VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 4 POSTED ON: 4/11/2012
Saving money on may be available for student drivers with good grades or college students in the household that live on campus for most of the year. Your insurance company may also offer you a multi- policy discount if you purchase both auto and homeowners coverage. C ar insurance is one of the most liability-only insurance, when the market value common bills that most households of the vehicle is below $2,000. In the event of an are required to pay. According to accident, your insurance company will only pay InsuranceUSA.com, an online insurance what the cash value of the vehicle is at that time. marketplace, car insurance is the most widely If your car is worth less than your deductible and purchased type of insurance coverage because your collision premium, you could be paying automobile drivers are required to have car more for insurance than necessary. Realize that What to do in an accident: insurance almost everywhere. Below are some having liability-only coverage also means that the tips that may help you save on this expense. insurance company only pays for the damages Here are some tips provided by Erie Insurance of the other parties involved if you are at fault. Group (www.erieinsurance.com) to help Consider raising your deductible. A Damages for your car will not be covered. you remain calm and gather the necessary deductible is the amount of money that you To help you make a decision, visit Kelley Blue information in the event of a car accident. have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance Book’s web site at www.kbb.com to check the A detailed and accurate report can help you company pays the claim. According to the web market value of your vehicle. Also, consult your expedite your claim for repair costs. site of the Insurance Information Institute insurance company before dropping any coverage (www.iii.org), increasing your deductible from so you are complying with the laws in your state. • The first priority is to make sure your $200 to $500 could reduce your collision vehicle is safely off the road and check to and comprehensive by 15-30%. Opting for a Drive safely. Numerous at-fault claims and see if any parties are injured. If so, contact $1,000 deductible can save you approximately traffic violations may increase your insurance emergency personnel immediately. 40%. If you choose to do this, you should have rates. You may help avoid the likelihood of an the deductible on hand if you have a claim. accident by driving defensively and obeying • Always call the police even if there is InsuranceUSA.com defines comprehensive as traffic laws. Stay safe by adhering to road signs, minor vehicle damage. A police report can insurance that “covers damages that are caused driving the speed limit, and resisting the urge help speed up the claims process. to your vehicle through to talk on a cell phone while vandalism, natural cause, driving. Many insurance • Although car accidents are stressful hit and run, or hitting companies offer discounts if a situations, remain calm and do not an animal.” Collision policyholder has maintained discuss who is at fault. You will have an insurance “pertains to a clean driving record for a opportunity to talk to your insurance the coverage you receive specific amount of time. agent about the details. Exchange for accidents, where you information with the other driver(s), actually collide with or Take advantage of all which would include names, phone hit a vehicle while you discounts. You may qualify numbers, addresses, license plate are driving.” for car insurance discounts for numbers, and the make and model of each a variety of reasons. Mention car. Know the value to your insurance company of your vehicle. if your vehicle has features • You may also want to record information Some drivers choose to such as air bags, anti-lock such as date, time, location, and weather drop collision and/or brakes, and anti-theft devices. conditions. Most cell phones come comprehensive insurance Keep track of how often equipped with a camera, so consider once a car depreciates you use your vehicle. If your taking picture at the scene. In case of an to a certain value. mileage is lower than average, accident, Erie recommends keeping a InsuranceUSA.com you may receive a discount. disposable camera along with a notepad in recommends dropping Younger drivers usually cost your glove box. collision; also known as more to insure. Discounts VOLUME 7 Saving Money on Auto Insurance • Reading the Fine Print • Inspiring Thoughts #4 UCAN Corner • Save Money on Home Improvements • Spare Change Corner As you strive to settle your debts, most of you have made a commitment to rely on cash instead of Another client combats credit cards. After you complete your debt negotiation program, you will probably want to re-establish collector abuse your credit. As you probably know, credit cards can cause serious financial problems if they are not used properly. Periodically, this column will discuss a credit card issue and give you tips on responsible credit For the past few months, we have been card use. This month’s topic is the importance of the fine print in credit card agreements. informing you of cases in which UCAN W helped clients prevail against collector hen applying for a credit card, balance on your credit card because of the harassment. We have another victory to share most people disregard the small negative effects of debt and you also run the with you. Recently, a Pennsylvania couple type that details the provisions of risk of obtaining an over-the-limit fee. A late enrolled in a debt settlement program used the agreement. Many applicants will simply sign payment could also allow a credit card company UCAN services to take a stand against an their name, stating that they agree to the terms. to impose a late fee in addition to an over-the- unscrupulous collector. These consumers Although this fine print may be long and tedious limit fee. started to receive harassing phone calls to read, we suggest that you review a credit card Reading the fine print may also alert from a debt collection agency representing agreement in its entirety. This task may prevent consumers to the fact that credit card companies Chase Bank. The major collection agency future problems or you may decide that this is may charge a no-balance fee if you pay off your subjected the consumer to repeated calls and not the right credit card for you. Below are some balance in full or apply an inactivity charge if harassment at work and at home in order to key points that you may want to focus on as you your account has been inactive for a certain embarrass them. Examples of the collection read the fine print. period of time. agency’s questionable conduct include: Credit card companies also charge fees for • False statement that the collector was an Don’t be fooled by