Protect Your Main Asset – You Ability to Earn

Everyone knows the importance of protection and being protected financially.  Most people have some sort of insurance whether it’s life insurance or disability insurance.  One great option that is starting to get more popular is income protection insurance. The beauty of income protection is that it provides you with 75% of your income and unlike a traditional disability protection there is no list of events for which you would be paid out in the event of a claim.  This means that virtually anything that prevents you from working can be claimed, which will ensure financial stability for you and your family.  When life throws challenges in your face the most well prepared people are usually the ones who come out unscathed.

I’ve worked with a number of dentists in my day and they can provide a great example of why income protection is a smart decision.  One of my friends, Eugene, owns his own high volume oral surgery practice in addition to performing contract services several times a week in other offices.  A wayward shot on the golf course left him with 2 broken knuckles and a broken bone in his hand rendering him incapable of performing surgery for 3 months.  Luckily, because of his network he was able to get some colleagues in to his main practice and perform surgery, which kept the practice solvent.  The contract work would have been a different story but fortunately for him and the 2 daughters he was putting through college, he had income protection insurance, which covered 75% of that income.

I like this example because people often say; “I don’t work in manual labor so income protection is an unnecessary expense.”  But, you would be hard-pressed to think of an occupation that doesn’t use their hands in some capacity.  What happens to the long haul trucker that breaks his foot or tears his ACL?  The lifeguard who suddenly finds herself battling a serious illness?  In all of these cases worrying about finances is an added stress that, if anything, makes it more difficult to rest, heal up and get back to work.  The peace of mind that knowing you have 75% of your income coming in during this time means you and your loved ones have one less thing to worry about.

Now each situation is a little different and there are several variables that go in to what your monthly premiums will be for this type of protection.  A policy that covers you for 2 years of not being able to work with no waiting period after a claim is filed for a smoker in a manual labor field will cost more than one with 6 months of coverage and a 1 month waiting period for an office worker with no risk factors.  There are several experts out there, bottom line, go find one who can help you decide which options are best for you.

Do I need separate insurance for my car, boat and bicycle?

An increasing number of Australian households own more than one vehicle, whether it be a car, boat or bicycle. Having adequate insurance is vital to protect yourself and your family in the event of fire, theft or an accident. However the insurance market can seem like a confusing bundle of products to the untrained eye. I’ve tried to get to the bottom of the problem to see if one combined policy can cover everything, or whether or its best to opt for individual policies instead.

Initially it’s useful to take a closer look at what standard car, boat and bicycle insurance will cover. After all, do you even need it in the first place?

Car insurance

As you’d expect car insurance is compulsory in Australia. It covers you and your passengers in the event of an accident and is a legal requirement for all drivers.

Different levels of car insurance are available. Comprehensive insurance is the most thorough and will cover damage to your vehicle along with any damage you cause to a third party. If you’ve taken out a car loan you’ll be required to opt for comprehensive cover to protect the interests of your lender. However if you own the car yourself you can opt for lower levels of cover such as third party insurance, which is generally lower in price. Unlike comprehensive cover if you’re deemed to be at fault in any accident you won’t receive any help with the costs of repairing your vehicle.

Boat insurance

While boat insurance isn’t compulsory in Australian waters, many harbours and marinas won’t allow you to use their facilities unless you can demonstrate evidence of at least third party cover. The excessive cost of boat repairs and potential compensation claims following an accident should be worrying enough to ensure any responsible boat owner takes out appropriate cover for their craft.

Specialist boat insurers often include useful additional benefits such as 24 hour emergency assistance and cover for the discharge of any fuel.

Bicycle insurance

There’s no requirement for compulsory bicycle insurance in Australia, which applies even for power assisted electric bicycles that are becoming increasingly popular. However today bicycles are becoming more technological and expensive than ever, making them an costly item to replace following a theft. Even when proper security measures are taken, there’s an extremely high incidence of bicycle theft in Australian cities, making insurance an essential product for any conscientious cyclist.

Bicycle insurance can be taken out on it’s own or added to your home and contents insurance. It usually covers theft, accidental damage and protects you in the instance of a claim for liability following an accident.

Should I take out cover together or separately?

If you’ve decided to take out car, boat and bicycle insurance you become a highly attractive customer for insurance companies. You could benefit from cheaper premiums if you choose to go with the same company. Some customers reported their premiums were lowered by 20% when they took out multiple policies with the same insurer.

However remember to shop around as specialised boating insurers will often include benefits you won’t get elsewhere, such as emergency assistance. The cheapest deal may save you money, but it’s not always the best option. Be sure to read your policy details thoroughly before signing on the dotted line, and if you’re struggling enlist the help of a broke to find you a deal that best suits your needs.

Your Circumstances Will Change for Better or Worse: Protect Yourself with Insurance

As humans, we think, perhaps subconsciously, that whatever we are experiencing now we will continue to experience. That is why when people work overtime for a long enough period of time, they quit being careful with that extra money and instead allow income creep to take place. They go out to eat more frequently, they buy themselves more clothes and some treats such as a comfortable recliner chair. When the overtime ends and they go back to their old salary, suddenly they can no longer make ends meet.

Mortgage Insurance Offers Protection

This is also why people do not take out insurance that may help protect them. If you are planning to become a homeowner or are one now, do you have mortgage insurance?

While life may be fine right now, and you have enough money to make ends meet plus put money away, what if your circumstances change? What if you lost your job or got sick with a serious disease such as cancer? How quickly would you run through your savings? What if you are injured and are no longer able to perform your job?

Your situation can change in less than a minute. Dawn, a Genworth employee who assists those with mortgage insurance who are experiencing difficulties paying their mortgage, explains how she can help people stay in their homes.

