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7 Reasons to Choose an Independent Insurance Agent

Insurance can be complicated.  How do you know you’re making the right decision when it comes to protecting the most important things in your life?  Find out how an Independent Insurance Agent is a simple solution to this!

    We give you more choices and options

    The beauty of working with an independent insurance agent is that we represent many different insurance carriers that offer a wide variety of coverages at varying price points.  We do the work of shopping your quotes around with those different companies to determine which one is the best fit for the types of coverage you need with the best rates for that coverage.  We shop, you save!

    We are industry experts

    Insurance is complicated, let’s be real!  We are licensed and trained in industry verbiage and terminology and are equipped to be able to explain to you, in simple terms, which help you to make informed decisions.  Why go to google and confuser yourself on the different kinds of insurance that are available, when we are just a phone call away?

    We are your advocate

    Since we work for YOU and not the insurance company, we are your advocate!  We will assist with claims, billing or changes your coverage directly with the insurance company.

    We are your neighbor

    We are a small, local business that shares your passion for our community and famillies.  We are woman-owned and have a pusle on the local community and its benefits and challenges.  You won’t sit on hold in a quete, but can walk right into our quaint office in Rosemount.

    We are a one-stop-shop

    With the ability to write with so many different insurance companies, we are able to meet all of your insurance needs.  Everything from Home, Auto, Life & Business coverages, we work with tons of companies that offer a variety of coverages.

    We are your personal advisor

    Insurance isn’t just about finding the cheapest prices.  It’s about making sure that you aren’t suprised by unexpected expenses if a loss were to happen.  Through working one-on-one with you, we listen to meet your specific, unique insurance needs.  

    We are your lifelong advisor

    We love building life long relationships with our customers and often times, they become good friends.  We know that life is ever-evolving and we work with you throughout those stsages.  Everything from buying a home, getting married, growing your family, teen drivers and getting ready for that retirement home.

    Safety Tips For Boating At Night

     

    Essential Safety Tips for Boating at Night

    If you own a boat (or better yet, as the joke goes, you know someone with a boat), you’ve probably thought about spending some evenings on the water — especially in the summertime.

    It’s a great thought, of course. But, when you’re boating after dark, you need to think about staying safe, even as you enjoy the stillness of the water and the starry sky.

    Here are seven things to keep in mind, both before you hit the water and once you’re out cruising around:

    Have a plan — and tools to help if it goes wrong.
    Don’t go boating at night in an unfamiliar place. You can’t see as well, obviously, so stick to where you know the ropes, so to speak. And because things look different in the dark, make sure you have the correct navigational tools in case you get lost.

    Share your plan— Always give a friend or family member your “float plan.” Include where you’re going, your boat’s description and registration information, who’s with you and when you’ll be back.

    Check – and dress for – the weather— On top of the other difficulties of boating at night, you don’t want to get caught in a storm if you can help it. And you want to be comfortable, so be sure to bring clothing appropriate for the forecast. A sweatshirt, blanket and extra towels may come in handy, even in the summertime.

    Do a pre-trip inspection— This is good advice for daytime boating as well, but at night it’s crucial that your navigation lights work, for starters. You also need a horn, plenty of fuel, a radio, a flashlight, flares, fire extinguishers and life jackets for all passengers.

    Slow down— Speed is a factor in many boating accidents, and the limited visibility at night makes the water even more dangerous. Remember, you aren’t going to be the only one on the water at night, so know the right-of-way rules.

    Pay attention— Know how to monitor the navigation lights of other vessels to recognize which direction they are going. Be particularly cautious about small vessels, such as canoes and kayaks, as well as anchored or drifting boats. Their lights can be easily confused with lights onshore.

    Don’t get distracted — or drunk— It’s never okay to drink and operate a boat, so be sure you have a designated driver. And, though you’re out there to have fun, make sure you can still hear the sounds from approaching vessels. Keep the stereo low and your ears open.

    While these tips are important, there’s nothing like experience to help ensure a safe voyage. If you’re a new boater or just in an unfamiliar vessel, you may want to put in more hours during the day before tackling an area at night. Even then, start with short evening outings and work your way up to a moonlight ride. And don’t forget to turn on the lights at the dock before you go!

