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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!

The Millennial’s Financial Guide to Homebuying

Around 4.8 million millennials are turning 30 in 2020. This is the largest age bracket among millennials, according to CNBC. Many of them have families and are looking to buy their first home.

Compared to older generations, saving for a house hasn’t been easy for millennials. In 2017, millennials who bought homes paid around 39 percent more than baby boomers who bought houses in the 80s. With higher costs of living and rising student debt, it takes millennials longer to afford a home. Now, considering the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s tougher for people to make major life purchases.

But don’t fret. Knowing your mortgage options and proper financial planning will make a difference. If you commit to a budget now and work on your savings, it’s possible to purchase a house in the near future. Here are essential financial tips you need to know before buying a home.

When to Consider Buying a House

Before taking a mortgage, improve your credit score. Give yourself time to improve your credit. Make sure to pay your loans and credit card on time. If you have large outstanding debts, be sure to pay them down. Check your credit report and see if there’s any inaccurate information. Disputing errors like unrecorded payments can help improve your credit score.

Most conventional lenders usually approve a credit score of 680 and above, and some may approve 620. Conventional loans are offered by lenders that are not sponsored by the government. You can get them from banks, credit unions, and non-bank mortgage companies.

If you have an excellent credit rating, you’re eligible for lower interest rates. This makes your monthly mortgage more affordable. It will help you save on total interest costs throughout the life of your loan. Make sure to shop around for loans and choose the lowest interest rate.

Know how much house you can afford.

Compare real estate listings to know what price range you can manage. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t buy property beyond your means. How do you know if your dream home fits your budget? You must understand your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.

DTI ratio compares your gross income with how much debt you owe. If your DTI ratio is too high, your loan will not be granted. A low DTI ratio makes it more manageable to make monthly mortgage payments. This decreases your risk of defaulting on your loan and losing your house to foreclosure. Once you’re perceived as a low-risk borrower, lenders are more likely to approve your mortgage.

Lenders check these two important DTI ratios before approving a loan:

  • Front-end DTI ratio – The percentage of your income that pays for mortgage-related costs. It includes monthly mortgage payments, property insurance, and association dues. Your front-end DTI must not exceed 28 percent. This is the standard requirement for conventional mortgages which are not federally backed by the government.
  • Back-end DTI ratio – The percentage of your income that pays for your mortgage-related costs along with your other debts. This includes auto loans, credit cards, student loans, etc. Your back-end DTI ratio must not exceed 36 percent. But for federally backed government mortgages such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, the DTI limit is 43 percent.

Know how much you can borrow.

To know this, get pre-approved for a mortgage. Speaking to a lender determines the specific amount you can borrow. It’s one of the best ways to know how much home you can afford. To do this, you must authorize your lender to review your credit report. Getting pre-approval does not require you to borrow from the lender. But once you’re ready to make an offer, you can choose one with the best rates and terms. Lowermybills.com mentions that “Like all things connected to home buying and mortgage rates, do your research.” Furthermore, they state that “If you find a rate you are comfortable with, and it gets you the mortgage payment in your price range, it might be a good idea to decide to lock in the interest rate.”

Know when and where house prices are low.

A year before buying, research local market conditions in your preferred area. Check common house prices and pay attention to big price shifts. There are periods when real estate prices are depressed or generally low. In other times, they can be awfully expensive. It also pays to check houses in low-cost locations such as less crowded suburbs. Homes in busy metropolitan areas and coastal states usually have expensive price tags.

How Much Down Payment Should You Save?

Ideally, homebuyers should make a down payment that’s 20 percent of the home’s value. For instance, if you’re buying a $250,000 house, your down payment should be $50,000. These days, you might notice buyers making a smaller down payment. This has its drawbacks, which come in the form of mortgage insurance costs.

Conventional loans come with an annual private mortgage insurance (PMI) policy, which is 0.25 percent to 2 percent of your loan amount. It’s typically required if your down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI is usually rolled into your monthly payments and is canceled once your mortgage balance reaches 78 percent.

