May 22, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Term life insurance is basic, low cost life insurance. Term life will give you a certain amount of life insurance for a specific term. It is a good choice for people on fixed incomes and with families.
Cash Value life insurance (whole and universal) is more expensive but has the benefit of building a cash value that you can borrow against. This is a good option for someone interested in having a life insurance plan well into their retirement years.
May 20, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
One of the key ways to keep your auto insurance rates low is to reduce the risk of theft. Not only does a stolen car cost you dearly in terms of time and effort, but the long-term expense associated with higher auto insurance rates adds insult to injury. But, many people underestimate the risk of having their car stolen and fail to plan accordingly.
Recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicate that the odds of having your car stolen are roughly one in 207. People who live in the city are at much higher risk than those living in rural areas. Fortunately it’s possible to fight back against auto theft and save money at the same time.
Here are are two tips to help you get started:
- Install Security Devices: Installing anti-theft devices, tracking and other security measures can act as a deterrent and money-saving measure. Discounts on premiums may offset a significant portion of the cost.
- Watch Where You Park: Parking a car inside a garage is a great way to reduce the risk of auto theft as well as keep your vehicle secure. When away from home, search for a secure and well-lit area, preferably one with cameras as well as security personnel.
May 17, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Who Should Consider Long Term Care Insurance?
- You have a large amount of income or assets and feel you probably would not qualify for Medicaid.
- You don’t want to rely on assistance from the state or other sources such as relatives.
- You can afford to pay the premiums. (Depending on your tax situation there may be tax benefits.)
- You currently have health problems or have a family history of a long term illness. (Once you have a long term illness or long term disability you probably would not qualify to purchase a policy.)
If you feel you may fall into any of these categories, it is important you find out more about where to purchase a long term insurance policy. Your employer may offer long term care insurance as a part of your benefits. If not, you can purchase an individual long term care insurance policy from your insurance agent.
May 15, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
According to the Social Security Administration, the probability of becoming disabled in some way before reaching retirement age is around 1 in 3. There are lots of conditions that could lead to a disability; some can be prevented by making healthy life style choices, but people are subjected to others due to the vagaries of genetics. Here are ten of the most common conditions that lead to disability benefits claims:
- Arthritis, or other musculoskeletal problems, is an extremely common cause of long-term disability and accounts for around a third of all disability cases. This is likely because muscle and joint problems are a huge limiting factor in the ability to do one’s job. Severe arthritis can limit the fine motor skills (such as writing and typing) that are a major part of most jobs. Joint problems like a bad back or hips also result in disability because people who do physical jobs tend to wear themselves down over time.
- Heart disease is the cause of approximately 17% of all health costs today in the United States. It can strongly affect a person’s ability to work, depending on the severity of the condition and the new limitations put upon a person’s activities.
- Cancer is the fastest-growing cause for disability claims, largely due to rising rates in cancer, but also because treatments are more effective, a larger number of cancer patients survive the disease. Cancer treatments are almost as hard to deal with as cancer itself and include things like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, all of which drain patients of their vitality, making going back to work a challenge.
- Mental health problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and many others can be just as bad as any physical disability. As the causes of mental health problems are not fully known and very difficult to diagnose, they tend to be some of the most misunderstood disabilities. They are the most common reason that people seek Social Security disability.
- Diabetes (specifically, Type II diabetes) is another growing cause of disability. Generally associated with obesity, diabetes is linked with a host of other health problems, like heart disease. Diabetes can be very difficult for diabetics to manage because it requires a total overhaul of eating habits, medications, and other supplies.
- Nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and Epilepsy are leading causes of disability in young adults. Nervous system disorders typically surface between the ages of 20 and 40, but affect people for the rest of their lives.
- Pregnancy may not be considered a disability in the traditional sense, but since there are strict limitations on getting parental leave (and it isn’t always paid), some employers offer short-term disability payouts for pregnant employees. Although long-term disability caused by pregnancy is somewhat rare, complications with pregnancy and/or birth can seriously affect women.
- Accidents are commonly assumed to be a major cause of disability cases, but in fact, accidents account for fewer than 10% of cases. Accidents could include things that happen at home or on the job.
