Tornado Home Insurance Coverage in TexasTornado Alley, a swath of land from Texas to Nebraska, is most prone to destructive vortexes, but the fact is, tornadoes can strike anywhere. Random tornadoes have formed in areas far outside of Tornado Alley in recent years, touching down in cities from outside Sacramento, California, to Long Island, New York.

For those of us living in Texas, being prepared for the possibility of a tornado goes with the territory.  And one major factor is homeowner’s insurance. Keeping your homeowner’s insurance current and comprehensive can be a life-saving or a life-altering decision. If you’re not sure what your homeowner’s insurance includes, visit with your independent insurance agent.

Also know the safest places to take refuge from a tornado, whether you’re at home or away from home.

Safe Shelter at Home

The basement, if your home or building has one or the innermost rooms with the fewest windows, such as a hall closest or bathroom, are safe places to shelter inside a home. Bathrooms can offer additional protection because pipes reinforce the walls and lying in the bathtub provides an extra barrier from flying debris.

Safe Shelter Away From Home

If you’re away from home a concrete, single-story structure may be your safest bet. Big box stores have roofs that can get ripped off in high winds so try to avoid those. If you’re in one of these stores, take refuge in the bathroom, which is a concrete structure. Avoid the storefront.

Usually tornadoes move from southwest to northeast, but they can double back so keep an eye on the skies. When a twister is close, you may decide to pull over to a low-lying area but avoid underpasses, which can amplify wind speeds and turn into a wind tunnels. Once parked, the NOAA recommends getting as far away from your car as possible. While your car may feel like it offers protection, violent tornadoes can hurl cars hundreds of yards. Being in your car is safe in a lightning storm, but definitely not during a tornado.

If you’re running away from your car or you’re caught outside, look for an open field and lay face down in a spot lower than ground level. If you can’t find a ditch, crouch by a strong building. Cover your head with clothing, a purse or a backpack and your hands, but don’t clasp your hands together. Lay one hand over the other then if one hand takes a hit from a hailstone or debris, your other hand is still functioning.

Even though you may never suffer the ugliness that a tornado can disseminate, it’s always best to be in a state of readiness and prepare for the worst. Tornadoes are one of nature’s deadliest disasters.

Golf Cart Insurance Policy Odessa, TXPerfect golfing weather may cause you to temporarily forget about your golf cart insurance. But before you grab the irons and head for the links, check to make sure your golf cart is fully covered.  Depending on how you use your golf cart and what type it is will be the deciding factors for the kind of insurance you need. Homeowner’s may be all you need, but you may need more.

Which type of golf cart do you own?

A basic cart is similar to using a riding mower

A cart that is speed-modified goes up to 25 mph on neighborhood streets

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) can be used on neighborhood and city streets

How you use your golf cart affects your insurance needs.

Do you drive only on a golf course or on your own property?

Do you do some street driving and use seat belts?

Do you use it for regular use on streets as well as golf course?

If your golf cart is listed on your homeowner’s policy, be aware it is covered for ‘theft only on premise’. There is limited coverage for off premise.

Motorcycle insurance is what you need to cover your golf cart if it is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). This covers liability, guest liability, comprehensive and collision.

Save money on your golf cart insurance by bundling – getting all of your insurance with one company. If you own your own home, you might get a homeowner’s discount. And remember that taking a safety course can often result in a policy discount. Also, if you take a higher deductible on your policy you will pay less for your golf cart insurance.

In some golfing communities, the Home Owner’s Association requires golf cart owners purchase specific golf cart insurance and name the HOA as an additional insured. If live in a community with an HOA you will want to find out what they require.

Insurance for hail damage in TexasIt’s that unsettling time of year when Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your property without much notice. Among the culprits is hail damage. Repairs due to hail damage can often cost thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the hail, the impact angle and force, and the duration of the storm.

The fact is that hail damage varies widely in total cost and the major categories are roof damage and vehicle damage. Siding, fences, and decking can also potentially suffer harm from hail impacts, but let’s focus on the main two for now.

