Posts tagged with "insurance"

health illustration for 360 Magazine

Ten Benefits of Ultrasound Technology

The medical field is always advancing. Scientists constantly search for new ways to diagnose and prevent illnesses, especially with the latest technology.

Ultrasound machinery was an incredible advancement that continues to help patients and doctors. It has improved over the years and expanded to many uses. These are the 10 main benefits of the technology that anyone can appreciate.

1. It’s Safe Diagnostic Imaging

Many people are hesitant to test for illnesses because they don’t want to risk the side effects of certain machinery or new medications. Ultrasound imaging is different. Doctors recommend it for most patients because it rarely has any downsides.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers non-ionizing radiation in ultrasounds safe because it has an excellent 20-year track record. It won’t affect the patient like X-ray systems or other technology that uses ionizing radiation.

2. It Doesn’t Take Long

Depending on the exam, an ultrasound appointment is relatively quick. It produces images upon contact with the patient. No one has to wait to see results. They are clear right away and found by people who are experienced in reading whatever might appear on the screen.

Without the need for third-party labs, patients and doctors can find the best diagnosis and treatment plan right away. The streamlined process produces quick results and minimizes how many costly steps might wait between a patient and their life-changing diagnosis.

3. It Has Soft-Tissue Visualization

One of the benefits of ultrasound technology is soft-tissue visualization. Doctors can see contrast without harmful radiation to identify and diagnose issues throughout the body. It’s a significant medical advantage for humans and animals, so the tech is multipurpose across medical fields.

The soft-tissue visualization can also focus on blood flow. The imaging identifies veins and muscle tissue to easily identify potential problems with blood flow like clotting or swelling. It can provide more specific answers than other testing like an ankle-brachial index (ABI). There’s also no need for iodine dyes like those used for a computed tomography angiograph (CT) or magnetic resonance angiograph (MRA).

4. It’s a Noninvasive Option

Many modern testing options require invasive procedures or dyes. It can be too intensive for some patients or time-consuming for others. Ultrasound noninvasively visualizes, monitors and performs measurements in the human body. The treatment’s easy to perform for everyone involved, making it an excellent resource for medical professionals.

5. It Doesn’t Risk Allergic Reactions

Some treatments aren’t available to patients with specific allergies. They may not respond well to dyes or have a bad reaction to medications that make procedures possible. Ultrasounds don’t pose a severe health risk in the same way.

The ultrasound wand doesn’t contain ingredients that trigger allergies. Even if used within body cavities, patients have little to no risk of encountering a severe reaction. The only potential danger is the gel used to make the imaging clearer. One study found that an older man with contact dermatitis developed a purpuric cutaneous presentation where his skin contacted the gel. However, the case didn’t influence the safety for general clinical use.

6. It’s Relatively Inexpensive for Clinics

Because ultrasounds have been around for so long, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to other machinery used in doctors’ offices and clinics. Medical facilities can easily afford them even if the ultrasound is brand new because the technology is easily accessible.

The only time they will become more costly is if a clinic needs its ultrasound machine to have more high-tech features for specialized exams. More advanced software with additional features will cost more for clinics and their patients.

7. It’s Insurance-Provided Care

Most insurance providers cover ultrasound testing. They’re medically necessary for achieving the correct diagnosis and maintaining a patient’s overall health. Insurance often covers unique ultrasound features as well, like keepsake sonograms for pregnant patients who are prescribed a sonogram.

Insurance providers rarely leave ultrasound fees entirely to the patient. Contact your insurance company if you’re unsure about how much you will need to pay for an upcoming exam. It can ask questions that rule out the rare cases where your exam will be out-of-pocket and give you a better idea of how much your appointment will cost.

8. It Can Locate Numerous Diseases

People often think of pregnancy when they imagine conditions that require ultrasound imaging, but that isn’t the only time it might be necessary. Ultrasound machinery can also diagnose symptoms related to conditions like:

  • Gallstones
  • Cysts
  • Abnormal growths

The transducer wand can press against different organs to capture clear images, so they help spot anything that’s causing pain or unordinary lumps.

