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 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 office equipment, check with your insurer to make sure you have enough coverage for them.

Make an Inventory of Your Property

To help you know if you’ve exceeded your policy limits, keep records of what you buy. In fact, Griffin recommends taking inventory of your belongings every year — a written inventory is best, but even a simple smartphone video tour of your home will suffice.

Losing a home is an emotional time, Griffin says. When it’s time to file a claim, “you don’t always remember what you have.” An inventory will clearly show what you had before a disaster and will make the claims process easier.

Add Sufficient Coverage

Structural changes, such as a full kitchen replacement or adding an in-ground pool, will have the greatest impact on your homeowners insurance. But even something as simple as adding a fence can change the value of your house, and if your home’s value increases, so should its dwelling coverage, Griffin says. Otherwise, in the event of

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Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats leave town, fail the American people

Wheels up, off to California after adjourning the House until after Election Day. It’s a shameful display of partisanship in the wake of our recovery from the coronavirus. Rather than help small businesses continue to access unused funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP lawmaker calls on Pelosi to apologize for response to Trump contracting coronavirus Pelosi: ‘We’re making progress’ on coronavirus relief bill What President Trump’s positive COVID test could mean for the markets MORE (D-Calif.) is willing to block reasonable relief efforts, all in the name of politics. She doesn’t want to risk President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE and congressional Republicans getting an ounce of credit in the final weeks of this election.

Some things are simply more important than political posturing, like ensuring American small businesses can weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic. We have unspent funds from the Paycheck Protection Program, a COVID relief program that saved 51 million jobs in the United States, 2 million in Ohio alone. Its authorization is expiring, meaning the program is closing up shop, despite $138 billion left in the coffers. My Ohio colleague, Rep Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House Centrist Democrats ‘strongly considering’ discharge petition on GOP PPP bill Lawmakers call for expanded AI role in education, business to remain competitive MORE, has a simple, straightforward bill that reauthorizes the unspent funds through the end of the year, expands the eligible entities and expenses, and further protects the program so that businesses with fewer than 300 employees can get to the front of the line.

We are on the right path toward economic recovery, with more than 10 million jobs created or brought back after the worst of the pandemic. But as states re-open at different paces, we still have businesses struggling to adjust and keep their doors open. Mom and pop stores, those with just a handful of employees are bearing the brunt of the economic damage. That’s why this PPP extension bill earmarks $25 billion for businesses with 10 or fewer employees and, if a business receives a second PPP loan, this bill ensures the total of those two loans cannot exceed $10 million.

Those businesses with just a few employees can make up a large number of loans in the program, but those loans will often be some of the smallest approved by the Small Business Administration. They are businesses that would struggle with the compliance and paperwork costs associated with byzantine processes mandated by federal regulators. This bill eliminates this problem: a simple form attesting that the business complied with the loan requirements is all that will be needed. It also requires them to keep records

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Melania Trump has no plans to leave White House while sick, official says, contrasting with the President

First lady Melania Trump has no plans to leave the White House while she convalesces at the Executive Residence after contracting Covid-19, an official confirmed to CNN on Monday.

Melania Trump, Donald Trump are posing for a picture

© Julio Cortez/AP

The decision marks a stark contrast with her husband, President Donald Trump, who also tested positive for coronavirus. On Sunday, the President left Walter Reed Medical Center for a motorcade drive-by past a few dozen supporters outside the hospital, potentially risking exposure to his Secret Service agents.

“Melania is aware of the dangers of Covid-19,” the official told CNN. “Potentially exposing others is not a risk she would take.”

NBC News first reported the first lady’s decision not to leave the White House.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the first lady tweeted she and the President had tested positive for coronavirus, adding she had mild symptoms.

On Monday, she tweeted she is “feeling good & will continue to rest at home.” She also thanked medical staff and caretakers, and said she was praying for those affected by Covid-19.

“My family is grateful for all of the prayers & support! I am feeling good & will continue to rest at home. Thank you to medical staff & caretakers everywhere, & my continued prayers for those who are ill or have a family member impacted by the virus.”

