Long-Term Care – The Ignored Need

Most Americans fear they’ll need long-term care at some point after retirement, but only a small percentage are are doing anything about it, according to a survey conducted for the John Hancock Life Insurance Co.* It states that 85 percent of respondents worry about needing long-term care at some time in their future, an increase from 80 percent a decade ago.

Long term care addresses a wide range of long term care and supportive services for people who may have cognitive impairment or who are unable to accomplish certain activities of daily living over an extended period of time. These can include activities such as bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring. Long term care services can be provided in a variety of settings, including your home, assisted care facilities or nursing homes; and it can be very expensive.

Many Americans incorrectly believe Medicare and/or Medicaid will help fund their long-term care expenses. This is simply not true. Some feel they will be able to “trick” the system, but this has become much more difficult to do. The Deficit Reduction Act that was signed on February 8, 2006, has caused most states to radically alter Medicaid parameters and long term care programs. The loopholes are being closed.

The study also found that almost 60 percent of the respondents worry about paying for long-term care, but nearly 70 percent of these people said they have done little planning, if any, for long-term care needs. Furthermore, Americans are living longer, care costs are rising, and company pension programs are being cut back. Because the average cost of nursing home care has risen to more than $71,000 a year, the costs for in-home care are also rising and it is apparent the rate of future increases will continue to be high; there is a looming crisis in America. Americans are not facing the realities of what lies ahead, especially the potential need for long-term care.

Right now, Americans seem to be avoiding the issue. According to the survey, more than 60 percent of adults haven’t tried to calculate the amount of money they need for retirement. Of those who did the calculation, nearly half didn’t factor in long-term care. Of those who did, nearly four in 10 did nothing about it.

One important financial tool possibly being overlooked is Long-Term Care Insurance. Many people do not realize this type of insurance can be tailored to fit a persons budget as well as help with some of the potential costs of long term care. In other words, there are many variables that can be tailored to meet an individual’s financial budget as well as help with the cost of future long term care needs. A qualified Long-Term Care Insurance representative should be consulted to help develop an appropriate plan.

How to Save on Car Insurance

Everyone who owns a car needs auto insurance. This article will give you some tips on lowering your auto insurance costs. You will find a checklist of items to ask your insurance agent that may qualify for discounts. Keep in mind that not all discounts can be applied with all insurance companies in all states.

1. Shop Around
Go to your favorite search engine and type in “free car insurance quotes online”. You’ll see a long list of insurance companies that you may even be familiar with. Visit at least five car insurance websites and look for a link to free quotes. You will then be asked basic information about yourself, your driving history, and your car’s make, model, and year. It just takes a couple of minutes, and shortly thereafter, they will email you a no obligation quote. Write down their website address, their toll free number, and customer service email address.

Each insurance company will ask you generally the same questions, and will give you options about how much coverage you will want. Find your current policy, if you have one, and take note of the coverage you currently have. Always provide the same information and ask for the same coverage at each company so you will be comparing apples to apples. Read the fine print and make sure nothing is excluded from the quote like Rental car coverage, towing, medical, etc…

For the purposes of the quote, the insurance company will not ask you your social security number, but keep in mind your actual cost maybe higher or lower depending on your credit history. If you’re not sure about some of the terminology or coverage, take notes so that you can ask the insurance company about them directly.

Once you have at least five quotes emailed to you, take the lowest two or three quotes and see if they are less than what you are paying now. Most likely at least one of them is much lower. At this point you will want to call them directly to get the most accurate quote by providing additional personal information. For additional discounts, here is a checklist of things you should ask about.

[ ] $500 deductible
[ ] $1,000 deductible
[ ] Paying monthly, semi-annually, or annually
[ ] More than 1 car
[ ] No Accidents in 3 Years
[ ] No Moving Violations in 3 Years
[ ] Driver Training Courses
[ ] Defensive Driving Courses
[ ] Anti-Theft Devices
[ ] Low Annual Mileage
[ ] Air Bags
[ ] Anti-Lock Brakes
[ ] Daytime Running Lights
[ ] Student Drivers with Good Grades
[ ] Auto and Homeowners Coverage with the Same Company
[ ] College Students away from Home
[ ] Long-Time Customer
[ ] Other Discounts

2. Saving Insurance Premium on cars you own outright.
If you own a clear title to your car, meaning there is no bank loan on it, then you may want to consider dropping the collision/comprehensive coverage. As a rule of thumb, if the cars value is less than $3000, it may not make sense for you to pay for this additional coverage. Over time, the cost of the additional insurance premium will exceed the value of the car. It’s pretty simple math.

