Roadside Assistance Insurance Policy Houston, TXOh, the great American road trip. Whether you are driving across the country, making a trip to visit our beautiful National Parks or simply just exploring different areas in your state, it is important to pack the right items on your road trip.

Basic safety and materials to have:

While you should always store papers like a copy of your car insurance and license and registration in your vehicle, you should also carry a first aid kit and a roadside emergency kit.

Other items:

  • Flashlight
  • Spare tire with useful tools+ make sure someone in the car knows how to change it
  • Owner’s Manual

Personal Items to pack:

It’s really nice and sometimes imperative to have the following items packed.

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Car Phone Charger
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes
  • Car cooler with snacks
  • Popular road trip snacks: sunflower seeds, trail mix, jerky, hard candy or suckers or granola bars. Mints and gum are great too.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • UV window shade
  • Thermos
  • Blanket or pillow
  • Cash
  • Lip Balm/ChapStick
  • Notebook, pen or pencil
  • Napkins or a roll of paper towels. A roll of toilet paper doesn’t hurt either!

Consider a Roadside Assistance Policy

Roadside Assistance can be added to your car insurance policy and is available from most insurance companies. It can also act as a standalone insurance policy. Roadside assistance can help you if you become stranded from a variety of things including but not limited to:

  1. Flat Tires
  2. Dead Battery
  3. Run Out of Gas
  4. Lock Yourself Out or Lose Your Keys
  5. Disabled Vehicle
  6. Towing if Vehicle Can’t Be Repaired Quickly
  7. Winching if stuck in mud, snow or sand

We hope your summer road trip is a blast and that this article helps you prepare for your trip as well as stay safe on the road. If you have questions about your insurance, contact us before you leave!

Home Insurance Houston, TexasWhether you are a snow bird who flocks to warm weather in the winter or you’re taking a vacation, you should always protect your home while you’re away. The last thing you want to hear while vacationing is that a pipe burst or your home was burglarized. Follow these simple steps to ensure your home is safe while you’re away.

Protect from Theft

  • Alert the post office to hold your mail until you return. If you are staying at your vacation home for a long period of time, perhaps forward your mail to that mailing address.
  • Stage your home as if you are still there. Use an automatic timer to turn on and off your lights. You can set them up in different rooms to make it look like you’re moving around the house. To keep it efficient, use LED bulbs in your lamps you intend to leave running throughout the night.
  • Set an alarm. There are countless great, affordable video surveillance options that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home, both inside and out. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police. Additionally, if you see a package is delivered you could ask a neighbor to pick it up off the doorstep until you return.
  • Place small valuables in a hidden place or safe. If you own jewelry, guns or cash, or have social security cards, memory cards or other valuable items, put them into a safe. Safes are typically extremely heavy and unable to be moved by one person even if not bolted to the floor.
  • Hire someone or notify your neighbor to do the simple things. For example, if you are gone for the weekend and the trash gets picked up on Fridays, ask your neighbor to pull your waste bin in for you.

Protect Your Home From Damage

  • Always turn off your water. You would hate to have a pipe burst or refrigerator leak while you’re away. If you live in a cold weather environment, drain all your pipes of water. Laundry supply lines are bigger, so be sure to turn those off at the junction box if you decide not to turn off all water.
  • Set your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat on will stop pipes from freezing in your ceiling or walls. It doesn’t take much, say 60 degrees or so.
  • Clean out your gutters. If you’re planning to be away for a while, cleaning your gutters can ensure any heavy rains won’t overflow the gutters and flood your home or damage the roof.

Going away for a while can be exciting. You shouldn’t have to worry about your home while you’re away so completing some simple tasks beforehand can ease your concern.

For questions about your insurance, contact AJ Morales Insurance in Houston, TX. We specialize in finding great rates for trucking insurance, contractor insurance and personal lines insurance coverage.

