Insurance

How to Calculate the True Cost of a Car

Car SalesWhen you’re in the market for a new car, the process of comparing your options can be quite enjoyable. It’s an excuse to read up on all of the latest reviews and news, leaf through glossy brochures and hobnob at auto shows. You may already have a predefined budget in mind and a definite list of features that you consider must-haves in any new car. What do you do when you have narrowed down your choices to two or three key contenders, which seem to offer the same features at the same price? At this level of the process, you’ll need to dig a little bit deeper to find out what distinguishes one from the other. In many cases, this can end up being a factor that’s hard to see at first: the overall cost of the car over time.

Running Costs

There are many hidden fees inherent in owning and operating a car. Naturally, you’ll need to first consider the up-front cost of the car and insurance rates. Beyond this lies a whole world of future costs, depending on your usage patterns and vehicle efficiency. To find out the true price of a car, you’ll first want to figure out the combined sticker price and cost of insurance. Insurance companies weigh a variety of factors into their decision, including the type of car you drive. For example, one reason Opel Astra sales are high at the moment is due to the fact that this car continually ranks as one of the easiest cars to insure. Any car with a high safety rating and decent security system will incur lower insurance costs over time.
Fuel costs are also important to consider, so you’ll want to compare fuel economy carefully. Smaller vehicles, hybrids, or those with diesel engines will cost you less at the pump. Don’t forget to look at the cost of repairs when you are calculating running costs. Models with rare or hard-to-find parts could be quite expensive to fix should something go wrong, and will most likely incur higher insurance rates as a result.

Resale Value

Unless you plan on keeping your new car forever, you’ll probably end up trading it in at some point. Although it’s inevitable that it loses some of its value, some cars retain their value more effectively than others. Try to buy Audi A6 on Carsales or another model which retains over 50% of its value over three years. Cars with a family reputation, high safety ratings, or from a reliable brand tend to do the best. Because a car starts losing part of its value as soon as its driven off the lot, buying slightly used can work in your favour as well and give you more for your money.

True Cost Calculations

To determine the true cost of a car, you’ll need to take all of these various factors into consideration. Depreciation, taxes, fees, insurance premiums, repairs, maintenance, and interest on your car loan should all be factored into the final cost. Fortunately, there are numerous calculators which can help you work out these figures, such as those provided by Edmund, What Car, or Car Plus. These calculate the overall running costs over a five-year period of time, which can help narrow down your final selection of cars to find the most economical fit.


Finding Affordable Car Insurance for High Risk Drivers

Car Insurance.Insurance companies are more cautious than ever, which can lead to even experienced drivers being labelled “high risk” due to past mistakes or mediocre credit. If you have been deemed a risky investment, it can be difficult to find affordable insurance; or even any insurance at all. Rather than settling for the first insurance company that makes you an offer, it’s important to compare your options carefully. It also helps to understand how insurance companies assess risk to take charge of your situation and find the most affordable option.

Reasons for Being Termed “High Risk”

If you have recently been determined to be at fault in a traffic accident, it may come as no surprise that you are now considered to be a high risk driver. However, there are numerous circumstances that lead to this outcome. More than one speeding ticket, a suspended license, or failing to report an accident are all possibilities. The car you drive also has an impact on your risk as a driver, which is why it’s important to look at safety ratings and reliability along with engine power to avoid being labelled high risk. Financial history may also have some impact on your level of risk. If you have any history of missed insurance payments in the past, this could cause your premiums to skyrocket in the future.

Finding an Affordable Quote

The problem with being branded a high risk or “non-standard driver” is that it can make it difficult to find affordable rates. There is a separate industry that has arisen around catering to high risk drivers, offering already-expensive premiums at even higher prices. Although at first glance it may seem like you have very few options if your driving record is less-than-perfect, it’s still worth shopping around. Because every insurance company has a different formula for calculating risk, you may find one that is willing to overlook your high-speed sports car when presented with your clean driving record. Another way to find a lower quote is to drive a reliable car with excellent safety standards. You can read car reviews and comparisons on Motoring and other automotive websites to find a more insurance-friendly model.

