Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Home inspection

Inspections Matter!


One of the most common issues that come up on carrier inspections is roof condition. I cannot tell you how many times we get an Underwriting notice citing the roof condition and when we reach out to the client, they tell us their home inspection said the roof was just fine. Often, it didn't say the roof was fine. It said replacement was a good idea and the client chose to ignore it. Even if the inspection says the roof is in fine condition, the carrier's inspection may disagree. Now, you can disagree all you want, but the carrier can still cancel the policy if you do not make repairs.


When you have an inspection done before you buy a house, pay attention! I strongly urge you to go to the inspection and walk with the inspector. Listen to him/her. Ask questions as he/she walks. This is going to be your home. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Maybe you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of homeowner and you are fine with needing to do some repairs. But if you are not, then it is a nightmare to buy a house and realize (after the closing) that there is major repair work to be done. There are some things you absolutely want to know about before you buy the house! The carrier doesn't want to insure a hazard they will most likely have to replace in the next few years. And you (as the homeowner) don't want to buy a house that will not protect you the way a home is supposed to.

Exterior of the Home

Roof: Carriers (and hopefully you!) would require the condition of the roof to last at least 5 years. With all of the wind/hail/storms we have here is Texas, roofs rarely last longer than 10 years. If you are looking at a house with a roof over 10 years old, it is a strong possibility the inspector will inspect the roof closely, looking for any indication the roof will not last. 

Windows: Depending on the age of the windows, you may need to replace them. At the very least, they need to be caulked once a year to keep them energy efficient. g 

Tree Trimming: Tree limbs hitting the roof or side of the house will need to be trimmed back away from the house. If they are hitting the home, they will cause additional wear on the roof/siding. 

Interior of the Home

Electrical: Older homes may have quite a bit of electrical work to replace. Many carriers will not insure homes with fuse boxes so you may have to replace it with an updated breaker box. 

Heating/Air: Filters need to be change twice a year. If they have not been, the buildup in the filters will make the system very inefficient, particularly for people with allergies. In some cases, the system will need to be replaced.

Water Heater: Most hot water heaters need to be replaced after 15 years. If your hot water heater breaks down, it is expensive and a royal pain to replace. 

Ventilation / Insulation: Ventilation and Insulation matter most in the attic. If either are in poor condition, you will have increased energy bills and possible increased damage to your roof (from the inside)


Home Inspections will always find issues that can be improved.  Carriers are looking for hazards that are more likely to cause them to pay out a claim in the near future. They do not want to intentionally take on that risk. Since they are the ones that will pay out, thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, the carrier gets to decide if they want to take on the risk. You, as the homeowner, can disagree. But you will most likely NOT change their mind. So intentionally look at your home inspection before you buy the home. 



There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Teen Drivers

Let's Talk About Teen Driver Safety


According to the CDC, six teens ages 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries. 
Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. As a parent of teenagers, those are very scary numbers!
  
When people call in about adding their teenager to their policy, we tell them part of the reason it is so expensive to add a teen driver is because of the risk associated with new drivers. It isn't a matter of if they get into an accident. It's a matter of when.

Inexperienced drivers struggle with judging the space needed to change lanes in traffic, driving safely in poor weather conditions and making turns safely. Your child may be a very conscientious driver, but it isn't just their driving you have to worry about. More experienced drivers know how to drive more defensively. They know to look at how others are driving to avoid accidents. New drivers assume everyone else will drive the same way they will. Now of course I am talking about conscientious drivers. We all know those kids (and some adults!) who think they (1) own the road and (2) are immortal. There was a kid who drove a white jeep in our neighborhood. When you saw that jeep coming you were automatically on guard! You do not want any of your children to be that kid!

The National Safety Council says that at least half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before they graduate from High School. Half! They strongly suggest parents drive with teens even after they get their license. Teens who drive with their parents in the car decrease the probability of causing a crash. So I know for many parents it seems a very stressful and harrowing experience to be a passenger in their parent care, so think of it as a way to pass your experience and knowledge onto your young drivers.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors Teen Driver Safety week each year in October. This week actually! 
So there are some tips for some rules before letting your teen take off in the car.

NHTSA reminds parents to set the rules before the teens hit the road with "5 to Drive":
·         No cell phones while driving
·         No extra passengers
·         No speeding
·         No alcohol
·         No driving or riding without a seat belt

Parents must be involved in teaching their young drivers! Safety!Safety!Safety!


There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Winterizing

Winterizing Your Home 

Can Save You Money!


A little work now can save you when winter hits.

What can you do?

Install Weather stripping and Caulking

Stand in front of your window and door frames. Do you feel any cold air coming through? If so, you have found a place you will want to seal better. Home insulation will make a big difference in your energy costs. Seal these spots with caulk or weather stripping. You may want to consider using an insulating film on windows. It isn't only about keeping cold air in. You want to prevent the warm air from getting out also.






Buy a Programmable Thermostat


Newer homes come with these, but older homes may need to replace them. You want to program the thermostat to turn down when you are not in the house and come back on right before you return. (especially if no one is at home during the work day!) This can save you quite a bit of money!


