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home insurance paperwork and binder

Key things to know about your home insurance policy.

It is only in the wake of a major damage event that many homeowners find out how little they know about their homeowners insurance.  Obviously, this is a bad time to discover things like coverage exclusions and limits.  To ensure that you are not taken by surprise, it’s important to know a couple of things about your policy as soon as you receive it.  Here are some of the essential things to know about your home insurance at all times.

Basic Information

First things first, it’s important that you know all the basic information about your home insurance.  For instance, you should know who your insurance provider is and who to contact to file a claim.  You should also know where to access a copy of your policy so you can review the specifics of your coverage.

Coverage Limits

Your homeowners insurance likely comes with varying limits for different areas of coverage.  For instance, your policy probably places specific dollar limits on things like dwelling and personal property coverage.  Make sure you read through your policy and work with your insurance provider to determine if your coverage limits are high enough to address your risks.  If you need to increase your limits, then your insurer should be able to make these adjustments for a small premium increase.

Covered Perils

Many homeowners make the mistake of assuming that their homeowners insurance protects them from every threat that comes their way.  However, there are certain perils and damage events that will not be covered by your standard home insurance policy.  For instance, regular home insurance will specifically exclude coverage for floods, earthquakes, sewer backups, pest infestations, and issues related to a home business.  To ensure that you are not caught off guard by a coverage gap, make sure you read through your policy and speak to your home insurer to discover exactly what your policy will cover.  Keep in mind that there are various insurance endorsements and specialty policies that can fill your coverage gaps.

These are some of the things that you should know about your homeowners insurance at all times.  Need help reviewing your home policy?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for assistance today.

outside of an apartment building

Try out these suggestions to protect your apartment from thieves.

If you live in an apartment, then it’s likely that your home is in the middle of a high traffic area.  While your apartment building might be equipped with buzzers, ID-enabled entry systems, or doormen, you should not let this lure you into a false sense of security.  Because you are still at risk of having your apartment burglarized, you should take these steps to prevent a break-in.

  • Secure Your Apartment

While this seems obvious, 60% of all apartment robberies happen because the apartment owner has left their door or windows unlocked.  The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) recommends that you leave your apartment door locked even when you are inside the apartment.  You should also ask your landlord to install a deadbolt lock on your door for extra security.  Finally, be sure to keep windows closed and locked when you leave your apartment, especially if you live on the ground floor.

  • Protect Your Keys

When you first move into your apartment, request a lock change to ensure that the previous tenants cannot get back into the space.  You should also carefully monitor who you give spare keys to.  For instance, you should not give spare keys to anyone doing maintenance or renovation work on your apartment.  As a general rule, you should not let workers or other strangers into your apartment when you are not present.

  • Hide Valuables

Even with solid security measures in place, you cannot completely eliminate the threat of a break-in.  However, there are steps that you can take to ensure that burglars do not steal your most expensive or valuable belongings.  For instance, you should keep things like your checkbook, jewelry, portable electronics, and other valuables in hidden or discreet places.  This will reduce the chances of a thief grabbing these high-ticket items before running out.

These are some of the suggestions that you should try to keep your apartment safe from burglars.  Want another way to protect yourself and  your rental?  The make sure you secure the right renters insurance.  For assistance with all your insurance needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

two badly damaged cars after an accident

How to manage a total loss vehicle claim.

If you’ve gotten into an accident and your insurer has declared your car a total loss, you may not know what to do next.  To ensure that your claims process proceeds smoothly and quickly as possible, here are some of the steps that you should take.

  • Hand Over Your Car Title

Your car title is needed to process a total loss claim, so it’s important that you know where this document is.  If you cannot find your title, then file for a lost title at the DMV as soon as possible so you can officially begin the claims process.

  • Figure Out How Much Your Car is Worth

Do some research to get a general idea of how much your car is currently worth.  Use resources like Kelly Blue Book to see what they value your make and model at.  You should also look at similar vehicle listings in your area.  This research should give you a good idea of what your insurer will value your car at.

  • Find Out How Much You Owe Your Lender

If you have a loan tut on the vehicle, then check to see how much you still owe.  This will help you prepare in the event that your loan amount is higher than your car’s current value.  If your loan exceeds your car’s value, then your insurance settlement will go to your lender, and you will be responsible for paying the remaining loan amount on your own.

  • Finish Paperwork ASAP

Total loss claims require a lot of paperwork.  For instance, you and your insurer will have to come to a written agreement on the value of your car.  You will also have to sign ownership of the vehicle over to your insurer so they can process your claim and pay the settlement to you or your lender.  Prompt completion of this paperwork will help you put the ordeal behind you as soon as possible.

