Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Homeowners-InsuranceHomeowners insurance policies, better known as HO policies, have been designed to help home owners safeguard their home and personal belongings. Considering that they have the responsibility of protecting their home and personal property, they should definitely opt for insurance. In fact, they can be sued by people who accidentally fall and injure themselves on their turf. Moreover, a homeowner may also be forced to vacate the home and arrange for alternate accommodation in case the home gets damaged. Thankfully, a wide range of insurance policies are available in the market.

Basic Homeowners Insurance
The most basic policy insures the property against damage due to 11 factors or perils of nature. Some of these factors are: fire, lightning, smoke, vandalism, theft, ice, snow, windstorm hail, riot, and volcano eruption. The popularity of this policy, better known as HO-1, has diminished over the years, since the policy does not protect against loss or damage to property on account of plumbing issues as a result of freezing. Loss on account of heating system malfunction is, again, not covered by this policy. HO-2 is also a basic policy, but with a wider scope of coverage. HO-2 protects the property from damage on account of 17 factors, and hence, it is a marginal improvement over HO-1.

Popular Homeowners Insurance
It’s evident that both HO-1 and HO-2 provide only minimal coverage. For people who live in areas that are not prone to floods or earthquakes, HO-3 is a good policy, since it provides peace of mind to the homeowner on many fronts. For instance, this policy provides protection to the homeowner who may get sued by people who meet with an accident on his/her turf. Damage to the residence and personal property are also covered by this policy. As far as damage to the home is concerned, the insurance company agrees to pay the price that is equal to the cost of replacing the property (replacement cost). In case of personal property, the homeowner is entitled to receive the actual cash value of the property. For people living in flood prone areas, flood insurance should be purchased in addition to HO-3.

Actual Cash Value = Cost of Replacing the Property – Depreciation of the Property

Most Comprehensive Policy
The HO-5 policy or Comprehensive Form Policy, is equivalent to purchasing an HO-3 policy with a ‘Special Personal Property’ endorsement. This would help protect unscheduled personal property from all possible risks, except those that are specifically excluded. It’s no wonder that the cost of this policy is 15% more than the cost of the most popular coverage provided by HO-3.

Insurance Policy for Older Homes: In case of older homes, the cost of replacing the property is usually more than the market value of the property. This is on account of depreciation. Hence, for older homes, insurance will not cover more than the actual cash value of the property. This is where the HO-8 policy, which is a modified version of the HO-1, assumes importance.

Since homeowners insurance is indispensable, the owner should shop around for the best homeowners insurance quotes after settling on the appropriate insurance policy. Tenants can also ensure that their personal property is protected by opting for HO-4, better known as Contents Broad Form or Tenants Policy.

Affordable Health Insurance Options

Health InsuranceWith the passage of time, people are finding it exceedingly difficult to spend on health care. Considering that people spend almost a third of what they earn on procuring medical services, it is not surprising that they welcome the Health Care Reform plan proposed by the Obama administration. The plan intends to subsidize the cost of health care without compromising on quality. Hospitals that have been persuaded to cut back on their Medicare payments have reduced their expenditure by $155 billion. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies have also agreed to cut drug costs by $80 billion. Until the government-run health insurance plan is enforced, private insurance is the way to go.

 

Temporary Coverage
Under temporary coverage, we have COBRA and Temporary Health Insurance Plans.

COBRA (Premiums Reduced by 65%): Under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), a person is allowed to continue on the former employer’s group health insurance plan, after getting laid off, for a period of 18 months. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has resulted in a 65 percent reduction in COBRA premiums for a period of 9 months, starting February 17, 2009. Eligible individuals are required to pay only 35% of their COBRA premiums while the remaining is reimbursed to the insurance companies through tax credits. Previously, the laid-off employee had to pay the entire amount of premium. This premium reduction facility is available for people covered under COBRA, between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009, in order to compensate for involuntary termination of employment that occurred during the aforementioned period.

