When Should a New Homeowner Buy Home Insurance?

Buying a new home can be very exciting. From getting to choose a home that is big enough for your whole family to finding one in a location that is close to your work, there are many aspects to consider when shopping for a new home. With all of the excitement going on, you may overlook one of the most important parts of buying a new home – purchasing homeowner’s insurance. In fact, without this type of insurance, you may not be able to get a mortgage loan. Memorial Insurance Agency serving the Houston, TX area has put together a quick go-to guide outlining the reasons you need a homeowners insurance policy when buying a new home. 

Paying for Damage

It would be awful if you invested in a new home and then it got damaged. With the right insurance policy in place, though, you can rest easy knowing you will be covered if the home was damaged or lost due to certain events. Not all damages are covered in a homeowners insurance policy, making it very important to review your policy with a qualified insurance specialist who can explain the terms and conditions in an easy-to-understand language.

Lender Requirements

If you don’t have the cash on hand to buy a new home, you will need to take out a mortgage loan. Almost all lenders will require you to provide proof of insurance on the home in order to qualify for a loan. These lenders want to know they are going to receive payment on the loan even if the home was damaged or considered a total loss under the policy.

Want to learn more about homeowner’s insurance? If so, contact the Memorial Insurance Agency serving the Houston, TX area. 

STOP! Do not get these 7 kinds of insurance!

Wait, what?! My insurance agent is telling me about the insurance I do NOT need?! Here are some of the products you should think twice about before signing on the dotted line:

1) Extended Warranties: These days, appliances are very reliable, and it is statistically highly unlikely that you’ll need this coverage. The salesman may be persistent but save your money and say No.

2) Credit card payment protection: This coverage is very specific. If you’re worried about being unable to meet your payment obligations due to disability, job loss, or illness, you should go for a more general disability policy that includes debt payments. Naturally, the best approach is to not load up those credit cards too high in the first place.

3) Collision Coverage on older vehicles: Texas auto insurance is expensive. If you have an older car, the amount you pay for full coverage could be very high in relation to the payout you’d get from the insurance company. A better option might be to put the money you save on premiums into a fund to pay for any damages, should you be involved in an accident.

4) Mortgage Life insurance: This pays off your home loan in the event of your death. Much better to invest in a decent Term Life policy instead, which will provide enough money to pay off the mortgage AND other costs as well.

5) Identity Theft insurance: This one is often in the news, and some insurance companies are cashing in on people’s fears. But you can protect against identity theft for yourself, for free, without having to pay an insurance premium. Change your passwords regularly and make sure your cyber security is up to date, keep an eye on your accounts, and regularly monitor or flag your credit report.

6) Disease insurance: You can go out there and buy an insurance policy to protect against just about every imaginable malady. But what if you buy a cancer policy, but end up suffering a heart attack? Good medical insurance will cover your bills no matter what it is that brings you down.

7) Accidental Death insurance: Major catastrophes such as car wrecks, fires, and accidents in your workplace, are most likely already covered under other policies. The chance of getting involved in something like a plane crash is vanishingly small. So, once again, the best advice is to get a good life insurance policy that covers a multitude of eventualities rather than highly specific and unlikely occurrences.

Memorial Insurance Agency is here to advise you on the insurance you DO need, such as good home insurance coverage, auto insurance, and (especially in Houston) – flood insurance! We are here to help so please give one of our licensed agents a call on 713 461 8272. Have a great weekend!

Ultimate A-Z of Essential Items to Keep in your Car

Wondering about what you should keep in your car? Check out Memorial Insurance Agency’s ultimate guide!:

1. Air Pump
2. Blanket: nights can be cold, even in Texas, and waits for tow trucks can be long.
3. Bucket: can be used for lots of things, as well as for storing many of the items on this list.
4. Cash: credit card machines “go down” surprisingly often. Always have some spare cash on hand for gas, and quarters for payphones (yes, they still exist, and no, many remote areas of Texas do NOT have a cell signal).
5. Duct tape: for all manner of uses – not just gagging your kidnap victim before you throw them in the trunk.
6. Fire extinguisher
7. First Aid kit
8. Flashlight
9. Food: energy bars, nuts and the like. Nothing perishable!
10. Gas can (empty!)
11. Gloves: the kind that you can wear to change a tire – leave the designer leather ones at home.
12. Grocery bags: the heavy-duty ones you can use again and again.
13. Hammer: get one with a built-in seatbelt cutter – and keep it in the glove compartment, not the trunk.
14. Insurance cards and vehicle registration
15. Jumper cables: because a flat battery is not as rare as you think!
16. Maps: paper maps in case your GPS isn’t working.
17. Matches: seal the box in a ziplock bag to keep it dry.
18. Multi-tool
19. Notebook and pen: to take down insurance details or directions.
20. Owner’s manual
21. Paper towels
22. Phone charger
23. Pillow: in case you have to spend the night in your car.
24. Plastic bags
25. Pressure gauge: check your tires are A-OK before a long trip.
26. Rain poncho
27. Safety vest: the reflective kind.
28. Shoes: a spare pair in case you have to walk.
29. Spare tire
30. Slime: to fill your tire so you can drive (carefully!) to the next repair shop.
31. Tools: make sure these include a jack and a wrench.
32. Tow straps
33. Water: especially for you to drink, but also some distilled water for the car radiator.
34. Wet wipes

In case you’re wondering whether you’re going to need a trailer to tow all of this stuff, fear not: with clever packing it should all fit into a corner of the trunk.

By the way, some lists advocate bringing a pet seatbelt, a DVD player, or a portable toilet, but we reckon those are a bit over the top ….. what do you think?

Stay safe out there!

Home Fire Safety Tips

Thank you to our friends at Lighthouse Insurance for the following essential safety advice.

“In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Smoke alarms give you an early warning, so you can get outside quickly.

SMOKE ALARM TIPS

•Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
•It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
•Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
•A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
•People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
•Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

IF THE ALARM SOUNDS

•If the smoke alarm sounds, get out and stay out. Never go back inside for people or pets.
•If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to find your way out.
•Call the fire department from outside your home.

GENERAL SAFETY TIPS

•Make a home escape plan. Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
•Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily.
•Have an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
•Practice your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
•Practice using different ways out.
•Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
•Close doors behind you as you leave.

U.S. fire departments respond to a home fire every 86 seconds. That’s over 1,000 fires a day. Home fires can occur for a variety of reasons, but many are preventable. Over 365,000 fires and 2,650 civilian deaths occur every year, resulting in $7 billion in property damage. Memorial Insurance Agency can help tailor your policy to provide the best coverage for your home and needs in case of a fire”.

The original article can be found here: Home Fire Safety Tips.