    The Steps in Handling a Car Accident

    Do you have teen drivers in your home?  Maybe you are doing some distracted driving yourself.  An unexpected car accident can leave you feeling a bit scattered. That’s why it’s important to brush up on post-accident procedures. Here are 7 steps guide can help make the moments after an accident less stressful — and the claims process a whole lot smoother.

    1.Move to a safe area if you can

    If it’s safe to do so and you aren’t seriously injured, move your car out of further harm’s way, like to the shoulder of the road. If moving your car just isn’t possible, flip on your hazards to warn other drivers that your vehicle isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

    2.Stop your vehicle and get out

    Make sure your car is no longer moving, turn off the engine, shift into park, or set the hand brake if you drive a manual. Take a moment to catch your breath. Check to make sure it’s safe to get out of your car before opening the door.

    3.Check on others involved

    Check on all the other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, to make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone may be injured. Even a seemingly minor symptom like dizziness should be checked out by a health care professional.

    4.Call the police to the scene

    Even in minor accidents, a police accident report can prove invaluable when dealing with your car insurance company and other drivers. Cooperate fully, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others while at the scene. Let the police objectively judge events and determine who, if anyone, is at fault in the crash. If the police can’t make it to the scene (which is more likely if there are no injuries), you can file an accident report through your state’s DMV.

    5.Gather info

    Try to write down as much info as possible in the accident aftermath, including:

    • Driver and passenger names
    • License plate numbers
    • Insurance info
    • Makes and models of all vehicles involved
    • Contact info for any eyewitnesses
    • Location of the accident
    • The name and badge number of any responding police officers

    6.Document the scene

    If you have a smartphone with a camera, snap some photos of the accident scene. They’ll come in handy during the claim process.

    7.File your insurance claim

    After step 7, it’s our turn to help. We’ll work with you to get your car repaired as quickly as possible. Call us at 952-479-5781

    We sincerely hope this post gives you some tips if you are ever in the situation above. Safe driving!

    Boating in the Land of 10,000 Lakes

     

    Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is only natural that Minnesota is home to many boaters. If you own a vessel or are thinking of buying one, you should learn as much as possible about MN boat insurance.

    With our expertise and knowledge, you are in good hands when shopping for a policy. We can help you decide which type of coverage is best, while also saving you money. This is the best of both worlds.  Typically, however, a homeowner’s insurance policy will only cover damage to your boat that occurs while it is on your property. Further, the amount of coverage offered is typically less than in a boat insurance policy, which can lead to problems if the boat is damaged.

    You are required by law to register your boat in the state of Minnesota. There is no way around this. If you take to the water without the proper registration the end result could be a large fine from the authorities. The type of boat, its length, and the expected use of the boat will largely dictate your boat insurance rates. Whether you have a speed boat, a small fishing boat or a yacht will make a big difference in what you pay. In general, boat insurance costs typically range from $300 to $500, on average. When you buy Minnesota boat insurance you will feel much better every time you head for your favorite lake or river. You will know that your boat is protected, meaning that you are financially protected as well.

    Minnesota does not require a boating license for boaters, but requires a Watercraft Operator’s Permit for boaters between 12-17 years of age who wish to operate a personal watercraft. The boating laws of the state require that the person operating a boat should not be under the influence of intoxicants.

    We hope this helps answer some questions if you are considering buying a boat this summer. If you already own a boat and want to make sure you have the best coverage for your needs, feel free to reach out at 952-479-5781 or email us info@mysentinels.com

    Happy Cruising!

     

    Open your Cabin Checklist

     

    I know, I know.  This winter has been never ending.  You are over it, we are over it.  But, summer will come! And you need to be prepared for that, don’t you?  Well search no further. We’ve compiled a nice little checklist to help you out and keep you on track.

    Don’t forget to:

    • Call to turn on any services you shut off over the winter, including electricity, water and trash collection.
    • Check the insurance policies on your lake home and boat. Call Sentinel Assurance to tell us about the new jet ski, boat or wave runner you’d like to insure.
    • Check your boating registration and renew it if necessary. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, watercraft licenses must be renewed every three years.
    • If you plan to put in a dock, and you need help, call your crew a few weeks in advance to see if they’re available.

    After a long winter away, you’ll need to be sure that your home is safe to inhabit again before you turn on your water and other systems.

