Many homeowners purchase an insurance policy when they first move in, but they may not understand the importance of periodically reviewing it or reassessing their needs. It’s an oversight that can ultimately lead to a gap in their coverage.

A home renovation or upgrade is another reason you may want an insurance review. Everything from new furniture to a kitchen upgrade can affect the value of your family’s home, and may even qualify you for additional discounts on your insurance policy.

An annual insurance review can also be an important opportunity to ensure you are receiving all possible discounts on your homeowners policy. For example, you may qualify for a discount if you have installed a security system, a smoke alarm.

Like home maintenance, an annual insurance review is something that can go a long way to protecting what is likely your biggest investment.

 

Like other major life events, pre-funding your funeral will give you peace of mind, comfort and assurance knowing that money will be there to pay your final expenses. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to have an insurance policy that is designed to do exactly that? Pay for your funeral costs, while also helping you possibly qualify for Medicaid?

How will my SURVIVORS pay for my funeral?

Few people have the resources to pay for a funeral outright. Without advance planning and funding, your survivors may need to reach into savings, use credit cards, take out a loan, or even sell personal assets. Money set aside in your savings accounts may be tied up with probate delays.

WHERE do I get the money for a Trust?

You probably already have it! Sometimes all it takes is a little rearranging to create your complete financial picture in a way that works best for you. Consider your rainy day fund, a certificate of deposit, money market account or an annuity. By using money from these sources to fund an insurance policy, you’re simply using existing assets to ensure your final expenses are taken care of to make life easier for those you leave behind.

Do I have to plan my funeral NOW?

It’s simple. A life insurance policy is purchased to cover the anticipated costs of your funeral. The policy is then assigned to an irrevocable funeral trust. This assignment offers two advantages: 1. At the time of death, policy proceeds do not have to go through probate and are available immediately to pay your final expenses. 2. The policy may not be considered an asset if you are determining Medicaid eligibility. This combination of life insurance and a funeral trust creates a solid, safe, and secure plan to cover your final expenses.

Why use a TRUST?

The NGL Funeral Expense Trust is designed exclusively to help you take care of your funeral costs and possibly help you qualify for Medicaid at the same time! Few people have the resources to pay for a funeral outright and many funeral homes require payment in advance of services. This means that without advance planning and funding, your survivors may need to use their personal savings or credit cards, possibly take out a loan or sell personal assets. Money set aside in your personal savings accounts may be tied up with probate delays.

 

In this crime, criminals maneuver innocent drivers into car accidents, then make large claims for damage and faked injuries.

The “accidents” impact them three ways.

  1. Victims can be injured, terrorized, or killed when the “accident” goes wrong.
  2. Their auto insurance rates rise, or their policy will not be renewed.
  3. Victims spend time and money on police reports, car repairs, and lawsuits.

These are three kinds of “accidents:”

* Swoop and Squat. He pulls in front of you, jams on the brakes, and you hit him from the rear.

* Drive Down. As you merge into traffic, he slows down and waves you forward. He rams your car and blames it on you.

* Sideswipe. At an intersection with a dual left-turn lane, he sideswipes you if you drift into the outer lane while turning.

* After the incident, a stranger tries to convince you to use a certain body shop, doctor, or lawyer.

You get overpriced work, poor treatment, and bad legal advice.

Some ways to protect yourself:

  1. Don’t tailgate. Avoid the “swoop and squat” by allowing stopping distance.
  2. Get the driver’s name, address, driver’s license, car license, and insurance information. Take photos of both cars and the passengers. Watch how the people from the other car behave. If they seem OK until police come, then complain about pain, something isn’t right.
  3. Get passenger names, and identification numbers. In a scam, others may say they were in his car and were injured.
  4. Call the police even if the damage is minor. Get a police report that describes damage and gives the police officer’s name.
  5. Only use medical, car repair, and legal professionals you trust.

For more information, visit the Web site insurancefraud.org/protect_your-self_set.html.

Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation!  As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision!  If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!

 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in six Americans will move to a new home this year.

About one-third of those who move will do it when school is out for the summer. If you will be among them, plan to protect your goods and your pocketbook.

Complaints against the moving industry logged by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) more than doubled since 2000. Claims include loss and damage, overcharging, late pickup or delivery, and worst of all, loads taken hostage until excessive bills are paid. The safety group suggests that you:

* Get good estimates. Ask people to recommend a good mover and check the company’s references.

* Have at least three firms estimate. If the three are similar, go with the low bidder after checking out the company. If one is far lower than the others, it’s probably wrong.

* Call FMCSA at (888) 368-7238 to see whether there are complaints against a company and what types of complaints they are. If the complaints involved overcharge or hostage claims, don’t use the company.

