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Definition of Widow's Walk

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Widow's Walk

A platform with a rail around it, built onto the roof of a house. The platform is accessible by stairs or a ladder from the interior of the house. See Plan #10433 for an example.



Related Terms:

Walk Through

A final inspection of a home before "closing" to look for and document problems that need to be corrected.


Back To Back Annuity

This term refers to the simultaneous issue of a life annuity with a non-guaranteed period and a guaranteed life insurance policy [usually whole life or term to 100]. The face value of the life insurance would be the same amount that was used to purchase the annuity. This combination of life annuity providing the highest payout of all types of annuities, along with a guaranteed life insurance policy allowed an uninsurable person to convert his/her RRSP into the best choice of annuity and guarantee that upon his/her death, the full value of the annuity would be paid tax free through the life insurance policy to his family members. However, in the early 1990's, the Federal tax authorities put a stop to the issuing of standard life rates to rated or uninsurable applicants. Insuring a life annuity in this manner is still an excellent way to provide guaranteed tax free funds to family members but the application for the annuity and the application for the life insurance are separate transactions and today, most likely conducted through two different insurance companies so that there is no suspicion of preferential treatment given to the life insurance application.


Income Splitting

This is a tax planning strategy of arranging for income to be transferred to family members who are in lower tax brackets than the one earning the income, thus reducing taxes. Even though attribution rules limit income splitting, there are still a number of legitimate ways to do so, such as through the use of spousal RRSPs.


Life Income Fund

Commonly known as a LIF, this is one of the options available to locked in Registered Pension Plan (RPP) holders for income payout as opposed to Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) holders choice of payout through Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF). A LIF must be converted to a unisex annuity by the time the holder reaches age 80.


Money Laundering

This is the process by which "dirty money" generated by criminal activities is converted through legitimate businesses into assets that cannot be easily traced back to their illegal origins.



Mortgage Insurance

Commonly sold in the form of reducing term life insurance by lending institutions, this is life insurance with a death benefit reducing to zero over a specific period of time, usually 20 to 25 years. In most instances, the cost of coverage remains level, while the death benefit continues to decline. Re-stated, the cost of this kind of insurance is actually increasing since less death benefit is paid as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases while the cost remains the same. Lending institutions are the most popular sources for this kind of coverage because it is usually sold during the purchase of a new mortgage. The untrained institution mortgage sales person often gives the impression that this is the only place mortgage insurance can be purchased but it is more efficiently purchased at a lower cost and with more flexibility, directly from traditional life insurance companies. No matter where it is purchased, the reducing term insurance death benefit reduces over a set period of years. Most consumers are up-sizing their residences, not down-sizing, so it is likely that more coverage is required as years pass, rather than less coverage.
The cost of mortgage lender's insurance group coverage is based on a blended non-smoker/smoker rate, not having any advantage to either male or female. Mortgage lender's group insurance certificate specifies that it [the lender] is the sole beneficiary entitled to receive the death benefit. Mortgage lender's group insurance is not portable and is not guaranteed. Generally speaking, your coverage is void if you do not occupy the house for a period of time, rent the home, fall into arrears on the mortgage, and there are a few others which vary by institution. If, for example, you sell your home and buy another, your current mortgage insurance coverage ends and you will have to qualify for new coverage when you purchase your next home. Maybe you won't be able to qualify. Not being guaranteed means that it is possible for the lending institution's group insurance carrier to cancel all policy holder's coverages if they are experiencing too many death benefit claims.
Mortgage insurance purchased from a life insurance company, is priced, based on gender, smoking status, health and lifestyle of the purchaser. Once obtained, it is a unilateral contract in your favour, which cannot be cancelled by the insurance company unless you say so or unless you stop paying for it. It pays upon the death of the life insured to any "named beneficiary" you choose, tax free. If, instead of reducing term life insurance, you have purchased enough level or increasing life insurance coverage based on your projection of future need, you can buy as many new homes in the future as you want and you won't have to worry about coverage you might loose by renewing or increasing your mortgage.
It is worth mentioning mortgage creditor protection insurance since it is many times mistakenly referred to simply as mortgage insurance. If a home buyer has a limited amount of down payment towards a substantial home purchase price, he/she may qualify for a high ratio mortgage on a home purchase if a lump sum fee is paid for mortgage creditor protection insurance. The only Canadian mortgage lenders currently known to offer this option through the distribution system of banks and trust companies, are General Electric Capital [GE Capital] and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC]. The lump sum fee is mandatory when the mortgage is more than 75% of the value of the property being purchased. The lump sum fee is usually added onto the mortgage. It's important to realize that the only beneficiary of this type of coverage is the morgage lender, which is the bank or trust company through which the buyer arranged their mortgage. If the buyer for some reason defaults on this kind of high ratio mortgage and the value of the property has dropped since being purchased, the mortgage creditor protection insurance makes certain that the bank or trust company gets paid. However, this is not the end of the story, because whatever the difference is, between the disposition value of the property and whatever sum of unpaid mortgage money is outstanding to either GE Capital or CMHC will be the subject of collection procedures against the defaulting home buyer. Therefore, one should conclude that this kind of insurance offers protection only to the bank or trust company and absolutely no protection to the home buyer.


