Auto insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, home insurance, life insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance…. The list is endless. The insurance industry was valued at a booming $1.2trillion in 2017, and can feel like an alphabet soup of options.
In previous blogs we’ve touched on the 4 types of insurance you must have, life insurance and pet insurance, and we hope you have followed some of these ideas and advice. This post is a little lighter and talks about some of the weird and wonderful, lesser known types of insurance out in the marketplace.
It is clear that despite the trillion dollar industry, there are entrepreneurs and companies out there looking to assume risk for some of the more absurd and unlikely events. Here are a few categories of insurance that made me take a second look – and then file in my mind as a useful piece of trivia to bring out during the holiday season.
A is for – Against Death by Laughter
There are lists of people that have died due to laughing. Intense laughter can increase the body’s blood pressure and ability to bring oxygen into the lungs. For some people – asthma attacks or heart attacks could occur as a result. The insurance policy against death by laughter has been utilized by a comedy troupe “in the event that an audience member died from laughter,” movie producers, and was popular in the early 1900s with movie goers who were concerned they may have adverse reactions to the film they are enjoying.
B is for – Body Part Insurance
Yes – there are people who will insure specific parts of their body, and there are companies that will evaluate the loss and put a financial number on it. The consumer for this type of insurance is usually famous athletes or entertainers who rely on certain body parts for their livelihood. Additionally, companies may insure individuals that they have signed deals with to ensure that they will get their money’s-worth. Examples of parts that have been insured under this policy type include voices, taste buds, teeth, mustaches, hair, and fingers.
C is for Change of Heart Insurance.
As its name suggests, this insurance exists for individuals that may be investing a large sum of time and money in a Wedding event, and are nervous about a change of heart. According to businessinsider.com – the average cost to get married in the USA is $38,700. Created to support the parents or families that are forking the bill for the event, it provides a refund if the couple decide that the engagement isn’t going to work out and wish to cancel the wedding ceremonies and festivities. The coverage has a couple of caveats that would make it viable for a small market. One – it cannot be purchased by the couple, only by those supporting the wedding, and Two – the change of heart must lead to a cancellation of the events at least 365 days before the scheduled date.
Whatever policy you choose, or decline from having – Insureyouknow has a tool to uncomplicate life. It can be utilized to digitally store all your documents and information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Whether it’s a new policy you have purchased, or renewed, or a policy you have declined or cancelled– be sure to upload the policy and any related documents to insureyouknow. An insureyouknow subscription will allow you recall these documents, in the rare case that you or a family member may need it.
Note: This post was inspired by Wisebread’s article listing their top 10 insurance types, so feel free to read more about some of the policy types mentioned in this blog, and others.
There was a time when Spring, Summer, Fall or Autumn, and Winter meant something. When there was anticipation for the new season to begin – the atmosphere, air, environment and weather gave us clues that change was coming. Now we hear that Fall is coming, we see the days on the calendar getting closer to the Fall months, we see the signs and promotions in the stores, the Pumpkin flavored beverages are available – but it doesn’t feel like Fall. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere – it’s not easy to know when Summer ends at and Fall begins – it creeps upon us until the day that we need to leave the home with a jacket and we exchange the shorts for long pants.
When we read definitions – the division of the seasons is defined as:
- Spring runs from March 1 to May 31;
- Summer runs from June 1 to August 31;
- Fall (autumn) runs from September 1 to November 30; and.
- Winter runs from December 1 to February 28 (February 29 in a leap year).
For those of us in Texas, there’s hot and there’s heat-advisory hot and we are in October and thought of a jacket hasn’t even crossed our mind. Fall may begin in November and last thru January; Winter may be for 6 weeks – February thru mid-March. For those in the Canadian states, there’s winter and not-quite winter. Jackets are a necessity for the majority of the months. The definitions doesn’t apply for us. But there are some traditions that despite the atmosphere, environment and weather, we continue to embrace such as the Pumpkin Spice Latte (and the other drinks on the secret Starbucks menu), falling leaves and boots.
All joking aside though, in North America – we have also added some seasons to the traditional 4 – Hurricane Season, Wildfire Season, Flood season, Mudslide season, Tornado season. Many of these overlap and occur in different parts of the country.
– Hurricane season is split by geography. “The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th, and the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15th to November 30th” This is about 6 months of the year.
