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Plan for Your Holiday Spending Like You Would with Insurance

We are a month and a half away from bidding farewell to another year. To match this swift passage of time, there is a frenzied buzz in the air – not at all unusual, considering two of the biggest holidays happen during this season: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not surprisingly, people’s time are spent on holiday preparations, planning trips and vacations, and making all sort of lists. Priorities and focus shift as excitement builds with the idea of joyfully reuniting with friends and families.

There’s plenty of swift spending, too. I have insurance clients who are pretty good with sticking to their budget. They are able to anticipate expenditures, whether they be seasonal or recurring (e.g. utilities, school tuition, mortgage payments, insurance premiums, rent), and prepare for them well enough. But I’ve also met a few who find themselves in a bit of a financial bind – and right at the beginning of the new year, too – because they got carried away by the yuletide fun. Getting back on track is not particularly difficult; most of the time, it just means setting aside more than you used to so that you can get back to a level of financial stability that your lifestyle requires.

It’s easy to get swept away by the spirit of the season – especially if you do not have a plan to ground you. Being in the insurance industry has given me the wonderful opportunity to talk to others about their financial situation, whatever time of the year, and whatever the circumstance. Together, we weigh their wants and needs, making sure to focus on the latter so they protect their financial lifestyle, but also leaving some room for leisurely expenditures – including holiday shopping and merry-making.

Some may think that planning and budgeting this time of year can put a damper on their cheer, but I can assure you that it won’t. If anything, it will leave you more at ease, and free to enjoy the festivities without worry of unexpected hardships.

So go and be merry, but also spend wisely! And as always, our door or phone line is open should you need anything.

Protect Your Home This Halloween Season

Cooler weather and changing leaves means one thing – fall is upon us. One highly celebrated fall happening is Halloween. Many homes are already decked out for the usual fanfare and activities, the most anticipated of which is the ghoulish trick or treat!  

Plenty of planning and preparation go into Halloween décor and dress, but I bet that only a few (or maybe none at all) seriously include homeowners insurance in their considerations. And I completely understand; the holiday is meant to be fun and carefree, after all. It’s a time when we have an excuse to be whoever we want to be, eat as much sweets as we like (if our health permits it or if our kids have leftovers), and go overboard with carved pumpkins, fake skeletons and other horror-inspired decoration.  

But apart from imagined ghouls and ghosts, other (and more real) dangers lurk in the shadows – and sometimes, even in plain sight. Low-quality lighting fixtures, overloaded circuits, or just a couple of candles left burning throughout the night can easily spark a fire and damage your home – or worse, engulf it in flames completely. Having homeowners insurance can spare you from suffering the grisly aftermath of financially picking up the pieces should a fire or any similarly destructive event break out.  

Trick-or-treaters and party guests are also sure to dwell on your doorstep on All Hallow’s Eve. More people means higher risk for accidents in and on the surrounding areas of your home. If someone were to get hurt or incur any type of injury while on your property, you could be held liable for resulting medical costs. Most homeowners insurance includes personal liability coverage that can help you shoulder unexpected financial burdens due to accidents on your property.  

Halloween celebrations can be fun and safe at the same time when you adequately prepare and protect yourself from any kind of scare – including those that can damage your home. Review your homeowners insurance policy today, or call us for assistance and queries. Happy Halloween!  

Buy or Not To Buy… a Used Car? That is the Insurance Client’s Question!

One of the most common topics I discuss with customers is vehicles, especially new vehicles. The conversation usually starts off energetic, with clients speaking in great detail about their dream car, and how much they had wanted one of their own since they could remember.

The mood is quick to change, particularly when our discussion turns to cost, which would most certainly include auto insurance. Understandably, the concern more often than not has to do with financial capacity, not only in regards to the actual purchase of the vehicle, but also with upkeep, fuel consumption, and insurance premiums.

As an insurance agent, I am always prepared to give advice on the financial aspects in regards to insurance and consider the best possible options with my clients. In terms of car ownership, one idea that gets floated around is buying a used car, as this is of course the cheaper alternative. I’m not one to discourage this, since this is often a wiser financial move for some.

If you are teetering between buying a new and used vehicle, I recommend that you keep in mind a few things impacting not only the quality of your driving experience, but also your insurance premiums, which are calculated on a number of factors. Generally speaking, look for things like mileage, apparent wear and tear, how well has the owner seemed to take care of it, cleanliness, etc.

