Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Best Personal Loan For You

When you take out a personal loan you can do whatever you want with the money. You could use it to buy a car or take a holiday. You could pay off all your credit card debts if the loan is at a lower rate of interest and is repayable over a longer period of time.

There are a number of factors to consider then choosing the right personal loan.

Some lenders offer as much as 25,000 pounds but around 15,000 pounds is the norm. Quite often you can get the money in a matter of days following approval in principle by telephone.

The term of a loan will vary and a year is standard, although you could get one for a shorter period of six months. However, if you only require the money for a few months you might as well use your credit card. Seven years is the usual maximum length for a personal loan although you might find a lender prepared to go over ten years.

Personal loans are widely available these days at competitive rates. The usual providers such as banks and building societies have been joined by the major supermarkets and it is advisable to stick with a name you know.

Some smaller companies might offer loans with a costly penalty if you redeem your loan early or move to a company offering a better deal. Normally if you pay off your loan early a reputable firm would only charge two months’ interest.

You need to compare rates and all the other factors, for example you might get the best rate from your mortgage lender but still benefit from using another provider.

Interest rates on personal loans are usually fixed for the duration of the loan so you pay the same amount each month. This is invaluable for your budgeting and you will normally need to pay by direct debit.

In general, the larger your loan the lower your interest rate. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the one to note. This takes into account any arrangement fees due, although not many lenders charge for this nowadays.

Your credit rating will be checked before you can get a personal loan as lenders will need to be sure you are a good risk. If you have a poor credit record you might still get a loan, but it is likely to be at a higher interest rate than normal.

People who are on short-term contracts or the self-employed can find it difficult to get a personal loan.

An unsecured loan demands a higher rate of interest as the lender cannot take possession of your house should you default as could happen with a mortgage loan.

Loan protection insurance covers you if you cannot meet the payments due to health problems or losing your job. Sometimes you cannot get a loan without this insurance, or else agreeing to a higher interest rate.

If you want the insurance check the small print very carefully and find out about any exclusions which might disallow a claim. Consider whether you really need it in the first place as it can be expensive and is only adding to your debts.

According to new laws, the full cost of your interest charges, including any insurance, must be shown in the lender’s APR. Comparison of rates between companies is now much clearer as you can see exactly what is charged.

Don’t Lose Your Home For a Thousand Pound Debt

Following the credit crunch the government has called for protection against people losing their homes, and said that turning families out of their homes should be a last resort. So it beggars belief to learn that you could be forced to sell your house for as little as one thousand pounds of debt as a loan or on a credit card. All that is required is a ‘charging order’ to make this happen.

The use of charging orders, first introduced in 1980 to enable creditors to force borrowers to sell their house if they can’t pay off their debt any other way, has increased by 100 per cent over the past couple of years. That is a massive increase in their use, and of course equates to a massive increase in the number of people losing their homes.

Under the revised terms of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, banks would not need a County Court judgement to force someone to sell up in order to repay their debts. Even if the home owner had got official agreement for a repayment schedule through the courts and were adhering to it, the banks would still have the power to force a sale.

The new measures were devised to stop people arranging low monthly repayments and freezing their interest, and then selling their house anyway, thus cannily saving on the loan interest. But the majority of people who have negotiated a repayment schedule and are making regular payments as required just want to hang onto their homes, and they could still be at risk of this draconian law.

Although the revision had received Royal Assent, the Ministry of Justice has decided not to go ahead with the new terms by the time being. But it is not all good news for borrowers because the revision would also have decreed a minimum limit of debt due before a sale could be enforced, and that has also been put on hold.

So that is why it could happen that someone is forced to sell their house to cover as little as 1000 pounds of unsecured debt.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice admitted that, although the revisions to strengthen the Act had been held back to protect borrowers, it was possible that some people would have to sell up to repay fairly small debts.

The Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable said, “No one should be allowed to lose their home simply because of a credit card debt. More needs to be done by the government to ensure that lenders simply do not act overzealously, and only take possession of properties as a last resort. The fact that banks can now kick people out of their homes for not keeping up with their unsecured debts is very worrying.”

The Citizens Advice Bureau also said the Act would make it ‘easier for creditors to get their money'. However they would not comment on the Act itself as the minimum limits for charging orders had not yet been set.

Check Those Loan Figures Before You Sign!

The phrase “economic downturn” is touching the lives of more and more people every week. Families who were oblivious to the downturn 12 months ago now have to face the grim reality of financial crisis.

After being used to years of not worrying too much about your debts, after all at the rate your property is rising, there’s nothing to worry about, we’re all coming down to earth with a very big bump.

People who were full of confidence on the jobs front, too, are realising that perhaps they’re not quite as safe as they’d thought or hoped.

Debt Advice centres are reporting an unprecedented increase – in some areas, an increase of 500 per cent in calls in people seeking help with their problems, even on the “ right side of town” – one such centre reports that just 135 clients on their files average at just under 40,000 pounds per client – totalling 5.1 million pounds in total.

