Searching For Auto Insurance Coverage Following Natural Disasters

When natural disasters unexpectedly strike, victims pay hefty prices for living through the ordeal. As victims turn their thoughts towards recovering from the ordeals, their thoughts at one point or another eventually reach the question – will insurance cover the damages?

Residents in Colorado are asking these questions now after an unprecedented amount of floodwater flowed down from the Rocky Mountains, damaging roads, bridges, and in some cases entire villages.

cars ruined in Colorado floods

The recovery will be a long road for many state residents. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only 22,000 Coloradans have comprehensive home insurance to protect against flood damages, yet over 2 million people live across the state.

Thousands of others will be looking into compensation for their automobiles. FEMA estimates that unlike home insurance, the majority of state residents do have comprehensive plans for their vehicles by paying auto insurance quotes that are as affordable as possible.

Mechanics across the state expect business to be booming into 2014. Many drivers admittedly must decide if insured repairs are sufficient enough for their vehicles, or if they must spend money out of their own pockets to pay for additional damages. In some cases, drivers expect to write off their cars and begin the search for new travel options.

Drivers who are forced to write off their cars essentially must start over. In addition to finding a new vehicle that is safe, secure, and visually appealing they must also ask tough questions about auto insurance.

In most cases, having lived through one natural disaster, people recognize accidents can occur at any time. The experience teaches people, who both had or did not have insurance on their previous vehicle, that anything can happen and being prepared for unexpected events is better than paying out of pocket for damages.

Important questions to ask are who are the top rated insurers, what type of comprehensive plans do they carry, and how much are their auto insurance rates? Many drivers will stick with insurers they know, while others will rely on the web to search for as many insurance plans, rates, and carriers as possible – typically through insurance comparison websites. In the end whether victimized by the Colorado floods or not, drivers should review their auto insurance policies once a year to ensure their needs are being met by their insurance providers.

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15 Great Gift Ideas for Under $5

We know what you’re thinking…gifts for under $5? Yes! You don’t need to spend a fortune to give meaningful gifts, and a $5 gift doesn’t have to be “cheap.” Here are 15 gift ideas that are all under five bucks:

A small gift basket: You can find pretty baskets at any dollar store for as low as $1. Fill the basket with a box of tea and a festive mug, or a few dollars worth of Christmas candies and cookies. If it’s a gift for a child, you can create a cute basket with little toys and stickers.

Christmas books: You can find holiday classics like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for as low as $1, either online at stores like Amazon, or at your local bookstore. You can write a nice message to the recipient in the front cover of the book.

Holiday ornaments: This is a memorable gift that can be used year after year. You can find boxed ornaments for under $5 at department stores and arts and crafts stores.

Small photo albums: Buy a small photo album at a drugstore or craft store and fill it with memorable pictures of you and your friend or family member.

Candles: Most stores carry candles for under $5. Look for holiday scents like gingerbread, pine and vanilla.

Cookie ingredients: Know someone who loves to bake? Fill a glass jar with all the dry ingredients needed to make cookies. Write out the recipe and attach it to the lid with a red or green ribbon.

Movie night basket: You can find DVDs on sale for $2 or $3 at many department stores. Lots of brick-and-mortar video stores are going out of business, and have huge clearance sales before they close. Include a bag of microwave popcorn and tie together with a colorful ribbon.

Puzzles: Puzzles are fun for every age group and are ideal for family game nights.

Key chains: These come in all shapes and sizes. Whether the recipient is into Star Wars or cats, you can find a cute key chain at dollar stores, costume jewelry stores and souvenir stores.

Guest soaps: Many people display guest soaps in their bathrooms. Wrap in colored cellophane or tie together with a ribbon.

Coloring book and crayons: Kids love to color! Buy a coloring book or tablet of construction paper and a pack of crayons at the dollar store for a few bucks.

Cheese spreaders: These are nice for holiday parties and cost around $2 at many shops.

Potpourri: Potpourri is perfect for any room of the home, and is available at any arts and crafts store, dollar store or department store.

Dress socks: These look more expensive than they are. Pick up a pair or two for the businessperson in your life!

Fast food gift card: All the large fast food chains have gift cards or coupon books. These make a good gift for kids or parents who are always on the go.

