Dos and Don’ts of Filing an Auto Insurance Claim

Things can get pretty stressful following a collision. To ensure you are properly compensated, you want to ensure that you correctly file an auto insurance claim with your Austin, TX insurance company. Here are a few dos and don’ts to follow from Southwest Insurance Center.

Do Document Absolutely Everything

No matter whether you think it is relevant or not, take note of it. Your insurer can use what is necessary and put aside the rest. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, the scene of the accident, the road, the weather, obstructions, etc. Don’t forget to take down eyewitness information. Seek medical attention immediately if you are injured.

Don’t Throw Away Your Receipts

After an accident, you will be out money for medical expenses, auto repairs, property repairs, and a variety of other expenses. Make certain that you keep the receipts (or at least copies of them) of anything you pay for. More often than not, these expenses are refundable, but you will need to provide proof of these costs to your insurer.

Do File Your Claim ASAP

It is important to understand that the claims process needs to get started as soon as possible, which means you need to file your auto insurance claim at your very earliest convenience following the accident. In fact, you should familiarize yourself with the requirements of your insurer, as most insurance policies will require that you file within a certain time period—typically within 24 hours.

If you need help filing your auto insurance claim, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Southwest Insurance Center. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have and guide you through the claims filing process. Alternatively, if you are looking for auto insurance in Austin, TX, let us help you assess your individual needs and provide you with an auto insurance quote.

Do All Texas Homeowners Need Dwelling Fire Insurance?

If you own a home in the Austin, TX area, fire insurance is essential to protecting one of your life’s biggest financial investments. Wild weather isn’t exactly unheard of in Texas, and there is some level of fire risk no matter where you live. You may be thinking, "If I have homeowner’s insurance, I should be covered in the event of a fire." 

While homeowner’s insurance covers your home in the event of a fire that is not your fault, fire insurance is an extra step of protection for fires caused by cooking accidents, bad wiring, or smoking, where you are technically at fault.

The team at Southwest Insurance Center understands how the variations in coverage can be overwhelming, particularly as a new homeowner who wants to fully cover a new investment. We’re happy to help you navigate the options in order to make the best coverage decision for your home. 

It’s obvious that a fire can cause serious damage to your home and surrounding property in Austin, TX. Dwelling fire insurance covers damage from a fire that occurs as a result of an accidental fire where you are at fault. The policy also covers any damage to your personal belongings. The peace of mind in knowing that accidents do happen and we can only be so prepared for them is the biggest motivator to invest in dwelling fire insurance. 

Whether you have an electrical issue in your home and something sparks, or there’s an accidental cooking disaster that leads to a fire, maintaining a dwelling fire insurance policy will allow you to breathe easier because you know you’re fully covered. 

If you’re interested in seeing what dwelling fire insurance we can offer, contact Southwest Insurance Center today. We’re here to help. 

Auto Insurance Coverage Options

When you buy a car in Austin, TX, one of the first things you need to do is insure it. This is a legal requirement that helps protect you and other people. However, are you aware of what your coverage options are? You need to understand the different types of auto coverage before selecting one. That is why, here at Southwest Insurance Center, we take you through the different types of auto insurance coverages in the market.

Bodily Injury Liability

This coverage cautions you financially if you cause an accident and people are injured. The coverage will help pay for the medical treatment of the injured party, preventing you from paying out of pocket.

Property Damage Liability

This type of liability helps pay for any damage to other people’s property caused by your car. This includes vehicles, fences, businesses, etc. Any damage to your vehicle after an accident is not covered by this policy.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage protects you against financial loss when your car is exposed to risks like theft, natural disasters, vandalism, and collision with an animal. The policy will help cover the repairs or to replace your vehicle.

Collision Coverage

This type of auto insurance helps cover the expenses of repairing your vehicle after you hit another car or object. For instance, if you hit your fence as you reverse, the insurance company will help pay for the repairs.

Uninsured/ Underinsured Auto Coverage

If you are involved in an accident, and the driver at fault lacks adequate insurance or is uninsured, this coverage helps with the repair expenses. In addition, if you have been injured, the coverage will take care of the medical costs.

One of the major benefits of having insurance in Austin, TX is that you do not get into a financial loss if anything happens. Therefore, if you are still wondering whether coverage is right for you, you can reach out to us at Southwest Insurance Center. We understand that insurance can be confusing for first-timers, so we will help you find the right coverage.

How To Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Your home is probably one of your biggest and most important investments. At Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin, TX and surrounding areas, we want to help our clients understand all of the ways they can protect their homes. Keep reading to learn more about protecting your home from water damage. 

