St. Johns Boosters

Where do you go for a referral? 6 Reasons to Call Your Insurance Agent!

Has this happened to you? You need a plumber, a carpenter, a mechanic, or a mortgage professional and don’t know who to call? That happens every day to thousands of people. Well, where do you find that solution? My kids barely know what a phone book is? Most people use the computer and that can is hit or miss. I have the best answer to that question – call your insurance agent for a referral!

6 Reasons you should call your insurance agent if you need help fixing anything.

1. Most agents have a referral network.
I belong to one of the largest groups in the Pacific Northwest with 35+ members. Considering this group and other groups I am involved in the connections are endless.

2. Our reputation is our name.
If I provide someone with a referral I have checked them out. I would not refer anyone to a partner that I would not let work in my house. As a matter of fact, I have some that I would let watch my kids and we’re not even related.

3. The views expressed online may not be true.
We all know about keyboard cowboys. Sometimes the things that go wrong are not the fault of the business. Having someone with personal knowledge of the company can go a lot further than an online review. Combining online information and the opinion of someone you like, know, and trust is a better way to reach a decision.

4. We deal with a wide array of customers and claims situations.
Every day, I am asked to provide my opinion on something involving homes, cars, and businesses. My background in small business, combined with 14 years in claims is living the jingle; “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

5. We like to help people
My agency has worked with many different organizations over the past few years. This list includes; Impactful People NW, Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation, St. John’s Center for Opportunity, and the St. John’s Boosters. We want to provide the same support to our customers and our neighbors.

6. Our referral partners provide answers not further problems
In insurance, I am in the business of removing or minimizing the risk a person experiences. My referral partners enjoy solving problems. In fact, I always expect them to provide another referral if they cannot fix a problem. You should too.

I’ll give you another reason, they’re free!  

So the next time you are not sure who to call try dialing 971.303.8508 or find us at


Friday Night Dinner

It’s a typical Friday night. My oldest is happy to be participating in his karate class, especially now that he’s bigger than his father. The youngest, well he wants a buddy to play Minecraft with and his dog is loyally handling the job.

Mom is in the kitchen getting things ready after a day at work. She likes her new job because it is flexible and lets her be there when the two boys need her time. Seeing patients in line with her schedule works. Those long hours and days in school are finally paying off.

She goes to the sliding door and lets the other dog out that saw a squirrel run across the back fence. Thankfully, the rain hasn’t started. It’s been a long summer and looking at the clouds it might be the start of the long wet northwest fall, winter, and spring!

Mom looks out the front door and sees the oldest coming back from Karate. It’s time for dinner. She is just happy that she and her family can sit and enjoy this meal together. Three years before this story was written, I died. It really doesn’t matter how.

We have 86,400 seconds in each day. That means we have 3,600 seconds every hour. The reason the above story could be true? I took the 3,600 seconds it took to make sure that my family would be able to have dinner, a dog, and the ability to have a life after the death of a loved one.

People faced with the discussion of life insurance often ask, “Where do I start?”

There are several ways to look at this and the easiest one is usually looking at it through the LIFE acronym.

L – Liabilities What debts would you want to be erased if you pass away? This can be a mortgage, loan, or credit card debt. Anything you want to be paid off would go here.

I – Income Replacement How many years of income would you want your spouse to have? This can depend on the amount indicated in liabilities. Maybe it depends on how old the kids are at the time – or a balance of both?

F – Final Expenses To pay for the arrangements you make with your family to begin the grieving process

E – Education How much will college tuition cost when your children reach that age?

Consider this from

It shows the projected tuition costs for the Fall of 2029 – Spring of 2030

  • For a 4-year public (out of state)  with  5%  tuition increases, the cost is $71,373
  • For a 4-year private (non-profit) with 5% tuition increases, the cost is $92,869
  • For a 4-year public in-state with 5% tuition increases, the cost is $41,228

Make the increases 7% and the costs jump to $100,239, $130,428 and $57,609 for the schools.*

Source: Campus Consultants Inc * Includes room and board

Clearly, in life and Life Insurance, there are more things to consider then would fit in this post. Please take a portion of the 86,400 seconds you have every day, about 3600 seconds, to make sure that your family gets a typical Friday night dinner if you are not there to enjoy it.

