Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Home Maintenance Tasks

April has arrived in Western Washington, and brought spring with it (finally!). There is no better time than now to get focused on home maintenance and spring cleaning. Here are a few things you can do in April to protect (and organize) your home. 

Check For Damage - Winter can be really hard on your home. A quick inspection around your property can reveal a lot of home improvement projects! Look for any damage to your roof or outdoor window screens and doors. Make note of chipped paint or areas that are in need of general maintenance. With all the rain we've had this year, some of that rain may have seeped into your siding and started to cause warping or even dry rot! It's best to remedy the situation now, before it gets worse -- and very expensive. Decide what you can do yourself and what will require a professional. 

Spring Clean - It's also time to tackle the inside of your home. Start working on clearing out and donating unused items (think tax deduction next year!). This could be the perfect time to take inventory of any high-value items that need to be documented for your insurance, like guns, artwork, and jewelry.  It's a good idea to take photos or make a quick video of those items and store it in a secure (and fire-proof) location. If something should happen, this will  be of great value when making your claim.

Organize Your Tax Documents - You probably just finished your taxes in the past few weeks.  Were all of your documents easy to locate?  What could make the process even easier next year? Update your filing system or schedule a meeting with your accountant and get prepared now.

Car Maintenance - April is Car Care Month.  If you’ve been putting off an oil change or a tune-up, get it scheduled now.  Summer usually means vacations and more driving outings. Your car will run better, use less gas and maintain it’s value longer!

Spruce Up Your Front Entryway
- How does your front porch look these days?  Could it use a little extra care?  Buy a new welcome mat, plant a pot of flowers, and make sure you can easily read your house numbers. 

Get Great Homeowners Insurance - The best way to protect your home?  Having the right amount of insurance!  Let us give you a no-obligation review of your current policy.  Call 888-867-2866 to schedule your appointment today.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Protect Your Property From Landslides and Other Natural Disasters

This massive landslide destroyed an entire neighborhood.
We’ve all been following the tragedy that happened Saturday, March 22 in Oso, Snohomish County, Wash., where a huge landslide broke loose and buried an entire neighborhood, rerouting a larger river in the process. 90 people are dead and more than 100 are still missing.

Then, on Wednesday, March 26, another big landslide struck Whidbey Island, taking one home with it and leaving 33 more perched precariously on the edge. Although no one died in this slide, many homes were evacuated and there’s still the danger of more landslides in the area. Many of the homes will not be inhabitable after this, since they are perched on the edge of an unstable cliff now.

This slide took one home and left 33 others in danger.
All this tragedy is a painful reminder that the Northwest is an area prone to landslides, especially when heavy rainfall seeps into a hillside and softens the earth into a muddy fill. Gravity takes over and the result is a massive movement of earth that takes down everything in its path.

If you are a homeowner, you need to be aware that typical homeowner policies do not cover damage done by land movement or landslides due to:

• Rain runoff
• Snow melt
• Flooding
• Earthquakes

Companies do not include landslides in the standard home policy because if they did, they would be requiring people who have chosen to live in safer areas to subsidize those who live in riskier places, said Karl Newman, president of the Northwest Insurance Council in Seattle.

Homeowners need to consider buying additional insurance to protect their property from possible damage caused by these forces of nature.  The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner encourages owners to look at these various options:

Landslide Insurance ('Difference in Condition' Policy)

The 'Difference in Condition' policy covers landslides, mudflows, earthquakes and floods.

Content coverage - Buy a special rider for your homeowner policy that includes coverage for the contents of your home from all earth-movement perils. This rider only covers contents, not the structure. Some insurance companies may not offer this option, so you may need to shop around.

Separate earth-movement coverage - Buy this coverage that includes structures, such as your house or any other unattached buildings on your property. Your agent or broker may be able to get you this coverage in the surplus lines market. These are companies that insure risks the industry traditionally doesn't insure. Note: If your home is on a hillside, this coverage may be difficult to obtain.

Flood Insurance

Typical homeowner policies do not cover flood damage, so you must buy flood insurance coverage separately. Flood insurance may apply to some kinds of earth movement, such as water-related erosion, mudflows, and flash floods.

