Car Wash – Preserving Your Car’s Value

Clean Your Way to a Longer-Lasting Car

Motor vehicle corrosion is a billion-dollar problem in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. And, no wonder. Road salt, tree sap, mud, pollution and even dead bugs and bird poop all contribute to a year-round assault on your vehicle here in the Twin Cities, potentially leading to serious damage and pre-mature aging.

Safety is also an issue. Grime across your windshield and windows restricts visibility in all directions, and even a light coating of dust or pollen can impair your vision, especially at night or when driving into the sun’s glare.

Rosemount Car Wash

That’s why we here at Sentinel Assurance Group encourage you to visit your local car wash regularly. Washing your car removes dirt, residues and pollutants that degrade your paint finish and corrode the underlying metal. It’s like anti-aging cosmetics for your automobile!

But, is hand washing at home or visiting a commercial car wash your best bet? While both lead to a clean vehicle, you’ll cut your water usage in half by going to a commercial facility and help keep toxins and soap away from street drains, which can lead to local waterways. As a bonus, some commercial facilities recycle their water. 

No matter which method you choose, these five tips will help you get the most out of your car-cleaning routine:

  1. Wash often. The longer tree sap, dead bugs and other gunk sit atop your paint, the more damage they can cause.
  2. Avoid abrasive soaps, cloths and sponges that can grind dirt deeper into your paint finish.
  3. Wash the undercarriage thoroughly to help prevent rust, especially after driving on road salt in the winter.
  4. Don’t forget the headlights. When you’re driving at night, in the rain or through an unfamiliar neighborhood, you want every lumen of illumination you can muster.
  5. Consider eco-friendly car soaps, such as biodegradable or waterless products, to help lighten the environmental impact of washing your car more often.

And, when you’re all done? Finish up with a good waxing to give your car extra protection and shine.

If you’re in the Rosemount or South Metro area, visit our favorite locally owned, automatic and self-service car wash at Rosemount Car Spa!

Car Wash – Preserving Your Car’s Value

Car Wash – Preserving Your Car’s Value

Car Wash – Preserving Your Car’s Value

Clean Your Way to a Longer-Lasting Car Motor vehicle corrosion is a billion-dollar problem in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. And, no wonder. Road salt, tree sap, mud, pollution and even dead bugs and bird poop all contribute to a...

Get the Most out of your RV this Summer

Get the Most out of your RV this Summer

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in an RV. Whether you’re headed to somewhere nearby in Minnesota or somewhere across the country this summer, we at Sentinel Assurance Group want you to get the most out of your travels. But before we get to travel tips...

7 Things Nobody Tells you About Homeowners Insurance

7 Things Nobody Tells you About Homeowners Insurance

Congrats! You’re a homeowner. Or, maybe you’re touring houses for sale and about to be a homeowner. Either way, welcome. Welcome to a stream of never-ending projects, fun surprises and a place to call your own. We all know houses keep us busy, so it makes sense that...

Do you need Rental Car Coverage?

Do you need Rental Car Coverage?

Do I need to buy rental car insurance? The trip you’ve been planning is finally here. After a long flight, you collect your luggage and head to the rental car counter. As you review the paperwork, the agent asks, “Do you want insurance on the car?” You frantically try...

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist It would be amazing if all you needed to prep your home for fall was to hang a wreath and light a bunch of pumpkin spiced candles. While yes, those are a crucial part of getting ready for the change of seasons, there are more...

College-Bound Students

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What Insurance Follows Your College-Bound Student Congratulations your child is off to college, way to go parents!  This is an exciting time of year but also comes with a lot of questions. When it comes to insurance; let’s talk about what coverages follow your student...

Get the Most out of your RV this Summer

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip in an RV. Whether you’re headed to somewhere nearby in Minnesota or somewhere across the country this summer, we at Sentinel Assurance Group want you to get the most out of your travels.

But before we get to travel tips and how to find the best places to stay, we want to remind you about safety. As with any vehicle, maintenance is important. After all, even though you can hang out in your RV if it breaks down, who wants to spend their road trip on the side of the road? We encourage you to visit one of our carrier’s sites: www.safeco.com and click on the “Insurance 101” tab. The “Consumer Tips” section has a wealth of information on RV safety.

With that said, it’s time to hit the road!

General travel tips

  • Have a plan (and maps or a GPS). One of the reasons you’re traveling in an RV, no doubt, is for the adventure. But while the freedom to go wherever you want can be exciting, getting lost isn’t (at least for most people). You’ll cut down on frustration if you know where you’re headed.
  • Pack the right things. We’ve all forgotten to pack something while going on vacation. And buying new items at your destination can add up. So make a packing list, and remember that it’s not all about clothes and toiletries. Don’t forget your favorite road music or DVDs to watch at night. And if you’ve got kids with you, be sure to pack games and other things to entertain them.
  • But don’t pack everything. Of course, just because you have an RV doesn’t mean you should bring all of your possessions on vacation with you.
  • Be prepared for anything. You should have a first-aid kit in the RV, as well as some tools for smaller repairs. And if you’re traveling a long distance, why not bring some local items from your hometown to give as gifts when you make new friends?
  • Limit the driving. It’s tiring enough driving a car hundreds of miles a day, let alone an RV, so give yourself plenty of rest and don’t overdo the driving.

