First Community Financial Group, Inc. Blog
I’ll start off by saying the obvious – losing power in your home in Texas is no fun. Whether it’s due to a storm, freezing weather, a short circuit or a squirrel that decides to climb up on a power line and start chewing (this happened to me one summer), losing your electricity can happen any time of the year for an abundance of reasons. If you don’t have any backup, you’ll either have to stick it out until it turns back on, go stay in a hotel or temporarily move in with friends and family.
If you have a generator, it can definitely help your life go back to normal in the event of a power outage. However, because you rarely rely on them, it’s easy to overlook some basic safety measures that go along with operating a generator. Whenever you use your generator or if you decide to invest in one, keep these tips in mind to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and other serious issues that can happen with the misuse of generators.
If you own an older portable generator and want to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide even more, it might be time to invest in a new one. According to Consumer Reports, a handful of new portable generators provide a built-in sensor that activates an automatic shutoff if CO builds up to a dangerous level in an enclosed space. This may be your best option if you want to ensure a safe space for you and your family.
Generator Safety Tips - Consumer Reports
Unique among motor sports, driving all-terrain vehicles in Texas combines an exhilarating workout with a test of maneuvering skills and a hearty dose of adrenaline. Fun as it is though, it can be a risky activity. So, take a systematic approach to keeping things safe before, during and after your outings.
Before You Go
· Take a Course
Formal hands-on training courses cover how to control ATVs in commonplace situations. The ATV Safety Institute typically offers its ATV Rider Course free to anyone who buys a new qualifying machine from an institute member. Call 1-800-887-2887 or visit atvsafety.org for class information.
· Dress for Success
A motorcycle or other motorized sports helmet, certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a must. You’ll also want to suit up with over-the-ankle boots and long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, goggles and gloves.
· Remember Insurance
Riding on state-owned land? Many states requireATV insurance, which offers coverage options similar to what’s available for motorcycles – liability, comprehensive, collision, safety apparel replacement, roadside assistance and more.
During the Ride
· Don’t Share the Seat
You’ll want to be free to shift your weight according to the terrain and the situation. Passengers make it difficult – and dangerous.
· Stay Off the Road
ATVs simply aren't street-legal machines, at least not in most states. The solid rear axle with no differential means they can be hard to handle on pavement.
· Let Kids Be Kids
Children should never be allowed to drive or ride on an adult ATV. Someone under 16 on an adult ATV is twice as likely to sustain an injury as a child riding a youth ATV, according to ATVSafety.gov.
After the Outing
· Wait to Celebrate
This is when you get to unwind with a cold one, not before. You need sharp reaction time and judgment, so don’t ever drive ATVs under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
We here at First Community Financial Group want you to enjoy your ATV outings this summer, while staying safe. Just give us a ring if we can help you explore ATV insurance options!
Summer and early autumn are perfect times for sitting in the backyard, listening to the sounds of nature, watching the sunset and enjoying a campfire.
As the coolness of the evening creeps in, a campfire is a great way to keep warm and socialize. That’s especially true in today’s world of social distancing—outdoors are the safest places to socialize, and bonfires are great ways to do so. Maybe you’re even using that campfire as a cooking stove from time to time, to roast marshmallows or cook hamburgers.
These all sound like great ideas, but any idea involving a bonfire or campfire is going to have its risks attached. It’s an open flame that you must control carefully, or else you will run the risk of causing a fire that might easily get out of control and do a lot of damage.
In order to keep your family and property safe when building campfires, keep a few of these tips in mind:
You can make a lot of memories while sitting around a campfire. But if you don’t do so safely, you could wind up facing a lot of property damage that could be a massive strain on your insurance liabilities. That’s why it’s always better to plan ahead than to wait until it is too late.
If you’re looking to buy a homeowners insurance policy that is perfect for your needs, just call our agency today. We’re here to help you get a customized, affordable policy portfolio no matter what you need.
What is professional liability insurance?
Professional liability insurance protects individuals and companies from assuming the full cost of defending a lawsuit that claims negligence of the individual or business. A claim of negligence, malpractice or misrepresentation is not covered under a general liability insurance policy, which makes professional liability insurance crucial for those who provide a service or advice for a fee. Depending on the profession, professional liability insurance may take on different forms and names, like malpractice and E&O insurance.
The number of liability lawsuits against professionals has increased in recent years. Many professionals within a variety of industries are at risk of being sued, whether the charges are valid or unfounded. Such lawsuits can mean financial ruin both professionally and personally, including the loss of cars, homes and careers. Professional liability insurance helps with the financial burden of these events.
Who benefits from professional liability insurance?
Any professional who provides a service, expertise or advice to clients for a fee can benefit from coverage against liability lawsuits. Even with quality employees and risk management practices in place, people still make mistakes. A general liability policy may not cover mistakes that could be made. Professional liability insurance will protect your business and its finances if such an event arises.
Get started today
The agents here at First Community Financial Group will evaluate your business to determine its unique insurance needs and find you the professional liability policy with the necessary coverage. Call us if you have questions or want to get started. We are happy to help you get the protection you need.
