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By bruners33618, Aug 1 2017 02:25PM

What Factors Determine Auto Insurance Pricing?

Shopping around for car insurance can be confusing. Finding one that best suits your needs (and budget) can be just as intimidating. What you have to realize before you even begin, however, is that while companies often differ in regard to the premiums that they offer to you. There are several factors that will automatically result in you having a higher or lower premium. Here is a list of a few factors that can determine your auto insurance premiums, regardless of which company you go with for your insurance.


Your age, gender, marital status, and where you live can all affect your auto insurance premiums. If you’re under the age of 25, you’re statistically more likely to be in a car crash. Insurance companies will put a higher premium on your policy. However, if you are a student, many insurance companies will offer you a discount. Don’t forget to ask about that if it applies to you.

In terms of gender, this is often tied in with age—specifically, young men tend to be in more crashes compared with young women. However, the opposite is the case for the older cohorts.


Image from morguefile courtesy of finance

Where you call home (or more specifically, where the car will be located) can have a major effect on your premiums. Living in a big city with higher crime rates will put you on the path to pay higher rates. This holds true no matter the company. On the other hand, if you live in a small, quiet town out in the country, statistically you’re more likely to be safe from auto theft or vandalism and thus will likely have a lower premium on your auto insurance.

The Car

The type of car you drive plays a big factor in your rates. How old is your car? What model is it? What are the safety ratings? These things have a big impact on your rates. A car that’s rated as more safe will receive a lower premium than a car that’s rated as less safe. While this seems obvious, many people don’t think of this when car shopping.

Additionally, larger vehicles tend to be safer than smaller vehicles. Thus, they will often receive a lower premium. However, if the engine itself is large compared to the size of the car, then the premium may be increased. This means you, sports car drivers!

Your Driving Record

Are you a good driver? Or have you been in more accidents than you have fingers on your hands? Someone who has never been in an accident will often get a lower premium than someone who has been in several.

These are just some of the ways that insurance companies come up with the premium for your specific insurance policy. Keep in mind, insurance companies often will also offer various discounts, so while you may suffer some “hits” from the factors mentioned above, you might be able to find other ways to save and thus reduce the overall premium for your auto insurance policy.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

By bruners33618, Aug 1 2017 02:23PM

Term vs. whole life insurance: Which is best for you?

Life insurance FBN(Courtney Keating)

Term life and whole life are two popular variations of life insurance policies. While the basic idea of providing much-needed cash in the event of your death is the same, there are some big differences between the costs and benefits of each one. Here's a rundown of both varieties, so you can make the best decision for your family.

Term life insurance is the lower-cost option

Term life insurance is perhaps the purest way to protect your loved ones in the event that you die prematurely.

In a nutshell, when you buy a term life insurance policy, the period of protection is temporary (10, 20, and 30 years are most common). After the initial term runs out, policyholders have the option to renew, but by that point, the renewal rate is often prohibitively expensive.

Term life insurance policies don't accumulate any cash value. Simply put, if you die while the policy is active, the policy's beneficiaries collect the death benefit. If not, the policy expires, and the life insurer has no further obligation to you. For this reason, term life insurance is significantly cheaper than whole life insurance.

In most term life policies, the premium stays the same for the initial term, known as level premium, and the death benefit remains the same. In addition, there are other variations of term life policies, such as decreasing term insurance, under which premiums remain the same, but the death benefit is reduced every year. This can be a smart way to protect against your heirs' need to repay large debts, such as a mortgage, and is often known as "credit life." In other words, since your mortgage balance typically declines every year, the need to insure against the debt also declines.

Regardless of what form it takes, term life insurance is a cost-effective way of meeting a temporary insurance need. For example, I have a term life policy that's designed to replace my income for my family. In 20 years, when it expires, I'll be 55, my kids will (hopefully) be out of the house, and I'll have relatively few years of income that would need to be replaced.

Whole life can offer lifelong protection but at a higher price

As the name implies, whole life insurance is designed to protect you for your entire life. Premiums are significantly higher than term life policies, not only to compensate for the higher mortality risk in your later years, but because whole life policies accumulate cash value over time. Since whole life policies build cash value, they can be included in retirement planning , and one big advantage is the ability to borrow against the policy.

The purest form of whole life insurance is known as traditional ordinary life, or straight life. These policies have a fixed premium that's guaranteed until age 100, at which point the cash value of the policy will equal the death benefit. If the insured is still alive at 100, this amount is paid to the policyholder.

In addition, there are several other varieties, which include (just to name a few):

Limited pay -- Premiums are only paid for a certain amount of time, such as for 20 years or until age 65. Premiums will be higher since you're paying for a limited time.

Single pay -- Instead of paying monthly or annual premiums, a single lump-sum premium is paid at the policy's inception.