Further Ways to Lower Insurance Rates

Many of the tips that apply to standard drivers apply to those at high risk as well. As you start reading reviews and shopping around to find a car that will help lower your insurance rates, pay attention to more than just the safety rating. You may read Holden Captiva review sites and see that it was awarded 5 stars in terms of safety, but it’s also important to consider the cost of repairs and built-in security features. Insurance is all about statistics, so choosing a car that is statistically less attractive to thieves and safer on the road will lower your overall risk.

Your annual mileage also factors into your insurance. If you are a new or high risk driver, lowering your annual mileage could help you incur lower rates. Paying a year’s worth of insurance at once will also help cut costs, rather than spreading it out over 12 months.

Finally, if you have a spotty driving record you might want to ask your insurer about taking additional driving courses to lower your rates.


How to Save Your Teenager Money on Car Insurance

The Right CarGetting car insurance for your teen can be pretty tricky. Your teenage son or daughter isn’t experience – the insurance company knows it. If you’re not careful, your child will end up paying through the nose for their policy. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few tips to save your child (and you) money on auto insurance:

Add Your Child To Your Own Policy

It’s tempting to shove your child out of the nest, and put him on his own policy, but this might actually be the most expensive route to take. Yes, it might cause your insurance policy premiums to go up if you add your teen to your policy, but it’s probably not as bad as your child having his own.

Check with your insurer. Sometimes, insurance companies will look at the situation this way: you’re a safe driver. Your teen doesn’t have experience, but you do. Therefore, it’s a safe bet that, if you’re willing to take on your child, your child must be a good risk. After all, why would you risk your good driving record by adding a high-risk child to the policy?

Choose The Right Car

Your choice of vehicle will impact your child’s premiums. Try to go for a used vehicle that’s pretty low-key. A car that has a high-performance engine is usually a bad idea. Insurance companies look at teenagers and sports cars as a bad mix.

Teens are young, by nature, and inexperienced. Put them behind the wheel of a fast car and there’s a high probability of a car wreck. Watch your premiums (or your child’s premiums) skyrocket. Keep your premiums low by getting a 5 year-old “grocery getter.” It’s not sexy, but it will give your teen experience and keep your premiums low.

Safe Driving Courses

Driver’s Education classes are another overlooked way to save money on insurance. When your child first gets her license, she has a unique opportunity to save money. Driver Education programs are different from the safe driving courses you take as an adult, although your child might be able to benefit from those too.

Driver Education gives extensive, and in-depth, education on driving fundamentals and your state’s driving laws. Because of this, and the fact that students must pass both a driving and written exam, insurers often look favorably on kids who go through this multi-month ordeal.

Encourage Good Grades

Good grades pay off. If your child isn’t Einstein, that’s OK. Try to encourage your child to study more, raise his grade average, and be more responsible. Consider hiring a tutor, if necessary. Yes, tutors can cost $45 or more per hour. But this cost pales in comparison to the amount of money you’ll spend year-after-year on insurance premiums if your child continues to get lackluster grades.

While not every insurance company will dole out discounts for “A” students, a fair number of them do. Check with your insurer. In fact, it might be worth shopping around for a company that does reward good grades since your teen might be on your policy for a few years. Every little bit helps.

Gillian Kearney is always looking for innovative ways to save money for her family and friends. She also enjoys sharing her ideas and research through blogging. Visit the Monkey.co.uk site for more ideas.


Top Myths About Life Insurance

life insurance mythsLife insurance is quite complex as compared to other insurance policies. This policy has numerous elements that require carefully deliberation to be able to choose the right type and coverage duration. However, most people can handle the complexities of life insurance as opposed to deciding why they need the coverage and how much. Here is a brief explanation of popular myths associated with life insurance policies and the twisted reality.

