Auto Insurance Coverages and Discounts Explained

Auto Insurance Coverage

Liability Coverage: Protects you in the event that you unintentionally cause injuries to other drivers or damage to other vehicles or property. This coverage normally comes into play when you are the at-fault party in an accident. Coverage in many states in generally “split limits”, meaning per person coverage, per accident coverage, and property damage coverage are separated with limits defined individually. For example; 50/100/50 means; up to $50,000 of coverage is available if one person claims injury damages, $100,000 is the maximum provided for all injury damages no matter how many people sue, and $50,000 is provided to fix cars or other property damaged by you. In addition, many auto policies provide attorneys fees and court expenses on top of the listed coverages.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM): UM can provide coverage for medical costs, pain and suffering for bodily injury to you and others in your vehicle, if injury is caused by a driver with no coverage or not enough coverage. For example if you are in an accident where the at-fault party has no coverage, very little coverage, or flees the scene and is not found, and your injuries are deemed deserving of compensation in addition to the medical coverage provided by your policy UM coverage may be made available.

Personal Injury Protection (No Fault): Required coverage under Florida’s No-Fault Law. Provides a percentage of first dollar medical expenses to you regardless of fault in the accident. May people make the mistake of thinking that because of this coverage there is “no-fault” in an accident. This is incorrect and only refers to first dollar medical expenses sustained in an accident to a certain limit. The purpose of this coverage is to prevent minor lawsuits for medical bills from tying up the court system.

Medical Expense Coverage: May pay certain medical expenses for injuries sustained while occupying your car, regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is optional and simply provides for additional medical coverage beyond the standard personal injury protection coverage provided required by the law.

Comprehensive Coverage: May pay for damage to your car, less any deductible, caused by things other than collision or upset (fire, theft, glass breakage, for example).

Collision Coverage: May pay for damage to your car, less any deductible, caused by a collision with another object.

Towing & Labor: This coverage may provide a limited amount of reimbursement for expenses such as towing or car repairs made at the site of vehicle disablement.

Rental Reimbursement: This type of coverage provides limited reimbursement for a rental car used while your car is being repaired for a covered claim.

Auto Insurance Discounts:

Discounts may vary depending on the state and company but many are fairly standard across the industry.

Good Driving Record: Generally determined by the insured drivers previous three years driving record. In most cases if the insured driver has been been ticket and accident free there will be a discount available.

Driving a Safe Car: A vehicle safety discount will provide credit for cars that have tested and shown a history of limiting and preventing injuries to the vehicles occupants.

Low annual miles: The price you pay is determined by your risk and one major factor affecting risk is the amount you drive the car. If your annual mileage is below a predetermined number you may be eligible for a discount.

Student away at school without vehicle: If the primary driver of a vehicle is a student that is away at college and does not take the car to college with them a lower premium may be provided. The assumption is that the student will only be driving and have regular access to the vehicle on a limited basis such as holidays and for this reason the risk and price are lower.

Student with drivers education course: One of the most often considered discounts for young drivers. Either provided through a school or the insurance company young driver education can provide a reduction in premium.

Carpools: The reasoning behind this coverage is similar to the low mileage discount. Less driving equals less risk.

Seasonal Driver: Many drivers have vacation homes and keep a car there permanently. Many companies will reduce the premium or suspend coverages during the time when the car is parked and not driven.

Multiple cars insured with a company: A very common discount provided to customers who insure more than one owned vehicle with the same company.

Have additional lines of business insured with a company: Called a multi-line discount, provides a policy price reduction when an insured has vehicles and one other type of coverage such as homeowners insurance.

Longevity with a company: Many companies will allow for a lower premium based on the time a person has been with a company. The discount is intended to provide incentive to stay with that company.

Good Student: Studies has shown that good grades in school correlate to less accidents on the road and therefore insurance companies are willing to provide a lower premium to students with above average grades.

Anti-theft devices: Car alarms can deter theft, and reduce vandalism resulting in less insurance claims and a reason for reducing the premium.

How to Choose the Best Insurance Plan With Maximum Benefits

In the current economic crisis, a health insurance policy is not seemed to be taken into account as one of the most essential insurance policies. But experts recommend that keeping yourself without a coverage plan can lead to serious outcomes. Plus, as medical care bills are rising and diseases and accidents growing like never before, covering yourself with good policy can be largely beneficial from a medical care standpoint.

Now customers have great options in health insurance coverage to get the policy of their choice according to their budget and needs. Also, as numbers of providers are growing, customers can also avail discounts and these providers offer great discounts to attract the customers. Apart from that, the major factors contributing to the choice of the plan are good coverage, your health risks as advised by your doctor so as to determine the extent of coverage and plan your budget. It is important to be sure about all these things so that you can also be sure about the policy you want to buy.