Temporary Health Insurance: Temporary health insurance is an indemnity plan that provides the benefits of traditional health coverage at a cheaper cost. The coverage is of transitory nature, and a person is covered for a maximum period of 6 months without having to undergo too many procedural formalities. Although preventive, routine, dental, and optical care are not included in this policy, it’s better than not having any insurance.

Permanent Coverage
Under permanent coverage, we have the employer’s Group Health Insurance plan, employee owned Health Savings Account, and State Risk Pools. Both Health Savings Account and Group Health Insurance plan result in reducing the premium payments that have to be made by the employees, and can be extended to cover the family. Hence, they are better alternatives to individual health insurance plans.

Health Savings Account (HSA): People who are working for small employers who cannot afford to provide group health insurance, may be provided the option of employee owned Health Savings Account (HSA) by the employer. The employer has the right to determine the amount of money that would be contributed by him/her towards providing health care benefits to the employees. The contribution is exempt from payroll taxes, and it accumulates and earns tax-free interest.

Group Health Insurance In this case, the employer, who is the policy holder, pays a part or the entire amount of premium, which is fully tax deductible. Lower premium for employees, additional coverage at a cheaper cost, coverage for pre-existing conditions, and premiums that are not a part of the employee’s taxable compensation, are some of the benefits of employer based Group Health Insurance.

State Risk Pool: State risk pools were created to provide health insurance to people who do not qualify for private insurance. Disqualification can be as a result of pre-existing conditions or health problems that force people to pay an exorbitant premium in order to seek insurance.

Just as affordable health insurance helps people seek affordable medical treatment, dental discount plans may be a good option for people desirous of ensuring good dental health. These plans, that are an alternative to dental insurance, cover a person regardless of the claims history. There is no need for prior authorization, irrespective of the procedure. It is a simple case of a group of people tying up with a few local dentists to avail dental health care services at discounted rates. This is again a good example of collective bargaining power at work.

How Long Term Investment Is Useful

Long Term InvestmentLong term investments – these are one of the best things and one of the wisest things that any individual can and should start doing as early as possible in life. There is ideally no perfect age to start working or to start saving. It will help not just the individual but also his or her family to have a secured life.

How does the long term planning work?

Ideally this is one of the best ways to secure one’s life. The greater benefits of slow and steady investment are:

• Flexibility to invest less: When the planning is for a longer span of time it is obvious that it will work well even if the amount invested is less. This is so as the amount being saved is for longer period and also the interest obtained will be on the higher side resulting in the ending amount to be on the higher side. This is obviously not possible when the period of investment is less. It is also seen that the mode of interest calculation is also different and yields lesser returns.

• Flexibility to choose return options- When longer period of planning is done, it is obvious that the mode of return can be determined by the investor. This means that one will have the choice to select how and when they want the returns. Whether it can be a onetime payment, savings that can be converted to annuity, or a regular income in the form of pension.

These might just seem too little benefits to read but in practical life these actually form one of the most important of one’s life. Just read through the points again and you will understand. Even if you do not understand them thoroughly it is always better to start planning for your future and the future of your family well in advance.

As the famous saying goes; A stitch in time saves nine- why to wait for a calamity to strike for thinking if how to manage it? Plan well in advance so when there is an actual need you will have finances or help to tackle the situation. Otherwise any unfortunate incident or a general old age ailment will result in compromise of the lifestyle of even basic needs by the entire family.

Everyone is aware of the constant raising prices especially payments for the medical care and old age nursing. Care at home or even at a nursing home can cause you to spend an entire fortune and or spend all your life time money. Hence it is the best to start planning your future as soon as possible.

But it is also obvious that not everyone will be aware of how and where these long term investments can be done. For these sales there are many advisers and advisory organizations that dedicate work to help and guide people about such planning and return. Just check online for such reputed organizations and you will find genuine people who can help get a secure life.

Long term investments should help an individual to plan for a financially secure future. Moreover it acts as a buffer in case of emergencies. Moreover, you can choose the investment options as per your needs of return, safety or risk levels.

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