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7 Important Questions To Ask Your Home Insurance Agent


7 Important Questions To Ask Your Home Insurance Agent

Struggling to find the best home insurance for your property? Ask these home insurance questions RGV for a better understanding of the policy, coverage, price, and more.

Are you looking for the best home insurance in McAllen, RGV? If so, you can’t blindly trust any insurance provider. Your home is your haven, and you shouldn’t settle for any average insurance plan. That’s why it’s important to discuss the details of your policy with your home insurance agent to get a clear idea about what is covered and what’s not. If you’re unfamiliar with the policies and don’t know what to discuss with your agent, then here are 7 important home insurance questions RGV you should ask for a better understanding.

Ask these 7 home insurance questions in McAllen

What is a standard policy, and what does it cover?

A standard policy is the most basic type of home insurance, so it makes sense that this is the first thing you need to know about. Most insurance providers cover four things in the standard policy:

  • Dwelling coverage: It’s obvious that the physical structure of your home will be covered by the insurance plan.
  • Property coverage: All your belongings inside the house are also covered by the insurance.
  • Liability coverage: If someone sustains injuries inside your home, liability coverage pays for the cost of their medical treatment on your behalf, as well as any legal charges if a lawsuit is filed against you by the injured party.
  • Additional living expenses: If damage to your property forces you to find temporary accommodation like a hotel, then the standard policy will cover the extra cost of living in such conditions under Additional Living Expenses (ALE).

While coverage for your property and belongings are fairly straightforward, liability coverage and additional living expenses usually have some terms and limits. So focus on these two home insurance questions McAllen when asking your insurance agent.

How much additional living expenses coverage will I get?

Under the standard policy, most insurers cover additional living expenses worth 20% of your dwelling coverage. But this figure may not always be the same with every insurance provider. Furthermore, there are options to increase the ALE limit if you feel it’s necessary. So have your agent explain clearly the amount of ALE coverage you will receive and how you can increase the limit if required.

How much liability coverage will I get?

Similar to ALE coverage, a limit on liability coverage is included with a standard home insurance policy. The starting amount for liability coverage is usually $100,000, with the option to increase it by paying a higher premium. Discuss the details of liability coverage properly with your agent to determine the appropriate limit and be aware of all terms and conditions.

Will my homeowner’s insurance cover damage due to floods and natural disasters?

The standard policy doesn’t cover damage caused to your property due to floods and natural disasters. If you’re residing in an area where such calamities are common, or there is a high risk, you might want to include flood and disaster coverage in your insurance policy. In such cases, it’s best to discuss additional policies for natural calamities with your agent, how much coverage you can get for it, and how much premium it will cost you.

Does my policy cover replacement cost or actual cash value?

One of the most important things to know about home insurance is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value.

Replacement cost is the total cost of replacing or repairing your property without taking depreciation into account, whereas actual cash value is calculated by deducting depreciation from replacement cost. Your premium will also be cheaper if you opt for actual cash value because the coverage will be less than the replacement cost.

Many homeowners often get confused about the difference between these two, so you must ask your insurance agent about it and figure out which option is more beneficial for you.

How much will my policy cost, and how is the premium and coverage calculated?

More than anything else, homeowners usually have two things in mind when insuring their property:

  • How much coverage will I get?
  • How much premium do I have to pay?

So it goes without saying that these are important questions to ask your insurance agent. Don’t just ask about how much, but also inquire how the rates are calculated to ensure you get your money’s worth with the insurance policy.

Do I need an umbrella policy?

Standard home insurance offers some amount of liability coverage. But if you’re in a situation where your liability coverage has been exhausted, and you still need to bear additional costs, then an umbrella policy can help. It is simply an additional coverage that kicks in after you have used up your available liability coverage. If your current insurance plan doesn’t offer adequate liability coverage, you might also want to ask your agent about the umbrella policy.

When insuring your home, never settle for less and always look for the best and most reliable insurance company. Asking your agent these 7 important home insurance questions will give you a better idea of the different terms and policies. And that, in turn, will help you decide if the insurance company is trustworthy and which policy will be the best option for your home.

The Beginner-Friendly Guide To Trucking Insurance


Whether you own a large fleet or work as an owner-operator, complete intrastate cargo deliveries or cross-border hauls, obtaining the appropriate trucking insurance in the RGV is an essential step in protecting your fleet and yourself against incidents of all kinds. Unfamiliar with trucking insurance? Just getting started in the trucking world? Here is a beginner-friendly guide to trucking insurance 101. It will introduce you to the basics of finding, and using, insurance for your fleet.

