What’s Stopping You From Getting a Breakdown Cover?

With the euphoria of the recovering economy and rising home and stock prices, it is not a surprise to see some people forgetting the importance of small nuances associated with ensuring safety in and around one’s life, such as a breakdown cover for their vehicles. Although millions of people all over the country have registered themselves with companies offering such valuable breakdown covers and roadside assistance, there are plenty others who still haven’t realized just how important these covers are.

It is only when they come across some unavoidable circumstance like their cars breaking down in the middle of the highway while taking their family on a vacation or on their way to the airport to catch a flight, that they repent not having taken a roadside assistance cover which could have saved them all the trouble that they would go through. People only appreciate such things in life when they’re sitting on the side of a busy road, staring at the passing traffic, with not a clue of how to get someone to help them in their hour of need.

Apart from the obvious benefit, a breakdown cover gives you piece of mind while traveling by your car that no matter what problem your car faces, help will be at hand soon enough and you’ll be on your way to your destination without having to worry about the potential consequences of leaving your car behind. Since cars are essentially machines, there’s always a chance of something or the other causing your car to stop functioning, which is where a breakdown cover saves you the hassles and offers you a sense of security while out on the road.

While there are dozens of options available to you in terms of the company from which you would like to buy the breakdown cover, only a handful stand out among those such as the AA, Greenflag, Auto Aid, RAC, Assist etc. If you’re living in the UK, it makes sense to go for a Breakdown cover from the AA since it is one of the oldest and the most reputed brands in Britain, and offers a variety of benefits that make it the most preferred breakdown cover provider.

Once you have decided a company to go with, you need to choose the level of breakdown cover you would require such as a basic roadside assistance or other premium services like national recovery and at home service which provided additional benefits but at an added cost.

Do Young People Need Life Insurance

Many a time, young people remain under the impression that life insurance is meant for those who are in the mid stages of their life and have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, which includes taking care of and providing for the financial security of their family.

The truth is most people only consider life insurance when they’re in their late twenties or early thirties because they think it is only their parents who go for life insurance in order to safeguard the interests of their family in case something happens to them and the spouse does not have to bear the burden of it.

However this is nothing more than an urban myth, one that takes its roots from the unwillingness to take accountability of one’s life and make regular payments towards the insurance. With the amount of student loan debt that is taken by young people in America, it is almost a given that if you’re young and single, you would certainly have a lot of debt to pay down in the coming years. But what if something were to happen to you, and in that case who would bear the burden of your debts? Well, it will most probably be your parents or grandparents or their property if they’re no more in this world. Think about that before you reach the conclusion that only adults need life insurance.

Not only that, there are other advantages of going for a life insurance in time as well. The earlier you go for an insurance, the less expensive it would be for you as life insurance tends to become more and more expensive the older you get. Nowadays there are many services available for the same, for example if you want to look at the rates of insurance, you can check out life insurance rates ontario and even critical illness insurance rates as you might need it in the future.

Thus the crux of this article is that there cannot be a better time for young people to go for life insurance than now, as it has a number of benefits associated with it, while safeguarding the financial security of your loved ones as well. You don’t need a high insurance cover, but one that you can not only afford but also adequately covers your family’s interests in case of your demise.

States Attempting to Pass Laws Against Life Insurance Sales

Life InsuranceState statutes in many American states are catching up with the popularity of retirees or chronically ill insured selling their life insurance policies for ready cash.The business transactions became popular first with the revelation of AIDS victims, and during the early tragic period when the disease was a definite and short term death sentence. Since then selling personal life insurance policies for cash has become a viable solution to financial difficulties for persons suffering from other diseases, and more recently has entered the mainstream retiree market.

If you do not prefer to leave your death benefits from personal life insurance to your children, you may ask yourself, “Should I sell my life insurance?” Would it be practical and advantageous for you to have the ready cash during retirement instead of paid out to an heir after your death? The economical fact that retirees are living longer than their post-recession retirement funds are lasting makes the option attractive. In response, some American states are attempting to pass laws making the transaction illegal.

