Holiday Theft Protection lakewood, WA

Holiday Theft Protection: Beware of thieves!

During the holiday season, most of us are focused on family gatherings, good food and giving back. What we may not be thinking about are the thefts that rise during the holidays.  Homes are burgled, car’s contents stolen and identities thieved. There are a few ways that you can help protect yourselves from thieves this holiday season.

Holiday theft protection in Washington:

  • Your home: With all those extra presents sitting around the house, your home can become a target. As soon as you bring the new purchases into your home, take photos and write down serial numbers of your items. Keeping the receipt will also help if you need to file a home insurance claim due to theft. Don’t advertise on social media that you will be/are traveling during the holidays. If you are travelling, let your neighbors and postman know. Your neighbors may be able to lend a watchful eye and perhaps collect any mail or packages that could accumulate on your doorstep. Nothing says “we aren’t home” like a week’s worth of mail or a stoop full of boxes.
  • Your car: If you plan on having a marathon shopping day, do not leave your purchases where they can be seen. This applies to the car trip home as well.  If you are planning to make stops, lock your purchases in the trunk and disable the trunk release. That may help deter thieves looking for a quick score. You should never store purchases in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Auto insurance does not cover items that are not a part of your vehicle. For example, if your car was broken into and a wallet and stereo were stolen you may be reimbursed for the stereo but may not be covered for the wallet. Personal possessions are likely omitted from your car insurance coverage.
  • Your identity: We’ve talked about identity theft before, but during the holidays, this type of theft could be quite common. Make sure when you are out and about to keep a close watch on your wallet or purse. Keep records of your cards and recent transactions and checking your billing statements often to spot any discrepancies. If you do a lot online shopping, make sure to verify that the sites you purchase from are reputable and have good security. Sites that are https:// secured or Norton or Google verified are a great place to start. If you do notice a fraudulent charge or suspect your identity has been stolen, be sure to alert your bank and in some cases, your insurance agent (as home insurance can sometimes cover identity theft), immediately.

With these holiday theft protection tips, keeping your home, car and identity safe during the holidays (and the rest of the year) doesn’t have to be hard work! Talk to your local, Lakewood, WA insurance agent to see if your home insurance offers protection against identity theft. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can also assist you with scheduling major purchases like jewelry, art or collectibles to your home insurance and make sure that your vehicle is covered in case of theft or vandalism. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 for more information about the other insurance products they offer like personal umbrella insurance.

Decor Disaster Lakewood, WA

How to Avoid Decor Disasters – Holiday Edition

There is no escaping it now, the holidays are upon us. No matter how you celebrate, you have likely added some holiday décor to your home. Lights, candles and festive plants add a wonderful, warm ambiance to areas of your home but take some extra steps to ensure that your décor pieces don’t wreak havoc on your holiday.

Avoiding Decor Disasters in Washington:

  • Holiday trees: Holiday trees, or bushes, are a common theme in many homes around our state. They may be opulent or simple, real or fake, faux snowed or natural. Each holiday tree requires a level of care to make sure that it does not turn into a fire hazard. If your tree is real, do not forget to water it! Trees will naturally lose moisture over the course of their holiday run. Household pets may steal water from under the tree and running the heater or fireplace may dry it out as well. A dry holiday tree can become a fire hazard if left unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Between 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires that started with Christmas trees, per year.” If your tree is dry, make sure to water it regularly and turn off holiday lights. It is also a best practice to not place a holiday tree near a fireplace or heater.
  • Lights: Holiday lights are used inside and outside of homes to brighten up the night. When placing your lights, make sure to place the correct type for the environment you are in. Inside lights for inside your home, outdoor lights for outside of your home or indoor/outdoor lights for either. If your lights have lived in storage since the last holiday, make sure to check that they are in proper working order free of wire frays or cuts. Frays or cuts in the wires could result in a fire under the right conditions.
  • Plants: Holiday plants are all over the stores. Mistletoe and holly, wreathes and poinsettias are often incorporated into a holiday décor scheme. There is a caveat: mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are all poisonous to both pets and people. If you plan on making any of these plants apart of your holiday decorations, make sure that they are up and out of the way, free from little hands and pet nibbles. If a child or adult happens to ingest any of these plants, a call to Poison Control (800-222-1222) is a must. If it is your pet, call your vet or local emergency vet immediately.

