26. July 2018 13:48
by Harry

Umbrella Insurance for a Very Rainy Day

26. July 2018 13:48 by Harry | 0 Comments

Many consumers are not aware of the benefits provided by an umbrella policy and many may not even be aware of the existence of such a policy. Others might just view it as an “upsell” offered by insurance companies and agents hoping to make some extra income. However, the policy actually offers significant benefit to individuals and, according to the Insurance Journal, the state of Maryland’s Insurance Administration has issued a consumer advisory explaining the policy’s benefits. If you don’t currently have an umbrella policy, you’ll want to read on to understand better what it can do for you and your family.

In your standard home insurance policy, there’s a limit of liability for personal liability claims. The usual coverage that’s automatically provided is generally $100,000. However, given today’s litigious society and the cost of medical care, a claim can easily exceed that amount. If you are a homeowner, your assets, including your house, can be attached in the event of a judgment against you. This is where an umbrella policy can really help out.

The personal umbrella policy is given its name because it acts as an umbrella over more than just your personal liability policy. Most people who have umbrellas use the policy as extra protection for both their personal liability and automobile liability coverages. For example, if you have a $1 million umbrella policy, it will provide the $1 million in protection if either your personal liability or auto liability policy limits were exhausted.

Keep in mind that this is a liability policy and not a property policy. Therefore, even though your home insurance policy has two main types of coverage, the umbrella only applies to the personal liability portion of the coverage. As an example, if you have not insured your home for the proper amount and have a large claim, the umbrella policy will not provide you with any benefit. On the other hand, if someone is injured on your property and sues you, the umbrella policy will be prepared to step in if your home insurance policy’s personal liability limit is exhausted.

It’s common for people to consider the umbrella policy as an optional item and not necessary. Even if they are aware of the existence of umbrellas, many people choose not to purchase them, thinking that a very large loss will never happen to them. Unfortunately, when something unforeseen actually happens, it’ll be too late to purchase the coverage. Umbrellas are generally inexpensive when viewed in relation to how much coverage they provide. That low premium is a good sign of the relative infrequency of loss contemplated by the insurance companies in underwriting the policies. However, just because everyone thinks it’s rare for a loss to occur doesn’t mean they don’t believe it will never occur.

You should also keep in mind that there might be some ways to save on insurance premiums by purchasing an umbrella policy. Because many insurance companies offer a multi-policy discount, you might find that it’ll defray the cost quite a bit. When I first started purchasing an umbrella policy, the discount I received from adding it to my existing home and auto policies with the same insurer almost covered the entire cost of the umbrella! Given its low cost and potentially great benefit, you should really invest in an umbrella policy.


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24. July 2018 14:50
by Ammelia

Finding Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance

24. July 2018 14:50 by Ammelia | 0 Comments


 Chances are you’ve heard about full coverage car insurance, but you might not be fully aware of what it actually covers or where you can find it. Here’s what you should know before deciding whether it’s right for you.

What is full coverage insurance?

Full coverage car insurance sounds great, but the term is a bit misleading. “Full coverage” generally refers to policies that include collision and comprehensive insurance — which actually cover very specific risks — in addition to liability insurance.

What does full coverage car insurance actually cover?

Many states mandate that drivers buy only a small amount of auto liability insurance. If you cause a crash, this coverage helps pay for the treatment of other people’s injuries and repairs to their property. But liability insurance won’t pay to repair your vehicle or cover incidents that don’t involve crashing into other vehicles or pedestrians. Collision and comprehensive insurance fill these gaps:

  • Collision coverage pays for repairs to your car if you cause a crash with another vehicle or run into an object, such as a tree or a telephone pole.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your car if it’s stolen or damaged by a covered cause, such as an animal collision, weather, a falling object, fire or vandalism.
Find the cheapest car insurance for you

How much is full coverage car insurance?

Comprehensive and collision coverage give you much better insurance protection, but they also mean higher rates.

