Your credit score is one of the most influential factors when it comes to financial outcomes in your life. Most people know that their credit scores affect their ability to obtain a mortgage or loan. What’s more, most people understand that the interest rates they pay on loans is tied to their credit scores. However, there are even more aspects of your life that are influenced by your credit score.
In fact, your insurance premiums can be directly affected by your credit score, which means that if your score isn’t great, you’ll be paying more for your coverage.
Many insurance companies use your credit score to generate a credit-based insurance score that is then used as a factor in determining your premiums. Credit-based insurance scores and your credit score are not the same thing. Insurance scores focus on only some factors of your credit history in order to gain an indication about how you manage risk. Factors that may be used include:
• Payment history
• Amount of debt
• Length of credit history
• Recent applications for new credit
• Types of credit you have
In some states, insurance companies are limited in whether they can use credit-based insurance scores and, if so, to what extent.
While influential, credit-based insurance scores are only one factor in a company’s process of determining your premiums. Auto insurance companies, for example, could consider factors such as your location, age, the model and age of your vehicle, and how much you drive.
Improving Your Score
The easiest way to improve your credit-based insurance score is to increase your actual credit score. A healthier credit score can lead to lower premiums and put money back into your pockets. In addition, the higher your credit score, the better terms you will receive on loans and credit cards. As such, having a good credit score is helpful not only for the present, but also for your financial future.
Some steps that you should consider taking to improve your credit score include:
• Be punctual—Paying your bills on time is a key factor in maintaining or improving your credit score.
• Pay it back—Reducing the amount of overall debt that you have is a good way of improving your score.
• Keep it open—Paying off a credit card feels great, but even if you don’t owe any money, you should still keep the account open.
• Limit new debt—Keep the amount of applications you make for new credit to a minimum.
• Maintain balance—Having a wide variety of types of credit, such as a mortgage, auto loan, credit card and personal loan can contribute positively to your credit score.
Looking for affordable insurance in Metairie or New Orleans Louisiana? Call TWFG Tony Voiron (504) 322-7299.
Car owners often assume that if their car is totaled, it will be replaced at the amount they paid, or at least the amount they owe. However, that’s not always the case — learn why and what you can do to protect yourself.
Is Gap Coverage Right for You?
Guaranteed asset protection, or gap insurance is an optional automobile coverage that helps you transfer the financial risk if you are involved in an auto accident and you owe more for your vehicle than the amount that it’s worth. This is referred to as being “upside-down.”
Since a new car’s value drops significantly the minute it’s driven off the lot, if you are involved in an accident that totals your vehicle in the first few years you own your vehicle, you may find yourself owing the finance company more than the vehicle’s actual value. Gap insurance provides for the “gap” between the two amounts.
Is Gap Insurance for Everyone?
New vehicle financing options: If you took advantage of a zero percent down payment deal or put a small amount of money down, or stretched the life of your loan past 3 years, gap insurance is most likely a good idea. That’s because the vehicle typically depreciates considerably faster than you have paid down the value on your vehicle’s loan. Used vehicles: Gap insurance is typically not available for used vehicles. To cover your risk, it’s wise to put down an ample down payment and finance the vehicle for the shortest possible time-frame.
For those who lease a vehicle, gap insurance is considered an essential coverage because typically there is no trade-in and little cash put down to lease the vehicle. Similar to purchasing a vehicle, if the car is a total loss, you will owe the difference between what you have paid and what you owe on the balance of the lease.
Cost versus benefit:
Gap insurance is offered for a nominal fee, which makes it a great value for anyone who finances or leases a new car. We’re Here to Help Depending on your vehicle’s make, model and loan terms, we can help you determine if gap insurance is the right choice for you.
If you’re purchasing a new vehicle, contact TWFG Insurance - Voiron Insurance Services, LLC at 5043227299 to learn about how gap insurance can complement your auto policy coverage options and keep you from getting caught upside-down!
Top Ways to Save on Your Auto Premium:
Consider raising your deductible.
Keep up your good driving record.
Drive less to qualify for a low-mileage discount.
Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags.
Install an anti-theft device.
Ask about our multi-policy discounts.
TWFG Insurance - Voiron Insurance Services, LLC
Did you know that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and sustain fatal injuries on Halloween than on any other day of the year? In 2017, October ranked No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths by month, with 3,700.
Kids love the magic of Halloween: Trick-or-treating, class parties and haunted houses. But for parents there is a fine line between Halloween fun and safety concerns, especially when it comes to road and pedestrian safety.
In 2017, 7,450 pedestrians died in traffic or non-traffic incidents, according to Injury Facts. Non-traffic incidents include those occurring on driveways, in parking lots or on private property.
18% of these deaths occurred at road crossings or intersections. Lack of visibility because of low lighting at night also plays a factor in these deaths.
To help ensure adults and children have a safe holiday, the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a list of Halloween safety tips.
