Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Things You Pretend To Understand About Investment But Really Don’t

Most market players make investments based on their own experiences and understanding. In a lot of ways, investing is a lot like gambling. And like gambling, investing also has fundamental rules. No one may be able to predict how a market or a particular investment will perform on a given day but you will have a higher chance of success if you know the basics rules of investment.
These five are just some of the concepts that you might believe you already understand but do not:


Every investor understands that all forms of investment comes with associated risk. For instance, in the stock market, a lot of people tend to believe they are safe from risk as long as stock prices don’t go up. On the contrary, stock prices are not the only thing determining factor for the value of their investment. Stocks can in fact lose value due to other reasons, such as political and economic factors. If you invest in a foreign currency, changes in the foreign exchange rate may also affect how your stocks are doing.


Stock market investors may believe that buying stocks across different industries diversifies their portfolio. This is not true. The investment portfolio is in fact, not truly diversified because all investments are placed in just one vehicle—stocks. A truly diversified portfolio includes not just stocks but also other types such as bonds, savings, ETFs, mutual funds, and real estate. Diversification may also mean making investments in other countries.


Do not make the mistake of thinking that inflation rates only affect consumer prices. Inflation can also have an impact on your investments. For example, if one of your investments gets a 5% return, but the current inflation rate in your country is 7%, then there wouldn’t be much cause for celebration because this only means that the value of your investment has fallen despite having recorded a little growth. Investments must beat the inflation rate to be considered profitable.


Wikipedia defines volatility as “a measure of variation of price of a financial instrument.” You may see volatility as something negative in investments like in stocks, and it can be—if your risk appetite is low. However, volatility is not always a bad thing. You can take advantage of a volatile market to buy into a stock when prices get low. Keep in mind though, that if you choose to invest in a highly volatile stock, you need to constantly monitor this investment and be a more active trader.


Savings can actually be crucial part of your overall investment strategy. While it’s tempting to put all of your money on a lucrative investment, a good investor must still know how to save. In fact, before you focus on serious investments, it is wise to open a savings account and just let your money earn interest. Interest on your account may not earn a lot but at least your money is not exposed to risk. It also helps that the funds in a savings account remain liquid so you can access it if a good investment opportunity comes up.

Investing is not for everybody. It takes a certain aptitude for business and economics for someone to perform well and succeed. Even experienced investors are still prone to losses and failures, because of the volatile nature of most investments. But as long as you understand the fundamentals of investing—and exercise persistence and tenacity—it won’t be long before you can start getting the hang of it.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Friday, November 29, 2013

How Insurance Calculator Help Consumers Learn the Real Cost of Insurance Plans

People don’t think about life insurance much and many think that they don’t need one. It’s understandable why many believe this since people are hard-wired to avoid thinking about their own death. It’s a macabre subject and many believe that getting life insurance is a pricey proposition.
But then again, life happens. Or more aptly, death happens. We’re all headed that way and some go sooner than others. If you have a family that depends on you, your untimely demise can be catastrophic for your family both emotionally and financially. There’s the medical and funeral expenses that need to be paid, your household’s monthly bills will continue to arrive, and there’s also the question of other future expenses like college tuition fees for the kids, and retirement income.
To help take care of the financial needs of your dependents upon your demise, you should consider getting life insurance. Life insurance is a binding agreement between you (the insured) and the insurer. Under this contract, the insurer promises to pay your designated beneficiary an agreed-upon sum in the event of your demise. Some life insurance policies start to give out benefits when the insured becomes terminally or critically ill.
The benefits that your designated beneficiary will receive from your life insurance will help them continue to live comfortably after your death. The benefits can also go towards paying potential federal estate taxes.
So, are you ready to start looking for life insurance? There are sites that let you compare many of the life insurance products from many insurance companies. These sites may also have an insurance calculator to handily help you determine the amount of life insurance coverage that you need.

Life Insurance Calculators

If you talk to an insurance salesman, they will ask you several questions about your financial situation and future financial needs to determine your life insurance coverage. Life insurance calculators work the same way. You answer a few questions that will help the system compute for the amount of life insurance coverage that fits your unique situation.
Some of the questions that the insurance calculator will likely ask you include the amount of debt that your family needs to pay, the medical and funeral expenses that your family may incur when you die, the amount of income that you put in, and how much of that needs to be replaced.
An insurance calculator will also take into account the living expenses of your survivors, how many children you have, and how many of them plan to go to college. Details about your savings and retirement accounts will also be asked so these can be factored into the computation.
All of that information will help the calculator come up with the amount of life insurance coverage that you need. The next step for you is to find an insurer that offers a life insurance product that can provide such coverage.
The sites that offer life insurance calculators can also provide you with useful information on which insurance provider gives the best rates for that amount of coverage so you will know the cost of the premium you need to pay for.

