Part of a Homeowners’ Association or Community Association?


Why Supplemental Loss Assessment coverage is important to you.

Homeowners’ Associations, Community Associations, and gated communities all operate with the same concept of property held in common by all the different homeowners. These “common elements” include land, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, club houses, even streets, and more.

Q: What is a loss assessment?

A: When a claim occurs on the premises of a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) complex, it triggers the HOA’s insurance policy. In certain circumstances, your association can then turn around and seek contribution from you, as a homeowner, such as:

  • If the limits on the association’s policy were insufficiency
  • To recoup the association’s deductible (which is often significant)

Q: Can you give an example?

A: Let’s say a neighborhood child playing on the property grounds gets hurt, and the parents sue the association. Since the accident occurred on the “common elements”, the association’s policy would respond. If the injuries to the child are significant, and the limits selected by the association are exhausted, the association will pay the remainder of the award out of pocket, and will “assess” every homeowner a share of that expense. This is called a “loss assessment”.

Q:  How likely is this to occur?

A: This can happen to any association and any homeowner. However, it’s more like to occur:

  • With severe claims
  • When the HOA/Community Association chose lower limits/coverage in an effort to contain insurance costs and keep association fees down
  • For recoupement of the association’s insurance policy deductible.

Increasingly, Homeowners’ Associations and similar types of community housing choose policy deductibles in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. The portion of each claim under this amount is paid out of pocket and can then be assessed to homeowners collectively.

Q: Are certain properties more likely to be impacted?

A: If you are located in a coastal area or one prone to hurricane or windstorms, specific deductibles can apply. They are often expressed as a percentage of the property value rather than a flat dollar amount, leading to higher out-of-pocket costs and loss assessments. Ask your association manager what the deductibles are on the association policy.

In addition, if your association offers more amenities (swimming pools in particular) that are attractive to children and a high liability risk, the liability limit selected by the association should account for the added risk. If the association’s liability limit is too low, you are more likely to be assessed for the loss.

Q: How do I protect myself from a loss assessment?

A: The standard homeowner’s policy (traditionally referred to as an OH-3) normally provides $1,000 of loss assessment coverage. This amount can be increased easily by “endorsing” your policy with an add-on called “Supplemental Loss Assessment Coverage.”

Q: Is there anything else I should be asking for?

A: Yes. When discussing the endorsement with your independent agent, make sure you ask whether the endorsement also increases coverage for assessments due to an association deductible. Not all endorsements do.

Q: Are there any types of assessments that are not covered?

A: Loss assessment coverage works hand-in-hand with the underlying coverage and is generally only covered if the cause of the loss would be covered under your own individual homeowner’s policy. For example, if a loss for which you are assessed was a theft, and you did not purchase theft coverage under your homeowner’s policy, your loss assessment coverage would not kick in.


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Call Members 1st Insurance Services today

for a FREE quote!*

Personal Insurance: 

(800) 283-2328, ext. 5245

Medicare, Long-Term Care, or Group Health Insurance:

(800) 283-2328, ext. 6269

Petplan Pet Insurance:

(866) 467-3875

For an instant quote, visit members1st.org » Products & Services » Insurance Services or ask at a branch for our Insurance Services brochure!

*Insurance services available to PA and MD residents only.

Curb Appeal Matters


Cute American house exterior with covered porch and flower potsFirst impressions are everything – at least when it comes to selling your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 63 percent of home buyers will drop by after viewing a home they like online. What will they see? The home’s exterior  including the front entry, yard, driveway and sidewalk should serve as a snapshot of what’s to come when potential buyers enter your home. Read on for tips and tricks to help enhance your curb appeal.

1: Curb Appeal Starts Online

Since 88 percent of home buyers begin the process on the Web, fabulous photos are critical to getting home buyers to the front door. Find the best time of day to shoot each room, avoiding too much sunlight. Take a digital shot and examine it as if you were a buyer, and get rid of extras  bikes on the front porch, platters stacked on top of the fridge – that don’t show your home at its best.

2: Act Like a Buyer

Walk around your entire home’s exterior with a critical eye and a notepad and pen. Take notes on what looks “off” and needs repairing, replacing or cleaning.

3: Look Up to the Sky

Most homeowners don’t give their roofs a second glance, but the roof is an important curb appeal item that buyers do notice. Is yours missing any shingles, or is it dingy and streaked? A good cleaning or, if necessary, a roof replacement will up your home’s curb appeal factor tremendously.