When They're on the Prowl
Safety Tips for Motorists
Source: National Safety Council
When you’re a small business owner, you’re in charge of your own livelihood. So what would you do if an unforeseen threat came along that put your assets and investments in danger?
Carrying the right insurance can protect you from things like theft, litigation and more. At TWFG, we understand your needs and will make sure you get the right policy at the right price.
Here’s what to know about the coverage that’s available (and if you don’t own a small business, you can share these tips with a friend who does):
General and Professional Liability
Businesses that give advice, make recommendations or provide physical care need professional liability insurance. Also, if a customer is injured on your property or claims your product or service harmed them, general liability insurance can protect you.
Essentially, liability insurance will pay for any judgment against you (up to the policy limit) and cover your legal expenses.
Property and Auto
Insurance protects the structure and contents of your business property. Even if you lease space, you’ll want insurance to cover what’s inside.
Vandals, fire, water and other destructive forces could damage your furnishings, inventory and machinery. Insurance provides funds to fix and replace what’s lost so you can get up and running again.
One more thing: Does your company own vehicles? If so, you need a business auto policy in case of an accident.
Even though you do your best to ensure a safe workplace, serious injuries can happen due to commonplace accidents like falling off a ladder or slipping on a floor. If an employee is injured on the job, workers’ compensation can help replace their lost wages.
These are just some of the coverage types we offer to small businesses. If you’re looking to improve coverage or buy it for the first time, give us a call. We’ll help you build the best policy.
TWFG Tony Voiron (504) 322-7299
By now, you’ve probably seen a few people cruise by on an electric scooter. They may have been a few teenagers on their way to a friend’s house, somebody using the vehicle as a new way to commute to work, or maybe it was even yourself doing the riding. E-scooters have become common in many cities across the United States, with industry leaders Bird and Lime reporting millions of rides so far.
But, while e-scooters might be revving up in terms of popularity, new technology brings new complications and new concerns.
What are e-scooters?
E-scooters are not to be confused with mopeds or Vespa-like scooters, which allow users to sit, and travel at relatively high speeds. Rather, e-scooters are operated while standing up and often cannot go faster than 15 to 20 mph. Users get started by downloading an app that will help them find a nearby e-scooter. They can then unlock the vehicle for an initial starting fee with total payment being calculated according to either distance traveled or how long the user rides the scooter.
E-scooters are usually dockless and operate like dockless bike-sharing programs with users able to find and park the vehicles in a wide variety of locations. E-scooters often do not require the operator to have a driver’s license.
Know the Risks and Rules
While operating an e-scooter, users are required to obey state and local traffic laws, but these can vary greatly depending on where you live or where you’re riding. Some jurisdictions have implemented laws pertaining specifically to e-scooters that limit where they can be ridden and how fast they can travel, so make sure you are familiar with the local rules before you take a ride.
Even if you are certain that you’re not breaking any laws, operating any type of motor vehicle, even an e-scooter, brings a certain amount of risk. E-scooters might not travel as fast as cars, but even at speeds as low as 15 mph, an accident involving a rider, pedestrians or other motor vehicles can lead to serious injuries including broken bones, head injuries and soft-tissue injuries.
Where Does the Finger Point?
With e-scooters still being a relatively new form of transportation, many insurance companies are still inconclusive on how coverage and liability applies to accidents and injuries caused or suffered by riders.
You may be riding at your own risk when you step onto a scooter, so it’s important to know whether you’re covered under your own insurance policies. Your homeowners and auto insurance policies may have been created before the rise of e-scooters, so there may be no mention of the devices.
A standard homeowner policy does not cover motor vehicles, and standard personal auto policies exclude liability coverage for vehicles with less than four wheels—e-scooters generally have two. Motorcycle insurance also might not cover e-scooters. Personal liability umbrella policies provide coverage for incidents excluded from underlying insurance policies, and thus may provide coverage for e-scooters.
It is important to know the specific details of your homeowners and auto policies before you can count on coverage for an injury or accident involving an e-scooter. Contact TWFG Insurance - Tony Voiron today for more information.
Mental health plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being. It affects everything, including how we think, feel and act, and helps determine how we make healthy choices and cope with stress.
Because it’s such a crucial component of your health, it’s important to focus on maintaining or improving your mental health. Here are five simple ways to do so every day:
Eye Health 101
Keeping your eyes healthy is a very important task. Fortunately, it’s also an easy thing to do. Here are five simple ways you can keep your eyes healthy:
The Unexpected Ingredient in Your Oats
It’s not a superfood, and it’s not naturally occurring. It’s a pesticide. According to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), almost three-quarters of the oat cereal, oatmeal, granola and oat bars contained traces of glyphosate.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It’s the main ingredient in hundreds of weed-killing pesticides.
Are oats safe to eat?
Federal officials report that the levels found in the oats is deemed to be “safe.” However, EWG claims that no level of exposure is safe, as glyphosate was classified as a probable carcinogen in 2015. To reduce your exposure, but still eat your oats, opt for organic oats.
