Is Your Business Underinsured? How to Find Out

Commercial businesses may face a number of different threats on a daily basis in Austin, TX. However, when owners get used to everything functioning on status quo, they may lose sight of these very real dangers. It’s one of the reasons why most businesses are underinsured. See where you’re most likely to experience a problem in Austin, TX, and what you can do to stop it. 

Litigation Concerns 

Antitrust laws, unfair competition, sexual harassment: they’re all ways that a business can come under scrutiny for what they do and how they handle problems. A legal battle can drain a company’s resources extremely quickly, whether the claims are warranted or not. If you don’t think you have enough leverage if something like this happens to you, it’s time to find out more about how the right commercial insurance from Southwest Insurance Center can help. 

Virtual Dangers 

Hackers have been proliferating over the past few decades because there’s so much to be gained from getting into the right system. Criminals use everything from social baiting to advanced cryptography to ransom your information. Even juggernauts like Apple can have a difficult time predicting what they’ll do, so it’s not always a matter of investing in better security. 

Crime 

Burglaries and vandalism may not be very common where you are, but that doesn’t mean you can get complacent. Your business is too important to your lifestyle to leave yourself undefended from criminals of all kinds.  

Southwest Insurance Center can give you more information about the threats in your area, and what you can do to get the right amount of coverage. Whether you’ve recently expanded your business or you realize you’re not quite as prepared as you want to be, give us a call today to find out more!

Reasons Why It’s Dangerous to be Uninsured

It might seem appealing to hold off on purchasing life insurance because you’re young or healthy. However, you could find your loved ones in a predicament if you believe you don’t need life insurance. The consequences of not purchasing a policy through Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, could be tremendous. 

1. Your Loved One’s Business or Assets

Whoever steps up to the plate to take care of the expenses when you die could find themselves in debt. It could affect their business or assets. This is especially the case if they have to take out a loan and end up not being able to pay for it. 

2. Business Expenses

If you pass and own a business, especially with another person, the debt of your business will fall into the hands of your next of kin. If you have a partner, you could harm him or her financially when you pass, but an insurance policy can help. 

3. Family Financial Ruin

If you have a home that’s not paid off, young children or debt, think about what your family is financially going to do without you. You could leave them without a way to pay off the home, take care of the children or pay off debt. 

4. Stress

Your loved ones will be stressed enough after your passing. Relieve them of some of the stress they have by having an insurance policy that allows them to focus on mourning you. If you pass unexpectedly, it makes it even harder on your family. When your family doesn’t have the money for the funeral they want for you, it’ll leave them with a permanent regret. 

Contact Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, to open a life insurance policy by calling 512-280-6100. 
 

 

When Should You Consider Buying Flood Insurance?

At Southwest Insurance Center, serving the greater Austin, TX area, we have learned that there are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding flood insurance. Flood insurance is not typically included in your home insurance policy. It is an add-on policy that you can purchase. But many people do not know when they should buy it or if they should. Here is some information that you should consider if you are on the fence about buying this type of insurance. 

Your Flood Risk Zone

If you live in a home zoned as an A or V flood zone, your risk of flooding is high. In many cases, lenders require you to purchase flood insurance if you live in one of these high-risk flood areas. If you live in one of these areas, buying flood insurance is something you should do, even if it isn’t required. If you live in a flood zone B, C, or X, you have a low to moderate risk of flooding. It is up to you to decide if you should purchase flood insurance. If you live in a D zone, the risk has not yet been assessed, typically because it is an area that doesn’t have a lot of residents or is slowly being build up. 

The Risk For Low to Moderate Flood Zones

Over 20 percent of all homes that are flooded are zoned as a low to moderate flood zones. This is one out of five houses. As such, you should not disregard buying flood insurance just because you view your risk as being small. If you cannot afford to replace your home without causing yourself financial hardship, you should consider insuring it with flood insurance. 

If you are looking to obtain a quote for flood insurance in the Austin, TX area, let Southwest Insurance Center help. Call us today to get started on your free quote. 

How You Can Benefit From Umbrella Insurance

There is absolutely no doubt that our society has become more litigious by the day. This is a fact the professional and knowledgeable staff at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX does not shy away from. Protecting yourself from a lawsuit is an important consideration that you should be well acquainted with especially if you are a homeowner.

Umbrella Insurance is very basic protection for the "in between" areas of your basic home, auto, life or commercial insurance policy.  Umbrella insurance used to be considered for only the very wealthy, however, it is never pleasant to lose your hard-earned home to a lawsuit judgment from an auto wreck that exceeded your auto liability insurance ceiling.

