Monday, December 30, 2019

New Years Changes

Here's to a New Year!   

Well, 2019 is ending and 2020 is beginning. I have to say I am not sad to say goodbye to 2019. Here's to a wonderful 2020!

The start of a new year is a time to re-evaluate our closet, pantry, decor, vocation, relationships. It is a great time to look at our lives in general. I'm not big on New Year's resolutions. I have not been good at keeping them long. But I do think it is a good time to look are our homes and make some changes.  

If your family is anything like our family, you have packed away the Holiday decorations. Yet somehow the house doesn't look the same as it did before you put them up. That small time of unfamiliar is the perfect time to make some changes. You are already in the mood for new and different and you have created space in your home by removing the decorations. 

 #1 Did you get something new? Donate something old!

If you get a new robe, give away the old. How about a new blanket? Maybe you can give an old one to a shelter or a person in need. Even if they are a bit ratty, animal shelters can use old blankets and towels! Did you get new sneakers? Are the old ones still in decent condition? There are many people in need of decent shoes!

#2 Did you get gifts you don't want? You don't have to keep them.

I am a pack rat and I also worry that anyone who gives me a gift will want to see it used. But I have to admit that many gifts end up in a cabinet or closet somewhere. We had a rule, if we didn't use an item in the last year, it's time to give it away. But now I try to give away unwanted items as soon as I realize I will not use them. This helps me not have to do a massive clean up down the road. (Do you have one of those closets you cannot open?)

#3 When did you last clean out that medicine cabinet?

There may have been a time or two when I cleaned out our medicine cabinet and found medicine that was over 2 years old! If you are anything like me, you buy an over the counter medicine for temporary symptoms and then then shove it to the back because it's no longer used. It's unsafe to use medicine after it's expiration date.  Do you always check the date before you take the medicine? Does your spouse or your kids? I know it doesn't happen in our house. Try to go through and throw out the expired medicine once a year. 
Do the same for your refrigerator and your pantry. Expired food needs to go!

#4 Do you really need two of those?

I am also a gadget queen. I LOVE gadgets, especially kitchen gadgets. I also, forget that I have already bought things. This is a good time to go through your kitchen cabinets and give away things you haven't used at all in the last year (even if you just KNOW you might need it sometime). Also look for things you have more than one of. At one point I had 5 different sets of measuring spoons. Same measurements, just different spoons! I am a firm believer you cannot have too many bowls or too many spatulas. But if you don't have the space for multiples, I promise you can survive with only one of each!

#5 New year, new insurance?

Most insurance policies are 12 months long. But that does not mean they start at the beginning of the year. Since making changes are already on your mind, you may begin thinking of other things you can re-evaluate. You can reevaluate and make changes to your insurance policy any time. You don't have to wait for the renewal. Take a look at your policy. Look at things like contact information, housing value, coverage amounts. Sometimes the most obvious things (like changes to your contact information) are the very things we overlook. Things that may affect your coverage are adding a swimming pool, a trampoline or a new dog. It's a good idea to check in with your agent and discuss your policy.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Flood Insurance

Do You Need Flood Insurance?

The Basics

People often assume flood is covered by their home insurance policy. No home insurance policy covers flood damage.  Consumers are not required to carry flood insurance unless they are in a high risk Flood Zone. In that case, their home mortgage company (if they have one) will require a flood insurance policy. You should talk to your agent and make sure you know if you should have a flood policy or not, regardless of which zone you are in. 

   Your flood policy has a Dec page, just like every other insurance policy. It will “declare” who you are, what property you have covered, the insurance limits you have chosen and how much you are paying.

   Flood Insurance is written through the federal government under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program regardless of who you buy the policy from. There are various levels of coverage and deductibles to choose from. You will have a separate deductible for both the building and the contents. Unlike Home and Auto insurance, Flood insurance only covers You. There is no “other party” liability in a flood policy. Keep in mind- two properties, or two acres, have to be flooded for the event to be considered a flood. Your hot water heater overflowing and flooding your hallway is not covered by flood insurance.

