After a fire, burglary or another event in which you lost possessions from your home, it may be difficult to remember the details of every one of the belongings that you have accumulated over the years. In this situation, having a current inventory of your possessions, including make and model numbers, may help you with any potential insurance claims. Taking the time to document your belongings now can help you recover faster after a loss.
Here are some steps you can use to help build your home inventory checklist.
Step 1: Take the time to walk through your property. Compiling a comprehensive home inventory takes time and effort. The more detailed your inventory, the more useful it will be if you have to make a claim. Document possessions inside your home and on your property that may be of value.
Step 2: Keep your inventory in a safe place. Creating a digital home inventory and storing it off-site will help ensure that it won’t be lost, stolen or damaged during any disaster at your home. You can also create a photo or video inventory and upload it to a cloud-based service.
Step 3: Update your inventory often. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to the inventory while the details are fresh in your mind. This is also a good time to delete items that you have replaced or no longer own.
Step 4: Remember your business assets. While most people think of their home when making an inventory, it is important to document the contents of your business, if applicable, as well.
Step 5: Consider valuable items. Valuable items like jewelry, art, and collectibles may have increased in value since you brought them into your home. Check with your agent, if you have one, to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for these items as they may need to be insured separately. Consider putting jewelry or other valuables that you don’t often wear or use in a safe deposit box.
To learn more about ways to protect your home and belongings, check out our homeowners insurance products.
Renovating your property has some serious perks, such as creating more space or updating your amenities.
Some upgrades, such as a new roof or security system, can even reduce home insurance costs. While others — like a pool — can have the opposite effect.
Before you take on your next home improvement project, here’s what you should know about how renovations might change your premiums.
You've probably thought about what would happen to your home in the event of a disaster, but have you considered your personal belongings?
Fortunately, whether you're a homeowner or a renter, your insurance policy has you covered. The question is whether your current personal property coverage is enough.
If your possessions have multiplied over the years — or if you own special, high-value items — you may need additional protection.
What’s personal property coverage?
Personal property coverage, or contents coverage, protects your belongings, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, electronics and art. It insures the stuff that’s not part of your home’s structure (or permanently attached to it) against theft and accidental physical damage or destruction.
Personal property coverage also protects your belongings when you’re traveling or doing things around town.
How much coverage do you have?
Every policy will be different. For home insurance, your personal property limit is usually 70% of the insured dwelling value. In some cases, it can be more or less depending on your home.
If you rent your property or if you own a condo, it’s easier to tell how much coverage you have because your policy doesn’t cover the building. (The landlord’s or condo association’s policy covers that.)
Check your policy’s declarations page or get in touch if you’re unsure about your current coverage.
Should you increase your personal property coverage?
You may want to purchase extra personal property insurance through a rider or scheduled coverage if you own the following items:
Are you wondering whether something you own is valuable enough to warrant additional coverage? Reach out anytime.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, a damaged roof can be a precursor to leaks that can affect your walls, ceiling, insulation and belongings.
Roof leaks can even lead to mold growth, which is not only unsightly but harmful to your health.
Here’s what you should know about the signs and causes of a leaking roof — and how to fix any problems.
Changes in weather can impact your property, and water damage is a common issue year-round. Contact us anytime with questions about how and if your homeowners or renters insurance covers leaks.
Are you ready to spend more time outside? As the weather warms up, you can shift your eye to home improvements for your outdoor space.
A welcoming area can be the perfect place to relax during spring and summer days. And not only can upgrades increase your home's value, but they can also inspire you to keep up with regular maintenance.
From entertaining to unique lighting, here are this year's trends in outdoor living.
Want to make sure you have the right protection for your property? Or are you looking for more home improvement inspiration? Get in touch today.
6 Home Organizing Projects to Keep Your Children Busy While You're Working From Home During COVID-19
While many of us are adjusting to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, parents are juggling their daily work activities with caring for their children. If you are working from home (WFH), you may have calls to make, emails to send or a video call to dial into while you try to keep your kids safely occupied.
