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This weekend’s “Nor’wester” snowstorm promises to bring more snow to our region. But slick roads aren’t the only thing we need to be concerned about. Snow can wreak havoc when it melts, too.

Here are five ways to help prevent damage to your home as snow starts melting:

snow insurance claim everett waRemove large accumulations of snow from areas where it could melt and enter your home. 

Shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home. Snow accumulation near your foundation, windows, and doors can leak into your home once it starts to melt. This can cause damage to your foundation and personal property, both indoors and out. Remember to clear decks, patios, and driveways that slope toward your home, too.

Clean snow and debris from ground drains and gutters.

Make sure drains near your home and gutters are unblocked. Ice and compact snow can create dams that keep water from draining. Don’t forget to clear your street storm drain of snow and debris, too.

Consider where snow will go when it melts.

The combination of melting snow plus rain can create extreme runoff conditions. When shoveling snow on your property, think about which direction it will drain when it melts. You may want to dig channels to divert water to the nearest storm drain.

Do not get on a ladder and do not attempt to climb onto your roof to remove snow.

Getting on ladders or your roof any time of year is a risky proposition, even more so when snow is involved. In extreme circumstances, if ice dams need to be removed from your gutters, call a licensed and insured professional specializing in this service.

If you see the snow melting and dropping off the edge of your roof, that’s a good sign. It indicates ice dams are probably not developing.

Know what’s covered by your insurance policy.

Not all household water damage is treated alike – freezing pipes may be assessed differently than seeping snow. Read your insurance policy carefully and call your local, independent insurance agent to determine what’s covered. We’re here to help!

If you do incur damage inside your home because of melting snow, it’s important to take quick action. At the first sign of dampness inside your home, call immediately for professional help before long-term damage sets in.

 

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Get ready for more snow.

Forecasts of 5-10 inches of snow (or more!) have prompted a Winter Storm Watch for much of Western Washington.

We want to make sure you have the information you may need should this “Nor’wester” snowstorm be as strong as predicted.

Our advice: After the snow starts falling, stay home. Even if you feel confident driving in the snow, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out. If you have to go out after the snowstorm, be prepared for hazardous road conditions and follow our top 10 tips for driving in snowy and icy conditions.

snow car winter driving snohomish waScrape Snow and Ice

Scraping snow and ice off your car may be the last thing you want to do when it’s freezing outside, but it’s actually the law in Washington state. Before you start driving, clear all the snow and ice off your car windows, mirrors, and roof.

Chunks of snow and ice that accumulate on the roof of your car can fly off when your car is in motion, posing a hazard to other drivers. And when you brake, snow on the top of your car can slide forward and cover your windshield.

Don’t forget to clean snow off your front and rear lights, too. This will help other drivers see you better.

Pack Your Emergency Kit 

WSDOT Winter Weather Car Emergency Kit

A well-stocked car emergency kit can make an unexpected delay a little easier, or even save your life. At a minimum, the Washington State Department of Transportation recommends you pack the following:

  • Warm weather gear, including boots, waterproof gloves, and a knit hat to keep your head and ears warm
  • Bottles of water and non-perishable snacks, like protein bars
  • Windshield ice scraper and snow brush
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Reflective gear and/or flares
  • Chains and jumper cables if you have them
  • Items for children, including diapers, wipes, and games to keep them occupied
  • Items for pets, including a leash and water bowl
Have Plenty of Gas 

As a general rule, keep your gas tank at least half full during winter weather. You never know what delays or detours you may encounter on your route. If you get stuck, you’ll also want to keep your engine running to stay warm.

Slow Down 

Speed limits are set for ideal driving conditions. Reduce your speed to account for lower traction when driving on snow and ice.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drivers should reduce their speed by 1/2 or more on snow-packed roads. For example, if you would normally be traveling at a speed of 30 mph on dry pavement, then on a snow-packed road you should reduce your speed to 15 mph or less. 

Keep Your Distance 

Be sure to leave lots of space between you and the car in front of you. You need at least three times more space on a snowy road and at least 10 times more space on an icy road to stop as on a dry road. 

If someone is tailgating you, pull over where it’s safe to do so and allow the other driver to pass.

Snohomish Snow Road Driving
Brake with Care

Avoid sudden stops and brake gently to avoid skidding or sliding. If your wheels lock up, ease off the brakes.

