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woman reviewing insurance policies

What to look for when reviewing your insurance.

The end of the year is a great time to review and update your various insurance policies.  Updating your coverage now ensures that you are ready for whatever the new year throws your way.  Ready to conduct an insurance review but not sure what you should look for?  Here are some of the important things to look at when looking over your personal insurance policies.

  • If You Can Increase Your Deductibles

By now, you probably know that your insurance deductibles and your premiums have an inverse relationship.  This means that the higher your deductibles, the lower your premiums will be.  Policyholders are encouraged to assume a higher deductible as a means of saving money on their coverage.  So, during your review, look at your deductibles and decide if you can afford to raise them.  Keep in mind that you should never raise your deductibles to an amount that’s higher than you can comfortably afford, as this could prevent you from accessing your insurance when you need it the most.

  • If Life Changes are Reflected in Your Policies

Another reason to conduct a year-end review is to ensure that all your insurance policies are updated and accurately reflect your circumstances.  If you moved, got a new car, had a child, or made any other major life change, then it’s important to make sure that your policies reflect these changes.  Keep in mind that if your insurance provider does not have accurate information, then they can refuse to renew your policy and can even refuse to cover a claim.

  • If All Discounts are Applied

Finally, you should conduct a year-end insurance review to check to make sure you are getting all the discounts and reduced rates that you qualify for.  Changes in your circumstances often mean that you now qualify for discounts that you did not qualify for previously.  Make sure that all your discounts are applied to your policy to save a significant amount of money during the coming year.

These are some of the important things to look at when reviewing your insurance.  Do you need help managing your insurance review?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your personal insurance needs today.

security cameras

Weigh your home security system options.

If you want to protect your home, possessions, and loved ones, then investing in a home security system is a smart idea.  However, before you settle for a system, it’s important that you consider its various features and capabilities.  Here’s what you should think about when choosing a home security system.

  • What type of monitoring capabilities does the system offer?

When a security company offers monitoring services, it means that your home system will automatically alert the proper authorities if it senses an emergency event (usually a break-in or fire).  Some wireless systems give you the option to pay for professional monitoring services.  The homeowner can typically opt for constant monitoring, or choose to pay for monitoring during a set period of time (such as while they are away on vacation).  Homeowners that opt-out of monitoring will have to call the authorities themselves when their system alerts them to a disturbance.  Professional security systems almost always require the homeowner to pay for monitoring.  This service is part of the contract that the homeowner must sign when having the system installed.

  • Do I want security cameras?

Many homeowners like the idea of installing security cameras, so they can keep an eye on their home while they are away.  While security cameras won’t necessarily prevent a break-in, they can give you advance warning.  Additionally, the footage from the cameras will also help you identify the suspects.  If you decide that this is a feature that you want, then focus on the security companies that offer systems with cameras.  During installation, make sure to place a camera by your front and back doors and in high-traffic areas such as your living room and the master bedroom.

  • Do I need motion detectors?

Homeowners need to decide if they want a system that comes equipped with motion detectors.  If you have pets or small children running around your home, then motion detector systems will create false alarms and will be more annoying than helpful.  However, if you want to invest in this additional security measure, then try to imagine the path a burglar would take as they walk through your home and install the detectors along this course.

These are some of the things to consider before choosing a home security system.  Want another way to protect your home, belongings, and loved ones?  Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

flatbread pizza

Try out this fresh twist on a classic pizza.

October is National Pizza Month!  In honor of this month, you should serve up a tasty pizza dinner that your whole family will love.  Want to experiment and try out something more adventurous than the classic pepperoni and cheese?  Then whip up this interesting flatbread pie.

Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients:

(for the flatbread crust)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • vegetable oil, for pan

(pizza toppings)

  • 12 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ small red onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. freshly chopped oregano
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. mozzarella, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
  • balsamic glaze, for serving
  • 2 cups arugula

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add yogurt and oil and mix until no dry spots remain.
  2. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Transfer dough to surface and knead until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is sticky.
  3. Divide dough into 3 pieces, then roll each piece into a ¼-inch thick round. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. Cook flatbreads until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Continue cooking flatbreads, adding more vegetable oil as needed.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, red onion, oil, and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Top each flatbread with cheese, tomato-onion mixture and bake until cheese is melty, 15 minutes.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with arugula before serving.

This pizza will impress all your loved ones this October.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this month?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

smartphone apps

Try out these suggestions to spend less time on social media.

For many people, simply checking the time on their phones can quickly turn into hours wasted on various social media apps.  If you are sick of spending so much time on social media, then here are some of the suggestions that you should try to limit your use.

  • Schedule Limits

Most smartphones now have apps or features that allow you to track the amount of time that you spend on various apps.  For instance, iPhones running iOS12 or later can access a feature called Screen Time.  Screen Time tracks how many hours you spend on certain apps and allows you to schedule “Downtime.”  Downtime places time limits on apps and alerts you when you have reached said limit.  Using this feature can prevent you from wasting hours at a time on social media apps.

