lowering your risk for theft this holiday season in Bremerton, Washington

Lower Your Risk for Theft This Holiday Season

lowering your risk for theft this holiday season in Bremerton, WashingtonThe holiday season tends to see some of the biggest crime waves throughout the year. Here are some things to be aware of when it comes to lowering your risk for theft this holiday season.

Vehicle Break-ins:

Nobody wants to have their vehicle broken into. Not only does it cause a major inconvenience, but it feels violating & you could have valuables stolen out of your vehicle. To lower your risk of a break-in, always follow these tips.

  • Never leave valuables in your car. There are many scenarios where you may have valuables in your car, whether for a short period or a long period. If you are out doing holiday shopping, store items in your trunk or cover them so they are not exposed. If you are parking your vehicle outside overnight or for an extended period, always remove valuables from your car. When parking for an extended period, you are at a higher risk for a break-in. Even if your vehicle was broken into, at least you can say you didn’t have anything for the burglar to take.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas. This could prevent thieves from breaking in if they think they could be caught on a security camera.
  • Always lock your car. Get in the habit of locking your car each time you get out of your vehicle. Unlocked doors gives prowlers a free look to see what is inside & a locked car can sometimes prevent valuables from being stolen.

If I had valuables stolen out of my vehicle, does my auto insurance policy provide coverage?

The short answer is no. Comprehensive coverage on an auto insurance policy will provide you with coverage if your vehicle is stolen. Items stolen from inside your vehicle are typically not covered.

Mail Theft:

Many people receive gifts in the mail during the holidays. Gift cards and cash can often be found in holiday cards & thieves may be out lurking in your mailbox hoping to score your gift. Here are a few tips to always remember this holiday season regarding your mail.

  • Get in the habit of picking up your mail daily, even if you have a locked mailbox. Prowlers can still break into your mailbox if they see mail sitting there.
  • If you plan to be gone for an extended period, hold your mail. This can be done online for free with USPS.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to pick up your mail.
  • Don’t place cash, check, or gift cards in your outgoing mail. Did you know a thief can easily use your checking account number on your check to steal your identity? If you can, take outgoing mail to a drop-off location.

Doorstep Theft & Home Security:

Many people do more online shopping during the holidays which means more packages getting delivered to your doorstep. Thieves are aware of this. Follow these tips to lower your risk of theft at your home:

  • Track all your packages. If you see a package is getting delivered on a day you will not be home, ask a friend, family member, or neighbor to grab it for you.
  • Ship packages to a different location. This could be your work or friend or family member’s home where someone will be around to pick up the package for you.
  • If your delivery provider has the option to pick it up at their distribution center, consider this option if you will not be home.
  • If you can provide a message to your delivery provider, consider asking him or her to leave your package in a specific location at your house that is not visible to thieves.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season! If you have any questions about your insurance policy, please contact our agency.

Rodent Damage & Preventative Steps to Take This Winter in Bremerton, Washington

Rodent Damage & Preventative Steps to Take This Winter

Rodent Damage & Preventative Steps to Take This Winter in Bremerton, WashingtonAs the temperature continues to drop this time of year, humans aren’t the only ones seeking warmer areas to rest. Mice, rats, and other rodents move indoors this time of year to nest as well as look for more food sources that may be stored. It is your responsibility to protect your house from rodent damage as damages caused by rodents or other animals is not covered by an insurance policy.

What types of damage can rodents cause?

Rodents that nest in crawl spaces under a home can wreak havoc on your insulation as well as any items that you may store in there. They will make bedding out of anything soft including pulling down your insulation, shredding up paper, cardboard, and fabric so if you store things in your crawl space, be sure they’re in a sealed plastic bin so the rodent can’t chew or scratch its way through.

Urine & Droppings: Mice and rats can make a smelly mess. The adage that says don’t go to the bathroom where you sleep isn’t true for mice and rats. They don’t seem to mind and if your home has a rodent problem, you’ll see (and often smell) droppings on everything.

How did a rodent get into my house?

