First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
Even a small leak can become a major problem, so knowing what you’re covered for and how to prevent water damage are equally important. The below tips should help uncover any potential water problems down the road and keep your property dry.
Check appliance hoses. Standard hoses are not as durable as they used to be. Replace rubber hoses with steel-braided hoses. This is a low cost fix that can save thousands in water damage.
Broken tiles in the shower can allow water to leak into the walls or on the floor. Replace cracked tiles and re-grout when needed.
Run dishwasher and washing machine only when you are home. If a leak occurs, you can turn the appliance off right away.
When on vacation, turn off the main water supply to your house.
Keep storm drains near your house clear of leaves.
Install a gutter guard. This can prevent a rooftop disaster caused by drain clogs, and also prevents flooding by water that isn’t carried away from the house.
Install a water pressure gauge. An inexpensive gauge can prevent damage caused by water pressure that’s too high. Pressure should be between 60 and 80 PSI.
Texans learned about Juneteenth in Texas History classes in middle school, but many Americans had never heard of this date in history until last year.
The following article comes from: The Long History of Our New Federal Holiday: Juneteenth | United States Capitol History
On Monday June 19, 2023 we celebrate Juneteenth—the annual holiday that marks the end of slavery in America. But it wasn’t until last year that the nation celebrated it as a federal holiday. Last year, the Senate unanimously passed a bill to recognize Juneteenth at the federal level—and the same bill quickly made its way through the following day. The reason Congress bipartisanly supported federal recognition is because it embraces America as a nation committed to human freedom; and it works to build awareness about the history and legacy of slavery. President Biden signed it in to law the very next day.
Recognizing Juneteenth as a federal holiday also gives Americans the opportunity to contemplate the complicated processes of emancipation that took place after President Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. Specifically, Juneteenth marks the day (June 19, 1865) when a Union Army general, Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas and demanded that the state’s 250,000 plus enslaved people be set free.
To communicate this demand, Granger read aloud General Order No. 3:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages.
In other words, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas did not know about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation until this Union army general arrived two and a half years later and announced it to the public. A delayed awareness of the Emancipation Proclamation was the reality for many enslaved people in the South. It was not until the Union Army swept through the South in 1863 and 1864 that news of the Proclamation spread—and populations of enslaved people across the South were able to celebrate their freedom. Only the action of Congress to pass the 13th Amendment and the ratification by the necessary number of states on December 6, 1865, officially abolished slavery in every state, not just those in open rebellion.
Even then, however, slavery lingered in the South because many in the former Confederacy resisted paying the newly freed people. Erin Stewart Mauldin, a professor of history at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg, observes that “though slavery ends, the conditions for many change very little initially.” As such, the struggle for freedom evolved into a serious struggle for economic independence. Remembering emancipation and all of its complexities—its successes and its shortcomings—is key for working towards equity and equal rights today. Mauldin believes that a nation-wide recognition of Juneteenth is crucial:
It is immensely important to remember the difficulties of fighting and securing even the smallest measures of freedom … Juneteenth has become a symbol for emancipation and provides a highly visible celebration that does get at these difficult conversations of America’s racial history.
But Juneteenth is not just about building historical awareness and self-education. It is also clearly a holiday for Black Americans. It was only a year after the events at Galveston that formerly enslaved Black people and their families began gathering and celebrating their freedom. This tradition began in Texas, but quickly spread to other Southern states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, and California. These celebrations involved religious services, oral story-telling events, singing, and games, and often centered around eating—like at a barbeque. Another common tradition involved dressing up, which was particularly important because many enslaved people in America were strictly prohibited from wearing clothes beside the rags they were given. At these early Juneteenth celebrations, formerly enslaved people ceremoniously tossed their rags into the river, and put on clothes they stole from their former slave owners. Historically, then, Juneteenth is a holiday for formerly enslaved Black Americans and their descendants to celebrate their freedom through acts of symbolic resistance against American white supremacy.
