Hope for your financial life and beyond

Should I Ever Get Rental Car Insurance?

The first time I ever rented a car I was unprepared for a very specific question. The agent behind the counter asked “Would you like to purchase rental car insurance?”

“I don’t know,” I thought, standing there with the deer-in-the-headlights look. My only thought was getting behind the wheel of the convertible I’d reserved.

So I listened to the spiel and bought the rental car insurance. A few minutes later I’m top down and cruising around Saint Croix with my new bride.

rental car insuranceI realized later my decision had been a small financial mistake.

There is no question you need insurance to drive. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, every state requires motorists to carry a minimum level of auto insurance coverage (or the equivalent in financial responsibility waivers). Such coverage is necessary to protect against damage to property or injuries to people caused by an accident.

But if you own a car, your rental car may already be covered. Once you realize the rules and what your own auto insurance policy covers, you will be able to answer the “Should I get rental car insurance” question with confidence.

To do so, you must prepare in advance by doing two things:

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The Big Reason You Need Disability Insurance

Most of us feel we are doing fine if we have the four horseman of the insurance industry covered: health insurance for our physical needs, auto insurance for when we drive, home/renter’s insurance for our property and life insurance to provide for our family in case of a death. Beyond these four we think insurance products are unnecessary and a waste of money.

wheelchairsYou might want to check that negative sentiment while you read this post. While all four of those are important, they aren’t the end-all to insurance products. In fact, disability insurance, the one many people forget about, could be the most important coverage you buy. Here’s why.

The big reason you need disability insurance is that your income is the #1 tool for generating wealth. If for some reason you cannot earn that income your chances of being able to adequately care for yourself and your family decrease dramatically. A loss of income jeopardizes your present needs and your future financial goals. So unless you have substantial savings and investments to cover the time where you are out of work, disability insurance is your best bet to manage through the difficult times.

What is Disability Insurance?

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Beyond the Retirement Plan: 3 Things You Must Do Before You Stop Working

For many people, retirement planning means saving enough money to cover expenses after they stop working. Whether they sock money away into a 401(k), IRA, a savings account, or just stuff cash under the mattress, getting ready to retire is just about the money.

retirement planWhile having enough money to pay for housing, food, and other expenses is certainly very important, it’s not the only concern if you want to have a fulfilling retirement. There are several other issues to address before you say goodbye to the working world for a new life of leisure, which can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel — and your family feels.

So before you start planning your retirement party, make sure you’ve addressed these important issues.

1. How Will You Fill Your Time?

If you have spent the last four or five decades working, suddenly having your days free is bound to present some challenges. Not only will you no longer have your actual work responsibilities, but also your off-hours won’t be spent thinking about work, either. You might have images of traveling, spending more time with your family, pursuing a hobby, or other ideas, but do you really know how you will spend your days?

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What Do I Need to Know About Homeowner’s Insurance?

Getting the right type of homeowners insurance is a must to be able to put your life back together should a tragic event strike your home.

Imagine this scenario:

You awake from a drowsy sleep at 2 AM to the blaring noise of an alarm. Your eyes are stinging and you begin to cough as you are forced to breathe in the smoke filled air. You leap from the bed as your survival instincts kick in. Grabbing anything of value you quickly rush to the nearest exterior door and head into the yard. In horror you watch as flames are emanating from your attic.

Fortunately no one is hurt and emergency services arrive in time to keep the home from being a total loss. But the damage is severe and you wonder how you will recover from this tragedy.

homeowners insuranceI’ve known a few people who have lived through a house fire, flood, tornado or other significant event that damaged or destroyed their home. I can’t imagine the emotion that comes with watching your possessions being destroyed. We pour so much time and effort into making our home an enjoyable space in which to exist that they really become an extension of ourselves. Losing them means losing a piece of who we are.

The silver lining is that life can be put back together. You might not be able to recoup all the possessions you lose but you can move on with the help of a good homeowners insurance policy. If you own a home – or are even a tenant renting a home – having homeowners insurance is a must.

What Is Homeowners Insurance and What Does It Cover?

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Keep Your Emergency Savings Fund Under Your Mattress?

What should you do with that emergency savings fund money you’ve been accumulating?

I don’t know. Why don’t you just keep it under your mattress? That’s probably the best idea.

(Cricket noise…)

April fools! (Sorry, just couldn’t resist.)

emergency savings fund under mattressNo, no, no…a thousand times NO! Please don’t keep your emergency savings fund money under your mattress. That’s one of the worst places to keep cash around the house. Under the mattress or the bed will be one of the first places a burglar looks for valuables.

Now there is nothing wrong with keeping cash around the house. You might need some for a spur of the moment issue. Banks aren’t always open and you might not be able to get to an ATM. But you don’t want to keep the emergency savings fund around the house.

Why?

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A Beginner’s Guide to Health Insurance and the Affordable Care Act

If you are wondering about the basics of health insurance you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m going to try an exhaust and consolidate all the knowledge I know about health insurance into one post. Yes, it’s going to be long, so if you don’t have time now you may want to bookmark it for later reading.

health insurance claim formOf all the insurances out there, health insurance has become the most highly sought after type of insurance based on its direct application to something very important to us – our health. Nothing gives us more cause for attention than when our bodies are not working properly. The kind of health insurance policy we are able to secure can go a long way in determining what type of care we get and what drugs we are able to get our hands on. Those factors consequently then can have an impact on how healthy we are able to maintain our own bodies.