Gilbert Bermudez writes for Compare Hero, Malaysia’s leading credit card comparison website. Loves fishing, swimming and a hobbyist.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Financing Your Car without Breaking Your Finances

Whether it is a new or used car you are looking for, the issue of paying for it can always end up breaking your bank. The money may not even be fully coming from your bank at the time of purchase, but you usually end up feeling it later on. There really isn't any great way of paying for a car, but the best possible option is always with cash, fully up front and that’s that. Unfortunately the chances of being able to obtain the amount of cash you likely will need is slim, in fact most people don’t ever pay for a car in full straight from their pocket.
So with your other options left, is there really a way to finance that car without completely destroying your finances, here and now, or even later down the line?

Your Options for Financing

There are quite a few ways you can get loans, or extend your payment time, or set up a payment plan to pay off the car. The main ones are:
  • Dealership: The dealership is always happy to offer this option to anyone.
  • Your Bank: So long as you have the Collateral, or good enough Credit.
  • Financial Institution or Credit Union: There is bound to be one that will help anyone.
  • Home Equity: If you own a home, but you are also linking your home and car.
  • Acquaintance: For those with moneybag friends or family whom are willing to help.
Each one of these options will have their good qualities and their bad ones. Dealerships are right there and ready to help, but they will also pressure you to add on things that you don’t need. With Banks you can’t just on the fly set them up, and usually require a few weeks if not longer. Financial institutions could be a risk if you are handling them online, since there are scams for that. Borrowing through your home, also puts your home at risk, and usually your car with it. Personal loans from a friend could damage a relationship if issues arise.
On the upside, credit unions and dealerships are quick and happy to take care of a lot of the work for you. Banks will provide excess information like informing you if you are paying too much for the car. Home equity gives you some tax deductions, and friends could give you the greatest break in terms of interest.
When it comes down to the options though, if you can pull for it, a personal loan from a friend is likely to be the most worth it and provide the easiest assistance. A bank would fall next and be the safest, but only if you even have that option (poor credit puts you out usually). After that it fluctuates. If you have a home and are willing to tie them together that’s the best option, if you don’t a credit union and dealership are about the same, except the credit union gives you what you need, a dealership will try to up-sell you for more than you need.

The Costs for Financing

The biggest cost you’ll see is from interest rates. This is why borrowing from a friend can be the least costly, thanks to a personal contract being set up and in some cases friends are happy to loan the money and expect the same amount back, which is the best interest rate you’ll get anywhere.

For every other option, your interest rate may not necessarily equal the value you might have seen on a car commercial. Those are averages for a working class middle-aged white man. The interest rate will be largely based on your credit history and score, what type of car you are getting, whether it is new or used, the length of time it takes to pay off the loan, where you are in the world, what your gender is, and a number of other factors such as where you are getting the loan from.

The dealership is likely to be the one to provide you with the most options in terms of your interest rates and how to handle the loan. You’ll find ones like 0% APR, or Rebates to go with it, or maybe even some special deal they happen to have going for that day only, you lucky devil.

All of these have extra conditions you aren't made aware of at first. 0% APR usually requires a high enough credit that could have gotten you a loan from the bank, and that it is always for a car that is already on the lot, and almost always ends up being more in cost in the long run compared to a cash rebate that most dealerships will offer.

When it comes down to it, you have a lot of choices to make, and buying a new or used car is not something to take lightly or on the fly. It’s a big purchase, even if most of it will be a loan for you, and that means you need to pay attention to what it is you are having to pay for. Pay attention to dealerships trying to mark you up for things like car prep, or any tactics that are meant to raise the price on you after you have the car like Spot Delivery.
If you have any troubles, don’t be afraid to find someone (especially a friend) who might know a bit more about finances, and the way loans should work.

