3 Reasons to Consider Flood Insurance

If you think flood insurance is only for people who live in high-risk flood areas, think again. It’s estimated that approximately 20% of flood claims come from homeowners who live in low to moderate risk flood zones, putting almost anyone at risk of flood damage. Flood insurance from Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX can protect you against financial loss due to flood damage. Here’s why you should consider flood insurance for your Austin, TX home.

Homeowner’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover Floods  

Homeowner’s insurance protects you against water damage caused by rain entering your home or leaky water pipes, not flooding. Unless you have flood insurance, you’ll be covering the cost of flood damage out-of-pocket. A major flood could destroy your home and all its contents. The risk of losing everything you own should prompt you to consider flood insurance protection for your home.  

Floods are an Extremely Common Disaster

As evidenced by recent climate change events, flooding can occur to anyone in just about any location. It’s one of the most common natural disasters occurring across the country today. Hurricanes, tornadoes and tropical storms can all lead to flooding, putting homeowners at even greater risk of losing their home. By investing in flood insurance, you can be prepared against this unforeseen disaster.  

Saves You from Financial Ruin

Even a small flood can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a home. It only takes 3 inches of flood water to ruin carpeting, furniture, hardwood flooring, baseboards, and drywall. Imagine what a foot of water can do to the interior of your home. In contrast, flood insurance may cost you several hundred dollars annually, depending on the location, size, and value of your property, making it a worthwhile investment for your family.

For more information on flood insurance options and costs, contact Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX.

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance? A Brief Guide

Umbrella insurance is a sort of mystery to many regular insurance policyholders. By its nature, this type of insurance is not specific to what it covers. Therefore, you may not realize that this kind of coverage would actually be useful for you until you become more familiar with the concept of an umbrella policy.

The truth is Insurance providers like Southwest Insurance Center, who offer an umbrella policy save the livelihoods of many individuals as well as their businesses. Read on to find out if umbrella coverage is for you.

What Exactly Is Umbrella Insurance?

To fully understand what an umbrella policy entails, you have to envision a literal umbrella. An umbrella protects you from the rain, sun, or other elements of the weather, kind of like your own personal roof. The umbrella keeps your whole body dry and cool. This is exactly how an umbrella policy relates to insurance coverage.

An umbrella insurance policy is not specific on purpose. It is meant to cover any gaps or limits all of your other policies may encompass. For instance, if you have a basic homeowner’s policy for your Austin, TX home, an umbrella policy can cover any damages that aren’t covered by this basic policy in case of an unfortunate disaster.

If you own a car but your auto insurance coverage is a bit skimpy, your umbrella coverage can kick in past the limits of that auto policy. Umbrella insurance is especially useful if your teen is newly added to your auto insurance policy.

Who Is Umbrella Coverage For?

The short answer is that anyone can benefit from purchasing an umbrella policy. This type of coverage is a leg up for anyone who may find themselves suddenly facing a costly emergency.

If you have many assets, though, an umbrella policy might be especially necessary for you. For instance, if you own a home, a car, and a business, an umbrella policy can keep you from losing everything you own in case of a house fire or a particularly nasty auto accident.

Are You Ready To Get Umbrella Protection?

Do you have assets you couldn’t stand to lose in case of an emergency?

If you have limited insurance policies and you don’t want to go into debt or bankruptcy should you lose your Austin, TX home, an all-encompassing umbrella policy from Southwest Insurance Center is for you. Contact us today for a quote on a policy that best fits your needs.

Things to Consider for RV Insurance

When considering RV insurance, there are three main types of uses to think about, which are:

  1. On the Road: Think about the need to insure the RV while it is driving down the road. Insurance should provide protection for the vehicle and its contents if it is involved in an accident.
  2. Parked: The protection needed for when an RV is parked includes insurance against theft, damage, vandalism, fire, and other risks to the RV and its contents.
  3. Storage: When an RV is in storage, there are other risks to consider such as pest infestation.

Discuss these three categories in detail with your agent at Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX and the surrounding area, to make sure you have adequate coverage.

On the Road

The most common accidents while on the road are:

  • A tire blowout caused by the tires not being properly inflated.
  • Hitting some overhang when the driver makes a height-clearance mistake.
  • Tearing off the stairs or something else attached to the RV when it was not retracted before moving the RV.
  • Fires that start in the motor area.

Parked

When an RV is parked, it is subject to the inclement weather of the area where it stops. Many RVers do not know the weather patterns of the places where the RV trip will take them. In fact, it may be the first time they visit an area. Additionally, climate change is causing unusual weather such as flooding and tornadoes that could damage a parked RV. Hail damage is a serious risk that may need special coverage.

When an RV is parked, it is vulnerable to burglary if the occupants leave the RV unattended. If the RV is parked in an isolated area and left unattended, it may attract vandalism. If it is parked in a campground, it may be subject to the risk of things being done by others who are nearby, such as lighting campfires.

