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Insurance


  • How the new healthcare law changes maternity care (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    My husband and I got married in December of 2005 and spent the first few years of our marriage enjoying each other without the responsibility of children. Then, after a few years, I found myself longing for a child of our own. Unfortunately, a giant roadblock stood in our way — our health insurance plan did not cover maternity. Those were the days before the new…

  • My experience with alternative healthcare insurance (35 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. A few months ago, I shared about my health insurance alternative. As a recap, I belong to a healthcare sharing ministry (HSM) called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), just one of several ministries that are ACA-approved alternatives to health insurance. What we belong to is not health insurance; therefore, we don’t pay a premium (although we pay a “gift” each month or what amounts to a deductible, except it’s…

  • What kind of insurance do drivers like me buy? (33 comments)

    Watching every penny is the starting point for getting rich slowly. But there are also big moves you can make that will earn or save you a lot of money. Big wins include refinancing your mortgage, negotiating your salary, improving your credit score or evaluating your car insurance. Your car insurance probably comes up for renewal every six months. When was the last time you compared insurance carriers or revised your policy to see if…

  • Ask the Readers: Are these good enough reasons to buy life insurance? (89 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. There are a lot of really good reasons to have a life insurance policy, no doubt. If you have children, they’re dependent on your income. You want them to be taken care of should something ever happen to you. If your spouse stays at home with the kids, he or she is dependent on your income. If you stay home with the kids, your spouse is dependent on…

  • One expense you have control of in ways you never thought (38 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. What do you spend most of your money on? For most people, their two biggest expenses are their home and car(s). If you remember the post comparing expenses in 1913 to 2012, you might recall the three things that Mr. Average spent most of his “raise” on were: Housing (36 percent of the raise) Income taxes (28 percent), and Transportation (24 percent) A majority of the increase in…

  • Ask the Readers: What benefits have you seen from the Affordable Care Act? (134 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. The healthcare landscape has certainly changed in the two years since J.D. asked “What Do You Want to Know About the Economics of Health Care?” back in August 2012. Now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented, we’d like to hear what your experience has been so far and what benefits you’ve seen. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently updated “How the Health Care…

  • Ask the Readers: High-deductible health insurance: yea or nay? (94 comments)

    Last week reader David  posted a question on Get Rich Slowly’s Facebook page, asking what our thoughts are on high-deductible health insurance plans. We turned to Barbara Marquand, staff writer at Insure.com, to answer his question. Here’s her answer: High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) have become more prevalent in the last few years, but whether one is right for you depends on your health care needs and financial situation. The reason we’re seeing so many of…

  • Self-insured or uninsured? Here’s what you’ll pay in 2014 (39 comments)

    This post is by staff writer April Dykman. Four years ago, I quit my job. As a result, I also became one of an estimated 15 million Americans who buy their own health insurance. And during these last four years, my premiums have increased 34 percent, despite shopping around for lower rates and increasing my deductible. I only go to the doctor for a yearly checkup and I have no preexisting conditions, so I admit…

  • Recalibrating for self-employment: health insurance (34 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Holly Johnson. When I left my full-time job in April, I lost several of the valuable perks that come from working for someone else. Included in the casualties were my company-sponsored retirement plan (and 4 percent match) and my company-paid smartphone. Those two losses were somewhat easy to accept since they both had a fairly easy fix. Since I lost my 401K match, I needed to save more for…

  • Ask the Readers: Would you let your insurance company monitor your driving for a discount? (103 comments)

    Privacy is a big issue for people these days, what with every website able to see where you go, what you’re searching for and serve up ads. With the NSA looking at emails and phone calls from regular folks, the issue is bigger than ever. But would you elect to be monitored if it would save you money? You’ve probably seen the commercials for Progressive insurance’s Snapshot pay-as-you-drive device. State Farm has a similar program…

