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Insurance

4 Important Question to Ask Your Insurance Agency Before Hiring

The Insurance policy is an umbrella term for life and property safety. One who wants to build a secure future should definitely be aware of its importance and significance in any financial crisis. You need to hire a personal insurance advisor or an independent insurance agent to find the right insurance policy for covering valuable assets.

Insurance agents are fully certified and trained to personally assess your individual coverage needs and make sure you’re adequately protected. Combining the knowledge and state-of-art comparing tools, they bring best of both worlds together. You might feel surprised knowing, as an expert they also compare deals, and search discount policies for customer

An insurance agent limits your financial vulnerabilities to potential risk and accidents. But not all policy advisors are created equal. You need a trusted insurance agent to help you determine the coverage level that meets your needs.

Now, do you want to go through and call at different independent insurance agencies to find the one. Of course, you don’t! Instead, you can ask a few questions from your local insurance broker to filter the best insurance agency.

Ask Your Insurance Agency Before Hiring

Here’s a list of questions to ask:

How long have you been in the Business?

Information about the service background and year of establishment is mandatory for every policy buyer. This will give an idea about their workmanship and dedication towards customer service. You can easily pick the right option, who has years of expertise in dealing with different insurance policy.

How many different insurance companies do you offer?

Being an informed consumer not only means reading different insurance policies. But, you need to ask the experts about most feasible and economical solution. Do they compare deals? Do they offer the most affordable premium cost? From how many carriers they compare deals? Collect answers to all these questions.

What kinds of insurance products do you offer?

Getting insurance coverage to all general and complicated insurance liabilities in one comprehensive solution saves you a lot of money. Try to look out for the services available for you. Do they have unique insurance policy to fit every demand and needs? Or, else find a trusted insurance company who offers wide range of insurance products.

Do you have any testimonial, reviews, or references of current clients?

Before selecting an agency, you should first do your homework on the agency as well as the agent they’re associated with. Your first read testimonials, reviews, and references on Google.

Have a look at the website. Is it looking very professional? Also, check out their social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIN profiles for reviews and content posted.

There are also other questions which you may consider while choosing an insurance agency (Are they direct or independent? Are they licensed in other states? Are they technically sound enough to help you? What is your reach? How many offices are there in your location?), but these are just 4 important things you must consider before selecting any insurance company. Remember, you can always change your agent, but it’s better to do proper homework before you land to any decision.

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Money Saving Tips

Budgeting and Money Saving Tips

We are always on the lookout of ways to save money. The smile and sense of accomplishment we get when we save money is priceless.

Many of us start to aim higher when we have some savings in our banks. New home, car, home appliances are planned only when we have savings in our accounts.

SO, how to save money….

There is a famous story – a great businessman lost everything he had when he made losses. He went bankrupt and didn’t even have money for his next meal. Tired and exhausted, he was sitting in a park. A man came and sat next to him in the bench. He looked at the businessman and asked, “What is troubling you my son?”  Businessman narrated his entire story to the old man. In the end, the old man smiled and wrote a cheque worth $50,000 and gave it to the businessman.

With rejuvenated energy and feeling of financial security, he took strategic decisions which made his business grew multifold. The businessman wanted to return the money to the old man, so he visited the park where he first found the old man. The septuagenarian was at the same place as before. When the businessman was about to return the cheque to the old man, staff from a mental asylum showed up and zapped the old man. They were taking him to the asylum. The businessman learned the old man was a mad who absconded from the asylum, and the cheque he wrote was phony.

The moral of the story is savings can usher in a sense of financial security, thereby helping one progress in life. There are many ways to save money, a few has been stated in the blog.

Tip #1: Create a Savings Account.

This is a tip which I personally followed. When I had to save money for my marriage, I created a savings account apart from my checking account. Internet banking offered me the option of automatic money transfer from my checking account to the savings account. I set the savings amount to be transferred and the date of transfer. On the preset date, the money automatically got transferred. This is how I saved without much hassle.

This savings gave me strength and intent to plan beautiful things for my wife such as honeymoon, new home and other amenities required after marriage. I personally suggest this as one of the best measures in saving money without budgeting.

Tip #2: 50/20/30 Saving Plan

Every person will have 3 kinds of expenses, the first one is his monthly bills such as water, electricity etc. Number two being is his savings such as fixed deposits, recurring deposits and number three is his lifestyle expenses like clothing, entertainment.

