Texas Business Insurance 101

Texas Business Insurance

The world is changing, and we understand the issues Texas businesses face every day. There is constant competition for your customers, there are challenges in attracting and retaining top talent, and your cost of goods keeps going up. Part of your planning should include an annual business insurance review. Your business changes, and so do your exposures. Here are some of the major kinds of liability coverage found in most business insurance programs.

Commercial Liability

Bodily Injury – Bodily injury to a third party.

Property Damage – Damage to a third party’s property (equipment building etc.).

Personal Injury – Injury to the mind or emotions, as opposed to an injury to property.

Advertising Liability – Damages arising out of advertising, libel, slander and invasion of privacy.

Products & Completed Operations – Liability arising out of products you sell or business operations and services conducted, excluding professional services.

Premises – Covers liability arising out of injury to third parties while on your premises.

Management Liability – This might include cyber, employment, and professional liability coverage. Directors and officers liability also might fall under this category.

Umbrella – Provides excess liability over primary auto and commercial liability policies.

Pollution – Coverage for accidental release of pollutants. 

Business Auto

Covers vehicles owned by the company for business use and can include comprehensive and collision

Risk is a factor for whatever business you are in. We provide business insurance solutions to help you manage your risk, which keeps you in business. Apple Insurance Specialists understands how the right insurance can protect you and your business from any unforeseen liabilities

How To Tell Parents It Is Time To Stop Driving

car-160343_640There is no question automobiles give us incredible freedom. Having the ability to go to the store, doctor, or out to eat brings joy to all of us. As we age, it is normal for our driving abilities to change. Few people like the idea of depending on others or relying on public transportation. However, when age diminishes the ability of seniors to drive, endangering themselves and others, it is time to start making hard decisions.

Auto Insurance And The Senor Driver

Auto insurance companies understand this problem; accident rates increase for people over the age of 65. As our baby boomers move into retirement there will be more senior citizens on the road. The decision to know when to stop driving can be a wrenching one for all family members.

Signs It Is Time To Hide The Keys

Slow responses

Lots of dents on the car

Increase in accidents in a short period of time

Driving angry

Difficulty turning to see when backing up

Riding the brake

Easily distracted while driving

Incorrect signaling

Failure to notice traffic signs

Difficulty maintaining lane position

We recommend that you drive with the seniors in your life from time to time to see how they respond in different driving situations. Start a discussion early about driving safety and even provide resources to read. Their safety and the safety of others should come first.

Make Halloween Safe for Everyone

pumpkin-995416_1920In the next few days, we will be watching children scramble from house to house in search of the elusive Halloween treat.  However, keeping our kids safe as they are out Halloween night is always a concern.  A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic.  Remember, your homeowner’s insurance will cover you in most cases should someone trip and fall on your premises.

Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For your guests, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.

Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.

Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Safety tips for kids

Never, ever, go into a house.

Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling

An adult or an older responsible child should always accompany young children. Even older children should go trick-or-treating with an adult, or with friends.  Never go out alone.

Only go to homes with a porch light on.

Plan costumes that are bright and reflective.

Do not eat homemade food.

Examine all candy.  If it has been opened, toss it out.

Use a flashlight.

Apple Insurance Specialists is an Austin-based independent insurance agency offering a wide range of cost effective solutions to individuals, families and businesses.

Sources: http://www.nsc.org/, https://www.aap.org, https://www.cdc.gov

Can Life Events Impact Your Insurance?

Most of us buy insurance in this order; auto insurance, renters’ insurance, home insurance, and then life insurance.  However, many of us do not think about how the events in our lives may affect our need for different kinds of insurance.  As your life changes, the need to protect your life, investment, and family also changes.

Here are some major life events that will affect your need for personal insurance

College –– If you have a child heading off to college, you may need to update your auto and home insurance.  If your child has a car, the rates may be less in the city of the college.  You will need to notify your insurer regarding the new location.  In addition, if your child is renting, you may need to provide renters’ insurance to the property owner.

