I have heard people say how it’s a jungle out there. I never thought it would apply to our front yard. We had really let the trees go too long before pruning them. If it wasn’t fixing the car or getting braces for one of the kids, it was something else. We kept putting it off, and now we had branches falling all the time. Not big ones, but a lot of little ones. Our trees needed pruned back so their canopies did not touch. I called a tree service in Nassau County to come out and do the job. I did not want any algae growing on the porch roof because of it being in shade under the trees every day, and I did not want the squirrels to use the branches close to the gutter as a highway to the porch roof. When I saw one up there, I knew it was time to scale back the trees in our front yard. (more…)
We have all had a dishwasher that puttered out or a washing machine that sat idle with clothes floating in a well of water. Fixing creaky old appliances can be costly, and it often seems there is no way of avoiding such expenses. However, many owners and renters have found a solution: purchasing a condo warranty.
Unlike insurance-which covers natural disasters, calamities, and theft-a warranty is a service contract that, among other things, covers major appliances for members of a condominium. These warranties are specifically designed to work within the existing support structure and services provided by your association, so you only pay for the protection you need. Here are four ways a condo warranty can benefit you.
Covers Major Home Appliances and Systems
While the definitions of major systems and appliances may vary from policy to policy, a condo warranty will typically cover HVAC, plumbing, electrical, hot water heaters, garbage disposals, dishwashers, stoves and ovens, washers and dryers, and garage doors. Refrigerators are often covered when they are in the property at the time of purchase. This can be even more beneficial in the event that a retailer or chain goes out of business and/or any coverage you have on the product lapses.
Enhances Market Value
Condo warranties are, in general, cost-saving tools when it comes to maintenance. However, they can also be an enhanced benefit in a competitive seller’s market because they increase a unit’s marketability. According to the National Home Warranty Association, units on the market that covered by warranties tend to sell about 50 percent faster than homes that are not.
Protects from Potential Post-Sale Legal Disputes
Warranties generally protect the condo’s seller from post-sale legal disputes. They allow for the purchaser to invest with confidence, as they are given more security than what is offered by a statute of limitations, which, in most cases, only lasts four years. On the flip side, sellers can avoid legal disputes based on faulty or dysfunctional appliances and systems because they are covered. Of course, reviewing the fine print for specifics is always highly encouraged before purchasing a property.
Provides Peace of Mind
Out of the nine most crucial appliances in the home, at least one is expected to break down at some point in its 13-year average lifespan. A new buyer is assured some peace of mind in knowing that if something goes awry with any of the condo’s major appliances or systems, they will likely be covered by the warranty.
With a wide range of insurance products available today it is important to understand the differences and benefits to you and your specific situation. A basic portfolio for any person but more specifically for a self-employed person should encompass the 4 following aspects.
By far one of the most important products for anyone, specifically self-employed people is disability insurance. We all work to handle our weekly and monthly expenses in addition to providing the “little extras” if we have anything left over. Employees of a company for the most part will have benefits provided to them however, being self-employed our livelihood depends on our ability to go to work and earn an income. In the event your ability to work is suddenly removed, disability insurance could be the key to your survival. Your income is the fuel for everything. Remove that and over time all else will fall apart.
Life insurance has so many uses that it could essentially apply to everyone. However, the general consensus of life insurance is that it is suitable only for people with a family. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Life insurance can be used to protect a debt over a period of time, provide for your survivors after final expenses, or give to a charity upon your death. For people who would like the idea of having a benefit as well as a savings or investment vehicle, life insurance could also be an option for you. Life insurance must be carefully evaluated to ensure that it is structured properly based on your specific situation.
In my experience I have seen this product misunderstood the most. The important thing to understand about CI is that it will pay a lump sum benefit in the event you’re diagnosed with a “specific” covered illness. Most CI products will protect against heart attack, cancer, and stroke however, each policy will differ between companies for other covered illnesses beyond these. Do not make the mistake like most do in thinking that this operates like disability insurance. Yes, they are both living benefits but they provide protection in varying ways.
Within financial circles it is encouraged to have a minimum of 6 months of disposable “liquid” income saved. For most people this is a tremendous feat and some people often throw their hands up in the air and forfeit the idea that they too can have investments. Life insurance can be designed in such a way that not only do you have protection but also an accumulating asset. Outside of life insurance there are many ways to protect and grow your money. The concern for most people is having a large sum of money lying around to be able to invest. If you don’t have a large capital to start with always remember that it is better to start somewhere, even small if needed than to not start at all.
