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I Bought a Boat! Now What? Boat Insurance Basics for Your New Toy

Getting your very own boat is a fantastic achievement. The chances are that you want to hit the water straight away. Before you head to the lakes, however, it is crucial to take care of boat insurance. Without it, you could find your sailing dreams sunk before they even get started.

The world of insurance can be complicated, especially when you throw marine toys into the mix. If you need a boat insurance company, Lake Region Insurance Agency is here to help. We have the experience to know what you need to protect your investment. Reach out to our team of independent agents for a free review of your policies.

What Is Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance works like car insurance, and it offers excellent protection for you and your vessel. With adequate coverage in place, the policy will kick in to cover losses due to collision, theft, and vandalism. It can also include claims from third parties. If someone gets hurt or you damage someone’s property with your boat, your policy may cover those costs or legal expenses.

Boat Insurance Basics to Protect Your Investment

As with auto policies, there are several boat insurance choices available. Your agent can help you tailor a plan to fit your specific needs. Here are some boat insurance basics for you to consider.

Most boat policies will offer the following:

  • Comprehensive Coverage – This piece covers losses due to vandalism, theft, or fire. Plans typically pay for repair or replacement of your boat up to a set dollar limit.
  • Liability Coverage – This component covers the cost of property damage that you cause with your boat. It can include damage caused to another boat in the dock or on the water. And if you are at fault in an accident, it can cover legal costs.
  • Bodily Injury Coverage – If someone sustains an injury because of your boat, this plan can cover medical costs and time for missed work.
  • Collision Coverage – This type of policy covers the repairs to your boat after a collision. It can cover the full replacement value if needed.

Extra Coverage Options

In addition to the core policy needs, boat owners also may choose from a range of extras for added protection and financial security. These include:

  • Uninsured Boaters Coverage – As the name suggests, this protects you if an uninsured boater hits you. Policies can cover the loss of wages and the cost of medical treatment. They may also include other damage sustained as a result of a boating accident. If the liable boater does not have adequate insurance, you will still have protection.
  • Total Loss Replacement – Sometimes, the repairs to a boat would cost more than its value. In that situation, this plan replaces your vessel with the latest model or a comparable option.
  • Actual Cash Value – If your boat is totaled, this plan pays you the value of the vessel at the time of the accident.
  • On-Water Towing – This policy covers the cost of towing if your boat becomes disabled on the water.

All of these extras can help to make your life a little easier if disaster strikes. Your agent can help you choose the correct coverage for you.

Why Do I Need Boat Insurance?

A boat is a significant investment, and insurance helps you take steps to protect it. Boat insurance offers several benefits, including:

  • Financial Security – When accidents occur, repairs and medical costs can mount up quickly. Making sure that you have sufficient coverage helps to alleviate this financial strain. It offers a buffer in the event that things go wrong. Insurance protects your investment and your long-term financial health.
  • Time Saver – Some policies will replace your boat if there is a collision or other damage. If you would not be able to afford a new one immediately, this speeds up the process and gets you back on the water in no time.
  • Legal Protection – Depending on where you moor your boat, you may not have a choice about purchasing boat insurance. Some marinas and some states require at least a liability policy. If you get caught without insurance, you could lose your boating privileges and face steep penalties.

One devastating error some boat owners make is to assume their homeowners policy covers their vessel. Usually, this coverage does not extend to your boat, especially when you are on the water. It’s crucial to check all the details and get the right kind of plan in place.

Remember Boat Safety

Insurance is not a substitute for safe boating behavior. Different areas have various regulations regarding licensing, education, and age of the operator. To keep yourself, your passengers, and other water enthusiasts safe, follow basic safety guidelines:

  • Take a boating safety class before heading out for the first time.
  • Adhere to all local laws for boating.
  • Have plenty of personal floatation devices on board for everyone. It is always safest to wear a PFE when you are on the water.
  • Do not drink and boat. Have a designated driver just as you would for driving a car.
  • Keep a warning flag on board to raise whenever someone is in the water.
  • Pay attention to potential weather events.