Many fixed rate mortgages have now ended, meaning many thousands of families are having to budget for much higher monthly mortgage repayments, as well as increased utility bills, petrol or diesel and food costs. The end result for many is that their overall debt can add up to as much as three times their annual income

Given these figures, it is not surprising that lenders want to keep their “clean” clients, those who have a good, solid payment history. These are the clients who should still be able to find a good deal on a fixed rate mortgage. If you have enough equity in your property (basically, your property is worth more than you wish to borrow against it) or a decent deposit to bring to the negotiating table, then the deals are still out there.

Don’t assume that a less than perfect history means you won’t get a mortgage, but you may have to pay a higher rate to get the kind of deal you seek.

Whatever your circumstances, prepare yourself by shopping around (use the internet or contact an Independent mortgage broker) to check fees. If the last time you tried this exercise was when you took out your previous mortgage, then you may be shocked to find that a 2 year fixed deal fee can now be just under 1500 pounds (up to 50 per cent more than a year ago) and a 3 year deal fee just over 1130 pounds (an increase of almost 100 per cent in a year).

Always take these into account – your broker may offer to add them on to the mortgage - think of the real cost over the term of the mortgage.

As always, the advice is shop around – clients who are a good credit risk should still be able to get a couple of mortgage options from a decent broker.

Most importantly – keep your payments realistic – factor in future living costs and keep your mortgage at a level you can afford should your circumstances change in the future, and with luck, you will ride out this downturn without needing debt management advice!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Buy Term Life Insurance - It’s The Best Value!

If you are in the market for an affordable life insurance policy, a term life insurance policy is the best value for you. Not only is term life insurance the least expensive kind of life insurance, but it also allows you to determine how long you want to be covered. These features make term life insurance policies the best policies for the type of coverage they offer.

Term life insurance policies do not include some of the “perks” you will find with whole life insurance. For example, whole life insurance policies may offer guaranteed cash value accumulations and retirement savings plans, but they are also more expensive because of these additions. Term life insurance policies cover you for the duration of the time period you choose, and they cover you with life insurance—period.

Term life insurance policies are perfect for people who are just starting out in the work force and do not have much money, or for people who are suffering from a serious, and perhaps long-term, illness. People in these categories are not usually seeking to invest any a large portion of their paychecks to a life insurance policy that is designed to last for many years. (If a whole life insurance policy did not last for many years, the cash value and investment components would hardly be worth it.) Term life insurance policies are more affordable for those who are just starting out, and more practical for those who are suffering from a serious illness.

If you want the beneficial coverage of life insurance but can not afford all the “perks” of whole life insurance policies, or if you are suffering from a serious and potentially long-term illness and are not looking for years and years of life insurance coverage, then term life insurance is the best value for you! Your next step is to start comparing rates and coverage offered by several different life insurance providers.

Term Life Insurance Cost – The Least Expensive Life Insurance

Of all the various life insurance options, term life insurance policies are most often the least expensive and the most commonly purchased life insurance policies.

Term life insurance policies are the least expensive life insurance policies. This is because you are purchasing life coverage only when you purchase a term life insurance policy, whereas with other life insurances, such as whole life insurance, you are also purchasing an investment component. Many whole life insurance policies call these investments “retirement savings,” but there are many other ways to save for retirement without having to choose a life insurance policy that may not be the best for you. Since you are not paying for anything but life insurance with a term life insurance policy, term life insurance is less expensive than any other life insurance option for the coverage offered.

However, term life insurance is not the most practical policy choice for you if you are seeking coverage for the duration of your life and/or seeking an investment component. Term life insurance policies do not accumulate guaranteed cash values, nor do they assist with estate planning the way whole life insurance can. Another downfall is that term life insurance is not available to people above age 50 at the same less expensive premiums that apply to younger people. At this point, a whole life insurance policy may be the better option.

When you start planning your purchase of a life insurance policy, the first thing you should do is figure out exactly what kind of coverage you need (do you want to be covered for life, or for the next fifteen years?), how much you can afford or are willing to pay (how much money can you afford to spend on your life insurance?), and what kind of perks, if any, you would like your life insurance policy to offer (are you looking for a life insurance policy that will offer accumulated cash value and other investment options?).

Southern California Health Insurance – How Is It Marketed?

In California, health insurance is marketed under both individual and group policies. People who are unable to obtain health insurance from employers or other professional trade or group affiliations that offers health insurance should opt for individual health insurance. Individuals who usually fall into this category include contractors, the self-employed, and/or employees of small businesses.

The individual health insurance and large group health insurance (policies that cover more than 50 employees) are medically underwritten, which unfortunately leads to some people having difficulty finding adequate health insurance since health insurance providers can deny coverage based on medical history. A medical underwriter will review your application, and if you are approved you may face a waiting period of at least a year from the date the individual health insurance becomes effective and six months from the date the group health insurances becomes effective for any pre-existing health conditions to be covered. There is good news, though. If you were previously insured and have not been uninsured for longer than 63 days, your new individual health insurance provider is required to apply your prior coverage time to the waiting period, and your new group health insurance provider is required to apply your prior coverage time to the waiting period if you have not been uninsured for more than 180 days.

