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Landscaping & Hardscaping Your Home

 

With winter behind us, this is the best time of year to update the outside of your home! These updates can include landscaping and hardscaping. Both will create an oasis, up the curb appeal, and increase the value of your home. This post will help you determine the difference and which items you need to let your insurance agent know about.

 

Landscaping is the soft, growing stuff like perennial flowers, shrubs, succulents, and trees. Softscape is living; hardscape is not. Hardscaping your yard can include outdoor dining, fireplaces, walkways, decorative stairs, decks, and even water elements. Adding a hardscape design to your yard using natural materials both increases property values and spaces in your home to be enjoyed during the seasons.

Hardscapes are considered “other structures”.  They are usually pricier in cost and add significant value to your home, you definitely want your agent to know about them. Give us a call, we can walk you through it all! 651-237-5180

Affordable Ways to Spruce Up Your Home for Spring

Spring is around the corner and if you are feeling as though your home needs a little more than a thorough spring cleaning, we have some tips for you!

There are so many ways to add some life to your home which can make you feel as though you are living in a totally different house.

The number one way is through paint! Painting a bathroom or your kitchen cabinets can really transform a space and instantly make it look brighter and cleaner.  Start with a room or two to keep yourself motivated and not overwhelmed.  Bright colors or white/neutrals are your best route.

 

 

Next up is some greenery.  Not only on the outside of your home, but bring some houseplants in.  Decorating with fresh flowers or bowls of fruit can really cheer up a corner and unify the look of freshness.  Baskets are a great way to clear and store clutter. Even hanging them on the wall can add interest thats fresh and creative. IKEA has plants both faux and real, at a fraction of the price.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few more to consider:

Changing out lamps, lampshades, and/or lighting quickly changes any room.

Change knobs/hardware on drawers, cabinets, and dressers.

Paint furniture such as end tables, night stands, or kitchen chairs.

Switch your bedding and towels to white or a bright color.

Get new outlet and light switch plates.

Add extra seating outside, such as a small cafe table/chairs.

Upgrade any landscaping and add potted plants and flowers to your front steps or porch.

That doesn’t seem that hard to tackle, right?  We hope these tips have been helpful to you and you transform your home into the space of your dreams!

Happy Spring!

 

 

What should I do if I have a claim?

 

 

 

You’ve just been involved in an auto accident. The most important thing is your safety. If you are injured , please call for emergency help right away.  Here are some additional steps to help you file a claim on your auto insurance:

  • Call for emergency assistance if needed.
  • Once all parties are safe it’s helpful to take pictures of the damage and exchange insurance and driver information.
  • Next call your agent whether you are at fault or not
  • Follow the directions your agent gives you to provide all documentation related to the accident and file your claim. You may need a police report.
  • Keep copies of all your documentation and bills related to the accident. Jot down detailed notes following conversations about the accident. You need to know who you spoke with and what they said, at what date and time, and how to contact the person.
  • Find out from your agent:
    • Time limitations for filing your claims and submitting bills.
    • Time limitations for resolving claim disputes.
    • When you can expect the insurance company to contact you.
    • Whether you need estimates for the damages.
    • Whether your policy covers a rental car while your car is being repaired and how much it covers.

 

Next we will cover the steps to take to file a claim on your homeowner’s insurance:

  • Report any crime to the police if its due to a burglary or a theft
  • Phone your insurance professional immediately
  • Have the insurance adjuster inspect the damage
  • Make any temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home or items in it
  • Prepare a list of lost or damaged articles
  • If you need to relocate, save your receipts, some of those costs may be reimbursed

We hope this has helped you navigate the claims’ process and answered any of the questions you may have had.  If we can be of further help, feel free to give us a call here at Sentinel Assurance at 651-237-5180.

 

Preventing Water Damage When Out of Town

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the second most common homeowners’ insurance claim is water damage to houses.  Leaking pipes and appliances, and damage caused by storms and  freezing conditions cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage every year. If a pipe leaks or bursts while you are on vacations, water can destroy carpets and furniture and even compromise the structural integrity of your walls or foundation.  Before leaving your home for more than a few days, prep your house so you won’t come home to a big, expensive mess. Here are some steps to take before you head out of town.

Step 1: Check your home for leaks before you leave.  Look at the pipes under all sinks, and check your water heater for cracks and rust.  The seals around your windows must be in good condition, and check that there are no dislodged or damaged shingles on your roof.  Re caulk seals and replace shingles if needed.

