Category Archives: Home Owner’s Insurance

The Not At All Annual Phoenix Insurance Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2016 (Part Two)

I feel like I did pretty well writing about insurance related gifts in the first installment of The Not At All Annual Phoenix Insurance Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2016. I also did a really good job of researching that first blog for gifts, and I ended up with enough to do a part two. As the great Jerry Reed once said, “when you’re hot you’re hot” , and I am about as hot as I am going to get at doing this task for our independent insurance agency. As I look out of the window here at our Dallas World Headquarters, the weather is beautiful, and the boss is buying lunch for our office, and promises to unchain me from the blogging table as soon as I write a few more blogs about home insurance, and auto insurance.

Buckle up, buttercup; here are more of the best gifts for 2016 that might just help to keep your auto insurance and home insurance rates down.

 

  1. Vino To Go Double Wall Acrylic Tumbler. $10.79 for two.

 

Put white grape juice in and let the kids use them in public!
Put white grape juice in and let the kids use them in public!

 

So I know it says “to go”, but I am legally bound as an insurance man to say that you shouldn’t use these for “to go” wine situations, unless you are just a passenger. I think they are a great gift for your friend who has a white carpet but loves red wine. There are lots of home insurance policies that cover “all risks”, including a red wine stain on the white carpet. Obviously, avoiding making a claim for a red wine stain will keep your friend’s house insurance rates down, which is a wonderful gift for you to give. As a bonus, there will be broken glass should they refill too many times and fall down.  I think it was Ben Franklin who said, “A plastic tumbler that looks like a wine glass keeps the liability insurance claims away!”

Buy Here! 

 

  1. D-Link Wifi Water Sensor $59.99

 

I'm actually buying myself one of these when I finish this post.
I’m actually buying myself one of these when I finish this post.

Like the Nest smoke detector we talked about last time, this is one of those fancy new “connected home” devices. This one will alert you via an app on your phone if you have sudden water rising problems, and are not at home.  Inevitably, that’s when you are going to have flooding problems, and guess what – flooding absolutely ruins your home insurance rates. If you can find out immediately, you have a better change of limiting damage to your home, bumping that water damage insurance claim up, and washing away your home insurance savings. (See what I did there?)

Buy Here! 

 

  1. CellControl Drive ID $129.00

 

this is a super neat gadget as well.
this is a super neat gadget as well.

 

This neat gadget is a “jammer” of sorts for your teen’s (or your own) cellphone that keeps you from texting while your car is moving. I can about guarantee that your teen won’t see this as a gift, but hey, they also don’t really understand that life is a gift, am I right? Texting is a big problem while driving; look around sometime.  2/3rd of drivers are out there driving distracted, paying attention to their phones rather than piloting their 3000 pound death machine. Obviously not having a car accident will keep your auto insurance rates down, and keeping your  17 year old from killing people while he texts  his buddy an “LOL” at the dank meme he sent will keep you from having a liability insurance claim on your record. Win/Win.

  http://cellcontrol.myshopify.com/

 

 

  1. Fire Resistant 8 Gun Safe. As low as $349.00

 

Lock your stuff up. It just makes it safer.
Lock your stuff up. It just makes it safer.

Sure, this is a gift for the gun lover in your life; but it’s also a gift for anyone who has things to protect. The little personal sized fire safes are all well and good, but they are small, and don’t hold much. This safe will resist fire, can bolt to the floor,  and hold lots of things – so it’s actually three gifts in one. It protects your stuff in general, and it protects you from making a theft claim on your homeowners insurance, as well as making an inflated fire claim on your house insurance. (I know they are the same thing, but hey, this is an insurance blog, so deal with my keywording, will you? )

Buy Here! 

 

 

There you have it: lots of gifts you can buy that have the potential to keep the recipients paying the lowest rate for their auto insurance, home insurance, and even their liability insurance.  Now the big question is “how can I afford to buy these gifts? “. There are a couple of answers to this question, and the first is that love has no price tag. The second answer is for you to call us today for an car insurance or home insurance (or even an insurance package) quote today. Our licensed advisers will make the process simple, and you will wonder why you haven’t given yourself the gift of great insurance service until today.

Have a happy holiday season from all of us here at The Phoenix Insurance.  

The Not At All Annual Phoenix Insurance Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2016               

Every year I try to challenge myself by writing an insurance blog that is somehow holiday themed. I have succeeded in the past (see here and here) and sometimes fallen very flat. However, only history can really judge what we do today, so it’ll be a few years before I declare the “Not At All Annual Phoenix Insurance Holiday Gift Giving Guide” a success – or conveniently forget that it exists.

I love gift guides, because after a while, they become even more interesting than they were when they were newly written. What were the people of 2013 thinking? What did they think was “cool”, but in retrospect was awful and exploded in your pocket or worse? Hopefully this insurance themed gift guide will stand that same test of time. I assembled things that will help you protect yourself and your loved ones and your possessions (and by extension your home insurance rates).

Without further ado, here is some stuff you can buy.

 

  1. Kidde Multi Use Fire Extinguisher. $19.99                                                                      

 

Looks like a sportscar, right? I dig it.
Looks like a sportscar, right? I dig it.

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your house? How old is it? If you don’t know, it might not be any good anymore, so get your wife one for Christmas. No, it’s not a diamond ring, but it is a handy way to prevent your house form burning down, which is a pretty nice thing. It’s a beautiful shade of red, is compact (so it’ll fit in a stocking) , and once again, it’ll prevent you from losing everything in a fire.  Fire claims raise your home insurance rates a lot.

