Prevent Water Damage to Your Home

Preventing water damage to your home in Federal Way, WA is a lot cheaper than repairs from water damage.  The core that holds your house together is the foundation, and the foundation is the one area that most often is damaged by water.  The damage that causes weakness in the foundation, leads to weakness of the home structure.  Here are some easy strategies to prevent water damage to your home.

One of the most important places to start is the drainage system.  Make sure the water has pathways away from your home.  Do this by keeping the gutters clean, make sure the downspouts are designed to direct water 5 – 10 feet away from your home, and your yard should be sloped at least 6 inches from the foundation.  These items work to keep the water away from the foundation where it can lead to cracked masonry and damp conditions. 

If your home has a sump pump, it should regularly be tested to make certain it stays in good working condition.  It is not working well; a heavy storm could flood the basement or crawl space and lead to wet conditions.  Check for home water leaks that may result in mold, mildew, and rotting, soggy wood where termites and carpenter ants love to take up residence.  Having the roof inspected yearly to have any loose or damaged shingles repaired is important to keep damage from the top-side.  Finally, examine the outer walls of your home, especially after the winter months, for cracks or other openings that need to be repaired or caulked to keep moisture out.

Hart Insurance

Hart Insurance provides homeowners insurance in the Federal Way, WA area.  Contact a Hart agent today so we can help you explore your flood insurance options.

3 Ways to Childproof Your Home for Summer

Childproofing your home will make it a safer environment for your kids to play during summer vacation. Although homeowner’s insurance coverage from Hart Insurance in Federal Way, WA protects you and your family against accidents, you can do your part to make accidents impossible to happen. Here are a few childproofing ideas to help you get started.

Store Tools and Cleaners in a Safe Location

Gardening and grilling are favorite summer past-times that can be enjoyed by the whole family. At the same time, they can pose a risk of danger to your children if tools and equipment are left unattended. By establishing a safe location to store gardening, grilling, carpentry and automotive tools when not in use, you reduce the risk of accidents. Safe and secure storage of this equipment will create a safer home environment.    

Household cleaners can also pose a threat to young children if not stored properly. Household cleaners should be stored on high shelves out of a child’s reach or behind locked cabinets for greater safety.

Secure Heavy Furniture

Children are notorious for breaking rules about climbing on furniture, especially if there’s something they want on top of a dresser or cabinet. If you have loose furniture that can topple over, it could pose a serious threat to your child’s safety. Securing dressers, televisions and other furniture to a wall for stability will help reduce the risk of accidents from climbing.

Declutter

Getting rid of clutter gives your kids more space to play safely. Clutter is not only a fire hazard but increases the risk of kids tripping and falling. Your kids will appreciate having a clean, clutter-free home to enjoy their summer vacation.

By combining childproofing measures with adequate home insurance coverage from Hart Insurance, Federal Way, WA you can protect your family from any eventuality.  

Prepare for the Unexpected with a Commercial Umbrella Plan

While most business owners feel confident and protected with their standard commercial insurance policies, there are times when sometimes those coverages may not be enough. Hart Insurance in Federal Way, WA knows the importance of preparing for the unexpected when it comes to commercial insurance.  A commercial umbrella plan can protect your company from liability claims that could exceed the limits of your commercial insurance policy.

What is Commercial Umbrella Insurance?

Commercial umbrella policies provide additional liability coverage in the event of claim or lawsuit against your company that exceeds the limits of your standard commercial insurance policy.  Without an umbrella policy, your business will be required to pay claims settlements, and medical fees that your business is liable above and beyond your policy limits.

What Unexpected Events Can an Umbrella Policy Protect Against?

Some examples of how umbrella coverage can protect your company from significant financial complications are:

  • Lawsuits Due to Injury – Injuries that your business may be liable for that cause significant injury, medical complications, or disablement can lead to large claims.  The cost of long-term medical treatment, loss of wages, and punitive damages will typically exceed the limits in place in your standard liability policy.   An umbrella policy can prevent the company from having to pay these expensive costs out of company cash flow.
  • Claims for Errors – Lawsuits from errors in advertising can lead to large lawsuits and sometimes even class action claims.  These settlement amounts can become high enough to cause your business serious financial trouble.  While your standard commercial policy will provide coverage in the event of a claim, defending against these type of issues or having to pay out multiple claimants can exceed your coverage cap.

If you are a business owner and would like a quote on an umbrella policy, contact the experienced agents at Hart Insurance in Federal Way, WA and get your company the additional protection it needs today.

3 Things That Can Get Your Auto insurance Revoked.

3 Things That Can Get Your Auto Insurance Revoked.

Introduction. No insurance firms around Federal Way, WA can cancel your policy without a good reason. Your contract with the insurance firm is based on the policy, and some of the violations of the contract could lead to policy cancellation. Some of the reasons could be a violation of the policy while others could do with breaking the state laws. This includes issues such as having your driving license suspended or canceled.

