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!

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!

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!

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.

7 Home Theft Prevention Strategies

According to the FBI, a home break-in takes place every 13 seconds – and, contrary to popular belief, more than two-thirds of burglaries occur not at the dead of night but during the day, when homes are more likely to be unoccupied.

Criminals love an easy target, so making use of the following tips may encourage a burglar to target someone else and not you!

  1. Install a home security system: A centrally monitored alarm is not only an effective deterrent, but also brings you discounts on your home insurance premiums. If you don’t want to fork out for a security service, consider “faking it” with an alarm company sign on your front lawn and dummy security cameras.
  2. Lock doors and windows: An astonishing 79% of home break-ins occur through an unlocked door or window. It takes just seconds for an opportunist thief to walk in, grab some valuables, and make their escape. You should also close curtains and blinds, so would-be intruders cannot see inside and identify items worth stealing during a quick raid.
  3. Get to know your neighbors: One of the best deterrents for thieves is a community where people keep an eye out for each other.
  4. Don’t make things easy for thieves: Lock ladders and tools away. Remove items near the home, such as rocks, which could be used to break a window. Install strong doors with high-quality locks. Trim trees and shrubs near the house to eliminate hiding places.
  5. Make it look like you’re home: Leave lights or a radio on when you go out. Better still, put lights on a timer to go on and off at random times.
  6. Replace worn keypads: Have a keypad on your gate or garage? Be sure to change the code regularly, otherwise certain keys are likely to become worn which makes it a lot easier for thieves to guess your code.
  7. Secure your passports, documents, jewelry and cash: The first place a burglar will look for these items is in the bedroom, so buy yourself some time by keeping these items in a locked box or a safe in another room.

And finally …. consider owning a dog for maximum deterrent value. Small dogs make a lot of noise and attract attention to an intruder, and if you have a big dog, may God help anyone who decides to gain unlawful entry to your home!

5 Ways to Protect Your Home While on Summer Vacation

Before heading out on holiday this summer, take measures to ensure your home will be well protected during your absence. Good home security will enable you to enjoy your vacation to the full without worrying about theft or intrusion. The following home security tips from Memorial Insurance Agency will help you get started in securing your Houston, TX property.

Install a Security System

If you don’t have a home security system, considering getting one. A security system that includes an alarm, security cameras, window and door sensors, and motion detection lights will make would-be thieves think twice about making your home a target.

Ask Neighbors to Watch Property

If you have friendly neighbors, ask them to keep an eye on your property while you’re gone. You can even leave them a spare key to check the inside periodically to ensure all is well during your absence.

Stop Newspaper & Mail Delivery

Put a hold on your newspaper and mail delivery services during your absence to avoid having a pileup of these items in your mailbox or driveway. If you plan to be away from home several weeks or longer, arrange to have your landscaping done so it doesn’t appear that no one is home.

Avoid “Vacation Advertising” on Social Media

Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media as it gives potential thieves advanced notice of when you’ll be gone. Keep a low social media profile during your absence by waiting until you return to post pictures of your holiday.

Review your Home Insurance

Review your home insurance before leaving to ensure you have the protection you need. You don’t want to be caught short in the event of an unforeseen disaster. For optimum home insurance protection at affordable costs, contact Memorial Insurance Agency in Houston, TX.

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!

Preparing for a Hurricane

As the weather gears up for another long hot summer, it is easy to forget that a major hurricane could be just weeks away. That’s right, folks – June 1st was the official start to “Hurricane Season”!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a “near-normal” Atlantic hurricane season this year. But don’t be reassured by the word “normal” – it means that we can expect 9-15 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes with wind speeds up to 110mph, and 2-4 major hurricanes in category 3 and above with wind speeds over 111mph. There is no way of telling if or where these storms will make landfall. Before they arrive – in other words, right now! – it is a very good idea to not only check that your home insurance is in order, but also to follow some basic steps to prepare. Thanks to our friends and partners at http://velocityrisk.com/¬†for the following excellent tips!:

  1. Create an emergency communication plan: Pre-arrange an evacuation route and destination with other members of your household, and be sure to know how to share warnings and alerts with your family members.
  2. Stock up on emergency supplies: What you’ll need: lots of water, non-perishable foods, can opener, flashlight and spare batteries, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, whistle, plastic sheeting and duct tape, can opener, cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.
  3. Check your home insurance: Make sure your home insurance policy covers damage caused by wind, hail, and named storms/hurricanes. Verify that you have low deductibles so your out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim are low. Check that you have a Replacement Cost (not Actual Cash Value) policy. If in doubt …. speak to your friendly insurance agency in Houston, Memorial Insurance!
  4. Consider buying flood insurance: Don’t wait until the next Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on you before you get flood insurance, because even if you buy it today, there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect. So plan ahead and get yourself covered BEFORE the next hurricane is on the horizon. And remember – flood insurance is NOT included in your home insurance policy!

When Your Home Insurance Coverage Backfires

We at Memorial Insurance Agency have helped people like you get through problematic situations with their insurance for years now. Unfortunately, many cases exist in which your policy might backfire on you. These typically occur when you don’t buy a good enough plan for your needs.

When You Don’t Get Various Emergency Insurance

Ignore certain types of disaster insurance coverage at your peril! For example, you might decline flood coverage and end up experiencing a sudden flood of water. This problem is particularly an issue in places that don’t get a lot of rain but then suddenly get a lot. For example, floods in Houston, TX do occur, and you must be prepared with great insurance.

When Mold and Leaks Strike

One of the most common problems you’ll experience in your home is mold or leaks. These issues occur in out-of-the-way areas of the house and may trigger a variety of concerns. For example, mold can cause respiratory problems that make your home unsafe for many individuals.

Even worse, leaks can wear away at the structure of your home and cause serious issues. And your standard homeowner’s policy will not offer this type of coverage. As a result, you need to expand your options to ensure that you don’t experience this problematic issue.

Make Sure You Get the Best Policy

So if you live in Houston, TX and you’re worried about any of these problems, contact us at Memorial Insurance Agency. We serve this area and will provide you with the high-quality insurance you need to ensure that you don’t experience problems with your coverage.