Owning a home inevitably means facing unexpected repairs. From a broken-
down furnace to hail damage on the roof, fixes can add up fast. There are two
primary ways to limit your exposure to these surprise bills: Home insurance
and home warranties. Do you need both? Here are the main differences.
What is Home Insurance?
Homeowners insurance pays for damage to your home due to problems such as
fire, vandalism, explosions and more. It also covers your belongings and,
importantly, provides liability coverage if you’re sued—such as a lawsuit brought
by someone who is injured at your house.
Home insurance has some significant exclusions: floods, earthquakes and
landslides are some of the notable problems not covered. Home insurance also
won’t pay for wear and tear or mechanical breakdowns, like an air conditioning
system that suddenly stops working.
What is a Home Warranty?
A home warranty is not insurance, but rather a contract that covers certain
appliances and systems in your house. While manufacturer warranties cover
specific items for a particular time frame, home warranties can offer various
coverage levels and protect multiple items (depending on the contract).
Home warranties typically cover common systems and appliances such as:
maintenance problems that started before you bought the warranty. A home
warranty also won’t cover problems that fall under a home insurance policy, like fire damage.
Home Insurance vs. Home Warranties: Key Differences
Coverage. While home insurance covers structural damage to your house or
personal property, it doesn’t cover damage due to wear and tear on household
items such as appliances. Home warranties cover the cost of repairing or
replacing systems like plumbing but won’t pay for water damage caused by a leaky pipe.
Requirements. If you have a mortgage you’re likely required to have home insurance. Warranties, on the other hand, are optional. Sometimes the seller of a house will include a home warranty as a selling point of the property.
Claims. When an item covered under a home warranty breaks, you can request
service through the home warranty provider. They will then send out a repair
professional to assess and diagnose the problem. If they can’t repair the item, a
home warranty generally pays to replace it. Depending on your warranty, you
may run into coverage limits or extra fees that won’t cover the entire cost of the
repair, leaving you responsible for the remaining bill.
With a home insurance policy, an insurance adjuster will typically come out and
assess your damage and offer a settlement for repairs. Some home insurers
today use drones to evaluate damage, especially after a widespread disaster like a tornado.
If you have a damage claim your insurance check will be reduced by the amount of your deductible.
Home insurance coverage examples
cover. Buyers of new homes that have new appliances and systems likely have
far less need for a home warranty. But if you’ve got an older house and/or
appliances that have seen better days, a warranty can be a way to cut your potential losses.
Author: Ashley Chorppening & Jason Metz
Source: © 2021 Forbes Media LLC.
Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com
FINRA Compliance Reviewed by Red Oak: 1578318
Does your college graduate need health insurance? Perhaps this is the last thing
you are asking yourself but may be among the most significant. About one in five
people in their 20s do not have health insurance, according to recent studies. However, one unexpected illness or accident could have long-lasting health and financial consequences.
“Choosing the right health coverage may seem difficult as many people have never shopped for their own health insurance or worry that they cannot afford it, There is a wide range of coverage options available to meet your child’s unique care needs and financial situation post-graduation.”
And now is the time to start. Many colleges and universities require under-graduate and graduate students to purchase health care coverage while enrolled. While some may have coverage under your health insurance, others choose health insurance offered through the school, in collaboration with health insurers. Students have until their plan expiration dates, which vary by plans, to enroll in new ones. So “Step One,” know when that is.
Health Care Coverage Guidance and Enrollment Support
Families can find support through health care marketplaces, insurance carriers, insurance brokers and other licensed insurance agents to help determine what plan is best.
Questions to Ask
To find the right coverage, it’s important to know what’s available, what to ask, and what information is needed to enroll. To narrow the options, know:
•When does your child’s current coverage end?
•Is coverage under my plan an option? —Under the Affordable Care Act’s “Age 26” rule, you may maintain or add your children to your plan until their 26th birthday or another date that year, as long as you are enrolled, and additional premiums are paid. Go to https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-aca/young-adult-coverage for more details. Also be sure to check your state regulations as some have extended eligibility beyond age 26.
•What benefits does my child need or want?
