Outdoor Recreational Safety Tips

Outdoor Recreational Safety Tips

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor adventures. Whether you like hiking, biking, swimming or camping, there are plenty of activities to enjoy and places to explore. 

While we have fun, it’s also important to remember that sometimes our outdoor excursions come with unexpected risks. From weather to wildlife encounters, make sure you and your family take the right precautions to stay safe. Follow these tips as you enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

 

Tips for Water Safety

In the U.S., 11 people die from drowning each day, according to the CDC. Children ages 1-4 are at the greatest risk, but drowning is also the second leading cause of accidental death among children ages 1-14. 

These tragedies can be easily prevented with simple pool safety and water safety measures.

    • Never swim alone. If possible, swim in the presence of a lifeguard.
    • Teach children to swim. Even toddlers can learn water survival skills, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. But remember that swim lessons do not guarantee your child can protect himself/herself from drowning.
    • Designate a water watcher whenever your child is in the water. Avoid distractions, such as from phones. Drowning can happen in an instant.
    • Don’t let children play around pool drains or suction fittings.
    • Learn CPR in case you need it.
    • Wear lifejackets if on a boat. 
    • Remember that swimming in a pool is different from swimming in a lake or in the ocean. There are currents and undertows.
    • Don’t drink alcohol while swimming.
    • Pool Safely is a national public education campaign. Take the Pool Safely Pledge and get a free downloadable safety kit.

 

Tips for Hiking Safety

Whether it’s a national park or a local trail, hiking is a popular way to connect with nature. Making the right preparations will help ensure that you can enjoy the scenery without worrying about injury.

    • Know exactly where you are going. Consult with experts who have been there on what you need.
    • Check the weather forecast and then recheck it. Bring any additional supplies you will need in case the weather turns.
    • Do not hike alone. Travel with someone else, and if you’re going to a remote area, try to travel with a small group 
    • Know the nearest ranger station and the number in case you need help.
    • Do not go into an area marked closed.
    • Leave a copy of your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Include details such as your destination, the timeframe of arrival and departure, phone numbers of people you are with, specific trails and campgrounds, and even the car you will be driving. This will help in case you are lost.
    • Pack the essentials. These include a first aid kit, compass, flashlight, matches, knife, food, water, toilet paper, duct tape, trash bag, whistle, bug spray, sunscreen, and a solar charging power source.
    • Stay hydrated and know the signs of heat exhaustion. Infants and young children, as well as people over age 65, are at the greatest risk.
    • If taking your dog on a hike, make sure he/she is protected against fleas and ticks. Bring water for your dog and take care that he/she does not get overheated.

 

Tips for Camping Safety

Being close to nature means that many of the hiking safety tips, above, will apply. In addition, you’ll want to take these added precautions.

    • Arrive early so you can make camp before dark. Give yourself two hours of daylight to set up camp. Learn your campsite in the daylight so you have an idea of where things are before dark. 
    • Don’t pitch your tent near the tallest trees in case of a lightning storm.
    • Build campfires in a safe area, away from trees, bushes, and other flammable objects.  Beware of post-fire embers. 
    • Do not leave food or garbage in the open.
    • Never approach or feed wildlife. 
    • Know that If animals feel cornered, they could bite, scratch or attack. Wild animals may transmit rabies.
    • Practice good hygiene. Wash hands before handling food.

 

Tips for Bicycle Safety

Biking is great exercise and another fun family activity. Hit the road safely with these tips.

    • Many states require bicycle helmets for children under 18. But helmets are good protection for everyone.
    • Dress in bright colors so you will be seen.
    • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and sunscreen to protect your body.
    • Never ride with headphones or earpieces. You want to be able to hear what’s going on around you.
    • Choose routes that have wide roads or bike lanes. Observe all traffic laws and be aware of drivers.
    • Bring a patch kit in case you need to repair a tire or tube.
    • Stay hydrated. Bring water with you. 
    • Carry some emergency cash in case you need it.

