homeowner's insurance Lakewood, WA

Homeowner’s Insurance – Don’t let thieves steal your holiday

As the countdown to the holidays and NYE approaches, undoubtedly you’ve got some new gadgets, toys or jewelry around the house. Thieves know this. While you are off enjoying a holiday gathering, vacation or party, thieves could be helping themselves to your things. Taking a few extra precautions may help save you and your family the stress and anxiety of having to sort through your home for missing items and filing a homeowner’s insurance claim in Lakewood, WA.

  • Be alarmed: An alarm system is a great way to deter criminals (as long as you remember to arm it) and to potentially get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance. If you do not want the added expense of installing and maintaining an alarm system, get “Protected by XYZ Alarm Company” sign for your front  yard. A little deceptive advertising could go a long way to keeping thieves away from your home.
  • Meet the neighbors: Get to know the people on your block; be friendly. Neighbors can see things that you might miss such as an open gate or garage door. Friendly neighbors can also look out for one another on nights out or when you’re out of town.
  • Keep it clear and lit: Keeping landscaping and shrubbery trimmed and low around potential points of entry like windows or side doors could help reduce the likelihood of an intruder trying to enter your home. Installing motion lights and leaving a television or radio on when you are away from home gives the illusion that someone is in the house can be a deterrent for thieves.
  • Stash the valuables: Just not in the bedroom! The bedroom is one of the first places that thieves will look for jewelry and other valuables. Having a built-in safe or a false tile in the bathroom floor to store your valuables may make it harder for thieves to make off with your goods.
  • Know your stuff: Keeping an inventory log of items that have a potentially high risk of being stolen can help you later in the claims process. Having readily available photos, serial numbers and receipts or appraisals can help your insurance agent determine a payout should these items go missing. Having a written record can also help the police search for your missing items at pawn shops or on Craigslist.
  • Specialty Insurance: While your homeowner’s insurance may cover a portion of the cost to replace stolen items, it will not cover everything. Adding a separate valuables policy may help you recoup more of your dollar loss. Valuables such as jewelry, art and electronics can be added to a separate valuables policy.

We know that keeping your home safe from thieves is a top priority for you, just like making sure your home is properly insured is a top priority for your local independent insurance agent. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and add additional coverages like a separate valuables policy or personal umbrella policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7.

Winterizing Lakewood, WA

Winterizing your summer “toys” before the weather turns

As winter approaches you start to prep your home and vehicles for inclement weather. You clean gutters, fix drafty areas and make sure that your emergency kit is stocked. You also store your summer toys. RVs, motorcycles and boats need to be prepped for winter too, just to make sure that they are in top condition to start the summer season next year.

In order to winterize your RV, motorcycle or boat, there are a few key areas that you need to pay special attention to.

Winterizing your summer toys in Washington:

 

  • Motorcycles: With motorcycles, you are most likely going to focus on fluids. Make sure that brake fluid is topped off and the brake lines are clear. Give your bike a fresh oil change and check the tire pressure (and tread wear!). Now is also a great time to make sure that the engine and throttle are performing properly. If anything sounds “off,” take it in for repairs so that the motorcycle is ready to go when those first warm days arrive. You should also top off the gas tank. If your tank is less than full, ice crystals can form in the tank and cause expensive damage.
  • RVs: Prepping your RV for winter is a lot like prepping your daily commuter for winter. Make sure your RV has a full tank of gas, oil change and a check of the vital engine systems like spark plugs, etc. Make sure the fresh and gray water tanks are emptied and that the tires are checked for pressure and wear and tear. The interior of your RV should also be thoroughly cleaned and while doing so, check for any drafts or broken window seals. Before you seal up your RV until summer, add a dehumidifier or desiccant crystals to help absorb harmful moisture and help prevent mold damage.
  • Boats: Like an RV, you have to prep both the interior and exterior of a boat for winter. For the exterior, check for cracks in the hull and scrape off any barnacles or other marine life that made your boat its home for the summer. If you have an outboard motor make sure to flush it with fresh water and that all the water is expelled. Inboard motors need to be refilled with antifreeze, so make sure to consult your manual for the proper mixture. The interior of the boat should be cleaned and wiped down with some type of vinyl protectant to help keep it from cracking in the cold. Make sure that your cover extends below the water line of the boat and that the cover is snug.
  • Insurance: It may seem like you do not need to keep insurance on your toys during the winter, but it is a good idea to maintain a year-long policy. If someone is injured on one of your toys while it is being stored (even if they are trespassing) and you have no liability coverage, you may be forced to pay damages out-of-pocket. Also, if a warm day comes along and you feel like taking your bike out for a spin and even just filling up the gas tank on the RV, you should have collision coverage. You may also get a discount for continuous coverage.

