The May issue of Let’s Talk Money is now available. Investing, finance, insurance and other issues discussed in this issue:
If you ever rent your home or vacation home, you need more coverage than the standard homeowner policy gives you. Homeaway Inc. (www.homeaway.com) now offers a supplemental insurance policy that covers those things that your primary home policy won’t. You’ll still need a homeowner policy but at least with this new type of policy you can save yourself the expense of buying a commercial policy on your home.
Car sharing has gotten a boost with GM announcing its OnStar subscribers can now rent out their cars using the RelayRides car sharing service. There are many car sharing services…ZipCar being one of the first and most widely known. But many of the original sharing services owned their vehicles and insured them on fleet policies. This new model of car sharing, where the vehicles are owned by individuals, creates insurance problems. Depending on what state you live in, you may or may not be able to find insurance for your car while it’s being shared.
As expected, President Barack Obama on May 31 signed into law an extension of the federal flood insurance program until July 31.
H.R. 5740, agreed to by the House and Senate last week, reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to enter into new contracts for flood insurance and borrow from the Treasury through July 31, 2012. Also beginning on July 1, 2012, the law phases out subsidized premium rates for residential property that is not the primary residence of an individual.
Without the extension, the program would have expired May 31.
The deal for this latest short-term extension was struck after Senate leaders agreed they would take up longer-term authorization and reforms of the NFIP later this month.
Both the House and Senate have legislation under consideration that would reauthorize the NFIP through 2016. The House passed H.R. 1309 with a 406-22 bipartisan vote in 2011. The Senate Banking Committee has approved its own reform bill, S. 1940, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, last September, however it not yet been afforded full Senate consideration despite the urging of 41 senators in February. That floor consideration is now supposed to happen this month.
The NFIP has been caught in a cycle of short-term extensions and several lapses since 2008. The NFIP expired four times in 2010 alone. The NFIP is nearly $18 billion in debt to federal taxpayers.