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Car Sharing and Auto Insurance: What You Need to Know

| May 01, 2018
More and more car owners are looking to their vehicles as sources of potential income. The family sedan is no longer simply a tool to get to work, and it does more than deliver pizzas.  

Peer-to-peer car-sharing services have made it possible to "rent" a personal vehicle to other drivers who are seeking transportation. If you don't drive your car every day, this can be a fairly simple way to earn a little extra cash.

However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind regarding car sharing and auto insurance. Using your vehicle in this way can greatly affect your coverage.

First, your policy may not cover your vehicle while it is being driven by other people under a car-sharing agreement. 

Your carrier doesn't have any information about who is driving your car or their driving record, so the coverage cannot extend to them. If someone is in an accident or your car is stolen while he or she is using it, you may not have coverage. 

Second, you are making money with this arrangement. This puts your vehicle use into a business category, rather than personal. Again, this might negate coverage from your personal policy.

Due to these circumstances, car-sharing services typically offer their own auto insurance. 

If you're considering offering your vehicle for peer-to-peer car sharing, first consult with your insurance provider. 

Someone there can advise you about your coverage and help you determine if this is a viable option for the use of your vehicle.


Plan Your Party and Enjoy It Too

Everyone loves a party - or do they? Sometimes, the stress of planning, preparing, and hosting a party can drain the life out of the person giving it - and the fun out of the event. But it doesn't have to be that way. Whether it's a backyard barbeque, a child's birthday, or a special event celebration, if you're the host, you can make it easy on yourself. Here are top ten suggestions from Cool Mom Picks, all of them certain to reduce the stress.
  1. Consider a cohost - it halves the effort and doubles the pleasure.
  2. Use apps and checklists to plan ahead.
  3. Send digital invitations - acceptable for any occasion these days.
  4. Put the kids to work.
  5. Don't play DJ. Make music easy by simply streaming to a Bluetooth speaker.
  6. Make plans for your pets.
  7. Have groceries delivered.
  8. Keep the food simple with buffets and food bars.
  9. Label the foods.
  10. Serve easy-pickup desserts.


Vision Care Is About More than Just Glasses

Over half the population of the U.S. requires vision correction. Should you see your way clear to purchasing vision insurance?

While many people have group health coverage that includes vision care, many don't. But the cost of eye exams, glasses, and, in some cases, corrective eye surgery can be reduced with vision care insurance for a relatively small monthly premium. Depending on your plan, you can visit an optometrist of your choice or have access to a provider network of dispensing optometrists.

Even if you don't need glasses, you need eye exams. There are many hidden health problems that can be identified through a regular eye examination. The Mayo Clinic recommends exams every one to two years for adolescents and individuals over 65 and once every five to 10 years for those in their 20s and 30s. If you have a family history of eye problems, you should consider more frequent exams.

Children under three, in particular, should be examined by their pediatricians for early identification of potential problems such as crossed eyes or a lazy eye. Between the ages of three and five, children should undergo a more wide-ranging examination. Stand-alone plans, such as those obtained through an employer, are not required to cover children's eye care needs. Serious eye conditions in a child are covered under the ACA and are subject to deductibles and copays.

If a problem such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts is discovered during a routine examination, the follow-up isn't covered under your vision plan; you'll need to contact your regular health insurer. Medicare does offer some benefits for medical conditions impacting your vision but usually doesn't pay for routine vision testing. Medicare Advantage or a Medigap plan may provide additional coverage.

Depending on your situation, vision care insurance may be important for you and your family. To assess your options, discuss vision coverage with your insurance agent.


Is Your Life Insurance Beneficiary Up to Date?

When Minnesota couple Mark Sveen and Kaye Melin married, Mark made Kaye his life insurance policy's primary beneficiary, and when they divorced ten years later, Mark forgot to change that.

As a result, when he passed away, Kaye was still his primary beneficiary - much to the despair of his adult children. They were so angry about the matter that they filed a lawsuit and took the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

This situation may sound extreme, but mix-ups over life insurance beneficiaries are common. 

Since the last thing you want for your loved ones after you die is bickering, it's important to keep your life insurance policy beneficiaries up to date.

It is important to name both a primary and contingent beneficiary. Your primary beneficiary will receive your life insurance policy proceeds when you die - unless he or she dies before you do, in which case your contingent beneficiary will get the money. 

The main factor to consider when naming beneficiaries is who likely needs your financial support after you are gone. 

When you have a spouse who is a homemaker with young children, the decision is easy. When you are divorced with adult children, it may not be. That is possibly what led Mark Sveen to leave his family in such a pickle.

So what happened? A Minnesota federal court sided with Sveen's children because of a 2002 Minnesota state law stating that a divorce automatically invalidates the naming of a former spouse as a life insurance policy beneficiary. 

But an appeals court sided with Sveen's ex-wife, because the US Constitution's so-called contracts clause prevents states from creating any laws that impair "the obligation of contracts." 

Now the case is with the US Supreme Court, and its decision could affect the validity of similar laws in as many as twenty-eight other states.