Road Traffic Injury Claims

Motorists who feel anxious about being involved in a road traffic accident have been given yet more cause for concern, as recent statistics show that injury claims for compensation increased significantly over the past 12 months. According to figures released from a report by the Actuarial Profession, despite a fall in actual accidents of 11% in 2011 compared to the figures released for the previous year, the number of claims is up by an astonishing 18%, with a range of factors behind this perplexing data.

Although most modern cars are seen as being safe to drive, and road safety has in general improved considerably in recent years through government campaigns and efforts made by car manufacturers to make their products less hazardous, reckless drivers are still present on the road. Although there are laws in place to punish anyone driving dangerously for whatever reason, they still exist, and can cause serious accidents that often end in severe injuries that may form the basis of a compensation claim.

Another reason why claims may be up is because of a rise in the severity of road traffic accidents. That could explain why the insurance industry was hit with a combined £400 million bill over the course of 2011, with many injury claims being made in urban environments such as East London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, where road traffic accidents tend to be more common. However, improvements in road safety seem to have been made in big cities, especially as there seem to be more motorists in those areas.

Some believe that there may be a correlation between the location of offices of injury claim management firms and accident hotspots, which could go some way towards explaining why there has been a rise in the number of claims. However, the fact that claims have been on the increase in the past year or so may hint at something different, possibly that there may be growing awareness of the fact that, in the event of injury, people are able to make compensation claims with the help of company’s such as Medicalsolicitors.co.uk

In the past few years, a number of injury claim firms have gone in to business to help fill the void left by insurers who may seem reluctant to help victims of road traffic accidents get the resources needed to help them recover without having any financial problems. What many injury claim firms say they do is to help victims of road traffic accidents who may find that their health and finances will suffer through no fault of their own file a compensation claim against the negligent motorist.

Although it’s rare for people involved in accidents on the road to claim, the fact that more people seem to be doing it shows that negligible accidents are being cut out or that more people are looking into claiming compensation directly from the motorist at fault for their injuries rather than going straight to their insurer for help. Whether this growth in the number of injury claims will continue is unknown for now, but it will depend on how far the total number of accidents will rise or fall.

Alexander de Zeeuw is a freelance personal injury lawyer who specialises in accident at work claims with first4lawyers.com

How to Care for an Aging Parent during These Tough Economic Times

For many, a peculiar role reversal happens when they hit middle age. Aside from the aching bones, lack of energy and planning for a much-needed retirement trip; many in their 40s, 50s and 60s are faced with caring for an aging parent. A recent MetLife survey found that nearly 10 million adults over 50 are emotionally and financially supporting an aging parent, a number that has steadily increased over the past 20 years. As an older or middle-aged adult yourself, you’re torn between providing an acceptable level of care while planning your own retirement or saving for your children’s future. With careful planning, it’s possible to care for an aging parent as the country continues to struggle through an economic downturn.

Sit Down for “The Talk”

As an adolescent, you probably dreaded the day you were embarrassingly forced to suffer through “the talk.” It’s now your turn to have a frank and open discussion with your parents, but this time about their finances and personal papers. Having an open and honest relationship with your parents helps, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be thrilled to discuss a normally taboo subject with their grown children. It’s crucial to sit your parents down and go over their monthly expenses, benefits and income. Inquire if they’ve considered long-term care insurance, or if they’ve spoken to their lender about a reverse mortgage.  Also, inquire about any important legal or financial documents necessary to prepare a will or trust, including bank statements, brokerage accounts and life insurance policies.

Keeping Your Parents at Home vs. a Nursing Home Environment

Despite the few minor inconveniences, you’ve decided to adopt the “it takes a village” philosophy by asking your aging parents to move in. Before you assume this is the most financially sound option, keep in mind the level of care your parents require and if they could receive stipends or benefits to help pay for a nursing home facility.  Your parent’s health might not be a factor now, but in a few years one or both could require a live-in nurse, and these professionals charge at least $20/hour. Aside from this, you must take in the emotional and logistical aspects of asking your children to share their home with their grandparents. Once again, it’s important to sit down with your parents and discuss their wishes, and speak to an attorney or Medicaid representative to learn about any assistance available to help cover the cost of in-home help or nursing home facilities.

