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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Different types of auto insurance

Nowadays auto insurance is the ideal way to ensure a good life for yourself and your expensive vehicle. Auto insurance keeps safe your huge amount of money spent on your automobile. But on the same hand, auto insurance is also quite expensive. However there are different types of auto insurance policies available today. It is at an individual’s discretion which policy he can afford to adopt.

1. Fully Comprehensive Auto Insurance Policy Types- though this policy is the most expensive one yet it is the most widely adopted type of auto insurance. This is so because the insurance provides compensation or covers all sorts of cases such as theft, accident, wear and tear etc. If unfortunately an accident occurs where you were not at fault while the other driver who did the accident does not disclose his and his insurance details; you ought not to worry. For being a policyholder of the fully comprehensive program, you can register an insurance claim against your insurance company. But while taking this policy one essential thing should be borne in mind. There are a few auto insurance companies that do not insure your vehicle 100% of its value but of 80% or so. Even though many companies defend their policy as a measure to prevent themselves from fraud cases etc. yet try your bets to find the agency that insures your vehicle 100%.

2. Third Party, Fire and Theft- this type of insurance is basically meant for those car owners who have had finished their car loans but still admire, cherish their car and have great sentiments attached to it. This policy is somewhat akin to the fully comprehensive one but not identical to it. For like the latter the former covers cases of theft, accident, fire etc. but in case of an accident you can receive compensation only when you were at fault and had hit another car. So if any other car hits yours or you by mistake bang t in the garage, the insurance company will not come to your financial aid.

3. Third Party Insurance- it is the insurance that is the cheapest of all and covers only cases of accident where you were at fault and hit a third party. The insurance company is not to be contacted in case of any other mishappening with your vehicle. This insurance policy is generally preferred by those who own an old and less pricey car or any other vehicle.

4. Specialized Car Insurance- is basically for cars categorized as classic, those that are 25 years old. These cars are insured as classic and so accordingly they have their requirements and services. The classic car insurane policy can be said to be as good as the comprehensive one but the only drawback associated with it is that it limits the policy taker to a limited number of road miles he can drive in any given year.

Ultimately it is at the discretion of every individual which policy he desires to take. It is advisable to sort out one’s requirements and budget and also make a survey of the auto insurance policies in the market before actually grabbing a policy.

Homeowners — just what are you buying?

The idea is so simple. You pay a premium and the insurance company protects you. Yeh, right! When you go out shopping, you read the labels before you buy, don’t you. Well, the same should be your habit when you’re buying a homeowners insurance policy. Never just use a site like this to get online quotes and then buy a policy because it’s low cost or affordable. You should read it before you buy.

So what are you looking for? Well, let’s get technical. The insurance company protects you against “perils” except where there are “exclusions” telling you that there may be limitations on that cover. Often, those exclusions are the smaller print coming near the end of the policy when the insurer hopes you’re attention is wandering. Check out exactly what is covered. If it’s not clear, ask someone before you buy. The first part of the home insurance policy usually deals with “property protection”. So that covers the structure of the place you call home together with everything permanently attached like the plumbing, the electrical wiring and all the other “stuff” (sorry another technical term including your air-conditioning, heating system, and so on). All the other buildings and structures on the land will be included so long as they’re all used for domestic purposes. That covers the garage, shed, patio and fences/walls. Pay special attention to any “loss of use” provisions — that should cover your out-of-pocket expenses if you cannot live in your home while it’s being repaired.

Then we get into the everyday personal property (usually called the “contents”) owned by you and the family who live with you on a permanent basis. Depending on the wording, you may be covered for the cash value or replacement cost. But watch out. If you have anything unusual that’s more expensive or difficult to replace, that’s got to be specially endorsed on the policy. Some things may be excluded like a firearm, the car covered under your auto insurance policy, and so on. Other things may be included like the charges the local fire department may claim if it is called out, the cost of removing fallen trees or other debris after a storm, and so on. Everything else will have to be separately negotiated and added on to the policy as an endorsement

Housing Bubble! Don't panic!

Wherever you look, the story is the same. House prices are in free fall. What are the facts? According to the S&P/Case-Shiller national index, house prices fell by 14% in the year to April 2008! Those of you who like history will know that's a faster fall than the Great Depression of the 1930s. I always like to be encouraging.

So what's going on? Well, a lot of people convinced themselves that buying property was a sure-thing investment. Buy today, sell tomorrow with a big gain. That made it a no-brainer to buy your own home. Unfortunately, two things happened. The was a boom in the construction industry which produced more houses for sale than there are buyers. Secondly, the credit crunch has made banks more cautious in lending money (actually, some banks have gone bust).

The result? Negative equity! Lots of people who owe more on their homes than the homes are worth. How does this affect the home insurance policy? Not at all! Well, that's perhaps a little optimistic so let's explore.

Home insurance is designed to replace your home if it's destroyed. The value of the cover is therefore not the sale price but the cost of rebuilding. So, no matter how much your home falls in value, it makes no difference to the premium. Except that there are more national statistics to worry about. According to the latest figures published up to July 2008, US inflation is at a twenty-seven year high. The Labour Department monitors the producer price index (PPI), that's prices at the wholesale level. That rose by 9.8% in July.

So you should care because? Because the prices of bricks and all the other stuff needed to repair or rebuild your damaged home just got that much more expensive. Worse? There's no sign price inflation is going to slow. So, when it comes to renewing your home insurance policy, it would be wise to get two or three online quotes from "reputable" builders to revalue the policy. Without this precaution, you might find yourself underinsured, even on a small claim. But if you get hit by a hurricane or some other natural catastrophe, you may not be able to afford rebuilding if you don't have the savings to bridge the gap between the insured amount and the actual cost of rebuilding

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pay more, get less! What’s going on?

Just when it looks as though you can make ends meet, health insurance costs go up again. A growing percentage of every paycheck is going on health and, for the most part, you’re getting less for your dollars. The result? Every month, more people give up on rising premiums and drop into the ranks of the uninsured. Worse, if big bills hit, people face personal bankruptcy. This was mostly affecting low-income working families and those with chronic conditions requiring more continuous treatment like diabetes or depression. Now, it’s starting to bite the middle class. Employers are also feeling the pinch and more companies are dropping medical cover or reducing the benefits packages, and introducing wellness programs with teeth. This combination is placing a growing burden on taxpayers who fund Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Why is this happening? Well, let’s come down to a short list. The economy is not in great shape. The population is ageing and, as people get older, more goes wrong with their bodies. New technology is producing new treatments but that is often more expensive. The pharmaceutical industry keeps raising prices to maintain its profitability. Put all the causes together and you have a broken system. The real problems start with the “entitlement” trap. Because people pay their health insurance premiums out of their own pockets, they feel they’re entitled to get all the medical care they like. This leads to a significant amount of waste as health providers supply expensive services on demand regardless whether those services are needed. Mostly, the providers are driven by the need to make profits to keep their investors happy, and not by the patients’ needs. This makes general medical care unaffordable and shifts ever more of the costs on to the insurance companies and the tax payers. Health insurance premiums therefore go up. The Republican approach is to reduce taxes which makes funding public health provision more difficult.

If people are uninsured, they wait longer to see a physician or go to an emergency room when their conditions have worsened. What could have been treated early on for less money suddenly becomes a bigger bill as costs are higher in emergency rooms. Why are costs higher? Because a significant proportion of patients cannot pay. The hospitals costs therefore have to be recovered from those who have the money or still carry health insurance. The moral of this story is for political parties to have the will to fix the problems.

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