4 Things You Should Complete in the New Year for Your Insurance

Save money on insurance in Dallas, TX with Red Gorman InsuranceThe start of a New Year always energizes us to start off on the right foot. Whether it’s committing to spend more time with family, exercising more or saving money, New Year’s resolutions are common for everyone. But, what about your insurance policy? Is there something you can do at the start of every year to save money or keep yourself fully protected? We share four items to complete.

Actually Complete a Home Inventory Checklist

Sure, this is always easier said than done. But it doesn’t take as long as you may think. Plus, you would regret NOT doing this if you experience a disaster in your home. You can start by taking pictures of each room in your house. Always include your big ticket items like jewelry, art, electronics, antiques, furniture and anything else you highly value. Get into the habit of taking a picture of your receipts for big ticket items. To keep your home inventory list safe, store it on the cloud or save your documents on a zip drive that’s stored safely.

Keep In Touch With Us

Always keep us up-to-date with your life changes. Are you driving less? Did you remodel your home to add value? Did you purchase big ticket items? By keeping us in the loop, we’ll keep your insurance policy updated, make sure you are fully covered and may be able to find additional discounts.

Ask Us Questions

When you use a local insurance agent instead of purchasing insurance online, you get guidance and professional advice. Do you know exactly what your insurance covers? If you want the cheapest insurance plan, you may not realize what risks you’re taking by opting for less coverage. We never want you to be surprised if you have to file a claim and find out you’re not covered. Did you know if your home experiences a flood or an earthquake, you would need a separate policy to be covered? Continuously ask us questions. You should always know what you are and aren’t covered for with your insurance policy.

Always Ask Before Shopping Around

Did your auto insurance increase $300 this year? It’s normal to think you need to shop your insurance elsewhere. However, being a local insurance agent, we have MANY insurance companies to quote from and it may be as simple as asking us to shop around for similar coverage with other companies. Let us do the shopping for you! As an independent insurance agent, we can review your coverage and ensure you have the best company for your current situation.

By following the four topics above can keep you informed and prepared for any unfortunate situation. If you have questions about your insurance policy, contact Red Gorman Insurance. We are here to help & ensure you have the right coverage.

What is “Full Coverage” Auto Insurance?

Full Coverage Auto Insurance in Dallas, TXFull coverage has different meanings to different people. When most people refer to full coverage they’re referring to a mix of insurance coverages to protect their vehicle.  That being said, there is no such thing as “full coverage” just a combination of coverage options that will protect your vehicle as well as others on the road. Let’s look at this closer.

Some coverages such as Bodily Injury and Property Damage (also known as liability insurance) are required by law.  You can choose just how much liability insurance to carry, but at a minimum, this is required by your state law in order to drive your vehicle.

Other coverages such as Collision, Comprehensive, Personal Injury (PIP), MedPay, Roadside Assistance, Rental Reimbursement, and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) are optional coverages in most states. Some states do have laws that also require UM/UIM and PIP/MedPay be purchased.

So, the choice really becomes, “How much insurance do you want?” Deciding on how much insurance you want or need is a combination of factors that only you can decide. A licensed insurance agent can help you decide on what options may be best for your situation, your budget and your needs, but ultimately, the choice is yours to decide.

Contact Red Gorman Insurance for an auto insurance quote or a review of your current policy. We strive to make sure all of our clients have the proper coverage for their needs.

Six Ways to Avoid a Holiday Decor Disaster In Your Home

Six Ways to Avoid a Holiday Decor Disaster In Your Home in Dallas, TXThe holiday season is here! No matter how you celebrate, you have likely added some holiday décor to your home. Lights, candles and festive plants add a wonderful, warm ambiance to areas of your home but take some extra steps to ensure that your décor pieces don’t wreak havoc on your holiday.

