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Avoiding Auto Theft

May 10th, 2006 by Megan Mahan

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported today that the Western United States was the primary target of the nation’s auto bandits in 2005. Out of the ten metro areas with the highest rate of auto theft, Californian cities like Los Angeles occupied six positions, with cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle and Yakima keeping them company.

This new study was interesting to me, mostly because a few of my friends have had their cars stolen. In fact just over a month ago, a couple of my friends were packing up their car to move from L.A. to Denver; when they locked up their old apartment for the last time and walked down to the street to get on the road, their car (and all of their belongings therein) was gone.

Thankfully, between their renters and auto insurance policies, they were well compensated. But that’s not to say their claim alleviated the heartache and pain of replacing a vehicle, clothing, furniture, etc.

To avoid becoming a victim of auto theft, the NICB recommends a “layering” approach with the following tips:

…Read the rest of this entry »

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Health Care Help

May 9th, 2006 by Megan Mahan

I came across a new website this morning, geared towards helping consumers save on health care. Health Savings News was launched earlier this month and includes tips and articles on topics like medical credit cards, the new Medicare plan and health savings accounts, just to name a few.

The editors also compile their favorite articles, tips and websites each week to help you find the best of everything health care on the web. This week’s web site of the week is Pillbot.com, which allows consumers to shop online for the best-priced prescription drugs–without entering medical history or other personal information.

While Health Savings News is still in its infancy, it contains some pretty good information. I learned a little something myself about requesting an itemized bill from hospitals.

Check it out and let me know if you find the site worthwhile. And of course, for information and saving tips on health insurance, don’t forget to visit the InsureMe Consumer Resource Center! (We’ve got what you need to know about health insurance in your state, too.)

[source: PR Web]

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Home Insurance: Three Important Questions to Ask Your Insurer

May 8th, 2006 by Megan Mahan

Good stuff from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) today via the Insurance News Network (INN) regarding home insurance coverage.

According to the article (which I suppose is more of a “press release”), 59 percent of today’s homes are underinsured by about 22 percent. Pretty discouraging numbers when you figure that a home is probably the largest investment most of us will ever make. Even more discouraging when you learn that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, homebuilding materials increased over six percent in 2005 due the Gulf devastation and global demand.

What do all these numbers mean?

It means that your home may be uninsured, and if disaster strikes, rebuilding your home is going to cost lots-o-dough.

To make sure your home is properly insured, the I.I.I. recommends asking your agent three simple questions:

  1. Do I have enough insurance to rebuild my home?
  2. Do I have enough insurance to replace all my possessions?
  3. Do I have enough insurance to protect my assets?

To make sure your home is adequately protected, review your home insurance policy this spring and let your agent know about any large home purchases, repairs, additions or alterations you’ve made in the last year. Check out the full INN article here–read it, print it out and take it with you when you meet with your agent. It’s important stuff.

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Extreme Hybrid

May 5th, 2006 by Megan Mahan

Sometimes Friday rolls around and there’s just nothing worthy of the Peculiar Friday Post. While this brings me great discontent, I found a bit of solace in this totally rad car. Yes, rad. (Although I can’t say I like the body…)

Imagine driving 250 miles on one gallon of gas. Yeah. I think my head is starting to explode. Amazing. Check out the post–and the comments–and let me know what you think. And be sure to check out AutoBlogGreen for more on hybrid cars and all things oil.

Have a great weekend!

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Is a Broadband Gym for You?

May 4th, 2006 by Megan Mahan

Consumers looking for individual health insurance are often surprised to learn that more and more insurance companies are using their Body Mass Index (BMI)–a measure of body fat based on height and weight–to determine health insurance rates.

Why?

If you have a high BMI (over 24.9), you are at greater risk for serious conditions like heart disease, which also increases an insurer’s risk to insure you. And that means higher health insurance premiums.

Not surprisingly, diet and exercise are the best way to lower your BMI–and possibly your health insurance rates. But what if you don’t like going to the gym? Do you hate those aerobic/dance/karate DVDs? Now, according to CNN.com, you can flick on your computer and have a workout streamed right into your living room.

CNN.com reported today that “broadband gyms” are becoming popular among gym-phobic consumers who want to get a good workout. Companies like SlimTree and demandFitness provide members with 30+ workouts, which can all be accessed via the web, in your home, office, hotel room–wherever. Plans for SlimTree start at $4 per month for six weeks and members receive diet and excerise advice, as well as their choice of workouts ranging from yoga to kickboxing. Not too shabby.

