Holiday Stress Reduction

Buy Decorations In The Off-Season

Buy Christmas decorations year-round on the Internet. And in the off-season, you can get them at reduced prices. Buy your decorations all year, and when the Christmas season arrives, you’ll be ready.

Wrap Sooner Not Later

As soon as Christmas wrapping paper is placed on the shelves, start selecting and buying. By this time, you should have a shelf full of presents to wrap. Wrap at your leisure; a few at a time or all at once. Just enjoy it. You have time to make the presents look outstanding. Give them that added decorative touch that will make the recipient feel special and give you the opportunity to be creative.

Record What You Wrap

You have two lists to cross-reference. Check off or make changes as necessary. If you didn’t make a list, you should make one now. Don’t make a mistake I made one year. I got all my wrapping done early, and by the time Christmas came, I couldn’t remember what I was giving everyone or exactly what it looked like. I remember wishing I had a digital camera. I could have taken pictures of the presents before wrapping them. I don’t have to worry about that now. I have a list and a digital camera.

Collect Recipes

Don’t wait until you have to prepare a dish for a party to decide what you want to make. Start collecting recipes from magazines and friends. But don’t stop there. You have plenty of time to try them out. Put stars beside the ones you especially like and will be proud to serve. When the time comes, it will be fast and easy to make choices.

Christmas can be a pleasure, even before the season begins. Enjoy your window-shopping, whether it’s in the stores or on the Internet. But be ready to buy when you see something you like. Make your choices wisely and keep up with your lists. Following this plan will be a great stress reliever come Christmas time. Have fun, and keep on enjoying Christmas.

How To Prepare For Holiday Home Safety

How To Prepare For Holiday Home Safety

The Holidays are almost upon us, and if you have been to any department store, the sounds of Christmas are ringing out. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 400 homes are destroyed annually by causes related to Christmas tree fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hospital emergency rooms treat over 12,900 people each year for injuries such as falls, cuts and shocks related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. Before you put up the lights or cut down the tree, we wanted to provide you with a few safety reminders to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

The Tree

Keep Christmas Trees Fresh; water regularly.

Keep trees away from heat sources.

Take Christmas trees down before January.

Do not burn the trees in your fireplace.

Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments, or ones with small detachable parts, on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.

Lights

Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory.

Never string together more lights than are recommended by the manufacturer.

Make sure extension cords are rated for the intended use.

Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.

Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.

If you use a timer for your outdoor lights, make sure it is rated for outside use.

Outdoor lights and decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs)

Ladder Safety

When putting up holiday decorations, always use the proper step stool or ladder to reach high places. Don’t stand on chairs, desks, or other furniture.

A straight or extension ladder should be placed one foot away from the surface it rests against for every four feet of ladder height.

Use ladders with slip-resistant feet.

Never stand on top two steps.

Enjoy the season with family and friends, and never drink and drive.

Texas Home Insurance

A Home Insurance Update

Many homeowners have experienced premium increases. Our agency works very hard to bring our clients the best possible combination of premiums, coverage, and service.  Homeowners insurance plays an important role in society. It protects your most important financial asset, your home. Remember, each homeowner’s insurance policy is different, and if you bought your homeowners insurance online, you may not have proper coverage.

What Can We Do to Help?

We have the benefit of being an independent agency.  This allows us to search the market for the best possible combination of premiums, coverage, and service.  We compare insurance companies’ rates and use the competitive market to your advantage.  Here are some ways to save on your premiums:

Purchase all your insurance through our agency.

Ask us about additional discounts.

Consider increasing your deductible.

Keep your home well maintained.

Replace your roof, water heater, and other equipment when needed.

Review your policy regularly. You may not need the same kind of coverage you did a few years ago.

 

 

Make Your House Safe For Trick-Or-Treaters

Make Your House Safe For Trick-Or-Treaters

 Halloween is fast approaching. All kids love to dress up, get together with friends, and go door-to-door hoping to find the full size candy bar.