The first lady made the decision to cut back on travel and public events six months ago because she was aware of the extensive apparatus of people involved in her movement, and did not wish to chance their health, nor her own, the White House official told CNN. Last month, the first lady traveled to New Hampshire to visit a hospital program focused on treating babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

It was her first official solo trip since the pandemic began. In recent weeks, however, the first lady had begun to increase her profile.

During July visits to a Washington, DC, fire station to thank first responders and to a women’s shelter, she wore a mask and stayed socially distant. During September events at the White House, including the announcement of Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett, Trump did not wear a face mask.

At the first presidential debate, the first lady was the only member of the Trump family to keep her face covering on for the duration of the debate, removing it, however, at the end of the program to go onstage and join her husband. She also did not wear a mask at a White House ceremony for Gold Star families on September 25, according to pictures she posted on her social media accounts, which show the first lady and the President with guests in the East Room and posing with them for photos.

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Meadows ‘optimistic’ Trump will leave Walter Reed, return to White House Monday after coronavirus treatment

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the administration is “optimistic” President Trump will be able to return to the White House on Monday after spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center being treated for coronavirus, saying Trump’s health improved overnight and the president is ready to get back “to a normal working schedule.”

a man sitting at a table

© Provided by FOX News

“Spoke to the president this morning,” Meadows said in a statement to Fox News. “He continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.” He added that the president “will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his progress.”

a man sitting at a table: Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier shares insight on the latest treatment being provided to the president to fight COVID-19, including dexamethasone.

Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier shares insight on the latest treatment being provided to the president to fight COVID-19, including dexamethasone.


Meadows concluded, “We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today, with his medical professionals making that determination later today.”

His comments came as the president has been trying to project an image of strength during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while fighting COVID-19. The president, over the course of the last several days, has faced health scares amid his battle with the novel coronavirus, including two instances in which his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly. Doctors treated the president with a dose of the steroid dexamethasone in response.

Trump administration ‘optimistic’ president could leave Walter Reed, return to WH later Monday, Meadows says



A normal blood oxygen reading is between 95 and 100. Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician who has served as the president’s personal physician, said Trump had a “high fever” and a blood oxygen level below 94% on Friday and during “another episode” on Saturday.

Nevertheless, members of the president’s medical team said they have been encouraged by his energy and test results, and have signaled that he may be ready to be discharged from Walter Reed on Monday.

The president, on Sunday, took a brief trip outside the hospital to greet supporters who had gathered outside, but was criticized for the brief motorcade visit, with some saying he jeopardized the health of members of the U.S. Secret Service for a brief photo-op.

In response, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE.”

He added, “The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

The president has received doses of Remdesivir so far, an anti-viral drug that has been approved by the FDA to help treat the coronavirus.

“If you look at the therapeutics which I’m taking right now some of them and others that are coming out soon that are looking like, frankly they’re miracles,” Trump said in

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Here’s what could happen if an ex-president refuses to leave office

  • For months, President Trump has been noncommittal about accepting the results of the 2020 election, alarming many Americans.
  • Since Trump took office in 2017, he has repeatedly discussed the possibility of staying in office for longer than two terms.
  • It remains unclear whether or not the Secret Service would play a role in removing a president who refuses to leave the White House premises.
  • If a president who lost the election refused to leave the White House, top military leaders have emphatically stated that civilian authorities would have to resolve the election.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


With President Trump continually making conflicting statements on whether he’d leave office in January 2021, the notion of a peaceful transfer of power is becoming murkier by the day. The question of who would be responsible for physically removing a president from the White House is relevant for perhaps the first time in modern history.

At the moment, it is unclear who would have to manage such a nightmare scenario on Inauguration Day, but possible players include the newly-elected President and the Secret Service.

If a losing president still occupies the White House after his term expires in late January, the newly-elected President would likely have the power to direct the Secret Service to remove that individual from the premises, since any federal agents would no longer report to the old president. Even though former presidents retain a Secret Service detail, they are private citizens after their terms end and would no longer have presidential powers.

Last week, when asked by a reporter, Trump refused to ensure a transfer of power if he felt like the election wasn’t honest, pivoting to mail-in ballots, which he feels are rife with fraudulent votes.

