Friday, February 18, 2011

Insuring Your Home Against the Threat of Fire

Did you know that cooking and home heating are the top causes of residential fires? Did you also know that fire deaths in one- and two-family residences account for far more deaths in most years
than all natural disasters and terrorist actions in the nation combined (“Topical Fire Report Series,” (Volume 10, Issue 7, June 2010)?

How well are you protected against the threat of fire?

In 2009 alone, an estimated 356,200 residential building fires caused 2,480 fatalities, 12,600 injuries, and an estimated loss of $7,259,800,000, reports the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). According to a 2010 USFA report:

  • One- and two-family residential building fires account for 66 percent of all residential building fires, representing the largest subgroup of residential building fires.
  • Cooking fires account for 30 percent of one- and two-family residential building fires reported to the fire service.
  • The leading causes of larger fires (that are not contained in one room) are electrical malfunctions (17 percent), other unintentional or careless actions (14 percent), and intentional (12 percent).
  • One- and two-family residential building fires peak in January and December during the holiday season.

Whether you live in a fire-prone area or not, fire insurance is a worthwhile consideration. Fire insurance varies based on a variety of factors including the extent of coverage, the area where the home is located, market value of the home as well as other risks that might make the home more vulnerable to fires.

Start by assessing the value of your home and in-home assets. Compare that with a quote for fire insurance and calculate your long-term costs. Does your current homeowner's policy protect you against fire damage? Will the long-term cost of fire insurance outweigh the cost of your in-home assets?

Run your questions by an experienced insurance broker. Allied Brokers has over a half century experience in the field of insurance. Speak to an expert who will advice you on your insurance options. Call (650) 328-1000 or visit for more information.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Should You Get an HSA Account?

What's it going to be for you this year? Tax-time gain or tax-time drain? Here's a tip that might help you save on taxes and save for future medical expenses.

If you have a high-deductible health plan, recent tax laws allow you to set aside money for your health expenses. Known as the Health Savings Account (HSA), the money in this account can be used to pay for your medical expenses, as well as other qualified expenses like vision or dental services that are not covered by your health plan.

There are two parts to an HSA: the health plan, which is administered by a health insurance services provider, and the savings account, which is administered by a bank or financial services institution.

Once you set up an HSA account, your money remains there for your medical expenses. An HSA is an attractive option because it allows you to save money for current and future medical expenses, tax-free! However, there is a maximum contribution limit for the HSA plan, depending on whether it's an individual plan or a family plan, as well as the age of the account holder.

Here's a quick recap of the benefits of an HSA:

  1. Tax-free savings and growth that you can use towards the deductible payments in a high-deductible health insurance plan.
  2. Fully tax-deductible contributions (for 2011, up to a maximum of $3050 for an individual HSA and $6,150 for a family HSA)
  3. Additional age-based contribution allowance of $1000 for individuals over the age of 55. If both, husband and wife, are over 55, each is allowed to make the additional contribution of $1000.
  4. No penalties as long as the money from the HSA account is used to pay qualifying medical expenses.
  5. No penalties if the money is withdrawn after you turn 65.

For more information and questions about an HSA account, contact an experienced insurance broker. Allied Brokers has been serving clients' insurance needs since 1954. Knowledgeable agents at the Allied office can help you determine whether you qualify for an HSA, and help you choose the best plan for your needs. Call (650) 328-1000 or visit for more information.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CCNRs For Your Homeower's Association

What is Supplemental Insurance?

Ever seen the ad with the strange-looking goose quacking “AFLAC?” He's peddling supplemental insurance services.

Supplemental insurance takes charge where your regular health insurance fails. Consider a scenario where a sudden illness leaves you with large medical payments and loss of pay from being unable to go to work. If you have supplemental insurance, it will cover the lost income and living expenses.

Supplemental insurance can never be purchased by itself – it is only available in addition to an existing insurance plan. There are several different supplemental insurance plans available for a variety of needs:

  1. If you are on Medicare, supplemental insurance can be purchased to pay for medical expenses not covered by Medicare, such as co-payment, deductibles, co-insurance, long-term health care, prescription drugs, or in-home and nursing-home care. Supplemental insurance that complements Medicare is called Medigap. There are 12 Medigap plans (labeled A through L), each catering to a different set of needs and offering different benefits.
  2. Emergency hospital stays and outpatients services can be covered by supplemental insurances offering fixed cash benefits for these services.
  3. Basic supplemental insurance can be purchased to cover routine preventive care.
  4. Supplemental insurance can be used to cover expenses related to a pre-existing condition.

Supplemental insurance plans make the payment directly to you. This requires that you make the required medical payments to the provider upfront, before applying for the supplemental insurance payment. Do you have enough funds in the event of a medical emergency? This is an important consideration before you steer in the direction of supplemental insurance. There are many different companies, plans and limitations to supplement insurance.

Learn more before you commit your money. Experienced agents from Allied Brokers International can address all your insurance needs and concerns by phone at (650) 328-1000 or online at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When You've Exhausted the Limits of Liability Insurance

... take shelter under the expanse of an umbrella policy.

Very simply put, an umbrella policy does what its name implies—provide protection when your other insurances have been exhausted.

