5 Top Tips to Buy Insurance

So you’re thinking about buying insurance? Well, many businesses and individuals dread the insurance purchasing process. There’s a chance that your insurer will ask for tons of information, only to decline your policy request. This way, you end up wasting a lot of your precious time. But since insurance is a crucial risk management tool, whether at the personal, professional, or business level – you still have to go along and find the best policies available based on your custom needs. This article highlights the 5 main tips that can help make the ride smooth for anyone who’s shopping for insurance.

1.      Shop Around

This is one of the most important things you ought to do when buying insurance. And don’t just compare different providers based on the price – there’s more that goes into it. Think about the level of cover that you’re getting. One of the key strategies that you can use around this pointer is to seek information from comparison sites, as well as online insurers. You can also get brochures and online information from banks and building societies to learn what they have in store for you. Last but not least, most people will work with a skilled independent financial adviser or an insurance broker. This is someone who’s been in the industry for a long time, and who knows the rules of the trade. They have most likely worked with dozens of providers and know the best policies available based on your needs.

2.      Look More Closely

When comparing insurance policies, it’s important to look more keenly at how the levels of cover, types of cover, different charges, and excesses are calculated. You want to compare insurance policies only based on similar features. Some insurers will set their voluntary excess higher to make sure that they rank cheapest on comparison sites. Essentially – dig below the surface.

3.      Read the Policy Document

Another important tip for buying insurance is that you have to read the policy document. At least, you want to check for features that are important to you. The last thing you want is to waste money on a cover that doesn’t come to your rescue when you need it. Most providers give you a two-week period within which you can change your mind if you realize that the cover you went for won’t suffice.

4.      Answer Questions Truthfully

Now, whether you’re applying via phone, online, or through an application form, you want to make sure that you answer the insurer’s questions honestly, and to the best of your knowledge. Failure to do this and your policy could be considered, in which case any future claim will either be rejected, or paid partially.

5.      Get Expert Advice

If you have still looked but can’t seem to make your mind regarding where to buy your insurance, it helps to seek expert advice. Consider bringing in an insurance broker who has the potential to get you a better deal. Of course, sometimes insurance (e.g. critical illness) widely varies and has tons of complex terms and conditions. If you’re looking to buy this kind of insurance, it’s wise to seek the advice of an insurance broker so that you get the best policy for your custom needs.

There’s no understating the importance of being covered, whether for your health, your car, your retirement, your property, or anything else for that matter. The insurance buying tips above should get you started on the right note.

Most Important Types of Insurance

Protecting your assets and what’s dear to you is the most crucial step to stable financial status. Getting the right policies from the right insurance company is the only way to ensure that you are protected against unforeseeable but possible risks. Due to the numerous types of policies, it can be confusing figuring out just which ones to procure. However, here is a list of the most important insurance policies that you should have.

Long-Term Disability Insurance

The idea of a long-term disability occurring to someone is so terrorizing that we simply tend to give it a cold shoulder. We all hope that nothing of the sort will ever come along our way, but the hope is not good at all. This policy enables you to continue with your normal lifestyle even if you are unable to continue with your work

Life Insurance

If your children, spouse, and other treasured ones would face financial constraints if you died then the best way to protect them from this is by taking a life insurance cover to ensure that they are protected

Health Insurance

The rising cost of medical care has become a concern lately and hence the need to cover ourselves has become a necessity. Of late the cost of health insurance has been rising to a point of becoming a financial burden to almost everyone but when we come to think of it, it is worth then not having.

Automobile Insurance

This insurance has become a requirement by law.  If you are involved in an accident, and the property is destroyed and someone injured, the possibility is that you will be subject to a lawsuit that will probably cost you everything. Taking an insurance cover is the only solution to your road problems.

Homeowner’s Insurance

This is very important as your home and properties may 6 get damaged and you have nothing left. It also covers accidents that may occur in the house.

Business Owner’s Policy

Ranging from business interruption insurance, crime insurance, liability insurance to vehicle coverage are among some of the losses covered by this policy.

Property Insurance

We do not have to worry about our personal property, all we need to do is take cover against theft, damage, fire, and many more risks that may be exposed to them.