  • 6 ways to lower your home insurance (31 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. As a new homeowner, I recently had to buy a homeowners insurance policy. And as a personal finance writer, I tried to take my own advice and “shop around.” To be honest, it was a pain, and the rates I was getting on my own were way too high. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t also trying to close on a house. In the end, I…

  • Insurance: An easier way to comparison shop (32 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. I had procrastinated until I could procrastinate no longer. I was in the middle of buying a house, and one of the many, many things on my ever-growing to-do list was to find a home insurance policy. My auto insurance policy also was up for renewal, and so I hoped to get a decent discount by buying both policies from one company. But the idea of having…

  • The time I was sent to collections over $4 (32 comments)

    There is an old nursery rhyme about tiny things having major consequences. It’s about a horseback rider who was charged with carrying orders to battle during a war, but the horse’s shoe comes off and the horse goes lame. The end of the nursery rhyme is like this: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost….

  • Health savings accounts: An overview, plus some pros and cons (103 comments)

    Lately, my dad’s been praising the benefits of having a health savings account. This year, he had the opportunity to get the most of his HSA — bad news for his health, but good news for his wallet (side note: Dad is now doing OK health-wise). At any rate, I’ve spent the week researching, calculating and mulling over whether an HSA is the best option for me. I reviewed a lot of your comments from…

  • Stuff: How to protect it (92 comments)

    How much is your property worth to you? For all the discussion of emergency funds and disaster preparedness that goes on in the personal finance blogosphere, I rarely, if ever, read anything about protecting yourself from property crime. Perhaps because it’s an unpleasant subject, perhaps because many people have never experienced it, but I don’t hear a big conversation about the subject in PF discussions. And yet, for many of us, a sizable portion of…

  • HDHP with HSA: friend or foe? (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joanna Lahey, an associate economics professor at the George H. W. Bush School of Government and Public Service and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the aforementioned institutions. This is the final article in her series on health insurance. Here are the first, second and third articles. Remember way back when in…

  • Health insurance options for the self-employed (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joanna Lahey, an associate professor of economics at the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of the aforementioned institutions. This is the third of four articles on health insurance. The final part will be published next Saturday. Here are the first and second…

  • Insurance: Share the risk (84 comments)

    This is a guest post from Joanna Lahey, an associate professor of economics at the George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Ellen’s note: Joanna has written four articles about health insurance. This is the first, and every Saturday for the next month, we’ll be publishing one. Given the readers’  concern over the cost of health insurance as well as the…

  • Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It? (81 comments)

    For the next week (or two), we’ll be sharing “audition” pieces from folks interested in being new staff writers at Get Rich Slowly. Your job is to let us know what you think of each of these writers. Pay attention, give feedback, and after a couple of weeks we’ll ask which writers you prefer. This article is from Chip Chinery, who writes about personal finance at Chip’s Money Tips. Chinery won the website award for…

  • Hunting for Health Insurance (223 comments)

    I am sick. For the past ten days, I’ve been wrestling with a high fever, a cough, a persistent sore throat, and a general malaise that’s kicking my ass. Basically, I’m the sickest I’ve been in over a decade. (The last time I was this sick? The evening that The Fellowship of the Ring premiered. I went to see it with friends, but don’t remember a thing about that night because I was sick with…

  • Home Insurance and Pipes that Go ‘Pop’ in the Night (74 comments)

    This is a guest post by Suzanne Clemenz, who writes for Insure.com. Suzanne designed her passive solar home and remodeled two others. She worked with architects and contractors on floor plans, electrical work, painting, windows, flooring installations, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system, and landscaping. It’s alarming to be awakened by the distant, mysterious sound of running water. But on Sunday, November 6, 2011, that’s what happened to me. Two…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Health Insurance? (335 comments)

    Behind the scenes, the GRS elves and I have been working to streamline the process for submitting reader stories, guest posts, and financial questions. As part of this, I’ve been reading through every question submitted over the past year. I’ve noticed some patterns. One topic I’m seeing over and over again is health insurance. We’ve explored health insurance a few times in the past, but we don’t do so often. For one, it’s complicated. For…

