Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Insurance Claim Hassle? We're Here to Help!

Insurance claims can be a stressful process.  At SAV-ON, we've worked with many clients after car accidents, home fires, storm damage, and burglaries. Because it's about a loss or other horrible occurrence, insurance claims are tied to the most stressful events in our lives.

That's why it's extremely important that you work with an agent and a company that you trust.

After an insurance claim, you will work with an adjustor to evaluate your loss. Depending on the type of claim, they will examine the property and gather more information.  You will then be offered a settlement and the process will begin to restore your loss.

So what happens if things don't go smoothly at first?  Maybe you don't agree on the amount or can't get the right documentation?

That's where SAV-ON comes in.

Our job, as your agency, is to also be your advocate.  Our office goes to work to help you communicate with your adjustor if there is a problem.  That means that when you need help, we're there. With 50 years of experience, we know how to work with adjustors to get you a reasonable settlement.

Yes, sometimes you can get cheaper rates with unknown companies.  And you might enjoy being able to buy online without talking to an agent. If nothing ever happens, and you never have a claim, then you may save a few dollars.

But when it comes down to those stressful moments when something unfortunate has occurred and you aren't getting a fair shake from your insurance adjustor, it's great to have someone on your side.

If you live anywhere in Washington, call SAV-ON Insurance Agencies today at 888-867-2866 and let us help you get the insurance you need, at a great price. And, should you ever need to make a claim, you will be able to count on us to help you through it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Insurance Tips When Planning Your Vacation

It’s getting warmer, schools are out, and everyone has summer vacation on the brain!  But, before you load up the car and head out, here are a few insurance tips before you take off.

First, contact the post office and put a hold on your mail.  You can do the same for your newspaper service, too. These are often big indicators that a homeowner is out of town and will be a target for thieves.  This is an easy way to help keep your home protected while you're away! 

Consider putting a few lights in your home on a timer to further give the illusion that someone is home.  Outdoor security lights are also a great option.

Do you have a neighbor who you trust?  Let them know of your plans, share your emergency contact number, and consider leaving a spare key just in case.

Imagine that a big thunderstorm hits while you’re out of town.  It knocks out power or even causes a tree in your yard to fall.  Your neighbor can make sure that your freezer is back on when the power is restored, or verify that there aren’t any leaks in the roof from the storm damage!  This can help prevent unhappy surprises when you get home.


What about once you’re on the road?

The biggest tip we share with our clients is to avoid leaving valuables in the car! 

Many people believe that their belongings are covered by car insurance, but that is not the case.  The only coverage for your luggage, computer, etc. would be on your homeowners insurance, and it’s subject to your deductible! So, if you can't take it with you when you leave the car, the best idea is to hide the items in a trunk, or at least park in a well-lit area that has foot traffic all the time. A thief wants to have as easy a time as possible. No witnesses, no lighting to call attention to his crime. If he can see it,  he can easily get in and steal it.

Have questions about your Homeowners Insurance?  Give SAV-ON a call anytime at 888-867-2866 to discuss your policy or to get a quote!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Buying a Home? Let Us Handle the Homeowners Insurance for You!

Many people begin house hunting during the spring and summer months.  And while you may know all the basics for getting a mortgage and finding the perfect house, many people have no clue where to begin when looking for good, low-cost homeowners insurance.

That’s where SAV-ON Insurance comes in! 

Home buying is a long and sometimes stressful process, but getting the proper insurance doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to make it incredibly simple: When you find the right home and have an accepted offer, let your lender know that SAV-ON Insurance will be handling your homeowners insurance. 

They’ll typically send us the loan information, but you can speed up the process by calling us and letting one of our friendly agents know all the important details.  We’ll need to know things like what year the home was built, how many square feet it is, what construction materials were used, and other items like that.

Then we’ll contact your lender to determine the closing date and the mortgagee clause.  (You don’t need to worry about and of this. Just let us know who is taking care of your loan and we’ll handle all the details.)

We’ll fax all of the insurance documents to your lender before the closing date and you’ll be ready to go when the house closes! 

To save a little extra on your home policy, let us know about any security systems or if you’d like to quote your auto insurance at the same time. Having more than one policy with us qualifies you for big multi-policy discounts!

Home buying can be stressful, the insurance side is really simple with the right communication and team.  Call us at 888-867-2866 today to discuss your new home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Are You Prepared for a Natural Disaster?

Whether it’s the recent landslides we’ve experienced in the Northwest, the tornados that ripped through the Midwest, or the wildfires that are raging in Southern California, it seems like Mother Nature is behaving at her worst these days.

Are you prepared in the event a natural disaster strikes where you live? There are a number of things you can do to prepare, so that you can make the best of a bad situation and get the help needed to start the recovery.

Inventory Your Belongings

Take a full inventory of all personal belongings. This will help the claims process go more smoothly if they are damaged in a natural disaster. Making a video of your home and garage will give you visual evidence during the claims process. Remember to put this inventory in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box so it doesn’t get destroyed should disaster strike!

Use Technology

The American Red Cross offers free disaster safety apps for mobile phones that help homeowners prepare for a natural disaster, stay up-to-date on the latest wildfire news and find a shelter in their area, should they need to evacuate.

Put a Supply Kit Together

Encourage customers to put together a basic supply kit for wildfires and other natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a list of recommended items on its website, plus tips on maintaining the kit, where to store it and more.

Safeguard Your Home

Protect your property with tips from FEMA or The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, including how to create defensible space, protect patios and decks, and more.

