Michael Finney answers your consumer questions

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Fed up? Curious? Furious?! If you need help, just ask Michael Finney, your own consumer expert from 7 On Your Side!

7 On Your Side's Consumer expert Michael Finney answers your questions, every weekday on ABC7 Mornings. Submit your video questions and tune in at 6 a.m.

Question 1:
Charles from Redwood City asked: I'm planning for an extended vacation abroad and wanted to get your thoughts on travel insurance? Is it worth purchasing?

Answer:
Yes. If you have an expensive trip planned the coverage for the cost of the trip is important. Like coverage for delays and lost luggage. But, the important part is getting and paying for medical attention during an overseas emergency.
Do not buy travel insurance from the provider of a vacation package. If they go under, you will lose the vacation and insurance.

Question 2:

Adrienne from Burlingame asked: I'm setting up utility services and cable at my new home. A few have asked for the last four digits of my social security number. Can they do that?

Answer:
Yes, they can. It is completely legal. In fact, it's common for businesses to ask for the last four numbers of your social security number. That's because it helps them verify accounts to make sure you are the account holder or have permission to access the account before disseminating information or making changes. If you are worried, ask the companies if you could instead set-up a personal identification number.


Question 3:
Katherine from San Francisco asked: What level of electricity must a household maintain to not be charged more for using less?

Answer:
With your electricity provider, PG&E, "the less you use, the less you pay." It offers two pricing levels based on how much energy you use. The first tier is called your "baseline allowance" consisting of an allotment of energy based on where you live, your heating source and the season. Energy use below the baseline amount is billed at a lower rate than the energy used over the baseline. There's also a "high usage surcharge" when your usage exceeds *four times* your baseline allowance.

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