9. It Travels Easily

Some medical technology is too bulky or heavy to lift. Dialysis machines and ventilators must stay within the same building, while laboratory equipment that makes testing possible should remain in a single room. Ultrasound machines are much easier to move because they have a simple shape and come on wheels.

That mobility makes ultrasounds a crucial resource for facilities, hospitals and mobile clinics. Depending on where medical professionals need to see their patients, ultrasound machines can easily be transported between rooms or locations.

10. It’s Easy to Learn

Ultrasound techniques aren’t something you can learn by picking up the wand and giving it a try. Medical professionals have to take courses and practice imaging before ever helping their patients. Although the class may take weeks or months, it’s relatively easy to add to someone’s professional abilities.

People in different medical fields can take classes at any point in their careers to update their procedural knowledge or add ultrasound imaging to their skillset. Courses are also available to anyone in retirement who wants to work with nonprofit clinics as an ultrasound technician.

Discover the Benefits of Ultrasound Technology

Ultrasound technology delivers many benefits for patients and doctors alike. Consider these examples as you decide the best course of treatment for your health concerns. Ultrasound imaging can be an excellent resource if everyone understands its many purposes and gets the most out of this testing.

Extra Costs To Consider When Buying A New Car

Buying a new car is exciting, even if you buy a new car every five years. Although, many drivers overlook some of the extra costs involved and end up buying a car that’s a bit out of their budget.

Unfortunately, the vehicle’s purchase price is not the only thing you will have to pay to own the car. For this reason, there are several disadvantages of buying a new car that need to be considered.

So, if you’re buying a new car, we’ve listed the extra costs you should add when determining your budget.

Insurance

Finding the best auto insurance has become easier than ever before; online comparison tools will do all the mundane work for you. As its law, you will need to have insurance on a new or used vehicle.

Some aspects can cause your premiums to increase, such as age and a record of previous accidents. Fortunately, there are ways to effectively lower your auto insurance premiums, such as shopping around for the best deal, increasing your deductible, and cutting unnecessary coverage.

Deposit

All car dealerships vary in deposit value. The average deposit is fifteen to twenty percent of the total value.

You will need to have the deposit amount available to be approved for the vehicle unless you purchase the car without financial aid. And while having the deposit available is essential, you will also need a good credit score to be approved for vehicle financing or personal loan offerings.

Fuel

Electric cars are making a significant impact in the car industry, but if you can buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, you will still need to spend money on the power to charge it. When it comes to traditional gas or diesel cars, you will need to determine your vehicle’s fuel consumption.

The prices of gas and diesel have seen the most considerable increase in recent times, and with that, it is essentially a great idea to look into eco-friendly cars.

Maintenance

Buying a new car often comes with a service plan, but that is limited to a certain amount of miles, and some issues aren’t covered. Once your warranty has expired, it’s up to you to pay for all the maintenance.

But on the bright side, many companies offer service plans when your current plan has ended. Finding out if the cost of spares is affordable before you decide to purchase is essential, as often the maintenance price can be extremely high in some cars.

Repairs

Suppose you are involved in an accident. Your insurance might not pay to repair certain parts of your vehicle. So, you should find out exactly what your insurance is held liable for and plan accordingly for future events.

As with many repairs to modern cars, even entry-level vehicles can be expensive. Breakdowns can occur in brand new vehicles, and accidents can happen. With this, you will need extra money in your bank at all times to ensure that you can pay for repairs that are not covered by your insurance.

Always ensure that you never overlook all the extra costs of buying a new vehicle. Budgeting for the costs mentioned above will ensure you are never left unable to afford repairs, fuel costs, or other expenses that come along with owning a vehicle.

 

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

How to Handle Property Damage Claims After a Natural Disaster

Unfortunately, natural disasters can strike at any time. Whether your property is damaged by a storm, flood, wildfire, hurricane, or another natural event, it is important that you get yourself and your family to safety as soon as possible. Once the disaster has passed, you can focus on clearing up the aftermath and filing a claim with your insurer. To help you be prepared, here is a look at how to handle property damage claims after natural disaster has struck.

