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Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Mold?

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Water damage and mold can cause huge amounts of damage. Even if you’re just renting a home, it can still ruin your belongings and affect your health. If your rental home is unlucky enough to be infested with it, it’s important to know who you can turn to.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix Mold Damage?

Fixing mold damage can be a pretty big expense. In 2021, just the average price for a mold repair in the U.S. was $2,325. Homeowners and landlords pay anywhere from $15 to $30 per square foot. If you’re renting, you can still be stuck paying out-of-pocket for your damaged property and belongings. However, with the right plan, your home or apartment might be covered through renters’ insurance.

What Does Renters’ Insurance Cover?

Like with any policy, renters’ insurance is meant to cover specific accidents and disasters. These will be listed on the named perils section of your policy. Even though you don’t own your home, renters’ insurance can still protect you from these risks. Common named perils include the following:

Liability Coverage and Medical Payments

If anyone is injured while in your home, this is covered under liability coverage. This may extend to mold-related illnesses as well. Medical care, court, and legal fees are included in your insurance.

Damage to Personal Property and Belongings

Mold not only damages your home or apartment but also your personal belongings. Some renters’ policies include personal property protection. This allows you to replace items damaged by covered perils, such as mold and water damage.

Loss of Use Coverage

Besides repairs and replacing personal property, you may encounter other expenses with a mold problem. If your home becomes uninhabitable, things like hotel rooms and other additional living expenses may be covered under renters insurance.

Renters’ insurance works to cover personal belongings and liability coverage. If your apartment has been affected by mold, you’ll want to look and see if your renter’s insurance will pay for the damage.

Does Insurance Cover Mold Damage for Renters?

Though you might not be paying for damage to the apartment, you might still need to pay for liability claims or damage to your personal belongings.

You’re most likely to get insurance coverage if the damage is caused by a sudden, unexpected accident. Often renters will use renters’ insurance to cover accidents and natural disasters, though this can include mold coverage as well. Many different covered perils result in water damage and mold growth. Your insurance is more likely to cover any of the following events:

Water Damage From Wind, Fire, or Other Natural Disasters

Keep in mind that not all insurance plans cover every natural disaster. Some states don’t cover certain disasters if they’re too common. Events such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes may require a separate rider or insurance policy. Always check to see what can and cannot be covered by your provider.

Vandalism

When homes are vandalized, it sometimes results in mold growth and damage. However, plans with vandalism coverage or riders can use that money to repair and replace damaged items.

Coverage for Other, Mold-Related Damage

Some plans offer additional coverage for other infestation issues. Check with your provider to see if your plan includes wet or dry rot, bacteria growth, or fungus.

Mold Growth Caused by Leaking or Burst Pipes

If a home has an unexpected leak or flood, it can be covered by a renters policy. However, you’ll want to be sure you can show the damage was caused by a sudden, unexpected event. If the damage develops over time, it’s not likely to be included in your insurance.

When Does Renter’s Insurance Not Cover Mold Damage?

Both homeowners’ and renters’ insurance cover a lot of different accidents and natural disasters. If the mold has been a growing problem for a while, it’s unlikely to be covered by a policy. Listed below are a few reasons why your insurer might not provide for mold damage.

Sewer Backup and Natural Flooding

Sewer backups and flooding natural disasters often go hand in hand. Because they can be extremely expensive, most standard plans don’t include them. Renters can sometimes add them on as insurance riders, However, even if you’re able to add them one, you still might not get full coverage. To keep costs down, providers will often place limits on these riders and won’t pay over $5,000 for repairs.

Neglect

Preventable mold damage is paid for by the policyholder, not the provider. Poor ventilation, unsealed windows and doors, or dripping pipes can all result in water damage. If the damage is considered neglect, it’s the leaseholder or the landlord that will need to pay for damages.

When Is Your Landlord Responsible for Damages?

Landlords are responsible for repairing the structure of the home; leaking pipes and roofs, water-damaged walls, poor ventilation, or unsealed doors and walls are not the leaseholder’s responsibility. When the property hasn’t been kept up, the landlord needs to pay for proper mold remediation.

Remediation only covers repairs to the property itself. If your personal belongings have been damaged by mold, it can be more difficult to get reimbursements. This means that your insurer can’t reimburse you for damage caused by neglect. Instead, you’ll need to claim compensation from your landlord.

Uncovered Perils

The main thing you want to check for is whether or not the accident is a named peril in your policy. If you’re not sure if the mold damage is covered, check to see if the event is listed in your insurance plan. You’re not likely to get money from your insurance company if it’s outside the covered perils.

For people interested in getting a renters’ policy, try an online comparison tool like Versured. Insurance comparison websites can help you get started on a plan and help you compare different companies so you can get the best value.

Key Takeaways

  • Mold repair can cost renters thousands of dollars in property and liability damage. However, a renters’ policy can pay for both, depending on the case.
  • You’re most likely to be covered for mold damage if it’s linked with a covered peril. These include events like burst pipes, damage from fire hoses, or vandalism.
  • Renter’s coverage doesn’t include all types of mold. If the damage is caused by neglect or an uncovered natural disaster, either you or your landlord will need to pay for the damaged property.
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What Are the Best Anti-Left Devices for Cars?

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In the U.S., a car is stolen every 43.8 seconds. While cars have been getting more and more secure, car thieves have gotten better and better at getting into them. If you are looking for a way to protect your car, you might want to look at a car anti-theft device.

Anti-theft devices come in many different shapes and sizes. Before deciding on one, compare what’s out there and see what works for you.

Common Car Anti-Theft Device

Steering Wheel Locks

Steering wheel locks are one of the oldest anti-theft devices for cars. These locks clamp around the steering wheel of the car. They can wrap either around the column or the wheel itself, preventing it from rotating. You can install them into most cars and they lock into place quickly.