Winterizing is proper maintenance for your toys and proper maintenance includes insurance. If you have questions about a policy on your motorcycle, RV or boat, make sure to talk to the insurance professionals at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA.  Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the insurance products they offer like auto insurance.

insurance claim lakewood, wa

Five steps for filing an insurance claim

In the moments after an auto accident there are a million things that will run through your head. Checking yourself and other passengers for injuries is probably the first thing you do followed by visually assessing the damage to your vehicle. Your next steps may make the insurance claims process a bit easier, so learning these steps prior to an accident may trigger your memory should you find yourself involved in an auto accident.

5 tips for filing an insurance claim in Washington:

  • Call 911: Always alert law enforcement to an auto accident whether it is single or multiple vehicles, on private property, etc. The 911-dispatcher will ask a series of questions to determine if an officer is needed, usually if there is significant vehicle or property damage, there is an injury or if impairment is suspected. If an officer is not needed at the scene, make sure to file a police report at your local precinct as your insurance company may need a police report in order to process certain claims. This process also works for claims such as theft, vandalism or hit-and-run damage to your vehicle.
  • Gather information: You will need to collect information from any parties involved in the auto accident or information from someone whose property may have been damage by your vehicle (and vice versa). Make sure to get a phone number, address, auto insurance company and policy number, a description of the vehicle (make, model, and year) and a description of the damage done to the vehicle. If you have a smartphone or camera handy take photos of all vehicles, buildings and surrounding areas. Make sure to photograph vehicle positions, street signs and anything else that may be useful in the claims process.
  • Talk to your agent: Alert your agent to the fact that you have been in an auto accident and let them know the details. If it is a smaller, solo accident without significant damage to your vehicle, it may be cheaper in the long run to avoid an insurance claim and pay for the damage out of pocket. Your agent can guide you through your options and help you make the best decision for your situation. Your agent may also be an advocate for you when dealing with the insurance company of any party that was involved in an accident with you.
  • File a claim: If you and your agent have determined that filing a claim is the best option for you, then your agent can assist you in that process. Provide your agent with the information of anyone else involved in the auto accident, any photos or videos that were taken at the scene and if there is one, the police report. Your agent will start the claims process and send out a claims adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle and let you know how much the damage will cost to repair. This does not necessarily reflect the amount you will pay, depends on who is found “at-fault” for the accident.
  • The waiting game: The claims process can take a bit of time, especially if there are multiple parties and multiple insurance companies involved. Check in with your agent and feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process.

We always hope that none of our clients will experience the stress of an auto accident, but we know that it happens (that’s why we’re here!) The local, independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA can assist you in filing a claim and finding a reputable repair shop. They are right in your backyard, so they know the most trusted repair shops in the Lakewood, Washington area. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like Classic Car or RV insurance.

 

earthquake insurance lakewood, wa

Earthquake Insurance in Lakewood, WA – A Solid Foundation

Unlike some natural disasters, earthquakes are extremely difficult to predict. There are several regions in the U.S. that are at higher risk than others for having the “big one” and we just happen to live in one of them. Depending on the depth, intensity and duration, an earthquake can do significant damage to a home or condo.

This type of damage is not typically covered on a basic homeowner’s or condo insurance policy and only about 10 percent of homeowners purchase earthquake coverage. In this instance an earthquake insurance policy in Lakewood, WA may be a smart move.

Earthquakes and Washington:

  • Quaking ground: Earthquakes can be brought on by many factors. The movement of a tectonic plate in a subduction zone, the slipping of rock on a strike-slip fault line, a volcanic eruption or it can be triggered by an external factor, like drilling or mining. Generally the deeper the location of the earth’s movement, the stronger the earthquake, however, the shallower it is makes it more destructive. Earthquakes that occur along coast lines can be even more destructive as an earthquake can trigger a tsunami. Here in Lakewood, Washington, we are close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The CSZ is lengthy fault that runs from Vancouver Island in Canada all the way into Northern California, separating the Juan de Fuca plate from the North American plate. This particular fault has produced some damaging earthquakes, most recently in February 2001 when the Nisqually earthquake shook the Puget Sound region, had a recorded magnitude of 6.8 and caused about $2 billion in damages.
  • Dwelling damage: Damage from an earthquake can range from a few easily repairable cracks in the drywall of a home, to a complete failure of the structural integrity of a home. A homeowner may need to higher inspectors, structural engineers, a contractor and the list goes on. Not to mention that a family whose home was damaged in an earthquake will need a safe place to stay until the home is repaired. If the family does not have an earthquake insurance policy, they may be responsible for paying all repair costs out of pocket. These costs can often be thousands of dollars.
  • Earthquake Insurance: An earthquake insurance policy helps cover damages and additional living expenses up to a certain dollar amount. The policy cost and the amount of the deductible may vary depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to: Age of the home, distance from a fault line, location of the home (hillside, soil type, etc.) and the type of policy either Standard or Comprehensive. The monthly cost for an earthquake insurance policy can range from a few hundred dollars a year to a few thousand dollars a year depending on your location. If you or the previous owners retrofitted the home for an earthquake by securing the home to the foundation with seismic bolts or reinforcing walls or chimneys, you may be entitled to a lower earthquake insurance policy cost.

Before purchasing a home or condo, it’s important to remember to talk to your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, WA to see if you might need an earthquake insurance policy. The experts Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington have years of insurance experience that can save you a bundle. Plus they live right in your area, so know first-hand if you may need additional insurance such as flood insurance.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other insurance products Insurance Unlimited, Inc., offers.

 

 

Homeowner's Insurance Lakewood, WA

Homeowner’s Insurance in Lakewood, WA – Don’t let your home be a house of horrors

Time to break out the conical hats, black cat decorations and the pumpkin seeds; Halloween is on its way! Whether you intend to go all out and build a spooky scene in your front yard complete with a giant spider and web or if you plan to put up a few jack-o-lanterns you can take some extra steps to ensure that your Halloween spirit does not turn your home into a personal house of horrors.  To avoid a costly homeowner’s insurance claim in Lakewood, WA such as a fire, property damage or a personal liability claim, make sure that your Halloween decorations and any area that party-goers or trick-or-treaters access is free of debris and tripping hazards.

Avoid a holiday homeowner’s insurance claim in Washington:

  • Décor: Many Halloween decorations are made of paper or wood products. Keep these decorations away from open flames and away from lights as the décor could spontaneously combust resulting in a fire. Lit jack-o-lanterns should be extinguished prior to going to bed or leaving the house for an extended period of time. A pumpkin that is too dry or a flame that is too close to a wooden porch could spark a blaze, which if not caught quickly could be quite destructive. To eliminate open flames altogether, try flameless LED candles.  Speaking of lighting, make sure that any lights hung are the appropriate type (indoor or outdoor) and that they are strung in such a way that no one could trip over or get tangled in.
  • Tripping Hazards: Little ones (and adults too!) can get over excited during a scare and could hurt themselves on décor that is not properly secured or in the way. Moving items like porch furniture or lawn décor could help prevent accidents outside. If you plan to throw a Halloween party indoors with little ones, make sure that sharp edges and corners are secured and tripping hazards such as side tables or ottomans are out of the way. Taking a few extra steps to ensure that your guests are safe could save you from a costly personal liability claim.
  • Treats and tricks: Another wonderful part about Halloween is the food! Candy corn, lollipops and caramel apples are delicious treats for young and old alike; however they do present a choking hazard for small children. Make sure that bite-size or chewy treats are kept out of reach of tiny hands.

Halloween can be a fun time for friends and family, not a time to worry about household accidents. If you have any questions about what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers in terms of fire, property damage or personal injury liability, your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, Washington can assist you.  The local, independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can assist you with examining an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like personal umbrella insurance.

 

 

Gap Insurance Lakewood, WA

Closing the Gap: What is Gap Insurance in Lakewood, WA

Congratulations, you just bought a new (or new to you) car! You were able to afford a down payment and now you are the proud owner of a new car and a monthly car payment. But, what happens if your car becomes involved in an accident and you owe more than your car is worth?

Imagine this scenario: While out enjoying your new car, you hydroplane and hit a guardrail damaging your new vehicle beyond repair. The insurance company is telling you that your new car is a total loss. While you may not be able to drive the vehicle, you are still responsible for the loan associated with vehicle. If you have gap insurance in Lakewood, WA, you may be only responsible for your deductible.