Erin Patrick is a car enthusiast and has been associated with the automobile finance industry for nearly 10 years. She enjoys writing on behalf of Stratton and helping consumers and businesses alike find the best car finance available.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Loan Forgiveness for Federal Aid

If you are struggling to pay off your federal student loans, there are several options that can help you either receive a discharge (forgiveness) of your student loans or reduce the monthly payment to reflect your difficult financial situation. These are the Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income Based Repayment Programs.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness is a relatively simple program with some basic rules:
The teacher loan forgiveness program was created in an attempt to lure more people into the teaching profession by offering principal reduction on federal student loans in the amount of $17,500.  Along with the principal reduction, many teachers may also qualify for public service loan forgiveness which will also be discussed in this article.  The combination of these two forgiveness programs has made becoming a teacher very attractive.  There are however some rules to qualify for the principal reduction on your federal student loans:

  • You cannot be in default on a subsidized or unsubsidized loan at the time you apply. 
  • You cannot have an outstanding balance on Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans as of 1 Oct 1998 or on the date you took out one of these loans if it was after 1 Oct 1998.
  • You must have completed five academic years of qualified, consecutive teaching service and at least one of those years must be after the 1997-98 academic year.
  • The loans you are applying for must have been taken out before five academic years of qualified teaching service.
  • The time you received benefits teaching in an AmeriCorps Program does not count toward your five academic years.
  • You must have been employed in an elementary or secondary school that qualifies under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 or was selected by the Department of Education as a school with over 30% of its students that qualify for Title I services.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is and even simpler program with fewer requirements:
Much like the teacher loan forgiveness program, the public service loan forgiveness program was implemented to try and attract educated folks into working for local, state, or the federal government.  If you have federal student loans and work in the public sector, you may qualify for loan forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments.  This means any balance remaining on your federal loans would be forgiveness by the government as soon as ten years after graduation if thats when you being working in the public sector.  Of course, there are some rules to qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program: 
  • You must be working in a Public Service position when you apply for loan forgiveness and when you make each payment. 
  • You must make 120, on-time and in full monthly payments under a qualified repayment plan on your Direct Loans before any remaining amount can be forgiven. 
  • Only payments made after 1 Oct 2007 qualify 
  • Only Income Based, Income Contingent, or a Standard 10 year repayment count as qualifying payments.

Income Based Repayment
If it turns out you do not qualify for either Teacher Loan or Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLV), there is still the option of an Income Based Repayment Plan. The income based repayment program bases your monthly student loan payments on your income rather than your loan amount and interest rates.  Depending on your family size and income, you may qualify for a payment of zero on your federal student loans.  This zero payment is not a deferment or a pause of the loan, that monthly payment would count to your forgiveness. 

Take for example a mother who stays at home with her children and is not currently working, and does not plan to work for the next ten years.  This mother would not be responsible to make a payment for ten years, and when she does reenter the workforce, she would only be responsible for 15 years of payments rather than 25.  Also, interest during the first three years in the income based repayment program is forgiven and not capitalized if your income based payment is less than what you would normally pay in interest per month in a standard repayment.  Here are some main benefits of the income based repayment plan:

  • What You Pay Is Based On What You Earn – Your new monthly payment is based on fifteen percent of your discretionary income (after monthly bills and food) and the size of your family.
  • Forgiveness After Twenty-Five Years – If you meet all of the Income Based Repayment requirements; your remaining loan amount, after 25 years of qualified payments, will be forgiven.
  • Help With Interest – If your new Income Based Repayment amount doesn’t fully cover the monthly interest that accumulates on your loan, the government will pay the unpaid amount for up to three consecutive years. This is on Direct Subsidized Loans and Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans as well as the subsidized portion of FEEL Consolidation Loans. The three year period begins with your first payment under the new Income Based Repayment Plan.

There are some aspects of the income based repayment that some borrowers may not like.  First, your lender will request updated income information and recalculate your payment depending on your most up to date financial situation.  This means your payment will increase if your income increases. Even if there are no changes to your income or household size, this paperwork still has to be submitted to the loan servicer. Failure on your part to do so will result in your monthly payment being returned to the original amount you paid under the Standard Repayment Plan. Also, if you do not provide the necessary paperwork on your income, then the unpaid interest will begin to capitalize.
Smaller Payments Mean More Interest – Since an Income Based Repayment amount is lower than the original Standard Repayment amount, you’ll be making payments over a longer period. This means you may end up pay more interest on your loan. Keep in mind also that the interest you pay for the first three years under an Income Based Repayment Plan is not capitalized. This means that you do not pay a single cent against your loan amount for 36 months; only interest.
Taxes May Apply Even With Forgiveness – If you have not repaid the full student loan after the maximum twenty-five year period, the remaining will be forgiven. However, that ‘leftover’  amount is still considered taxable income and the Internal Revenue Service will require you to pay. 
Getting your loans forgiven or repaid can be difficult. Be careful in your research and choose the best option available to you. Good luck!

