It’s summertime – prime RV season in Minnesota. But, even if you know where you want to go, do you know how to get there?
After all, driving an RV is a little different than simply hopping in your car, so we here at Sentinel Assurance Group put together some tips to help you plan your route and enjoy your trip.
Use an online trip planner: Two that we know of are FreeTrip.com and the Good Sam Club (this one requires a membership). You can set guidelines, such as avoiding highways or low clearances, and get a route customized to you.
Don’t forget guidebooks and atlases: There’s nothing wrong with going low-tech, too. In fact, it’s good to have a backup for when you need to change plans without Internet or GPS assistance. Atlases for commercial truck drivers, in particular, can be useful, because they highlight some of the same things you need to consider, such as overpass height, etc.
Know your vehicle: It’s tempting to just take the height specifications from your manual, but it’s better to know for sure. Measure your RV from the ground to the highest item on the roof. Stick it on a label inside your windshield so it’s always visible.
Utilize other tools: Some GPS models have RV/truck modes that will adjust routes based on the larger size of your vehicle. Use them if they’re available.
Have multiple sources of information: Online trip planners and GPS systems make things easy, but they’re not always up to date. So, in addition to your trip plan and guidebooks, also take care to pay attention to signs and your surroundings when you’re on the go.
It’s easier than ever to plan for a great road trip, so get out there and explore! We’ll be waiting to hear all about your trip and to help you with all of your RV insurance needs.
Getting married is a big step that you’re no doubt commemorating with a big celebration. And, that often comes with a (fairly) big price tag. So, have you considered insuring the whole to-do?
As with other sizeable investments, you can insure big events, such as your wedding. But, that’s not the only way insurance can play a role in your big day and the events that follow. Here are four tips for insuring your wedding, rings and more:
Big day, big investment – protect it
Of course you want your big day to go off without a hitch. But, you also want to prepare for those pesky “what ifs.” What if the caterer backs out? What if the bride’s dress gets lost in her checked baggage? What if your venue goes out of business?
Event insurance typically covers unexpected issues with the site, weather, vendors and illness or injury, so you aren’t stuck with the tab. For example, if you need to find a new caterer the day before the wedding, your policy may help with the costs.
Say ‘I do’ to covering your rings.
Regardless of the monetary value of your engagement and wedding rings, it’s important to protect your investment — preferably right after you purchase them. We can help. Call us from the jewelry store if you like, and we’ll schedule your new bling on your renters insurance, condo insurance or homeowners insurance.
Cover your bases by covering your gifts.
While you’re dancing the night away, you don’t want someone walking away with your gifts. But, unfortunately, it happens. You may want to consider a policy to protect your gifts. And, of course, you’ll want to include them as part of your home inventory and personal property coverage. Some items, such as collectibles and china, may need scheduled coverage, just like your rings.
Start your honeymoon right.
If your honeymoon costs as much as a car, it may make sense to get travel insurance. Policies can include coverage for trip cancellation or delay, and even medical insurance. Frommers.com says it should cost no more than 8 percent of your trip price. Whether your wedding is a small family affair or the biggest event of the year, you deserve to have a stress-free day. Let us help you select the insurance coverage you want for your wedding and everything that goes along with it. So, when the big day arrives, all you have to worry about is having a great time!
Spring is here in Minnesota (well, sort of!), and summer is right around the corner. It’s time to think about getting your boat out on the water.
Actually, first things first: It’s time to think about getting your boat ready to get out on the water. From the engine and propeller down to your trailer, a little preparation as you get your boat out of winter storage can help you start off the season right — and get the most out of your time on board.
Check your safety gear. Do you have enough life jackets? Are they in good shape? What about onboard fire extinguishers? Are your navigation lights working?
Consider adding safety items. Should disaster strike, an emergency position indicating radio beacon can help rescuers find you and your boat. And, if you have an enclosed space on the boat, you should have a carbon-monoxide detector.
Examine your fuel system. Any leaks or damage should be addressed immediately.
Look at all belts, hoses and cables. Those that appear brittle or cracked most likely need to be replaced.
Check fluid levels, such as engine oil. Change or add as needed.Have your battery and electrical system checked. Look for corrosion on your electrical connections.
Make sure your propeller isn’t banged up. Dings and distortion can cause vibration, as well as damage your drive train.
Look at the hull for blisters and cracks. Repair or patch damage, and make sure to use an environmentally safe solution when washing the exterior and interior.
Don’t forget the trailer. Treat your trailer with as much care as you show your boat. Inspect the hubs occasionally, and check your lights before every trip. If you go boating in salt water, give the trailer a very good rinse afterward.
Don’t forget insurance, either! It’s a good idea to check your coverage as you head into boating season, too. Just give us a call here at Sentinel Assurance Group, and we can help you with a quick insurance review.
There’s nothing quite like a sunny – and safe – day on our local lakes and rivers in Minnesota. We’ll see you out there!
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!
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
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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!