  • Watch for dry needles. Whether it’s your Christmas tree, wreath or garland, chances are they may dry out. If you find that pine needles are falling, clean them up immediately. Dry pine needles increase your risk for a fire hazard. If you find your tree, wreath or garland is extremely dry & it’s decorated with lights dry, toss it – nothing is worth the risk of a fire.
  • Prevent your chance of fires. Christmas lights are bright and festive, but they could put you at the biggest risk for a fire. Check for any wear on the strings, cracked bulbs or any other signs of damage. Don’t try to repair them, instead replace them. LED lights emit less heat, so if you need to make the switch, choose LED lights that have been safety tested. You can read on the box if they have been inspected by looking for an UL logo.
  • Centerpiece Candles! Yes, we all know we should watch our candles. Ensure all candles are kept in a non-flammable holder. However, it’s important to keep a close eye on your centerpiece decoration if you plan to light the candles during your holiday dinner. If the candles burn too long, the centerpiece can catch fire. Even consider battery powered flameless candles. You have to look close to tell they’re not real!
  • Choose a safe spot for your tree. Keep your holiday tree away from your fireplace, radiators, space heaters or any other area in your home where it could catch on fire. It should be at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
  • Be festive, yet smart with your holiday lights. Whether your house looks like the Griswold’s or you just like to put up a single string of lights, your energy bill will increase during the holiday season. To avoid an extremely high electric bill, choose a window of time when your holiday lights will be turned on. For example, from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Avoid leaving your lights on all night.
  • Place your holiday plants in a safe place. Choose areas away from young children and pets. Do not leave plants on the floor or a place where a child could easily reach for it.

By taking a few extra steps like unplugging your holiday lights before you go to bed or when you leave the house, can help you avoid a decor disaster this holiday season. Red Gorman Insurance can assist you with any questions you may have, like “Does my homeowner’ insurance cover accidental fires?” Our expert agents can walk you through your policy and even add additional coverage like personal umbrella insurance should you want extra protection beyond your homeowner’s insurance. Contact us today.

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Should I Have an Umbrella Insurance Policy?

Umbrella Insurance Dallas, TXAnyone who wishes to protect themselves from major claims or lawsuits, or would like to protect their assets or earnings would benefit from an umbrella insurance policy. Insuring your future is what an umbrella insurance policy can help with by safeguarding your future earnings, your home or cash savings.

When Would I Use My Umbrella Insurance Policy?

A personal umbrella insurance policy covers you when your auto, home or other personal lines insurance policy is exhausted by a covered insurance claim.

Example: You get into a car accident where you are at fault. Your insurance policy covers you for $250,000 in 3rdparty damages. However, the other individuals in the car accident needed medical attention & their car was totaled. The total damages for the other party cost $350,000.

You are responsible for the remaining $100,000. If you have an umbrella insurance policy, it would then kick in to cover this excess liability. If you don’t have an umbrella policy, would you be able to foot the bill? If you cannot pay for the remaining balance, a court may issue your future wages to be garnished.

Similarly, homeowners need to protect themselves from a liability claim. Whether you’re hosting a party and serve too much alcohol, have a slip and fall accident on your sidewalk or your dog bites a neighbor, you can be held liable for medical bills, rehabilitation programs and lost wages.

How are you covered?

By purchasing an umbrella policy, you can be covered for the following items:

  1. Bodily injury: Medical bills and settlement for injuries sustained to the third party.
  2. Property damage: Damages sustained to the property of a third-party.
  3. Other damage: Libel & slander, other claims expenses.
  4. Legal fees: Hiring an attorney can be expensive. An umbrella insurance policy helps cover the cost.

There are countless situations that can occur and exhaust your current liability limits on your home or auto insurance policy. Good news: umbrella insurance policies are relatively inexpensive, typically starting around $155 per year. Contact an agent at our office for your personalized umbrella insurance quote today. We can help you determine how much coverage you need.

Hosting a holiday party? 3 Things to Keep in Mind.

How to lower your risk for a liability claim if hosting a holiday party in Dallas, TXThere are many factors that go into hosting a great holiday party. Whether it’s prepping your family’s homemade, traditional recipes, cleaning your home for guests or decorating for the perfect holiday festivity, hosting a party is a lot of work! At the same time, it can be fun & your guests may look forward to your party for weeks. While we wish parties could be all fun and games, there are some risks you should be aware of.