Trucking Insurance: An Overview

Before you look for trucking insurance, you need to understand what it is, and why it is important for your trucking operation. Commercial trucking insurance is a type of financial protection, like auto insurance, that protects you from the financial impacts of accidents and other incidents outside your control.

Just as auto insurance allows you to choose from multiple coverage options to get the right policy for your needs, trucking insurance comes in many forms that you can tailor to your fleet’s requirements. An experienced insurance agent, like those here at SafeGuard Insurance Agency, can help you navigate your many choices to help you find the policies that best fit your requirements and budget.

Trucking Insurance Legal Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state laws require fleet owners and owner-operators to carry certain types of commercial trucking insurance. In particular, most truck owners must carry primary liability and general liability coverage in order to pay for property damage and physical injuries for which you or your drivers are at fault.

Over and above these legal requirements, however, trucking insurance can offer protection that can save your business from bankruptcy or financial stress in the event of an accident or other incident. As a result, you may benefit from coverages that go beyond the requirements of the law, such as bobtail coverage, motortruck cargo insurance, and uninsured or under insured motorist coverage.

If you need to know more about which coverages are required by law for your operation, and which coverages, or amounts, will best protect your business, trucks, and drivers, consulting with an experienced insurance agent can give you the insight you need.

Trucking Insurance vs. Auto Insurance

While trucking insurance may feel unfamiliar to you, the reality is that this form of insurance is similar in many ways to auto insurance. From offering similar coverages (e.g., Property damage, physical damage, etc.), to a similar claims process (Contacting your insurance company and submitting a claim after a qualifying incident), trucking insurance works much the same as auto insurance.

However, trucking insurance does differ in one important way: It is tailored to your needs as a trucking fleet manager or owner-operator. That means that the levels of coverage differ from auto insurance, and that there are additional coverages available that you cannot find with auto insurance. As a result, your auto insurance will not protect your fleet. Instead, you should invest in appropriate, specialized commercial trucking insurance from a reputable company.

Types of Trucking Insurance

There are many types of trucking insurance from which you can choose when building a policy for your business. What follows is a look at some of the most common coverages, but remember that your insurance agent may be able to direct you to additional policy types that may work for your business.

Commercial Auto Liability Coverage

Also known as primary liability coverage, this type of truck insurance is one of the two types required by the FMCSA. This policy protects you against property damage or physical injury caused by your business-owned vehicles. This type of policy may also help pay for legal expenses if you are sued as the result of an accident.

Trucker’s General Liability Coverage

General liability insurance for truckers covers expenses that occur from incidents apart from accidents on the road. This type of coverage will protect you anytime an incident occurs while your truck is off the road. Examples may include while loading or unloading the truck, on a client’s property, and other occurrences.

Physical Damage Coverage

Physical damage coverage protects your fleet against damage caused by accidents or other events. Covered events may include natural disasters, vandalism, and theft. Physical damage insurance can encompass several types of policies from which you can choose based on your needs.

Motortruck Cargo Coverage

This type of coverage may protect you if the cargo you are transporting is lost, stolen, or damaged while in your care.

Occupational-Accident Coverage

Occupational accident insurance provides protection for your truckers and other employees if they are injured while on the job.

Cross-Border Coverage

The complexity of carrying cargo across borders means that you may benefit from cross-border insurance. This type of coverage protects your fleet while they are traveling over borders.

Non-Trucking Liability Coverage

Non-trucking liability coverage protects you against incidents that occur while the truck is not being operated as part of a job. For example, if you are driving your truck back after unloading cargo or using the car for personal means and get into an accident, this type of coverage would apply.

How to Choose Appropriate Trucking Insurance Coverages

The right trucking insurance for your needs will depend upon several factors. That is why the best way to determine the appropriate coverage for your operation is to discuss your situations with an insurance agency like SafeGuard. We work with you to help you find coverages that fit your circumstances. Some factors that may influence the types and amounts of coverage you require are the following;

  • Your fleet size
  • The types of cargo you haul
  • The distance your trucks travel
  • State and federal requirements
  • Whether you travel across borders
  • And more

Many factors can influence not just the types of coverages you choose, but also the premiums you pay. To get appropriate coverage for your needs, you need the guidance of an experienced insurance agent. SafeGuard Insurance Agency is here. We offer fast, efficient, 24/7 service to help you more promptly find and get the trucking insurance in McAllen that will protect your trucks.

