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Rental Car Insurance – Should You Buy Rental Car Insurance?

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Your flight landed an hour late. Now, you’ll be late for that important meeting. You can already imagine your customers sitting around a conference table waiting impatiently. You step to the front of the line at the car rental counter, with six other exasperated businessmen behind you who are late for their meetings, too. The rental agent plunks the contract down in front of you, and circles all the places on the contract that you’re supposed to sign or initial. Then she stares at you, as if to say, “Hurry up!” The print is small. The sentences are written in Legalese. You’d like to stop and read the fine print, but you can feel the people behind you getting more upset. You thought you were renting a car for $35.00 per day. With all the add-ons, the cost is now $70.00 per day.

Oh…the pressure…the panic! You cave in, signing and leaving your initials in all the right places. You take your contract and keys and head for your car, inwardly feeling like a failure and mad because you didn’t stand up for yourself.

If the preceding story is too familiar, there’s hope just ahead!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular car renter or just an occasional traveler who needs to rent a car, you’ll likely face these kinds of choices at the car rental counter. Some folks just decline everything. Some folks purchase all of the coverage offered.

But…are you wasting bunches of money on unneeded coverage or leaving yourself dangerously under insured? Before leaving on your trip, I recommend that you make two phone calls – one to your auto insurance company and another to the credit card company you’ll be using to pay for the rental car. You’ll need to find out if you have automatic coverage for your car rental from each company, and the various terms and conditions for that automatic coverage.

FIRST…CALL YOUR CAR INSURANCE COMPANY

In your personal or business auto insurance policy, there is coverage for damage to your auto. The Insuring Agreement in most policies says: ” We will pay for direct and accidental loss to ‘your covered auto’ or any ‘non-owned auto,’ including their equipment, minus any applicable deductible shown in the Declarations.”

Another phrase is VERY IMPORTANT!

“If there is a loss to a ‘non-owned auto’, we will provide the broadest coverage applicable to any ‘covered auto’ in the Declarations.” Here’s an example of how this would work for you:

You have two vehicles. One is a 2006 Toyota Camry with full coverage. It’s worth $24,000. The other is a 1980 Chevy S-10 pickup worth $1,500 that you only use for trips back and forth to the local home improvement store, and you only have liability coverage on the pickup. If you rented a car and it got damaged, your insurance company would provide the full coverage for the rental car, which is the broadest coverage in your policy.

If you normally drive an older car with only liability insurance on it, there will not be any property damage insurance extended to the rental car. In this instance, you should either use the credit card’s Collision Damage Waiver or buy the CDW from the car rental company.

Ask your insurance company representative how much coverage you have on your car. Ask if there is a limit of value on your Collision coverage. If there is a limit, and you drive a 7 year old Ford Taurus that’s worth $5,500…and you rent a new Cadillac Escalade that’s worth $55,000…will your personal auto insurance cover the damage to the higher valued vehicle? REALLY important to know this…you could owe the rental car company tens of thousands of dollars to repair or replace a high value rental vehicle if you’re not properly covered.

Find out the limits of liability. Make sure that your limits are higher than the minimum limits required by your state. Limits above $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident for Bodily Injury, and $100,000 for Property Damage are very inexpensive. Make sure that you limits are no less than that amount…higher would be better.

Find out what collision and comprehensive deductibles you have on your car, because those deductibles will apply when you rent a car and use your own insurance for rental coverage.

Make sure that you have Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist coverage on your personal or business policy. If you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and the accident is his fault, recovery will be practically impossible. Likewise with a motorist who is underinsured. Best to have your own coverage protection.

Q: What if I don’t own a car, and don’t have car insurance?

A: If you do not own a car, you won’t have an automobile policy. You should buy the rental car coverage, both the CDW and liability coverage. Or, you should use your credit card’s CDW and buy the optional liability coverage from the rental car company. If you’re a frequent car renter, however, you can still buy a “non-owner” liability policy. This solution might save you money over the coverage available through the car rental company.

Q: What happens if my personal property inside the car gets damaged or stolen?

A: Most Collision Damage Waivers provide coverage for theft of the vehicle, but not any personal property stolen or damaged inside the vehicle. Check your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy because you may have coverage through them for your stolen or damaged personal property. A deductible will likely apply.

Here’s a super important tip! Some people think that, if they purchased the Collision Damage Waiver or used the CDW from their credit card, and the rental car got damaged, they don’t have to report it to their own insurance company. They are hoping that because the CDW covers the damage, it won’t affect their own insurance policy….and they won’t get a rate increase. WRONG!!! Don’t be misled into thinking that you can get away without reporting your accident to your own insurance company. In most accidents, more things get damaged than just the rental car. Even if your accident is just you running into a guardrail, whoever owns that guardrail is going to look to you to pay for the damages. Also, other people might have been injured. You could have a large liability exposure, and you might need your personal or business auto policy to cover your loss. Your insurance policy includes legal representation if someone files a lawsuit against you for damages.

If you’re going to use your own personal or business auto coverage, decline the Collision Damage Waiver on the car rental contract.

NEXT…CALL THE CREDIT CARD COMPANY

Ask your credit card company about the benefits they offer. Each company is different, and each level of credit is different. For example, a regular card might have different insurance benefits than a gold or platinum card. Ask the card company to send you your benefits IN WRITING. If you’re in a hurry, ask them to fax or email it to you.

