817-485-5050 info@schwabagency.com

Article Archives

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.

man signing paperwork on his car

What to know about your insurance when your car is repossessed.

If your car has been repossessed, you probably have a lot of questions.  One of the things that you may be worrying about is your auto insurance.  For instance, you might wonder if your coverage is still valid and, if so, whether you need to keep your policy.  You might also wonder how having your car repossessed will affect your auto insurance rates in the future.  Here is what you need to know about your car coverage and having your car repossessed.

  • Your Insurance Requirements

Typically, cars are repossessed when you fail to make a scheduled payment to your lender.  If your car has been repossessed by the lender, then your auto insurance policy remains active (unless you have also forgotten to pay your premiums).  While you can choose to cancel your auto policy at the time of repossession, it’s in your best interest to maintain your coverage.  This is because, if you no longer have the car covered on your policy, then your auto lender will apply their own coverage and make you pay for it .  Because your lender’s coverage will likely be more expensive than your own, it’s cheaper to keep your auto policy until the vehicle is sold.

  • Check with Your Insurer

It is important to note that different lenders will have different insurance requirements during the repossession process.  For instance, some lenders will automatically add a repossessed vehicle to their insurance, even if you still have coverage on the car.  In this case, keeping your policy is redundant and will force you to spend unnecessary money.  So, speak to your lender and learn about their repossession protocol before making decisions on your auto insurance.

  • Repossession and Future Insurance

Repossession is a financial issue, not an insurance issue.  Naturally, most drivers assume that repossession will not cause rate increases or make it harder to secure affordable insurance in the future.  Unfortunately, they are mistaken.  While it’s true that the act of repossession does not affect your insurance company, it will devastate your credit score.  Because many auto insurers consider an applicant’s credit score when setting their rates, having a bad credit score will mean higher insurance costs.

This is what you need to know about your auto insurance on a repossessed vehicle.  Do you have additional questions regarding your auto insurance?  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.

woman on her smartphone

Here’s what you should do to stay safe when using public Wi-Fi.

In today’s day and age, most people do not think twice about connecting to the public Wi-Fi networks offered by local businesses and retail centers.  However, it’s important to remember that connecting to these networks can expose you to certain risks.  To protect yourself and your sensitive data, here are some of the safety suggestions that you should employ.

  • Do Not Allow Automatic Connections on Your Devices

Rather than allowing your laptop, tablet, or smartphone to connect to any open network, you should set your devices so they only connect to the networks that you approve.  This way, you do not have to worry about automatically connecting to a dangerous or unknown network.

  • Moderate Your Actions

When you are using public Wi-Fi networks, scrolling through social media and watching YouTube videos is pretty safe.  However, you should not do more intensive things like insert payment information, access password-protected accounts, or do anything that involves your sensitive data.  These online activities should be saved for when you are at home and can use your own private, protected network.

  • Use Secure Connections

Another way to stay safe while on public Wi-Fi networks is by only browsing sites that have an “https” URL.  Https sites are encrypted while the normal http ones are not.  Https sites offer an extra layer of security that protects your data and keeps your online activity hidden from hackers and criminals.

These are some of the things that you should do to protect yourself while using public Wi-Fi networks.  Are you looking for another way to protect yourself?  Then make sure you have the right personal insurance in place.  For assistance with all your coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

school supplies on a desk

Try out these yummy school lunches this year.

Now that school is about to start, it’s time to start thinking about packing your kids’ lunches.  While you do not want to spend all day preparing lunch for your kids, you also don’t want to settle for the same boring sandwich every day.  If you want an easy way to keep school lunches interesting, then try out these tasty ideas.

Chicken Avocado Roll-Ups

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1 bell peppers, seeds and cores removed, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 4 large flour tortillas

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine avocado and lime juice and mash until only small chunks of avocado remain. Add chicken, bell pepper, red onion, Monterey Jack, cheddar, sour cream, and chives and stir until evenly combined.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the chicken avocado mixture onto a large tortilla, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the tortilla up tightly, then cut off the edges and slice into 1-inch rolls. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

(for the salad)

  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

(for the dressing)

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. oregano

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine quinoa, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, avocado, feta, and parsley.
  2. Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, and garlic. Season with salt, red pepper flakes and oregano and whisk until combined.
  3. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss until salad is coated in dressing. Garnish with more parsley and serve.

Try out these delicious and easy lunch ideas this school year.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this academic year?  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.

woman putting sunscreen on her shoulder

Try out these ideas to beat the heat this summer.

Now that summer is here, temperatures are on the rise.  This means it’s time to find ways to escape the heat.  Here are some of the things that you should do to stay cool this summer.

  • Schedule Outdoor Activities Wisely

If you need to get outdoor work done, then try to schedule these activities during the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.  When out and about, take frequent breaks in the shade to ensure that you are not overworking yourself and becoming overheated.

  • Reduce Outdoor Exercise

While you might have enjoyed hiking, biking, and running outside during the cooler seasons, you should avoid these physical activities during the hot summer months.  This summer, move your outdoor exercises to an indoor gym or switch over to less strenuous activities such as swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and so on.

  • Wear Sunscreen

Anytime you are outside, you should protect your exposed skin with sunscreen.  Not only will sunscreen prevent painful sunburns, but it can also help you stay cooler.  This is because sunburn affects your body’s ability to regulate your internal temperature, which increases your chances of overheating.  So, wear sunscreen with a high SPF and make sure you reapply regularly to help you stay cool and sunburn free.

These are some of the tips that you should try to stay cool this summer.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this summer?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

picnic setup

Get romantic this summer!

