Reduce Your Texas Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto Insurance

When it comes to purchasing auto insurance, having options can be a very important way to save money. Putting money back in your pocket is one of our primary goals.  We know and understand the auto insurance market.  This allows us to provide you with the best possible combination of pricing, coverage and service.

Auto insurance rates differ from company to company, so it really pays to have us shop your insurance. Some markets offer better rates for trucks, RV and campers, while others can offer better rates for motorcycles.

How to reduce your auto premium

There are many things you can do to keep your auto rates at the lowest level possible.

Review your deductibles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your Collision and Comprehensive costs by 15 to 20 percent.

Encourage your student driver to get the best grades possible. Most major insurance companies offer a discount for students in good academic standing.

Select a safe car. Check out which cars are popular with thieves and avoid them. Also, the more expensive the car, the higher the premiums.

Be a safe driver. The more accidents and tickets you have, the higher the premiums will be.

Purchase a car with an alarm or LoJack. LoJack® Stolen Vehicle Recovery System provides car owners with peace of mind knowing that if their vehicle is stolen, they have the best chance of getting it back.

Be loyal. Many auto insurance companies offer loyalty discounts if you stay with them over time.

Check for other auto insurance discounts. These might include taking safe driver courses, senior discounts and more.

You might be able to pay less for your car insurance premium and not even know it. So it pays to connect with us to review your insurance needs.

How Best To Insure Your Home

Many people look to save a few dollars on their home insurance premium by insuring their home for less than its replacement value. While this may save a few dollars now, it will cost you thousands later. Your homeowner’s insurance policy, if it is written correctly, can repair and or replace your current home with “new” like kind and quality materials. Amy Bach, executive director of the consumer advocacy group United Policyholders, says one 2019 study found that two-thirds of U.S. homes are underinsured. Why? For one thing, many homeowners buy only enough insurance to cover the amount of their mortgage. But the mortgage may be, at most, 80 or 90 percent of the value of the house, depending on the original down payment (less, if the home has appreciated in value).

Key Terms

Market Value is the amount you might sell your home for based on real-estate conditions in your area.

Appraised Value is the term that describes what the local government uses to determine your property taxes.

Replacement Value is the amount it would cost to rebuild your home with like kind and quality. The replacement cost, however, is based on the total cost of labor, activities, and materials to put the structure back to the way it was before the damage. This would include costs related to clearing and cleaning up the damage debris -activities that precede the actual build-out of the home.

Replacement Cost Considerations

There are a number of factors that go into determining your home’s replacement value, including:

Type of construction quality

Materials used in the construction

Size of your home

Location

Your lot configuration, (hillside or flat)

Are there any unique materials, like imported stone, marble, etc.?

The overall quality of construction—is your home average construction or high-end?

The average cost per square foot for new construction in your area.

We always recommend you insure your home to the full replacement values and have an inflation cost factor added annually.

 

How To Win The Identity Theft War

You’ve probably heard about identity theft on television or read about it in the newspaper, and you may already be aware of the damage these crimes can cause victims and their families. What you may not know is how to protect yourself from these attacks. Below you’ll find ten steps that can help you minimize your chances of becoming another identity theft statistic.

Invest in a shredder – Never throw anything away without shredding it first. Identity thieves will dig through dumpsters and trash bags looking for credit card receipts, voided checks, paid bills, credit card offers, and other items that provide them with your personal information.

Mail everything from the post office – Leaving your outgoing mail in or on your mailbox is an invitation to have it stolen by an identity thief. Not only can they get all of your personal information from the check, but they can even alter the check and cash it themselves. Instead, drop it by the post office or another mailbox.

Use a post office box – Incoming mail is also a target for identity thieves. Your bills, checks, even junk mail can be used by these thieves to steal your personal information. If you have a post office box, then your mail will be delivered safely to that box.

Have a non-published phone number – Some identity thieves will also use the telephone in an attempt to get your personal information. For example, one scam involved a caller telling a person he or she had won a government grant that was going to be directly deposited into their checking account.

Check your accounts weekly – If you don’t already, you need to get in the habit of checking the balances of all your financial accounts on a weekly basis. Waiting for monthly statements isn’t good enough because by then, your account could have been completely drained.

Check your credit report yearly – Every year, you should request free copies of your credit report and check them for any errors, such as credit cards or loans you never took out. If you find out now that someone is using your identity, you can start correcting the problem before you need to use your own credit.