There is a bright side to sheltering in place while working from home, and it’s not just the cozy family togetherness. You can get a jump on some of the home organizing projects on your to-do list, while helping your children learn how they can pitch in to help.
Get together as a family to brainstorm potential projects. Let the kids come up with some of their own, weighing in on what they want to do. Consider creating a schedule and come up with little rewards they might get ‒ such as extra screen time after finishing a big task or a project, one-on-one time with a parent, a walk around the neighborhood, or time playing catch.
Here are some organizing ideas that can help occupy the kids while you’re working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Home Office
Looking for a fun way to get the kids to help clean your home office? Let them shred paper! Just note that it’s not recommended to recycle or toss financial documents, as these can contain personal information that can be used for identity theft.
Different documents should be held for different amounts of time, usually 1 to 7 years, though some should be kept forever. Double-check your shred pile for these types of documents before your kids start shredding them. If your children are old enough to use a shredder, give them a proper tutorial to make sure they know how to use it safely and supervise if necessary. Better yet, let them tear up the paper with their hands. Just make sure they know they have to pick up any bits of paper they drop and toss them in the trash.
Bikes, balls, holiday decorations, lawn equipment and gardening supplies might be, piled up in your garage, even with a car parked inside it. Let the kids get some fresh air while you’re WFH and sort through their outside toys. Have them decide what to keep and what to donate or throw away. Discard broken or nonworking items like deflated balls, broken sporting equipment or a cracked bike helmet. Discovering boxes of sidewalk chalk and the forgotten scooter can also give them something to do after organizing.
3. Spice Rack
While you make dinner or continue to WFH in the next room, let the kids organize the spice rack. They can organize alphabetically or by spice type ‒ baking, green spices, salts, etc. It’s also a good time to weed out empty bottles and make sure that the contents of remaining bottles are not past their expiration date.
With the kids at home full time, they may be scattering their toys around the room more than usual. While you’re WFH, have them use this time to set aside any broken items and less-loved toys that might make another child happy. Throw out the broken toys, and box up any that can be donated.
Kids grow quickly, and their clothing from last season may no longer fit them. To clear out these wardrobe items, have your kids put on a fashion show to let you see what no longer fits. At the same time, this can be a good time to plow through email on your laptop while in their room, either sitting at their desk or on their bed. It’ll take time for the kids to change into different outfits, and they can hang up or fold the clothes in between. Keep a bin or bag ready for donations.
Pantry organizing can take several routes. Kids can inventory what goods are in the pantry and start a shopping list for future trips or deliveries. They can throw out expired food and wipe the cabinets clean (a great way to introduce them to the task of spring cleaning!). Kids who like to cook could use the ingredients they find to plan recipes. Some websites can even recommend recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand.
Letting the kids do some home organizing while you’re work from home doesn’t have to be a chore. What’s more, if you’re thinking of selling your house in the near future, you’ll be in a better position to begin that process of decluttering.
Organizing can be an educational process, even if your kids don’t know that you’re trying to teach them something. After they get into the swing of things, they may not even want a reward, since they’re having so much fun. Plus, seeing the results of an inviting toy pile, a pantry with lots of promise or a closet full of clothing that fits is a reward in itself.
Remember, especially in times like these, Calfee Insurance cares and is here for our customers when they need us. If there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us at 508-540-2601.
The juggle of work and home life has taken a different form for those of us who are practicing social distancing recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For working parents of school-age children, this means finding ways to keep children safely occupied while performing their job responsibilities, as they work from home (WFH).
Here are six key tips:
1. Expect Changes in Your Work Schedule
By now, you may have noticed that your typical workday schedule is no longer typical. Younger children will require more hands-on help in getting their day started, while teenagers can be more independent and may even be helpful in managing household tasks while you work. The blending of family and working from home is an opportunity to teach responsibility, even in small doses, so you can tend to the work assignments on your plate.
