Texans Insurance
& Financial Group
101 Southwestern Blvd.
Suite 230
Sugar Land, Texas 77478
Fort Bend County, TX
Office: (281) 277-7800
Toll Free: (800) 747-6140
Fax: (281) 277-7801

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Sugar Land, Texas Insurance Agency
& FINANCIAL GROUP
TEXANS INSURANCE
Your Sugar Land, Texas Trusted Agent Since 1991
Texas Home - Auto - Health - Boat Insurance
Texans Insurance & Financial Group, Inc.
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Earthquake insurance rates are determined differently by each insurance
company and pricing can vary widely depending on several important factors
about your home and where you live. For instance, wood homes usually
survive earthquakes better than brick and therefore receive lower rates than
brick homes. In addition, homes located in areas more prone to earthquakes
see that reflected in their earthquake insurance rates. We can help you
weigh the costs and benefits of this coverage before you decide to
purchase.
In addition to typical general questions involving your name, address,
gender, date of birth, drivers license #, social security #, etc., you will be
asked a number of other questions which will be used to determine what
rates you will qualify for.
Questions for auto insurance will always include your age, gender, driving
experience, make and model information, and how you use your vehicle.
For example, an SUV costs more to repair or replace than a compact and
someone who drives 60 miles round trip each day for work is more likely
to be in an accident than someone who works from home and primarily
only drives on weekends.
By using an insurance agent directly to purchase insurance, the
policyholder receives more personal service. An experienced insurance
agent can be vital when purchasing a coverage and absolutely necessary
when filing an insurance claim. A local insurance agent is able to deliver
quality insurance and local professional, personalized service you can't
receive otherwise.
Most states have insurance laws that require drivers to have at least a
miniumum amount of auto liability insurance. These laws were enacted
to ensure that victims of auto accidents receive compensation for the
negligent actions of others.
The cost of repairing the damages to an older car is often greater than its
value. In this situation, your insurance company will usually "just write
off" or "total" the car and give you a check for the car's current market
value less the auto insurance deductible you have in force. We can help
you weigh the costs and benefits of owning physical damage coverage
for an older car.
Collision physical damage is defined as losses you incur when your car
hits another car or object. For example, if you hit a car in a parking lot or a
sign post backing up, the damages to your car will be paid under your
auto insurance collision coverage.
Other than collision or comprehensive physical damage covers most
other direct physical damage losses you could incur. For example,
damage to your car from a hailstorm or theft will be covered under your
auto insurance "other than collision" comprehensive coverage.
Type of car (make, model, year)
Primary uses of the car
Where is car garaged
Your driving record
Marital status (married people have less accidents)
The typical homeowners policy has two primary sections: Section I covers
the property (house, condo, etc.) of the insured and Section II provides
personal liability coverage for the insured. Nearly everyone who owns or
leases property needs this type of insurance. Unless you are putting down a
large percentage of the purchase price as a down payment, your mortgage
lender will require homeowners or mortgage protection insurance as a way
to better safeguard their loan.
One way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your
deductible. Increasing your deductible from 1% to 2% can lower your
premium by 5% - 10%.
You can also lower the cost of homeowners insurance by qualifying for
some of the discounts available. For example, an insurance company will
offer a discount for placing both your auto and homeowners insurance
with them. Other discounts available are for a home security system or
deadbolt exterior locks on all your doors. These options can reduce your
premium by up to another 5% to 12%.
Covered losses under a homeowners insurance policy can be paid on either a
replacement cost basis or on an actual cash value basis. When "actual cash
value" is used, the policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged
property. Therefore, the older the item is, the less money you may receive for it. If
you choose the "replacement cost" coverage, the homeowners insurance policy
will reinburse the amount it costs to replace the property with something of a
similar type and quality at current prices.
Proper insurance to value is one of the most important considerations in insuring
property. A review of the estimated replacement cost of your home should be
done yearly.
