If you drive a vehicle in the state of Texas, you are required by law to pay for any auto accidents you may cause. Buying automobile liability insurance can most easily satisfy this legal obligation. Most states have established minimum liability limits, but it is important to understand some reasons why minimum Texas auto insurance may not be enough.
Satisfying Texas Financial Responsibility Law
Liability insurance is designed to repair or replace the other driver’s vehicle if you are found to be at fault in an auto accident. It also pays any medical expenses that may be related to an at fault accident. In order to meet the Texas financial responsibility law, a vehicle owner must purchase the following minimum amount of liability insurance coverage:
- $30,000 Bodily Injury Liability (each person)
- $60,000 Bodily Injury Liability (each accident)
- $25,000 Property Damage Liability (each accident)
This 30/60/25 minimum auto coverage will allow you to drive legally on Texas roads and highways, but it may not provide the insurance protection you actually need.
Minimum Insurance Coverage Does Not Protect Your Vehicle
The minimum coverage shown above provides absolutely no insurance coverage to repair or replace your personal vehicle that may be damaged or destroyed in an accident. If you drive an older vehicle that you could easily replace, this type coverage might be sufficient. If you drive a vehicle that would cost several thousands of dollars to replace, you should consider purchasing collision coverage. Also, you may need to find a replacement vehicle should yours be damaged or destroyed in an accident. Rental reimbursement coverage could be very important.
Minimum Texas Auto Insurance May Not Cover Costs
Car prices are steadily increasing and the cost of medical care is going through the roof. These minimum limits of liability coverage may not be sufficient to pay all the other driver’s costs. Let’s assume that you were found to be at fault in an accident that totally destroyed a $30,000 sports car. Under your minimum insurance policy, your insurance company will only pay $25,000. This would mean that the remaining $5,000 would have to be paid out-of-pocket. It is not uncommon for hospital and medical care expenses to reach $100,000 or more. With minimum coverage, the insurance company will only pay a maximum of $60,000 per accident. If your insurance coverage is not enough to pay the total costs, the other driver can sue you to collect the difference. Minimum auto insurance coverage may not protect you and your family financially.
Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Does Not Protect You Against Uninsured Drivers
Even though Texas law provides penalties for not buying minimum auto insurance coverage, there are those who simply don’t abide by the law. In fact, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, one in five drivers on Texas roads are uninsured. Uninsured or underinsured auto insurance will offer you the financial protection should your vehicle be damaged or destroyed by one of these uninsured motorists.
Insurance companies who proudly advertise that they will keep you legal really aren’t doing you any favors. Just driving legal in Texas may end up costing you a lot more money than it would have cost to buy adequate auto insurance in the first place. If you don’t understand your auto insurance policy or are concerned about your coverage amounts, the best thing to do is to sit down with an experienced auto insurance agent.
About Dean and Draper Insurance Agency
Founded in 1980 by President and CEO Bob Dean, Dean and Draper Insurance Agency caters to an international roster of clients from five offices, including its headquarters in Houston. Through a network of more than 200 diverse insurers, the independent company offers the most competitive, comprehensive policies for personal and commercial insurance needs. This National Top 100 agency in Property & Casualty and Top 50 agency in personal policies underwrites in excess of $150 million in annual auto, home, health and corporate premiums and employs over 135 people.
Summary: Benefit Solutions, L.P., a Dean and Draper company, is hosting its next health care reform seminar on May 16. The seminar will offer a comprehensive review of health reform provisions affecting businesses and information on how Benefit Solutions can help companies impacted by upcoming changes.
Houston – Sharing the latest information and resources on health care reform, Benefit Solutions, L.P, a Dean and Draper company, is hosting its next quarterly Health Care Reform Seminar May 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at River Plantation Country Club.
Part of a free series of seminars focused on health care, the upcoming session will offer a comprehensive review of health reform provisions and how Benefit Solutions can assist businesses and their employees.
“Health care reform remains one of the hottest topics for both businesses and individuals, which is why we’re so pleased to offer these educational seminars for our clients,” said Bob Dean, president and CEO of Dean and Draper. “Texas business owners and HR teams need to be prepared for a variety of changes over the next year, and our next seminar is designed just for that purpose.”