low cash advances and balance transfers. attorney teaser rates and extremely • False statement that a judgment was issued high credit limits. When Understand universal you receive a credit card default. All of a sudden, an • False and threatening claim that the unsuspecting cardholder solicitation in the mail, collector forwarded a special note to the may receive their monthly the envelope may judge “without recourse” from the couple credit card statement and read that you are • False threats of wage garnishment and bank pre-approved for be shocked to discover levies a low interest that their interest rate • Use of loud and threatening language rate of 2.9% increased dramatically. and a credit limit This action, known up to $25,000. as universal default, Having been previously educated by This impressive could have occurred for a UCAN to preserve all debt collector contacts offer may persuade number of reasons. If a credit as well as keeping a precise call log, the couple some people to card company reviews your credit gathered written statements from all potential immediately complete and sign report and senses that you may witnesses and forwarded those materials to the application without reading the become a potential credit risk, they have UCAN. Upon receiving and reviewing the small print. a right to drastically raise your interest rate. consumer’s issue, a UCAN representative First of all, consider most verbiage You may have been late or missed a payment forwarded the matter to Apex Law Group for on envelopes of credit card offers to be with this particular creditor or a totally different placement with a FDCPA attorney located in advertisements intended to entice you to open credit card company. Let’s suppose that you are the couple’s local area. The attorney obtained the mail and apply. If you look closely, you may current with this credit card account, but the a $1,000 settlement for the consumer and the find that there are several asterisks printed by card issuer raises your rate because your credit $12,000 debt was also forgiven. these grandiose statements. The fine print may report shows that you have taken on too much As this case study shows, it is vitally state that you may not be “pre-approved” and debt or have had many recent inquires. important for debt settlement clients to be that your credit limit and interest rate will be Much controversy has surrounded the issue proactive in their programs and actively look based on your credit history. of universal default. Many consumer advocates for such things as voice recordings from want banks to ban this practice. In 2007, collectors that seem over the line. With Don’t make the credit card companies Citibank was the first credit card company that your help, more clients will be able to turn richer by incurring fees. Consumer put an end to universal default. Also, legislators a negative and stressful collection experience Action, a non-profit consumer advocate group, have outlawed this practice in the state of New into a positive one. reports that credit card fees cost cardholders York last summer. As you can see, progress If you are receiving threatening or harassing approximately $13 billion every year. Avoid late is being made and perhaps universal default messages from a collector, knowledgeable fees by reading the fine print to find out the will not exist in the future. However, a survey consumer advocates are here to assist you. You grace period and due date for your payment. conducted by Consumer Action indicates that may contact UCAN at 1-877-462-8226 or Some companies state that a bill is also due by nearly half of U.S. banks use universal default, send an e-mail to email@example.com. Our normal a certain time on the due date. For example, enabling them to legally raise credit cardholders’ business hours are Monday through Thursday if your bill is due by noon, you could incur a interest rates as high as 40%. Reading the fine 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST and Friday 9:00 late fee if the credit card company receives your print in your credit card agreement will indicate a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST. payment at the end of the day. whether your credit card company enforces We do not recommend that you keep a high universal default. M any people think that if they had Why is this? According to an article by Laura more money they would be happier. Rowley, author of the book Money & Happiness You may have thought that if you (2005), “Scientists have found that while a won the lottery or received a significant pay certain amount of money does indeed make increase that you would be more content. us happy, once basic needs are met, happiness More money may allow you to live a more doesn’t continue to rise in direct proportion to comfortable lifestyle, but it may not necessarily income.” Also, Forbes Magazine indicates that buy happiness. You may have heard stories on lottery winners return to their previous level of the news about people who won millions in happiness after five years. the lottery and were broke within a year. Some As you strive to settle your debts, you may Inspiring television programs also feature biographies yearn for more money so you can move past this about famous people who squander their entire situation. We are not suggesting that your debt fortune. was incurred due to extravagant purchases. If Thoughts These examples may seem extreme, but the you encountered debt as a result of extenuating same concept may apply when people receive circumstances, additional income would certainly a raise from their employer. Many individuals come in handy to pay those unexpected bills. increase their standard of living instead of paying However, spending a lot of time wishing Often people attempt to down debt or creating an emergency fund. we had something else may delay our goal of live their lives backwards; Once we acquired the amount of money that we financial freedom. If we dwell on the fact that we they try to have more thought would make us happier, it does not seem are in debt, this can create unhappiness. We can things, or more money, to be enough and we want more. At one time, we not change the past and we have to realize that in order to do more of what may have thought that if we buy a nicer car or there are very few lottery winners. As hard as it they want, so they will charged that new state-of-the-art television that may be, making the most of our current situation be happier. we would be content. After the novelty wore off, may make us less stressed and give us hope for ~Margaret Young we may regret the extravagant purchase and feel the future. anything but happy. efficient products when selecting heating and cooling systems, windows, insulation, and wall and roof assemblies. Visit Energy Star’s web site at www.energystar.com for more information. You may also contact your utility company