Another influencing factor is the make and model of the car. Risks are calculated based on how the car is designed and the expected use. A sports car will most likely require higher premiums than a standard sedan, as insurers anticipate the former will be driven at high speeds, which can lead to a higher rate of accidents. Age is also a factor – but in a good way. Generally, the older the car, the less expensive the parts, so insurers are more likely to keep premiums at a comparatively lower rate.

There are other risk factors that play into calculating car insurance premiums, whether it be for a new or used vehicle. If you wish to learn more, call us today and we’ll help you gain the insight you need to make an informed decision.

This Fall, Consider Insurance as Financial Fallback

September 22 marked the first day of Fall. In many parts of the country leaves are turning beautiful red, orange and yellow hues. It is a sight to behold. I know it puts me in a contemplative mood – looking back at the months that have passed, and reflecting upon what’s left to do as another year winds down.

These days, my mind is filled with thoughts of what’s important to me: my family and my goals. As an insurance agent, setting priorities straight and making appropriate action plans comes naturally to me. Every time I meet with clients, I take them through the same process, prompting them to contemplate their life goals, whether they’re a young professional, an entrepreneur, a newlywed or a family man like me. Many are able to articulate what they want, but not all are always aware of what insurance product they need to sustain their lifestyle and protect their family.

That’s understandable. We work hard so that we can comfortably provide for ourselves and our loved ones. We budget our income so that all needs are covered. Sometimes we spend on leisurely things. When it comes to preparing for unexpected emergencies or loss though, not everyone has the confidence to say they have a life insurance policy that can come to their family’s rescue. It’s simply not in their radar.

So now that leaves are changing, perhaps it is also time for a change in perspective. I urge you all to reflect on what’s important to you and what you are doing to protect it. Call us today and we’ll gladly discuss with you how a solid insurance policies can not only be life-changing, but also life-saving.

Insurance To Help You Weather The Storm

One year has passed since Hurricane Harvey barreled through South Texas with wind speeds topping around 134 mph, devastating cities along its way. The Houston metropolitan area endured a history-making marathon of rain and flooding leaving the city in a state of emergency. Unlike most common floods, the most affected folks were not just in low-lying areas; to this day, some of them have been unable to return to their homes.

With tragic anniversaries such as these, one is often left to wonder if there was anything that could have been done to spare our fellow Texans from going through such a nightmarish circumstance. The insurance industry deals with risk assessment and financial preparedness all the time, and seeing as we are part of such an industry, you might think that we are used to calculating and preparing for loss.

On one hand, you are right – we have insurance expertise that enables us to give sound financial advice to clients when they come to us for their insurance needs. On the other hand, learning about the suffering of families still strikes our hearts with sadness, with the only consolation being that we are able to provide a measure of comfort by easing their financial burden through sound policies.

We are blessed that experts are now able to more efficiently predict the scale of weather disturbances, giving us the opportunity to prepare as best we can. For insurance agents like us, that is the primary goal: financially prepare you and your family for any event that can compromise your future.

In the case of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters, losses are felt across the board. Damages to your home, car and place of business are likely in the event of severe storms. Loss of life is a worse scenario to consider, yet it remains a real possibility as far as Mother Nature’s forces are concerned.

As we reflect back on the chaos of Harvey, this is the perfect time to review your current policies or needs, and better understand what you are entitled to should there be a need for you or a relative to file a claim.

We are always just a phone call away should you want experienced and sound advice to help protect you and your loves ones. Please feel free to contact us today.

First Car or Upgrading? Know the Right Things to Ask Your Agent About Auto Insurance

Buying your first car or upgrading your current one can be an exciting and memorable time in your life. It’s fun to go through different makes and models, carefully reviewing every feature to make sure you end up not only with your dream car, but also with one that will truly take you places. 

As you go through the process, there is one important item that you should not neglect: auto insurance. While it may not be anyone’s favorite topic, it is a very important consideration and responsibility that drivers must bear. The good news is you do have options, and your auto insurance agent will be able to provide you with the advice and information you’ll need to make the best decision. 