Building Coverage: This covers physical damage to your home due to rising flood waters, and it covers the building and its foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, a/c equipment, furnaces, walls, flooring… etc. The amount of building coverage should be based on your dwelling/replacement cost amount on your home insurance policy. The flood cannot be higher than the home insurance amount and it usually caps at $250,000 for residential homes.

Contents Coverage: This covers physical damage to personal property such as clothing, furniture, electronics, certain valuable items, such as artwork (up to $2500). It will not cover currency or precious metals.

Deductibles: The Building and Contents coverage have a separate deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium, but the more you will pay out of pocket in the case of a claim. (Just like in Homeowners insurance)  

  That’s Flood coverage. It is a simpler Dec page than home and auto with fewer coverages to understand. But please make sure you do understand what it will and will not cover and how much coverage you need to have. 
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Motorcycle Insurance Basics

Insurance Basics- Motorcycle Insurance  

Have you tried to read your insurance policy and just given up? Even your motorcycle policy can be very confusing! Let me make it a little easier for you with the coverage basics.
Every policy (regardless of type) should have a Declarations Page, commonly referred to as the “Dec Page”. This page “declares” who you are, what property you have insured, your coverage choices and how much you are paying for this policy period.

Similar to Auto insurance, there are 2 types of coverage on your Motorcycle insurance policy; Coverage that protects the other party and coverage that protects you.


Bodily Injury Liability: This protects you from having to pay medical costs, lost income and funeral expenses of other people involved in an accident that is your fault.
Property Damage Liability: This protects you from paying for the repair or replacement of the other person’s property.

There is no deductible for liability coverage. You have many amount options for this coverage. The state minimum in Texas is $30,000/$60,000/$30,000. This means you are covered for $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident and $30,000 for property damage. I would suggest going with higher liability limits than the state minimum. If you cause an accident and the liability claim is 75,000, if you have state minimum coverage, you will pay the additional $15,000 out of pocket! It is not expensive to increase your liability limits. Ask your agent to explain your options.


Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury: This covers your injuries (or death) in case the responsible party has little or no insurance. It also covers anyone riding on your motorcycle.

Uninsured/Underinsured Damage: This covers damage to your motorcycle or property in case the responsible party has little or no insurance.  There is a state mandated $250 deductible in Texas for Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage.

Medical payments: This covers medical or funeral expenses if you or anyone on your motorcycle is injured in an accident.

Personal Injury payments: This covers medical or funeral expenses and possible lost wages if you or anyone riding on your motorcycle are injured in an accident.

Collision Coverage: This pays for damage to your motorcycle if you hit another car/motorcycle or something else (like a tree or a building).  You must pay a deductible. Deductible amounts determine the cost of this coverage. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

Comprehensive Coverage:  This pays for damage to your motorcycle if something other than a collision occurs. This could be fire, theft, hit by an animal (yes, the animal hit your motorcycle!) The same type of deductible rules apply to Comprehensive as they do to Collision. They are two different deductibles though. Comp coverage may also be listed as  Other than Collision.

Optional Coverages that protect your motorcycle:

            Towing: This pays for towing and some basic roadside assistance, depending on the carrier and towing option you choose.
            Trip Interruption: This pays for lodging, alternative transportation and food while the motorcycle is being repaired in the event of a breakdown or covered loss that is more than 100 miles from home.
            Rental Reimbursement: This pays for the cost of renting a car while yours is being repaired after an accident.
            Loan/Lease Gap Insurance: This pays the difference between what you owe and the total value of your motorcycle if it is totaled in a claim. 
            Accessory Coverage: This covers customer parts and equipment. You must have Collision and/or Comprehensive coverage as well.

While there are many factors in Motorcycle insurance, they do not have to overwhelm you. If you have any questions, please contact your agent. That is what they are there for. If they cannot answer your questions, please contact us. 

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