Whether you are traveling by car, plane, or RV always remember to travel safe and plan ahead of your adventure.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Summer Fire Prevention

Summer Fire Prevention

Planning to fire up the grill or gather around the fire pit this summer? While these fun activities are great ways to spend the season with your family and friends, they also come with a risk of fire-related injuries.

If you’re hosting an outdoor gathering or handling potentially hazardous materials like fireworks, it’s important that you take the proper fire safety precautions. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe and prevent an injury or accident this summer.

 

1. Fire Pits

There’s nothing better than taking advantage of your fire pit on a cooler summer evening. But if you haven’t set up for safety, there could be dangerous consequences.

    • Position your fire pit so it is at least 10 feet away from your house and anything that can catch fire. This includes trees and bushes.
    • Avoid burning treated wood, wet wood, or anything that gives off a gas or dense smoke.
    • Don’t use flammable fluids to start or relight a fire. They can cause an explosion or turn a controlled fire into an uncontrollable one.
    • Consider a fire screen to catch stray sparks.
    • Have a fire extinguisher on hand and/or a bucket of water.

 

2. Barbecue Grills

Barbecues are the centerpiece of our summer celebrations. But cooking outdoors comes with its own share of hazards. Propane is used to power some grills. It is a highly flammable substance that can burn if it comes in contact with your skin. Charcoal briquettes also can cause burns and fires if not properly attended. Follow these tips for grilling safely.

For propane grills:

    • Be careful not to overfill a propane tank.
    • Check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line to make sure there are no leaks. You can do this by making a solution of 50% liquid dish soap and 50% water, and brushing it on the hose connections. If there are leaks, you will see air bubbles when you turn on the propane.
    • Store your tank in a safe location, upright and away from a heat source. Do not store a propane tank inside your house.

For charcoal grills:

    • Use plenty of water to douse hot coals after you’re done cooking. Give them a stir to make sure there are no lit embers.
    • Do not put the coal and embers in plastic, paper, or wooden containers after use. They could still be hot enough to start a fire.

3. Campfires

Sitting around the campfire and roasting marshmallows is a highlight of camping. But did you know that campfires can get as hot as 932 degrees Fahrenheit in just 3 hours? Their embers stay hot long after the fire is done—hot enough to burn someone who comes in contact with them eight hours later!

    • Choose a location for your campfire that is away from dry grass and trees and from your tent.
    • Add rocks around the perimeter of your campfire to help contain it.
    • Enforce a 3-foot perimeter around fires that is the kid-free zone and pet-free zone.
    • Never use gasoline to start a campfire or add it to an open flame.
    • Put out your campfire before going to bed. Drench it with water and bury it with sand. That will help prevent the fire from starting again from the embers.

 

4. Fireworks

Fireworks are fun, festive, and a much-loved part of our patriotic celebrations. Yet fireworks send thousands of Americans to the ER  every July. While you can enjoy the public fireworks without too much worry, doing them on your own requires a few additional safety precautions.

    • Buy fireworks from a reputable seller.
    • Store them safely away from children and pets in a locked box in a cool, dry place.
    • Carefully read and understand all instructions.
    • Avoid alcohol while using fireworks. Not only could it impair you, alcohol is highly flammable.
    • Keep onlookers 60 feet away from the place where you’re setting off fireworks.
    • Light one at a time. Light the fuse at the tip, not the bottom.
    • A barbecue lighter works well to help keep fireworks at arm’s length.
    • If a firework does not light, do not attempt to relight it. Wait at least 30 minutes to retrieve any fireworks that did not ignite.
    • Never allow children to handle fireworks. Children ages 8 and older may hold sparklers with proper supervision. Sparklers could easily catch a child’s clothing on fire or cause blindness if in contact with a child’s eyes.

5. Lawnmowers

You may not think it, but your lawnmower is a fire risk. Any lawnmower, electric or gas, can catch fire and ignite items around them including your home. Fires may be caused by leaking fuel or fumes from a gas mower. Electric mowers may short circuit, causing a fire. In addition, a hot mower can ignite dry grass that is packed into it.

