Keeping Your Teen Safe at Home

When I was a teenager, I would come home from school hours before my parents got back from work. Sometimes I wonder if they ever worried about me being at home alone—whether I was getting up to any teenage mischief or not. Unless they called, there was no way for them to know.

Nowadays there’s texting, which certainly helps this problem. But your security system can also be a huge help in knowing your kids are home safe and behaving well.

SimpliSafe Components That Go the Extra Mile:

SimpliSafe has lots of customizable features that allow you to create a solution that fits your family’s needs.

The SimpliSafe security camera records videos any time your system is tripped, but did you know it also records a short clip anytime the system is armed or disarmed? It’s great for checking in on who’s home. You can see which friends your teen has over. Is it their study partner or that bad apple from down the block? You can check in any time. And don’t worry. The privacy shutter on the camera gives you and your family privacy when they’re home.

You can also set up your system so that each member of the family has a unique PIN. That way you’ll know who’s arming and disarming the system. Not only will you know your teen got home safe, but you’ll know they remembered to arm the system again after.

Another great feature to take advantage of is the SimpliSafe app. With interactive monitoring, you can arm your system remotely when your teen forgets. You can also check to see when they armed or disarmed the system (a surefire way to know if someone’s been breaking their curfew).

If your kid is old enough to stay home alone overnight, SimpliSafe will give you the peace of mind they’re protected, even when they’re asleep. They’ll have the backup not just from our monitoring center, but from the local police as well. Plus, you’ll also have the peace of mind that if they throw a wild party you’ll catch them red handed.

Entry Sensors & Secret Alerts:

We’ve heard of customers using SimpliSafe sensors in creative ways to keep an eye on their teens. Some like to install Entry Sensors in unusual places like liquor cabinets to know when someone is getting into somewhere they shouldn’t be.

Of course, you probably don’t want the police called if your kid happens to open the liquor cabinet. That’s why SimpliSafe has Secret Alerts. You’ll get a text if that sensor is tripped, but the alarm won’t sound and the message won’t be sent to SimpliSafe’s monitoring. It’ll be between you and your teen.

You can also use Secret Alerts to get a text if they’re sneaking out at night, or if they’re taking a peek at those Christmas presents hidden in the closet (we never get too old for that, do we).

Give Them Responsibility:

Part of keeping your kids safe is teaching them how to keep themselves safe. So give your teen some responsibility in protecting your home. If your teen is the most likely person to be at or near your home, consider making them a primary or secondary emergency contact. Teach them what to do and practice the emergency plan together.

If there are younger siblings, have your teen teach the little ones how to use the system and what to do in an emergency.

You can also give your teen access to the app. This way they can also arm and disarm from a distance, and check in on what’s going on at home. You can even work the app as part of their chores, like keeping an eye on the pets.

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The Truth About Home Warranties And Are They Worth It?

When you buy a new home you always have the option of purchasing a home warranty that, theoretically, covers the cost of repairs to various appliances and other home systems. But are these home warranties worth it and what should you be aware of before you actually buy one of these?

Before I get into some of the nuts and bolts behind these home warranty products let me explain that I actually managed the extended warranty program for Circuit City Stores for a period of time and these home warranties are a very similar product. In addition, I've studied the economics of insurance before and home warranties are basically insurance policies. So I know a fair amount about the economics of home warranties.

A Home Warranty Is An Insurance Policy

When you buy a home warranty - and they start around $420 - you are basically buying an insurance policy. The reason this is important to recognize is that insurance companies are in business to make money and that means that they expect to make money on the average policy they sell, which means that on average the people who buy these policies will lose money. Buyers will most likely pay more for the policy than they receive in return over the life of the policy.

Then why would you ever buy an insurance policy? Because you are willing to trade off the certain cost for a very uncertain cost. The insurance company can play the averages game but many consumers cannot or don't want to play that game and they are willing to pay a premium for the certainty. This is especially true as it relates to health care where a catastrophic illness can cost over $1 MM.