Hail Damage to Roofing

Because your roof is more exposed to the weather than any other part of the house, it takes the brunt of a hailstorm. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of roof material and are prone to severe damage by hail stones.

Hail may only damage a certain portion of your roof, but it is usually impossible to replace only a portion of the shingles. Undamaged shingles adjacent to damaged ones must be taken up and put back down during the repair process, adding to labor costs. Replacement jobs can run from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars of damage.

When the damage is severe and widespread enough to call for total roof replacement, you could be looking at a $10,000 to $20,000. Your homeowner’s insurance will typically cover this expense, minus your deductible.

Hail Damage to Vehicles

Often overlooked is the cost of hail damage to vehicles, but the total price tag can be quite significant. If the dents are in hard to work on areas like the car’s roof, the cost goes up. Finally, broken windshields average about $300 to replace. Comprehensive auto insurance will cover hail damage and if you have not yet paid off your car loan it’s a good idea to carry it.

Hail damage in the U.S. costs homeowners millions of dollars in damage every year. While it often cannot be prevented, there are ways to minimize the risk and homeowner’s and comprehensive auto insurance policies will cover it. Knowing the potential costs of hail damage ahead of time should help motivate you to guard and insure against it so you are not caught unprepared.

RV Insurance Odessa Midland TXOne way to be sure your RV is adequately insured is to request an easy, fast online quoteRV insurance is different from other insurance, so it’s best to understand the details before you hit the road for summer trips and campouts.

For instance, do you know what a Total Loss Replacement (TLR) is?

It means that if your RV is totaled, your insurance cover replacement of a new RV or pays you the initial purchase price. That depends on how old your RV is at the time of the loss.

Do you understand what a Purchase Price Guarantee (PPG) means?

This kind of policy will reimburse you for the amount you paid for the RV toward the purchase of another RV. This policy can extend for the life of the RV or just first 10 years;  then convert to an Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy in the 11th year.

What is an Actual Cash Value (ACV) policy?

An ACV policy pays the depreciated, fair-market value of your RV in case of a total loss. ACV is the most common type of policy offered to RV owners.

Do you need Vacation Liability?

If your RV is parked and someone is injured at your campsite,  at the beach or wherever you’re parked,  you are covered up to the stated policy limits.

What is Diminishing Deductible Coverage?

Good drivers are rewarded with this coverage as comprehensive and collision deductibles are reduced by 25% of your original deductible for every year you have no claims until your deductible reaches zero. After that, you pay no deductible.

Is it best to take out Personal Contents Coverage?

If you’re traveling very light, you may decline this coverage. However, if you’re taking everything but the kitchen sink, you probably should take out personal contents coverage. It covers housewares, tools, clothes and sporting goods. Your homeowner’s policy may provide coverage, but there are often limitations to coverage for off-premises property, items in storage or belongings damaged in a collision. RV insurance specialty policies replace stolen or damaged items at full replacement cost. Items such as awnings, antennas, external racks and signal dishes are usually covered at no additional cost. Dollies for towing and trailers are usually included, too.

Do you really need Emergency Travel Expense?

Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If your RV breaks down because of a covered loss, most RV insurance policies cover the cost of a rental car and/or hotel room while you’re waiting for repairs. If the RV is beyond repair, the policy can cover airfare to return you and your family home.

Do you qualify for Discounts?

Membership in an RV club is on way to qualify for a discount.  Also, installing supplemental braking systems can sometimes reduce your premium. Completing a safe driving course is usually a sure way to receive a discount on your RV insurance. Ask your independent insurance agent about these discounts and more.

Spring Cleaning Your Insurance Policy in TexasAre you busy with closet cleanouts and dusting remote corners of your house?  Spring has a way of motivating us to get busy and start afresh. And as you’re tackling your spring cleaning list, don’t forget to add checking on your insurance policies to the task. After all, they may need a bit of dusting or airing out.

Smart financial planning and managing a budget should include your insurance coverages and costs. Here are some tips that will help zero in on any changes needed.

Auto Insurance

Do you examine your auto insurance policy at each renewal time? If not, you should. Review your declarations page, which is the summary of your coverage and deductibles.

