Protecting Yourself Against Homeowners Insurance Companies

For many years insurance carriers took great pride in keeping a customer for many years and going thee extra mile to make that customer happy. However as technology has developed and the claims have gone up carriers have come more interested in new business, instead of existing business. Because of this many times you can put yourself in a better situation by placing your insurance with a different carrier every few years. However as focused as carriers are on new business some do not provide the coverage that a client needs or wants. Because of this it is very important to have someone review several options for you to make sure you have the correct coverages. Contact Chris Greene with Community First Agency in Birmingham, Al at (205) 451-4294 or chrisgreene@communityfirstagency.com. They will take the time to make sure you are properly covered and will let you know which option is best even if it’s not them.

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Understanding the Importance of Life Insurance

Life insurance is something so many people under estimate the importance of and others get taken advantage of by sales people. Life insurance is not for the person buying it but the people that will be left behind. Less 33% of people have enough life insurance to take care of their family’s needs.
There are two main types of life insurance term life which last a certain number of years and permanent which you will pay for most of your life. It is important to understand that the purpose of life insurance is to allow your family’s standard of living to continue for a certain amount of time. It is also important to understand that goal should be the closer you get to retirement the less life insurance you should need because your children will be grown and most debts will be paid off. This is where the benefit of term insurance comes into play you are able to get a lot more insurance for your money to cover the years that your children may be young, they may need money for college, or your spouse may need help paying off the mortgage.
In many situations you can get a 250,000 twenty year term policy for the same price as a 25,000 whole life policy. For more information on what life insurance might be right for you please contact Chris Greene at Community First Insurance Agency in Birmingham, Al  205-451-4294 or chrisgreene@communityfirstagency.com
 
 

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The Fall of Teacher Benefits in Alabama

For many years the public has thought that educators have it made having the summer off. However what many forget is that they only get paid for nine months and have the option to spread it over twelve months. Because of this many teachers have to take on second jobs during the summer time to make up this difference. When they do come back many people forget about the time they have to put in when students are not in session as well as many late nights for parent events and meetings.
 
Additionally another cost that is sending down teacher benefits is healthcare costs. For many years states covered the health care costs for teachers,but most have stopped. An additional $200-$400 a month can break a teachers budget because their pay is already so low. However one thing that has helped in years past is many companies now offer discount programs to educators. While this comes no where near making up the increased cost of health care it has softened the blow a little bit. One area that has really helped on this is auto and home insurance carriers. Many offer multiple discounts that can add up to $100-$200 dollars a month. Community First Insurance Agency was created to  specialize in helping educators benefit from programs like this.  If you would like to learn more about their programs contact them at (205) 451-4294 or chrisgreene@communityfirstagency.com.

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Does My Home Insurance Cover Roof Damage?

The distinction between ‘Actual Cash Value’ (ACV) and ‘Replacement Cost’ is one of the most important concepts in homeowners insurance. Do you know what the difference is? If you have home insurance, you should. Let us break it down for you.
What “Replacement Cost” Means
Replacement cost is the amount it would cost to replace your destroyed, damaged or stolen items with the exact same item, or similar ones, after a loss. The replacement cost is often calculated as the initial amount you paid for the item. If the item you bought is no longer available, replacement cost policies will pay you initial price of the item you bought in order to find one similar. If the item you purchased is still available but at a reduced price, your claim may reflect this change in value.
A replacement claim may sometimes be paid out in two installments. Often, the insurer will send one payment for the ACV of the item/component or half of its total replacement cost. Once you have performed repairs or bought a replacement, you can send the documentation to your insurer to recover the remaining reimbursement.
Actual Cash Value (ACV) Explained
Actual cash value (ACV) refers to a policy that covers your home and possessions for market value at the time they are lost or stolen. Since your items are used, “market value” means that depreciation will be factored in when your insurance company pays you for your claim.
 
It’s Important to know what companies offer true replacement cost, and which ones don’t.  Some companies that do an Actual Cash Value program are Allstate, State Farm, and Farm Bureau to name a few. One insurance carrier that offers full replacement cost on roofs on their products are MetLife. When shopping for insurance this is a very important question to ask, so when a loss does occur there are no surprises.

