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September is National Preparedness Month

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Experts suggest these steps as a good place to begin:

  • Create a family communication emergency plan
  • Have a survival kit for three days in your car, home and office
  • Know where your gas, electric and water shut-offs are and how to use them
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Equifax Breach and Identity Protection

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Here’s a link you might find helpful in understanding the recent Equifax breach and some action items for you to consider.

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Washington's Electronic DUI Law Now in Effect

Washington's E-DUI law, which bans the use of any hand-held personal electronic devices while driving, is now in effect. Violations are reportable to insurance companies! Be informed by visiting the Target Zero website for more details.

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"Elvis" appears at Queen Anne Day

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Valued CTIA client Tony C. (Elvis) and his band were quite the hit at Queen Anne Day last Saturday.

You can catch this must-see act when they perform at the Bite of Seattle this upcoming Sunday, July 23 at 1:00 pm on the Mural Stage.

For more info, visit gracelandmanila.com or search #gracelandmanila.

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Should You Purchase Earthquake Insurance?

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​ The decision whether to purchase earthquake insurance is a difficult one. Homeowners must choose between paying more for coverage or having no coverage for what could be a very catastrophic event. Many homeowners have no earthquake coverage even when living in an area such as ours where there is a possibility of a significant magnitude earthquake occurring some time in the next several decades. Given the increasing values of homes, the decision to purchase earthquake insurance should be appropriately considered. Homeowners typically...
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Safeguard Your Identity

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With summer just around the corner many people are planning vacations and preparing to travel. Traveling can be a time when risk of identity theft increases since we use credit cards frequently. Identity theft is a serious crime that is increasing at an alarming rate. About 1 in 7 U.S. residents over age 16 was a victim in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Misusing someone's credit card account is the most common kind of identity theft. According to a recent survey compiled by the US Federal Trade Commission, more than 3 m...
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Safe Driving Saves Money... Really!

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As the insurance industry continues to change, more than ever we find companies are putting their clients in the driver's seat by offering programs that let them customize their insurance rates. This means the safer you drive, the more you'll save! Safeco and Progressive – two of the companies we represent – offer vehicle telematics programs where drivers can earn up to 30% off their insurance premiums. Recently, a family insured with CTIA participated in a telematics program and saved BIG! This was a great opportunity for an entire family to p...
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The Road More Traveled

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Receiving your auto insurance renewal and seeing that your rates have increased can feel very personal. I know, I've had that feeling on a number of occasions over the years.  Even understanding how insurance rates are set, it doesn't make me feel any better to see a rate increase. Thoughts that may cross your mind: ​ "I've been with the same company for years!" "I pay on time; my driving record's clear!" "But my cars are getting older!" ​ The reality is our region continues to show immense population growth, resulting in more traffic cong...
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Make Old Glory New!

Make Old Glory New!
​In honor of Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July we are offering a free flag exchange. Between May 18th and July 3rd you can bring your not so glorious stars and stripes in to our office and we'll replace them with a beautiful brand new flag with sewn stripes and embroidered stars. Give us a call at 206-838-9450 to schedule a time to exchange your flag. Supplies are limited so please act fast!
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Have a Teen Ready to Drive? Consider This Contract

Have a Teen Ready to Drive? Consider This Contract
Parents often have a lot of questions about when their teens are ready to drive. This is a personal situation that every family needs to consider for each of their children. Some may be ready at an older or younger age than others, depending on their level of maturity and responsibility. Before your teen takes the wheel, it is important to discuss not just the mechanics of how to drive, but also all of the responsibilities, consequences and costs associated with driving. Establishing clear agreements about the rules and responsibilities will he...
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Champions of Community

Champions of Community
Each spring Erwin and his family participate in Boy Scout Troop #375's fish dinner at St. Francis Church. Erwin and a team of adult volunteers prepared 160 pounds of salmon and cod for the feast. This annual event is the troop's largest fundraiser of the year and helps send scouts to summer camps and other outdoor activities. Two dedicated boy scouts and two parent volunteers received Amazon gift cards, provided by CTIA. The recipients exude volunteer spirit, a positive attitude and dedication to the troop and Boy Scouts. The kids and their fam...
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Who Will You Dedicate Your Pledge To?