Step 2: Inspect the hoses that connect to major appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator ice-makers.  Make sure there are no kinks; replace any old or damaged hoses.

Step 3: Clear all the debris out of your rain gutters, and check the downspouts for any blockages. {Better off doing this in the Fall before the cold comes.}

Step 4: Examine your sump pump and check that it is in good condition and clear of debris by filling the sump pit and running the pump.  Listen to the motor for strange sounds and watch that the water is going outside.  Install a battery-powered backup source in case there is a power outage while you are gone.

Step 5: Insulate exposed pipes to keep them from freezing in the winter.  Hardware stores sell foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves that fit right over the pipes.  Protect outdoor spigots by removing any hoses and covering the spigots with bib protectors. Leave the heat on low while you are gone to also prevent freezing pipes. {Do you have a Nest thermostat? You can control temperature from a distance with that!}

Step 6: Ask someone to check your house periodically while you are gone.  Show where the thermostat is to ensure the heat is always on in the winter.  Show where the water main is located in case a pipe leaks or bursts.  The water main shut-off valve is usually in a home’s basement, garage or outdoors near the foundation.

Step 7: Turn off the water at the main if there is no one to check your house. Drain the pipes to keep them from bursting in freezing weather by running the water and flushing the toilets after you shut off the water. Leave the cupboards under sinks open while you are gone to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.

We hope these tips make you feel more comfortable when traveling to your warm weather destinations this winter!

 

Getting your Home ready to sell Checklist

Here in Minnesota, we aGetting your Home ready to sellre slowly nearing Spring and that means that the hot spring real estate market is just around the corner.  The Parade of Homes will be starting in February and that is typically when people start to consider if they want to sell their home!  Selling your home is definitely one of the most stressful life events one goes through as an adult!  Anything that you can do to make that process more simple, is always welcome!

Since we know how stressful this can be firsthand, having all gone through it ourselves at least once, we sat down with Real Estate expert, Sara Anderson of Keller Williams Preferred Realty, and are doing a new video series sharing her knowledge and advice on how to best handle the home selling process!

Also, as part of our series with Sara, she is graciously giving away a free Home Staging Consultation with her expert Stager ($200 value)!  You do not need to be considering selling to use her service, she is great at giving paint color advice, where to put your furniture, or how to make simple updates to any room in your home!

How to Enter: Simply request our Free Home Selling Checklist here: https://mysentinels.com/home-selling-checklist-download/ and you will be automatically entered!  We will announce the winner on our blog here after our video series concludes.

Here is Part 1 of our video series!  We will share each video for the next few weeks here on our blog, but you can also always view the series on our YouTube Channel as well as on our social media.

New Year Checklist

 

It’s here! A new year, a new chapter, a new beginning. And how does this affect the insurance world, you ask? This is the perfect time to get all your ducks in a row with your insurance policies.

Let’s start with your homeowner’s policy. Your insurance agent would need to know about any updates in your home.  Did you finish your basement? Did you re-do your kitchen? Maybe you got a security system, a big screen tv, or added a pool. Regardless how big or small, these are things that you need to get noted on your policy.  Your policy then will have the correct value listed so you can get the coverage you need.

 

Next up, did your husband give you a ring upgrade for Christmas? Or maybe you inherited some jewelry or a coin collection. These things need to have a separate policy from your homeowners’ policy and you want to make sure they are insured should something happen to them!

Lastly, your auto policy or policies.  Maybe you have a new driver in your home or have added some additional drivers.  Make sure your agent knows about all the latest developments on that front as well.

Can you see how it’s best to check in at least yearly with your agent?  They can ask numerous questions that will refresh your memory of any changes in your life.

Feel free to reach out to see if there are any things we can help you with, we are here to help!

Sentinel Assurance {651-237-5180}

 

 

2018 The Year in Review

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is wrapping up and coming to a close. We wanted to dedicate a post to tell you about our year and let you know how much we appreciate our community, our families, and our clients.

This year, our owner, Danielle welcomed two employees to join her team.  Suzanne started in January, Amy in May. Together they help with customer service, marketing, operations and community involvement. And so it goes, we are more than co-workers, we are friends.   Together we definitely share the bond of being wives, moms and a team of hard-working women that want Sentinel Assurance to succeed and grow!

