Secure Your Packages & Home

An uptick in online shopping can also mean an uptick in package theft. To help keep your packages and home safe, here are a few helpful tips. Consider these tips while you’re online ordering this summer to be sure your packages and home are safe. 

Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Package Theft

  • Consider having packages delivered to your place of employment, rather than your home. By doing this, you won’t have to worry about a package sitting unattended on a front porch all day. 
  • See if it’s okay to have your package delivered to a relative or friend if you know they will be home during delivery. Be in touch with whomever is going to receive it, so you can give them a heads up and coordinate getting it promptly from them. 
  • Check in to having your items held at a local post office for pickup. By doing this, you can get the package whenever you have time and it will be waiting in a secure location. 
  • Some stores offer a “ship to store” option. This is a good option for getting the package delivered close to home at a nearby store – for easy pickup when you have time.
  • You may be able to stipulate that your package requires signature confirmation for delivery or ask the carrier to leave your items in an area out of view. 

What Smart Home Devices Can Help Secure Your Home? 

  • Secure package dropbox. You can purchase and install a heavy-duty, secure dropbox to go on your front porch. Then you can leave delivery instructions for your carrier to deposit the package in the dropbox – the carrier can use it, but thieves have a hard time penetrating the dropbox. These boxes have been invented in recent years due to the uptick in packages being stolen from porches.
  • Smart doorbells. These advanced doorbells normally feature cameras and can detect motion outside a front door. If connected to WiFi and a smartphone, the doorbell camera can show you at any time and from anywhere what is happening live on your front porch.
  • Smart door locks. There are many options for smart door locks, including some that unlock with a fingerprint scan, a mobile app, a keypad, or even a voice command. Smart door locks provide advanced options and can free you from a traditional house key. Some will even let you provide unique visitor codes to guests or delivery drivers.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These devices can help keep your home safe from fire and fumes. Some new versions of smart detectors can include advanced features that send alerts/alarms to your smartphone or that go as far as contacting local firefighters if there is an issue while you’re not at home.

These tips and smart devices can help improve the safety of your packages being delivered and your home as a whole. Having the right amount of home insurance coverage can also help ensure your home and valuable assets stay protected. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need.

Home Inventory 101

Not only is your home one of your most valuable possessions, but it’s also where you keep some of your most valuable items. In the case of a disaster, like fire or theft, having a completed home inventory can ensure that all your belongings are accounted for. It can also get you back on track to normal life as soon as possible. 

Save Time and Money

A home inventory is a detailed list of everything in your home, and it can help determine the right amount of Homeowners Insurance you need. If you don’t have one completed and lose some of your personal items, you might not get a proper reimbursement to cover the items. Overall, it has the power to save you time and money in the event of a claim. By outlining all your items ahead of time to help verify any losses, it can speed up the process. 

How to Make an Inventory List

You can create a list manually with pen and paper, or digitally using Excel, Google Sheets or home inventory app. One way to start is to go room by room and make a detailed list of everything you own. With each item, include a description, serial number, approximate date of purchase and estimated value. Do not skip the small items, like towels or holiday decorations. The cost of replacing these types of items can add up, too. 

For clothes and shoes, we recommend assigning an approximate holistic value instead of going item by item. However, in the case of valuable jewelry, consider getting an appraisal to be sure your items are insured properly. Additionally, don’t skip over storage places like the basement or attic, closets and the garage. Often, people forget about the expensive tools and supplies they store in these spots when completing a home inventory.  

Keep it Updated 

Between home renovations and replacing or upgrading items, it is important to continually update your home inventory. Plan to do a yearly review to add or remove any items that may have changed. 

Safe Storage 

Remember to keep a hard copy and digital version of your home inventory to ensure you don’t lose your list of assets and personal possessions. Make sure to store it in a safe and secure place. If you leave it in your home and your home is damaged by a storm, the list is gone too. Keeping it at a family member’s place, a safe, deposit box or flash drive are a few good options for storage. 

Protecting and insuring your home and personal belongings is your priority as well as ours. Contact your OKFB agent to make sure you have the right amount of protection in place, or for guidance in completing your home inventory. 

