What’s taking so long?

April 12th, 2014

We’re an insurance company. You need insurance. We want to help you! You call us. We take your information and say we’ll get back to you as soon as we get a quote. Twenty minutes pass and you’ve heard nothing. What on earth are we doing?!

With the whole “fifteen minutes could save you…” and now the “fifteen minutes is an eternity; how about seven-and-a-half minutes?” we understand. You want options, and you want them now.

If you are looking for an automobile policy, and in your household you have a 2005 Chevy Malibu and a 2008 Toyota Corolla, we can probably get back to you within the hour with several options. However, it gets trickier if you have a one-ton truck. Or a vehicle with expensive modifications.

The same applies to homeowner’s insurance. You live in town in a 1986 Ranch home that is a lot like the neighbors’ houses? We should have numbers for you today. But if your house is underground? Or a Quonset hut? Or a boathouse? It might take us a while.

Here’s why: Insurance rates are based on risk. An insurance company assesses risk based largely on comparison with similar items or properties. A late model fifth wheel RV has a lot to be compared to, but an old school bus retrofitted as a recreational vehicle is going to be more difficult to price.

At Hejny Insurance Agency, we don’t write insurance. We connect clients with the best insurance providers to meet their individual needs. So while it might seem like sometimes it’s taking an unreasonably long time to put together a quote, the odds are that we’re putting out feelers and waiting for answers. Even if you have a very specialized business for which none of our providers have a market, they might have another lead… And while we’re investigating those leads, you can be working your day job, or Skyping your mom, or reading a book on the back porch.

It doesn’t stop there. Once you have insurance through us, you can always call us or stop by with concerns or questions, and if we can’t help you, we’ll be the ones to wait on hold for forty-five minutes while you head home to start dinner.

That’s the whole reason we’re here: We do the leg work so you can get on with your life. And we appreciate that you’ve let us do so for the past 28 years.

Are you on a boat?

April 6th, 2014

Summer is coming, and that means fun on Lake Texoma! When you set out for a day at the lake, you’re hoping for a stress-free outing with family and friends, but the fact is that sometimes, real life encroaches on your good times and your plans have to change. Let us help you be prepared for contingencies so you can get on with your summer.

Progressive offers a boating policy with coverage that is second to none. In addition to Total Loss Replacement for your boat, which replaces the boat with a brand new one of similar make and quality, Progressive also offers Replacement Cost Fishing Equipment for up to $10,000 for tackle, rods, and reels; and Replacement Cost Personal Effects for your cameras, clothes, cell phones, and whatever else you’ve brought with you.

Sign and Glide offers on-water towing for only $30 per year. Similar stand-alone towing policies cost $170. With Sign and Glide, you call Progressive and they contact the towing service and pay them directly, with no out-of-pocket costs to you.

Additionally, you can elect 24-hour Roadside Assistance and Trip Interruption Coverage which is available to you even if your tow vehicle is not covered by Progressive (but their auto rates are competitive, and even more so when you bundle with a boat policy, so you should check out that option, too!). Trip Interruption means that if you’re more than 100 miles from your house and your vehicle is in an accident or even just breaks down, you can be reimbursed for your costs of staying in a hotel while the vehicle is repaired.

Another option Progressive offers that is fairly exclusive is propulsion coverage. Often, if your propulsion system is damaged but there’s no overt collision that caused it, your claim for repair might be declined. Propeller repairs average $2200-$2600, so paying this out of pocket can really put a dent in your summer fun budget. With Progressive’s propulsion coverage (a separate, optional endorsement), the repair is covered after your deductible has been met.

Finally, this comprehensive coverage is offered with a number of potential discounts: homeowner, idle-assisted steering, multi-policy, multi-boat, original owner, responsible driver, safety course, transfer, claim-free renewal, paid-in-full, prompt payment, and small claim forgiveness. Additionally, if you sign up for disappearing deductibles, every policy period you do not file a claim, the deductible will be reduced by 20%.

Set off for fun, confident in your coverage. Contact our office for a no-obligation boater’s insurance policy today!

Now’s The Time To Protect Your Data

March 31st, 2014

Most of us have learned the lesson of backing up our computer data the hard way – by losing precious information or photos that can never be replaced. And even then, we can be backsliding despite our best intentions.

Well, here’s your chance to make a new resolution: March 31 is World Backup Day. It’s an independent initiative started by a group of computer enthusiasts a few years ago and now supported by all the big storage equipment manufacturers.

