7 points to consider before you buy any insurance policy

insurance tipsWhen buying insurance, whether its home, life, auto, rental or other:

  1. Find out whether your state insurance department offers any information concerning insurance companies and rates. This is a good way to get a feeling for the range of prices and the lowest-cost providers in your area.
  2. Check several sources for the best deal. Try getting quotes from an insurance focused website, but be aware that many online services may provide prices for just a few companies. An independent insurance agent that works with several insurers in your local area might be able to get you a better deal.
  3. Make sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims in case the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
  4. Check the financial stability and soundness of the insurance company. Ratings from A.M. BestStandard and Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Services are available online and at most public libraries.
  5. Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which has a database of complaints filed with state regulators.
  6. Find out what others think about the company’s customer service. Consumers can rate homeowner insurance companies at J.D. Power’s website.
  7. Once you pay your first insurance premium, make sure you receive a written policy. This tells you the agent forwarded your premium to the insurance company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days, contact your agent and the insurance company.

If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s hotline at 1-800-835-6422. Or for more information, check out the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud website

Tips for Choosing an Insurance Policy

tips for choosing insurance policyGeneral sources of insurance information include the American Council of Life Insurers, the Insurance Information Institute , the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and your state insurance department. You can also visit insure.com

When buying insurance, whether its home, life, auto, rental or other:

  • Find out whether your state insurance department offers any information concerning insurance companies and rates. This is a good way to get a feeling for the range of prices and the lowest-cost providers in your area.
  • Check several sources for the best deal. Try getting quotes from an insurance focused website, but be aware that many online services may provide prices for just a few companies. An independent insurance agent that works with several insurers in your local area might be able to get you a better deal.
  • Make sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims in case the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
  • Check the financial stability and soundness of the insurance company. Ratings from A.M. Best,Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s Investors Services are available online and at most public libraries.
  • Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which has a database of complaints filed with state regulators.
  • Find out what others think about the company’s customer service. Consumers can rate homeowner insurance companies at J.D. Power’s website.
  • Once you pay your first insurance premium, make sure you receive a written policy. This tells you the agent forwarded your premium to the insurance company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days, contact your agent and the insurance company.

If you suspect fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s hotline at 1-800-835-6422. Or for more information, check out the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud website

6 tips for first-time life insurance buyers

insurance for first time buyerLooking to buy life insurance for the first time? If so, you’re probably asking yourself questions such as “How much do I need?”, “What kind of policy is best?” and “Which company should I buy from?” There’s no question buying life insurance for the first time, like any other new experience, can be more than a bit daunting. Below are six important tips that we hope will make the process smoother, eliminating frustrating false starts and unnecessary bumps in the road.

Understand why you need it

While most people may need life insurance at some point in their life, don’t buy a policy just because you heard it was a good idea.

Determine the amount of coverage you need

The amount of money your family or heirs will receive after your death is called a death benefit. To determine the proper amount of life insurance an online calculator, like the one available at this site, can be helpful. You can also get a ballpark figure using any number of formulas. The easiest way is to simply take your annual salary and multiply by 8.

Find the right type of policy

Once you figure out how much coverage you’ll need, you can think about the best kind of policy to meet your needs.

Look at the quality of the provider

An insurance policy is only as good as the company that backs it.

Consult a financial professional

A financial professional can help you factor in financial considerations, your needs, and your family’s needs.

Increase your vocabulary

Life insurance can be confusing, with terms like “premium,” “dividend,” “beneficiary,” and many more.

Source: New York Life Insurance

U.S. sticks to limits on health insurance charges for older people

insuranceThe Department of Health and Human Services rejected an industry request to phase in a reform prohibiting insurers from charging older beneficiaries premiums more than three times higher than those available to younger adults.

The so-called 3:1 ratio, due to take effect in 2014 in the individual and small-group markets, is a cornerstone of consumer safeguards enshrined in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law also bars insurers from policies that discriminate on the basis of gender and pre-existing conditions.