By taking a few extra steps like unplugging your holiday lights before you go to bed or when you leave the house, can help you avoid a decor disaster this holiday season. Before the holiday décor goes up, make sure to talk to your local, independent insurance agents in Lakewood, WA about your homeowner’s insurance. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can assist you with any questions you may have, like “Does my homeowner’ insurance cover accidental fires?” Their expert agents can walk you through your policy and even add additional coverage like personal umbrella insurance should you want extra protection beyond your homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to check out their insurance website 24/7 for the other insurance products they sell and for more holiday tips visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tip sheet.

Holiday safety issues in Lakewood, WA

Keep your gathering free of holiday safety issues!

Planning on hosting a Thanksgiving feast this year? While you are busy getting the ingredients, décor and all the last minute details put together, don’t forget to think about some of the safety issues that surround hosting a gathering.

Holiday Safety Issues in Washington:

  • The food: No bones about it, Thanksgiving usually includes a lot of food. Food prep safety is very important when dealing with the main event: the turkey. Unless you have purchased a fresh turkey (lucky you!) you will have to unthaw your turkey which can take quite a while. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, the two best – and safest – methods for unthawing a turkey is in the fridge with a temperature of 40 degrees or below. To unthaw a turkey with this method, you will need to allow 24 hours for every four to five pounds of bird. The other option is a cold water bath in the sink, for which you should allow 30 minutes per pound of bird to achieve total defrost. For either of these methods, you will need to make sure that your work/storage space for the turkey is cleaned and sanitized. Make sure to wash your hands well after handling raw meat, as you could spread bacteria like salmonella to other dishes on your table. If you plan on stuffing your turkey with dressing, make sure that the internal temperature of your dressing reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit to help ensure safety. Your turkey should also be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the best spots to check the turkey’s internal temperature are the thick portions of the breast, thigh and wing. After your feast has been consumed, take special care to ensure your food is cooled and put away properly as according to the Centers for Disease Control food poisoning spikes during the holidays.
  • The Party: There are so many elements that go into a fun Thanksgiving celebration. Whether your gathering includes lots of décor, watching football or enjoying some spirits, there are a few things that you should be aware of when hosting guests. No one wants to think that a guest will be injured at their gathering, but it can be an unfortunate reality for some. There are a few things that you can do to help mitigate the chance that one of your guests will be injured during your gathering. Make sure that all décor is out of range for tripping. This may mean rearranging furniture or removing floor-based décor items. If you plan on having open flames during your celebration, take special care to make sure that flames are away from areas where they can be easily knocked over or catch other décor items on fire.

We hope that your Thanksgiving feast goes off without any holiday safety issues and everyone makes it home safely with full bellies. Before your celebration, talk to your Lakewood, WA insurance agent, Insurance Unlimited, Inc.,.  Your local insurance experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can assist you with ensuring that your home insurance policy includes coverage for fires and liability. You can also increase your liability protection with a personal umbrella insurance policy, just ask your agent if your situation may benefit from a policy like this. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to see about the other insurance products they sell.

Toy Insurance Lakewood, WA

Five reasons to keep your toy insurance year-round

For one reason or another, you aren’t going to be using your RV, motorcycle or boat for the next few months. Whether it is due to weather or a busier schedule, you consider cancelling your toy insurance policy on your specialty vehicle. But, not so fast… there are many reasons why you may want to keep that policy in-force in the off-season.