    • Start mowing at your house and head away from it. This will reduce the chance that a hot mower is near your home.
    • Never add fuel to a hot motor. Wait until it cools down.
    • Avoid moving in hot, dry, windy weather, or if you do, wet down the grass first.
    • Use a hose to clean out grass from mower blades.
    • Make sure the area you’re mowing is clear of rocks. Even tiny rocks can cause a spark when it strikes the mower’s blades at high speed.
    • Follow your mower’s recommended maintenance plan to ensure everything is in good working order.

6. Recreational Vehicles

Traveling in an RV is a dream. Having a fire in an RV is a nightmare. Powered by propane, a hazardous substance, and electric generators, which produce exhaust gases, RVs can be a fire risk.

    • Make sure you have installed a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and a propane leak alarm.
    • Check the RV’s mechanical and electrical systems to ensure they’re in good working order.
    • Look for frayed electric cords on any appliances in the RV.
    • When cooking, never leave the stove unattended.
    • Store clothes and flammable objects away from the cooking area.
    • Store the propane tank outside, but not in the back or you could be at risk in the event of a rear-end collision.
    • Let the generator cool down before refueling.
    • Add RV coverage to your insurance policy.

 

7. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Systems

During the summer, we run our air conditioning for long periods of time. Hot temperatures can strain air conditioning units. If your system is dirty, it could short circuit, causing a fire to start.

    • Have your HVAC system cleaned at least once a year.
    • Replace vents and exhaust fans as needed.
    • Check your smoke detectors to make sure that they are in working order so they may warn you of a fire.

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

 

 

 

Getting Rid of Humidity in Your Home

Getting Rid of Humidity in Your Home

Summer is here and (unfortunately for most) so is the heat and humidity. But humidity in your home isn’t just uncomfortable. Did you know it can also do some serious damage to your house and your health?

Humidity describes the amount of moisture in the air. When the humidity is high, a hot day feels that much hotter. When there’s too much humidity inside your house or apartment, mold and mildew begin to take hold, rotting the wood and creating the ideal environment for dust mites and other allergens. If you’ve ever noticed a musty odor in your home, chances are you are smelling mold and mildew. And if you have asthma or allergies, this can make your symptoms that much worse.

 

What causes humidity?

Cooking, bathing, washing dishes, and line drying clothes inside can all add moisture to the air inside your home. Leaks in your pipes or cracks around your doors and windows can let in humid air, as can dampness from your home’s crawl space. Even houseplants can create humidity.

 

How can you tell if your home is too humid?

Look for condensation on windows or wet spots on ceilings or walls. You may notice mildew and mold. You also can measure humidity with a hygrometer, available inexpensively online. The ideal humidity indoors is between 30-50%.

 

Tips to reduce humidity

The good news is that you can take steps to decrease the humidity in your home—and improve your air quality while reducing your cooling costs. Here’s how.

Tip #1: Running your air conditioner will help with humidity.

    • Set your air conditioner to “auto” rather than “on.” During the “on” setting, your air conditioner blows air over a wet coil which can create more humidity.
    • Make sure your air conditioner is well maintained. Change the filters. Keep drip pans and drain lines clear and clean.
    • If your air conditioner is too big for your home, it will have shorter cooling cycles. That won’t be enough to reduce your home’s humidity.

Tip #2: Buy a dehumidifier or consider these DIY alternatives.

    • Since lower humidity feels cooler, a dehumidifier will allow you to reduce the use of your air conditioner, thus reducing your cooling costs.
    • Though not as effective as a dehumidifier, you can try DIY versions:
      • A basket or can of charcoal briquettes can absorb humidity in a room. Replace it every 2-3 months. 
      • Rock salt or kitty litter also absorbs moisture in the air. Take two similarly size buckets. Drill holes in the bottom of one. Stack the drilled bucket inside the other bucket – making sure to leave a gap. You may wish to put an object in between the buckets to create that space. Fill the top-drilled bucket with salt or kitty litter. Then, check it every few days. Water will collect in the bottom bucket. Empty as needed.