We hope our holiday gift guide helps you find budget-friendly items your friends and family will love!

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10 Advantages of Binary Options Trading

The world of finance offers many different avenues for you to invest and spend your money. In the financial world, an option is a type of contract that gives the buyer or owner the right to sell or buy an asset at a specific price. A binary option is an option where the end result is either a fixed amount of an asset or nothing at all. This means that the main types of binary options are cash-or-nothing or asset-or-nothing. As with most financial decisions, there are both disadvantages and advantages to binary option trading. For those who are new, most of the major platforms will provide binary options training guides. These include all the bigger trading platforms such as anyoption, 23option, and banc de binary which allow anyone to quickly learn all the important aspects of trading. Below you will find some of the advantages of binary option trading:

Minimal Financial Risk

Financial trading can come with a lot of risk, and it’s very easy to either lose money or be taken advantage of when trading. With binary option trading there is no leverage to contend with, which is one of the things that often has a negative effect on normal option trading. Additionally, things such as slippages and price requoting aren’t as much of an issue with binary option trading, and the risk in trading is very low.

Simplicity

Binary option trading is incredibly simple, which is perhaps why some people prefer it to traditional option trading. Because binary option trading revolves around gain or loss with a focus on the direction the asset takes, investors and traders don’t need to keep as close of a watch on their trades. Unlike many other forms of financial trading and investing, all the trader really needs to focus on is the status of an asset.

Flexibility

Flexibility is another advantage of binary options trading. The market allows traders to trade across various markets such as currency, indices, bonds, and commodity. This means that a trader can access multiple different markets across the world whenever they’re open.

Short Term Investment Options

Investing can often be confusing and stressful, especially when you often don’t see any payout for a very long time. Long term payouts are sometimes difficult to manage and can take many years to reach full maturity. Binary option trading allows for short term investment options and short term payouts.

Minimal Trading Amounts

A lot of financial trading requires that you put down a specific minimum amount if you want to make any money. People are usually encouraged to put down thousands of dollars when they enter any financial trading or investing agreement. However, binary option trading doesn’t require a certain amount and you can start trading with as little as $10. This is great for anyone who wants to begin trading and doesn’t have a strong financial background or strong financial literacy.

Higher Payouts

One of the biggest disadvantages of trading is often low payouts on a trade or sale. But binary option trading usually has higher payouts than other forms of trading. Some brokers offer payouts of up to 80% on trades, even on trades and investments that are only short term. Depending on how you trade and invest your money, you can potentially make up to double your original investment.

More Control

Sometimes other methods of trading don’t give you a lot of control over your options or your finances. Sometimes there are no assurances or guarantees that your trade will go through or that the price will stay the same. With binary option trading you have more control over your finances and decisions because you already know what you will gain or lose when you trade. Because the market is based on gains and losses of your asset, you have all the information at your fingertips when you begin trading or selling.

Ease of Acquisition

Another huge advantage of binary options trading is that unlike many other forms of financial trading, binary option trading allows traders to easily access assets they might not otherwise have access to on the traditional financial market. Traders can set the price of the contract which means they can trade on assets they wouldn’t be able to traditionally afford in a different market.

Accessibility

Binary option trading markets are open almost all the time. There’s no set buying or trading time and no set place where you have to purchase or buy assets. Trading options are easy to access and there are a large number of services available to help you navigate the ins and outs of trading.

Great for Beginners

Financial trading and investment can be very convoluted and confusing, especially to someone who has no background in the market. However, it doesn’t always have to be confusing. Since binary options trading is easily accessible and has very few risks, it’s a great way for beginners to get into financial trading and investments. If you don’t have a lengthy financial investing portfolio or history, this might be the type of trading to consider.

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Most Inventive Business Cards

Business cards are a pre-requisite for many people. They are handed out in meetings, at conferences and every time a potential contact is made at a fair or event. In a competitive business market, why do so many of us stick with a boring white rectangle of card to advertise ourselves and our services? Especially when there are plenty of more exciting options out there.

Instantprint are a print company that specialize in areas such as business cards. They will even create exciting business cards to help make your business stand out.

Be a shape-shifter

alternative shaped business card
Image via PressingLetters

Dare to be different and branch out from the traditional rectangular design. If your business has an associated shape, such as a car for a taxi firm, then why not have your business cards laser cut to a design that shouts about what you do?

