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There are ways to protect yourself against costly water losses and claims.  Follow these ten easy tips to keep your home safe and well-maintained:

Outside:

1.  Disconnect Hoses

Standing water in a hose may freeze back into the pipe and create an ice block that – in a best case scenario – stops your water flow and, worst case, may bust your pipes and create damage to walls, floor and foundation.

2.  Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Clean your gutters at least twice a year to avoid blockage and ice dams. Standing water can cause damage to your gutters and roof, and unmanaged overflow may create puddles that could damage your foundation. Don’t forget to clean downspouts to ensure water can flow through, and secure downspouts so that they point away from the home.

3.  Maintain Trees and Vegetation

Thriving shrubs can be a beautiful thing – except when their roots wrap around your pipes and break them.  That’s why it’s important to minimize landscaping near utility pipes or, if necessary, remove trees and shrubs that have become too big.

Inside:

4.  Know your Water Main

Know the location of your water main and shut it off if you leave for an extended amount of time.  If no water goes in to the house, chances are no faucet drips can wreak havoc on your home!

5.  Check Appliances Regularly

Check and maintain your appliances regularly for leaks according to manufacturer’s directions.

6.  Investigate Leaks Right Away and Fix Promptly

If you opt to ignore moisture damage, or postpone making the necessary repairs, be prepared to experience mold, mildew, dry rot, or even structural damage to your home.  Keep in mind that homeowner’s insurance provides coverage for damage that is sudden and accidental.  Damage that results from lack of maintenance is not covered on a standard homeowners insurance policy.

7.  Upgrade Washing Machine Hoses

Old, brittle or leaky washing machine hoses are among the most frequent causes of water loss for homeowners.  Replace yours regularly to avoid a mighty mess and expensive damage.

8.  Install Water Detection Devices

A water detector is a small electronic device that sounds an alarm when its sensor is in contact with moisture.  Its main benefit is that it detects low moisture levels or slow leaks that often go unnoticed.  Install it near water heaters, sump pumps, washing machines, dishwashers and toilets to prevent extensive damage and mold growth.

9.  Check Your Water Pressure

If the water pressure to your home is set too high, pipes and hoses may fail under the pressure. Buy a water pressure gauge at a local hardware store, attach it to an outside faucet, and turn the faucet to full force. The gauge will give you a reading of the home’s water pressure. Typical residential water systems are designed for water pressure of 40 – 70 psi. If your home’s water pressure exceeds 100psi, install a pressure regulator (which is available at hardware stores as well.)

10.  Monitor Your Water Bill

Sometimes, the only way you know that water is leaking is taking a closer look at your water bill.  If your usage jumps significantly from one month to the next without explanation, put your “water detective’s hat” on.  Is there a leak in your crawlspace? Or, is it a pipe in your front yard? Don’t leave mystery leaks unattended!

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Did you know that water damage is the #1 homeowner insurance claim in the US?  Indeed, the chance for an average home to be destroyed in a fire is 10%, while the chance for the same home to be destroyed by a water-related loss is over 25% — no matter where the home is located!

But a flood isn’t the only way your home can experience water damage.  In fact, water damage can come in many different forms, and they each require different insurance protection.

In this article, learn more about the three major water-related perils and what you can do to protect against:

1. Flooding

2. Water / Sewer Backup

3. Broken Pipes

1. Flood

Did you know that flood damage is NOT a covered peril on a standard homeowner’s policy?

A “flood” is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:

  1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
  2. The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters (like excess rainwater)
  3. Mudflows caused by flooding.

Floods can happen in the desert, during snowmelt, in developed areas or anywhere the ground is hard and does not absorb excess water. Erosion or inadequate drainage can also lead to floods or mudslides. This is why having flood insurance is so important.

Flooding can damage the foundation, structure, walls, floors and furniture of a home.

While flooding is an excluded peril on a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, you can protect yourself with flood insurance.  You may think that flood insurance is first and foremost meant for people who live near rivers or creeks, or on the coast. (And, oddly enough, those who live in these areas often believe that they don’t qualify for flood insurance because of the high risk factor.)

