Does my small business need workers compensation insurance even though I only have a few employees?

Austin, TX is a great place to live, raise a family, and own a business. One thing Texas is known for is supporting businesses and people who work hard.

That’s one reason why Texas laws are designed to give your business flexibility.  Most states require businesses to pay for workers compensation insurance if there are employees, but Texas is different. 

You can choose whether or not to offer workers compensation 

If you want to discuss all the different options you could have with a workers compensation policy, we at Southwest Insurance Center would be happy to spend the time you need to explore your options.  You can choose coverage tailored to your business and its specific needs.

If you decide not to have worker’s compensation insurance at your business, you need to let your employees know when they are hired, and if the status changes. 

Opting out carries risks 

With workers compensation policy, there are limits as to how much an employee may be compensated for an injury. Without the policy, an injured employee can sue your business for an unlimited amount if there is a qualifying injury. The business would have to pay for the judgment without help. 

Kinds of worker’s comp

There are three basic kinds of worker’s comp benefits:

  1. Medical benefits 
  2. Income benefits 
  3. Death benefits 

Almost any injury will qualify if it occurred while working unless the injury was caused by the employee’s own reckless or illegal behavior. 

If you have a business in Austin, TX, you want to protect your workers to the best of your ability anyway. Having worker’s compensation insurance makes sure that if an employee is injured he or she can get the necessary care right away. If you are thinking about whether or not your business could benefit from worker’s comp insurance, please call Southwest Insurance Center today. 


What to do if your home becomes uninhabitable

There are many events that can make our home uninhabitable, from fires, wind and water damage, to situations caused by natural disasters. When your home insurance policy has coverage for these events you will have a greater number of options available to you. In fact, there are policies that can help you to find alternative housing so that you don’t have to worry about becoming a burden to your friends and family. The team at Southwest Insurance Center is here to help residents in the greater Austin, TX community have the coverage they need should there home suffer from damage that makes it uninhabitable.

Options if your home can no longer be lived in safely:

When your home is damaged to the point that it is dangerous to live there, you need to leave. The health and safety of your family are much more important than material possessions, even if your heart is breaking as you leave your home. A comprehensive home insurance policy will provide coverage for alternative housing if your home is damaged by a covered event. This is coverage that you will want to make sure that your home policy contains because it can help to ease the trauma of a catastrophic event. 

No one wants to consider the possibility of their home being damaged or destroyed to the point that they can no longer live there. However, we all know that it is better to be as prepared as possible for these types of situations. The team at Southwest Insurance Center is here to help you find the right home insurance policy that can protect you and your family.  Now is the time to ensure that your Austin, TX home insurance policy has the coverage that you need.

Should I Add a Second Car to My Auto Insurance Policy?

Many people have more than one car. When you get a second car, the question often comes up whether it is a wise idea to add the second vehicle to the first automobile insurance policy. That may or may not be the best solution.

When is a separate auto insurance policy a good idea?

Here are some things to consider:

Authorized Drivers: If there will be different driver’s who are authorized to drive each vehicle, it may be better to have a separate auto insurance policy for each one. If one of the authorized driver is very young, such as a teenager, it is likely better to restrict that driver to a lower-valued automobile and have a separate policy.

Use of the Vehicles: If there is any commercial use of one vehicle but not the other one, the policies need to be separate. If a vehicle will tow something, like a boat on a trailer, it may need to have a separate policy and additional coverage for what it tows.

Value of the Vehicles: If there is a significant difference in the value of the vehicles, perhaps having separate policies for them is a better way to protect a very valuable one with more comprehensive coverage.

Coverage and Deductibles: Some insurance companies apply the same coverage and deductible to all the vehicles under one policy. Others allow for these amounts to differ. This may affect your decision.

Specialty Autos: Vintage or antique vehicles need separate auto insurance.

Your Agent Will Help You Decide

There are many reasons why having separate auto insurance for more than one vehicle makes perfect sense. Work with your agent at Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin TX and the nearby area, to get adequate coverage that is the best fit.

Your agent will check the quotes for the insurance with different insurance companies and compare them with the vehicles combined or separate and then give you a recommendation of the best options.

Call to speak with your agent at Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX to get an auto insurance review and a quote for new auto insurance coverage.

How Does Dwelling Fire Insurance Differ From Home Insurance?

Many home and property owners are confused as to the difference between dwelling fire insurance and home insurance, as well as when they need to purchase each type of insurance. At Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX, we want to help you ensure that you have the right type of insurance for your property. Here is what you need to know about dwelling fire insurance and home insurance. 

The Main Difference Between Dwelling Fire Insurance and Home Insurance

The biggest difference between dwelling fire insurance and home insurance is home insurance is designed to protect structures on property that you are living on. For example, home insurance will protect a home that you are residing in, as well as buildings on the property you are residing on, such as sheds, garages and barns. Dwelling fire insurance protects structures that you own but may not be living in, such as rental homes, rental property or a home that you are renovating to flip. 

Smaller Differences Between Dwelling Fire Insurance and Home Insurance

Another key difference between dwelling fire insurance and home insurance is what is covered by the insurance. Home insurance will cover the structure itself, as well as property that is stored within the building, such as furniture and clothing. Dwelling fire insurance only covers the structure itself against fire. It does not cover any of the personal property that you or a tenant may have stored inside of the home or building. 

Are you looking to purchase insurance for your property? Are you unsure whether home insurance or dwelling fire insurance is a good fit for you? Here at Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX, we can help you determine what type of insurance you need and then find the right insurance for your needs. Schedule an appointment with us today. 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Personal Articles Insurance

Almost everyone has valuable possessions, some of which have an extremely high monetary worth, while some possessions have valuable worth just to the owner. A standard home-owner’s insurance policy generally covers the primary items in your home, such as the furniture, appliances and clothing in the event of loss or theft. However, when it comes to the dollar value paid out on certain valuables, the amount paid by your homeowner’s policy may be quite low. Personal articles insurance is an additional type of insurance for the residents of Austin, TX that provides extra coverage for your valuables. Here is some brief information about personal articles insurance that is offered by Southwest Insurance Center.

What Is It?

Personal articles insurance, also known as a personal articles floater policy is a stand-alone form of coverage that is generally added to your current homeowner’s insurance policy. It provides coverage for extremely valuable items, such as rare coin collections, family heirlooms or camera equipment. The policy provides a larger level of monetary protection that what is included in the homeowner’s policy. When purchasing personal article’s floater insurance, you will need to submit a detailed list of the property you want to be covered in the policy. Each item listed must include an appraisal value and some insurance providers request proof of the appraisal.

What Does it Cover?

For the majority of homeowners, the standard homeowner’s insurance policy is enough to replace items that have been lost or stolen. However, if you have possessions that are considered to be rare and/or of extreme value, a personal articles floater policy may be necessary to ensure you receive the full value should they be lost, stolen or damaged. Some items that a personal articles insurance policy covers may include:

  • Jewelry
  • Furs or fur-trimmed items
  • Coin and stamp collections
  • Camera equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Silverware
  • Fine art
  • Sports equipment

One of the best benefits of personal articles insurance and the reason it is known as personal articles floaters insurance is that the policy generally covers a loss to the items covered anywhere. This means if you are out of the country and your items become lost, stolen or damaged, coverage is provided, which is extremely valuable for those who travel for pleasure or business and take their valuables with them.

Residents of Austin, TX that are interested in updating their current policy to include personal articles insurance should contact Southwest Insurance Center.

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.


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 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.


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. 


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.