to see if you qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this program helps low-income families reduce their energy bills by making their home more energy efficient. I Obtain several bids. If you do need to Get Involved. Habitat for Humanity f you are a homeowner, you probably realize that your dwelling requires frequent hire a professional, obtain bids from various builds new homes and renovates old homes for upkeep and various repairs. As you strive companies and contractors. When you compare low-income families. This organization is always to settle your debts, spending money on costly prices, you may find that costs can vary greatly looking for volunteers to help with their building home improvements may not be an option. Yet, among companies. Before you make a decision projects. Each work site is supervised by a there may be some ways that you can save money based on cost, ask for references on the person or professional that trains and assists the volunteers. and still perform necessary upgrades to your business that you plan to hire. Also, verify that You may consider volunteering for your local home. they have insurance coverage. These precautions Habitat for Humanity branch. In addition to may prevent you from becoming a victim of a helping your community, you may also learn new Learn to do-it-yourself. Although home improvement scam. skills that may help you with your own home. Visit their web site located at www.habitat.org you may have to hire a professional for some for more information and to search for a local complicated projects, you may be able to tackle some tasks yourself. A wealth of informational Choose energy-efficient division in your area. construction elements. When possible, resources exist to teach you how to do home improvement jobs such as cleaning your invest in energy-efficient products for your ••• gutters, painting, and installing a ceiling fan. home. Some of these items will be more costly Many homeowners have the desire to beautify Visit your local bookstore or library to find a than their counterparts, but you may save their surroundings. At this point in your debt comprehensive guide on do-it-yourself home approximately settlement program, you may not be able to improvements. one third finance every project The Internet and television are also great on your on your list. Keep sources. DIY Network brings you such cable energy bills, in mind that you shows as “DIY to the Rescue” and “DIY Be according to do not have to Your Own Contractor.” You can also visit their Energy Star, complete every home information-packed web site located at www. a government improvement job at diynet.com. This site features a wide array of do- backed agency once. Choose the it-yourself projects, with topics that range from that offers necessary things first home improvements to decorating. consumers and finish each task Home Depot also offers free Do-It-Herself energy- as your budget allows. Workshops, Weekly Clinics, and Kids efficient Good luck on your Workshops. Visit www.homedepotclinics.com to solutions. home improvement register at a Home Depot near you. Look for endeavors and enjoy energy- the end results. using automated dialers to call cell phone grew from 3% in 2006 to 40% in 2007. Here are numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the some other interesting findings in the report: industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without • California and Illinois are among five states their consent. whose residents are most at risk for identity fraud. Consumers feel that the • Young adults who fall victim to fraud are economic stimulus package most likely to purchase ID fraud insurance and sign up for fraud alerts. Older adults is a temporary solution. An who fall victim often react by no longer Experian Consumer Direct poll shows that more sending bill payments and checks through than half of Americans feel the federal economic unsecured mailboxes. stimulus package is a short-term solution for the Spare Change troubled economy, while 32% feel the package will cause more Americans to reinvest in the economy. When asked how consumers plan to • Over the past three years, overall fraud declined, while the cost per consumer rose. This cost is defined by the total use their rebate check from the federal economic out-of-pocket expense consumers incur News, financial tips, and other stimulus package, 19% said they would pay off a when falling victim to ID fraud. The cost information regarding personal debt, 16% said they would pay utility bills, and per consumer in 2007 averaged $691, an financial freedom 10% said they would apply the proceeds toward increase of 25%, over the $554 recorded in home repairs. 2006. You do not have to register New research confirms identity Haggling may help you your cell phone number. fraud is declining. The 2008 According to the Federal Trade save money. A national study by Identity Fraud Survey Report, released by Consumer Reports reveals that haggling Commission (FTC), consumers should not Javelin Strategy & Research (www.javelinstrategy. be concerned that their cell phone numbers over the cost of goods and services is not only com), confirms that identity fraud is declining in alive and well, but can be successful in many will be released to telemarketers in the near most parts of the United States, and that thieves future despite the recent claims made in e- cases. More than 90% of shoppers who tried are turning to unexpected channels to commit to negotiate a better deal on goods and services mails circulating on the Internet. It is also not fraud. This year’s report reinforces a three-year necessary to register cell phone numbers on the including furniture, electronics and appliances, trend that criminals mostly obtain the majority floor and demonstration models, and medical National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry to be of information from stolen personal belongings, protected from most telemarketing calls to cell bills got one, according to a new survey and through telephone calls, rather than online. conducted by the Consumer Reports National phones. Federal Communications Commission Access through mail and telephone transactions (FCC) regulations prohibit telemarketers from Research Center. The Road to Financial Freedom (RTFF) is published by The Premier Institute for Financial Freedom. While articles in the RTFF newsletter are factual and accurate, they are not intended to replace the advice of professional financial, accounting, and/or legal advisers. As with all decisions regarding your finances, the advice, techniques, ideas and suggestions offered herein should be followed under the supervision of the appropriate competent professional. CORPORATE OFFICES 1061 Main Street • Banco Park Suite 19 North Huntingdon, PA 15642 Phone: (800) 256-7273 • FAX: (724) 861-1039
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