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Landscaping Losses: Are They Covered by Insurance?

| May 01, 2019

Your neighbor’s teenager drove over your beautiful flower beds. That old oak finally fell, and it took out your fence on its way down.

If a disaster hits your landscaping, is this covered by homeowners insurance? In many cases, yes. As part of your home, your landscaping is often covered by your homeowners policy, but not always. Here’s the scoop:

Plant perils: Homeowners policies typically cover costs to replace plants, trees, and shrubs that are damaged by fire, lightning, vandals, or someone’s else’s vehicle. However, damage caused by weather and pests, such as flooding, wind, and insects, often is not covered by homeowners insurance.

Tree tragedies: Tree coverage can be a bit tricky. Coverage varies depending on the specifics of the situation. If a tree falls on a structure, your policy may provide coverage for the cost of removing the tree and the repairs to the structure. If it falls without damaging anything, you may have to pay for the tree removal yourself. Additionally, your coverage probably won’t pay to replace the tree in either situation.

Landscaping limits: As with most policies, homeowners insurance usually has limits on the landscaping coverage provided. Often, this limit is a certain percentage of the dwelling protection. The policy may also limit how much can be spent on each replacement plant. It may be possible to extend your coverage to include higher amounts and additional circumstances.

Reach out to our office to determine whether you’d like to expand your landscaping coverage. A quick review of your policy will reveal what protection you’re currently offering your plants.


How to Unleash Your Creative Genius

“Creative types” are a myth. It’s not because they don’t exist. It’s because we’re all creative. Some of us simply lose touch with our creative sides along the way.

We don’t all have to be artists and writers, but there are benefits to taking up creative endeavors. They help us express ourselves, relieve stress and anxiety, and give us a sense of freedom.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve doodled, painted, or written freely, you simply need to spark your creativity. Here are four ways to do so.

Put your phone away. Boredom or free time is great for getting creative, but we’ve gotten so used to taking out our phones whenever we have a free second. Try a digital detox for a few hours or a few days and see what happens.

Listen to or watch something creative. A documentary about an artist or chef or a TED talk by a creator can be a great way to inspire your own creative thoughts.

Go outside. Head out into nature for a walk or jog, or just to sit and reflect. Natural beauty and wildlife can help lift a creative fog.

Just do it. Set aside some time and grab a notebook and a pen, or watercolors and a canvas. Then dive in. Don’t think about what you’re going to write, sketch, or paint; just start and see what happens.

If you practice these techniques, you might be surprised at the creative juices that start to flow!

Why Buy a Term Life Insurance Policy?

Term life insurance (life insurance that is in effect for a limited period of time instead of your entire life) can sometimes be the right answer.

Before covering the why, let’s review how term life insurance works.

Let’s say you have a term life policy for $500,000 with a “term” of 15 years. If you were to die on the last day of the fourteenth year, your beneficiary would receive the policy amount of $500,000. If you were to die two days later, your beneficiary would receive nothing.

Why would anyone want a life insurance policy like that?

There are some good reasons. Two top the list: it covers your needs, and it’s affordable.

It Covers Your Needs

Sometimes, when you buy life insurance, you’re protecting your loved ones from

the many unknowns that could negatively affect them if you die prematurely. The policy payout may replace your income, pay off the mortgage and the auto loan, and fund your children’s college education, for example.

Other times, you don’t have such generalized needs. If your spouse works, and your children are in high school, your spouse’s salary may cover the daily expenses if you die. You simply need to ensure that if you die within the next 10 years, there will be enough money to see your children through college.

In that case, a 10-year term life insurance policy might be all you need.

In other words, term life insurance is a simple solution for a specified risk.

It’s Affordable

The other reason people choose term life insurance is that it’s affordable.

Because the insurance company is taking on less risk, it can afford to offer you lower premiums. You get the most amount of coverage for the least amount of money up front. And there’s nothing wrong with choosing term insurance because it’s cost-effective. After all, why pay for more than you need?