Want a great way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather with someone special?  Then try taking your date nights outdoors.  Here are some of the cute ways that you can celebrate summer with your significant other.

  • Picnic

July is actually National Picnic Month!  Obviously, the best way to celebrate this month is by packing up some of your favorite portable foods and drinks and heading out to a nearby park or another outdoor venue.  This casual spin on eating out is a great way to enjoy the weather and spend time with your loved one.

  • Fruit Picking

Many fruits, such as berries and melons, reach their peak during the summer months.  If you are looking for a sweet date idea, then look for farms in your area that allow guests to pick their own fruits.  Once you and your significant other have picked the freshest and most delicious fruits available, you can go the extra mile by heading home and cooking up something tasty.

  • Watch the Sunset

As your date winds down, head outside where you and your loved one can sit and watch the sunset.  Because summer offers clear skies and warmer evening temperatures, you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the setting sun in total comfort.

Try out these sweet outdoor date ideas this summer.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this summer?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

doctor typing

Try out these suggestions to prepare for your life insurance medical exam.

When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company may require you to undergo a medical examination.  While these exams are very relaxed and not something to worry about, there are some things that you should do to prepare.  Here are some of the things that you can do to get ready.

Medical Exam Preparations

  • Fast for 4-8 hours before the exam to ensure the most accurate readings.
  • Limit your salt intake and refrain from eating fatty, high-cholesterol foods 24-hours prior to the exam.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least 24-hours before the exam as alcohol consumption can increase the amount of fat in blood and liver functions.
  • Limit caffeine and nicotine in the 24-hours leading up the exam as they can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Drink a glass of water one hour before the exam.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the exam.

Questionnaire Preparations

  • Have a photo ID ready at the time of the exam.
  • Be prepared with all the names and dosages of your current medications.
  • Be ready to explain if you have a history of problems associated with giving a blood sample.
  • Prepare the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any doctors and clinics you have visited in the last five years.
  • Be ready to report your regular physical activity levels.
  • Be ready to report if you take aspirin or vitamins on a daily basis.
  • Be ready to report medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, urinary specimen problems, heart conditions, and so on.

These are some of the things that you can do to prepare for your life insurance medical exam.  Do you have additional questions regarding your life insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for assistance today.

bright sun

Take these precautions to protect yourself from the summer heat.

As temperatures increase, so does your risk for serious heat-related illnesses.  If you are not careful, then these illnesses can lead to serious medical complications and even death.  To protect yourself and your loved ones this season, make sure that you these precautions.

Watch Out for Signs of Heat-Related Illness

It’s important that you know the early warning signs of heat-related illnesses.  This way, you can identify potential issues before they become serious and potentially life-threatening.  Common signs to look out for include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Fast pulse
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Tiredness and/or weakness
  • Muscle cramps

Wear Light Clothing

When outside, you should wear lightweight, breathable, and loose-fitting clothing.  These types of clothes will ensure that you are not trapping heat close to your body and will keep cooler air circulating past your skin.  While it might seem counter-intuitive, you should also wear long-sleeved shirts and full-length pants if you are going to be out in the sun for an extended period of time.  Covering up will reduce sun exposure and protect your skin from burning.

Drink Lots of Fluids

When you are hot, your body produces sweat as a way to cool itself back down.  However, sweating quickly depletes your body’s water supply, leaving you dehydrated.  This is why it’s so important to drink plenty of fluids while you are out and about.  Please note that sugary, alcoholic, and caffeinated drinks will actually leave you more dehydrated than before.  So, it’s best to stick to plain water this season.

These are some of the precautions that you should take to prevent heat-related illnesses this summer.  Are you looking for assistance with your insurance this summer?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

laptop and smartphone protected by padlock

Poor cyber security can cost your business dearly.

As a small business owner, you are responsible for protecting the sensitive information of your customers and your business.  Failing to employ adequate cyber security measures can cost your company dearly.  Here’s what a cyber attack on your business can cost you and what you can do to upgrade your cyber security measures.

The Cost of Cyber Attack

It’s important for business owners to understand just how badly a cyber attack or data breach will affect their company and their customers.  For starters, your business would be responsible for covering all the costs associated with the breach.  This includes the following:

  • Cost of notifying clients
  • Cost of restoring identities of affected parties
  • Cost of recovering compromised data
  • Cost of damaged computer systems
  • Cost of ongoing credit monitoring of affected parties
  • Cost of lawsuits

In addition to these monetary losses, businesses who are hit with a data breach also face reputational harm and the loss of client trust.  This can make it difficult for a business to retain customers, attract new clients, secure future contracts, and so on.  In some cases, the damage caused by the data breach is so severe that the business never recovers and is forced to close its doors.

Preventing Cyber Attacks

There are many things that your company can do to mitigate its risk for a cyber attack.  For instance, here are some of the steps that you can take.

  • Make Backup Copies of Important Information

You should regularly back up your company’s computers to ensure that there is a secure copy of important word documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files.  Schedule automatic backups at least once a week, so you do not forget to take care of this important security step.

  • Conceal Your Wi-Fi Networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your business, then make sure that it is secure, encrypted, and concealed.  To hide your network, set up wireless access points and routers so that they do not showcase the network’s name, or SSID.  Secure your router with a password so only approved parties can access it.

  • Set Up Strict Password and Authentication Protocols

Employees should be required to update their password settings every three months.  Additionally, you should set up multi-factor authentication procedures to ensure that hackers and criminals cannot gain entry to your system with a stolen password alone.

These are the costs of a cyber attack and what you can do to upgrade your cyber security protocols.  Want another way to protect your business against online risks?  Then make sure you have the right commercial insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your business insurance needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.