Congratulations, you just bought a new (or new to you) car! You were able to afford a down payment and now you are the proud owner of a new car and a monthly car payment. But, what happens if your car becomes involved in an accident and you owe more than your car is worth?

Imagine this scenario: While out enjoying your new car, you hydroplane and hit a guardrail damaging your new vehicle beyond repair. The insurance company is telling you that your new car is a total loss. While you may not be able to drive the vehicle, you are still responsible for the loan associated with vehicle. If you have gap insurance in Renton or Bellevue, WA, you may be only responsible for your deductible.

How gap insurance in Washington works:

What is depreciation:  Vehicles, especially new vehicles, begin to depreciate as soon as you drive them off the dealer lot. Depreciation can be quite surprising and is not necessarily tied to the base cost of the vehicle. Due to wear-and-tear, fluctuating market conditions and a number of other factors, depreciation in the first year is the steepest. Even with proper care and maintenance and no accidents, a vehicle will continue to depreciate. Even though the value of the vehicle will go down each year, the amount you owe on the vehicle will not. Depreciation will vary between make and model but here is a baseline comparison:

Year Vehicle Style Base price Depreciation year one
2013 Subaru Legacy 2.5i sedan $21,295 $3,069
2013 Honda Civic Base sedan $22,715 $4,406
2013 BMW 328i sedan $34,900 $5,198
2013 Ford F-150 $28,595 $5,915
2013 Toyota 4Runner $37,155 $6,380

 *Figures courtesy of automobilemag.com

Why gap insurance: In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is totaled, and it is an event covered under your current auto insurance policy, your insurer may pay the actual cash value of the vehicle, which may be significantly less than the outstanding vehicle loan. In that case, you would still be responsible for the remaining balance between the loan and the insurance payout, which could be thousands of dollars. If you choose to purchase gap insurance in Renton or Bellevue, Washington, your insurance company would cover the remaining balance between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the remaining loan balance, typically up to 25 percent, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

Options for gap insurance: There are two options for purchasing gap insurance in Renton or Bellevue, WA. It can be purchased from the dealership or through an insurance agent. If you choose to purchase gap insurance through the dealership you purchase your vehicle from, the gap insurance will be built into your loan. The average price for gap insurance from a dealership is around $1,000, but add interest and taxes and it can add up to much more. If you choose to purchase gap insurance from an insurance agent, on average it would add less than $10 per month to a policy! There may be certain stipulations associated with a gap insurance policy:

  • The loan may need to be through a financial institution rather than an individual
  • Your current auto insurance policy may need to include Collision and Comprehensive coverage
  • Your claim may need to be a covered Collision and Comprehensive coverage event
  • Your vehicle may need to be determined as a total loss

Before you purchase a new vehicle, make sure to check with your licensed insurance agent in Renton or Bellevue, Washington to see how you can add gap insurance to your new vehicle policy. The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.

 

The weather is starting to change, we are entering those warm days of fall where the mornings are brisk and the afternoons are warm. The leaves are starting to turn orange and yellow here in Renton or Bellevue, Washington, the kids are back in school and it will soon be time to start making plans for the holidays as winter is on its way. Before winter arrives, there is plenty of time to prep your home, both inside and out, for the coming cold months. Some simple winterization prep can save you from a costly homeowner’s insurance claim from frozen pipes or huge heating bills from drafty spots in your home.

Four areas to focus your winterization in Washington:

  • Water, water everywhere: Gutters can get jammed up with leaves, branches and other debris. Once the leaves have fallen from the trees, grab a ladder and gently remove the debris from the gutters. Then, rinse the bottoms of the gutter to ensure good flow of water for those winter showers. If your gutters become clogged, rainwater can accumulate around the foundation of your home and possibly seep into the foundation or basement, in which case, you should check for cracks in your foundation and fill them, pronto. A flooded basement can result in a costly homeowner’s insurance claim. Also, anytime you are using a ladder or plan to be on your roof, please let someone know or have someone working with you. An extra pair of hands and eyes can help prevent painful accidents.
  • Where is that draft coming from: The cold winter draft that is leaking in around your doors, windows and from your attic. Take a candle or piece of incense around your home on a windy day and go near doors, windows and attic to look for wind making its way into your home. If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, regardless of where in the country, you should consider adding more. It is an easy do-it-yourself project; any home improvement store should have the tools to help you complete that. It you have single-pane windows you can purchase an inexpensive window insulation kit to add another “pane” to the glass. This keeps the cold air trapped between another layer instead of entering your home. Other areas drafts can creep in are: recessed lighting, door frames and electrical outlets. A variety of caulks, gaskets and weather-stripping is available at any local hardware store.
  • Keep warm:  Do your heating bills spike up during the winter? Aside from performing the aforementioned “draft tests” checking that heating equipment is in good repair may help keep that heating bill down. The furnace can run much more efficiently if it has a clean filter in it. Consider changing your filter once a month. They are inexpensive and pay for themselves in efficiency gains. Also think about checking out your duct insulation. Ducting in homes can become exposed from being bumped in the attic or crawlspace over time and there are huge efficiency losses from this. Ensure your ducts are covered with insulation and not exposed. Also, check for any leaks in connections while the system is running. Speaking of exposure, pipes that are exposed during the cold winter may freeze and explode if not properly insulated. Protect any exposed water pipes with insulation, if a pipe bursts in winter it can cause thousands of dollars in damages. It takes just a few minute to insulate your pipes, a step that can save a headache down the road.
  • Do you smell smoke: Turning on the fireplace is a winter tradition, whether it is a gas or natural wood fireplace. It can also be a hazard if your chimney is dirty. A cleaned chimney will remove creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood. Keep your home safe from chimney fires by hiring a professional chimney sweep to remove any build-up. Make sure you are prepared if a fire does break out with a fire extinguisher (it may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance in Renton or Bellevue, WA) and make sure you have fresh batteries in your smoke detectors. It is always a good idea to check your batteries in the smoke detectors a couple times per year. Count this as one.

While you are taking the time to prep your home for the upcoming winter, talk to your licensed insurance agent to ensure the homeowner’s insurance covers events like floods or fires that may occur during the winter months. Eastside Insurance Services in Renton or Bellevue, Washington can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and add additional coverages like flood insurance and earthquake insurance. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and they live right in your area, so know first-hand what your insurance needs might be.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other insurance products they offer.

We all use our vehicles to get us from point A to point B; usually on personal errands, road trips or commuting to work. If you happen to use your vehicle for business use, like a paper route or pizza delivery, your personal auto insurance policy may not protect you in an accident.

If your business provides a vehicle for you, most likely that vehicle is covered under their policy, but you should check just to be certain. If it is required that you use your personal vehicle, your personal auto insurance policy may not be sufficient. Your personal auto insurance policy only covers your vehicle for personal use. If you use your vehicle to deliver goods in exchange for money, a commercial auto insurance policy in Renton and Bellevue, WA may be necessary.

Pizza delivery insurance (Commercial auto insurance) in Washington:

  • Who needs it: Do you find yourself Googling “pizza delivery car insurance”? Do you use your personal vehicle to deliver papers, pizzas, sandwiches, flowers or other deliverables in exchange for money? If you answered yes to this question, you may need a commercial auto insurance policy for your vehicle.
  • Why do you need another policy: You can get higher limits from your policy, giving yourself and the business extra protection from accidents. While there probably won’t be a giant pizza attached to your vehicle, if your vehicle does have permanently attached equipment, a commercial auto policy can cover that from damage.
  • What is covered: A commercial auto insurance policy covers many of the same facets as a personal auto insurance policy, however limits and coverage options may vary between carriers.

So whether you are deliver packages, flowers, papers, sandwiches or are a pizza delivery driving looking for commercial auto insurance, talk to the experts at Eastside Insurance Services in Renton and Bellevue, WA. Their years of experience can save you bundle. Eastside Insurance Services agents can also assist you with a motorcycle or ATV insurance policy. Visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn about the other great insurance products they offer.