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10929 Evergreen Way Ste C, Everett, WA 98204
What is an Umbrella Policy?
You may have heard of a Personal Umbrella policy, but what is it? Do you need it?
A Personal Umbrella policy is excess liability coverage above and beyond your existing insurance policies. For example, if you own two autos, a home, a rental and a boat all with liability limits at $500,000…the Umbrella policy would give you an extra layer of $1 million in liability coverage over the top of what those policies provide, or $1.5 million in total coverage. Policies can be written for $1 million or more depending on your assets.
This sounds like a lot of coverage and you may wonder why you would need so much coverage. The purpose of liability coverage is to protect your current assets and your future earnings. If someone makes a claim against you that exceeds your auto insurance limit, then you would be responsible for the judgment amount above your insurance policy. The claimant could attach the judgment to your assets (savings, home, toys). You say, I don’t have much, let them try. What about your future wages? If a garnishment of your future wages is made, can you live on less than what you are earning right now? What if 30% of every pay check went to pay off the judgment?
You are a cautious person and cannot imagine anyone ever having to file a large claim against you. Consider these examples:
The Roberts loved to entertain, which is why they bought their new home. It had a large second story deck overlooking their beautifully landscaped yard with swimming pool. They hosted a housewarming party for their friends and family. Everyone was enjoying the evening when suddenly a railing on the balcony gave way and a guest fell to the ground below suffering from head, neck and back injuries along with several broken bones. Multiple surgeries and physical therapy was required for recovery. With the high medical bills and injury claim, the Roberts were looking at $1 million to settle.
Susan Henderson is driving to work on a cold January morning. Her car slides on the ice and she hits a businessman driving his Mercedes to work. Not only is his expensive car damaged, but the businessman is injured badly. He is unable to return to work and a jury awards him millions of dollars in the loss of his future wages.
A delivery man is bringing you a Christmas package. As he walks up to your front door, he trips on the step. He injures himself and files a claim against you.
Your teenage driver is distracted by an incoming text and doesn’t notice the mother enter the crosswalk with the stroller. He hits the mother and baby causing serious injuries.
The examples can go on and on all day…none of these was intentional, they were all accidents yet these accidents can change the lives of those that were injured and those held responsible for the injury. Serious claims do not happen every day, but they do happen. As you go through life building your nest egg for the future, you have to decide if you are willing to lose everything and start all over.
The good news is that Personal Umbrella policies are fairly inexpensive for the coverage they provide. The premium depends on what the underlying exposures are (how many autos, houses, toys, etc.) The premiums start about $150 per year (1 house, 1 auto) and go up from there. Contact me for more information. I would be happy to give you specific information for your household.
Identity Theft and Moving (posted April 2011)
Many customers are their most vulnerable to identity theft during a move. As you prepare for a move, you have a lot to plan and think about…address changes, phone number changes, new utilities, banks, schools and jobs. All of these changes can result in a lot of paperwork being mailed out to you and perhaps not all of it arrives at the right place. The risk of identity theft in this transition is increased. Here are some ways you can help to prevent identity theft:
Notify before you move. Make sure you fill out a change of address form with the United States Postal Service. You can do it in person at the post office or online at https://moversguide.usps.com. You should also update your address with prior employers, financial institutions, creditors, utilities, catalog and magazine subscriptions. Don’t forget about notifying the IRS using Change Request Form 8822 available online at www.irs.gov.
Shred before you move. Security experts recommend that you hire a professional shredding company to shred all the piles of papers that you will decide to discard as you pack. Do not be tempted to keep old records intact before you discard them.
Scan before you move. You may not want to discard all your old records but it doesn’t make sense to transport and store old paperwork either. Scan important documents and store them on a backup hard drive for added security. When you arrive at your new home, it will be much easier to access paperwork from your computer than from unpacked boxes.
Keep important items close. Important papers such as birth certificates, passports, medical records and financial records should be kept with you, not in the moving van. Also keep any credit cards, debit cards and computer back up drives with you.
Thirty days after your move. Check on all your accounts 30 days following your move to be sure that you are receiving all correspondence at your new residence.
