Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mortgage rates remain at historically low levels

Fixed mortgage rates remain at or near historical lows after yet another week of decreasing interest rates, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).
The results of the MBA’s most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey revealed that the average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) fell to 3.46 percent for the week ending September 16, 2011, down from 3.52 percent the previous week.
The average contract interest rate for 30-year FRMs with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) came in at 4.29 percent, the exact same average recorded the prior week.
Average interest rates for both 30-year fixed jumbo mortgages and 30-year FRMs backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), however, both decreased in this latest survey, the MBA said.
Average rates for 30-year FRMs with jumbo loan balances fell to 4.55 percent from 4.57 percent the previous week, while 30-year FRMs backed by the FHA declined slightly to 4.07 percent from 4.08 percent one week prior.

Mortgage applications rise, refinancing increases

Total mortgage application rose slightly week-over-week, the MBA said, and more homeowners looked to refinance existing mortgages.
Mortgage applications increased 0.6 percent from the previous week, while the share of application activity attributed to refinancing rose to 78.3 percent of total applications, up from 76.8 percent the week before.

Rates for ARMs fall, too

Average rated for adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) fell this week, as well. According to the MBA, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.96 percent in this latest survey after averaging 2.99 percent in the previous week.
Despite this fall in average rates for ARMs, however, fewer applicants opted for these types of loans. The share of application activity tied to ARMs declined to 6.7 percent of total applications, down from 7.3 percent one week earlier.
See also: ARM vs. fixed rate mortgage calculator

Category Archives:pet Insurance

VPI Major Medical Plan for Dogs

Comprehensive Coverage


  • Illness Benefits: Best 
  • Injury Benefits: Best 
  • Routine Care Benefits: None
The VPI Major Medical Plan is our most comprehensive protection for dogs. You'll receive the highest reimbursement for accidental injuries, emergencies and illnesses, including cancer.
The VPI Major Medical Plan provides reimbursement for veterinary expenses based on abenefit schedule, not a percentage of the veterinary bill. With a benefit schedule, you know up front what conditions and procedures are eligible for coverage, as well as the amount available for reimbursement. All benefits renew in full annually, so you know that your dog is protected year after year.

Plan Features

  • Double the amount of available benefits as compared to the VPI Medical Plan
  • Additional hereditary coverage available after you've had the policy for a year: $250 annually toward diagnosis or medical treatment and $500 annually for surgical treatment
  • Covers hundreds of accidents, illnesses and diseases, including chronic diseases and cancer, for all purebred and mixed breed dogs
  • Benefits renew annually
  • Maximum policy term benefit is $14,000

Flexible Pricing

Our flexible pricing lets you customize your coverage. Choose a deductible to fit your budget:
  • $100
  • $250
  • $500
  • $1,000 (available only through VPI phone sales center)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Category Archives: Car Insurance

No win, no fee payment ban for car insurers.The government is banning insurance companies, lawyers and claims management firms from selling names and contact details of drivers and passengers involved in car crashes.

The move follows on the Office of Fair Trading launching an investigation in to car insurance costs that looks at whether charges and prices rises are fair to motorists.
The latest ban has badly hit car insurer Admiral, which reportedly earned £147 million last year from selling driver’s details to personal injury lawyers.
The practise is estimated to add up to £30 a year on to the cost of every driver’s insurance.
Announcing the ban, Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said: “The ‘no-win, no-fee’ system is pushing us into a compensation culture in which middle men make a tidy profit which the rest of us end up paying for through higher insurance premiums and higher prices

“We will ban referral fees and we will go further. We have proposals before Parliament to end the bizarre situation in which people have no stake in the legal costs their cases bring. This will make claimants think harder about whether to sue and give insurance companies and business generally an incentive to pass the savings onto customers through lower prices.”
The ban will be written in to a new law currently passing thorough Parliament and wis expected to come in to force next year.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Category Archives: Van Insurance

Drivers are spending longer looking for cheap commercial vehicle insurance

Drivers shopping for cheap van insurance can spend between two and three hours online looking for a competitive quote, according to the latest research.
The time has gone up by an average 30 minutes compared with last year for many van drivers
Escalating premiums are pushing up the cost of van insurance; finding cheap cover for vans and commercial vehicle insurance is a tough job.
The problem is some insurers are trying to buck the market and make van drivers go to them direct by refusing to include their products on price comparison sites.

Things are made more difficult for van drivers as they have no like-for-like yardstick to compare insurance policies against. And comparing insurers who decide to opt out of comparison sites just wastes more valuable time.
Some comparison firms guarantee to match cover and beat other quotes by at least 10%, so it seems sensible to check them out. Van insurance comparison sites are insurance brokers at heart, so should serve up the best selection of van insurance quotes.
Save money with an expert van insurance broker
Quoteline Direct is one to look at; the broker site has well-served van and commercial vehicle drivers. The web site has two specialist search engines: one for vans, including couriers and goods in transit and another for trucks and other vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.
They also offer additional expertise as a broker that goes above and beyond dealing with a typical van insurance comparison site. After going through the online process to find a quote, van drivers can take up a free consultation offer with a commercial vehicle insurance expert who can often shave more money off the best quote.
For instance, some insurers will reduce premiums for drivers with logos and livery rather than plain vans.  The point is, dealing with a typical comparison site or a direct-only firm does not necessarily guarantee the cheapest insurance, or taking the shortest time to find a quote.