Professional Liability

Also known as errors and omissions insurance, it covers the damages that may occur in case you improperly render your professional services. It is not covered in general insurance and it is only applicable to professional firms only.

Renter’s Insurance

If you have been having problems with your landlord about rent this policy has come to your aid. It also protects damage to property or personal injury within the home

General Liability Insurance

This cover protects your employees, you, and your products. It also covers damage done to the third party.

Ways to Safeguard Your Business

Thugs busting in with guns to steal isn’t the only frightening risk facing your business. Ever heard of hacking? Cybercrime? Well, if you have, then you know that there are lots of smart crooks who can dismantle your internet-connected business right from anywhere in the world.  These individuals can access confidential information without your knowledge, and use it against you. Cybercrime or not, here are actions you should take today so as to protect your business.

Watch Your Mouth

Business image turns to be the most important thing as it creates an impression to outsiders. Avoid defamatory or slanderous statements as well as doing business with the unscrupulous individuals. We all have heard of very famous company’s fallout just because they conducted business with individuals who do shoddy businesses so make sure that yours is not the next.

As the owner, you should limit any conflict of interest that may present itself and advocate for integrity.

Insurance. Insurance

Losing all your property? Well, this can be the most frustrating moment especially if your property was not insured. You can take liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance, general insurance liability among many others to ensure that everything in your business is covered.

Adopting Software and Hiring Professionals

Data loss prevention and risk assessment software is the best device that you can use to monitor the activities or detect any case of a data breach before it’s too late.

Your employees should be educated on the risk of coming along with their devices to work as they can be used to track important information from the business by hackers.

Keeping Cyber Gangs at Bay

Cyber gangs are very smart and all they look for is an opportunity to hack your data. Why give them a chance? Here is what you need to do.

  • Fix and update your operating systems regularly.
  • Install a firewall to detect virus and phishing attacks
  • Update your browser at all times with the latest software version.
  • Your wireless network, folders, files, and entire drives should be encrypted.
  • Use internet filters to protect your data from being hacked.

Hire a Competent Attorney

A loyal and competent attorney is the only person you can turn to for substantial advice if your company or business has been sued. The attorney should also be familiar with the laws and customs of the area within which the business operates.

If you are having the most common problem of taxation you can hire a tax attorney to look into that.

Separate Yourself from Your Business

A sole proprietorship is not advisable at all since in case you have any debts or you are sued your property will be the target.  Run your business as a separate legal entity from you and the best way to do this is to have a trust own the business and in case of debts or you are sued the trust will be liable for the debt

Take those precautions to keep your business safe and never have the mentality that nothing can happen to your business as it is only a matter of time before a hack.  Be on the watch out always.

My take on AARP Insurance Plans

AARP Insurance

You have probably heard about AARP, which was formerly named the American Association of Retired Persons. After all, AARP still remains among the most active and omnipresent organizations of the kind throughout the country. As a matter of fact, I’m one of the people in the age bracket of 50’s being assisted by them. I say by my ongoing experience that AARP does offer competitive life insurance to the seniors of the nation.

AARP Insurance Plans

When I decided to go with AARP for a term life insurance, they had me choosing between two different options. The first one was the Level Benefit Term Life Insurance while the other was Extra Protection Term life Insurance. The good thing about these two is that the rates do not go up ofttimes like other insurance providers in the market do. And whenever there’s an increase in the rate, it can only be incremental — very little and reasonable with a stipulated concrete purpose. Now, let’s take a deeper look at both options.

Level Benefit Term Life Insurance

This insurance option from AARP is one that would not go up in terms of premium rates until every 5 years. This policy starts at $100,000 of insurance and could go beyond that based on the arrangements and policy you settle with the organization. In addition to that, you will not have to worry if you have any underlying conditions or not. You will still be qualified granted that you will not be physically examined, just an interview as to why you want to get the insurance package. Once you get the policy, you will be hedged for a lifetime in contrast to others that only limit the extent of “term life” insurance to 80.

