Understanding the Necessity of Acquiring Your Own Insurance Policy

Understanding Insurance Claims

An Insurance Plan can get us off our worries. May it be an Educational Plan, Health, Life, Auto, Accident or Retirement Insurance Plan. Living in a country where everything is fast-paced, having an Insurance Policy is a necessity. The absence of these much-needed Plans could cause you a lot of troubles. Imagine, what to do when someone in the family is sick? Paying your hospital bills could be worrisome and how would you send your children to school without an Educational Insurance?

Some people have different kinds of Insurance Plans to secure their life and that of their family. However, an insurance claim also provides negative feedbacks that discourages people from thinking of the necessity of acquiring an insurance Plan. Definitely, an Insurance Plan means benefits but somehow, claiming those benefits could be tedious and time-consuming. Insurance claims need not give us so much trouble if we just understand how Insurance companies work on our Insurance claims. So to fully understand issues and save us a lot of troubles claiming our insurance, let us take a look on this.

How to File Your 4 Important Insurance Claims

Filing your Auto Insurance Claim

1. Assess if the Claim is Worth the Trouble

Before filing for an auto insurance claim, decide if you want to file a claim or not. If you think you can afford to pay for the damage, no matter who is responsible for it, then try not to make any claim. What is important, according to a Personal Insurance Expert, you need to keep your Insurance Record clean.

2. Get the Accident Document

It is very important to document every detail of the accident and get witnesses to back up your story afterwards. A Police record on the scene is a relevant document you must have to support your claim.

3. File Claim Immediately

You don’t need to lose time in filing your claim. Question as to who is responsible will be taken care of by your Insurance Company.

4. Expect a Call Anytime

Expect a call from the other driver’s Insurance Company to interview you on your version of the incident. Make sure you document the conversation and don’t forget to ask the agent’s name.

5. Get Your Car Fixed

After your claim is approved, then you can have your car’s body fixed in case of a damage. The Insurance Company will assess the damage or ask you to send your car to any car shop of their choice to get it fixed.

How to File Your Home Insurance Claim

In case of a disaster which left you and your family homeless, file your Home Insurance Claim. As you file your claim, be sure to have your Insurance Policy with you. In case you were not able to have your copy available after the disaster, at least know and remember your Insurance Company’s name and contact numbers. It is not always relevant to remember only your agent’s name for sometimes, he could represent various companies.

Prepare a Quick Household Inventory

It’s always better to take a video of your whole household belongings every time you acquire a Home Insurance Plan. Keep a copy of this record and keep it in a safe-keeping vault outside of your house. It’s always advisable to keep a bank deposit box for important documents like Insurance Policies, Property Title, etc.

Notify Your Insurance Company ASAP

It is important to notify your Insurance Company as soon as possible for the reason that you may have to avail of the Loss-of-Use Benefit in your policy if you have this feature. This could cover living expenses outside of your home while it is being repaired such as hotel bills, meals and other cost of living expenses. This will entitle you to receive immediate cash needed for your bills.

Start Filing Your Claim

You can’t have your claim until you have everything properly documented. So, it would be hard for you to have a documented list of your household belongings if you don’t have access to your damaged home. Only when you can gain access to your home once again could you properly document it. While you are waiting for the approval of the claim, you may make minor repairs but be sure to record every disbursement you make. Don’t make any major repairs until your claim is approved.

How to Hire a Contractor for Insurance Claim

Find a reputable contractor to take care of your building or repair needs. A lot of contractors would always grab a chance like this to take advantage of your anxiety. They can always stretch your budget beyond the level of reasoning.

How to File a Life Insurance Claim

Filing for an Insurance Claim after the death of a loved is not really easy. However, it is at this point in life when you have to be practical. You need money more than anything to pay off the funeral cost, bills and even the family needs. It is hard to be left alone and face all these problems but you have to be thankful if the deceased love one had prepared you for times like this. As a survivor, we sometimes worry about things like these but a Life Insurance Plan is designed to give us less worries and ensures the deceased family that we won’t have to deal with the financial problem as we grieved over the loss of a loved one.

Find the Life Insurance Policy

The Policy is an important document granted to the Policy Holder. This is badly needed when filing for an Insurance claim. Be sure to look for it if the deceased party had failed to inform you where he had kept it. You may keep in mind that this is a very important document, so the keeper might have kept it in a place not easily seen or recognizable. You may look in a plastic container or any sealed container large enough to contain it. It could also be kept in a small drawer of a cabinet in your head board or lamp stand cabinet.

