Posts tagged with "insurance"

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!

If you enjoyed this article, make sure that you explore our website to find more articles just like this one!

Four reasons why Original Medicare is too expensive

By Christian Worstell, licensed insurance agent and Senior Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com.

As the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period approaches (AEP, also called the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period), some Medicare beneficiaries may think the enrollment period for private Medicare plans is not relevant to them because they can’t afford a private Medicare plan. I’m here to tell you otherwise. It may actually be Original Medicare that you can’t afford.

There are at least four reasons why Original Medicare — Part A and Part B — may actually be harsher on your wallet than private Medicare plans like a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

1. Original Medicare doesn’t have an annual out-of-pocket spending limit

Original Medicare offers a lot of benefits. But one thing you won’t find is an out-of-pocket spending limit for all those benefits.

Neither Medicare Part A nor Part B contain an annual out-of-pocket spending limit. That means there is no limit to the amount of money you can spend on Medicare deductibles, copayments and coinsurance over the course of the year. Depending on what types of health care services you need, these costs can add up quickly. Meanwhile, privately sold Medicare Advantage plans are required by law to include an annual out-of-pocket spending limit. For 2021, this limit is $7,550 for the year. And due to market competition, some plans may feature limits that are less than that amount. 

Once you spend $7,500 on deductibles, copayments and coinsurance for qualified care, your plan pays for 100% of your out-of-pocket costs for covered care for the remainder of the year. 

2. Many Medicare Advantage plans feature $0 premiums

90% of Medicare Advantage plans in 2020 include prescription drug coverage. These plans are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans. In 2020, nearly half (49%) of all MA-PD plans came with no monthly premium. If you have a $0 premium Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan, the only monthly premium you likely have to pay is your Medicare Part B premium, which you would still have to pay anyway if you stick with Original Medicare. (Most beneficiaries aren’t required to pay a Part A premium. If you are, you’d still have to pay those premiums if you have a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan). 

So with a $0 premium MA-PD plan, there’s no extra monthly premium for you to pay. Your premiums are the same as they would be in Original Medicare.

3. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits 

For as much as Original Medicare covers, it has several glaring holes: it doesn’t typically cover routine dental or vision coverage, and it doesn’t typically offer prescription drug coverage. 

But dental, vision and prescription drug coverage are three extra benefits that some Medicare Advantage plans may offer. As mentioned above, 9 in 10 Medicare Advantage plans covered prescription drugs in 2020. If you are enrolled only in Original Medicare, how — and how much — are you paying for things like routine dental care, vision care and prescriptions? 

A Medicare Advantage plan that bundles these benefits into one plan may be more cost effective for you.

4. Medicare drug coverage can help you save money

I mentioned drug coverage above, but given the skyrocketing cost of medications, it’s worth repeating. Paying for your prescription drugs entirely out of pocket can put you at a substantial financial risk. Medicare beneficiaries have two choices for Medicare drug coverage: enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage, or enroll in a standalone Medicare Part D plan. Both offer prescription drug coverage with typically low copayments for generic drugs. 

Depending on the plans available where you live, you may be able to find a plan that offers more benefits at the same monthly premium cost with annual spending protection. If you think the Annual Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to you because Original Medicare is all you can afford, you may want to think again.

Why you should speak to a lawyer following a personal injury 

Personal injury claims may relate to any injury where the person or company responsible for your physical or mental suffering could have reasonably done more to prevent the injury. There are many different ways this can come about, whether it be a slip in the workplace or a car accident that wasn’t your fault (find a car accident lawyer in the city of Chicago if you have been affected). Let’s look at why you should speak to a lawyer following a personal injury. 

The legal system is complicated

Beginning a claim for personal injury compensation is not as straightforward as you might think. The process is, in fact, multifaceted. For example, the outcome of any claim will be based on evidence – where there is little or no evidence, the courts may not see fit to reward compensation. This means that starting any case begins with gathering relevant evidence. Next, the case must be filed in the appropriate way with the courts, and the other side must be informed of your intention to prosecute. If you don’t have an in-depth understanding of the legal system, speak to a lawyer from https://www.vosslawfirm.com/practice_areas/fire-insurance-claim-lawyers.cfm for more information about beginning a claim for personal injury compensation.