I. Making Multiple Claims in a Short Period. The auto insurance sector is built on managing and calculating risk. When you make too many claims in a short span, the chances of having your policy canceled or not renewed are high. Claims tend to stay in your file for about three years. More than one claim a year makes you undesirable to insurance firms. Non-renewal means that you will carry your current policy to term but there is no continuation of the policy.

II. Health Issues. If you have a condition that makes it unsafe for you to drive then your policy provider might just drop you. According to policy experts at Hart insurance, each state has its own list of the conditions that are considered disqualifying health problems. These include epilepsy, eye conditions, or muscle illnesses. What happens is that a physician will file a claim in court that you are unfit to drive. The court will suspend your license after which the policy provider revokes your contract by suspended license.

III. Your Insurance Firm Closes Shop. Insurance business can down scale, move out of town or fail and file for bankruptcy. To be able to protect yourself from this eventuality you need to do three things. First, check out their ratings. Secondly only purchase insurance from licensed firms. Thirdly look up the different auto insurance complaint index to figure out where the firm falls. Lastly, call the state insurance regulator and inquire about licensing, financial health, tax and legal compliance of the firm.

Tips for Spring Cleaning

There are not many people who like the thought of spring cleaning but with winter almost over, the time to start preparing is now. For your home in Federal Way, WA, a little bit of spring cleaning can go a long way. Whether you are new to the idea of spring cleaning or are already prepared to dive in, be sure to use these tips from Hart Insurance. 

  • Dust everything. Dust gets everywhere, and during the winter months, it can really pile up. If you do not plan on doing anything other than this for your spring cleaning, this will make a huge difference. Not only will it look great inside but you will also feel better. 
  • Choose one or two projects. You do not want to overwhelm yourself with too much so start with one or two things then build from there. Get what you can do, but if you are not able to, you will be just fine without it. Start with the most important items on your list and move from there. 
  • Enlist some help. No one ever said you have to do this on your own. Ask for help from friends or family. The project will be more fun to complete, and it will be done much faster. Don’t forget to offer the same in return for their time. 

Now that you have a good place to start for spring cleaning, you also need to tackle one more thing: getting a home insurance policy. It is the best way to protect your home and investment. If you do not already have one, then you need to consider calling Hart Insurance, serving Federal Way, WA. They can provide you with a free quote that meets your needs and your budget. 

Safety Tips while Driving in Federal Way, WA

If you live in Federal Way, WA, you will need a car to get around, which means you will need car insurance. And this can be a financial burden, especially when your premiums go up due to an accident or a ticket for a moving violation. So below are some tips for how to drive more safely and efficiently in Federal Way to keep your premiums at the rate a local broker like Hart Insurance, who serves the area, first gave you.

DRIVE DEFENSIVELY

Assume that all the other drivers on the road don’t know what they are doing and that they may do something unpredictable. Don’t be paranoid about these other drivers necessarily, but drive looking ahead at what dangers may be about to present themselves. By doing this, your ability to spot a possible accident and avoid it become much more likely, keeping you safe and your vehicle out of an accident.

ONLY DRIVE WHEN YOU HAVE TO

If you don’t need to drive somewhere, don’t drive. Take a car service or public transportation, walk or bike. The less you drive, the lower your rates will be and the less of a chance you will make yourself vulnerable to an actual car accident.

GET ANTI-THEFT DEVICES

Put a tracking device on your car and make sure the vehicle is secure wherever you park it. This will help keep it from getting broken into and make you decide whether or not to file an insurance claim or just eat the loss yourself, as you know the premiums will rise if you make a claim.

KEEP YOUR SPEED DOWN

The majority of car accidents occur due to excessive speed, so if you make going the speed limit or just under the speed limit a habit, your chances of having an accident will drop precipitously.

5 Tips for Understanding Home Insurance in Federal Way

Understanding home insurance in Federal Way, WA can get tricky, and not just because the industry uses jargon that almost no one understands. If you’re looking for more tips, then Hart Insurance wants you to keep these five tips in mind.

1. It’s All About You

For the most part, home insurance is written for you. It’s flexible enough to write in certain clauses to keep the policy relevant to you. It’s why you can’t compare it to your neighbors, because they may have very different needs from you.

2. It Keeps Your Neighborhood Safe

The more you maintain your home, the better your street looks, and the more likely it will send a message to criminals that they will be noticed if they come around. The same goes for structural problems in your home.

3. It Can Do More Than You Think

Home insurance can’t cover for every event, but it probably covers more than you think. Talking to an experienced agent means hearing about the common and uncommon scenarios that may happen to you and your family, and how home insurance can be of service.

4. It’s There for You

Home insurance can put you in a hotel when you can’t stay in your house, and give you the financial aid to make the repairs necessary so you can get back in as quickly as possible. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can count on after a terrible event.

5. A Partner Can Help

Hart Insurance serves the people of Federal Way, WA, and we’re here to make it easier for you. If you have questions or concerns about your policy, then now is the time to talk to us. Call us for more information on how we can help.

