Top 5 Christmas Safety Tips

The most wonderful time of the year is also one of the most dangerous! Keep an extra close eye on the following sources of holiday woe…..

  1. FIRE, FIRE EVERYWHERE! Even Texas can get cold in winter, so make sure your seldom-used woodstove or furnace is well-maintained. Keep flammable objects such as clothing, Christmas decorations, cats and children well away! Candles and drapes do not go well together so be sure to NEVER leave naked flames unattended.
  2. ELECTRICAL DISASTERS Christmas is the season for wannabe electricians to practice their skills with the Christmas lights. Avoid the chance of electrical fires by checking for frayed wires or corroded sockets, and do not overload your outlets or extension cords. Save money on your electricity bill and further reduce the chance of a fire by switching off your Christmas lights at night.
  3. KITCHEN CATASTROPHES More people in the house means more traffic in the kitchen, and a higher chance that your big bubbling pot of boiling liquid could end up getting knocked off the stove top and give someone a Christmas they will never forget. Keep children, guests and pets out of the kitchen while the cooking is happening!
  4. WRECKS Multi-tasking much at Christmas? The roads are busy, the weather can be bad, and people are racing around to beat Christmas deadlines. Allow extra time and don’t be tempted to text and drive!
  5. BOOZE Did you know you could be held liable in court if you allow an intoxicated person to drive home from your Christmas party? The solution: offer a rideshare service such as Uber, or make up the spare bedroom – it is much better for your inebriated guest to crash there and NOT on the highway!

Umbrella vs. Excess Liability: do YOU know the difference?

Thanks to our friends at Safeco Insurance for their reminder about this crucial distinction!

The golden rule is: an Excess Liability policy provides additional coverage above your auto/home liability limits, BUT it only covers what is included in the underlying policy. In contrast, a true Umbrella is an OPEN PERILS policy – which means that if something is not specifically excluded, you’re covered.

Do you need examples of where an Umbrella could provide coverage, but an Excess Liability policy would not? How about these:

1) While on vacation, you rent a boat. Out on the water, you crash into another boat, severely injuring a water-skier being towed behind. Neither your home nor your auto policy would cover that …. but an umbrella would.

2) You write a blog post about a bad experience in a restaurant. The restaurant owner sues you for libel. Even if the lawsuit is thrown out of court, you still have to respond …. and that can be expensive. An umbrella would cover your costs.

3) You rent a car while overseas, but get involved in an accident which injures another driver. Your auto insurance all the way back home in Texas won’t cover his hospital bills …. but your umbrella will.

For more information about umbrella policies, or to find out whether your current policy is a true umbrella or merely an excess liability policy, give your friendly agent at Memorial Insurance a call!

Source: Safeco Umbrella vs Excess Liability

Essential Coverage on your Auto Policy

Ever wondered what the jargon on your Auto Insurance policy means? Worried that you’re not adequately insured? Let Memorial Insurance help!

Part A: Liability Coverage: The state minimum limits in Texas are $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage (30/60/25). It is a really, really bad idea to limit yourself to minimum coverages. For one thing, these amounts do not go far at all in the case of a serious or multi-vehicle accident. For another, it is relatively inexpensive to upgrade to better coverage, usually just a few dollars per year. Aim for a minimum of 100/300/100. A little-known fact? Sometimes, high limits such as 500CSL may actually be cheaper! This is because you are rated differently as a responsible driver who sees the value in being properly protected.

Part B: Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This part of the policy provides funds for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you are retired you might opt for Medical Payments coverage instead, which includes most of the benefits of PIP without the lost wages provision.

Part C: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists: This is an optional protection that you do NOT want to leave off. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 4 drivers in Texas may be driving completely without insurance – and the ones who do have it often don’t have adequate coverage limits to pay for an expensive accident. Getting hit by one of these drivers has the potential to turn into your worst nightmare if you do not have UM/UIM coverage.

Part D: Coverage for Damage to your Auto: To save premium, you can leave off this coverage for older vehicles, as long as you are prepared to pay for the full costs of any damage yourself. For newer vehicles, and all loan/lease vehicles, this coverage is essential. There are two parts to it, which are often referred to as Comprehensive and Collision. Comprehensive covers fire, flood, theft and similar perils, whereas Collision protection will pay for damage to your vehicle caused by an accident. There is usually a deductible, ranging from $100-$2,000, which is the part of the claim you must pay out of pocket before the insurance kicks in to take care of the rest.

Additional Protections: Roadside Assistance is very inexpensive, usually less than $10 per year. Also consider rental car coverage, which is cheap and provides for up to a month of car rental fees while your vehicle is in the garage being repaired.

Finally, for ultimate peace of mind, add an umbrella for extra liability coverage – and don’t forget to add Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist protection to it!

Stay safe out there!

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella – 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Without It!

Dollar for dollar, umbrella insurance is one of the best value coverages you can buy. $1 million of additional protection can cost as little as $150-$200 a year. But do you need it? YES! Here’s why:

1) If you get taken to court after an auto accident, or an incident at your home, you’ll be on the hook for your current assets AND future earnings. Most auto and home policies offer a maximum of $500,000 in liability coverage – if you’re lucky. Legal fees, medical expenses and other associated costs can be cripplingly expensive, and it won’t take long to burn through your auto and home limits …. which is when your umbrella policy comes into play.

2) Everyone’s worst nightmare is to be involved in a serious accident with uninsured or underinsured motorists. Be sure to add UM/UIM coverage to your umbrella policy and you’ll boost your protection against this worst-case scenario.

3) Consider paying for your umbrella by raising the deductibles on your current policy. Increasing your auto deductibles from $250 to $1000 will save you hundreds of dollars per year in premium, which you can use to purchase MILLIONS of dollars in additional umbrella liability coverage!

4) Do you own rental property? Are you a high net worth individual? Consider investing in $2 million, $3 million or $5 million umbrella policies. A good rule of thumb is to get liability insurance limits that are at least as much as your net worth. It is a small price to pay for large amounts of protection.

5) Remember to review your coverages regularly, to make sure your umbrella policy is still offering the right protection for you. Your knowledgeable local agent can provide helpful advice about the coverage you need. Give Memorial Insurance Agency a call and we’ll be happy to assist you with the answers to your questions!