The life insurance policy you have at work is enough

If you are single and living a modest life then the employer paid coverage might be sufficient. However, if you are a family person or you need coverage to cater for your estate taxes after your death then extra coverage is very necessary in case the term policy paid for by your employer fails to meet all your needs. In addition, if you are a real estate owner, you really need builders insurance.

Life insurance cover needs to be double your annual income

The amount of coverage an individual requires is based on his or her current situation. This is dependent on many other factors. Apart from covering your medical expenses and funeral bills, outstanding debts such as mortgages and your family well being must be considered. To establish the real amount of coverage that you need, a cash flow evaluation must be undertaken. Gone are the days when a person’s income formed the basis for computing life insurance.

If you don’t have dependents, insurance coverage is not necessary

Even if you are single you need insurance to cater for your medical bills, personal debts and funeral expenses. If you are not insured, you might leave behind a legacy of accumulated debts to your executor or extended family. Having a life insurance is an ideal way for modest single people to leave a good legacy to charities or another worthy cause.

The cost of premiums is normally deductible

The cost of life policy is not deductible except when the policyholder owns a business and uses the cover as asset protection. Under such circumstances the premiums must be deductible.

Life insurance policy is only necessary for breadwinners

This is totally wrong. It is very costly to replace services previously provided by departed breadwinners. Therefore, it is sensible to insure against the loss of homemakers particularly daycare and cleaning costs.

Investing is much better than getting life coverage

Life coverage is very important regardless of the assets you posses. Depending entirely on the investment you have in your primary years is very risk particularly when you have dependents. In case you die without covering your family, they will hardly survive after your assets are depleted. Investing is not bad, but purchasing life insurance is also as important. On the other hand, you can get builders insurance when construction of your estate is underway.

It is better to buy term life policy

This is not always necessary. There is a big difference between permanent and term life cover. The term life policy might be very expensive in the coming years. Consequently, for those who want to be covered in their demise permanent coverage is the best option.

These are just but a few prevalent misconceptions relating to life insurance. The most important aspect to note is that you should budget for life insurance policy to pay off your debts and expenses after your demise. You can also consult your financial advisor or insurance provider for further clarification.

Kara is a passionate blogger and works as a provider of construction insurance policies.

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Today’s 10 Biggest Life Insurance Myths

Life Insurance MythsCertain key elements of life insurance should be considered carefully in order to choose the right type and amount of coverage. However, the technical aspects are often less difficult to deal with for most people than trying to determine whether they need coverage and how much is required. The following are 10 of the most common myths surrounding life insurance:

Myth 1: You do not require coverage if you are single and do not have dependents
It is important for single people to consider life insurance to cover the cost of their personal debts, medical bills or funeral bills. Uninsured individuals may leave unpaid expenses that their loved ones or executors would be forced to deal with.

Myth 2: Life insurance coverage should be twice your annual salary
Your life insurance coverage is largely dependent on your specific situation. As such, you should take into account factors such as medical and funeral bills, mortgage expenses and your family’s needs. A cash flow analysis can also be very helpful in determining how much insurance you need.

Myth 3: Term life insurance through your employer is enough
While term coverage provided by your employer may be sufficient if you are single and of modest means, this may not always be the case. You may require additional coverage if you have a spouse or dependents or if your estate taxes will need to be paid off upon your death.

Myth 4: Life insurance premiums are tax-deductible
This is not always true since the cost of personal life insurance is only deductible if you are self-employed and the coverage is used for asset protection purposes.

Myth 5: Everyone must have life insurance
While most people require life insurance, those with sizable assets and no debts may not need it. In addition, life insurance can be optional if your medical and funeral costs are already covered.

Myth 6: The best approach is to buy term coverage and invest the difference
Although term life insurance is often cheaper then permanent life insurance, the cost of term life coverage increases with time. On the other hand, the premiums paid for permanent coverage often go on for many more years. It is also important to consider the risk of becoming un-insurable, which makes permanent coverage preferable.

