Spring Cleaning Your Insurance Policy in TexasHints of springtime are in the air and it’s time to think about your home maintenance and repairs that are needed. Get a jump on more than just clean-up from winter’s havoc and make your home maintenance checklist. Here are some helpful tips in case you haven’t thought about some of the areas of your home that often get overlooked.

Gutters and downspouts:​ Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding:​ Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking:​ Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and re-caulk needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds​: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a​ quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Drain waste and vent system:​ Flush out system.

Hot water heater:​ Lubricate circulating pump and motor.

Evaporative air conditioner:​ Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.

Heat pump:​ Lubricate blower motor.

Foundation:​ Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a foundation professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately. 

Roof​Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches:​ Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending 7on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape:​ This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers:​ Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of your yard that collects too much water or doesn’t get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it’s not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water. And remember how handy and economical soaker hoses can be in the warmer months.

Insurance for Entrepreneurs in TexasOne of the best things about being an entrepreneur is the independence you enjoy being your own boss.  But with that comes the responsibility and know-how of deciding things like what kind of insurance you need. Even if you’re adept at creating business plans and executing them, the fact is you will need to know what kind of insurance to buy based on the kind of business you run. And knowing what kind of coverage to select can be complicated. That is, unless you do business with a like-minded insurance partner such as an independent insurance agent.

You may be a sole proprietor, but still consider yourself an entrepreneur. Certainly, you can be both, however, in the world of business there are some distinctions. Understanding the difference can help you in selecting the right business insurance coverage.

Being an entrepreneur means generating an income on your own instead of getting a paycheck from another company. Instead of trading time for income, the goal is to establish a business enterprise that generates income. As an entrepreneur you may take certain risks on business ventures, such as investing money and time, in the interest of making profits. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to work on multiple ventures at the same time as a way to diversify their interests.

If you’re a sole proprietor, that simply means you have a business where one person owns and manages operations – you.  In a sole proprietorship, the single owner is solely responsible for business liabilities and solely entitled to business profits. It is the most common business structure because the owner becomes a sole proprietor as soon as he begins conducting business — even if the company is not yet a registered entity.

A sole proprietor is an entrepreneur. A sole proprietor takes on major risks in an effort to generate a business profit on his own. However, an entrepreneur is not always classified as a sole proprietor. In some cases, entrepreneurs choose to organize themselves into partnerships, a limited liability company or LLC, members or corporate entities. As an entrepreneur you might also invest in companies that you do not personally own or participate in, whereas if you are a sole proprietor, you are actively involved in the company. Entrepreneurs also often have more ambitious goals compared to sole proprietors — they seek to become wealthy rather than just making a living.

Selecting the Right Business Insurance

As an independent-minded business person, you know the advantages of working with other independent-minded individuals. Certainly partnering with an independent insurance agent gives you the most options without bias. An independent insurance agent can help you decide if General Liability, the basic insurance that covers injury claims, property claims and advertising claims is your best option. Most sole proprietors carry this kind of insurance since it covers all kinds of employment. Insurance companies require sole proprietors to fill out questionnaires answering numerous questions before they give quotes, such as the location of the business, yearly revenue and the past claims history of the sole proprietor.

General liability coverage is also important because your personal assets can be seized in the event you lose a lawsuit. While corporations and Limited Liability Partnerships provide significant protection against personal asset loss in the event of a lost suit, as a sole proprietor, you have no such protection. Understand the business law in order to make the best choices.

A Business Owner’s Package or (BOP) might suit you if you want to bundle your coverage into a tidy policy. Speak with your independent insurance agent to get a recommendation for your particular needs.

Owning your own business can be very rewarding, but be sure to take the necessary steps to get insurance coverage best suited to your business needs. Knowing you have the right business insurance coverage allows you more time to focus on what matters – growing your business independently!