Tire Locks

Tire locks or clamps allow you to lock the tire itself. You may have seen them used by parking or law enforcement, but they can also be purchased by regular drivers. A clamp just goes over one of the wheels and is small enough to be stored in a car trunk or bed of the truck. While it won’t prevent someone from stealing the items in your car, it will prevent someone from driving off in your vehicle.

Pedal Locks

A pedal lock is a metal device that covers the brake or is wedged in between the brake and the floor of the car. It’s usually one-size-fits-all and prevents other people from operating the vehicle. They are very durable and you can usually buy one for less than $50.

Electricity Kill Switch

An electricity kill switch can shut off the battery remotely. Often people use this to switch off a car and prevent unwanted battery drain. However, a switch can also help keep a vehicle more secure while being stored. You might want to use a kill switch if you’re storing a car, RV, or boat for an extended period of time.

GPS Tracking

Tracking devices allow you to find your vehicle from your phone, computer, or tablet. While this is great for monitoring your car, some require a subscription to access all their features. Make sure to check and see if the GPS comes with a flat fee or if you’ll need to pay a monthly fee.

Security Cameras

Dash cameras allow drivers to monitor their vehicles remotely. Even if you’re not in the vehicle at the time, cameras with cloud storage allow you to store and access the footage. You can also buy a baby monitor and use it to keep an eye on your vehicle. There are many different kinds of cameras, so do your research to find which one works for you.

Signal-Blocking Pouch

Did you know that car thieves can access your phone? Also known as a Faraday purse, signal-blocking pouches help protect electronic devices from being hacked into. If you use a phone or a key fob to unlock your car, a pouch can keep your devices and car secure.

Choosing the Best Car Anti-theft Device for You

There are a few different things you’ll want to consider when deciding on an anti-theft device. First, you’ll want to consider the cost. Fortunately, many of these devices can be bought for less than $100. However, you’ll want to consider how much you want to invest in a higher-quality camera, lock, or other devices.

You’ll also want an anti-theft device that fits your needs. While a tire or steering wheel lock are great for vehicles you use less often, they might not be good for everyday use. An anti-theft lock is only good if you actually use it in your vehicle. Consider getting a camera or other smaller device instead.

Can Anti-Theft Devices Affect My Insurance?

Of course, the biggest benefit of buying one of these devices is theft prevention. While this can indirectly keep your rates low, there are also other ways it can affect your car insurance. Some insurers provide up to a 2.5% discount for premiums on cars outfitted with anti-theft devices. 

If you install a camera or dashcam, they can help out in a few different ways. Not only do they keep your car secure, they also help you avoid false accusations. The footage can provide proof if you’re involved in an accident or falsely accused of a traffic violation.

Other Ways to Prevent Car Theft

Besides anti-theft devices, there are a few other ways to keep your vehicle safe.

  • Always lock your doors when you park.
  • Don’t leave your keys in your car or your car running.
  • Keep your valuables hidden and out of sight.
  • Park in secure, well-lit areas.

What to Do if Your Car Has Been Stolen

The first thing to do is contact the authorities. Once you file a police report, you can contact your car insurance. Your provider will ask you for the record number and get you started on your claim. 

When you file a claim, you’ll be able to take advantage of your policy. Most policies include theft coverage, reimbursing you for your stolen vehicle. While you’re looking for a new vehicle, you should also have access to a rental car. If you have questions about your policy, contact your insurance agent to learn what’s covered in your policy.

Main Takeaways:

  • There are many different tools you can use to protect your car. Look into car cameras, locks, GPS tracking, and other electronic devices.
  • Anti-theft devices don’t just help you protect your car, they can also help you keep your car insurance low. When you install them, they can help you out if you get in an accident or even get you a discount on your premium.
  • If your car does get stolen, make sure to contact both the police and your insurance provider. Once you provide your case information, your insurer can help you get reimbursement and a rental while you look for a new vehicle.
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How to File a Home Insurance Claim

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Filing a home insurance claim can be intimidating. If you’ve just had an accident, it’s hard to know where to start. Whether you’re filing for the first time or a seasoned homeowner, here are a few basics you should learn.

Benefits of Home Insurance

Home insurance is a great way to protect your household. A home insurance plan helps replace and repair your home as well as the valuables inside it. As long as it’s under your policy limit, the policy provides funds after an accident, natural disaster, or break-in. To make sure your home is protected, it’s best to learn when and how you can file a claim.

Filing a Home Insurance Claim

There are a few pros and cons to taking out a claim. Technically, you can file a claim whenever you have an incident that’s covered under your insurance. This means you can get financial help for many different kinds of accidents and perils. However, keep in mind that every time you file a claim, you risk increasing your insurance premium. Carefully consider whether it’s better to pay out of pocket or file a claim.

The first thing to do before filing is to make sure to check your policy to see what perils and accidents are included. Listed below are a few commonly covered insurance claims.

  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Fire
  • Freezing Pipes and Flooding
  • Lightning
  • Burglary

These kinds of claims tend to be the most common and most expensive to repair. Other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, storm floods, or earthquakes may not be included in a standard home policy.

You can try adding extra natural disaster coverage through a rider, or by purchasing a plan through a second provider. Double-check your policy for covered perils before filing a claim. If you know the accident is covered, make sure to contact your insurer and file a claim as soon as you can.

How to File Homeowner Insurance Claims After an Accident

When you file a claim right away, your insurer can process it quickly and get your money. This is especially important if you need to relocate. 

On top of repairs, you may be covered for relocation fees. If you move into a hotel room or rental, make sure to keep records of where you stay and how much you pay. Your insurer will need receipts and documentation to reimburse you.

Do I Need to File a Police Report?

With most incidents like natural disasters and accidents, you can rely on just an insurance agent. Unless there’s a crime involved or a liability suit, you won’t need to file a police report.

How to File a Home Insurance Claim After a Burglary

Burglaries are a commonly covered claim, usually included under dwelling and personal property coverage. If your home has been broken into, the first thing to do is contact the police. They can start you on a report. Be sure to give them information about the incident, as well as any security footage. Once they give you a police report number, you can contact your insurance provider.

