We are leaving on a beach vacation to escape the cold. What should we do to prepare our home while we are away?

With the winter weather now in full force, we are all feeling the effects – and that includes your home! When you decide to have a vacation from the cold on a lovely sunny beach, don’t forget that your home will still be exposed to the freezing temperatures you left behind. There are several things you can do to prepare your home for winter protection while you are away.

Our independent agency always likes to remind our homeowners to take precautions for their home during the winter, especially if you know you will be away for an extended period of time. One simple measure you can take is to shut off the water at its source. This can help guard against issues like pipes bursting. If you were to have a furnace failure while away, the pipes could quickly become so cold that they could freeze and cause serious damage but when the pipes are devoid of water the risk is eliminated.

Don’t forget to drain the pipes once you have shut the water off. Even though some of the draining will occur naturally, pipes can house residual water for a very long time. Even this small amount of lingering liquid could cause a pipe to burst if it were to freeze.

Set your property thermostat to a reasonable level but don’t turn it completely off. Make sure the temperature inside is set above the freezing point. This allows you to set the thermostat in such a way that you’ll have low energy bills while away but you won’t need to worry about your home interior having freezing damage.

The interior of your home will have the best air circulation if you leave doors open, so leave all the doors ajar before you leave. Even though you won’t have a great deal of heat circulating, this will help the heat that does need to circulate to reach all areas of your home evenly.

Even the best laid plans can sometimes go awry, and that is where your homeowners insurance steps in to help. Be sure that you have adequate homeowners insurance so that your home is prepared for any type of disaster, even the ones that can happen when you’re away! You can easily compare policy quotes from all the major insurance carriers online with the help of our independent agents. Give us a call and we will give you multiple homeowners policy options to review, all in one convenient place.

Will Winterizing my Home Save me Money on my Monthly Premium?

Taking the time to winterize your home may help reduce the number of risks associated with winter weather conditions, but the impact on your homeowners insurance premium may vary. Depending on the insurer and the potential risks, the cost for your policy may or may not be impacted by winterizing the property.

Differences Between Companies

Every insurer has a different policy and pricing system. Some insurers may offer a discounted rate if you winterize your property while other insurers offer discounts for other actions or risk reduction strategies.

The only way to determine if your current insurer will offer a reduced rate is by asking about the discounts that are available, looking through your current policy and finding out about special promotions.

Finding a Better Rate

Since every company is different, it may be possible to find similar insurance policies for a lower premium if your current plan is no longer appropriate for your budget and goals. You can compare quotes for several insurers online with the help of an independent agency.

An agency can narrow down your options based on the factors that you identify as essential, such as a set price range or a specific amount of coverage. You are then able to compare the policies, learn more about the insurance and make a decision about the best policy for your current concerns, goals and needs.

When you compare quotes online, consider the policy as much as the price. Some insurers may offer a better plan than others when it relates to your personal concerns or current goals. You can ask about discounts that may help bring the price down if the best policy is a little out of your budget price range, since insurers have different offers, discounts and promotions that may be available.

Winterizing your property may or may not have an impact on the cost of your coverage. Depending on your current plan, the insurer and the price that you want to pay, it may be appropriate to work with an independent agency to find the right coverage for your current goals.

Can someone injured at Super Bowl party at my house make a claim on our policy?

You invite friends and their friends to your home, your property, for a Super Bowl party and someone suffers an injury. Your homeowners insurance provides several ways to help with medical care for minor or major injury scenarios from dog bites to broken bones.

First, your homeowners policy provides medical payments coverage which has a lower limit, perhaps several thousand dollars, to reimburse first aid or minor doctor visit costs. This no fault coverage does not require the injured party to sue or threaten to sue. It’s simply medical coverage for the property.

Second, your homeowners policy provides liability insurance which covers at fault injuries on your premises. At fault in these terms does not indicate viscousness on your part, just an unsafe condition which can range from a railing giving out to a chair collapsing under your guests weight. Compare this coverage to medical payments. Liability has a much higher limit available for medical costs, but it has a higher threshhold of circumstances to collect these payments. A proactive claim must occur.

These coverages can vary by State. It is wise to check online for quotes and policy descriptions from an independent agency serving your area. Many options exist for policy liability limits and property coverage to protect your home.

Proper loss control avoids claims. Lock up your dog if he doesn’t like crowds of people. Make sure all food is prepared properly and thoroughly cooked. Remove shaky or unstable furniture, especially seating, and rugs people can trip over. Walk through the space where the party is to be held and think safety. Common sense helps spot danger.

So, are you covered for injuries to your guests at a Super Bowl party? Yes, if you compare quotes online to create a policy with terms and conditions to your liking. Once you decide to throw that party, walk through the space and correct any conditions which could lead to injury.

Remember to relax and enjoy the party.

Is home insurance mandatory for taking a mortgage loan, in Texas?

