Wednesday, May 16, 2018
High or low car insurance deductibles can be confusing. Understand the difference to make the best decision.
It can be confusing to understand the difference in car insurance deductibles, so for starters, let’s talk about what a deductible is. An insurance deductible is what you pay out of your pocket when you file a claim. Think of it as insurance for your insurance company. For instance, if you have a high deductible you must meet before your insurance kicks in, you may opt to pay a lesser amount and be done with it, rather than cough up the higher deductible amount. Deductibles are a way of balancing the risk.
There are a few things to consider before deciding to go with a high or a low car insurance deductible. Things like your driving record, the state of your finances, and the cost of your insurance premium can all influence the decision.
The parts of your car insurance policy regarding damage to your property is where deductibles come into play. That refers to comprehensive and collision coverage. If you have only liability coverage, there is no deductible. As an example, that means if you bump into someone else in the parking lot, your insurance will pay for all the cost up to your coverage limits of repairs needed on the other driver’s car.
Low Car Insurance Deductible
If you’re on a limited budget, a low deductible might be your best option. You may be able to find $250, however $500 is the lowest that most companies will do. Remember also, your monthly premium will cost more if you choose a low deductible.
If you are leasing or financing your car, you can choose a deductible that is $500, or less if you can. If you’re driving an older car, it might be a good idea to choose liability only and have no deductible. If you’re still uncertain, talk with your friendly independent insurance agent.
High Car Insurance Deductible
A lower monthly premium is the most common reason for choosing a high car insurance deductible. Higher deductibles can save as much as 15 to 50 percent on monthly premiums, but remember these are estimates and these saving only apply to policies for collision and comprehensive coverage.
To make sure you are making the best decision for your circumstances, speak with your independent insurance agent. Because they are independent, they can shop around for you and find the absolute best price available for your car insurance needs.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
What’s the first thing you think of when you think wildfires? It’s more complicated than it sounds and one common cause of wildfires may be surprising.
When wildfires come up in conversation, most people connect them with dry, parched areas where trees are randomly transformed to kindling from negligent campfires or cigarettes. Many times, that’s the case. But it might surprise you to know that a large scale of wildfire causes are thunderstorms accompanied by powerful lightning.
In United States, fires caused by lightning strikes are estimated to be $451 million in direct damages each year. The most prominent months for these occurrences are June, July and August.
Home insurance losses in Texas were second only to Georgia a few years ago for lightning losses. While Georgia had more claims, Texas claims cost far more, averaging $8,000 per claim.
Lightning can be very unpredictable even though the three summer months mentioned above are considered ‘lightning season’. It’s much better to decrease your chances of home damage due to lightning strikes by heeding a few of these tips to make your home safer from strong thunder and lightning storms:
- Cut dead tree branches or rotting trees before June.
- Batten down the hatches and make sure any outdoor patio furniture or other objects are tethered securely.
- Shutters for your windows are a smart preventive measure. If you don’t have shutters, at the very least close your blinds and curtains.
- All electronic equipment (computer and/or cell phone in your home should be unplugged. These wires are the textbook conduits for electricity and cause power surges during thunderstorms.
- Surge protectors are recommended, even though they might not totally protect your electronics, at least they provide a better chance of survival for them.
- A smart and generally recommended safe rule is to stay away from open windows during a storm. While lightning may be a beautiful natural phenomenon, remember it is equally dangerous and can cause dreadful wildfires.
To learn more about lightning statistics, visit this site. Understand the facts about lightning and its dangers might one day be a lifesaving piece of information.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Before you decide to share an apartment, discuss financial considerations with your prospective roommate such as renter’s insurance and how it works.
Sharing an apartment with a roommate means there are certain things that you both will use or have access to. That’s part of the ‘roomie’ advantage. But when it comes to renter’s insurance, can you also share that with your roommate?
Renter’s insurance is important and costs very little. It protects you from burglary or disasters caused by weather, fire or other damaging events.
Some insurance companies allow roommates to share renter’s insurance, but there are a few valid things to consider first.
It could save money to divide the renter’s insurance with your roommate, but remember that any claims your roommate has on their record, goes on your record, too.
If your roommate moves out, who pays for that other half? It’s best to have an agreement before buying the policy that this sort of thing will be responsibly handled. Still, there is a good chance that problems could arise.