After you contact the police, you should reach out to your insurer. Even if you’re not sure what’s been stolen, you should still inform your insurer as soon as possible. You can always follow up with more information later on.

As soon as you get a chance, get a list of stolen items to your insurance agent. In the inventory, you’ll want to include a description of each item, it’s value, and when you purchased it. After you get this to your provider, they can get you reimbursed within a couple of weeks.

Liability Home Insurance Claims

Liability coverage is an important part of any insurance policy. With home insurance, liability riders help make sure visitors are protected when entering your home. Most of these kinds of claims need to include some sort of “negligence” on part of the homeowner. 

Simply falling on a floor wouldn’t be considered a liability. However, slipping on an icy driveway or tripping over an uneven floor would be covered. One of the most common claims is when a visitor is bitten by a dog.

If someone is injured on your property, this coverage pays for damages and protects your own assets if you’re sued. When someone is injured, you’ll want to first make sure they receive first aid.

After they’ve received medical care, contact your insurance and let them know about the accident. If there’s police involved, give your insurer the police report number. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible, since some insurers have notification limits and won’t accept claims after a certain period of time.

Besides late claims, the only time an insurer won’t cover liability is if the homeowner had malicious intent. In these types of claims, the insurer will provide funds to cover court fees, attorney fees, medical care, repairs, payouts, and out-of-court settlements.

Most liability policies are priced based on the total value of the homeowner’s property. This is because liability suits put these items at risk, with some suits designed to take all that a homeowner is worth. To minimize this risk, make sure your liability policy will cover you if you’re sued by a third party.

Check your liability coverage limit to make sure it exceeds the value of your assets. If you’re worried about the coverage limit being too low, check and see if you can add in umbrella coverage, or other types of insurance add-ons. You can do this by comparing quotes through a third-party website like Versured.

Key Takeaways:

  • Homeowners insurance repairs homes and replaces belongings if they’re broken or stolen. Filing a claim is the first step to making sure that your household returns to normal.
  • After an accident or natural disaster, the first thing you’ll want to do is contact your insurer. They can make sure to get you started on the necessary paperwork and get you your funds.
  • If your home is robbed, your provider will need to make sure you’ve contacted the police. Make sure to get a police report number and give it to your insurer.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Removal?

While trees can be a great addition to a property, they do come with some risks. Each year, falling trees and debris fall onto homes all across the U.S. If you have trees on your property, you might want to see if your homeowners insurance covers tree removal and damage.

Homeowners Insurance, Tree Removal, and Coverage

Falling trees and branches are generally less expensive to repair than other home accidents, such as hurricanes or floods. However, the cost of repair and removal can start to rack up, especially if you have more than one fallen tree. This is why many people turn to their insurance provider for help.

Homeowner’s insurance is meant to protect clients against sudden, unexpected accidents and disasters. This can certainly describe tree damage, especially when they fall during storms or other natural disasters. However, not every accident involving a tree will be covered by your insurer.

Does Your Home Insurance Cover Tree Removal? Ask Yourself These Questions

Was the Accident Caused by a Rainstorm, Blizzard, or Other Disaster?

When owning a home, the weather is one of the main sources of damage. Fortunately, most home insurance plans cover natural disasters. These can include blizzards, ice storms, tornadoes, or hurricanes. If there’s a storm and a limb falls on your home, it’s likely to be covered.

Other unexpected events might also result in tree limb damage and debris. Accidents like lightning, fire, explosions, or vandalism are also usually covered in home insurance policies. If these cause damage to tree limbs and your home, your insurer will most likely cover their removal.

What Was the Condition of the Tree? Was it Weakened by Illness or Disease?

Before filing a claim, It’s important to determine the condition of the tree. If the limb was weakened by disease, pests, rot, or age, it might not be covered under a claim. 

What Happens if the Tree Lands on My Car?

Though homeowners insurance doesn’t cover vehicles, that’s not your only option. Try filing a claim through your car insurance instead. To find out more, call your provider to find out the details of your car’s policy.

Did the Tree Do Damage to Your Home?

While this may seem like an obvious question, there are two costs to consider if a tree falls down. The first is the cost of damage caused by a fallen limb. The second is paying for the removal of the tree itself.

Can I File a Claim If the Tree Didn’t Damage My Home?

In most cases, the answer is no. Your insurance provider will usually only cover damage to your home or any covered structures in your policy, such as a shed or garage. If a tree limb falls without doing damage to your property, you won’t be able to file a claim to have it carted away However, there are a few situations where you might still need to file a claim.

Damage to a Neighbor’s Property

The first is if your tree falls and causes damage to a neighbor’s property. This would be covered under the liability portion of your insurance policy. If you’re found at fault, your insurer will provide a settlement offer for your neighbor.

Lawns and Landscaping

The second situation would be if your lawn itself was damaged by the falling tree. During a natural disaster, insurers may cover lawns damaged by fallen tree limbs. You may still need to pay for the removal service, but ruined plants and shrubs may be covered. Many plans offer up to 5% of the home’s total value to replace damaged landscaping.

Should I Check If My Homeowners Insurance Will Cover Tree Removal?

It never hurts to check and see if a service is covered under your policy. Tree removal can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars, to a couple thousand. The price will depend on the size of the tree, it’s type, and how much of it needs to be removed. An insurance policy can offset these costs as well as other fees.

Often tree removal services will have a minimum charge fee and then price by the trunk’s diameter. For example, they might price $4 or $5 per inch, but require a minimum charge of $100. This minimum charge may or may not include the pickup fee or other charges.

Accident Prevention

If you’re worried about trees on your property, the best thing to do is get them looked at by an expert. A tree surgeon can examine potential problems and help you safely address areas of concern. They also will help you safely cut down and remove limbs before they break.

Even if your provider won’t pay for tree removal, they may offer discounts on your premium for trimming or removing dead branches. Talk with your provider to see how you can save.

