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Preparing Your Home for Cold Weather

Posted on September 3, 2014 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

Winter is Coming. We often prepare for cold weather by making sure we have a good winter coat and boots or maybe we get our furnace looked at to ensure it runs properly when it is needed. One thing we dont often worry about is our home itself.  Regardless of the age of your home make sure you prepare it to better shelter you in the winter months.

1. Inspect your windows and the flashing around the windows. Are there any exposed areas? Not only can heat escape from these areas but moisture can seep in and wreak havoc when it freezes and expands.

2. Protect your roof from Ice Dams. If your roof is too shallow or perhaps more heat reaches a certain part of it you may start to see ice forming which is a problem. Ice can melt and get beneath your shingles which will eventually melt and cause water damage. Here is a handy article on preventing ice dams.

3. Protect your pipes.  If your pipes freeze and break releasing water into your home it wont just be a bad day….it will be a bad month.  Know where your pipes are and protect them from cold temperatures.  You may find that pipes were laid in some odd places like your unheated attic or a closet.  A very important tip is to know where your main shutoff is.  If you do have a problem you will not be searching for the solution as water invades your home.  The below info-graphic can help.

Find out how to keep water pipes from freezing with this frozen pipes infographic.

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Storm Damage often Brings Storm Chasers

Posted on August 25, 2014 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -
storm damage

Storm damage to roof

As I drove home that night I did not know what to expect.  Much of downtown Shawano looked like a tornado had hit it.  Trees were down and street lights were out.  What would I find as I drove down Lincoln street toward my home. Summer storms come and go.  As we learned last August it didn’t take a tornado to cause mass amounts of property damage.  Straight-line winds ripped through Shawano county and in some cases completely destroyed homes.  Many folks on my street had a tree laying across their roof.  For the next two weeks all you heard was chainsaws.  We were lucky with only a few branches in our yard.

As an insurance agent I worked very hard the next few days helping Shawano residents with their Storm Damage claims.  The instinct is to get things fixed right away.  With most local contractors booked on jobs for the next few months people turned to any able bodied individual claiming to be a contractor.  Many of these folks were from our immediate area: Green Bay, Wausau or the Fox Valley.  This is often fine as their reputation will be on line so close to home.  What you need to scrutinize are the contractors labeled: Storm Chasers.

With Wisconsin summer storms these Storm Chasers have been a problem.  So much so that Wisconsin passed a law to protect consumers.  They are aimed at targeting those nefarious “storm chasers” that will show up, assure you the claim will be covered and sometimes leave you with shoddy workmanship or a bill higher than they originally bided. Our suggestion if you have damage to your home and you are in this situation is to:

  • Call your insurance agent to file your claim
  • Make sure you research the contractor you choose
  • Ask the contractor if they are insured (ask for a certificate of coverage)
  • Call the agent on that certificate and make sure the coverage is “active”
  • Protect your property from further damage

Remember, its only “stuff”.  Stuff can be replaced so be safe.  Stay calm and get your agent and insurance company on the case.  We are here to help you.

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Wisconsin car owners enjoy lowest costs in the nation

Posted on August 18, 2014 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

Wisconsin Car Owners Enjoy 5th Lowest Ownership Costs In Nation

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.01.49 PMAccording to a BankRate.com survey Wisconsin is among the lowest in the nation of car ownership costs.  Be excited Wisconsin car owners!  In fact, we are a full 9% below the national average.  The survey cited many items that contribute to this including “cost of gas”, “cost to repair” and insurance.

Wisconsin has a very competitive insurance market, as a result we enjoy low rates – this has been the case for many decades.  Because all costs are relative you would have to move or shop in other states to understand this but most of us drive through states where gas is more expensive.  The study confirms our analysis on our auto insurance page that our average insurance premium is around $680 per term.

Some common ways to lower your insurance costs are to drive safe (avoid violations) and take advantage of discounts like “good student” and “new vehicle”.

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Identity Theft Coverage can be bundled

Posted on August 11, 2014 in insurance 101, Uncategorized - 0 comments -

Identity Theft Coverage can be Bundled

With the latest revelation by Hold Security that a Russian Hacker ring has stolen over a billion user names and passwords there is no better time to look into identity theft protection.  Most folks think you need to purchase a stand-alone policy for ID Theft protection.  It may surprise you to know that you can add this coverage on to your home policy and in some cases even your auto policy.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.01.56 PM

While Wisconsin is still low on the list of ID Theft complaints when compared to the country (50 complaints per 100,000) these hacker rings know no geography.  If you’re putting your credit card credentials onto the internet your exposure is much higher. Be prepared with adequate protection.  Wisconsin consumers have past the point of ignoring the internet.  We purchase christmas presents online and we participate in Cyber-Monday online sales events.  Just like the best way to avoid an auto accident is to “not drive” a vehicle, which isn’t usually a viable option, we purchase auto insurance to protect us on the road.  You can now add ID Theft coverage to your home policy – and in some cases your auto policy!

These coverages include signing you up for fraud monitoring through a service like Equifax to activly helping you through the ordeal of getting your Identity back.  Companies like Allied helps Wisconsinites protect themselves through your homeowners policy.  It pays up to $25,000 (with no deductible) to cover certain expenses you incur while returning your identity to normal, including lost income, attorney fees, and more.

Give us a call today to get this important coverage added to your home policy!

If you believe you’ve been scammed, file your complaint at ftc.gov, then follow the instructions at the FTC’s Identity Theft Website at consumer.gov/idtheft

 

 

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