Tag Archives: coverage

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.

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.

 

What Determines My Car Insurance Rate?

Car Insurance. We all have to have it when owning and operating a vehicle but why is everyone’s cost so different? Even you and your spouse may have different rates, what gives? Al Boenker Insurance agents have the ability to plug-in your information and shop multiple companies to find you the best and most affordable rate.

However, there are several factors that determine that rate. Insurance is a calculated risk-based business and companies configure how likely you are to file a claim.

Let’s explore some factors that can determine your auto insurance rate and see how life changes may affect your premium.

Your driving record

When you request a quote from an agent they will ask you about your driving history. Typically, how many accidents you may have been in, the cause of an accident and details on tickets. While this takes place, your driving record is being pulled and inserted into the policy. Based on your overall driving record, insurances companies determine your likeliness of having another accident. The easiest way to get a good rate is to be a safe driver.

Your policy and deductible

The type of policy you buy 100% affects your rate. As liability is the state minimum required, your lien holder may require something different. The amount you want to pay monthly determines how much you will pay when an accident happens.  Lower deductible= higher monthly rate. Lower monthly payments= higher deductible. Along with deductible differences, you have an option to add personal injury coverage, towing and rental coverage, medical payment reimbursement, or uninsured motorist, along with several others. All of these amendments reflect on your insurance premium. The best option is to determine how much you can afford if an accident were to happen. Would you be able to pay a $500 deductible or $1000? Would you be able to afford towing fees from the site and the cost of a rental car if necessary? Generally, the more you pay monthly means the less you’ll pay when an accident happens. There are a lot of factors here.

Your vehicle

Have you heard red cars get more tickets? Well the make, model and year of your vehicle are determining rate factors. Big trucks can be a little higher to insure because they can cause more damage. Thinking about getting a 2-door sports car? Insurance could cost you due to the high-risk of speeding!

Your age, gender, and marital status

Drivers under the age of 25 or older than 65 are considered higher risk drivers. Also, studies show that men are more likely to speed and get into an accident. Students are seen as responsible and some companies offer students with a B average or higher a student discount. Married couples versus singles are also seen as low-risk. Demographics of all drivers on a policy can have an impact on your insurance rate.

How often and how far you drive

Are you driving all day for work? Maybe you’re a mail a carrier and use your own car. How often and how far you drive daily can contribute to your risk calculator. The more you are on the road the more likely you are to be in an accident. Do you work from home and your car rarely leaves the driveway? You win here!

Where you live

Location is key! Living in a rural area might be in your favor when getting car insurance. Fewer cars on the road =less traffic= fewer accidents. Bigger cities tend to mean more people and more cars and more potential for accidents. Your risk of needing to file a claim also increases if crime rates are high in your neighborhood. Live 5-minutes from the office? This can be in your favor too. The fewer miles you commute daily often lends its self to be low-risk.

Your credit history

Insurance companies offer several types of policies. Monthly- annual- low credit- lower down payment and so on. Your credit can affect your premium. Texas allows your credit to-be ran and considered when selling a policy. According to dmv.org, “Low credit scores have been correlated with risky driving behaviors and poor driving records. This means that if your credit-based insurance score is too low, you face the possibility of being deemed high risk of filing a claim. Majority of car insurance companies may look at the following to calculate your score:

  • Payment history.
  • Debt.
  • Length of credit history.
  • Whether you have recently applied for new lines of credit.
  • What type of credit you have, e.g., loans, credit card, mortgage. (2018, dmv.org)”

There is not a definite risk- calculator but we’ve given you a good list. Car insurance is a risky business. Nobody wants to use their insurance, but knowing you are covered and protected when an accident happens gives you peace of mind. Take these into consideration the next time there are life changes.

Give us a call at 1-800-THANKSAL or visit us online at thanksal.com to see how we can help you save.

Home Insurance Made Easy

The largest asset most people will ever own is their home, Thanks Al will help make sure your insurance coverage adequately protects that investment. Having insufficient home insurance is very dangerous and can lead to long-term financial hardship that putts unwanted stress on your family. Remember that cheap home insurance is not the same as safe, risk-adverse, affordable home insurance.

What is Home Insurance?
“A form of property insurance designed to protect an individual’s home against damages to the house itself, or to possessions in the home. Also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.”

What components comprise the type of coverage?

  • Main structure: Sum of money designated to pay for repairs or replace the home’s structure
  • Additional structures: Sheds, outbuildings, decks, etc. must be added to the policy to protect from potential loss.
  • Contents: Personal belongings inside the home.
  • Liability: Damage sustained to another person’s property; covered up to state policy limits.
  • Loss of use: Home damaged beyond repair requiring family to vacate to another dwelling while repairs are made.

Here at Thanks Al we understand that underinsured homeowners are unable to rebuild their lives after following complete losses. The savvy homeowner will delegate a few extra dollars each year to mitigate the risk of financial ruin in the future. Thanks to our ‘Rapid Quote’ software system, you will receive the lowest homeowners’ insurance rate in just 3 seconds or less, now that’s fast and efficient! Please call 1-800-Thanks-Al to learn more information today.