Monthly Archives: December 2009

Resolution and remembrance for the New Year

A resolution, according to Mr. Webster, can have six different meanings that include anything from chemical compounds to significant events in literature. Around New Years, however, there is one definition best fitting the popular mood that is found in sub-section C of definition one: the act of determining.

In our culture, the New Year’s Resolution is a time honored tradition, a pledge made with a clean slate with the hope for a fresh start. Millions become determined to change something about themselves or their lives—quitting smoking, losing weight, organizing their home, getting finances in order, or volunteering more. Though some are more serious than others, the start of a new year makes us ponder our lives, all past, present, and future moments of them; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It is no different for us at Homer Smith Insurance. From our first client in 1950 to the beginning of 2010, we are still dedicated to the continuation of providing our customers with the best service possible. We’re doing something right with nearly 60 years in the insurance business, but we know the only way our success can continue is through you. Indeed, it is the only way our success is possible.

As the New Year approaches, like you, we at Homer Smith reflect on the year that has passed, and the one that is to come. As Robert Burns admonished, we remember our old acquaintances, resolving to continue our tradition of faithful service to the community and its residents. And we promise that to our resolution we will hold fast and true.

So as we gather at parties and celebrations to ring in the New Year and raise a glass to auld lang syne, let us toast also to our resolutions and their fulfillment. They’re different for all of us, but they all share a common goal—to make our lives, and the lives of those we love, better.

Happy New Year!

If shopping for insurance is on your to-do list for the New Year, stop by our Port Townsend or Sequim office, e-mail, or call Homer Smith Insurance directly at 888-433-0031. We are an independent insurance agency serving Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Erin Stork, Homer Smith Insurance

Love thy neighbor, have good insurance

Everyone has the story about a neighbor’s inspired idea that didn’t actually turn out to be so brilliant. Indeed, the winter months seem to encourage and breed such ideas. Snow and ice related hazards spur people to actions that would normally be considered crazy. The following is (unfortunately) a true story.

The night of a particularly deep freeze, two neighbors—we shall call them John and Paul—awoke to find their driveway encased in ice. Being situated at the bottom of a hill, the neighbors could not get their vehicles out of the driveway, and were forced to stay inside and keep warm.

Fast forward several hours. John’s daughter spotted smoke rising in the driveway’s direction. She alerted her father, and John hurried out to determine the smoke’s source.  It didn’t take him long—the driveway was on fire.

Several panicked minutes and choice words later, John had extinguished the small blaze and surveyed the now smoky landscape. He noticed something he hadn’t before. His neighbor, Paul, stood a short distance off, can of gasoline in hand. John looked at the driveway, then back at Paul. He asked his neighbor if he had started the fire. Paul nodded. In response to John’s stunned silence, Paul explained that he needed to get to the grocery store. The ice prevented him from getting out of the driveway. Because he really needed to get a few things, Paul had to get rid of the ice, and thought the best way to do so was lighting the driveway on fire.

Though this story is an extreme example of neighborly antics, they can and do happen. In moments, things turn from crazy to serious. Even dangerous. Paul’s homemade fire didn’t cause any real damage (or succeed in melting any ice), but if it had, John’s house, car, or shed could have caught fire. Having unpredictable neighbors can be worrisome, but knowing your insurance covers any damage caused by said neighbors can alleviate some of the anxiety.

At Homer Smith Insurance, we can assist in putting your mind at ease. We offer free quotes and can review your current insurance coverage and policies. Browse our website, e-mail us, or call directly: 888-433-0031. Your neighbor probably won’t light your driveway on fire, but it’s always good to know you’re covered if things don’t exactly go according to plan.

