Sunday, August 19, 2012

Insurance Part 3: Dental

Part 3: Dental

By Keith Bunn Jr.
August 19, 2012

OK, I think every one of us can admit that going to the dentist is not the most favorite thing to do, but in my opinion, going to the dentist it is an absolutely “must do” thing that every one of us should do for a number of reasons.

1.    To prevent gum disease.
2.    To prevent oral cancer.
3.    To avoid losing your teeth.
4.    To prevent dental emergencies.
5.    To maintain overall good health.

But we also know that going to the dentist isn’t cheap. Not just for the reasons listed above, but because of all the other things not listed. Fillings, Crowns, Braces, etc… are just a few things that can be quite costly if you don’t have a good insurance plan in place.

But are all plans the same?

Well, in my research, I came across a website from Amerites Group and it is clear that the answer to that question is no. On their website they have come up with these 10 points to look into.

1.    Coinsurance and Copayments: What is the coverage in and out of network? For PPO plans, know what percent the plan pays by procedure category, typically stated as preventive basic and major. If the plan has a copay structure, know the member costs for common procedures.

2.    Deductibles and Maximums: If the plan has a deductible, when does it apply and what is the amount? Is there a maximum number of deductibles that can be charged per family? What is the annual benefit maximum available per year? If orthodontia is included, what is the lifetime benefit available?

3.    Procedure Placement: In which category do typical procedures fall? Most carriers move procedures into different categories, such as x-rays, root canals, gum disease treatment, or oral surgery. If you are working with a PPO, it is crucial to know if these procedures are classified as preventive, basic, or major as this will impact rates and out-of-pocket costs for insured.

4.    Procedure Frequencies: How often can each kind of x-ray be taken? How many cleaning are permitted per year? How many years are allowed between crown replacements? For example, one carrier may approve replacement of crowns every five years while another may extend the limit to ten years. You need to know these details for each plan under consideration.

5.    U&C Allowances: What “Usual and Customary” allowance is used for out-of-network providers? Not all 90th percentiles are created equal. The 80th percentile for one carrier may equal the 90th for another. Know how the carriers compare, the source of their U&C data and how they update their records.

6.    Special Coverage: Does the plan cover dental implants? What about composite fillings in molars? Does the orthodontia cover adults? Producers need to know this information.

7.    Value Stretchers: Dental plans have come a long way in the last ten years with innovative features, such as carry-over maximums, sharing dollar maximums within the family, and excluding preventive procedures from the maximum. Many plans also offer significant vision, hearing, Rx, and other benefits packaged with the dental. Know what extra incentives are built into the plan to help stretch the available benefits.

8.    Waiting Periods and Participation: What procedures require a waiting period before employees can access benefits?  Is the policy different for current employees and new hires?  What participation percentage of eligible employees does the carrier require?

9.    Network Access.  If the plan design includes a dental network, are there enough contracted providers close to the employer: Producers should know how the carrier counts the network participants, including the difference between access points, providers and locations.

10. Commission. What commission is included in the plan quotes? Do not assume every carrier is quoting the same, or that they are quoting what you asked for in an email. Find out.

After you compare the plan components, look at the rates for each plan. Also, if you have the opportunity to have more than one dental plan, make sure both insurance companies will coordinate benefits. This means, one insurance company will pick up coverage where the other one left off at. Make sure you know this information before starting the 2nd insurance company because if they don’t coordinate benefits, it makes no sense having the  2nd one.

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Insurance Part 2: Auto

Part 2: Auto

By Keith Bunn Jr.
August 12, 2012

Auto insurance is one of those “must have” insurances by law in every state, and for good reason. But most people get just enough insurance to make them legal to be on the road for a couple of reasons.

1.    They don’t have enough money for full coverage. Thinking the monthly premium will be less if they choose a lesser coverage.  

2.    Their car(s) are paid for and don’t feel they need full coverage.

Even though this may make sense in some situations, a good portion of the time it doesn’t. Let’s go over what make sense and what doesn't.

·         Full Coverage: We all know if you have a car loan, you have to have full coverage, but if your car(s) are paid for and you can’t afford to replace them if something were to happen to them, it then makes sense to have full coverage on them.

·         Monthly Premiums: A good portion of the time you are not saving that much on your premiums by going from full coverage to a lesser one. If you really want to save on your premiums, raise your deductible. By raising your deductible, you are taking on more risk and in turn, lower your premium. This, however, only makes sense if you have a fully funded emergency fund in place.