Some cards may only cover collision and comprehensive, and leave you uninsured for liability. Some cards only offer coverage when you rent from a certain rental company. Some restrict the number of days of coverage. Some cards don’t automatically cover you and require you to sign up for a particular program. Still others limit the kinds of vehicles you can rent. (see below for some exclusions)

If you have more than one credit card, call each one and find out the card with the best benefits. Then, use that credit card to pay for your rental car, and use their benefits.

If you’re planning on using the credit card company’s coverage, you must decline the Collision Damage Waiver shown in the rental car contract. Otherwise, the credit card company’s coverage will become excess to the coverage in the rental car company’s Collision Damage Waiver. “Excess” means that any other available coverage would pay first, and the credit card coverage would pay any remaining portion of the loss.

Credit card Collision Damage Waivers cover:

o vehicle damage

o theft

o loss of use

o towing

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

Collision Damage Waivers exclude:

o Injury to anyone or damage to anything inside or outside the rental vehicle.

o Loss or theft of personal belongings.

o Liability

o Loss due to intentional acts, like DUI, drug use or other illegal activities.

o Off-road operations. If you rent an SUV and take it off-road, no coverage.

o Rental periods of more than 15 days within your country of residence, or more than 31 days in a foreign country.

o Vehicles that do not meet the definition of “covered vehicles,” such as:

– expensive, exotic and antique vehicles

– certain vans

– pickup trucks

– other trucks

– motorcycles and ATVs

See your credit card company’s written CDW for all the details.

CAR RENTAL INSURANCE

Most major rental car companies offer these four coverages.

o Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). This covers a rental vehicle damaged by an accident, vandalism, theft or loss of use. Costs range between $9 and $20 per day.

The most misunderstood part of car rental coverage is the Collision Damage Waiver, or sometimes called the “Auto Rental CDW.”

Remember…the car rental CDW provided by the car rental company is not insurance. Insurance is regulated by each state. Collision Damage coverage is a waiver. The car rental companies agree to not hold the renter responsible if the rental car is damaged or stolen, and they guarantee that they will pay for certain damages listed in their coverage agreement.

In many cases, the waiver also provides “loss of use” coverage, which pays the rental company if the damaged or stolen car cannot be rented. In most states, car insurance policies don’t cover loss of use. So, if you choose not to buy the Collision Damage Waiver, you might have a loss of use exposure if the rental car gets damaged. But if you’re using your credit card’s automatic coverage, it will pay for that loss of use.

Some car rental companies will require you to pay for repairs or replacement costs out of your own pocket up front, and then you have to get reimbursed by your own insurance company. Being forced to come up with thousands of dollars in immediate cash could ruin a vacation. You’re protected from these up-front costs by the CDW. Read your rental contract CAREFULLY!

o Personal Effects Coverage. This provides coverage for theft or damage to personal items inside the rental car. Costs range between $2 and $5 per day.

o Supplemental Liability Insurance. This provides liability coverage up to $1 million. Costs range between $7 and $9 per day.

o Personal Accident Insurance. This covers you and passengers in your vehicle for medical expenses. If you already have personal health policies or travel policies, it won’t be necessary to buy this optional coverage. It usually costs between $3 and $5 per day.

Corporate Travelers. If you’re a frequent traveler for business, do one other thing. Check with your company to find out if they have a corporate travel policy. If they do, find out what that policy covers, and then simply don’t buy duplicate coverage on the rental car contract.

Car rental outside your country of residence. Some insurers exclude coverage if you’re driving in a foreign country. Some will cover you, but only a limited time. Some credit card companies cover car rentals outside your country of residence. Check with your insurance company and credit card company for specific details, and GET IT IN WRITING!

Q: Can I allow others to drive my rental car?

A: If you’re using your personal or business auto coverage to cover your rental car, the chances are all “authorized drivers” are covered. An “authorized driver” is anyone listed on the policy. However, here’s a BIG GOTCHA! If your teenaged son drives your rental car and he allows his girlfriend to drive the car, you’re covered. If the girlfriend allows another person to drive, NO COVERAGE!

Some car rental companies have exclusions for young drivers. Some charge extra for young drivers. Find out this information BEFORE you arrive at the car rental counter.

Q: How do I file a claim if I’ve had an accident?

A: When you experience the damage or theft, immediately get a camera and take lots of photos of the damage, including any other autos or property that was damaged. Keep those photos! Notify the rental company IMMEDIATELY of the damage.

Report the damage to your own auto insurance company if you have personal or business coverage.

When you return the vehicle to the rental company immediately ask for:

o A copy of the accident report and any claim documents, which should show the amount you’re responsible to pay, as well as any amounts that have been paid toward the claim.

o A copy of the initial and final auto rental agreements.

o A copy of the repair estimate or the paid repair invoice.

o A police report, if one exists.

So the bottom line is this:

If you have personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance or corporate travel coverage, it is usually not necessary to pay for the Collision Damage Waiver or extra coverages offered to you by the rental car contract. Your situation may vary.

Get everything in writing, and make an informed decision. Then enjoy your car rental experience!