Want to bring your car?

Taking a car along with your RV can give you a lot more flexibility on your vacation. But it can also make the driving more stressful, so keep that in mind. According to towingworld.com, there are three main options to bring your car with you:

  • A trailer: This of course, allows you to raise the car completely off the ground. They’re generally more expensive than other options, but keep wear and tear to a minimum for your car.
  • A tow dolly: This lifts the front wheels of the car off the ground. They’re useful if you can’t tow your car with all four wheels down, and can be easily used for front-wheel drive vehicles without another device to make it towable.
  • A tow bar: The most popular choice, because of its convenience. It’s the option with the least amount of equipment, and usually the least expensive; it also takes up less space than dollies and trailers. Note that not all cars can be towed with four wheels on the ground, so check your manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Where to stay

    If you’re looking for a campground or RV park, you’re in luck – there are seemingly endless options across the country. But how do you know which ones are good or safe? Plenty of online resources have information on various parks, including the ones below:

    Wherever you stay, you’ll want to take some steps to prevent crime. RVs can be inviting targets for thieves, because they usually contain more valuables than cars. Always lock your doors when you’re away from the RV and keep valuables out of sight or locked away. If you’re parked for the night in a non-camping area, such as a parking lot, try to stay in a well-lit area and keep the door facing the light. Finally, try to make fuel or convenience store stops during the day, if possible.

     You’ve got a summer full of fun ahead in your RV. We wish we were coming with you! Here’s hoping for smooth and safe travels. And don’t forget, we can help you get the right insurance coverage for your RV (and everything else). Give us a call today!

     

     

     

    7 Things Nobody Tells you About Homeowners Insurance

    Congrats! You’re a homeowner. Or, maybe you’re touring houses for sale and about to be a homeowner. Either way, welcome. Welcome to a stream of never-ending projects, fun surprises and a place to call your own. We all know houses keep us busy, so it makes sense that your homeowners insurance isn’t something you dwell on.  And besides the initial set up of your homeowners insurance, why should you dwell on it?

    Well, in some cases you may be underinsured or even missing out on potential discounts! So, we’ve rounded up seven things you may not know about your homeowners insurance coverages:

    1. It’s a good idea to start with an independent insurance agent

    Buying a bath mat online is convenient, but buying insurance is a bit more complicated than a bath mat. A local independent insurance agent will help you with an “insurance checkup”. This will evaluate any home updates and coverages to help you avoid potential gaps. They can also help you compare quotes from multiple insurance carriers to fit your specific situation.

    2. Your homeowners insurance policy may not cover water damage

    This can be devastating! Most polices only cover certain types of water damage. Water damage that originates from inside your house or from a storm-created opening is typically covered by homeowners insurance. However, this often excludes floodwater, broken water mains, and other water-related damages. Before storm season hits, it’s important to know what’s covered and if you should consider purchasing separate flood insurance.

    3. Your policy has exclusions and special limits, and you need to know what they are

    It’s easy to buy and forget about your insurance. But, every insurance policy has exclusions, like floods and earthquakes. Your policy may also include special limits on items such as jewelry, trailers and watercraft on your property. Exclusions are listed throughout your policy. A good way to understand your policy’s exclusions is to review it with your local independent insurance agent. They can break it down for you to make sure you avoid potential gaps in your coverage.

    4. Tell your agent about updates and changes to your house

    You buy your house, you buy insurance, they send you a packet, and then you don’t think about it again. But, now let’s say you’ve lived in your home for a few years. Maybe you renovated your kitchen, or put on a new roof. Or, maybe you added a central alarm system. Updates like this can change the value and rebuilding cost of your home. If you don’t update your policy and tell your agent, you may be underinsured and might be missing out on a possible discount for your new alarm system.

    Coverages like guaranteed home replacement cost may be greatly effected as time goes on. Some coverages may even be void.

    5. Maintaining a personal home inventory may help your claims process

    The last thing you want to think about after your home suffers a devastating loss is, what did I have in there? An easy way to create and maintain a personal home inventory is to take pictures of each room of your house every year. This may help jog your memory about what was inside your house. This is important to keep updated since homes seem to accumulate more and more things as time goes on…

    6. Your coverage amount may not be the same as the cost of your house or the market value

    There is a big misconception that your homeowners insurance coverage amount is the same as what you paid for your house. That is wrong! If your house needs to be rebuilt you may need coverage for debris removal, materials, and labor. Which, in some cases, exceeds the amount you paid for your house or the market value. It’s also important to note that both the market value of your home and the cost to rebuild will vary greatly.

    7. Cheapest is not always best

    Comparison shopping is in our blood. And, if you’re a self-proclaimed frugal shopper you’ve likely found that sometimes, you get what you pay for. Similarly, when comparing insurance quotes the cost may not be the best indicator of the best fit for you. You need to ask yourself is the insurance company financially sound? What is their claims service like? Are they a stable company?

