Auto Warranty Scam Warning

 

It has been reported that a variety of companies and marketing firms have been making unsolicited calls to offer customers an automotive extended warranty. When a customer is told that the warranty is about to expire, if they are not educated to the warranty business or their vehicles coverage may sometimes believe anything a telemarketing agent says. Unfortunately, in almost every case they are creating this information out of thin air with the hope that they can scare or pressure a customer into purchasing warranty coverage for their vehicle. This is obviously a dishonest practice but is borderline illegal as well.

It is also been reported that a variety of third-party companies have been sending a postcard a flyer in the mail with the same general information hoping to coax a customer into calling them so they can attempt to sell them warranty coverage. This process is a high-pressure process, usually involving several levels of sales professionals to try and close the deal.

What these companies never tell you is that in many cases, your car may still be covered by an existing warranty as they have no knowledge of the vehicle’s actual existing warranty status.

Also, there are many levels of warranty coverage that are available that are generally not explained in clear detail to a customer. They simply sign you up, collect your money, and then send you documentation later where you find out there are many loopholes that would allow a claim to be denied. This is assuming the company even has a claims department and any legitimacy at all.

In most cases, you may have simply given money for a product that either doesn’t exist or is not an actual insurance company product.

If the company does have any legitimacy, not having an underwriter simply means that in the event that they have any type of claims activity at all, they can easily be wiped out as they very rarely leave much money in a claims fund to protect the consumer.

The bottom line is a customer’s best option is to reach out to a legitimate warranty provider that is directly underwritten by a US-based, “A” rated carrier. The other option, of course, is to visit a local dealership and find out what they are offering. The downside to this is that dealerships are generally 50-100% more expensive the same level of coverage you can get in the automotive warranty aftermarket.

The bottom line is you will almost never hear a radio ad or receive a notice by mail from any legitimate warranty company so buyer beware!

 

 

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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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Roof Repairs: What to Look For and What's Covered

 

Your roof is your home's first line of defense against the outside elements. Everything from wind, rain, ice, snow and the sun are constantly being weathered by and weathering your roof.

Home warranties, or home service contracts, claim to cover everything under your roof. But do they cover the roof itself?

In the case of roof coverage, there are usually specific repairs the home service contract will cover, or not. With the disclaimer that most home warranty companies offer roof repair as an optional add-on, some cover it as part of their standard plans. The scope of coverage by most service contracts that offer roof repair as an option include leak repairs or shingle replacement, but no home service contract (that we've come across) offers a roof option that would cover the complete re-roofing of a property.

Roof Repair Coverage Options and Limitations

Home service contracts come in a variety of plan options. Oftentimes, they cover specific appliances or systems and exclude most parts of the structure of the home, like windows, the roof and the interior and exterior components of the walls. Some plans cover one or two items, like a dishwasher and garbage disposal, while others are very inclusive to the extent that your roof and other structural elements are covered, however usually with limitations. The key is to read through the details, because the one common denominator in all home service contracts is that they are all very different.

Other stipulations include coverage periods for different parts of the home. For example, the foundation may be covered for a different period of time than the roof or other structural elements. Also, some home service contracts start on an activation date that is pre-selected by the homeowner, which may be different from the date the contract was actually purchased on. Some companies also require a waiting period, such as 30 days after purchase, before claims can be made. Again, read through the details carefully.

Roof Repair Scams to Be Aware Of

Part I: Gaining Access

Roofing contractors as an industry ranked number one on the Better Business Bureau's 2016 Compliant and Inquiry Statistics report for the sheer amount of inquiries made by consumers last year. Out of the thousands of industries ranked, roofing contractors ranked number 22 based on complaints.

To put these figures in perspective, painting contractors ranked number 21 based on inquires and number 120 based on complaints. Home builders ranked number 8 based on inquiries and number 32 for complaints.

When it comes to roofing contractors, be aware of who you entrust your home with, and be especially aware of these roofing scams:

Storm Chasers

Has your area recently been hit by a hailstorm or a rainstorm? If yes, then you may have been contacted by a roofing contractor to fix your damaged or leaking roof at a great discount, or at almost no cost. They do this by helping homeowners claim insurance money for repairs that don't need to be made. This is a kind of scam that is being perpetrated widely across the U.S. A well-dressed professional may knock at your door and offer you a free inspection of your roof, claiming it has most likely been damaged by the recent storm. They may also tell you that your roof is at danger, and share they've recently repaired nearby properties that have suffered similar roof damages. Furthermore, they may offer you cheap construction materials, claiming they recently repaired similar structures nearby and have leftover materials. 