To get an idea of how much higher, NewLifeInsured sampled rates for liability-only policies and full coverage auto policies in three states: California, New Jersey, and Ohio.

Here’s what we found:

State Monthly premium (liability insurance only) Monthly premium (full coverage) Monthly cost to add full coverage
California $42 $90 $48
New Jersey $105 $156 $51
Ohio $30 $60 $30


The price of full coverage car insurance isn’t chump change:

  • Adding it raises Ohio car insurance rates by $362 per year — and that was the most affordable state we tested.
  • It raises New Jersey car insurance rates by $606.

But just one comprehensive or collision claim can make the cost worth it. Replacing a stolen car or repairing your vehicle after a crash could mean paying thousands of dollars out of your own pocket if you don’t have the right insurance.

States ranked for car insurance rates

We looked at rates across the country for drivers carrying full coverage plus uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. 

National ranking (least to most expensive) State Average annual rate
1 Ohio $684
2 North Carolina $701
3 Maine $702
4 Indiana $734
5 Iowa $749
6 Idaho $773
7 Vermont $777
8 Wisconsin $816
9 North Dakota $833
10 Minnesota $835
11 Washington $856
12 Utah $864
13 Pennsylvania $866
14 South Dakota $891
15 Virginia $895
16 Montana $909
17 Nebraska $914
18 New Hampshire $919
19 Kansas $935
20 Tennessee $970
21 West Virginia $972
22 Illinois $991
23 Georgia $1,010
24 Massachusetts $1,013
25 Oregon $1,018
26 Arkansas $1,025
27 Maryland $1,030
28 Wyoming $1,032
29 Missouri $1,066
30 Hawaii $1,092
31 Arizona $1,128
32 New Mexico $1,154
33 South Carolina $1,155
34 Alabama $1,200
35 Colorado $1,206
36 Texas $1,207
37 Nevada $1,233
38 Alaska $1,245
39 New York $1,268
40 California $1,300
41 Connecticut $1,323
42 Mississippi $1,345
43 Rhode Island $1,386
44 Kentucky $1,434
45 District of Columbia $1,438
46 Oklahoma $1,462
47 New Jersey $1,517
48 Delaware $1,591
49 Florida $2,207
50 Michigan $2,375
51 Louisiana $2,409

Where to buy full coverage car insurance

Full coverage is commonly available from any auto insurance company. We looked at average prices from the four largest car insurers for a policy that includes liability, collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage and other state-required coverages where needed. State Farm was the cheapest option, on average.

Who needs full coverage car insurance?

If you finance your vehicle, your lender might require you to buy full coverage. Aside from that, comprehensive and collision are optional, although some insurers don’t let you add one without the other.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are particularly sound investments if:

  • You have a new or expensive car.
  • You regularly commute in heavy traffic.
  • You live in a place with extreme weather, high car theft rates or a high risk of animal collisions.

However, the older your vehicle and the lower its value, the less benefit there is to have full coverage. Imagine it costs you $600 per year to add comprehensive and collision and you have a $1,000 deductible, which is the amount your insurer will subtract from a claim payment. If your car is worth only $2,000, the net value of a claim check would be $1,000 at most — so if you carry full coverage for more than a year, you won’t be able to get back more than what you paid. Checking your car’s current value at the National Automobile Dealers Association‘s website can help you decide whether full coverage makes sense.

Even with full coverage, there are other policy options you might need. For example, uninsured motorist protection, towing and labor service, and medical payments insurance all provide coverage that collision and comprehensive won’t.

How will various policy changes affect your rates? You can get insurance quotes using the NewLifeInsured tool and compare estimates to see for yourself.


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18. July 2018 19:02
by Jamie

Term Life Vs. Whole Life: Which Insurance Is Right For You?

18. July 2018 19:02 by Jamie | 0 Comments

Build your life with love. Protect it with life insurance.

