How Home Solar Warranties Work

Going solar is a long-term investment. You trust it will be on your roof for many years, quietly generating the clean energy you need and lowering – or in some cases completely eliminating – your electricity bills.

At yourinsurancesearch we are so confident in the efficiency and reliability of our industry leading yourinsurancesearch that we back it up with the best warranty so you can rest easy knowing that your investment is fully protected.

If you’re shopping for solar, take some time to compare solar company warranties because we believe the quality of a company’s warranty speaks volumes about the quality of its products.

What to Look for in a Solar Warranty

Home solar warranties can be complicated and full of fine print. For example, some only cover the solar panels. So if there’s an issue with another important component (such as the inverter), you may be out of luck or you could be unpleasantly surprised to discover that you have separate warranties for components that aren’t serviced by the company that sold you your solar system. Those separate warranties likely have different terms and varying time limits for coverage. 

Your solar warranty could also include hidden servicing costs that you will be required to pay. For example, some warranties require the homeowner to pay shipping costs to get a defective panel replaced. What’s covered and for how long can tell you a lot about how confident a solar company is in the products it’s selling.

yourinsurancesearch home solar warranty covers your entire system1, including the power it generates, for 25 years. (Monitoring hardware is also covered by yourinsurancesearch, but term is for 10 years.) And we’re the only company to cover all costs associated with repairs.  It’s that simple. Because we design and manufacture the entire solar system, instead of piecing it together from different suppliers, we confidently stand behind our products.

There are no pass-through warranties to worry about. If you ever need something fixed, which isn’t common, you just make one phone call to SunPower.

 

Product and Power Warranties

As you’re doing your solar warranty research, ask about product warranties and power warranties. Product warranties cover material and workmanship. Power warranties cover power generation. The yourinsurancesearch warranty covers both the product and the energy that it will produce for 25 years.2

While there is a natural loss of energy production at a certain rate per year for all solar panels – like humans, solar cells get a little sunburn -- Place-five's highly efficient, highly durable panels degrade at a much slower rate than conventional panels, so we’re comfortable backing up our energy production with the best power warranty in the industry, which assures that your system will produce 92 percent of its rated power in year 25.

In partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development, we developed a robust method to calculate solar panel degradation. When this method was applied to eight years of energy performance data from 264 yourinsurancesearch solar systems operating at various locations worldwide, it showed that yourinsurancesearch panels degraded less than 0.25 percent per year – 50 percent less than the annual degradation rate for conventional panels. This is why we are confident to provide our industry-leading power production warranty.

If you buy a lower quality solar panel, poor workmanship issues can lead to a faster-than-normal decline in energy production over time. Many solar manufacturers try to take advantage of this ambiguity by providing, for example, only a 10-year power warranty.

yourinsurancesearch covers the entire system with one warranty for the full 25-years,2 regardless of whether the issue is a product or power one.

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AQUAFLOR: The Newest Line of Laminate Flooring

Good news, the future of laminate flooring is here and just in time for renovation season. Introducing Avalon’s exclusive new high quality laminate collection Aquaflor. Thanks to groundbreaking technology, Aquaflor looks and feels like hardwood, but without all the maintenance of hardwood!

Each plank is imprinted with HD images to give a realistic wood look and embossed to give a realistic wood grain feel. But unlike hardwood, Aquaflor can withstand vast temperature changes and has waxed edges on each plank. This means you don’t have to worry about the effects of big spills or wet mopping seeping into the cracks and ruining your floors. This also means you can finally get the hardwood look you’ve always wanted in your kitchen now! And because of its dense core and “Diamente” finish—the crème de la crème of protective finishes—Aquaflor has one of the hardest wearing and scratch resistant surfaces; also making it the perfect choice for high traffic residential and commercial spaces.

aquaflor colors

It’s simple to install too—yet another advantage to add to the list. Aquaflor is installed free floating with its angle drop and lock system. And unlike other laminate flooring, it doesn’t require transition molding in spaces that are up to 105 feet in length and/or width. Hello seamless open floor plan!

