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What Does a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy Cover?

A personal liability umbrella policy is an additional insurance plan you can purchase. It is supplemental and doesn’t stand alone as an insurance package. Instead, it protects you against expenses that your homeowners or auto insurance policies don’t cover. 

This includes damages beyond the maximum your other coverage will pay. It also covers some situations that don’t fall under a standard policy, such as the expense of a lawsuit. 

Don’t leave your financial security to chance. Find out about the options available to you and get a free quote from Lake Region Insurance Agency today.

Why Would I Need an Umbrella Policy? 

Umbrella insurance coverage starts where your other policies end. It can protect you if a car accident or other incident creates damage that outpaces what your plan covers. Expenses can stack up quickly and leave you buried in debt if you don’t have adequate insurance.

Here is a sample scenario:

You are on your way home from the airport. It starts to rain, and then it turns to freezing rain. You try to find a safe place to park, but your car slides and swipes three vehicles. Naturally, one of them is a Lamborghini.

Luckily, you have auto insurance, right? 

In most situations, your auto insurance is going to do a great job of covering you. Your run-of-the-mill fender benders typically don’t rack up astronomical damages. But every policy has limits. 

While it might seem impossible to do hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, it actually isn’t that hard. Depending on the value of items and vehicles damaged, or if there are injuries, one accident can put you over the limit.

If your auto insurance has a $300,000 limit, but you’re held responsible for $500,000 worth of damage, you are accountable for the other $200,000. That amount will sink most people, and you could end up losing your assets.

Now, let’s run that again with an umbrella policy in place: 

The weather is awful. You lose traction and slide into the parked vehicles, including the Lamborghini.

Your auto insurance kicks in to cover the damage, and you pay your deductible. The insurance company pays out $300,000, and your umbrella policy picks up the rest.

This scenario helps you protect your life savings because you don’t have a judgment hanging over you. You can move on with your life.

A personal liability umbrella policy also helps protect you in the case of a lawsuit. For example, if someone falls on your steps and sustains an injury, they might sue you. If your dog gets in a fight with the neighbor’s dog or bites the neighbor, they could bring charges. 

Umbrella insurance can pay the medical bills of the person who fell down your steps. It can compensate your neighbor for his dog’s lost show earnings. And it can help you protect your personal assets in the case of a judgment against you.

I’m Not a Millionaire. Do I Really Need More Insurance? 

Many people go their whole lives without filing a homeowner’s insurance claim, having a severe accident, or getting sued. Others figure that if they don’t have considerable assets, they don’t need to worry about lawsuits.

Yes, the chances of being named in a suit are relatively small. But the financial consequences can be devastating.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • No matter the size of your life’s savings, it could be wiped out if you lose a lawsuit.
  • Even if you win the legal battle, you may be responsible for fees to defend yourself. Legal defense costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars or more.
  • If you have no assets currently, the court can still attach a judgment to your future earnings. 
  • Personal liability umbrella insurance can cover unusual circumstances that you would not typically carry coverage for, such as renting a jet ski.
  • Umbrella insurance covers libel and slander.

There are plenty of situations that may increase your risk of being named in a lawsuit. For example, you and your assets may be at higher risk if you:

  • Own a rental property
  • Coach a children’s sports team
  • Volunteer at a nonprofit
  • Hunt
  • Participate in contact sports
  • Own particular breeds of dog
  • Own a trampoline or swimming pool
  • Have significant assets
  • Have high potential earnings – Liability judgments can attach to future income.

What Doesn’t Umbrella Insurance Cover? 

Umbrella policies cover your liability. That means they pay the cost of other people’s losses if you are responsible for it. 

But they don’t cover your losses. For example, if a burst pipe floods your apartment, an umbrella policy won’t pay for damage to your things. But if the water ruins your downstairs neighbor’s items, an umbrella policy can kick in.

Your umbrella policy will not come into play until after your homeowners or auto insurance pays. It also won’t eliminate your deductible on those policies. 

This plan also won’t pay out for damage you cause intentionally. If you throw a brick through your neighbor’s window, the repercussions of that will be yours alone. Your homeowner’ insurance will also refuse to pay in this type of circumstance. 

A personal umbrella liability policy also excludes any liability you incur performing business or professional activities. You need a business liability policy to meet that need.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

Just as with any insurance decision, there is no one-size-fits-all personal umbrella insurance plan. You will need to work with your independent broker to determine the best extra liability coverage for you. By looking at your budget and total assets, your agent can help you settle on an appropriate amount of coverage.

Talk to Lake Region About a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy

This type of insurance plan is an inexpensive way to give yourself a sense of security. You can feel confident and prepared for almost any liability circumstance. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency today and find out how you can have this peace of mind.

