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Is Cancer Insurance Worth Getting?

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It is likely that you have a friend or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. And unfortunately, it’s something you hear about all the time: Cancer has devastating effects both emotionally and financially. Coping with these effects can prove challenging for everyone involved, the patient and family alike.

For most people, it may be hard to believe they will ever be diagnosed with cancer. Even when cancer affects someone you love, you may still think that it’s not going to happen to you—until it does. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. And according to statistics from the American Cancer Society, one in three Americans are at risk of developing an invasive type of cancer. The 2019 U.S. cancer statistic estimates predict 1,762,450 new cancer diagnoses and 606,880 deaths as a result of cancer. Learn your options for covering the costs associated with the disease and how cancer insurance might help.

The Cost of Cancer Treatments

Estimates from the National Cancer Institute show the national expenditure for cancer care in the U.S. was $147.3 billion in 2010. As the incidence of cancer continues to increase, we can only expect these numbers to go up.

If you are without insurance, you are financially responsible for the cost of medical care. The cost of medical treatments will vary based upon the type of cancer and the course of treatment prescribed by doctors. 

However, even if you have insurance, you may still have to pay some of these costs. In 2016, one breast cancer patient’s treatment cost a total of $144,193, with her insurance company paying the majority ($140,218). Even with the help, she still paid close to $4,000 out of pocket. If she had a cancer insurance policy, these out-of-pocket costs may have been covered. For instance, Aflac states that one could potentially get up to $35,175 in total benefits under its Aflac Cancer Care-Classic policy, which would have easily covered the additional $4,000 out-of-pocket costs.

Treatment isn’t the only cost that comes with cancer. Patients and family members may have a hard time coping with a cancer diagnosis. For patients and family members dealing with the emotional toll of cancer, it may be beneficial to seek out the help of a cancer support group.

What Is Covered by a Cancer Insurance Policy?

Many people have misconceptions when it comes to cancer insurance. A cancer insurance policy is not your main health insurance coverage. It is not stand-alone coverage but rather a supplemental plan designed to help you pay for cancer-related medical expenses not covered by your health care plan. These may include co-pays, deductibles, lost wages, travel costs, or the excess costs of treatment when your regular health care policy has paid out the maximum benefit allowed. A cancer policy is similar to critical illness insurance. It is provided in a lump sum payment once the policy holder has been diagnosed with cancer. You may also be able to purchase a combined cancer/critical illness insurance policy depending on the options offered by the insurer.

A cancer insurance policy pays benefits for policyholders who have been diagnosed with cancer and provides some type of benefits for these services: hospital room and board, physician treatment, private duty nursing, surgery and anesthesia, x-ray, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other cancer therapy procedures, ambulance services, blood/blood plasma, and prescription drugs.

There are three types of cancer insurance policies: 

  • Expense incurred policy: A policy that pays a percentage of all covered treatments listed on the policy up to the policy limits.
  • Indemnity policy: The indemnity policy is similar to the expense incurred policy but instead of paying a certain percentage of all covered treatments, it lists a dollar amount of each individual covered treatment.
  • First diagnosis or first occurrence cancer policy: This policy pays the policyholder a lump sum payment upon the first diagnosis of cancer. No benefits can be denied due to a pre-existing condition if the cancer is diagnosed after the effective date of the policy.

Is Cancer Insurance Worth the Cost?

Cancer insurance isn’t the same as life insurance in that you can choose the policy that you want. Adults ages 18 and older can take out policies and can include coverage for dependents. The price you pay for your monthly or annual cancer insurance premium will depend on your age, location, and more.

If you already have health insurance, it will typically cover some costs of cancer care treatment but there are limitations to coverage. A supplemental cancer policy may help cover additional expenses not covered by your regular health insurance plan. Such a policy could cost anywhere from $8 to $100 extra per month in addition to your regular health insurance premium. 

According to Cigna, a $20,000 lump sum cancer insurance policy for a 40-year-old in Alabama would only cost about $19 per month. Across the board, family coverage could cost between $100 and $350 per year or between $8 and $30 per month, while seniors could pay between $120 and $1,200 per year or between $12 and $100 per month. So depending on your specific situation and budget, you may be able to find a cancer insurance policy that works for you. And if cancer runs in your family, the extra premium may be worth the peace of mind in knowing any cancer treatments will be covered by insurance.

Even if you have an insurance policy, there may still be associated costs that are not covered, such as travel. If you are receiving treatment for yourself or a family member at a cancer treatment center, many of these centers have options to help you find short-term housing either with guest houses near the hospital or through an arrangement with local motels and hotels.

Options If You Have Cancer But No Insurance

Cancer treatments have come a long way and new cancer research is being conducted. Breakthroughs are being made and advances in treatments are prolonging and saving lives. However, not everyone can afford these treatments or cancer insurance to cover them. If you have been diagnosed with cancer but don’t have insurance, you have options for care available to you. 

Seek treatment at a public hospital rather than a privately-owned medical facility. The Emergency Medical and Treatment Labor Act (EMTLA) has laws prohibiting public hospitals from refusing emergency medical care based on a patient’s ability to pay.

If you have limited financial and medical resources or are without cancer insurance, visit the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) website for information on where you can find cancer care.

Is Cancer Insurance Worth Getting?

Getting Car Insurance for a First-Time Driver

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First-time drivers have a lot to learn before taking off on the road to freedom. Car insurance may not be the first thing a new driver thinks about, but it is very important. Cost is often a big concern along with having the right coverage. Learn the benefits of being added to an existing car insurance policy and other options available to first-time drivers.

The Best Deal

The best way to obtain car insurance is to be added to an existing policy. Usually, someone in your household has a car insurance policy. Whether it's a parent, guardian, or grandparent, try to get added as a driver to their policy.