How gap insurance in Washington works:

What is depreciation:  Vehicles, especially new vehicles, begin to depreciate as soon as you drive them off the dealer lot. Depreciation can be quite surprising and is not necessarily tied to the base cost of the vehicle. Due to wear-and-tear, fluctuating market conditions and a number of other factors, depreciation in the first year is the steepest. Even with proper care and maintenance and no accidents, a vehicle will continue to depreciate. Even though the value of the vehicle will go down each year, the amount you owe on the vehicle will not. Depreciation will vary between make and model but here is a baseline comparison:

Year Vehicle Style Base price Depreciation year one
2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i sedan $21,295 $3,069
2013 Honda Civic Base sedan $22,715 $4,406
2013 BMW 328i sedan $34,900 $5,198
2013 Ford F-150 $28,595 $5,915
2013 Toyota 4Runner $37,155 $6,380

 *Figures courtesy of automobilemag.com

Why gap insurance: In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is totaled, and it is an event covered under your current auto insurance policy, your insurer may pay the actual cash value of the vehicle, which may be significantly less than the outstanding vehicle loan. In that case, you would still be responsible for the remaining balance between the loan and the insurance payout, which could be thousands of dollars. If you choose to purchase gap insurance in Lakewood, Washington, your insurance company would cover the remaining balance between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the remaining loan balance, typically up to 25 percent, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

Options for gap insurance: There are two options for purchasing gap insurance in Lakewood, WA. It can be purchased from the dealership or through an insurance agent. If you choose to purchase gap insurance through the dealership you purchase your vehicle from, the gap insurance will be built into your loan. The average price for gap insurance from a dealership is around $1,000, but add interest and taxes and it can add up to much more. If you choose to purchase gap insurance from an insurance agent, on average it would add less than $10 per month to a policy! There may be certain stipulations associated with a gap insurance policy:

  • The loan may need to be through a financial institution rather than an individual
  • Your current auto insurance policy may need to include Collision and Comprehensive coverage
  • Your claim may need to be a covered Collision and Comprehensive coverage event
  • Your vehicle may need to be determined as a total loss

Before you purchase a new vehicle, make sure to check with your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, Washington to see how you can add gap insurance to your new vehicle policy. The local, independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.

 

Homeowners Insurance Lakewood, WA

Winterize your Lakewood, WA home: May help avoid a homeowners insurance claim

The weather is starting to change, we are entering those warm days of fall where the mornings are brisk and the afternoons are warm. The leaves are starting to turn orange and yellow here in Lakewood, Washington, the kids are back in school and it will soon be time to start making plans for the holidays as winter is on its way. Before winter arrives, there is plenty of time to prep your home, both inside and out, for the coming cold months. Some simple winterization prep can save you from a costly homeowners insurance claim from frozen pipes or huge heating bills from drafty spots in your home.

Four areas to focus your winterization in Washington:

  • Water, water everywhere: Gutters can get jammed up with leaves, branches and other debris. Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, grab a ladder and gently remove the debris from the gutters. Then, rinse the bottoms of the gutter to ensure good flow of water for those winter showers. If your gutters become clogged, rainwater can accumulate around the foundation of your home and possibly seep into the foundation or basement, in which case, you should check for cracks in your foundation and fill them, pronto. A flooded basement can result in a costly homeowner’s insurance claim. Also, anytime you are using a ladder or plan to be on your roof, please let someone know or have someone working with you. An extra pair of hands and eyes can help prevent painful accidents.
  • Where is that draft coming from: The cold winter draft that is leaking in around your doors, windows and from your attic. Take a candle or piece of incense around your home on a windy day and go near doors, windows and attic to look for wind making its way into your home. If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, regardless of where in the country, you should consider adding more. It is an easy do-it-yourself project; any home improvement store should have the tools to help you complete that. It you have single-pane windows you can purchase an inexpensive window insulation kit to add another “pane” to the glass. This keeps the cold air trapped between another layer instead of entering your home. Other areas drafts can creep in are: recessed lighting, door frames and electrical outlets. A variety of caulks, gaskets and weather-stripping is available at any local hardware store.
  • Keep warm:  Do your heating bills spike up during the winter? Aside from performing the aforementioned “draft tests” checking that heating equipment is in good repair may help keep that heating bill down. The furnace can run much more efficiently if it has a clean filter in it. Consider changing your filter once a month. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves in efficiency gains. Also think about checking out your duct insulation. Ducting in homes can become exposed from being bumped in the attic or crawlspace over time and there are huge efficiency losses from this. Ensure your ducts are covered with insulation and not exposed. Also, check for any leaks in connections while the system is running. Speaking of exposure, pipes that are exposed during the cold winter may freeze and explode if not properly insulated. Protect any exposed water pipes with insulation, if a pipe bursts in winter it can cause thousands of dollars in damages. It takes just a few minute to insulate your pipes, a step that can save a headache down the road.
  • Do you smell smoke: Turning on the fireplace is a winter tradition, whether it is a gas or natural wood fireplace. It can also be a hazard if your chimney is dirty. A cleaned chimney will remove creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood. Keep your home safe from chimney fires by hiring a professional chimney sweep to remove any build-up. Make sure you are prepared if a fire does break out with a fire extinguisher (it may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance in Lakewood, WA) and make sure you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors. It is always a good idea to check your batteries in the smoke detectors a couple times per year. Count this as one.

