Tag Archives: Insurer

How your credit score drives your auto insurance rates

(ARA) – You know that where you live, what you drive and how you drive can affect how much you pay for auto insurance. But did you know that your credit score can also influence how much your insurance company charges you for coverage?

Most vehicle insurers now use your credit score as one of many factors when determining your level of risk, and how much to charge you for insurance. Generally, the higher your credit score the more likely you are to be eligible for an insurer’s best rates. If your credit score is low, you could get auto insurance quotes that are thousands of dollars higher than those given to consumers with high credit scores.

While some consumer advocacy groups object to the practice, insurance companies say research supports the use of credit scores as a predictor of potential risk. The practice is rooted in the idea that people who manage personal finances responsibly are more likely to be responsible in other areas as well – including behind the wheel.

If you plan to buy a car, apply for new insurance or just want to lower your auto insurance rate, here are some things you should know about vehicle insurance and credit scores:

* Most vehicle insurance companies do consider your credit score when determining your auto insurance quote. Don’t forget, however, that your credit score is just one factor; your driving record, the type of vehicle you drive, where you live, how many miles you drive each year, your gender and age, even your education level are all other factors that insurance companies consider.

* A vehicle insurer looks at your credit score differently than the way a potential lender might. For example, an insurer is likely going to be more interested in how reliably you pay your bills than in how many different types of credit are on your credit report. Insurance companies try to use your financial reliability and sensibility, as reflected in your credit score, to predict how reliable and sensible you’re likely to be as a driver and vehicle owner.

* Your credit score is a fluid number that changes. Whenever a change occurs in your credit report, your score can change – going up or down, depending upon the change and its impact on your finances. If your score has improved significantly since the last time you applied for auto insurance, it may be worth it to see if your improved score will qualify you for a better rate. The Motley Fool website recommends you check your credit score to see how it might be affecting your auto insurance rates.

* Checking your credit score is fast and easy, thanks to online resources like Freecreditscore.com. The website allows you to access a credit score when you enroll in credit monitoring membership. While this score is not the specific scoring model an auto insurer may look at when reviewing your policy application, it can help educate you about your credit standing. By monitoring your credit you’ll be able to see how changes in your credit report can affect your score, and you’ll receive credit score alerts whenever your score changes.

One of the main complaints consumer groups have made about the practice of using credit scores to set auto rates is that credit reports may contain errors. By monitoring your report regularly, you can help ensure it remains error-free and that your insurance company is looking at the most accurate possible snapshot of your credit history.

How your credit score drives your auto insurance rates

(ARA) – You know that where you live, what you drive and how you drive can affect how much you pay for auto insurance. But did you know that your credit score can also influence how much your insurance company charges you for coverage?

Most vehicle insurers now use your credit score as one of many factors when determining your level of risk, and how much to charge you for insurance. Generally, the higher your credit score the more likely you are to be eligible for an insurer’s best rates. If your credit score is low, you could get auto insurance quotes that are thousands of dollars higher than those given to consumers with high credit scores.

While some consumer advocacy groups object to the practice, insurance companies say research supports the use of credit scores as a predictor of potential risk. The practice is rooted in the idea that people who manage personal finances responsibly are more likely to be responsible in other areas as well – including behind the wheel.

If you plan to buy a car, apply for new insurance or just want to lower your auto insurance rate, here are some things you should know about vehicle insurance and credit scores:

* Most vehicle insurance companies do consider your credit score when determining your auto insurance quote. Don’t forget, however, that your credit score is just one factor; your driving record, the type of vehicle you drive, where you live, how many miles you drive each year, your gender and age, even your education level are all other factors that insurance companies consider.

* A vehicle insurer looks at your credit score differently than the way a potential lender might. For example, an insurer is likely going to be more interested in how reliably you pay your bills than in how many different types of credit are on your credit report. Insurance companies try to use your financial reliability and sensibility, as reflected in your credit score, to predict how reliable and sensible you’re likely to be as a driver and vehicle owner.

* Your credit score is a fluid number that changes. Whenever a change occurs in your credit report, your score can change – going up or down, depending upon the change and its impact on your finances. If your score has improved significantly since the last time you applied for auto insurance, it may be worth it to see if your improved score will qualify you for a better rate. The Motley Fool website recommends you check your credit score to see how it might be affecting your auto insurance rates.

