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Latest Posts on Insurance

Confused About HSAs? We’ve got Your Back! The Total Newb’s Guide to Health Savings Accounts

What is an HSA? How do health savings accounts work? Who’s eligible? Eliminate your confusion about using HSAs with your health insurance plan.

How to Buy Life Insurance Online

Last December, my wife and I welcomed our second child, Elliot, into the world. As parents, we are ecstatic but weary. As a no-longer only child, big sister Molly remains skeptical. They say that having two children is more than twice the work of one, but I think that having the first – going from […]

What Obamacare Means for 20-somethings

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is already changing much about how we buy health insurance and the coverage it provides. But whether you currently have insurance or not, what does Obamacare mean for you?

How to Buy Your Own Health Insurance Online

Beginning October 1, 2013, every American can buy health insurance through the new health insurance marketplace. Even today, it’s easier than you think to buy health insurance online or by working with a local agent. Here’s how.

6 Ways to Reduce Your Car Insurance Rates After an Accident

You swerved for a skunk and wrecked your ride; now your car insurance is going to double, right? Not necessarily. With the right insurer — or some clever maneuvering — you can still save money on car insurance after an accident.

How People in Their 20s and 30s Can Save a Fortune on Life Insurance

You might love your insurance agent, but that doesn’t mean she has your best interests at heart. Understand that some agents can only sell you the life insurance their company offers.

Why Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need Business Insurance

Considering striking out on your own? If you’re thinking of starting a small business, or have just started one, then you need to know three things, each of which break down roughly into the global, the social and the financial. The global: Job sectors everywhere are going entrepreneurial. In journalism, for example, the massive disruption […]

Can In-Store Health Clinics Save You Money?

By the end of June, we’ll reach the middle of the so-called “gap year” — meaning that roughly six months will remain before the Affordable Care Act kicks in and America begins an unprecedented experiment with universal health care coverage. Maybe that’s not such a big deal if you have great health insurance thanks to […]

Auto Insurance Scores: The Surprising Truth About How Credit Affects Car Insurance Rates

As I often mention, I login to the free service CreditKarma every couple of months to keep track of my credit score. One time a year or so ago I logged in to see a new feature that differentiated my credit score from my auto insurance score. To my surprise, although my credit score was […]

Getting the Best Term Life Insurance Rates: Three Tips

Who likes paying more for something when you know you can get it cheaper somewhere else? It’s a gut-wrenching feeling when you’ve paid for goods or services only to realize that you could have saved a bundle had you just invested a little bit more time researching all your options. This has happened to me […]


Nobody loves thinking about insurance, but it's a vital part of your financial plan.

What you need to know about insurance

Most personal finances topics are anything but sexy, but insurance is the geeky, pimple-faced guy who – if approached by a supermodel at a party – would talk about actuarial tables all night. (No offense to my friends in the insurance industry!)

Nobody likes to think about insurance. You have to carry some kinds of insurance and you should have most other kinds, but it sucks to spend money on insurance. You hope you’ll never need it, so when you buy insurance it feels like you’re throwing thousands of hard-earned dollars down the drain. But if you ever do need insurance, you’ll either be glad you bought it or wishing you had bought it.

There are two kinds of insurance everybody should have: Auto insurance and health insurance. Car insurance is required in most states. And going without health insurance is a huge risk. Because even if you’re young and healthy, a freak accident could leave you with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that could totally derail your financial future.

If you own a home, you’ll have to carry home owners insurance. But if you’re a renter, you might want to consider renter’s insurance – a fairly cheap way to protect your belongings from theft or fire.

In most cases you don’t need life insurance before you start a family, but as soon as you have dependents, you’ll want to get a term life insurance policy that can replace your income for your family if you die during your working years.

The questions about when to buy insurance, how to buy it, and how much you need differ dramatically by the kind of insurance (home, renter’s, car, life, or health), and where you are in life (your age, how much you have in assets, where you live), but some pointers apply to all kinds of insurance:

Always shop around for insurance. Don’t let a smooth-talking salesperson talk you into one policy before comparing your options. Premiums and coverage levels vary dramatically among insurers, and you don’t want to overpay.

Understand your coverage. Different policies cover different things. Learn to ask questions when you shop for insurance, like “if my car is totaled how do you calculate the replacement value?” Or “Are there any circumstances in which this life insurance policy would not pay out a death benefit?” Health insurance is especially convoluted. Take a minute to brush up on how factors like your premium, deductible, and coinsurance will impact your policy.

Be wary of insurance you don’t need. Some examples include policies that will pay off your credit card balance or mortgage if you die or cash-value life insurance policies. Other kinds of insurance should be purchased with caution on a case by case basis. Examples include supplemental disability insurance and GAP insurance that will cover the difference between a car insurance payout and any remaining balance on your auto loan.

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