5 Steps to Simplifying a Home Insurance Claim

Filing a home insurance claim need not be a complicated process. The following steps can help simplify the claims process and give you positive results.

Contact Your Insurer: The first step to filing a claim is to contact your insurer and notify him of your loss. If you have questions concerning coverage of your Sandpoint, ID home, now would be a good time to ask. Reviewing your policy with a representative from The Insurance Shop USA will refresh your memory concerning your coverage. Make sure you provide your agent with accurate contact info as well as details concerning your loss so a proper evaluation can be made.

Notify Police: If your loss was the result of a crime such as vandalism, theft, etc., be sure to notify your local police so a police report can be made to verify damages to your home or loss of property.

Take Photos of Damage: Take photos of property damage to verify your loss. If you have a home inventory, make sure your agent receives a copy along with receipts or photos of items that were damaged or stolen. If you need to make urgent repairs to avoid further property damage, keep accurate records of what you spend so you can be reimbursed by your insurer later on.

Work with your Insurance Adjuster: You will be visited by an insurance adjuster who will evaluate your claim and determine property damage and loss. At this time, you can discuss options for making repairs or replacing lost items. Working closely with your adjuster is key to moving your claim along.

Follow Up – Once a claim has been filed, follow up with your adjuster and contractor to ensure repairs are done right.

At the Insurance Shop USA, Sandpoint, ID, we make every effort to ensure claims are settled to customer satisfaction.

Distracted Driving Isn’t the Only Hazard of Cell Phone Use

It seems like the headlines are full of accidents where the driver was busy texting or checking an email on their phone while driving.  While this practice certainly poses a danger to the driver and others on the road, the Insurance Shop USA would like to remind Sandpoint, ID drivers that is not the only way a cell phone can cause a problem on the road.

Pedestrians are Texting Too!

More and more pedestrians across the country are walking down the sidewalk while staring down at their smartphones. They are tripping over garbage cans, falling into fountains and walking right out into traffic without ever looking up. The world is not just full of distracted drivers, it’s full of distracted people. Emergency rooms are treating more sprained ankles, twisted wrists, and even head injuries because nobody is actually looking where they are going.

Heads Up and Hands on the Wheel is Best

This means that in order to avoid an accident involving a pedestrian, it’ more important than ever to remain vigilant and stay focused on the task at hand. You’ll never see somebody cross against the light if you’re checking an email while in motion, or even while stopped waiting for the green light. By keeping your eyes pointed front and both hands on the wheel, you are driving defensive, instead of distracted.

The Insurance Shop USA reminds all the drivers that when riding around Sandpoint, ID, keep your cell phone locked up in the glove box or out of reach. If you need to use the phone while driving, invest in Bluetooth technology that allows you to dial a number with a simple voice command while your phone remains safely tucked out of sight and out of reach and avoid becoming just another statistic.

Benefits of Adding a Garage to Your Home

When it comes to adding space and value to your home, you really can’t go wrong with adding on a garage. Whether it be an attached or detached garage, the value of your property will increase. And fortunately, adding on a garage does not cause your home insurance premium to skyrocket. Let’s take a quick look at why you should consider adding on a garage and the many ways in which you can use it. 

Protect your vehicles

You probably have invested quite a bit of money into your vehicles, and to help ensure they last for as long as possible, it is imperative to protect them from harsh weather. With a garage added to your property, you can have a great space to store your cars. And not only does it help protect them from the weather, but having a garage gives you space to change the oil, rotate tires and more. 

Store other items

Do you have four wheelers? A boat? Whatever it is that you have, you can easily store these big boy toys in your garage. You can also store tools in your garage, or if you prefer, you can turn it into a space where you play darts or shoot pool. Adding a garage onto your home means you can literally use the space for whatever you need it for. If the garage is heated and cooled, you can even use it for extra living space. 

If you would like to learn more about the many benefits of adding a garage onto your home, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact The Insurance Shop USA serving the Sandypoint, ID area. 

Top Tips for Handling a Parking Lot Accident

At The Insurance Shop USA, their Sandypoint, ID agents realize that life happens sometimes. The last thing you would expect when shopping for groceries or Christmas shopping is to come out of the store, get in your car, and end up getting into an auto accident in the parking lot. In reality, these types of accidents can be just as costly and even deadly as accidents out on America’s highways. If you have been in a parking lot accident, read on below for some tips on how to handle it the right way. 