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Here's a Quick Way to Compare Debit Cards

If you would like to be more prudent in managing your personal finances, you should definitely consider getting a debit card. Almost any bank today offers this kind of financial instrument to consumers. But before applying, you might want to do a little research to make sure that you get a debit card that not only suits your needs but also offers you maximum benefits. Some features you check out:
Annual/ monthly fees. When shopping around for debit cards, see if subscription requires monthly or annual fees, and how much. There are several debit cards now that will cost you nothing on maintenance fees. If you choose a debit card that requires you to pay membership fees, the rewards offered or benefits you get should at least be as much as the annual/membership fee. Otherwise, you might as well go with cards that waive this fee.
Maximum card value. The maximum amount on your debit card limits the amount you can deposit and charge on your debit account. You have to make sure that the maximum value gives you enough coverage, especially if for instance you plan to frequently use the debit card for traveling or everyday expenses.
Spending and withdrawal limits. Some cards allow you to spend your maximum card value in a day, others limits daily spending to a percentage of your maximum card value. The same thing gos with ATM withdrawals. You can compare debit cards according to the maximum amount you are allowed to withdraw on a daily basis. There are some that do not impose an ATM withdrawal limit and there are also cards that do not offer this feature at all.
Electronic capabilities. Check whether the bank or debit card provider offers online services. A lot of banks now have mobile apps that can be downloaded to smartphones and used to make electronic payments to service providers and product merchants anywhere, anytime. Online facilities bring a lot of convenience especially if you would like to avoid long lines and pay your bills instantly and without any fuss.
Transaction fees. Most debit cards today will not charge you a ringgit more than the amount of your purchase every time you make a transaction. You may, however, have to pay an additional fee if for instance, you opt to withdraw some cash on top of the amount of the product or services provided to you (if feature is allowed by merchant). ATM withdrawals using your debit card may also be subject to transaction fees.
Cash reloading. The reloading feature allows you to replenish funds in your debit card account from a savings account, another debit account, or by making a deposit over the counter. Some debit cards impose a limit on cash reloading features while others have no limit.
In summary, you would want a card that has the lowest/zero annual fees and as much as possible, no limits on cash reloading and withdrawals. Also, choose a card with no transaction fees for ATM withdrawals, especially if you plan to use the credit card on a regular basis. To keep yourself updated follow or subscribe to your favorite finance blog over the internet.
The above article has contributed by Gilbert to the finance corner.
Gilbert Bermudez writes for Compare Hero, associated with leading credit card comparison website. Loves fishing, swimming and a hobbyist. 

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Understanding Savings and Accounting

Only a small percentage of people actually understand their accounts! The global economy maybe showing signs of recovery but the depression is far from over and fears of a pull back on recent growth still linger in the back of the mind. Indeed, another financial crisis might be just around the corner, and before it hits we think it is time to know exactly what you should be doing to protect your business against future events.
What you need to know about basic accountancy
Businesses and consumers should have an understanding of their accounts and at least a basic knowledge of accountancy. Firstly you need to build a complete picture of your total income to the total expenditure and that incredibly important and elusive figure of disposable income.
However the disposable income should never just be considered ‘spending money’. Think of the bigger picture! A percentage of this important figure should be saved, a portion used for future build, and then a small amount just used as free spending. Savings should be the bigger portion as this will carry you through financial turbulence.
Future build is about expanding and developing. If you are an SME owner, do you have any plans to fall back on if your product or service loses its demand? This pot of gold is for you to invest in diversifying your business. If you are an employee or self-employed, do you have a plan if you are made redundant or a greater income.
You should also put some spending money aside, but keep this sum to a minimum – don´t overstretch your budget. The less you spend here means the more you are developing your future or creating a pot of gold to look after yourself through lean financial hardship.
When do we need to get help to deal with the more complex accountancy issues?
If you are self-employed, you are entitled to tax breaks on your income, but a lot of business owners do not realise where they can save money. For example, if you work from home, you can claim gas and electricity as a business expense. An accountant will be able to help you work out all of these possible and helpful tax deductions.
You may also need a financial advisor or broker if you are investing in a retirement fund or any other type of investment. Try and keep your investments safe, but remember some people liken investing to gambling, so only invest what you can afford to lose if the worst should happen. Remember, if you see a profit in your investment cash it in unless you are sure it’s worth holding for a bigger profit.
Understanding your finances does not have to be complicated. It is important to simplify things so that you know exactly what you can afford to do and what your goals are for the future. If we had a little help and advice, we could be preparing for the unexpected and still living for the moment. For individuals and SME’s alike it’s time to prepare for the future and get ahead of your peers. You will understand what percentages of the disposable balance should be saved and what should be used to grow your businesses and investments.