TWFG Insurance Tony Voiron, Metairie La (504) 322-7299
The Lower Health Care Costs Act, a bipartisan bill proposed by the Senate Health Committee, was introduced on May 23, 2019. This bill sets out to address surprise medical billing, reduce the cost of prescription drugs and the overall cost of delivering health care, and improve transparency. The proposed legislation also includes a provision that would require benefits brokers to disclose their fees and any incentives they may receive from insurers.
This provision was included in the proposed legislation after a February 2019 investigation by ProPublica revealed that the insurance industry often offers undisclosed incentives to influence brokers’ plan choices.
Dave Chase, co-founder of broker certification group Health Rosetta, says that, “By requiring advisers to disclose all of their sources of compensation, we can level the playing field for employers who are trying to lower their health costs. Instead of regularly accepting 5% to 20% annual cost increases, they can be more selective to ensure their adviser is actually serving their best interests.”
This proposed legislation would create a new level of transparency between employers and their benefits brokers, as many employers aren’t aware of the inner workings of health plan agreements or renewals.
The Lower Health Care Costs Act is just proposed legislation at the moment, meaning that there are no compliance obligations to meet. However, Sen. Lamar Alexander, bill co-sponsor, hopes that the bill will be on the Senate floor for a vote by July of this year. To view the proposal, click here.
Many hardware and software developers have started to integrate digital assistants into their products, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri. These assistants offer a number of services and benefits, and can even be activated remotely using voice commands. However, because these platforms rely on connecting to a remote server, they run the risk of sending your recorded conversations or even personal information to others without your knowledge.
How digital assistants work
Every digital assistant uses the same underlying technology to answer questions and fulfill requests. Here’s an overview of how assistants record audio, send data to remote servers and analyze requests in order to respond:
Protecting your information
No technology is perfect, and it’s possible for smart devices to take unintended recordings for a number of reasons, such as a misinterpreted phrase, background noise, a damaged microphone or tampering. And, because the process of sending recordings to servers happens in seconds, you may not have a chance to prevent your information from being sent elsewhere.
Here are some tips you can use to control when your devices take recordings and protect your data:
According to a study published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday, May 6, 2019, the active ingredients found in sunscreens can end up in the bloodstream at higher than recommended levels. The FDA says that this small study, which involved 23 volunteers, warrants conducting further safety studies.
The study evaluated one sunscreen cream, one lotion and two sprays. The 23 volunteers applied the specified sunscreen to 75% of their body four times a day for four days. Over the course of seven days, blood tests were conducted to determine the levels of certain chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream.
The study found the maximum plasma levels of avobenzone, oxybenzone and octocrylene (in one sunscreen, they also tested for ecamsule)—the active ingredients in sunscreen—to be above the level of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). For example, the study found the avobenzone concentration to be 4 ng/mL and 3.4 ng/mL in the sprays, 1.8 ng/mL in the cream and 4.3 ng/mL in the lotion.
The 0.5 ng/mL level is significant because it’s the level at which FDA guidelines call for further safety testing.
What Does This Mean?
The effects of plasma concentration exceeding the FDA’s limit isn’t currently known. As such, the study’s research team called for further safety testing to be conducted. However, the research team stated that the results of this small study do not suggest that people should stop using sunscreen. Failing to use sunscreen can leave you vulnerable to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.
It’s likely that further safety testing on sunscreen and its active ingredients will be conducted. Until told otherwise, continue to use sunscreen as directed when you’re out in the sun to protect your skin.
More than 50 people, mostly children, have been infected by the measles in the United States this year. This particular outbreak concerns southwest Washington and northwest Oregon. Nationwide, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that eight other states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas) have reported cases of measles in 2019, bringing the total of reported cases to 79.
What is measles?
Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus called rubeola. People are most susceptible to contracting this illness in early childhood. In the current outbreak in Washington and Oregon, the majority of the cases involve children between 1 to 10 years old. Measles usually causes fatigue, runny nose, cough, slight fever, and head and back pains. In later stages, it can cause a high fever, Koplik’s spots (small white dots) inside the mouth and a rash that starts around the hairline and spreads downward.
Measles has a 25 percent hospitalization rate, is not treatable and has no cure. The virus can lead to serious complications, such as encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. In some extremely severe cases, measles and its complications can be fatal.
How can the measles be prevented?
Measles can be prevented with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. This vaccine is typically given in two different doses, the first being administered between 12 to 15 months of age and the second being administered between 4 to 6 years of age. The CDC reports that the two doses together are 97 percent effective at preventing the disease, while just getting one dose is 93 percent effective at preventing the disease.
Without being vaccinated, you’re at risk of contracting measles, especially because it is a highly contagious illness. If you live in an area that’s experiencing a measles outbreak, call your doctor for recommendations on what to do. Your doctor may recommend staying in your house until the outbreak subsides.
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