Insurance for your jewelry in Lakewood, WA

How to Keep Your Jewelry Protected

Insurance for your jewelry in Lakewood, WAJewelry is valuable not only because of its beauty, but the special meaning behind it. Does it represent 30 years of marriage? Was it passed down from a great grandmother? Was it given to you to celebrate a special moment? Between its sentimental value, as well as financial value, our local insurance agency wants you to be fully protected.

Anything can happen to your jewelry, whether it’s stolen, damaged or accidentally slips off your finger while swimming in the ocean. While memories of the jewelry itself cannot be replaced, a good insurance policy can provide financial protection to an unfortunate situation.

If you own jewelry that’s valued over $1,000, consider getting an insurance policy endorsement to insure its value.

Like other valuables coverage, insurance for your jewelry can simply be added to your home or renters insurance policy on something called a “floater.” It’s a simple insurance policy extension. A good policy will cover everything from theft and damage. The cost of coverage varies, typically $1 – $2 per $100 in value for a yearly policy. So, for a $5,000 ring, you’d expect to pay $50-$100. By calling Insurance Unlimited Inc., we will ensure we find the best coverage for your jewelry. We can also help answer any questions regarding ‘what if’ situations.

Here are some questions to discuss with our agents so you fully understand your insurance coverage.

  • If your jewelry is stolen, will you be reimbursed the full amount you paid? What happens if it was accidentally lost?
  • If your jewelry has appreciated over the course of owning it, will your insurance company honor its new value or what you paid for it?
  • What happens if you simply lost a small piece of your jewelry? Would you insurance cover the cost of replacing the stone?
  • Don’t forget to ask for discounts! If you plan to safely store your jewelry when you are not wearing it, you could qualify for a discount from some insurance companies.

While we hope you never have to experience an insurance claim for your jewelry, it’s always important to be prepared.

Items you need in case your jewelry is lost or stolen:

  • Original Receipt
  • An appraisal – if you don’t have the original receipt, at least have an appraisal.
  • GIA Certificate or similar reputable certificate
  • Take photos of all of your jewelry and store them on the cloud or a zip drive that’s stored in your safe.

Keep these items in a safety deposit box or safe in your home. If you’d like to know more about insuring your jewelry, contact an agent at our office. We’ll give you the best options for insuring your jewelry as well as answer any other questions you may have.

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.

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.

 

Renters Insurance in Lakewood, WA

Renters Insurance Policies Help Protect More Than Just Your Personal Items

Understanding Renters Insurance

Renters Insurance in Lakewood, WAIf you’re like 2 out of every 3 renters who rent a home, apartment or other dwelling, you don’t carry a renters insurance policy. The reason for not carrying renters insurance varies, but it is important to understand that your landlord is not responsible for your personal belongings if they are damaged, stolen or otherwise. You alone are responsible for your things, so protecting them with a renters insurance policy is important.

When you’re ready to speak to an agent, consider the following:

  1. Cost: Renter’s insurance is typically very inexpensive, usually not costing more than just $1 per day! Think about it, if you buy a coffee in the morning, that is about 2-3 times as much as getting a renters insurance policy.
  2. What’s covered: Renters insurance will typically cover your clothes, furniture, electronics, bicycles and jewelry, but only up to what your policy limits say. You have a choice to add additional coverage to cover certain items that may exceed your policy limits such as furs, art and jewelry.
  3. What loss types are covered? Typically, your renters insurance will cover your items due to fire, theft, smoke and water damage if your home has a water leak (talk to an agent about flood specifically as this coverage varies). A renters policy can also cover your items while your away. Say you ride your bike to a park and it gets stolen there. Renters insurance will typically cover that loss.
  4. Injuries: Another reason renters insurance is great is that it provides you with liability protection if you’re found to be liable for injuries to someone who is at your home.
  5. Roommates: Many people have roommates who live with them. If you want an insurance policy to cover your roommate you must get your insurance company to list them on the insurance policy. It is always a good idea to have your roommates listed on the policy. It helps protect your household – not just either party.
  6. Dogs: If you have a dog in the house, be sure to tell your agent.

