Congratulations! After weeks of research, comparing makes and models, and taking test drives you finally bought that brand-new car you wanted. But before you take that well-deserved road trip, check one more item off your list: the right car insurance.
While some auto coverage options are essential whatever the age of your car, new vehicles may carry some additional risks you should know about. So before leaving the lot, give us a quick call to discuss the possible coverage options:
New vehicle replacement. Here’s how this coverage works: If you’re the original owner of a new car that is totaled or stolen within one year of purchase, you’ll be paid the full value of the car you lost or a comparable model. Without this policy, you may have to settle for something less than new. Please note that this coverage is included with certain Safeco auto policies.
Loan and lease coverage. Consider what could happen if you financed your new car and then it was totaled or stolen soon after buying it. Not only would you lose your new ride, you’d still be on the hook for your entire loan balance — which would be more than the car was worth. With loan and lease coverage, you’d get a check to cover the gap between what’s left on your loan and the depreciated value of your car.
Audio-visual and custom equipment coverage. If you’re an avid music fan who enjoys a custom sound system or DVD player, this coverage protects you for the full value of any A/V equipment not installed at the factory or dealership. It also covers such modifications as roll bars, certain custom engine parts, lift kits, special wheels, artwork, decals, and other personal touches.
OEM parts replacement. OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts are often preferable to other aftermarket parts because they are made specifically for your make and model of vehicle. So if you want your Honda repaired with Honda parts, or your Mercedes to only have official Mercedes parts, this coverage is for you. When you buy this optional coverage, it’s added to your existing Comprehensive and Collision coverage so that all repairs or replacements made to your damaged car will include new OEM parts where available.
You invested in a new car. So be sure your investment extends to the right auto policy as well. To learn more protecting your new vehicle, give us a call today!
If you're planning a home renovation, you may want to call your insurance agent first because this decision can impact your homeowners insurance. Some home renovations will change the amount of coverage you need, while others could even help you qualify for a discountt. We cover six common scenarios that could affect your insurance, so you can plan ahead.
1. Building a New Addition
When you expand and improve your home, you could likely increase its replacement value. This is the cost to repair or rebuild your home. Some additions that could increase your replacement value include: adding a second-story bedroom, expanding the living room or building a new garage.
After building a new addition, or making updates or other improvements, you may need to increase your coverage because the value of your home, and the cost to rebuild it will likely have increased. Most insurance companies require your Coverage A or dwelling coverage limit be at least 80 percent of the replacement value of your home.
Your insurance agent can recalculate your home value to determine whether you'll need more coverage because of the addition or improvement.
2. Building a Pool
If you're looking to add a pool, you will want to contact your insurance agent to review coverage for changes to your property's value, as well as any increase in risk. When people are swimming and running around the pool, there's the chance for an accident. If someone gets hurt, they could try to hold you responsible for damages. This can apply even if the accident isn't your fault.
Check with your agent to see whether your existing policy covers a pool and if you need to increase your liabilty coverage. This coverage can help pay damages to injured persons and provide for a defense if you are sued as a result of their injuries.
You should also ask your agent what steps you can take to keep your pool safe so you can avoid accidents. Adding a fence with a lock is a smart move. You could also add lights with motion sensors or a pool alarm to discourage trespassers. Consider skipping the diving board, because this increases the chance of an accident and your insurance cost.
3. Adding a Deck
A new deck is another improvement that can add value but also risk, especially if the deck is attached to a second story or higher. You should let your agent know that you've added a deck, so he or she can adjust your policy as necessary.
4. Renovating the Kitchen
Upgrading the kitchen can significantly increase the value of your home, especially if you switch to higher-quality counter tops, appliances and new flooring. You should contact your agent to see if you need to increase your insurance coverage.
If your contractor upgrades the plumbing or electrical wiring as part of the renovation, ask your homeowners insurance agent if you qualify for a discount or if your coverage needs to be adjusted. These upgrades can reduce the chance of flooding water damage and fire, so check if your insurance company has discounts that can help to reduce your premium.