But when it comes to home appliances and other systems what is the worst thing that can happen? Maybe you need a new air conditioner or a refrigerator that might cost you a couple of thousand dollars. So for people who can handle that type of expense out of the blue, there is no need for them to buy an insurance policy - they basically "self-insure" from their own savings. But if a new air conditioner would break the bank then you might want to consider getting a home warranty.

How To Beat The Home Warranty Companies At The Averages

There is one advantage that the homebuyer has over the home warranty companies. They know more about what is being insured than the warranty company does and this asymmetrical information allows them to make a better decision about when to buy the warranty than the companies can make about when to sell the warranty. In fact, the companies will pretty much sell a policy on any property to any buyer because they just can't afford to inspect every home before issuing a policy. But a buyer is going to be more likely to buy a policy when they can see that a home has been poorly maintained - e.g. a trashed short sale - and is, therefore, more likely to develop problems. That's what I did when I bought my short sale. I bought a policy from Home Warranty.

This asymmetrical information leads to a problem for the warranty companies called adverse selection - the tendency of these companies to get stuck with bad deals. Consequently, they have to raise their prices to offset this bias, which means that anyone who buys such a warranty on a well-maintained property is overpaying.

Beware The Exclusions

It's important to understand what you are really buying when you get one of these home warranties. The contract is full of fine print which excludes a huge list of situations that you would reasonably expect to be covered such as:

  • Improper installation
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Whirlpool jets
  • Ejector and sump pumps
  • Doorbells associated with intercom systems
  • Alarm system repairs above $400
  • Security video equipment
  • Central vacuum cleaner repairs above $400
  • The remote components of an automatic garage door opener
  • Ice and water dispenser in a refrigerator. In fact, it's not even clear if they cover the ice maker in the standard policy. I don't think they do.

That's just a small sample of my WarrantApp Home Warranty contract. The entire list is enormous. But you can buy a higher cost policy that will cover some of these excluded items. Like I said...these guys are in business to make money.

Beware The Pre-Existing Condition

Just like in healthcare these home warranties have pre-existing condition clauses. When you call in a claim they will ask you a series of questions and if your answers indicate that you don't know for sure that this item ever worked properly since you owned the home then they will simply deny the claim. Now you can buy a premium plan that will cover unknown pre-existing conditions but, even then, if they somehow determine that you knew the item wasn't working when you bought the plan they will deny coverage.

Beware The Deductible

Just like in healthcare you have to pay a deductible for every claim made. On my Home Warranty contract, it's a trade call fee of $100.

The Warranty Company Does Not Guarantee All The Work Performed

This one really burned me up. The home warranty companies contract with various repair companies to actually perform the work and they will make sure that your reported problem is ultimately solved. However, apparently, and once again I can only speak from my experience with Home Warranty if the contractor's work directly or indirectly damages your home or appliance you are on your own to work out the issue with the contractor. WarrantApp will do nothing to help you resolve the issue other than note a complaint in their system for future reference in dealing with the contractor even if WarrantApp sent out an unqualified contractor in the first place.

For instance, we had a gas leak in our dryer and WarrantApp sent out Bender's Plumbing of Addison to fix it. They fixed the leak but after they left we discovered that the dryer was no longer venting outside. Bender's Plumbing was dispatched again to fix this problem but incredibly they decided it wasn't their problem. Reluctantly we paid an appliance repair guy $80 to fix it and he explained that when Bender's moved the dryer the vent hose disconnected and was then crushed as the dryer was moved back in place. If Bender's had known what they were doing they would have opened a panel on the front of the dryer to reconnect the hose and pull it out of the way as they slid the dryer back in place.

Bender's initially promised to send me a check for $80 but it never arrived and then they wouldn't return my phone calls. And even though WarrantApp should never have sent out a plumber to do an appliance repairman's work they refused to help resolve this dispute.