When your life changes drastically, the last thing you want to worry about is losing your home, uprooting your family and having to move.

Other Types of Insurance to Protect Yourself

The Huffington Post also mentions several other important types of insurance that you should have, especially if you are the head of household or your family relies solely on your income.

Disability Insurance–If you are a full-time employee, this insurance is likely one of your benefits. However, more and more people are self-employed and own their own business or freelance. For instance, if you are a writer, what if you sustain a head injury and are unable to work for several months? You will have no money coming in unless you had the foresight to take out disability insurance.

Long-Term Care Insurance–Again, if you are injured and need someone to come to your house to care for you, that care can be very expensive. Long-term care can help you pay these expenses while getting the quality care you deserve.

The old saying is prepare for the worst, hope for the best. If you are diligent about taking out the appropriate insurance for your situation as well as having an emergency fund, you should be able to handle most difficult financial situations that come your way.

Off to catch the last bit of autumn sun? Make sure your home is covered while you’re away with home insurance

The autumn months are a great time to get away for that last blast of summer sun. Southern France, Italy and Spain are still enjoying the warmer rays – making them an ideal destination for a holiday. But while you’re topping up your tan, you don’t want to be worrying about your home. So before you head off, make sure you check that you have a home insurance policy in place

Knowing you’re covered by a home insurance policy you can rely on will help to give you peace of mind. If you don’t have a policy in place yet, you can look online to find contents insurance quotes  to suit you and your home.

Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do to help keep your home safer. Here are five things to consider before you jet off:

Tip 1: Lock away any valuable possessions

If you have any treasured or valuable jewelry or watches, or small electrical items such as a laptop or iPad, it’s a good idea to keep them locked away if you’re not taking them with you. You can pick up a good quality home safe from any of the bigger home improvement stores. Home safes can help protect your valuables from burglars – and many are fireproof too. 

Tip 2: Fit an alarm

You can buy alarm systems specifically designed to deter potential thieves – these can range from a simple alarm bell that goes off if there is an intrusion, to more sophisticated ones that will automatically ring chosen friends and family to alert them of the alarm.

Tip 3: Consider installing a camera

The sight of CCTV on the side of your house, overlooking your front door, back door and garden, could be just the thing to put off thieves. And if you do become the victim of crime, the video footage could potentially be used as evidence to show the police.

Tip 4: Fit security lights

Motion sensor lights fitted to the outside of your home can also be a good way to deter a burglar. Install them around the doorways of your home, your driveway and any outbuildings, such as a shed or garage.

Tip 5: Check all windows and doors are locked It may sound obvious, but as you’re leaving, check all windows and doors are fully locked. Many robberies occur because a thief spots an easy way to break in. Windows left on the latch – and even something to give them a good leg up, such as a water butt or dustbin – can be very enticing to would-be opportunists.   

Taking precautionary steps like these could really help to make your home and contents that little bit more secure while you’re away. And if you make sure that you have a quality contents and buildings insurance in place, you’ll get that extra peace of mind.

Post by Leanne

Insuring Your Valuables

Many of us have things that mean a lot to us in our homes – and much of the time, those things are expensive. Appraised antiques, precious metals, or china or crystal dishes can be highly valuable. Unfortunately many people don’t realize the need to separately schedule insurance on these valuables, assuming they will be covered in full in case of a fire or theft by a basic homeowner’s policy.

Your Basic Homeowner’s Insurance

With basic homeowner’s insurance, the items in your home are protected against a variety of perils, including fire and theft. They are not protected against flood – a separate flood policy is needed if you live in a zone where that may occur.

Although it varies by state, in general your personal property is covered at 50% of the coverage level of your home. So, if you insure your house at $100,000, your property would have a maximum of $50,000 in total of coverage. In addition, certain assets such as cash, jewelry, art, and other valuables have much lower limits of coverage – such as $200 for cash, or $1500 for jewelry. You’ll want to read the ‘contents and additional coverage’ section of your policy contract for details.

Even if an item doesn’t fall under a limit, coverage may be paid at an ‘actual cash value’ determination – that is, the price minus any depreciation. This can leave you scrambling, so make sure that your policy is listed for replacement value.

Given these lower limits of coverage, how do you make sure your valuables are protected? Many times, the answer is to schedule specific coverage into your homeowner’s policy.

Scheduled Homeowner’s Coverage

 Scheduled coverage is a way of adding a specific item to your homeowner’s policy with a set coverage for that item. For instance, you can specifically insure your grandmother’s fur coat at its appraised value, rather than dealing with the policy limit on furs. This has the benefit of giving you a set value, with no depreciation. In addition, this type of coverage is often very inexpensive.

Antiques should also be scheduled separately, since many home insurance policies won’t pay replacement value on them. As mentioned above, an ‘actual cash value’ determination will generally be below the cost to replace an item, and this is especially true with antiques. Don’t take the risk – have your valuable antiques appraised and scheduled with their own coverage on your policy.

 

Scheduled coverage generally requires a written appraisal from a reliable source, and should be revisited every two to three years to make sure the value of the item hasn’t changed substantially.

Protecting your valuables is an important part of insurance, and it’s essential to understand the type of coverage needed. Read your homeowner’s contract carefully, and if any of your valuables are not covered well enough be sure to add an inexpensive rider to schedule coverage for them. No one wants anything to happen to their valuables, but if it does, be sure you have plenty of coverage through your insurance.

Garfield Refining is a Philadelphia based precious metal refinery offering nation-wide service. This 120 year old refinery buys and refines gold, silver, platinum, and palladium and services both B2B and B2C markets. For live gold prices check out @GarfieldGold on twitter.