Monday, April 17, 2017

Renters Insurance - Get Some!

3 Reasons to Buy Renters Insurance


For generations renting was what twenty-something’s did. You got a degree, you got a job, you rented for a little while, and then you bought a house, had some kids, lived that American dream.
Now with the job market where it is and the mortgage crisis still in our short-term memories, renting’s looking like a solid option to more and more people (beyond their 20’s).
But even if you choose to rent instead of buy, it’s still important to protect your assets. That’s why homeowners get Homeowners insurance. And that’s why as a renter, you should probably seriously consider Renters Insurance.

It Helps You Protect Yourself and Your Stuff

Renters insurance works much the same way Homeowners insurance does…except it’s tailored to renters (thus the name). See, when you rent, some think that the Landlord’s insurance covers you and your stuff too. But no dice. Your Landlord’s insurance is only there to cover them and their property…not yours.
That’s why Renters insurance is so important! It works to cover your:
  • Personal possessions – coverage for your things (clothes, furniture, electronics…that kind of stuff) up to your coverage limit.
  • Personal liability – coverage if you’re ever legally responsible for an injury or property damage, like if you drop some water and a guest slips and sues.
  • Medical payments – coverage for medical expenses if someone (other than a resident) gets hurt in an accident at your place.
  • Additional Living Expenses – coverage for extra temporary living expenses if your place is damaged and becomes uninhabitable.

It Fills Coverage Gaps

Renters insurance can also fill gaps left by your other policies, like your Auto insurance. Let’s say, for instance that you leave your laptop in your car one night after work. At some point, a criminal walks by and thinks “Man, I could really use a new laptop.” You come out the next day to a broken window and a laptop-less car. Thankfully you have Auto insurance right…so you’re covered! Again, no dice. While the window might be covered, most Auto policies don’t cover personal items left inside. But Renters does! In this case, your Renters insurance could help replace your stolen laptop.

It’s Crazy Affordable

If you needed another reason to consider Renters…here it is. It’s incredibly cheap! Much cheaper than other coverage types, and usually only a couple of cents a day (yes, we said “cents”). And if you add it to your other existing policies, like an Auto or Life insurance policy, you could save even more dough.Fires, theft, weather damage…these things happen, and they’re just as likely in a rented apartment as they are in a house. To protect themselves, Homeowners get homeowners insurance. So if you rent, consider Renters insurance. It’s a good precaution in a risky universe.

Sunday, December 25, 2016



Stay Warm and Save Money with these Efficient Heating Tips for Cold Weather 

Turn down the temp – The California Energy Commission recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees, noting that for every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you’ll save up 5 percent on heating costs. For sleep hours or when leaving the home, setting the thermostat down to 55 degrees or off for an extended time, saving 5-20 percent of your heating costs.

Change your filters – Dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy use. Changing the air filters at least every three months can save your renters 4 to 6 percent on heating costs. If your tenants have a pet, changing filters every month is recommended. This tip will help not only help your tenants save money, but it will prolong the life of your furnace too.

Get Wintertime Curtains – According to AARP, insulated curtains or window quilts, can reduce an estimated 25 percent of an older home’s heating costs associated with window heat loss. Even regular curtains made from a heavy fabric can reduce heating costs; Energy.gov recommends hanging curtains as close to windows as possible and letting them fall to floor for maximum effectiveness. 

Keep Your Chimney Closed – For homes with a fireplace, remind your tenants to keep the damper closed when not in use. Another solution to keep the cold air out and the warm air from escaping up the chimney when a fireplace is not in use, is a chimney ballon. These inflatable devices claim to decrease heating loss more than just closing the damper and sell at HomeDepot for $56.99.

Use your fan – While ceiling fans are excellent tools for staying cool in the summer, they can be adjusted to help your tenants keep warm in the winter. Many fan models have a switch that allows blades to spin clockwise, which will push warm air that rose to the ceiling back down into the room. 

