Category Archives: Life Insurance

Rid the Flu This Season

The flu is here and has hit hard. Your home may be a war zone fighting the sickness from one family member to another. The virus is something a household battles every year. whether your kiddo picks it up at school or you get it from that coworker who should have stayed home. Coming in contact with the virus is inevitable. But what can you do to ensure the flu doesn’t linger any longer than it has to? Here are a couple of tips to get rid of the illness and keep it out of your home.

  1. Wash Your Hands

The virus is all around us. We come in contact with germs every time we open the fridge, door handles, stair rails, money, grocery carts- the list goes on and on. Make sure to wash your hand as many times as you can throughout the day and especially before you eat. This not only limits the spread of the virus but also an easy way to keep the bacteria away.

  1. Disinfect Surfaces

Did you know that the flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours? It’s extremely important to disinfect common surface areas a couple of times a day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.” To Kill those germs- Wash surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant such as Clorox wipes and Lysol Disinfecting spray. These products state that EPA has approved them for effectiveness against influenza A virus. Just check your other cleaning labels to see if they are “EPA Approved”.

  1. Wash Linens

Just like hard surfaces, the flu virus can linger in your linens. To prevent the flu from lingering any longer, wash all your bed sheets, pillowcases, and your clothes. Use a bleach cleaner if possible. Also, throw in those bath linens if you get a chance. Sick kiddos in and out of the bathroom are prime opportunity to spread the bacteria. After a good wash, set the dryer to the highest heat setting and really kill those harmful germs.

And if you are really fancy, use an air purifier. Those babies are designed to kill viruses and bacteria that is lingering in the air. You can find some cheap ones on Amazon. Snag a couple if you can for each room and really get the good air flowing. Not only are they good for killing the unwanted germs but they also help with allergies and elevating dust.

Remember, the flu is almost impossible to avoid. Get a flu shot and ensure your family and loved ones are covered when they walk into your home. No one wants the virus to linger. Use the necessary measures to keep everyone feeling better quicker.  For all your home and auto insurance needs, give us a call at 1-800-ThanskAl to speak with an agent to see how you could save by bundling your home and auto.

 

 

Preparing for High Waters

Prepare for the flood. Most don’t begin to prepare until it is too late. Check out the seamless process and take the necessary steps to prepare for high waters beforehand.

Before the Flood

Elevate any electrical components that might cause a fire. Examples include heating units, air condition units, and wiring appliances 

Clear any debris from gutters and runoffs. Clean gutters allow them to work properly and alleviate access water from your home. Ensure the run-off area is clear, giving the water the ability to flow down instead of buildup in your yard or at the base of your home.

Fuel Tanks If you have fuel tanks or equipment with fuel inside- be sure to anchor them down. Additional fuel may be necessary for flooding situations but prepare to store tanks higher up and secure them properly.

Valuables If possible, move valuables to a safe place.

Ensure any documents that you might need are in a secure place and accessible if you need to grab them. Examples include birth certificates, insurance documents, passports, etc.) Invest in a safe deposit box if applicable.

Prepare a safety kit- include water, non-perishable foods, safety supplies (flashlights, medicines, first aid equipment, and a battery-operated radio. Kick it old school, have these items ready to go when you are.

Plan and practice a flood evacuation route. Ask someone out of state to be your “family contact” in an emergency, and make sure everyone knows the contact’s address and phone number (from fema.com).

Pet Plan Come up with a pet plan in case you have to evacuate. Many shelters will not take pets in for flood reasons. Ensure you have additional food and water for your animal and any necessary crates if you have to evacuate. Pet life jackets can be purchased here.

Check your insurance policy and make sure you have adequate coverage. 

Standard Home Policies do not offer flood insurance. Speak with your agent and ensure your policy includes flood coverage. Remember, flood insurance has a future effective date (usually 30 days out) so establish coverage beforehand. Flood insurance is offered to homeowners, business owners, and renters.

Know your risk of flood possibilities. Are you in a classified flood zone? Click here and input your address to see where you are on the flood map.

