Thursday, January 22, 2015

Auto Theft is a Big Problem. Are You Protected?

There were nearly 700,000 motor vehicle thefts nationwide in 2013. Although 2014 showed a slight decrease, it continues to be a real problem. It is estimated that $4.5 billion is lost on motor vehicle thefts.

According to the FBI, a motor vehicle is stolen in the United States every 44 seconds!
Auto theft
Making the problem more aggravating is that for every 10 vehicle thefts, only slightly more than half (56%) are recovered, and about one is successfully prosecuted!  In 2012, for example, only 11.9 percent of auto thefts were cleared, either by arrests or by exceptional means, compared with 20.4 percent for arson and 19.0 percent for all property crimes. To make matters worse, many of the vehicles recovered are damaged or destroyed. Source: Insurance Information Institute

Be careful where you park your car, and what you leave in it. If you don't have a garage, make sure to have motion lights that will deter a would-be thief. When you're not at home, park in a well-lit area, and always lock your car. A survey of American drivers conducted in April 2007 on behalf of the National Insurance Crime Bureau found:
  • • One-third admit they have left their car while it was running, which makes the vehicle an easy target for theft.
  • • 47% don't always park in a well-lit area.
  • • 40% don't hide their valuables. In fact, nearly half leave mail in their vehicle, a quarter have left a purse or wallet, and almost a third have left bank statements, all of which can put them at risk for identity theft.

It Costs You!

Although 75% of respondents know that there are costs associated with vehicle theft in addition to paying the insurance deductible and the cost of replacing the vehicle that are not covered by insurance, virtually none knew that there are additional costs such as:
  • • Insurance premium increases
  • • The cost of time spent dealing with police
  • • Vehicle rental costs
  • • Cost of time off from work.  
The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.

Make Sure You're Adequately Protected!

Auto theft is covered by the optional comprehensive coverage on an auto policy. Without it you're on your own if your car gets stolen or vandalized. Don't take that chance! You can choose from a range of deductibles that will affect your premiums. The higher the deductible you choose, the lower your rates will be. SAV-ON Insurance agents are happy to help you figure out the best rate for your vehicle and save you money, too. Call us today at 888-867-2866 for a free estimate, or come in to any of our offices.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Struggling with Debt? Make a Plan to Pay It Off

With the New Year just underway, many people have made resolutions to improve their lives.  And for many improving their finances is at the top of the list.

Getting out of debt can be a big and almost overwhelming goal.  It’s not a fast process and it takes a lot of dedication, but it is worth it in the end! 

So where do you begin? 

First, start by getting an accurate picture of where you stand.  Gather up all of your recent debt statements.  This includes credit cards, car loans, student loans, any personal loans or other big ticket items, and your mortgage.

Run your credit report.  Although there are lots of paid online sites that offer this service, you can request a free copy every year at from all three credit bureaus.  This is a great time to check for any mistakes and make sure that every debt on your credit report is included in your list.

Create a debt payoff plan.  Create a spreadsheet with all of your debt information. Include the name of the debt, total balance, interest rate, and minimum payment. Then figure out what order you want to attack your debt. Some organize them from lowest to highest balance, while others prefer to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first.

Whatever you decide, here’s the trick:  Once you pay off your first debt, combine that payment with the second debt.  For example, if you're paying $50 each month to a credit card, once it is paid off add that $50 to the $50 you're still paying to the auto repair shop that fixed your brakes last fall. Now you’re paying a lot more then the minimum and it just keeps growing as you go!

Look for ways to keep adding money to your payoff. Sell unused items around the house, have a yard sale, clip coupons, or even get a part-time job. Cut out one restaurant meal every week and add that to the pot. Just do whatever it takes to keep your momentum up!

Get the whole family involved. Make getting out of debt a family goal. Put your payoff on the fridge and count down. Let the kids help with the family budget.  When everyone understands what you’re working toward, they’ll be more likely to cooperate when the budget is tight.

And how can you find a few extra dollars toward your debt payoff?  Save on your monthly insurance costs!  SAV-ON can help.  Call us at 888-867-2866 for a review of your policies to see if there are places you can cut, or get a quote on your auto, home, business, and life insurance. We can usually save people money on their insurance! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Create A Winter Weather Prep Kit

It’s the time of year for icy winter weather.  And as your insurance agency, we'd like to share a few things to get you prepared before the winter storms hit!

