Archive for General Insurance

Top 5 U.S. insurance news stories of 2010.

A lot of the news in this country is often tied to the insurance industry because it is so much a part of our lives. Here are some of the top stories of 2010 that directly impacted insurance for both personal citizens and businesses.

1) Health care reform

On March 23, in a move that polarized the nation, President Barack Obama signed legislation that guaranteed access to medical insurance for millions of Americans. Republicans vowed to repeal the law and, according to the New York Times, nearly two dozen federal lawsuits have been filed trying to block portions of the bill.

2) BP oil spill
In April, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers and unleashing an oil spill that killed countless wildlife and severely damaged Gulf industries like tourism and fishing. Over 4 million gallons of oil leaked before the well was plugged, and the costs of the response effort to BP hit $8 billion by September according to Reuters. That’s excluding damage and liability claims. Insurance costs for oil companies are expected to go up exponentially.

3) 20 million recalls by auto makers
In April, several major car insurance companies sought to recoup money from Toyota for claims paid on crashes that involved sudden acceleration. Sudden acceleration incidences were the main reason for Toyota’s recall of millions of vehicles. General Motors Co., Honda, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler all had recalls in 2010 according to Insurance Journal.

4) Worst year for bank failures since 1992
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., more banks failed in 2010 than any year since the savings-and-loan crisis of 1992. 157 banks failed at the close of this year, with more to come, leaving the FDIC insurance fund in the red.

5) National Flood Insurance Program lapses/extends
The National Flood Insurance Program is a federal government program that provides homeowners with flood insurance who live in flood zones. (Standard property insurance policies don’t provide this coverage.) The U.S. Senate allowed the program to expire on May 31, leaving many homeowners without the ability to renew or obtain coverage. The program was eventually extended until September, 2011.

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College students and insurance.

Insurance is probably the last thing on a college student’s mind right now. Classes, homework and homecoming are getting a lot more attention than auto or health insurance. And it should be that way; parents or students shouldn’t have to worry about insurance during this time. So it’s worth it to take few minutes and review your situation.

Auto insurance
— If your car is insured under your parent’s auto policy, but you will be living away from home, the insurance company will need to know where the vehicle will be garaged. Location is one of the factors that determine car insurance rates, and the insurer will need to know this. If it makes a big difference in premium, you may want to shop around and see if you can get lower quote for your own policy.

For parents, if a child is listed as a driver of your vehicles, but they won’t be driving it anymore because they don’t live at home, notify your auto insurer. It may lower your premium.

Health insurance — If you’re no longer covered under your parent’s health plan, see if your school offers an accident or illness student health insurance plan. You can also shop for full time student health insurance quotes to find a plan for your needs.

Dental insurance
— There are a couple of options here if your school doesn’t offer a dental plan. You may be able to find individual dental insurance in your area that’s affordable by comparing quotes. Also, you may consider a discount dental plan. With these types of plans, you pay a membership fee and receive discounts on many procedures at participating dentists.

Personal property insurance
— Many of your possessions may still be covered against theft by your parent’s homeowner policy, but double check to see what the limits are for off-premise items. You also may be able to purchase an affordable renters insurance policy to cover your items.

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Insurance and 4th of July.

We’re all looking forward to this weekend. Here are some things to consider when celebrating our nation’s independence.

Be careful — A study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the Independence Day holiday is when the most motor vehicle deaths occur.

Be safe — Before setting off fireworks near your home (assuming you live in a community where fireworks are legal), check your homeowners insurance policy to make sure there aren’t limits on firework usage. If you or a party guest ignites a house fire through negligent use of fireworks, your insurer may try to recoup the cost of damages from you — even though accidental fire may be covered by your policy.

Be preventative — According to the Insurance Information Institute, most home burglaries occur in July and August and they’re not just stealing jewelry. Identity theft by burglars is on the increase. If you’re headed out of town, take precautions including keeping your home well lit and difficult to break in, holding your mail, shutting down and disconnecting your computers and asking a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out.

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Insurance shopping isn’t hard, but it does pay to do your homework.

When it comes to shopping for insurance, most people put that on the same list as calling a plumber or getting their teeth cleaned. A “necessary evil.” People get insurance because it’s required by law, as in the case of auto insurance, or maybe it’s required by a lender in the case of homeowners insurance. Most Americans also come to the realization at some point that insurance can really protect their hard-earned investments for themselves and their loved ones.

At that point it becomes less of a necessary evil and more of a financial necessity. And just like any other necessity, you want to find the best value: Insurance coverage that offers the right price, the right protection, excellent service and confidence in its ability to be there when you need it.

In order to find the best value for anything, it pays to get some education and do a little homework. Nowhere is that more true than in buying insurance. Most experts agree that at the least you need to get an insurance rate quote from several different providers in order to find the lowest rate for your situation.

It can also help you to understand how insurance works, how to choose a good company or agent and what things you can do to help lower your insurance costs. We’ve launched the LowerYourInsurance.com Blog as a resource to help you get the updated information that can make your insurance shopping experience easier.

Thank you for visiting the LowerYourInsurance.com Blog.

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