Finding the right health insurance plan for you can be a daunting task. There is so much to read, compare, and decipher. It can truly be overwhelming at first. But, with a little careful consideration while following some basic steps, you will be on the path towards picking the perfect insurance plan.
Step 1: Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
It’s no secret that health insurance plans can be confusing. There is a lot of jargon that can be unclear or puzzling, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t need to be embarrassed if you don’t know what terms like ‘deductible’, ‘risk adjustment’ or ‘cost-sharing’ mean.
Step 2: Know your budget.
Sitting down and figuring out what your budget will allow for good health insurance coverage is important. Just like you figure out how much your mortgage or car payments will be before taking them on, so you should figure out how much you can spend for health care. Then, look closely at various plans and see how much you’ll need to pay monthly out of pocket, whether it’s a bulk amount out of your paycheck, or just with co-pays. These costs can add up quickly, so make sure you compare plans and see exactly what your cost obligations will be.
Step 3: Identify the essentials.
There are a lot of different plans out there for health insurance coverage, so to make things a little more simple, begin by creating a checklist of some of your must-haves or things that you can’t (or shouldn’t) live without. This step can potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run. For example, will you need maternity coverage? Do you want full coverage for surgeries, tests, or screenings, or do you not mind paying a small portion for these types of things to meet a deductible? There is no need to pay more for services that you know you won’t need. So determine what you really need and are willing to pay for, then go from there.
In addition, consider what doctors you have liked in the past and find out if they are included in the network you are considering. Many times, you can find this information through an online directory or by calling the doctor’s office directly. You should always make sure that the doctors or hospitals you use or the ones that are most convenient for you are covered in your network.
Step 4: Look at past health trends.
Did you go to the doctor a lot last year? Are you taking medications on a regular basis or do you require prescriptions often? Or, do you have a family history of cancer, diabetes, or other serious health conditions that may require you to be treated by a doctor regularly? These are all questions that you should ask yourself to make sure that you find a coverage plan that includes what you need at monthly or yearly premiums you can afford.
Step 5: Compare, compare, and compare.
Just like you shop and compare makes and models of cars, so you should also shop and compare various health care companies and the plans they offer. What works for one family or individual, might not be what works for you. It’s ok to get quotes from a lot of different places, then sit down and evaluate your options. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of who you’ve talked to and what they’re offering you. Find out what method works best for you to compare your choices. After doing a broad comparison, then consider narrowing down the list to the top 2 or 3 plans that work for you.
With the perfect health care plan, there comes peace of mind. Knowing that you have great health insurance coverage, you’ll be confident that you will get quality care if you or a family member is sick or has an emergency health issue.]]>
There are many insurance policies available and many different terms you will hear when considering your insurance needs. How can you tell if mortgage life cover is right for you? Unlike a private mortgage insurance, which would protect you in case you couldn’t make a mortgage payment on time, mortgage life insurance is designed to protect the repayment of your mortgage. In other words if you died before the mortgage was paid, but were covered by mortgage life insurance, the policy would pay out a lump sum that would ensure the outstanding balance is paid in full.
There are two types of mortgage, repayment mortgage and interest only mortgage.
At the beginning of the policy the amount you need to pay will be calculated based on the length of the mortgage, the rate of repayment, and the sum that would be required to clear the balance in full. The longer you make payments the less your insurance would need to pay out in the even to death, and possibly terminal illness. The full cost of insurance will be equally divided over the life of the policy so that your premiums are the same for the duration of the policy. If you pay your mortgage in full and are still in good health you will not receive any payout. If you have accrued arrears by not making your mortgage repayments but then make a claim on your insurance it should be noted that the payout will not include any arrears you owe the bank. The payout will reflect the balance that should be owed assuming you did not default.
Interest Only Mortgage
As you are only repaying the interest on your mortgage you must make arrangements to pay the capital off at the end of the loan period. Cover for this type of mortgage is often referred to as Level Term Life Insurance. You can decide how long you need the cover for and if you make a claim against the policy during that time a set figure will be paid out, regardless of what is owed. It should be noted that whilst you can certainly take out a policy for the entire duration of your mortgage, say 25 years, you can also choose to take a shorter term if that would suit your financial circumstances better.
With either option you can obtain mortgage life cover through your loan provider usually, but it is considered good practice to speak to an independent financial advisor as there are other ways to ensure you can cover your mortgage obligations in case of death or terminal illness.
