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While the above- average snowpack from this winter is good for the upcoming wildfire season, it could mean an increased risk of flooding in low-lying areas, and areas with slopes may experience increased soil instability. The risk is higher in areas that were hit hard by past summers’ wildland fires, leaving less trees and vegetation to stop land movement.
Damage to your home from floods, landslides, and mudslides may not be covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. Review your insurance policy to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. Contact your insurance agent if you have questions about your policy or the availability of supplemental insurance coverage that will cover those events.
Consider flood insurance, even if you are not in a flood zone
Many agents and brokers offer flood insurance policies available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers protection against flood hazards for homeowners, business owners, condo owners and renters.
Landslides are not covered by flood insurance. You will need what’s called a “difference in conditions policy” to be covered for a landslide. You can ask your agent or broker about purchasing a difference in conditions policy. Read more about landslide insurance.
You don’t have to be in a flood hazard zone to be affected by a flood. People outside of mapped flood-risk areas file 20 percent of all flood insurance claims. Another benefit of purchasing flood insurance is that a policyholder may file a claim regardless of the declaration of a disaster. Read more about “Myths and Facts about the NFIP.”
The average residential flood claim in 2015 was $39,184, while the average flood insurance policy premium was $663 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Check to see if your community participates in NFIP. Typically, there is a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance policy takes effect.
The Insurance Commissioner’s website has information for consumers about floods and homeowner’s insurance, including things you should talk to your insurance agent about and tips for protecting your home and belongings. We also have tips for filing a claim after a natural disaster and how to find disaster resources.
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bipartisan legislation to provide more transparency to students regarding their borrowing passed the Washington State Legislature today with a unanimous vote of the Senate.
Boiler explosions in Spokane, Idaho and St. Louis will be among the safety issues discussed an annual meeting of the Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association on April 13 in Seattle.
Having a teen driver in the household can be an exciting and also stressful time. Educating yourself and your teen driver about the risks and insurance implications of unsafe driving can save lives and money.
Research suggests teen accident risk is cut in half when parents and teens set ground rules for driving. Talk openly about your expectations for behind-the-wheel behavior.
- Agree on a teen driving contract that clearly defines the rules and consequences associated with driving privileges.
- Set a driving curfew. More than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between the 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. In Washington state, teen drivers are not allowed on the road between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. the first 12 months they are licensed.
- Limit the number of passengers. Washington state limits who can ride with new drivers for the first six months they are licensed.
- Make all cell phone use off-limits while driving. In 2015, distracted driving accounted for 30 percent of the state's fatal collisions. Texting or talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of an accident, and it’s illegal in Washington state. If you get a ticket for using a handheld wireless device, the fine starts at $136.
- Encourage your teen to exercise his or her rights as a passenger. Only 44 percent of teens say they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.
Adding a teen driver to your auto insurance policy is costly. Here are some tips to keep costs as low as you can:
- Stay accident- and ticket-free. Many companies grant discounts to drivers who don’t have infractions or accidents for three or more years.
- Keep those grades up. Many insurance companies offer discounts or preferred rates for teens who maintain good grades.
- Ask your insurance company about “accident forgiveness.” It’s a clause offered by some insurance companies that guarantees premiums will not increase after one minor accident.
- Review your policy. Consider raising your deductible and only allowing your teen to drive the family’s oldest, least expensive car. In Washington state, auto insurance premiums are linked to the type of vehicle you drive. SUVs, convertibles and sports cars typically cost more to insure.
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today appointed Tony Hazel to the Spokane County Superior Court. Hazel has worked as Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor since 2004.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners created on online Life Insurance Policy Locator to help consumers search for old policies and benefits. The free service makes the process simpler overall.
The service encrypts your request to keep personal details confidential. Insurers taking part compare requests with available policyholder information. They report all matches to state insurance departments and then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.
Since its beginning last November, people have submitted more than 600 requests in Washington state alone, ranking among the top 10 states with queries. Texas, California and Florida lead the pack in recoveries – each with more than $2 million returned to consumers.
Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. Regulatory actions within in the industry have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to consumers.
OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bipartisan legislation to combat the financial exploitation and neglect of vulnerable adults in Washington state passed the Senate on Monday by a unanimous vote.
The measure, House Bill 1153, overwhelmingly passed the House by a vote of 92-4 in February.