Switching insurance companies in Houston, TXSwitching your insurance policy can save you hundreds of dollars a year. But, make sure you consider these things before you make the switch.

Tip #1: Compare Apples to Apples

You’ve seen the commercials – “average savings of $500 a year for those who switched…” Absolutely you can save money. However, be sure that your new quote compares your current policy to the new policy – all coverages, driving records and vehicles the same. Any one thing can make a big difference. Many companies will try to lure you with great savings, but a CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange – also known as your claims history) is not completed until after the application is submitted. Online companies are notorious for doing this.

Tip #2: Status Changed

If you’ve recently received a ticket or an accident, moved or purchased a new vehicle, have your current policy changes made prior to shopping. It is entirely possible that your new ride may get you some savings, or result in a price increase. In addition to this, if you’ve recently had a ticket fall off of your driving record, it would be worth calling the company to see if they can remove it now and save you some money for the remainder of your policy term. Regardless, if something changes, be sure to revert to tip #1.

Tip #3: Work with an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are discount detectives and have access to multiple companies. Even better, they know your current situation, history and can give you recommendations across many of their companies. They can compare rates between each of their carriers and let you know the benefits of each company.

Tip #4: Multi-Policy Discounts

When you’re looking for a new policy, be sure to take all things into consideration. You may be focused on your auto insurance, but if you have a package policy (multiple policies with the same carrier) you are likely getting discounts. If you move your auto insurance policy to another carrier, your home insurance may increase as much as 20% eliminating any saving you received. Take all of your policies into consideration. One additional item to consider here is if you have an umbrella policy, this is typically required to follow your home insurance policy. Some carrier require the home and auto to write the umbrella, so talk to you agent about your specific situation.

Tip #5: Your Relationship with your Agent

Knowing your insurance agent and having a business relationship with them is important. They are the ones who will go to bat for you in the event you have a claim or accident. Often times they can help you file that claim or give you recommendation on local companies to help fix your issue. If you have your insurance directly with the company handling your loss, you don’t get this representation. Having a local independent insurance agent is the way to go.

Contact AJ Morales Insurance Agency with questions about your insurance. Whether it’s truck insurance or personal lines insurance, we can review your current policy or help you shop and save for coverage that works best for you.

Home Inventory Checklist Houston, TXNobody wants to experience a home disaster & it’s not like you can predict when one will happen. If you were to experience a fire, flood, earthquake or other home disaster, would you be able to name every single valuable in your home? If not, you need to create a home inventory list of all your valuables.

Preparing a home inventory can be a large task, but taking the time to do so can make a difference of thousands of dollars when it comes to your claims settlement as well as simple ease of processing your claim.

For many of us, where we live symbolizes us and what is in that house symbolizes our lives. Our belongings represent our memories, personal style and even investments that hold significant value such as art.  When you add up how much all of your personal items are worth, it can be a substantial figure into the many 10’s of thousands of dollars or more.

Home insurance claims from disasters such as flood or fire are traumatic. A home inventory checklist can help you remember quickly what items you had. Would you recall exactly how many pairs of jeans you had and what brand they were? Would you recall how many pairs of shoes you had or what brands they were? What about art? Could you recall the name of the artist and how much you paid for it?

The Easiest Way to Create Your List

Taking the time to inventory your home can be useful in the event of theft or damage to the contents of your home.

  1. Take pictures of every room in your home. Then, take pictures of each valuable in the room.
  2. Take a video of every room in your home.

Note: be sure to store these pictures or video in the cloud as a backup so you don’t lose it in the fire or flood too!

If you were to experience a home disaster, having this list will significantly cut down on how much time and stress you deal with when it comes to your claim settlement.

What Valuables in Your Home Need a Separate Endorsement?

Remember, valuables like art, furs, comic books, antiques and jewelry need an endorsement on your current home, condo or renters insurance policy.