The insurance industry is currently undergoing quite an upheaval right now. The way in which premiums are being calculated is being amended to include gender equality. When your insurance provider is assessing your potential risk they cannot penalise you for being male or allow you a discount for being female. Typically this has been the case for several decades as women tend to live longer than men making them a much safer risk for insurance companies to cover.
There are also new regulations coming into play which will affect how cover is sold. New tax initiatives will see insurance companies handing over more in the way of tax and being required, by law, to provide a financial safety net to their clients in case the insurance company collapses.
All in all insurance, of any kind, is about to get much more expensive. Just how much more expensive remains to be seen , though estimates range between 20 to 30% ? The real question is, with something as important as your home at stake can you afford to not be insured?
Jacob Chapman is a columnist with experience in the financial field. You can read his articles aiming to help individuals get the right mortgage life insurance for their needs on www.mortgagelifeinsurance.org.uk . Or if you are interested in life assurance you can also visit www.lifeassurancequotes.org.uk .]]>
As I am Managing Partner of a specialist firm of personal injury solicitors, the title alone of this post may make me appear to be a bitter personal injury lawyer, but honestly, that’s not really the case. I’m all for a level playing field and competition is inherently a good thing in all aspects of life.
In many respects, lawyers have only themselves to blame as regards the fact that in many areas of law, we no longer call the shots.
In the personal injury sector, the warning signs started many years ago with Claims Direct. An ex-lawyer decided that, based on lawyers unwillingness to invest in marketing and/or the fact they were constrained on types of advertising, he would do the marketing for us, and would be kind enough to sell us all the leads he obtained for a hefty premium !
Too few lawyers recognised the clear signal from Claims Direct and acted accordingly. The threat did not just apply to personal injury but law generally and in fact, more injury lawyers started marketing than in other sectors of legal practice.
Post Claims Direct
Insurers realised they could make money from lawyers as well, so started selling claims and expecting hefty referral fees. Claims Management Companies were created by other entrepreneurs, realising that there is a funnel whereby in many cases, a vehicle accident repair company can gain the ear of an accident victim first. Once you have the ear of the person, you can then seek to act as a broker.
To that extent, whilst the rules on advertising were relaxed for lawyers, the Claims Management Companies were again ahead of the game, and many resorted to tactics such as data marketing and mass text messaging which were still, thankfully, unavailable to lawyers who wanted to stay lawyers.
So, as can be seen from the above, lawyers are partly responsible for the fact they do not control the market, except perhaps for the very niche area of clinical negligence claims, but partly, those who acts as brokers for claims have exploited the regulation of lawyers so that there has never been a level playing field.
Referral fees banned – lawyers free to compete with each other without outside interference
With referral fees now being banned from next year, on the face of it, this would give injury lawyers an opportunity, for the first time since Claims Direct, to invest in marketing on the basis of a more level playing field, competing only with each other ?
Unfortunately not - the referral fee ban coincides with the new ABS system which enables non-lawyers to effectively buy and control law firms. So what happens next ? Insurers and claims management companies start buying law firms, using the financial muscle obtained by using methods unavailable to lawyers to outflank and outmuscle remaining independent law firms.
Frankly, I don’t think this is fair – I am all for a level playing field and competiotion in law, but the system is now stacked against lawyers.
If the root cause of the disquiet about personal injury is the sort of tactics utilised by marketing and selling in a way which discredits genuine lawyers, should it not be the case that the root of the problem, which is not generally law firms, are removed from the equation ?
What do you say ?]]>
A ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement between you and your solicitor is legally referred to as a ‘Conditional Fee Agreement’ or CFA. A CFA is an agreement in which you solicitor agrees to only be paid their fee is your claim is successful. If you lose your claim, then you will not have to pay them, as they are not entitled to any fees unless they win your claim.
Despite this, they are able to recover their expenses in the event of your case being lost, however this is usually covered by your legal expenses insurers for a fixed premium and known as an ‘After the Event’ policy. This can protect you from having to pay disbursements such as the cost of medical or expert witness reports. Likewise, insurance protects you from paying court costs.
The ‘no win, no fee’ system was developed in 2000 by the government, and has took the place of legal aid in accident and injury claims. Claims regarding clinical negligence, abuse or police abuse would still be dealt with by legal aid; however, the introduction of ‘no win, no fee’ has opened up the opportunity for thousands of victims of personal injury, from brain injury to broken bones, to gain access to the courts and receive compensation for the other people’s negligence.