Claims move faster when there is structure

All too often, people believe that their claim for personal injury compensation will, sort of, just, take care of itself, as long as they make their situation known to the person or company responsible for having caused the injury. Unfortunately, you may find that the person or company responsible for having caused your injury is slow to progress your grievance towards a mutually agreeable solution. In essence, you could find that following an initial interest in your well-being, their interest begins to wane, and you could face unanswered emails and unreturned calls. By speaking to a personal injury lawyer, you will be in a position to understand the structure of the claims process, meaning you will be able to stop relying on the other side to do the right thing and you will instead be able to put in motion a meaningful progression towards the outcome you desire.

Challenge the other side’s valuation of your claim

Some people may not realise that when an offer is made by the other side, the quoted settlement figure is not necessarily the final figure that must be accepted. The whole point in the offer is to bring the case to a close, thus avoiding court and therefore keeping costs down (the majority of personal injury compensation claims do not progress to court for this reason). By speaking to a personal injury lawyer who has experience in your type of claim, you stand to learn more about what kind of settlement offer represents a fair valuation of your claim and what kind of settlement offers fall short of bringing your claim to a close.

Lawyers have a greater understanding of what to include in your claim

Your personal injury compensation claim is not limited to claiming for obvious things such as lost earnings and damage to personal property. By speaking to a lawyer, you could learn that, depending on your circumstances, your claim could include factors such as ongoing and future medical bills. Always speak to a lawyer for more information if you are unsure.    

Who Is at Fault in a Rear End Collision in Texas?

In rear end collisions, there is generally only one person at fault, at least by 51%: the driver who did the rear-ending. So, in most cases in Texas, the driver who does the rear-ending is going to end up with their insurance company covering the costs and them being liable for further damages. 

If you’ve been rear-ended and the other driver was at fault, it’s crucial to collect information about the driver at the scene. You can follow the link to learn more about the steps you need to take after a vehicle accident. You will need any evidence you can collect if you need to prove fault in court. 

Texas vehicle accident liability laws fall under the category of “comparative fault,” whereby each driver is liable based on the percentage by which they were responsible for the crash. In this state, If one driver is determined to be more than 51% at fault for the accident, that driver is not eligible to receive any compensation from liability damages. 

What are the laws regarding rear-end accidents in Texas?

Any car accident is a huge pain to deal with. Even if no one is hurt, damage to one car or another can open you up to liabilities and lengthy civil suits. In 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Traffic Deaths report estimated that vehicle accidents caused over $39 billion in damages. Even more troubling were the 3,610 lives lost in the same year in Texas due to car accidents.

Before you get behind the wheel of a car in Texas, you are legally obligated to carry insurance. This insurance will, by law, carry a minimum coverage limit of $25,000 in property damage and $30,000 in bodily injury per person, or $60,000 in bodily injury per accident. This is the bare minimum, and your  insurance coverage may go higher. 

What kind of follow-up should I do if I’ve been rear-ended?

If you have been rear-ended, and particularly if there has been some substantial damage to your person or vehicle as a result of the accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who has handled cases like yours. They can give you some sense of what to expect and deal with the insurance companies. It is not a good idea to deal with the insurance company of the at-fault driver yourself. 

Why? In short, the insurance company of the driver who is at fault is probably going to try to shortchange you on the settlement offer. If you get yourself a good attorney who deals with the insurance company directly, not only will you likely receive a higher settlement offer, you will also have a decent chance at a successful suit. 

What should I do if I am the guilty party?

If you rear-ended someone in Texas, the possibility that you’ll be found liable is rather high. It is always a good idea to hire legal counsel to represent you if you find yourself on the wrong end of a civil lawsuit, because a case like this can drag on for months if not years. 

There are ways that you and your attorney can put together a case to argue that you weren’t at fault:

  • If the car that you struck stopped suddenly, in a move that is illegal on the road, you could make a case that you are less than 51% at fault, or even not at all at fault 
  • If the driver you struck drove erratically, swerved in front of you, you have a stronger case 
  • If the other driver was intoxicated, your case becomes quite a bit easier. However, even if the other driver is arrested for a DUI, you may still want to retain outside counsel to ensure that you can recover as much damages as possible.
  • You may also be able to demonstrate a mechanical failure in the car, such as a sudden brake problem or electrical issue that rendered braking impossible

No matter who is at fault in an accident, your attorneys may still be able to negotiate a better deal for you. A lawyer will also be able to give you an accurate value of the damages so you won’t be left short of what you need to cover the bills. 

