Contents Insurance – Medical Insurance – Cheap Medical Insurance
You’ve probably got contents insurance for your belongings but are you aware just how easy it is to fall behind in calculating the value of them?
What do you imagine the average contents of a family home are worth – £25,000 or £30,000? In fact this figure, for a typical home, is estimated to be over £45,000. Apart from your “moveable items” of carpets, furniture, curtains, it’s probable that electrical goods purchased over the last few years explain the sudden rise. It’s not unusual to have three or four mobile phones, a couple of computers, possibly also a laptop. Then there are the TV’s. Apart form the large family wide screen digital HD ready, singing and dancing set, there’s probably a another one in the kitchen and two or three others in the bedrooms, not to mention DVD and video recorders. Probably the children have iPods, Gameboys and whatever else is “in” at present. Don’t forget your CD collection – Norwich Union values these at £10 each and DVD’s.
Apart from the risk of damage, all the above items are very appealing to the thief, being easy to handle and finding a ready market. Don’t forget the garden, the mowers and garden machinery, contents of the shed and garage, garden furniture and even your tubs and hanging baskets. The value of plants can add up too!
Should you need to make a claim, it’s important that you’re not under insured. If the insurance company judges that you don’t have adequate insurance, the claim will not be fully paid. This means that if you have insured your contents for, say, £20,000 and your insurance company considers there would be a value of £30,000 to replace them, then there would be a shortfall of £10,000.
Insurers handle things in different ways. For example Norwich Union Direct, one of the major insurers, will pay out up to the amount for which you’re covered. It’s left up to you to fund the difference. More Than tells us that their policy on underinsured claims is to reduce them by up to 20%. In fact More
Than are taking action to ensure that clients are more up to date with their cover and so have recently increased the this for all their clients, by 25%.
These increases will apply on the clients’ next renewal dates. No doubt more insurance companies will look at following suit soon.
Whilst you’re thinking of re-assessment, maybe it’s time to check the current figures on your buildings insurance. As well as the house, garage and outbuildings, you may have fixed items such as lighting, hot tubs and permanent garden features. These are covered by your buildings insurance, not your contents. Your insurer will normally work out a quotation based on the number of bedrooms, etc., and your postcode. The insurable figure will be the cost demolition and clearing of the site and re-building your home on the present site, of course.
To help you re-consider the value of your belongings and for additional advice there’s a handy checklist for home owners on the Association of British Insurers, https://booksg.com/index.php/food-recipe/free-cook-books/tips-for-eating-less-salt-low-salt-recipes
There are a large number of insurance companies handling both contents and building insurance and, as always, it pays to shop around.
Convert Term Policy Before It Expires
Keeping an inexpensive term life insurance policy for too long can cost unprepared families lots of money in the long run.
While term insurance is a great way to protect your family from financial disaster, sitting on the same policy until it is too late to replace it with a permanent options can be a financial disaster.
Term life is temporary insurance. It pays a fixed death benefit if the policy holder passes away during a set period of time. For example, if you have a 20-year term policy and you die before the 20 years end, your beneficiaries will receive the face value of your policy.
Once the 20 years is up, the contract expires. The company keeps your premiums and you have to find new insurance, usually at a higher premium. Term insurance helps you to prepare for the unexpected.
Term insurance is the cheapest form of life insurance because it is temporary and not intended to pay out. Young families benefit from term insurance. In many cases, it is taken out to help support young children and a spouse in case the primary breadwinner passes away. That takes a large policy to accomplish.
Many young adults do not have substantial savings and investments yet. They have a lot of their money tied up in new mortgages and student loans. Term policies offer a cost-efficient solution.
But as families mature, the breadwinners grow older and the policies get closer to expiration. Situations change and families need to consider changing their term insurance into a more permanent option.
Many term insurance contracts have a clause that allows the policy holder to do just that.
You could think of it as leasing insurance with an option to buy. You can use the convertibility clause to convert without having to obtain a new insurance policy. For a price, families can transform their temporary insurance into permanent insurance without having to re-apply for coverage or have medical examinations.
Not all policies have conversion clauses. If you are buying term insurance, look for policies that include the clause. They are often more expensive, but well worth it.
For example, you have a 20-year term policy with a 10-year conversion clause. After nine years, you develop a major health problem. You are still within the 10-year conversion period, so you can convert the policy to a permanent policy. By doing so, you will not need a new physical exam and you will receive your coverage at a much lower rate than if your health problems were taken into account.