– Wildfire season in the Western United States – such as California – which can last up to 7 months of the year.
– Flood season – varies across the country and can be throughout the year. In early Spring there is flooding in the northern United States as the snow melts from the Winter months. In Summer and Fall – tropical storms cause flooding in the Southern/Coastal states. Flash flooding can occur during any season.
– Mudslide season is another season that impacts the Californians. Usually post wildfire, or after storms, the mudslides cause multiple casualties and destruction due to the quick, unpredictable timeline. In 2018, the news was focused on the Southern California mudslides.
The world is changing, our environment and weather is changing. But there are ways to keep the memories and documents safe and consistent. Insureyouknow has a tool to uncomplicate life – that is available in any season. It that can be utilized to digitally store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Whether it’s too cold outside to access your safe-deposit box, or too hot to venture into the garage – an insureyouknow subscription will allow you remember the seasons past.
Until next time – Here’s a song from the Netflix studio about the standard seasons – a jingle to keep in your head as you wonder where the seasons are.
Do I really need to keep this? …yes….Now where should I keep this? In the information age it seems like there is more to keep track of – but when we come down to basics there are still basic documents that we all have and need, and need to be able to find. There is a lot of information online – bank statements, mortgage payments, bills, paystubs – but what happens when your circumstances change or the information system shuts down. Is there a way for you to get what you need – or your family members?
- Weeks. Paper receipts. The grocery store, gas, eating out. These receipts are not necessarily for long term record keeping – but they help when the credit card statement and balancing the checkbook routine comes. According to Experian research – the average U.S. consumer has an average balance of $6,354 on their credit cards. Without the paper receipts to verify transactions – the extra $100-$300 in excess charges or fraud may not be detected. After the monthly verification – the paper receipts can be discarded. Preferably in the shredder.
- Years. The ones that come to mind are the tax returns, mortgage payments and warranties. These are usually in a drawer or stuffed in a cupboard – “somewhere” and may not be accessible in an easy way. The ones that slip the mind and can be difficult to keep track of are the medical bills and plans. Even if you have changed employers, doctors or plans – there is no record of your medical history and payments other than you. Pre-existing conditions or the blood-test that didn’t get sent to the insurance company can come back years later when you interact with the same providers again. Suze Orman has an article on other documents that we should have in our record box.
- Forever – These are the one that we mention on most of our blogs and the things that are, hopefully, in our safe places. Give yourself time to get these together. Your birth certificate (and those of your household), Marriage License(s),(it is key to continue to keep the marriage license of previous marriages even if they have been officially annulled), the Adoption papers and Death certificates. Wills and Death certificates (of anyone that may be connected to your life and could have influence in your future holdings). To get a copy of most of these documents – you need to make a request at the county where the event occurred. This can be tricky when a person is born or dies in a place other than their usual place of residence. If you are unable to physically go to the county clerk office – there are third-party groups that, for a processing fee, will be able to help you get the documents you need.
As you hit the deadlines of storage – don’t forget to dispose of your paperwork carefully. Saving the planet by utilizing the recycling bin is all in good nature, but identity theft is real and has happened to 1 out of every 15 Americans. Consider investing in a home shredder that can be used on a daily basis. Alternatively there are often community shredding services multiple times a year when you can take boxes of paperwork to be safely shredded. For a fee, local office supply stores will also shred important documents.
As you reach to begin the record keeping process and shred those papers, remember InsureYouKnow.org product offerings may be your answer. It’s a safe place to digitally store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. Taking stock of your records, memories and your current resources with an annual plan, may provide the peace of mind you’ve been looking for.
Our days are full. Our lives are full. We continue in our daily routine. But then something happens – the car doesn’t start, there’s a storm which makes the fence fall, the washer stops working mid-cycle. After the initial panic and stress, we utilize our resources and find a way to prioritize that and get it fixed. Perhaps a neighbor or our partner lends a hand, or we contact a handyman or the warranty company. However the larger “somethings” take a while to fix – the car needing new parts, the fence damaging the water line, or the appliances that need replacing – which alters the way that our days and lives function. Multiple resources are required to help continue our daily routine. In some cases there is no way to fix the something and we need to stop our lives and re-evaluate what life will be like now. The resources cannot fix or support us – but Insurance can help.
