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How to Teach Kids about Financial Security

Apr 30, 2013

Good financial habits are learned early on.  Once they have been taught, they are incredibly difficult to change. 

It may seem like finance and especially personal finance is too complicated to teach children, and sure, if your kids are just learning their ABC’s, they might be a little young, but kids understand money, worth and, responsibility from a young age.  So it’s best to teach your kids good habits before they learn bad habits somewhere else.

The most important thing to explain is how a budget works.  You have X number of dollars a month that you make from work.  Some goes to bills, some goes to fun things, and some goes to savings.  An important part of each budget is deciding how much money will be saved.  Obviously, the more, the better, but there must be some money left over for fun.  Otherwise, what’s the point of saving?

Once you explain the big picture of a budget, the next step is to break it down into its individual parts.

Bills

Bills can be broken down into rent/mortgage, utilities, car payments, insurance, phone bill, and anything else that you necessarily need to pay on a monthly basis.  The key in understanding this portion is explaining to your kids that daily life would be much more difficult without these things.

*Bonus tip: let your kids help when you are writing your grocery shopping list for the week.  During the trip, be sure to point out different prices for similar products, and after the trip, go over the receipt and talk about how much you spent and what you could save on.

Insurance is the only one that might be difficult to understand.

Because insurance isn’t a concrete product, it might be difficult for those who have never used it, like kids, to understand the importance of it.  But since it accounts for a significant chunk of your bills, it is clearly an important part of financial security.

Insurance is the guarantee that if anything happens to whatever you are insuring (home, health, car, etc.) it will be fixed or you will get the money to fix it.  And because you can’t predict if something will happen, it’s best to always be prepared and insured.

Savings and Fun

Like insurance, savings are for emergencies, and you never know when these emergencies will pop up.  They are also for big purchases that you will want to make in the future.  It’s always best to have money for a rainy day.

The question is, how much do you save?  Obviously, the more you save, the better.  But you can’t save your entire paycheck, so how do you decide what goes to fun and what goes into the bank?

*Bonus tip: set savings goals for yourself and let your kids see the progress.

Well, look at the money you spent on fun in the past month and try to cut that number down by a third to a half and save the rest.

Remember that there is always free and inexpensive fun to be had.  It doesn’t always need to cost an arm and a leg.

You are never too early to learn good spending and saving habits.

*Bonus tip: promote saving by explaining interest to your kids.  Don’t give them the formula for compound interest but show them that if you save money in a bank account, it grows and you get more money over time.  But when they are old enough, teach them to calculate their own interest.  It will give them a sense of control over their money.

A great exercise to take the theoretical into the real world is giving your kids an allowance and opening up a bank account.  Take your kids with you and let them ask the teller whatever they want so that they feel like this account is all theirs.

*Bonus tip: if your kids are too young for a bank account, get them a piggy bank and match the interest that a bank would yourself.

When they grow up and are old enough to make their own money, your kids will have a great foundation to make smart and responsible financial decisions.


How to Prepare for a Hurricane in 5 Simple Steps

Apr 30, 2013

Hurricane Isaac is currently bearing down on the Gulf Coast, causing serious property damage. It’s yet another storm just seven years after the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused. Fortunately, Isaac is less powerful and destructive than Katrina, but it is still causing massive problems and leaving piles of rubble in its path.

Although these storms can be predicted, they cannot be stopped.  So short of picking up your home and running away to a drier part of the country, you will experience some kind of damage from the hurricane.

However, there are steps you can take to help preserve the condition of your home and also help ensure your safety. Here are five of the most important actions you can take if you live in a region where hurricanes strike.

  1. Make a plan for your household. Plan for a safe place to stay. Find out where your community will stay if you must evacuate, and figure out the fastest and easiest route to get there. Also decide how to get in contact with those closest to you. Make sure everyone in your household knows all of this information.
  2. Keep supplies handy.  Make an emergency kit with seven days’ worth of water and prepared non-perishable food.  Remember to have at least 48 ounces of water per person per day in your emergency supply kit.  And plan for a lot of spare time so you might want to have some books and board games and activities handy.  Don’t forget to pack flashlights and candles too.
  3. Get a lot of batteries and a backup generator.  There is no way to overemphasize how important this is.  You can never have too many sources of power, especially pocket sized ones.
  4. Prepare your home.  The first few things that will break during a hurricane are your windows and sliding glass doors, and when you can get back into your house, the glass will be difficult to remove safely. Additionally, once windows break and wind gets into the house, it produces pressure that can do serious damage, even take the roof off.  Help your house suffer as little damage as possible by buying fitted plywood to protect your windows.  Since the plywood needs to be the proper size for your windows, you must buy it in advance to make sure everything fits.
  5. Make sure you have flood insurance.  The last thing you would want to happen is to come to a damaged home and have to pay for all of the repairs yourself. Remember that an ordinary homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover floods.

