Month: November 2018

Totaled Your Car? We Can Help!

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What To Do When Your Insurance Won’t Pay

Should an accident total your car, you can be left with a lot on your plate. Not only have you lost your means of transportation and may be suffering from an injury, you also have to work with an insurance company to sort out the damage.

Recouping the cost of a totaled car can be a challenge, even if the accident wasn’t your fault. If an insurance company says your car is a total loss, they’re only required pay you fair market value for the car. A car is categorized as a total loss if the cost of repairing the car exceeds a certain threshold of its worth. Usually, if the cost of repair is more than 80% of the car’s value, the car is “totaled”.

In some cases, getting fair market value for a totaled car leaves you coming up short. Your insurance company might say your vehicle is only worth $10,000, even though you still owe your lender $12,000 for it. The insurance company may give you $10,000, but you still have to pay $2,000 for a car you’re no longer able to drive or even repair yourself. And to that last point, note that if you accept an insurance company’s payout for a totaled car (that $10,000), they have the right to take the car itself and sell for salvage. Usually, they do.

If all of this leaves you feeling low and lost, know that there are a few ways you can try to make the best out of a bad situation.

Understand the laws in your state. Every state has different laws about who is obligated to cover the cost of an accident. There are some states that require that a driver be “0%” at fault in order for the other party to provide a full payout. In other states, “fault” is assigned based on the extent to which each party contributed to the accident, and insurance companies pay respective to that percentage. Understanding the laws in your state can help level set who will be on the hook for owed money from the outset.

If you think the insurance company valued your car incorrectly, find ways to prove it. Your vehicle might be worth more than the insurance company says it is. You can seek out a qualified appraiser to evaluate your car, or you may wish to file a lawsuit (although, this should be a last resort). Perhaps the easiest course of action is to start with your own research and show how similar vehicle models are going for more money on the market. You can also double check that the cars your insurance company used to estimate the value of your car are truly comparable. Did the vehicles used for comparison have the same number of miles as your car? Did your car have other accessories that would increase its value?

Check to see if you have gap insurance. Does your auto policy include gap insurance? This can help cover the difference between the payout you received from your insurance company and what you still owe your lender. Gap insurance is something to check for when purchasing a new policy, too. Note: if you are less than halfway through the term of your loan, gap insurance is probably a good idea.

Look for other ways to get money back. If your insurance company gives you a loaner rental car after the accident, know that you’re not obligated to take it. Instead, you may be able to opt out and get money for it, which you can put toward your expense. This won’t be true for every insurance company, but if a rental car is on the offering table and you’re able to go without it, ask about your company’s policy.

Find more information about all things auto insurance by exploring the Schechner Lifson Corporation blog!

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Auto Insurance for New Drivers

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All You Need to Know Before Buying Auto Insurance for New Drivers

Are you a new driver looking for some tips on buying auto insurance? There are some important considerations to keep in mind before choosing an auto insurance policy and any supplemental coverage. The process of shopping for new driver auto insurance isn’t quite the same as buying for auto insurance as a seasoned driver or renewing an existing auto insurance policy. Without reviewing all your options, you could miss out on some important coverage.

Shopping the Lowest Prices

Going the cheap route when buying auto insurance for new drivers sounds like a good idea, but it’s not always the wisest choice. The most affordable premium prices usually offer only the minimum amount of coverage and an inadequate amount of support from the insurance supplier. As a new driver, purchasing insurance and filing a claim is very new to you. When it comes time to file a claim, policyholders want trusted, reliable, and personalized service to guide them through the claims process. When you put a bit more money into your auto insurance coverage, you’ll reap greater benefits than you would with rock-bottom prices.

Thinking the Minimum is Enough

Car insurance is mandatory in New Jersey, but that does not necessarily mean that the minimum required coverage is sufficient for a new driver. The most basic auto insurance plans cover $5,000 of property damage liability and $15,000 of personal injury protection. If you are involved in a devastating car accident, and financial expenses total more than your allotted coverage, the policyholder is financially responsible for the remainder of the claim. Accidents happen more often than we’d like to think, especially for new drivers. Make sure you’re considering more than the minimum.

Foregoing Optional Coverage

Auto insurance can benefit your driving experience far beyond car crashes. As a new driver, you may not be well versed in the additional types of insurance you can purchase. Comprehensive insurance helps to cover any car damages that are not related to a car accident, such as fire, theft, or falling objects. Gap insurance is another beneficial supplement to your auto insurance policy. While the state of New Jersey does not require this insurance, many auto leases often include it. As a new driver, you are probably purchasing or leasing your first car. If this car is then damaged beyond repair, gap insurance helps to cover the difference between what your vehicle is currently worth and what you still actually owe on it.

Learning to drive is an exciting time in life. But don’t get too caught up in the excitement that you forget to do your research on auto insurance for new drivers. With Schechner Lifson Corporation on your side, we’ll help you find the best possible policy for your new driver. Contact our team today to learn more.