Stay Calm and Call for Help

It’s human nature that if you are involved in an accident in a parking lot to jump out of your car and berate the other driver. This not only does you little good, but it can also actually hurt your chances of settlement if your insurance company has to get involved. Instead of showing your fury, stay calm, take your cell phone and call 911. Let the paramedics and the police iron out the rest. 

Look at the Damage and Check for Injuries

The very first thing you should do is check to make sure that no one in your car or the people in the other car has any injuries. Even fender benders in a parking lot can end tragically if you aren’t careful. 

Once you have verified that everyone is okay, check for damages on both cars while you wait for help to arrive. Never leave the scene of an accident, or you could end up facing jail time over a fender bender. 

These are just a couple of tips to help you handle a parking lot accident. For more information, you can contact  The Insurance Shop in Sandypoint, ID.

In Sandypoint, ID Does an Excessive Amount of Tickets Require a Safe Driving Course?

The agents of the Insurance Shop USA serve residents in the Sandypoint, ID area. Individuals who have an excessive number of traffic tickets and driving violations may experience a higher insurance rate than those who have an unblemished driving record. Many insurance companies will offer discounts on their premiums to clients who go over and above when it comes to trying to improve their driving skills. One of the ways a person can lower their total insurance cost is to attend a defensive driving class. 

Defensive driving classes are offered by many different companies. The classes can be found online or at driving schools across the country. While most of the students who sign up for the classes are young people or those who have never had a driver’s license, people who want to improve their driving record can take the class and turn their results into their insurance companies. In Idaho, insurance companies cannot force a person to take the class, but they can offer price incentives to individuals who do. The class offers a variety of information that a driver may not remember or might not have learned the first time they took their test.

Sandypoint, ID residents can contact the agents of the Insurance Shop USA for any questions they may have about insurance discounts and what can be done to reduce insurance premiums after a person receives a ticket or is involved in an accident. The agents are extremely knowledgeable and can help their clients find the best way to handle a difficult situation. Contact a local agent to find out if there are discounts available that will help you to lower your insurance premiums. 

Is Your Home Underinsured?

Mortgage lenders generally insist that you have a homeowners policy to protect their investment in the event of a loss. While Idaho doesn’t require people to purchase insurance, it’s wise for every homeowner to have protection. Knowing how much and what type of policy to take out can be complicated. That’s why at The Insurance Shop USA, our professionals are ready to help members of the Sandypoint ID community select a policy that meets your needs. We’ll work to answer your questions and help you avoid being underinsured.

Home Replacement Costs

One of the more common errors homeowners make is confusing property value and replacement costs. Although it appears there should be some connection, they are separate issues. Property values may rise and fall with the Real Estate market’s supply and demand. Think about the home prices before and after the housing crash. That difference was not a reflection of home construction costs.

How much it costs to build or rebuild a structure is determined by factors that include the price of labor, materials, permitting, building and fire codes, among others. If you have an older home, it may have deprecated in some ways. Other properties include custom era design and high-end materials that are not easy find. They can be expensive to replace. The point is that you should evaluate your home based upon what it would take to rebuild in the event of a total loss.

Today’s replacement costs run about $150 per square foot. If you have detailed woodworking and custom design features, restoration could be higher. Additional expenses could include razing, debris removal, meeting new building codes and permitting.

It’s important that you have sufficient homeowners coverage in the event of a total loss. The Insurance Shop USA is committed to serving the good people of Sandypoint ID. Our insurance professionals are here to listen and help create a policy or update an existing one that provides you with the secure coverage you deserve.

Cleaning the Wheels and Tires On Your Car

When it comes to making sure your car stays on the road for as long as possible, it is of the utmost importance that you take proper care of the wheels and tires on it. From rotating the tires every so often to cleaning them, there are several tips you can follow to extend the longevity of your wheels and tires, which means less money out of your pocket for replacing them. Here’s a quick look at three of the best tips you can follow for cleaning the wheels and tires on your car. 

1) They need to be cleaned weekly

You don’t have to get out a scrub brush and put a lot of elbow grease into cleaning your tires and wheels every week, but you should at least spray them off. In doing this, you will help extend their use, meaning you will get more mileage out of them. Whether it be taking your car through a car wash or spraying off the tires and wheels with a water hose in your driveway, a quick rinsing once a week will do wonders. 

2) Clean the wheels really good once a month

Build up from your brake pads can make your wheels look very dirty. Unfortunately, getting off this brake dust will require that you put a little elbow grease into cleaning them. With that being said, you should clean them really good at least once a month. 

