How Much Life Insurance Is Enough?

Life insurance is a crucial step in planning for your future. Not only can life insurance provide assurance for your family if you are no longer around, there are life insurance policies that offer benefits while you are living.

How much home insurance is right for you in Oregon?

Based in Beaverton, at the W. B. Adams Co, we understand the life insurance needs of our customers.

The necessity of life insurance depends on your own personal and financial needs. At W. B. Adams Co we assist and help you determine the type and amount of life insurance that is appropriate for you and your family. Generally, you should consider life insurance if:

  • You have a spouse
  • You have dependent children
  • You have an aging parent or a physically challenged relative who depends on you for support
  • Your retirement savings are not enough to insure your spouse’s future against a rising cost of living
  • You have a sizable estate
  • You own a business

Additional benefits of life insurance other than providing for your loved ones, in case something happens to you include:

  • The cash value earned and borrowed from a permanent life insurance policy can be used to help with large expenses, such as a college education or down payment on a home.
  • The growth of a cash-value policy is tax-deferred – you do not pay taxes on the cash value accumulation until you withdraw funds from the policy.
  • Life insurance can be used to cover funeral expenses and pay estate taxes – consult your tax advisor agent in Beaverton for more information.

The right coverage for you in Oregon is unique – talk to us today at the W. B. Adams Co: 503-644-9945, and find out how to protect your family and your future with the right life insurance.

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How Much Home Insurance Is Enough?

The cost to rebuild your home is its replacement value.

This can be very different from the estimated market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one.

Oregon – How much home insurance is right for you?

Based in Beaverton, W. B. Adams Co understands the home insurance needs of our customers. We’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.

It is critical that you provide us with accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your dwelling limit accurately reflects your home’s true replacement cost, some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is greater than the limit on your policy.

Once a review of your home and possessions indicates you are properly insured, it’s a good idea to reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially whenever you make additions or improvements. W. B. Adams Co can help you re-evaluate your insurance needs, just give us a call at 503-644-9945 to speak with one of our agents.

Oregon – Be Sure You Have Enough Homeowners Insurance

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:

  1. Call W. B. Adams Co. If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.
  2. Read your policy. Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, is better insured separately. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, contact W. B. Adams Co at 503-644-9945 and ask for an explanation.
  3. Review. At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.
  4. Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?

Make sure you know:

  • Will your insurance company stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim? Some companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.
  • Does your policy include replacement cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.

If you have an art collection, antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, talk to your agent about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra protection, and often the deductible is waived.

Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the coverage limit for the structure.Your limit may be lower than 70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.

Inventory your home. Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items. W. B. Adams Co can advise you on ways to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the sound track.

Personal Liability

Besides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible.

In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.

The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.

Keep in mind that Oregon can require certain minimum levels of coverage. The right coverage for you is unique – talk to W. B. Adams Co today to find out how to get the best price and value on home insurance for you.

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Burglary Prevention: Should You Leave the Lights On?

It seems like a no-brainer to leave the lights on outside your home to deter burglars while you’re away (or even while you’re asleep). But, does that really work? Or, is it just a waste of electricity — particularly this time of year, when the days keep getting shorter and shorter?

Those answers can differ depending on a number of factors. However, one thing is clear: With more than 1.5 million residential burglaries in the U.S. in 2015, according to the FBI’s Crime in the United States report, it takes more than flipping a switch to prevent property crime.

So, if you are relying on lights as part of your home security routine, be sure to put some thought into how you’re using them. Here are recommendations about when to light things up — and some instances where it may be better to go dark. Contact your local law enforcement if you’re curious about recommendations specific to your area.

When to Keep Your Lights On
There are plenty of instances where it makes sense to leave your porch light on:

  • When you’re home (and awake). This doesn’t simply alert people to the fact that someone is home; it allows you to see anyone approaching or prowling around outside. Having a variety of interior lights on, of course, also shows that the home is occupied and not the best target.
  • When you go out at night. You’ll be able to get to the door easier and unlock it more quickly when you get home — which is nice, but also important if someone happens to be lurking nearby.
  • If possible, combine a porch light with other lights. If you have lighting in your back yard, for example, or by the garage, use those in conjunction with the one by your front door and interior lights. This can add to the appearance that someone is home.

When to Keep Your Lights Off
Despite what many people think, having your lights on all the time isn’t helpful. In fact, it may actually attract burglars. Here’s when you should think about leaving them off:

  • When it’s light out. Exterior lights left on all day can give the impression that nobody is home. After all, wouldn’t someone turn them off during the daytime?
  • When you’re on vacation. The same principle applies here — if a burglar notices lights on for several days at a time, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re gone.
  • When you go to sleep. This seems counterintuitive, but most residential crime happens during daylight hours, according to SecurAmerica, a firm providing security personnel for businesses, schools and residential communities. So, that porch light at 3 a.m. might not make much of a difference.
  • If you live in a rural area. In this instance, lights might help burglars more than deter them by providing light to help them see. And, unlike in an urban area, there are few people around to spot them milling about suspiciously in the glow of that porch light.