Contact a Lawyer

Even when you are insured for property damage caused by a natural disaster, unfortunately, insurance companies do not always payout, even when you hold a valid policy. So, as well as contacting your insurer after being affected by a natural disaster, you should contact a law firm that has experience in dealing with property damage claims. Law firms like Sibley Dolman Gipe in Florida know how to deal with insurance companies to help you get the money and protection you require after facing an awful natural disaster.

Contact Your Insurer

If your home insurance policy covers things like damage caused by floods, hurricanes, and fires, you will be able to make a claim. You should contact your insurer as soon as possible – never leave it for more than sixty days. Your policy may cover things like hotel expenses if you are evacuated from your home, as well as financial compensation for the damage to your property. If you are not insured, it is best to get insured. But, if you are uninsured when disaster strikes, you may be able to still get help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Take Photos of the Damage

When it is safe to do so, you should check for structural damage to your home. As you inspect your property, it is a good idea to take photos as you go along. Photograph things like broken windows, roof leaks, and any other significant damage caused by the natural disaster. That way, you have a good record to show your insurance company.

Accompany Your Insurer During the Property Inspection

When the insurer arrives to inspect the damage to your property, it is important you walk alongside them during the inspection so that you can point out anything that the inspector may miss. This ensures that you get coverage for all damage to your property, not just what was observed by the insurance inspector.

Only Repair Essentials

Once the natural disaster has passed, you will probably want to make repairs straight away. However, you should wait until your insurance company has inspected the property. It is fine to do essential repairs to make the property stable. But, your insurer needs to know exactly what damage was caused and view it first-hand. So, wait to complete repairs until after the insurance inspection. You should also keep receipts for any repairs that have been made.

Know the Timeline of Your Insurance Claim

It is important you understand your insurer’s timeline so that you are not left waiting around. Beware that insurer deadlines can change after natural disasters, but your insurance company is obliged to respond to your claim within fourteen days. At that point, your insurance company could ask for more information about the damage or require you to fill out a proof-of-loss form. The next step involves the insurer reviewing your claim. It can be accepted or rejected, which is why it is a good idea to contact a lawyer early on. The review process typically takes up to thirty days. If your claim is accepted, the insurance company usually has ninety days to send you the compensation.

Kaelen Felix illustrates wildfire article for 360 MAGAZINE.

Innovating Wildfire Insurance

The Innovative Finance for National Forests grant program, supports partner organizations developing out of the box financial solutions to some of forest management’s most vexing challenges. One partner, The Nature Conservancy, focused on using insurance premium reductions to incentivize forest conservation.

Property insurance premiums for communities, businesses, and homeowners are based on numerous factors and inputs of actuarial science. Some of those inputs include the quantity and history of claims in an area, the location itself, property value. Global warming? While not directly, studies have linked climate change to another risk factor considered in calculating property insurance premiums: wildfire.

Trends in wildfire activity show that fires are growing bigger and more intense across the western United States, destroying more structures with increasing associated costs. In 2020 there were 58,950 wildfires, affecting 10.1 million acres, in contrast to 18,229 wildfires and 1.3 million acres affected in 1983. The ever-growing risk to companies, communities and private landowners has drastically increased insurance premiums for properties at risk of wildfire, and it is expected that those premiums will only continue to rise, making insurance policies unaffordable for many.

But that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. Recently,  The Nature Conservancy, supported by an Innovative Finance for National Forests grant from the USDA Forest Service, the National Forest Foundation, and U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, focused its efforts on proving that ecological forest management could lower insurance premiums.  

“Forested lands in the west and adjacent communities are at risk of increasingly severe wildfires,” said Dave Jones, senior director of environmental risk at The Nature Conservancy and prior Insurance Commissioner for the state of California. “Wildfires are taking more lives, causing more injuries, destroying more homes and other structures, and at the same time, insurers are declining to write insurance policies for those facing substantial wildfire risk.”

State and federal land agencies and conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy already employ proven methods of ecological forestry management practices – such as prescribed burning and forest thinning – to reduce the risk of severe wildfires. These treatments increase forest health and productivity while also reducing the amount of organic material or “fuel” available to burn.

