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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Life Insurance with a Felony Conviction


When applying for fully underwritten traditional life insurance, most insurance carriers are going to inquire about any felony convictions you may have had in the past. It makes sense – if a life insurance company is willing to check your motor vehicle record for your driving behavior, then they would likely search your history for any felonies that may have been committed. These are just some of the things that go into the underwriting process to determine how acceptable a potential insured person will be to purchase life insurance with a felony conviction.

There is one major point that should be made here. Simply because a person has been charged with a felony does not make them a felon. Only if a person has been convicted of a felony are they classified as a felon. The vast majority of the time, the insurance carrier will need to know how much time has passed since you were convicted of your felony charge. Most carriers will also need to know the details of any sentences you were to serve for said conviction. Of all these things, the most important to almost any life insurance carrier will be, what was the nature of the charge and conviction you received.

Insurance Companies look at Felony Convictions Differently

As far as the underwriting process goes, many insurance carriers have very different criteria that are examined and weighed through the process. Each carrier interprets the information they require differently, and many have completely different types of information that is required. Infractions, (whether felony or not) that are most likely to cause problems for a life insurance applicant would be:

  • Larceny
  • Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol (1st offense is a misdemeanor)
  • Crimes involving property
  • Drug-related crimes
  • Assault

Because these five crimes make up over half of the current prison population, these are the offenses that pose the greatest concern to life insurance carriers. These crimes, in some cases, are not life-threatening inherently when committed. However, the time that one will spend in prison once convicted could be. Moreover to this point, convictions are much less likely to become a barrier to buying life insurance with a felony when the crime committed is larceny or assault.

Some Good News

The bright side of this story for individuals seeking life insurance coverage that have one or more felony convictions is that not all insurers have the same guidelines. There are some carriers that will offer an individual coverage, however, there are some that will not. That being said, an individual’s first step when seeking insurance coverage should be to contact us and discuss your current situation in order for our licensed insurance professionals to be better able to determine ahead of time which, if any, insurers will be able to offer coverage.

The quality of the insurance professional you utilize is just as important as the insurance carrier you choose to apply to. Submitting a life insurance application with a life insurance carrier that has a track record of denying coverage to individuals with felony records would make no sense. The independent life insurance professional that we connect you with will know exactly who will be your best option when seeking coverage.

The Deal Breakers

Some felony convictions are all but a guarantee that a traditional life insurance company will deny life insurance coverage. These are :

  • Child molestation
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed above

A conviction for any of the aforementioned charges will result in a declination of coverage from all traditional life insurance carriers. However, individuals in this category will still be permitted to purchase “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance from a carrier and also Accidental Death life insurance as well.

Drug-Related Felonies

Individuals who may have previously made an attempt to obtain life coverage through a traditional life insurance carrier and were denied may still have remaining options that are not simply limited to “Guaranteed Issue” life coverage.Generally speaking, most life insurance carriers will automatically decline applicants that have prior drug-related felonies. However, there are carriers that will still consider offering coverage depending on how the individual may answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever been incarcerated?
  • If so, how much time did you spend imprisoned?
  • How much time has passed since you were charged and then convicted of the crime?
  • How long ago were you released from your last incarceration?
  • Are you currently on probation or parole? If so, for what time frame?
  • If you were on probation or parole, how long ago was it terminated?

The answers given to these questions will be the best determining factors in allowing an underwriter to assess how eligible an individual is for life insurance coverage. The exact nature of an individual’s charges and convictions are important because some convictions have a higher recidivism rate than others. Generally speaking, underwriters use this information about an individual’s criminal record to determine how likely they are to be reincarcerated for another criminal offense.

Be mindful of the fact that being incarcerated is considered a life-threatening circumstance. The amount of time that has passed between the date of application and the date an individual was convicted and or released from prison is the most important detail here. The reason this detail is so important is that the underwriter assigned to this case will want to see exactly how much a potential insured’s lifestyle has changed since they were released from prison.

