5 Things You Need To Do If You Have A Car Accident

It happened again; One of my Dallas friends who is also an auto insurance client called me late last night, frantic, asking how being involved in an auto accident was going to effect his car insurance rates. As usual, I asked if he had the other party’s insurance info, and as usual, the answer was “the police officer got it”. I will answer his question here first; in general, an accident is not going to have an immediate effect on your car insurance rates. You have insurance to protect against the financial hardship an auto accident can bring, so don’t worry about a minor fender bender. It may be emotionally draining, but it shouldn’t be a financial hardship – that’s why you have insurance.

Now for the important part of this blog post. What do you need to do if you have had an accident. All of these steps are if no one is hurt. Obviously tend to people first.

  1. Pull off of the road if at all possible.  This is the first thing you should do. If both of your cars can move, pull out of traffic to exchange information. It’s safer than sitting in traffic trying to have a conversation, and has less of an impact on traffic.  How many times have you sat in 20 extra minutes of traffic because two people got into an accident and were busy chatting and trading information while rush hour traffic snarled up around them? Don’t be that guy.
  2. YOU get the other driver’s Information. This is the big one – most people I talk to say “well, the police got their car insurance information and put it on the report.” That’s no good, because the information may not be correct, and also, you don’t get a copy of that police report immediately. It may take a week for the report to be availaible to you so you can start the calims process with the other insured’s company. MAke sure you take a photo of their ID card, their DL, and their car.
  3. If at all possible, call the claim in to their company immediately. Why wait? If you let the other driver drive away from a car accident, memories fade, and the whole idea of whose fault it is starts to shift. When you call the insurance company 2 days after an accident, suddenly the driver who was saying “I’m so sorry, it’s my fault” at the scene of an accident is pretty sure that this was all your fault, and that there is no way their company is paying.
  4. Don’t count on them paying to fix your car out of pocket. This happens a lot; people don’t want to “get their insurance involved” and offer to pay to fix your car on their own. This rarely works out well, but if you are inclined to give it a shot,get their car insurance information first. In my experience, the repair cost is always higher than they can affor or understand, and you end up going through insurance anyway. Save yourself some hassle and just get the insurance information anyway.
  5. If there are any witnesses, YOU gather their information. People rarely stop for a minor fender bender, but if there are any witnesses, get their information yourself. Your auto insurance company is going to want that info, and once again, if it is locked up or incorrect on the police report, then having a witness is of zero value to you. Get their name and phone number, and if you can, even record their statement to submit to your insurance company. Have them state their name, telephoine number, and the current date and time at the beginning f your recording.

These are the basic things you should do in the event of an auto accident to make sure you have all of the information nescessary to ensure an good outcome with the insurance companies. In addition to having all of this information, you should take a few minutes to go over your insurance once a year to ensure that you are protected correctly, and that you are not missing any coverage on your auto insurance. At The Phoenix Insurance we actively check your policy every year at renewal and ensure that you are not paying any more for your auto insurance than you need to – and that lower cost doesn’t mean lower protection.

 

 

Six Things to Know When You Are Moving to Dallas

So your company has seen the light and has decided to relocate to Dallas, Texas. Welcome! We are very friendly people here, and in that spirit, I’d like to give you some things to know as you move to Dallas from wherever it is you are coming from.

1. The people here are very friendly. It’s unnerving to some arrivals from different places, because many people are not as open and willing to talk as your standard North Texan. In line at the bank, at Whataburger (something else you need to learn about) and just about anywhere. To paraphrase Hank Williams Jr., “We say grace, and we say Ma’am” here in Dallas, despite being such a big, cosmopolitan city. Texans are nice people, and Dallasites seem to be the nicest of the group.

Pickup trucks are a thing too.
Pickup trucks are a thing too.

