Category Archives: Motorcycle Insurance

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

Summers Buys to Boost Your Backyard

Want to keep the kiddos outside this summer? School is coming to an end and it’s time to start thinking about how you and your family are going to enjoy those summer nights. Here are a few ideas that will have the whole family excited to hang out in the backyard!

 

  1. Update that same ol’ swing set- Change out that baby swing the kids have outgrown, and give them a place to hide out. The hammock pods from Amazon; $29.45, give your kiddo the perfect space to hang out- outside! The set includes are the tools necessary to be hung from a swing set or tree.

  1. Zipline across the backyard. Turn your backyard into an adventure park! Everyone ages 8 and up can enjoy the complete zip line kit from Slackers Zipline; $76.94. Suspend the zip line cable from two trees and watch your child soar through the backyard, safely.

  1. Nothing beats a classic game of corn hole. Find these portable PVC pipe cornhole boards on Amazon for the perfect summer game. Everyone can enjoy them, whether in the pool or out in the lawn. Available for $36.99.

  1. Here’s a new approach to s’mores. Don’t have a fire pit? No problem! Roast some s’mores after burgers- on the grill, in the oven when your backyard picnic gets rained out or atop a portable grill at a tailgate. The S’more to Love Basket, cooks the dessert evenly, making for the best s’mores experience! Forget about the marshmallow catching fire or falling in. Available from Amazon; $13.99.

  1. Can’t forget the old faithful sprinkler- This year, be the talk of the neighborhood with the coolest water sprinkler on the block! The Ginormous Unicorn Sprinkler will keep the kids cooled off and running around the backyard all day. How could one not love a giant 6ft unicorn with water spewing out the horn?! Available at Target, $50.

  1. How cool is this 2-in1 extender table?! This is a must-have for all backyard entertainers. Serve snacks on the top and keep drinks cold on the bottom. Use either fully extended for the perfect cocktail table height or collapsed for the ideal side table.

  1. Who will be the magician of the bunch? Take the fire pit up a notch and throw in the Magic Flame Pocket. Watch your youngster get excited as the flames change colors. The 12-pack from Amazon is available for $7.99.

 

  1. Take dinner outside. Enjoy a pizza -fireside. The Pizza Stone, $14.90 turns dinner time all around. Have the family hand make individual pizzas and cook them over the fire or on the grill. Just like that, the kids didn’t even know they prepped their own meal. Win-Win! If you decide to cook over the fire pit, make sure you have a rack to set your stone on.

These small buys get the whole family outside and enjoying the summer sun. Pick a few items and plan to spend as much time enjoying your yard this summer. Don’t forget the fresh watermelon, sunblock and unlimited popsicles to top the day off!

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.

Boating Insurance 101

 

With spring in full swing, it’s time to get the boat uncovered and ready for the lake. There is nothing more exhilarating than taking on the open water with the wind blowing and rays beaming. One thing that is not so appealing is Boat Insurance. What is it? and how do you begin to know what the right coverage is? When it comes to insurance coverage for your boat, you can imagine that an everyday runaround boat is similar to getting auto insurance versus a large yacht, which would resemble a small home insurance policy.

Here are a few tips on finding the right coverage and getting your boat ready for the water!

Why do I need boat insurance?

Unfortunately, your home insurance does not cover your boat. There is a slight possibility that your home coverage could stretch to a very small boat- most likely without an engine but not likely. Just like your vehicle is not covered by your home policy, neither are watersport vehicles. Why may you ask? A boat is a portable vehicle- not stationary. Your home policy is covering things that don’t necessarily move. If you are new boat owner there is a possibility you could save on your boat coverage by bundling with your home insurance provider.

What is boat insurance?

Boat insurance can be looked at like a combination of auto and home insurance. There a few main things you need coverage for, then you have the extras. Similar to a home policy, you will be covered if there is an accident or someone gets injured while riding in or operating your boat. Protection for the boat owner is there, similar to a homeowner. Like auto insurance, boat coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury that your boat inflicts on others, property damage your boat inflicts on docks and other boats, and physical damage to your boat should you hit something. You can also add comprehensive coverage that offers theft protection, damage against fire or flood, personal property coverage for any equipment on the boat, uninsured boaters, damage to the trailer, and roadside assistance if you need to be towed. Consider these additional coverages if your boat is stored off-site or if you have a large quantity of gear or equipment. Check out a list of coverage here.

