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Summertime Car Care

The Pacific Northwest has experienced one of the best weathered summers in history, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna stop anytime soon. Preparing your home and wardrobe for the heat is second nature for most of us, but many of us forget to get our cars ready for the extreme weather.

summer The heat, dust and constant traffic can really put your car through the ringer this time of year. Preparing your car can help you avoid breakdowns and costly repairs.

Some of the basics for preparing your vehicle for the heat are:

Cooling System Check: Overheating is your cars worst nightmare in the summer months. It’s the cause for most breakdowns in high temperatures. Take your car into a technician and have them check the system and flush it out. Ideally, cooling systems should be flushed and refilled every 2 years.

Oil Check/Change: Change your oil! Did you know you should change your oil depending on the season? Some oil types are better in hot temperatures. A fully filled oil tank helps your car run smoother all around.

Tire Check: Get your tires rotated and check the air pressure often. In high temperatures, your tires are at a greater risk for blowing out. Having the right alignment and pressure will help extend the life of your tires.

Update Your Auto Insurance Policy: Check out your car insurance policy. Does it need to be adjusted? Do you have the right coverages? Ask your agent if you need to make changes.

Home Safety Tips

renters20 million people are hospitalized each year because of injuries at home, 20 thousand of those people sadly, die. Your home should be a place where you feel most comfortable. There are many ways you can help decrease your chances of injury at home.

The first step in making your home safer is by removing or eliminating any hazardous areas. The most common injuries are caused by slipping or falling. It’s important to look around your home for areas where it could be easy for someone to slip or fall. Walk around you home and look for problem areas. Changing floor patterns can cause someone to trip. Rugs can slip, so use a pad underneath them to keep them from sliding around. Exposed wires can get in the way and trip someone up. Keep steps and problem areas illuminated with proper lighting.

If you have any toxic materials make sure they are locked up or out of reach of children. Medicine, cleaner, gasoline, and other chemicals can be very dangerous if ingested or exposed to open flames. Keep the lids securely fastened and locked if possible. Keep the poison control phone number in an easy to find location in case of an emergency.

If something were to happen at your home, it could end up costing you a fortune. Havign a well rounded homeowner’s insurance policy can help out in these situations. Doctors bills and home repairs can add up quite quickly. Having a good home insurance policy can give you peace of mind on a daily basis.

Common Mistakes When Buying Homeowners Insurance

Buying homeowners insurance in Washington and Oregon can be confusing. Even if you’ve done it before, mistakes can happen, especially if you buy in a rush if you’re closing on your mortgage. It isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things to look out for and to do when shopping around.

Don’t Stop After the First Quote
It’s likely that you didn’t purchase the first home that you saw, you had to check out other comparable houses and weight the pros and cons. This should be the same process for shopping homeowner’s insurance quotes.

Compare apples to apples. Make sure the coverage amounts you are comparing are similar if you’re choosing based on price. Even if you’ve been with the same insurance provider for years, calling around for quotes is s a wise idea.

Use the Right Dwelling Coverage Numbers
Dwelling coverage is what helps covert he cost of repair or rebuild to your home if it is damaged by fire, wind, hail or other covered disasters. The dwelling coverage should be set high enough to rebuild your entire home – from the ground up.

The dwelling coverage amount might not be the same number as what you paid for your home. Building costs may have increased in your area and that could cause the number to be higher. The amount could be lower as well, as you wouldn’t have to purchase another piece of land to rebuild your home on.

Using the right calculators to come up with your dwelling coverage amount can help you narrow the right number down. They typically take your zip code and square footage to come up with a comparable range to work with.

Too High or Low Deductible
You should be able to afford the deductible on your homeowners insurance policy at any time. You never know when a disaster may strike, and you can rest assured if you have enough to cover it.

If your deductible is too low, you may be paying a high monthly premium. Generally speaking, the higher your deductible amount is the lower your premium will be. You know your financial situation better than anyone, and budgeting for these expenses properly is important.

If you have questions about buying a Homeowner’s Insurance policy for your family, call Vern Fonk today for a hassle free quote.

Commercial Truck Insurance Made Easy

Many businesses in the Northwest rely on trucks for some aspect of their daily transactions. Whether your company uses trucks to deliver packages and goods or if you use it to move furniture or gear around, the truck your company uses is an important partof your business.

If your business uses any type of truck it is important you have the best truck insurance possible to keep your business running smoothly. Vern Fonk Insurance offers the best rates on Trucker Insurance in Washington and Oregon. We can help you keep your business running smoothly at all times.

Our expert commercial trucking insurance agents in Washington and Oregon can get you a fast free quote on:

  • Truck liability insurance
  • Dump Truck Insurance
  • Property Damage Coverage
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Motor Truck Cargo
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Roadside Assistance coverage – Commercial

Our experts know the laws for trucking insurance in Washington and Oregon. We study them constantly and make sure our clients are properly covered. Common customers typically are:

  • Passenger carriers
  • Household goods movers
  • Common carriers
  • Solid waste companies

Call us today to see what type of commercial truck insurance your company should have, and how much coverage you’ll need. We’re ready to help you keep your business rolling along smoothly!