2. Help Your Kids Establish a New Routine
To differentiate work and playtime, help kids set their own routine. If they’re working on school assignments, having them sit down at the same time each day can help provide structure during this uncertain time. Let them know that you’ll be available for help and set aside specific times for fun activities you can do together.
3. Double-Check Home Safety Measures
If your younger children will be out of your sight at home while you’re working, make sure you’ve taken steps to childproof your home to prevent accidents. After cleaning your home, be sure to store cleaning supplies out of reach of young children. If you have a home security system, set up a notification to alert you when a door or window is opened.
You’ll also want to take care of yourself by making sure your home office is comfortable and organized in a way that helps limit potential problems, such as overuse injuries.
4. Reset Your Expectations
Working from home with kids may impact your ability to focus, particularly in uncertain scenarios like the COVID-19 pandemic. Give yourself permission to adapt your work style, realizing that it may take you twice as long to compile a report or finish a project. Working from home means family needs are perhaps just a room away. Strive for balance by arranging your days to fit in all the important tasks you must attend to for both your family and your job.
If you can take a break on a beautiful day, get out in the yard with your kids. You’ll appreciate the moments of escape spent with your family.
5. Stock Up on Fun and Games
While you’re searching online for paper goods or hand sanitizer, add a few art kits or video games to your shopping cart. Now may even be the time to purchase that new gaming system you planned to buy as a special gift. Set parameters around screen time, but realize there may be instances where a little extra play is okay if your kids are having fun and you’re on the verge of completing a task for work.
You may also want to stock up on craft supplies that can come in handy when you need a quick, easy distraction for your kids in order to give you the time you need to meet an impending work deadline.
6. Trust Your Parental Instincts
You know your kids better than anyone. If they’re struggling to adapt to this new situation, they may require more of your attention right now. This means you may need to find ways to shift around work responsibilities. If you have a partner who is also working from home, maybe you can agree to trade off child care duties to ensure that your family’s needs are being met.
Right now, your main priority could be just making it through the day and keeping your family healthy. But, it’s also important to work and provide for your family’s financial needs. Communicate with your co-workers and managers as you adjust your work-life balance.
Consider Whether Your Insurance Needs Have Changed
If you’re moving to a home-based business or using office equipment at home, you’ll need to understand how this fits into your homeowners policy. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your insurance agent.
Power outages can be a major inconvenience. They can also create problems for you, your family and your home as you shift into "emergency mode" to prevent your food from spoiling, to safely navigate your home in the dark, or simply to keep the heat on. Investing in a home generator can help make being without power more bearable — and can even fuel some fun when not being used for an emergency.
Home generators come in a variety of types and sizes, from portable versions to "standby" and inverter units. Portable generators typically run on gasoline and need to be operated at a safe distance from any structure. Standby generators start automatically when the power goes out, and are run on propane or natural gas. Inverter generators have a more complex engine than the other types, and are much quieter than their conventional counterparts.
Regardless of which type of generator you choose, you will need to follow the manufacturer recommendations for safe operation of the unit.
It's helpful to research this useful home device before you urgently need it, so here are 10 reasons to consider if you're thinking about purchasing a home generator of your own.
1. We can't control the weather.
Most power outages are weather-related. As the number and severity of extreme weather events rises, so does the likelihood of a blackout lasting 24 hours or more.
2. You have well water.
Without electricity, your well pump and filtration systems will quickly lose the ability to provide fresh, safe water for drinking, bathing, heating and more, to your house.
3. You have a sump pump.
If you rely on a sump pump to keep your basement or crawlspace dry — including all the possessions you keep in those areas — losing power means you also lose protection against water damage in those areas.
4. You work from home.
If you run a business or work out of your home, you know every minute counts. Going without power for even an hour can be a major inconvenience — if not a major risk — to you, your clients and customers.
5. Food spoils quickly.
According to the FDA, perishable food items should be thrown out once your refrigerator has been without power for as little as four hours.1
Travelers wants to help you protect the things that matter to you. We offer a wide breadth of products so you can be covered at home and on the road.