Private property and asset owners, including businesses, public agencies, and communities, also stand to benefit from those same practices. This led The Nature Conservancy to develop an innovative financial solution that would both serve to mitigate severe wildfire risk, thereby lowering insurance premiums.

The project, at its foundation, explored how creating more wildfire-resistant landscapes through ecological management could translate into lower insurance premiums for policyholders.

The Wildfire Resilience Insurance project demonstrated that this reduction in risk and loss can be modeled by insurers,” said Jones, “With the reduction in expected losses due to severe wildfires, the amount of premium which is needed to be collected by insurers to cover those losses declines as well.”

The Nature Conservancy used its French Meadows Forest Restoration Project, a 28,000-acre ecological forestry project in the Tahoe National Forest in Placer County, California, as a test case for the insurance study.

Partnering with global insurance and risk advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, current insurance models were modified to account for ecological forest management.

The study found that there were reductions in premiums for various types of commercial and residential insurance.  For example, The Nature Conservancy and Willis found that 81,000 homes would see a total annual premium savings of 41% or $21 million a year.

The Nature Conservancy also explored how those same insurance savings can be captured and used to fund forest treatment. In most cases, insurance premium savings were sufficient to fund additional ecological forest management projects, leading to further savings and an even more resilient landscape.

What’s more, Jones said the approach is scalable and can be implemented in other states where forests are subject to similar fire behavior as the forests of the Sierra Nevada.

“The approach is applicable wherever there are landscapes at risk of wildfire and where ecological forest treatments can reduce those risks,” said Jones. “Now that we have demonstrated, for the first time, that insurance modeling can take into account the risk reduction benefit of ecological forest treatment, we expect insurers to begin to take up the results of the Wildfire Resilience Insurance project in their own modeling and pricing of wildfire risk.”

Click here for more information on the Wildfire Resiliency Insurance project. To learn more about the Innovation Finance for National Forest grant program and how to apply, visit the National Forest Foundation.

graph via Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Pandemic Pause: Americans Cut Driving Nearly In Half In Early Stage of COVID Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions in the spring of 2020, such as stay-at-home orders, led to a drastic drop in U.S. road travel and a sharp increase in the number of people who chose to stay home all day. While the dramatic change in traffic patterns was widely noted last year, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s New American Driving Survey (2020) provides compelling month-by-month data that examines the types of trips and the characteristics of the people who altered their driving habits. According to the research, the average number of all daily personal car trips plunged 45% in April 2020 and 40% for trips by all modes of transportation combined. The dip in travel moderated later in the year but remained below 2019 levels.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our commute habits and patterns in the United States,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Findings based on our survey data provided some contextual information to understand better how this unfortunate event has affected the way we travel.”

Daily trips for all modes of transportation fell from an average of 3.7 trips per day in 2019 to 2.2 trips in April 2020, before slightly recovering. After abruptly decreasing in April 2020, daily trips by U.S. residents rebounded somewhat in May and June and then remained at approximately 20%–25% below their 2019 levels during the second half of 2020.

The survey results show that early in the pandemic, reductions in travel were most substantial among teens and young adults (ages 16–24) and among those ages 65 and older. But later in 2020, reductions in travel were more uniform across various age groups.