If you can’t find the Insurance Policy but you are sure that the decease is an Insurance Policy Holder, you may write to the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI).For a small amount, the ACLI will conduct a search to find the Policy. The address is 101 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004-2500. Don’t forget to include a self-addressed, business-sized envelope.

Contact the Company’s Number Listed in the Policy

Try to contact immediately the contact number or numbers listed in the document. If you personally know the authorized representative or agent, you may as well contact him directly and tell him that you want to file a claim. The company’s agent will always be ready to assist you in your filing. He will be providing you with forms needed for the application. Wait for any instruction that the Insurance Company will provide you.

Fill-up the Necessary Forms and Submit Requirements

After receiving the necessary form needed for application in filing for the Insurance claim, fill it up with all the needed information. Provide also the other requirements needed upon submission. The Death Certificate is the very basic of all requirements you may need to provide together with your Application Form. Decide How you want to Receive the Proceeds from the Life Policy. You may choose to receive the proceeds in lump sum, or opt to receive it in a form of monthly pension or simply leave the money in deposit for it to earn interest and dividends.

Wait for the Release of the Funds

Expect that your fund’s approval for the claim will take more than a month to process as the Insurance Company still have to validate information relative to your application.

How to File Health for Medical Claims

If you have to pay for your medical bills, then you have to file for your Health Insurance Claim. Here are some helpful tips in making your claim:

Keep an Itemized Report

Be sure to obtain all receipts and necessary statement of accounts issued by the doctor or pharmacist. Summarize it, so it could be easily understood by the Insurance Evaluator. Attach it to your Application Form.

Fill-Up Your Claim Application Form

Contact your Health Insurance Company as soon as possible. You may get your Application Form directly from them after declaring your desire to file for a Health Insurance Claim. The Application Form is easy to fill-up but someone from the Insurance Company is sure to assist you if there are some items in the Application Form that you don’t understand.

Scan or Duplicate a Copy

After filling up your form and submitting to the Health Insurance Company, be sure to scan it or have your duplicate copy to keep. This will keep you from inconvenience in case of loss or error in filing. You can easily file it again when needed. Review Before Submission. File your claim as soon as possible. Ask for assistance or inquire for any additional instruction or requirements. Ask how long it will take you to wait for the result and be sure to make a note of it in your calendar. If they failed to contact you on the given date, be sure to contact your Health Insurance Agent immediately.

Online Insurance Continuing Education Helps You Stay Ahead of the Competition

You can now earn your insurance continuing education credits by taking online insurance CE courses from the comfort and convenience of your own home. You can now complete your chosen insurance CE courses as well as those that are mandatory for certification from the catalog of courses listed online which are all approved by the department of state insurance that you are working in. Moreover, online insurance continuing education helps you have the competitive cutting edge in the insurance market where you have to prove your skill and mettle to generate maximum sales from insurance policies.

You have to be well aware of the different types of insurance products available in the market and earn insurance credits on a majority of courses to keep yourself abreast with the ever changing rules, laws, policies, procedures, products and features of the insurance sector. Continuing education insurance courses are available for life, health, property, fire, adjuster and many more. You only need to have the zeal to learn and excel in your area of expertise and there are infinite resources online to train you accordingly. You can now take the online insurance continuing education for stipulated number of hours as per your convenience and write the online test to earn your credits and certifications.

There are many online insurance continuing education courses that provide for self study and you can even print them from your browser if you chose to study that way. Whether you wish to renew your single insurance license or acquire new licenses for dealing with multiple insurance products you have to earn your credits by clearing the courses in insurance continuing education. Alternatively, WebCE can also ship the insurance course materials to you via the UPS if needed. Some of the states that are doing extremely well in providing online insurance continuing education classes to help insurance agents, advisors and professionals to emerge as successful dealers in insurance are – California, Illinois, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Texas.

However whether you are dealing with insurance products from the states listed above or from any other state it is immaterial as, the online insurance education services get your courses approved by the department of state insurance concerned. By learning new insurance products, concepts, marketing strategies, competitors, laws, rules and regulations that govern insurance policies you will be in a better position to sell your products effectively and confidently to clients without leaving any scope for your competitors to penetrate into your market share.