First things first, you want to have the right supplies on hand. Create a basic emergency kit that includes a battery-powered radio and at least one week’s worth of food and safety supplies.  Also include:

• Drinking water
• Canned/no-cook food
• Blankets, hats and warm clothing
• Non-electric can opener
• Prescription medicine as needed
• First aid kit
• Bag of cat litter or sand to add traction on walkways
• Battery-powered lamps
• Carbon monoxide and smoke alarm in working order

And what about when bad weather hits? Here are a few things to put on your winter storm checklist:

• Leave water taps slightly open so they drip to prevent frozen pipes.
• Open kitchen cabinet doors under the sink to keep the pipes warm.
• Have an alternate heat source in case the power goes out. If it's a generator, make sure you have plenty of gasoline to keep it running. If it's the fireplace, make sure you have plenty of dry firewood handy.

The most important thing you can do?  Be prepared!  One benefit to winter storms is that you generally have plenty of warning that one is on the way. Don’t wait until the roads are icy and dangerous, get your supplies packed, your pipes protected, and a backup plan in case of a power outage.  If you can afford it, a generator can be well worth it if the power outage lasts for more than a few hours.

And make sure that you have great homeowners Insurance!  We can help with that.  Call us at 888-867-2866 for a free quote today.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Protect Your Belongings This Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing!  For many of us that means shopping, gifting, decorating, partying, and traveling.  And a whole lot of it!

Insurance agents are always on the look-out for things that might put our clients at risk.  That’s why we wanted to share a few quick reminders this month to make sure you avoid any potential claim situations or holiday disasters.

Properly Care for Live Christmas Trees

Be careful with a live Christmas tree.  Real trees are beautiful but can be hazardous as they dry out.  Water your tree daily to keep the needles from drying out. To avoid a house fire, make sure to turn the tree lights off when you go to bed in the evening or when you leave home. It only takes a minute or two for a dry Christmas tree to turn into a roaring inferno!

Holiday Shopping Precautions

When you're going from store to store trying to find just the right gift for Aunt Martha, don’t leave the other gifts in plain sight on the seat your car! A lot of people don’t realize that items in their car are NOT covered by auto insurance. And, while property off premises is covered by home and renters insurance, it is typically subject to a much higher deductible.  If you must leave anything in the car, put it in the trunk and lock the doors. In addition, if you have a car alarm, use it!

Holiday Travel

Traveling out of town?  Don’t make it too obvious!  Leave lights on in the house, stop your mail and newspaper, and leave your number with a trustworthy neighbor who will keep an eye on your home. Burglars know this time of the year there is a treasure trove of gifts in most homes, and will strike if they know nobody's home.

Proof of Insurance

Make sure to keep an updated insurance card in your car when you travel.  Not only is it important to have if you get pulled over, but all the information you need is in one place if you ever have to make a claim.

Protect Valuable Gifts and Jewelry

Did you receive some special jewelry for Christmas?  Make sure to call us!  We’ll review all of your options to make sure it is properly covered and protected. 

And most important? Have a safe and joy-filled holiday.

Merry Christmas from all of us at SAV-ON Insurance!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Home Maintenance Tasks

Now that the holidays are upon us, there is a lot of time spent in the kitchen. There's Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to cook, cookies and pies to bake, and lots of holiday treats to make! All that cooking can put a strain on your appliances and cookware, so it's a good idea to keep them in good shape so they perform for you.

 Maintain Large Appliances 

Appliances are a big long-term investment!  That’s why it’s important to take good care of them all year long.

Get Your Furnace Tuned Up

After a summer and fall where the furnace doesn't need to work very hard, the sudden drop in temperatures means your furnace is working overtime keeping your home warm. If it has any maintenance issues, this is probably when it will decide to stop working. At the same time, furnace repair businesses are being overwhelmed by calls for service when this happens, so you might end up shivering in the house for quite a while before a service tech can get to you. In addition, if you have your furnace serviced before it 'gives up the ghost', it could end up being less costly. Not only do furnace repair firms charge a premium when the demand is high, but the furnace might cause additional damage as its parts breakdown and damage other parts of the appliance.

Check the Refrigerator

Your refrigerator is a great place to start.  Accumulating dust can make your fridge cooling system less efficient. To prevent trouble, regularly pull the fridge away from the wall and clean the condenser coils with a vacuum cleaner.  It’s also a good idea to dust and clean the front lower grill.  This five-minute task can add years of service to your refrigerator! Check around the refrigerator to make sure you're not leaking coolant. And make sure the doors close tight and the seals aren't cracked or loose. If refrigerated air is escaping it forces your refrigerator to continually run and wear out prematurely.

