Monthly Archives: August 2015

How to Choose the Best Health Insurance for You

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With so many different types of health insurance plans and restrictions out there, it can be difficult finding the best health insurance for you. However, this process is not impossible to do well with a little research. There are a few items to look for when deciding on health insurance plans, and by considering them all you can make a good decision for yourself and your family about health insurance.

The most important thing to look for is coverage. More often than not, insurance will cover physician visits and fees. Your health insurance should also cover hospital expenses such as room and board in case you are kept overnight or longer for observation or treatment. Good health insurance should also cover surgeries and any expenses associated with surgical treatment. Beyond these typical items of coverage, health insurance plans can diverge greatly. To really understand what coverage you would utilize and which plan would save you the most money, you will need to make a list of items that you want covered in an insurance plan. For instance, do you have glasses or contacts? Then you may be more interested in a plan that covers vision – either paying for your eye exam and/or partially paying for your glasses or contacts. Though many people think that health insurance covers prescriptions, prescription coverage is actually an optional benefit. If you know that you often have prescription drugs to fill, finding insurance that offers prescription coverage may be a must. If you are a woman and plan on having or want to have children, maternity care or family planning services are also optional benefits that you may want to consider. Once you make this must-have list of optional coverage, you can begin looking for health insurance plans that give you the opportunity to add these optional benefits.

Another item you should definitely consider is if your current physicians or specialists are included in the health insurance company’s preferred provider network or if you have the opportunity to choose any physician (often the case only with indemnity or traditional health insurance plans). If you would like the freedom to choose your own doctor, traditional health insurance plans or preferred provider organizations may offer more attractive plans – though these also cost a little more.

Lastly, consider price. After researching different coverage plans and physician requirements, compare deductibles and monthly premiums to find the best deal. Often, you can get group rates through your employer, or you may find that artist organizations (for freelance artists) offer health care plans. By researching price, as well as other health insurance options, you can make the best choices for your family.

Houston Home Owner Insurance Quote

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If you are a Houston resident in search of a home owner insurance quote, you have probably heard the same advice repeatedly shop around. Of course you need to shop around; otherwise, you may purchase a home owner insurance policy from an insurance company, only to later find you could have purchased the same home owner insurance policy from another insurance company cheaper.

Check out these tips and tricks to get the best home owner insurance quote for your Houston home.

Don’t overlook the little guy.

Maybe you’re tempted to make an appointment with a large, well-known home owner insurance company in Houston; however, by choosing a skilled independent insurance agent, not only are you getting more personal, one-on-one attention, but you can also take advantage of the several different home owner insurance companies in Houston with which the independent agent is familiar and do business with.

Pay attention to discounts.

Pay real attention to discounts don’t just accept what the insurance company offers and move on. Home owner insurance companies offer the normal discounts for safety features, sturdy building materials, and the age of your home. If you have an excellent claims history, however, make sure your home owner insurance agent is aware of it. Stellar claims histories usually help get you additional discounts.

Control yourself.

Once you’ve gotten your Houston home owner insurance quote, and your policy has taken effect, you may sooner or later find that you aren’t at all pleased with the policy. When this is the case, many of us are tempted to call the insurance company, give them a piece of our minds, and cancel the policy. First, take a deep breath. Call your insurance company to determine if the policy can be corrected, or altered, to your needs and expectations. If not, politely say goodbye and begin shopping for a new policy. Never cancel your current policy before securing yourself a new one.

Household Insurance Is Available For Reasonable Cost Via A Specialist Broker

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Household insurance is a term used for home contents and / or buildings nsurance and while it can’t replace what you have built up for many years in memories, it can help to replace your possessions if they are damaged or lost. Household insurance covers the majority of your belongings in the home up to a certain amount and this is stated at the outset of the policy for which you pay a monthly premium.

The majority of standard household insurance policies will cover any damage made from such as fire, theft, flooding and damage caused by storms. Accidental damage is usually not covered in the majority of standard policies and must be taken out separately but it is worth while checking the small print of a policy as sometimes accidental damage to such as TV screens and furniture is included.

When looking for household cover you should try and go for a new for old policy, this means that should you have to claim against the policy then you will get the items value for what it’s worth now, not when you originally bought it. The majority of household contents insurance policies will also cover you up to a certain extent in the event that the persons living in the home insured should die as a result of a fire or an accident within the home but again you should check the small print and exclusions.

You should take a full inventory of the contents of your home before getting a quote and instead of shopping around yourself if you want the cheapest quotes on household insurance then let a specialist broker do the work of looking around for you. It is worth while remembering that if you have any items of particular value then these might not be covered in a standard policy so always check before you sign on the dotted line.