Health insurers, which often charge adults over age 50 far higher rates, had asked HHS to start out with a 5:1 ratio in 2014 and move gradually to the tighter 3:1 ratio over a number of years, saying too abrupt a change would cause rates for younger beneficiaries to skyrocket.

“The new restrictions on age rating will result in an overnight increase in health care costs for people in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s,” said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an insurance trade association.

She and other industry executives have warned that higher costs could encourage young adults to forego coverage and thus deny the industry the younger, healthier customers that were supposed to keep costs down as the health insurance market implements President Barack Obama’s reform law.

The law imposes a financial penalty on most adults who fail to obtain coverage by January 1, 2014. But industry officials have complained that the fine may be too small to alter behavior, particularly if costs rise sharply.

“This increases the likelihood that younger, healthier people forgo purchasing insurance until they are sick or injured. When this happens, costs go up for everyone, young and old,” Ignagni said.

AHIP said people in their 20s and 30s could see insurance premiums jump 29 percent and 19 percent, respectively, while adults aged 50 to 64 receive reductions of between 5 percent and 8 percent.

The administration said in the 145-page regulation that its hands were tied by the healthcare law.

“We do not have the legal authority to permit any rating factors in the final rule other than those explicitly permitted (by the law),” HHS said. “Further, we do not have the legal authority to provide for a phase-in.”

U.S. officials contend that any pressure for higher rates would be mitigated by greater competition and federal subsidies that will be available for working families in the form of premium tax credits.

Consumer groups including AARP, the powerful lobbying group for older Americans, welcomed the decision.

“Implementing a limited use of age rating immediately thwarts what would have been a negative and disproportionate effect on Americans aged 50 To 64,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.

The Affordable Care Act, nicknamed “Obamacare,” is expected to provide health coverage for an estimated 38 million people after 2014. Most are expected to obtain subsidized private insurance via new online state healthcare marketplaces that are scheduled to start enrolling beneficiaries on October 1.

The administration is also working with half of the 50 U.S. states to extend the Medicaid program for the poor to cover adults living near the federal poverty level.

Aside from age, the law still allows insurers to vary premiums based on tobacco use, family size and geography. Other forms of discrimination based on gender, past insurance claims, occupation or the size of a small employer will not be permitted from 2014.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Ros Krasny and Dan Grebler)

Source: Reuters

List of United States insurance companies

Following is the list of insurance companies of USA

Insurance in the United States

  • Allison Insurance
  • 21st Century Insurance
  • Aetna
  • Aflac
  • Alleghany Corporation
  • Allied Insurance
  • Allstate
  • American Automobile Association
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Income Life Insurance Company
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • American National Insurance Company
  • American United Life Insurance Company
  • Ameritas Life Insurance Company
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • Assurant
  • Auto-Owners Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty Company
  • Berkshire Hathaway
  • California Casualty
  • Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • CNA Financial
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Commerce Insurance Group
  • Conseco
  • Country Financial
  • Chartis
  • Chubb Corp.
  • Elephant.com
  • Encompass Insurance Company
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Esurance
  • Evergreen USA RRG
  • FM Global
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Federated Mutual Insurance Company
  • First Insurance Company of Hawaii, LTD
  • GAINSCO
  • GEICO
  • General Re
  • Genworth Financial
  • GMAC Insurance
  • Great West Casualty Company
  • Gracy Title Company
  • Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • GuideOne Insurance
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • HCC Insurance Holdings
  • Infinity Property & Casualty Corporation
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • K&K Insurance
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • Markel Corporation
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Mercury Insurance Group
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company
  • New York Life Insurance Company
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Omega
  • OneBeacon
  • Oxford Health Plans
  • Pacific Life
  • Pacificare
  • PEMCO
  • Penn Mutual
  • Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire
  • Philadelphia Insurance Companies
  • Principal Financial Group
  • [[Primerica Financial
  • Progressive
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • The Regence Group
  • Reliance Insurance Company
  • RLI Corp.
  • Safe Auto Insurance Company
  • Safeco
  • Safeway Insurance Group
  • Sentry Insurance
  • Selective Insurance
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Southern Aid and Insurance Company
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Sun Life Financial
  • Symetra
  • TIAA-CREF
  • The Travelers Companies
  • Trupanion
  • Unitrin Direct Auto Insurance
  • Unum
  • USAA
  • West Coast Life
  • Western Mutual Insurance Group
  • Western & Southern Financial Group
  • Westfield Insurance
  • White Mountains Insurance Group

