Dirt Bikes, ATVs, Boats: Do I need Insurance?

Summer Toys

Summer Toys

In the Pacific Northwest we love our toys; boats, wave runners, ATVs, dirt bikes, tractors, etc. We love the outdoors and we know how to play in it! A few of our agents are big ATV fans. They go out on nice days with their Raptors and blast through the trails in Washington. They can speak first hand on the importance of insuring your toys.

Even though you may not be required to carry insurance on your wave runner or ATV it is still important to consider. Even if you have an old dirt bike that isn’t worth much, you still have a liability exposure. If you let anyone ride your dirt bike and they get hurt or cause damage to someone else’s stuff you could be on the hook. You would really be the hook if you did the damage yourself.

Maybe you happen to be the best rider out there and you don’t let anyone else ride your dirt bike or quad. Do you really need insurance?   Think about this… I bet you have seen other operators out there that make you cringe. What if one of those bad riders come flying around a corner on their 4-wheeler and crashes right into you while you are riding safely? You now have doctor bills, and if they don’t have insurance it would sure be nice if you had some coverage like medical pay or uninsured motorist coverage to help you out with those doctor bills!

So, before you take your Sea-Doo out on the lake, or your ATV to Capital Forest, take a moment to consider if it is worth the risk to play without insurance.

Does a Motorcycle Insurance Policy Cover Other Riders?

This is an important question to consider if you are the owner of a motorcycle.  Motorcycle policies vary based on insuring company and by the coverage that you select.  Does your motorcycle policy have strictly liability only coverage or does your policy include guest passenger liability coverage?  If you are at fault in an accident and have a passenger, you may be responsible for their medical expenses, lost wages, etc…  It is always important to discuss your coverage with your agent before assuming you are covered.

What if you let someone else operates your motorcycle?  Some insurance policies limit the insured operators to individuals listed on the policy.  Please verify with you insurance agent before you allow someone to borrow your motorcycle as you could be liable for any damage or injuries caused to the operator and other parties involved.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Another Valentine’s Day has arrived.   According to an article from CNN, Valentine’s Day sales are estimated to reach $18.6 billion.  Can you guess what people will spend the most on?  Will it be a nice dinner, candy, cards, flowers, or jewelry?  The answer is jewelry!  An estimated $4.4 billion will be spent this Valentine’s Day on jewelry alone. 

Now if you just bought or received a piece of jewelry, you may want to make sure it is insured.  Jewelry is considered personal property/contents under a standard homeowners, renters, or condo policy.  However, these policies typically have a jewelry limit.  A common limit is $1,000.  In order to increase this amount you can either schedule your jewelry on your policy or start a personal articles floater policy.  Talk to your agent to decide which option is best for you.

Candle Safety

479px-Candle-flame-and-reflectionThe warm glowing light of a candle can be magical in the cold months of winter.  However it is important to be cautious with lit candles, especially during this busy time of year when your home is filled with flammable items such as trees and wrapping paper.   According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) an average of 32 home candle fires were reported each day.

To reduce your risk of a home candle fire, the NFPA recommends the following candle safety tips:

  • Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Keep lit candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • Use sturdy candle holders.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Do not use candles in place of flashlights.

For additional candle safety tips please visit:  http://www.nfpa.org

Ways To Avoid Getting Your Car Stolen

Five sure-fire ways to get your car stolen

Most people would say their car is one of the most valuable assets they own — if not the most valuable. Despite that, however, some people make it downright easy for thieves to drive off in their pride and joy.

At Strand Insurance, we don’t want you walking out your door to an empty driveway or leaving the store only to find some broken glass left behind in your parking space. So take care to avoid these five mistakes.

1.    Leave your car running … and unattended. We know it can be chilly in the mornings, and who wants to wait in a cold car while it warms up? Well, a thief certainly won’t mind the chill — as he’s driving away in your car while you’re finishing that cup of coffee in your kitchen. If your car is running, you should be in it. Period. Even if you’re just running over to the ATM to get some cash or dropping off some mail.

2.    Keep a spare set of keys inside the car. Law enforcement agencies say this is a great way to turn a car prowler into a car thief. They’re already breaking into your car to get a phone, or a laptop, etc. What do you think they’re going to do when they find a set of keys? They’re not going to drop them off on your porch with a nice note, that’s for sure.

3.    Put valuables in plain sight. Seems simple, but we’ve all made this mistake. You’ll just be in the store for a second, after all, so who cares if you leave your smartphone on the front seat? Or items from your other errands in the back seat? Be smart — if you have to leave items in your car, put them in the trunk, or at least hide them as best you can. And do it before you get to your next destination.