Understanding these three types of expenses is essential to have a healthy financial life. Each is distinct and essential in its own way. Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with her daughter Amelia Warren-Tyagi, introduced the 50/20/30 budgeting rule in the book “All Your Worth”.

In the book, they stated that 50% of your income will be spent on the essentials such as rent, electricity and other monthly bills. 20% should be spent on savings such retirement savings, down payment for your home. The remaining 30% can be spent on lifestyle expenses. When the lifestyle expenses are properly planned, there can be further savings.

money saving ideas

This tip is continuation of the previous tip. Once you have mapped out your expenses, you can have target accounts for each expense, a savings account to maintain your savings, a checking account for your lifestyle expenses. Prefer using debit cards and don’t use your credit cards for any of your lifestyle expenses. This will help you to keep a tab on the money flow and will help in identify areas where you can avoid the expenses.

Tip # 3 Use Technology

In this technology savvy world, everything is available in our smart devices. Savings plan can be made using our smart phones. Gone are the days, when we used to maintain an excel spreadsheet to monitor our expenses. Now our jobs are made easy by various savings app. There are numerous free and paid budgeting and savings apps.

Digit is such an app that automates your savings. It is connected to your bank account and often analyses your spending pattern. Then it takes small amounts of unspent money every week and transfers it to your savings account. You are informed about the saved amount via text message. All the transactions are done through text messaging, for example, when a transaction is to be made, an SMS sent to digit eases the process. This app saves a lot of money and time.

Qapital is another app that helps you save money by using rules or more specifically “If then” formula. When one of the rules or goals you’ve set is triggered, the money is saved. There are penalties for not completing the target and the money can be taken away from your set expenses. It instils fresh energy and fun on saving money.

Summing Up

Saving money can be easy when we choose the right ways. Investments are also one of the options you can look for to grow your money. Savings will help in having a secure future while you enjoy your present. We have spoken at length about the various ways of saving money.

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Money Saving Tips

How to Save Money on Your Home Improvement

Owning a home and maintaining one call for spending a chunk of the amount from your salary and you might the pinch when you have to spend it on maintenance. One might even take up homeownership assistance program to efficiently spend money on home improvements.

If you are looking to make improvements to your home there are ways you can get cost effective home improvement services where you have to spend little and contribute your skills as well.

Save Money on Your Home Improvement

What can you do Indoors?

From saving electricity to fixing appliances yourself there are ways to reduce the expenditure of money or fix things in a cost effective manner. So here are the improvements you can make to your homes with the following ideas.

Bring in a homeownership advisor

Getting your home checked by experts is one way of improving things at home. An advisor will inspect your home give necessary suggestion on what you have to fix, change or buy. In a house, there is something or the other that would need fixing so pay attention to it and maybe do it yourself if it is an easy task.

Using alternative appliances –

The use of appliances is a lot in any person’s home and if you can substitute an appliance with the one which doesn’t cost you a huge bill does it. Take air conditioners, for example, it requires constant cleaning and changing of filters if you are in a place where the heat is bearable use a ceiling fan which costs way less and you don’t have to do heavy maintenance.

Put in cost saving fixtures –

In these global warming times where we see droughts everyone is thinking and making an effort to save and use much less water as possible. So upgrade your home with these low fixtures like in bathrooms such as toilet flushes, which consume less water and does the job and also smart shower heads which detect when you do not need much water.

Replace machinery –

If you are living in your homes from a long time and have very old machinery switch it to the news ones. The new machinery these days has technology that saves energy and electricity. These makeup for a cost effective way of doing things which will benefit you and you do not have to spend as much.

Fix broken doors and windows –

When you see a broken window or door and a leaking tap fix it. These easy fixes can be made with the help of objects that are very cheap instead of replacing the whole door, window or tap. This can be done even if you have very little knowledge thanks to the internet.

Create space –

If you want space to make space, do it by moving things around and removing things you don’t require. Instead of expanding your home by breaking the walls rearrange furniture and bring in new furniture to put things that are lying here and there. It will not only create space but also add a new look to your home and will look organized with additional furniture.

Cover up damaged walls –

Houses often are not built with all the correct material or high standard materials and causes leakage or cracks. Cover these up with wall hangings or an artifact these not only cover up the mess but add to the décor of your home with a simple touch of art.

What can you do outdoors? 

Now that you know what improvements can be done indoors let us explore what outdoor changes can bring in improvements.