The following are some of the concerns that are influencing the adoption of laws forbidding selling your life insurance policies:

1. When you are selling your policies to a third party you should know the exact identity who is purchasing the policy.

2. Do not be financially illiterate of the tax effect this will mean for you on the difference between the premiums you have paid and the lump sum received from the policy sale to a third party.

3. Do not fall into the trap of accepting multi-payments, which extends the tax viability and certainly limits the funds you have in any given year. Take all proceeds in one lump sum.

4. Ignorance of the law is still no excuse, so be certain you are aware of your state laws on this transaction as well as the federal tax laws.

5. Insure your present beneficiaries on the subject policies are cognizant of your plans and are also willing to sign releases removing themselves from your policies as your beneficiaries.

6. Take steps to fully take care of your last expenses beforehand or to set aside such dedicated funds so that your funeral costs will be paid in full without need of the policy funds.

In summary, your best advice would be to consult either your insurance policy insurer or a financial planning advisor before making a decision. Check out reputable companies such as Harvest ACS that can offer you both advice and information on life settlement.


Consumer Options for Claiming Back PPI

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is a phrase that by now, most people are well aware of. What many fail to realise however is that they could have been affected by it and would therefore be entitled to an often substantial reimbursement. Even some who believe they were mis-sold the flawed insurance policies on their credit card, loan or mortgage refrain from taking action because they feel overwhelmed by the cold calls and relentless information regarding the issue, unsure of what options are truly available to them.

With 63% of all complaints regarding banks and insurance being directly related to PPI, the problem is evidently still widespread and given the current calls to have all claims resolved by April 2014, now could be the perfect time to decide which route is best suited to you and finally take action.

Go it alone

Many people are unaware that it is entirely possible to make a successful claim without using outside help. By diligently checking through your contracts and paperwork, you can identify if you have been paying for PPI: If you did not agree to the policy; were told it was compulsory or suspect if fails to provide you with adequate cover, you can lodge a complaint by going directly to your lender and voicing your concerns.

Following the process step-by-step and persevering can ultimately end up being just as successful as seeking help and while opting for this method is often the most time consuming and likely to lead you to initial rejections, upon an eventual win, you keep all of the money you reclaim from your bank or lender, as there are no external fees to pay.

Financial advisors and experts

Perhaps you believe you have been affected by a mis-sold policy but are hesitant to go directly to your lender until you know all the facts and what rights you have to complain. This is where financial advisors come into play, as they can offer impartial, independent advice on the best route for consumers to take.

UK residents can utilise the help of the Financial Ombudsman Service; an organization offering free assistance with on-going monetary disputes between businesses and customers by representing mistreated consumers. Countries outside the UK often have equivalent services available to them, while almost everyone will have access to an advisor. Sometimes all people need to equip them to make a claim is the knowledge that they have a chance of success and how best to go about achieving it.

Professional claims companies

Perhaps the most common and widely publicised method of reclaiming PPI is to contact a third-party claims company to take up the case on your behalf. While some people are put off opting for this route due to irritating cold calls and hesitation over the companies’ reliability, there are a number of legitimate organizations that existed long before the huge scale outbreak of PPI complaints a few years ago. Though they request a percentage of your fee if your claim is accepted, they eliminate any stress from the reclaiming process by taking care of all the leg work for you, while also often having a much higher success rate than those who go it alone.

Top 5 Tips for Getting Cheaper Car Insurance

Car insurance is required by law to operate a motor vehicle in every state but it can become expensive. There are some things you can do to keep your insurance rates down including keeping your driving record clean, keeping your deductible high and only carrying the minimum liability insurance when you can.

