Monthly Archives: January 2016

Medicare Eligibility – Helpful Tips

Insurance 6At age 65, most people qualify for their Initial Enrollment period with Medicare. It’s during this time that you can buy a Medicare Supplement without having to answer health questions. Typically, you only get one Initial Enrollment period. It begins three months before the month of your Medicare eligibility and ends three months after the month of eligibility. The month of eligibility is the month of your 65th birthday, if you become eligible for Medicare because you are turning 65 years old.

The Initial Enrollment period is a great opportunity for people to get Medicare health insurance. That’s because, typically, insurance companies must use medical underwriting to determine whether to accept your application. However, if you enroll during your Initial Enrollment period, you can buy any Medicare Supplement policy (that’s available in your area) without having to answer health questions and insurers can’t deny issuance of your policy.

It’s important to note that people with Medicare, due to disability, will be eligible for a second Initial Enrollment period at age 65. The same way anyone else becoming eligible for Medicare, for the first time, qualifies at age 65.

In most cases, Medicare Supplements pay what Medicare doesn’t cover at the hospital and doctor’s office. However, Medicare Supplements do not cover the majority of prescription drugs.

For drug coverage, you should consider enrolling in a Medicare Prescription Drug plan. Also known as Part D, this is separate and voluntary insurance that may help lower your prescription drug out-of-pocket costs. As with Medicare Supplements, private insurance companies offer Part D drug plans.

Although Part D is deemed “voluntary”, there are consequences for not enrolling in a qualified drug plan when you first become eligible for Medicare. That penalty is about 32 cents per month for every month that you could have enrolled but didn’t. The penalty is a lifetime carry which often times surprises people.

It’s important to compare Medicare Supplement benefits and prices before you decide which plan is right for you. That’s because all Medicare Supplements are standardized which means the plans offered and the benefits in those plans are the same for all companies.

There can be big differences in the premiums that different insurance companies charge for exactly the same coverage. By shopping and comparing, you could save hundreds of dollars per year.

There is a free service that can help you choose wisely by providing you with a list of companies who offer the most coverage at the lowest price, in your area.

The Need for Flood Insurance Is Real

Insurance 9Unfortunately for Californians, the flooding this year is here. As predicted the rains have come from our long long drought. After three years, the rain gods have answered.

A common misconception in California is that only the people in the Midwest need flood protection and that is a poor argument. Although the floods that we get in California are different they are certainly not nonexistent.

Lucky for many of the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area, Flood Insurance can be inexpensive you if you live in a good flood zone and your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, otherwise known as the NFIP. National Flood Ins is essentially underwritten by US National Government through the Department of Homeland Security.

Clients that live in A and V flood zones, unfortunately will pay much more in flood insurance costs. Sometimes upwards of 9 or even 10 times that cost. There are, of course, numerous other rating factors involved such as the exact elevation of your house and the foundation you have. Clients that live in these so called high risk flood zones are increasing being tasked with a herculean task of paying flood prices that would make the average consumer’s eyes water. Trust me, it’s a high number

In a recent article on CNBC, now titled California’s El Nino floods keep roofers, insurers busy. The article gives the impression that Insurance can be had for only 400 or 500 dollars. And while that may be true for some, it is not true for those who live in higher danger flood insurance. The $400 pricing is usually most associated with what is known as Preferred Pricing, which many clients can and will qualify for.

What should a client that lives in a high risk flood zone in California do? Shopping around with flood insurance is not likely to help them as much as with regular homeowners (home insurance) insurance. However, there are certain times when a private flood provider may make sense. Many agents are not aware of these options.

Of special note is that Floods are almost NEVER covered by your ordinary home insurance. Another special note is that a new flood insurance policy will typically require a thirty day waiting period before it goes into force.

So, is it too late to buy flood insurance, Califorians? Personally I do not think so, but it is getting close. Time is running out.

Secure Your Finances With Three Simple Actions

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Millions of people do not understand how important it is to be financially stable. Financial stability does not necessarily refer to having a well paying job and a lot of money. In order to be secure, one has to know how to handle their monetary resources. You need to be able to determine how you will spend, save and invest your money. This will make sure that you are financially secure.

How to use your money

There are simple tricks you can apply to your life to ensure you are utilizing your money well. The three main elements are to make sure you can;

· Spend

· Save

· Invest

When you get your salary or profits from your business ventures, you must be willing to pay attention to all these three areas. The secrets to maintaining a constant structure that will ensure you are financially stable is by following the pointers below.