Retirement – If you had commuted regularly to your job, your mileage has likely plummeted in retirement.  If so, you should report it to your auto insurer to significantly lower the cost of your auto insurance premiums.  In addition, you will need to consider other insurance options.

Marriage or Divorce –– Changes in marital status, or even just moving in together, means the combining of households, cars, and other property, so you’ll want to update your insurance policies accordingly.  Are you both protected? Are coverage limits adequate?

Having a baby –– When your family grows, you may want to consider life insurance to protect your loved ones.  Life insurance can provide the financial security for many years, and give you peace of mind.

Moving –– Whenever you move, you will need to update your auto and home insurance.  New addresses may actually lead to lower costs.

Home Renovations – If you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch, or expanding a kitchen or bathroom, report those changes to your insurance company.

Apple Insurance Specialists is an Austin-based independent insurance agency offering a wide range of cost effective solutions to individuals, families and businesses.

Watch Out For The Kids…. Back To School Safety Tips

bus-1319360_1920Personal Insurance and Safety Update

Summer vacation is over and a new school year has started. We will soon start to see the signs of back to school time, including more school busses on the road, and back to school displays in the stores.  Now is the time to start thinking about keeping your child safe.  This is particularly true for kids going to school for the first time, or going to a new school.

Make sure your children know their home phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, how to get in touch with another trusted adult, and how to dial 9-1-1.

Remind your child not to walk, run, or ride his bicycle down railroad tracks. It’s illegal and dangerous.

Teach children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know.

If your children walk to school, complete the walk a few times with them.

Make sure that your teen driver understands and obeys all traffic laws.

Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Bike riders should always wear a helmet.

Children should always board and exit the bus at designated locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.

Are You Driving In A School Zone?

In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.

Obey school zone speed limits.

Watch for kids crossing the streets.

Never text and drive.

Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Follow all laws pertaining to school buses.

Sources; American Red Cross, D.A.R.E. and National Safety Council

Are You A High Risk Driver?

MF 3045443A “high-risk” driver is generally defined by the insurance companies as someone who has a higher risk of having an auto accident. Auto insurance companies often see high-risk drivers as undesirable, as they may end up costing a great deal in claims.

Why you may be defined as a high risk driver?

You have multiple accidents or tickets during a specific period of time.

You have a DUI.

You have a serious violation.

Any accident that results in a fatality.

Driving without a license.

Driving without insurance.

You drive an exotic car.

For whatever reason, your auto insurance has lapsed.

How to get auto insurance if you are considered high risk

You may need non-standard insurance.

SR-22 insurance for specific situations.

Allow your agent to shop auto insurance for you.

Determine what auto insurance discounts you may be eligible for.

Improve your driving skills.

Consider a lower risk car.

What to Do When There Is a Deer in Your Headlights

As the outdoor temperature gradually drops, animal activity and deer-vehicle accidents increase. Every year across the country, deer and other animals cause millions of dollars in vehicle damage as well as thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatalities. Whether you are taking your family on a trip through the woods or just traveling on business, the following safety tips are intended to save your life and prevent accidents.

Drivers should review their auto insurance policies since not all policies cover damage caused by deer strikes. Comprehensive coverage is optional insurance but it does cover deer strikes. If you only have collision coverage or liability coverage, your insurance carrier will not cover damage to your vehicle resulting from a collision with an animal.

Actions to Consider

Heed the warning signs.  Posted warnings of deer and animal crossing are there for a reason.

Always drive at a safe speed.

Many animals move around at dusk and early morning.

Observe your surroundings. Actively scan the sides of the roads as you drive for any signs of wildlife.

September through January is a time when deer and elk are particularly active.

Deer and elk are herd animals, so if you see one, there may be more.

Don’t rely on vehicle-mounted whistles or reflectors to keep deer away from your vehicle. Studies show they are not effective.

Notify the local law enforcement agency if you have an accident with an animal.

Contact the local emergency services if anyone is injured.

