How Technology Could Protect Your Portland, OR home

Six Pieces of Technology That Could Prevent a Home Insurance Claim

How Technology Can Keep Your Home Claims-Free!

How Technology Could Protect Your Beaverton, OR homeWe touched a couple weeks back on how simple pieces of technology can keep your home safe from burglary. Well, wouldn’t it be great if technology could help us avoid other claims like water damage, fire & freezing damage?

Technology for the home has taken huge steps in the past 5 years. In fact, most everything in a home can be controlled by a mobile device and an installed home router (Wi-Fi). Implement some of these do-it-yourself items into your home to help you avoid an insurance claim:

Thermostats: Not only does a smart thermostat help you reduce your energy consumption, you can now monitor the home temperature while away on vacation. We all know someone who has experienced a frozen pipe that caused water damage. Typically this is because the thermostat wasn’t on and a cold-snap came through. Smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature through a Wi-Fi signal even while you’re abroad.

Smart Garage Door Openers: I think we’ve all come back home and noticed we left the garage door open all night, or even left the house only to reach your destination and think… did I leave my garage door open? Smart garage door openers work with your Wi-Fi system to notify you if the door is open or closed. You can then close it from your mobile device ensuring your items stay safe and sound.

Water sensors: Water sensors alert to you when water is standing on the floor. A great place to install a water sensor is behind a toilet, near a dishwasher and behind your refrigerator if you have a water/ice maker. Water sensors can be synced up with your existing alarm system or are available in a Wi-Fi version which at this time run around $60 each.

Smart Smoke Alarms: Smoke alarms are really the first line of defense for fires and smoke damage. Often times a fire will smolder, but the resulting smoke damage can be just as damaging. Smoke alarms, like water sensors, can be obtained by your existing home security company and tied in. Additionally, smoke alarms can be tied into your Wi-Fi alerting you if something is awry at home while you’re way.

Smart Locks: “Did you lock the front door when we left? No, I was carrying the suitcase.” Fortunately, door locks are available in a Wi-Fi enabled where you can simply lock and unlock your front door via a battery and Wi-Fi signal. Unlocked front doors are now a thing of the past.

Humidity Monitors: High humidity is another sign that you have water in your home. When humidity rises it can wreak havoc on your home. Humidity sensors come in all sorts of devices including your thermostat, furnace and even some home video monitors like the aforementioned Canary device we mentioned in our blog about home security. If the humidity is extra high, this may be a sign that water is leaking somewhere.

If technology is your thing, consider some of these options! For most people, insurance is not. Fortunately if you have questions about your home or renters insurance, call the insurance agents at Hukari Insurance in Beaverton, OR. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or motorcycle. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Protect Your Portland, OR home while away on vacation

Three Things To Do Before You Leave on Vacation

How to Protect Your Home While Away

Protect Your Beaverton, OR home while away on vacationAh, summer. A time where we enjoy the great outdoors and most often take our vacation for the year. Whether you’re traveling close to home on a short camping trip or headed off to Europe with the drones of other tourists, keeping your home safe while you’re away can be as simple as not doing anything differently. Ponder these points to keep your home safe from burglary while on vacation:

Social Media:

It is best to keep the details of your vacation until you get back from your trip. Far too often people divulge the details of their trip prior to leaving. You may as well put a sign on the door that says “nobody home.” Post your pictures and narrative when you get back so burglars don’t know you’re gone.

Neighbors

Most people get along great with their neighbors and help each other out while away on vacation by checking the mail, removing newspapers from the driveway and putting out the trash. Make sure you tell your neighbors when you’re leaving town so they can keep a watchful eye out for any strange activity.

Technology

Americans love their technology. Home security systems have come a long way since and you no longer need a monitored home security device. Consider options like Canary. A home video surveillance system that sends you a text when there is motion detected at your home. You can then pull it up and watch a live video stream allowing you to record the activity as well as call police.

Another simple piece of technology is an outlet timer. These small devices can turn on and off lights throughout your house throughout the night making it appear that someone is home. At about $9.00 each, a very inexpensive security option. 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.

There are many other things you should do while heading off for vacation. Following these simple tips can help you avoid a costly insurance burglary and losing items that simply can’t be replaced. If you have questions about your home or renters insurance, call the insurance agents at Hukari Insurance in Beaverton, OR. They have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or motorcycle. They live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so they can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out their website, 24/7.

Identity theft portland, or

Identity Theft: An unfortunate reality

It has been all over the news lately: data breaches at major retailers have been potentially compromising shoppers debit and credit cards. While your banking institutions and credit card issuers do offer some protection against fraudulent charges to your accounts, did you know that your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance plan might offer additional protection if your identity is stolen.

Identity Theft in Oregon:

  • Keep an eye out: Even if you do not suspect your identity or credit cards have been potentially comprised, it is a good idea to regularly go over your statements to ensure all charges are accurate. Some credit card issuers will offer inexpensive credit monitoring from at least one of the three major credit reporting agencies. If you notice a fraudulent charge or an error on your credit report, you should immediately contact the appropriate agency (i.e., your credit card issuer, credit reporting agency, bank, etc.).
  • Extra Protection: In addition to your own diligence, your homeowners, condo or renters insurance policy can offer some extra protection. For a small yearly fee (typically less than $40 per year) your insurance policy may cover expenses related to court fees, loan reapplication fees (if denied due to identity theft), notary fees and more. Some insurance plans may also include access to an identity theft counselor, someone to assist with reporting fraudulent activity and to act as a liaison to the major credit report bureaus on your behalf. Identity theft plans will vary by carrier and state, so be sure to ask your Hukari agent about plans available in Oregon.
  • Next steps: If you suspect that you have been a victim of credit card or identity theft, fill out a police report. This will be crucial as the next few agencies you will be contacting, your bank, credit card issuer and the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion and Equifax) will need a copy send to their fraud departments. You will also need to file an ID Theft Complaint and Affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission.  Any accounts or cards that are potentially compromised should be closed and new cards issued. Continue to monitor your credit reports and accounts.