In particular, the May Health Care Reform Seminar will focus on:
Provisions that will affect employer groups
The employer mandate
Potential penalties for employers
Who these provisions apply to and how they work for employers
Plan design restrictions and requirements in 2014
The small group market in 2014 and upcoming changes including community ratings, essential health benefits and more
How insurance agents can offer guidance in navigating the new system.
River Plantation Country Club is located at 550 Country Club Dr., Conroe, Texas, 77302. To RSVP, please contact Maya Pillai, Benefit Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-586-4366. Each associate attending must RSVP individually.
“Health care reform measures will impact businesses and employee groups, so it’s incredibly important to understand reform legislation before these provisions take effect,” Dean added. “We look forward to meeting with clients and friends to share this information and the best strategies and options for businesses of all sizes.”
Summary: Dean and Draper Insurance Agency is collaborating with the University of Houston Downtown on its growing Insurance & Risk Management program. Dean and Draper President and CEO Bob Dean is one of the founders of the program and is helping to provide more insurance-related education for the insurance industry.
Houston – Dean and Draper Insurance Agency, “a Trusted Texas Choice agency,” wants to insure that more students get the education they need to succeed in this industry today. To that end, Bob Dean, president and CEO of Dean and Draper, along with a small group of industry leaders who, in 2007, founded and personally funded the University of Houston’s Risk Management Program in 2007 and has served on the Insurance & Risk Management Advisory Council since 2009. In 2011, he became chairperson of the council with a dedicated focus on education and employment.
Under Dean’s leadership, more students have pursued a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, through the university’s Insurance & Risk Management program. Recently, the program has made education even easier by offering online courses, which help more students and professionals achieve their goals in the insurance industry by creating internships and connecting students and graduates with industry employers. This program, now available to students across the State of Texas, currently has 23 graduates, all of whom are employed in the industry and 30 majors who will graduate within the next two years.
“We believe that education is the key to succeeding in the insurance industry today and tomorrow, and are thrilled that more and more students are gaining the knowledge and background they need to succeed at the University of Houston Downtown,” Dean said, a graduate of the University of Houston.
Dean has worked with the University of Houston Downtown on the program for the past six years, helping to expand courses and enrollment, providing funding for scholarships and operations, offering internships to students and participating in the search for the program director and the school’s first full-time tenure-track faculty member. The program requires all majors to complete an industry internship and graduates enjoy a variety of career opportunities, since Houston is the third largest insurance market in the United States. The program prepares students for insurance careers in areas including underwriting, claims, risk assessment, accounting, finance, technology, sales and marketing. Further, students can also complete coursework and take examinations for various professional designations, including the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), the Certified Life Underwriter (CLU) designation, and the Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designations while obtaining their degree. Each course, approved by the Texas Department of Insurance, will count as 30 hours of continuing education for those students currently licensed.
“We look forward to working with the University of Houston Downtown and its students for years to come, providing education and employment opportunities throughout the insurance industry,” Dean added.
About Dean and Draper Insurance Agency
Founded in 1980 by President and CEO Bob Dean, Dean and Draper Insurance Agency caters to an international roster of clients from five offices, including its headquarters in Houston. Through a network of more than 200 diverse insurers, the independent company offers the most competitive, comprehensive policies for personal and commercial insurance needs. This National Top 100 agency in Property & Casualty and Top 50 agency in personal policies underwrites in excess of $150 million in annual auto, home, health and corporate premiums and employs over 135 people. For more information, please visit http://www.deandraper.com.
Less than one quarter of property/casualty industry executives, polled in a recent Insurance Information Institute (III) survey, agree the U.S. economy is finally “on the right track” in 2013.
Ninety-five percent believe the ongoing budget problems in Washington will have a negative impact on the U.S. economy, while 74% think the feds want to expand their regulatory oversight of insurers.
