A Beginner’s Guide to Insurance

Having the right kind of insurance is central to sound financial planning. Some of us may have some form of insurance but very few really understand what it is or why one must have it. For most Indians insurance is a form of investment or a superb tax saving avenue. Ask an average person about his/her investments and they will proudly mention an insurance product as part of their core investments. Of the approximately 5% of Indians that are insured the proportion of those adequately insured is much lower. Very few of the insured view insurance as purely that. There is perhaps no other financial product that has witnessed such rampant mis-selling at the hands of agents who are over enthusiastic in selling products linking insurance to investment earning them fat commissions.

What is Insurance?

Insurance is a way of spreading out significant financial risk of a person or business entity to a large group of individuals or business entities in the occurrence of an unfortunate event that is predefined. The cost of being insured is the monthly or annual compensation paid to the insurance company. In the purest form of insurance if the predefined event does not occur until the period specified the money paid as compensation is not retrieved. Insurance is effectively a means of spreading risk among a pool of people who are insured and lighten their financial burden in the event of a shock.

Insured and Insurer

When you seek protection against financial risk and make a contract with an insurance provider you become the insured and the insurance company becomes your insurer.

Sum assured

In Life Insurance this is the amount of money the insurer promises to pay when the insured dies before the predefined time. This does not include bonuses added in case of non-term insurance. In non-life insurance this guaranteed amount may be called as Insurance Cover.

Premium

For the protection against financial risk an insurer provides, the insured must pay compensation. This is known as premium. They may be paid annually, quarterly, monthly or as decided in the contract. Total amount of premiums paid is several times lesser than the insurance cover or it wouldn’t make much sense to seek insurance at all. Factors that determine premium are the cover, number of years for which insurance is sought, age of the insured (individual, vehicle, etc), to name a few.

Nominee

The beneficiary who is specified by the insured to receive the sum assured and other benefits, if any is the nominee. In case of life insurance it must be another person apart from the insured.

Policy Term

The number of years you want protection for is the term of policy. Term is decided by the insured at the time of purchasing the insurance policy.

Rider

Certain insurance policies may offer additional features as add-ons apart from the actual cover. These can be availed by paying extra premiums. If those features were to be bought separately they would be more expensive. For instance you could add on a personal accident rider with your life insurance.

Surrender Value and Paid-up Value

If you want to exit a policy before its term ends you can discontinue it and take back your money. The amount the insurer will pay you in this instance is called the surrender value. The policy ceases to exist. Instead if you just stop paying the premiums mid way but do not withdraw money the amount is called as paid-up. At the term’s end the insurer pays you in proportion of the paid-up value.

Now that you know the terms this is how insurance works in plain words. An insurance company pools premiums from a large group of people who want to insure against a certain kind of loss. With the help of its actuaries the company comes up with statistical analysis of the probability of actual loss happening in a certain number of people and fixes premiums taking into account other factors as mentioned earlier. It works on the fact that not all insured will suffer loss at the same time and many may not suffer the loss at all within the time of contract.

Types of Insurance

Potentially any risk that can be quantified in terms of money can be insured. To protect loved ones from loss of income due to immature death one can have a life insurance policy. To protect yourself and your family against unforeseen medical expenses you can opt for a Mediclaim policy. To protect your vehicle against robbery or damage in accidents you can have a motor insurance policy. To protect your home against theft, damage due to fire, flood and other perils you can choose a home insurance.

Most popular insurance forms in India are life insurance, health insurance and motor insurance. Apart from these there are other forms as well which are discussed in brief in the following paragraphs. The insurance sector is regulated and monitored by IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority).

Life Insurance

This form of insurance provides cover against financial risk in the event of premature death of the insured. There are 24 life insurance companies playing in this arena of which Life Insurance Corporation of India is a public sector company. There are several forms of life insurance policies the simplest form of which is term plan. The other complex policies are endowment plan, whole life plan, money back plan, ULIPs and annuities.