Are your liability limits high enough to adequately cover you in case you cause an accident? If you’ve simply renewed the same policy for many years, you might be underinsured.

Do you have collision and comprehensive coverage? This covers your own vehicle if you have a collision. If you’re carrying collision and comp on an older car, is it worth it? In the worst case, if your vehicle were totaled, these coverages would pay out only for the value of the vehicle. Consider the premiums you pay compared with the actual cash value of your vehicle.

If your deductibles are low — like $500 — this could be a savings opportunity. Switching to a higher amount, like $1,000, will reduce your premiums even more. Be sure all your vehicles have current insurance cards on board. You’ll want to have the current card handy in case there’s an accident.

Homeowner’s insurance

Reviewing your homeowner’s insurance, look on your declaration page to be sure updates are being made annually to reflect local construction and property costs. Are your deductibles what you expect?

Consider your valuables. If you’ve acquired expensive jewelry, for example, it may not be fully covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. You may need riders for items like jewelry, fine art, digital equipment and computers. Have a complete home inventory in case your house suffers serious damage.

Insurance policies protect you against financial disaster, whether it’s from a car crash, house fire, flood or burglary. Having your policies up to date is way more important than having a clean closet.

Workers Compensation Insurance Odessa, TXIndependent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage; employers are not required by state law to purchase coverage for independent contractors. Whether or not a worker is an employee is not controlled by what name the employer uses for the worker, but by the circumstances surrounding the employee’s work.

Independent contractors provide a service, usually with a contract, whether written or spoken. An independent contractor controls how the service is provided, who provides it, and how it is delivered. The key is that the independent contractor acts independently, free of direction and control of the hiring company (employer).

To be an employee, the worker does not need to be interviewed and formally hired. Independent contractors typically receive payment by the job; on the other hand, employees receive wages on an hourly or salaried basis.

Another factor in distinguishing an independent contractor from an employee is who provides the equipment. An independent contractor typically provides the equipment necessary to complete the job, while an employer typically provides the equipment for the employee to complete the job.

Another thing to consider is the character of the work involved. If the work is highly skilled, and the worker only performs a single job, the worker is likely an independent contractor. Independent contractors almost always work for more than one company. Otherwise, if the worker is trained by and receives regular work from the same company, the worker is more likely to be considered an employee.

The state worker’s compensation board will consider all of the above factors regarding the workers’ employment situation to determine whether the worker was an independent contractor or an employee. Ask your independent insurance agent what works best for you if you have questions about worker’s compensation.

Boat insurance midland odessa, tx

Boat Insurance

If you happen to be a proud owner of one of the 580,000 boats registered in Texas*, you’re probably getting her ship-shape for some summer fun, fishing and relaxation on your favorite lake.  Since Texas has more square miles of inland water than any other state, you’ve got plenty of choices.*

Small boats with only a small or no engine at all, may be adequately insured under your homeowner’s insurance. A sailboat would come in this category. But if you’re buying a $35,000 (or more) boat or yacht, your homeowner’s policy will not cover everything you need. You can bundle your boat insurance policy with your home and/or auto insurance and probably save a little; another good point to discuss with your insurance agent.

If your boat is insured under your homeowner policy, it is covered only for theft.  It is also subject to a limited amount and the home deductible. There is no liability coverage whether the boat is on or off the water.

Your boat liability insurance protects you if a person is injured while on your watercraft. You can choose between replacement costs or cash value in case you have a total loss. Boat insurance will cover bodily injury if someone is injured while on your boat, damage on docks and other boats caused by your boat, and any physical damage to your boat if it should collide with something or goes onto the ground.

Comprehensive coverage will protect your boat from vandalism, fire/flood, theft, personal property coverage for gear, uninsured boater and roadside assistance, which is handy if you breakdown and require being towed.

Contact your insurance agent about details of your boat insurance coverage. Ask which of these items pertains to your needs based on the kind of boat you have and how you use it. If you participate in fishing tournaments, ask your agent if you need any special coverage.

