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.

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, BestWayInsurance 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.

CAN YOU BE DENIED AUTO INSURANCE IF CONVICTED OF A MOVING VIOLATION?

A moving violation can be a serious mistake or a minor one. In many situations, your auto insurance provider is there to help you through mistakes you might make. However, there are some situations where it can become difficult to obtain auto insurance. If you are labeled a high-risk driver, it may be hard to obtain car insurance or affordable plans. There are several things to keep in mind in this situation.

Can You Be Denied?

Most states have requirements that those who operate a motor vehicle (or own one) must have auto insurance in place. This is required for nearly all drivers. However, car insurance providers are able to deny individuals coverage if the driver is too high of a risk to insure. It can be hard to obtain insurance if you have such a label because the risk of another mistake, accident or moving violation is high.

By definition, a high-risk driver is someone who has a higher potential of filing a claim at some time in the future. Insurers view these individuals as high risk and costly, therefore charging a significant amount more to cover individuals, or simply denying coverage altogether. There are many reasons for this outcome, including a DUI/DWI conviction, illegal street racing, excessive speeding, reckless driving, driving without licensing and traffic violations in which a person died or got seriously injured.

What Should You Do?

If you are a high-risk driver, you will need to work to minimize such risks going forward. More so, if you find a policy that offers coverage to you, be sure to do everything you can to reduce your points. In some cases, you may be able to take a driving course to reduce your points. You may need to obtain an SR-22 as well, which generally is a requirement by the department of motor vehicles. Most people can find a policy available to them, though it can be expensive and hard to do without the help of an independent insurance agent. The right auto insurance provider is likely available even for high-risk drivers.

The Impact of Health Insurance on Your Life

For most of us, a health insurance policy is yet another document to be safeguarded in a cabinet in our house and/or a folder in our computer until circumstances require us to put it in use. Less do we realize how investing in a health plan transforms our life for better.

Uncertainty is a part and parcel of our being and a health policy plays a major role in helping us lead a peaceful lifestyle. It backs us up against any medical emergency that might strike unexpectedly.

 

We catalog here all the major health insurance benefits that you gain from your health insurance policy, in detail; Get to know your plan better, to live better:

Budgeting

Let us start from the foreground. The major purpose of buying a health plan is to ensure that you have adequate money to fund your medical treatment in the time of need, which translates to effective financial planning. This forethought also applies when it comes to making an investment in purchasing the policy, in the first place. Insurance companies offer a range of plans and premiums to fit everyone’s paying capacity.

Flexibility

Now the question arises, does spending what we can is evenly matched with what we should; or are we missing out on any important features? Fortunately, to match the changing healthcare needs, the insurers allow customization of health insurance policy at the time of purchase or renewal. So whenever an upgrade is available, use it to enhance your existing policy with a top-up feature. It can also be utilized to fit your changing needs. For instance, you might need a Family Health Insurance few years down the line.In that case, you’ll not have to sign up for a new policy as you will be able to alter your existing one. The mantra here is to pick the basics and load it up as and when you can.

Medical Concierge Services

To have the treasure and not know how to put it to good use is as good as no treasure. Not all of us are well-versed with our treatment requirements or the facilities available in our nearest hospitals. Our little knowledge further restricts in the state of panic, which often accompanies such situations. To support you through these perils, your insurance company provides medical concierge services that assist you through your illness—everything from making appointment and arrangements for the treatment to clearing off the bills.

Lifelong protection

Most of the health policies come with an upper cap on the age-limit of the individuals they cater to. This may mean leaving you unprotected at an age when you need it the most. However, certain insurance providers, like HDFC ERGO, offer policies with a lifetime renewability feature. Moreover, if you buy this policy before the age of 45, you would not even be required to take a preliminary health check-up.

Cashless Hospitalization

The help that you have when you most need it is the only help you have. Going through difficulties to arrange money for paying off your hospital bills and getting the reimbursement later cuts down your worries, but does not cease them completely. For your outright peace of mind, companies offer Cashless Hospitalization Service. Here, you just need to report your case and policy number at the insurance help desk in your desired network-hospital and the rest will be taken care of.

Recovery Benefit

The end of the course of hospitalization/treatment does not necessarily mean the complete recovery of your health. The best Health Insurance Policy will support you through the post-hospitalization period too. Here, your company provides extended financial aid, also called as convalescence benefit, to fund your daily expenses till you are fit to restore your daily lifestyle.

Attendant Allowance

Everything that is a part of your health re-establishment, be it your hospital or a loved one who takes care of you while you are sick, is your company’s responsibility. An attendant allowance pays towards the food and refreshment of the person who looks after you in the hospital.

Portability

Like I have mentioned before, you do not freeze the policy after you buy it for the first time. With changing circumstances over time your requirements may change too. To redesign your plan, in order to help it adapt to your present situation, you can transfer your existing plan to a different company that you may find better.

June Wedding? Give Your Spouse a Gift of Peace of Mind with Term Life Insurance

Summer bride or groom? Term life insurance makes the perfect wedding gift!

On June 11, my husband and I celebrated our sixteenth wedding anniversary. Yep, I was a “June bride,” and as you might guess, I do a fair share of reminiscing whenever June rolls around each year. I pull our wedding and honeymoon photo albums off the shelf, and we page through the memories. We recall the joys and the struggles of just starting out as a married couple. We think back to where we started and how far we’ve come in taking charge of our future.