The holidays (summer and winter) are a great time to travel home to see friends and family or to get some rest with a much-needed vacation. Unfortunately, adverse weather conditions can make traveling a challenge.
Winter storms, Hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms often cause flight delays and cancellations that can throw off a perfectly planned travel schedule and leave you stuck at the airport for hours. The last thing you want is to be is stranded in the airport when you should already be on the beach enjoying warmer weather or back home after a long journey.
If you’re in a hurry to make it home (or get away from home) but find yourself stuck at the airport due to delays or cancellations, here are several strategies for making your escape.
Check the status of your flight regularly.
If your flight has been delayed, it is important to stay aware of what’s happening because it could be delayed longer, rerouted, or cancelled. Many airline companies have apps that send flight updates directly to your phone so you can check frequently wherever you are. Before your trip, check the airline's website to see if this is something they offer for download.
Consider alternative flights.
Sometimes an indirect route can get you to your destination more quickly. If your delay is severe, consider purchasing a ticket for a different flight. For example, if your flight from Orlando to New York is delayed, a trip from Orlando to Minneapolis and then to New York may be a better use of your time. If you find that all possible alternative flights are sold out, keep checking. When weather conditions for flying are poor, there are often so many cancellations and delays that many miss their connections and leave open seats. Persistence is key!
Consider alternative airports.
If you’re lucky enough to discover a smaller airport nearby, consider forging a new path! After checking for open flights that will take you to your destination more quickly, make the journey with a taxi, a ride sharing driver, or another form of public transportation (if you don’t already have your own vehicle at the airport). Of course, utilizing alternative flights and airports does require a larger travel budget. If timeliness is a necessity for your trip, set aside a “rerouting budget” for unexpected changes in your flight plan.
Unfortunately, some delays are inevitable and there’s nothing you can do to speed up the process. Instead of twiddling your thumbs and playing the waiting game, reduce stress and conquer boredom with these fun ideas!
Explore the airport.
If you know you have time to spare, go for a walk or take the shuttle to see what you can discover. Some airports feature interesting attractions like bookstores, museums, spas and live music performances.
Go to the gym.
Working out is a great way to reduce stress and clear your head. Many airports have gyms available for customers so you can invest in personal health and wellness while waiting for your flight.
Find (delicious) food.
Even the best of us get hangry. Food may not completely remove your stress and frustration, but hunger certainly won't help either. Airports tend to offer a variety of dining options so you have a chance to try something new!
Write emails or make phone calls.
In the busyness of travel, you often don't have time to stay up-to-date with your inbox—this may be the perfect time to catch up! You could even take time to call a friend or family member that you haven't spoken with in a while. I'm sure mom would appreciate hearing from you!
Spend time with books.
It's true what they say: Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card! The wait for your flight may be the perfect opportunity to dive into a book you've been meaning to read or an audiobook you've been planning to listen to. Puzzles and coloring books are also a fun option!
Take a nap.
We all wish we had more time for sleep. Now—if you can find someplace comfortable—there's nothing stopping you! Taking a nap will help you get rested and revitalized so you can take on the rest of your trip.
Air travel in the age of COVID-19 is unpredictable and you may find yourself in situations that are less than ideal.
t's easier said than done, but try to have patience—this too will pass! Who knows, maybe this unexpected free time will turn out to be a blessing in disguise? You could find yourself being surprisingly productive or maybe even enjoying yourself. In any case, if you're planning on traveling this year, good luck and safe travels!
Content provided by https://www.foremost.com
Your business would not be able to succeed if the equipment, materials, stock and products that it utilizes were to become compromised. Damage, theft or destruction of property might interrupt your operations and put you in a significant financial bind as you work through the recovery process. Indeed, if the loss of property is too great to bear, then the business might fold.
If you are committed to bracing your business against this threat, then you should consider commercial property insurance to be indispensable. This benefit might be required in some circumstances, but it’s critical to have in all cases. Any business that owns property—which is more or less any business—can benefit from this plan.
What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?
A commercial property policy is designed to help you repair assets damaged by unexpected, unavoidable accidents that impact your operations. It might apply to losses stemming from:
This insurance may cover the physical location and all of its contents including decorations, furniture, equipment, products and more. Make sure to speak with your insurance agent to ensure that your business’ valuable assets are covered appropriately.
Do You Need Commercial Property Insurance Without a Physical Location?
The days of the brick-and-mortar business are over, and today you can run a successful enterprise even from the comfort of your own home. However, commercial property insurance remains essential for your operational needs. Indeed, your standard homeowners insurance will not cover commercial property except in very limited cases.
Commercial property insurance can cover items specifically used for your business, whether they are housed in a physical location or in your home. There are property damage risks everywhere, and all of them could impact your operations. You can rely upon your commercial property insurance to help you cover the costs of repairing, replacing or recovering these items so that you can sustain as little of a financial loss as possible in the meantime.
How do I Get the Right Commercial Property Insurance?
