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.

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.

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.

traveling Lakewood, WA

Traveling with dogs – Buckle up your pup!

Getting out on the open road with the family can be a great summer pastime. Whether your road trip takes you to a national park, a beach or to visit family, it can be a great opportunity to bond as a family that includes your dogs too! Loading Fido up in the family vehicle doesn’t have to be stressful and making your dog comfortable in the car can be quite easy.

Traveling with dogs in Washington:

  • Safety: Safety truly comes first at all times when riding in a vehicle – this goes for people and pets. An unsecured dog wandering the vehicle can be a distraction and a hazard. Large dogs can bump the driver, causing them to swerve and small dogs can get underfoot, under a gas pedal or brake pedal. Securing your dog may also help keep them safe in the event you are in an auto accident. There are many options for securing your dog in a vehicle. There are car seats that have an interior harness to secure the pup and a place to secure the car seat to a seatbelt, minimizing the risk of the car seat bouncing around. Another option is a harness that attaches directly to the seatbelt. This allows the dog some free movement, but it is restricted to a small area. Then there are barrier options, like a crater or a seat barrier. When purchasing a travel crate, make sure the dog has plenty of room to stretch and is not too cramped. A seat barrier works well for SUVs and hatchbacks.
  • Entertainment: Just like the people in the car, your dogs will need some entertainment as well. Bring along favorite toys, chews and treats may go a long way to keep a bored dog from barking, jumping and perhaps trying to eat the interior of your vehicle. Don’t forget to bring spill-proof water and food containers!
  • Take a break: Get out and stretch your legs and your pup’s! Leaving the vehicle and giving your dog a little room to run (search for off-leash dog parks along your route) can go a long way to eliminating a carsickness or boredom in a dog. It also gives them a chance to use the “facilities” in an outdoor setting versus your vehicle.
  • Destination: Make sure that your destination is pet-friendly. If you are staying in a hotel or vacation rental, ask about their pet policies ahead of time, it is also helpful to locate the closest emergency vet, just in case.

Taking steps to ensure that everyone on your road trip is happy and safe will lead to less stress overall. In some states, if you have a Progressive auto insurance policy, you may have Pet Injury coverage, which helps cover vet expenses (up to $1000) if your pup is injured as a result of an auto accident. Before you head out on the open road, check the details of your auto insurance coverage with your Insurance Unlimited, Inc., agent in Lakewood, WA. They can assist you with amending an existing policy or setting up a new policy. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other products they offer like boat insurance or motorcycle insurance.

Travel insurance lakewood, wa

It’s time to consider travel insurance

While booking a family vacation there are some important things you should plan for and we’d like to discuss an insurance topic that many people do not know about or elect to not purchase: travel insurance. This is not a product that we (or most insurance companies sell) so this is purely for educational purposes. We want you, our valued clients, to have the best time on your vacation even if something goes awry.

What does Travel Insurance cover?

Travel insurance usually has a few different tiers. Some companies offer simple plans that include airline ticket reimbursement if you have to miss your flight for an approved reason, others offer the “Cadillac” package of airline ticket reimbursement, medical insurance coverage, medical evacuation and trip cancellation. There are a smattering of other plans in-between. Deciding which plan is right for your trip will depend on a few factors: cost of the trip, location of the trip and the pre-existing/potential medical issues that could arise from someone covered under the plan. If you are traveling domestically, typically your health insurance should allow for in-or out-of-network medical care. If you are traveling internationally that can be whole different story. Check with your health insurance provider for information about international health insurance coverage. If you purchase a travel insurance plan, make sure to look at the fine print, up to percentages and dollar amounts regarding coverage.

Why do I need travel insurance?

Buying travel insurance is entirely up to you. If you are taking a quick weekend trip and don’t mind losing out on the experience and money if you have to cancel, then no need for insurance. However, if you are spending a substantial amount of money on a vacation, then having a travel insurance plan could help offset the cost if the trip is delayed or canceled. Missing a flight due to traffic can set off a chain of events that could cost a lot of money to fix. Consider Mother Nature; a nasty storm like the recent Polar Vortex grounded several flights for days or volcanic eruption, like the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 caused severe flights days in and out of Europe for weeks. While some airlines will work with you on flights delayed or canceled due to weather, some will not.

Where do I buy travel insurance?

Travel insurance can be purchased through many booking sites like Expedia and travel guide sites like Lonely Planet and Frommers often have links to reputable companies. If you are booking through a travel agency, ask your agent about travel insurance options.