Myth 7: A variable universal life policy is preferable to a regular universal life policy
Universal policies often pay competitive interest rates, with variable policies containing fees relating to the insurance and the security elements of the policy. This means that you may get lower cash value than an individual with a regular policy.

Myth 8: You do not need life insurance if you are not a breadwinner
Replacing the services offered by a deceased homemaker could be higher than you imagine, which is why it may be important to insure against the loss of such an individual.

Myth 9: You should include the return-of-premium rider to your policy

Different return-of-premium riders are available for policies offering this feature, but it may not be cost-effective. Your decision should depend on your investment objective and risk tolerance.

Myth 10: You are better off investing your money than buying life insurance

There may be no way to provide for your dependents if you die without coverage and your assets become depleted. As such, you may need some form of life coverage until the value of your assets is greater than that of your debts.

Charles is a passionate blogger and writes about life insurance topics.


Your Medical Insurance Broker Should be Like a Trusted Friend

Having adequate medical insurance when the need arises is like having a trusted friend by your side to help you with issues that need to be handled quickly and efficiently.  Whether you’re living at home or abroad you’ll need assurance that your medical insurance company is there when you need them as a trusted friend and ally.  You must be confident in the quality and value of the advice that they give to you; they should offer you guidance every step of the way.  You should partner with a company that tailors coverage solutions to fit your individual needs with a firm commitment to you, your health, and your well-being.

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Friendly service

Your medical insurance broker should provide you with a dedicated point of contact when you first call that will stay with you for the duration of your policy.  They must offer you competitive rates that they garner from their relationships with quality insurers who have the same professional goals as they.  You will want to be respected as a customer and not treated like another number on a file folder in someone’s office.  The company with which you partner should take pride in their coverage and customer service as they advise you on policies that cover you no matter where you live or work.

What you should expect

From your medical insurance broker you should expect a high standard of medical care at home or abroad.  They should have versatile plans with varying levels of protection that can be designed around the needs of your family.  You’ll want to receive medical treatment in the best facilities that are available should the need arise.  Look for a broker that is regulated by the Financial Services Authority so that you will be well protected in all areas of your coverage.  A dependable broker should have well-trained advisors on staff who can answer your questions and concerns in a professional manner and in a timely fashion.  One very important question that you must ask is if your medical policy will cover you if you work or live in a foreign country; it is a mistake to assume that your medical coverage goes right along with you wherever you travel.

Select a quality broker

If you take the time to investigate the medical insurance UK plans that are available to you, you’ll learn that a quality broker can be a one-stop-shop that saves you time, money, and effort as you seek to find the best policy and coverage for your family.  They have the expertise to offer you advice and to make recommendations for which insurance plan best suits your needs and protects your family from a crisis or tragedy.  Most importantly they can help you with the application process which can be a daunting task for the average person.  A quality company will offer you competitive renewal quotes before your policy expires so that your coverage will remain active and in place.

Shopping for medical insurance requires help from a professional team that can provide you with coverage at home and abroad, valuable advice and counsel as you make decisions about the plan that you prefer, and professional advisors who can answer your questions and concerns. Look for a broker that is a consultant to the client, not a salesman for the insurer.


Claiming for an Accident

accident claimsIn the UK alone over three million people are injured in accidents.  Accidents occur in various situations and different places whether at the office, outdoors or out and about in their car in many cases it will be the fault of someone else as to why the accident occurred.  When there is a clear fault by someone else then the victim will be inclined to make an accident compensation claim.

Compensation claims do not have to be a long and drawn out process.  With the aid of an expert solicitor an accident compensation claim can go through quickly and easily, it does not have to be a complicated process.

