Tag Archives: Home Insurance

Getting your home set up for the holidays.

It is the season of getting your house ready for the holidays and we may be dreaming of having the perfect decorations like the Christmas movies and magazines. But, during the holidays it tends to be a spike in fire-related accidents at home. Therefore, we would like to give you some basic tips to help you prevent any mishaps. 

Tip 1: Do not overload your electrical outlets.

It is very common that we set up our Christmas lights, holiday decorations that light up, and the Christmas tree in the same electrical outlet and leave them on for hours. This could definitely create a fire hazard. It is recommended that you divide the connections on different outlets and if possible set up a timer before you go to bed.

Power electrical outlet with lots of cables

Tip 2: Leaving your cooking unattended.

During the season you may be doing a lot more cooking than usual. When using your oven and stove make sure that you do not leave them unattended. We understand that having a full house with family creates distractions, but do not leave the kitchen with any fire on, and even more so if there are kids around the house decorating those cookies.

Girl playing with oven kitchen

Tip 3: Having garland close to candles.

Those beautiful garlands and candles as your table decorations will give the perfect Christmas ambiance for the season, but they can also be an out-loud cry for a disaster. Combine that with a full table of cups and warm food & your holiday gathering could be off to the wrong start. Opt-out for the fake candles, they will still look beautiful but without the danger.

Beautiful decorated table with candles and christmas garlands

Tip 4: Do not forget to check your smoke alarms.

As easy as that may sound, when was the last time that you checked the battery of your smoke alarms? It might be time to do so. Make sure that all the alarms are working properly and have fresh batteries. Smoke detectors save lives.

Fire alarm in christmas decorated living room

Tip 5: Do not set up your tree next to the fireplace.

As mentioned before with the garlands and candles, it is very likely that when you have items that are flammable close to a spark an accident might happen. Set up your tree in an area that has space for your gifts and that it isn’t next to the fireplace.

Interior christmas magic glowing tree close to fireplace

Our goal is to help you have a safe holiday season. We hope you find some of these tips helpful and enjoy this time together. Or apart. 

Merry Christmas and remember, we gotcha’ covered!

To learn more about home insurance please visit HOME INSURANCE.

Beginners Guide: What should I look for Home Insurance?

anatomy of safest house for a low home insurance rate

If it’s your first time looking for home insurance, congratulations!

Most likely your lending company is requiring you to have it or you just want additional coverage. Whatever the case is, don’t go fast and take your time before choosing your home insurance policy.

According to our home insurance agents, consider these things for home insurance in Texas. 

Why you need home insurance?

Are you planning to get a home loan? Definitely, home insurance is required for this. Although, it is not the only reason for having it.

Texas is a great state, we’re proud to live here but it’s no secret every year natural disasters occur. We can’t avoid them but we can protect our assets. 

The most common natural disasters in the area are:

  1. Flash Flood
  2. Hurricanes
  3. Extreme Cold
  4. Lightning
  5. Tornados. 

What kind of coverage is right for my home?

Looking at the natural disasters mentioned above, If you live in Texas, protect your patrimony from those. During the unforeseen weather conditions, rest assured you are covered and focus on your family and their safety.

Take notice, most policies don’t usually protect your home from flooding, or busted pipe leaks. However, consider these additional coverages based on your location

Six types of home insurance in Texas

The following six coverages are usually included in your home policy, but it’s good to know what are you protecting. Always ask your insurance agent if your policy includes one of these or what is best for you depending on your needs. 

1. Dwelling coverage

Can pay if your house is damaged or destroyed by something your policy covers.

2. Personal property coverage 

Can pay if your belongings are destroyed, stolen or damaged. {PRO TIP: This why you should bring your belongs inside the house and not leave in your car.}

3. Other structures coverage 

Repair structures on your property that aren’t attached to your house, like  fences, storage sheds, and detached garages. 

4.Loss of use coverage

If you have to move while your house is being repaired because of an accident, this coverage can pays additional living expenses like rent, food, and other costs you wouldn’t have if you were in your home.

5. Personal liability coverage 

Can pays medical bills, lost wages, and other costs for people that you’re legally responsible for injuring. 

6. Medical payments coverage 

Perfect for pet owners because this can pay the medical bills of people hurt on your property or if something happens away from your home like your dog bites someone at the park.

Source: Texas Department of Insurance

Enough coverage to replace your home 

It is possible, choose replacement cost coverage over actual cash value coverage. This helps you replace or repair your house if needed during a devastating time. 

Choose Replacement Cost that match the current price for items in your home. As you know, year by year prices are higher and your belongs will be more cost more to replace.

In shorter words, if your roof cost $3,000 years ago, repair it right now will cost more. With this coverage, your insurance company may only pay the cost associated with the value at the time of purchase versus what it will actually cost to repair.

Our advice-  Speak with your local independent insurance agent on the coverages that make sense for you and your home. Licensed agents are experts in their field and can provide guidance.

Consider what type of belongings you have

Insurance agents emphasize how important is to be aware of your assets.

Your Texas home insurance can cover you from:

  1. Clothes
  2. Furniture
  3. Electronic device

What commons policies don’t cover is:

  1. Jewelry
  2. Fine arts
  3. Antiques

To have control over your belongings, create a home inventory. It helps you before getting home insurance and make it easier during the claims process.

