Navigating the Thrills and Spills of Insurance

With all of the recent natural disasters you may have taken stock of your own home and thought about what you might do to replace items you might lose in such a scenario. Here is a helpful link from the site United Policy Holders that helps explain how you might go about dealing with such issues.

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United Policy Holders is a non-profit [501 (c)(3)] dedicated to helping consumers successfully navigate various types of insurance to make sure each gets the best deal and fair shake when it comes time to both buying and using insurance. Think of them as a sort of Consumer Reports of insurance.

In fact, here is their mission statement posted on the home page:

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Just to the right of the mission statement is a short list of broad topic areas covered on the site:

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Today let’s focus on what can be done in the event you have to make a claim on your property due to some sort of disaster. They have a detailed, step by step tutorial on how to successfully make claims to replace much of, if not all of, your damaged property here:

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They even offer tools to help inventory your household items in advance to avoid having to complete the arduous task after a disaster has struck. There is even an app to assist in the process, if you get into that sort of thing:
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Another helpful feature I found was an example of an actual letter sent to an insurance company requesting an extension on the time allowed to complete a claim:

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This site offers a wealth of information from which anyone may benefit because nearly all of us have insurance of one type or another. This site aims to help us identify how to proactively take advantage of all our insurance carriers promise and to avoid being taken advantage of by what can be a bloated, dense bureaucracy.

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Handyman Help

Here in Business & Science we regularly get requests for information on home building and repair. Today I will detail a site that can help, as our resources on this topic needs building up.

The site for The Family Handyman magazine is largely free and very helpful for Do It Yourself projects.

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The site is a little ad heavy for my taste, but the good thing about that is the content appears to be free, though I did not exhaustively check out every possible link on the site–there may be some pay areas, but I did not come across any.

The site is organized in a familiar format, with videos, links to full instructions for various projects and the like. I chose this topic:

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All I have to do here is click the link and I can see pictures with detailed instructions on how to stop a running toilet (hint: it does not involve chasing). I can print out the directions, email them or share them to my favorite social media site.

There are many topics from which to choose and they all appear free for the user. They do push subscriptions to their magazine, but it is not particularly obnoxious.

This may be a good resource for us to refer patrons to if/when we cannot locate a book or other tangible item on a particular DIY topic.

National and Shelby County Construction Codes

Shelby County Construction Code Enforcement – Safety standards for Memphis, Unincorporated Shelby County, Arlington, Germantown, and Lakeland, Tennessee.

Memphis and Shelby County as well as the other cities listed above have adopted the following codes. In addition, please see Local Amendments which can be found online at https://shelbycountytn.gov/index.aspx?nid=390

2009       International Building Code – Local Amendments

2012       International Existing Building Code – Local Amendments

2012       International Residential Code – Local Amendments

2009      International Mechanical Code – Local Amendments

2012       National Electrical Code – Local Amendments

2012       (Fuel) Gas Code – Local Amendments

2012       International Energy Conservation Code – Local Amendments

2009      International Joint Plumbing Code – Local Amendments – The Code that is being used by Shelby County.

2012       International Joint Plumbing Code

2009       International Fire Code – inside International Building Code + Local Amendments, written in red letters

2008       National Electrical Code – You must register for free in order to see the Electrical Code online.

2009       International (Fuel) Gas Code

2009       International Energy Conservation Code

2009       American National Standard ICC A117.1 – (Accessible & Usable Buildings & Facilities)

2010       ANSI/ ASME Elevator Code A17.1

International Plumbing Code – IPC

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ibr/icc.ipc.2009.pdf

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ibr/icc.ipc.2012.pdf

The International Plumbing Code is now available online in full text. Shelby County still uses the 2009 edition, but also posted is the 2012 edition, for later information. Both codes are posted as PDF’s and are pretty much a mirror of the print version.

Freesound

http://www.freesound.org/

Freesound is a database of 120,000 sounds, not songs. The sounds can include anything from a pipe banging against the wall to water dripping. Many of the sounds have been used in movies and in ccMixter remixes. Keywords and “sounds-like” type of browsing  are available for searching. From the site, “Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds.”

ifixit – the free manual that you can edit

www.ifixit.com

This website – ifixit – is a great place to look up repair manuals – and edit them yourself. The site includes step-by-step repair guides for computers, game consoles, cell phones, automobiles, cameras, ipads, ipods,  household appliances and other devices. Included in most manuals are pictures and diagrams. Explanations of the pictures are also available. There is also a place to ask questions and get answers to repair issues that you are not able to fix.