AccuQuote Blog

Our life insurance blog is dedicated to providing you with valuable information from experts on the topics of insurance, financial planning and personal finance.

Melina Shares Her Story with AccuQuote

The truth about life insurance doesn’t hit home in a better way than with a real life story. Melina’s story is just that, and it’s apoignant reminder for all of just what a difference life insurance could make.

Melina Ahmadpour visited AccuQuote recently (watch her video here). Her story is as heartwarming as it is inspirational, and I felt compelled to share it with you.

Like many girls her age, Melina Ahmadpour had a happy childhood. She dreamed of becoming a literary artist. But life took a tragic turn for this young woman 3 weeks after graduating high school.  Her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, forcing Melina to put her life on hold.

Melina’s mother had never thought of buying a life insurance policy. With increasing financial struggles (due mainly to mounting medical bills), their house was lost to foreclosure. The future was starting to look bleak.

After Melina’s mother passed away, she and her sister had to find a way to get by financially. She slaved at jobs and lost her college scholarship. By age 23, she had held 10 jobs and moved five times. Her desperation led her to look for funding and that’s when she came across the Life Happens program. Each year LifeHappens provides scholarships for people like Melina who don’t have the benefits of a life insurance policy.

As part of the application process, Melina had to tell her story. Life Happens awarded her a $7500 college scholarship, putting wings to her dream of a college education. She later landed an internship selling life insurance. While studying death benefits, all she could think about was how much a death benefit would have meant to her and her sister. It could have meant not having to shop at the 99 cent store; having a place to live; being able to get an education; and not having to live this story. It could have meant trading all her anxieties for the security that life insurance affords.

Melina’s visit to AccuQuote reminded all of us that sometimes savings might not be enough. Social security might not be enough. But having a life insurance policy in place can help prevent similar things from happening to your loved ones. She also reminds us that AccuQuote offers some unique advantages for customers looking to protect their most important assets – their family.

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Posted in Accidental Death Insurance , Life Insurance , Personal Life Stories | No Comments »

Don’t Let Your Loved Ones Lose Out on Benefits

Data from a 2013 issue of Consumer Reports shows that there is over $1 billion left unclaimed from life insurance policies. How? No one came forward to claim these benefits.  How does this happen? Most policy owners, the report said, do not take the time to share policy details with their beneficiaries. Many policy owners, too, forget to update the insurance companies with their current contact information.  In such cases, insurance companies are not responsible for locating the beneficiary. So where does all this money go? According to the report, unclaimed death benefits may fill the coffers of the state government. The Vermont State Treasury has collected over $2 million!

If you are a beneficiary of a policy, bear in mind that the responsibility for applying for a claim is completely on you. If you have a life insurance policy through AccuQuote, we’ve made filing a claim simple for your loved ones. Here are a few tips from AccuQuote to help make sure your beneficiaries receive what is rightfully theirs:

  • Inform your beneficiaries about the policy you purchased. Give them the policy number and contact information for your insurance company.
  • Let your beneficiary know that they should call the organization that issued the policy (AccuQuote, carrier) as the first step towards filing a death claim. All they need is the policy holder's full name, address, birth date, and policy number.
  • The time frame to receive death benefits ranges from 2 to 30 days depending on the type of policy.
  • Give your beneficiary a copy of this useful checklist that will guide them through the claims process.

Remember, your policy must be in-force when you die for your beneficiary to claim any benefits. If your policy has lapsed, you could replace it with a new one. If you have let it intentionally lapse, please inform your beneficiary so that he or she would not have a false sense of security.

AccuQuote conducts an annual policy review for every one of our customers. Change of address, appointment of a new beneficiary, or even changing the face value of your policy because of life changes are taken care of on this call.

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Posted in Life Insurance | No Comments »

Ask For Reductions in Life Insurance If Your Health Has Improved

Your health is directly linked to the premium you'll pay. What most people don't know, however, is that if you decide to make certain lifestyle changes and it results in a lower BMI, which in turn improves your health status, you could be entitled to lower premiums; all you have to do is ask. 

Lifestyle changes that can reduce premium costs

  • Regular exercise (weight loss). If you start exercising regularly, or even monitor your calories (that results in weight loss), insurance firms will adjust your premium rates to reflect this. However, make sure you have all your fitness records. Get a medical certificate from your doctor (if possible). An article in the Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Kiplinger's and other publications mentioning AccuQuote and citing me says insurance firms won't just take your word for it; they'll want proof of a sustained change before they make the necessary alterations to your insurance rates.
  • Smoking, Drinking and substance abuse. If you have a history of heavy drinking, smoking or substance abuse, it will result in a higher premium. Cut down on these three over a period of 1-3 years and your insurance rates could drop massively.
  • Risk-free work environment. If you have a hazardous job, this will factor into your rates. Examples include ship-breaking, firefighting, construction work, police work, even scuba diving. If, however, you switch to a desk or office job, you can ask for a reduction.
  • Health improvements. If you have a pre-existing medical condition like cholesterol or blood-pressure, or you're recovering from (or have recently recovered from) cancer, your insurance rates will be higher. If you control your blood-pressure and cholesterol levels over a period of time, or your cancer remains in remission for a few years, you are eligible for cheaper rates.
  • Recreational activities. Do you indulge in track racing, sky diving, bungee jumping or anything similar? If yes, your insurance premium is likely to be on the higher side. If you stay off these activities for a long period of time (and can prove it to insurance firms), there is a chance your premium will drop.