Umbrella insurance can protect you, your business and your family if you are liable for excessive amounts of damages where you, your business, or a family member were found to be at fault.  

Whether or not you decide to take out an umbrella insurance policy is contingent upon, like any other insurance product, what type of lifestyle you lead. Are you in a position to incur a loss as a result of certain aspects of your lifestyle? Is your business vulnerable?  Umbrella insurance policies pick up where typical insurance policies end.    

An umbrella policy can benefit anyone because anything can happen. However, if you fall within a certain professional background or have inherent risk involved with your business or personal lifestyle, now would be a great time to think about whether this extra added arm of insurance is right for you and your family. 

Come in today to speak with the agents at Southwest Insurance Center. Serving the Austin, TX location and the surrounding areas we would love to set your mind at ease regarding this additional protection.  

Austin, Texas RV/Motorhome Insurance Liability for Guests from Southwest Insurance Center

If you have guests sleep overnight in your RV in Austin TX, you may be liable for anything that happens while they are there. This doesn’t mean you should never invite guests over. Instead, maybe it’s time to consider what additional insurance options are available for your peace of mind. Your Southwest Insurance Center agent can help by providing information and quotes on the various coverage options. 

Texas RV Coverage

Your car insurance may cover personal injury and collision liability for accidents, but the limits won’t cover extensive damage to your RV in Austin, TX. Also, it likely won’t cover perils such as theft or natural disasters. 
This is where optional coverage comes in. Work with your Southwest Insurance Center agent to customize your RV policy to your personal situation.

RV Coverage

For your expected or unexpected guests, choose from the following, especially if you will be traveling with people outside your immediate family. See the vacation coverage for more information on protecting yourself when you are vacationing but not on the road.

  • Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damages suffered by others if you cause an accident. 
  • Comprehensive covers costs if your RV is damaged by a non-collision incident.
  • Collision coverage helps repair or replace your RV in case of a collision.
  • Vacation liability helps with costs of others’ injuries or property damage. However, this coverage is meant to cover you for vacation purposes, not road operation.
  • Roadside assistance coverage covers you for RV mechanical breakdowns.
  • All Perils covers all risks and accidents that could possibly occur, with a few exclusions. Customized Austin, TX RV insurance for named perils include coverage on events you specify, such as acts of God and other events. In Austin, TX that covers things like theft, wind, hail, and storms.

Speak with your Southwest Insurance Center agent by calling 512-280-6100 or visit us online today.

 

Does Motorcycle Insurance Go Up After Accidents?

Austin, TX residents like you love riding motorcycles around the beautiful Texas landscape. However, what happens when you get into an accident? Will your rates increase? That’s what we at Southwest Insurance Center are here to help you find out.

Rate Increases Aren’t Always Automatic

One thing that is important to understand is that rate increase aren’t always automatic after an accident. Rate increases are common if the person driving the motorcycle was at fault or if they had no-fault insurance. It is also likely if the crash was very severe and the bike was wrecked. Increases are caused by an insurance company feeling uncertain about the safety of a specific driver.

Typical Rate Increases

If your insurance company has told you that there will be a rate increase after your motorcycle crash, it is important to know a typical rate increase. The Insurance Services Office suggests raising it by a minimum of 20 percent all the way up to 40 percent. However, some companies may increase rates by as much as 100 percent, particularly in dangerous motorcycle accidents caused by the driver.

Other Concerns

Another problem that often affects motorcycle drivers after an accident is a subrogation. This occurs when your insurance company wants some reimbursement after an accident if you pursue a lawsuit and win. Motorcycle accident lawsuits are common, and insurance companies may feel they are obligated to some of that money. However, these demands are illegal, unlike a rate increase. Thankfully, most companies won’t try this sort of thing.

Protecting Yourself From Increased Rates

If you live in Austin, TX and you’re worried about increased motorcycle insurance rates, please contact us at Southwest Insurance Center today. We will work to decrease your rates and keep you from paying excessive amounts of money.

Tornadoes- Stay Safe & Get Covered!

Major storms can wreak havoc on your boat, rendering it completely useless and costing you a fortune in the process. It’s important to keep yourself and your boat safe when a major storm is on the way. We may not have to worry about hurricanes here in Austin, TX, but as you know, tornadoes can cause just as much damage. Use the following tips to keep yourself and your boat safe when you hear the thunder begins and the tornado sirens sound. 

– Get off of the water. While it may be tempting to wait out the storm and see if it passes, it’s always a bad idea. When you’re warned of an incoming severe thunderstorm or tornado, it’s time to return to shore and get the boat out of the water if possible.

– Once your boat is safely secured on shore, remove any important papers or documents if you have time. If the storm is nearby, skip this step, of course.

