Insurance Column

Insurance is never a fun topic, as you’re essentially preparing yourself for some future calamity, but it’s something every responsible adult needs to tackle every once and a while. Whether it’s auto insurance, health insurance, or something more morbid like life insurance, if the article relates to the topic it’ll appear in this column.


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Money Leaks: Not Using Your Medical Benefits

A lot has been made about health care in the United States, especially given the recent passage of “health care reform.” Proponents of health care reform argue that it wasn’t enough, enemies of the bill say that it puts an undue burden on businesses and is government interference in our personal lives. No matter how you approach it, health care is a big issue because, bottom line, we all want to be healthy, right?

Well, as it turns out, it’s very easy for you to not use all of your medical benefits. I don’t mean flexible spending accounts, which are the most obvious benefit that could be squandered either by not participating or letting a balance expire. I mean the regular routine checkups you are eligible for but don’t take advantage of.

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Finance in 55: Compare Insurance Policy Rates

insuranceOne of the things that you will likely spend a great deal of money over time is insurance. Health insurance, car insurance, life insurance, home insurance and other types of insurance are all required to adequately protect your assets and your family. If you are shopping around for insurance for the first time, or just reviewing your current policy to make sure it is what you need, comparing rates can save you money.

The process of buying insurance can take more time, but you can get a good start on the process by comparing insurance rates. Here is how you can get a cost comparison in 55 seconds:
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When To Be Frugal

I am not an extremely frugal person, but I am not a spendthrift either. I love squirreling away my money just as much as I love my home, health, and hobbies. In short, my husband and I save more than a third of our income on a regular basis, but we do not cheap out on certain things. Specifically, I will spend whatever is necessary to live healthily and sleep well. Frugality has its place in the world of personal finance, but there are some things that you just cannot afford to be cheap about and things you can.

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Three Insurance Policies to Skip

InsuranceLong time readers of Bargaineering probably recall that I don’t have collision or comprehensive insurance on my car. It’s a decision that paid off with my first car and one that I’ve stuck with on my current car. While it helps that I don’t drive very often (I work from home), it’s a financial risk that I’ve decided to take on and certainly not an insurance policy I recommend you skip.

There are, however, plenty of insurance policies out there that I am comfortable suggesting that you skip. Here are just three of them:

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Update Your Jewelry Appraisals & Insurance Coverage

Diamond RingAll the news over the past year (or three) about the skyrocketing price of gold and silver has probably gotten your attention. Maybe you have a few pieces of jewelry you no longer like (or perhaps an earring that has lost their bud) and are considering selling. It’s natural to try to get a little more out of your stuff, especially if you don’t use them anymore.

One thing that some people, ourselves included, tend to forget to do on a regular basis is get our jewelry appraised to ensure our insurance coverage is sufficient. As gold and silver prices rise, you may discover that your insurance coverage is no longer enough to cover your valuables.

I would recommend getting your jewelry re-appraised every four or five years, unless you’ve seen a big run-up in commodity prices. With precious metals becoming more valuable as of late, now is a good time to re-appraise your jewelry unless you’ve already done so in the last few years. The easiest way to check is to review your appraisal paperwork to see when it was done and how your piece was valued. If you it was appraised last year, then the higher commodity prices were used. If it was done ten years ago, you might want a refresher.

While you’re at it, you should be regularly updating your home inventory too.

(Photo: ljv)

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Gold & Silver Bullion: Insurance, Not Investment

Gold BarA lot of newspapers and magazines have been celebrating the rising value of gold and silver over the last few years, citing as a reason why investing in gold might be a good idea. A lot of other newspapers and magazines are noting that gold may be overpriced and that a gold bubble has formed. Regardless of who is right, I think it illustrates a fundamental problem we all face every single day.

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Update Your Home Inventory

Home TheaterIf you watched any television during the holidays, chances are you saw (and fast forwarded through) a lot of jewelry commercials. I learned what ever kiss begins with, where “he” went to, and how long a diamond is “for.” If you bought anything sparkly this winter, chances are you’ll want to make sure it’s protected in the event it’s lost or stolen. That goes for any new golf clubs, televisions, or other big ticket items you may have purchase (if you had a December to Remember… well that’s covered by auto insurance).

While jewelry is typically insured by a jewelry rider, almost everything else is covered by your base insurance and you’ll want to update your home inventory to make sure you remember you owned it. While insurance will cover it if you can prove you own it, the home inventory simply makes it easier for you to remember and document if you need to.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!


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Review Your Insurance Policies

With many aspects of your financial life, there’s a certain amount of “set it and forget it.” In some cases it works out well, such as setting a contribution to a retirement account or establishing a savings plan that auto-transfers money from your checking account to a savings account. In other cases, it’s important to take a look at those plans every year to make sure they still make sense for your situation.

Insurance policies fit into that category and it’s important to take stock and review your insurance policies each year. A lot can change in a year and unless you take some time to review your policies, you may be surprised when it comes time to use them.

This post is part of the 2011 Spring Cleaning Week!



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