Other key findings

  • Daily Car trips: (as a driver or passenger) fell from 3.2 pre-pandemic to 1.8 in April 2020, before rebounding slightly to 2.6 trips for the rest of the time period.
  • All travel by any mode: Daily trips in April 2020 by people living in urban areas dropped 42%,  versus 25% for their rural counterparts, before leveling off to a 20%-30% reduction in both groups for the rest of the survey period.
  • Travel by transit, taxi, or rideshare: The proportion of people who reported making any trips by transit, taxi, or rideshare plummeted from 5.5% pre-pandemic to 1.7% in April of 2020, before leveling off at approximately 2.4% for the remainder of the year.
  • Commuter Travel: Work-related travel by all transportation modes dropped by 40% in April 2020, likely reflecting a mix of layoffs, job losses, and telecommuting. Commuting trips made by workers on days when they worked decreased by approximately 22% relative to pre-pandemic levels as well. In the following months, commuting trips returned to approximately 26% below pre-pandemic levels among the population as a whole, likely due to increases in the proportion of Americans who were working. Commuting remained approximately 25% below pre-pandemic levels among workers on days when they worked, indicative of continued widespread telecommuting. 
  • Staying At Home: The percentage of the population who remained in the same place all day fluctuated between 9% and 14% before the pandemic but increased to 26% in April 2020, before stabilizing at levels slightly higher than those before the pandemic for the remainder of the year.  The proportion of respondents who stayed in the same place all day quadrupled among those with the highest levels of education (from 5% in the second half of 2019 to 21% in April 2020), whereas it doubled (from 15% to 30%) among those who did not attend college.
  • Marital Status: The percentage of married people staying home nearly tripled from 8% in 2019 to 22% in April 2020, versus 12% and 29% for unmarried people. The numbers for both groups remained elevated over pre-pandemic levels for the remainder of the year.

Despite fewer cars on the road and more people staying home, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently estimated that 38,680 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2020—the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007. It is an increase of about 7.2 percent over 2019.

“It’s counterintuitive to see the rate of traffic deaths spike when so many of us were driving less often,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy. “As the U.S. climbs out of the COVID-19 pandemic, highway safety officials will need to double down on curbing speeding, substance-impaired driving, and failure to buckle up.”

Methodology

This study examined data from the AAA Foundation’s New American Driving Survey (New ADS), which surveys a representative sample of U.S. residents ages 16 years or older to collect detailed information about all of the travel they did on the day before the interview. The current study examines the mean daily number of trips made by U.S. residents each month among 7,873 respondents who were interviewed between July 1, 2019 (start of data collection for the New ADS) and December 31, 2020. In the New ADS, a trip refers to any travel from one place to another.

About AAA 

AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance, and financial services through its federation of 30 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, click HERE.

Risks of Snacking While Driving for use by 360 Magazine

RISKS OF SNACKING WHILE DRIVING

As drivers around the country excitedly hit the road for their summer vacations after being stuck at home for the past year, they’re thinking about fuel—not just fuel for their cars, but also fuel for their bodies. They’re getting that fuel from a variety of snacks they indulge in while behind the wheel—from sweet to savory to salty options.

A recent Insure.com survey on favorite foods to eat while driving, asks 1,000 drivers what they prefer to munch on in the car, and the majority of them, 39%, say candy bars are their favorite driving food.

Other popular snacks for those with a sweet tooth include doughnuts (18%), ice cream cones (7%) and muffins (5%). On the other hand, those who crave something more savory turn to French fries (37%), breakfast sandwiches (25%), chicken nuggets (23%) and hamburgers (19%), while the more health conscious report that fresh fruit (20%), granola or energy bars (20%) and yogurt (2%) are their favorite driving fuel.

Consequences of Snacking While Driving

Although 74% of drivers say they realize eating behind the wheel is a form of distracted driving, they have several reasons for doing it anyway:

  • Staying on schedule during a road trip — 22%
  • Convenience — 21%
  • Long commutes — 20%
  • Saving time on the road to spend more time at the destination — 19%
  • Not having time to eat at home or at a restaurant — 13%
  • Rarely cook — 5%

Whatever the reason drivers have for munching while motoring, there can be serious consequences. While 59% of drivers say they’ve managed to avoid an accident and a ticket despite stuffing their faces on the road, others have not been so lucky:

  • 15% nearly missed having an accident
  • 12% had a fender bender (damage under $2,000)
  • 6% had a major accident (damage over $2,000)
  • 4% were pulled over by police for a traffic violation

Eating while driving can also raise insurance rates, even among the best car insurance companies. Insure.com rate analysis finds that those with a distracted driving ticket on their record see a 22% average increase in their rates, as well as the loss of their safe driver discounts, which can shave 10% to 25% off premiums.

