Tag Archives: natural disasters

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!

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.

How To Get The Best Insurance Rates

It’s all who AND what you know…

Many people think by going straight to the insurance companies they can ‘cut out the middleman’. The parallel may be true with car sales where you pay a sticker price for a physical good that needs to be sold before it depreciates, but that’s not the way insurance works. You see, insurance companies control a pool of money and bet against occurrences such as car accidents and natural disasters that destroy or damage housing and business offices.

When there are more of these occurrences in its area than expected, the company receives more claims, draining the insurance pool. The company needs to apply for the approval to raise its rates higher or else it goes out of business. Unfortunately, that means higher rates for its customers.

So how do I get the best insurance rate?

 

tornadoRates will depend on how many claims a company is receiving. If your city is peaceful, but the east-side of your state is at risk of frequent tornadoes, it would be better to have a house insurance company that serves just your city. Same goes for floods, fires, termites, etc.

So the best bet is to shop around to see which insurance companies cover which areas, whether those areas are risky, and what kind of claim volume they have been experiencing. Sounds like a good deal of work, eh?

Brokerage agencies such as ours are in the unique position to get bulk quotes from local, state-wide, and national companies. We can see what the lowest quote is currently for home, auto, business insurance, etc. Additionally, since we have been tracking occurrences for areas and claims rates for different insurance companies, we can  forecast with a pretty good accuracy how rates will go up and down. It’s all about fast access to the right information. Simple enough, right? Quotes are free, so don’t neglect to get one now.