Benefits of Being Added as a Driver

There are many benefits that being added as a driver on your parents or another insured driver's auto insurance policy. Of course, there is the benefit of protection for yourself, other drivers, the car you are driving, and other property but there are some benefits many people don't think of automatically

Proof of Prior

As a first-time driver, you do not have current car insurance. Car insurance companies consider uninsured drivers high risk. High-risk drivers pay a higher premium than a standard or preferred driver. A shortcut around having no previous insurance is to be added as a driver on an existing policy. Think of it as an instant discount that will be built into your premiums.

More Discounts

Being added as a driver on an existing policy will probably give you access to many more discounts. The first-time driver doesn't often own their home or own multiple cars; however, your guardians might. Those discounts will automatically extend to you if you are added as a driver on their policy.

Low to No Down Payment

A low or possibly no down payment is a great perk to being added onto an existing car insurance policy. If you are being added onto an existing preferred policy, usually making a change that increases the premium just gets billed in the next billing cycle. Often times, starting a new policy on your own requires more than a single month down payment.

Sometimes it may not be possible to be added as a driver on another policy. If you are a first-time driver facing getting insurance on your own, it is doable but often very expensive. A couple of things are working against you at the same time. Teen drivers have very little driving experience, so insurance companies charge a higher rate. Plus starting a car insurance policy on your own means you have no prior insurance, leaving you paying high-risk rates.

Shop Around

Get several quotes from different insurance carriers to help determine which company will offer you the cheapest rate. Some independent agencies specialize in high-risk insurance policies. These agencies can quote multiple companies you qualify for all at the same time, which saves you time calling around.

Pay in Full

Many car insurance companies offer a paid in full discount. Paying in full shows your commitment to maintaining continuous insurance and insurance companies reward you with a discount. It is not easy saving up for six months of car insurance premiums, but it is worth it if you are able to do it.

Shop in Six Months

Once you have maintained continuous insurance for six months it's time to start shopping for a cheaper rate. This is definitely not the time to set it and forget it. Switching from a high-risk carrier to a preferred is probably the biggest savings you will ever see in insurance premiums.

Getting car insurance for the first time can be an intimidating task. Help from your parents can make life a lot easier; however, if you have to go it alone stay strong and go the course. Once you make it through your six-month trial period you'll be on your way to reasonable car insurance rates. Making sure you have car insurance on your vehicle means you've taken the first step in becoming a responsible and mobile adult.

Getting Car Insurance for a First-Time Driver

Banner Life Insurance Review

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Banner Life Insurance offers several types of policies that can be customized with different types of riders. While Banner offers a good line-up of core coverages, they don’t offer as many policies as some other insurers. Nor do they have the lowest premiums. Below, we reviewed Banner’s offerings, pricing, financial stability ratings, and customer satisfaction reports. Read on for our full take.

What We Like

  • Dedicated final expense policies available

  • Universal life coverage available to age 100

  • Superior financial stability ratings from multiple agencies

  • Riders available to get the most from your policy

What We Don’t Like

  • Only three types of coverage available

  • Monthly payments only available with automatic bank draft

  • Limited customer service hours

  • Some complaints about trouble changing policies or policies being canceled unexpectedly

Company Overview: Young Company But Financially Solid 

Banner Life was founded in 1949 as Government Employees Life Insurance Company (GELICO). In 1981, the company became part of the London-based Legal & General Group. It's headquartered in Frederick, Maryland, and the company specializes in providing three main types of life insurance to meet customers’ core needs.

Available Plans: Just the Basics

Banner Life only offers three different types of life insurance coverage—fewer than are available through most insurers. Banner offers one type of term life policy, one type of universal life policy that accumulates cash value, and one final expense policy designed to cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and any unpaid debts.

Banner Life offers the following policies:

Term

Banner Life offers term life policies for customers between the ages of 20 and 75 years old. Term life policies provide a predetermined amount of coverage, ranging from $100,000 to $10 million, for a fixed premium. Policies last for pre-set terms ranging from one to 40 years.

Term life insurance allows you to meet your financial obligations today, while still protecting your family's future tomorrow.

Universal

Banner Life universal policies must be purchased through an agent. These policies offer coverage ranging from $50,000 to $10 million and accumulate cash value in addition to offering a death benefit and guaranteed lifetime coverage.

Banner Life’s offers the following universal life policy:

  • Life Step UL: Banner Life’s Life Step UL policy is a flexible premium universal life insurance plan. The policy provides guaranteed lifetime coverage with a death benefit as well as guaranteed cash values. Policyholders also get premium flexibility that let them guarantee coverage for shorter durations such as a defined age. 

Universal life policies through Banner Life also provide policyholders with a short pay guarantee. This guarantees that policyholders can design premium payments over a fixed number of years to guarantee lifetime coverage or complete lifetime premium payments before retirement.

Final Expense

Final expense policies from Banner Life are available from $1,000 to $15,000 in $1,000 increments. Policies also offer guaranteed acceptance for applicants aged 50 to 80—no one can be turned down because of their health. There’s no medical exam or lengthy health questionnaire. Banner also advertises the “best rates for non-tobacco users” and guarantees that premiums will never go up. Banner also promises that “approved claims paid within one business day.”

Available Riders: A Few Key Add-ons

Banner Life policyholders who want to get more out of their policies can add riders to their policy for added benefits. Banner Life doesn’t offer many different types of riders, but makes several key add-ons available. The riders that can be added vary by policy type—not all riders are available for all policy types.

