Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home insurance and the dilemma of replacement cost verses market value

When it’s time to renew your home insurance policy, make the time to go over the details. Understanding the nuances in the fine print can save you money. It is up to you to decide if money today is what you want to save via lower premiums verse, lower cost to you should you need to place a claim. Because the housing market has been so volatile, and the market value of many homes is much lower you need to understand how you home insurance coverage will behave if you have to make a claim.

Actual value verses the replacement costs

Consider the replacement of the actual structure. Because the real estate market bubble burst, and has yet to come back, many homeowners are underwater with their financing. This is doubly troubling if the unthinkable happens and the home is lost to a fire or some other catastrophic event. Because the value of your home may have gone down, you might think it is time to drop the value as far as insurance is concerned. However, market value does not accurately reflect the cost of reconstruction. Often the cost of reconstruction is much higher than the cost of new construction because reconstruction may be hampered by limited access due to other existing buildings or landscaping structures.

Comparable real estate sales in the local market determine the market value or your home. It includes the value of the land/location any out buildings and landscaping. If your home is worth $250,000 on the current market (down $100,00 from when you bought it), you might consider decreasing the value on your insurance policy to save money on the premium. However, you should know what the current cost of construction per square foot is in your area. This will help you decide if decreasing the insurance value is a prudent thing. If your house is 2500 sq ft and cost of construction is $130/sq ft, the cost of rebuilding it is $325,000. The reduction in your premium could mean you cannot rebuild.

Be an educated consumer. At the time of your home insurance renewal make sure you know what the market value of your home is, and what the prevailing construction cost per sq ft is. Talk to contractors in your area to find out what they would estimate rebuilding part or all of you house would costs. Then use our site to compare quotes and get the best protection for your budget.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Getting Cheap Air Tickets During the Holidays

The holidays are a popular time for traveling. People visit family during this time, and also generally have vacation time from school and work. Unfortunately, air ticket prices reflect this demand – the holidays are one of the more expensive times to purchase flights. However, before you decide to drive, take a bus, or postpone your trip, consider these tips for getting cheap air tickets for holidays.

One easy way to save some money is by booking your ticket in advance. Many travel experts recommend booking your ticket about three months ahead of your departure date. This allows you to snatch up specials and deals that will be gone when the holidays get here. Some websites will allow you to sign up to get a fare alert. These are alerts sent to your email when a particularly good deal is found on your chosen flight. Another option is to sign up for airlines or travel website’s newsletter. These will occasionally send out promotional codes so that you can get a discount on your airfare. You won’t have time to take these steps if you wait last minute – you have to start early!

Another way to save money is by using or joining frequent flyer mile clubs. You can gain miles on purchases you already make, or you can tweak your spending to maximize mile gain. Also, many credit cards will give significant miles as a sign-up bonus – sometimes enough to cover a ticket! Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are also good ways of hearing about special prices and promotions as soon as they are released.

Packaged vacation deals are an excellent way to save money. Popular websites such as Expedia, Travelocity,, and Priceline all offer discount air and travel packages. Sometimes these deals are the same that you would find elsewhere, but often they are cheaper than what you would find through a travel agent or airline site.

Finally, be flexible with your travel. Search dates around your preferred date, look at non-stop vs. connecting flights, one-way flights, different airlines, and different airports. Some of these changes will only be minor and won’t really affect your vacation, but can save you significant amounts of money.

With everything going on during the holidays, finding cheap air tickets might be more important than ever. Luckily with a little research and planning, you can have a stress free and cheap vacation!