While celebrations of Juneteenth go back to 1866, the effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday is fairly recent. Juneteenth celebrations revived during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. But it was only last year that U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) pushed for federal recognition during the height of that summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
The bill didn’t make it through Congress, but this year proved different. Representative Jackson Lee responded thusly:
"I think Juneteenth tells a wonderful story. It’s a story of freedom. It happened two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, but it still set a pathway of freedom. Who are we as a nation, if you’re frightened about freedom and liberation and joy?"
While Juneteenth doesn’t eliminate structural racism in America, recognizing it as a federal holiday is a crucial step towards bringing the rich history of Black Americans into the center of both our history and identity.
Written by guest contributor Anna Biesecker-Mast, a student at the University of Dayton studying History and English; and minoring in Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. Edited by U.S. Capitol Historical Society staff.
Every summer, our team gets calls from customers after a fun weekend on the water takes a turn for the worse. Often, these accidents could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Here are a few tips we like – courtesy of our partners at Safeco.
Don’t let an accident wreck your fun!
Life Preservers Aren’t Just for Kids. It’s not enough to just have life jackets on board — wear them! In an accident, people rarely have time to reach for a life jacket. This rule applies to adults, not just children: More people in their 30s die in boating accidents than any other age group. Life vests have come a long way in style. Today, you can even get vests for your water-loving dog!
Most home insurance policies have limited coverage for boats. If you own a boat, watercraft insurance is your best bet: It covers theft, damage, and injuries or accidents while you’re on the water, as well as some of your expensive watersports gear.
Watch the Back of the Boat. Carbon monoxide kills in minutes. So tell your passengers where your exhaust pipes are located and turn off your engine when people are in the water, and don't let passengers "ski" or “teak-surf” by holding on to the back of the boat. Both Washington and Oregon made teak-surfing illegal in the last few years, after several tragic deaths. Carbon monoxide detectors are standard on most new boats; older boats install devices for less than $100.
Alcohol and Boating Don't Mix. More than 50 percent of drowning’s result from boating incidents involving alcohol. You don’t drink and drive, so don’t boat and drive.
Boats Need TLC Too. When you're out on the water, make sure your gas tanks are vented and bilges are free of vapors, oil, waste and grease. Carry a charged fire extinguisher. Have your boat's operating systems checked yearly by a certified marine technician. The Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadrons also offer free vessel safety checks.
Experience Counts! The U.S. Coast Guard says that operator errors account for 70 percent of all boating accidents. Make sure anyone who drives your boat is properly trained. You can also earn boat insurance discounts from Safeco and other insurers if you complete a safety course with the Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons.
Sites for Information:
Coast Guard: www.uscgboating.org
Coast Guard Auxiliary: nws.cgaux.org/
Safeco tips: www.safeco.com/insurance-101/consumer-tips/your-boat
Call First Community Financial Group at 936-327-4364 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Are you a business owner? Here are two alarming statistics about natural disasters for you: As many as 4 of 10 businesses that experience a natural disaster never recover.
Worse, at least 1 in 4 businesses that are forced to close in the wake of a disaster never reopens. And if your business is small, or if all of your operations are in one location, the outlook worsens.
If your business is located in a hurricane zone, you need to have a disaster plan in place.
Luckily, you have an abundance of resources. You can find step-by-step help for disaster planning, response and recovery in FEMA’s Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry. Other sources include ready.gov and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
Once the hurricane has passed, you may need quick access to funds to:
1. Repair damage to your business property.
2. Mitigate lost income.
Does your business have insurance to provide the funds necessary to survive a disruption in your income? What should you consider when reviewing your business’s insurance plan?
Direct Hurricane Damage
Review your property insurance for common threats. Be sure your policy includes coverage for the threats commonly associated with hurricanes, such as wind damage and falling trees. Note that many standard property insurance policies do not include coverage for common threats such as damage caused by flooding, power outages, or the cost for repairs specifically associated with building code compliance. (For example, if the electrical wiring in your building is not up to code, any additional cost incurred during storm repair to update the electrical system to meet code would not be covered).