4: Shiny, Happy Numbers

If your house numbers aren’t easy to see or if they’re dirty and dingy, replacing them carries a tremendous impact. Consider the style of your house – traditional, transitional or modern – and create a harmonious or contrasting effect with new house numbers.

5: Get a Second Opinion

Homeowners often get used to certain defects –chipped paint on the front door from the keys banging against it, cobwebs on the porch ceiling, cracked or stained steps – and might need a new set of eyes to help them prioritize what needs to be fixed and cleaned up.

6: Under Pressure

Budget-conscious homeowners will love this tip: Pressure-washing the dirty siding and deck, as well as the oil-stained driveway and faded walkways, is an extremely cost-efficient way to increase your home’s curb appeal.

7: Plant Some Color

Spruce up your porch containers, window boxes and front beds with some colorful flowers for instant lift. Never plant artificial flowers – a few inches of dark mulch will brighten up the beds without screaming “fake.”

8: Open Up

Fling open the shutters, curtains and blinds Go outside and look at your window treatments from the street, and try to keep a uniform look throughout.

9: Light up Your Landscape

Give your walkway an edge with solar light fixtures, which are affordable and a cinch to install.

10: Add Some Polish

Painting the front door, trim and shutters is a great way to polish the look of your home. Other inexpensive fix-ups: a new mailbox, a new porch light fixture and a cheery new welcome mat.

 


Looking to purchase or build a new home?

Members 1st Mortgage Services can finance your home from the ground up!

Our Mortgage Services team looks forward to helping you.

CLICK HERE for more information, or call us today at (700) 283-2328, ext. 6026.


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Come to Members 1st for your

Home Equity Loan!

Click here for more information!

Click here for Home Equity Line of Credit information.

To apply for either loan click here or go to Members 1st Online.

Questions? Call us at (800) 238-2328, ext. 6040.


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Four To-Do’s for Effective Bill Paying


Angry Couple With Credit Cards And Bills

The Federal Reserve recently estimated that nearly half of US households are unable to pay their credit card bills in full each month, and owe an average of more than $15,000, spread across an average of four credit cards.*  GreenPath is sharing four tips to help you get your bills paid on time.

1. Make a list. Create a master list of your bills, when they are due and the monthly amount. You will need to refer to this list, when you are actually paying the bills. If the bill is automatically deducted from your account, you will want to note that as well.

2. Put it on the calendar. Schedule a time for yourself to pay your bills. It will never to be easier to pay your bills than on the day you get paid. If you are generally the type to pay bills on their due date, this is a break from your routine. If you are paid twice a month, you will pay bills twice a month. Likewise, if you are paid weekly, you will pay your bills weekly.

3. Create a paycheck plan. This is probably the most critical part and where people run into the most trouble. You may notice that more of your bills are due at one time of the month over another. You may need to pay most bills on one check and very few on another. This is critical information. If your cell phone, car payment and rent payment are all due on the first, you may need to pay your car note and cell phone early, so that you only have to cover your rent on the next check.

Once you have this down, bills can go into “cruise control”. For example, you may get into a routine where you always pay certain bills with your first check of the month and the other bills with your second check. There is no more guessing and it becomes routine.

4. Ask for your due date to be changed, if needed. If you do not have the ability to pay bills early, the other option is to call and ask for due dates to be changed. Also, understand which bills have a grace period (common with auto loans and mortgages). Many companies will change their due dates, including many credit card companies, student loan servicers, or utility companies.

*(SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneybuilder/2016/12/30/ this-week-in-credit-card-news-best-way-to-pay-off-credit-card-debtconcerns-about-mobile-wallets/#5cba800e546d)


Struggling to pay your debt? Looking for budgeting or financial advice?

Call GreenPath Financial Services – a partner of Members 1st Federal Credit Union.

(877) 337-3399 or greenpathref.com


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Looking for a convenient way to pay bills?

Sign up for Bill Pay!

Pre-schedule your bills so that they are paid in a timely fashion. Schedule your payments ahead of time, or request same-day payments if they are scheduled before 11 a.m. the same day.

Click here for more information or to sign up.

Or call us at (717) 237-7288.

New Cash Now? Consider a Home Equity Loan


College tuition bills due? Someone getting married? Have unexpected medical bills? Want to renovate or remodel? Looking to consolidate bills?

Home maintenance

Consider a home equity loan. This is the type of loan that allows you to borrow against the value of your home. It is an additional mortgage on your home. The first mortgage is the one you used to actually purchase your home. This second mortgage, i.e., your home equity loan, borrows against the property if you have built up enough equity in it.

So what are the benefits of borrowing against the equity in your home?