Keeping Your Home Protected, Inside and Out

Whether you’re a new homeowner or are looking to protect additional items, you need a policy that covers your needs. Understanding what a basic homeowners policy does and does not include is important. That way, you know what additional coverage you should consider. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to find the right fit for protecting your home, inside and out. 

What’s the difference between Homeowners Insurance and Personal Property Insurance? 

In areas where your homeowners policy may be lacking, additional personal property coverage can help ensure your high-dollar valuables are protected. 

Homeowners Insurance will cover various items inside and outside of your home. However, there are limitations to what items and under what circumstances they will be covered. This is where personal property coverage comes in handy. It protects personal belongings inside your home in the event of damages or theft. This includes specific, high-value items, like jewelry, firearms, furs, collectibles, silverware, gold, musical instruments and more. 

For what situations should I consider additional insurance beyond my homeowners policy?

  • Home-based businesses. If your business inventory got ruined or a customer fell in your home, your standard homeowners policy might not cover it. Be sure to talk to your agent about commercial coverage to keep your work and clients safe.
  • Outbuildings. The tree house you built for your kids or the shed you have for more storage are typically limited in standard home coverage. Check with your agent to see if you should get additional structure coverage to have your hard work and personal items protected. 

How do I ensure my home is protected in case of Earthquake and/or Flood?

You may assume you’re covered under your standard homeowners policy from these natural events, but that might not be the case. In reality, these natural disasters require their own policy additions. If you live in a flood or earthquake prone area, talk to your agent about these other insurance options. 

A good Home Insurance Policy coupled with the right amount of additional coverage can help ensure your home and valuable assets stay protected through the ups and downs. Contact an agent today to see how much coverage you may need.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

As the weather warms and spring begins to bloom, you may catch the spring cleaning fever. Spring cleaning can help you feel accomplished and have a clean home. It can also help keep your home safe by taking care of small items that could cause major problems or be hazardous down the road. Consider this checklist while you’re cleaning up around the house this spring, to be sure it’s as safe as it is clean. 

Clean the Dryer Vent

While most people know to clean the lint trap after each load of laundry, the dryer vent often gets neglected. Lint can also build up in the hose from the dryer and dryer vent, which could be a fire hazard. Make sure to check for lint that accumulates in these forgotten areas and clear out any hazards. 

Replace Damaged Extension Cords 

Whether they’re under a rug receiving a lot of foot traffic or being yanked from one place to another, extension cords often get worn and damaged. These damaged cords can be a big fire risk. Consider replacing older cords around the house to reduce the risk of fire. 

Update Online Passwords 

As you deep clean your house this spring, it’s a good reminder to clean up other areas of your life as well, including online passwords. Take a few minutes to set up new, strong passwords for all your accounts. This will help prevent online accounts from being hacked and your identity from being stolen. 

Clean the Stove/Oven 

As food particles build up over time on the stovetop or in the oven, thoroughly cleaning both of these appliances is an important checklist item. Built up particles and/or grease can pose a fire hazard. No matter how frequently you cook, make sure to spend some extra time deep cleaning the stove and oven this spring. 

Change Air Filters

Make sure to clean and/or replace home air filters as the weather warms. The furnace will still be moving air through your home all year, and pollen, dust and other allergens that get built up in the filters can worsen seasonal allergies if you don’t change the filters.

Check Alarm Batteries

Smoke alarms help keep your home safe, but are often forgotten about if the alarms don’t go off frequently. Spring cleaning is a great time to check the status of alarms and put in new batteries. Also, wipe down the alarms to ensure dust isn’t inhibiting them from doing their job. We reward safety precautions and offer a discount for having a fire alarm in the home. Check with your agent to see if you may be eligible. 

Clean Bedding 

Most people wash their sheets and pillowcases often, but the mattress and pillows may be neglected in the process of cleaning the bedding on a regular basis. Take time to vacuum the mattress and rotate it so that it can wear evenly. Also, wash pillows in hot water to help get rid of dust mites. 

No matter how much you clean or prepare, accidents can still happen. Ensure your home and family are protected with a Home Insurance policy. Contact an OKFB agent for a customizable policy that fits your lifestyle.