1. Budget

Always budget whenever you get your money. Be logical when you do so. Write down all your expenses and needs. When you budget, always indicate payments you have to make to insurance companies or loan payments if they are not part of your net pay. Once you have a clear picture of how much you are spending, you can now know how much to save.

2. Saving

Choose a savings account that will generate more funds for you. You may need to do some research before you settle for one. If you have dependents, you may want to put money aside for their needs as well such as tuition savings. Allocate your savings according to your needs.

3. Invest

Investing ensures that your future is secure. Once you have done your savings and budgeted well, make sure you take a leap of faith and invest your money in other ways. For instance, you can put some money into company shares.

For the sake of your family, you can also apply for insurance. Life insurance is the best since it covers both you and your loved ones. There are many options available for such insurance covers like new policies that offer life insurance without medical.

With these three factors in place, you can begin to take charge of your finances. In the event that you have extra money to spare, hiring a financial manager will ensure you keep track of all your expenditures. Be sure to prioritize in the first stages so that you meet your goals and live within your means.

Use the Right Steps to Make an Insurance Claim

If you are unfortunate to suffer an accident or loss and the fault isn’t yours, you are entitled to make a claim with the insurance company. Claiming for a loss is a straightforward process providing that you are able to provide an accurate report of the damage and any relevant receipts or invoices to support a claim for compensation. Here are several steps involved in the process of filing a claim:

Deal with immediate issues

If making a claim for a property or similar that has suffered damage, it is crucial to take the required action to protect it from further damage. For instance, if a home has experienced a burst pipe or serious flooding, make sure to get in contact with an emergency plumber as the first course of action. In most situations, an insurance company will reimburse this expense at a later date provided it is possible to supply a copy of the receipt for the work completed.

Make contact with the insurer

Get in contact with the insurance companies claim help line and submit details of the potential claim and ask for guidance on what to do next. Make sure to provide a clear and detailed report on the loss and point out what work is necessary to avoid any future problems. Prior to asking a builder, electrician, plumber, etc to start working on the repairs, it is necessary to first get the green light from the insurers.

Photographs or video footage

A crucial step to help illustrate the damage to the personal property comes from taking multiple photos or video footage. This is certain to help with providing the supporting evidence when it comes to filing a claim for the large or complex loss.

Damage assessment

If looking to file a claim for a significant loss, an insurance company may want to send out a representative to personally inspect the damage. This loss adjuster is likely to make the visit within 24 hours of the notified claim. The insurer will let you know when making the initial claim notification whether it is necessary to wait for a loss adjuster to inspect the damaged property. If a lost adjuster is planning to visit the premises, leave what you can in its original state to show the full extent of the damage.

All in all, by taking the right course of action at the time of suffering an accident or loss, you are certain to be in a better position for making a successful claim with the insurance company.

Plan Your Investment For a Sound Financial Future

There are two parts to planning your investment for a sound financial future – one, where you decide on the bigger picture of how you would want your investment to be, and two, when you decide on the instrument that you would choose to execute your plans. When you have got the basics right, you could then compare plans and go about deciding on the best plan that is right for you.

The bigger picture – risk, returns, and the time frames: The first aspect associated with your plan have to be with the kind of risk that you are willing to take, the amount of returns that you plan to make, and the time frames that you have set for yourself to make things happen. Are you willing to go the long term, which would be over and above 7 years in duration, would you want to keep it mid-term, as in about 4 – 6 years long, or have you set your sights on the short-term? This basic thinking would make you focus on the category that would be the most appealing for you.

And it is a similar case when it comes to risks and returns – they are partners in business but they do not always go the same way. As you would realist when you compare these plans, those that are high in risk tend to have higher scope for returns, and vice versa. However, that is not to mean that all high risk investments are invariably subject to high returns – investment plans are, as the disclaimer goes, always subject to market risks. The clearer you are in what you want, the better you fare.

Which investment plan? There are many options available for the novice as well as the shrewd investor. Starting with the traditional ones to the successful online plan, there are many instruments that could serve your purpose.

Investment Insurance: This is a combination of investment and insurance. Some may consider this the best plan, since it serves two purposes in one. On the other hand, you may not get the best returns on investments, since there is also an element of insurance coverage in this option.

Unit-linked plans: For those who have chosen to ride with the market and take it in their stride, there are unit-linked plans. Their returns invariably go with the fluctuations in the market, even as they provide the advantage of insurance. This is also a good option if you have your sights fixed on the long term.

Online plans and other options: There is a whole range of options available for those who look for varieties, right from mutual fund investments through bank fixed deposits, Public Provident Funds (PPF) and other investments such as National Savings Certificates. You would only have to do your research and compare these plans to decide what is right for you.