These are some of the steps that you should take to manage a total loss vehicle claim.  Are you looking for the right insurance to cover you if your car is declared a total loss?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

teen adjusting her rearview mirror

Here are some of the safe driving lessons you should pass onto your teen.

If you are teaching your teen how to drive, then you want to pass on the habits and skills that will make then the safest driver possible.  When it comes to driving safely, it’s important to go back to the basics.  Here are some of the safe driving lessons you should teach your teen.

Never Drink and Drive

While this goes without saying, your teen should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  You should also remind your child that it is their responsibility to never get into a car operated by someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.

Always Wear Your Seatbelt

When teaching your teen how to drive, you should emphasize the importance of always wearing their seatbelt, even for short trips.  Not only will their seatbelt save their life in an accident, but it will also ensure that they are not pulled over and issued a ticket.

Stay Vigilant

Many drivers, not just teens, become less vigilant as they get more comfortable behind the wheel.  However, failing to scan your area, use your mirrors, and check your blind spots could mean missing a serious driving hazard.  When teaching your teen how to drive, show them how to stay vigilant when they are changing lanes, turning, and even when stopped.

These are just a few of the safe driving lessons you should pass onto your teen.  Want another way to keep your kid safe behind the wheel?  The make sure you have the right auto insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your car coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

golden retriever chewing on toy

Is your dog covered under your home insurance?

While you know that your dog would never hurt a fly, home insurers don’t feel the same way.  In fact, there are several breeds of dog that are considered so dangerous that insurance providers will deny their owners coverage.  Even if an insurer doesn’t completely deny you coverage, they may offer you a limited policy that specifically excludes coverage for dog bite liability claims.  But why are some dogs deemed too risky to insure?  Here’s what you need to know.

Insurance providers will deem certain breeds risky based on the frequency and severity of their bites.  Frequency refers to how often bites occur from a specific breed of dog and severity denotes how serious the injuries stemming from a breed’s bite are.  Based on these factors, some of the dog breeds considered most risky include:

  • Akita
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherds
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Wolf Breeds

Please note that different home insurers will have their own list of breeds that they will not cover.

It is also important to understand that insurance companies use general data on a dog breed to determine risk.  While your dog may have never shown signs of aggression or been involved in a claim before, insurers are considering what could happen if your dog did bite someone else.  As the average cost of a dog bite claim hovers around $37,000, insurers simply do not want to take on the risk of covering certain breeds of dog.

This is why some insurers will refuse to cover certain breeds of dogs.  Are you looking for the right home insurance to protect your property and your pet’s liability?  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.

stressed man pinching the bridge of his nose

Try out these strategies to reduce your stress.

April is Stress Awareness Month.  A major goal of this month is to teach people different strategies to deal with their stress.  If you need help keeping your stress levels under control, then here are some of the suggestions that you should try.

  • Unplug from Social Media

While some sources of stress (such as work deadlines or issues within your personal relationships) are obvious, you may also be subjecting yourself to other forms of stress without even realizing it.  For instance, studies have suggested that spending a lot of time on social media can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and self-loathing.  To ensure that you are not adding more stress into your life, consider unplugging and taking more time away from the social media platforms.  Spending more time focused on your real-life relationships and experiences can help you eliminate a major source of stress from your life.

  • Find Healthy Outlets

While you can do your best to avoid needless sources of stress, it’s impossible to eliminate day-to-day stressors completely.  This is why it’s important to find outlets that you can channel your stress through.  For instance, many people find that vigorous exercise helps them burn off stress and feelings of anxiety.  Other healthy outlets include cooking, cleaning, writing, artistic endeavors, spending time with loved ones, and so on.

  • Talk Through Your Stress

Oftentimes, people attempt to run away from their stress or ignore it.  Unfortunately, this allows the stress to build up which naturally results in even more adverse effects on your mental, emotional, and even physical state.  Rather than pretending that your stress doesn’t exist, you should try talking about it with a loved one.  Acknowledging your stress will not only make you feel better, but it can also help you pinpoint the specific things that are stressing you out.  This can help you avoid these sources of stress in the future.

These are some of the suggestions that you should try to keep your stress levels under control.  Want another way to avoid stress?  Then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for the easy, stress-free insurance experience that you deserve.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

How Do Your Driving Habits Affect Your Auto Insurance?

Which driving habits affect my car coverage?

When your auto insurer determines your premiums, they will take various factors into account.  One of the things they will consider is your driving habits.  But how does our behavior behind the wheel affect your coverage costs?  Here’s what you need to know.

  • Driving Frequency and Distance

Two of the things that auto insurers will consider is how often you use your car and how far you tend to drive on average.  In general, the more often and the further you drive, the more expensive your auto insurance will be.  This is because the more you use your car, the higher your risk of getting into an auto accident.  On the plus side, if you don’t drive regularly, then your insurance rates will be on the lower side.

  • Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is a broad category that encompasses many bad driving behaviors.  For instance, if you have a documented history of speeding, DUIs, distracted driving (for instance, driving while using your cell phone), or other traffic violations then, you are considered a high-risk driver.  This risk will translate into higher insurance costs because insurers deem you more likely to get into an accident or receive another moving violation.

  • Accidents

Your insurer will also look into your driving record to see if you have a history of auto accidents.  If the accidents you have been involved in were minor and you were not at fault, then this likely won’t affect your insurance rates.  However, if you were involved in a major accident that resulted in serious property damage, injury, or even death, then this could indicate that you are a high-risk driver.  This, in turn, will raise your auto insurance rates.

These are some of the driving habits that will affect your auto insurance rates.  Do you have further questions regarding your car coverage?  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.

Protect Against Water Damage Caused by Household Appliances

Take these steps to stop your appliances from causing water damage.

While most homeowners associate water damage with stormy weather and flooding, most household water damage is actually caused by everyday appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters.  Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to prevent your appliance from causing damage to your property.  Here are some of the preventative measures that you should take around your home.

  • Check for leaks: Check the areas around your appliances for signs of leakage every four months or so. Undetected leaks are one of the worst culprits when it comes to household water damage.
  • Check supply hoses: You should also check the supply hoses leading to your appliances to ensure that their connections are water-tight and that they do not show signs of damage. Keep in mind that damage to these hoses may not be visible, so you should replace the supply hoses on your washing machine and dishwasher every five years.
  • Avoid running appliances unattended: You should only run your washing machine and dishwasher when someone is at home to monitor things. This way you can stop running your appliance at the first sign of a leak or other malfunction.
  • Read manuals: You should read the owner’s manual for your washing machine and dishwasher to ensure that you are using the right detergents and operating your appliances in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. This will reduce the chance of you accidentally damaging your appliances and suffering from water damage.
  • Flush your water heater: You should flush out your water heater once a year to remove built-up sediment and other debris. This will keep your home’s water heater functioning properly and will reduce the chances of water damage to your property.

Take these steps to prevent household appliances from causing water damage to your property.  Remember, having the right homeowners insurance in place is another way to protect your home, belongings, and loved ones.  For assistance with securing the right home insurance to meet your needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts

Learn more about this holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend!  If you are like more Americans, then you probably associate this holiday with green beer and corned beef and cabbage.  But have you ever been curious to learn more about this ubiquitous holiday?  Then here are some interesting St. Patrick’s Day facts to enjoy.

  • Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland. On March 17th, many banks, stores, and business will close throughout the country.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States took place in Boston, Massachusetts back in 1737.
  • While we associate St. Paddy’s Day with the color green, the holiday was originally associated with the color blue. The color changed to coincide with Ireland’s nickname, “The Emerald Isle.”
  • Each leaf on a four-leaf clover has a special meaning: hope, faith, love, and luck.
  • 1962 was when the city of Chicago began its St. Patrick’s Day tradition of dying their river green.
  • In the U.S., there are 34.7 million residents of Irish ancestry. This is more than 7 times the population of Ireland itself.
  • Patrick wasn’t actually Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to a wealthy Christian family.
  • Patrick was never officially canonized by a pope. This does make his saintly status slightly questionable.
  • The odds of finding a real four-leaf clover is about 1 in 10,000.
  • The most popular beverage on St. Patrick’s Day is (unsurprisingly) beer.

We hope you enjoy these St. Patrick’s Day fun facts this holiday weekend.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this March?  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.

Why You Should Get a Smart Home Security System

The benefits of installing a smart security system in your home.

While you already know that security systems are a great way to protect against break-ins and vandals, did you know that smart home security systems are capable of so much more?  Here’s what installing a smart security system in your home can do for you.

  • Control Your Home Remotely

Now, smart home security systems offer the ability to sync up with your home’s smart thermostats, automated door locks, lighting systems, and smart sensors and detectors.  This capability allows you to remotely control various home functions through your security system.  For instance, you could adjust your home’s temperature, lock your doors, switch on your lights, and monitor who is in and around your home even when you are off your property.

  • Save You Money

Investing in a smart home security system can actually end up saving you money in the long run.  For instance, your home insurer will likely offer you discounts for making your property safer.  Having a good security system installed will also increase the value of your home, making a solid return on investment when you decide to sell.  Finally, if your home does get broken into, then the footage from your security system can help law enforcement identify the burglars.  This will increase the chances of recovering stolen items and reducing your losses.

These are some of the reasons why you should invest in a smart security system for your home.  Want another way to keep your home safe?  Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.