Check the fair market value of your car either through Edmunds.com or even your local newspaper. See what other people are trying to get for the same car. Keep in mind your cars mileage, condition, and age. Has it been in an accident before? Does it have unusually high mileage in excess of 15,000 miles per year? Does it need new tires? You get the idea. Be realistic, because in the event that this car is in an accident and is damaged beyond repair, it is unlikely you will get the full value of the car.

3. Ask About Insurance Rates in Different Areas
Rates can vary widely even in the same state. Different locals have different accident rates, population, and crime. These all factor in to the final cost. If you are moving to a different area, ask about what the rates are for that town.

4. Ask About Getting Other Insurance Policies Together With Your Auto Insurance
Combining insurance policies with the same company can often give you additional discounts. If you own a home, ask about combining your homeowners insurance with your auto insurance. Also ask about other polices, such as life, health, and business insurance. Most insurance companies cover a wide range of policies and will give substantial discounts when you do business exclusively with them.

5. A Clean Credit History Can Reduce Car Premiums:
Having good credit can also lower your insurance costs. Many insurance companies will use credit information to price auto insurance policies. Drivers with good credit and a clean driving record may qualify as a “preferred” customer with lower risk and will be rewarded with lower premiums.

6. Low Mileage Discounts
Some companies offer discounts to drivers who drive a lower than average number of miles per year. If you car pool, take public transportation like the subway, or work from home, you will most likely drive few miles per year than the average driver.

7. Group Insurance
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who work for certain companies or belong to professional associations, and alumni groups. Ask your employer, group or clubs that you belong to if they have any special arrangements with different insurance companies.

Using all of these tips can save you hundreds of dollars per year, especially when you have multiple cars and multiple drivers in the same household.

How To Find Amazing Deals On Online Auto Insurance

The ability to buy online auto insurance has changed the way people shop for insurance forever. Gone are the days of pulling out the Yellow Pages, calling multiple companies for quotes, waiting days for someone to call you back with a quote (if they called you back at all!), comparing the quotes, trying to figure out if the policies and deductibles were the same for all the quotes, and finally – purchasing a policy and hoping it will be as good as your last one.

Thanks to the magic of online auto insurance quotes, all of the above hassle is no longer necessary. Each of the major auto insurance companies has a system for providing quotes online, and many comparison sites have sprung up that allow you to quickly compare several major companies against each other.

The best part is that you can easily adjust your deductibles to instantly see how it will ultimately affect your total premium. This is the ideal way to learn just how much you are going to pay for auto insurance and to determine just which of the auto insurance carriers will offer you specifically the lowest of rates.

Purchasing your auto insurance via the web is very convenient and simple. Despite the fact that many insurance companies earn less money as a result of having a more informed consumer, this is offset by the fact that these companies don’t lose valuable employee time doing nothing but rate quotes all day long for people. You can search for rate quotes, and make changes over and over again, and you are under no obligation until you decide on a policy, and go through the purchasing process.

Many companies have even developed the technology to let you print out your mandatory insurance cards to place in your vehicle as soon as you complete your purchase. This saves the time and hassle of waiting for these insurance cards to show up in the mail. Some companies are even starting to provide your entire policy as a printout, though they still must send a form for you to sign and mail back.

For most of us, it is necessary to track down the cheapest possible rates, while making sure we choose a company that will stand behind us in the event of an accident. It’s the ultimate balancing act. Some of the review sites online will even provide you with a companies A.M. Best rating, designed to give you an idea of the overall quality of the companies you are comparing. Again, this removes another part of the uncertainty of choosing online auto insurance.

For all of the amazing ways that buying online auto insurance can save you time, money, hassles, and headaches, you may never have to open that section of the Yellow Pages again.

How Much Car Insurance Should You Buy?