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11 Common Cross Browser Compatibility Issues

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Cross browser testing helps the developers to verify the compatibility of the web application across various browsers. With the help of this test, developers can ensure that the web application retains its functionality irrespective of the browser or browser version. However, it is a complex process and might cause errors at certain times.  Some of these issues can often throw the developer off track and delay the web app production process. This process can drastically harm the reputation of a company. So, in this article, we are going to discuss the most common cross browser compatibility issues that a developer might encounter. We will also try to find possible solutions that can help the developers to overcome this obstacle. However, before discussing the problems, we need to understand the basics of cross-browser compatibility testing.

The Basics of Cross Browser Compatibility Testing

During the earlier years of the internet, people mostly used Internet Explorer to access the web. However, with the advancement of technology new browsers have been introduced for the Web industry. These browsers have successfully dominated the industry with the help of attractive features. For instance, Google Chrome dominates more than 50% of the modern web browsing industry. Therefore, the developers must ensure that their web application performs smoothly on all browsers that are available in the market. This is because a company cannot afford to alienate any segment of the industry due to browser incompatibility. Moreover, they must also ensure that their web application retains its functionality on the older functions of the browser as well.

Cross-browser compatibility testing helps the developers to achieve this goal by testing it on thousands of different browsers and browser versions. This test also ensures that all the visual elements of the web application stay in the correct location irrespective of the screen size or resolution. Now let us look at some of the common issues that the developers might encounter while performing cross-browser compatibility testing.

The Most Common Cross Browser Compatibility Issues

1.Performing Validation for HTML and CSS Codes

Performing the validation of HTML and CSS codes can become tricky depending on the browser. This is because various browsers have different methods for detecting and interpreting these codes. So even a small error like a missing bracket can cause drastic outcomes in these browsers. Whereas certain browsers can automatically fix these errors and run the code smoothly. The best way to fix these errors is to increase the vigilance of all web developers and testers. They must analyze all these HTML and CSS codes properly before executing them. There are also various CSS and HTML validation tools that can help the developers in this process.

2.Missing the CSS Reset Options

Ordinarily, every browser has its design layout that is automatically applied to every website. However certain websites have their unique design. To utilize this design the developers have to override the default browser design layout. In case the developers fail to conduct this, the website will be rendered differently depending on different browsers. To solve this issue the developers have to use CSS reset style sheets to override the default web design layout. Normalise.css is one of the most commonly used CSS style sheets in the web development industry.

3.Detection of the Doctype Error

Doctype is considered one of the basic lines for the web development core framework. However, if the developers failed to include this line, it can cause some major errors during the rendering process. Commonly, a browser runs into different modes like strict mode and quirks mode. Most of the modern browsers don’t perform the test for Doctype. However certain old browsers such as internet explorer version 8 still perform this check. So, these older browsers still use strict mode and perform all the checks including the Doctype error checking. The quickest solution to this problem is to mention the doctype at the top of the source code. This will help the developers to display the webpage as intended.

4.Various JavaScript Compatibility Issues

JavaScript compatibility issues often occur when developers try to use modern JavaScript functions with older versions of a browser. For instance, this error can occur if the developer tries to use ECMAScript in Internet Explorer 11. Proper research on JavaScript compatibility is the only way to solve this error. The developers need to find out all the features that will be compatible with the browser on which they are working. Various tools help the developers to convert JavaScript into the latest compatible versions. All these features can help the developers avoid various errors related to JavaScript compatibility. Various other third-party JavaScript functions work similarly to the default JavaScript library.

5.Issues Related to the Layout Compatibility

In the earlier part of this article, we discussed the process of performing CSS reset. However, this process can cause layout compatibility issues in certain situations. This issue is mostly caused due to non-compatibility of a website layout. In certain cases, a non-responsive web application can also cause this error. However, it is quite simple to fix this issue. Developers can use various tools like Flexbox while working with modern web layouts.

6.The Use of Untrusted CSS Libraries

The conventional web layouts can never provide a customized experience for a web application. Therefore, the developers often use third-party CSS libraries for providing customization, scalability, and security to a web app. However, the use of untrusted CSS libraries can have dramatic outcomes in the web development life-cycle. These outcomes include the improper working of CSS libraries or the crash of the entire framework. To avoid these errors the developers must use trusted and well-known libraries like angular JS. They should also check the documentation of a CSS library before integrating them into the development framework.

7.Unavailability of Separate Stylesheets for Different Types of Browsers

Most of the common cross-browser compatibility issues are related to the stylesheets. These issues mostly occur when the older browser versions do not support the modern style elements of a web application. The use of different CSS fixes for various browsers can also trigger this compatibility issue. The easiest way to solve this error is to implement different style sheets for different browsers.  To verify this process the developers can use conditional spreadsheets. This process will help them to link the stylesheets with the respective browser or Browser version.

8.Improper Choice of Testing Tools and Platforms

A web tester can’t conduct all the testing processes single-handedly. Therefore, he will require the assistance of certain tools and platforms to complete this process. Many web developers believe that the choice of tools is completely random and does not have any significant impact. In reality, a proper tool can help to increase the development potential of any web development company. To make the correct choice, the Testers should perform thorough research on the business requirements and project needs. This data will also help them to get an idea about the needs of their users. Lastly, web developers should also consider the recent market trends and developing strategies to make the perfect decision. Let us consider the example of LambdaTest to understand the potential of a Cross browser testing tool.

LambdaTest is a platform to perform automated cross browser testing on multiple browsers and devices simultaneously. This platform uses a safe and secure online Selenium Grid to perform all the testing processes. The cloud-based server helps the developers to perform all the testing applications from anywhere in the world.

