Weird Insurance Policies That Shouldn’t Exist

The insurance industry is considered absolutely necessary by most people (and especially by politicians). The fact is, most people realize that changing the very nature of how our country’s leaders approach human rights would reduce or eliminate the need for private insurance. That means insurance companies spend a lot of their time on defense, avoiding the image that their companies exist only to take advantage of people.

Well, some of the weirder, more obscure insurance policies make it hard for them to do that.

Take, for instance, alien abduction insurance. Are you worried about being taken off into space? No worries! You can absolutely find coverage (if you happen to live in the United Kingdom), where insurance providers have sold an awe-inspiring 30,000 premiums. And they’re not cheap, either. You’ll be paying to the tune of $150 a month for extraterrestrial protection.

Have you ever entered a lottery pool? Usually, these are made up of employees who decide to play the lottery together — once a week, once a month, whatever. If you’re a business owner worried that your employees might hit it big and all quit at once, then guess what — you can take out lottery insurance to protect your business from those inevitable financial losses.

You know how they say you should have sexual intercourse if you’re not ready to be a parent? Sometimes, they recognize that you’re not mature enough. Other times they recognize that you simply don’t have the money. That’s where multiple birth insurance comes into play. Maybe you can afford a single child — but not two, or three or four. Don’t worry. You’re covered depending on the extra costs of an unexpected child.

Have you ever heard of body part insurance? Bruce Springsteen insured his voice for a whopping $6 million. Other celebrities have insured different body parts for millions of dollars to protect themselves from the dangers of a normal, mundane life (without riches).

Is Divorce Insurance Real?

The majority of marriages in the United States are destined to fail. Whether or not that’s a sign of a failed institution is up to you — but it makes sense to plan for something so common. We procure additional policies when a home might flood or burn or be damaged in an earthquake, and those outcomes are far less likely than a divorce. So is it possible to obtain divorce insurance? Technically, no. But there are steps to take to mitigate the fallout from a divorce.

There are a few obscure policies here and there. A company called SafeGuard Corp. offered divorce insurance aptly named WedLock. Of course, the requisite parameters of the insurance looked different from normal insurance because divorce is so common. Couples were required to have been married for at least four years before taking out a policy due to divorce, but after those four years had passed, WedLock would kick in and add $250 of additional coverage to the original $1250 policy each year. The monthly premiums started at only $16.

For most people, that kind of coverage isn’t really feasible. This is especially true since there are other types of insurance that, while they don’t protect against divorce, do protect against some consequences of divorce. 

Matteucci Family Law hinted that newly married couples might consider a prenuptial agreement. Although it can put stress on new couples, it can also reduce the financial impact of a divorce while creating an equitable arrangement if things don’t work out.

Another option is to write up a divorce settlement to decide what will happen in the event of a divorce before the marriage even takes place. This would mostly cover division of assets or child custody in addition to alimony or child support (if children are in the picture).

Finding your own health insurance pre-split is important. There might be employee benefits where you work that could save you some money.

You can also likely find policies to cover certain types of financial loss or protect certain assets in the event of divorce. These policies could conceivably cover legal fees, counseling, cost of living changes, etc.

Not sure what applies to you? If you’re thinking about divorcing a spouse but don’t have any protections already in place — and you’re willing to be patient and wait — then there are a few steps to take before you drop the hammer. First, talk to a financial consultant about assets and how to protect your money. Second, talk to a divorce attorney about how to protect assets before you decide to divorce.

The average cost of a divorce is over $12,900. The divorce is about more than just signing a piece of paper. It involves strenuous legal work that might last longer than you think. You might not get everything you think you deserve, because both sides will want an equitable solution — which means all your assets won’t necessarily be split down the middle. 

When To Sue For Breach Of Contract

When was the last time you signed a contract? We do it often even without thinking. Consider, for example, each time you click “I agree” on a website’s terms of use. That’s a type of contract. Of course, it’s not the type of contract you will be sued for breaking. Chances are the website service will simply discontinue your ability to use it. Some contracts fall in the middle, such as one between a renter and landlord. Others are more serious, such as those signed in court or between businesses.

What does a breach of contract really mean? Business contracts are written for one reason and one reason only: to outline each party’s obligations inside an agreement (albeit usually in the most confusing way possible). Written contracts are provided to give one party a legal avenue to recoup losses when another party fails to come through. 

There are two types of breach of contract: material and immaterial. The former type of breach means that one party did not follow through, and the other party did not receive what was owed. Let’s say two parties enter into an agreement. Party A wants Party B to build a website dedicated to conservative politics. Party B hands Party A the keys to a beautiful new website all about man-made climate change. This is a material breach of contract.

