Tag Archives: Texas Insurance

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Insuring the Star Wars Universe

 Insuring the Star Wars Universe

 

40 years ago today, a little film called Star Wars premiered across the country and changed the world forever. The film eventually became a worldwide phenomenon that altered the landscape of movies and pop culture as we know it. It’s hard to find a person who isn’t familiar with the adventures of Luke Skywalker or who has never heard the phrase, “May the Force be with you.” In honor of this special day, we began to wonder what it would be like to provide coverage to all of the spaceships, vehicles, and characters in a galaxy far, far away. Here’s how we would insure the Star Wars universe!

Droid Insurance – Everybody knows the loveable duo C-3P0 and R2D2, but there are hundreds of thousands of other droids occupying the Star Wars universe. These different class types include service droids, security droids, medical droids, battle droids and much more. A droid is usually prone to destruction due to terrible planet conditions or attacks from villainous space scum. Because of this, one would definitely need a hefty insurance policy to replace their loyal servant if such a misfortune should befall them.

Land Speeder Insurance – In Star Wars, land speeders are hover crafts that serve as a futuristic style car. You may remember Luke Skywalker driving one around on his home planet Tatooine in the first film. Just like a car needs coverage, so does a speeder in this universe, thanks to a vast array of thieves and brutal planetary environments that you have to deal with.

Death Star Insurance – The ultimate weapon of the Empire is the size of a small moon and is said to cost more than $852,000,000,000,000,000. Considering the fact that the rebels are always trying to blow it to smithereens (and have succeeded on multiple occasions), there’s a good chance that Darth Vader has invested a lot of money in an insurance policy for this space station. Not to mention that you’d have to insure the thousands of employees, droids, and ships aboard the Death Star, which would end of costing the Empire even more money!

Home Insurance – The Star Wars universe contains thousands of different planets, which each has their own distinct traits and weather conditions. Some of the most popular planets in Star Wars are known for extreme weather, for instance, Tatooine is a desert planet, Hoth is an ice planet, Mustafar is a lava planet and Endor is a forest planet. If you choose to inhabit one of these deadly planets, then your home will be exposed to these dangerous environmental conditions that will surely take a toll on your home.

X-Wing/Tie Fighter Insurance – These are the two main star fighters used by the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Both of these spaceships are used heavily in battle and are extremely liable to damage. It would be wise to invest in coverage for both fleets of ships, due to the fact that they’re always fighting each other and because nothing is ever safe flying through space.

Before re-watching the amazing Star Wars trilogy now is a great time to make sure that all of your 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!

 

Bad Driving Habits to Avoid

We all have bad habits that cause torment and distress in our lives. Some people pick their nose; some bite their fingernails, while others struggle with cursing like a sailor. These are all very common minuscule recurring activities that seem to plague our daily routines, but they don’t necessarily affect you financially. However, sometimes we tend to develop bad habits while driving, which can slowly inflict damage on your car over time. Cars are a big long-term investment and you want to keep yours running as long as you possibly can. The more bad habits you’re guilty of when driving, the more money it could eventually cost you in the long run. Check out these popular bad driving habits and see how you can break yours!

Bad Driving Habits to Avoid

 

Running on Empty – Most people wait to fill up their car until their gas tank is running on fumes, which is not ideal for your fuel system. Your car’s fuel pumps are kept cool when they’re immersed in fuel in your tank, so make sure that you avoid letting your gas meter drop below a quarter full.

Flooring and Braking – Driving can be a very mundane task, especially if you spend a lot of time in the car. Movies like Fast and the Furious help glamorize this undertaking and we sometimes tend to transfer these high-octane techniques to our own driving style. This includes flooring your gas pedal, which burns a ton of fuel and puts unnecessary pressure on certain components of your vehicle. If you floor your car then you’re going to have to slam on the brake to come to a full force stop. This can cause extreme wear and tear on your rotors and brake pads, so take it smooth and easy when you’re behind the wheel. Resisting the urge to drive like Vin Diesel will make you a smarter and safer driver.

Shifter Mistakes – People tend to get trigger-happy when it comes to using their shifter. When you’re shifting from reverse to drive or drive to park, make sure that you’re at a complete stop before flicking the shifter. Flicking the shifter while still in motion can inflict damage to your axle and transmission. Also, try to refrain from resting your hand on the shifter at all times. This can also put pressure on your transmission, which can lead to premature wear.

Weighing Your Car Down – People tend to store up a bunch of junk in their trunk, which can weigh down your car significantly. This results in added stress to your brakes and suspension and it burns fuel at a much faster rate. Make sure you go through your car and clean out all of the unnecessary clutter so that you can make your ride as light as possible.

Ignoring Warning Signs – People are naturally lazy procrastinators who only take care of something at the absolute last second. However, this is a very bad habit when it comes to potential warning signs for your vehicle. If you hear strange noises, feel weird vibrations or detect anything else out of the ordinary, then get your car inspected pronto. Usually, the longer you wait the more the problem can grow and it can end up costing you more than you’re able to spend to fix it.

Before breaking these bad driving habits now is a great time to make sure that all of your 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!