7 Best Life Insurance Tips For First-Time Buyers

At home, a happy young husband and wife use a digital tablet computer

If you are looking for life insurance for the first time, use these 7 life insurance tips to more easily find a policy that meets your needs.

In 2020, only 54 percent of Americans were covered by life insurance. Those who chose not to purchase life insurance most often did so because they could not decide which type of life insurance policy to get. Purchasing a policy for the first time can feel confusing and complicated—But first-time buyers can make the process a little easier for themselves. Here are 7 first-time life insurance tips to help you more easily identify and purchase the right life policy for your needs.

Start looking for coverage as soon as possible

When it comes to life insurance tips, finding coverage while you are young and healthy is one of the most important. Individuals who do not yet suffer from any medical problems have more insurers from which to pick and receive the lowest rates. Individuals who wait too long may only be able to purchase guaranteed issue coverage at higher rates. Do not wait to purchase your life insurance. Start the process today to get the best rates and widest selection of policies for your situation.

Know how much coverage you need

Most people require more life insurance coverage than they realize. While these policies are useful for helping to pay off major debt or cover funeral expenses, there are many other financial milestones that you may want to cover with your life insurance policy. When choosing your coverage levels, consider these factors:Male hands holding a paper family on a wooden background, next to a plant

  • Children’s college expenses
  • Mortgage costs
  • Lost income if you pass away
  • Dependents needing support
  • Alternative financial support for loved ones
  • Future weddings and other financial needs

There are two rules of thumb you can use to determine how much coverage you will require. The first is the DIME method. In this approach, you add up the costs to pay off your Debts, lost Income, Mortgage, and the Education of your dependents and purchase a life insurance policy that covers these financial needs.

The second approach is to purchase a policy that provides you with a death benefit that is 10 times your annual income. A financial planner or life insurance agent can help you pinpoint exactly how much coverage is appropriate for your needs.

Familiarize yourself with the different types of life insurance

While you do not need an in-depth understanding of every type of life insurance policy, becoming familiar with the basic terminology, benefits, and drawbacks of each type of policy can help you make more informed and beneficial choices for your circumstances. Talk with your agent about the differences among these types of policies:

  • Term life insurance—Remains in effect for a specific amount of time, such as 15 or 20 years
  • Whole life insurance—Remains in effect until you die
  • Universal life insurance—Permanent life insurance with flexible premiums
  • Final expense insurance—Covers only end-of-life expenses
  • Variable life insurance—Combines the death benefit with a savings account

There may also be other types of life insurance you should discuss with your agent. Understanding your options can help you choose the one that works best for your needs.

Purchase from an established company

The life insurance company you select for your policy is important. You want to buy from a business that is #1 Trustworthy and #2 Financially sound. The right business will provide you with a fairly priced and transparent policy that meets your needs, and will be able to back up that policy with the appropriate benefits if you pass away.

One of the best ways to evaluate a company’s financial soundness and reliability is to use rankings by organizations such as A.M. Best. Pick a company with an A rating from these organizations for the best policies and the best peace of mind.

Choose a simplified application process

In the past, most companies required you to get a physical exam before they would set a premium and issue a policy. However, one of the best life insurance tips for today is to select a company that offers a simplified application process.

These companies may require you to submit a thorough medical history and answer questions about your health, weight, job, and lifestyle. They will then use third-party sources to confirm the information you submit instead of using a medical exam to determine your level of health.

In contrast to guaranteed life insurance policies, which charge a higher premium to insure you without a medical exam, this approach often results in premiums that are comparable to those from policies that require a medical exam. That can make the application process easier while giving you an appropriate and affordable policy.

Start coverage while your application is being processed

Occasionally, it can take a few weeks to process your life insurance application. You may be able to ensure coverage during this period by sending in your first premium payment along with your application. Doing so can give you peace of mind that you and your loved ones are protected even if something happens before your policy is processed. Ask your insurance agent whether this is a feasible approach for your situation.

Compare life insurance quotes

Never settle for the first quote you receive on life insurance. Comparing at least several quotes can help you identify the policy that will offer both the coverage you need and the financial costs that fit within your budget. One of the best ways to compare quotes is to use an independent insurance agent who can work on your behalf to negotiate competitive quotes from multiple companies and help you to compare your options to find the one that fits with your requirements.

Life Insurance in McAllen

If you are seeking life insurance in McAllen, consider using SafeGuard Insurance Agency. We work with 120 companies, enabling us to negotiate premiums and policies that fit your needs. We will offer you 5-6 quotes designed for your circumstances, as well as ensure that you understand your options. The result is a way to get life insurance that is easier, less stressful, and more effective than using other agents or trying to find a policy online. Contact us today for your quote.