If you’re looking forward to owning a new home in Texas, then chances are you are aware of some of the requirements lenders may present prior to green-lighting any type of home loan. These requirements often include mandatory homeowners insurance. It’s something that some would see as an unnecessary expense, but it can be the one thing that stands between you and financial ruin in case something happens to your home.

Homeowners insurance is designed to protect both the homeowner and lender against financial loss from a variety of hazards that may have a negative impact on the home’s value. In most cases, a mortgage agreement will include a home insurance policy as a mandatory requirement to be met before your lender will fund a loan. The total coverage of the policy must be above the minimum amount needed to rebuild the home and the total amount of the mortgage. If the home is located in an area designated as a disaster zone or an area prone to floods, hurricanes or earthquakes, additional coverage that protects your home against these scenarios is also mandatory.

The reason for this is actually quite simple – as the house itself serves as collateral, the last thing the lender wants is to lose it to a fire, tornado or any other type of catastrophic event or action. With a home insurance policy in place, the lender will not be at a significant financial risk if the home is destroyed in a fire or washed away in a flood. The home can be rebuilt and the lender will retain its collateral.

As you look for a solid home insurance policy, it’s important to compare as many quotes as possible to find the most affordable policy available. Through our website, you can gather live comparative quotes online as well as collect additional information concerning your coverage options. If you’re looking to save money on your insurance policy, you may want to consider carrying a higher deductible in exchange for lower premium costs. For reference, some lenders limit the highest deductible to two percent of the home’s total value.

What if I Sell my Texas Property During the Insured Period?

Many times people sell their Texas home in the middle of the policy period. The insurance company simply refunds the pro rata share of the premium. Pro rata is the percentage of the year the building will not be owned. For example, if you own your home for the first three months of the policy year and then sell it, the insurance company will refund nine of twelve, or three-quarters of the premium.

Remember to secure insurance for your new place. Compare quotes online for your new home. Homeowners policies provide coverage for your property, and protect you for your liabilities. Even if you temporarily do not own property, you have liability potential.

Liability covers you if you damage someone else’s property or injure them in some way. Prudent people keep liability in force to cover unexpected events. So, before cancelling the homeowners for a three month to save money, consider all your insurance.

Consider your personal items too. Jewelry, guns, furniture, paintings and other artwork. Cancelling homeowners insurance during the policy term does not allow these items to be covered. Even locked in storage, these items have value.

So, before you cancel, consider the following:

  1. Will I need to maintain liability coverage?
  2. Do I have personal belongings that need coverage?

If your answer is yes to either question, secure these coverages first, then cancel the current coverage.

For typical home situations, go online and obtain quotes from our website for your new home. Have information available to describe the new property. Once the data is filled accurately, the computer will find a match between company and client.

For more complex property situations, consult your agent. They can guide you through various ways to cover special property. It’s always a good idea to take pictures of valuables such as jewelry, guns, furs, collectibles, or artwork. Keep these pictures offsite so you’ll have a reference in case of a loss. It’s a good idea to have any appraisals or invoices on record also. Be a wise insured individual.

What to Look for in Homeowner’s Insurance in My State

Depending on your state of residence, your homeowners insurance requirements may vary greatly. For example, if you live in a region that frequently sees hurricanes or tropical storms, your home will need to be covered by hurricane or windstorm insurance. This is usually an add-on to the standard policy, and it’s a requirement for a homeowner to have that if his or her home is financed. People who live in areas without tropical weather would not need that kind of coverage, but they may want coverage for a peril that they may contend with, such as a tornado, earthquake or landslide.

Anywhere a homeowner chooses to hang his or her hat can have bad weather. That’s something worthy of careful consideration when you’re building a home, buying one or planning to move to a new area of the country. Your insurance needs will change and you want a good agent to help you with the transition. Assumption is a dangerous thing when it comes to getting a policy to protect your house, so always ask questions about the coverage you’re being offered. You may want to raise or lower insurance limits based on your level of risk, the cost of the homeowner policy and other factors.

Each state sets its own rules when it comes to insuring property. Some states are more stringent in their guidelines and others are far more relaxed. Insurance companies that want to do business in that state have to comply with those guidelines or they cannot sell policies there. Because some insurers charge higher rates for what they offer, it’s worth getting quotes for homeowner insurance from several companies. That can really help you locate good coverage at a good price, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your home is financially well-protected from any dangers that might occur.

Don’t Forget the Insurance Broker

The economy continues to struggle. And, if you’re like most people, you’re doing everything you can to save money. What’s amazing, though, is that while people will cut out their fast-food lunches and brew their own coffee in the morning, many don’t give a second thought to the homeowners or car insurance premiums that they pay.

And, in the long run, these insurance premiums cost a lot more than a fast-food burger.

