Questions to Ask Your Local Insurance Agency in Lakewood, WA

4 Things You Should Complete in the New Year for Your Insurance

Questions to Ask Your Local Insurance Agency in Lakewood, WAThe start of a New Year always energizes us to start off on the right foot. Whether it’s committing to spend more time with family, exercising more or saving money, New Year’s resolutions are common for everyone. But, what about your insurance policy? Is there something you can do at the start of every year to save money or keep yourself fully protected? We share four items to complete.

Actually Complete a Home Inventory Checklist

Sure, this is always easier said than done. But it doesn’t take as long as you may think. Plus, you would regret NOT doing this if you experience a disaster in your home. You can start by taking pictures of each room in your house. Always include your big ticket items like jewelry, art, electronics, antiques, furniture and anything else you highly value. Get into the habit of taking a picture of your receipts for big ticket items too. To keep your home inventory list safe, store it on the cloud or save your documents on a zip drive that’s stored safely.

Keep In Touch With Us

Always keep us up-to-date with your life changes. Are you driving less? Did you remodel your home to add value? Did you purchase big ticket items? By keeping us in the loop, we’ll keep your insurance policy updated, make sure you are fully covered and may be able to find additional discounts.

Ask Us Questions

When you use a local insurance agent instead of purchasing insurance online, you get guidance and professional advice. Do you know exactly what your insurance covers? If you want the cheapest insurance plan, you may not realize what risks you’re taking by opting for less coverage. We never want you to be surprised if you have to file a claim and find out you’re not covered. Did you know if your home experiences a flood or an earthquake, you would need a separate policy to be covered? Continuously ask us questions. You should always know what you are and aren’t covered for with your insurance policy.

Always Ask Before Shopping Around

Did your auto insurance increase $300 this year? It’s normal to think you need to shop your insurance elsewhere. However, being a local insurance agent, we have MANY insurance companies to quote from and it may be as simple as asking us to shop around for similar coverage with other companies. Let us do the shopping for you! As an independent insurance agent, we can review your coverage and ensure you have the best company for your current situation.

By following the four topics above can keep you informed and prepared for any unfortunate situation.

If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to prevent water damage in Lakewood, WA

The Places to Watch to Avoid Water Leak Damage

How to prevent water damage in Lakewood, WAThe unfortunate reality of home or condo ownership is that over time you will most likely develop a leak that could cause major damage if it goes unchecked. If you own a home or condo, regularly check these places for leaks that can cause damage and may go unnoticed.

The Water Heater

Your water heater has a lifespan of approximately 10-12 years. Some go much longer, but that’s just betting that luck is on your side. When water heaters do fail, they unfortunately leak water out the base and all over. By nature, a water heater will continue refilling itself as it drains, so you could have quite a mess on your hands.

Toilet & Sink Lines

If you haven’t already installed braided stainless water lines, do it now! This is the simplest way to protect your home from water damage. The vinyl variety have a tendency to develop bulges, are easily damaged by getting bumped around or can develop cracks as the plastic ages. It also is not a bad idea to regularly inspect all lines in the house for drips.

Washing Machine Supply Lines

A washing machine supply line is typically accessible to view behind your washing machine. These lines are larger than most other supply lines in your home because they provide more water so it is especially important to monitor these and install braided stainless supply lines.

Refrigerator Ice Maker Line

This hidden water supply line can be a big problem! Because it is hidden behind your massive refrigerator, leaking supply lines can go unnoticed for months and be dripping onto your floor and into your crawl space. With the help of a friend or family member, make it a practice to pull out your refrigerator and inspect the lines at least once a year. While you have it out, you can clean your vents at the base of the refrigerator improving the efficiency of the unit.

P-Trap connections

P-traps are the connections for drains under your sinks. As many of us store items alongside these drains, they get bumped quite a bit! If a connection becomes loose or damaged, it can cause a slow leak under the sink. Check for leaks under your sinks regularly to avoid a costly water damage claim or ruining your cabinets.

Utilize Water Alarms to Help Monitor for Leaks

One quick way to continually monitor your home for leaks is to install an inexpensive water sensor. You can find a five pack of them for about $40. Water Sensors are inexpensive and can help you monitor the hard to reach areas like water heaters and refrigerator water supply lines. These sensors act similarly to a smoke detector and sound a loud alarm when the sensors come in contact with water.