There are lots of combination for insurance coverage such as individual, group health insurance, children insurance, supplement and Medicare, dental insurance and life and annuity insurance. You can also apply for single adult, couple, family, single child and single parent household-parent and one or more children.

Also, there is short-term temporary coverage and medical, standard long-term coverage that people can select.

Medical, standard long-term coverage can be renewable for multiple years and can provide continuous claims coverage over a long period of time. Most plans of this type cover both major medical expenses for e.g. hospitalization and surgeries and routine medical expenses for e.g., office visits and annual exams, subject to deductibles and co-payments or co-insurance. On the other hand, short-term is a temporary health insurance plan typically 1 to 12 months and this may be right for you if you are between jobs, laid off, a seasonal employee, and waiting for coverage from another health plan to star.

Planning is a very effective way to ensure that you will be secured and will get no financial problem in circumstances like falling sick, or any other health problem. And also, you don’t have to worry about the heavy medical bills and can save lots of money by picking the right coverage plan.

If you are a resident of Los Angeles, California, and looking for best plan then browse lahealthcoverage.com. At lahealthcoverage.com, you can find health insurance plan in LA, California in fastest and easiest way. What you need to do is just visit the website and find the detail information on good plan and select the plan which perfectly suits your needs. Also, you can get best quotes, information on types of health insurance coverage and price of plans easily. Thus, look more intimately and decide which health insurance coverage perfectly suits to you and your family.

A Brief Introduction to Captive Insurance

Over the past 20 years, many small businesses have begun to insure their own risks through a product called “Captive Insurance.” Small captives (also known as single-parent captives) are insurance companies established by the owners of closely held businesses looking to insure risks that are either too costly or too difficult to insure through the traditional insurance marketplace. Brad Barros, an expert in the field of captive insurance, explains how “all captives are treated as corporations and must be managed in a method consistent with rules established with both the IRS and the appropriate insurance regulator.”

According to Barros, often single parent captives are owned by a trust, partnership or other structure established by the premium payer or his family. When properly designed and administered, a business can make tax-deductible premium payments to their related-party insurance company. Depending on circumstances, underwriting profits, if any, can be paid out to the owners as dividends, and profits from liquidation of the company may be taxed at capital gains.

Premium payers and their captives may garner tax benefits only when the captive operates as a real insurance company. Alternatively, advisers and business owners who use captives as estate planning tools, asset protection vehicles, tax deferral or other benefits not related to the true business purpose of an insurance company may face grave regulatory and tax consequences.

Many captive insurance companies are often formed by US businesses in jurisdictions outside of the United States. The reason for this is that foreign jurisdictions offer lower costs and greater flexibility than their US counterparts. As a rule, US businesses can use foreign-based insurance companies so long as the jurisdiction meets the insurance regulatory standards required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

There are several notable foreign jurisdictions whose insurance regulations are recognized as safe and effective. These include Bermuda and St. Lucia. Bermuda, while more expensive than other jurisdictions, is home to many of the largest insurance companies in the world. St. Lucia, a more reasonably priced location for smaller captives, is noteworthy for statutes that are both progressive and compliant. St. Lucia is also acclaimed for recently passing “Incorporated Cell” legislation, modeled after similar statutes in Washington, DC.

Common Captive Insurance Abuses; While captives remain highly beneficial to many businesses, some industry professionals have begun to improperly market and misuse these structures for purposes other than those intended by Congress. The abuses include the following:

1. Improper risk shifting and risk distribution, aka “Bogus Risk Pools”

2. High deductibles in captive-pooled arrangements; Re insuring captives through private placement variable life insurance schemes

3. Improper marketing

4. Inappropriate life insurance integration

Meeting the high standards imposed by the IRS and local insurance regulators can be a complex and expensive proposition and should only be done with the assistance of competent and experienced counsel. The ramifications of failing to be an insurance company can be devastating and may include the following penalties:

1. Loss of all deductions on premiums received by the insurance company

2. Loss of all deductions from the premium payer

3. Forced distribution or liquidation of all assets from the insurance company effectuating additional taxes for capital gains or dividends

4. Potential adverse tax treatment as a Controlled Foreign Corporation

5. Potential adverse tax treatment as a Personal Foreign Holding Company (PFHC)

6. Potential regulatory penalties imposed by the insuring jurisdiction

7. Potential penalties and interest imposed by the IRS.

All in all, the tax consequences may be greater than 100% of the premiums paid to the captive. In addition, attorneys, CPA’s wealth advisors and their clients may be treated as tax shelter promoters by the IRS, causing fines as great as $100,000 or more per transaction.