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a gym-phobe myself. I go, but I hit it during early morning or late night hours to avoid the beefcakes and the supermodels. Nonetheless, I can’t, as of yet, see myself becoming a member of a broadband gym. I think they’re an interesting alternative for people who get bored easily, can’t get into the [workout] classes they want or travel a lot. Maybe it’s just me, but working out at home has a lot of distractions. Especially if you have a weird cat that jumps on your head everytime you hit the floor for crunches.

Sarcasm aside, getting healthy is a good thing and it may save you quite a few bucks every month. But what do you think? Is a broadband gym for you?

[Bonus link]: Calculate your BMI online!

Big thanks to Marina, InsureMe’s User Experience Designer, for this juicy vittle!

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Price of Auto Insurance Plateaus

May 4th, 2006 by Penny Hagerman

While the price of gasoline seems to rise daily, there is one bright spot in our inflated economy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III): auto insurance costs are holding steady this year at an average of $867 nationwide.

That’s good news, as more and more of us are living paycheck-to-paycheck, just hoping we can stretch those earnings a little bit farther.

A recent article in the Insurance Journal cites Robert Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist of the III, as he puts things in perspective saying, “The cost of auto Insurance is increasing by about one-sixth the rate of inflation–and little more than a single gallon of gasoline.”

And the news gets even better: drivers with safe records and those with good credit may actually see their rates go down this year–by as much as 3 to 5 percent, or about $25 to $50 per vehicle!

…Read the rest of this entry »

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Young? Single? Need Insurance?

May 3rd, 2006 by Megan Mahan

If you’re a recent college grad, you’re either without proper insurance or about to be. That’s because most insurance companies won’t insure dependents on a parent’s insurance policy past age 22–or younger.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has created the Insure U program to help folks of all ages plan for and meet their insurance needs–which is especially helpful for college grads who aren’t exactly sure what they need or where to turn.

The Insure U page has four different “life stage courses”; the “young singles” course includes tips and information on relevant topics like identify theft, saving tips, and shopping guides for health, life, homeowner’s/renter’s and auto insurance (to name a few).

I should probably be embarrassed by how cool I think Insure U is, but I can’t help myself–it makes me crazy. Check it out here to get started.

Not a college grad? Don’t sweat it. Insure U has “life stage courses” for young families, established families and empty nesters, too. And don’t forget–you can find more insurance information and get free insurance quotes from InsureMe.com.

Alright, kids. You’ve got the links. Go crazy.

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Cover the Uninsured Week ‘06

May 2nd, 2006 by Megan Mahan

The fourth annual Cover the Uninsured Week is here!

Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Cover the Uninsured Week is part of a non-partisan, nationwide effort to put health coverage in America on the front burner. Thousands of activities for Cover the Uninsured Week will take place all across the country through May 7, including health enrollment fairs.

Health enrollment fairs will host a variety of screenings, such as those for diabetes and breast cancer, as well as educational sessions on HIV/AIDS, nutrition and fitness and home health care (just to name a select few).

To see what’s happening near you, go to CoverTheUninsured.org and check out the 2006 event calendar.

Already have health insurance? You can still join the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s efforts to put the spotlight on America’s uninsured and:

  1. Contact your elected officials [letter templates can also be found here]
  2. Spread the word to friends and family members
  3. Get involved in activities near you

Head over to CoverTheUninsured.org for more information on activities and what you can do to help. The website is easy to use–I just spread the word to five people in one minute. Wonderful.

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European Gas Prices Makes U.S. Look like Cry Baby

May 1st, 2006 by Megan Mahan

Fuel-Price.jpg
According to the AutoBlog, gas prices in Europe are currently the equivalent of $6.62 per gallon–over twice the average price of gas here in the states.

If you do the math (which AutoBlog did), at that price, you’d be paying about $125 to fill a 20-gallon tank. Aie! Not to mention that taxes make up 66 percent of fuel costs in Europe–last week about 29 percent of our fuel costs went to the government.

In spite of the European perspective, I think we’re all feeling a little slighted by the gas ordeal. Nonetheless, let’s not wallow too much in our sorrow, okay?

[Related links of interest]:

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