How to create and store a home inventory

Austin is a great place to live. What’s not to like about "The Live Music Capital of the World".  But even in the greatest places, there are risks. About 1 homeowner out of 20 will file a claim every year. Nothing can make filing an insurance claim fun but if you have a home inventory, filing a home insurance claim will be less stressful. At Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX, we are an independent agency locally owned and operated. We take the time to compare our many carriers to find our customers the best deals. 

A home inventory is a listing of the contents of your home. When something happens that requires you to file an insurance claim on your home policy, you may need to provide information to the insurance company about what exactly was damaged or destroyed. When you have just been traumatized by a covered peril, you don’t need the added stress of trying to figure out what is missing. 

You can create a home inventory with a pad, pencil, and something to take photos with. Go through the rooms of your home and list the contents. Include as much detail as possible. Electronic models and serial numbers are a big help. Take photos of each room. Leave nothing unopened. Go to the attic, the basement, the garage, and into every closet, cupboard, and drawer. Attach any receipts you have. 

Storing your inventory is as important as making one. It needs to be in a safe place away from your home if possible. If it is in the house store it in a fire and waterproof box or envelope. Keep track of it so you will be able to find it if you need it. 

If you are in the market for home insurance and live in or near Austin, TX, Southwest Insurance Center looks forward to finding you the policy you need and want.  

Reasons a home insurance claim may be denied

Home insurance offers valuable protection you count on to cover you in the event something bad happens to your home. What could be worse than having your home insurance claim denied? Not much. Having to be responsible for repairing or replacing your home would be a nightmare and something you want to avoid. Knowledge is power so knowing what could cause a claim to be denied can help you to avoid letting those things happen. If you live in Austin, TX,  Southwest Insurance Center is the place to go when you are looking for a trusted independent insurance agency. 

The claim is under the deductible

Home insurance policies have a deductible. It may be $500 or it can be $1000. If the claim is not more than the deductible amount, the carrier will not pay on it. 

The type of damage is not covered

If you have not read your insurance policy you may not realize there are exclusions. Not every type of damage or loss is covered. The most common exclusion is flood damage. Damage due to mold, termites, and other insects is also not covered. You can often add a rider to your policy to cover additional damage. 

Wear and tear

Homes age and if your furnace dies because of old age it isn’t going to be covered. If your roof has reached the end of its useful life, any damage resulting from leaks, etc will not be covered. You are expected to maintain your property. 

Lapsed policy

It can happen, you forget to pay your premium and your policy lapses. It would be incredibly bad timing to have a claim you need to file when your policy is not in force. 

Knowing what can cause a claim to be denied helps you to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. At Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX, we will make sure that as our clients you understand your home policy. To discuss your home insurance needs give us a call for a no-obligation quote. 

What Happens When I File a Homeowners Insurance Claim

When you file a homeowner’s claim, it will be received and reviewed by your insurance company. Once an internal review is complete, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and come to inspect the damage. As a seasoned professional, your adjuster will be able to determine the amount that the insurance company will reimburse for the damage once your deductible has been met. Depending on how busy the insurance company is or whether the claim is related to a weather incident that causes a spike in claims, this process is usually completed in just a few days. To help the adjuster make a determination of the damages, it is always helpful to request estimates from local repair companies that you can then present to the adjuster as a benchmark for how much the repairs will cost. 

Filing a claim is never fun, but reputable insurance companies can streamline the process and make it easy as possible for the homeowner. Remember that if you aren’t satisfied with the amount offered by the insurance company you can always appeal and present evidence to show why you should be awarded a higher amount. At Southwest Insurance Center in Austin, TX, we know that filing a claim is never fun and is often the result of a stressful situation at your home. That’s why we try to make the process as simple and easy as possible by always putting our customers first. To learn firsthand about the homeowner’s insurance process and answer any other questions you may have please give us a call to schedule a no-obligation consultation. 

Will Home Insurance Protect You If a Tree Falls On Your House?

Storms are happening across Austin, TX all of the time and it is important to know what your home insurance covers, and what it does not. Say you have a big wind storm, to the point where you have a tree that falls right at your house. While this is not an ideal scenario by any means, you are likely wondering whether or not you have coverage to get your home back together.  

There is not a black and white answer as to whether your home insurance will cover a tree falling on your home. It will depend on a variety of different factors that are in play. The cause of the tree fall is one of the things that will matter, as will the damage that was done to your home itself.

In the majority of cases, a homeowner’s insurance policy is going to help to protect your home if there is damage to your house itself, as well as a fence, shed, or other structures on your property. In the situation where the tree falls due to a wind storm, you will likely be covered up to the limits on your policy, while you are paying the deductible out of pocket.