- Strokes are another common cause of disability. People who suffer from strokes often have limited functioning in one half of their body. It can cause permanent damage to the brain and affects physical, mental, and emotional functioning. Approximately 75% of stroke survivors were affected significantly enough to decrease their employment.
- Autism is something that children and adults are being diagnosed with increasingly frequently as medical and professionals learn more about it. Autism does not always result in a need for disability, but some autistic people have an extremely difficult time securing and maintaining employment.
May 13, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
According to a 2012 study conducted by LIFE (The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education) and LIMRA (Life Insurance and Market Research Association), consumers are under the impression that life insurance costs three times as much as it actually does.
Survey respondents were asked to estimate the cost of a $250,000 20 year term policy for a healthy 30-year old man. The actual cost is about $150 annually, but the average estimate was about $400. Younger adults overestimate the cost by about seven times.
According to the 2012 Insurance Barometer Study, while nearly a third of the respondents believed they needed more life insurance coverage (including about 50% that had no coverage), one of the reasons most frequently (83%) given for not making the purchase was the fact that it is just too expensive. The number one reason (85%) given for not purchasing it was they had other priorities.
Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation said, “If someone offered to sell you a gallon of milk for $10.00, you would likely choose to spend your grocery budget on other necessities, knowing that the actual cost is closer to $3.50. If people think that something is too pricey, they often won’t give it a second thought. The fact is, the cost for basic term life insurance has fallen by about 50 percent over the past 10 years and has never been more affordable. Owning life insurance is fundamental to a family’s financial security…” He went on to urge the life insurance industry to do more to educate people about the true cost of protecting their loved ones.
Fast Forward to 2013
In this year’s study, a majority of respondents (85%) agree that most people need life insurance and 65% say they personally need it. 33% think they could use more coverage. The study asked the respondents what the likelihood was of them purchasing life insurance in the next year and nearly half (45%) said there was some likelihood of them purchasing a policy within the next year.
“Life insurance has never been as inexpensive or easy to buy – especially with the anticipated growth of online and nontraditional purchasing channels – yet millions of consumers continue to put off the decision.”
This information was originally posted in Life Insurance Blog,
May 10, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Renters insurance contains liability coverage. What does that mean? Lets say you have a dog in your apartment. Your dog bites someone. Liability coverage pays for that person’s injuries, medical bills, wage loss and pain and suffering. This means you will not be personally liable if you are sued. But it is not just dog bites. If someone trips and falls, it would also cover you. Basically, if you are negligent in some way, in other words you do something that causes someone else an injury, your renters coverage will pay.
The other coverage, personal property, is the main reason people get renters insurance. What is personal property coverage? This provides you with coverage if your items are damaged or destroyed due to a “covered peril.” What does that mean in English? If your property is stolen, damaged by a fire, or any one of a number of other things, then your insurance policy will pay you. The typical situations are a theft or a fire.
But what about the landlord’s insurance? The landlord’s insurance only covers the landlord’s property. Your personal property is not covered.
May 8, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Last year over 15 million households were victims of identity theft. Here are two tips to reduce your risk:
May 6, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Over half of all U.S. households owned a pet in 2011 according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Washington, D.C. reported the lowest percentage (21.9%). The next lowest percentage was Massachusetts at 50.4%. Vermont reported a pet ownership of 70.8%. Fifty-one point two percent of Utah households owned a pet in 2011.
Pet insurance is becoming more popular and even more important as veterinarian fees rise. Contact your insurance agent for a quote.
May 3, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Drivers failed Insurance.com’s new test of car insurance basics, with an average score of only 32 percent. In an analysis of results by gender, age and region, no group scored higher than 39 percent accuracy.
Insurance.com’s “Insured and Confused” survey asked 500 drivers 10 multiple-choice questions about auto insurance coverage terms and discounts. The findings show that many drivers have no understanding of what they’re buying when purchasing auto insurance.
