RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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Is Earthquake Insurance Necessary?

May 11, 2016 1:09 am

Though an uncommon occurrence, many areas of the U.S. are susceptible to earthquakes. Should homeowners in these risk regions purchase earthquake insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), earthquake damage is not covered under standard homeowners or renters insurance, and, in most circumstances, coverage must be purchased through a supplemental policy.

“All Americans need to be financially prepared, and have an up-to-date home inventory and an evacuation plan,” says Janet Ruiz of the I.I.I. “Purchasing an earthquake policy will protect their home from the disasters that pose a risk to their personal safety and property.”

Generally, the supplemental policy provides coverage for property damage brought on by cracking or shaking—other damage sustained as a result of the quake, such as fire or water damage, is typically covered by the standard policy.

It is important to note that homeowners in California have the option to obtain insurance coverage from the California Earthquake Authority (CEA). The CEA limits coverage to that of the insured value of the home, as stated on the standard homeowners insurance policy.

Earthquake insurance carries a deductible, generally in the form of a percentage of the insured value of the home, rather than a dollar amount. Insurers in states with a higher-than-average risk of earthquakes, such as Nevada, Utah and Washington, often set minimum deductibles at around 10 percent—equal to $10,000 on a home that would cost $100,000 to rebuild. In most cases, homeowners can get higher deductibles.

Only about one in every 10 households on the West Coast has coverage for quake-caused property damage, the I.I.I. reports. Still, earthquake insurance sales have risen, especially in Oklahoma, where fracking-induced quakes have become cause for concern.

“While we’re seeing an increase in earthquake coverage in the most vulnerable states, everyone—no matter where they live—should contact their insurance professional to make sure that they have the right type and amount of insurance,” says Ruiz.

Recently, central states have seen a spike in seismic activity, with a total of 32 quakes registering 4.0 or higher on the Richter scale last year. Umnak Island, Alaska, saw a 6.9-magnitude quake last year—the highest of the year—and a 6.0-magnitude quake hit South Napa, Calif., the year prior.

The costliest-ever earthquake, the 1994 Northridge quake, caused $15.3 billion in insured damages.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Yard Work: Time-Saving Tips from HGTV Experts

May 10, 2016 1:09 am

Ah, yard work. We take pride in our manicured landscapes, but begrudge the work it takes to get them.

“Landscaping is our business and our passion, but we still want to take care of our yard work in a way that makes life easier, so we can spend time doing the other things we enjoy,” explains Chris Lambton, star of HGTV’s “Going Yard.”

Lambton and his wife, Peyton, who also hosts the show, recommend starting your lawn care routine early in the day. This ensures you’ll be working in cooler temperatures, and leaves time later in the day for other activities.

Worried about waking the neighbors? Don’t be, say the Lambtons. The cordless outdoor power tools of today are virtually noise-less compared to gas-powered equipment.

Yard work doesn’t have to be strenuous, either, the Lambtons add. Battery-powered mowers are fume-free, easy to maneuver and lightweight. As with gas-powered mowers, the blade should be adjusted to the correct height for your lawn.

“The height of your mower blade is determined by a combination of factors, including temperature, season and type of grass,” Chris says.

A good rule of thumb: never cut your grass more than one-third of the total height. Any more will leave your lawn susceptible to burnout and weeds.

What about edging? The Lambtons endorse it. They advise edging along driveways, garden areas, patios and sidewalks, either with a trimmer or hardscaping.

If using a string trimmer, walk in the same direction as the machine spins. If it spins counter-clockwise, walk left to right.

“Edging is an important landscape design element that transitions one space to another," says Chris. “When done with a cordless string trimmer, it's a small yard maintenance step that adds huge curb appeal.”

Yard work should also include maintenance of social gathering spaces, adds Peyton. Sprucing up an entertainment area is as simple as tending to the bushes and shrubs surrounding the space.

“Shrubs can grow into your patio, invading your dining and social areas,” Peyton says. “A mid-powered, cordless hedge trimmer is the perfect tool for quick clean-up of the perimeter of a designated party area.”

Clean up any debris once all of the yard work is done, the Lambtons say. This allows for a “clean sweep” that takes less time than cleanup after each chore.

“Remember to look beyond the trimmings that are visible on the ground,” Peyton says. “Use an axial blower behind and on top of the shrubs and hedges you've just trimmed to clear the area of the mess.”

The Lambtons’ litany of lawn care to-dos are put into practice both at home and on the show. Time-saver? Check.

Source: Greenworks™

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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