Heated Mattress Pad or Electric Blanket – Use this simple trick for staying warm at night. Instead of heating an entire house during the late night hours, a renter who keeps the thermostat programmed at 55 degrees or lower, can stay warm with an electric blanket or mattress. According to Go Green In Your Home, a 90watt electric blanket used for 8 hours a day will cost your renters only $2.20/month. 

And just for fun- try eating spicy foods! SELF Magazine claims that eating spicy foods in the winter can help you stay warm since spicy foods like chili peppers and seasonings made from chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which makes them spicy and, when eaten, increases our body temperature, creating a warming effect.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The 10 Commandments of Rental Decor


If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalized and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it's little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you'll leave with your security deposit intact once it's time to move up and on.



1 Thou Shalt Add Storage

Let's get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don't own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organizing solutions.

2 Thou Shalt Change the Hardware

Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.

3 Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds

They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don't toss — they're essential if you want your security deposit back.

4 Thou Shalt Line Cabinets

This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it's easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.

5 Thou Shalt Accessorize Like Crazy

It's true, and that's the only way you're going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.

6 Thou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper

Well, in most cases. Sure it's stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won't be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.

7 Thou Shalt Hang Art

No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.

8 Thou Shalt Invest in Rugs

Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.

9 Thou Shalt Emphasize Lighting

This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.

10 Thou Shalt Make the Most of Plants

No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won't have to fret about leaving any of them behind.

Thanks to the folks at Popsugar.com for the ideas!

www.gccpartners.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

10 Tips to Save Energy and Keep Cool This Summer

  1. Raise your thermostat to 78ยบ. This is the number one way to conserve energy.
  2. When you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see a 1% savings for each degree of setback. This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you're away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.
  3. Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.
  4. Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.
  5. Use ceiling fans. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.
  6. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing down. Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.
  7. Run appliances with large energy use late in the evening. Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
  8. Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.
  9. Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use.
  10. Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room. Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Have a Pet? Here are some move in tips.


Moving is a chore all by itself, but making sure your pet fares well in the adventure requires extra planning.

Read on for what to consider when choosing a rental — and how to make the move as smooth as possible for your furry family member!



The pet-friendly rental

Finding a rental that take pets is your first step in securing happy housing for you and your dog or cat. You’ll want your new landlord to welcome you both with open arms, so be up front with the fact that you have a pet. You can go one further by having a pet resume at the ready. This is a document that includes vaccination and spayed or neutered information (with supporting documents), references from past landlords, neighbors, your veterinarian, obedience trainers and any other positive information that will make your pet shine.

Look for housing, ideally, with a fenced yard, in a neighborhood which offers plenty of walking options and perhaps a dog park. If you worry about your dog or cat roaming loose, consider renting a house on a street that’s removed from a heavily-trafficked road.

Planning the move

Depending on how far you have to go and how you’re getting there, you may be using a pet carrier to transport your animal. If so, start getting your pet used to the carrier as soon as possible, making it readily available with a favorite toy or blanket inside. Once your pet sees the carrier as a safe haven, traveling in it on the big day won’t seem as traumatic.

If traveling by plane, check pet travel policies on your airline of choice to see what rules they have and to find out what paperwork and evidence of vaccinations you must provide — before making reservations.

Talk to your vet about whether your pet may need a sedative for more comfortable travel. Also, consider getting your dog or cat groomed just before the trip so that nails are trimmed for the event.

Moving day

The day of the move is usually stressful for everyone involved, and your pet can pick up on all the expectant energy in the air. Be sure to keep your routine as normal as possible, while keeping your voice and body language as calm as you can. Plenty of affection and praise will assure your pet that nothing bad is happening.

Moving days also offer the opportunity for anxious pets to bolt out an open door. Choose a room in the home you’re leaving and make it your pet’s base while everything is moved out. Make sure to keep the door closed (warn friends and family members to do the same) and to supply your pet with food, water, a favorite toy and the crate, if you’re using one.

Depending on the size and duration of your move, you might want to board your dog at a kennel during the tumult, and pick her up in time to get in the car or plane, en route to your new rental home.