Smaller group policies (policies that cover anywhere from 2-50 employees) have advantages over individual and larger group policies because it is required that health insurance coverage is guaranteed regardless of pre-existing health conditions. Small group health insurance providers can employ the same six-month waiting period for pre-existing health condition coverage as large group health insurance providers; however, they must also apply any prior coverage time to the waiting period.

Health care does not come cheap, especially if you do not have any health insurance at all. Check into the types of health insurance available to you and find the most affordable policy that best suits your coverage needs.

PPO Health Insurance Plan – What Is It?

A Preferred Provider Organization, or a PPO, is health care organized by a particular insurance company. Medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics are contracted by the insurance company to work with the PPO system. The PPO decides the managed medical care guidelines and the fee schedule and the medical professionals, hospitals, and clinics that are contracted by the PPO agree to these terms.

A PPO is similar to a health maintenance organization (HMO) in that it offers a network of health care professionals available to the insured person; however, a PPO is more flexible than an HMO in that a PPO also offers the option of seeing an out-of-network health care professional. Many times people would rather visit their family doctor, or a doctor that is highly recommended, than a doctor in the PPO network with whom they may not be familiar. Yet, PPO networks usually represent a high number of medical professionals, doctors, and clinics over a large geographic area, so finding an agreeable doctor might not be that difficult.

The insurance offered by a PPO usually covers a high percentage of the cost to see a health care professional in the PPO network, and the insured person will pay a co-payment at the time of the doctor, hospital, or clinic visit. Fees for out-of-network health care professionals are often higher than fees for seeing a health care professional in the PPO network. PPOs want to encourage the insured person to visit a doctor within the network, but it is obviously not required. PPOs also require the insured person to pay a yearly out-of-pocket fee before medical bills will be covered.

Other advantages to a PPO are the fact that its premium is less expensive than that of an individual health insurance plan and the fact that PPO networks usually have a plan that will offer prescription drugs at much lower costs. A PPO will also cover more medical services than an individual health insurance plan.

Low Rate Car Insurance – Two Ways To Get It

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to ensure low rate car insurance for yourself is to drive a vehicle that is both safe and considered “low-profile”? It’s true. You’re more likely to get low rate car insurance on a minivan that you are a flashy sports car or SUV.

If you choose a safe vehicle, not only are you better protecting yourself and passengers, but you’re also protecting the vehicle itself. Insurance companies will look at how much it’s going to cost to repair your vehicle in the event of an accident, as well as how safe you and your passengers are going to be inside the vehicle in the event of an accident. Insurance companies are going to look at statistics such as crash test ratings and features such as air bags for both drivers and passengers, so you should research them as well when you head out to purchase your next vehicle.

Also, if you choose a “low-profile” vehicle, it’s less likely to be burglarized, vandalized, and/or stolen. This is especially true for people who already live in areas that are considered “high crime” areas; that is, areas where a lot of crime, including auto-related crimes, occurs. Insurance companies can find information about particular vehicles by checking out the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). These organizations keep track of vehicles that are most often burglarized, vandalized, and/or stolen.

So, the next time you set out to purchase a new, or even used, vehicle, do some research. Find out how safe the car is and how well it will hold up to collisions or other auto-related accidents by checking out the crash test ratings and safety components of the vehicle. Also find out whether or not the vehicle you have in mind is at a high risk for being burglarized, vandalized, and/or stolen. These factors will help you get low rate car insurance.

Variable Universal Life Insurance – Is It Different From The Others?

A variable universal life insurance policy is a form of whole life insurance. With a variable universal life insurance policy, not only are you offered flat-out life insurance, but you are also offered more security and investment components that are not offered with other kinds of life insurance policies.

The difference between a variable universal life insurance policy and any other kind of life insurance policy is that not only does variable universal life insurance offer a cash value element, it offers more flexibility and control over that cash value element than any other type of insurance.

A variable life insurance policy will insure you for life, and any cash accumulated with a variable universal life insurance policy is tax-deferred. This means you will not have to pay taxes on the money you earn.

Admittedly, there are investment risks that come with variable universal life insurance policies. If your investments are very successful, the person whom you have named as your beneficiary will be paid a fairly high death benefit. However, even if your account’s investments are unsuccessful, the person whom you have named your beneficiary will still be paid a minimum death benefit in the event of your death. Even more good news?

Variable universal life insurance policies are regulated by Federal Securities Laws, so you can purchase them with confidence. They even have to be sold with informative brochures so you know exactly what you are getting.

With all the different life insurance policies out there, not to mention and the pros and cons of each, your safest bet is to talk with a life insurance agent before committing to one particular life insurance policy. Express your needs and the amount you are willing to spend. Be sure to shop around, as well. Get quotes from several different life insurance agents and find out if your needs are covered before choosing the one that is right for you.