  • Damage Coverage
  • 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

Boat insurance as well as adhering to good safety protocol will protect you and your boating crew from accidents and will give you the peace of mind to relax, kick back and have more fun concentrating on that “whopper” you’ve been hoping to catch.

If you’re in business, you probably understand what insurance underwriting means. The process of underwriting determines how likely your business is to file a claim. Simply put, the greater the likelihood of a claim, the higher your premium will be. If an insurance company determines that your business is at a high risk for a loss, it might even decide not to issue you a policy.

Fire risk is usually the primary factor that determines a business’s commercial property rates. Insurance companies do inspections as part of the underwriting process.

Fire inspectors use a standard rating system and weigh five factors to determine a structure’s fire rating.

The five factors are:

  1. Construction materials.Buildings made of potentially combustible materials will have higher premiums, while those made of fire-resistant materials could earn a discount. Additions to an existing structure might affect a fire rating, so it’s a good idea to talk to your agent or insurance company before remodeling. Internal structural elements can also affect a fire rating. Using wood partitions, floors, and stairways in an otherwise fire-resistant building will likely nullify any rate reduction. Fire-resistant interior walls, floors, and doors can help maintain a good fire rating.
  2. Buildings in cities or towns with good fire protection — as assessed by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection — typically cost less to insure than buildings outside a city or in areas with limited fire protection.
  3. A building’s use also affects its fire rating. An office building will likely rate better than a restaurant or auto repair shop. In a building with multiple tenants, one hazardous occupant will negatively affect the fire rating of the entire building. If your business is in a building with a more hazardous tenant, your premiums will be higher.
  4. Fire protection measures.Automatic sprinklers can reduce a building’s fire rating by as much as 50 percent. Buildings with fire extinguishers and automatic alarms and those within 500 feet of a fire hydrant will usually have lower ratings.
  5. Nearby hazards increase a building’s fire risk. Proximity to external fire hazards, such as a lumberyard or oil storage tank, will affect a fire rating even more. Other things that could affect your fire risk include cluttered buildings and grounds, heavy mechanical or electrical equipment, or volatile materials stored on site.

Your business insurance is an extremely important part of successful operations, affecting every aspect of your business. Cover all your bases by getting answers from your insurance agent to ensure positive outcomes for you, your employees and your investors.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Midland, OdesaWhile 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. Contact us for a free quote.

Commercial Auto Insurance Odessa & Midland, TXWhether you’re just getting started with your business and have only one delivery van or you have a fleet of vehicles, you need the right commercial auto insurance that meets your specific needs.

There are many things to consider when purchasing business auto insurance, not only the number of vehicles you use for your company, but what kinds of vehicles they are. Also include the age and condition of the vehicles, as well as how you use them when making a decision on your company’s auto insurance.

  • Commercial trucks will cost more to insure than passenger vehicles, but there is a cost difference in the kind of trucks you use.
  • Lighter-weight trucks like pick-ups, parcel or panel vans cost less than larger ones.
  • Medium sized trucks such as box or stake bed trucks or larger refrigerated vehicles cost more.
  • Heavy duty trucks that usually include grain or farm trucks and beverage trucks cost the most.
  • Insuring a trailer with commercial truck insurance depends on the size and weight of the trailer.

Vehicles such as a plumber’s truck cost the least to insure, while vehicles used for dry cleaning delivery, for instance, can cost more. Business to business delivery trucks cost the most to insure.

Save money with technology

GPS tracking and onboard camera technology are now more affordable and add to the efficiency of your business vehicles. Of course vehicle alarms and warning devices or rear facing cameras add additional benefits to your fleet.

Play it safe

High grade fences and sufficient lighting and locks are ways to keep your commercial vehicles safer. Employees who take a vehicle home should be oriented on best practices for keeping the vehicle safe at all times, e.g. where to park, keeping it locked, parking in a well-lit area.

Managing your auto fleet can be easy if you work with an independent insurance agent who knows where to go for the best in class prices for commercial auto insurance. Small or large or somewhere in-between, protect your business by protecting your auto fleet with the best possible business auto insurance available.