Alcohol

We all know and understand the risks of drinking too much alcohol. However, when you are the host of a party and serving alcohol, you could be liable if someone leaves your home after drinking too much and gets into a car accident. As a host, be aware of how much your guests are drinking and ensure they have a safe ride home. Even if that means calling a taxi or Uber for them.

Tripping Hazards

There are many ways a guest could trip and fall inside or outside your home. You can be liable and a home insurance claim may need to be placed if a guest is injured on your property. Here are a few things to consider to avoid a tripping hazard.

  • Have a clear walkway path from your driveway to front door. Ensure there are no extension cords, cracks in the sidewalk or an icy path where your guest could fall.
  • Clear toys, decorations or other objects from the hallways or stair case in your home.
  • Ensure your rugs aren’t bunched where a guest could trip.

Distracted Cooking

Did you know cooking is the number #1 reason for home fires? It’s easy to get distracted when you’re hosting a party and trying to cook your meal at the same time. However, don’t allow yourself to multi-task or leave the kitchen while heating elements are running.  Other things to consider:

  • Know where your fire extinguisher is located in your home.
  • If a grease or oven caught fire, would you know what to do? For a grease fire, don’t throw water on it, but instead, smother it. For an oven fire, keep the door closed and turn off the oven.
  • If you like to deep fry turkeys, keep it at least 10 feet away from your home.

Holiday parties give lasting memories for not only the host, but the guests as well. However, being prepared is crucial to protect yourself from liability. For questions about your home or liability insurance, contact our agency!

Five Things To Do For Fall Maintenance For Your Home

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist for your Dallas, TX homeWith winter season approaching, now is the time to do a few simple tasks around your home. Not only can this prevent damage from occurring, but it can help keep your home exterior clean. Instead of giving you a long laundry list of things to check off, we go over the five most important.

Is My Home Safe?

This is simple question to ask yourself every spring and fall.

  • Do you have one smoke detector on each floor of your home? Do I need to change the batteries?
  • Do I own a fire extinguisher? If so, is it up to date?
  • Where is my first aid/at home emergency kit? Do I need to make any changes?
  • Can our family be okay if there is a major event like an earthquake, flood, tornado or other natural disaster?

Am I Protecting My Home From Water Damage?

Water damage can be a root cause of home problems. Sometimes they can be covered by your home insurance, but other times they are not. Regardless if they are covered, they are a terrible to deal with. Here are a few areas to check to lower your risk of water damage in your home.

  • Check your gutters & downspouts

Once most of your leaves have fallen from your trees, simply look for debris that could be collecting in your gutters. If you see leaves collecting, remove them in order to prevent clogged gutters. If your gutters are clogged during a rainstorm, it could cause damage to your roof or siding. Also, check if your gutters are damaged & are still attached to your home. Lastly, check your downspouts. Ensure they are draining properly instead of being clogged and pooling water near your home.

  • Check your roof

Loose or missing shingles on your roof can increase your risk for water damage. Make sure your shingles are in good condition before that winter storm hits. If you have a home with a flat roof, ensure it doesn’t have any buildup of leaves. When in doubt, refer out. If you aren’t sure what to look for, ask a professional.

  • Are exposed pipes still insulated?

Check the exposed pipes around your home to ensure the insulation isn’t ripped or torn. Uninsulated garages are very important to check. Many people assume it is “inside” but uninsulated garages can get as cold as the outdoor temperatures. Check there for pipes that need to be insulated.

Is Air Escaping My Home?

Check door and window seals for signs of deterioration. Use weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to help keep warm air in and cold air out. You’ll also lower your energy bill. On another note, if air can get into your home, water can too.

Did I Replace My Furnace Filter?

To keep your furnace running efficiently, you need to replace the filter often. Some filters may need to be changed every month.

Are Rodents Nesting In My Home?

