Monday, October 16, 2017
Did you know you need two policies when insuring a co-op or a condo?
When it comes to buying insurance, there is a difference between a Condo and a Co-op. It’s important to understand the difference.
Condominiums, or more commonly called condos, are owned by the individual. If you are a condo owner you own everything from your walls inward. You are a property owner of your unit.
Co-ops are owned by a company or a corporation. As an owner of a co-op you do not own the building or the property, but rather a share of the corporation’s holdings.
Two insurance policies are required for insuring a co-op or a condominium. Why? Because the owners share the building structures. A master policy and an individual policy are both required to properly protect everyone.
A master policy covers the building. It protects the entire apartment structure. Your building management is responsible for it and pays premiums from your association dues. This policy covers the areas you share with others in your building such as walls, roof, sidewalks and such.
The association may be responsible for the units as they were originally built. If that’s the case, the owner would be responsible for any remodeling or alterations made. Also it may be that the association insures just the unfinished walls, floor and ceiling. If a disaster were to occur, the owner would be responsible for such things as the cabinets, wiring, built-in appliances and plumbing.
An individual policy covers the person living there. It protects personal belongings as well as any apartment elements not covered in the master policy.
Be sure to find out which parts of your home are covered by the association’s master policy. You can then get the insurance you need for an individual policy.
Ask your independent insurance agent about insurance for condos and co-ops to understand the details before making your purchase. And remember to ask about available discounts, such as special bolts on the doors or an extra fire alarm system that add value to your policy.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Solar panel systems are a long-term investment and increase your insurance very little each month. Just make sure it’s the best decision for you as a homeowner.
Are you trying to make a decision about getting solar panels installed in your home or business? You’re not alone. Between 2013 and 2015, the number of states with active residential solar markets grew from 4 to 10 percent according to the industry association. Yet, even if you live in the sunniest part of the world, deciding on a home solar system is a big decision.
Before you decide on solar panels, there are a few things you should check on. Be sure there is sunlight hitting your roof and that it is unblocked by trees or other houses. A south-facing roof is best for solar power systems.
Once you’ve determined whether a residential solar power system is right for your home, then you can look into what tax incentives are available and how to find a firm to provide and install panels.
Ultimately, home solar systems pay for themselves, but how quickly that happens depends on several things:
- your energy consumption
- size of the system
- how much energy it creates
- how much cloud cover in your region
Even though the goal of solar power for homes is to create your own power so you don’t need to buy it from your utility company, it is still a good idea to buy a bit of power from them in case you have an emergency. Don’t forget that solar only produces power during the day and it makes less power in the winter.
Roof-mounted solar panels will add approximately ten dollars per month to your homeowner's insurance coverage value under a standard homeowner’s policy. Be aware that most policies exclude damage caused to the roof or panel during installation, so choose a reliable contractor with a certificate of insurance and proper coverage.
Before installing any solar panels, contact your independent insurance agent to see if you should increase your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of the panels. Once you pay for your solar panels, you’ll get free energy; but it won’t happen overnight. Protect your investment and speak to your independent insurance agent before you make that important decision to install solar panels in your home.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
It’s that time of the year to get a jump on your autumn ‘To Do’ list. It’s just part of being a responsible homeowner.
Ah, yes, the air is getting a bit cooler and the autumn leaves are starting fall – right into your gutters. Ugh. A chore nobody relishes but one that at the top of any responsible homeowner’s ‘to do’ list.
Water damage is the last thing you want in your home. That’s why taking the time to clean your gutters and free them from the build-up of leaves and debris is so important. If you don’t, the water from rain and snow will end up in your walls causing expensive water damage.
Did you know that lint that accumulates in your clothes dryer can be the cause of a house fire? It’s a good idea to periodically unplug your clothes dryer and vacuum around the vent and hose. And don’t forget the outside vent, as lint builds up there, too.
Got a fireplace? Make sure your fireplace flue is clear of debris and bird nests. Before the weather gets cold, take time to gather firewood and stockpile it. When it’s 20 degrees outside, you’ll be glad you got a jump on it.
If your green thumb is getting itchy, plant some gorgeous fall flowers like mums or bulbs like tulips, daffodils or allium. Mums will enhance your garden for the holiday season and bulb flowers will surprise you in the spring.
Check with your independent insurance agent to be sure you have all the homeowner’s insurance you need. If you’re not bundling your insurance with one agent, ask about the savings you can enjoy when you bundle. Get a free online quote or come by and visit us. We would love to shake your hand!
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
An independent insurance agent offers much more than just lower rates; value is a high priority that delivers for all of your insurance needs.
There’s no way for us to know what challenges may be ahead, which makes being prepared all the more important. Insurance is one of those critical things we all need, but making the decision about which insurance company to do business with can be confusing. While some people don’t really think too much about who they do business with for insurance, they may be paying more for what they’re getting and realizing less value.
The fact is that an independent insurance agent is not bound to any one insurance carrier. They often represent five or ten different carriers which enable them to research which one can offer their customer the most value for the best price.