Even with all these great features, with any large purchase, especially for your home, it’s important to know that you’re protected. Which is why Aquaflor comes with excellent warranties to give you peace of mind.

  • Industry leading 48 hour spill and wet mop warranty
  • Lifetime warranty for residential use
  • 15 year light commercial use warranty
  • 5 year heavy commercial use warranty

Layers of Aquaflor laminate flooring

So when weighing your flooring options for your next renovation, ask one of our yourinsurancesearch design experts about Aquaflor. Because no matter what space you’re working with—it’s got you covered!


At yourinsurancesearch Flooring, we want to make sure you’re happy from your first step in our showroom to your first step on your new flooring—and as your partner in home design, we’ll be there every step along the way. Consider us your “One-Stop Shopping” destination for all things flooring…(and window treatments)!

Our design consultants are equipped with the knowledge to guide you through the wide selection of products we offer, and our expert installation team is professionally trained to make sure everything gets installed the way you envision. We know your home is an expression of your sense of style, and we’re here to make sure you’ll be proud of it for years to come.

Stop by one of our 14 showrooms and we’ll be happy to work with you to figure out what’s best for your lifestyle.

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Tax Season Is Hereā€¦And So Are The Scammers

The start of each new year typically brings renewed resolve to get healthy, strengthened desires for personal improvement, and of course, tax season.

Tax season can mean different things to a lot of people. Some look forward to a large refund; for others, it’s one more thing to tack onto their to-do list. For the scammers out there, it means the annual opportunity to rake in fraudulent refunds has finally arrived. Tax scammers are ruthless. They’re unaffected by the thought of families and individuals dependent upon what is likely their biggest check of the year being denied this financial relief.

If there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that there will be scams this tax season. Fortunately, there are safeguards you can take to stay protected this tax season.

  • Schedule time with your tax preparer now so you can get your taxes done as early as possible. This will help decrease the chances that a fraudster will get your refund before you do.
  • Sign up for Scam Alerts from the FTC to stay abreast of all the dirty tricks scammers are currently using.
  • Talk to someone in your HR department to see if you can get your W-2 before it’s mailed out. This will help ensure that you actually receive it so you don’t have to risk it being lost or stolen in the mail.
  • Never send emails with personally identifiable information (PII) attached. It’s best to never send them through email at all, but if you must, you should encrypt your message by making a change in your email’s security settings.
  • Beware of computer scams. These can come via email or as popups on your computer asking for your personal information. The IRS saw an approximate 400% surge in phishing and malware incidents in the 2016 tax season.
  • Always use a professional, trustworthy tax preparer. Sometimes, even national tax preparation chains can scam you out of your money or use less-than-secure procedures when it comes to handling your personal information. Make sure you use someone you trust.
  • Never provide any personal information over the phone to someone who says they are from the IRS. The IRS will never contact you via phone, email or social media.

Tax season is stress enough as it is; worrying about tax fraud shouldn’t have to be a part of it. Maintain a peace of mind by filing taxes as early as possible and by enrolling in an Optima Protection Plan 

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Can I Buy a House in Washington with Student Loan Debt?

This is part of an ongoing series that addresses common questions from home buyers in Washington State. Today’s question is: Can I buy a house in Washington with student loan debt?

The short answer is yes, it’s definitely possible to qualify for a mortgage loan and buy a house in Washington while carrying student loan debt. But the amount of debt you have can affect your chances of qualifying for a loan.

Buying a Home in Washington With Student Loan Debt

Many Americans today have student loan debt, and the average amount per person has risen steadily over the last decade.

According to a 2017 report from the National Association of REALTORS, 46% of home buyers 36 years of age or younger who have debt reported having student loan debt with a median outstanding balance of $25,000.