2. “Dallas” can mean a lot of places.  The city limits of the city of Dallas stretch quite a ways, but as we continue to grow, the boundaries of the city really become blurs – there are houses and neighborhoods stretching all the way from Desoto in the South nearly up to Mckinney in the north. We have hip places both in and outside city limits, vast stretches of houses and apartments; any way you like to live can be accomplished in the Dallas area. Be assured that you are not moving here alone – nearly 1000 people a day move to Texas, and quite a few of them land here in the metroplex.

Dallas is a big place.
Dallas is a big place.

3. Traffic is a thing here in Dallas. I remember the days when they first finished construction on Central Epressway, and traffic flowed like a river. Then those thousand people a day started moving in, and roads got considerably more crowded. If traffic is moving fast, then be ready to battle your way where you need to go, and if it’s moving slow, it is stopped. That’s on the highways though – most people who commute in Dallas have several “back routes” to work that help them avoid traffic. We used to plan 30 minutes to get anywhere; now it’s more like 45.  When you add in the constant construction, it looks like no matter what, traffic is here to stay.

Oh yeah, construction doesnt help.
This photo was taken at 10 am.

4. Insurance is expensive in Dallas. Back in 2014, Dallas had the 13th highest auto insurance rates in the nation.  I couldn’t find a more recent list, but I assume that we have made our way up on the list. We have been selling insurance for many years in the Dallas area, and prices certainly aren’t going down, and prices are always a shock when people move here. Home insurance is also pricey, mostly because we have pretty damaging hail storms in the spring and tornados in the winter. That being said, even if the rates are higher, the cost of living in Dallas is well below the national average, so it works out. The best way to pay the least for insurance is to contact an independent agent – hopefully The Phoenix Insurance, as we are the highest rated agency by customers in Dallas.

5. Speaking of living, we do it. It’s not all rodeos here. Nightlife, street tacos, patio afternoons, theme parks, botanical gardens, zoos, art  – if you want it, it’s here. We are home to many funky neighborhoods where you can get artisinal foods, trails where you can take a jog and have a pit stop for a beer, and shopping centers where you can buy your Prada and Gucci. We are dog friendly at most places, so bring them by when you get lunch on a patio on a Sunday afternoon. Go have a spa day, or just take in a game at one of the many major and minor league sports teams in the area. on top of all the things that are always happening, we are lucky enough to have Epic Jared in town – who does things like throw the worlds largest Nerf battle at AT&T Stadium. There is always something cool going on around here, despite the hot weather.

This was the scene at Jareds Nerf Battle at Cowboys Stadium.
This was the scene at Jareds Nerf Battle at Cowboys Stadium.

6. It is hot here. For a while. Generally, starting toward the end of June, someone starts to dial up the thermostat and doesn’t turn it back down until mid October or early September. I don’t know the difference between “dry heat” and what we have, but it’s awful. It’s ok though, because everything everywhere is air conditioned. We spend time in our cars and buildings once the heat turns on, and in the pool, though it’s not really that refreshing when the water is 85 degrees from the sun. (Here is a side piece of advice – always make freinds with your neighbors that have pools.) We tough the heat out though, because fall is awesome, and spring sometimes lasts long enough to fool us into thinking we won’t have a bad summer.

They are still refreshing, even if warm.
They are still refreshing, even if warm.

I am really just scratching the surface of things you need to know to relocate to the Dallas area, but to sum it all up, Dallas is an awesome place to be, and we are happy to have you. Go grab a gas station Taco and take it to the park we built on top of the highway, and just revel in being a Dallasite – you made it!

Now is the time to shop your home and auto insurance if you live in North Texas.

If you are reading this article, odds are you live in the North Texas area. If you live in the North Texas area, you know that we have had significant storms in the area since December 26 of 2015. One tornado, two bad hail storms, and as of this writing, who knows what comes next.

 

A photo of hailstones from the first storm in the Dallas area in 2016.
A photo of hailstones from the first storm in the Dallas area in 2016.                      Photo credit: RC Graphic Designs.

