Life Insurance Claims

Spring Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Home

A home is one of life’s most important investments. Keeping it properly maintained can help reduce the risk of a loss and help ensure the safety and well being of friends and family. Just in time for spring, Paul Fisher Insurance Services and Travelers, a leading provider of auto and homeowners insurance, offer these maintenance tips to prepare your home for warmer weather and to keep it safe year-round:

• Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure that there is one on each floor of your home. Test them and change the batteries at least every six months, when you change your clocks.
• Check the light bulbs in all your fixtures to be sure that they are the correct wattage as recommended by the manufacturer.
• Replace lamps that use high-producing bulbs (such as halogen) with those that use fluorescent bulbs and operate at much cooler temperatures.
• Check your electrical outlets for potential fire hazards such as frayed wires or loose-fitting plugs. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets, fuse boxes, extension cords or any other power service.
• Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible that is filled and ready for operation.
• Have your air conditioning system inspected by a professional as recommended by the manufacturer.
• Check for damage to your roof, and clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating.
• Check your water heater for leaks and corrosion, and keep surrounding area clear.
• Clean and/or replace your furnace filter.
• Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under the dryer. Remove all lint, dust, and pieces of material or cloth.
• Inspect washing machine hoses and replace hoses that show signs of wear or leakage with stronger reinforced hoses. Turn off the water when not in use to prevent water damage if a hose breaks.
• In your yard, remove all dead trees and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs from power lines yourself. Instead, call your power company to request assistance.
• Safely store oil and gas for lawn equipment and tools in a vented, secured area.
• Repair driveway and walkways that are cracked, broken or uneven to provide a level walking surface.

Established in 1983, Paul Fisher Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency offering a full range of insurance products including Auto, Home, Life, Equipment Leasing, Business Owners Insurance, Wedding Protection, Special Occasion Protection, and much more!

For information and quotes on insurance coverage, please visit
Paul Fisher Insurance Services at 3967 William Penn Highway Suite 3, Murrysville, PA 15668 or call (724)519-7503.

About Travelers
Travelers understands that life and business are inherently dynamic and that the best way to serve agents and policyholders is to deliver insurance that evolves to stay in-synch with life and business as they change. For more information on being in-synch, visit www.travelers.com.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading property casualty insurer selling primarily through independent agents and brokers. The company’s diverse business lines offer its global customers a wide range of coverage in both the personal and commercial settings, including automobile, homeowners, construction, small business, oil and gas, ocean marine, surety and management liability, global technology and public sector services. Travelers is a Fortune 100 company, with 2007 revenues of $26 billion and total assets of $115 billion. The company has approximately 33,000 employees.

What is an Insurance Claim?

An insurance claim is the actual application for benefits provided by an insurance company. Policy holders must first file an insurance claim before any money can be disbursed to the hospital or repair shop or other contracted service. The insurance company may or may not approve the claim, based on their own assessment of the circumstances.Individuals who take out home, life, health, or automobile insurance policies must maintain regular payments called premiums to the insurers. Most of the time these premiums are used to settle another person’s insurance claim or to build up the available assets of the insurance company. But occasionally an accident will happen which causes real financial damage, such as a automobile wreck or a tornado or a work-related accident. At this point the injured policy holder has the right to file an insurance claim in order to receive money from the insurance company.

via What is an Insurance Claim?.

Insurance Tips For New Home Owners

If you have just bought your very first home, you are probably unaware of how your purchase has affected your insurance profile and that you need to review your existing insurance cover. In fact, even upgrading from a small, cheap house to a larger family home will impact on your insurance. Most people think that adding some form of homeowners insurance is all that is needed when purchasing a new home. While the addition of a homeowner’s policy is by far the biggest change, your other insurance policies will most likely need to be reviewed too. The following are some of the more prominent policies you may need to revise.

Homeowner’s insurance

If you successfully applied for a home loan, your bank will have required that you take out a homeowner’s insurance policy. The questions that you need to ask yourself are did I get sufficient cover and did I shop around for the best deals?

When analyzing your coverage needs, your assessment needs to be based not only on what is required by your bank, but also on the actual value of the property. Banks often pressurize you to take whatever insurance policy they put in front of you. Except for a few conniving banks, taking the bank’s own cover is not mandatory. This means that you have the option of shopping around for better insurance.