House Owner Insurance Basics And The One Tip That Most People Neglect But Pay’s Off Bigtime!

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‘House Insurance’ is an insurance policy that combines insurance on your physical house as well as your contents within. If something were to happen, flood, fire, vandalism, theft etc. you the owner will get back everything including your house and its valuable contents that were damaged according to the restrictions of the policy. Of course we all hope and plan that we never have to implement a claim and some never do. Yet, being prepared should you ever have to file a claim will save you alot of time, money and frustration at the worst of times; when you need help from your insurance company. With most large insurance companies developing an online presence many people can now compare prices and get a home owner insurance quote via the internet with relative ease.

Every home owner insurance policy covers two basic important areas, that being the property with physical contents and liability or damages to self and others. If you the home owner are responsible for unintentionally injuring or damaging other’s property then your policy will also protect you from paying for damages done to other people. If the insurance company determines that you were at fault than the chances of getting a claim are pretty slim abviously.

The main benefits of a home owner insurance policy are as follows:

1) In case of any damage done to the physical house the owner of the house insurance policy gets back the amount that has been damaged.

2) The legal responsibilities of the owner are compensated.

3) The temporary living expenses are also given in case the owner is forced to leave his home because of a severe damage to his house.

4) Policies will cover your losses whether you are physically at home or not during the incident.

5) The house insurance policy covers the damage done to the house due to different natural calamities such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flood and earthquake but most of the time they are excluded from the standard insurance policy. If you live in areas that frequent natural disasters many insurance companies will provide insurance like this for an additional fee.

6) A policy can also contain items that you take with you away from the property like laptops for example.

The One Tip That Every Home Owner Should Do:

I certainly hope you never have to file a claim, but just in case you do this is one tip that will save you hours and hour of frustration. There is one big problem that frequently occurs when someone has to file a claim. The insurance company wants to know what you had and how much it was worth. Well, that’s all fine and dandy if they’ll just take your word for it but most of them are going to want to see proof in the form of receipts. I’m sure most of you are following my thinking on this already. How do you produce the receipts if they have just been lost in a flood or fire? Or what if your not able to turn up the receipt because it got lost somehow. An insurance claim can get really sticky at this point because it becomes your word with no proof of your previous items. This has been a really big problem for insurance companies as well as home owners.

How technology has come to the rescue:

Most people either have a home video camera or know someone that does and if not can probly find a store that rents one. In an effort to make the insurance claiming process simpler most home owner insurance companies will recommend that you take a home video of every room of your house with contents and keep the video off site.

If you think about this it works really well – there are even home inventory companies now that do this full time and store the videos in a safe place for you. The insurance companies love this because now they can see firsthand what your trying to claim and it becomes way easier to determine the value of items when they can actually see the make and model simply through the video.

The benefits for you the home owner are huge as well and this has been known to really shorten a legetamite claim and will also guarantee that the price you get for your items is closer to what they are actually worth. The biggest benefit is you may find there are alot of items that show up in the video that you had forgotten about and therefore your total claim may end up being alot higher than simply be memory. It’s recommended to update the video every so often as your contents change.

So let’s recap: use the internet to get a home owner insurance quote to compare companies to ensure your not overpaying for your policy. Do a video inventory of your home with contents and keep the video off site or in another city if you can. It doesn’t take long but may be well worth it to you at some point.

Hospitalization Only Insurance vs. Catastrophic Insurance

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Some strategies on finding affordable health insurance.

I’ve been a health insurance agent since 1985. I help Connecticut residents find health insurance and have for the last several years have also managed a website that helps people in other states find medical and hospital policies online.

Over the years I have changed my mind about hospitalization only insurance. These health insurance policies have significant limitations that are not found in the typical health insurance plan. I tend now to help my clients who express an interest in hospital only policies find catastrophic health insurance providers. High deductible or catastrophic medical insurance policies are also low in cost, but have fewer drawbacks.

Why I don’t like hospitalization only insurance:

Hospital stays are getting shorter and shorter. However, people are not necessarily healing any more quickly. The medical care that years ago, you might have received in the hospital during the last day or two of your stay is today care that you are likely to receive outside of the hospital. This care is not likely to be covered. A hospitalization only health insurance plan may cover the hospital stay, usually not the medical care that takes place outside of the hospital.

X-rays, lab work, MRIs, etc. often take place outside of a hospital. These can be expensive and may not be covered by a hospitalization only insurance policy.

A long-term illness may require years of doctors visits, none of which are likely to be covered by a hospitalization only insurance policy.