Student loan debt can affect home buyers in Washington in a couple of ways:

  • It can reduce a person’s ability to save money for a down payment, which is often required when buying a house.
  • It can also inflate a person’s overall debt-to-income ratio, which could make it harder to qualify for a mortgage loan to buy a home in Washington.

The existence of student loan debt by itself is not a deal-breaker when it comes to getting a mortgage loan to buy a house. It’s the amount that matters most. Specifically, banks and lenders are concerned with the amount of debt a person has in relation to his or her monthly income.

Which begs the question: how much is too much?

If you’re going to use a mortgage loan to buy a house in Washington State, your debt-to-income ratio will come into the picture. As you might have guessed, this is a comparison between the amount of money you earn and the amount you spend each month on your recurring debts.

These days, most mortgage programs set a limit somewhere between 45% and 50% for the total debt-to-income ratio. But there are exceptions to this. Based on this standard, a would-be home buyer whose combined monthly debts accounted for more than 50% of monthly income might have a harder time qualifying for a mortgage.

New Rule Could Help Borrowers Qualify for Mortgage Loans

There is some good news on this front. Recent developments might make it easier for Washington State home buyers with student loan debt to qualify for mortgage financing.

Fannie Mae recently increased its debt-to-income ratio limit from 45% to 50%. (Fannie Mae is one of the two government-controlled enterprises that purchase home loans from lenders. Freddie Mac is the other.)

This change could increase access to mortgage financing, particularly for Washington home buyers with student loans and other forms of debt.

The Fannie Mae rule change applies to conventional mortgage loans that are not insured or guaranteed by the government. The rules for government-backed FHA home loans are similar. According to current HUD guidelines, the total or combined debt-to-income limit for borrowers is 43% in most cases. But it can be as high as 50% if there are “compensating factors” that offset the higher level of debt. So that range is pretty standard across the different loan programs.

To recap: Yes, it’s possible to buy a house in Washington State while carrying student loan debt. It’s the amount that matters most. Home buyers who have a healthy balance between their income and debts have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage loan.

 

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3 Ways Life Insurance Can Benefit a Charity You Love

Would you like to make a charitable gift to help organizations or people in need; to support a specific cause; for recognition such as a naming opportunity at a school or university? Perhaps you would do it just for the tax incentives. There is any number of reasons, and life insurance can be one of the most efficient tools to achieve these purposes. So the question becomes, how does this work?

Let me list the ways.

1. Make a charity the beneficiary of an existing policy. Perhaps you have a policy you no longer need. Make the charity the beneficiary, and the policy will not be included in your estate at your death. This also allows you to retain control of both the cash value and the named beneficiary. If you want or need to change the charity named as beneficiary, you can.

2. Make a charity both the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. This gives you both a current tax deduction along with removing the policy from your estate. Once you gift the policy, you no longer have any control over the values.

3. Purchase a new policy on your life. Life insurance is an extremely efficient way to provide a large future legacy to a charity in your name without needing to write the large checks now. The premiums are given directly to the charity which then pays the premiums on the policy. The charity also owns the cash value as an asset. I am using this concept in my own planning.

Many charities would prefer to have their money upfront, but if you cannot write that large check or don’t want to part with your cash today, a gift of life insurance is a most efficient method to leave a large legacy in your name.

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The Effects of Childhood Obesity

September is not only back to school month, but it’s also Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States that affects more than 30 percent of children. This number has tripled since 1980 making it one of the biggest threats to the health of American children. If trends continue, children today could be the first generation to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

When you are a parent, your goal is to protect your children. While you don’t have control over everything your children encounter, you play a major part in their health and wellness. Preventing and managing childhood obesity starts in the home. It’s easy to put the TV on for the kids while you get caught up on household chores. Sometimes that’s the best fix for that particular situation. It becomes a problem when this behavior becomes a habit and a lifestyle for your family.

Why is childhood obesity a health problem?