Using this platform, the developers can also verify the functionality of the locally hosted web applications. The developers can reuse the LambdaTest test scripts in various other developing projects as well. LambdaTest also helps a tester to perform automated visual testing on the UI elements of a web application. LambdaTest maintains an activity log to store all the final test reports during the web application development life-cycle. Lastly, it provides various attractive plans to support the growth of small web developing companies.

9.Ignoring the Functions for Vender Specific Tasks

As we already discussed earlier, all web applications are not created with the same intentions. For instance, a company can create a web application for conducting business, storing data or displaying some vital information. Depending on the purpose of the web application, the developers have to customize the designing and development process. For instance, developers have to arrange all the visual elements properly to avoid any compatibility issues. The primary goal of a vendor-specific web application should be to maintain user satisfaction.

10.Old Systems for Browser Detection

To optimize a web application for a browser, the developers need to understand which browser the end-users are using. The conventional way of completing this process was using a simple browser detection system. However, with the advancement in technology, these systems have failed to deliver the correct results. To solve this problem, the developers have to get rid of the conventional browser detection system. Instead, they can use modern technologies such as a modernizer which conducts a series of super-fast tests. These tests will reveal all the browser features. The developers can use this data to provide a seamless experience.

11.Insufficient Testing on Real Devices

In this modern generation, most companies try to complete the testing process with the help of an emulator or virtual machine. Many web testers have the misconceptions that an emulator can completely substitute a physical device testing process. In reality, there are certain factors that a virtual machine or an emulator can never simulate. For instance, it cannot perform testing for human interaction on various web applications. It is also impossible to use emulators to perform visual element testing. To solve this issue, the developers can use various online cloud platforms to perform remote testing on physical devices. There are various platforms like LambdaTest that can help the developers to achieve this goal.

Wrapping Up!

So, we can conclude that cross-browser compatibility testing is an important process to ensure the proper functioning of a web application. The developers must perform this test to ensure that they can provide the ultimate user experience to their end-users. In this article, we discussed various obstacles that might occur during the cross-browser compatibility testing phase. However, with the help of innovation and work experience, the testers can easily overcome these hurdles.

Lastly, we would like to recommend the testers seriously consider the tool and platform selection process. During this phase, they can consider the project requirements and their company ideals to make a perfect choice. This process will help the testers to use the full potential of the testing environment. The primary goal of a web developer should always be to quickly provide high-quality web applications to the end-users.

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3 Forgiveness Quotes Everyone Should Live By

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Forgive and forget. Isn’t that just one of the most overused forgiveness quotes in history? If you’re looking for something a little more than that, then this article is for you. Read on…

Forgiveness Quote # 1: “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” – Bryant H. McGill

Love can be quite complicated; but if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that love and forgiveness go hand in hand.

Parents, I think, understand this best of all. Mothers and fathers who truly love their children might get angry when their kids break something in the house or disobey their orders, but they’ll always forgive them in the end.

Runaways who leave home in the heat of an argument can also relate to this. The lucky ones who have loving parents will always be welcomed home with open arms.

Forgiveness Quote # 2: “Always forgive you enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” – Oscar Wilde

Talk about cheekiness. This Oscar Wilde quote is almost a spin-off of the Christian mandate “love thy enemy,” isn’t it? For most people, getting them to forgive their enemies is almost impossible; but from Wilde’s perspective, it looks quite doable and even satisfying.

So if you have someone who makes your life a living hell – say, a boss or a rival at work – try forgiving their transgressions against you. Think about this quote as you do so, and I am confident it will make your day.

Forgiveness Quote # 3: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

In this particular Lewis B. Smedes quote, you are being made to discover how your inability to forgive other people affects you.

Most people think that withholding forgiveness gives them power over others, but they fail to realize that they themselves are also held captive.

As long as you hold that grudge, your heart will never be at ease and you will remain forever bitter. Is that really how you plan to live the rest of your life?

These forgiveness quotes might not make sense to you at the moment, especially if you’re still too angry and too wound up to listen. Give yourself time to relax and let go. In due time, you will find it in your heart to forgive even those whom you find most unforgivable.

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Practical Tricks For How To Get Your Newborn To Sleep At Night

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Babies are one of the most precious gifts for parents. In simple words, it is a blessing for parents. Having experience of becoming a new parent is undoubtedly a feeling that cannot be expressed into words.

But apart from this, there are still a few things which you as a new parent do not know or mentally not prepare, and somehow this becomes the reason for creating a bit of fuss in your routine cycle.

For a new parent, one major thing that becomes a bit problem is when the baby won’t sleep at night hours, so what new parents start to do Is finding the ways and start searching.

To consider this, today in this article, I try my level best to jot down some of the effective ways for how to get your newborn to sleep at night, through which you can be aware of it a bit early especially before your delivery time and then able enough to tackle your baby after your delivery.

So without any wastage of time, let’s get the ball roll, and unveil the tips about how to get your newborn to sleep at night together.

Tricks that help to make your baby sleep well at night

Feed well:

One of the major mistakes which most new parents make is to not be sure or set the time that when and which time you need to feed your baby.

So my advice for all the new mothers wondering how to get your newborn to sleep at night is to make sure that during night hours, specifically at the time when you sleep, avoid feeding your baby. As for babies, there is no day and night time, and they sleep when they want to sleep.

