Retirement & Financial Planning Report

When insuring the contents of your home, make sure that your policy offers “replacement value” and not “cash value.” The cash value of an item might is the current resale value; the replacement value of an item is how much it will cost you to go to the store and buy a new one.

A TV you bought several years ago may have a scant cash value now. However, replacing that TV with a comparable model is sure to cost you much more.


When you insure the contents of your home, the insurance company will ask you for a complete inventory, including details such as brand names, estimated worth, details of purchase, etc. The easiest way to gather this documentation is to walk through your house with a video camera, describing the items and showing receipts.

Some preventative maintenance can save you the money you’d pay in deductibles and cut future increases in your insurance premiums.

* Check your fire alarms. Clean smoke detectors with a vacuum cleaner and replace any that are over 10 years old. There are more fires in the winter than any other time of the year because fireplaces and heating systems get more use.

* Increase insulation. Buying more insulation for your attic floor can minimize the amount of warm air that rises to the roof. Minimizing warm air, in turn, helps to prevent snow melting on your roof and then re-freezing at the edges, where it’s colder. If that ice builds up, it will block more water from draining, eventually forcing it under your roof and into your attic or walls.

Extra insulation will help cut heating bills, too.

* Keep your gutters clear. Again, this prevents “ice damming.” Gutter guards, available at most hardware stores, can help keep gutters from clogging.