Here are some questions you will want to ask your auto insurance agent:  

1. What kind of coverage should I get? 

Like most states, Texas requires car owners to be covered with liability insurance, which basically pays for any accidents where you are at fault. This is the minimum requirement and only covers the other person’s vehicle in an accident and bodily injuries for the people in the other vehicle, and you will want to consider expanding your auto insurance coverage to include things such as collision, other-than-collision (comprehensive) and medical payments. Keep in mind that the coverage you decide on should match your current financial standing and projected needs. Many people who drive older cars might only carry liability because their car is worth less than the amount of the repairs that occur in common accidents. People who drive more expensive cars might consider carrying full coverage (all the items listed above) because they want to protect their investment in a more expensive vehicle. These are just two of many common scenarios to consider. Should you get medical payments? Personal Injury Protection? These are topics that many are not familiar with, and we can explain them to you to help you better understand what it is you are or are not getting with your auto insurance. 

2. How much will my premiums be?  

The premium you will pay for your auto insurance will depend on a variety of factors. Apart from affordability, your auto insurance agent will perform a risk assessment procedure. The higher the projected risk for accidents or damage, the higher your premiums will likely be. Your age (or driving experience), location (whether for home or for work) and even the type of car you are insuring will all be taken into account. If you wish to keep your premiums as low as possible, ask your insurance agent on how to best adjust your coverage amount (so that you are still sufficiently financially protected), and what payment options can be made available to you.

3. How do I file claims?  

Every insurance company has a claims filing process, which is typically started by just calling their standard customer service number. There will be paperwork involved, and how quickly you can receive your claim will depend on how quickly you can turn over pertinent documents and supporting materials. Again, your auto insurance agent will be there to help you through the process. We do have the Quick Claim Foto process which can cut the claim process to matter of a day or two for most minor accidents. 

Choosing the right auto insurance options to best fit your needs is very important and can prevent major losses or unexpected surprises. If you are close to buying a car or are considering switching insurance companies, or just need a fresh and informed look at your insurance coverage, we would be happy to help you. Do not hesitate to call us – we would be glad to assist you! 

Say “Hail No!” to Repair Costs with Insurance

Hail season is notorious for pounding Dallas/Fort Worth, causing property damage in different degrees – and financial woes for residents. In 2016, the damage caused by hail storms in Texas was estimated at $5 billion. Imagine the amount of claims filed against homeowners insurance and auto insurance that spring!  

Yes, hail season typically happens in months of March, April and May, ironically coinciding with new buds and blooms and friendlier weather. But before you heave a sigh of relief, you must know that hail occurs all throughout the year in our state. Perhaps not as frequently, but it certainly happens. Just last month, early morning thunderstorms pelted homes and other structures with heavy hail – so heavy that residents believed them to be gunshots or intruders breaking in.  

The Insurance Council of Texas estimated the cost of damage of that hail storm to be $425 million, affecting roughly 20,000 structures and 25,000 vehicles. Affected residents with sufficient wind and hail insurance coverage were likely spared from bearing the financial brunt of repairs. We assisted a number of clients with their claims filing as welland were happy to help ease their worries and secure their finances.  

Insurance policies can rescue you and your family from a money rut when you need it the most – in case of emergencies, accidents and fatality. Your property is an investment that needs safeguarding as well. Check your homeowners insurance, renters insurance and auto insurance regularly to make sure it is up-to-date with your needs. This means covering not only for the possibility of hail, but other natural risks too, such as severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.   

Seasons change. So do the dangers they bring. Don’t wait until the last minute to consider protecting yourself and your loved ones. We can help you get that protection – call us at 817-423-0048.  

 

Have A Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

We join all of you in celebrating a star-spangled milestone in our country’s history – Independence Day!  

We are certain many families will be busy with traditional festivities associated with the Fourth of July – which makes it the perfect time to talk about safety and adequately preparing for any eventuality that may disrupt your celebrations. Accidents occur during the holidays too, and it’s always wiser to make sure that you’re not only safe and secure physically but financially as well. Having insurance policies with coverage that sufficiently meets your needs will help with that.   

Families that travel for the Fourth of July holiday are reminded to buckle up, stay alert and observe speed limits. This can greatly reduce your risk of an accident, which in turn can keep your auto insurance premiums from going up (as claims frequency and your track record on the road are factored into your yearly premium computation). However, if you do run into a vehicular mishap, you can — at the very least – rest assured that your auto insurance coverage will equip you with the means to financially cope with the cost of damages and/or injuries.  