Memorize PIN numbers and passwords – Never write down your PIN numbers or passwords. No place is a safe place to keep these important pieces of information.

Keep only basic information on checks – Your checks should only include basic information about you, such as your name and address. Your social security number should never be printed on your checks. If it is, then you’re basically handing over the keys to your identity to any thief who comes in contact with your check.

Eliminate unwanted credit card offers – Those credit card offers you throw away can be used by identity thieves.

Carry only necessities – Never carry anything in your purse or wallet that isn’t necessary, such as extra deposit slips, social security cards, birth certificates, etc. The more personal information your purse or wallet contains, the more valuable it will be to an identity thief if it is lost or stolen.

Go electronic – Bank statements, most bills, and many other documents can all be viewed electronically, so you never have to worry about them being stolen out of your mailbox or your trash. Contact your financial institution, credit card companies, and utility providers about the availability of this option. As an extra bonus, many of these businesses offer incentives to individuals who sign up for these electronic programs.

While these steps can’t guarantee you won’t have a identity theft issue, it can help reduce the likelihood of having one.

How To Prepare For Holiday Home Safety

 

The Holidays are almost upon us, and if you have been to any department store, the sounds of Christmas are ringing out. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 400 homes are destroyed annually by causes related to Christmas tree fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hospital emergency rooms treat over 12,900 people each year for injuries such as falls, cuts and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. Before you put up the lights or cut down the tree, we wanted to provide you with a few safety reminders to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

The Tree

Keep Christmas Trees Fresh; water regularly.

Keep trees away from heat sources.

Take Christmas trees down before January.

Do not burn the trees in your fireplace.

Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments, or ones with small detachable parts, on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.

Lights

Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.

Never string together more lights than are recommended by the manufacturer.

Make sure extension cords are rated for the intended use.

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.

Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

If you use a timer for your outdoor lights, make sure it is rated for outside use.

Outdoor lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)

Ladder Safety

When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks, or other furniture.

A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.

Use ladders with slip-resistant feet.

Never stand on top two steps.

Enjoy the season with family and friends, and never drink and drive.

Save On Your Next Business Insurance Renewal

 

Business Insurance Renewal

Your business insurance should be an important part of your overall risk management program. It is important to have the best possible insurance coverage, competitive pricing and the right insurer. We have found a number of factors that could be important to manage when renewing your business insurance program. Give one of our professional a call today, we can help you find the best possible combination of coverage, price and service.

Business Insurance

A business insurance program should generally include commercial property, auto liability, professional liability commercial general liability, employment practices liability, workers’ compensation, flood insurance, and excess or umbrella liability.

Insurance Renewal Tips

Provide complete information about your operation to your agent and insurer.

Consider increasing your deductibles to save money.

Use an independent agent like us. We are equipped and prepared to provide you with the best combination of coverage, price, and service.

Let us market your program to a number of different insurers.

Combine your business property, auto, and liability with one insurer into a package or business owners package. You will receive package additional premium discounts.

Develop a safety program.

Provide safety incentives for having no losses over time.

Follow all OSHA regulations.

Putting a little extra effort into your next business insurance renewal can offer many rewards that include better coverage and lower premiums. We hope you and your team will join us on this risk and insurance journey, and in the end know that there is a better way to buy commercial insurance and have true peace of mind.

How to Develop a Better Understanding of Business Liability Insurance

How to Develop a Better Understanding of Business Liability Insurance

A Commercial Insurance Update

Your business keeps you running from dawn to dusk. You have many decisions to make every day in order to keep your business profitable. Our job is to be your business insurance resource and to provide you with the best combination of coverage, price, and service.  A commercial liability policy can protect your company from actions by yourself and employees if a third party is damaged or injured.

Basic Questions for a Better understanding of Commercial Liability Insurance

What Does a Commercial Liability Policy Cover?  – This coverage is intended to cover your business and employees from injury or damage to third parties resulting from your negligence.  This might include damage to property or injury to others.  If your products or services cause a loss to a third party, a commercial liability policy will respond.

How Do I Determine What Limits I Need? – How much coverage you need depends on your industry and the size of your company.  We usually recommend at least $1,000,000 in coverage to start with.  If you are in construction or similar industries, we might recommend higher limits.

Is Commercial Liability Insurance Expensive? – Insurance premiums are based on a number of factors including revenues, industry, number of employees and other factors.  For a small business commercial liability premiums are not expensive.