  • Put Your Phone Away at Night

Many people use their phones as their alarm clocks.  This offers the perfect excuse to keep your phone within easy reach of your bed.  Unfortunately, this also makes it easy to spend hours at bedtime just mindlessly scrolling through your feed.  To eliminate this temptation, invest in a real alarm clock and store your phone out-of-sight when it’s time for bed.

  • Delete Social Media Apps

One of the best ways to curb your social media use is by deleting social media apps from your phone.  While you can still access various platforms through your web browser, they will be less easily accessible.  Because most users are not motivated to put in the extra effort, this automatically reduces their social media use.

These are some of the tips that you should try to limit your social media use.  Want another way to use your time more effectively?  Then turn to the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas, for all your insurance needs.  Our dedicated team is ready to offer you the easy, efficient insurance experience that you deserve.

elderly couple looking at their life insurance policy

What to look for in life insurance policies.

If it’s time to secure life insurance, then you may not know what you are looking for.  While your coverage needs should always take top priority, there are other features that you can benefit from having as well.  Here are some of the features you should look for in your life insurance policy.

  • Immediate Death Benefit Payout

Some companies offer a type of life insurance categorized as “simplified issue.”  Many people are attracted to this kind of life insurance because there are few questions on the application, and a medical examination is not required.  However, these plans will not pay out a full death benefit until after a two-to-three-year waiting period.  Obviously, this will cause financial problems for your loved ones you die immediately after securing the policy.  So, when choosing a policy, avoid simplified issue coverage and look for coverage that will start right away.

  • Automatic Payments

It’s a good idea to secure life insurance from a company that will set up automatic premium payments.  This way, you never risk paying your premiums late or forgetting to make a payment altogether.  When your premiums payments are automatically taken care of, you can maintain coverage and take extra responsibility off your plate.

  • Ability to Convert Your Policy

If you decide on a term life policy, make sure that you have the ability to convert your policy to a permanent one.  This way, you have the ability to secure lifelong life insurance coverage, without having to cancel your existing term life policy and wade through the insurance market all over again.

These are some of the things that you should look for when shopping for life insurance.  Are you looking for assistance with your life insurance needs?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

family house hunting

Tips for selling your home this month.

If you want to sell your home, then you might be worried about putting your home on the market in October.  This is because numbers show that October is one of the worst months for the housing market.  However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have success.  Here are some of the things you can do to sell your home this October.

  • Take Care of Your Yard

Many sellers are so concerned about the interior of their home that they overlook their outdoor spaces.  However, the appearance of your front and back yards has a significant impact on how buyers view your property.  By raking up leaves, trimming bushes and trees, and keeping your lawn lush and green, you can improve the impression that your home makes on visitors.

  • Keep Things Warm and Bright

Because the housing market slows down in October, it’s important that your home is in tip-top shape.  This will appeal to house hunters and help your home stand out from the competition.  Make sure that your home’s heating and cooling systems are operating efficiently and make sure that all your home’s lights are functioning properly.  When your home is at a comfortable temperature and brightly lit, it will leave a much better impression on visitors doing a walk-through of your property.

  • Have Your Home Staged

Real estate experts have found that staged homes sell faster than non-staged or empty properties.  When the home is well-furnished and decorated, potential buyers are not distracted by ugly décor or design decisions that they do not agree with.  Keeping furnishings and decorations neutral, elegant, and inviting is a great way to make your home look more appealing to visitors.

These are some of the things that you can do to successfully sell your home this October.  Whether you are buying or selling, you need the right homeowners insurance to protect you.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

man completing insurance claim form

Protect your home from common claims events.

As a homeowner, the last thing you want to deal with is an unnecessary insurance claim.  Fortunately, you can take certain steps to prevent some of the most common claim events.  Here’s what you can do to avoid these home insurance claims.

  • Burglary and Vandalism

A home burglary takes place approximately every 20 seconds in the U.S.  To make matters worse, the police solve only 13% of these burglaries, meaning that most homeowners never recover their stolen goods.  Most burglaries take place in homes that do not have safety features such as surveillance cameras, intruder alarms, and security systems.  So, to ensure that your home doesn’t become an easy target, invest in these home security features.  While these safety upgrades do come with a price tag, this expense is offset by the home insurance savings you will enjoy as a result of this investment.  Another way to protect your home from burglars is by making sure that you secure all windows, doors, and other points of entry before leaving your home.

  • Fire

Home fires are one of the most common and devastating damage events that a homeowner can face.  In homes, cooking equipment is the leading cause of fire.  However, fires can also break out due to faulty lighting fixtures, malfunctioning appliances, overheated electronics, and so on.  To minimize fire damages, homeowners need to install smoke detectors in every room of their home.  Additionally, you should also keep a fire extinguisher on every floor of your home and, most importantly, in your kitchen.  This ensures that you can quickly put out a fire before it becomes serious.

These are some of the steps that you can take to avoid some of the most common types of home insurance claims.  Do you have more questions about your home insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

jar of coins labelled life insurance

Why people procrastinate on their life insurance.