So you are going to pay more for insurance. Everyone in the area is going to pay more for their home and auto insurance. All of the major companies have paid out enough in claims that they will have to raise rates (or as we say in the biz, “take rate”) over the next year. This isn’t great, obviously, but it presents an opportunity for you as a consumer. If you shop your home and auto insurance with an agency like us right now, you can lock in the lower rates that we can most likely find you, and you can lock them in for a year. That means that when your current company raises rates, it won’t affect you, and if/ when the new company rates go up, it won’t be until your renewal, which would be a year away if you buy today.

If you have not shopped your home and auto insurance for a long time, it will be harder to find a great deal if you wait until your current company raises your rates. Insurance companies don’t change rate mid policy, but they do at renewal. We represent so many different companies, it’s hard for us not to save someone coming from a Farmer’s or a State Farm insurance policy a good amount of money. Just yesterday we saved a former Farmer’s insurance client $4000 a year. That’s not the typical amount of savings, but it does happen.

Why not give us a call today and make sure you are in the right spot?  As insurance agents we are knowledgeable and honest. We would love it if you bought insurance from us, but we love it just as much when we find that you have a good deal and a good policy. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we always advise with the customer’s needs in mind – not our need to sell a policy.

Even if you didn’t make a claim, these storms will end up raising your rates. We can offer you a chance to pay less than you are now, AND insulate yourself against rising insurance rates in the Dallas area. Don’t you deserve to have the best insurance agent in Dallas? We think you do. Try us today by calling us at  877-717-4054.

You are going to want to click that link in #1 to see what all of this is about.

Five ways to prepare for springtime (and hail) in North Texas. Or “Hail no!”

 

Here in North Texas, spring can mean beautiful weather, sunny days, and also devastating hail storms. Most people aren’t prepared for what comes next after your car or roof looks like a golf ball because it is so full of divots. That’s why we are here, to help you prepare for the hail as best you can, and be prepared for what comes when it’s claim time.

 

I'm not entirely sure this photo is relevant, but hey. Money.
I’m not entirely sure this photo is relevant, but hey. Money.

1. Lower the comprehensive deductible on your auto insurance. This one is easy – if you park your car outside regularly, it’s more likely to be damaged by forces beyond your control – hail. neighborhood kids, even being squashed by a meteorite.  Since your car spends a good portion of time unprotected from the elements,  why not lower the deductible to $100? You are more likely to make that claim, so why not keep more of your money in your pocket? Usually, lowering the comprehensive deductible isn’t very expensive. You can mix and match deductibles, so hedge your bets.

 

You are going to want to click that link in #1 to see what all of this is about.
You are going to want to click that link in #1 to see what all of this is about.

2Even better than a lower deductible, put up a carport. Obviously if you are in an apartment, this is a tough one, but a carport is relatively inexpensive compared to the hassle of dealing with a hail damaged car. In most cases, a single car carport can be had for less than $800, and even if you are renting a home, you can always unbolt it and take it with you.  Many homes here in the Dallas area are single car garages, or have had their garages converted to spare rooms.

arrow_carport
$800. Not bad.

3. Make your own “escrow” account with your homeowner’s wind and hail deductible in it. Here in the Dallas area, most insurance companies require a 1% wind and hail deductible (that means 1% of the insured value of your home). Since you never know when you will need to pay that deductible, set up a bank account with just that amount in it, and leave it alone. (For bonus points, put your auto deductible in this account as well.) Once you have it, forget about it and it’s ready to use when you need it.

This time this photo is more relevant. I guess - because this is what would be in that bank account.
This time this photo is more relevant. I guess – because this is what would be in that bank account.

4. Try to package your home and auto insurance policies. Most insurance companies would prefer to write both your home and auto insurance – and in order to entice you to package your policies, many companies offer a single deductible option – so if you end up with hail damage on both your roof and your car, you will only pay one deductible for both claims. It saves you money, because you save that deductible, but also the discounts for bundling home and auto insurance are also pretty significant.