When making your initial claim, the personal injury solicitors will assess the viability of your case, so make to include all details of the injury and the event, as if they think you have a valid claim and a good chance of winning compensation; they will take on your case.
This prevents lengthy court cases in situations where the claim was unlikely to be won in the first place. After your initial claim is processed, you will sign a written contractual conditional fee agreement with your solicitors. Be sure to read this carefully as it will cover all the details of what you pay and when you pay.
There are many types of ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors, many who work in specific categories such as road traffic solicitors, while others work with a broader range of clients. Despite this, not all solicitors are the same. It’s always best to look around online and read reviews before committing yourself to one ‘no win, no fee’ solicitor company.
This will ensure that you get the best possible legal aid for your case and also prevent you from being ripped off. Always be sure you have read through contracts thoroughly and never be pressured into signing anything in a rush. Read the small print.]]>
Insurance is one of those things that should be simple but end up taking hours of your time to get right. The concept is simple: you pay a monthly or yearly premium and in return, insurers offer you coverage on the terms agreed upon. When you need to make a claim, the insurance company will pay out under the agreed terms.
Problem is things get considerably more complex when you start factoring different levels of cover and excess and so on. Insurance can end up being unnecessary in some cases, and too expensive in other cases – so getting the right level of cover for what you need will result in the cheapest insurance premiums.
When looking into buying contents insurance, you will be required to agree on an excess. The excess is the amount you will be expected to cover, with insurers paying the rest. The best way to save money on home insurance is to therefore agree on a high level of excess – as insurers won’t be required to pay unless significant damage or loss occurs. This means that if you damage something, you may have to sell stuff online for free to cover the damage yourself.
When you have a number of ongoing agreements with credit card companies, insurers and agencies, you could end up with duplicate cover – both insurers covering the same thing. Insurers will charge you for every type of cover you have – so making sure you have no conflicts will save you money.
Make fewer claims
Insurance should only be used in cases where you really need it, as regular small claims will all add up to increase the cost of your insurance premiums. Only use your insurance when you simply can’t afford to cover the costs yourself. Speaking from personal experience, I had to sell my iPhone because constantly replacing it after breakages and loss was costing me too much on my insurance.
Bear with me, this does make sense. Your insurer will charge lower premiums if you are prepared to take on more of the cost if you do make a claim. Upping your excess can be a great everyday saver if you are pretty certain you won’t need to make a claim. Think about your previous history with phones and tech. If you tend to take good care of them, this is a great call.
The insurance market is extremely competitive in all sectors, especially since there are now many insurers who operate only over the internet in a bid to keep costs down. That means that with a bit of work, you could be saving hundreds of pounds on your insurance policy. There are many comparison websites that allow you to compare the market easily. The important thing to remember is that you should always compare insurance policies on a like-for- like basis, or you could end up with less cover than you had planned for.]]>
As a homeowner, having the right level of insurance to protect you from unforeseen circumstances is always important. There are many different types of insurance you can get for your property, which often causes much confusion for homeowners. If you’re looking into getting insurance for your property, this guide will help you understand the insurance policies available.
Buildings insurance is by far the most important form of insurance a homeowner can have, as it covers the most expensive part – the structure of the building. If you consider that replacing a damaged wall or roof could set you back tens of thousands of pounds, having insurance to cover the damage can prove to be invaluable.
Buildings insurance can end up costing you an arm and a leg if you get the wrong level of cover. You should have enough insurance to cover the entire repair of your home. Many homeowners make the mistake of covering their home for the market value of their home, when in fact a rebuild would cost significantly less. It’s important that you get the right rebuild cost, which could mean asking a professional to calculate the figure for you. Because the rebuild cost will vary with time, its recommended that you have this figure re checked every few years to ensure that you’re insured to the correct level.
Also, if you own a flat, be aware that you are usually not responsible for buildings insurance. The freeholder – more often than not your landlord – has that task to fulfil. Speak to them or their managing agent about seeing an up-to-date policy.
As the name suggest, contents insurance will cover the contents of your home. The value of your contents and the types of items you wish to ensure will determine the price of your insurance premium.
Reading the small print is always important with any insurance-policy as you will find that some insurers’ impose certain limits on high valued items, which you may need to insure with specialist insurers.
The average four-person family will have close to £50,000 worth of items, so being insured for the right amount is very important if you want to be properly protected. Calculating your level of cover will require you taking a detailed inventory of all your household items from electronics to clothing.
