If a Tree Falls in My Yard… Will Homeowners Insurance Cover It?

We all know that homeowners insurance protects your home and its contents, but what about outside your home? Are trees, landscaping, and outdoor furniture all covered under the same umbrella as the house itself? After all, a fallen tree or a smashed fence after a bad storm can be just as expensive to remedy as a broken window or damaged roof. How do you know what’s covered? Let’s take a look at some typical home insurance policies and see what they cover outside of the home.

Fallen trees cause millions of dollars in damage to homes every year. If a tree falls and damages your home, you’ll almost certainly be covered. Even if it’s your neighbor’s tree, just about any homeowners policy will pay for repair to your house caused by fallen trees or limbs. Most other structures such as detached garages or fences usually will be covered as well.

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Understanding Your Insurance Is Your Responsibility

Insurance is complicated.  I doubt many people in this world would claim otherwise.  But, regardless of how complex it is to understand or figure out, the fact is that you are responsible to understand it.

After all, let’s envision the following conversation between a customer and an insurance agent.

Customer: I see that you denied my claim.
Insurance company: That’s correct, we did.  You weren’t eligible for coverage on that procedure.
Customer: But I didn’t understand the coverage.
Insurance company: Oh, well then in that case, we’ll go ahead and approve it.

If it’s hard to picture that, it’s probably with good reason.  It never, ever happens!

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Getting A Grasp On Life Insurance

My employer changed as of the 1st of the year.  I work in the same job doing the same thing, but we were converted from contract to full time employees.  As such, we were brought onto the benefits program of my new employer, and while the types of offerings were the same (medical, dental, disability, etc.), there were variations in each.  All of them required some level of research and understanding, but none so much as the change involved with life insurance.

My former employee offered coverage that I felt was fully adequate for our needs.  I was allowed to ‘purchase’ ten times my salary as coverage for myself, and was allowed to purchase coverage for my wife up to a fixed amount.  In looking at the ‘what if’ scenarios that you hope never happen, we felt that if either of us died, the payout would offer enough coverage.  The cost in terms of deductions per paycheck was very reasonable.

I always knew in the back of my mind that I would likely need to look at coverage, and when the conversion was announced, and we received information about the offerings, I knew that the day had come to better understand life insurance.

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Stock In Obituaries: Enhancing Your Life By Insuring Someone Else’s

Life insurance is intended to provide for the income lost by a person’s dependents at the time of their death or incapacitation. Typically, responsible family leaders and heads of household obtain life insurance policies for themselves to safeguard the stability of loved ones should their ability to earn an income ever be lost. Life insurance policies can help those going through the most difficult transitions in life endure the process more comfortably and ensure that the crippling loss is not economic as well as emotional.

Having typed that, if you look at it the right way, it’s a bit like hitting the jackpot under the right circumstances. Yes, it is a tragedy when a close family member passes away even with the financial impact of a large life insurance payout, but if a distant, eccentric uncle that you last saw when he was gazing into your bassinet ends up kicking the bucket and leaving you with a pile of cash, it’s not so bad, is it? What if you could take it one step further and simulate the effect yourself? What if…you could take out a life insurance policy on someone you barely know without their knowledge?

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How Do You Find The Best Life Insurance?

Readers, I need some help.  I am looking for your experiences with life insurance.

Long story short, my employer of the past seven years has offered enough life insurance that I have been able to provide enough coverage for both myself and my wife in the event that something happened to either of us.

mb-201312foldersSince we are being in-sourced, my employer will switch on January 1st, so we have all new benefits offerings.

Unfortunately, the maximum coverage available is substantially less for both of us.  The maximum available for me drops 60%, and for my wife it’s worse as her coverage drops 80% with the maximum coverage available.

This leaves a gap, so I’m curious what people out there have done.

I’m 39.  My wife is 31.  We’re both in good health, at healthy weights, and non-smokers.

I’ve done some looking around and I’m just not sure where to go.

Read moreHow Do You Find The Best Life Insurance?

After Fourteen Years, It’s Time For Glasses

In 1999, I got LASIK surgery and said goodbye to glasses for what turned out to fourteen years.  What a good run it’s been.