“We’ll have to see what happens,” he said. “You know that I’ve been strongly complaining about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation.”

This past June, Biden appeared on “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah and said it was his belief that military leaders wouldn’t let Trump stay in the White House past his term if he lost. 

“You have so many rank and file military personnel saying, well, we’re not a military state, this is not who we are,” he said. “I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced, they will escort him [Trump] from the White House in a dispatch.”

However, contrary to Biden’s statement, the military would not involve itself in election conflicts. In response to a House query to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, he made a commitment to that effect.

“In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law U.S. courts and the U.S. Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the U.S. Military,” he said. “We will not turn our backs on the Constitution of the United States.”

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Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office

A former aide to Vice President Pence said that White House staffers have privately discussed a scenario in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE loses the November election and refuses to leave office.

Olivia Troye — who served on the coronavirus task force and as an adviser to Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security and has since emerged as a top White House critic after leaving the administration — said she held closed-door talks with other staffers while she was on the task force and that she is concerned by recent comments from Trump in which he did not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. 

“It’s frightening to me, because to be honest, during my tenure at the White House, I’ve had conversations behind closed doors with White House staffers and other government officials, including people in the intelligence community, where we’ve actually discussed what if, what if he loses and refuses to leave, or better yet, what if his plan is four more years of Donald Trump should he win, and would he leave after that?” she said on CNN.

The remarks come after an avalanche of criticism over Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing Wednesday. 

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump added when pressed, referring to debunked theories about the susceptibility of mail-in ballots to fraud. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.” 

Democrats have hammered Trump over the comments, warning that he’s putting the country’s democracy at risk.

“The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye said. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary.”

Troye left the administration in August and has used her time outside the White House to tear into Trump’s response to

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Staffers discussed scenarios where Trump won’t leave White House

White House staffers discussed scenarios where President Donald Trump doesn’t accept the results of the November presidential election and refuses to leave, according to a former staffer who has since spoken out against the president.

a person posing for the camera: Olivia Troye left the administration in August, long before Trump declined this week to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election.

© Olivia Troye/YouTube
Olivia Troye left the administration in August, long before Trump declined this week to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election.

Olivia Troye, who worked on the coronavirus task force and served as an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security, said Friday she and other staffers held closed-door conversations about the scenario while she was working on the coronavirus task force.


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Troye left the administration in August, long before Trump declined this week to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election. The president has also repeatedly joked about serving beyond his term limit and accused Democrats of trying to steal the election.

Troye warned the president’s comments should be taken seriously, even if he passes them off as jokes.

“The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Friday. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary.”

“What you see is what you get,” she added. “You should trust that. He doesn’t hide it.”

When asked Thursday if Trump would commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters: “The President will accept the results of a free and fair election.”

Troye last week appeared in an ad bashing the president as more concerned with his reelection than the pandemic that has now claimed more than 200,000 American lives. The ad was run by the group Republican Voters Against Trump. In it, Troye asserted that she is a lifelong Republican.

The White House defended Trump by casting Troye as a disgruntled former employee. Her former boss, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, took to the White House lectern Tuesday to disavow Troye and said he personally escorted her out of the office.

Troye said she was not fired. Rather, she said, she resigned and several of her colleagues asked her to stay. She denied Kellogg’s account during her Friday appearance with Blitzer.

“I’d love to see the video footage of this video tape where he supposedly escorted me out,” Troye said. “I know a lot of the secret service people on the campus, and I would love to see that footage.”

Video: Biden criticizes Trump for ‘irresponsible, outrageous attacks on voting’ (NBC News)

Biden criticizes Trump for ‘irresponsible, outrageous attacks on voting’



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Trump Refuses to Say He’ll Leave White House

Duration: 07:58

Jimmy addresses Trump refusing to give a clear answer on if there would be a peaceful transition of power after the election.