Make someone smile

If you want to be memorable and make someone dig out your card for another look, then try the humorous approach. Jokes, internet memes and puns could all be used to give your business card an added boost.

Tear and share

tear apart business card
Image via BuzzFeed

Make your business card interactive by including perforated tear lines so that multiple people can keep a miniature version. This concept is also good for posting your business cards on noticeboards at events.

Get interactive

Whether you have a pop-up image, use a stamp for people to self-print their own copies of your card or go digital with the inclusion of a QR code giving your business card an interactive angle will help it to stand out from the crowd. Augmented Reality is particularly popular at the moment and is straightforward to add to existing business card designs.

Be useful

bike tool business card
Image via RethinkCanada

If your business card does something then recipients are more likely to hang onto it and engage with it. You could even try and find a useful element that is linked to your business, such as incorporating a strip of emery board for nail technicians. [http://mashable.com/2013/05/16/crazy-business-cards/]

Get your face out there

If your staff aren’t shy, or you work in the entertainment business, it can be a good idea to put a face to a name. When people see that business card again they are more likely to remember who gave it to them and recall that winning pitch you made about your company or services.

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Five Different Types of Mortgages

When it comes to buying a house, a lot of people are surprised to find out that there are a variety of different mortgages that are available depending on your needs and wants. If you have good credit, you can pick and choose which type of mortgage is best for you. If your credit is not stellar, you may be limited in the type of mortgage that you qualify for. It’s important to understand the different types of mortgages that are available and how they work when you decide to purchase a house so that you don’t end up with something that you don’t understand. One of the best ways to determine how each type of loan will work is to use a mortgage calculator to see how the payments for the loan will unfold during the entire period of the loan. Below you will find five different types of mortgages that are pretty common for most people who are looking for a home loan.

types of mortgages

30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages

A 30 year fixed-rate mortgage is the most common type of mortgage for a home loan. Fixed-rate mortgages are often the most popular type of mortgage for those who are planning to stay in their house for the foreseeable future. The reason that this is a preferred loan type is because the payments are fixed to be the same amount each month over the entire period of the loan. This makes it much easier to budget and calculate the cost each month. While it’s true that other home related costs such as tax payments may increase over time, the house payment for the mortgage will remain the same throughout the life of the loan even if the house increases in value.

there are a number of different factors that are taken into account such as a person’s credit, the type of dwelling, the person’s income, and the down payment being made. It’s much easier to qualify for a fixed rate mortgage when a person is buying a single family dwelling when compared to other types of homes. Many people who are buying their first home often try to qualify for it FHA mortgage which is guaranteed by the federal government. This usually gives a better interest rate than one to get from a typical bank and is available to first time homebuyers who might not qualify for a conventional fixed-rate loan.

Fixed Rate Mortgages (other terms)

While the 30 year fixed-rate mortgage is the most common home loan to get, it’s possible to qualify for other loans for different periods of time. These fixed-rate mortgages work the same as the 30 year mortgage in that they have the same fixed payment throughout the life of the loan, but they can be for shorter or longer periods of time. 10 year and 15 year fixed rate loans will end up having a higher monthly payment, but the homeowner can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments by paying off the loan more quickly. 45 year fixed-rate loans will have smaller monthly payments, but the homeowner will end up paying a lot more in interest over the life of the loan due to the longer period of time. The shorter period of time it takes for the borrower to pay off the loan, the more money they will save in interest charges.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages, often referred to as ARMs, have interest rates that change during the loan. Because of this, an ARM loan’s payments can vary quite dramatically over the lifetime of the well as interest rates change. This type of loan usually comes with a fixed rate for a certain number of years, then the interest rate varies from that time forward. The fixed rate can be anywhere from 1 to 7 years depending on the type of ARM loan you get. These loans are usually a bit easier to qualify for than fixed rate loans, and the initial payments are usually lower than you would get on a fixed rate loan. The problem is that once the interest rate becomes variable, there is a possibility that your monthly loan payments can become quite high if interest rates rise.

