Home Inventory List in Lakewood, WA

Keep a Home Inventory Checklist Just in Case

Two Ways to Construct a List

Home Inventory List in Lakewood, WAFor most of us, we won’t have to experience a disastrous home loss such as a flood, fire, earthquake or other disaster. That doesn’t mean any of us should be less prepared for such an event should one occur. Preparing a home inventory can be a large task, but taking the time to do so can make a difference of thousands of dollars when it comes to your claims settlement as well as simple ease of processing your claim.

For many of us, where we live symbolizes us and what is in that house symbolizes our lives. Our belongings represent our memories, personal style and even investments that hold significant value such as art.  When you add up how much all of your personal items are worth, it can be a substantial figure into the many 10s of thousands of dollars or more.

Home insurance claims from disasters such as flood or fire are traumatic. A home inventory checklist can help you remember quickly what items you had. Would you recall exactly how many pairs of jeans you had and what brand they were? Would you recall how many pairs of shoes you had or what brands they were? What about art? Could you recall the name of the artist and how much you paid for it?

Taking the time to inventory your home can be useful in the event of theft or damage to the contents of your home. Keep track of your items with this easy to use chart! You can even attach photos of your items and quickly send this chart to your insurance agent to help speed up the claims process. Another way to document is with a thorough video or video series. Be sure to store your home inventory checklist in a safe place like in the cloud.

The good news is your insurance agent likely gave you sufficient coverage for your personal property. If you feel like you need more, be sure to tell your agent. Home, renters and condo insurance policies typically come standard with this coverage.

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.

 

Space Heater Safety in Lakewood, WA

Proper Use of Space Heaters in Lakewood, WA Can Eliminate a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Prevent a Costly Fire in your Home by Following Proper Space Heater Safety

Electric HeaterSpace heaters are undeniably a convenient and efficient way to heat some spaces including garages, bedrooms and workspaces like shops or offices areas. But, an often overlooked fact with space heaters is the dangers that they may catch nearby items on fire.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the number of residential fires caused each year by portable space heaters exceeds 25,000 annually. Furthermore, an estimated 300 people are killed annually by fires caused from space heaters being used improperly. In addition to fires being started, thousands of people each year receive hospital treatment to treat burns caused by improper use or handling of space heaters.

When using a space heater, regardless of type, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s safety and operational instructions.

Some things to consider when purchasing a space heater are:

  • Will you need to vent the space (propane heaters or kerosene heaters)
  • Does the unit you’re purchasing carry the “Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label?

o   The UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity.

  • Does the unit have a built in thermostat to control the temperature?
  • Does the unit have a safety feature that will disable it if it tips over?
  • Will your unit be able to be placed away from flammable material and away from children and pets?
  • Never leave your space heater unattended or running over night.

The proper use of a space heater can provide you with a great solution to heating a space and being energy efficient in your home. Be sure to properly use the space heater and avoid leaving it unattended or in an area where children might play.

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.

Fire Extinguisher Safety in Lakewood, WA

Learn how to Keep and Maintain a Fire Extinguisher in Lakewood, WA

How to Keep and Maintain a Fire Extinguisher in your Home

Fire Extinguisher Safety in Lakewood, WAYour home is much more than the place that you live or where you sleep. It is where you create memories, raise a family and have family and friends over to visit. Keeping everyone safe while they’re there should be a first priority. But, when was the last time you looked at your fire extinguisher to ensure it would perform if a fire broke out in your home?

A fire extinguisher is arguably one of the most important pieces of safety equipment in your home or apartment (second only to a smoke detector) and should be kept up at regular intervals. Just because you have a fire extinguisher in the home doesn’t mean that it will function in case of emergency. With these tips, however, you’ll be better set in case of emergency and in the event you have to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.

1.) Inspect your extinguisher once per month.

 

Inspecting your fire extinguisher will ensure the canister is charged and ready to work in case of a fire. You should inspect the extinguisher for damage and check the charge meter (typically a green to red meter near the top). Try to inspect your fire extinguisher monthly to ensure it is where you left it and that the extinguisher is in good shape.

 

2.) Maintenance

Your fire extinguisher really doesn’t require much, but should be maintained at least one time per year. Like any pressurized system, the canister will lose pressure over time. Ensure that it is “charged” and if required, get it recharged or replace the extinguisher.

Other items that should be considered are:

  • Is your extinguisher accessible? Are there items in front of your extinguisher that would cost you time or block your access to it in case of emergency?
  • Is the needle pointing to green on your extinguisher’s gauge?
  • Is the nozzle in good shape (perhaps it was dropped and damaged). If not, replace the extinguisher.
  • Is the pin intact and appear to be in good shape?
  • Is the canister itself in good shape and free of dents, rust or obvious signs of leaks?