Don’t Ignore Leaks

One of the biggest contributing factors to water damage is leaks which are left unrepaired. A leak will often start out small, which makes it easy to ignore for a while. Wherever there is a leak, though, water damage can happen. If you see a leak, repair it quickly. If you are not aware of any leaks,  it is still a good idea to check your home twice a year for any leaks or collecting water. 

Keep Your Home Properly Sealed 

If there are parts of your home which are not properly sealed up, it can let in water during heavy rains. Parts of your home which could be vulnerable can include the basement, roof, or any area that is located downhill where rainwater can run into. You can have your home professionally inspected for these types of vulnerable areas by a home inspector or a construction contractor. 

Keep Proper Insurance 

It is important to make sure your home insurance policy has adequate water damage protection. You should note that most home policies do not include flood coverage, but that is different from water damage resulting from busted pipes or leaks. You can sit down with an insurance representative to discuss the details of your policy. 

If you would like to learn more about home insurance, please contact us at Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin, TX, and surrounding areas. 

Talking to Your Parents About Life Insurance

Families are often hesitant to discuss life insurance details. Although these can sometimes be uncomfortable conversations, they are also important conversations. At Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin, TX, we want to help our clients feel comfortable and empowered when discussing this topic. Keep reading to learn more about discussing life insurance with your parents. 

Why It’s Important 

Discussing life insurance with your aging parents is important because when parents pass, adult children are usually the ones who handle arrangements. These adult children need to know the details of the life insurance plans that are active. If there are no life insurance plans active, adult children will want to discuss the importance of finding a plan to relieve the financial burden in the future. 

Questions to Ask

When discussing this important topic, you will want to ask specific questions to ensure that you have the information you need to handle your parents’ final arrangements in the future. You will need to know who holds active policies, how much the policy will provide, and any other details concerning the policy such as loans that have been taken out against it. 

You will also want to take note of your parents’ wishes concerning their final arrangements. It will be very important to them that they feel heard and that their wishes are respected in a compassionate way.

If your parents do not have an active life insurance policy, you will want to discuss with them the importance of shopping for something now, so that their final wishes can be handled in the appropriate way without additional financial burden. 

If you would like to learn more about our insurance products, please contact us at Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin TX, and the surrounding areas. 

How Does Commercial Insurance Protect My Small Business?

Are any small business owners reading this post in Austin, TX? Here at Southwest Insurance Center, we love supporting small businesses in any way we can. Austin is a fantastic place to start a business and run your own company; the rich culture, tourism, sights, and sounds all make for a great backdrop to building your dream business. 

You’ve probably looked into commercial insurance throughout your time as a small business owner. Commercial insurance can be very overwhelming; how much coverage do you really need? Is it worth the cost? We’re here to explain the ways that commercial insurance can protect your small business, give you peace of mind, and help you grow.

Commercial Insurance Protection 

1. Commercial liability insurance protects your business against lawsuits or claims from third parties about your business. 

2. Commercial property insurance protects one of your greatest investments – your office, workspace, warehouse, or other location where you conduct business. If your property is damaged in a fire or other natural causes, property insurance protects your building.  

Property insurance also covers your inventory, machinery, and other items that are essential to the functioning of your business (that are housed in your workspace). 

Remember that insurance exists to mitigate the risks associated with the policy. If operating your small business has substantial risk, looking into commercial insurance is a wise decision so you can protect your investments and your bottom line. 

If you’re a business owner in the Austin, TX area and are interested in looking at the coverage options we offer, contact Southwest Insurance Center today. Our team of experts can help you decide what the most suitable commercial insurance coverage is for your business to thrive.

Do I Need Boat Insurance in Texas?

Anyone who lives in Austin, TX has likely shared the enjoyment that boating can offer both residents and tourists of the area. Southwest Insurance Center is here to answer all your questions about boat insurance in the great state of Texas.

Many marinas in Texas now require boat insurance in order to park your vessel on their property. Other than that, most boating insurance is for the peace of mind of the boat owner, as we can’t control every water situation we’re in, whether you’re the best boat captain on the water or not. 

Boat insurance can protect you in the event of an accident. Whether you’re at fault or not, boater’s insurance provides a financial cushion that will give you great peace of mind every time you get on the water with family and friends. 

If you’ve spent any significant sum of money on your boat, investing in boat insurance is a wise move. Don’t throw away the thousands of dollars you’ve invested in your vessel by not properly insuring it before you get out on the water to enjoy it. 

