What to do if you're in a car accident in Olympia, WABeing in an accident can be a very frightening event. Being prepared to know how to handle the situation when it occurs will help you deal with the shock of it, as well as ensure you are covered for the loss when it does happen. While accidents will happen to almost every driver, whether their car is parked and unattended, or while they’re driving, knowing these important steps will help you deal with the unfortunate situation.

Safely park your vehicle: If you happen to be driving when the accident occurs, safely pull the vehicle over to the side of the road. If possible, carefully write down the license plate and description of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. If you are reporting a hit and run, this information will aid police in locating the driver. In the event of a hit and run it most likely happens when your vehicle is unattended. If you return to your vehicle to find damage, look for clues to help you prove your case, i.e. Security cameras.

Assess any Injuries: If someone is injured, take care of their immediate needs and quickly call 911. It is typical to be jittery after such an event so catch your breath too.

Call police: Once you’re safely parked, you should call the police to file a report, especially if another party is involved. It’s important to always have documentation of how the accident happened. Some people want to settle the claim without going through insurance, but this comes with risks. The other driver may not live up to their word and without contacting the police, it turns into a he said, she said scenario.

Exchange Information: Exchanging insurance ID cards is always recommended. Be sure to have their name and phone number too. It’s simple to take a picture with your phone. Be sure to include the car’s license plate number, year, make and model too.

Take pictures/Gather any witness information: If you have a witness who wants to share their side of the story, jot down their phone number and name. Your insurance company will want to talk with any witness to the accident. Taking pictures also gives your insurance company more details on the damage of your vehicle.

Call your insurance company: Sometimes even though vehicles collide, the damages may be limited, so you’ll want to take a close look and determine if you want to pursue a claim or get an estimate first before calling your insurance company. If someone was injured or if you have major damage, it’s always best to call your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company can assist you with your claim so if you have taken pictures and provided all the information above, your claim can be settled quicker.

While we hope you never have to experience a car accident, being prepared will help you tackle the unfortunate situation.

If you have questions about your auto insurance, call the insurance agents at Cross Insurance Agency. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

How to protect your Olympia, WA home when leaving for vacationWhether you are a snow bird who flocks to warm weather in the winter or you’re taking a vacation, you should always protect your home while you’re away. The last thing you want to hear while vacationing is that a pipe burst or your home was burglarized. Follow these simple steps to ensure your home is safe while you’re away.

Protect from Theft

  • Alert the post office to hold your mail until you return. If you are staying at your vacation home for a long period of time, perhaps forward your mail to that mailing address.
  • Stage your home as if you are still there. Use an automatic timer to turn on and off your lights. You can set them up in different rooms to make it look like you’re moving around the house. To keep it efficient, use LED bulbs in your lamps you intend to leave running throughout the night.
  • Set an alarm. There are countless great, affordable video surveillance options that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home, both inside and out. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police. Additionally, if you see a package is delivered you could ask a neighbor to pick it up off the doorstep until you return.
  • Place small valuables in a hidden place or safe. If you own jewelry, guns or cash, or have social security cards, memory cards or other valuable items, put them into a safe. Safes are typically extremely heavy and unable to be moved by one person even if not bolted to the floor.
  • Hire someone or notify your neighbor to do the simple things. For example, if you are gone for the weekend and the trash gets picked up on Fridays, ask your neighbor to pull your waste bin in for you.

Protect Your Home From Damage

  • Always turn off your water. You would hate to have a pipe burst or refrigerator leak while you’re away. If you live in a cold weather environment, drain all your pipes of water. Laundry supply lines are bigger, so be sure to turn those off at the junction box if you decide not to turn off all water.
  • Set your thermostat. Keeping your thermostat on will stop pipes from freezing in your ceiling or walls. It doesn’t take much, say 60 degrees or so.
  • Clean out your gutters. If you’re planning to be away for a while, cleaning your gutters can ensure any heavy rains won’t overflow the gutters and flood your home or damage the roof.