Don’t get overconfident if your car has all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (FWD). Cars with AWD and FWD have great traction compared with two-wheel drive cars, but when it comes to stopping they’re all the same. If you have an AWD or 4WD vehicle, don’t let that extra traction lull you into a false sense of security on icy roads.

If you do find yourself skidding, try to stay calm. Take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction you want to go. Resist the urge to brake while skidding and focus on regaining traction. If your car has antilock breaks (ABS), they will automatically pulse. This is normal. If your car doesn’t have ABS, lightly pump the breaks.

Drive Smart

If you do have to travel, give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely. You may also want to drive in a lower gear or the “snow” setting on your car if it has one. This can help improve traction, especially on hills.

Never use cruise control. This can cause your wheels to spin at different speeds and may make you lose control.

Be extra vigilant on bridges, overpasses, and ramps – and not because the Fremont troll lives under them. These areas can be especially slick since they’re the first to freeze and the last to thaw.

snohomish children snow road safety
Watch for Children 

Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when driving through residential areas. Children love to play in the snow, and they may be walking or sledding on neighborhood roads. Drive very slowly and be on the lookout for kids that may dart from behind cars or snowbanks.

Know What to do if You’re Stuck 

If your car gets stuck in the snow, avoid spinning your wheels.

Dig snow and ice away from your tires, then try to rock your car free of the snow. Do this by carefully switching from drive to reverse. Go easy on the gas pedal – it’s the momentum that sets you free, not the power. You can also improve traction under your wheels by putting a little sand, gravel, or cat little under your tires.

If all else fails, an emergency roadside assistance service can help.

Know What to do if You’re Involved in an Accident 

If you’re involved in an accident, call 911. Then, move your car as far off the road as safely possible.

In poor weather conditions, it could take some time for first responders to arrive. Opt to stay safely inside your car while you are waiting for help. Wear your seat belt in case you get hit by another car, and activate your hazard lights to increase visibility. The one exception to this: if staying in your car puts you in physical danger. For example, the car may slide into a body of water.

Open your window a small crack to allow for air to flow in and to keep your windows from freezing. Snow and ice can quickly seal a car shut. If you are sure the exhaust pipe isn’t blocked, run the engine and heater for 10 minutes every hour to stay warm.

After you’re home safe, call your local, independent insurance agent – like McClain Insurance. Your agent can explain what your insurance policy covers and assist in turning in a claim if necessary.

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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.

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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.

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Halloween Safety: Tips for a Spooktacular Time

The spirit of Halloween may be spooky, but nobody wants a real tragedy on All Hallows Eve

Hallowwen Pumpkin insurance safety

Halloween is quickly approaching, which means treats are being purchased and tricks are being prepared. Along with pranks, tricks, and scary costumes come potential insurance claims. The McClain Insurance team wants to remind you how to celebrate safely this All Hallows Eve.

Take Charge of Fire Safety 

Halloween fire safety everett wa

Carving pumpkins is one of our favorite Halloween past times. This year, rather than lighting wax candles, err on the side of caution and use LED candles in your jack-o-lanterns. LED candles will give your pumpkin the same spooky glow without the fire risk.

If you do use real candles, make sure you scrape pumpkins out all the way before carving them. Excess pumpkin debris is more prone to catching fire. When lighting pumpkins, use a long-stemmed lighter or match to keep the flame farther away from your fingers and sleeve.

Most importantly, NEVER leave burning candles unattended. Whenever you light your jack-o-lantern for trick-or-treaters, stay outside to monitor them. Blow them out before returning inside.

Keep Tricks at Bay 

Halloween is a prime time for residential burglaries and other mischiefs. Protect your home by installing a home security system and motion detector lights. (Bonus: most homeowners insurance companies offer discounts for alarm systems!) Keep hiding spots at bay by trimming bushes and trees, especially around windows.

If you are planning to be away from home, consider leaving a light and/or TV on inside your home, and alert your neighbors to keep an eye out for unusual activity.