The road to recovery from credit card and identity fraud can be long and expensive. Here at Hukari Insurance in Beaverton, Oregon we hope it is something that you never have to experience on your own. If you are interested in learning more about adding identity theft protection to your existing home, condo or renters insurance plan contact us today. You can also visit our website 24/7 to learn about the other insurance products we offer.

Use Caution and Common Sense When Hiring off of Craigslist or other Free Classified Ads in Beaverton, OR

It is so tempting… a contractor who will perform a landscaping job for ½ of what other quotes were and to think… you found him on Craigslist! Certainly Craigslist and other free classified websites have become a terrific resource for used goods as well as handyman services. However, there are stories of liability claim scams across the country that have homeowner’s getting burned. To put it simply, you’re taking a chance when you hire a non-reputable contractor to do work on your home, regardless of where you found him. So, we’ve put together a few items to help you avoid the headache of an “injured” contractor on your property which results in a liability claim against your homeowner’s policy.

  1. Research and ask question. If you find a contractor or other service related worker on Craigslist or other sites, ask them if they have a website or if there is someone who wouldn’t mind talking to them about their skill. It’s okay to ask for references. Most small businesses survive off of word-of-mouth advertising, so don’t be afraid to ask for a couple.
  2. Utilize the internet further. Go to Google and type in: “Contractor License Lookup.” This should produce your states .gov resource and you can see if the contract you’re hiring is licensed or not. It will also show if their license is expired and when it expired.
  3. Documentation: Ask the contractor for a copy of their license as well as documentation of their insurance and bond. Note: Check the dates on the license as well as the insurance to ensure they’re currently in force or active.
  4. Ask more questions: Not only is it important to protect your insurance from a scam, but ensure your pocketbook doesn’t get taken for a ride too. Ask questions like, “Is this an estimate or a final bid?” “Does this estimate include parts and labor?” The more questions you ask, the better you will feel and the more the contractor will understand that you’re educated on this process.

It isn’t just the answers to the questions above that will help you decide on a potential contractor, but how they answer them. If they aren’t forthcoming about certain items or aren’t willing to give you references, it is likely not a good idea to hire them. If they can’t communicate with you now about things, how difficult would it be if you have issues with them after the work has started? Be clear from the beginning on your expectations and always remember to talk to us, your local Beaverton, Oregon Insurance Agent about anything you’re doing on your home to ensure you’re covered properly before making remodels. Call Carr’s Insurance Agency at (808) 836-CARR (2277) to talk to a licensed agent.

Thinking About Hiring a Contractor Off of a Classified Ad Like Craigslist?

CraigslistUse Caution and Common Sense When Hiring Labor on Craigslist or other Free Classified Ads

It is so tempting… a contractor who will perform a landscaping job for ½ of what other quotes were and to think… you found him on Craigslist! Certainly Craigslist and other free classified websites have become a terrific resource for used goods as well as handyman services. However, there are stories of liability claim scams across the country that have homeowner’s getting burned. To put it simply, you’re taking a chance when you hire a non-reputable contractor to do work on your home, regardless of where you found him. So, we’ve put together a few items to help you avoid the headache of an “injured” contractor on your property which results in a liability claim against your homeowners insurance in Beaverton, OR policy.

  1. Research and ask question. If you find a contractor or other service related worker on Craigslist or other sites, ask them if they have a website or if there is someone who wouldn’t mind talking to them about their skill. It’s okay to ask for references. Most small businesses survive off of word-of-mouth advertising, so don’t be afraid to ask for a couple.
  2. Utilize the internet further. Go to Google and type in: “Contractor License Lookup.” This should produce your states .gov resource and you can see if the contract you’re hiring is licensed or not. It will also show if their license is expired and when it expired.
  3. Documentation: Ask the contractor for a copy of their license as well as documentation of their insurance and bond. Note: Check the dates on the license as well as the insurance to ensure they’re currently in force or active.
  4. Ask more questions: Not only is it important to protect your insurance from a scam, but ensure your pocketbook doesn’t get taken for a ride too. Ask questions like, “Is this an estimate or a final bid?” “Does this estimate include parts and labor?” The more questions you ask, the better you will feel and the more the contractor will understand that you’re educated on this process.

It isn’t just the answers to the questions above that will help you decide on a potential contractor, but how they answer them. If they aren’t forthcoming about certain items or aren’t willing to give you references, it is likely not a good idea to hire them. If they can’t communicate with you now about things, how difficult would it be if you have issues with them after the work has started? Be clear from the beginning on your expectations and always remember to call your insurance agent for advice before a home renovation begins.

Be sure to talk to us, your local Porltand, OR Insurance Agent about anything you’re doing on your home to ensure you’re covered properly before making remodels. Call Hukari Insurance at 503-291-9317 to talk to a licensed agent.