Uh Oh! You've Had an Auto Accident
It can happen to the very best drivers. One minute, you're driving along without a care in the world, and the next, you're scratching your head wondering how you could have had an accident. Many people don't know what to do after an accident, and those who do are oftentimes so emotional or in such shock that they don't remember. But it's important to keep your wits about you, because what you do after an accident is essential to protecting your interests. That's why it's a good idea to clip this checklist and keep it inside your vehicle or wallet.
- Keep cool: Staying calm will help you make the best decisions and get the information you need.
- Check for injuries: If you or any of your passengers are injured, don't take chances. Call an ambulance.
- Notify the police: Even if the accident is minor, contact the police immediately so that a report can be made. Sometimes, there are hidden damages or injuries.
- Exchange and collect information: Ask the other parties for their insurance information, including policy numbers. Write down all license tags and driver's license numbers. If there are passengers, get their information as well.
- Gather witness information: Collect addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses.
- Record what happened: Take note of the weather, road conditions, your driving speed, etc. Use your cell phone to take photos of the cars and surrounding area.
- Avoid talking about the accident: Do not admit fault, and only discuss the accident with police, family members and your insurance company.
- Don't discuss injuries: Even if you think you're fine, refrain from saying you're not injured. A day or two later you could experience pain related to a hidden injury.
- Contact your insurance company: Report the accident as soon as possible.
Annuities 101: A Way to Build Wealth
With the arrival of the New Year, it's not uncommon to think about the future and wonder if you're really prepared for it.
After all, planning for the future is a top priority for many people and a key reason for investing their money. Building wealth through investments or other means can provide a secure, worry-free retirement for you and your spouse. So if you're ready to start building wealth, it might be time to consider an annuity.
Annuities are actually unique contracts with insurance companies. They provide payments at specified times in return for the premium or premiums that are paid to them. Basically, there are two types of annuities: fixed annuities and variable annuities.
Fixed annuities offer a guaranteed rate of interest during the accumulation period—the time when you're paying your premiums. By contrast, variable annuities involve investing your premiums, and the resulting payout is determined by the performance of the investments. Variable annuities are regulated by the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) because they are considered to be securities.
Annuities vary in the features they offer, but many offer a death benefit that pays a spouse if the purchaser of the annuity passes away. Some may even offer guaranteed income for life. Annuities are considered a long-term wealth-building strategy, though, so plan for that and be prepared to pay a "surrender" charge if you withdraw the money before the annuity has matured.