Non-Medical Limit

This is the maximum value of a policy that an insurance company will issue without the applicant taking a medical examination, although medical questions are invariably asked during the application process. When a non-medical issue is made through group insurance, in most cases, medical data is not requested at all.


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Premium

This is your payment for the cost of insurance. You may pay annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly. The least expensive method is annually. Using any of the other payment modes will cost you more money. For example, paying monthly will cost about 17% more. If you pay annually and terminate your coverage part way through the year, you may not receive a refund for the remaining months to the annual renewal date.
The cost of life insurance varies by age, sex, health, lifestyle, avocation and occupation. Generally speaking, the following is true at the time of applying for coverage; the older you are, the more will be the cost; of a male and female of the same age, the female will be considered 4 years younger; health problems will increase the cost of insurance and may result in rejection altogether; dangerous hobbies such as SCUBA diving, private flying, bungi jumping, parachuting, etc. may increase the cost of insurance and may result in rejection altogether; abuse of alcohol or drugs or a poor driving record will make getting coverage difficult.


Temporary Life Insurance

Temporary insurance coverage is available at time of application for a life insurance policy if certain conditions are met. Normally, temporary coverage relates to free coverage while the insurance company which is underwriting the risk, goes through the process of deciding whether or not they will grant a contract of coverage. The qualifications for temporary coverage vary from insurance company to insurance company but generally applicants will qualify if they are between the ages of 18 and 65, have no knowledge or suspicions of ill health, have not been absent from work for more than 7 days within the prior 6 months because of sickness or injury and total coverage applied for from all sources does not exceed $500,000. Normally a cheque covering a minimum of one months premium is required to complete the conditions for this kind of coverage. The insurance company applies this deposit towards the cost of a policy at its issue date, which may be several weeks in the future.


Waiver of Premium

This is an option available to the applicant for life insurance which sets certain conditions under which an insurance policy will be kept in full force by the insurance company without the payment of premiums. Very specifically, a life insured would have to become totally disabled through injury or illness for a period of six months before the benefit kicks in. When it does, the insurance company retroactively pays premiums from the beginning of the disability until the time the insured is able to perform some form of regular activity. 'Totally disabled' is highlited here, because that is what is required to receive this benefit.


Equity investment

through equity investment, investors gain part ownership of the corporation. The primary type of equity investment is corporate stock.


Level Premium

A premium that remains unchanged throughout the life of a policy


Participating Policy

A policy offers the potential of sharing in the success of an insurance company through the receipt of dividends.


Amortization

A payment plan by which a loan is reduced through monthly payments of principal and interest.


Circuit Breaker

A device which looks like a switch and is usually located inside the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. It is designed to (1) shut of the power to portions or all of the house and (2) to limit the amount of power flowing through a circuit (measured in amperes). 110 volt household circuits require a fuse or circuit breaker with a rating of 15 or a maximum of 20 amps. '220' volt circuits may be designed for higher amperage loads e.g. a hot water heater may be designed for a 30 amp load and would therefore need a 30 amp fuse or breaker. also see GFI


Conduction

Conduction is the direct flow of heat through a material resulting from physical contact. The transfer of heat by conduction is caused by molecular motion in which molecules transfer their energy to adjoining molecules and increase their temperature.


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Crawlspace Vent

An opening to allow the passage of air through the unexcavated area under a first floor. Ideally there should be at least two vents per crawlspace.


Dormer Windows

Dormers are located on the second floor and project or extend out through the roof to provide window space.



Eave Vent

Vent opening located in the soffit under the eaves of a house to allow the passage of air through the attic and out the roof vents.


Forced Air Heating

A common form of heating with natural gas, propane, oil or electricity as a fuel. Air is heated in the furnace and distributed through a set of metal ducts to various areas of the house.


Gable Vent

A louver mounted in the top of the gable to allow the passage of air through the attic.


Insulation Density

Denser insulation products have more fibers per square inch and, therefore, give you greater insulating power through higher R-values.


Metal Flue

A metal channel through which hot air, gas, steam or smoke may pass.


Polyethylene Vapor Barrier

Plastic film used to prevent moisture from passing through unfaced insulation. Both 4- and 6-mil polyethylene are preferred because they are less likely to be damaged during construction.


Porte-cochere

A carriage entrance leading through a building or wall into an inner courtyard. Also, a roofed structure covering a driveway at the entrance of a building to provide shelter while entering or leaving a vehicle.


Radiation

Radiation is the transfer of heat or energy from a hot surface to a cold surface through air or through a vacuum.


Resilient Channels

Metal channels used to further inhibit sound transmission through wall and ceiling framing. Create a break in the vibration path from drywall to the framing.


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Ridge Vent

A vent mounted along the entire ridge line of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic or cathedral ceiling.



Roof Vent

A louver or small dome mounted near the ridge of the roof to allow the passage of air through the attic.


Vapor Retarder

Helps control the amount of moisture passing through the insulation and collecting inside exterior walls, ceilings and floors.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Related to : home, mortgage, insurance, homebuyer, real estate, property, buy home, home insurance, financing, home financing, home buyer, first time homebuyer, homes, homebuying, credit, condo.


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