  • Traffic Violations and Your Auto Insurance (60 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. California newspaper The Daily Breeze recently published an article about a man who was issued a $35 ticket for failing to come to a complete stop, which became a $234 ticket after added penalties. (State legislators have been adding new penalties, such as a “state conviction fee,” since 2009, thanks to a $10 billion budget deficit. The base fine for running a red light is $100 in…

  • Pet Insurance: Is It Worth the Cost? (98 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. My cat, Monster, died two weeks ago after a struggle with cancer. Monster followed me home one day when I was 17; he was with me through every heartbreak, every move, job, boyfriend, and roommate. I’m grateful for the fifteen years we had together, but I miss him. I’ll miss him always,…

  • Insurance Basics: How Car Insurance Works (59 comments)

    This is the third part in a short series about insurance basics. In the first part, I explained how insurance works. In the second, I shared some general tips about how to save on insurance of all types. Today’s article offers info about auto insurance. You’ve had car insurance since you were old enough to drive, but how much do you really know about it? At its heart, your policy probably contains a few basic…

  • Insurance Basics: How to Save on Insurance (34 comments)

    This is the second part in a short series about insurance basics. Last week, I explained how insurance works. Next week (or possibly the week after), I’ll offer some tips on car insurance. Today’s article offers some general insurance tips useful for most situations. All insurance works pretty much the same way: You pay a premium (a set amount of money) to the insurance company, usually on some sort of schedule (monthly or yearly, for…

  • Insurance Basics: How Insurance Works (32 comments)

    I don’t write a lot about insurance around here. For one thing, insurance is kind of boring. For another, I don’t know a lot about it. Still, insurance is an important part of personal finance, and my silence on the subject hasn’t gone unnoticed. Josh wrote last week to make a request: I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, and I consider it a constant source of valuable information. However, one area…

  • Instructions for the Afterlife: Preparing for the Inevitable (31 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I hate to get all morbid on you, but if something happened to you today that temporarily or permanently (or immortally, depending on your religious persuasion) put you out of commission, would your family…

  • How Much Life Insurance Do You REALLY Need? (47 comments)

    On Friday, I shared a guest response to a reader question about life insurance. Many GRS readers rightly complained that it didn’t do a good job of answering the question. One reader — Mike from Four Pillars and ABCs of Investing — took it upon himself to write this response. One of the most common issues that people with any kind of dependents face is, “How much life insurance do I need?”. This is a…

  • Reader Question: How Much Life Insurance Do You Need? (84 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sanford Ellowitz, a New York State licensed insurance agent. He has over 25 years experience in the insurance and financial services industries. He’s also a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Employee Benefit Specialist. Penny recently wrote with the following question: I’m interested to find out how one sets out a financial plan for life and how much insurance does a person really need because there are so many…

  • Reader Story: How I Saved Hundreds of Dollars on Insurance (48 comments)

    This guest post from Rich is part of a new feature here at Get Rich Slowly. Every Sunday will include a reader story (in the new “reader stories” category). Some will be general “how I did X” stories, and others will be examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success. Today’s is a romantic story of saving money on insurance. (Okay, no romance. That’s just a joke.) As a long-time reader of Get Rich…

  • My 2009 Discretionary Spending: Bits and Pieces (160 comments)

    Every January since I started Get Rich Slowly, I’ve done an annual round-up of my discretionary spending. That’s not going to happen this year. The numbers are hopelessly muddled by events that created under-reporting in some categories and over-reporting in others. (Kris and I paid for our 2010 vacations in 2009, for example.) Rather than sort things out, I want to talk about a couple of my spending habits instead. One is a worrisome trend,…