  • Home equity loans typically have a lower interest rate (APR) than other types of loans you may need when you need extra cash for something
  • They may be easier to qualify for because your home becomes your collateral
  • The interest on your home equity loan may be a tax deduction, but you should talk to your personal tax advisor for details
  • You may borrow larger sums of money depending upon how much equity you have in your home

To begin, let’s make sure we understand these two important definitions:

Collateral is property that you pledge as a guarantee that you will repay a debt. If you don’t repay the debt, the lender can take your collateral and sell it to get its money back. With a home equity loan or line of credit, you pledge your home as collateral. You can lose the home and be forced to move out if you don’t repay what you’ve borrowed.

Equity is the difference between how much the home is worth and how much you owe on the mortgage (or mortgages, if you have a home equity loan or line of credit).

Example: Your home goes UP in value

Let’s say you buy a house for $150,000. You make a down payment of $20,000 and borrow $130,000. The day you buy the house, your equity is the same as the down payment — $20,000. $150,000 (home’s purchase price) minus $130,000 (amount owed) = $20,000 (equity).

Fast-forward five years. You have been making your monthly payments faithfully, and have paid down $13,000 of the mortgage debt, so you now owe $117,000. During the same time, the value of the house has increased. Now it is worth $200,000. Your equity is $83,000: $200,000 (home’s current appraised value) – $117,000 (amount owed) = $83,000 (equity).

Example: Your home goes DOWN in value

In the housing meltdown that affected many parts of the country, homes lost value. Instead of increasing in value, the value of the house dropped after the home was purchased. In many instances, a home equity loan would not be available.

Using the previous example, let’s say you buy a house for $150,000. You make a down payment of $20,000 and borrow $130,000. During the next five years, you paid down $13,000 of your mortgage debt.  This leaves you with a balance of $117,000.

However, as home prices fell and homes in your neighborhood went into foreclosure, your home’s value dropped by 30 percent, or $45,000, to $105,000. So now your home is worth $105,000, but you still owe $117,000. Because the value of your home is less than the amount you owe, you have negative equity and would not be eligible for a home equity loan.

Types of Home Equity Debt

There are two types of home equity debt — home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, also known as HELOCs. Both are referred to as second mortgages because they are secured by your property, just like the original mortgage. Home equity loans and lines of credit usually are repaid in a shorter period than first mortgages. Most commonly, mortgages are set up to be repaid over 30 years. Equity loans and lines of credit often have a repayment period of 15 years, although it might be as short as five and as long as 30 years.

A home equity loan is a one-time lump sum that is paid off over a set amount of time, with a fixed interest rate and the same payment amounts each month. Once you get the money, you cannot borrow further from the loan.

A home equity line of credit works more like a credit card because it has a revolving balance. A HELOC allows you to borrow up to a set amount for the life of the loan. During that time, you can withdraw money as you need it. As you pay off the principal, you can use the credit again like a credit card. A HELOC gives you more flexibility than a fixed-rate home equity loan. It also is possible to remain in debt with a home equity loan, paying only interest and not paying down principal.

HELOC Terms and Repayment

A line of credit generally has a variable interest rate that fluctuates over the life of the loan. Payments vary depending on the interest rate, the amount owed and whether the credit line is in the draw period or the repayment period. During the equity line’s draw period, you can borrow against it and the minimum monthly payments cover only the interest, although you can elect to pay principal. During the repayment period, you can’t add new debt and must repay the balance over the remaining life of the loan.

The draw period often is five or 10 years, and the repayment period typically is 10 or 15 years. Those are generalizations, and each lender can set its own draw and repayment periods. A line of credit is accessed by check, credit card or electronic transfer requested by the consumer. Lenders often require you to take an initial advance when you set up the loan, withdraw a minimum amount each time you dip into it and keep a minimum amount outstanding.

Finally, with either a home equity loan or a line of credit, you must repay the loan in full anytime you sell the home.


 Come to Members 1st for your

Home Equity Loan!

We have special rates on 10 year fixed and 15 year fixed rate home equity loans.

Click here for more information!

We also have a great HELOC introductory rate!

Click here for HELOC information.

To apply for either loan click here or go to Members 1st Online.

Questions? Call us at (800) 238-2328, ext. 6040.


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Entries now being accepted for our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest


2018 calendar contest main graphic

Do you enjoy taking pictures? Ever consider entering a photo contest? We invite you to enter our 2018 Calendar Photo Contest.

Photo subject may be about anything you see through the lens of your camera.  We’ll take landscapes, animals, favorite vacation spots, landmarks, birds, architecture, blooms, insects, beaches, trains, planes, boats, cars, sunrises,  sunsets, seasons, moons & stars — the list could go on and on, as long as your photo doesn’t contain people.  Photos are not limited to Southcentral PA.

