How to Find a Global Medical Insurance Plan That’s Right for You

Living in a foreign country can be an enriching and exciting experience, but it can also have some challenges. One of the primary challenges world travelers face is regarding health insurance. While many foreign countries have excellent healthcare programs for citizens, you’re likely to find that you don’t qualify.

The most important part of finding an appropriate insurance plan is to understand the insurance itself.

Learn about the basics on global medical insurance:

1. How are the premiums determined? Just like any individual policy, premiums are based primarily on your age, medical history, and the area of coverage.

* Many plans have two separate premiums: worldwide and worldwide excluding the USA. This is due to the high cost of health care in the United States.

* Some policies will give rates for just a particular country, but you’ll only be covered for medical care in that country.

* Most policies are ‘globally portable,’ so you can use them wherever you happen to be when the need arises. However, the policy won’t provide coverage when you return to the United States.

* These policies are usually purchased on an annual basis. If you’re planning on being abroad for a relatively short period of time, a travel medical policy might be a better solution. These policies cost less, but are only in effect for a specific period of time.

2. Examine your needs. If your health is solid, you might be best served by a basic policy with a high deductible and co-pay.

* If you’re prone to health issues, it might be better to get a policy with more comprehensive coverage for the smaller bills. Increasing the coverage will also increase your premiums, but it might be worth it.

3. Consider using a broker. The cost to you is the same, but you’ll get several quotes from different companies. Compare the plans, costs, and policy specifications.

4. Know how the insurance will pay your bills. Not every policy is the same. Some policies will pay the medical provider directly, but some plans only reimburse you for your medical costs. This means that you’ll have to pay the bills with your own money before the insurance company will pay up.

5. Know the difference between a basic and a comprehensive policy. Most insurance companies will offer one or more levels or coverage. Read the information about the specific policy beforehand.

* A basic plan will generally only cover inpatient costs. These are typically going to be your more serious medical conditions and injuries. For example, a trip to the doctor for a sore throat wouldn’t be covered. Emergency surgery, however, would be.

* A comprehensive plan will cover all the items in the basic policy, but will also cover outpatient care.

6. Your pre-existing conditions may be covered. While not all pre-existing conditions are eligible for insurance coverage, in some cases, they may be. With some policies, the pre-existing condition is eligible, provided no treatment has been received in the previous 24 months.

7. Be aware of the exclusions. Unfortunately, exclusions exist and most are related to routine or elective care. Elective surgery and routine physical examinations are two such examples. There are many more, but they vary from policy to policy.

It’s never wise to be without medical insurance and being overseas is no exception. There’s a slight chance that your current policy in the US will cover you while out of the country, so check it out.

Get online, do some additional research, and pay attention to the small print. Talking to a broker is a great idea. It doesn’t increase your cost, and you’ll have an expert on your side.

Top 11 Qualities of an Outstanding Insurance Agent

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’re likely to want the services of an insurance agent. Homeowners, auto, health, disability, and life insurances can prevent financial disaster due to a crisis.

A good insurance agent can help you protect one of your greatest assets: your money.

How do you find an exceptional insurance agent? Will you know one when you meet one?

Consider these qualities of an excellent insurance agent:

1. Demonstrates good listening skills. If an agent pressures you to select a certain type or amount of insurance and hasn’t yet listened to what you have to say, turn around and go the other direction. An effective agent is attentive and listens well.

2. Takes time to get to know you and your situation. A good insurance agent will sit down with you and focus on your financial needs and desires. His recommendations are solutions that work well with your own personal circumstances.

3. Returns calls promptly. Whenever you have questions or comments about an insurance policy or claim, a quality agent will call you back within 24 hours if he was unavailable when you called.

4. Employs quality staff. A good agent understands the importance of having office workers who show up on time, dress appropriately, and use courtesy and kindness when dealing with you. Such an agent realizes that his customer service is only as good as his staff’s professionalism.

5. Uses tact, understanding, and knowledge. An effective agent understands where you’re coming from. He’ll listen to you and then present you with facts and examples that educate you regarding the insurance you seek.

6. Shows honesty. He will tell you the downsides as well as the benefits of the policy.

7. Has the capacity to sell you one of a number of insurance products. The more insurance companies that the agent interfaces with, the better the chance that he’ll be able to find a policy that fits you and your needs like a glove.

8. Possesses some legal and tax knowledge. A good agent should be able to explain to you general legal and tax ramifications of a policy. Specific legal and tax knowledge, however, should still be directed to an attorney or tax professional.

9. Is involved in the local business community. He knows many of the local bankers, store owners, and major employers in your town. You might see him at your local street fair or farmer’s market on Saturday.

10. Is friendly and open with others. A competent agent will have a smile on his face and openly chat with you.

11. Will refrain from being overly aggressive or pushy. A good agent knows that being too pushy with a prospective customer rarely helps to get a successful sale.

When you’re seeking an insurance agent you can trust, look for these characteristics. Trust your own instincts about whether someone is the right agent for you. Before you know it, you’ll find a competent agent whose focus is to fulfill your insurance needs so you can protect your precious assets.

Could You Benefit From Umbrella Liability Insurance?

If you prefer to plan ahead for anything unsavory that might happen to you financially, you might want to consider purchasing umbrella liability insurance. Umbrella liability insurance can protect your assets from large claims or lawsuits.

Review these elements of an umbrella liability insurance policy. Maybe the time is right for you to obtain an “umbrella” of your own.

1. An umbrella policy is additional insurance. You can purchase an umbrella liability insurance policy as an adjunct to your homeowners’ or auto insurance policy. With some policies, you can also add to other coverage, like your boat insurance, with an additional charge.

