How to prepare your Lakewood, WA home for vacation

A Checklist to Complete If You’re Leaving Your Home for an Extended Period of Time

How to prepare your Lakewood, WA home for vacationWhether you are a snow bird who flocks to warm weather in the winter or you’re taking a vacation, you should always protect your home while you’re away. The last thing you want to hear while vacationing is that a pipe burst or your home was burglarized. Follow these simple steps to ensure your home is safe while you’re away.

Protect from Theft

  • Alert the post office to hold your mail until you return. If you are staying at your vacation home for a long period of time, perhaps forward your mail to that mailing address.
  • Stage your home as if you are still there. Use an automatic timer to turn on and off your lights. You can set them up in different rooms to make it look like you’re moving around the house. To keep it efficient, use LED bulbs in your lamps you intend to leave running throughout the night.
  • Set an alarm. There are countless great, affordable video surveillance options that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home, both inside and out. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police. Additionally, if you see a package is delivered you could ask a neighbor to pick it up off the doorstep until you return.
  • Place small valuables in a hidden place or safe. If you own jewelry, guns or cash, or have social security cards, memory cards or other valuable items, put them into a safe. Safes are typically extremely heavy and unable to be moved by one person even if not bolted to the floor.
  • Hire someone or notify your neighbor to do the simple things. For example, if you are gone for the weekend and the trash gets picked up on Fridays, ask your neighbor to pull your waste bin in for you.

Protect Your Home From Damage

  • Always turn off your water. You would hate to have a pipe burst or refrigerator leak while you’re away. If you live in a cold weather environment, drain all your pipes of water. Laundry supply lines are bigger, so be sure to turn those off at the junction box if you decide not to turn off all water.
  • Set your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat on will stop pipes from freezing in your ceiling or walls. It doesn’t take much, say 60 degrees or so.
  • Clean out your gutters. If you’re planning to be away for a while, cleaning your gutters can ensure any heavy rains won’t overflow the gutters and flood your home or damage the roof.

Going away for a while can be exciting. You shouldn’t have to worry about your home while you’re away so completing some simple tasks beforehand can ease your concern.

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.

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.

How to avoid holiday theft in Lakewood, WA

Follow These Simple Tips to Avoid Holiday Theft

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

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

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

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

How to register your bike in Lakewood, WA

This One Quick Tip Can Get You Your Stolen Bicycle Back

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Use Technology to Protect Your Lakewood, WA home!

Six Pieces of Technology That Can Prevent a Home Insurance Claim

How Technology Can Keep Your Home Claims-Free!

Use Technology to Protect Your Lakewood, WA home!We touched a couple weeks back on how simple pieces of technology can keep your home safe from burglary. Well, wouldn’t it be great if technology could help us avoid other claims like water damage, fire & freezing damage?

Technology for the home has taken huge steps in the past 5 years. In fact, most everything in a home can be controlled by a mobile device and an installed home router (Wi-Fi). Implement some of these do-it-yourself items into your home to help you avoid an insurance claim:

Thermostats: Not only does a smart thermostat help you reduce your energy consumption, you can now monitor the home temperature while away on vacation. We all know someone who has experienced a frozen pipe that caused water damage. Typically this is because the thermostat wasn’t on and a cold-snap came through. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature through a Wi-Fi signal even while you’re abroad.

Smart Garage Door Openers: I think we’ve all come back home and noticed we left the garage door open all night, or even left the house only to reach your destination and think… did I leave my garage door open? Smart garage door openers work with your Wi-Fi system to notify you if the door is open or closed. You can then close it from your mobile device ensuring your items stay safe and sound.

Water sensors: Water sensors alert to you when water is standing on the floor. A great place to install a water sensor is behind a toilet, near a dishwasher and behind your refrigerator if you have a water/ice maker. Water sensors can be synced up with your existing alarm system or are available in a Wi-Fi version which at this time run around $60 each.

Smart Smoke Alarms: Smoke alarms are really the first line of defense for fires and smoke damage. Often times a fire will smolder, but the resulting smoke damage can be just as damaging. Smoke alarms, like water sensors, can be obtained by your existing home security company and tied in. Additionally, smoke alarms can be tied into your Wi-Fi alerting you if something is awry at home while you’re way.

Smart Locks: “Did you lock the front door when we left? No, I was carrying the suitcase.” Fortunately, door locks are available in a Wi-Fi enabled where you can simply lock and unlock your front door via a battery and Wi-Fi signal. Unlocked front doors are now a thing of the past.

Humidity Monitors: High humidity is another sign that you have water in your home. When humidity rises it can wreak havoc on your home. Humidity sensors come in all sorts of devices including your thermostat, furnace and even some home video monitors like the aforementioned Canary device we mentioned in our blog about home security. If the humidity is extra high, this may be a sign that water is leaking somewhere.

If technology is your thing, consider some of these options! For most people, insurance is not. Fortunately 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.