Clearly, establishing a captive insurance company is not something that should be taken lightly. It is critical that businesses seeking to establish a captive work with competent attorneys and accountants who have the requisite knowledge and experience necessary to avoid the pitfalls associated with abusive or poorly designed insurance structures. A general rule of thumb is that a captive insurance product should have a legal opinion covering the essential elements of the program. It is well recognized that the opinion should be provided by an independent, regional or national law firm.

Risk Shifting and Risk Distribution Abuses; Two key elements of insurance are those of shifting risk from the insured party to others (risk shifting) and subsequently allocating risk amongst a large pool of insured’s (risk distribution). After many years of litigation, in 2005 the IRS released a Revenue Ruling (2005-40) describing the essential elements required in order to meet risk shifting and distribution requirements.

For those who are self-insured, the use of the captive structure approved in Rev. Ruling 2005-40 has two advantages. First, the parent does not have to share risks with any other parties. In Ruling 2005-40, the IRS announced that the risks can be shared within the same economic family as long as the separate subsidiary companies ( a minimum of 7 are required) are formed for non-tax business reasons, and that the separateness of these subsidiaries also has a business reason. Furthermore, “risk distribution” is afforded so long as no insured subsidiary has provided more than 15% or less than 5% of the premiums held by the captive. Second, the special provisions of insurance law allowing captives to take a current deduction for an estimate of future losses, and in some circumstances shelter the income earned on the investment of the reserves, reduces the cash flow needed to fund future claims from about 25% to nearly 50%. In other words, a well-designed captive that meets the requirements of 2005-40 can bring about a cost savings of 25% or more.

While some businesses can meet the requirements of 2005-40 within their own pool of related entities, most privately held companies cannot. Therefore, it is common for captives to purchase “third party risk” from other insurance companies, often spending 4% to 8% per year on the amount of coverage necessary to meet the IRS requirements.

One of the essential elements of the purchased risk is that there is a reasonable likelihood of loss. Because of this exposure, some promoters have attempted to circumvent the intention of Revenue Ruling 2005-40 by directing their clients into “bogus risk pools.” In this somewhat common scenario, an attorney or other promoter will have 10 or more of their clients’ captives enter into a collective risk-sharing agreement. Included in the agreement is a written or unwritten agreement not to make claims on the pool. The clients like this arrangement because they get all of the tax benefits of owning a captive insurance company without the risk associated with insurance. Unfortunately for these businesses, the IRS views these types of arrangements as something other than insurance.

Risk sharing agreements such as these are considered without merit and should be avoided at all costs. They amount to nothing more than a glorified pretax savings account. If it can be shown that a risk pool is bogus, the protective tax status of the captive can be denied and the severe tax ramifications described above will be enforced.

It is well known that the IRS looks at arrangements between owners of captives with great suspicion. The gold standard in the industry is to purchase third party risk from an insurance company. Anything less opens the door to potentially catastrophic consequences.

Abusively High Deductibles; Some promoters sell captives, and then have their captives participate in a large risk pool with a high deductible. Most losses fall within the deductible and are paid by the captive, not the risk pool.

These promoters may advise their clients that since the deductible is so high, there is no real likelihood of third party claims. The problem with this type of arrangement is that the deductible is so high that the captive fails to meet the standards set forth by the IRS. The captive looks more like a sophisticated pre tax savings account: not an insurance company.

A separate concern is that the clients may be advised that they can deduct all their premiums paid into the risk pool. In the case where the risk pool has few or no claims (compared to the losses retained by the participating captives using a high deductible), the premiums allocated to the risk pool are simply too high. If claims don’t occur, then premiums should be reduced. In this scenario, if challenged, the IRS will disallow the deduction made by the captive for unnecessary premiums ceded to the risk pool. The IRS may also treat the captive as something other than an insurance company because it did not meet the standards set forth in 2005-40 and previous related rulings.

Private Placement Variable Life Reinsurance Schemes; Over the years promoters have attempted to create captive solutions designed to provide abusive tax free benefits or “exit strategies” from captives. One of the more popular schemes is where a business establishes or works with a captive insurance company, and then remits to a Reinsurance Company that portion of the premium commensurate with the portion of the risk re-insured.

