April 2021

Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Cover All Catastrophes

Congratulations! You're a homeowner! With the pride this accomplishment entails, you've also quickly become familiar with all of the obscure yet critical details, responsibilities and laws it includes. Here's a primer on some items not covered by typical homeowners insurance and what additional policies might be needed to protect your investment.

Earth. Anything that can do the hokey pokey and move your home around; earth movement that lifts, lowers, shifts, sinks, expands or contracts your home is included in this category.

Water. The ultimate "other" category; damage not covered by a standard policy, including items such as sewer main blockages, stormwater and backups from growing tree roots. Also, while damage from an exploding water heater might be covered, you're responsible for the cost to replace the unit.

Maintenance. Become familiar with how insurance views "general maintenance"; items not covered are defined as "neglect" or "failure to properly maintain" your property. This can include rust, rot, mold and general wear and tear. Other notable items include damage from termites, insects, birds or rodents. Depending on your proximity to industrial or agricultural operations, damage caused by smog or smoke may also not be covered.

Prized possessions. Many standard policies only cover losses due to theft up to $1,500. So on top of the emotional damage as an unfortunate victim of burglary, you'll also have to go through the process of replacing precious jewelry and other high-value items. Some of the better policies will cover these items with higher limits. For example, one of our companies will cover jewelry up to $10,000.

If you're a new homeowner or haven't updated your policy in years, it might be time for a second look. Give us a call today, and we'll help to make sure that you're pragmatically protected.

Quick Quiz

Each month I'll give you a new question.

Just send us an email and submit your answer.

The Voyager 1 space probe is the most distant human-made object from Earth.  How far away is it? 

Last month's winners were:
Emalee Mann
Steve Foley
Mayra Mendoza

Baked Pineapple Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

• 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• kosher salt
• freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
• 4 thin pineapple rounds
• 1/4 cup diced red onion
• 2 teaspoons freshly chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a small bowl. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 5 minutes on top side until golden. Remove from heat. Sprinkle seasoning mixture all over.

Sprinkle tops of chicken with one cup mozzarella and most of Parmesan. Place pineapple round on top of each piece of chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through.

Garnish with onion and cilantro and serve.
Worth Reading:
 40 Best Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas (on Every Budget) By Sarah Graves
Money Crashers

Stumped for a gift for your life-giver this Mother's Day? This helpful article shares a wealth of sparkling long-distance/in-home gift ideas no matter your budget. Gifts under $20 include organizing time in nature, a good supply of books and a day off. Gifts in the $20 to $50 bracket include an at-home spa day, a brunch or a hobby gift basket. Discover more here: https://tinyurl.com/worth052021b
 
14 Crazy Facts about Earth You Never Learned in School
By Krista Carothers
Reader's Digest

Boredom begone! This article points out that Earth is almost 4.54 billion years old and offers up some fascinating facts you may not know about our home planet. It covers giant rogue waves almost 100 feet tall, unseen underwater mountain ranges, the ancient Wuda forest and the Yellowstone supervolcano. Prepare to be enthralled: https://tinyurl.com/worth052021c
 

Pioneering Neuroscientist Still Exploring the Brain 70 Years Later

"I'm still nosy, you know. Curious." These are the wise words of Dr. Brenda Milner, one of Canada's leading lights in the field of neuropsychology. For over 70 years, she's continuously broken ground at Montreal's McGill University; the origins of the modern cognitive neuroscience of memory can be traced directly back to her work there. At the age of 102, she's showing no signs of slowing down.

Inquisitive from a young age, she began her higher education studies with a master's degree in experimental psychology at Cambridge, which had a direct impact on the British war efforts at the time. After relocating to Canada with her husband, Peter, she settled in McGill's Department of Psychology in 1950.

Just two years later, she earned a PhD investigating the intellectual effects of temporal lobe damage in humans. This paved the way for her neuropsychology work at the Montreal Neurological Institute shortly after.

Described by Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandle as creating the field of cognitive neuroscience, her fusion of neurology and psychology led to many important landmark discoveries, including hemispheric function in language and the role of frontal lobes in problem-solving.

Milner ascribes her success partly to her natural state as "a noticer." In an interview with Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, she said, "The thing that has driven me my whole life is curiosity. I am incredibly curious about the little things I see around me." Perhaps it is this innate sense of wonder and love of learning that is the key to a long and active life.

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Restoring Biodiversity: Tiny Forests Have Mighty Impact

When it comes to boosting biodiversity and creating green spaces, the West has taken inspiration from the East. Utilizing the methods of one of Japan's most respected botanists, organizations in Europe are creating tiny forests that thrive amidst urban landscapes.

Holland's Tiny Forest Initiative and Urban Forests, based in France and Belgium, have taken a sustainable leaf out of Akira Miyawaki's book to create small but mighty woodlands in their local areas. In 1970, Miyawaki discovered that the trees around his homeland's religious shrines tended to be native species, but he later found that only 0.06 percent of Japanese forests were made up of indigenous trees.

In response, he pioneered a method of restoring native forests on deforested or degraded plots of land. The Miyawaki Method created more than 1,700 forests throughout Asia, a staggering 96.7 percent of which developed resilient ecosystems in less than 10 years.

The method serves as a blueprint for volunteers in Europe, who plant clusters of indigenous seedlings that grow to become fully fledged and biodiverse ecosystems. Even in areas as small as a tennis court, these tiny forests restore soil, preserve water and air quality and attract flora and fauna. Since these small green spaces grow 10 times faster and are 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse than a conventional plantation, they are a sustainable way to combat climate change, foot by foot.

The small-scale patches of greenery aren't just pleasant spots for insects and small mammals but for people, too, often serving as meeting places for local communities.

Ways to Honor Military, Veterans & First Responders

On the last Monday in May, the American public remembers men and women who bravely gave their lives while serving in the military. Memorial days like this are common across the world, and many people visit cemeteries and ceremonies to remember those they've lost as well as those they never knew. In the spirit of such patriotism and remembrance, here are a few ways you can honor your country's serving military members, veterans and the fighters on everyday front lines, first responders.

Say thank you. It may seem obvious, but how rarely do you think these often-unsung heroes hear words of appreciation? Politely share your thanks when the opportunity arises. It's a simple way to express your gratitude and acknowledge their sacrifices.

Listen. When directly engaging with military personnel or first responders, listen to their experiences and learn what their jobs entail. It's a meaningful way to engage and gain a better understanding of what you're grateful for.

Send a care package. Veterans are often some of the most vulnerable members of society, so get in touch with a local veteran's charity and arrange to send a thoughtful care package filled with small gifts or snacks. Add in a handwritten note they can treasure for years to come.

Organize a hometown fundraiser. Recognize your public safety heroes with a virtual event, such as an online concert, game night or virtual marathon. For more virtual fundraising ideas and how to pull them off, visit https://tinyurl.com/ideas0521. Link up with a local first responders charity and donate the proceeds to help at a grassroots level.

Vote! One of the best ways to honor service members is to stay informed on the issues that affect them and use your democratic vote to support those issues.