* Check the mover’s safety record at safersys.org. If it has more than the average number of times its vehicles have been put “out of service” for failing weigh station inspections, look elsewhere.

* Know your rights. For a state-to-state move, U.S. law does not allow a mover to hold your goods and demand payment of more than 110 percent of their written estimate. They can bill for more later if the load was heavier than anticipated.

* For an in-state move, insist that your bill of lading gives you the same protection as the federal law.

* Get insurance. Movers pay about 60 cents per pound, which may not cover the cost of damaged goods.

Check with your home insurer for better coverage.

As usual, with any financial issue like this, we’ll be glad to work with you on determining if any of these strategies will work for you and your family! Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation!  As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision!  If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!

I want you to take a minute to consider whether you have enough liability insurance coverage. Did you know there are 90 million lawsuits outstanding in the US right now? That’s almost one for every three people! It’s incredible! Plus, judgments are normally in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not in the millions!

Mostly everyone has anywhere from $100,000 – $300,000 of liability insurance on their auto and homeowner’s policies. You should normally have a minimum of $250,000 – $500,000 of underlying coverage in our opinion.

And, you should consider buying an “umbrella” policy, which is triggered when your other liability insurance isn’t enough to cover you. (Which is usually a minimum of $1,000,000, and if possible, you should get a $2,000,000!) Let’s say you were in a car accident and owed $500,000 in a liability claim. If you had $100,000 of liability coverage on your auto policy, it would pay the first $100,000…then your umbrella policy would kick in and cover the rest. Without the umbrella policy, you’d have to come up with the other $400,000 on your own.

An umbrella policy is a relatively cheap (you should be able to buy a $1 million policy for around $100-$300) and simple way to make sure you and your family are protected. You should call your agent and ask how much an umbrella policy would cost. If you have your auto and homeowner’s policy with two different companies, call them both and ask what your rates would be if you had all three policies with them. Chances are, you’ll get a package deal if you put all the business with one company.

The best way to afford to pay for the umbrella raise the deductible on your auto and homeowners policies. The money you’ll save by raising your auto deductible to $500 or $1,000 and your homeowners deductible to $1,000 should more than pay for your new umbrella policy. Plus, if you get an umbrella policy for $2,000,000, and it only requires a $300,000 underlying coverage, and you currently have $500,000…you could drop the underlying coverage to $300,000 and save money there as well.

The point of auto and homeowner’s insurance is not to cover a $100 broken window, or a $200 dent…but rather, to pay for BIG DISASTERS! Anyone can afford $200 to fix a windshield…but how many of you could come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay a judgment from a lawsuit?

Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation!  As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision!  If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!

 

 

 

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) enacted health care continuation coverage requirements applicable to most employers with more than 20 employees. COBRA requires an employer who maintains a group health insurance plan to provide employees with an option to remain covered by the employer’s plan for a specified period of time, if the employees or their family members lose coverage upon the occurrence of certain events (such as reduced or terminated employment).

However, it’s important to note that COBRA provides for continued coverage under the employer’s existing plan, not a new form of coverage. Thus, employees who previously did not elect coverage either for themselves, their spouses, or their dependents may not elect continuation coverage that is broader in scope than the coverage they were provided during their employment.

To qualify for continuation coverage as a “covered employee,” an employee must be a participant in his or her employer’s group health insurance plan. An employee’s spouse or dependent children will be covered as “qualified beneficiaries” if they were covered by the plan at the time of the employee’s termination or reduction in work.

If continuation coverage is elected, the employer may charge the employee or beneficiary up to 102% of the employer’s health insurance premium during the continuation period. The extra 2% is intended to reimburse the employer for administrative costs associated with providing continuation coverage.

COBRA provides that the period of continuation coverage is based on two classes of qualifying beneficiaries. For widows, divorced spouses, spouses of Medicare-eligible employees, and dependent children who become ineligible for coverage (by virtue of age requirements), continuation coverage must be provided for at least 36 months. Terminated employees, and employees with reduced hours, are eligible for only 18 months of coverage.

If a qualified person wants to receive continuation coverage, he or she must elect to do so within a 60-day election period. Coverage must be provided during the 60-day period beginning on the date coverage would otherwise have lapsed. If a plan participant waives his or her right to elect continuation coverage during the 60-day period, the waiver may be revoked at any time up to the end of the 60-day period. The employer is not required, however, to provide retroactive coverage in this situation.

The continuation coverage under COBRA is a valuable component of an employee benefits package. With health care costs continuing to rise, having the option of continued coverage can be invaluable.

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