Two-Step Mortgages

A two-step mortgage allows the home buyer to receive an interest rate that is below the going rate for a set number of years at the beginning of the loan. The amount of time the buyer receives this below average rate depends on the wording of the loan, but it’s usually for between seven and 10 years. When this time is over, the loan will then jump to a higher rate for the rest of the loan. The two-step mortgage loan is more popular when interest rates are high since it allows the borrower to initially benefit from a lower rate than can be attained from other typical loans. Many people who opt for this type of loan hope that interest rates will fall during the period when their interest rate is low and they will be able to refinance when that time comes.

Balloon Mortgages

Another type of mortgage loan is called the balloon mortgage. In many ways they are similar to ARMs in that they have a fixed rate for a certain number of years at the beginning of the loan. The difference is that after that initial fixed rate period ends, the borrower must pay a large balloon payment to the bank. This balloon payment can be quite expensive. Borrowers often choose to refinance when a balloon payment comes due, but there is always a risk that they may not qualify for another loan depending on what the housing market is doing. This allows borrowers to take out a loan that is usually larger than they could otherwise qualify for and that an initial interest rate that is lower than what is typically available, but it comes with the risk of having that large balloon payment that will come at the end of the fixed rate period.

While all these mortgage options are viable options when you’re looking to purchase a home, it’s important to understand how each of them works and the benefits and risks that come with each. The better that you understand how mortgages work, the better position you will be in to decide which will work best for you.

(Photo courtesy of Claire P.)

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The Power of Temporary and Forever Cash

By Jack Bosch, author of Forever Cash

What if you are already making great money but are wasting it on things that will not get you ahead in life? Would you now consider cutting some expenses and rearranging your life to get there faster? I bet you would.

Here’s a test: would you rather have a large house, a second home in the mountains (or at the lake, or at the beach), and a beautiful boat now – even though it would mean living in a shack when you are old? Or would you rather live in a decent (but smaller) house now, rent a vacation place and/or a boat a couple of times a year when you need access to them, but then have the means to be able to live in the large home and buy your second home with all the toys you want a few years from now? Your answer to that question defines whether you will succeed in this process.

Forever Cash book

To master the temptation of spending that money, here is what you can do. Open two separate bank accounts.

Call the first account your “Investment Account.” Put 95 percent of your newly generated income and 95 percent of all the profits from your investments, be it One-Time Cash, Temporary Cash, or Forever Cash, into that account. Destroy the debit cards and checks the bank gives you for that account, so that you are not tempted to waste the money. Instead, just use wire transfers that still – in most U.S. banks – require you to go down to the bank to wire the money to the party you do business with and purchase an investment from. That way you won’t touch the money, and you just make deposits until you have enough cash in that account to place your next investment.

Call the second account your “Fun Account.” Put 5 percent of your newly generated income and 5 percent of your Forever and Temporary Cash profits into a rewards/fun account. Regularly use that to enjoy some of the extravagant things you love but which will not add to your wealth. Stuff like going to Vegas, or buying a new stereo for the car, or a $400 pair of shoes (for the ladies). I do stuff like that on a regular basis (okay, not the shoes), but I recognize what I’m doing. I am aware that taking money I get from my rental houses and buying a new couch, or even just an iPad, will mean that I can’t use that money to further my path to financial abundance. But I also know that these rewards keep me going and let me enjoy the journey.

Here are a few ways to generate cash flow that you don’t work for:

  • Buy a rental house that is cash flow positive in an area of the United States where they are cheap. (Yes, there are areas of the United States where you can buy good houses for $50,000-$100,000 and rent them for $700-$1,100).
  • Buy tax-lien certificates (Temporary Cash) that are secured by the government
  • Buy land and flip it with seller financing at a high interest rate (and high profit margins) (Temporary Cash).
  • Buy dividend-paying stocks that pay annually (Forever Cash).
  • Buy a mobile home lot with a mobile home on it and sell the home with seller-financing (Temporary Cash) but leasing the lot underneath (Forever Cash).
  • Write and publish short books on Amazon.com for passive cash flow based on royalties (Temporary Cash).
  • Apply stock options strategies for cash flow (Temporary Cash).
  • Build online subscription services that people pay you for monthly to be part of (Temporary Cash).
  • Put up an Internet banner ad for an affiliate product and get commission when that product sells (technically One-Time Cash, but a good banner ad can produce many sales a day for a long time without having to change it and mess with it so it qualifies as Temporary Cash).
  • Build a network marketing organization that is self-sustainable and provides monthly stable cash flow (Forever Cash, if built right).
  • If you have more money to invest and you have some business experience, consider buying a simple cash-flow business that doesn’t require a lot of time to manage (like a coin laundry or a small car wash; they are cash cows if done right) (Forever Cash).

