NAVIGATION - SEARCH

Be Aware Of Fraudulent Auto Warranties

Purchasing an auto warranty for a car can be risky if you do not know the rules and regulations of the warranty. It is a good idea for car owners to hire a professional car consultant who can help guide them through the entire purchasing process of an auto warranty. If the car owner makes the decision to buy the auto warranty without receiving any assistance, they are more at risk for purchasing a fraudulent warranty.

A fraudulent auto warranty refers to a warranty that comes with a lot of different features and is priced extremely well. However, the seller who provides this warranty will not actually provide the services that are mentioned in the auto warranty. In the used car market, fraudulent auto warranties are very common. Therefore, it is important for consumers who are purchasing used car warranties to proceed with caution.

Due to fraudulent auto warranties, the US administration created a law that will protect consumers. This used car warranty law is referred to as the lemon law.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…

Do Your Research Before Buying An Auto Warranty

When a consumer takes purchasing an auto warranty into consideration, they usually select mainly based on the price. Consumers want to try to get the best deal that they can when buying auto warranties. Price is important to take into consideration, but it is also important to realize there are other factors that should be looked at when choosing the auto warranty to buy as the final purchase.

When conducting research about auto warranties and which one will be the best option for you, make certain that you are going to be buying one that is of a higher quality. Keep these things in mind when doing research:

1. Look at the cost of the auto warranty and be sure that it is affordable. However, make sure that this is not the only deciding factor for what will be your final purchase.

2. Look into the company that you want to buy the warranty from. Ask yourself a couple of very important questions: Is this company reputable? Is it an established company? Is the company visible online? In addition, make sure that the company is both accredited and has high ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

Share or Bookmark this post…

Don’t Assume Earth Movement Coverage Is Standard In Your Home Insurance

 

While home insurance policies are sometimes known as “all-risk” policies, they do not always cover all risks that may cause damage to your home. One of the more commonly excluded perils on most policies is earth movement, which includes earthquakes. The reason it’s called “earth movement” is that the exclusion itself is much broader than just earthquakes. Many types of shifting or moving earth are not covered by your policy, and you may be surprised to find that some of these cannot easily be insured, no matter how much premium you may be willing to pay. Earth movement coverage is not something that is needed in California alone.

Earth Movement Exclusions

The standard home insurance policy’s definition of excluded earth movement includes sinking, rising, shifting, and the expanding or contracting of earth. And all of these exclusions can be combined with water or not. This means if you think of earth movement only in terms of earthquakes and other seismic activity, you are missing some key exclusions that can cause substantial uninsured damage to your home. Let’s look at each of these excluded movements in a little more detail:

  • Sinking – If the ground under your home settles, it is generally defined as sinking. This can be the result of many factors, such as erosion due to water or poor compaction when the home was built.
  • Rising – The opposite of sinking, if the soil under your home rises, bulges, or heaves, it will cause damage to your foundation and the house itself. While water can cause erosion, too much water in the soil can also cause it to expand.
  • Shifting – With sinking and rising covering the vertical movement of earth, shifting covers the potential lateral movements that will also impact your home.
  • Expanding – As if rising earth was not broad enough of an exclusion, the policy includes expanding earth as an additional exclusion. These exclusions are similar to each other, but the redundancy of the policy exclusion leaves no ambiguity of its intent to exclude earth movement damages.
  • Contracting – Sinking earth is similar to contracting earth, but as with expanding and rising earth, the home insurance policy seeks to broaden its exclusions, allowing no room for potential coverage.

The earth movement exclusion includes all of the above directions in which the earth can move and cause damage that is not covered by your policy. In addition to these definitions, the policy also excludes the following types of phenomena that are more commonly understood: earthquake, landslide, mudflow, mudslide, sinkhole, subsidence, erosion or movement resulting from improper compaction, site selection, or any other external forces. Additionally, the policy further excludes earth movement resulting from volcanic explosion or lava flow.