If the policy didn’t have the conversion clause, you would be facing an expiring policy and very expensive renewal premiums – if you could renew at all. You should always convert before it is too late.
You should review your policy with your agent on a regular basis. This will help to prevent that your conversion expiration doesn’t sneak up on you. When you are within a year of convertibility, you should take the time to look at your plan. Consider your health, finances, responsibilities and goals.
Don’t just look at your health in considering whether or not to convert a policy. The older you are, the more expensive you are to insure. By locking in a fixed rate and paying toward a permanent policy in your 20s, your monthly premiums will be much cheaper than if you had waited until your 50s.
Your financial needs transform over time. Your family matures and changes. When you are young, you often need a policy to replace your income and provide for your children. When you are older and your children are grown and your mortgage is paid off, you may find that you don’t need such a large policy.
The roughest rule of thumb is to take a multiple of your income. If you only need enough insurance to take care of your family for a few years after you die and set them up until they can get on their feet, buy 4-6 times your annual salary. If you want to take care of them for the rest of their lives, you can look at something quite larger, like 20 times your salary. That gives enough to establish a trust that they can life off of indefinitely.
One strategy involves buying the largest term policy you can afford when you are young. When you can afford more, supplement your term policy with a small permanent policy.
When your term insurance is set to expire, your children will be grown and your mortgage paid off. Then you can look at what coverage you will need.
Cover the Uninsured Week Provides Opportunities for All Americans to Get Involved in Solving National Problem
Nearly 46 million Americans-including more than 8 million children-have no health insurance and gamble each day that they won’t get sick or injured, and the problem is getting worse. As health care costs continue to rise, every family’s health care coverage could be at risk. Chances are someone in most families either is or has been uninsured.
That’s why millions of Americans with diverse viewpoints are putting politics aside and taking action. Organizers of Cover the Uninsured Week-the largest campaign in history to focus attention on the need to secure health coverage for all Americans-are asking Americans from all walks of life to talk with their friends and neighbors and demand that our leaders make health coverage for all Americans their top priority. The campaign is also looking to ensure that people who are uninsured get enrolled if they are eligible for coverage programs.
“Too many Americans are living without access to health care-worrying every day that they will become injured or sick and bankrupt their family,” says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a convener of Cover the Uninsured Week. “Living without health coverage is a gamble that no one should have to take. Americans need to come together to stress the need for action. But until our lawmakers find solutions, we need to ensure that no one misses an opportunity to obtain low-cost or free coverage because they didn’t know about it.”
Hundreds of Cover the Uninsured Week enrollment events will be held at hospitals, medical centers, malls, community centers, on campuses and in places of worship nationwide. Volunteers will help enroll uninsured adults and children in public programs that provide low-cost or free coverage to those who are eligible. In addition, information about local help available will be distributed.
“People who have health insurance cannot afford to take it for granted. As costs increase, fewer individuals, families and businesses can afford to pay for health care coverage,” said Lavizzo-Mourey. “Community and state leaders are doing what they can to help those living without access to health care, but this is a national problem that demands national solutions. With no solutions on the immediate horizon, all Americans -regardless of their insurance status-need to get involved and make their opinion count.”
Cover the Uninsured Week is supported by nearly 200 national organizations-including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, American Medical Association, AARP, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and the United Way of America-and more than 2,500 local organizations located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Activities will take place May 1-7 in communities across the country.
Cover Yourself – The 6 Top Things to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?
When deciding on health insurance, one needs to be aware of his or her needs first and foremost. Many plans are similar but slight variations in coverage and expense. Most insurance companies offer similar deductibles and cover all the standard routine issues that arise in health. Some plans are more expensive and make the insured responsible for more expense but offer a wider range of control. Some plans are designed for the budget consciences individual and has more restrictions but costs less. So look at what type of health needs you have and think about how often you need to visit a doctor. Make sure your doctor is cooperative in giving referrals when needed as well. Here are some things to think about when deciding what plan is best for you.
1) What plan benefits are offered to the insured? Most plans provide normal medical coverage. But see what other services you may need and if they are available easily or at all. Make sure that you are aware of any additional fees that might be placed on you if you see certain types of doctors or other medical professionals. Does this plan have restrictions on pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses that can cause a premium increase or higher co-pay in the future. Know what you are getting and make sure that it works for you. If you aren’t sure call the company directly and speak to someone who can answer all your questions.
