Chapter 8

Pay-Per-Mile Car Insurance

During the pandemic and at other times, if you drive very little, consider pay-per-mile car insurance to lower your premium. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives about 13,500 miles a year. Insurance companies estimate that a person would likely benefit from pay-per-mile insurance program if they drive less than 8,000 miles annually.

Pay-per-mile insurance may be appropriate for people who work from home, are in college, regularly use public transportation, or who have a second vehicle that is rarely used. This coverage has a base rate, which is determined similar to traditional auto insurance. After that, the per-mile rate is added on. High mileage, aggressive driving, and overnight driving can result in higher auto insurance rates. 

Usage-based insurance programs use telematic technology with an app or in-car device to track your driving. Instead of in-car monitoring systems, some companies require that you submit a photo of your odometer each month.

Another type of usage-based insurance is pay-as-you-drive with rates based on driving habits. With this coverage, rates may increase as a result of bad driving habits. Behaviors that are monitored include hard braking, acceleration and speed, the time of day you drive, mileage, and cellphone use.

For additional information on pay-per-mile car insurance, click here

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk with others to learn about their current auto insurance coverage and costs.
  • Have students conduct online research for pay-per-mile and pay-as-you-drive auto insurance to obtain additional information on the features, benefits, and drawbacks of these coverages.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What features of pay-per-mile car insurance might be appropriate for you or people you know?
  2. How might a person reduce the amount paid for auto insurance? 
Categories: Car Insurance, Chapter 8 | Tags: | Leave a comment

Travel insurance: What does it cover and when do you need it?

Not all travel insurance is the same. Some policies only cover certain kinds of trip cancellations. Here are some questions to help you decide if you need travel insurance and what kind of policy will work best for your trip.

  1. What does it cover?

Cancellations: Some policies will only cover trips canceled for certain reasons such as weather or illness. And policies may have exclusions for cancellations due to a preexisting medical condition or if an epidemic or pandemic is declared. You can also pay more for “cancel for any reason” coverage.

Medical coverage: You can also buy medical policies that cover emergency medical and dental expenses while you’re traveling that aren’t covered by your regular health policy. Some policies cover medical evacuations, which can be costly depending on where you’re visiting and probably wouldn’t be covered by your regular health plan.

Other coverage: You can also find policies to cover medical evacuations, lost luggage, and many other potential situations.

Make sure you know exactly what a plan covers before buying.

2. What’s your risk?

Cancellation penalties: You may be able to cancel some parts of your trip, including hotels and tours, without financial penalty. Check the cancellation policies for each item you’ve booked in advance and see how much money you’d lose if you had to cancel all or part of your trip.

Medical expenses: Check with your health plan to see if it would cover medical expenses if you got sick or hurt on your trip. This is especially important if you’re traveling abroad because most health plans, including Medicare, won’t cover treatment in another country. Think about how you’d get to a hospital or medical care if you’re traveling to a remote area.

Coronavirus risk: Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the latest information and guidance related to COVID-19.

3. Am I already covered?

Your homeowners or renters insurance may include travel coverage. Ask your insurer or agent what your policy covers. Some credit cards include travel protections or may offer travel insurance, too, so ask when you use the card for trip expenses.

When you’re planning your trip, consider what you paid and decide if it’s something that makes sense for you. If you decide travel insurance is a good option for you, you can search the internet to compare plans and prices.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they or their family members have purchased travel insurance.  If so, what have been their experiences?  If not, why they chose not to purchase travel insurance?
  • Ask students to make a list of travel circumstances when it might be wise to purchase travel insurance.

Discussion Questions

  1. Under what scenarios should you spend more money for “cancel for any reason” travel insurance?
  2. Is it better to buy travel insurance from tour operators, cruise lines representatives or travel agents?  Explain.
  3. Is it essential for an international traveler to consider travel insurance?  Why or why not?
Categories: Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Health Insurance | Tags: , | Leave a comment

NON-OWNER CAR INSURANCE

If you don’t own a car but regularly drive a rental vehicle or another person’s car, consider non-owner car insurance. This coverage provides liability protection to pay for injuries and property damage of others in an accident. Damage to the car you are driving or your injuries are usually not covered. In some states, you may also obtain coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and medical payment for your injuries. 