Our contest runs through June 30, 2017. For submission guidelines and contest rules, click here. Winners will be notified by phone and/or email in September. One individual’s entry will be selected for the calendar cover photo and he/she will be awarded a $100 VISA Gift Card. The 12 individuals selected for each calendar month will receive a $50 VISA Gift Card.

Our 2018 Calendar will be available at all Members 1st branch locations on International Credit Union Day, Thursday, October 19, 2017.

No purchase necessary to enter. 

 

Teach Your Little Owls to Fly with Money Talks


The first step to teaching your kids about money is talking about money.

“The most effective way to teach is by having frequent discussions and don’t ever lecture,” said Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the National Endowment for Financial Education, in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “Look for teachable moments and always be willing to answer questions.”

Unfortunately, this can also be the hardest.

A 2015 T. Rowe Price survey found that 72% of parents experienced at least some reluctance to talk to their kids about financial matters, and 18% were either very or extremely reluctant. The most common reasons given were that the parents didn’t want them to worry about financial matters or thought they were too young to understand.

But on his blog, the personal-finance guru and radio host Dave Ramsey encourages parents to be more open with their kids about money, even their failures. Parents’ biggest regrets are often not saving enough or going into too much debt, wrote Ramsey. Being honest about that in an age-appropriate way, he stated, can be a powerful lesson.

So how to start the talk?

  • Ask questions. If you’re going out to eat, talk about the price difference between the options, and ask them which they would choose. If they select the more expensive, talk through what you might have to give up later in the week.
  • Make them part of your budgeting. If you’re doing any kind of financial planning for the year, solicit input from your kids. Enlist them in your saving goals—no one watches you more closely than your kids, so they’re natural accountability partners! If you’re uncomfortable revealing too much of your financial picture, you can keep the discussions high level, but involving them makes money less abstract.
  • Open a youth savings account at Members 1st Federal Credit Union. This is the best way to help them to learn to save for what they find meaningful in life. A lifetime of good savings habits can start now! Click below to learn about Youth Month activities during the month of April at Members 1st!

 

Youth Month at Members 1st

Does Minimum Coverage Mean Minimum Protection?



In the event you cause an accident, you can become responsible to others for their injuries and/or for property damage. This is where your auto insurance liability limits come into play. Most states, including Pennsylvania, require that you purchase a minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage coverage. However, purchasing only state minimum limits may not be enough. Having adequate liability coverage can be the difference between being well protected and potential financial disaster.

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Q. Pennsylvania requires minimum insurance coverage of 15/30/5. What does that mean?

A. Minimum liability limits of 15/30/5 means the insurance company will provide bodily injury liability coverage up to $15,000 per person injured in any one accident, and $30,000 for all persons injured in any one accident, and up to $5,000 for property damages in any one accident.

Q. If I have minimum limits, what happens if I have an accident and damages exceed my policy limits?

A. Your insurance company will only pay up to the amount of your policy limits. So, if you’ve chosen Pennsylvania’s minimum property damage limits of $5,000 and cause an accident which results in $25,000 in property damage, the insurance company will only pay $5,000, and you will be responsible for the remaining payment $20,000.

Q. Why would I want to buy more insurance than state law requires?

A. Auto insurance is your safety net, and works best if it provides proper protection. Carrying state minimum protection may be more affordable in the short term. However, because you could be personally liable for damages or injuries to others which exceed your policy limits, you should seriously consider purchasing liability insurance with limits higher than is required by state law.

Q. Is increasing my limits right for me?

A. Increasing coverage limits may not be as costly as you think. If you’re interested in protecting you and your family’s present well-being and financial future, and securing a little more peace of mind, as your independent insurance agent, we’re here to help answer any questions and help you review your available options.

The bottom line – if you’re legally responsible for damages or injuries to others which exceed your coverage limits, you’ll be responsible for the difference. The time to discover you don’t have adequate insurance/coverage is BEFORE you’re involved in an accident, not AFTER.


 

Call Members 1st Insurance Services today

for a FREE quote!*

Personal Insurance: 

(800) 283-2328, ext. 5245

Medicare, Long-Term Care, or Group Health Insurance:

(800) 283-2328, ext. 6269

Petplan Pet Insurance:

(866) 467-3875

For an instant quote, visit members1st.org » Products & Services » Insurance Services or ask at a branch for our Insurance Services brochure!

*Insurance services available to PA and MD residents only.

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