An immaterial breach means the terms of the contract are technically fulfilled. These breaches often arise in tenant-landlord relationships. The tenant might have complaints regarding construction projects in the building. The noise is making it hard for the tenant — who works at night — to sleep during the day. This is an immaterial breach in most cases (unless the contract specifically outlined no construction during the day, which seems unlikely).

Regardless of what side you land on after one or more parties breach a contract, you will want legal help. Not sure what to do? Check with our friends:

You can still sue for either type of breach. But whether or not a litigation makes sense is up to you. Did one party fail to deliver? Did one party make it impossible for the other party to deliver? 

Most states have laws that say the only enforceable contracts are those that are in writing. That means you cannot usually take someone to court over a verbal contract or “handshake” agreement. Business owners will already know this. Contracts that must be provided in writing include property sales, property leases, long-term work contracts, debt contracts, and property transfer. Speak to your lawyer to be sure that your contract is binding. 

Simple disputes might be handled in small claims court depending on jurisdiction. Most business disputes and breach of contract regarding law mean big bucks. Those breaches might be settled out of court, but when one party knows they’re right, it might be worth the time and money to let a judge settle the breach. 

The point is this: you can almost always sue for a breach of contract.

Insurance Terminology You Need To Know: Part IV

Welcome to part four of our series in insurance terminology you should definitely know — especially if you’re a new buyer of any kind of insurance. It never hurts to brush up when you’re rusty. Today we will look at a few terms like HMO, HRA, and HSA that are abbreviated to become more confusing than they have to be. 

What is an HMO?

HMO stands for “Health Maintenance Organization.” When you see HMO on your plan, it means you can only go through the specific HMO providers outlined by that plan. Usually, this means choosing one doctor in the network to be your primary care physician. Should you need to see a specialized doctor, your primary care physician will provide you with the right referral.

What is an HRA?

HRA stands for “Health Reimbursement Account.” An HRA is usually a benefit shared through an employer, and it allows you to deposit money from your paycheck to funnel toward healthcare expenses as needed — but this is purely a savings account with no tax benefits. It’s good for people who have trouble hanging onto their money for more than a day.

What is an HSA?

HSA stands for “Health Savings Account.” Another benefit normally shared through an employer, but an HSA normally allows the user to avoid federal taxes on anything deposited into the account. Funds deposited into an HSA do not need to be spent in a given timeframe, which makes them a great way to complement insurance. 

What is a PPO?

PPO stands for “preferred provider organization.” A PPO is similar to an HMO, except they usually cost more through higher premiums — and also provide limited coverage for when healthcare providers are used outside of the network. These plans are great for people who like to travel or move often for work, because they still offer some coverage in case you’re not where you normally are.

What Is Credit Insurance?

One of the scariest decisions an adult will ever make is putting a mortgage on their first home. These are the most detailed business arrangements that most of us will ever sign, and when you’re unaccustomed to reading contracts — especially contracts with an excessive amount of jargon contained within — it can be a stressful endeavor. Whether or not it’s worth it depends a lot on the contract signed, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Credit insurance might prevent even more stress.

But what is credit insurance and when is it applicable? Here we go! First things first: many loans you might take out can come with a credit insurance stipulation already attached, mortgages included. When a person’s financial situation changes or the payments become too much of a burden, the credit insurance kicks in. 

One thing you should know before signing any agreement is that it’s actually illegal for a creditor to include this type of insurance without specifically telling you. This is according to the Federal Trade Commission (or FTC). Keep that in mind if you ever find that there were a few extra clauses slipped into your agreement — also keep in mind that this is why a mortgage or other big loan requires that you read the contract. This isn’t one of those that you can just skip over.

What types of credit insurance are there? Credit life insurance, credit disability insurance, involuntary unemployment insurance, and credit property insurance. 

Credit life insurance is what you buy when you’re worried that you might pass away before you get the opportunity to completely pay off your loan. This is a big concern for homeowners who will likely be paying off a mortgage for over a decade with a fixed plan. You won’t be able to leave that home to your beneficiaries without their willingness to take over the money owed on the loan, so credit life insurance is a way to offset this possibility.

Credit disability insurance kicks in when you become injured or disabled and can no longer make payments on your loan because you can no longer work. Involuntary unemployment is exactly what it sounds like — it kicks in when you are fired or laid off from your job, as long as the reason for your termination was not your fault.

Credit property insurance is similar to homeowners or renters insurance in that it protects against many different types of loss. That means if an arsonist sets fire to your house and you lose everything, the credit property insurance will kick in to help pay what remains of the loan. Just keep in mind you’ll need actual homeowners insurance if you want the property rebuilt, though.

When shopping around for credit insurance, there are plenty of questions you might ask to make the process easier — not the least of which is “how much does the premium cost?” If you’re not in the mood to shop around, you can always ask the creditor directly. Chances are they will have plenty of options for you to choose form, and can provide help choosing the best type of coverage for you.

