Chase offers consumers several travel rewards credit cards, most of which help you earn points for a trip and offer travel protections should your journey go differently than expected. These benefits can help give you peace of mind and reduce stress, especially if your trip gets canceled.
Many Chase cards offer travel coverage that includes trip cancellation insurance, among other protections. Let’s take a look at Chase trip cancellation insurance, which cards provide it and what this benefit covers.
What is trip cancellation insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance can reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses — such as flights, hotel reservations or a cruise — should your trip be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, such as extreme weather, an accident or a death in the family.
Coverage begins on the date you make your initial trip deposit and ends when you depart for your trip.
Chase cards that come with trip cancellation insurance
The following cards include Chase trip cancellation insurance:
Chase credit card
Trip cancellation insurance benefits
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$10,000 per covered person, $20,000 per trip.
$10,000 per covered person, $20,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$5,000 per covered person, $10,000 per trip.
$5,000 per covered person, $10,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$10,000 per covered person, $20,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$1,500 per covered person, $6,000 per trip.
$5,000 per covered person, $10,000 per trip.
What does Chase trip cancellation insurance cover?
Chase travel insurance covers nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses such as flights, hotels, cruises, train tickets and tours — whether you book with a travel agency or directly with the travel provider.
The benefits kick in when one of the following reasons occurs:
Accidental bodily injury, sickness or loss of life experienced by you or an immediate family member.
Named storm warning.
Change in military orders for you or your spouse.
A call to jury duty or a court subpoena.
Fire, flood or a burglary to your or your traveling companion’s residence.
The death or hospitalization of your or your travel companion’s host at the destination.
Organized strikes affecting public transportation.
Terrorist incidents or travel warnings related to terrorism.
What isn’t covered by Chase trip cancellation insurance?
Event tickets, amusement park tickets, museum entry fees and golf course expenses aren’t eligible for reimbursement unless they’re included in a prepaid travel package.
Trip cancellation benefits don’t apply to losses caused by:
A change in plans or financial circumstances.
A pre-existing medical condition.
Loss due to voluntary surrender of unused tickets, vouchers or credits.
Travel arrangements scheduled after the 26th week of pregnancy.
Being on a waitlist for a medical treatment.
Trips taken for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment.
Unwillingness to travel due to civil unrest.
Failure to obtain required visas, passports or other paperwork necessary for travel.
Commission of illegal acts.
Attempted suicide or self-inflicted injuries.
Being under the influence of drugs.
Disinclination to travel or border closures resulting from a pandemic.
Financial insolvency of the common carrier, travel agency or tour operator.
War, insurrection, rebellion or revolution (except terrorism).
Who is covered by Chase trip cancellation insurance?
As the primary cardholder, you’re covered. The trip cancellation insurance also extends to your immediate family members, including:
Parents, step-parents and/or legal guardians.
Spouses or domestic partners and their parents.
Children, including adopted children and step-children.
Grandparents and grandchildren.
Aunts and uncles.
Nieces and nephews.
Your immediate family members don’t have to be traveling with you for the benefits to apply to them as well. However, you must have used the Chase credit card that includes trip cancellation insurance to pay for their trip.
Which trips are eligible for Chase trip cancellation insurance?
Eligible trips can’t exceed 60 consecutive travel days. If your trip is longer, the coverage is still available, but the eligible prepaid nonrefundable expenses would be reimbursed as a pro-rated sum up to the first 60 days.
You must pay for all or a portion of the trip using an eligible Chase credit card or Chase Ultimate Rewards® for it to be eligible for the trip cancellation benefits. If your canceled trip results in a future credit or voucher, it won’t be covered.
How to file a trip cancellation insurance claim with Chase
To file a Chase trip cancellation insurance claim, you must contact the benefits administrator within 20 days of the cancellation. You can do this by calling the phone number listed in your credit card’s guide to benefits. If you wish to file a claim online, you can visit www.eclaimsline.com.
You’ll have to provide the following documentation within 90 days to support your claim:
Completed and signed claim form.
Documentation confirming the reason for trip cancellation, such as medical records or a death certificate.
Credit card account statement listing the transaction related to the trip.
Copies of the cancellation and refund policies from the travel provider.
Any unused credits or vouchers.
Chase trip cancellation insurance recapped
Holding a credit card that provides travel insurance can help put your mind at ease when unexpected problems arise.
Chase’s insurance benefits cover you and your family members against expenses incurred due to trip cancellation, among other things.
However, it’s important to know what’s covered by the policy and what isn’t. Additionally, you’ll want to keep track of all documentation related to the cancellation and submit it before the deadline to receive reimbursement.
The information related to the Chase Freedom®credit card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
New York City is a packed metropolis with many hidden nooks and crannies and surprises. As you can imagine, New York secrets abound, and to compile them all would probably take multiple volumes. Sufficed to say, the Big Apple is a fascinating place and is always one of the best cities ever!
We’ve compiled some New York secrets and quirky facts for you below.
33 New York secrets and facts from the mundane to the really weird
1. The Lenape tribe originally inhabited the area now known as New York City. They called the area Manna-hata, roughly translating to a place where you find wood for bows (and arrows).
2. When the Dutch founded a trading post in 1625 on the south part of what is now Manhattan Island, they named it New Amsterdam, after the capital city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
3. The name Wall Street refers to a wooden wall originally used to protect “New Amsterdam” from Native Americans and the British.
4. The British then conquered the Dutch in a fight for New Amsterdam (well, the Dutch surrendered before bloodshed). New York became the town’s name after British monarch King Charles II gave the land to his brother James Stuart, Duke of York.