Top 5 Most Unbelievable Insurance Horror Stories

Apr 30, 2013

Insurance is a tricky product.  You put money in and don’t always get a service or money out of it.  That is not to say that you won’t get what you need when you need it, but if nothing goes wrong and there is no reason to file a claim, it isn’t obvious that insurance is directly serving you.

Obviously, insurance is designed to protect you when something happens.  It is a product that is based on risk; the higher the risk that something will happen, the more expensive an insurance policy will be.  This rule goes for any type of insurance.

Some might be tempted to turn to insurance fraud if they feel like they are investing more than they are receiving.  But not only does fraud have some serious consequences (since insurance is regulated by the government, insurance fraud is treated more seriously than ordinary stealing), it is also easy to get caught.

Here are some of the most interesting, outrageous and disheartening stories of people who thought they could outsmart the law and raid insurance companies:

1.       Church employee tries to burn down church for insurance payout 

On his second attempt to burn down the church in which he worked as the music director, he and the minister set a church on fire and submitted fraudulent claims.  But the fire was started in multiple spots which looked suspicious to authorities, and they were subsequently caught.

2.       Reverend stages car accidents

In another church related insurance fraud scheme, a minister, some of his parishioners and his brother, also a minister, staged more than 200 car and slip and fall accidents and illegally made more than a half a million dollars before being caught. The minister told authorities that God instructed him to do it.

3.       71 year old lady makes an income with slip and fall scheme

An old woman would collect insurance payouts from slip and fall incidents to finance her gambling addiction. She was caught because there were no witnesses to her last “accident” and the information she gave was so flimsy that insurance companies began suspecting fraud.

4.       Fake princess scams everyone

A woman in New York quit her job and pretended to be a princess, scamming jewelers and insurers to keep up her lavish lifestyle. Claiming she was robbed and her jewelry was stolen, she filed claims to receive insurance payouts.

5.       Couple loses evidence of fraud

A couple videotaped themselves crashing a car into a tree for the insurance payout and then lost the videotape.

Sure, stories of insurance fraud may be entertaining and sometimes funny, but they have real consequences, especially for those who do not commit insurance fraud.  Insurance companies need to cover their losses so they raise prices when fraud gets too common.  Insurance fraud hurts everyone.

Fraud stories provided by insurancefraud.org


How to Sell Life Insurance

Apr 30, 2013

One of the most lucrative insurance policies for agents to sell is life insurance because some policies will actually last for the rest of the client’s life and tend to be fairly large.

Because people have big expenses like cars and homes with mortgages and children to take care of, they need a way to protect their families in case they pass away unexpectedly. This is what life insurance does.

Life insurance is intended to keep those who depend on you financially living in the way that they are accustomed. This means that the bigger your bills and more affluent your lifestyle, the more insurance you should consider carrying.

And life insurance is presented and marketed that very way.  It is an absolute necessity for anyone with debt and even more so for anyone who has a family to take care of because life is so unpredictable.

In reality, life insurance is a genuinely good and important product. Even those who do not work in the insurance industry advocate buying life insurance when you start a family.

This kind of emphasis on life insurance by credited and important personal finance experts really helps the selling of life insurance.  Testimonials like these show the general public that life insurance has merit as a product and is actually designed to help and protect the policy’s beneficiaries.

Agents and brokers who sell life insurance policies take this information into account and often quote financial experts about the importance of life insurance. But if potential customers are already talking to an agent, they probably already understand the importance of life insurance and just need to understand what type of policy would work best for them.

In truth, the actual selling of a policy can be relatively easy. The most difficult part of the process is finding the customers.

