Wind Storm Damage – Am I Covered?

By Ryan Stueber  January 18, 2019 (edited Jan 2020) It’s already been a wet and wild winter here in the Pacific Northwest with some significant weather  events and yes, more on the way!! As the threat of wind looms, I thought it might be helpful to others to share with you some of the common scenarios that happen during our winter weather and how they are covered on a typical home insurance policy. As always, we’ll be here to help you thru the process should you have any questions or any damage occurs at your home. 5 Potential Winter Damage Insurance Claim Scenarios Windstorm blew shingles off my roof Is it covered? Yes but with some limitations- a typical Homeowners Insurance policy will pay for repairs to your roof, assuming the repair costs more than your deductible. But what if the roof is beyond repair and needs to be replaced? In many cases, the insurance company will pay out a depreciated amount to help replace the roof. This means that the older your roof is and the poorer the condition prior to the storm, the smaller the amount that the insurance company will pay. Insurance companies do this to protect themselves from paying out to replace people’s roofs that already need to be replaced due to wear and tear. Our recommendation The first thing to do in this scenario is the call 2-3 roofing companies to come out and assess the damage. If it is under or around your deductible, then it makes sense to take care of the damage yourself and not file a claim. If the damage is more severe or the roof needs to be replaced, give us a call to discuss further as it may be worth filing a claim at that point. Windstorm blows a […]

How do I know if I have enough liability insurance?

By Ryan Stueber  January 2019 Liability Insurance- how do I know if I have enough? One sunny day you are driving along a road that you’ve driven many times before. You slow and prepare for a right hand turn into a parking lot but fail to notice the bicyclist riding along in the bike lane next to you. As you turn, the cyclist is unable to stop and crashes into the side of your car, causing significant head and chest injuries.  As much as you are concerned that he will be ok, as he is carted off in the ambulance you can’t help but wonder, “Is my Auto Insurance going to cover this?” One of the biggest financial risks that we rarely consider as we go about our daily lives is a liability lawsuit from an auto accident. As we can see from the example above, it only takes a moment’s inattention to have life altering implications.  With medical costs skyrocketing and more and more people hiring personal injury attorneys after an accident, it is more important than ever to review the Liability coverage on your Auto Insurance Policy. The State of Washington only requires Liability Limits of $25,000 per person, and up to $50,000 per accident on an Auto Insurance policy. That may seem like a lot but if you’ve been to the hospital or had any kind of medical care, you likely know just how fast 25,000 can be used up when treating an injury.  In a hospital or major medical clinic that amount could be used up in less than a day! Once the Liability Limits on your auto insurance policy have been exhausted and all used up, the insurance company has done their part on the claim and steps out. The remainder of any financial burden […]

5 Ways to Prepare Your Family for a Major Earthquake

Written by: Ryan Stueber Due to the recent earthquakes in Alaska, we’ve taken a lot of calls from concerned clients asking about Earthquake Insurance. While having Earthquake Insurance is a great step to protect your home, you need to survive long enough to take advantage of it. Here are five simple steps that I am taking to prepare my family for a major earthquake. Buy a portable water filtration system According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, one of the first things we will lose in a major earthquake is water pressure needed to supply running water. Seattle Public Utilities also warned that it could take up to 2 months to restore running water to the city and its suburbs. So, while it may seem prudent to keep some bottled water in your garage, it likely won’t be enough to get you through. The good news is that we live in an area of the world that generally has a lot of water if you can make it safe to drink. Iodine tablets can be effective but I prefer some of the newer portable filtrations systems that you can find in REI and other camping stores. Katadyn, LifeStraw and Sawyer all make excellent filtration systems for a reasonable cost. Put one (or more) on your Christmas list this year. Know where to find water nearby Assuming you now have a system to filter your water, it would also be prudent to find the nearest natural water source and make sure you have something you can carry water in. I simply looked on Google maps to find the nearest lake and stream and determined how long it would take me to walk there (let’s assume the roads are damaged) and what I could use to carry the water. It […]

Smart Home Monitoring Saved Irreplaceable Photos

House Flood
Nearly 100 year old family photos were saved, huge water damage avoided – all because of smart home monitoring…..and it all started about our pets being home alone…… Ever leave your pets home alone?  Worry about irreplaceable items being destroyed? I do.Our family pets are often home alone.  As many of you probably feel, our pets are definitely considered family members (and pampered and spoiled ones) at our house. Sometimes things that happen to others can trigger, a “what would happen” response in our own world. Such was the case, and I began thinking about things that could happen when we aren’t home. Around that same time,  I became aware of Smart Home products and one called “Notion” was being featured by Travelers Insurance, it is a home monitoring system.  Allowing users to be notified via a mobile apps if a smoke alarm goes off, if temperature exceeds or dips below a certain level, if water is detected on a sensor, movement of doors, etc.  These devices are typically small and several vendors out there, the device is placed in the area you want monitored.  You can then be alerted via email or text in most cases, if the smoke alarm goes off or if placed on the floor near hot water tanks, washers, toilets, etc for unexpected water.  There are actually several features in these devices in addition to smoke and water. They can detect motion, such as opening doors or Windows. They can detect temperature changes such as if your heater fails while you’re on an extended leave in the winter you would know if your pipes are in danger of freezing. You could also know if by some reason someone left the heat on in your house and you were spending unnecessary money by heating an empty […]

Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Auto Insurance!