·         Break Even Analysis: Another way to see if raising your deductible makes sense is by doing a Break Even Analysis. If you have a $250 deductible and you raise it to $1000. You increased your risk by $750. Now if your premiums go down by $75, you would have to go 10 years without something happening to your car ($750 extra risk divided by $75 per year in savings = 10 years without an event. Now for most people, that doesn’t make much sense, but if you were to save $750 per year instead of $75, you would then only have to go 1 year without an event happening and that would be well worth raising your deductible. You would have to do the math for your situation to see what works for you.

·         Liability Insurance: Most of the time, when people are trying to lower their insurance cost, they tend to lower the liability portion of their coverage, which in my opinion is not a good idea. Liability insurance is one of the best buys in the insurance world and it really only costs pennies a month and sometimes even a year to have liability insurance. So it makes sense to have a minimum of $500 coverage in your policy.

·         Finding the Best Deals: To get the most bang for your buck, it is better to go through an insurance broker that will shop around for you to find the best insurance for you and your family’s situation. The stand-alone insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, etc… will only sell you there insurance and those may not be the best deals for you. It also makes sense to have your broker do a check every few years just to see if what you have is still best for you and your family.


1.    If something were to happen to your car(s), do you have the proper insurance in place to cover the loss?

2.    Does full coverage make sense in your situation?

3.    Do you have a fully funded emergency fund in place?

4.    Have you done a Break Even Analysis? If so, does it make sense to raise your deductible?

5.    Do you go through a stand-alone insurance company or an insurance broker for your insurance?

6.    Do you know whether or not you are getting the best deal for what you and your family needs?

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks you!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Insurance Part 1: Home

Part 1: Home

By Keith Bunn Jr.
August 5, 2012

As I said on my Facebook page, I don't feel I explained the different kinds of insurances that are out there well enough. So this week will start the beginning of an insurance series where I will take certain insurances and go into more detail on them. Now, I’m not trying to sell you insurance, I don’t even have a license to sell insurance. I’m just trying to pass on what I have learned about it, and one of the things is that it can be incredibly frustrating dealing with insurance. What’s good, what’s bad, who should be covered, who should not, or do I have enough. Any of those questions sound familiar? The sad thing is, a lot of us don’t get the answers to those questions until it’s too late. So it is my hopes that going over these things will shed some light on what you have or need so you and your family are covered properly.

Homeowners Insurance

As I said in the last blog, Insurance is to cover the risks that we can’t take on in case of something happens to ourselves, our family, or property. And home ownership is no exception. Now as we all know, if you have a mortgage, a lender can make it mandatory that you have homeowners insurance to cover any loss or damage that may happen due to fire, earthquake, flood, etc… but did you know it is your responsibility to make sure that you have enough coverage and the right coverage on your home? It is not the insurance companies or the mortgage/bank’s responsibility.  So here are a few things you should probable look into.

·         Guaranteed replacement insurance: Most insurance companies today, especially the major ones have a policy that covers your home to a certain dollar amount and then say “+ $25,000”. That is not guaranteed replacement. To give you an example: let’s say when you first bought your home it was worth $150,000. and your insurance policy reflects that you are covered at $150,000 +25,000. Now as time goes by your home increases in value (we hope) to $225,000 and you have a fire that burns your home down to the ground. The insurance company will only give you a check to rebuild your home for a $175,000 ($150,000 + $25,000). That leaves you on the hook for another $25,000 to rebuild your home. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you would have to get your home appraised and adjust your insurance at least once a year. Using the same example, if you had guaranteed replacement, it doesn’t matter how much your home increases in value, the insurance company will pay to replace your home, period. Now I have to tell you, it is not easy to find an insurance company that offers Guaranteed Replacement Insurance but they’re out there, you just have to look for them.

·         Renters Insurance: It is my opinion that renters need to get renters insurance. For the simple fact that if something were to happen to the apartment or house you’re renting, your personal items are covered. Your landlord’s insurance company is not responsible for your personal items.

·         Flood insurance: If you live in an area that could possibly be in a flood zone. You probably should get flood insurance. I know that sound like a no brainer but how many stories have we heard about the people who lost their homes after hurricane Katrina went through New Orleans. And what about the 500 year flood that went through Nashville a couple of years ago. And just for your information, if your home is covered for hurricane and storm damage, that doesn’t mean it is covered for flood damage. Double check your policy to be sure.  


1.    Is your home properly covered?

2.    Do you have Guaranteed Replacement Insurance?

3.    Do you have renters insurance?

4.    Are you covered for floods?

I hope my posts inspire you to look at what you’re doing financially and if needed, make some changes that will cause you to win financially. I also look forward to reading your views on any articles or postings that I may post. For more money news, facts and ideas, follow me on Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks you!