Extra Protection Term Life Insurance

Just like the Level Benefit option, the Extra Protection also starts at the $100,000 mark. Truth is, there is very little difference between this and the Level Benefit. The only real thing that differs is that the rates of your lifetime premium will vary depending on what age you have opted for the coverage. For example, if you start at 60 to 64, your fixed premium would be $129 a month, $174 if you start at 65 to 69, and so on.

In addition to the insurance benefits you get from these policies, you will also enjoy shopping discounts from stores linked to the organization, discounts from hotels, inns, and suites such as the La Quinta for traveling enthusiasts, as well as medical benefits such as prescription glasses, refills to medications and alike.  They used to offer a long-term care insurance plan but it was canceled in 2013 according to this source.  Too bad, I hear it was a good policy with reasonable premiums.

3 super easy startup marketing tips for 2017

Looking for more ways to market your startup?

Below are some 4 easy tips that will help you take your business to the next level!

1)   Video marketing

Video marketing is a trend that was evident even before 2017 and still going to continue in many years to come. When it comes to attracting and keeping customers’ attention, there is no doubt video performs the job. Why use video marketing?

  • Is a guaranteed way of increasing trust in your brand?
  • It enables you to build a relationship with your customers
  • It increases your search ranking
  • Helps make purchase decisions

You can just use a regular acted video or use an animated video to showcase your products, announce your offer, introduce your business, or do just about anything else you need to do to market your business. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to have a professional company create a top-notch marketing video for you, you can just do it yourself with a GoAnimate account.

2)   Listen to your customers

As it goes, ‘the customer is always right’. Although this truism sometimes defies logic, you should really pay attention to your customers. Marketing has everything to do with understanding what the customers’ want and do the impossible to satisfy their needs. Listening to your customers makes you understand what matters to them and what negatively and positively impacts they experience.

3)   Think outside the box

Innovation always leads to tremendous growth and success for a startup business. Every startup owner should challenge him/herself beyond the norm.

  • Always be ahead of your competitors analyze them and try to do something different.
  • Survey your clients, current and past.
  • Tell your personal story and use it to your advantage to build your brand.
  • Always have a plan B.

If everyone is thinking alike, then for sure somebody is not thinking. For you to rise above or stand out from your competitors, you have to think outside the box.

Why hybrid long term care is making sense to more Americans

Long Term Care - Hybrid Plan

Hybrid life + LTC insurance is the SUV of long term care insurance today.

Buyers of traditional policies are swapping to hybrid policies, which package LTC coverage together with another form of insurance. Perhaps the comforting thing about hybrid plans is that if the policyholder doesn’t ever need long term care, the benefits are transferred to their beneficiaries. This is a win-win situation and a far cry from the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ approach of traditional long term care plans.

Drew Nichols, the co-founder of LTCTree.com, one of the largest virtual shops for comparing long term care insurance on the internet today, has said that buyers of traditional policies have become more concerned, “Over the last few years, we have seen a major shift in how Americans buy LTC coverage. A few years ago, everyone was going for a traditional plan. But our statistics reveal that sales for hybrid policies are 420% up, while those for traditional policies are 20% down. As you can see, the appeal of traditional plans appears to be decreasing as more people choose hybrid.”

But Drew is quick to point out that each plan should be based on its own merit. “To be more realistic, though, there’s no blanket traits that make either traditional or hybrid policy appealing. While a hybrid plan will work ideally well for one customer, traditional LTC coverage will be the best choice for another customer. It all depends on the particular circumstances surrounding each client. We have noted that people who have no need for life insurance, and who are looking for more comprehensive LTC coverage are better served by a traditional policy.”

long term care

More than 200,000 hybrid long term care insurance policies were sold in 2015. This increase in the number of policies sold is coherent with the fact that more Americans will need long term care services. A survey done by Genworth Financial reveals that 70% of people over the age of 65 will use long term care services at one time or the other. Given that Medicare doesn’t pay for anything, people are becoming increasingly conscious of the need for LTC insurance.

