As a vehicle owner in South Texas, you have to be aware of the unfortunate reality of auto insurance fraud and theft. While losing your automobile to thieves is always a possibility, there are other potential problems that require your vigilance as well: Staged accidents, ballooning damages and injuries after a crash, and more. The good news is that there are proactive steps you can take to protect yourself. Here is a look at the best strategies for avoiding South Texas auto insurance fraud.
Secure your vehicle to discourage theft
Texas leads the country in vehicle thefts. And while certain cars are more vulnerable, you should never assume you are immune to losing yours. In order to discourage would-be thieves from targeting your vehicle, here are some steps you can take:
Invest in anti-theft devices
Devices that make it more difficult to steal your vehicle can be helpful in preventing South Texas auto theft. Steering wheel locks, car alarms, and GPS tracking systems are all examples of effective anti-theft devices. Use any of these and you could also get a discount on your South Texas auto insurance.
Park in well-lit areas
When you are out and about, particularly after dark, look for well-list areas to leave your vehicle. The more light there is around your car, the less likely it is that anyone will try to take it. If you have the option, choose a secure parking garage for added protection against theft.
Stay alert when driving
Accidents can happen quickly, but alert driving can help you anticipate potential problems before they result in South Texas auto insurance fraud. Here are some of the steps you can take to drive in a way that discourages fraud and theft.
Follow the rules of the road.
Maintain safe following distances.
Obey all traffic laws.
Stay aware of your surroundings.
Manage your speed.
Document everything after an accident
If you do experience an accident, there are steps you can take to protect yourself against South Texas auto insurance fraud. Primarily, you should focus on keeping records of everything that happens related to the incident. This includes
Taking photographs of the accident scene.
Getting a copy of the police report.
Getting a copy of any witness statements.
Taking photos of vehicle damage and/or injuries.
Exchanging insurance information.
You should also promptly report the incident to your insurance company so they can begin the process of filing claims and exploring potential fraud, if the situation warrants it.
Stay alert to fraudulent claims after an accident
After an accident, you should not assume that everything will proceed the way you expect. You could end up the victim of fraud if the others involved in the incident report injuries or damage that go beyond what happened during the accident.
In order to avoid this problem, keep an eye on all of the medical statements, reports and claims that come through as a result of your accident and report any discrepancies to your insurance company immediately. In fact, take the time to report anything suspicious immediately so your insurance company can deal with it before it becomes a major problem.
Choose a reliable insurance company
Your insurance company can be a supportive partner in helping you to avoid, and handle, South Texas auto insurance fraud and theft. You just have to choose the right company. Ideally, you should choose an insurance company that has extensive experience handling fraud cases.
In addition, choose an insurance company that can offer comprehensive auto insurance policies tailored to your needs. You may not want to settle for basic coverage. Additional coverage can help protect you against unexpected difficulties after an accident. The more coverage you have, the more protected you will be against fraudulent claims and expenses.
If you want to avoid South Texas auto insurance fraud, choose SafeGuard Insurance Agency. We have years of experience offering not only comprehensive policies that work for your budget and needs, but we also have extensive experience in handling fraud.
Thanks to our experience and to your dedication to providing you with proper insurance for total peace of mind, we have the tools to protect your vehicle now and help you navigate potential fraud if it occurs. Contact us today to learn more and to get a quote.
The Rio Grande Valley is an affordable and family-friendly place to buy a home and raise a family. Its natural beauty and safe neighborhoods bring joy and satisfaction, and its close-knit communities offer rewarding relationships.
However, the Valley can also bring with it less-than-ideal weather, and its fair share of natural disasters. In order to adequately protect your property during one of these events, you need to choose the right homeowner’s insurance for your home. To help you get started, here are some tips for safeguarding your Rio Grande Valley home.
Know the risks your home faces
The right natural disaster insurance in the Rio Grande Valley is the one that protects your home against the perils it is likely to face due to its location – And does not make you pay for coverage you do not require.
Before purchasing a homeowner’s insurance policy, or additional natural disaster coverage, make sure you understand just how at risk your home is. Here are some factors that may affect the amount or type of disaster insurance you require:
Whether or not your home is located in a flood zone
How close your home is to the coast
Natural disasters in the area – For the RGV, you may have to account for hurricanes, tropical storms, wind, etc., but not necessarily for extensive winter weather.
Once you know the types of disasters that could affect your home, you can look for a policy that offers coverage for damage caused by these types of events.
Know what your homeowner’s policy already covers
Before you purchase Rio Grande Valley disaster insurance, you need to know what is already covered under your standard homeowner’s policy. Often, these policies will cover certain disasters and weather-related events. Some that may already be included in your policy are the following:
However, the exact coverage can vary from policy to policy. And, you may find that you only receive partial coverage for damage caused by certain disasters. For example, your policy may only cover wind damage but not damage from tornadoes. It may cover water damage, but not flooding. Or, if a hurricane hits, your policy may cover wind damage but not flooding caused by the storm.
Once you know what your regular policy covers, you can decide where the gaps are in your current coverage. Now it is time to find a policy that closes those gaps and provides total protection against any disaster your home may face.
Purchase additional policies to close coverage gaps
One of the most common natural disaster policies that homeowners purchase separately from their standard insurance policy is flood insurance.
Flood insurance, which is available through the federal government, is usually required for homeowners whose residences are in an established flood zone. However, even if your home is not located in one of these zones, you could consider purchasing a policy in order to give yourself peace of mind.
If your homeowner’s policy does not already include it, you could also consider adding windstorm insurance. This policy can be purchased separately from your homeowner’s policy or added to it. It will cover damage caused by windstorms and hail.
Together, flood, windstorm and standard homeowner’s insurance coverages can provide comprehensive protection for major natural disasters such as hurricanes. These policies can help you recoup your losses and rebuild your home even in the event of total destruction during a major weather event.
Other natural disaster coverages you could consider for your Rio Grande Valley home are the following:
Sewer backup coverage
Earthquake coverage (Though not much of a concern in the RGV)
Get deductible and coverage limits that work for your budget
Once you choose the types of natural disaster insurance to buy for your Rio Grande Valley home, you will need to decide which coverage and deductible limits to purchase. In general, the higher your deductible (The amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in), the lower your premium. And, the higher your coverage limits, the more your insurance policy will cost.
For example, if you choose a $1,000 deductible for your flood insurance, you will face higher premiums than if you chose a $10,000 deductible. But, if your home experiences flood damage, the lower deductible means that you will only have to pay $1,000 to have your home repaired.
In addition, you will need to purchase enough coverage to cover the cost of replacing belongings and property damaged during a natural disaster. For example, your homeowners insurance policy or your flood policy will probably cover at least the amount of money it would cost to rebuild your home.
While more coverage translates into higher premiums, comprehensive coverage can also give you peace of mind if the worst case scenario happens. And, it can save you money in the long run if you need to rebuild or replace possessions destroyed in a natural disaster.
In order to navigate these decisions in a way that gets you the most coverage for the best price, you need the guidance of an experienced home insurance agency, like SafeGuard Insurance Agency. Our team works within your home and budget parameters to create the best possible value for your circumstances. And that can make getting peace of mind and total protection for your home easier, and more affordable, than you imagined. Contact us today to get started!
South Texas is home to many border towns. McAllen, Brownsville, Rio Grande City, and Laredo are just a few of the cities that help to handle the 35,000 trucks and $2 billion in cross-border trade that occurs daily between the United States and Mexico. As a trucker in this area, you enjoy the many opportunities provided by international business, but you must also take into account the unique challenges that come with operating out of a border town. To help, here is a tailored guide to South Texas trucking insurance.
Trucking Challenges In South Texas
All truckers face certain challenges, from finding and retaining the best workers to safely navigating regulations and affording high fuel prices. However, in South Texas, there are unique considerations that every owner-operator or fleet manager must consider before running their trucks. Here are two of the biggest:
Texas in general, ranks in the bottom 5th of states in the nation for road quality, due primarily to factors such as aging bridges and roads and low spending on building up the infrastructure and quality of the state’s roads.
In South Texas and across the border in Mexico, roads may also present a challenge. You may encounter rough roads, deteriorating pathways, and poor signage that can make it more difficult to safely transport your cargo to its location. Any transportation within this area should take this factor into consideration.
Rough terrain can pose a significant problem for truckers because of its ability to both slow down your deliveries and inflict damage on your trucks. With trucks at greater risk for wear, tear and breakage, your insurance should be enough to cover the possible problems you and your drivers may encounter en route to any destination.
Second, because South Texas and Mexico share a border, trucking in this area often includes cross-border trips. Even if the border is only a few miles away, it represents a big change in expectations, insurance coverage and considerations for your fleet. Here are a few of the factors that will affect your cross-border trips:
Road conditions in Mexico that can put your trucks at greater risk of damage
An increased risk of theft (17,000+ thefts of cargo per year in Mexico vs. 721 thefts in the United States)
Differences in insurance requirements between countries
Insurance not transferring across the border
Before you purchase South Texas trucking insurance, your first step should be to determine what your specific needs may be regarding cross-border and border town trucking. You want to make sure that your coverage will protect you in both Mexico or the United States while taking into consideration the unique challenges you face as a South Texas trucker.
South Texas Trucking Insurance Considerations
If you are running trucks in South Texas and across the Texas/Mexico border, here are some of the insurance considerations you may need to take into account so you never have to worry about encountering problems on the road.
Liability coverage is required in both Mexico and the United States. However, the amount of coverage can vary significantly. For example, you will need at least $1,000,000 in protection against lost cargo to drive in South Texas, but only $2 per pound of cargo when driving in Mexico. Try to avoid the temptation to only purchase the minimum required coverage for Mexico and make sure your insurance policy provides ample security against cargo loss on both sides of the border.
Specialized Cross-Border Insurance
You could cancel your separate Mexico and U.S. insurance policies every time you cross the border in order to save money, but the reality is that this process is time consuming, and potentially expensive.
One of the best ways to handle cross-border trucking insurance in South Texas is instead to invest in specialized cross-border insurance. This coverage can take into account the varying insurance requirements in both countries, ensure that your trucks are always protected when going across the border, and provide coverage at a reasonable price.
Knowledgeable Insurance Provider
In order to get the best South Texas trucking insurance for your fleet’s cross-border trips, you will want to use an experienced insurance provider who understands the ins and outs of cross-border truck protection. Ensure that your provider has the following experience and knowledge in order to serve you well:
Years of experience serving South Texas truckers
Understanding of customs requirements and regulations
Ability to offer cross-border insurance
Positive reviews from satisfied trucking clients
Ability to personalize your coverage to your fleet’s specific needs
Understanding of insurance requirements in both Texas and Mexico
Access to discounts for safety features, newer trucks, on board technology and more
Once you have an experienced provider, specialized cross-border insurance and coverage that meets your unique needs, you will be equipped to thrive in the South Texas area. SafeGuard Insurance Agency’s dedicated agents are available to work with you to meet your South Texas trucking insurance needs.
Unlock the world of insurance with our ‘Understanding Insurance Terminology: A Comprehensive Guide’. Tailored for potential insurance buyers, this guide simplifies complex terms, helping you make informed decisions. Get ready to become fluent in insurance language, empowering you to choose the best coverage for your needs.
The amount of money covered and provided to the insured under an insurance plan.
The amount paid by an insured for starting an insurance policy
The amount to be paid by the insured before an insurance claim comes to action.
A contract between an insurer and the insured that contains the terms of an insurance claim.
Refers to the responsibilities held by a party towards another. It can be a third-party liability, product liability etc.
It is the process of identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks associated with an insurance policy.
The request to the insurance provider to reimburse against the insured losses.
The process of identifying and calculating the worth of risk against which insurance is provided.
The party that provides the insurance service. Ex: insurance company
An action wherein a party agrees to compensate the potential or prior losses of another party.
It refers to the financial risks the insurance covers
The amount that is returned or refunded to the insured
It is a professional with expertise in calculating financial risks associated with the product to be insured.
These are add-ons that can be enjoyed in addition to your insurance policy by paying extra.
The percentage of the insured amount the insured pays from their own pocket.
An insurance policy that covers damages you cause on your own and by a third party.
The protection provided under car insurance when your car collides with an inanimate object.
They refer to all the advantages an insurance policy covers.
They refer to the benefits an insurance policy does not cover.
A process of calculating the worth of the asset against which insurance is taken in accordance with the risk associated with it.
Life insurance is an essential piece of coverage for RGV families, but it is also one of the most misunderstood or overlooked types of insurance. If you do not yet have a life insurance policy, or if you have one but want to learn more about your policy, and whether a different one might serve you and your family better, then this guide is for you. What follows is an in-depth look at life insurance, its significance for families in the Rio Grande Valley, and the factors you should consider when choosing a policy for yourself.
Understanding Life Insurance
Simply put, life insurance serves as an agreement between you and your insurance provider that a benefit specified by the policy will be paid to designated loved ones upon your passing.
This benefit provides financial support to the recipients that helps to offset the burdens imposed by your death. As a result, it helps to alleviate financial stress at the time of death and frees up loved ones to enjoy a more secure future.
For families in the RGV, and throughout the nation, these policies make the tumultuous time after a loved one’s passing a little easier to navigate. Here are some of the most important benefits:
At the time of death, families often face large expenses for which they may not be prepared. For example, funeral expenses, medical bills, outstanding debt, estate planning fees, and lost work time can all create financial stress.
Life insurance can help by providing the funds to manage these immediate costs. With financial stability provided by life insurance, families can focus on putting their loved one to rest and moving forward with their lives.
Many families rely on the income of a primary earner. If that individual dies, the loss of that income can significantly change the family’s financial stability and way of life. Life insurance policies can provide enough of a benefit to cover not only the immediate costs associated with laying their loved one to rest, but also to cover the lost earnings of the deceased individuals. As a result, their family can maintain their standard of living, pay bills uninterrupted and worry less about their financial futures.
A life insurance policy can also help to secure the future education of families’ children. The benefits payout can help to cover educational essentials such as tuition, vocational training, and other needs. As a result, regardless of what happens to the holder of the policy, their family’s future goals and dreams can still flourish.
If an individual passes away and leaves debts outstanding, a life insurance policy can be used to pay off these debts. Examples of payments that can be covered by this type of policy include mortgages, car loans, credit card balances and more. By paying off debt, the family can achieve greater financial stability and peace of mind.
Types of Life Insurance
One of the areas that often confuses individuals about life insurance in the Rio Grande Valley is the availability of several different types of policies. The three most common are whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and term life insurance. Following is a look at all four types to help you better understand the differences, and unique benefits, of each.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is the most common type of permanent life insurance, meaning that it covers you throughout your lifetime. Once you activate your policy, you will receive a death benefit and savings account as long as you pay your premiums.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is a more flexible type of permanent coverage that also offers you a death benefit and a savings account. It differs from whole life insurance in that you may be able to adjust your death benefit by passing a medical exam, and you may also be able to use your savings account to adjust your premiums.
Term Life Insurance
As opposed to whole and universal life insurance policies, which provide you with benefits no matter how long you live, term life insurance is limited to a certain number of years. The most common “terms” of this kind of coverage are 10, 20, and 30 years. You can often choose to have a death benefit that remains the same throughout the term of the policy, increases over the term of the policy, or decreases over the term of the policy.
Factors To Consider When Buying Life Insurance
With many options available, even within each type of life insurance coverage, knowing which policy is best for you and your family can quickly get confusing. A good rule of thumb is to purchase coverage that is 10 times your annual income. However, there are also several important factors to consider that can influence your choice of life insurance coverage. Here are some of the biggest:
While life insurance can benefit almost anyone, there are certain situations that may require higher insurance policies. Here are some of the family types who should evaluate their needs with particular care:
Families With Dependents
Families who include children or the elderly should make sure that they have enough coverage to meet their dependents’ ongoing needs in the event of policy holder’s passing. These dependents rely upon the provider’s income to meet their needs, and going without could be devastating.
Individuals who have a spouse or a partner may also wish to prioritize life insurance. The death benefit from this policy can help their partner maintain their quality of life, pay for expenses, and adjust to reduced income with less stress.
In single-parent families, the financial burden usually falls to one person. As the sole provider, this individual must have a large enough life insurance policy to protect their family in the event of their passing.
Current Financial Obligations
The amount of life insurance you purchase should take your current financial obligations into consideration. In particular, you should get enough insurance to meet these obligations and to pay off any debt you currently have. Here are some of the things to consider when selecting the amount you purchase through your policy:
Mortgage or rent
Credit card debt
Future Educational and Life Goals
For families with children in particular, life insurance that is sufficient to cover future educational and living needs is essential. Here are some of the future factors that may influence how much coverage you purchase:
Anticipated college expenses
Extracurricular activity costs
Future plans for their children, including home buying, business start ups, and more.
In order to obtain the right amount of coverage for your family, you should sit down with an experienced insurance professional who can help you look at your needs and find coverage to match.
How To Choose The Right Life Insurance Policy
The process of purchasing life insurance in the Rio Grande Valley does not have to be difficult. However, there are some important steps to follow to ensure that the policy you purchase is the one that you need. Here are some of our suggestions for narrowing down your options to the most promising:
Decide how much coverage you require
Take a look at your current situation to determine exactly how much coverage you will need. Factors to consider include the following:
Your current expenses
Your current debt
Your current income
How many years you have to retirement
Future needs, such as college tuition and healthcare
Decide how much you can afford
Without an infinite budget, you will need to make some choices about how much you are willing to put toward premiums every month. Make sure that the amount you allocate leaves you room in your budget to live comfortably.
Obtain and compare RGV life insurance quotes
Once you know how much you can budget toward life insurance, you can obtain and compare quotes for various policies. Here are some guidelines for successfully evaluating multiple estimates:
Make sure quoted policies meet your insurance needs.
Make sure each quote is comparable – with the same features and benefits.
Compare different premium structures and plans to determine the best one for you.
Get at least 3 quotes.
Get professional assistance in collecting and evaluating quotes.
Evaluate your need for additional features
At its most basic, a life insurance policy provides a death benefit to your beneficiaries when you pass away. However, you may be able to add riders to your policy in order to add flexibility and benefits to your policy. For example, a child and spouse rider would provide for a small death benefit to be paid out if your spouse or child were to die while the policy was active. Here are some additional riders you may want to consider:
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider:
You may access some of your death benefit upon diagnosis of a terminal illness.
Waiver of Premium Rider:
Allows you to waive your premiums if you become disabled.
Allows you to convert your term life insurance policy to a permanent one without a medical exam.
Work with an experienced insurance agency
When choosing a life insurance policy in the Rio Grande Valley, you want to work with an experienced insurance agency that is familiar with the area, and the needs, of the Valley. Safeguard Insurance Agency offers solutions that fit your unique lifestyle. Let us help you find the insurance policy you need, not just for life insurance, but for everything you want to protect.
With its location along the U.S./Mexico border, and with just 11 miles between downtown McAllen and the Mexican border, the RGV is home to many individuals who cross the border on a regular basis. While driving between the two countries may be relatively easy, as long as you have the right paperwork, insuring your vehicle for these crossings can be a little more complex. Make sure you have the right car insurance for South Texas with this guide to commuting across borders.
You must purchase separate policies for Mexico and the U.S.
The first thing to understand about cross-border car insurance is that your U.S. policy will NOT apply in Mexico. Even if you buy a policy that promises limited coverage internationally, chances are that coverage will not meet Mexico’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
When driving from Mexico to the United States, the same holds true: Your Mexican car insurance policy will not apply to your vehicle once you enter the United States. If you regularly travel between the two countries, you will need to purchase separate policies for each country in order to protect yourself against any incidents that occur in either nation.
Stay compliant with Mexico’s car insurance policies
Whether you are a tourist taking a day trip or an employee engaging in a daily commute, anytime you drive over the U.S./Mexico border, you must comply with Mexico’s insurance requirements.
The nation has a very strict requirement that all drivers in the country have a minimum of third party liability insurance. In general, you will need to hold at least $300,000 in third party liability insurance to help pay for damages and/or injuries you cause in an accident in Mexico.
Your car insurance in South Texas should always meet Mexico’s minimum third party liability insurance requirements if you plan to take your vehicle over the border. However, you may want to purchase a policy that offers coverage beyond the bare minimum.
For example, just as you do in the United States, you may wish to add collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and personal injury protection. Here is a brief look at the benefits each of these coverage’s provide:
Coverage for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident.
Coverage for damage not caused by an accident, including theft, vandalism, natural disaster damage and more.
Personal Injury Protection
Also known as PIP, this coverage is for medical expenses and lost wages for you and/or your passengers incurred due to an accident.
Choose a policy based on your time in the country
While purchasing a Mexico-specific policy for your vehicle insurance is required anytime you cross the border, the good news is that you have lots of options for the type of policy you buy.
For example, tourists who are only spending a short amount of time in Mexico can buy a temporary policy for a specific amount of time, such as for a week or for a month. You may also only need third party liability insurance for short stays.
If you commute regularly across the border, or spend significant periods of time in Mexico, however, you may want a more permanent policy. You may also want to purchase extended policies that include coverage such as collision, comprehensive or personal injury protection.
Work with an insurance agent to customize your policy in the RGV and McAllen
When purchasing South Texas car insurance, you want to avoid cookie cutter or pre-packaged policies, particularly if you plan to commute across the border to Mexico. There are many factors that can affect the types of policies you choose and the rates you pay. As a result, you should make sure your policy takes into account your specific situation and needs. Here are some of the factors that can influence the policy you choose and the rates you pay:
Age of your vehicle (e.g. Older vehicles may not need or even be able to get anything beyond a basic third party liability policy)
Time spent in Mexico
Your age (The younger you are, the more expensive your policy may be)
Your destination within Mexico
Your driving record
The make, model and year of your car
Whether or not you are towing anything
If you are planning to drive over the border into Mexico, it would be wise to consult with an experienced insurance agent who can work with you to get a specialized policy that will protect you in Mexico. Our SafeGuard Insurance Agency staff are always ready to help you find coverage that fits with your needs and your budget. Contact us anytime you need a quote or guidance on the right car insurance to buy, in the United States or in Mexico. We are here to help.
Home insurance is a valuable way to protect your home and belongings. The best policies are those that take your unique home and circumstances into account. If you live in the Rio Grande Valley, or in a town that borders Mexico, your circumstances make certain considerations important when purchasing your insurance. Here are some of our top tips for finding home insurance in the Rio Grande Valley.
Add flood insurance
Flooding is one of the most important risks to consider in the RGV and in towns along the Mexican border. Unfortunately, most standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. If your home lies within an established flood zone, or has a history of flooding, you may want to purchase an additional flood insurance policy.
These policies are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You can also find coverage through your insurance agent.
Add windstorm coverage to your policy
The RGV’s windy climate is also well-known, and poses a potential hazard to your home. Hurricanes and windstorms can quickly damage your property and cost you thousands of dollars to repair if you are not appropriately insured.
Before you commit to a policy, check to see if it covers windstorm damage. If it does not, you may want to consider buying another policy or asking your agent if you can add wind damage protection to your existing policy. Specifically covering this type of damage can prevent costly and stressful repairs in case your home suffers from the area’s high winds.
Buy based on your home’s replacement value
Homes throughout the RGV can vary widely in their value, from the inexpensive homes in the colonias to massive luxury estates in gated communities. In order to purchase a policy that protects your specific residence, purchase a policy based on the replacement value of your home.
The replacement value refers to how much money it would take to completely rebuild your home to its previous size and quality. This value is different from how much your home is worth (It could be more or less). By buying enough coverage to rebuild your space in the event of a complete loss, you have the peace of mind that you can recover from any disaster. Plus, you can more easily find a policy that covers your needs without exceeding your budget.
Purchase coverage for your personal property
Many of the cities in the RGV carry a higher risk of theft than the national average. In order to recoup any losses should your home be burgled, you should ensure that your RGV home insurance policy includes coverage for the estimated value of your belongings.
As with your home, make sure this insurance covers the replacement value of your things. In addition, consider additional policies or policy riders to protect precious items such as artwork, heirlooms, electronics, and jewelry.
Include liability coverage in your policy
Your responsibility as a homeowner is to make sure that your property is safe for any guests that enter your home or land. If someone is injured on your property (e.g., Slip and fall, dog bite), you will be responsible for covering their medical bills.
You can protect yourself from serious financial distress due to a guest experiencing an injury on your property by adding liability coverage to your homeowner’s insurance policy for your border town home. This coverage will protect you against the financial ramifications if someone is injured on your property and will help you pay for bills such as medical expenses.
Maintain an updated policy
Certain changes to your life can impact your home insurance policy. For example, if you add onto your home, your insurance policy will likely go up in order to keep up with the increased value of your space. If you get an expensive piece of jewelry, you may need to add it to your policy. If you adopt certain breeds of dogs, you may see your rates go up.
In order to make sure that you have comprehensive coverage for your home, it is important to keep your policy updated. Inform your agent of any updates or changes to your life, particularly major additions or subtractions from your family, your property, and your belongings. Even getting married can influence your rates, so keep your agent apprised as soon as possible so you never end up without coverage you need.
At SafeGuard Insurance Agency, we are happy to support your quest for a home insurance policy in the RGV. Our dedicated agents work with you to identify your needs and locate policies that fit your life and your budget. Trust us to guide you toward the options that achieve the value, and the cost, that you desire for your home.
If you get into an accident with your vehicle, you will want auto insurance to help protect you from financial loss. That means planning ahead and purchasing a policy before you drive your vehicle. While purchasing this type of policy is something almost every driver will do at some point in their lives, it is also a process prone to errors. Here are 5 of the most common auto insurance mistakes we see, and how you can avoid these problems by changing the way you purchase vehicle coverage.
Purchasing State Coverage Minimums
Texas requires drivers to have a minimum amount of liability coverage, primarily to protect others in the event you cause an accident. These minimums are as follows:
$30,000 per person for injuries
$60,000 injury protection total per accident
$25,000 for property damage
These coverage limits are restricted to liability coverage and are very low. A single accident could easily cost you more than $30,000 in injury expenses, for example, meaning that you would have to pay whatever damages occurred above and beyond what your insurance covers.
In addition, in many cases, restricting your insurance to liability coverage alone could leave you vulnerable to financial loss. For example, if your car is damaged, you may want collision insurance to cover the repair or replacement costs, and if your vehicle is damaged by hail, you may want the protection offered by a comprehensive policy.
Buying the minimum amount of insurance required by the state where you reside, therefore, could cost you thousands of dollars in the event of an accident, theft, or other event. Exploring options beyond these limits can provide more complete protection.
Omitting Information On Your Application
In order to provide you with accurate rates, insurance companies will require you to fill out an application. This document will request details such as the drivers who should be on your policy, the make and model of your car, how your car is used, and other data that will determine the rate you are offered.
In order to get a lower rate, some drivers omit certain pieces of information from their applications. Most commonly, they will leave off teen drivers, or fail to mention the business use of their vehicles.
Incomplete applications may lead to lower rates, but they can cost you money in the long run. For example, if you allow your teen to drive your vehicle and they get into an accident, your insurance may not cover the damages.
The best approach is to be open and honest on your application. Providing complete and accurate information can help insurance companies give you accurate quotes – And ensure that you get the protection you need.
Only Getting One Quote
The premiums available for the coverage you need can vary from company to company. That is why you should never settle for just one auto insurance quote. Comparing insurance companies by getting multiple quotes allows you to identify the best value for your insurance needs, and find premiums that best fit your financial situation. SafeGuard Insurance Agency will also provide you with 3-4 quotes for your auto insurance policy, allowing you to select coverage that gets you the coverage you need at the best possible price.
Failing to Look for Policy Discount
Many consumers forget, or do not know, to ask about discounts on their premiums. As one of the most common auto insurance mistakes, this one can also be costly by causing consumers to pay more than necessary for their policy.
There are many discounts available to drivers. Many consumers qualify for one or more of these discounts. Here are some of the most common reasons you may be able to save money on your insurance rates:
Bundling your auto insurance with home or life insurance
Insuring multiple cars
Having a AAA membership
Being a good student
Owning a car with certain safety features
Paying your insurance premium in full
Driving under a certain number of miles per year
Being a safe driver
The best way to determine which discounts might apply to you is to ask your insurance agent. They can often find savings that can drive your premiums down and save you significant amounts of money over time, without compromising on your coverage.
Not Using an Independent Insurance Agency
Another of the most common auto insurance mistakes we see customers making is failing to use an independent insurance agency, like SafeGuard Insurance Agency, to buy their coverage.
Pursuing coverage through captive insurance agents (Who only provide policies from one insurance company) can force you to do quite a bit of your own legwork to compare quotes, and you may struggle to get a wide enough range of quotes to really see what your insurance options are.
In addition, captive insurance agents are not motivated to find you the best rates and coverages for your needs. Instead, they are driven by a desire to sell their insurance company’s policies. As a result, you may end up with the wrong coverage, more coverage than you need, and higher premiums.
An independent insurance agency, on the other hand, has the freedom and the ability to pursue quotes from many companies. As a result, they work for you, the customer, and are able to customize a plan to your individual needs. The result is a wide selection of quotes, more comprehensive coverage, and premiums that fit your budget.
If you are looking to purchase auto insurance in the RGV, contact us for a free quote. We are happy to work with you to find policies that match your requirements and satisfy your budget.
Property damage or loss of belongings can be a financially devastating event for homeowners. That is why home insurance is a necessity for individuals who wish to be protected in the event of a disaster. In order to get adequate protection, there are certain common mistakes that you should try to avoid. Here are 10 of the most frequent purchasing errors we see clients make – And suggestions for avoiding them.
Choosing a Policy Based on Price
The cost of home insurance in the RGV is a frequent concern for customers – And rightly so. Affordable policies are essential in making this type of protection available for homeowners. However, one of the biggest mistakes customers make is choosing their policy based solely on which one offers them the lowest price. Selecting the cheapest policy can present a number of problems, including the following:
Ending up with an insurer who is difficult to work with
Getting inadequate coverage
Dealing with a dishonest insurer
The best way to avoid this problem is to deal with an independent insurance company who can work with you to get reasonably-priced policies that also meet your coverage needs. Reputable, highly-regarded companies that put your insurance needs first can help you balance your budget and coverage in a satisfactory way.
