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February 7, 2017

How much travel insurance costs?

get insurance to travelYou have finally decided to take the vacation that you were planning since ages. Or perhaps,you have just got promoted and there is a business trip that needs to be undertaken as part of training. More often than not, such trips would entail traveling abroad. In either case, getting a travel insurance cover for your trip is a must. It will ensure that you are safeguarded against any accident or mishap that may occur during the trip.

When you undertake a trip through a travel company, often you would be given the option to buy travel insurance. In case you are traveling on your own, you would be presented with the option of travel insurance too while booking flight tickets. In both cases, you would be informed about the travel insurance premium that would be incurred. Ever wondered how this premium amount is calculated? What are the factors that come into play in finalizing the premium figure? Read on to find out how much your travel insurance cost.

There is a multitude of factors that determine the travel insurance premium. The thing here is, insurance cover cannot be generic. Every individual has unique needs that necessitate a customized insurance cover resulting in varying premiums. Generally speaking, the factors can be broadly classified into the following –

  • Level of coverage

The level of coverage determines the degree of protection you would be entitled to during your travel. This is something that needs to be decided by a careful examination of risks involved during your trip. First of all, you need to check the country you are visiting. You should check how safe it is. For instance, if you are traveling to a country that is not politically stable or is embroiled in a civil war, your travel premium is going to increase significantly. On the other hand, if you are traveling to a country that scores high in the security domain, you travel insurance will cost you less.

  • Nature and/or length of the trip

Next, the nature of the trip is also something that determines the travel premium. A business trip is likely to cost you less since the risk factor is low. On the contrary, if you are undertaking an adventure trip that involves activities like bungee jumping or skydiving, you would need to pay more. Additionally, the trip duration also needs to be given a thought. If you are going to travel to the same place, say thrice during the year. It will be a good idea to get an annual policy at a reduced travel premium.

  • Type of coverage i.e. Individual or Group

In case you are traveling alone, it’s pretty obvious that it will cost you less. In the case you are accompanied by yourfamily, you should opt for a group travel insurance rather than getting individual coverage to save money.

  • Age

Lastly, one of the most important factors is age. Your travel insurance premium will be significantly lower if you are younger. This is because you are less prone to health related risks. Typically, insurance providers have separate plans for senior citizens and require medical check-up.

With the understanding of these pointers, you should get a fair idea of the cost associated with your travel insurance.

For more information on travel insurance policy Click Here

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January 18, 2017

How to Open a Savings Account

creating a savings accountA savings bank account is where most people begin their journey of savings. There is no safer place than a bank to store your money. It also pays you for keeping your money there in the form of interest. But, there are several banks around and each have their own benefits, so before you open a savings account decide a bank to go to. Following are steps on how to open a savings account –

– Select a bank

Inquire about banks that are situated in your locality. Better will be to research about them online as there is an abundance of information available online. Each bank will have a distinctive service and offer, decide which one’s best for you. Important points to consider is the presence of the bank and their ATM networks. Also remember that you will be needing several services of your bank at random hours so there has to be an availability of online and mobile banking as well. Be it physically or digitally, your bank should be within reach all the time.

– Check out their website

If you like a bank then go ahead and check out their website and find out more about their services. You can check out each and every service of theirs by just sitting on your desk. The advent of mobile and online banking has made life convenient, also ATMs can be accessed 24/7 making banking simpler and hassle free. Plan your visit to the bank on weekdays at 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Banks remain closed on Sundays and other public holidays.

– Type of account

Although we know that we’ve to open a savings account, there are several types of savings account out there catered specifically to match your needs. Some options are Easy access accounts, Basic savings accounts, Joint savings accounts, Women’s savings accounts and Youth account. Best option for you will be to get in touch with bank representative and ask for details.

– Keep information ready

To open any savings account you will have to submit certain documents and information to the bank. This is a norm that is followed by all banks, some banks will require more information and several documents will be asked, it will be better if you keep these documents handy.