Is Supplemental Health Insurance Necessary?

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How Supplemental Health Insurance Could Benefit You

If you have a primary health insurance plan from your employer, when and why would you consider another insurance plan to supplement it?

Many people opt for gap insurance—also known as supplemental health insurance—when the health insurance plan provided by their employer doesn’t quite provide the coverage or financial security desired for true peace of mind. Many employers do a great job of offering health insurance that covers common, routine medical needs. But should one of life’s “what ifs” come to pass, such as a critical injury or an accidental death, a standard health insurance plan can leave employees and their families on the wrong foot.

Types of supplemental health insurance policies include accidental death insurance, critical injury insurance, and hospital indemnity insurance. There’s also MediGap for those with Medicare insurance. You might be surprised to learn that even vision and dental insurance can be considered forms of supplemental insurance.

What are some of the main reasons to consider supplemental health insurance? Note that the risk factors of you and your dependents will be primary influences.

Reason #1: You or your dependents are not covered by primary insurance for critical injury or accidental death. Accidents and injuries could happen to anyone, at any time. What would you do if you were seriously injured in an auto accident and couldn’t work for an extended period of time? Supplemental insurance can help cover lost wages while you’re out of work.

Reason #2: You don’t have enough money on hand to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Supplemental insurance can help cover the cost of co-pays required under your primary insurance health plan. Consider unplanned events like visits to the emergency room, the cost of an ambulance, or an overnight hospital stay. Do you have enough money on hand or in a savings account to cover these costs when your insurance will not?

Reason #3: Based on genetic history, lifestyle, or other factors, there’s a heightened likelihood that you or your dependents could develop a serious illness. Even beyond family history of serious illness like cancer or heart disease, supplemental coverage can be a good idea for the medical, dental, or vision procedures you’re planning for a future date. For example, maybe you know your children will need orthodontic in the next few years, or that your husband plans to get LASIK eye surgery before retirement.

Reason #4: The cost of a supplemental insurance plan will benefit you in the long term. This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you should work through how much supplemental insurance will cost you over the course of a year and determine if it’s an expense that will be worth it over time. While you can’t predict the extent to which you’ll need to use supplemental insurance, you can get a general sense of whether—based on your needs and risk factors—it’s a worthwhile investment.

Learn more about supplemental health insurance and the type of coverage that makes the most sense for you and your family! Feel free to get in touch with our insurance experts anytime. Schechner Lifson Corporation understands the needs of our clients and will always work in their favor.

Getting Healthier Can Save You Insurance Money

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Getting Healthier Is the First Step Toward a Better Life

You can save money on health insurance by being healthier. It’s true! There are a couple of different reasons why.

When you invest in your health by eating better foods, exercising regularly, keeping your weight down, and avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, you decrease your likelihood of preventable illness and disease. You’ll build a stronger immune system that’s better able to fight off colds, flus, and other sicknesses, and can minimize your risk of chronic aches and pains. The less you’re sick, the less you need to see a doctor. And the fewer times you see a doctor, the fewer times you’ll dip into your insurance deductible and the fewer copays you’ll have to front out-of-pocket. That’s money saved!

But it’s more than that.

Many companies will actually lower how much an employee has to pay for health insurance if they demonstrate they’re in good health and maintain healthy habits. These are commonly referred to as incentive-based wellness programs. Your company could offer one!

Why do companies do this? Healthy employees cost employers less money. Every time you go to the doctor’s office and make that co-payment, your employer has paid even more to provide for the insurance that makes that co-payment manageable. The less employees need to use their insurance, the more employers can save.

Additionally, insurance companies can charge individuals with poor health habits higher premiums from the get-go (these costs, in turn, trickle down to the employer). For example, health insurance companies can charge smokers more money for the same insurance plan as non-smokers; sometimes up to 50% more.

To incentivize more people to develop healthy habits and stay in good health, employers can decrease the cost of insurance premiums for those who are healthy. Employers and their partner insurance companies will have different employee qualification requirements, but typically it involves submitting a recent physical from a physician that provides basic health information like bloodwork and weight.

In addition to submitting statements of wellness, companies may offer other qualifying events that let employees save money on health insurance. For example, an employee that smokes might be able to lower their premium if they take a smoking cessation class online. Or, an employer might give discounts to those who show they workout in a fitness class multiple times a week.

While these sort of programs are more commonly found in companies that have at least 200 employees, many companies are taking strides to make the office environment itself more conducive to healthy habits. Onsite gyms, replacing soda machines with bottled water, and standing desks are just a few of the ways companies promote health and wellness.

Even if your company doesn’t participate in an incentive program, you may still be able to get preferred rates through your insurance company by demonstrating health and wellness. It never hurts to reach out to them and ask!

Interested in learning more about health insurance and tips for saving money? Be sure to explore our blog. The experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation are always on your side.

Schechner Lifson Corporation