To rebuild a substantially damaged home is much more expensive than to build
new because debris must be removed before repairs can be made. Where as
in new construction there is no debris removal to consider. The cost to remove
debris is considered in the estimated replacement cost estimate because it is
covered under the dwelling limit on your homeowner's insurance policy.
Comparing estimated replacement cost to current local new construction costs
is not a good comparison either because new homebuilders typically are building
many homes at once, which allow economies of scale. They purchase large
quantities of materials giving them discounts and share labor on several homes,
which allow for lower labor costs per home.
Many compare the value of their home to the current market value, or what you
could sell your home for in the current real estate market. This is not an
accurate comparison because if your home is substantially damaged the
repairs will be made at current labor rates and materials costs including debris
removal. Market value is what you can purchase a used home at in the current
real estate market, which is not an indicator of cost of neither new construction
nor reconstruction.
Section I - Insurance coverage for your property
as follows in items A through D:
Coverage A - Dwelling - covers you dwelling (home), attached
structures, built in appliances and fixtures and permanently installed floor
covering. Most home insurance companies will require you insure your
home to the current estimated replacement cost of the home as calculated
by nationally recognized experts in this field.
Coverage B - Other Structures - covers other structures on you premises
not permanently attached to your dwelling such as a detached garage, dog
house, perimeter fence, storage building, etc.
Coverage C - Personal property - covers your personal property, (e.g.
furniture, CDs, stereo and clothes). You choose a dollar amount limit (what
you think your possessions are worth) when you purchase a homeowners
insurance policy.
Coverage D - Loss of use - covers the additional living expenses you incur
when your home can't be used due to an insured loss. This is usually a
percentage of the dwelling limit.
Section II - Personal liability coverage as follows in items E and F:
Coverage E - Personal Liability - covers your personal liability claims
and suits for bodily injury or property damage you are libel for due to
unintentional acts committed by you or qualified family members and your
pets (if not excluded). You choose this limit when you purchase the
homeowners insurance policy.

Coverage F - Medical payments - covers medical expenses for minor
injuries to others even if you were not at fault if they incur injuries on your
property. The policy normally includes limits of up to $5,000 per person.
The dwelling and other structures on the premises are protected on an
"all risks" basis up to the insurance policy limits. "All risks" means that
unless the insurance policy specifically excludes the manner in which
your home is damaged or destroyed, there is coverage. The policy limit
for other structures is usually equal to 10% of the policy limit for the
dwelling.
Losses to your personal property are covered on a "named perils" basis.
"Named perils" means that you have coverage only when your property is
damaged or destroyed in the manner described in the homeowners
insurance policy. The personal property policy contents limit on the
coverage is usually equal to 50% - 70% of the policy limit on the dwelling.
Limits on coverage for any additional expenses that the policy owner may
have when the home can't be used because of an insured loss is usually
20% of the insurance policy limit on the dwelling and often times higher.
The coverage limit on personal liability is determined by the policy owner
at the time the insurance policy is issued and we would typically
recommend a minimum of $300,000 or if you have a swimming pool a
minimum of $500,000. The coverage limit on medical payments to others
is usually set at $5,000 per injured person.
Typically an amount of life insurance equal to 6 - 8 times your annual
earnings. That is a long held suggested amount, but several life factors
should be taken into account when determining the adequate amount of
life insurance for you and your family.
* Marriage status: if married what is your spouse's earning capacity
* How many people are financially dependent upon you
* Income sources other than salary
* Death benefits payable from social security or from other life insurance
* Life insurance needs for mortgage, college fund, estate planning, etc.
It's most important that the primary wage earner be fully protected
through the purchase of an adequate amount of life insurance for your
family. In a dual-wage earning household, it's important to protect both
spouses.
A standard renters insurance policy protects your personal property in
many cases of theft or damage, and may pay for temporary living
expenses if your apartment or rented house is damaged significantly.