•What can we afford?—Think about what portion of his or her monthly budget can be used for health coverage or other insurance. Young adults may be eligible for additional options based on their specific financial situation.
Health Coverage Options
If coverage under the “Age 26” rule is not an option, here are others to consider:
•Medicaid/Medicare--While Medicare coverage is primarily available to individuals over age 65, Medicaid eligibility is based on income, disability and other circumstances.
•Individual exchange/marketplace plans--These ACA plans are available through federal or state enrollment sites. Based on your income, you may be eligible for plan subsidies making one of these plans more affordable. Graduation would be a “qualifying life event” to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period.
•Short-term plans--Short-term limited duration insurance coverage provides temporary coverage to bridge the gap between longer-term insurance coverage. These plans have a fixed duration of a few months to even several years and generally will offer less robust coverage than ACA plans.
“Health coverage decisions can be made simpler? and there are resources to help”. “Regardless if your family chooses to do their own research and enrollment or engage outside services, determining what your graduate may need and can afford will help you find good health coverage that ensures your child has access to care now.”
Source: © 2021, Richner Communications
Retrieved from: https://www.liherald.com/
FINRA Compliance Reviewed by Red Oak: 1637276
As a kid, I spent an abnormally large amount of time in nursing homes. My mom was a nurse who worked in convalescent care, and my elementary school was a couple blocks from my mom's work. So every morning I sat in the waiting room for a bit before I walked to school. I sat in what felt like a spacious armchair for an 8 year old, surrounded by four walls of floral wallpaper, and kept busy organizing schoolwork in my Trapper Keeper.
On the other side of the waiting room I knew there were patients, some bedridden, others using walkers and wheelchairs. From my time spent roaming the hallways, I knew their days were filled with scheduled meals, punctuated by rounds of medications, and games in the activity room.
Having a mom who was a nurse in convalescent care, I witnessed firsthand what life could be like if you aren't able to care for yourself. I learned early that, should I fall ill or get into an accident and not be able to dress myself or get up on my own in the morning, long-term care insurance would help cover the out-of-pocket costs.
Whether you're in a nursing home, adult daycare, or an assisted living facility, and depending on the type of insurance you get, LTC insurance could help your financial situation. So I decided to get a policy in my late 20s.
I was offered an insurance plan at a low monthly premiumWhen a benefits representative from my workplace talked about long-term care insurance and said it was being offered to all employees, I perked up. I know it seems strange that someone in their late 20s would purchase such an insurance policy, but because I was far younger than those who typically buy LTC insurance — mostly those in their 50s and 60s — my monthly premium would also be far below the norm. Plus, I didn't have to undergo a medical exam.
The average long-term care insurance rate for a 55-year-old single male is $1,700 a year, which breaks down to $141 a month. For a single female, it's $2,675 a year, or $223 a month. My monthly premium? It was $28 a month, or $336 a year, and just recently increased to $43 a month, or $516 a year. It's certainly not pocket change, but since I can have up to $6,000 a month in out-of-pocket costs covered, it could pay for itself in six months' time.
Long-term care insurance can help protect me in retirement Should I need long-term care, while there are no guarantees, it'll most likely happen during my retirement years. If that's the case, then long-term care insurance could prevent me from dipping into my cash reserve that's part of my nest egg.
The cost of such care certainly isn't cheap — a private room in a nursing home can cost $100,000 a year. If you want in-home care, the median cost of an aide is $50,000 annually. Having long-term care insurance can help me live more comfortably and my family won't have to worry about me or be responsible for tending to me.
I set up autopay to cover premiums To make sure I'm able to cover my monthly premiums, I set up autopay so that my premium payment is taken directly from my bank account. Plus, it's folded into my budget. Sure, I could use that money toward a dinner out or to add a few streaming subscription services to my rotating queue, but I want to feel confident that the cost of care will be taken care of should I need it.
From a young age, I was fully aware of the aging process and knew that it would be a natural part of the life and death cycle to grow old and perhaps need some help. Insurance can be a prickly thing to get, partly because something ill-fated has to happen for you to benefit from it. But long-term care insurance is really there to protect you, your family, and your assets. Should I need long-term care, knowing I have the funds to pay for any assistance will be a huge relief.