We work hard for the good things. The security. The comfort. The joy. The premium channels and the soft toilet paper. We work to buy houses, and we work to make sure they feel like homes for the people we love. We work to help things grow…our knowledge, our careers, our experiences, and our families.

From the Ground Up

The bigger and better things get, the more important it becomes to protect them. It’s easy to convince yourself, in the warm glow of a good life, that love is all you need. Love is a perfect foundation (and if you’ve ever bought a house, you know how important the foundation is), but without the walls you build upward and the roof above it all, it doesn’t offer much protection.

Every good decision you make contributes to the strength of those walls. The degree you earned. The career you’ve built. The money you invest. The relationships you’ve established. The tough questions you’ve asked, and the tough answers you’ve gritted your teeth and accepted.

These reinforcements are ultimately what hold things together when they might otherwise come crashing down, and insurance is your roof, extending to every edge to make sure you’re covered.

Life insurance means that nothing, not even the very worst thing, can blow that roof completely off. It means that your love, bolstered by careful planning, will always provide shelter, even after you’re gone.

Choosing a Blueprint

There are a lot of options to consider when you’re looking for the right insurance policy, and that’s why we’re here to help guide you. There are two main types of life insurance to consider, and that’s a good place to get started.


Term life policies might be the way to go if…

  • You’re looking for the most affordable life insurance rates
  • You’re not ready to commit to a lifetime policy
  • You want the simplest, most straightforward option
  • You’re in good health right now and have a relatively clear family medical history

This type of policy covers you for a finite period of time (usually 10, 20, or 30 years). Because of its temporary nature (and therefore the decreased likelihood that a payout will take place), premiums are generally much lower, especially if you’re young. Once the policy term is over, it’s over…just like car insurance, no matter how long you’ve been insured in the past, if you’re not insured at the time of an incident, it won’t help. So with term life, you’ll need to renew (usually at an increased rate as you grow older) or convert to a whole life plan at some point for continued coverage.


whole life policy may be the best route if…

  • You can afford a higher premium in your monthly budget
  • You like the idea of paying for coverage that you know will help your loved ones in the future
  • You love the idea of only having to shop for life insurance once
  • You’re in good health now, but may be at higher-than-average risk for future health concerns based on family medical history

These policies typically cost more up front, but the upside is that they provide lifetime coverage (so you don’t have to worry about shopping again) and typically offer level premiums, which can help you keep your monthly budget on track, especially when the kids start begging for the latest gaming system. Whole life insurance typically combines death benefits with cash value. In some cases, the policy owner can access this cash sum to use if they should need it…so while peace of mind and security for your family are still the primary motivation, you know that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get it.

Savvy Shopping

As you decide which option is right for you and your family, here are a few tips to help you keep costs as low as possible while still getting what you need:

  • Get multiple quotes from different providers to find the most competitive pricing. Whether you’re looking for the best term life insurance policy or you’re more interested in whole life insurance quotes.
  • Watch out for unnecessary riders. Riders are add-on provisions to the basic policy. Sometimes they’re things you might actually need, but sometimes they’re just things that sound good. 
  • Identify your specific needs and priorities. Life insurance, unlike your buttery soft leggings, isn’t one size fits all. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe you just need basic life insurance that will help to get your family through if you pass away sooner than you would hope. 

No Time Like RIGHT NOW

Here’s the best advice we can give: DON’T WAIT.

The younger you are, and healthier you are, the less your insurance will typically cost. And the sooner you work it into your budget, the more it will start to blend in with all your other important expenses, like electricity and lattes.

The real reason not to wait, though, might be sitting right next to you on the couch while you read this. Or sleeping upstairs on the top bunk. Or the bottom bunk. Life insurance gives you a chance to take care of the people you love for longer, and that’s worth an awful lot more than your monthly premium will be.

