Tips on reducing premium rates

There's a certain irony about insurance. As a service, the different policies you buy for driving, living in your home and getting medical treatment are probably the most expensive things you own. Normally, when you spend that much, you want the maximum use. That way, you feel you have value for money. So you drive that mean machine whenever you get the chance. But insurance is the one thing you hope never to have to use. It means you have suffered some level of personal disaster and, no matter what you may tell yourself, the money that comes in from the insurers never makes you feel better about the losses. With premium rates rising faster than inflation over the last ten years, now is the time to draw the line in the sand and reduce the rates you pay.
Increase the deductible. If you agree to self-insure a proportion of the losses, you will earn a discount - usually between 10 and 30% depending on the amount of deductible and the type of damage you agree to cover. The risk is that you suddenly have to find the cash to trigger the release of the rest of the claim. This requires self-discipline. When you agree to self-insure, you have to save a capital sum against the risk. Without an emergency fund, you can find yourself caught in a disaster situation without enough on the credit cards to pay the deductible. Remember, some deductibles are a percentage of the rebuilding costs so we can be talking several thousand dollars. Once your emergency fund is substantial enough, start disaster-proofing your home. Not only can this earn discounts, it reduces the risk of having to make a claim. So, for example, if you live in an area where high winds are common, fit storm shutters and reinforce the roof. If there's a high risk of burglary, add a security system. It's up to you to manage your spending to get the maximum savings on the premium rates.
Check you are receiving all the discounts you are entitled to. Start by bundling as many policies together as possible. Find out who gives the best rates for multi-vehicle and home cover. Now ask about discounts if you do not smoke, are happily married, have been claim-free for the past five years, or are a senior citizen. If you press the local agent, you can get a list of all the available discounts and go through them to see which apply to you. Before you confirm the policy, do a full comparison check. Insurance rates are not set by a central agency. Thanks to competition, some insurers offer better rates than others. If you do not get quotes from all the major insurers, you will never know what you might be missing. It only takes a few minutes on a site like this and it could save you a lot of money.
Cheap home insurance is a natural goal. We all resent paying out against risks that might never happen. But never cut the price you pay and lose all the real value in the service. Many insurers offer cheap rates but give bad service if you claim. When you get home insurance quotes, look for affordable rates from reputable companies.

Individual health insurance and preventive medicine

The world is a busy place and we run around with ever longer to-do lists wondering where we will find the time to get everything done. Although the last century was equally fraught as we lived through it, the pressure on our time seems to be increasing. In some ways, it's the fault of the recession. With the threat of unemployment more real, we must be seen to work longer and harder to keep the jobs we have. Now add in the internet with all our new social networks to keep up to date and the new must-watch television shows. This doesn't leave much time for essential tasks like shopping, eating and sleeping. This explains why the pick-up rate on preventive medicine is so poor. We just don't seem to have the time. This is unfortunate.

Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive medicine is to be made a higher priority. Why should this make a difference? Well, if the physicians catch illnesses, diseases and disorders early enough, treatment is quick and cheap and, more often than not, very effective in curing us. If we delay until the symptoms are just too bad to ignore, this means treatment will be more expensive and there may already have been damage which will leave us with chronic problems. Now think about the costs. Because of the early intervention, the insurance company saved money and you had a better quality of life. If this was the general experience, the cost of healthcare would fall. The premium rates would fall. You would be happy. This is the norm in Europe. Why is this not the standard model for us? The answer is the opposition of the medical community. They have invested capital in building ever larger hospitals and clinics. People only use these facilities when they are more seriously ill. The longer the period of treatment, the more money the doctors and their employers make. So the medical community has a direct financial interest in seeing us get more ill and stay ill longer. That's where all their profit comes from.

Let's take two simple examples to see how preventive medicine can help. In a recent survey, 85% of the adult population recognized the importance of vision health. This is not, you understand, just about deciding whether you need a new prescription for spectacles or contacts. In the same survey, 89% of participants knew the eye exam also detects chronic diseases like diabetes. So, if you were to have your eyes tested once a year, the early signs of diabetes would be identified and, with changes to your diet, you could avoid the need for dependence on insulin injections for the rest of your life (it also avoids the cost of the treatment). Following the European model, registered nurses are now being licensed to reach out to people in the community to monitor for symptoms of diabetes and manage the problem if diagnosed. This is a big cost saving and, if this was applied to other problems, it would save on cost and time because the treatment comes to you - it would bring cheap health insurance nearer as well. So when you are thinking about your individual health insurance plan, pay particular attention to preventive care. It can save you time and money.

Insuring your bar or tavern

When trying to insure your bar, tavern or any other place that sells alcohol, the most important thing is to plan everything ahead. By selling alcohol to the public your business automatically engages in a higher degree of risk that has to be assessed right from the start.
So when you're looking for a way to manage the risks that your bar or tavern will face during operation you have to ask some questions first:
What is the approximate value of your bar, including the property, fixtures and contents?
The best way to evaluate these costs is to consider the value of replacing your entire bar, including the equipment, coolers, the d├ęcor, stock, property, building and all other things if your business would get destroyed overnight.
What part of the business turnover will the alcohol take?
The insurance company will certainly require you to provide reports of your sales. In overall, if the alcohol takes about 50% of your overall turnover or more, the cost of insuring your business will be more expensive. So make sure you know the exact percentage of alcohol sales in your bar.
Will you feature any recreational activities at your bar?
Featuring certain recreational activities may give you a hard time getting your bar insured with some companies, and if you will still manage to find a policy, the rates will be higher. Insurance companies assess recreational features such as dance poles, trampolines, pyrotechnics, rock walls, swimming pools and any other distractions as quite risky features that will raise the likelihood of an insurance claim.
Will you hire someone else?
If your bar will feature additional workers besides you, you will certainly require workers' compensation insurance with your small business insurance policy, and it maybe even important to get group health insurance as well.
Does you state have special dram shop liability laws?
Laws can differ significantly from one state to another, and this also concerns the liability to a third party in case of injuries inflicted by a drunken person at your bar. So it is highly recommended to study the local framework before you actually purchase and y specific coverage regarding this type of liability.
Will your business have a vehicle?
In case your bar or restaurant will have its own vehicle used for stock delivery or other business purposes then you will have to buy commercial auto insurance for this vehicle as well, otherwise it won't be covered by a standard auto insurance policy. Using your personal transport for these purposes is not forbidden but you risk being denied of coverage in case of an accident.
Is your bar located in a risky area?
If your business is located in an area that is prone to natural calamities you have to include additional coverage to your small business insurance as well. Sure, it may be a great thing to have a few cocktails right at the beach but will your bar get covered properly when the hurricanes come? Make sure it does when buying small business insurance.
Will you serve any foods at the bar?
See if your bar or tavern will serve any foods and include respective coverage into your policy.