Ninety days after your move. It is a good idea to get a copy of your 3-in-1 annual credit report to look for any unusual activity. For details go to www.annualcreditreport.com
Farmers Insurance™ offers Identity Shield Coverage as an endorsement on your home or renters insurance coverage. In addition to monitoring your credit history to alert you to possible fraudulent activity, this coverage will assign a fraud claims specialist to help you through the process of restoring your identity should a problem occur.
The service will also give you unlimited access to fraud specialists to assist you with Relocation Identity Services. The service can include offering preventative measures to assist you before the move including placing a short-term fraud alert on your credit during the move; help you with researching banks and utilities in your new neighborhood; guide you through document replacement processes including new drivers licenses, state identification cards and tax documents.
If you would like more information on Farmers Identity Shield Coverage, please contact me.
FLOODING (posted March 2011)
Flooding is the most common disaster in the United States. Did you know that damage to your home resulting from a flood is NOT covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy? You don’t have to been in a designated high risk flood zone to experience flooding or to purchase flood insurance. If you are not in a high risk flood zone, you might be eligible to purchase coverage in the Preferred Risk Program which can be very inexpensive.
I can assist you with your flood insurance needs through the National Flood Insurance Program whether you are in a low risk or high risk flood zone. Flooding can happen in every state and in every area from both natural and man-made sources. No matter where you live, it is important to be prepared but especially if you live in a low lying area, near water or downstream from a dam.
Get an EMERGENCY SUPPLY kit together. This is helpful for any disaster you might encounter. The kit should include water (one gallon of water per person, per day for up to three days); food (three day supply of non-perishable foods); manually operated can opener; battery powered or hand crank radio; flashlight; extra batteries for both the radio and flashlight; first aid kit; whistle to signal for help; dust mask (to filter contaminated air); plastic sheeting and duct tape (to create a shelter if needed); moist towelettes and garbage bags with ties (for personal sanitation); wrench or pliers to turn off utilities; cell phone with charger, inverter or solar charger.
You should also remember things like prescription medications; pet food if you have animals; important documents along with a waterproof container to keep them in; cash (including change); sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person; complete change of clothing for each person including sturdy shoes; fire extinguisher; matches in a waterproof container; mess kits (cups, plates, silverware); paper and pencil; books, games or puzzles.
MAKE YOUR HOME MORE FLOOD SAFE Elevate your furnace, hot water tank and electrical panel if there is any risk of flood in your area. Consider installing check valves to prevent flood waters from backing up into the drains of your home. If feasible, install barricades to keep the flood waters from entering your home. Use waterproofing compounds to seal walls in basements and crawlspaces. Find out ways to keep your food save during an emergency at www.foodsafety.gov
MAKE A PLAN Your family may not be together when disaster strikes so agree ahead of time how you will contact each other, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have an out of town friend or relative be a point of contact because local phone lines and communications may be down. Plan a place to meet and include a backup place if your original place is not accessible. Get information about emergency plans at your place of work, daycare or school. Don’t forget about making plans for pets.
BE INFORMED Familiarize yourself with flood terms. Flood Watch means that flooding is possible. Tune to NOAA Weather Radio or your local news to stay up to date. Flash Flood Watch Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground if needed. Tune to NOAA Weather Radio or your local news to stay up to date. Flood Warning Flooding is occurring now or will be occurring soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Flash Flood Warning Flash flooding is occurring. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.
FLOOD CAUSES There are many causes of floods. In the Northwest, we are not susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes. We do, however, experience serious flooding as a result of heavy rains and spring thaws of mountain snow. In addition, there are many levees and dams throughout our area that can increase the threat of flooding. New construction over the past decades has changed our landscape and can increase the threat of flooding in areas that were not previously at risk.
In addition to water damage as a result of flooding, sometimes our heavy rains can erode the ground and loosen tree roots which are helping to keep hillsides in place. When the roots loosen, the hillsides can come down causing mudflows. It is important to note that this may be considered a landslide and not be covered by flood insurance or your regular home insurance policy. If you are near a hillside, you should ask about me about landslide coverage.