Don’t assume coverage is perfect. Even if you see that a threat is covered by your policy, note that the coverage for some items may be limited. For example, many policies will cover damage caused to your property by a fallen tree, but the cost of removing the fallen tree may be limited or not covered at all.
Your policy may also may include coverage limitations for outdoor property such as fences and signs as well as personal property (like tools, equipment or stock) that is left outdoors.
To help identify coverage and limitations, consider scheduling a policy review with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent at First Community Financial Group.
Review your deductible.
Some policies include a separate deductible for claims caused by a hurricane or named storm. Such a deductible is typically higher than the policy’s deductible for other types of claims like fire or theft.
A hurricane deductible may be calculated based on a percentage of the value of property at the time of the damage. For example, say your building is valued at $100,000. Your policy includes a standard deductible of $1,000 and a separate “hurricane deductible” of 4%. If your building is partially damaged by a fire, you are responsible for the first $1,000 before the insurance company will kick in any funds. However, if your building is partially damaged by a hurricane, you are responsible for the first $4,000.
Note that some states have laws regarding the application of such deductibles. To see if your state has special rules regarding deductibles, contact your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent.
Floods, a Consequence of Hurricanes
Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S., according to FEMA. The definition of “flood” encompasses many sources of rising or flowing water and includes torrential rain and tidal surge. It’s no surprise that flooding usually accompanies a hurricane, and the damage it causes can be costlier and more widespread than that caused by a hurricane’s winds.
It’s essential for you as a property owner to know that most property insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is typically available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and may be available from other insurance companies as well. Your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent is the best source to assist you in putting together a flood insurance plan for your business.
It’s easy to see how significant property damage from a storm could harm your business. But here’s something you may not know: The resulting loss of continued income is the leading reason so many businesses are never able to reopen after the storm has passed.
The good news is that there’s a type of insurance designed to help businesses like yours maintain an income stream after the storm. It’s called business interruption insurance, and it provides income for your business to fulfill its financial obligations (like bills and payroll) as well as to mitigate financial losses due to fewer customers.
Unfortunately, all too few business owners know about business interruption insurance, or they make the costly decision not to purchase it.
Business interruption insurance can also mitigate supply chain disruption caused by a hurricane. For example, say your restaurant survived the storm with little or no damage, but your primary food supplier’s warehouse was destroyed. Even though your restaurant was not directly damaged, the financial consequence of the hurricane to your business is still significant. Ask your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent if it may be possible to amend your business interruption insurance policy to include coverage for your business should another business on which yours depends suffers crippling damage.
Include Insurance in Your Disaster Plan
You need a disaster plan for your business, and no disaster plan is complete without a review of your insurance coverage. For assistance, call your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent today at First Community Financial Group 936-327-4364.
Content provided by Trusted Choice®.
The cost to rebuild your home is its replacement value. This can be very different from the estimated market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one.
Based in Livingston, Texas, First Community Financial Group understands the home insurance needs of our customers. We’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.
It is critical that you provide us with accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your dwelling limit accurately reflects your home’s true replacement cost, some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is greater than the limit on your policy.
Once a review of your home and possessions indicates you are properly insured, it’s a good idea to reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially whenever you make additions or improvements. First Community Financial Group can help you re-evaluate your insurance needs, just give us a call at 936-327-4364 to speak with one of our agents.
Texas - Be Sure You Have Enough Homeowners Insurance
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:
1. Call First Community Financial Group. If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.
2. Read your policy. Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, is better insured separately. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, contact First Community Financial Group at 936-327-4364 and ask for an explanation.
3. Review. At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.
4. Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?
Make sure you know:
Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the coverage limit for the structure. Your limit may be lower than 70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.
Inventory your home. Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items. First Community Financial Group can advise you on ways to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the sound track.
Personal LiabilityBesides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible.
In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.
The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.
Keep in mind that Texas can require certain minimum levels of coverage. The right coverage for you is unique – talk to First Community Financial Group today to find out how to get the best price and value on home insurance for you.