EIA Newsletter – January 2023

Happy New Year!

We are excited to embark on a new year with new faces and new goals! Ellis Insurance Agency continues to offer the best customer experience and always look forward to hearing from you. We are so honored to work with each and every one of you and are grateful for the kind words you shared about your experiences with us in 2022!

What to expect with Auto Rates in 2023 and things you can do to save!

We all know that inflation rates are the highest in decades. While inflation is expected to decline from 2022 to 2023, inflation rates are projected to remain elevated relative to historical averages.  Texas has also seen a huge increase in severe auto accidents over the past few years.  Compared to 2019, the number of deaths in 2021 and 2022 due to auto accidents have increased by 22.76%.  In 2021, the economic loss of all motor vehicle crashes increased by $6.8* million compared to 2020. 

These two areas have greatly impacted our Texas auto rates, but there are things you can do to help save now or save later when a claim comes along.

  • If you have no accidents, consider enrolling in Accident Forgiveness Coverage**, especially if you have youthful drivers that are about to be on or are currently on your policy.  Accident forgiveness is a feature of an auto insurance policy that prevents the surcharge for a at fault accident from being added to your next renewal with your current company. 
  • Consider Telematics!  Telematics allows auto insurers to evaluate their driving patterns and habits, such as speed, travel distance, harsh braking and driving, and seat belt usage. This data helps them more accurately estimate your liability to the insurance company so that they can offer more personalized rates and discounts based on your actual use.  Typically, you get a discount just for enrolling with an opportunity to get bigger discounts at your renewal or after the trial period has ended.  Many of these programs are App-based, very intuitive, and will update you daily with tips to improve your score.  This is a great option for a young driver on your policy that you want to keep an eye on and coach healthy driving habits.
  • If you owe money on your car (either a loan or a lease), consider loan/lease coverage, especially since the cost to repair/replace vehicles has increased.  Simply put, loan/lease gap coverage is insurance that helps you pay off your loan or lease if your car is totaled and you owe more than it’s worth. If you decide on this coverage, it’ll pay on up to 20% (maybe more depending on your insurance company) more than your car’s actual cash value at time of loss to help you take care of your loan or lease.
  • Re-shop your auto insurance at every renewal.  At Ellis Insurance Agency, we have dozens of auto insurance companies that we work with to find you the best coverages for the best rates. We typically do this on a pro-active basis, but if your renewal is coming up and you need our help to re-market your insurance portfolio, let us know and we will help!

* Economic Loss figures are estimated using the National Safety Council’s (NSC) Average Economic Cost on a per death basis figure for the year identified. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred million. 2021 figures are based on 2020 cost.

** At fault accidents are still reported to the CLUE (Comprehensive Loss and Underwriting Exchange) and other insurance companies could still rate the policy with the accident and add a surcharge. Rates may still go up if the client had an accident free discount but loses it since accident forgiveness doesn’t prevent this.

Goodbye Personal… Hello Commercial!

We are excited to announce that Jazmin Olivarez has been promoted from Personal Lines to Commercial Accounts Executive in our Business Insurance Department! She has spent all of January training and looks forward to working with Cindy and Amy to bring our Business Insurance clients the best service. Congratulations, Jazmin!

Be sure to check out Jazmin’s own business, Estilo Jazzy, a women’s and children’s boutique. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook, too!

Welcome, Marisol!

We are excited to announce our newest EIA employee, Marisol! She comes on as a Client Service and Sales Consultant for Personal Lines. You can find out more about Marisol and all our employees by visiting our Meet Our Team page!

January Commercial Spotlight

In 2022, we started featuring 2 of our commercial businesses a month. We value these partnerships and love that they trust EIA with their commercial insurance needs.

This month we featured Fast Wellness – Soft Tissue Center. Fast Wellness offers soft tissue pain therapy. Located here in San Antonio, their therapists are trained to have great communication, patience, and tenacity. They work with your sensitivity level to keep your sessions as pain-free as possible. Be sure to check out all they have to offer!

Our second spotlight this month is Maui Maui Kids Play Island! Maui Maui, located off Stone Oak Parkway, offers everything from birthday Parties to private events for the young (or young at heart)! Be sure to check them out. PS. If you’re a parent, sign up for their emails to find out when they host Parent’s Night Out!

Be sure to visit our Local Partner‘s page to see the different kinds of businesses we trust and insure!

Thank you for trusting Ellis Insurance Agency! We love our clients!

3 Most Common Types of RV insurance

More than 11 million U.S. households own a recreation vehicle. In the last decade alone, ownership grew by 26%. This isn’t a passing fad. Studies show that another 9.6 million households expressed a desire to buy their own RV in the next five years.

While these numbers continue to skyrocket across all demographic groups, every RV owner is different. But, whether you are a casual camper or escapist, RV insurance is always a must. Ellis Insurance Agency is here to assist San Antonio, TX RV owners with all their insurance needs. 

Here are the three most common RV types and the coverage needed to ensure you are protected:

Fifth Wheels & Trailers

Towable trailers and "pull behind" campers are less expensive to insure since they are without motors. Yet this also means fewer coverage options overall. Most over-the-road issues are likely excluded. These would be covered as part of your towing vehicle’s plan.

Motorhomes

Every motorized RV is different, ranging in size, cost, and quality. Motorhomes are typically divided into one of three groups. Yet Class A, B, and C motorhomes should require the same insurance as any other vehicle on the roadway. At a minimum, collision, comprehensive, and liability coverages are key.

Full-timers

"Full-timer" is a name applied to anyone who lives in their RV. This status calls for additional insurance protection. You’ll want a policy that covers your belongings too, much like a homeowners’ or renters’ plan.

Give Us A Call

No matter what type of recreational vehicle you own, RV insurance is a must. Serving the greater San Antonio, TX community, our team of experts at Ellis Insurance Agency can find a policy that best meets your needs while traveling with your family. Schedule an appointment today.

Best Motorcycle Insurance for Bikers in Texas

Motorcycle insurance is a policy that covers losses or damage to your motorcycle, as well as injuries to yourself or others if you are involved in an accident. In most cases, the policy will usually cover both personal and property damage, along with medical expenses should you be injured during a crash. 

An experienced insurance agent at Ellis Insurance Agency can provide detailed information about the best coverage for motorcycle riders in San Antonio, TX. 

What Types of Motorcycles Are Covered Under Motorcycle Insurance in Texas?

Motorcycle insurance policies in Texas typically cover many motorcycles–from dirt bikes to sports bikes like ATVs. Having a motorcycle insurance policy in place at the time of an accident can save policyholders time and money on filing a claim. 

How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost in Texas?

The price of a motorcycle policy can vary depending on the type and amount of coverage that you choose, as well as your personal credit score and history with insurers.

What are the Benefits of Motorcycle Insurance in Texas?

One of the benefits of motorcycle insurance is that it can help protect you financially in the event of an accident. Coverage may include personal injuries, loss or damage to your bike, and even property damage. In addition, motorcycle insurance can provide financial assistance if you are unable to work due to an injury sustained in a crash.

Contact Us Today

San Antonio, TX residents who need motorcycle insurance to protect motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, and similar vehicles can talk to the insurance experts at Ellis Insurance Agency to learn about the best motorcycle insurance for covering vehicles with two or three wheels and an engine, powered by gasoline or diesel.

Why does someone need to have a boat insurance plan in Texas?

If you are in the San Antonio, TX area, owning a boat can be a great option. When you are a boat owner here, you will be able to have a lot of fun during the warmest months of the year. While boats can be a lot of fun, you do need to make sure that you are properly insured with a boat insurance plan. 

Why Boat Insurance?

Cover Your Watercraft

An important reason to have a boat insurance plan is so they can cover their watercraft. Any type of boat is going to take a big purchase and investment to acquire and care for. When you do own a boat, you will want to know that it is as well covered as possible. With a boat insurance plan, you will have coverage that can mitigate the risks of various types of loss including theft or accident damage. 

Reduce Liability Risks

While a boat can be a lot of fun to operate, it can also come with risks. If you have a boat insurance plan, you can offset some of these concerns. When driving a boat, if you were to cause an accident, you would need to cover the damages incurred by the other parties. Your liability insurance in the boat coverage plan will provide the support you need to offset this risk.

Get Coverage Today

If you want to invest in a boat in the San Antonio, TX area, you also need to make sure that you have the right insurance for it. When you are looking for a new boat insurance plan, you can start your search by calling the team with the Ellis Insurance Agency. There are a lot of choices to make when shopping for coverage and the Ellis Insurance Agency can help you build your next policy. 

Is umbrella insurance only for the rich?

Umbrella insurance is something that is a mystery to most people. What it is and why they need it is something they know nothing about. At the Ellis Insurance Agency in San Antonio, TX, our knowledgeable team will be happy to answer any questions you may have. As independent agents, we represent a selection of the top carriers in the business. 

What is umbrella insurance? 

Umbrella insurance is what is known as excess liability coverage. It is a supplemental policy to a policy that you already have with liability coverage. That includes policies like home, auto, condo, motorcycle, RV, renters, and commercial insurance. What it does is add an additional layer of liability protection to what your primary policy has. When needed, the primary policy will pay up to its limit and then the umbrella insurance will kick in. 

Who can benefit from umbrella insurance?

Anyone who has assets can benefit from this important coverage. It doesn’t matter if you own a mansion or a double-wide, you have worked hard to get where you are, and in the event you ever get sued, you want to protect your assets and your future earnings from a judgment against you. These days, the size of judgments can be quite astronomical and if you are not adequately covered, it could mean that your future earnings could be attached and nobody wants that. 

How much umbrella insurance is enough?

Only you can determine that, but consider what liability you have on your primary policy and how much a judgment could be, you need to at least have enough to cover the difference between the two. Most umbrella policies start at about a million dollars of coverage. 

Get Umbrella Insurance Today

Contact Ellis Insurance Agency in San Antonio, TX to discuss how you can benefit from umbrella insurance. 

What All Homeowners in San Antonio Should Know About Flood Insurance

A common misconception that homeowners in San Antonio, TX often have is if their home has flood damage, it will be covered by their homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, the truth is damage caused by flood waters is often not covered by your homeowner’s policy. To ensure your home is protected from flood waters, you’ll need to purchase a flood insurance policy.

Do San Antonio Residents Need Flood Insurance?

In Texas, homeowners are not required by law to purchase a flood insurance policy. However, if your property is located inside a high-risk flood zone, it is recommended that you purchase coverage, especially if it is a condition of your mortgage.

Still, even if you don’t have a mortgage, it is a good idea to have a flood insurance policy. While this may not be as necessary for those living in low-risk areas, it is highly recommended for anyone living in moderate to high-risk areas.

Is Flooding Serious in San Antonio, TX?

According to SARA (San Antonio River Authority), San Antonio is one of the most flood-prone and flash-flood-prone regions in the country. It is estimated that around 28,000 residents in Texas live on exposed land that is 4 feet below sea level. Since Texas is prone to heavy rains and flooding, those who live in San Antonio and other high-risk areas are in danger during the storm season.

Contact Ellis Insurance Agency for More Information About Flood Insurance 

If you have concerns about flood safety and would like to learn more about flood insurance coverage, get in touch with our team here at Ellis Insurance Agency today. We look forward to providing you with peace of mind by answering any questions you may have.

Germania’s Roadside Assistance v. Towing & Labor Service

Germania’s Roadside Assistance and the Towing & Labor Service are two separate coverages under personal auto policies. Below you will find what the difference is between Roadside Assistance and Towing & Labor.

Germania’s Roadside Assistance provides coverage for all of the insured drivers on the policy in any vehicle listed* on the policy. *This excludes motorhomes, trailers, and RV’s

Here is a breakdown of everything included in Germania’s Roadside Assistance:

To confirm you have one or both of these services, please email or call your agent. We are happy to help clarify what coverage you have and what works best for you.

You can also learn more by visiting Germania’s blog page by clicking HERE.

Do I Need To Get Insurance If I’m Renting A Condo?

If you’re renting a condo, the answer to this question is yes – you do need insurance. Although your landlord may have insurance that covers the property, this does not mean that your belongings are protected.

If something happens to your home or possessions while you’re renting, you’ll be responsible for the costs yourself if you don’t have insurance. Here we discuss why it’s important to get insurance when renting a condo and how it can protect you in an emergency.

What’s Condo Insurance?

Condo insurance is a unique type of homeowners insurance specifically designed for condominium owners. Unlike traditional homeowners insurance, condo insurance covers the interior of your unit as well as any common areas owned by the condominium association. Condo insurance also provides liability coverage in the event that someone is injured while in your unit.

Why Do I Need Condo Insurance if I am Renting?

You may think that your landlord’s insurance will cover any damages to your belongings or the unit itself, but this is not always the case.

Even if you’re renting, it’s important to have your own condo insurance policy in place. This type of insurance can help to protect your personal belongings in the event of a fire, theft, or other covered peril.

Condo insurance can also provide coverage if you accidentally damage someone else’s property while living in the unit. If you do not have your own policy, you could be held responsible for paying for the repairs out of your pocket. This makes it essential to get a policy from a professional company such as Ellis Insurance Agency in San Antonio, TX.

Get Coverage For Your Condo

It’s important to get insurance when renting a condo. Condo insurance can protect your belongings in the event of damage or theft, and it can also provide liability coverage in case someone is injured while on your property. Now that you know how much you need a condo insurance policy, Ellis Insurance Agency in San Antonio, TX can help you find the right coverage for your needs. Give us a call today to learn more.

SafeCo Insurance – Wildfire Response Benefit

SafeCo’s new Wildfire Response Benefit comes with no additional costs. Read on to learn more about this (free) benefit and what it means for you.

Enrollment

Enrollment is completely free. It does not expire unless the customer requests or the policy is cancelled. There is absolutely no impact to your premium (no charge or discount) for this program.

All homeowner and Landlord Protection® policyholders within the designated wildfire states will receive a letter and opt-out form. There is currently no electronic opt in/out form. If you did not receive a form in the mail, please click HERE to download or feel free to contact Ellis Insurance Agency if you have any further questions.

Benefit and Partnership

Chloeta maintains a map of policies-in-force within the benefit footprint and monitors the area to determine wildfire proximity and threat level. The vendor makes operational decisions on which eligible properties are serviced and the types of services provided during a wild land fire response. Once safe access is secured, mitigation vendor services may include:

  • Removing pine needles and leaves from gutters
  • Removing flammable vegetation and items from around your home
  • Deploying a temporary sprinkler system to protect your home
  • Updating you regarding the status of your property and actions being taken to protect it
  • Applying a water-based gel* or firefighting foam to your home
  • Returning any combustible items moved and washing any fire gel or firefighting foam away after the wildfire event

*What is a protective gel barrier? “It’s an industry-leading, fire-preventing, and heat-absorbing fire-retardant gel that personnel may use to help protect your home and property. The gel particles adhere directly to a house or structure and quickly extinguish any flames or burning materials that come into contact with the gel. It creates a gelled water barrier that effectively helps protect a home or structure for several hours and may prevent internal combustion. It can be rehydrated to extend effectiveness, as needed. The gel is used as a last resort when fighting a fire. It is proven to be effective as it adheres to smooth surfaces such as glass.”

Questions?

To learn more about the partnership, benefits, vendors, and/or policy, you can reach out to SafeCo’s Customer Service or visit https://www.safeco.com/products/homeowners-insurance/wildfire

Don’t forget that you can always reach out to Ellis Insurance Agency for ANY questions about your policy and/or benefits.

How Do I File An Auto Insurance Claim?

If you have auto insurance and a peril covered under the policy occurs, you need to file a claim to receive a settlement. However, it’s critical that you file your claim correctly because failure to do so can result in the claim being rejected by the insurer. Ellis Insurance Agency provides this guide on how to correctly file your car insurance claim in San Antonio, TX. 

Filing An Auto Insurance Claim: What You Need To Know

1. Call the 911 and Your Insurance Company

Depending on what has happened, the first thing you should do after an incident that is covered by your car insurance policy occurs is to call 911 and your insurance company. If it’s a criminal incident like theft or vandalism, your first call should be the police, then your insurer. If it’s an accident, call the police and emergency services so that anyone injured can receive timely medical attention, and then call your insurer. If the incident is damage to your vehicle due to a natural disaster, all you have to do is call the insurer.

2. Collect Evidence of the Incident

At Ellis Insurance Agency, we recommend that during your call with your insurer, you inquire what evidence they would need of the incident to assess your claim. In the case of an accident, vandalism, or damages by a natural disaster, use your smartphone to take detailed photos of the damage to your vehicle. Ensure that also capture wide-angle images of the location of the incident. In the case of theft, capture pictures of where the car was when it was stolen and get a police report.

3. Submit Your Claim With Evidence

Fill out the claim form from your insurer and submit it with the evidence you collected. Your auto insurer will review your claim, and if everything matches up with the terms of your policy, your claim will be approved.

Contact Us Today

Do you need auto insurance in San Antonio, TX and the surrounding areas? Call Ellis Insurance Agency today.