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In honor of Mary Fisher’s 11-year anniversary with McClain Insurance, we’re playing “Get to Know the McClain Team.” We hope you enjoy learning more about Mary, what she loves about our community, and her answers to our lightning-round questions.

Tell us about your family, where you grew up and what you were like as a kid.

I was born in Minnesota and moved to Southern California when I was 2 ½, then moved to Hood River, Oregon when I was 12. I consider Oregon home.

Mary Fisher as a young girl4-year-old Mary, ready for Easter

I graduated from Oregon State with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a Home Ec. minor. I guess I was ahead of my time since HGTV was not around back then!

My brother and sister are 20 and 15 years older than me so special childhood memories revolve around weddings and becoming an aunt at age 6! We had a fabulous parks and recreation department and our summers were filled with field trips to the beach, zoo, and museums! Good times!!

Mary Fisher with her mom and sisterMary with her mom and sister

I met my husband, Mike, at my oldest niece’s wedding – he was best man and I was a bridesmaid. I caught the bouquet! That was 35 yeas ago on August 28. We have a daughter, a son, and a soon-to-be son-in-law. Our daughter has an Australian Shepherd named Buckley who keeps all of us on our toes! We lost our little Yorkie, Jake, a year ago but we’re not quite ready to replace him yet.

Mary and Mike FisherMary and her husband, Mike

Tell us about working for McClain Insurance.

I joined McClain Insurance in 2009. It was my first job in the insurance industry. I love the community involvement and the outstanding reputation McClain Insurance has in the community and industry!

What do you like to do outside of work?

Family time is important! I miss my extended family and my close friends a lot! When we are not in a pandemic, I like to spend time with them.

Kendall, Mary and Grant at Grand CanyonKendall, Mary and Grant at the Grand Canyon on Mother’s Day in 2019, after Grant’s graduation from Northern Arizona University

We also like wine tasting and road trips. Seeing every national park is on my bucket list!

Lightning-round questions!

1. What new hobby or skill would you like to learn? I have always wanted to learn to crochet. I am currently learning all about rain gardens.

2. What’s your favorite local business or restaurant? Wood Fire Grill, Scuttlebutt, and El Paraiso

The Fisher familyMary and her family at Christmas: son, Grant; husband, Mike; future son-in-law, Josh; and daughter, Kendall

3. What motivates you to work hard? My kids and setting an example for them. I was raised with a strong work ethic and I am proud to say that my kids have one, too!

4. What would you sing at karaoke night? First of all, I don’t sing. I lip sync in the shower, I’m that bad!! If I had to pick a song, it would be “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert.

5. What’s the most useless talent you have? I can solve a TV/movie crime before the show is half over.

6. What food do you love that a lot of people might find a little odd? Lutefisk and lefse! I’m half Norwegian. And to be fair to my other half, I love Irish whiskey!

Mary and Dusty the horseMary as a teenager on Dusty the horse

7. If you were a superhero, what powers would you have? I have always been a Wonder Woman fan! To be honest, when I was younger, I was often told I looked like Lynda Carter. LOL! So I guess a Lasso of Truth (don’t lie to me!) and deflecting arm bands would be my super powers!

8. What topic could you give a 20-minute presentation on without any preparation? Making gravy!

9. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Spending time with family! My nephew has been hosting Christmas Eve parties at his home in Bellevue for the past 10 years and it is always a fun time. We like to kick back on Christmas Day and go to a movie. It all changes with adult kids!

10. What pets did you have growing up? When I was born my family had a German Shepherd named Chita who was my personal bodyguard! When I was 7 she developed cancer and died. We got another German Shepherd named Queenie who had been abused and was very skittish. Poor thing. I also had a cat named Keesa which means female kitty in Norwegian. Then we found out she was a he!

11. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Daring or stupid? I went down a raging river on a raft made of 26 truck tire inner tubes. And I don’t swim!!

We’re so glad Mary is part of the McClain Insurance family! To learn more about Mary and the rest of our team, visit autohomeboat.com/about

In honor of Caitlin Klosterman’s 6-year anniversary with McClain Insurance, we’re playing “Get to Know an Agent.” We hope you enjoy learning more about Caitlin, what she loves about insurance, and her answers to our lightning-round questions.

Tell us about your family, where you grew up and what you were like as a kid.

I was born at Everett General Hospital in Everett, WA. I grew up here and went to Everett Public Schools (Monroe Elementary, Eisenhower Middle and Cascade High). My mom grew up in Everett as well and went to St. Mary Magdalen. She was in the first graduating class of Mariner High School. I have one older sister, Helene.

Caitlin playing soccerSoccer star Caitlin!

As a kid I was really into soccer and played for about 12 years.

Caitlin Klosterman and her mom LindaCaitlin with her mom Linda at the Evergreen State Fair

My mom and I share a birthday in August and one of our family traditions is going to the Evergreen State Fair on our birthday and getting a photo button together.