Drying clothes on a rack outside –

Forget to buy a laundry machine which dries your clothes not only does it consume so much electricity it also is an added expense. Instead of such machines put up a drying rack out in your backyard, it dries your clothes natural in the heat and you will be able to use them the next day. This improvement won’t take much just a string and pegs to hang your clothes.

Put up rainwater harvesting system –

Water is becoming dearer each and every day and if you are in a place where you receive rainfall every year make sure you have rainwater harvesting system in place. Putting this system in place you can use the rainwater for watering your plants, washing vessels and even having a bath. It cuts down your water usage and also makes your contribution to the environment.

Plant a plant –

Planting a tree outside your home can bring your house the shade it needs. The sun’s rays and the water’s harsh substances can damage your house walls prevent this from happening by planting a tree and its shade will shelter your home.

Few Tips More Tips

Every improvement big or small can be done by you, by contributing your skills and here are some things you can do.

  • Install a mesh in the shower and laundry drain to catch your hair and prevent from blocking the drain.
  • Turn off the switch plugs if they are not in use.
  • Change to less energy consuming lights like LED.
  • Time your shower so that you don’t take long baths.

Summing it up

There are so many improvements that can be made in one’s home and having home ownership and wealth you wouldn’t know where to start but you must make changes from time to time to make changes and be up to date with these changing times.

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Budgeting Habit

Tips to Teach Your Kids Budgeting Habits – Money Lessons

Everyone must know the value of money and parents should inculcate money management for kids as they will learn to value money in their lives. It is important to build the child’s knowledge on how to save money and the importance of money. Teaching budgeting and money management skills to kids from a younger age will help them develop better money management habits in future.

Budgeting Habits

Let us look at some ways by which you as a parent can teach your kids on how to handle money. 

Giving allowance

Children learn about money through various ways when they see parents make a transaction, when they get salary and when they purchase things, but a kid will understand what money truly is when you tell them about it. So the best way to start teaching kids about money and budgeting for kids when you give them their monthly allowance.

Allowance acts as a tool for teaching kids how to save when they want to purchase something with their allowance money. They also learn that if they spend the whole money in advance before the month ends they won’t have any money and will learn to budget. This tool of allowance will come a long way as it shows the consistent flow of money, encourages savings and spending money wisely.

Participation in money matters

As the kid grows older they are building up their knowledge about money and how money should be spent. So they have a working knowledge that money is very important and must be carefully spent. Since they have learned to budget and spend their allowance wisely they are now ready to make small contributions to family finances.  Give your kid a small task to manage some household finance like giving a home worker their salary and tracking their attendance. This exercise builds the child’s confidence in managing money and prepares them for their future when they have to run their own household.

Involving the kids in family money matters will bring them a sense of the financial situations at home and how the expenses are managed and how much is saved. This exposure brings the child to understand money matters more and the value of money.

Making savings account 

When allowance is given and your kid has money left at the end of the month encourage them to save. You can encourage them to save by letting them know after collecting a sufficient amount they can purchase something or that it will be the money for their college education. This encouragement of saving will make the kid want to save and put in some amount of money every month. For saving money there must be some money left this makes the kids spend on a limit so that they can save some money and will cut back on things they don’t need.

After introducing saving you can teach your kids how savings account works and can open a savings account. Letting them know they can put money in the bank and will build interest, would be safe and they can withdraw the money whenever necessary.

Spending it right

It is important for your kids to know what is expensive and what is worth buying and when it is necessary to spend. When you are going grocery shopping take your kids along with you and let them observe. When you are choosing a product with different prices bring to the child’s notice on why you are choosing that particular one over the others, be it the price quality or quantity. It is important for them to know what is suitable to buy.

It is also necessary to make them aware of the coupons available and how to identify which products have offered so that they can make a smart purchase. After they have seen you shopping for grocery encourage them to go and make purchases for home needs and see if they are on the right track if not take them again with you and educate them on smart buying.

Track the expenditure

Giving your kid money just isn’t sufficient you need to guide them every step of the way and when they come to you for help do it. After the month ends, sit down with your kid and track their expenditure and monitor what they have been doing. When you have a look at their expenses make necessary notes on where they have gone wrong like over spending on one item and frequent expenses they don’t need. You as a parent must ask your kids to cut down on the unnecessary and use the money wisely.