Understand There Is Help Available

The Medicare and Medicaid landscape is forever evolving, and don’t assume that just because your parents are eligible for Medicare means they’re nursing home bills are paid for. In many cases, a parent must spend down the majority of their assets to become eligible for Medicaid, which then helps pay for the cost of private nurses or residential facilities. If you cannot completely count on Medicare or your parent’s savings, don’t hesitate to research community or state assistance programs designed to help individuals 65 and over. A great place to learn about the various income or age-based programs available is your county’s department of aging. For instance, your parents could be eligible to receive low-cost meals, help with their energy bills or a stipend to help cover the cost of prescriptions or other necessary medical equipment. There is plenty of help out there; you just have to convince your self-sufficient parents to look into it.

Learn About Long-Term Care Insurance

As a caregiver, it’s important to understand your limitations, and to realize there will come a day when you cannot physically, or financially, care for your parents. Instead of depleting you or your parent’s savings and investments, talk to them about speaking to reputable long term care insurance companies.  These policies pay for extended care in the unfortunate event your parents are no longer able to care for themselves. Several plans are affordable, and provide your parents with security, stability and most importantly, peace of mind going into the future.

The financial, physical and emotional stress of caring for a parent during any economic climate is too much for many to cope with. If you’re faced with supporting or assisting an aging parent, don’t hesitate to seek help for yourself as well. 

Betty Johnson is a licensed social worker and guest blogger. She’s currently revamping her county’s department on disability and aging in hopes of making more assistance readily available to her community’s senior members.

Benefits of Re-mortgaging Your Home

Your mortgage is more than likely to be the biggest single expense in your household budget and one that has to be paid for anywhere up to 25 years, sometimes more.

Why remortgage?

With the pressure on household finances continuing it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the best possible deal on your mortgage. You could benefit from shaving significant amounts off your monthly payments by remortgaging.

The first thing you need to do is to review your current product. Check the rate and the term of any deal you are on. You also need to make sure there are no exit penalties that can be applied by the lender if you try to break out of the mortgage earlier than the terms allow.

Even if there are exit penalties to pay, it may be still be cheaper to move but you will need to calculate this very carefully to avoid being stung by high charges. You also need to check the fee on any new mortgage as some can be very hefty.

With interest rates historically low, mortgage rates are also very competitive so it’s potentially a good time to switch. However the best deals are reserved for people who have plenty of equity in their home and so present a lower risk to lenders.

Other benefits of remortgaging

Some people will want to remortgage so they can raise money. This can be more cost effective than borrowing any other way, for example using a loan or on a credit card, but you must make sure you can keep up the payments.

If you get a new, lower rate it may be possible to borrow extra money and still pay not pay much more than you do at the moment, but remember that your home could be at risk if you cannot keep up the mortgage payments.

Remortgaging may also allow you to extend the term of your mortgage for longer which has the advantage of making monthly payments cheaper, but will cost you more in the long run.

If you do get into financial difficulties then IVAs managed by Churchwood are a good way to manage your debt. An IVA allows you to pay off your debts with an affordable monthly payment. In addition an IVA comes with a guarantee that remaining unsecured debts will be written off after an agreed time   normally 60 months.

What kind of mortgage should I get?

Anyone remortgaging will need to compare all the available mortgage products from different lenders. You will also need to decide if you want to lock into a fixed rate deal and for how long. Another option is to consider a discounted or tracker product, where you would benefit if the Bank of England Base Rate dropped even further, but pay more if it started to rise.

With some experts predicting that rates will stay low for many years to come, a lifetime tracker may be a good deal in the longer term.

