In the moments after an auto accident there are a million things that will run through your head. Checking yourself and other passengers for injuries is probably the first thing you do followed by visually assessing the damage to your vehicle. Your next steps may make the insurance claims process a bit easier, so learning these steps prior to an accident may trigger your memory should you find yourself involved in an auto accident.

5 tips for filing an insurance claim in Washington:

  • Call 911: Always alert law enforcement to an auto accident whether it is single or multiple vehicles, on private property, etc. The 911-dispatcher will ask a series of questions to determine if an officer is needed, usually if there is significant vehicle or property damage, there is an injury or if impairment is suspected. If an officer is not needed at the scene, make sure to file a police report at your local precinct as your insurance company may need a police report in order to process certain claims. This process also works for claims such as theft, vandalism or hit-and-run damage to your vehicle.
  • Gather information: You will need to collect information from any parties involved in the auto accident or information from someone whose property may have been damage by your vehicle (and vice versa). Make sure to get a phone number, address, auto insurance company and policy number, a description of the vehicle (make, model, and year) and a description of the damage done to the vehicle. If you have a smartphone or camera handy take photos of all vehicles, buildings and surrounding areas. Make sure to photograph vehicle positions, street signs and anything else that may be useful in the claims process.
  • Talk to your agent: Alert your agent to the fact that you have been in an auto accident and let them know the details. If it is a smaller, solo accident without significant damage to your vehicle, it may be cheaper in the long run to avoid an insurance claim and pay for the damage out of pocket. Your agent can guide you through your options and help you make the best decision for your situation. Your agent may also be an advocate for you when dealing with the insurance company of any party that was involved in an accident with you.
  • File a claim: If you and your agent have determined that filing a claim is the best option for you, then your agent can assist you in that process. Provide your agent with the information of anyone else involved in the auto accident, any photos or videos that were taken at the scene and if there is one, the police report. Your agent will start the claims process and send out a claims adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle and let you know how much the damage will cost to repair. This does not necessarily reflect the amount you will pay, that depends on who is found “at-fault” for the accident.
  • The waiting game: The claims process can take a bit of time, especially if there are multiple parties and multiple insurance companies involved. Check in with your agent and feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process.

We always hope that none of our clients will experience the stress of an auto accident, but we know that it happens (that’s why we’re here!) The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services in Renton or Bellevue, WA can assist you in filing a claim and finding a reputable repair shop. They are right in your backyard, so they know the most trusted repair shops in the Renton or Bellevue, Washington areas. 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 RV insurance.

 

Unlike some natural disasters, earthquakes are extremely difficult to predict. There are several regions in the U.S. that are at higher risk than others for having the “big one” and we just happen to live in one of them. Depending on the depth, intensity and duration, an earthquake can do significant damage to a home or condo.

This type of damage is not typically covered on a basic homeowner’s or condo insurance policy and only about 10 percent of homeowners purchase earthquake coverage. In this instance an earthquake insurance policy in Renton and Bellevue, WA may be a smart move.

Earthquakes and Washington:

  • Quaking ground: Earthquakes can be brought on by many factors. The movement of a tectonic plate in a subduction zone, the slipping of rock on a strike-slip fault line, a volcanic eruption or it can be triggered by an external factor, like drilling or mining. Generally the deeper the location of the earth’s movement, the stronger the earthquake, however, the shallower it is makes it more destructive. Earthquakes that occur along coast lines can be even more destructive as an earthquake can trigger a tsunami. Here in Renton and Bellevue, Washington, we are close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The CSZ is lengthy fault that runs from Vancouver Island in Canada all the way into Northern California, separating the Juan de Fuca plate from the North American plate. This particular fault has produced some damaging earthquakes, most recently in February 2001 when the Nisqually earthquake shook the Puget Sound region, had a recorded magnitude of 6.8 and caused about $2 billion in damages.
  • Dwelling damage: Damage from an earthquake can range from a few easily repairable cracks in the drywall of a home, to a complete failure of the structural integrity of a home. A homeowner may need to higher inspectors, structural engineers, a contractor and the list goes on. Not to mention that a family whose home was damaged in an earthquake will need a safe place to stay until the home is repaired. If the family does not have an earthquake insurance policy, they may be responsible for paying all repair costs out of pocket. These costs can often be thousands of dollars.
  • Earthquake Insurance: An earthquake insurance policy helps cover damages and additional living expenses up to a certain dollar amount. The policy cost and the amount of the deductible may vary depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to: Age of the home, distance from a fault line, location of the home (hillside, soil type, etc.) and the type of policy either Standard or Comprehensive. The monthly cost for an earthquake insurance policy can range from a few hundred dollars a year to a few thousand dollars a year depending on your location. If you or the previous owners retrofitted the home for an earthquake by securing the home to the foundation with seismic bolts or reinforcing walls or chimneys, you may be entitled to a lower earthquake insurance policy cost.

Before purchasing a home or condo, it’s important to remember to talk to your licensed insurance agent in Renton and Bellevue, WA to see if you might need an earthquake insurance policy. The experts Eastside Insurance Services in Renton and Bellevue, Washington have years of insurance experience that can save you a bundle. Plus they live right in your area, so know first-hand if you may need additional insurance such as flood insurance.  You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about the other insurance products Eastside Insurance Services offers.

 

 

Time to break out the conical hats, black cat decorations and the pumpkin seeds; Halloween is on its way! Whether you intend to go all out and build a spooky scene in your front yard complete with a giant spider and web or if you plan to put up a few jack-o-lanterns you can take some extra steps to ensure that your Halloween spirit does not turn your home into a personal house of horrors.

To avoid a costly homeowner’s insurance claim in Renton or Bellevue, WA such as a fire, property damage or a personal liability claim, make sure that your Halloween decorations and any area that party-goers or trick-or-treaters access is free of debris and tripping hazards.

  • Décor: Many Halloween decorations are made of paper or wood products. Keep these decorations away from open flames and away from lights as the décor could spontaneously combust resulting in a fire. Lit jack-o-lanterns should be extinguished prior to going to bed or leaving the house for an extended period of time. A pumpkin that is too dry or a flame that is too close to a wooden porch could spark a blaze, which if not caught quickly could be quite destructive. To eliminate open flames altogether, try flameless LED candles.  Speaking of lighting, make sure that any lights hung are the appropriate type (indoor or outdoor) and that they are strung in such a way that no one could trip over or get tangled in.
  • Tripping Hazards: Little ones (and adults too!) can get over excited during a scare and could hurt themselves on décor that is not properly secured or in the way. Moving items like porch furniture or lawn décor could help prevent accidents outside. If you plan to throw a Halloween party indoors with little ones, make sure that sharp edges and corners are secured and tripping hazards such as side tables or ottomans are out of the way. Taking a few extra steps to ensure that your guests are safe could save you from a costly personal liability claim.
  • Treats and tricks: Another wonderful part about Halloween is the food! Candy corn, lollipops and caramel apples are delicious treats for young and old alike; however they do present a choking hazard for small children. Make sure that bite-size or chewy treats are kept out of reach of tiny hands.

Halloween can be a fun time for friends and family, not a time to worry about household accidents. If you have any questions about what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers in terms of fire, property damage or personal injury liability, your licensed insurance agent in Renton or Bellevue, Washington can assist you.  The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services can assist you with examining 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 personal umbrella insurance.