There are two ways to go about this: marketing and advertising.  Although they tend to be different departments, marketing and advertising work hand in hand. Advertising is anything from ads in newspapers or magazines to television commercials to billboards. Anything that will expose a company or more specifically a product is considered advertising.

Marketing is the more hands-on version of promoting a product. Often confused with advertising, marketing often comes down to simply telling people about a product. After all, there is no stronger sales method than word of mouth.

But even when you are using both marketing and advertising, it can still be difficult to draw people to an agency to buy life insurance. There are so many different agencies that seem so similar that potential clients may have a hard time distinguishing among them.

So the third hidden factor in selling life insurance is the reputation of your agency.  If your agency genuinely does a good job, eventually people will find out about it and do more and more business with you.


How to Buy Life Insurance

Apr 30, 2013

How do you take care of your family in the event of your untimely death?  The answer is simple: life insurance.

Life insurance is designed for the purpose of keeping your loved ones living in the manner to which they are accustomed without having to change significant portions of their lives because they cannot afford expenses such as mortgage payments.

Top financial experts agree that getting life insurance is the most important part of financial planning that you can control. The stock market is highly unstable, as are most other investments, but life insurance is secure and will help you take care of your family once you are gone.

There is little question that life insurance is necessary, but the problem is that there are so many different varieties and different variables to define that choosing the right insurance policy becomes practically impossible without the proper guidance.

So we have devised a guide to get you started.  Let’s begin with defining the terms.

Term life insurance is a policy with a preset death benefit, such as $500,000, in case you pass away within a term of your choosing, such as 30 years.  After this term passes, your life insurance expires.

The idea behind this kind of life insurance is that by the time the term of your insurance ends, you have already raised your children and paid off your mortgage. You are probably retired and you and your significant other have your retirement income to live off of and perhaps some savings.

All of your big life expenses have passed by the time your life insurance ends, so you would not need life insurance anymore because your bills are minimal.

Whole life insurance, on the other hand, is meant to last for your entire or “whole life.”  Once again you choose a payout for your death benefit and from the time you sign your policy, you have life insurance for the rest of your life.

Whole life insurance premiums, however, are much higher than term life insurance premiums because whole life insurance has an investment component. Part of your premium goes to your actual life insurance and the rest of the premium is invested for you and acts as a retirement account which you can access after a certain time.

Before you buy life insurance, you must decide what kind of life insurance you need.  Term life premiums are very affordable, especially if you get life insurance when you are young and healthy while whole life policies tend to be pricier.

The older you get, the more expensive life insurance gets because the chances that you will pass away within your selected term are higher, so keep this in mind when you are purchasing life insurance.

The actual steps for acquiring a policy are relatively simple: you shop online to find some quotes to see what is reasonable and then you talk to an agent to discuss the finer details, get your check-up and sign a policy.  But you should know what you want and need from your life insurance policy.

To talk to an agent about getting life insurance please call 1-855-855-BMCC (2622).


How to Sell Insurance

Apr 30, 2013

To be a smart consumer, you need to know how to choose products that are best for you. However, a knowledgeable salesperson can help you understand the various options available to you and help you make the right choices.

When it comes to buying insurance, it’s important to get help from an experienced person who has knowledge of a great many different policies. An experienced insurance agent can assess your basic needs by asking you a few simple questions about your background, family and the kinds of coverage that would help you feel more secure in the coming years. 

Being a good insurance agent means not only knowing your products, but also being a good listener. Each potential client whom a knowledgeable and helpful insurance agent meets has unique needs. A good agent will ask the right questions, assess the information she learns from each individual and make recommendations based on her knowledge of available insurance options. Her experience in providing quality insurance helps her better match each person with the right policy.

How agents connect with customers:

Agents meet potential clients in a variety of ways, sometimes by chance in social and business settings, and other times an individual gets in contact with an agent to discuss insurance coverage options. Often times, a person who is considering purchasing a new policy will call an agent whom a friend or associate recommends. Consumers tend to hold an associate’s recommendations in high regard, especially when an agent earns a reputation for providing great service.

Providing the Best Plan:

First, an agent will talk with you about your current needs, the kinds of protection that you are seeking and how much coverage you would like to purchase. Often times, the agent can provide insurance option with a number of different providers. This is a point in your favor because you will have multiple options to choose from. The agent will explains the benefits of various products to you, how each works and the kind of protection that you will receive with each kind of plan.