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13. July 2018 15:23
by Ammelia

Making Home Warranty Comparisons

13. July 2018 15:23 by Ammelia | 0 Comments

Home warranties take the hassle out of home ownership and give you peace of mind by protecting your family from unexpected and costly bills when major systems or appliances fail. However, coverage options vary widely from provider to provider and choosing the right plan can be tricky. Here is a checklist that details what to look for in a home warranty and how you can choose the provider that's right for you.

Initial Considerations

  • Make a list of all your appliances and systems. Determine which ones are critical to your family's needs, are costly to repair or replace or are at risk of breaking down.
  • Home warranties are designed to fill in the gaps left by homeowners' insurance, but there is potential, however small, for some overlap. Also, some of your appliances may be covered under other warranties. Check and compare these policies so that you're not paying twice for the same coverage.


  • Verify which home warranty providers offer coverage in your area. Then narrow your search based on your priorities. Some providers offer fixed plans that cover a list of appliances or systems, some specialize in only a few specific ones, while others offer the option to customize your home warranty benefits.
  • Understand the various levels of coverage. You may find that the advanced coverage offered by one provider is equivalent to the standard coverage offered by another.
  • Take note of the pre-conditions and limitations to any coverage under consideration. Many plans won't cover appliances or systems with pre-existing conditions or costs that arise from improper installation or maintenance.
  • Are you planning to sell your home? Ask if the home warranty is transferable.


  • Determine the annual cost and what's included. The cost of home warranties varies significantly depending on where you live, the kind of home you live in and what you choose to cover. Some plans include additional services, while others have a more scaled-down offering.
  • Ask about service fees or deductibles. Home warranties take care of much of the heavy lifting when it comes to repairing costs, but there still may be additional fees, such as one for each home visit if something breaks down. Compare any added costs.
  • Establish whether there are limits on the maximum amount a provider will pay for repairs.


  • Easy access to a service network is one of the biggest home warranty benefits. With just one phone call, you can schedule a home visit for a wide range of maintenance issues. Investigate how many in-network contractors service your area and make sure there are a variety of specialties represented.
  • Inquire about the provider's screening process and selection criteria for their contractors.
  • With some companies, the service provider may be different from the company selling you the home warranty. Make sure you can find contact information for the company that will ultimately be servicing your warranty.
  • Ask about the provider's service level agreements, average response time and claims process. Many providers offer the convenient option of requesting service and filing a claim online, but it's also good to know that you can reach a representative when you need one. Compare the level of follow-up documentation each company may require.


  • Check out consumer ratings and reviews to learn about other customers' experiences. You want to make sure you choose a reputable provider.
  • Peruse a company's social media and online presence to help confirm its legitimacy and level of consumer focus. Is this a company that places the customer first?
  • Verify that the home warranty providers you're considering are properly licensed if you reside in a state that requires it. These requirements vary by state.
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29. May 2018 12:45
by Jamie

Understanding Life Insurance

29. May 2018 12:45 by Jamie | 0 Comments


What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract where, in exchange for premium payments, a lump sum of money is paid upon the death of the insured person.  Life insurance can fit into two main categories: term and permanent.  Term insurance is designated to last a specific number of years.  Permanent insurance is intended to cover an individual for their lifetime.

What are the key benefits of owning life insurance?

1.  Life insurance provides funds when they are needed most and the death benefit is typically significantly greater than the premiums paid.

2.  Life insurance proceeds usually avoid probate, which means the insurance company can pay the death proceeds to the beneficiary without delay. The only way life insurance benefits become part of probate is when they are paid to or for the benefit of the estate of the insured.

3.  No public record is made to whom the death benefit amount is paid.

4.  Policies generally have some creditor protection. This means that even if the insured owes money, creditors cannot come after the death benefit owed to the beneficiaries.  This can vary by state, however.

5.  Cash values from permanent policies can be accessed on a tax favored basis via withdrawals and loans.

6.  Life insurance proceeds are generally not subject to federal income taxes.

7.  Interest earned on permanent policy cash values is generally not taxable unless or until the policyowner surrenders the policy for cash.

