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Radon: Is your Home Safe?

University of Iowa Health Science Relations and Bill Field, PhD, MS Professor of Occupational & Environmental Health/Epidemiology Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed Last Reviewed: January 2008   Because it's odorless and invisible and its effects only show up over a long period of exposure, the danger of radon is often underestimated. The highest residential radon concentrations occur when the house is “closed-up” (e.g., winter). Radon, which enters homes through cracks in foundations, is the second leading cause of lung cancer overall and the primary cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked, says Bill Field, a Professor…
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When to pay more for insurance

It's worth paying for the right coverage or the right insurer. A higher premium makes sense if it gives you a policy that meets your needs. Price isn't everything when it comes to shopping for auto and homeowners insurance. While getting a low monthly premium matters, sometimes it pays to go with the pricier plan. Whether you need additional coverage, want a lower deductible or perceive that one company is better than another, there often are good reasons to pay higher premiums. "Insurance is really about peace of mind and feeling like you are truly protected, " says David Isaac,…
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The ins and outs of homeowner’s insurance

One of the things people rarely pay much attention to when they buy a property is whether they have adequate dwelling hazard and liability insurance, otherwise known as homeowner's insurance. Getting a policy is easy and almost always obtained when someone closes escrow on their home or rental property. But is it the right type and amount of insurance? Most people reading this article probably would admit that they have no idea about their homeowner's coverage, but they should know, considering it protects their largest asset. Let's run through a few basics so that you can help yourself understand your…
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Count ’em: 15 car insurance discounts

Some of these are well-known but others may be under your radar. Consult with your insurer to make sure you're not missing out. Next to a root canal, paying for car insurance is about as painful as it gets. And the bill always seems to be an unpleasant surprise. Just when you think you've got the monthly budget under control, along comes a hefty six-month premium.   So I did some research into the common discounts that most car insurance companies offer. Some won't be much of a surprise, but there are some you may not know about. It's a…
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6 secrets of car insurers

Ever wonder why you pay more or less than someone else for similar coverage? These factors could be making the difference. Car insurance is something of an opaque industry. We know we have to pay the bill, but we may have no clue how the carrier arrived at that rate. Everyone criticizes the cable company for hidden fees, but at least they're on the bill. The hidden fees on your car insurance bill remain hidden -- a dollar amount is spit out and you're expected to pay, no questions asked. Here are six pricing factors auto insurance carriers don't want…
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Cities with the worst car theft rates

The odds of having your car stolen are higher in these 10 metropolitan areas. But you can take steps to protect your ride, and they might even earn an insurance discount. The bad news for California drivers? Your state had the greatest number of hot spots in the country for auto thefts in 2011, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report released recently. Fresno, Calif., was at the top of the list for the second year in a row. Modesto was second, also for the second straight year. Fresno and Modesto were among seven California metro areas that made…
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Tickets that don’t raise your insurance rates

Just about the only ticket you can pay and then forget is a parking ticket. Everything else has the potential to be a double whammy: First you deal with the stress and fines of the ticket itself, then you worry about the effect it can have on your insurance rates. Of course, the laws in each state are different, and there is no comprehensive list of tickets that won't affect your insurance rates. Your insurance company won't hear about every ticket you get, at least not right away, and it won't treat them all the same way. Some tickets simply…
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Toyota Recalling Suvs, Sedans

Toyota is recalling 778, 000 RAV4 SUVs and Lexus HS 250h sedans to fix a suspension problem that could cause crashes. The company says if rear suspension nuts aren’t tightened properly after a wheel alignment, the arms can rust and separate from the vehicle. Toyota reported nine crashes and three minor injuries from the problem. RAV4s covered by the recall are from the 2006 to 2011 model years. The Lexus sedans are from 2010 only. Toyota says it’s developing a plan to fix the problem. It will notify owners by mail when it’s time to take the vehicles into dealers…
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House Passes $383 million US Drought Aid Bill for Ranchers

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $383 million disaster relief bill on Thursday that provides political shelter for lawmakers during the worst drought in half a century, but may not release the aid for months to come. Nearly two-thirds of the continental United States, including prime ranch and farm territory, is in the grip of drought and lawmakers were under pressure to help livestock producers under siege from soaring feed prices. Congress has been deadlocked on passing a full farm bill but the drought portion was seen a way to get to aid to hard-hit ranchers, although it was…
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Home insurance checkup could lower costs, improve coverage

The national average premium for homeowners insurance will increase by 5% in 2012, according to forecasts by the Insurance Information Institute. That follows an increase of nearly 4% in 2011, and it will bring the average annual premium to an all-time high of $1, 000.   At the same time, home insurers are adding exclusions and requiring higher premiums to cover certain risks, such as mold and water damage. Meanwhile, the housing bust and recession have pushed the median home price down 35% since the market’s peak. But the cost to rebuild a home after a total loss has increased…
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