Most insurance companies recommend that each renter have their own policy. Renter’s insurance policies are not expensive and well worth the investment.
Think about these things if you do decide to share a renter’s insurance policy:
Make an inventory of your possessions and personal property and calculate the value. That will help you determine how much coverage is needed.
Sit down with your independent insurance agent and get the best advice about a renter’s insurance policy. Find out if sharing a policy is the way to go.
Also, speak with your roommate about the financial aspects of your sharing an apartment, and include the renter’s insurance as part of the discussion. Talk through about the way to manage a payout in the event of a loss.
And last, but not least, ask your agent about discounts. Is there a discount if you share the cost? If you have renter’s insurance and auto insurance both with the same insurance company, you may qualify for a discount.
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Your business insurance has an impact on the overall success of your business growth and success. Are you adequately covered for your type of business?
As a small business owner, you know there is certain insurance that the law requires, but after that you need to know what kind of insurance coverage you need for your type of business. That usually refer to insuring against things you would not want to be liable for on your own.
Your best first step is to see your independent insurance agent and get the expert advice you need. For a basic understanding of what’s out there, here are several kinds of business insurance that are used often by small business owners and entrepreneurs.
General liability insurance is needed for any business. It covers you against financial loss resulting from property damage, bodily injury, libel, medical expenses, slander, defending lawsuits, and judgments or settlement bonds.
Product liability insurance is for businesses that manufacture, wholesale, distribute, and retail a product. If a product is defective or causes injury or bodily harm, you are protected against financial loss.
Professional liability insurance refers to a business which provides services to customers. If you have a financial loss resulting from negligence, malpractice, or errors, you are protected.
Commercial property insurance is needed for a business with a large amount of property and physical assets. You are protected against loss and damage of company property if there is a fire, damage from smoke, wind and hail, civil unrest and vandalism.
Home-based business insurance is needed if you run a business out of your home.
You can add coverage to your homeowner’s insurance as a rider which affords some coverage for business equipment and liability coverage for third-party injuries.
Business owner’s policy is a good insurance package combines your coverage options into a bundle, sometimes referred to as BOP. Small business owners and especially home-based business owners benefit from this type of coverage. It simplifies the insurance buying process and often saves you money.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Do you understand the insurance business well enough to know what you’re buying and why you need it?
Most people would agree that understanding the full scope of the insurance industry is no easy task. That could be why there are so many misconceptions and outright fiction about an important industry we all rely on.
Some of the most common misconception look something like this:
Your home insurance should remain the same as when you purchased your home. This is where understanding the difference in Market Value and Replacement Cost comes into play. While homeowner’s insurance is part of buying a home and is needed, it is very different from how you insure your home. Market value is key when buying a home, but when buying home insurance, your focus must be on how much it would cost to rebuild your home, not just be reimbursed for what you paid for it.
When you turn 25, your insurance rates will drop. Fortunately, the insurance industry views age 25 as a step up from that of a teenage or young driver, but it does not reward you on your 25th birthday with lower insurance rates. However, as you get older, you might start seeing lower rates which goes with years of being a good driver.
Don’t worry if your auto insurance policy is cancelled. First, letting your auto insurance lapse is against the law. You might even be turned down by your insurance company if you let your insurance lapse. When you do get your insurance renewed, it will likely cost you more due to the lapse. It’s an advantage if you have continuous coverage for at least six months.
If I have full coverage, then everything is covered. Full coverage means your insurance policy is covering the vehicle you own if you have comprehensive and collision added to your policy. Full coverage allows you to pay your deductible and get your car fixed after being damaged due to a covered loss. On the other hand, if you have only liability coverage, your policy does not cover repairs to your vehicle.
Every insurance company offers the same insurance policies. This is perhaps the biggest misconception of all. This statement is total fiction. Just as there are differences in any other product you buy, the same holds true for insurance companies. Perhaps the single greatest differentiator is trust.
The trust factor is where an independent insurance agency can make the difference for reliability, for lower rates, and for the guidance you want from your insurance company. An independent agency offers you the advantage of finding the very best insurer for your insurance needs. At Killebrew Insurance we shop around, do the legwork for you, get to know you, and stand by ready and eager to answer questions and make needed changes when you call.
While the type of coverage on your policy may be the same as other agencies, you can trust that the valued experience you get with an independent agency such as Killebrew is quality at its best.