The good news is your insurance agent likely gave you sufficient coverage for your personal property. If you feel like you need more, be sure to tell your agent. Home, renters and condo insurance policies typically come standard with this coverage but you might need more.

Scooter or Moped Insurance Houston, TXRiding a scooter or moped isn’t only fun, but you look great riding one. The benefits of using a scooter to get around aren’t only limited to fun, fuel economy and ease of parking. Insurance is cheap too!

There are many situations where you may wonder if you even need insurance on a moped – I mean, what is the worst that can happen, right? Well, the same risks that exist with driving a vehicle exist on scooters as well, so insurance is always required when riding one.

Here are three claims scenarios where having scooter or moped insurance policy would benefit you:

  1. You driving along with your scooter, it starts to rain and you lose control of your moped while going around a corner. While you fall off and manage to avoid injury, your scooter slides up onto the curb and hits a bystander. You would be liable for “failure to maintain control of your vehicle” and be liable for the injured parties medical bills. The same thing that happens in car accidents.
  2. You’re driving around a friend who is visiting you from out of town. The two of you pile onto your Vespa and cruise the town. After a stop at a pub, you think you’re okay to drive. On the way home, you’re driving and rear-end a stopped vehicle. You and your friend are injured and you’re now liable for your friend’s medical bills and potentially lost wages.
  3. You decide to take your moped on a cruise out to the countryside. Unbeknownst to you, you forget to fill up the tank and run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, you purchased a roadside assistance policy and call your insurance company for a fill-up.

Driving a scooter is fun and insuring one isn’t expensive when compared to an auto insurance policy. It is important not only for you to protect your financial future, but to protect those that are around you as well, including any passengers. Be smart, protect yourself with a scooter or moped insurance policy.

Inspecting your roof in Houston, TXWe all know that owning a home is an expensive investment. Unfortunately, you can’t just move in and let it set. Homes require constant maintenance to ensure you don’t get costly damage. We suggest doing a yearly home inspection.

Most people will never venture up onto their roof to see what is going on up there. A homes roof takes a beating. In the summer, it bakes and the sealant can shrink and expand hundreds of times each year. Making sure your roofing is up to par will save you from costly damage such as mold, water damage, sagging rooflines, pests and much more.

During winter, rainwater can find its way through tiny cracks causing moisture in your attic or between the layers of roofing. Identifying these issues early on can save you thousands of dollars in repairs to the roof itself, drywall, mold or go into your walls creating all sorts of havoc. It is critically important to understand that your home insurance does NOT cover water intrusion damages caused by deferred maintenance.

Things to look for on your roof inspection:

  1. Missing or damaged shingles
    1. Shingles can become damaged by wind and hail or even just years of use. When inspecting your shingles, make sure the granules are covering the shingle. Ensuring that your shingles are in proper working order will ensure water stays out of your home.
    2. Look for curling shingles, or if wood, cracked or decayed shingles.
  2. Flashing
    1. Your flashing is the metal pieces that go around skylights, butt up against walls and down the valleys on your roof.
    2. Make sure these pieces are whole and without damage such as being twisted upwards, or having holes in them from rust or other damages.
  3. Flat Roofs: Look for obvious patches, cracks, tears, or blisters.
  4. Gutters: Make sure your gutters are clear from debris, are not leaking and are butted up tight against the structure.
  5. Chimneys: Ensure your chimney cap is on tight and if it is brick, inspect for cracks.
  6. Ventilation: Make sure your ventilation caps are clear of obstruction.

Inspecting your roof is a quick and easy job. Take your time and be careful while up there as there are many trip hazards and climbing on and off of the roof onto a ladder can be tricky. But, if done safely, a roof inspection can identify problems that would normally not be covered by your homeowners insurance.

Personal Umbrella Insurance Houston, TXThere are many scenarios that would warrant the need for an umbrella insurance policy. We outline a few of them here.

