Latest Happenings at MIA!

Our Director of Operations, Dominic Le Croissette, with other real estate professionals at Sweet Bribery in The Heights.

What has the team at Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston been doing recently?

Last week, we sponsored a fantastic Champagne Floats event for real estate professionals at Sweet Bribery in The Heights. It was great to see such a big turnout of realtors, mortgage brokers, and other people involved in the flourishing Houston real estate market.

Our team continues to go from strength to strength! The new arrivals on our production team, Shannon Broll and Kevin Feehery, are really proving their expertise when it comes to writing home insurance, auto insurance, and flood insurance policies. It’s great to have them both on board!

And finally ….. our customer service manager, Denise Martinez, is leading by example with her awesome service to her clients – check out this lovely, heartfelt thank you letter from one of her customers.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Do I need flood insurance?

If you own a home in the Houston, TX area, it is important that you have it fully and properly covered by insurance. For most homeowners, this will mean having home insurance in place at all times. However, there are other types of insurance that you may need as well. Depending on your situation, you may also need to get flood insurance. There are several situations in which you will need to have flood insurance.

Required by Lender

One of the most common reasons why someone may need to get flood insurance is if their mortgage lender requires it. If your home is located in a FEMA flood zone, it is very likely that your lender will want you to have flood insurance. This is especially true if your mortgage is part of the FHA program. In these situations, you will likely need to escrow your payments on a monthly basis.

Flood Zone

Even if it is not required by your bank, you could still benefit greatly by having flood insurance if you are in or near a flood zone. Flood insurance will provide you with very valuable protection in the event your home is damaged by a flood. Further, your standard home insurance policy may not cover it if you are at risk of being affected by floods. 

There are a variety of situations in which someone in the Houston, TX area should have flood insurance. When you are trying to better understand your flood insurance needs and requirements, you should contact the team at Memorial Insurance Agency. The insurance professionals at Memorial Insurance Agency fully understand the complexities and importance of flood insurance. Because of this, they can help you get into a flood insurance policy that provides you with the right level of coverage. 

Excess Flood Coverage: Do You Need It?

As the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey looms ever closer, the thoughts of many homeowners are turning to flood insurance. Floods are one of the most common and most expensive home hazards, and it pays to make sure you’re properly protected, especially in this era of ever more violent hurricanes and unpredictable rainfall patterns.

What Kind of Flood Insurance Do I Need?

While the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers suitable coverage for most homes, people with high-value properties ought to consider supplementing their NFIP policy with Excess Flood insurance. If there is potential for a flood to cause more than $250,000 of damage to the structure of your home, and $100,000 of damage to its contents (the maximum coverage limits available under the NFIP), then Excess Flood insurance is worth considering.

How Does Excess Flood Work?

In a nutshell, an Excess Flood policy kicks in once the limits of your coverage under the NFIP have been exhausted, so you typically won’t pay another deductible. You also get some attractive additional coverage options, including loss of use, which pays for you to live somewhere else if your home is rendered uninhabitable due to flood.

How Much Does It Cost?

Excess Flood is available from private insurers and is not subsidized by the NFIP, which means it costs more than an NFIP policy. Premiums vary depending on the location and construction of your home, the foundation type, and even the way your home faces! But on average, reckon on it being at least twice as expensive as the equivalent amount of NFIP coverage.

How Can I Find Out More?

Give your agent at Memorial Insurance a call on 713-461-8272, and we will be glad to answer any questions you may have, run an Excess Flood quote, or simply help you decide whether this coverage is necessary for your home.

Does Flood Insurance Cover Damage From Public Sewer Lines?

Having the right insurance can help you prevent losses from a variety of events such as floods. However, sometimes events can happen that are not natural and can even be caused by flooding from public entities such as city water and sewer services. Does your flood insurance cover these types of events?

Flood Insurance Coverage

If you are the victim of a flooding event as a result of faulty public works, or city infrastructure or sewer lines, you will likely be covered by your home owner’s insurance rather than your flood insurance. If you would like more information about what events flood insurance and home insurance cover, speak with a knowledgeable insurance agent who can answer your questions and help you protect yourself from the possibility of loss as a result of public sewer and water or other public entities. 