Standard coverage for a boat includes:

1. Physical damage to the boat that occurs during an accident, dangerous weather, etc

2. Property damage to another person’s property in the event of an accident

3. Theft or vandalism to your boat that needs replacing

As you can see, a simple insurance policy can set you up with a great amount of protection in various scenarios when out on the water. If you live in Austin, TX, have a boat, and need some guidance as you build a plan that will protect your assets, contact the team at Southwest Insurance Center. Our team of experts can help!

What is Included in Your Motorcycle Insurance?

There is nothing quite like the open road on the back of a motorcycle! That being said, you are going to need to protect yourself and your bike in case you are involved in an accident. Just like with automobile insurance, you need to make sure that you have motorcycle insurance. 

So, what is included with your insurance? 

Liability insurance. You need to have liability insurance if you want to own a motorcycle. This will protect you by covering the cost of damage to the property, along with the medical bills of those that are involved in the accident. 

Comprehensive insurance. This is optional, but it may be in your best interest to have some. This will cover your motorcycle if it gets stolen or damaged due to things that are beyond our control, such as fire and storm. It also covers vandalism. 

Collision. This insurance covers any damage that may occur to your own motorcycle if you are at fault. 

Uninsured and underinsured motorist. If you want to protect yourself against others on the road, you are going to want to have uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. This will cover any damage to your motorcycle, along with any of your medical bills that aren’t covered because the other driver didn’t have enough insurance. 

You can decide how much insurance and what types of insurance you want to have. However, if you have a loan out for your motorcycle, you may be required to have a comprehensive collision policy. Talk to a professional to help you find a plan that fits into your budget, while still protecting you. In Austin, TX, contact us today at Southwest Insurance Center. 

3 Safety Tips For Full Time RV Living

RV living is growing in popularity and accessibility. As RVs become more advanced in their comfort features, more and more people are opting for full-time RV life. At Southwest Insurance Center serving Austin, TX and the surrounding areas, we want to help clients understand how they can safely make this lifestyle change. Keep reading to learn about 3 safety tips for full-time RV living. 

Proper Insurance Coverage

If you choose to live in your RV full time, you will want to make sure that you have the proper type of insurance coverage. Regular vehicle coverage will not be adequate to protect your family and possessions if you are living in your RV. Although in some areas you can operate an RV with just vehicle coverage, this will not cover the value of your family’s personal belongings should there be an accident, fire, natural disaster, or burglary. An insurance professional can sit down with you to discuss the amount and types of insurance coverage you will need. 

Proper Security Features 

If you are staying in RV parks, it is imperative that you have the proper security features on your RV. Although all steps are taken to ensure that RV parks are safe, you are still in a vulnerable position. This is also true if you are staying overnight in parking lots or travel centers. You can increase your security with security cameras and RV security systems created specifically for this type of lifestyle. 

Be Aware of Your Surroundings 

When you arrive in an RV park take time to look around and get acquainted with the park’s security features and security guards. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you should carefully consider your choice of location. 

If you would like to learn about RV insurance or any of our other insurance products, please contact us at Southwest Insurance Center, serving Austin, TX, and the surrounding areas. 

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance in Texas?

Residents of Austin, TX looking for more information on umbrella insurance should keep reading. The team at Southwest Insurance Center has the experience and knowledge to help guide you throughout the process of purchasing umbrella insurance on your already-insured assets that need additional coverage. 

Umbrella insurance is just that – extra coverage. As you build an investment portfolio, purchase a home, investment property, vehicles, boats, other toys, and even run a business… umbrella insurance fills in the blanks where your standard policy may not. 

Why Do I Need Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance fills in the blanks where you may be at extra risk of getting sued for something. This could be related to a neighborhood issue, a client issue with your business, even an injury sustained by a neighbor from your dog. If you participate in dangerous or risky sports like hunting or surfing, your risk is higher of causing harm to someone else while participating. Umbrella insurance can cover you in these scenarios. 

The beauty of umbrella insurance is you can start small, with a lower amount of coverage, and scale up as you continue to make investments in property, businesses, and other valuable assets. 

The benefits of having umbrella insurance certainly outweigh the cost you are responsible for. While every individual and family is different, the safeguards that umbrella insurance will offer your assets and peace of mind are well worth the cost of coverage. 

If you think umbrella insurance sounds like something that would benefit your lifestyle or your future goals, don’t hesitate to reach out to Southwest Insurance Center today. We’re committed to helping residents of Austin, TX and the surrounding areas navigate insurance and get the coverage that works for them. Contact us today!