Banner Life policyholders can add the following riders to their coverage:

Waiver of Premium

A waiver of premium rider pays for a policyholders’ premiums if they become disabled or suffer a serious long-term illness for at least six months. This rider is only available for policyholders aged 25 to 55 who have certain types of coverage. 

Policy Conversion

The conversion option allows customers to exchange their term policies for universal life coverage. This conversion option also allows policyholders to convert their policies in the same health class—even if there’s been a change in their health. Conversions can be requested anytime during a policy’s guaranteed level premium period up to attained age 70.

Term Riders

Term riders allow policyholders to add term life coverage to an existing universal life policy.

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

Accelerated death benefit riders let universal life policyholders access their death benefits early if they’re diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness. Qualifying policyholders can access up to $500,000 or 75% of the policy's primary death benefit (less any outstanding loan balance), whichever is less. Accelerated death benefits are treated as loans and accrue interest that reduce the death benefit to be paid when the insured dies.

Children's Rider

A children's life insurance rider adds death benefit coverage for children of an insured. Universal life policyholders who add this rider get coverage on children until the child turns 25, the insured turns 65, or the policy is canceled.

Customer Service: Only During Business Hours

Banner Life policyholders who need assistance can call 1-800-638-8428 from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. Alternatively, customers can fax 301-294-6960, email customerservice@bannerlife.com, or log in through Legal & General’s website (https://www.lgamerica.com/).

Customer Satisfaction: Good Reviews & Few Complaints

Banner Life isn’t rated by JD Power. However, the company has an A+ rating from the BBB and only has three registered complaints. There are a few negative reviews online that reference trouble making changes to policies or having policies canceled unexpectedly, but most reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Financial Strength: Excellent Anyway You Cut It

As a subsidiary of Legal & General, Banner doesn’t get its own financial ratings. However, Legal & Genral gets superior ratings from several agencies. The company gets an A+ rating from AM Best, AA- from S&P, and AA- from Fitch.

Cancellation Policy: Easy But Potentially Expensive

Customers who decide to cancel a policy with Banner Life can do so relatively easily. To cancel, all you have to do is complete a simple surrender form that’s available online. Surrender charges vary by policy type and individual policy documents. There are no surrender charges for term policies, but surrender charges apply for universal policies for the first 14 years after issue.

Price: Nothing Special

Prices for life insurance policies through Banner Life are reasonable but not stellar. While prices aren’t unreasonable, Banner isn’t the least expensive provider available. Premiums are paid annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly if a policyholder sets up automatic payments.

Below are sample premiums for $150,000 in term life coverage for 20 years for non-smokers in average health:

Competition: Banner Life vs. Colonial Penn

Both Banner Life and Colonial Penn are established life insurance companies that are owned by larger companies. Banner Life receives superior ratings for financial stability and customer satisfaction. Banner also has more riders available and premiums for term life policies are lower, even with higher coverage amounts. Customers debating between the two will likely be more satisfied with Banner Life.

Many people who shop for life insurance with Banner Life also shop with Colonial Penn. It's important to note that Banner Life doesn't offer a policy below $150,000 in term and Colonial Penn doesn't offer a traditional term life policy over $50,000. Consumers should pay attention to the differences to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Final Verdict: A Solid Option But Not Unbeatable

Banner Life is a solid life insurance company for customers looking to purchase insurance from a company with excellent ratings for financial stability and customer satisfaction. However, the company only provides a few core policies and isn’t the cheapest option for customers who have particular needs or are cost-conscious shoppers.

Specs 

Banner Life Insurance Review

Average Cost of Repairs After Water Damage

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Water damage is a major cause of home insurance claims and can be very costly to repair. Damage caused by weather, storms, leaks, and floods is rising. According to the Insurance Information Institute, one in 50 insured homes has a water damage or freezing claim each year.

Cost Factors for Water Damage Repair

Depending on where the water damage occurs, the costs of repair will vary. You need to take into account several factors, including size of the affected area and materials that will need to be replaced or restored. Home insurance may cover several types of water damage depending on the cause. In any water damage situation you have to add three sets of costs to understand the total sum of your water damage repairs:

  1. Cost of water removal, cleanup, ventilation, and decontamination
  2. Cost of building and structural repairs
  3. Cost of replacement or cleaning of personal property and mechanical equipment

Other Factors Impacting the Cost of Repair

Costs of water damage repair will vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • The cost of labor and materials in your area
  • The type of water damage (clean water, grey water or black water)
  • The extent of damage
  • Repair with new materials or attempt to restore older materials in your home to maintain the original structures. For example, in the case of an old wood frame window, will you restore the wood in the window frame or will you replace it with new aluminum windows?

Types of Water and Associated Damage Costs

The type of water that entered the home also affects the cost of repairs:

  1. Clean Water Damage: Caused by water that is "clean" coming from a water pipe or rain. The cost for this may be estimated at $3.75 per square foot, according to FIXR, a vendor-independent, cost-estimating database.
  2. Grey Water Damage: Caused by water coming from an appliance. It may have soaps or other chemicals in it that need to be treated as part of the cleanup. The cost for Grey Water Damage remediation may be approximately $4.50 per square foot.
  3. Black Water Damage: Water coming from a contaminated source like a sewer backup. Water coming in through sewer pipes can have harmful bacterial and is hazardous to health. Cleanup after a sewer backup or another black water incident could be $7 per square foot.

Repairs After Water Damage

There are several steps to a cleanup. For damage occurring inside a home, the first four stages before repair or reconstruction even begins can also be very costly, easily adding a few thousand dollars in a situation where the home has been flooded with water.

  1. Stop water from coming into the home
  2. Perform necessary safety measures
  3. Ventilate and demolish affected areas
  4. Clean and remove debris
  5. Reconstruction or restoration can now begin.

