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7 monthly bills affected by your credit rating

Brian Acton, Credit.com Published 4:02 p.m. ET June 1, 2017 | Updated 4:02 p.m. ET June 1, 2017

You probably know your monthly bills can impact your credit, as late payments or accounts in collections can land on your credit report and bring down your credit score. But are you aware your credit score can affect the payment amount on a number of your monthly bills?

Here are seven monthly bills with payments your credit score can determine.

1. Rent payments

When you apply for a lease, your landlord might request a background check that includes your credit report. They can’t run a background check without your permission, although refusing may prevent you from moving forward with the lease.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the landlord can take adverse action if they find red flags in your credit report. This action could include denying your rental application or raising your rent higher than they would charge another applicant. The good news is they are legally required to give you written notice if they take adverse action, provide you the report they used (if you request it within 60 days) and give you the chance to dispute the information.

2. Credit cards

Consumers with good credit tend to qualify for much lower credit card interest rates than those with poor credit. Interest is applied to your credit card balance each month unless you pay it off in full within the monthly grace period. (You can go here to learn more about how credit card interest is calculated.) If you tend to carry a balance month to month, your poor credit could be costing you extra in interest.

3. Mortgages

Your mortgage payment is also directly affected by your credit. Mortgage lenders consider you a riskier borrower if you have a lower credit score. To hedge against that risk, they will charge you a higher interest rate.

4. Auto loans

Credit scores impact the interest rate lenders offer when you apply for an auto loan. While interest rates vary between lenders, having excellent credit generally results in lower interest and a lower monthly payment. Those 0% financing offers you see on car commercials usually require excellent credit.

Your credit score doesn’t generally affect federal loan payments, but if you plan on financing your education through private loans, lenders can use your credit score to determine your interest rate and fees. The worse your credit, the more interest you’ll pay on the loan.

6. Auto insurance

According to The Zebra’s State of Auto Insurance Report, there’s a correlation between credit and car insurance rates. On a national level, drivers with poor credit can pay more than twice as much as those with excellent credit for insurance. Some states have banned insurance providers from using credit scores to determine rates, but it’s a common practice in the states that allow it.

7. Homeowners insurance

Insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to determine what you’ll pay for homeowners insurance. These scores are industry-specific and aren’t exactly the same as your credit score, but they use the information in your credit report to determine your score. The same negative marks that bring down your credit score can impact your insurance score, and affect your payment.

Given your credit’s affect on nearly every bill in your mailbox (among other things, of course), it’s important to regularly monitor your credit for errors (you can go here to learn how to dispute those), identity theft or legitimate negative items that are affecting your score. You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view your free credit report snapshot every month on Credit.com. You can generally improve your bad credit by paying down high credit card balances, shoring up accounts in delinquency and limiting new credit inquiries while your credit score rebounds.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Brian Acton is a freelance writer and contributor at Credit.com. Several years ago, as he worked to pay down debt and purchase a home, Brian became interested in personal finance and credit. He has been covering these topics ever since. Brian has a BA in History from Salisbury University and an MBA from UMUC. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two dogs. More by Brian Acton

 Original Article

Does alarm company’s ‘We are not an insurer’ language overcome negligence claim?

AUG 03, 2017 | BY STEVEN A. MEYEROWITZ, ESQ., DIRECTOR, FC&S LEGAL

This story is reprinted with permission from FC&&S Legal, the industry’s only comprehensive digital resource designed for insurance coverage law professionals. Visit the website to subscribe.

Most businesses and many homeowners have alarm systems that include continuous monitoring. And the customers of the alarm companies rely on the systems to give them warnings of intruders or other problems. But what happens when the alarm system malfunctions, the business owner’s property is stolen, and the insurance doesn’t cover the claim? Can the business owner recover from the alarm company for negligence or does the contract’s limitation of liability language prevail?

A communication ‘error’

Ivan and Krystyna Homola, the owners of EJ Jewelers, Inc., contracted with Protection One Alarm Monitoring Inc., d/b/a Protection 1 Security Solutions, to install a burglar alarm monitoring system and closed circuit television at their store. In May 2014, the Homolas contracted with the company for burglar monitoring services, the terms of which superseded all prior agreements (2014 Agreement).

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on March 20, 2016, the Homolas received a phone call from Protection One informing them that the jewelry store was experiencing a “communication error.” Ms. Homola directed Protection One to call the police.

An hour later, Ms. Homola “called Protection One to follow up and asked if everything was ok and if the store was protected.” Ms. Homola said that she was told that “everything was fine, the police came to the store, and the store was fully secured by the alarm.”

