Tag Archives: Motorcycle Insurance

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.

Why an Al Boenker Insurance Agent?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an independent insurance agent and a standard broker?

why an al boenker insurance agent1. Independent Agents Shop Multiple Carriers Independent agents are able to shop multiple insurance carriers with one application. Agencies carry contracts with multiple insurance companies (versus just one) and can compare several quotes instantaneously. This is a huge advantage for you, eliminating the need to submit multiple applications to different carriers to find the best and cheapest option.

2. Independent Agents Save Time & Money– With more choices comes a variety of coverage options and price points, saving you time and money. Agents do the shopping and you do the saving.

3. Independent Agents are Licensed Professionals– Agents offer their experience, expert knowledge, and guidance when it comes to selecting the right policy. They are able to explain the complex insurance world to you and make sure you understand all aspects of your policy. When independents set up your policy, they are doing all the research for you- eliminating errors and ensuring your insurance needs are met. According to U.S. Insurance Shopping Study by J.D. Power, “Shoppers are increasingly reliant on agent recommendations when considering and quoting insurers.”1 Be certain that your home and auto are properly covered.

4. Independent Agents are Your Neighbor most agencies are locally owned and community driven. They are your neighbor, belong to community organizations, have children on the same little league team, and attend the same church. Your coverage is their priority.

5. Independent Agents are Your Advocate they offer their help and support when it comes time to actually use your insurance. Dealing with a claim can be a mess. Your independent agents assist you and ensure you are taken care of by the insurance company. When accidents happen, your agent is there.

Give us a call at 1-800-Thanksal or visit us online at www.thanksal.com and let us help you find the best rate and option for you. Let our agents compare your current carrier and see how they can help you save.

Al’s Texas Tours 2017: Motorcycle Vacations

Back by popular demand and just in time for summer 2017, it’s Al’s Texas Tours! Texas is a vast state with lush beautiful landscapes, scenic views, and endless travel opportunities just waiting to be experienced. What better way to usher in the summer season than to plan a weekend getaway on your motorcycle! We’ve helped you brush off the cobwebs and take the necessary steps to get your bike back into commission and now it’s time to put it to some use! We’ve rounded up the five best motorcycle getaways in the lone star state, enjoy!


Top 5 Motorcycle Vacations in Texas


  1. Three Sisters Ranch Roads, Medina, TX – Just beyond the outskirts of San Antonio rests a motorcycle route that is consistently hailed as one of the best in the state. This road features beautiful scenery, great road quality and tons of attractions. If you need a break from riding, just stop by the Lost Maples Winery for a drink and rest your weary head at the Lodges At Lost Maples or the FireFox Cabins. Also, if you need to cool off, be sure to stop by the Frio River for a refreshing dip. This route is very limited when it comes to gas stations, so make sure that you have a full take before embarking on this adventure!


  1. Texas Hill Country Twister, Kerville, TX – This road starts in Kerville and is a straight shot south to Medina, TX, with tons of great sights and attractions along the way. It’s only a 38-mile ride, so you’ll have plenty of time to experience everything this route has to offer. Visit the biker resort at Koyote Ranch which features antique markets and outdoor biergarten with some of the best views in the State. If you’re lucky, you may even get to pass through the Kerrville Folk Festival, which occurs in the late spring/early summer. Nothing like a little music to accompany you during your ride!


  1. Castolon-Santa Elena Canyon Ride, Big Bend National Park, TX – What better way to take a motorcycle journey than through one of the most famous national parks in the entire country? If you’re a big scenery junkie, then this is definitely the route for you. You’ll be absorbed in a parade of majestic vistas, dazzling rock formations, and monstrous canyons as far as the eye can see. The only bummer is that this area is very stingy on it’s speed limit. You’ll most likely be riding around 45 mph the entire time, so if you have a need for speed, you may need to do some adjusting.


  1. Rio Grande River Road, Alpine, TX – Head down south near the border for a fantastic ride in one of Texas’ most beautiful regions. This route will take you through a portion of Big Bend National Park by way of twists, turns, hills and straightaway roads. This is a perfect destination if you’re just looking to cruise and see the sights. The Rio Grande River Road doesn’t offer many amenities, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the amazing views!


