If your home flooded and is not livable please contact your insurance agent or carrier right away. Each policy has a vacancy clause that may apply to you, and each one is different. It will usually become effective 30-90 days after the home becomes vacant. The definition of "vacant" will be different from policy to policy. When the clause kicks in, some or all coverage will be suspended. We are finding that companies will suspend the vacancy clause for you. But you don't want to leave this to chance. Other companies are just advising that being out of the house due to reconstruction does not constitute a vacancy.
Please pass this on to others you know as well who have moved out of their home. It likely applies to them as well.
We are now about 2 weeks plus into this odyssey called Harvey. I hope that you and your family and friends are doing well and taking care of each other.
A couple of thoughts, and then some information.
Most everyone we talk to is stressed. Regardless of how much damage they have. This is a very unsettling situation. Please find a way to rest and recharge yourself so that you are not in constant crisis mode, burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. Give yourself and your family a break where you can. Perhaps the weekend that is coming up is a time to stop the emergency and recharge yourselves and your household.
We have had numerous inquiries about flood insurance, and have provided policies to some. If you are interested in that, please let us know. We don't want to come across as pushy or insensitive about this, but if there was ever a time to get it, this is it. Just a friendly suggestion.
If you have had flood damage, please be sure to do what you can to get the damaged material out (furniture, carpet, wood flooring, sheetrock, insulation, etc). Get it to the curb for pickup. It will need to be sorted into regular trash, vegetative trash (leaves, lawn clippings, branches), construction/demolition debris, appliances and white goods, electronics, household hazardous waste (paint, thinners, batteries etc). Dry out your house by opening it up, running fans, running the air conditioner. Also do what your can to fix any damage to the home, such as roof damage. Only do this if it is safe for you! Do all of this whether you have flood insurance or not.
Be sure to take plenty of pictures and keep receipts for any expenses you incur. The adjuster will tell you if it is reimburseable.
Be sure to register with FEMA for disaster assistance as soon as possible, if you are going to do it. Do not wait for paperwork, including a denial letter from your homeowners insurance company. You can add that to the case later. Get your name on the list now; no reason to wait.
This is MOST important for everyone who has damage, whether insured or not. You must be sure to rebuild/reconstruct your house to building codes and standards. This includes homes that are not in a municipality that has building codes. Homes in the county are not subject to the same codes, but likely will be inspected at some point for compliance. If you do not comply with this, you may be denied a policy going forward, in the future, or when you sell. Or, when you sell, your buyer might not be able to get insurance, which could jeopardize the sale.
Enough business for one day. As you have seen and experienced, the Texas spirit is alive and well all over Corpus Christi, Greater Houston, and Southeast Texas! Pray for our friends in Florida, the Caribbean, and the East Coast. Your support will be especially valued. Take some time to rest and recoup, worship with fellow congregants and believers, and give your emotions and your brain a rest. The weather will be pleasant, even if your surroundings are not.
We will get through this together. All the best to you and your loved ones!
Bob and Beth Ruzicka, Amanda Barta, Brian Hastings
*****There is very bad information circulating around social media and news outlets about a Friday deadline to report claims. This is not fake news, but IT IS FALSE!!! The legislation involved, HB1774, is regarding lawsuits filed on an already active claim. NOT a new insurance claim filed on an existing policy. The language is confusing, and being compounded. You do NOT need to file a claim by Friday. Most of you couldn't if you wanted to. The claims reporting process for new claims is not changed. Please pass this around. There is plenty of time to file a claim. See the attached graphic for more information. Please pass this on.
Auto insurance rates have been going up lately. Sugar Land, Fort Bend County,Houston are no exception. Some of our clients remark that they don’t understand why, since they haven’t had any claims, tickets or accidents. While that certainly has an impact when they occur, they aren’t the only factor in determining rates.
Just as with all other businesses, selling price is determined by costs, plus a profit. Costs to an insurance company include items common to most all businesses – payroll, taxes, rent, supplies, marketing, advertising, etc etc etc. You know that. So what’s the difference, you ask. A large component, probably the biggest of all, of an insurance company’s cost is claims expense. The amount of money paid out to policyholders and claimants when something bad happens. I’ll spare you the jargon and statistics and all that mess, but insurance is a shared risk proposition, and its impossible to pay out claims without collecting the resources to do so. That’s what your premium is for. Captain Obvious is done now...
So, when your renewal comes in the mail, and its higher than last year, its because the amount of claims expense has increased for the company.
Again, I’ll spare you the crazy details, but let’s just talk about auto insurance for a minute. Rates are up again this year, across the board of all rate categories, insurers and regions. Why, you ask again. Maybe a little bit petulantly this time?
Driving activity is way up. Gas prices are way down. Distracted and impaired driving (texting, cell phone use, as well as alcohol/chemical) has become a serious and expensive issue. In addition, repair costs of vehicles has escalated, partly due to inflation, and partly due to the proliferation of digital, electronic and sensing devices on our cars. Backup cameras, media panels, touch screens. Your bumper isn’t just a bumper anymore.