At 1:00 a.m. on March 21, 2016, the Homolas received a second call from Protection One at which time, they were informed “that the store was again experiencing a ‘communication error’ in a few zones” but that there was “no burglary, just a communication problem.”

Later that morning, Ms. Homola again contacted Protection One, and she was told that “everything [was] fine.”

The next day, March 22, 2016, the Homolas went to the store and discovered that it had been burglarized. Apparently, perpetrators had accessed the alarm system’s power supply, which was housed in the basement of a business adjacent to the jewelry store. After disrupting the power, the perpetrators allegedly waited for the “back-up” batteries in the store’s alarm system to dissipate. Like a scene in a movie, the thieves allegedly cut a hole through the roof and descended into the store, stealing more than $500,000 in jewelry.

That same day, the Homolas also learned “that the cameras supplied by Defendant Protection One … had not filmed at all, and the camera’s backup storage provided by Defendant Protection One was completely empty.”

The Homolas filed a claim with their insurance carrier, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, which had issued a policy covering losses up to $80,000. However, because the stolen merchandise had been “out of safe or vault while closed to business,” the insurance carrier paid only $5,000 on the claim.

The Homolas then sued Protection One for, among other things, breach of contract and gross negligence. Protection One moved to dismiss.

Protection One’s Limitation of Liability

The 2014 agreement provided:

(A)WE ARE NOT AN INSURER * * * OF YOUR PREMISES OR ITS CONTENTS; (B) IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO OBTAIN ADEQUATE INSURANCE COVERING YOU, YOUR PREMISES AND ITS CONTENTS * * *; (D) THE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES MAY NOT ALWAYS OPERATE AS INTENDED FOR VARIOUS REASONS, INCLUDING OUR NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER FAULT. WE CANNOT PREDICT THE POTENTIAL AMOUNT, EXTENT OR SEVERITY OF ANY DAMAGES * * * THAT MAY BE INCURRED * * * DUE TO THE FAILURE OF THE EQUIPMENT OR SERVICES TO WORK AS INTENDED. AS SUCH: (I) YOU AGREE THAT THE LIMITS ON OUR LIABILITY AND THE WAIVERS AND INDEMNITIES SET FORTH IN THIS AGREEMENT ARE A FAIR ALLOCATION OF RISKS AND LIABILITIES BETWEEN YOU, US AND ANY AFFECTED THIRD PARTIES; (II) YOU WILL LOOK EXCLUSIVELY TO YOUR INSURER FOR FINANCIAL PROTECTION FROM SUCH RISKS AND LIABILITIES, AND (III) * * YOU WAIVE ALL RIGHTS AND REMEDIES AGAINST US, INCLUDING ALL RIGHTS OF SUBROGATION, THAT YOU, ANY INSURER, OR ANY OTHER THIRD PARTY MAY HAVE DUE TO ANY LOSSES YOU OR OTHERS MAY INCUR.

In addition, the 2014 Agreement provided:

Limitation of Liability for Alarm Failure Events. NEITHER WE NOR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSSES ARISING DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY FROM ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT.

WE ARE NOT LIABLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE ADEQUACY OF THE EQUIPMENT DESIGN OR DESIGN CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY YOU, YOUR DESIGN PROFESSIONAL, OR LOCAL CODE REQUIREMENTS, IF, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH 10(B), WE OR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US ARE DETERMINED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY LOSSES ARISING FROM ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT, YOUR CLAIMS AGAINST US AND/OR ANY PERSON OR ENTITY AFFILIATED WITH US SHALL BE LIMITED TO $2,000.00. THIS AMOUNT IS YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY FOR ANY ALARM FAILURE EVENT, EVEN IF CAUSED BY PROTECTION ONE’S NEGLIGENCE OR THAT OF OUR AFFILIATES OR OUR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES OR AGENTS, BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHER FAULT.

Further, the 2014 agreement defined alarm failure events as the “condition, nonfunctioning, malfunction, faulty design, faulty installation, or failure in any respect of the equipment or services to operate or perform as intended.”

A complete defense

The trial court granted Protection One’s motion.

In its decision, the trial court explained that the Homolas’ allegations sufficiently alleged conduct on the part of Protection One that, if true, might constitute “gross negligence.” The trial court reasoned that the Homolas alleged that, on two consecutive days, Protection One failed to alert the police and appropriate authorities after having been notified that the alarm system at the jewelry store was experiencing a “communication error”; in response to Ms. Homola’s call to follow up, Protection One responded that the jewelry store was fully alarmed and secured. In a second conversation, Protection One informed Ms. Homola that “there was no burglary, just a communication problem.”