Most basic contents insurance policies won’t cover accidental damage so be sure to take out additional cover if you need it.
If you intend on renting out your property, having landlords insurance alongside buildings insurance is highly recommended. Landlords insurance will normally cover the damage made to furnishings and fittings as well as more complex cover such as rent protection should your property be damaged and your tenants have to move out.
Another important feature of Landlords insurance is that many policies offer liability insurance, meaning should anyone be injured as a result of a problem with your property, your legal fees and any pay outs will be covered.]]>
Assault can be the most traumatic event you can experience in your life. Cherished possessions can be taken from you, and the physical and emotional damage can take weeks, months or even years to overcome.
While compensation will never put right all the fall-out from an assault, it can at least get you back on track. Many victims are too shell-shocked in the immediate aftermath to even think about making a claim. It pays, therefore, to get your injury compensation advice as soon as possible.
The good news is that crime is on the way down, but while there was a fall of 7.2% between March 2011 and March 2012 in ‘violence against the person’ – the crime classification encompassing assaults, as well as murder, manslaughter etc. – the amount of offences still stood at 763,000.
The British Crime Survey of 2009/10 suggested 42 in every 1000 men would be a victim of violent crime, while the figure for women was 18 in 1000. While assault is uncommon, and despite the fall in crime rates in the intervening period, the chances of falling victim are still worth worrying about.
It is not as simple to go about getting compensation for an assault as you may think. One issue is that you will find yourself needing to go through different insurers to cover your health issues, damage to your property or possessions, and any theft that took place.
Added to that, is the fact many insurers don’t provide cover if, for instance, you were under the influence of alcohol, or acted in such a way as to invite the incident. A cyclist who is barged off their bike before it is stolen may well receive compensation, but if they had it taken while they walked it down the street, the same bike insurance-policy might not pay out.
A consumer report in 2011 highlighted that only 6% of car insurance policies effectively covered ‘road rage’: damage to a car might be covered (though proof that the damage was not brought on by the policy holder may need to be provided), physical assault and emotional trauma may well not be.
The best way to seek redress is to make a criminal injury compensation claim. The ways you can claim include:
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
The CICA is the only way compensation can be received if the victim’s attacker is unknown or cannot pay the damages awarded. That makes it the most common means by which victims seek compensation.
Its definition of assault is strict, and awards tend to be lower, but claims made this way are a good back up if the civil claims below are unsuccessful.
Direct claim against the attacker
Assault does not have to include a physical act. If you believe your attacker intends to commit battery then an assault has taken place.
If you can prove there was reason for you to believe your attacker intended to commit battery then you can make a successful civil claim. But you need to be able to identify your attacker and be sure they can pay out.
Claim against your employer
If you were a victim of assault while at work or carrying out your job, you may be able to make a claim against your employer. To do this you need to prove the risk you were exposed to was unreasonable, foreseeable and could have been prevented.
Make sure you speak to a reputable firm of specialist solicitors such as injurylawyers4u.co.uk before choosing which path to take.]]>
With the housing market in crisis, more homeowners are letting out properties they cannot sell. This has led to a number of “accidental landlords” that fail to understand their responsibilities and duties.
If this situation sounds familiar, it’s important to live up to your new role and to protect yourself (and your property) in every way possible – so take a look at these five useful tips:
Take out landlord-insurance
First and foremost, you must take out landlord insurance with a reputable company. This will help protect your rental property against a range of home incidents and emergencies and could save you a lot of money in the long run. Reputable policies cover everything from plumbing and drains to electrical wiring and roof damage, so make sure you read the small print before you sign on the dotted line.
Revamp your property
The competition is tough out there, so revamp your property as much as possible. Give the walls a lick of paint, lay a new carpet (if necessary) and make sure your property is as clean as possible. A few tweaks here and there will give you a higher change of renting your property and will ensure your occupants have a nice, comfortable place to live. Landlords have a duty of care toward their tenants, so try not to cut corners.
Place a suitable advert
Do you want to rent to young professionals or students? Will you allow families or couples? Is your property for smokers or non-smokers? Whatever you decide, you must draw up a suitable advert. State the type of tenants you’re looking for, jot down the weekly rent price and make sure you include a phone number or email address so people can contact you. Advertise on the internet and in local shops and you should find your business starts to thrive.