Neither is true.  Flood protection for your home is easy and often very affordable.  Contact your insurance broker for more information.

2.  Water / Sewer Backup

Water and sewer backup can occur when torrential downpours overwhelm the sewer and drainage systems.  If your sump pump and backup valve fail, water and sewage can back up into your home’s drains, bringing water or, worse, raw sewage into your home.

Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies exclude water / sewer backup coverage.  However, this important protection can often be added to your policy for a minimal charge.  Check with your independent insurance agent for more information.

3. Broken Pipes

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage for damage resulting from sudden breaks of pipes and leaks inside the home.  Please note that the water damage must be the result of a sudden break or leak.  Water damage as a result of poor maintenance is considered neglect and is not covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Keep in mind, however, that breaks to outside water and sewer pipes are not covered.

Utility companies are responsible for broken water and sewer lines in the street.   But the short section of pipe in your front yard that runs from the street to your home is not covered. This can be an expensive coverage gap for many homeowners.

Pipes can break, whether it happens inside your walls, in your crawl space, by your outdoor faucet or anywhere in your front yard.  If an outdoor pipe breaks in your front yard, neither your home insurance nor flood insurance would apply.  You would be responsible for construction and repair costs to fix the leak.

Some utilities and specialty insurance carriers may offer maintenance or insurance policies at a modest cost to protect you for this type of loss.

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College students across Washington are gearing up for fall quarter, and last-minute to-do lists are tackled by parents and students alike.  Bedding, books and basic household items are likely packed, as are computer, sports gear and car key.

Now that the “stuff” is packed – what about the insurance to protect it if it gets lost or stolen?  Insurance, unfortunately, rarely makes it on the list of things to do in the back-to-college rush.

It’s not too late! With these 3 easy steps, you’ll get the good feeling of starting the college season well-protected.  Please call us at 425-379-9200 if you have any questions!

1.  Car Insurance

If your student is taking a car to school, he/she can still remain on your policy (even if school is out of state.)  In fact – they should stay on your policy since stand-alone car insurance for a young driver tends to be much more expensive than an added young driver on the parents’ policy.  Be sure to give your agent a call and advise them of the new garaging address and adjust liability limits if necessary.

Even if your student isn’t planning to take a car to college, it’s tempting to take them off your policy to save a few dollars. Our advice: Don’t do it! It’s important to keep your student listed in case they’ll be driving a friend’s car or during home visits, and to ensure uninterrupted coverage.

2. Renter’s Insurance

If your student lives in a dorm on campus, the parents’ home or renters insurance will extend to provide coverage up to 10% of the policy’s personal property limits.  That means, if mom and dad’s policy has $100,000 personal property limits, the student’s belongings would be covered up to 10% or $10,000.  Keep in mind that the student’s personal property coverage, just like mom and dad’s, is subject to the policy deductible, which can vary from $500 to $2,000.

If your student needs more coverage for their belongings or lives off-campus in their own apartment, it might be necessary to set up their own insurance policy.

3. Electronics, Equipment and Valuables

High-end computers, expensive software and pricey sports equipment can add up quickly. Here’s what you can do to help your student optimize protection for their belongings:

– Create a Dorm Inventory

Having a detailed list of every item your student brings to college can be an invaluable tool  in case of fire or theft.  Our McClain Insurance App can help with that!  Snap a picture of each item, add a short description and a picture of the receipt if you have it, and enjoy the good feeling of being organized and keeping track of your belongings.

– Protect Expensive Items
There’s no way around it: Your best bet in protecting expensive electronics or equipment is to lock it up, keep it out of sight, or keep it close.  Be sure to have adequate insurance protection limits to cover all personal belongings (see #2 – Renter’s Insurance.)  Call your insurance agent for help!

– Insurance for Portable Electronics
While devices like tablets, smart phones or laptops are protected for covered perils (fire or theft) on a standard homeowner’s / renter’s policy, the question is if it would be wise to file a claim with a deductible of $500 – $2,000 to cover an item that costs $750 to replace.