Caitlin and her dog RussCaitlin and Russ

My husband Akeem and I went to middle school and high school together but didn’t really know each other. We ran into each other many years later in the Providence Hospital cafeteria, and the rest is history. We live in Marysville with our dog Russ. I also have a wonderful stepdaughter, Kaitlyn, who will be 11 this fall.

Akeem, Caitlin and KaitlynAkeem, Caitlin and Kaitlyn at the Everett Community Ice Rink after Christmas

How did you get into the insurance field and when did you join the McClain Insurance team?

I started in insurance, working for Safeco, the week before my 19th birthday. My sister had started working for Safeco in Bothell in 2001 and I joined her in 2004. I’ve also worked for PEMCO and Liberty Mutual. The only non-insurance jobs I’ve ever had were working at Safeway and in a dental office while I was in high school.

Caitlin and sister HeleneCaitlin and sister Helene, who helped her get her start in insurance

Before I started working for McClain Insurance I was working as a claims adjuster for Safeco at their office in downtown Seattle. I joined the McClain Insurance team in July 2014.

What do you like most about working for McClain Insurance?

There’s a lot! Firstly, I feel really good, really proud, about working for a small business that does so much good in the community. I’m proud to work for Claudia McClain because she is an incredibly kind and generous person and takes such good care of everyone.

Dodgeball tournamentCaitlin playing in an Everett YMCA dodgeball tournament with McClain Insurance teammates Nick Pembroke and Ann Franklin

I really like my co-workers. I work with a lot of great people.

And lastly, I like educating people about insurance. I like helping people understand it better. Insurance can be a really frustrating thing. It’s not tangible – you can’t see, taste, touch or smell it, etc., but you put all this money into it year after year. I like being able to help people protect the things that are most important to them in a way that is affordable, and in a way that helps them understand and feel like they’re getting the best value.

What do you like to do outside of work?

At the moment, my favorite thing is home decorating! I love planning and searching for things, and then when everything comes together the way I envisioned it in my head it makes me happy. I’m the “brains” and Akeem is the “brawn.” I come up with the idea and then he perfectly executes it!

Home decoratingCaitlin and Akeem’s beautiful living room

Lightning-round questions!

1. What new hobby or skill would you like to learn? I would like to learn Spanish, and I would also like to learn how to play the guitar, the piano and the violin.

2. What’s your favorite local business or restaurant? I really like Emory’s on Silver Lake. I love their cheesy garlic bread and buffalo chicken strips and they have the best prosecco – LaLuca Prosecco (SO good).

3. What would you sing at karaoke night? “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon

4. What did you want to be when you were a child? I wanted to be the first female President of the United States. And that’s actually still a possibility! My other career choice was astronaut.

5. What are two things you know you should know how to do but don’t? I don’t know how to change a tire and I can’t whistle very well

Caitlin and AkeemCaitlin and Akeem on a hike

6. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 10-hour flight and why? Akeem! I’m serious. He and I have never been anywhere together on a plane. We’ve been together for 6 years and have never gone anywhere. We were supposed to go to Vegas this spring but had to cancel because of the pandemic.

7. If you were a superhero, what powers would you have? I would fly and read people’s minds.

Caitlin, Helene and LilyCaitlin, Helene and their dog Lily

8. What pets did you have growing up? We had a dog named Lily and multiple cats – Rajah, Buster and Cleo.

9. What’s your favorite holiday tradition? In my family the adults don’t exchange Christmas presents, we play a white elephant gift exchange type of game. Each person that plays contributes a cool, silly, lame (one year my niece’s gift was a golf ball), ridiculous “gift” with a maximum price limit of $25. It’s really fun to see what the gifts are and get to steal gifts.

Caitlin in front of the Berlin WallCaitlin visiting the Berlin Wall on her trip to Germany

10. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? I’m not much of a daredevil, so the most daring thing I can think of is when I was a sophomore in high school, we had an exchange student from Germany live with us for the school year. When the school year was up and she went home, I flew to Germany by myself at age 15 to stay with her and her family. I was there for 5 weeks and it was great!

11. What motivates you to work hard? My family and making sure they’re ok. I’m also very motivated by what we do for the community at McClain Insurance and I want to be able to help contribute to that. And also so my dog can have a better life!

We’re so glad Caitlin is a part of the McClain Insurance family! To learn more about Caitlin and the rest of our team, visit autohomeboat.com/about.

We are pleased to highlight the Everett Animal Shelter, one of our wonderful local nonprofit partners!

McClain Insurance has been a proud sponsor of the shelter since 2017. And as a team full of animal lovers, this organization holds a very special place in our hearts.

McClain Insurance Pets

Altogether, our team currently has six dogs, one cat and a bird – plus several grand-pets and pet cousins!

Everett Animal Shelter

Mary Fisher‘s daughter, Kendall, and Buckley participate on a “Global Pet Call”

The McClain Insurance extended family includes several pets who were adopted from local shelters. Caitlin Klosterman’s dog, Russ, was a former shelter pet, and Ashley Abrams’ cat, Max, came from foster care.