Insurance Terminology You Need To Know: Part III

This is part three of our series on insurance terminology. We decided to define many of the words associated with insurance coverage to ensure that those seeking a working knowledge would be able to obtain it. Not sure what a particular term means? You’ll find it here sooner or later, and they aren’t that difficult to sift through since they’re in alphabetical order. Here are a few more terms.

What is creditable coverage?

Creditable coverage usually refers to the person whose coverage comes from another source, including Medicare or Medicaid, which are two of the most common creditable coverage plans. Others include group health plans, military healthcare plans, Indian Health Service (and other tribal programs), risk pools, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, a Peace Corps Act health plan, etc.

What is a dependent?

A dependent is basically someone who relies on another for support. For example, a parent might claim one or more dependents (his or her children) when filing tax forms. Dependents usually provide a taxpayer with credits or other benefits. There are other examples of dependents, such as someone who is disabled.

What is an emergency medical condition?

On a healthcare plan, you’ll want to make sure you understand anything outlined under the emergency medical condition clause. These are conditions that put your health at risk, but sometimes specific conditions are outlined in a particular plan while others are left out. 

What is an FSA?

A flexible spending account (or FSA) is usually provided through an employer. These plans allow a person to set aside funds for certain contingencies. The money is considered “pre-tax” which means you won’t have to pay taxes on the FSA funds until the money is removed from the account. These funds can be used for specific reasons, like paying copays, hospital fees, physical rehabilitation costs, or dental expenses. Vaccines are also included.

What Does Workers Comp Actually Cover?

Workers comp is a type of liability insurance that protects two parties: both the employer and the employee. Both parties typically pay into a pool of money with each paycheck. When an employee is injured on the job, the employer can dot the “I”s and cross the “T”s to make sure that the employee can use that aforementioned pool of money for healthcare resulting from the injury, regardless of whether or not the employee has health insurance. It also helps protect employers by reducing the chance that an employee will file a personal injury lawsuit.

Workers comp covers accidental workplace injuries. An employee may be allowed to dip into the pool of money to cover healthcare costs, costs associated with lost wages or earning potential, costs of physical therapy, or funeral expenses if the worst should happen. Believe it or not, workers comp might even pay more if an employee is scarred because of the injury! Employees probably won’t need a slip and fall attorney for a simple accident, and that’s thanks to workers comp.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and workers comp is no different. What isn’t covered? It depends on where you live and what happened. For your state rules and regulations, check with your employer (or a lawyer if you don’t trust your employer). 

Here’s what we can say for sure. If the accident was caused by an employee — and keep in mind there’s a very stark legal difference between cause and effect — then the employee might not be covered. One obvious example involves fighting. If an employee tries to punch another employee or customer in the face, misses, and is whacked in retaliation, then workers comp absolutely will not cover his broken nose. He started the fight, after all. On the other hand, if the employee is hurt in a fight they didn’t start, then workers comp would absolutely cover medical expenses. 

The first thing an employer will likely do after an employee is injured in an accident is ask the employee to submit to a drug test. Don’t want to take the drug test? That’s legally fine, but you’re sure to lose your job. Take the drug test and it comes back positive? Bye Felicia. You’re sure to lose your job. Keep in mind that some drug tests will come back positive even if you consumed alcohol a full 24 hours prior. So even though the tests aren’t always fool-proof, an employee could still be screwed over — and need to pay for their own medical expenses after an accident. 

If you are an employee and were hurt while working, then you should have already contacted your direct supervisor. Failure to do so might make it more difficult for you to make a workers comp claim later, especially if there’s no video footage of the accident or no one around to corroborate your story. When reporting the injury, provide a full accounting — including your written story, if possible — and make it as detailed as you can.

Latest Insurance Reforms Leaving Motorcyclists Vulnerable

As the four-door sedan struck Dave Ramirez on July 5, 2002, little did he and his wife, driving north to Traverse City know that their journey will be cut short. Their plan to spend the long weekend holiday with their friends ended up being in the hospital after the crash. Dave and his wife were riding in their custom-painted Harley Davidson when this mishap happened. Both of them were admitted to the nearby hospital where they required extensive medical care, not to mention the months of in-home nursing.

All this resulted in a staggering $1 million bill combined, but their medical bills were covered, thanks to their auto insurance policy of the respective driver who was the main culprit. But that was in 2002. Fast forward to 2019, and motorcyclists are worried that the new insurance reforms will not provide such benefits anymore.

According to the new law, there is a significant drive down in the auto insurance rates, which was supposedly one of the highest in the nation. The new policies will allow motorcyclists to buy insurances that come only with limited personal injury protection benefits. Republican-led Legislature pushed for this law, and it was eventually taken up by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who signed it after considering the possibility of accidents in the city.

