Category Archives: Insurance Trends

Frequently Asked Questions About Independent Insurance Agents

Independent Insurance Agents are your best bet for finding low insurance rates; whether you are near our Dallas World Headquarters or anywhere else, when you are shopping for home insurance or auto insurance your first call should be to an independent insurance agency. These are some questions that we are asked over and over, and they should help you understand why an independent insurance agent is the best way to get the lowest insurance rate with the best coverage. 

  1. What is an independent insurance agency?
  • An independent insurance agency is appointed with multiple insurance carriers and can shop multiple insurance companies in order to find the best insurance prices.


  1. Who does the independent insurance agent work for?
  • The independent insurance agent works for their clients; they are not beholden to any one insurance company so they are able to cast a critical eye on your insurance policy, and ensure that you get the right coverage at a great price.


  1. What kind of insurance companies does an independent insurance agent write with?
  • Independent agencies are appointed with many insurance companies; Metlife Insurance, Safeco Insurance, Kemper Insurance, Traveler’s Insurance, Encompass Insurance, and many more.


  1. Why are insurance rates cheaper at an independent insurance agency?
  • Insurance is a competitive market, and insurance companies are always tweaking their rates to find the perfect balance. Independent insurance agents understand this, and because they are appointed with multiple companies they have a broader understanding of insurance rates and can take advantage of changes in the market for their clients.


  1. Why don’t I see commercials for the insurance companies independent insurance agents are appointed with?
  • Commercial time is expensive, and insurance companies that have big flashy commercials have to pay for that somehow. Independent insurance companies pass those savings on to their insurance clients.


  1. Are independent insurance agents more knowledgeable about insurance in general?
  • Independent insurance agents must be well versed in multiple insurance companies products. Each home insurance or auto insurance policy is a little different though each company. Independent insurance agent must understand those differences, and help their clients find the best price insurance.  

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.

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!

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.

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





Grundy Insurance

Hagerty Insurance

Homeowners of America

Imperial Fire






Republic Insurance


American Modern

Texas Fair Plan


The Hartford



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.


What is Liability Insurance?

Sure, most of us buy insurance to protect our stuff. Obviously, you must have nice stuff to protect  – why else would you be reading a blog about insurance? Yes, a big part of what we sell is property insurance, but what about the other part of insurance  – the one that protects you above and beyond the specific dollar value of one piece of property That, dear reader, is called “liability insurance”.  Most personal policies that you pay for already have liability insurance, so isince you are already paying for it, you may as well understand how it works.

Generally, the largest amount of liability coverage most people have is attached to their home insurance policy. In our agency, we generally try to steer our clients to buy the most liability insurance that they can on their home; not because it raises the premium, but for the amount of value per dollar spent. The difference in premium between the minimum liability amount of $100,000 and $500,000 is generally in the range of $100 a year. This is an incredible way to invest your insurance dollars – where else can you buy $400,000 extra worth of anything for $100? Nowhere but insurance.

Liability coverage, at its core, protects you from lawsuits that may be filed against you. Yes, if your negligence causes injury like if the tile you keep meaning to fix finally breaks and your neighbor breaks his leg. However, the big value in liability insurance is in your legal defense. Talk trash about your neighbor and get sued? Liability coverage to the rescue. The standard amount of liability insurance on most policies is $100,000, but if you have priced a lawyer lately, you understand how much more coverage you really need. It’s the cheapest part of your home insurance, pound for pound, so you should bump it has high as you can. You never know when you will need it – or exactly how much trash your wife talks about the neighbors.

Auto liability is the liability coverage most people are familiar with – and like home insurance, it really shouldn’t be skimped on. Auto liability coverage is generally divided into three numbers – ex. 100/300/50. These three numbers represent $100,000 bodily injury per person/ $300,000 bodily injury per accident/ and $50,000 in property damage to others per accident. State generally set a minimum amount of coverage that is acceptable; in Texas it’s 30/60/25. Should you ever “rock the minimum”? No, for two main reasons.

1. It’s too low. If you are in a major accident and are left short, the damages you cause still have to be paid. If you total one Mercedes, or even a brand new Ford F150, you will come up well short on property damage. That money still needs to be paid. Guess who is responsible?