Caitlin Klosterman's husband and dog

Caitlin and Akeem with Russ

For many of us, shelter pets have been some of our most treasured family members. Nick and I have years of special memories of Stella, the feisty and lovable terrier that I adopted while I was in graduate school in Pullman. Stella loved camping and hiking, never met a squirrel she didn’t want to chase, and was utterly devoted to our family and her adopted brother, Monte.

Meghan Pembroke's dogs

Meghan Pembroke with Stella and Monte in the Skagit Valley

Every shelter pet brings their unique personality and experiences to their new family. Claudia and Pat McClain can attest to that! About 20 years ago, they adopted a sweet and shaggy golden retriever named Magoo from the Everett Animal Shelter. A neighbor had surrendered Magoo because they couldn’t handle her repeated escapes from their yard.

Claudia and Pat soon discovered that it wasn’t mischief that led to Magoo’s frequent breakouts. Another of their neighbors was a retired physician with Alzheimer’s who would take daily walks through the neighborhood. Somehow, Magoo instinctively knew that her calling was to be a watchful and attentive walking partner for the doctor, and no fences were going to keep her from her task.

About the Shelter

The Everett Animal Shelter has been serving animals like Magoo for more than 30 years. They are an open-admission shelter, caring for and comforting homeless and abused pets in our community. And though their team is based in the northeast corner of Everett, they take in animals from all over Snohomish County.

Like the McClain Insurance team, the shelter team is small but mighty – and busy! In 2019 they cared for more than 5,500 animals. Their on-site veterinarian staff performed more than 1,920 spay and neuter surgeries last year.

The shelter even boasts some pretty famous alums, including a very special dog named Noodle. Noodle came to the shelter in 2017 with a spinal cord injury that left her back legs paralyzed. The shelter team quickly determined that the active puppy would need custom equipment to keep her moving. After weeks of specialized care from shelter staff and volunteers, Noodle was adopted by an outdoors-loving couple who also happened to be physical therapists.

Everett Animal Shelter

Ashley and Claudia with super-dog Noodle in front of the shelter

The energetic dog has gone on to achieve viral fame, including a recent appearance in the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes competition. We dare you not to smile at this adorable video of Noodle as a puppy!

Serving Our Community

Everett Animal Shelter is open admission, meaning they do not turn any animal away. They take in stray animals, animals surrendered or abandoned by their owners, and animals that have been involved in cruelty cases. That kind of care can be costly, and the shelter relies on support from the community to care for animals as they heal and wait to be adopted.

In addition to adoptions, the shelter provides pet licensing and animal control services in the Everett city limits. You can also visit them to get your pet microchipped. (A microchip is a permanent ID that makes it easier for you to reconnect with your pet if they go missing.)

If you haven’t visited the shelter yet, we highly recommend it! The shelter moved to its beautiful, state-of-the-art home across from Langus Riverfront Park in 2013. The facility features spaces for dogs, cats, birds and other small animals, kennels with access to the outdoors, and a large grassy area with room for dog walking and exploring.

Our Partnership

We’ve been partnering with the shelter for several years. In 2017 we successfully nominated Everett Animal Shelter for a $1,000 Safeco grant to help them care for animals throughout the community. That holiday season we also donated a bag of dog food for every pet insurance quote our team completed.

Everett Animal Shelter

Caitlin, Mary, Dova and Nattie at Mutt Strut

In years past, the McClain Insurance team has been the “Top Paw” sponsor of Mutt Strut, a fun event where dogs are the stars. Mutt Strut features dog parades, agility demonstrations, cute accessories and yummy treats… if you’ve got a dog in your life, you won’t want to miss it!

Get a taste of Mutt Strut fun with this video of the 2019 event (bonus points if you spot McClain Insurance team members and our pets!).

Get Involved

The shelter is fortunate to have an incredible team of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers who support their important work. From dog-walking to fostering to helping keep the shelter neat and tidy, caring for animals in Everett is truly a community effort.

Kim Matthews' dog

Kim’s dog Sadie with her own furry friend

Team member Kim Matthews has been a longtime supporter of the Everett Animal Shelter. She donates food regularly throughout the year. And she and her husband, Phil, organize a big pet food drive around the holidays as part of their annual Christmas party.

If you love animals as much as we do, there are lots of ways to get involved with the shelter!