Choosing The Right Insurance Agency

Not all insurance agencies are the same. The agents of the company, along with their experience, can make a big difference in the protection and coverage you receive. A seasoned agent can work with you to discover your personal needs and recommend products that will offer you the highest level of protection from unexpected incidents that can cause significant home and property damage. If you are a resident in or around the Houston, TX area, you can count on Memorial Insurance Agency to guide you through the policy purchasing experience and help with any claims you may have in the future. 

Get the facts about your home insurance and flood insurance coverage. If you are a resident of Houston, TX or the surrounding area, you owe it to yourself to contact Memorial Insurance Agency for more details. We will provide you with peace of mind only the right type of insurance can offer. Call or stop by the office today.

Coming Soon: Flood Endorsement!

We had some exciting news from one of our most innovative insurance carriers this week. Starting this spring, a Flood Endorsement will be available for all home insurance policies with XYZ Insurance (not the carrier’s real name because this product is still confidential).

What does this mean? Well, instead of purchasing a separate flood policy through the NFIP, homeowners will be able to add flood coverage to their home insurance.

Remember the old days when you had to purchase separate home insurance and wind insurance policies? Nowadays, most carriers combine these coverages in the same policy, even in coastal areas. Continuing this trend towards value and simplicity, the same thing is going to happen with flood!

XYZ Insurance is set to be the first company to “go live” with this endorsement, but it seems likely that other companies will follow suit because it makes so much sense for consumers.

XYZ Insurance’s new Flood Endorsement will offer:

  • Choice of flood coverage levels up to the limits of the home insurance policy (in other words, not limited to $250,000).
  • Full Replacement Cost coverage, including for your personal property.
  • Loss of Use coverage (for hotel stays and living expenses while your home is flooded).
  • Claims handled by XYZ Insurance adjusters (not FEMA).
  • Premiums likely to be lower than NFIP policies (in Preferred zones, probably around $150-$300 per year depending on coverage level).

So, when will this coverage be available to you? Watch this space for updates, or contact your agent at Memorial Insurance for more information!

Flood Insurance Increases!

Dwelling ContentsDeductiblesPrimary HomeRental Home
$100,000$40,000$1,000$371$596
$125,000$50,000$1,250$389$614
$150,000$60,000$1,250$415$640
$200,000$80,000$1,250$453$678
$250,000$100,000$1,250$480$705

In breaking news that will surprise no one in Houston, flood premiums under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) have increased, effective January 1st, 2019. The table above shows the new rates in flood zone X; premiums in other zones will vary.

The increases are in fact remarkably small, considering the huge losses incurred by the NFIP after Hurricane Harvey; the top-level X-zone policy has gone up from $450 to $480, a rise of just $30 per year. Flood insurance premiums are set by the government and are the same no matter which agent you go to, or which flood carrier you use.

For more information about flood insurance, give your friendly agent at Memorial Insurance a call today!

Protect Your Home with Flood Insurance

Floods are disastrous events that can have devastating consequences on you, your family, and your property. Texas has been significantly impacted due to several hurricanes over the last few years, including Patricia in 2015, Newton in 2016, and Harvey in 2017. As a result, there were major areas with unexpected flood damage, so when an alert goes out, make sure you evacuate if told to do so. You could be trapped for days in your home without food or clean water. Insurance, particularly flood insurance, is there to help you after your home is ravaged by water damage.

What is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance was developed to help those in need with repairs and damage to their home where homeowners insurance did not cover the damage. The National Flood Insurance Program was established to protect businesses, homeowners, and renters from the results of damages that can occur due to a flood. In Houston, TX, the agents at Memorial Insurance Agency can work with you to get a flood insurance policy to protect your home.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

If you have homeowners insurance, you should glance over the policy. Homeowners policies typically do not cover certain types of water damage due to floods. Even if you don’t live in a flood zone, you should consider establishing a flood insurance policy. If you are renting an apartment or home, your renter’s insurance will possibly cover damage due to a leak or burst pipe, but it usually only covers damage to your possessions as a result of vandalism, theft, or fire.