Toy Insurance in Washington:

  • Thieves: You’ve made sure that your toy is all prepped to sit for a while and it is tucked safely away. As much as you can plan to keep your toy safe, it can still be a target for thieves. If you’ve cancelled your insurance policy and your toy is stolen or damaged in an attempted theft, you’re on the hook for your loss. You may have kept a portion of your policy, just liability, which may not cover the theft of your toy.
  • Liability: Your specialty vehicle may be stored, but should someone be injured on it (even if they were there without permission) you may be liable for their medical bills. If your toy becomes dislodged and damages someone else’s property, that repair cost may be your responsibility.
  • Fire: If the unthinkable happens, there is a fire and your vehicle or trailer is damage or destroyed, your loss may not be covered if you cancelled your policy. With natural disasters like earthquakes, floods or windstorms it is possible that your earthquake, flood or homeowner’s insurance may cover your loss if your toy is stored at your home. Check with your insurance agent about this possibility.
  • Temptation: If you toy is insured and there happens to be a perfect day to take out your bike or getaway for the weekend in your RV, if your insurance is year-round there is no need to worry. However, if you cancelled your insurance you will not be covered – not only is that a huge safety (and financial) risk it could also be illegal.
  • Cost: Discounts! Did you know that most insurance carriers offer discounts on toy policies that are kept year-round. Not only will you be covered in case you want to take your toy out for a mid-winter spin, you will also be saving money. It’s a win-win!

It may seem logical to keep your toy insurance in effect while it’s stored for a season, but it could be a huge hit financially if your toy is stolen, damaged or liable for an injury. If you have questions about a year-round policy for your motorcycle, RV, boat or ATV ask the local, independent insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA. Their insurance experts can assist you with amending an existing toy policy or getting you a free quote for a new policy. Visit their insurance website 24/7 for more information about the other insurance products they sell.

Winterizing your vehicle Lakewood, WA

Winterizing your vehicle: Where to start

Going outside during the winter months can be a production. You may need gloves, a hat, a heavy coat, boots and maybe more depending on the weather. Your car, the vehicle you rely on to get you to and from home and work, needs some winter prep as well. While you can’t put a coat on your car, you can do some simple winterizing to help ensure that your vehicle will run smoothly and help keep you safe in the cold and inclement weather.

Winterizing your vehicle in Washington:

  • The Basics: There are a few things that your car should have during the winter: an emergency kit that contains: bottled water, energy bars or other non-perishable food, first aid supplies, gloves, a blanket, road flares, a “Help” sign and a flashlight are just a few things that make up a great emergency kit. Should your vehicle stop working and you are stranded, this kit could keep you safe and comfortable.
  • Sight and Traction: It is crucial to be able to see where you are going at all times while on the road. If your line of sight is blocked due to rain, snow or debris, you could be in danger of an accident. Before the weather turns poor, replace your windshield wipers and check to make sure that your defroster is in working order. Snow tires and chains are an option for areas that see snowfall. Plan ahead and make an appointment early to get your snow tires on (once snow tire use is permitted by law) because once the first snow falls, tire centers tend to get much busier.
  • Under the hood: Before your car is truly ready for winter, there are a few more things you should consider. When was the last time you changed your battery? Typically, batteries have a three to five year lifespan, however the winter months can be quite hard on them. The pull of defrosters and heaters may cause an older battery to fail, leaving you stranded. Replacing your battery in the fall before the weather turns is a safe bet. Check all fluids, like oil, anti-freeze/coolant. Anything that is low, should be topped off and/or changed. This is also a great time to do a visual check for leaks. Speaking of topping off, it is best practice to keep a full to mostly full gas tank during the cold months.  Due to the daily temperature fluctuations in the winter time, condensation can form on the inside of a gas tank. If that happens, water can get into the fuel lines, potentially freezing, blocking the line and causing damage.