Tip #3: Fix leaks and gaps.

      • Fix leaky faucets and pipes so there’s no excess water in your home.  
      • Put caulk and weatherstripping around doors and windows to keep cool air in and hot, humid air out.

Tip #4: Create airflow.

      • Install vent fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Keep them on a little longer after showering or cooking. Fans move air around and help with evaporation.
      • Make sure there is ventilation in your attic. A lack of airflow can cause condensation, creating mold growth in your home’s structure.
      • If you have a sealed, unused fireplace, that can cause condensation. Make sure there is airflow or it could affect your walls.

Tip #5: Limit humidity from under your home.

      • Cover dirt floors in your crawl space with a vapor barrier. This piece of plastic will help contain the humidity below your house.
      • Slope the soil away from your foundation so water doesn’t pool underneath your home.
      • Keep gutters and downspouts clear so you don’t have standing water. Extend your downspouts so they flow away from your home.

Tip #6: Be conscious of daily living choices.

      • Instead of hanging clothes inside to line dry, hang them outside (if allowed in your community).
      • Lower the temperature of your showers by a few degrees, and take shorter showers. This will help reduce humidity.
      • Crack the window open during a shower to help release the extra humidity.

Tip #7: Position your house plants to help with humidity.

      • Some house plants produce moisture and others absorb it. A Boston fern will absorb humidity while a spider plant will make it more humid.
      • Move your moisture-producing plants to one room with good airflow or outdoors if possible.

Follow these steps and you’ll soon be enjoying a cooler, more comfortable home.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Insurance You Didn’t Know You Needed

Insurance You Didn’t Know You Needed

You know the basic coverage that comes with your health insurance, car insurance, and home insurance policies. But did you know there are other special insurance policies and add-ons that you could be missing out on? 

If you’re traveling to Mexico, own an older home, a classic car, or have precious family heirlooms, etc., you should increase your protection by looking into purchasing these lesser-known insurance policies and options.

 

1. Mexico Auto Insurance

Planning to travel south of the border? Mexico does not recognize U.S. auto insurance. If you’re driving to Mexico from the U.S. in your own car or a rental, you will need to purchase a tourist auto policy. 

    • A Mexico auto policy will allow you to cover damages if you’re involved in an accident. 
    • If you cannot show proof of Mexican insurance, you can be heavily fined and even arrested. This is true even if you are not at fault for the accident.
    • You can get coverage for the duration of your trip: a few days, a few months or longer. 

 

2. Homes Built Before 1986

Homebuilding has changed over the years. If you’re living in a home built before 1986, it’s likely your house has outdated materials or old-fashioned types of construction. You can get a policy option that helps bring your house up to date if it is damaged.

    • With this type of policy, in the event of a loss, your insurance covers repairs and/or replacement of outdated materials and construction methods.
    • As a result, losses will cost less to settle.  
    • Those repairs and updates will reduce the coverage amount that you need to protect your home.
    • This will ensure you have enough insurance to rebuild.

 

3. Special Computer Coverage

With everyone working remotely this past year, computers have become our lifeline. Consider a special computer coverage option to ensure you are covered for all of your devices: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While homeowner policies typically cover possessions, special computer coverage offers more coverage. 

    • If you accidentally spill a glass of water on your computer, and your computer is damaged as a result, it would be covered. 
    • With this coverage, you will receive more money for your devices if they are damaged than with traditional homeowner’s.