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Being a safe driver doesn’t just happen. It takes discipline and mindfulness of the responsibility you take when you get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Take the test.
We would all like to think we are truly safe drivers. After all, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a big responsibility that affects not only ourselves, but also everyone else on the road. So, can you honestly call yourself a safe driver?
Let’s look at some of the safety rules of driving just to be sure. It’s a good way to check to see if we could all do a little better when we’re out on the road.
- Do you obey all speed limits and signs, remaining attentive while driving?
- Wearing your seatbelt is not an option, but a law. Are you buckled up?
- The rule is NEVER to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Period.
- Before you put the key into the ignition, adjust your mirrors and seats.
- It’s safer to always drive with your headlights on. Your car is visible 4-times the distance with the headlights turned on.
- Use your turn signals all the time, not just when you happen to think of it.
- Observe roadway signs. They are there for a reason. STOP means stop and look both ways.
- Stay in your car if it stalls. Put on your hazard lights to allow others to see you better. Call your roadway assistance or proper authorities to come help you.
- Allow at least a four second space between the vehicle in front of you.
- Do NOT talk on your cell phone or text while driving. It increases your potential for an accident by 400 percent.
- If an emergency vehicle is approaching, pull over onto right shoulder of the road and stop.
- When driving on a multiple-lane highway, remember the left lanes are for passing only. Stay in the right lane and allow others to pass.
- A good rule of thumb is that as you increase your speed, you must also increase your braking distance. So, if you double your speed, you quadruple your braking distance. If you double the weight of your vehicle, you double the stopping distance.
- Safe driving pays in more ways than one. It will also result in lower auto insurance rates.
Being a truly safe driver is a matter of habit. Remembering to drive safely and obey the driving laws becomes instinctive the more you drive. And don’t forget, you’re not the only one on the road.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Does your insurance company have a UBI program? Somewhat new to the industry, it offers the possibility of saving you money on your auto premiums.
Does your insurance company have a telematics program? It’s a tracking device program that taps into your car’s computer to capture and store data. Then the data is sent back to the insurance company to determine whether you are a safe driver or not. If they like the data about your driving, they may reduce your premiums or give you credits on your account.
It’s strictly an ‘opt-in’ feature which means your insurance company does not try to sell you on using it. It’s your choice. If you decide to go for it, you sign up and install the device.
If you opt in to a tracking program and discover you’re not saving money, you should be able to opt-out. Some insurance companies consider discounts provided you use the telematics device, but if they’re notified that the tracker is disabled, you lose any discount earned.
The telematics devices are usually small pieces of hardware that plug into your car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD-II port). This is the place on your car where mechanics do a diagnosis with a scanner which reads error codes. The devices are compatible with cars that have OBD-II computer systems, which include most cars built in the last 25 years or so.
Once the device is plugged into the car’s computer, it can see all the data the computer collects and it grabs whatever the insurance company has programmed it to find. It then uses wireless technology to transmit that information to the insurance company.
What do Telematics Track?
Types of tracked data include how often the car Is used, miles driven, and time spent driving. They also want to know how fast you typically drives and how often you break hard, both of which are indicators that you take risks and don’t pay attention. Telematics can also track your car’s location, which, some say could be a privacy concern, while others say it could be helpful in cases of accidents or theft.
The companies Killebrew Insurance works with which offer Telematics monitor each driver for 90 days, with a 5 percent discount for using the device. Discounts can range from 5-30 percent depending on how well you drive.
Three of the things they monitor closely is hard breaking, excessive acceleration, and driving between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.
Sometimes referred to as a UBI or usage-based insurance program, telematics may be something you want, but get your questions answered first. Then you can make an informed decision.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Distracted driving has always been a concern, but with smartphones and other digital distractions, most states have stepped to implement stricter laws related to texting while driving.
Why does it seem like driving is scarier nowadays than it has ever been? While driverless cars may be the future, right now too many people drive like they’re already in one. And the fact that vehicles today are equipped with so many bells and whistles, the dashboard looks like an Airbus A380 passenger airliner. That alone can be a distraction. Add smartphones to the picture, with their ever-present pings and dings, distracting drivers with something that usually can wait; but, too often the compulsion to respond wins out and distracted driving follows.