If by any chance you do not possess the necessary knowledge to answer the questions posed by your clients, then you may instantly lose your customer as they would be some other insurance agent ready to fill in your shoes in an instant and strike a great deal. Such is the competition in the current insurance sector. The online Insurance continuing education has new modules that keep getting upgraded every year to make you as an insurance dealer more proficient and well versed with the insurance industry.

Do We Really Need Life Insurance Cover?

If we were all Arabian oil sheiks, we probably wouldn’t need insurance cover per se, as we would be able to pay for anything that needed to be replaced or repaired from our own pocket. Then again, oil sheiks probably do have life insurance, and so should we. The reason being, very few of us are fortunate enough to go through life without any mishaps of one kind or another.

In reality, mishaps of many kinds are as much a part of life as breathing and they also occur with reasonable regularity. If little Johnny does not put a cricket ball through the lounge window and smash your prize ginger jar, then Suzie will fall ill and need medical attention. Even the dog could contract tick-bite fever and have to be taken to the vet. All of these things can, and do, happen and dictate that insurance needs to be taken out by you and I. There are a vast number of plans out there and the ones that are applicable to us will depend on our own unique set of circumstances. Moreover, these circumstances will most likely change from time to time and require us to adapt our cover accordingly.

Insurance products are divided into two major categories, short-term insurance (that will need to be revised from time to time) and long-term cover such as life insurance. The term “life insurance” is today a much broader concept than it was two decades ago. Within the scope of this type of coverage are many aspects to be looked at and the importance of them may change as time passes. For instance, our status as a single person may change to being married and we may subsequently acquire the responsibilities of being a parent with increasingly more responsibility to our family. As life changes over time, a person may find that they need all sorts of protection ranging from car, home and life insurance to medical aid cover, insurance against loss of income, critical health cover, educational insurance policies, and more.

Sadly, insurance cover of any kind is not about ‘good news’ but rather about putting right what may have gone wrong from a financial perspective. Say a motorist bumps your car with theirs in the parking lot on a busy Saturday morning and the cost of repairing your car ends up being in the region of 10 000 rands, if you are not insured you will have to find the money to repair it all on your own. With the way things go these days you may find yourself unable to find the cash to pay for these repairs because you have just been retrenched. Luckily, you had planned for such an event by taking out cover for potential loss of income so you and your family will not be left destitute. That being said, you still need for your whole life to be covered so that your family does not land in an even worse financial predicament than this, should you pass away unexpectedly.

If you need to get some life insurance, but have HIV/AIDS or diabetes then you need to speak to AllLife insurance about your insurance needs. You will not regret it for a moment.

Avoid These Six Common Life Insurance Mistakes

Life insurance is one of the most important components of any individual’s financial plan. However there is lot of misunderstanding about life insurance, mainly due to the way life insurance products have been sold over the years in India. We have discussed some common mistakes insurance buyers should avoid when buying insurance policies.

1. Underestimating insurance requirement: Many life insurance buyers choose their insurance covers or sum assured, based on the plans their agents want to sell and how much premium they can afford. This a wrong approach. Your insurance requirement is a function of your financial situation, and has nothing do with what products are available. Many insurance buyers use thumb rules like 10 times annual income for cover. Some financial advisers say that a cover of 10 times your annual income is adequate because it gives your family 10 years worth of income, when you are gone. But this is not always correct. Suppose, you have 20 year mortgage or home loan. How will your family pay the EMIs after 10 years, when most of the loan is still outstanding? Suppose you have very young children. Your family will run out of income, when your children need it the most, e.g. for their higher education. Insurance buyers need to consider several factors in deciding how much insurance cover is adequate for them.

· Repayment of the entire outstanding debt (e.g. home loan, car loan etc.) of the policy holder

· After debt repayment, the cover or sum assured should have surplus funds to generate enough monthly income to cover all the living expenses of the dependents of the policy holder, factoring in inflation

· After debt repayment and generating monthly income, the sum assured should also be adequate to meet future obligations of the policy holder, like children’s education, marriage etc.