Doctor, Coronavirus, Health, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

6 Proactive Ways a Hospital Billing Company Can Maximize Your Revenue Collection

By MedcareMSO

The federal government has brought about a lot of changes in the US healthcare system since the past few years. These changes have introduced a lot of challenges for providers and patients alike. Many aspects of healthcare reform including; the introduction of more time-consuming, value-based compensation models and the frequent alterations to hospital medical billing rules and regulations can cause a significant range of revenue loss for providers across the United States.

Therefore, if providers fail to stay up-to-date on hospital billing rules and regulations result in providers leaving approximately $125 billion in uncollected revenue each year. Specialty practitioners like radiologists face even greater difficulties due to the complexity of their billing procedures.

Simultaneously, patients can’t afford increasingly expensive healthcare services due to high-deductible plans. Therefore, hospitals should partner with a reliable hospital billing company that can help them guide them strategies to help them encounter these challenges.

How can a hospital billing company help you over hurdles?

Let’s paint a dismal picture of the financial health of the industry with authentic data paints. It would help providers to analyze their reimbursement models and mitigate practice financial issues and compliance risks. In this article, I have enlisted 6 proactive ways that can help providers to take a proactive approach to maximize their revenue generation.

1. Prepare a Clear Collections Process

All practices require a collection process to ensure the financial health of their medical business. They should establish a step-by-step procedure that clarifies the procedure for all. It can greatly improve revenue cycles by ensuring patients are properly and thoroughly aware of their responsibilities.

2. Focus on Claim Management Properly

According to a recent study, 80% of claims are rejected due to errors yearly. Due to the strict policies of insurance companies about accurate medical billing and coding practices, they are likely going to end up being rejected. Therefore, practitioners should prepare claim management that focuses on streamlining each step with 100% focus on the cycle of submission, rejection, editing and resubmission can take weeks. It often results in providers waiting for months prior to receiving payment for their services.

3. Minimize Coding Errors

Medical coders describe the performed medical procedures within a claim using standardized medical codes. It makes the claims easy to understand and proceed for further levels. These codes can use ICD-10_CM, CPT and HCPCS Level II classification systems. This process provides a standard method of describing procedures. However, a hospital billing specialist can ensure that the claim is prepared with less or no error. So it can be reimbursed for the first time without wasting the times and efforts of the whole team. Most importantly, if you partner with a reliable hospital billing company then their certified employees can ensure that your claims are not filed with out-to-date, mismatched, incorrect or missing codes. Because when these mistakes are identified by the clearinghouses then they deny such erroneous claims before they can become an issue for payers.

4. Promptly Follow-up on Denied or Rejected Claims

Before diving into details, let’s establish the difference between a rejected claim and a denied claim.

Rejected Claim: A rejected claim is one that hasn’t been processed yet due to the existence of one or more errors. It hinders the insurance company from paying the bills as it is written.

Denied Claim: A denied claim is a claim that the insurance company has processed and has considered unplayable due to the discovery of a violation of the payer- patient contract or due to the identification of vital errors caught after processing the claim.

In both of these scenarios, the payer will return the claim to the biller without paying any amount with an explanation of the problem. If you have the best hospital billing company on your side then you can rectify and resubmit your claims. But remember that a denied claim is appealed prior to resubmission. Consequently, it is a much more costly and time-consuming process.

Therefore, it is essential to check for errors in a claim to minimize the occurrence of rejections and denials. However, if such errors occur then make sure that they are handled as quickly as possible. Here comes the profitable aspect of a dedicated hospital billing company that consistently keeps in touch with the representatives of the payer.

Hence, they can help clarify problems with the original claims and provide information on current claims as they are processed. All of these endeavours would result in the expedition of the claim editing process, minimize appeals and resubmission times. Hence, it would save your practice sufficient time so you can invest your time and efforts in providing quality care services.

5. Improve Operational Capabilities

The healthcare field is constantly changing, therefore, hospitals should follow suits to maximize their efficiency and revenue. A hospital billing company can save your administration time by providing analytical reports and guidelines to comply with the latest healthcare regulations. Hence, medical staff at hospitals can identify key areas that are causing problems and demand new strategies to address those problems.

6. Partner with a Reliable Medical Billing Company

Medical practices must constantly deliver quality care services and comply with current trends in medicine and proper staff management. They must also stay current with the most recent rules about medical coding protocols, insurance companies and medical billing regulations. With so much depth to comply with, an already busy medical staff can slip through the cracks that can lead to rejections, denials, and underpayments that make medical practices to invest their important time and money in the administration procedures.

