Monday, December 30, 2013

Checking Insurance Policies

Gene Hoda recommends checking insurance policies regularly to make sure you have enough coverage.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Homeowners Insurance And How It Protects People

Homeowners insurance is a necessity not only for anyone carrying a mortgage on their family homes but for anyone wanting to ensure it can be repaired or replaced if damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. A good home insurance plan offers a mix of property coverage and liability protection in case someone is injured or killed or their property is damaged or destroyed while on the insured parcel.
Typical homeowners plans protect owners against common perils, such as fire, internal flooding and damage from falling objects. And they all provide protection for detached structures, such as garages, sheds and other out buildings. A standard plan for insuring a home is considered a multiple-lines policy due to the fact it provides liability coverage as well as property protection. A single premium pays for both levels of insurance and can be very affordable compared to the possible cost of having a home destroyed or facing an expensive lawsuit filed against homeowners to cover medical costs or damages to another's property.
A dwelling policy is similar to a multi-line home insurance policy, except a dwelling policy applies to structures, such as a second home or a cabin, that are not occupied year-round. A homeowners plan applies to a fully occupied home and comes with broad-risk coverage with some exceptions. Not included in such policies is protection against external flooding, such as might occur when a river swells and causes widespread damage to nearby homes, wind and hail damage, volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes and similar perils.
Fortunately, such destructive elements can be insured against with additional riders that will increase the cost of insuring homes but can be extremely beneficial. But two things that cannot be insured against involve intentional acts of mankind. If a home is damaged or destroyed by an act of war or is damaged or destroyed by an act committed by a local, state or federal government, no insurance coverage would be provided. An example of a government action destroying a home is when eminent domain is declared for the purpose of building a new highway and the home must be removed to make way for progress.
When choosing a standard homeowner plan, owners can choose between actual cash value policies and replacement cost plans. Actual cash value means the amount a home is worth at the time a claim is filed and takes into account depreciation and other factors that can reduce the value of a property. Such coverages are more affordable than replacement-cost varieties, but they can leave the homeowner spending money out-of-pocket if the cost of repairing or replacing the home is more than its actual value.
Replacement cost means the home will be repaired or replaced if afflicted by a named peril, but such coverages do cost more. Those who can afford them are well-advised to choose replacement cost protection instead of actual cash value, which is best reserved for lower priced homes that cannot depreciate a great deal over time.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Top 10 Insurance Buyers Mistakes

Car insurance, or any type of auto insurance for that matter, is something we simply cannot avoid. In most developed countries, it's illegal to drive a vehicle on public roads without appropriate cover, so we really have no choice but to bite the bullet and cough up.
With that said, the average person continues to pay more than they need to, simply because they make the same mistakes over and over again. Here are 10 mistakes to avoid when it comes to car insurance:
1. Failure to Shop Around
Many people take out insurance with a particular company simply because the company was recommended to them by friends or family. This can prove to be a very costly mistake because there are so many variables involved, and besides, just because that may have had the best rates last year, doesn't mean they're still offering the best rates this year. You need to get quotes from at least six or seven providers before you make a decision.
2. Choosing the Minimum Deductable
The deductable is what you pay out of your own pocket should you submit a claim. The lower the deductable, the less you pay in the event of a claim, but the higher your premiums will be. Increasing the deductable amount, within reason of course, can lower the cost of auto insurance considerably.
3. Keeping the Same Level of Cover
Sure, if you buy a new car, or even a relatively new one, you'll want maximum cover, so you buy fully comprehensive cover. This type of cover will cover you completely, no matter what, but it costs. But, once your car has aged a bit, and decreased in value, do you really need maximum coverage? After all, you could end up paying more for insurance over a two year period than what your car is worth.
4. Failure to Inquire About Discounts
Don't assume your insurance provider is going to keep you updated regarding new discounts or special rates. Why would they want to voluntarily lose money?
5. Including Unnecessary Drivers
If you have more than one driver in your home, only include those who use your car regularly on your car insurance policy. This is particularly true in the case of teens. If your teenager only uses the car once or twice each year, rather opt for temporary cover when it's needed.
6. Including All Drivers as Fulltime Drivers
If your partner or child only uses your car occasionally, ask your insurance provider if they offer discount rates for occasional drivers or limited mileage.
7. Failure to Check Driving Record
While it may not be a common occurrence, many people end up paying more for insurance because their driving record shows a history of traffic violations and/or accidents, when in fact they have never had any such violations or accidents.
8. Poor Credit History
Contrary to what many people believe, many insurance companies, but not all, will run a credit check, and if you have a poor credit history, it can push up the costs of auto insurance dramatically. If your credit score is less than perfect, choose a provider that doesn't factor in a person's credit score.
9. Claiming for Minor Incidences
Don't submit a claim for minor things. If you can pay for minor repairs out of your own pocket, you'll stand to benefit more in the long run. The more you claim, the higher your premiums are going to be.
10. Not Researching Before Buying a Car
Certain makes and models cost more to insure simply because statistics show they are more likely to get stolen. Check with insurance providers to find out what cars are best avoided before you actually buy a car.
Car insurance is here to stay, but if you avoid these common mistakes, you may just be pleasantly surprised at how affordable cover can be.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Driving Tips That Can Lower Your Insurance Costs

