Important Questions to Ask When Choosing Insurance Coverage

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Although purchasing insurance can seem daunting for many, it is a necessity. Here are some key points to keep in mind when making sure you have the right coverage.

Pre-existing Conditions and Full Disclosure

All applications must be reviewed by an underwriter before being approved for insurance coverage. When you apply for individual health insurance, an underwriter will look at your medical history.

You must be honest about all details and disclose any pre-existing conditions. If they find out about you, you can get denied coverage. Even if they don’t find a pre-existing condition you didn’t mention, you are still not eligible for coverage. This is because if you ever submit a claim for payment, they will look back at your past and determine if there are any pre-existing conditions. If they do, they could deny your claim and you could be charged with fraud.

While many companies won’t cover pre-existing conditions even though they are unlikely to, others will with a waiting period of 30, 60, 90 or 120+ while others will require “guaranteed issues” policies. Before you sign on to a company, make sure that you have a complete list of pre-existing conditions, as well as the exclusion period and what type of coverage will be offered once it ends.

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Rate Comparison

While rates are important, it is also important to compare quotes for policies with the same coverage. You should get a copy of all quotes to see what type of coverage each category offers. Next, ensure that all quotes are based on the same coverage amounts. Ask for a lower rate if you get a quote from another company. It could be that the company is specialized in one type of coverage, so they offer it at a significantly lower rate. But then again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, you can only go so far with a little bit of skepticism.

Working with independent agents

Independent insurance agents can provide valuable information on the entire insurance industry. But perhaps more important, they can provide feedback from clients about an insurance company’s products and customer service.

You are the boss, so do it your way

You and your family will be the ones who have to deal with the consequences of any coverage you choose. It’s important that you consider your needs and wants before you make a decision on what type of coverage you want. You might want to think about whether it is important for you to have the ability to choose your own doctors. An HMO might be a cost-saving option to look into if this is not an issue. You might also consider a pricier PPO if you have a preferred doctor and want to be seen by them.

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It doesn’t matter which company you choose, it is important that the products and coverage options of the company can adapt to your needs and changes. If you are planning to have children, a company that is specialized in catastrophic coverage might not be the best choice.

Other important considerations to make when selecting coverage include add-ons and deductibles, customer support, rate increases, and rate increases.

Bundling and Add-Ons

Bundling or combing multiple coverages together. This feature is very important and should be offered by your insurance company. Bundling, or “add-ons”, is the combination of short-term and long-term disability, prescription coverage, or dental and vision coverage in one package.

Deductibles & Co-Pay

Ask about the fine print. Some good questions to ask are “What co-pay options are available?” and “Is there an annual limit on co-pays?” Or, “Do the co-pay caps apply to any 365-day period?

Always check the standing of a company with the Better Business Bureau. If you need to speak to a local agent, make sure they have one. Give the company a call to find out about their hours of operation, hold times, and any services they offer via phone or the internet.

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Unexpected Rate Increases

Ask your friends to share their experiences with the company. Are they having any issues with service or rate rises in the last two years? This will give you a good idea of possible future rate changes.