We hope that wherever you head for vacation that you have a wonderful time and that you do not have to use the benefits of your travel insurance should you choose to purchase it! For all the other traveling you may do this year, in your boat or your RV, give the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, WA a call or visit our insurance website 24/7 for great insurance rates! Safe travels!

RV Insurance Lakewood, WA

Is your RV insurance in Lakewood, WA right for your travel style?

You are enjoying your family road trip or living full time in your RV. Seeing the country one highway at a time and making lasting family memories. The last thing you want is an accident or lawsuit that will take up valuable time and resources. Taking the proper precautions like making sure you have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher and have the appropriate RV insurance in Lakewood, WA can go a long way to keeping your family safe and giving you peace of mind while you are enjoying all your RV has to offer.

Primary RV insurance policies in Washington:

 

Full Timers Coverage: Do reside primarily in your RV? Whether is it is permanently parked or you roam across the country, an RV insurance Full Timers Coverage policy helps protect your RV like homeowner’s insurance.

  • Liability coverage if you are responsible for an accident on your property
  • Medical payments for an accident for which you are responsible
  • Coverage if your property is damaged or stolen
  • Contents of a storage shed near your property

Vacation Liability: Your local, independent insurance agency in Lakewood, Washington can assist you with an RV insurance vacation liability policy for your RV. When vacationing, there are certain situations that you may not have control over when your RV is parked:

  • Injury of a third-party by equipment owned by you or around your RV
  • Injuries to a third-party by an animal under your care
  • A fire caused by sparks from a campfire, vehicle back-fire, etc.

The most important think to know about a Vacation Liability policy is that it covers events while your RV is parked, not while it is moving.

There are many options out there when looking to cover your RV and your local independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can help you navigate your options to find the best coverage for your needs. They can also assist with an ATV policy for your other summer toys. Whatever your insurance needs, talk to the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., in Lakewood, Washington.  Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle!  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other valuable insurance products they offer.

Boat Insurance Lakewood, WA

Will your boat insurance in Lakewood, WA keep you afloat?

The sun is shining, the water is warm and boating season is upon us. By now you’ve probably prepped the boat, made sure your boating license is valid and planned outings with family and friends, but have you looked at your boat insurance? There are many coverage options available in Lakewood, WA, and using a local, independent agent guarantees that you will have many coverage options, so you can pick a policy that suits your needs before heading out to the water.

The 411 on boat insurance in Washington:

  • Bundling: It may not be possible to bundle your boat insurance with an existing policy, like homeowner’s insurance, as there may be restrictions on the type of boat you own. In order to fit under a homeowner’s insurance policy, boats may need to be under a certain length and under a certain price point.  There is a down side to having your boat covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy: specialized coverages may be limited or not available.
  • Specialized Coverages: These types of coverages can include On-Water Towing, helpful when your boat runs out of gas or has a mechanical issue mid-outing. Fuel Spill and Wreckage Removal may help keep you covered in the event your boat leaks fuel or if there is an accident; otherwise you may be on the hook for clean-up expenses. You may also want to consider Uninsured Boater coverage. Just like Uninsured Motorist coverage for your car or truck, this may help with expenses if your boat is hit or damaged by another boater without proper boat insurance coverage. Specialized Coverages may also include Personal Effects coverage.
  • Travel: Planning to sail your boat to the Bahamas? Can we go with you? Whether you are sailing your boat to a sunny tropical locale or sailing her on a tranquil lake in Canada, you need to make sure that your boat insurance covers travel outside your state and country. Some insurance plans may cover waterways in the continental U.S., but may not cover international waters or may only cover a boat in international water within a certain mile radius from the U.S. coast. Check with your agent to see if your plan coverages international travel.
  • Replacement: We hope that you never have to replace your boat due to an accident. In order to avoid costly out-of-pocket expenses to replace your boat, make sure that you have the appropriate replacement coverage in place long before you hit the water. There are two options for replacement coverage: Total Loss Replacement and Agreed Value coverage. Total Loss Replacement is just that, a replacement of your boat. However this type of coverage may not be offered by all insurance carriers, more likely than not the carrier will provide Agreed Value coverage. This is the value of your boat, agreed upon by you and your agent before you sign the policy.

There are many options out there when looking for boat insurance in Lakewood, Washington and your local independent agents at Insurance Unlimited, Inc., can help you navigate your options to find the best coverage for your needs. They can also assist with a personal watercraft policy for your other water-traveling toys. Whatever your insurance needs, talk to the experts at Insurance Unlimited, Inc. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle!  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other valuable insurance products they offer.