Help keep yourself and others safe on the road this season by winterizing your vehicle. A few extra tasks could help save you from an accident, auto damage and a costly insurance claim. A change of season is also a great time to look at your insurance coverage. If you need to update or change your auto insurance policy, let the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA know! They can also assist you with other types of coverage like year-round motorcycle insurance and more. Visit their insurance website 24/7 for more information about the insurance products they offer.

Fall Dangers Lakewood, WA

Fall Dangers: Be alert!

Fall is one of our favorite seasons! The leaves, the cooler, shorter days and of course, pumpkin spice everything. There are some seasonal dangers associated with fall that can be quite hazardous if one is not prepared. Knowing what these dangers are and how to anticipate them can mean the difference between a lovely, relaxing fall and having to file a potentially costly insurance claim.

Seasonal Fall Dangers in Washington:

  • The Road: A drive to see the fall colors can be relaxing and enjoyable for all. You should be aware of changing weather conditions. Fall brings rain, wind and fog. Standing water on the roadways can create a slick, ice-like surface making it difficult to control the vehicle or hydroplane. If you happen to be in an area where leaves are falling, the leaves have a similar ice-like effect on the car. Another potential danger while in the car is fog. Fog can seemingly roll in from nowhere and impede your ability to see road hazards like traffic, debris, etc. For all these dangers, the best course of action is attentive driving. Reduce your speed, increase your following distance and stay alert to changing conditions.
  • The Wind: The winds returns, sometimes with a vengeance, during the fall. The wind can blow cars around the road and debris into the road, so during an episode of high winds, be alert to debris that may be entering the roadways. Trees and tree branches can also be a hazard. Trees that are diseased or branches that are low-hanging can become dislodged and cause massive amounts of damage to homes, garages and cars. The best way to try and stave off falling trees and branches is to trim all low-hanging branches that reside over dwellings. If your neighbors have tree branches that sit over your dwellings, work with them to get the branches removed. Also, if you suspect your trees to be diseased, have them inspected and removed.
  • The Water: A gentle fall rain can be soothing, but let’s be honest the rain in the fall tends to be more torrential. Fast moving storms can overwhelm storm drains (that could already be blocked with leaves or other debris) and the oversaturated ground cannot absorb the water resulting in large amounts of standing water or a flash flood. Remember that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover outside water entering your home due to rain or flood. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, having sandbags on hand in case of a storm could be the difference between just mopping off your front porch and filing a flood insurance claim.

With a little preparation, you may be able to avoid an unpleasant situation and a costly insurance claim. The insurance experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA can assist you with setting up policies like auto insurance, home insurance and flood insurance. If you have questions about your current insurance policies or about the potential fall dangers in the Lakewood area, give your Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent a call. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7!

Home dangers Lakewood, WA

Protecting your family from hidden home dangers

The home is a safe haven that is often impenetrable from the troubles and dangers of the outside world. We don’t often think about the unseen risks that could be lurking in homes, although there are a few gases that can be potentially hazardous to your health. All three of these gases are colorless and two are odorless, so you may not be aware that you could be in danger.

Hidden home dangers in Washington:

  • Radon: Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that can seep into a home through cracks in the walls or foundation and through other gaps in the structure of the home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency radon “comes from the natural decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soils…and…nearly 1 out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is estimated to have elevated radon levels.” Radon can contribute to the development of lung cancer if one is exposed for long periods of time. Fortunately, testing for radon in the home is relatively easy and cheap. If it is found that you do have radon in your home, repairs can be done either by you or a contractor. Check out the EPA’s Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction for more information about radon testing and repair. It is important to note that if you do find radon in your home and you plan on selling it, you will need to disclose this information to the buyers and may be asked to take care of the issue prior to the close of the sale.
  • Carbon Monoxide: We have all heard about the dangers of carbon monoxide in the garage, but it can get into your house through various sources. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can make you feel dizzy, nauseated and sleepy. If exposed for too long, CO can cause suffocation. Sources that can leak CO include gas space heaters, chimneys, furnaces and gas generators. Most new homes and apartments have CO detectors installed, however if your home does not have one, they are relatively inexpensive. To help keep CO levels in your home down, make sure that all gas appliances are in proper working order. Ensure your chimney flues are open and the chimney is clear when lighting a fire and never use a generator in an enclosed space. If you suspect that you have a CO leak or CO poisoning call 911.
  • Natural Gas: You know the smell of natural gas, while colorless, smells like rotten eggs. Natural gas leaks can occur when pilot lights for stoves or furnaces go out. The can also occur when there is a leak or puncture in the line. Natural gas is a highly combustible material, so if you suspect a leak, you’ll want to leave your home and call the gas company. They will send out a technician to shut off the gas and determine the problem.

