Cut Fuel Consumption with These Tips

While driving the streets in Coppell, TX you’ve probably seen just how low the gas has dropped in recent months. While this has been a relief on everyone’s wallets, it doesn’t mean you need to stop the savings there. At The Select Insurance Agency, we believe it is important to always stretch your dollar, everywhere from receiving quality auto insurance to your fuel economy. Chances are, there are a few different ways available you can boost your fuel economy without spending much money. 

Change the Oil

Always follow through with the recommended oil change dates. A well-lubricated engine performs better, which in turn is going to boost your fuel economy. Having a professional change your oil is recommended, but if you have the time and the parts, this is something you can do without much of an issue. 

Air Filter

This is something else you can have the pros do when changing your oil. It is easy to have them just go ahead and do it, but if you’d like to save money, feel free to change the filter yourself. It takes less than a minute and you can pick up an engine air filter for your vehicle for just a few dollars at the local auto parts store. 

Vehicle Tune-Up

This one will cost more than the other options out there, but it might boost your fuel economy in a more substantial way. The vehicle tune up starts with inspecting your wires and distributor, replacing anything that might need repairs. It also swaps out your spark plug for a new one. A new spark plug fires better, resulting in a better flame burst and improved fuel economy. Over time, your spark plug can rotate, which reduces the efficiency as well. So, having this done every few years is a great way to boost fuel economy. 

New Insurance Carriers

We recently added two new insurance carriers that we can quote homeowners insurance through. Welcome to Cypress Property & Casualty and Bankers Insurance Group. So, if you’re purchasing a new home in Coppell, give The Select Insurance Agency a call for a free quote. We have numerous companies we can shop to find the best insurance rate for you!

Five Ways To Give Back to the Community

The Select insurance Agency has been serving the Coppell and Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 10 years. They are an independent insurance agency dedicated to helping their customers and their community.

Education and Mentoring

One way to give back to the community is to support local youth groups through teaching programs, similar to the Boys & Girls Club of America. There are millions of children who are home alone and without supervision. These kids are in need of attention. Donating your time to one of these types of organizations could help your community grow.

Encourage Volunteering

Set a date for one week of the year and dedicate it as volunteer week. Prompt your employees to volunteer in the Emergency Food Pantry, the Salvation Army, United Way, or The Genesis Women’s Shelter.

Coordinate with Other Businesses

It is a good opportunity to work with other local businesses in the area. Post their link on your website and vice versa. You can also encourage opportunities there way as long as it is not for a competing industry.

Food and Toy Drives

Ask your employees to donate canned goods for a food drive. Speak with your local food drive center and find out what items they need. You can also consider being a drop-off location for Toys-for-Tots Toy Drive.

Support a Local Charity

Sort through charities in your local neighborhood and find the one that speaks to you. It would be a great way of giving back to your community by donating a portion of your profits.

Contact The Select Insurance Agency in Coppell, Texas to find out more information concerning how you could give back to your community. Their independent agents can also give you details concerning auto, home, property, commercial, and specialty insurance.


Today is “Safer Internet Day”

Internet safety is not only about keeping our Coppell kids safe. Adults can also learn about securing yourself from cybercriminals, snoops, creeps, and assorted other denizens of the Net’s dark side. Follow these 13 rules and you should be able to surf in safety.

Rule #1: Update early and often

If there’s a vulnerability in your operating system, browser, or other software, be assured the bad guys know about it. But no matter how quickly software makers plug that hole and push out an update, it won’t do any good if you don’t actually install it. So install updates as soon as they’re available, especially those marked “critical.” Better yet, set your OS and apps to automatically update if possible. Yes, it’s a hassle to update Java and Adobe Acrobat every week and some updates may occasionally break things. Do it anyway.

Rule #2: Honor thy antivirus software and keep it current

Installing antivirus software isn’t the safety net it used to be, thanks to the increase in “zero day” threats that appear before AV companies can update their software. But they’ll still stop more than 90 percent of the threats you’re likely to encounter.

