To be certain that your family will be protected in the event of your death, you need a life insurance policy that offers complete coverage for your needs. You also need an insurance agency that will work closely with you to plan for your family’s future. In the North Dallas, Plano and Frisco areas, that agency is Tri-Star Insurance Professionals, Inc. of Tri-Star Insurance has been in the insurance business for nearly 20 years and specializes in serving customers in North Dallas, Plano and Frisco, TX. Contact Tri-Star Insurance Professionals today at 214-387-0600 or call toll-free at 1-800-990-4600. They will work with you to make sure your life insurance needs are handled professionally and with the utmost in customer service.
One of the first things to consider when choosing life insurance is whether you have enough insurance. While you don’t want to pay larger premiums than necessary, you don’t want to settle for too little life insurance either. To determine the amount of life insurance you need, there are several factors to consider:
- How much is the annual income that needs to be replaced should the insured die prematurely?
- How many years do the beneficiaries and/or dependents need to live on the replacement income?
- What is the annual interest rate that the invested proceeds of the life insurance payout will earn?
- What is the estimated rate of inflation for the time frame being considered?
There are several different types of life insurance and you need a basic understanding of each in order to choose your best option. You can choose between term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance and variable life insurance.
Term insurance provides guaranteed level premiums and a specified amount of coverage for a specific period of time - as short as one year, or in duration's of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 30 years. Term life insurance does not does not accumulate cash value like whole life, universal life and variable life insurance policies. The premium rates will increase with age, after your initial term rate so you are best off if you buy term insurance at the youngest age possible and usually for the longest term possible. If your life insurance needs change before the end of the policy’s term, it can usually be cancelled or the face value of the policy can be reduced.
Whole life insurance policies maintain a level premium and also have a cash value that is guaranteed by the life insurance company. Whole life insurance has guaranteed death benefits, guaranteed cash value, and regular fixed premiums.
Universal life insurance is permanent life insurance based on a cash value. The insured pays premiums that are higher than the actual cost of the insurance and this extra premium provides the cash value of the policy. With a universal life insurance policy, the premium rate and the death benefit are flexible. You can pay smaller or larger premiums based on your current financial circumstances and the death benefit can be based either on the cash value of the policy or on the amount stated on the policy. The flexibility of a universal life insurance policy can be important, especially for growing families with fluctuating expenses. It is important to remember, though, that if the premiums are not paid or are too small for too long, the policy can lapse, leaving you without benefits.
Variable life insurance is a form of whole life in which you can assign a portion of your premium to be used in other investments with the insurance company such as a money market fund, bonds or an equity fund. Variable life insurance carries the risk of these investments performing poorly, leaving you with higher premiums to pay, less cash value and/or smaller death benefits. You cannot draw on the cash value of a variable life insurance policy.
Photo courtesy Jesse Dixon
Repost from CBSDFW.COM
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Those attending the State Fair of Texas on Friday morning got more than they bargained for as the iconic character Big Tex went up in flames. The fire happened at about 10:30 a.m. as the Fair was kicking off it’s final weekend of the year.
Fair officials confirmed that the blaze started in a motor located in the character’s neck. “We don’t know anything just yet. All we can imagine is that something with the electrical wiring went wrong,” said Sally Womre with the State Fair of Texas. “Big Tex is wired to move his head and to speak, so that’s what we believe right now.”
Chopper 11 showed Big Tex’s charred metal skeleton still standing. “His clothes are gone except for both sleeves,” said Womre.
The fire’s many witnesses reported seeing smoke rise up from the Texas icon’s collar. That smoke then turned darker before flames started shooting out of his head and right leg. Soon, the cowboy’s entire body was burning. “It was surreal,” recalled witness Allison Griffin. “In fact, a lot of people didn’t realize it. People were still standing and taking pictures in front of Big Tex, like you always do. Fair personnel were driving past and, once the fire started, it just grew very quickly and began to engulf his whole body.”
Bill Bragg is the voice of Big Tex. He does not stand near the character, however, and nobody was injured during the fire. Big Tex has been greeting State Fair visitors with his signature “Howdy, Folks!” since 1952. This year’s Fair was the 60th birthday of the 52-foot-tall cowboy structure. Fair officials just celebrated the character’s milestone on Thursday night.
“Most people were just gasping,” Griffin said. “Most of us were horrified and looking for the fire department.”
Crews have started the process of removing Big Tex’s remaining pieces from the fairgrounds, in order to prevent potential injuries. Officials with the State Fair of Texas have already promised that Big Tex will be back — bigger and better than ever — in time for next year’s event.