Other significant statistics in the III survey suggest:
- 59% of participants feel personal auto and homeowners lines will improve
- 68% expect improvements in commercial lines
- 61% do not expect any improvement in workers’ compensation
- 74% expect premium growth to increase, while 21% believe it will remain flat
- 54% expect an increase in consolidation among insurers and reinsurers in an effort to lower expenses
Additionally, business bankruptcies are on the decline, so the deterioration of commercial accounts will continue to ease. The number of business startups is rising, increasing the demand for commercial insurance.
Why is this significant to you? Commercial insurance is vital to the world economy because insurers essentially assume the risks associated with the production of goods and services. Their efforts protect our economic system from failure.
That means as a small business owner, they have your back; along with the over seven million other small businesses in the U.S. Without the right commercial insurance coverage, your business could easily be wiped out by a disaster (like Hurricane Sandy) or a lawsuit.
What should you do? Review your current commercial insurance policy with your representative to ensure you have the right amount and type of insurance coverage. Look for things such as irrelevant, repetitive, and outdated coverage. Ask if there are actions (joining a professional association or training employees) you can take to lower your commercial insurance costs. Most important of all: seek the advice of an insurance professional.
When it comes to home insurance, everyone seems to have unique and specific needs. Finding a policy that provides the coverage you need at a price you can afford can be a challenge. By learning to compare policies based on factors such as cost, legal restrictions and the company's ability to address your coverage concerns, it should be possible to maintain peace of mind.
It is important to realize what home insurance can help protect. The most overlooked aspect of home insurance is personal liability coverage. Personal liability covers you legally in case someone is injured while on your property. A typical example of this issue is slipping on snow or ice during the winter. According to The North Carolina Department of Insurance, "This coverage pays for reasonable medical expenses for persons accidentally injured on your property. For example, if a neighbor’s child is injured while playing in your home, the medical payments portion of your homeowners policy may pay for necessary medical expenses. The medical payments portion of your homeowners policy may also pay if you are involved in the injury of another person away from your home in some limited circumstances." However, this insurance will only cover those who suffer from an injury that are not in the immediate family.
Flood insurance is typically not provided by an insurance company unless you purchase a premium policy. On the other hand, this form of insurance is offered by the federal government. Insuring your home against flood damage is especially important if it is located on a flood plain.
Decide on how much coverage you desire or need for your home. Many people will pay more on home insurance than their home is actually worth over a period of time. In the event that your home is old or of low value, it is often advisable to consider a limited insurance policy that protects you from high-cost risks that you can't control which aren't directly related to the value of the home. Some examples might include your personal possessions inside the home, personal liability and fire caused by lightning.
Take the time to contact us at Dean and Draper if you have any questions about personalizing your home insurance policy.
Dean & Draper helps unravel the mystery behind new healthcare reform by hosting quarterly seminars to educate employers on requirements ahead of 2014 deadlines.
The controversial new health care law package involves many working parts, new pieces of legislation and multiple phases that are being gradually rolled out with new deadlines for Texas businesses.
Love or hate Obamacare, employers in Texas must arm themselves with the knowledge and best practices to not only stay in compliance but to remain profitable and competitive as well.
Key timeline issues for 2014 include the setting up of state-based exchanges, individual and employer mandates, premium tax credits, Medicaid expansion, insurance market reforms, health insurers’ fees, and employer reporting burden to IRS and reinsurance costs.
One of the most significant changes involves the establishment of state-based exchanges. Because Gov. Rick Perry opposed the federal health care law and notified Washington, one day prior to the deadline, that Texas will not set up it's own exchange - Texas will default to its health insurance program to being set up by the federal government.
These ‘one stop shop’ exchanges will be separated into two distribution channels; the public ‘Marketplace’ and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Individuals will be able to find online plan comparisons and enrollment through the new Marketplace, which will be the only platform for receiving the individual subsidy.
The SHOP Exchange is the only place small businesses with 2 to 100 employees will be able to get their tax credit, which can be as high as 50%.
Instead of becoming redundant, insurance agents will clearly play a key role as assistors and excellent sources for guidance in navigating the new exchange system.