General Insurance

All other insurance policies besides Life Insurance fall under General Insurance. There are 24 general insurance companies in India of which 4 namely National Insurance Company Ltd, New India Assurance Company Ltd, Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and United India Insurance Company Ltd are in the public sector domain.

The biggest pie of non-life insurance in terms of premiums underwritten is shared by motor insurance followed by engineering insurance and health insurance. Other forms of insurance offered by companies in India are home insurance, travel insurance, personal accident insurance, and business insurance.

Buying Insurance

There are an umpteen number of policies to choose from. Because we cannot foresee our future and stop unpleasant things from happening, having an insurance cover is a necessity. But you need to choose carefully. Don’t simply go with what the agent tells you. Read policy documents to know what is covered, what features are offered and what events are excluded from being insured.

1. Know your Needs

Determine what asset or incident must be protected against loss/damage. Is it you life, health, vehicle, home? Next determine what kinds of damage or danger exactly would the assets be most probably be exposed to. This will tell you what features you should be looking for in a policy. Of course there will be losses which cannot be foreseen and the cost of dealing with them can be very high. For instance nobody can predict that they’ll never suffer from critical illnesses no matter if they’re perfectly healthy at present.

The biggest mistake while it comes to buying insurance, particularly life insurance is to view it as an investment. Clubbing insurance and investment in a single product is a poor idea. You lose out on both fronts because for the premiums you’re paying more cover could’ve been got in a term plan and if the premiums were invested in better instruments your returns could’ve been several times more.

Be wary of agents who want to talk you into buying unnecessary policies like child life insurance, credit card insurance, unemployment insurance and so on. Instead of buying separate insurance for specific assets or incidents look for policies that cover a host of possible events under the same cover. Whenever possible choose riders that make sense instead of buying them separately. Unless there is a fair chance of an event happening you do not need insurance for it. For instance unless you are very prone to accidents and disability due to your nature of work or other reasons you do not need an Accident Insurance policy. A good Life Insurance policy with accidental death rider or waiver of premium rider or a disability income rider will do the job.

2. Understand Product Features and Charges

The worst way of choosing an insurance product or insurer is to blindly follow the recommendation of an agent or a friend. The good way to do it is to shop around for products that suit your need and filter out the ones offering lower premiums for similar terms like age, amount of cover, etc. All details you need about the product features and charges will be provided on the company’s website. Many insurance policies can now be bought online. Buying online is smarter because premiums are lower due to elimination of agent fees. If buying offline in case of life insurance, tell the agent that you’re interested only in term insurance.

Before you sign on the contract make sure you have understood what items are covered and what items are exempted from the cover. It would be so devastating to learn in the event of damage or loss that the item you hoped to cover with the insurance was actually excluded. So many people rush to their insurers after being treated for diseases only to realize that the particular disease was excluded. Understand details like when the cover begins and ends and how claims can be filed and losses be reported.

Don’t choose an insurance company because your neighbourhood friend is their agent and never let them coax you into buying from them. Insurance premiums run for years and it means a sizeable amount of money. Apart from the premiums charged look for the service provided. When you are faced with a peril you want the claims collection processed to be complicated with non-cooperating staff in the insurance company’s office. Seek answers from people who have had previous experience with the company for questions like how customer friendly and responsive the company is when it comes to handling claims.

3. Evaluate and Upgrade in Time

As you walk from one life stage to another or when the asset insured changes your policies must be reviewed. Perhaps your cover will need to be increased (or decreased) or you’ll need to top it up with a rider. Some instances when you need to review your cover are when you getting married, when you have children, when your income increases your decreases substantially, when you’re buying a house/car and when you’re responsible for your ageing parents.

40+ Home Insurance Savings Tips

Your dwelling is often your most precious asset that you need to protect. We created a list of all savings opportunities associated with Home insurance. This list is the most complete perspective on home insurance savings tips. Numerous insurance brokers contributed to this list. So, let’s start!

1. Change your content coverage: Renting a Condo? You can often lower your content coverage. No need to insure your belongings to up to $250,000 if you only have a laptop and some IKEA furniture!