 

4. Scheduled Personal Property Coverage (Rider)

Personal Property, also referred to as “contents coverage,” is the term insurance companies use to collectively define the things you own inside your home. Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) Coverage is for items that have higher values above your personal property coverage limits. This includes:

    • Heirlooms
    • Watches
    • Jewelry
    • Instruments
    • Furs

SPP offers much broader coverage for your precious items – if you misplace a set of earrings, they are covered; if a diamond falls out of a ring, or a guitar neck breaks, they’re covered. There is no deductible if the covered items are stolen, lost, or damaged. SPP provides a replacement for the actual appraised value of the item.

 

5. Classic Car Coverage

Spending time and money on your classic car? Don’t let it go to waste. Make sure it’s protected with classic car insurance coverage. With this coverage, you will pay less than standard auto insurance coverage and you can determine the value, the deductible, and the policy options that work best for you including towing and coverage for lost or stolen parts. There are mileage plans that cover everything from cruising on the weekends to driving to attend auto shows. 

    • Classic Car Coverage is for all types of collectibles – collector trucks, classic and custom motorcycles, kit cars, fire engines, military vehicles, and more.

 

6. Refrigerated Property Coverage

When there is a power outage, the food in your refrigerator could spoil. A standard homeowner’s policy may cover the costs of replacing some of the food. A refrigerated property policy provides additional coverage.

  • A refrigerated property policy adds up to $500 of coverage for property, such as meat that spoils because of a power outage or equipment failure.

 

7. Other Members of Your Household Coverage

Do you have someone living with you who is not a relative, guest, or tenant? You may consider this policy for other members of your household. 

    • If a boyfriend moves in, and he’s not on the lease, it may make sense to add this coverage.
    • This policy adds personal property, liability, and additional living expense coverage for that person.

 

8. Pet Insurance

Our pets are like family and we want to keep them as healthy as possible. Pet insurance can help to offset those veterinary expenses. 

    • Depending on your policy, pet insurance may cover exams, prescriptions, lab tests and x-rays, surgeries, emergency visits, and even cancer. 
    • You make the initial payment and then are reimbursed depending upon the deductible and limits that you have selected.

 

9. Sump Pump Endorsement

If your home is prone to flooding, chances are that you have a sump pump to remove the water. A sump pump/water backup endorsement covers damage if your sump pump fails or something happened to cause water to back up into your home. This damage is not covered under standard homeowner policies.

    • Just a couple of inches of water backup can cause thousands of dollars in damage – ruining carpets, destroying appliances, and crumbling drywall. 
    • This could happen to any system, and especially ones where sewer pipes are old.

 

10. Permitted Incidental Occupancies – Residence Premises (for Home-Based Businesses)

Do you have a home-based business? You may wish to add an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy.

    • This policy covers limited activity for business that takes place in your home or in a detached garage or other building on your property.
    • It protects entrepreneurs, such as teachers offering in-home tutoring or music lessons.

 

11. Earthquake Insurance

Ninety percent of Americans live in areas that are seismically active. If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, you may want to consider this additional coverage.

    • Homeowner, condo, and rental insurance policies typically do not cover earthquakes.
    • Earthquake insurance can help pay for some of your losses.

 

12. Flood Insurance

Floods are expensive. Just a couple of inches of water could cost thousands of dollars in damage to your home and belongings. There are a lot of myths about flood insurance; it’s important to know the facts.

    • Flooding is America’s most common natural disaster. 
    • One in four homeowners will experience a flood during a 30-year mortgage.
    • A flood insurance policy can protect your home and its contents.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

Outdoor Projects for Your Home

Outdoor Projects for Your Home

Summer is a great time to tackle outdoor projects. We’ve highlighted 5 of our favorites—fun and easy DIY ideas that will transform your yard and your summer.

 

outdoor projects

Project #1: Build a hammock stand.

The hammock is a classic addition to any yard. Plus, a project that gives us a reason to nap afterward is okay by us! This hammock stand is light enough to move around the yard. You’ll need to purchase the actual hammock but if you prefer, you could make your own hammock, too. The project requires some knowledge of power tools and saws; if you aren’t used to them, ask for help from an experienced DIYer.