Be proactive with your finances and set yourself clear goals for the future.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Asset Allocation and The Importance of Spreading Your Risk

There is no investment that does not incorporate an element of risk. As much as we’d all like to make a ‘safe investment’, in reality, there is no such thing, although the level of risk inherent in particular investments can vary wildly. Seasoned investors understand that risk is an implicit aspect of every investment, as shares can fall in price and economic conditions can vary on a day-to-day basis. In this post we aim to identify the different types of investment that are available, and provide pointers on how best to control your level of risk by creating a diverse investment portfolio.

Asset Classes

Asset classes are all associated with varying levels of risk and anticipated returns over the medium to long term, and as such, there is no one asset class to turn to in search of the best performance over a given period. An asset class is made up of three main classes of investment: equities, bonds and cash. Each of these classes is associated with a different level of risk and return, as well as the time frame in which you can expect to see a return.


Equities, commonly referred to as shares, are issued by public limited companies (PLCs) which are listed on the stock exchange. By buying a share in a PLC you become a shareholder and effectively own a small part of that company. As such, your investment is intrinsically linked with the fortunes of that company. If the company performs well financially, the share price will rise, which can lead to capital growth for the investor. It is also possible to receive income in the form of dividends, which are paid annually based on the company’s performance. The risk element of the investment is that, if the company does not perform as well as expected, the share price will fall below the level of your investment and you will be out of pocket.


Bonds, otherwise known as ‘fixed income securities’, are commonly issued by government and businesses as a method of raising money. Bonds effectively act as an I.O.U. and provide investors with a regular stream of income, which is usually specified and returned over a predetermined period of time. Once issued, bonds can be traded between investors without the issuer’s involvement. Bonds generally offer a steady rate of return but at a lower risk than equities, which can provide a higher return.


Traditionally, cash is held in a bank account where it can accrue interest. However, cash funds also have considerable market power, which can be used to access a better rate of return on deposits than you would receive from a bank account. Cash is often used in short-term bonds known as ‘money market instruments’, which is a convoluted term to describe the process of banks lending each other money.     

The characteristics of risk

Each asset class is associated with a different characteristic of risk. Young investors are often prone to selecting higher risk investments with the potential for a higher yield. However, as people near retirement age and they have a substantial investment fund they’d like to protect, more conservative investments with a steadier rate of risk and return are de rigueur. Although risk cannot be avoided completely, by putting all your eggs in one basket you are much more exposed, so diversification is key.   

The need to diversify

This is particularly important with share and bond investments, although diversification is still recommended with cash investments, despite the low level of risk associated, as the level of interest you receive is subject to market fluctuations. Even choosing not to invest is a decision which carries an element of risk. The key to diversifying is to find the right balance of risk and return for you and to incorporate a broad range of asset classes.  

If you’re looking for an experienced team of financial advisers, Cardiff based Bartholomew Hawkins can help. With a bewildering number of investment opportunities available, they can help you create an investment portfolio which perfectly reflects your tax position and attitude to risk.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Make the Huge Car Insurers Work for You- By Avoiding Them

Posted by Amy Lewis

If there’s one thing that the Big Three insurance providers do well, or at least do often, it’s produce commercials. No doubt you've encountered them: the stereotype-sensitive cavemen; the British talking gecko; the man who gleefully personifies disaster; and the streak-haired, barcode scanner gun-wielding hipster woman, “Flo”.

Now depending on your humor style, media-consumption habits and patience level, these ads may either amuse or annoy you. Unfortunately for my reputation as a fun-loving commercial-watcher, such as it is, I definitely tend toward the latter of those two and have come to find the ads irritating. Some of it is simply due to ad-saturation. For instance, as was pointed out on an episode of 30 Rock, Geico has a ton of mascots that tend to show up… a lot.

For the unfamiliar, they are represented by- the aforementioned cavemen and anthropomorphic cockney gecko, those two guys who play guitars and drop one-liners, a disturbing anthropomorphic pile of cash that stalks people, an anthropomorphic pig that shrieks, a film noir type narrator in a fedora and the “money savers” campaign (there are more, too).