Interview all tenants
Once you’ve taken out a landlord insurance policy, revamped your house and created your advert – it’s time to interview tenants. This is an extremely important process that must be handled with care. The right tenants will make your life bearable, but the wrong tenants could make your life hell, so take the time to meet each and every individual. Of course, first impressions can be deceiving, but go with your instincts and take your time to choose someone suitable.
Ask for references and deposits
To help with your decision, ask all tenants to provide a reference from a former landlord and employer. This will give you an overview of their character and will help you select an individual with a good background. You should also run a credit check and ask to see a signed contract of employment, so that you know they will pay rent. Finally ask, for a deposit to secure the room and find out more about deposit protection schemes.
Being a landlord can be fun, but it’s important to do things right.]]>
Flooding can cause untold devastation to your property and the contents contained within. Unfortunately flooding has been on the rise in the UK for the last few years and doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Because of this, a lot of people are now finding it difficult to get flood insurance at an affordable price. Whilst flood damage has been traditionally included as part of home insurance, more recently insurance companies have refused to cover homes in high risk areas as a lot of high claims have been made. What makes flood insurance so risky for an insurer is that the damage that can occur can result in some very costly claims. This is especially true when the insurance covers the contents of the house as well as structural damage.
Luckily there are ways to get flood insurance at a reasonable price. Flooding is something that cannot be prevented but it can be prepared for. In this article I’ll look at why you should consider using and insurance broker to obtain your flood insurance (the site floodinsurances.co.uk can do all of the hard work for you. I’ll also give some tips on how you can minimize the damage and stress that occurs when flooding happens.
Benefits of using an insurance broker
Because flood insurance can be such a risky proposition for insurance companies, it can be frustrating trying to deal with them directly to obtain a quote that you can afford. For this reason it is highly recommended that you use an insurance broker. An insurance broker will negotiate with several independent insurance companies to get you the best price possible. They will assess your business or home and take the risk factors into account when negotiating a price. Brokers are known offering extremely competitive prices and offer the following key benefits –
Using an insurance broker gives you a level of leverage that you wouldn’t otherwise have. This is especially important now as a lot of companies are very wary of insuring properties that are situated in high flood-risk areas. A broker will be able to expertly assess all the factors and use these to get you the best deal possible.
Preparing for a flood
As well as being able to get a great deal on your flood insurance, a broker will also offer you some great advice on how best to protect your home and minimize the damage in the event of a flood. Some of the top tips an insurance broker would give are –
If you follow this advice then you can minimize the damage and stress that will inevitably occur when a flood strikes. Thinking of your home being flooded is something that nobody wants to contemplate but it is better to be prepared for the worst in the long run. Whilst a flood is an incredibly stressful thing to deal with, if you’re well covered then at least you know you will not have to bear the financial brunt of the flood afterwards.]]>
Many homes do suffer from subsidence and if you’re having difficulty purchasing insurance get in touch with experienced online brokers who have many years in the business and know just what their clients require. They have insurance partners who specialise in subsidence insurance and make the buying process straightforward to ensure customers find the right cover at the right prices.
What subsidence insurance covers
Buying subsidence insurance means if your property has suffered from landslip, ground heave or the ground moving under it the insurance policy will cover repairs and any reconstruction work. Brokers understand the problems subsidence can cause householders and if repairs are carried out properly the chances of subsidence recurring are quite low. Experts in the insurance business can compare prices for this type of insurance using their database of some of the UK’s leading insurance companies, they will ensure you get the best deal around which could save you money in the long run.
Causes of subsidence
There are many causes of subsidence, one of the most common ones is the shrinkage and swelling of clay soil which in turn causes foundations to crack. Leaking drains are also known to cause subsidence so it’s advisable to keep checking all drains on your property ot make sure they are in good working order. Trees and shrubs too often cause subsidence by shrinking the soil due to soaking up water through their roots especially during the summer months. Do your homework before planting trees or shrubs to find out which species need a lot of water to survive and cross them off your shopping list to help prevent subsidence.
Online brokers offer great solutions
If you need information about subsidence insurance online brokers have all the answers, make contact by e-mail or telephone to find out what a policy covers, how much it will cost and how to renew it. Experienced insurance advisers will do all they can to help clients no matter what their query is, alternatively there’s a huge amount of advice and guidance on the relevant websites about subsidence insurance which makes very interesting reading.
Subsidence is not pleasant to live with and can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage, it can happen suddenly and without any warning so buy subsidence insurance now if you haven’t already done so. Get the best policies available on the market now.]]>