An Even Better Option: Automate Your Lights
The goal of lighting, at least from a security standpoint, is to make burglars think someone is home. The most effective way to do that is through lights, both inside and out, that turn on and off at varying times. You can accomplish this through systems that automatically turn lights on after sundown, or even new options that allow you to control lights from your phone or other mobile device.

And, don’t forget motion-sensing lights. They’re affordable, and they can startle burglars and even impair their vision in the moments after they illuminate.

Other Things to Consider
However you use your lights, it might not matter if you don’t take other security measures. For example, are your trees and shrubs trimmed, or do they instead provide cover for someone casing your home? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Will they notice if someone suspicious is outside? Do they even know when you’re going out of town?

Remember, turning on your lights may only be truly effective as part of an overall strategy to keep your home secure.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
Top image by Flickr user webhamster used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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Don’t Give Up the Ship! Protect Your Boat from Theft.

Thousands of boats and personal watercraft are stolen each year in the U.S., according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. But, even if your boat remains exactly where you left it, expensive items on board can present an inviting target for thieves as well.

Luckily, protecting your valuables – along with your watercraft – isn’t difficult at all.

In addition to common-sense solutions, new technology has given boat owners useful tools to easily keep an eye on things whether they’re on board or at home. So, dive in to the tips below and start securing your vessel today.

Preventing Watercraft Theft

For starters, when you’re away from a vessel that’s in the water, never leave the key in the ignition or on board. However, most boats are stolen while still on their trailers, according to the Boat Owners Association of the United States.

So, it’s important to keep your trailer secure, too. Park your boat away from the street. If you can’t, at least make sure the hitch isn’t facing the street, and chain the trailer to something sturdy, like a tree. You could even remove one of the tires to make it impossible for a thief to pull the trailer.

If you have a personal watercraft, use heavy cable or log chains and shielded locks to secure them, and remove the kill switch when left unattended.

Once your watercraft and trailer are secure on land, be sure not to leave important papers, such as registration and title, on board. Just be sure they’re on board before you hit the water again.

Securing Your Equipment and Valuables

Law enforcement agencies say that marine theft usually is a crime of opportunity, so start your security efforts by thinking like a thief. What makes your boat an easy target? Here are some tips from police and the Boat Owners Association to make things tough on criminals:

  • Don’t leave valuables on board. Remove electronics and equipment from your boat whenever possible. Thieves can’t steal items that they don’t have access to, after all.
  • Mark your gear. Engraving identification information on equipment can help police return items in the event they are stolen, and it might help deter the theft in the first place.
  • Inventory everything. Keep a detailed record of your boat specifications and equipment, including serial numbers. Take photos or video of your vessel, both interior and exterior, and keep it all in a safe place (not on the boat).
  • Don’t assume dock lockers are secure. Make sure doors are secured with an iron crossbar or heavy-duty hasps, as well as a shielded lock.
  • Watch the motors and propellers. If you’re going to leave your boat unattended for an extended period, remove or lock small outboard motors, and purchase an after-market lock if you have a premium steel propeller.
  • Secure your hatches and windows. Hatch and window locks can provide additional security if you have to leave some equipment on board. Keep your curtains drawn so thieves can’t see inside.

Taking Advantage of Technology

There are many different types of boat security systems on the market today, from simple door sensors that sound a siren to camera setups that allow you to monitor your boat remotely. According to Boating Magazine, many products offer GPS tracking, so authorities can track your boat if it is stolen.

Much like today’s home-security offerings, boat owners can customize and combine products to create a system that meets their specific needs. And, if a system or product comes with warning stickers to put on your boat, be sure to use them.

Other Tips

One of the best ways to prevent crime – at home or on the water – is to build relationships with your neighbors on the dock or at the marina. That way, everyone can keep an eye out for things that look unusual and keep each other informed. Once you build trust among your group of neighbors, you can start letting each other know when you’ll be gone for an extended period, exchange contact information, etc.

Finally, don’t unwittingly become part of the problem. If you’re buying a boat, help make sure it’s not stolen by following these steps:

  • Check that the description on the title matches the boat you’re buying; the year, make, length and identification number should match.
  • Look at the model and serial number on outboard motors to ensure they haven’t been tampered with or altered.
  • Whenever possible, deal with a reputable dealer or broker licensed by the state.

You bought a boat to enjoy time on the water, not to spend time worrying about thieves (or worse, tracking down your stolen gear). So, take a few precautions now to maximize your enjoyment later!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
Top image by Flickr user oatsy40 used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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Have Guns in Your House? 5 Things to Keep In Mind.