A little pre-planning can prevent unfortunate accidents that could turn out to be tragic for kids and trying for you. Here are some pointers for ensuring your house is a safe place for trick-or-treaters on Oct. 31.

Pets first. Dogs, cats, and other furry family companions get scared when oddly dressed strangers approach their door in droves. Make sure your pet is in a safe and comfortable space or take them to a secure, relaxing offsite location for the evening.

 Clean up your yard. If your yard gathers stuff – like toys, rakes and other yard tools, hoses, tree branches, you name it – take the time to clean it up. Make sure your yard is free of potential hazards and create a clutter-free walking path well before dusk falls this Halloween.

Are all your lights working? Make sure you offer a well-lit path.

Candles. Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table.

Turn it off. When you’re done for the night, make it obvious by turning any and all inviting lights off.

Decorations. Don’t go overboard with decorations, they can cause fires and injuries.

Safety tips for kids

Never, ever go into a house

Go with friends

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

Young children should always be accompanied by an adult or an older, responsible child

Only go to homes with a porch light on

Plan costumes that are bright and reflective

Don’t eat homemade food

Look at all wrapped candy, if it has been opened toss it out

Use a flashlight

 

 

Homeowner’s Insurance

You buy home insurance to protect your most important asset.  There are many items to consider and we can help you through the process of finding the right coverage for you and your family. Remember not all homeowner’s insurance policies are considered equal.

There are many factors that go into determining your homeowner’s insurance premiums.  We thought it might be fun to address our “top ten list” of things every homeowner should know before purchasing insurance.  As your agent we can help you identify the best possible combination of coverage, price and service.

  1. You are a statistic. To an insurer, you are a set of risks. An insurer bases its premium (or its decision to insure you at all) on your “risk factors” including your occupation, who you are, what you own, and where you live. To us, you are a person and we value our relationship with you.
  2. Know your home’s value. Before you buy a policy, it is important to know your home’s replacement cost.
  3. Insurers differ. As with anything else you buy, what seems to be the same product can be priced differently by different companies. You can save money by comparison shopping.
  4. Don’t just look at price. A low price is no bargain if you don’t have the right coverage.
  5. Go beyond the basics. A basic homeowner’s policy may not promise to entirely replace your home.
  6. Look for discounts. Insurers provide discounts to reward behavior that reduces risk.
  7. Be sure that you have the proper documentation if you have a claim. Your idea of fair compensation may not match that of your insurer. Your insurer’s job is to restore you financially. Your job is to prove your losses so you get what you need.
  8. Know your policy. Keep your policy updated, and reread it before you file a claim so there are no surprises.
  9. Check you deductibles. It may benefit you to increase your deductible, especially if you have a good claims experience.
  10. Your policy excludes Quake and Flood. Check with us and we will provide you with a quote.

Can You Live Without Disaster Insurance?

Can You Live Without Disaster Insurance?

Human caused disasters and natural disasters occur in every state. California has earthquakes and wildfires, Colorado has flooding and wildfires, the Northeast has winter storms and high winds, Florida has flooding and hurricanes, and the Midwest has flooding and tornados.

Insurance And Disasters

It is safe to say that most business and homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the risks associated with disasters. The only exception would be damage caused by wildfires. Let’s look at how insurance might apply to other disasters.

Floods— Only 13% of U.S. homeowners had flood-insurance policies last year according to the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. Flood insurance must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program. We can help you if you need the coverage.

Earthquake— While earthquakes occur mainly in certain areas, there are registered earthquakes in every state, every year. Earthquake insurance also must be added or purchased under a separate policy.

Tornadoes— Damage from tornadoes typically is covered, since it usually is considered wind damage.

Mudslides— A standard home insurance policy does not protect your home against damage caused by a mudslide. Mudslides are usually defined as ground movement. Heavy rains that cause a mudflow would typically be covered.

Heavy Snow and Winter Storms— Winter storms and snow damage is covered under a typical homeowner’s policy. If flooding occurs, then the flood damage would be covered.

Hail— Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for losses resulting from hail.

Wildfires— It can be safe to say that all homeowner’s insurance covers loss resulting from a fire. Wildfires are considered a fire and would be covered.

