The JRC Blog

Tero Technologies Company Wins San Antonio Insurance Cost Reduction Award

Carnahan Insurance announces the Insurance Cost Reduction Award has been presented to Tero Technologies. Located in San Antonio, Tero Technologies has been in business since 1999. The company is a leading provider of high speed network infrastructure and audio visual systems.   Tero provides 24/7 support for clients’ IT needs.DSCF1014

Tero Technologies was chosen for the $53,000 in insurance premium savings they received by bringing their insurance coverage to Carnahan Insurance!

“Tero Technologies is a company with many insurance needs. They have expensive, heavy equipment used by their employees, and the projects they work on are critical to their customers’ success. My company was able to reduce their insurance expense by $53,000 with no erosion in coverage,” said Jerry Carnahan, President of Carnahan Insurance. He continued, “It’s professionally satisfying for me to be able to provide risk reduction advice, programs and tools to this company, as well as so many other great businesses in San Antonio. It also makes me and my staff very happy to help companies achieve significant cost savings.”

“Carnahan Insurance provides my company with the same commitment to customer service that we bring to our clients,” explained Tero Technologies president Robin Portenier. She continued, “Not only does Carnahan Insurance shares our commitment to excellence, but they were able to save us over $50,000! I can’t imagine why any San Antonio business owner would not talk with Jerry Carnahan about their insurance.”

5 Simple Ways to Save on Health Care Costs

save money health care medical bills health insuranceEvery year health care costs seem to raise higher and higher. Whether it’s copays and premiums, doctor’s visits, or prescription drugs, medical costs can eat up your pay check pretty quickly.

High deductible plans are becoming more popular in employer-provided plans, which means you pay more cash out of your pocket upfront. Health insurance plans are choosing not to cover prescription drugs more often than not. Doctor’s fees are going up because they have to pay their growing bills too.

 

Even though medical costs are rising and there is no perfect health insurance policy to ease the pain, you can still save money on health care by following these 5 simple steps.

 

Know what your health insurance plan covers

Knowing what your health insurance plan covers can save you hundreds. If you know that your plan covers a certain amount for an emergency room visit but covers even more for a clinic visit, that will help you make the best decision for your bank account. Find out what your plan offers for preapprovals, doctor visit copays, emergency room visits, and medical procedures. Also be familiar and take advantage of any preventative tests and procedures that are 100% covered.

 

Need more information on health insurance plans? Have questions about yours or curious if you can get a cheaper plan? JR Carnahan Insurance would be happy to help find the best solution for your specific needs!

 

Shop around for medical prescriptions

Always ask your doctor if there is a generic version of a medication as those are usually cheaper than the brand name. In addition, don’t just settle for the closest CVS, call different pharmacies to see what prices they can offer. Another option is to shop online for your ongoing prescription drugs.

 

Double check your bills and negotiate big ones

insurance companies and doctor offices are run by people, which means mistakes happen. Read your bills very carefully and check for errors. Make sure the math is correct and the procedures listed are what you actually received. If you end up in the hospital or undergoing an expensive procedure, always ask for an itemized bill to check for errors. Also talk with the billing department to see if they offer discounts for paying in cash, payment plans, or financial aid.

 

Use a flexible spending account

Using a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) allows you to contribute pretax dollars to an account to be used for medical expenses only. Some employers might even match or contribute to the account also. This deduction not only lowers your taxable income, but it can also be used on things like toothpaste, band aids, shampoo, and over the counter medications. Check with your employer or the bank to see what can be purchased with your account.

 

Prevent, Prevent, Prevent!

The best way to save on medical costs is to stay healthy. Eating right, exercising, drinking water, and getting enough sleep can contribute to a healthier future and thus, a deeper pocket. Visit your primary care physician annually to stay on top of rising conditions that could be prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Even with the rising health care costs, you don’t have to pay and arm and a leg for your medical needs. Taking the time to shop around, save up, and live a healthy lifestyle is worth it!

