Friday, November 23, 2018

Insuring a Teenage Driver

It’s a big deal when your teenager gets their first-time driving license. A mid all the celebration (and worry for the elders) about the newfound freedom, there are the financial implications to consider.

Besides the cost of buying another car, (if you want to give the teen their own vehicle), there are the additional gas bills and more importantly insurance costs to bear. Insurance is one area where it is easy to make wrong decisions. Here is a guide to getting the right auto insurance for your teenager at the right cost.

Add the teen to your existing policy

Generally speaking, it costs less to add your teen to your own auto insurance policy than to purchase a separate one for them. The better your own driving record is, and the safer and more reliable the car you drive is, the lower will be the premiums.

Additionally, the type of car the teen drives impacts the cost. If it is going to be like your own safer model or another similar one, the cost of coverage will be lower than if you buy for your teen a high-powered sports car.

Assess your deductible

The higher the deductible, the lower is the premium. Increasing your deductibles can lower the premiums; however, should an accident occur, your out of pocket will be more. With a teenage driver at the wheel, the chances of fender benders and dings and dents are high, and so be careful about using this option.

Check for discounts

Ask your insurance company about the discounts that may be available. For example, the company may reduce the premiums if the teen has an image of a good student with a high GPA. If the teen is leaving for college and will not be taking the car along, a discount may be available as there will be less driving done. Explore all possible avenues of discounts.

Choose the right vehicle

If you are buying a car for your teen, consider getting a safe, reliable used vehicle. The cost of coverage will be lower than that for a shiny brand new car.

Avoid small claims

Scratches and minor dents are going to happen willy-nilly. If you file an insurance claim each time this happens, your rates will go up. Keep your deductible in mind too; since you will pay some part of the repair cost yourself, is filing a claim really worth it?

Think about a driving school

Teaching your teenager to drive is indeed a rite of passage. However, sending the teen to a driving school, preferably one approved by your insurance company, may entitle you to a discount.

Seek professional guidance

Auto insurance involves a large number of variables, some of which are easy to misunderstand or overlook. These mistakes can leave you with an avoidable high payment schedule. Even worse, they could leave you and your teenager underinsured; that could have serious financial implications, should an accident occur.

Obtaining the guidance of a reputed professional insurance agent will give you the right inputs to make the right decisions. That will ensure proper auto insurance for the new driver in the family.

Residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo, Beware of Health Insurance Issues!

It is not healthy to worry needlessly about your health. However, ignoring the signs of potential health issues is even worse. Hypochondria is not a good thing – but health is, in many ways; it is just a matter of common sense and taking essential precautions. The same wisdom applies to the matter of health insurance.

The right health insurance coverage for your family is critically important. It requires your time and attention as well as expert advice. If you have already gone through the mill, that should be okay. Unfortunately, the word ‘should’ has to be used here.

That is because recent changes in health insurance policies and procedures could catch you unawares and affect adversely the handling of a possible future medical situation. Here is a case in point that could have major implications for those living in Santa Clara and San Mateo.

An unexpected ineligibility of coverage

In Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, Stanford is a major provider of healthcare services. It runs one of the two trauma centers in Santa Clara too. Those who purchased an Obamacare health insurance plan after 03-01-2011 with Blue Shield do not have Stanford as a preferred provider.

This has serious financial implications for those living in these counties. If the health insurance company has a preferred provider contract with a hospital or other health facility, the full benefits of the insurance policy are available.  This typically involves a 20% patient copayment after a deductible, which is set to an annual out of pocket limit; it is usually $7,550. The preferred provider has a set fee for each service it provides.

Those with policies purchased after 03-01-2010 will have to pay much more if they go to a Stanford facility. The deductible is double and the copayment rises to 50% of the covered charge. On top of this, the patient will have to pay for uncovered charges.

As an example, take a surgical procedure that costs $100,000. With a preferred provider, the patient pays just the out of pocket of $7,550. Everything else is covered. For the same procedure with a nonpreferred provider, the out of pocket becomes $15,100 and the copayment is $50,000. In other words, the patient will have to pay $65,100 out of the total cost of $100,000.

Those who have policies purchased before 2010 or have Medicare supplements may not have to face this adverse situation caused by this new development.

Where do you stand?

If you live in Santa Clara or San Mateo counties, you should examine carefully your health insurance policy to see if you have the proper coverage you need. Those who live in other counties should also check, if there have been any recently introduced changes that might affect them.

You need to act fast in order to modify or change the policy, if required, and to provide for the best coverage your family deserves. It would be better for you to contact at the earliest an experienced insurance broker, who will be able to give you the guidance you need; ensure that you have made the right decisions.