If you do fall for the urge to spend the money on worthless stuff, you are screwing things up. It will be just like you’ve pulled the plug out of the tub. I am sure you are no familiar with how that works and have done that a few times. So have I. You can’t put in new money fast enough to make up for what goes down the drain when you spend it crazily.

If you don’t take some off the table and invest it into something that secures you forever, you might find yourself some day in the same position as these people who come up to my live seminar saying, “Jack, I had it all, and I lost it all.” You don’t have to lose it all. Remember, even the largest money mountains can disappear, but a portfolio of Forever cash Flow streams rarely, if ever, all disappear. One rental home might burn down but not all twenty. One banner ad might stop bringing in money but not all twenty you have around the web. One Amazon special report might stop selling but not all twenty-five books you have published. Multiple streams of Temporary and Forever Cash bring stability and freedom. Money mountains bring worries.

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Money Saving Tips for Car Owners

Keeping your car in great shape can improve its lifespan and eventual resale value. You don’t need to spend thousands each year at the mechanic’s shop to accomplish this. In fact, just a little bit of preventive care can go a long way to help your car live a longer life. Many of the steps are simple maintenance issues which can be done with only the most basic automotive knowledge. Solving small problems as they arise can prevent a major breakdown in the future. By paying special attention to the following areas, you can save money down the road both in depreciation costs and more costly service repairs.

Take Car in for Regular Maintenance

One of the best ways to keep your car in its best shape and save money in the long haul is by taking it to the mechanic’s for regular service checks and maintenance. A clean car with regular oil and filter changes will run at optimal levels for years. It will also be easier to sell your car at a higher price when you are ready to trade it in for a new model if you have a record of regular servicing. This shows buyers that you care about your car, and they will be willing to pay extra for it. It can also be a good idea to take your car in to a mechanic who specializes in your brand. For example, if you have a Renault Clio you would want to find a mechanic who is particularly knowledgeable about Renault cars and how to take care of them.

Use High Quality Petrol

When you’re trying to save money, it may make sense to purchase the cheapest fuel that you can find. However, some petrol stations are higher quality than others. If you frequent the same neighbourhood station, don’t be afraid to ask if they filter their gas at the pump and how frequently these filters are changed. Although the majority of stations filter their gas, those that don’t can be selling you sediment-filled petrol. This can eventually clog your fuel injectors and filters, which will obstruct your car’s performance and lead to the need for more frequent maintenance.

Keep Tyres Fully Inflated

This one small area can have a major bearing on your car’s fuel economy. Tyres that are only partially inflated or low in pressure will create drag on the pavement, making your car’s engine work harder. An engine that works harder is not only more prone to breaking down in the future, but it also burns more fuel. Always check your tyre pressure before long car journeys, and you’ll save a bundle on fuel costs.

Touch Up Paint

Washing and waxing your car regularly helps keep the paint in top condition, removing grime that could eat away at your car’s finish. When you’re washing your car, you can also take the time to inspect it for any scratches, chips, or blemishes. Touching up these flaws as soon as you catch them can save you a great deal of money in the long run. Chips and scratches are easy to touch up with a little bit of paint, available at any auto parts store or car dealership. Just be sure to choose an exact match or you’ll need a more expensive fix. By taking the time to show your car a little bit of TLC, you can boost fuel economy and even lower your car insurance payments. Your car will be less likely to break down, lowering overall costs thanks to your initial service investment.

