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The rise of homeownership sans insurance
Aug 28, 2023
Episode 992

The rise of homeownership sans insurance

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And, Nessie hunters unite!

For Americans with mortgages, insurance is a must. But for those who have paid off their homes, it’s optional. Now more and more Americans are choosing to forgo homeowners insurance. We’ll explain what’s behind the trend and dig into the potential risks. Plus, bizarre happenings for fabled sea creatures are making us smile, including a live-action reenactment of Jonah and the Whale. And, Nessie, is that you?

Here’s everything we talked about:

Join us tomorrow for a deep dive into the economics of recycling plastic and its shortcomings. Do you have recycling hacks? Call us at 508-U-B-SMART or email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Make Me Smart August 28, 2023 Transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal 

If you’re ready. I imagine Jayk’s ready Jayk Ray. Oh, there is everybody, I’m Kai Ryssdal. Welcome back to Make Me Smart where we make today make sense. Samantha Fields is on the other end of the phone today.

Samantha Fields

Hey guys, it’s great to be here. And thanks, everyone for joining us on this Monday the 28th of August. How is summer almost over?

Kai Ryssdal 

I know right? Crazy.

Samantha Fields

I really can’t believe it. It

Kai Ryssdal 

It flew this year. Raizy. Yeah, although you know, it’s my marker always is kid back in school and my kids have been back in school for like, three weeks. So you know.

Samantha Fields

Wow, really?

Kai Ryssdal

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. We got a whole summer vacation thing. Is it long gone, it’s, it’s

Samantha Fields

Long gone.

Kai Ryssdal

Alright. Anyway, we’ll do some news, we’ll do some smiles. Samantha Fields what is your news item or items of the day?

Samantha Fields

All right. Well, the one I’ve been thinking about a lot today ever since I read the headline in the Wall Street Journal this morning is that a growing number of homeowners are going without home insurance, which as we watch this tropical storm soon to be it seems hurricane Idalia bearing down on Florida is particularly concerning, because home insurance, as we all know, is really the main way of rebuilding if your home is damaged or destroyed in a hurricane, a flood, a fire. Without it, you might not have anything. Maybe if there is a huge event, you’ll have FEMA, but FEMA does not replace home insurance for I think a lot of people think that that, “Oh, if there’s something really bad that happens, FEMA will step in and help me out.” And the reality is FEMA gives you not a whole lot of money. I think it maxes out at like $35,000. So that’s not going to get you very far. So without home insurance, you’re going to be in trouble. And you know, if you have a mortgage, yes, you need home insurance. But if you’ve paid off your home, you don’t. And home insurance is getting increasingly increasingly expensive, which is one reason that a lot of people are citing for going without it feeling like it’s not worth it, or that they that they literally cannot afford it anymore. And there was some interesting statistics in the story, which is that about 12% of people now do not have home insurance, which feels like a lot. And about half of those make less than $40,000 a year. So people who make less than $40,000 a year if their home is destroyed in a hurricane or a fire are not going to have the money is my guess, to to be able to rebuild. So it’s just it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot today. And it you know, especially in states like Florida, also California, you know, we’re hearing increasingly about insurers pulling out people’s insurance premiums going way up more than 20%. Sometimes sort of tripling in the course of a couple of years. And it’s just it feels like it’s a real issue that is going to tip into an even bigger issue probably pretty soon.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, I think that’s right. And this will definitely compound right because people can’t afford to have insurance. They can’t afford not to have insurance and bad things are going to happen. I don’t think that’s it’s you don’t have to be a fortune teller to know that that’s not gonna work out. Well.

Samantha Fields

No and you know, we talked about insurance. And honestly, it sounds kind of boring. I think a lot of people probably kind of tune out. But it just the more that I report on and read about climate change and what is happening to people after these disasters, which are happening more frequently, the more it feels like it is a huge piece of the puzzle.

Kai Ryssdal 

Totally, totally you got one more?