When is my boat covered?

So, your boat is covered regardless if you are in the water or not. The amount of coverage is what comes into play. If you are pulling the boat down the highway and are in an accident or back end to someone your auto policy takes over- but only the limits on that policy. There is a chance your homeowner’s policy will cover some accidents if the boat is parked on your property. If you plan to travel far out into the ocean there can be limitations on the distance you are covered. Check with your insurance agent if off-shore boating is going to be your main source of travel. In the meantime, a one-time policy can be purchased if you need to move your boat or if there is an indication of a natural disaster coming that will require the boat to move.

Know that you have a couple of boating insurance questions answered, download your spring boating checklist from DISOVERBOATING.COM and get ready to have a safe and fun boating season! 7914_DB14_Spring_Startup_Checklist

Give us a call at 1-800-THANKSAL or visit us online at www.thanksal.com to get a free quote and see how you can save while bundling your insurance.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Teen Safe On the Road

Getting a license is one of life’s major milestones. There’s no doubt that FINALLY being able to drive on your own is something every teen cannot wait to do. But how sure are you that your young driver is ready to take on the road all on their own? We look for the best car seat, the best daycare, but when your kids are ready to learn to drive, parents should help them the best drivers they can be. Safe driving is really about judgment. At the start of their driving career risk management and decision making while driving has not developed yet. Your teens biggest threat is their inexperience.

Did you know that the #1 threat to your teen’s safety is driving or riding in a car with another teen driver? (cdc.gov).

Here are 5 tips to help keep your teen safe on the road:

  1. Utilize the Graduated Driver License (GDL) Program– this gives a driver the opportunity to improve their driving skills over time. Phase One is the learners permit. Which must be held for 6 months prior to obtaining a provisional license. Phase Two is the provisional license. Drivers education and time behind the wheel are required prior to taking the driver’s test. Once these are completed a driver can graduate with a provisional license. At this stage, drivers are allowed one passenger under 21 who is not a family member in the vehicle and must be off the road between midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless certain circumstances. Individuals under 18 are restricted from using a cell phone including hands-free devices until they reach 18. The graduate program is required by law for drivers under the age of 18. To get all the details on the program click here.
  2. Let Your Teen Drive– the best thing you can do for your teen is let them drive! Young drivers need to gain confidence behind the wheel. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss different driving scenarios and to pass on your driving knowledge. Practice driving in different weather conditions in large parking lots to get a feel for driving in rain or snow. Parents play a key role. When asked whose opinion they listen to, teens mostly said their parents. The biggest challenges are inexperience and distractions.
  3. Set Rules and Expectations– from the get-go your teen needs to know that you want them to the safest driver they can be. Sit down together and set some ground rules and expectations. For example, no cell phone use while driving, no food in the car, no passengers for a certain period of time, setting a driving curfew, always wear a seatbelt, no reckless driving, and no impaired driving. Being involved in their driving development holds your child accountable. When they show progress, good skill and driving maturity certain privileges can be added over time.
  4. Set Up Consequences– Your teen needs to understand that driving is a privilege. Go over the rules and expectations together. Write them down and set up consequences. Your teen will respect the rules and expectations when they know they are being monitored and there are consequences. As parents, it’s important to show your teen you care about their safety. Lose of driving privileges is a big one. Come home after curfew and you lose the right to drive. Whatever the consequences are, stick to them.
  5. Be an example, set up an agreement and be open– the best thing we can do for our new drivers is be the best example. Kids learn from their parents. Set up an agreement with the expectations and consequences. Refer and adjust it when necessary. Kids understand that there is a major risk when driving a vehicle. The challenge is when they are at the moment they may make the wrong decision. Be open and transparent with them, ask them their fears. Help them practice their driving even after graduating periodically. Copy of an agreement can be found here.

Parents play a key role in their child’s driving progress. Overall, showing you care, offering them guidance, listening to their concerns, setting expectations and being authoritative can be the difference in life and death. Progressively give them privileges as they show they can handle the responsibilities. Your teen will feel more confident behind the wheel and in return be a safe driver. For more details on how to be the key in your teens driving visit https://www.cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/

Visit us online at thanksal.com or gives us a call at 1-800-thanksal to see what kind of safe teen driver discounts we offer.