Life insurance is not one-size-fits-all and people buy life insurance for different reasons.  Life insurance can help individuals and families in many ways.

Life insurance can help…

  • Protect against the financial risk of premature death.
  • Tax favored wealth accumulation.
  • Fund a business transfer.
  • Provide for special need children or adults.
  • Compensate a business for a key person loss.
  • Provide funds to pay estate settlement costs.
  • Create or replace a charitable gift.
  • Accumulate funds for potential income needs such as education or retirement supplement.
  • Finance employee benefit plans.
  • Equalize inheritances.
  • Pay off a mortgage.

How much life insurance is needed?

We recommend term insurance for most families.  Term insurance is simple and affordable.  While permanent insurance has its benefits, term insurance oftentimes is all you need.  The primary purpose of life insurance is to replace income.  For many families, there is a specific period of time when you steadfastly rely on a steady income – this is when you have young children to care for, are saving for their college tuition, and when you have a mortgage.

If you are not sure how much coverage you need, check out our Needs Analysis Tool.  There are only three questions you need to answer and then the tool calculates an estimate for you.  Let’s go over an example.  For this example, we’ll say the user is a 35-year-old male.

Question #1 – How much debt do I want paid off?

John Smith currently has a $10,000 auto loan, $5000 in credit card debt, and his mortgage loan has $210,000 remaining.  He then has a total of $225,000 he would like paid off upon his death so his family does not end up dealing with the debt.

Question #2 – How much monthly income do my loved ones need?

John currently brings home a monthly income of $3000.  Since life insurance is income replacement, this is also how much he would like the death benefit to replace.

Question #3 – How many years do my loved ones need income?

John’s wife Joanna is a successful businesswoman with a steady income.  He knows that if he were to die prematurely, the death benefit would ensure the house would be paid off and she wouldn’t become saddled with his debt.  With these debts paid and Joanna’s income, he believes the family could be financially stable within five years.

Putting these answers into the Needs Analysis Tool, John ideally would need $405,000 in life insurance coverage.  Because term insurance is affordable, he decides to round the coverage amount up to $450,000 to include any incidentals his loved ones may come across.  To find out how much a $450,000 policy would cost John let’s put the numbers into our term life insurance quoting tool.

How do I get a term life insurance quote?

To get a quote on Quotacy.com all you need to enter is your zip code, gender, birthdate, and whether you rather pay monthly or annually.  See the screenshot below of John Smith’s information.


After you put in that information, you can see premium estimates instantly.  Take a look at John’s premium estimates for his $450,000 policy.  He can always use the tool sliders to adjust his coverage amount or term length to see how it affects his monthly pricing.  As you can see in the Estimated Monthly Premium box, it will give you a cost range that can be affected by which company’s plan you choose and health questions.


To start comparing policies and pricing, you next answer a few quick questions about your height and weight, your tobacco usage, heart health, and your family history.  Because Quotacy is an independent agency, we work with multiple top-rated life insurance companies and you will be able to see an array of policy options.  The screenshot below is just a sample of the options John Smith can choose to apply from.


Once you find a plan you are satisfied with you can go ahead and apply for it.  Applying is all done online and couldn’t be simpler.  We’ll need your contact information when you apply so we can reach you, but we promise not to sell your information.  We aren’t a lead generating company nor do we buy leads.  You won’t have to worry about spam or telemarketers when you work with us.

As your application moves through the buying process, Quotacy keeps you updated every step of the way.  We pride ourselves on our great customer service.  If you have any questions about life insurance or our process, feel free to contact us.  We’re more than happy to assist you.

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19. May 2018 12:54
by Harry

Do All Parents Need Life Insurance?

