Monday, July 9, 2018
Did you know that west Texas experiences some of the worst hailstorms in the country between June and August?
Last August, softball sized hail bombarded Texas when severe weather storms traveled across the South. Storms move quickly but it is amazing the amount of damage that hail can leave behind.
Weather experts define severe hail as being at least 0.75 inches in diameter or roughly the size of a one cent coin. There is a triangular area from west Texas to northwest Missouri to the western Dakotas that averaged at least 0.5 days of severe hail between 2007 and 2010. These locations experience an average of one day per year when hail of various sizes reaches the ground, Texas and Oklahoma getting the most severe hail in the western parts of those states.
What many people living in west Texas may not realize is that preparation for this level of severity should be a priority. Making sure your home, vehicles, property, businesses, and surrounding areas are protected can save thousands of dollars in insurance costs and repairs.
Here are some easy to follow guidelines to ensure that your property is protected from damaging hailstorms and doesn’t become a statistic in the $1 billion in damages caused each year.
- Fully understand what your insurance covers and how much you need
- Be clear on your deductibles that you have chosen and adjust if needed
- Talk to your local independent agent to find out if you need a higher deductible for wind and hail damage than you do for other claims
- Inspect your roof prior to hail season and get any repairs completed.
- Repair or replace worn, curled or missing shingles.
- If you have an older roof (over 10 years) consider replacing it before hail season begins.
If you’re caught out in a hailstorm, know how to protect yourself and your vehicle. A severe hail stone can be as big as a grapefruit and fall at 50 to 100 miles per hour, so stay or get indoors.
If you are indoors, remember to:
- Stay away from skylights and glass doors to avoid broken glass.
- Close curtains or blinds to prevent fragments of debris from blowing inside.
- If possible, park your car in the garage or other covered area.
When it’s over and you discover you have hailstorm damage, contact your local independent insurance agent right away. They will give you the information you need as to what steps to take next. The important thing is to be prepared. Taking necessary precautions could save thousands of dollars in cost and possibly even a life.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Prepare for a safe July 4th with sensible safety tips and a few smart rules.
July 4th is a popular tradition in the U.S. that comes with lots of celebration, good times, and, of course fireworks. It’s a great time to enjoy family and friends, whether at home or at a public fireworks display. Either way, safety and a few ground rules should be a priority.
You can still have great fun and be responsible about it. Here are some tips to make your 4th of July celebration both fun and memorable without worries of accidents or trips to the ER.
If you’re attending a public fireworks exhibition, which is considered the safest way to enjoy the holiday, stay at least 500 feet away from the show.
If you’re doing fireworks at home, follow these good safety tips and keep it fun, not risky.
- Do NOT give fireworks to small children, ever.
- Keep a supply of water nearby in case you need it.
- The person lighting fireworks should always wear eye protection.
- Light one firework at a time and do NOT attempt to relight a dud.
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
- Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
- Leave the area immediately if untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
Another favorite pastime for the July 4th holiday is grilling. Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill are a tasty treat for all. Again, follow safety steps to enjoy grilling without mishaps.
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when it is in use.
- Never grill indoors or in any enclosed area, whether it’s your house, camper or tent.
- Keep pets and children away from the grill.
- Locate your grill in an open area, away from the house, deck, trees, or anything flammable.
- Use long-handled tools made for cooking on the grill.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using grills.
It’s always a good idea to check with your independent insurance agent about your homeowner’s policy and what it covers before having a houseful of revelers in your backyard firing off mini-rockets. Better safe than sorry. Happy and Safe 4th!
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Safeco Insurance® Recognizes Killebrew Insurance for Exceptional Performance
Safeco Insurance has recognized Killebrew Insurance as a Safeco® Elite Agent based upon outstanding performance and partnership. Fewer than 10% of independent insurance agencies countrywide that sell Safeco personal lines products receive this distinguished honor.
Achieving status as a Safeco Elite Agent is a reflection of an agency's success and its commitment to serve customers as a trusted advisor.
“We are honored to be a Safeco Elite Agent,” said James Killebrew, Owner and Agent. Killebrew Insurance has represented Safeco Insurance since January, 2011, and we take pride in our strong working relationship and our shared commitment to helping our customers protect what matters most to them.”
About Killebrew Insurance
For more than 35 years, Killebrew Insurance has offered Texas residents security and stability through a broad range of insurance products and unsurpassed service. Independent and hard- working, we strive to find the right coverage at the right price for every client.
As an independent Texas insurance agency, Killebrew Insurance can choose from a wide array of options to find the plans and premiums that best suit your specific situation. We help our clients find tailor made solutions – not one size fits all. Because we’re an independent Texas insurance agency, we offer more choices, greater flexibility, and individual attention.
About Safeco Insurance
In business since 1923 and based in Boston, Mass., Safeco Insurance sells personal automobile, homeowners and specialty products through a network of more than 10,000 independent insurance agencies throughout the United States. Safeco is a Liberty Mutual Insurance company.
In business since 1912, and headquartered in Boston, Mass., Liberty Mutual Insurance is a leading global insurer with operations in 30 countries and economies around the world. Liberty Mutual is the fourth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2016 direct written premium data as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The company also ranks 75th on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2016 revenue. As of December 31, 2016, Liberty Mutual had $38.3 billion in annual consolidated revenue.
Contact: Killebrew Insurance
James Killebrew - Odessa Office
Craig Killebrew - Midland Office
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Homespun values and fresh talent continue to keep this independent agency thriving for decades.