2. Renovations: Renovating your house can result in lower home insurance premiums, as home insurance premiums for older, poorly maintained dwellings are usually higher. Additionally, renovating only parts of your dwelling (e.g. the roof) can lead to insurance savings.

3. Pool: Adding a swimming pool to your house will likely lead to an increase in your insurance rates since your liability ( e.g. the risk of someone drowning) and the value of your house have increased.

4. Pipes: Insurers prefer copper or plastic plumbing – maybe it is a good idea to upgrade your galvanized / lead pipes during your next renovation cycle.

5. Shop around: Search, Compare, and switch insurance companies. There are many insurance providers and their price offerings for the same policies can be very different, therefore use multiple online tools and talk to several brokers since each will cover a limited number of insurance companies.

6. Wiring: Some wiring types are more expensive or cheaper than others to insure. Make sure you have approved wiring types, and by all means avoid aluminum wirings which can be really expensive to insure. Not all insurers will cover houses with aluminum wirings, and those that would, will require a full electrical inspection of the house.

7. Home Insurance deductibles: Like auto insurance, you can also choose higher home insurance deductibles to reduce your insurance premiums.

8. Bundle: Do you need Home and Auto Insurance? Most companies will offer you a discount if you bundle them together.

9. New Home: Check if insurer has a new home discount, some insurers will have them.

10. Claims-free discount: Some companies recognize the fact that you have not submitted any claims and reward it with a claim-free discount.

11. Mortgage-free home: When you complete paying down your house in full, some insurers will reward you with lower premiums.

12. Professional Membership: Are you a member of a professional organization (e.g. Certified Management Accountants of Canada or The Air Canada Pilots Association)? Then some insurance companies offer you a discount.

13. Seniors: Many companies offer special pricing to seniors.

14. Annual vs. monthly payments: In comparison to monthly payments, annual payments save insurers administrative costs (e.g. sending bills) and therefore they reward you lower premiums.

15. Annual review: Review your policies and coverage every year, since new discounts could apply to your new life situation if it has changed.

16. Alumni: Graduates from certain Canadian universities ( e.g University of Toronto, McGill University) might be eligible for a discount at certain Insurance providers.

17. Employee / Union members: Some companies offer discounts to union members ( e.g. IBM Canada or Research in Motion)

18. Mortgage insurance: Getting mortgage insurance when you have enough coverage in Life insurance is not always necessary: mortgage insurance is another name for a Life/Critical Illness / Disability insurance associated with your home only but you pay extra for a convenience of getting insurance directly when lending the money. For example a Term Life policy large enough to pay off your home is usually cheaper.

19. Drop earthquake protection: In many regions, earthquakes are not likely – you could decide not to take earthquake coverage which could lower your premiums. For example, in BC earthquake coverage can account for as much as one-third of a policy’s premium.

20. Wood stove: Choosing to use a wood stove means higher premiums – Insurance companies often decide to inspect the houses with such installations before insuring them. A decision to get rid of it means a lower risk and thus lower insurance premiums.

21. Heating: Insurers like forced-air gas furnaces or electric heat installations. If you have an oil-heated home, you might be paying more than your peers who have alternative heating sources.

22. Bicycle: You are buying a new bicycle and thinking about getting extra protection in case it is stolen when you leave it on the street e.g. when doing your groceries? Your Home insurance might be covering it already.

23. Stop smoking: Some insurers increase their premiums for the homes with smokers as there is an increased risk of fire.

24. Clean claim history: Keep a clean claim record without placing small claims, sometimes it makes sense to simply repair a small damage rather than claim it: you should consider both aspects: your deductibles and potential raise in premiums.

25. Rebuilding vs. market costs: Consider your rebuilding costs when choosing an insurance coverage, not the market price of your house (market price can be significantly higher than real rebuilding costs).

26. Welcome discount: Some insurers offer a so called welcome discount.

27. Avoid living in dangerous locations: Nature effects some locations more than others: avoid flood-, or earthquake-endangered areas when choosing a house.

