Trends – Homeowners Insurance Tips and News Fri, 28 Jun 2013 15:01:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 50 Landscaping Sites for Help and Inspiration Fri, 16 Apr 2010 15:02:15 +0000

Landscaping your property is the absolute best way to improve the “curb appeal” of your home. Whether you’re looking to improve the property value, or you just want to make your lawn & gardens look nice, it sure isn’t easy. It’s tough enough coming up with inspiration for the look you desire that will work with the challenges of the land you’re working with. What makes it more difficult is the up-keep and knowledge that must go along with it. We’ve compiled a list of our top 50 favorite sites to help you with inspiration and information for making your property the talk of the neighborhood:

Professional Landscaping

1.      Green Bay Nursery: Landscaping and gardens

2.      Backyard Oasis: Designer landscape and swimming pool creations.

3.      Partridge Design: Fine landscaping design since 1977.

4.      Clearwater Summit Group, Inc.: Residential landscaping services – Commercial, Residential, Renovations, Other Landscaping Projects.

5.      Hanselman Landscaping: Garden Design and Installation, Japanese Gardens, Garden Care, and Specialty Trees.

6.      Garden Designer: Landscape and garden design and ideas.

7.      Landscaping Blog | Landscape Design: Landscaping and garden design ideas.

8.      Landscape – Urbanism: Focus is on landscaping and vegetated architecture, urbanism, green roofs, living walls, and ecological planning.

9.      Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping Blog: Santa Cruz backyard landscaping designs.

10.  Elizabeth Carmel’s Landscape Photography Blog: Fine Art Landscape Photography.

11.  House Landscaping Ideas: Ideas for house, front yard, and backyard landscaping and free landscaping software.

12.  Unique Landscaping: Specializes in luxury pools and landscaping designs.

13.  Matt Anders Landscaping Blog: Landscaping guide, Austin, TX.

14.  O’ Connell Landscape: Design and build landscape contractor.

15.  Studio G: Landscaping design products, inspirations, ideas, and destinations journal.

16.  Exterior Worlds: Home and garden landscaping.

17.  Tree Hugger: Green resources.

18.  Land+Living Network: A modern world’s lifestyle and design.

19.  Free Soil: International collection and collaboration of everything landscape and environment.

20.  Plant NJ: Swimming pools and landscaping design and construction.

21.  Our Gardner: Horticulturists working as residential estate gardeners.

22.  Glorious-Landscape: Landscape fine art photography.

23.  Garden Visit: Find gardens, garden tours from around the world, and trip planner.

24.  Great-Landscape-Photography: Great landscape photography guide.

25.  Copy Landscape Blog: Texas landscaping design horticulturist.

26.  Solid Ground: Specializes in high-end commercial and residential landscaping.

27.  Garden Minnesota: Expert outdoor living landscapers.

28.  Digital Landscaping: Landscaping design, land art and training.

29.  All States Landscaping: Transforming Utah’s landscape since 1985.

30.  HLI: Houston Landscape Images uses your vision to design your landscape.

31.  Fine Gardening: Plant guide, design ideas, how to’s, videos, discussion and gallery.

32.  CalFinders: Connecting homeowners with contractors nationwide.

33.  Sounds Green: Landscaping lifestyles blog.

34.  Nations Harvest: Lawn Care Fundraiser.

35.  Green Landscaping: Sustainable green landscaping.

36.  Go Green Tool Shed: Ecological landscaping and going green.

37.  The Greenview Spring: All things green and garden resource.

38.  Lawn Care Landscape: Affordable, Eco-friendly professional lawn care for Ohio residents.

39.  The Lawn Blog: Fun, current information for the lawn and “green” industry.

DIY Landscaping

40.  CURBappeal: Living luxuriously on a limited budget.

41.  Backyard Landscape Ideas: Tips, Ideas, Resources, and How To’s.

42.  Go Green! Blog: Landscape supply helping people beautify the planet and their yards.

43.  Green Industry Pros: Tips, lawn equipment sales and repair.

44.  Farmington Gardens: Front yard and backyard gardening for beginners – vegetables and fruit trees.

45.  Front Porch Ideas and More: Porch and yard curb appeal landscaping.

46.  Savvy Landscaping: Tips, ideas, and tricks for adding curb appeal to your landscape.

47.  Black Forrest Co.: Beginner to expert designs specialized for the DIY landscapers.

48.  Danny Lipford: Home improvement advice.

49.  Great-Backyard-Landscaping-Ideas: Ideas, tips, landscaping information, and news letter.

50.  Landscaping Videos: Landscaping videos, plans, and pictures.

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Insurance Companies Hang Customers Out to Dry Fri, 15 Jan 2010 16:03:25 +0000 clotheslineDealing with your insurance company can be something of a crap shoot. You never really know ahead of time how things are going to go. You might get lucky, and not have the homeowners insurance company make too big a fuss about your claim and just award you the damages you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.

Dragging Chains Across the Roof

Take, for example, the Sherrills of Gainseville, Georgia. Back in June of 2008, their home underwent a violent storm that produced hail the size of golf balls. The roof to the home was damaged, and they immediately called their insurance company.

The insurance company adjuster disagreed with what happened. The adjuster claimed that the damage had occurred “where somebody dragged chains” across the roof. Allstate, the couple’s homeowners insurance provider, initially paid just $70.53 on the claim.

The Sherrills, of course, didn’t take the matter lying down. They filed a complaint with the authorities in their state. It took nearly a year, plus damage estimates, photographs and even hiring of an independent inspector to get the insurance company to relent. Eventually, 11 months after the initial storm the Sherrills were paid $11,882 by the homeowners insurance company.

The Sherrills weren’t alone, however. Sticking in the same state, Georgia, statistics show that complaints to the Department of Insurance nearly doubled between the years 2007 and 2009. Specifically, complaints where the insurance company claimed that the damage to a home was caused by something other than what it was went up by as much as four times.

A Disturbing Trend

All across the country, homeowners insurance companies are tending toward being more adversarial with their customers, which is obviously not a positive trend. Insurance adjusters are following stricter standards than they have in the past.

In some cases, customers have been loyal to an insurance company for decades, only to find that their first and only claim with the company is denied.

For some folks, unforeseeable problems, like the recent issues involving insurance claims for Chinese drywall used in the construction of their homes has even led to cancellation of their insurance policies.

Consumer Tenacity is Key

The key to resolving this kind of insurance issue seems to be tenacity. For customers that follow up with their state departments of insurance and continue to press the insurance company for a satisfactory answer, the chances that things will work out all right exponentially grows.

Photo via Number Six (bill lapp)

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