Conduct a household inventory. Take photos prior to the flood. Determine the value of your assets and store all insurance documents securely. The items will be of much value when it comes time to file a claim.

No one wants to be caught off guard with no time to prepare. As a family, come up with a plan that you’re confident with. Remember as much as you prepare and plan, the weather is always unpredictable. These steps are only here to give you peace of mind in case of an emergency.  Check out the complete guide to flood readiness here.

 

5 Summer Weekend Getaways

Say, “Hello” all across Texas this summer. A nice weekend exploring one or all of these destinations will have your family eager to pack up the car and hit the road!

Garner State Park, Concan
Garner State Park is a must! The cool temps of the Frio River will keep you cooled off all day. There are several activities to do including hiking, camping, tube floating, kayaking and paddle boarding. Get this trip on the calendar soon as campsite and cabins begin to fill up for the remaining summer months. To make reservations and check out the complete list of activities, click here.

Hamilton Pool, Dripping Springs
Take a dive into the 12-foot-wide cove at Hamilton Pool Reserve in Dripping Springs. Reservations are required as they only allow a limited number in from 9-12pm and 1-5pm.
Call ahead or visit them online to reserve your time spot. The oasis has public bathrooms and hiking trails. However, there is not any food or drink stops, so pack a light bag of snacks and water. Hamilton Pool only excepts cash when paying on site. This refreshing hole is the perfect getaway right outside of Austin city limits. Will your gang make that jump?

Houston Museum District, Houston
The Child’s Museum of Houston, voted “America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum”, by Parents Magazine, is the ultimate kids getaway. With 19 museums in the area, your gang will have a ton to do! Stop by the Houston Zoo and wander onto Waugh Street Bridge to watch the bats emerge at nightfall! Get all the details here.

BSR Cable Park, Waco
Want an adult weekend getaway? Barefoot Ski Ranch is the new hot spot this summer! The Cable Park just opened Summer 2018 and is home to America’s longest lazy river at nearly one-mile long. Take a plunge on the Royal Flush slides or enjoy the surf wave cable park. If your kids are dare-devils and can hang, bring ’em along for the fun at the adventure park. Want to slow down a little? Spend Sunday afternoon at Magnolia Markets, wondering through the Silos and shops. Regardless of your preference, Waco has grown into a popular weekend destination spot for all.

Krause Springs, Spicewood
Krause Springs is privately owned by the Krause family and was founded in 1955. The well-known camping and swimming site is located in the hill country about 30 miles west of Austin. Reserve a camp spot for a weekend stay and visit the 32 springs on the property. Did I mention there are a beautiful waterfall, grotto, and natural pools? Explore the butterfly garden, hike through trails or take a dip in the manmade pool that is fed by the springs. This weekend getaway will be one for the books! Book a camping site here.

Where ever your family goes this summer, remember to give your car a quick checkup (check tire pressure, oil level, and coolant levels) to ensure your safety. Go with confidence with auto, RV, boat or ATV insurance today! Contact your Al Boenker Insurance at 1-800-thanksal or online at thanksal.com.

Smart Home Technology

Can Having Smart Home Features Save You on Your Home Insurance? Does a smart home sound crazy? What if incorporating smart home technology systems in your home could help you save on your home insurance premiums? The capabilities have been around for quite some time, but they are more affordable than ever. You don’t have to be a tech wiz to get started integrating technology into your home.

Here are a few advances that can get you started in the smart home realm:

  1. Installing smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors– if you can imagine being away from your home and getting notified directly on your phone that there is a fire in your home! First responders are notified immediately and hopefully are able to manage the fire before there is massive damage.
  2. Smart alarm systems offer you the option to see what is going on in and around your home directly from your phone. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth security cameras offer you the ability to detect a burglary or misconduct without being at home. Police are notified immediately and help minimize loss.
  3. Water monitors are being installed all across new home homes. Water detectors notify you if there is a leak and give you the option to turn off your water from a push of a button. Getting notified early can limit the amount of damage your home receives.

Other smart home systems just make for a seamless everyday life.