If damage is extensive and there's no other place to live during the restoration, establish a "clean room" with separate access. However, children should not be in the home.

Delaying repairs after water damage could end up costing thousands of dollars more because water damage costs escalate rapidly if floors or walls are not dried out quickly. Standing water outside the house can be equally costly. If the foundation of the home is compromised, you're looking at an extra $11,000 on average to keep the home stable.

Cleanup After a Basement Flood

If a sewer backup or water floods your basement, you might have to pump out the basement before you can get started on repairs. The size of the affected area is key in determining costs, but an average for a basement with standing water more than one inch deep is upwards of $4,000 for the water removal.

Don't try to clean it up yourself. Water seeps into every possible space and crack, creating the potential for mold if not handled properly.

It is always best to call in a professional to determine the extent of damage. They can work out a plan for what needs to be done to restore your home and prevent mold damage.

Typically before you even get to the reconstruction of the parts of the home that are damaged, experts will:

  • Pump out the basement using vacuums and suctions
  • Dry out the basement using specialized ventilation and by opening areas in walls and floors (including removal of baseboards and possibly flooring)
  • Put special treatments on the structure to prevent mold and pest infestations

Sample Costs of Building Repairs After Water Damage

These estimated costs will vary by location, but here are some ballpark examples to give you an idea of some of the very basic costs of rebuilding your home after a water damage claim. These costs are in addition to the cost of removing the water:

  • Replacing damaged drywall: $1.40/sq.ft.
  • Repairing damaged plaster walls: $6.25 – $18.75/sq.ft.
  • Refinishing hardwood floors: $10.45/sq.ft.
  • Replacing carpets: $4.70 – $5.50/sq.ft.
  • Woodwork: $70 an hour for carpentry work
  • Mold remediation: $5/sq.ft.

It is important to note that mold damage is not covered by many home insurance policies.

Mold remediation can be a costly and complicated process that includes moisture control, assessment, and containment of areas with mold to prevent additional contamination from spreading spores.

Sanitation of the home after repairs can also be expected, using specialized tools such as fogging equipment, air scrubbers, or antimicrobial treatments at additional costs.

What to Repair or Restore After Water Damage

Besides the building structure itself, which can be damaged, there are several other components to fully repairing and re-establishing your home after water damage.

  • Mechanical components: Check ventilation, air conditioning, heating, electrical, plumbing, and other appliances.
  • Personal property: The type of water that entered your home (clean water from a rainstorm or black water from a sewer backup) will impact how much personal property can be saved.

Housing Costs Related to Water Damage Repairs

Depending on where the damage has happened in your home, you may also have to factor in the costs of living expenses to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired.

Fortunately, most home insurance policies cover costs associated with having to stay in a hotel or temporary home if yours is made uninhabitable after a water damage claim.

These costs can add up to a few thousand dollars if the time to make repairs takes weeks or months. Having to leave your home while water damage is repaired is common after a disaster level claim.

Home Insurance For Water Damage Repairs

Home insurance covers many different types of water damage. Your home insurance company has experts who are used to dealing with water damage and can help you determine the extent of damage including the cost of reconstruction and removal of the water, as well as necessary cleaning and decontamination steps.

If your home insurance policy covers the type of water damage you have, then you may only have to pay the deductible and have them take care of the rest. If your insurance company balks at paying, you may need to hire an independent insurance adjuster to negotiate for you.

Hiring a Professional to Repair After Water Damage

Your insurance company is a good resource to find reputable professionals who can do the necessary repairs on your home and restoration. If you are hiring someone yourself, make sure they are certified professionals with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

Preventing Water Damage and Early Detection

The insurance company claims adjuster will also help determine the cause of damage and suggest further loss prevention measures, such as:

  1. Installing sump pumps
  2. Water backup valves
  3. Water leak detectors
  4. Automatic water shut-off valves

Some of these prevention devices may get you discounts on your home insurance policy in the future, which will help keep costs in check if you lose a claims-free discount for making the water damage claim.

Average Cost of Repairs After Water Damage

Best Short-Term Health Insurance for Freelancers

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Freelancing is a great way to balance work with a healthy lifestyle. There were 57 million freelancers in the U.S. in 2019, of them, 28% of freelance workers were full time. Although there are many advantages to being a freelancer, one drawback is the lack of access to an employer-sponsored health plan. If you are a freelance worker or a self-employed person, there are several health insurance options to consider. One option to consider is a short term health insurance plan, here is what you need to know so you can decide if this is a good choice for you or not.

How Does Short Term Health Insurance Work?

Short-term health insurance also referred to as “limited-duration” insurance is a form of coverage meant to insure people for limited periods. It is a temporary and basic medical insurance policy intended for a medical emergency and not every day medical care or prevention. Short-term health insurance plans are not ACA-compliant.

Why Freelancers Choose Short-Term Health Over Other Plans

Below are a few reasons why freelancers opt for short-term healthcare over other options:

  • If you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford to spend a lot of money on health insurance, short term health insurance is a less expensive health care option and is better than going uninsured.
  • If you want health insurance, but missed the open enrollment period and have not had a qualifying life event allowing you to purchase out of the open enrollment period.
  • As an alternative to ACA insurance options. Although freelancers can qualify for health insurance through the marketplace, the cost of the ACA compliant marketplace insurance is more expensive; Before 2019, there were penalties for choosing non-ACA-compliant health plans. As of 2019, there is no federal health insurance penalty when insuring yourself on a short-term health insurance plan.

Some States have fees for non-ACA-compliant health plans. Be sure and check if your State is one of them.