Car insurance

If you just bought a house, your marital status may have changed. If this is the case, then congratulations! You may be eligible for a lower premium as marital status affects your risk profile. Married couples are considered a lower insurance risk by insurance companies. You may also want to cover both your and your spouse’s cars under one policy. This should work out much cheaper than having two separate vehicle insurance policies. You may even want to go one step further and combine your vehicle and homeowner’s policy to get even cheaper premiums. Lastly, it is essential that you update your car insurance policy as your change of address will also affect your policy. This is essential because should you need to claim due to theft from your new home and you have not updated your policy, your claim might be turned down.

Disability and life insurance

If you were to become disabled or unable to work due to an accident or disease, your mortgage will still need to be paid. Disability cover will pay you a monthly benefit if this happens which could very well save you from financial ruin until you are able to work again. Similarly, life insurance will help pay off your debts and perhaps even the mortgage on your home should you pass away. If you are the breadwinner in your family, this type of cover is essential.

Purchasing a new home can be a very exciting experience, but it is important that you remember to review all your insurance policies to make sure that you and your loved ones are adequately covered. If you are unsure of where to start contact your insurance broker and without a doubt, shop around for the best insurance deals!

via Insurance Tips For New Home Owners.

Tips to ensure your claim is processed in a timely manor

There are a couple of key factors that will help process your claim within a timely manor:

1. Be sure to fill out all of your personal information on each claim form. Sometimes the company will ask for the information several times on each page, it is necessary for you to complete the information each time. It seems redundant, but it is necessary.

2. Make sure to give your physician the claim forms to fill out. You can provide your physician with our fax number (724)519-7484 and ask them to complete it and fax it directly to our office. You do not have to wait for them to fax the information. You can send us your completed portion as soon as it is finished.

3. Make sure to give your employer the claim forms to fill out. You can provide your physician with our fax number (724)519-7484 and ask them to complete it and fax it directly to our office. You do not have to wait for them to fax the information. You can send us your completed portion as soon as it is finished.

4. We will also need a copy of your Operative Report faxed to our office.

5.  We will need ANY copies of itemized statements, chiropractor visits, or any doctors visits.

6. Claims should be filed within 14 days of the accident or sickness. The sooner we receive your completed paperwork, the sooner the claim is filed and processed.

7. You can check on the status of your claim 24 hours a day by visiting the Insurer’s direct website or by contacting our office.

Life and Critical Illness Insurance – never withhold information as it will invalidate a claim.

Withholding information is the single most common cause of a life or critical illness insurance claim being rejected by the insurer. We have a true story to tell you that will effectively highlight this issue, but to preserve the identity of the policyholder, we have changed the name and a few other details.

Mrs C had surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes from her groin; while recovering from the operation, she fell ill with a secondary infection. At this difficult time, she received some extra bad news. Her claim under her critical illness insurance policy had been rejected, and she could not expect to receive the $200,000 payout. To understand why her claim was rejected, we need to look at the background to these events.

In June 2001, Mrs C discovered a patch of flaky skin on her back, and she went to the doctor thinking it was eczema. Her GP wasn’t sure and referred her to a specialist dermatologist for an expert opinion. However, Mrs C cancelled the appointment with the dermatologist because the flaky skin cleared up before the date of the appointment. Mrs C thought no more about it, especially as the GP did not communicate any particular urgency to her about the matter.

In August 2001, nine weeks after the GP appointment, Mrs C received a routine sales visit from her life insurance company, Standard Life. The sales representative reviewed her situation due to the fact she now had a young family, and recommended she purchase a $200,000 Critical Illness policy. Mrs C signed up to the new policy without hesitation.

The sales representative went through the application form with Mrs C, filling in the answers for her as they progressed through the questions. When asked to provide details of incidences when she had been referred to a specialist for tests or treatments, Mrs C asked the sales representative what Standard Life meant by that. Mrs C alleges that the representative stated that only referrals relating to serious conditions needed to be mentioned. Since Mrs C’s referral related to what she thought was eczema, she didn’t believe it to be a serious condition, so she did not mention it and it did not go on the form. They completed the form together and Mrs C signed the form believing that she had provided all the information that Standard Life had asked for.

Several days later Mrs C’s application was successful and she was issued with a Critical Illness Insurance policy for $200,000.