All that to say, we are an independent insurance agency for a strategic reason. We represent or broker for over 100 different carriers of all makes, shapes, sizes and colors. Different companies have different “appetites” – that’s insurance speak for who their target and/or favored markets are. So we can approach 10-12 auto carriers and 18-20 homeowners carriers to see who favors you. We’d be happy to help you search for the best value. Did you know that in some cases itsactually cheaper to get a higher liability limit on your policy?
Call us or reach out today or when you’re ready to make a change. Or when a life event occurs, such as marriage, kids move out on their own, youthful drivers, moving. We’re glad to help, and will give you some straight answers.
Call us 281-565-7550
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
My oldest daughter and I went recently to a party honoring one of my daughter’s best friends on the occasion of her friends’ college graduation. They are friends from high school, so we know her family a little bit. The party was at a local restaurant. The friend’s family is Indian (Middle East Indian, not American Indian). There were about 100 people there; every table was full. My daughter and I and one other person were the only Caucasians there. We felt very comfortable and included in the event. Her parents greeted us very warmly and seated us next to a couple of her uncles.
They were also very gracious to us, even though we had just met. We chatted some, ate, chatted, ate, etc.
As I looked around the room, I noticed everyone eating, talking, gesturing, smiling, laughter, attentiveness. There was an active hum in the room from all the talking. Then, somebody dropped a plate. It shattered and made a great noise. The room hushed for a few seconds, but quickly the buzz came back. The plate died, but no humans were hurt. Most folks were dressed in typical western clothes, much like I was. Some were in some traditional Indian garb.
As I sat there looking around, munching on some delish Greek food that was laid out family style at the table, I thought, this is pretty cool. These people are mostly acting just like me. Many of them have an accent, for sure, but then so do I. There were kids running around the room, a couple of babies crying or squealing, cameras, cell phones taking pictures, baklava (I love that stuff) and a nice big sheet cake.
We live in one of the most diverse counties in America. Some of you reading this live here and know what I am talking about. Its also one of the fastest growing counties in the country. Lots of people are coming here to live. From all over the world, much less the state or the USA. There are good jobs and good schools here; and good people.
I was talking to my friend the local constable one day. He said he has found that most everyone he talks to in our community, from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, etc., just want to live their life, raise their kids, pay their bills, and live a happy life. We all share that goal and idea. We have a WHOLE LOT more in common with each other than what separates us. And most of those differences are not show stoppers or divisive. I can be as uncomfortable as the next guy in situations or circumstance or surroundings that are foreign to me, but when I focus on the buzz, baklava, babies and stuff, its really not that different.
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities – more than 140 annually – than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
in a forest, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees
in an open area, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley. Be alert for flash floods.
on open water, get to land and find shelter immediately.
Facts about Thunderstorms
•They may occur singly, in clusters or in lines.
•Some of the most severe occur when a single thunderstorm affects one location for an extended time.
•Thunderstorms typically produce heavy rain for a brief period, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
•Warm, humid conditions are highly favorable for thunderstorm development.
•About 10 percent of thunderstorms are classified as severe – one that produces hail at least an inch or larger in diameter, has winds of 58 miles per hour or higher or produces a tornado.
Facts about Lightning
•Lightning’s unpredictability increases the risk to individuals and property.
•Lightning often strikes outside of heavy rain and may occur as far as 10 miles away from any rainfall.
•“Heat lightning” is actually lightning from a thunderstorm too far away from thunder to be heard. However, the storm may be moving in your direction.
•Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months during the afternoon and evening.
•Your chances of being struck by lightning are estimated to be 1 in 600,000 but could be reduced even further by following safety precautions.
•Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
Know the Terms
Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify a thunderstorm hazard:
Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
Most of us know this date as the Fourth of July, but its official name is Independence Day. Not the movie. A lot of things happened to get us to that point, starting with Christopher Columbus sailing the ocean blue. Then there was The Stamp Act, mercantilism restrictions, Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Common Sense, help from the French, and those words penned by Richard Henry Lee of Pennsylvania, which most of us know, "these United colonies are and of right ought to be, free and independent states. John Adams decided that day was when the Congress passed "the most important resolution..." (July 3, by the way) The final draft of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
The rest is history. Literally. Fast forward to 2017. Things are a little crazy. Trumped up. Even vicious. But if you read any books of the day, or newspaper articles, editorials, other papers, you find that our history is soaked with nasty comments, accusations, personal attacks (even though they didn't have Twitter back then). We've survived. We will continue to survive. Our nation ebbs and flows. Its OUR job to be sure the USA stays what it is. An IDEA. And a good one at that. Free. How many other countries are there that tolerate so much dissension and ideological differences without killing or imprisonment by the government?
Keep the faith, folks. We're all in this together. We have alot in common, and can be civil as we discuss and defend peacefully. Tons of folks are still coming here. There must be a good reason. I think some of us who have never been off the continent don't know how good we have it.
Enjoy the burgers, hot dogs, beer, music, games, parades, fun and fireworks. Nobody does this as good as we do!!!
Happy Independence Day!!!