    • You can get some big box stores or lumber yards to cut the wood planks for you.
    • If you don’t have weatherproof wood stain or paint, use regular versions. Just add two coats of varnish.
    • Put your hammock in a shady corner, and preferably one with a view.
    • Make sure to supervise kids in a hammock. Hammocks can be an attractive nuisance where children can get stuck or injured.

 

 

outdoor projects

Project #2: Create a garden path.

A garden path is a beautiful addition to your home and can add curb appeal. While you could create expensive versions with stone or pavers, we’ve chosen an easy and lower cost version that uses gravel as its base. Gravel has several advantages. It works in many different climates. It allows rain to soak through to the ground. It’s also easy to reverse if you decide later to do something else.

    • Gravel comes in different colors. Choose one that complements the color scheme of your house or garden.
    • Include a decorative edge to set off your gravel path.
    • Add flowers along the edges for a pop of color.
    • Add interest with flat stepping stones in the center of the path.

 

 

outdoor projects

Project #3: Build a fire pit.

Gathering around the fire pit is the perfect activity to cap off a summer night. The supplies aren’t necessarily expensive, but they can be heavy so ask for extra help if needed. Make sure the fire pit is a safe distance from the house and away from high grass, bushes, and low-hanging trees. Clear and level the ground. Then build the pit using large and small bricks in a circular shape. Fill it in and edge it with small rocks. Then create a seating area, and let the fun begin.

    • Check your local building codes and requirements so you know what is allowed.
    • Avoid burning treated wood, wet wood, or anything that gives off a gas or dense smoke.
    • Don’t use flammable fluids to start or relight a fire.
    • Check the weather. If windy conditions are forecast, it could be dangerous to light a fire. Embers could easily blow towards your home creating a house fire.
    • Supervise children closely around a fire pit. Do not leave them unattended for any reason.
    • Safely dispose of ashes when you’re done for the night.
    • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
    • Your homeowner’s insurance may require extra coverage. Talk to your agent.

 

 

outdoor projects

Project #4: Build a sandbox.

When you can’t take your kids to the beach, a sandbox is the next best thing. This DIY project is easy to construct and can offer hours of fun. With this sandbox plan, you construct the sides and use the earth for the bottom. Choose the right spot, clear the area and dig down a little bit further into the soil to help keep the walls in place. Then cover it with landscape fabric, assemble the sandbox and fill it with play sand.

    • Add seats by adding 4 triangles to the corners of the sandbox.
    • Add space for a beach umbrella by drilling a hole for a short piece of PVC pipe.
    • Make sure you put the sandbox in a place where you can easily see the children.
    • Cover the sandbox when not in use. Plywood works well. So does a plastic tarp.

 

 

outdoor projects

Project #5: Create a she-shed.

You can turn your storage shed into a fun, livable space, such as a music studio, children’s playhouse, or craft room. You’re only limited by your imagination. Start with a new coat of paint. Caulk any cracks, add insulation and drywall. Hire a subcontractor if you’d like to install electricity, lighting, air conditioning, or heat. Add some furnishings, décor and enjoy!

    • Check with your town to determine if you need a permit for the renovation.
    • If electrical or plumbing work is needed, chances are you will need to get a permit.
    • Consider painting your shed in the same colors as your home for a “mini” version.
    • Find inexpensive décor and furnishings on Facebook marketplace.
    • Make sure you can lock your shed to protect your new living space.

 

If your project increases the value of your home or adds liability, you may need to adjust your insurance. Check with your agent or get a free policy review to find out more.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

 

Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers

Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers

It’s time to make a move. Perhaps you landed that new job and you’re looking to live closer to work. Maybe you’re finally getting that extra square footage—and the backyard—you’ve always wanted. Or maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller rental. Moving is a fact of life. According to the U.S. census, Americans will move approximately 11.7 times during their lifetime.

But the big question is, will you do it yourself? Or will you hire movers? Here’s some guidance so that you can decide.