Fields, Samantha 

I do have one more. And that is something that I report on and talk about fairly frequently, which is student loans. And the three and a half year payment and interest pause on federal student loans is ending this week. Interest starts accruing again for the first time in three and a half years for people with federal student loans on Friday. payments are due again starting in October, and it’s just gonna be a really interesting thing to watch as more than 40 million people have to sort of get back into the swing of repaying debt that they haven’t had to pay in that much time. You know, and there are lots of reports now of people sort of already trying to get, you know, get their stuff in order, trying to call servicers having a hard time getting through, a lot of people don’t even know where their loans are, at this point, because millions of people’s loans have changed servicers in the last few years, well, they haven’t been paying. So it’s like people have to find out where their loans are, they have to then sort of if they want to get on an Income Based Repayment Plan, which many people want, for a whole variety of reasons, they have to recertify their income, figure out how to do that get on the right plan, there are a whole bunch of new repayment plan options that people are gonna have to learn about. So this is just going to be a really interesting thing to watch over the next, you know, few months or a year, you know, the the Biden administration is sort of, I think, realize that this is probably going to be a bit of a mess for a while and said, Listen, you know, we’re putting into place what they’re calling an on-ramp. So if people miss a payment, miss payments for the whole first year, they’re not going to be penalized, at least in terms of their credit being affected, or them going into delinquency. But interest is going to be accruing. So those loans are going to be growing. So that is also significant.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah. And it’s and it’s mistake to underestimate how much this is going to affect consumer spending in this economy. Oh, absolutely. No money. And as we talked about, consumers are starting to get a little queasy. And so this all sort of big picture kind of matters, you know,

Samantha Fields

And they’re starting to get queasy before these new bills are due. Right. And for a lot of people, you know, we talked about them resuming, but a lot of people have graduated either from college or grad degree in the last three, three and a half years and have never paid a student loan before. And now we’re going to have to sort of figure that out. You know, another interesting piece of the whole student loan conversation, of course, is everything that’s happening around forgiveness. Now, President Biden’s plan to sort of forgive 10 or $20,000 of debt across the board was struck down. We know that’s not happening. But the administration has made some pretty major fixes to two pre-existing forgiveness programs, one called Public Service Loan Forgiveness for people who work in nonprofits or in public service for 10 years, the balance of their loans can be forgiven, that program had been a huge mess. They made some temporary one time fixes to that lots of people have, I think it’s over 600,000 people have had loans fully forgiven through that program in the last year, year and a half. And now in the last couple of weeks, the administration has also started forgiving loans for people who have been in repayment for more than 20 years under something called the income driven repayment adjustment, which is sort of also fixing that program. So there are upwards of a million people who’ve had their loans fully forgiven in the last either few weeks or the last year and a half, which is also a pretty huge story.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, I didn’t know about that. That’s interesting. Okay, so here’s mine. It’s a quick and it’s a little bit of a rehash but with some new information. So I talked on Friday about about the Spanish Soccer Federation head and the kiss that he gave one of the key players smack on the mouth after they won the World Cup and my tagline for my item that day was smash the patriarchy because this guy has refused to resign. He has been argumentative. He says she enjoyed it. It was consensual, all this terrible stuff. And I just don’t understand what the hell’s going on in Spain because now he is still refusing to resign even though a criminal investigation has been begun. He was ordered to step down by the Spanish Federation no clue as to whether or not he’s done it. This was all late Monday night. The Spanish Federation has issued a statement saying quote, “They want Him to immediately present his resignation as president of the Royal Spanish football federation citing the latest events.” This is just such a bad look for Spanish Soccer, I can’t even tell you which is just really really a shame that it’s being taken away from the women who had this amazing achievement. Also, by the way, and then this one just adds to the to the bizarreness of this whole thing. Rubiales’s mother, the gentleman in question, his mother has now gone on a hunger strike in opposition to people who are criticizing her son so I just I cannot stop thinking about this story and I don’t know how much of there else there is to say about it. Nothing really. But oh my goodness.

Samantha Fields

Why not just fire him?

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, there’s there’s something in the bylaws or in the contract or what have you that says they can’t same thing with FIFA, which is in the national governing body. Yeah, it’s just terrible. It’s really,

Samantha Fields 

Yeaah, and it’s such a shame as you said, overshadowing their incredible win.