Prevention is the best way to avoid a water damage claim in your home.

If you have questions about your home or condo insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to avoid holiday theft in Lakewood, WA

Follow These Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Theft

How to avoid holiday theft in Lakewood, WAThe holiday season is a joyous time, but unfortunately, it is also top season for theft. If you walk around your neighborhood, it isn’t hard to see all the holiday deliveries left on porches of unsuspecting homeowners. Protecting yourself from theft is all about prevention. To avoid being a victim of holiday theft:

  • Have your deliveries sent to your work (if allowed)
  • Request valuable shipments be held by the shipper for in-person pickup. Most major shipping companies even have apps now that can help streamline this process.
  • See if your shipping company has additional options. Amazon recently introduced “lockers” where they will place your shipment in a locker with a special code just for you.
  • Does a retired relative live nearby? Have packages delivered to them. It is always a great opportunity to see family anyway.
  • Sign up for delivery notifications. Many companies send this to you by email, but many carriers have text message notifications.
  • Install a home surveillance system that focuses on the area where your packages are delivered. A pricier alternative if you can’t always be there to monitor your home.
  • Discuss with your neighbors to keep an eye out for unfamiliar vehicles.

Enjoying the holiday season is easy, but preventing theft isn’t always. We hope your holiday season is free of criminal activity.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to register your bike in Lakewood, WA

This One Quick Tip Can Get You Your Stolen Bicycle Back

How to register your bike in Lakewood, WAAccording to the National Bike Registry, 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year. With college campuses being the biggest source of bicycle theft, it would be great if there was a way to protect your investment that was quick and easy. The good news is that more than 48% of bicycles that are stolen are recovered, but of those, only 5% are able to be identified and returned to their owners.

The National Bike Registry and 529 Garage have partnered to create a database to track and store bicycle VIN numbers. Not only can you register your bike, but you can search their database for recovered bicycles in an effort to get yours back.

Bicycle theft is a rampant problem in the US and unless you want to submit a homeowner claim (please talk to your licensed insurance agent prior) you likely won’t see you bicycle again or be able to recover your losses. Bicycles are likely covered under your home, renters or condo insurance policy with your insurance carrier.

Register your bicycle today and rest assured that your bicycle is better protected and more likely to be returned in the event of being stolen.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Insurance for your drone in Lakewood, WA

What Insurance Coverage Do I Need for My Drone or UAV?

Insurance for your drone in Lakewood, WAIt seems like everywhere we go we have a chance to hear the sound of a UAV, also known as a drone, commonly sounding like a disturbed hornets’ nest. Drones are fun to fly for both kids and adults. They are seemingly harmless besides the risk of it becoming non-responsive due to other remote signals, the battery dying and falling out of the sky, or the control operator simply being inexperienced and crashing the drone into a parked vehicle. Many, if not most, drone operators have experienced a drone crash or close call while learning how to pilot the fun UAV. While our first concern is typically, “is my drone okay?” we should be asking ourselves the question of “What happens if I crash this into someone’s house or vehicle?”

The good news is that if you’re using your drone purely for recreational purposes and your drone is a hobby-grade drone, your home, condo or renters insurance policy likely covers you for liability from most drone usage. Now, if you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, you will absolutely need a separate insurance policy to cover you for liability for your drone. Additionally, commercial drone operators now need to pass a certification process to operate and be a commercial drone pilot.

If you’re using your drone for commercial purposes, ask your agent about a commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policy that includes drone usage.

If you’re a recreational drone pilot, talk to your local insurance agent to verify coverage before you have a claim. The best way to avoid a claim is simply prevention. Follow these tips to avoid a drone insurance claim:

  • Always fly your drone in an open space away from trees, power lines and other obstructions.
  • Be sure to follow FAA requirements and register your drone for flying.
  • Do not take your drone to restricted areas such as national parks
  • Do not harass wildlife or attempt to view wildlife up-close with your drone
  • Read your manual to ensure you’re familiar with the sounds and features that your drone has.