Your Realtor Gets A Commission For The Sale Of A Home Warranty

And this is a lesser concern because it does not involve a lot of money but your realtor does get paid a small commission to sell a home warranty. It's around $70 I think, which is such a small amount that my company rebates it back to our clients to avoid any conflict of interest however small. But you should still be aware of this because some realtors will do anything for a buck.

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Can you get Term Life Insurance if you have Heart Disease Risk Factors?

 

The heart wants what it wants.

As if having a heart condition or related risk factor isn’t unnerving enough, the worry of not being able to provide or afford to provide financial peace of mind for your loved ones could compound the stress of a medical issue.

Naturally, life insurance companies are interested in how healthy your heart is as they assess their risk in granting you coverage. People with or at risk for cardiovascular disease, or even a family history of it, could end up paying higher premiums for their policies. A drop of one rating class (e.g., Super Preferred to Preferred) could mean an increase of 25% or more in the cost of your insurance policy. And under certain circumstances, an insurance company might deny you coverage.

If You're Thinking About Applying for a Life Insurance Policy, Keep These two Things in Mind: 

  1. You need to be completely honest about your current health status and medical history.

Lying, misleading, or omitting crucial information about your health will likely get you rated at a higher premium or denied a policy. And if you’re granted a policy, die, and the insurance company discovers you lied or misrepresented information on your application, it could either lower the benefit your family receives or the company will altogether refuse the claim.

  1. Although you may not be able to help that you have a heart condition or risk factor, doing what you can to keep issues under control will work in your favor. 

For example, if you have blood pressure that’s typically higher than the ideal normal reading of less than 120/80, you might consider seeing a doctor and getting it under control before you apply for life insurance. I have first-hand experience with this one. My blood pressure had been running high, but because I didn’t have other risk factors and was under a physician’s care to keep my BP under control, I still got a preferred plus rating when I applied for term life insurance.

The same goes for cholesterol levels. Total cholesterol (a measure of your HDL, LDL, and other components) of below 200 and a ratio of LDL and HDLs of 5.0 or less are considered ideal. As with blood pressure, if your levels are outside of the preferred levels, getting them under control before applying for life insurance will serve your wallet well.

How do Insurance Companies Check your Heart Health?

When you apply for insurance, you’ll need to share about your medical history (and family medical history) by answering questions on the application. You’ll also need to undergo a paramedical exam that includes blood tests, blood pressure check, and urinalysis. Depending on your age, history, and amount of coverage requested (if larger than normal), the insurance company might also ask you to go through an electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or a stress (treadmill) test to further evaluate your heart health.

Realize that all insurance companies have different policies and procedures so the requirements, considerations, and rates will vary from one to another.

How can you get the Best Life Insurance Rate?

If you’ve avoided looking into life insurance because you don’t think you can afford the cost, you might be pleasantly surprised if you explore the option of term life insurance. You’ll need to go through the same type of health assessments as you would when applying for whole life insurance, but term life policies offer premiums that could be substantially lower. They’re simple, straightforward policies without the bells and whistles that run up premium rates.

You can quickly and easily get a preliminary term life quote online. To find out if a term life policy might be the right choice for you and your family, talk with a trusted insurance professional who can explain how it works and answer your questions.

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Separating Fact From Fiction When It Comes to Long-Term Care Insurance

Few people are prepared to handle the financial burden of long-term health care. In fact, many people have a false sense of security when it comes to long-term care. Let’s separate fact from fiction:

“Medicare and my Medicare supplement policy will cover it.”

FACTS:

  • Medicare and “Medigap” insurance were never intended to pay for ongoing, long-term care. Only about 12% of nursing home costs are paid by Medicare, for short-term skilled nursing home care following hospitalization. (Source: Guide to Long-Term Care Insurance, AHIP, 2013)
  • Medicare and most health insurance plans, including Medicare supplement policies, do not pay for long-term custodial care. (Source: 2017 Medicare & You, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

“It won’t happen to me.”