What you will not have coverage for is going to be tree falls on your home due to negligence or maintenance problems. If the tree was ready to fall and you ignored it, that means you neglected to care for it and may not be covered. The same goes for if you cut a tree down on your own and it tumbles onto your home.

With home insurance, you want to know what you have coverage for and what you do not. Work with the team at Southwest Insurance Center to shine more light on the topic 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.

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. 

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.

Home Insurance Protects You Even When You are Away

It’s vacation season and many people are busy planning trips to explore new places and spend quality time with their friends and family.  When you’re packing up, you might ask a neighbor to pick up the mail or water the plants but did you know that home insurance delivers quality protection even when you aren’t home?   

While you are out, your policy while continues to protect your home and your belongings.  Adding additional safety features, such as monitored alarm systems, can reduce your insurance payments.  For homeowners in the Austin, TX area, its’ important to ask your agent at Southwest Insurance Center if there are certain incentives available for security systems.  When you are away, security features will give you peace of mind, as well as, potentially save you money. When you know that you have reasonably utilized all available resources, you’ll be able to enjoy your travels and not worry about your home and belongings.  

Homeowners policies cover your personal belongings.  This includes personal property such as clothing, furniture, jewelry and electronic equipment.  If you have large valuable collections, such as furs, firearms, or artwork, you need to discuss this with your agent to ensure that you are adequately covered.  The interesting feature of your policy is that your items will be covered when you are away.  So, if your laptop is stolen from the local coffee shop, your homeowner policy will cover it.    

Home insurance policies cover such a broad range of topics, it’s wise to consult with the knowledgeable agents at Southwest Insurance Center.  They help residents in the Austin, TX area understand the available options and get the best coverage for their needs.  Good home insurance protects you and your property everyday even when you are away.

How Does Home Insurance Protect My Family?

When you think about protecting your family, you likely think about putting them in right neighborhood, getting the right health insurance, and making sure that they understand basic safety skills. What you likely don’t consider is how home insurance can be a major factor as well. If you live in Austin, TX, consider the following tips as to how home insurance can keep your family safe from Southwest Insurance Center.

Stress and Safety

Home insurance may not be the people to fix a broken leg if you suffer one after a major storm, but they may be the ones to help you the care that you need. Insurance can also be a lifesaver in terms of logistics. Let’s say you don’t have the coverage available to stay someplace else after a storm destroys half your home. You’d be reliant upon the goodwill of others, which can be a stressful situation. While nothing about disasters is very peaceful, home insurance can be what you need in your world when it’s at its darkest. This can save your family’s sanity during what is already a difficult time. 

Fewer Threats 

Neighborhoods in Austin, TX that aren’t strewn with litter or broken windows are neighborhoods that aren’t likely to see a lot of criminals on their block — if for no other reason than people are paying attention to what’s happening. Your family stays safe when repairs are made right away rather than being covered with cardboard or left in plain sight. For more information on all of this, Southwest Insurance Center is ready to give you the facts about keeping your family safe with the right policy. Give us a call today to find out more about getting more coverage or for a quote. 


Why Austin, Texas Homeowners need Home Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance is important in a place like Austin, Texas because it will protect the increasingly pricey home you bought in the Texas state capital, which is considered by many to be one of the hippest cities in the country. Below are some of the reasons you will need homeowner’s insurance in this fun and exciting city in the middle of the Lone Star State.


While tornadoes rarely ever go as far south as Austin in the state of Texas, there are other natural disasters that can affect homeowners in the central part of the state. Massive storms will hit the area a couple of times a year on average, leading to heavy rains and flooding across the area. Sometimes when rains are especially intense, homes will be washed away. There’s also the concern of trees falling on roofs and causing serious amounts of damage. Without homeowner’s insurance, none of these catastrophic events will be covered, and you will have to pay out of pocket.


One of the other great aspects of a homeowner’s insurance policy is that it protects against all varieties of theft that could occur to your homestead. It not only protects the property itself but also the valuables within the home. While Austin’s crime rate is relatively low, it’s now the 11th largest city in America, meaning there is a better chance of a burglary occurring than in a small city or town.


Homeowner’s insurance in Austin, Texas also protects against things you could never expect to happen, like a pipe bursting or a fire breaking out due to frayed wiring. This piece of mind that comes with a good homeowner’s insurance policy from a broker like Southwest Insurance Center, serving the Austin, Texas area, allows you to enjoy your lifestyle in this town that is widely considered to be one of the best in the country.