Typically, the Reinsurance Company is wholly-owned by a foreign life insurance company. The legal owner of the reinsurance cell is a foreign property and casualty insurance company that is not subject to U.S. income taxation. Practically, ownership of the Reinsurance Company can be traced to the cash value of a life insurance policy a foreign life insurance company issued to the principal owner of the Business, or a related party, and which insures the principle owner or a related party.

1. The IRS may apply the sham-transaction doctrine.

2. The IRS may challenge the use of a reinsurance agreement as an improper attempt to divert income from a taxable entity to a tax-exempt entity and will reallocate income.

3. The life insurance policy issued to the Company may not qualify as life insurance for U.S. Federal income tax purposes because it violates the investor control restrictions.

Investor Control; The IRS has reiterated in its published revenue rulings, its private letter rulings, and its other administrative pronouncements, that the owner of a life insurance policy will be considered the income tax owner of the assets legally owned by the life insurance policy if the policy owner possesses “incidents of ownership” in those assets. Generally, in order for the life insurance company to be considered the owner of the assets in a separate account, control over individual investment decisions must not be in the hands of the policy owner.

The IRS prohibits the policy owner, or a party related to the policy holder, from having any right, either directly or indirectly, to require the insurance company, or the separate account, to acquire any particular asset with the funds in the separate account. In effect, the policy owner cannot tell the life insurance company what particular assets to invest in. And, the IRS has announced that there cannot be any prearranged plan or oral understanding as to what specific assets can be invested in by the separate account (commonly referred to as “indirect investor control”). And, in a continuing series of private letter rulings, the IRS consistently applies a look-through approach with respect to investments made by separate accounts of life insurance policies to find indirect investor control. Recently, the IRS issued published guidelines on when the investor control restriction is violated. This guidance discusses reasonable and unreasonable levels of policy owner participation, thereby establishing safe harbors and impermissible levels of investor control.

The ultimate factual determination is straight-forward. Any court will ask whether there was an understanding, be it orally communicated or tacitly understood, that the separate account of the life insurance policy will invest its funds in a reinsurance company that issued reinsurance for a property and casualty policy that insured the risks of a business where the life insurance policy owner and the person insured under the life insurance policy are related to or are the same person as the owner of the business deducting the payment of the property and casualty insurance premiums?

If this can be answered in the affirmative, then the IRS should be able to successfully convince the Tax Court that the investor control restriction is violated. It then follows that the income earned by the life insurance policy is taxable to the life insurance policy owner as it is earned.

The investor control restriction is violated in the structure described above as these schemes generally provide that the Reinsurance Company will be owned by the segregated account of a life insurance policy insuring the life of the owner of the Business of a person related to the owner of the Business. If one draws a circle, all of the monies paid as premiums by the Business cannot become available for unrelated, third-parties. Therefore, any court looking at this structure could easily conclude that each step in the structure was prearranged, and that the investor control restriction is violated.

Suffice it to say that the IRS announced in Notice 2002-70, 2002-2 C.B. 765, that it would apply both the sham transaction doctrine and ยงยง 482 or 845 to reallocate income from a non-taxable entity to a taxable entity to situations involving property and casualty reinsurance arrangements similar to the described reinsurance structure.

Even if the property and casualty premiums are reasonable and satisfy the risk sharing and risk distribution requirements so that the payment of these premiums is deductible in full for U.S. income tax purposes, the ability of the Business to currently deduct its premium payments on its U.S. income tax returns is entirely separate from the question of whether the life insurance policy qualifies as life insurance for U.S. income tax purposes.

Inappropriate Marketing; One of the ways in which captives are sold is through aggressive marketing designed to highlight benefits other than real business purpose. Captives are corporations. As such, they can offer valuable planning opportunities to shareholders. However, any potential benefits, including asset protection, estate planning, tax advantaged investing, etc., must be secondary to the real business purpose of the insurance company.

Recently, a large regional bank began offering “business and estate planning captives” to customers of their trust department. Again, a rule of thumb with captives is that they must operate as real insurance companies. Real insurance companies sell insurance, not “estate planning” benefits. The IRS may use abusive sales promotion materials from a promoter to deny the compliance and subsequent deductions related to a captive. Given the substantial risks associated with improper promotion, a safe bet is to only work with captive promoters whose sales materials focus on captive insurance company ownership; not estate, asset protection and investment planning benefits. Better still would be for a promoter to have a large and independent regional or national law firm review their materials for compliance and confirm in writing that the materials meet the standards set forth by the IRS.

The IRS can look back several years to abusive materials, and then suspecting that a promoter is marketing an abusive tax shelter, begin a costly and potentially devastating examination of the insured’s and marketers.

