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Home Insurance

rat peeking out of home wall

Preventing common pest infestations.

During the warm spring months, insects and vermin are more active.  As a homeowner, this means that your risk for infestations is higher.  To ensure that your home isn’t overrun by unwanted guests, here are some of the precautionary measures that you should take.

  • Gnats

While gnats are more annoying than harmful, no one wants to a swarm of these tiny bugs inside their home.  The best way of keeping gnats out is by keeping your doors and any windows without screens closed.  You should also make sure that you don’t leave food or dirty plates lying around, as this can attract the winged invaders.  If gnats do manage to get inside, then you can trap them using apple cider vinegar.  Simply fill a jar a quarter of the way with the vinegar and place a funnel over the top of the jar.  The gnats will be attracted to the vinegar and fly into the funnel, but will not be able to get back out.

  • Ants

Ants are some of the worst pests to deal with.  When the weather turns warm, ants try to find ways inside homes so they can access food and water.  This is why one of the best ways to prevent an infestation is by never leaving food out.  The foods stored in your fridge and cupboards should be sealed in airtight containers, so ants are not attracted by the smell.  You should also inspect the areas around your home’s windows and doors and seal up any gaps or cracks where ants can enter from.  You can also attempt to ward ff ants using some home remedies.  Many homeowners claim that sprinkling cinnamon, coffee grounds, or chili powder around their homes’ points of entry is an effective way of keeping these tiny invaders away.

  • Mice and Rats

While most homeowners think about rodents infiltrating homes to escape the cold of winter, mice and rats are equal opportunity pests.  Regardless of the time of year, rodents are always looking for food, water, and shelter.  The best way to keep mice and rats out of your home is by sealing up any possible entry points.  Additionally, you should keep all food sealed up, so the smell doesn’t attract these pests.

These are some of the most common pests that homeowners have to deal with and what you can do to stop them from invading your home.  Want another way to protect your home and loved ones?  Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance in place.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas today.

lightning storm

How you can avoid serious thunderstorm damage to your property.

If you live in an area prone to major thunderstorms, then you know just how devastating the damage left by these powerful storms can be.  This is why it’s so important to take steps to protect your home.  Here are some of the precautions that you should take around your property if a storm is brewing.

  • Install Storm Shutters

Because heavy rains and fierce winds can shatter your home’s windows, you should install storm shutters over them.  Not only will this prevent damage to your windows, but it also protects your family and belongings from getting hit by broken glass or debris.

  • Invest in a Surge Protection System

During thunderstorms, electrical lines are left vulnerable.  Lighting strikes can cause power outages, and falling trees can take out power lines.  Should this happen near you, then your home’s electrical system will probably hit with sudden power surges.  These surges can cause damage to plugged-in appliances and electronics and can even start fires.  To protect against these risks, you should put your entire home on a surge protection system.

  • Put Up Lighting Rods

Lightning rods are metal rods that you attach to the peaks of your roof.  Lightning rods help to direct lighting strikes to the ground instead of letting them strike the frame of your home.  So, make sure you put up your rods to prevent lightning damage to your home.

  • Test Your Smoke Alarms

Lighting strikes can cause a fire to break out on your property.  Because lighting is most likely to strike your home’s roof, make sure you install a smoke alarm in your attic, so you are alerted at the first signs of a fire.  You should also check the other smoke alarms in your home to make sure that they are operating properly.

These are some of the precautionary measures that you should take to protect your home from thunderstorms.  Want another way to keep your home safe?  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 at beach

Protect yourself with the right insurance this spring break.

As temperatures gradually increase, the promise of spring is in the air.  For many students and families, spring is all about taking a break and setting off on an exciting vacation.  As you plan your spring break trip, make safety a priority with these insurance tips.

  • Homeowners Insurance

Before setting off on your spring vacation, make sure that you review and update your homeowners insurance.  Because your risk for theft increases anytime you leave your home unoccupied, you may want to speak to your insurance provider about increasing your personal property coverage limits.  Additionally, you should make sure that you have adequate coverage to protect against unexpected weather events that could cause damage to your home while you are away.  Depending on where you live, this might mean updating your flood, fire, earthquake, landslide, and/or storm coverage.

  • Auto Insurance

If you are taking a road trip for your spring break, then it’s important that you look over your auto insurance policy.  Because your risk for accidents and vehicular damage increases the more you drive, you may want to increase your policy’s coverage limits in preparation for your road trip.  Additionally, if your trip will take you over state lines, verify that your insurer will offer you the protection you need once you leave your home state.

  • Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a form of coverage that will protect you from certain financial risks and losses that you may encounter during your travels.  For instance, travel insurance can help you cover the cost of lost luggage, last-minute cancelations, and medical emergencies.  If you are going on a particularly expensive trip or traveling overseas, then you should secure travel insurance to protect yourself from costly losses.

Protect the people and things that you love most with these spring break insurance tips.  Do you need help with your personal insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

cardboard home next to calculator and money

Have bad credit?  Then here’s how you can still be approved for a home loan.

If you have bad credit, then getting approved for a home loan can be challenging.  However, this does not mean it’s impossible.  With FHA loans, borrowers can secure financing, even if their credit score is low.  Here’s what you need to know about this bad credit home loan program.

What is an FHA Loan?

FHA loans were created by the Federal Housing Administration in 1934 as a way to increase homeownership across the U.S.  FHA loans are government-backed, meaning that lenders can offer these types of loans without assuming risk.  This means that lenders are safe to offer FHA loans to borrowers who would otherwise be considered too risky to approve.

FHA Loan Requirements

While traditional mortgage loans require borrowers to have a credit score of at least 640, FHA loans have much more lenient credit requirements.  FHA loans are available to individuals with credit scores as low as 500.  If your credit score is anywhere from 500-579, then you can secure a loan with a 10% down payment.  Individuals with a credit score of 580 or above can secure an FHA loan with a 3.5% down payment.

Please note that you will have to prove compensating factors that make up for your low credit score.  Common compensating factors include the following:

  • Large down payment (10% down or more)
  • Low debt-to-income ratio
  • High income
  • No outstanding debt
  • Large amount of cash reserves
  • Proof of significant amount of time with current employer
  • Proof of ability to make comparable rent payments

This is what you need to know about FHA loans and how they are providing financing opportunities for individuals with bad credit.  Are you looking to buy a home?  If so, then it’s time to start shopping for homeowners insurance.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas, today.

home made out of cash

Here’s why your homeowners insurance may have gotten more expensive.

If you are approaching the renewal period for your homeowners insurance, then it’s time to look over the policy summary provided by your insurer.  One particular thing to look at is if your premiums have increased.  If you have noticed an increase in your rates, there are several legitimate reasons why this may have happened.  Here are a few of the common explanations.

  • Home Renovation Projects

If you have recently completed home renovations or updates that increased the value of your property, you may have to increase your coverage limits accordingly.  More coverage means higher premiums, so this could explain why your premiums have increased.

  • Changes in Your Claims History

Oftentimes, homeowners that have recently filed a claim experience a rate increase the following renewal term.  The size of for the increase depends on the claim type.  Act of God claims such as wind/hailstorms often see minor change in premium where non-weather-related claims such as water damage, freeze or liability can see larger increases.  Fortunately, you can once again gain access to lower insurance rates if you manage to stay claim-free for an extended period of time.

  • Your Risk for Extreme Weather Events

In recent years, the number of wildfires, wind/ hailstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather events have increased significantly.  As the frequency of these damaging events increases, insurance companies often file rate increases with the applicable state so they can keep up with resulting home insurance claims.

These are some of the factors that could have caused your homeowners insurance premiums to increase.  Do you need help with your home insurance coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Our dedicated team is eager to assist you today.

living room decorated for the holidays

Watch out!  These types of home insurance claims go up around the holidays.

With the holidays right around the corner, you are probably excited to decorate your home, celebrate with your family, and simply enjoy the season.  The last thing that you want to deal with is a time-consuming home insurance claim.  Unfortunately for homeowners, there are several types of home insurance claim events that are more prevalent during the holiday season.  To avoid having the file a claim, watch out for these perils.

  • Fires

During the holiday season, many homeowners light up candles or get a fire going in their fireplaces to create a cozy vibe.  Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to snuff out their candles or accidentally leave fires burning after they go to bed.  This can often lead to nearby items igniting and a fire spreading throughout the home.  As such, many homeowners are forced to file insurance claims to address the fire damage.

  • Burst Pipes

If you live in an area that experiences very cold winters, then your pipes are at risk for freezing over and bursting this holiday season.  Every year, insurance companies get an influx of claims to address the water damage caused by burst pipes.

  • Theft

There are more theft claims filed during December than any other month of the year.  This is because many burglars wait for the holiday season because they know there is a greater chance of expensive gifts being in the home.  Sadly, instead of waking up to a pile of presents under the tree, many homeowners wake up to a ransacked home instead.

These are some of the common home insurance claims that you should watch out for this holiday season.  Need help with your homeowners insurance this December?  If so, then contact the experts at The Schwab Agency in Colleyville, Texas.  Contact us for assistance with all your coverage needs today.

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.