We want you to have fun with your drone, but also be sure you’re protected in the event you have a claim involving your drone usage. Call an agent in our office to discuss your plans before you experience a claim.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Road Trip Essentials from Insurance Unlimited

Renew & Protect the Interior of Your Car With These Easy to Follow Steps!

6 Ways to Improve the Interior Of Your Car in Lakewood, WAProtecting and cleaning the interior of your car will improve resale as well as improve your overall enjoyment of your vehicle. With these easy to follow steps, you’ll have the interior of your vehicle in tip-top shape.

Vacuum

Remove your floor mats and using a high powered ShopVac type vacuum, clean your carpet with a vigorous back and forth motion to loosen dirt or small rocks that have become lodged in your carpet. Move your seats forward and backwards to get underneath the seats as well. You’ll be surprised what treasures might be found.

Clean the Carpet

Do you own a carpet cleaner? If not, they you can rent one at most home improvement stores. Using a carpet cleaning solution, wet your interior and vacuum up dirt that is stuck in your carpets interior. If you have kids, perhaps you’ll even be able to get out those cheesy snack stains! If you live in a wet environment, consider some all-weather floor mats to protect your carpet from moisture and mold growth.

Wipe Down & Protect Your Seats

If you have cloth interior, use your carpet cleaner on them. It works great. If you have leather or vinyl interior, use a specialized leather conditioner. Be sure to rotate your clean cloth multiple times to ensure you remove the grime instead of rub it further into your leather.

Clean Your Dash

Your vehicle’s dashboard is subject to more abuse than you think. During the summer, it bakes in the sun and dirt and dust that accumulates on the surface dries it out. Use a product like Armor All to protect and clean your dashboards surface as well as other surfaces of your vehicle. Be careful to avoid using it on a steering wheel as it can make it slick!

Clean your Windows

Your windshield will develop a thin film on it from condensation causing a glare during night time driving. It is important to keep your windshield clean and clear. Using a glass cleaner like Windex, clean and wipe down the windshield. If you haven’t done this in a while, you might need to do it a couple of times!

Change your Cabin Filter

If your vehicle has over 30,000 miles on it, consider pulling out your cabin filter and replacing it. Your cabin filter’s job is to clean the air of allergens, dust and dirt that enters your vehicle through the heating and air conditioning. Many cabin filters are located behind your glovebox and are easily changed yourself.

Keeping your vehicles interior clean and protected will improve your overall enjoyment of your vehicle as well as improve your resale value.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Vacation Home Insurance in Lakewood, WA

Consider This Before Jumping into Vacation Property Ownership

Vacation Home Insurance in Lakewood, WAOwning a secondary home or vacation property can be a rewarding experience and allow you to build so many memories! While owning a vacation home can have countless advantages, it does bring some unique responsibility and maintenance.

Regardless of whether you’re buying a cabin just a few miles away on the lake or an oceanfront condo in Hawaii, you’ll use twice per year, you’ll want to make sure your property remains adequately protected. Renting the property adds an entirely new level of complexity to secondary home ownership and yet a better reason to review your coverages with your licensed insurance agent.

Consider these items when talking to your agent:

  1. Will you need a separate insurance policy for your vacation property liability?
  2. What liability limits are adequate for a home that is vacant more often than is occupied?
  3. If you’ll be renting the property, consider purchasing additional liability limits as well as an umbrella insurance policy to protect you.
  4. Is your vacation home in an area that is affected by natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes, floods or earthquakes? You may need a separate additional policy for these.

Follow these insurance tips to reduce the risk of having a claim:

  1. Keep valuables out of your vacation home. Take them with you when you leave.
  2. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out for any unusual activity at your home.
  3. Consider getting a video surveillance camera such as a Canary or Ring to alert you if someone enters your home. These do not require service contracts and alert you by phone.
  4. Keep your heater set to 60 to prevent any pipes from freezing.
  5. Turn off your water if you plan to leave for extended periods of time. This takes only a few seconds.
  6. Consider a management company if you want to rent the property. They will help keep an eye on things.
  7. Check for obvious liability concerns if you plan to rent the property such as rotten decking, trip hazards, or other deferred maintenance.