An umbrella policy is personal liability coverage that can be purchased only when you already have other insurance coverage. Think of it like a buffer, a cushion, that protects you when the limits of your individual policies have been exhausted.

Consider for example that you have homeowner's insurance that covers you up to a maximum of $500,000 in claims. You could purchase an umbrella policy that would extend this coverage to say $1 million, or an amount you decide. If there is a claim of $750,000 on your homeowner's insurance, $500,000 of the claim will be paid by your homeowner's insurance. For the remaining $250,000, the umbrella policy kicks in and pays the amount.

Umbrella policies are relatively inexpensive because a claim has to first be fulfilled by a primary policy before you start drawing from your umbrella. Premiums/costs of your umbrella policy will vary depending on the limit you set for your policy. Personal liability umbrellas for up to $1 million in coverage can cost between $150 and $300. Every additional $1 million in coverage incurs an added cost to your umbrella premium.

Umbrella pros:
- extension of liability coverage
- extendable coverage limits
- protection in the event of bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage
- wider protection if you are sued
- low annual costs

In order to purchase an umbrella policy, you need to have a base coverage of at least $150,000 to $250,000 for auto insurance and $250,000 to $300,000 for your homeowner's insurance. An umbrella policy does not cover you against business liabilities. Nor does an umbrella policy provide protection if you have caused damage or losses with ill intentions.

Talk to a trusted insurance agent or broker for more information on umbrella policies and to learn how they can protect you and your assets. For over half a century, Allied Brokers and their experienced agents have been helping clients assess and fulfill their insurance needs. Call (650) 328-1000to speak to an insurance specialist or visit for more information.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Never Too Late to Plan

Have you wondered about the safety and security of your financial future? Are you investing in the right places and doing the things needed to fund your post retirement life? Insurance is the right investment as it takes care of your health, wealth, family and other things you hold dear. Most people plan their finances based on their Social Security and pension plans. The only way to stabilize your finances during the long run is to get life insurance. Financial planning and Life insurance go hand in hand as they are integral aspects to maintain proper monetary control, protect your family's lifestyle, and accumulate wealth. Life insurance with the right amount of coverage helps you expect the unexpected head on, without worrying about the financial safety of your loved ones.

It’s never too late to plan for insurance. A leading insurance brokerage company like Allied Brokers will help you select the right policy suited for your requirement and budget plan. They offer term life, whole life, second to die and universal life insurance policies that have the potential to accumulate good cash value. For an initial consultation, call them at 650.328.1000 or visit their corporate website for more information.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

HUGE California Traffic Tickets Fines Effective 01/06/2011

The next time you decide to park your car in the handicapped zone, think twice! You might have to pay a heavy parking fine. The State of California has made an unanimous decision to raise their traffic ticket fines by a huge margin. This is the time to exercise extreme caution in car registration and insurance matters, much less the way you choose to follow the rules of the road. The highway patrol is under a lot of pressure to issue a certain amount of parking tickets to careless drivers, so beware of highway and traffic cameras installed everywhere and tougher enforcement of parking rules. Have you ever stopped and thought whether your car insurance policy offers the adequate coverage you need in times such as these? This could be a blessing in disguise in case you are facing a huge fine for breaking any supposed rule.

Allied Brokers offers automobile policies from a range of insurers which include standard and optional coverages for liability, medical payments, under-insured/uninsured motorists, collision waiver, towing and labor costs etc. This insurance brokerage firm gives you the benefit of price and coverage comparison when it comes to selecting the right insurance plan for you. If you're thinking about automobile insurance, motorcycle insurance, or any other insurance for classic collectibles, boat/yacht, they can help you find the coverage that works best for you and your budget. What’s more, they have low premium payments for teen drivers. You can save possibly hundreds of dollars if you qualify for their auto discounts. Visit to request a quote or call 650- 328-1000 to speak to a live agent.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Everything you need to know about Auto Insurance

You may be the proud owner of a car and can’t wait to hit the road with your new set of wheels, but there are some facts you need to know before heading out. Buying a new car may be the most gratifying experience with many advantages but it could also lead to financial risks. Auto insurance can help you pay for repairs, cover medical expenses or other bills concerned with car accidents. There are some insurance facts that need some going over and better you learn them here than on the street – after encountering an accident. A few things may have not been discussed by your agent like liability, collision, deductibles and comprehensive coverage before setting out the plan to you. Before deciding to buy auto insurance, keep in mind these few pearls of wisdom and then take the plunge:-

  • Spend your dollars wisely
  • Don’t just look at the liability, look at the coverage per person
  • Consider buying an umbrella policy
  • Keep a good credit rating
  • Shop around for the best policy that offers the right price and coverage
  • Take advantage of discounts
  • Ask about diminished value for your car
  • Understand the claims process when you buy your policy
If you would like to find the best insurance policy at the right market price, contact Allied Brokers for a free quote. This insurance company offers their customers the chance to choose the policy that suits them best by benefit of price and coverage comparison. If you are looking to replace your existing policy, please contact an agent today at the Allied Brokers Office (650) 328-1000 or visit for more information. They will make sure that you get the right insurance plan for your lifestyle, at affordable rates.