The same Genworth study also points out that people want to buy LTC so that they can receive care at home for as long as possible. More than half of policyholders who filed LTC claims in 2015 are receiving care at home. Another reason that’s obviously pushing people to buy LTC protection is surging care costs. The average annual care cost in a nursing home is over $90,000. Given the likelihood that you’ll need care for a couple of years, the total bill can be devastating to your savings or assets. By investing between $50,000 and $100,000 in a decent traditional or hybrid long term care package, you can protect your asset and get the peace of mind that you’ll receive the proper care when you need it.

1 in 3 American workers is emotionally, physically, or financially burden by a parent or relative who needs care. This just demonstrates the massive impact that long-term care has on our economy. But by purchasing a good insurance plan, American workers can concentrate on what they do without having to worry because they know that their aging parents are receiving top-quality care.

When it comes to hybrid long term care, there are two general types of plans available, an annuity-based plan, and a life-LTC rider plan.

  • Annuity hybrid plans – an annuity is a lump sum investment that’s made with the goal of earning a steady income from it. Annuities are a common tool for retirement planning. Some companies now allow annuity holders to add an LTC rider at a small fee (usually paid as a percentage of the annuity). For instance, if you purchase an annuity for $100,000, you might be required to pay 2% annually (which calculates to $2000) for LTC benefits. By the time you need care let’s say in about 7 years, the value of your LTC benefits will have doubled or tripled. If you ever wish to do away with the whole arrangement, you can recover your money.

But given the current low-interest-rate market, annuities aren’t doing very well.

  • Life-LTC rider insurance – this is usually a typical life insurance plan that has an LTC rider. If you ever need care, the death benefit is accelerated to pay for it. But if you won’t need care, the death benefit will be given to your appointed beneficiaries after your death. There’s no risk of premiums getting wasted with this approach. Most hybrid plans of this type require you to make a single lump-sum premium deposit. This excludes you from any risk of future premium increases, which is quite common with traditional LTC plans.

Not to forget, applicants of traditional long term care insurance who have poor health are often rejected. But they are easily able to qualify for hybrid plans, especially annuity-based plans. This is yet another reason why more Americans, especially those who are elder and are worried that their health might be an impediment to a traditional policy, are going straight for hybrid coverage. More insurance companies have introduced hybrid plans, which mean consumers now have a wider variety to choose from.

If you’d like help finding the best long term care insurance package for you, there are several comparison tools available online. For instance, LTC Tree’s comparelongtermcare.org tool makes it possible for you to make side-by-side comparisons of policies from at least 5 of the top 6 insurers’ right from the comfort of your home.

Acturarial Studies and Long Term Care Insurance

long term care

If you didn’t already know, I am a firm believer in Long Term Care Insurance. I work in the industry as an actuary at a major insurance company and actuarial science is kind of a hobby of mine.  So today, let’s talk about a huge challenge to our industry: awareness.

Every person wants to believe that he’ll be able to take care of himself in the future. However, as you get old, it becomes difficult to take care of yourself. According to a recent study, there’s around 70% chance that you’ll need some sort of care once you turn 65. When you’re considering your future, Long Term Care Insurance becomes even more important. Thus, you should know how to buy long-term care insurance.

Contrary to the common notion, proper care is not only required by senior citizens, but also people who’ve been involved in an accident or affected by a debilitating illness. In fact, over 40% people who receive long term care are below the age of 65. On average, the need for care lasts for about 1,040 days. Unless you have purchased LTC or Long Term Care Insurance, you will have to pay the expenses. Here are 15 important things you need to know about LTC insurance.

Medicare Does Not Cover Expenses for Most Long Term Care

Most of the time, medicare just covers short term nursing care you may need after an accident or hospitalization. However, it won’t pay the bill for permanent assistance. Similarly, medicare will cover your nursing home care, but only for people with limited assets. Moreover, you won’t have much say in which facility you can visit.

Paying Out of Pocket for Long Term is Costlier than LTC Insurance

The average cost for a professional home health aide for about 8 hours everyday can be around $44,000. In fact, nursing home care in a private room can easily cost around $85,000. According to a study, some regions in the country are even more expensive. Overall, this amount proves to be way more than purchasing LTC insurance.

