Tuesday, November 30, 2010

CEA aims to improve value, affordability of California Earthquake Insurance

Many Americans who live in quake prone areas choose to go without insurance, reasoning that remote risks is not worth the cost of pricey, limited coverage. The decision not to buy appropriate earthquake insurance isn’t always conscious. They choose to gamble with their valuable asset thinking that the risk quotient remains low. Insurance is best used to protect against uncommon but financially devastating events, and natural disasters certainly do qualify. Thanks to a recently adopted building code, Californians might have more reason to modernize their homes to better withstand a major earthquake. The standard, approved in August by the state Building Standards Commission is the first step for people to take the steps to reinforce their most valuable asset, according to Glenn Pomeroy, president and CEO of the California Earthquake authority.

There's no doubt that residents need encouragement in protecting their asset against the risks of a major earthquake. The take-up rate for homeowner’s earthquake insurance policies is about 12 percent, meaning that some homes in the Golden State are uninsured for earthquakes, according to CEA data. “In terms of protecting one's individual home, one's main asset in one's life, California is woefully unprepared for the next big earthquake” Pomeroy had emphasized. There is also a 99 percent chance of a 6.7 magnitude or greater earthquake striking California in the next 30 years. Meanwhile, the CEA is pursuing additional avenues, by trying to improve the value and affordability of earthquake insurance policies. They are also currently offering a 5 percent discount on earthquake insurance policies to people who have successfully completed a mitigation project on their home.

Home owners may forego their insurance for the simple reason that a policy might be expensive with limited coverage or the notion that the government will help out. The truth is that the government may be not be in a position to help as the President has to declare a major disaster before the Federal Emergency Management Agency can step in to help. Even if the damage is limited, that might not happen - even if you personally suffer a catastrophic loss. This is the time for a reality check before deciding for your home’s and family’s future. You can start by investing in mitigation, weighing the potential risks and determining if your area is quake prone.

Any kind of insurance policy must be evaluated by an expert, to ensure that the optimum blend of coverage and premiums is achieved. This is the kind of service that Allied Brokers, a California based insurance brokerage with a 50 year track record, provides clients the kind of insurance coverage they need. Allied Brokers represents over a dozen insurers, offering you the benefit of price and coverage comparison when it comes to selecting the right homeowner insurance policy. If you're thinking about earthquake, flood, umbrella or renters insurance, they can help you find the coverage that works best for you and your budget.

To know if you qualify, call Allied Brokers at 650.529.8564 or visit their corporate website at http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ for more information. Allied Brokers is a full-service insurance brokerage company that offers the best insurance policies at the right market price. Founded in 1954, they provide insurance products throughout California and several other states in America. They have insurance policies and services for any of your insurance needs, which include: auto, homeowners, apartments, condominiums, earthquake, flood, renters, business, health, life, collectibles and estate planning. They offer expert advice and knowledge on extended coverages and have established long-standing partnerships with the most reputable insurers and client referrals. They will treat you like an individual and not just another business dealing.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When the Government Owes You

Every tax payer wonders where the money he hands over to the government is going. And most feel that what they get in return for their taxes is not enough. The feeling that the government owes us is a common one. But let’s face it, taxes are not going to get lower. And except for the occasional income tax refund, once taxes are paid, the money is gone. So how do you get back some of what the government owes you? Have you thought about municipal bonds?

These are debt instruments issued by state and local governments. It may sound like another way of giving money to the government, but it’s not. You are not giving your money, but loaning it. And you get it back with interest. In most cases, the interest you earn is exempt for federal taxes. With municipal bonds, you are not just supporting your government, but will make a profit by doing so. It’s true that the interest you earn may be lower than other investment options, but that is balanced out by the security that these bonds offer and the tax exemption. You can redeem these bonds at any time prior to maturity, if you need the money, although there is a risk that fluctuating market conditions may affect the redemption value negatively. Integrating municipal bonds into your financial planning is a good option and enables you to get back a bit of what the government owes you. At Allied Brokers we will help you to plan your insurance coverage and investments to maximize your coverage and protect your financial future. Contact us for all your retirement planning, estate planning and life, business, home and health insurance needs. We have been serving the needs of Santa Clara residents and businesses for over 50 years and we have done this by understanding our clients’ needs and offering them the benefit of our experience to enable them to plan their financial futures. Visit http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ to learn more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Liability Insurance That Has You Covered

Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria has been in the news lately after a car accident. The other person involved threatened to sue her. The matter has now been settled and she has been found to be not at fault. But if thing had gone the other way, she may have been liable to a big claim, partly because she is so rich and famous. The rest of us, who do not fall in the celebrity category may think that we are safe from this happening. But it is not so.

The thing about accidents is that it is often difficult to pinpoint where the blame lies and it is human nature to have a bias towards the injured party. The sight of a person injured by your car, or while visiting your home or office and the story of lost income etc. can often cause the claim to be decided in their favor, even if you are not at fault. And the claims against you are not going to be limited by your assets or earning potential. The damages could by huge – six figures or more. Your only protection from financial ruin is liability insurance. With life insurance, health insurance, home insurance, business insurance and other insurance policies that we have, the need for a liability coverage is often overlooked. A liability claim can be made at any time and even if you are not at fault, the case could go against you. At Allied Brokers, we know that insurance can become a complicated subject. That’s why we go out of our way to keep things simple. We will be happy to meet with you and review your existing insurance coverage and suggest ways to optimize it and where you need more coverage. We will work with you to provide the most cost effective insurance solutions. You may not be a movie star but you can still be hit by a huge liability claim. We’ll help you to stay protected. Visit our website http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ to learn more.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Health care could cost how much?