Buy Here

 

  1. Master Lock Dual Function Security Bar. $19.98

This is a nice bar.

This is a nice bar.

I like this item because it has multiple uses, which always makes something better in my opinion. This is a great gift for anyone who owns a door – or who is responsible for controlling access to one. The security bar can be used to lock hinged doors, as well as locking your sliding glass door. Sure, you have locks on those doors (at least I presume you do) but this gives you an extra layer of protection, especially on your sliding glass door – the locks on those things are ridiculous. As a bonus, you can bring your master lock security bar on the road if you are a traveler, and keep people out of your hotel room. Theft claims can also make your house insurance skyrocket.

Buy Here

 

  1. Kidde 13 Foot Fire Escape Ladder $34.97

 

Not the sexiest gift, pound for pound, unless you consider escaping a fiery death "Sexy".
Not the sexiest gift, pound for pound, unless you consider escaping a fiery death “Sexy”.

This ladder is a great gift for the person who owns a two story home. The safety ladder is more of a personal safety item, and less of a way to keep your premiums down. However, all kidding aside, this is really an item you need to own, along with a plan for using it should there be a fire. If you don’t have one, ask for one for Hanukkah, unless you are a teenager, in which case no one is buying that you are asking  for an escape ladder so you can be safe in a fire.

Buy Here

 

  1. Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm $99

 

This smoke detector is really a marvel of the modern age.
This smoke detector is really a marvel of the modern age.

This is a great gift for that friend who smokes in bed, or anyone really, except people who do not have homes. The Nest Protect is a “smart” smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm that will talk to you rather than just screeching at you, will send you messages, and will even work as a light in a dark hallway. I have one in my home, and it’s awesome – it actually works with my Nest thermostat somehow, though I’m not clear on exactly what they talk about.  It does communicate with me very well via my phone, so if a fire happens while I am chained to the blogging table here at the office, I’ll get a message and be able to call 911 and save my home, therefore incurring less damage, and keeping my home insurance premiums down.

Buy Here

It looks like this insurance gift guide has turned out way better than I thought; as I type word 684, I have come to the realization that I have a few more gifts to share with you, so tune in in a couple of days to check out the rest of The Not At All Annual Phoenix Insurance Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2016.

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

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

What Insurance Companies do We Represent

As Independent Insurance Agents,  We sincerely believe that we are the best way to shop for any type of property insurance.  Home insurance, auto insurance, and even motorcycle and boat insurance. Why an independent agent? We are authorized to represent many different companies in order to give our clients plenty of options when it comes to their property and liability insurance. So what companies are we authorized to sell?

Allstate Insurance

ASI Lloyds

Condon Skelly

Berkley Classics

Dairyland

Encompass

Foremost

GMAC

Grundy Insurance

Hagerty Insurance

Homeowners of America

Imperial Fire

Infinity

Kemper

Mendota

Metlife

Progressive

Republic Insurance

Safeco

American Modern

Texas Fair Plan

Travelers

The Hartford

Universal

Wellington

Chubb Insurance

 

This is not a static list, as we are always seeking out new insurance companies in order to give our clients even more choices. Contact your insurance consultant today, and take a look at how your current insurance rate stacks up against one of our many insurance companies.

 

How to Navigate an Insurance Claim – Part Two.

The last time we got together, I tried to explain how the deductible works, and some things that you should consider when choosing a property deductible. I’ll wait if you want to go back and read it again. Go ahead. Done? Good. Now that you have chosen how much deductible you are going to pay in the event of a loss, we can talk about when to use them.

We will start with the easier of the two – your auto insurance. I want to start the restof this article by saying this; you pay for insurance to protect your things. Sometimes, a claim just needs to be made. With auto insurance, mist claims are worthwhile, because you have had an accident. The only claims we caution clients to consider avoiding are windshield chip claims. While they won’t raise your rates directly, they can be problematic if we need to quote your policy with other companies. Unless your windshield is broken, it is best to pay for the chip repair yourself. With other claims, my personal rule of thumb is to consider the payout – if you have a $500 deductible, do you really need to make a $600 claim? Those types of claims are pretty rare on auto policies, due to the rising cost of auto repairs.  Also, remember that most car insurance policies now come with some form of roadside assistance, and if you have to use that service, it does not count as a claim.

The big question you should ask yourself when it comes to homeowner’s insurance claims is whether or not the claim is “worth it” or not. Just like with auto insurance, if you have an $1100 claim and a $1000 home insurance deductible, it’s probably not “Worth it” to make a claim. Most home insurance policies here in Texas have a 1% wind and hail deductible, so if you are in a $130,000 home, then you probably have a $1300 deductible. However, a hail claim doesn’t “count against you” for rate purposes. A water claim or a burglary claim, on the other hand, will increase your rates, so it’s imperative to consider what the claim is worth before you call the insurance company. Your first call should be to our office to chat with one of our consultants about your claim.

In fact, we even have a “claims advocate” here at The Phoenix Insurance to help guide you through the claims process. Hopefully, you will never need the advocate’s help, but if you have a claim and have any questions, concerns, or needs, he is here to help you understand the claims process, and make it a smooth one. Whether you have had an auto accident or a water claim on your home, our claims advocate is here to help you get made whole again as quickly and painlessly as possible.