Tag Archives: Insurance Advice

Commercial Insurance Help For Starting Your Business.      

           

I can see it now, like a movie scene; you are here in the big city for the first time, battered suitcase at your feet, and you want to start your first small business. It may be a food truck, or a drycleaner, or a coaching firm, or even a contractor business. Do you know what all small business dreams have in common? A need for commercial insurance. Too many times we hear from people who have started their Dallas business and don’t buy commercial insurance until it’s too late. There is a lot of risk starting a new business someplace like Dallas. Commercial insurance will protect your business(and lifestyle) should things go south.

What kind of commercial insurance do you need?

Obviously there are many different business ideas, and commercial insurance is different for each one (sometimes cities like Dallas have their own commercial insurance regulations as well). So where do you start? I’ll do my best to give you some basic understanding of your small business insurance needs and potential liabilities on a broad scale.  Don’t be limited to this blog’s answers though – pick up the phone and call us at 214-253-0570 today. We would be more than happy to be your commercial insurance consultants, free of charge.

The first type of commercial insurance to consider is commercial auto insurance. Dallas is a big city, and growing every day. Whether you are in construction, or in delivery, or even an Uber or Lyft. Commercial auto insurance will protect you should an accident happen in the course of doing your job. Uber or Lyft insurance is still going to be written on a personal auto insurance policy, but not all companies will provide that c

If your car wears a pink mustache, you need the right kind of insurance.
If your car wears a pink mustache, you need the right kind of insurance.

overage, so it pays to call an expert to find out. When it comes to commercial auto insurance, if you use your vehicle in the course of your business, or if it is covered with your company’s logo and phone number, you need a commercial auto policy.

The second type of insurance to consider when you have your own business is general liability insurance. General Liability insurance is important because it protects you against being sued (or protects you against having to come out of your pocket if you are). General liability insurance looks a little different for every small business, but the principle is the same: it will protect you up to the limits you choose. Here is an example; you are a painter, and your client accuses you of ruining her floor in the course of doing your job. You know this isn’t true but offer to fix it for her. She refuses and sues you, which you must defend, right or wrong.  If you have commercial general liability insurance, this becomes an annoyance rather than a complete disaster to your business and your life.

Join us for our next installment, when we will discuss inland marine insurance, workers compensation insurance, and more. Starting your own business is a challenging, exciting time. You can’t be expected to be an expert in every aspect, because when you are first starting out, you don’t know what you don’t know. Here at The Phoenix Insurance we are Dallas’ Commercial Insurance experts, and would be happy to help you get your small business started right. Give us a call today at 877-717-4054

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.  

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.

 

 

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.

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.