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.
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?
Homeowners of America
Texas Fair Plan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
Everyone knows that your homeowners insurance covers things like hail damage (mostly that here in Dallas) and fire, and theft. However, your homeowners insurance often covers much more than you think.
1. Identity theft coverage. Most people don’t know that their homeowners insurance can cover for identity thieving scumbags. Some companies’ packages come with up to $25,000 in coverage against false charges on your credit cards. Generally you don’t pay anything extra for this, as it is part the base coverage package that they put together for you.
2. Coverage for a grave marker. Tombstones are not only a little depressing to buy, but they are also very pricey. Most people invest that money when they are alive, and then they spend the rest of their lives hoping that their stone doesn’t get hit by lightning or backed over by a drunken hearse driver. Certain home insurance policies come with up to $5000 in tombstone coverage at no additional cost.
3. Land Stabilization. Sometimes, like when the residents gain too much weight, the land under a house can become unstable. Some homeowners policies will cover for land stabilization when the instability is caused by a loss covered on the homeowners policy. Once again, this is a coverage that doesn’t cost you a dime, but is available to you should you need it.
4. Appliance breakage. This is a fairly new offering from insurance companies, but it can be a valuable one. This is a fairly inexpensive option on most policies, and is be a very worthwhile investment, especially if you have “vintage” appliances. For a fairly small deductible your dishwasher, fridge, washing machine, and other appliances can be covered against breakage. Against just plain wearing out, if you will.
5. Kidnap and ransom coverage. I have this coverage on my policy because I spend a lot of time flashing my bankroll at pool halls and telling folks that my parents are even richer than I am. That’s not true, but I like to live on the edge – and I have good homeowners insurance with ransom coverage. If they decide to just rob and murder me, my homeowner’s insurance won’t do me any good. If they kidnap me, I’m covered up to $50,000. Not too bad for the price – $0!
The big home insurance package that you get in the mail goes over all of the coverage you purchased, but it’s always better to know what you are getting before you purchase; most of these coverages are freebies on “deluxe” homeowners policies – but you may not even want (or need) the deluxe coverage in the first place. Talk to your agent and really get to understand the policy that you are buying. Then make sure you have kidnap coverage and meet me at the pool hall – I hear there is a dice game starting at midnight.