Selecting Inadequate Coverage
As with most insurance policies, the less coverage you purchase, the lower your premium will be. As a result, many customers only purchase the coverage required by their mortgage company.
However, while you may save money by buying less coverage, you may end up paying much more in the event of a disaster. For example, say your home is worth $350,000 but you only owe your mortgage company $150,000.
Your mortgage company may only require you to purchase home insurance coverage equal to $150,000 to cover your outstanding balance. However, say a disaster results in a total loss of $200,000. You will be left paying $50,000 out of your own pocket.
You can prevent this problem by working with your insurance agent to get coverage that will protect you in the event of even a total loss.
Misunderstanding Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Costs
When buying home insurance in McAllen, you will choose between actual cash value and replacement costs for your policy. One mistake some customers make is to choose actual cash value rather than replacement costs.
Actual cash value means that you will receive reimbursement that matches the value of your belongings when you file the claim. This approach means you may not receive enough compensation to cover the cost of replacing items whose purchase price is more than their actual cash value.
In order to avoid this problem, you may want to purchase a policy that provides you with the replacement costs of your belongings. This means that you will receive financial protection that allows you to rebuild your home or replace your possessions without spending as much of your own money out of pocket.
Home insurance rarely includes a single, flat-rate deductible. Instead, you may need to pay different deductibles for different disasters. For example, you may pay a different deductible for replacing your roof after a storm than you do for rebuilding part of your home after a tree falls on it. In order to be prepared for these expenses, make sure you understand your policy’s terms and rates. Your insurance agent can help walk you through your policy to ensure that you understand what you will owe in the event of any disaster.
Failing to Understand Exclusions
One of the most common home insurance mistakes we see customers make is assuming that every disaster is covered by their policy. While this type of policy covers many incidents that can affect your home and belongings, there are often certain exclusions that you should be aware of. Here are some of the situations that are typically not covered by home insurance:
Certain items such as jewelry
You should talk to your agent before purchasing a policy to understand the limits of your policy and what will and will not be covered.
Failing to Bundle Policies
Home insurance is rarely the only policy customers purchase. Insurance for vehicles, pets, medical expenses, and more are often part of the policies that they buy in order to protect every area of their life.
One common home insurance mistake that consumers make is to buy these policies separately, often from different insurers. The result is that they end up paying more than if they had bundled their policies with a single insurer.
When purchasing home insurance in the RGV, ask about discounts for bundling policies. You can often enjoy discounts that make all of your policies more affordable.
Neglecting to Update Home Insurance Coverage
Changes are inevitable over time, but sometimes, customers fail to recognize how those changes may impact their home insurance coverage. There are certain life events or changes that you should consider discussing with your insurance agent. Here are some of them:
Renovating or adding onto your home
Additions to the family
Addition or loss of a pet
Addition of security features
Starting a business
Thinking Home Insurance Will Cover Their Renters’ Property
Home insurance is intended to cover the policy holder’s belongings and property, and the belongings of those who live with them. What it will not cover is the belongings of renters. In this case, it is best for tenants to purchase their own renters’ insurance to protect their personal possessions.
Failing to Get Multiple Quotes
The first quote you receive on home insurance does not always reflect that policy that will best serve your needs. You may end up with a quote that is too high, coverage that is inadequate, or an insurance company that is not responsive to your needs.
Instead of relying on a single quote, shop around to find several quotes for the coverage you need. Or, use an independent insurance agency like SafeGuard who can help you find, and understand, multiple quotes. Once you have several quotes in hand, you can make a more informed decision regarding the policy that will best work for your needs.
Failing to Complete a Home Inventory
You do not have to inventory your home in order to purchase home insurance. However, not doing so could be a mistake. If you underestimate how much your home and belongings are worth, you may find yourself under insured if disaster strikes.
Instead, take the time to determine the real value of your home. Make a list of your belongings and research their value. You can focus primarily on the items that have value, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, and jewelry.
This list will not only help you get the right amount of coverage, but it will also help you to get the right reimbursement if a covered event ever occurs.
Home insurance mistakes can be expensive. Finding an insurance agent, such as SafeGuard Insurance Agency, to help you through the buying process, can save you money. Let us assist you in getting home insurance that meets your needs, at a price that fits your budget. Contact us today for a free quote.