Tag Archives: Texas

The 10 Best Summer Spots in Texas While Social Distancing

We were all waiting for the summer to travel to our favorite spots when the pandemic hit. With a new normal some are starting to go out and want to travel while staying safe. Check out some of our favorite spots to travel to while maintaining social distance.

If being outdoors is your call, you should check out the following State Parks in Texas:

1. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park

The home of bird sightseeing, you might be able to see over 360 species.

P.S. The headquarters of the World Birding Center is located here, you should check it out.

2. Franklin Mountains State Park

With over a hundred miles of trails and pathways, you can’t miss the red rocky views of canyons and desert around El Paso area.

3. Big Bend Ranch State

If you end up going do not forget to visit the Closed Canyon Trail, you will have an amazing landscape of rocky mountains and biking trails right next to Terlingua.

If you are more into water, these options might be best for you:

4. Possum Kingdom Lake

Only ninety miles north of Fort Worth, you can spend the day swimming or floating on its crystal-clear water.

5. Garner State Park

The location where the Frio River meets allows it to spend time doing camping and several water activities such as tubing, kayaking, fishing, and even snorkeling. The 10 acre of river frontage is definitely a must-visit place during the summer.

Also, let’s not forget the beautiful beaches that are located in our state:

6. Galveston

The classic beach getaway, it is one of the most popular summer destinations, and it is easy to maintain social distance while soaking up some sun. There are plenty of restaurants and stores, just make sure they are following all sanitary regulations.

7. Corpus Christi

This location is less crowded and quieter than Galveston but also as enjoyable during the summer. You have a seventy-mile beach to take a long walk and enjoy some waves to do some surfing. 

8. South Padre Island

It is home to the most beautiful beaches in the Lone Star State, with its white-sand beaches, it is a great summer destination to visit.

And finally traveling to other cities is always a great option. We leave you some options to visit:

9. San Antonio

It is a perfect city summer getaway, taking a walk on the famous Riverwalk, enjoying a nice meal in one of its restaurants and visiting the Alamo, you’ll have plenty of options to have a great time while staying safe.

10. Austin

The capital of our great state cannot be missed, from visiting the Texas State Capitol and downtown, all the way to visiting local coffee shops, food truck cuisine and you will find a variety of activities outdoors. 

Maintaining social distance today is a must, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a nice day out with family visiting incredible summer spots.

Be sure to double-check all city ordinances pertaining to mask requirements and capacity levels. Visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ for the most recent updates. 

Before you head out remember to give your local Al Boenker Insurance agent a call to ensure you have the best coverage for your needs! Call 1-800-Thanks-Al or go online to thanksal.com.

Does your insurance carrier pay for drunk driving accidents (DUI)?

In a short answer, your insurance might cover you even if your at-fault driving under the influence (DUI), but after the contract ends they could deny your renewal the policy and the driver will be considered a risky driver and may get high rates. 

Read more-> Myth or Fact: Do Car Accidents Increase in the Holiday Season?

Your protection depends on your type of coverage 

Let’s go step by step… 

Like almost everything in the auto insurance world, it depends on the type of coverage. Your insurance might cover you depending on what you have. If you have liability coverage, after a drunk driving accident the insurance company will only pay for the third party damages. 

Besides liability, collision, comprehensive and medical payment usually covers the driver at-fault or if they were hit by another driver under the influence. 

But if we’re talking about coverage, your insurance could pay for car damages, medical expenses or third party damage.  

Does drunk driving void your insurance?

The insurance agent or company cannot deny coverage but they could cancel at any time or refuse to renew your policy in some of the following cases:

  1. The insurer doesn’t pay their premium. 
  2. Insurers file a fraudulent claim. 
  3. Driver’s license is suspended or revoked (that could happen after Driving While Intoxicated)
  4. Insured is now considered high risk- and renewal could be a liability. 

Texas Department of Insurance said the auto insurance company must refund any unearned premium to the insurer 15 days after the day of the cancellation. 

For nonrenewal cases, the insurance agency or company must tell you in writing, at least 30 days before the contract ends. 

How much is insurance after a DUI?

There is no doubt that a driver involved in an accident due to being under the influence would be labeled as a high-risk driver.

This could result in expensive consequences such as:

  1. Premium rates will increase
  2. Car insurance policy could be canceled

This number varies based on your carrier and the state. According to alcohol.org, it could increase between $1000 and $10,000 depending on the company, state, and situation. Insurance companies may double or triple the rate.

How long does drink driving affect your auto insurance? 

In the majority of states a DUI can take several years to clear your record after being in an accident. In Texas, the driver will never get a DUI conviction removed from their record. 

Commonly, auto insurance companies check motor vehicle records of their insureds. It depends on each company or agency if after three years (or more) they want to give a standard auto insurance rate regardless of the driving record. 

What happens after being caught driving while intoxicated? 

In Texas, any person with a .08 Blood or Breath Alcohol Concentration is considered under the influence and can face tremendous consequences if caught driving under the influence. 

First Offense: 

  1. A fine up to $2,000
  2. Three days to 180 days in jail 
  3. Loss driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $2,000 at least during three years

Second Offense:

  1. A fine of up to $4,000
  2. One month to a year in jail
  3. Loss of driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver’s license

Third Offense:

  1. A $10,000 fine
  2. Two to 10 years in prison
  3. Loss of driver’s license (minimum of  2 years)
  4. Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain a driver’s license

Source: Texas Department of Transportation

If the driver is caught driving drunk with a child passenger, the fines are even higher.  

Also, most of the punishments above depends on the driver’s age. For example, for a driver over 21 years old, they must fill a Financial Responsibility Certificate (SR-22) from their insurance company. 

For drivers under 21 years of age, they’ll receive one year of driver’s license suspension, they also could be required to serve during the suspension period, fill the SR-22 and so on, according to Texas Department of Public Safety.

Texas Department of Transportation indicates that those who refuse to take a blood alcohol test while being pulled could result in a suspended driver’s license for 180 days. 

How can I lower my car insurance after a DUI?

  1. Always have auto insurance, the lack of insurance protection means expensive consequences
  2. Increase your deductible and could pay less on your premiums
  3. Follow the law to avoid traffic infractions
  4. Drive less to lower your mileage and the probability to have accidents. 
  5. Take care of your car by keeping it in the garage and installing anti-theft alarms.
  6. Maintain a good credit score. 
  7. Don’t let the same mistake happen again. Try a sober ride such as Uber or Lyft. 

The best thing that you can do is to drink responsibly. Sadly, car accidents caused by driving while intoxicated are the reason for several fatalities during this time of year. It’s not only what could happen to your insurance rates or car damages, but consider your life and other’s life.

Have a safe and happy new year. See you in 2020!

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.