Six Signs of a Dishonest Insurance Agent

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“I detest life-insurance agents: they always argue that I shall someday die, which is not so.” –Stephen Leacock

Insurance in the Philippines has been something most individuals have been avoiding like the plague. Whether they do wish to accrue an extraneous expense or simply do not see the necessity for it is up to their reasoning, but what happens when you do decide to purchase insurance? How can you guarantee that your insurance agent is someone you can trust? Well, it might not be easily evident, and there are no concrete signs that would warn you. However, there are definitive red flags you can watch out for that would likely tell you that you are dealing with a dishonest agent who might be doing some under the table dealings—or worse, downright illegal.

Have a keen eye out for these signs and avoid getting yourself into insurance scams:

1.) An agent that is incredibly aggressive

While agents are expected to be enthusiastic about their work, they are not supposed to be overly aggressive in pushing you to buy a policy right away. Whether they bully you to it, sweet-talk you with “only today” deals or the like, your insurance agent should never pressure you into buying a policy immediately. Instead, a proper agent would be more patient in explaining the various options available and would give you as much time as you need to evaluate each and every one of them.

2.) An agent thirty quotes a seemingly low premium

Be wary of agents who would sell policies at incredibly low premium prices (or even ones that seem much lower than your previous premium). If it is too good to be true, it probably is, so it would do you well to be meticulous and double check. Take note, insurance premiums may vary from one insurer to another, but they usually fall within a close range of rates.

3.) An agent who is hard to reach

Your agent does not have to be at your beck and call at all times, but a legitimate one would respond to your phone calls or emails within a reasonable time (within a day or two). Furthermore, your agent should have a valid email address. Avoid the ones that communicate to you exclusively on the phone or his or her personal email address.

4.) An agent who avoids being questioned about his experience or credentials

While your agent can be relatively new, he or she should be able to provide their license numbers which you can then verify by contacting your state’s insurance authority. If an agent balks at being questioned about his experience in the field or his credentials, there is something potentially fishy going on. It might be wiser to find another agent.

5.) An agent that adds coverages to your policies that you did not approve

Agents would earn commissions from insurers on the premiums you purchase. For this reason, unscrupulous agents would try to get you to buy premiums that have a hefty price tag as this would mean more commission for them. Particularly notorious are those agents who would add coverages to your policy without your knowledge have not requested or did not approve. Considering this, it is always best if you scrutinize your policies carefully and see if it contains anything you have no request, approved or wanted.

6.) An agent that asks you to pay for premiums payable to him or her

This is a definitive red flag. Whatever premium payments you make should always be payable to the insurer and should be directed to the same. Your checks should not be payable to the agent and if you leave any payments to your agent at all, demand for a receipt. In the worst case scenario wherein an agent would run off would your premium payments, you would at least have the receipt to serve as evidence.

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Heading Out for a Vacation? Get Your Travel Medical Insurance on Board!

The summer season may now be coming to an end, but your adventures are just starting.

There might be a newly opened amusement park in town, or perhaps a grand annual festival happening in your neighboring country you can’t just miss this year. Regardless of the event or place, if the call for travel comes in, a true-blooded adventurer wouldn’t make it pass.

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If the budget is there, then giving it a go is second nature.

And so you’re off to an exciting excursion away from the typical city noise, all packed and excited – ready to conquer the world.

But wait a second!

Let’s do a quick check and see if you have everything covered.  If you’re traveling light, then few light clothing and a bit of those personal necessities should do the trick. Oh, there’s one more – your travel medical insurance.

Surely, you have it ready right? No? Why not?

To make the best out of your trips, feeling great is a must. Staying healthy is a must.  Medical support in terms of emergencies is a must. All of these are covered by a competent medical insurance service.

Good news is, there are already lots of companies who can offer you some of the best ones. If you’re gearing up for the next adrenaline-pumping activity and want to get your safety covered by insurance, then the following considerations will have to be checked.

Covered location

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Ideally, you’re better off going for those services with global coverage. This is highly important for travelers who prefer visiting different countries other than their neighboring ones. Some companies limit their service to specific continents due to some legal issues. Just to be sure, make sure your preferred destinations are covered by the insurance service.

24-hour Emergency service

We never know when accidents happen. They can strike in broad daylight while we’re enjoying the fresh air while on a mountain trip or at night when we’re just preparing to set camp. It’s always great to know that there is someone we can trust to conduct immediate emergency response or rescue during compromising situations that need medical attention.

Cost and renewability

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Insurance company respects each person’s choice of plans. Some are charged higher than the rest. This, of course, would affect the specific services they cover, which brings us back to the importance of knowing the terms set for the plan we are eyeing for. Don’t forget to consider the renewability of the insurance as well. How much will you be expected to pay? Until when will it be valid starting from the renewal? Will there be changes on its initial service coverage?