Essentially, virtually anything that causes your house to move or shift is excluded by the home insurance policy. However, direct fire caused by any of the above is usually still covered. For example, if a mudslide moved your house several inches and severed a gas line, which then resulted in a fire, the loss of your home due to fire would be covered. However, if the movement resulted in a cracked or shifted foundation, those specific damages would still not be covered, as the foundation is not a loss resulting from the ensuing fire.

Getting Coverage for Earth Movements

Unfortunately, many homeowners recently found out just how far-reaching earth movement exclusions can be after Hurricane Sandy. Even those who had purchased flood policies were still uninsured because their flood policies contained exclusions for earth movement, even if they were caused by floods. The Insurance Journal reports that the State of New York is now using some of its emergency funds to help the affected homeowners. But homeowners cannot always rely on a governmental agency to step in on their behalf if they are not properly insured.

To avoid many of the earth movement exclusions, homeowners can purchase insurance that will add the coverage back to their home insurance policies, or they can purchase separate policies separate from their existing policies. In some states, insurance companies may even be required to offer you the option of purchasing earth movement coverage.

For instance, in California, insurance companies selling home insurance policies must offer earthquake coverage to their customers, though customers do not have to elect that coverage. But this is helpful in that it reminds homeowners that they must make a conscious decision to accept or reject coverage.

Much like national flood insurance policies, California earthquake insurance is available through a special agency set up to handle the unique risk. Insurers in California can choose to offer the coverage through their own resources, but the majority elect to participate in the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) program for insurers. If you are a California resident and elect to purchase coverage from your home insurance company, it’s possible they are still providing the coverage to you through the CEA. However, you have issued a policy directly from your insurer.

Specialty Exclusions Homeowners Should Understand

Even with agencies such as the CEA setting up special programs to cover earth movement, there are still some circumstances under which no policy will insure a loss. A common example of excluded earth movement is loss due to a manmade condition. Insurance companies are particularly uncomfortable with these risks because they are unpredictable, and therefore difficult to underwrite. So even though no one can really predict an earthquake, scientists do have some information about where faults are located and therefore the expected severity of damages. This amount of data assists the insurance companies in modeling potential losses and helps them to set what rates to charge.

However, with manmade conditions, it’s impossible for the insurance company to foresee when such an activity might take place. The most common types of manmade earth movement are those from nearby construction activity. In these situations, your only recourse is usually to pursue a liability claim against the party responsible for causing damage to your home. While that process is challenging and not nearly as straightforward as a first-party home insurance policy, it’s certainly better than no recourse at all. If you have a particularly valuable home, you might be able to find an insurance agent that has the ability to access Lloyd’s of London, where virtually any risk can be insured – albeit for a price.

Earth movement is an inescapable risk facing all homeowners and there is limited insurance coverage available. Before making any assumptions about what is or is not covered, you should carefully read your policy. If you are concerned about the lack of coverage, ask your insurance company or agent about buying back some of the excluded coverages. In the event of a catastrophic loss, you will be glad you did.

Share or Bookmark this post…

5 Tips to Avoid Surprise Bills

 

Most of us know by now that our medical care will cost a lot less if we see a doctor who participates in our health plan’s network.

But it’s gotten harder to know for certain which doctors participate and which don’t, particularly if you’re hospitalized. For example, if you visit the emergency room you likely won’t know if the doctors treating you are in your plan’s network. Even if you have surgery or deliver a baby at an in-network hospital, you could be treated by an anesthesiologist or an assistant surgeon who is not contracted with your insurer.

Even if your insurer reimburses out-of-network doctors, the doctor you saw may decide the payment wasn’t enough, and send you a bill for the balance.

That’s when surprise bills show up. According to a recent report by Consumers Union, nearly one-third of Americans with private insurance got a surprise medical bill in the last two years.

So, if you’re planning a surgery or procedure, consider these 5 steps to reduce your risk of getting surprise bills:

1. Know what your plan covers. Surprise bills can often be avoided by simply taking the time to carefully read through your plan’s benefits and by calling your insurer to ask whether the procedure you need is covered.