If you have comprehensive coverage, deer accidents are covered.  However, if you swerve to avoid hitting the deer and hit another vehicle, that would be considered collision coverage, and is many times more expensive for your insurer and you.

We hope you never have to worry about hitting a deer or other animal.  Please slow down and be safe. Taking simple precautions can be the difference between having an accident with a deer, and almost having an accident with a deer.

 

Why Your Insurance Agent Is Your Best Friend

bigstock-Expert-Business-Background--51876310Are you frustrated with the lack of good customer service? Are you tired of calling a company and getting someone in a foreign county? When you go to the store and ask for help, do you get a teenager who knows less than you do about your questions?

If you are looking for insurance, it can be much easier than you think. Working with an agent will save you time and money on your insurance.

Why You Should Be Your Agents Best Friend

Agents care about helping you find the best combination of price, coverage, and service.

When you call our agency you get a licensed professional who can actually answer your questions.

We take time to find the best option for you.

You will get more choices of insurance products and companies.

Our employees live and work in your community.

If you have a claim, you have an advocate to help you.

We can make insurance easier to understand.

We offer many online services you may desire, always backed up by a real person.

We know which companies have the best track record when it comes to pleasing their policy holders. We can narrow your options down and help you choose between the best insurance companies in the market. Not all insurance agents are the same! Choosing the right one can make a big difference – in price, service, and value. Our agency has a proven track record, we live here and we understand the needs of our neighbors.

 

 

Motorcycle Safety Tips

MF motorcycle 2People who ride motorcycles are far more likely to get into accidents and far more likely to get hurt than those who drive cars. According to The US Highway Safety Authority, in 2009, 20.2 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes; the rate for motorcycles is 66.7 per 100,000.

Motorcycle Insurance

Having motorcycle insurance should be one of the most important parts of your insurance plan. Motorcycle insurance can cover your liability, injury to other and damage to your motorcycle.

Don’t sell your motorcycle, just keep safety in mind. Here are a few ideas to make your riding safe and enjoyable. Before you hit the road complete a safety check:

-Check lights and brakes

-Check fuel levels

-Make sure mirrors are adjusted to your level

-Follow speed limits

-Don’t drive impaired

-Don’t weave through traffic

-Brake smart

Did you know that 47% of all motorcycle crashes occur at intersections? Or, that on average, three motorcyclists are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of multi-vehicle crashes at intersections? So, be very alert when approaching and driving through intersections.

A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is 40% more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in a crash than a rider with a helmet. When cars and motorcycles collide, it is usually because the driver of the car never saw the motorcyclist. With more and bigger cars on the road, you need to take extra steps to become more visible.

 

Why Auto Insurance May Be The Most Important Financial Decision You Make

MF 3045443

Auto Insurance Facts

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are five leading factors involved in auto accidents.

Drunk Driving: Crashes caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol (DUI) accounted for 18 percent of the total economic loss due to motor vehicle crashes. DUI crashes also cost the nation $49 billion dollars, an average cost of $158 dollars for every person in the U.S.  Including lost quality of life, these crashes were responsible for $199 billion dollars, or 23 percent of the overall societal harm caused by motor vehicle crashes.

Speeding: Crashes involving a speeding vehicle traveling over the posted speed limit, or too fast for conditions, accounted for 21 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $59 billion dollars in 2013.  This is an average cost of $191 dollars for every person in the U.S.

Distraction: Crashes involving a distracted driver accounted for 17 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $46 billion dollars in 2013.

Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists accounted for 7 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $19 billion dollars in 2013.

Seatbelts: Seatbelt use prevented $69 billion dollars in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury related costs. Conversely, preventable fatalities and injuries to unbelted occupants accounted for 5 percent of the total economic loss and cost the nation $14 billion dollars in 2013.

Auto Insurance Coverage

Having the right kind of auto insurance can protect you from serious financial loss.

Auto liability

Auto physical damage & collision

Uninsured motorist

Personal injury protection

Auto medical payments