insurance

Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

Are You Getting Your New Home Inspected?

A home inspection is a crucial step in the home buying. After an offer is accepted in the home buying process, the contract usually details how much time a new homeowner has to get an inspection and negotiate repairs.

What to do before an inspection?

It is important for new homeowners to inspect inside and outside parts of the house for damage before the professional inspection.  The landscape, drains, grading and possible retaining walls should also be examined.  This will prepare a new homeowner to ask the inspector questions while attending the inspection. Inspections can last a few hours so do not feel bad about asking too many questions.

What should a new homeowner expect to learn in an inspection?

An inspection can inform new homeowners of electrical malfunctions, appliance life expectancy, plumbing issues, future repairs, and structural problems with the walls, roof, basement, ceilings, and the foundation. Inspectors can also offer advise on how to maintain a home and its unique features and machinery.

How to choose a home inspector?

Homeowners want inspectors that are experienced and detailed oriented. It is also important to ensure they have a bond or professional errors and omissions insurance. A Real estate agent can suggest an inspector, but homeowners should still do their own research. Ohio does not have a law that requires home inspectors to have a license. There are however certified programs and classes inspectors may take. Asking relatives and friends who own homes for recommendations, checking websites, and reading reviews can help make a homeowner feel confident about choosing an inspector. Researching early on in the home buying process can help a homeowner secure a preferred inspector.

How much does an inspection cost?

An inspection may cost anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. It is important to verify with the inspector everything that is included in an inspection package and ask for a sample report. The more detailed the report the higher the cost. The larger landscape, drains, grading and retaining walls could raise the cost of the inspection. Home inspectors are usually not licensed to give advice regarding pest control, chemicals or gases, so hiring a professional in a more specific area may be needed.

The lawyers at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A. can help homeowners in a consumer litigation lawsuit if a home inspector failed to provide promised information. Contact us at (614)944-5219 today or send us a message on our website by clicking here.

 

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Protect Yourself from Medical Identity Theft

Protect Yourself from Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is on the rise as thieves are using stolen personal data to acquire medical assistance, prescriptions drugs, and surgeries.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) enforces the rights to medical privacy and says who has access to a patient’s medical records. You should always have access to your own medical records and it is important to always keep an updated copy. Checking your medical records annually can help you stay aware that your personal information is not being used to obtain illegal medical assistance.

As a patient, always question if handing out your social security number or submitting a copy of your photo ID is necessary in a medical facility. This can prevent your personal data from being stolen along with medical information. Also if you ever have any of your personal information stolen, such as a driver’s license, health insurance card, credit cards or social security card, you should file police report. Filing a police report can help you if you are a victim of medical identity theft in the future. If your health insurance card is stolen, you can contact your provider and request a new ID number to help prevent fraud.

There are clues that can indicate if you are a victim of medical identity theft. Mysterious medical bills for services you did not acquire and calls from debt collectors for failure to pay for medical services are two of the most common warnings you are a victim. Checking your credit report and discovering unauthorized collection accounts is also a clue. If you are notified that you have reached your limit on your health insurance when you know you have not, you should contact your health provider for your medical records to verify why.

If you discover you are a victim of medical identity theft you should file a police report, file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and contact your health insurance provider and request a copy of your medical records. If you are denied access to your medical records send a written request to your provider. If still denied access you can file a report for violation of privacy laws at the Office for Civil Rights.

Similar to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), you can send a letter requesting to your health insurance provider asking for fraudulent information to be corrected. Having false and wrong information on your medical records can affect how you are treated by a medical professional in the future. If the health provider fails to comply and remove the wrong records, you can contact an attorney at Doucet & Associates Co., L.P.A.  at (614)944-5219 for legal assistance.

 

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