By Renee Massey
There has been a lot in the news lately about the government refinance program HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program). The program was recently revamped by FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Agency) and lenders should be receiving the new guidelines this week. The biggest difference in the new program is the removal of the loan to value limit of 125%. Homeowners in many hard hit areas including San Diego did not qualify for the previous HARP program because of the 125% cap. Although lenders now have the new guidelines, it is unclear when they will be adopting the changes. If you are unfamiliar with HARP, listed below are the current guidelines from the making home affordable website: http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/programs/lower-rates/Pages/harp.aspx.
You may be eligible to apply if you meet all of the following:
*Eligibility criteria are for guidance only. Contact your mortgage servicer to see if you qualify for HARP.
The HARP program is offered by many servicers. Homeowners should check with their mortgage servicer (the company to which homeowners make their mortgage payments) to determine if they are participating in HARP. If their mortgage servicer is not participating, the homeowner may contact other lenders that participate in HARP to determine if they are eligible for a refinance.
Steps to HARP Refinance
For More Information
Renee Massey has been with Ken May Insurance services since February 2011. She is our customer service representative and also works as a Realtor® throughout San Diego County. If you are interested in buying or selling your home or have any real estate questions please contact her by phone or email.
Adrian won two field-level tickets to the June 25, 2011, San Diego Padres home game against the Atlanta Braves. He was entered in the drawing after purchasing home insurance from Ken May Insurance Services through Mercury Insurance. By purchasing home insurance with Mercury he also saved an additional 15% on his auto insurance with the Auto + Home multi-policy discount. Please call or email us to discuss ALL your insurance needs. The “Cover All Your Bases” contest runs now through the end of August.
For more information follow us on Facebook and visit our website www.kenmayinsurance.com.
I’m always reminding the staff that it’s all about the discounts! People seem to be obsessed with the idea of getting discounts on their auto insurance policies. But this leads to two problems that we’ve encountered.
First, it’s not about the total number of discounts you get, it’s about the bottom line. If you’re getting 10 discounts from company A and only 5 discounts from company B but the premium with company B is lower for the same amount of coverage, why would anybody choose company A just because of the number of discounts? But many do! We have actually had clients move to another carrier because they were offered a discount that their present carrier didn’t offer, even though they ended up paying more for the policy! They feel like they have won the battle but actually, they have lost the war. And then they complain about the cost of their insurance!
The second problem that really gets under my skin are the large companies like Progressive and Allstate that offer discounts in a national ad campaign that are not legal in California or simply not offered in this state. A great example of this is Progressive’s current campaign for the Snapshot discount where technology can report to the company a person’s driving habits such as annual mileage, how hard a person brakes, how fast a person accelerates, etc. Though it is being advertised, Progressive does not offer the Snapshop discount in California. So why are they allowed to show this commercial every two minutes (tic) in California? I am regulated down to the font size of every ad. So, why are these misleading ads allowed to be shown?
My point is for you not to get too enamored or sucked into a decision based on a slick national advertising campaign and rhetoric that may not even apply to Californians (though I too enjoy watching comedian and actress Stephanie Courtney portray Flo in the Progressive ads).
So what are some of the discounts you should be looking for?
There are countless other discounts available that are too numerous to name here but if you have a good agent, he or she should ask the right questions to insure that you are receiving all of the discounts that you are entitled to.
**If your agent tries to give you discounts that you don’t deserve or tries to alter your personal information to artificially lower your insurance rate, run away as fast as you can!
A good agent should be able to give you a proper rate with the right amount of coverage with a financially stable company as well as offer top-notch customer service without putting you at risk of insurance fraud in the process (I will talk more about this serious problem which puts you at risk in a future blog post).
Finally, your insurance company should send you a list of available discounts with your policy declarations page and policy jacket. Look at the list and if you see a discount that you feel you should be receiving but you’re not currently getting, call or stop by to see your agent and he or she should be happy to go over it with you.
There are advantages of using an independent agent as opposed to simply purchasing a policy online. Coverages can be complicated, insurance can be confusing, and you may be leaving money on the table that would be better off in your pocket (or helping pay for gasoline). And, you may be missing vital coverage that leaves you and your assets exposed. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to visit us at www.kenmayinsurance.com.
Ken May has been serving North County since 1982 offering quality insurance products with strong carriers. He is currently the president of the American Agents Alliance of California as well as the local chairperson of the North San Diego County Chapter of the Alliance. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Did you know floods happen in all 50 states? Yes they do – on the coasts, up in the mountains, beside rivers, and even in deserts. Whether you’re living in a small town or a big city, few regions are immune to such soggy disasters. During recent times, it’s been estimated that 25% of flood insurance claims came from areas not considered high risk.
You may be in an area where it rarely rains, let alone floods, and so flood insurance is the furthest thing from your mind. But if you’ve ever been through a flood or you reside in an area where floods are common, you are probably well aware that floods can occur anytime, and with very little notice.
If you’ve never been through a flood you may not realize how much damage they can cause to your home and possessions. Water damage can be costly to repair and appliances and personal possessions are often completely ruined.
Another good reason to purchase flood insurance is because you cannot always rely on Federal Disaster Assistance alone. This is because a lot of people do not qualify for grants, which makes the most usual form of assistance a disaster home loan. Such loans need to be repaid with principal plus interest.
If you’d like to insure your home and possessions against flood damage, contact Key May Insurance Services now for a competitive quote.
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