Let's face it; you can buy the car that is touted as the safest on the road, your insurance rates can still be among the highest. Insurance companies use several factors when computing your rates, such as vehicle type, your age, and where you live. But the one thing that holds the most weight is the fact that any car is only as safe as the driver behind the wheel.
You need to be aware of the points or demerits that are placed on your license for things like moving violations, hazardous driving, or causing an accident. The best way to get lower insurance costs is through safe driving practices over a period of time. Through careful driving your driver's license will eventually reflect zero points against you. This is when your insurance costs can go down.
With winter lasting as long as nine months in many parts of Canada, the most accidents are likely to occur during his time of the year. If you are determined to lower your insurance costs, follow these tips on winter driving. It will take a long-term commitment, but with determination, it can be done.
• Before winter hits, be sure to get a thorough car inspection. Take particular care to check the following: belts, fluid levels, brakes, exhaust system, wiper blades and windshield washer fluid, snow tire treads and pressure, defroster. Lights and antifreeze.
• Make sure to clear snow and ice from your windows and lights. If there is an accumulation on the hood, you may want to clear that too.
• Don't use cruise control during wintery conditions due to unexpected icy spots. Even with slight braking you can lose control.
• Leave at least five car lengths between you and the car in front of you for stopping.
• Brake with caution. Give yourself time to slow down. It is a good practice to put your vehicle in a lower gear before hitting the breaks. This will automatically slow down your car so that you can then break safely.
• Drive with your lights on low or your fog lights on. On cloudy, snowy days you want to not only increase your visibility, but it is important other drivers can see you.
• Be careful crossing bridges. Being made of steel, they freeze up faster than the roads do.
• Use caution on exit ramps, as they may not have received gravel or de-icing agents.
• Remember that your 4 x 4 vehicle doesn't stop any faster than a regular vehicle. They are heavier and may actually take longer to stop. This also goes for trucks.
• Stay at least 200 feet behind snowplows and never pass them on the right due to blind spots. Remember, the road condition ahead of them is worse than behind them, even if they are going slow. It is better to be safe than sorry.
With just a little extra caution over time, you'll be able to lower your insurance costs.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Homeowners in wildland interface must understand their insurance policies

Linda Masterson and her husband lost their home and 72-acre tree farm during a Colorado wildfire in 2011. Ms. Masterson was a speaker at NFPA's 2013 Backyards and Beyond conference. She said homeowners in the wildland interface must understand their insurance policies: what's covered, what's not covered, homeowner responsibilities, etc. She says homeowners also have to understand what it would cost to rebuild their homes in today's dollars and today's building codes. She says at least 1/2 of people who lose their house in a wildfire are under-insured by 25%.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Avoid Fender Benders This Winter

Do you know the best way to keep paint-less dent repair, windshield and glass replacement, and collision repair bills to a minimum? Avoid collisions in the first place-some may say that's easier said than done, but a number of winter fender benders are caused by simple oversights that can lead to costly consequences. Fortunately, most car accidents aren't fatal. There are many more people bumping into each other at slow speeds in parking lots than going Dukes of Hazzard crazy on the highways, but that little scrape can cost a pretty penny.
Things get even more hectic during the winter holidays partly because of the ice and snow, and partly because people are battling the crowds to get to those Black Friday sales. Here's a refresher course on how to avoid fender benders and make sure the winter months are as safe as possible. With the cash you'll save from bumper repair, you'll have yourself a much happier holiday.
The Basics
Following distance plays a key role in fender benders-leave three to four seconds between you and the car in front of you, and a little more buffer space if weather conditions are iffy. However, drivers should be looking about 10 seconds in front of their vehicles. Scan the area around you and remember that situational awareness can help you avoid a number of accidents, whether it's the cat who's thinking about making a run for it (right in front of your car) or an SUV with a massive blind spot who has their reverse lights on.
It might sound counterintuitive, but try to keep brake use to a minimum. Many drivers rely too heavily on their brakes when the 10 second scan should be doing most of that job for them. Simultaneously, make sure you're letting other drivers know your intentions by signaling well ahead of time and anticipating where you'll be going next. If you know you need to take an upcoming exit, move into that lane in advance.
To Claim or Not to Claim?
Everyone wants to avoid insurance hikes, and it can be a tough call when the damage doesn't look very severe. If you do get into a small accident, it's impossible for anyone but a skilled collision repair professional to estimate the repair costs. Always exchange information, but consider taking in your vehicle for a free repair estimate before filing that claim. The repair costs might be less than your deductible, or just slightly over that figure-but the insurance hike might not make the claim worthwhile.
As we move full force into the holiday season, one of the best ways to avoid a collision is to simply steer clear of the busiest places. A super crowded parking lot with a generous sprinkle of holiday stress is a recipe for disaster. Keep your own stress levels to a minimum and shop during off hours or online, try to stick close to home if the weather gets too nasty and remember that defensive driving is key.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Car Seat Safety

The latest car seat safety guidelines recommend that toddlers ride in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears demonstrates which car seats to use at what age. rn

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Take This Quiz!

Auto Insurance Quiz from the Insurance Information Institute. For more information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site at