While these gas intrusions do not happen often and can be remedied quite quickly, being prepared with carbon monoxide monitors and testing for radon can help stave off a potentially hazardous situation before it starts. Ask the local insurance experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA about any discounts for which you may be eligible. They can assist you with discounts, amending an existing policy or setting up a new policy. Visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about home insurance or the other insurance products they offer like auto insurance or flood insurance.

Independent Insurance Agent Lakewood, WA

Five great reasons to try an independent insurance agent

We live in the digital age. We can get instant results like game scores, recipes and silly videos at the touch of a button. You can also get instant quotes for auto insurance, home insurance and more from specific carriers, but what you can’t do is have someone make sure that you are getting the best insurance rates for your situation and needs. That is why having a local, independent insurance agent is a smart idea.

  • Lower rates: A local, independent insurance agent will work hard to save you money. They have the ability to quote from many different insurance carriers and are able to provide you with several carrier options. Since their business is consumer-driven, your agent will provide a level of service and care with which many large carriers cannot compete.
  • Ease of service: Your local, independent insurance agent can service your insurance policies, so if there is a problem there is only one number to call if you have questions about your policy. Your agent also lives in your area so they are able to be honest and let you know if you really need specialty coverages like flood or earthquake.
  • Adaptability: Did you get a new car, buy a house or get a boat insurance policy? Your local, independent agent can assist you with all of that. Your agent is able to quote multiple types of insurance coverage like personal umbrella or business insurance as your needs change over the years. They can also update your existing policies with ease.
  • Jargon: Your local, independent insurance agent is an expert when it comes to the insurance world. If you are confused to the meanings of Comprehensive, UMBI, PIP or any of the other coverage options, your agent will be able to explain your coverage in plain, easy-to-understand language. When you purchase any type of insurance, there are a lot of ins-and-outs to consider, your agent will be there to walk you through your coverage and make sure that you understand what may or may not be covered.
  • They have it all: It bears repeating: a local, independent insurance agent is a one-stop shop. They offer auto, home, boat, motorcycle, renters, flood insurance and the list goes on. If you are looking for a coverage that they do not offer, your local, independent insurance agent can recommend a carrier who can assist with your needs.

When looking for insurance, consider your local, independent insurance agents in Lakewood, WA – Insurance Unlimited, Inc. They offer personal insurance coverages for your home, vehicle and “toys.” Give Insurance Unlimited, Inc., a call today or visit the insurance website 24/7 to see the difference of working with a local, independent agent.

College Lakewood, WA

College students: Updating your auto insurance

College is an exciting place. New experiences, friends and knowledge await wherever you go.  Before the fun starts, there are some decisions that need to be made: Will you live on or off campus? Will you work while in school and will you be taking your vehicle with you? Check with your school first, as some colleges and universities do not allow freshman to have vehicles on-campus. You should also consider the cost of a parking permit and remember that parking lots are not the friendliest or secure places for vehicles that are not driven that often. When it comes to your auto insurance, talk to your agent as there are many factors that could influence the price of your premium.