2) Physical exams and health screenings as a form of entry into a plan. Does this work for you or not, and do you not want to disclose your medical issues prior to getting a quote. Many insurance companies want to have you seen by one of their physicians to make sure you won’t cost them money by having any chronic illnesses. If you have some medical conditions that require frequent visits and treatments you may not want to look at these providers for help with coverage.
3) Care by specialists. If you require the care of specialists, such as a cardiologist, nutritionist for diabetes or obesity, or any other type, you want to make sure this is fully covered on your chosen plan. You don’t want to just sign up for a plan that is in your price range and then find out you can’t see the doctors you need to. Be sure to see all the information on added coverage above and beyond just basic needs.
4) Hospitalization and emergency care. Most HMOs require a referral from your primary care doctor before you may go to the hospital. Some insurance companies will not pay for hospital visits on the weekends unless the doctor was called and gave the referral prior to you going. Some will even require that you wait till the next available business day to see your doctor first if it isn’t a life or death emergency. If you have conditions that might require a trip to the hospital, be sure that your policy works for you. In the middle of a panic attack is not a good time to wait for the “on-call” to call you back, give permission, and call the hospital for you. You need to know that are safe to call and get emergency care and get the referral the next business day.
5) Prescription drugs and what will the company pay for? You might want to take into account how many prescriptions you need and what the cost of each one is. If you are used to small co-pay, it can be a slap in the face to find out you have to pay 20% of a $150 prescription. Many people who require some or lots of daily medications will benefit more from a HMO that has a small fee like $5 or $10 per prescription and/or a small deductible.
6) Vision care and dental services. Find out if these are included in your plan or whether you need to purchase one or both separately. Many plans will include yearly and emergency eye exams and visits. Also many offer some coverage on eyewear to some extent. Most dental plans are separate and require a separate insurance or slightly higher monthly fee to be added.
Critical Illness Insurance. Concerns For Cautious Customers
The Financial Services Authority has recently carried out a review of the way in which information and advice is given to retail customers purchasing financial products. One of the products which they considered was the sale of Critical Illness Cover.
Critical Illness Cover is often taken out by people taking out a mortgage, usually as part of a term assurance policy. It may also be purchased as a stand-alone product. The policy will pay out a lump sum if the borrower becomes seriously ill with one of a list of specified illnesses, commonly cancer, heart conditions, stroke etc.; this will help with loss of earnings due to the illness and general life-style changes which may be the result of the illness.
Firms selling critical illness cover are required to comply with certain standards and although these are being met reasonably well, the survey showed that there could be some improvement in the way in which they could help the customer to gain a better understanding of the product.
The FSA have visited firms and employed mystery shoppers to look specifically at how compliancy is working out with regards to sales processes when selling critical illness cover.
Supervision visits were paid to 42 firms. Whilst in the main these were financial and mortgage advisers, they also included banks, building societies and insurers. The market research company, Research International, carried out 80 mystery shops to 51 firms in total, to report on what actually occurs.
Director of Retail Firms, Sarah Wilson, has said that whilst many of the findings were positive, a few problems had been identified. Initiatives have been launched in order to deal with them. The fair treatment of customers is of prime importance, especially with regard to making policy application forms and documents more easily understood. So far these changes seem to be helpful.
Critical illness cover is, however, complex and some of the problems cropped up in the context of the financial promotion of the schemes and general insurance documentation. Customers sometimes have difficulty in comprehending exactly what they are being sold. Therefore it is difficult for them to assess whether this is the correct cover for them, or whether a payment of income protection product would be more suitable.
The needs of the customer have to be taken into account and there should be a careful assessment of the type of protection which they need. However, where there were two or more types of policy, the cost was sometimes the only aspect taken into account when recommending the most suitable one. Other factors may have been left out of the equation, such as conditions covered or whether there were other products more suited to a particular client’s requirements.
Miss-selling is a risk, but most firms had taken reasonable measures to manage this. There were found to be good training programmers and risk based monitoring.
As is the case with prime mortgage payment products, customers have time to consider their options before they make the decision to purchase the cover.
The results of the survey offer some reassurance that the needs of the customer are being protected and any changes to be implemented can only offer change for the better.