5 Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips

holiday road trip safety
An estimated 99 million Americans travel during the holidays with over 38 million of those traveling by car. The traffic alone can cause some serious stress, not to mention winter storms, construction, wildlife, and distractions from inside the car. With all these risks, it’s no surprise that a 2 hour car trip could end up taking 5 hours.

 

Before you leave for your holiday road-trip, consider these tips given by experts to keep you and those you love safe on the roads: 

 

Car Emergency Kit

Most auto supply stores will have an “all-in-one” car emergency kit that include the essentials like jumper cables, a first aid kit, batteries, a flashlight, etc. The Department of Transportation suggests you include all of the items listed below. If you already have all the items needed, just buy a plastic box to keep them nice and tidy in your trunk.
  • Roadside flares
  • A first-aid kit
  • Work gloves or latex gloves
  • Two quarts of oil
  • Jumper cables
  • One gallon of antifreeze
  • Brake fluid
  • Extra fuses
  • A blanket
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries
  • A Phillips head screwdriver
  • A flat head screwdriver
  • Vise grips
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A pair of pliers
  • A tire inflator
  • A tire pressure gauge
  • Some rags and a funnel
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A roll of paper towels
  • A spray bottle with washer fluid
  • An ice scraper
  • Triangle reflectors and flares.
  • A pocketknife

 

Portable Backup Battery

Ipads and smartphones are not only for entertainment value when taking a road tip. Having a fully charged phone is crucial while on the road, especially if you are in an accident or stranded. A portable backup battery can be charged at home and taken with you on the road. Another benefit to having one of these is that you won’t have to share one cigaret charger with the rest of the family.

 

Water and Snacks

You never know when traffic will come to a standstill or a flat tire leaves you on the side of the road for hours. It’s always smart to have a few bottles of water and some granola bars, fruit, nuts, and other snacks on hand just in case. Even if you don’t need the supplies yourself, you might run across someone else in need.

 

Kitty Litter

In the case that your car gets stuck in snow, ice, or even mud, laying kitty litter in front of the tires can give you enough traction to get moving again. Have a bag or two handy in the trunk if you plan to be driving through snow or ice.

 

Roadside Assistance

Last but not least, make sure to have your AAA or roadside assistance card handy, along with your drivers license. Jumper cables and kitty litter isn’t always enough to get you out of a bind while on a road tip. It’s also a good idea to make sure your proof of  insurance card is updated and in your glove department.

 

Save Travels!

Don’t let the stress of holiday traveling keep you from taking a road trip to see family or a new part of the country. Gathering just a few supplies can give you peace of mind when on the road. Safe travels!

Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Car

Fall is here and the weather is changing in San Antonio. It’s a great time to prep your car for the coming temperature drops and changing road conditions. Keeping your vehicle maintained now is the best preventative measure you can take to avoid costly emergencies later.

Here is a handy fall vehicle maintenance checklist to get you started:

Get an Oil Change

Motor oil is essential to your vehicle’s maintenance. It keeps metal surfaces from grinding together, reduces heat from friction, and many other functions. It’s recommended to get an oil change every 3,000-5,000 miles, depending on your car and the type of driving you do. Check the owners manual to find out the optimal mileage for an oil change your particular vehicle.

Check the Battery

Take a good look at the battery connections and make sure they are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. If a connection becomes lose or there is corrosion this will affect the charging of the alternator.

Test the Heater, Defrosters, Wiper Blades

Before the temperatures drop, take time to test the heater, defrosters, and check the air filter. Although it varies per vehicle, it’s recommended to change your air filter every 30,000-45,000 miles. Make sure your wiper blades are not torn or cracked and that the wiper fluid is full. Wiper blades are recommended to be replaced every six months.

Inspect Tires

You’ll want to check the tire pressure as well as the tread depth on your tires. Check the owners manual for the proper tire pressure and be careful not to over or under inflate the tires. As temperatures drop, the air pressure changes in your tires so it’s smart to check them weekly. Also, look for uneven wear, bulges, and bald spots. An easy way to check tire tread is to insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Check Breaks

This something you might want to have a mechanic look at. Have them check the brake linings, rotors, and drums to be sure they are in tip-top shape.

Check the Radiator Fluid

Radiator Fluid, or coolant, keeps the engine cool in the hotter months and also transfers heat to the inside of the car during the cooler months. Coolant should be changed every 2-5 years depending on the type of coolant used, and a full radiator flush is recommended once a year. You’ll want to check the hoses to make sure there are no rips or tears where leaking could be a problem.

Evaluate Belts and Hoses

Take a look at all the belts and hoses to see if there is any evidence of cracking, fraying, or leaking. Rips or leaks could cause major issues so if you see any signs of that take your car to a mechanic.

Test Headlights and Taillights

It’s hard to tell if one of your headlights or taillights are out. Take the time to make sure they are all bright and working otherwise you could have an accident or get a hefty ticket.

Take Preventative Measures Now

Why not take a little time to perform a few preventative measures to make sure your car is healthy and ready for the winter? Whether you perform the checks yourself or you take your vehicle to a mechanic, just a few checks now can save you from a costly emergency later.

Another great way to prepare for the harsh winter months is to make sure your auto insurance coverage is updated and specialized to your needs and location. Contact us if you have questions about your current plan or want a complimentary quote.

Commercial Transportation Insurance for Your Business

Our country depends on the transportation industry to keep things running. Whether it’s food, fuel, building supplies, or people, we rely on large vehicles and their drivers to safely deliver cargo. Because the demand for consumer goods is increasing and will only continue to increase, the number of large vehicles on the roads is also increasing.

Accidents do happen and should anything happen to your company’s vehicle, driver, or cargo while on the road, commercial auto insurance can assist with the losses. From the medical bills of the driver to the repair or replacement of the vehicle and cargo, transportation insurance is a must for any company that uses commercial vehicles to deliver goods.

What types of vehicles qualify for commercial transportation insurance?

If your company uses cars, vans, trucks, busses, trains, planes, boats, etc. to transport goods for business purposes, then you qualify for commercial auto/transportation insurance. In fact, if you use any type of vehicle for business purposes it must be insured with commercial auto insurance. Whether your company has a large fleet, small fleet, or a single vehicle, the vehicle, driver, and cargo need to be protected from the risks of the road.

  • Passenger car or van
  • Passenger bus
  • Minivan
  • Agricultural truck
  • Box or straight truck
  • Cargo van
  • Car carrier
  • Flatbed truck
  • Catering truck
  • Cement mixer
  • Delivery van
  • Hearse
  • Ice cream truck
  • Motor home
  • Limousine
  • Pickup truck
  • Fifth wheel truck
  • Sport utility vehicle
  • Pump truck
  • Step van
  • Tank truck
  • Trunk tractor
  • Tow truck
  • Refrigerated truck
  • Wheelchair bus
  • Wheelchair van
  • Front loader
  • Garbage truck

What does commercial transportation insurance cover?

Similar to personal auto insurance, commercial transportation insurance includes liability, physical damage, and more.

  • Auto liability
  • Physical damage
  • Cargo
  • General liability
  • Occupational accident
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • More!

Companies who use vehicles for business purposes and are responsible for transporting cargo would be wise to make sure all their vehicles, drivers, and cargo are covered with transportation insurance, no matter what business they are in.

Contact us today to get started with insuring your company’s vehicles, drivers, and cargo.

What Is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Did you know that 1 out of 7 drivers in the United States are currently uninsured?