Keeping your fire extinguishers in your home in good working order is just one of the important steps to keeping your home and house guests safe. It is also a way to avoid a costly and emotional homeowner’s insurance claim. 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.

 

 

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.

Fire safety Lakewood, WA

Summer fire safety tips

At some point this summer, you will most likely use fire for something. Whether it be a camp fire, fireworks or a grill, the potential for both fun and hazards is present. We put together a few fire safety tips for using fire (and its byproducts) safely and responsibly.

Fire Safety Washington:

  • Campfires:  Make sure that your campfire is well contained, either in a pit or surrounded by rocks and the area around and above it is free of flammable material. Watch sparks and shifts in the fire to ensure that the flames stay within the pit. Be sure to extinguish your fire prior to sleep and when you depart the camp site. Having a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy is a very good idea. If a forest or brush fire should start, you’ll want to contact the authorities (in many cases a camping host) immediately.
  • Fireworks: Whether you are shooting off fireworks in your neighborhood or at a campground (make sure this is within the confines of the campground rules), you should be prepared for anything. When lighting fireworks, make sure that there is nothing flammable around your area and keep fireworks away from houses and other structures. Keep a bucket of sand available to dispose of used fireworksand never throw used fireworks directly into the garbage as they could spark a fire. Make sure to keep a hose, water bucket or fire extinguisher in the event a rogue fireworks sparks a blaze. Should a fire occur dial 911 immediately.
  • BBQs: Barbequing is a summer pastime. Whether you prefer a charcoal or gas grill, you should take some safety precautions. Never grill too close to a dwelling wall or under an awning or porch, the heat from the grill could cause a spark. If you are storing a grill close to a dwelling, make sure the grill is completely cooled before putting it in place. When using a charcoal grill,closely follow the direction on the lighter fluid as large flames could start a fire and injure anyone standing too close.
  • Other causes: BBQs, fireworks and campfires are not the only catalysts when it comes to fires. Sparks from ATVs, motorcycles, RVs and cars can start fires with the driver never knowing. Making sure your regular and off-road vehicles are in good repair may help prevent a random spark from starting a blaze.

According to the National Parks Service, “As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans.” What it doesn’t mention: if you start a fire you may be liable for any restitution and damage costs, which could result in you being responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Using proper safety techniques and having the right amount insurance may help cover some of those costs in the event you are found liable or negligent in a fire. Talk to your Lakewood, WA Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent about how your home insurance policy may help protect you should you start a fire on your property or on a neighbor’s property. Having a personal umbrella policy may help reduce damage costs from an exhausted home insurance policy or negligence from a fire started away from your home. Ask your Insurance Unlimited agent what may be right for your situation and budget. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 to see what other insurance products we offer like boat or flood insurance. We hope you have a safe summer!

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.

 

Disaster preparedness kits in Lakewood, WA

Basic home disaster preparedness kit in Lakewood, WA

No one wants to think that they may be stuck in their home during a natural disaster, but the reality is natural disasters happen in every state in our country. During a natural disaster, keeping your family safe and comfortable is a top priority and having a disaster preparedness kit will help you.

A disaster preparedness kit for your home in Washington should include these basics:

Food and Water:

  • Two week supply of bottled water
  • Two week supply of non-perishable food like crackers, protein bars, dried fruit, etc.
  • Infant food and formula
  • Pet food
  • Utensils and plates for each person

Shelter and Comfort:

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Sleeping bags for each person
  • Emergency blankets
  • Battery operated or hand crank radio
  • Emergency locator beacon
  • Multipurpose tool, such as a Leatherman
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Hand warmers
  • Battery-operated cell phone charger
  • List of emergency numbers (including emergency contacts, insurance agent)
  • Copies of important documents such as insurance cards, IDs, home inventory lists, etc.
  • Books, toys or other entertainment items for children
  • Extra clothing/shoes for inclement weather
  • A first aid kit (make sure this kit has antiseptic, bandages, small scissors, aspirin or ibuprofen, hot and cold compresses)
  • “Help” or “Assistance Needed” sign
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Diapers
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal sanitizing wipes
  • Surgical masks and gloves
  • Air horn or whistle
  • Necessary medications

Safety and Hygiene:

Of course you can add additional items to your disaster preparedness kit depending on the needs of your family. Store your disaster preparedness kit in an easily accessible area, make sure you check your kit often and update it as things expire. For more information about disaster kits, please visit Ready.gov.

We hope that you never need to use your disaster preparedness kit, but we hope that it will help get you and your family through the stress of a natural disaster. If a natural disaster does occur in our area, once your family is safe, call your insurance agent at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington as soon as possible. They can help you get the claims process started. Whatever your insurance needs, the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can help. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle!  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other valuable insurance products they offer like earthquake or flood insurance