How To Cut The Cost Of Car Insurance

If you own a car, buying insurance is essential. Not only is it required by the law but it can also help protect you financially if you are involved in an accident. Getting the proper level of coverage is important. The amount of money that you have to pay to insure your vehicle depends on a number of factors including its age. Using the following tips, you should be able to keep the cost of insurance as low as possible while still ensuring that you have adequate coverage.

Compare Rates Once A Year

Insurance companies tend to offer discounts and benefits to customers that have been with them for a long time. Because of that, you may find it hard to find a lower rate than what you are currently paying if you have been with your insurer for a number of years. In 2014, Consumer Reports conducted a survey that discovered that only 10% of their subscribers were able to get a lower rate by comparing prices. However, it is still worth getting quotes and to compare your insurance policy to see if you could be paying less with a different insurer.

There are a lot of websites out there that will allow you to compare rates from multiple insurers by submitting a single form. In some cases, insurance agents from the companies included in the quote will contact you directly to talk about your options. It may be worthwhile to talk to these agents to see what deals they have available so you can get the best rate.

Choose An Insurance Company You Can Trust

Finding a great rate is only one part of the equation. You also need to make sure that the insurance company will follow through if you ever need to file a claim. The last thing that you want is for the insurance company to balk at the idea of paying out or to try to undercut the amount of money that they pay to you. It is also important to look for an insurer that won’t gouge you by charging excessively high insurance rates if you are involved in an accident.

From 2011 to 2014, Consumer Reports.org surveyed their subscribers to find out how satisfied they were with the way that their insurance claims were handled. Overall, the results were encouraging, with more than 85% of the respondents saying that they were extremely satisfied with the service that they received. The groups that got the highest ratings in the survey included NJM, Amica, and USAA.

Decide On A Reasonable Deductible

Choosing a higher deductible may help you qualify for a lower car insurance rate. For instance, you may be able to enjoy a rate that is as much as 30% lower simply by increasing your deductible to $500 rather than $200. Similarly, increasing your deductible to $1,000 could help you save as much as 40%. If you are generally a safe driver, it may be worthwhile to choose a higher deductible. Just make sure that you have enough money in savings to cover the cost of your deductible in case you are ever involved in an accident.

Read Through Your Coverage

Avoid the temptation to purchase the minimum amount of insurance required by your state. It is usually better to increase your liability limits rather than risking going bankrupt or wiping out your savings if you are involved in an accident.

One way that you may be able to save is by cutting out rental-reimbursement coverage. This is especially true if you have a second vehicle. Instead of having to rent a car, you can simply drive your other vehicle while your damaged car is in the shop for repairs. The same goes for roadside assistance. If you already have a membership to an auto club or if your car’s warranty provides roadside assistance, you probably don’t need to purchase additional coverage.

In terms of medical payments and personal injury insurance, you may not need it if your health insurance will cover any injuries. However, if you often have passengers in your vehicle who don’t have adequate health coverage, you still might want to keep it to ensure that they are protected.

If you have a teenage child, the cost of your insurance policy may dramatically increase. You can help combat this by having your child take a driving course that focuses on safety before they become licensed. You should also make sure that your child understands that there will be repercussions if they drive in an unsafe manner.

If your child is a college student who attends school far away from where you live or if they don’t have a license, make sure that your insurance company knows. That way, you won’t wind up being charged extra for your insurance.

Keep Your Credit In Good Shape

Interestingly, most car insurance companies use your credit score when determining how much you have to pay for your premiums. If you aren’t sure whether your insurance company uses this practice, you can always ask them. The best way to avoid any problems, however, is by making sure that your credit is in good shape. Order copies of your credit report once a year and check for any errors. If you have bad credit that was caused by factors such as a divorce, a death in your family, a medical problem, or the loss of a job, your insurer may be willing to work with you to come up with a more reasonable rate.

Inform Your Insurer About Any Changes To Your Driving Habits

On average, people drive approximately 12,000 miles each year. If the distance that you drive on an annual basis dramatically decreases, you should inform your insurance company about the change. For instance, if you retire from your job and no longer have to commute, you may be able to save quite a bit of money on your insurance.

