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Home Insurance

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.

Can Home Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

Here’s what your homeowners insurance will cover when it comes to mold damage.

Unfortunately, mold growth is a common problem that many homeowners have to deal with.  Not only does mold cause damage to your home but it also creates an unsafe breathing environment for you and your loved ones.  Fortunately, your home insurance may offer some coverage for mold remediation and damages.  Here’s what your homeowners insurance will cover when it comes to mold.

  • Insurance Coverage for Mold

First things first, it’s important to remember that every home insurance policy is different.  To find out exactly what your policy covers, you need to review your policy and speak to your insurer.  That being said, most standard homeowners insurance policies will offer coverage for mold remediation and repair.

  • Coverage Exclusions

There are some caveats to this coverage.  To start, some policies will only offer coverage for mold damage if the mold is a result of a covered peril.  For instance, if your policy protects against broken pipes, then you would have coverage for the mold growth that results from a broken and leaky pipe.

It’s also important to note that your insurance will likely not offer coverage for the mold that develops as a result of your negligence.  Finally, your policy will not offer coverage for the mold that that was already in your home before you purchased your home insurance policy.

This is what your home insurance will cover when it comes to mold on your property.  Do you have more questions regarding your homeowners insurance?  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 Having the Right Renters Insurance is Important

Here is why renters insurance is an essential coverage.

As a renter, you know that your landlord is responsible for any physical damages to your rental space.  However, this does not mean that you are free to forgo insurance coverage completely.  You still need to secure coverage for your personal belongings and personal liability issues.  Additionally, if your rental is damaged and temporarily uninhabitable, you will also need coverage for your alternative living expenses.  This is where renters insurance comes into play.  Here’s what you need to know about this essential coverage.

What does renters insurance cover?

As previously mentioned, renters are not responsible for the physical structure of their rental property.  This is why renters insurance does not offer coverage for the physical damages that your property might sustain.  However, your renters insurance will offer coverage for your personal belongings and your personal liability.  For instance, if your couch was damaged due to a leaky pipe, then your renters insurance would offer coverage to repair or replace it.

Do I really need this type of insurance?

In some cases, your landlord may require you to carry renters insurance before allowing you to sign the lease agreement.  Even if your landlord does not require you to carry this coverage, you should still secure it.  Renters insurance is the best way to protect your belongings and ensures that you do not get into a costly legal battle.  Additionally, as one of the most affordable forms of insurance out there, you could get the protection you need for mere dollars a day.

This is why you need to secure the right renters insurance to meet your specific coverage needs.  Looking to secure renters insurance in Colleyville, Texas?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Learning About Scheduled Personal Property Insurance

Here’s how this special type of insurance can fill your personal property coverage gaps.

Your homeowners insurance policy offers you four main coverages: property coverage, personal liability coverage, loss of use coverage, and personal property coverage. When it comes to your personal property coverage, your policy is subject to certain limits. These limits can make it difficult for homeowners to secure adequate coverage for high-value items such as jewelry, antiques, fine art, and so on. Fortunately, you can secure the additional coverage you need with scheduled personal property insurance. Here’s what you need to know about this special type of coverage.

The Limits of Your Homeowners Insurance

As previously mentioned, the personal property insurance offered by your home policy is subject to certain limits. While you may have $10,000 in personal property coverage overall, your policy may place dollar limits on certain categories of items. For instance, you may have a $2,000 limit on electronics. If you were to file a claim for $3,000, your policy would only cover you up to $2,000, leaving you to cover the rest.

Scheduled Personal Property Insurance

Fortunately, adding scheduled personal property insurance to your homeowners insurance policy can help you address this coverage gap. This optional type of insurance allows you to list high-value items on your policy to receive extra coverage. Scheduled personal property insurance has three main benefits:

  • It increases your personal property coverage limits for the scheduled items.
  • It offers coverage for more perils than standard homeowners insurance.
  • It removes insurance deductibles if you file a claim for the scheduled items.

This is what scheduled personal property insurance can do for you. Are you interested in learning more about your personal property or homeowners insurance? If so, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas. Our dedicated team is eager to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

Preserving Your Home’s Exterior

Try out these suggestions to reduce wear and tear on your home’s exterior this winter.

During the winter, exposure to wet weather, freezing temperatures, and other harsh conditions can wreak havoc on your home’s exterior. While minor wear and tear might seem like a minor issue, it actually paves the way for more serious damages. This is why it’s so important to take these steps to protect your home’s exterior this winter.

Clean Out Your Gutters

When leaves, twigs, dust, and other debris accumulate in your home’s gutters, they can become clogged and prevent water from draining off your roof. This increases the chances of water seeping into tiny fissures in your roof and causing serious damage. Fortunately, preventing this damage is easy. All you need to do is clean out your gutters to ensure that water can easily drain away.

Trim Bushes and Trees

If you have bushes or trees surrounding your home, make sure to trim them this winter. This will prevent branches from scraping across your home’s exterior and causing damages. Make sure you leave enough space between your home and any vegetation for a person to walk through, and you can prevent this form of wear and tear.

Apply Fresh Paint

Applying a fresh coat of paint to your home’s exterior is a great way to boost its curb appeal while also adding a layer of protection. Because outdoor paint is specifically formulated to seal against water, wind, and cold temperatures, adding a fresh coat to your home will protect its siding. For the best results, experts recommend re-painting your home every ten years.

These are some of the steps you should take to protect your home’s exterior this winter. Want another way to keep your home safe? 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 to get started today.

Take These Steps to Prevent Holiday Home Fires

Reduce your home’s chance of fire this holiday season.

As a homeowner, you can imagine just how devastating a serious fire in your home would be. Unfortunately, during the holidays, your home’s fire risk increases significantly. Luckily, there are some steps you can take around your home to reduce the chances of a fire breaking out on your property. Here are some home fire risk precautions you should employ this holiday season.

Cooking Safety

As you prepare for your upcoming holiday parties and meals, make sure you are practicing fire safety. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports cooking as the top cause of holiday fires. These fires often occur when homeowners forget about food they have left in the oven or on the stove. Another common cause of cooking fires is leaving flammable items near the heat of the stove. So, to reduce your risk for a holiday cooking fire, stay vigilant and do not leave your kitchen unattended during the cooking process.

Candle Safety

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the incidence of fire caused by candles is four times higher in December than it is during any other time of the year. The best way to avoid a house fire is by not lighting candles inside your home. However, if you must use candles, make sure to remove anything flammable within a foot radius of the candle. Additionally, ensure that your candles are placed on sturdy surfaces. Finally, never leave your home or go to bed without extinguishing all the candles inside your home.

Decorating Safety

Finally, using decorative light strings can also increase your home’s risk for fire. Before you hang up any lights, make sure they do not have any frayed cords, exposed wires, or damaged bulbs. Additionally, avoid plugging more than three strings into the same extension cord or power strip, as this could also increase your chances of starting a fire. Finally, check all your lights and cords to ensure you are using the right ones for outdoor and indoor use respectively. Using the proper equipment will ensure your decorations do not spark a fire this holiday season.

These are some of the precautions you should take to reduce your home’s chances of fire this holiday season.  Want another way to keep your home safe?  Make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your personal coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas to get started today.