What Is the Best Way to Obtain Commercial Liability Insurance?  –The best way to secure commercial liability insurance is to use an independent agent like us. We would combine your commercial liability along with commercial property coverage to get the best combination of coverage, price, and service.

Homeowner’s Insurance

 

You buy home insurance to protect your most important asset.  There are many items to consider and we can help you through the process of finding the right coverage for you and your family. Remember not all homeowner’s insurance policies are considered equal.

There are many factors that go into determining your homeowner’s insurance premiums.  We thought it might be fun to address our “top ten list” of things every homeowner should know before purchasing insurance.  As your agent we can help you identify the best possible combination of coverage, price and service.

  1. You are a statistic. To an insurer, you are a set of risks. An insurer bases its premium (or its decision to insure you at all) on your “risk factors” including your occupation, who you are, what you own, and where you live. To us, you are a person and we value our relationship with you.
  2. Know your home’s value. Before you buy a policy, it is important to know your home’s replacement cost.
  3. Insurers differ. As with anything else you buy, what seems to be the same product can be priced differently by different companies. You can save money by comparison shopping.
  4. Don’t just look at price. A low price is no bargain if you don’t have the right coverage.
  5. Go beyond the basics. A basic homeowner’s policy may not promise to entirely replace your home.
  6. Look for discounts. Insurers provide discounts to reward behavior that reduces risk.
  7. Be sure that you have the proper documentation if you have a claim. Your idea of fair compensation may not match that of your insurer. Your insurer’s job is to restore you financially. Your job is to prove your losses so you get what you need.
  8. Know your policy. Keep your policy updated, and reread it before you file a claim so there are no surprises.
  9. Check you deductibles. It may benefit you to increase your deductible, especially if you have a good claims experience.
  10. Your policy excludes Quake and Flood. Check with us and we will provide you with a quote.

What Is Important to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

What Is Important to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

A Home Insurance Update

Buying home insurance should be an important part of your financial planning. It is important to consider many different things in order to obtain the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Insurance companies use many different factors when reviewing your risk. It is important to understand some of these as you make your personal insurance decisions.

Some Items to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

Your location is important in determining your premium. For example, the closer you are to a fire station and fire hydrant the better.

Not all insurers are the same. Some insurance companies prefer newer homes, while others may require your home to have a newer roof.

Low price does not equal better coverage. The lower priced product may exclude needed coverage.

Your home’s value may be the single most important factor. If your home should need to be replaced, it will be important to have an accurate replacement value.

Every policy has exclusions and it is important to know these. For example, most policies exclude earthquake and flood coverage.

Having a home inventory can help you if you ever need to document any loss.

Ask about any discounts the insurer may offer. Most insurers have a number of discounts and the more you are able to obtain the better.

 

 

Will Your Personal Insurance Be There For You When You Need It?

A Personal Insurance Update

As we move into 2019, it is important to take stock of your personal insurance program.  Many different life events can affect your personal insurance.  Having the right kind of personal insurance can make a big difference if, and when, you ever have a claim.  Please call our office for an insurance review.

What Should Be Part of Your 2019 Personal Insurance Planning?

Should I consider a personal umbrella policy?

Is my home valued correctly?

Do I need to add or remove any drivers?

Have my life insurance needs changed?

Things That Can Affect Your Insurance

Marital status.

Children in college.

Purchase of a new vehicle, ATV, motorcycle, or boat.

Planned foreign travel.

Purchased any items of value like art, guns, or jewelry.

Starting a home-based business.

Purchasing a vacation home.

Using your home as rental income.

If you call us, one of our team members will help you find the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.  Our agents have access to more carriers, and that means that they have more options, including multiple policy discounts and preferred premium pricing.

Good Reasons To Call Your Insurance Agent

Home and Auto Insurance Update

Let’s face it, you buy home and auto insurance to protect you when and or if an accident happens. And when you have an accident, you want your personal insurance to respond.  If it has been a while since you updated your personal insurance coverage, you may want to call us today.

When to Call Your Agent

When you buy or sell a car

If you started a home based business

If you are thinking about putting in a pool

When you purchased any high-end jewelry, guns or other items

If you home replacement value has gone up

Did you get a company car?

If you have remolded any part of your home

When you install a security system in your home

If you get married or divorced

If your commute distance has changed

When your children go away to college

Having the right auto coverage is not as easy as it sounds, and choosing the wrong coverages and limits could lead to financial disaster.  Our team is prepared to help you find the right combination of coverage, price and service.