This leaves you, a responsible auto insurance-carrying citizen, in jeopardy. Unfortunately, if you are injured or your car is damaged in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist (a driver who does not have auto insurance), you will not be able to file a claim and will be stuck with the bills yourself. The only other option besides forking over your own money for the injuries or damages is to try to collect from the driver yourself or file a lawsuit. Both of these options are time consuming, frustrating, and do not guarantee any payment.

The best way to protect yourself against this type of situation is to carry a Uninsured and/or Underinsured Motorist Insurance policy.

What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured Motorist Insurance is coverage that protects you if you are involved in an auto accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance. Underinsured Motorist Insurance protects you when the other driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the damages. Although it is required by law for every driver to carry auto insurance, thousands of Americans choose to drive uninsured. You never know when you might be rear ended by someone who does not have insurance.

What are the different types of UM coverage?

There are four types of uninsured motorist insurance and depending on the state they are either mandatory or optional. Sometimes these coverages will come in a bundle while other times they must be purchased separately.

• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance (UM or UMBI) – This covers medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering if caused by an uninsured/underinsured motorist
• Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance (UMPD) – This covers the damage to vehicle but may not be available in all states. In some cases it may cover a hit-and-run.

Who Needs Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

We suggest that anyone who drives carries a UM policy on their auto insurance plan. In certain states, it is mandatory to carry this type of coverage, but in others it is option. Because nearly 15% of drivers are uninsured or underinsured, we recommend that every driver have UM coverage, whether it is required or not.

What are the limits for UMBI/UMPD?

When you decide to purchase a UMBI/UMPD policy your insurance company will ask you to choose the limits on your plan. A limit is the highest amount your insurance will pay you should you file a claim.

In most cases, UM coverage will have split limits. This means that the coverage will be different if there is one person involved or multiple people involved on the claim. For example, in a $15,000/$30,000 split limit, $15,000 would be the most your insurance would pay if you were injured or $30,000 would be the most they would pay if the other passengers were also injured.

The other option for coverage is called a Combined Single Limit and covers everyone in the car with one lump sum. For example, if you chose a combined single limit of $30,000, that would be the maximum amount your insurance pays you for all injuries sustained in the accident.

Do I need to get Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Given the statistics of how many uninsured and underinsured drivers there are on the road these days, we suggest you take every precaution possible to avoid being left with outrageous bills in the case of an accident. It’s not fair to be stuck paying for damages you didn’t cause just because the other driver was not responsible enough to purchase auto insurance. However, it does happen and that’s why we advise every driver carry a UMBI and UMPD policy if possible.

When to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Your dishwasher floods and ruins your beautiful wooden floors. A tree falls on your fence and knocks it down. A hailstorm dents your roof and smashes in your skylight.

Most of us would think to simply file a claim with our homeowners insurance and they will take care of it. Unfortunately filing a claim to your homeowners insurance is not as straightforward as expected.

An insurance company considers many things when it comes to paying a claim. Sometimes your insurance company will raise your premium or cancel your policy all together. Sometimes they reject the claim because you’re not actually covered for what you thought you were.

Damages happen to your home at any time and by various causes, but how do you know when and when not to file a claim with your homeowners insurance? Here are a few tips for when and when not to file a claim:

1. Don’t file a claim unless it’s significantly more than your deductible

Before you file a claim it’s a good idea to assess the damage and understand all the costs involved in the repairs. If the cost to repair is less than the deductible or only slight above the deductible, it’s usually better not to file a claim and fork over the money out of pocket. However, if the cost to repair is significantly more than your deductible, at least double the deductible, then it should qualify as a claim.

2. Don’t file a claim if you aren’t actually covered

Check your coverage before you file any type of claim on your homeowners insurance. Sometimes people think they are covered for certain losses that are not covered. For example, many people think they are covered for flood damage when in fact flood insurance is a completely different policy and not included in homeowners insurance.