1. Stay Out Of Trouble on the Road

The smallest things like going five miles an hour over the speed limit or driving around town with a broken out tail light will get you pulled over, a citation and a conviction on your driving record. Every time you have a conviction, the courts report this to your states DMV. When a citation is reported to the DMV, it goes onto your driving record which is what insurance companies look at when they decide how much you should pay for your auto insurance. Stay out of trouble on the road and your insurance rates will stay low.

2. Keep Your Deductible As High As Possible

The most expensive part of full coverage auto insurance is the deductible. When you go from no deductible or a low deductible to a high deductible, you can save up to $100 a month on your policy. If the vehicle is financed, you need to check with your bank to see what the minimum deductible is to satisfy the banks requirements. The fact is the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

3. Avail New Car Discounts

Newer cars have newer technology that both prevents accidents and protects the occupants during an accident. It is because of these new features like side impact air bags, crumple zones and blind spot detectors that insurance companies are beginning to offer discounts for customers who have vehicles that are considered newer models. These models are usually within 3 years old but every insurance company will have different policies regarding what is considered a “new” car.

4. Drivers’ Ed All Over Again

You may feel like you are 15 all over again but taking a defensive driving course is inexpensive itself but when you participate in a course like this, you can save up to 10% on your auto insurance premium. Insurance companies know that when you are a defensive driver, you are paying attention to the drivers around you; therefore, you are less likely to be involved in an accident than a driver who has not completed one of these courses.

5. Drop Down To The Minimum

The main way to save money on your auto insurance is to hold only the minimum amount required by your state law or your financial institution that carries the lien on your vehicle. If the vehicle is not financed and is valued under $5,000, it is a good idea to drop the full coverage insurance and go down to your state’s minimum. The state minimum will not cover your own car to be replaced after an accident that is your fault, but it will keep you from being sued if you are considered at fault in any accident.

Car insurance is a necessity for anyone who owns a vehicle. While insurance can be expensive, there are ways to cut the coverages you don’t need while adding the ones that you do. When you use just a few tricks to keep your premium low, you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of your policy.

Matthew Varnasdale is an insurance consultant. He enjoys seeing how the internet has transformed his industry and increased savings for everyone. His articles mainly appear on personal finance blogs. Get a free quote for car insurance from InsuranceTown.com.

Why Good Motor Insurance Coverage is Important for Your Teenage Son

Teenagers are considered to be among the highest risk road users in the world. A teenager can only just have passed his test, by simple virtue of the fact that you can’t learn to drive until you are 17 years old – and with teenage boys yet to develop the part of the brain that fully understands consequence (this is a scientific fact; the last part of the brain to develop, in the slow burning male body that can take until the late 20 to arrive) that’s a pretty risky recipe.

Motor insurance coverage for a teenager, then, may need to be slightly more comprehensive than the same insurance package for an older and more experienced driver. The premiums are usually higher for teenagers, as a consequence of everything noted above: and the more powerful the vehicle, the more expensive the policy will be.

Protection Through Price

The cost of a motor insurance policy for a teenage boy can be a protection in itself. For instance, it would be almost impossibly expensive to insure your teenage son to drive a Ferrari – a premium at this level of power and inexperience could conceivably cost more than the car itself.

Most motor insurance policies require a minimum amount of experience before initial premiums begin to fall. Additionally, the penalties levied for actually having to make a claim are high in the first five years (on average, anyway) – so the teenage driver may be forced to learn about cause and consequence in order to stay on the road.

Risk Aversion

Simply put: teenage boys don’t have a risk aversion function in their brains. Their hormones are all over the place, their testosterone levels (the hormone that causes aggressive and thoughtless behaviour) are high – and they’re behind the wheel of a car for the first time in their lives.

The chances of a teenage boy having an accident within the first five years of his driving life are incrementally much bigger than the chances that he will have the same accident later in his life. So his motor insurance policy almost becomes of double importance early on. To get a good insurance policy for a teenage boy it is necessary to find one that will be financially lenient while the chances of that accident are so high; but that will adequately protect both driver and third party from the consequences of the incident, should it occur.