We Can Help You Get Ready for the Lakes

If you need boat insurance for your vessel, our team can help you get just the right policy. We also have plans to cover other marine vehicles such as jet skis. To determine the level of coverage you need, we will consider:

  • The vessel’s age and condition
  • The vessel’s value
  • The vessel’s style – for example, fishing boat vs. ski boat

As an independent agency, we can access the policies from a wide range of insurance companies. Our focus is on making sure you receive the best possible plan for your protection. 

Working together, we craft a personalized plan that takes care of the essentials and gives you peace of mind. And our team can help you get all the different types of coverage that you may need, from home to auto to life. 

So if you’re eager to get your new boat out onto the water, call one of our offices to get started. We have staff in New London, Cokato, and Willmar, MN, to serve you.

 

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Does My Renters Insurance Cover All of My Stuff

If you are one of the millions of Americans who rent their home instead of owning, you probably have considered renters insurance. While most people have heard of renters insurance, many do not fully understand what it covers.

Whether you rent by choice or necessity, rental coverage is vital to protect your belongings. You might not be responsible for the building, but you want to be sure all of your personal items inside have protection.

At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we have years of experience providing insurance coverage to our neighbors throughout Greater Minnesota. We have the plans you need at reasonable rates. Call us today for a quote.

What is Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance plays a few roles. It provides coverage for the cost of replacing your belongings after damage, theft, or other incidents. Renters insurance also covers expenses if someone sustains injuries in your home.

While the landlord is responsible for the structure, you need protection for your things. For example, if there is a fire that damages your belongings, renters insurance can cover the cost to replace the items you lost. 

 

Or if someone sustains an injury in your home, and you are at fault, this policy could pay for their medical bills. Renters insurance may also cover legal expenses if they decide to bring a lawsuit against you. Without renters insurance, the costs could be excessively high in any of these situations.

 

Although the law does not require renters to carry this specific policy, many landlords and leasing agents do. And even if it is not a requirement, it certainly is a wise investment for the peace of mind it gives you.

How Does Renters Insurance Work?

It’s critical to work with an independent agent when you set up your renters policy. You want to be sure you have sufficient coverage for all your belongings. An independent broker can search for plans from many companies to find the right fit.

When you put your policy into place, you may have to declare certain high-value items, like jewelry or collectibles. If you have an extensive collection of valuable items, ensure your plan adequately covers them, and ask your agent about an additional valuable items policy.

When an incident occurs, you will start a claim, just as you would after a car accident. Depending on the policy, your insurance company will either pay you the “actual cash value” or the “replacement cost” of your items. The actual cash value is the depreciated amount based on the age of an object. Replacement value is the amount it costs to purchase the item today.

Just like with auto or homeowner’s insurance, you will choose the amount of coverage you need, which is the amount you can claim in a loss. Your premium is the amount you pay to own the policy, and your deductible is what you have to pay before insurance coverage kicks in on a claim.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance covers your belongings inside your rented home, condo, or apartment. When you lose items to damage, vandalism, or theft, you can usually file a claim. This type of policy also can cover living arrangements and expenses if you cannot live in the rented home due to a covered event. 

There is no one-size-fits-all renters insurance policy, so your coverage will depend on how valuable your items are. It is critical that you have sufficient coverage for all of your belongings. Often, people underestimate the value of what they own, and they end up underinsured. Then, if a tragedy happens, they may not receive payment for everything. 

Work with your agent to be sure you purchase the right amount of coverage. That way, if you own something, and it is on the property you are renting, your insurance will likely cover it. 

Renters insurance typically covers items lost due to:

  • Fire
  • Smoke Damage
  • Lightning Strike
  • Wind and Hail
  • Explosions
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Water Damage (from broken pipes or appliances)
  • Mold
  • Falling Objects
  • Snow and Ice Damage

What Does Renters Insurance Not Cover?