While you are taking the time to prep your home for the upcoming winter, talk to your licensed insurance agent to ensure the homeowner’s insurance covers events like floods or fires that may occur during the winter months. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and add additional coverages like flood insurance and earthquake insurance. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other insurance products they offer.

Flood Insurance Lakewood, WA

Protection for a Rainy Day: Flood Insurance in Lakewood, WA

Typically when we think of things like wildfires or snowstorms, we confine them to seasons. Not all natural disasters are season specific and events like massive rainstorms can occur with the right conditions any time of year. Keeping a flood insurance policy, even if you are not in a high-risk area may be a good idea.

The definition of a flood can be tricky as most people associate a flood with a large body of water overflowing wreaking havoc throughout an area, but floods come in many different shapes and sizes. In terms of flood insurance, any water that comes into your home from an outside source (not a burst pipe, sewer back-up, etc.) may be considered a flood. There are easy ways to find out if you are in a high-risk area for floods and what is covered under a flood insurance policy in Lakewood, Washington.

The ins-and-outs of flood insurance in Washington:

 

  • What is a flood: As previously stated, in terms of insurance, a flood is typically water from an outside source coming into your home or business that is not a result of a burst pipe, sewer back-up or other excluded events.  Localized flooding in your home can occur when outside drains become clogged with leaves or debris, when a water main breaks or a storm surge comes ashore from a tropical storm or hurricane. High-risk areas include those living at or below sea-level, those living within the flood plain of a river or those who live in areas that get monsoon-like storm conditions. These areas may be high-risk, but flooding can occur in any neighborhood.
  • Flood Insurance: Purchasing flood insurance can be done through your local independent insurance agency, but it is all federally insured by FEMA. Based on historical trends and flood maps, high-risk areas are determined as those that “have a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage,” according to Floodsmart.gov. A flood insurance premium is based on several factors, like flood risk area, age of the home, number of floors and the amount of coverage you decide upon. The typical policy in a lower-risk can be as low as $129 per year and will go up from there depending on the risk. It should be noted that after purchasing a flood insurance policy, there is a 30-day waiting period, so if you are considering purchasing flood insurance, the sooner the process is started the better.
  • What is covered: Flood damage to a home is costly. Depending on the area of the home taking on water, the costs can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Carpets may need to be replaced or cleaned, dry wall replaced, appliances, furniture and the list goes on. If the flood is severe enough the home may need to be assessed for structural or electrical damage.

If you think you may need flood insurance, talk to your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, WA. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington can guide you through purchasing a flood insurance policy and offers additional lines of insurance like home insurance and earthquake insurance. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other insurance products they offer.

 

Auto Insurance Lakewood, WA

Fact or Fiction: Five Auto Insurance Myths in Lakewood, WA

Let’s face it; auto insurance can be confusing, especially when it comes to insuring new vehicles. When trying to look up information surrounding auto insurance in Lakewood, WA, the internet can be full of myths and misinformation. If you are trying to disseminate fact from fiction the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can help. We have compiled some common insurance myths and facts; we like to think of it as our own insurance version of Mythbusters.