 

Moving Comparison At-a-Glance

Do-It-Yourself Hybrid Moving Companies
Most affordable Affordable Most expensive
Time-consuming Time-consuming Least time needed
Need help from family, friends Don’t necessarily need help No help needed
Risk of injury, risk of lost or damaged goods Risk of injury, risk of lost or damaged goods Risk of lost or damaged goods

 

Do-It-Yourself Moves

You’re strong and capable. You handle a lot of tough tasks in your life. Why not a move? Do-it-yourself, or DIY, moves are popular because they’re generally less expensive and we all want to save money. If you’re thinking about a DIY move, consider what’s involved in this type of move:

    • You will need time in your schedule. If you don’t have enough time, this type of move is not for you.
    • You will have to do all the organization and packing.
    • You will likely need help from friends and family on the actual move day if not before.
    • You will likely need to rent and drive a moving van or truck. You will have to pay for fuel and tolls.
    • Factor in the time you will need to take off of work when you are moving yourself.

 

Hybrid Options

You don’t have to choose between a DIY move or a moving company. There are options that feature the best of both.

    • Consider paying for labor to help with loading and unloading. Many truck rental companies offer add-ons of labor help. That way, you can do a DIY move with help.
    • You can rent a portable moving container. In this type of move, a company drops the container or pod at your property. You load it up, and the company moves it to the new location, where you unload it.

 

Moving Companies

If you don’t have the time, or if you have a large move to make, hiring a moving company makes sense. Professional movers don’t just do the heavy lifting. They make moving less stressful and more efficient. But their services come at a cost. There are several factors that go into a moving company’s cost estimate:

    • The size and weight of your belongings
    • The travel distance, mileage and fuel, and time
    • Packing and moving supplies if the company is contracted to handle those
    • The moving date (Generally, moves done mid-month and midweek offer the best discounts).

 

What To Consider

Get a written cost estimate from your prospective mover. (We recommend getting at least three cost estimates from three different providers.) Make sure that the mover you choose is licensed and insured. Read the agreement carefully, including the small type, to ensure that there will be no surprises. Beware of moving companies who provide estimates for your move without visiting your home and taking an inventory of your belongings. Watch for movers who ask for cash or a large deposit before the move. You should only pay on delivery.

Most renters and home insurance policies will not cover your belongings while they are being moved. The moving company will offer liability and valuation coverage. You may decide to purchase additional moving insurance from a third-party provider. If you’re considering an interstate move, learn your rights and responsibilities as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Do you need to tip your movers?

Yes, it’s standard practice to tip each person who is moving you. Consumer Affairs recommends tipping 15% to 20% for long-distance or large moves. You can tip less, 5% to 10% for shorter, closer moves. This amount is split among the moving crew, so if your move costs $2,000 and you’re just going across town, plan to tip about $200 total.

 

How to Cut Costs and Save Time on Your Move

    • Hiring a mover? Ask if there are cheaper dates and times to move.
    • Downsize before moving. Donate or sell items that you no longer need or want. That way, you’ll have less to move.
    • Use the buckets, baskets, clean trash cans, and suitcases that you need to move anyway to store items that you want to move. Use blankets and towels, in the same way, to protect and cushion breakables.

Be safe when looking at ways to cut your moving costs. You will often find websites offering helpful tools for moving such as moving cost calculators that require you to enter your information to get the link. What they neglect to tell you is that they will be sharing your information with moving companies. You will start to get calls immediately from dozens of companies trying to sell you services. Think twice about entering your information online.

 

Don’t Forget!

Whether you’re moving from a rental or you own a home, there are apps that can help you to organize your move and take away some stress. Here are some popular ones:

    • MoveAdvisor
    • Moved
    • Dolly
    • Unpackt

And if you’re moving because of work, your moving expenses may be tax-deductible! Keep your receipts and use IRS form 3903 to document your move when you file your taxes.

Here’s to the start of a wonderful adventure in your new home.  Have a safe and successful move.

 

 

This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.

California Casualty

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