“Eating while driving may satisfy your hunger, but it could leave your wallet empty if you have to pay for car repairs, tickets and higher insurance rates,” notes Les Masterson, managing editor for Insure.com. “If you do have tickets or accidents that increase your auto insurance rates, be sure to shop around and get quotes from multiple car insurance companies. Although your current insurer may raise your rates, you still may be able to get a deal from another company.”

Analysis for use by 360 Magazine

New Survey on Vacation Habits

After a year of lockdowns, Americans are ready to hit the road for their summer vacations—and memories of vacations past are fueling their wanderlust. That’s actually been recorded in surveys, including one by Carinsurance.com. According to results, 79% of Americans have taken a family road trip in the last five years and 70% of those families report having the time of their lives during those vacations. 

They’ve also tested which method of transportation people use for travelling. The majority of Americans (68%) prefer road trips for summer travel, compared to 15% of respondents in the annual survey of 1,000 drivers who say they would rather fly, and 17% who only favor car travel now because of the pandemic and expect to resume flying eventually. 

The research also highlights what family road trip experiences are like and how drivers feel when on the road, how they cope with traffic, and what types of mishaps they’ve experienced due to poor road conditions. 

As a result of peoples’ gravitation towards driving, there have been adverse effects. According to the Department of Transportation, the conditions of roads around the country are getting worse. This results in many drivers sustaining major (30%) or minor (30%) car damage because of poor road conditions, 15% hit objects, and 14% get into an accident with another car. Just one accident can raise your yearly car insurance rate by 32%, or $450 a year, on average.

24% of people planned to take a road trip last year, but their driving plans were wrecked by COVID. Another top reason for skipping a family road trip is work: 20% of respondents say they can’t get time off, though that’s down from last year’s 23% percent. Other common reasons for avoiding road trips include high gas prices (20%) and difficulty with hotels (10%). Another 11% percent of people complain about spending so much time trapped in the car with family members.

Dealing with traffic woes

During their trips, 53% of drivers say they are relaxed and content, up from 37% who felt this way last year. How do Americans cope when they experience traffic delays?

  • 69% listen to music
  • 30% listen to news
  • 25% talk on the phone
  • 23% listen to audiobooks or podcasts
  • 21% check social media on the phone
  • 18% listen to sports radio
  • 17% text on their phone
  • 11% get out of the car and walked around if in stopped traffic for extended time
  • 10% eat an entire meal
  • 9% talk with strangers in other cars to pass the time

Conclusion

People love to travel and that’s only expected to increase as the pandemic begins to come to a close. Despite everything, people still love to travel, and now more than ever people love being on the open road, even if it comes with complications.

Money & Relationship illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Money Issues × Relationships

Are Money Issues Ruining Your Relationship?

Read on for 5 tips to resolve them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with families’ finances through lost jobs, squeezed budgets, increased debt, and missed payments.

Money and the decisions spouses make with it are one of the main sources of stress among couples, and sometimes money issues end relationships or cause divorce. But differences can be solved or managed if couples learn to listen to each other and work as a team to formulate a sensible plan, says financial planner Aaron Leak, the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. 

“No matter how long you have been together, financial issues can wreak havoc on a committed relationship,” Leak says. “When couples don’t agree about spending and saving habits, it causes arguments and resentment.

“But understanding what you’re fighting about and why helps you and your partner come up with solutions. By being transparent and honest with each other about your finances, you can not only prevent arguments that strain your relationship, but you will strengthen it.”

Leak offers these tips for couples to address and resolve financial issues:

  • Understand your money styles. Think of some extreme examples of money styles in your circle. Like your friend, the foodie, who won’t touch a bottle of wine that costs less than $75. Or your sister who constantly surfs Amazon. Or your mom who washes aluminum foil, then folds and reuses it. Everyone has a money style, and it’s helpful to talk about it without any name-calling or labeling involved. Understanding your partner’s spending habits often involves a deep dive into money fears, scarcity memories and childhood traumas. Come up with a spending plan that works for both of you.
  • Decide how to divvy up the bills and save for future goals. You can both put all your earnings in a joint account and pay everything out of that. Or you can split bills down the middle and keep the rest of your own earnings for yourselves. Once you have decided how the bills get paid, you need to devise a plan for saving for your long-term goals. Remember that you need to work closely together as life changes arise – such as one of you losing a job or cutting back on hours to care for a parent. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that contingency plans are always advisable.
  • Create personal spending allowances that stay personal. Having some personal money that’s designated just for you each month can really help how you feel about your relationship. It can also help avoid relationship-ruining behavior like “financial infidelity,” when one spouse hides money or purchases from the other. The personal spending allowance gives each partner the chance to spend their money however they wish, no questions asked.
  • Face and eliminate undesirable debt. Couples should employ a strategy to pay off debt, such as paying off the higher-interest debt first or paying off the smallest loans first (the snowball method). Payments on credit cards, car loans, and student loans can devour monthly budgets, so the sooner they are paid off, the better.
  • Set a budget you can live with. One of the best ways to keep in sync with your partner financially is to have a budget as part of your overall plan. The budget includes your household bills, your personal spending allowance, your debt-paying strategy, and your monthly budget for long-term goals like retirement.

“Relationships take consistent work in order to be happy and successful, and money management is a big part of it,” Leak says. “The best way to be sure you and your spouse are staying on the same page financially is to talk honestly and without judgment.”

About Aaron Leak

Aaron Leak has 16 years of experience in the financial industry and is the founder of ECL Private Wealth Management. He holds Series 7, 6, 63 and 66 licenses as well as life, health, and property and casualty insurance licenses.

relationship illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Insurance for Valentine’s Day Let-Downs

Survey shows percentage of those suffering Valentine let-downs, finds women caught cheating more often than men, and more.

The leading online resource for health, auto, home and life insurance for more than 20 years, Insurance, recently surveyed 2,000 individuals to determine how frequently Valentine’s Day disasters occur. The good news: most (83%) report escaping relationship drama around the holiday. But, for those who endure heartache, finding highlights include:

  • 27% broke up with someone
  • 20% had a serious argument
  • 65% of men caught partner cheating (vs. 35% of women discovering an unfaithful partner)
  • 52% of men initiate break ups (vs. 48% of women calling it quits)

The complete survey results are available: 5 heartbreaking scenarios—insurance after divorce.

“It’s understandable that insurance may not be top of mind when going through a stressful break up or divorce,” acknowledges Michelle Megna, editorial director for Insurance. “But failing to assess life, homeowners, auto and home insurance can be costly. Our guide makes it easy for people to understand where they may be exposed to financial risks so they can efficiently make any necessary insurance coverage changes.”

Insurance checklist during divorce

Life insurance: Consider changing the beneficiary or setting up a life insurance trust for the benefit of any children.

Home insurance: Ensure the correct name is on the policy and/or secure renters insurance if moving out of a shared home. The guide explains what to do if homeowners are underwater on their mortgage and/or leaving a home unoccupied.

Auto insurance: It is possible to stay on the same auto insurance policy until car ownership is determined. But, assess your estranged spouse’s driving habits, speeding tickets and/or accidents. It may be more cost-effective to separate your auto coverage before finalizing a divorce.

Health insurance: If an individual wants to remain on a former spouse’s health plan after divorce, it may be possible to obtain COBRA coverage for up to 36 months. COBRA is generally a high-cost option and it may be more cost effective to purchase an individual high-deductible health plan.

The report includes an interactive map showing divorce and marriage rates by state, along with their differences from national averages.

Megna is available to elaborate on break up survey findings and answer questions about how people can best assess any insurance coverage changes that may be important in the wake of divorce.

About Insurance.com

Insurance is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: QNST), a leader in providing performance marketplace technologies and services to the financial services and home services industries. QuinStreet is a pioneer in delivering online marketplace solutions to match searchers with brands in digital media. The company is committed to providing consumers with the information and tools they need to research, find and select the products and brands that meet their needs.  Insurance.com is a member of the company’s expert research and publishing division.