Recommended situations for non-owner car insurance include:

  • ·         When using a car-sharing service, such as Zipcar or Turo.
  • ·         To maintain continuous coverage between selling your car and buying a new one.
  • ·         If you frequently rent cars.
  • ·        If you frequently borrow other people’s cars, especially if you want a higher level of coverage than that of the vehicle’s owner.
  • ·         When obtaining or reinstating a driver’s license, some states require insurance to show “proof of financial responsibility.”

If you frequently borrow a car from someone in your household, non-owner insurance is not recommended.  Instead, you should be included as a covered driver since all driving-age household members may be required to be listed on the policy. If you drive rarely, buy insurance when renting a car or you may be covered on the policy of the person whose car you borrow, if driving with their permission.  

To obtain non-owner car insurance, directly contact an insurance company or agent. Most insurers don’t provide non-owner quotes online. Non-owner car insurance usually has a lower cost than the same liability coverage if you owned a car.

For additional information on non-owner car insurance, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students contact an insurance agent to obtain rate information for non-owner car insurance.
  • Have students create a visual (poster or slide presentation) describing situations in which non-owner car insurance might be appropriate.

Discussion Questions 

  1. When might non-owner car insurance be of value to a driver?
  2. Describe actions people might take to determine if they have adequate auto insurance coverage.  
Categories: Car Insurance, Chapter 8 | Tags: | Leave a comment

Insurance tips following storms

If your home was damaged by the severe weather, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. These tips will help you make the process go smoother:

  1. Keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company.
    Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
  2. Make a list of damaged property.
    Take pictures or videos. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance company tells you to do so.
  3. Take steps to protect your home from further damage.
    Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out and prevent vandalism or theft.
  4. Try to be there when the insurance company comes to inspect the damage.
    If you can’t stay in your home, leave a note with information on where you can be reached.
  5. Ask your agent about additional living expenses.
    If you’re forced out of your home to make repairs, your insurance policy may pay for some of those expenses.
  6. Avoid fraud (with the following recommendations):
    • Get written estimates.
    • Get more than one bid
    • Beware of contractors who solicit door to door.
    • Check references and phone numbers.
    • Don’t pay up front.
    • Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it.
    • Never sign a contract with blank spaces.

For More Information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • What actions should you take to protect your property before a severe storm and floods?
  • Make a checklist of actions that you should take after the storm?  Share the list with other students.

Discussion Questions

  1. Under what circumstances is it better not to file a claim?
  2. If you file a claim and your insurer rejects it, what are your options?  Who should you turn to for assistance?
Categories: Chapter 8, Home Insurance, insurance | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Warning Signs of Identity Theft

What Do Thieves Do With Your Information?

 Once identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. An identity thief can file a tax refund in your name and get your refund. In some extreme cases, a thief might even give your name to the police during an arrest.

Here are clues that someone has stolen your information:

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they, their family members or friends have been victims of an identity theft. What was their experience and how did they resolve the problem?
  • Ask students if they mail bills from their home mail box, especially if it is out by the street. What might be some dangers of this method of mailing bills?

Discussion Questions

  1. Should you put your Social Security and driver’s license numbers on your checks?   Why or why not?
  2. Why is it important to check your credit report each year? Should you consider credit monitoring, identity monitoring service, or identity theft insurance?  Why or why not?
Categories: Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 8, Credit Scores, Frauds and Scams, Identity Theft | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Beware of scams related to the coronavirus

Scammers are taking advantage of the corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic to con people into giving up their money. Though the reason behind their fraud is new, their tactics are familiar. It can be even harder to prevent scams right now because people aren’t interacting with as many friends, neighbors, and senior service providers due to efforts to slow the spread of disease.