By providing the best coverage options and great customers service, trusted insurance agents often find that their best advertising is word of mouth among the clients whom they have served. If you are looking into buying insurance for yourself or your family, call our agents and ask about the variety of insurance coverage that we can provide to you. You’ll feel good knowing that your needs are being well taken care of.

 


How to Buy Health Insurance

Apr 30, 2013

There has never been a more important time to have health insurance.  Yesterday, June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, once and for all ruling on its constitutionality.

The main point of debate was the Individual mandate, the section of the act that requires all citizens and residents of the United States to have health insurance either through public or private means.
This need for health insurance reform is based on two staggering realizations:
• The United States has the highest number of uninsured individuals of any developed country.
• The primary reason that Americans go bankrupt is that they have no health insurance and are faced with enormous medical bills.

And so, it is now the law that you must have health insurance. And starting in 2014, if you don’t have it, you will be fined.  The question is, where do you get it?

Perhaps you are one of the lucky few whose employers provide health insurance, but if you are not and need health insurance or need additional coverage, you have come to the right place.

Before you make any big purchases, you should understand what is out there and what you need, so refer to the “How to Get Health Insurance” article.

Once you are well acquainted with the principles of health insurance, the next step is to get familiar with the various insurance companies offering policies.

Because your health is your most important possession, you do not want to sacrifice quality for price. So look into the reputation of each of the companies that you find once you do your research. Consider things like customer satisfaction and availability of doctors and especially how far you are from a facility.

Also look at things like urgent care and how long you would have to wait to get a doctor.

Of course the quality of doctors does in some way depend of the insurance company they work for (or what carriers they accept if they work in a private practice), but for the most part it varies from doctor to doctor.

When you feel that you have a fairly firm grasp of who is good and who is not, you can start the actual shopping process.

The shopping process entails getting quotes from as many carriers as possible. Chances are, your research will correspond with the prices — companies with the highest quality coverage will also be the most expensive.

Keep in mind that a typical insurance policy for an individual will cost hundreds of dollars.

Health insurance is a really big and very important purchase to make, so be sure to talk to someone before you make the leap and sign a policy. The last thing you would want is to find out too late that you are not adequately protected.

For more information on pricing, please contact one of our agents at 1-855-855-BMCC (2622).

 


Buying Health Insurance In Ohio

Apr 30, 2013

BMCC Insurance - health insurance in Ohio

People in Ohio are given a high level of coverage when they purchase health insurance from a state registered insurance provider because of the requirements established by the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Ohio is the seventh most populace state in the United States with an estimated population of about 11.55 million residents spread over 44,825 square miles of state territory.

People in Ohio are given a high level of coverage when they purchase health insurance from a state registered insurance provider because of the requirements established by the Ohio Department of Insurance. Here is a list of the requirements.

Alcohol Treatment: There must be a minimum of $550 a year in alcohol treatment whether inpatient or outpatient.

Mental Illness: On an outpatient basis, there is a requirement for $550 per year for treatment. This applies only if the policy covers in-hospital treatment of mental illness.
Kidney dialysis : If an insurer provides coverage for dialysis in a hospital, it must also provide the same coverage for dialysis on an outpatient basis.

Specific practitioners: Health policies in Ohio cannot discriminate against particular health professionals. It must pay any licensed professional who legally performs a service. This includes chiropractors, dentists, nurse-midwives, mechanotherapists, osteopaths, optometrists, podiatrists, psychologists.

Generic drug use: If a policy covers prescription drugs, it must pay for any legally approved drug prescribed by your doctor even if it has not been approved by the government for treating your particular medical problem or disease.

Pregnancy and Maternity: Insurance companies do not have to offer maternity benefits, However, when it is provided, it may never be considered a pre-existing condition. Although, under certain conditions, an insurer may impose a 270-day waiting period before providing maternity benefits.

Mammograms: Every major medical policy group and individual must cover mammograms for breast cancer screening in adult women.

The frequency varies depending on age:

Age: 35-39 One only

Age: 40-49: One every two years unless your doctor has reason to believe you are a high risk for breast cancer

Age 50-64: one a year.

This is subject to a maximum of $85 per covered mammogram.

On our website you can find lots of information on health insurance and other related topics. The application for insurance will only take about five minutes, and you will get the best quote available.