If you’re a new homeowner or looking for a new policy, there are plenty of options out there. Providers make their plans accessible online and online comparison websites like Versured make it easy to compare quotes. When using comparison sites, make sure to know what kinds of hazards your home is most likely to face, including falling limbs or storm damage. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Tree limbs cause damage to homes every day. If you’re worried about potential damage, or have already suffered an accident, contact your provider to see if the damage and removal is covered under your homeowner’s insurance.
  • Not all tree damage is covered by a homeowners policy. If your home isn’t damaged, or the accident isn’t a covered peril, you might need to pay for the cost yourself.
  • Pruning and inspecting tree limbs around your property are a great way to prevent accidents. These inspections might even get you a better deal on your insurance premium!
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Be Skeptical of Traditional Burials: Alternative Burial Methods

Flowers at burial

While many people still participate in traditional funerals and ceremonies, there are plenty of other choices to choose from. More and more people are turning to alternative burial options and methods. Whether you’re looking for something better for the environment or simply cheaper, there’s an option out there for you.

Why Should I Look Into Burial Alternatives?

The two big downsides to burials are cost and environmental impact. Unfortunately, the cost of burials continues to get more and more expensive each year. In 2014, the average cost of burial was around $7,200. Over just five years, that average had increased to over $7,600. These rising costs have pushed people into looking into alternatives, such as cremation.

Cremation

A popular alternative to burial is cremation. For many people, cremation is even more popular. In one 2020 poll, 44% of responders said they would like to be cremated, while only 35% planned a traditional burial. This is very different from, say, the 1960s, where only around 4% of Americans chose to be burned.

There are a few reasons why cremation has become more popular. One reason is that it’s become more widely accepted by Christian and Jewish faiths. Another is because it’s more flexible. Scheduling a memorial service is easier with cremation than a traditional burial. Finally, many people believe cremation is cheaper and more eco-friendly than a burial. But is this true?

The Cost of Cremation

In most cases, cremations can cost less than a full traditional burial service. The average cost of a cremation is around $5,000. However, this only counts the actual service. If you add in a cremation casket and urn, that number creeps up to about $6,500. While this is still better than $7,500, it’s not as cheap as it seems at first.

Cremation’s Environmental Impact

Traditional burials usually involve processes that aren’t great for the environment. When a body is prepared with formaldehyde and other preservatives, those can leach into the surrounding dirt. While cremation doesn’t leak chemicals into the ground, it does release carbon dioxide.

CO2 is a big problem with cremation. With every service, about two gas tanks worth of pollutants are put into the atmosphere. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly service, there are plenty of options out there.

Eco-Friendly Burial Options

Natural Burial

Natural or “green” burials are any services that are created to have a low environmental impact. These avoid chemicals and preservatives like formaldehyde. The grave is usually placed shallower in the ground. This encourages natural processes and decomposition. Conservation green burials commit to conserving the land used for burial.

Some services may plant trees above the body. Over time, the body gives its nutrients to nourish the growing tree for future generations. This is usually called a tree or tree pod burial.

Biodegradable Caskets and Urns

Another way to lessen the impact of a burial is with a biodegradable casket or urn. Using natural materials, such as wicker or bamboo, these materials are designed to break down. As these break down, they allow the remains to disperse nutrients into the surrounding ground. 

Resomation

Resomation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a kind of flameless cremation. This natural water cremation uses lye and heat to break down bodies quickly. Overall, it uses less energy and doesn’t have the same CO2 output as traditional cremation.

Donating Body to Science

When a body is donated, it can be used in a variety of ways. Some bodies are used as practice cadavers for medical students. They can also be used to research diseases or medical treatments. Even if the body is donated, many people still hold funeral services and memorials.

Burial at Sea and Water Burials

Burials at sea are common with navy soldiers or veterans. However, civilians can opt for what’s called a water burial. A water burial requires a permit, and you’ll need to follow EPA guidelines for the placement of remains.

Mushroom Burial

Even if a body isn’t preserved with formaldehyde, it still can contain dangerous pollutants. Mushroom burials use fungi to dispose of toxins safely. At the same time, the body is allowed to decompose naturally and eventually return to the soil.

Arranging for Your Alternative Burial

Though funeral arrangements are tough to plan for, it’s important to lay the groundwork. The more decisions you make now, the less stress you’ll be putting on your family. Make sure you’ve made arrangements for your will, burial arrangements, and insurance payout.

If you have questions about getting a life insurance policy started, try out an online comparison tool like Versured. They can get you started comparing plans from different providers, get you quotes, and compare policies. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Traditional burials and funerals can have more than a few downsides. Not only can they be pretty expensive, but they also have a negative effect on the environment. As more people become skeptical of traditional burials, alternatives have become more popular.
  • Over the years, cremation has become even more common than traditional burials. However, be careful of unexpected costs. While the cremation itself may be cheaper, you may end up paying additional money for a cremation casket or other funeral services. Make sure to check the prices of any add-ons that are offered with the service.
  • There are plenty of green alternatives to a normal burial. Check out biodegradable caskets and urns if you’re looking at a more traditional ceremony. Tree pods or conservation burials are great if you want to help out the environment. Donating your body to science is also a great way to make sure you have a positive impact. 
  • Plan for the future and make sure you have your funeral arrangements, insurance, and will settled and prepared. Having these settled helps prevent your family from having to make tough decisions at a painful time. Talk with your insurer about how to provide funeral services after your passing.
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What Happens When You Get a DUI?

Cop car lights

Getting a DUI can be pretty terrifying. In most states, even a first offense is considered a criminal act and can have serious consequences. If you have been charged with driving under the influence, it’s important to know what can happen. Listed below are a few of the most important questions about what happens when you get a DUI.

What makes a DUI?

To be charged with a DUI, you must be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or illegal drugs. 

For adults, there are different legal limits for blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. In most states, you may be arrested if your BAC exceeds about 0.08%. However, every state is different. For example, in Utah, you can be convicted if your BAC is over 0.05%. Some states might charge you with higher offenses if your alcohol content level is over 0.15%. 