Policy Choice

It’s more or less the case that the majority of motor insurance policy providers will penalize a teenager just for being a teenager. In order to find a policy that is financially bearable, then, you need to look around for a high risk insurance provider – a company, in other words, that deals specifically with insuring elements that other businesses would either leave alone, or would charge very high premiums for. Be aware that even in these special cases the cost of premiums will be higher than other companies or policies – for the simple reason that the risk level of insuring a teenage boy is viewed to be so high.

Motor insurance coverage for a teenager may need to be slightly more comprehensive than the same insurance package for an older and more experienced driver.

Useful Types Of Life Insurance Policies

In considering the purchase of life insurance, you have already taken the first step to creating a more secure future for your loved ones in case an unfortunate event should befall you and cause unexpected loss of life. But just the desire is not enough to get a successful life insurance experience as knowing the different Types Of Life Insurance Policies that are the most useful would be needed in order for you to properly decide which one fits your situations best.

Basics Of Life Insurance

In the most general sense of the idea, life insurance protects against future hardships that your death, as the provider, might cause your family in the financial area. The degeneration of lifestyles and societal security due to the passing away of the head of the family is a concept that is quite well known throughout the world, and so actions to prevent it are thus needed. The function of a life insurance policy is not limited to just that of course, but it is the source of most concerns.

Basic Types Of Life Insurance Policies

Now for the Types Of Life Insurance Policies which will perfectly address the concern of future financial security for the surviving family members, we have the types that generally belong in two categories. In term life insurance, we have insurance policies that will last for a certain amount of time and which the costs will depend mostly upon the duration. For the more common durations, we have ten years, twenty years, twenty-five years, and thirty years on the list to choose from.

For the other basic category which holds useful insurance types is permanent life insurance, and the policies that fall under this one will last only as long as the client is alive. So if you want a life insurance policy that will give you coverage until you die of old age and don’t mind paying quite a bit, this is the policy for you.

Under Term Life Insurance

For the policies under term life insurance, there really is not much to discuss since the policies are actually quite straightforward. Depending on the length of duration you chose, you would be given the same amount of protection and the life insurance premium attached to it accordingly. Just bear in mind though that once the policy expires, renewal fees are going to be expensive, and dying even a day after the policy has expired will result in no release of the death benefits. With that in mind, you really must choose your policy wisely.

Under Permanent Life Insurance

For the policies that fall under permanent life insurance though, things can get a little more interesting since permanent policies can have some additions that justify clarification. Just taking the two basic permanent life insurance types whole life and universal life for example will make the difference and need for explanation rather clear.

With whole life insurance, you get the regular policy which provides protection that is worth a lifetime. With its cash growth accumulation at a fixed rate, it really is quite a straightforward sort of policy that is suitable for those who like stability in their lives.

With universal life insurance on the other hand, you still get the lifetime worth of protection and the growth of your cash value, but at a more flexible dimension. More specifically, you are able to make adjustments with universal life in terms of payment, death benefits, and even the rate at which your money grows. So it is perfect for those who can bear a few risks.

Why You Should Insure Your Trip Before Travelling

People often tend to be miser when it comes to travelling. They try to get the best deals possible and minimize their expenses so that they have to shell out as little money as possible. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact I would advise everyone to do the same, we shouldn’t let ourselves not factor the risks associated with travelling.

Especially if you are travelling to some far off place or any place where there might even a bit of risk (adventure tourism spots), you shouldn’t mind getting yourself and your trip insured, so that you are prepared for the worst case scenario. Though travel insurance is not yet popular in most countries, the benefits associated with it cannot be done away with. One has to take in account the fact that it can provide you a sense of relief for your travel, by covering you for all the costs that might be incurred by you during your travel.

Most travelers are supposedly unaware of this, as they cruise on their trips without even remotely considering the thought of getting a travel insurance, possibly thinking that nothing can go wrong while travelling. For such people, I would advise delving into some of the facts published by credible sources that cite various incidences (both minor and major) that end up impacting the lives of people and have the power of wrecking them financially.