Protecting our assets is a prime objective and the main reason most of us have insurance in the first place. Consider some of the real advantages an independent agent can offer before you sign on the dotted line with just anyone.
- An independent insurance agency is comprised of licensed professional with polished customer service skills and strong community relationships.
- Because an independent insurance agent has access to multiple insurance carriers, they are able to shop for you, looking for value and good costs.
- If your insurance needs change, an independent can easily transition you to what’s needed.
- They are accessible professionals who understand questions about claims.
- Your independent agent will ask relevant questions to be sure you have the right coverage.
- Buying all of your insurance from an independent agent (known as bundling) can not only save you money, but also has the advantage of convenience when you need to make changes.
- Your independent insurance agent takes time to get to know you and your family. You are much more than just a policy number.
Most successful independent insurance agents have a strong presence in their local communities and often have a legacy of 20, 30 or more years in the insurance business.
And the chances are extremely good that their name and reputation are well-known and respected within the community.
With so many advantages, why would you randomly select an online insurance carrier or just pick one from the phone book? An independent insurance agent is overall your very best option for quality insurance products.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Living inland is no guarantee you, your family or your business won’t be subjected to flooding. Consider risks before you decide if flood insurance is worth it or not.
Five years ago, a slow-moving rain drenched most of the southwest section of Permian Basin. It was a Friday and no one realized that several inches of rain falling in just a few hours could so quickly lead to flood conditions. Roadways became impassable and rescues of residents who were caught in rising floodwaters were taking place.
Many businesses were unprepared for the onslaught of excess water on land that was usually too dry if anything. Sadly, for business owner who did not have flood insurance were not in good shape when they learned that their standard Commercial Insurance Policy did not cover flooding.
With the recent tragedies inflicted on the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Harvey, it makes the topic of flood insurance top of mind. Billions of dollars in damages to businesses and homes are the result of one of nature’s most horrific events. Taking time to evaluate your flood insurance needs is time well spent, and no doubt, many Gulf Coast businesses can attest to that.
While the Permian Basin is not as likely to see flooding on the scale of the recent Gulf Coast event, it did happen five years ago. Who’s to say it won’t happen again?
The FEMA National Flood Insurance Program covers damages to your structure or personal property due to flooding. A flood can include mudslides, overflows of tidal water, runoff water or abnormal wave or current activity.
A flood insurance policy will pay for direct physical damage to your insured property and can compensate you for the actual cash value of your lost property or the policy liability limit—the lesser of the two. Although flood insurance is not a guaranteed replacement cost policy, it can serve to appreciably offset your losses due to a flood event.
Contact your independent Insurance agent to discuss the best course of action for you and your business as it relates to flood insurance or any other business insurance needs you may have. That’s your best assurance for sound advice and the lowest possible rates.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
There has been and continues to be incorrect information relating to your insureds' rights and obligations under their current policies and reporting of claims.
There has been and continues to be incorrect information relating to your insureds' rights and obligations under their current policies and reporting of claims. If these posts were intended to alarm and confuse the public, then those involved have achieved their goal.
- The normal claims process has not changed.
- Consumers continue to have a full-range of remedies in the event an insurer acts fraudulently or in bad faith.
- Lawsuit-abuse legislation (HB 1774) applies to lawsuits filed after September 1, 2017.
- The Texas Department of Insurance will, as always, in catastrophic events, be monitoring the activities of insurance companies to make sure that claims are being paid properly and promptly.
- Texas has the strongest consumer protections in the nation against insurers that unfairly deny or delay claims
Our thoughts are with our members and the Texas communities impacted during this time of crisis. More than ever, our independent agents demonstrate their value during these times of need.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
A personal umbrella insurance policy might be something you need depending on your circumstances. Ask your independent insurance agent to get the best advice.
While a personal umbrella insurance policy may seem unnecessary, there are good reasons to have one. A personal umbrella policy pays for losses after you have exhausted your primary insurance coverage. It can cover your home, auto, motorcycle, boat, RV and more. Your independent insurance agent will be able to advise you on whether you need it or not.
A personal umbrella policy usually has high limits of liability and the primary reason to carry a personal umbrella policy is to protect your assets from an unexpected occurrence such as a disastrous accident in which you are held responsible for damages or bodily injuries.
Following are some examples of various personal umbrella coverages:
Bodily Injury Liability
- This covers injuries to other parties, as a result of a serious auto accident your vehicle caused
- Injuries sustained by a guest in your home from a fall or injuries endured by a neighbor's child playing in your yard
Property Damage Liability
- Covers damage to another person's tangible property. Such as a vehicle or damage caused by your child
Owners of Rental Units
- Protects against liability as a landlord such as cost of liability claims as a result of:
- Someone falling down because of a broken step on your rental property and suing you for damages
- Your tenant causing injuries to someone
Things not covered by an umbrella insurance policy:
o Damages you caused on your own property
o Losses connected to your business or your business property
o Business-related liabilities such as a malpractice lawsuit
o Criminal or intentional actions
o Liabilities connected with a contract, oral or written
The best advice you can get on whether or not a personal umbrella policy is beneficial to your particular needs is from your reliable independent insurance agent. Remember, with an independent agent you’ll get unbiased recommendations. They are not tied or committed to any one insurance brand, so shopping for the best rates and best quality insurance is what they do best.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
First-time drivers are headed back to school this month, this time behind the wheel. Is your insurance coverage everything it should be?