Along with their insider’s view or in-depth knowledge, a hospital billing company can implement billing procedures and use smart software solutions and equipment to help providers stand out. This can help you manage challenges that arise due to the costly time and labour involved in monitoring down debtors, submitting and editing claims. In this way, it’s an effective way to increase revenue and regain control over your hospital billing department.

If you are looking for the best hospital billing company that can help you achieve your success with fast and reliable collection management, then outsource hospital billing services to medical billing companies, Learn more! We provide the best medical billing services and help you run the business more efficiently!

 

Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, illustration

Knowledge is Power: The Secret to Stress-Free Travel

Travelling is great. Whether it’s a road trip within your own borders or a transatlantic adventure, the act of getting out and exploring is something we all enjoy doing. But, before you can relax and have a care-free experience, you need to protect yourself and anyone that’s with you. Basically, the aim of travelling is to see new places, have fun, and escape the stresses of daily life. However, you can only be stress-less by getting your affairs in order before you go travelling. In today’s tech-first world, the internet has the prevention and solution to almost any problem. With this in mind, we’ve outlined the travel essentials you need to know before you pack your bags.

Know Your Flight Rights

If you’re planning a trip abroad, one of the most stressful hurdles you need to overcome is the flight. Just getting to the airport, making it through security on time, and boarding the plane are stressful enough. However, when delays strike and you’re stuck not knowing whether you’re going to fly, things get even worse. Fortunately, you’ve got rights. The team at Flightright are experts in all things travel-related. Using their 10 years’ of experience, the team not only fight for your travel rights in court (with a 99% success rate), they’re on hand to arm you with knowledge. When it comes to delays and flight cancellation compensation, their advice is evidence.

Collect proof of expenses related to your trip, alternative ticket costs and, of course, flight details. As long as you’re able to provide evidence on demand, you’re entitled to compensation of up to €600/$660 per person for delayed and cancelled flights. As you’d expect, getting something back from an airline isn’t easy. However, there are laws in place to protect you. So, by simply knowing that you’re entitled to compensation, without affecting your right to fly, you can sit and wait without any stress.

Be Sure to Insure

Although you don’t need travel insurance to claim compensation for delayed/cancelled flights, you will need it if anything else goes wrong. Medical coverage is the obvious expense you’ll need travel insurance for. However, the best policies will cover a variety of potential problems. MoneySuperMarket is just one comparison site that allows you to scan through dozens of insurance options. Perhaps the most important thing you need to consider when you’re purchasing insurance is what could go wrong. Standard policies will cover medical expense, personal liability, emergency assistance, and lost baggage.

However, what the average scheme won’t cover are things like extreme sports, pre-existing medical conditions, and natural disasters. Obviously, if you’re going skiing, this means you’ll need to take out extra cover. Additionally, if you’re going to a place that’s known for its tropical weather, such as Thailand during the stormy season (April to October), you might want to bolt on extra cover. Again, it all comes down to knowledge.

If you’re armed with the right information, you can react accordingly in all situations. What’s more, you can protect yourself from things before they go wrong. Even if you can’t stop every eventuality, you can at least be ready for them. That’s the best way to have a stress-free experience and get maximum enjoyment from your travels.

Sara Sandman, 360 MAGAZINE, illustration

Who’s Liable When an Uber Driver is Involved in an Accident?

Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, the last thing you’d want to imagine is being involved in a car crash. A car accident is often a deadening experience that, in addition to causing physical and emotional pain, can wreak havoc to the victim’s financial health. But accidents do happen from time to time, and they don’t come knocking at anyone’s door.

Since its founding in 2009, Uber has grown to become inarguably the most popular cab service not only in the US but in many other countries around the world. When you’re new in the city and want to navigate from one point to the other, you just call an Uber and you’re good to go. You get into a club, take several shots and you feel you’re not confident enough to drive yourself home, you can simply leave your vehicle, call an Uber and come pick your vehicle the next day when you’re not intoxicated. They’re an affordable and highly convenient means of transport.

