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Animal Invasion? You May or May Not Be Covered

| April 01, 2019

Your dog ate your couch. Birds destroyed your gutter. A family of racoons overran your garage.

Will your homeowners insurance cover these animal invasions?

Yes and no. Here’s the scoop:

Infestation: If your home suffers damage at the hands (or legs) of insects, rodents, or vermin, the cost probably won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance. Whatever damage these unwanted guests cause, including nesting and infestation, is not usually covered. However, this varies by policy, so be sure to check with your insurance agent to confirm.

Destruction: If your personal property is destroyed by an animal, this usually does not fall under your homeowners policy coverage. If the animal damages the property itself, this is probably covered. So, if a bear breaks into your garage and mauls your tools, you might be on your own to replace your saw, but the damage Mr. Grizzly caused to the garage door should be covered.

Liability: Coverage for damages caused by pets varies based on where the damage occurs. If your cute kitten ruins your new loveseat, you’ll have to hold Fluffy responsible. Your insurance company probably won’t pay for that. But if you bring Fido to your friends’ house and he eats their loveseat, the liability portion of your policy will kick in and cover this damage.

Do you have concerns about potential animal-related damages? Let us help you review your policies and determine what specific coverage is best for you and available in your area.


Memory Brain Training: From Sieve to Steel Trap

Some instances are easy to laugh off. Forgetting an appointment or misplacing one’s keys can be filed under “being forgetful.” But a leaky memory isn’t funny when those misplaced dates and items are of great importance, or when the forgetfulness becomes chronic. Fortunately, there’s good news for sufferers of poor memory: it can get better. With the right techniques, it’s possible to train your brain and improve your memory. Try these tips:

Use imagery: Memory athletes (yes, it’s a thing) use this trick to make words stick. Next time you’re trying to remember an important date or someone’s name, picture it as an over-the-top image. For example, imagine “April 20” exploding out of a confetti cannon.

Resist the urge to Google: Anything we could ever want to know is just a couple of taps away. But constantly using a search engine to remember facts and figures that we’ve forgotten is making our brains lazy. Next time you’re stuck, wait it out and work your brain to remember.

Create a memory palace: A memory palace is a real physical location or route that is familiar to you, where you can “store” words and dates to remember later. For example, if your memory palace is your jogging route and you want to remember your credit card numbers, you might imagine your Visa number scrawled on the bench you stretch on and your Mastercard number posted on the billboard you pass by on your run.

Practice: As with physical exercise, consistency is key. Practice recalling directions, phone numbers, and important dates in the shower or during your commute.


Medical Tourism: Are the Savings Worth the Risks?

Medical tourism is a term that describes the increasing practice of traveling abroad for surgery. Due to the increasing cost of surgery in the United States, the number of Americans choosing this option continues to grow.

Patients Without Borders estimates that about 1.4 million Americans went outside the U.S. for medical care in 2016. Cosmetic surgery, heart transplants, and orthopedic surgery are among the most popular treatments sought by medical tourists.

If you become one of these travelers, you’ll want to understand the pros and cons of traveling abroad for surgery.

The number one reason people travel for surgery is cost. In Brazil, you can save 20 to 30 percent of the cost for surgery in the U.S. In Thailand, savings range from 50 to 75 percent. Mexico offers 40 to 65 percent savings. India offers the highest range of savings, from 65 to 90 percent.

Other positives of traveling abroad for surgery include receiving a treatment not yet approved in the U.S. and experiencing shorter wait times for surgeries.

Keep in mind that traveling abroad for medical care also comes with risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautions that medication may be subpar. Additionally, some countries may not screen their blood supply as well as the U.S. does, putting you at risk for infectious diseases. Errors can also result from language differences. Lastly, other countries may use unsafe practices, such as reusing needles, which could also expose you to risk.

For suggestions to overcome these risks, visit the CDC website.