4.    Leave your car unsecured. The best thieves can work wonders with a window that’s left open even just a crack. And even the worst thieves can steal a car that’s been left unlocked, with no alarm set.

5.    Assume nobody would want to steal your car. Think your car is too old or too undesirable for a thief to bother? Scrap metal is worth money, so never assume that your car is safe — even if you think it’s just a “junker.”

Keeping thieves away helps to keep everyone’s insurance costs down, so avoiding these mistakes not only will save you hassle, it will save you money as well. So stay safe, not only on the roads, but in the parking lots as well!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Custom Vehicle Parts and Equipment

Red-Jeep-Wrangler-4X4__723210-150x150Do you have any custom features on your vehicle that were not installed by the original manufacturer or dealership?  If you do, did you know that these custom features may not be covered by your insurance?

People frequently adjust the appearance of their vehicles to meet their personal styles.  This may include lifting or lowering your vehicle, buying custom wheels and tires, or maybe adding a custom paint job.  However, these extras often need to be added to your auto policy in order to be covered.

Common Custom Features

  • Custom Paint
  • Decals
  • Graphics
  • Custom Wheels
  • After Market Tachometer and Gauges
  • Custom or Modified Engines
  • Light Bars
  • Oversized Tires
  • Racing Slicks
  • Roll Bars
  • Lift Kits
  • Utility Boxes
  • Canopy

These are just a few common custom features.

If you have any value adding features on your vehicle, it would be a good idea to check with your insurance provider to find out if you have the coverage that you need.

Grave Marker Insurance

cemeteryHalloween is the time of year for tricks and treats.  And a common Halloween trick is to steal or vandalize tombstones and grave markers.  Each year hundreds of cemeteries are hit by pranksters.  Did you know that you may have coverage for a vandalized or stolen grave marker under your homeowner’s insurance policy?

After the year 2000, several home insurance companies offer coverage for tombstones and grave markers on their new home insurance policies.  If you would like to know whether or not you have this coverage, it would be a good idea to look through your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent.

What happens if my car is totaled and I owe more than it is worth?

What happens if my car is totaled and I owe more than it is worth?

If your vehicle is totaled and you still owe money on it, a payment will be made from your insurance company to your lender.  If you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth, you will most likely be responsible for paying the lender the remaining loan balance.  It is important to consult with your lender to review the terms that you agreed to.

To avoid this type of situation, you may be able to purchase Gap coverage also called Loan and Lease coverage.  This particular type of coverage is offered through lenders and insurance providers in order to protect you from having a remaining loan on a vehicle that was deemed a total loss.  It will cover the difference between the value of the totaled vehicle and the remaining loan balance.  This type of coverage generally needs to be purchased near the time that the vehicle is purchased.


Water Leaks

MH900448623Water leaks are a HUGE problem for homeowners.  Even the smallest of water leaks or drips can lead to substantial damage over a period of time costing homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs.  Most homeowners do not realize the water leaks are not covered under a typical homeowner’s policy.  Why?  Water leaks usually occur over a period of time and your typical home insurance policy only provides coverage for sudden and accident incidents.  For example, if you discover a bubble in your flooring and find out there was a pipe that had been leaking, your typical homeowners policy will not provide coverage for the damages. How do you know if a water leak has been ongoing?  The presence of mold and/or mildew is common indicator that water damage was occurring over a period of time.

How do you protect yourself from water damage caused by a water leak?

  • Water detection devices
  • Check appliances regularly
  • Monitor your water bill
  • Update plumbing
  • Maintain your roofing

These are just a few options to help prevent substantial out of pocket expense that results from a water leak.  

Restricted Dog Breeds

Why does my insurance company want to know what type of dog I have?MH900431018

A large amount of liability claims are turned in each year by homeowners as a result of dog bites.  For this reason, many insurance companies have a restricted dog breed list.  Insurance companies want to know what breed of dog you have in order to determine if you are eligible for insurance through them.

Although each dog has a unique personality, like its owner, statistics show that certain dog breeds have substantially more liability claims than others.  These include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Presa Canarios
  • Chows
  • Akitas
  • Bull Terriers
  • Wolf mixes

What do I do if I am cancelled or rejected for homeowners insurance?

Not all insurance companies have a restricted dog breed list, so you would want to start making phone calls.  Keep in mind that higher premiums may be associated with these companies/policies.  You also have the option of looking for an insurance company that will exclude liability from dog related losses.  This is not recommended, but it is possible option.

What if I already have insurance?

If you have an existing insurance policy and decide to add a dog to your family that happens to be on the restricted breed list, your insurance company may cancel your insurance, non-renew your insurance, or exclude liability from that dog.