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Importance of Credit Repair When Buying a Home

A common concern you may have when searching for the best debt relief solution is how it will impact your credit score. Another issue you should consider is how can this process impact my ability to buy a home in the future. Whether you are looking to buy a home in the next sixt days or the next 3 years you should know how credit repair and paying off debt will impact you.
There are many misconceptions about credit reports and the harm that comes from credit counseling, settling debt for less than what you owe and bankruptcy.
Your credit report and credit score will heal and bounce back over time, and you may even be surprised by how quickly your financial future looks bright again.
Debt is Priority
If you’re considering debt relief options, you’re not in a good position to spend, or to be seeking out new credit products now, or for a couple of years to come.
The three most legitimate debt relief intervention options do indeed impact your credit report and/or credit score. Each method will hurt your ability to get new loans, or certain types of loans, for the near future. That’s OK, it’s a part of the process. Your credit score should come second to your focus on getting out of debt right now.
I am going to lay out the ways your credit report, credit score, and future access to credit products will be affected by debt relief programs. Each comparison is generalized, but in a way that will help you compare your credit needs for the next three years.
Debt Management Plans via a Credit Counseling Agency
Your accounts that are accepted into a credit counseling agency’s debt management program will be closed. These previously active credit card trade lines will be updated on your credit report to show that the account was closed by the credit grantor (unless they were already closed, or you get proactive and close them yourself prior to enrolling with a credit counseling service). Closing active credit accounts can have a negative impact on your score.
While enrolled in a credit counseling program, it is generally very tough to get financing of virtually any nature in the first 12 to 24 months, therefore if you are considering buying a home please reach out a mortgage professional at HomeTown lenders to know your options first. This is because many creditors will inform the credit reporting bureaus that your account with them is enrolled in a structured debt repayment plan. Because credit counseling agencies will normally want to have all of your credit card debts enrolled in the plan, this type of reporting will likely appear several times across your credit report.
Debt management programs with credit counseling companies run 4 to 5 years, on average. This can mean you are locked out of new unsecured credit products, like new credit cards, for this entire period of time. This can cause you to not build good credit for your upcoming home purchase.
You may be able to get financing on a vehicle or even purchase a home, modify an existing mortgage, or qualify for a student loan (either your own or parental) after the first 1 to 2 years of making on-time payments in the debt management plan.
When you complete the debt management plan, and if all other payments were kept current (like an existing mortgage, student loan, car loan), you should find that your credit score stayed in good shape. You will have eliminated most, if not all of your unsecured debt, after working with the credit counseling agency. But you will have also eliminated years’ worth of unsecured credit history, and have no recent unsecured credit activity. Recent credit activity is one of the most important parts of your credit report you’ll need to rebuild.
Settling Debt for Less Than You Owe
Settling your credit card debt for less than you owe requires you to have missed payments. This fact will give many readers pause if you are still making your payments on time. If you are reading this and are already 90 or more days late, and cannot afford a debt management plan with a credit counseling service, your options for debt relief could be limited to bankruptcy or settling debts.
For those readers who have not missed credit card payments yet, but know that you will soon fall behind, missing payments is how you set yourself up to settle later. However, missing payments will:

Cause your credit score to fall significantly
Stain your credit report with late pays, potential charge-offs, and can lead to later debt collection entries for 7 years.

How debt settlement impacts your credit report and credit score will vary widely from one person’s situation to the next.
Since another major portion of your credit score is factored on repayment history, your credit is going to take a dip from using this debt relief strategy. The duration of the credit pain will be different for each person. But once you achieve zero balance reporting, your credit score can begin to improve. How long it will take to improve will depend on several factors:

How long it takes to settle your debts. Settling a credit card debt directly with your lender before the account goes 180 days without payment is best.
Did your account get sold to a third party who is now reporting a collection entry on your credit report? This means your original lender reports your debt as a charge-off, and the debt collector reports a new entry on top of that.
What accounts were current during the settlement process? Those who settle credit card debts while keeping current with their payments on a mortgage, car loan and student loans tend to see their credit bounce back quicker.
Did you have much credit depth before settling debts? Those with paid off home loans, auto leases and loans, paid off credit cards etc., tend to recover faster than someone whose only accounts in their credit profile were the credit cards that got settled.
Were you able to take smart steps to improve your credit along the way? There are indeed ways to cherry pick accounts you settle, or pre-plan your settlement strategy in order to improve your access to credit products sooner.

While these are good ways and bay ways to impact your credit, if you are seriously considering purchasing a home it is best that you seek the advice of mortgage professional at HomeTown lenders before setting up a debt consolation plan.

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