Motorcycle Safety Tips

Operating a motorcycle in Austin, TX is different than operating a car. While you do still need to be insured, there are also some other safety tips to follow.

Wear the Right Gear

Wearing a helmet is the most important way to protect your head from severe injuries. You also want to wear other protective gear that can help minimize your injuries in the event of a skid or accident. You may even want to have reflective tape to make it easier for drivers to see you. 

Follow Traffic Rules

Make sure to follow the speed limit. The faster you go, the longer it takes you to stop. 

Ride Defensively

You don’t want to assume that other drivers can see you since many motorcycle accidents are caused by a driver violating the right of way. Stay out of blind spots and signal in advance. Be on the lookout for any turning vehicles.

Take Motorcycle Safety Classes

Complete formal riding education programs and take a riding course in order to learn more about riding techniques. Ask your agent at Southwest Insurance Center to see if you can get a discount on your insurance after taking certain courses. 

Don’t Drink and Ride

This can not only cause harm to you but also others. In addition to drinking, drowsiness and fatigue can also impair your abilities so make sure you are well-rested. 

Prepare to Ride

Along with certain safety tips in Austin, TX, you should also prepare to ride and make sure your motorcycle is fit for the road. Check your tires for any signs of wear, under the motorcycle for gas or oil leaks, and make sure all lights are functioning and that coolant and hydraulic fluid levels are adequate. Once a month, check the mirrors, throttle, clutch, and brakes. 

Contact Southwest Insurance Center to get a quote on motorcycle insurance.

Is Boat Insurance Required?

The water sources in Texas provide a number of opportunities for recreational water sport and boating. However, there is no Texas law that requires you to have boat insurance. It is important to note that there are still risks and while you are obligated to follow different strict operational requirements, there are still no guarantees. There are a number of reasons to have boat insurance and the different options you have. 

With boat insurance in Austin, TX not required, it’s important to understand the coverage options you do have. Many home insurance policies do cover damage to your boat but these policies won’t provide any liability coverage. You will also need a separate boat insurance policy to cover a boat that is more expensive or to pay for injuries or damages to others. 

There are different boat insurance policies that you can get. Replacement cost policies will pay to replace or repair your boat. Cash value policies will pay to replace or repair your boat minus current deprecation. With this type of policy, you may pay less in premiums but you will get less cash if you use your policy. A policy with an agreed-upon value will pay to replace or repair the boat up the set value that is stated on your policy.

It’s important to understand your policy in Austin, TX and discuss any concerns with an agent at Southwest Insurance Center. Since boating insurance is not required you may want a policy that suspends coverage during the time you aren’t using your boat. There also may be limits on your policy if you plan on using it in the ocean. You need to make sure your policy fits your needs. Don’t forget to ask about restrictions on underage drivers. 

Contact Southwest Insurance Center to get a quote on boat insurance.

Should I get whole or term life insurance?

There are many forms of insurance that someone in the Austin, TX area may need to get. When you are shopping for personal insurance, an important form of coverage to consider is life insurance. As you are shopping for life insurance, the two most popular options to consider are term and whole life insurance. You should carefully consider the advantages of each option before deciding which type of insurance coverage to get.

Whole Life Insurance

A whole life insurance policy can be advantageous as it will give you insurance coverage for the rest of your life. Further, while the premium payments can be higher than other options, they will build up and accumulate in an account. This means that your insurance policy will not over give you life insurance coverage but it can also be a conservative savings and investment account to add to your portfolio.

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy can be ideal for someone that is looking for the most amount of coverage while having lower monthly premiums. When you are shopping for a term life insurance policy, you will be able to create your own policy based on your needs. This will allow you to choose the amount of coverage and the length of coverage. With a term life policy, the premiums you pay will not add up and are lost once you pay them.

When you are looking for a life insurance policy in the Austin, TX area, you need to carefully consider your needs. To ensure that you are making the right choice for your situation, you should call the team at Southwest Insurance Center. When you work with the Southwest Insurance Center, you will receive personalized guidance and support. This will ensure you get into the best policy for your situation. 

Four steps to buying commercial insurance

Commercial insurance is an important investment for business owners in Austin, TX. At Southwest Insurance Center, we offer commercial insurance to suit business owners operating in any industry. 