If the device is dropped or destroyed due to  negligence, home or renter’s insurance would not apply.  To protect your device against those accidents, consider purchasing a warranty or insurance plan from the electronics store.

 

When it comes to data, be sure to back up all data on your device frequently, set passwords  and install remote location and locking software.  If your device is stolen, be sure to call your service provider immediately:  While theft of the hardware is covered, data and credit charges to your phone service are not.

Please click here to see the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Guide for lost and stolen devices.  

Looking for more info?  Simply fill out the form, below:

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Whether you drive a lot or a little – when you are out on the road, you will likely be surrounded by other drivers.  Sometimes, lots of them.

The problem is, not all of them carry the insurance they are required to have by law.

You see, if you are driving and are at-fault an accident, your liability insurance will be there to cover the damage and injury you might cause to another driver.

But what if another driver hits you?  You’d expect that they have the insurance to pay for the damage and injury they caused for you.

The problem is, some of them don’t.

And now, you have a problem.  If the at-fault party in your accident doesn’t have the insurance or financial resources to pay for your damage, medical expenses and loss of income, YOU will have to step up.  Your liability insurance (the state-required part of your insurance plan) will not protect you.  Liability insurance is designed to pay the party that suffers injuries and losses caused by you. Liability insurance is not there to pay you.

All that’s left is your wallet, your assets, your savings account.

Unless you decided to protect yourself with Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Here are 5 reasons why you should round out your protection plan with this important coverage:

1.  16% of Washington’s drivers are uninsured.  That means, every 6th driver on Washington’s roads carries no insurance whatsoever, which makes Washington rank #10 of US states with most uninsured drivers.  Likely, these drivers don’t carry insurance because they are trying to save money… which means that they might not have the assets to pay a loss out of  pocket if they’re at-fault in an accident.

2.   An additional (unknown) number of drivers carry insufficient insurance.  In other words, a high percentage of other drivers carry insurance, but they fail to carry enough to cover a serious injury claim.  Seeing that Washington State minimum liability limits are $25,000 per person and $50,000 for all people hurt in the accident, plus $10,000 to cover property damage, it’s not surprising that many drivers are underinsured.  An ambulance ride and one night in a hospital can max out the injury liability protection per person – and that doesn’t include a surgery, additional medical treatment, or loss of wages.  And,honestly, what newer car could be replaced for $10,000 after being totaled in an accident?  It’s evident that state minimum liability limits are insufficient to cover an average accident.

3.   Liability Insurance protects the driver you hit. Not you.  Even if you carry insurance and have increased your liability limits: As a third party coverage, liability insurance won’t apply to protect you if you experienced injury and loss in a not-at-fault accident.

4.   In light of the high numbers of uninsured / underinsured motorists on the road, it makes sense to make sure that you are protected, too.  Don’t you think?  Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is a very affordable coverage you can add to your car insurance plan to protect yourself.  You can acquire coverage limits up to the limits on your liability insurance and protect yourself to the same extent that you protect the other party in case of an at-fault accident.

UM/UIM coverage doesn’t only protect you, but also your family members or other passengers who ride along in your car.  Its protection extends beyond medical payments and health insurance, and includes coverage such as loss of income for all your passengers, up to policy limits.

5.   UM/UIM coverage protects you outside of your car, too!

Say, you or a family member are riding in a friend’s car and are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.  Your UM/UIM Coverage will be there for you!

Or, imagine you’re walking down the street and are struck by an uninsured driver.  Your UM/UIM Coverage will protect you even if you’re not behind a wheel!

Be a responsible driver. Protect yourself!
You can’t afford to NOT carry UM/UIM coverage!

Questions, or ready to learn more?

Contact the McClain Insurance Protection Team at 425-379-9200!

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Did you know that one in four girls and one in six boys become victims of abuse at some point in their childhood?

Translate these numbers for Snohomish County, and you will find that there are approximately 46,000 (!) children in our immediate neighborhoods who might need intervention, help and care.

Everett’s Dawson Place seeks to address this issue by offering a unique and carefully thought-out treatment plan that brings together law enforcement, child psychologists, child protective services, medical staff and victim advocates.  All these services unite in one safe,  and friendly location that helps children build trust and accept help.  Since opening its doors in 2006, Dawson Place has helped over 7,000 youth from birth to age 18.