The federal government’s website operated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers seven tips to aid businesses in the transition and compliance:
- Learn more about how insurance works
- Learn about different types of health insurance available through the Marketplace
- Choose the month you’ll start coverage
- Set budgets
- Gather essential information on your business
- Make a list of questions
- Enlist the help of a health insurance agent or broker in analyzing your options
This is where Houston based Dean & Draper Insurance Agency’s employer seminars come in. Among the questions to be answered during events will be; how the government will be funding these exchanges, whether it is smarter to pay the penalty or offer health insurance for employees – Pay or Play, the effects of not offering a health plan on recruitment efforts and retaining talent in today’s marketplace, how to calculate FTE and establish variable hour employees, budgeting requirements for rate increases and of course insight on selecting the appropriate plans.
The Dean & Draper Insurance Agency has been offering Texas companies assistance with employee benefits for over 30 years and was recently named among the nation’s top 10 agencies that get it right in Best Review Magazine.
To find out more about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or to reserve seating at the next seminar visit the agency on the web at http://www.deandraper.com or call via the toll free hotline at 888.266.2680. For additional questions please contact us at email@example.com.
Purchasing personal insurance is one of the most important financial decisions you can make for you and your loved ones. Having life insurance means that after you pass away your family will be able to maintain the lifestyle they currently enjoy and will not have to worry about paying for funeral expenses, allowing them to have proper time to grieve their loss.
When you are shopping around for personal insurance, you are buying more than a policy, you are putting faith and trust into the provider as well. You want to make sure that the company you choose to purchase insurance from is one that is financially stable and will be able to pay out the policy upon your death. If the company is not secure and in good financial standing, there is a possibility that your policy may not get paid out, and this could cause unnecessary financial strain on your family.
Th ere are a couple of different ways you can go about checking the financial security of the personal insurance carrier you are considering doing business with. One of the best places to go for information on insurance carriers is the A.M. Best website. This website will be able to provide you with the Financial Strength rating of the various insurance companies you are pricing. This particular website is trustworthy because the company has been around for well over a century and has become the primary standard for insurance companies.
You want to make sure that the personal insurance carrier has a rating of A or A+ at least. Ideally you want a company that has the highest rating of A++, which means it is in supreme financial stability. If the company you are looking at has less than A, you need to keep looking.
If you would like more information about finding a trustworthy company to buy your insurance from, be sure to contact us today!
Depending on whom you ask, there are between 18 and 38 million home-based businesses currently operating in the U.S. If you’re one of them, you may have never considered how this affects your home insurance policy.
Here’s what the most recent Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIAA) statistics found:
- Over 11 million American households have a full or part-time home-based business
- 58% are uninsured, and therefore vulnerable to serious financial loss
- 39% say they thought they didn’t need insurance or thought they had some other type
- of coverage
- 29% thought his/her business was too small or posed no risk
- 19% could not provide a reason for not having insurance
In the 2011 Entrepreneur article, “Does Your Home Business Need Insurance?” writer Carol Tice notes:
One reason owners forgo insurance is confusion over what may be already covered by a homeowner's or a renter's policy.
Unfortunately, typical home-based business owners have little or no coverage under their current renter’s or home insurance policy. Additionally if you filed a claim for losses on an undisclosed home business, not only may your insurance carrier refuse to cover it, they may cancel your home insurance policy.
While your home insurance isn’t designed to cover your home business, some policies might partially cover some business uses. However, to be safe, the Entrepreneur article mentions three types of home business insurance coverage:
Endorsement or rider. Whichever term you use, it all comes down to having a little extra insurance. This attachment to your current policy can cover things such as business equipment and “slip-and-fall” liability for small ($5,000 or less in annual receipts) businesses. This is a good precaution for someone who works at home for another employer.
In-home business policy. For as little as $200 a year (according to the IIAA) you can insure your business property for $10,000. Coverage generally includes lost income and ongoing expenses if your business shuts down due to damage to your home. Additionally, it provides limited coverage for loss of valuable documents, accounts receivable, off-site business property, and use of equipment.
