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Home Insurance

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.

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.

"claims" spelled out in wood blocks

Here’s how home insurers will pay out claims.

After filing a claim with your home insurance provider, you may be anxious about receiving your payment.  To help you know what to expect, here are some of the essential things to know about claim payments.

The first thing that homeowners should understand is that they control how quickly their claims will be paid out.  This is because your claims adjuster requires you to complete certain steps before they can review your claim and issue payment.  So, if you want to receive payment in a timely manner, you should make sure that you have provided all the necessary information and filled out all the important paperwork.  You should also check in with your adjuster frequently, so you know if they need any more information to move forward with processing.

Once your home insurer has processed your claim, they will decide who to issue a check to.  An insurance check can be made out to the owner of the home or a named insured on the insurance policy.  In some cases, your insurer will write a check to your mortgage company.  If this happens to you, will need to work with your mortgage lender in order to cash the check.  Your insurer can also write a check directly the contractor you have hired to take care of home repairs.  Finally, if the claim was for third-party property damage or injuries, then your insurer might make the check out to the affected party.

When you file a claim, then there are some instances in which your insurance payout will come as multiple checks.  This will depend on your insurer’s claim policies, the type of claim filed, and the information that you provided while filing the claim.  Because every insurer will have their own rules, make sure to speak to your agent, so you know what to expect.

These are some of the important things that you should know about home insurance and claim payments.  Do you have further questions regarding your homeowners coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas for assistance today.

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.

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.

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.

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.