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.

When is getting umbrella insurance a good idea?

People all over the Austin TX area need to spend time considering their personal insurance needs. For most people, this will including having a home, auto, health and other forms of insurance. For some people, having additional personal liability insurance could be a good idea. There are several situations in which someone should consider getting an umbrella insurance policy. 

Additional Coverage

One of the reasons why people get umbrella insurance is that it will give coverage on top of their base policies. While the liability coverage you receive from your home and auto coverage can seem substantial, there are situations where it is not enough. For those that want coverage against the risk of significant damage or injuries, having the additional umbrella insurance is a necessity as it can be much higher in coverage. 

Covers for Unique Situations

Another advantage of having umbrella insurance is that it can protect you from some unique situations that are not included under normal insurance policies. When you have an umbrella insurance policy, you will get personal coverage against slander, libel, false arrest or malicious prosecution, or causing mental anguish. Due to these unique forms of coverage, those that are in certain professions should consider having umbrella insurance a complete necessity.

There are clearly many situations in which having umbrella insurance is a good idea. To make sure that they are properly covered for their umbrella insurance needs, people that are in the Austin, TX area should call the team at the Southwest Insurance Center. The insurance professionals at the Southwest Insurance Center could help anyone to get into a policy that provides the right level of umbrella coverage. This will ensure you are properly covered for all of your liability risks, which should provide peace of mind. 

How Auto Insurance in Texas Will Protect You

Owning a car in the Austin, TX area is a necessity for a lot of people. Due to the importance and expense of this asset, you also need to ensure that you are properly covering yourself with insurance. For those that are in this area, getting a quality auto insurance policy could protect a car owner in many ways. 

Protection from Liability

Being sued for liability is a recurring risk that all people need to take seriously whenever they get behind the wheel. If you are sued for damages following an accident, the expenses to pay restitution can be significant. Due to this, you should make sure that you have liability insurance on your car whenever you are on the road. The state of Texas will also require that you have this insurance at all times. 

Will Give Coverage for Your Car

While you may only be required by law to get liability insurance on your vehicle, most car owners will also benefit from a full collision and comprehensive insurance policy. This full vehicle insurance policy will give you coverage for a wide variety of situations including if your car is damaged, stolen, or vandalized. This coverage is normally also required if you took out a loan to finance your vehicle’s purchase.

Those that are in the Austin, TX area and own a car need to take their auto insurance needs seriously. When you are shopping for your next car, you should contact the team at Southwest Insurance Center. When you do reach out to the team at the Southwest Insurance Center, you can find out more about how a full auto insurance policy will protect you. The team will also review your full personal situation to figure out what type of insurance is right for you. 

When Umbrella Insurance is Smart Buy for Business Professionals

You hold a position of importance at your place of employment in Austin, TX. You own a beautiful home and have a decent nest egg stored away for the future. But it could all disappear when you skip purchasing Umbrella Insurance from Southwest Insurance Center. How does this unique insurance work?

Umbrella Insurance Helps You when the World Falls Apart

Your umbrella policy provides a high level of liability insurance in the instance of somebody being injured through your actions.  This injury may be physical or economical. It kicks in after your more traditional home or auto insurance maxes out on any particular instance.  If you are held personally responsible for a financial disaster at your workplace, it can also help out in certain circumstances.

Keep Your Savings and Retirement Safe

Why is it a smart buy? When you have enjoyed a successful life, you now have more to lose when you are suddenly responsible for somebody’s exorbitant medical bills or other types of expenses. Your umbrella policy can prevent you from emptying out your savings account, selling the house, or going into debt to fulfill your obligations.

Send the Kids to College Anyway

You tell your children that everybody makes mistakes. Make sure that yours does not hinder their chances at having a better life. Leave the college fund intact when you use your umbrella insurance and maintain the lifestyle you and your family have enjoyed.

If you have more questions about how you can keep all of your plans for the future together with umbrella insurance, give your local Austin, TX agent from Southwest Insurance Center a call today.

3 Tips for Choosing Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance is like having a safety net when you’re on the road, something that should appeal to all those without an exterior frame to protect them. Choosing insurance can feel like a bit of a minefield because of the many plans, policies, and premiums available, but it doesn’t have to be. Southwest Insurance Center wants you to have a better idea of what it means to pick the coverage that’s right for you. 

1. Compare Plans 

This is probably the best advice you’ll get if you live in Austin, TX. All motorcycle owners are seen as having a bit of daredevil in them, and this is reflected in the coverage levels and price of the plan. Even if it seems like you’re getting one standard-issue quote after the next, it’s important to check several sources before you really have an idea of what it should cost you. As you compare, keep in mind the reviews of every company. Sometimes paying a little more is worth it for a company that’s easier to work with. 

2. Consider Comprehensive Insurance 

Liability only for motorcycle drivers can be a tempting choice because of its appealing price tag. However, motorcycles are expensive to buy and replace if anything happens to them. And considering they’re more likely to be stolen and stripped due to their sheer portability, a comprehensive policy may be the only thing that recuperates your losses. Unless you have a bike you know you wouldn’t mind losing, you should talk to someone about comprehensive. 

3. Pick the Right Partner 

Southwest Insurance Center is here to help the people of Austin, TX get the motorcycle insurance they need. Give us a call today to learn more about how the right policy can protect you when it counts. 

Does My RV Insurance Cover My Motor Home if I Put It In Storage?

As much as we would like to, we can’t travel all of the time. This means that our RV probably spends a few months each year in storage. The agents of Southwest Insurance Center serve residents living in Austin, TX and assist them in making sure their RV is protected whether you have it out on the road or neatly tucked away in storage. Keeping your insurance coverage intact while your RV is in storage is very beneficial.

What Your Policy Covers

Most RV insurance policies cover your RV no matter where it is. If you are traveling, you’re covered. If it has been put in storage, your coverage will remain in place unless you choose to cancel it.

Storage Insurance

Since you won’t be putting your RV on the road, you may be able to lower your costs by choosing a policy that has a storage option. With storage insurance, your liability coverage drops because you will not be using your RV to camp or putting it on the road. Once you take it out of storage, you will need to notify your agent so the liability can be put back into effect.

Who’s Responsible?

Most storage facilities have a policy in place that will cover damage to RVs on their property if an event happens on the property that is not the RV owner’s fault.

If you own an RV and live in Austin, TX, call the agents of Southwest Insurance Center and talk to them about their RV insurance policies. They can find the right policy to cover all of your recreational and RV insurance needs.