Category Archives: Travel Insurance

Travel insurance misunderstandings for Euro holidaymakers

Millions of tourists heading off to a place in the sun in Europe are risking travelling with no medical insurance.
A third of holidaymakers wrongly believe they have medical cover in Europe when they don’t – and could easily remedy the problem with the right free documentation.
Others offer their passport as proof they do not need to pay (4%) and some even believe their NHS card is enough to cover treatment (3%).
One in three Brits offer an E111 to cover the costs of medical treatment in another European countries – but they are unaware the cover was withdrawn in 2006 and replaced by a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Anyone travelling this summer should check they have an up-to-date EHIC – they expire every five years. The card is free and available online.
An EHIC entitles a UK citizen to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the country you are visiting. Broadly speaking, whatever they have to pay, a UK holidaymaker has to pay, too, although some costs may be reimbursed back in the UK.
Patients cannot go overseas to seek medical care, but pregnancy, renal dialysis and managing pre-existing or chronic conditions that arise while abroad are all covered.
An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance, but many insurers will not pay out for claims that would otherwise be covered by the card.
When shopping for travel insurance, the minimum cover is considered as:
  • £2 million medical expenses cover
  • £1 million personal liability
  • £3,000 cancellation – or enough to cover the cost of  the holiday if less
  • £1,500  for lost baggage
  • £250 for lost or stolen cash
  • A policy excess of £100 or less
  • Cover for delays
Check the excess – this is the amount of any claim paid by the traveller. If the policy is a joint policy , including with children, the excess may be per person rather than per claim.

Category Archives: Personal Injury

Shocked insurers told that insurance is too expensive

Shocked insurers have found out that most people believe life and critical illness cover is too expensive and cannot afford to take out policies.
More than half the UK adult population (56%) has no life insurance – which adds up to around 28 million people.
More adults are likely to insure their pets (15%) and mobile phones (13%) rather than their income (12%).
One in five consider broadband access is more important than insurance and would cut the cost of life and critical illness policies rather than internet costs.
The revelations come from a study by Scottish Widows aimed at finding out why life insurance uptake is so low.
The research revealed almost everyone knows about life insurance (97%) and critical illness cover (86%), but take up was only 12%.
The statistics showed one in four people did not consider taking out policies because they believed they were too expensive.
“The industry still needs to do more to highlight these benefits to ensure take-up increases, especially in an environment where welfare provision is being eroded, and government is promoting the need for greater self reliance.”
The big problem, says Scottish Widows, is people regard the internet and mobile phones as essential to their lifestyle, but insuring their lives and health as an expensive luxury.
Clive Allison, Market Director, Protection at Scottish Widows, said: “We realise many people do not like to plan for the unknown, however the importance of doing so cannot be underestimated.
“Our research shows that the majority of people clearly understand the benefits associated with protection products such as life, critical illness and income protection, but that many still don’t adequately protect themselves, their families and their homes. 

Scottish Widows research shows that when faced with the prospect of loss of their income, over two-fifths (44%)would cut on their living costs, and 43% would delve into their savings.
The problem is 58% of the people surveyed have less than £2,500 in savings, don’t have any at all or don’t know how much they have.
“This would not go far if you consider that the average monthly mortgage  in the UK for new borrowers currently stands at £577 a month,” said Mr Allison.

Category Archives: motorbike insurance

Bikers living in London are most at risk from having their motorcycles stolen, according to the latest police statistics.
Nine of the top 10 hotspots for bike theft are in the capital, while Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, ranking eighth worst, is the only place outside the capital in the bottom placings.
South-west London ranks the worst – and bikers are almost five times more likely to have their motorcycles or scooters stolen than riders outside the city.
Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group (MCRG) chairman, Kevin Howells said: “This creates a massive financial bill for riders, manufacturers, dealers, finance companies and insurers and can deter people from continuing to ride or even taking up two wheels, precisely at a time when the industry is working so hard to raise awareness and highlight the benefits including lower costs and convenience that biking offers over other forms of transport.”
In one case, determined thieves are said to have dismantled a garage brick-by-brick to steal an especially valuable bike.
Figures show around 30,000 motorcycles and scooters are stolen every year – about 80 a day across the UK.

Bikers in Edinburgh, Halifax, Dundee and Manchester also face high motorcycle crime rates. The highest climber out of 116 postcode areas was Walsall, West Midlands, that jumped 71 places from 90th last year to 19th this year.
To see the whole list click here 
To help cut the cost of motorcycle and scooter insurance, the MCRG suggests bikers take care over where they park and garage their bikes if possible.
They also urge riders to secure and datatag their bikes.
The recovery rate for stolen bikes is around 40% – so six out of 10 stolen bikes are never returned to their owners. The MCRG takes an average motorcycle value of £4,500 and calculates the cost of non-recovered machines adds up to around £80 million a year. 
To help cut the cost of motorcycle and scooter insurance, the MCRG suggests bikers take care over where they park and garage their bikes if possible.

They also urge riders to secure and datatag their bikes.

The recovery rate for stolen bikes is around 40% – so six out of 10 stolen bikes are never returned to their owners. The MCRG takes an average motorcycle value of £4,500 and calculates the cost of non-recovered machines adds up to around £80 million a year