6. You live in a high-risk or severe climate area.
Some states are more vulnerable to weather-related outages. Others have such severe temperature extremes that power to control air conditioning and heating systems can be essential for comfort and safety. If you live in one of these areas, your risk to the potentially devastating effects of a power outage increase significantly.
7. Your property is vacant for extended periods of time.
If you are a "snowbird," frequent traveler or own a seasonal home, having a generator can protect your property from outage-related emergencies — whether you're in or out of town.
8. Someone in your home relies on an electrically powered medical device.
If you or a loved one requires the assistance of a home medical device that runs on electricity, a power outage can be deadly. A generator can help keep those devices running, but you also will want to check with a healthcare professional for suggestions on how to weather power outages with your particular medical device.2
9. You have a hybrid or electric car.
Make a portable generator go the extra mile! When not using it for your basic emergency power needs, keep it in your car to stay charged no matter where the road takes you.
. Generators aren't just for emergencies.
Portable generators can be put to use at work or play in, around and away from your home, too:
Whether it's due to storms, falling trees or some other challenge, power outages can bring an assortment of problems for home owners. A home generator can become one of your go-to remedies for those unexpected situations. Checking out the options before you lose electrical power is one smart way to beat the crowds who'll be racing to scoop up a home generator, for that "next time" outage scenario.
The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force released a statement regarding the outlook for Summer 2020 today, after Governor Charlie Baker announced the reopening plan for the Commonwealth on Monday.
“We are cautiously optimistic that our friends, relatives and guests will return to the Cape this summer for respite and a return to a traditional vacation,” said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and Facilitator for the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “This optimism is supported by our recent traveler sentiment survey. The volume and pace of this summer is expected to differ from prior summers, but 67% of our opt-in visitor database is reporting they are likely to visit the Cape this year.”The Chamber is the region’s tourism council, which promotes Cape Cod and the Islands to visitors from around the world.
While beaches officially open statewide May 25th, most town-owned and Cape Cod National Seashore beaches on Cape Cod have remained open and will be open this Memorial Day weekend. There is hope that restaurants will begin to serve dine-in customers and expand to outdoor dining where able, beginning at some point in June. Many restaurants are open for take-out service with new safety and ordering protocols including dozens of the region’s famous take-out seafood establishments, clam shacks, and ice cream parlors. Accommodations of all types are clean, stocked with supplies and are scheduled by the state guidance to reopen in early June as well.
Governor Baker’s reopening plan lists a return to dine-in for restaurants (with a possible restriction to outdoor only seating) and allowance of leisure accommodations in phase 2 of his reopening plan, which would begin no earlier than June 8th. The Governor has made clear that decisions on moving to phases 2, 3 and 4 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will be dictated by public health surveillance data including rates of hospitalization, positive tests, and morbidity.
While Memorial Day has traditionally been the unofficial start to summer, this year’s calendar is creating an ironic opportunity, with 14 more days of summer in 2020, Northcross reported. Memorial Day falls this year as early as possible on May 25th, and Labor Day falls as late as it can, on September 7th; the additional 14 days of summer provide a cushion to summer business cycles that may be muted by stay at home orders just now lifting.
“Over the past several weeks as we have planned for reopening on Cape Cod our aim has been to save lives and livelihoods,” State Senator Julian Cyr (D- Truro) Member and Public Information Officer for the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “We all know that the 2020 summer season will be different than what we are used to; indeed we expect a muted season. But opportunities to enjoy this special place will still be plentiful this summer with all Cape Cod has to offer.”“Moving out of the ‘stay at home’ phase into the ‘start’ phase of reopening, allows everyone to plan, knowing there are at least three weeks between phases,” said Wendy Northcross. “Currently, accommodations and restaurants are serving guests under restrictions in Phase 1. Phase 2 plans for restaurants and accommodations and some attractions to reopen with guidelines.” Those guidelines include social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations training and cleaning rules, which apply to all business and social organizations. Northcross is participating in a working group organized by the Governor’s office on restaurants, accommodations, and tourism to advise on safe reopening prior to Phase 2, when these sectors are expected to begin reopening.