New Talent and Traditional Values are the Mainstay of a Community Leader.
When Killebrew Insurance opened its family-owned business some 35-plus years ago, providing quality insurance products to the Permian Basin area, it planted deep roots in a thriving community as it continues to flourish and contribute.
Adding to the staff over the years has been a positive indicator of growth for Killebrew. Most recently the Killebrew family and associates have happily welcomed another upcoming insurance professional. Welcome, Tina Klassen, who joined Killebrew Insurance this year!
Having previous insurance training makes Tina valuable to the Killebrew Insurance team. Having completed the Producer Development Program at Safeco as well as the Kaplan Insurance Course, brings even more insurance expertise to her new post.
Many people have had positive things to say about Tina’s work. Here is one example of a satisfied client:
Hello Tina, Thank you again for a comprehensive overview of the Policy and your patient explanation with my ignorance of Insurances. I shall not hesitate to recommend you to anyone looking for a good agent and courteous help! Thank you again, B
Tina and her family have lived and worked in Seminole, Texas, since 1978, a hearty community about 60 miles north of Odessa, Texas. She is an avid traveler and is learning to speak Spanish. In her spare time, Tina actively pursues Crossfit and Spartan races, staying fit and healthy, ready for the next challenge.
Killebrew Insurance welcomes Tina Klassen to the Killebrew Family of insurance experts and looks forward to future growth and even greater prominence within the insurance industry. Come by and say hello and welcome Tina to the neighborhood!
Friday, June 1, 2018
Prepare your home for your time away, and enjoy your vacation much more.
Leaving your home safe and sound while you’re away on vacation should be a top priority. That is, if you want to relax and enjoy your time away. If you’re worried about things back home, it will distract from the fun on your trip. Worse still, you might come back to unwanted damages to your home.
That’s why it’s important to prepare in advance for the time you’re away. Here are some easy things to do before leaving town.
- Lock door and windows - Be sure to use only secure locks on all doors and windows. If any windows or locks are broken, taken time to repair them, then test to make sure they work.
- Good neighbors are great - It’s fortunate thing to have good neighbors and even more fortunate if at least one of them is someone you trust enough to leave your travel schedule with them. A house key is good too, if you want to have them pop in and check on the house. Also leave a telephone number where you can be reached should an emergency occur.
- Keep your travel plans private - Aside from your trustworthy neighbors, don’t tell everyone on your social media sites about your trip. That can be an invitation to burglars.
- Make your house look occupied - You can ask your neighbor to pick up your mail each day or have the post office hold it. If you get newspaper or other kinds of deliveries, put them on hold while you’re away. Install timer switches on lights so the house shows signs of occupancy during the evening hours. All these things will help reduce the chances of burglary and/or vandalism when you’re not at home.
- Keep your lawn mowed - It’s a big green light for trouble while you’re away if you don’t have the lawn mowed (as usual). Keeping the outside of your home looking its usual best keeps burglars away.
- Lock the door to the garage - Automatic garage door openers are usually safe, but there are ways around it for smart burglars. For peace of mind install a deadbolt-style lock
- Your GPS can have a downside - Believe it or not, thieves have been known to break into cars left at the airport, turn on the GPS and often locate were a home is. Set your built-in GPS for something other than “home” with a different address.
And it goes without saying, that you want to make sure your homeowner’s insurance is up to date. A quick call to your friendly, independent insurance agent can resolve any questions you may have before you leave for vacation.
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Depending on your circumstances, umbrella insurance could be a lifesaver, even if you’re assets are less than a million.
The short answer is – when you have assets you want to protect from a lawsuit, you probably should have umbrella insurance.
By adding extra liability coverage to your homeowners and auto insurance policies you are protecting your finances from expensive lawsuits. Umbrella policies are not expensive because they kick in only after you have used all your liability coverage under your auto or homeowner’s policy.
Think of it like this. Your auto policy liability insurance is $500,000. You have umbrella insurance of $1 million. Even if you have less than $1 million in assets, that amount of protection is good because if you were sued and had to pay legal fees from your current assets and/or future earnings, you would be well protected.
The cost of umbrella insurance varies depending on the risk, but if, for instance, you own one house and two cars, you would probably pay about $200 a year for the first $1 million in umbrella insurance.
Here are some examples of how umbrella insurance coverage protects you:
Major property damage. If you’re liable in an auto accident, your standard auto insurance limit could easily be exhausted fast. If so, umbrella insurance kicks in.
Serious injury. If someone staying in your home is seriously injured or bitten by your dog, your homeowner’s insurance may not be enough to cover the injuries.
Liability as a landlord. If one of your tenants is injured while renting your property they could file an expensive lawsuit over it.
Libel/slander lawsuit. You could be sued by something you say or write about another person who views your opinion as libelous.
What’s covered by umbrella insurance?
If you or a member of your household causes injury to another person or property, umbrella insurance will cover:
- Legal fees to protect against lawsuits
- The balance of a settlement that is more than your home or auto liability coverage pays
If you have no umbrella coverage, the balance of these expenses would come out of your pocket. Other things could include having a lien placed on your home, having your wages garnished, and even your savings or other assets depleted.
To qualify for an umbrella policy, you must have a minimum of $300,000/$3,000 on the house and $250/500/100 and $500,000 CSL of Auto Liability and/or Boat, Classic Cars, Motorcycles, and Motorhomes.
Speak to your independent insurance agent about umbrella insurance coverage. They will give you the best advice as to what you need based on your individual circumstances.
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.