As an independent insurance advisor and income protection specialist for almost a decade, Ryan has been providing clients with customized personal insurance and financial solutions through disability, life, critical illness, long-term care, and other personal insurance products while providing strategies for hedging income and preserving wealth.
With continuous changes to the software industry, Claims Management Systems (CMS) have evolved with technology. These systems are equipped with newer capabilities to provide enhanced services to customers. In such situations, evaluating and selecting the right CMS for your organization could be a difficult task. In order to assist with this process, we furnish a few simple steps through which you can evaluate and choose the right CMS for your organization.
Check the efficiency and responsiveness of the system:
• Claim management systems are crucial to making the customers satisfied and to improve the overall performance of the company. A CMS should be able to manage the entire claim process – from the beginning to the final settlement. The software should help in organizing every file activity and maintain reports.
• In addition to performance, a CMS needs to allow the user to run reports instantly. The ability to quickly access information will expedite the claims, allowing employees to return to work, and employers to save valuable resources.
• A transaction – accessing and saving a claim, creating letters, etc. should not take more than 10 seconds, and on an average it should be done only in a couple of seconds.
• While evaluating the performance and response time of the CMS, ensure to check them in a real time environment with and user data. This will give a complete picture of the performance and the responsiveness of the system.
Technology used in the system
Today, many organizations prefer browser based systems that help them simplify deployment, support, and allow for remote access.
• While evaluating the technology, check the type of database being used. It is important to choose the right database with a simple and efficient data model. This will help create reports and data mine independently.
• A critical issue that goes unchecked by many organizations is with respect to the reporting database. The reporting database should be kept separate from the transactional database as it impacts the system performance.
Security, confidentiality and hosting model of the system
Security and confidentiality of the data
It is the responsibility of the organization to keep the claimants information secure. In order to keep the data safe, it has to be encrypted with multilevel access passwords. All users should be given unique ID’s and passwords with no plain text.
• To reset the password and protect system security, do not allow viewing of the old password.
• Data to the user and from the user should be encrypted using a SSL encryption. Along with this, user access permissions, levels of authority, hierarchy, etc. – are necessary to ensure security and confidentiality.
• If your organization possesses adequate bandwidth and infrastructure for supporting new applications you may want to consider hosting the system.
• If not, hiring a reputable web host is you best alternative. Be sure to confirm the system is always accessible and is supported without any interruptions in the services. Additionally, in choosing a web host make sure that there is equipment redundancy and document backup to ensure data is replicated without any loss.
Functionality and features of the system
• For every CMS, there should be some basic functional modules such as claim/claimant maintenance, notepads, diaries, reporting, payment and reserves, etc.
• Check the functionality that will help the examiners to focus on closing claims quickly. You can ask various questions regarding the functionality of the CMS, depending on your business requirements and workflow.
• Check the features of the system and all the data categories that your organization needs.
• The system should enable users to build data fields as the organization grows and risks become more complex.
• Check for the software integration. This gives the new capabilities in settling the claims quickly and efficiently.
Once the system meets all the required guidelines, it is necessary to assess the vendor. In order to assess a vendor, several factors should be considered.
• An efficient vendor should constantly work on improving the system, based on client needs. They should be to discuss new functionality and any challenges with implementing system enhancements. Ask any potential vendor how often they meet their clients for discussing such issues.
Other factors (past experience, etc.)
• Consider vendors past experience. How efficient they are in research and development of new technologies? How effective are they are in knowledge transfer?
• References would assist in choosing the right web host. This will provide appropriate insight to what a relationship with the vendor will be like in the future.
• Pricing structure should be flexible for each client. Depending on size and need, each contract can vary greatly. Terms of payment should also be flexible in order to allow companies of all sizes to find a system that works for them financially. A CMS with many users should cost less per user than that of one with fewer users.
The insurance company you choose to protect you from loss in the event of an accident or situation needs to be a trustworthy one. Know what to look for as you analyze and examine different companies and policies to ensure that you choose the right coverage.