Storage

Storage has special risks. Damage to a stored RV may come from pests, mold, mildew, and other risks depending on the storage conditions. If the RV is not secured properly, it could be stolen.

Conclusion

Protecting your valuable investment in your RV with adequate insurance coverage is best done with the help of your agent and thinking about all the details about where it will be used, parked, and stored. To get a quote for new RV insurance or an upgrade for existing RV insurance, contact an agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX by calling 512-280-6100.

Motorcycle Insurance: Your Helmet for Everything Else

There is nothing like the experience, the feeling and the freedom of being on a motorcycle. There are also some necessary steps, both legal and practical, that we need to take so that we can continue enjoying the ride, safely and for years to come. For motorcyclists, it is just that much more important to be aware of their surroundings and other vehicles. Riders simply don’t have the same protection afforded by other types of vehicles.

Your Helmet for Everything Else

Ask any biker, it only takes getting burned once or twice by the muffler before they understand why jeans are the smart choice for riders. That may be even truer if you have ever had the misfortune of laying your bike down, no matter what the surface. These are just practical lessons taught by common sense and experience, like wearing a helmet.

Now that we have covered the basics of being safe and safety gear, we only have one item left before hitting the open road. Austin, TX motorcyclists understand the importance of being insured and they rely on the friendly professionals at the Southwest Insurance Center to provide them with the coverage they need. There are few places in the world that offer the type of open road and ride found in Austin, TX, and a partner like Southwest Insurance Center will help keep you safe so you can enjoy the ride.

If you need motorcycle insurance, want to compare rates or make sure that you have the legal requirements for the state of Texas, contact us today. Insurance is that one last piece of practical safety you need. Motorcycle insurance, it’s like your helmet for everything else.

What is included in a boat insurance policy?

For those that are in the Austin, TX area, having a boat is a very great experience. When you have a boat, you can spend many great days and evenings out on the open water and under the sun. While a boat can help you make many great memories, it is also an important asset that needs to be properly covered by insurance. There are many components of a boat insurance policy that can make it a great option for you. 

Boat Property Coverage

One type of coverage that you will get in your boat insurance policy is property coverage. Your boat insurance policy can be designed to cover your boat for a wide variety of losses. Depending on the policy that you choose, this could include being covered for theft, boating accidents, vandalism, and even damage from a storm. Due to the importance of this type of coverage, many boat lender will require it when giving out a loan. 

Liability

Whenever you are operating your boat you are taking on some risk and responsibility. If you are found to be at fault in a boating accident you could face stiff expenses. Because of this risk, it is important that you get boat insurance. When you have boat insurance in place you will have coverage for any damage that you cause through your liability insurance policy. 

If you have a boat in Austin, TX, you should speak with the team at Southwest Insurance Center to learn more about how boat insurance can protect you. The professionals at Southwest Insurance Center are very knowledgeable about all of the benefits of boat insurance. They can then help you get into a boat insurance policy that will provide you with the right level of protection. 

When Should a Hair Salon Get Commercial Insurance?

If you own a hair salon or you’re thinking about opening one, it’s pertinent that you understand the importance of commercial insurance. Many business owners wait for months or years until they get insurance. This is often a huge mistake and can even lead to the failure of a company in certain instances. Here at the Southwest Insurance Center serving the Austin, TX area, we take pride in helping hair salons around the area protect themselves with proper insurance. Here’s a look at the top two reasons your salon should get commercial insurance from day one.

Product Recall

As a salon owner, you offer your clients so much more than a hair cut or styling. You are offering them products to ensure they look their best even when they’re doing their own hair at home. But what happens if you sell them a product that ends up getting recalled? Will your customers take their business elsewhere because they start to think poorly of you since you sold them a bad product? With commercial insurance that has business interruption coverage, you can rest easy knowing your salon is protected against the losses that you endure do the loss in clients.

You Burn a Client

It happens even to the best of hair stylists. You get busy chatting and then all of a sudden your client yells "Ow" because you accidentally burned her neck with the curling iron. Or maybe you leave the straightener on a chunk of hair for too long and what was supposed to be a medium-length hairstyle all of a sudden has to be turned into a chin-length bob. These kinds of instances put you at great risk of being sued by the customer. With professional liability insurance through commercial insurance, you can take comfort in knowing you are protected.

Contact the Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin, TX today to learn more about the reasons you need to have commercial insurance from the get-go at your salon.

Should I cash out my life insurance if I have an emergency?

If you live in Austin, TX, you may have purchased a whole life insurance policy through Southwest Insurance Center so you could have access to cash if you needed it. There wouldn’t be much point in having it if you were afraid to ever use it, but it can be difficult to decide when to take advantage of it. You may even need to pay taxes on the cash you get, so you want to make sure you are doing the right thing.