Trick-or-Treating and Homeowners Liability

If a trick-or-treater is injured on your property, you could be liable for his or her injuries. Keep your home spooky but safe with the following Halloween safety tips:

  • Make sure walkways, driveways, and steps are clear and well-lit. This includes clearing them of any debris or hazardous conditions, like fallen leaves. Doing this may prevent a slip and fall accident from occurring and will help ensure trick-or-treaters have a safe, clear path to your door.
  • Keep pets inside or on a leash. Even the friendliest pets may get scared or feel threatened if the doorbell rings too many times. Keeping pets inside or on a leash may help to avoid a dog bite claim. Remember: Dog bites are a red flag for most insurance companies and can have ugly consequences.
  • Obey posted speed limits. The majority of Halloween claims involve auto/pedestrian accidents, and on average, twice as many children are killed while walking on Halloween. There are many pedestrians walking the streets at night, so please warn family members to be cautious when driving. If you are a trick-or-treater, try to walk on sidewalks instead of walking on the street, and visit a well-lit neighborhood.
  • Party responsibly. If you hold a Halloween gathering, be a responsible party host. Offer a variety of food and non-alcoholic beverages, and don’t let intoxicated guests drive. If an impaired guest is involved in an accident on their way home, you could be held partially responsible.
  • Do a Halloween decoration safety test. Electronic Halloween decorations often require extension cords, which could potentially be a trip and fall hazard. Try to keep these away from walkways. if you are using a fog machine, beware that using it makes it hard for visitors to see.
Review Your Insurance Protection 

As your family prepares to celebrate Halloween, insurance is probably the farthest thing from your mind. But, now is a great time to take a few minutes to review your insurance plan and ensure your family is protected from all of life’s scary surprises.

Real Life Case Study 

Jeff, a parent volunteer at his son’s school, was driving a group of eight kids in his minivan to trick-or-treat in a neighborhood with safe sidewalks and bright streetlights.

John, a fellow volunteer parent, decided to ride along and lend a hand as a trusted adult.

Also on the road was Richard, a local small business owner, who had prescription drugs in his system. He regularly drove while using his medication, against the advice of his physician and pharmacist.

Right after Jeff parked the minivan and the group was exiting the vehicle, Richard lost control on a turn and crashed into them. He proceeded to drive through a barrier, fleeing the scene and was later arrested at home.

Tragically, a 10-year-old child was killed. Jeff and two other children were seriously hurt with multiple injuries that required extended hospital stays and a wide range of long-term therapies, both physical and psychological.

Richard was only carrying state minimums thinking that was enough, but coverage for medical bills of this magnitude was exhausted quickly.

Because Jeff had a personal umbrella policy with a $1 million excess Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Liability limit, it covered the gap left by the underlying policies to take care of his medical bills and those of his passengers.

Claim paid: $1,000,000 

Don’t be haunted by coverage gaps. Contact McClain Insurance today for a free review of your insurance plan. Get the process started by clicking here, or by calling us at (425) 379-9200. Happy Halloween!

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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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Planning Ahead for the Next Northwest Disaster

National Preparedness Month Tips from the McClain Insurance Team

McClain Insurance Washington emergency go bag

McClain Insurance team member Mary Fisher is serious about disaster preparedness. Her “go bag” is packed with emergency supplies so she’s ready at a moment’s notice. 

From Cinema Under the Stars to Mutt Strut, it’s been a fun-filled summer for the McClain Insurance team. Now the back-to-school season is upon us, which often seems to translate into renewed inspiration to prepare, plan, and organize.

September is National Preparedness Month, and as your insurance agents, we’d be remiss not to remind you that every family should have an emergency kit and disaster preparedness plan. Emergencies tend to hit at the least convenient times and hit the hardest when we aren’t prepared. We often talk about the Pacific Northwest’s risks of earthquakes and floods, but it’s also important to prepare for these types of disasters:

McClain Insurance Everett Emergency Preparedness kit

Mary’s “go bag” is filled with all the supplies she needs to stay safe after a natural disaster.

Windstorms & Power Outages. Every fall, we receive questions about windstorm damage and power outages. In general, if a tree falls on your home, your homeowners policy will respond. That means if you have concerns about trees surrounding your property, now is the time to address them. It’s also a good idea to update your emergency kit and test the batteries in your flashlights. Last fall, agent Ashley Abrams lost power for three days!

Water Damage. Do you know how to shut the water off to your house? Last month, a longtime client had hundreds of gallons of water flood his kitchen after a water valve on his kitchen sink unexpectedly burst. We can’t emphasize enough: Everyone in your home should know how to shut off the water to your home. And as leaves start to fall, make sure they don’t block storm drains. For insurance purposes, water backup from blocked drains is considered flooding and is not covered by your home insurance policy.