19. May 2018 12:54 by Harry | 0 Comments

In May we celebrate and thank Mom for everything she does.  In June we celebrate and thank Dad for everything he does.  In July we celebrate and thank them both!  Did you know that the fourth Sunday in July is National Parents’ Day?  Parents deserve thanks every day, but three national holidays dedicated to them is a good start.

I imagine that being a parent is the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience you can ever go through.  When you have your first child, you realize the world is bigger than just you.  As you make decisions in life you think “How will this affect my kids?”  Buying life insurance is one of these important decisions.  “If I die and don’t have life insurance, what happens to my kids?”

Buying Life Insurance
  • Children can stay in their childhood home
  • Surviving spouse can afford to take time off work to spend with children
  • Family’s standard of living won’t need to change
  • Spouse can afford to send children to college
  • It can be customized to fit in most budgets
  • It’s not free

There are all kinds of parents:

  • Married spouses who co-parent
  • Divorced individuals who co-parent
  • Unmarried partners who co-parent
  • Single parents
  • Stay-at-home parents

No two parents are the same, but you know what they all have in common?  They all need life insurance to protect their loved ones should they die prematurely.  Term life insurance is affordable and provides many benefits.

Term Life Insurance for Married Parents

There is a gender gap in life insurance.  Fewer women than men have life insurance and, in addition, own less coverage on average.  If you have children and you both bring home a paycheck, you both need life insurance.  If you have children and only one of you brings home a paycheck, you both still need life insurance.

Is it written somewhere that dad is more likely to die unexpectedly than mom?  No.  You never know what life may bring – both parents need to own life insurance.

Married same sex couples need life insurance as well.  Same sex couples raising children need to think about what would happen if one or both of them should pass away.  With same sex marriage being legal across the U.S., same sex couples won’t have any issue purchasing life insurance on one another or naming each other beneficiary.

Term Life Insurance for Divorced Parents

In most cases, divorce doesn’t change the fact that you both love and care for your children.  Both parents need life insurance.  In fact, in some divorce cases the court may order the parents to buy life insurance policies to ensure the financial futures of the children.

In amicable divorces, some choose to leave their ex-spouse as their policy’s beneficiary still trusting that they will put their children’s needs first.  Others choose to change their beneficiary to their children.  However, if the children are still minors then an adult custodian would need to be named instead.

Term Life Insurance for Unmarried Parents

On average, today couples are postponing marriage, but not necessarily postponing having children.  You don’t have to be married to buy life insurance on each other, but it’s easier to prove insurable interest this way.  (Insurable interest exists when you would feel financial consequences upon the death of another person.)  However, having children together is proof of insurable interest.

You could also opt to own your own life insurance and name your partner as a beneficiary.  Be sure you name a contingent beneficiary whom you trust to use the policy benefit for your children in case both you and your partner die at the same time, such as in a car accident.  If you both pass away and you named no one else as a beneficiary, the policy benefits are then added to your estate and held up during the probate process as a court decides what to do with the money.

Term Life Insurance for Single Parents

Arguably, single parents have the greatest need for life insurance.  There is no other parent for your children to fall back on if you should pass away.  Making a plan to protect them financially if you are suddenly no longer around to provide is essential.  You’ll want enough life insurance coverage to replace your income, pay for child care, and cover your final expenses.  It’s also critical that you choose a responsible guardian who is willing and able to care for your children should you die.

Typically couples will name each other as beneficiaries since they hope one will survive to care for the children, single parents should consider creating a trust and naming it as the beneficiary of the policy.  Minor children cannot receive life insurance death benefits so a trust can be set up to ensure the death benefit is distributed and used according to your wishes.

Term Life Insurance for Stay-at-Home Parents

Term life insurance is always explained as “income replacement” so if you don’t provide an income, then you don’t need life insurance, right?  Wrong.  A stay-at-home parent may not generate an income, but this allows a family to save money by not hiring out for various responsibilities such as child care.  According to Care.com, child care is the largest annual household expense, averaging $18,000 for U.S. families.  If a stay-at-home parent were to suddenly pass away, would the surviving parent be able to find an extra $18,000 per year to hire someone to care of their children while they were at work?  What about someone to clean the house or transport children to and from school and extracurricular activities?