For more information of flood insurance, you can also check out www.floodsmart.gov.
WINTERIZATION (posted December 2010)
The experts are predicting a brutal winter in the Northwest. Are you ready?
Your home is probably your biggest asset. Before you find yourself in an emergency, you should do two things..
1. Talk to me so we can review your policy and make sure your coverage doesn’t have any gaps or overlaps.
2. Do what you can to minimize the risk of a loss.
Take a look around the outside of your home…
• Are branches cut back away from your home?
• Have you put away all your summer gear including tents and awnings that wouldn’t be able to support the weight of snow or a brisk wind?
• Is the exterior of your home secure? Are all vents in good repair, is there any way for animals to gain access to your home? Can wind-driven rain enter your home through any openings?
• Have you disconnected your hose from the faucet? Are you covering the faucet to prevent freezing into your pipes?
• Are your pipes insulated? Both hot and cold pipes should be wrapped with at least two inches of insulation.
• Pipes can freeze quickly overnight. You can help prevent this by allowing a small stream of water to run from the faucet or open cabinet doors to allow the room heat to keep pipes warm.
What should you do in an emergency?
• If a tree falls, take precautions before you try to move the tree…are there any downed power lines? Is the tree still unstable, can it shift again and injure someone?
• If a tree or winds damage your roof, try to mitigate the damage by covering the exposed area with a tarp to prevent water intrusion. Do not take any chances on a ladder in extreme weather, call an experienced contractor.
• If you notice a reduction in water pressure, your pipes may be beginning to freeze. You can stop them from freezing completely if you turn your water on and leave it on. This may be just enough to dislodge the ice.
• If you have a pipe that is completely frozen, turn your water off immediately. You should also turn the circuit to your water heater off to prevent the element from becoming damaged. Check pipes for cracks or leaks and make repairs before you turn the water back on.
If you have a claim, please report it to me right away so we can get our expert claims adjusters on the scene. The claims adjuster will be able to coordinate with you, the professional restoration specialists and the building contractors to get you back in your home as quickly as possible. If you are unable to reach me because it is after hours, we have a claims hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call. Contact 1-800-HelpPoint® (435-7764).
FIRE SAFETY (posted July 2010)
Your home is probably your biggest asset. Before you find yourself in an emergency, you should do two things...
Talk to me so we can review your policy and make sure your coverage doesn’t have any gaps or overlaps.
Take a look around your home and do what you can to minimize the risk of a loss.
Several risks exist in your home, from fire to water damage to theft. Anything you can do to minimize the risks of injury and property damage can give you greater peace of mind. Let’s address --
1) Make an emergency plan that everyone in your family knows. Be sure all members, including young children, know how to dial 911 in an emergency. Find at least two exits from every room in your house. Look into getting escape ladders for upstairs bedrooms. Have a practice fire drill every six months. Everyone in the family should know about Stop, Drop and Roll. Arrange for a central meeting place outside of your home. Make sure everyone knows to never go back into a home during the emergency.
2) In the case of a fire, check doors with the back of your hand to test for heat before you open the door. If it is cool, open the door slowly and proceed quickly to the nearest exit. Shout "fire" as you go so everyone is alerted. If you see smoke, get down low to the ground and crawl quickly to the nearest exit. Be sure to close doors behind you as you go. If you are trapped in a room because of smoke or fire, close all the doors around you. Stuff the cracks around doors and cover vents to keep the smoke out. Wait at a window with a flashlight or bright colored cloth to signal to rescuers. If there is a phone in the room, call 911 and report exactly where you are.
3) Since most fires occur at night while people are sleeping, you cannot underestimate the importance of smoke detectors. Make sure detectors are installed in every bedroom as well as in the common areas on each floor. The detectors should be tested and their batteries replaced annually.