  • Volunteer: Volunteers are essential to the shelter’s ability to care for lost and abandoned animals in our community. Whether you like walking dogs, planning events, talking with potential adopters, or even doing laundry, the shelter has a role for you! The shelter holds regular orientation sessions for potential volunteers. Bookmark their website to find out more!
  • Foster an animal: Foster families help extend the walls of the shelter and allow the team to care for more animals in our community. Fostering is also a great way to get your whole family involved! The shelter needs foster homes for cats, kittens and puppies, and even has a special foster program for senior dogs.
  • Donate: Many animals come to the shelter in need of extra attention – whether that’s a special diet or extensive veterinary care. Donations to the shelter’s Fund for the Animals help their team support every animal in their care, no matter what they need. The shelter also accepts food and supply donations and maintains an Amazon wish list of their frequently used items. You can also sponsor a kennel in the shelter for a donation of $100-250.
  • Participate in an event: The shelter frequently participates in City of Everett events and partners with local businesses to highlight adoptable animals. Watch community calendars and the City of Everett website to learn more.
  • Adopt: Whether you’re looking for a guinea pig, a kitten or an older lap dog, the shelter has your “furever” friend! Visit their website to see adoptable animals and follow them on Facebook to find out about special adoption events. (Hint: If you’re looking for a puppy, plan to get there early!) If you do adopt a new pet, don’t forget to contact us for pet insurance!
Share the Good Referral Program

Everett Animal Shelter is one of the Community Partners in our Share the Good referral program. We invite our clients to tell friends and family about their good experiences with McClain Insurance. Then we pay it forward in our community!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Someone calls, texts, or emails us and says you referred them. (Thank you!)
  2. One of our licensed agents provides a free protection review.
  3. We make a $25 donation to one of our nonprofit partners: Everett Public Schools Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County, Everett Animal Shelter, and Cocoon House.
Watch for more

We’ll be partnering with the shelter on some fun virtual events in the coming months, so stay tuned. Be sure to follow us on Facebook to get the scoop – and to see photos of our own adorable pets!

Detached structures. They are one of the areas that homeowners often overlook when it comes to updating their insurance policies. And it’s something that we’ve seen popping up more often as our clients have been spending a lot of time at home this spring.

If you’re like our family, you’ve spent some of your quarantine time tackling long-overdue outdoor projects. Our yard and garden are looking the best they have in years!

What does that have to do with insurance? Well, if any of your recent projects involved adding or updating a shed, a barn, or any other “detached structure,” you’ll want to check in with us.

What’s a detached structure and how are they insured?

A detached structure is any additional building or structure on your property that’s not attached to your home. This includes detached garages, sheds, greenhouses, barns, shops, and gazebos. It also includes items you might not think of, like driveways, fences, and adding or replacing an existing dock on the water.

Your homeowners policy automatically covers additional structures on your property. However, that coverage generally only covers your structures for up to 10 percent of the coverage amount of the dwelling itself. For example, if your house is insured at $400,000, your automatic coverage would total $40,000 for the detached structures on your property. (Remember, this is the most common coverage amount. You can check your own policy to confirm your coverage details).

For many of our clients, that may be adequate. But as construction costs continue to rise in the Pacific Northwest, the coverage included in your homeowners policy might not be enough.

Depending on how many structures you have – and what you’re using them for – you may need additional coverage to make sure you’re adequately protected.

Have you added a shed and forgotten to tell your agent?

Here are some scenarios we run into from time to time:

  • A longtime customer decides he’s tired of his boat sitting out in the elements and builds a garage to store it.
  • A retired client takes up pottery and fixes up her garden shed to house a new kiln and pottery supplies.
  • A couple decides to renovate the attic space above the garage and rent it out for extra income.

In all of these cases, the customer may not be fully protected if their homeowners policy hasn’t been updated to reflect those changes. And you don’t want to discover that after you’ve had a claim!

So, if you’ve built or added structures on your property, give us a call! Here are some of the questions we’ll walk through with you:

1. How many additional structures do you have?

When my wife and I bought our house, it came with a small greenhouse and work shed, and a detached carriage garage. Because we don’t store any big-ticket items in those buildings, the automatic coverage provided by our homeowners policy should provide enough protection in the event of a fire or other disaster. But if we decided to add a big playhouse for our kids or expanded our shed to hold more garden supplies, we might need additional coverage.

Detached structures coverage

If you have multiple structures on your property, check with us to make sure you have enough coverage to protect them. It might seem unlikely that a disaster would affect all of your structures at one time, but we have seen it happen, especially in the event of a large fire.

2. Are you renting out your detached structure?

Have you considered jumping on the VRBO and Airbnb trend? In recent years, more and more communities are allowing detached accessory dwelling units, or DADU. As a result, we’ve seen lots of clients adding tiny homes on their properties or converting rooms in their detached garages and barns into rental units. That’s an important change that needs to be reflected in your homeowners policy.

While a rental unit within the house is typically covered under your homeowners policy, renting out part of a detached structure is not. That can be a costly discovery if that rental unit catches fire or is otherwise damaged.

If you are converting (or have already converted) part of a detached structure into a rental, contact us to update your policy.

3. What do you use your detached structure for?

Another common scenario is a homeowner using a detached building for a hobby or side hustle: A movie buff turns part of a large shop into a top-of-the-line home theater with a bar and surround sound. Or an artist sets up a studio in a detached garage and takes on a few students. If this sounds like you, this is a great opportunity to contact us so we can look at your options.

Detached structures coverage

Here’s an example from my own family: My mother-in-law, Melinda, is an incredible quilter, and recently invested in a used long-arm quilting machine. She moved it into their large outbuilding and created her own quilting den.