In the U.S, you’ll need to check your state for details about what constitutes a DUI. Keep in mind that in every state drinking and driving under the age of 21 is illegal. An underage driver can be arrested for driving intoxicated, no matter what their BAC level is. Also, if you’re operating a commercial vehicle, some places can arrest you if they suspect you’re driving under the influence. This is true even if your BAC is under the normal legal limit. 

Do You Get Arrested for a DUI?

Because it’s a serious criminal offense, there is a chance you’ll be charged and arrested if caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These charges may be called a DUI, driving under the influence, or a DWI, driving while impaired. 

There are a few different circumstances that might result in a DUI arrest. You might be reported by witnesses or be caught driving erratically by a patrol car. A police officer can conduct a field sobriety test. Based on the results, you might be taken in for questioning or booked. During questioning, the station will check your BAC levels to see if they’re within legal limits.

How Many Drinks Is Too Much?

Most people think they can avoid a DUI by only drinking one glass of wine or a few beers. However, many factors influence your BAC. These can include weight, metabolism, medications, even how much food you’ve eaten that day. That’s why it’s important to be very careful about mixing driving and alcohol.

What Happens When You Get Your First DUI?

There are a few things that can happen with your first DUI. Depending on the circumstances, you may be booked and taken in for fingerprinting. In some states, you may be charged with higher offenses based on your BAC. 

If it’s your first offense, you’ll probably be charged with a misdemeanor. At this level, you probably won’t need a lawyer and can just pay the fine. However, if you have multiple DUI’s or other moving violations, you may face more serious consequences. 

What Happens When You Get a DUI?

There are a few things that come with a DUI. Depending on your circumstances, you may face fines, criminal convictions, even jail time. For first offenses, many people will just plead guilty and receive a lighter sentence. However, this may not be the best option if this is your second or third conviction.

If you’re involved in an accident, you’ll probably be paying for most of the repairs out-of-pocket. There’s a good chance the accident won’t be covered under your insurance policy. While your insurer might pay for damage to a third-party’s vehicle, you’re considered liable for the bulk of the damage. 

What Should You Do If You Get a DUI?

If your license is in jeopardy or you’re being sent to court, make sure to find dependable legal representation. If there’s any doubt about a conviction, you may be able to get a plea bargain. A plea bargain is when a person pleads guilty in order to receive a less severe sentence. However, if you’ve already pled guilty, there may not be a whole lot a lawyer can do for you. 

What Happens After a DUI?

Even after the arrest, you may still face a lot of consequences for a DUI. You may lose a job or license. A DUI conviction may prevent you from applying for certain positions, especially if they involve driving. One of the biggest things an arrest will affect is your car insurance. Your rates will probably go up. DUI’s and other moving violations stay on your insurance record for a long time, up to 5 years after the incident.

If you’re worried about your insurance policy after a DUI, make sure to talk with your agent. It’s important to be upfront about DUI’s and other violations, especially if you ever need to buy a new policy. Plenty of insurers offer policies despite DUI’s and DWI’s. 

If you have any questions about getting a new insurance policy with a DUI in your history, talk with an online comparison tool. An application like Versured can help you find policies that fit your specific needs. 

Key Takeaways:

  • DUI’s are usually measured by BAC, or blood alcohol content level. There are a lot of biological factors that affect your alcohol content level. Though the legal limit for BAC while driving changes from state to state, most set their limit around 0.08%. Make sure to look over your state’s information to learn more.

  • DUI’s and DWI’s are both serious criminal offenses. If you’re charged with either, it can affect your job, your criminal history, and your entire life. If necessary, hire legal representation to look over your case.

  • DUI’s have a big effect on your car insurance, raising prices and making it difficult to get a policy. However, you can still find coverage with the right tools.
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Can I Get Insurance on an Unoccupied Home?

Home near the trees

Is there such a thing as unoccupied home insurance? This question may be on your mind if you are selling or renting a home. The short answer is yes, you can get home insurance to cover an empty house. However, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

Home Insurance for an Unoccupied Home

The biggest thing to know about insuring an unoccupied home is how long your policy will last. For standard homeowners policies, most will only cover an empty home for 30 to 60 days. If the house is empty for longer, you’ll need to look at additional coverage.

Getting Homeowners Insurance for an Unoccupied or Vacant Home

There are a few different words insurers will use to describe an empty home. The two main terms are “unoccupied” and “vacant” homes. Both can describe homes that are empty for over 30 or 60 days, there are a few key differences.

Unoccupied Homes

In unoccupied homes, the rooms usually still have the owner’s property inside. This may be because the owner is on a vacation, in the hospital, or has just inherited the property. Utilities like water and power are still accessible, and overall the house remains in a “liveable” condition.

Vacant Homes

Usually, the rooms are not furnished and the furniture is removed. The power or water may also be shut off, especially if the home is between renters or on the market. Compared with simply unoccupied homes, these pose a greater risk for insurers. 

With both vacant and unoccupied homes, you’ll need to look into additional coverage. Vacant home insurance allows you to protect empty or vacant homes.

Steps on Insuring an Empty House

Find out how long you’ll need coverage:

Many insurers sell vacant home policies within set time frames. These are usually pretty short, with policies that last three, six, or nine months.

If you’re selling your home, you’ll want to look into your local housing market. Consult with a realtor on how long it might take to sell the property. You can use that estimate to decide on a policy length.

Evaluate the condition of the building.

Many insurers will need to evaluate the building’s condition before assigning a policy. If the property’s been vacant for a while, it can be harder to get coverage. You may need to repair boarded-up windows, sagging floors, a damaged roof before you’re eligible for a policy.

Invest in security.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is home security. Make sure you can close and lock all windows and entrances. Replace broken locks, windows, or doors so you can properly secure the building once you leave. If you need to let future tenants or buyers into the home, try out a real estate lockbox or code-activated lock. Even if you’re not on the property, these locks allow you to easily let in people without compromising security.

Keep the future in mind.