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Life annuity

  • Allstate
  • American Family Insurance
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Amica Mutual Insurance
  • AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Farmers Insurance Group
  • Fidelity
  • Genworth Financial
  • ING Group
  • Jackson National Life
  • John Hancock Insurance
  • Lincoln National Corporation
  • MetLife
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Old Mutual
  • Pacific Life
  • Protective Life
  • Prudential Financial
  • Standard Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • TIAA-CREF
  • Transamerica Corporation
  • UNIFI Companies
  • United of Omaha
  • Western & Southern Financial Group

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Health insurance in the United States

  • AARP
  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • American National Insurance Company
  • Amerigroup
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • Centene Corporation
  • Cigna
  • Coventry Health Care
  • EmblemHealth
  • Fortis
  • Golden Rule Insurance Company
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • GHI
  • Health Net
  • HealthMarkets
  • HealthSpring
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Independence Blue Cross
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kaleida Health
  • LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon
  • Medical Mutual of Ohio
  • Molina Healthcare
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Principal Financial Group
  • The Regence Group
  • Shelter Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Unitrin
  • Universal American Corporation
  • WellCare Health Plans
  • WellPoint

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Medicare (United States)

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  • Aetna
  • American Family Insurance
  • Bankers Life and Casualty
  • Conseco
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Tricare
  • Supplemental insurance
  • Aflac
  • Allstate
  • American Fidelity Assurance
  • Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
  • Conseco
  • Liberty National Life Insurance Company
  • MEGA Life and Health Insurance
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Company
  • State Farm Insurance

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Travel insurance

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  • Mondial Assistance Group
  • Travel Guard
  • USA-ASSIST Worldwide Protection

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Workers’ compensation

Assist Card

  • Accident Fund
  • American International Group (AIG)
  • Erie Insurance Group
  • Hanover Insurance
  • The Hartford
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Merchants Insurance Group
  • Missouri Employers Mutual
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
  • Penn National Insurance
  • Republican Ideminity Co
  • Sentry Insurance
  • State Accident Insurance Fund
  • State Compensation Insurance Fund
  • State Farm Insurance
  • WellPoint
  • Zenith Insurance Company

What is Waiver of premium rider?

With the growing uncertainty of life, getting an insurance policy has become a must for almost every individual. When you take an insurance policy, you also tend to add 'riders' to the policy. Riders are the additional benefits that you may buy and add to your policy. Riders can be mixed and matched based on one's preferences for a small additional cost.

One size does not fit all

A one size fits all approach does not apply to insurance policies. Therefore, the kind and number of riders added to an individual's insurance policy depends on many factors such as individual's health, future plans, purpose of the insurance, etc.

One of the most popular and important riders added to an insurance policy is the 'Waiver of Premium.' If this rider is a part of insurance policy, it ensures premiums to be paid by the insured are waived off if the latter becomes unemployed due to an injury or sickness. In such a situation, even though the premiums are not paid by the insured, the policy does not lapse.

What is a waiver of premium?

A waiver of premium is an extra option life insurance companies provide you with on top of your purchased life insurance policy at an additional cost. This offers protection and cover for your premiums if you should fall seriously ill or incur injuries that leave you impaired – a situation where you cannot earn. In such an unfortunate event, the life insurance company will become responsible to pay the premiums which you were expected to pay.