Better Coverage

Long Term Care Insurance coverage expands much wider than your initial expectations. Many different types of care are covered by LTC insurance. Every policy spells out the details. However, most cover assisted living, home health aides, nursing homes, adult day care and more.

The Policy Gets Expensive with Your Age

Just like Life Insurance, LTC insurance is cheaper when you’re younger. You may not consider buying a policy in your 20s or 30s. However, if you wait for too long, your health may be affected, and it could have a major impact on the cost of your Long Term Care Insurance. You may even become uninsurable.

Your Employer May Provide LTC Insurance at an Affordable Price

Although the employer may offer a better price, most policies are not portable. This means you can’t keep them once you’ve left the job. If you prefer a group rate, you should check with the alumni groups or professional associations to check what’s being offered.

Besides all the above mentioned things, it is extremely important to understand some industry terminologies. This information will help you understand what’s being offered.  To compare long term care insurance policies on the market, check out sites like CompareLongTermCare.org

Monthly or Daily Benefit Period

The monthly or daily benefit period is the amount of money your insurance policy will give per month or per day for care. It is very important to understand the lifetime cap on your insurance policy.

Inflation Rider

The inflation rider can increase the cost of your insurance policy. However, it is worth it. In simple terms, the inflation rider means the specific benefit you receive will increase the cost of living. You need to give importance to what care might cost in 20-30 years.

Elimination Period

This is the specific amount of time which must pass before your insurance policy pays the claim. With most Long Term Care Insurance policies, 90 days is common. In other words, you will have to pay for care for 90 days before you’re paid any claims. However, it is worth mentioning that when you choose a longer elimination period, it can lower the cost of your insurance policy.

Shared Benefits Rider

This insurance product has been specifically designed for couples. As the name suggests, it allows you to share the benefits with your partner. For instance, if your partner uses up all her benefits, she can dip into yours.

Paid Up Premiums

In case you have some spare money today, it will be easier to pay higher premiums for a specific time period like 10 years. At the end of this period, the insurance policy will be paid up, and you won’t owe anything else in your lifetime. In the insurance industry, it is also called Accelerated Premium Option.

Free Look Period

This is also considered to be your remorse clause. If you think you don’t want, like or need the insurance policy you purchased, you have 30 days to change your mind. During this period, you can ask for a full refund.

Non-forfeiture/Guaranteed Renewability

This provision can prove to be very helpful if your insurance company chooses to increase the cost of your insurance policy. It will allow you to keep the insurance policy in effect for a smaller benefit. Your insurance policy won’t be cancelled outright. An insurance policy which is deemed to have guaranteed renewability means the company can’t increase the premiums unless similar insurance policies in your state get an increase. They can’t even be cancelled.


Since nothing in life comes easy, some basic reasons for long term care may be excluded from your insurance policy. Alcohol, drug abuse, mental illnesses and self inflicted injuries can be excluded.

While Purchasing a Policy, You should Discuss with Your Spouse

If both of you choose the same insurance policy, you can save around 40% of your hard earned money.

Tax Incentives can Help You Save some Money

It is worth mentioning that there are partnerships between some private insurance companies and states. Therefore, you may be able to deduct insurance premiums as part of the medical expenses on Federal returns. In fact, some states also offer such incentives.

It is important to purchase your Long Term Care Insurance policy from a reputed and well established company. It should still be in business after 20-30 years when you might actually need care. It is important to conduct an extensive research to find a good insurance carrier. It will make sure you buy the best LTC insurance policy at a reasonable price. These days, you can easily look for lots of valuable information online. It can help you make a better choice.

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My First Business


My dreams of having my own business started in college.

While my buddies were out getting drunk and trying to meet chicks, I often found myself at the library researching different business ideas. Although I try to meet up with my buddies from time to time, making money was the top priority for me. There was just something about having my own business, owning my own time, working on my own terms, and doing stuff I love that truly appealed to me.

My dream of business ownership remained a dream for a few years after I finished college. I went from one corporate job to another. None of the corporate management track jobs I got after college fit my own interests and fit the picture I had in my mind of the ‘ideal life.’ So I floated in my ‘career.’ A familiar pattern set in-I’d get promoted, I’d reach a certain level at a company and I’d find another company where I start a level that is a notch or two higher than my previous job. Rinse and repeat. It seemed pointless after a while.