When you arrive

Getting used to a new home can be as unsettling to a pet as leaving the old one. Keep your pet in his crate or in a closed room until everything is moved in, and you can begin to create order. As with your exit strategy, supply your pet with everything she will need upon arrival—familiar food/water bowls and favorite toys. Now your pet can begin the process of exploring this new territory comfortably.

As you plan your move, begin making arrangements for your pet, too. Thoughtful preparation will make the experience easier on the two of you and help ensure a happy move into your new home!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Does Renters Insurance Make Sense?



Renters insurance may seem expensive or even esoteric if you're among the more than two-thirds of tenants who lack it. But it's the best way to avoid losing thousands of dollars if you're robbed or your apartment is damaged by water or fire.



New York apartment dweller Rose Lichter-Marck, 28, had to pay cash to replace all her furniture, housewares and books after a fire in her old building that started with an electrical problem on another floor. Cleaning the smell of smoke out of her clothes cost another $2,000, even with a "pity discount," because she didn't have insurance, she said. Then she had to stay with friends and relatives until she found a new apartment.  With insurance, the whole experience would have been less painful — and less expensive.  "They would have put me up in a hotel, paid for my cleaning and moving fees and even the broker's fee for a new place," Lichter-Marck said.

A basic policy can be had for 50 cents a day, roughly the cost of one large pizza per month. But many renters, mostly young adults, think — incorrectly — that their stuff isn't worth enough to insure, according to Apartments.com, which found in 2010 that 70 percent of tenants don't buy renters insurance.

"If something were to happen, it's going to cost a lot more than people imagine to replace dishes, computers, a big-screen TV, clothing," said Ben Rabinowitz, an agent with Allstate Insurance Co. in Pikesville, Md. "It begins to really add up."

Renters insurance covers more than what's inside your apartment. Say you happen to leave the bathtub running too long and water damages your neighbor's ceiling below; renters insurance will cover the repairs. Or, if your laptop is stolen from your car, that's generally covered by renters or homeowners insurance — and not auto insurance.

Here are five steps to take if you're considering renters insurance:

• INVENTORY YOUR POSSESSIONS: Go room by room and photograph everything you own to get a sense of how much it would cost to replace all your things. While you're at it, write down the serial numbers of all your electronic devices and appliances to guarantee you are fully reimbursed if you do choose to buy insurance and you suffer a loss.

• SEEK OUT DISCOUNTS: Take note of any special safety precautions in your building, such as deadbolt locks, a 24-hour doorman or a sprinkler system, that will earn you a break on your monthly premium. If you buy coverage from the same company that insures your car or provides you other types of coverage, that can earn you a multi-policy discount.

• THINK ABOUT PARTYING: If you like to entertain, renters insurance can be especially helpful. Most policies will offer your guests medical coverage, so if someone visiting your place slips and smacks his head on your kitchen counter, his trip to the emergency room will be covered. (And it's no-fault coverage, so you won't have to wait for a court to decide who is liable before your insurance kicks in.



• CHOOSE REPLACEMENT VS. ACTUAL VALUE: Most insurers will cover either your belongings' actual cash value or what it would cost to replace them. A cash value policy will be cheaper, but the payout for things you have to replace will be reduced by how much they've depreciated since you bought them. Replacement-cost coverage will cover the cost of replacing your belongings new, now.

• UNDERSTAND YOUR POLICY'S LIMITS: Basic renters insurance policies cap reimbursements, meaning that a diamond ring may be covered for only $1,200, even if it's worth six times as much. So be sure to buy the extra coverage you need for pricey items like jewelry, electronics and musical instruments. Some people even carry riders against identity theft. But extra coverage adds up quickly so be clear about your priorities.

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Back to School Time...


Back to School Fall Safety Tips

As children return to school in the fall, they are excited and may not be paying as much attention to their surroundings as they should. Keep them safe with these fall safety tips.
  • If your child's school bus is equipped with seat belts make sure your child uses it.
  • If your child walks to school or waits at a bus stop, wearing clothes that are brightly colored makes them more visible to drivers.
  • Children that ride bicycles to school should always wear a helmet.
  • Have your child use a rolling backpack if possible.
  • A loaded backpack should not weigh more than ten to twenty percent of the weight of the child.