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Insurance St. Johns Boosters

Misunderstanding Is Not An Excuse For Being Misunderstood

Things in life are often misunderstood. This can cause confusion and unrest among the population. A recent article highlighted people on Twitter admitting things they misunderstood as children … One of my favorites;

“I used to think seahorses were mythical creatures like unicorns or pegasuses (pegasi?). I…umm…was well in my 20s before I saw one in an aquarium and discovered the truth.”

This is not the only individual to misunderstand something well into adulthood. People have often misheard musical lyrics. My 15-year-old loves to correct me about music lyrics. The day finally came during a car ride when I got to correct him. The song; Fix, by Chris Lane, goes “… I’ll be your slow grind, that late night, your Walter White high…”. This obviously is discussing the famous AMC show Breaking Bad. Credit my wife’s parenting skills on the fact that he did not know who or what Walter White was.

The point to this is that we all deal with things in life that we misunderstand. This happens daily in the world of insurance. Take my article from last week discussing rental car insurance. I have had people call and expect their policy to cover them driving in Europe. If you think that to be true, please read that article.

I will work through a few insurance concepts that are usually misunderstood.

When a deductible is due on a claim. When I handled claims the question about paying the deductible was always asked. The misunderstanding often occurs in two areas. How the deductible applies and when the customer pays it. If you have a $1,000 deductible it means that you are responsible for the first $1,000 in damage.

If the damage to your property is not more than $1,000 the insurance company will not issue payment. They owe you money when the damage is over your deductible. If you have a $5,000 claim the insurance company, in the simplest terms, owes you $4,000. This is typically money owed to the repair person of your choice prior to completion. The deductible is paid upon completion. $4,000 from insurance and your $1,000 deductible pay for the $5,000 claim.

Replacement Cost Value, Actual Cash Value, and Indemnification. One principle of insurance is Indemnification. This is the process of making you whole following a covered loss. You are to be made whole, not to profit from a claim. That means if you have a financial loss due to property damage you should be made whole based on the terms of that policy. On home insurance, most companies issue Actual Cash Value (ACV) on an item or material up front. ACV is replacement cost less depreciation. When the new item is purchased the remaining depreciation is paid to the customer. They have received Replacement Cost Value (RCV) and indemnified. Take the $5,000 loss mentioned above. Your carpet has a 10-year lifespan and is 5 years old when it is damaged. The total RCV is $5,000. The depreciation on a 5-year-old carpet with a 10-year lifespan is 50%. The company would owe the 50% of ACV up front less your deductible. That is $2,500 less $1,000 which equals $1,500. When the carpet is replaced the additional $2,500 would be issued to fulfill the RCV.

Like Kind and Quality. (LKQ) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This comes up, most often, in the auto repair industry. You have shops that only want to do repairs with OEM parts. I understand that because they can make a lot of money from this process and be most efficient. If every insurance company and auto body repair facility paid for OEM parts, your insurance rates would skyrocket. parts are parts that have come from the same manufacturer as your vehicle, from the same model year or newer. They help the environment by recycling perfectly good parts and reducing waste.

Regular and Frequent Use of a vehicle. If you let your friend drive your truck to move his grandmother across town is he covered? That friend does not live with you. They do not have a key to the vehicle in their possession unless you give it to them. They do not have regular and frequent use of your vehicle. Your insurance policy, for the carriers I represent, would cover you and your friend. If your mother moves in and three months later is not listed on the policy, you would have a much different answer.

I bought a brand-new car, when do I have to call insurance? Well for the new car the coverage of your policy would extend depending on the policy you carry. For my carriers, it is 30 days. The fallout occurs if you only had liability on your previous car. That is all the new car will be provided. If you miss your carriers’ deadline for changing the vehicle there will be no coverage. If you are buying a new car and adding it to the policy, you better call and get coverage before you drive off the lot. The best answer, right away, before you drive the car off the lot.

The answer to most of these is to speak to your agent. If you are in Oregon and Washington and have not spoken to your agent since you bought the policy, give me a call. 971.303.8508.

You can also learn more about me and the agency at

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10 Tips To Keep You Safe This Summer!

As we head into summer we want to provide you with some tips to help improve your homes efficiencies and reduce the possibility of having an insurance loss.