I finally got the ‘Big Break’ I was looking for when the last company I worked for laid off 90% of its staff-including me-thanks to the Great Recession that started in 2008. I had enough money saved up, so I viewed my layoff as an opportunity to start my own business. Boy, has it been a ride? Here are the five key lessons I wish I learned before I started my business.

Lesson #1: Even if you won’t be approaching investors, you need a business plan

One of the biggest misconceptions about business plans is that you only need to put one together if you are going to be approaching people to invest in your company. My company didn’t have any outside investors nor does it have any investors now. Since I was going to completely bootstrap my company, I thought I didn’t have to hassle with putting together a business plan. Big mistake.

A business plan’s main benefit is that it forces business founders to get real. Seriously. Sure, your ideas will revolutionize the world. Sure, you think people will flock to your business’ doors immediately after you open. Sure, your idea is so hot it won’t fail. Well, guess what? If you think this way, you are thinking exactly like millions of other entrepreneurs before you. Everyone has a hot idea. The problem is that most of these ‘awesome’ ideas are often half-baked fantasies that have to go through an expensive trial-and-error process to build real companies around. I found this out the hard way.

My business actually went through several waves of service changes and service offerings until it hit its current suite of professional services. I wasted lots of time, money, and, most importantly, motivation and energy trying to throw everything at the wall and hoping something sticks. If I had only bothered to write a business plan before I started my business, I would have saved on all this lost time, effort, and money. The business plan writing process would have helped me identify my ideas’ weak spots and helped me identify alternatives and cost-efficient solutions.

Lesson #2: You have to take out insurance on key people in your company

Never build a company around the expertise of one or a few people-and NOT insure them. I learned the importance of ‘key man’ insurance policies the hard way when the Chief Technology Officer of my company passed away. A huge chunk of the company’s future direction died with him because he was the person with all the company’s software skills and expertise. If I had gotten key man insurance for him, I could have used the money to fund the purchase of software from an outsourced overseas company. Yes, he was that valuable-he was able to do a job you’d had to hire a whole outsource company to replace. He will be sorely missed.

Lesson #3: Don’t neglect general commercial liability insurance

The great thing about general commercial liability insurance (GCL) is that it protects you from threats within your company as well as from threats from outside your company. Early in my company’s life, we experienced a serious financial blow when a visitor to our office slipped and fell down the stairs. Since I leased the whole building and the lease had a provision where my company had to shoulder premises liability, I was on the hook for big dollars. If I had general commercial liability insurance, insurance would have covered the plaintiff’s damages.

Lesson #4: If you are going to retain inhouse counsel, make sure you get malpractice insurance

In one of the incarnations or evolutionary stages of my company (you pick whichever metaphor you like), we ventured into outsourced legal services. These services involved very sensitive information. I hired a buddy of mine who is a lawyer as in-house counsel. He was the company’s attorney and the company was his client. Well, he screwed up on a couple of (admittedly) confusing issues, and my company was on the hook for lots of cash. I could have saved myself from the drama of falling out with my good friend and saved the company’s bottom line if I took out legal malpractice insurance. Maybe if I took out legal malpractice insurance for my ex-buddy, we’d still be friends. As you can probably tell he and I were not very happy during the legal ordeal my company had to go through over the course of several long grueling years.

Lesson #5: Focus on making a profit instead of staying busy

This is one lesson I am still learning. I get excited when my sales representatives and account executives bag ‘big’ contract. The problem is, when I analyze the foreseeable effects of some of these deals, they don’t really make me money. In fact, many of them set me back. Why do I keep falling for these time and time again? Easy-I prefers to have everyone in my company stay busy instead of focusing on ROI. Focusing on ROI (return on investment) ensures that I will make a profit. It’s a hard habit to break but I am working on it.

If you want to pursue your dream of business ownership the right way, learn from the mistakes I made. Read the lessons above and save yourself a lot of wasted time, effort, and drama.