2. Higher limits of liability can actually save you money in the long run. Even if you are never in an accident, carrying high liability limits shows insurance companies that you are a concerned driver. One of our main functions here at The Phoenix Insurance is to shop your insurance for you when (not if, but when) your insurance premiums go up. It’s easier to get a better deal if you carry higher liability limits. Insurance companies like to insure responsible drivers, and nothing says “responsible” to an insurance company like high auto liability limits.

Remember up there where I said that home insurance is “generally” where people carry most of their liability insurance? I said generally because some (sadly not all) people carry an excess liability or “umbrella” policy. An Umbrella policy generally covers you for $1 million in excess of the liability coverage on your home and auto insurance. If you have been picking up what I have been laying down in the rest of this blog, you are starting to realize that higher liability limits are always better. With higher limits your assets are better protected. Yes, I said assets. While liability insurance does not specifically cover a specific piece of property for a certain value, it is there to prevent you from having to sell that piece of property off in order to defend yourself in court. You are already paying for liability insurance. Is it enough? An umbrella policy on top of whatever you have is generally cheap – usually under $300. Isn’t your peace of mind worth at least that much? Even if you choose not to get an umbrella policy, make sure you carry high enough limits on both your home and auto insurance at least. Call one of our agents today and continue the discussion about liability coverage.

auto insurance

Some Things I Learned About Classic Cars and California.

As some of you who actually read this blog (and follow our adventures) know, we recently made a road trip to California in our 1955 DIVCO Lightning to participate in the 13th Annual Del Mar Nationals Good-Guys show. To be honest, I thought that taking our products into California and talking to folks about the way they insure their classics would be the same as it is in Texas; classic car insurance is classic car insurance, right? The folks driving the cars are the same as everywhere else, and so it should be easy, right? Wrong.

Our roadtrip vehicle. 1955 DIVCO milk truck, somewhere in New Mexico.

1. People in California drive their classic automobiles. On our first day in town, we decided to have some lunch near the beach while we got the road grime cleaned off of the DIVCO Lightning. After we negotiated a price to get our hot rod milk truck washed, we strolled down by the beach, and I counted not less than 4 cars from the 1950’s and 60’s with surfboard carriers strapped to their roofs. There was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel air, a “Ratrod” woody, a 1960’s MG coupe, and of course, a VW bus. Driving your classic car is not a problem, but in order to make sure your car is properly covered, talk to an agent. Lots of classic auto specific policies forbid using your car for anything other than parades or car shows. I could tell already that California classic owners were a different breed, and I hadn’t even talked to any yet.

This is a pretty pricey truck anymore.

2. Everything is expensive in California. I also learned this on the beach – at a lunch joint. Why is this important when it comes to writing classic car insurance in California? Because Californians don’t believe that ANYTHING worthwhile can be as cheap as classic auto insurance is, and they certainly think that if it’s as cheap as it is, they don’t want anything to do with it. In this case, living in California has skewed their opinions in the wrong way. Classic car insurance (in California or anywhere) is cheap and worthwhile. Some inexpensive things have value, and classic car insurance is one of them.

This is another thing that is super expensive in California. I’d go pedestrian if I had to see this every day.

3. People love “woodies” in California. Which is great, and a long part of their beachgoing tradition. I also learned woodies are expensive. I had guessed as much, but had no idea that an “average” woody can go for upwards of $100,000. I was also surprised at the number of folks with six figure rarities that just kept liability coverage, “because I don’t really drive it that much”. I’ll say it again; if you have a classic or collector car, getting full coverage through a specialty program is generally cheaper than just having liability coverage through your regular carrier. That $100,000 woody wagon? It’d cost under $600 a year to insure it for the true value, and come out of an accident with enough money to build a new one.

This is a 1948, and you are looking at probably 125-140k of American iron and wood “on the hoof” as it were.

4. Roadside assistance is very worthwhile coverage, every time. On our way back home, we ran over a bag that contained something sharp enough to put a 2.5″ cut in the white part of our whitewall tire. When I discussed our policies with California folks, they just about all dismissed “Roadside assistance” as something they didn’t want to pay for on their classic auto policy, because “I have it through AAA” or some other reason. I guess that’s fine, but all of our classic policies have flatbed towing guaranteed, and not every roadside program does. I was impressed with the response time as well; we picked up our flat in Yuma, AZ at 6:30 in the morning and were on the back of the tow truck within 20 minutes of calling our classic car insurance company. The best part? Roadside assistance is a built in coverage, so you aren’t paying any extra for it.