* Checking your credit score is fast and easy, thanks to online resources like Freecreditscore.com. The website allows you to access a credit score when you enroll in credit monitoring membership. While this score is not the specific scoring model an auto insurer may look at when reviewing your policy application, it can help educate you about your credit standing. By monitoring your credit you’ll be able to see how changes in your credit report can affect your score, and you’ll receive credit score alerts whenever your score changes.

One of the main complaints consumer groups have made about the practice of using credit scores to set auto rates is that credit reports may contain errors. By monitoring your report regularly, you can help ensure it remains error-free and that your insurance company is looking at the most accurate possible snapshot of your credit history.

New college grads: 5 tips for creating and living on a budget

After years of hard work and commitment, you have your degree in hand and have just been offered a great job. But as reality sets in, you realize you have a whole new set of finances to balance. You may be living on your own now. Perhaps you need a new car to get to your new job, and of course those student loans may be kicking in.

It’s time to create a budget and be smart about your money. Simply uttering the word “budget” makes many people tune out, but budgets help ensure you don’t get into any money trouble. If you manage them correctly, you should have a bit to save for any future big ticket purchases.

Here are some tips for new grads to follow:

1. Track spending for one month
First, you must identify your spending habits. Do you eat out for lunch every day at the new job? Do you spend more money on gas? Do you like to grab that 3 p.m. cup of coffee at work? All the seemingly small spending you do adds up fast. Track this spending for an entire month on a spreadsheet.

2. Make a list of bills
How much do you pay in bills every month? Make a list and don’t forget to include your cell phone, rent, student loans, car loan, and auto and property insurance costs. Some of these bills can be reduced if you shop around. For example, insurance for renters is a must-have, but you’ll find when you go to buy renters insurance, policy costs vary greatly. Often times, you can save big on both your auto and property insurance when you combine them with the same insurer. Get an online renters insurance quote and decide what’s best for your budget.

3. Evaluate and set guidelines
Once your spending is organized and laid out in front of you, it’s easy to see where your cash is going. Note areas that need to be prioritized and others that could be reduced. Identifying wants versus needs is important. Review your budget goals each month to see how you’re doing and where you could improve.

4. Don’t forget to save
Even if you can only save a small amount, it’s important to put money aside each month for emergency or big ticket items you may want in the future. According to CNNMoney.com, you should aim to spend no more than 90 percent of your income. That way you’ll have the other 10 percent left for savings.

5. Don’t get discouraged if you slip up
Staying on budget can be difficult during some months. Perhaps during the month of your birthday you spent a little more on social activities. During the holiday season you may have to allot extra for gifts and travel expenses. Getting stressed out may make you less likely to follow your budget, so give yourself a break once in a while. This is why saving throughout the year is important, so when these times come, you don’t spend more than you have. Look online for a variety of savings calculators, including one from MSN Money, to help you track your savings so you can stay on-budget.

Need engagement ring insurance? What you need to know

The proposal was perfect and you just can’t stop looking down at that sparkly new ring on your left hand. Your engagement ring is a symbol of your commitment and the love you share. And not surprisingly, it may often be the most expensive piece of jewelry a woman owns. Because an engagement ring is an investment, it should be treated that way. That means it’s in your best interest to find the right ring insurance.

No one wants to think about having their engagement ring damaged, lost or even stolen, but if the worst happens, you don’t want to have to replace it. A homeowner’s or renter’s policy often does not cover jewelry, and if it does, most likely it will not cover the full worth of the ring. Talk to your agent about your options for getting a special policy for wedding ring insurance so you can have peace of mind no matter what.

The average yearly cost to insure jewelry is typically $1 to $2 for every $100 it would cost to replace. That means if your ring is valued at $10,000, it would typically cost between $100 and $200 a year to insure it. Be skeptical of any insurer that prices your policy way above or way below this amount.

When you speak with an insurance agent to get a quote, make sure you ask if the policy covers just theft, or does it cover loss and damage as well? To cover a piece with such monetary and emotional value, you’ll want to make sure your needs are met making you happy with the policy.