Rule #3: Don’t fall for that scam

You know what’s an even bigger threat than malware authors and cybercrooks? You. The easiest way for an attacker to get access to your logins is to fool you into giving them up. This is usually achieved via a “phishing” email that looks like it’s from your bank, employer, or the IRS; this email aims to lure you to a bogus site where you enter your login name and password. Once the attackers have your info, they can log into your account, then steal your information and sell it to others.

Rule #4: Don’t touch that file

The other way scammers get you is by sending a bogus attachment, like an invoice or a contract for something you allegedly ordered. Opening the document usually infects your computer. If you don’t recognize the sender, just delete the email. If the message appears to come from a friend or colleague, make triple sure that person actually sent it to you before you open it.

Rule #5: Become a cyber-savvy parent

Sexting, cyberbullies, and catfishing — being a parent of an Internet-age kid isn’t easy. The best thing you can do is educate yourself. The Connect Safely site has a slew of helpful, nonhysterical guides to keeping kids safe from cyberbullies, dealing with SnapChat and Instagram, how to handle the mobile phone conundrum, and a ton more. Common Sense Media is also an excellent resource for how to be cyberparent, with recommendations for age-appropriate sites, apps, games, and the like.

Rule #6: Don’t be a boob about the Tubes

If your kids are online, it’s pretty certain they’re spending a lot of time on YouTube and other video sites. Most of that content is innocent (if mind-numbing); some of it isn’t. You need to at least be aware of what they’re watching and put some controls on it. If they’re still in single digits, you might want to install Google’s YouTube Kids app on their tablets or phones.

Rule #7: Don’t install that new video player

Just like in real life, most of the bad guys on the Internet hang out in dicey neighborhoods — like adult sites, BitTorrent search engines, and pirate Internet TV stations. At some point nearly all of them will pop up a message saying that your Flash player is out of date or that you need to install a new video player to watch whatever it is you’re trying to watch. Don’t do that.

Rule #8: Use a password manager

Yes, passwords can sometimes be a pain, but until we get a better replacement, we’re stuck with them. So do yourself a favor and use a password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, or Lastpass. They will both act as a password vault, storing all your thousands of logins for different sites, and also auto-generate fiendishly difficult-to-crack passwords on your behalf. Just don’t forget the master password to your vault or you’re screwed. (Tip: Use a song lyric or some other easy-to-remember-yet-unique phrase for your password, the longer the better.) They aren’t foolproof, but they’re better than using “123456” for everything.

Rule #9: Protect your logins

One way to find out if your password has been stolen is to see if someone is logging into your accounts from an unknown machine. With more and more sites using Facebook and Twitter as ways to prove you are who you say you are, this becomes especially more important.  Facebook has a Security Checkup page you can use to see if someone else has been logging into your Facebook account and lets you log out of any unknown ones with a click. Companies like Apple, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo have deployed so-called “two-factor” (or “two-step”) authentication, which requires you to enter an additional piece of information when logging in from an unfamiliar device — usually a 4- or 6-digit code sent via text to your phone. If you think someone else might have access to your accounts, it’s a good idea to change your password and then implement two-factor.

Rule #10: Secure all your Wi-Fi passwords

Most people don’t realize this, but your home Wi-Fi actually has two passwords. One is for the network — that’s the one you type when you log on from a new device. The other password is for the router; this allows you to go in and change network settings (like your Wi-Fi password). Most people remember to change the first set of logins but not the second, and the router defaults are widely known (usually “admin” and “password”). So anyone within range of your home network could log into your router, change the settings, lock you out of it if they wanted to, or simply capture all the information flowing out of your network. Not good.

You’ll want to change your router’s defaults. Instructions vary depending on the router, so you’ll need to visit the manufacturer’s website and search for “change router admin password.”