Example #1: Your teenage daughter is babysitting the neighbor kids and leaves the house for a moment to run to the store. When she returns, one of the children is badly injured and requires surgery. The child’s medical bills exceed $300,000. The parents of the children sue you to cover the medical bills.

Example #2: Your son dislikes his gym class as well as the teacher. He goes on social media and writes some very reproachful comments about the teacher that leave him in a bad light. The teacher sues and is awarded $500,000.

Example #3: Your 17 year old child decides to pick up some friends and go “cruising” in your car. He loses control of the vehicle while showing off how fast the minivan is. Each child is critically injured. Your umbrella policy helps cover the medical bills.

Example #4: You invite friends over to your home to celebrate the 4th of July. You provide all the entertainment, food and refreshments, including alcohol. One friend who is known for drinking too much, does just that, gets in his car and drives home getting in a terrible car accident that kills one person. The family sues you and you’re found to be liable for serving the friend too much alcohol.

Example #5: Your rental property’s deck is rotted and your tenant falls through it badly injuring their leg and requiring reconstructive surgery. A jury awards the tenant $750,000 for damages.

Example #6: You host a wedding on your property and rent a bouncy house. The house is not staked down and blows away in the wind with children inside of it. The kids are fine, but you’re sued for negligence. The families of the children are awarded $100,000 each for mental and post-traumatic stress.

Example #7: Your dog gets out viciously attacks the neighbors show dog. The dog can no longer show because it has scars and a limp. You’re sued for loss of income and a jury awards the dog owner $450,000.

Example #8: You’re the “cool mom” and agree to buy your kids and their friends alcohol if they promise to stay at the house. One of the friends leaves the house and is killed in an accident. He is found to be intoxicated. The parents of the child sue you for providing them with alcohol. A jury awards $2 million.

There are countless situations that can occur and exhaust your current liability limits on your home or auto insurance policy. The good news is that umbrella insurance policies are relatively inexpensive. Contact an agent at our office for your personalized umbrella insurance quote today.

Swimming Pool Liability in Houston, TXHaving a swimming pool on your property is a luxury and takes a lot of maintenance, but oh is it worth it on a hot summer day! If you have kids, the swimming pool seems to be their favorite hangout place with their friends. While owing a swimming pool can be a fun experience if you’re willing to maintain it, it also carries a unique insurance liability risk.

Swimming pools carry many risks of injury. To limit your exposure setting strict rules around the pool for safety can greatly reduce the chances of injury occurring. Follow these safety tips when and around a pool:

  1. Supervision – children should never be left unattended around a swimming pool. If your children and friends want to use the pool require an adult be present at all times. If your children’s friends are wanting to use the pool and you can’t watch, ask another parent to supervise.
  2. Require walking – Water and concrete is slippery. Reduce the chances of a slip and fall injury by making sure everyone around the pool walks and doesn’t run.
  3. No Glass – Glass can fall into the pool or around the deck and make for a dangerous situation.
  4. Regularly Inspect – inspect the items used in and around a pool like the diving board, slide or flotation equipment.
  5. Fence & Lock the Pool – Most insurance companies will require a fence of at least four feet be present around a pool.
  6. Teach your children how to swim and pool safety – prevention is key. Teaching your kids how to swim as well as to avoid things in pools and spas like drains can reduce the risk.
  7. Install an alarm – You can install an alarm that detects when someone enters the pool.
  8. Protect your pets – Animals are attracted to water, especially on a hot day. Keep your pool area secured from pets when you’re not using it to ensure they don’t fall in.

Pools and spas are a lot of fun! By following proper safety precautions you can have a lot of great memories and your kids can have a lot of fun! Enjoy your pools responsibly. If you have questions on pool requirements for home insurance purposes, we have answers. Our licensed agents can help ensure your property is insurable and that you are properly covered in the event you have a claim.

