Tag Archives: Texas

What amount of insurance coverage do I need?

What insurance coverage do I need?

What insurance coverage do I need? Are you covered… Enough? Did you know that big life changes such as having a baby, getting married, buying a new home, or sending a child off to college may require you to adjust the amount of coverage?

Milestones are meant to be celebrated and are an exciting time in life. However, how would you like to find out that life’s most amazing moments could leave your household without the proper coverage? You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive right. The same thing should be said about speaking with your Al Boenker Insurance Agent before an important change.

Adding a bedroom to the house may mean it’s time to re-evaluate your home owner’s policy to keep it up-to-date with the square footage. Or moving your college driver to another “garage,” is a sign it’s time to chat with your agent to determine coverage for a driver that is no longer living in your home.

Don’t let yourself get caught without the assurance your family is protected. Bring on all the major good-feeling moments life has the pleasure of giving us and speak with your Al Boenker agent today.

Also, this is a great opportunity to review that your policies are up-to-date and you got the best deal for your insurance needs.

Give us a call at 1-800-THANKSAL or visit us online at www.thanksal.com

Remember we got you covered!

Recreational Vehicles Insurance 101

Recreational vehicles summer

Recreational vehicles, boats and watercraft just give you all the summer feels. And now that school is out, vacation and travel are on everyone’s summer list.

However, with all good things, we must prepare for the not so pleasant. And knowing the amount and type of coverage you have in case of an accident can give some peace of mind.

So what kinds of insurance coverages do you need? Here is quick break down on coverages for the different type of vehicles.

Boat

There are widely different coverages for different styles of vehicles. The most standard coverages you are going to seek is for:

  • Physical damage (motor, vessel, anchors, and onboard equipment)
  • Liability (in case your boat injurers someone else or their property)
  • Additional coverages can be offered for storage, fishing equipment, and personal items stored on board.
Motor Home/Recreational Vehicles (RV)

Your motorhome or Recreational Vehicle (RV) is more than just a vehicle and needs more than just standard auto insurance. Recreational vehicles coverages include:

  • Comprehensive and collision- this protects from direct damage, accidental loss, collision, fire, smoke, flood, wind, theft, fallen debris, and lightning.
  • Coverage for attachments such as awnings and antennas.
  • Additional coverages including, towing, total loss replacement, emergency lodging in case your rig is being repaired to campsite liability.
5th Wheel

Your auto policy doesn’t cover your haul like you may think. Here are some standard coverages your 5th wheel will need.

  • Comprehensive and collision- this protects from direct damage, accidental loss, collision, fire, smoke, flood, wind, theft, fallen debris, and lightning.
  • Coverage for attachments such as awnings and antennas.
  • Additional coverages including, towing, total loss replacement, emergency lodging in case your rig is being repaired to campsite liability.

5th wheels have similar coverage to your motorhome or recreational vehicles but due to its attachment style, there can be different needs.

Personal Watercraft

PWC insurance helps ensure you and your personal watercraft against accidents, vandalism, and liability. Typical coverages include:

  • Collison, theft, fire, vandalism, water damage, and storm damage. Your standard coverage is meant to ensure risk to the PWC and owner.
  • Expanded coverages include medical bills, full replacement cost, towing and roadside assistance.
Off-Road Vehicles

ATV’s are a guaranteed fun time! However, protecting yourself cannot be guaranteed. Off-road vehicles are considered to be a little more dangerous and in return protect against accidents, injury, and theft. Here are the standard coverages offered to ATV’s.

  • Liability Coverage- covers the cost of bodily injury and property damage.
  • Collision- will assist in paying for damages to the machine after an accident.
  • Comprehensive and under/uninsured motorist are additional coverages. It can cover you from theft, vandalism and weather damage.

As you can see, there are several different coverages and possibilities that you might need. Each recreational vehicle has different parameters and restrictions.

The best choice to determine the right amount of coverage is to speak with your Al Boenker Insurance agent. Their expertise and knowledge will help you determine the value of your recreational vehicle and its content, and help make you make the best-informed decision. Being informed is empowering!

Now take your knowledge and have a safe and fun summer! For more information visit thanksal.com.

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 auto insurance cover driving under the influence (DUI) accidents?

In a short answer, your auto insurance might cover you even if your at-fault driving under the influence (DUI), but after the contract ends your carrier could deny your renewal of 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 driving under the influence 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 never gets 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 of 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

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

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

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

Those who refuse to take a blood alcohol test while being pulled could result in a suspended driver’s license for 180 days, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

How can I lower my auto insurance after a driving under the influence (DUI) ticket?

  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.