Melinda uses the long-arm to finish her quilts, and occasionally the quilts of friends and family as gifts. Because she doesn’t charge for it, her quilting is considered a hobby and the machine is covered under her personal property.

In other cases, however, homeowners do use their detached buildings for business purposes, anything from landscaping to home-staging to yoga workshops and cooking classes. Or, something that begins as a hobby, such as growing flowers, gradually expands into selling those flowers at the local farmers market.

If you’re using your detached structure for business purposes, your coverage for that structure will be voided; homeowners policies aren’t designed to handle the risks that can come with businesses. In those cases we will recommend a home business insurance policy, and will change coverage for the detached structure on your homeowners policy.

If you’re not sure whether your hobby has grown into a full-fledged business, just contact us, and we can make sure you’re adequately protected.

4. What are you storing in your detached structure?

If your detached garage is mostly holding old yearbooks and kids’ bikes, you likely have adequate coverage under your homeowners policy. But if you’ve added a boat or snowmobile – and haven’t contacted us to update your policy – you are likely under-insured.

You might be surprised that someone would forget to tell us about a new car or dirt bike. But detached structures can sometimes cause an out-of-sight, out-of-mind forgetfulness – and your homeowners policy does not provide coverage for your vehicles.

Basically, if you got anything with a motor on your property, you should contact us to double check your coverage. This includes:

We recommend taking a quick inventory from time to time, just to make sure that your insurance coverage reflects the actual value of your property.

5. What is your structure like?

How fancy is your detached structure? Is it a plastic-sided, pre-fab shed? Or is it a fully-insulated shop with a bathroom and sealed concrete floors? For basic structures, the automatic coverage provided by your homeowners policy will likely be enough to cover your replacement cost in the event of a disaster. But if you’ve built a barn as big as your house with a sleeping loft and mini kitchen, we’ll likely need to look at increasing your coverage.

The same applies to any significant improvements that you’ve made to an existing structure on your property.

I’ll use my in-laws as an example again. When they purchased their home, I worked with them to make sure they had enough coverage for the large outbuilding on their property. A couple years later they decided to convert to solar electricity. All of the new solar panels were added to the roof of their outbuilding. That greatly increased the potential replacement cost if the building were to be damaged, so we updated their policy to reflect the change.

If you’ve updated a detached structure on your property, be sure to let us know.

 

Whether you’ve added a gazebo this spring or are just realizing that you forgot to tell us about the shed you built last year, we can help. Contact us today and we’ll make sure you have the protection you need.

What If I Get Pulled Over While Using My Cell Phone?

Heads Up, Drivers: Washington's E-DUI Law is Now Being Enforced

Q: What if I get pulled over while using my cell phone?
A: You’ll receive an E-DUI ticket, which can impact your insurance premium

Washington’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) law went into effect on July 23, 2017, making it illegal for Washington drivers to use hand-held electronic devices while driving. This includes all cell phones, tablets, laptops, and video games. Washington E-DUI tickets go on your driving record and are reported to your insurance provider similar to how a speeding ticket is reported.

Most law enforcement agencies gave drivers a six month grace period to adjust to the new law.  According to Q13 Fox, Washington State Patrol alone issued nearly 7,000 warnings to drivers during the grace period.

Although the Washington E-DUI law has been in effect for more than two years now, distracted driving is still far too common. Just today, KOMO 4 News reported that a Washington State Patrol sergeant in SeaTac found a driver playing Pokemon Go simultaneously on eight ( yes, eight!) cell phones. Thankfully no one was injured, but this isn’t always the case.

Washington State Distracted Driving Statistics
  • 30% of crash fatalities in Washington state are due to distracted driving.
  • 23% of serious crashes in Washington state are due to distracted driving.
  • Drivers are 3 times more likely to be in a crash when talking on a phone.
  • 70% of observed distracted drivers were using their cell phones

We cannot stress enough: E-DUI tickets are reported to your insurance company, just like speeding tickets. This means your car insurance premium can – and likely will – increase if you receive an E-DUI ticket.

Earlier this summer, McClain Insurance agent Ann Franklin counseled a client whose car insurance premium increased by more than $1,000 a year due to an E-DUI ticket.  This is in addition to the cost of the E-DUI ticket itself, which increases with each violation:

  • First E-DUI ticket: $136
  • Second E-DUI ticket (within 5 years): $234

Why is the Washington E-DUI law necessary? According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, fatalities from distracted driving increased 32% from 2014 to 2015, and one in four crashes involved cell phone use just prior to the crash. As independent insurance agents, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in claims due to distracted driving, particularly rear-end accidents. This leads to rate increases for everyone.

Here’s what you to know about Washington’s E-DUI law, which made it illegal for drivers to use cell phones and other hand-held electronic devices while driving.