Run Ceiling fans in reverse 

Heat rises, so reversing your ceiling fans to turn clockwise will push the hot air down. This will circulate warmer air through the room which will lower the time the heater will kick on.


Install a "Chimney Balloon"




You can lose quite a bit of heat through your chimney flute. You can insert a chimney balloon and blow it up until it fills the chimney walls. If you want to use the fireplace, simply let the air out and pull the balloon down. Re-insert it when you are done using the fireplace.




Turn Down the Water Heater Temperature

Most water heaters are set up at 140 degrees, but you can reduce the temperature to 120 and save money on water heating costs. Experts suggest running your hot water for 3 minutes and testing the temperature. Do this on 2 days to see if the temperature is consistent. If it is over 120 on both, you could lower your water heater temperature.

Insulate Water Pipes


You should always insulate outdoor faucets and pipes. You also want to look at pipes that may be exposed indoors as well (basement, attic, under sinks). You can wrap them with a towel and tape or buy foam covers at a hardware store. This can save you thousands of dollars on avoidable damage from burst pipes!



Most of these fixes are inexpensive and can save you money for years to come!


There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  







Friday, October 5, 2018

Identity Theft

Prevent Child Identity Theft-

Freeze Your Kid's Credit!


Identity theft is a constant threat these days. With the number of major data breaches that have occurred in the past few years, such as the unprecedented Equifax breach in 2017, you’ve probably experienced some form of financial fraud by now.

You might keep a close eye on your own finances for just that reason, but there’s someone else who is especially susceptible to becoming an identity theft victim: your kid.
Fortunately, a new law went into effect on Sept. 21 that lets you freeze your credit ― a helpful preventative measure ― for free. Here’s how and why you should freeze your child’s credit, too.

Child Identity Theft Is A Growing Problem
A study by Javelin Strategy and Research found that more than 1 million children were victims of identity theft in 2017. Two-thirds of those victims were under the age of 8.

Read the rest of the story from the Huffington Post...




There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  


Friday, September 21, 2018

Fall Lawn Care

Secrets of Fall Lawn Care


Autumn is a great time to spruce up your lawn. This easy guide shows you how.
Take advantage of cool fall weather to fertilize, control weeds, and improve the health and appearance of your yard...






Read the rest of the story by Better Homes & Gardens


There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Pride of Ownership

Looks Do Matter!  
Before                                                 After


What? Why?



If you have ever sold a home, I bet you have heard the term Curb appeal. As the prospective buyers drive up, you want them to see your house in the best possible light. There is even an industry position for Staging the interior of homes as well. Looks do matter when selling your home. As part of the inspection process, most carriers will ask the inspectors to state if the home shows Pride of Ownership
What are they talking about? And why does it matter if I already bought the home? 
Why do carriers care what my house looks like?

What is Pride of Ownership?

Pride of Ownership refers to how well your home is maintained. Is the yard kept neat? Is the paint peeling? Are the windows cracked or foggy? Do your trees hit your roof or the side of your house? Is your fence in need of repair? Is your pool clean and filled? These things point to you as a responsible homeowner (or not!). You don't have to have magazine type style to keep a neat and well cared for home  and yard. I'd be in serious trouble if that was the case! 


Why is Pride of Ownership important to my insurance carrier?

When you are house hunting, are you naturally drawn to homes that look good and are maintained well? Of course! Unless you are looking to do a great deal of work, you want a house that is built well and kept well. Why? Because you know it will last longer.  Carriers want to know the same thing. They don't want to take on a risk that is likely to have a claim sooner rather than later. Most claims are sudden and accidental, but if the home is not maintained, the risk of claims is higher. And if the owner shows very little pride in how the home looks, what kind of pride will he/she take in how the home is maintained? A poorly maintained home is generally a riskier home to insure because it isn't well taken care of. 




So Looks do matter?

Yes! But little things can make a difference. Trim over grown trees and bushes, especially if they are touching the roof or sides of the home. Replace big hard to control plants with easier to maintain box plants. Paint. Sometimes a touch up will do, but other times you will need to repaint the entire set of stairs, or window panes or whatever it is that is scratched and peeling. It may not take much at all to make your home look good, even if you bought it a little Rough!




There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

energy makeover


The Energy-Efficient Home Makeover

No demolition required. A few small tweaks to each room could dramatically shrink your carbon footprint.


It’s no secret that Americans have one of the world’s highest per-person carbon emissions rates—or that much of your personal carbon load can be traced back to a little place called home. In other words, the climate change battleground is even closer than your own backyard. It’s in your bathroom, the kitchen, and the basement, too. So if you’re serious about doing your part to fight climate change, that hybrid or electric car in your driveway is a good start, but it’s not enough. Take a good look at the fixtures and appliances in your home. By making some upgrades or tweaks, or simply by changing the way you use them, you will reduce your emissions―and save on your energy bills, too.

Read the full article from NRDC...


There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website

* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683