The Readers Write

Beverly Rosenbaum


Dear friends at HAL-PC, I might say especially “Bob, the modem guy.”

I want to express my gratitude for the expert help that I got from him at Jeff's SIG group on Friday, May 20th.

My computer had been very sick for a long time. It had been to commercial repair hospital but the fix was wanting. I even had help from others more knowledgeable than I am. As usual I have a grandson that helps me a lot, but it seemed that no one could do anything.

I had recently re-joined HAL-PC and noticed in the magazine that you have a SIG group that offers help with such a problem. I made an appointment and brought my computer in. I was fortunate to have “Bob the modem guy” take me and my computer “under his wing.” He spent almost 4 hours working on the problem, cheerfully.

There were a multitude of problems but he was able to make my computer act like a computer again. I have never had it run better than it does now. He would accept neither compensation nor gratuity other than knowing that he had done a good job. I hope that this letter expresses my gratitude as much as I feel it. I have promoted HAL-PC to all of my friends and hope that some will join HAL-PC in the future.


Joseph H. Williamson, HAL-PC Member

The Humor in Outside the Lines, Sept. 2002

Dear Carla,

I found your article ( most humorous and truthful! Very heart lightening at this current point in my life as I have been shopping around now for quite some time. I am a NEW home buyer, just married and in my mid 20's and scared to say the least. I especially loved one of your quotes contained within your article:

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics, and then there’s the insurance industry in Texas — my apologies to Benjamin Disraeli.

Thank god for humor because this is such a tedious, time consuming and nerve-wrecking process. Especially when you are told one thing only to call back with questions and find that you weren't even sure about what you were told - hence you then have NEW questions. You sit back down and start all over again. And as soon as you think you got it all figured out and is about to purchase one, you say to yourself “let me make this ONE more phone call just to make sure” THEN dear Carla, I find myself up at almost 1 a.m. going “WHYYYYYYYYY, WHYYYYYYYY Lord!”

In any case, I have been trying for the longest time to get ONE question answered. What does a HOB policy cover that a HOA does not? Everyone keeps saying the same thing: “Oh well, it's a better policy, it's broader and covers more ‘stuff’ you know perils etc..., like water.” NO ONE can give me a LIST or they keep transferring me. AND not alot of Insurance agencies even have a HOB policy anymore. That's the ONE I want, because, you know, it covers more ”stuff”!! Even though, I may not know what kinda “stuff” it covers, I do know it covers MORE of it. Which, for me and my husband, is what we want since we are NEW to this and don’t want any surprises.

I guess what this e-mail is about dear Carla, is me asking YOU what helpful info can you provide me (since you seemed to have gone through the same thing) and can you aid in helping me get info about Homeowner's insurance (what agency is good out there etc... we are new to Texas as well). I found your article by chance in one of my desperate attempts to pry information from the World Wide Web! I didn’t know however, that even the WWW could not crack the secret world of HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE.

Thank you for any help you may provide.

Sincerely, an AOL user

Response from Carla: I hate to tell you this, but you are trying to build a superhighway on a bed of quicksand. You are chasing a moving target. The insurance situation changes, so any info given you is subject to being updated.

If you are trying to get a policy on property located in the state of Texas, we are still in a state of flux. I would quit worrying about chasing the “best” and “most” coverage you can get. Settle for reasonable coverage for a few years, until we get some normalcy back into this industry.

Yes, an HOB policy covers more “stuff” than an HOA, and it also costs more. But an apt analogy is that a Rolls Royce is “better” than a Lexus. Do you NEED a Rolls Royce, or will a Lexus do? If you REALLY want technical info, Google for the “Texas Insurance Commission” as they are the governing body responsible for setting the terms of policies.

I would suggest that you give up on trying to figure out which is the “best” agency or company to go with, and see who is still offering the type of coverage you feel comfortable with. Get as high a deductible as you can, like 1% or even 3% if you can get it. (This also lowers your premium considerably).

On a personal note, live in your house as though you have NO insurance coverage. That is, watch for obvious no-no's like greasy rags, overloaded extension cords, hazards that guests might trip over (inside and outside your home), turn off the water to your house when you go on vacation (turn off the water heater, too). Install and keep motion detector security lights going.

It is best if you can refrain from filing a claim. Most companies will no longer offer you coverage if you have filed a homeowner's claim in the last 5 years.

It's a jungle out there. Good luck.

We look forward to hearing from you! E-mail your questions or comments for this column to Names and addresses are printed only with permission.