Friday, November 30, 2018

Holiday Home Hacks



12 Helpful Holiday Home Hacks


1. Buckle lights with binder clips.

Plastic light hangers tend to bend and break easily. Ditch the over-promisers and use office binder clips to easily – and evenly — attach holiday strands to your roof instead.



2. Dry boots with a DIY drip tray.

Wet shoes can warp floors, track grime through the house, and cause slips and falls –
especially when you’ve got a lot of guests. The solution? Fill a simple tray with river rocks (find them at garden centers or the dollar store). The moisture will drip right through.





3. Save money with creative storage.

Opening last year’s organizers to find broken ornaments and tangled lights is a real
bummer. Take a cue from the experts and skip the expensive organizers. Instead, store ornaments in egg cartons and wrap Christmas lights around clothes hangers. This way, you’ll start every season on a good note. And you’ll save money too!

Read the rest of the tips from HomeAdvisor


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

* Call Brockman Premier Insurance  877-987-8683  


Monday, November 26, 2018

Cyber safety

Are You Safe to Shop Online this Holiday Season?

Cyber shopping is all the rage these days. I worked in retail for 15 years so I would rather shop online than ever go into another store! Nearly 25% of online buying occurs between Nov. 1 and Dec 31. It is convenient to shop online, but there are risks (of course there are!)

Hidden fees

  Many retailers will claim free shipping, then tell you it is only after your spend a specific dollar amount.  Or they add in "extras" like the software to run the laptop. 

Counterfeit items

   It is rather easy to put items for sale online now. Everyone is doing it! Just because you see it on the internet does not mean it is real. Remember if the price seems too good to be true- it probably is! Shop for specific brands on their own site.

Shipping issues

   One time my sister in law ordered my niece's entire Christmas online and nothing showed up before Christmas! I ordered a laptop one time that just never came in. (after 3 phone calls they finally refunded my money!)

Identity theft

   Did you know if someone steals your debit card number, they can empty your bank account in record time? I have had people open credit cards in my name, take loans out in my name. These scams can be hard to fight (and prove!).

Fake reviews

   If a site has all 5 Star reviews, be wary. No one has a perfect score when it comes to public opinion. Even the best of sites has upset some customer at some time. If it looks perfect- I would guess they are padding their reviews.

So what can you do to protect yourself and still shop from home? 

* Shop at websites you know and trust- check to see if it is a secure website. If it is secure the URL will begin with https, not http. 
* Avoid using public wi-fi (identity theft!)
* Create strong passwords - many sites will tell you if you password is strong. Do not use obvious passwords like your birthday, your child's name or your pet's name. You might want to see if a Password Manager is something that would work for you.
* Beware of sites with deals that look too good to be true.
* Be wary of third party sites. 
* Pay by credit card online- not by debit card.
* Check out a company's social media to see if it is real, engaging and what its customers have to say.
* Research the company before you buy from it. Make sure it's been around a while.
* Keep/print receipts. Pay attention to your statements. Verify you accept all of the charges on a timely basis so you can dispute fraudulent charges quickly.

Be smart- if a site gives you an unsure feeling, move onto another site. Ask family and friends who may have ordered from a site you are looking at about their experience. Online shopping is convenient, until it's not. Be careful and pay attention to the possible risks!



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

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  


Monday, September 10, 2018

Home renovations

6 Home Projects That Cost Less Than a TV


Giving your home a little extra “umph” doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you can dramatically improve the looks of your home for less than the cost of a new TV. Ready to find out how? Keep reading to discover the six projects that are sure to make your home pop — without busting your budget.

1. Revamp your entryway.

A stylish entrance is an important part of any home’s decor. Begin your upgrade with a new welcome mat and house numbers. These simple upgrades are cost-friendly and have an immediate impact on your home’s entrance. You can also arrange potted plants — like easy-to-maintain succulents — around your entrance for an eye-popping aesthetic. Flowering plants, while slightly more difficult to maintain, can complement the color scheme of your entrance or act as a standalone focal point. You can also spruce up your home’s entrance with a quick color update to your front door. A new shade will complement your entryway d├ęcor and spruce up the overall look of your home’s exterior. Chic doorknockers, updated doorknobs and alluring porch lighting are the perfect finishing touches for your 
home's entrance.