Those who are ill or don’t feel comfortable potentially exposing themselves may need someone to help with errands. Be cautious when accepting offers of help and use trusted delivery services for supplies and food. During this time of uncertainty, knowing about possible scams is a good first step toward preventing them.

  1. Scams offering COVID-19 vaccine, cure, air filters, testing

There is an increasing number of scams related to vaccines, test kits, cures or treatments, and air filter systems designed to remove COVID-19 from the air in your home. At the time of this writing, there is neither a vaccine nor a cure for this virus. If you receive a phone call, email, text message, or letter with claims to sell you any of these items–it’s a scam.

  1. Fake corona virus-related charity scams

A thief poses as a real charity or makes up the name of a charity that sounds real to get money from you. Be careful about any charity calling you asking for donations. If you are able to help financially, visit the website of the organization of your choice to make sure your money is going to the right place. And be wary if you get a call following up on a donation pledge that you don’t remember making–it could be a scam.

  1. “Person in need” scams

Scammers use the circumstances of the corona virus to pose as a grandchild, relative or friend who claims to be ill, stranded in another state or foreign country, or otherwise in trouble, and asks you to send money. The scammer may ask you to send cash by mail or buy gift cards. These scammers often beg you to keep it a secret and act fast before you ask questions. Don’t panic!  Don’t send money unless you’re sure it’s the real person who contacted you. Hang up and call your grandchild or friend’s phone number to see if the story checks out. You could also call a different friend or relative to check the caller’s story.

  1. Scams targeting your Social Security benefits

Local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, SSA will not suspend or decrease  Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Scammers may mislead people into believing they need to provide personal information or pay by gift card, wire transfer, internet currency, or by mailing cash to maintain regular benefit payments during this period. Any communication that says SSA will suspend or decrease your benefits due to COVID-19 is a scam, whether you receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call. Report Social Security scams to the SSA Inspector General online at oig.ssa.gov .

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they, their friends, or relatives have been victims of coronavirus- related scams? If so, what was their experience?
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you asking for any personally identifiable information by phone, in person, by text message, or email. What will be your response?

Discussion Questions

  1. Someone you don’t know sends you a check, maybe prize-winnings or the sale of goods and asks you to send a portion of the money back. What will you do and why?
  2. Discuss the statement: “The federal. State, and local consumer protection agencies are doing everything possible to protect consumers from fraudsters”.
Categories: Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 8, Frauds and Scams, Identity Theft | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Home Inventory Update

While insurance may be the last thing on your mind during the holidays, the start of a new year is the perfect time to review your insurance coverage and update your home inventory list. When you reflect on the last 12 months, especially with the pandemic, you might realize that some of those changes could greatly affect your home insurance needs.  So, try starting a new tradition: update your home inventory list. Here are four good reasons to add an annual insurance review and home inventory update to your list of holiday traditions.

  1. Your new gifts may not be covered.
    Your homeowners insurance will cover most of your big-ticket gifts like a big screen TV, new electronics and expensive jewelry, but only up to your policy limits. That’s why it’s important to maintain a current record of all your belongings. Update your home inventory this holiday season so your coverage limits meet your insurance needs.
  2. A lot can change in a year.
    Think about the new “normal” we’re living in with COVID-19. With many people spending more time in their homes, it is not surprising that home improvement projects have increased in popularity. According to a recent porch.com survey, 76% of homeowners have completed at least one home improvement project since the start of the pandemic. Take photos or a video of your remodeled kitchen or bathroom, gather receipts and add them to your inventory list. When you review coverage at the start of the year, you can ensure your new assets are safeguarded.
  3. It will make filing an insurance claim easier.
    The information you put into the home inventory list can make an insurance claim settlement faster and easier. This is especially crucial for high-value items. Don’t forget to document your attic, basement, closets and other storage areas. Can you imagine trying to compile all this information after a disaster? Without a record of your belongings, remembering everything you own or what you’ve lost can be challenging.
  4. It’s free and easy.
    With today’s technology, it’s never been easier to keep a detailed catalog of your possessions.  Keep your home inventory list in a safe place outside your home or cloud-based storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. Also, your insurance agent will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you at no cost.

