Fall has officially arrived and we are nearing it’s end, but there’s still time to get ready for winter weather, including storms. Extreme cold is always a possibility here in the Twin Cities, so we at Sentinel Assurance Group have compiled some tips to help you stay safe and limit damage.
Preparing your home
Perform basic winter maintenance — insulate your walls and attic, caulk and weather-strip doors and windows, and insulate water lines that run along outer walls. When temperatures drop, keep water taps slightly open so they drip continuously, and keep the cabinets under sinks open to allow warmer air in.
If you use a fireplace or wood stove, have the chimney or flue inspected each year. Make sure your house has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and test them monthly.
Check your emergency supplies and ensure that you have adequate food and water, along with a battery-powered radio, in the event of an extended power outage. You’ll want a week’s worth of supplies, or more if you live in a remote area.
Never use gas-powered generators or barbecue grills indoors. These can allow deadly carbon monoxide to build up.
Preparing your car
Have your vehicle serviced according to manufacturer recommendations. Check the antifreeze level.
Keep the gas tank near full, which helps avoid ice in the fuel lines and the gas tank itself.
Replace wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
Make sure your tires are in good shape and have the proper air pressure.
Check to confirm your battery has a good charge, your heater and defroster are working well, and that your emergency lights are functional.
Always wear temperature-appropriate clothing, such as hats, gloves, scarves, etc. Remove any wet clothing immediately. And keep spare clothing in your car trunk throughout winter in case you are stranded or stuck.
Stay hydrated. You might think this is more important when it’s warm outside, but it’s just as vital in winter.
Be mindful of physical exertion and the amount of time you’re spending outdoors. Shoveling snow is hard work, so don’t overdo it!
Winter is a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to ice fishing, sledding and trips to our favorite ski hills. So get your house, car and body ready, and have a great season!
At Sentinels Assurance Group, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 651.237.5180 or send us a note at email@example.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!
Americans celebrate Memorial Day in the spring and Veterans Day in the fall. While it can be easy to confuse the two holidays, Memorial Day is set aside to honor American’s war dead; Veterans Day is intended to honor the service of all U.S. veterans, both living and dead.
In fact, celebrations surrounding Veterans Day often place a special emphasis on thanking all living U.S. military veterans who have or are currently serving in any U.S. armed service. And it’s the perfect time for all Americans to show appreciation for their service.
The best way to thank a military U.S. veteran for his or her service depends on the individual and his or her needs. But the most important thing is to do something to show your gratitude.
Here are 10 ideas to get you thinking about how to be grateful for veterans on November 11.
Raise. Display the American flag in your yard to demonstrate your support of veterans everywhere.
Listen. Strike up a conversation with a disabled or homeless veteran and be an active listener as you hear about their experience.
Speak. Simply say, “Thank you” to veterans you see.
Reach out. Contact a disabled or homeless veteran whom you know and spend some quality time together.
Support. Send a donation to organizations that support the special needs of veterans.
Find. Trace your ancestry and identify how many veterans are in your family.
Write. Send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
Visit. Visit a disabled veteran in his or her home or a homeless veteran on the street.
Learn. Educate yourself on the challenges veterans face when retiring from service to rejoin civilian life.
Share. Use your social media to help celebrate Veteran’s Day and acknowledge the service of all veterans.
To learn more ways to honor a veteran on November 11, visit http://www.wallawalla.va.gov/Misc/Honor_Veteran.asp.
To all our American heroes, we at Sentinel Assurance Group thank you for your service to our country.
Did you know? Veteran’s Day is always celebrated on November 11, regardless of the day of the week. It’s also a federal holiday, so federal government employees take the day off on Monday if the 11th falls on a Sunday, and they take the day off on Friday if the 11th falls on a Saturday.
At Sentinel Assurance Group, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 651.237.5180 or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!
Everyone loves vacation. But, vacationing in your own seasonal home? Even better.
However, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to protecting your investment in a vacation home, and you definitely want to protect it. We here at Sentinel Assurance Group can help by making sure you have the insurance coverage you want.
To that end, here are four things that may impact the coverage you choose and how much you’ll pay for it:
Separate Policy: Your seasonal home won’t be part of your primary property policy. It needs its own policy, and you can expect it to be similar to the one for your primary residence. However, you do need to watch out for “named perils” coverage, under which your policy explicitly lists the perils it will cover. If a peril isn’t listed, no coverage. We typically steer homeowners away from this type of coverage, in favor of broader coverage.