Having renters insurance can also shield you from personal liability. If you
live in an apartment or a rented house, renters insurance provides valued
coverage for both you and your possessions. Renters insurance provides
named perils coverage. This means that the policy only pays when your
property is damaged or destroyed by any of the ways noted in the renters
insurance policy. These usually include:
* Fire or lightning
* Windstorm or hail
* Explosions
* Riots
* Aircraft
* Vehicles
* Smoke
* Vandalism or malicious mischief
* Theft
* Falling objects
* Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
* Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
* Freezing
* Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
* Volcanic eruptions (but this doesn't include earthquake or tremors)
Unfortunately, in our all too litigious society, even individuals with modest
incomes and assets can be targets of large lawsuits. A single umbrella
insurance policy provides a higher personal liability insurance limit than
homeowner, auto, boat, motorcycle, and RV policies can offer.
Home insurance policies currently being sold in Texas specifically exclude
damage by earthquake. In the past this has not been an issue with Texas not
experiencing earthquakes but recently this has changed. This may become an
important consideration in the future.
What is my home worth? Market value versus reconstruction costs
Many homeowners equate the "worth" of a home to its market value, especially if
the home was a recent purchase. While market value is a valid calculation of a
home's worth for buying and selling, it has little to do with the cost of rebuilding. The
estimate you are providing is the amount to reconstruct the home at today's costs.
Why is reconstruction cost more expensive than new construction?
Rebuilding a home includes many factors and expenses not considered in new
construction.
Economies of scale:
It costs more for a contractor to build one home at a time because materials are not
purchased in bulk. A single household item that matches the one that's been
destroyed will nearly always cost more than if it had been part of a larger purchase.
Top-down versus bottom-up:
Repair work for a partially destroyed home is done from the top of the home down.
This is more time consuming and labor-intensive.
Demolition and debris removal:
This step is necessary before reconstruction can begin and adds to the total cost.
Use of labor:
When a builder constructs many homes at once, they can efficiently schedule labor
for carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other workers. For a single rebuild, labor
is not as efficient and contributes to higher costs.
Access to worksite:
Worksite access is easier for brand new construction. For reconstruction,
obstacles such as neighboring homes, trees, lawns, fences and other landscaping
prevent easy site access. This makes it difficult to transport materials and can drive
up labor costs.
Building code changes:
Changes to building codes may require costly updating, even for undamaged parts
of a home. This could include updating wiring or other utilities and is costly,
especially for older homes.
Natural disasters:
After a natural disaster, the costs of building materials and labor rise because of
increased demand. Over the past 20 years, there has been a significant increase
in the frequency and severity of weather events, resulting in a high number of
losses that require repairs.
Protecting undamaged parts of the home and contents:
Keeping a partially destroyed home from further damage until permanent repairs
can be made adds to the overall cost. This could involve covering a damaged roof
or holes in walls.
Specialized laboris more costly:
Reconstruction is often completed by contractors who specialize in rebuilding as
opposed to new construction contractors. Their specialized labor tends to be more
expensive.
Replicating old construction methods and materials:
A standard homeowners policy provides for replacement with like kind and quality,
which means replicating a home as it stands today. In older homes, interior walls
are often made of plaster instead of drywall and exterior brick walls are made of
solid brick instead of modern brick veneer. Homes constructed prior to 1940 were
built with full dimensional lumber, which is larger and more costly than typical
modern lumber. Because of features and materials such as these, older homes,
especially those built prior to 1940, cost more to replace. In addition, the rising cost
of commodities contributes to higher reconstruction costs. For example, petroleum
based materials such as shingles have increased in cost dramatically.
On a home insurance package policy which most all insurance carriers sell the
minimum personal property (contents) coverage is a % function of the dwelling
limit and can not be lowered. Fact of the matter is when we actually get people
to do a true inventory of the estimated cost to fully replace their, furniture,
electronics, clothing, dishware, items in their garage, etc.... this limit is too small.
You might want to perform and quick replacement cost inventory for your self
and might be surprised. Most couples closets contain $20,000+ of clothing if
fully replaced at today's dollars.
