How to Understand Texas Insurance

If you’re shopping for your first Texas insurance policy, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the terms and conditions in the quotes you’ve requested. In addition, because each state has its own particular laws when it comes to insurance, you may also be confused by the rules and regulations imposed by Texas state law. But when you’re shopping for health, life, homeowner’s or car insurance, it’s essential to understand exactly what coverage you’re purchasing and under what conditions the insurance company will pay out your claims.

The most effective way to understand Texas insurance policies is to carefully read the quote you’re considering (or, if you’ve already bought insurance, the policy). Go through the text with a notepad and pen and make a note of everything you don’t understand and you’d like clarified. Then, depending on whether you’re dealing with an independent insurance agent or a large insurance company, call them or visit the office and ask them to explain everything you don’t understand. Though it may take a while, it’s better to know exactly what you’re signing up for ahead of time. You may want to have options such as exclusions explained, or you might want to have more information about how to properly insure your collection of fine art. No matter what your questions are, make sure to get the answers before you sign anything.

Severe Weather Awareness Week

Even though last week was officially “Severe Weather Awareness Week”, it’s important for Coppell residents to always be aware of weather in Texas this time of year.

According to a recent TCAIS Insider article, Texas has the most severe weather in the country – with exposure to nine different types of natural disasters. In 2011, this included devastating tornadoes, an intense drought, and numerous wildfires. Forecasters recently predicted above-normal tornadoes again this year, so no weather relief is in sight.

Be sure you’re prepared when severe weather strikes Coppell and it’s surrounding areas. The TCAIS (Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions) suggests having an emergency action plan that includes:

  • an evacuation plan;
  • an emergency supply kit that contains nonperishable food and water, first aid supplies, flashlights, a battery-powered radio and batteries and other emergency items; and
  • an understanding of surroundings, including any signs or emergency barriers warning of danger ahead.

Learn more about Texas’ severe weather.

Is My Home Business Inventory Covered On My Insurance?

If you work from home, you may be led to believe that your home business is protected by your homeowner’s insurance. However, that may not be the case – especially if you have business inventory stored in your house. In Texas, many home insurers refuse to cover the business assets located inside of a home. Depending on how your business is organized, this may include inventory products.

When you purchase a homeowner’s insurance policy, be sure to discuss beforehand your insurer’s policies regarding claims for replacement of home business equipment and inventory. In some cases, your insurer may offer coverage up to a specified amount, such as $1,000. However, rarely will a home insurer provide coverage for business assets worth several thousand dollars or more.

Be up front about your intentions regarding your home’s use for business. Not only will your insurer possibly refuse to cover your business assets in the event of a loss, but you may lose your homeowner’s coverage altogether if your insurer finds out you have been using the home for business purposes without notifying your insurance carrier.

If you regularly keep business inventory in your home, ask your insurance company about your options for coverage. Some Texas insurers offer home and business combination policies or separate business insurance coverage altogether. Although these types of policies may cost you more than your primary homeowner’s insurance would alone, you can rest assured that all of your assets – business inventory included – are protected.

Shopping for insurance in Texas

You know you need auto insurance to drive legally in Texas. And you know you need to take out homeowners insurance if you want to take out a mortgage loan in the state. And if you want to protect your family in case of your death, you’ll need to take out life insurance.

But you don’t want to spend a fortune on insurance policies.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. By working with an independent insurance agent based in Texas, you can find the lowest rates on the best insurance policies for you.

Here’s how it works: Independent insurance agents can instantly provide you with live insurance quotes from the industry’s major carriers. You and your agent can then study these quotes to determine which best fit the needs of you and your family.

An independent insurance agent can help you consider factors other than price. For instance, your independent agent can make sure you take out a car insurance policy with a company that has a large enough presence in Texas to be able to answer your questions quickly 24 hours a day. Your agent can help you select a life insurance policy that will provide enough financial protection so that your spouse can pay off the mortgage loan in case you unexpectedly should die.

And your insurance agent will make sure that your homeowners insurance policy will provide you a large enough financial payoff to rebuild your home if it should be destroyed.

Your independent insurance agent knows that price is just one factor when weighing the merits of an insurance policy. That’s why it’s so important to work with one when you’re shopping for insurance in Texas.

3 Things You Should Know Prior to Buying Texas Homeowners Insurance

Purchasing homeowner’s insurance is an important decision. You should have a good understanding of your insurance plan’s coverage, cost and your insurer’s reputation. In Texas, there are three things everyone should know before buying homeowner’s insurance.

For one, the location of your home is very specific to your premium. Texas is a very large state with multiple climates and geographical areas. Extreme weather conditions are not uncommon – especially those that cause homeowner’s insurance claims. In the past, heavy snow and ice storms have plagued the panhandle, dangerous hurricanes soared along the Gulf Coast, wild fires have surged across the center of the state and tornadoes have ripped through countless neighborhoods and communities. Home insurers may charge higher premiums for homes located in specifically dangerous areas.

The second thing to remember before purchasing Texas homeowner’s insurance is that there are multiple home insurance policies to choose from – each of which offer differing coverage options. It is important to choose a policy that provides protection for the structure and physical components of a home, as well as its contents. Additionally, be sure to include liability coverage, which protects you from financial liability for another person’s injuries sustained on your property.

Finally, be sure to remember that Texas insurers do not provide coverage for flooding to homeowners in the state. If you live in a flood-prone area or think that your home could possibly be affected by flooding in the future, it is a good idea to purchase a separate flood insurance policy in addition to your primary Texas homeowner’s insurance plan. Many communities in Texas participate in the National Flood Insurance Plan, which is backed by the federal government.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Auto Insurance?

When it comes to finding out how long you have to file a claim for auto insurance, it’s important to understand that not only do insurance company policies vary on this point; but state rules and regulations may also dictate longer or shorter periods of time. For example, if you live in Texas, you may have a longer grace period during which you can file your claim than if you live in a different state. But no matter where you live, the rule of thumb is to always file as soon as possible.

Whether you’ve been involved in a collision, your car’s been broken into, or a falling branch busted your windshield, the first thing you should do is call your auto insurance company. Their customer service department will provide you with detailed instructions on how to file a claim, including what information you’ll need, such as a police report, as well as how long you have to file the claim. Of course, it’s always best to review all terms and conditions of your policy before signing so you’re familiar with the basic protocols have at least an overview in the event of an incident. Remember: failure to comply with your insurer’s regulations may result in your claim being dismissed, so follow all instructions to the letter and don’t postpone filing the claim!

Recovering from an Accident with Insurance as Opposed to Without

No matter whether you live in Texas or another part of the country, recovering from an accident is much less stressful when you have insurance than when you don’t. Depending on where you live, your state’s minimum requirements will dictate what types of coverage you need as a driver. Nearly every state requires you to have liability insurance, while some also require you to have personal injury protection or uninsured driver coverage. When you have insurance, you can simply hand the matter over to your insurance agent while you recover. Your insurance agent will deal with the other party’s insurance company, help you file the paperwork for any medical expenses or auto repairs, and even help claim salary losses due to injury. Not only does having good coverage pay off because you don’t have to worry about paying exorbitant medical bills and damages, but the fact that an experienced agent is there to guide you through the maze of paperwork can significantly reduce your stress when you’re already injured.

In contrast, if you don’t have insurance, you may be lying in the hospital wondering how on earth you’re going to pay for your medical treatments. And if you’re at fault, you’ll have to pay for the medical costs of anybody else involved in the accident, as well as any damages their car occurred in the collision.