Insurance.com is a trusted online resource dedicated to educating consumers on auto, home, health and life insurance, developing relationships directly with carriers to offer consumers comparison rates from multiple companies. Since 2001, Insurance.com’s industry-first online tools, data-based reporting and experienced experts have helped consumers make informed insurance-related decisions, so they can choose the right insurance for their individual needs.

Kaelen Felix Land Rover

Does Car Insurance Cover Hail Damage to My Car?

On average, the cost of repair for hail damage to a car is about $2,500

If you recently had a bad storm that damaged your car, you might not have the money to repair the car, especially if you weren’t expecting that extra cost. 

However, in some cases, you could turn to your insurance to help you out. But when does that work? We’ll break down everything you need to know, so make sure you keep reading!

Your Coverage

Before you can submit a claim for the insurance company to cover your hail damage, you’ll need to check your insurance policy first to figure out if you have a hail damage claim.

If you only have liability coverage, then you’re not covered for hail damage. Liability coverage will only protect you if you cause damage to someone else’s vehicle in an accident. 

However, if you have comprehensive coverage, you might be able to submit a claim. This will let you submit a claim to have any damage to your car paid for. This includes things like an animal damaging your car, a tree falling on it, glass shattering, or hail damage. 

If you know that there is a big storm coming, you may not be able to automatically sign up for comprehensive insurance. Insurance companies normally put a hold on when you can sign up so that you don’t do it just for catastrophic events. This is why you should have insurance at all times. 

The Deductible

If you have comprehensive insurance, you’ll likely also have a deductible. This is the amount you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket before the insurance steps in and covers some of it. 

If you have a higher deductible, you might also have a lower premium, so consider that if you’re new to signing up for comprehensive insurance. 

However, if you live in an area where hail storms happen often, you’ll have to figure out whether you can afford the out-of-pocket deductible if you need to submit a claim. 

In some instances, the insurance company might waive the deductible if it affects the glass of your car. 

Your Premium

Whenever you make a claim, it gets added to your insurance record. Every time you submit a claim, it could end up affecting what you pay for car insurance, but that’s only if you submit a lot of claims over a short period of time.

Deciding to file a claim will depend on how much damage you have. If the damage isn’t that bad, it might save you money, in the long run, to just pay for it yourself. However, if your car is going to have thousands of dollars in hail damage and you don’t have the money to pay for it, it might be better to risk the higher premium later on.

How to File a Claim

If you decide that you do want to file a claim for hail damage to car, you should do it as soon as possible. 

You’ll do it the same way that you’ve filed other claims for your car before. Contact the insurance company either on the phone or online. You should do it as soon as the storm is gone.

If it’s a large storm, your neighbors in the area will likely be doing the same thing, so you want to make sure you try and get in as soon as possible to avoid waiting for hours to reach someone. 

Once you actually get to file the claim, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster to look at the damage and figure out how much they will pay you to fix the hail damage. 

How to Fix the Damage

Whether the insurance company decides to help you or not, you’ll still need to then fix the damages. 

If your car is already paid for and the damage isn’t too bad, you could decide to just leave the dents. But if you still have a loan on the car, you’ll need to find someone to repair it. 

For those who did file a claim, the claim adjuster will help you find an auto body shop and get an estimate for the repair. For those who didn’t have the insurance to cover it, you can find your own auto body shop and get quotes on your own.

If you’re going to do that, make sure you shop around so that you can find the best deal possible. 

How to Protect it in the Future

To avoid all of this in the future, you’ll also have to figure out how to protect your car from future hail storms.

If you live somewhere that constantly has hail storms, you should look into preventative measures. Some of them include just buying a car cover to prevent hail damage that you can keep in the back of your trunk. If a hail storm pops up, you can easily pull over and cover your car to help reduce the impact from the hail.

Weather apps can also be useful and send you alerts when a storm is about to pop up. If you have enough time, you should try and find a garage or a covered area to help stop the hail from damaging your car. 

Learn More About Hail Damage to a Car

These are only a few things to know about hail damage to a car, but there are many more tips on how to get it fixed.

We know that dealing with car problems of any kind are a nuisance and can be stressful, especially if you don’t know how to solve it. That’s why we’re here to help you!

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