Earthquake insurance

You also must buy earthquake insurance separately, either as an additional policy or as an endorsement to your regular homeowner policy.

If you're concerned about your property, but don't know if you need to get additional coverage? Call your SAV-ON agent and find out what, if any, coverage you need to be protected. Remember that this coverage typically requires a 30-day waiting period before coverage begins, so call us today! 888-867-2866.

Source: Office of the Washington State Commissioner of Insurance
Photos courtesy of CNN, The Chicago Tribune

Friday, March 7, 2014

Auto Insurance: What is Rental Reimbursement?

Rental reimbursement is an important part of your auto insurance coverage.  Let’s discuss what it is and why you need it!

When you suffer an auto insurance claim, it’s not uncommon for your vehicle to need to go to the shop for a few days for repairs.  Even minor scratches or dings can require you to be without a vehicle for an extended period of time.

If you have multiple cars this is probably a mild inconvenience.  But if you only have one vehicle or limited access to others, then it could be a major problem.

Think about this...

If you were without a car for a week, how would you get to work?

How would you get the kids to school?

If you use public transportation to commute, what about going to the grocery store or the kid’s soccer practice?

If any of these things would be a major problem, then you need Rental Reimbursement!  This coverage pays for your rental car while your car is in the shop due to a covered claim.

When you look at your policy, you’ll see rental coverage listed as a “per day” coverage.  It might be $50 per day, or $25 per day.  That amount is how much the insurance company will pay for that rental car, simple as that!

If you have a lower amount, but need a larger vehicle, then you’ll be responsible for the additional cost.  Let’s say you need a minivan to drive your 4 kids around, but only get enough Rental Reimbursement to cover a tiny economy car.  That additional per-day cost will fall on your shoulders, so make sure your policy is adequate before you end up needing it, or you'll have some unpleasant out-of-pocket expenses!

This is what SAV-ON Insurance is here for.  We’ll look at your individual situation, ask these questions, and recommend the right amount of coverage to make your life easy when those inconvenient situations occur.

Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 to discuss your auto Insurance coverage.  If you’re a current client, we’ll be happy to review your policy and let you know how much rental reimbursement coverage you currently have.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Life Insurance Is For Those You Love

A lot of people put off purchasing life insurance because it seems like a hassle. You don’t want to do any sort of medical appointment. It’s an extra expense. And, for the most part, you just plain don’t want to think about death.

But life insurance isn’t about you. It’s about the people you love. And what better time than February to think about love!

So let’s get real. You do a lot for your family and if you have family members who depend on your income, then you need life insurance

The Sooner the Better

For one, life insurance is cheaper when you are young and healthy! With each birthday you’ll see your premium go up unless you lock in a great rate now. And you don’t want to look for life insurance after you’ve been diagnosed with an illness. So, the best time is right now!

Another great thing about life insurance is that there are a lot of options. And we’re here to discuss all of them with you. You can purchase a policy for the short term or even as a long-term investment. It all depends on how much you can afford to spend and what your family needs are. 

Whatever your situation, sitting down and discussing your needs and budget with an agent is a great first step. We'd love to help you better understand how life insurance will help your family in the event you're no longer around to support them.

Call SAV-ON today at 888-867-2866 or visit our website, www.sav-on.com,  to set up a free, no-obligation appointment!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

February Home Maintenance Tasks

During 2014, we’ll be sharing a short list of tasks that you can do to help take care of your home, vehicle, and family. Consider them a helpful reminder of what needs to get accomplished throughout the month to keep your important items protected.

Purchase A Fire Extinguisher
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, now is the time to get at least one. Plan a family meeting and teach everyone in the household when and how to use it. Easy way to prevent a small kitchen fire from getting out of hand.

Schedule High-Value Jewelry On Your Insurance Policy
Did your Valentine surprise you with a new piece of jewelry? Make sure it’s covered! While your Homeowners or Renters policy will cover jewelry, there are some limitations. Get an appraisal and bring it in so we can discuss the best course of action for your piece. (This also applies to artwork, guns, and other collectibles or antiques.)

Seal Up Drafty Windows - Feel cool air blowing in around windows or doors? Seal them up now! You’ll be glad you did when those summer air conditioning bills arrive.