5. The influence of the Dutch still lives on in New York, however. They named Brooklyn and Harlem after Dutch towns. Both neighborhoods offer some great apartments for rent in N.Y.C.
6. Did you know SoHo was New York’s red light district before becoming an artist enclave?
7. SoHo has several hidden restaurants or secretive eateries, such as the exclusive après ski fondue chalet hidden inside Café Select located behind the kitchen through a door labeled “No entry, employees only.”
8. If you like pirates, well, pirates like New York! Captain William Kidd a.k.a. Captain Kidd was a Scottish-born pirate (1654–1701) who spent part of his life in New York City. He actually buried treasure (later recovered) on Gardiner’s Island, which is off of Long Island.
9. It’s not so much a New York secret itself as what secrets it might contain: The Morbid Anatomy Library (which had a previous incarnation as the Morbid Anatomy Museum) is a fascinating research library and creepy collection in Brooklyn that houses all sorts of rare books, prints and photographs, art and other “ephemera” that relate to medicine, anatomy and death. It’s free and open to the public.
10. Some swear that there’s a reason why New York bagels are so much better than those made just about anywhere else. The secret? It’s not in the recipe. It’s in the N.Y.C. water, delivered virtually unfiltered from the New York Catskill Mountains and has a unique proportion of calcium and magnesium, which makes N.Y. bagels soft and chewy on the inside and delightfully crispy on the outside.
11. Underneath the world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel are secret train tracks built in the 1930s to shuttle President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in order to keep his polio disease a secret from the public.
12. If there’s ever another Night at the Museum movie based in New York, we can imagine they might use the World War I fighter plane found on the roof of 77 Water Street in the Financial District. Sure, the astroturf runway isn’t real and there’s probably no gas in it, but this British Sopwith Camel fighter plane arrived in 1969 as a publicity stunt to keep watch over Manhattan.
13. There’s a gorgeous Frank Lloyd Wright house on Staten Island called the Crimson Beech, but we won’t share the address for the reasons of privacy. (You can probably find photos of the architectural gem by searching online, of course.)
14. Yes, that’s a submerged, rusting yellow submarine sitting in Coney Island Creek off of Brooklyn. It’s a homemade submarine named Quester I, and made of salvaged metal by shipyard worker Jerry Bianco. His intent was to search the wreckage of the SS Andrea Doria but made a wreck himself when the submarine keeled over to the side and partially sank post-launch.
15. The SS Andrea Doria did not sink in Coney Island Creek, by the way, but was on its way from Genoa to New York when the MS Stockholm hit it and it sank. The death toll on the Andrea Doria from the collision was 46, but the sunken ship itself is still claiming victims as it’s now called “The Mt. Everest of Wreck Diving.” Some believe the shipwreck is cursed, as almost 20 divers have perished trying to explore the wreckage. Thus, one can wonder, was Jerry Bianco and his ill-fated yellow submarine also cursed? Or, did this Brooklyn submarine failure save him from a possibly worse fate had he reached the Andrea Doria?
16. Five large pieces of the Berlin Wall have lived on in N.Y.C., although one large segment was apparently put in storage. Artist Peter Max carved another to put on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum but returned it to the owner many years ago to the original owner.
17. Rockefeller Center is actually home to several secret gardens that live upon its various roofs, some with lovely reflecting pools.
18. Speaking of New York gardens, one of the smallest gardens in the city is actually an overgrown alleyway with a few benches called Septuagesimo Uno, located on the Upper West Side. At a mere two-fifths of an acre, this teeny park gives the term “pocket park” a run for its money.
19. There are six other parks in N.Y.C. that are smaller than Septuagesimo Uno, but most are not very usable: the smallest being McNally Plaza, basically an iron fence surrounding a solemn stone marker honoring the veterans of World War I.
20. Some people call the Tabernacle Prayer Church in Queens “N.Y.C.’s Best Kept Secret.” Why? The beautiful church building, outrageously ornate in a good way, was a lavish movie theater that opened in 1929. The historic landmark now offers regular church services with rousing gospel music.
21. While we don’t recommend it, many urban explorers have illegally gone to the abandoned 13-acre North Brother Island located in the East River out of the fascination of the ruins there. A hospital located on the island where people who were sick with contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis, smallpox, yellow fever, typhus and typhoid fever, quarantined. The island is now a bird sanctuary.
22. If you thought Typhoid Mary was just a legend, no, she actually lived on North Brother Island in quarantine starting in 1908 for more than 20 years. She infected 53 people with typhoid fever despite being asymptomatic. (She was a cook and kept on cooking for the public despite being told to stop by health authorities.)
23. North Brother Island was also the location of the biggest loss of life in the city until 9/11. In 1903, a steamboat named General Slocum was on its way to Long Island for an annual church picnic. Fire bloomed in one of the machine rooms, and allegedly a 12-year-old boy tried to warn the captain but he brushed it off. When the boat sank, it was on the banks of North Brother Island, and more than 1,000 people died.
24. Perhaps due to this event, the patients who died on the island haunt North Brother Island and sometimes residents hear screams from the hospital ruins and see ghosts on the island’s shores from Manhattan.
25. Many consider the most haunted place in N.Y.C. the aptly named “House of Death” located in Greenwich Village. Built in 1856, This modest-looking brownstone apparently houses the ghost of Mark Twain, although he himself only lived there for a little more than a year. At the House of Death, Mark Twain allegedly saw a piece of wood kindling move on its own so he shot it and it dripped blood — though Twain himself said this must have been from a rat moving the wood.