Understanding insurance can be difficult, but simply going without it shouldn’t be an option. If you have additional questions about Renters insurance, contact your insurance agent to discuss your options. It is even possible that you’d get a discount for bundling your policies.

If you have questions about your home or renters 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.

Carbon Monoxide Safety in Lakewood, WA

Keep your Friends and Family Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Lakewood, WA

Keeping your Home in Lakewood, WA Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide Safety in Lakewood, WAOur homes should be places of comfort, relaxation and memories. That’s why it is important to protect your homes from dangers such as fires, theft and one people too often overlook: carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when fuels such as wood, oil, natural gas and propane are not efficiently burned. Carbon monoxide can be produced by your household equipment such as generators, lawn mowers, barbeques and your furnace.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that each year, 170 people in the United States are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes. These deaths can be caused when equipment malfunctions or when the products are used in areas that are not properly ventilated, such as a closed room.

The Center for Disease Control lists the common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning as headache, dizziness, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.

The good news about all this is that protecting your family from CO poisoning is relatively simple.

 

 

 

Follow these tips for Carbon Monoxide poisoning prevention:

  • Always have your home’s gas burning furnace, water heater and fireplace serviced by a professional. A professional will ensure the appliance is burning properly and is properly vented.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home (newly constructed homes, apartments and condominiums will likely already have these installed). For an extra level of protection, consider installing a CO alarm in every bedroom of your house.
  • Never leave a car idling in a garage
  • Keep portable generators at least 20feet from an open window
  • Never use a charcoal barbeque inside a home, tent or camper
  • Never use a gas oven to heat a home

Even a single carbon monoxide detector in your home could save lives. If you rent a home or apartment that does not currently have a carbon monoxide detector, ask your landlord to provide one. Many states require that homes have them installed. Review your state laws here.

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.

 

 

Identity Theft Lakewood, WA

Identity Theft: An Unfortunate Reality

It has been all over the news lately: data breaches at major retailers have been potentially compromising shoppers debit and credit cards. While your banking institutions and credit card issuers do offer some protection against fraudulent charges to your accounts, did you know that your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance plan may offer additional protection if your identity is stolen.

Identity Theft in Washington:

  • Keep an eye out: Even if you do not suspect your identity or credit cards have been potentially comprised, it is a good idea to regularly go over your statements to ensure all charges are accurate. Some credit card issuers will offer inexpensive credit monitoring from at least one of the three major credit reporting agencies. If you notice a fraudulent charge or an error on your credit report, you should immediately contact the appropriate agency (i.e., your credit card issuer, credit reporting agency, bank, etc.).
  • Extra Protection: In addition to your own diligence, your homeowners, condo or renters insurance policy can offer some extra protection. For a small yearly fee (typically less than $40 per year) your insurance policy may cover expenses related to court fees, loan reapplication fees (if denied due to identity theft), notary fees and more. Some insurance plans may also include access to an identity theft counselor, someone to assist with reporting fraudulent activity and to act as a liaison to the major credit report bureaus on your behalf. Identity theft plans will vary by carrier and state, so be sure to ask your Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent about plans available in Washington.
  • Next steps: If you suspect that you have been a victim of credit card or identity theft, fill out a police report. This will be crucial as the next few agencies you will be contacting, your bank, credit card issuer and the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion and Equifax) will need a copy send to their fraud departments. You will also need to file an ID Theft Complaint and Affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. Any accounts or cards that are potentially compromised should be closed and new cards issued. Continue to monitor your credit reports and accounts.

The road to recovery from credit card and identity fraud can be long and expensive. Here at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington we hope it is something that you never have to experience on your own. If you are interested in learning more about adding identity theft protection to your existing home, condo or renters insurance plan contact us today. You can also visit our website 24/7 to learn about the other insurance products we 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.

 

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.