Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 14, 1998 · Page 44
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 44

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 14, 1998
Page 44
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PERSONAL _ B Finance Take advantage of new cut-rate car insurance G ood news: Auto insurance rates are headed down. Partly a result of the aging population (as you age, you have fewer traffic accidents), the drop in rates is also credited to safer cars, low inflation and the fact that some anti-fraud precautions the industry put in place a few years ago worked as they were meant to, says Sean Mooney, economist for the Insurance Information Institute. By JEAN SHERMAN CHATZKY State Farm, the nation's largest insurer, is lowering rates in 31 states, and Hartford Insurance cut rates 30 percent in California. But not every insurer is ready to pass its savings along to you. "A lot of companies are nervous," Mooney says. "They're afraid they'll never get their rates up again." If your insurer doesn't throw you a bone, it's time to start shopping for a better deal. Start by asking your current insurer to cut your rate. If it won't comply, pick up the phone: You're likely to get the best deals from the 800-number companies, such as Geico and American Express. V Here's how to deal with irregularity tastefully. Add a spoonful of MetamuciP to your favorite juice. It contains 100% natural fiber. Ifs doctor recommended. And mixes so smooth only your body will know It's there. Try it. it's a great tasting way to restore regularity and to help bring back your natural vitality naturally. C >W7 IVoctvriiKl (iamhk WAX 97:17 Use Olllv OS directed. The doctors natural choice for regularity. \v\ 5 ROUTES TO LOWER CAR INSURANCE RATES Jayna Neagle of the Insurance • Raise your deductible. Boosting it from $250 to $500 can save you 15-30%. • Get a car alarm; save 5-10%. • Take a driver Improvement course for a discount up to 5%. • Get a car with anti-lock Information Institute suggests: brakes and air bags; save 5%. • Seek out special rates. Some insurers give discounts to drivers over 50 or those with low annual mileage; ' others gtve'students with 1 '• ; 'good grades a 5% discount Long-term care coverage: Who needs it, and how to find it • s the U.S. population starts to swell with seniors, many A people are asking whether they should buy long-term care insurance, either for themselves or for aging parents. Many younger people buy this coverage for their parents to protect their own inheritance, or to protect themselves in case they must eventually support their parents. More than 120 insurers offer long-term care policies, with annual premiums from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Your best bet is to get quotes from at least three companies. Note: Long-term care makes the most sense for people with a net worth of $100,000 to $1.5 million. Those with less will exhaust their assets and qualify for Medicaid; those with more can fund their own care. Shop for a policy with a three-year term, says Robert Davis, president of Long-Term Care Quote, an independent agency in Chandler, Ariz. Two reasons: Most people who More younger people are buying long-term care coverage for their parents. turn out to need long-term care need it for 2'/2 years. And going this route gives you the option—which many choose— to transfer assets to qualify for Medicaid. Look for a daily benefit at least as large as the average daily nursing-home cost in your area and an elimination period (the time before payment kicks in) of 90 days. Most people can afford to pay for their own care for three months. And the price difference between a policy that kicks in on Day 90 and one that kicks in on Day One can be 30 percent. Finally, look for insurers rated A or better by Moody's and Standard & Poors. If you want to get three quotes with just one call, Long- Term Care Quote (1-800-587-3279) will provide them gratis. The company will ask you for basic information on your age, health and location, then shop 15 top-rated carriers on your behalf. You'll get details on three policies, including whether the insurers have ever raised premiums. Not every top insurer is on Long-Term Care Quote's radar; several major players, including New York Life and Teacher's insurance, don't let independent agents sell their policies. Still, it's a good start, ca Contributing Editor jean Sherman Chatzky, a Money magazine editor, wrote The Rich ana Famous Money Book. She is seen on NBC's Totfsy show and MSNBC. SO USA WEEKEND • June 12-14, 199B

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