Average Price of a Short-Term Health Plan

Short-term health insurance plans cost 1/3 to 1/5 the price of ACA plans. The price difference depends on whether or not you qualify for a subsidy. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) estimates that the cost of coverage for short term health insurance plans are 20% less than the Bronze coverage offered by the ACA.

For example, in a KFF report, the average cost of health insurance on an ACA marketplace plan (Bronze form) ranged from $264 to $469 per month depending on the State, compared to the cost for a short term health plan starting as low as $25-$141 a month .

Age also plays a role in the premiums for Short-term health plans. For example, eHealth reported that 18-24-year-olds paid an average of $63 a month, while 45-54-year-olds paid an average of $170.

Short-Term Health Insurance Basics

Unlike ACA marketplace health insurance plans which must cover 10 essential health benefits, short term health insurance plans do not and provide minimal coverage. Short term health plans are not available in all states. Where offered, many do not provide coverage for:

  1. Prescription drugs & Immunizations
  2. Preventative care
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Mental health and substance abuse
  5. Pregnancy or Prenatal and maternity care

Short-Term Health Insurance vs. Marketplace Coverage

In addition to reduced coverage, there are other things to consider before you choose a plan.

  • If you have a pre-existing condition, unlike marketplace coverage, short-term health insurance does not have to cover you. 
  • You may have to go through a medical exam if your existing plan expires. You may be denied coverage for any medical issues that show up as a result.
  • These plans may have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for you to pay
  • If you have a plan that lasts less than a year, each time you extend or change your plan the deductible can reset. This is a disadvantage over an annual marketplace plan.
  • Short-term plans have annual or lifetime policy limits and caps on coverage.

One advantage of the short term health coverage is the price. These savings are only possible if you do not run into unexpected medical situations, or if you are generally healthy and do not use prescriptions regularly. Medical debt is a major problem and cause of bankruptcy, be sure and choose your health coverage carefully.

How to Find the Best Short-Term Health Insurance Policy

Saving money as a freelancer is important, but making sure you understand what you are paying for will help you make the right choice. Aside from comparing coverages offered, here are some tips help you find the best short-term health policy.

  1. Get quotes from several short-term health plan providers so you can compare various options. When possible, speak to a licensed insurance representative or assistant who can offer you some insight into the options you are getting.
  2. Ask if there is an application fee.
  3. Find out how extensions work, or if there is any penalty for canceling before the end of a term.
  4. Is there a waiting period before coverage kicks in?
  5. Ask about the lifetime and/or policy maximum, deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and dollar limits.
  6. Ask about the conditions for access to service, do you have to use their network? Where can you get service from? 
  7. Check the financial stability rating of the insurance company

How Long Can You Be Insured on a Short-Term Health Insurance Policy?

You may purchase a short-term health insurance plan that lasts up to 12 months. You may also be offered the option to extend the plan. Different insurers will offer different options, check locally to understand the details and conditions for your plan.

Best Short-Term Health Insurance for Freelancers

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review

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We use industry experts to independently research, test, and recommend the best services for our readers; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive compensation when you click a link or make a purchase.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance was founded in 1968 and is owned by financial giant CNO. They're known for specializing in providing core types of life insurance without medical exams, which is a very attractive benefit for those shopping around for a plan. But what else should you know about Colonial Penn Life Insurance? We reviewed the company's offerings, pricing, financial stability, and customer satisfaction, and more to see how they really stack up. See our full findings below.

What We Like

  • Insurance available without medical exams or questions

  • Don’t worry about being rejected—acceptance is guaranteed

  • Living insurance that makes benefits available while you’re still alive

  • 30-day risk-free try-it-on-period

  • Backed by independently-rated holding company, CNO Financial

  • Renewable term policies with guaranteed coverage up to age 90

What We Don’t Like

  • Coverage provided without a medical exam may be more expensive

  • Coverage limited to $50,000

Company Overview: Part of a Powerhouse Family of Financial Companies 

Colonial Penn was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company is owned by CNO Financial Group, the same firm that owns several other insurance and financial companies including Bankers Life, Washington National Insurance, and Bankers Conseco. Colonial Penn has over 760,000 life insurance policies and $3.5 billion of life insurance in force.

Available Plans: A Bare-Bones Line-up

Colonial Penn only offers three different types of life insurance. While they don’t offer variable universal or indexed universal options available with a lot of other providers, Colonial Penn does offer term, whole, and guaranteed life that don’t require medical exams. 

Colonial Penn Life offers the following policies:

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

Colonial Penn’s guaranteed-acceptance life policy is available for customers age 50 to 85 in most states. The policy doesn’t require any medical exam or health questions. Guaranteed life policies offer permanent coverage for final expenses and pre-set premiums ranging from $10 to $80 per month that won’t change over time. The benefits built into policies vary based on age, gender, and location.

Permanent Whole Life Insurance 

Colonial Penn offers whole life coverage up to $50,000 for customers age 40 to 75 that remain in force as long as you pay your premiums. Policies don’t require a medical exam—but do have questions on applications that will determine eligibility—and premiums will never go up.

Renewable Term Life Insurance 

Renewable term insurance is available through Colonial Penn for customers age 18 to 75. These policies also don’t have medical exams but do have questions on the application that will determine eligibility. Term life policies through Colonial Penn offer up to $50,000 in coverage and last for five years and can be renewed for five additional years. However, policies can’t be renewed after policyholders reach age 90.

Some policies have what is referred to as Living Insurance®. This is a two-part plan that extends the value of your life insurance, so you can collect up to 50% of it early in the policy term if you become seriously ill.

Available Riders: Not Much of a Selection

Riders, sometimes called endorsements, are additions you can elect on some policies to help customize your insurance. Some life insurance policies available through Colonial Penn offer optional riders that can help policyholders get more value from their policies. Colonial Penn’s most significant rider is an accelerated death benefit rider to make policies “living insurance.” Not all riders are available for all policy types.