Two years down the line, Mrs C was diagnosed with skin cancer. She had to undergo major surgery to try and remove the cancer. Mrs C made a claim on her critical illness insurance policy believing that she had a valid claim.

Mrs C’s claim was rejected, Standard Life cited reckless non-disclosure as the cause  the insurer’s way of saying that Mrs C purposely withheld information about her referral to a dermatologist.

How did this happen?

It is clear by now that Mrs C should have mentioned the fact that she had been referred to a dermatologist – so why didn’t she?

Two events brought about this unfortunate situation:

1. When Mrs C asked what kind of referrals needed to go on the form, the Standard Life sales representative told her that she only needed to mention serious conditions. This was completely wrong  the application form question stated all occasions her GP had referred her for tests or treatments. The key words here are ALL OCCASIONS. ALL means ALL and there is no flexibility for an applicant to consider if the referral is worth mentioning or not. The sales representative provided Mrs C with the wrong advice.

2. Mrs C was not made aware by the GP that the flaky skin was potentially a serious matter. The GP later admitted that this was the case. If Mrs C did not realize that the referral was a potentially serious matter, then surely she cannot be said to have been withholding information when completing the application form. Remember, the sales representative told her that only serious conditions need to be mentioned.

It is our opinion that Mrs C should not be held accountable for what was a genuine mistake. The Standard Life representative provided incorrect advice at a crucial moment, and Mrs C followed it. We think that Standard Life should take these events into account, and validate the claim.

How to avoid the same happening to you

When you are filling out a life or critical illness insurance application form, read each question very carefully and provide an accurate and full answer. Do not consider withholding any information, because if you fail to disclose something that later comes to light, you will be held accountable as withholding that information on purpose. You may think that withholding that information could result in lower premiums, but it’s not a risk worth taking.

We’ve got our fingers crossed that Standard Life will relent and pay out on Mrs C’s policy. She was unfortunate in receiving poor advice, and did not willfully mislead the insurer.

However, people that do withhold information on purpose can expect everything they get on making a claim  nothing .

NB : 5% of critical illness claims are rejected by Standard due to non-disclosure. They’re not the highest: Friends Provident rejects 15% of claims for the same reason, and Legal & General rejects 16%. The insurance industry is addressing this situation at the moment by improving the way they obtain the information from applicants, any by providing clear information about the penalties for non-disclosure.

via Life and Critical Illness Insurance – never withhold information as it will invalidate a claim..

Types of Life Insurance Riders

Insurance riders provide benefits over and above those given by a basic insurance policy. Riders are not free and come at an additional cost, but the cost is relatively less compared to that involved in taking a separate insurance policy to cover the same requirements. Some of the very essential and well known riders include accidental death rider and critical illness rider. Beside these, other important riders (their importance varies from person to person) depending upon one’s age, stage of life and future goals, include accidental death, disability or dismemberment rider, level term rider, waiver of premium rider, guaranteed insurability rider and family income benefit rider.

Accidental Death Rider: The rider provides extra benefits equal to the minimum sum assured while taking the base policy. It is applicable only if the insured dies during the policy term due to accident. Since in most cases the rider benefit promises a sum same as the underlying policy assured amount, it is also called Double Indemnity Rider.

Critical Illness Rider: Also known as Accelerated Death benefit, this rider allows an insured who is diagnosed with terminal illness and may require long term medical care or who requires confinement to medical home permanently; to withdraw part or whole amount of death benefit from the basic insurance policy. The basic insurance policy reduces by the amount withdrawn under rider. The rider helps the insured and his family meet immediate financial needs of medical treatment and loss of regular income generated by the insured. The rider generally specifies the amount available to insured in such cases and can be withdrawn by him during term of policy.

Accidental Death, Disability or Dismemberment Rider: The accidental death rider can be sometimes extended to include any permanent or long term disability lasting at least for 6 months or loss of limbs or sight due to accident.

Level Term Rider: With this rider you can attach a fixed amount of term insurance to your basic permanent life insurance policy for a certain period. The amount of benefit assured can be multiple times the basic death benefit from the original policy.