Photo: Elaine Alguire@elainea
Call Tri-Star for Fire Insurance
It's a night full of treats for both kids and adults. But a number of factors - including lots of people walking in the dark, the threat of wet and stormy weather, strangers coming to your door - mean that Halloween in Texas can have some tricks up its sleeve.
Tri-Star Insurance Professionals, Inc. wants your Halloween to be a happy one. So whether you're taking your kids out trick-or-treating, hosting a party or just staying home to greet costumed visitors, we can help make your evening safe while you take care of making it spooky. Just check out the tips below - and, as always, don't hesitate to call us at 214-387-0600 if you have questions about your costume ... er, coverage.
Make your kids' costumes scary - and safe
- Make sure costumes are made of flame-resistant material. When wearing your costume, do not walk near lit candles or luminaries.
- Add reflective tape to costumes and bags to increase your visibility to drivers.
- Masks and costumes should be properly fitted to avoid blocked vision and falls.
- Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
Safe trick-or-treating in Texas
- Trick-or-treaters should walk in groups or with a trusted adult. Do not allow kids to go out alone.
- Make sure kids know their home phone number as well as how to call 911.
- Flashlights and glow sticks can help with visibility while trick-or-treating.
- Kids should only enter a home if they’re with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.
- All treats should be examined for choking hazards and tampering. Homemade treats should not be eaten unless you know the cook well.
- Of course, it's a good idea to limit the number of treats your children (and you!) eat. One way to encourage this is by having a full, healthy meal before going out trick-or-treating.
Having a party? Expecting trick-or-treaters at your house?
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit, and free of obstacles.
- Keep candles (including lit jack o'lanterns) away from doorsteps, walkways, landings and curtains.
- Remind drivers coming to and from your home to watch out for trick-or-treaters and drive slowly through neighborhoods.
Carving those pumpkins
Creating a jack o'lantern is a time-honored tradition, whether you buy your pumpkins at the grocery store or at a local pumpkin farm. But don't forget, kids and knives are a dangerous combination. It's best to have the kids draw designs on the pumpkin with a marker and then let an adult handle the carving. And here's a great idea for kids who want to remove the seeds - rather than using a knife, hand them an ice-cream scoop. It's a lot safer, and it just might be more effective!
Help keep Halloween safe for everyone - and remember, your kids WILL know if you swipe some treats from their stash!
For further questions and assistance, please Contact Us today!
State Farm says Texas homeowner rates to rise an average of 20%
Tom Fox/Staff Photographer
State Farm insurance claims representative Sheldon Goethe assessed roof damage on Vanessa Smith’s home in tornado-ravaged Lancaster in April. The company says such losses are forcing it to raise rates by 20 percent.
By TERRENCE STUTZ
TERRENCE STUTZ The Dallas Morning News
Published: 07 September 2012 03:26 PM
AUSTIN — Homeowners insured by State Farm will see their premiums jump an average of 20 percent later this year in response to an increased number of claims and higher roof replacement costs, the state’s largest property insurer said Friday.
In a rate filing with the Texas Department of Insurance, the company said it will raise premiums on Nov. 1 for new customers and on Dec. 1 for existing customers. State Farm last increased rates for its policyholders in December.
State Farm insures more than 1.2 million homeowners in North Texas and across the state, nearly 29 percent of the market. The company said it now spends $1.09 on claims and other costs for every dollar it collects in premiums statewide.
“No state has more severe weather events than Texas, and no part of our state is risk-free,” said Phillip Hawkins, senior vice president of State Farm Lloyds, the insurer’s homeowners subsidiary.
“Our policyholders are vulnerable to significant losses caused by high winds, hailstorms, hurricanes and wildfires. State Farm must maintain its financial strength in order to keep our promises to our policyholders so we can be there when they need us.”
Consumer representatives immediately questioned the size of the increase, noting that it represents a cumulative rate hike of 31.5 percent since last fall.
“A rate increase of this magnitude is troubling,” said Public Insurance Counsel Deeia Beck, whose state office represents consumers on insurance matters. “This is the largest single rate increase filing from a major carrier that we have seen in years.
“Compounding our concern are State Farms’ recent nonrenewal of the policies of some Galveston-area homeowners and the continued multiyear litigation concerning refunds for their policyholders.”
Beck said her office will have to analyze the rate plan before it makes a final decision on whether to oppose the proposal.
A recent comparison of homeowner rates in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by The Dallas Morning News found that State Farm had the highest rates among the top five companies — Allstate, Farmers, State Farm, Travelers and USAA.