Graded premium -- Premiums gradually increase over a certain time period.

Adjustable life -- Death benefit or premiums may be modified over time.

Whole life policies are good for a permanent insurance need. For example, if you'd like to leave your heirs $500,000 whenever you pass away, a whole life policy can allow you to ensure that will happen. Whole life can also be useful as a savings vehicle that can be borrowed against if necessary.

Which is best for you?

It depends on your personal situation and goals. As I mentioned, I use term life insurance. I prefer to keep my premiums low and invest the majority of my extra money. The idea is that by the time my term life policy runs out, my retirement accounts and other investments will be built up to the point where the death benefit is no longer necessary. Plus, my primary insurance goal is to protect my wife and children during my working years.

On the other hand, if you want insurance that doesn't expire, and the idea of building up cash equity is more appealing to you than simply "renting" a life insurance policy, whole life could be the best option for you.

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By bruners33618, Jul 10 2017 05:07PM

With hurricane season upon us, you may want to get familiar with some terms used in your homeowner insurance plan.

Here are some basic terminology used in a Homeowners insurance plan.

Act of God

An accident or event resulting from natural causes, without human intervention or agency, and one that could not have been prevented by reasonable foresight or care—for example, flood, lightning, tornado, earthquake, or a storm.

Actual Cash Value

In property damage insurance, one of several possible methods of establishing the value of insured property to determine the amount the insurer will pay in the event of loss. ACV is the cost to replace damaged property with materials of like kind and quality with deduction for depreciation. The rate of depreciation will vary by item and age.

Additional Living Expense

ALE coverage reimburses the insured for the cost of maintaining a comparable standard of living following a covered loss that exceeds the insured’s normal expenses prior to the loss. For example, ALE insurance would cover an insured’s hotel bill while fire damage to the home is being repaired or replaced or until the insured moves to a permanent residence.


The person who investigates and settles insurance claims. This involves investigating the loss and determining the extent of coverage.

All Other Peril Deductible (AOP)

A set amount owed by a policyholder for any peril covered under the policy except for damage caused by a Hurricane.

A.M. Best Rating

One of several financial ratings organizations that evaluates life, property, and casualty insurers domiciled in the United States and U.S. branches of foreign property insurer groups active in the United States. The ratings are often used to determine the claims-paying ability, suitability, service record, and financial stability of insurance companies.


The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS®) assesses the building codes in effect in a particular community and how the community enforces its building codes, with special emphasis on mitigation of losses from natural hazards.


A legal agreement issued by either an agent or an insurer to provide temporary evidence of insurance until a policy can be issued. Binders should contain definite time limits, should be in writing, and should clearly designate the insurer with which the risk is bound. They should also indicate the amount of insurance, the type of policy, and (in the case of property insurance) the perils insured against.

CLUE Report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange)

CLUE is a claims-information report generated by LexisNexis®, a consumer-reporting agency. The report includes reported losses for the policyholder and/or the risk as well as the loss amount, date of loss and prior carrier information.

Declarations Page

The front page (or pages) of a policy that specifies the named insured, address, policy period, location of premises, policy limits, and other key information that varies from insured to insured. The declarations page is also known as the information page. Often informally referred to as the “dec” or “dec page.”

Demotech Rating

One of several financial ratings organizations that evaluates life, property, and casualty insurers domiciled in the United States and U.S. branches of foreign property insurer groups active in the United States. The ratings are often used to determine the claims-paying ability, suitability, service record, and financial stability of insurance companies.


An amendment or addition to an existing insurance contract which changes the terms or scope of the original policy. Examples of endorsements could be: name changes, coverage amount changes, deductible amount changes or the addition or deletion of policy credits.

Hurricane Deductible

Applies to a wind/hail claim caused by a named hurricane. The hurricane deductible is effective once a hurricane watch or warning is posted by the National Hurricane Center.

Liability Coverage

The personal liability portion of your homeowners insurance policy covers you against lawsuits for injury or property damage that you or your family members cause to other people. Common types of liability claims are pets/dog bites, slip, fall or trips by guests as well as contractors/workers that are injured on your property. It is important that any contractor you hire to perform work on your property (landscaping included) are properly licensed and insured. The liability coverage in your standard homeowners policy pays both for the cost of defending you and for any damages a court rules you must pay.

Ordinance or Law Coverage

Coverage for loss caused by enforcement of ordinances or laws regulating construction and repair of damaged buildings. This coverage covers the increased costs of bringing a home to building code after a loss. It also covers the cost os demolition if required, and to rebuild portions of your home that were not damaged. Building code departments may not issue a permit to repair the covered damage until all areas not to code are addressed properly. Standard homeowners policies include a provision granting a limited amount of building ordinance coverage; this amount can be increased by endorsement. Also referred to as building ordinance coverage.