We wish you years of memories and relaxation with your secondary home or vacation property. When you’re ready to insure your property, give us a call.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

 

Seven Areas to Check Before Buying a Used Camper in Lakewood, WA

Seven Areas to Look Before Buying a Used Camper

Simple Tips To Prevent an Unwanted Repair

Seven Areas to Check Before Buying a Used Camper in Lakewood, WASpring is a great season to start looking for good used campers. Whether you’re looking at a dealership or from a person off of Craigslist, it’s important to know how to look for possible damage or wear.

Look for these trouble areas to save yourself on repairs:

  1. Delamination

RV’s are typically made of a laminated plywood and adhered with an adhesive. This adhesive over time can become deteriorated and cause the side of the RV to delaminate. This delamination can become worse over time and unfortunately, there is not an inexpensive fix. Reasons for delamination can be moisture, heat or simply age. To look for delamination, look down the side of the RV. You’re looking for a change in the plane – it looks almost like a large bubble. Take your hand and press on it. Does it flex or feel like there is air between the exterior fiberglass shell and the interior plywood?

  1. Tires

Tires are easy to inspect. What you’re looking for is small cracks in between the tread. As RVs sit, they develop flat spots and weather cracks. These cracks while largely cosmetic in nature, can over time deteriorate the tire. If the tires are worn or cracked, consider this into the cost of purchasing the RV.

  1. Rodent Damage

Rodents get into everything. Your RV or trailer is no different. In fact, they make ideal homes for rodents because most of the year, they’re sitting undisturbed. When looking for signs of rodents, pull up some seat cushions and look in storage spaces. You’re looking for rodent droppings. Mice and rats leave droppings everywhere. This can both be a health hazard and also damage your RVs interior as they nest.

  1. Water Damage

RV’s are incredibly susceptible to water damage. Truth is many manufacturers in the US don’t build the RVs with as much quality as they could. Water damage is usually pretty easy to spot or smell. If the RV smells musty or feels damp, this is a big indicator. Look for mineral stains or water stains on wood, around skylights and air conditioners on the roof. Also, go around the RV or trailer and push in on all of the sides all the way around. If water got into the walls, it can quickly rot the structural portions of the RV. Pushing on the sides will identify any areas that may be compromised. An RV should be stiff and hard, if it flexes, it is possible there is water damage. Check closely around windows and on the roof.

  1. Appliances

RV appliances are incredibly expensive to replace because of their compact size. If you’re considering a used RV, have the owner or dealer fire up the refrigerator prior to you getting there so you can feel it cool. RV refrigerators can run on electricity, battery or propane. They take about 2 hours to cool down, so before your arrival, ask them to turn it on. Also, while there, test any water heaters and/or other systems that may be important to you.

  1. Canvas

If your trailer or RV has any canvas, look it over closely for mold and staining. Also, if any windows are plastic on your RV, check all zippers and windows for cracks. New canvas tops for a pop-up camper can cost upwards of $3,000.

  1. Floor

The floor of an RV is one of the most common places an RV, camper or trailer is damaged. The floor is typically made up of simple plywood and in older RVs was not protected by anything. Additionally, floors that were protected underneath often time trapped water that entered from above causing the floors to rot. When inspecting a trailer for a rotted floor, get on your hands and knees and push all over the floor looking for flex. If the floor flexes or feels mushy, it is likely rotten and may require replacement. You can also take a small screwdriver or pick and lightly push from underneath (for exposed wood floors only) and see if the material is rotted.

Taking these steps can save you a lot on costly RV repair. We hope you enjoy your camping season. Many memories can be made while camping so we hope we’ve been successful in helping you be an expert when shopping for a used RV.

If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to inspect your roof for damage in Lakewood, WA

How to Inspect Your Roof for Damage

Six Areas to Look to Prevent a Costly Repair

How to inspect your roof for damage in Lakewood, WAWe all know that owning a home is an expensive investment. Unfortunately, you can’t just move in and let it set. Homes require constant maintenance to ensure you don’t get costly damage. We suggest doing a yearly home inspection.

Most people will never venture up onto their roof to see what is going on up there.  A homes roof takes a beating. In the summer, it bakes and the sealant can shrink and expand hundreds of times each year. Making sure your roofing is up to par will save you from costly damage such as mold, water damage, sagging rooflines, pests and much more.