How to Protect Your Lakewood, WA home while on vacation

Three Things to Do Before Leaving for Vacation

How to Protect Your Home While Away

How to Protect Your Lakewood, WA home while on vacationAh, summer. A time where we enjoy the great outdoors and most often take our vacation for the year. Whether you’re traveling close to home on a short camping trip or headed off to Europe with the drones of other tourists, keeping your home safe while you’re away can be as simple as not doing anything differently. Ponder these points to keep your home safe from burglary while on vacation:

Social Media:

It is best to keep the details of your vacation until you get back from your trip. Far too often people divulge the details of their trip prior to leaving. You may as well put a sign on the door that says “nobody home.” Post your pictures and narrative when you get back so burglars don’t know you’re gone.

Neighbors

Most people get along great with their neighbors and help each other out while away on vacation by checking the mail, removing newspapers from the driveway and putting out the trash. Make sure you tell your neighbors when you’re leaving town so they can keep a watchful eye out for any strange activity.

Technology

Americans love their technology. Home security systems have come a long way since and you no longer need a monitored home security device. Consider options like Canary. A home video surveillance system that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police.

Another simple piece of technology is an outlet timer. These small devices can turn on and off lights throughout your house throughout the night making it appear that someone is home. At about $9.00 each, a very inexpensive security option. You can set them up in different rooms to make it look like you’re moving around the house. To keep it efficient, use LED bulbs in your lamps you intend to leave running throughout the night.

There are many other things you should do while heading off for vacation. Following these simple tips can help you avoid a costly insurance burglary and losing items that simply can’t be replaced. 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.

Insuring Comic Books, Antiques, Fine Art, and More in Lakewood, WA

Are Your Collectibles Covered by Insurance?

Insuring Comic Books, Fine Art, Antiques & More

Insuring Comic Books, Antiques, Fine Art, and More in Lakewood, WASo, you’ve got an Amazing Fantasy #15 comic book – the first appearance of Stan Lee’s Spider Man in a safe from when you were just a kid. What you probably know is that this item can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, but what you probably don’t understand is what happens if that item is lost, stolen or destroyed by a disaster in your home.

Many of us acquire valuable items from inheritance, being collectors or investment purposes throughout our lives. Perhaps you received a valuable old watch, or received an expensive engagement ring.  Often time people assume that these collectibles will simply be covered by your standard home insurance policy as a covered item. What is important to understand about insuring these items is that your standard home insurance policy has specific limits for these valuable items. Typically around $1500, but this amount varies between companies. So, if you have a watch worth $10,000 you’ll have a gap of $8500. What you need to talk to your insurance agent about is getting something called a “floater.” A floater is a type of insurance policy that allows you to insure a specific item. One way to remember a floater is that the items it covers tend to be able to float away (be carried away). Thus, increasing the chances of theft or damage.

Some valuable items to consider adding to a floater include:

  • Watches
  • Rings, necklaces and other jewelry
  • Art
  • Furs
  • Historical Documents
  • Comic Books
  • Antiques
  • Expensive electronics

While they may not have an expansive comic book collection or a one-of-a-kind fur coat from the 30’s, 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.

 

Holiday Theft Protection lakewood, WA

Holiday Theft Protection: Beware of thieves!

During the holiday season, most of us are focused on family gatherings, good food and giving back. What we may not be thinking about are the thefts that rise during the holidays.  Homes are burgled, car’s contents stolen and identities thieved. There are a few ways that you can help protect yourselves from thieves this holiday season.

Holiday theft protection in Washington:

  • Your home: With all those extra presents sitting around the house, your home can become a target. As soon as you bring the new purchases into your home, take photos and write down serial numbers of your items. Keeping the receipt will also help if you need to file a home insurance claim due to theft. Don’t advertise on social media that you will be/are traveling during the holidays. If you are travelling, let your neighbors and postman know. Your neighbors may be able to lend a watchful eye and perhaps collect any mail or packages that could accumulate on your doorstep. Nothing says “we aren’t home” like a week’s worth of mail or a stoop full of boxes.
  • Your car: If you plan on having a marathon shopping day, do not leave your purchases where they can be seen. This applies to the car trip home as well.  If you are planning to make stops, lock your purchases in the trunk and disable the trunk release. That may help deter thieves looking for a quick score. You should never store purchases in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Auto insurance does not cover items that are not a part of your vehicle. For example, if your car was broken into and a wallet and stereo were stolen you may be reimbursed for the stereo but may not be covered for the wallet. Personal possessions are likely omitted from your car insurance coverage.
  • Your identity: We’ve talked about identity theft before, but during the holidays, this type of theft could be quite common. Make sure when you are out and about to keep a close watch on your wallet or purse. Keep records of your cards and recent transactions and checking your billing statements often to spot any discrepancies. If you do a lot online shopping, make sure to verify that the sites you purchase from are reputable and have good security. Sites that are https:// secured or Norton or Google verified are a great place to start. If you do notice a fraudulent charge or suspect your identity has been stolen, be sure to alert your bank and in some cases, your insurance agent (as home insurance can sometimes cover identity theft), immediately.

With these holiday theft protection tips, keeping your home, car and identity safe during the holidays (and the rest of the year) doesn’t have to be hard work! Talk to your local, Lakewood, WA insurance agent to see if your home insurance offers protection against identity theft. Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can also assist you with scheduling major purchases like jewelry, art or collectibles to your home insurance and make sure that your vehicle is covered in case of theft or vandalism. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 for more information about the other insurance products they offer like personal umbrella insurance.