5 Things to Keep in Mind for Spring Cleaning Your Home

Spring Cleaning Your Home in Dallas, TXCleaning a home deeply should be done once a year and spring is a great time to dig in and actually do it! Instead of focusing on a long list of things to accomplish, we’d thought we’d share five things to keep in mind when it comes to spring cleaning your home.

Keep it, Store It or Donate It

This is an easy reminder when it comes to cleaning out your house and it can apply to any room. For clothing items, ask yourself if you have worn it in the last year. If the answer is no, look to donate it. You can help others in need this way and that always feels great. Seek out charities that support your community.

Break It Up In Sections

Just the thought of spring cleaning can be exhausting for some people. Instead, focus on breaking up your cleaning by sections or rooms. For example, put all your cleaning attention into your kitchen for the first day. Wipe down your cabinets, organize the inside of your cupboards or drawers, or give your refrigerator a nice scrub. This feels much more doable versus looking at your long list of cleaning for your entire house and asking yourself, “Where do I start?!”

Create a List & Check It Twice

For many people, creating a to-do list feels productive and how good does it feel once you can officially check if off? Follow our suggestion by breaking up your cleaning into sections and making a list of what you want to accomplish in each room.

Make it Fun

Get your family or other household members involved, assign them specific tasks, turn on some good music then celebrate with a night out together. Don’t feel like you have to clean all day long to feel like you’ve been productive. Marking several items off your list can simply do the trick!

Looking for a Basic Spring Cleaning Checklist? Start here.

Top Areas to Clean in Each Room

  • Dust all furniture, picture frames, television, or hanging décor on walls.
  • Dust ledges or other areas you cannot see at eye (ceiling fans, top of cabinets)
  • Clean windows or mirrors
  • Dust or wipe down baseboards, blinds, window sills, vents.
  • Sweep & mop floors
  • Vacuum carpet and rugs
  • Change smoke detector batteries
  • Wash curtains
  • Vacuum furniture cushions
  • Disinfect items like your TV remote, door knobs, computer mouse or kitchen drawer handles.
  • Organize each room & donate/discard what you won’t use.
  • Disinfect your bathroom items like tub, shower and toilet. Wash shower curtains.

Your home is a valuable asset so keeping it clean will not only keep it in tip-top shape, but will clear the home of allergens, bacteria and mold that can build up over time. With a little elbow grease, you’ll be done in no time.

Have questions about your home, renters or condo insurance? Reach out to our agency. We can answer your questions, review your current policy and shop for insurance that best fits your needs.

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft – Tips When Shopping Online

How to protect yourself from identity theft in Dallas, TexasCheck if the website it secure.

A simple way to check is to look for the lock symbol in the left corner of the search browser. Any website where you are putting in your credit card information or personal information should have this.

If shopping online, are you using websites you are familiar with?

While Googling something like “Best DSLR camera” is fine, when it comes to making a purchase, it should be from a reputable company. Watch out for paid advertisements from unknown sellers.  If you’re unfamiliar with the company, you could even Google the company to see what comes up. You may learn they have poor reviews. This could save you a headache. It could also be the opposite where it’s a new company & have helped hundreds of people. Regardless, buy from a reputable company or do your research first. Shopping local is always a good bet.

Never click on links in your email from an unknown person

Many times your email will sift through the “junk mail” and place it directly in your junk folder. Other times, scammers will try to be tricky by sending email from familiar names of either a person you know or a known institution. Always look at the email address from the sender. Most likely it’s a fake email address. If a link is included in the email, never click on it.

Other tips:

Check your bank statements every month

Your bank can do a great job monitoring and may even catch fraudulent charges before they happen. However, it’s important to check your bank statements every month to ensure every charge is correct.

Reach out to your insurance agent

While your banking institutions and credit card issuers do offer some protection against fraudulent charges to your accounts, did you know that your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance plan may offer additional protection if your identity is stolen? In addition to your own diligence, your homeowners, condo or renters insurance policies can offer some extra protection. For a small yearly fee (typically less than $40 per year) your insurance policy may cover expenses related to court fees, loan reapplication fees (if denied due to identity theft), notary fees and more. Some insurance plans may also include access to an identity theft counselor, someone to assist with reporting fraudulent activity and to act as a liaison to the major credit report bureaus on your behalf. Identity theft plans will vary by carrier and state, so be sure to ask your agent about plans available.