Let’s face it, If you’ve taken a look at your Auto insurance bill lately you likely noticed a definite upward trend. You may ask – “What can I do to keep my rates as competitive as I can?” Here’s our answer. 5 Ways To Help You Save on Auto Insurance Keep a clean driving record. Drive safely and within the laws of the road. Be a defensive driver. Be careful of filing small claims. Filing small claims will likely cause your rates to go up and our options for car insurance carriers to be impacted. Pay attention to your credit score. You may be surprised to learn that there is potential your credit score will change your insurance rates. Spending the time to get your score as high as you can will benefit you in many ways beyond just how much car insurance costs. Bundle your Auto and Home or Renters insurance with the same insurance company when possible. Most companies offer a discount between 15% and 25% to bundle. Take advantage of the tracking devices and apps now being offered by many insurance carriers. These devices track how much you drive and how you drive and can give significant discounts to safe drivers. Call or email us if you are interested! Now, when trying to save money on car insurance, we also need to look at how Insurance Companies determine their rates. New technologies allow for a considerable increase in the amount of data that is collected which enables insurance carriers to help determine the when, who, and where in regard to when claims are most likely to occur and charge accordingly. The following list is compiled of just a few important factors that will typically have the largest impact on your insurance rates. Factors That Weigh into Determining […]

Full Coverage Auto Insurance Doesn’t Exist

By: Ryan Stueber Wait…there’s no such thing as Full Coverage on my Auto Insurance? Picture this scenario – You are driving along when suddenly another vehicle runs a red light and hits you causing damage to your car and sending you to the emergency room. A week later you find out that although the damage to your vehicle will be covered by your insurance, your medical bills won’t. “But I thought I had full coverage?” You say. “Shouldn’t my injuries be covered as well?” Therein lies the problem with the term “Full Coverage”, assumptions and misunderstandings.  When a term like “Full Coverage” is used, it leads to a lot of assumptions from both parties.  Traditionally, “Full Coverage” equates to having Comprehensive and Collision coverage on your vehicle, in addition to the liability coverage requirements and that is all. Really, it is usually referencing the coverage for your car, not for your medical coverage. So where did the term Full Coverage come from anyway? It’s hard to say for sure, but it likely finds its roots with Auto Finance Companies seeking an easy way to tell their clients what is required when they are financing or leasing a vehicle. The Finance company only requires Comprehensive and Collision coverage because the vehicle is all they care about. What’s not covered by “Full Coverage” Auto Insurance? A lot! Uninsured Motorist Personal Injury Protection Rental Reimbursement Roadside Assistance New car Replacement or GAP coverage Full Glass coverage These and many more coverages are not necessarily being included when you ask for “Full Coverage” but are extremely important coverages to have and understand.  At PNW Insurance Group we pride ourselves in education and explanation of what we are suggesting and how it benefits you. How do I make sure I’m fully covered? Well, the bad news is […]

Dreading Your Auto Insurance Bill? You’ll Want to Read This

We know the feeling, after all, we get those same envelopes, with that same increase in our auto insurance bill as well.  We wanted to share some information with you that may help.  While we can’t change how rates are determined – we can; help educate you on the “why”, let you know the advantages of the policy you have and the company you have it with; review your needs and see if another one of our carriers may be a better fit and let you know the downsides of switching carriers – do you lose discounts when you switch? Are there discounts now you may be eligible for and not getting? Please give us a call, we’d love to talk it about it with you. 253-447-8006 or feel free to contact us to set up a convenient time to discuss your situation. What affects my rates? Let’s just boil this down, for the most part it will help explain some of the factors and considerations into rates. The area in which you live – more people means a higher likelihood of accidents. Age of driver – Experience driving or lack of it Type of Vehicle – Costs to repair or replace have grown tremendously Your driving record – Need I say more? Your credit score – While it may seem like the issues aren’t related, statistics have indicated they are and insurance is largely driven by (no pun intended) statistics. Some more insurance rate factors: In a study done on minor front end damage for an entry level sedan of the same make and model for the model year 2014 and 2016, the 2014 costs came in at $1,846 while the 2016 was $3,551 – almost double!  Now throw in all the technology cars have – yikes! Although, I do love a car […]
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