How Much Insurance Do I Need?

Apr 30, 2013

Shopping for insurance is sometimes confusing, especially when it comes to figuring out just how much insurance you will need. Although, this decision does depend on what kind of insurance you are purchasing, principles regarding insurance tend to stay the same across the board.

Insurance is based on risk versus reward. So to determine the proper amount of insurance for you specifically, you must determine how much of a risk you present.

Finding your risk levels is easier said than done, and only a piece of the puzzle. But calculating your risk is the first and most important step in discovering how much insurance you need.

The easiest way to understand how much insurance you need is to break it down by insurance types.

Auto Insurance

Are you a good driver? What are the chances that you will get into an accident?

These questions are much easier to ask than to answer, but there are some ways to help you find out. If you look at your entire driving record and compare how long you have been driving to how many accidents you have gotten into, you will have a pretty good idea of how much risk you present. Factoring in any moving violations will give you an even more accurate picture.

The only drawback of this estimate is that it only measures how much collision and liability insurance you need and ignores your need for comprehensive coverage, which cannot be predicted. Comprehensive covers losses such as damage from hailstorms, falling trees and vandalism, as well as loss through theft. The way to compensate for this drawback is to add an average comprehensive policy.

Life Insurance

Much like any type of insurance, life insurance involves chance. Untimely death, by definition, comes at an unexpected time. But health is the other very important factor to consider. The term of your life insurance policy will depend largely on your health.

But the monetary size of your policy will depend on your dependents and how much money you owe. The bigger your family, the bigger your policy should be. And the same goes for your debt. The point of life insurance is to keep your loved ones living in the manner they are accustomed to. The last thing you would want to do is leave them your debts.

Home Insurance

Once again, the more there is to insure, the more insurance you should purchase. Fortunately, a standard policy will cover a significant amount of what you need. But you may want more coverage than that. For example, if you have a lot of expensive fur, you might want to get special coverage for that.

Also, some natural disasters such as floods are not covered by an ordinary home insurance policy. So if you live in a region that often floods or has any other kind of natural disaster that damage homes, you might want to consider getting insurance corresponding to the natural disaster.

Although the amount of insurance you need greatly depends on the type of insurance you are considering, you should always know how much risk you present for all kinds of insurance coverage.


How Much Auto Insurance Do I Need?

Apr 29, 2013

For most of us, it’s hard to know exactly how much insurance is right amount to own. In truth, no concrete formula exists. So you must depend on trustworthy insurance agents (such as the agents at BMCC) who are knowledgeable about a great variety of insurance products, experienced in finding the right coverage for each individual and dedicated to ensuring your security and peace of mind.

But there are some procedures that all agents and insurance companies use to figure out exactly how much coverage you need.

For collision insurance, here is a handy cheat sheet of factors to consider:

  1. The worth of the car – This is probably the biggest factor to consider when thinking about how much insurance to buy. The more expensive your car is, the more expensive it is to fix your car. Naturally, you would not want to pay for this out of pocket if something were to happen to your car.  If you value your car’s appearance and performance you will invest in enough insurance to keep it working well and looking good.
  2. Your track record – It can be good to take an objective look at yourself as a driver. Everyone wants to think of himself as an excellent driver, but for the sake of your insurance coverage, there are some points you might want to consider. How fast do you drive?  How many accidents have you been in?  The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how safely you drive and how much insurance you should carry.
  3. How much you drive – The more you drive, the higher the chances are that you will get into an accident..

But when you are driving, you are not just putting your car, and yourself, in danger. There are other people and other cars on the road. This is why liability coverage exists.The amount of liability coverage that you buy can partly depend on how safely you drive, but liability is the one type of coverage that you would under no circumstances want to skimp on. You could just as easily total a Rolls Royce as you can a Camry, and in either case you might be held financially accountable.

Comprehensive coverage is the third type of coverage you must consider. The problem with figuring out your comprehensive coverage needs is that comprehensive covers mostly unforeseeable damage, such as damage from a hail storm or another natural phenomenon, vandalism and theft .

Each person’s car and driving history is slightly different, so each individual should get insurance that is a good fit. This blueprint will give you a place to start, but to get a better idea of what you need, contact one of our agents, at 1-855-855-BMCC (2622).

 


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