Who Will You Dedicate Your Pledge To?
Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act Nationwide, 43 states have passed laws to prohibit drivers from texting. In Washington State, lawmakers recently approved Senate Bill 5289 , Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act . This new legislation which will go into effect in 2019 forbids the use of a handheld device and all video watching while a car is moving or briefly stopped. The fine will increase to $245 on the second offense, and distracted driving will be reportable to insurance companies on the first offense, like any other ...
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Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month
​ APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month , a good time to consider facts about distracted driving . Here are a few collected from recent studies: Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free. Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights. A National Safety Council review of the science  concludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is m...
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The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

The Super Friends Referral Program is Our Way to Support Our Community

Our Super Friends Referrals program helps local nonprofits every time you refer CTIA to your friends and family. Any time you make a referral to CTIA and they contact us, we make a $20 contribution to a local nonprofit organization. Super Friends Referrals is our way of both giving back to the community and finding great new clients.

The biggest compliment you can give us is a referral to your family and friends. We’ll take care of them the same way we do all of our clients: with expert advice, unmatched service and a commitment to long-term relationships.

So be a Super Friend and refer CTIA to your friends and family, and help support local nonprofits that make our community a better place to live.

In 2016 we donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and The 5th Avenue Student Education Program.

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Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the relationships we build with people. We are grateful to get to know so many wonderful families, often generations deep, as they grow and change. We would like to share a story about one family in particular, by whom we have been especially touched.

In 1994, Lou Gelfand approached Christopher about his insurance needs. He had recently moved from Detroit to Seattle, having retired from General Motors after 48 years. Christopher and Lou hit it off and Christopher made sure Lou had the insurance protection that was needed. They both enjoyed the spontaneous connection that evolved over the years. Christopher always looked forward to their conversations and enjoyed getting to know Lou on a personal level. Through the years Lou shared many things about his life, including his grief when his wife Rose passed away, not long after they moved to Seattle.  Seattle was a special place for Lou and Rose, spending time with their son Jerry and his family, longtime Seattle residents. Over time, the discussions Lou and Christopher shared became more about life than insurance.  “He was truly special,” Christopher said. “I appreciated every discussion we had, especially the life lessons, experiences and stories Lou shared with me.  This is clearly one of those connections that leave a lasting impression on you. I still remember the day I received the call from Jerry telling me that Lou had passed away. In that call, he acknowledged the special relationship his dad and I had shared. That meant a lot, and really made me reflect on all the great talks we had.”

A couple years passed and Christopher received a phone call from Lou’s daughter Judith.   She had just moved to Western Washington from New Jersey and wanted to thank Christopher for the relationship her dad had spoken of over the years. So, it is true, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judith became a client of CTIA in 2005 along with her two daughters, Laura and Eva.

And the generations continue. Eva continues to insure with CTIA, and as a successful realtor in Seattle, Eva often refers her clients to Christopher and his team. Oh, and when Laura and her then fiancé began planning their future, Judith let Todd know that she had the perfect insurance agent for the two of them. Todd, being a smart son-in-law-to-be, responded with care because he liked his own insurance agent. His name: Christopher Togawa.  Small world…Wow – that’s bringing it full circle!

Getting to know and serve three generations of the same family is a privilege that we feel honored and grateful to enjoy. It is the people we take care of that give meaning to what we do. We thank all of you for entrusting us with your family’s protection.

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Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

One of the most sure things in life is uncertainty, which is why you purchase insurance – to protect against damages that might occur if you experience an accident. Everyone should make sure they are sufficiently protected to cover not only the damages that could occur to their own property, but also the cost of damages (injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more) that could occur to others in the event of an accident.

