6 Tips for Working From Home

6 Tips for Working From Home With Your Kids During the Coronavirus from Travelers – 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.

Home Fires

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fire? Typically, your homeowners insurance covers accidental fires in and around your home. And since your home is probably one of your largest investments, if something like a fire damages it, it’s important that you are protected. That’s what homeowners insurance coverage is for.

While no one likes to think about the prospect of damage to their home, fire and related damages are one of the top causes of severe claims. Fire damage is responsible for 35% of the total value of all insured homeowners losses in the U.S.,1 which is why it’s important to understand what your homeowners policy covers, in case you incur such a loss.

What Does a Typical Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover?

Generally, a homeowners policy includes several types of coverages, including:

  • Dwelling coverage: This covers repair or rebuilding costs of the structure of your home when disaster strikes.
  • Other structures coverage: This coverage applies to detached structures, such as garages, sheds or fences on your property.
  • Personal property coverage: Personal belongings inside your home, such as furnishings, clothing and electronics, fall under this category. Most of the time, you can purchase additional valuable items coverage for specific items, such as jewelry.
  • Loss of use coverage: If, for example, you must move out of your home while it’s being repaired or rebuilt, this would cover those necessary additional living expenses.
  • Personal liability coverage: This covers you in the event of a claim and can help cover legal defense costs in case you or a member of your household is responsible for property damage or injury to others.

Are There Different Homeowners Insurance Coverages?

There are many types of home insurance coverages, so be sure to talk to your agent about the coverages available, particularly coverage to help repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged by fire. When you’re determining your coverage needs, your insurance company or agent will typically ask you about your home’s size, the type of interior finishes and the estimated value of your personal belongings. Then, you typically choose between two types of coverage valuation ‒ replacement cost or actual cash value.2 Here’s a summary explanation of those two options:

  • Replacement cost value (RCV): If you have this coverage and elect to fully repair or replace your damaged property, you will be reimbursed for the cost. Your policy limits the maximum dollar amount payable.
  • Actual cash value (ACV): The ACV is the estimated value of the item lost or damaged – in this case, your home – based on its condition immediately prior to the loss. This is typically calculated as RCV minus depreciation.

Protecting Yourself and Your Home

We can see why it’s important to make sure your home is properly insured in the event of damage from a fire or other type of disaster. To help gain peace of mind, be sure to carefully review your policy to understand what is or isn’t covered and discuss your options with your insurance provider or agent. You may also want to explore whether you can bundle your homeowners insurance with another type of policy, such as auto insurance, from the same carrier to save money on your policy.

Prevention is also key to avoiding damage to your home. Make sure your smoke alarms are working properly, your fire extinguishers are readily available and that you have prepared an emergency evacuation plan for your family. You may also be eligible for discounts on your insurance if you have certain protective devices in your home. If you’re ready to take the next step, contact your agent to get a quote.

Theft Coverage

Theft Coverage Information from the Travelers– Homeowners insurance generally covers theft from your home and property, and there are several components of a typical home policy that you’ll want to understand to help ensure you get the coverage you need.

In general, a homeowners insurance policy offers four facets of home coverage:

Dwelling: In case your home is damaged by a fire, hurricane, lightning or another disaster. (Note that damage caused by floods and earthquakes is not covered by basic homeowner insurance policies.)

Personal liability: In the event a visitor is injured or the visitor’s property is damaged while in your home due to your negligence.

Additional living expenses: Covers the cost of temporary living expenses if your home is uninhabitable after a covered incident, like a fire.

Personal belongings: Personal property coverage is designed to cover your belongings, such as furniture, clothing or electronics, in the event of a covered loss – whether they are damaged at your house, apartment or anywhere in the world.

What Is Covered by Home Insurance if I’m a Victim of Theft? When it comes to your personal belongings, a homeowners insurance policy typically will cover items such as furniture, clothing, electronics, bicycles, appliances and lawn care equipment. The loss settlement will depend on the type of coverage you purchased. For example, if you purchased replacement cost coverage, your stolen items are usually covered for the amount it costs to repair or replace them, minus your deductible.

In addition, your exterior plants, trees and shrubs may be covered from theft under your homeowners policy. Check with your agent to inquire about what your policy covers and learn about additional coverages that may be helpful for you.

Generally, the total replacement coverage for personal property at home is typically between 50% to 70% of the overall limit of insurance you have on the structure of your home. Personal property coverage typically extends to all related family members in the home. Rent-paying roommates who are not relatives are not covered by your homeowners insurance and may want to consider acquiring their own policy to protect their belongings.

Typically, homeowners insurance also covers personal belongings you store off-site. That may include, for example, large furniture kept in a rented storage facility or even a gaming console stolen from a student’s dorm room. The coverage for personal items stolen while away from home is typically limited to 10% of your personal property coverage.

How Can I Calculate the Replacement Cost of All My Things? There are two ways an insurance company can value stolen items, depending on the type of loss settlement you choose. The method used can affect the amount of a payout you receive on a claim. You can choose to be insured for the actual cost value or replacement value. Talk to your local independent agent about what makes sense for you.

What Is Actual Cost Value (ACV)? This is the depreciated value of an item at the time it was stolen. For example, a three-year-old television that originally cost $900 may only be worth $150 today.

What Is Replacement Cost Value? This represents the amount it would cost to replace a stolen item today. For example, a three-year-old television worth $150 today could cost $900 to replace.

You’ll need to decide whether you want the ACV personal property coverage or the optional replacement cost coverage when you purchase your homeowners insurance policy. The latter will likely cost you more in annual policy premium, but the benefit is you’d be better able to purchase new replacements for things you lost should you have a personal property claim. Just remember, you’ll be responsible for paying your deductible, regardless of the type of coverage you choose.

What Information Will I Need? An up-to-date home inventory can help you decide how much personal property coverage to buy. It can also help a homeowners insurance claim get settled faster.

Consider keeping your list in a cloud-based digital file that can be accessed from more than one device. A home inventory stored on the hard drive of a stolen laptop won’t be accessible, for example, but a file saved to an internet-based storage system can be accessed via your office computer, smart phone or tablet.

When creating your home inventory, include:

All major appliances and electronic equipment. Make note of serial numbers and keep original receipts, if possible.

A list of clothing by general category. Five pairs of jeans, three sweaters, six pairs of sneakers, for example.

A list of sporting goods equipment, including bicycles. Take pictures and keep original receipts, if possible.

Items kept at a storage facility or another off-site location.

Once your inventory is complete, store it in a safe and easily accessible location. Be sure to make periodic updates, particularly after acquiring new possessions.

Will I Need Supplemental Coverage for My High-End Belongings? Expensive items like jewelry or artwork are generally covered under a standard homeowners policy, but only up to a certain amount. Additional coverage is often available for valuable or hard-to-replace items like fine jewelry, rare artwork, collectibles or specially crafted musical instruments.