Here in Rosemount, we have experienced some recent severe storms that have seen various sizes of hail fall. We’ve been getting lots of questions from our customers as to what to do if they want to see if they have any storm damage. It’s always best to consult directly with your insurance agent or give us a call at our office if you have specific questions, but here are a few tips and resources to help you in this scenario.
Often times after a storm, you’ll hear that dreaded doorbell within a few hours of the hail falling, and you can almost be certain it is an out-of-state roofing contractor wanting to take a look at your roof and file an insurance claim for you. Before you let them do that, ask if they are local or from out of state and ask to see their licensing information.
There’s no harm in allowing them to do an inspection, but do not let them file an insurance claim on your behalf. Always contact your insurance agent first so they can advise you on the best course of action in determining whether you should file a claim or not. A lot of these companies will “guarantee” a new roof and we often see insurance fraud with this type of business practice.
Keep It Local
It’s always best to use a local, reputable roofing contractor if you suspect you might have hail damage. We have compiled a list of locally owned roofing contractors to give you a place to start in finding one to work with.
Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Americans spend about $11 billion each year on air conditioning? That might not be such a surprise if you’re the one who writes the check for your household energy bill every month.
Believe it or not, you can spend less on cooling costs while still keeping cool in Minnesota. Here are five things to do before you reach to adjust the thermostat:
1. Make sure your house isn’t part of the problem. If your home isn’t insulated and sealed well, warm air could be leaking in, sabotaging your efforts to cool things down. Make sure all cracks and openings are sealed, along with your ducts. The DOE says air loss through ducts can account for 30 percent of the energy a cooling system uses.
2. Keep that breeze flowing. Natural ventilation is a great way to decrease the temperature in your home without using any energy. Open windows in the mornings or evenings when the air is cool and get a cross-breeze going throughout the house.
3. Check that the heat isn’t on. You might be heating your house in the summer without realizing it. How? By using the oven, stove or other appliances that generate heat. Cook outside whenever you can, and use the dishwasher and clothes dryer at cooler times of the day if possible.
4. Create your own personal cool zone. Cooling the whole house might not be necessary if you’re only using a few rooms. Set up fans (ceiling fans will allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher), drink plenty of cool liquids and eat cold foods, which can help lower your body temperature. You might even consider wearing a damp shirt to stay comfortable or putting an ice pack on your forehead, the back of your neck or your wrists.
5. Don’t forget the basics. When it’s sunny outside, keep your curtains closed. Minimize your use of lights, as they generate heat. And, when the outside air is warmer than the air in your house, close the windows to keep the cool air in. We can’t promise these tips will keep you just as cool as when you kick back and turn on the AC full-blast. But saving money every month? That’s pretty cool, too.
It’s every bargain hunters favorite time of the year, Garage Sale season! Here in Rosemount, we have an annual city-wide sale coming up on May 11-13th and you won’t want to miss it! Click here for a list of the official addresses and let us know in the comments below what your fave garage sale finds are!
Protect your college grad with the right insurance
College graduation is an exciting time for students and their parents alike. And, while it’s easy to be immersed in graduation parties and focused on first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and big decisions, and it’s essential to prepare graduates for what comes next.
One area new college graduates need to address is insurance. As insurance professionals at Sentinel Assurance Group, we know insurance can be a confusing topic. We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses. We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world, so we have compiled the following pointers.
Review your family’s current insurance. The first step when considering insurance for your new graduate is evaluating the coverage you currently have. Make an appointment with your agent, who can advise on whether it’s appropriate given the pending changes, and whether it will cover your son or daughter.
Know the law. Most states require drivers to have auto insurance, and most of those have minimum policy limit requirements. Research the law in your son or daughter’s state, or consult with your agent, to make sure they are covered adequately.
Read your lease. Many apartment, condominium and home rental properties require tenants to maintain a certain level of renter’s insurance, which covers the contents of the home in the event of a robbery, fire, or other loss. Make sure you know the terms of your son or daughter’s new lease, and insure them accordingly.
Don’t end up liable. Any home renter or owner is exposed to liability risk. To ensure there is adequate coverage in the event someone gets injured on your son or daughter’s property, speak with your agent about liability insurance.
Don’t gamble! Never go without. It’s simple: your son or daughter should always have insurance in place. Be sure to discuss with your agent what types they need.
Know your company benefits. Many college graduates move straight into the workforce, and most companies have benefits. Study the company’s human resources handbook to learn what benefits are available, when they go into effect, and what their limitations are.
We at Sentinel Assurance Group congratulate you on the graduation of your student! Please contact us with any questions, or to request a review of your family’s insurance portfolio.
When it comes to your Homeowners Insurance, the Dwelling Coverage amount is intended to cover what it would cost to rebuild your home. This is something that is updated annually at your insurance renewal based on many factors (cost of labor, materials to name a few) and we have seen a larger increase of this coverage over the last couple of years due to inflation.
Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away and are happy to help determine if you have enough coverage on your current policy, even if you aren’t a customer of ours!
What is insurance to value?
Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss
Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value?
A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area. It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value
Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction?
New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home.
How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance?
Work with us or your agent to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote.
Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available.
Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with your agent.
Tell your agent about any changes or improvements that you make to your home.
It’s hard to think of a worse start to a winter day in Minnesota than turning on the faucet and … nothing. Maybe there’s a trickle of water, but it’s clear you have a frozen pipe. So, what now? Here are some smart tips to help you prevent or address what could easily become a very messy and expensive situation:
See to your outdoor water lines: Before cold weather arrives, drain water sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines, and remove, drain and store outdoor hoses. If possible, close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs, and open the outside hose bibs for draining. Keep them open so any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe. If you can’t shut off the water from the inside, pick up some foam faucet covers.
Keep your home warm: Maintain an interior temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re sleeping or not at home. Seal any drafts and leave interior doors open to help keep an even temperature from room to room.
Tend to those pipes: Leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathroom so your pipes aren’t shut off from the warm air. You can also insulate your pipes with sleeves, heat tape or heat cable. Insulation is especially important in unheated areas, such as your attic, basement, garage or crawl space, and for pipes running along exterior walls. During severe cold spells, you may want to leave all faucets, both hot and cold, running at a slight trickle.
Call in a professional: Frozen water in your pipes can cause them to burst, meaning you’ll have a mess on your hands once that water unthaws. So, act quickly to shut off your main water supply, and call in a licensed plumber to see to the situation.
Finally, be sure to touch base with us at Sentinel Assurance Group to check whether you’re covered for the damage a frozen pipe may cause. We’re happy to answer all of your policy questions this winter, and beyond.