No hand-held cell phone use while driving: 

  • Even when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light
  • No typing messages or accessing information
  • No watching videos or using cameras

You CAN use your device if you are:

  • Hands-free (such as using Bluetooth) and can start use by a single touch or swipe without holding the phone
  • Parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic, including in a ferry line
  • Starting your GPS or music before you drive
  • Contacting emergency services

Regardless of how you feel about Washington’s E-DUI law, McClain Insurance hopes to keep you safe and violation-free! To that end, we are offering free air vent mounted phone holders that will help you comply with Washington state’s “one finger/one swipe” requirement. Please stop by our office in Everett, Washington, anytime to pick up as many phone cradles as needed, while supplies last. We hope that this will keep you and your family safe and compliant with Washington’s E-DUI law.

McClain Insurance Earns Safeco Awards

Agency Founder Claudia McClain and Vice President Nick Pembroke Receive Top Honors

Nick Pembroke McClain Insurance Safeco Award

McClain Insurance Vice President Nick Pembroke receives the S.O.A.R. Award from Safeco Insurance Territory Manager Abby Roosendaal.

Nick Pembroke Earns Safeco Outstanding Agent Recognition (S.O.A.R.) Award

McClain Insurance Vice President Nick Pembroke received the Safeco Insurance Outstanding Agent Recognition (S.O.A.R.) Award for 2018. The S.O.A.R Award acknowledges Nick’s diligence, integrity, and passion for excellence.

“We feel honored that once again, Safeco recognized Nick’s commitment to providing expert guidance to our clients, his commitment to customer service, and his overall exemplary representation of Safeco,” says Claudia McClain, founder of McClain Insurance.

This is the second year Nick received this prestigious award. Only a select group of independent insurance agents in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska were given this honor by Safeco Insurance.

Safeco Insurance Agent Everett WA McClain

Safeco Insurance Recognizes McClain Insurance for Exceptional Performance

Safeco Insurance has recognized McClain Insurance again as a Safeco Elite Agent for 2018 based upon outstanding performance and partnership. Fewer than 10% of independent insurance agencies countrywide that sell Safeco personal lines products receive this distinguished honor.

Achieving status as a Safeco Elite Agent is a reflection of an agency’s success and its commitment to serving clients as a trusted advisor.

“We are honored to be a Safeco Elite Agent,” says Claudia. “McClain Insurance has represented Safeco Insurance since 2004, and we take pride in our strong working relationship and our shared commitment to helping our customers protect what matters most to them.”

Claudia McClain Receives Safeco Award of Excellence for Superior Underwriting Skill

Safeco Insurance also selected Claudia McClain to receive their Award of Excellence. Fewer than 5% of insurance agents across the country who sell Safeco Insurance personal lines policies receive this prestigious honor.

“I strive to provide our clients with the insurance protection they need at the right price,” said Claudia. “Safeco shares that same value, and we are thrilled that we been recognized with one of the company’s top honors.”

To receive a Safeco Award of Excellence, an insurance agent must have a strong relationship with Safeco and superior underwriting skills.

“Outstanding underwriting and strong partnerships benefit our clients,” said Claudia. “Because Safeco Insurance supports independent insurance agents as trusted advisors, I am honored to have been selected for the Award of Excellence.”

The McClain Insurance team takes pride in our commitment to being there when you need us most. Stop by, email, or call to let us know how we can help!

McClain Insurance is located at 10410 19th Ave SE, Everett. We can be reached at (425) 379-9200 or team@autohomeboat.com.

 

 

Snohomish Everett WA water insurance claim

Snowmageddon 2019 brought record-breaking snowfall to Western Washington. It also brought an ice dam to my roof, causing serious water damage to the first and second stories of my home Snohomish.

Yes — insurance agents have claims, too.

Here are my honest thoughts on my claims process:

 

Water Main Shut Off Insurance Claim

Take Preventative Steps Now

According to my insurance company, Safeco Insurance, one in 50 homes file a water-related claim every year. This makes water damage the second most frequently filed homeowners insurance claim (wind damage being the first – something we also see in Western Washington).

Thankfully, homeowners can prevent most types of water damage. Here are some steps you can take now:

  • Know where your home’s water main shut-off is. Even minor leaks can cause major problems, so if you suspect a leak you’ll want to turn off your water supply right away. This will help prevent further damage. If you would like a free “water main shut off tag” like the one above, please call or text our office at (425) 379-9200.
  • Check your appliances. According to Safeco, they’re the most common source of water leaks in homes. Check the water-using appliances in your home at least once a year, paying special attention to the hoses that come with your washer, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Appliance hoses break down over time, so carefully look for kinks and cracks, and replace if needed. Consider using reinforced hoses, too. Hoses with steel braiding or mesh won’t hold up forever, but they’re a lot stronger than standard rubber or plastic hoses.
  • Consider installing water sensors. These can alert you to a leak or other water problem soon after it occurs. There are sophisticated sensors that can send messages to your smartphone, but even an inexpensive water sensor that sounds a local alarm when it detects a leak is better than nothing.

Although these precautions wouldn’t have prevented or stopped my water leak, these are smart steps you can – and should – take.

 

Water restoration insurance claim everett wa

Thank you Alpine Restoration for coming to the rescue. Here they are parked outside my home.

