By Jamie Caulley
For the Hollywood Star News
Researching coverage of an insurance policy is likely not the way you want to spend your evening or weekend. Yet knowing your assets are protected is important; a substantial loss could be devastating to your current financial situation as well as your future one.
“Most of my clients work hard for what they have. The assets they accumulate, however large or small, is what they’ve got. Protecting that is important,” said John Timm, president of Timmco Insurance, 1615 N.E. Broadway.
Insurance policies, which are legally binding contracts, can be intimidating to decipher, especially since companies interpret coverage differently. For example, one company may only cover an automobile accident in which you are a driver, while another may cover anyone to whom you have given permission to drive your car.
For many people, the thought of wading through the legal verbiage or calling multiple companies to find the best value is simply too overwhelming. However, Timmco — a company of independent agents — can do the shopping for you.
“We represent a host of preferred insurance companies that we can utilize for our customers,” Timm said.
John Timm’s father, William, founded Timmco in 1970. John Timm found out early in his career how important insurance is to people. After college, for three years before joining his dad’s company, John Timm worked as an insurance claims adjuster, the person who handles claims when there is a loss.
“It was pretty rewarding,” John Timm said, although he encountered a lot of people who didn’t know what their coverage was until they experienced an accident.
That was 37 years ago. Today, John Timm advises people on the front end, helping them find the best insurance coverage for their needs. His biggest tip to consumers shopping for insurance? “Consult a professional who can give you some advice.”
Knowledgeable agents ask questions that identify the client’s personal coverage needs. For example, they might ask whether you own any expensive bicycles, which can be valued as much as $7,000-$10,000. Although bicycles are covered under most homeowners policies, they are subject to deductibles. In a bike-crazy city such as Portland, where some people own multiple bikes and don’t always lock their garages, bike enthusiasts might want to list their bikes specifically on their policy.
Also let your agent know when you add something expensive to your assets, such as a motorcycle or a boat, which are not covered on a standard automobile policy, a common misconception.
“We have a saying around there that the insurance agents are the last to know everything. We are low on the list of being informed. It would be better if we could move up,” John Timm said.
Jewelry purchases and inheritances should also prompt a call to your agent to make sure you don’t have a policy that excludes those items or limits their coverage.
A personal umbrella policy, a term that John Timm joked is, “A little confusing here in Oregon where we get so much rain,” can provide an extra layer of protection for anyone in your household, for home, auto and other activities for which you could be held liable.
Staying true to his dad’s founding philosophy of old-fashioned quality service, John Timm believes Timmco offers unique and personal service in a growingly impersonal business world.
William Timm also believed that his company should give back to the community that supports it. Timmco’s referral rewards program consists of $10 donations to a charity every time a customer refers someone, as well as a $10 Starbucks gift card for the referring customer. In addition, Timmco has sponsored a little league team at Wilshire Riverside for 24 consecutive years and frequently helps local organizations obtain grants through Safeco, one of their partner companies.
Recent grant recipients include North Portland’s Open Meadow, which provides academic and support services for youth at risk of dropping out of school; and SMART, which provides reading support and books for children.
John Timm understands that most of his clients don’t read their insurance policies, but he feels good about giving back to a community he has lived in his whole life. Self-described as “no fun at a party,” he is always assessing risk. “As you can imagine,” he said, “I am the guy who sees a problem around every corner.”
Thank goodness he does, so the rest of us can spend our evenings and weekends relaxing, knowing our home and family are protected.