Another area to discuss is the deductable when insuring an engagement ring. Just like car insurance, if something happens to your ring, you’ll typically have to pay this amount before your coverage kicks in. A higher deductable may mean a lower policy price, but don’t go too high. Make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable paying should something happen to your ring.

Many insurers require you to have your ring appraised by a professional jewelry appraiser. When you look for a professional appraiser, review his experience and what types of stones and metals he is certified to appraise. The American Gem Society is a nonprofit organization that certifies gemologists and appraisers under rigid standards and requires recertification each year. To find a certified appraiser, visit americangemsociety.org.

Discussing finances before marriage is a smart idea, and part of that discussion should be insuring the value of your engagement ring. Even if you’re already married, it’s not too late to insure your most treasured piece of jewelry, so call an insurance agent today to learn your options.

Need engagement ring insurance? What you need to know

The proposal was perfect and you just can’t stop looking down at that sparkly new ring on your left hand. Your engagement ring is a symbol of your commitment and the love you share. And not surprisingly, it may often be the most expensive piece of jewelry a woman owns. Because an engagement ring is an investment, it should be treated that way. That means it’s in your best interest to find the right ring insurance.

No one wants to think about having their engagement ring damaged, lost or even stolen, but if the worst happens, you don’t want to have to replace it. A homeowner’s or renter’s policy often does not cover jewelry, and if it does, most likely it will not cover the full worth of the ring. Talk to your agent about your options for getting a special policy for wedding ring insurance so you can have peace of mind no matter what.

The average yearly cost to insure jewelry is typically $1 to $2 for every $100 it would cost to replace. That means if your ring is valued at $10,000, it would typically cost between $100 and $200 a year to insure it. Be skeptical of any insurer that prices your policy way above or way below this amount.

When you speak with an insurance agent to get a quote, make sure you ask if the policy covers just theft, or does it cover loss and damage as well? To cover a piece with such monetary and emotional value, you’ll want to make sure your needs are met making you happy with the policy.

Another area to discuss is the deductable when insuring an engagement ring. Just like car insurance, if something happens to your ring, you’ll typically have to pay this amount before your coverage kicks in. A higher deductable may mean a lower policy price, but don’t go too high. Make sure it’s an amount you’re comfortable paying should something happen to your ring.

Many insurers require you to have your ring appraised by a professional jewelry appraiser. When you look for a professional appraiser, review his experience and what types of stones and metals he is certified to appraise. The American Gem Society is a nonprofit organization that certifies gemologists and appraisers under rigid standards and requires recertification each year. To find a certified appraiser, visit americangemsociety.org.

Discussing finances before marriage is a smart idea, and part of that discussion should be insuring the value of your engagement ring. Even if you’re already married, it’s not too late to insure your most treasured piece of jewelry, so call an insurance agent today to learn your options.

Car accident insurance claims: dos and don’ts

Accidents happen – and that’s what insurance is for. You pay your auto insurance premiums on time in the hope that you’ll never need to use the coverage. You strive to drive responsibly and carefully to enjoy the best car insurance rates.

But even the best, most cautious driver can get into an accident. When that happens, it’s comforting to know insurance is there to help you. When it’s time to file a claim, keep these simple dos and don’ts in mind:

Do: Know your auto insurance coverage. Edmunds.com recommends you brush up on your auto insurance coverage before you ever need to file a claim. It’s especially important to re-read your policy and understand your coverage. Also double check that your policy is complete, providing your family with the protection they might need in case of an accident.

Do: Call your insurance company to report the accident and initiate your claim as soon as it is safely and feasibly possible to do so. Reporting the accident and claim immediately will help ensure you’re reporting what happened while the details of the experience are still fresh in your mind. Plus, it lets the insurer know you’re operating in good faith and eager to work with them to resolve your claim.

Do: Get a case number for your claim from the claims adjuster you first speak with. Ask if it’s possible to deal with this same person throughout the processing of your claim, and record his or her name and phone number. Always use this claim number on all correspondence with your insurer.

Do: Complete and file any specific forms the company asks you to fill out or provide, including estimates for the cost of repairing the damage. Keep good records of every conversation, correspondence and piece of paper that is exchanged between you and the insurance company.