People buy hospitalization only insurance policies to save money. Saving money is of course a good thing. However if it was the only thing we’d all buy the least expensive car and wear the least expensive clothes.

If you need to keep your costs for health insurance lower, I recommend searching for medical and hospital policies online or elsewhere and looking for a catastrophic or high deductible policy that covers you both in the doctor’s office and in the hospital. In my opinion, a catastrophic health insurance policy that has a $2,000 deductible, but covers you in the doctor’s office and the hospital is a better deal than a hospitalization only policy that has a $1,000 deductible even if they cost the same.

Hospitalization only insurance is like a bullet-proof vest that is only bullet-proof in the front. Catastrophic health insurance may be a better option. If you need to save money, go for a higher deductible medical insurance policy that is “bullet-proof” on both sides.

Good Luck,

Alston J. Balkcom

This article can be copied and reprinted but only in its entirety and with the links intact. The article was originally published on The article starts with the heading “Hospitalization Only Insurance” and ends with this sentence.

Homeowners Policy: Why You Should Review It Annually

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Most Homeowners insurance companies will simply send out a reminder for a renewal of your home insurance policy when the end of the year is up for your insurance coverage. Many will also automatically renew your policy unless you call and let them know that you want to change or cancel that policy. This makes it easy for many homeowners to simply begin sending in the next set of payments for another year without reviewing the policy to make sure it adequately reflects their needs for the year.

Whether you have upgraded or remodeled the home, added a deck onto the back, turned the home into a rental property or realized that you may have problems with flooding in your area, there are several reasons to review your home insurance policy every year to assess whether the coverage still meets your needs.

Even if you have just begun a new home insurance coverage policy, it is important to review the policy as soon as you receive it to make sure the policy has the correct coverage amounts and coverage needs you have asked for. Remember that this policy will be in place for an entire year and will most likely cost between $300-$2000 so be sure that you are getting what you want.

If you asked for personal liability of others in the amount of $100,000 and the policy only shows $50,000 don’t be afraid to call the insurance agent back to have this problem corrected. The problem can simply be solved by issuing a new policy or a policy change.

Once the year time period has expired on your current policy and you are getting ready to renew again, it is always a safe bet to call the insurance agent and ask if the replacement cost value has gone up on your home or on anything in your home.

Remember that the financial market continues to increase and with this rates of building and replacement tools will go up, so there is no shame in calling to ask if the figures on your policy need to be changed.

If you have done any renovation of the home in the last year, such as replacing countertops or flooring, or even adding on a deck, it is important to inform the insurance company of these changes. This protects you from being underinsured in case of damage or loss.

If you have acquired any major purchases of personal property, it is also important to contact the insurance company about changing the coverage amount on your interior belongings. This could include major electronics equipment like an LCD television, a personal computer or laptop, an expensive piece of jewelry or fur coat, or even new furniture or a new piece of artwork.

It is also important to review your insurance coverage policy every year to determine if you have adequate peril coverage and liability insurance. Although some basic plans cover certain types of natural disaster and others cover personal liability, you may want to consider adding on specific insurance clauses for flooding, hurricanes, or tornados if you live in a high risk area.

If you started a plan out with little or no hurricane insurance but realized that the previous year brought major hurricanes to your area, then you may want to reconsider the amount of coverage. As well, some policies do not require homeowners to have personal liability insurance but this is a good idea if you are planning on having others in your home quite often.

This could include construction workers who are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or even a babysitter or housekeeper. You will also want to change your policy if your children are starting to get older and invite over friends to play in the yard or to spend the night. Personal liability insurance will cover any accidents that happen while others are in your home.

One final reason to review your insurance policy each year is to assess discounts or possible price quote deductions that you may be able to receive. When you purchased the home it may not have had a security system installed, fire sprinklers or been equipped with up to date smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

But if you have installed this equipment over the past year, it is a good idea to call and inform the insurance company to see if you this makes you eligible for a discount. You may also be able to receive a discount if you started receiving car insurance from the same company, turned a certain age, or began a membership to a certain club or organization that the insurance company recognizes and gives discounts to on a regular basis.

Homeowners Insurance Quotes: Tips For Getting The Best Ones

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Once you have found the home that you would like to buy and have begun the process of closing on the house, you will need to begin searching for a Homeowners insurance policy that meets your needs and your budget.

Depending on the part of the country you plan to live in, the size of the home being purchased, and the amount of theft prone possessions inside, insurance price quotes can vary greatly. But most price quotes from a private insurance company will fall between $300 and $1500 a year.