5 Common Mistakes Businesses Make When Buying Insurance

Business insurance can protect your company in the event of an accident or lawsuit. Finding the right insurance policy, however, can be difficult without the right support. Sometimes, businesses make mistakes that can cost them thousands of dollars, simply because they do not know what to look for when buying policies. Here are 5 common business insurance mistakes, and how to avoid them.

Purchasing the Cheapest Policy

Affordability is an important aspect of any insurance policy. However, the cheapest option is not always the one that best fits your needs. Some policies may cost significantly less than the other policies you are considering.

Chances are, these inexpensive choices will not offer the coverage you need. Either they do not compare to the other options available to you in the amount of coverage they provide, or they include restrictions and exceptions that severely limit your ability to use that policy.

While a cheap policy may save you money in the short-term, a single uninsured incident could end up costing you more than you saved in lower monthly premiums.

A better approach is to choose a policy that balances your coverage requirements with your financial realities. Here are some tips:

  • Pick an insurance company with experience and positive customer service.
  • Examine the benefits of a policy instead of just the cost.
  • Compare multiple policy options before committing to one.

Failing to Insure Income Loss

If an event occurs that requires you to submit a business insurance claim, it is possible that you will not be earning money from your company for a period of time. That can translate into a considerable loss of profits, in addition to the loss of new customers. Without that income, you may also struggle to pay employees, pay off loans, or manage other bills that require payment even while your business is closed.

That is why businesses should always include potential income loss in their business insurance policies. Business income coverage can help replace lost income, so you can continue to pay bills and loans and more easily get your business up and running once repairs are made.

The amount of coverage you receive will usually depend upon your income and expense records, and should help cover the amount of money you would have made if your business had remained open. You may even be able to get coverage for a specific period of time after your business reopens to cover losses suffered as business picks up again.

Failing to Regularly Review Your Business Insurance

Businesses change over time. Occasionally, they grow, adding income, buildings, and employees. Every so often, they shrink, moving to smaller offices and letting employees go. Failing to adjust your business insurance to account for these changes can be a costly mistake.

If your business grows, but your insurance policy does not grow with it, you may end up without enough coverage when you need it. If your business is growing smaller, but your coverage remains the same, you may be paying significantly more than you need to in premiums.

Regularly reviewing your insurance policy with your agent can help you keep the coverage you require, and get rid of the coverage you do not. And the appropriate amount of insurance can maximize your benefits without compromising your budget.

Failing to Purchase Enough Coverage

Buying less coverage than necessary is one of the most common business insurance mistakes, and it can leave companies struggling to recover from damage, theft, and other events. Two commonly overlooked coverages are workers’ compensation and general liability.

The most effective approach when buying business insurance is to find a policy that you can tailor to your needs, and to work with an agent who can help you navigate your many options. By making sure you have coverage for all of your unique business needs, you protect your company from significant out-of-pocket expenses if you ever have to file a claim.

To make sure you have enough coverage, you should also read and understand your entire policy. Know what your policy limits and exclusions are, so you avoid unpleasant surprises during the claim submission process.

Choosing Low Deductibles

The deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before your insurance benefits take effect. A lower deductible leaves you with less financial obligation during a covered event. However, it also usually means you pay more in premiums for your insurance plan.

While it may not be wise to choose the highest possible deductible, you may be able to save money by choosing a slightly higher deductible for your business insurance. Doing so can lower your premiums without forcing you to pay a large sum of money in the event of a claim.

Business insurance can help you navigate business setbacks with more confidence. For help getting properly insured, and avoiding these common business insurance mistakes, contact SafeGuard Insurance Agency for a free quote today.

10 Important Questions to Ask Your Auto Insurance Agent

Close up of man's hands signing document

Auto insurance can protect you against financial loss in the event of an accident. In Texas, a certain amount of auto insurance is also a requirement for every driver. That makes finding a reliable insurance agent and appropriate coverage very important for most Texas adults. Before you settle on the first agent, and the first policy you can find, ask these 10 auto insurance questions of your agent to make sure you are getting coverage that meets your requirements and fits with your budget.

How much coverage do I need?

In Texas, you must have a minimum amount of liability coverage to comply with state law. This coverage, referred to as 30/60/25 coverage, includes the following:

  • $30,000 of coverage per person for injuries
  • $60,000 total coverage per accident for accident-related injuries
  • $25,000 of property damage coverage

However, you may need additional insurance coverage depending upon your individual needs. Serious accidents can quickly result in claims that far exceed Texas’ minimum insurance requirements. Uninsured or under insured drivers can leave you without the resources to pay for accident damages. You may want personal injury insurance to protect you in the event that you are injured in an accident.