The hard truth though is that you’ll likely only successfully back up your data if you automate the task – set it and forget it, as they say.
There are plenty of programs, paid-for and free, that will do this job for you. You’ll also find that several organizations and firms involved in the backup business post special offers on www.worldbackupday.com (Click on the “Deals” tab).

One additional important point: Even if you back up regularly, you need to check the backups every now and then to make sure they’ve been correctly done. You should also ensure you save a copy of your backup away from your house – give it to a trusted friend or relative or put it in a deposit box in the bank.

Why You Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage

March 28th, 2014

To drive legally in the state of Texas, you have to have a minimum of liability insurance, covering others’ property and expenses if you cause an accident. Whether the state minimums are adequate is a topic for another blog post, but today we’re going to look at what happens if you’re in an accident caused by someone else who happens not to be carrying liability insurance.

If all you have is state liability, no comprehensive or collision, and someone who is uninsured hits you, it is likely that you will have to pay for all expenses (auto repairs, medical costs, towing, etc.) out of pocket. Yes, your insurance company will try to collect from the liable party, but the odds of ever recouping the costs is small.

If you have comprehensive and collision, you may choose to file a claim and only have to pay the deductible, but then it could count against you and might eventually cause an increase in premium.

Uninsured motorist coverage is available to protect you from either of these situations. Uninsured motorist coverage typically has a deductible of only $250, usually less than the standard comprehensive/collision deductible.

Other reasons uninsured motorist coverage is a good idea:

1) Nationally, 14% of drivers are uninsured. In some states, it’s as high as 26%, which means that if you’re in an accident, your odds are 1 in 4 that it will be with an uninsured motorist.

2) Compared to liability and physical damage coverage, Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist coverage is inexpensive.

3) Uninsured Motorist coverage is broad and includes injuries to your and your family members whether you are in your own covered auto, in automobiles you do not own, and even if you’re injured as a pedestrian.

4) Because the coverage is for uninsured AND under-insured motorists, if you’re in an accident with someone who has state minimums that don’t cover all of the damages or medical expenses you sustain in the accident, this coverage can make up the difference to the limits of your coverage.

Contact our office and we’ll be happy to provide a no-obligation quote for adding Uninsured/Under-Insured Motorist coverage to your automobile insurance policy.

New Insights On Sunshine Vitamin Role

March 24th, 2014

Deficiency of Vitamin D, the key nutrient we mainly get via sunshine, may not be the culprit it’s long been suspected as a cause or contributor to diseases like diabetes and cancer. Instead, low levels of the vitamin may actually be a symptom of the disease, according to the findings of a study in France. Vitamin D is made by the body in response to the sun, but it’s also found in food such as egg yolks and fatty fish, as well as supplements. The study showed that adding the supplement to the diet of sick people made no noticeable difference in the treatment of diseases. However, Vitamin D was found to have a preventive role in reducing the risk of heart problems, diabetes and colon cancer. It also reduced the risk of dying from any cause in older people taking 800 international units (IUs) a day. Learn more about Vitamin D here: http://tinyurl.com/Vit-D-info

What To Do About Lead Paint In Your Pre-1978 Home

March 17th, 2014

Since it was legislated against almost 35 years ago, you may think that lead in paint isn’t much of an issue today. Not so. Lawsuits against paint companies abound, and millions of homes built before 1978 may still have lead paint, which is known to be harmful to children.

However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that lead-based paint is not harmful if it’s in good condition. But how do you know that?

The only reliable way is to get a professional test from a certified specialist – either an inspection or risk assessment.

The EPA says you should test for lead if your house was built before 1978 and there are children age 6 or younger in the home. You should also test if you’re about to remodel, renovate or repaint, if you’re about to rent or buy an older home, or if you’re selling one (since seller disclosure is required).

Depending on the outcome of the report, you will have to decide if you need to take action to make your home safe. In very limited circumstances you may be able to tackle certain indoor removals yourself but really you should hire a certified contractor to do the work. To learn more, download this useful guide from the EPA: http://tinyurl.com/EPA-paint

Combat Allergens That Lurk At Home

March 10th, 2014

Forty million Americans suffer from allergies. And while most of us tend to think of seasonal sneezes caused by pollen, the fact is that many allergens lurk in our homes and even, potentially, on our dinner plates, all year round. So, on the threshold of spring allergies season, let’s go indoors to spot some of the problems and identify what can be done about them.