Remember, though, that this is not a quick-fix deal. YOU have to make permanent lifestyle changes and prove it, too. Insurance firms don't monitor your life; the initiative to lower your rates has to come from YOU.

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Important Information For Single Moms About Life Insurance

The single moms I know are some of the most empowered women in my life. They do the work of two people tirelessly every single day because they view their responsibilities not as burdens but as unfailing demonstrations of love. They know they have it harder than most, but they wouldn't change it for anything else in the world.

 As a single parent, it's important that you provide a safety net for you and your kids -- life insurance -- to make sure your children are taken care of if you aren't around. As a single mom (or single dad), this should be the first thing you take care of before planning for anything else. If you have gone through a divorce, you know all too well that putting the onus on your spouse to provide the monetary safety net your children may be a bad idea. If you've suffered the death of your spouse, you know all too well how important life insurance is in a family's financial plan.

 So how, as a single mother, do you calculate how much coverage you need? Start with the expenses that children bring. The average expenditure on two children in a family is over $8000 a year. As they grow, their financial needs increase. These costs will also depend on where you live. According to the US Department of Agriculture's Annual Report (2012) on Expenditures on Children by Families, a middle-income family with a child born in 2011 can expect to spend about $234,900 ($295,560 if projected inflation costs are factored in) over the next 17 years. This figure doesn't include education beyond high school. (Find the link at http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2012/06/0197.xml). To calculate your life insurance coverage, factor in costs like college tuition and weddings. Use the term life insurance calculator to find out the ideal coverage for your situation. 

 Use an aggregator website like AccuQuote.com to find out how much it would cost you in yearly premiums. Get quotes for 15, 20 and 30 year terms and compare life insurance costs. As a young, healthy mother, you may think that a couple hundred thousand dollars in coverage is going to cost an arm and a leg. Not true! You could get covered for as little as $40 a month. A life insurance policy that adequately covers your needs is exactly what you need to give you much needed peace of mind. 

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6 Factors That May Raise Your Insurance Rates

Insurance costs vary and depend on a number of factors. Age, Sex, Medical history, Profession, and location are a few examples of the factors that go into calculating insurance premiums.

Taking precautions and cutting out bad habits or improving on certain lifestyle shortcomings can result in lower rates.

 Factors that cause a rise in insurance premium rates

  1. Smoking or tobacco intake. One of the most expensive habits you can have, premium-wise. A cigarette smoker on average can be asked to pay up to 50% more than a non-smoker. Quitting tobacco will help bring your rates down, but only after a lengthy observation period. Most insurance firms wait at least 1 year before offering a partial rebate, and a full 3 years before allowing for parity in terms of premium rates.
  2. Obesity. By itself, obesity isn't a cause for an increase in premium rates, but because obesity more often than not results in heart issues and/or diabetes, it is considered a major determinant when calculating insurance premiums. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is even slightly over what is considered healthy, your premium rates will reflect this. It is advisable to make sure you aren't overweight when going in for your medical checkup, and make sure your recent medical records don't allude to obesity either, because they will be checked.
  3. Other medical conditions. Cancer, Cholesterol, Asthma, Cardiovascular disease, and even depression can disrupt your premium rates drastically. Anything that is indicative of a history of ill health will be detrimental to your insurance premium. The assessor will investigate your family history too, because certain ailments like diabetes and Thalassemia have been known to pass on through hereditary or genetic means.
  4. Driving records. An individual's driving record is taken into consideration when calculating life insurance rates. If the individual in question has a propensity of violating traffic laws, then it is assumed that he or she is a bigger risk in terms of life expectancy, and the premium will definitely reflect that. The more innocuous violations like parking tickets won't usually affect insurance rates, but accidents and more serious offenses will.
  5. Profession. People with more dangerous jobs such as motor sport racers, pilots, and construction workers are more likely to meet with a fatal accident on the job. As a result, they’ll pay more. The dangers you put yourself in on a daily basis will definitely impact your insurance rates.
  6. Extracurricular activities. Your hobbies can also impact your insurance rates. If you enjoy sky diving, bungee jumping and other recreational activities that could be deemed adventurous or dangerous, they will end up costing you.

These are the primary factors that affect your rates.  With AccuQuote.com, you simply fill in your details and we will help you run through dozens of top carriers to find a policy that best suits your lifestyle.

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Posted in Accidental Death Insurance , Life Insurance , Term Life Insurance | No Comments »