You want to consider how good your roadside is well before this happens.

I learned a lot more than these four things on our California road trip, but those are for another blog post. Our DIVCO Lightning won an award, and was very well recieved by the folks at the show, and we met lots of really nice people who were looking to do business with the best classic car insurance agency in California. Luckily, we were there.

Four Auto Insurance Coverages That You Might Not Know About.

It doesn’t matter if you are living in Dallas, TX, shopping for insurance in Kansas City, or finally buying your dream car in San Diego, CA, you are going to have to pay for car insurance if you are going to drive. Auto insurance companies sweeten the sting of having to pay premium by offering “extras” on their auto policies, often at a low price.

1. Many car insurance policies now offer roadside assistance. The only thing that used to be covered on your auto insurance was towing from the scene of an accident. Now the roadside assistance on your auto policy will send someone out to unlock your car, put a gallon of gas in if you run out (guilty), or even help you change a tire if you don’t want to break a nail. In fact, some companies offer free roadside assitance plans. Click below to get free roadside assistance for life through one of the companies we write through. No obligation, just free roadside assistance.

Infinity DriverClub®

This is what it looks like when you forget where you put your phone.

2. Your cell phone can be covered on your auto insurance. One of our companies offers an endorsement to cover your cellphone on your auto insurance policy. This protects your phone for up to $500 for theft (except from an unlocked car) breakage, or loss. The breakage part is important, becuase if you are like me, you have forgotten you dropped the phone in your lap and when you stand up to get out of the car it bounces off the parking lot.





3. Many car insurance policies now offer “new car replacement” coverage.So you splurged and bought the first new car of your life – that Fiat Abarth you have always wanted, or the Taurus you dreamed about as a kid – whatever. Some companies will replace your car with a new make and model of the same car if yours is totaled or stolen within the first three years of ownership. Generally that is the time you are upside down in your loan, so it’s great to not have to settle for something else because your car has depreciated. Wreck your 2012 Fiat and end up with a brand new 2013 in the dirveway. That is pretty nice.

That is just a cool little car.

4. Protection from auto accidents even when you are not in your car. Personal injury protection is coverage for your medical bills and lost wages if you are in an accident with a motor vehicle. That coverage is there if you are driving your car, walking across a parking lot, or pedaling your bicycle down some beautiful two lane country road. PIP is usually pretty cheap, often less than $10 a month. The fact that it covers you in any accident with a vehicle can make it a very valubale coverage on an auto insurance policy.

I hope he sticks the landing.

As you can see, there are lots of coverages available to you on an auto insurance policy than just what it takes to make you legal to drive. While you have to pay your auto insuance bill, some companies make that pill easier to swallow by giving you much more protection than you expect. Call and talk to an agent today, and see what sort of options you have when it comes to your car insurance. .

What Kind of Insurance Coverage Should I Consider for My Motorcycle?

So you  either talked your wife into letting you buy a motorcycle, you don’t have a wife to talk into it, or you are expecting a big fight when you get home. No matter what, you need to figure out how to insure your new motorcycle, and not break the bank when you are doing it. As a new owner, you need to understand some differences between your new motorcyle insurance and your auto insurance.

1. A motorcycle is not a car. This may seem pretty self explanatory, but you would be surprised how many people use their auto premium to figure out if they are getting a “good deal” on their motorcyle insurance. The two are unrelated! Well, I suppose that  you are a driver on both policies, but the liablitites and risks are different for both types of vehicles.  Your car can do more damage, but your bike might be worth more, and is for sure easier to toss in the back of a pickup truck.


Some people don't even need pickups.

2. Fast bikes are more expensive to insure than cruisers. However, both can be very expensive to insure if not done correctly. Every company has a different set of customers that they are interested in – some companies want young guys on fast bikes; some companies want older guys on cruiser type bikes – but they don’t want any cruisers that have lots of accessories on them. Likewise, some companies are not at all interested in people that have no prior insurance on a bike – while others don’t care. IF you choose a good agent, he will know the appetites of each company.


It's even harder to find a company that wants monkey motorcyclists.

3. Most policies come with coverage for accessories – and riding gear. Be sure to ask what sort of coverage you are buying, and what limits are available to you. Most companies cover around $3000 in accessories standard, but if you have more than that, it pays to ask. Also, that coverage often goes to cover any motorcycle specific gear as well. If you have $3000 in custom parts and equipment and another $1200 in leathers and a helmet, you need to talk to your agent about what is available to protect your investment.