The following are four steps to go through to buy commercial insurance coverage for your company.

Figure out what your company’s risks are

Commercial insurance is all about covering the financial risks that your company faces. Therefore, the first thing you want to do when you are buying a commercial insurance policy is to determine what these risks are.

Every company faces some financial risks. Your risks could include equipment damage, property damage, expenses from lawsuits, and more. Look at your company’s setup and operations. Then, you can identify all the risks you need your commercial insurance policy to cover. 

Learn what the various types of commercial insurance are

Commercial insurance needs vary significantly by company. There are many different types of commercial insurance you need to understand to determine which types you need on your policy.

Just a few of the types of insurance you may need are commercial property insurance, commercial vehicle insurance, malpractice insurance, and commercial liability coverage. 

Acquire quotes from various providers

There are numerous providers offering commercial insurance in your area. You should get quotes from multiple providers. This will allow you to compare policies and find the one that best suits your needs. 

Select a policy and factor commercial insurance into your company budget

Analyze the available quotes and choose the best one. Then, you’ll need to determine your budget. Commercial insurance premiums are an added expense you’ll need to include in your budget. 

Are you interested in exploring your commercial insurance options in Austin, TX? Explore your options with us at Southwest Insurance Center. 

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!

Tips to Reduce the Risk of a Cooking Fire

Standard home insurance policies typically offer general coverage against various physical and liability hazards. A dwelling fire insurance policy offers coverage that is more specifically tailored to damage to your property in the event of a specific hazard. This type of policy provides residents of Austin, TX protection against fire and smoke-related damage. House fires can be devastating and one of the leading causes of house fires is due to cooking.  Southwest Insurance Center has put together a few tips to help you reduce the risk of a cooking-related fire.

Stay in the Kitchen

When cooking on the stovetop, it is important that you never leave a stovetop unattended. It only takes a second for a distraction to turn into a serious, life-threatening event. Make sure to avoid overfilling pots and pans, which may boil over and lead to a fire. Keep heat temperatures as low as possible while cooking on the stovetop.

Have Lids Nearby

Grease fires are extremely dangerous because the source of the fire is liquid, which can splash and adhere to clothing, skin and other surfaces while the grease is still burning. Pay close attention while you are cooking with grease or oil and if you notice the grease is starting to smoke, immediately turn the heat down and remove the pan from the heat until smoking stops. The smoke is an indication that the oil is too hot and about to ignite. If a grease or oil fire does break out, turn the heat off and smother the fire by putting a lid on the pan. If you can’t safely put a lid on the pan, use a fire extinguisher or toss some baking soda on the flames.

Distractions can quickly lead to a cooking fire, so you should never cook while you are intoxicated or sleepy. It’s also extremely important that you use caution when children are in the kitchen with you while cooking. Never let children play near the oven and supervise children that are learning to cook.

Residents of Austin, TX that want to learn more information about dwelling fire insurance should contact Southwest Insurance Center.

Comprehensive & Collision Coverage — What is the Difference?

An auto insurance policy involves three types of coverage — liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. According to the insurance professionals at Southwest Insurance Center, liability is generally state-mandated. Each state sets forth its minimum insurance criteria.

The difference between comprehensive and collision coverage is a crucial distinction for car owners living/driving in and around the Austin, TX metropolitan area.

Collision Coverage reimburses for damages and losses that are the result of an impact of your car with another vehicle or object. In general, collision insurance is not a legal mandate but maybe a lender requirement for those who lease or borrow money to buy their car. Collision coverage is provided despite who caused the accident.

Collision coverage would likely have these triggers for insurance reimbursement –

  • You hit a tree after losing control of the automobile.
  • You dent your bumper by backing up into a cement pole in a dark parking lot.  

Comprehensive coverage for drivers in the Austin, TX area would include insurance coverage for anything else that may happen — other than that of an automobile collision. Examples of typical comprehensive coverage include damage or loss from –

  • A fire.
  • A car window was left open during a rainstorm.
  • Vandalism.
  • A tree falls on your car.
  • Mother Nature — like a car hit by large hailstones.
  • Striking an animal — this may vary by policy.

Collision and comprehensive insurance reimburse the insured for damage and loss (i.e., physical damage) to the insured and insured’s automobile, as long as the event is not explicitly excluded from the insurance policy.  When an automobile owner purchases both comprehensive and collision coverage, their policy will be considered a ‘full-coverage’ auto policy.

