Thursday, May 17, 2007

So when should you file a claim with your auto insurance?

Common sense says if the repairs cost less than your deductible you're better off paying for them on your own and keeping the story to yourself. The wisdom that says take a higher deductible on your insurance to lower your rates extends to this scenario. Take the money you save on the lower rates and deposit it into a savings account. When an accident happens, you'll have the money for repairs even if the cost is slightly more than your deductible.

In addition, because injuries are not always immediately apparent, you should report an accident in case you sustain injuries that show up a day after the accident and need medical treatment.

An annuity is a retirement

-planning tool that has two phases: the accumulation phase and the annuitization phase. In the accumulation phase, you give money to an insurance or investment company over a period of time or in a lump sum, and it earns a rate of return. In the annuitization phase, you begin to withdraw regular payments (such as monthly or annually) from your contract until you die.

An annuity has a death benefit, although it is not like one found in a life insurance policy. If you die before you annuitize, your beneficiary will receive either the current value of your annuity or the amount you have paid into it, whichever is greater. For example, if you die when your investments are performing poorly and your account value is less than what you have paid in, your beneficiary would receive the amount you paid in.