Meanwhile, federally backed mortgages such as FHA loans come with mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). If your down payment is less than 20 percent, MIP is required. It’s paid both as an upfront fee (1.75 percent of the loan amount) and an annual insurance fee (0.85 percent of the loan amount). MIP is usually paid for the entire life of the loan, which makes it a lot costlier in the long run.

How do you save for your down payment?

Start gathering funds as early as you can. Saving your tax refund is a great source. As of 2020, the average tax refund is $3,100, which is a large amount that can bolster your down payment. You can also use work and holiday bonuses you get from your employer. Save cash gifts during birthdays, as well as windfall inheritance funds from relatives. To earn extra income, work overtime hours or get a freelance job on the side. This will take time. So the earlier you save, the better.

Low Down Payment Options for First-Time Homebuyers

More often, people do not usually have enough time to save for a higher down payment. They need to relocate because of a new job or a growing family. When this happens, you can opt for low-cost mortgages options. If you need a loan with low down payment and relaxed credit requirements, consider government-sponsored mortgages. These are loans meant for low to moderate income families who need assistance in buying a home.

FHA Loans
You can qualify for an FHA loan if your credit score is between 500 to 580. Your down payment can be as low as 3.5 percent if your credit score is 580 and above. If your credit score is below 580, your down payment must be at least 10 percent. All FHA loans require MIP regardless of your down payment amount.

USDA Loan
The U.S. Department of Agricultural approves home loans if your credit score is 640. Down payment is not required but is definitely an option. To get a USDA loan, you must purchase a house in a USDA-approved rural area. This includes many suburbs and around 97 percent of land mass in the U.S. Moreover, your household income must not be over 115 percent of the median income of your area. USDA loans come with a guarantee fee, which is paid as an upfront fee and an annual fee rolled into your monthly payments.

VA Loans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers special loans to active military members, veterans, and qualified military spouses. VA loans are flexible with credit scores, but it’s better if your credit score is at least 620. Down payment is also not required but is an option. However, instead of a mortgage insurance premium or guarantee fee, VA loans require a VA funding fee. Paying at least 5 percent down payment helps reduced this added cost.

Worried about poor credit? There are local housing agencies per state that can help you. Your state agency can assist you in looking for housing options that can accommodate your low credit score. They can also provide down payment assistance for mortgages. Just get in touch with your state housing agency soon.

The Importance of Saving a 20 Percent Down Payment

Making a 20 percent down payments eliminates private mortgage insurance costs. This reduces the amount you need to borrow, which effectively lowers your monthly mortgage payment. The higher payment also decreases your loan-to-value ratio, which is the amount of your loan compared to your home’s value. It also allows you to secure a much lower mortgage rate.

To give you a better idea how it affects your mortgage payments, let’s see the table below. It compares the same mortgage. One made an 8 percent down payment, while the other made a 20 percent down payment.

30-year Fixed-Rate Mortgage
Home price: $350,000
Interest rate: 3% APR
Mortgage5% Down Payment20% Down PaymentDown payment$17,500$70,000Borrowed amount$332,500$280,000Monthly payment$1,401.83$1,180.49Total interest paid$172,160.03$144,976.87Loan-to-value ratio95%80%Total PMI cost$18,038.130

In the example above, making a 20 percent down payment reduces your borrowed amount to $280,000, while 5 percent only reduces it to $332,500. Your monthly mortgage payment will be $221.34 lower with a 20 percent down payment. As for interest cost, you save $27,183.16 more in total interest with a 20 percent down payment. Meanwhile, with a 5 percent down payment, you still need to pay $18,038.13 on top of interest charges. Basically, you’ll gain more saving in the long term if you make a higher down payment.

Need help with your mortgage budget? Use this mortgage payment calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payment, total interest, and PMI costs.