Author: Jackie Lam
Source: © 2021 Insider Inc
Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/
FINRA Compliance Reviewed by Red Oak: 1636913
Employees often give cursory thought to insurance and benefits until they need them. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on employee benefits, prompting employers and employees alike to take a fresh look. And that’s a good thing, says Bob Ruff, senior vice president of growth solutions at Aflac.
“Right now, employers are working with their brokers and consultants to understand if their company has the right benefits package in place to support the well-being of its employees,” he explains. “And, according to the 2020-21 Aflac WorkForces Report, 68 percent of employers are extremely or very certain they’ll maintain their current benefit offering.”
At the same time, the pandemic emphasized the need for clear, strategic benefits communication and education plans. Employers, and their brokers and insurance carriers in turn, were inundated with questions as employees reviewed their benefits in light of COVID-19.
“Helping people understand how insurance is there to help them is critical,” Ruff notes. “Our research shows the better employees understand their benefits, the more satisfied they are.”
With the heightened awareness of benefits, employees are expecting more support from their employers. The Aflac WorkForces Report found 63 percent of employees expect at least one expanded benefit, such as supplemental insurance or telehealth, to help them navigate the impact of the pandemic and prepare for the future.
As a result, employers are tracking new trends and technology to ensure their benefits offerings meet employees’ physical, mental and financial well-being needs in the current, often remote, environment. When survey respondents were asked their level of interest in purchasing supplemental insurance to help offset financial costs related to COVID-19 or other pandemics to protect income, more than half of employers – and 45 percent of workers – express high interest in pandemic insurance to provide additional financial protection.
Ruff explains that “pandemic insurance” may mean different things to different people, but there is much desire for a type of insurance solution that helps with medical costs related to a pandemic-like environment. “The good news is, while they’re not pandemic-specific, many of the supplemental benefits available today provide the additional support people are seeking,” he says. “For example, Aflac’s hospital insurance pays a benefit to help with out-of-pocket costs when employees are confined to a hospital, and our short-term disability insurance helps provide income protection when someone is disabled and unable to work due to an injury or sickness. And, of course, life insurance benefits provide important financial support for family members and final expenses.”
Helping employees recognize the value of their benefits options and identify potential gaps in their protection goes back to the opportunity employers have to enhance benefits education and increase understanding, Ruff notes.
“Rather than one particular product, it’s often a combination of supplemental health benefits that addresses the needs the pandemic has highlighted for employees.”
Looking forward, Ruff expects insurance carriers to continue to explore evolving trends and enhance their products, technology and virtual experiences related to communication, enrollment and telehealth.
“We’re all still learning about the impact of the pandemic,” he adds. “Insurance carriers are heads down analyzing the statistics and research and talking to claimants to better understand the obstacles and issues. At Aflac, that means focusing on our ultimate customer – the employee. Taking this approach leads to the development of solutions that are meaningful and valued by both employees and employers.”
Author: Ann Clifford
Source: © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC.
Retrieved from: https://www.benefitspro.com
FINRA Compliance Reviewed by Red Oak: 1572911
While many people are underinsured, some of us are carrying more insurance than we need. We may have too much or the wrong kind. There are times when dropping your insurance coverage makes sense. Making unnecessary premium payments is wasteful. Always seek to make the best use of your financial resources.
Consider these circumstances:
In a world with seemingly unlimited insurance opportunities, there are times when it makes sense to drop certain policies and use the money for other purposes. Sometimes dropping your insurance is the financially responsible thing to do. Determine if all your insurance policies make sense for your situation and adjust accordingly.
, and even offer Living benefits
Part of your financial plan should include protecting your assets, including your possessions, as well as your income, loved ones and health-related financial concerns. Insurance isn't very exciting, and it can certainly be expensive. But when you need it, you’ll be glad you have it. Unfortunately, there’s no single policy that will give you all the coverage you need.
Take inventory of your insurance coverage. Do you have these 5 important policies?
Life insurance protects those people who depend on you financially if you die unexpectedly. Consider the hardships on your loved ones if you should happen to die prematurely, and some offer living benefits paying you when you overcome the illness or accident.