The trial court then ruled that, notwithstanding any alleged gross negligence, the risk allocation/waiver of subrogation provision set forth in the 2014 agreement, which required the Homolas to obtain insurance for all losses occurring at the jewelry store and pursuant to which they waived any remedies against Protection One, functioned “as a complete defense” to the claims asserted by the Homolas against Protection One.

The case is Homola v. Jewelers Mutual Ins. Co.

Steven A. Meyerowitz, Esq., is the director of FC&S Legal, the editor-in-chief of the Insurance Coverage Law Report, and the founder and president of Meyerowitz Communications Inc. Email him at smeyerowitz@meyerowitzcommunications.com.

Original Article

Insurance Terms Made Easy: Subrogation

Watch this video to learn about Subrogation. For more information about insurance visit our website Scott Lynch Agency

Insurance Terms Made Easy: Subrogation

Insurance Terms Made Easy Subrogation

Marion County fireworks ordinance to take effect

Marion County fireworks ordinance to take effect

Chris Bavender from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department · 15 Jun 16

Indianapolis – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Homeland Security Bureau reminds Marion County residents that the Marion County fireworks ordinance will be in effect starting June 28.

Hours for fireworks use on and around July 4 in Marion County are:

• 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset June 28 through July 3
• 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4
• 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset July 5 through July 9

Under Indiana law, you must be at least 18-years-old to buy fireworks and someone who is 18 or older must be present when fireworks are being set off.

If you are not lighting fireworks on your own property, make sure you have permission from the person who lives there.

Violations of the ordinance are subject to the following fines:

• A $100 fine for the first offense in any 12 month period
• A minimum of $500 for the second offense in any 12 month period
• Up to $2,500 for the third and subsequent offenses in any 12 month period

The complete Indianapolis/Marion County ordinance concerning fireworks is available at http://bit.ly/28FiFEK

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Direct Gas Grill Lines

by Nancy Daniel on May 23, 2017

When my husband and I first decided to go with a natural gas grill that hooked up directly to our home gas system, we were thrilled to say farewell to propane canisters and the hassle of refilling them. But a 600° overnight mistake has me wondering if it was such a great idea.

We had family visiting and,after enjoying a delicious steak dinner, my husband, the grill master, failed to turn off the grill. This was after he had turned it up to high to burn off the steak remnants left on the grill.

The next morning as we readied for a day of boating, my sister-in-law went outside to retrieve something and made the discovery. The grill was so hot the siding on our house behind it was melting.

I shudder to think what might have happened if she hadn’t gone out there and we had left the grill on all day long . We might have had a serious fire with our pet dog and cat at home to face it alone. So, what are the pros and cons of connecting a grill to your natural gas line?

Advantages of natural gas grilling

  • You’ll never run out of fuel — even during your biggest barbecue (unless you forget to pay the gas company).
  • Natural gas is less expensive than propane.
  • You no longer have to lug heavy propane tanks back and forth for filling.
  • Natural gas is classified as a greenhouse gas, so it’s environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages of natural gas grilling

  • The location of your grill is fixed, so you won’t be able to move it.
  • Professional installation is required, and the initial cost of the gas plumbing can be expensive.
  • Natural gas grills are more expensive than propane grills.

What to know before you go for it

If you decide to go with a natural gas grill connected to your home gas system, there are some things you should know before you make your grill purchase.

First, natural gas grills and propane grills are not the same thing, so be sure to shop for the right type.

Some areas require a permit. If you live in a community that has a homeowners’ association, certain types of grills may be subject to restrictions. So you’ll want to check on these things.  Hopefully your locale only requires that you install a quick connect shut-off valve at the house.

Speaking of the installation, there are a couple of different methods of hooking up your grill to the gas line. The safest is with a gas plug safety quick disconnect.  Your best bet is to hire a natural gas plumber to do this for you.

Time to (safely) fire up the grill

According to the 27th annual Weber GrillWatchTM Survey, 75 percent of Americans will fire up the grill for a Memorial Day cookout this year. Regardless of your fuel source, be sure to follow these grill safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Only grill outdoors—don’t move the grill into the garage or on the porch when it rains.
  • Position the grill well away from the house and deck railings and out from under eaves.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean, removing grease buildup from the grills and the trays below.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended.
  • Turn off the supply of gas to the grill when it’s not in use.

And one final safety tip, learned the (almost) hard way: Be sure your home’s grill master turns the grill off before presenting his or her delicious char-grilled fare!

Original Article: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Direct Gas Grill Lines

This story was originally published on August 24, 2016. It was updated with new information.