Rely on the assessments of the rating companies, whose purpose is to analyze the quality and financial wellbeing of insurance companies. Check the rating of any insurance company you are considering. As you check ratings, compare them to learn which business has the highest rating. Higher ratings have a direct correlation with the solidity of the business and the services provided. Higher ratings also indicate entities with more solid financial standings for paying out claims.
Examine the length of time a business has been operating to get an indication of the quality and reliability of its services. A newly formed entity may not be able to offer customers the same reliability and performance as businesses that have been around for many years. A recent purchase and transfer between insurers could indicate that the new owner is undertaking positive growth.
The services provided to customers by an insurance company will be an important indicator of quality. Optimally, customers should be able to reach representatives in a variety of ways, such as by phone, online chat, and email. The response times to customer queries should be relatively short to ensure that all questions and concerns receive a speedy resolution. Customers should also be able to reach a representative around the clock and on weekends and holidays for emergencies.
The policies provided should meet your needs, with cost effective premiums, affordable deductibles, and terms that meet your coverage needs. Compare policy terms between different corporations to ensure that you choose the policy that fits your budget and needs. Explore the claim-paying process to find out how the business investigates claims and the typical time period for payment on a claim. Find out the rate of claim refusal, also, so you know the average pay out statistics for the insurance company.
Reviews and Complaints
Learn about reviews and complaints recorded by other customers to find out potentially positive and negative information about the insurer. Find positive and negative reviews on websites that allow consumers to record their experiences for other consumers to read. These reviews may provide surprising information about an entity that could lead you to decide not to choose them as your insurer. You might also learn positive information about the way a business takes care of its customers. Optimally, the corporation you choose should have very few or even no complaints lodged against it from other customers.
Once you gather extensive information about a company, you will have the data you need to choose a quality business for your coverage needs. This will enable you to put your trust and confidence in this corporation, knowing that it will assist you financially if you need it.
There are many things that you need to set in place when you first start out working as a courier driver. However, one of the most important things on your list should be to ensure you have adequate insurance.
Finding suitable insurance is essential. Not only is insurance a legal requirement, but a policy that covers all your needs will also serve to provide you with peace of mind while you work. Here is what you need to know.
Courier Insurance is not Standard
Insurance is a legal requirement for every driver – in fact, even if you are not using your van a lot, it must still be insured. However, if you use your vehicle to carry out delivery work, you should be aware that you’ll need more than just standard vehicle insurance. As a courier driver, you will be considered a higher risk than other road users, because you will stop frequently, you have deadlines to meet, and you may also transport valuable goods that need to be covered under a policy. It therefore makes sense to spend adequate time researching the most suitable policy, even if that means spending a little more on it.
There are different levels of policies that you can choose from. Everybody’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to find the most suitable policy for your personal situation when working as a courier driver. Various factors could influence your insurance, from the type of vehicle you drive to how far you travel and how many drop-offs you make.
One of the most important things to look for is goods in transit cover. This provides coverage for all the cargo you transport, some of which may be very valuable. If you have an accident or the goods are stolen, you are liable for the damage or loss, and this could cost you a lot of money. So to have complete peace of mind you’ll need to invest in decent goods in transit cover. (You should also find out what is not covered under a particular policy, as it may not include high-value goods like jewellery.)
Breakdown cover is another thing you should definitely consider including. This will provide you with protection should you experience problems on the road, as it can be very difficult if something goes wrong when you are working to a deadline.
Other things that may be covered in a policy include vandalism, overseas travel, public liability, employers’ liability, personal belongings and replacement van cover. You may also want to get a fleet policy if you have numerous vehicles. It’s important never to assume that any aspect is covered; always check the details carefully and understand exactly what you’re covered for as well as how much excess you will have to pay when you make a claim.
Look Around for a Suitable Policy
When you start your research for insurance, always search around and get quotes from various providers, as they’ll all provide slightly different policies at different prices. This is an important decision for any courier driver, so do spend some time over the process. And remember, don’t simply buy the cheapest you can find – you need to make sure it really does provide the cover you need.
In a world where unforeseen consequences can lead to costly damages and potential lawsuits, managing your risks is an absolute must. When looking for ways to mitigate risk in an investment, such as a car, house, or expensive work of art, people often turn to major insurance companies. In theory, paying a little each month can protect you from sudden financial disaster in the future. While these companies have good intentions, the reality is often much less idyllic. Companies often try to deny claims or take forever to process payments, leaving you stuck with a mountain of debt while you try to keep your investments afloat.