Home Insurance and Inflation

Inflation is something that is far-reaching and even home insurance is not impervious to its effects. The helpful agents at Hart Insurance can help those in the Federal Way, WA area to find out just how this works. So how does inflation affect home insurance? The answer is more straightforward than you might think.

Inflation is a principle in which the value of a dollar goes down and therefore sends the cost of common goods up. This affects home insurance in one major way, as prices inflate, the cost of rebuilding a home goes up greatly. The cost of workers, materials, and time all go up making it necessary to get more coverage than you might already have.

Say for instance in 2000 your home was valued at $175,000 and that is what you have it covered for. As prices of materials go up and down, it will cost more now to rebuild a $175,000 home back than it would have seventeen years ago. Put quite simply, prices go up making it necessary to take out more home insurance to cover the difference.

Inflation can also affect the overall value of your home which will also change the need for coverage. Inflation is something that comes and goes and as such, it is important to make sure you are adjusting your home insurance coverage accordingly. Your agent can help alert you to the need to change your policy and can help you determine what changes, if any, need to be made in order to make sure that your home is fully insured so that you can rebuild in the case of a disaster.

For those in the Federal Way, WA area, the agents with Hart Insurance can help you determine how much coverage you need for your home.

5 Tips for Getting on the Road Quickly this Winter

Winter weather can make your morning commute more challenging than normal. Simply getting into your car and driving away safely often takes more time than allotted during the wee hours of the morning. Frigid temperatures and wintry precipitation can prevent you from getting into your car and getting it started. Let’s look at five tips that will help the residents of Federal Way, WA get on the road quicker this winter.

1. Use cooking spray, silicone spray, or a door lock lubricant regularly.

Make sure you coat the door’s rubber seal at least once a week, wiping off excess drips with a paper towel. Doors and locks freeze shut when water seeps in and turns to ice. A bit of oil sprayed in the locks will help repel water. If adverse weather threatens, apply more frequently.

2. Cover the windshield.

This can make a big difference in certain conditions. Light snow is easy to fluff away, but thick wet snow may require a bit of muscle to remove. Keeping the windshield covered can save significant scraping time, but it does not prevent the need to clear remaining windows before driving off.

3. Keep your battery and engine ready for ignition.

When the temperature is below freezing, your battery loses a huge percentage of its cranking power. Less crank and a cold engine can make starting your car next to impossible. Parking in a garage is ideal. Next on the list is to find out if your car is equipped with a plug to keep the essentials warm through the night. If not, there are heating blankets made to cover the battery and engine. If street parking prevents the use of a plug, even using a thick blanket can make a slight difference. Be sure to remove blankets and plugs before starting the engine.

4. Let your engine warm up.

Modern cars can be driven right away, but it doesn’t mean it is what’s best for them. Even letting run as you scrape away excess snow. This allows the oil to warm up and do its job more efficiently.

5. Use the right oil for your region.

Engine oil thickens in extremely cold temperatures. This makes it hard for your engine to turn over. Multi-weight oil is good if temperatures are moderate. Your owner’s manual or trusted local mechanic can guide you on oil needs in the Federal Way, WA area.

Winter Storms: How to Protect Your Home

The thought of winter might bring to mind a white wonderland complete with icicles hanging from the roof, a white blanket of snow covering the ground and warm baked cookies. Although winter scenes like these make winter wonderful, snow storms can put your property at risk for serious damage. This is something no one likes to deal with, especially not during the holidays. These recommendations, from Hart Insurance Agency serving Federal Way, WA, will help you avoid major problems from winter weather.

#1 Make Sure That You Have an Emergency Kit

This is perhaps one of the most important things that you can do to prepare for winter storms. An emergency kit ensures that you have the essential supplies in case a winter storm prevents you from leaving your house. In the middle of a winter storm, power and other utilities sometimes go out for days. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, recommends identifying things that you would need during a storm adding them to your emergency kit before disaster strikes. Here are some items to include in your emergency kit:

  • Enough water and non-perishable food for three days for each member of your family

  • Rock salt to help melt ice on driveways

  • Warm clothing and blankets

  • Flashlights

  • Battery powered smoke and carbon monoxide detector

#2 Prevent Ice Dams

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice that forms along the edges of your roof. When the snow melts, water runs down your roof and will refreeze at the edge. This build-up of ice keeps water from draining off of your roof. The water is forced under your roof and runs down into your attic or the inside of your walls. Once this happens, the damage can be quite serious. To prevent ice dams, keep drainage spouts and gutters clean. Carefully remove any snow accumulation with a roof rake before it has a chance to melt. If you suspect that you have damage from an ice dam, call in a professional.

#3 Make Sure That You Have the Right Insurance Coverage

Now is the time to check with your homeowner’s insurance agency to make sure that you will be adequately covered in the event of damage from a winter storm. Do not wait until after a catastrophe strikes to check your coverage. If you are in the Federal Way, WA area and would like to learn more about homeowner’s insurance coverage, speak with an agent from Hart Insurance Agency today.