As summer dwindles down and fall looms on the horizon, the back-to-schoolers get ready for classes with many of them driving themselves to school for the first time. Not every parent’s favorite thing to look forward to, but there it is. Rather than feed a lot of worry into the situation, why not make sure they have the auto insurance they need and the clear understanding of their obligations as a good driver.
Of course, staying on the family policy has its advantages as far as cost goes, not to mention a few other good ideas for managing cost:
- Ask about ‘good student’ discounts
- Anti-theft devices make a difference
- Ask your agent about ‘accident forgiveness’
- Defensive driving classes are good for everyone
- Talk with your insurance agent and select the options you need, not the whole shebang
- Encourage your teen to heed safe driving tips to ensure accountability.
Statistically speaking, people under the age of 25 are much more likely to have an accident than those who are older. Insurance actuary data tells us that. Basically, this age group is considered a greater risk so if a teen tries to get insurance on their own, they will pay more. Once your teen has been on the parental policy for a while and considered previously insured, they are apt to get a better rate on their own.
Making decisions about auto insurance for your first-time drivers going back to school can be a bit stressful. That’s why having a personal advocate like your independent insurance agent can be such a consolation. They will provide the advice you need about what insurance you need while you provide your teen driver with the advice they need about being a smart, safe driver. And even if it seems like they’re not listening to you, they will probably thank you later on for the good advice.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Tying the knot means making a lot of important decisions. Insurance is one of them.
Along with the excitement of your wedding day comes the reality of making even more decisions about what to keep, what to throw away, what to buy new and agreeing that all the above will be okay with your new mate.
Let’s start with your car insurance. Is it best to combine your policies into one? Probably. By getting quotes from both your insurance agents you can decide where the best rate is. You could even get a quote from an insurer neither of you have used. Who knows, it could be the best rate.
When it comes time to cancel, be sure the new insurance is effective the same day the old insurance expires. Also check for possible discounts, such as multicar or bundling if you’re buying other kinds of insurance with the same agency.
Newlyweds often get better rates when buying insurance since they are seen as less of a risk. But even still, ask about discounts because they may have offerings you don’t know about unless you ask.
Whether you are moving into a home or an apartment after you’re married, remember to cancel the coverage you will no longer need. Consider all the coverage options, deductibles and monthly cost before making your final decision. Since you and your spouse will be combining your belongings, you might want to consider increasing your coverage limits. For items of high value such as antiques, electronics and of course your wedding rings – you might want to consider special coverage. Ask your independent agent what they recommend.
Buying your auto and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with the same insurance agent could save you money. It’s known as bundling and it can mean saving money you could use for all those many things you’ll need after your married.
Remember the advantages of working with an independent insurance agent. They will do the shopping for you to guarantee the lowest insurance rates. That’s one less thing for you to think about and a wonderful way to start your new life together.
Thursday, August 3, 2017
You may need commercial contents insurance and not know it. Professionals working from home often think homeowner’s insurance covers everything and that’s not the case.
You do if you lease your business location or operate your business from your home. You may think that your property owner’s insurance or your homeowner’s insurance is enough to cover everything, but it may not be.
Any damage or loss to your business equipment or materials must be covered by Commercial Contents Insurance to ensure that you are adequately protected from damages due to fire, storm damage or theft. This kind of policy can also cover loss of income or increase in expenses that results from the property.
If you’re an IT professional or rely heavily on your digital equipment in your business, you definitely want to have Commercial Contents Insurance. Of course, you want to protect your computers, laptops, printers, mobile devices and such, but your technology is not the only thing at risk. Your office furniture, equipment and supplies need to all be covered.
Because many IT professionals work from home, they question the necessity of having Commercial Contents Insurance since they already have homeowner’s insurance
Consider a couple of things before relying on that idea.
· Your homeowner’s insurance policy usually does not cover property owned by your business. So, if your work laptop gets stolen from your home, homeowner’s might not cover it.
· You may be able to add to your General Liability coverage, so ask your independent insurance agent before you make a decision.
Rather than wait for a sprinkler to spring a leak or the weather to surprise you with a crippling hail storm that wreaks havoc on electronics, contact your independent insurance agent today. You can rely on an independent to find you the best possible rates for everything insurance.
And don’t assume that Commercial Contents Insurance is too expensive for your budget. Depending on your type of business and your insurance needs, your independent insurance agent can work with you for the coverage that you need to protect both your home and your business.