26. Jan Bryant Bartell was a writer and actress who lived in Mark Twain’s spooky house starting in 1957 and wrote about her unsettling paranormal experiences there in the book “Spindrift.” She eventually died under mysterious circumstances in 1973. Later, one of the most disturbing events at the House of Death was when a father murdered his own six-year-old after a cocaine binge back in 1987.
27. Radio City Music Hall is haunted, as many theaters in N.Y.C. are, but that’s not its best secret. There’s actually a secret apartment in Radio City Music Hall, created for theater impresario (producer) Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel (1882-1936). This beautiful art deco apartment with 20-foot-high ceilings entertained luminaries, such as Olivia de Havilland and Alfred Hitchcock. Abandoned for a while after Roxy’s death, it now rents for private luxury events.
28. If you really want to live in style, check out the most expensive apartment in New York City, costing $192,000 per year.
29. Are there really “mole people” living underneath the streets of N.Y.C.? Yes, and many of them say they prefer to live there where no one bothers them with taxes or rent. Stories of underground cannibalism, alligators and elaborate secret passages ala Beauty and the Beast are greatly exaggerated New York secrets, however.
30. Speaking of secret passages, there’s a fake brownstone in Brooklyn Heights that hides a subway ventilator. It’s also said to host a secret passageway to the 4/5 trains below.
31. This isn’t the only fake rowhome in N.Y.C. A Con Edison substation located in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx has a façade that consists of beautiful, almost-too-pristine-looking townhomes.
32. Wondering why there are black squirrels in N.Y.C.? It’s due to a recessive gene that tends to come out in more isolated squirrel populations, which can happen on urban islands. Black fur may also keep the squirrels warmer.
33. Frank Sinatra’s iconic “New York, New York” was originally sung by Liza Minelli in the 1977 movie “New York, New York.” If you haven’t heard her sing it yet, drop what you are doing and prepare to be wowed.
Experience “The City” for yourself with a New York apartment
We’ve shared some fun New York City secrets. To learn real New York City secrets, you’ll need to live there. While rent is definitely more expensive in N.Y.C. than your average town, you can still find many great apartments for rent in New York.
Florida resident Jaclyn Lambert (who happens to be our PR consultant) never thought she’d ever sell a home during a global pandemic.
In fact, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the seriousness of COVID-19, she temporarily put selling a house on hold. But after a few weeks of self-quarantine, she received a call from her trusted realtor assuring her they could handle the listing and transaction in a safe manner.
Within a week, Lambert witnessed a bidding war on her home. It closed shortly after that. Aside from signing the closing paperwork curbside, it was a contactless procedure, one that she confidently described to me as, “safe and easy.”
“I couldn’t have imagined just how well the process would have gone during this crazy time, but I really do owe it all to my realtor who I’ve turned to a couple of times. In fact, I wouldn’t use anybody else,” said Lambert.
But Lambert’s experience as a repeat customer is actually rare. A recent study by Porch.com (my parent company) found that only 8% of repeat home buyers have used the same realtor more than once.
Why do 92% of recent home buyers search elsewhere? What causes this gap in return customers, and what can realtors know to navigate customer relationships better in 2020– even during a pandemic? Here are a few things to keep in mind when marketing your services under “the new normal”.
Confidence Is Key With Nervous Buyers & Sellers
Recent studies show that both buyers and sellers are heeding caution during this time, with 70% of home sellers willing to take a lower asking price just to sell their home quickly, and 58% of recent potential buyers/renters putting their moving plans on hold until further notice.
As a realtor, it’s your job and responsibility to ease the stresses of the home buying and selling process to your current and future customers. Deep-dive on CDC recommendations. Learn what a safe home buying, selling process looks like. For example, some things to consider might be:
When selling, make it a “no-contact” process for your sellers
Create a process for virtual tours, and use technology to your advantage
When showing to potential buyers, maintain six-foot distance and have proper PPE
Implement these procedures and communicate loudly and clearly that working with you will be a pleasant (and safe) experience.
And remember that this is a particularly sensitive time to conduct business, so the key here is to provide the latest and greatest safety measures and technologies with authority to put your current and future client’s minds at ease.
Update Your Reviews and Testimonials to be COVID-related
Successfully made a customer happy during this time? Great! Now, make sure you request an online review, especially with them addressing the safety precautions your team took to make sure things run as smoothly and safely as possible.
With 66% of prospective buyers polled by Porch finding their realtor from an online review, it is quite possible that hearing this type of pandemic-safety language might be exactly what your prospective customer needs to hear in order to make that call.
Hand Off Customers to People Who Also Practice Non-Contact
And reviews are not the only way technology can be your friend during this time. If you haven’t looked toward online collaboration tools for all things home searching, contract signing, and closing paperwork. Make sure to have your trusted lenders and insurance brokers ready to forward to your clients for an easy contactless closing/home searching process.
And always lead by example; be open to meetings via Zoom to replace the valuable face-to-face time you’d in the past use for coffee shop meetings.
Provide Extra Support Beyond The Norm
The Porch study also found that homebuyers aren’t reading the paperwork, with first-time homebuyers feeling especially unprepared. Coupled with pandemic nerves, this calls for some intervention.
Perhaps it’s a no-brainer that going above and beyond is good customer service, but knowing that paperwork is going unread, now would be an especially good time to prepare a conference or phone call to go over any questions or technical paperwork your client may need help deciphering.
After the sale, provide guidance on the safest way to move, provide a digital thank you gift (think: e-cards and Amazon gift cards), and simply just find any way you can to make an above-and-beyond connection with your customers, despite the lack of in-person attention you are able to give at this time.