– Evacuate the boat. It’s not a good idea to wait out the storm on your boat, even after it’s secured at the shore- you need to head to a safer location. If a sturdy building is not available, you’ll be better off in your car than on your boat. 

– Remove your boat from the water if possible. If not possible, take precautions. Make sure your boat is safely secured to a sturdy dock. Leave plenty of slack in the rope so that your boat is able to rise with higher tides, if necessary. 

There’s no doubt about it- storms happen, especially in Texas, and it’s important that you’re prepared. Call Southwest Insurance Center for your boat insurance needs.

Your Business Just Got Sued – What Should You Do?

If you are a small business owner and you worry about being sued, you are not alone. An organization called Faces of Lawsuit Abuse found that 75% of small business owners worry about being a target of an unfair or frivolous lawsuit. Small business owners in America pay an aggregate total cost of about $20 million per year to defend against tort lawsuits. Klemm Analysis Group reports that 52% of all civil lawsuits are against small businesses. For the average small business, which makes about $1 million per year, $20,000 per year will be used for legal expenses to defend against lawsuits.

Three Steps to Take If You Are Served Legal Papers in Austin, TX

1) If you are served legal papers that inform you that you are being sued, accept them. It is better to deal with this type of negative event right away, rather than to try to hide from it.

2) Contact your attorney before making any statement about the case to anyone (including your own workers).

3) Contact your agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX, to discuss the coverage you have and to inform them of the potential liability, so that they can work with you and your attorney to reduce your exposure. 

Hopefully, you already had an annual review of your insurance coverage and the coverage is adequate. This is why it is critical to regularly review your commercial insurance coverage with your agent. Very often these lawsuits, especially ones that are frivolous, happen unexpectedly.

Summary

If you own a small business, the chances of being sued are very high. It is best to be proactive in order to prepare for this eventuality. Small businesses do not have the resources to easily defend themselves when compared to major corporations that have permanent in-house legal staff. 

Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your insurance agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX and ask about umbrella coverage, which is used to insure a small business against some of the extraordinary risks, such as lawsuits.

Do You Need More Life Insurance Than What Is Offered By Your Job?

Contrary to popular belief, the life insurance policy that is offered by your job is often not enough. Many people are fooled into thinking that they have enough from their employer but you should really consider whether it is enough in Austin, TX. Use these questions from Southwest Insurance Center to make sure you have enough life insurance coverage.

  • Do you have enough coverage to pay for your debts? Depending on how much debt you have, you may quickly find out that you do not have enough coverage to pay for all of your debts. This could leave one or more of your loved ones with an added burden of paying off these debts which is not something you want. This is especially true if you have a substantial mortgage payment. 
  • Do you have dependents who rely on you? If you have children who rely on your income for survival, then you should consider getting more life insurance that what your employer provides. This is especially true if your spouse is not working. If you want to be able to take care of them even after you are gone, you should consider getting 10 to 12 times your annual salary coverage which is a lot more than what employers offer. You can opt for an additional amount of coverage through your employer but you may still need to get an additional policy to ensure you have enough coverage. 

If you need life insurance, you want to make sure that you have enough coverage and for many, there is not enough coverage provided by their employer. If you are interested in learning more about your options and getting added coverage, be sure to reach out to Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX, today.

In Austin, TX, When is Full Coverage Auto Insurance Required?

Residents who live in the Austin, TX area have several options available to them when it comes to auto insurance. Many are unsure of what type of insurance will best suit their needs. The agents of Southwest Insurance Center can answer a variety of questions you may have when it comes to how much insurance you need and what type of policy will provide you with that amount of coverage. Comprehensive or full coverage is not always needed. By discussing your options with your agent, they will be able to find a policy that meets your needs and will still remain within your budget. 

Comprehensive insurance, otherwise known as full coverage, covers a wide variety of damages, including injuries to individuals in the vehicle. Full coverage insurance is required by many lending agencies as long as there is a loan on the vehicle. Once the loan is paid off, the owner can choose any insurance policy they like. When choosing an insurance policy, you need to take into consideration the book value or replacement cost of your vehicle and insure it accordingly. If the vehicle is ten years old or older, it may be more cost-effective to opt for collision coverage. 

The agents of Southwest Insurance Center can offer sound advice to residents who live in the Austin, TX area. If you need answers to your insurance questions or are looking to have your existing policy updated or reviewed. Call their office and discuss your options. While it is important to know how much insurance your state requires you to carry, it is also important to know the value of your vehicle and what it will take to replace it. Call Southwest Insurance Center to find discuss your policy options.