Business owners’ policy (BOP). This type of insurance covers loss of data, general business liability, errors and omissions, and off-premises product liability in case your delivery is lost in transit. If you meet with customers or clients on-site, it protects them from accidents while on your property. It covers employees who drive a company vehicle. It does NOT cover workers’ compensation. This type of policy is available in most states and can cover businesses with gross sales of up to $3 million.
Before you decide to operate a home-based business, get the facts. Check with your home insurance
policy carrier or if you have questions about the best home insurance policy for you, contact us
Many factors play a part in determining your auto insurance rate, including age, type of vehicle, driving record, marital status, claim history and the region in which you live. Although some factors are out of your control, you can take steps to ensure the best possible rate. Consider the following top eight tips for saving on your auto insurance.
- Communicate effectively. Communicate well with your agent about each vehicle and its purpose. A vehicle that is used only certain times of the year or simply as a leisure car will cost less than your primary automobile.
- Drive safe. Drivers with excellent records are rewarded with lower rates. Traffic violations will increase your rate. Never drive drunk. In addition to the obvious dangers, a DUI will affect your rates for many years. When searching for a vehicle, look for ones with additional safety features, low occurrences of theft and lower accident rates, all statistics that will help you pay less.
- Select a cheaper payment method. Many insurance companies will discount your rate if you pay all at once or have monthly payments automatically deducted from your bank account.
- Combine policies. Discounts are usually provided if you insure more than one vehicle or include other forms of insurance, such as homeowner's or renter's insurance, with the same company.
- Maintain good credit. A good credit score implies you are a responsible person and translates into being viewed as a "low risk" driver, lowering your rates.
- Re-evaluate your circumstances. Our needs evolve over time. Examine your policy each year to see if less or more coverage is needed, based on the value of your vehicle and your personal liabilities.
- Inquire about additional discounts. Many discounts are available for employees of certain companies, graduates or students of certain universities or members of specific organizations.
- Avoid costly mistakes. Going with the absolute cheapest policy available may not save you in the long run. You could end up with a heavy financial burden in the event of an accident, due to the lack of coverage under a "cheap" policy. Another costly mistake is letting your policy lapse. You'll most likely experience a rate increase when you reinstate your policy. Plus, you risk having an accident while uninsured, resulting in financial loss and legal implications.
Contact us to find out your auto insurance rate.
Getting their first drivers license is a rite of passage for most teenagers. While teenagers may rejoice at their new-found freedom, having their child go solo behind the wheel may have parents quivering with fear. That fear isn’t without reason. According to CDC statistics, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than any other age group. Teens between the ages of 16 and 19 only make up 14% of the U.S population but they account for as much as 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries. The combination of immaturity and inexperience make teen drivers more likely to be involved in collisions and more expensive to insure.
So what’s a parent to do? Safety should be a high priority for any driver, but it’s particularly important to emphasize for new teenage drivers. One of the most important steps is simply putting your teen in a safe car. Don’t choose a flashy sports car or a vehicle with a high rollover rate like an SUV. The best car for a teenage driver is a basic, reliable used car with a good safety rating.
Texas requires driver education programs for teenagers to get a license, so whether you teach your child yourself or enroll him or her in a private or school-related program make sure that your child completes the state requirements. Be sure you set a good example behind the wheel as well. If your child sees you engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel, your child is likely to do as you do and not as you say. If you don’t want your teen texting behind the wheel, make sure you aren’t driving while distracted either. It’s also important to make sure your teen understands both the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of being fully alert and attentive behind the wheel.
You should also talk to your teen about the cost of insurance and how having an accident can impact costs and premiums. Privilege comes with responsibility, and teenagers need to understand that auto insurance costs have to be factored into driving costs right along with car payments and gasoline. If your insurer offers good grade discounts you might want to make sure your teen knows that too. To save money on your policy, it’s usually best to add your teen to your auto insurance policy rather than getting a separate policy for your teen. If possible, talk to your insurer about adding your teen as a driver on the least expensive car you own. You might also want to consider lowering your deductible or raising your liability coverage when you add a teen driver.
If you are adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy, there’s no better time to evaluate your coverage. Contact us to make sure your auto insurance fully covers your needs.