 

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How To Get Out Of Debt For Good

How To Get Out Of Debt For Good

Being in debt is stressful. Your phone is probably ringing off the hook from angry creditors and you are probably getting plenty of threatening letters in the mail. They might even be threatening to take you to court. If you are behind on your house payments, you could be facing foreclosure. Once you are out of debt, your heavy burden will be lifted and you can start to get on with your life.

The first step to getting out of debt is facing your debts. When you are in debt the last thing you usually want to do is confront your debt, but this is the first step you need to take to get it under control. Make a list of all your debts, then create a budget that will help you start to pay them.

You might find that you owe much more than you are ever able to repay. If this is the case, you are going to want to start working with your creditors. Ignoring your creditors can lead to your getting sued, so you want to start working with them as soon as you know that you won’t be able to pay your debts back. Most lenders would rather get something instead of nothing so they will accept less than you owe as long as you make regular payments or settle the debt.

If you are behind on your mortgage and won’t be able to get caught up, you can often work on a loan modification with your lender that can reduce the amount you owe or reduce your payments. You will need to provide documentation that proves you can no longer afford to make the monthly payments before your lender will modify your loan. Some lenders will extend the length of your home to lower the payments or switch you over to an interest only loan.

Many credit card companies will accept settlements once the accounts are getting close to being charged-off. Some debt management settlements can be as low as 20 percent of what you owe. Make sure that you get the settlement terms in writing to ensure that the payment frees you from owing the debt anymore.

Sometimes you are just so in over your head that there is no coming back. In this case, bankruptcy is going to be your best option. Bankruptcy fully discharges your debts and you come out of it completely debt free.

Keep in mind that if you go for the nuclear option your credit is going to be ruined for about seven years. You won’t be able to buy another house during this period and it will be hard, if not impossible, to get a loan. The bankruptcy is going to stay on your credit report for ten years and it could prevent you from getting a job. You might also have to pay deposits on utilities, cable TV, and cell phones.

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How To Save Money When Building A New Home

Many people are looking for ways to save money when building a new home. Currently, the country’s economy is very fragile. Banks and other financial institutions are timid when handing out loans for home construction. Previously, loans were handed out left and right. However, the larger the loans, the bigger the homes built. Due to the large cost of funding the construction of a new home, banks and financial institutions have become reluctant when handing out loans.

The Evolution Of Customers

Now, customers have evolved to become smart, savvy and environment friendly. Therefore, they are creating green, smaller and very affordable homes with the financing available to them. If you’re planning on building a new home, there are many ways to reduce the cost considerably. With such notions, banks and financial institutions are more likely to fund your project.

Fortunately, since manufacturers are competing for consumers, the prices for flooring, shingles, drywall and other construction project have reduced as well. Here are some amazing ways of reducing the cost of building your dream house and saving a lot of money from any construction project.

1. Land

When building your home, buying the right piece of land can save enough money for you. Before making any purchases, you need to research and find out if you can build on it without any extra expenses such as blasting rock or clearing. Building on a mountain side or raw land might be magnificent but the cost of clearing rocks, trees or leveling the land will increase the overall cost of the entire project.

On the other hand, you might not have access to proper sewage lines, drinking water and other amenities. Adding these amenities will increase the cost of your project dramatically. As more areas become developed, it’s tough to find a suitable piece of land to build on. That’s why working with a credible realtor is always advisable.

2. Type Of House

You can also save some money on a construction project by choosing the right type of house. For instance, building a ranch is very expensive than building a two-story house. If you plan on building a ranch on 3,000 sq. ft. you need a roof and foundation that will be twice the area, if building a two story house. The living space of a two story house about 3000 sq. ft is spread on 2 floors. Therefore, there is a smaller roof and foundation. The ranch, on the other hand, will require the roof and foundation to cover the entire space.

If you save on the roof and foundation, you can reduce the overall cost of building your home thus saving a lot of money. Another advantage of a two story home over a ranch is that it can fit effortlessly in a smaller or a sloped lot. You can also save a lot of money with a rectangular house with standard windows and simple rooflines rather than one with intricate details. If you choose a two story house, you can save around $10000 – $20000 without compromising on the living space.