Rodents tend to nest in your crawlspace, attic and even in your walls. Walk the perimeter of your home & any access points in your garage to make sure you do not have any cracks or holes for rodents to enter. Also, check your vents along your foundation for holes or deterioration. As the weather gets colder, rodents are always looking for a warmer place to live.

Also, remember rodents love a food source. If you are storing food or bird seed in your garage, make sure it’s properly stored in a sealed container.

While preventative maintenance can get easily get pushed on the back burner when life gets busy, it’s still important to make the time to do it.

If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, call Red Gorman Insurance. We’ll shop to find the best policy for your needs and answer all your questions!

Do I Need To Keep My Insurance During The Off-Season?

Why You Should Keep Your Summer Toy Insurance Year Round in Dallas, TXIt’s now time to enjoy some amazing fall camping excursions, calm boating on the lake or a motorcycle road trip. Each year we’re asked by many of our customers about the possibility to cancel your insurance policies on your summer toys like motorcycles, RVs, boats and ATVs. While you may not be using these alternative vehicles during the fall and winter months, your vehicles may be damaged and insurance claim would need to be opened. If you cancelled your insurance policy, you may be forced to pay for repairs or replacements out-of-pocket. During the cooler months while your toys are parked events can occur that could get expensive without a valid insurance policy.

Types of claims that could occur during the off-season:

Comprehensive insurance claims: Even though your vehicles are secured, theft or vandalism can still occur at any time. Having to pay out-of-pocket to repaint, repair or replace your toy could put a serious strain on your finances. Catastrophic events like floods or fires can occur during the off-season. If your comprehensive insurance policy is not in effect, you may be responsible to pay to replace your toys without assistance from your insurance carrier.

Liability insurance claims: Accidents can happen at any time, even if your toy is secure. During a party at your home someone thinks it would be great to take a picture on your Harley. They hop on and fall over damaging both your bike and themselves. Even if you did not give them permission to do so, you may be legally responsible for their injuries. Without a liability insurance policy in effect, you may be responsible to pay for the injured party’s medical bills and recovery costs.

Additional claims scenarios:

  1. A blustery storm knocks over a tree and it falls on your parked camper. (Comprehensive claim)
  2. A hail storm damages your vehicle (Comprehensive claim)
  3. Your garage catches on fire and burns your motorcycle, boat, or ATV inside (Not home insurance, Comprehensive claim for the vehicle)
  4. Your RV or Boat is parked in an off-season boat/rv storage facility and is damaged when an unknown party backs their vehicle into it. They don’t leave their information.
  5. A thief vandalizes your vehicle looking for valuable items

These are just a few of the many claims that can occur in the off-season. Some carriers understand that these vehicles are not used year-round and the premiums reflect the high and the low season.

Keeping your motorcycle insurance, RV insurance, ATV insurance or boat insurance in effect during the off-season may not only save your from a costly out-of-pocket repairs or medical payments, keeping a year-round policy may also save you money on your policy premium. Ask us today about the benefits of keeping a comprehensive and liability insurance policy on your toys all year!

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Which one is best for your homeowner’s policy: ACV or RCV?

Insurance policies are full of language and terms that may not be clear right off the bat. Many terms are specific to the industry and to the specific type of insurance that is being purchased. Having a local insurance agent for all of your insurance coverage allows you to chat about all the details with your agent so you completely understand your policy. If you haven’t done this, there are many potential claims where it’s easy to assume you have full coverage.

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What to do if you get into a car accident

Being in an accident can be a very frightening event. Being prepared to know how to handle the situation when it occurs will help you deal with the shock of it, as well as ensure you are covered for the loss when it does happen. While accidents will happen to almost every driver, whether their car is parked and unattended, or while they’re driving, knowing these important steps will help you deal with the unfortunate situation.

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Everything You Need to Know About Gap Insurance

While buying a home tends to appreciate in value overtime, buying a vehicle is the opposite. Especially if you are buying a brand new vehicle, the moment you drive off the car dealership’s lot, your vehicle has already depreciated in value. For many vehicles, the more expensive the purchase, the faster the depreciation. New vehicles offer more safety features and conveniences, so we understand why people like them.