Type of insurance plan

Just like any other products available in the market, insurance services also have their own variety.  What worked for some may not necessarily be the best option for you.  Identifying your preference comes first. Would a single-trip medical insurance be convenient of will a multi-trip coverage be better?

Those who are expecting consecutive travels for a long time may want to go for the long-term major medical insurance option. Needless to say, it’s a must to know the specifics of its coverage. Choose a plan that fits your travel habits.

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Specifics of things that are not covered

As much as how you ask about the service they provide, it’s vital to compare the limits they set for their plans. Some companies don’t cover accidents that occur while you are participating in a highly physical activity. Others also do not honor any liabilities that involves a third party victim in let’s say a car accident.

There’s an undeniable beauty at the thrill of visiting some place new. But other than the excitement of a potential once-in-a-lifetime adventure, it is, more importantly, one’s responsibility to stay prepared and safe all throughout.

Choose your travel insurance wisely and pack up!

Best Quotes About Saving Money

 

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When bills are high, cash is always low. That’s because you didn’t save enough money to get you through the difficult times. If you often find yourself wondering how to save money, perhaps, these quotes can motivate you to do just that.

Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving. -Warren Buffet

 

Rich people stay rich by living like they’re broke. Broke people stay broke by living like they’re rich. -Unknown

 

A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments. -Samuel Johnson

 

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. -Will Smith

 

Don’t tell me what you value; show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value. -Joe Biden

 

If you find yourself saying to yourself that you can’t afford to save money right now, you are lying to yourself. -Unknown

Save your money. you’re going to need twice as much in your old age as you think. -Michael Caine

If saving money is wrong, I don’t want to be right. -William Shatner

Have the courage to set down every penny you spend, and add it up weekly. -Josephus Nelson Larned

A penny saved is a penny earned. -Benjamin Franklin

A bargain ain’t a bargain unless it’s something you need. -Sidney Carroll

Every little bit counts, so rather than looking for one big way to save a ton of money, save in lots of small ways and set yourself up for success. -Unknown

Debt is the worst poverty. -Thomas Fuller

One of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is to prepare them to be responsible, empowered adults around money. -Unknown

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. -Oliver Wendell Holmes

If we never save money or invest we will always be poor no matter how much we earn. -Unknown

It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits. -Charles A. Jaffe

A fool can earn money; but, it takes a wise man to save and dispose of it to his own advantage. -Brigham Young

Money in the bank is like toothpaste in the tube. Easy to take out, hard to put back. -Earl Wilson

The goal isn’t more money. The goal is living life on your terms. -Chris Brogan

Money is usually attracted, not pursued. -Jim Rohn

Once you really accept that spending money doesn’t equal happiness, you have half the battle won. -Ernest Callenbach

If you don’t know how to care for money, money will stay away from you. -Robert T. Kiyosaki

Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy. So when they grow up, they will know the value of things, not the price. -Unknown

Spending a lot of money can make you feel significant, and so can spending very little. -Unknown

Don’t be too busy earning a living to make any money. -Joe Karbo

Lots of people know how to make money, but are not gifted in the art of preserving it. Frequently the same risk that was involved in making you rich is the same risk that can make you poor again. -Fred J. Young

The potential to save money, paper and trees is enormous. -Diane Stean

Money should be mastered, not served. -Syrus

The urge to spend all you make is called consumer mentality. Try to get investment mentality instead. -Edward H. Romney

Before you make any purchase, ask yourself if you really need it. In most cases your life won’t be any less full or rich without it. -Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self. – Nathan W. Morris

The more your money works for you, the less you have to work for money. -Idowu Koyenikan

Budgeting has only one rule: Do not go over budget. -Leslie Tayne

How to Save, Save, Save?

We all want to, but we have no idea how especially when we are only desperately trying to make ends meet. I remember, two Januaries ago, Kuripot Pinay’s 52-week money challenge went viral online and it even made its way to the evening newscast. In 2014, she started with a ₱50 increment and for this year, she doubled the amount to ₱100 increment. In the 1st week, you need to save ₱50. In the 2nd week, you need to double the amount. In the 3rd week, triple the amount and so on. Do this for 52 weeks. She was able to come up with the ₱70,000 and invested it in stocks.

Interesting enough, there’d been other versions of the challenge such as The Mas Kuripot 52-Week Money Challenge. The other versions are created because the ₱50 increment is very difficult to achieve especially for the students, new grads on their first jobs and mostly, for the unemployed. A modified money challenge uses ₱20 increment while the 2015 version dubbed as the 2015 Pinaka-Kuripot Challenge uses ₱10 increment.