Given the highly seasonal nature of many businesses on Cape Cod, which serve their guests on a leisure travel experience during the warm weather months, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force has been instrumental in pushing for advancement of the reopening date and guidance for the region and state’s many tourism amenities,” said State Representative Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) Member of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force. “If we do this right, giving confidence to the consumer and ensuring the health and safety of our workforce and residents, we expect to have the reawakening of our tourism businesses in just a few weeks’ time.”
In order to help businesses follow best guidelines for mandatory safety practices, Sean O’Brien, Director of Barnstable Health & Environment and Member of the Cape Cod reopening Task Force has marshalled county resources to prepare information for businesses to access for best practices on cleaning and operations.
“We will be publishing FAQs on topics like testing, best practices for entities ranging from boating to farmer’s markets and everything in between,” said Sean O’Brien.
The County’s Department of Human Services will compile health metrics, and the Cape Cod Commission will publish a new economic data dashboard and track business impact through a new survey tool. All will be on one central Cape Cod website which will launch in the coming days.
“Guidance to towns on how to quickly ramp up outdoor dining, accommodate more pedestrian flow and town-regulated activities that may need adjusting at this time is being vetted and shared with the 15 towns,” said Kristy Senatori, Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission and Member of the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force.
“The single biggest determinative factor for what’s possible this summer season depends on the personal responsibility of residents and visitors alike,” said State Senator Julian Cyr. “That means everyone covering their nose and mouth with a face covering when unable to keep distance between others, washing hands and surfaces, maintaining distance from others, and watching out for symptoms. Adherence to these health precautions will both prevent spread of coronavirus and allow us to safely reopen.”“While we expect this summer to be different from any we’ve experienced in our lifetime, we do believe the lure of Cape Cod’s plentiful and beautiful beaches, miles of hiking and biking trails, 47 golf courses, boating and outdoor recreation are the right prescription at the right time. We will be here to safely and warmly welcome our guests,” said Wendy Northcross.
One of the biggest home decorating dilemmas is how to arrange your accessories, whether it be a bookcase, shelf, or tabletop. Here is a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered spaces into charming vignettes!
Harmony and Contrast
When arranging a space with accessories, one has to keep in mind that the most important thing to avoid here is boredom! This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them. To keep an arrangement from putting the neighbors down for their afternoon nap, remember to keep a balance of harmony (things that feel like they go together, like similar colors or styles) and contrast (things that spice things up by being different…smooth against texture, round against straight line, et…) You want a bit of both in your arrangement. Perhaps you could create harmony by repeating a square shape or the color purple, and then add contrast by sitting a smooth candlestick next to a rough basket.
Scale and Shape
Make sure that the items you are using fit into their new homes scale…you don’t want one tiny paperweight on a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a huge ceiling high arrangement of flowers on a tiny end table. Most people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings however. If you have small accessories you would like to display, but need to give them more oomph in the arrangement, try grouping them on a plate or a fabric covered box. You can also give them height by perching them atop stacked books or baskets.
Layer and Soften
Once you’ve chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now it’s time to layer and soften. Start with a larger, taller piece slightly off center…this will be the defining piece in your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers…Add a taller background layer, a middle sized medium height layer, and your tiniest objects in the front. Keep the eye moving up and down as it purveys the arrangement from left to right for interest. Add some fabric or twisted ribbon to soften the edges of the shelf or table, to bring in color, and to highlight certain objects.
Above all, keep trying new combinations of items until you find an arrangement that works for you. Use things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too static. Even professional designers will occasionally be surprised by trying things in a new way! And remember, if your arrangement still looks cluttered and lost, chances are you are trying to display too much. Develop a prop box or closet where you can keep some of your treasures, and switch them our a couple of times a year for a fresh new look without spending a dime! For an example photo of accessory arrangement, visit this page on our website at http://www.thebudgetdecorator.com/arrange_accessory.html