 

Based on the skilled staff, carefully-coordinated and integrated services, and the quality of care received by abuse victims and their families, Dawson Place has found national acclaim!  The National Children’s Alliance describes Dawson Place as ““one of the best Child Advocacy Centers in the nation!”

If this amazing organization tugs on your heart,
this month is your chance to help:

Simply refer a friend to us for an insurance review, and we will donate $25 per referral to Dawson Place.

About McClain Insurance Services:

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency represents a select group of regional and national insurance companies, including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive.

Since 1977, McClain Insurance Services has offered quality insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington state.  Our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.



Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: AutoHomeRentersLifeUmbrellaEarthquakeFloodBoatMotorcycle and RV Insurance.



McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.

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The Y has been promoting healthy living, youth development and social responsibility in Snohomish County for over 100 years.

Many might associate the Y with healthy workouts, sports, a pool and a gym.  But the Y is not just about physical fitness! It also offers educational and preschool programs, and  opportunities to volunteer and support our neighbors and community.

Not least, the Y has touched the lives of our team members, who take advantage of many of the Y’s services:  Caitlin’s family enjoys workouts and ball games, while Nathalie’s children have been participating in the Y’s free Summer Day Camp and Kids’ Lunch programs.

The needs in Snohomish County are ever changing and growing.  This month, YOU can support the Y, simply by referring a friend to McClain Insurance Services for an insurance review.

For each referral, we will make a $25 donation to the Y of Snohomish County.

Please click here to learn more about our Referral Rewards Program.

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About McClain Insurance Services    |    www.AutoHomeBoat.com

McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented quality insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: Auto, Home, Renters, Life, Umbrella, Earthquake, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education.  McClain Insurance is a Washington State Corporations for Communities Award Winner and IIABW Agency of the Year 2013.

 

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Many of us feel that summer barely just started, yet the countdown for fall is ticking and stores are gearing up for “Back to School” sales.

Thanks to our long-standing partnership with the Everett Public Schools Foundation, McClain Insurance Services is proud to serve as a “Stuff the Bus” drop-off location for donations of school supplies.

The “Stuff the Bus” program was brought to life by the Everett Public Schools Foundation in 2009 to provide new backpacks and supplies for students in need across all grade levels of the 26 Everett public schools.  This year, the Foundation aims to stuff 1,700 backpacks.

YOU can help set up a student for a great start! Simply bring your donation of school supplies to our office Monday through Friday, August 4-15, from 9am until 5pm. The first 50 donors will receive a free AquaSox back pack as a “thank you” for their contribution.

The McClain Insurance office is located at 10410 19th Ave SE in Everett, immediately South of Costco.

 

For a list of suggested items, please visit AutoHomeBoat.com/StufftheBus.  Any donation will help – from a pack of pencils to a fully stocked backpack.  If you’d rather give cash, donate online at the click of a button at www.everettsd.org/epsf.   There are also still open volunteer.

er positions available at the bus sites or to help stuff the backpacks.

“Our students are our future.  It is critical for call of us to invest time and resources to support the education of our next generation of leaders,” says Claudia McClain, the owner of McClain Insurance and long-time board member of the Everett Public School Foundation.  “Good thoughts and best wishes for a successful new school year to all our local students!”

Please contact McClain Insurance Services at 425-379-9200 or the Everett Public Schools Foundation at 425-385-4695 with questions.

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McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA.  The agency represents many regional and national insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive.)

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education. McClain Insurance is a Washington State Corporations for Communities Award Winner, IIABW Agency of the Year 2013 and was voted “Best Insurance Agency” and “Best Place to Work” in The Herald Readers’ Choice Awards 2014.

 

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This recent press release by the Seattle Area Law Enforcement Agencies serves as a great reminder for all of us to be smart, respect law enforcement agents, avoid spreading rumors and observe Social Media etiquette if we become witnesses to an accident or tragedy. 

Please post wisely!