Here’s a tip: If you take an FHA loan for the low down payment, there is a way to remove MIP. If your credit score is at least 620, you have the option to refinance into a conventional mortgage after a few years. Refinancing is basically taking out a new loan to replace your existing one. You can refinance to a conventional loan with a lower rate. You may consider this option to get rid of costly MIP charges.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know your housing options and requirements, you can better prepare your finances. As early as now, start improving your credit score to qualify for a loan. Borrowers are offered lower interest rates when their credit score is high. It’s also ideal to save up for a 20 percent down payment.

Next, keep track of your debt-to-income ratio. As long as you don’t accumulate large debts, you should be eligible for a mortgage. Moreover, start checking home prices at low-cost areas. If you time your purchase when house prices are generally low, you can score a better deal.

If you can’t make the 20 percent down payment, there are low-cost mortgage options to choose from. Check out FHA loans and USDA loans. If you’re a veteran or military member, you’re qualified for VA loans. Just take note that government-backed loans come with extra costs, such as mortgage insurance premium for FHA loans. If you take advantage of these options and plan your finances, soon you can purchase your own house.

How to Get a Lower Car Payment

As of February 2019, the average new car transaction price was $36,590. This is according to Kelley Blue Book, the leading automotive valuation authority in the United States. While that figure is actually lower than it was in January of 2019, when the average price was $36,765, it’s considerably higher than February of 2018 when it was $35,597.

With that said, along with these higher prices have come larger car loans. This doesn’t have to mean they’re unaffordable though. Here’s how to get a lower car payment—even with a larger loan.

Know Your Credit Score

Too many people go shopping for cars without knowing their credit score and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on a loan they’re entitled to, based upon that score. The higher your credit ranking, the lower your interest rate should be. The lower your interest rate, the less money you have to pay each month to service the loan. In other words, knowing what your credit history qualifies you to receive is one of the fastest ways to lower a car payment.

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Another thing you should do before shopping for a car is get preapproved for a car loan by your bank, credit union or another independent lender. That way, when you get to the dealership, you’re in a better position to negotiate your interest rate, because the seller knows they’ll have to compete with your existing offer.

Increase Your Down Payment

Most lenders like to see at least 20 percent down on a new car purchase. Meeting this figure can earn you a lower interest rate, which in turn will shrink your monthly obligation. What’s more, if you can go higher than 20 percent, you’ll lower your loan amount, which reduces the payment and the interest charges. Yes, you can get a car with less money down, but the more money you borrow, the higher your payment will be.

Longer Loan Term

Perhaps not surprisingly, another byproduct of those higher transaction prices is lengthier loan terms. In many cases people are stretching car loans out to 84 months. This can have the effect of lowering a car payment significantly. Then again, it also makes the car cost more in the long run. The longer the loan term, the more time interest has to accrue, which means the borrower pays more.

Refinance Your Car

Even if you’ve recently bought your car, you might qualify to refinance into one of the low APR car loans like those offered by RoadLoans. Therefore, it always pays to keep an eye on interest rates. What’s more, the newer your loan, the more likely you are to benefit from a refinance. It’s never too early to look into this possibility.

Lease Rather than Buy

Instead of taking on a loan for the full price of the car, you’ll pay only for the amount of its value you use over the term of your lease. This can result in significant monthly savings. If you decide you really like the car and want to keep it, you can buy it outright at the end of the lease term as a used car and keep those lower payments. Be sure to run the numbers on this strategy to ensure it makes good financial sense. But it’s a great way to get a nice used car, the history of which you can be absolutely sure.

The six tactics will help you get a lower car payment. However, be careful which strategy you employ. Some can wind up costing you more in the long run.

Staying Healthy When The Temperature Drops

Staying healthy can be a challenge when the temperature drops, we all know the feeling of being unprepared for the bitter winter wind and then catching a cold a few days later. With an abundance of medicines helping us to rid the cold faster, it may seem tempting to take out a quick unsecured loan to get you all the latest supplements and medication. However, with these loans in place for financial emergencies only, this is now a thing of the past! Here we are going to give you some top tips for staying healthy when the temperature drops, without breaking the bank.

Sleep

When tackling the winter months it is important to get plenty of sleep in order to strengthen your immune system and fight the infection as the number of germs increases. With the nights drawing in and getting darker earlier, there is plenty of time to rest up to help reach your recommended 8 hours of sleep per night.