Worth Reading

14 U.S. Cities with a European Vibe

By Caroline Bologna

HuffPost US

Can’t afford the airfare to the Netherlands? Consider visiting Holland, Michigan, or Pella, Iowa. Both feature tulip festivals and Dutch architecture. They’re just a couple of the many U.S. towns and cities that resemble European locales. Some are large, like New Orleans, while others are not. New Glarus, WI, with a reported population of around 2,000, boasts the title “America’s Little Switzerland,” and even has a Heidi Festival to prove it. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth04191

The Things in Your Bathroom You Should Get Rid of Immediately

By Kelsey Ogletree

Real Simple

Consider what really belongs in the bathroom, and put this space at the top of your decluttering efforts. Toss what can’t be used. Expired medications need to be thrown out. Remember, there are other places to store extra towels and makeup bags. And it may be a good place to catch up on reading, but the bathroom shouldn’t double as a library. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth04192

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Odors in Your House

By Amanda Garrity

Good Housekeeping

Baking soda remains the key ingredient to removing odors throughout your home. This versatile substance can freshen mattresses, carpets, and beds for pets. Lemons are also helpful when removing foul smells, especially in the microwave or on wooden cutting boards. Sometimes prevention is free and easy. According to this list, simply keeping your closet door open reduces the chances of bad odors. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth04193


Modern Homes Can Outsmart Disaster

The internet of things has taken home protection to the next level, empowering homeowners with new tools to keep their homes and loved ones safe. While homeowners might not be able to prevent every disaster, these innovative smart home features can reduce their risk.

Fire Alerts
Traditional smoke detectors are helpful for alerting residents to a fire. This is great if someone is home. What happens when no one is around to hear the alarm?

With smart fire detectors, the homeowner can receive an alert via a Wi-Fi-connected device anywhere in the world. This can decrease emergency response time, potentially reducing damage to the home.

Water Alerts

One of the most common homeowners insurance claims is water damage. Burst pipes and leaky appliances can cause extensive damage to a home. Smart leak-detection sensors can mitigate or even prevent these calamities. The sensor will alert homeowners immediately when a leak is detected, allowing them to take action to stop the water invasion.

Burglar Alerts
Smart technology has enhanced security measures on many fronts. Homeowners can keep tabs on their property by monitoring video surveillance from anywhere, deter thieves with timed lighting, and use smart door locks to maintain tighter security of their entryways. Plus, affordable, wireless technology makes installing security systems easier than ever before.

Smart Devices
Technology is becoming so prevalent that there are few items that aren’t available with smart features these days. Appliances offer improved safety and efficiency. Garage doors are better at detecting motion. High-tech irrigation systems can prevent overwatering and flooding. From attic to basement, homeowners can access a host of smart features to protect their homes and prevent insurance claims.

Don’t hesitate to reach out so you can learn more about how you can prevent disaster in your home. Be sure to ask about any discounts you may be eligible for if your home is equipped with smart technology.  


Simplify Your Days in Three Easy Ways

Too many appointments to keep? Too many possessions to take care of? Too much to do and too little time to do it? Simplify your life and lose the stress. There is a psychological cost for every obligation. Does it feel like your account is nearly empty or will soon be overdrawn? It’s called stress. Fortunately, with careful planning, stress can be reduced. Here are three ways to alleviate the pressure:

Declutter: Attack one room at a time. Begin with your closet. Anything you haven’t worn in over a year is unnecessary. Donate it or discard it. Then survey one room at a time with the same strategy: declutter and donate or discard. You’ll feel a lot lighter when this decluttering is complete.

Manage your finances: Write down your monthly expenses and examine the list to reveal where corners can be cut. Create a realistic budget that covers expenses and allows for some regenerating “me time” activities. You’ll feel empowered and energized knowing your finances are under control.

Take a breather: A racing mind can be destructive. Letting go and slowing down are freeing and refreshing. Try meditation, tai chi, or yoga to rest and rejuvenate. You’ll be psychologically healthier for it.

Beat the Rush with This Scheduling Secret

People often suggest setting your clock five or ten minutes ahead so you leave home early. The goal is to beat traffic and ensure you get to work on time.

A similar method can help you secure a table at a restaurant, even at the most popular establishments.

Restaurant owners and frequent patrons agree: arriving 10 or 15 minutes before the top of the hour can increase your chances of getting a good table and receiving your meal faster. Many people schedule their meals for the beginning of the hour: noon for lunch, 6 p.m. for dinner, and 7 p.m. for dessert. This can lead to long, crowded waits.

If you arrive a few minutes before the rush starts, you can be seated as others arrive. A caution: this works best with punctual groups.


Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes on memory:

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

Abraham Lincoln

Memory . . . is the diary that we all carry about with us.

Oscar Wilde

There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.

Josh Billings

Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.

Tennessee Williams

Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.

Michel de Montaigne