Hopefully you are working with a helpful realtor who has already informed you of the importance of shopping around for Homeowners insurance price quotes before deciding on a coverage plan that is right for you.

If a realtor has not told you already, it is best to call at least three different insurance companies to get price quotes for your home. You may already have an insurance company in mind, possibly one that handles your parents’ insurance needs or one that already handles your car or life insurance.

If you don’t already have an insurance company then don’t be afraid to simply search online or through the telephone book for insurance companies. You may also recognize names from advertisements. Feel free to use these names as a starting point for a price quote.

Whichever insurance companies you decide to begin your search with, make sure you get at least three different price quotes from three different agencies before settling on the best quote for your home.

Before you begin calling the insurance agencies regarding a price quote, it is best to have hard knowledge about the home you are purchasing. This includes the current appraisal value of the home or an estimate from before the house was put up for sale.

You will also want to have a list of the dimensions of the home and the amenities inside the home, such as the square footage of each room and any special flooring, countertops or architectural design that adds to the value of the home.

As well, before you get started have a list of belongings that will add value to the home, such as appliances, furniture, jewelry and any major artwork or collectors items. Having all of this information ready can speed up the rate quote process.

With the advent of technology and computers, many major home insurance companies have begun placing information for quick 10-15 minute rate quotes online. This frees you up from having to speak to a representative on the phone, who may be trying to talk you into insurance that you don’t need.

Many of these websites also provide information explaining different types of insurance, so you can feel free to sit and read over the information without feeling as though you are asking too many questions.

Some of the major insurance companies that have information available online, as well as quick rate quotes for Homeowners insurance include Allstate, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and Travelers insurance companies. Of course there are several other insurance companies available online, so take time to research these companies if you have access to a computer and the Internet.

If you have tried several insurance companies and still aren’t happy with the price quotes being offered, try switching up the details of the plan. Before locking yourself into an insurance rate you are unhappy with, ask about changing the deductible, the coverage costs or even the personal liability insurance.

It really is a personal preference as to how much insurance is enough insurance for your family, so keep in mind that if you feel like you can’t afford the price quotes being offered, there are ways to make payments more manageable.

One of the best ways to manage the yearly payment of Homeowners insurance is simply to increase the deductible, or the amount the homeowner will pay before the insurance company steps in and begins paying for damages or loss. Most insurance companies will require a minimum deductible of either $250 or $500 but the homeowner can easily change that deductible to $750 or $1000 to reduce the annual payment.

If this still doesn’t work in giving you a fair price quote, speak to the insurance agent and ask for options regarding reducing the rate. If you give them a ballpark figure of how much insurance you can afford a year, most often they will work to help you attain these figures.

You may even want to consider adding security or fire safety features to the home, if that insurance company offers a discount for these features. Although it may cost a bit of money out of your pocket to add these features, it will save your insurance premium in the long run.

Homeowners Insurance Quotes

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What do you like the most about your home – the bright, sun-filled kitchen, the shiny wood floors or the comfortable bedrooms?

Or is it the fact that your home probably makes up maybe the biggest part – of your total net worth?

Either way, you have to protect what you have, using homeowner’s insurance.

Although there were reports a few years ago of higher prices and limited availability for homeowners insurance, the market has opened up again, according to J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America. Premiums are expected to rise by no more than the inflation rate this year, he said.

“The market remains a competitive one where homeowners’ insurance shoppers can be selective,” said Marshall McKnight, a spokesman for the state Department of Banking and Insurance.

Here are several ways to save on home insurance:

Shop around. While many homeowners believe that all insurance companies charge the same, that’s an expensive mistake. Use a service such as ours to compare rate quotes from different companies if YOUR area. To get started, just use the form on the right.

“You can go from one company to another and pay twice as much,” said Hunter.

And don’t just call an agent and expect him to do the shopping for you, Hunter advised, because agents don’t represent all companies and might not get you the best deal.

Insure for “replacement cost” rather than “actual cash value.” After all, if your belongings are destroyed, do you want the insurance company to send you enough to buy a new couch – or do you want a $50 check for the actual value of your 11-year-old couch?

Make sure you are covered for at least 80 percent of the cost of replacing your home. If you’re not, it could hurt you even if your home does not need to be completely replaced.

Let’s say your home would cost $200,000 to replace and you’re insured for only $100,000, half of the replacement cost. If you have a $10,000 loss, you would get only half of that amount, or $5,000.

Of course, knowing how much it would cost to replace your home is not always easy. For example, I know how much I paid for my home, and how much I could probably sell it for, but I don’t have a clue how much it would cost to rebuild if it burned down.