Remain a Pandemic-Proof Realtor
Maintaining real estate customer relationships is hard, and while the pandemic certainly adds a new level of complexity to the mix, as a forward-thinking real estate agent, it’s important to look toward the signs of what a “new normal” might look like.
Lean on the proper technology to adopt now and potentially forever, and communicate to your past/future customers just how top of class your services really are. That will get you the rare repeat customer, no matter what outside variables you encounter.
Oahu is known for its captivating blend of city living conveniences and laid-back island lifestyle. The pristine beaches, majestic mountains, and year-round warmth and sunshine can entice just about anyone to call the Aloha State home. Beyond the natural beauty, Oahu offers something even more special—the Aloha spirit, promoting a culture of kindness, respect, and connection, creating a sense of community that sets Oahu apart.
If you’re thinking about moving to Oahu, HI, or investing in property on the island, it probably comes as no surprise that the housing market is considered to be extremely competitive. With high demand and limited inventory, Honolulu’s luxury neighborhoods like Kahala and Hawaii Loa Ridge especially command premium prices. It’s essential to stay informed about current market conditions, including inventory levels, pricing trends, and buyer demand.
This Redfin article will delve into the 7 essential things to know about moving to Hawaii and buying a luxury home for those looking to relocate to the island.
1. Work with a local real estate agent
If you’re considering moving to Hawaii, it’s essential to develop a relationship with an experienced and local real estate agent. Buying a property in Hawaii presents unique challenges and considerations that may be unfamiliar to those outside the state. An experienced agent who is well-versed in the nuances of the local market can not only provide invaluable guidance and insights, but they’ll likely have an established network of contacts and resources to help expedite the process and ensure a smooth transaction.
If you’re seeking a luxury property, a Redfin Premier Agent will have in-depth knowledge of the luxury segment, including specific neighborhoods, market trends, and property values. There’s so much to know before buying a home in Hawaii, and partnering with a trusted local agent is a crucial step in successfully navigating the market and one of the most unique locations in the world.
2. Explore Oahu’s neighborhoods
Oahu is home to a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and amenities. From the tranquility of Manoa‘s lush surroundings and the relaxed suburban vibes in Kaimuki, to the laid-back surf culture of North Shore, there’s something for everyone.
Oahu’s luxury real estate market epitomizes upscale coastal living in a coveted island paradise, offering exclusive properties in prestigious neighborhoods, featuring waterfront estates, high-end amenities, and privacy. In areas like Kailua, a budget of $1.5 million may provide opportunities for projects on smaller lots. However, in neighborhoods further from the city, such as Makaha, the same budget could potentially secure a home with ocean views.
The most expensive neighborhoods on Oahu include Diamond Head, Kahala, Hawaii Loa Ridge, and Kailua for single-family homes, while condos in Kaka’ako go for premium prices. These sought-after areas command high prices, often reaching the multimillion-dollar range, due to their proximity to the ocean or stunning views. Properties in these neighborhoods offer luxurious amenities and exceptional quality often featuring high-end appliances and finishes. You’ll also see outdoor living spaces, such as expansive lanais, swimming pools, and beautifully landscaped gardens, allowing residents to fully embrace the island’s tropical climate.
3. Be prepared to pay even more to live in paradise
Oahu’s home prices surpass those in other major U.S. cities due to limited supply of land, desirable location, strong demand from residents and investors, construction costs, and market dynamics. This is especially true for the luxury homes close to the coastline or with scenic views. The state’s strict housing regulations and zoning restrictions further limit the availability of affordable housing options.
In addition, Oahu’s popularity as a tourist destination and its vibrant economy contribute to the high cost of living, including housing. For example, in April 2023, the median sale price in Kailua was about $1,438,000. This amount is over a million dollars more than the median sale price across the U.S.
With all things considered, Oahu still offers an unmatched lifestyle that makes it worth the investment. Living on Oahu means embracing the Aloha spirit, immersing oneself in a vibrant island culture, and enjoying the countless benefits of paradise. It’s important, however, for prospective buyers to be prepared for higher price points and adjust their expectations accordingly.
4. Location, price, condition
On Oahu, location, price, and condition are key factors that significantly influence the real estate market. Location holds immense importance as certain areas, such as those close to beaches, popular neighborhoods, or convenient amenities, are highly sought after. Additionally, the condition of the property plays a crucial role in its value and appeal as well-maintained homes with modern amenities and luxurious upgrades tend to command higher prices. In the competitive Oahu real estate market, finding the right balance between location, price, and condition is key to making a sound investment.
Proximity to the beach impacts price and maintenance costs
In the Oahu real estate market, proximity to the beach has a significant impact on property prices. The closer a property is to the beach, the higher its value tends to be. Luxury beachfront properties are highly sought after due to their prime location and the lifestyle they offer.
However, it’s important to be aware of the maintenance challenges associated with beachfront living. Properties near the beach are exposed to salt air and moisture, which can lead to increased maintenance needs and potential issues like mold. Buyers should consider the additional costs and efforts required to maintain these properties.
5. HARPTA and FIRPTA tax requirements
HARPTA (Hawaii Real Property Tax Act) and FIRPTA (Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act) are both withholding tax requirements in Hawaii that affect real estate transactions involving non-resident sellers.
HARPTA applies specifically to Hawaii and requires buyers to withhold 7.25% of the gross sales price as a prepayment of the seller’s potential tax obligations to the state. FIRPTA is a federal law that applies to non-U.S. resident sellers and requires buyers to withhold 15% of the sales price as a prepayment of the seller’s potential tax obligations to the IRS. Both aim to collect taxes owed by non-resident sellers upfront during the transaction process.
