by admin | May 1, 2018 | auto insurance, business insurance, home insurance, specialty insurance, umbrella insurance
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!
by admin | Apr 1, 2018 | auto insurance, farm insurance, home insurance, specialty insurance
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.
by admin | Jan 1, 2018 | home insurance, specialty insurance
Everyone has possessions of value in their home, some of a high monetary worth and some which simply hold a great deal of importance to the owner. With a typical home insurance policy the major items in a home, including appliances, furniture and clothing, are covered in the event of a theft or loss. There’s also some of coverage for other valuable items, such as jewelry, personal computers or antiques.
The dollar value paid out on these valuables by a home insurance policy can be quite low, however, and is often not nearly enough to cover the cost of the item. To avoid this from happening, many insurance companies offer another level of home item insurance, such as a “premium” or “ultra” coverage. However, even this type of policy will not pay out for extreme or rare situations, like a valuable being damaged by a houseguest. In situations where high-value items in a home fall outside the scope of even the broadest home insurance policy, a personal articles floater may be a viable option.
When a personal articles policy is purchased, it will require a detailed list or “schedule” of the property that will be covered. Each item must have an appraised value attached to it, and some insurance companies will require proof of that appraisal. If a loss occurs the insurance company pays out the lowest of the following options: actual cash value, the amount the property could reasonably be expected to be repaired or replaced, or the amount of insurance.
So, that wedding ring your spouse purchased for you, make sure you get coverage! Sentinel Assurance is here to help, let us know what your needs are.