In recent years health insurance has also been hotly debated within society and government. It’s even found it’s way to the highest court in the land in a landmark decision handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States. The Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) has changed the very structure of the health insurance industry – some would say for good, others would say for bad.

This post is going to outline for you the basics of health insurance. I’ll explain what it is and why it’s a good idea for you to have some form of coverage. I’ll address some terms you need to know when researching plans, what types of plans are out there and how to decide which one is right for you.

For those who are looking for ways to save money on healthcare, good luck. Premiums have increased dramatically and health insurance isn’t as affordable as it used to be. However, there are ways you can reduce the overall cost of the plans and I’ll address some helpful tips in that regard.

This post will conclude with a look at health care reform, how it impacts you and what alternatives are available to traditional healthcare as we know it.

What Is Health Insurance?

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How to Make a Home Inventory Checklist in Case of a Catastrophic Loss

Recent events surrounding the theft and eventual recovery of our family basketball goal have me thinking more about home security. One issue that presented itself during that incident was that I did not have proof (like a model number or receipt) or identifying marks on the goal that it belonged to me. If I had that proof the police could have pursued the matter more aggressively.

home inventory checklist in case of lossDuring the ordeal I had a conversation with a friend of mine who used to be a detective. He mentioned a case he investigated where a man had his entire music collection stolen. Fortunately for him, he had written down the title and artist of every CD in his collection. He gave that list to my friend who, believe it or not, was able to track down the collection. Of course, he was aided in his search by the fact that the not-so-intelligent thief sold the entire collection at once…to one pawn shop.

Wasn’t too hard to link those to events together.

My friend went on to say he has made a home inventory checklist of everything of value in his home. In case of a catastrophic loss such as a house fire, he will be able to present his home inventory checklist to the insurance company showing concrete evidence of what he did own. Of course that won’t help him recover the sentimental items he lost but it will give him a better chance of recouping the fair market value to replace all the consumer products he lost.

So, guess what the kids and I started doing over Christmas break?

How to Make a Home Inventory Checklist

We haven’t entirely completed our project but these are the steps we are taking to make our home inventory checklist:

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Insurance: The Black Sheep of Our Personal Finance Family

This may see like an odd time of the year to be discussing insurance. No doubt your mind is geared toward preparing for Christmas and figuring out how to save money on all the presents, decorations and food you will buy during the holidays. There is a reason however why this is coming out now, one that highlights an issue many people have when it comes to insurance.

insurance neon signI’ve put off talking about it…for months.

This post idea to go over the basic reason why we need insurance has been listed in my “blog topics to cover” spreadsheet since March. But I keep putting off writing about it, pushing it back month after month. Honestly, I don’t enjoy researching and talking about insurance.

It’s like the black sheep of the family. Every family has one at some level, right? That person who brings immediate tension to the room whenever their name is brought up? That historical figure we’ve conveniently deleted from the family ancestral tree?

Insurance is that black sheep in our personal finance family. With the exception of insurance salesmen, I don’t know anyone who gets up in the morning fired up about reviewing insurance policies. I’ll worry about saving, getting out of debt, investing, budgeting, root canals…anything before insurance.

Is it just me or is anyone else with me on this? Insurance can be really frustrating and confusing to deal with.

But I know it’s important and that I need it…badly. Without it I could be putting myself in serious jeopardy.

The Basic Reason We Need Insurance

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Planning to Ignore the Obamacare Mandate? Here’s What You Need to Know

The following is a guest post by Carter Smith from PrivateQuote.com.

tax on backTo paraphrase Shakespeare, a tax by any other name would still smell as vile. But the Obamacare tax, otherwise known as the “individual mandate,” may be an exception. While I am not suggesting that you avoid the tax, it is clear that many people intend to do just that. A recent Gallup poll found that 34% of Americans intend to thumb their noses come tax time instead of holding them.

This article will provide facts (not rumors) about what the mandate is, how much it can cost you, how the IRS may or may not enforce it, and how to protect yourself should you choose not to comply.

How the Mandate Works and What It Could Cost You

Make no mistake, the individual mandate is a tax disguised as a penalty. The Supreme Court said as much when it ruled the mandate constitutional. It is designed to force reluctant taxpayers to purchase health insurance through the problem-plagued exchanges if they are not covered by their employers.

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What Good Is Freedom When You’re Told What To Do With It?

U.S. Constitution - We the PeopleIn the fall of 1620, a group of 102 passengers sailed from the coasts of Western Europe across the Atlantic. Their journey was filled with danger as they traveled in a craft none of us would dare think of sailing today. Much like the courageous astronauts of the 1960s, they faced considerable danger and extreme conditions as they pioneered into an unknown and mysterious world.

Colonies had been established before in the New World but none for such a reason as this. The purpose of those earlier establishments in the Caribbean, and more recently in 1607 at Jamestown, had simply been about wealth creation – find the riches of the new land and return them home for the glory of the mother country.

Simple. Materialistic. Focused.

While some on the Mayflower sought economic prosperity, there was a group aboard interested in something much deeper and profound than the accumulation of wealth. These were known as the Separatists who were fleeing religious persecution inflicted on them by the Church of England. The church in that time controlled religion, dictating to the people how, when and where they were to worship. Choose to worship in a way the church forbid, and you would face severe punishment.

So faced with bigotry and religious intolerance, they fled to a new world with the hopes of fulfilling the one deep desire burning in their hearts…the freedom to choose.

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