This is how it works.
This is how it works.

 5.  Get a Class 4 hail resistant roof installed. This one is for those of you that have to replace your roof because of hail damage. Don’t just put the cheapest roof you can find, spring the extra money for the class 4 roof. If you do so, you will reap some pretty serious insurance discounts, but you will also not have to deal with a hail claim for a long time. Read more about Class IV roofs here. http://www.helpinsure.com/home/roofingx.html

Obviously, you can’t really be 100%  prepared for sudden North Texas weather, but you can be aware of your options, and hopefully I have helped you feel a little better about your insurance situation.

My final tip is to be patient. If you have a hail claim, you are not the only one, so the insurance company is hopping, trying to make the process as easy as they can – but they are only human.

If you have not already, give us a call and let us take a look at your current policy to see if you are covered properly. 877-717-4054

5 Ways Your Insurance Protects You Around The Holidays

Every family has a holiday disaster that is terrible the first year, but as the years go on, retelling the story becomes a part of family tradition. Insurance isn’t festive, but it can come to the rescue of your festivities.

1. If you poison someone at dinner, the liability portion of your home insurance is there for you.This one is based on a true story; one year when we were up north for the holidays, we went to eat at Uncle Bill’s house for the big meal. As he always had, Uncle Bill stored the turkey outside on the porch until it was time to cook. However, that year there was an unnaturally warm afternoon, and the turkey thawed quickly and then froze again that evening. When the turkey was cooked and served, everyone (except for Uncle Bill) ended up in the hospital with food poisoning. That year we only had family members in attendance, and no one filed suit. However, if someone had decided to sue, the liability portion of his insurance would have covered him.

 

This is a bad idea.
This is a bad idea.

2. If someone steals the presents you have in your back seat, the “personal property off premises” coverage of your home insurance will cover you.

First, if you are shopping for gifts and making multiple stops, be sure to keep all of your purchases in the trunk of your car. However, if you drive an SUV, that’s obviously not an option. Unfortunately the holidays don’t just bring out the good in people, they also present an opportunity for thieving scumbags to break your window and steal all of the presents you have purchased. If that were to happen, those gifts would be covered by your home insurance (or renters insurance if you don’t own a home). I would still bring along a blanket to keep your purchases away from prying eyes, but your insurance is there for you should something terrible happen.

this is an awful thing to walk up on.
This is an awful thing to walk up on.
3. If your tree burns down your house, you are covered.Once again, I’m going to first give you some good advice; water your tree, check the wires on your lights for shorts, and never go old school on your tree by using candles for light. Sometimes however, even if you follow my advice, bad things can happen. If the worst happens and your tree catches fire, your home insurance is there for you with fire coverage – and if your house is burned, you will need a place to celebrate that doesn’t stink of smoke and firemen’s sweat. That’s where the additional living expense coverage comes in; you will obviously need a place to live while your home is being repaired. You won’t be celebrating at home, but you also won’t have to impose on Uncle Bill (and risk that turkey dinner).
Super Hardcore!
Super Hardcore!

4. If your party gets too rambunctious and someone gets hurt, you are covered.We have all been there; the party is bumping, the rug is rolled up, people are dancing, and then a scream as Aunt Josehine sprains her ankle and hits the floor. Luckily for you, your homeowner’s insurance includes “medical payments” coverage so you can rush her to the emergency room. The minimum coverage is $500, but more can be purchased if you are so inclined. I would certainly purchase more if you throw lots of parties – and if you have elderly aunts who like to cut a rug.

She'll also probably hit on that friend you invited over.
She’ll also probably hit on that friend you invited over.