It only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put at risk everything you currently own and will own in the future. If your policy covers $500K in liability and in a lawsuit you are judged liable for $1 million in damages as a result of injuries from a car accident for which you are at fault, do you know how you will cover the additional $500K in damages?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $500K will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

An umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you are responsible for a serious accident, you will need it. Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in situations where other policies don’t, such as driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

Most financial and insurance experts recommend that everyone have at least a $1 million umbrella policy to provide liability coverage beyond the limits of their auto and homeowners insurance policies, even if they have less than $1 million in assets. That’s because in the rare event people are sued, they could be forced to pay a legal judgment from future earnings as well as current assents. Umbrella policies can also pay for defense costs, which can quickly add up even when cases are won.

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Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

We hope you enjoy receiving our annual calendar, created by local nature photographer Bruce Heinemann. This winter is the last year that we will be mailing our calendar to everyone. If you would like to continue receiving it, please opt-in by completing this form. Thank you.

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Is Your Valentine Covered?

Is Your Valentine Covered?

Your mother’s engagement ring. Your grandfather’s gold watch. The diamond earrings your husband gave you for Valentine’s Day… What would you do if you lost them? Precious treasured items should be insured against loss, particularly jewelry which can be easily lost or stolen.

Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically include some coverage for jewelry and other precious items such as watches, fine arts and collectibles. Like other belongings, high value items are covered for losses caused by all the perils included in your policy such as fire, windstorm, theft and vandalism.

However, there are special limits of liability for certain items, meaning that the insurer will not pay more than the amount specified in the policy. One important limit is for the theft of jewelry. To keep coverage affordable, standard policies have a fairly low limit for theft coverage, typically at or about $1,500 per item. (Please review your policy for specific limits.)

If you own valuable jewelry or other items that would be difficult to replace, you should contact us to learn the details of your options such as scheduling specific items. This article on Safeco’s blog provides some helpful tips about scheduling jewelry and other valuable items. If you aren’t sure whether you should purchase floater policies for your valuables, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, a good time to consider facts about distracted driving. Here are a few collected from recent studies:

Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free.Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights.A National Safety Council review of the scienceconcludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that even built-in, voice-activated systems can impair brain focus for up to 15 to 27 seconds.The average time taken away from watching the road ahead while texting is "just" five seconds; in that time period, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.Distracted driving caused 3,477 traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2015, a 9% increase from the previous year.In Washington State, distracted driving deaths rose from 130 in 2014 to 171 in 2015, and nearly a third of the overall 556 traffic fatalities in 2016.Studies have found that using an electronic device impairs reaction time as badly as driving intoxicated.
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Is Your Teen Really Ready?

Most teenagers can’t wait to get behind the wheel, but just because your child has reached the legal driving age and wants to drive, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is ready. Driving is serious business, especially on today’s crowded roads with cell phones and other distractions adding higher risk.

Since your child’s life and the lives of everyone else on the road are at stake every time they get behind the wheel, it is essential that parents evaluate their teen’s maturity and responsibility before handing over the keys. Gauging a teen’s readiness to drive requires honestly assessing his or her individual temperament and behavior, which will be different for every child. Don’t feel obligated to let your kids drive just because they have reached the age or their friends are driving. We encourage parents to use your own judgment and trust yourselves; you are the best judge of your kids’ maturity. Listen to your gut, not to their pleading! If you're feeling uneasy about handing over the keys, even just a few months of waiting could make a big difference.

If your 16 year old is irresponsible when it comes to things like doing her chores and getting her school work done, she may not be ready for the responsibility of driving. Or if your teen shows reckless behavior or high susceptibility to peer pressure, he may not be ready to take the wheel responsibly. You might have one child who is mature enough to safely handle the responsibility of driving at age 16 and another who still isn’t ready by 18. Driving is not one size fits all! Evaluate each of your kids as the individuals they are and don’t let concerns about fairness or peer pressure get in the way of making a smart decision.

When you do reach the decision that your teen is ready to take the wheel, make sure you are protected. Adding a teen to your auto insurance is a good time to review your policy to make sure you have the right coverage for all of your risks and needs. Although there are costs for adding a teen to your auto policy, the first way to reduce the cost is with the Good Student Discount for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher – a good incentive for your teen to keep up with their grades, especially if he or she will be helping pay some of the insurance costs. Bundling your renter’s and auto insurance policies helps you save even more.

If you have a teen reaching for the wheel soon, give us a call.

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