Term life insurance for a sixty-four year old woman costs more than it does when a woman is in her twenties or thirties, but it’s more affordable than you might expect. This blog post will show you the companies with the lowest rates for a ten year term life insurance policy for a 64 year-old female, at different dollar amounts of coverage across four health rating groups, to help you shop for the right coverage for you and your budget. Continue reading
JD Power has recently released its 2013 US Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Study. Although these annual JD Power customer surveys are great resources for consumers to use, as an objective measure of customer satisfaction, for each of the major car insurance companies in the USA, the power circle ratings, used by JD Power to rate each insurance company, can mislead people about how well or how poorly each company performed in the survey.
Someone should expect a 5 power circle rated (among the best) auto insurance company to provide superior customer service. But in this latest JD Power study, most of the 5 power circle rated companies did not score much above the companies rated 4 power circles. Some of the 4 power circle rated (better than most) insurance companies did not score much above the 3 power circle rated (about average) companies. One might also expect, an auto insurance company with the lowest power circle rating (2 power circles), to provide consistently terrible service. But the scores of many of the two power circle rated companies are not much below the study average score.
Price is a factor considered in this JD Power customer satisfaction survey, but the study results can not be used to dependably show the companies having the best price for you. This study’s scores are lower than last year’s results, and explained by JD Power as being due to customer dissatisfaction with rate increases. There are big differences in the rates of competing auto insurance companies (Some companies charge double the amount of others for the same coverage), and there is no connection with paying more or less based on the quality of customer service.
When some companies increase the price of their auto insurance, it’s even more important to find a company with the best price for you. A smart auto insurance shopper checks the rates of all the major companies, then evaluates the customer service of the companies offering the coverage they need, at the lowest rates. Like my previous blog posts analyzing JD Power studies, this blog post will look at the numerical scores, and show you the best car insurance companies, truly distinguishing themselves above their competitors, and the worst companies truly performing below average. Continue reading
Term life insurance for a sixty-three year old woman costs more than it does when a woman is in her 20s or 30s, but it’s more affordable than you might think. This blog article will show you the companies with the lowest rates for a ten year term life insurance policy for a 63 year-old female, at different dollar amounts of coverage across four health rate classes, to help you shop for the right coverage for you and your budget. Continue reading
Term life insurance for a sixty-four year old costs more than it does for younger men in their twenties or thirties, but it’s more affordable than you may think. This blog post will show you the life insurance companies with the lowest rates for a ten year term policy for a 64 year-old man, at different amounts of coverage for four health rating classes, to help you shop for the best coverage for you & your budget. Continue reading
The 1,943 remaining auto & home insurance policyholders for American Fellowship Mutual Insurance need to find replacement coverage by July 12th, 2013, when their policies will be cancelled. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Kevin Clinton recommended the liquidation, after the insurance company’s finances failed to improve this spring, despite large rate hikes and months of cost-cutting moves under state-guided rehabilitation. If you are insured with American Fellowship Mutual, you may have already arranged to insure your home or cars with another company, but don’t let this situation keep you from shopping your auto & home insurance thoroughly, because getting price quotes from only a few companies, may mean you will be paying a lot more for your coverage, or miss out on a coverage option you need. This blog post will show you the largest auto & home insurance companies in Michigan, and how they can be contacted for price quotes & coverage advice. Even if you don’t insure with American Fellowship Mutual Insurance of Southfield, this article will give you information to help you shop for better auto & home insurance coverage & prices in Michigan. Continue reading
In parts two and three of this blog series, I explained I think it’s best to use independent life insurance agents when looking for competitively priced term life insurance, and how they differ from other types of life insurance agents. Experienced independent life insurance agents specializing in term life insurance, are a great choice to help you buy the right term life insurance policy for you at a great price. After reading this blog series so far, you should now have some idea how to tell a good life insurance agent from a bad agent. But how do you find a good independent life insurance agent? This blog post will give you useful information about how to find the best independent term life insurance agent for you. Continue reading
In part one of this blog series, I told you where NOT to shop, if you want to buy competitive term life insurance. In part two, I told you how buying life insurance is different than buying home or auto insurance, how using experienced independent life insurance agents is your best option, for buying the right term life insurance policy for you at a great price, and how to tell a competent agent from a less competent one. You now have some idea on how to tell a good independent life insurance agent from a bad agent, but how do you know if you are really working with an independent insurance agent? This blog post will tell you the difference between independent insurance agents and other agents, why independent insurance agents, when it comes to life insurance, often have the best options for you, and how to know if your agent is a captive or an independent insurance agent. Continue reading
In part one of this blog series, I told you where not to shop for term life insurance. Here in part two, I’ll tell you where you should shop — with independent life insurance agents — and about buying term life insurance, so you can avoid problems. When you are looking for good auto & home insurance rates & coverage, you should know, if you have been reading my blog, I think it’s important to shop with all the leading companies, including contacting a few independent insurance agents, to make sure you don’t miss out on good auto & home insurance companies selling only through independent insurance agents. But I also advise people to not rely on the claims of some independent insurance agents selling auto & home insurance, to be able to shop the market for you, since most of the leading auto & home insurance companies cannot be shopped or purchased through independent agents.
