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The risk of earthquakes in the Golden State is rising, but homeowners buy less insurance than they used to.

By Money Staff Tue 12:52 PM

By Alyssa Abkowitz, Bloomberg BusinessWeek


Bloomberg BusinessWeek on MSN MoneyEarly estimates suggest the economic losses from Sunday’s 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Northern California, the largest quake to hit the Golden State in 25 years, could hit $1 billion. When it comes to rebuilding, much of the cost will come out of people’s own pockets.


The percentage of homeowners with earthquake insurance in California and across the U.S. has declined, despite rising estimates of the risk of an earthquake.


A crumbling facade at the Vintner's Collective tasting room in Napa, Calif. © Noah Berger/AP

A survey by the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit that’s funded by the insurance industry, found that 7 percent of U.S. homeowners have earthquake insurance, down from 13 percent just two years ago. In the West, ground zero for U.S. quakes, 10 percent of homeowners have coverage, down from 22 percent a year ago; in California, about 12 percent do, according to the California Earthquake Authority.


But as fewer people opt for earthquake insurance, the government is upping its assessment of the risk of a sizable shake. Last month, the U.S. Geological Survey updated its seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008. The update showed an increased earthquake risk for almost half the country. Parts of Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, among others, moved into the top two hazard zones. The San Francisco Bay area, for example, shows a 63 percent chance of one or more major earthquakes before 2036, according to the agency.


So why are people buying less earthquake coverage when estimates of risk are growing?

 

Labor Day sales are all about the end of summer, so we expect lots of deals on patio furniture and last-minute hotels. But who knew it was a great time to grab luxury labels, too?

By DealNews.com Tue 12:47 PM

This post comes from Marcy Bonebright at partner site DealNews.com.

Deal News on MSN MoneyPack up the grills and bust out the sweaters, folks: Labor Day heralds the end of summer! A holiday that honors workers, the first Monday in September has also come to represent the close of the summer shopping season.


Sale tags © Image Source/CorbisAs such, Labor Day sales are a great time to score end-of-summer travel deals and patio furniture clearance. Unfortunately, September's relative proximity to November means you're bound to run into some pre-Black Friday price increases — which is why Labor Day isn't the time to buy a plasma TV.

We've consulted price trends past and current to put together our 2014 Labor Day buying guide. Read on to get the skinny on this year's sales!

 

If you have a mortgage from Bank of America or Countrywide, you'll want to stay on top of this.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:38 PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyLast week the Department of Justice announced the largest civil settlement ever from a single entity, an eye-popping $16.65 billion from Bank of America. The settlement arose from the handling of residential mortgages by Bank of America and subsidiaries Countrywide and Merrill Lynch.


Bank Vault © Radius Images, JupiterimagesHere's this week's reader question:

I just read about the B of A settlement and I'm wondering how it will affect people who had a B of A mortgage that was then sold to Countrywide? Will we see any monetary relief from this settlement or will it all go to pay off the lawyers and the fines? -- Beth

Let's look into what Bank of America did to deserve this unprecedented penalty and if American homeowners will see any of the proceeds.


To understand what B of A did wrong, you first have to wrap your mind around the basics of the American mortgage market. Not to worry: While it may sound mind-numbingly dull, how mortgages work is kind of interesting and not all that complicated.

 

Allstate ranks 200 cities by how often they file collision claims. You're likely to go three times longer between fender benders in some cities.

By QuinStreet Tue 12:00 PM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site Insurance.com.


Insurance.com on MSN MoneyThe safest drivers in America, for the fourth year in a row, hail from Fort Collins, Colorado, according to the 10th annual “Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report.”


Businessman driving © Pixland, JupiterimagesDrivers in the city of 150,000 north of Denver can expect to go 14.2 years between accidents, according to the insurance giant’s claims data. Contrast that with 200th-ranked Worcester, Massachusetts, where drivers go just 4.3 years between claims.


On average, nationwide, drivers can expect a collision about every 10 years, Allstate says.


Claims frequency in a city or ZIP code is one of many factors as carriers calculate your car insurance rates – along with state laws and your driving record -- but it’s a big one.


A car owner with a clean record shopping for full coverage on a 2012 Honda Accord in Fort Collins, for example, would pay about $936 a year. In Denver, the same driver would pay about $1,221, according to an average of rates from six carriers gathered by Insurance.com.


