5 New Year’s Resolutions You Might Actually Stick To

The reason so many New Year’s Resolutions ultimately fail – as psychologists will tell you – is that they are too general. Resolving to “exercise more” is less effective than targeting a specific activity (for example, walking 10,000 steps every day). Let Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston, Texas, inspire you with some ideas for resolutions that you might actually keep!

1. Get to know your neighbors: Not only might you find some deep friendships this way, but from an insurance perspective, having your neighbors keeping an eye on your home is great for security!

2. Learn something new: Regular mental workouts improve brain function as we age. Why not take a college course, learn a foreign language, or play chess twice a week?

3. Tip generously: If you can afford to dine in a fancy restaurant, the difference between tipping 15% and 20% is probably not much to you. You get a warm fuzzy feeling from being generous, and that extra money goes a long way for low-wage workers. Don’t forget parking valets, bartenders, cloakroom attendants, and food delivery workers too!

4. Take a risk: There is probably something just outside of your comfort zone that you know you ought to try. Maybe it’s investing in stocks, traveling alone to a foreign country, finally quitting your dead-end job, or trying online dating. What’s the worst that could happen? Expand your horizons and you may find you increase your happiness and fulfilment also.

5. Forgive someone: Holding on to a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The four-step process to better mental health goes something like this: Acknowledge your pain, visualize what you want the pain to turn into, work through your anger, and finally, expel your rage and resentment.

Please share on our Facebook page any other New Year’s Resolutions you are intending to keep in 2020!

6 Great Gifts for Insurance Agents

Stuck for gift ideas for the insurance agent in your life? Wanting to buy a little something to thank Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston for their wonderful service this year? Take your pick from our great suggestions!

1. Coffee mug: An essential accessory for hardworking, office-based insurance agents! How about this great design available on Etsy?

2. Coffee: Need something to put in that great personalized mug? A subscription to a craft coffee delivery service means your insurance agent won’t get stuck in a rut with the same old coffee beans each day!

3. Fire Extinguisher: In addition to a great insurance policy, a fire extinguisher is something that no self-respecting insurance agent should be without! Why not make a statement with a pink one?

4. Fire Extinguisher USB: It won’t put out fires, but it sure makes a chic and handy gift for those insurance presentations.

5. Portrait: We all know that insurance agents think they are “hot stuff”. So why not treat your favorite big-ego insurance agent to a commissioned portrait of themselves? Ideal when framed and placed on a desk, or choose a life-sized version to hang imposingly on an office wall.

6. An Insurance Agency: If you’re feeling really generous, you can even buy a book of business for your favorite wannabe insurance agent. Now that’s a gift they will never forget!

Make Sure Your Auto Policy’s Replacement Coverage is Adequate for Your Needs

Today’s cars are lasting longer than ever, and while this is a great way to maximize your investment in your vehicle, your insurance policy may not be providing the coverage you need. As your car ages and experiences more wear and tear, it will be worthless money. If you are insuring the present value of your car or truck, you may be in for a rude awakening if something catastrophic happens to your vehicle. The team at Memorial Insurance Agency is here to help our friends and neighbors in the greater Houston, TX area get the coverage they need.

What You Need to Know About Replacement Coverage

When your vehicle is determined to be a total loss, whether due to theft, damage, or collision, your policy may not have the coverage that you need.

  • There may be a wide variance between the present value of your vehicle and its replacement value. If your policy is only adequate for the current value of your car, you may be left paying out-of-pocket to replace it.
  • You may not be able to get any money at all for your totaled car. There are situations when you won’t be able to sell your current vehicle due to extreme damage or theft.
  • The current coverage amount included in your auto policy may not be sufficient for you to purchase the type of vehicle you need. If your car is totaled, your policy may not have the level of protection you need.

Want to find out more about your replacement coverage options in the greater Houston, TX area? Call or stop by the Memorial Insurance Agency today and speak with one of our helpful agents about the policy options that are right for you.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Did you know that cooking accidents – and subsequent fires – are up to THREE TIMES more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than on any other day of the year?

A house fire on Thanksgiving would really ruin your whole day. So to make sure you’re not left feeling like a turkey when your home burns to the ground, take heed of the following safety tips!

1. Don’t overfill your fryer. When you lower your turkey into the bubbling grease cauldron, oil can spill over the edges, hit the burner, and cause a fire.

2. Thaw your turkey completely before cooking, and lower it slowly into the pot.

3. Avoid using water or ice to cool down oil or put out an oil fire. Water and oil do not mix, and the steam bubbles will cause the oil to spit. If the oil goes into your eyes, a burning house will be the least of your worries.

4. Keep your turkey fryer away from other structures, and – obviously – don’t use it indoors. Avoid placing it on wooden decking or other flammable surfaces.

5. Don’t leave your fryer unattended – if left unwatched, the oil in your fryer will continue to heat, eventually catching fire.

Happy and safe turkey frying this Thanksgiving Day!

Dog Owner Liability

Did you know that dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims? And that half of all dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property?

When your dog bites a visitor to your home, many people’s first question is to ask whether it is covered under a home insurance policy. The answer is – it depends. Some homeowners’ policies include animal liability as standard, and others will allow you to add it by endorsement (usually for an extra premium of around $25 a year).

Another important factor is the breed of dog. If you have an animal that is deemed to be dangerous – from a fairly standard list including Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and others – then you will usually find that your home insurance policy specifically excludes liability. Some carriers will decline to insure your home – period! – if a dangerous dog is present. Finally, even if your dog is a so-called “safe” breed, you may not be covered if it has a history of biting people.

