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How Mold Affects Your Home Insurance

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Does your house have a mold problem? Mold can affect your health, and it affects your home insurance policy and rates, too. Learn more as you maintain your home insurance coverage at an affordable price.

Which Molds are Bad?

On any given day, you could find one or more of five common molds in your home. They are Stachybotrys, Cladosporium, Penicilium, Fusarium and Aspergillus. While Aspergillums is the least toxic, Stachybotrys is the most toxic. It's been linked to hay fever, pulmonary edema, liver damage, brain damage and death, especially in people with compromised immune systems, infants and the elderly.

How do I Know if my House Has Mold?

Because it's potentially deadly, you need to know if your house has mold. Do a visual inspection and look for black, gray, brown or blue anywhere there's moisture or wetness, including in your bathroom, basement or laundry room. Remember, though, that you can't always see mold. It may be hiding behind drywall or under flooring.

Dry rot and musty odors are two signs of mold. Health problems like chronic nasal stuffiness, cough, wheezing, sore throat, upper respiratory infections or skin and eye irritations are also signs of mold. Investigate immediately if you think your house is affected because early treatment could help you get a handle on the problem.

Can I Get Home Insurance if my House Has Mold?

Most home insurance policies cover "sudden and accidental" damage. So if your bathroom pipes burst while you're out of town and cause moldy floors, you could file a claim and get the mold removed.

However, if debris accumulation on your roof causes mold growth, you probably cannot file a home insurance claim to repair your roof. That's because this type of mold growth is considered by most insurance companies to be a home maintenance issue and thus not covered by your policy.

Because home insurance policies differ by company and by state, talk to your agent about mold coverage. Then be on the lookout from mold growth. By addressing it right away, you have a better chance of removing it before it causes damage and affects your home insurance. 

 

Seniors and Auto Insurance Rates

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Many factors, including age, determine how much a person's auto insurance premiums cost. If you're a senior adult, understand the factors that contribute to your auto insurance rates.

Accident Probability

Whether you're 26 or 86, your safe driving record can reduce your auto insurance raters. Unfortunately, senior adults statistically have a high accident rate. That's why many insurance companies raise rates for all drivers over the age of 75.


Insurance Company Loyalty

Being loyal to the same insurance company can result in a healthy discount on your auto insurance premiums. 

Claims Filed

Regardless of age, drivers who have filed numerous auto insurance claims may pay more for auto insurance. Likewise, you may pay lower premiums if you have few or no recent claims.

Physical Capabilities

As a senior driver, you may be in great health. However, many seniors often experience vision or hearing impairments, reduced reaction time, decreased attention to detail and slower leg and arm movements. Even if you pass an annual driving test and vision exam, these health probabilities can affect driving performance and increase insurance rates.

Driving Record

Speeding tickets and other traffic violations can affect auto insurance rates, so keep your driving record clean to reduce your rates.

Car Type

Drive a vehicle with a high safety rating, and pay less for auto insurance.

Full Coverage

Unless you owe money on your vehicle or it's a new model, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage. This move reduces your premium.

Low Mileage

When you don't drive your vehicle very often or very far, you can earn a low mileage premium discount.

Multiple Policies

Insure your home and vehicle with the same company to earn valuable discounts.

Defensive Driving Courses

Take a special defensive driving course designed for senior adults and possibly receive a premium discount.

Your insurance company might automatically assign you a higher insurance rate based on your age. Now's a great time to shop around for a better rate. Ask your insurance agent about available discounts and other ways to reduce your premiums as you save money and insure your automobile. 
 

Is Your Landlord Invading Your Privacy?

Bookmark and Share You have a right to privacy in your home. It's hard, though, when you're renting because your landlord can legally have access to your home at certain times. By understanding the tenant privacy or access laws, you can know whether or not your landlord is invading your privacy.

When Can Landlords Enter a Rental Property?

Most states allow landlords to enter rental property under certain circumstances. Your lease or rental agreement should include these details under the "landlord's right to access" and "tenant privacy" sections. Typically, landlords may access their rental units to:

*Make repairs
*Inspect the property for maintenance problems or safety issues, including if there's a fire or burglary in progress
*Show the rental unit to prospective tenants
*Show the rental unit to potential property buyers

When the reason is legitimate, landlords must provide tenants with a 24 to 48 hour notice before they enter the rental unit and enter during reasonable hours as outlined in your state's laws.

What Actions are Considered Invasion of Privacy?

Many circumstances can be classified as invasion of privacy. They include:

1. Letting anyone other than the police or municipal inspectors enter the rental unit without your permission.
2. Giving your financial, work, social, personal or other information to strangers unless it's a legitimate right-to-know case.
3. Calling or visiting your workplace when there is no emergency.
4. Restricting guests without cause or in violation of lease or rental agreement stipulations.
5. Spying on you.
6. Visiting you without cause unless you're performing an illegal activity on the property.
7. Changing your locks, locking you out of the property or turning off your utilities because you did something the landlord didn't like or disagreed with.
8. Sexual harassment.

If you're the victim of privacy invasion,
 write a letter to your landlord and ask him or her to stop all illegal entry. Make sure your renters insurance is updated, too, since it ensures your belongings are protected from damage caused by illegal entry. For additional assistance, refer to your state's rental laws. 
 

Exclusions to Your Renters Insurance Policy

Bookmark and Share Renters insurance covers your personal belongings in case they're stolen, damaged or lost. There are exclusions to your renters insurance coverage, though. While you don't want the exclusions to keep you from buying a policy, do know the facts as you ensure you have the coverage you need.

Excluded Items

Nearly all the items you own are covered by your insurance policy if they're lost, damaged or stolen. However, valuables like jewelry, antiques and furs may require a rider or endorsement. Likewise, any items you use for business purposes may not be covered by your renters insurance policy because it's typically reserved for personal not commercial property.

Excluded Events

Certain events are also covered, including fire, smoke, lightning, hail, some water damage, certain types of wind storms, explosions, riots, broken glass, falling objects and more.

You'll need to read the fine print of your policy to find exactly what's included. Typically, your personal property is not covered if there's an:

  1. Earthquake
  2. Hurricane
  3. Flood
  4. Power failure
  5. Neglect
  6. Intentional act
  7. War
  8. Nuclear hazard

Most insurance companies do offer riders or endorsements that can cover your property if an earthquake, hurricane or flood strikes. Talk to your agent to learn more about your options.

Limits on Renters Insurance Policies

In addition to considering the exclusions to your renters insurance policy, consider limitations, too.

1. Your property is only covered for the amount of the policy even if they're worth more.
2. Remember that you're responsible to pay the deductible.
3. If you chose Actual Cash Value replacement, you'll receive the equivalent of the item's current value minus depreciation. Replacement Coverage allows you to replace the item at its current cost no matter how old or in what condition your property was at the time of damage, theft or loss.

When choosing renters insurance, ask about exclusions. Use that information to make sure you're adequately insured for all the challenges you face.