What you need to establish

A viable case requires establishing before a successful compensation claim can be made.  It’s not possible to base a case on simply your word against theirs.  When an accident occurs the following details are of paramount importance:

  • The date of the accident; where and how it happened, detailing as much information as possible
  • Witness contact details from anyone who was there at the time of the accident
  • Full details of injuries sustained – it’s important to provide an official medical diagnosis with details of any treatment

Depending upon the details of your case you may also need to provide:

Evidence that you suffered loss of earnings and other financial expenses which are the result of your injury from the accident

  • Details of any insurance policies you may have as these may cover you for the cost of your compensation claim – examples of this include household or motor insurance
  • Any documents that could potentially help your claim – these could include documents from before your accident or any evidence of previous accidents in similar circumstances

How to make a claim

Your solicitor will firstly send a letter to the individual you’re making the claim against.  All details, regarding the incident will be listed, detailing injuries sustained and the circumstances of whereby it occurred and how.

In most instances the individual will have a fixed period in which they need to respond – this is usually within a 3 month period.  They will have to provide a detailed response letter that elaborates on an investigation into the incident.  The response will also require them to state whether or not they accept the claim – usual practice involves settling out of court if they accept full blame for the accident.

Accepting compensation

Your solicitor should inform you what they believe the true value of the claim settlement should be at this stage.  You’ll also need to think about how much compensation you’d be prepared to accept as your solicitor will be able to make an offer to the responsible individual for that amount.  The respondent can come back with a counter offer and if they are deemed to “respond reasonably” it will usually be settled without having to take the matter to court.

Going to court

If the claim can’t be settled between the parties involved and their solicitors; legal action can be sought. In this instance it will be in the court’s hands to decide whether or not you’ll be awarded compensation for the claim.


Five Automotive Features That Lower Auto Insurance Premiums

auto insuranceHaving a good driving record, and years of experience, are a great start to lowering your auto insurance premiums. You can also take defensive driving classes – those should help out a lot. However, there’s more that goes into premium pricing than just your experience. Many times, insurance premiums can be dramatically reduced just by buying the right make and model car. Other times, you can modify your existing vehicle to lower your premiums. Try looking at factors you haven’t considered before.

Age of The Car

The age of your car can dramatically impact the premiums. Too old, and your vehicle might not have the safety features insurers look for. Too new, and your premiums might skyrocket due to the expensive nature of replacement parts on new cars (i.e. replacement or repair on newer vehicles almost always requires expensive diagnostic equipment and the repair or replacement of expensive electrical components).

Try to buy vehicles that are up to 5 years old. If you’re purchasing a vehicle that’s older than 5 years, make sure it has excellent ratings in crash tests and replacement parts are not only plentiful but inexpensive.

Airbags

Airbags are universally recognized by insurers as being an awesome safety feature. Because of this, discounts are basically guaranteed if your vehicle has airbags. It should go without saying that, if you’re buying a newer car, it should come with a driver’s side airbag at minimum.

Look for vehicles with optional airbags though. A passenger-side, rear, and side airbags all add to the safety of the vehicle and reduce auto insurance premiums.

Anti-Sleep Alarms

Ever get so tired while you were driving that you started to fall asleep? That’s a dangerous situation, and insurers know that people who travel long distances (or work the night shift) will eventually have to figure out how to keep from falling asleep at the wheel. Some car manufacturers have capitalized on this by installing anti-sleep alarms.

Lexus and Saab’s systems track driver eye movements while Volvo and Mercedes’ systems are activated when there’s a change in vehicle performance or position. Sleepy drivers are jolted awake – and kept alive. You can bet that insurers will give you a discount for this as almost every one of them sees this as a giant leap forward in safety technology.

Active Theft Protection

Active theft protection includes a car alarm or some type of active anti-theft system that disables the vehicle’s ability to start. Car alarms have come a long way with features that can include infrared wireless ignition shut off – preventing would-be thieves from stealing your vehicle or even finding a wire to cut to disable the alarm. Some alarms also offer anti-hijacking protection. At the touch of a button, the system is armed. When you’re car-jacked, you simply get out of the vehicle and let the thief have your vehicle. As soon as the crook shuts the door, the system activates a countdown countermeasure. At the end of the countdown, the vehicle’s engine decreases speed and shuts off – unable to be restarted. This leaves your vehicle safe, and you can call the police.

