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.

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.

 

 

Summer Driving Tips

rance Update

Summer is here, and many families are planning that great summer road trip.  Whether you are planning a day trip or a longer weeklong adventure, it is important to be prepared before you hit the road.  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) statistics reveal that more fatal traffic crashes occur over the summer months than over the winter months.

Summer Driving Tips

If you have teen drivers, make sure they have taken driver safety training.

Never use your phone while driving.

When on a long drive, take frequent breaks.

Roads become very slippery in the first few minutes of rainfall because the rain mixes with the oil and dirt on the road. It takes about 30 minutes of steady rain to wash the oil and dirt off the road.

If your car is due for a tune-up, oil change, battery check, or tire rotation, now is the time to get it done.

Use seats belts every trip, all the time.

Traffic laws vary by state, so it is important to follow traffic signs.

Pack extra water and supplies in case of an emergency.

Drive at a safe speed. Speeding increases the likelihood and severity of a crash.

Auto Insurance

It will be important to have an auto insurance update before you go. Laws vary from state to state, and when it comes to your auto insurance, it is important to have the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

New Car Shopping? Think About Auto Insurance Too

 New Car Shopping? Think About Auto Insurance Too

 Auto Insurance

 Are you in the market for a new low-cost car? Before you head off to the showroom, you may want to determine which cars are the least expensive to insure. There are many low-cost autos on the market which are very popular. If you are in the market for a fuel-efficient, low-cost auto, here are some items to consider.

Auto Liability Coverage pays for medical damages and funeral expenses for any people injured or killed in an accident for which you were responsible.  Auto Property Damage covers damage you do to a third party. Auto Physical Damage covers comprehensive and collision. A collision is designed to get your car repaired if you hit an object. Comprehensive Coverage covers your vehicle in the event of damage or loss from something other than a collision; this includes theft, vandalism, nature, animals.

Best Cars To Insure

Mazda CX-3.

Honda Pilot LX.

Fiat 500X Pop.

Nissan Frontier S.

Hyundai Tuscon SE.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

Personal and business insurance buyers–don’t make these mistakes

Everyone who buys insurance often runs into what we call the 7 deadly sins of buying insurance. These apply to both personal insurance and business insurance. Read these to see if you can relate to any of them.

Your deductibles are too low. The lower the deductible the higher the premium. Consider increase auto physical damage deductible on older vehicles.

You have more than one agent. Having two agents it not wise. Select one agent whom you believe will be best for you. Two agents can trip over each other, and you could end up un-insured.

You don’t consider the insurance cost when buying a car. The make and model of the car you purchase will have an impact on the insurance costs.

Your replacement cost value is not correct. It is very important to keep your replacement cost up to date. Replacement cost coverage will replace or rebuild your property with like kind and quality of materials.

Failure to develop a property inventory. Having an accurate inventory of your personal property can reduce stress at the time of a loss and help insure you receive 100% of what you lost.

You have coverage you do not need. There are many different types of insurance you can buy but not all are needed. For example, travel insurance, pet insurance, extended warranties and mortgage life insurance is not always needed. We have other options and recommendations, call us today.

Cancer insurance. Marketed by specialty-insurance companies, these plans supplement health insurance for cancer-care costs. Annual premiums range between $400 to $2,000 dollars. Despite their high cost, the policies may not cover outpatient care. Chances are that your existing health insurance already covers cancer expenses.

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.