Five auto insurance myths in Washington:

  • Color: Have you always wanted a red car, but never did because you thought it might drive up your auto insurance premium in Lakewood, WA? Not true. Insurance premiums factor in the make/model, age and power of the vehicle. Premiums are also based on the person being insured. The cost of the vehicle can also influence the price of the premium, as more expensive the car usually the more expensive it is to repair if it is damaged in an accident.
  • Mature Drivers: Heard that once you enter your ‘golden years’ your auto insurance premiums will increase? Not necessarily. Your local, independent insurance agent can assist you with senior discounts or get you resources for defensive driving courses which can also lead to a discount.
  • Optional Coverages: Basic auto insurance Lakewood, WA will cover theft or weather-related damage. Claims such as these are only covered under comprehensive coverage. Most car loans require that you carry both comprehensive and collision as these protect the vehicle fully. If your car is getting older and worth less than $1000, you may want to opt-out of these coverages, but you will want to talk this over with your agent before dropping these coverages completely.
  • Loaning your vehicle: Does your best friend need to borrow your car for the day or leaving your mom the car to pick up the kids from school? If they get in an accident, their insurance will cover it, right? Wrong. Typically insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. However, that is not always the case. Rules and regulations for this specific instance vary by state, so you will need to clarify with your insurance agent before you loan out your vehicle. Additionally someone who has regular access to your vehicle, like a roommate or spouse, should be added to your auto insurance policy to prevent a messy claims process should they be involved in an accident while driving your vehicle.
  • Personal v. Business: Your vehicle is covered under your personal auto insurance policy whether you are using it for pleasure or business. Not entirely accurate. If you are using your vehicle often for business, purposes, a business auto policy may help protect your vehicle more thoroughly. If you are not self-employed but use your personal vehicle for work, make sure you covered by your employer’s commercial auto policy.

While these are the most common myths associated with auto insurance, others are out there.  Your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, Washington can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have about your auto insurance policy. The local, independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.

Wildfire Insurance Lakewood, WA

Don’t get burned: Wildfire Insurance and a comprehensive Homeowner’s Insurance policy

The heat of the summer is celebrated with sunglasses, board shorts and boating, and while it can be quite warm, the summer season is just downright pleasant in Lakewood, Washington. But the summer heat does come at a cost. Summer is also fire season and each year millions of acres across the country are burned. It is not just forests or brush plains that are destroyed, homes and businesses that get in the fire’s path are consumed as well. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, wildfires burned more than 9.3 million acres around the country in 2012. The 2013 fire season has started off with destructive blazes in California, Colorado, Alaska and Arizona.

While many natural disasters like floods or earthquakes require a special insurance policy, Wildfire Insurance is generally covered under the comprehensive portion of a homeowner’s insurance policy. The price of the policy may be higher if you live in an area that is prone to yearly fires. Wildfires are both friend and foe, as they are needed to clear out overgrowth and dead trees. A charred forest allows for new growth trees and helps reduce the risk of another fire occurring in the exact same area during the summer months.

Washington wildfire facts:

  • The spark: Most wildfires start from lightning strikes. The dry foliage and hot winds provide the perfect setting for a fire to ignite. Wildfires can also start from simple mistakes like forgetting to completely douse a campfire or a spark from the backfire of a motorcycle or RV. Even if it is an accident, a person who is found negligent in starting a wildfire may be liable to pay restitution, which can be millions of dollars. Having a personal umbrella policy may help you pay some of those restitution costs.
  • Fighting fire with fire: Through a multi-tiered effort of local and federal agencies, firefighters try to starve a wildfire by creating a perimeter. Firefighters burn the wildfire’s food source, dry vegetation, it hopes that the wildfire will become more manageable, easier to put out with air drops of water. There is a risk however, burning a perimeter may result in another uncontrolled fire if the conditions are just right. But the same principle that firefighters use to try and control the growth of a wildfire could help prevent a significant wildfire insurance claim.
  • Prevention starts at home: Helping protect your home from wildfire damage starts in your yard. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, you will want to create a perimeter around your home that is free of debris and flammable materials. Keeping things like sheds and wood piles at least 30 feet away from your home helps reduce the chances of a fire jumping from one structure to the next. Remove a wildfires fuel source by pruning trees and removing dead or dying plants. There are also several websites that can show you how to fire proof your yard like Readyforwildfire.org and U.S. Fire Administration.

Take the time to learn about wildfire danger in your area and to prep your home against the threat of wildfires. Talk to your licensed insurance agent in Lakewood, WA to ensure that wildfire insurance is included in the comprehensive section for your homeowner’s insurance policy. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and add additional coverages like flood insurance and earthquake insurance. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more information.