The Flyer

Another method adopted by these roofing contractor cons is to make contact with prospective customers by leaving flyers on doorknobs or in mailboxes. The flyer will typically advertise a 'free roof inspection' or 'roof repairs at zero cost' by offering to assist customers in filing illegitimate claims with their insurance companies for repairs they don't actually do. These people normally target storm hit areas, senior citizens and people with disabilities who cannot climb up to their roofs to inspect them for themselves.

Showing and Creating False Damage

Once contractors gain access to a roof, as part of their 'free inspection,' they climb up to assess the status of the roof. If there isn't any damage they either create damage using tools, or claim the shingles are weak or poorly attached. Even worse, they sometimes show pictures of damaged roofs taken somewhere else and pass it off as the prospective customer's damaged roof. The contractor then insists on fixing it immediately in order to avoid additional damage or will cite forecasted bad weather coming soon.

Part II: Payment Options

Once these faux roofing contractors convince people their roofs are in dire need of repair, they move onto payment options.

Some of the common terms and discounts they advertise are:

Discounted Material

Some contractors will offer discounts ranging from 20–30 percent off the estimated cost for materials by telling customers their supplies are from previous work. The leftover materials are available at discounted prices while their team is in the neighborhood, and they'll pressure customers to act immediately.

Insurance Fraud

This is one of the most widely occurring roofing fraud types across the U.S. Here, the roofing contractor offers to inflate the bill and charge it to the insurance company on behalf of the customer. They'll also offer to reimburse the customer for their insurance deductible, so in the end the customer ends up paying nothing at all. Some people get duped by this free service offering, but what they may not realize is that this is insurance fraud and can be damaging to both the contractor and the customer.

Pay Upfront

The contractor insists the customer pays the full amount for the repairs up front. Some will indicate they need this in order to purchase the necessary supplies, or ask for a minimum of 50 percent down in order to allot the crew for the repairs. Whether it's 100 percent or 50 percent, once they receive payment, some contractors will disappear completely. Contractors who do this frequently avoid detection by moving or operating in different regions or under different business names.

Part III: Protect Yourself

It is crucial for customers to be alert and diligent when engaging roofing contractors to fix a damaged roof, or a roof a contractor is claiming to be damaged.

Some measures homeowners can take to avoid roofing contractor scams are:

  • Speak to neighbors to ask if they have roof damages, and if they've recently had them repaired.
  • Verify the credentials and the business license details of the contractor before signing a work agreement.
  • Ask the contractor for local references or testimonials that can be verified by phone and email.
  • Check with your insurance agent and/or home warranty company to see if roof damages are covered under the insurance policy or home warranty plan, and if the company performing the repairs is valid and in existence.
  • Make sure that all verbally agreed upon points are covered in the written contract with the roofing contractor and that documentation for all repairs is properly noted.
  • Investigate the track record of the roofing contractor you're considering hiring – check online reviews and references personally.
  • Collect a business card from the contractor; if a business address is listed, consider stopping by the office.

In Conclusion

One of the best features of home warranties, especially as it relates to roofing contractors, is that contractors servicing home warranty companies and their clients are:

  • Pre-screened for licensing and insurance as required by their respective states
  • Regularly monitored and evaluated for their performance
  • Graded and rewarded for the quality of their work
  • Backed by the home warranty company on covered repairs

Using a contractor through a home service company instead of someone off the street advising you on repairs you need will drastically mitigate potential scams you may fall victim to by a random roofing contractor soliciting you.

While some home warranties offer limited roof protection and leak coverage, it's important to remember that no home warranty will cover any pre-existing conditions. The roof protection and leak coverage options available through home warranties are rare and fairly limited. Most cover patches for small leaks, and none (that we know of) cover partial or entire roof replacement.

Chances are, if you are purchasing a home warranty solely for its roof repair and protection options, you will not be very satisfied. Home warranty contracts work best when properly used and understood, which is why it's important to compare plan details.

 

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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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8 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN BUYING A USED CAR

BUYING A USED CAR

The used car market is a haven for various automotive gems! It is the perfect place where you can look for that odd box-type sedan that brings you back to your good old childhood days, or if you are lucky enough you can get a rare expensive classic that can now be worth millions away from its original price. Regardless of whatever meets your eye as you wander about in the used car center, used cars can become financial liabilities if you do not make it a point to check on them after making your purchase. Whether the vehicle is for you, your brand new teenage driver, your significant other, or a friend/family member, before you jump the gun on purchasing a used car, make it a point to watch out for these elements.