2. Get the names of your providers. “You should have a firm understanding not only of what is involved in the procedure you’ll be having, but who will be involved in providing your care,” says Dr. Sam Ho, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare.

Get in writing the names of all the healthcare professionals providing your care and make sure they are all in the network, including physician assistants, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. “You have the right to request only in-network providers,” Ho says.

3. Call about your health plan. Provider networks change all the time. Before your procedure, get in touch with your health plan to verify that the doctors you plan to see are still in-network, and be sure to take notes on who you spoke with and what you were told. If you receive an unexpected bill after your procedure, contact your health plan again for assistance.

“Some insurers will serve as an advocate on your behalf and negotiate with the physicians to either lower the out-of-network charges or waive them all together,” Ho says.

4. Ask about cost. There are a number of pricing tools available today that can help you research the estimated cost of specific treatments and procedures. Most insurers offer price estimate tools, as do many large employers. There are also plenty of apps and websites available.

Keep in mind, however, that there is no comprehensive database of healthcare prices.
And, despite all the tools, finding accurate healthcare cost information is still generally difficult.

Still, it pays to talk with your physician and/or the hospital about the cost of your care and to request an estimate in advance.

If you receive a surprise bill, ask if your provider will accept your health plan’s payment as payment in full.

5. Know your state’s rules. Federal law does not protect patients from surprise billing. But some states have policies in place that help people with at least some of the common situations that lead to unexpected charges, such as emergency room visits that involve out-of-network doctors.

If you receive a surprise bill, contact your state’s department of insurance to see if there are legal protections against balance billing.

Share or Bookmark this post…

Csezone Weigh in on Key to Financial Fitness

 

We asked some top advisors what their advice is for being financially fit. Here’s what they shared with us. How many of these can you tick off?

It’s about the flow. Watch your cash flow and live within your means—that’s the starting point. Once that’s under control, plan for the future, including what if something happens to you. What is the impact of that on those left behind and especially if there is debt left behind? That’s where life insurance comes in.

—Aurora Tancock, CFP, FLMI, AIAA, president of Aurora Tancock Financial Services

Set goals. Just as exercise becomes a key tool to achieve health goals, life insurance is the same in your financial fitness program. Among the many goals you can achieve through life insurance are: saving for future projects, plan for retirement and protecting the financial well-being of your family.

—Ana Sofía Rodríguez D, M.B.A., associate director of Grupo Inverseguros

See no evil. Make sure you can leave your family no worse off than they currently are. A lot of people are insurance poor. There’s nothing evil about insurance. It allows your family to maintain same standard of living that they’re accustomed to if something were to happen.

The second is to buy products before the need is there. If you can’t afford all of what you need, start off with what you can afford. For example, start with term life insurance, instead of permanent, and then when you can, change it to a permanent solution.

—Corry Collins, CFP, ChFC, CHS, of Maritime Wealth Management

Get help. I would suggest people start working with an advisor as soon as possible. It’s much easier to fix the financial “mess” of 30-year-old than a 55-year-old. And then, don’t let life get in the way of keeping up with your plan. I think annual reviews are great for keeping people on track.

—Jennifer Mann, LUTCF, CLU, ChFC, CFP, vice president of the Chicago office of Lenox Advisors

Give it a dry run. I’d ask, “Do you have a spending or savings plan?” You need something to help you understand if you are spending more than you’re earning and whether you’re saving enough. It’s great if you can get on a spending plan and stick to it and reevaluate it periodically.

Then reduce and eliminate your debt—but you’ve have to want to do it! Remember, 98% of the people work for 2% of the people. The lenders are the ones you’re working for.

Then have a dry run, what happens if … You have to go through your plan to see if you have enough life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care … what are the survivor needs going to be? etc. and then create a plan to live on that budget, so you can fund the things for later. By saving to today, you can have your earnings pay for your salary later.