5. That new car you put a bow on is automatically covered.This one isn’t actually covered on your homeowner’s insurance, but it is covered by your auto insurance. When you purchase a new vehicle, your auto insurance automatically extends to the new vehicle for 30 days. That way you don’t have to risk spoiling the surprise by adding the car in advance of giving it to the giftee. This coverage extension isn’t here just to prevent spoiling surprises, it’s to ensure that your new purchase is covered until you can get hold of your agent. This 30 day courtesy extension doesn’t just happen during the holidays either, it is available to protect you year round.

 

This IS a good idea.
This IS a good idea.

These are just five ways your homeowner’s (and auto) insurance protects you against disaster during the holidays. Obviously no one wants to rely on their insurance to save the holiday, but it is nice to know it’s there if a disaster should try to ruin the season. Here at The Phoenix, we wish you a very happy holiday, and hope that you don’t have to make a claim this time of year – but if you need to, we are here to help!

Head Rush Hot Rod Car and Motorcycle Show

Head Rush is a great show at a great location – as usual several of our classic car insurance clients took first place in their divisionaddison auto insurance antique auto insurance dallas antique auto insurance houston antique auto insurance plano antique auto insurance auto insurance southlake auto insurance car insurance dallas car insurance frisco car insurance plano car insurance southlake (2) car insurance southlake carrollton auto insurance dallas auto insurance (2) dallas auto insurance dallas home coverage dallas home insurance dallas homeonwers dallas insurance frisco auto insurance garland auto insurance home insurance dallas home insurance frisco home insurance plano home insurance southlake home insurance texas home insurance the colony home insurance home owners insurance dallas home owners insurance garland home owners insurance plano home owners insurance texas home owners insurane southlake homeowners insurance dalals homeowners insurance dallas homeowners insurance plano homeowners insurance texas inaurance expert dallas insurance experts plano auto insurance plano insurance richardson auto insurance texas antique auto texas home insurance – as did several motorcycle insurance customers!

The Heights Church Car Show Richardson Texas

The Heights Church in Richardson, TX puts on an incredible car show every year, and this year (2015) was no different. A ton of our classic car insurance clients begged us to come hang out, and we are easy to convince. Check out this lineup! agreed value insurance allen best insurance austin ferrari insurance auto insurance dallas auto insurance frisco auto insurance garland auto insurance plano auto insurance richardson auto insurance southlake auto insurance best agent in dallas best insurance agent dallas best of dallas insurance boat insurance california insurance car collection insurance car collector insurance car insurance anna car insurance dallas car insurance frisco car insurance garland car insurance mckinney car insurance plano car insurance richardson car insurance southlake car insurance the colony Car insurance classc car insurance denver classic auto insurance allen classic car insurance allen classic car insurance colorado classic car insurance dallas classic car insurance plano classic car insurance polano classic car insurance pueblo classic car insurance dallas agent safeco dallas auto insurance dallas best insurance dallas boat insurance dallas boaters insurance dallas ferrari insurance dallas insurance auto dallas insurance car dallas top rated insurance dallas dallas's best insurance exotic car insurance allen exotic car insurance claifornia exotic car insurance colorado exotic car insurance dallas exotic car insurance richardson exotic car insurance southlake exotic car insurance specialist exotic car insurance texas exotic car insurance ferrari insurance dallas ferrari insurance fort worth auto insurance fort worth home insurance home insurance colorado home insurance dallas home insurance denver home insurance frisco home insurance loveland home insurance plano home insurance pueblo home insurance richardson home insurance homeonwers insurance denver homeowners insurance colorado homeowners insurance hot rod insurance houston's best insurance independent agent dallas insurance car collection insurance exotic car insurance exotic collection insurance professional dallas jetski insurance jewelry insurance lamborghini insurance dallas lamborghini insurance the woodlands lamborgini insurance houston landlord insurance largest agency dallas liability insurance mckinney homeonwers insurance motorcycle insurance off road insurance plano top insurance agent race car insurance race team insurance rat rod insurance renters insurance restoration insurance san diego classic car insurance specialist exotic car texas auto insurance texas boat insurance texas exotic car insurance umbrealla insuracne umbrealla insurance

Understanding Types of Car Insurance Coverage

Just as there are many types of cars, there are many different types of auto insurance policies, and many different ways to cover your car. For instance, most people don’t need to cover their “daily driver” car the same way they would cover their classic car or exotic auto. Let’s go over some different car insurance options together, so you go to bed smarter than you woke up this morning.