Insurance purchased by an insurance company from one or more other insurance companies (the “reinsurer”) directly or through a broker as a means of risk management. The reinsurer would pay a share of the claims incurred for event coverage.

Replacement Cost

The cost to replace damaged property with materials of like kind and quality, without any deduction for depreciation. The damaged property will be replaced at today’s cost.

Windstorm Mitigation

A home inspection that checks for construction features that are shown to reduce loss from heavy winds during hurricanes.

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By bruners33618, Jul 10 2017 04:30PM

Medicare Monday & ACA Update

Each year, thousands of Americans miss their deadline to enroll in Medicare, and federal officials and consumer advocates worry that many of them mistakenly think they don’t need to sign up because they have purchased insurance on the health law’s marketplaces. That decision can leave them facing a lifetime of enrollment penalties.

Now Medicare has temporarily changed its rules to offer a reprieve from penalties for people who kept Affordable Care Act policies after becoming eligible for Medicare.

Those who qualify include people 65 and older who have a marketplace plan or had one they lost or canceled, as well as people who have qualified for Medicare due to a disability but chose to use marketplace plans.

They have until Sept. 30 to request a waiver of the usual penalty Medicare assesses when people delay signing up for Medicare’s Part B.. Medicare beneficiaries who already pay the penalty because they had a marketplace plan can request that it be eliminated or reduced.

Medicare also imposes a waiting period for coverage on people who do not sign up when first eligible. If they meet the waiver requirements, they now can request that be lifted.

For information on how to apply for the waiver, officially called “time-limited equitable relief,” go to the Medicare Rights Center’s Medicare Interactive

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By bruners33618, Jun 26 2017 08:20PM

How to claim Florida as your state of residence to save on taxes

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How to claim Florida as your state of residence to save on taxes
How to claim Florida as your state of residence to save on taxes

NEW YORK – June 13, 2017 – Question: I live in New York. If I buy a second home in Florida, can I count Florida as my residence for state tax purposes?

Answer: Maybe, and claiming the Sunshine State as your permanent residence could save you a lot of money. Florida has no state income tax, whereas New York has a top income tax rate of 8.92%. But you can't just tap your heels together to make it happen.

And tax officials in states that are home to a lot of snowbirds – New York and Minnesota in particular – have become more aggressive about going after people they consider taxpaying residents.

State laws vary, but in general, you need to be able to prove that you intend to make the low-tax state your permanent home, says Rocky Mengle, a senior analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. The easiest way to do that is to sell your place up north and move down south. Of course, for many retirees, it's not that simple. You may want to keep the northern home in your family or return there during the summer months. If that's your plan, be prepared to keep meticulous records that will demonstrate your devotion to your new state.

Prove it. First, you'll need to show that you spend more than half the year – 183 days – in the state you claim as your domicile (that is, the place you consider your permanent home). That's the basis for most state definitions of residency for tax purposes. But don't expect state tax auditors to take your word for it. Keep a diary or log showing the number of days you spend in each state during the year, says Tim Steffen, director of financial planning for Robert W. Baird.

In the past, snowbirds could use plane tickets to show they were gone more than six months, but that may no longer suffice, says Terry LaBant, senior wealth strategist for Calamos Wealth Management in Naperville, Ill. State tax auditors may claim that such tickets only show where you were the day you left New York for Florida and the day you returned, but not all of the days in between, he says.

Next, take steps to show that you're committed to your new state. Register to vote and, if you receive a jury summons, perform your civic duty. Apply for a library card, and change your driver's license and car registration. You'll strengthen your case if you hook up with health care providers in your new location.

Open an account at a local bank, and keep receipts of ATM withdrawals, LaBant says. Shopping locally is also a good idea: State tax auditors sometimes review credit card records to determine where you were during the year. One of LaBant's clients, who had homes in New Jersey and Florida, was questioned by New Jersey tax auditors about purchases his wife made from a retailer in New Jersey. Fortunately, the client was able to produce records that showed the items had been ordered and shipped to the couple's Florida home.

In some cases, your adopted state will help you prove residency. You can show your intent to live in Florida, for example, by filing a Declaration of Domicile with your local county court.

As you take steps to establish residency in a new state, you should also start to cut ties with the old one. Avoid taking advantage of benefits that are limited to state residents. For example, if you claim a homestead exemption for property taxes on your first home, state tax officials could use that to show that you're still a resident and thus owe state taxes. Even checking the "resident" box on a state fishing license could be used as proof that you didn't really intend to leave your northern home for good.

Copyright © 2017, Sandra Block, senior associate editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Kiplinger Washington Editors.

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