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Family Insurance - Protecting Your Greatest Asset

Nov 12, 2007
With so many different types of insurance now available, it can be difficult for some family's to know which coverage they must have, versus which ones they should have.

Here are a few tips on choosing the right insurances for you and your family:

-Think about your needs.
-Consider your budget.
-Think about future changes to your family.
-Consider what would happen to your family if you didn't have a certain type of insurance.

Once you've considered what your family's needs are, it'll be easier to decide which types of insurance are necessary. Here are a few of the most common insurance policies today's average consumer should consider:

Health Insurance:
No one can dispute the need for good quality health insurance these days, especially if you have children. The most common types of health insurance these days include:

HMO Plans - the most restrictive type of health coverage, HMO's are also the cheapest for both the employer and the employee. These plans require participants to see only approved physicians. Specialists may be seen with a referral from your Primary Care Giver. Co-pays are relatively low, with virtually no deductibles on basic services.

PPO Plans - is a combination plan, which works like an HMO, but allows patients to see any physicians they choose whether they participate in the plan or not, at an increased fee. Many people like the flexibility and options with this type of plan, however premiums are usually much higher and deductibles can reach 20% when seeing an out-of-network provider.

Indemnity Plans - work very much like old-fashioned insurance policies. A patient sees any doctor they choose without a referral or pre-approval, but is responsible for 20% of the fee. Clearly the most versatile type of policy, it is also the most expensive, both in the case of premiums and deductibles.

Automobile Insurance:
If you own a car, you are legally bound to cover every driver in your household with collision and liability insurance.

Disability Insurance:
How would your family pay the bills if you were taken ill or injured and were unable to work for an extended period of time? Many employers offer short and/or long term disability insurance policies, but many do not. In the event that you are left unable to work due to medical circumstances, short term disability coverage will pay you anywhere from 60-100% of your current salary (depending on the policy), beginning 30-60 days after your injury, for a period of 3-6 months.

Long-term disability insurance is just that - insurance for longer illnesses and injuries. Once your short-term disability coverage expires, long-term disability benefits will enact until you return to work. This is not the same as government disability benefits that some people with permanent disabilities may qualify for. Be sure t check with your employer to see if they offer these types of benefits. If not, you may want to consider purchasing your own policy, especially if you are a sole breadwinner or work at a high-risk job.

Dental/Eye Coverage:
While dental and eye coverage used to be a normal benefit for most fulltime employees, this is no longer the case, leaving some employees solely responsible for taking care of their family's dental and eye costs. These types of policies usually cap at a certain amount and only offer coverage on certain procedures. Still, they can be beneficial to those without enough income to handle these unexpected costs.

Homeowner's/Renter's Insurance:
If you own your own home, your mortgage company required you to carry enough insurance to cover the cost of the mortgage should your house be destroyed in a fire. But, what id you rent? Your landlord has coverage on the building, but you are responsible for covering your belongings. Fairly inexpensive, renter's insurance covers the cost to replace your furniture, clothes, appliances, personal items and displacement costs in the event of an apartment fire.

Life Insurance:
It's not always easy to consider your own mortality, or that of your spouse or children. But, accidents and illnesses do happen and people die. Life insurance for adults is meant to help your family continue to pay the bills in the event of your death and the loss of your income. Insurance for children is meant mainly to cover funeral costs and is a good idea for lower income families who would be financially burdened by these costs in the event of a tragedy.

As you can see, there are many different types of insurance to consider. Check with your agent to see which policies are right for you.
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