The withheld funds are then applied towards the seller’s potential tax obligations. It’s important for buyers and sellers to understand these withholding requirements and consult with tax professionals to ensure compliance and proper handling of these taxes during the transaction.
6. Learn about short term rental regulations and policies
Oahu’s consistent increase in home prices, robust economy, and high housing demand make it an attractive investment option. The demand for short-term rentals, common in areas like Waikiki, Ko’olina, and Turtle Bay on North Shore, contribute to the growth of the luxury real estate market and offer opportunities for income generation.
However, the City and County of Honolulu are implementing regulations to restrict short-term rentals to a minimum duration of 90 days, addressing concerns about housing availability and affordability for local residents. Hawaii’s local statutes also prioritize owner occupancy, offering property tax exemptions to homeowners who live in their primary residences. These exemptions financially benefit homeowners and promote stable communities.
Airbnb and VRBO properties are subject to certain regulations and restrictions
In most residential neighborhoods on the island, these short-term vacation rentals are not permitted or allowed without proper certification. The City and County of Honolulu has implemented laws and regulations to control and manage the operation of these rental properties in an effort to balance the needs of residents and maintain the character of residential neighborhoods.
Hosts must obtain the appropriate permits and certifications, such as a Transient Vacation Rental (TVR) or Bed and Breakfast (B&B) license. These licenses require meeting specific criteria, including compliance with zoning regulations, safety standards, and tax obligations. It is important for hosts to research and understand the requirements and limitations in their specific area before offering their property as a short-term rental.
7. Moving to Hawaii with pets? Expect to quarantine them
When bringing pets to Hawaii, strict regulations aim to prevent the introduction of non-native diseases. All pets must undergo a mandatory quarantine period when moving to Hawaii to help prevent the introduction and spread of rabies. Hawaii is a rabies-free state, and the strict regulations are in place to maintain this status.
There are a few pet quarantine options you can choose from, including a 120-day quarantine in a designated facility, and a “5-Day-or-Less” program for a shorter quarantine. It’s essential to thoroughly research these options in advance and ensure that your pet meets the specific conditions, such as health requirements and permits, associated with your chosen option. It’s important to begin the quarantine process early, seek guidance from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture or a pet relocation service, and ensure compliance with all regulations for a smooth transition.
Navigating Oahu’s luxury real estate market successfully requires an understanding of these nuances and working with experienced local real estate professionals who can provide insights and guidance. They can help buyers navigate the complexities, identify suitable properties, and negotiate competitive offers. Aloha!
I am sick. For the past ten days, I’ve been wrestling with a high fever, a cough, a persistent sore throat, and a general malaise that’s kicking my ass. Basically, I’m the sickest I’ve been in over a decade. (The last time I was this sick? The evening that The Fellowship of the Ring premiered. I went to see it with friends, but don’t remember a thing about that night because I was sick with a high fever. High fevers suck!)
Normally, I don’t go to the doctor. My family has a funny thing about doctors, and usually prefer to let an illness run its course rather than to pay a doctor to tell us to “let the illness run its course”. Last Tuesday, though, I decided that sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. After four days with a high fever, and after sensing that something wasn’t quite right with my lungs, I drove myself to urgent care.
“You have the flu,” the nurse practitioner told me. “And it’d be even worse if you hadn’t had your flu shot. As it is, you may have pneumonia. It’s been going around.”
She prescribed an inhaler, steroids, and an antibiotic, but she seemed skeptical that they’d help. “Make sure you call us if things don’t improve,” she said. “In the meantime, you need to spend 72 hours in quarantine. You don’t want to give this to anyone else, and you don’t want to catch anything else that might be going around.”
So, for three days last week, I confined myself to my apartment.
Hunting for Health Insurance
But this article isn’t about how sick I’ve been. This article is about my quest for health insurance. Earlier this year, I promised to share my experience as I looked for an individual policy.
As background, I’ve always had insurance through Kris. Because we were married, my insurance was covered by the policy she had through her employer. And before that — long before that — I was on my parents’ health insurance. For 43 years, health insurance has been a non-issue for me.
That changed, though, when I asked for a divorce last autumn. I knew that I’d have to find my own coverage. In fact, Kris wouldn’t allow the papers to be filed until I could demonstrate I had replacement coverage.
“No problem,” I thought. “How hard can it be to find health insurance? I’m the healthiest I’ve been in my life!” Haha. Turns out, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
A Wild Goose Chase
My first stop was eHealthInsurance.com. Many people (including several GRS readers) had recommended this site as a great way to compare health insurance and to apply online without much hassle. It sounded perfect. Before Kris and I left for our trip to South America in February, I filled out an application. It seemed simple, and I had no doubt I’d be approved.
Some of my options at eHealthInsurance
While we were in Argentina, I got an e-mail that said my application for health insurance had been rejected, but didn’t offer any explanation. When I got home, there was a letter waiting for me in the mail that gave more detail. Turns out, I had a pre-existing condition that caused my application to be rejected. Five years ago, when I was fifty pounds heavier, I suffered from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a risk factor for other diseases, and insurers don’t like it. Never mind that I no longer have sleep apnea, that I’m fifty pounds lighter than when I had it, and that my health has never been better. There’s no way to convey that info on an application. Instead, I was turned down for health insurance.