My friend’s husband who is in his sixties had been complaining about a nagging backache for the last couple of months which had been becoming progressively worse. After many sessions of acupressure treatments, massages and physiotherapy, there was no light at the end of the tunnel and the pain just seemed to be getting worse. It was all a mystery. Now, the weekly sessions of his beloved golf had come to an end and he was laid up in bed most of the time.

Well, after the backache refused to subside, it was decided to go in for a scan. The result was a complete shock to everyone. We had been more or less certain that it was osteoporosis. In fact, I had read an article about backaches in Readers Digest which said that one of the reasons for backaches could be osteoporosis. I kept prodding them to go in for an osteoporosis check. But no, it was far worse. Multiple Myeloma or bone cancer in layman’s terms was the horrifying diagnosis. It was in the secondary stage and the doctors said that it would probably have started two years back.

Well, life throws up unexpected surprises, some pleasant and some are cruel. We just have to take everything in our stride, pick up the pieces and get on with it. So, now was not the time to be depressed but the talk now centred around alternative therapies like stem cell treatments, the radiation therapy which has begun and the costs involved. Yes, all of a sudden, when you least expect, you can be slapped in the face with exorbitant healthcare costs. If you are not prepared or if you are not financially secure, your life savings can be wiped away in an instant. Health insurance can cushion you to a great degree in situations like these.

Call Allied Brokers at (650) 328-1000 for a chat with their representative. Visit http://www.alliedbrokers.com/health.html for an in depth understanding of the health insurance covers offered.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why investing is different for a small business owner

Given a choice, most of us would probably not like to work for any one else. The idea of having one’s own business is a tempting thought. However those who have never owned a small business would also not be aware of the kinds of pitfalls that a small business owner has to contend with at every step along the way.  I have a friend who started a garment export business from scratch on her very own and I have seen the stress written all over her face. Yes, she has a lovely apartment and money is no constraint for all the necessities of life and some luxuries too but money does not come easy. It is hard work all along the away. Small business owners are also constrained in many other ways unlike big corporates.

Take investment for instance. As veterans from this field will tell you, caution is the key because at the end of the day, the risks are much more amplified than for the average investor. 

To maintain sustainable growth, there is no room for speculation here and restraint is the order of the day. It may sound boring but a small business owner needs consistent and predictable returns. One wrong move and a life’s hard work can be wiped out forever.

One precaution that a small business owner must never do without is commercial general liability which acts as a shield for small business owners against risks such as property damage, business interruption, theft, liability, and worker injuries. Going without commercial general liability cover would be foolish and a huge risk.

If any small business owner is looking for commercial insurance cover, I suggest that they contact Allied brokers at (650) 328-1000 who will send one of their representatives over for a discussion and do visit www.alliedbrokers.com/commercial_general_liability.html

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

There’s still time to save on 2010 taxes

All good times have to end someday and so it was with Bob Guccionne, the infamous founder of the men’s magazine Penthouse who succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 79. The iconic publisher was listed in the Forbes 400 ranking of the wealthiest people with a net worth of about $400 million in 1982 and under his stewardship as publisher Penthouse was estimated to have earned $4 billion.

However the path was not strewn with roses all along the way and a slew of ill-advised investments coupled with the arrival of the Internet as a formidable competitor were the twin elements that led to his downward spiral and ultimately the sale of his company, art collection and the Manhattan mansion. 

So, what is the moral of the story? Well, maybe sometimes it is easy to make a lot of money because you were at the right place at the right time. However, to sustain wealth, what you really need is common sense and the ability to recognize the genuine investment advisors from the charlatans who will tempt you to throw away your hard earned money.

So make your investments and tax planning only after careful deliberations with reputed advisors and eschew the temptation to make hasty speculative decisions.

By the way, there is still time to save on 2010 taxes and speaking of careful investing for the future, did you know that Allied brokers besides selling various kinds of insurance, also help plan for a comfortable retirement. If you plan your retirement well, you need not compromise on the lifestyle you are accustomed to, in the pre retirement years.

Call (650) 328-1000 for a chat with an agent and do visit www.alliedbrokers.com/estate_planning.html  which will give you a fair idea of what Allied Brokers is offering.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don’t let a good thing get away!

According to Shakespeare ‘There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads onto fortune”. Yes, whenever you come across an opportunity, whether it is a clothes sale or the chance to make a really good investment or come across a really good deal for that house you had been wanting to sell for a long time, don’t procrastinate, take advantage of that opportunity, grab the deal without delay.

I have seen a lot of people hanging onto a property as they keep hoping for a better deal and ultimately they lose a good buyer. Procrastination never did anyone any good although that does not mean that you do not make informed decisions. Make sure your advisors are seasoned with a formidable reputation in the market but don’t let a good thing get away.

This could also apply to good insurance policies available in the market. Grab these deals while you are still eligible for a cover.

Take for instance umbrella insurance which is a liability insurance policy that protects the assets and future income of the policyholder, above and beyond the standard limits set on their primary home policies. This is a really useful cover and I recommend that everyone make it a part of their financial portfolio.

To find out more, you can contact Allied Brokers at (650)328-1000 who can send their representative over to explain the finer points of this cover. You could also visit www.alliedbrokers.com/commercial_umberlla.html.