BODY AND GLASS

First impressions last – at least that is how you should think when you start evaluating your used car of choice. Issues such as cracks, dents, and uneven paint should play a significant part in the used car’s pricing, since those can be costly to repair. Moreover, those kinds of damage may indicate that the used car may have been involved in accidents of various degrees under its previous owner. That, of course, may point to further internal damage, so make sure to look at those problems with great circumspect when you think about your used car purchase.

INTERIOR, SEATS, AND ODOR

When canvassing for a used car, do not just look at the outside. In fact, it is even more important that you discern whether the used car you are looking at has an interior that is bearable enough for you to spend most of your time; think about all that time you spend sitting in traffic to and from work. Things like seat upholstery, seatbelts, and overall odor play a huge part in your driving experience with your used car, so make it a point not to neglect those things.

CONTROLS AND SOUND SYSTEM

Watch out for missing dials, malfunctioning light indicators, and damaged interfaces when looking for a used car. A typical secondhand vehicle should have controls that are still working properly, albeit with some parts of it already worn out. Also, make it a point to check the condition of the used car’s sound system. Muffled speakers and a faulty sound system interface may make for an unpleasant driving experience (think about having to sit in silence or forced to listen to an awful radio station during that traffic we already talked about), while faulty electrical wiring for both your controls and sounds may prove to be dangerous in the long run.

LIGHTS

Obviously, faulty exterior lights are a no-no for used cars, and fixing them can be quite a costly ordeal. With that, it is highly important that you check the conditions of the headlights, signal lights, and taillights of the used car you are eyeing first before purchasing it. Moreover, also make sure that your interior lights are also in good shape, so that you would not have to experience inconvenience in the event you need cabin lighting as you drive during nighttime.

TIRES AND SUSPENSION

A good used car has a properly-rotated and balanced set of tires and a suspension set that provides stability and safety, especially during long drives. With that, make sure that your used car of choice has good tires and suspension. Otherwise, you would certainly find yourself flirting with the possibility of encountering unwanted road accidents. You do not want to be that person on the side of the highway waiting for road assistance because your tire blew.

FLUIDS

Before purchasing a used car, make sure to check the condition of its fluids. Watch out for residues, burnt smell, or foamy particles on the dipstick – those typically refer to various problems your mechanic should work on right away. Normally though, engine oil is brownish or blackish in color and residue-free, while the transmission fluid appears pinkish.

RADIATOR

A used car should not have green particles sitting around on its radiator. Otherwise, it shows that leaks may have been made, and that a replacement may be necessary. As long as the radiator does not appear rusty or to have corrosion, then you are in good company.

ROOF

Checking the roof of your chosen used car is actually a no-brainer. Doing so allows you to see whether there is a possibility of water leakage inside the cabin, which you must prevent at all costs if you want a pleasant driving experience. At the same time, make sure to check if your sunroof is working properly, if you have one.

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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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10 ways to save money around the house



Have you ever considered how many ways you can save money around the house? Here are 10 of them:

1. Unplug your electronics at night
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. household spends about $100 per year to fuel appliances left on standby mode. Save some money by plugging your devices into power strips and switching them off before bed.

2. Collect spare change
That loose change you find around the house can really add up. Start collecting coins, and then take them to the grocery store to exchange for dollars at the end of every month.

3. Use what you already have
Instead of going on a shopping spree every time the refrigerator seems bare, browse through the pantry and eat the items you already have.

Browse your pantry before making that emergency trip to the grocery store.

4. Start clipping coupons
If you collect the newspaper and have time to set aside on a Sunday morning, start clipping coupons. But don’t just use them to buy something because it’s on sale and seems like a great deal – only make the purchase if it’s an item that won’t go to waste.

5. Grow your own herbs and vegetables
Why buy herbs and vegetables when you can grow your own? Even if you don’t have room for a full garden of veggies, U.S. News & World Report said you can likely find enough space inside or outside to plant herbs. Try growing your own dill, basil and mint to save money and spruce up your dishes.

“Baking soda and vinegar can sanitize most of your appliances.”

6. Clean with baking soda
Who needs expensive cleaners when you have baking soda? You can replace most chemicals when you mix a natural solution of baking soda and vinegar. The combination can clear out a clogged drain, remove dirt and grime from your kitchen sink and sanitize most of your other home appliances.

7. Use a programmable thermostat
By using a programmable thermostat, you can set your heating and cooling systems to turn down when you’re gone for the day. The Environmental Protection Agency said this update can save you up to $180 every year in energy costs.