Etched VIN Numbers

Etched VIN numbers are new, but insurers are picking up on this trend fast. With etched VIN numbers on your windshield, front and rear windows, your vehicle becomes harder to steal and part out. Everything is traceable and insurers love this as it reduces costs to them. That improved security, in turn, earns you a nice discount on your premiums.

Natasha Risinger is an auto insurance consultant who also enjoys blogging. Her articles mainly appear on personal finance websites. Check out the progressive auto insurance rates from www.autoinsurance.us, visit the link.

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Protect Your Business Assets with Life Insurance

As a young business person, it is likely that you have had to work harder than most people to set up your business.

With this in mind, it would make sense to not let this hard work go to waste in the event of your untimely death or critical illness.

Here are a couple of business-related insurance policies available from the likes of lifeinsurance.org.uk that you might want to consider purchasing to provide financial protection to your business partners or yourself in the event of theirs:

Business life insurance

Even as a responsible young person, it is unlikely that you have considered what will happen to your business partners in the event of your untimely death.

Protect Your BusinessWould the beneficiaries need to sell their inheritance in order to pay death duties and taxes? Would there still be a business loan to pay off? Would the business have to hire someone to your job in the event of your unfortunate absence?

Business life insurance is a great way of answering these questions before they are even asked – should the absolute worst occur, your business associates or partners will have fewer financial problems and will be able to keep the business afloat.

It is highly advisable that after to obtain your key life insurance quotes you write you obtain your business life insurance as a policy holder rather the family of those being insured. That way those left running the business upon your demise will be able to use the funds as they wish.

Key man insurance/key man life insurance

Key man life insurance is very similar to normal individual life insurance except that upon the death of the policy holder (you), the recipient will actually be your business rather than your family.

Those left running your business will then be able to source, employ and pay a replacement, to buy or sell shares or to provide extra income for your family.

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Questions You Need to Ask When Taking out Contractor Insurance

Whether your business is building houses or IT consultancy, if you are a contractor you have a responsibility to your clients and yourself to adequately protect your business with contractor insurance. Most small business insurers should be able to offer a suitable business insurance package for contractors, but with the needs of each contractor potentially differing substantially, it pays to start your search for a suitable insurer armed with the answers to a few simple questions.

Which types of insurance will I need?

small business insurers If you are new to business you may be unsure of the types of insurance you need to take out. Some types of insurance you are required by law to hold, others will set the minds of potential clients at ease and help you win business.

Public liability falls into the former category and will protect you should a member of the public decide to claim against you for accidental damage to the self or their property, which has occurred on your premises or as a result of your business activity. If you have a high volume of visitors to your business premises then you are likely to need a higher level of insurance, if as a contractor you don’t use premises for business, you may find you have a lesser burden.

Other types of insurance you are likely to need are buildings insurance and insurance for plants, tool and equipment. Professional indemnity insurance is often sought by contractors, sometimes out of legal obligation and also as peace of mind for potential business partners. It covers against claims of damage brought as a result of your business services, activities and advice. So, should an IT consultant unwittingly unleash a computer virus on a client’s computer network, professional indemnity insurance would protect against the claim.

What should my cover be set at?

Certain minimum insurance levels in the UK are set by law and it’s worth checking out the government website for more advice on this. Where there isn’t a minimum you need to realistically consider the impact of a claim on your business. Setting excesses high to save you cash on your premiums will prove to be a false economy that could sink your business if you don’t have the cash flow when problems hit. That said, you certainly don’t want to be paying for cover you don’t need.

Can I afford to pay all at once?

Many insurers offer the option to pay by quarterly or monthly instalments, though there may be a charge for this practice. Consider whether you could afford to pay in bulk to save cash.

What can I do without?

Unfortunately, there are very few insurances small businesses can go without. If you are truly a one man band, you will have the luxury of avoiding employer liability insurance, but if you employ even one member of staff on a part time business it becomes a legal requirement. Assessing your insurance needs regularly is the key to ensuring adequate and affordable cover.

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