How do you determine how much life insurance you should get?
Consider these matters:
No one likes to think about these things. However, if you deal with it now, it's something your family doesn't have to deal with later.
Health insurance is expensive, but health care is expensive too, really expensive. A simple trip to the doctor can easily be several hundred dollars. A routine surgery that only results in being in the hospital for a couple of hours can be over $10,000.
Health insurance costs are a burden, but the cost of a genuine medical issue can be catastrophic.
If this isn't something you can get through your employer, be prepared to do some legwork to find a policy that’s right for you.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
This insurance replaces a portion of your lost income if you become unable to work. The cost depends on the amount of income that you wish to replace, your age, health, the length, and the limits of coverage. Policies will also differ regarding what they consider to be a “disability.”
This coverage can also be quite expensive. Hopefully, you can also get this through your employer. If not, sit down with your life or health insurance agent to go over the details of this important insurance.
If you still owe money on your home, your lender requires homeowners insurance. If you don't owe money on your home, you should still carry this type of financial protection. Consider how many thousands of dollars your house and the contents would cost to replace.
The price of homeowners insurance is quite small compared to the amount of coverage you're getting.
Besides covering the structure of the house and its contents, some policies will even cover putting you up in a hotel until your house is repaired. Any injuries that occur to friends and strangers are also covered under your house policy.
Consider what you need; there are a lot of options for benefits, limits, and price.
Nearly all states require automobile insurance to varying degrees (New Hampshire is the exception). Everyone should have coverage, even if you drive a 1975 Chevy Nova that has been paid off for years. Even in that case, you’re still financially responsible for the damage you cause to other vehicles and property.
Without automobile insurance, you might face a lawsuit that could potentially cost you everything you own. Ensure you have all the coverage you need, not only for your own vehicle, but to cover your liability as well.
Insurance isn't exciting or sexy, but it's a necessity. When looking at new policies, shop around because prices and coverage can differ widely from one company to the next.
One tip to save some money: Get a policy with a higher deductible. The more you have to pay before the insurance kicks-in, the less that insurance coverage will cost you.
Do your homework and find an insurance professional you can trust. Don't just focus on what insurance costs you; think of what it will cost you if you don't have it.
Is it true that a good life insurance agent is hard to find? The vast majority of people living in the United States will at some point face the specter of purchasing life insurance. And when it comes to buying something so important to the lives and protection of your family members, you definitely need a good life insurance agent who can help.
But how do you know when you find a life insurance agent that will inform you about all the products available and honestly advise you regarding how much life insurance you need?
Consider the following tips to find a good life insurance agent:
No one wants to consider a premature death, but failing to do so can create serious financial difficulties for those you leave behind. Getting this aspect of your financial plan under control is important.
There are more than 2,000 companies selling life insurance in the United States, all offering similar products. Finding the right product at the right price for your situation can be a challenge.
If you own a home, homeowner's insurance is a necessity. Although it's not required by law, if you borrow money to buy a home, your lender will almost certainly require that you have homeowner's insurance to help them protect their investment.
Even if your house is completely paid off, it's still a good idea to carry homeowner's insurance to help protect your investment.
In either case, there are steps you can take to avoid overpaying for your insurance coverage.
Check out these tips to help ensure you’re paying the lowest possible rates:
Do you have health insurance? It is undeniable that health insurance makes healthcare more accessible, including preventive services such as screenings and regular check-ups with your doctor.
Consider the fact that only a third of the uninsured U.S population scheduled a preventive visit with their doctor in 2018. On the other hand, 74% of adults with health insurance saw their doctor for a preventive visit during the same year.
If you don’t have insurance, or have a policy that doesn’t meet your needs, it’s important that you learn more about healthcare coverage to find a policy that matches your needs and your budget.
Ask yourself these important questions before purchasing a policy:
There are many downsides to not having healthcare, including putting off screenings for a number of health conditions and not scheduling regular check-ups with your doctor. Should you become ill or injured, you would end up with huge medical bills.
A more important question to ask yourself might be, “Can I afford not to have health insurance?”