Stop Additional Damage 

After realizing we had a serious water problem, I immediately called Alpine Cleaning and Restoration, a family-owned restoration company in Everett.  If water isn’t cleaned up quickly it can cause more damage and lead to mold growth, so time is of the essence.

The restoration professionals at Alpine worked to identify the source of water (my roof) and start the drying process.

Alpine Restoration Water Insurance Claim Everett

Consult Your Insurance Agent

I’m a third-generation insurance agent who has worked in the insurance industry for the past 10 years. I still consulted my team at McClain Insurance prior to turning in a claim.

Although claims adjusters determine whether a loss is covered or not, your insurance agent can help you decipher policy language, explain your coverage, and help you decide when you should file a claim.

I have a $1,000 deductible on my homeowners policy with Safeco, so I knew I didn’t want to turn in a claim until I was sure the loss would exceed that amount. After I realized how extensive the damage was, my colleague Laura Paradis called Safeco on my behalf and connected me with a claims representative within minutes.

water insurance claim home snohomish wa
Embrace Technology

Technology allows insurance companies to communicate quickly and efficiently throughout the claims process. Embrace it.

I chose to receive text message updates from Safeco, which allowed me to receive my claim number and adjuster’s contact information within minutes of reporting my claim. I receive more in-depth claims updates by email, and I can check the status of my claim 24/7 online or on Safeco’s app.

Partner With Your Adjuster

Just as our team partners with you to find the best insurance coverage to fit your needs, your claims adjuster is your partner throughout the claims process. He or she is on your side—really!

Due to the severity of our snowstorm, I have a team of two claims adjusters assigned my loss – a “desk adjuster” who works inside the office and a catastrophe adjuster who flew in from Indianapolis to help inspect damages. They worked together to coordinate payment of water restoration work and schedule repair contractors.  

My claim is still open and ongoing, so I’ll continue to update this as the claim proceeds. Stay tuned! 

 

Happy New Year! If you’re like us, you’re writing resolutions and penciling out your budget for the coming year.

January is a natural time to re-evaluate your insurance coverage. Here are our top five insurance hacks for maximizing the value of your family’s insurance plan in 2019:

Take our five-minute insurance checkup.

Everett WA Independent Insurance Agent

Chances are, your life changed in some way last year (ours sure did!). Life events like welcoming a new baby, getting married, adopting a pet, starting a side hustle, or retiring are all indicators you may need to update your insurance. Be pro-active about protecting what’s most important to you. Take five minutes to complete our online checkup at autohomeboat.com/checkup. After you’re finished, we’ll review your policies to make sure they’re still the best insurance solution for you.

Maximize discounts.

January is a natural time to re-evaluate your finances, including your insurance protection. Even if you haven’t experienced a life-changing event, you could be eligible for new discounts. Our favorite: PEMCO’s discounts for smart home technologies like Nest Protect. Don’t worry, our five-minute checkup includes a discount checklist, too. It’s always our goal to find the best balance of coverage and value for you.

Re-evaluate your billing plan.

Everett WA Insurance Agent Discount PaymentWhenever possible, pay your insurance annually. Even though it may be easier on your budget to make monthly payments, you pay a little extra to do so. If you’re unable to pay in full, make it your new year’s resolution to sign up for recurring payments. Missed payments incur late fees and could jeopardize your coverage.

Understand your insurance protection.

Confusion about what’s covered and what’s not can be costly. (For example, if your basement floods from heavy rain, did you know your homeowners policy will not cover the damage?) As a Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider, we’re committed to educating you so you can make smart financial decisions when it comes to insurance.

It’s important to us that you understand your insurance protection. One area that all of our insurance company partners are focusing on in 2019, and amend policy language about, is the issue of undisclosed household members on car insurance policies. January is a good time to take a look at your last auto policy declarations and make sure everyone currently living in your household is listed. If your household drivers aren’t up-to-date, you could have dangerous coverage gaps or you could be overpaying.

Work with an independent insurance agent (like us!).

This is Dave Ramsey’s top money saving tip. Why? We’re not limited to a single insurance company’s options. We work with multiple insurance companies. This means we can find the best deals on the coverage that’s right for you.

We are also passionate about insurance and are committed to serving as your advocates every step of the way, from taking a proactive approach to improving your protection to walking you through the claims process. This includes a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Founder Claudia McClain advises the Washington State Insurance Commissioner on issues impacting our clients, and we collaborate with our insurance company partners on ways to better address things like the sharing economy. No matter what happens, know we are always in your corner. You just don’t get that from an 800-number.

Bonus: we do more than just live in your the community—we help support it. Learn more about our 2019 charity partners here.

Thank you for being part of the McClain Insurance community. Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and prosperous 2019!

P.S. Is disaster preparedness one of your New Year’s resolutions? Be sure to check out the emergency preparedness resources on our website.

Nick Pembroke Vice President McClain Insurance Agent Nick Pembroke, CIC, was named vice president and shareholder of McClain Insurance.