3. The Size Of The House

The size of your house can make a huge difference in the overall cost of your project. Every square footage added to your home will cost some money. The size of the house affects the entire project, starting from the foundation up to the roof as well as painting. You need to find a floor plan with enough space, amenities and allows you to make any modifications at very little or no extra cost.

Many people advocate that being your own general contractor allows you to save a lot of money on any projects. However, such an endeavor is advisable for people with extensive knowledge about constructing a new home. If you have successfully handled your own construction project previously, you can proceed with the same skills on your current project and save as much as 10% effortlessly.

4. Recycling, Reusing, Reclaiming And Clearance

If you want to save money on any construction project, you need to find ways to be green. For instance, you can start by reusing reclaimed parts from demolition projects or throwaways from other individuals. Additionally, it’s a great way to improve the aesthetic value of your home. By recycling these construction materials, you can save a lot of money because you can get the materials at a much reduced price or free.

You can purchase appliances or flooring materials are reduced prices when you’re planning your construction project. Look for clearances, sales, returns, reconditioned or discontinued products to make sure you’re getting the best discount. If you look at numerous retailers, you will find so many with discontinued flooring materials that are going for a very cheap price compared to the brand new products.

5. Bartering

There are people who provide handyman skills to receive certain items. It’s also another way to save a lot of money when you’re building a new project. If you’re handy, you can ask the foreman to allow you to do a few projects to reduce the overall cost of construction. You can always ask for the handyman barter special where you can do the landscaping part of the project, painting or construction clean-up and reduce the overall cost of construction. Additionally, you can talk to manufacturers and retailers of construction materials to find a way to reduce your construction costs considerably. A quantity surveryor or someone in that profession could also help – see this post from PSR solutions to see how.

6. Going Green

Saving money on the construction of your new home goes beyond the construction process. Once your dream house has been constructed, there are many more expenses that you should expect. Therefore, you need to consider a few energy efficient ways to construct your home. For instance, try orienting your house with a roof slope facing to the south or large windows facing in the same direction.

These are some useful tips to keep your house warm at all times thus reducing your heating costs. Additionally, with a roof facing to the south, you can always install solar panels. Here, you can save money on heating costs and also get some tax savings because of using solar power. Additionally, you can save a lot of money with energy efficient windows and doors. Currently, most of the household appliances such as HVAC systems, water heaters and much more have also been manufactured with energy efficient features. By installing these appliances in your new home, you can count on more savings in the future.

In conclusion

Constructing a new home is a good investment that will save a lot of money from rent or lease. However, if you don’t want to waste more money on expenses, you need to find ways to save money when constructing your home in the first place. The tips outlined above allow you to construct your home in the most cost-effective way possible. Look through our website for more information on how you can save a lot of money when building your dream home.

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What Are Smart Meters and Can they Save you Money?

Many utilities today are replacing the older analog meters with newer digital smart readers. Instead of having to read the meters once a month, the new smart readers will transmit the information regarding the energy used by a customer in real-time. Because of this, the smart meters will be able to tell both how much energy the customers are using, but also when they are using it and what it is being used for. When you have such detailed information, the smart meters can actually empower the consumers to become more energy efficient and lower their costs.

Despite the potential benefits, not everyone loves smart meters. The critics have been raising objections as to the privacy issues and whether or not the savings promised are as good as they claim to be. Here is a good blog from nPower and below you will find some information regarding this debate that could help you to decide whether having a smart meter will actually be worth it:

Smart Meter Benefits

These meters are able to provide insights that will be helpful to individual customers by allowing them to save energy, but they will also help with managing the energy supply in an efficient manner. The detailed, real-time information the smart meter provides could transform the manner in which energy is consumed. Benefits of a smart meter include:

– Better distribution in peak power demand times, thus cutting back on power outages and brownouts

– Monitoring for more efficient energy resource use

– Cuts back on the need for additional facilities producing power

– Offers customized information regarding energy use

– Creates dynamic pricing, where there used to be pricing based upon demand

Smart Meter Disadvantages

As with many transitions in technology, there are some bumps in the road. Some people have complained that the smart meters are:

– Pricier, and you could see increased charges on your bills

– Could be dangerous, as some have caused fires

– You have the feeling that big brother is watching, as the meter can see both how you are using the energy as well as what times

– Lack of accuracy, leading to higher bills

The bottom line is that there are pros and cons either way. The upside is that the smart meters can help households to use energy more wisely and assist with conservation of energy while better managing and distributing power. On the flip side, the disadvantage remains that this is new technology that can come with risks and that the meters may not be completely accurate, while also posing both safety and privacy risks.