If you have questions about your home, condo or renters insurance, contact Red Gorman Insurance. Our agents can review your current coverage or provide a quote on a new insurance policy. Contact us today!

Steps To Take To Lower Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto Insurance Dallas, TexasWhen it comes to insurance, most people think of how they can save money first. We get it, insurance can be expensive! You want good coverage, but at an affordable cost. Being a local insurance agency, we provide many choices since we represent many top insurance carriers. Here are some tips when it comes to saving money on your car insurance.

Shopping for a new car? Consider shopping insurance first.

If you have a few cars in mind when shopping for a new vehicle, consider reaching out to your insurance agent to compare possible insurance cost between the vehicles. The rough estimate of insurance cost every year could sway which car you decide on.

Save when you bundle.

Insurance carriers tend to give great discounts when you bundle your auto insurance with your home/renters/other lines of insurance. Need to insure several vehicles? Multi-policy discounts could earn you some substantial savings. Ask your agent!

Don’t drive much? Seek a low mileage discount.

If you drive less than 10,000 miles a year, ask your agent if you qualify for a discount.

Choose a higher deductible.

If your finances allow you to pay a higher deductible in the event you have a claim, you could save money by making this switch.

Ask your agent about other discounts. Do you qualify for any?

  • Paying your insurance coverage in full
  • Paperless option
  • Safe driver (accident free)
  • Electric or hybrid vehicle owner
  • Great credit score
  • Good student
  • Higher education
  • Advance quote

Did you experience a higher premium at renewal?

Reach out to your agent and ask to get a re-quoted on your policy. Since we can quote many top-rated insurance carriers, you can likely get same or similar coverage with a new carrier to save money. Life changes, so can your insurance company – but you don’t need to change your agent.

We do like to note that sometimes loyalty to the same company for 3+ years can be beneficial too. Over time, you could earn yourself a discount for every loyalty milestone you hit. Typically these rewards not only include a discount on the cost of your policy, they can sometimes include accident forgiveness!

If you have questions about your auto insurance, reach out to Red Gorman Insurance. Our goal is to ensure you have the proper coverage.

5 Telltale Signs It May Be Time For New Tires

Tips if it's time for new tires in Dallas, TXWhen it comes to vehicle safety, few things are as important as your tires and you should regularly inspect them to ensure they’re in good shape before taking your car out on the road. Tire safety is much more than just tire pressure. Familiarize yourself with these 5 signs that your tires may need to be replaced.

  1. They’re Bald – This is the most obvious, but often time the most overlooked safety hazard. Bald tires can cause hydroplaning, decreased stopping ability and are much more susceptible to flats from road hazards. Any tire shop will happily measure your tread depth. Additionally, your tires are equipped with a Tread Wear indicator that you can easily see yourself. This is a piece of tire that runs perpendicular to your tire tread. If you’ve reached this depth, you’re tires are not safe to drive on.
  2. Cracks – Aged tires, or tires that sit for long periods of times like on travel trailers or utility trailers can develop cracks in the tread. Look carefully in between your tire tread to see if your tires have cracks. If they do, they’re more susceptible to a blow out and should be replaced.
  3. Gouge in Sidewall – We’ve all hit a curb or a big pothole. If you’re inspecting your tires and find a gouge in your sidewall, the tire should be replaced. Sidewalls are thinner than the tread area of your tire and cannot be repaired.
  4. Uneven wear – A vehicle this isn’t properly aligned can cause the tires to wear unevenly which can cause your vehicle to pull in one direction or another. When inspecting your tires, be sure that they are wearing evenly. Additionally, you should align your vehicle every 30,000 miles or so.
  5. You’re driving on a spare – Never drive on a spare tire longer than it takes to get to a safe location. Spare tires are meant to be used for short periods of time and are not intended to be used for regular driving. If you’re driving on a spare tire, get to a tire shop to get a real replacement tire.

Driving can be dangerous, but even more so if you’re driving on tires that are not fit for the road. By inspecting your vehicles tires regularly, you can avoid an accident, hydroplane or another potentially dangerous situation.

Your safety is our top priority and getting you the right insurance is part of that. If you have questions about your auto or other vehicle insurance, contact our agency. We can review your current policy or provide an insurance quote.

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!