So, one trick which you can adopt is to make sure that your baby is not sleeping too much in the day. Try to entertain your baby or spend day hours with your baby, so through this automatically, your baby will sleep at the time when you sleep.

The second thing is, try not to feed your baby in sleeping hours. Make sure that you feed your baby well, and your baby is not hungry before sleeping.

A white noise:

White noise is also one of the best considerations which you can pick at night time. If your baby wakes at night or in the middle of the night, then play a sound like a lullaby or a gentle/ soothing sound. You can play that near your baby, so doing this will help your baby to make him sleep at night.

Keep your surrounding calm and comfortable:

Make sure that at night times your room lights are properly off, the surrounding of your baby room is calm and comfortable. Additionally, also try to avoid switching on and off the lights during the time of your baby sleeping.

As most of the time, a little bit of distraction or disturbance in your baby sleep becomes the reason for keeping your baby awake.

Hope after reading this little piece of guide regarding how to get your newborn to sleep at night will help you and let your baby sleep well at night hours.

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Refurbished VoIP Business Phone System Is Cheap And Reliable

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The VoIP or the Voice over Internet Protocol cloud technology offer the sophisticated phone systems that you need for your small business or office needs with a limited number of employees. The VoIP phones offer a range of features like the virtual receptionist option, the voicemail, conference calling music on hold and much. But unlike the traditional phone systems, these are not as expensive and also are easy to install requiring less wire too. Since they are run by the cloud-based technology, they entail less hardware installation and thus less setup cost apart from the zero maintenance cost.

Simple internet phones

All you require to install a VOIP business phone system is the internet access and the IP phones. The first step involves signing up for the service that has to be completed by the member of the team that is installing the system for you. Most of these companies will have the phones pre-figured for you when you order them and explain your exact requirements to them. Subsequently, they will ship the phones to you that should ideally arrive within seven working days following which the easy setup begins.

The original hardware

Once the phones are customized and configured, you will only have to plug them on and embark on the activation service and restart them once. When you want only the best and at reasonable prices, the best you can do is to opt for the Cisco IP phone system that are refurbished, but maintain the same quality as the original CISCO hardware. Those that setup and maintain these systems are the same people who are a part of the authorized training labs for the various programs for the official CISCO examination.

Customized and pre-configured

The configuration that all small business and office business telephone systems have are identical cookie cutters that run the systems. Only small improvisations are enough for individual customization. The technical guides on the phone will help you to set up the phone at your office that will have just he functions that you need. You can have the extensions that you need for each employee with the personalized number that will help you in streamlining your internal as well as external line of communication.

Managing your personalized system

With the CISCO refurbished systems, you will have facilities like using their computer for calls and manage a line of direct communication with the internal staff as well as engage in video conferencing if needed. Since these systems come from the professionals that manage such systems, you will not have to worry about maintaining them either. This type of refurbished system will not just cost you less while buying but also save the expenses of the technicians having to come to your office and install them that is chargeable on an hourly basis.

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Navigating the Health Claim Maze

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Introduction

The second half of getting sick is fussing with the health insurance claims process. I have some tips to pass-on from my own health claims experiences that might help you navigate this maze. Since I also sell health insurance, my understanding of the process and structure gives me an added perspective. This is not a rant on health insurance business or healthcare – just some techniques that can be helpful.

I am way too experienced in running the Health Claim Maze. Unfortunately, I lost my older brother to cancer last year and as his friend, and later executor, had the task of helping on the insurance issues.

First the Good News

I have always gotten the right answer eventually from every health insurance company on every health claim I have dealt with. Each and every insurance company honored their insurance policy and correctly paid what was due (or had a valid reason to decline a claim). Most claims were handled correctly and timely without any intervention.

This included the Kansas Health Insurance Association (the Kansas health insurance risk pool) which paid over $500,000 for my brother’s lymphoma treatments over his two year illness. It gave him access to any treatments that were appropriate. The final cost to him, in addition to his monthly premium, was his deductible and cost sharing of $3000 for each of the two years ($6000 total).

The core value of any health insurance plan is offsetting the huge financial risk of a major illness or injury and getting you access to the treatment you need.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company

Claims service matters. Unfortunately, most folks select insurance companies based on price and not value. An important value to consider is the ease of getting help if you have a claim.

Look for an insurance company that has kept their claims call center in the United States. Nothing will make the claims process more frustrating than trying to get help on a complex health claim over a bad phone connection with someone who is talking a different version of English. Avoid any insurance company that has chosen the cheap off-shore claims helpline strategy.

Second, ask around about the claims service reputation of an insurance company. This is a good question for your insurance agent. Some insurance companies focus on making the claims process easier while others only offer only adequate service. It is worth paying more and getting the quality service.

Organization Matters

Setup a filing system to keep all claim benefit paperwork. Since the annual insurance deductible follows the calendar year, it is helpful to sort any claims “Explanation of Benefits” by the year the healthcare service was rendered. At the very least, have a box or file to toss any health insurance paperwork – keep it all. You will need this paper trail if a major health claim problem erupts.

If you are dealing with a major illness with a high volume of claims documents you will need a more advanced filing concept. For my brother, I had three files for each year: 1. Paid Claims; 2. Claims in Process; 3. Claims being appealed. I also stapled any unpaid healthcare provider invoice or appeal letter with the claims documents. Within these files, all claims paperwork was sorted by date of service. With pounds of claim’s documents generated by my brother’s illness, organization of the paperwork was very important.