Two Kinds of Benefits In a Whole Life Policy

There are actually two kinds of cash benefits available if you have a whole life policy. The first one is the same as you would have with a term life policy, a death benefit. That benefit comes into play if you die, and your beneficiary will have access to that money to help settle your estate or help pay for your funeral or other expenses.

The unique advantage to a whole life policy is the actual cash value. When you pay your premium, the money adds up and could get quite large over time.

Borrowing, Withdrawing or Surrendering

There are three ways you can get the cash value from your policy. You can simply borrow the money and pay it back, so you still have a solid policy later. You can withdraw money and keep it, which diminishes your total. Or you can simply surrender your policy, cashing it out and canceling your policy.

When you are thinking about getting cash from your policy, it may help to know you can keep your policy, and even pay the money back. If you are in Austin, TX and have any questions about your policy, or if you would like to purchase one, give Southwest Insurance Center a call today.

First-Time Home Buyers Tips

You’ve waited a long time for this so it’s worth doing it right the first time. Buying a new home for the first time can be a little daunting, but with the help of a few tips, this difficult-looking task can be a worthwhile journey.

Pay Off Debt

It is expensive to buy a home. Depending on what you are looking for, it could cost AN AVERAGE OF $200,000 or more. Going into this investment, you don’t want to have any other debt hanging over your head. Pay off your car payments, credit card bills, and any outstanding loans. Your biggest loan will come from the mortgage company.

What Can You Afford?

Decide before going to see a realtor how much money you will be able to spend on a house. Trying to get a loan for more than you can afford will put you in a financial crisis quickly. Take into account your bills will be higher including your electricity and water. You will also need to have a security system, which many have monthly monitoring services and homeowners insurance. You can look for decent homeowners policies at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX.

Down Payment

You should put down as much as you can when you first buy a home. The more you have down, the less you will have to pay later. The goal would be to put 20% down, but that is not always doable. Make sure if you have to pay less, get a fixed mortgage rate. That way your interest rate will stay the same for the length of the loan because a variable rate could increase your payments over the years.

Get to the Southwest Insurance Center to find out more information concerning a homeowners policy. These Austin, TX agents can also help you discover auto, commercial, and life insurance policies.

Will my auto insurance really go up if I get a ticket?

Austin, TX is a great place to drive because you can miss out on so much if you don’t have a way to get from place to place any time you like. At Southwest Insurance Center, we help make sure our clients have the auto insurance coverage they need in case they are ever involved in an accident. 

One problem with Texas, though, is that it can be tempting to go fast to cover those long distances quickly. Unfortunately, that can cost you, not just because of the traffic tickets but because you may find your insurance premiums go up after you receive too many points.

Points in Texas

Every time you get a moving violation on your driving record, the Texas Department of Public Safety will assess points. Your driving privileges can be suspended if you get too many points, and the points stay on for three years unless you take an approved class to have them taken off your record. 

This turns into a vicious circle for some people, because they may be tempted to drive while suspended and get more violations.

Higher Insurance Rates

Speeding is associated with accidents, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that even one ticket could cause your insurance rates to go up. In a metro area like Austin, TX, that could translate into hundreds of dollars a year you don’t want to be spending because you made a mistake and got points on your driving record. Since the points stay on for three years, that adds up to a lot of money.

At  Southwest Insurance Center, we understand how difficult it can be to find the best price insurance. We help all our clients to find competitive policies and encourage them to keep their records clean. If you have any questions or want to get a free quote, call Southwest Insurance Center today.

What Does Collision Insurance Cover?

At Southwest Insurance Center, the agents who serve the Austin, TX area offer their advice to their customers to ensure they always have the right type of car insurance in place at all times. Collision insurance is a good choice for those who don’t necessarily want the added expense of a comprehensive policy. They have to remember, however, the limitations a collision policy bring with them.

Hitting Another Car

Collision coverage protects you against damages caused by any type of collision. Whether you hit another vehicle or they hit you, the damage that results would fall under the protection of a collision policy. This would also include limited coverage for any injuries sustained by either party from the collision. Collision policies are designed to cover only the damages that are the result of an accident that involves a collision.

No Comprehensive Coverage

Collision coverage does not cover any of the other types of damage that a comprehensive policy does. It will not cover theft, broken windshields, or any other type of damage that is often claimed. Rocks that are kicked up and damage windshields or chip paint off of your car are not covered by a collision policy.

While many people sometimes confuse collision and comprehensive policies, they are quite different. In Austin, TX, the agents at Southwest Insurance Center are always available to explain the differences and go over your policy with you to make sure you have the types of coverage you both need and want. Contact the office today to set up a consultation and go over your policies. Reviewing your policies and bringing them up to date may save you money!