Monthly meetings

After all this process it is important to know to keep the finances in check, it is easy to teach someone to budget but it is more important to see if they are sticking to it. So every 2 months make it a habit to sit down and see that there is a fair usage of money and make changes if necessary.

Summing up

It is important to inculcate in your child how to spend money and manage it from a younger age itself so that they can grow to be responsible adults and can manage their own finances later on without much trouble.

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Insurance

6 Simple and Useful Tips for Everyone to Avoid Insurance Frauds

Insurance is a need. Unless you live in a utopian society where the state provides you with everything, you need insurance. You need life insurance; you need insurance for your car, for your home and for your business.

But choosing the right insurance policy can be hard, especially because there are many fraudsters in the guide of insurance agents who rip naive customers off.

Avoid Insurance Frauds

Here are the tips that you’ll want to follow:

Ask to compare

Tell the agent to compare his company’s policy with other policies.

Wondering why you should do that?

This stops the agent from making outlandish claims. Insurance agents often make claims that are half-true. They purposefully conceal information from their customers. Customers can extract information from them if they tell them to compare their policies with other policies.

Let’s say an insurance agency reveals the extra costs associated with deductibles. A customer can refer to this and ask the insurance agent whether his policy comes with any hidden cost. When confronted this way, agents are pressurized to tell the truth.

Additional policy coverage

This is a technique used by insurance agents to pocket commission. They sell customers additional policy coverage, which the customer may not even need in the first place. It’s called policy sliding.

How to make sure that your insurance agent is not aiming for policy sliding? Ask him to hand you all the papers. Then take those papers to your lawyer. He’ll tell you whether there’s any additional policy coverage.

Sliding is a fraud. If an insurance provider is accused of policy sliding and if the ensuing investigation proves the provider was guilty, it could end up losing its license.

Insurance churning

Akin to policy sliding, insurance churning is a method, using which dishonest insurance agents profit off of inexperienced customers. Insurance agents insist their existing customers to upgrade their policies. What they don’t disclose is upgrading the policy could cost you all the cash-value that you’ve built up over the years.

It’s happened with a lot of people. They felt surprised when they discovered their previous non-upgraded policy was more than sufficient. Upgrading translates to moving to a pricier plan, enabling the agent to earn more commission. So if the agent advises you to upgrade your policy, make sure it’s a useful advice and you really need to upgrade it.

Auto insurance scams

Auto insurance is susceptible to scams. Here are the top scame categories that every auto insurance buyer should be careful of:

  • Intentional crash: It’s also known as crash for cash. Insurance agents, with the help of their companies stage accidents, so that the customer is held responsible. In this type of crash, the driver deliberately causes the customer to hit the backend of his vehicle.
  • False representative: The insurance company might send a fake representative when a customer is genuinely involved in an accident. The representative sends the customers to a shoddy doctor or a repair-shop to squeeze money out of him.
  • Faking injury: In this type of scam, the fake victim shows up with false injuries. They often get sketchy doctors involved to buttress their claim.

Take help of an experienced attorney if any of these happens. Attorneys are experienced. They can identify whether the agent’s offer is genuine or fake.

Ask for receipt

Once again, a lot of people fall prey to it. Insurance agents convince them to the extent that they forget to ask for a receipt. At times, customers ask for a receipt but the agent tells him it’s not that important. Beware! If your agent tells you insurance policy receipt is not that important, he’s most likely to be a fraudster.

A receipt is the evidence that you have cleared the payment. Agents often discourage customers by saying getting a receipt will take days. While that’s true, the receipt is the proof you have a contract with the insurance company and the contract was realized by the agent.

Oftentimes, agents hand over receipts which were issued by fake companies. Make sure the receipt you obtain is from the company with which you are entering into the contract.

Up coding and documentation

Have your insurance contract documented and stop up coding. Similar to receipts, documentation is also a proof that the customer has entered into a contract with the insurance company. It also categorically states coverage and limitation. By having their policy documented, customers can prevent being billed for nonexistent services.

Documentation is essential for all those who are buying health insurance policies. It prevents up coding. In a technical sense, up coding is a situation wherein a person is billed for health insurance services he didn’t receive. When all the key details about the policy are documented, up coding is prevented.

Summing up

Insurance frauds amount to billions of dollars being siphoned off from public treasury and from people’s pockets. Following the six tips, discussed here in this article ensures that you won’t make mistakes and purchase the right insurance policy.