Erin Stork, Homer Smith Insurance

Smart travel in greater Seattle and beyond

Holiday travel is a tradition, and sometimes pain, for many families and individuals. Whether flying to grandma’s for Christmas, returning from college for some well-deserved R&R, or spending the holidays with friends in far-off cities , remembering all the travel dos and don’ts can be exhausting. Especially when traveling through bustling airports. And despite the season of giving, airport luggage theft actually escalates over the holidays. There are steps you can take, however, to prevent your belongings from becoming the ill-gotten gains of potential thieves:

  • Pack using inconspicuous luggage. The airport is not a runway, and nothing alerts thieves more than pricey labels. Ragged, beat-up luggage flies under the radar, so leave Louis Vuitton and Gucci at home.
  • Mark your luggage well. Make sure your name, address, and phone number are highly visible in at least two places. Also, the more visually striking your luggage, the better.  Nothing is more eye-catching than brightly colored duct tape.
  • Heed the airport announcer’s warning—watch your bags at all times. The automated voice may become monotonous background noise after a while, but turning around to discover your luggage missing will make you wish you had listened.
  • Be especially watchful at the baggage claim. When several flights arrive, it can be the busiest spot in the airport. Someone plucking a bag off the carousel that may or may not be theirs could go unnoticed.
  • Plastic cable ties, or the twisty-ties that close bread bags, are excellent ways to secure your luggage.  They take longer for thieves to remove, and because the would-be thief knows this, they probably won’t even bother trying. As for padlocks? TSA’s practice is to cut them off. Save the few dollars for coffee on a rainy day.
  • If you have any valuables, try to fit them into your carry-on bag. Expensive electronics and jewelry are the holy grail for thieves, so keep them as safe-guarded as possible—with you.

Crowded terminals and claustrophobic gates are not where most of us wish to spend our holidays, but following safe travel tips can make the holiday rush a little more manageable. And perhaps even enjoyable.

For all your insurance needs, e-mail or call Homer Smith Insurance at 888-433-0031. An independent insurance agency, we are licensed in Washington state, as well as Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Erin Stork, Homer Smith Insurance

Tis the season for holiday cheer and fender benders on ice in the Pacific Northwest

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again in greater Seattle and Tacoma, when holiday shopping, parties, and get-togethers collide with the unfortunate realities of winter roadways—slush, snow, and ice. Though the tasks and stresses of the holiday season can become distracting, it is more important than ever to focus on safe and defensive driving. Especially if this winter proves anything like the last!

Defensive driving’s purpose is reducing the potential risk of driving. A defensive driver is alert and ready, able to anticipate dangerous situations and know how to react if one should arise. Here are some tips and advice to ensure that both you and your vehicle get to grandmother’s house safely:

  • Follow the three-to-four-second rule. Stay at least three or four car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. It reduces the risk of an accident, and lessens the severity of an accident should one occur.
  • If another vehicle skids or comes toward you, angle your vehicle to avoid a head-on collision.
  • Skidding on ice is preventable when driving at a slow speed. If you do skid, take your foot off the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction the back end is moving until the vehicle straightens. Stay calm and do not accelerate!
  • Visibility is lessened in the wintertime. If in doubt, turn on your headlights. Simple steps like this help make your vehicle visible to other drivers.
  • Slow down. Braking takes longer on slippery surfaces. At a slower speed, it’s much easier to stop.
  • Be especially alert in busy parking lots. Drivers backing out or pulling into angled parking spaces don’t always pay complete attention to their surroundings. Watch for brake lights.

As the winter season continues, if you want to review your coverage, or discuss a new policy, please visit our website, send us an e-mail, or call Homer Smith Insurance at 888-433-0031. We are an independent insurance agency serving Washington state, and are also licensed in Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Erin Stork, Homer Smith Insurance

Remember last Winter in Seattle and on the Olympic Peninsula?

Here are a few little things you should take care of, to avoid unnecessary insurance claims. Before the freezing temperatures hit you should:

  • Inspect the roof of your buildings to ensure that drains are cleared and working properly; gutters are clean and down spouts are functioning; and heat tapes are installed and working correctly.
  • Winterize your pipes and be prepared for the onslaught of freezing weather. Ensure that your water supply is protected from freezing. Once a pipe is frozen, the mess is almost guaranteed when it starts thawing. Check on or install insulation where necessary.
  • Be prepared to remove snow. It is your responsibility to clean the sidewalks and walkways to your front door from ice and snow. It is important to protect visitors from slipping and falling around your buildings, as this could result in a claim.

If you have any questions on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance in the Seattle or Tacoma area, please don’t hesitate to visit our website, send us an email or give us a c all. We offer free quotes or review of your current coverage. Homer Smith Insurance is an independent insurance agency serving Washington, but we are also licensed for Oregon, California, Nevada and Arizona.  

Your Homer Smith Insurance Team