Alex Winslow of Texas Watch, a consumer group, said State Farm and other large insurers “are picking the pockets of Texas homeowners because they know they can get away with it.”
He compared the current Texas insurance market to the “Wild West” where insurance industry “bandits” like State Farm “steal from innocent families while the sheriff looks the other way.”
“Until and unless Commissioner [Eleanor] Kitzman and lawmakers crack down on these out-of-control insurance companies, Texas homeowners will keep getting squeezed by skyrocketing rates on stripped-down policies.”
State Farm’s increase comes on the heels of a rate hike that was announced by Farmers Insurance in July. Homeowners insured by Farmers will see their premiums jump an average 15 percent beginning Sept. 18. Allstate raised rates in January by 5.7 percent for customers of Allstate Texas Lloyds and by 9.8 percent for customers of Allstate Fire and Casualty statewide.
Smaller insurers are expected to follow suit and increase their premiums in coming months.
Insurance industry spokesmen have cited an unusually large number of severe weather events in Texas over the past year. In June, the Dallas area was hit by severe hailstorms that caused nearly $1.2 billion in damage. Texas also had a record-breaking year for wildfires in 2011, with nearly 4 million acres burned.
Under the state’s file-and-use system, auto and home insurers in Texas can raise rates once they have notified the Insurance Department, although the agency reviews all rate changes and can challenge any increase it considers excessive or unfairly discriminatory.
State Farm has been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with the state over alleged overcharges for home insurance dating to 2003.
A state judge last year ordered the company to refund nearly $350 million to its customers for excessive premiums collected between 2003 and 2008, but State Farm has appealed the decision. Under the order, the company would have to either issue refund checks or provide a credit on policy renewals. Refunds for longtime customers would range between $200 and $300.
How top five insurers’ rates compare
Here are average home insurance rates for the largest insurers in selected Dallas-area ZIP codes:
ZIP code Allstate State Farm Farmers Travelers USAA
75244 (North Dallas) $1,276 $1,732 $1,289 $1,423 $1,334
75215 (South Dallas) $1,276 $1,732 $1,329 $1,248 $1,411
76001 (Arlington) $1,462 $1,804 $1,585 $1,231 $1,487
75116 (Duncanville) $1,276 $2,004 $1,364 $1,471 $1,319
75040 (Garland) $1,276 $1,732 $1,289 $1,248 $1,444
75061 (Irving) $1,276 $1,732 $1,289 $1,129 $1,447
75075 (Plano) $1,241 $1,876 $1,320 $1,000 $1,321
75080 (Richardson) $1,276 $2,004 $1,289 $1,248 $1,444
Note: Figure represents average annual rate for 10-year-old brick veneer home valued at $150,000. Homeowner has an average credit rating and no claims for five years.
SOURCE: Texas Department of Insurance
Also see the article in the Austin Statesman News Paper:
Click on the logo above to read the article
It's Time to Shop around for your Homeowners Insurance
Tri-Star Insurance Professionals represent several of the best companies.
One call to 214-387-0600 and you'll get quotes from several Companies.
Claims adjusters will be very busy for a long time in the Dallas/Ft. Worth areas.
Tornado and Hail damage to homes, cars and business will result in record breaking claims for North Texas insurance companies.
Reposted from Buzz Feed
Those are semi-trucks.
This is an upside-down tree.
Another picture of a semi being tossed around.
Bill Brangers, right, and Benjamin Powell, 5, left, look at the trailer that a tornado lifted from the Powell's driveway to a neighbor's yard two doors down.
(AP / Kim Johnson Flodin)
Patricia Daugherty searches for her belongings after her home was destroyed by a tornado in Arlington, Texas.
(Getty Images / Tom Pennington)
A sign is destroyed from a passing storm in South Arlington, Texas.
(AP / Paul Moseley)
Arlington police officer Rick Stewart returns a man's dog.
(Getty Images / Tom Pennington)
Found near Forney, Texas.
Smashed cars lay in debris.
(Reuters / TIM SHARP)
Homes in Lancaster, Texas.
(AP / Khampha Bouaphanh)
And one more picture of the 18 wheelers.
A list of our Insurance Companies Claims Phone numbers:
America First 1-877-263-7890
ASI Lloyds 1-866-274-5677
Hartford Flood 1-800-759-8656
Kemper Preferred 1-888-252-2799
Kemper/Unitrin Specialty 1-888-253-7834
National Lloyds 1-800-749-6419