House and Contents Insurance Overview: Understanding the Importance of Contents Insurance

While everybody understands the importance of getting their home insured, not everyone realizes that they need to get their contents insured as well. A typical home insurance policy will cover just the building itself, but what about the belongings? What about the contents of a storage building on your property? It’s a good idea to look at BOTH house and contents insurance policies – especially if you live in an area that either gets a lot of extreme weather or has a high rate of break-ins and burglaries.

When comparing rates for home insurance, make sure that there is coverage for your belongings. Typically, you’ll be required to choose between two types of coverage for personal property: actual cash value and replacement cost. The latter will factor in the depreciation of the item, and the former will help reimburse you for the cost by replacing the damaged item with one of similar quality and type.

Once you consider how much content property coverage is right for your needs, it’s a good idea to review any limitation(s) that may apply. Standard policies typically limit the amount of coverage for certain types of valuables, like furniture, jewelry, fur coats, etc. For instance, if you have a diamond ring that is stolen, some standard policies will only insure up to $1,000 for the theft of a single piece of jewelry. What if the diamond ring is worth a lot more?

Taking Inventory for House and Contents Insurance

It’s good to go ahead and start taking inventory of all of your belongings. Include as much detail as possible for each piece of furniture, electronic device, jewelry, appliances, designer clothes, and any other item that is of value. Document things like makes and models of appliances and serial numbers on electronics. It’s a good idea to take photographs of everything as well.

Even if you’re a tenant and your home is already protected by your landlord’s policy, you should still consider getting contents insurance. In all likelihood, your landlord doesn’t pay insurance to cover your own personal belongings. At most, the furnishings and carpet are protected.

There are certain things that house and contents insurance policies DO NOT cover, such as you leaving the property uninhabited for a long time. If you have to travel to another state or country for awhile, be sure to inform your insurer in advance. Also, your home should be secured properly. You can’t just neglect the security just because you think you have a good insurance policy. You will be required to take the necessary steps to secure it.

Every insurer has different requirements. One place to begin your search for reasonable and affordable house and contents insurance policies is Lemonade. It’s different than the traditional insurance companies and offers a unique approach in how it deals with monthly payments. It’s worthwhile to learn about Lemonade and its annual “Giveback” feature.

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Understanding Garden Terms

Do you find yourself confused by terms like: hybrid, genetically modified, heirloom, open-pollinated, heritage and microsystem? In this article we will go over some basics that will help clear up some of the confusion.

First, let's look at the difference between a microsystem and an ecosystem. To gardeners an ecosystem would be used to describe the region's average high and low temperatures, sea level, rainfall and moisture and the zone. A microsystem could be your entire property or sections of the property. For instance, if you have one corner that tends to remain moist, and another that gets mostly shade, while a different area has full sun … those are all examples of different microsystems. Each microsystem will have plants and wildlife that will thrive in those particular conditions.

Hybrid seeds are created when two unique parents are mechanically or purposely cross-pollinated. Introducing foreign genetic material on a molecular scale produces genetically modified (GM) crops.

Open-pollinated means the plants produced naturally with nature doing all the work.
Heritage has come to mean open-pollinated seeds known to have been grown for at least one, and often several, generations.

Heirloom refers to seeds varieties that go back much farther than just a few generations.
Did you know that in some cases, it is illegal to save GM seeds? A registered trademark indicates genetic manipulation and that is the legal property of the labs that designed it.
Bio-piracy and bio-prospecting, involves patent rights over the development of certain gene combinations. They have even found a way to incorporate terminator genes (aka suicide seeds) – this means that while the plant may produce quality food with seeds, those seeds will not germinate. Hybrid plant produce, too, will not produce true to form. Instead, it will begin to revert to one or another of its parents and its seeds will be different and quite possibly weakened every year thereafter. While open-pollinated seed will always produce true to form as long as proper seed-saving procedures are followed.

Large commercial agriculture uses monoculture methods (fields of one crop), often with little to no pollinator and windbreak or water runoff planning. There are no-till (not turning the earth with machinery), organic (grown without chemicals) and biodynamic (considering the relationship, cycles and needs of all forms of life) methods.

Permaculture involves the scientific evaluation of the land, mapping, working with nature, using what is available on site or nearby, eliminating waste through reuse).
Succession planting involves the gardener having transplants or seeds ready to plant as soon as one crop is harvested.

Interplanting (planting closely together), bio-intensive (using the soil surface more efficiently) and companion (working with plants that benefit each other while avoiding those that are direct competition with one-another) are other terms you are likely to come across.

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