The Contract / Sales Booklet

Always keep in your file the actual health insurance contract and the detailed sales booklet. The sales booklet is much more accessible and a good starting point to understanding your benefits. I purposely send the detailed booklet to each of my clients when they apply for insurance. The contract is what the health insurance company is obligated to do in exchange for your premiums and is the final word on any dispute.

Troubleshooting the Maze

Most health insurance claims are automatically (particularly if you are “in network” with your healthcare providers) and correctly handled. With any organization, even if well intended and well run (I count most health insurance companies in this category), balls are still going to get dropped and mistakes will happen. Always treat the claims representatives politely (my wife’s very wise advice) and enlist them as allies.

Here are three primary claims problems with troubleshooting techniques that I have used:

Problem #1: Claim Denied

Health claims are often denied for minor technical reasons. Don’t panic. You have work to do.

First Action: Call the Insurance Company’s claims office and ask for an explanation. Why was the claim not paid? Often it is a simple problem that can be quickly corrected.

For example: a client that had a hospitalization ($45,000 three day hospital visit due to a heart rhythm problem), but had the claim initially declined by the insurance company. A phone call to the insurance company revealed they needed a detailed bill to process the claim but the hospital had only sent a summary bill. This was quickly resolved with a second call to the hospital. A payment for the claim (less policy deductible) was quickly sent.

Second Action: Appeal the Claim. You will see on any “Explanation of Benefits” a procedure to appeal any claim that has been denied. Follow this path (normally a mailed letter). Keep a copy of everything. You need to appeal within a limited time period. I made it a policy with my brother’s claims to appeal the same day I received any Explanation of Benefits that did not pay the claim. Always send an appeal by certified mail to establish the date the appeal was made and who it was sent to. An appeal forces a higher level of assessment and typically shifts the claim to a special claims appeal review department.

Third Action: Follow up the appeal with a phone call. Normally, you will get an appeal response by mail within a specific time frame outlined in the appeals process. If you don’t receive a timely response or a response that you don’t understand, call the claims appeal office and ask for help. Request a supervisor if you don’t get an adequate answer.

Fourth Action: Ask for a copy of the contract clause that impacts the claims outcome and reread it. Have the claims representative or the supervisor explain the contract language and why the claim is ineligible for payment. You will eventually get the right answer (I always have). If the right answer is a denial, you are owned an explanation you understand.

Problem #2: Past Due Notice from Health care Provider.

This is a warning flag – something has gone astray in the claims communication or processing and you need to figure it out. Intervention will be needed.

First Action: Confirm with the healthcare provider that the claim was properly filed. Several times, I have found that the provider never got the policy information and was unable to file a claim.

Example: Both times that my brother was taken to the hospital, the ambulance service was never given any insurance policy information. The late notices alerted me to call them and provide what they need to file the claim.

Second Action: Call the insurance claims call center and confirm that they received the claim. Ask for an explanation on why claim payment has been delayed. Discuss when the claim payment will be handled.

Third Action: Repeat if necessary. If not resolved after calling the provider and health insurance claim office a second time, request the insurance company to contact the healthcare provider and resolve the communication issue directly. If this is refused, see: “Fourth Action.”

Fourth Action: The “Poor Man’s Conference Call” – my favorite technique to deal with communication barriers between healthcare providers and claims processors. Get access to two difference phone lines (I normal use a land line and my cell phone) and call both of them at the same time with a phone at each ear. Force them to dialogue with you as the conduit until the problem is resolved or until they accept your request to discuss the problem directly without you.

The “Poor Man’s Conference Call” has worked both times I had to use it. Reserve it for your stubborn communication problems when you need a “nuclear option” to force direct contact to resolve a claim problem. Because of HIPAA rules and legal risks, it is normal for healthcare providers and insurance claims processors to be reluctant to discuss any claims issues directly. Health care is a crazy world with privacy, legal barriers, office procedures and multiple layers of processors that limit cooperation and foster communication impediments.

Problem #3: Out-of-Network

The best way to avoid claims paid at the much lower “Out-of-Network” rate is to make an honest attempt to use “In-Network” vendors. If you choose to use providers that are not on the preferred list, you will pay more out-of-pocket and often have to meet a higher deductible.

Below are situations in which you are forced to use providers outside of the prefer ranks:

First Situation: Emergency Treatment. The health insurance contracts that I am familiar with and sell make an exception for any network issues if you are unable to choose a preferred provider due to bonified medical emergency. Your claim will likely be processed initially based on the “Out-of-Network” rates and then you will need to appeal for claim payment based on the emergency treatment exception and request adjustment to an “In-Network” settlement.

Second Situation: No Ability to Select an In-Network Provider. I have appealed and been successful based on the argument that there was no opportunity to select a preferred provider.

Example: My brother was transported by an ambulance service that was summoned by calling 9-1-1. He had no control over which ambulance was dispatched. The ambulance service was not a preferred provider and the initial claim was figured based on “Out-of-Network” rates which left a substantial balance. After an appeal, this balance was paid by the insurance company.

Another example: You select an “In-network” facility but are assigned an “out-of-network” doctor or provider. My brother’s pathology sample was sent to a lab that was not a preferred provider. He had no control of the transaction and no ability to select who got his lab work. I again was successful on appeal.