The two most common riders Colonial Penn offers include:

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider 

An accelerated death benefit rider offers policyholders an early payout option that grants access to a portion of policy death benefits while the policyholder is still alive if they become disabled or are diagnosed with a chronic illness. This payout option is subject to an administrative fee and repayment of a percentage of any loans and interest. 

However, it makes a policy into so-called “living insurance” and grants policyholders greater access to stated death benefits. Living Insurance is available online, by phone, or by mail for term life policyholders age 18 to 75 and age 40 to 75 for whole life.

Accidental Death Rider

Holders of certain Colonial Life policies have the ability to purchase accidental death riders that increases payouts if an insured dies as the result of an accident instead of an illness. This rider provides additional coverage up to $50,000.

Customer Service: Easy Live Chat & Dedicated Reps

Colonial Life customers who need assistance can contact the company by calling 1-800-523-9100 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern (New York residents call 1-800-323-4542). Colonial Life also offers live chat through its website.

Customer Satisfaction: Good Ratings & Mixed Reviews

Colonial Penn has an A+ rating from the BBB but also has 85 complaints, which is a high amount for their size. Complaints range from denials of coverage to excessive premiums, slow processing of paper including cancellations, and unexpected cancellation of policies without warning. The company also doesn’t have great reviews online and has a high number of customer complaints.

Financial Strength: Part of a Solid Family of Companies

As a subsidiary of another company, Colonial Penn Life doesn’t have its own ratings for financial stability. However, its parent company, CNO Financial, and the other affiliated companies owned by CNO have an A- rating from AM Best.

Cancellation Policy: A Decent Free-Look Period

Customers who decide to purchase an insurance policy from Colonial Penn have a 30-day window (a “free-look period”) in which they can cancel their policy at no cost. Customers who wait longer than 30 days to cancel their policies will incur partial or full surrender charges that are deducted from the cash values of their policies when they’re canceled, along with any outstanding loans and interest due.

Price: Premiums are Low But Only Because Coverage is Limited

Because Colonial Penn’s policies are available without medical exams, they tend to be more expensive than similar coverage from other providers. 

Below are sample premiums for $50,000 in term life coverage. Because there are no medical exams, all policyholders are assumed to be in standard health. Those in excellent health can probably find better rates elsewhere.

Competition: Colonial Penn vs. Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is an older insurance company than Colonial Penn and was founded in 1909. The company is a Fortune 500 company, has A+ ratings from AM Best, and ranks third overall among all life insurance companies by JD Power. Customers should choose Mutual of Omaha if they want a more financially stable company, better customer satisfaction, and reportedly better prices. In fact, Mutual of Omaha customers can reportedly purchase almost twice as much coverage from Mutual of Omaha for each dollar of premium.

Final Verdict: A Great Choice for Exam-Free Coverage

Colonial Penn is a good potential option for customers who want to buy life insurance without a medical exam. However, other providers tend to offer more types of insurance, additional riders, and other benefits that Colonial Penn lacks. Other providers—Mutual of Omaha included—can also offer lower premiums for each dollar of coverage. The fact that they get complaints that deny coverage leaves us leary about making a solid recommendation for the company.

Get a Quote from Colonial Penn.

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Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review

What Is Non-Owner Insurance?

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Not many people know car insurance can be purchased for the times when they do not own a car. A non-owner auto insurance policy covers you for liability when you do not own a vehicle. It is purchased per driver, so multiple drivers are not covered under one policy. While most non-owner auto insurance policies do not provide coverage for medical or any physical damage, however, it is possible to find medical coverage depending on the car insurance carrier.

Should I Have a Non-Owner Insurance Policy?

There are several times that it makes sense to purchase this type of coverage—and many times when it doesn’t. If you rent a car frequently, it might make sense to purchase this type of coverage rather than shelling out at the rental counter. If you drive your friend’s cars often, it is also a good idea to have this kind of coverage.

However, if someone else in your household owns a car you plan on driving, you shouldn’t get a non-owner policy—rather, you’ll need to be listed on their policy.

Benefits of a Non-Owner Car Insurance Policy

Non-owner auto insurance policies are available everywhere but do not get talked about very often. Many people have never heard of an auto policy for a person who does not own a vehicle. It is always recommended to avoid a lapse in car insurance coverage, if at all possible. A non-owner auto insurance policy can protect you for those times when you do not own a vehicle:

  • Protection for liability is important even if you do not own a vehicle. A lot of things can go wrong while driving. A non-owner auto insurance policy would protect you if you do not own a vehicle and you borrow a friend's vehicle. If your friend had minimum liability on a vehicle and you caused a severe accident, the injured party could go after you personally for pain and suffering if the damages are more than your friend's limits. A non-owner auto insurance policy would kick in and pay the excess damages.
  • You can save money on a rental car. Rental companies charge a lot for their insurance coverage. If you frequently rent a car but do not own a car, a non-owner auto insurance policy will most likely save you money. You will still need to purchase the collision damage waiver so physical damage will be covered (or check with your credit card company—some offer this coverage if you book using your card), but in general, the non-owner auto policy will extend liability. As with most car insurance coverage, rules can vary by state and insurance carrier but typically a non-owner policy will cover liability for a rental car.
  • Keep your preferred driver risk status. A great benefit of purchasing a non-owner policy is to protect your driver risk status. Many insurance companies consider drivers with no prior insurance high risk. A non-owner auto policy would prove you had financial responsibility as a driver without an owned vehicle. This means you will pay a lower rate on car insurance when you purchase a car.

