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Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

By Ben Moore



a tree in front of a house: Don't Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured


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Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

As many Americans face months on end stuck at home, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

Tell Your Insurer About Your Plans

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

>> Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: The Four Ingredients to Living Well in the New Retirement

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor

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Twelve per cent of people don’t lock their homes

When you leave your home, do you lock your door?

Around 12 per cent of Kiwis don’t, according to a survey. Across the entire population, that’s equivalent to 218,880 households not securing their property.

“A worrying number of people continue to put themselves at risk,” said Kevin McHugh, publisher of financial research website Finder in New Zealand.

“Simple things like failing to lock your front door at night make you an easy target for burglars.”

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* Asbestos, smells, crime rate Kiwi buyers’ top turn-offs, survey shows

Looking at other available safety measures, the survey found almost half of the 2001 respondents don’t have locks on their windows, and over 50 per cent don’t lock their garage when a car is parked inside.

Around 12 per cent of Kiwis don’t lock their house when they leave, a new survey has found.

Supplied

Around 12 per cent of Kiwis don’t lock their house when they leave, a new survey has found.

A police spokesperson said burglary and theft are usually crimes of opportunity.

“If you secure your property, in many cases an offender will move on. No community is completely crime-free,” the spokesperson said.

Previous research from Finder and New Zealand Police identified Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga as the five most burgled places in the country between January 2017 and March 2020.

Between December 2019 and January 2020 there were around 13,090 burglaries reported nationwide, according to police data.

McHugh said there tends to be a spike in burglaries during holiday periods every year.

“It’s therefore important to be extra cautious right now– even small measures like locking your doors and

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Defense Contractors Don’t Need Another Covid Bailout

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(360b / Shutterstock)

EDITOR’S NOTE:&nbsp

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.

The inadequate response of both the federal and state governments to the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the United States, creating what could only be called a national security crisis. More than 190,000 Americans are dead, approximately half of them people of color. Yelp data show that more than 132,000 businesses have already closed and census data suggest that, thanks to lost wages, nearly 17 percent of Americans with children can’t afford to feed them enough food.

In this same period, a number of defense contractors have been doing remarkably well. Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon’s top contractor, reported that, compared to 2019, its earnings are actually up—yes, up! The company’s success led the financial magazine Barron’s to call it a “pandemic star.” And those profits are only likely to grow, given the Trump administration’s recent approval of a 10-year deal to sell $62 billion worth of its F-16s to Taiwan.

Lockheed Martin is far from the only such outfit. As Defense

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Kitchen cabinets are costly. Don’t make them trendy

The latest colors and trends are tempting, but a kitchen should be timeless, says Barbara Miller, design director for the Neil Kelly design and remodeling company.

It’s expensive to remodel a kitchen, and cabinets can make up 30% of the costs, so make sure you or an owner five to 10 years in the future won’t think the look has gone out of style, she says.

A sure-fire solution: White cabinets.

Since Neil Kelly started remodeling homes in Portland in 1947, “we have never stopped selling white cabinets,” says Miller, referencing a statement made by owner Tom Kelly, whose father founded the company.

She says styles and hardware have changed, but white remains popular in the Pacific Northwest, as does wood-grain cabinets.

The easiest way to ensure a kitchen has a timeless feel is to match key elements with the architecture and era of the house: A Colonial Revival house works best with traditional cabinets, while a midcentury design shines with sleek, flat panel cabinet doors and a Northwest ranch benefits from a transitional style in wood tones.

Selecting neutral materials and colors for cabinetry and large surfaces may seem unexciting, but there are ways to make a statement with wall color, knobs and pulls, and fixtures that can be changed in a day without having to undergo a full remodel.

A new pendant light over the island can help make a kitchen look up-to-date, Miller says.

People considering a kitchen remodel typically ask Miller if they can keep existing cabinets. She says cosmetic upgrades are possible if the design and layout still look and function well.

She explains what needs to be considered when deciding to renew or replace cabinets:

  • Quality of existing cabinets. If the cabinets have a peeling finish, new paint will peel too, says Miller. Large
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Mistakes to avoid when upgrading a kitchen: Don’t get sucked into tempting, one-function items

Your household may have grown during the coronavirus pandemic as adult children who lost their jobs returned home. At the same time, your wallet may have become thinner during the economic fallout caused by the global health crisis.

Combine those factors and it’s easy to see that a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) found that people want to improve their kitchen, especially with germ-avoiding, touchless technology, while adhering to a tight budget.

An overwhelming 99% of manufacturing, construction, design and retail businesses surveyed by the trade association said more consumers are requesting assistance with small-scale, DIY kitchen projects.

To reduce the risk of getting Covid-19, the survey found people want contact-less products with automatic sensors and antimicrobial surfaces as well as outdoor kitchens, where they can safely entertain while social distancing.

The pandemic also made people aware of the need to prepare for an emergency and store provisions. Improved water and air filtration systems are also part of the plan to hunker down safely at home.

“We’re breathing this air all day now and we’re wondering, ‘What’s in it?’” says Barbara Miller, design director for the Neil Kelly design and remodeling company.

In any size home, people are placing even more value on storage space and pantries to keep surplus food and water. It’s not easy to add cabinets, let alone counters, a sink and electrical outlets, to what’s considered the busiest and most complex room in any house.

Experts are available to advise you at all levels. A design consultation is free at Home Depot, either in the store or virtually. If you haven’t thought about upgrading a kitchen in a while, this is an easy way to be introduced to new materials and approaches.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association maintains a directory of

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