– Depositing your opening amount

Several banks require a minimum amount deposit to open a new account. The amount depends on the bank, some may have a greater minimum amount deposit and same may have none. Find out these details in advance and have the amount ready when you’re about to open a new account.

– Read and understand the terms

Do not hesitate to ask questions, you should be clear about each and every aspect of the account. Also read the information available online on the bank’s website, inquire about service charges, benefits and services available on the account.

– Sample signature

You will asked for a sample signature while opening your account. This signature will be used in all of your future transactions related to the account, like withdrawing money or signing a check. If there are noticeable differences in your signature then the transaction won’t be permitted. This a procedure done to keep your account safe and to avoid any issues with the signature, you can practice it on a piece of paper for several times.

– Account opened!

Congratulations, you’re now a valued bank customer. After the verification of your form and documents, your account will be opened. You will receive a welcome kit from the bank that will include important information about your account like information leaflets, cheque book and customer relation number. The kit may also include your debit card, with the pin number, also attached will be your net banking and phone banking pin.

With the advent of technology on the banking front, you can also opt for online account opening, the procedure is easy and the steps are hassle-free.

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December 16, 2016

NPS and How to Maximize Asset Allocation

asset allocationsThe National Pension System (NPS), introduced by the Indian government in the year 2004 is mandatory for all government employees except the armed forces personnel.This scheme was extended to the private sector in 2009. It is a portable retirement savings account, which can be efficiently used to provide financial security to senior’s through a pension income.

This scheme offers benefits such as tax deduction of INR 1.5 lacs under section 80CCD (1) of the Income Tax Act (IT). An additional tax deduction of up to INR 50,000 under section 80CCD (1B) of the IT Act is also available. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing asset allocation between equity, fixed income instruments, and government securities.

NPS is known as a defined contribution scheme because returns under this scheme are market driven. The NPS interest rate changes based on the performance of the market and the asset allocation chosen by the subscribers.

Asset allocation under NPS

Funds invested in NPS can be invested into 3 types of assets namely equity, corporate bonds, and government securities. There are two investment options available under this plan;auto choice and active choice.

Under auto choice, funds are automatically allocated in a pre-determined proportion based on the age of the subscriber. For example for subscribers under the age of 35 years, funds are allocated as follows: 50% in equity and balance amongst corporate bonds and government securities. As the subscribers age, the exposure to equity is reduced and investment in government securities increase.

Under the active choice option, subscribers may choose the asset allocation as per their preferences. The NPS scheme allows subscribers to allot upto 50% of their contributions to equity. Subscribers may use this option to their advantage to maximize the potential returns. For instance, an Investor approaching retirement age (between 45 to 50 years) may opt for a conservative allocation by investing a substantial portion of his funds in government securities.

Maturity and Annuities

The primary objective of NPS is to create a corpus that is used to buy an annuity plan for regular income during the post-retirement years. At the age of 60, the subscriber may with draw a maximum of 60% of the funds as a lump sum. The remaining corpus is used to purchase an annuity that will provide regular income to the subscriber.

Subscribers may choose not to withdraw any funds and use 100% of the corpus to buy an annuity. However, if the corpus at the time of exit from NPS at the age of 60 years is less than 2 lacs, the subscribers may withdraw the entire amount in lump sum. To determine the potential income, individuals may use an online pension plan calculator.

Joining NPS

In order to join the NPS scheme, the subscribers must submit the NPS application form, along with Know Your Customer documents to a Point of Presence (POP). Upon submitting the documents, the subscribers are issued with a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN), T-Pin and I-Pin. Subscribers are informed of their PRAN application status via email and SMS. They may also know their application status by contacting the issuing bank. However, the subscribers may get in touch with the Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) which manages the issuance of PRAN, in case the PRAN card is not received.

NPS is focused on offering financial security to the individuals after their retirement. The flexibility available for investors to allocate their contributions in different asset classes allows them to maximize the returns and accumulate a higher post-retirement income.