The key to finding the lowest inurance rates is to work with a broker. An insurance broker will search the policies of auto, homeowners and health insurance companies across the country to find you the lowest possible rate. And, this broker saves you time, too. You won’t have to hunt for lower rates yourself, a task that, even with the help of the Internet, can be time-consuming and frustrating. Your broker will do it for you.

Best of all, your broker will take the time to get to know you. And, armed with this information, your broker will be better prepared to find you the lowest possible rates on everything from life insurance policies to car coverage.

Here’s how it works. Your broker will discuss with you your driving record. He’ll determine how many miles on average you drive your car each week. He’ll jot down whether you have an alarm system on your vehicle or whether you park it each night in a garage that comes with its own security. All of these factors have an impact on the car insurance rates you’ll pay. And, your broker will search until he finds the rates that are the lowest for a driver with your specifics.

It works the same with property or homeowners insurance. Do you have a security system installed in your home? Do you live in a low-crime zip code? If so, your broker will use this information while hunting for the lowest homeowners rates for you.

Don’t make the mistake of wading through insurance policies on your own. Rely on the help of a seasoned insurance broker. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

Temporarily Lower Your Insurance Costs

In the current economy, many people are looking for ways to temporarily lower insurance costs. When you have to make a choice between making the house or car payment and paying for insurance, you may have a difficult decision. Instead of letting your coverage lapse, look for ways to lower the cost and still retain insurance protection.

First, the easiest way to reduce your insurance cost is to raise your deductible. When you first purchased your protection, you may have asked for low deductibles to reduce the out-of-pocket expense when you are involved in an accident or a disaster strikes. By raising the deductible, your premium will be cheaper while you retain the same amount of coverage.

Another way to lower the cost is to combine policies with the same company. When you bundle your protection with the same insurance provider, they will probably offer a multiple policy discount. If you already have homeowners insurance, auto insurance and life insurance, save money by combining these policies.

A third way to temporarily lower the cost of insurance is to shop around for a new provider. Even if you have been with the same company for a long time, you may be able to find a cheaper rate. Insurance companies are in competition with each other and they may offer different incentives. Take a few minutes to compare quotes and you may be surprised by how much money you can save.

Finally, make sure you make your payments on time. This will not only save you money on late fees, but having good credit will also get you lower insurance premiums. Don’t cancel your insurance all together; just find a way to lower the cost until you are financially stable once again.

Questions to Ask an Insurance Agent in My State

Insurance rules and rates vary from state to state and carrier to carrier. Rating factors that affect your auto insurance rate include age, car make and model, gender, marital status and driving record. You will want to ask your insurance agent questions about how dramatically these factors affect your final quote. Keep in mind the variability of the factors can also reduce the cost of your auto insurance, so be sure to ask your insurance agent about any discounts that you may be eligible for.

In terms of homeowners insurance, factors that would affect the cost include age, marital status, condition of the home, location of the home, insurance history and the age of the home. Younger people tend to receive higher rates on average because they are deemed less responsible by the insurance agent. However, married people (no matter what age) are usually treated as more responsible and thus given discounts.

If you have a certain record that you are concerned with — say several accidents in your driving history — you will want to focus your questions around this factor, in particular. Your insurance agent may be lenient about the poor record, but he or she may also be incredibly unforgiving and increase the quote dramatically for this factor alone. Even if your record is clean at the time, you will want to ask questions about how the insurance cost would change if you had been in an accident. Cover as many scenarios as possible with your questions so your insurance agent can give you a good idea of the future of the plan. This will help you avoid a situation where you may be stuck in the plan and paying higher rates than necessary.

How to Shop for Cheaper Insurance Rates in Your State

If you’re like most consumers today, you’re looking to save money however you can. After all, housing prices are falling, unemployment remains at 9 percent and gas prices are near $4 a gallon again. This is no time to spend unwisely.

One of the best ways to cut your monthly expenses is to reduce the amount of money you pay for life, auto and homeowners insurance. Fortunately, with just a bit of online shopping, you can easily find lower insurance rates in your state.

Shopping for cheaper insurance used to be a hassle. You’d have to spend an entire day calling insurance agents in your market, asking for quotes. With every phone call you made, you’d have to supply crucial personal information, everything from your age to your driving record to your zip code.

Today, this has changed. No matter in what state you live, you can quickly compare insurance prices online through the many Web-based quote services. Simply log onto these sites, enter your important information and click "enter." Before you know it, several insurance quotes will be heading your way. Best of all, you can do this online shopping for all forms of insurance, including property, car and life.

Thanks to the ease of online shopping, there is now no reason for you to not to search for cheaper insurance. In fact, it’s recommended that you run these online searches at least once every six months. You never know when a cheaper quote will come up. And, the savings you find from online shopping can be quite significant. Consider the difference a savings of $100 or more every three months could make on your personal finances.

Not shopping for cheaper insurance today is a foolish move. So, turn on your computer and start the hunt. Who knows how much you can save?