I went back to eHealthInsurance.com to apply for a different policy, but there’s a question on every application: “Has any other carrier turned you down for health insurance during the past 90 days?” It turns out that once one carrier turns you down, all carriers will turn you down. (This isn’t strictly true, but it’s mostly true.)
I decided that my best bet was to just just continue receiving coverage through my same carrier. My logic was impeccable: I’d been with them for years already and they knew my medical history, so surely it would be a piece of cake to carry things forward. Again, this didn’t turn out to be true.
I called my carrier to ask about porting my policy from Kris’ work account to individual insurance. “We can’t do that,” they told me. “You have to call the employer that has the policy.” So I did. But Kris’ employer told me they couldn’t port it forward either. “Your only option is COBRA,” they told me. (COBRA is ongoing medical insurance available when your existing policy ends. It’s expensive.)
I’m telling this story in a calm, even-handed fashion, but I wasn’t feeling calm and even-handed during the process. I was feeling frustrated. I couldn’t figure out where to turn.
Finally, I started talking about my health insurance dilemma with everyone I met. I asked my self-employed friends what they do for health insurance. (Shocking but true answer: Most of them don’t have health insurance. No joke.) When I met other folks who’ve been through a divorce, I asked how they handled the health insurance question.
In the end, it was my colleague Mark Silver from Heart of Business who provided the answer. “I used an insurance broker to find health insurance,” he told me. “Here. I’ll give you his contact info.”
Taking Matters Into My Own Hands
Because I hate e-mail conversations and because I hate getting the run-around by phone, I tend to prefer face-to-face business transactions. Yes, they take more time, but I find them easier. It’s possible to discuss shades of grey and to explore multiple possibilities in person. For this reason, I drove across Portland to visit Ron Tate at Tate Insurance Services. I explained my situation.
“I need health insurance,” I said. “But I only want catastrophic insurance. I’m willing to self-insure almost everything.” Because I have substantial savings, I’m willing to pay more for routine coverage if that means my monthly insurance premiums are low. In the long-term, this should save me tons of money.
“No problem,” Mr. Tate told me. “We have several options.” He walked me through them. I chose the option that seemed to offer the best balance of cost and coverage, filled out the application. And waited. And waited. And waited.
After a week of waiting, I got word that my application had been rejected. Again. And again because of sleep apnea. “We have a couple of options,” Mr. Tate told me. “Because you’ve been rejected, you qualify for the Oregon Medical Insurance Pool, which is for high-risk customers like you. It’s nto cheap though. Or you can apply elsewhere. Or we can ask for an exclusion for the sleep apnea. That means you won’t have coverage for that condition, but everything else will be normal.”
“To be honest,” I said, “I just want to get this finished. I feel like I’ve been working on this for weeks, and I’m tired of it. It shouldn’t be this hard to get health insurance.”
My plan options at my insurance provider
In fact, I was so frustrated that I went home from Mr. Tate’s office and took matters into my own hands. I did what I should have done from the start. I went to the website for my current carrier and filled out an application for personal health insurance. I chose the cheapest policy (which still costs $128 a month!) and indicated I was a current customer. And then I waited. Within a couple of days, I’d heard back that my application was approved.
An Unhealthy System
That’s a long, boring story, I know, but I’m certain it’s typical of what everyone goes through when attempting to find health insurance on their own. It’s not easy. In fact, it seems a little crazy that it takes that much work to get coverage.
During the process, I spoke with dozens of people about their own experience getting insurance, or about their experience with family members who’ve had to use health insurance lately. I’ll be honest: I came away jaded. I’m far from being a socialist, but there’s no question in my mind that the current health insurance system in the U.S. is broken. It’s tough to find coverage, that coverage is expensive, and once you have it, it’s like a game for the insurance companies to get out of paying. This is dumb. I’d be happy to try some sort of socialized medicine as an alternative, and so would every single person I spoke to during this process. (But, of course, I live in Portland where even moderates like me would be considered liberal in other parts of the country.)
And, of course, the conclusion of this story is that I had to put my insurance to use last week. I have no idea how much my doctor’s appointment, x-ray, and prescriptions would have cost without insurance (and neither do the doctors, actually), but I do know that my total out-of-pocket cost was $29.26. (This may go up after the insurance company decides whether I owe more, but that’s the current total.)
I’m still not healthy. There’s still gunk in my lungs. I’m still running a mild fever. I still feel like sleeping all day. But it’s good to know that if I do need medical help, I have the insurance situation sorted out.
I started the Best Interest on December 16, 2018. It’s been two years! And this also marks two years since I’ve been tracking every single expense in my budget. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Today’s post will be a year-in-review for both the blog and for my personal finances. There will be lots of fun numbers. And I’ll show you how my preaching works in practice.
To get your bearings, here’s the Year 1 Review.
Thank you. Yes, you. Thank you for reading, and thank you to my generous patrons.
I don’t write here because of financial gain (see the Sankey diagram in the Budgeting section). I write here because you’re reading. And because it’s incredibly fun and you readers make it rewarding.
I was recently asked about my mission statement. It’s just in draft, but:
I value helping and teaching. At my core, I want to help people improve their lives by teaching them valuable skills & knowledge. I think personal finance is a tangible, vital, and universal skill set.
Improving personal finance == improving lives.
Sharing with you is my mission. And you sharing your attention with me is a privilege that I don’t take for granted.
Every small compliment you’ve given me is extremely meaningful. I love answering your questions, your Tweets, and your Reddit comments. So again, thank you for being here.
Who doesn’t like statistics? Here’s what 2020 looked like on the Best Interest.
Back in 2019, about 19,000 people visited the blog. I was ecstatic.