Another big change was moving from Apple Valley to a larger space in downtown Rosemount.  We are front and center here, adjacent to Rosemount Floral.  This building has tons of history and we are told that over 4200 cars drive by our office space daily.  That’s a lot of eyes on us on a daily basis! If that’s you, feel free to pop in and say hello…we love that.

To celebrate our move, we hosted a grand opening at our office in October.  So many people came out to see the space and wish us well! We are beyond blessed to be a part of such a tight, welcoming community here in Rosemount.

 

 

Feel free to find us on Facebook and Instagram.  We post up to date information on insurance and our accounts give you a peek into a day in the life here in our office.  We have been known to post a few videos on Facebook as well, people find them entertaining 😛.

Overall, we had a busy year with lots of changes here at Sentinel Assurance.  We have learned a lot, grown a ton and experienced such joy from each other and from YOU! Most importantly, we look forward to what is to come and we believe, “The Best is Yet to Come”!

Is Your Home Insured to Replacement Costs?

If you lost your home in a fire, how much would it cost to rebuild it? The answer may be different than you think. And if your home isn’t insured to its full replacement cost, your homeowners policy may not cover the full cost for you to rebuild it in the event of a covered loss.

Rebuilding costs could differ from what you paid for your home and be more than its current market value – what it would sell for today – especially in areas where the value of real estate has changed. A replacement estimate includes costs to rebuild your home component by component. Current costs for labor, materials and contractor fees may influence the replacement cost of your house.

It’s important to have a current estimate for your home’s replacement cost, one that reflects any significant improvements that you have made to the house. For example, if you installed a central air conditioner or finished your basement after you took out your insurance policy and never updated the replacement cost, your home might not be fully covered in the event that you need to completely rebuild following a covered loss.

Here are some steps that you can take:

  • Talk to your agent about the dwelling coverage on your homeowners insurance policy.
  • Talk to your agent who have tools to help estimate your home’s replacement cost.
  • Check in on your home’s replacement cost yearly, especially after making improvements to your home. Remember, even small improvements can affect the cost to rebuild your home.

Making sure that your home is insured to its full estimated replacement cost is another way to help protect your home and the things you’ve worked hard to build.

We are here to help. Let us know if you need to update your policy to full estimated replacement cost.

Grand Opening Party – October 2018

Sentinel Assurance was proud to host our Grand Opening event at our new office space in Rosemount, MN. The event was hosted and held on October 11, 2018.  It was our grand opening to show off our new office space!  It started with a ribbon cutting ceremony with the officials of the city of Rosemount. Next we received our first dollar from the mayor of the city of Rosemount. Finer Meats & Eats brought lots of amazing, comfort food straight from their food truck.  It wouldn’t be a party without lots of sweets and wine as well!

 

 

 

We wanted to share a few pics of the party and those involved.  We are thankful for all of you that were able to come out and celebrate with us.  We are also so thankful for the friends and family that support our business! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! 😘

 

Top Reasons to Check Your Insurance

Insurance.  Love it or hate it, when life happens … you are glad you, your family, your home and your belongings covered.  Sometimes it can be an afterthought, so here are a few times that you need to check and/or update your insurance.

Your family status changes: If you’re marrying, expecting a baby, or adopting a child, you’ll want to protect your growing family with adequate life insurance and disability income insurance. Losing a family member through death or divorce should also prompt a policy review.

Your children grow up: When you have a new teen driver, adequate auto insurance is a must. You may be eligible for discounts.  If your student is leaving for college or has recently graduated, it’s a good time to consider personal property, liability, and renters insurance for the new living arrangements.

You’re moving or remodeling: Whenever your address changes, review your homeowners insurance to make sure the new property is adequately protected. It’s also a good time to update your home inventory – whether you’re adding items such as new furniture or scaling back for a move to a smaller home. Also, be sure to update your coverage if you renovate your current home or make updates.

You’re starting a business: If you are going to rent office space or open a home-based business, include a thorough insurance review in your start-up plans. Depending on the size of your business, you may have to consider property and liability, commercial vehicle, and workers’ compensation coverage, as well as a health care plan for employees. If you’re a sole proprietor working from home, be sure to review your homeowners plan to see that your business and equipment are fully covered.

Sentinel Assurance has you covered, let us know of any updates, or simply if you are unsure on what you need for coverage. We are here for you and can help. 651-237-5180 for a free quote.

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