Rodents are crafty and will burrow under a home and enter through a dirt floor (like in a crawl space) or they can squeeze through cracks in a foundation, a broken window, or gaps around the home such as exterior boards. Once inside, they can squeeze up into your walls and make their way all the way around your home. Rats often make their way up into attics. If you have a rat in your attic, you’ll likely hear it scurry around.

Preventative Steps to Protect Your Home from Rodent Damage

To protect your home, do a visual inspection for any obvious places a rodent could squeeze in. If your home has a crawlspace, look for vents around the foundation and inspect those as oftentimes, the screens that keep things out become damaged and allow for room to get in.

Never store food in your garage or crawl space. Food will attract rodents. If you do store food, make sure it is in air-tight containers.

How do you get rid of rodents in a house?

Unfortunately, the only way to get a rodent out of a home is to trap it. There are a variety of traps available but beware of using any that contain poison if you have children or animals in your own home. Additionally, poison traps can leave a dead animal in an area you can’t reach, leading to a stinky problem for quite some time. Consider calling a professional or even using humane traps to remove the rodents.

Before you trap, be sure you’ve remedied the entry point. Because the problem will quickly return if you haven’t solved the entry point issue.

Will my insurance pay to repair rodent damage?

No, rodent damage is not typically covered by a home insurance policy because this type of damage occurred over an extended period of time. Rodents can take months or years to create noticeable damage, but by then it is too late and the damages you couldn’t see are extensive. Your best option is to call several crawl space cleanout or insulation companies. They can give you a quote to fix the damage as well as seal up your crawl space to avoid future issues.

Take care of your home and your home will take care of you. If you’re needing a quote on a great insurance policy to help protect it, give us a call. We represent the top-rated insurance companies and can give you multiple options for coverage as well as pricing.

Home and Auto Insurance in Bremerton, Washington

Home & Auto Insurance Have Increased & We Explain Why.

Home and Auto Insurance in Bremerton, WashingtonInsurance premiums are calculated based on how much it will cost to replace or repair your home or vehicle as well as your overall risk. Your overall risk is broken up by several factors that can impact your auto insurance such as your driving record, claim history, age, credit score, zip code, the make and model of your car, and the type of insurance coverage limits & deductible you choose. Your home insurance premium factors can be based on the age of your home & condition, your zip code, credit score, home safety features, the coverage limits & deductible you choose, claim history, and more.

We are seeing a trend that many customers continue seeing an increase in auto and home insurance premiums at renewal, even if their overall risk has not changed.

Home insurance has increased because construction costs have gone up due to a shortage of building materials and labor. Not only has there been a shortage in materials and labor, but the cost of materials and labor wages have also increased. Lastly, there has been an increase in home insurance claims due to natural disasters. Anytime an insurance carrier experiences an increase in insurance claims, they will increase their future premiums for customers. This can even extend across state lines.

Car insurance has also gone up for several reasons such as more accidents occurring, a shortage of skilled labor, and car parts have increased in price. All these factors make insurance premiums more expensive.

If your home or auto insurance policy premium increased significantly at renewal, don’t panic & give us a call. We represent the top insurance carriers, which means we work for you. We have the ability to shop your current coverage with all of our carriers & provide you with several quotes. This gives you the option to have competitive prices, as well as several choices.

We can also provide you with professional insurance advice. We always want you to have plenty of insurance coverage to ensure you are protected in the event you have to file a claim.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to lowering your premium: 

1.) Bundle your home or renters insurance policy with your car insurance.

2.) Stay on top of home maintenance to lower your risk of a claim. A few areas to assess are your roof, plumbing and electrical. Insurance claims can impact your future insurance premium so if there is a way to prevent a claim, this is crucial.

3.) Talk to your agent about an insurance review. When you increase your deductible, your premium gets lowered. Please note if you do experience a home insurance claim, out-of-pocket expenses would be increased due to a higher deductible.

4.) Ask for a re-quote with other carriers. This is a big advantage of working with a local, independent insurance agency. We have many choices for insurance!

Contact our agency today with any questions or concerns you have about your insurance policy.