You might be wondering how I suddenly came across these money saving challenges. Well, I am actually looking for effective ways to save money (and Google deemed these strategies as effective enough). From the looks of it, the strategies would be really effective if and only if you have the discipline to save the required amount on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, not all Filipinos have the capacity to do so not because we lack discipline when it comes to saving, but also because we lack discipline in terms of spending.

I found another funny (yet straightforward) post about why Filipinos, in general, are not able to save and invest. I found the post in FinancialPlanningPH.com although I found the un-cropped image at MattsCradle.com. Each statement is so true that it echoes the lack of discipline in how we spend and save. It is a cycle that will go on and on without us realizing that we are actually wasting a lot of money in the process. I also want to share the post. Perhaps, we can all learn a thing or two about this chaos that we face on a monthly basis.

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It is really difficult to save money especially if you don’t have the money to save. Personally, it takes more than discipline (and a steady source of income). We need to learn the value of saving first before we embrace such concept. On the other hand, the majority of us knows the value of saving but we delay it to prioritize our needs first. Good if you are really prioritizing your family’s needs. But come to think of it,

… do you really need to borrow extra money every December and pay for it on January with the money that you haven’t earned yet?

… can’t you think of a more creative and practical Valentine’s Day gift for your special someone? Ehem, tikoy is excusable.

… should a graduation celebration really need to be that bongga with all your friends and relatives from the province?

… how many summer outings do you need just to enjoy the summer? Does it really need to be Bora or nothing else? Why not consider a staycation?

Then came the BER months…

THE POST IS NOT SO FUNNY AT ALL, I realized!

If you are guilty in any of these, then probably, you are doing something terribly wrong with your money. I am guilty to some of the statements (I said some because I have yet to send my daughters to school). But since I know myself too well, I may end up doing the same thing come enrollment time. AMAP, I don’t want that to happen to me and I don’t want that to happen to other parents out there either. That’s why I am thinking of saving this early (as if I can say this early; I am 30 years old already).

What I want to say is it is not yet too late to save. And what I want to show is your ₱10 can go a long way. The secret is DISCIPLINE + PRIORITY = SAVING. I just came up with this formula. We need to be disciplined when spending our hard-earned money by prioritizing our needs. This can lead to savings and eventually, investments.

P.S.

I already have ₱910 in my piggy bank. Go figure.

Personal Financial Management – A Welcome

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Basically, financial management is defined as the effective management of money.

Look at any other definitions of financial management online and you’d notice that they usually refer to the organizations. But hey, financial management is applicable to individuals too!

Yes, you, me, and everyone who have direct, indirect, immediate and non-immediate access to money regardless of whether such money is yours or not. This is simply called personal financial management.

Managing personal finances       

Personal financial management is not usually taught in schools. However, we need to deal with such later on with our lives. Now, how can you effectively manage your finances? Here’s how.

Make a budget

Millennials fear it, but there is no other way around it; it is either you make one or skip it and suffer from financial disasters in the future. Start small though such as tracking your monthly expenses.

For an entire month, spend as usual so you’d have an idea of where your money is actually spent. Categorize your monthly purchases. This should be easy because you would know the fixed amounts you need for, for example, rents, utilities, and groceries.

Keep all the receipts. Include how much of your monthly expenses is shouldered by your credit cards. Then, add how much is left at the end of the month.

Does your monthly spending exceed your monthly income? If yes, then you are in deep trouble. Are you saving 10% of your monthly income? If not, you are in deeper trouble. Let’s continue.

When making a budget, there should be projected budget and actual budget. What are these? A projected budget is the amount of money you intend on spending on a particular category of expense. An actual budget, on the other hand, is the amount of money you end up spending for a category. Projected budget is calculated at the beginning of the month while actual budget, at the end of the month.

The hardest part of drafting a budget is being honest with yourself. Who are you fooling anyway? It is your money, so there is no sense in cheating to yourself when writing down projected and actual budgets.

After keeping track of your monthly expenses, you should keep track of the budget you made over time. aside from the fixed expenditures, spending may vary from month to month. Keep track of these changes, too.

Make sure that you plan for the unforeseen. That’s how you become financially prepared regardless of how many and how frequent the unexpected events.

To do all these, you must be knowledgeable about some practical money skills. This cannot be taught in a single article. Let Overcoming Financial Misfortunes walk you through common yet overlooked financial misfortunes and how to triumph over them. Learning is a process that starts with baby steps as with this blog.

Here’s to an empowering journey onward financial freedom. Cheers!

Image credit: MotivesStyle.com