ISO's Public Protection Classification (PPC) Service gauges the fire protection
capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires at a property
in which your insurance company has a financial stake. ISO collects
information on a community's public fire protection and analyzes the data using
our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). ISO then assigns a Public
Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents the best public
protection, and Class 10 indicates no recognized protection. By classifying a
community's ability to suppress fires, ISO provides crucial information for
understanding the entire landscape of risk associated with a specific property.
We have extensive information on more than 47,000 fire-response jurisdictions
(fire departments).
The lower your PPC then the lower your cost of home insurance will be. With
everything the same the cost of a home insurance policy for a home with a
PPC 1 verses a home with a PPC 2 the cost of home insurance will be less
for the home with a PPC 1 if all other factors are the same.
The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) is the manual ISO uses in
reviewing the fire-fighting capabilities of individual communities. The schedule
measures the major elements of a community's fire-suppression system and
develops a numerical grading called a Public Protection Classification
(PPC™).Here's how it works:
Fire alarms
Ten percent of the overall grading is based on how well the fire department
receives fire alarms and dispatches its fire-fighting resources. Our field
representatives evaluate the communications center, looking at the number of
operators at the center; the telephone service, including the number of
telephone lines coming into the center; and the listing of emergency numbers
in the telephone book. Field representatives also look at the dispatch circuits
and how the center notifies firefighters about the location of the emergency.
Engine companies
Fifty percent of the overall grading is based on the number of engine
companies and the amount of water a community needs to fight a fire. ISO
reviews the distribution of fire companies throughout the area and checks
that the fire department tests its pumps regularly and inventories each engine
company's nozzles, hoses, breathing apparatus, and other equipment.
ISO also reviews the fire-company records to determine:
type and extent of training provided to fire-company personnel
number of people who participate in training
firefighter response to emergencies
maintenance and testing of the fire department's equipment
Water supply
Forty percent of the grading is based on the community's water supply. This
part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water
supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. ISO surveys
all components of the water supply
Just bought or leased a new car? What if you get into an accident soon after
taking your brand new car off the lot? If you assume that you are fully covered
because of your collision coverage, think again. This is where Gap Insurance
(sometimes called Loan/Lease Insurance) can come in handy.
When You are Upside Down on Your Car
The old saying about your car losing value the minute you drive it off the lot is
absolutely true. So, during the early years of a car loan or lease, depending
on how much you borrowed to finance the car, it's easy to be "upside down"
on your car, meaning that you owe more on your car loan or lease than the
vehicle is worth. If you're in an accident, and your car is totaled, the insurance
carrier is only responsible for paying for the replacement value of the car (i.e.,
the market value of your car). So, if you are upside down at the time of the
accident and owe the bank or lessor more than the replacement value of the
car, the settlement amount you receive from the insurance company will be
less than the amount you owe. Unfortunately, you are responsible for the
difference and may find yourself in the unenviable position of continuing to
make payments for a car you no longer have.
Let's look at a real world example: Say for instance you paid $25,000 for your
new vehicle and borrowed the entire purchase price. Say that you have an
accident a month later that totals your new car. You've probably only made
one payment on the car, and so your loan amount is still close to the $25,000
you originally borrowed. Unfortunately, even with full comprehensive or
collision coverage, you will only receive the market value of your vehicle,
which will be as much as 20%-30% lower than the purchase price
(remember - a new car depreciates significantly the minute you drive it off
the lot). That means you may be stuck paying that 20%-30% out of your own
pocket. On a $25,000 car, just a 20% depreciation would be $5,000! That
amount could be more if you financed your taxes and license into your loan.
How Can Gap Insurance Help?
GAP stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection. But, most people just use the
term "Gap" to represent the gap in coverage between how much one owes
on a car and how much the car is worth. Gap coverage is insurance that
pays for the difference between how much you own on the car (either
through a loan or lease) and what you are reimbursed from the insurance
company in the event of a total loss. If you are financing or leasing a new
vehicle purchase and putting very little (or no) money down, you need to
consider getting Gap insurance to protect you financially from a major
accident in the first 1-2 years after purchase that results in a total loss of
your car.