Kai Ryssdal 

I know by now anyway, I don’t need to say anymore. I just got to point it out smash the patriarchy.

Samantha Fields

That’s that. It’s about time long past.

Kai Ryssdal 

That’s right. Jayk, do it long past time. All right, which one of these you want to do Sam? Or you can do both of them. You can do both. Um, It’s your show too.

Samantha Fields

Well, I’ll start with my favorite headline of the day or I guess it’s from a couple of days ago, but I just saw it today and it’s making the rounds. It is in Slate. And it is an “As told to,” which is one of their columns and the headline is “I got gobbled up by a whale” and then the subhead is, “It was amazing,” which is not what I was expecting. And basically it is the story of a woman who along with her friend, they were in a tandem kayak out in, in the waters in California looking for looking at humpback whales who were feeding and sort of a bunch of fish came up right around their boat. And so, a black whale came up underneath the boat to grab the fish and got the kayak and its mouth and closed its mouth around them and the women very briefly, it seems maybe for 10 seconds or so ended up in the whale’s mouth.

Kai Ryssdal

10 seconds is plenty.

Kai Ryssda

10 seconds is more than I would like, personally to be in a whale’s mouth. And it’s just kind of an amazing story. And there’s actually a whole, there are a bunch of videos because there were a ton of people out in kayaks around them. And, and her retelling of it is just kind of incredible. And she says, You know, I really didn’t I didn’t realize at the time what was happening. I didn’t realize until I saw the video after that I was in the mouth. And I think I probably would have been more scared if I had realized. And it reminded me there was a story a couple of summers ago to have a lobster diver off Provincetown and Cape Cod, who was also caught in a whale’s mouth and spit out and amazingly did not lose his,

Kai Ryssdal

Really?

Samantha Fields

Yeah. And he did. I didn’t think it was real at first, and then it was started showing up in every legitimate news outlet in Massachusetts, and there’s videos of him talking about it and he didn’t lose his his oxygen regulator. And so he was okay.

Kai Ryssdal 

Wow, I don’t even know what to do with that one. Holy cow.

Fields, Samantha 

And then you can go on Google on YouTube and find all sorts of other videos of people ending up in whale’s mouth and I did not know this was a thing.

Kai Ryssdal 

All right. Well, speaking of amazing underwater creatures, here’s mine. It’s a headline from Bloomberg, I’m going to read it to you “Biggest hunt for the Loch Ness Monster in 50 years gets underway.” The biggest search for the Loch Ness Monster in 50 years is underway as incredibly excited hunters hope to get closer to finding out what the mythical creature is. I don’t even know what to do with this one. It’s a real thing. It’s a real thing. They’re gonna go out and try to find Nessie.

Samantha Fields

Hopefully no one ends up in Nessie’s mouth.

Kai Ryssdal  

Yeah, yeah, no, they’re gonna use sonar and hydrophones and all kinds of stuff. More power to them,  hope they find it. That’s that would be something that’s all I got. That’s it would be amazing. It would be amazing, Loch Ness Monster still going on? All right, we’re gonna go out on that one the Loch Ness Monster. Amy Scott is back tomorrow we’re talking about the economics of plastics why it’s so hard to recycle them what we get wrong about it which is spoiler alert a lot and what else we can do about our growing problem with plastic waste because it’s everywhere if you’ve got questions or you know recycling tips or you just want to share how your community does recycling or anything else at all that’s on your mind. Call us 508-U-B-SMART or email works as well makemesmart@marketplace.org. Marketplace is produced by Courtney Bergsieker, not Marketplace, Make Me Smart. But I’ll get it right. Make Me Smart is produced by Courtney Bergsieker. Today’s program was engineered by Jayk Cherry. Ellen Rolfes writes our newsletter, our intern is Niloufar Shahbandi.

Samantha Fields

Marissa Cabrera is our senior producer. Bridget Bodnar is the director of podcasts and Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital. There we go, we did it. We survived Monday.

 

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