  • Climate control thermostats such as Nest, automatically adjust the temperature of your home in real time, saving you money and energy!
  • Smart locks are a seamless addition to your home. Forget to lock the door on the way out? Or need to let someone in? The smart doorbell has a camera that shows you who is at your door and gives you the ability to unlock and lock your door right from the palm of your hand.
  • Lighting control gives you the ability to turn on and off lights and appliances all over your home. You no longer have to run all around the house before heading out making sure everything is off. I bet you can imagine home much money you can be saving on your electricity.

However, transitioning to a complete smart home can be costly and can make you vulnerable to hackers. Install a strong password and ensure you have a secure connection. Implement a few at a time and incorporate Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home to give you seamless implantation.

Simple smart devices that warn of impending danger or destruction offer more comprehensive coverage and greater peace of mind. These installations minimize damage and risk, detecting issues immediately, making homes run more efficiently and ultimately lowering the number of claims that are made. Find out what kind of savings your Al Boenker Insurance agent can help you save, 1-800-thanksal.com or www.thanksal.com

6 Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Summer Heat

 

In Texas, we can never be certain what type of weather we are going to get. But one thing we do know is Texas heat is no joke!!
Here are a few tips to help prepare your home for those HOT summer days.

1. Give Your Air Condition a Check Up
Now is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioner unit is functioning at its best. It would be horrible to find out in the dead of summer you’re a/c is going out. First, replace your air filter. Clean any debris from the vent and the exhaust and dust off any dirt from your main unit. Turn you’re a/c on while you leave and test how it regulates the temperature to ensure it is working properly. If something doesn’t seem right, it may be time to contact a professional. Some companies offer a free service check and can tell you of any necessary fixes. This may also be the best time to invest in a programmable thermostat if you do not have one. Programmable thermostats help regulate the use of your air condition and offer energy saving solutions. Look for a blog on Smart Thermostats.
2. Clean and Inspect your Gutters and Roof
During the winter months, your gutters suffer a lot, from freezing rain to fallen debris. Take this time to inspect your gutters for leaks, give them a thorough clean and check for any damage. Inspect your downspouts and ensure they are flowing away from your house. This is also a great opportunity to check the roof for any damages or possible leaks. With the heat comes the rain. Check exteriors and take note of any water build up or cracks that can cause water to seep in. Cleaning the gutters and checking the roof, may not be possible for everyone, especially those in a two-story home. Contact a professional if you need assistance.
3. Change Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Did you know that your ceiling fan is meant to run in different directions based on the season? During the winters months, it should run clockwise to help distribute heat that rises. As for the summer months, your fan should run counter-clockwise at a higher speed to get a breeze flowing. Check to see which direction the fans in your home are moving, and, if necessary, hit the small black switch near the base to change directions.
4. Clean Windows & Screens: Check for Ventilation
It’s time to wash away the winter build up on your windows and screens. Take some vinegar and water and scrub away the winter grime from the exterior of your windows. Rinse off all your screens and replace the old torn ones. Check your window seals and weather stripping during this time to ensure there are not any leaks in the ventilation. Replace or re-caulk where necessary. This keeps the cool air in and the hot air out.
5. Inspect Outdoor Plumbing
The water hose hasn’t seen the daylight in quite some time. Begin checking your outdoor plumbing before the summer heat is in full force. Run your sprinklers and test the system to make sure everything is running smoothly. A slow trickle may be a sign something is not functioning properly. Finding out you have a busted pipe right when your kiddos are ready to run the sprinkler, is no fun! If you are unable to find the cause, call a professional to come out and take a look.

6. Prepare for Summer Bugs
With the hot summer days and the rain comes bug heaven. During the winter months, you may not notice more bugs making their way in. However, most of these insects stay cooped up in the walls or attic. Enter summer months- bugs wake up and began to head back outdoors. The hot, humid weather also makes for a great combination of insects. Find a DIY pest control solution here and begin to treat all your baseboards, exterior exits, and windows. If you checked for ventilation in the windows- you are one step ahead!

In Texas, we can never guarantee any type of weather. But we can guarantee our home will be ready to take on the heat. Contact your Al Boenker Insurance agent today to see how they can help you save on your home insurance.