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.

What to do if you get into a car accident in Houston, TXBeing in an accident can be a very frightening event. Being prepared to know how to handle the situation when it occurs will help you deal with the shock of it, and obtaining proper documentation helps support a claim. While accidents will happen to almost every driver, whether their car is parked and unattended, or while they’re driving, knowing these important steps will help you deal with the unfortunate situation.

Safely park your vehicle: If you happen to be driving when the accident occurs, safely pull the vehicle over to the side of the road. If possible, carefully write down the license plate and description of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. If you are reporting a hit and run, this information will aid police in locating the driver. In the event of a hit and run it most likely happens when your vehicle is unattended. If you return to your vehicle to find damage, look for clues to help you prove your case, i.e. Security cameras.

Assess any Injuries: If someone is injured, take care of their immediate needs and quickly call 911. It is typical to be jittery after such an event so catch your breath too.

Call police: Once you’re safely parked, you should call the police to file a report, especially if another party is involved. It’s important to always have documentation of how the accident happened. Some people want to settle the claim without going through insurance, but this comes with risks. The other driver may not live up to their word and without contacting the police, it turns into a he said, she said scenario.

Exchange Information: Exchanging insurance ID cards is always recommended. Be sure to have their name and phone number too. It’s simple to take a picture with your phone. Be sure to include the car’s license plate number, year, make and model too.

Take pictures/Gather any witness information: If you have a witness who wants to share their side of the story, jot down their phone number and name. Your insurance company will want to talk with any witness to the accident. Taking pictures also gives your insurance company more details on the damage of your vehicle.

Call your insurance company: Sometimes even though vehicles collide, the damages may be limited, so you’ll want to take a close look and determine if you want to pursue a claim or get an estimate first before calling your insurance company. If someone was injured or if you have major damage, it’s always best to call your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company can assist you with your claim so if you have taken pictures and provided all the information above, your claim can be settled quicker.

While we hope you never have to experience a car accident, being prepared will help you tackle the unfortunate situation. For questions about your auto insurance, contact AJ Morales Insurance Agency. We’ll provide a free quote, go over your coverage options and find you a policy that best fits your needs.