Whatever the reason for a possible mortgage switch, it’s a fast moving market with new mortgages coming into play all the time and others being removed quickly, so you will need to act fast if you see a competitive product that’s right for you.

Living Longer than Expected and the Presidential Election

It can be a good quandary. Someone buys life insurance in case something unforeseen happens, or the inevitable and their heirs are left with a valuable asset. In today’s trying economic times, and as people live longer than previously expected, a life settlement may become the best choice for someone to live an independent lifestyle in their golden years.

Life or sometimes known as viatical settlement  is one where someone sells their life insurance policy to a Life Settlements provider for an amount in-between the cash surrender value and the overall death benefit for an amount to be used as the individual sees fit. The Life Settlements Provider then pays the monthly fees for the insurance policy and collects from the policy when the time is due.

The past decade has not been kind to many who were counting on high interest rates from savings, or counting on equities in such instruments as an IRA or 401K. Many projections have left the elderly with far less finances at present than they believed they would be able to appreciate when they first started saving.

The upcoming election and its effect on health care is of significant interest to seniors, as many are faced or will be faced with daunting debt from medical bills. They have a choice between Barak Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or Mitt Romney’s desire to repeal and replace the law.
Under the Affordable Care Act, more citizens of the United States will have some form of insurance than under Romney’s plan. The Affordable Care Act covers more of those in the lower income brackets. The Affordable Care Act is projected to give a tax credit of $3900-$4500 to an estimated 20 million eligible by 2016. Under Romney’s plan, 10 million will be eligible for a tax deduction of $1900-$2600.
Of significant interest to the elderly is the Affordable Care Act’s ban on restrictions of lifetime or annual benefits. The older one gets, the closer they may be towards exhausting their lifetime allotment. This ban does not exist under Romney’s plan.
Obama’s plan for payment involves greater focus on preventative care and pay-for-performance incentives. Romney’s plan will shift more of the burden of health care to the states. He also wishes to put a cap on non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits.
The next President will have a great influence on savings for the elderly in regards to their health care, as well as influencing the overall economy to improve or decline.

Tips On Getting The Right Insurance for Your Business

Did you hear the one about the business owner whose premises went up in flames? Dang, he thought. Never mind. The business is insured. She’ll be right.

He was insured- that much was true. He was not, unfortunately, insured against fire.

His business? Paper products.

Having insurance is one thing, having the right kind of insurance another entirely. In order to choose the insurance that best suits your business, and will ensure you aren’t left in the cold after a catastrophe, you need to take a close look at the kinds of incidents your business is most vulnerable to. The chap peddling paper products should have made Property Cover his number one priority.  Property cover insures against damage to buildings, contents, and stock caused by fire.

Hmm, you think. I run a web design business. My office is in city skyscraper. I’ve never heard of anyone in my building losing their merchandise or equipment due to property damage. In that case, you can perhaps give Property Cover a wide berth without losing too much sleep at night. The most relevant insurance coverage for your business is Computers and Electronic Coverage, which will ensure that you’re covered in the event of theft, accidental breakdown, fire, and interruptions to business.

Some businesses, for a variety of reasons, are more vulnerable to employee theft or dishonesty than others. Perhaps you have a large turnover of staff. Maybe your employees work without supervision around sensitive company information or cash registers. Maybe they even have access to bank account details. If this a potential source of concern for your business, you might consider  Employee Dishonesty coverage which Mckenzie Ross offer. This insures you against employee theft and fraud.

Taking a bit of time to work out what you need from your business insurance is a simple way to safeguard against the kinds of scenarios that have the potential to railroad your business. To learn more, visit www.mckenzieross.com.au.

Adjusting Your Budget for the End of the Year

With back-to-school season fast approaching and winter holidays just a few months away, it’s a perfect time to reevaluate your budget for the end of the year. The last half of the year can be expensive with increased costs for kids, tons of gifts to buy for the holidays and lots of family visits for big meals. All of these things lead to increased monthly expenses that can put you in a bind if you don’t plan ahead.