8. Consider streaming
With all of the options you have for online streaming nowadays, you might want to give it a try. Consider lowering costs by joining , two options that you can access on your laptop or other connected devices.

9.  Seal your windows and doorways
By sealing your windows and doors, the EPA estimated that you can save about 15 percent on heating and cooling costs every year. Consider adding insulation in the attics and crawl spaces, and use caulking to seal any cracks in your window and door frames.

10. Invest in a E-Exchanger Home Warranty
What happens when one of your heavily used appliances breaks down? You can’t just avoid getting it repaired or replaced. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to put down an entire paycheck to get it up and running again. When you invest in a E-Exchanger Home Warranty, you’ll receive a plan that helps cover the cost of repairs or replacements in your major appliances and systems. With a home warranty, you can rest assured knowing you won’t have to hand over an arm and a leg when an issue occurs.

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Is Term Life Insurance Worth it?

We write endlessly about the times in your life when you need life insurance, how to pick your beneficiaries, and even why buying life insurance online might be the best option for you.

But there’s usually a question that lingers when you’re going through the researching and buying process: Is life insurance really worth it? If you have a spouse, children or other family members who rely on you financially, then the answer is pretty simple: It’s absolutely worth it.

Why Is Life Insurance Necessary?

You have to approach life insurance like you would any aspect of your life that poses a risk and ask yourself, “What’s the worst case scenario?”

If you’re on the fence about buying coverage, then consider how your family might fare if you were no longer around. How would they keep up with day-to-day bills? Or, how would your spouse afford childcare or education expenses?

Most people would agree that, without a financial cushion from life insurance, their family might face a dire money situation. That’s why term life insurance is so valuable. It’s an affordable way to protect the people you love most financially.

Life insurance helps provide financial security if you were to die suddenly so that your family won’t struggle to cover day-to-day expenses. It can help:

  • Replace lost income and cover living expenses, like rent or a mortgage
  • Spare your family from needing to pay off debts you leave behind
  • Provide for your kids’ care if you are a stay-at-home parent
  • Cover burial, estate taxes and other final expenses
  • Fund college expenses
  • Cover unpaid medical bills or taxes
  • Create an inheritance or supplemental retirement fund through an income tax-free death benefit

Your family’s savings shouldn’t be depleted to cover those expenses.

Even if you’re living the single life with no spouse or kids, term life insurance may still be necessary. It can help protect your parents or other co-signers from needing to pay off the mortgage, student debt, credit card debt, or even a car loan that you leave behind.

However, for most people, life insurance becomes necessary when you get married and have a spouse and children who rely on your income.

How Term Life Insurance Works

Term life insurance is one of the simplest (in a good way) and most affordable types of life insurance. It insures your life for a period of time of your choosing, such as until your mortgage is paid in full or your kids are adults. This helps ensure that none of your financial obligations will burden your family if you were to die unexpectedly during the term length.

Most insurers offer term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. You make (in the case of E-exchanger Term policy owners) monthly payments for the policy term, and in the event of your death, the policy pays out a death benefit to your beneficiaries.

If you are young and have many working years ahead of you, a long-term policy (30 years) might make more sense. If you have small children, the same is true. Perhaps you want your term length to end around the time your home mortgage or student debt is paid off — in that case a shorter term length might make sense to protect your co-signers from needing to take over loan repayment before it’s paid in full by you.

Determining which term length you need is actually very easy. You can use an online life insurance calculator to receive a recommendation on a coverage amount and term length that best fits your financial situation.

 

How Much Does Term Life Insurance Cost?

Many people don’t realize how affordable term life insurance can be. It usually offers ample coverage at a much lower premium amount than many other types of life insurance.

 

That’s over 4 times more than a policy would actually cost. A 20-year, $250,000 E-exchanger Term policy for a healthy 30-year-old woman would cost about $12 per month. That’s less than your online TV streaming services.

And even if you’re slightly older, you can get affordable coverage to protect your family. A thirty-six-year-old man in excellent health can buy a 20-year, $750,000 policy for as little as $31 per month, for example.

Your individual rates will depend on a range of factors including your age and your overall health. If you’re curious how much (or little) your premiums might be, you can get a free estimate online.

Why Term Life Insurance Versus Other Types?

There are many types of life insurance policies. If you’re looking for a policy that offers more than $100,000 in coverage, term life insurance is usually the most affordable choice.

Another type of life insurance coverage that offers high death benefit amounts if permanent life insurance, but it’s usually far more costly. For example, a $500,000 whole life insurance policy for a healthy 35-year-old male would likely cost more than $500 per month, compared to $21 per month for a no exam term life insurance policy.