While renters insurance offers significant protection, it doesn’t cover losses under some circumstances. As with homeowner’s insurance, policies generally exclude certain things.

Floods and Earthquakes

Extreme natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes generally don’t fall under a renters policy. Landslides and mudflows are other excluded events in most plans. So a traditional renters insurance policy will not cover damage or loss to your items in the event of a flood or earthquake. However, some companies offer these coverages for an extra fee.

If you live in a floodplain or an area prone to earthquakes, these are additional coverages you should consider.

Bed Bugs and Pests

Unfortunately, bed bugs do not fall under most renters insurance policies. Bed bugs and other pests are considered maintenance issues and do not qualify for a claim on your rental coverage.

Damage to Your Car

Although your belongings inside your car may have coverage under a renters policy, the vehicle itself does not. You will need a separate auto insurance plan for that. 

Your Roommate’s Things

If you have a roommate, it’s important to know that your policy will not cover their things. And their plan, if they have one, will not cover your belongings. You could choose to list them on your policy, but this will likely increase your premium and deductible. 

And if you have friends who store things at your place, your plan will not cover their stuff if damage or theft occurs. So make sure they know that!

Call Lake Region Insurance Agency Today

If you are renting your home and have no insurance in place, call Lake Region Insurance Agency today. Or if you’re not sure if you have sufficient coverage, let’s talk. We will go over your needs in a free insurance review to be sure you have the right protection.

As an independent insurance agency, we do the heavy lifting for you. We research the best policies for your situation so that you have just what you need. With multi-line and multi-policy discounts available, we can find the right fit for you.

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Why Is It Best to Work With an Independent Insurance Broker

Taking care of insurance is a necessary part of adult life, but finding the best deal can be a challenge. With so many options available, it may feel overwhelming to understand what you need. Working with an independent insurance broker is the best way to make the process easier and more cost-effective.

Lake Region Insurance Agency is proud to have independent agents to meet your insurance needs. We offer free reviews of the coverage you have and can help you fill in the gaps without confusion. Stop in at any of our Greater Minnesota insurance offices to get started.

What Is An Independent Insurance Broker?

As the name suggests, an independent agent works independently of a brand or company. So, rather than only selling policies from Allstate, for example, they have many different options to offer clients. This independence means they have access to a vast number of plans and are not bound to one company.

An independent broker can represent several insurance firms. This variety also allows them to provide services in a vast range of areas, from auto insurance to commercial policies and everything in between.

Advantages of An Independent Insurance Agent

Choosing an insurance agent without ties to one company provides many benefits:

1. You have many more options available.    

Many insurance companies specialize in a particular product or service, such as health insurance or auto insurance. This expertise means they have a strong knowledge of that niche but are unable to offer assistance on anything outside their specialty. 

An independent insurance agent has training in dozens of different products. This range gives them extensive knowledge and experience. Their customers can access a wide variety of products without having to go from brand to brand. 

Brokers have contacts and connections across the insurance industry. This choice means that you will have the chance to pick from a far more extensive range of products than if you remain with a particular company.

As well as accessing multiple insurance products in one place, independent brokers work with your best interest in mind. They do not have to worry about quotas and meeting the company’s demands to sell certain products. Instead, they can focus on getting the perfect policy or policies for what you need.

2. You will save time.

An independent insurance broker does the time-consuming work for you. They can swiftly search available plans that match your requirements. Their expertise makes quick work of a job that might take you hours and hours of online searching. Your time is highly valuable. Let an independent agent handle this task for you.

3. There is no extra charge for their expert help.

Some people have a mistaken idea that they have to pay the broker for their work. Independent insurance agents receive compensation from the companies, not from you. You do not have to pay extra for their service.