How much insurance should you buy? Any insurance agent worthy of their salt will tell you that you should buy as much as you can afford. While this is a good rule of thumb, it’s about as useful as a stock broker’s tip to buy low and sell high. It might be sound logic but it doesn’t get you any closer to an educated decision. There are a few filters that need consideration in order to make that educated decision. First, what is the state required minimum coverage where you live? Second, what does the minimum cover? Third, what other coverage is available and can you afford it? And fourthly, what are you protecting?

What do the minimums cover?
Now that you know what your state requires, what are you actually covered for once you purchase the minimum? Using the coverage definitions that follow, find the types of coverage required and see what your state says is the accepted minimum.

Coverage Definitions

Bodily Injury Liability
Covers other people’s bodily injuries or death for which you are responsible. It also provides for a legal defense if another party in the accident files a lawsuit against you. Claims for bodily injury may be for such things as medical bills, loss of income or pain and suffering. In the event of a serious accident, you want enough insurance to cover a judgment against you in a lawsuit, without jeopardizing your personal assets. Bodily injury liability covers injury to people, not your vehicle. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have the same level of coverage for all of your cars. Bodily Injury Liability does NOT cover you or other people on your policy. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage
Covers your vehicle, and sometimes other vehicles you may be driving for losses resulting from incidents other than collision. For example, comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car if it is stolen; or damaged by flood, fire, or animals. Pays to fix your vehicle less the deductible you choose. To keep your premiums low, select as high a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Collision Coverage
Covers damage to your car when your car hits, or is hit by, another vehicle, or other object. Pays to fix your vehicle less the deductible you choose. To keep your premiums low, select as large a deductible as you feel comfortable paying out of pocket. For older cars, consider dropping this coverage, since coverage is normally limited to the cash value of your car. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Medical Payments
Covers medical expenses to you and your passengers injured in an accident. There may also be coverage if as a pedestrian a vehicle injures you. Does NOT matter who is at fault. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Covers bodily injuries to you and your passengers when the other person has no insurance or not enough insurance in a crash that is not your fault. In some states, there is also uninsured motorist coverage for damage to your vehicle. Given the large number of uninsured motorists, this is very important coverage to have, even in states with no-fault insurance. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy

Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Covers within the specified limits, the medical, hospital and funeral expenses of the insured, others in his vehicles and pedestrians struck by him. The basic coverage for the insured’s own injuries on a first-party basis, without regard to fault. It is only available in certain states.

Property Damage Liability
Covers you if your car damages someone else’s property. Usually it is their car, but it could be a fence, a house or any other property damaged in an accident. It also provides you with legal defense if another party files a lawsuit against you. It is a good idea to purchase enough of this insurance to cover the amount of damage your car might do to another vehicle or object. Coverage is limited to the terms and conditions contained in the policy.

Rental Car Reimbursement
Covers renting a car if your car isn’t drivable or while your car is being repaired because of a covered accident.

What else is available and can you afford it?
Did you come across a coverage and think, “I need that but it isn’t required by state law” when you were reviewing the coverage definitions? Chances are you did. Can your budget afford the additional expense of these protections? Or maybe more to the point; can you afford NOT to have these additional protections? At CarInsurance.com it’s easy to get multiple quotes all with a click of your mouse. And during the quoting process, it’s simple to add or remove coverage to see how additional coverage will affect your budget.

What are you protecting?
What assets need to be protected from being plucked away if you cause injury or damage?
A) Your car itself. If this is a significant asset, or at least the bank you owe money to thinks so, then you will need comprehensive and collision.
B) Your net worth. Do you have an enormous net worth to protect. If so, either get it out of your name and into a trust or buy all the insurance you can. If you have little or nothing to protect, then you can get by with less and still be financially responsible.

However, after you determine how much protection to get, always ask how much more it is for the next level higher. Very often, you can get significantly more coverage for very little cost.

Car insurance isn’t flashy. There is no “wow” factor and the opposite gender isn’t going to be impressed by the size of your policy. But not having enough can be the difference between financial stability and financial ruin. For what its worth, CarInsurance.com finds financial stability incredibly appealing.