In 2020, over 160,000 readers visited. I’m over the moon. In 2021, I’d like to hit 500,000.
As of this publication, about 210,000 words over 82 articles have been published in 2020. About 70% of those are my own, and the other 30% I can attribute to the wonderful bloggers I work with at the Money Mix.
The Money Mix is a group of like-minded writers, bloggers, and internet nerds. We share lessons learned, tips & tricks, and even share one another’s best written work. I’ve learned a ton since joining in April and attribute much of the Best Interest’s growth to learning from TMM.
The blog’s subscriber base grew by about 400% this year. If you haven’t joined, I send out a quick newsletter every week and include all new Best Interest articles.
Never miss another Best Interest post—subscribe here.
And lastly, the blog cost ~$2800 to operate and improve (notice the sweet logo?!), plus the hundreds of hours of writing and site maintenance. The mission makes it worthwhile. But if you’d like to support the cause, please join the patronage. I truly appreciate it. The more this site pays for itself, the more time I can devote to the mission.
Another year, another streak of tracking every single dollar using YNAB. If you’re looking for a smart Christmas present, YNAB is a great idea.
Note: you and I both get a free month of YNAB if you end up signing yourself (or someone else) up with the link above. No extra cost to anyone involved. You get a 34-day trial, and then an additional free month. That’s two months to figure out if you like it!
Below, you can see a snapshot of my YNAB journey from November 2018 until now. During this 2+ year period, I’ve used YNAB to budget and track every dollar that I earn and spend.
Is it overkill? Yes, tracking every dollar is overkill for most people. But I highly recommend that you run a budget, and I even interviewed some other experts for alternative budgeting ideas. Find the right budget for you.
Where the Money Goes
As for where my money actually goes, the Sankey diagram below is a terrific visualization.
I’ve normalized this diagram against 100% of my salary. Why? Because it helps visualize what percentage of my income goes where.
For example, 23.4% of my income went to taxes before I ever saw it. Only 59.42% of my income ever came to my bank account via paychecks and, therefore, was budgeted. Of that 59.4%, I spent about half and saved/invested the other half.
The bottom of the Sankey diagram shows how previous years’ investments grew, and shows the free money that comes from my employer’s 401(k) matching. If the stock market had gone down, the “Investment Interest” section could have been negative.
But as it sits, 2020 stock market returns added the equivalent of 25.44% of my salary to my portfolio. And my employer’s 401(k) match was equivalent to 6% of my salary (that’s free money, by the way). The Investments section below has more detail on those individual investments.
Between budgeted savings (Roth IRA, taxable brokerage account, emergency fund) and pre-tax savings (401k, HSA), about 45% of my salary went towards savings and investments. Add in the “extra” savings (investment returns, 401k match), and the equivalent of 76% of my salary went towards savings and investments.
Your results may vary. But this is how my preaching looks in practice.
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After plenty of questioning, I wrote an article in October that provided every detail of how I invest.
One of the nice things—for both you and I—is that it’s fairly easy to track my portfolio over time. There are four assets:
Large U.S. stock index fund (ex: Fidelity’s S&P 500 index fund, FXIAX)
Mid and small U.S. stock index fund (ex: Fidelity’s Russell 2000 index fund, FSSNX)
Bond index fund (ex: Fidelity’s Total Bond Fund, FTBFX)
International stocks fund (ex: Fidelity’s Total International Stock Fund, FTIHX)
As of 12/16/20, these assets have performed as follows in 2020:
S&P 500 Index = +13.3%
Russell 2000 Index = +17.6%
Bond Index = +3.6%
International Stock Index = +6.2%
For the 2019 year, these indices’ performances were:
S&P 500 Index = +28.9%
Russell 2000 Index = +23.72%
Bond Index = +9.9%
International Stock Index = +21.5%
What are the takeaways? 2019 performance was blistering, and 2020 performance feels oddly optimistic given current events. I don’t expect every year to be as “good” as the past two.
Nevertheless, I’m trying to leave my emotion at the door and stick with my plan. Specifically, I invest the same dollar amount every month, whether the market is up or down. If you want to learn why I’m confident in that plan (despite current events), I wrote all about it this past autumn:
Even if the markets are at all-time highs and it feels like a crash is coming, my outlook is long-term. I have faith the the long-term (10, 20, 30+ years) economic outlook is good.
Favorite Blogs Posts
I’m proud that my writing is highly regarded. I was featured this year on MSN, Grow/CNBC, the Ladders, the Good Men Project, SoFi, Budgets are $exy, the Plutus Awards Showcase, and elsewhere. Woohoo!
If you think my writing is worthy of someone else’s attention, I’d love for you to share it with them. Post a link on Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc. Send your Uncle Dave the article I wrote about him. If you found a post particularly useful, let your tribe know about it. Simple grassroots sharing.
Here are some of the best posts from 2020:
January—The 2010’s Will Happen Again—If you’re worried that the 2010’s were a “once in a lifetime” investing decade, this article will show you how that’s not quite true.
February—Index Fund Bubble: Arguments For and Against—I invest solely in index funds. So when well-known investors warned of a bubble, I wanted to understand for myself.
March—Viral Stock Market Strategies—Lots of Twitter experts discussed their personal investing techniques during the early days of COVID-19. So I wrote a MATLAB script to back-test all their best laid plans. Spoiler—the simplest approaches always fare best.
April—The Biggest Lesson from COVID-19—Slack. Safety net. Margin. Out of the many lessons from COVID-19, this article discusses the biggest one: how building slack in our systems—personal finance, business, hospitals, even hiking—is a life-and-death issue.