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A Guide to Choosing Group Health Insurance Plans

When it comes to choosing a group health insurance plan, the array of options can be overwhelming. Insurance is a crowded market with plenty of options on the table. As an employer, your responsibility is to your workers, and you want to offer them the best coverage.

Note that not all group health insurance plans are created equal. Some may be a better fit for your team than others. Engaging the services of an independent broker, such as Lake Region Insurance Agency, narrows down the search. Reach out today to talk with a team member.

Why Should I Consider Group Health Insurance Plans?

If your company’s workforce includes 50 or more full-time or full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, you are likely required to offer them medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act lays out guidelines and requirements

But even companies that do not have to provide insurance coverage often choose to do so as an employee perk. It is an excellent way to find and retain highly-qualified talent for your team.

Opting for group coverage offers a range of benefits for both the employee and employer, including:

  • Greater Choice – As an employer, you can shop from many insurance companies to find the best offering for your workers and yourself. And employees generally can choose from several plans that they otherwise would not be able to access. 
  • Affordability – The larger number of subscribers in group plans spreads the risk for the insurer. A lower risk for the underwriters translates into a lower premium for all of the people on the plan. 
  • Better Coverage – Group health insurance plans often cover more services than individual coverage. They may offer lower copays or more visits to specialists, such as physical therapists.
  • Tax Benefits – As the employer, you may qualify for tax credits when you offer group coverage and pay part of the premiums. 
  • Benefits For The Job Market – Offering health insurance is a sure-fire way to make your workplace more appealing to employees. It demonstrates that you have their interests at heart and value your staff. In addition, providing health insurance coverage can cut down on sick days and reduced productivity.

Doctor's visit covered under group health plans

Consider Voluntary Plans

If you are a small or microbusiness, a voluntary plan might be the best fit. This option allows employees to contribute a specific amount to a group plan while saving money on the total cost. This option carries little to no cost for employers. Premiums come from the worker’s paycheck pre-tax, so there is a tax saving for them, too.

How to Choose a Compliant Plan

Choosing a group health plan can be tricky, and it’s crucial that it is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. In addition to the rules regarding the number of employees, group health insurance plans must also meet the following criteria:

Must Cover Essential Health Benefits

Any group plan you offer to your workforce must include coverage for the ten essential health benefits (EHBs):

  1. Hospitalization Services
  2. Ambulatory Care – This includes doctor visits and outpatient care.
  3. Emergency Services 
  4. Maternity and Newborn Care
  5. Mental Health Care and Substance Abuse Treatment
  6. Lab Tests  
  7. Prescription Drugs
  8. Rehabilitative and Habilitative Services – These can include things such as speech therapy or occupational therapy.
  9. Pediatric Services for Children – This section must include vision and dental care under most circumstances.
  10. Preventive Care, “Well Check” Visits, and Chronic Disease Management

To be compliant, a group plan must not place a dollar limit on EHBs. It may, however, set a limit on the number of visits in some categories, such as rehabilitative services. 

Physical therapy under group health plans

Must Qualify as Affordable 

In 2020, requirements state that the lowest coverage option must have premiums costing less than 9.78% of your employee’s overall income.

Must Provide Minimum Value

The plan must cover at least 60% of the expected total cost of services.

Making the Decision

Whether you have a legal obligation to provide insurance or not, having a group health plan is valuable. As you work with your independent insurance broker, here are some things to consider.

Make Sure It Fits Your Budget

If your staff has fewer than 50 employees, you are exempt from the ACA’s shared responsibility provision. As a result, you legally do not have to pay a percentage of the premiums. You will be able to choose to pay 100% of your employee’s premiums, pay a smaller portion, or have your employees pay the full cost.

It is essential to do your research in advance. You want a plan that balances the needs of your employees with the company budget.

Consider Health Spending Accounts

A health spending account can allow you to offer the flexibility employees need, at a price your business can afford. Employers and employees may contribute to these accounts, and then employees can use the funds for qualified health expenses. 

Group health plans and HSAs for medications

Work with an Expert

Trying to navigate this decision on your own is frustrating at best and costly, at worst. You will have hundreds of plans from insurance companies to consider. And finding the right fit is overwhelming for most business owners.

Companies may bombard you with options ranging from PPOs to HMOs. You will see lists of percentages and copayments. Comparing these plans as you try to decide which one to choose is enough to give business owners nightmares.

Instead, find an independent agent to help you make the right choice for your workers. An independent broker is not limited to a particular plan or company. They help you select what you need without stress.

How Can We Help?

Choosing your group insurance policy is time-consuming on your own because there are so many factors to take into account. Here at Lake Region, we have the autonomy to access the very best deals. 

We work hard to make sure you have a clear view of your options. And we help you understand the health insurance marketplace.

As an independent agency, we do not have ties to a particular firm, group, or policy. This objectivity means that we will be able to build the perfect plan for your business. Get in touch today to see how we can help. Our team members in New London, Cokato, and Willmar, MN, are here to serve.