That is why it is essential to disclose all information about animals in your home, when signing up for a new policy. And also, let your insurance agent know if you obtain a new pet, so they can assist you in understanding what coverage you need.

Understanding Your Car Insurance Coverage

In Houston, TX, you are required to carry a certain amount of auto insurance. Do you really know what that entails? Memorial Insurance Agency would like to break it down for you so you can have a better understanding of what having car insurance means for you.

Types of Auto Coverage

You can have different and specific types of coverage. It’s really based on your needs. If you work out of your home and don’t drive very often, you may need only the basic coverage. If you travel every day to work or school, you may need additional coverage.

Liability Insurance Policies

Because we don’t know the future, liability insurance is there to cover any accidents that may arise.

Bodily injury liability — pays the individuals that are injured if you cause or are found to be at fault for an accident.

Property damage liability — is used for the cost of damages related to another person’s property if you cause damage to their property while in control of your vehicle. This can include a house, mailbox, building, or other property that is damaged.

Optional Insurance Coverage for Your Vehicle

Collision coverage — is used in instances where you are involved in a vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-object crash. It helps to cover the cost of your vehicle’s damages.

Comprehensive coverage — is to be paid if your vehicle is stolen or damaged. The damage cannot be caused by a collision. For example, if someone vandalizes your van or steals it, you could use comprehensive coverage to have your vehicle replaced.

To find out the specifics of what is covered in your policy, you will need to talk with the experts at Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston, TX. We can also help you add coverage or begin a new policy.

22 Years Young! Happy Anniversary to us!

It’s not all work and no play here at Memorial Insurance Agency! We celebrated our 22nd anniversary with a fun night of bowling, followed by delicious Italian food. Our customer service representatives work very hard looking after our clients, so it is nice to have an opportunity to relax and unwind.

Here’s to the next 22 years looking after our clients, our community, and our awesome team!

Top 5 Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Fall is the time when coastal Texans bid goodbye to our storm season, and other parts of the country prepare for theirs! But although we do not usually get “winter storms”, there are still some commonsense things you can do to make sure your home is ready for the cooler months:

  1. Take care of trees and shrubs: Falling tree limbs are one of the leading causes of damage to homes – and one of the main reasons for home insurance claims. Inspect your trees carefully for any signs of disease, and have a professional arborist prune any dead branches.
  2. Clean gutters and downspouts: After the last of the leaves have fallen, be sure to remove them from roofs, gutters, and downspouts. Clogged gutters can cause rainwater to pool, and lead to roof or siding damage. Moreover, excess leaves constitute a fire hazard – insurance carriers will usually request that you remove the leaves if they inspect your home.
  3. Make exterior repairs: Maybe it’s finally time to replace that roof or siding! It is also important to seal any gaps, to prevent rodents and other vermin entering the home as the weather cools. Thinking of moving your home to another insurance carrier? Be aware that insurance companies will conduct a home inspection, and can refuse to insure your home unless it’s in good condition and any necessary repairs are made.
  4. Check safety devices: Test all your smoke alarms, and replace the batteries if necessary. Check the expiry dates on your fire extinguishers.
  5. Clean dryer vents: Lint buildup in dryer vents not only makes your dryer less energy efficient, but can also cause a fire. If you don’t know how to remove the lint yourself, call a professional to give your vents the once-over and make sure you’re in good shape for the dry winter season.

Give Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston a call if you have any questions about your homeowners insurance!

Flood Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

If you live in or around Houston, TX and own your home or business you should look into flood insurance for your assets because it is not included in common commercial or homeowner’s insurance policies. At Memorial Insurance Agency we meet people often who do not realize that their homeowner’s insurance does not cover certain situations such as a flood. We are happy to clear up common questions many customers have about flood insurance.

Flood Insurance FAQs

  • I don’t live in an area that is known to flood? Should I still purchase a policy? Yes, even if you are at a lower risk for a flood it can still happen from a variety of causes. Negate any risk to your assets with a simple policy add on. 
  • Does my homeowner’s insurance cover flooding? No, your homeowner’s insurance does not cover flooding in Texas, nor in most states in the US. But there are practices in place that make purchasing this insurance easy and affordable. 
  • What about flooding from within my home such as from a leaky pipe? According to the Texas Water Development Board In Texas, a “flood” is legally defined as a “temporary condition of partial or complete covering of two or more acres of dry land or two or more properties. This can be caused by an overflow of waters, mud-flow, rapid runoff, or collapse of land along a lake.” This means that your leaky pipe damage will not be covered under flood insurance, but may be covered by homeowner’s insurance. 

Contact us at Memorial Insurance Agency to learn more about flood insurance in Houston, TX. We will be happy to answer any questions you have about flood insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and other policies to fully cover your entire life. 

Tropical Storm Imelda

In the insurance world, there is a surefire way to tell when a major storm is coming – and you don’t even need to look at the weather forecast! What happens is that insurance carriers issue a moratorium on binding new business policies when a storm or hurricane is 24-48 hours away from making landfall.

Why do insurance companies do this? In the same way that health insurance carriers exclude pre-existing conditions, property insurance carriers decline to insure buildings (and sometimes cars too) if the risk of loss is suddenly increased. This is understandable – otherwise, some people would only buy insurance at the last minute, when property damage from a storm or hurricane seems inevitable.

At the time of writing, many insurance carriers are not binding coverage due to the threat from Tropical Storm Imelda, which is currently deluging coastal Texas with rainfall. Thankfully, at this point, it’s not looking like becoming a major wind event, so the chance of you having to make a homeowners insurance claim is small. Flood insurance is another matter, and we recommend that every homeowner in the greater Houston area invests in this sensible – and usually inexpensive – coverage.