5 tips to consider before switching insurance in Lakewood, WA

5 Things to Consider Before you Switch Your Insurance

Switching your insurance policy can save you hundreds of dollars a year. But, make sure you consider these things before you make the switch.

5 tips to consider before switching insurance in Lakewood, WATip #1: Compare Apples to Apples

You’ve seen the commercials – “average savings of $500 a year for those who switched…” Absolutely you can save money. However, be sure that your new quote compares your current policy to the new policy – all coverages, driving records and vehicles the same. Any one thing can make a big difference. Many companies will try to lure you with great savings, but a CLUE report (comprehensive loss underwriting exchange – also known as your claims history) is not completed until after the application is submitted. Online companies are notorious for doing this.

Tip #2: Status Changed

If you’ve recently received a ticket or an accident, moved or purchased a new vehicle, have your current policy changes made prior to shopping. It is entirely possible that your new ride may get you some savings, or result in a price increase. In addition to this, if you’ve recently had a ticket fall off of your driving record, it would be worth calling the company to see if they can remove it now and save you some money for the remainder of your policy term. Regardless, if something changes, be sure to revert to tip #1.

Tip #3: Work with an Independent Insurance Agent

Independent insurance agents are discount detectives and have access to multiple companies. Even better, they know your current situation, history and can give you recommendations across many of their companies. They can compare rates between each of their carriers and let you know the benefits of each company.

Tip #4: Multi-Policy Discounts

When you’re looking for a new policy, be sure to take all things into consideration. You may be focused on your auto insurance, but if you have a package policy (multiple policies with the same carrier) you are likely getting discounts. If you move your auto insurance policy to another carrier, your home insurance may increase as much as 20% eliminating any saving you received. Take all of your policies into consideration. One additional item to consider here is if you have an umbrella policy, this is typically required to follow your home insurance policy. Some carrier require the home and auto to write the umbrella, so talk to you agent about your specific situation.

Tip #5: Your Relationship with your Agent

Knowing your insurance agent and having a business relationship with them is important. They are the ones who will go to bat for you in the event you have a claim or accident. Often times they can help you file that claim or give you recommendation on local companies to help fix your issue. If you have your insurance directly with the company handling your loss, you don’t get this representation. Having a local independent insurance agent is the way to go.

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 Save Money on Car Insurance in Lakewood, WA

Car Insurance Discounts – The Real Savings

How To Really Save Money on Car Insurance

How to Save Money on Car Insurance in Lakewood, WAFor years we have all been flooded with auto insurance commercials talking about various discounts offered in the insurance industry for auto insurance. There are the standard ones: multi-policy, multi-vehicle, etc., but there may be some other discounts that drivers are not aware of. We have compiled some of the additional insurance discounts offered by various insurance companies. Could you be saving money with these discounts? Be sure to ask your local insurance agent about special discounts that may apply to your specific situation.  These discounts vary by state, so it is best left to a local agent to let you know which ones apply.

Possible Auto insurance discounts in Washington:

  • Multi-policy: Bundling multiple polices like auto, home and boat with the same insurance carrier can save you some money.
  • Good or distant student: If your student keeps their grades above certain level (as designated by the insurer) they may be eligible for a good student discount. The insurance carrier will need proof, typically sending a transcript will suffice. If your student is attending college at a distant (typically more than 500 miles from home, but that varies by carrier) you may be eligible for a discount on the vehicle since it may not be driven as much.
  • Education level: Like an extension of the good student discount, drivers who hold advanced degrees, like a bachelor’s degree, may qualify for a discount.
  • Defensive Driver: Taking a carrier approved defensive driving course could earn you a discount on your auto insurance policy. Check with your insurance agent, as this type of discount may be limited to certain age groups.
  • Multi-vehicle: Like a multi-policy discount, insuring multiple vehicles with the same carrier may earn you a small discount.
  • Green vehicle: If you drive an electric or hybrid vehicle, you may be eligible for a discount. Ask your agent to see if your vehicle qualifies.
  • Anti-theft: Vehicles with anti-theft systems statically tend to be stolen less often, thus a lower risk. You may be entitled to a small discount if your vehicle meets the criteria.
  • Anti-lock brakes: The anti-lock brake feature is standard on almost all new vehicles. Check with your insurance agent to see if your carrier provides a discount for anti-lock brakes.
  • Safe driver (accident free): Many major insurance carriers will award safe driving discounts to drivers who have been accident free for a number of years. The criteria varies between insurance carriers.
  • Military: Active and veteran military members are often eligible for discounted auto insurance. Ask your insurance agent to see if you qualify.
  • Early quote/signing: If you are looking to change insurance carriers or upgrade your auto insurance, getting a quote (and signing up) before your current policy has expired may get you a discount. You may need to get a quote within a certain number of days prior to your policy expiration, so check with your agent.
  • Paid-in-full: You’ll see the discount reflected in the price when you are presented with your options for paying your auto insurance policy. Paying off the policy in full will cost you a little less than paying every month.
  • Paperless: Don’t want to get a paper statement? Great, you get a discount. Most major insurance carriers offer discounts for customers who choose to do automatic billing and receive emails rather than paper statements.
  • Loyalty: Sticking with your insurance carrier for three or more years could earn you a discount for every loyalty milestone you hit. Typically these rewards not only include a discount on the cost of your policy, they can sometimes include accident forgiveness!

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.

Protect Yourself from Uninsured Motorists in Lakewood, WA

How to Protect Yourself from Uninsured Motorists

Beware of the Uninsured Motorists!

Protect Yourself from Uninsured Motorists in Lakewood, WAUninsured drivers are a huge problem across the United States. Each year billions are paid out in uninsured motorists claims. Even though uninsured motorists have steadily declined over the past decade, some states still have one in four drivers driving without insurance. You can protect yourself with an insurance coverage called uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage (often times referred to as UM, UMPD or UMBI coverage) is required in some states, so check with your insurance agent it you already have this coverage. In other states, it is purely optional, but certainly a good idea to carry. If you’re injured or are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, this coverage will help protect you, get your vehicle repaired and can even pay your medical bills as well as act as insurance in case of a lawsuit if you’re badly injured.

Uninsured coverage comes in many forms, all meant to protect you in case you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. When reading these coverages, please keep in mind that the policies and laws vary by state.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

This coverage may pay for damages when a covered person is injured and the person at fault for the accident does not have liability insurance.

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury

This coverage may pay for damages when a covered person is injured and the person at fault for the accident does not have enough liability insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage

This coverage may pay for damages when a covered vehicle is damaged and the person at fault for the accident does not have liability insurance or does not have enough liability insurance.

UM coverage varies by state and according to law so if you’d like to learn more about UM coverage, simply contact your insurance agent to inquire.

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.

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.

Camping Lakewood, WA

Do you know these camping basics?

A camping trip is one of the great adventures a person (or family) gets to have each summer. Our area is filled with great camping spots, some nestled in the woods some near streams and lakes, but most are great for meeting new friends. Preparing for this wonderful American tradition a camping trip can be challenging as you have to be ready for many different scenarios: wild animals, weather changes, illness, etc. Don’t fret, we are here to highlight some of the basic necessities one may need on a weekend camping trip.

Camping Basics in Washington:

  • Food:  Food and drink is a very important component of any trip. Most folks pack your standard camping fare like hot dogs, s’mores and plenty no-fuss ready to eat snacks. You’ll want to pack some energy bars, nuts, fruit and plenty of water if you plan on doing any physical activity as low blood sugar (and heat) can lead to dizziness and possibly fainting. Storing your food is also extremely important. Making sure all food is tightly sealed in containers will help keep pests and wild animals out of your campsite, you should also make sure that cold food stays cold to avoid food poisoning. Be sure to pack all food away in the evenings in a locked car away from any sleeping quarters as bears and other wild animals may enter camp looking for a snack.
  • Weather: Be prepared for all kinds of weather and be aware that it can change at any moment. Pack enough clothes to layer should it get chilly or rainy, hats and umbrellas for staying out of the sun and proper food gear for hiking or for swimming (including life jackets if you plan on using a canoe or raft). Being prepared for the weather also means being prepared for the pests warm weather brings. Mosquitoes and ticks can be an annoyance, but they can also cause health problems like West Nile Virus and Lyme disease. Citronella candles (or torches) and repellant sprays can help protect against mosquitoes and ticks. For ticks, check yourself and your pets daily for ticks.  They prefer dark, warm areas like behind the knees, ears and inside the belly button. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some great tick prevention and removal tips.
  • Fires: Whether you are camping with a tent or in an RV or camper, you will most likely be starting a fire (in an approved fire pit) to cook food or just to enjoy. Make sure that your fire pit is well contained 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. Having a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher hand 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. It is not just camp fires that can cause a forest or brush fire. Sparks from motorcycle, ATV or RV tail pipes can also cause a spontaneous fire. If you are bringing any of these “toys” along take to your insurance agent about a personal umbrella insurance policy, which could help mitigate damage and restitution costs if you were found liable or negligent for a brush or forest fire.
  • Cleanliness: Not just personal hygiene, but keeping your campsite clear of trip hazards, such as unused toys, firewood, ropes or other items that could cause a trip. Remember that you’re usually leasing a space of land to camp on, but this won’t stop others from walking through your site. Be sure they have a safe place to travel through and that you can’t be found liable for someone injuring themselves while being in or around your RV (should you be using an RV). You can protect yourself with vacation liability insurance coverage that is available with specialized RV policies such as those offered by Progressive Insurance.

At Insurance Unlimited, Inc., we want you to enjoy your summer camping trips. While we can’t assist you with building fires and setting up a campsite, we can help ensure that all your RVs, ATVs and motorcycles are insured with the right policy to fit your needs and budget. Give your Lakewood, WA Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent a call and see the difference of working with an independent agent. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 for more information about the other insurance products we sell, like home insurance or auto insurance.

Replacement cost vs. Actual cash value Lakewood, WA

Replacement cost vs. Actual cash value – What does that mean?

An insurance policy’s usefulness is determined by the policy language used. Specific policy language determines what is covered, what is excluded and the amounts covered under the policy. Reviewing your insurance policy language every now and again may be helpful in the event of a claim, as you would have a better understanding of what may be covered.

Insurance policies are full of language and terms that may not be clear right off the bat. Many terms are specific to the industry and to the specific type of insurance that is being purchased. Two such terms are Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. These terms can be a bit confusing to decipher between.

Replacement cost vs. Actual cash value in Washington:

  • Replacement cost is very simple: It is literally the cost to replace your item with an item of similar quality. Replacement cost policies tend to be a bit more expensive since you are essential getting a brand new item for one that may have otherwise depreciated. Replacement costs are agreed upon by all parties before the insurance policy is finalized. If you have high-ticket items (jewelry, art, RV, boat, luxury vehicle or classic car) this may be the best type of coverage if you can afford it.
  • Actual cash value is the cost to replace the item minus any depreciation. For example, if you were in an auto accident and you had an actual cash value policy, your insurance would pay out the cost of the vehicle minus any depreciation, so if your vehicle is worth less than what you owe you would be responsible for paying that difference out of pocket, unless you had gap insurance. An actual cash value policy can put you in a tight spot if your items cost more to replace or repair than your policy pays out. Depreciation values for big ticket items like RVs or luxury cars can be quite large, so make sure that you have a nest egg and be prepared to pay some out-of-pocket for a loss if you have an actual cash value insurance policy.

No matter which policy type you choose, the local experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can answer any questions and walk you through the different types of scenarios to see which policy type is right for your situation. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and more, like auto insurance. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know firsthand what your insurance needs might be. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the insurance products they offer.