2. Choosing the cheapest policy: Many insurance buyers like to buy policies that are cheaper. This is another serious mistake. A cheap policy is no good, if the insurance company for some reason or another cannot fulfil the claim in the event of an untimely death. Even if the insurer fulfils the claim, if it takes a very long time to fulfil the claim it is certainly not a desirable situation for family of the insured to be in. You should look at metrics like Claims Settlement Ratio and Duration wise settlement of death claims of different life insurance companies, to select an insurer, that will honour its obligation in fulfilling your claim in a timely manner, should such an unfortunate situation arise. Data on these metrics for all the insurance companies in India is available in the IRDA annual report (on the IRDA website). You should also check claim settlement reviews online and only then choose a company that has a good track record of settling claims.

3. Treating life insurance as an investment and buying the wrong plan: The common misconception about life insurance is that, it is also as a good investment or retirement planning solution. This misconception is largely due to some insurance agents who like to sell expensive policies to earn high commissions. If you compare returns from life insurance to other investment options, it simply does not make sense as an investment. If you are a young investor with a long time horizon, equity is the best wealth creation instrument. Over a 20 year time horizon, investment in equity funds through SIP will result in a corpus that is at least three or four times the maturity amount of life insurance plan with a 20 year term, with the same investment. Life insurance should always been seen as protection for your family, in the event of an untimely death. Investment should be a completely separate consideration. Even though insurance companies sell Unit Linked Insurance Plans (ULIPs) as attractive investment products, for your own evaluation you should separate the insurance component and investment component and pay careful attention to what portion of your premium actually gets allocated to investments. In the early years of a ULIP policy, only a small amount goes to buying units.

A good financial planner will always advise you to buy term insurance plan. A term plan is the purest form of insurance and is a straightforward protection policy. The premium of term insurance plans is much less than other types of insurance plans, and it leaves the policy holders with a much larger investible surplus that they can invest in investment products like mutual funds that give much higher returns in the long term, compared to endowment or money back plans. If you are a term insurance policy holder, under some specific situations, you may opt for other types of insurance (e.g. ULIP, endowment or money back plans), in addition to your term policy, for your specific financial needs.

4. Buying insurance for the purpose of tax planning: For many years agents have inveigled their clients into buying insurance plans to save tax under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Investors should realize that insurance is probably the worst tax saving investment. Return from insurance plans is in the range of 5 – 6%, whereas Public Provident Fund, another 80C investment, gives close to 9% risk free and tax free returns. Equity Linked Saving Schemes, another 80C investment, gives much higher tax free returns over the long term. Further, returns from insurance plans may not be entirely tax free. If the premiums exceed 20% of sum assured, then to that extent the maturity proceeds are taxable. As discussed earlier, the most important thing to note about life insurance is that objective is to provide life cover, not to generate the best investment return.

5. Surrendering life insurance policy or withdrawing from it before maturity: This is a serious mistake and compromises the financial security of your family in the event of an unfortunate incident. Life Insurance should not be touched until the unfortunate death of the insured occurs. Some policy holders surrender their policy to meet an urgent financial need, with the hope of buying a new policy when their financial situation improves. Such policy holders need to remember two things. First, mortality is not in anyone’s control. That is why we buy life insurance in the first place. Second, life insurance gets very expensive as the insurance buyer gets older. Your financial plan should provide for contingency funds to meet any unexpected urgent expense or provide liquidity for a period of time in the event of a financial distress.

6. Insurance is a one-time exercise: I am reminded of an old motorcycle advertisement on television, which had the punch line, “Fill it, shut it, forget it”. Some insurance buyers have the same philosophy towards life insurance. Once they buy adequate cover in a good life insurance plan from a reputed company, they assume that their life insurance needs are taken care of forever. This is a mistake. Financial situation of insurance buyers change with time. Compare your current income with your income ten years back. Hasn’t your income grown several times? Your lifestyle would also have improved significantly. If you bought a life insurance plan ten years ago based on your income back then, the sum assured will not be enough to meet your family’s current lifestyle and needs, in the unfortunate event of your untimely death. Therefore you should buy an additional term plan to cover that risk. Life Insurance needs have to be re-evaluated at a regular frequency and any additional sum assured if required, should be bought.

Conclusion

Investors should avoid these common mistakes when buying insurance policies. Life insurance is one of the most important components of any individual’s financial plan. Therefore, thoughtful consideration must be devoted to life insurance. Insurance buyers should exercise prudence against questionable selling practised in the life insurance industry. It is always beneficial to engage a financial planner who looks at your entire portfolio of investments and insurance on a holistic basis, so that you can take the best decision with regards to both life insurance and investments.