Newlywed Insurance Review - Did you get married this month? Call us to schedule a newlywed insurance review! We’ll look at your individual policies and discuss how best to combine them for your new household.

Show The Love! - There is no better way to show your family how much you love them, then with the proper amount of life insurance! We can give you a quote on an affordable term policy and help you get this important coverage in place quickly. [Insert any benefits here like no medical exam or a special rate.]

We LOVE our clients! Let us know if we can assist you in any way with your auto, home, business, or life insurance. Call SAV-ON Insurance Agencies at 888-867-2866 or visit us online at www.sav-on.com.

We'd be happy to review your policy to make sure you're adequately covered and to see if we can save you some money, too!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Home Maintenance to Tackle in the New Year

We've compiled a short list of tasks that you can do to help care for your home, vehicle and family.  Consider them helpful reminders of what needs to get accomplished throughout the month to keep your important items protected.

Make A Home Inventory - January is all about getting organized, right?  So what better time to document what you own in case you were to suffer a serious insurance loss (like a fire).  Grab your cell phone and make a short video of each room in your home, focusing on big ticket items.  Many times, it’s difficult for our clients to remember every little possession after the shock of a large claim.  You’ll be glad you took the time to make the videos if you ever need them.

Deep Clean Your Dryer Vent - A large percentage of home fires begin in the clothes dryer!  Lint builds up in the vent and hose which can spark a fire.  Unhook the hose and vacuum the area well on a regular basis to keep your home protected.

Organize Your Warranties - Do you have a big pile of warranties, product documents, and receipts stuffed in your desk drawer?  Do you even own those items anymore? These days, many owners manuals can be found online without taking up valuable drawer storage.  Also consider scanning and keeping a digital file of your receipts and warranties for easy storage and retrieval if needed.

Check Your Circuit Breakers - How often do you actually look in the breaker box? Open it up and make sure the labels are correct and readable. If you are trying to isolate a certain area of the home, it will be extremely frustrating if you're trying to figure out which breaker is the correct one. Also, it's a good idea to stash a spare flashlight (with working batteries) close by in case of a power outage. Finally, make sure that all breaker switches are clicked all the way on. A "tripped" circuit breaker will mean a loss of power somewhere in your home or garage. If it's a refrigerator, that means a bunch of spoiled food that you will need to throw out

Gather Your Tax Documents - It won’t be long until you’re filing your 2013 taxes. Start gathering up all the documents you or your accountant will need. Need a copy of your insurance policies or premiums?  Call us at 888-867-2866 and we’ll be happy to help! 

Know Your Deductibles - When was the last time you reviewed your deductibles?  This is what you would pay out-of-pocket in the event of an insurance claim. It’s a good idea to keep this amount in your savings account so it’s available when you need it. Feel free to give us a call to review all of your insurance policies in detail.

January is a great time to get organized for the new year! Let SAV-ON Insurance Agencies know if we can help in any way! 

Friday, December 6, 2013

How To Protect Your Belongings This Holiday Season

The holidays have officially arrived! And for many of us that means shopping, gifting, decorating, partying and traveling. And a whole lot of it!

Insurance agents are always on the lookout for things that might put our clients at risk. That’s why we wanted to share a few quick reminders this month to help you avoid any potential claim situations. With all the hustle and bustle of the season, you sure don't need to encounter any of these disasters!

Be careful with a live Christmas tree. Real trees are beautiful,  but can be hazardous. Water your tree daily and turn the lights off at night and when you won’t be home to avoid a house fire. A dry tree can explode into flames and cause a lot of damage.

Don’t leave gifts in your car! A lot of people don’t realize that items in their car are NOT covered by auto insurance. 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.

Traveling out of town? Don’t make it too obvious! Leave lights on in the house, stop your mail, and leave your number with a trustworthy neighbor who will keep an eye on your home. Posting your out-of-town trip on social media such as Facebook and Twitter is only inviting trouble, since it's an open invitation for a burglar.

• Make sure to keep an updated insurance card in your car when you travel. Not only is it good to have if you get pulled over, since failure to produce it can result in a fine, but all the information you need is in one place if you were to have a claim.

• Received 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 Agencies