Dump Truck insurance Houston TexasTrucking is a satisfying and independent business much of the time. You travel from place to place hauling cargo for businesses and consumers alike, essentially keeping our economy moving. Sometimes you put in long hours so ensuring your safety is a top priority. Here are some safety tips to ensure you’re safe on the open road the next time you hop behind the wheel.

Inspect Your Equipment

Inspecting your equipment can prevent more than just injuries to yourself. Insecure loads, worn-out straps and tie down points can cause your load to shift or come off your trailer. Completing regular walk-arounds of your equipment before each time your drive it can be an easy prevention strategy.

Buckle Up

According to the Department of Transportation, nearly half of all truckers fail to use a seatbelt while operating their trucks. This simple safety technique can not only help to prevent injuries, but could save your life.

Wear proper safety Equipment

Utilizing proper safety equipment is a simple strategy to avoiding injuries. Things like non-slip, steel toed boots and shoes, gloves and hardhats are examples.

Back Safety

Teaching your crew or learning yourself proper techniques for lifting as well as driving posture can help you avoid back issues.

Enter & Exit Truck

Requiring your drivers and yourself to enter and exit trucks using the three-point-contact.

Incident Investigation

If you’re the owner of a trucking business and have other drivers working for you, it is essential that you investigate any safety or work injury incidents appropriately to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Not all injuries can be prevented, but using these simple strategies for both yourself and your drivers can help control insurance costs as well. AJ Morales Insurance Agency in Houston, TX works with the top truck insurance companies in the nation. Call our agency for a trucking insurance quote or policy review. We can help with box trucks or flat bed insurance too.

Home Insurance Houston, TexasCleaning a home deeply should be done once a year and spring is a great time to dig in and actually do it! Instead of focusing on a long list of things to accomplish, we’d thought we’d share five things to keep in mind when it comes to spring cleaning your home.

Keep it, Store It or Donate It

This is an easy reminder when it comes to cleaning out your house and it can apply to any room. For clothing items, ask yourself if you have worn it in the last year. If the answer is no, look to donate it. You can help others in need this way and that always feels great. Seek out charities that support your community.

Break It Up In Sections

Just the thought of spring cleaning can be exhausting for some people. Instead, focus on breaking up your cleaning by sections or rooms. For example, put all your cleaning attention into your kitchen for the first day. Wipe down your cabinets, organize the inside of your cupboards or drawers, or give your refrigerator a nice scrub. This feels much more doable versus looking at your long list of cleaning for your entire house and asking yourself, “Where do I start?!”

Create a List & Check It Twice

For many people, creating a to-do list feels productive and how good does it feel once you can officially check if off? Follow our suggestion by breaking up your cleaning into sections and making a list of what you want to accomplish in each room.

Make it Fun

Get your family or other household members involved, assign them specific tasks, turn on some good music then celebrate with a night out together. Don’t feel like you have to clean all day long to feel like you’ve been productive. Marking several items off your list can simply do the trick!

Looking for a Basic Spring Cleaning Checklist? Start here.

Top Areas to Clean in Each Room

  • Dust all furniture, picture frames, television, or hanging décor on walls.
  • Dust ledges or other areas you cannot see at eye (ceiling fans, top of cabinets)
  • Clean windows or mirrors
  • Dust or wipe down baseboards, blinds, window sills, vents.
  • Sweep & mop floors
  • Vacuum carpet and rugs
  • Change smoke detector batteries
  • Wash curtains
  • Vacuum furniture cushions
  • Disinfect items like your TV remote, door knobs, computer mouse or kitchen drawer handles.
  • Organize each room & donate/discard what you won’t use.
  • Disinfect your bathroom items like tub, shower and toilet. Wash shower curtains.

Your home is a valuable asset so keeping it clean will not only keep it in tip-top shape, but will clear the home of allergens, bacteria and mold that can build up over time. With a little elbow grease, you’ll be done in no time. If you have questions about your home insurance, contact the agents at AJ Morales Insurance Agency. We are happy to answer your questions, go over your current coverage or shop for a policy.