FACTS:

  • Almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need long term care services and supports at some point in their lives. (Source: LongTermCare.gov, November 2016)
  • About 67% of nursing home residents and 70% of assisted living residents are women. (Source: Long-Term Care Providers and Services Users in the United States, February 2016, National Center for Health Statistics)

“I can afford it.”

FACTS:

  • As a national average, a year in a nursing home is currently estimated to cost about $92,000. In some areas, it can easily cost well over $110,000! (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)
  • The average length of a nursing home stay is 835 days. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nursing Home Care FastStats, last updated May 2014)
  • The national average cost of a one bedroom in an assisted living facility in the U.S. was $43,539 per year in 2016. (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)
  • Home health care is less expensive, but it still adds up. In 2016, the national average hourly rate for licensed home health aides was $20. Bringing an aide into your home for 20 hours a week can easily cost over $1,600 each month, or almost $20,000 a year. (Source: Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey, April 2016)

“If I can’t afford it, I’ll go on Medicaid.”

FACTS:

  • Medicaid, or welfare assistance, has many “strings” attached and is only available to people who meet federal poverty guidelines.

Whether purchased for yourself, your spouse or for an aging parent, long-term care insurance can help protect assets accumulated over a lifetime from the ravages of long-term care costs.

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Lifespan of Modern Home Appliances

 
Homeowners often assume that with an increase in technology comes an improvement of everyday life. So it can come as a surprise that when appliance manufactures add techs, like sensors and displays, they are actually shortening the product’s lifespan.
 

Major home appliances like washers, stoves and even refrigerators have plugged into the digital revolution thanks to the introduction of smart appliances by brands like LG and Samsung. You can now do things like scan food items into your fridge, and it will then make recipe recommendations based off of the current contents — that’s one less excuse for ordering takeout.

Unfortunately, the added bells and whistles have overshadowed the fact that appliances just don’t last as long as they use to. The current average lifespan of major home appliances is around 10-15 years — compared to roughly 20-30 years when appliances were mostly mechanical in nature. That’s why your mom’s avocado-green washing machine lasted so long.

Today, the presence of LCD screens, Wi-Fi, and even load-sensitive sensors have increased the vulnerability of our modern appliances — the more gadgets, the more things that can fail. This, coupled with thinner plastic parts replacing the more durable porcelain and copper parts of the past means more calls to the repairman. Just like our cars, home appliances were once bulky behemoths made of heavier, more resilient materials.

However, there are two simple recommendations on how to avoid premature breakdowns with modern appliances. First, simply reading through the manual and getting a sense of how to properly clean and maintain your appliance is highly recommended to preserve its lifespan. Second, when problems do arise, don’t jump the gun and swap it for a new one. If the appliance has not yet exceeded the average lifespan, chances are fixing the specific problem and keeping it for its full lifespan will save you more in the long-run.


Although the lifespan of major appliances has decreased over the years, the added technology has greatly improved our lives. For what they now lack in years, these modern machines make up for in energy efficiency and technological versatility. It’s a small price to pay for managing more productive lives in our fast-paced digital age.

Owning new, modern appliances are great. But it’s even better knowing that when they fail, you’ll be covered with a Home Warranty Plan from WarrantApp.

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How Do Smoking Cessation Products Affect Life Insurance Rates?

Are you using cessation products to quit smoking?  There are ways for you to get great non-smoker prices on life insurance.  There are endless benefits to quitting a smoking habit.  It helps to increase both your lifespan and your wallet.  To quit smoking you need strong will power and sometimes the help of products whether those are gum, lozenges, patches, or e-cigarettes.  These products all contain nicotine and are used to wean your body off cigarettes while supplying you with the nicotine but sparing you from the other chemicals found in tobacco.

Because there is nicotine in these products, some life insurance companies will still classify you as a smoker even if you don’t actually smoke anything.  The use of these products will cause cotinine to show up in your urine test which would be enough for the carrier to classify you in one of the tobacco risk classes and issue you smoker rates.