When you have a vacant home, you’re probably not hoping to keep it empty. When looking at policies, it’s best to look for something you can change in the future. This is especially true if you’re renting out your home. Try to look for a plan that easily lets you switch from a vacant home policy to landlords insurance.

Why Is an Empty Home More Expensive to Insure?

Compared with a regular home, a vacant house can be more expensive to insure. This is because insurers see it as more of a risk. Unlike a lived-in home, you’re less likely to catch accidents before they do a lot of damage. Even minor damage can become a much bigger problem if the owner doesn’t catch the problem for days or weeks.

An unoccupied or vacant home is also more likely to be robbed. Often burglars will target vacation homes or houses on the market since they’re less likely to be caught. Your home might also be a target for squatters. Avoid storing expensive items in an unoccupied home, such as electronics, jewelry, or expensive furnishings.

Increased Hazards for Vacant Homes

  • Theft
  • Burst pipes
  • Flooding
  • Damage from storms
  • Fire damage
  • Squatting or vandalism

When you have an empty home, make sure to check it regularly. This can help you identify hazards quickly, even before they become big issues. Check-ups can also discourage issues like theft, vandalism, or squatting.

If you have any questions on how to protect your property, contact an insurance representative. A representative or underwriter can get you information on different plans or riders to increase your coverage.

What to Do When You Inherit a Home

Not every vacant home is being sold or rented. If you inherit a home, it’s important to insure it as soon as you can. When the previous owner is deceased, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Home Insurance for an Unoccupied House When the Owner Is Deceased

If you’ve inherited someone’s home, the last thing on your mind will be the insurance. However, if you don’t keep up with the insurance payments, fail to notify the insurance agency, or simply leave the home uninhabited, the policy might lapse. In order to continue coverage, you’ll need to contact the home’s provider. The insurance agency will want to make sure both the policy and the property are taken care of.

Eventually, you will need a new homeowners policy. While you can continue with the previous insurer, there are also plenty of providers to choose from. Talk with different insurers to find a plan that will best fit you. If you’d like to explore different plans on your own, try an online comparison site like Versured.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s possible to insure an empty home. However, depending on the condition of the home, it may be more expensive or more difficult to cover. 

  • Know the difference between a vacant and an uninhabited home. A vacant home is considered more high-risk and can be more expensive to insure.

  • If you inherit a home, you should be able to continue with the old insurance plan as long as you keep up with payments and inform the provider. Eventually, you will need to get a new policy under you or the inheritor’s name.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Foundation Repair?

A house’s foundation supports your entire home. If it’s damaged, it can take a lot to repair. If you’re worried about your house, you may be asking yourself, “Does homeowners insurance cover foundation repair?” The answer is it depends on the source of the damage.  

What Causes Damage to Your Foundation?

Foundation is made of concrete. While this is a durable material, it still can break and move. Concrete is somewhat porous: absorbing moisture or weakening over time. There are a lot of different conditions that damage the substructure of a home. Some of the most common include the following.

  • Poor building construction
  • Natural disasters (e.g. floods, earthquakes, storms)
  • Shifting ground
  • Tree root growth
  • Leaks from pipes
  • Soil issues (such as too much or too little water)
  • Bad drainage

A damaged foundation can cause a lot of different problems. The biggest is the increased chance of collapse. Termites and other pests can also get in through damaged or cracked foundations. Homeowners have an increased risk for water damage, flooding, and even mold. That’s why it’s important to treat a damaged foundation as soon as you can.

How to Tell If Your Foundation Is Damaged

  1. Cracks

When a foundation is damaged, some of the most obvious signs are cracks. New homes may develop a few small fractures in the first two to three years. However, if you notice larger cracks in your foundation, walls, or floors, they may be a sign of a bigger problem. Often, large fractures will start to form angled or horizontal lines as your foundation shifts.

  1. Sticking doors, uneven floors, and gaps around the doorframe

Sometimes humidity can make it hard to open doors. However, a damaged foundation will cause doors to stick, floors to warp, and gaps to form. As the foundation shifts, it can move your door frames, floors, windows, and other parts of the house out of alignment.

  1. Shifting foundation

Some foundations will shift upward and out of the ground. Often this is caused by different kinds of water issues. It could be leaking pipes, heavy rain, or water expanding in the ground during a frost.

  1. Improper drainage

Bad drainage can wreck a foundation. As the water freezes and melts throughout the year, it can weaken the concrete. Uneven wet and dry patches can also shift the ground, putting pressure on the foundation buried in the moving soil. 

When Would Insurance Cover a Home Foundation Repair?

All insurance is designed to cover unexpected, sudden accidents. So it makes sense that a homeowner’s policy does the same. If your home’s foundation gives out because of a covered issue, like a pipe bursting, your insurer will help with repairs. However, if the damage is more long-term, it’s unlikely to be covered under your policy.

Disasters and Foundation Insurance Coverage

Insurance can also cover your loss if the accident is related to a covered issue. Do you have earthquake insurance? You can fix your foundation if it’s damaged by an earthquake. Do you have storm coverage? This should cover all damages, including those to your foundation.

Keep in mind that homeowners insurance does not always cover every disaster. Earthquakes and floods can cause a lot of damage to the foundations of your house, but they’re often not included in standard policies. However, you can often find coverage for these disasters through insurance riders.

There are a few different ways to get additional disaster coverage. Insurance riders allow you to buy extra coverage and add it on to your existing policy. Many insurers will offer things like extra storm or earthquake coverage: basing prices on where you live and your home’s overall risk.

You can also get extra disaster coverage through a third party. This can mean going through a governmental agency like FEMA. It could also mean going to a different insurer and taking out another policy. Homeowners can double up or replace their existing policy. If you’re interested in looking at different providers, try an online insurance comparison tool like Vesured.

When Wouldn’t Insurance Cover a Foundation Repair?

It can be very expensive to repair the structure of your home. It can be a very expensive process, and it’s important to know when a policy might not cover a damaged foundation.