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renovations leave it dull and pale

Wendy R. Sherman, Opinion columnist
Published 7:00 a.m. ET Aug. 25, 2020 | Updated 12:41 p.m. ET Aug. 25, 2020


The White House Rose Garden has been spruced up in time for its moment in the campaign spotlight. First lady Melania Trump will deliver her Republican National Convention speech Tuesday night from the garden. (Aug. 22)

AP Domestic

First Lady Melania Trump’s renovation of the White House’s famous Rose Garden stripped it of historic colorful, bold and diverse appearance.

On Tuesday, First Lady Melania Trump will address the Republican National Convention from the newly renovated Rose Garden at the White House, a personal project of hers. The Twitter world went wild over the weekend as tweeters provided quips asserting that the new Rose Garden, seemingly without the roses and other flowers, was a metaphor for the Trump administration — no diversity, no color, a parade ground framed by white columns only.

The Rose Garden was created by First Lady Ellen Wilson, the first wife of President Woodrow Wilson in 1913, replacing the colonial garden created by President Theodore Roosevelt’s wife, First Lady Edith Roosevelt. Famously, First Lady Jackie Kennedy brought in landscape designer Rachel Lambert Mellon in 1962 to create what most of us have known as the White House Rose Garden, a lush garden with flower beds filled with color and roses. Presidents have used the space for press conferences, weddings, and special occasions, as well as a contemplative spot during difficult times.

Melania Trump’s renovations ignore the importance of the rose 

First Lady Melania Trump wanted to upgrade the infrastructure of the garden including audio visual equipment, cameras, paving, drainage and lighting, all likely in need of improvement. But she removed ten crab apple trees that lined the colonnade and swapped out the vibrant roses and flowers for roses of white, cream, pale yellow and pale pink. The result, although meant to return to Mellon’s design, is a pale reflection of history. It now appears to be largely a television stage or parade ground, devoid of texture, color or interest. We can easily imagine chairs filled on Tuesday night adorned by followers without masks, sitting too close; partisans in a home garden that belongs to the American people, not any one party. Indeed, although the Hatch Act may allow the president and first lady to use the White House for political events, all of the staff who might help out cannot do so under that law, making the use of the grounds more than problematic.

The White House welcomes visitors back in September. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Roses, and the Rose Garden have special meaning in the lore of literature and of Washington. In literature, we all remember the famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Many scholars believe this is Juliet telling Romeo that even if he had another name, he would still be handsome or that even though he is of the opposing House of

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IHC stays interior ministry order asking US blogger to leave Pakistan – Pakistan

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday stayed an interior ministry decision to deport US blogger Cynthia Ritchie and issued notices to the interior secretary and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general.

The court also directed that Ritchie submit an affidavit detailing all her grievances before the next hearing before adjourning the case indefinitely.

On Saturday, Ritchie had filed a writ petition in the high court against the ministry’s decision to reject an extension in her visa, naming the FIA director general and the interior secretary as respondents.

In her plea, Ritchie said her request for a visa extension had been rejected despite providing all the relevant documents, adding that the interior ministry did not state the reasons for doing so either.

During today’s hearing, presided over by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah, the US blogger’s lawyer reiterated that the authorities concerned did not provide a reason for denying Ritchie a visa extension.

At this, Justice Minallah observed that numerous visas are rejected on a daily basis without an explanation.

When her lawyer questioned the law under which her request was denied, the judge replied that no law is required to reject a visa.

“A visa is not a basic right, it is a privilege,” the judge remarked. The court also asked whether Ritchie had any other complaints, to which she replied that two petitions were pending in the FIA.

In her petition with the IHC, Ritchie said her visa had expired and she had applied for a work visa with all the necessary documents.

“[But] due to the pandemic situation, the same could not be processed and the visas of all foreigners were extended by a general order, and the same premium was also afforded to the petitioner,” it said.

Ritchie said she had moved another application for a work visa due to a change of sponsor which was also not decided due to Covid-19, and was later “shocked” to receive a letter from the interior ministry stating that her visa application had been rejected.

She added that the interior ministry had earlier submitted its comments, during the hearing of a petition filed by an activist of the PPP, that Ritchie was not involved in “anti-state and illegal activity” in Pakistan.

“Further, while filing the visa application all the requirements of a work visa were complied with. Despite that, the visa application was rejected without affording any reasoning,” she said in her petition.

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