Have no fear cessation product users!  There are insurance companies that will consider you for the non-tobacco risk classes and therefore be given non-smoker pricing.  To be offered non-smoker rates, you have to be cigarette-free for at least 12 months.  Let’s say you have been using a cessation gum to quit smoking, but you have only been cigarette-free for 5 months.  Even though you currently do not smoke, you will still get the smoker-rate because it has not yet been at least 12 months.  However, if you have been cigarette free for at least a year but still, for example, chew Nicorette Gum daily there are insurance carriers who will offer you non-smoker pricing.

Insurance carriers rate certain tobacco/nicotine uses differently.  While one company may give non-smoker rates to gum and e-cigarettes, another company may only give non-smoker rates to gum.  We asked 20 life insurance carriers if they would consider giving a non-tobacco risk class to an applicant who uses nicotine gum and four carriers said they would consider it.  Of these carriers, three said they would consider giving a non-tobacco risk class to e-cigarette users.

These examples explain why it is very beneficial for you to work with an independent life insurance agency, like Quotacy, who has contracts with multiple carriers.  It also shows how important it is for you to be very detailed about your tobacco and nicotine product use on your life insurance application.  If we have all the correct information we are able to go to the appropriate life insurance carrier to ensure you get the best policy for your individual situation.

You can still protect your loved ones with life insurance even if you use smoking cessation products, and what’s better is that there is even a possibility you can get great non-smoker rates.  No one ever anticipates needing to use life insurance, but the unexpected happens.

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What Car Warranty is Best for Me?

Whether you're shopping for a new or used car, most people have a general idea that a warranty is a good idea. Warranties are often considered to be a form of "insurance" - you pay out a fee and in exchange, your car will be fixed if anything on it breaks, but unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There are different types of warranties and a warranty might not necessarily cover everything that you think it will. Here is everything you need to know:

What Exactly is an Auto Warranty?

A warranty is a contract between either you and your dealership or you and your manufacturer. At its simplest, a warranty sets out a specific amount of time and mileage; any defects and repairs that are necessary under that time and mileage amount are automatically covered under warranty. Warranties usually last around three years or 36,000 miles. They can also be extended upon vehicle purchase. This is very common when used vehicles are purchased. 

But an auto warranty is not a type of insurance even though it is often presented as one. Auto warranties are only designed to fix parts that are considered to be defective or faulty. They are not designed to fix parts that have broken down from wear-and-tear, collisions or other issues. There are also different types of auto warranties that you need to understand.

What Types of Warranty Coverage Exist?

  • Drivetrain and powertrain warranties - These warranties are designed to ensure that the very essential components of the vehicle last: the engine, transmission and the associated parts. Drivetrain and powertrain warranties protect against manufacturer defects of these components but will be voided if they haven't been properly serviced (such as with regular oil changes).
  • Bumper-to-bumper warranties - The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is a three-year warranty (or 36,000 miles) that governs the parts of the vehicle from bumper-to-bumper. If these parts are considered to be defective, they will be repaired as needed.
  • Rust or corrosion warranties - This type of warranty is rarer but may be tacked on to the other warranty. This covers rust and corrosion if it occurs due to a defect.
  • Federal emissions warranties - This warranty is more popular now and will cover any repairs necessary to ensure that the vehicle meets its emissions standards.
  • Roadside assistance - This is another specialty warranty that offers roadside assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Most people already have this through their insurance.

How Does a Warranty Work?

To go through a warranty, you must first contact the vehicle entity you have a relationship with: either your dealer or your manufacturer. They will then direct you to the repair shop that will work with you. 

Warranties can be voided if an individual does not maintain their vehicle properly. Auto Tek provides complete auto services that will ensure that all the parts of your vehicle are well-maintained so that you can stay within your warranties. Contact our team of professionals today!

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Do You know What a Home Warranty is?

A home warranty is often a feature in the sale of a home.  In that scenario, the seller typically pays a few hundred dollars for a one-year warranty covering the home’s major fixtures such as the furnace, water heater and kitchen appliances.  This gives the buyer some protection during that first year of ownership knowing that if something major breaks down it will be covered.  Many homeowners choose to continue paying an annual premium rather than risk-bearing the full replacement cost of a major item.

