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Travel Insurance: Picking the Wrong Policy Can Cost You

| February 01, 2018
Americans love to travel. According to the most recent information from Statista, approximately 31.82 million U.S. citizens traveled overseas in 2016. If you love to travel, consider purchasing a good travel insurance policy before you leave. And plan ahead! Why? Here are a few things that can go wrong:

Bad weather and other travel-related delays: Weather delays can mean delays in obtaining much-needed medication. Travel with enough prescription medicines to cover unexpected delays. 

Trip cancellation: Some travel policies cover trip cancellation. It happens. Be ready.

Lost or stolen baggage: Some policies cover these problems. But not all do. Check with your travel insurance agent to find a policy that does.

Unexpected injuries: Part of the fun of a vacation is exploring. But exploring jungles (or even city centers) carries risks of injury or illnesses. Travel insurance provides peace of mind. If something does go wrong, you have access to local physicians and hospitals. If you do need treatment abroad, travel insurance can help you find the right physician and defray the cost of medical treatment.

Illnesses: Illnesses can occur on cruise ships or just about anywhere abroad. Repatriation - returning you home for medical treatment - is always costly. Medical insurance policies that provide repatriation for you, or - in the worst case scenario - your remains, are a necessity these days. 

Travel policies differ greatly. Picking the wrong one and/or choosing the lowest-priced policy can cost you. Your travel insurance agent can advise you on the coverages you'll need, and also tell you which may duplicate coverage found in your homeowner's policy.


The Best "Valentation" of All May Be Just around the Corner

Whether at home or abroad, nothing says Happy Valentine's Day like a romantic "Valentation." Here are a few thought-starters:

Paris: Choose a boutique hotel in a 17th-century building or check out the elegant Right Bank from a hotel near the Champs-Elysees and the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. 

Mykonos: If you're considering Greece, pick an island - almost any island - and you're sure to find sparkling sea views, rugged walks, and idyllic beaches. Ask, and most people will unhesitatingly recommend Mykonos. Try the Vencia Boutique Hotel for almost perfection at a reasonable price.

Ravello: Italy may be the most romantic place on earth, and while anywhere you choose will delight you, Ravello is special. High above the Amalfi coast, expect breathtaking scenery, an enchanting village, and spectacular cuisine. Try the Hotel Rufolo in the historic center of town - a family-run charmer with an outdoor pool and breakfast included. 

New York: New York, New York is twice as exciting when you're in love. Go to plays, go to jazz clubs, go to restaurants, or just stay in a romantic (albeit expensive) spot like The Mark Hotel and explore the city that never sleeps.

Sydney: Often overlooked, Sydney defines "lovers' nirvana" with picturesque spaces, a fabulous harbor, and intimate cafes. Take selfies at every corner and be seduced by the beauty of Sydney.

Home getaway: "Home getaway" may seem like an oxymoron, but a Valentation at home just might be the best Valentine's Day present of all. Play tourist, but come home to familiar (and romantic) surroundings.


When Is Term Life Insurance Your Best Choice?

Many of us believe life insurance lasts for life. After all, it is called "life insurance." 

But that's not always the case. Some life insurance policies last for a shorter period of time, and these types of policies can be very useful.

Whole life insurance policies stay in effect for your lifetime, as long as you pay the premiums. Such policies are appealing to people whose dependents will always need to rely on them financially.

On the other hand, term life policies can last for your lifetime, for a limited period of time, or for a specified term. With a 15-year term, for example, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit if you die anytime during the next 15 years. Term life insurance policies are usually less costly than whole life insurance policies, because a limited term presents less risk to the insurance company. 

The right term for you

Term life insurance may work better for you than whole life if your dependents won't need to rely on you financially for the rest of your life. For example, if your children will be graduating from college and are likely to get jobs in five years, a five-year term policy might make sense. Or you could select a 10-year term to give them a cushion while becoming established in their jobs. Many terms are available, depending on the time frame that works for you.

One caveat: Term-life insurance may present problems when you want to reinsure. 

For example, if you have a heart attack during the term of your policy and want to reinsure when the term expires, you will have to reapply for a new policy. However, your current health condition may make that difficult and expensive. 

Some policies offer a feature called guaranteed reinsurability to address this problem, so discuss this with your insurance advisor if you decide to explore purchasing term life insurance.


The First Steps to Take After a Disaster Has Occurred

When disaster strikes, it's hard to know what to do first. When it comes to insurance claims, the process can feel like an overwhelming task on top of everything else you need to do. However, homeowners can take the following steps to make this process smooth and simple.

1. Get started immediately

With a lot on your plate, it might be tempting to put this task off for a later date. Don't do it. Contact your insurance agent right away to start the claims process. Provide a description of the damage to your property, and a company representative will walk you through any necessary documentation. If you have a home inventory, provide this to the representative. 

Once you start the claims process, your carrier will arrange an inspection of damages. Be sure to provide your contact information - such as where you can be reached - since disasters often change your coordinates.

2. Get the details

As the representative helps you through the process, it's important to get a clear understanding of what is expected. Find out:
  • Whether the disaster damage is covered under your policy
  • How long the claims process will take
  • What they need from you (estimates for repairs, receipts for belongings)
3. Get more details

If your policy offers coverage for the disaster damage, review your declarations page with your agent or company representative to get a clear understanding of what is actually covered, including structural damage, loss of personal belongings, and liability payment