3. Don’t file a claim if it’s not sudden, accidental, and catastrophic

Insurance companies are very picky when it comes to the type of damage they will cover for your home. If your son accidentally breaks a window while throwing baseballs in the backyard, your insurance may or may not cover the damage. While it is sudden and accidental, it’s not necessarily catastrophic. Another example type of claim that often gets rejected is if the damage is actually a home improvement project, like a rotted fence or old carpet. Read your homeowners insurance policy carefully to determine what exactly they will cover.

4. Don’t file a claim if you’ve submitted too many claims in one year

This one is tricky because there is no fine line for how many claims are too many. It’s a good idea to keep track of how many claims you file each year and check your history before filing another. A good way to do that is to look up your CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange), which is a collection of all the personal auto and property claims you’ve made over the past 7 years. Insurance companies measure your chances of receiving a settlement based on your CLUE, so it’s smart to be familiar.

5. When in doubt, ask your agent!

Considering the fact that filing a homeowners insurance claim is tricky, it’s usually best to go through an insurance agent who knows the ins and outs of the industry. They can help you determine whether a claim will increase your premiums or knock you off the policy or if you might have a chance of getting a settlement.

Don’t have an insurance agent?

If you’re looking for some guidance on filing a homeowners insurance claim, just contact us for a complimentary quote and to discuss your particular needs.

7 Fall Home Maintenance Tips to Make Your Home Winter-Ready!

happy-fall-yall-2

Today is the first day of Fall, which means cooler weather is on its way.  As a homeowner, it’s time to consider how to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. One of the best ways to save money is to take preventative measures by making sure your home is in tip top shape. Maintaining your home lowers the risk of damages that lead to costly repairs and insurance claims that can raise your homeowners insurance rates.

Here are 7 fall home maintenance tips to make sure your home is winter-ready!

1. Check Roof

Make sure that your roof is solid and ready to roll for the cooler months. Any rips, tears, missing shingles, or cracks can not only allow water into your home, but also allows heat to escape, causing a jump in your energy bills.

2. Clean Gutter

If your gutters are cramped full of leaves, water has no place to escape and can puddle on your roof or drip down the exterior walls of your home. As you can imagine, this can be disastrous to your home. You might have to clean your gutters a few times this fall depending on how many trees you have.

3. Check Windows & Doors

Make sure your windows and doors are up-to-date, installed and sealed properly, and made out of quality materials. You might lose major bucks if they aren’t top notch because of heat leaking out and water leaking in.

4. Check Heating System

Getting an A/C inspection is always a good idea. It can be extremely frustrating when your heat goes out unexpectedly during the cold winter months. Especially when it could have been avoided by a few simple checks.

5. Clean Fireplace, Furnace, & Chimney

Most San Antonio homes don’t have a furnace, but in the case that you do, get it inspected. Also make sure to clean the fireplace and chimney so that soot and smoke can escape properly when it’s in use.

6. Inspect Pipes

Now to the water system. If you’ve ever experienced a burst pipe during a freeze, you know how much of a hassle and expense it can be. Inspect your pipes, make sure there aren’t any leaks or weak spots, and wrap any exposed pipes.

7. Winterize Sprinkler System, Garden Hoses, Outdoor Faucets, Sump Pump, etc.

Any outdoor water lines that still have water in them when temps start to drop, are at risk for freezing and bursting. Make sure to inspect, drain, and turn off the water for each of these water lines before and during a freeze. You might want to hire a professional to winterize your sprinkler system if you’re not confident in doing it yourself.

While winter snow and freezes aren’t a huge scare to most San Antonio home owners, we do get occasional freezes that can cause major harm to your home. Don’t get stuck submitting insurance claims and paying for repairs that could have been avoided by taking preventative measures this fall.

Another great way to get prepared for the winter months is to take a second look at your homeowners insurance policy. Revisiting your coverage each year with your insurance agent will ensure  you are taking advantage of additional savings and have the best coverage possible for your needs. Contact JR Carnahan if you have questions, want to look over your current policy, or are interested in getting a quote for Homeowners Insurance.