Although technically not insurance, warranties are very similar in that the homeowner is paying an up-front fee to protect against a potentially huge replacement cost.  If nothing breaks during the coverage period, the customer may in hindsight feel the fee was a waste of money, but that’s what managing risk is all about.  Are you financially prepared to replace major components as they are needed, or would you rather pay a set amount per year whether something breaks or not?

One important difference between insurance and a warranty is that the homeowner must go through the warranty company to arrange for service, and this can be another point where a customer might be dissatisfied.  Home warranty companies establish relationships with service providers in the areas for which they provide coverage.  So whether customers are satisfied with the warranty company depends in large part on whether they are satisfied with the repairmen whom the warranty company has hired.

Even though home warranties aren’t considered insurance, the companies that sell them are typically regulated by each state’s department of insurance. According to the Service Contract Industry Council, 32 states require home warranty companies to register or obtain a license with that state’s department of insurance. This state agency is responsible for licensing the entity, examines the company for compliance of applicable laws regarding home warranty services and monitors the financial condition of the company for the protection of their clients.

What’s covered?

Most home warranty companies offer a variety of plans, each providing different levels of coverage, so be sure to read the details of any contract before buying. Even if you choose to renew the contract from year-to-year, double-check the details of your plan because coverage can change annually. Here is a general idea of what a homeowner can expect to find in each tier of service:

BASIC COVERAGE

  • Plumbing systems
  • Range/oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Exhaust fans
  • Sump pump
  • Water heater
  • Ceiling fans
  • Heating and electrical system components
  • Built-in microwave
  • Whirlpool tub

ENHANCED COVERAGE

  • A/C
  • Washer/dryer
  • Refrigerator
  • Garage door opener

OPTIONAL ITEMS

  • Pool
  • Spa
  • Well pump
  • Septic system
  • Standalone freezer
  • Central vacuum

For newly constructed homes

Many states require that all home builders and contractors warranty their work on a newly constructed home.

This provides the homeowner with the assurance that should any major defects or repairs become necessary within its new home for various time periods up to ten years following construction that is not the fault of damage or negligence by the homeowner then the repairs or replacements necessary will be covered.

The workmanship of the home construction, materials used and performance of major systems such as the plumbing, electrical and HVAC are all covered under these types of home warranty services. This includes the overall integrity of the structure. Each state monitors the specific requirements in these situations.

For pre-existing home purchases

When buying a pre-existing home, buyers can choose to purchase home warranty coverage. This will provide them with coverage against for repair or replacement costs that they may incur with existing mechanical systems or appliances in their new home within a specific time frame following the purchase date. Major mechanical systems that are covered include plumbing, electrical, heating, and air.

For seller solutions

Homeowners that are trying to sell their homes may want to consider the benefits of offering a home warranty on their home. The seller can choose to pay for the home warranty coverage on his or her own or ask that the buyer pay for a specified portion of the cost. By including a home warranty option on their home, homeowners can get the maximum selling price for their home, be relieved of further obligations should repairs or replacements become necessary after the final purchase is completed and interest buyers in a tough market. Home warranties can be purchased through independent home warranty companies of the seller or buyer’s choice or through the real estate agent that will handle the paperwork with the home warranty company for the parties.

What do home warranties cost?

The average cost of a basic coverage plan ranges from $350 to $500 a year, with the cost of an enhanced plan adding $100 to $300. Prices reflect not only coverage but also a company’s loss history, which is determined by how often an item breaks down and the cost to repair it. Some home warranty companies offer additional coverage for certain items, such as a good pump or pool, for an extra fee. Regardless of the type of plan, homeowners typically pay an additional service fee ranging from $50 to $75 for each repair job.

The majority of home mortgage companies have a set price for their basic home warranty plans that they offer. The type of housing such as townhouse, condominium, single-family residential, duplex or apartment often determines the set cost of the home warranty coverage.

