September is National Preparedness Month - Auburn, WAFEMA, Ready.gov, and Listo.gov are big voices in reminding Americans that September is National Preparedness Month. Ready.gov is a great resource for teaching you how to prepare for a natural disaster.

What do they consider a disaster? Wildfires, flooding, thunderstorms & lightning, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, severe weather, droughts, and more. No matter where you live in the United States, you can be vulnerable to one or many natural disasters.

Ready.gov breaks down National Preparedness Month in four steps below.

Step 1 – Make a Plan

Step 2 – Build a Kit

Step 3 – Low-Cost, No Cost-Preparedness

Step 4 – Teach Youth about Preparedness

Every step is important in the event of a natural disaster and we encourage you to use this month to read through their information. You can read more here. Knowing information such as a shelter plan, evacuation route, communication plan or even having an emergency kit can be life-saving.

Proper Insurance & Natural Disasters

Having the right insurance coverage is essential if a natural disaster strikes. Many people assume that by purchasing home insurance, you are covered for anything and everything. This isn’t the case. By not having proper insurance coverage, countless people have been financially ruined.

First step with insurance, talk to your agent

Not only should you use this time with your agent to understand your current coverage, but talk about your risks. Should you purchase flood or earthquake insurance? If you were to experience an insurance claim, do you know how you will be compensated to repair or replace what has been damaged?

After talking with your agent, work on Step 2.

Step two includes creating your home inventory list, safely storing important documents, and knowing exactly what to do if you experience a claim.

  1. Do you currently have a home inventory list? This is a list of your most important belongings. A home inventory list can be as simple as taking photos of every room in your house. Some individuals have an itemized list on a spreadsheet too. In the event you have an insurance claim, you can quickly reference your items in the event they need to be repaired or replaced.
  2. If you have an insurance claim, be sure to take pictures and videos of your damage. You will work with a claims adjuster so be sure to be timely with your response and save all receipts from purchases you have made regarding your claim. Examples – hotel receipts, meal receipts, or other important items.
  3. Are your records safe? Records such as insurance documents, birth certificates, social security cards, marriage or divorce license, passport, pet ID tags, immunization records, medication lists, lease or rental agreement or mortgage or real estate deeds of trusts should all be safely stored in a water or fireproof box.

If you have questions about your current insurance coverage and would like to talk to a professional insurance agent, call us! We are experts in the insurance industry and can do a comprehensive review of your current coverage.

Four tips for landlords in Auburn, WAWhether you are looking to buy an investment property or are looking to change your existing home into a rental property, there are some things you should know about becoming a landlord. Most people choose to become a landlord for financial investment. By following these tips below, you can make being a landlord easier and more enjoyable for you all while improving your tenant’s happiness and rental contract longevity.

Provide a well-maintained property

If you are looking to purchase a home as a rental property, you must consider the cost of improvements you will need to make to the property in order to make it rentable. While someone may rent the property in its existing condition, a home that is in good repair will help you maximize the rent you are able to collect along with ensuring the home itself does not develop additional issues from lack of maintenance.

Things to look for & questions to ask yourself:

  • Is the caulking around windows, doors and siding maintained?
  • Are your gutters cleaned and free from debris?
  • Who is maintaining the yard?
  • If you have a fence, is it in good condition?

When you are shopping for a rental property, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the home need an updated exterior paint job?
  • What is the current condition of the roof?
  • What is the condition of the crawlspace?
  • How old are the appliances?
  • Does the home have updated electrical?
  • What could I update to make the home look its best?
    1. Typically a fresh coat of paint in the interior can make a home look more up-to-date.
    2. Add backsplash, tile or Beadboard wall paneling.
    3. Add crown modeling in the living room, kitchen or bedrooms.
    4. Add more lighting in the home.
    5. If the kitchen or bathroom is really dated, consider updating it with new appliances, vanity, cabinets or tile. You can also consider replacing the shower or bathtub.

The best part of buying an investment property is you don’t have to necessarily “flip” it to get it on the renting market. A few upgrades mentioned above can make a home nice without breaking the bank.

Eliminate Safety hazards

Want to avoid headaches, lawsuits or home insurance claims? Be sure to focus on eliminating any safety hazard from your property. From a liability standpoint, you will want to be sure that the property is void of any safety hazards such as loose railings, uneven walkways, cracked decking or faulty stairs. A well-maintained property will help you maximize your property’s profitability and keep your tenants safe.

Quickly address issues

When problems arise, and they will, it is important to quickly address them with your tenant. Some landlords choose to have rental management companies intervene, while others either do the repairs themselves, or ask the tenant to get it repaired and take it off the next month’s rent. If the issue is a safety concern, do not ignore it. If you are made aware of a safety issue and ignore it, you may be liable if something happens. Whatever your agreement is with your tenant, be sure to address repairs quickly. This may help mitigate additional damage from occurring.

Be available to your tenants

Being available to your tenants can help you develop longstanding renters who stay at your property for years. Since one of the largest risks of being a landlord is having a vacant property, the longer your renters stay, the more revenue your property can generate. By being a good landlord and available to them easily they will know you care about them and the property they are renting.

Being a landlord comes with risks, but also huge financial rewards. Following the suggestions above you can create long-standing renters who not only take care of your property but help you build financial wealth along the way.

If you have questions about landlord insurance, call our agency. We can discuss all of your insurance coverage options when it comes to being a landlord. Call or email us for a free quote.

Six life changes that impact your home insurance in Auburn, Washington.Many homeowners upgraded their homes in the last 18 months. Whether it was bringing a furry friend into your home, updating a kitchen or bathroom, or adding additions like a swimming pool, trampoline, or detached structures, these upgrades make living in your home more enjoyable. If you completed any of the following updates or additions to your home, contact us!

Kitchen or Bathrooms

If you have made significant upgrades to your kitchen, bathroom, or other rooms in your house, you’ll want to share this with your insurance agent. Your current home insurance is based on the value of your home. When you make significant updates to your home, your home value will increase. In the event you have a home insurance claim, you want your home insurance to cover any losses. If you made significant updates to your home but failed to tell your insurance agent and experienced a home insurance claim, you may not be covered for what your home is actually worth.

Detached Structures

Similar to upgrading your kitchen, bathroom or adding square footage to your home, it impacts your home insurance policy. If you added a detached structure to your property, relay this information to your agent so we can update your home insurance policy.

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools do increase your liability and it is important your pool has all the safety precautions in place. Does your swimming pool have proper barriers or fencing around the pool? Most insurance carriers require a fence of at least four feet to be present around your pool. Do you have floatation devices for young children? Lastly, be sure to regularly inspect items used in or around your pool. For example, slides, diving boards or floatation devices.

Trampoline

Be sure to read your current home insurance policy before purchasing a trampoline. Home insurance coverage for trampolines vary both by state and insurance carrier with some not wanting to insure them at all. Talk to your insurance agent about coverage options if you are considering buying a trampoline.

Dog

A furry friend can be the perfect companion and a great addition to your home. It is important to tell your agent if you have a new dog in your home. Many insurance carriers do consider certain breeds higher risk and as a result, your home insurance policy premium may increase. Breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas or Great Danes may not be insurable by all carriers. While we never want to assume your dog will ever injury someone, it is important to always be properly covered. If you do not report owning a dog to your insurance carrier and you have a claim against your dog, you risk not being covered.

Contact our agency if you have made any of the following changes to your home life. We will be sure to inform your insurance carrier to ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date and you are properly covered.