5. Finishing the Basement
Finishing your basement can also increase the value of your home. That means, yet again, you may need more homeowners coverage. Flooding can be a concern, especially for the lowest floor in your house. It is important to note that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by floods. Ask your agent to review your coverage and look to see if there are steps you can take to help prevent future damage, like installing a sump pump.
6. Redoing the Roof
Before you redo your roof, ask your insurance agent whether this could qualify for a discount. Some companies offer a discount when you reinforce the roof or use stronger roofing materials that are wind, hail and leak-resistant. Your agent can explain how to qualify. At the same time, redoing the roof could increase your property value, which means you might need more coverage.
It is a good idea to contact your agent when you’re considering making home renovations. Their knowledge and expertise can help you get the most out of your discounts while making sure your home is adequately insured.
Due to Covid 19, most of us have had extra time on our hands to take on projects that otherwise we may rarely think about, such as home efficiency.
Extreme temperatures, from wintry winds to summer heat waves, can make us more mindful of the importance of an energy-efficient home. But no matter the season or which climate you live in, taking a few key steps can make a significant difference on your energy bills and improve the comfort of your home.
That’s because making your home more energy efficient can do more than help control temperatures. Mold, excessive dust, ice dams, moisture on windows, sinus problems and inordinate noise can also be potentially addressed by making home improvements.
Rather than one-off solutions, such as adding insulation or replacing dated appliances with more energy efficient ones, ENERGY STAR® recommends a more holistic approach. Their Home Performance survey, conducted by a qualified contractor, can help homeowners identify specific problems. For example, ice-cold kitchen floors, a second-floor bedroom that’s too hot in the summer or high energy bills, might be signs of larger issues.
According to ENERGY STAR, here are some improvements that homeowners typically make after an audit of their home:
Air sealing and adding insulation. Sealing up all of the small holes throughout your home can improve energy efficiency and also keep out dust and pests. Attics and basements can be primary culprits, but doors and windows can also account for air leaks.
Lack of insulation in the attic or air leaks around pipes and chimneys can lead to escaping heat in the winter.
In the basement, leaks are common where the basement walls meet the floors above.
Leaks around doors, windows and pipes may be sealed with caulk or expanding foam.
Crawlspaces can draw in cold air in the winter and humid air in the summer.
Heating and cooling. Systems that are more than 10 years old can be replaced with models that have earned the government’s ENERGY STAR rating.
ENERGY STAR-rated heating and cooling systems, when properly installed and used correctly, can help homeowners save up to 10 percent on home utility bills.
When used correctly, an ENERGY STAR-rated programmable thermostat can provide additional savings and increase comfort by having your home programmed based on your schedule.
Ducts. Forced hot air and central cooling systems use ducts to move air throughout the home.
If some rooms in the house are never comfortable, it could be due to gaps, leaks or tears in ductwork.
Sealing leaks and making sure ducts are straight and properly connected will help increase the home’s energy efficiency, while making those difficult-to-heat-or-cool rooms more comfortable.
Lighting and appliances. Replacing appliances with ENERGY STAR-rated versions can save money on utility bills.
Refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, and lighting fixtures are among the more than 50 kinds of products that carry the ENERGY STAR label.
These products also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
After a home contractor inspects your home, you should receive a detailed work proposal following the evaluation. The contractor may have other recommendations, such as installing solar panels or a solar hot water system. Homeowners can expect to save 20 percent or more on the annual utility bill, depending on the type of improvements. For more details and to find a participating contractor, visit www.energystar.gov.
From our offices in Weatherford, Texas, we serve clients anywhere in the State of Texas, though the following areas are geographically closest to us: the counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Johnson, Parker and Hood and the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Brock, Burleson, Cleburne, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Decatur, Euless, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, Millsap, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, and White Settlement.