If you want to save yourself the trouble later on, you should not step out to travel without getting your travel insured. In fact with crime rates and horror stories of robbery, theft and other crimes targeting travelers in most countries are coming to the fore, it is only foolhardy not to consider these things well in advance.

What would happen if you were robbed of all your cash? What would you do then? Or god forbid you end up injuring yourself on your trip but do not have the money to meet the expenses? Who would cater to your financial needs then? Don’t think that these are far off cases and cannot happen with you.

There are plenty of travelers that think the same and end up repenting for the rest of their lives. Before it’s too late and you cannot do something about it, insure your trip before you step out for your next vacation.

The Chinese Leadership Election And Its Effect On Investment

There is an ancient wisdom concerning the rise and decline of Chinese dynasties. It follows that the old dynasty has lost its Mandate of Heaven. It taxes the people too much. It no longer protects them and infrastructure has also decayed. Subsequently, floods and earthquakes wreak havoc. Invaders attack and robbers blight the countryside. Then, a new dynasty claims the Mandate of Heaven. This in turn, brings peace, improves infrastructure, grants land to peasants and protects the people. Eventually, as generations pass, the new dynasty slowly evolves into an old dynasty and loses its Mandate of Heaven…and so the wheel turns. The wheel has turned once more in China and is set to change the fortunes of billions of people worldwide.

There are many analogies that spring to mind when describing Chinese politics.  The cicada, for example, has the longest lifespan of any insect and can live up to 17 years, shedding its skin in a regular metamorphosis. It is greatly revered in China as a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Jade cicadas were placed in the mouths of the deceased to slow decay and speed up rebirth. China’s leadership election is best judged in these transitional terms. The Party Congress has shed its skin for the 18th time.

The Party Congress has 2270 members who elect a central committee comprised of 204 members. The central committee put forward a 25 member politburo and a seven member Politburo Standing Committee. There are no fast gear changes in this mechanism of government. The Chinese political cicada slowly sheds its skin, shrugging off undesirable layers of scandal, corruption or deviation from the party line.

The Chinese mastered the art of paper production. They are credited with being the first country to utilise paper money. Wallpaper is also said to have originated in China, along with the first recorded use of toilet paper. Manipulation of the multi-faceted properties of paper did not stop in the water closet.

Metal armour had its undoubted uses in ancient China. However, it was seen to rust and was heavy to wear after long periods. This is why the Chinese turned their attention to paper armour in the Tang Dynasty (618-906).  Paper armour, layered and interwoven with cloth and silk, was widely used by naval personnel and foot soldiers because it was light, durable and extremely cheap. At certain distances, with remarkable craftsmanship, it was even found to be bullet-proof. Under wet conditions the material would toughen, so it was preferred in the south where rivers and forests abound. Paper armour endured for over a thousand years, until the nineteenth century. Modern bullet-proof vests make use of similar concepts.

If the same analogy was applied to contemporary Chinese politics, the question remains: does the Central Politburo Committee currently wear armour of metal or paper? Is the Chinese government a cumbersome institution prone to corrosion, or flexible and durable as paper?

At the opening of Congress, retiring President, Hu Jintao stressed the importance, withinone party rule, of vigilance over corruption, demonstrated by Bo Xilai’s fall from grace. The cicada neatly shed its skin.  Hu Jintao also stated that Chinese development should be “much more balanced, coordinated and sustainable.”

In China, state owned enterprise accounts for over one half of output and employment. Of the 70 mainland companies on the 2012 Fortune Global 500 list, 65 are state owned. Departing Premier Wen JiaBao suggested: “We must move ahead with reform of the railway, power and other industries and promote the development of non-state economies.” Once again, we see a desire to embrace change, a socialist government willing to negotiate with private sector companies. This multi-layered approach suggests paper armour politics.