The topic of guns can be very sensitive, but there’s one thing virtually everyone can agree on: Storing them safely is incredibly important, particularly in homes with children or even those where children occasionally visit.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to help ensure firearm safety at home – whether you have kids around or not. These five tips are a great start:

  1. Keep ’em locked… Not only should you store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe or vault, you should also limit who has access to the key or combination – even if everyone in your family is a skilled shooter. In addition, use a gun-locking device so your firearms are inoperable when not in use. (This is not a substitute for appropriate storage, however.)
  2. … and unloaded. Before putting away a gun, first unload the ammunition. Then, the next time you go to take it out of storage, point it in a safe direction and reconfirm that it is not loaded.
  3. Separate guns and ammo. Keep your ammunition under lock and key, too – away from your guns. That way, if an unauthorized person does gain access to your firearms, he/she won’t be able to load them.
  4. Educate your family and others who visit your home. Everyone in your home – family members and short-term visitors alike – should know that there are firearms present. Remind children regularly that if they find a firearm – either in your home or someone else’s – they should alert a responsible adult and never touch or play with it.
  5. Remember “S.A.F.E.” Project ChildSafe educates firearm owners to: Secure your firearms when not in use; be Aware of those around you who should not have access to guns; Focus on your responsibility as a gun owner; and Educate yourself and others about safe handling and storage.

Having firearms in your home can present unique insurance issues as well – both in terms of the value of the guns themselves and your liability coverage. Check with your independent insurance agent to see what your policy limits are regarding personal property coverage for firearms, as well as whether an umbrella policy might be the right option for additional liability protection.

Whether you have one gun or an entire collection, always aim for safety. Your entire family, as well as your houseguests and neighbors, will thank you for it.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
Top image by Flickr user Kenneth Lu used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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7 Travel Tips for Your Money And Identity

Travelers and tourists are a dream for thieves. They’re typically carrying plenty of cash and valuables. They often have smartphones full of personal information. And, they can easily get caught up in the sights and forget to be aware of their surroundings.

While the threat of losing money, jewelry or a camera is bad enough, there’s also the risk of identity theft. Each year, criminal activity related to identity fraud totals $15 billion in the U.S. alone, according to the 2016 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. And, the cost is more than financial — it can be maddening to try to get everything back in order.

That’s why it’s important to protect yourself, even when you’re on the go. Here are seven ways to do just that, from USA Today, the U.S. Justice Department and even the U.S. Department of State.

1. Don’t be scared of cash. You don’t want to carry around too much, of course, because it’s not replaceable. But, unlike credit cards, having money stolen won’t add to your risk of identity theft. You can still use cards, particularly to take advantage of your card’s purchase protection when buying expensive items. Just think about whether the merchant or restaurant is likely to have a secure system. If you do prefer cards over cash, don’t take every single card you own and do check your statements carefully when you return.

2. Watch where you get and keep cash. Use ATMs affiliated with banks you know, if at all possible. Your travel partner should stand behind you to keep others from viewing your PIN. Watch for “skimmers,” too — thieves install these devices on legitimate ATMs and other card readers to capture your information, and they’re hard to spot. If anything looks different about where you swipe your card, avoid that machine. And, once you have your cash, keep it somewhere secure, such as in a front or hidden pocket with a zipper or a bag you can wear across your body.

3. Lock your smartphone and computer. Our phones and computers are full of personal information, and auto-login features for apps, including financial ones, can be a bonanza for thieves who gain access. Lock your devices with a code only you know, and don’t make it obvious, like “1234.” Also, some phones have a remote-shutdown feature, so you can wipe its contents if it’s lost. Enable this at home, before leaving for your trip.

4. Be careful with wireless. Public wi-fi access is convenient – and dangerous. Others on the same free or shared network may be able to see the data, such as passwords and credit card numbers, you transmit. Avoid logging in to financial websites, if possible. If not, stick to encrypted websites (with “https” at the beginning) and log out after each session. Update your password the next time you’re on a secure network.

5. Always stay alert. When you’re in public, beware of crowds, disturbances or people “accidentally” bumping into you. These are common ways pickpockets steal items without being detected. Don’t sleep while using public transportation, even long train or bus rides. And, each place you go, locate the nearest exit so you can escape a dangerous situation if needed.

6. Use the hotel safe. They aren’t perfect, but storing your passport and other important things in the safe while you’re out and about is far better than leaving them out in your room. And, it is best to leave some things behind while you’re exploring — using your passport everywhere for identification, for example, puts you at risk of losing it.

7. Don’t forget the home front. While you’re away, burglars could gain access to the personal information you have at home. Stop your mail and newspaper delivery, or arrange for a neighbor to pick it up daily. Leave a few lights on or put them on timers so it looks like someone’s home. And, keep your important documents in a secure place. A home safe is great, or you could even consider a safe-deposit box, if necessary.

By taking just a few precautions, you can increase the likelihood that your trip will be enjoyable — or that it at least won’t end in a financial disaster. One more thing to consider? Identity Recovery Coverage from Safeco, which can help take some of the sting away if, despite your best efforts, you become a victim of identity theft.

Now, get out there and explore!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user Moyan Brenn used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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