May—Jeff Bezos and the Meritocracy Kings—Jeff Bezos, resource allocation, Vonnegut, meritocracy, survivorship bias, systemic flaws, and quarantine kings.
June—Simple Financial Goals—a two-minute punch-list to start you down the path to better personal finances.
July—Do you know Dave?—a funny story about a man you know, and the perilous personal finance circumstances he finds himself in.
August—Long Term Investing Takes Faith—I returned from a camping trip rejuvenated. But memories of the rolling waves reminded me of slow, steady, long-term investing.
September—Amazing People Everywhere—inspired by Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans, I interviewed some amazing people in my own life, and asked them what lessons they’ve learned in their unique journeys.
October—The True Cost of Car Ownership—a detailed analysis of car costs, answering the important questions like:
How should I compare time owned vs. miles driven?
What’s the full-life true cost of owning a car?
How much does a car’s value depreciate over time?
How do I place value on the utility of my car (e.g. a work truck vs. a compact sedan)?
When is a used car purchase smarter than a new car?
How does leasing compare to owning?
Should I sink more money into an old beater? Or just get a new car?
November—Your Retirement Savings Goal for 2021—my first dabble into coding my own calculators. If you’re looking for an easy 2021 resolution, start by calculating your 2021 savings goal.
December—Curses, Miracles, and the Best Interest Student Loan Solution—The status quo is a haunting curse. The proposed solution is a divine miracle. I propose a middle-ground solution. And the math backs me up.
2020: Year of the Dog
We fostered nine sweet dogs in 2020. No dog goals for 2021, other than to keep fostering. There are lots of great dogs that just need a home. If you’re looking for a dog, consider adopting through a shelter or foster organization.
But because it’s fun and funny, here are the 2020 dog power rankings.
Starting at #9: Josie. She was one of Sadie’s puppies. And man, was she mean. Clearly, Josie learned that the meanest puppy always gets fed, and she would absolutely torment poor Oscar. If you’ve ever seen Tasmanian devils fighting on the National Geographic channel, that’s how Josie was at feeding time. Bad girl! But she’s a sweetheart now as a young adult 🙂
Next at #8, Ranger. While Ranger was a good boy, he chewed on too many things. Most dogs are athletes. Not Ranger. He was a happy, dopey, skittish, and unathletic dog.
Louis a.k.a. Mr. Bones a.k.a. Louie Long Legs comes in at #7. Not the cutest pup, and one of the only dogs that legitimately drew blood from his playful bites and claws. But he was just a pup, so you can’t hold it against him!
Jules is our current foster, and she comes in at #6. She’s a little whiny and took a poop behind the Christmas tree. Is she super cute? Sure. But a cute face only gets you so far on the Best Interest.
#5 is Raven, a solid puppy. The most athletic of Sadie’s puppies, there was nothing to dislike about Raven. If she has stayed around longer, she could have competed for the top 3. But she got adopted quickly and didn’t have much time to rise to the top of the heap.
Esther—coming in at #4—was one of two recent moms to come through our home. And poor Esther definitely missed her puppies, making multiple escape attempts over our fence. She was a sweetie. Not much is cuter than hearing a 25-pound part-Huskie give out a “big” wolf howl.
Sadie’s third-and-final puppy, Oscar, comes in at #3. This little guy was everyone’s favorite of Sadie’s three puppies. While we figured, “Ahh. Dad must have been a Blue Heeler,” we actually found out that Sadie is 55% Blue Heeler. Her recessive traits are expressed in her more slender physique and black color. Oscar’s phenotype, however, is very much the stocky, mottled grey Blue Heeler.
Scooby, the cutest bloodhound puppy around, is #2. Not only did Scooby have stellar looks, but he had the personality to match. He was playful, mostly potty-trained, and slept through the night from Day 1. He was wise beyond his weeks. The “Doobie Brother” was a very good boy.
Coming in at numero uno, it’s got to be Sadie. I’m a big softie for Sadie. She was our first foster and probably the only one who arrived at our door significantly unhealthy. She had been homeless in Houston, scrounging for nutrition to support herself and her three puppies (Josie, Raven, and Oscar). Sadie was only 27 pounds when she showed up. But we nourished her, fell for her, and adopted her ourselves! She’s now a sturdy 42 pounds and has been a great friend to all the other fosters to come through our house. She’s also kinda famous in the blogging world.
2021 and Beyond
In 2021, I’d love to help half-a-million (or more!) readers.
Monetization of the blog is something I’ve considered before. Right now, a few generous Patrons donate to the blog, and I don’t run ads (here’s why). But if the income from running ads allowed me to further the blog’s mission without interfering with that mission…would that be worthwhile? I’m interested in what you think about that idea. Do ads bother you?
Content-wise, I’m always looking for useful questions to answer. My own confusion inspired my Explaining the “Big Short” post. The many new parents in my life inspired this guide to 529 plans. If you want to learn something, let me know.
I’m excited for 2021! And I hope you are too.
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Our favorite hotel heiress started the year in the best possible way as a new mom to her baby boy, Phoenix Barron Hilton Reum, whom she welcomed with husband Carter Reum in January 2023. She also moved into a new place in the semi-remote mountains high above Beverly Hills. With the babyâs arrival, the couple […]
The post Paris Hilton’s multi-million-dollar houses with husband Carter Reum appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
After a long, tiring day at work or school, getting home and finally taking off your shoes is one of the best feelings. Odds are you have your own exact routine that begins the moment you get in the doorâchecking your phone, making dinner, or just collapsing on the couch! In this post, we’ve asked … Read more