4. You can receive specialized insurance.

Some insurance needs fall into a niche. Areas such as critical illness protection or cyber liability insurance can be personal, lengthy, and complicated. In these areas, you may need to have coverage tailored to your exact needs. This level of detail can be hard to access when you are researching by yourself or using comparison tools. A broker will help.

A broker’s help is also great when you need to insure a high-value item, such as a piece of artwork or an antique. Experts in the industry will be able to help you purchase appropriate coverage with sufficient protection.

5. You will receive the best coverage for your needs.

Corporate insurance firms need you to purchase their policy. That is their business model. This plan means that they may not necessarily seek out a product that meets all your needs. The company’s sales goals generally come first, and this can be detrimental to customers.

An independent broker, however, has no such loyalties. They are not tied to any brand or company. Every quote or suggestion is in response to what you need, ensuring relevant policy results. You can analyze their proposals with trust and peace of mind. They take the time to learn about you and your situation to find the right fit.

6. You can save money.

The benefit of using an independent insurance broker is that they can see the big picture. They have access to a significant number of deals, policies, and offers, allowing them to find the best rates. 

Independent agents also can be sure they are comparing apples to apples as they help you shop for policies. They will make sure that property, liability limits and deductibles match up before showing you the different rates. Since they spend time getting to know what you need, they can find just the right policy at a competitive price. 

7. Get help with claims.

Using a broker to buy your insurance policy also helps to speed up the process if you need to make a claim. With just one call to your independent agent, the process will be underway. 

Filing a claim infers that you are already in a stressful situation. Your experienced broker can help relieve some of that worry. From navigating the initial report to submitting paperwork for settlement, an independent insurance broker can help you the whole way.

The Next Steps

If you are ready to shop for a new insurance policy, take advantage of the skills of a broker. Here at Lake Region Insurance Agency, we provide advice and assistance on a range of insurance types:

  • Auto
  • Home
  • Commercial
  • Life
  • Health

We have offices to serve you in New London, Willmar, and Cokato, MN. Our qualified team of experts is on hand to help you with all your insurance needs. Our neighbors and friends rely on us to provide excellent service, and it’s an honor to do just that.

Get in touch today for a free quote to see how we can streamline your insurance search. It doesn’t have to be stressful. We can take care of all the hard work for you and offer the most competitive rates. We’d love to get to know you. 

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Does My Car Insurance Cover Me In a Rental?

Ahhhh, vacation! You step off the plane, stretch your legs, and get ready for the fun to begin. But first, you have to get your rental car. And when you do, they’ll inevitably ask if you want car insurance for the rental.

If you’re not ready for the question, and your brain is already in vacation mode, you might not know what to say. Do you purchase unnecessary additional insurance and potentially waste valuable money? Or do you decline and risk not having coverage, hoping there’s no damage to the car? 

Avoid that uncertainty and potential extra cost. Be ready to get straight to the fun on your next holiday by contacting Lake Region Insurance Agency. We are the independent agent you need for all of your Minnesota insurance needs. We can make sure you’re covered for every step of your vacation, as well as your daily life.

Should I Pay for Rental Car Insurance from the Rental Agency?

Here’s the thing that rental companies would rather you not know: most car insurance companies cover their drivers when they are in rental cars.

Female Motorist Involved In Car Accident Calling Insurance Company Or Recovery Service

But that doesn’t mean you always have coverage in these situations, so you need to do a little research. Some details will help you decide what to do, including your current level of car insurance coverage and which credit card you use to pay for the rental car. Some credit cards offer coverage when you rent a vehicle. These pieces of information are important to know before you go to the rental agency.

Different Types of Rental Car Insurance

Before you decide whether or not to purchase rental car coverage, you should understand the different types of car insurance. Policies are not all interchangeable, so it’s essential to know what coverage you already have.