How to Get Flood Insurance?

The only way to purchase flood insurance is through an insurance agent like the ones serving the Houston, TX area at Memorial Insurance Agency. Once you contact us, we will start the process to get your home protected today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Memorial Insurance! Our wonderful “event planner” Mayra Reyes put on quite a spread for us all at lunchtime today.

Our office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day itself, but we’ll be open as usual on Wednesday and Friday, ready to help you with your home, auto, landlord, flood, renters and umbrella insurance needs!

6 Things You Forgot to Insure!

Insuring your cat may help to keep those vet bills down, but what about the other things that people often overlook? Don’t forget to protect yourself against the following:

  1. Half of your car accident: Liability insurance will pay for damage to other people, their vehicles and property. But what about your own car? Omit comprehensive and collision coverage from your policy, and you’ll be paying the full cost of repairs by yourself.
  2. The bad decisions of others: 1 in 4 drivers is either driving around with no insurance at all, or has woefully inadequate limits. If one of these guys crashes into you, guess who could end up paying for the accident? That’s right: YOU. If injuries are involved, the bills could be astronomical. To avoid this nightmare scenario, be sure to add UM/UIM coverage to your auto policy.
  3. Your valuables: High-value items such as jewelry, art, or antiques need to be scheduled on your home insurance …. or can be put on their own policy. If you make a big purchase, don’t forget to protect it! Also, take a look at your policy every year to make sure you have enough coverage for any additions or upgrades to your home. As your home grows, so should your insurance.
  4. Flooding: No one in Houston should be without flood coverage, which is NOT included in your home insurance. If you aren’t in a designated flood zone, flood insurance offers high coverages and unlimited peace of mind for $450 a year or less.
  5. Extra liability: If you’re doing well in life, the sad fact is that you are at risk from people coming after everything you’ve got, especially if you’re at fault for a serious accident. Umbrella insurance is inexpensive and will give you up to $5 million in extra protection.
  6. Replacement cost: be sure your policy includes these two magic words, for both your home and your personal property. Some agents are sneaky and will give you Actual Cash Value coverage in order to reduce premium, and this means your insurance will pay you only a depreciated value for your home, roof, or contents. What is the actual cash value of a 10 year old roof? A lot less than it costs to replace it, for sure. And when you factor in the deductible as well, an ACV policy may give you almost no payout at all after that Category 4 hurricane hits Houston.

Any questions? Give your friendly agent at Memorial Insurance a call and we’ll be happy to help!

How to Make Flood Claims the Right Way

Floods are terrifying, havoc-wreaking, and all too common in Houston, TX. But, as they’re a part of life in the region, you need to be prepared to handle one when it strikes. With that in mind, Memorial Insurance Agency is here to give you the three-step process of filing a flood claim.

Contact

The basics of first contact will require you to provide the name of your insurance company (plenty of agents represent multiple insurers), your policy number and a way to contact you. That third item can be deceptively tricky. Flood damage is usually accompanied by displacement, so you might be harder to reach than normal. Additionally, most flood events hit a lot of people at one time, so your insurance company might be scrambling to meet needs. Make a contact plan when you talk to your agent to ensure you can get them what they need so they can take care of you.

Document

Documentation is the backbone of all insurance claims; floods are no exception. The first part of the process is photographing all of the damage, but floods come with some inherent danger. When it’s safe, take pictures of everything from structural damage to ruined items that you plan to trash. Also, don’t trash anything yet. You’ll want to make a complete list to pair with your pictures and provide as much proof of value as you can (think receipts). Once your adjuster tells you it’s ok, you can throw away ruined items. In some cases, they might want to hang on to damaged stuff.

Proof of Loss

This is the major paperwork step. Usually, your adjuster will help. Basically, this is where you get all of the documentation together and certified by the insurance company so they can process the claim. It can feel like a headache, but it’s a vital step. By and large, you want to follow the advice of your adjustor for this part.

While the process can feel monotonous, having a clear picture from the start can help you avoid situations that will cost you time and money. Regardless, Memorial Insurance Agency will be here the next time floods strike the Houston, TX, area.