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What Is an Insurance Broker?

When you hear the term “broker”, what’s your initial reaction? Some people have a negative association. But once you’re looking to buy a home insurance or auto insurance policy, an insurance broker can help you decide where to start. And a reputable insurance broker also can simplify the entire process of purchasing an insurance policy. Consider the following. You want to make sure you’re purchasing a policy that’s within your budget. Check. But as a smart consumer, you also don’t want to be short on coverage as a result. Check again. The whole thing can feel stressful as you seek to find the right balance of price and protection for you and your family. And while it’s possible to take charge of the insurance purchase process on your own, many people find it more convenient and comfortable to enlist the help of an experienced agent. By using an insurance agent or…

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent When Getting a Quote

No matter the type of insurance you’re purchasing, you can feel confident in your decision to protect yourself and your loved ones. Whether that’s home insurance, car insurance, or even life insurance. But the insurance purchase process can feel overwhelming. So, let’s review questions to ask an insurance agent when getting a quote. It’s important to consider a number of factors to get the policy right for your needs. You know you don’t want to cut corners by automatically settling for the lowest premiums. You want to make sure you have the right amount of insurance coverage. In an industry full of jargon and technical terms, you may feel more comfortable enlisting the help of an insurance agent. But even with an agent working on your behalf, it’s important that you as the customer are still very much involved. A good insurance agent will walk you through the process. You should…

Why and How to Compare Insurance Rates

Home insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance are important to help protect us in emergencies. The purchase process can sometimes feel overwhelming — we all want to be sure we’re receiving the proper level of coverage. At a price that won’t break the bank. It’s a decision that we hope to feel confident in when it’s all said and done. But later down the line – whether it’s a few months or a few years – you may start questioning whether your insurance policy is still the best fit for you. Maybe a friend or family member has shared a story about their positive experience with their car insurance company. Or maybe you got the bill in the mail, and your rates have increased for seemingly no reason at all. In these situations, and many more, it might be the right time for you to do some comparison shopping. By…

Turning 65 Soon? How to Prepare for Medicare

Imagine (and maybe you don’t have to imagine) you are turning 65 years old later this year. A significant milestone, if for no other reason than becoming eligible to receive Medicare. What do you do? How should you prepare for it? What is next? Read Up On Medicare Eligibility And Coverage Individuals who turn 65 and have been paying into the Medicare system for at least 10 years (or have spouses who have paid) are among those automatically eligible for Medicare Part A. This part of Medicare covers inpatient hospital insurance, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. Inform yourself on what’s covered, what might require additional coverage and how you fit in. Enroll in Medicare Part B Getting covered in Medicare Part B — medical insurance — requires enrolling in the program three months before you turn 65. Delaying enrollment could mean having to pay a…

Getting Auto Insurance for a New Teen Driver

Even though more teens are putting off getting their driver’s license and delaying hopping behind the steering wheel, they’ll start driving at some point. And that means that your new teenage driver will need auto insurance. Here’s a six-point checklist for insuring that new driver (teenager or not): Create a Budget First things first. Determine how much you can spend (read: would like to spend) on your new driver. In this overall budget estimate, include annual costs for insurance, another family car — if that’s part of the plan — and auto maintenance. An item to note: Simply adding a single teen driver to an existing policy can cause the premium to increase, on average, by almost $700. Though parents can initially show reluctance to adding their teenager to an existing policy, it is often cheaper than excluding them from your policy and creating a new policy on a child’s…

7 Ways to Take Control of Your Finances Before the End of the Year

Did you know “saving [more] money” was one of the top three New Year’s resolutions in 2018? Chances are, it will rank among the top resolutions for 2019 as well. No matter how comfortable we are financially, most of us can do more with our money. If you’re among the many people considering a financial resolution in 2019, there are plenty of things you can do before the ball drops. Addressing your finances now to set yourself up for success in January. Here are seven things to consider doing right now: Check Your Credit Report You can check your credit report for free, with no penalty to your credit, once every 12 months. Take advantage! The end of the year is a great time to order a copy of your report from the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Get yours online at annualcreditreport.com (the only authorized website for the job,…

Start Your New Year With an Insurance Checkup

As January approaches, you may be thinking about New Year’s resolutions, usually centered on how to improve your life and the lives of those closest to you by making changes. When was the last time you thought about how well you are protected against an unfortunate turn of events? Insurance, even if you believe you have good coverage right now, is not a one-time, buy-it-and-forget-it product. The new year is the ideal time for an insurance checkup. Life events may change your insurance needs. It’s better to invest just a little time right now to review your coverage than to come up short when you face a critical need for coverage. Reviewing insurance policies probably doesn’t sound like a fun activity, but you have many solid reasons for settling in for a couple of hours of work. Consider the following: You may save money. If you purchased a policy several or…

Can Your Smart Home Save You Money?

There’s a definite “cool factor” to the idea of a smart home. The ability to turn lights on and off with your voice, get notified if there’s someone on your porch, or have your smoke detector alert the fire department if it detects a problem seems futuristic. It’s reminiscent of the Jetsons and Iron Man. Smart home devices definitely are cool – but they’re also practical. Many of the devices aren’t just about convenience, they’re also about safety. Lights that turn on and off automatically when you’re on vacation can deter burglars, smoke detectors that call the fire department can save lives and property, and doorbells that capture porch activity can help serve justice if your belongings are ever stolen. Even beyond peace of mind, smart devices can help you save money. It goes beyond smart thermostats that monitor the temperature of your home to save you money on utilities.…

7 Resources for Making Sense of Medicare

It’s open enrollment season for Medicare. If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare, you have until December 7 to review the various plan options. This is the time when to decide which are right for your health insurance needs and finances. These are the same decisions you would make if you’re enrolling for Medicare for the first time—which you can do starting three months before your 65th birthday and up to three months afterward (or eight months after retirement if you work past 65). If you fall into either camp, or need to help make these choices for a parent or older spouse, it’s important to know the options and how they best align with your needs. Personal health situations change from year to year. Elements and rules that go with various Medicare plans often change too. Medicare is a tremendous benefit for Americans 65 and older, one that most of…

How to Avoid Mistakes When Choosing Medicare Plans

“A problem well-stated is a problem half solved,” said renowned inventor and businessman Charles F. Kettering. With the number of options, choices and deadlines facing you when making Medicare decisions, it’s not difficult to run into a few problems. In some cases, you may not realize it until it’s too late. So, what are some mistakes when choosing a Medicare plan? Here are five of the most common: Staying the Course Without Reviewing Your Current Medicare Coverage You signed up when you were eligible. That’s good. But inertia can be a dangerous thing. One of the most common mistakes is doing nothing after you’ve signed up for your initial plan. Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs mid-October into December so you can adjust your coverage as your needs change. Like your needs, Medicare options change each year, as well as potentially the cost of those options. Are you making good…