  • Renters Insurance: Peace of Mind for Ten Bucks a Month (132 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. On 02 August 2005, my friend Frank and his partner awoke at 2:45 a.m. to the dog barking and a neighbor knocking on their door. The apartment complex was on fire. They grabbed their dog and whatever they could carry and ran from the building. “We lost everything,” he says. Later they’d find out that it was arson. A former employee of the apartment complex stole…

  • 14 Tips for Purchasing Life Insurance (66 comments)

    This is a guest post from Ray at Financial Highway. Earlier today, Ray shared the basics of life insurance. Insurance is an important part of financial planning — but understanding insurance and buying the right product can be tricky. From whole to term life, riders to convertibility clauses, how do you make sense of all the choices? Most people rely on the expertise of their insurance advisor, broker, or sales representative to help them make…

  • An Introduction to Life Insurance (68 comments)

    Many of you have asked for life insurance information, so Ray from Financial Highway offered to provide this guest post on the subject. This is new info for me, too. Protecting your family from financial disasters is one of the fundamental components of financial planning. Life insurance should be a core part of that planning process. This article is a basic primer on life insurance, which should introduce you to the concept and give you…

  • Drama in Real Life: Caring for a Parent in Crisis (79 comments)

    My mother is in the hospital. Her health, which had been deteriorating lately, took a turn for the worse over the weekend. On Tuesday, she was admitted to a local hospital, where she’s likely to remain for a week (or more). My brothers and I have been sorting through mom’s financial documents, trying to piece together a complete picture. It’s difficult. If she had used Quicken, the job would be relatively easy, but she’s Old…

  • We’re All Going to Die Someday: Making Informed Insurance Choices (26 comments)

    This is a guest post from Amanda, a Colorado tech writer and an activist for children with congenital heart disease. This article is about Amanda’s personal experience with insurance. It’s not a prescription for other people, but insights into the value of insurance in her own life. It’s her hope that it will get you thinking. There was a time in my life when the thought of insurance made my eyes glaze over. I’ve never…

  • Finding Affordable Health Insurance When You’re On Your Own (67 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jason Gingerich, a volunteer with the Archimedes Movement to work for a comprehensive solution to America’s health care crisis. He also works for a non-profit organization that offers health insurance, among its other products. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of his employer. In America’s current healthcare system, in most cases, you’re better off with the crowd. Usually, that crowd is your employer or a government pool…

  • The Disability Insurance Maze: How to Select and Purchase a Policy (37 comments)

    This is a guest post from Suzanne S. It’s very long, but it’s about an important topic. You may want to bookmark it for later reading. Personal finance isn’t just about growing your finances — it’s also about protecting what you have. Most experts advise insuring your home, your car, your health and your life. What many of us never get around to doing is insuring our earning power. According to The Wall Street Journal…

  • A Brief Introduction to Insurance (25 comments)

    This is a guest post from Aaron Pinkston. He used to help other insurance agents understand insurance. Now he prefers dealing directly with the public. Insurance is an oft-misunderstood financial tool. I feel like it’s my responsibility to help folks out with their questions when I can. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m the patron saint of insurance, but I do think the world would be a slightly better place if I could…

  • Save Big By Canceling Private Mortgage Insurance (21 comments)

    When you buy a home, you learn there are many little costs that accumulate over time: mortgage, interest, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. Many of these are recurring expenses about which little can be done. There is one expensive, however, that homeowners can eliminate, and should do so as soon as possible. Lenders require private mortgage insurance (commonly called PMI) from homebuyers who take out loans that are more than 80 percent of a property’s value….

  • 10 Expert Tips for Saving on Car Insurance (19 comments)

    My friend Lynn works for a major U.S. insurance company. I recently asked her for tips to help people save money on auto insurance. I expected maybe a few quick ideas, but she went above-and-beyond with the following detailed list. If you own a car, you should read these tips. For readability’s sake, I haven’t blockquoted this, but it’s all Lynn. Note that every insurance company is different — not all of these ideas work…