Click here –> You can download our free home inventory template that is ready-to-use and editable.

Pets could increase your premium

Even though home insurance tends to cover you, having a dog could increase your premium if your furry friend bites someone.

Typically if you have one of these breeds:

Alaskan Malamute

Chow chow 

Doberman Pinscher

Pitbull

Rottweiler

Siberian Husky

Wolf Hybrid 

We know every dog is the best for their owner, we love them. Just keep in mind and seeking coverage that gives you the best rate, protection and won’t deny you coverage because of your furry pal

What is the best way to compare home insurance quotes?

Comparing quotes one by one it’s overwhelming and can be a waste of time. There are a lot of options on the internet, word of mouth recommendations and insurance companies around you. 

The best way to compare home insurance quotes could be by talking with an independent agent for this simple reason: they can compare and recommend you the best quote for your needs from several companies at once.

They partner with top-rated carriers and offer options, rates, and coverages that fit your needs for the best rate.

How do I choose a home insurance provider?

At last but not least, who will get coverage from? You have some options: a captive agent– can only offer one product/ company (i.e. State Farm, Farmers Insurance, etc.) or an independent insurance agency.

Look for history and experience 

Working with an independent agency isn’t enough, look for an agent that has years of experience because they can offer expert advice and be a knowledgeable resource for you. Your agent should be your advocate. They don’t work for one particular company, so their job is to provide you the best resources.

If you have doubts about your next Texas home insurance policy or would like an insurance check up, give us a call at 1-800-842-6572 or get a quote clicking here.

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.

 

Back To School Driving Tips 101

School is back in session! The summer is over, and we are heading straight into a new school year. Back to school means there are more drivers on the road than usual during your morning commute. Most will purposely take alternate routes during the school year to avoid the additional slow down time. However, if you are dropping off a kiddo, there isn’t any other choice.

Here is our Back to School Driving tips from TXDOT.GOV to help make the commute a little easier and avoid fines.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Put away your cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones, and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.

Take this tip very seriously. Don’t be the parent that completely forgot you entered a school zone and up getting a ticket for being on the phone. Check your city requirements- as some city ordinances have banned cell phone use while driving altogether.  

  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.

Even when you think there aren’t any police officers around, they’re there!  

  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.

This is a hard one to follow, especially at the beginning of the school year. The pickup and drop-off line will get better. It always starts out rocky, but the process does get smoother. Avoid parking down the road and encouraging your schooler to meet you elsewhere. Your tax dollars pay for the cross guard and the necessary crosswalk to ensure your child’s safety, utilize it.

  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.

We all know how dreadful it is to be stuck behind a school bus as they make each stop, but remember it is unlawful to pass a school bus when they have their flashing lights on.

  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

Be cautious of that Wilding!

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Remember these safety tips as you approach a school zone. Don’t end up in a situation that could cost you hundreds of dollars in fines and possibly injure someone. School is just beginning, and we wish everyone a great and safe year!

Your Local Independent Agent,

Al Boenker Insurance

 

Home Warranty vs. Home Owner Insurance


Image source: hscwarranty.com

 

Buying a new home is one of the most joyous times in your life. It’s a huge milestone many dream of! However, as joyous as it is – the stress can easily pile up! From mortgage companies to home insurance, there are so many moving parts to the entire process. One thing that may not be on your mind is the damages your new home may one day face.

Repairing a roof from recent hail damage or replacing an outdated appliance- these are things that may come up. Depending on what needs to be repaired or replaced – and why – a home insurance or home warranty policy may offer protection. Both offer coverage but different types of protection. So, what’s the difference?

Home Warranty Insurance Covers the repair or replacement of broken appliances due to normal wear and tear. Examples include water heater, garage doors, air condition unit, dishwasher, and possible plumbing and electrical. A basic policy can range from $300-$500 a year. If a claim needs to be made the insured will call the warranty company which then sends a pre-approved contractor to inspect the damage. If the damages are covered, the homeowner will pay a $30-$50 deductible and the repair or replacement is taken care of and there are no additional charges. This process is very similar to an auto collision when there is damage and the adjuster comes out and accesses the damages, the deductible is paid, and repairs are made.

Home repairs can be costly. Replacing an entire water heater can cost up in the thousands. With your home warranty in place, you pay your deductible and the rest is taken care. The policy more than pays for its self in this situation. A home warranty policy is worth the while but is not required.

Some exclusions apply such as “covered under a manufacturer’s warranty” appliances. In this case, your contractor will help you determine if the appliance is still under manufacturer warranty.

Home Owners Insurance Covers theft of your belongings or if your home is damaged by fire. A standard policy helps pay for damage and repairs to your home or replace personal property during these types of events. However, homeowner’s insurance typically will not provide protection if, for instance, your air conditioner or other appliance breaks down or is defective.

 With your homeowner policy, you also get legal protection in case an accident occurs on your property.

It’s important to note that coverage limits will always apply. An Al Boenker Insurance Agent can help you determine whether you have enough protection in place should you experience a loss. Home warranty and homeowner offer different coverages that you may find beneficial- to determine what you might need talk with your agent today.  Give us a call @ 1-800-ThanksAl.