Ask Finney: Comprehensive car insurance, mortgage tip for retirees, granite counter health risks


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:

Penny from Brentwood asked: How long should I carry comprehensive coverage on my car insurance?

Answer 1:

If you are still paying off an auto loan or have leased a vehicle, your lienholder or financing company requires comprehensive and collision coverage. But, if your vehicle is paid off, comprehensive coverage is optional so use the 10% rule. For example, if your car is worth $3,000 and you have a $500 deductible, your potential payout would only be $2,500. If your premium costs more than $250 or more a year, it's time to consider dropping the coverage.

Question 2:

Marcus from San Ramon asked: I'm set to retire soon. Should I pay off my mortgage or leave that cushion in the bank while continuing to make payments through retirement?

Answer 2:

Most people prefer to pay off their homes going into retirement with the theory that it's one less worry. But, if you have plenty of money coming in, the tax write-off might be beneficial. Keep in mind, as you pay down your loan, your tax deduction will continue to get smaller and smaller. It's best to talk with a financial advisor before making a final decision, before you retire.

Question 3:

Jim asked: We are considering granite countertops, but have seen articles citing possible health issues like radon and radiation risks. Should we be concerned?

Answer 3:

Probably not. The Environmental Protection Agency reports radon and radiation emissions attributable to granite aren't typically high, though they could sometimes spike. Other sources, like radon in the soil beneath homes, are much more common and can cause greater health risks than radon from granite building materials. The E.P.A. also says it's extremely unlikely granite countertops in homes could increase the radiation dose above normal background levels. But, if it's a big enough concern for you, go with another material.
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