The state Department of Banking and Insurance and the Insurance Council of New Jersey recommend that homeowners in this situation should consult their insurer, who will be able to estimate the cost of rebuilding based on the size and location of the home.

Think twice before calling your insurance company with small claims for minor home damage. There have been reports of homeowners facing much higher premiums after putting in only two claims. So if it’s a loss you can handle, take care of it yourself.

And, in that vein, consider a higher deductible.

“If you’re not going to file a small claim, it’s no use paying a premium to be covered for an amount you wouldn’t file for,” Hunter said.

“Every dollar you give to an insurance company, on average you only get back 60 cents,” Hunter said. The rest goes to the insurance company’s profit and overhead. So if you can self-insure for smaller losses, you should.

About 20 years ago, Hunter raised |the deductibles on both his car and |home policies, and banked the money he saved on premiums in a special account. Over the years, he used that account to pay for about $2,000 to $3,000 in losses, mostly auto-related. He still has $4,000 – money that the insurance company |could have had.

“Nowadays, most insurance companies recommend a deductible of at least $500. If you can afford to raise your deductible to $1,000, you may save as much as 25 percent,” according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group.

Make sure your home insurance policy includes enough liability insurance, in case someone is injured on your property.

Consider buying your home and auto insurance policies from the same insurer. Some companies will take 5 to 15 percent off your premium if you buy two or more policies from them.

You can get discounts if you install smoke detectors, deadbolt locks or burglar alarms.

Keep your credit history clean. Insurance companies are increasingly checking credit reports to set their rates.

Homeowners Insurance Leads And Quotes – Things You Need To Know

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It is important to get your home insured. But do you know how to get homeowners insurance quotes?

You are always recommended to invest in a reputed homeowners insurance company and seek advice from a reliable insurance agent. Only professional insurance agents can offer you the right home insurance quote.

Here are some important factors that should be discussed with your insurance agent while requesting for the homeowners insurance quote:

1) Liability protection.

2) Coverage for your personal belongings

3) Coverage for structure of your home.

4) Ask your agent if their policy covers additional living expenses in case your house is temporarily unsuitable for living.

5) What type of disasters does the policy cover?

6) How can you save money with this specific policy?

7) How often will you have to renew your homeowners insurance?

8) What is the difference between nonrenewal and cancellation?

9) How you can get right home insurance rate?

After getting satisfactory answers to all these questions you can choose right homeowners insurance quote.

As a homeowner requires homeowners insurance quote, in the same manner an agent is in need of homeowners insurance leads.

Today, homeowners insurance field is developing very fast and is in great demand. Here are some tips for the agent to get right homeowners insurance leads.

1. To get the right home insurance leads, the home insurance agent should have more significant tools. As Internet is the most convenient and fastest mode of communication, agent should know use of emails, billboards, Yellow Pages ads and pop up ads. These tools will help them in getting information very fast.

2. Some home insurance leads provider companies have their official website, you can take their help. These companies offer you 5-10 free leads so that you can check their efficiency.

Some of these companies also provide even if you are offline. They just charge you extra and provide you lead using fax or telephone. The right lead can help any agent achieve his business target.

Homeowners Insurance Guide- Get familiar with Homeowners Insurance

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Homeowners insurance or home insurance provides complete protection against your home, property, family and other valuable things in case of calamities that includes theft, accidents, and natural disasters. This insurance policy helps you to reconstruct your property or buildings when it gets damaged.

Homeowners insurance generally includes everything what will or will not be paid in case of unexpected misfortunes. Homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t protect you against earthquakes, floods, hurricane, tornado, war or ‘Acts of God’. You can secure yourself by purchasing special insurance like flood insurance and earthquake insurance.

Homeowners insurance works for a certain period of time. You should consult with different companies or advisors to choose the best insurance policy as per your needs. Payment made by insured to insurer is known as premium and the insured has to pay it for each term. In certain cases, several insurance companies offer homeowners insurance at lower premiums. Perpetual insurance is another type of homeowners insurance that can be acquired in certain areas.

You don’t have to panic for your valuable things like jewelry, cameras, collectibles, heirloom silver, computers, clothing, stored vehicles or some confidential legal documents because homeowners insurance is designed to give complete protection. Insurance policy is usually limited so check financial limits of the policy.

It helps you to rebuild your house due to natural disaster. You can make desired changes in your furniture, paint, lawns & trees, sheds or fences with homeowners insurance. Basically it includes plumbing, roofing and flooring. It also offers liability that means your insurer will provide you sufficient help to cover your damages and other expenses.

Get your homeowners insurance as soon as possible to protect yourself from misfortunes.