It’s an astonishing statistic that one in four car accidents in the U.S. are caused by texting while driving. Each year, thousands of injuries are caused by texting while driving and government statistics show there is a 400 percent greater likelihood for an accident when texting while driving.
Smartphones are not the only culprits. Eating, reading and applying makeup raises the chance of an accident 2-3 times. Daydreaming, believe it or not, is responsible for over 60 percent of distracted driving accidents. And let’s not forget the distraction provided by kids and pets. Taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds increases the odds of an accident.
Laws to curb distracted driving are getting tougher, thankfully. There are over 35 states which ban cell phone use by drivers in the age group of 18-21. There are 45 states, Texas being one of them, banning text messaging for all drivers. While fines for texting while driving vary from state to state, Alaska fines texting while driving lawbreakers with a $10,000 ticket.
Let’s face it, taking your eyes off the road (not to mention your mind) for even a moment can be disastrous. When you’re behind the wheel, you have the responsibility for your life and others. It’s a task that requires your full attention. You have a choice, so don’t take the risk. Be a conscientious, safe driver and you’ll get to your destination just as fast. You will also have much lower auto insurance rates.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
If you take fishing seriously, then you’re probably ‘chompin’ at the bit’ to get out there on the water. How’s your boat insurance coverage?
It’s March and that means getting ready for some high stakes bass fishing in the Permian Basin area. If you’re a member of the Bass Club, you’re probably thinking about the fishing tournaments, the first of which is later this month.
If that’s the case, then getting your bass boat prepped and ready to go is a big priority. A major part of that preparation is making sure your boat insurance is up to date and covers what you need, including those tournaments. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover your boat up to a point, but there are some circumstances when it may not be enough.
Comprehensive coverage is best to protect your boat from vandalism, fire/flood, theft, personal property coverage for gear, uninsured boater and even roadside assistance, in case you have a breakdown and need a tow.
If you participate in fishing tournaments, you may want to talk with your agent about some of the special coverages that could include some of the following:
- Disappearing Deductible
- Consequential Damage Clause
- Fishing Equipment
- Protection & Indemnity (P&I)
- Medical Payments
- Tournament Fee Reimbursement
- Towing and Emergency Assistance
- Unlimited Trailering within the continental United States
Good safety protocol, along with the right insurance will protect you and your fishing crew from accidents. Everyone will have much more fun and much less worry. After all, isn’t the main reason you’re out there is to reel in that ‘big catch’?
Your independent insurance agent is your best bet if you want low rates and complete fishing boat coverage. Killebrew Insurance has been insuring watercraft for many years. In fact, a few of our customers have been big catchers in the past fishing competitions.
Give us a call or come by. We will get you outfitted with the insurance you need so you’re ready for the big day. Besides, we always enjoy a good fish story – large or small.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Under certain circumstances, your fence may or (may not) be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy. Understand the details to be better prepared.
The fence around your property is usually covered under your homeowner's insurance policy under the "Other Structures" provisions. This normally only pertains to fences that service just the dwelling and not those that service acreage. Fences are covered at Actural Cash Value and for the perils on the policy.
If your fence needs repairs due to a flood or earthquake, be sure you have specific protection in your home policy. Your homeowner's insurance will not cover damage caused by mold, fungus, termites, or landscaping problems.
Trees can be a problem to fences if they fall over on them. If it is a healthy tree, your homeowner's usually covers it and it is likely tied to storm or wind damage. If on the other hand, the tree is already weak and declining due to age or negligence, a claim may be denied or noticeably reduced.
Stormy weather, tornadoes, and hail can wreak havoc on homes and fences. In most cases, your homeowner's insurance policy will cover the damage up to your coverage limits. Vandalism is usually covered, too.
Although unusual, this has been known to happen. Someone crashes their car into your fence. In this case, your homeowner's policy should cover the damages; however, you could save the possibility of your rates going up by filing a claim against the driver of the car. And if your homeowner's policy does not cover all the costs, filing a claim against the other driver can help meet the total costs.
Have a conversation with your independent insurance agent about your homeowner's insurance to be sure you are sufficiently covered. Asking the right questions in advance could save costly unexpected repairs down the road.
Killebrew Insurance has been insuring customers in the Permian Basin for more than 40 years. If you want answers you can trust, give us a call. Because we're independent, we can shop around for you to get the lowest rates. Call or come by. We're here to help.