28. Neighbourhood: Moving to a more secure neighbourhood with lower criminal rate will often considered in your insurance premiums.

29. Centrally-connected alarm: Installing an alarm connected to a central monitoring system will be recognized by some insurers in premiums.

30. Monitoring: Having your residence / apartment / condo monitored 24 hour can mean an insurance discount. e.g. via a security guard.

31. Hydrants and fire-station: Proximity to a water hydrant and/or fire-station can decrease your premiums as well.

32. Loyalty: Staying with one insurer longer can sometimes result in a long-term policy holder discount.

33. Water damages: Avoid buying a house which may have water damage or has a history of water damage; a check with the insurance company can help to find it out before you buy the house.

34. Decrease liability risk: Use meaningful ways to reduce your liability risk (e.g. fencing off a pool) and it can result in your liability insurance premiums going down.

35. Direct insurers: Have you always dealt with insurance brokers / agents? Getting a policy from a direct insurer (i.e. insurers working via call-center or online) often can be cheaper (but not always) since they do not pay an agent/broker commission for each policy sold.

36. Plumbing insulation: Insulating your pipes will prevent them from freezing in winter and reduce or even avoid insurance claims.

37. Dependent students: Dependent students living in their own apartment can be covered by their parents’ home insurance policy at no additional charge.

38. Retirees: Those who are retired can often get an additional discount – since they spend more time at home than somebody who works during the day and thus can prevent accidents like a fire much easier.

39. Leverage inflation: Many insurers increase your dwelling limit every year by considering the inflation of the house rebuilding costs. Make sure this adjustment is in line with reality and that you are not overpaying.

40. Credit score: Most companies use your credit score when calculating home insurance premiums. Having a good credit score can help you to get lower insurance rates.

41. Stability of residence: Some insurers may offer a stability of residence discount if you have lived at the same dwelling for a certain number of years.

How Not To Get Scammed On Your Car Lease

Bad Credit automobile leasing has been praised as a more attractive option to purchasing a car, offering in the process the flexibility to drive a new car for less. The reality, however, is that leasing is an option that is fraught with many pitfalls for the average customer. Leasing regulation does not require as much disclosure as buying a vehicle. This has given rise to many leasing scams that trick the customer into believing they are into a good deal when, in effect, all they are getting is a rough deal on the dealer’s terms.

Take a peek at a few of the common scams and how you can avoid being ripped off by them:

1. Unnaturally low interest rates:

Some bad credit auto dealers will offer up a lower interest rate when actually it is a good deal higher because they are quoting the money factor as the interest rate or possibly estimating the loan without amortizing some fees into the loan lease. For instance, the money factor is generally expressed as a 4 decimal figure, something like 0.004. Many of the less reputable bad credit vehicle lenders cite this as a 4% rate of interest when, it really should be multiplied by 24 to reach a closer approximation of the interest rate on your loan. Therefore, the interest rate is very much higher at 9.6% and not the rate of 4%.

Make a point of understanding all the numbers and what method the lender used to arrive at their interest rate. Look out for any additional fees, such as amortization costs, not added into the calculation. If you’re not satisfied, do not sign any lease aggreements without a better understanding.

2. You may end your lease early for a low fee

This is the biggest scam of all and the one that I fell for the first time I ever took out a lease. The lender told me I could definitely end my vehicle lease early and it would only cost me an ‘early termination fee’ of $400. Guess what… that was only the small administrative penalty for early termination, NOT the actual ‘early termination fee’. This can run into the thousands of dollars.

Do not confuse the early termination administrative penalty with the termination fee. Read the small print carefully and know exactly how much you will get charged should you terminate your lease before its scheduled end.

3. Why pay for an extended warranty

Another game that the car dealers like to play is offering you an extended warranty – to protect your investment. The only investment that will be protected here is the dealer’s profit. 99% of the time on auto leases, the extended warranty is included in your monthly lease payments. So obviously you don’t need to pay for it again. If they do convince you to go for the extended warranty, which by the way, you SHOULDN’T, you need to look carefully at the contract you’re signing as you may be buying a 3 year warranty for a 2 year lease. Not too smart – on your part.