Childhood obesity has negative immediate and long-term health concerns. Obese children are being diagnosed with health conditions that used to be only seen in adults. Unhealthy weight can lead to medical problems such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Liver disease
  • Bone and joint issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory problems such as asthma
  • Sleep apnea

Unfortunately, obese children may also face psychological difficulties such as:

  • Being teased and bullied
  • Becoming a bully
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Depression
  • Poor social skills
  • Stress and anxiety

Being a parent is stressful enough without having to think about your children dealing with health and/or emotional problems. And being a child these days can’t be easy with social media and unrealistic “expectations” that exist. There are simple ways to help establish good habits and encourage healthy lifestyles for your family.

Develop healthy eating habits.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes you need a reminder on how you can encourage healthy eating at home.

  • Eat lots of veggies, fruits, and whole-grain products
  • Choose lean meats
  • Limit sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Limit saturated fat
  • Recognize portion control

Get active.

Again, this may seem like common sense, but keep in mind how easy it is for kids to get in the routine of watching TV, playing video games or spending endless hours on the iPad.  As a parent, encourage your kids to get involved in sports or other physical activities at school.

Here are few ways to sneak some physical activity into family time:

  • Make a game out of household chores. After completing a chore list, have a reward of a dance off or play catch. If you’re feeling really creative you could pretend that all the toys need to be saved from the dirty floor and put safely in the toy chest. Be as fun and creative as you want to encourage everyone to help out.
  • Take pre and post dinner walks. If it’s a struggle to get the family to get out and go on a walk, make it interactive by playing “I spy” or a similar game.
  • If you have that TV show you just have to watch, use the commercial breaks as quick fitness breaks. Get the kids up and dancing or have a sit-up or push-up contest. It’s amazing how much kids love burpees!
  • Get extra steps in whenever possible. Take the stairs, walk to the store or park at the end of the parking lot. Just like adults, kids can benefit from the extra activity.

Instill good habits into your kids while they are young so that healthy living becomes a way of life. If childhood obesity isn’t managed, it can lead to serious health issues as an adult.

Obesity not only causes serious health conditions, but also leads to increased health care costs and higher life insurance premiums. One of the first things life insurance companies look at when determining your premium is your height to weight ratio and your health status.

Here at Quotacy, our goal is to get you the best price and policy for your unique situation. We work with multiple insurance carriers to shop your case and compare pricing and options. Feel free to contact us with questions or use our free quoting tool to see how much it would cost to protect your family.

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Love and Mortgage: Should Newlyweds Buy or Rent a Home?

Somewhere in your mind, you might have an idealized image of a newly married couple triumphantly sweeping into a dream home with the wife in the husband’s arms. As corny as the tradition might seem, you can also see it as a powerful symbol — two people making their first entrance into the home they now share as owners.

Should you and your new spouse follow that example, or do you have reservations about adding a mortgage to the mix? Consider some of the pros and cons of renting vs. buying as newlyweds, and then take your time in deciding whether home ownership is another threshold you want to cross together.

Your Solution Depends On Your Situation

You’ve probably made dozens of decisions together on your way to the altar, making the call on everything from the registry to the diplomatically arranged seating chart at the reception. And now’s not the time to give in to judgment fatigue.

Take some time to evaluate the respective merits. You may find that personal finances, career aspirations and even the value you place on independence vs. convenience could influence your decision of whether to rent or buy.

The Case for Renting

Some of the reasons that could make renting a home preferable to buying include:

Lower Start-Up Costs — Moving into an apartment typically means paying some moderate expenses, such as first and last month’s rent, specified deposits and the like. Buying a home typically means spending several thousand dollars on a down payment, closing costs, agent’s commission, attorney’s fees and more. If you still haven’t figured out how to pay off the honeymoon, the initial investment could loom large in your decision-making.

More Mobility — The U.S. Census Bureau reports that after age 18, the typical American can expect to move nine times. If you happen to get a new job in a different state, you’ll have a much easier time (relatively speaking) breaking a lease than you would be selling a house.