  1. Possum Kingdom Lake Ride, Gradbury, TX – If you’re craving a sense of adventure, then head on out to this great motorcycle route just outside Dallas/Ft. Worth. This route is a great hidden gem that contains great roads that twist and turn as well as some thrilling sights to behold. If you plan on riding this route, it’s highly recommended that you spend the night at the campgrounds. This area is a utopia for water sports, fishing, and nature activities. While you’re there, make sure you check out the infamous “Hell’s Gate” cliff formation in the lake. You can even go cliff diving if you’re brave enough!


Before planning that weekend motorcycle getaway, now is a great time to make sure that all of your motorcycle insurance needs are up-to-date. Give us a call at 1-800-Thanks-Al to have an agent review your policy to confirm that your auto insurance has the right amount of coverage for your family and your needs. We can also ensure that you are getting the best rate for your policy. You might even qualify for additional discounts, especially if you have your home insured through us!


From all of us at Al Boenker Insurance, we hope you stay safe and enjoy the ride!

Spring Motorcycle Checklist

What do the Fonz, Batman, and the Sons of Anarchy all have in common? They all love to ride motorcycles! We’re quickly approaching the time of the spring season where the weather is nice enough to dust off the old bike and take it out for a spin. Some of you diehard riders have most likely been riding through the cold winter season, while others have been patiently waiting for the weather to warm up. If you fall into the latter group, then don’t you worry! We’re here to help provide the necessary tips to help you prepare for riding season. Check out these handy motorcycle maintenance tips for spring!


Motorcycle Inspection Checklist


  1. If your bike has been sitting in your garage untouched for the last 5 months, then it’s time to do some recommission work. Depending on how you winterized your bike and how much time has passed since last operated, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to address every single component of your vehicle. If your bike had gasoline sitting in its tank throughout its hibernation state, then it’s likely gone stale. This can cause your fuel lines, jets and injectors to clog due to deterioration of certain elements in the gasoline, which can cause major problems. This can be prevented if you installed fuel additive in your tank before storage, but if not, then you may have to replace your injectors, jets and filters.


  1. Speaking of filters, don’t forget to replace any dirty air filters and go ahead and get the oil changed while you’re at it.


  1. Even in storage, winter conditions and non-use can also create issues with your bike’s battery. If you didn’t take any pre-winter storage measures, then you need to see if yours can still hold a charge. Don’t take any chances though, if you feel that the battery struggles to start your engine, then you probably need to consider replacing it.


  1. Time and weight pressure from sitting still for months can also heavily affect your tires. Having functional tires is essential to ensuring your safety on the road, so make sure that your tire pressure is replenished and that the tire wear doesn’t look too run down. If so, you might want to consider replacing them just in case.


  1. Along with your tires, there’s also a chance that your brakes are in poor condition, so you may need to consider replacing your brake pads and fluids. It’s highly suggested that you do some extra inspection of your motorcycle to check and see everything is operating smoothly.


  1. Make sure that your suspension and steering are aligned and steady before embarking on your first ride. You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible when getting back up on the seat for the first time in a while.


  1. Also, don’t forget to check and see if all of your lights are working properly and replace any dead bulbs if needed.


  1. Lastly, you’ll want to give your bike a good thorough cleaning so that it looks like it hasn’t been sitting in a dark damp garage for months. Scrub it down and finish it off with a good wax so that it’s ready to shine in that springtime sun!


Remember, not only does the bike need to be prepared for its return to the road, so does the rider. If you haven’t ridden in a while, it would be wise to ease back into things instead of hitting the ground running. Operating a motorcycle takes enormous care and concentration, so you need to get back into the mental state of riding to make sure you’re not a threat to yourself or others on the road. We hope you always remember to wear a helmet and drive defensively!

Before getting your motorcycle ready to ride, now is a great time to make sure that all of your motorcycle insurance is up-to-date. Give us a call at 1-800-Thanks-Al to have an agent review your policy to confirm that your auto insurance has the right amount of coverage for your family and your needs. We can also ensure that you are getting the best rate for your policy. You might even qualify for additional discounts, especially if you have your home insured through us!