.

Expected costs:
Welcome mat: $2
House numbers: $6 per number
Succulents: $37 for pre-potted kits
Flowering plants: $30


Door knockers: $35
Doorknobs: $125
Porch lighting: $50
Front door color updated: $100-$300






Read the rest of the story from HomeAdvisor...

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

* Call Brockman Premier Insurance at 877-987-8683  


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Is Homeowners insurance required?

Am I required to Have Homeowners Insurance?

So technically the answer is NO. There is no law stating you have to have homeowners insurance if you own a home. 

Your mortgage lender may require you to have homeowners insurance before they will lend you the money to buy the home. 
Why?  
They have loaned you money to buy this house. If you suffer a loss due to damage of the home, the mortgage is out that money if you are not covered. They loan money to make money. If your home has no value, or the value is diminished, the mortgage looses money. They need to know the value of your home is covered. So they will require you to have insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding. 

Does it matter what insurance coverage you have?
You will want the Dwelling Coverage to cover the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up in  the case of a total loss. Most carriers will decide what they believe it would cost to rebuild, but most mortgage companies will want the amount to be above the loan amount. Most mortgages will also require you have Liability Coverage for any 3rd party claims (slip and falls, dog bites...). And if you are in a high risk flood zone (your mortgage will tell you!) you will be required to have Flood Coverage as well. Flood is not covered by Homeowners insurance so it will be a separate policy.

So legally, No, you do not have to have Homeowners insurance for your home. But if you have a mortgage they will, most likely, require you to have (and maintain) a homeowners insurance policy. Even if you are not required to have the coverage, I urge you to have a policy anyway. The average annual premium in Texas is $1100, and I know this can put a strain on the budget, but it will cost you much more if you have a fire without the coverage to rebuild your home. Or what if there is a hurricane? or a hail storm? These types of storms are common in our state and the damage is costly! Be smart. Protect what is most likely your largest investment. 


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





Monday, August 20, 2018

Homeownership

Millennials's View of Homeownersip Plummets


Millennials aren’t seeing as much value in buying a home as they once did, according to new data.
Millennials’ perception of the value of buying a home has dropped below 50%, according to a new survey from ValueInsured. According to the company’s quarterly Modern Homebuyer Survey, just 48% of millennials believe buying a home in America today is a good investment. That’s a record low, and a significant drop from 54% in the second quarter. 
Two years ago, 77% of millennials believed buying a home now was a good investment...


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


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Underinsurance

Americans are still Under-Insured


Many U.S. homeowners are inadequately insured for natural-catastrophe damage ahead of the height of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Three major landfalling hurricanes in 2017—Harvey, Irma and Maria—revealed a widespread lack of full insurance coverage for homeowners in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and elsewhere. Those storms served as a wake-up call to some, but the underinsurance of Americans persists, according to regulators, trade groups and government data...
Click to read the full article from realtor.com

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




Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dorm Room Security

Smart Security Works in Dorms Too! 

With summer coming to a close, it’s time to head back to the dorm and hit the books once again. This year, though, don’t pack up just bedding, clothes, and tokens to remind you of home — include a few high-tech gadgets to make your move back to campus better than ever.
As technology advances, home automation and smart security aren’t just for your parents’ house anymore. You can up your dorm game with these nine items that score high marks for both safety and convenience.

1. Canary Security Camera
All you need to keep an eye on dorm room comings and goings is this handy all-in-one security camera system and your smartphone. For under $200 you can outfit your dorm with state-of-the-art smart security. Simply plug in the Canary and download the app, and you’ll be able to check up on your room remotely, whether you’re taking in an early lecture or stuck in an all-night cram session at the library.

Click to read the rest of the article from Safewise

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sleep is important for your health

Sleep is a Good Thing       


Are you regularly up at 4 a.m. to jump start the day—and still taking care of business, whether personal or professional, long after sunset each night? If so, it may be time for a wake-up call.

Being a Type A go-getter is perceived as a badge of honor today. And for some of us, it feels like we have no choice in the matter. How else are we going to eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, get the kids to school, build a career, manage a household, and maybe squeeze in a favorite TV show once in a blue moon? Sleep is often shoved to the back burner, something we dream of enjoying when we retire...

Click to read the rest of the article



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