4) Prevent fires by not storing oily rags or letting trash accumulate. Gasoline should be stored only in approved metal containers. Keep flammables away from heat sources. Vapors can ignite from something as small as a pilot light on a water heater. Inspect electrical cords and replace worn or damaged ones. Do not overload electrical outlets. Keep matches and lighters in a closed metal container out of the reach of children. Remove debris (including weeds and tree branches) from around the house. If you have a fireplace, make sure the chimney is properly screened and install a spark arrester with at least a half-inch mesh on the chimney. If you use an outdoor barbecue, dispose of ashes in a covered metal container and only after they have completely cooled. Keep a fire extinguisher handy near the kitchen as well as in the garage near tools, autos and gasoline.
After a fire, consult with the fire department before you re-enter the home. Do not attempt to clean personal items that have suffered smoke damage. Consult home restoration specialists to prevent greater damage to those items. Remove valuable items that suffered water damage and hang them to air dry.
If you have a fire in your home, please report it to me right away so we can get our expert claims adjusters on the scene. The claims adjuster will be able to coordinate with you, the professional restoration specialists and the building contractors to get you back in your home as quickly as possible. If you are unable to reach me because after hours, we have a claims hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call. Just contact 1-800-HelpPoint® Claim Services (435-7764).
TEEN DRIVING (posted March 2010)
Even if the weather doesn’t look like it, we are heading toward the warmer months of the year. During the spring and summer there are a lot of activities that your teen will want to be involved in. This means more teen drivers on the road.
Driving is a rite of passage for most teenagers and one of many steps towards adulthood and independence. We survived it and we want to make sure our teenagers have every chance to do the same. Unfortunately, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers based on per mile driven.1 Teenagers are at a higher risk to crash, even those who get the best grades and are “good” kids. 2
There are 4 major reasons for the increased crashes. Out of the four, three are completely preventable and one can be helped:
Inattention – taking your eyes off the road for a moment, getting distracted by passengers, using a cell phone, etc.
Speeding – teens are more likely to speed, especially male teens.
Driving under the influence – In 2005 26% of all fatal crashes involving male drivers that had been drinking.3
Inexperience new drivers of all ages can have crashes but new teen drivers are at a greater risk than new older drivers. This increased risk may be linked to peer influence, poor perception of risk or higher emotionality.
Is there anything we can do to help? Believe it or not, parents can have a tremendous amount of influence on whether a teen is more or less likely to crash. What can parents do?
Talk to your teen about your expectations and rules. Start before your teen is licensed and continue the conversation afterward. Use a teen driving contract to specifically spell out your expectations with clear consequences if those expectations aren’t met...then stick to it. Check out the link at the bottom of the page for a sample contract.
Increase supervised teen driving time. Spend at least 50 hours of drive time over a period of at least 6 months with your teen before they get their license. Drive in all kinds of weather and on all types of roads. Practice, practice, practice. Once your teen is licensed, continue supervised drive time. Let your teen take the wheel when you go places so you see how well they remember the rules of the road.
Limit the number of teen passengers in the car. Nearly 2 out of 3 fatal crashes for 16 year old drivers had one or more teen passengers in the car.4
Limit nighttime driving. Fatal crashes are twice as likely at night.5
Be sure that your teen understands the consequences of distracted driving. Nearly 80% of all crashes happen within 3 seconds of a driver becoming distracted.6 Set rules about the use of radios, iPod’s and cell phones, and eating in the car.
The best we can do as parents is to encourage our teens to avoid all risky driving behaviors, which can give them the valuable time they need to gain experience on the road. If you would like any additional information or materials on this subject, please contact me.
This listing is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute
an offer to sell or an offer to buy any product. This site is published in the United
States for U.S. residents only.
This information and the products and services described here are intended only
for individuals residing in a state where the agent is properly licensed
Jodi Strohm | Insurance Agent |10929 Evergreen Way Ste C | Everett,WA 98204
*Life insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, 3003 77th Ave. SE, Mercer Island WA 98040. Products and features may not be available in all states and may vary by state.
**Securities offered through Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC, 30801 Agoura Rd.
Bldg. 1 Agoura Hills, CA 91301.
FINRA & SIPC.
Property and casualty insurance is offered through Farmers Insurance Exchange, Truck Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange
and their subsidiaries and affiliates. A complete listing of the insurers and the states where they are licensed can be found