Don’t: Change or enhance your version of the crash in an effort to inflate or ensure the claim will be paid. Making outrageous insurance claims is fraud, and can land you in serious trouble if discovered.

Don’t: Sit back and wait for the claim to resolve itself. Claims adjusters are people too, with job pressures and schedules as busy as yours. It’s perfectly acceptable to keep in touch with your adjuster – in a polite and courteous way, of course – until your claim is settled to your satisfaction.

Don’t: Avoid filing a claim because you think having a claim on your record will prevent you from saving on car insurance. Many factors determine your auto insurance rate, and some companies offer accident forgiveness and car insurance discounts for drivers whose records are otherwise unblemished.

How teenagers and parents can work together to get the best deal on car insurance

Emotions are high for parents and new teen drivers when the teenager first gets behind the wheel, but if they’re happy or sad often depends on the perspective of the person. For the teen, the event marks passage into adulthood and new-found freedom. For the parent, the transition can be fraught with worry.

One way parents can help ease the transition and help teenage drivers understand the responsibility of driving is to work through the process of buying car insurance together. By going through the process together, parents can work collectively to ensure their teen is getting the best rate and help their teenager understand the importance of a good driving record. Teens will also learn about the purchasing process and carry that knowledge with them as they enter adulthood. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing car insurance for teenagers:

* Don’t be afraid to reveal to your teenager the actual cost of his insurance, even if you are paying for it. It’s important teens know the costs and responsibilities that come along with driving and owning a vehicle.

* Take advantage of good student discounts. As an incentive to do well in school, you may wish to pay your teen the difference between the discounted rate and the regular rate if she makes the grades.

* If you are looking for a car for your teen, involve him in the discussion and make sure he is aware of the insurance costs associated with the car he desires. Auto website Edmunds.com recommends steering clear of sports cars, as insurance rates can be sky-high, especially for young drivers.

* If you decide to buy an older car for your teen, it might be a good idea to raise the deductible on your collision insurance for that car, or eliminate it entirely if it’s close to the car’s actual value, according to MSN Money.

* Ask your insurer if you can receive additional discounts if your teen takes a driver safety course or completes other instructional classes.

By going through this process together, your teen will know that you value her input on adult topics, such as buying car insurance. In turn, you will be more confident in your teen’s ability to behave as an adult when behind the wheel.

Can you get life insurance without a medical exam?

So you want to buy some life insurance, but you’re not really happy about the idea of enduring a medical exam to get it. You’ve seen ads for life insurance without an exam, but you wonder if they’re for real. The answer is a qualified “maybe.”

Whether or not an insurer will ask for an exam, and what that exam will entail, depends on a number of factors, including:

* Your age
* How much coverage you’re asking for
* The type of coverage (term or whole life) you want, and
* How you answer a series of questions on part of the insurance application.

If you’re younger than 40, in good health and applying for term coverage of less than $100,000, you might not need to have a medical exam to secure insurance coverage. If you’re older than 40, have some health problems, are applying for whole life insurance, or term life insurance in excess of $100,000, many life insurance companies will ask for a medical exam.

Most insurance exams are done by paramedical professionals who make an appointment to see you at your home or office. Although the particulars of an exam may vary based on your age, the health information you provide, policy amount and the insurer’s requirements, most will include a blood test and urine sample.

If a company requires you to submit to a medical exam before finalizing your term life insurance quote or whole life insurance quote, Wikihow.com offers these tips to help you prepare for the exam:

* Ask for an appointment first thing in the morning and try to fast for four to eight hours before the exam time.

* Be ready to provide the names and dosage amounts of any medication you take, and the name, address and phone number of all doctors you see.

* At least 24 hours before your exam, restrict your intake of salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and high-cholesterol foods.

* Stop smoking. If you can’t quit cold turkey, try not to smoke at least 30 minutes before the exam.

* Try to get a good night’s rest the night before and avoid strenuous exercise within 24 hours of taking the exam.

To secure the best life insurance rates, it may be necessary to take a medical exam. But understanding what the exam’s about, and what life insurance companies are looking for can help you be better prepared.