The best part about this rider is that anyone who takes up the insurance policy can effectively add this rider to the policy. The amount of premium to be paid depends on the premium you pay on the base policy and on other riders. The higher the premium on the base policy and the more the riders you add, the higher will be the premium you pay on this rider.

Is it worth it?

With the increasingly stressful lifestyle, hazardous traffic situations, addition of this rider to an insurance policy could be very helpful. The rider also ensures that in an event of death of the insured during policy term, the policy does not lapse and remains in force even during the Auto Cover period. An Auto Cover Period is a term of two years during which full death cover continues even if the insured has not paid premiums – subject to at least two full years' premiums having been paid. The premium paid for this rider also qualifies for tax deduction under section 80D of the Income Tax Act.

How is it useful?

This rider is especially useful for a child insurance policy as it has been primarily set up in place to provide money for your child in an hour of his or her need.

In case of child insurance policy, where you are ensuring your child receives a sum of money at a certain pre-defined age, this will ensure that the process is uninterrupted and premium payment is continued.

The terms and conditions regarding what constitutes serious illness or injury and conditions regarding the time frame when the premium payment starts by the insurer, etc are defined by the insurance company and may vary from one company to another. Be sure to research on this thoroughly and understand the clauses and conditions of the insurance company.

Usually, the premium paying term for the rider is throughout the benefit period. Few companies restrict time frame of a policy owner or maximum duration of policy to 25 to 30 years.

Source: Yahoo Finance

How to reduce your motor insurance premium

You can plan to reduce the insurance premiums paid on your vehicles. According to the Motor Vehicle Act, a vehicle cannot be driven on the road unless and until it is insured. The insurance is renewable each year. Vehicle insurance is a pre-requisite to vehicle ownership.

If a vehicle's insurance policy is not renewed, driving that vehicle is illegal. Also, if the vehicle has an accident, the insurance company will not pay out any claims. All no claims bonuses will also be forfeited. You can renew your auto insurance with another insurer, including the bonus accrued at your earlier insurer.

The risks covered by a third party policy include death or injury to a third party and damage to third party property. Liability in the case of death or injury is unlimited.

A comprehensive motor insurance policy provides cover against damage caused to your vehicle due to man-made or natural calamities too.

A motor insurance policy covers your vehicle against:

Natural calamities
Man-made calamities
Personal accident
Third party legal liability
Any permanent injury /death of a person
Any damage caused to property

Previously, the premium was mainly based on geographical zone, engine capacity, price and age of the vehicle. Now, a number of other factors are also considered to arrive at the premium. One can avail a discount on the premium and reduce it by up to 25-30 percent.

Discount on premium

The most important discount is the no claim bonus. In case you haven't made a claim against your vehicle insurance in a given year, you get the benefit of no claims bonus in the form of a specific percentage reduction in your premium in the subsequent year.

No claim bonus increases with each claim-free year. It may go as high as 50 percent on the 'own damage premium' component of the vehicle insurance premium.

Voluntary deductible discount

In addition, the insurance companies also offer a discount on your vehicle premium if you bear a certain amount of loss associated with each claim.

Voluntary deductible is the amount that you agree to pay yourself towards a claim before the insurance company pays up the balance. The higher the voluntary deductible that you agree for, the lower your premium will be.

The discounts associated with this feature range between 20 and 35 percent of the premium, subject to a maximum of Rs 3,500. However, you need to review the amount of voluntary deductible against the discount to ensure the discount amount will actually be higher than the voluntary deductible.

Premium depends on make, model

Premiums depend on the make and model of the vehicle. Each model has its own claim record and the insurer prices the vehicle based on its claim experience.

Some models may be more claimprone because of their structure or usage, and the premium will factor in all these facets.

Some models have high repair costs and the premium is affected by this.

Source: EconomicTimes