It’s a mistake to think that life insurance is only for breadwinning parents.  Unless the family is considerably wealthy, the mortgage is paid off, and there is a substantial amount in the savings account, a stay-at-home parent needs life insurance too.

How much does term life insurance cost for parents?

Term life insurance is quite affordable and the term length and coverage amount can be customized to fit in most budgets.  A term policy can ensure your family is able stay in their home, provide funds for college tuition, and pay for your final expenses should you die unexpectedly.  How much life insurance you need depends on your individual situation.  Consider the following questions.

  • Do you have debt you want life insurance to pay off? For example, a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or car loans.
  • How much monthly income does your family need? The amount your paycheck provides is a good place to start.
  • How many years do you think your family needs that monthly income before they are financially stable?

Remember: term insurance is structured to only last a specific period of time – typically when your family is most financially vulnerable.  How long you want the term insurance to last depends on a few factors such as how young your children are, how much time you have left on your mortgage loan, how close you are to retirement, and what your budget is.  For example, if your children are teenagers and you only have 10 years left on your mortgage, you probably don’t need a 30-year term policy.  However, if you just had your first child and want to make sure your child will have the funds to go to college, and recently purchased your first home, then you’ll want to consider at least a 20-year term policy.

Let’s take a look at some numbers to get an idea on how much life insurance costs.



The debt you want paid off if you die:

  • Mortgage loan = $215,000
  • Credit card debt = $10,000

The monthly income you provide: $4000

How many years your family will need this income = 5 years

Using the Needs Analysis Calculator on our website, $465,000 in coverage is a good estimate.  (Or you can manually add up 215,000 + 10,000 + (4000 x 12×5).) We’ll round up to $500,000 in the table below.

Your children are two and five years old.  You decide you want your term policy to last until they both are at least 25 years old so you decide a 25-year term policy is best.

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9. May 2018 14:37
by Jamie

Love and Mortgage: Should Newlyweds Buy or Rent a Home?

9. May 2018 14:37 by Jamie | 0 Comments

Somewhere in your mind, you might have an idealized image of a newly married couple triumphantly sweeping into a dream home with the wife in the husband’s arms. As corny as the tradition might seem, you can also see it as a powerful symbol — two people making their first entrance into the home they now share as owners.

Should you and your new spouse follow that example, or do you have reservations about adding a mortgage to the mix? Consider some of the pros and cons of renting vs. buying as newlyweds, and then take your time in deciding whether home ownership is another threshold you want to cross together.

Your Solution Depends On Your Situation

You’ve probably made dozens of decisions together on your way to the altar, making the call on everything from the registry to the diplomatically arranged seating chart at the reception. And now’s not the time to give in to judgment fatigue.

Take some time to evaluate the respective merits. You may find that personal finances, career aspirations and even the value you place on independence vs. convenience could influence your decision of whether to rent or buy.

The Case for Renting

Some of the reasons that could make renting a home preferable to buying include:

Lower Start-Up Costs — Moving into an apartment typically means paying some moderate expenses, such as first and last month’s rent, specified deposits and the like. Buying a home typically means spending several thousand dollars on a down payment, closing costs, agent’s commission, attorney’s fees and more. If you still haven’t figured out how to pay off the honeymoon, the initial investment could loom large in your decision-making.

More Mobility — The U.S. Census Bureau reports that after age 18, the typical American can expect to move nine times. If you happen to get a new job in a different state, you’ll have a much easier time (relatively speaking) breaking a lease than you would be selling a house.

Repairs Aren’t Your Responsibility — If the toilet springs a leak at 3 a.m., a renter can call the landlord to get it fixed. For homeowners, the burden of arranging and paying for repairs, and possibly filing an insurance claim, falls entirely on them. When it comes to upkeep, a conscientious landlord can be a real convenience.