Going away for a while can be exciting. You shouldn’t have to worry about your home while you’re away so completing some simple tasks beforehand can ease your concern.

Home Insurance Options in Centralia, WAInsurance policies are full of language and terms that may not be clear right off the bat. Many terms are specific to the industry and to the specific type of insurance that is being purchased. Having a local insurance agent for all of your insurance coverage allows you to chat about all the details with your agent so you completely understand your policy. If you haven’t done this, there are many potential claims where it’s easy to assume you have full coverage.

EXAMPLE: Your $4,000 couch was ruined in a home fire. After filing a claim, you might assume you will be fully reimbursed for your couch since you have a homeowner’s insurance policy. However, it depends what type of coverage you have.

There are two such terms on a homeowner’s insurance policy: Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value. These terms can be a bit confusing to decipher between.

  • Replacement cost is very simple: Your insurance company literally reimburses you for the covered personal property lost based on replacement cost at the time of loss with no depreciation. Replacement cost policies tend to be a bit more expensive since you are essential getting a brand new item for one that may have otherwise depreciated. Replacement costs are agreed upon by all parties before the insurance policy is finalized. If you have high-ticket items (jewelry, art, RV, boat, luxury vehicle or classic car) this may be the best type of coverage if you can afford it.
  • Actual cash value is the cost to replace the item minus any depreciation. For your damaged couch, if you had an actual cash value policy, your insurance would pay out the cost of the couch minus any depreciation. Therefore, your couch is worth less than what you paid. An actual cash value policy can put you in a tight spot if your items cost more to replace or repair than your policy pays out.

No matter which policy type you choose, the local experts at Cross Insurance Agency can answer any questions and walk you through the different types of scenarios to see which policy type is right for your situation. Our local insurance agency can guide you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and more, like auto insurance. Our years of insurance experience can save you a bundle, and we live right in your area, so we know firsthand what your insurance needs might be.

Insuring your jewelry in Olympia, WAJewelry is valuable not only because of its beauty, but the special meaning behind it. Does it represent 30 years of marriage? Was it passed down from a great grandmother? Was it given to you to celebrate a special moment? Between its sentimental value, as well as financial value, our local insurance agency wants you to be fully protected.

Anything can happen to your jewelry, whether it’s stolen, damaged or accidentally slips off your finger while swimming in the ocean. While memories of the jewelry itself cannot be replaced, a good insurance policy can provide financial protection to an unfortunate situation.

If you own jewelry that’s valued over $1,000, consider getting an insurance policy endorsement to insure its value.

Like other valuables coverage, insurance for your jewelry can simply be added to your home or renters insurance policy on something called a “floater.” It’s a simple insurance policy extension. A good policy will cover everything from theft and damage. The cost of coverage varies, typically $1 – $2 per $100 in value for a yearly policy. So, for a $5,000 ring, you’d expect to pay $50-$100. By calling Cross Insurance, we will ensure we find the best coverage for your jewelry. We can also help answer any questions regarding ‘what if’ situations.

Here are some questions to discuss with our agents so you fully understand your insurance coverage.

  • If your jewelry is stolen, will you be reimbursed the full amount you paid? What happens if it was accidentally lost?
  • If your jewelry has appreciated over the course of owning it, will your insurance company honor its new value or what you paid for it?
  • What happens if you simply lost a small piece of your jewelry? Would you insurance cover the cost of replacing the stone?
  • Don’t forget to ask for discounts! If you plan to safely store your jewelry when you are not wearing it, you could qualify for a discount from some insurance companies.

While we hope you never have to experience an insurance claim for your jewelry, it’s always important to be prepared.

Items you need in case your jewelry is lost or stolen:

  • Original Receipt
  • An appraisal – if you don’t have the original receipt, at least have an appraisal.
  • GIA Certificate or similar reputable certificate
  • Take photos of all of your jewelry and store them on the cloud or a zip drive that’s stored in your safe.

