Many times, certain things happen unexpectedly wrong. The place where we live burns so rapidly all in one go, there comes an earthquake, our car strikes into something, or we get bit out of sorts, there comes a possibility that we have to suffer such loses for which we have to pay heavily that even we can’t afford. Due to efforts of some people in the past years, we are now able to overcome those storms without being involved in any risk factor. We can help each other by spreading the risk among us as a group, and that’s what insurance does.
Let us first know what is insurance and how does it work?
What is insurance?
Insurance is a promise by the insurance companies that they would compensate for specific losses occurred by ill-fate i.e. any natural disaster, illness, death, fire etc.
If we buy an insurance policy it will reduce the rate of risk factor by being transferred from us to the company. In actual, the there is no complexity in Insurance. It’s a simple way to proceed. We have to pay a particular amount to as insurance company that is known as Premium. In case, if certain tragedy happens, that can be enveloped by policy words, either lost or damaged items can be repaired or replaced by our insurer or they pays wholesome amount of it.
Kind of insurance you need…
Everyone knows many kinds of insurance exist such as life, health, car, home etc but you do not need every kind of insurance. The exact type of insurance you need can be decided by your circumstances and your outlook. Before buying any insurance, you must mention following four questions directly;
- Explain the risk I would be insuring averse to?
It could be a sudden death factor, burning at home or car being stolen or being severely sick and under treatment.
- Mention the number of chances for it being occurred
There exist a small probability of fire at home but if it happens, you have to pay heavily for it. The risks of car being stolen are high but it won’t cost you as high as losing your home.
- What will happen if it occurs?
What happens if you die or your home gets fire or your car gets stolen? Will you be able to bear the expenses?
May be you have enough balance saved to overcome the cost or maybe you surely want to use your balance for this.
Purchasing insurance from the providers of insurance will help you to buy around and compare quotes and cover. Maximum tasks for this are being done online. There are many different types of insurance covers and insurance policies. The insurance brokers and companies are always available for you help. They will explain how the policies work; they can find you one suited to your circumstances and even help in claiming. All these insurance companies, insurance brokers and financial advisors have to follow the protocol and get registered on the official government website Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR).
Here are the few tips that you must keep in mind when buying a policy.
- Read the policy carefully.
- Always choose the right excess.
- Have an emergency fund.
- Be honest and tell the truth.
- Shop around
- Don’t double up.
- Combine insurance.
- Look for a credible.
- Take precautions.
Right cover is the key
All the insurance policies are not same. They have different rules and regulations. It’s better to compare policies as the decision will become easier for you. Go for the right cover as two policies can have same price. For example, a trauma policy will only cover certain named diseases, not all illnesses or injuries. There are few cheaper house policies which cover specific events such as fire, theft etc. but not all risks.
Also, some policies will pay for the damaged or stolen items. Others may only pay ‘present value’. If you want to know all the details, go to Insurance Council website. All insurance policies have different conditions and exclusions. These exclusions are for unfavorable events that take place without your control.
The crux of this discussion is that read the policy carefully. Know the terms and conditions in detail. Clear your mind; otherwise you may be paying money for policy that will not help you when you need it the most.
In a perfect world, you would call an insurer and get fixed what is broken. But the world we live in is not perfect. Here, the process of claim is a little more complicated than that. There should not be any misunderstanding about the claim. Your claim will vary according to the type of insurance you need (home, life, health etc.).
The procedure for every insurance claim is quite same with a slight difference. Claims for home owners and car insurance require same basic steps.
Make the right phone call. No matter what kind of claim you are filling, get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible. The faster you get the ball rolling, the sooner you will receive the outcome.
Fill out the required forms. After you have contacted your insurer, they will send you few forms to fill. Many insurance companies give facility to fill online forms which makes process much smoother and quicker.
Get your damages assessed. Most insurance companies will ask you to get damages priced by an approved party to make sure that they are paying you a right amount.
Cover your deductible. You have to cover your deductible in full before insurance company will fork over its share of the total cost.
Make sure that you contact your insurer soon after the damage happens. The settler may choose to settle the claim by paying a sum of money. They may or may not repair or replace the items that have been damaged. In most policies, there is a value you have to pay as the first step of the claim. Be honest as insurance companies are wary of fraud and they will investigate if they have a slightest doubt of betrayal.
The amount of time it takes to settle a claim depends on different factors. It also depends on the severity and complexity of damage, how you quickly contact the insurer, how soon an adjuster is available, whether the company is handling multiple claims at once such as in case of natural disaster and so on. Considering all these factors, it is hard to tell the average time for claim settlement. The best thing you could do to settle claim in a timely fashion is to file as soon as possible and stay in constant contact with your insurer.
Identity theft is an opportunistic crime and it’s increasing day by day. U.S. residents lost $16.8 billion to fraudsters in 2017 and number of victims kept increasing since that. Infact, the percentage of victims increased to 8% during last year. Identity thieves take advantage of specific circumstances when your personal data is more exposed online than it should be. A fraudster can easily access your information through tools like phishing scams and the dark web. You are at great identity theft risk when your data is public and easily accessible.
People tend to speak about it as a single crime but it is very complicated. The fraudsters have a strategy to follow. They have different motivating factors as well as different types of information that they pursue to steal your identity and disrupt your life. There are different types of identity theft as for example, tax identity theft which is most likely to happen during tax season. Having proper knowledge about different kinds of identity thefts, knowing when identity theft is most likely to occur and deep insight into the problem could be helpful in building plans to protect your identity.