However, when it comes to term life insurance, independent insurance agents specializing in term life insurance really can shop the market for you. For example, in part one, I advised staying away from captive life insurance agents employed by one company, like Prudential and Metlife. I’m not saying Prudential, Metlife, or any company with captive agents are bad, or have high rates (In fact, Prudential has a reputation for being more willing to accept and offer better rates for certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, if the condition is well-controlled), but it’s best to avoid agents with a strong incentive or requirement to place business with only one company. You want to avoid Prudential, Metlife, NY Life, (et al) agents, but you don’t want to avoid the companies. And you don’t have to avoid these companies, because many of them, including Prudential & Metlife, also sell through independent life insurance agents. There are a few companies, like Northwestern Mutual, selling only through their own agents, or companies selling direct, like Amica, USAA, & TIAA-CREF, independent insurance agents can’t quote or offer you, but when you are looking for term life insurance, independent life insurance agents can adequately shop the market for you. But not all independent life insurance agents are the same, and some independent agents you will want to avoid. This blog post will explain the process of buying term life insurance, why choosing a competent, experienced life insurance agent is so important, and how to know a good agent from a bad one. Continue reading
If you now or will have, any loved one relying on you being around to bring home a paycheck, you need your own term life insurance policy. Life insurance coverage through work is not enough, and may not be there when you need it. It’s not just insurance agents thinking you need an individual term life insurance policy: You won’t find anyone educating people about personal finance, be it Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, or the money columnist of your local newspaper, not recommending term life insurance. So, you know you need term life insurance, or maybe you bought a policy a few years ago and need it reviewed. How do you shop for proper advice, good rates, and the right policy? How do you avoid a high pressure sales pitch? Similar to auto & home insurance, term life insurance rates can be more than double the price with some life insurance companies, for the same amount of coverage, as other companies. But unlike auto & home insurance, going to the major insurance company websites to get online price quotes, or to find a local agent, is not a good way to shop for term life insurance. In fact, the most obvious places for people to get advice and price quotes, can lead to paying too much for your term life insurance policy, or even worse, lead to you making a costly mistake, by being convinced to buy a permanent life insurance policy, annuity, or investment product you’ll later regret. Part one of this blog series will discuss where NOT TO SHOP for term life insurance. Continue reading
According to US Department of Commerce motor vehicle accident statistics, approximately 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents occurred on US roads in 2009. Considering how often car accidents occur, it is no surprise that auto insurance is a major expense for even the safest drivers. But what has always surprised me, no matter whether you are considered a good driver or higher risk driver by auto insurance companies, is some companies charge more than twice as much as other companies for the same coverage. This is why it’s so important to check the rates of many auto insurance companies, so you can find the companies that have the best rates for you. This is also why many auto insurance companies can honestly claim to save people hundreds of dollars a year. But there are not a few companies with low rates for everyone. You have to shop to find the auto insurance company with the best rates for you. It’s not unusual to find big price differences among companies for other types of insurance, too, like home and life insurance.