The price difference can be attributed to the fact that permanent life insurance policies cover you for a lifetime versus a term length. They also have a cash value component that you can borrow from over time – although, borrowing from the policy cash value can reduce the total death benefit for your family.

Overall, term life insurance is a simple and affordable life insurance option. It has no investment components to track, and no cash value or loans that impact the final payout. You simply make the monthly payment, and you’re covered for the specified term length. Term life also requires only minimal maintenance – just a review of your financial needs periodically – like when you have another child or if your income increases considerably from when you first took out the policy (a good problem to have.)

In addition to affordability, term life is a product you can build on. If you start out with just $100,000 in term life insurance coverage when you’re young, for example, you’re not stuck with that coverage amount forever. Provided your health allows you to qualify for more coverage, you can continue adding term life policies as your lifestyle and situation changes. As we mentioned already, having another child might give you a reason to buy more term life insurance coverage. Earning more money over time or advancing in your career is another smart reason to buy additional term coverage to replace your income upon your death.

Employer-Provided Life Insurance is Often Not Enough

Many people assume that if they have life insurance through work, they’re set. Usually, employer-provided life insurance is not worth it if you are paying for coverage.

The fact is that most people don’t have enough term life insurance through their employer if they are married, have kids, or hold significant debt like a mortgage. Typically, employer-provided policies only cover, at most, two to three times your income, while the often-recommended amount is at least six to ten times.

Another important consideration is that coverage usually ends when you leave your job, which could leave your family without coverage.  Your best option is to hold an individual policy to ensure you have enough coverage and to lock in an affordable rate while you’re young and healthy.

Keep in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable to have an individual term policy on top of the coverage offered by your employer. More coverage means more protection for your family. However, when many people realize they need additional coverage, they usually think it would be easier to add on more coverage to their existing work policy. Employer-provided policies are at group coverage rates, which means insurers charge everyone the same amount of money. If you’re young and healthy, you’ll likely be paying significantly more for coverage than if you were to receive an individual rate because you’re making up for the risk insurers take on some of the older, less healthy people at your company.

No matter what your employer offers, it’s worth it to carry your own coverage that keeps you covered no matter where you work.

Understanding Your Needs

Term life insurance isn’t a complex financial product and is a necessary part of financial protection. What’s most important is that you understand what your coverage needs may be and if you do need coverage, make sure you’re not putting off the purchase.

Like we mention above, term life insurance (and most life and health insurance for that matter) is more affordable when you’re young and healthy. The earlier you buy your term policy, the better your rates. So the time to comparison-shop and act is now. Given its low cost and high value, a term life policy that fits your coverage needs is clearly worth it. Picture the alternative: dying without a policy and the potential for leaving your family with a huge financial burden. That’s a high cost to pay.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

Five Steps to Buying Life Insurance

If you’re someone who is unsure of where to begin, consider these steps as you search for the right amount of coverage to protect your family.

Step 1: Fill out a life insurance calculator.

The best way to get a general idea of how much life insurance coverage you need is to toy around with a life insurance calculator. By entering details like your age, income, overall health, and family status, you can find out how much term life insurance coverage is suggested for your family and compare quotes to top insurers. Check out our free term life insurance calculator.

Step 2: Ask yourself if you want additional coverage for any reason.

Our life insurance calculator can guide you to the average amount of coverage you’ll need based on the information you provide, but it’s possible you have other, personal factors to consider as well. Maybe your goal is buying enough coverage to leave behind a legacy for your children, or to financially care for an elderly parent or relative. Either way, you can and should buy whatever level of coverage will help you sleep better at night.

Step 3: Pick a process.

There are two main ways to buy a policy: through an agent or buying life insurance online. We’re partial to online, because it allows you to get covered immediately and on your own time. Also, because it’s what we offer. If you’re comfortable shopping and banking online, this is probably the best choice for you.

Step 4: Check the rating of the provider.

A company such as A.M. Best does the homework on an insurer’s claims-paying ability and record, to help determine whether the provider is considered reliable and in good financial standing. We’d recommend providers rated A+ or better. Our E-exchanger Term policy is issued by MassMutual, an A++ rated insurer.*

Step 5: Get the coverage you need.

Once you’ve decided how much coverage you need, how you want to purchase it and from which insurer, it’s time to get covered. There’s no reason to delay buying life insurance because it’s now easier than ever with thorough and simple online services. And the peace of mind is absolutely worth it.

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