    • Check the furnace and put in a new filter.
    • Check pipes for rust or damage before you turn on your plumbing and water heater. If you’re not sure how to make the call, hire a plumber to do a basic assessment.
    • Be on the lookout for signs of critters. Check screens and windows for holes and gaps and electrical cords for fraying or bite marks.
    • Inspect your deck and eaves for signs of rotting.
    • Test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
    • Test and replace the batteries in motion sensor lights on the front door, deck and on the way down to the lake.

    Whether you’ll spend the whole summer or special weekends at your lake home, you’ll want to be sure it’s stocked with the basics. Run a quick inventory review before heading to the store for replenishments.

    • Go through your pantry and throw out any expired food, as well as anything that looks like it may have been the subject of a critter invasion.
    • Check that you’re stocked up on sunscreen and bug spray.
    • Check the stock of your bathroom toiletries. To save money and stay green buy shampoo, conditioner and body wash in bulk bottles rather than using travel samples.

    Next, have fun.

    We wish you a great cabin season this summer!

    Planning for your Spring home remodel

    It’s that time of year! Spring cleaning and warmer temps call for those updates you dreamed of for your home.  If you are hiring a contractor to perform work on your home or property, it is essential to hire a contractor who is both licensed and bonded. When you hire an unlicensed contractor, you are taking significant risks, including that you will be subject to a lawsuit, as well as the potential that any implied warranties afforded by state law will be void.

    While the laws for a contractor’s license differs by state, in most cases, a license is required to do any type of skilled labor on another person’s home or property. For instance, an electrician, a plumber, or a drywaller may be required to have a license. Someone performing a variety of tasks may need to obtain a general contractor’s license. The state may impose specific requirements such as minimum education or work experience to obtain a license. The state may also require that the contractor take an examination with different levels of licensing for the right to do different size jobs. In addition, the state may require that the contractor has an active worker’s compensation insurance policy for a license to be issued. In many states, being bonded is also a prerequisite to obtaining a license.

    Being bonded is different from being licensed, although the two are sometimes related. When a contractor is bonded, this means he has purchased a surety bond. This is a type of insurance policy that protects a property owner. The bond provides a certain amount of liability protection and if the contractor fails to complete a job as required or contracted, the bond can provide compensation to a property owner.

    Typically, for a bond to pay out to a homeowner, the property owner must first win a claim with the state contractor’s board by proving that the contractor failed to perform the required work. The homeowner may also be required to attempt to collect money from the contractor before making a claim against the bond. Whether the bond will be sufficient to pay the claim depends on the size of the bond that the contractor had, and on whether there are other claims against it. The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB) warns customers that the bonds required in Oregon may only provide a limited amount of financial security to property owners because the bonds required are often small compared to the volume of work performed by contractors. However, this may differ in your state and your contractor may sometimes buy a larger bond than is required by law. To determine the amount of protection available to you by hiring a bonded contractor, it is best to speak with a lawyer prior to entering into a construction agreement.

    There are important reasons to hire a bonded and licensed contractor. First, since the unlicensed contractor is usually breaking the law by working without a license, there’s a good chance he is also not complying with other laws including permit requirements and inspection requirements. This can result in your project not being up to code, and necessitating repairs or removals if your home is inspected or before your property is sold. Second, it can be much harder to determine if an unlicensed contractor will provide you with quality workmanship since the contractor has not submitted to any examination or review of his knowledge by a licensing board.

    Aside from the increased possibility of receiving poor workmanship when you hire an unlicensed contractor, you may also be giving up your right to make warranty claims. While most states impose implied warranties on contractors for bad workmanship, these implied warranty laws often require that the contractor be licensed in order to apply. Furthermore, your state contractor board will not typically help you to make a warranty claim against an unlicensed contractor. So if you are trying to recover at all, you will need to go to civil court. Even if you win in civil court, without a bond, there’s a good chance the unlicensed contractor will not be able to pay your damages.

    Another important consideration when hiring an unlicensed contractor is that you could be subject to liability. While the licensed contractor is usually required to have worker’s compensation insurance, someone unlicensed may have no protection from injury at all. If the unlicensed contractor harms himself on your property, you could be subject to a lawsuit and responsible for paying his damages.

    Hopefully we’ve equipped you with some information to help you make good choices when hiring a contractor.  Once again, Sentinel Assurance is here to help, let us know if you need a quote or to review your current coverage.


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