Why is Auto Insurance More Expensive for Young and New Drivers?

As a young driver, or parent of a young driver, you might be shocked by how much it cost to purchase auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, auto insurance rates for drivers under 25 can be double or triple what older drivers pay.

So why do young drivers pay more for auto young driver car insurance auto insurance new driverinsurance?

There are many factors that contribute to why young drivers pay so much more for car insurance. The fact is, insurance companies base their premiums on the driver’s record and the likelihood of financial risk that the driver is to the insurance company. The less experienced the driver, the higher the risk. The higher the risk, the higher the cost of coverage.

Here are a few factors that influence the cost of car insurance for young drivers:

Unproven Record

When a new driver hits the road, they are basically guilty until proven innocent. The insurance company has no historical data to predict or measure whether the driver will be safe or reckless. Because they don’t have a driving record to prove otherwise, the insurance company assumes the worst-case scenario when calculating risk. Therefore, they raise the rates to cover all the “what-ifs” of a reckless driver. As the driver gains experience and a driving record they can be awarded lower auto insurance premiums.

teen car insurance accidentAccident Prone

It’s no surprise that new drivers tend to be more accident prone simply because they don’t have much experience behind the wheel. New drivers have a harder time reacting to driving hazards and are more likely to panic or over-correct. Becoming a skillful driver takes time and experience in various situations to practice. Because of this, insurance companies know the probability of a new driver being involved in an accident is higher than a seasoned driver. So they make sure the rates will cover for these probabilities.

Distracted Driving

Another statistically proven fact is that younger drivers are easily distracted while driving. Not only do they have their cell phones, music, and GPS systems to distract them, they can also be distracted by other passengers or trying to multitask. In our fast paced world, teens are running from home to school to football practice and trying to eat, communicate, or put on makeup as they drive. Many young drivers do not yet realize the danger they are putting themselves and others in attempting to multitask while driving. Distracted driving is a huge problem and insurance companies have the data to prove it. Yet another reason to raise premiums for young drivers.

Financial Risk

For these reasons and more, young drivers are statistically more of a financial risk to insurance companies which is why their premiums are significantly higher than more experienced drivers. While car insurance rates for teens and new drivers might be disheartening at first, remember that if you keep a clean driving record you will be able to lower your premium over time. Insurance companies love to reward safe drivers! Not only that, but you’ll be doing the world a service by being safe on the road!
JR Carnahan offers all types of Personal Insurance, including Auto Insurance. If you are a young driver or parent of a new driver and have questions regarding purchasing an auto insurance policy or updating a current one, contact us today! We would love to assist you in finding the best insurance solution for your business!

Take a Break Labor Day and Let Your Insurance do the Work

happy labor dayOur country was founded by hard working men and women who gave their blood, sweat, and tears so that we can enjoy the American Dream.

And it’s because of people like them that the American Dream lives on.

That’s why JR Carnahan’s goal is to serve everyone with excellence. Our goal is to go above and beyond to make sure your expectations are exceeded and all your insurance needs are met. Each of our clients have different needs and we work hard to make sure their insurance plans are specialized and prepared just for them!

It’s our little contribution in keeping the American Dream alive.

This Labor Day is a great time to consider the security that an insurance plan can offer you and your family. Whether it’s health, life, auto, or business insurance, give yourself a break and let JR Carnahan worry about the “what-ifs” of life. For all of your insurance needs, don’t wait to contact us at JR Carnahan Insurance!

Now it’s time to relax!

As we celebrate Labor Day, we want to thank all those who help achieve the strength, prosperity, and well-being of this country. You work hard to provide for your family, serve the work force, and give back to your community.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday!

In celebration of Labor Day, our offices will be closed on September 7th. We want to give our hard-working team a much-deserved rest! Fear not, we’ll be back to serve you bright and early on the 8th!

Preparing you for the bumps in life