Share or Bookmark this post…

What You Need to Know to Choose the Best Monitoring Plan

Installing a home security system is essential in order for you to protect your home, family, and valuable possessions. Having a home security system installed affords you the peace of mind you need in order to live without fear for your home’s safety.

However one of the most important things you need to consider when installing a home security system is the type of monitoring plan you wish to have. Here are a few things you should know when you’re trying to find the best monitoring plan for your home security system.

What is Monitoring?

To put it simply, monitoring refers to the way in which your home security system communicates with a device or center which monitors the information it is receiving. Essentially, a monitoring center processes the information to determine what action or steps need to be taken in the event of a security breach.

Types of Monitoring

When it comes to monitoring for home security systems there are generally two different types of monitoring methods: personal and professional. Personal monitoring is very rare and is usually carried out when you’ve purchased and installed a lower grade home security system. This type of monitoring involves all of the information from the home security system being redirected to you directly. That means you have to keep a vigilant eye on what is happening in your home in order to keep on top of things.

If your attention slips and something happens during that time, nothing can be done because you were the monitoring center so to speak. It was your responsibility to identify a threat and report it to the relevant authorities.

As you can see, this type of monitoring is very cumbersome on the homeowner and can prove to be grossly ineffective in most cases.

The other method of monitoring is professional. This means that the alarm company is the one keeping a tab on all the signals that your house is emitting. If there is a security breach or threat, the alarm company will inform the relevant authorities and help will be sent to your home right away. Alarm companies pride themselves on having fast response times which is what makes them so attractive to customers. The faster the response time, the less likely it is that you and your family will incur serious harm, damage, or losses.

Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for a Monitoring Plan

With respect to monitoring plans, they are typically divided into two broad categories: basic and advanced/interactive. The two different plans differ in how much control you are afforded. The general features of the two plans are outlined below.

Basic Monitoring Plans

If you’ve just gotten a home security system, basic monitoring packages are a great way to start out. This is especially true in today’s day and age because now, the more advanced packages require smartphone and tablet use. If you don’t have a smartphone, basic monitoring is perfect for you.

Advanced and Interactive Plans

These plans are a little bit more complex and give you the chance to be more involved with the monitoring process. If you want to be kept in the loop with everything that’s happening in and around your home, these sorts of monitoring plans keep you updated via your smartphone or tablet. You can expect to get texts and alerts as to the status of your home, remote access to various home security features, as well as access to the cameras and sensors if there are any.

What to Expect from any Monitoring Plan

Generally, all monitoring plans have certain key features. Some of these include:

  • 24/7 monitoring and surveillance of your property for everything from break-ins to the state of the environment. This means that your monitoring system is also keeping an eye out for things like excess carbon monoxide, water levels, and smoke.
  • Primary contacts – These are generally two numbers which the alarm company calls first in the event of a security breach or problem.
  • Secondary contacts – If they can’t get in touch with your primary contacts, the company will attempt to get in touch with your secondary contacts. You can give up to five numbers as secondary contacts.
  • Cellular connection – This is the means by which your alarm system forms a connection to the monitoring service. It uses cellular connections as opposed to landlines which aren’t very reliable. A landline can be cut by a burglar to try to cut you off from protection. Cellular connections don’t require wires and are therefore a more reliable way to connect to your monitoring service.

How to Choose Which Monitoring Plan is Best for you

Choosing which monitoring plan is best for you involves a consideration of your personal preferences and circumstances. For instance, are you looking to have more control over what’s happening inside your home when you’re not around or are you comfortable with giving that responsibility solely to the monitoring service?

There are certain cases and situations in which a more interactive/advanced system would be more effective. These include:

  • When your kids are at home alone
  • If you’re going on vacation and want to keep tabs on the house
  • If your elderly parents are living with you and you want to monitor them

In these cases, being able to see and know what’s happening at home while you’re away is very beneficial.

As you can see, what monitoring plan you end up choosing largely depend upon what degree of control you want over the surveillance of your home. If you’re looking to be more involved, an advanced plan is best for you; if not, you can easily settle for a basic plan.

Share or Bookmark this post…