Leased Vehicles And Automotive Insurance

People have different opinions when it comes to leasing a vehicle and buying a vehicle, but here’s the basic gist of it: buying a vehicle differs from leasing a vehicle in that buying a vehicle requires you to pay for the entire vehicle, whereas leasing a vehicle requires you to pay for the amount of the vehicle you “use up” during a set period of time. Simply put, once the time period is up the person leasing the vehicle may decide to buy the vehicle, or move on.

There’s no difference, however, in purchasing automotive insurance for bought and leased vehicles. If you lease a vehicle and finance through the dealer or a bank, you’re still required to purchase automotive insurance for your leased vehicle. Just because you’re only paying for the portion of the vehicle that you use during a specific time period doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for repairing the damages to the leased vehicle, or the damages your leased vehicle may inflict upon another person’s vehicle, or another person.

For example, if your leased vehicle is involved in an accident that is your fault and involves another party, you’re responsible for paying to repair not only the damages to your leased vehicle, but the damages to the other party’s vehicle, as well. At the same time, if your leased vehicle is involved in an accident but no other party is involved, you’re responsible for repairs to your leased vehicle if the accident was your fault.

Too, your leased vehicle may be involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault with a party that doesn’t have automotive insurance. By having automotive insurance for your leased vehicle, you are safeguarding yourself against drivers who don’t have automotive insurance.

The purpose of automotive insurance is universal. Regardless of whether you buy or lease your vehicle, and regardless of your reasons for buying or leasing, you must still purchase automotive insurance.

Tips For Driving Down Auto Insurance Rates

Analysts say the rates for six months of comparable auto insurance coverage from different providers can vary by more than $500. That’s why it can pay to do a little shopping before settling on an insurance company.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to make shopping for and buying insurance easier. For instance, Forrester Research reports that 86 percent of consumers shop for insurance on the Web and 22 percent apply online for auto insurance.

However, finding insurance on the Internet can have some draw- backs if you aren’t careful about what sites you visit. Here’s a closer look:

Look For Full Service
Only 40 percent of sites let consumers complete transactions and buy policies online and most sites only have rates for their own coverage.

Instead, the sites serve as go- betweens for shoppers and agents, meaning your information could be passed on to a number of different salespeople who contact you at a later date. Additionally, some insurance sites only direct you to other insurance Web sites or provide numbers for you to call to get a quote.

Get The Green Light
Your best-and fastest-bet may be to go with a Web site such as www.answercenter.com, which offers a choice of insurance carriers that can typically make attractive offers. The Web site is unique in that users need only provide their information once, either by Web or over the phone. From there, the company delivers actual quotes from six or more A-rated insurance companies. The process can save time and make it easier to comparison shop.

Drive A Smart Bargain
As a final tip, experts say to keep the following in mind: When you do talk to an agent, remember that he or she could be biased towards a certain insurance provider. It’s a good idea to ask what carrier or carriers your agent represents before you start shopping.

How Can I Get Cheap Auto Insurance In New York?

In New York State there are several things you can do to ensure the best possible auto insurance rate. No one wants to pay more for insurance than they have to. Here are some tips:

First make sure the information is correct: Proper address, correct vehicle information, your name and age are correct, and the vehicle is properly classified.

Take a DMV approved auto accident prevention course. Your insurance company must apply a credit to your premiums for three years if you take and complete the course. Additionally, if you have points (violations) on your driver’s license, this course will remove up four of them (hopefully you don’t have more than that).

Automatic seatbelts and airbags will earn you a credit on your medical payments and no fault (not on the liability nor physical damage) coverages. A small credit, but a credit none the less.

Anti lock brakes is a biggie and earns a discount on most of your policy coverages.

Daytime running lamps will earn a further discount on your liability, collision, no fault and medical payments coverages.

Join the Combat Auto Theft Program (CAT). This program allows police officers to stop vehicles with an official decal if it is driven during the prime vehicle theft hours between 1 and 5 am. Some companies will offer a discount for participating in CAT.

Earn a Careful Driver discount for drivers without an accident for a given period of time.

Multi-policy discount – if you have more than one policy with the same insurer, most insurance companies will offer a discount.

Senior Citizens and/or retirees may be offered a discount because they’re generally on the road less often than younger drivers.

Increase your deductibles. Higher deductibles lower your premium

Drop physical damage coverage on old vehicles.

Chat with your insurance agent. They are a great resource for money saving tips