scrambling at the last minute for gifts, which often times leads to overspending.
Direct deposit into your savings account. If you are receiving your paycheck by direct deposit, it is a good idea to have an automatic transfer setup from your checking account into your savings account on the same day you get paid. Alternatively, your employer may be able to split the deposit up into two accounts for you. This will help you to start a healthy habit of putting money into your savings and keeping it there.
This tips may seem simple, but following them all can start you on the path to better savings habits.
Interested In Learning About Credit Cards? Read On
Consumer advice is a commodity itself these days, especially when it comes to credit cards. This article was written to teach you about the proper way to use credit cards. Many people who have credit cards do not have the knowledge needed to make wise choices. This can lead to big financial problems.
Notify your credit card company immediately if you card has been stolen or you happen to lose it. You will typically be responsible for only up to $50 of fraudulent charges, but contact them, regardless.
Keep a list of information related to your cards – the expiration dates, card numbers, contact information, etc. Store that information in a secure place. That way, if your wallet or purse is stolen, you will easily be able to contact each company to report it. It is critical to report stolen and lost cards immediately, to avoid paying fraudulent charges.
Keep yourself on a budget. It might be enticing to splurge on purchases when a new card arrives. Do not give in to that urge. Establish a workable budget to help minimize your need for credit expenditures. By sticking to this budget, future financial disaster could be avoided.
Lots of cards give large bonuses simply for signing up. However, that incredibly fine print listed in your contract could come back to bite you hard. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of any bonuses. These terms commonly stipulate that must spend a given amount within a certain time-frame in order to qualify. If you don’t think that you can meet the terms of the offer, it might not make sense to sign up for the card.
It is very important to read all correspondence from your credit card company, including emails. Credit card companies are allowed to make certain changes to fees, regular interest rates and annual membership fees, as long as they give you written notice of the changes. If you have an issue with these changes, you have every right to cancel your card.
Utilize credit cards when you want to avoid bank charges. Credit cards may be fee-less, unlike debit cards. Some people, particularly the poor, are loading their paychecks on prepaid credit cards in order to save money on bank fees.
Don’t buy things that you can’t pay for on a credit card. Credit cards should not be used to buy things that you want, but don’t have the money to pay for. If you can’t pay off the balance right of way, you will risk not being able to make your monthly payments and owing quite a bit of interest. Leave the store and return the next day if you still want to buy the product. If you still decide to purchase it, the store’s financing usually gives low interest rates.
As was stated at the start, you can get in a lot of trouble by not using credit cards correctly. Having credit cards and making expensive payments that you could not pay for may get you in a lot of trouble. This article may be able to help you stay away from credit issues and stay financially healthy.