Though some policies do exclude earthquakes and floods, foundation claims are usually rejected when they’re related to maintenance. Insurance policies aren’t meant to cover damage caused by normal wear-and-wear or bad construction. Your claim might also get rejected if it’s caused by a slower issue such as growing tree roots, shifting ground, or freezing soil.

What to Do If You’re Worried About Foundation Repairs

  1. Have your foundation inspected.

Finding out the problem is the first step in determining whether or not your insurance will cover repairs. If you think your foundation has major problems, the best thing to do is get it inspected. A foundation specialist can examine your home and diagnose your issue. This will help you later when you’re filing a claim and wondering if homeowners insurance covers foundation repair.

  1. Get in touch with your insurer.

Homeowners should contact their provider as soon as they find the issue. Your provider can determine if the damage is covered under your policy. If it is, they can guide you through the claims process. Each provider is different, and some will require different evidence in order to approve the claim.

  1. Get a contractor on site.

It’s important to make sure you get someone out quickly to address the issue. If you’re covered under your insurance, your insurer may provide you with a list of approved or recommended contractors.

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions from your insurer. Though it may feel overwhelming, a provider can help you navigate this big project. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Homeowner’s insurance can cover sudden, serious foundation issues. You’re most likely to get coverage if the problem was caused by a natural disaster or sudden accident.
  • Standard policies may exclude natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. If you live in a high-risk zone, an insurance rider or third-party provider can get you the coverage you need to fix a damaged foundation.
  • Look for signs of damage, such as shifting ground, cracks, or uneven floors. If you suspect a faulty foundation, have an inspector come out. As soon as you determine the problem, contact your provider for more information.
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Here’s Why Insurers Don’t Care if You Use Alternative Medicine

Colorful pills

Around 40% of Americans use alternative medical treatments. Also called complementary or integrative medicine, these treatments include everything from acupuncture to meditation. The one thing they have in common is that they’re not considered official medical care.

What’s the Difference Between Alternative Medicine and Traditional Medical Care?

In traditional medical care, licensed doctors treat people with conventional, evidence-based medicine. Any surgery, treatment, or drugs they prescribe must be based on scientific studies and research. 

However, many treatments aren’t yet accepted by the wider medical community. These are commonly called alternative medicine. When you combine alternative and traditional care, it’s called integrative or complementary medicine.

With integrative and complementary medicine, you’re often able to talk to your doctor about adding them to your treatment plan. They can sometimes even be covered under your insurance policy.

What Are the Most Common Types of Alternative Medicine?

Supplements

Supplements are the most common kinds of complementary and alternative medicine in America. They are nonvitamin, nonmineral products that a patient ingests. Though they’re often labeled as “natural,” they can have serious side effects. Because they’re not regulated like regular medicine, always talk with your doctor before using supplements. 

Essential Oils

Essential oils are compressed from various types of plants. They are highly concentrated and are said to treat many different kinds of ailments. However, essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, and there is very little research that proves their effectiveness.

Energy Treatments

Energy treatments are meant to manipulate the energy that flows through the body. This is meant to provide relief and promote healing. Other energy treatments include bioelectric therapy and reiki treatments.

Chiropractic Adjustments and Massages

Chiropractic treatments and massages are often used as alternative or complementary treatments for back and neck pain. Chiropractors physically adjust and realign the spine to promote healing. Though chiropractors and many massage therapists are licensed professionals, research on the subject is still incomplete.

Since acute back pain can go away on its own, researchers aren’t sure how effective chiropractic and massage treatments are. For chronic, long-term back pain, these treatments seem to be less effective.

Acupuncture

In acupuncture, needles are used to manipulate the body to cure or relieve medical issues. This is based on Eastern ideas of how the body uses energy, also known as “chi.” Though some insurers will cover acupuncture, these treatments don’t have a lot of conclusive medical evidence.

Physical Exercises

While exercise and physical therapy can be good for you, not all are considered medical treatments, tai-chi are often connected with alternative medicines and treatment. Though these exercises may claim to have medical benefits, there isn’t enough evidence yet to back these types of claims.

Mind-Body Medicine

This includes therapies that focus on mind-body connections. Patients may rely on hypnosis, guided imagery exercises, meditation, and other cognitive-behavior therapies. 

Homeopathy

This is a specific type of alternative medicine that focuses on holistic care. This means the product or therapy is meant to treat the whole body, not just the afflicted area.

Alternative Medicine and Insurance Companies

There are a lot of treatments that are considered “alternative” medicine. Even if an alternative medicine has been around for hundreds of years, that doesn’t mean it can be prescribed by a doctor. Unless a treatment is widely accepted by the medical community, your insurer might not cover it.

Health insurance providers do everything possible to calculate and minimize risks. Part of minimizing risk is making sure their policyholders are getting the most reliable medical care. Providers are less likely to pay for treatments that aren’t widely accepted or researched. Compared with traditional medical care, alternative medicine is a bigger risk.

Can Alternative Medicine Be Covered by Health Insurance?

Unfortunately, many alternative treatments are not covered by normal health insurance. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you can’t find coverage for alternative, complementary, or integrated medicine. There are a few ways for policies to cover these kinds of treatments.

Getting Coverage for Alternative Medicine With Insurance Policies

Depending on where you live, your condition, and your policy, you might be able to find coverage. Different states will mandate insurance coverage for different types of alternative treatments. A few of these treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, and “natural” naturopathy treatments.

Read the fine print on your policy. Here are a few ways you can get your provider to help out:

Ask if they can offer alternative medicine as a core benefit

Policies can treat alternative medicine like traditional health care. Most of these kinds of policies will set limits and regulations like they would with other treatments.

Request it as a separate benefit or rider

In exchange for a higher deductible or premium, an insurer might add alternative treatment coverage to your plan.

See if they provide discounts for alternative services

Look and see if your provider can offer discounts on alternative therapies or treatments.