1. Check and clean your dryer vent.

This can become clogged with lint over time.  This not only causes the dryer to work less efficiently but it can also be the cause of a fire.  2,900 dryer fires are reported each year resulting in 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss.[1]    It is recommended that this is done annually.  A good video on this is located at


2. Clean and check your gutters.

It is recommended that this is done twice a year in late summer and early fall.  Pine trees near the gutter line will make more frequent inspections and cleaning necessary.  The gutter system when not properly maintained can cause problems with drains and even lead to interior water damage that is most often not covered by insurance.  If the roof and ladder is not your idea of a good time play it safe and hire someone to do the dirty work.

3. Call before you dig

Hitting a gas, water, electric or other utility lines can cause many problems and possibly death.  Call 811 to make sure you can enjoy your summer and all the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

4. Check the trees surrounding your home.

Cut back trees and shrubs from the house walls, roof, and air conditioning system as needed.  We all know the damage trees can do.  Besides falling and destroying things limbs can damage the roof and home systems over time as well.

5. Locate and mark the shut-offs for the plumbing system.

When water starts flowing where it shouldn’t it helps to know where the shut off is located. The faster you can turn the water off the less damage that will be done and the faster things can get back to normal.

6. Check the caulk in the shower and tub areas of the bathroom.

Old caulk can become brittle, crack, and fall out of place.  This presents an opening for water to enter.  This can cause damage over long periods of time which can lead to mold.  To learn how to get out with the old and in with the new visit

7. Test and replace smoke detectors, replace batteries as needed.

Per the U.S. Fire administration (USFA) smoke detectors should be tested monthly and batteries replaced at least once or twice a year.  Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.[2]

8. Check for and repair trip hazards

Winter has just ended and in the Pacific Northwest, our weather can do funny things to items left outside.  Decks can have nails pop or pull out, boards can curl and bow.  Replace those as needed.  You also need to check for changes in the landscape that may cause a trip hazard as the ground may and heaved or shifted.

9. Be safe with your backyard fire pit

Make sure it is level, on the proper surface and at least 10 feet away from your house.  Have something close by, like a fire extinguisher, to put out flames if they get out of control.  When you put out the flames make sure they are completely out.[3]

10. Keep the barbecue safe and fun

Similar to the fire pit, make sure the grill is on a level surface and away from any flammable items.  If the grill is on, don’t walk away.  Kids and pets need to be kept away.  If you have a gas grill, make sure the gas does not build up prior to lighting the flame.  Your eyebrows and lashes will thank you for it.

Have a fun and happy summer season!

You can find us at:

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Distracted driving – A matter we cannot ignore.

https://www.lucascole.comIn October 2017 both Oregon and Washington state strengthened laws to make talking on a cell phone and texting while driving illegal.

Distracted driving is when a driver is paying attention to something not related to driving that makes the driver use their eyes, ears, or hands. According to there are four types of driver distractions[1] ;


Visual – looking at something other than the road – an accident on the side of the road
Auditory – hearing something not related to driving – a conversation in the back seat
Manual – handling something other than the steering wheel – your phone or your lunch
Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving. – an argument with a spouse or coworker

Clearly, lots of things qualify as a distraction when operating a motor vehicle. Texting and cell phones have been the major targets of enforcement and legislation and the statistics tell us why.

Distracted driving resulted in 10,814 crashes in Oregon from 2012 – 2016. 1,040 crashes were confirmed to have involved the driver using a cell phone. In those accidents, 19 people lost their lives. Teens accounted for 100 of those 1,040 crashes.

In February of last year, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission posted a survey result showing that cell phone use was the greatest cause of distracted driving.[2]  The article states that 1 in 10 Washington drivers operate a vehicle while distracted.

Look at the Pew Research Center Mobile Fact Sheet.[3]  This backs up what we already know. 95% of Americans own a cell phone. 77% own a smartphone. This is compared with 35% in 2011. Our technology is taking off at exponential rates and won’t slow down.

The study goes on to say that 100% of Americans from 18-29 years of age own a cell phone. Given the wide age range of that demographic, a safe bet and a summary of the searches I performed indicate that 75 – 85% of teens ranging 14-18 have cell phones. They are also, many of them, learning to drive for the first time.

How do we get teens to adopt safe driving principles? First, we must set the example. Next, we have to talk to them. Then we need to monitor those behaviors.

Many insurance companies have come out with safe driving applications. Farmers is the latest. They debuted signal in Oregon earlier this month. It provides an upfront discount and another potential discount at the next renewal. The point of this application is to help limit distracted drivers and driving habits that can lead to more accidents.