Clean The Oven & Stove Drip Pan

Next move on to your stove.  It’s another appliance that needs a good regular cleaning to keep it working well. After the holidays are over, it's a good time to clean the dried food that has spilled over onto the floor of the oven. Many ovens have a self cleaning feature that will do the hard work for you.

The only problem?  It can take a while to run the cleaning feature and it usually smells pretty bad while it’s running.  Save this task for a nice day and open up the windows to keep it well ventilated.  Check your stove manual for instructions  and take a few minutes to clean the burners, too. 

Have Problem Trees Trimmed

Cold, rainy weather has arrived. Have you noticed any large branches hanging over onto your roof?  Get them trimmed as soon as possible.  In the Northwest it's not unusual for the constant rain to mix with a cold front and cause a big ice storm. The ice clings to branches, weighing them down. This can cause the branches to break onto your roof or car, leading to more damage and insurance claims. 

Save on Home Insurance

Homeowners Insurance is an important part of protecting your home and belongings.  To make sure you have the best coverage, call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 for a free, no-obligation quote. And have a wonderful holiday season!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Are the Most Important Reasons for Having Insurance?

Thanksgiving has almost arrived. This is the time of year when we sit back and reflect on all the things that we are thankful for. What immediately comes to mind?

For most of us it’s things like our family, our home, and our good health. And guess what they have in common? All of these things are what insurance protects!

That’s why it is so important to us that our clients have excellent insurance coverage. It’s not just about having an ID card in your car so you don’t get a ticket or fulfilling your mortgage company’s minimum loan requirements. It's about family.

Insurance is there to make sure that if the worst happens, you or your family can recover from it. It might not be easy, but we’re here to ease the financial burden after your car is wrecked in an accident, your house burns down, or a loved one passes away.

All of those TV commercials that just tell you to find the cheapest rate are completely wrong! Cheapest isn't always the best. Of course, no one wants to pay more then they have to, but it’s not the most important part of the equation. When something goes wrong, you need local agents who will help you through this stressful time. Right away. Because they care.

Rather than looking for a cheap bare-bones policy that will do you no good if you need to use it, take the time to interview and meet with one of our friendly local agents. See who is looking for the best coverage and truly meeting your needs while keeping the rates affordable. When you're shopping around, ask about how they handle claims and if they do annual policy reviews. That's something we pride ourselves on!

This Thanksgiving, SAV-ON Insurance Agencies is extremely thankful for all of our wonderful clients. If you need a local agent to look out for your most prized possessions, or you just have an insurance question, we'd love to help.

Give us a call at 888-867-2866 for a free no-obligation quote.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fire Safety For Your Home During the Winter

It's still fall, but with winter arriving soon, now is the time to get your house and family safely protected against the cold winter temperatures. With more time spent indoors and the heater on there's a greater chance of a fire.  Below are some ideas for preventing fires and saving money, too.

Furnace Maintenance

Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a professional at least once a year. When the weather is the coldest -- and the furnace is being run the hardest -- is when it inevitably will decide to quit working! Then trying to get a repairman out for service is difficult, since the demand, and the cost, is the high. When you have a long wait in bone-chilling temperatures, you'll wish you had done this earlier.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

Have chimneys and vents cleaned and inspected. Built up creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires! Occasionally critters will make nests in a flue and end up blocking the flow of air up the chimney. In addition, make sure the damper is tight and working properly, so the expensive heated air isn't going up the chimney (along with your money!).

Check the condition of your fireplace screen. If it is in poor condition, sparks from a fire can jump onto furniture or carpeting and start a fire. Get a covered metal container ready to dispose of ashes, and keep it at least 10 feet from your home. Ashes can smolder for hours and ignite flammable materials near it. Never dump ashes into a paper bag or onto a newspaper for disposal.

Now is the time to stock up on dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood stove. Once the wind starts howling and the temperatures drop, it's more difficult to find and more expensive.

Fire safety is important. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher and know how to use it. Go over fireplace rules and restrictions with your kids. It may look like fun, but they need to have a healthy respect for fire. You should never leave a young child alone near a fire for any reason!

Portable Heaters

If you use a portable heater for warmth, make sure the electrical cord is fully insulated and it has an automatic shut-off. Keep heaters at least three feet away form anything that can burn (like bedding). Never try to heat your home with a gas barbeque grill. The fumes it gives off are odorless and can sicken or even kill people! Even wood stoves need to be properly ventilated to the outside, or they can produce lethal gasses.

Finally, test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they're in good working condition. They are your first line of defense in the event of a problem, and can save you and your family's lives!

Follow these tips and your home will be safe this winter. If you're concerned about protecting your belongings, give us a call at 888-867-2866 to review you home insurance policy today!