Even staying at home for the Fourth of July poses some dangers that can easily turn financially devastating when your house or apartment is not insured. Grilling and barbecuing accidents can be avoided through careful supervision and keeping flammable materials at safe distance, but even the most experienced grillers can sometimes fall short of safety standards. Your homeowners insurance should be able to ease the burden of property damages or medical emergencies, but we urge you to take as much care as possible to prevent any unfortunate incidents during your Fourth of July party.  

The same cautionary advice should be heeded by families planning to celebrate with their own set of fireworks and sparklers. Should you decide to skip the public fireworks show and have one on your property instead, please have a water supply nearby at all times and wear protective gear for your eyes and hands. Your insurance is there to shield you financially, but your mindfulness can just as easily keep dangers at bay.   

Independence Day is a proud and patriotic moment that we can all share in as a community and a nation. A happy and safe Fourth of July holiday is what we wish for every family. If you feel you need to do a quick review of what you are covered for, please do not hesitate to call us for clarifications and concerns regarding your insurance policies.   

 

What is National Insurance Awareness Day – and Should You Care?

Many of you (perhaps including our own clients) are not aware that June 28 is National Insurance Awareness day. That’s OK, you’re not exactly out of the loop. As it is, this special “holiday” is not widely publicized. Even people in the insurance industry cannot point to an exact date, time or circumstance of its origins.  

Nonetheless, National Insurance Awareness day has a very important purpose, for the benefit of both the insured and non-insured. It is meant to encourage everyone to review their existing insurance policies, whether its life insurancehomeowners insuranceauto insurance, business insurance – or all! If you are not yet covered for anything, then now is the perfect time to consider which product is right for you.  

Going over your insurance policies may seem time-consuming and tedious – and it could be, depending on how much your needs have evolved. Major life changes, such as getting married, having children, buying your first car and home, and switching jobs (or finding yourself without one), affect your current financial capacity. It makes sense to also make adjustments in your insurance policies, tools that serve to help you become financially prepared for the future and unfortunate events.  

This is why we advise our clients to give us a call, not only during National Insurance Awareness day, but on any day they have questions or feel the amount they are covered for should be re-evaluated. Apart from coverage and benefits, you will also talk about your premiums, beneficiaries, and at times maturity dates. You might also want to inquire about new products and services that your insurance company or provider has rolled out since you first purchased your policy. It never hurts to check what’s out there, especially if your family’s future is at stake.  

National Awareness Insurance Day may not be on everyone’s minds – and that’s fine, as long as you, as the insured, are taking care of your responsibilities and have a good understanding of what your insurance policies are doing for you. Our phone lines are always open to you should you want to discuss more possibilities and options for your financial security.

Three Easy Ways to Prepare for the Unexpected This Summer

Being an insurance agent has given me the opportunity to speak with and help families who find themselves in the throes of unexpected tragedies and financial challenges. During the summer in Texas (where temperatures can get very hot very quickly), heat-related health issues and deaths are common. I’ve heard stories of heat strokes and heart attacks turning fatal, with families losing breadwinners in what feels like a blink of an eye. Boating accidents are also more common than you think.  

The relief that a life insurance policy provides makes a huge difference to families, not only during the grieving period, but most notably as they move forward in life without their loved ones. I always feel a tremendous sadness for uninsured families whose grief is compounded by worries of the impending future – and how to cope financially.    

Traveling is also very common during the summer and can pose dangers. Vehicular mishaps rise during summer due to a number of factors, and if you do not have auto insurance that covers your needs properly, then you risk incurring additional financial burdens.  

At home, you may have visitors staying over for the summer, and if by some unfortunate circumstance, something in your home causes them injury, you could be held liable for the medical fees. This may sound absurd now, but trust me, this happens more than you think – and when you least expect it! Liability protection under your homeowners insurance can help take care of such expenses, and protect you and your family from shouldering unnecessary costs.  

As a family man myself, I know that I, like you, do everything I can to make sure that my loved ones are safe and secure, whatever season or time of the year it may be. Summer is a wonderful time to make memories, and you can do it with peace of mind when you have the right tools to ensure your financial preparedness. Let us help you with yours. Call us today.