I originally needed glasses because I had one eye that couldn’t see far away.  It continued to get worse and because one eye had perfect vision, I ended up straining too much, so not only did I have vision issues, but I was getting headaches.

I had glasses for a good part of high school, through college, and for the first three years of my post-college life.  I can’t handle things going in and out of my eye, so contacts weren’t something I was interested in.  Yet it always annoyed me that I had to wear glasses for problems in one eye, and that I was wearing one clear lens.

So, when I heard about corrective surgery, I was intrigued.  Laser surgery had been around for a while, I think it was called RK, but it was pretty basic and I’d heard of various issues surrounding scarring and such.  LASIK was just entering the United States, and was much easier, had virtually no scarring, and produced more accurate results.  I did some homework and found that the procedure had been going on in Canada for awhile, but had only been approved in the United States for a short time.  As such, there weren’t many doctors taking on the surgery, and even fewer who had the level of experience I would be comfortable with.

Read moreAfter Fourteen Years, It’s Time For Glasses

Why Cell Phone Insurance Is A Must Have In Our House

There’s a lot of back and forth on whether purchasing insurance for electronic items is a worthwhile deal.  We have several things with insurance in our house, specifically our flat screen TVs, an exercise bike, and a dehumidifier.  All of these were purchased after careful consideration.  The exercise bike was a replacement of a treadmill that had gone bad and was covered under warranty, so it worked.

One thing we never even question is our cell phones.  Since I switched to a work provided phone, I receive cell phone protection automatically, as I was directed to sign up for it when choosing my plan and such.

But, the ‘must have’ rule applies for my wife.  Why? Well, to put it kindly, things don’t usually end well with her and her phones!

She has the best of intentions, but every insurance we’ve place on her phones has been used at least once.  In the few years we’ve been on a shared plan, she’s had three different phones, and all have been replaced.

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What Does Hernia Surgery Really Cost?

Way back in 1999 and 2001, I went under the knife, both times for hernia repair operations.  Going in for surgery is never fun, but looking back, I’m amazed at how little I thought of the cost of health care in terms of what was a priority and everything else.

The First One: I Didn’t Even Know What Was Wrong

When I had my first hernia, I didn’t even know what I had.  For those who aren’t sure of the exact problem, it’s essentially a tear in your inner lining that typically keeps your intestines in place.  I had a ballpark idea of what a hernia was and I knew how the doctor tested us guys (yes, we do turn our heads and cough), but I didn’t know why I had this big lump that appeared at the bottom of my stomach, and why I could push it in and have it pop out.  It didn’t really hurt, it was just…weird.

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Would You Stop Speeding To Pay Lower Premiums?

I’ve heard more and more stories where insurance companies are getting creative with how they come up with their auto insurance premiums, to where some dynamic factors are brought into play.

Traditionally, insurance premiums are set by fairly static inputs:

  • Where you live – The frequency of crime in your area plays a big role in what you pay for insurance
  • What car you drive – Certain cars are more likely to be robbed and I’ve even heard that certain colors of cars (bright red) have a higher incident of accident, so you could pay more for certain elements
  • How much you drive – Our insurance premium factors in how many miles we put on our car during an average period.  The more you drive, the greater chance you have of an accident, I suppose.

There are things here that are within your control, most namely the type of car and the features you have, but a lot of these factors are probably a bit out of your control.  Most people aren’t going to move so that they can drive a few miles less to work, leading to a few bucks getting knocked off your policy.

But what if there were other factors that could directly impact your prices?

Read moreWould You Stop Speeding To Pay Lower Premiums?

Who Paid For The Flu Shot?

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my wife while I was at work, and she mentioned that she had gone to Target, and had decided to get a flu shot.  We’d never done this before so I was a little curious about how everything went down.

Typically, we get our flu shots in one of two ways:

  • Doctors Office – As part of a checkup, they will usually offer a flu shot during the season.  Our insurance coverage provides 100% payment for routine checkups and immunizations, as long as it’s done through a participating provider, so we have never had any out of pocket costs.
  • Work – The employer I work for actually brings in a couple of nurses for a day, and you can get your flu shot for free.  I’ve done this before, though if I happen to have a checkup scheduled, I’ll usually have it done there to avoid lines and such.

Read moreWho Paid For The Flu Shot?