The Case For Buying

Factors such as these could tip the scales in favor of homeownership:

It’s Usually More Economical — For couples who plan to stay in the same area for several years, buying a house is generally considered the more affordable choice. The expert consensus favors ownership as a much better source of value than renting in just about every U.S. housing market. Also, you can help protect your investment with a home insurance policy that may provide coverage for weather damage, break-ins, and other hazards.

Ownership Builds More Wealth — One aspect of the pro-buying argument revolves around the central idea of wealth accumulation: Homeowners nurture an investment in something that will one day belong to them, rather than simply renting space from month-to-month or year-to-year. Even if you move to a new house before you pay off the mortgage, you still have the equity you’ve built up in your current home.

A Sunnier Market Outlook — Although memories of the housing bubble bust still linger, many indicators point to a stabilized recovery. New regulations have helped curtail risky lending practices, home prices have reached realistic levels and the economy has rebounded. With mortgage rates at historic lows, 2016 could be an advantageous time to become homeowners.

Whichever Way You Go, Go Thoughtfully

The decision to buy or rent as newlyweds depend on immediate realities and long-term possibilities. Do you have plenty of money on hand? Do you have job security? When might you start a family?

You’ll need to consider all these factors, and more, as you figure out whether crossing the threshold right away is a realistic option or just a romantic notion.

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26. April 2018 19:03
by Jamie

Medicare Enrollment: 5 Things to Know

26. April 2018 19:03 by Jamie | 0 Comments


If you’re covered by Medicare, now is the time to make changes to your health plan and prescription drug coverage. Medicare’s annual open-enrollment period is open until December 7th.

With so many plans to choose from, shopping for a new Medicare Advantage and/or Part D prescription drug plan can seem like a daunting task.

Here are five things to consider when shopping for your Medicare coverage options:

1. NOT shopping can cost you.
Each year, cost and benefit details of Medicare Advantage and stand-alone Part D drug plans change – even if just a little.

Those changes can be costly.

According to a recent survey of 49,000 people using eHealthMedicare.com to compare Medicare plans, people who switched to a new Part D drug plan saved nearly $ 700 in 2015. In addition, they were 20% less likely to hit the prescription drug coverage gap.

The bottom line: Even if you’re happy with your current coverage, shop your options during this open enrollment period to make sure you still have the plan that best meets your needs.

2. Look beyond premiums.
A plan with a low monthly premium may be more expensive in the long run if doctor visits or prescriptions come with high out-of-pocket costs throughout the year.

To get a true sense of what you’re healthcare costs are likely to be, look beyond your monthly premium to understand each plan’s deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance.

3. Make sure your drugs are covered.
Expect to pay more when you fill your prescription drugs next year. Across the board, Part D plan deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are rising.

Confirm that the medications you need are covered by your plan. And, check on the details of cost-sharing tiers, which are very common in most plans. Generics on the lowest tiers cost the least, while brand-name and specialty drugs on the highest tiers come with the highest out-of-pocket costs.

Finally, don’t forget to check which pharmacies participate with your plan, and which tiers the plan has placed them on. Prescriptions cost less when you fill them at a pharmacy identified as one offering “preferred cost sharing.” And beware: Not everyone lives near a pharmacy with preferred prices.

4. Is your doctor in-network?
Making sure your doctors participate with your health plan is one of the most important parts of picking the right policy. Out-of-network care can be very expensive. In fact, a recent report by America’s Health Insurance Plans found that out-of-network providers charged patients on average 300% more than Medicare rates for certain procedures and treatments, such as MRIs and chemotherapy.

5. Check star ratings.
Medicare has a quality rating system in which plans are ranked from one to five stars, with five the highest. Try to choose one with no less than 3.5 or 4 stars. 

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