Waiver of Premium Rider: This rider helps the insured to continue with his insurance policy even if he/ she are unable to pay regular premiums due to long term or permanent disability. By default a life insurance policy can expire if the premium is not regularly paid. In case if the insured suffers from a disability that prevents him from earning a regular source of income, the insurance policy premiums become difficult to bear. This rider allows the insured to take waiver from premium payments until the disability lasts or for the entire policy period in case of permanent disability. The terms of proving disability and its valid duration vary from company to company and across different policies.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider: Also known as Renewal provision, this rider allows you to buy extra insurance at certain periods during the specified term of rider. Without letting your existing policy elapse, you can purchase additional insurance or convert basic term insurance without proving insurability or having to undergo fresh medical examination. The rider is most beneficial to those who may experience major medical illnesses or loss of health due to advancing age, as there is no need for fresh underwriting. It also allows to add more insurance with changing life circumstances like marriage or arrival of newborn.

Family Income Benefit Rider: This rider provides a cushion in case of sudden death of the insured during policy term. While taking the rider, the insured needs to select the time frame for which he wants his family to continue receiving benefits. According to their comfort level, the beneficiaries will have the option of receiving regular monthly income or taking the entire benefit as lump sum after the death of the policy taker. As the insured grows old the duration of rider decreases. This rider is most beneficial to families with single bread winner.

via Types of Life Insurance Riders.

What is Waiver of Premium Insurance Rider?

Most people are aware of the advantages and take out some or other form of insurance policy depending on their needs. The most basic situation for which a life insurance policy is generally taken is loss of income due to death of bread winner of the family. But many overlook the possibility of a worse situation arising due to permanent disability that could make regular premium payments difficult and result in the termination of the insurance policy.

Definition – The situation is easily remedied by opting for a Waiver of Premium Insurance Rider that can be easily attached to almost any insurance policy. According to the rider, an insured can claim relief from paying future premiums in case he/she becomes permanently disabled or is unable to earn a living due to disability during the term of the policy and the disability lasts for at least 6 months. With this rider, the insured can continue to enjoy the benefits of the base policy without paying any more premiums till the time the disability lasts. Once the insured recovers, he can start paying premium again.

Benefits and Restrictions – The best part of the rider is that since it attaches only to the security part of the total insurance taken, the extra premium to be paid is quite minimal. The rider can be especially useful in case if the premium payments are quite high and will ensure that the policy continues even in case of debilitating illness or accident. To be able to claim premium waiver, the insured must prove that they have been suffering from the disability for atleast 6 months or any other minimum period as mentioned in their rider terms. Also, the rider benefits are available only until a certain age, generally 60 or 65 years. Post the maximum age limit, the insured cannot opt for this rider. The rider is valid only till the term of policy. Once the policy reached term, the rider is terminated. Thus it is beneficial to opt for the rider right at the time of taking out an insurance policy to safeguard your financial investment planning objective.

Disability – Disability definition as per the waiver of premium rider specifies that the insured must be so disabled that he / she is unable to pursue the profession they were engaged in when they became disabled. It varies from one insurance India company to another whether they consider the person disabled to carry out their particular occupation or unable to pursue any occupation in general. It is thus advisable to expressly clarify the point with the insurance company and read related documents carefully before opting for the rider.

All insurers clearly mention the conditions under which the insured will be considered disabled and eligible for the waiver of premium rider. Where some only accept permanent and irrecoverable disability, others may consider the insured disabled even if they are able to engage in work in some cases. Loss of limbs like hands, legs and eyes generally qualify a person for the rider benefit. Besides, a person who suddenly loses his ability to speak or hear due to illness or accident also sometimes qualifies.

via What is Waiver of Premium Insurance Rider?.

You Don Not Have to Pay Exorbitant Premiums For Life Insurance

There are ways of saving money on your life insurance because of the many different types of policies that are available. There is also a wide choice in the types of cover you can have depending on your needs and individual circumstances. The main factors that affect the cost of life insurance are your lifestyle, your age, your medical history, your job and your gender. Some factors affect the cost of the policy more than others.

Smoking is one of the lifestyle factors that does drive up the cost of life insurance. This is because so many health conditions, such as caner and heart disease, are linked to smoking. You have a greater chance of contracting a life-threatening medical condition. Even if you are a reformed smoker, the agent you deal with for the policy will want to know how long ago you gave up smoking. In order to save money, this time frame has to be longer than a year.

You will pay a lower premium if you take out a life insurance policy when you are in your 20’s or 30’s than you will if you are in your 50’s or 60’s. This is because of your life expectancy. You have a greater chance of dying when you are older and so the likelihood of having to pay out the policy to your beneficiary is much higher. The older you are, the more costly a life insurance policy becomes.