Visit to learn more about this app and how it can help protect your children and save you money at the same time.

Call me today at 971.303.8508 and I can help you develop a plan to prevent your teen from becoming another statistic.

You can also visit our website at


photos courtesy of


The power of COMPOUNDING interest

Plenty of people do not understand the principle of compounding interest. It is the basic principle behind acting now and acting later when the decision is what to do with your money. People need to be comfortable making major life decisions. This includes things like buying a house, getting married, and where to put your money. We always hear that time is money. Compounding interest tells us why this statement is true.

Investopedia defines Compounding Interest as;

“Compound interest (or compounding interest) is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a deposit or loan.”[1]

The principle is rather simple. The earlier you put money into an account, all things being equal, the more money you can make. The interest accumulates upon itself over time. The only two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Compounding interest can make the prospect of life and death easier to face. It can also make the volatility of gains and losses easier to stomach.

If you don’t have a ticket you cannot ride the bus. Plain and simple. You cannot grow or lose any money if you put it in your mattress. Look at your home owner’s policy. The limit on money probably doesn’t cover a trip to the grocery store and your local Target. Your current options for savings accounts aren’t going to do much either. According to Value Penguin, the highest interest rate on a savings account is 1.45%[2].

So, what do we do now?

We go to Here you can run numbers to your heart’s content and see what happens if you wait to invest at age 35, 45, or 55. This site has a lot of tools to help you analyze financial information.

There are a lot of entry points. There’s a lot to understand when making decisions about money. The power of compounding interest is one that is important to understand.

Other terms like liquidity, current, and future needs, and risk tolerance to name a few. Go to for more information on terms like this.

If you would like to see what compounding interest can do for you call me today. 971.303.8508.


You can also visit to learn more about my agency.



A life lesson from the Northern White Rhino…..

On Tuesday March 20, 2018, the last male northern white rhino died. This left two females as the only living members of the subspecies in existence. Thankfully, this may not mean extinction for the animal as scientists indicate In Vitro Fertilization may allow the rhinos to reproduce; it is not a guarantee.
Life lessons learned

How we are remembered and the lives of those we leave behind can be greatly impacted by life insurance.  One of the things you do when you get a life insurance policy is to pick a beneficiary; most of the time it is a spouse or child.

The first beneficiaries named are the primary beneficiaries.  The primary beneficiary or beneficiaries are who will receive the proceeds from the life insurance policy when the named insured dies.  If they die prior to the death of the named insured, they or their estate get nothing.  That makes it important to name contingent beneficiaries. Contingent beneficiaries are only paid if primary beneficiaries are not alive when the named insured dies.

In situations with multiple beneficiaries you will want to split the proceeds with percentages.  In situations with variable, universal, or indexed universal life policies the probability exists that the life policy with an initial face value will end up with a face value that is difficult to split evenly.  For example, a $500,000 life insurance policy could be worth $508,250 at the time the named insured dies.  Dividing that amount into percentages is the best way to accomplish your goals after your death when there is more than one beneficiary.

If you want to think outside of the box, consider this:  you have a philanthropic itch that needs to be scratched, like the preservation of the northern white rhino.

Let’s assume that you have done well and have accumulated $1,500,000 in life insurance to date.  You arrange for it all to go to your surviving spouse. You could direct a portion of the monies left to her to go into an irrevocable trust that will be left to her estate on her passing and interest on the principle goes to the preservation of the white rhino.  Again, the lawyer and accountant will assist you in arranging

What happens if you are in an accident and your wife (primary beneficiary) dies before you do?  To arrange for this scenario, you could set a contingent beneficiary, let’s say – the university you graduated from, with directions to set up a trust to develop and operate a scholarship for veterinary students in your name.   You can also arrange for the remaining percentage to go to the charity of your choice, helping in the preservation of the white rhino.  If you arrange this by percentage, you can make it easier to direct what percent the charity gets and what percent the school gets.  This will establish a legacy helping both the northern white rhino and the university you graduated from.

There are many ways to use the proceeds of life insurance to benefit your family and the things you care about most of all.  Life insurance can be complicated, so please seek out a professional insurance agent to help get the process started in the right direction.

Call my office today, 971.303.8508, and we can discuss life insurance and see what the right choice is for you.

You can also visit our website at

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