This insurance law will revoke the lifetime coverage guarantee for motorists who are involved in car accidents. Instead, their medical coverage decisions will be taken by the auto driver responsible for the crash. As per the reports of the Michigan State Police, there were over 2100 motorists who were injured in 2018 and more than 134 died in such crashes. Sadly, most of these accidents involved more than two vehicles.

According to Steve Sinas, a highly experienced estate planning lawyer, the new law cripples motorcyclists from controlling their destiny while riding. They will not be able to claim their deserved no-fault claims anymore. This will totally depend on the random nature of the accident and if the other vehicles involved in the crash has lifetime no-fault coverage or not.

While the motorists are literally being thrown down under the bus with this reform, supporters acknowledge that although this law is challenging, the main focus here is to cut down the insurance costs of the auto drivers. Since many people complain regarding the rise of auto insurance prices, this law comes as a necessary evil that leaves people divided in their opinions.

New Insurance Law in Florida Takes Effect On July 1

Over a hundred new laws made their way through the Florida House of Representatives and were implemented on July 1, 2019. One of those new laws overturned a controversial insurance rule that governed how insurance benefits are allocated to various parties and beneficiaries. The new law, HB 7065, will provide new definitions for several insurance terms like “assignment agreement.”

It will also revise old requirements for how insurance agreements were executed, and may change the validity of agreements already in place. In addition, even the effects of those agreements might change with the new law.

Insurers are now required by the new law to report new data about previously paid claims by January 30, 2022. One of the more controversial aspects of the law will allow insurers to reevaluate the way they assign benefits, or prohibit them altogether depending on the conditions. 

Another controversial measure of the old law was struck down, which will allow attorneys to potentially collect more in fees by implementing a new revenue structure dependent on overall awards after litigation is won. 

Barry Gilway, CEO of Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp had this to say: “This is a consumer protection measure, not just in terms of impacting the overall premium they have to pay, but also giving them some protections they didn’t have before.”

These protections are the result of a battle fought for seven years between insurance companies and those advocating for change because of rising costs of all types of insurance coverage even as that coverage has diminished. 

According to Gilway’s Insurance Corp, customers who have policies already in place will likely see relaxed rates soon enough, as the savings from the new provisions are expected to be passed down. Then again, that sounds a lot like “trickle-down” economics, and we all know how that concept actually plays out when put in practice.

Gilway’s organization experienced a lot of abuse as a result of former policies where AOB lawsuits are particularly popular, the rates of which have risen out of control over the last decade. That led the organization to ask for a shocking 97% increase in its overall rates for 2019. 

If you are in the midst of insurance litigation in North Miami, then you might want to speak to a defense attorney about your situation. 

How Much Power Does Robert Mueller Have In The Russian Collusion Investigation?

It seems that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into collusion between the Russian government and the Trump administration to swing the results of the 2016 election is finally drawing to a close, and both Democrats and Republicans are somehow in agreement (on occasion) that things aren’t looking so great for President Trump.

With the possibility of impeachment growing more likely by the day, we’re all wondering: How much power does Special Counsel Robert Mueller have when it comes to the prosecution of crimes he found to have occurred during his investigation?

At the least, Trump will likely be indicted on charges for the violation of campaign finance laws. According to recent documents from the investigation, Michael Cohen was directed by Trump, and with Trump’s complete knowledge, to make payments to at least two women who accused him of sexual misconduct during the campaign. Hush money is a big no-no in the world of politics.

In these documents, Trump was referred to as “Individual-1”.

More telling is that Mueller made a sentencing recommendation in regards to Cohen’s crimes based on his (eventual) willing participation in providing evidence that could eventually be used to burn Trump. Could he do the same when it comes time to feed Trump to the wolves of American judgment?

There are a number of individuals who believe such indictments could might only occur after Trump vacates the Oval Office, but there is always the possibility that our representatives could try to oust him sooner than that with impeachment. Should we find ourselves in front of our televisions on such a day, it will be up to Congress to decide whether or not Trump has committed an impeachable offense. Unfortunately, they get to decide if his law-breaking antics during the 2016 campaign meet the definition of “impeachable offense.”

Because a two-thirds majority is required and the Senate is currently controlled by Republicans, an acquittal seems likely in such a case.

We don’t know how far the Mueller investigation probed into the Russian-Trump affair during the 2016 election, nor do we know how far they intend to press the matter once the investigation is complete. Even if the investigation finds that Trump committed these crimes and others, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will attempt to prosecute him. After all, we already know that our president is a criminal. We already know he has broken laws. We haven’t done anything about it yet. Sadly, we might not ever.