Keep in mind that you’re more likely to get coverage with more established treatments. Providers are most likely to cover chiropractic and acupuncture treatments since they’re so common.

Conclusion

More doctors are finding ways to combine alternative and traditional forms of treatment. As treatments become more widely accepted, insurance companies are more likely to cover them. If you have questions about coverage, call your provider to get more information. 

You can also explore different policies on your own and compare listings and prices. An online comparison tool like Versured can let you look into different ways to cover alternative treatments.

Key Takeaways:

  • Alternative medicine is not always covered by insurance policies. To see if your provider will pay for treatment, research the terms of your policy.
  • If your policy does not provide for alternative medicine, you might be able to change your policy. Ask your provider about riders, discounts, and other add-ons that can cover your treatment. 
  • Alternative treatments can be very different from traditional medicine. It is often less regulated and less research-based. Because of this, alternative medicine isn’t always covered by health insurance policies.

*** This article is for informational purposes only. This information should not be used in place of a diagnosis or treatment and does not provide medical advice. Please consult a medical professional if you have any questions about an illness or disorder.

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How Does Hot and Cold Weather Affect My Car Battery?

Car battery

Every year, millions of drivers deal with car battery issues. While many things affect your battery, one of the biggest impacts on its performance is the weather. Extreme temperatures influence all aspects of your car, but especially the battery. If you regularly deal with very low or very high temperatures, it may be the source of your electrical issues.

Does Cold Weather Affect a Car Battery?

Extreme cold has a strong effect on how well your car works. The lower the temperature, the worse your car’s battery’s performance. As soon as it hits freezing, 32F°, a car battery will only use around 65 percent of its charge. And once the temperature drops down to 0, a battery will only work at about 40 percent of its power.

Why Does Cold Weather Affect a Car Battery?

When the temperature drops, fluids start to slow and freeze. While it might not get cold enough to freeze battery acid, it can thicken your car’s motor oil. This makes it more difficult to turn the engine over. To start your car, your battery has to use up more energy. Combined with blasting the heat or defrost, you can end up using a lot of power. The more power you use, the shorter the lifespan of your battery.

Can Hot Weather Affect a Car Battery?

Unfortunately, cold weather isn’t the only thing to worry about. Hot weather can be even more of a strain on your car. This is because it affects the internal chemistry of the battery powering your vehicle.

Why Does Hot Weather Affect a Car Battery?

Your battery contains acids and fluids that keep your car charged. However, extreme heat can cause these fluids to evaporate. What’s worse is that overheating can also lead to corrosion. This is buildup around the battery terminals which significantly shortens the life of your battery.

Check your car regularly to make sure it’s working effectively. What you might think are normal electrical problems might be signs of an overheated battery. This is especially true if you don’t drive the vehicle regularly.

How to Protect Your Car from Hot or Cold Weather

Most batteries last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. However, extreme temperatures can shorten the life of your battery. Learn to keep your car running, no matter what the weather, with a few key tips.

1. Look for covered parking

Keeping your car out of the sun and snow can help save your battery. Look for shaded spots or covered parking lots. If possible, keep your vehicle in your garage, especially during the winter or hottest days of summer.

2. Check your fluid levels

Engine oil, antifreeze, and brake fluids all keep your car running smoothly. In extreme temperatures, proper fluid levels will help all your systems run and prevent overheating or freezing. Find out how to regularly check these systems yourself. If you see these systems are low, replace them or go to a mechanic. They can replace these fluids and also check for leaks.

3. Check your battery for signs of damage.

Because extreme temperatures can affect your battery’s chemistry, it’s good to check under the hood. Check around the battery terminals for signs of corrosion. While some corrosion is normal, if you notice that it’s building up quickly, it might be a sign of evaporating fluid.

Also, pay attention to your car’s electrical systems.Are you having trouble starting the vehicle? Do your headlights look dim? Have you had to jump it multiple times? These might be signs of a malfunctioning or overheated battery. If you’re worried about the battery’s performance, take it in to a mechanic who can diagnose the issue.

4. Take your car on the road

If you have a car that you don’t regularly use, it’s more likely to be affected by the weather. Driving the vehicle can extend the battery life and keep it from shorting out.

Make time to drive your car at least a few times each month. Try to have your trips at least 10 miles, reaching over 50 mph if possible. This can help keep both your battery and your engine in working order.

5. Keep your battery warm

If you live in an area with hard winters, it’s good to invest in a battery heater, silicon pad, or other external warmer. These devices can keep your car running, even in extremely low temperatures. Talk to a local mechanic about options for warmers and how to prolong the life of your battery.

Can Insurance Pay for a Battery Damaged by Extreme Heat or Cold?

Most car insurance policies don’t pay to fix electrical problems. This is because many electrical issues, including dead batteries, are considered normal wear-and-tear. If your battery is damaged over many months of exposure, you’ll probably need to pay out-of-pocket. 

However, many policies will cover damage caused by unexpected weather conditions. If your car was affected by a weather event, like an ice storm or heatwave, some of the damage might be covered under a comprehensive claim

Comprehensive auto claims cover more than just accidents. They can cover any unexpected event that might damage your vehicle. Sometimes people will call them “other than collisions” policies. These can replace your vehicle if it’s stolen or vandalized; it also can pay for damage caused by hurricanes, wind storms, and other weather-related disasters. 

Not every change in temperature will be covered under a comprehensive claim. However, you can consult with your provider to learn more about your specific plan and weather coverage. 

If you’re interested in buying an auto insurance policy, try an online comparison tool to compare plans. Websites like Versured let you look at quotes side by side, letting you see your coverage options. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Extreme temperatures affect every vehicle. Both hot and cold weather slow down your systems and shorten the life of your car battery.
  • There are many ways to protect your car battery. When possible keep the car out of extreme weather conditions: parking in the shade, keeping cars in the garage, etc.
  • Always keep an eye on your vehicle. If you notice any electrical problems, they could be caused by overheating or freezing. When in doubt, visit a mechanic who can help you diagnose your car’s issues.
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