2. It provides extra financial protection. Should you ever be sued for liability, having an umbrella policy to fall back on will provide extra coverage past the limits of your homeowners’ or car insurance policy. For example, if you cause an accident, liability claims could easily go way past your normal policy limits for property damage or medical care.

3. Umbrella policies are large. The least liability amount you can obtain through an umbrella liability policy is $1 million. Also, most umbrella liability policies require that your main policy (vehicle or homeowner’s insurance) already cover you for at least $300,000.

4. Your assets don’t have to be large. It’s not necessary for you to have $1 million worth of assets in order to obtain such coverage – or to be sued for such an amount. After all, you could, for example, get sued for a million dollars and only have assets totaling $200,000. Without an umbrella policy, your future income and assets are also at risk!

5. Your family and pets are covered. An umbrella policy covers everyone in your family living in your household, including your pets. So even if your pets get loose and cause some damage, you’re covered. Many policies even extend coverage to others, such as when you let someone else drive your car somewhere and they get in an accident.

6. Your legal fees are covered by an umbrella liability policy. Umbrella liability coverage will even pay for your legal fees if a liability suit is brought against you.

7. The cost for umbrella insurance is reasonable. The first $1 million of coverage costs as little as $200-$400 per year. Each additional $1 million is only about $100. Raising your regular deductible might even provide enough savings to pay for an extra million dollars of coverage!

8. Obtain an umbrella policy from your current insurer. Ask your auto or home insurance agent about adding an umbrella liability policy to your coverage. You might even get discounts on all your liability policies when you bundle all of them with the same carrier.

Here’s an example of how your umbrella liability policy would work:

You’re on a car trip and have typical vehicle property liability coverage of $50,000. You’re involved in a major car accident. You collide with an expensive recreational vehicle (RV). The RV is less than a year old. The insurance estimate to repair the RV is $90,000.

Your regular car insurance policy would cover only $50,000 toward repairing the RV’s damage. However, with an umbrella liability policy, the remaining $40,000 worth of damage would also be paid. You won’t have to pay anything out of pocket (other than your primary car insurance deductible amount).

It’s a comforting feeling to know that you can protect all your current and future assets, plus cover legal fees, with such a small investment. In the unfortunate event that someone brings a liability suit against you, you’ll be prepared.

Open your “umbrella” policy to protect you and your family!

Choosing the Best Type of Life Insurance for You

Life insurance is one of those things that most of us know we need, but we don’t really know what kind to get, how much we should get, when we should get it, or how long we should keep it. Fortunately, it’s not really that complicated. If you understand the options, many times the solution presents itself.

There are 2 principal types of life insurance:

1. Term life insurance provides a death benefit for a predetermined number of years. The term varies but is usually between 5 and 30 years. The premiums are fixed over the lifetime of the agreement. The premiums are calculated based on a variety of factors, but age and current health have the biggest influence. It all comes down to life expectancy.

* Obviously, a 10-year term policy for a 70-year old will be more expensive than the same policy for a 30-year old, all other things being equal. Similarly, two people of the same age and gender will pay different rates if one is obese and smokes.

* Term life insurance is the least expensive type of life insurance.

2. Whole (permanent) life insurance has a death benefit and combines it with an investment or savings account. But this policy covers you until your death; there is no set expiration date. The premiums are fixed or can vary, depending on the details of the policy.

* The premiums are dependent on your age, gender, health, medical history, and more, similar to a term-policy.

* Whole life isn’t the optimum choice for most folks. While it does accumulate a cash value through the investing/savings aspect, the premiums are several times more expensive that comparable term life insurance coverage. It isn’t the best tool for saving.

* Whole life insurance does allow the policyholder to borrow against the current cash value. But this diminishes the value of the policy until the money is paid back. Most financial experts consider whole life insurance to be a poor choice.

In between term and whole life insurance, there are several different styles, including universal life insurance, last-to-die and first-to-die policies that cover both spouses, and more. However, if you understand the concepts of term and whole life insurance, it will be easy to understand any other type of life insurance your insurance professional might recommend.

Consider your life circumstances:

1. Single and no dependents. Most people in this category do not need life insurance. One of the few exceptions might be if you’re parents are not financially well off; you might want to get a small policy to pay for your funeral / burial costs.

2. Recently married. Consider how your spouse would fare without you. If you don’t have children, you probably don’t need life insurance, yet. However, if your spouse is not well employed and likely to struggle long-term without your salary, it is worth considering.

3. Expecting a baby. Now is the time most responsible future parents will purchase life insurance if they are able to do so. Consider how much coverage it will take to cover your take home pay until your children are at least 18. You might want to consider the cost of college as well.

* Remember that life insurance payouts are not normally taxed. You don’t necessarily need to cover your entire salary, just the take home portion. This will allow your family to maintain the same standard of living. If you already have life insurance, you should revisit your amount of coverage anytime a new child is on the way.

4. Retired. Your term insurance has probably run out by now. Ideally, you would also have a healthy nest egg, your house paid off, and all your kids out of your hair, reducing your need for life insurance. Life insurance premiums at retirement age get very expensive, too.

* If you do decide to get permanent insurance, now might be the time to cancel it and get the cash value out of the policy. You probably don’t need the policy any longer anyway.

For financial security, you’ll most likely need some life insurance at some point in your life; however, very few people need it throughout their adulthood.

The easiest way to determine if you need it is to consider the financial impact your family would have endure if you were gone. You want to be able to eliminate that impact to the best of your ability.