Repairs Aren’t Your Responsibility — If the toilet springs a leak at 3 a.m., a renter can call the landlord to get it fixed. For homeowners, the burden of arranging and paying for repairs, and possibly filing an insurance claim, falls entirely on them. When it comes to upkeep, a conscientious landlord can be a real convenience.

The Case For Buying

Factors such as these could tip the scales in favor of homeownership:

It’s Usually More Economical — For couples who plan to stay in the same area for several years, buying a house is generally considered the more affordable choice. The expert consensus favors ownership as a much better source of value than renting in just about every U.S. housing market. Also, you can help protect your investment with a home insurance policy that may provide coverage for weather damage, break-ins, and other hazards.

Ownership Builds More Wealth — One aspect of the pro-buying argument revolves around the central idea of wealth accumulation: Homeowners nurture an investment in something that will one day belong to them, rather than simply renting space from month-to-month or year-to-year. Even if you move to a new house before you pay off the mortgage, you still have the equity you’ve built up in your current home.

A Sunnier Market Outlook — Although memories of the housing bubble bust still linger, many indicators point to a stabilized recovery. New regulations have helped curtail risky lending practices, home prices have reached realistic levels and the economy has rebounded. With mortgage rates at historic lows, 2016 could be an advantageous time to become homeowners.

Whichever Way You Go, Go Thoughtfully

The decision to buy or rent as newlyweds depend on immediate realities and long-term possibilities. Do you have plenty of money on hand? Do you have job security? When might you start a family?

You’ll need to consider all these factors, and more, as you figure out whether crossing the threshold right away is a realistic option or just a romantic notion.

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Owe Money to the IRS? 4 Steps to Lower Your Debt

Are you one of the millions of Americans who owe money to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?  Whether you are behind because you have been overwhelmed and have not had time to get your taxes done, or you fear that you simply do not have enough money to pay, it is important to get a handle on your personal tax situation as soon as possible.

Once the IRS realizes that you have not paid your taxes, they will begin to reach out to you. First by email, then communication will get more serious the longer your taxes remain unpaid.  The most serious consequences are wage garnishments, levies on your bank account and liens on your property. These consequences should be avoided at all costs as they can lead to serious financial hardship. There are several important steps you can investigate today to lower your tax debt and get back on the road to financial freedom:

How to Help Lower Your Tax Debt

  1. Installment Agreement: An installment agreement is a monthly payment plan that you establish with the IRS so that you can pay your debt over time, rather than in one lump sum.  It’s essentially like a credit card payment and you will pay over a period of months (or years) your debt as well as interest and fees that have accrued.  In some cases, individuals qualify for a partial payment installment agreement, which allows you to make monthly payments on a reduced dollar amount.
  2. Offer In Compromise: An offer in compromise gives you the opportunity to settle your debt for less than you actually owe.  This is particularly useful when you owe the IRS more money than you can afford.  An offer in compromise requires much paperwork and is not always granted, but can save you thousands of dollars if you qualify.
  3. Bankruptcy: There are instances in which your tax debt may be eligible to be waived under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Doing so requires some intricate knowledge of tax law and bankruptcy law so you may want to consult with a professional if you are considering this route.
  4. Seek Professional Tax Support: Getting out from under tax debt with the IRS is not easy and there is no magic way to make your back taxes go away.  Working with a professional and experienced tax firm can help you determine the best possible course of action for your situation.  Beware of companies promising to get rid of your tax debt, you may want to continue looking.

Reach Out Tax Relief Today for More Information

yourinsurancesearch Tax Relief has extensive experience working directly with the IRS to help thousands of Americans find their way out of tax debt.  Our team understands complex tax law and can review your tax returns and income documentation while being open and honest about the strategy that has the best chance of success.  Our team can help you with the detailed paperwork required should you decide to move forward with an Offer in Compromise or installment agreement request.  You can make progress and get rid of your tax debt once and for all.  Our team will work hard for you.

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