“Nick has the heart of a teacher and is a true servant leader,” says Claudia McClain, president and founder of McClain Insurance. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside this outstanding professional as we strive to continue our tradition of service to our clients and community.”

Since joining McClain Insurance in 2000, Nick has received numerous industry awards and recognition, including:

  • Certified Insurance Counselor designation
  • Certified Insurance Service Representative designation
  • Five Star Home/Auto Insurance Agent award, 2011-2018
  • Safeco Outstanding Agent Recognition Award, 2017
  • Safeco Personal Lines Achievement Award
  • Past President, Independent Insurance Agents of Snohomish County, 2011-2012

Nick has been recognized by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Snohomish County for his ongoing service. Nick, his wife Meghan, and their two children live in Everett. He attended Western Washington University.

About McClain Insurance: McClain Insurance Services is a nationally-acclaimed insurance agency in Everett, Wash. Since opening in 1977, our mission has been simple and clear: to help clients re-establish their lives as quickly and as completely as possible after a loss.

We advise clients on all their personal insurance needs, including homeowners and renters insurance, auto insurance, and life insurance. We can also assist with insuring more unique family needs, including electric bicycles, Airbnb and other vacation rental properties, and in-home businesses.

As independent insurance agents, we partner with the Pacific Northwest’s best insurance companies. This allows us to offer choices to every client.

Umbrella Insurance: Protection From a Rainy Day’s Disaster

5 real-life umbrella liability claims that could happen to anyone

Seattle may receive 150 days of rain each year, but as insurance agents we know umbrellas aren’t just for wet weather. Umbrellas may be the most important part of your insurance protection plan.

Umbrella insurance is a personal liability policy that protects you above and beyond the limits on your home, car, and other personal insurance policies. It’s an inexpensive way to protect your financial future. Policies typically cost $20 to $25 a month.

I talk about the importance of umbrella policies with good reason.

My younger sister, Jill, was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident eight years ago.

everett washington Umbrella insurance accident

Claudia sister, Jill, in the hospital after her near-fatal motorcycle accident.

Jill was riding her motorcycle home from work when a car ran a red light and hit her. The impact broke her legs in multiple places, shattered her pelvis, and caused compound fractures in her arms. Jill spent nearly four months in the hospital undergoing multiple surgeries, and she still suffers from chronic pain.

The accident changed her entire life.

As her sister, I am deeply grateful for the medical technology—and Jill’s fighting spirit—that allowed her to survive this terrifying accident. As an insurance agent, I wish the driver who hit her had a personal umbrella policy. It would have compensated Jill for her medical bills, lost wages, and lifetime of pain and suffering.

I will also never forget the time a client called to report a claim three days before Christmas. Our clients owned a single-family home they rented to a young family, and the tenants’ eight-month-old baby had been severely burned in the bath. The tenants claimed the home’s hot water heater was set at too high of a temperature which may have contributed to the infant’s injury. Thankfully, our clients had an umbrella policy to defend them and protect their assets.

Claims like these are why, after more than 40 years in the insurance industry, I still recommend an umbrella insurance policy to every client.

Have you ever thought about the incredible risks people take doing the most ordinary activities—driving near a school, hiring out yard work, or (as ridiculous as it sounds) even allowing trick-or-treaters on your doorstep?

If something did go tragically wrong in any of these situations, you could be forced to pay a legal judgment not only from your current assets but from your future earnings, too.

Money you haven’t even made yet.

Here are three more real-life claims examples:

Sarah was meeting friends for dinner, but she couldn’t remember what time they were supposed to meet. She sent a quick text to check.

With her eyes on her phone instead of the road, Sarah didn’t see the bicyclists in the crosswalk until it was too late. Both cyclists sustained serious injuries requiring hospitalization and rehabilitation.

After Sarah’s auto liability limits were exhausted, she was held personally responsible for their medical bills.

Claim: $625,000

The Mariani family was in their front yard when their 81-year-old neighbor, Stewart, came to visit. The family’s gregarious golden retriever, Gus, ran to greet him.

As Stewart bent down to say hello to Gus, the dog jumped up and knocked him over. Stewart fell backward, breaking his arm and hip and hitting his head on the sidewalk. 

Stewart was rushed to the hospital, where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries. The family’s personal umbrella covered Stewart’s medical expenses and ongoing litigation once their underlying home insurance was exhausted.

Claim: $1 MM

Zach found leftover Fourth of July fireworks in the garage just in time for Halloween.

When his parents were asleep, Zach and his friend snuck outside to give them a try. A bottle rocket zoomed off-course and landed underneath their neighbor’s car, catching it—and their neighbor’s home—on fire.

Because of “vicarious parental liability,” Zack’s parents were on the hook for his actions, even though they didn’t know what he was up to.

Claim: $620,000

My husband tells me I worry too much.

I admit it! I worry constantly that our clients have the protection they need.

If you’d like to talk about protecting yourself with an umbrella insurance policy, please give us a call at (425) 379-9200 or click here. We are always here to help!

 

 

 

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