During winter, rainwater can find its way through tiny cracks causing moisture in your attic or between the layers of roofing. Identifying these issues early on can save you thousands of dollars in repairs to the roof itself, drywall, mold or go into your walls creating all sorts of havoc.  It is critically important to understand that your home insurance does NOT cover water intrusion damages caused by deferred maintenance.

Things to look for on your roof inspection:

  1. Missing or damaged shingles
    1. Shingles can become damaged by wind and hail or even just years of use. When inspecting your shingles, make sure the granules are covering the shingle. Ensuring that your shingles are in proper working order will ensure water stays out of your home.
    2. Look for curling shingles, or if wood, cracked or decayed shingles.
  2. Flashing
    1. Your flashing is the metal pieces that go around skylights, butt up against walls and down the valleys on your roof.
    2. Make sure these pieces are whole and without damage such as being twisted upwards, or having holes in them from rust or other damages.
  3. Flat Roofs: Look for obvious patches, cracks, tears, or blisters.
  4. Gutters: Make sure your gutters are clear from debris, are not leaking and are butted up tight against the structure.
  5. Chimneys: Ensure your chimney cap is on tight and if it is brick, inspect for cracks.
  6. Ventilation: Make sure your ventilation caps are clear of obstruction.

Inspecting your roof is a quick and easy job. Take your time and be careful while up there as there are many trip hazards and climbing on and off of the roof onto a ladder can be tricky. But, if done safely, a roof inspection can identify problems that would normally not be covered by your homeowners insurance.

If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

How to lower your energy bill in Lakewood, WA

Key Things to Consider to Lower Your Energy Bill

Small Changes Can Add Up to Big Savings

How to lower your energy bill in Lakewood, WAEveryone loves to save money especially if it’s done with a few easy steps. Electricity bills can add up quickly in your home, but by making a few small changes can lower those bills and save money for other things in your monthly budget.

Easy To Do Steps to Lower Your Electricity Bill

Home Heating

Heating your home uses the most energy, but can offer up the best ways to save money.

Keep your heating system tuned up and inspected. A poorly maintained heating system adds up overtime. Get your heating system inspected by a professional to ensure you’re not wasting energy and money.

Check the furnace filter. When a filter is dirty, they use more energy. Replace the filter when needed and follow the instructions in your furnace manual. Usually every couple of months.

Don’t block heat registers or return ducts.

Home Cooling

Invest in an air conditioner that has a high energy efficient rating (EER). A unit with an EER of 10 will save you twice as much as an EER of 5 would to operate.

Keep the filter clean. Again, the dirtier the filter, the harder it has to work.

Keep your temperature consistent. Instead of constantly changing your thermostat up and down, pick a temperature and stick to it.

Appliances

Insulate your water heater. Your water heater and refrigerator can be prime energy suckers. By insulating your water heater, you could have a great return on savings.

Hang dry more of your clothes. This can save on energy, plus keep your clothes in better condition.

Not using an appliance? Unplug it. Keeping an appliance plugged in uses energy, so if you’re not using an appliance or even a phone charger, unplug it.

Always do a full load. This goes for the dish washer and washing machine. Focus on doing full loads vs. partial loads.

Clean the drain weekly. Unclog the drain of food particles and clean it weekly to keep your dish washer running efficiently.

Keep the thermostat at a specific temperature. The refrigerator is best at 38 to 42 degrees, while the freezer is best at 0 to 5 degrees.

Other Tips

Turn off the lights. This is a simple one! If you’re not in a room, turn the lights off.

Change your light bulbs. More and more people are doing this, but energy efficient light bulbs will help you save money on your energy bill. Plus, they last much longer! Dimmer light switches can be a great addition to your home and use less energy while you enjoy your preference of lighting in a room.

Utilize power strips. Many computers, televisions and other electronics use power when they are off. Plug these devices into a power strip and when you’re not using them, simply hit the power switch button to turn them off.

While we can’t lower your energy bill for you, we can help you find ways to lower your insurance. If you have questions about your home, auto or commercial insurance, call the insurance agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. in Lakewood, WA. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or commercial Insurance. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.