There are some more things that the dealer can add onto your lease, or even sneak in on you. Just be careful that you examine all the documents thoroughly before you sign on the dotted line. I hope you have gotten some new knowledge from this article on auto lease scams.

Drive Away The Car Of Your Choice!

Car financing rates vary from one lender to another. The online option proves to be the best option if you are keen on securing a car loan at a favourable rate of interest. It is also the most convenient way and does not involve too much of paper work and other formalities. Moreover, the lending institutions offer such car loans even to people with a bad credit history.

Want to go in for a used car? Then, opt for UK used cars and get the best deal on car loans. It is a very popular option amongst borrowers residing in UK. We strive to offer you the best rates keeping in mind your financial position. A favourable credit score will definitely help you get a better deal on the car loan. We have helped scores of borrowers in the past. You can benefit too. No matter whether you have CCJ’s, arrears, defaults or missed payments, you can still opt for UK used cars!

Are you looking forward to buy Rolls Royce used cars? Approach us now for the best service. We offer Rolls Royce used car loans at competitive prices. Benefit now from our massive database of used Rolls Royce cars from private individual and used car dealerships. Or search online on Rolls Royce cars.

Car Loan Insurance – Protect Your Car against Damages!

Before signing any loan contract, it is advisable that you have ample information on hand. This will guide you to take a suitable decision. Getting a car loan is not difficult. But once you get the car loan, it is important that you also protect it from any mishap or damage. If you purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage to protect your car, you will be trouble free in case you car is damaged. You need to be careful while choosing your auto or car insurance just as you would be while searching online for your car loans for best rate.

Doing some research will help you get a favourable deal on the car loan insurance. Don’t jump at any offer that comes your way. Tread carefully. The online option also gives you the option of choosing the best car insurance. One can possibly get a lower auto insurance quote with an inexhaustible online resource to search from. It is no more a tedious task to find cheap auto insurance rates online. The online option enables you get quick financial assistance in a short period of time.

Car Loans And Bankruptcy Go Together Like Peanut Butter And Jelly

I know, “What the heck, right?” Let me explain how putting car loans and bankruptcy together is as easy as combining peanut butter and jelly to create a tasty little sandwich.

Getting car loans after bankruptcy doesn’t have to be an unpleasant and painful situation. Eliminate the struggle by discovering that there are decent car dealerships or auto consultants available that will extend a car loan to someone who has a recent bankruptcy.

Getting rid of the struggle can leave you calm and assured that you will be able to get a quality car that fits into your budget.

Tips for getting your loan.

Locate a local car dealership or auto consultant that has a special financing department that works with people who have a bankruptcy. Speak with them and learn how they can help you with a car loan after bankruptcy. Tell them your specific situation and ask to meet with them for further discussion.

Prior to your visit there are a few things you can gather that will help the special finance salesperson get your pre-approved for a car loan with your circumstances.

A proof of income is going to be the most important information so bring with you a couple of your latest pay stubs.

In addition, the salesperson will want to see a valid state issued driver’s license along with proof of insurance. If you bring your insurance card and the name and number of your insurance agent or company the consultant can easily verify that you have insurance coverage.

And finally, the salesperson will want proof of residency. Bring along 2 of your monthly bills such as your electric bill and your cell phone bill and this will provide the necessary proof of your residence. Sometimes they will ask you for a list of references also, so have this handy and ready for the salesperson to review.

After handing over the necessary information, discuss the payments that you feel you can comfortable handle each month. After all, this is the bottom line you are most likely interested in since you are recovering from a financial downfall.

A salesperson that has your best interest at hand will understand your needs and what you can handle in a monthly payment and not try to sell you more car than you can afford. Car loans and bankruptcy can work together to help you toward a brighter tomorrow.