While symptoms are generally mild but frustrating – like a runny nose, itchy eyes or a rash, the American Institute for Preventive Medicine says that some allergic reactions can be life threatening. And, as all sufferers know, there’s no real cure for allergies. We might be able to ease the symptoms somewhat, but the best thing we can do is take steps to eliminate the hazards.

Most of the problems and solutions are to be found in the bedroom, so the Institute advises us:

  • Don’t store items under the bed – they collect dust. And remove books and clutter that attract mold spores.
  • Wash pillows and blankets every two weeks and use non-allergenic coverings on mattresses and pillows.
  • Vacuum your mattress frequently, even with these coverings on, to remove dust mites.
  • Make your bedroom off-limits to pets and don’t use feather pillows.

Elsewhere in the house:

  • Replace carpet with wood flooring and linoleum if possible.
  • Don’t use heavy drapes or venetian blinds.
  • Remove houseplants – they drop pollen and the moist dirt attracts mold.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with an airtight dust container or bag — not a paper bag that recycles the air it sucks in.
  • Avoid using aerosol based cleaning agents – they’re easily inhaled. Dyes and chemical additives can also spark a reaction.
  • If you child has allergies, make sure you tell the school. And if anyone in your family, including yourself, is prone to severe allergic reactions, use a medical identity bracelet to alert others who may be involved in helping or treating you/them.

 

Warning Signs Of Elder Abuse

March 3rd, 2014

Every year, hundreds of thousands of older people become victims of an insidious crime that can rob them of their dignity, their health and their wealth. It’s becoming so widespread, the crime has its own name – elder abuse – and various government and consumer groups have intervened to try to put a stop to it.

If you have older people among your family and friends (even if you’re an older person yourself), here are the warning signs to look out for in others:

  • Physical signs like bruises, burns, or broken bones.
  • A sudden change of attitude. The person may seem withdrawn or even depressed.
  • Sudden changes in their financial situation.
  • Strained relationships with caregivers.
  • Unattended medical needs and poor personal hygiene.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • There may also be a reluctance to talk about any abnormalities you notice, especially if the abuse is coming from a spouse or other relative –look out for signs of belittling, threats and use of control.

If you suspect abuse and believe the victim (including yourself) is in immediate danger, the US Administration on Aging says you should call 911 or local police for help.

If the danger is not immediate, discuss it with a doctor, friend or family member. You can also report it to the state Adult Protective Services (APS) agency via the National Center on Elder Abuse at: http://tinyurl.com/APS-info or call 1-800-677-1116, where trained operators will refer you for local support.

If you or someone you know are a victim of abuse in a care or nursing facility, you might also contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman on 202-332-2275.

Finally, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has launched a new financial resource tool to help older adults protect themselves against identity theft, called Smart Money for Older Adults. It consists of a series of downloadable resources for seniors and instructors. For more information, visit: http://tinyurl.com/FDIC-smart.

Watch Out For Roofing Scam Artists

February 18th, 2014

Precisely because they’re awkward to access and difficult to inspect from a distance, roofs are often the subject of scams. The usual approach is for the crook to call at your front door, saying he noticed a problem on your roof (especially after a storm) or your chimney stack. He may claim it’s in dangerous condition before offering to carry out an urgent repair because – guess what – he claims he just happens to be a contractor. He may or may not be, but you should certainly never agree to do business without having your roof checked out by a respectable local contractor. More likely than not, there’ll be nothing wrong with your roof. If there is, get at least two bids before having it fixed. Even if you decide it’s time to get the general condition of your roof checked out and maybe to consider a replacement, again always get multiple bids and ensure you understand your choices and costs.

RVOS Lodge 103 Offers Scholarships

February 17th, 2014

RVOS Lodge 103 is proud to once again offer two $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors. Eligible applicants are those who are:

  • High school seniors who will graduate in the spring of 2014
  • Plan to attend college or a vocational school in the fall of 2014
  • The child or grandchild of a current RVOS Lodge 103 member

This year’s essay subject is Texas history. Essays should be one page, double-spaced, using 10pt Arial font. The applicant’s name and phone number should appear on the page.

Scholarship deadline is May 13, 2014. Instructions and application form may be downloaded here.
2014 Lodge 103 Scholarship Application