It’s easy to become victim in the era of advanced technology. Here are few normal habits that put you on high risk of identity theft and it’s time to break them.
- Using simple password for multiple accounts
Mostly people don’t remember multiple passwords for different accounts. So they just choose easy and simple password for every social media account. This is the common mistake by every second person. Security experts agree that weak and simple passwords are one of the most common mistakes that put consumers at inevitable risk of identity theft. A recent study shows that mostly people tend to use simple phrases of their personal information as their password and for multiple logins. It means if your one account gets hacked, it’s possible that your every other account is at risk too.
If you want to protect your accounts from fraudsters, do not use simple and same password for every account. Instead, use different passwords for different accounts and use a password generator to create different passwords (include numbers and signs with your name) for each account. If you are afraid that you might forget the password, write it down in a copy or save it in your phone. Also, change your passwords often and keep track of your logins with a password manager app. Password recovery criterion is also not reliable in the 21st century. To avoid the threats, make sure your accounts are secured.
Not checking bank details regularly
If you do not have a habit of checking your account balances, you could miss noticing any fraudulent activity on your account. Keep record of your account statements and your credit reports frequently as there is a chance you might fall victim of identity theft.
Credit card fraud is happening every day it’s better to check your credit reports after every 3 months to keep record of your activities. Find your copy from every credit bureau and check regularly.
- Over sharing on social media
You are at risk when you over share every single detail on social media and make it public. Scammers take advantage of your weak privacy settings to blackmail you. Every public photo, post or any information can get you in a big trouble.
It’s better to tighten your privacy settings on social media and do not post too much. Keep your sharing limited and make private accounts. Check account and privacy settings regularly and update the app often.
- Sending sensitive information via unsecure means
If you are sending sensitive information through email or other messaging services, you are exposing yourself to threat. Including account numbers, attaching important documents or simply common information that you would never share publicly will be a big gate to identity theft risks.
Moreover, when you delete your messages from inbox or sent folder or delete mails, that data is still accessible to scammers who can still hack into your accounts or servers. So avoid sending account number and sensitive information via unreliable sources.
- Rarely updating device software
Updates that you get regularly on your phone are really not there to create any disturbance. Instead, they are for your own safety. If you do not update often, it can leave your data open to scammers and unwanted viruses. If your devices have an automatic update setting, enable it. And if you get a notification of new software version available, immediately address it.
When you get an update about the system or any app on your phone, do not ignore it. Read it carefully and decide whether your system needs it or not. You can ignore these requests too but keep these updates in record and install them when you know there is a need.
Identity theft protection services
If you have been a victim of identity theft, there is no need to be worried. There are many identity theft protection services that can offer you help in every matter. These services can help you keep tabs on where your information is and who has access to it. Also, these protection services can scan the internet black market and public records and alert you as soon as possible if any of your information is spotted. They can also monitor your credit reports and tell if there is any change made in your account or report. Many identity theft protection services provide new users with free trials. It means you can test the service before making a financial commitment.
Many people do not trust easily and try to do it in their own way. But identity theft is a serious problem and it needs to be dealt intelligently. If you are sure you can easily handle this, do it. If you do not know what to do, seek help. Ask right away the identity theft protection services. They will guide you properly and will tell you all the directions that you need to secure your identity. Do not hesitate to seek help as it can save you from many unknown dangers.
You can also opt to protect your identity on your own if you are not willing to use any of the services. Unfortunately, identity thieves are getting smarter which means consumers have to be more vigilant when it comes to protecting their personal information and financial well-being. Although you can’t protect identity theft but you can take precautions beforehand. The process is challenging and requires due diligence but it is not impossible.
Identity theft is a growing problem that consumers can no longer afford to ignore.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2003, consumers in the U.S. alone lost $5 billion to identity theft while the problem cost businesses a whopping $48 billion. On average, people who experienced identity theft that year had to spend $1,495 and 607 hours to resolve their cases.
The federal government is taking decisive steps, including enactment of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, which requires retailers to properly dispose of and destroy sensitive consumer data.
While this is a positive step, what if there were a way in which consumers and merchants could help prevent identity theft from happening in the first place?
Technology: A Helpful Deterrent to Identity Theft
Research by the FTC indicates that identity thefts are increasingly fueled by customer information found in the trash.
One simple way for independent merchants to rectify the trash issue is to automate their point of sale with software technology such as that from Microsoft Corp.
Retailers that choose technology wisely can offer their customers some peace of mind by helping to prevent highly confidential and potentially damaging information from getting into the wrong hands.
By using software technology, account numbers associated with credit and debit cards never need to be committed to paper. Instead, the computer system manages the transaction, masking the data associated with the transaction so full credit card information is more secure.
By automating the point of sale, retailers are also able to help control which employees have access to customer information, and customer data can be deleted once a specified period has passed.
While the benefit for customers is clear, there are also considerable advantages for the retailer. As the experience of many independent merchants proves, automating at the point of sale also helps improve other areas of customer service and saves time and money–all of which, of course, is good for business.
Point-of-sale software technology is certainly not the only solution to the growing problem of identity theft, but it can help small merchants offer greater peace of mind to their customers.