Usually, your every day car is covered by an actual cash value or “ACV” insurance policy. Most every day cars spend their lives both stuck in traffic and depreciating, so this is the most cost effective way to cover then on your insurance policy. ACV coverage means that you get paid the actual cash value of your car at the time of a loss. That means that you should reasonably be able to purchase another car of like kind should you have a claim. The one thing you should always consider is getting “gap” coverage if you are upside down on your auto loan. Lots of insurance companies offer it if you ask at time of purchase. Gap coverage covers the difference if you owe more than the ACV of your car.

The second type of coverage available to you is Stated Value coverage for your car. This type of policy allows you to tell the insurance company that your car is worth “X”, and then allows them to pay you up to that amount in the event of a loss. Yes, I said “up to”. That means that if the insurance company can make a case for paying you less than the value of your car, they will. We hear lots of people (and even some insurance agents) confuse stated value insurance with agreed value insurance – but in the simplest terms, and stated value policy just gives the insurance company a discussion point at claims time. It does not guarantee you the full value of your vehicle at the time of loss.

In order to guarantee the value of your vehicle at the time of loss, you must purchase an  “agreed value” insurance policy. Yes, you can get an agreed value policy on your daily driver car, if you choose to do so. However, the agreed value policy is usually intended for a collector car. Classic insurance., custom car insurance – even exotic car insurance is all written (or should be) on an agreed value insurance policy. Since agreed value policies are very specific in the coverage they offer, they are also very specific in their terms. Does your car qualify ? Are you interested in agreed value coverage? Then contact an insurance consultant today and discuss your needs.

See? Like I said, smarter than when you woke up this morning.

Lakewood Grill Hot Cakes and Hot Rods

There is very little that is better than a morning car show. The weather her in Texas is cool, there is coffee and great conversation over some just beautiful cars. As usual, plenty of our clients that insure their classic cars with us were there. auto insurance dallas auto insurance texas bentley insurance car collection insurance Car insurance Dallas collector car insurance plano collectors car insurance dallas collector car dallas insurance experts exotic car insurance texas friscos best insurance highland park auto insurance highland park home insurance highland park insurance home insurance dallas homeowners insurance texas houston exotic insurance plano home insurance rolls royce insurance texas insurance experts

Paloma Creek Sonic Sock Hop

nothing evokes the”good old days” like Sonic and classic cars. As usual, we were tooling around town in our antique milk truck, looking for a place where our classic insurance clients were hanging out. The Paloma Sonic Sock Hop was full of our friends, and we made some new friends there as well! best insurance dallas best insurance price dallas best insurance texas best price insurance dallas best price insurance texass best price texas insurance best rates dallas car insurance texas Dallas Auto Insurance Dallas best insurance agent dallas best Dallas car insurance dallas exotic insurance dallas ferrari insurance dallas home insurance (2) Dallas Home Insurance dallas insurance agent dallas insurance rate dallas top insurance ferrari dallas ferrari insurance agent Frisco Auto Insurance Frisco Car Insurance Frisco home insurance Frisco homeowners insurance Frisco Renters Insurance homeowners insurance insurance advice insurance rates dallas lamborghini insurance Plano auto insurance plano best agent Plano Car Insurance plano home insurance plano home owner insurance plano homeowners insurance plano liability insurance race car insurance race insurance texas auto insurance rate texas auto insurance texas car insurance texas home insurance texas homeowners insurance