While detached garages are generally covered under the basic home warranty plans that are offered, most separate buildings on the premises are not. Extended home warranty plans are available at additional costs for these building structures.

Costs for home warranty plans are paid upfront before the coverage goes into effect. Some companies offer their clients the ability to make payments on their home warranty plans if it helps to secure the sale or they have a long standing with the client.

Complaints about home warranties

Among the many negative reviews submitted by Angie’s List members about warranty companies, the key complaints are: (1) Something wasn’t covered that the customer assumed was covered, and (2) although the item was “covered” there was still a service call fee that the customer didn’t expect.   Although this expectations gap can also occur with insurance policies and other purchases, home warranties may be particularly prone to it because so often they are purchased by one owner (the one preparing to sell), but used by another owner (the buyer). Most plans do require an additional service fee to be paid by the homeowner. Typically, the least expensive plans cover the least amount of items and require the highest service fees.

In order to minimize misunderstandings, experts stress the importance of reviewing and understanding a service contract before purchasing a home warranty. For example, if a certain appliance needs repaired or replaced, a homeowner should know how much money will need to be spent out of pocket.  Also, how comprehensive is the potential repair or replacement?  If one component of an appliance break but the unit needs replacing, is the warranty company responsible for replacing the unit or the component? That’s an essential question that needs to be answered. It’s also important to review at least three warranty companies, understand what it is covered and what is excluded.

 To keep from getting fooled by your contract, consider the following tips:

  • Check with your state’s department of insurance to verify if the home warranty company you’re considering is properly licensed to do business. If licensing isn’t required in your state, inquire about the company’s status with your local consumer protection agency.  If you join us you can search for home warranty companies that serve your geographic area and find out which have received positive reviews from past customers.
  • Be sure to read the fine print and ask the company any lingering questions before deciding if a home warranty service contract is right for you.
  • Tell your real estate agent about any denied claims. Oftentimes, he or she will have a relationship with the home warranty company and can make a call on your behalf.
  • Be sure to tell the home warranty company if their network contractor did a good job or not. Most keep a rating system on their contractors and disperse the work accordingly.
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Can I Buy Life Insurance on My Significant Other?

Americans are waiting longer to get married.  This doesn’t mean that today’s couples love each other less than generations past.  Most couples are postponing marriage because they want to be financially secure first.  Part of being financially secure is owning life insurance.

It’s very common for married couples to purchase life insurance on one another or name each other as beneficiaries of their policies.  When you buy life insurance on someone, you need to have consent and insurable interest.  Insurable interest exists when one person financially benefits from another person living.  Essentially, they are worth more to you alive than dead.  With married couples, it’s obvious that they have an insurable interest in one another.  They live in the same house, both contribute toward bills and maybe raising children together.

The life insurance industry changes and adapts to keep up with societal norms.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of U.S. adults who are unmarried yet cohabitating has risen 29 percent since 2007.  For couples that aren’t married but want to buy life insurance on one another, you may need to check a few more boxes, but it isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Buying Life Insurance on Your Fiancé/Fiancée

Being engaged shows a higher level of commitment and financial dependency than dating – in the eyes of the life insurance company.  It’s typically not an issue for engaged couples to buy life insurance on one another.  Some life insurance companies will want to know that a wedding date is set, but this isn’t always required.

How to Buy Life Insurance on Your Significant Other

If you’re looking to get life insurance on your significant other or name them as the beneficiary of your policy, WarrantApp can help.  We have helped many married and unmarried couples purchase life insurance.  Start the process by running a free and anonymous term life insurance quote.

If you want to buy life insurance on your significant other, be sure to complete the online quote and application using their information.  (Remember: You can always contact us directly if you want one-on-one assistance.)  After running quotes, when you’re ready to apply you will be brought to a page that looks like the screenshot below.

You can see it asks that you fill out the form with the insured’s information (your significant other.)  The life insurance company will need to personally contact the insured (your significant other) to verify application information and, if necessary, to schedule the medical exam.

