Holiday Safety Tips Secord Agency Insurance in Seattle, Washington

Safety Tips for This Holiday Season

Holiday Safety Tips Secord Agency Insurance in Seattle, WashingtonWith the holidays just around the corner, it is a great time to review holiday safety items around the household. Especially if you plan on a lighting display.

When it comes to holiday décor, some families go all out. Regardless of your level of displays, it is important to keep some things in mind for safety.

If you’re like many families displaying lights on the outside of your house during the holidays brings a lot of joy and festiveness to your home.

Holiday Light Safety

  1. Keep your extension cords tucked away and off walkways.
  2. Extension cords create a trip hazard when running across walkways and other areas where deliveries or guests need to walk. When possible, keep them away from sidewalks and tucked away.
  3. Use exterior extension cords & lights.
  4. Extension cords, as well as lights, come in interior and exterior grades. Be sure if you’re running lights outside to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
  5. Check for frayed wires.

Over time the wires on your lights may become frayed. Before you hang them up, carefully inspect your wires for frayed ends. If you find any, don’t risk it. Repair them or replace them before you hang them up.

Ladder Safety

Each year thousands of people are injured hanging lights on their homes from ladders. OSHA publishes safety precautions that are not only good for businesses to follow but for individuals to follow as well. Some of these safety tips include:

  1. Select the right ladder for the weight of the job.
  2. Every ladder has a weight limit. Look at the side of your ladder to determine if it can support enough weight for the job.
  3. Never utilize the top 3 feet of the ladder. This can cause instability if you go above that point.
  4. Inspect the ladder before use for damage.
  5. Never go down a ladder backwards.
  6. Ensure your ladder is on flat ground and stable before climbing.
  7. Never lean to the side on a ladder, this can cause instability.
  8. Use common sense when using ladders to ensure safety. If something feels unsafe to you when you’re on the ladder, it probably is.

We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season this year.

If you have questions about your home insurance policy, contact our agency today.

Auto Insurance Claim Expectations Secord Agency Insurance in Seattle, Washington

What To Expect When You File An Auto Insurance Claim

Auto Insurance Claim Expectations Secord Agency Insurance in Seattle, WashingtonA Call for Facts of Loss

When you’re involved in a car accident the first thing that happens after you report your claim is you receive a call from the insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster looks at your coverages, listens to your statement about what happened (Facts of Loss), and then determines fault. This adjuster will also guide you through the remaining process to get your vehicle back to pre-loss condition. If it is found that another party is at-fault, you may elect to go through them for your repairs. If you use your insurance, you may have to pay your deductible up-front which your insurance company will attempt to A close up of a damaged car headlight & to subrogate back for you.

Choices for Repairing Your Vehicle

When you need to get your vehicle repaired, the choice is up to you on who fixes your vehicle. Typically, the insurance carrier will work with a network of body shops in your area and can recommend one or two. Regardless of who you choose, the insurance adjuster or estimator will work with the body shop on your behalf to ensure your car is repaired.

Vehicle Parts

Oftentimes, insureds are surprised to hear that the insurance company authorized the usage of aftermarket (commonly referred to as Like-Kind-Quality or LKQ) parts on their vehicle. If your vehicle is new, it is unlikely this will occur, but if your car is more than a couple of years old, there will likely be many parts like bumper covers and fenders that are available for your vehicle that may be used when your vehicle is repaired. Most of the time, you will not have an option to choose, but if you see it on your estimate, you could likely opt to pay the difference yourself. Most insurance contracts say in the policy language they may use aftermarket parts.

Rental Coverage

When your vehicle is in the shop, you’ll likely be without it for at least a few days. If you need a rental car during this time, you’ll have to check your policy to see if you have one available. If you’re going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, they will provide you with a rental vehicle for basic transportation. If you have unique circumstances like an ADA vehicle or a truck or van that you have to use for work, be sure to let them know you have circumstances that require a similar temporary replacement.

Deductibles

If you are at fault for your accident, you’ll have to pay a collision deductible. The amount is unique to your insurance policy and typically is between $100 and $2500. If you’re not at fault and going through the at-fault party’s insurance company, there will be no deductible applied to your claim.

We hope you never have to experience an auto insurance claim but in the event you do, we’re here to help. If you’d like to discuss your auto insurance coverages prior to being in an accident, please schedule a time or call our office to review your existing coverage.

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof and Why is it Important?

Don’t overlook your roof! This important structure affects more than curb appeal. It’s responsible for protecting many structures and systems.

View of home from the street

The parts of a home that get the most attention tend to be visual, and more or less at eye level: paint color, landscaping, porches, and decks. The roof is the one part of the home that doesn’t tend to get a lot of notice unless the gutters overflow or an enthusiastically tossed toy goes a little too high.

This important structure affects a lot more than your house’s curb appeal – it’s responsible for protecting interior structures from water, ensuring your HVAC system operates efficiently, safeguarding your loved ones in dangerous weather, and, in some cases, making your attic safe storage space.

Roof Age and Replacement Tips

How long does a roof last? Sales pitches for roofing companies can come fast and furious, inviting doubt to creep in over the integrity of the shingles overhead.

Here’s a short intro guide on the various types of roof materials, and when you may want to consider repair, replacement, or maintenance:

Asphalt Shingles

Typically black with a gravel-like surface texture, asphalt shingles are the most common type of domestic home roof material in America. With proper care and upkeep, this type of roof will offer between 15 to 30 years of viable service before you’ll need to replace them entirely. Because of the nature of its overlapping construction, it’s also relatively easy to swap out or replace broken or damaged shingles.

Composition Shingles

Made from a wider variety of materials in a multilayer design that can include fiberglass, composition shingles have a slightly shorter lifespan, between 12 and 20 years before replacement is necessary. Like asphalt shingles, they may become damaged or lost periodically due to weather and exposure but can be replaced as needed.

Wooden Shingles

This type of roofing – as the name suggests – is made out of wood, often cedar for passive pest control, but also woods like cypress, pine, or redwood. This natural material is hardy and offers between 20 and 25 years of use before you will need to replace your wooden roof. While rot and pest-resistant woods and coatings are used, this type of roof material can be vulnerable to problems like moisture, mosses, mildew, and insects.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are durable and industrial, offering between 50 and 75 years of dedicated protection, on average. Because of their overlapping design and potential corrosion, these types of roof coverings are susceptible to leaks, so care must be taken to maintain and assess them regularly, usually bi-annually unless specific issues crop up. If they become dented or warped (think storm-fallen limbs), they can be expensive to repair or replace.

Rubber Roofs

A rarity in domestic neighborhoods and typically the domain of industrial buildings, rubber roofs last between 30 and 50 years before a full replacement is called for. Over time, particularly in hot, sunny, or damp climates, this roofing material may shrink and pull back at its seams, causing issues with peeling and leaks from moisture buildup and pooling.

Do I Need to Replace My Roof?

If you know when your roof was installed and the material falls within the normal lifespan, likely not unless you’re experiencing specific issues. That being said, if you are nearing the end of that lifespan or an in-place warranty is due to expire, it’s a smart move to schedule a full roof assessment.

In addition to regular visual inspections as you walk around your house or in your attic, it’s best to have a roofing company inspect, repair, and maintain your roof at least every other year. If your home is in an area with extreme weather or a great deal of direct sunlight and high temperatures, an annual checkup is an even better idea.