The quiz asked respondents to identify the correct definitions of basic auto insurance terms. On seven out of 10 questions, less than half of respondents were able to make the correct picks. Accuracy was even in the single digits for a few questions:
- What does comprehensive coverage pay for? — 2 percent
- What are typical discounts auto insurance companies will offer if you qualify? — 7 percent
- What factors can car insurance companies typically use when setting rates for full coverage? — 8 percent
- What does uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pay for? — 14 percent
- What does collision coverage pay for? — 23 percent
- What does auto liability coverage pays for? — 26 percent
- If a friend told you she has liability limits of 25/50/40, what does that mean? — 41 percent
- If your car is totaled, what does gap insurance pay for? — 55 percent
- What does Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage pay for? — 69 percent
- If a friend borrows your car and crashes it, whose insurance pays? — 71 percent
“An accuracy rate of 2 percent for defining ‘comprehensive coverage’ is especially troubling,” said Michelle Megna, managing editor of Insurance.com. “Unfortunately its name is quite misleading – it’s not ‘comprehensive’ at all — which clearly leads to confusion among auto insurance buyers.”
Here are notable average scores by demographic:
- Ladies outscore men. Women scored 35 percent on the test; men could answer 27 percent of the questions correctly.
- Drivers in the South beat those in the Northeast by 5 percentage points: South: 34 percent … West: 32 percent … Midwest: 31 percent … Northeast: 29 percent.
- Drivers age 40 and older got 39 percent of the answers right; those age 18 to 29 answered 24 percent of the questions correctly.
Results indicate that taking the time to read an auto insurance policy does not lead to better grasp of the basics. Drivers who have never read their policies scored the highest in basic knowledge. “Drivers may see their policies as gobbledygook,” said Megna. “Their eyes are moving over the words but there’s no understanding.”
- People who have read their entire policy scored the lowest, getting an average score of 28 percent.
- People who have read part of their policy also got low marks, with an average score of 29 percent.
- Those who never read their policy performed the best, with an average score of 35 percent.
Despite lack of knowledge, there’s no shortage of bravado. Drivers who think they have “excellent” car insurance knowledge scored the lowest.
- Drivers who rated themselves as having “excellent” car insurance knowledge got an average score of 26 percent.
- Those who said they have a “poor” level of knowledge received an average score of 27 percent.
- Those who claim a “terrible” level of knowledge snagged an average score of 28 percent.
- Drivers who rated themselves as having “good” or “O.K.” levels of knowledge had an average score of 34 percent.
See the full article at: http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/car-insurance-test-results.html.
May 1, 2013 by Stratford Insurance Group
Recent research has shown that women are consistently under-covered when it comes to life insurance. Even though they make up 49% of the workforce, 43% of working women have it, and their average policy only covers about $129,800.
There are three great reasons to get covered.
- It Replaces Your Income to Help Your Family in a Time of Need – This is the most obvious reason to get life insurance — if your income helps support you, your children, and your partner, having a policy ensures that, if anything ever happens to you, they continue to receive that financial support. Not only does this help with the day-to-day aspects of your family budget, but this money can also help cover funeral expenses and associated costs.
- It Can Help Cover Work You Do as a Stay-at-Home Mom - Life insurance does more than just cover your income — it can provide a financial safety net for the work you do as well. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you know that what you do is just as important to your family’s welfare as working outside of the home. You might think that because you don’t pull a salary, though, that you don’t need life insurance coverage. While none of us like thinking about the worst-case scenario, if something did happen to you, having life insurance would provide your partner financial support during a difficult time — support that he or she could use to do things like hire childcare or take time off work.
- Even If You’re Single, It Can Help Protect People You Care About - There are two categories of single women who should consider life insurance — those who are caring for their aging parents (or another dependent, like a sibling), and people with a high debt load — especially if that loan is co-signed. Normally, when you die, the executor of your estate will sell off whatever he or she can to help pay for your debt, and the rest is forgiven. But if you have co-signer on that loan, all of that debt load is transferred to the co-signer. If neither of these cases applies to you, however, you’re likely fine to put off purchasing a policy (and putting that money towards something like an emergency fund or retirement account instead). However, it is also often less expensive to buy a policy when you’re younger than when you’re older.