Felonies involving Alcohol or Violence

Primarily felonies involving alcohol usually are related to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. However, violence related felonies can be just as likely contributed to the use of alcohol.

In cases of this sort, underwriters are on the lookout for at least a two-year gap between the time of conviction and the time of probation before considering the opportunity to offer life insurance coverage. In the event you have been denied life coverage after two years has passed, you have likely applied for coverage with the incorrect insurance carrier and should give our office a call for help.

Challenges Agents Face when You Reveal Your Felony

Good insurance agents know on initial contact that it will take a considerable amount of work to find life insurance coverage for an individual that has a record containing a prior felony conviction. If you take the typical call center agency approach, most likely you will be denied coverage based on criminal history due to the agent not being motivated to spend additional time and resources on your case because it may result in a declination even after the agent has invested the necessary time to properly scout the potential carriers to obtain life coverage for you.

This, however, should not deter you from contacting an independent insurance agent that has access to multiple life insurance carriers and is willing to put in the time, energy, and effort to see to it that you acquire life insurance with a felony conviction.

A knowledgeable independent insurance agent will know after your first conversation if traditional life insurance is the route that you should take, or if a “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance carrier will be more suited to your needs based on your particular situation. Your agent will have the necessary experience and know how to assist in your life insurance purchasing decision to allow you to make the most informed decision possible.

Independent insurance agents that specialize in hard-to-place and high-risk cases appreciate the challenge that comes along with this type of business and are more than willing to represent you and your best interest to block any hindrances and help you obtain the life insurance coverage you need.

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Why You Might Want Wedding Insurance

If you’re busy planning a wedding, you might want to consider insuring it.

Wedding insurance policies are relatively easy to understand, and the two main types are both inexpensive compared with the cost of a ceremony and reception:

  • Liability insurance covers you in case of an injury or property damage at the wedding. Liquor liability, sometimes a separate coverage, pays out if someone drinks too much and causes an injury or damage.
  • Cancellation coverage reimburses you for costs such as deposits and guests’ airfare if you need to cancel or reschedule the wedding for an unforeseen reason. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include a change of heart.

The most common wedding cancellation claims involve:

  • A vendor, such as a venue or a caterer, going out of business or being otherwise unable to fulfill its agreement.
  • Extreme weather, such as a hurricane or tornado.
  • A member of the bridal party or family being too injured or ill to participate.

Costs

Cancellation and liability coverage are sold separately. Prices are based on the number of guests or the wedding’s price tag, depending on the insurer, but each can cost under $200 for a wedding with fewer than 50 guests.

How to buy it

You can buy wedding insurance through an event insurer, such as Wedsafe or WedSure, or large insurers such as Travelers Insurance. Some insurers sell “event insurance,” which can also cover a wedding. Ask your agent if your current insurer has any options.

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Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Let’s face it; plumbing issues stink! Plumbing is one of those home systems we tend not to appreciate until there’s a problem with it. They can occur without any warning making for an unpleasant surprise that you have no choice but to address immediately.

Plumbing problems aren’t just unpleasant; they can also be expensive. Not only does the issue itself needs to be remedied, but also leaked water can cause several residual issues such as floorboard rot, drywall damage and mold, among others.

Related: A Guide To Leaks, Clogs, And Other Plumbing Issues You Can Fix

The average cost to hire a plumber for a typical job ranges from $160 to $430. Plus, plumbers often charge an additional premium to come out on evenings or weekends. The cost of parts for the repair can vary widely, especially in older homes where replacement pieces are harder to find.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

If you’ve been asking yourself whether you should invest in a home warranty, the first step is to look at what’s covered under the warranty. Each plan is different and coverage can vary.

WarrantApp Home Warranty plan covers the costs of repairing or replacing more than 20 major appliances and home systems, including plumbing. There are flexible plans that allow you to choose the best fit for your family’s needs and you can even build your own custom plan so you have the exact coverage you want.

Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Generally speaking, home warranties do cover plumbing when issues result from normal wear and tear. Not every plan is created equally, though, so it’s important to look at what exactly is covered, especially if you already have a contract. Some of the common plumbing troubles covered by AHS include:

  • Leaks and breaks in the water, gas, drain or vent lines
  • Faucets, shower heads, and shower valves
  • Built-in bathtub whirlpool motors, pumps, and air switches
  • Clearing sink, tub, shower and toilet stoppages

Be sure to check the yor contract for more details.

Give Yourself Peace of Mind

Unfortunately, plumbing issues are inevitable in any home. Since the best plan is to be prepared, you can ease your stress by giving yourself the gift of an American Home Shield plan.

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Term Life Insurance for 35 Years

35 years is a long time.

Think about some of the things that happened or were popular in 1981.

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • MTV began
  • Prince Charles and Lady Diana married
  • Hall & Oates
  • The Rubik’s Cube
  • Donkey Kong

A lot can happen in that time of time. The fall of The Soviet Union. The Internet. Mobile phones. Emoji. 35-yr term life insurance.

Yes, you read that right. You can now buy term life insurance with a term period of 35 years from American General Life Insurance Company.

Until now, the longest term period available was 30 years. But with the new term length, you can lock in a low rate up to age 45 and keep it until you are 80 years old.

Will you need term life insurance for 35 years?

Maybe and maybe not. It all depends on your unique circumstances. Things to consider include:

  • How many years until your youngest child leaves home?
  • How many years until all your children (and perhaps grandchildren) graduate college?
  • How many years until you pay off your mortgage?
  • How many years until you retire?

This is a start, but there’s more to it. Thankfully, we’ve written a thorough guide to help you find out how long you will need term life insurance.

It’s important to note that you are never ‘stuck’ in a policy for the entire term length. Meaning, you can always cancel the policy before the term expires without incurring any penalties or fees. Most life insurance companies will refund any unused premiums as well. Just in time for last-minute holiday shopping!

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What to Ask When Choosing a Home Warranty

There are a number of things to know about before getting your first Home Warranty Plan. Here are 10 questions to ask yourself and the provider when comparing your options.

Purchasing a home warranty to cover your major appliances and system components (refrigerator, dishwasher, garage door entry system, HVAC unit, etc.) can be tricky. You have to balance consideration of each warranty's options, premiums, deductibles, terms, and conditions. At the end of the day, what you really want is some assurance that, in times of need, you and your family will remain safe, comfortable and suffer the least amount of inconvenience.

What should you look for in a home warranty? There is no simple answer, and there is no one-size-fits-all home warranty solution. As with all your other investments, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to enter negotiations as well-prepared as possible. So we’ve assembled this checklist of questions to ask before you commit to a home warranty agreement to help you better understand your needs, your expectations, your reservations, and your own attitudes towards what makes a house a home.

1. How much wear and tear do your appliances already have?

Appliances exist for one reason: to make our lives easier and that means taking on the dirty work (literally, in the case of a dishwasher or washing machine). Some of us use them harder than others and age can add up over the years, but as long as you use your appliances according to manufacturer's instructions, a home warranty can help you keep your machines running without worrying about unexpected repair or replacement costs. Should your appliance's or system's major components break down due to your normal use, a home warranty can be there to help cover the costs to get back in working condition.

2. Do you plan on upgrading or replacing your appliances any time soon, even though they are still functioning?

New appliances and systems come with manufacturer's warranties which are great protection, however, they run out and are unit specific. A home warranty can provide more of an umbrella of protection for your home to cover multiple appliances and systems. Plus, some companies, WarrantApp, for example, provide programs such as the Appliance Discount Program that can save you money on the purchase of brand new, brand-name appliances.

3. Are you aware of any pre-existing conditions or problems with your appliances that have gone unaddressed?

Home warranty companies want to help you keep your home in working order but there may be some limitations when it comes to addressing certain pre-existing conditions. Check with your potential provider.

4. Are there any essential components on your appliances (e.g., your refrigerator’s ice-maker; your HVAC system’s ductwork) that may not be covered by a particular warranty?