Here are some of the typical kinds of car insurance you will see:

  • Liability Protection – This is the most common form of insurance because most states require that every registered car has at least this level of protection. Liability coverage can include both bodily injury and property damage liability. It helps to cover medical or legal costs if you injure another person or damage their property while driving. Sometimes this is called Supplemental Liability Protection by rental car companies because it supplements the coverage you already have with your personal auto insurance.
  • Comprehensive and Collision Damage – This coverage kicks in if there is damage to another vehicle or a stationary object when your car is in an accident. It may also include theft and vandalism. With personal car insurance, this is optional when you own your car outright, so you may or may not have it already.
  • Personal Protection – This coverage may also be called Personal Injury Protection (PIP). It covers medical costs incurred by the driver or passenger due to a car accident. Generally, this coverage is already included if you selected liability in MN, under a personal auto policy.
  • Personal Effects Coverage – This type of insurance will cover reimbursement if any of the renter’s items are stolen out of the vehicle. Many people find this coverage unnecessary because most homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies cover items stolen from a car. But again, check these details ahead of time so that you know what you want to do.

Before You Purchase Rental Car Coverage

When you need to decide if you should purchase additional rental car coverage, find out the following information. It will allow you to make the best decision for your specific situation. For each question, contact your insurance agent to verify coverage.

Do you have full coverage already?

If your personal auto policy includes both comprehensive and collision coverage, then you likely have rental protection for a variety of situations such as:

  • Vandalism
  • Theft of vehicle
  • Damaged windshield
  • Fire
  • Damage from hail or lightning
  • Collision with an animal
  • Damage from hitting another vehicle or a fixed object like a pole or a tree

Be sure to check with your agent. Even if you have full coverage on your personal car, it might not extend to rental vehicles. If this is true for you, consider purchasing the rental car company’s Collision Damage or Loss insurance.

Do you have liability coverage? How much?

If your auto policy includes liability insurance, which it must in most states, you’ll want to know its limits. This coverage kicks in to pay for the other driver’s injuries if you are at fault in an accident.

If you only carry the minimum amount of coverage required by the state, you might want to consider increasing it. Or you could purchase the supplemental liability insurance from the rental car company.

Do you have renters or homeowners insurance?

If you’re concerned about theft of your personal belongings, you don’t necessarily need to purchase the rental car company’s Personal Effects insurance. Most people already have a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Both types of insurance cover items stolen from vehicles. As long as the item stolen would be covered in your home, it likely will have coverage in the rental car. But double-check with your insurance agent before you decide about the rental company’s policy.

Sometimes You Need the Rental Agency’s Coverage

It’s a wise choice to buy rental car insurance in some instances:

  • You don’t own a vehicle, so you don’t carry car insurance.
  • Your credit card doesn’t provide any rental car coverage in its perks.
  • Convenience is worth the cost.
  • Your car insurance has low coverage limits.
  • The additional expense is worth the peace of mind it brings to you.
  • You didn’t check coverage with your insurance company before traveling.

Learn More About Car Insurance

At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we are independent agents who are here to serve you. Because we can offer a wide range of products from many companies, we can find the right fit for your insurance needs. Whether you’re planning the trip of a lifetime or need some advice on day-to-day coverage, our team can help. Call or stop by our offices to learn more.

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5 Reasons You Need Life Insurance and How to Get It

Very few people want to think about life insurance. It’s uncomfortable to think about the circumstances that would lead to a loved one cashing in your life insurance policy. Despite the discomfort, however, the fact remains that life insurance is crucial. And ignoring it can be harmful to those you care about deeply.

Purchasing a life insurance policy gives you and your family tremendous peace of mind. And it helps you ensure that your loved ones do not have their lives turned upside down any more than necessary.

Not sure where to start? The staff at Lake Region Insurance Agency is here to help. We can work with you to navigate the process so that your family and assets have adequate protection.

Why Do I Need Life Insurance?

Spoiler alert: no one lives forever. Until science catches up with science fiction, we all will pass from this earth eventually. And since you can’t accurately predict when that will happen, you need to have a protective policy in place. Here are five key reasons you should purchase a life insurance policy.