If you’re in an area susceptible to wildfires, tornadoes, floods or landslides, you can take steps to protect your property and your family. Check out www.ready.gov for tips on how to prepare, survive and get emergency assistance in the event a natural strikes.

Make Sure You've Covered

Having an effective insurance plan that can help you replace and rebuild after being the victim of a natural disaster is extremely important. Standard homeowners insurance will not cover many natural disasters, so if you’re in an earthquake zone, near a landslide-prone hill or a low-lying area near a body of water, call SAV-ON Insurance and make sure you’re covered should they occur. It’s protection you can’t afford to pass up!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Summer is Coming! Make Sure Your Boats, RVs and Cycles are Ready and Properly Insured

Before we know it there will be Memorial Day barbecues and weekends at the lake or park.  Time to get the boat, RV or motorcycle out of storage and ready for action!

That's why now it's also a great time to review extra insurance coverage on all of your summer ‘toys’.  Read below for things to consider and review with your insurance agent before the big items come out of winter storage.

RV insurance
RV - Your motorhome or travel trailer needs insurance coverage, especially if you'll be driving or pulling it this year.  Even if you don't have a loan on your RV, you will want it covered for theft or damage.  Whether they are parked on a lake lot for the season or driving across the country, SAV-ON offers several RV policies to fit your needs.  Just call us for a quote: 888-867-2866.

boat insurance
Boat - The same thing goes for your boats and jet skis.  You've made a big investment and it's important to protect them.  Not only should you worry about damage to your boat, but also make sure you have the proper amount of liability coverage.  Don’t forget your life jackets!

In addition,Washington state requires that you also will take and pass a Boater Education Course before you can legally get out on the water in your boat or personal watercraft. If you're 59 years of age or younger, you must pass the online test and receive a Boater Education Card.  The one-time fee for the boater's card is $39.95. Visit the state's website to get started: http://www.boaterexam.com/usa/washington/?gclid=CJXZgrO6n74CFcOBfgod7YIAPA

Motorcycle
- Ready to hit the road for a long drive?  Remember to brush up on your safety skills and always wear a helmet.  Don’t forget to make sure your motorcycle has liability coverage just like your vehicle!  We can help you determine what coverage you need. 

Motorcycle insurance
Swimming Pool - If you own a pool, then you need extra liability coverage including a personal umbrella policy.  Why?  Because there is a lot more risk of someone being injured when you have a pool.  Don’t skimp on your coverage and make sure you have the pool area secured and safe. 

Summer is a lot more fun when you know that your high-priced recreational vehicles are properly insured and protected.  It only takes a few minutes to call us for a quote or to review your current coverage.  Call SAV-ON Insurance at 888-867-2866 today and be prepared for summer fun! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Heartbleed Virus – And How It Will Affect You!

The latest virus, called ‘Heartbleed’, is making headlines around the world due to its impact. While other viruses targeted certain operating systems or email programs, this nasty bug affects not only emails, but everything on the Internet: apps, hardware and websites. Nothing seems to be immune from its reach, including antivirus software. Even some versions of Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software were impacted.

To give you some idea of its pervasive nature, by mid-April there were still 150 million vulnerable apps running on Android smartphones, according to cybersecurity provider FireEye. And that’s just one manufacturer of one device. It is non-discriminatory, affecting all makes and models.

“The fallout from this is likely to continue for weeks and months to come,” said Tom Brennan, a computer security expert who developed a free add-on to the Firefox web browser that detects if a website is at risk.

For you to be safe from Heartbleed, you need to know that everything you use to connect online needs to be updated: smartphone apps, Wi-Fi routers, office servers, websites you visit, etc.

There are some important steps you can take to minimize the threat: Update all your passwords often, and update your software to the latest version. And don’t trust any app, device, computer or website until the security experts specifically say they’ve fixed the problem.

This isn’t your grandmother’s computer virus, either. Heartbleed doesn’t get automatically deleted by your computer’s antivirus program like previous viruses. This one exploits a flaw in the software devices use to talk to one another and, because they’re all interconnected, it only takes one weak spot to allow hackers to find their way in and create a huge problem – with your financial accounts and credit cards.

For more information, and to watch a video regarding Heartbleed, go here.

Be Proactive: Check Your Credit Score

Of course, this means that even though you change all your passwords, update your software and download patches for your router or server, your accounts may still have been exposed to hackers, and your credit affected. That’s why it’s important to check it in the next couple of months, to see if it has been affected.

Your credit score is important in many ways.  It allows you to purchase a home, buy a car, and can even be a factor in getting the best insurance rates. 

Here are 3 ways to help protect your score:

1.  Order an updated credit report each year for you and your spouse.  Many people don’t realize that there may be mistakes on their credit report that lowers their score!  In fact, a recent study showed that 79% of credit reports contain some kind of error!  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to request a free copy annually from each of the three major credit bureaus.

2.  Avoid excessive credit inquiries.  Only run your credit report when you are ready to apply for credit and make a purchase.  Consistent and ongoing inquiries can lower your score because the bureaus assume that you will be taking on more debt.

3.  Long history counts!  The best scores have many years of positive credit history.  That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your unused accounts open rather than closing them.  They continue to show positive long-term history and help your score even if you’re not using those credit cards on a regular basis.

If you should discover an recent problem with your credit score, and fear it was caused by Heartbleed, notify your financial institution immediately. Most banks and credit unions have fraud control procedures, and can put a freeze on the accounts affected, so you won’t be liable for the full amount. It will also stop the thieves from stealing more.

This is a problem that won’t be going away soon, either. Bryan Harris, a researcher at analytics software maker SAS, called it "a systemic issue" with a long, uphill road ahead.


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.