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!
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!
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.
When it comes to auto insurance in Houston, “honesty is the best policy”. Leave out important information on your application, and you could end up incorrectly insured – which is a scenario you may come to regret if you are involved in an auto accident.
Full disclosure applies not only to new business, but to renewals as well. Your account manager at Memorial Insurance Agency will review all your policies with you on an annual basis, as part of our service. Those discussions often revolve around premium, liability limits, and deductibles – but it is also important to let us know if you have made any major life changes, changed your garaging address, vehicle use, or added a household member of driving age. So please make sure you mention all relevant information to your agent!
CLICK HERE for a full rundown of the things you need to consider!
When it comes to insurance, there are many common pitfalls for the unwary. Let’s examine one of these today: Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost.
Actual Cash Value: In this case, if you have a claim, your insurance company will pay you the amount of your claim minus depreciation. Imagine that you have a 25-year composition roof on your home which you installed 10 years ago at a cost of $10,000. If your roof is destroyed and needs replacing, how much will you get from your insurance company? The short answer is: not enough! Your roof’s expected lifespan is 25 years, meaning it depreciates in value 4% each year, to end with a theoretical value of zero after 25 years. In this example, your 10 year old roof has therefore lost 40% of its value by the time the hurricane hits, meaning the maximum available payout under an ACV policy is $6,000. But your financial pain doesn’t end there – you also have to take into account your deductible. So if your home is insured for $200,000 and you have a 2% wind/hail deductible, you will be paying $4,000 out of pocket before your insurance company pays even one cent. Keeping up? Therefore the total payout you’ll get from the insurance company will be the $6,000 Actual Cash Value of your roof, minus your $4,000 deductible, making a grand total of $2,000 ……. just a fraction of what you will have to pay to replace your roof.
Replacement Cost: This is a much better option. Your insurance company will pay whatever it takes to REPLACE your roof to the same standard as the one that was destroyed. There is no depreciation – all you pay out of pocket is your deductible. So in this case, you would receive a lot more money from the insurance company.
Moral of the story? Now you can see why Memorial Insurance always offers Replacement Cost policies, and low deductibles! Whichever insurance agent you use, always make sure the magic words Replacement Cost are on your homeowners insurance policy! Replacement Cost is not limited to the structure of the house itself – it can apply to personal property too, usually as an optional endorsement for a small extra cost. Reputable agents should always offer Replacement Cost – for both the dwelling and the contents – as standard, but beware unscrupulous agents who may try and sell you an ACV policy to save a little premium. It’s just not worth it!
Are you one of the millions of people making a New Year’s Resolution to improve your health this January? While you’re at it, why not check the health of your insurance, too? The following three tips may come in handy!
Update your agent: Changed your phone number or email address? Make sure your insurance agent is aware. We may need to contact you if we get an alert from your insurance carrier about your policy. Also, if we’ve got your up-to-date information, we can proactively call you ahead of your renewal and let you know of any pending increases, and find you a lower-priced policy in plenty of time.
Check your coverages: Make sure your auto insurance has high enough limits, and check you have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. Maybe you’ve purchased a rental property – is it included on your umbrella insurance? How about that jet ski – is it covered? Give your insurance agent a call, we’d be more than happy to run a policy health check.
Review your billing information: If you’re set up on automatic draft, make sure the billing information is current. Your credit score will not thank you if a payment is declined! Similarly, make sure your insurance agent is aware if your mortgage details have changed. That way, we can process your renewal in plenty of time without you having to worry about a lapse in coverage.
Who said insurance agents don’t know how to have a good time?! Our hard-working account managers really let their hair down over Halloween week. Stephanie was the deserving winner of our office Halloween Costume Contest. Meanwhile, over in the Heights, we co-sponsored a “Howloween Yappy Hour” with Capital Title Houston which was greatly enjoyed by dogs and humans alike. Even the heavy rain couldn’t put a damper on the trick-or-treating fun! Happy Halloween from Memorial Insurance!