Worth Reading

New Uses for Things in Your Office

By Real Simple staff

Real Simple

Home offices sometimes become gathering places for miscellaneous household items. Before tossing items, watch this slideshow for advice about recycling them. Learn how to use elastic bands to label sandwiches and adhesive gift tags on file folders. Have an extra pitcher you’ve never used for beverages? Put pencils and other office supplies in it instead. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth05191


What to Do When You Lose Your Job

By Alison Doyle

Career Toolbelt

It’s sad but true: most people will lose a job, in some way, at some point in their working life. It can be jarring, and you may feel ill-prepared about how to proceed. Check out this article. It gives more than generic advice about writing resumes or preparing for interviews. It groups related items of advice together, lists things in the order in which you should do them, and provides further resources. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth05192


What to Wear to Work—Tips for 4 Types of Office Dress Code Policies

By Jacqueline Curtis

Money Crashers

Businesses don’t always do a good job of explaining what’s required by different dress codes. The lack of clarity leaves employees wondering what to include in their professional wardrobe. This article does a great job of describing what men and women should wear in different work environments, and gives suggestions about sensitive topics like hair length and tattoos. More: https://tinyurl.com/worth05193

What Is Gap Insurance, and Do I Need It?

Have you ever purchased a brand-new car? It had that new-car smell. The odometer readout was near zero.

The paint was bright and shiny. You were excited to drive off the lot and put the first miles on your untainted vehicle.

Guess what else happened as you drove off that lot? The vehicle started depreciating. According to Kelley Blue Book, most cars lose about 20% of their value in the first year.

This rapid depreciation could pose a problem for insurance claims. If your initial deposit on the car was small, the loan amount that you owe may be higher than the value of the car.

If your vehicle suffers extensive damage have paid down that loan), your insurance coverage may not provide enough to pay off the vehicle. Why? A standard auto policy typically covers the depreciated value of the car. In other words, it will pay what the car is currently worth on the market when you make your claim.

If this amount is less than what you owe on the car, gap insurance comes into play. It will cover this difference (the gap).

This extra coverage can be helpful in several circumstances.

Long-term financing: If you financed a vehicle for 60 months or longer, you might need gap insurance to provide adequate coverage.

Leasing: If you lease a vehicle, gap insurance is often required as part of the lease agreement.

Lost value: Some cars depreciate faster than others. If your model depreciates faster than average, gap insurance could prove useful.

Low down payment: If you put less than 20% down on the vehicle, this insurance will help cover the gap between the value and the balance of your loan that will most likely exist for a while.

Are you unsure whether you need gap insurance? Contact our office to review your current auto policy and determine whether this coverage makes sense for you and your vehicle.

Hosting Tips to Enhance Your Hospitality

The secret of a successful party is comfort—yours and that of your guests. Yet all too often we are so concerned about doing everything right that hosting turns into a stress fest. When you are the host, you want your friends to feel welcome and at home. Everything you do in preparation for the event is in service of that goal, and the less you fuss, the better it is for everyone. See if these tips make hosting easier next time.

No one wants to feel uncomfortable because they can’t eat what you have prepared. Reach out ahead of time and ask about food allergies or restrictions.

The day before, text or email your exact address and easy directions. 

Make the table pretty without a lot of fuss. Flowers add color and warmth to the setting, but keep arrangements low so they don’t interfere with conversation. Soft music is a lovely addition. Instrumental or easy listening is usually best.

Prepare a meal you’ve made successfully before, so you’re confident about the outcome. Keep it simple. Serve a pleasing dessert (or maybe two) to complete the meal sweetly.

And relax! Remember, hospitality is all about comfort. With less stress, you’ll be a great success, and your guests will feel sincerely welcomed.

Household Chores: How Often Should I…

The thought of spring cleaning may make you want to hibernate. It doesn’t need to be this way. It might help to determine what chores need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly. Use this as a guide.

Daily: Make your bed. Wash dishes after every meal or at the end of each day. Clean spills and messes as needed.

Weekly: Bedsheets and pillowcases should be washed weekly. Towels should be cleaned at least once a week, if not more. Clean sinks, bathtubs, and toilets each week. High-traffic areas should be vacuumed once a week; sweep and mop at this time, too.

Monthly: Each month, organize bedroom drawers and closets and clean the inside of the refrigerator, garbage cans, and recycling bins. To make monthly chores less overwhelming, do them throughout the month: pick a different chore for each week.

Worth Quoting

This month, some famous quotes on creativity:

Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.

Ken Robinson

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.

Brené Brown

Negativity is the enemy of creativity.

David Lynch

It’s impossible to explain creativity. It’s like asking a bird, “How do you fly?” You just do.

Eric Jerome Dickey

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.

Bill Moyers