We Drive, They Spy

Sonja Haggert  |  Jun 25, 2024

YOUR CAR IS TALKING to your insurance company. You aren’t part of the conversation. Suddenly, though, your insurance premium shoots up 50%. Welcome to the brave new world where your car is spying on you.
In one instance, a Florida resident drove his Cadillac around a racetrack during a special event. His insurance subsequently skyrocketed—by $5,000 a year.
Has artificial intelligence taken over? No, but automobile companies have, and without our knowing it. Carmakers are spying on drivers and passengers,

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My Father’s Daughter

Dana Ferris  |  Jan 30, 2024

MY LATE FATHER SPENT his entire career, from the time he dropped out of college to marry my mother until the day he died at age 61, in the insurance business. My father was also a huge fan of the San Francisco 49ers, our hometown NFL team.
Last year, the 49ers cruised through the playoffs, led by the team’s dynamic young quarterback, Brock Purdy. But then, in the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles,

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Où Est l’Hôpital?

Kathy Wilhelm  |  Oct 5, 2023

I’D JUST ARRIVED IN the charming, car-free village of Murren in the Swiss Alps, and was trying to find my B&B on the helpful signpost near the station. Stepping back for a better view, I tripped over the curb, with my backpack pulling me further off-balance. I went down with my left wrist under my hip.

Two wonderful British couples rushed to my assistance. One pair took my backpack to my B&B and the other escorted me back down the mountain to a doctor’s office.

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Seeing the Benefit

Ron Wayne  |  Jul 28, 2023

SOMETIMES, I’M embarrassed to live in Florida.
Late-night talk show hosts have plenty of fodder for their jokes given the behavior of residents, visitors and our politicians. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone who fits the stereotype of “Florida Man,” but such folks clearly exist, or so these memes suggest.
We also endure hurricanes, scorching summers, soaring homeowner’s insurance rates and all kinds of odd creatures, from the native alligator to invasive species such as the green iguana and the giant African snail.

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Vet These Policies

Sonja Haggert  |  Mar 9, 2023

YOU LOVE THEM LIKE family. You want them to have the best care possible. You have insurance for yourself, your family, your home, your car and your upcoming vacation. Why not for your pet?
One of our friends recently opted for pet insurance—after multiple trips to the vet, with more than 20 medications prescribed. Intrigued by the idea of pet insurance? Here are eight choices and what they offer:

Pets Best covers everything, including medications,

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Six Tips on Term Life

James McGlynn  |  Oct 26, 2022

I RECENTLY LISTENED to a podcast during which the speakers lamented the death of a colleague who was in his 30s. They mentioned a GoFundMe campaign to assist his family, so I assume the deceased had no life insurance. According to LIMRA, which collects data on the life insurance industry, less than 50% of millennials have individual life insurance.
There are two major types of life insurance: term and whole life. Term insurance is intended to cover a specific period,

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MOO for Me

Andrew Forsythe  |  Jun 22, 2022

I’VE WRITTEN BEFORE about stumbling on an unexpected way to save on auto insurance. My education continues: I’ve also learned of a way to save on Medigap coverage.
When I became eligible five years ago for Medicare, I bought Medigap Plan G supplemental coverage from Mutual of Omaha (MOO). Last summer, as my wife was about to become eligible for Medicare, we took another look at Medigap coverage. I was generally happy with MOO’s claims procedures and customer service,

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Insuring Infirmity

Matt C. White  |  Jun 20, 2022

LONG-TERM-CARE insurance and disability insurance can both be part of a comprehensive financial plan. But is it a good idea to have both coverages at the same time, or could one substitute for the other? After all, both policies are designed to help those who are, in some way, infirm.
To answer this question, let’s start with another one: What’s the purpose of insurance? The best use of any type of insurance is to guard against financial disaster.

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Details, Details

Sonja Haggert  |  May 11, 2022

DO YOU SKIM OVER the fine print? Two recent incidents involving insurance coverage made me rethink my tendency to do just that. One incident alerted me to a major problem. The other saved me money.
Let’s start with the problem. It was time to renew our homeowner’s insurance. In looking over the policy, something didn’t look right. In the section for dwelling, which is defined in our policy as alterations and other improvements, we had $5,000 worth of coverage.

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Leaky Insurance

Ron Wayne  |  Apr 5, 2022

I JUST LEARNED a hard lesson about insurance companies: They have the upper hand.
Water leaked into my ground-floor condo’s bathroom and laundry room from a unit two floors above. The unit owner offered to report the damage to his insurance company, but I decided I should call mine for advice. A rep told me that I could file claims with my insurer and it would then seek compensation from the other unit’s insurance through subrogation,

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Hitting Record

Sonja Haggert  |  Jan 30, 2022

OVER THE PAST TWO years, we’ve seen everything from tornadoes to devastating fires to hurricanes, often at unusual times and in unexpected places. That got my husband and me thinking about how to prepare for what may come our way—and how we could document what we might lose.
We decided to make a home movie. Our new phones are perfect for taking videos. What better proof of what we have? You’ve probably seen the suggestion that you do this,

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Answers About Life

Matt Trogdon  |  Jan 27, 2022

I REALIZE MOST FOLKS don’t find personal finance as enthralling as I do, so I apologize in advance—this article’s topic is the least thrilling of all. It’s time to talk about life insurance.
I’ve been trying to come up with a good analogy for life insurance. The best I can think of: Life insurance is like the airbags in your car. No one ever gets excited about airbags. No one ever shows off the airbags in their new car.

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Protecting Poppy

Kyle McIntosh  |  Sep 9, 2021

OUR DOG LIKES SOCKS. A few months after Poppy joined our family, she consumed her first sock. Since then, she’s eaten two more. After the first sock was removed, our veterinarian offered some valuable advice: Get pet insurance because Poppy is likely to do this again. Within a few days, we purchased a policy from Healthy Paws for $38 a month. The policy has proven valuable: We’ve had four other unplanned trips to the vet over the past 21 months.

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Life Sentence

Sanjib Saha  |  Aug 28, 2021

WOULD YOU ADVISE someone—who doesn’t drive, doesn’t need a car and doesn’t plan to get one in the foreseeable future—to buy car insurance? I wouldn’t. But it seems some financial advisors think otherwise. That, at least, is the impression I got when an acquaintance, whom I’ll call Laura, mentioned her variable universal life insurance policy to me.
A single woman in her mid-40s, Laura has a decent income and lives on her own. She has no one other than herself to support financially.

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How to Choose

Adam M. Grossman  |  Jul 11, 2021

A FEW WEEKS BACK, I discussed some of the challenges with traditional long-term-care (LTC) insurance: In addition to steep and rising premiums, these policies are complex. Many policyholders have to contend with an annual renewal letter that presents a mind-numbing matrix of options.
But there’s more to it than that. Long-term care is also an emotional topic. There’s the expression that personal finance is more personal than it is finance. I’ve been reminded of that over the past few weeks,

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