Particularly in contract work, standard liability coverage often leaves much to be desired. When allowing a contractor to work in your home, install an air conditioner, or run new power lines, you are taking a huge leap of faith that the company will behave ethically and do their work up to code. While most reputable companies carry liability, there is simply no way to guarantee that their coverage will provide you with the compensation you need when their mistakes cost you thousands of dollars in damages. To mitigate this risk, surety insurance has become a preferred means of protecting your investment. This type of protection, often called surety bonds, offers a unique method of controlling the way funds are distributed in the event of a disaster. Rather than spreading settlement payout across a myriad of clients, surety insurance is a three-way agreement between a customer, a contractor, and their bondsman. With stricter guidelines and a clear understanding of responsibility, these bonds allow payment to be treated like a bank loan rather than a sudden cash windfall. By cutting out the major corporations, homeowners are able to hold contractors accountable and seek damages as soon as they know shoddy work has been performed rather than after catastrophe has struck.
Surety insurance is also beneficial in the case of public works. When building a park, statue, or other municipal attraction, city and town governments rely on one major overseer to manage a large number of subcontractors. Often this primary job lead is the only point of contact for the various electricians, sculptors, and carpenters working on the job site every day. While this manager hires out the work and can make agreements for compensation on his own, he will not be the one receiving complaints should any subcontractors not receive their due. Dissatisfied workers will climb as far up the food chain as they can and head right for the biggest wallet. Liability protection held by a contractor won’t save the city in this instance; only a qualified bond will do the trick. The township can activate their agreement and settle payment directly with the workers without any scandal or lawyers whatsoever.
Whether you are building an addition to your home or rebuilding the town square, make the right decision and cover yourself with surety insurance.
While it’s nice to enjoy the many comforts of life, those comforts come with risks. This is where insurance comes in. To get the most out of your car, home, and ultimately health, you will likely need to invest in protection. This provides individuals and families with peace of mind and protects you and your loved ones from unforeseen events or accidents.
Keep Your Car Covered
Most states have laws that require insurance in order for an individual to operate a vehicle. If you’re pulled over without proof of coverage or you’re involved in an accident, you can be fined or even have your licensed suspended. Not only is it beneficial for the individual to have car insurance, but it is also beneficial to other parties if an accident occurs. The insured party may have more costs or delays in car repairs or medical bill payments and the uninsured party may incur fines and out of pocket costs. This also helps in cases of accidents caused by your surroundings. For example, if your car is covered and the windshield is shattered by a rock, you can call the company and they will supplement the price of the new windshield.
Safeguard Your Home
Whether you have purchased a home or simply rent, gaining insurance is a top priority. There are many unpredictable events that put the valuables inside and outside your home at risk. First and foremost, homeowners should be aware of the potential risks. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a fire, your home is an investment you surely don’t want to watch go away with rain or fire. Keep in mind the valuables you’ve collected over the years and the feelings you have attached to them. Mitigate your stress by having a separate entity directly responsible for the financial repercussions. Accidents happen. For example, a leaky roof caused by the weather, a tree falling on the house from a storm, or the neighbor’s kid breaking a window with their rogue baseball can all wreak havoc. There are also additional special features that can be tacked on to renters and home owners insurance. If you live in a flood prone area, flood insurance can be included in the policy. Hurricane and tornado insurance can also be added for those who live in at risk areas.
Whether young or old, insurance is a necessity of life. Paying monthly bills over the course of the year will protect you and your family from unthinkable incidents. While some see this as a waste of money, ask anyone who has faced a disaster without coverage and you will soon change your mind. Explore your options and don’t be afraid to be picky with your provider. They’re top priority should be getting you what you need.
If you’ve ever been in a car accident that was more than just a little fender bender, or if your house or residence has ever been burglarized, you know better than most people how important insurance agents are. If your place gets burglarized, you almost never recover what was stolen. The costs to replace the things that were taken can be more than you can afford all at once, but you may need your things now. If you are in a bad car accident that totals your car or seriously damages it, you may not be able to get back on the road if you cannot fix your ride. These are but a few examples of why insurance is so vital to your life. Without it, you may never recover from an unfortunate situation that you had no control over.