To get your finances ready for the end of the year, start by looking at what expenses you have coming up specifically. The following list provides some questions you can ask to help get you started:

  • What, if any, are your back-to-school expenses?
  • Do you have family coming in for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays?
  • Do you plan on taking any trips at the end of the year?
  • Who are you buying gifts for and what do you want to get each person?
  • Will your salary be increased or decreased by seasonal employment cycles?

All of these factors can have a big impact on your budget and your bottom line, so it’s important to plan ahead to make sure you don’t end up struggling to make everything work. It’s important to be a specific as you can in estimating expenses, as well as any salary adjustments you may have in the last half of the year.

Once you know how much available cash flow you will need to cover the any costs, you can start adjusting your budget now to ensure the money will be available when you need it. This will help you avoid buying too much on credit at the end of the year and ending up in a bind when it comes to your finances. To free up additional cash flow, look to cutting or reducing any discretionary expenses from your budget, which are things you spend money on regularly but don’t necessarily need. You can commit to cooking more fresh meals at home or taking your lunch to work to reduce your dining costs, or reducing your entertainment budget.

If you evaluate the upcoming costs and you see there is going to be a problem with your budget at the end of the year, don’t wait for it to become a problem before you find a solution. Many consumers’ budget problems are caused right now by holding too much debt for their budget to handle. Developing a strategy to reduce debt quickly or consolidating debt will reduce your monthly debt payments so you have more cash flow available for the coming months.

Assess your budget to see if you can implement a debt reduction strategy to reduce debt on your own. If you won’t be able to reduce the debt fast enough, contact a nonprofit credit counseling agency to discuss your options for debt consolidation with a certified credit counselor. You may be able to reduce your debt payments by as much as 50 percent.

The Most Importan but Often Ignored Insurance Product: Food Insurance

We protect our health, our vehicles, our boats, our motorcycles, our homes, and even our jewelry with insurance in the event of a health issue, accident, or theft. When we think of insurance, we often think about these items – our valued material possessions, and our health, because of the high cost of health care. Even with all this insurance available, there is one that we often ignore, or maybe doesn’t even cross our minds, and that is emergency food storage as insurance.

Who would think that we have to insure the food? We may even take it for granted that food will always be available. We may know that an unexpected disaster, whether natural or man-caused, but make the mistake of “assuming” that water and food will be made available by someone. Well, in an emergency situation, the only one you can depend on is yourself. So, the way you insure that your belongings are safe, you should invest in food insurance in order for you and your family’s survival.


Food Insurance Offers Security

Basically, food insurance protects you in the event of a disaster. In a disaster, there is no guarantee that you will be able to find food or safe drinking water. Think of all the other people that will be doing the same. It may become almost impossible to find adequate food that is not intoxicated for you and your family.

Having emergency food storage as insurance, you can guarantee that your chances of survival during a disaster will increase. Remember, we can live without shelter, but we can’t live without water and food for very long. By investing early in food storage, you will be investing in your future.

Food Insurance Offers Peace of Mind

It can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive to build a supply of food and water. When looking into practicing food insurance for your survival, it will give you and your family peace of mind. You will know that when and if a disaster strikes, you will be able to survive. The material things can always be replaced. A house can be rebuilt. A car can be fixed or replaced. Jewelry can be replaced. One thing that can’t be replaced is your life.

Food Insurance Made Easy

There are many companies that offer easy plans for you to receive freeze-dried and pre-packaged food and water for survival. This is a convenient and wise investment – investing in yourself with food insurance. Emergency food storage as insurance is the protection you need more than anything.

You can start slow and build your food storage, either with survival food companies, or cooking and storing your own food. It doesn’t matter your plan, if you do a little each week, or every other week, you will soon have abundance in food and water storage with just a little effort. This little effort could save your life and your family’s life.