Stay Warm

Another way of ensuring that you stay healthy during the winter months is to keep as warm as possible. Although the weather outside may seem bright and inviting, do not be fooled! The weather outside can still be bitterly cold, which can lead to you becoming ill if you do not stay as wrapped up warm. Get yourself a winter coat, a hat and a scarf as this will help you to stay warm and fight off any potential infection. In addition to this, drinking warm beverages and eating warm food can also help you to feel better and ensure that you are healthy throughout winter.

Eat Healthy

Arguably one of the most important ways of staying healthy when the temperature drops are your diet. Although it may seem tempting to go for all the unhealthy treats, many forget to focus on the vegetables and healthy alternatives. If your diet is balanced with a large number of fresh vegetables then you will get the vitamins that you need to help fight infection and help to keep you healthy against typical winter illness, such as the common cold.

In addition to this, staying hydrated during this time of year is also important, as it will help you to concentrate during work hours as well as allow you to maintain healthy bodily functions.

Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine is something that most people run to when it is cold outside. With the long, dark working days, it can be hard to get up in the morning when the bed is so warm, that is why most opt for caffeine at work and throughout the course of the day to stay warm. However, this could be making it worse! Although it may seem tempting to reach for the tea and coffee, it is best to keep to one or two cups a day and replace the rest with something warm such as a mug of soup.

Not only does caffeine have an effect on your concentration levels, but it also has a negative effect on your mood and your immune system.

As you can see, it is easy to look after yourself during the winter months without having to spend a fortune on supplements or medication.

Be Your Own Boss – Tips for Starting Your Own Business

It sounds great, doesn’t it? No more 9-5 hours, forget the daily commute, and just work when you feel like it, but the reality of being your own boss is often very different. While choosing when to work, or not, is possible for some, there has often been a lot of hard work for them to get to that point. But, with now more people than ever declared as self-employed, it has never been a better time to be your own boss. If you are dreaming of quitting the day job, starting your own business and becoming your own boss, this guide gives you some tips on what you need to do.

Find the Right Business Niche

You might have some idea already about what area you want your business in, and that is great, as long as you play to your strengths. Pick a business niche that you are already knowledgeable about, because if you already have the expertise, then you are far, more likely to achieve success. Also, make sure you choose a business idea that you are really passionate about also. Otherwise, you might see your enthusiasm dwindle after a few months.

When deciding on a business niche, it is important to do your research and identify a gap in the market that your business can fill. It will be much harder to make a successful business if you are just doing what your competitors do. Offer something extra, and you will stand out.

Create a Business Plan

Having a solid business plan gives you a focused look at what your targets are for your business and the strategies to implement. Your business plan will have detailed information about your target market, and how you intend to sell to them. Not only does a business plan to keep your project on track, but it is also a worthwhile document to show to possible investors.

If you are not sure how to create a business plan, there are examples and templates you can use online, as a way to get you started. At first, your business plan might seem a little basic. But keep coming up with ideas and flesh it out as you learn. The more you learn, the quicker you will be able to grow your business.

Learn New Skills

So you might have a great idea for a business, but if you don’t know how to run a website or have any marketing experience, then that is going to be a weakness. You will also need to learn accounting skills to keep track of your business spending and keep records for tax purposes. Learn the basics before you start, and it will make running your new business much easier.

Finances

Financing a start-up business can be hard, so make sure you know exactly what you need to spend money on and what you don’t. It is a good idea to save up some funds before you start your business, to get you up and running.
If finances are tight, you could consider bootstrapping which where you build a business by only investing the profits it makes and keeping costs as low as possible, rather than spending a lump sum of your own, or an investor’s, cash. This might mean keeping your business small until you have raised enough to invest in growth, but you won’t be getting into debt to fund your business. If you are bootstrapping, it is often worth having another source of income to keep you afloat until your business is making more money. Don’t forget that you still have everyday living expenses to consider, so it might not be the right time for you to completely give up your day job. Try to begin your business alongside your regular job, or at least work part-time, so you still have a source of income.