Keep in mind, non-owner policies do not cover the following:

  • Physical damage: A non-owner policy never covers physical damage on any vehicle.
  • Vehicles you own: Do not forget to convert your non-owner auto insurance policy into a traditional auto policy once you own a vehicle. Non-owner auto insurance will not cover a vehicle you own.
  • Vehicles owned by a resident of your household: If someone owns a vehicle in your household, you should be listed as a driver on their insurance policy as long as you do not own your own vehicle. A non-owner auto policy will not cover a vehicle you regularly access.

What Is Non-Owner Insurance?

Top Homeowners Insurance Claims

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As a homeowner, you know there is always a chance of events beyond your control that can cause a loss to your home or property. You can hope for the best but prepare for the worst. The smartest way to prepare financially for potential home losses is through purchasing homeowners insurance coverage.

The basic coverage provided by homeowners insurance includes protection against common perils such as wind, hail, fire, and theft along with liability protection if someone is injured on your property. This is not a full list of coverage options. There are many optional homeowners insurance endorsements that can add coverage beyond the basic homeowner's insurance policy.

Once you have secured insurance coverage for your home, you can have some peace of mind that you are prepared for any possible losses. Losses to home and property can come in all forms, shapes, and sizes and occur because of natural disasters, theft, fire or other reasons. Here are some of the most common types of home damage claims filed by homeowners according to a report by The Travelers Companies.

Top Homeowners Insurance Claims

  • Wind Damage: Wind damage accounts for 24% of homeowners insurance claims. This includes damage caused by high-velocity winds which can uproot trees, cause roof damage and damage the infrastructure of a home. Strong storms can produce heavy winds and cause damage to your home’s siding and shingles or cause a tree to fall on the roof of your home.
  • Water Damage: Another top cause of home damage is caused by water. Damage caused by water is divided into two categories, non-weather water damage, and weather-related water damage. Non-weather related water damage makes up 20% of homeowners insurance claims and can include problems with sewer, plumbing pipes, drains and valves, appliances and water leaks. Weather-related water damage accounts for 11% of homeowners insurance claims. Common weather-related water damage claims can include roof damage, frozen pipes, torn siding, and other home damage. Temporary living expenses are also covered if you have to find other living arrangements while your home is being repaired. An important note concerning flood damage—flood damage is NOT covered by homeowners insurance. For flood coverage, you’ll need to purchase a flood insurance policy.
  • Damage from Hail: Hail produced from strong storms can cause heavy damage to homes and property. Hail accounts for 16% of all homeowners insurance claims. Hail can measure anywhere from 0.2 inches to up to 8 inches in diameter. The type of hail that causes damage to homes is usually at least 0.75 inches in diameter. Large hailstones can wreak havoc on roofs and crack wood, concrete, clay, asphalt and other types of roofs. Hail can cause windows to break and damage home siding.
  • Theft: Finishing last (but not least) in the causes of home insurance claims is theft. Theft break-ins account for 6% of all homeowners insurance claims. Losses from theft include both personal property losses and property damage that occurs during a break-in. Homeowners insurance covers theft of property both inside and outside your home and pays for repairs to your property that occurred during the theft. Homeowners policies vary in the type of theft coverage provided (actual cash value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RCV).

Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim

If you’ve suffered a covered loss to your home or property, it is important to know the proper steps to take when filing a homeowners insurance claim. The first step is to contact your insurance company to get the process started. Your homeowner's policy documents should list the number to call in case of a claim. If you’ve been burglarized, you’ll need to contact the police and file a police report. You may have to provide a copy of the police report to the insurance company.

Photograph or video any damage if possible and then take any necessary steps to prevent further property damage, saving your receipts for any purchases made for temporary repairs. An insurance adjuster will visit your home or property to inspect the damage and determine how much the insurance company will pay toward your claim. Ask any questions you have when the insurance adjustor visits or to the insurance company when initially reporting your claim.

Top Homeowners Insurance Claims

How Do Life Insurance Payouts Work When Someone Dies?

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Life insurance can give you peace of mind that your family and assets are protected should the unthinkable happen and you are no longer able to provide for them. There are different types of life insurance policy options that lead to different forms of payouts to survivors. If you’re looking to purchase a policy or recently received one as a benefit from an employer, here’s what to know about designating beneficiaries, various policy options, and how the payout process works when someone dies. 

Designating Beneficiaries

For life insurance, a beneficiary is defined as a person, persons, or entity you designate to receive the death benefit, or payout, from your policy after you die. Choosing the beneficiary of your life insurance policy can be a very personal and important decision. Your choice of beneficiary could have far-reaching financial, legal, and personal ramifications. If you don’t name a beneficiary, the death benefit is paid out to your estate and the funds could be tied up in a lengthy legal process.

There are two basic types of life insurance beneficiaries.

  1. Primary: The primary beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person, persons, or entity you designate to receive the proceeds or payout of your life insurance policy when you die.
  2. Contingent: If the primary beneficiary you choose should die, then the secondary or contingent beneficiary receives your life insurance proceeds. The contingent beneficiary can only receive the life insurance payout if the primary beneficiary dies prior to the life insurance policyholder, and another primary beneficiary isn’t named.

You are allowed to designate more than one beneficiary to receive part of the life insurance payout after you die.

Life Insurance Policy Types

Life insurance is available through two main types of policies: whole life insurance (also known as permanent) and term life insurance. Whole life insurance is a lifetime policy and offers coverage over one’s entire lifetime. A term life insurance policy is available for a designated time period or offers temporary coverage, generally in 10- to 30-year term limits. Some insurers allow you to convert a term policy into a whole life insurance policy at the end of the policy term.

