Don’t fall victim to the financial risks and mental stresses associated with owning a home. Appliances have set lifespans, breakdowns are inevitable and repairs and replacements are costly. Make sure your home is covered, so you and your wallet can rest assured that your home is taken care of.
(BPT) - Nobody bats an eyelash when it comes to buying homeowner's insurance, but many homeowners don’t apply that same logic to planning for home repairs — not what might happen, but what will happen.
Only a fraction of the 120 million U.S. households today are protected by a home services plan, also known as a home warranty.
That number is growing, as homeowners recognize the value of coverage when appliances go on the fritz, hot water heaters run cold in the middle of winter or a leaky faucet drives up their water bill. Perhaps one reason more homeowners don’t have home service plans is because they think they are covered through their homeowner's insurance policy.
Homeowner's insurance doesn’t protect you from the natural home aging process.
Insurance kicks in when damage occurs from an outside force, like a busted sewer line or roof damage due to a major storm. While insurance covers you when Mother Nature strikes, it doesn’t protect you from the natural wear and tear that your home’s major systems and appliances go through during the aging process. Understanding how home service plans work and how they fit into your financial and risk-planning strategy allows you to be prepared for covered breakdowns, without breaking the bank.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is a home service plan?
Home service plans typically cover the repair or replacement of major home appliances, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, ovens or cooktops, and components of major systems like plumbing, HVAC and electrical.
When your air conditioning system breaks, or your washer or dryer stops spinning, you want the confidence of having a home services plan in place that will help protect your budget.
This is where the true value of a home service plan comes in. Home service providers such as American Home Shield accept service requests and assign professionals to diagnose the problem and offer a solution through its vast network of skilled and trusted contractors, which includes more than 15,000 licensed and qualified pros throughout all 50 states.
What’s the bottom line?
With a home service plan, you won’t pay the full cost of repairing or replacing items covered by your plan. Regardless of age, make or model, your contract helps cover the repair or replacement of items covered in your plan. For example, if your refrigerator malfunctions, your service provider will connect you to a quality contractor to diagnose and repair the problem. This can help reduce the hassle of repairing it yourself and help protect your budget.
Think about your home’s future (and yours).
Service plans can come in handy when selling a home. The appeal speaks for itself: When buyers are making that final decision around one of the biggest investments in their lives, having a home service plan in place gives the new homeowner confidence that the home’s systems and appliances are protected, and they won’t bear the entire financial impact of repairing or replacing it if it breaks down.
The choice seems obvious: Don’t fall victim to the financial risks and mental stresses associated with owning a home. Appliances have set lifespans, breakdowns are inevitable and repairs and replacements are costly. Make sure your home is covered, so you and your wallet can rest assured that your home is taken care of.
(Family Features) Research suggests that most Americans turning age 65 will need some form of assistance with everyday activities, known as long-term care, as they grow older. The amount of care needed will depend on many variables, including overall health, cognitive functioning and home environment.
Age is a strong predictor of the need for help, and because women live longer on average, they are more likely than men to require long-term care. Factors such as a disability, injury or chronic illness also increase the chance that long-term care will be needed.
Three simple steps can help you start planning for care you may need as you age.
1. Know what to expect
Most people know they should save for retirement, but many don’t know exactly what expenses to expect. An often overlooked area is long-term care, a broad set of supports for everyday tasks like dressing or eating. While most of this care is provided by family members and friends, sometimes older adults and their families get these services from providers like home health aides, area agencies on aging or residential providers such as assisted living or nursing homes.
Understanding long-term care is the first step in creating a plan. Key things to know include:
2. It’s not just about you
A choice to plan or not plan will likely have a big impact on family and friends who may also be informal caregivers. Statistics show that most long-term care is provided by family members or other loved ones.
Take the time to make clear your preferences for what kind of help you value most and where you want to receive it. Family and friends will feel better knowing that you are thinking about your needs – and theirs – by planning for long-term care.
3. Better active than reactive
Be proactive. Staying at home is great, especially if it has been modified to help you avoid an injury and continue to care for yourself. However, it won’t happen without taking steps to ensure you can get the supports you need at home. Start thinking about ways to maintain your independence, safety and care needs.
For more information and resources to develop a care plan, visit longtermcare.gov.
(Family Features) Protecting your family and loved ones is one of your most important responsibilities. Many people think about protection in terms of physical acts, such as practicing safe driving, but there are many more aspects of your lifestyle and home that affect your loved ones’ safety.
Protect your family’s financial health
Although it can be painful to consider, your untimely death may leave your family reeling – not only emotionally, but financially, too. Life insurance can help cover funeral costs, child care or act as income replacement. It can also help pay off any loans you’ve accrued, such as a home mortgage, car payment, credit card debt or student loans.
If you don’t have life insurance, it’s never too soon to explore your coverage options. You may be able to save on premiums and get more coverage for your dollar by completing a health exam as part of your application, which helps build a more accurate assessment of your health.
If you do have coverage, it’s a good idea to regularly review your coverage to ensure it still meets your needs. Also check your beneficiaries to ensure your policies are updated with your current information, especially if your family has grown.
Ensure your family is breathing safe air
One threat you may not be aware of is radon, a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment but can create significant health consequences in anyone exposed to unsafe levels.
Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that can go undetected in homes until it is too late. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among non-smokers in America, and claims the lives of nearly 21,000 Americans each year.
January is National Radon Action Month, so it’s a good time to learn more about radon testing and obtain a test kit for your home. To locate a qualified radon professional, visit epa.gov/radon.
Know your own health status
It is difficult to protect loved ones if you are not healthy yourself. Make sure you receive proper preventive care, such as regular health screenings and check-ups that are recommended for your gender and age.
Many employers and health plans offer health screenings. If you have applied for life insurance, many policies provide the laboratory results from your application that you can share with your physician. Find a checklist of important preventive screenings at CDC.gov/Prevention.
Protect the home of your loved ones
There are over 2 million burglaries annually in the United States, according to FBI statistics. Home security systems can help put your mind at ease, and having a security system can also decrease the premiums you pay for monthly homeowner’s insurance. Studies have shown that homes with a security system see a 39 percent decrease in financial loss compared to homes with no security system.
Safeguard your family from fire hazards
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with either no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms. Batteries wear out and may be taken out to cease persistent beeping then never replaced. Smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on each level of your home.
In addition to regularly checking alarms and batteries, it’s a good idea to make a family escape plan in the event of a fire.
Keep your loved ones safe and find more ways to protect your family at MyExamOne.com.SOURCE:
CBS This Morning
Center For Financial Services Innovation
Child Tax Credit
Conflicts Of Interest
Cost Of Living
Critical Illness Insurance
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
Earned Income Tax Credit
Federal Housing Administration
Health Savings Account
Home Equity Conversion Mortgage
Internal Revenue Service
Line Of Credit
Need To Know
Rate Of Return
Socially Resposible Investing