Today's appliances are amazingly complex machines with evolving pieces and parts. However, they still basically rely upon essential core parts to perform their necessary duties. Those components are what require protection and often can be most expensive to repair. Your home warranty should cover these core components.

5. How does a particular warranty complement or supplement your existing homeowner's insurance policy?

Home insurance is great protection for your home for what MIGHT happen (fire, flood, natural disaster, etc.). However, what about protection for things that WILL happen? For example, your air conditioner condenser finally giving out or your clothes dryer refusing to dry your clothes. Having a home warranty plan to work side-by-side with your home insurance can greatly help your home remain a comfortable and happy place.

6. Will a specific home warranty policy help you pay for routine preventative maintenance of your major appliances?

A home warranty may not cover your routine preventative maintenance, however, they may penalize you for NOT taking that action. American Home Shield will not do that. We understand you're busy and that time gets away from you. That's why we can help cover you when your major system and appliance components break down from normal use.

7. Will a specific home warranty policy help you to pay for significant cosmetic damage to your major appliances?

Home warranties are designed to cover parts and components that are designed to wear down from normal wear and tear. If that normal use causes cosmetic damage, you should be covered. However, if an overly excited family member causes damage to your dishwasher door, for example, you will not be covered.

8. Are any repairs, services or appliances too minor (e.g. your microwave oven) to be covered by a specific warranty?

It all depends on your provider and your contract. An WarrantApp Home Warranty Plan, for example, covers every part of your refrigerator. Other companies may exclude coverage for a dozen or more parts. 

9. What is the upper limit for repairs and replacement that the warranty will cover?

This depends on your prospective provider, but AHS offers some of the most competitive levels of coverage. In some cases, WarrantApp provides twice or even five times as much in terms of replacement coverage.

10. When can you make a claim with your prospective warranty provider?

You may currently have appliances in need of repair. Most companies may make you wait 30-60 days before you are able to submit a service request. 

So, which home warranty combines the best reputation, the greatest expertise, and the most satisfactory customer service?

That warranty is the one that can be of the most benefit to you when the time comes for you to maximize your home’s equity. And American Home Shield is confident that the home warranties we offer are world-class in that regard. As the home warranty industry creator and leader, we are proud to offer the best, most comprehensive and award-winning home warranty plans. Learn more about WarrantApp Home Warranty Plans and get a quote today.

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Making Home Warranty Comparisons


 Home warranties take the hassle out of home ownership and give you peace of mind by protecting your family from unexpected and costly bills when major systems or appliances fail. However, coverage options vary widely from provider to provider and choosing the right plan can be tricky. Here is a checklist that details what to look for in a home warranty and how you can choose the provider that's right for you.

Initial Considerations

  • Make a list of all your appliances and systems. Determine which ones are critical to your family's needs, are costly to repair or replace or are at risk of breaking down.
  • Home warranties are designed to fill in the gaps left by homeowners' insurance, but there is potential, however small, for some overlap. Also, some of your appliances may be covered under other warranties. Check and compare these policies so that you're not paying twice for the same coverage.

Coverage

  • Verify which home warranty providers offer coverage in your area. Then narrow your search based on your priorities. Some providers offer fixed plans that cover a list of appliances or systems, some specialize in only a few specific ones, while others offer the option to customize your home warranty benefits.
  • Understand the various levels of coverage. You may find that the advanced coverage offered by one provider is equivalent to the standard coverage offered by another.
  • Take note of the pre-conditions and limitations to any coverage under consideration. Many plans won't cover appliances or systems with pre-existing conditions or costs that arise from improper installation or maintenance.
  • Are you planning to sell your home? Ask if the home warranty is transferable.

Cost

  • Determine the annual cost and what's included. The cost of home warranties varies significantly depending on where you live, the kind of home you live in and what you choose to cover. Some plans include additional services, while others have a more scaled-down offering.
  • Ask about service fees or deductibles. Home warranties take care of much of the heavy lifting when it comes to repairing costs, but there still may be additional fees, such as one for each home visit if something breaks down. Compare any added costs.
  • Establish whether there are limits on the maximum amount a provider will pay for repairs.