Temperature Rising

summerIs your car ready for the high summer temperatures?  We all get so excited for summer, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, but do you take the time to check your car out and get it ready for the extremes you’ll be putting it through?  It seems like most people in our area take road trips and generally use their car more in the summer because we all want to enjoy the sunshine while it’s here.  Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your car is in tip top condition:

  • Check all the hoses and belts - Hoses and belts can crack and wear down over time. They are what keep the moving parts of your engine running and if one breaks it can take out an entire system. Make sure they are looking good and attached properly.
  • Check your fluids - Fluids are what make everything run smoothly. Check your engine oil level, antifreeze and coolants, windshield fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Overheating is a major issue for most cars in the summer and keeping your vehicle hydrated with the right fluids is key to making sure that doesn’t happen to you.
  • Inspect your tires - Most people think good tread on your tires is just important in the winter. This is very wrong. Tires should be inspected for even tread wear and bald spots and bulges. The correct tire pressure is also important. During the summer more tires are seen blown out on the side of the highway because of people neglecting to take care of them.

These are just a few of the things you can do to protect your car from the heat this year. Remember to drive safely, stay calm and don’t give in to road rage. Having the right auto insurance policy will help ease your mind, especially one that has extra towing or roadside assistance coverage. Call a Vern Fonk Car Insurance agent today for a fast free car insurance quote.

Insurance for your Motorcycle

Motorcycle Insurance in Washington and OregonThe sun is out and it’s time to dust off the bike and feel the wind in your hair again (if you still have any left). Before you take the old hog in for it’s summer tune up, look over your motorcycle insurance plan coverage and make sure you’ve got the necessary coverage to keep yourself, your motorcycle and other drivers safe.

Finding the right insurance policy for your motorcycle is important. Your policy should fit your bike, your lifestyle and your budget. Most states in the US require a minimum amount of liability coverage for motorcycles, but the other types of coverages can be optional. It’s important to ask you insurance agent which coverages are optional and which are required to make sure you are legal.

When you’re shopping for the right motorcycle insurance for you, it’s important to understand what you’re paying for.

Motorcycle insurance Collision coverage insurance covers the damages to your motorcycle if you were to be involved in an accident. After you pay your deductible, your insurance company will pay for the rest of the repairs.

Liability coverage insurance is what covers bodily injury and any property damage that you were responsible for in a motorcycle accident. This type of coverage doesn’t cover your motorcycle or yourself.

Comprehensive coverage insurance will cover the damages caused by things other than an collision. For example – vandalism, theft, or fire. You’ll have to pay your deductible before your insurance company picks up the rest of the bill.

You may be able to save money on your motorcycle insurance plan if you take certain safety courses. If you have more than one motorcycle you can also bundle those policies to save money. Keeping a clean driving record will also help keep your insurance premiums down.

Vern Fonk in Washington and Oregon specializes in motorcycle insurance for everyone! Our agents are experienced in finding the best and cheapest policies for all types of drivers. Call us today!

Don’t Give In To Road Rage

accidentHeavy traffic along the freeway and highway can test even the calmest of drivers’ patience and temper. Aggressive driving and road rage is a major contributor to serious accidents. Keeping calm and avoiding potential infuriating situations can help you stay clear of the results of road rage.

Road rage “involves a criminal act of violence”. This is what sets it apart from aggressive driving. Aggressive driving can involve speeding, tailgating and even running red lights. Aggressive driving is one of the biggest contributors of all accidents, especially those resulting in fatalities. Experts say that 56% of fatal crashes were caused by “aggressive behavior”.

A lot of insurance companies can exclude liability coverage for at fault accidents caused by road rage. If you are overcome with road rage, and get in an accident, your car insurance company may not pay for the damages.

Road Rage is on the rise. Since 1990 the reported incidents of road rage have increased by over 50%. Teenagers under the age of 19 are typically the most common offenders.

How can you keep yourself from raging? There are many things you can do to stay calm. Here are a few of our suggestions:

#1 Plan Ahead - Leave your home early to allow your self extra time to reach your reach your destination. People often stress more when they are running late and  it’s out of their hands.

#2 Don’t - Don’t give in to the other “annoying” drivers. Don’t glare, gesture offensively, flash your headlights, tailgate, or honk your horn. Don’t park blocking people in or blocking driveways.

#3 Do - Do gesture “I’m sorry” to someone you may have accidentally cut off, avoid eye contact with other drivers, drive the speed limit.

Just remember that it’s not worth it to get all worked up. Most “annoying” drivers don’t know that they’re being annoying, and yelling, gesturing and getting upset can only make the matter worse. The other driver will probably not even notice you trying to “teach” them the right way to drive, and your actions do not end up doing any good.

Stay calm and plan your route before hand. Be prepared and do not engage in other negative behavior. Remember the statistics about accidents and road rage and how they can effect your car insurance coverage. Stay safe out there!