However, this is not to say that an Uber driver cannot get into a car crash, which may arise from his negligence or the negligence of another driver. If you’ve been hurt in an Uber crash or another ridesharing service, the folks at http://www.brookslawgroup.com/car-accident-lawyer/uber-lyft-accidents/ say that finding an accident lawyer should be one of the first things to do. This is because car accident issues can sometimes be complicated, lengthy, and emotionally draining if you approach it alone. With a good car accident lawyer, the process of seeking compensation for your injuries and losses becomes smooth and less stressful, giving you enough time and peace of mind to heal and get back to your normal life. 
The big question, however, is, who’s liable for the damages in case this happens?

Car Insurance

In essence, all drivers are required to carry car insurance to be on the road. Remember, most cars under the Uber umbrella are actually owned by third parties or the drivers themselves. But since Uber is a large, well-reputed brand, many cab drivers choose to operate under Uber instead of conducting business as individuals or under other smaller ridesharing services. The good thing is that before Uber accepts a driver, they have to carry car insurance, which is meant to protect them from liability in case they were at fault in n auto accident.

Who’s Held Liable?

Now, if you or a loved one has been injured in an uber crash, liability lies in the driver who caused the accident. In other words, there are various scenarios to it. You could be a passenger in the Uber or a passenger/driver in the other vehicle. Either way, the driver who is found at fault for the crash (or their insurance company) should be the one to cover the resulting damages, including medical costs and compensation for your losses, pain, and suffering. But sometimes accident compensation matters can be highly complex and difficult to navigate, which is why is important to work with an accident attorney from the word go.

Supplemental Uber Insurance

The other good thing about Uber is that they also provide supplemental insurance to their drivers. This is specifically meant to help passengers who may get hurt in an Uber car crash. The accident policy, in the US, for instance, covers a liability of up to $1 million, which may be enough to compensate you for your losses, pay your medical bills, and other out of pocket expenses the persons involved in the accident might have incurred after the car crash. The ridesharing service also provides coverage of up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident, along with $25,000 coverage for property damage caused by the accident. However, the caveat to this is that for the insurance to become available, the Uber driver has to have had the Uber app on during the ride. This makes it important that as a passenger, you always ensure that your driver has the Uber app on as soon as you board the vehicle.
 
After an Uber driver is involved in a car accident, the liability lies in the person at fault. They, the other driver, or their insurance company could be held liable. In a rideshare accident, some common types of compensation available include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship, among others. Whether you’re the driver or the passenger in the accident and you’re injured, it is important to seek medical attention, talk with an accident attorney, file a police report, and get insurance information as soon as possible. This helps ensure that whoever is to blame for the accident is brought to justice and that you receive your compensation where due.

Independent Drivers Guild Launches Chicago Driver Safety Campaign

Rideshare Drivers are Being Targeted By Carjackers, Demand Action By App Companies

For several years now, the Independent Drivers Guild has stood at the forefront of advocacy for ride hailing and delivery drivers’ rights and safety concerns along with allied partner organizations. In light of the recent spate of carjackings targeting rideshare drivers and delivery drivers in Chicago, the lDG Chicago has launched a driver safety campaign to demand action from the transportation network/delivery app companies and lawmakers to do more to protect driver safety.

In the first three weeks of this year alone, Chicago averaged more than six carjackings per day, many of those specifically targeted rideshare drivers and gig delivery workers. IDG Chicago is demanding that ride hailing and delivery app providers work with drivers to address the recent increase in carjacking and other criminal incidents, whereby offenders are easily able to exploit a lack of security protocols with the apps themselves and take necessary measures to increase driver safety. 

“Dozens of Chicago rideshare drivers and delivery workers have been lured in by carjackers in the last few months alone.  We are driving around with targets on our backs. It’s terrifying. The app companies must do more to protect worker safety,” said IDG Chicago organizer and rideshare driver Kevin Nelson. “We urge fellow drivers and delivery workers to stand with us in unity and join with us to fight for the changes we need for a safer industry.”

Drivers can learn more and sign the petition at this website.

Chicago Drivers Guild Safety Demands

These common sense improvements will protect both drivers and their passengers to ensure safe transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Passenger verification
  • Mandatory passenger profile photos
  • Mandatory mask-wearing selfie when ordering a ride
  • Credit card fraud verification
  • Stolen account warning
  • Police zone warnings in app
  • Passenger background check
  • Panic Button
  • Special Crime Victim Insurance
  • Increased Penalties for Assaults
  • In-Vehicle Cameras
  • Safety Violation Charges

While rideshare drivers must be licensed and pass thorough background checks to protect riders, very little is done to ensure driver safety. Riders are not even required to submit photos or use their real name. IDG has been able to demonstrate that anyone with any mobile device can originate a new account on these apps and order rides or deliveries without any real verification of identity.  The methods of payment do not need to be tied to any specific person, nor is a phone number or email address verification required. What that means is that “ghost accounts” with completely fictitious information are being created to lure unsuspecting drivers into traps where their vehicles along with their phones, wallets and subsequently their livelihoods, are taken away.  Additionally, various incidents have occurred within the past months and weeks where Lyft and Uber have shifted liability for damages to the driver, specifically in the form of high deductibles or damage bills on rental program vehicles originating from these incidents.  