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New Surf Taxi App

Just got told about a cool new app called Surf Taxi, it is an app that can be used to hail taxis, it works much like Uber except it is meant to be cheaper at peak volume times when Uber is too expensive.  While Uber has been good for me, there was one time at the Staples center that it quoted $200 to get me back to my hotel after a Lakers game. This app gives you the abillity to hail a taxi ride through your smart phone and track its progress. It also gives tradidional taxi companies a way to compete with the silicon valley startups like Uber.

Check out the Surf Taxi App

 

5 Ways How Singapore Business Owners Can Capitalize on the Micro Loan

 

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5 Ways How Singapore Business Owners Can Capitalize on the Micro Loan

The micro loan program initiated by Spring Singapore allows eligible Singapore companies to obtain a loan of up to S$100,000 to help with the following:

Daily operations

Working capital usage

Expansion plans and to increase productivity and profitability of the business.

This program will benefit your company with features such as a no lock-in period, low processing fees and reasonable tenure which gives startup businesses and/or SMEs a good kick start!

If ever your business is planning to apply for a micro loan, or you have already acquired a micro loan and you do not know how to use it to achieve optimum benefits, here are five key ways how you can and should capitalize on the micro loan to maximize the profitability of your business and customer satisfaction.


1. Hiring higher skilled workers and employees

A business owner may experience challenges such as lacking adequate funds to hire workers and employees with the right skills sets. With a micro loan, one may hire more qualified employees and thus, spend lesser time to train them. One may also be able to send them to courses conducted by qualified consultants instead of doing in house training. This will help to lighten the workload of the business owner and help employees to maximize their full potential.


2. Purchasing inventories or equipment

Different business organizations require different supplies depending on their nature. For instance, if you are in a processing or manufacturing business, you will definitely need adequate stock of raw materials for your business to remain operational.

Due to technological advancements, many businesses are also now turning to automation or using technology to streamline processes. With a micro loan, one can improve business operations and minimize time wastage. This also allows a business to stay ahead of competition.

3. Expanding your business

Business owners in Singapore can use the micro loan to expand their business and increase their profit margin. Instead of spending a large amount of time waiting for your trade debtors to pay you back, you can tap on the micro loan to bridge your cash flow gap and expand your business from there. Purchasing more machinery, fixtures and increasing your marketing budget can be one of those aspects you can look at with the micro loan.


4. Covering business expenses during lull period

Every business has its ups and downs and this makes it challenging for business owners to sustain their businesses during the slower months. This is a common issue in all types of businesses and the micro loan can be tapped on to help you sustain your business during such periods. A micro loan can serve as a working capital loan, covering business expenses that cannot be postponed such as electricity bills, rental and other expenses involving day-to-day running of the business. 


5. Funding extra
costs incurred during the busy season

You may require more funds to cover extra costs incurred during the busy seasons. Many business owners in Singapore have challenges paying for extra costs especially when customers are not paying promptly despite given a credit term. A micro loan can be an effective source of additional funds to cover extra expenses and purchases during peak seasons. By doing so, you can take advantage of a market opportunities.


It is evident that business owners in Singapore can benefit greatly from micro loans and grow their businesses. With no locked in period, it is highly beneficial to business owners during repayment without extra penalty charges. More importantly, business owners should note that micro loans cannot be used to finance long-term investments such as buying real estate since they have a short paying duration. Generally, a micro loan ia a reliable source of finance for business owners in Singapore who want to grow the profitability of their businesses.

Capitalize is a corporate loans specialist firm that helps Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and individuals to seek, source and obtain capital from across our established network of up to 30 banks, financial institutions, funding houses and alternative platforms. We are always committed to provide our clients with the most suitable loans according to their needs, from the lowest interest rates possible and at the quantum they require.