Sometimes, new businesses face problems with cash flow, so you might have to supplement it with your own money. Or, you might be putting much of your own money into funding your business that you might temporarily be finding it difficult financially. If so, a short-term loan can be beneficial, such as from Bonsai Finance.

Entrepreneurial Mind-Set

Your attitude is what drives your business, so you need to get into the mindset of an entrepreneur to get success. That means having the will to succeed even when times feel tough. It also means having discipline in your working day to get tasks done and to also have the confidence to make decisions.

It takes effort and hard work to achieve anything worthwhile, but if you show up ready to work consistently, you will soon see your efforts pay off.

Don’t Overdo It!

Remember why you wanted to be your own boss in the first place? It was to get that work/life balance you have always dreamed of. So while it might be tempting to work all the hours you can to make it a success, remember to take regular breaks and days off. Too much work and putting pressure on yourself can lead to stress, and that is not productive for your or your business.

If you find yourself under pressure, delegate what you can. If you have clients waiting, call them to rearrange a time for completion of a project, or consider outsourcing work if you have too much.

Being your own boss gives you the opportunity to manage your own time, rather than being dictated to by regular employment. However, it does come with risks. If you get sick, you won’t get sick pay, there is no paid annual leave, and if you don’t make it a success, you could stand to lose any money you may have invested in it. Treat starting your own business with caution, but don’t be afraid to try! Every successful entrepreneur had to start somewhere, and most experience failure as well as success. If you believe in yourself and have the will to succeed, then you have already won half the battle.

KEVIN HARRINGTON

PITCH INVESTORS LIVE, a blockchain platform developed by 2UP Technology, Inc., welcomed Businessman, entrepreneur and former Shark Tank investor Kevin Harrington as celebrity advisor. Harrington joins the team of 30+ that launched the Pitch token sale on Feb. 28th.

“I am very excited to join the Pitch Investors Live team and have a part in revolutionizing the way that entrepreneurs and startups bootstrap their innovative ideas. Pitch Investors Live is on the way to changing the landscape of funding for entrepreneurs & startups from around the world. We are in the early stages of what blockchain will contribute to changing the entrepreneurial landscape. Pitch Investors Live is at the forefront of the possibilities in this new space. One of my favorite parts of Pitch Investors Live is that I can take pitches from anywhere in the world, at any given time, from a variety of startups, directly from my cell phone. Pitch Investors Live is the most substantial platform to have come out to help entrepreneurs that would have never been able to go through traditional funding route.”

PITCH INVESTORS LIVE is the only blockchain platform that allows entrepreneurs and startups to literally pitch investors live. The revolutionary app combines the crowd funding style of “Kickstarter” with the entertainment and educational style of the popular show “Shark Tank,” granting users a unique opportunity in bringing their innovative business ideas to life. But unlike Kickstarter, PITCH INVESTORS LIVE has its own currency called the PITCH token which is specifically used on the platform where entrepreneurs can create their own tokens and acquire funding for their projects and services. Exclusive features also include creating business proposals and commenting on live pitch videos allowing businesses to gain recognition, mentorship and capital at scale.

About PITCH INVESTORS LIVE:

Developed by 2UP Technology, Inc., PITCH INVESTORS LIVE connects entrepreneurs with investors using live video. It provides a practical, yet virtual environment, for entrepreneurs to better understand investors questions, critiques and interests and for investors to learn about new companies by participating in the live pitch sessions. For more information, visit www.pitch.ventures/.

Kevin Harrington Bio:

An original “shark” on the hit TV show Shark Tank, the creator of the infomercial, pioneer of the As Seen on TV brand, and co-founding board member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization—Kevin Harrington has pushed past all the questions and excuses to repeatedly enjoy 100X success.

His legendary work behind-the-scenes of business ventures has produced well over $5 billion in global sales, the launch of more than 500 products, and the making dozens of millionaires. Twenty of his companies have each topped $100 million in revenue.