Coverage disclaimer–the information provided here is for general purposes only. It is not our intent to change or modify insurance coverage. Each insurance policy is different and your individual coverage will be determined by the terms of your insurance policy.

 

What Is Important to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

What Is Important to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

A Home Insurance Update

Buying home insurance should be an important part of your financial planning. It is important to consider many different things in order to obtain the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Insurance companies use many different factors when reviewing your risk. It is important to understand some of these as you make your personal insurance decisions.

Some Items to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

Your location is important in determining your premium. For example, the closer you are to a fire station and fire hydrant the better.

Not all insurers are the same. Some insurance companies prefer newer homes, while others may require your home to have a newer roof.

Low price does not equal better coverage. The lower priced product may exclude needed coverage.

Your home’s value may be the single most important factor. If your home should need to be replaced, it will be important to have an accurate replacement value.

Every policy has exclusions and it is important to know these. For example, most policies exclude earthquake and flood coverage.

Having a home inventory can help you if you ever need to document any loss.

Ask about any discounts the insurer may offer. Most insurers have a number of discounts and the more you are able to obtain the better.

 

 

Five Keys to Improving Your Personal Insurance

 

A Personal Insurance Update

We work to ensure that your personal insurance provides the protection you deserve and need.  We understand you may need different coverage like a personal umbrella, RV insurance, valuable articles coverage, earthquake, or flood coverage.

Over the years, we have found that homeowners who adhere to the following strategies have a better chance of obtaining the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

Use an agent like us to represent you in the market.  We know and understand personal insurance, and we are much better equipped to help you manage your personal insurance program.  We will stand by you in every claim situation.

Only use financially strong insurers.  It is vital that your insurance is there to pay for claims.  Look for insurers with an “A” rating by AM Best.

Make sure you have high liability limits.  It is essential that every homeowner have enough liability insurance to cover the unexpected events.  This is especially true if you own an RV, ATV or boat.

Consider increasing your deductibles.  Often a slight increase in your deductibles can reduce premiums.  If you are able to manage a larger deductible, you may be better off in the end.

Allow your agent to manage your entire personal insurance needs. Having one source for all your policies will save you time.  Also having one professional handle all your needs gives them the ability to understand your entire needs.

Good Reasons To Call Your Insurance Agent

Home and Auto Insurance Update

Let’s face it, you buy home and auto insurance to protect you when and or if an accident happens. And when you have an accident, you want your personal insurance to respond.  If it has been a while since you updated your personal insurance coverage, you may want to call us today.

When to Call Your Agent

When you buy or sell a car

If you started a home based business

If you are thinking about putting in a pool

When you purchased any high end jewelry, guns or other items

If you home replacement value has gone up

Did you get a company car?

If you have remolded any part of your home

When you install a security system in your home

If you get married or divorced

If your commute distance has changed

When your children go away to college

Having the right auto coverage is not as easy as it sounds, and choosing the wrong coverages and limits could lead to financial disaster.  Our team is prepared to help you find the right combination of coverage, price and service.

Home Safety for the Holiday Traveler

Home Safety Tips

Many people will be traveling this holiday–in fact about 98 million according to travel experts.  After you have packed your bags and planned your itinerary, you still need to consider how to best protect your home while on vacation. But leaving home more often demands a dutiful travel safety checklist that includes precautionary measures to help keep your home safe and secure when you head out.

Remember to get a homeowner’s insurance checkup before you go.  We can help to make sure you have the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

If you are planning to vacation during the holidays, here are few thoughts to consider:

Get a security system.

Trim landscaping that is too close to your house.

Don’t advertise your vacation on social media.

Cancel mail and other deliveries.

Have a neighbor check on your home.

Always lock your garden sheds and garages.

Use a variable light timer to activate lights inside your home.

Lock all doors and windows.

Have adequate exterior lighting.

Never put your home address on your luggage tags. Write your phone number instead.

Set automatic timers to turn your lights and a radio on and off.

Happy Holidays!