Rule #11: Don’t get sucked in by fake Wi-Fi hotspots

If you’re logging on from a crowded café or an airport lounge, you’ll probably see “free” Wi-Fi hotspots galore. Some are legit, some are definitely bogus. You’ll want to find out if in fact the café or lounge offers free Wi-Fi, and what the network name is, before you log on. Otherwise you could be handing all your Internet traffic to some rogue access point or that creep behind you with a laptop. When in doubt, pony up some money for a legit public hotspot you know is secure.

Rule #12: Use an encrypted connection in public

Even if you’re on a legit public Wi-Fi network, someone else on the same network could snoop on your data unless you take the right precautions. First, if you are logging on to your webmail or another password-protected account, make sure to use the encrypted version of the website — the address always starts with https (not http). Otherwise, anything you type is sent in plain text and can be captured by someone else on the same network.

The best option, if you can: Connect to the Internet using a virtual private network (VPN), especially if you’re dialing into work. This creates an end-to-end encrypted connection between you and the Net, making it virtually impossible for anyone to spy on you.

Rule #13: Technology can help — but it can’t solve everything

If you’ve got kids at home, technology can give you a handle on what they’re doing on the Net. Circle can monitor every device on your home network and let you set rules about where and when kids can access the Net. Norton Online Family Premier can cordon off the nastier parts of the Net and give you a window into their chat conversations and video consumption. And of course, anti-malware software can help fight off the nasties for everyone.

Ultimately, though, the burden is on you. Like liberty, the price of Internet safety is eternal vigilance. And not just on one day each year.


Insurance Misconceptions That Can Put Your Coppell Home at Risk

Should we live in Coppell, Southlake, Dallas….? What amenities are we looking for? What square footage do we need? You ask yourself these types of questions about your home before purchasing it. Do you ask as many questions regarding your insurance policy?

A home is one of the most valuable purchases you’ll make in life, so it only makes sense to protect it with adequate insurance coverage. But, what exactly is adequate for your home and why? The general rule of thumb is this: You insure your home for what it would cost to rebuild at today’s prices, using today’s building codes and standards.

In the insurance world, we generally refer to this as the “cost to rebuild,” and it’s essential to understand why it’s important. Here are three insurance misconceptions that should help.

  • Misconception 1: You should always insure your home for the market value. The cost of labor, materials and other expenses oftentimes make it more expensive to build a house than to buy one that already exists. And, that’s why you typically insure your home for more than what you purchased it. A home you buy for $200,000 may require $500,000 of insurance to completely rebuild it. Then again, if you pay a premium for the location of your home, you may need to insure your home for less than the market value. For example, you may pay $1.5 million for an oceanfront property and be able to rebuild the home for $750,000. Your home insurance policy would reflect only the cost to rebuild, without factoring in the high value of the land.
  • Misconception 2: Homeowners coverage should stay the same – or even decrease – over time. Your homeowners coverage shouldn’t decrease as your mortgage decreases. Just because you owe less on the home doesn’t mean it would cost less to rebuild. If you think about it, the cost of milk right now is far different than it was 20 years ago. Labor and materials go up in price as well, so your insurance shouldn’t fall behind. As you maintain and update your home, such as remodeling the kitchen or adding a deck, you should reassess your insurance coverage, too.
  • Misconception 3: You’re covered if your home needs to be brought up to code during a claim.  Not necessarily – it depends on your policy. In some instances, you may need to purchase optional coverage to handle the increased cost of bringing your home up to code or complying with local ordinances.

The last thing any property owner wants is for their insurance policy to fall short when they need it. That’s exactly what might happen if you buy into any of these insurance misconceptions.

Instead, work with The Select Insurance Agency in Coppell, to help ensure you get the home coverage you want – not too little and not too much. An estimate of what it would cost to rebuild your home from a contractor or builder in your area may help, but it’s not necessary. Our agents will talk to you about the square footage, upgrades, special features and other aspects of your home to build the policy you want.

Remember, your insurance doesn’t buy you a house. It repairs or rebuilds the one you’ve got. So, be sure your homeowners coverage reflects the true cost to rebuild.


Most of this content provided by Erin Eudy, Riskguard Insurance Solutions, Inc.