Parents of Teen Drivers – Safety Tips

Girl DrivingEvery year the number of teen driver related accidents goes up. Sadly this leads to an increased death rate for drivers under the age of 18. It has been reported that teens are three times as likely to be involved in fatal car accidents than all other drivers in the United States.

There are many reasons why teens are at a greater risk and they all mostly come down to maturity. Parts of the brain that control our judgement ability and inhibition aren’t fully developed until a person reaches their mid twenties. Drivers are more inclined to act impulsively without concern of consequences (judgement) when driving down the road. Most teens feel invincible and don’t stop to think that their actions could easily harm others or themselves.

Parents can be a huge influence over their teenager when it comes to driving, whether they think they are listening or not. Typically the vehicle actually belongs to the parent and is their responsibility. Teaching your children that driving is a privilege is important and it can be revoked at any given time. Having regular “talks” with your teen, or even having them sign a written “contract”, can help establish the ground rules and consequences for misbehavior.

Cellphones have become a huge issue with drivers of all ages. Teenagers are at the most risk due to their high usage of texting. Teach your children that any text can wait and that their phone should stay in their pocket or purse until they reach their destination.

Drinking and driving is also a big concern for many parents. Teens aren’t oblivious to the dangers of driving while intoxicated but it still happens. Installing a back up plan with your child, if they were to get in a situation where they needed a ride is crucial to keeping your teenager safe.

Keeping the communication line between you and your driving teenager is extremely important. Teenagers are very impressionable and often follow by example. If you do not have any children, but you know teens, express your feelings on the subject and share your safe driving tips and tricks.

After Accident Checklist

accidentLet’s say you’ve been in a car accident, big or small, what do you do first? Car accidents can get pretty chaotic, even if it’s just a minor fender bender. Following the basic steps lined out below can help make filing your insurance claim fun as smoothly as possible.

Safety first. Before thinking about car insurance, take a minute to make sure everyone involved is safe. If there are any injuries call an ambulance immediately. Make sure your cars are out of harms way, and if they are still running, move them off to the shoulder or a safe area. Stay calm, getting upset can only make the situation worse.

Get off the Road. If the accident is a minor fender bender it is okay to move the cars off to the side of the road. If your vehicle will not move, or it will cause further damage to move it, leave it where it is and get to a safer area. Once you’re in a safe area it is okay to start gathering information from the other driver.

Get the driver’s information. Speak to the other driver involved in the accident. Make sure they are okay, but be careful what you say.  Admitting fault and other parts of your conversation could be used against you when insurance companies get involved. Your car insurance company will need the other driver’s information to start processing your claim.  Here are some of the key things about the other driver to write down somewhere:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Year, Make Model of their Vehicle and their License Plate Number
  • Their Insurance Company Name and Policy Number

It can also be helpful to take photos of the damage done to your vehicle, their vehicle, the location where it happened and a picture of the people involved with the accident.  If the accident was larger and there were other “witnesses” to the accident, get their information if possible too.  If there was a police officer involved with the accident get their information and the police report number if applicable.

Beautiful happy woman driving her car in the eveningAfter you have gathered all the information you should be able to start the claim process. Call your insurance company immediately and start your claim.  With the right car insurance policy, filing a claim should be pretty fast and easy. Your insurance agent should be able to help you figure everything out and get you back on the road soon.


Home Insurance – What You Need to Know

Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t just safeguard your home against physical damages or theft, it helps you feel safe and secure in your home. When disaster strikes, building the stability and peace back in your home should be your main priority, let your homeowner’s insurance policy take care of the physical damages and money.

What does your homeowner’s insurance policy cover?
Most home insurance policies cover property damages caused by storms, fire, theft and vandalism. Most home owner’s insurance policies also cover the costs of legal and medical fees if someone were to get hurt on your property and even if they take legal action against you. It’s important to know what your insurance policy covers and what limits there are as well as deductible amounts.

What DOESN’T your homeowner’s insurance policy cover?
Most basic insurance companies do not supply coverage for damages caused by “earth movements” which include landslides, earthquakes and even sinkholes. They also often do not cover damages from wars, nuclear attacks, and even flooding. If you’re in a “flood zone” you may be required to purchase additional flood insurance coverage in addition to your homeowner’s insurance. If you believe your home is at risk for any of these uncovered situations it would be wise to consult an insurance agent to get a quote on additional insurance coverage policies.

Do not wait to file a claim.
When shopping around for a policy, always ask about the time limits required to report a claim and make sure you write them down and follow them. For many policies, if you wait too long, you may not be covered. Depending on what the problem was, you may have only a few days or weeks to complete the claim. Make sure you contact your insurance company as soon as you can to make sure the damages will be covered.

Bundle your insurance policies if you can.
If you’re looking to save money on your homeowner’s insurance, look and see if it is possible to have your other policies bundled with the same company. Most insurance companies give discounts to policy holders that  have multiple policies with their company.