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Being Car Brand Loyal Can Cost You Money

When it comes to buying a new car, one of the financial aspects that is rarely considered is the buyer’s brand loyalty. while those who have brand loyalty to a certain auto manufacturer do so for a variety of reasons, being brand loyal when it comes to car purchases can end up costing you quite a bit of money over your lifetime. Part of this reason is because there has been a great amount of change when it comes to car manufacturers over the years (as you can see in this infographic at moneysupermarket.com which shows how the entire industry has dramatically changed since it’s inception, but especially in the last 50 years), and this ever-changing dynamic means that being brand loyal can often hurt your pocketbook in the long run.

car brand loyalty

While it’s certainly important to take into account your past experience with certain car manufacturers, this shouldn’t be the only factor you use when you decide to purchase a new car. By limiting your car choices to a certain brand and not considering all the other potential vehicles that might fill your needs, you may be missing out on a vehicle that does everything that you want, but is much less expensive.

It’s definitely worth the time to do your research, and part of doing quality research is to look at all the options that are available to you rather than just the brand that you have preferred in the past. This doesn’t mean that you’re preferred brand won’t come out on top, but by discounting all other manufacturers before you even begin to look creates a situation where there is a good possibility that you’ll end up spending more than you need to get the vehicle that you want. There are a lot of great places where you can compare cars, but one of the best of them is consumerreports.org.

Another handy tool which can end up saving you a lot of money is the “True Cost to Own” tool from edmunds.com. This tool is advantageous because it doesn’t look solely at the price of the car, but it also takes into account the cost associated with the car over the lifetime of its use. This is important because sometimes a car that is more expensive at the retail level may end up saving you money over the entire life of the car through reduced maintenance costs, lower insurance rates, and better gas mileage. Much like being brand loyal, only looking at the retail price of the car can end up costing you more because it doesn’t take into account all the costs associated with the car over its lifetime.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t buy from a brand that has been reliable and you have enjoyed in the past. It’s merely to point out that when you become brand loyal and stop considering other options, you put yourself in a position where there’s a good chance that you’ll end up paying more than you would if you were more flexible and considered all the different opportunities that are out there.

(photo courtesy of Miala)

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Simple Ways to Lower Car Insurance Bills

When you are calculating the cost of car ownership, it’s important not to forget the toll that car insurance premiums can take. Next to petrol and maintenance, this ranks as one of the major expenses that you will need to pay over time. Part of what makes insurance unique is that it won’t be the same for everybody, and the price will vary quite a bit between drivers. Depending on your life circumstances and the type of car you drive, you may pay as much as double what your neighbour does. One of the best ways to find a lower car insurance rate is to compare your options carefully and shop around for the best deal. However, the following are a few additional ways to cut costs.

car insurance disclaimer

Use a Single Insurance Company

If you already are happy with your home, medical, or other type of insurance provider, it may be worthwhile to group all of your policies at a single provider. This could garner you a discount, although you’ll still want to shop around to be sure.

Avoid Monthly Payments

Paying your insurance fees up front can save you a bundle on interest rates. If you can’t afford to pay the large bill, you can always put it on a credit card with a lower interest rate and pay it off quickly. Monthly billing can involve administrative fees in addition to interest, so be sure that you look at all of your financing options.

Make your Car more Secure

If you can reduce your chances of your car being vandalized or stolen, you can also reduce your insurance bills. Read up on car news with Motoring to find out about the latest car safety features, including high-tech alarms, tracking devices, and immobilisers. With this information in hand, ask your insurance provider which are approved and install them for a discount.

Think Carefully before Adding Drivers to Policy

Be careful when you add additional drivers to your policy, because their driving records and statistical risk will factor into your premium. This is particularly true with younger drivers, who are more difficult to insure. If your teen will not be driving your car, there’s no need to put him or her on the policy.

Don’t be Afraid to Bargain

All you have to do is take a quick look at the variety in insurance providers out there to realise that the car insurance business is ruthlessly competitive. You can use this to your advantage. After you take the time to shop around and compare policies and prices, you could use the cheapest deals as bargaining tools with other providers.

Skip the Extras

Many insurance policies will come fully loaded with extra coverage that you may or may not need. Before signing a contract, read all of the fine print carefully in order to ensure that you’re not paying for unwanted extras. These could include car rental coverage, roadside assistance, or medical costs that are already covered by your health insurance policy. Improving your credit score and keeping an impeccable driving record certainly won’t hurt your case either. By comparing all of your options and shopping around for bargains, you can significantly reduce the cost of your insurance payments.

(Photo courtesy of andrew steinmetz)

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