Home Improvement

Consumers Feathering Their Connected Home Nests

Among the more unexpected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last half-year or so is the sudden home improvement boom it set off among consumers.  Unexpected, but not entirely surprising, as consumers suddenly spending nearly all of their time in their homes these days have realized that home ought to be as nice and as comfortable as humanly imaginable. And since they’re not eating out, travelling far from home or going to events very much these days, many even have the budget to make some upgrades.

New furniture, new appliances, new floors, swimming pools, gardening supplies, tools boxes, paint and patio furniture are just a short list of things that have seen their sales surge as the homebound have begun feathering their nests and making their homes more comfortable, useful and aesthetically pleasing.

And, as new data released by Security research company Security.org indicates, that upgrade wave among consumers is increasingly extending to making their homes smarter as well.  The overwhelming majority of consumers report already owning at least one smart home device (91 percent), with a very solid majority planning to purchase more in the not-too-distant future.  The survey found 64 percent of respondents said they were planning to buy a new type of smart home technology within the next year.

Now, there are caveats with the data — the first of which is the survey cast a very wide net for what “counted” as a smart home device to get to that 91 percent, including expected stuff like smart speakers, smart lights, thermostats, etc, but also things like smart TVs, which tend to inflate the figures. But the survey does show that smart appliances are gaining ground among consumers, which at least strongly indicates that smartening up their homes is

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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


© TheStreet
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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Lowe’s gives $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees

Shoppers wearing protective masks wait in line to enter a Lowe’s Cos. store in San Bruno, California, U.S., on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lowe’s said Wednesday it will give $100 million more in bonuses to hourly employees, as strong demand for home improvement continues.

It marks the sixth time the home improvement retailer has given additional pay to workers at its stores, distribution centers and support centers during the coronavirus pandemic. It gave bonuses to part-time, full-time and seasonal employees in March, May, July and August. It also increased pay by $2 an hour for the month of April. 

With the latest round, the home improvement retailer will have paid more than $675 million in additional pay to employees this year. It will pay the latest bonuses on Oct. 16. Full-time hourly employees will receive $300 and part-time and seasonal hourly employees will receive $150.

Also Wednesday, Lowe’s announced a cash tender offer for up to $3.5 billion of its outstanding debt securities. The company said the goal of the offer is to reduce its interest expenses and manage the maturities of its debt. 

Other retailers, including Walmart, Target and Kroger, have also given bonuses or increased worker pay during the pandemic. Walmart has given three rounds of bonuses and said it would remain closed on Thanksgiving to give employees time with their families. Target speeded along plans to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour as it phased out a temporary, pandemic-related $2 an hour wage increase.

Customers have shopped at Lowe’s for DIY supplies, kitchen appliances and landscaping tools as they spend more time at home during the pandemic. The global health crisis has also inspired some Americans to move out of cities and buy homes in suburban or

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The Home Depot Announces 2020 Innovation Award Winners

Breakthroughs in cooking take top two spots

ATLANTA, Oct. 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Home Depot® today recognized the latest product innovations to hit shelves, in store and online, with the announcement of its 2020 Innovation Award winners. Supporting its DIY and Pro customers, the retailer, its merchants, and suppliers have continued to bring state-of-the-art products to the market throughout 2020.   


The Home Depot announces 2020 Innovation Award Winners

This year, The Home Depot’s overall Innovation Award winner and first runner up define innovation in cooking platforms. From frying to grilling and smoking, the top two products elevate the at-home cooking experience. In addition to appliances and grills, finalists cover categories from across the home including lighting, home security, flooring and more.

Top winners include:  

Overall Winner: The Frigidaire Air Fry Range by Electrolux saves time and space with its all-in-one stove, oven and new Air Fry Range cooking capabilities. The large-scale cooking capacity features no-flip technology that allows food to crisp evenly on all sides.

First Runner Up: The Masterbuilt Gravity-Fed Grill/Smoker enables quick-start cooking by reaching peak temperatures of 700°F faster than ever – in just 13 minutes. The innovative gravity technology holds over 12 hours of charcoal, ensuring constant fuel. Smart control technology allows for hands-off smoking, grilling, searing, baking, or roasting.

Second Runner Up: The Lutron Sunnata Touch Dimmer with LED+ Technology installs within 15 minutes with existing wiring, offering custom light control using the same captive-touch technology applied in modern touch screens to enable fast, accurate and responsive action.

“As the product authority in home improvement, we are honored to recognize our supplier partners who bring the most innovative and exclusive products to the market that deliver the best value to our customers,” said Ted Decker, president and chief operating officer for The Home Depot. “Today, we acknowledge our

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Upgrading Your Space While Stuck at Home? Get It Insured

As many Americans face months on end stuck indoors, 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.

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.

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 and chair in your home office will add up and could exceed your personal property coverage limit.

Renters insurance policies cover your stuff, but they have limits too. If you have new electronics or

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