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December 14, 2016

How is your Home Loan Eligibility Impacted by CIBIL Score?

home loan appliedWhen you find that house of your dreams, the first thing that springs to mind is to apply for home loan since it’s your ticket to funding the big purchase. But sometimes, loan applications get rejected for various reasons, among which the most common is a low CIBIL or credit score. It is major factor that determines your loan approval, loan amount and even rate of interest.

Why is high and low credit score important?

While a high credit score is viewed as a low probability of a default, a low credit score reflects the opposite, making financial institutions wary of the person applying for a home loan.

Credit score is a three digit number that ranges between 300 and 900. It reflects your creditworthiness as it is a summary of your payment history, outstanding balances, number of loans, total credit limit, credit utilization, every loan detail taken from different lenders. Higher credit scores are great for you if you are applying for a home loan. On an average, a credit score of 750 is great for borrowers as lenders find themselves at less risk. Moreover, at this score, you can get good deals on your home loan and better rates of interest.

Your credit score is impacted positively by:

● Consistent payment of loan EMIs
● Credit card bill payments on time
● No over-leveraging
● Payment of credit card bills in full as opposed to minimum due amount each time
● Good financial records
● Many types of credits, especially unsecured personal loans in family
● Good utilization of credit limit on cards

Your credit score is impacted negatively by:

● A lot of credit report enquiries by banks and financial institutions
● Dishonoured or bounced cheques
● Loan repayment irregularity
● Defaults on credit repayments and even defaulting as a guarantor
● Late payments on credit cards or making part payments consistently
● Number of unsecured credit (multiple personal loans)
● Numerous applications for unsecured loan, especially when rejected
● Going beyond the approved credit limit and even high utilization of it

Other than these, your credit score can also be impacted negatively when banks or financial institutions you are dealing with make errors in their records. Hence, it’s important that you keep checking whether or not your banks are submitting the right information. It comes really handy if you request and maintain a copy of your credit history personally as compared to a financial institution doing that for you.

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December 13, 2016

Why you need Good CIBIL Score for Home Loan Approval

approved loan for your homeCIBIL Score is a crucial aspect in determining your home loan eligibility. Every time you apply for home loan, your lender checks this score for approving/disapproving your application. It is a summary of your credit history as per your credit behaviour. It depends on the following factors:

Past payments: All your previous payments, whether on time or delayed, are recorded with CIBIL. Consistency in making payments is considered good whereas more recent delays are seen negatively.

Settlements, defaults and write-offs: Multiple write-offs, defaults on previous loans and more recent write-offs (as opposed to older ones) have negative effects on your credit score. Defaults and delays on secured loans are worse than on unsecured loans.

Credit as proportion of income: The higher the loan balance you have, the lower your credit score will be. Less loan balance shows smart credit utilization on your part.

Credit cards: If you have high credit card balances, your credit score will be low. Consistency in repaying credit card debts improves the score. Credit cards (unsecured loans) are viewed negatively by lenders as compared to secured loans.

Different ranges of CIBIL Score

Every person with a financial history has a CIBIL score and it can range anywhere between 300 and 900, with 900 being the highest. A person can also have a score of 0 or -1, which means that they have no credit history in terms of loans and credit cards. So to get the credit history started, you must have at least one credit card or applied for a loan. Here is a breakup of CIBIL scores and what it means:

  • 550 – 650: It is a fair score and accepted by many lenders. This score shows that you have been quite regular with your repayments, other than a few exceptions. Most lenders trust borrowers with this score and approve their home loans but usually with a higher interest rates.
  • 300 – 550: This is the worst score anybody can have and it means that you have been defaulting on your payments. With such a score, getting credit is extremely difficult.
  • 650 – 750: For home loan eligibility, this score is very promising. And if you have this credit score, you will not face any issue regarding approval of application.
  • 750 – 900: It is the best possible score anybody can have and it indicates your expertise at managing your finances. Lenders will approve even a larger loan amount to you at great rates when you apply for home loan.
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