Keep these items in a safety deposit box or safe in your home. If you’d like to know more about insuring your jewelry, contact an agent at our office. We’ll give you the best options for insuring your jewelry as well as answer any other questions you may have.

Flood insurance in Olympia, WAAccording to FEMA, flood claims occurred in every state in our country in 2016 with the average claim cost in excess of $31,000. Just because your property doesn’t sit next to a stream, river or other body of water doesn’t mean you won’t be impacted. Our recent hurricanes are a great example. Heavy rains can overwhelm drainage systems, run-off from hillsides can seep into your basements and levees can fail. Pretty much anywhere rain falls is where flooding can occur, although, rain is not always the reason. Additionally, it is important to note that flood insurance is NOT included with your standard homeowners insurance policy.

If you do experience a flood claim and have flood insurance, keep these things in mind:

  • Report your claim as soon as possible and have open and frequent communication with your insurance adjuster.
  • Photograph your damages (great if you have before pictures also saved to the cloud, not on a computer hard drive). Your insurance company will likely come out and photograph the damages as well.
  • Keep a list of all of the items you lost in the flood. Receipts are great as well as lists.
  • Take a read through your policy to ensure you understand your rights and coverage.

If you’re considering purchasing flood insurance, we can help. Flood insurance isn’t necessarily expensive. If you happen to live in a flood plain or near a body of water, chances are you’re likely going to pay a hefty sum. If you live away from typical flood areas, your premiums can be much more reasonable. Considering the average cost of a flood claim, it isn’t a bad idea to assess your risk.

If flood insurance is on your mind lately, give us a call.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Cross Insurance Agency. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Teen Driver Insurance Policy in Olympia, WAFor your teen, learning how to drive is one of the most exciting times of their lives. Finally, a means to freedom so they think. We all remember the excitement of getting our driver’s permit, then our driver’s license. While your teen driving has its benefits, it also comes with a great amount of responsibility. Reminding your child that driving is a privilege and not a right can help them to remain in control and not distracted while driving.

For you, it is important to understand when to add your teen driver to your insurance policy.  While each state requirements vary, in most cases your auto insurance policy will cover your permitted driver until they acquire their driver’s license. At that point, you’ll want to add them as a driver to the insurance policy even if they do not have their own vehicle.

Avoiding adding your teen driver to the policy is not only against your insurance policy language, but can lead to a dreaded claims denial if your teen is involved in an accident and it is determined you purposefully avoided adding them. Be sure to contact your agent to discuss your options and determine when the best time to add the driver to your policy is.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Some carriers offer Good Student Discounts if your student keeps their grades up.
  • If your teen child is doing delivery as a job such as pizza delivery or newspapers, this requires a special commercial policy.
  • Even if your rates go up because your child is on your insurance policy, if they have their own vehicle this could net you a multi-vehicle discount on your policy.
  • Having your teen on their own policy will likely lead to higher premiums.

Keeping your teen safe on the road is your number one priority. Keeping your family insured with the right coverage is ours. If you have a teen driver in the household, be sure to contact our agency to discuss what options might be right for your situation.

If you have questions about your auto insurance, call the insurance agents at Cross Insurance Agency. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Umbrella Insurance Policy in Olympia, WASummertime is one of the most popular seasons to BBQ with friends and family. Whether it’s grilling at your local park or in your backyard, gathering with friends and family on a sunny day always is a memorable event. What makes a BBQ party great? We give simple suggestions of how to create a party you and your guests will remember!

Create a Signature Drink 

  • Whether a great cocktail for the adults or fresh squeezed lemonade for kids, creating a signature drink for your BBQ party adds fun to the environment. Making one signature cocktail is much less work than playing bartender throughout the entire day. Think: sangria, mimosas, margaritas or Moscow mules. Many times you can make big pitchers to lessen the work load.