But, don’t hastily purchase the first policy you see out of fear. Research the local insurance agents in your area and meet with them to discuss your specific policy needs. There may be things you never considered insuring, because you didn’t know that you could. This is why meeting with a professional is the best step you can take for protecting your future. In addition to meeting with a professional sales policy person, you should also appraise the valuables that you think you want covered under your policy.
If you can give your agent an accurate estimate of what your things are worth, you can better formulate your policy. This can also save you some stress later on if something happens and your policy must go into effect. In this event, having already calculated the cost of your valuables will give you specific up-front appraisals. Getting accurate value estimates after something has been stolen or damaged, hardly ever works out in your favor.
If you are an elite athlete, you should also consider taking out a policy on your health or future playing capabilities. Let’s say you are a star collegiate running back with a great chance to play professional ball, but in your final amateur season you sustain an injury. Even if the injury isn’t career-ending, it may hurt your stock moving forward and you could lose significant amounts of money in potential contracts. In these cases, having a policy on your body is a great investment.
Insurance agents will be there to help you understand everything that you can and cannot insure, but these days you can pretty much get a policy on anything an insurance company or private agent is willing to take a risk on. Seriously, go and consult a professional before you wish you had.
Insurance products aren’t the easiest of things to understand and income protection insurance is no exception. With cumbersome key facts booklets and the media citing stories of context-specific consumer-insurer battles, it’s no surprise that many people misunderstand exactly what it is and what it specifically offers.
Outlined here are eight major protection myths demystified, so that next time you hear something about income protection, you’ll be able to separate fact from fiction.
Myth 1: It doesn’t pay out
Provided that the policyholder has kept up-to-date with their monthly premiums, and has given truthful personal information from the outset, claims are nearly always paid out. In fact, last year in the UK, insurance providers paid out over 90% of successful claims. If you’re still unconvinced and want to double check specific insurer payout rates, most of them now provide easily-accessible claim statistics on their websites.
Myth 2: It’s too expensive
This myth is purely subjective. If you were a smoker in a high risk job and wanted a very high level of cover, your premiums would, of course, be costly. For the majority however, income protection is affordable and can cost as little as 30p per day. If you want significantly lower income protection insurance quotes, consider buying through a commission free broker or by extending your deferral period – the amount of time between a claim being made and the money being paid out. Premium rates are calculated based on your age, health, smoker or non-smoker and occupation, so if you’re serious about cutting the costs of premiums, it may also be beneficial to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Myth 3: It’s a waste of money
When it comes to ill-health and injury, people can feel a sense of invulnerability, and so it’s all too easy to see how this kind of myth circulates. But ask anyone who’s used their income protection policy, and they’ll be the first to debunk this notion. If you were unable to work due to illness or injury, the monthly instalments provided by income protection could become invaluable, affording reassurance that bills, loan repayments, and any other expenses could continue to be financed during your time off work.
Myth 4: It isn’t necessary if you receive benefits
Statutory sick pay and other benefits tend to pay no more than £400 a month, which for most, would not cover the rent or mortgage. An income insurance policy however, would pay up to 75% of your usual income, comfortably covering the costs of your living.
Some employers will provide a more comprehensive benefit than statutory sick pay. Therefore, it’s important to check if this applicable; as this may mean that your deferral period can be extended which can, in turn, lower premiums.
Myth 5: It’s the same as PPI
Although they may sound similar, income protection and payment protection insurance (PPI) are not the same products. PPI insures a specific loan repayment, whereas income protection is designed to cover a portion of your income. If you found yourself unable to meet your mortgage repayments due to ill health, PPI would be on hand for this, but what about all the other inevitable expenses? This is where income protection comes in.
Myth 6: It’s not necessary if you have critical illness cover
Whilst critical illness insurance is important, unlike income protection, it would not pay out if you were unable to work due to injury or if you developed a non-critical illness. For this reason, income insurance may be worth considering along with critical illness cover, as this would cover a wider range of eventualities.
Myth 7: It’s not for you if you’re self-employed
Self-employed people can get income protection insurance, but be prepared to provide the relevant documentation. If you’re self-employed, your income may be more variable, so it would be beneficial to regularly review your policy to ensure that you’re covered for the amount of money you require.
Myth 8: It takes too long to apply
Whilst this may have been true in the days of dial-up-internet and telephone brokers, thanks to user-friendly websites, it is now easier than ever to search, compare and buy income protection policies.