While there is no accounting for taste, this can certainly be covered.

4. Ask what “extra” coverages are available. Different companies have different options; some offer trip interrruption, so if your Hog breaks down in the Dakotas, the company will put you up overnight until your part can be found. Likewise, “Roadside assistance” is often available as well – so if you lock yourself off your bike, you can call someone and explain just how you managed to do that. There are also endorsements that will get you a brand new motorcycle of the same make and model if you wreck yours, and other endorsements that will even get you a rental bike if yours breaks down.

But will they wash it if I get it dirty?

As you see, motorcycle coverage can be complicated. It’s different than auto insurance, so you would be well served to seek out an agent who is well versed in how to write a proper motorcycle policy. Maybe then your wife will believe that you have actually thought this out, rather than assuming that you made a crazy impulse purchase.

Classic Car Insurance – How Does That Work?

Wether you live in Dallas Texas or Kansas City Missouri, if you are reading this article, I’d assume it’s because you have a classic automobile, and you are wondering exactly how you should get it insured. That 1969 Camaro may have cost under $3000 when it was new, but nowadays they can go for six figures. You can’t just put a car like that on your regular auto policy and expect it to be covered properly – so you need to look for a company that specializes in classic auto insurance. We represent several different classic car companies, and each one is a little different, but all of them are specialists in classic car insurance.

How exactly does the hood release work on this thing?

1. Mileage is a rating factor. Obviously, the reason one has a car is to drive it. The reason one has a car valued at five figures is generally to let people see you in it. If your classic car policy doesn’t allow you to dirve your car, then you may as well not insure it. Some companies don’t want you to drive for anything other than to go to show your car, but others will allow you to “buy miles” – if you want to drive your expensive rare cars to pick your grandkids up at school, you can, if you account for the mileage.  One company will allow you three levels of mileage – up to 1200 miles, up to 6000 miles, or unlimited mileage.

I'd probably choose a lower mileage plan for this one - it looks like a rough ride

2. There are a couple of different ways to cover your investment in your fine, fine classic automobile. Two ways to cover a classic car on a policy are by insuring it with either an Agreed Value  or an Actual Cash Value policy.  Agreed Value coverage is just that; you and the insurance company agree that your vehicle is valued at “x” amount in the event of a loss. Actual cash Value is the amount the vehicle is worth at the time of loss, accounting only for the stock vehicle, not talking into account any modifications. I think that you can easily see why having an “Agreed Value” coverage on a car that is worth six figures might be worthwhile. Most regular auto policies are “actual cash value” policies. That’s never good for a 30 year old car.

I'm not sure how much the "Surrey roof" option cost when the car was new.

3. There are a few different “classes” of cars when it comes to specialty and classic auto  insurance. A car doesn’t always have to be “antique” to be written on a specialty policy. There are essentially four classes of specialty auto when it comes to insurance; Antique (25+ years old), Modified (at least 20 years old, doesn’t have to be “stock”), Classic (15-24 years old, unmodified), and Exotic (14 years old or less, built for performance.)

Elliot built this car for speed, not comfort. He succeeded.

4. Classic Automobile insurance is DIRT CHEAP! I hear some people say “Well, it’s too cheap to really cover anything.” That statement is incredibly wrong. Because the policy is mileage limited, and very specfic to your vehicle, it can be a lot cheaper. Insurance companies know that if you are building a classic vehicle, you are probably going to treat it a little differently than the family Honda – and they price their policies accordingly. The policy that covers that Honda will not cover your classic car properly. When you call to talk to us about insuring your classic, don’t be surprised if we give you a number that seems very low. It will be correct, but there will be photos to be taken and forms to be filled out in order to get the low price you deserve.

Insuring specialty automobiles is what we do – and we do it well. Specialty policies are a great way to make sure that the investment you have made in your classic car is protected the proper way. Call or email and talk to one of our specialists today, and see what options are available to you.

Related Posts on Classic Car Insurance:
Classic car insurance in Nebraska

Limits on classic car insurance in Oklahoma

Details about Classic car insurance in Kansas

Selecting insurance for your classic car in Colorado

Your classic car and insurance in California

Options for classic car insurance in Arizona