House Fires. Sadly, after more than 40 years in the business, our office has seen its share of house fires. Heating sources are the leading cause of fires, so as temperatures start to drop be sure to keep flammable items away from baseboard heaters, space heaters, fireplaces, and other heat sources. Always blow out candles before you leave the room or go to sleep. And, don’t forget to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace the batteries twice a year.

To join our 30-day National Preparedness Month Challenge, visit AutoHomeBoat.com/Prepare/30-Days 

P.S.—Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Great Washington ShakeOut, the state’s annual earthquake drill, on October 18th. Visit our Facebook page for more information on how you can participate!

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

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Insurance New Home Marysville WA

Agent Caitlin Klosterman and her family in front of their new home.

Much like our summer weather, Western Washington’s real estate market is hot — something agent Caitlin Klosterman knows all too well. One home she bid on had 11 other competing offers!

Luckily for Caitlin and her husband, Akeem, the third time’s a charm. They close on their new home in Marysville later this month.

If you’re thinking about buying a new primary or secondary home, here are some home buying tips from Caitlin you’ll want to keep in mind:

Age of home.

Older homes are filled with charm, but they pose insurance challenges. Most preferred insurance companies require older homes to have updated wiring, plumbing, heating, and a roof that’s less than 20 years old.

Quality and location of the responding fire department.

Homes that are located near permanently staffed fire departments usually cost less to insure. Caitlin also recommends installing protective devices in your home, like fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, to help maximize the discounts on your insurance policy.

If the property is located in an HOA.

Living in a homeowners association can have pros and cons. From an insurance standpoint, if anybody is injured on the association’s property—like a sidewalk or playground—the association and its homeowners can be held liable. If you move into a homeowners association, Caitlin recommends adding “loss assessment” coverage to your policy. This protects you for only a few dollars a year.

Risk of flooding.

Although all Pacific Northwest homeowners have a flooding risk, mortgage companies require flood insurance on homes in high-risk areas. Flood insurance on these homes can be expensive. It’s important to factor this cost into your budget so you’re not caught off-guard after you make an offer.

The home buying process can be stressful, but we’re here to make the insurance side of things as easy as possible. If you have any questions about a home you may purchase, call us first. There is a whole team of people here to eagerly help you!


Travelers Insurance Open House

Choosing a home is one of life’s biggest decisions. One of our insurance company partners, Travelers Insurance, offers a free tool to help you see beyond the paint and staging and get valuable information on your potential new home. If you’d like to run a free report, visit www.travelers.com/openhouse.

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5 Reasons Washington Homeowners Need Flood Insurance

Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere

Why do we say all Washington homeowners need flood insurance?

This morning, The Daily Herald published an article about the June 10 rainstorm that flooded Everett, Washington, homes with water, mud, and sewage. Homeowners on Wetmore, Grand Avenue, and Broadway estimate the repairs will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

We feel for our Everett neighbors. Flood insurance could have helped these homeowners begin repairs much more quickly and with fewer out of pocket costs.

Flooding is a year-round risk for Washington homeowners. Take this example from last year, when a Mill Creek neighborhood made nationwide news after a burst beaver dam sent water gushing through residential streets and into homes.

Here are five reasons why all Pacific Northwest residents need flood insurance:

  1. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. What constitutes a flood? For insurance purposes, “flood” is defined as a:

    “general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters; the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters; mudflows caused by flooding.” Many “floods” in Western Washington fit the second description. We often see rainwater accumulate on streets when storm drains overflow, quickly proceeding on a path of destruction.

  2. You live in a flood zone. Yes, really! It’s just a question of whether you live in a low, moderate, or high-risk area. Homeowners who live in low- to moderate-risk flood zones qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) through the federal government backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). A PRP policy can provide up to $250,000 in coverage for your home and $100,000 in coverage for your contents for $499 a year.
  3. Washington flood insurance agentThe risk for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is about 10%, while the risk for the same home to be destroyed in a flood is 26%. In other words, the risk for your home to be destroyed in a flood is more than double the risk of your home being destroyed in a fire. In fact, about 25% of all flood losses occur in low- to moderate-risk areas.
  4. Repair and clean up after a flood is time-consuming, difficult, and expensive. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), just one inch of flood water can cause more than $20,000 in damage to your home and its contents.
  5. Unless you have flood insurance, you will be responsible for covering a flood loss out of pocket. Federal disaster assistance, which comes in the form of a low-interest FEMA loan, is only available if the flooded area is declared a natural disaster. Most floods aren’t.