Term Life Insurance: The Gift of Peace of Mind

In hindsight, one thing I wish we did earlier in our marriage is to explore life insurance options. As a newlywed, you want to look out for the well-being and financial security of your spouse, right? Term life insurance is one way you can do that. Term life, like whole life insurance, offers a way to help ensure the love of your life can live comfortably if the unthinkable happens to you.

According to the 2014 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, about one-half of Americans say they would feel the financial impact of the loss of the primary wage earner in their household within six months of their passing. One-third of those surveyed believe they’d feel the impact within just one month!

Term life provides a death benefit (a payout) to your beneficiary (your spouse) if you die while your policy’s term (the length of your policy) is in effect. You can choose the term length; the most common term periods are 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. The shorter the term, the lower the premium, and you can renew policies before they expire if you want to extend them.

The death benefit from your term life policy can help your spouse make ends meet by providing funds to cover expenses such as:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Car loan, gasoline, and automobile maintenance and repair
  • Utilities
  • Health care
  • Your funeral expenses

That peace of mind would be a rather meaningful gift to your beloved, don’t you think?

An Affordable Show of Affection

Naturally, you might be hesitant to look into life insurance because of the cost. You’re not alone; 80% of people surveyed in the Barometer study overestimated the cost of life insurance.

Life insurance, particularly term life insurance, is far more affordable than most people think. With term life, you can get especially low premiums when you’re young and healthy—so applying when you’re “just married” could work in your favor. I wish my husband and I would have thought of that when we said our “I dos” back in 1999!

Whether you’re getting married (or have recently married) in June or any one of the eleven other months, I hope you’ll give securing your financial future some thought. A good start would be to find out how much a term life policy might cost you by using an online life insurance needs calculator and getting a confidential, no-obligation quote online.

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.

Life Insurance Types Explained Which Type Best Fits Your Need?

Deciding which life insurance types to look at depends on each individual's specific need.

All life insurance does not fit everyone's situation.

Let us examine why a single person would buy life insurance.

What about a single parent, what kind of policy would fit this person?

Sometimes we tend to think only married people buy life coverage.

Why would we think this way? How about business people?

Why should these people consider life insurance policies?

You Choose Life Insurance Types

  • Married People

    Let us look at the needs of married people as this seems to be the main reason people buy life policies. Let us also examine the life insurance types they tend to be interested in.

    You meet your soul mate and you decide to get married. You also have plans to have one or two children. Your partner and yourself work at jobs that yield a good income.

    You both decide it would be wise to buy a home before you have children. As you proceed with that you become very aware that you need some life insurance in case one of you should die.

    You want the home to be left free and clear.

    The life insurance types that you look at are level term policies and decreasing term insurance. With the level term policy, the death benefit remains the same throughout the life of the policy.

    With decreasing term, the face amount of the policy decreases as the balance of the mortgage decreases. You settle on the decreasing term policy as the premiums are cheaper.

    You also become aware that as you plan on having children you will have a need for more coverage. You can buy it now as it costs less or you can buy more and more as the years go by, if you can qualify for it.

    You decide to buy a term insurance policy sufficient to maintain the family at least until the youngest child graduates college. You feel a 20-year term policy would solve that problem.

    You are also aware that your spouse may need to guarantee your income up until age 65, retirement age. One of the life insurance types you look at is probably a 30-year term policy or possibly term to age 65. In some cases, a universal life policy or a whole life policy would fit the bill.

  • Single Parent

    The needs of a single parent are similar in many ways to those of married people. These people have an even more urgent need as if this parent should die there will be no other parent to care for the children.

    After taking the time to make the necessary arrangements for their care a single parent now has to look at life insurance types that would best fit their particular situation.

    As this person has a need to be careful with money level term policies would more likely fit like a glove.

    If the children are young the 20 years, 25 years or 30-year policies, in the right amount, should be sufficient to carry them through from infancy to the end of their college years. If they are older you may want to use a 10 year or 15-year term policy.
  • Single Person

    Does a single person need life insurance? Why? The only real life coverage needs a single person has is one that will provide sufficient cash to pay off outstanding debt, if any, and to pay funeral costs. It would probably be a good idea to use a 10-year term to do these things.

    These people should keep in mind though that coverage is much cheaper to purchase at a young age.

    It would be wise to buy a fairly larger amount of the type of policy that would be useful when they get older, that is if this person plans on marrying and having children sometime in the not too distant future. The types of life coverage types to consider here would be 20 year term or 30 year term policies.

  • Business People

    Life insurance is an important consideration for any type of business. A corporation or partnership would need life insurance on the lives of each shareholder or partner which the survivors would use to buy out the shares of a deceased shareholder.

    Which life insurance types do these executives consider? Level term policies are usually used to fund this initially but they are usually converted to permanent policies later on that is if they intend to keep the business going for a long time.



    Key man or key employee life insurance is very popular with most any business. You buy a policy on that employee whose absence may hurt the company.

    You make certain that if this employee dies suddenly you have sufficient funds to tide you over until a suitable replacement is found. Long term level term insurance policies can be used for this.

    Permanent insurance is sometimes used. This could provide a lump sum or additional income for this employee at the time of his or her retirement.