Creating a home inventory doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as standing in the middle of each room and taking a 360-degree video. Tackle this project with your children and show them family keepsakes and their history.

For more insurance information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they rent or own home. Do they have renters or homeowner’s insurance?  Have they prepared a list of their personal belongings?  If not, why?
  • If students don’t have a household inventory, encourage them to prepare a list of their belongings.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it important to annually review your home insurance needs?
  2. Where should you keep your home inventory list?
Categories: Chapter 8, Home Insurance | Tags: | Leave a comment

Do You Need Rental Insurance?

Your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to a building or home you rent, but it will not cover your personal items, and yet only 40 percent of renters purchase renters insurance.  But renters insurance is usually affordable.  For people who rent, renters insurance typically includes three types of coverage—personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability.  Keep in mind that flood damage is not covered with renters insurance.  Also remember, if you are a dependent, your parents’ home-owners policy may cover your belongings even if you are not living at home.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Ask students if they are living on their own and renting an apartment. If so, do they have renters insurance?
  • Ask students to call local insurance agents to get quotes for renters insurance. Do you have to pay extra for expensive items you own?

Discussion Questions

  1. What can you do to cover losses to your personal property due to floods or other acts of God?
  2. What actions can you take to reduce the cost of renters insurance? Should every renter purchase renters insurance?  Why or why not?
Categories: Chapter 8, insurance | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Personal Finance Hacks

Hacks – skills and shortcuts – are used in many life settings.  For personal finance, here are some tips that can help stop money leakages:

  • Only use credit cards with financial advantages, such as cashback; always pay off credit card balances on time.
  • Making weekly payments, instead of monthly, helps to save interest and reduces the amount owed faster.
  • Pay off loans/debts with the highest interest rates first.
  • You might consider paying off a debt with another loan if the new loan has a much lower interest rate.
  • When shopping online, leave the item in the cart for several days or weeks; the price may be lower or you may decide you don’t really need the item.
  • Consider bulk purchases with friends to qualify for free shipping.
  • Take advantage of seasonal sales.
  • Unsubscribe from email offers.
  • Avoid household clutter to save time and money.
  • Cook your own meals; online videos and recipes offer fast, easy meals.
  • Talk to others for investment advice.

For additional information on personal finance hacks, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students tell their personal experience with tech, travel, or personal finance hacks.
  • Have students create a video to dramatize various personal finance hacks.

Discussion Questions 

  1. How would you decide if a personal hack will be of value to you?
  2. Describe actions that might be used to communicate personal finance hacks to others.
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter 3, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Financial Planning, Wise Shopping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Car Subscription Services

The opportunity to change cars like you change clothes is now possible.  For a monthly fee, car subscription services are an alternative to motor vehicle buying and leasing.

With an upfront fee is usually involved, the monthly fee covers the car payment, insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance.  Subscribers can manage their plan online with the vehicle delivered to your home.

Car manufacturers that offer this service are Cadillac, Ford, Volvo and Porsche. Other companies specializing in offering a variety of makes and models are Fair, Flexdrive, Clutch and Carma.

Unlike leasing for 24 or 36 months, car subscription can be for as short as a month. However, some programs require a two-year contract, and only allow a trade-in (exchange) after 12 months.

The greatest benefit is the “negotiation-free” way of obtaining a car. And, if you don’t like the car, you can get a different vehicle. Car subscribers are reminded it’s not your car.  Smoking is usually prohibited and pets should be kept in carriers.  Not all cars are brand new but most are low mileage and less than six years old.

For additional information on car subscriptions, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk to two or three others to obtain their opinions on the benefits and concerns of car subscription services.
  • Have students compare cost of various car subscription services with buying or leasing a vehicle.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What do you believe are the benefits and drawbacks of using a car subscription service?
  2. Describe life situations that might be most attracted to using a car subscription service.
Categories: Chapter 6, Chapter 8, Wise Shopping | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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