There are so many types of insurance – car and home insurance are the most commonly marketed along with health. Every year – the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors dedicates September to Life Insurance Awareness Month. They launch a site and full spread of marketing materials on www.lifehappenspro.org to educate the public about the importance of planning ahead for the “life happens” moments. Life insurance has been misconstrued as a product that is only available for individuals with excess or resources but there are several options for all types of people.
When you search “insurance” in google – 4,960,000,000 results – pop up. How do we find the time, the right advisor, and the right type of insurance for your personalized needs?
Go to the well-known companies – the ones that show up in the top 10 search or the ones that are advertised in your life (television, billboards, newspapers, flyers in the mail). They often have resources that inform about product types before even interacting with the sales area.
Go to someone based on referral – the ones that your friends or neighbors recommend. Family members alwayss have an opinion on something and even a negative story can steer you in the right direction. If you don’t have a community of people in your life to ask, putting an “ask” out on social media will provide comments that could be useful.
Go to a website that provides prices – the ones that can give you information without interacting with people. It’s tough to know what is a good price without knowing a ballpark range. An example of this is insureyouknow.org which provides a quote directly to your inbox after answering a few simple questions.
Insureyouknow.org can support you with your life insurance needs by providing you quotes directly on their website. There are also other InsureYouKnow.org product offerings to help you reference those important records when the “life happens” moments occur. It’s a safe place to store all the information in case you need to access it remotely – or from the comforts of your own home. An annual plan is available to support your budget needs.
Donor fatigue has been taking the limelight in recent months. Many international nonprofits are unable to get the funding they need to cover the increasing needs. Flooding in Asia, Refugees in Central America, Ebola and HIV in East Africa, Endangered species in Europe. And closer to home – children needing school supplies and living without a balanced diet, seniors without funds to pay their bills, veterans without jobs. It all matters – it is all relevant, and it can all seem a bit too much – especially when many of us have concerns in our day-to-day lives. According to charitynavigator.org – 70% of donations come from individuals. How can you – an individual drill in and focus on what matters to you?
Look at your …
Passion– What in the world inspires you? Angers you? Has changed your life? This is the backbone of most donations in the United States. According to philanthropy.com, most donors give from the heart. Whether it’s due to a life changing event, love of animals or art, or a neighbor who you wish to support – it’s good to start somewhere…. Even if it’s just knowing what you are not willing to give to. Many households begin their journey of giving within their faith-based communities and continue from there, others start in childhood with sales from scouting. If you enjoy an organization’s work, or a cause – you are more likely to continue your support.
Budget – How would you like to donate? One time, monthly, semi-annually, on birthdays? How much can you give? There’s a nagging voice that often pops up when looking at this area – what’s in it for me. Some nonprofits provide levels or recognition for donations, others provide a material incentive – a logo-ed item, tickets to an event or opportunity to participate in an activity. Be mindful of the incentives you receive as they may affect the ability for you to claim on your tax returns.
Research – There are nearly 100,000 registered nonprofits in Texas, 1.5million in the United States and there is no clear number for the number around the world. Registered nonprofits are not the only ways to donate. There is overlap on causes, and there are scams. Gofundme among other groups are a recent phenomenon where individuals can reach out and ask for $$ without affiliation to a nonprofit. There are great stories out there, but also many people who are utilizing your heart and budget to fund their personal needs. Unfortunately there are people and people within nonprofits that are less than ethical. There are watch-dog organizations in the charitable space that publish findings and news.
Connections – As you research – there may be nonprofits that are new to you, people doing things that wow you. You do not have to support them with monetary means. Connecting with them via social media, joining their communication lists or even volunteering your time are ways to support the cause and may even be more valuable than cash. Some nonprofits also have wish lists or item donations that they appreciate more than the cash.
Family involvement – What is important to your partner, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings? Donations on behalf of family members can also provide value. There may be causes that you haven’t considered or ways to make the donation a team building effort. They may also have ideas for you to research.
Donations can also be documented for your tax return purposes. InsureYouKnow.org product offerings are a tool to support you. It’s a safe place to store all the information relating to your donations, easy to access remotely – or from the comforts of your own home, and has options to save receipts and documentation that you may need in the early part of the year. An annual plan is available to support your budget needs.