Geico also tends to overestimate the appeal of these characters. On the strength of the first, admittedly clever, cavemen-getting-offended commercial, a cavemen sitcom was considered, produced, written up and then honestly, actually aired. After meeting dismal critical reception and even being condemned as racist, this situational comedy featuring characters created by an advertising agency for a car insurance corporation attempted a desperate retooling before it was canceled. I won’t go into what it might say about the state of the world if a sitcom based on corporate mascots became a popular favorite. Although I suppose one could give them kudos for switching their commercial subject matter up a little bit.

I know I’m not alone in my insistence that never seeing another Progressive commercial with the now-near-unbearable “Flo” character would be alright with me. The same goes for their mustachioed “Messenger” who is, I guess, meant to appeal to hipsters with his totally ironic mustache and general 70s-ness? (The Messenger character even tried to “Friend” me on Facebook. Are there people out there interested in establishing friendships with characters from corporate commercials?) The actor Dean Winter as the personification of disaster and destruction is maybe less obnoxious but those commercials tend to be one-note and are definitely creeping up on getting old.

Believe it or not, there’s a point to all this grumbling about advertisements: it seems indicative of their priorities. And those priorities seem to be: flashy commercial spots, a lot of work being put into characters people remember- whether positively or not, an attempt to appeal to potential customers with pop culture dazzle rather than substantive and great emphasis on convenience. Some of those emphases are more overt than others- “Insurance in 15 minutes!” While those commercials are great for spreading name recognition and sticking with those who view them (we’re talking about them here), that kind of widespread familiarity can backfire.

One famous, or infamous, example is the case of comedian Matt Fisher and his sister Katie. In 2010 Katie Fisher was tragically killed in a car accident that wasn’t her fault. Her brother Matt became understandably furious when Progressive, Katie’s insurance provider, paid a lawyer to defend the (uninsured) man who hit and killed Katie because paying the lawyer was presumably cheaper than paying what they owed her family- she had uninsured motorist coverage. Along with the story, which soon went viral in a huge way, Fisher posted images of Progressive’s mascot Flo grinning over some really cold, apparently cruelly-indifferent posts from Progressive reps.

While people were already tiring of the Flo character, when she appeared above comments from Progressive that seemed like the epitome of icy corporate greed taking priority over a tragically-killed customer’s family and interests, her smile struck many as grossly inappropriate. Suggestions that it was more of a leer than a smile were definitely made. It didn’t help that after the debacle went public Progressive denied having hired any lawyer at all in association with the Katie Fisher case, only to recant when Matt Fisher called them on it and admit that yes, OK, they had hired a lawyer.

Geico has suffered similar bad press, including any number of horror stories about claims dodged, terrible customer service and one case that infuriated the pro-gun biosphere when Geico revoked a customer’s policy because that customer worked in “the weapons industry”. The man worked for a company that legally made gun-parts for the American firearm industry. Of course as a private company, Geico is probably well within their rights to drop a customer for working in an industry they find morally or ethically objectionable but it certainly didn't help their reputation among the gun crowd.

All of that aside, the Big Three insurers have millions and millions of customers, and the more customers a corporation caters to, the greater the possibility that people slip through the cracks. And for my money, I’m not sure that convenience-of-sign-up should necessarily be such a prominently featured draw. I love convenience as much as the next guy but car insurance is an important financial consideration and whatever provider you pick will most likely be with you for years. If choosing the right provider takes half an hour rather than 15 minutes, in my humble opinion- so be it!

I have a fair amount of experience with car insurance and my advice based on that experience is: go with a provider that’s smaller than the Allstate, Geico or Progressive, but not one that’s unknown. If there’s one way in which the Big Three are definitely helping you out, it’s that their presence makes their smaller competitors fight for your business. The mid-sized houses (mid-sized for insurance companies) that are less well known for their auto insurance want to provide you with great service and a great product. Plus, their more modest size can translate into more personal service, better customer care, often quicker claim returns and more of an incentive to keep you happy than the mega-providers. Find an established provider that’s big enough to trust but not too big to care and you should do OK.

Edward Oberg has put the insurance game on hiatus and now spends his time reading cheap genre novels, shaking his head in dismay at the state of movies these days, haunting yard sales, hunting for the monster brook trout that delights in mocking him and, when he finds the time, blogging. He has vowed to defy the accepted wisdom regarding boring insurance reps by being extremely interesting.

The above article has posted by Amy Lewis, owner of the finance corner. For more details about Amy you can visit her social media profiles in below mentioned urls:





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