Third Situation: No network provider available. Any health insurance contract that I am familiar with has an exception for any network issues if no preferred provider is reasonably available. You may have a basis to appeal if you can show that no provider on the network will take you or that none of the preferred providers are within a reasonable travel range.

Example: My brother’s doctor that specialized in infections was not a preferred provider. All of the claims from this provider were initially process as “Out-of-Network.” I was able to prove that no “Infections Doctor” that was on the preferred provider list was available to treat my brother within 30 miles. An appeal, based on network provider availability, was then successful and the claim adjusted.

Summary

While most health insurance claims are processed correctly, you still need to be prepared for the few that aren’t. Always follow-up with phone calls, ask for help and appeal an unfavorable outcome, if necessary. Be polite and enlist the claims representatives to be your allies. Remember, you deserve explanations that you can understand and help resolving any claims processing problems. I hope my organizational and troubleshooting tips are helpful.

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The Benefits of a VoIP Phone System

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Consumers and businesses alike who still use traditional land lines need to discover the amazing benefits of a VoIP phone system. The crux of the platform is voice services provided over the Internet. The quality of these systems is incredible, and they are significantly cheaper than traditional voice options. The economic benefit alone is reason enough to switch, but we are just getting started. If you don’t already know about these amazing systems, you need to read further. Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits provided.

Cost Efficient and Completely Scalable to Your Exact Needs

These phone services are perfect for a single person or an entire corporation. You have complete control over how much you want. Thanks to the move off of public switched telephone lines and the emergence of Internet calling equipment, manpower, maintenance, and even long distance calls are extremely cheap! These savings are passed on directly to you, the customer. If you are running a business, the savings and scalability that VoIP can provide allow you to optimize your bottom line.

A Ton of Other Media Services Are Also Included

This means fax and video calling and instant messaging too. These added features cannot be provided by traditional communications companies. Added media features go a long ways for businesses. Have video conferences and keep in constant communication with your employees via instant messaging. You can add users to the network for quick messaging and video calling. Plus, you will also be able to see which users are online and active.

Your Number Moves When You Do

Remember when your phone number would change every time you moved? VoIP technology has banished this antiquated hassle. When you decide to move, whether you’re moving a single line or a whole business worth of lines, your number moves with you. There is no more hassle in moving. You can even travel with your line! It is common for business people with VoIP connectivity to bring their line along when they are out of the office for an extended period of time. As long as you have an Internet connection, you have phone services. The number remains the same, and you can keep in contact with business associates and customers without breaking a sweat.

No Boundaries

Since VoIP technology is hosted over the Internet, traditional area and country codes are losing relevance. For example, if you lived in Germany, but subscribed to an American phone number, you could make calls to America at the cost of domestic calls, which is cheaper than international calls.

Safe in the Case of A Disaster

Should anything happen to your physical location like a natural disaster or a fire, you’re networks and phones are secure with VoIP services. Even better, you will be able to keep your lines and networks online after a devastating disaster, so you can get back to work without missing a beat.

There is really no competition when it comes to affordable phone services. If you still use a traditional communication line and have not considered VoIP technology, it is time for you to see what it can do.

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Outsourcing Software Development – Top 5 Reasons To Outsource Software Development

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With the rapid developments in technology and businesses looking for alternatives to cut costs and increase productivity, outsourcing software development has definitely become one of the main strategic options that companies are looking to implement.

Seeing all these outsourcing trends, there are several commonalities in which corporations based their decisions to outsource their software development projects.

These five top reasons are listed below.

Cost reduction

One of the main reasons why companies are opting to outsource is due to the reduction of costs. These costs may be in terms of reducing labor, training and certification costs, office space rental fees, utilities, and other company expenditures.

Salaries of IT professionals, for one, are definitely lower in most of the outsourcing destinations when compared to their Western counterparts.

Increase in productivity

Outsourcing has made it possible to remove the limit of specific operating hours. Your company can afford to have an ongoing 24/7 operation. Your offshore counterparts can take over while your onshore counterparts sleep and vise versa.

Increased in productivity with barely increasing operating costs is definitely an attractive factor for a lot of organizations. Note, that 24/7 software development operation is very hard to set up and does not work that efficiently.

Diverse and abundant resource pool

Instead of limiting your company to a talent pool within your geographical location, you can now source for quality talent all over the globe.

Your company has a better chance of finding an offshore vendor that employs a team of top talented individuals in the IT industry, then finding them yourselves one by one. With this set up, you are ensured that you have the right and top people working on your software development project.

Quality of resources

Not only does your organization have access to diverse and abundant resource people, you also have access to quality and highly skilled talents. Majority of the top outsourcing destinations have a high rate of graduating students with a degree in software engineering and computer science.

This is because these countries such as India, Eastern European countries and China value education at a much higher degree compared to their Western counterparts. Consequently, these countries have a quite large number of resource people with high quality IT skill set.

Built in Processes

Constructing the right software development processes could be costly and time-consuming, especially when these are needed requirements that are not yet available in your organization.

Thus, it is often easier to build these processes with an outsourcing software development team who already has those processes in place.

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Find the Best Web Hosting Providers

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Website hosting is the service wherein a business or company will buy an online disk space as a storage where they can keep the files needed for their website then broadcast it on the internet. Because of this, it will be possible for them to promote their services and product to their prospect clients. Internet is the place now where most people meet and interact. There are a number of website hosting services available to people who will need these hosting services.