Many Americans put off getting life insurance as long as possible.  But why do they procrastinate on this essential coverage?  Here are some of the most common excuses that people make for putting off life insurance and why procrastinating is a bad idea.

  • They are Overwhelmed by the Options

When it comes to life insurance, the market is saturated with so many options that it can be intimidating to jump in and make a decision.  When faced with all their life insurance policy options, many people start to feel overwhelmed and simply put off the process of researching and securing coverage.  While it’s true that there is a wide variety of life insurance options to choose from, it’s important to remember that having a lot of options is actually a good thing.  The more options out there, the better your chances of finding a policy that meets your needs and your budget.  Narrowing down your policy selections is also pretty easy.  Working with an experienced life insurance provider will help you understand your various policy options and help you make an informed coverage decision.

  • They Think It’s Too Expensive

If money is tight, then the idea of purchasing life insurance may not seem like a priority.  However, stop for a moment and imagine what would happen if your loved ones were to lose your income.  If you were to pass away suddenly, and your family had no financial safety net, then things could be disastrous.  This is why it’s so important that you put aside money to pay more life insurance.  There are many affordable life insurance policy options that can work with even the tightest budgets.  So, make sure that you start shopping for your life insurance policy to ensure that your loved ones don’t face financial ruin.

  • They Have Pre-Existing Conditions

Many people do not look into life insurance because they have pre-existing conditions and assume that their coverage will be too expensive.  While pre-existing conditions do affect your rates, having a medical problem does not necessarily mean that life insurance is unaffordable.  When calculating rates for a person with a pre-existing condition, life insurance providers look at how the individual treats their condition.  If you are taking steps to manage your health issues, such as living a healthy lifestyle and taking preventative measures, then your insurer will factor this into your premiums.  The better you take care of yourself, the lower your rates will be.  So, don’t automatically assume that having a pre-existing condition makes life insurance impossible for you.

These are some of the common reasons why people put off getting life insurance.  Do you need help securing the right life insurance coverage for you?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

close up of man vaping

Why e-cigarette usage means higher life insurance costs for you.

When you apply for life insurance, there are many factors that will influence your rates.  For instance, life insurers will take your habits into account when calculating your premiums.  This means something like e-cigarette usage will affect the cost of your coverage.  Here’s why vaping raises your life insurance rates.

  • How do e-cigarettes affect your body?

Vaping is generally considered less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes.  However, this does not mean that e-cigarettes are safe.  Any time you inhale chemicals into your lungs, you are putting your health at risk.  For instance, vaping can have a negative effect on your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.  To make matters worse, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which means that they have an addictive quality that makes it difficult to stop using them. While there is a current lack of scientific evidence regarding the long-term health effects of vaping, medical professionals and insurance providers alike consider e-cigarette usage a health hazard.

  • How does e-cigarette use affect your life insurance cost?

Individuals who smoke traditional cigarettes typically have life insurance rates that are 2 to 5 times higher than non-smokers.  Because there is a lack of research regarding the impact of vaping on your health, most insurance companies lump e-cigarette users in the same risk classification as normal smokers.  As a result, e-cigarette users typically experience the same life insurance rates as traditional smokers.  While many users argue that this classification is unfair and that they are using e-cigarettes to curb their use of regular cigarettes, it is important to remember that any type of smoke inhalation is damaging to the body.  While e-cigarettes may be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, they still can still contain over 6,000 potentially hazardous chemicals.  Naturally, life insurance providers are aware of the dangers associated with vaping, and they factor in this risk when calculating your coverage costs.

This is what you need to know about e-cigarette usage and your life insurance rates.  Do you have additional questions regarding your life insurance coverage or costs?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your insurance needs today.

police car with lights on, the effect of crime rate on auto insurance

Why your area’s crime rate affects your auto insurance rates.

When insurance providers calculate your auto rates, they will take several factors into account.  Some of these factors are considered “non-driving” factors, meaning they are not related to your vehicle or driving record.  Non-driving factors include things like your gender, marital status, and the crime rate in your area.  But why does something like crime rate impact your car insurance?  Here’s what you need to know.

Crime Rate by Zip Code

Car insurance providers use your zip code to check up on the crime rate in your area.  This is why they ask you to provide your zip code on your auto insurance quote request form.  Insurers are looking for specific, car-related crimes such as the following:

  • Vandalism
  • Break-in
  • Car theft
  • Accident rates
  • Fender benders
  • Hit and runs

How Crime Rates Affect Your Insurance

Auto insurers calculate your rates based on how likely they think you are to file a claim.  The more likely they think you are, the higher your rates will be.  When you live in an area with high crime rates, auto insurers automatically assume that you are at greater risk for having your car vandalized, stolen, damaged in a hit-and-run, and so on.  Because you would file an insurance claim for these issues, auto insurers look to protect themselves by raising your rates.

On the fortunate side, if you live in an area with lower crime rates, then you will have access to lower auto insurance rates.  This is because the insurer assumes that you are at lower risk for experiencing a claim-related event.

This is why your area’s crime rate affects the cost of your auto insurance.  Do you have additional questions about your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to assist you with all your car coverage needs today.