Abusive Life Insurance Arrangements; A recent concern is the integration of small captives with life insurance policies. Small captives treated under section 831(b) have no statutory authority to deduct life premiums. Also, if a small captive uses life insurance as an investment, the cash value of the life policy can be taxable to the captive, and then be taxable again when distributed to the ultimate beneficial owner. The consequence of this double taxation is to devastate the efficacy of the life insurance and, it extends serious levels of liability to any accountant recommends the plan or even signs the tax return of the business that pays premiums to the captive.

The IRS is aware that several large insurance companies are promoting their life insurance policies as investments with small captives. The outcome looks eerily like that of the thousands of 419 and 412(I) plans that are currently under audit.

All in all Captive insurance arrangements can be tremendously beneficial. Unlike in the past, there are now clear rules and case histories defining what constitutes a properly designed, marketed and managed insurance company. Unfortunately, some promoters abuse, bend and twist the rules in order to sell more captives. Often, the business owner who is purchasing a captive is unaware of the enormous risk he or she faces because the promoter acted improperly. Sadly, it is the insured and the beneficial owner of the captive who face painful consequences when their insurance company is deemed to be abusive or non-compliant. The captive industry has skilled professionals providing compliant services. Better to use an expert supported by a major law firm than a slick promoter who sells something that sounds too good to be true.

Insight on Term Insurance Plans

In today’s age, people always want to secure the financial future of the family, so they can lead a decent lifestyle even after their unfortunate demise. Term plan is the answer to secure your family against financial hardship, when you are not around. Buying a term insurance policy provides a sum insured to the nominee/beneficiary, in the event of death of the life insured.

Benefits/Advantages of buying a term plan

Death Cover: Term plans provide pure life cover and it becomes a must buy, if you are the only wage earning member in the family. In case of your untimely death, it pays an amount equivalent to the sum insured to the family, so their finances are not affected.

Fulfill Financial Objectives: In case of untimely death of the life insured, a one time lump sum payout equal to the sum assured helps accomplish major financial goals like child education and marriage. The payout from a term insurance plan also helps pay off debts such as home loan or car loan.

Ensures Regular Income: Some term plans are available with lump sum payout plus monthly income to the family, when you are not around. These types of term plans help your family meet the regular expenses with ease.

Attains Maturity Amount: Typically, term plans do not offer any maturity benefit, but TROP plans offer the maturity benefit, and thus, returns the paid premiums at the maturity of the policy, provided the insured survives through the policy term.

Opt for Additional Coverage: You also have the option to choose riders with a term plan. Riders such as Accidental Death Benefit, Disability rider, Critical Illness, and Income benefit Rider help enhance protection to your base policy.

Major factors to consider before buying a term plan Want to buy a right term plan that can ensure the financial well-being of the family? Following are the key aspects you should consider prior buying the plan.

Adequate Cover: Choosing a right cover amount ensures that your family gets the payout that can cover day-to-day and other major expenses like children’s education/marriage, paying off debts, etc. Buying a plan with an inadequate cover is of no importance.

Policy Tenure: It is advisable to choose a policy tenure, so you can pay off all major financial liabilities. Avoid choosing a shorter policy that may end up when cover is required the most. It’s best to opt for a policy that offers flexible tenure options, so you can choose tenure depending on your protection needs.

Consider Inflation: When looking to buy a term plan, it is advisable to make an estimate about the inflation and then get a life cover that can easily cover your family’s financial expenses at a time say 20 years from now. You may consider the inflation rate while picking the sum assured for the policy.

Claim Settlement Ratio: Claim Settlement Ratio gives you an idea for the number of claims settled by an insurer. Higher ratio signifies that the insurer is reliable, when it comes to settlement of claims. It is thus advisable to choose an insurer that has the highest claim settlement ratio.

Choose Riders: When it comes ensuring financial protection for the family, you never want to compromise it in any manner. Choosing right riders with the term plan always boost protection. Riders help enhance protection, provided you have opted for the most appropriate rider/s. Riders are available on payment of additional premium, so choose it wisely.

Read Policy Terms: It is advisable to go through the policy benefits & inclusions and term & conditions, so you can assess the suitability of the plan for your family. Choosing the right term insurance plan would help build a secure financial future of your family.

Compare Plans Online: Prior buying a term plan, it is essential to compare plans from several insurers. Comparing plans online provide you an option to explore various term plans & its benefits. It helps you figure out a plan that would be the best fit. Insurance comparison portals such as http://www.comparepolicy.com helps you make an easy comparison. You can also buy it from there with huge discounts.

Assess your protection needs, choose a term plan and invest with the right insurer is the key. Insure your life and ensure your family’s protection.