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.

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.

Tips to Consider Before Renting a Moving Truck in Lakewood, WA

I’m Renting a Moving Truck. Do I Need to Buy Their Insurance?

Tips to Consider Before Renting a Moving Truck

Tips to Consider Before Renting a Moving Truck in Lakewood, WAEvery time you rent a moving truck, you are faced with the question, “do you want to buy insurance?”  The answer to needing insurance or not really depends solely on the size of the vehicle (in addition to what coverage you currently carry, of course) as well as whether or not it is even a vehicle.

The coverage that the rental car company is selling you is collision and comprehensive coverage and, since this vehicle is replacing your existing one temporarily your most standard auto policies will cover the usage of a temporary replacement vehicle usually up to 10,000 GVW. If a vehicle is over this GVW, it would be excluded from coverage. Additionally, if the cab is separated from the bed, this will also create an exclusion from coverage for most auto insurance policies.

Truck rental companies typically offer four types of coverage:

  1. Damage Waiver: covers you in case of damage to the truck. If you do not purchase this coverage, you are responsible for any and all damage to the vehicle, no matter what the cause. If you decide to decline this coverage, you may be responsible to pay the damages to the truck even if they are not your fault. Something to keep in mind is depending on the extent of the repairs, you may be held responsible for loss of use on the vehicle.
  2. Liability Coverage:  covers you in case you hit something or someone. Your auto policy may cover this, but please call us in advance before you rent a vehicle to make sure. Each company is different.
  3. Cargo Coverage: Your auto policy will NOT cover any cargo that you are carrying. Period. If you are moving valuables, you may consider this coverage, depending on the values. If you’re moving a mattress or other item that will likely not be damaged, it would probably be wise to save your money, but only you can decide.
  4. Personal Injury Protection: This is a no-fault insurance and can be used anytime you’re involved in a motor vehicle collision, regardless of the motor vehicle you’re traveling in.

With anything, please feel free to call us with questions. This article is meant to be informative, but not a means of advice as every insurance company is a bit different and coverage varies greatly between each carrier. If you have questions about a rental vehicle, please contact our office and speak directly to a licensed agent to ensure that your situation is covered.

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.

Updating your insurance Lakewood,WA

Updating your insurance needs for the New Year

Over the course of a year, people often have many life changes. Some great, some small and some relate directly to your insurance. Do you know when you should call your insurance agent and let them know that (blank) has changed?

Updating your insurance in Washington:

  • Auto Insurance: Did you purchase a new (or new to you vehicle) or are you planning on it? Updating your insurance agent with these details will mean that your vehicle is properly insured should an accident occur. It is often required to show proof of insurance when purchasing a new vehicle, so letting your agent know ahead of time may save you a headache. Let your agent know if you move or if your commute is further or shorter. This may affect your insurance policy as premiums can be influenced by your zip code.
  • Home Insurance: If you move or add elements to your home like a pool or trampoline, you should let your agent know. Are you planning on making home improvements after the New Year? Let your agent know! Not only can some improvements increase the value of your home, but you may need permits or a licensed and bonded contractor. Your agent may be able to assist you with that process. The beginning of the year is also a great time to assess your home insurance, schedule collectibles or other valuables to your policy and explore the need for additional insurance like flood or personal umbrella insurance.
  • Personal Details: There are so many of life’s great moments that your insurance agent will be involved. Your agent should be in the know if you get married, grow your family, have a teen driver or send a child off to college. There are crucial updates to your insurance policy that need to happen in many of these scenarios. Your agent can also assist you should your child need renter’s insurance for their dorm or living situation while at college.

Your insurance agent is more than just that, they can help you navigate the complicated insurance waters and help make updating your insurance policies a breeze. Let the local, independent insurance experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA assist you with your insurance needs. Whether it be updating an auto policy, getting your college-bound child set with a renter’s policy or making sure that you have additional home coverage with a personal umbrella policy, Insurance Unlimited, Inc., is here to help. Visit their insurance website 24/7 for more information about wide range of personal insurance products they offer.

Homeowners Insurance Lakewood, WA

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

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

Four areas to focus your winterization in Washington:

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

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