    We know owning a home can certainly be hard, but we don’t think your homeowners insurance should be. To learn more about our homeowners insurance coverages, give us a call today!

    The content of this article is from Auto-Owners Blog.

    Do you need Rental Car Coverage?

    Do I need to buy rental car insurance?rental car insurance

    The trip you’ve been planning is finally here. After a long flight, you collect your luggage and head to the rental car counter. As you review the paperwork, the agent asks, “Do you want insurance on the car?”

    You frantically try to remember if your auto insurance policy covers rental cars. And wasn’t there something about rental car coverage in that last email from your credit card company? It seems like you may not need it, but you really can’t remember the details. You end up buying the coverage just to be safe. 

    Did you waste your money? It depends: There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to buying rental car insurance. However, there are a few things to consider that will help you determine if it’s right for you.

    What does the rental car company offer?

    Typically, car rental agencies offer four types of coverage:

    • Collision damage waiver means that the rental car company won’t charge you if the vehicle is damaged or stolen during your rental period. 
    • Supplemental liability protection covers costs to others if you cause an accident in the rental.
    • Personal accident insurance will pay in the event of injury to or death of the rental car’s driver and/or passengers.
    • Personal effects coverage will reimburse you if personal items are stolen from the rental car.

    What kind of coverage do I already have?

    Your personal auto insurance policy will likely provide the same level of coverage for your rental as it does for your own car. This usually includes liability insurance; it can also include collision, comprehensive, and medical payments, depending on your policy. There are exceptions: Some insurers won’t cover rentals in a foreign country or rentals that are being used for business.

    Your credit card may also offer some protection, but the degree of coverage can vary greatly. Coverage is usually secondary, designed to step in and pick up where your auto insurance leaves off. Most cards require that you decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and use the card to pay for the car rental in full. 

    In addition, your health and life insurance policies may cover your medical costs if you are involved in an accident. If you have homeowners, renters, or condo insurance, you may also have personal property coverage to help repair or replace valuable belongings that are lost, damaged, or stolen from your rental car. Your deductible and policy limits will apply.

    What am I missing?

    Your regular policy may not cover loss of use and diminished value fees if something happens to the rental car. Loss of use is the income that the rental agency loses while the vehicle is being repaired. Diminished value is the calculated reduction in a vehicle’s resale value as the result of an accident. Your credit card may cover these fees, but be aware that they may require documentation that rental agencies can be reluctant to provide.

    Before you take your next trip, call us or your independent insurance agent and verify the coverage available for your destination. Contact your credit card company to find out exactly what is covered when you use your card. Being prepared will help you make an informed decision about buying rental car insurance.

    Umbrella Insurance – What is it and do I need it?

    What is umbrella insurance?

    Life is unpredictable. Common situations like having a teenage driver, owning a pet, posting on social media, or having people visit your home carry a certain amount of risk. An unexpected incident can quickly turn into a lawsuit that costs you thousands of dollars, if not more.

    You don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued like one. If something happens on your property or you are at fault, do you have enough coverage? 

    What does umbrella insurance cover?

    An umbrella policy adds an extra $1 million (or more) of coverage above and beyond your existing policies. Many people only carry $100,000 of liability coverage. Although that sounds like a lot of money, it doesn’t go very far when a serious injury occurs.  Medical bills, lost wages, and other bills can add up quickly.

    That’s why umbrella insurance is so important. It gives you greater peace of mind and protects you against life’s unexpected surprises. 

    Do I need umbrella insurance?

     Umbrella coverage isn’t just for high earners. It’s for everyone, especially if you:

    • Own a home
    • Have regular income
    • Have retirement savings and other assets to protect
    • Entertain guests in your home
    • Have a teenage driver
    • Host sleepovers, children’s parties, carpool children, or allow your teen to babysit
    • Serve on a volunteer board or participate in your HOA
    • Use social media
    • Own rental properties
    • Travel outside the U.S.
    • Own a watercraft, RV, snowmobile, ATV, golf cart, or other “toy”
    • Have pets
    • Own firearms or other recreational weapons

    But doesn’t my home or auto insurance policy cover a loss?

    Unfortunately, home and auto insurance policies don’t protect you against every type of liability.

    Consider these two scenarios:

    1) You hear a juicy piece of gossip about one of your neighbors. You spill the tea to your closest friends at a BBQ and swear them to silence. Unfortunately, your neighbor finds out what you said. You get sued for slander, and it isn’t covered by your homeowners policy.

    2) You go on a vacation to Europe. Instead of taking a tour, you decide to rent a car. You forget to drive on the other side of the road and cause a collision. Someone is injured, but your auto policy doesn’t cover you because you were outside of the U.S. and Canada.

    In both of these instances, an umbrella policy may have provided coverage to protect you. Without an umbrella policy, your assets, savings, and even your future income could be at risk if you are held legally responsible for a claim.

    Peace of mind costs less than you think.

    For about the cost of a dollar a day, an umbrella policy offers an affordable way to prepare for the unpredictable. Schedule a risk assessment with your independent insurance agent to understand your coverage needs and find out if an umbrella policy is right for you.


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