1. You have dependents who rely on you.

Does anyone in your household depend upon your income? If so, life insurance is essential to provide for them in the event of your death. Responsibly planning for their needs is an act of love. A life insurance policy is critical if you have any of these dependents:

  • Children 
  • Spouse/Domestic Partner
  • Siblings
  • Parents
  • Disabled Relative 

Take into consideration anyone you’re responsible for who cannot support themselves if something happens to you.

A life insurance policy is particularly important if your spouse or partner is a stay-at-home parent. When one partner passes away, the bills don’t change. You want to ensure that your other half can handle the necessary expenses even with a tragic change of circumstances. 

It is also important to have a policy for the stay-at-home parent. If something were to happen to them, the surviving spouse suddenly might need to pay for new expenses. Daycare, housekeeping, or other services to keep the household running could become necessary.

Portrait of three siblings

An adequate policy can also make it possible for your children to attend college or have funds for a downpayment on a home. These things can still happen in your absence if you purchase a good life insurance policy.

2. You have a mortgage to pay.

If you and your family are living in a home with a mortgage, the house could be the first thing to go if you die. Death does not mean that your loved ones get a break from making the mortgage payments. 

A life insurance policy can give you confidence that your family can meet its obligations and stay in the home if they choose to do so. No one wants their family to have to handle the trauma and stress of losing their home, relocating, and managing property issues. Processing a death is stressful enough. 

A life insurance policy can require that the mortgage be paid off with the funds. Or it can merely provide enough cash for your loved ones to meet the monthly payments.

3. You need to cover funeral expenses.

Something that many people don’t realize is that death is quite expensive. The average cost of a funeral in America runs about $7000 to $12000. This amount is a considerable sum of money to need suddenly. 

Many life insurance policies will include funeral costs as part of the package, leaving one less thing for your family to worry about after your passing. 

4. You have debts or taxes to pay.

Death can also result in a heavy financial burden in the form of taxes for those left behind. These obligations automatically pass to your heirs and can have a significant impact on their inheritance. 

If you die with any consumer debt, such as car loans or credit card balances, your estate will be responsible for paying those. A life insurance policy can provide funds for your family to dispense with these debts.

Without life insurance, they may have to sell assets to cover the costs, and this leaves them at a disadvantage. A sufficient policy ensures that a chunk of money is there for them to cover any debts or taxes the estate may owe.

5. Your lifestyle makes you more vulnerable.

Insurance is a numbers game. And from taking a high-risk job to enjoying thrill-seeking sports, there are lifestyle choices that make death statistically more likely. 

If this sounds like you, it is the right choice to make sure your loved ones have protection when you’re gone. And if those life circumstances change, you can always adjust the policy to reflect a lower-risk lifestyle.

Take responsibility for your choices, career, and preferences by taking care of your family. Give them protection and peace of mind if the worst thing were to happen.

How Do I Get Life Insurance?

Since you now know that life insurance is the best way to go, there are a few other choices to make. The first decision is whether you would prefer a lifelong or term policy. A lifelong selection covers you until you die. The term option is for a specified amount of time, such as until your children are 25 years old. 

You will also need to determine the beneficiaries and any specifications you would like included, such as funeral costs. In addition, you’ll need to choose the value of the policy. Your Lake Region broker will be able to help with this decision.

Depending on your age and the value of the policy you want to purchase, you may need to have a medical assessment. Typically, this screening is minimal. It often involves having a nurse come to your house to take your vitals, ask some questions, and possibly do a blood draw.

Work with an Expert

Here at the Lake Region Insurance Agency, we have the tools you need to secure a comprehensive, personalized policy that is the perfect fit for your family. We offer options for our clients in Cokato, Willmar, and New London, MN, and beyond. Call or stop by any of our offices for a free Insurance review with one of our professionals.