Prep in Pieces 

  • Instead of trying to do it all in one day, strategically plan to prep in pieces. Have one day where you just go to the grocery store. The next day, chop and prep your produce or make a side dish that can sit in the refrigerator overnight. On the day of your BBQ, setup your table or decorations.

Simple Entertainment 

  • One of the most simple forms of entertainment at a party is good music. Pick out a playlist or stream Pandora through your outdoor or bluetooth speaker. If you want to provide more entertainment, create an outdoor game competition like ladder golf, bocci ball, volleyball or corn hole. Squirt guns, a football/soccer ball or arts & crafts are easy to keep kids busy for hours.

Pick a Theme 

  • Theme parties can be even more memorable! Plus, you can match your food to your theme. If you don’t want to cook all of the food yourself and prefer a potluck style, give suggestions to your guests so they know exactly what to bring to fit your theme.

Buy Plastic Containers 

  • Obviously BBQs with plastic silverware and plates work great for easy cleanup but what about providing plastic take away containers for your guests? Especially if you have a lot of food leftover, plastic containers are a great way to share your food for another day. This also saves space in your own refrigerator! Ask your guests, “what food can I send you home with?”

While throwing a great BBQ party can make for great memories for you and your guests, being properly insured for any unexpected liabilities is also important. The good news is that umbrella insurance policies are relatively inexpensive. Contact an agent at our office for your personalized umbrella insurance quote today. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Special Event Insurance in Olympia, WAPlanning a wedding or a special event can seem like a full-time job. Between determining your guest list, vendors, food choices and the small details, there is so much to consider to make your dream wedding or event perfect. The last thing you think about is having an insurance policy for your special event. A special events insurance policy acts as your protection from a myriad of claims that might occur on your big day and can even include cancellation or postponement of the event so your deposits are protected.

Consider these claims situations:

  1. A guest is over-served drinks and decides to drive home. He hits a pedestrian on the way out. While his insurance company is likely on the hook for most of it, you or the venue could be held liable for over-serving this guest.
  2. You decide to have a winter wedding, but the morning of, the airport is closed and the highways are impassable. You and your guests can’t make it.
  3. A vendor for your event goes bankrupt the week before and won’t be there.
  4. The bride or groom is active military and is called to deployment unexpectedly.

Wedding insurance or special event insurance is one of the greatest and affordable insurance policies. Typically starting around $185, this simple insurance policy can mean the difference of getting the wedding you want or settling for what is left after the loss of deposits and other expenses. Protect your special day with this affordable insurance policy. The peace of mind alone is worth the cost!

To learn more about a special event policy, contact Cross Insurance Agency. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

How to prevent car theft in Olympia, WAAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the United States. Having your vehicle stolen is not only a huge inconvenience, but it is also frightening and violating experience that can sometimes be avoided by taking certain precautions.

5 Tips to Avoid Your Car from Being Stolen:

  • At nighttime, always park your vehicle in well-lit areas. Thieves thrive in dark places where they can easily be hidden.
  • Keep the inside of your car clean and avoid leaving valuables exposed. Use your trunk if you are transporting valuables.
  • Always lock your car door and windows. The most basic tip of them all. Many people feel comfortable leaving their car unlocked while it’s parked at their home or other safe areas. Get in the habit of always locking your car to avoid any unexpected surprises.
  • Keep your spare key in your home, not under your car. Thieves tend to check for spare keys in common areas like under the car.
  • Invest in an alarm system or anti-theft device. The simplest form of protection is an anti-theft device like an alarm or a wheel locking device such as “The Club.”

While these tips can’t guarantee your car will never be stolen, protecting your assets in the event of a car theft can be as simple as having the right insurance policy. Investing in comprehensive coverage will cover the loss of car theft. Contact your licensed insurance agent at Cross Insurance Agency to make sure you have this coverage is on your insurance policy.

If you have questions about your insurance, call the insurance agents at Cross Insurance Agency. We have locations throughout Washington State in Olympia, Centralia, Vancouver, Tacoma and Marysville. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or business Insurance. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.