In some cases, you will have to buy your commercial property insurance as a stand-alone plan. In others, however, this benefit will come as part of a business owners policy (BOP). BOPs provide several essential commercial benefits, including commercial property insurance, in one place. Therefore, by having your commercial property coverage as part of this plan, you’ll be able to both coordinate your benefits and pay a lower price for your coverage overall.
It is never too soon to consider protecting the physical assets of your business. Keep your eyes peeled, compare quotes and speak to one of our insurance agents about protecting your business’s property with the right coverage.
Fall is a wonderful time in East Texas — if your home is ready for it.
Yes, this is the time of year to fix small problems before they become big, and big ones before they become catastrophic. Here are 10 tips to help:
1. Look up. Examine your roof closely. Remove moss, clear debris from your gutters and downspouts, and repair any damage.
2. Look down. Check for signs of animals and insects around your home and garage, including in the basement and crawlspace. Bring in a professional to get rid of unwanted guests.
3. Keep things warm. Heat escapes through leaks around windows and doors, so seal up any drafty areas. Outside, put covers over faucets before temperatures drop.
4. Keep things dry. Drain outdoor hoses, faucets and irrigation systems. Look in the basement and crawlspace for wet spots. And, make sure your water heater or boiler isn’t leaking.
5. Clear the air (or vents and filters, at least). When’s the last time you checked your dryer vent? You should take a look at attic vents and exhaust ducts, as well. And, change that furnace filter!
6. Take a walk. Cracks in your driveway or walkways will only get bigger, so get them fixed soon. If your deck has signs of wear, make repairs now.
7. Get a tune-up. You or a professional should clean and tune your furnace, boiler and/or water heater, as well as your oven and range.
8. Don’t play with fire. Before building your first fireplace fire of the season, check for soot or creosote build-up.
9. Don’t play with fire extinguishers, either. But, check them to ensure they still have pressure. Don’t have fire extinguishers? Put them on your shopping list, ideally one for each floor.
10. Don’t forget those smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Replace batteries when needed, and test regularly that alarms are working.
Keeping your home insurance policy in tip-top condition is smart, too. Remember to check in with us at least once a year to update your policy so you’re covered for your new remodel, additions or personal possessions.
Content provided by Safeco Ins.
Homeowners insurance is designed to protect all members of your family against personal liabilities, and sometimes you might wonder how it extends to your pets.
Although your home insurance won’t pay for costs like your pet’s veterinary bills or cover the cost of replacing your favorite couch cushion if your dog chews it up, it does offer important liability protection.
In many cases, the liability coverage within your policy can be extended to cover pet bite liabilities, and this is coverage you might not know you need until it’s too late. Here’s how it works.
Understanding Pet Bite Liability Insurance
Everyone loves their family pet. To you, they are probably cute, friendly and never hostile. That’s probably the case 99% of the time. However, there is still that 1% of the time where your pet is an animal, no matter how tame it might be.
A friend or neighbor might not realize that they are about to startle a dog when they simply reach to pet it. However, the dog is equally innocent if they react angrily and bite the person in question. This is an animal, and the animal can’t be blamed for its actions. Rather, it is the dog’s owner who is likely to take the blame for this loss, and who might have to compensate the injured party.
An animal bite could be superficial, or it could cause extensive harm that requires the victim to undergo emergency treatment, surgery and even rehabilitation. Because it was your pet that caused the harm, it might be you who gets sued to cover the medical costs of the injured person.
However, if you have homeowners’ liability insurance, most plans will offer you a pet bite insurance benefit. This will provide you with the compensation necessary to settle the cost of these losses. Sometimes, this benefit will come automatically as part of a homeowner’s plan, but in other cases, you will need to add it to your liability coverage as an endorsement.
Will Pet Bite Liability Insurance Cover All Breeds?
If you own a dog, it merits checking with your home insurer to determine if a standard pet bite liability endorsement will provide you with the necessary coverage. Under the circumstances, you might be able to obtain the extended benefits through an umbrella liability policy.
If you have a homeowners liability policy, then you are well on your way to having a comprehensive pet liability benefit. Our agents will work with you to ensure that it’s always there to protect you when you need it.
Even though it’s still summer, it’s time to start thinking about the approach of autumn. Now’s the time to consider some of the important household maintenance steps that you should take on during autumn’s mild weather. Before winter sets in, there is plenty of time to do a few things to repair and spruce up your property.
Perhaps you might notice that your home’s exterior has taken on a green, black or brown hue. It might be due to growths of algae, moss, mildew or even mold. While normally these growths are easily managed, they can do damage to your home—and even create a health hazard—if you neglect them.
The easiest solution is to power wash the house. Usually, it only takes a trip to the home improvement store to be able to get the materials you need to do so. Power washing your home has its benefits, and in the end, it can help you maintain a safe property. By doing so, you can also maintain your property value and avoid any potential insurance liabilities.
If you’re planning on power washing to your home yourself, here’s what to do and what you need.
If your house has not been cleaned for a few years, you might need to clean it more than once. Just let the home dry in between cleanings so you can be sure and get all the dirt and grime. Plan on repeating this process every fall to protect your home’s exterior in the long term.