However, with auto insurance, I have always wondered why major companies, competing to have a good price for the best drivers, charge very different rates, when these companies use the same considerations to determine the lowest risk drivers. If you are married, in your thirties, own a home, have two late model cars, have great credit, had no claims in the last 5 years, and all the drivers in your household have clean driving records, every auto insurance company selling preferred or standard auto insurance wants your business. So why do some of these major companies charge so much more than other companies? Why would two or more households, having all the same qualities I listed, find a different group of auto insurance companies have the best rates for each household? Shouldn’t the same group of companies have the best rates for all the customers with the same characteristics? I will answer these questions in this blog post, and tell you why a part of the problem is consumer behavior, and what people can do to influence over-priced auto insurance companies to lower their rates. Continue reading
I’ve noticed some insurance companies, like Nationwide Insurance, have been emphasizing their ownership by their policyholders, not investors, as a selling point in their TV ads. One of the more popular ways to organize an insurance company is as a mutual company, like Nationwide, where the policyholders are the owners of the company, instead of the typical ownership of companies in other industries, where the companies are owned privately, or by stockholders. But some insurance companies are organized as stock companies, owned by stockholders. Some examples of major mutual companies are State Farm, Amica, American Family, Northwestern Mutual Life, Mass Mutual, Guardian Life, & Nationwide. Some examples of major stock companies are Geico, Progressive, Allstate, Prudential, Travelers, & Metlife. Are mutual companies better for the customer than stock companies? Do mutual insurance companies have lower rates, since they don’t need to provide a profit to investors? Do mutual companies provide better service, because the companies operate for the benefit of their policyholders? I’ll answer these & other questions in this blog post, and explain why I think, whether an insurance company is a mutual company or a stock company, its type of ownership should not sway your opinion when buying auto, property, or life insurance, except in certain situations. In fact, in spite of the appeal of policyholder ownership, where an insurance company works for its customers, instead of investors, I’ll tell you how some mutual insurance companies can cost you money. Continue reading
When insurance companies want to convince people they should insure with them, they often cite their long history and size, usually expressed by the dollar amount of their assets. For example, Prudential Financial, Inc., a major life insurance & financial services company, states on their website they have been in business for 137 years and have $1.061 trillion of assets under management. Does this make Prudential better than a competing company like TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, which has been in business 95 years, and has only $520 billion assets under management? Is Prudential financially stronger than TIAA-CREF? Not according to the rating agency AM Best, which rates Prudential at “A+” for financial strength, but gives the higher grade of “A++” to TIAA-CREF. State Farm states on its website it has 81 million policies & accounts in the USA & Canada. State Farm is the largest insurer of cars in the US, and its subsidiary, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, has close to 115 billion dollars in assets for 2012 (according to the financial statement from its website). In comparison, Auto Owners Insurance has less than 6 billion dollars in written premium. But Auto Owners Insurance scored higher than State Farm in both the 2013 JD Power US Property Claims Satisfaction Study and the 2012 JD Power 2012 US Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. It’s good to see any potential insurance company has a long history, and a significant asset base, but bigger does not mean better for the customer, beyond a certain point. When it comes to getting a competitive price for insurance, size does not matter at all. However, there are pros & cons for both small & large companies. This blog post will give you tips about how to consider a company’s size, when buying auto, home, or life insurance. Continue reading
In a previous blog post, I wrote about how important it is, when shopping for insurance, to speak with more than a few companies with familiar brand names, if you really want to save money and choose the best coverage. There are many fine companies you may not know, some sold through independent insurance agents, that could have the best price and coverage for you. Some auto insurance companies charge some drivers twice as much as other companies with the same coverage. You have to shop to find the companies with low rates for you. But the insurance companies with low rates for you will change over time. Insurance company rules & rates are always changing, and your risk profile (length of your insurance history, driving record, age, etc.) changes over time, too. This blog post will tell you what you can do, to make sure you never overpay for your auto insurance. Continue reading