Remember, you can’t just buy life insurance on anyone.  Consent is required.  If you believe life insurance is important for your significant other, but he or she doesn’t agree, you can’t just buy it on them anyway without their knowledge.  If you’re having trouble getting them to understand the importance of life insurance, check out our blog post How Do I Get My Spouse to Buy Life Insurance?  There are some tips that may be helpful.  We look forward to helping you and your loved one buy life insurance.

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Plumbing Issues

 

Plumbing issues will soon be a thing of the past with these quick fixes you can do at home! Intimidated or don’t have the time? No problem, simply request service with America’s Choice Home Warranty and a couple clicks will get you fixed.

Plumbing Problem 1: Water Trickling Into the Bowl, or “Phantom Flushes”

Periodically, you may hear your toilet begin to voluntarily refill, as though someone had flushed it. Indeed, no one has, but don’t worry, your toilet isn’t haunted. A toilet that cuts on and off by itself, or runs intermittently, has a problem that plumbers call a “phantom flush.” The issue is a slow leak from the toilet tank into the bowl. This problem is almost certainly caused by a bad flapper or flapper seal. The solution is simple: drain the tank and bowl, check and clean the flapper seat and replace the flapper if it’s worn or damaged. 

Plumbing Problem 2: Water Trickling Into the Tank

Do you hear a steady hissing sound coming from your toilet? This is a result of water trickling into the tank via the supply line. First thing’s first, check the float, the ballcock or inlet-valve assembly and the refill tube. The hissing sound is typically caused by water coming through the inlet valve. First, check to see whether the float needs adjustment, or if it’s sticking. Next, check to make sure the refill tube isn’t inserted too far into the overflow tube. (It should extend only about 1/4″ below the rim of the overflow tube.) If neither of these adjustments solves the problem, you’ll probably need to replace the ballcock assembly. 

Plumbing Problem 3: The Bowl Empties Slowly

A weak flush, or a bowl that empties really, really slowly, is usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. This is the easiest fix of all: use a curved piece of wire to poke gently into each flush hole to clear out any junk and bacteria. Coat-hanger wire works fine, and a small mirror will help you see under the rim. You can also use wire to loosen debris that may be blocking the siphon jet in the bottom of the drain. Be careful not to scratch the bowl, and make sure to use gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterward.

Plumbing Problem 4: The Dreaded Clog

Clogs are definitely the most common of toilet problems. The good news is several tools can help you clear a clogged drain. A force-cup plunger is more effective for clearing minor clogs. Insert the bulb into the drain, and pump forcefully, careful not to spill waste water all over yourself or the floor. Slowly release the handle, letting a little water in so you can see whether the drain is clear. Repeat if necessary.

For serious clogs, use a closet auger. Insert the end of the auger into the drain hole, and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward. Use caution not to scratch the bowl.

Plumbing Problem 5: Leaky Seals

A standard toilet has at least five seals; each seal has the potential for leaking. The straightforward solution is to identify the faulty seal and tighten or replace it. The seal between the tank and bowl is the largest and most problematic. A break here will cause a major leak, with water shooting out from underneath the tank at every flush. Although it sounds intimidating, replacing this seal involves draining and removing the tank. First, turn the tank upside down for better access. Then, remove the old seal and pop on a new one.

The smaller seals at the mounting bolts and the base of the ballcock may also fail and cause smaller leaks. Replace these in the same way. Occasionally tightening the bolts or mounting nut is usually enough to stop the leak.

The final seal is the wax seal mounted on a plastic flange underneath the toilet base. This is a big deal because if this seal fails, water leaking underneath the toilet base will eventually rot the floor. Caulking around the base of the toilet without repairing the leak will only trap the water, making matters worse. To repair a leak around the base of the toilet, you’ll need to remove the toilet and replace the wax seal. If the leak is caused by a broken flange, request service with E-Exchanreg Home Warranty and we’ll hook you up with a professional plumber if you don’t have your own in mind.

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