It’s important to note that if unaddressed, Chicago’s rideshare carjacking crisis can become a passenger safety issue as well. Passengers may find themselves stranded as drivers may be unwilling to pick them up at certain times and locations due to safety concerns and passengers may be targeted by criminals for their phones as part of these carjacking schemes.  As these incidents continue to persist at a rate of an average of over 6 times per day within the city, many still-active drivers have begun discriminating or refusing to service customers in various areas, meaning the transportation network companies are losing revenue. 

“Until we win broader safety measures, we urge all drivers to use extra caution. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and share phone locations as well as planned working hours with trusted contacts,” rideshare driver and IDG Chicago organizer Mark Smithivas.  “We also encourage the use of secondary cell phones and keeping extra credit cards and cash in a separate place on one’s person in the event that they are robbed.  As of the moment, the most important thing the city, the companies and the media can do is spread the word.

“Every rideshare and delivery driver as well as customer in Chicago needs to know that we are specifically being targeted for these crimes and as such, we ask for your help and solidarity in fostering a safer industry,” added Smithivas. 

The Independent Drivers Guild is the largest rideshare driver organization in the nation, organizing for drivers’ rights, fair pay and better working conditions. We are Uber, Lyft, and Via workers united for a fair industry.  Together, we’ve won landmark victories that put billions of dollars in drivers’ pockets and improved safety, including advocating for a ban on pooled rides during the Covid-19 pandemic and distributing masks and sanitizer to thousands of drivers. Founded in 2016, the Independent Drivers Guild is a Machinists Union affiliate that advocates for more than 250,000 across NY, NJ, CT and IL, including more than 80,000 For-Hire Vehicle drivers in New York City. 

7PM TODAY: Chicago Rideshare Drivers to Hold Candle-light Vigil for Carjacking Victims

Independent Drivers Guild will Pray for Uber and Lyft Drivers, Call for City Leaders to Act and Lead a Procession to Uber and Lyft Offices to Demand Action 

On the evening of March 9, Members of the Illinois chapter of the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) will host a candle-light vigil to pray for their fellow rideshare drivers who were gravely injured in carjackings last week, one of whom remains hospitalized in critical condition and another who is paralyzed as a result. In the past several months, multiple drivers in the Chicago area have been carjacked by riders matched to them via the apps and just last week, these two drivers were shot and are fighting for their lives.  Rideshare drivers, carjacking victims, family, friends, city leaders and supporters are invited to attend the vigil.

The IDG will also call for city leaders and app companies to act now to protect Chicago rideshare drivers by requiring verification of all passenger accounts. Following the vigil, the IDG will lead a procession to the Uber and Lyft offices to demand immediate action. 

The Independent Drivers Guild launched a rideshare driver safety campaign earlier this year demanding swift action to protect drivers amid Chicago’s carjacking crisis, however nothing has been done and now two rideshare drivers are fighting for their lives.

What: Candlelight Vigil for Chicago’s Uber and Lyft Driver Carjacking Victims

Who: Independent Drivers Guild, Illinois Chapter
        Rideshare Carjacking Victims, Family, Friends, Supporters  

When: 7PM TODAY, Tuesday, March 9

Where:
Candlelit Vigil

The vigil will be held at 2622 W Jackson, Chicago outside the office of the 28th Ward (the ward where the most recent carjacking occurred)

Vehicle Procession to Uber and Lyft Offices
Following the vigil, IDG will lead a procession by car to the Uber and Lyft offices.
Drivers will post and sign a letter demanding immediate action.

Chicago Lyft Driver Center & Vehicle Services
1020 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Uber Greenlight Hub 
1401 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

RSVP: Members of the media are requested to RSVP.

Members of the public can sign up to attend and learn more here.