Linux hosting is considered to be one of those services that are very popular in the market. This type of hosting service is made by Linux, which is also known as an operating system manufacturer that have been giving services at a very cheap price.

Another among the popular host is windows hosting service. This is also manufactured by Microsoft and has been very reliable just like the operating systems that they have been creating.

Virtual Private Server or VPS is another type of web host. The servers on this kind of website hosting service will be partitioned into smaller servers and assign them to different computers. This will give them an independent server that will enable them to boot independently.

A person may also buy these disk spaces and sell it to third party companies. These are called reseller hosting services that are giving income. This is because these resellers have bought the servers in whole sale and paid for it at a cheaper price.

Managed hosting or also known as dedicated hosting is where the company will just get a server space and dedicate it for their website alone. This is a good way of keeping the server secured because they will not be sharing it with other websites or company.

There are always services that will meet the needs of different websites and companies. And it is going to be possible for companies to buy the ones that will meet the allotted budget and preference of a company.

Keep in mind that searching the internet will help you find the right companies to provide you the best website hosting service that is going to help your website’s visibility online and its promotion. Read some reviews about these companies as this will help you find the most reliable company to help you achieve your business’ aim of becoming very successful in the future.

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5 Quick Ways to Improve Your Cash Flow

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Patience, perseverance, and personality are just three of the tips you need to be fully equipped with if your wish to become successful in life.

And although it might not be too ideal to become too materialistic, there is still no denying the importance of money, and a fluid inflow of cash in our lives at that. If you wish to improve your cash flow enabling you to provide a comfortable life, then here are some of the things you need to take into consideration.

Estimation and Forecast

One of the best tricks to help improve your situation is to become smart when handling cash Thus, it is important to always estimate and forecast the cash that you have at the moment and the cash that you expect to get in the coming days. This way, you will get a relatively good idea on whether or not your savings and expenses are still within budget.

Terms for Businesses

If your cash flow woes have to do with your business earnings, then one of the things you need to take into consideration would have to be your business terms. You have to be able to gauge whether or not your customer terms are beneficial and if you find out that it’s not, immediately change it to something more workable.

Practice Discipline

Another great way of improving cash inflow would be to practice discipline especially when it comes to spending. You need to always allot a bigger percentage of your budget to savings rather than expenditure. Although some circumstances might be unavoidable, doing this consistently can help prepare you for what is to come.

Segmentation for Business

Managing your cash flow from a general perspective is a very tedious process. This is why it is best to practice segmentation and divide different groups into different categories, making it easier to track your ups and downs. Allot a segment for your buyers or customers, suppliers, and necessary inventory as deemed possible.

Set Your Priorities Straight

Another great way of improving your cash flow can be done through carefully setting your priorities. Make sure that if you own a business, no matter how huge or small it is, you prioritize a solid and consistently growing cash flow because when this becomes a culture in the business, everybody will realize its importance. After all, if your cash flow improves, your people will also benefit from it.

Now that you have some of the most important ways to help improve your financial position, whether this may be for business or for your personal gains, make sure to employ every single time and it will truly benefit you in more ways than one. In the beginning, doing these tips might be a little difficult because you’re fairly new but when you get the hang of it and start to incorporate it as part of your system, then there shouldn’t be any worries anymore.

5 Quick ways to improve your cash flow makes common cents..!

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5 Proven Ways to Make Money Online

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There are endless ways you can use to make money online. Some will give you great returns while others will leave you working for pennies. If you are looking to make money online, here are the top 5 proven ways that you can consider.

Webinar Trainings

One of the ways you can make a significant amount of money online is through webinar training. A webinar is an online event held in real time. The people present are able to interact with each other and with the presenters by sending and receiving messages in real time.

If you are an expert in a certain field, you can use webinars to train people who are interested in what you offer. To be successful in webinar training, it is important that you have a recognized online presence in your niche or area or expertise.

Start an Online Course

Another way to make money online is by starting your own online course. Courses present a good source of passive income. When you create a course, you can sell it for many years to come with little to no updates depending on the topic.

It is easy to start a course and you can price it the way you want. According to Teachable.com, their instructors make upwards of $5,200 per month and most start making money immediately after launching their courses.

People are wired to seek education and skills, therefore, if you have a good course that really delivers value, it becomes easy to build a seven figure business with it.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the act of selling products owned by others for a commission. You can use affiliate networks such as ClickBank and others or look for other online businesses and companies that have their own affiliate offers.

You can easily make money with affiliate marketing if you have a blog with a good following. You can sell products or services that would interest your blog followers and make passive income without much effort.

Drop Shipping

With drop-shipping, you sell products through your site to people who are interested without having to deal with inventory or delivery of the same. It is also a great way to make money online without a lot of investment upfront.

Become a Freelancer

Finally, you can become a freelancer and engage in lucrative ventures such as content marketing, digital marketing and advertising, web analytics, web design, graphic design and others. All of these are freelancing careers that are scalable and able to bring in a decent amount of income. Many people have built million dollar online business offering such services.

Other good ways to make money online include starting a blog, becoming an online tutor, offering virtual assistant services and working with online business like Uber, Lyft and Amazon to offer driver and delivery services.

If you are looking to make money online, the time to start is now. If you are lucky, you might make money immediately; but for most ventures, you will need time to gain traction and start making a decent income.

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