(Seattle)—Social media has become the tool of choice for sharing life events, from mundane things like family dinners to major, life-changing, emergencies

Seattle-area law enforcement agencies are asking you to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies, to help public safety responders keep you safe.

“Please don’t tweet about the movements of responding police officers, or post pictures,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Sooner or later we’ll have an emergency where the suspect is watching social media. That could allow an offender to escape, or possibly even cost an officer their life.”

The agencies’ concern began to grow after watching events in Moncton, New Brunswick and Portland, OR.

“We watched these incidents as they unfolded on social media. In both cases, there was real-time information posted by individuals that could have compromised officer safety,” said Chief Bret Farrar of the Lakewood Police Department.

Along with not posting information about police movements, posting pictures can also put officers at risk.

“If it’s safe to do so, go ahead and take pictures of our deputies in action,” said Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer.  “We’re very proud of the work they do. We’d simply ask that you wait to post those pictures until the emergency is over.

In fact, pictures posted after the emergency can help investigators determine what happened as the event unfolded.

Here are some suggested dos and don’ts for the use of social media in emergencies.

  • Do get to a safe place and call 911 if possible. Live telephone calls to dispatchers are law enforcement’s best source of real-time information in an emergency.
  • Do feel free to let family and friends know you’ve reached safety.
  • Do feel free to warn friends if you have first-hand knowledge of a developing emergency.
  • Don’t tweet or post about the movements of police, or post pictures of officers. Even what seems like vague information could be used by a criminal familiar with the area.
  • Don’t endanger yourself to get a picture, no matter how compelling.
  • Don’t spread rumors. If you’re not sure, don’t post, tweet or re-tweet.
  • Do feel free to tweet about the response and post pictures after the emergency is over.

Although the term is “Tweet Smart,” the advice applies to whatever is your preferred social media platform.

# # #

 

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(Everett, July 24, 2014) — For the third year, the AquaSox are hosting their popular Family Festival at Memorial Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 – 27.  Visit dozens of local vendors’ booths, participate in family fun activities, and sign up for prizes and raffles!

McClain Insurance Services is a proud signature sponsor of the AquaSox Family Fest.

“We had a lot of fun at last year’s Family Festival, and I’m thrilled that the AquaSox are providing this opportunity to bring families together.  I have fond memories of summer nights spent at the ballpark with my own family and friends, back when the AquaSox were still known as the Everett Giants.  It brings me joy that we are able to help others make similar memories in this way,” says Claudia McClain, the owner of McClain Insurance Services.

On Sunday, the PEMCO WALLY van will provide free souvenir photo lanyards commemorating their trip to the ballpark.

Gates open at 5:30pm on Saturday and 3:00pm on Sunday.  After enjoying the festival, end the day with a ballgame against the Boise Hawks (Saturday, 7:05pm) or the Tri-City Dust Devils (Sunday, 4:05pm).

While you’re at the game and munching peanuts, be sure to pick up one of the McClain-sponsored peanut shell collection bags.  Cracking peanut shells into a bag not only keeps the ballpark cleaner, but it also helps the growing number of fans with peanut allergies by keeping shells and dust a little more contained.

“Go Frogs” with PEMCO and McClain Insurance Services!

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McClain Insurance Services is an independent insurance agency located in Everett, WA. The agency has represented a number of regional and national insurance companies (including PEMCO, Safeco, Travelers and Progressive) since 1977.  McClain Insurance Services offers great insurance options to customers in Snohomish County and Washington.  Between our convenient full-service website and our team of licensed, professional brokers make insurance shopping personal, easy, quick and hassle-free.

Independent agents work with you to customize an insurance plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. They can help with all your personal insurance needs: Auto, Home, Renters, Life, Umbrella, Earthquake, Flood, Boat, Motorcycle and RV Insurance.

McClain Insurance Services is a Trusted Choice agency and a member of the Independent Agents Association of America, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, and the BBB. They are also Charter Members of NSACE – National Society of Agents for Consumer Education. McClain Insurance is a Washington State Corporations for Communities Award Winner and IIABW Agency of the Year 2013.

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