Location and Occupancy: The “where” of your vacation home is no doubt among the primary reasons why you bought it. But, it will also impact your insurance costs. Rural areas are hard for emergency responders to reach, and waterfront homes are prone to flooding. These added risks can mean added insurance costs, such as the need for a separate flood policy. If the home is unoccupied or rented for much of the year, there are even more insurance considerations.
Personal Property: Establishing and maintaining a separate inventory of the things you keep at your vacation home will help you select an appropriate level of personal property coverage. If it’s filled with expensive skiing and snowboarding gear, for example, you may need increased coverage or to schedule some of the more valuable items separately.
Extra Liability Protection: If you plan to regularly host guests at your summer or winter retreat, you should consider an umbrella policy, which will help to increase your liability limits in case someone is seriously injured on your property. This can go for invited and uninvited guests alike.
We know you want to relax and enjoy your chosen spot in the sun – or snow. Having the right insurance coverage helps you do just that, so give us a call and let us help.
Did you know that we are licensed in many states outside of Minnesota? We are licensed in Arizona, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa & Indiana! If you have a rental property in any of these states, we would love to help you find the right coverage for it!
Whether you were caught speeding (or worse), you’re looking for a discount on your car insurance, or you simply want to be a better driver, there are a wide range of defensive driving and driver improvement courses available here in Rosemount and the Twin Cities metro these days and many can be done virtually!
But, which is right for you? Here are five tips to help you decide:
1. Check with your state or municipality. If you’re taking training to avoid a traffic infraction, not just any course will do. You’ll need to take an approved course – ask for a list before signing up.
2. Check with your insurer. The same goes if you’d like to potentially save on your car insurance. Your carrier may only offer a car insurance discount for completing certain courses. Also ask how much your discount will be — this will help when it comes time to choose a course.
3. Choose the type of course. There are online and classroom options, typically ranging from 4-12 hours depending on the course material. And, there are advantages to each. Online courses offer convenience (and sometimes a lower cost), while in-person settings can provide more interaction.
4. Determine how much you want to spend. If you’re trying to avoid a ticket (and a potential increase in your insurance premiums), the cost might not be much of an issue. If you’re taking a course to receive an insurance discount, however, make sure the total discount you’ll receive is greater than the cost of the course.
5. Check out the reviews. Online review sites, such as Yelp, can show you what others thought of a course. Keep in mind, people who felt “forced” to take a course might have a biased opinion, especially compared to someone who took the course willingly. No matter why you’re considering a defensive driving course, we’re happy to help you weigh the pros and cons. The biggest pro being, once you complete your training, you’re likely to be a little more careful the next time you get behind the wheel. And, that always pays off!
This week marks the week that all the kids and teachers head back to school here in Rosemount, MN! You’ve likely already reviewed the basic safety tips for kids who walk or bus to and from school.
Those tips, of course, are:
Walk with a buddy
Stay in well-lit areas
Never accept a ride with strangers
Once home, lock the door and don’t let anyone in
However, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, urges you not to overestimate your kids’ safety smarts. Kids under 10, for example, may not grasp the concept of crossing a street safely, she says.
She suggests teaching them: “Stop. Left. Right. Left.” Meaning that children should, “stop at the curb, look left, right, then left again before crossing, and keep looking as they cross.”
Another thing kids need to know, says Borba, is how to ask for help. Have kids practice saying, “I need help,” out loud and instruct them to “find a uniformed employee, a police officer or a woman, preferably with a child,” when they need assistance, she says.
Once home, kids will likely use the Internet, so be sure to discuss digital safety too.
Staying Safe Online
Here at the office, we have middle school and high school kids at our homes. So, staying safe online is a top priority in our personal households.
Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff, author of Wit’s End and Google Bomb, says that, “we need to put parental controls/security measures on computers and cell phones. Unfortunately, these aren’t guarantees, so having a cyber-smart child is your best defense.”
Teach kids about the dangers of sharing personal information, such as their home address and phone number, online. And about using social media responsibly.
While online, it’s best for kids – and adults – to converse and connect only with people they truly know and trust, to keep their social accounts private and to still be cautious even then. After all, photos and information that go online today will still be there years later, when kids apply for college scholarships and jobs.
Above all, stay involved in your kids’ digital lives. Let them know you’re there for them, always – to talk, not to judge or punish, says Scheff. “Many kids fear having their Internet removed if they tell their parents they are being bullied online,” she says.
So keep the lines of communication open to help keep everyone safe, both in and outside of your home.
We hope your new school year is off to a fantastic start!