Flooding can happen anytime, anywhere.  Washington homeowners need flood insurance. For a free consultation about flood insurance in Washington state, call the McClain Insurance team at (425) 379-9200 or request a proposal online here.

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Sometimes clients forget to tell us about important changes in their lives. Whether you have brain fog or just got sidetracked, here are five things you may have forgotten to tell your insurance agent:

home business jewelry insurance

-Lindsay, an independent stylist for a popular jewelry company, doesn’t realize her next trunk show isn’t covered by her home insurance policy.

You have a side hustle. According to U.S. Census reports, there are as many as 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S. 

38 million. 

Even Dave Ramsey recommends getting a side job – like teaching piano lessons or dog walking – to help pay off student loans, build an emergency fund, and beef up your retirement nest egg.

More often than not, when our clients start businesses out of their home they assume their home or renters insurance policy protects them. This isn’t the case.

Your homeowners, condo, or renters insurance policy does not provide insurance protection for your home business OR any hobby you have that earns income. This includes online businesses like Etsy shops and virtual fitness coaching.

What’s the big deal? Without the proper insurance, your personal assets — and the future of your business — are at risk. For example, say a UPS driver injures himself while making a business delivery to your home. Without home business insurance, YOU can be on the hook…seriously!

When does a hobby (like McClain Insurance agent Nick Pembroke‘s kombucha brewing) turn into a business? For insurance purposes, it’s as soon as a hobby starts earning income.

Luckily, home business insurance policies are an inexpensive way to protect yourself. If you’re an entrepreneur working from home or selling online, contact us and we’ll provide some direction.

You bought something motorized. It’s a common misconception that everything stored in your garage, shed, or storage unit is covered by your homeowners insurance policy, but this isn’t true of motorized vehicles. This includes:

  • Classic cars (even when stored)
  • Motorcycles and dirt bikes
  • ATVs
  • Boats with motors
  • Jet skis
  • Snowmobiles
  • E-bikes

A simple rule to follow: If you purchase any motorized vehicle, it needs to have its own insurance policy.

Did you know we’re e-bike insurance specialists? Click here to learn more about why Washington e-bike insurance is critical. 

moving insurance agent everett wa

Moving? Make sure all your roommates are listed on your auto policy.

Someone moves into or out of your home. This is a tough one. When reviewing car a client’s car insurance, it’s not uncommon to hear things like:

“My roommate doesn’t drive my car. She telecommutes and uses Uber.” 

Or, “My son moved back home, but he has his own car and insurance.” 

We understand these situations. Insurance companies still require ALL household drivers be disclosed. From an insurance company’s point of view, everyone who lives in your home has access to your vehicle, and even someone who “never drives your car” may get behind the wheel in an emergency.

Some insurance companies are denying claims that involve drivers not listed on your policy, which means it’s more important than ever to make sure your household members are up-to-date. In our eyes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You built something on your property. Thanks to the Pacific Northwest’s booming real estate market, reconstruction costs have skyrocketed. This means the coverage your homeowners policy provides for detached structures could be inadequate.

If you’ve jumped on the tiny home or “she shed” trends or have a detached garage, your insurance agent needs to know.

This is especially true if you’re renting a tiny home or accessory dwelling unit on your property, including through short-term rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway.

Solar home renovation insurance

If you add solar panels to your home, it pays to make sure you have the right protection.

You remodeled your home. Americans are expected to spend nearly $340 billion to remodel their homes in 2018. Surprised? So were we, but even a modest kitchen or bathroom upgrade can impact the replacement cost of your home.

Whenever you make cosmetic (like Claudia’s on-going bathroom remodel) or structural upgrades, it’s important to update your home’s replacement cost valuator.

Replacement cost valuators take into account all your home’s unique characteristics – everything from your vaulted ceilings to your sustainable bamboo flooring – and calculate a replacement cost of your home. This is impacted by your home’s location, too. So, a home in Bellingham will have a different replacement cost than a home in Seattle, even if the homes itself are identical.

Give us a call at (425) 379-9200 and we’ll walk you through it.

 

 

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