For additional information regarding insurance for your automobile, contact the insurance professionals at Southwest Insurance Center at 512-280-6100.

When is it a good idea to get flood insurance?

Owning a property in the Austin, TX area can be a great long term option. This city is one of the fastest-growing in the country and provides a lot of opportunities to property owners and residents. If you do own a property in Austin, you need to carefully consider all of your insurance needs. One form of insurance that you might need is flood insurance. There are several situations when getting flood insurance could be beneficial. 

When Required

One of the most common situations, when people get flood insurance, is when it is required by a lender. All lenders are going to order flood searches on a property that they finance. If they determine that you are in a high-risk zone, the lender will likely require that you carry flood insurance. If you do not carry this insurance when it is required, you will be in default under your loan documents. 

When at Risk

Even if flood insurance is not required for you to have, you should still consider getting it when you are at risk. If you believe that you are at risk due to a local waterway, you should check your current home insurance policy to see if the flood damage is covered. If it is not covered, you need to get an additional flood insurance policy to mitigate this concern. 

If you do own a property in Austin, TX and think that you could benefit from flood insurance, or if it is required, you should call the Southwest Insurance Center. The rules and regulations around flood insurance are complicated and hard to understand. The Southwest Insurance Center can help you to evaluate your options and get into a flood insurance policy that properly protects you and your home. 

Why personal article insurance is essential for your high-value items

Many people in the greater Austin, TX area are unfamiliar with the benefits that come with having a personal article insurance policy along with their homeowner’s or renter’s coverage. Southwest Insurance Center is here to answer all of your questions on this topic and help you determine if a personal article policy is right for you.

Protect your high-value items with a personal article insurance policy

An often overlooked fact of homeowner and renter policy coverage specifications is the coverage limit on single items. Most policies will stipulate the maximum amount of coverage that it provides for single items like jewelry, artwork, electronics, and other items. If you are the owner of any items that have significant value, it’s time to make sure that you have any additional coverage that you may need.

High-value items are also typically sentimental in value. This means that their loss will be especially painful if they aren’t also covered monetarily. It makes sense to do a regular review of your belongings and personal items to determine which exceed the maximum allowed coverage levels. Following the review, sit down with your local insurance agent and determine which personal article policies are right for your needs. With the appropriate coverage in place, you can rest assured that you will have the protection you need in the event that you experience a covered event. Don’t wait to find out too late that your policy does not provide adequate protection!

If you are in the greater Austin, TX area and would like to learn more about the personal article policy options that are available, call or stop the Southwest Insurance Center today! We can answer all of your questions and help you determine if there are gaps in your current insurance policies.

RV Propane Tank Safety and Maintenance for Novices

The propane tank on your RV is an essential element in your ability to stay comfortable while you’re on the road. These tips from Southwest Insurance Center are designed to help newer RV enthusiasts keep cozy without risking the safety of your Austin, TX rig.

  • Before your first outing with a new propane system, spend some time looking over your owner’s manual. Note things like suggested maintenance schedules, cautions, and other important information.
  • Don’t fill your propane cylinders over 80% capacity. This ensures that excess gas doesn’t escape from the tanks and end up seeping into your appliances. Liquid propane in your appliances can contribute to fires and damage the regulators in your system.
  • Check your camper batteries before each outing. Many propane systems are connected to your main battery source. If your battery gets low, your propane system could sound an alarm that sends everyone onboard into a frenzy. Often, propane system manufacturers will make the low battery sound a little different from other alarms.
  • Shut off all the electricity in your RV before changing or checking your tanks. Be sure to seal off gas valves to your appliances as well to prevent gas from seeping out during the service.
  • Make sure your onboard carbon monoxide monitor is always working. This is especially important in older rigs with propane systems that may not be equipped with more modern safety features. Propane gas is colorless and odorless. Manufacturers add scent to the mixture that causes the gas to smell like rotten eggs to warn you of a leak. However, this can be easy to miss if you are asleep or outside your rig. A functioning monitor is your best bet to stay safe.

Find the perfect coverage for your on-the-road dreams at Southwest Insurance Center. Visit our Austin, TX area representatives for more information on RV insurance.