Here are the safest-driving cities in America, according to Allstate, along with the number of years a driver can expect to go between collision claims:

 

Nearly 3 in 4 young adults said their grandparents influence their saving and spending habits.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 25, 2014 4:01PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWho needs to hire a financial adviser when you have grandparents you can talk to for free? When it comes to discussing money matters, grandparents have more influence than they realize.


Family © Big Cheese Photo, PictureQuestAccording to a recent survey from financial firm TIAA-CREF, 85 percent of young adults said they'd like to discuss money and saving with their grandparents. And what's more, 73 percent of young adults said their grandma and grandpa influence their saving and spending habits.


Interestingly, just 3 in 10 grandparents think they can impact the money habits of their grandchildren. A survey press release said:

"Young adults are surprisingly open to talking with their grandparents about money, regardless of the generation gap," said Joseph Coughlin, Ph.D., director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab, who collaborated with TIAA-CREF on the study. "When it comes to saving for college, most young adults feel unprepared, and grandparents aren't fully aware of how they can help. Conversations about money over time could help young adults more than their grandparents realize."

Coughlin suggests grandparents start discussing money matters with their grandkids when they're young.

 

Dogs are fun and provide unwavering friendship. But they're also a handful, requiring dedicated upkeep and care. We showcase some tips to help you save money even before you bring a dog home.

By Cheapism.com Aug 25, 2014 1:23PM
This post comes from Josue Ledesma at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyIf you've ever felt a pang of desire for a canine companion, it's likely to return on Aug. 26, National Dog Day.

Dog © Russell Glenister, image100, CorbisDogs are cute, friendly, and fiercely loyal. They're also a handful, requiring dedicated upkeep and care -- and all the costs associated with it. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals places the cost of dog ownership at $1,300 to $1,800 in the first year alone. Here are some tips to save you money even before you bring a dog home.

Getting a dog
There are many different options when it comes to buying, rescuing, or adopting a dog. Experts recommend going through an accredited breeder or a local shelter and advise against pet stores, which might use profit-driven "puppy mills" as their suppliers. The Humane Society notes that, when all is said and done, a shelter dog is likely to cost less than a dog purchased from a store or even a dog acquired for free, because adoption fees generally include things like vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery. The ASPCA estimates that adoption ranges from $75 to $300. Breeders' prices reach much higher, from $800 to $2,000.
 

A recent study reveals that single parents are putting off saving for retirement so they can help pay for their children's postsecondary education.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 25, 2014 1:14PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIn a perfect world, parents would not have to choose between putting money away for their retirement or saving for their children's college education. But that's the unfortunate reality for many single parents across the country.


That was one finding in a recent study by Allianz Life Insurance Co. that examines today's American family and finances. The study revealed that nearly half (45 percent) of single-parent respondents said their children’s education was their main motivation for creating and implementing a long-term financial plan, compared with just 26 percent of other "modern" families and 39 percent of "traditional" families.


Graduation cap © Brand X Pictures, PhotolibraryThree in 4 single parents said trying to prepare for retirement and save money for their kids' college simultaneously is stressful. No surprise there.


According to USA Today, the survey's single-parent respondents don't represent the standard income level for single parents, who usually sit closer to the poverty line. Single parents had to have a minimum annual household income of $50,000 to participate in the survey.


Despite being financially stable and having reported better-than-average financial planning skills, the single parents in the survey are still having difficulty trying to prioritize their spending. The Allianz press release said:

 

Yes, your little bundle of joy is priceless. Still, the adoption process can be costly.

By Credit.com Aug 25, 2014 12:30PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhat does it cost to adopt a child? The answer a friend gave when she was asked was "a lot less than it's worth." But while the value of a child can't be calculated, would-be adoptive parents need to have some idea of the amount of money they will need as they go through the adoption process.


Baby with money © Creatas, PhotolibraryBrooke Randolph, 34, had worked in adoption for several years before she decided she wanted to adopt. While she had an idea of how much money she'd need, she had some expenses she hadn't counted on.


The first, after she had applied to adopt, was a flooded basement. She used it as an opportunity to finish her basement, greatly increasing the value of her home but eating into her savings. Once she had a referral, she waited 17 long months before being allowed to bring her son, now 7, home to Indianapolis from Samoa. During that time, she was responsible for his living expenses -- "probably what some people pay in rent," she says.


For the most part, she was able to pay adoption expenses with savings and a small inheritance, but when it came time to travel, she took out an interest-free loan (more about that in a moment). "I wanted to be able to travel without worrying about the money," she said.

 

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