Your insurance agent can walk you through your coverage options, help you to understand their importance, and advise you on which choices are best suited to your needs and financial circumstances.

Are other drivers covered under my insurance?

When obtaining auto insurance, it is important to understand exactly what your policy covers, so you can make sure you have the appropriate coverage for your needs. One of the most important questions to ask your insurance agent regarding your coverage is who the policy covers.

For example, if you purchase an insurance policy that only covers you as the driver, you may not be covered if your son, daughter, friend, or partner was the one driving during an accident. Usually, you will need to add anyone who will be regularly driving your car to your policy for an additional fee.

Does my insurance policy cover rental cars, towing, or roadside assistance?

Another important aspect of coverage that you should ask about when obtaining auto insurance is whether your policy covers rental cars, towing, or roadside assistance in the case of an accident or breakdown. This policy feature can save you a significant amount of money by covering some or all of the costs of these services.

If you do choose to have them as part of your policy, ask your insurance agent whether they include the following:

  • Daily limits on the covered cost of the rental car
  • 24/7 service
  • Time or financial limits on roadside assistance
  • Towing limits (e.g. Do they only tow a certain distance, to the nearest repair shop, etc.?)
  • Other limitations

What discounts are available?

An appropriate auto insurance for you will include premiums that fit within your budget. Sometimes, you can get discounts on your auto insurance premiums that make it easier to afford the coverage you require. Ask your insurance agent about any discounts that are available for you. These discounts may include the following:

  • Safety equipment discount (e.g. Discounts for safety features in your vehicle)
  • Good student discounts
  • Job discounts (e.g. Discounts for drivers who have jobs in certain low-risk fields)
  • Multi-car discounts
  • Homeownership discounts
  • Defensive driver discounts (For taking a defensive driver course)

Your insurance agent should be able to give you a complete list of available discounts, so you can use the ones that apply to you to get a premium that is as affordable as possible.

How will different deductibles impact my premium?

Auto insurance agent besides crashed car hood

Your deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before receiving coverage from your auto insurance. For example, if your deductible is $500 and your damages are $3,000, you would pay $500 and your insurance company would pay the remaining $2,500.

Usually, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium will be. Ask your insurance agent to review your deductible options with you. You may choose to move forward with a higher deductible in order to get a lower premium, or you may choose to pay a slightly higher premium in order to have less of a financial responsibility in the event of an accident.

What are my premium payment options?

Another way to potentially lower the annual cost of your premium is to ask about premium payment options. Often, you will pay your auto premium monthly. However, paying less frequently can sometimes earn you a discount. You may save money paying quarterly or annually instead. Look into your options with your insurance agent in order to get the best premium payment setup for your circumstances.

What factors impact my premium?

Before committing to an insurance policy, it is important to understand what factors are affecting your premium. The amount and type of coverage you choose is one of the biggest influencers of your payments. However, there are a multitude of other factors that can also affect how much you pay for your auto insurance. Here are some of them:

  • Driving habits
  • Type and age of your car
  • Geographic location
  • Your demographics
  • Driving record
  • Credit score
  • Your job

Make inquiring about these factors one of your auto insurance questions to ensure you understand your premium and are receiving the best possible premium for your situation.

What is the claims process?

While you never want to be in an accident, you also want to know that your insurance company will be available to you if you need them. That is why one of your auto insurance questions should be about the claims process. Find out the following from your insurance agent:

  • How does the claims process work?
  • What are the steps to follow to submit a claim?
  • What are the time limits and deadlines related to filing a claim?
  • Can I submit a claim 24/7?

Ensuring a simple, straightforward claims process and 24/7 availability will help give you more confidence if you ever do need to use your auto insurance.

Do I need umbrella or gap insurance?

Umbrella insurance is insurance that provides financial protection in the event that your other auto insurance limits are exhausted. Gap insurance provides the money required to pay off your car loan if your car is totaled, and you owe more on your car loan than the car is worth. Your insurance agent can help you to decide if either of these policies will provide you with benefits that will make adding them to your coverage worth the additional expense.

These auto insurance questions can help you find insurance that meets your needs and your financial considerations. Trust SafeGuard Insurance Agency to work with you to meet your insurance requirements and provide you with greater confidence when you are out on the road.