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Financial Fitness Blog

Watch out for deer on the road this fall

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark Blog PhotoAccording to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WI DOT), October through December is the most accident-prone for deer-vehicle collisions.

Take proper precautions

Deer are the third most commonly struck object in Wisconsin (after auto-auto collisions and fixed-object collisions). In 2010, WI DOT reported a total of 16,947 deer-vehicle crashes.

  • If you see a deer, slow down and blow your horn; or flash your headlights to scare the deer away.
  • If you see a deer in front of you, brake firmly, don't swerve, stay in your lane. It is better to hit the deer than to swerve and lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you hit a deer, do not leave your vehicle. The injured deer could hurt you. Try to get your car off the road and call the police. 
  • Be attentive in the early morning and evening hours.
  • Pay close attention to deer crossing signs.
  • Wear your safety-belt, stay sober, and use your high beams where possible.

If I hit a deer with my car, will my insurance cover it?

Only if you carry comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. Collision coverage under an auto insurance policy doesn’t cover you if you hit a deer. Comprehensive coverage provides financial protection beyond that of collision coverage, including hail, theft, falling objects, and deer hits. Call your insurance company or agent and check your policies to see if you have comprehensive auto coverage. If you have a policy through Member Benefits, call us at 1-800-279-4010.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

Personal considerations to make before buying long-term care insurance

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 Kelly Blog PhotoWith life expectancy rates continuing to rise and the median age at an all-time high within the United States, more people are purchasing long-term care (LTC) insurance. Long-term care policies cover a wide range of medical, personal and social service expenses you may need if you have a prolonged illness or disability. The majority of costs for extended care are not covered by health insurance or Medicare. Without LTC insurance, these costs are paid from one's personal savings and assets.

So you are wise to consider purchasing long-term care insurance. But before you do, think about your needs and make sure you take these personal factors into account.

Age. The older you are, the more likely it is that you will need long-term care. However, having an accident when you are younger that creates a disability can't be predicted. The younger you are when you buy the insurance, the lower your premiums will be.

Gender. Women are more likely to need long-term care as they generally have longer life expectancies than men.

Family situation. If you have a spouse or adult children, you may be more likely to receive care from them at home. If family care is not available and you can't care for yourself, outside paid care may be your only option. Different policies cover different types of care. Some even pay family members who provide services in your home. Consider the types benefits your policy covers as well as what care is available in your area.

Housing. Think about where you want to live and whether your home will continue to meet your needs. Are your bathroom and bedroom on the first floor? Will your doorways accommodate a wheelchair?

Lifestyle. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you are less likely to develop a chronic condition that requires long-term care.

Your health status. Do you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure? Do chronic conditions run in your family? If you say yes to one or both, you may be at a greater risk for a debilitating condition than another person of the same age and gender.

Financial resources. You may want to consider long-term insurance to help protect your assets. However, if you have few assets and a limited income, consider your choice carefully. Some experts recommend you spend no more than five percent of your income on a long-term care policy.

There are many other factors to consider when purchasing a long-term care insurance policy. If you'd like to learn more, schedule a personal phone/online presentation with us by calling 1-888-247-5905 or register online.

Sources: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information

Kelly Behnke, CIC, CISR, ACSR
Personal Insurance Consultant

What's the difference between a primary and a contingent beneficiary?

(Retirement) Permanent link

Michelle Blog PhotoWhen designating beneficiaries for your 403(b) and/or IRA account(s), you have the option to name primary and contingent beneficiaries.

Primary beneficiaries are entitled to receive any assets in your account following your death. They will share equally in your account unless you specify different percentages. If a beneficiary predeceases you, his or her share of your account will be divided proportionately among the surviving beneficiaries unless you have indicated you wish their share distributed per stirpes. Per stirpes allows any undistributed assets of your account to pass to the natural and legally adopted children of a designated beneficiary that predeceases you, rather than be divided among the living co-beneficiaries.

Your contingent beneficiaries will be entitled to receive any assets in your account only if you have no surviving primary beneficiaries (and per stirpes was not designated for your primary beneficiaries) at the time of your death. If there are no surviving primary beneficiaries, your contingent beneficiaries will share equally in your account unless you note otherwise.

Keep in mind that beneficiaries named on your retirement account supercede your will. If you have a 403(b) or IRA account with Member Benefits, your beneficiaries may keep the account with us and/or may open a WEAC IRA and rollover the inherited account. They can also name their own beneficiaries for the inherited account.

There are many options and issues to consider when it comes to naming your beneficiaries. You may want to consult your attorney to ensure that you understand all aspects of your decision. For more information on choosing beneficiaries, please read our article, "Who will inherit your 403(b) or IRA account? Don't leave it to chance" in our Spring 2012 issue of your$ magazine.

Michelle Slawny, CFP®

This blog post is for informational purposes only and not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your tax advisor or attorney before taking any action.

I’m considering retiring out of state. Can I keep my WEA P&C insurance?

(Insurance) Permanent link

Mark Blog PhotoBecause WEA P&C is only licensed as an insurance carrier in the state of Wisconsin, we are not able to provide coverage for non-Wisconsin residents. So, if you decide to take up permanent residence outside of Wisconsin in retirement, you will have to find another insurance carrier.

Snowbirds who choose to go south or elsewhere for an extended period continue to be eligible as long as they maintain their primary residence in Wisconsin. However, vehicles licensed in another state for use during their stay cannot be included on their WEA P&C policy. Also, we are only able to provide home, condo, or renters insurance for property inside of Wisconsin.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant