Is flood insurance part of regular homeowners insurance?

Cypress, TX has seen its share of flooding in recent times, and there is always a possibility there could be another natural disaster in the area. Unfortunately for homeowners who did not have flood insurance during the last flooding, this is not something that is covered in a standard homeowner’s policy.

Before you decide to purchase flood insurance, you need to understand the risk in your area and what kind of protection exists. At InsureUS, we can help you assess your future risks look through your options.

Do you live in a flood zone?

If you live in a designated flood zone, you will need to purchase flood insurance to even get a mortgage. Even if you aren’t close to a body of water, there could be other problems like drainage issues that make your area a flood zone.

Replacement cost or actual cash value?

When choosing a policy, you will need to decide how much insurance you need. That will be based on the value of your home and possessions, but you can also choose a policy that will rebuild your home as it was instead of just offering you the current market value.

Don’t wait

If you do experience flooding, your policy already needs to be in place. There is a 30-day period after you purchase flood insurance before it goes into effect.

Whether you own or rent your home in Cypress, TX, your standard homeowners or renters insurance will not protect you in case of flooding. You will need to have a policy that specifically covers your home during a flood. If you are interested in purchasing flood insurance, or if you just have any questions about it, please feel free to call InsureUS today.

Reasons Retiring to an RV is a Great Choice

If you live in Cypress, TX and have already just retired or retirement is right around the corner, you may be struggling with deciding where you want to retire. The quick and easy solution is to consider retiring to an RV. Spending your retirement in an RV means you go visit all those places you promised yourself you would visit after retiring, you can visit the grandkids anytime and you park your home near a beach during the winter. If you have been thinking about retiring to an RV, but aren’t sure if it’s good choice, InsureUs has put together a few of the benefits that come with RV living.

Save Money

One of the best benefits of retiring to an RV is that you will save money. There are campgrounds throughout the United States that offer special discounts to seniors and for those who choose to park in the campground during the off-season. You will no longer need to pay a high mortgage or expensive rent, you’ll need to ensure the RV, but you can drop your homeowner’s insurance and most campgrounds offer free WiFi and activities, so you’ll save money on bills as well as entertainment.

Downsizing

Retiring to an RV means you can significantly reduce the amount of stuff you have. Living in a traditional home means you typically have much more stuff than you really need, for instance, do you really need six skillets? Living in an RV means you can eliminate the clutter in your home and your life. It may take a minute to get used to living with only what you need, but in time, your life will be much happier. The less clutter there is your life, the freer you will feel, which means you will have the desire to get out, be adventurous and enjoy your retirement.

Make New Friends

All that traveling means you will be interacting with more people and if you tend to park in a campground that is senior-oriented, you will be amazed at how many people you meet that enjoy the same things as you. Many campgrounds offer a “get together” for their residents as well, which means you’ll have even more opportunities to develop lasting friendships with people.

These are only a few of the benefits that come with RV retiring. If you aren’t sure if it’s the best lifestyle for you, consider renting an RV for a few weeks to give it a try.

Residents of Cypress, TX that are interested in learning more about insuring their RV should contact InsureUs.

Frequent flyer plans can save on travel

It’s easy to sign up for and use airline frequent flyer miles, but whether you will save money on travel depends, in part, on how much you travel.
A good rule of thumb is if you are expecting to make some major trips (or lots of small trips) in the next 18 months, frequent flyer miles might be the ticket to free air fare. But if you are not going to travel regularly, the miles might not do much good. Those miles (or points) usually expire over time.
Here is a primer on signing up for frequent flyer programs:
* Decide which airlines have a hub near you. These will be the airlines you will probably use most.
* Go to the airline’s website and sign up for its frequent flyer program.
* Book your next trip through the airline and give them your frequent flyer program number.
* When you have enough points, book a flight through the airline and the points will be credited to the cost of the ticket if you choose to use them.
You can also add up more points by using credit cards associated with the program. For example, American Airlines has two cards associated with their program and, with a substantial purchase on the card, you can get thousands of points. You can also get points for dining and shopping. Most programs offer a shopping portal to stores such as Target. If you are planning to buy something from Target, use the airline shopping portal and you get points.
One point is equal to about 1.3 to 1.4 cents, depending on the program.

Can I Have More Than One Boat Insured Simultaneously?

Cypress, TX – The Home Base Of InsureUS 

We do like things big here in Texas but one thing that can stay slight is the amount of time spent worrying about insurance.  When you are out on the water you just want to relax you don’t want to think about what’s covered by your insurance and what isn’t. If you’re fortunate enough to own more than one boat,  you can insure more than one boat at the same time. 

Though many homeowners insurance policies cover minimal damage to your boat, you want to have more extensive coverage. 

If you have one boat docked and you’re using another boat there is a layup provision provided in the state of Texas which will suspend the insurance coverage when the boat is not in use. Speaking with an agent is the best idea as they will know the nuances of what is covered and what isn’t as well as what is beneficial and what is not.  

 There are various stipulations for boat insurance if the boat is used in ocean water. Again, speaking with your agent will clarify things for you and the more detailed you could be about how you’re going to use your boat the better. In this way, your agent will be able to craft a policy that will cover you and your needs. 

Located in Cypress, TX 77429, you can come in today and speak with us about all your insurance needs. If you’d rather call, our telephone number is 281-640-8888. The agents at InsureUS want you to feel secure in your insurance agency choice. Just let us know how we can make this experience more beneficial to you and more customer-friendly today.

Earn high interest with online savings accounts

You might love your local bank, but it isn’t necessarily the place to park money over the long term.
Today, online high-yield savings accounts offer dramatically higher savings rates than brick-and-mortar banks.
A typical savings account in a brick-and-mortar bank could pay .02% APY (annual percentage yield) compared to 2.25% or more with an online bank, according to Magnify Money.
What this means to savings really matters.
A $15,000 savings account at .02% yields about $3 per year — a whopping 25 cents a month. The same amount saved at 2.25%, yields about $337 per year, or about $28 per month.
Online banks are FDIC insured as is the local bank. But online banks have lower overhead with no buildings to worry about.
However, they also may not have ATMs, they might have fees, or require high minimum deposits. But not all do.
Synchrony Bank, for example, has no minimum deposit and no fees, but you are limited to six withdrawals or transfers per month. APY is 2.25%.
The low-interest account at your local bank will give you access to money at all times and likely include easy transfers. Still, these accounts are best reserved for merely separating money to be used for different purposes.
Search for high-interest online savings to compare features.

The etiquette of doing business abroad

Every facet of U.S. business abroad depends upon its international relationships. As a result, it’s vital that business professionals understand what is expected of and from him or her when visiting a foreign country on business.
According to Business Etiquette International, research and retain as much as you can about the specific region of the country you are visiting. Learn the cultural nuances of the area, and–at a minimum–be able to use the local words for “Yes,” “No,” “Please,” “Thank you,” and “Help.” Clients truly appreciate the visitor who is trying to speak their language, if only in a few words or phrases.
Keep in mind that etiquette has no uniform set of standards around the globe. A gesture or remark in the U. S. may have the opposite meaning in other cultures and countries.
Business relationships cannot be overstated in international business etiquette. How you meet and greet residents in a foreign country is probably the most important part of your visit.
Behavioral studies show that, in the U.S. and abroad, most people judge your social position, economic, educational, and success levels within 30 seconds of introduction. In the next five minutes, they also form their opinions about your intelligence, reliability, friendliness, and compassion, among other traits.
Be sure to rehearse your meeting in advance and dress for it in a manner reflecting the culture and your client’s expectations. Establish clear objectives for your meeting, communicate politely, and be upbeat.
The more you know and understand about the nation’s culture–and local language–the deeper your relationships will become.

Some 401(k) fears valid, others not, experts say Fear: The boss might steal it.

Somewhere on an assembly line is a young worker who once told a reporter: I wouldn’t put my money in a 401(k) because the boss could steal it.
Rest easy.
In average situations, there is very little chance the boss could steal the money from a 401(k), which would be a crime, probably involving fraud.
Contributions to a 401(k) go to a financial company. Maybe the boss picked the company, but the boss can’t access your money. The boss doesn’t own it and can’t spend it.
Fear: I can’t afford to contribute.
There are a lot of benefits to a 401(k). The money you put in isn’t taxed. It’s only taxed when you take it out at retirement.
If you took about $100 a week out of a paycheck every month for 15 years and put it in a 401(k), you would probably have more than $146,000 at the end of 15 years. At the end of 30 years, you’d have $611,729. This example by the Motley Fool assumes a return of 8 percent.
So, when you reach retirement, you might have your Social Security (depending on government future plans), and you’ll be able to add to it by taking 4 percent of your nest egg each month. You’ll be comfortable then if you sacrifice now.
Fear: I’ll lose all my money.
Over the long term, there is a 99 percent chance you will make money. But sometimes you won’t. Recently, retirement plans have racked up interest of 10 percent and higher. In 2008, during the housing crisis, people lost money…but not all of their money.
If you can’t stand losses, you usually can have your plan administrator put your money in highly conservative, safe investments. They don’t make as much money, but they don’t lose it either.
Fear: What if the company goes out of business?
Your money is safe because the company usually doesn’t manage retirement accounts. They have big financial companies like Fidelity, Vanguard, or Principal do that. Those companies manage millions of retirement accounts. Motley Fool says be skeptical if the plan administrator is “Scruffy’s Retirement and Fried Chicken.”

Business Book Review: How crazy ideas sometimes change the world

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
By Safi Bachall
St. Martin’s Press
In 2004, a team of engineers was gripped with a fantastic idea: They would make a handheld phone with a big color screen and give it the ability to connect to the internet. Plus they would set up a store where people could download applications for the phone.
Sound familiar? Surprise. Those engineers were not at Apple. They were at Nokia, where that crazy idea was shot down soon after birth.
Three years later, writes Safi Bachall, Nokia engineers watched Steve Jobs introduce their dumb idea on a stage in San Francisco.
Bachall’s book chronicles Loonshots, crazy ideas that change the world — or would change the world, if they weren’t buried and forgotten.
Bachall’s exceedingly readable book combines the principles of science with business to show how good teams often kill good ideas.
The structure of companies and teams means more than culture, he writes. Bachall points out that small, starving companies can produce dazzling results because the stakes are high for all members. Rank doesn’t matter. But as the teams get larger and more successful, the stakes aren’t nearly as high. Then rank matters more. At that point, good ideas can be ditched.
Small changes in structure, not culture, can transform a team, he writes.
This book will interest business leaders for its unique take on teams and culture. But anyone who wants to know about the nature of success and failure will be fascinated by the many stories Bachall tells.

Why Should I Get Renter’s Insurance?

With so many bills and so many more interesting things to spend your money on, purchasing renters’ insurance is probably not high on your to do list, if it is there at all. You already pay for auto insurance because the law requires it, but you probably wonder why you should get renter’s insurance if it is not required in Cypress, TX. Is it not just adding an unnecessary bill to the already huge stack you have?

Imagine that you are renting a home that you have spent a great deal of time and money on to make it “your own”. You are sleeping soundly one night when your dog wakes you in a panic and you find yourself in the midst of a fire. You and your dog are able to escape through your window and get away from the house. Once you are safely waiting on the fire department, the gravity of the situation hits you. Everything you owned was in that house, down to your wallet with last week’s pay and your cell phone. You have nothing left but your dog and the pajamas you are wearing. And if that is not bad enough, you soon find out that your landlord’s insurance will only cover the house, not your possessions. Now you face the daunting task of starting over without the help of an insurance check.

No, renter’s insurance is not required by law in Cypress, TX. Unless your landlord requires it, you do not have to get it. Consider though how much you would regret not having it in the example above. InsureUS renter’s insurance policies cannot prevent a fire, a theft, a storm, or any other situation that could destroy your rental home possessions. They can, however, make the road to recovering your life easier. Give InsureUS a call today to discuss renter’s insurance options and to understand your coverage options.

Legal issues crucial when forming small business

Entrepreneurs are busy people. They’ve got a ton of things on their mind from marketing and advertising to customer service and phones forever ringing to business appointments — and more.
Unfortunately, legal and technical issues have to be attended to at the same time.
According to Entrepreneur magazine, small businesses need to take some basic steps as they grow.

  1. Set up the proper business structure. There are sole proprietorships, LLCs, S corporations, C corps, and partnerships. Choosing the correct one means learning the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, as a sole proprietor, the business owner and the business are considered as one in the legal system. If your company is sued, all your personal assets are at risk. Corporate structures and LLCs offer protection of personal assets, although this protection isn’t a guarantee. Talk to a lawyer and accountant about the structure you need.
  2. Set up and follow customer service policies. When you access company websites, especially those that provide services of some sort, you’ll usually see a Terms and Conditions agreement. Included in this agreement are all the specifics for the use of your products or services and the customer’s obligations in that use. If you do not have this policy in writing and a box for a customer to check before a purchase, you are wide open to inclusion in a lawsuit should that customer become a defendant.
  3. Set up accounting and tax systems. Is your business subject to sales/VAT taxes? When must you file your business income tax returns? Do you need to make quarterly payments? Business tax laws are complex. You need a good business accountant–or at the very least, proven accounting software–to keep accurate records and file your taxes on time.
  4. Obtain appropriate and complete contracts with outside vendors. When you use the services of or purchase raw materials from someone outside of your business, demand iron-clad contracts. Never agree to anything with a contractor without a legally-binding agreement with the terms and language set out clearly and properly.
  5. Get the proper documentation on employees. At minimum, before hiring, document and verify past employment. After hiring, document work hours, complaints, responsibilities and attendance issues such as sick days, personal days off, and vacation.
    Be sure to specify, in writing, work expectations – including whether work can be done remotely.

The no-spend challenge
A financial writer set out to spend no extra money for a year.
Michelle McGagh and her husband vowed to pay bills, but not to buy coffee, clothes, or a beer at a pub. They didn’t eat out or even buy gas. Instead she rode her bike everywhere all the time. She spent only $35 on food every week, so she had to plan cheap meals.
What happened? At the end of one year she saved $23,000.
She admits the effort was not easy. She missed having face cream and fresh flowers. She missed socializing with friends at a pub. And they missed her.
On the other hand, she also found new ways to have fun for free and she realized how much money she frittered away. McGagh wrote about her extreme challenge in her book, “The No Spend Year: How you can spend less and live more.”
McGagh’s challenge was extreme–but what if you could spend nothing extra for just one month. Could you save money? Definitely.
According to Bankrate.com, the first thing to do is decide why. It could be to pay off a big bill that is coming or pad your savings account, but the goal should mean something to you.
Next steps:

  • Eliminate any optional expense that comes out of your checking account such as subscriptions. They will take your money next month.
  • Eliminate luxuries and start thinking of some things as luxuries. For example, cable TV. You could get rid of Netflix for $10 a month or cable for $120, or both.
  • Make a barebones food plan and stick to it. No prepared foods. Make your own cookies. This is nearly its own challenge. Can you spend $100 a week or less on food?
  • Cellphone: No extra overages or get rid of the plan, if you can.
  • No restaurants or pubs. Plan some things to do that are free.
    Then count your cash at the end of the month!