There are advantages to both types of insurance policy types. A term life policy may be less expensive than a whole life policy, and may be an option to consider if you have a limited budget. Whole life insurance offers additional benefits such as income-generating, interest-bearing accounts with a cash value benefit that can be borrowed against. 

While whole life insurance cash value policies may be borrowed against, that doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Any loans taken out against the value of a life insurance policy are borrowed against the death benefit, so any unpaid loan balance will be deducted from the death payout distributed to your beneficiary.

You can choose to pay life insurance premiums monthly or annually. The payment terms available to you will vary depending on the type of life insurance policy, whole or term, and the policy term length. For help in determining life insurance premiums, you can use a life insurance calculator.

For example, a 25-year-old female in excellent health living in Illinois could expect to pay around $19.14 per month for a 30-year, $250,000 term life insurance policy from State Farm.

Some financial advisors say it’s not necessary for single people to get life insurance unless they want to offer financial support to a family member. But keep in mind that life insurance premiums are cheaper for those who are younger and in good health.

The Life Insurance Payout

After someone dies, the beneficiary of the life insurance policy will need to file a death claim to receive the payout. The beneficiary submits the death certificate to the insurance company. The insurance company investigates the claim and then pays out the death benefit. The face value of the policy is the benefit paid out to the beneficiary. Term-life policies pay the face value as a death benefit to the beneficiary. Whole or permanent life insurance policies pay the face value and possibly more or less. If the insured chose a cash value option that potentially accrued interest and added to the death benefit payout, it’ll be more. But if they took a loan from the policy, it could be less if there is any outstanding balance.

The life insurance policy must have been active leading up to the death of the named insured for the benefit to be paid. Otherwise, the coverage will lapse and there will be no payout to the beneficiary.

Most life insurance companies require a benefits claim to be filed before a life insurance payout is made. There is often a set of documents that need to be completed with information about how the death occurred, the cause of death, and other details. This is important because, depending on any policy endorsements or riders, the death benefit payout may be increased. For example, if an accidental death policy rider was added before the policyholder’s death, the benefit may be higher.

Once the death claim is investigated and it is determined that the death benefit payment will be made to the beneficiary, the insurance company will arrange the payout. It may give the option for the beneficiary to receive either a lump-sum payment or ongoing annual payment disbursements. The laws of your state regulate when the insurance company is required to make the first life insurance payout after the death insurance claim has been filed. Typically, death benefits are paid out in between 10 and 60 days after the claim is filed.

Life insurance policy death benefits are usually not included as taxable income. So if a beneficiary is to receive a $50,000 benefit, he or she shouldn’t have to pay taxes on it. The only time a beneficiary may need to pay taxes on the benefit is if it earned interest or dividends.

The Bottom Line

Choosing a life insurance policy may be one of the most important decisions you'll ever make for the financial security of your family. Carefully weigh all the options before deciding on the right life policy for you and your family. Once it is in place, you can move forward knowing that your beneficiaries now have financial protection for years to come.

Related: Best Whole Life Insurance Policies

How Do Life Insurance Payouts Work When Someone Dies?

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?

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Car Insurance

Policy Fundamentals


Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?


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Full Bio

Emily Delbridge wrote about car insurance and loans for The Balance from 2011 to 2020. She has been a licensed Personal Lines Insurance Agent since 2005.

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editorial policies

Emily Delbridge

Updated November 20, 2019

Determining whether you need comprehensive coverage on your vehicle is not a difficult task. Begin by understanding what comprehensive coverage actually covers. Comprehensive coverage covers a broad spectrum of potential physical damage claims. It includes coverage for vandalism, contact with an animal, windshield damage and more.​

5 Things to Consider when deciding to Purchase Comprehensive Coverage.

Is comprehensive coverage required by state law?

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?
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State car insurance laws do not require physical damage coverage on vehicles. Although state laws vary by state, nearly all states require liability and property damage coverage.

Do you have a loan on the vehicle?

Lenders require full coverage insurance on vehicles they financed. Comprehensive is part of the mandatory coverage. When you sign your loan papers, you agree to protect the vehicle against physical damage by purchasing both comprehensive and collision.

Failure to notify your lender of your insurance coverage can create expensive penalties for yourself. Ask your insurance agent to list your lender as loss payee on your vehicle. By doing so, your insurance carrier will automatically notify your lender of your coverage.

What is your level of risk for having a comprehensive claim?

Do you float down country roads at dusk bowling for deer? Do you park your car every night under a half dead 40ft tall tree? Do you live in tornado alley? All of these things put you at a high risk for having a comprehensive claim. Evaluate your circumstances. If you live in the city and have never seen a deer in your life, your risk of hitting one with your car is slim. If you park in your garage every night and park in a parking ramp during the day, storm damage is not likely. The lower your risk is for a claim, the better off you would be without the coverage altogether.

What is the value of your vehicle?

Knowing the value of your vehicle will help you determine if it is worth it to pay for comprehensive coverage. Check Kelly Blue Book and N.A.D.A. to get a good estimate of your vehicle’s value.

How much does comprehensive coverage cost?

The great thing about comprehensive coverage is it is typically reasonably priced. As long as you are not a high risk driver, comprehensive can be well worth the price. Even an older vehicle with minimal value is probably still worth a windshield replacement. Determine how much you pay for comprehensive coverage by checking with your insurance agent, or your declaration page.

The argument could go either way when it comes to comprehensive coverage. Being such a versatile coverage makes it hard to give up. Anytime you remove coverage from your car insurance policy the motive is to save money. Unfortunately without a crystal ball, you do not know if you will have a claim in the near future. Removing comprehensive coverage is the right choice for many car owners, but the question you need to answer is whether or not it is right for you.