College students and auto insurance Washington:

  • Location: Where you attend school matters when it comes to your auto insurance. Are you attending school more than 100 miles from home? Will you be living in a dorm or off-campus? Parking in a garage or on the street. All of these factors will influence the price of your auto insurance premium. If you are leaving your vehicle with your parents while away at school and will not have regular access to your vehicle, you may be eligible for a distant student discount.
  • Coverage: If you plan on attending a school in a different state, ask your insurance agent if you insurance coverage limits are enough. The legal insurance requirements in your state may be insufficient for the legal requirements where you attend school. If you don’t have underinsured motorist coverage (UMPD/UIM), it may be worth considering as cars tend to get dinged, scratched and hit in large parking lots.
  • Theft: While college can be filled with great experiences, there can be some bad with the good. Break-ins and thefts can occur at your dorm, apartment and car. Renter’s insurance may help to help recoup costs for thefts that occur in your dorm or apartment. An auto insurance policy may cover the physical damage to your vehicle like a broken or smashed window, however there a no provisions for the loss of personal property like laptops, cell phones, etc. It is important to remember that valuables should not be left in unattended vehicles.

There are several discounts that could be available to students as they go through school like a good student discount or multi-policy discount. For all your insurance needs, talk to the insurance experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA. No matter where you are attending school, they can assist you with making sure your auto insurance policy has you completely covered. They can also assist with setting up a renter’s insurance policy for your dorm or apartment. For more information about Insurance Unlimited, Inc., or the insurance products they offer, visit their insurance website 24/7.

traveling Lakewood, WA

Traveling with dogs – Buckle up your pup!

Getting out on the open road with the family can be a great summer pastime. Whether your road trip takes you to a national park, a beach or to visit family, it can be a great opportunity to bond as a family that includes your dogs too! Loading Fido up in the family vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful and making your dog comfortable in the car can be quite easy.

Traveling with dogs in Washington:

  • Safety: Safety truly comes first at all times when riding in a vehicle – this goes for people and pets. An unsecured dog wandering the vehicle can be a distraction and a hazard. Large dogs can bump the driver, causing them to swerve and small dogs can get underfoot, under a gas pedal or brake pedal. Securing your dog may also help keep them safe in the event you are in an auto accident. There are many options for securing your dog in a vehicle. There are car seats that have an interior harness to secure the pup and a place to secure the car seat to a seatbelt, minimizing the risk of the car seat bouncing around. Another option is a harness that attaches directly to the seatbelt. This allows the dog some free movement, but it is restricted to a small area. Then there are barrier options, like a crater or a seat barrier. When purchasing a travel crate, make sure the dog has plenty of room to stretch and is not too cramped. A seat barrier works well for SUVs and hatchbacks.
  • Entertainment: Just like the people in the car, your dogs will need some entertainment as well. Bring along favorite toys, chews and treats may go a long way to keep a bored dog from barking, jumping and perhaps trying to eat the interior of your vehicle. Don’t forget to bring spill-proof water and food containers!
  • Take a break: Get out and stretch your legs and your pup’s! Leaving the vehicle and giving your dog a little room to run (search for off-leash dog parks along your route) can go a long way to eliminating a carsickness or boredom in a dog. It also gives them a chance to use the “facilities” in an outdoor setting versus your vehicle.
  • Destination: Make sure that your destination is pet-friendly. If you are staying in a hotel or vacation rental, ask about their pet policies ahead of time, it is also helpful to locate the closest emergency vet, just in case.

Taking steps to ensure that everyone on your road trip is happy and safe will lead to less stress overall. In some states, if you have a Progressive auto insurance policy, you may have Pet Injury coverage, which helps cover vet expenses (up to $1000) if your pup is injured as a result of an auto accident. Before you head out on the open road, check the details of your auto insurance coverage with your Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent in Lakewood, WA. They can assist you with amending an existing policy or setting up a new policy. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other products they offer like boat insurance or motorcycle insurance.