In a changing world market investors must be flexible with their money. They need their accounts to be as durable as paper, not as rigid as metal. Is there an opportunity to be more flexible and invest how, when and where they want, rather than entrusting their pension pot to inflexible pension trustees?

To suit these changing markets, investors can opt for schemes that offer control. Schemes like Fidelity UK’s SIPP, Standard Life’s or JP Morgan’s SIPP,  are worth consideration. The SIPP, as it referred to, is specifically designed to encourage freedom to create a better income in later life.Remember, with pension products you will need to be aged 55 before you are able to withdraw money.

1)      SIPs are a logical way of amalgamating pensions from different jobs and other holdings.

2)      Investments in a SIPP grow tax efficiently.

3)      There is greater scope for investment flexibility and diversification from a wider choice of investments.

4)      Once seen as the preserve of the wealthy, contributions start at £50, or a £5000 deposit from another pension plan.

5)      SIPPs tend to be fee based arrangements, so the cost has the ability to decrease as the fund increases.

6)      They offer the investor the opportunity to hold on to commercial property after retirement.

7)      There are substantial tax breaks. For every pound, the government will refund tax up to your marginal rate.

There are many ways of looking after your investments and the value of tax savings and your eligibility to invest in a SIPP depends on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.There are also many ways to govern a country. You might prefer a democratic system of a first-past-the-post-billion dollar-cash-splash or the slow and secretive purge by an unquestionable leadership. The question remains, does the investor wear armour of metal or paper?

The value of tax savings and eligibility to invest in an ISA (OR SIPP OR Junior ISA) will depend on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future.

Charles Roberts is a UK based IFA of over twenty years standing who, as well as offering financial advice to personal investment and pension clients, also writes for various journals and publications.  He recommends choosing the best ISA to all of his clients, whatever their age as it is perfect for putting away a lump sum, tax free, while also attracting interest.

Avoid These Common Mistakes While Choosing An Insurance Policy

Although getting an insurance policy for various aspects of our life, such as  for securing your car, home or health is quite important as it helps you overcome unforeseen disasters and crisis situations, choosing an insurance policy is certainly not as easy as it sounds.

Before you take the plunge and agree to that great sales pitch by one of those shrewd insurance agents & regret having done it a few days later, you should make sure you research well enough to avoid choosing the wrong policy and getting ripped off in the process. So let’s take a look at few of the common mistakes that most people make while choosing an insurance policy. Hopefully after reading these, you would be cautious the next time you choose a policy for yourself.

1. Not Comparing Offers:

Probably one of the most simple yet an overlooked thing that most people forget to do before going for an insurance policy. Since there are many insurance companies that are aware of the stiff competition and hence try to dish out better deals, you should always make it a point to go through the offers of different companies as you might be able to get much better offers at lesser premiums, which can end up saving some decent money for you in the long run.

2.  Inadequate Insurance Cover:

Though financial planners definitely advice not to go overboard when it comes to spending, and I advise the same, it doesn’t mean that you start cutting down on the important expenses of your life. This would only create more difficulties for you as you get on with your life.

In fact, it seems that most people in the world today make this very mistake most often! It is estimated that almost 50 million people don’t have an adequate insurance cover, which means in case of any unforeseen situation, they would be found wanting when it matters the most. You don’t need to make the same mistake – so get yourself adequately covered today!

3. Purchasing Too Much Insurance:

Although this might sound strange, there are many people in this world who don’t can’t decide how much insurance they really need, so they end up going for the higher side, thereby having to pay unnecessary premiums for huge insurance amounts that they don’t need.

This generally happens when smart insurance agents try to get people to go for too much insurance as they get a commission on every sale, so all they have in mind is to maximize the accruing commission, no matter if people get ripped off in the process. Don’t let this happen to you. Research adequately and determine an amount of each type of insurance that you would be comfortable with. Once you’ve identified this amount, you will be able to make an informed decision.