In August, Hurricane Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on Houston. Having the right insurance company and coverage for your home, car, or business is vital when you are involved in a catastrophe. Who you choose is not necessarily as important as what coverage you select.
Liability coverage insures you against damages to the injured parties when an accident is your fault. This is the most basic type of automobile insurance coverage that everyone must have to legally drive in Texas. There are two types of liability coverage, Bodily Injury (Bl) and Property Damage (PD). Bl covers medical and funeral expenses of the injured and the cost of your legal defense if you were at fault, while Pl covers damage that you may cause to someone else’s vehicle/property from an accident.
Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist coverage protects you from irresponsible drivers who do not carry insurance at all. Make sure whatever liability coverage amount you decide on ($30K, $50K, $100K, etc.), that your UM/UIM coverage matches it. This will be the amount of money your insurance will use to fix damages.
You should always max out your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which insures:
- Medical expenses and 80% of lost wages, irrespective of who is at fault.
- PIP has almost zero impact on your overall rate.
- It’s a better option than Med Pay, which only covers medical expenses when involved in an accident.
Also, insurance companies are not allowed to request repayment from PIP benefits. Instead, they can reach out and take back the money they pay you for Med Pay.
Other types of coverage include: collision protection which pays for damages to your car, and comprehensive coverage, which pays for damages in case of a fire, hail storm, vandalism, flood, or theft.
The location and age of your home can affect your insurance rates. Factors like crime rate, geographical locations vulnerable to natural disasters, and building cost in the area are all taken into consideration. It is a good idea to insure your house for its replacement cost instead of its market value. Replacement cost covers the expenses needed to repair or rebuild the entire home: this includes the cost of transporting the material to the site as well as inflation.
When you buy a house, get the claim history report from the seller: to show previous damage and indicate weaknesses that could increase your rate. Newer homes are usually in better condition, causing the insurance rates to be cheaper. If you plan to upgrade anything in your home, the value will increase and your insurance needs to reflect that.
Dwelling coverage pays for damages caused by a fire or windstorm, while personal property insurance pays to replace destroyed belongings like furniture and clothing. Creating a home inventory can aid in calculating coverage limits and the amount of damage you can recover.
Small Business Insurance
To get the best insurance for your business, you need to research industry threats to see what types of policies are required. General Liability covers the business in case someone is injured or property is damaged because of your work. Workers Compensation is also required by most states, depending on the number of employees. It protects your employees if they are injured while working, or if they were to die as a result of the job they were doing.
Other coverages that are not mandatory, but protect your business are:
- Professional Liability covers mistakes your business might make that ends up in a lawsuit.
- Employment Practices Liability defends you from legal action for accusations like harassment. discrimination, or wrongful termination.
- Business Interruption Insurance allows you to stay in business while you fix the damages that occurred. It replaces lost income, pays normal expenses, and covers extra expenses for getting back into the market fast.
- Key man insurance pays when an invaluable member of the team dies or becomes disabled.
Choose the right deductible for you. Usually a higher deductible means a lower policy cost. It ultimately comes down to your financial security and personal circumstances.
When you are shopping for insurance, make sure you tell the agent exactly what types of coverage you want. Always go through the entire policies so you understand everything that is or is not covered. Check your insurance policies yearly and adjust if needed. You should also compare quotes from different insurance companies to see which one gives you the best deal and includes the coverages you want.