“When you sign up to be an Uber or Lyft driver, you never expect that you may not make it home to your family after your shift. Yet two Chicago rideshare drivers are fighting for their lives after being shot in carjackings this week and two more families find themselves praying for their loved ones. We are coming together to lift up our fellow drivers and their families in prayer and to show the support of the driver community,” said Kevin Nelson, an IDG organizer and Chicago-based driver for Uber and Lyft.  “Across Chicago rideshare drivers are terrified to go to work. Criminals are ordering rides through fake accounts with Uber and Lyft and then violently carjacking the drivers. The app companies must act now before yet another driver is shot.”

The Independent Drivers Guild is the largest rideshare driver organization in the nation, organizing for drivers’ rights, fair pay and better working conditions. Together, we’ve won landmark victories that put billions of dollars in drivers’ pockets.  The Independent Drivers Guild is a non-profit affiliate of the Machinists Union and advocates for more than 250,000 across NY, NJ, CT and IL. We are driver-led and driver-powered. To learn more, please visit this website.


 

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Helpful Tips to Find the Best Dental Insurance Option for You

Have you ever had a toothache? If so, you know how important it is to have access to quality dental care when it’s needed. It’s even more beneficial if you can seek regular dental checkups and cleanings, as this is going to prevent an array of common dental problems.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have dental insurance, the cost of these treatments and checkups may prevent you from seeking this care as often as you should. The good news is, there are an array of dental insurance plans to choose from. Keep reading to learn how to find the best dental insurance option here.

Consider Your Family’s Needs

Each member of your family should have preventative care checkups, cleanings, and X-rays. If you have children, they will need a few extras, such as sealants, fluoride treatments, and sometimes, braces or other dental appliances. For children who are involved in sports or who are very active, mouth guards may be needed.

You need adult dental insurance for things such as replacement of missing teeth, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity. Seniors may have health problems, such as heart issues and diabetes, which means preventative dental care is still crucial.

What Dental Insurance Plans Are Available in Your Local Area?

You need to begin narrowing down the options for dental insurance by what’s available in your county, state, or even Zip code. Most insurance companies don’t offer all the plans they have in each region, so you can keep things simple when you only compare the plans that you have the ability to purchase.

Try to Find a Plan with Several Dentists and/or Dental Practices

For several reasons, you may want to have over one dentist to go to or choose from for dental care. If you limit your options to just one dental practice or dentist, what will happen if you can’t go during their office hours, or if you end up having a problem with one of the dentists or staff members? Make sure your family has the flexibility of being able to choose between dentists or dental practices.

Consider All the Related Costs

When you are looking for a dental care provider, one of your first considerations is the monthly cost, called the premium. You also need to look at the deductible costs, or the total amount of money that you are going to have to pay out of pocket for the dental services before your insurance will kick in.

You should also consider the maximum annual limit. The majority of insurance companies will cap the total amount they will pay each year for dental treatments. If you reach this annual cap, then you will have to cover any other costs for treatment. This is especially important if there is someone in your family who suffers from serious ongoing dental issues. There are some insurance plans that will also limit the total number of a certain procedure that is allowed each year. Make sure you factor this into your decision.

Find Out What Treatments are Covered in Each of the Plans You Consider

The majority of routine dental treatments will be covered under your dental insurance plan. However, there are some plans that will not cover certain treatments, such as dentures or teeth whitening. While other plans may cover these treatments, they may only cover them to a certain amount of time. Be sure that you know precisely what is going to be covered and what isn’t covered by the insurance plan before selecting one.

It’s also important to note that there are some insurance plans that require a waiting period. In fact, you may have to wait up to 18 months before you can get the coverage needed for specific procedures. This is typically the case for dental work that is more expensive.

Consider Savings Plans or Discount Dental Plans

Completely unique from insurance, dental discount plan or savings plan allows you to join a group where you can enjoy discounts on specific services. Keep in mind, this isn’t insurance, it will just help you save money on the services and treatments that you need.

Finding a Dental Plan that Works for You

There is no question that you want to find a dental insurance plan that works for you and your family’s dental health needs. You need to consider the factors here to feel confident in the decision that you ultimately make. Don’t rush in and automatically choose the plan with the lowest premium cost; as this is going to result in higher costs for the deductible and out-of-pocket procedures. 

By taking your time, considering all the factors here, and learning about the dental insurance options available in your area, you can choose the coverage that will help ensure you and your family’s good oral health now, and in the future.