3) Rotate the tires every so often

Another great tip for extending the use of your tires is to have them rotated at least every other time you get your oil changed. Rotating your tires helps ensure the tread wear on them is appropriately distributed. 

For information on auto insurance, contact The Insurance Shop USA serving the Sandypoint, ID area. 

First Time Buying Auto Insurance in Sandypoint? Here’s What You Need to Know

Getting your first car is one of the most exciting times of your life.  You will never forget your first car.  It symbolizes a rite of passage from the world of childhood to the adult world of responsibility.  Having a driver’s license is a privilege and having a car is a luxury, although a necessity for many Americans who do not live close to public transportation and who have to rely on a car to get everywhere. 

Just as exciting is moving to a new place, like Sandypoint ID, and purchasing a new car or bringing yours with you.  Whether you have just purchased a new car or have recently moved to Sandypoint ID and are looking for a new auto insurance policy for the area, here are a few tips for buying auto insurance in Sandypoint ID for the first time.  

1. Talk to a Trusted Agent before You Buy

Think of an insurance agent as a catalyst or matchmaker. Their job is to bring together you, the driver, with an insurance company that provides the best policy at the best price for you.  

2.  Understand Your Policy

Know what is and isn’t covered.  Understand the amount of your deductible and how that works. Also, if you don’t own your car outright but pay a car loan to a lender every month, you are probably required to purchase full coverage for your vehicle.   

3. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for a Discount

Do you have perfect grades in school? Drive part time? Considered a senior citizen?  These are just a few of the discounts that some insurance companies offer.  Also, consider bundling insurance policies for an even better rate.  You can bundle homeowner’s insurance with your auto insurance policy, for example.  

At The Insurance Shop, our friendly agents will assist you through the maze of buying Auto Insurance in Sandypoint ID for the first time. But really, its not that complicated. It’s simply something new you will learn, and our agents at The Insurance Shop USA are standing by to help.  











Tricks to Avoiding Water Damage

As a homeowner in Sandypoint, ID, you already know that you do not want to deal with any water damage in your home. However, even though you may not want water damage to happen in your home, that doesn’t mean it will not. Instead of hoping for it not to happen, you should use these tricks to avoiding water damage from The Insurance Shop USA.

  • Never pour grease down your sink. You may have thought this was an old wives tale but it is true. Never pour it down even with hot or cold water. It can lead to buildup and eventually blockages that can cause your pipes to burst. 
  • Watch where you plant trees. Even if you want them in a specific spot, you need to be aware of any underground pipes that may be around. The roots from the trees will not be an issue immediately but they will eventually so you need to be careful where you plant and ensure the trees are far enough away from the pipes. 
  • Keep a close eye on your water bill. You should know how much you normally pay for water so if your bill ever increases when your usage hasn’t, you need to inspect for any small leaks. 

One of the best tricks to being prepared for water damage since you cannot prevent it completely is to get a home insurance policy that includes a water damage clause. If you do not already have one, be sure to reach out to The Insurance Shop USA serving Sandypoint, ID for a free quote and to explore options. If you do have one, let them look at your current policy to ensure you are not paying too much and that you do not have any gaps in coverage. 

How Does Home Insurance Really Help Me: 4 Tips to Know

Insurance, in general, tends to have a bad reputation. It seems that people just think they give part of their paycheck to a company while getting very little in return. However, there are a number of ways that home insurance can help you, and The Insurance Shop USA knows it’s all a matter of seeing the benefits. If you live in Sandypoint, ID, then there are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re feeling a little selfish. 

1. Keeps you from calling upon friends and family 

Having support after a major storm or break-in is priceless, but that doesn’t mean that you want to ask people you know for financial help. Insurance takes care of many of the logistics — including the financial ones. 

2. Helps your property value 

When you have help to fix your house (including your yard), you can keep it in good shape throughout the years. It’s one of the best indicators that your house will do well once it’s put up on the market, without having to do any extra renovations or repairs. 

3. Puts you in control 

You won’t have to worry when you check the weather and there’s a major storm coming in Sandypoint, ID because you know you have the right protection. You can rest easy about what the future will bring because you’ve done the proper preparations when it comes to home insurance. 

4. Gives you a hand to hold 

Your insurance company can’t right every wrong, but they can certainly be a major comfort when you’re feeling lost. The Insurance Shop USA is here for you when you need it the most, so give us a call today if you need a new policy.