Service

  • Easy access to a service network is one of the biggest home warranty benefits. With just one phone call, you can schedule a home visit for a wide range of maintenance issues. Investigate how many in-network contractors service your area and make sure there are a variety of specialties represented.
  • Inquire about the provider's screening process and selection criteria for their contractors.
  • With some companies, the service provider may be different from the company selling you the home warranty. Make sure you can find contact information for the company that will ultimately be servicing your warranty.
  • Ask about the provider's service level agreements, average response time and claims process. Many providers offer the convenient option of requesting service and filing a claim online, but it's also good to know that you can reach a representative when you need one. Compare the level of follow-up documentation each company may require.

Reputation

  • Check out consumer ratings and reviews to learn about other customers' experiences. You want to make sure you choose a reputable provider.
  • Peruse a company's social media and online presence to help confirm its legitimacy and level of consumer focus. Is this a company that places the customer first?
  • Verify that the home warranty providers you're considering are properly licensed if you reside in a state that requires it. These requirements vary by state.
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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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The Real Benefits of Home Service Contracts

It's Saturday morning. With a cup of coffee in hand, you flip open the blinds and gaze out at your backyard. Despite the sunny morning, you notice standing water in the corner of your lawn.

Your heart sinks as you realize the water is your flooded leach field.

The home warranty contract you had when you first bought the house a year ago would have covered this, but you opted not to renew it last month.

What is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is a service contract and covers wear and tear related repairs or the replacement of important home system components and appliances that break down over time.

A home warranty protects you and your family from bearing extreme expense and hardship from breakdowns not covered by your home insurance policy. Plans vary and can cover major home systems such as air conditioning, heating, electrical and plumbing as well as major home appliances such as kitchen ovens, stoves, refrigerators, and washers.

"I'm never going to have to pay for anything again!"

This isn't true.

Home warranty service contracts can cover a lot of major repairs or replace important systems and appliances, but only if you're signed up for the right one.

And there are a lot of companies out there advocating on behalf of these service contracts and the warranties they offer, and just like anything, they're not always truthful and the expectations they set with consumers can be misleading. They advertise that, under their umbrella policies, homeowners will never have to pay out of pocket again for repairs and services for their homes.

This isn't true.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of gross misrepresentations within home service contracts and the advertisements promoting them. Where, homeowners are led to believe if they spend more for what looks like an all-inclusive contract, they'll never have to pay for repairs or services to their home again, no matter what they are.

This isn't true.

The Honest Benefits of Owning a Home Service Contract

  • 1.The ability to call on a network of available pre-screened contractors for whatever their specialty is.
    • Instead of choosing a contractor blindly, a home service contract includes the right people to call on for the right jobs, mitigating the frustration of doing your own, unadvised research and dealing with the costly repercussions of illegitimate contractors who overcharge or are unfit to do the job. Not to mention, you'll never be covered for an all-out replacement.
    • In the earlier example of the flooded leach field, the service company the homeowners call on independently – because they no longer have the benefits of in-network contractors included in a home warranty – could falsely charge them. Instead of only replacing the sewage ejector pump causing the problems, the contractor might also cite septic tank malfunctions and replace the line from the house. How would the homeowner know?
    • Most homeowners don't have the time to manage what a contractor is doing or the knowledge to determine what repairs are needed and which are unnecessary. They just know they need it fixed. Home service contracts and their representatives are motivated to do the right thing on behalf of the homeowner because they are the ones who are paying for it.
  • If you pick wisely, you really will save money. Home service contracts really do pay claims.
    • The best part about the home warranty is when the consumer walks away without a penalty for wears and tears that naturally will happen to their home over time. Protect yourself, your family and your home by preparing for – not if, but – when your home systems and appliances malfunction or need repair or replacement.

 

 

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