If you work in a high-risk industry, such as mining, you will also have to pay a higher premium for your life insurance. This is because there is a greater chance that you will get killed on the job. Your age also plays a part in the cost here because if you are young you may be deemed a high risk because the young are not known to be as cautious as older workers in the same line of work.

When you take out a life insurance policy, you do have to fill out an extensive health questionnaire. You may also be required to have a fill physical check up by the doctor in order for the company to be satisfied that you do not have any pre-existing medical conditions. It is important for you to be truthful when completing this questionnaire, especially if the company does not require any information from your doctor. If you give false information and the company finds out that you do have a pre-existing medical condition, then your policy will be canceled and you will be left without any life insurance.

Improving your diet and exercise is a way of staying healthy. The questionnaire you complete will also ask you questions, such as your exercise habits and your eight and height. If you are overweight, this could affect the cost of your premiums because being overweight is linked to life-threatening disease, such as heart disease. Even if you are overweight when you take out the policy and you change your lifestyle through diet and exercise, you can make changes to your information that will lower your costs.

Shop around when you are looking for life insurance policies. Make sure the company your deal with is financially sound and is not in danger of going bankrupt, taking all your premiums with it. Get a sense of the amount of premiums you are likely to pay by shopping online and requesting free quotes on various types of policies. The life insurance industry is a competitive one, with companies offering various rates and discounts. Make sure you ask about any discounts that you may qualify for because these will lower your costs.

One thing you should be aware of when paying premiums for life insurance is that some companies levy extra charges against you if you choose to pay your premiums on a monthly basis. Compare the rates involved with monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual payments to see where you can save the most money. When you’re looking for a term policy, check the renewal guarantees after that term is over. You don’t want to have to start shopping around for a new policy when it is easier just to continue with the one you have for another term. A policy with a guaranteed renewal will allow you to start a new term when the current one ends without having to undergo another doctor’s examination. The premiums will be higher because of your increased age.

via You Don Not Have to Pay Exorbitant Premiums For Life Insurance.

Term Life Insurance | Term Life Insurance Can Help Your Loved Ones In Future

There are many rules and regulations in life insurance policy, people just do not have the time to read about the policy and they just sign on the dotted line and accept the policy, however if you can give some time to read the policy properly and take complete knowledge about the policy, you can save make the right choice and save a good amount of money for you. Term life insurance is a confusing policy at first. There are many companies that offer term life insurance. If you simply believe in your agent and book your policy then my suggestion to you is that you are doing a mistake. That’s because you may not be getting the best deal for your term life insurance coverage. Insurance agents generally stick to their favorite companies, that’s because they get their commission from that particular companies. And because of this reason you do not get the best prices that you can get. And above all if you have health related issues then it is advisable for you to take complete knowledge about the market and to compare prices and to see what companies are less aggressive with quotes. Once you have found the company that offers you the best prices then you can decide onto what type of insurance coverage you want.

Generally a term life insurance is taken to take care of any debts or any other financial burden that your family might have to bear in case you pass away. Term life insurance is basically a type of security cover that you provide to your loved ones whom you leave behind. It is practically for this reason that people generally are not sure as to what exactly is the time frame that they should apply for the policy. I would suggest a few things here, if you have a huge retirement fund coming your way, then it is ok to apply for a short time cover, because you may not need as much as far as life insurance is concerned. But that is not the case with all of us, and due to this they do not understand how much is needed and they undercut their insurance and wind up with a life insurance plan that cannot cover everything in the event of an untoward happening.

I remember when one of my friends had spoke to me about this issue and I had recommended him to go for a large plan, but he said that the large plan would cost him more and that he would just go with a small plan. Then one day he met with an accident and he died due to that. Later on his family suffered because he had lots of credit card debt and also his home is mortgage. His wife was not able to support the family properly and they had to leave their home simply because they were not able to pay the monthly payments of their home. His children were removed from the school and were admitted to a local community school because his wife was not able to pay the school fees. If only my friend had taken a large cover for his term life insurance, this kind of situation would have been avoided. So my advice to all is to always try to pay more for your insurance because that is an important matter when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones for their future.

via Term Life Insurance | Term Life Insurance Can Help Your Loved Ones In Future.

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