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How Does Farm Insurance Coverage Work?

Of all the insurance types on the market, farm coverage is perhaps one of the less well-known examples. Despite its relative obscurity, farm insurance coverage can be a lifesaver for those in the agricultural sector. The right policy can offer tremendous advantages and significant peace of mind.

From protecting machinery to covering livestock, a farm policy can help guard the essentials you need for your livelihood. At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we know how crucial this coverage is for our farming neighbors. Reach out to a team member today for a free insurance review and quote.

What Is Farm Insurance Coverage?

Also known as agricultural or ranch coverage, farm insurance is protection designed for those in agribusiness. It can protect you in the event of many different losses, including loss of:

  • Business 
  • Buildings
  • Livestock
  • Machinery
  • Equipment
  • Tools

Farming is an unpredictable industry at the best of times. It is reassuring to know that your business and livelihood have protection. From unexpected events to freak weather conditions, strange things can happen that damage your ability to earn a living.

What Is Covered By Farm Insurance?

Farm and ranch insurance is a unique type of policy. It can protect you commercially and personally. Its foundation is similar to homeowners insurance, and then the farm owner can add more coverage for commercial property. 

There are four main components to consider in your farm insurance coverage. It’s crucial that you discuss each of these with your independent insurance broker so that you have the protection you need. Not every policy automatically includes all of the following:

1. Farm Machinery and Equipment

Machinery and equipment are integral to any farming operation, and losing them can have significant consequences. 

Damage or loss can also result in a hefty bill if you need to replace anything. A tractor alone can cost more than $200,000 but is essential for any farmer. By taking out an insurance policy, you protect your finances and ensure that the farm can still operate in the face of property casualty.

This category is broad and covers most essential farming property, including:

  • Tractors 
  • Planters 
  • Field Equipment 
  • Hay Rakers
  • Combines 

In addition, portable structures and fences may also have coverage, depending on your policy.

2. Livestock

Livestock is often the heart of commercial agribusiness, so insurance saves you tremendous difficulty if something happens to your animals. 

Your insurance plan will outline the types of peril that have coverage: basic, broad, or special. If livestock is killed or injured due to a covered hazard, you will be able to recoup your cost for the animal. Examples of peril may include:

  • Lightning
  • Windstorm
  • Hit by Vehicle
  • Theft
  • Sinkhole
  • Attack by Wild Animal

Some policies will also protect against freak weather conditions such as floods or earthquakes. Speak with your insurance agent for a full understanding of your plan’s coverage.

If you own horses, you also may be able to purchase coverage specifically for equines. Due to their range of functions, from showing to breeding, horses are significant investments and require specialized coverage. You will generally be able to claim for incidents including:

  • Mortality due to perils or theft
  • Death due to illness
  • Major medical expenses, including surgical costs
  • Compensation for loss of use – This coverage may apply if a horse’s illness or injury forces them to miss breeding or showing season.

Ensuring that your livestock has coverage can protect you from a financial nightmare. When comparing agribusiness insurance carriers, be sure you are clear on the protection you need.

3. Farm Products 

In addition to the machinery and livestock you own, your farm also requires specific products to function. Silage, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and animal feed need coverage in your farm insurance policy, as well. 

It is critical to note that this kind of insurance only covers your seeds while they are in storage. Once they go into the ground, a farm or ranch insurance policy no longer applies. 

Crops do not have protection under this type of plan. Talk to your insurance agent about a policy that provides that level of coverage.

4. Farm Liability Coverage

Farms are inherently dangerous places. With heavy machinery and unpredictable animals, accidents are likely to happen. 

Liability coverage can apply to a wide range of situations. For example, if a visitor to your farm gets hurt, it may help cover their medical bills. Or if your cows escape and run through a neighbor’s fence, the policy can cover the damage.

Legal fees from injuries or loss of personal property can add up quickly. So liability coverage is vital to protect your farm and livelihood. 

Are Any Items Not Covered?

Farm and ranch insurance products can carry many caveats. It is essential that you understand what your policy will and will not cover. Most farm plans exclude the following:

  • Fencing – You may be able to purchase a policy extension to cover this.
  • Specific Perils – Be sure you understand all covered and excluded events.
  • Fire – Your insurance agent should discuss any situations in which coverage would not apply to fire damage or loss. For example, there may be specific guidelines surrounding road accessibility for fire trucks.
  • Crops – To protect planted seeds and the crops that you grow, you need a separate policy.

Do I Need Farm Insurance?

Farming can be a volatile industry with thin profit margins. A great deal of your profit potential resides in your physical structures, equipment, and livestock. Taking the time to purchase insurance now could save heartbreak down the line. 

How Can We Help?

Farm insurance is a unique niche, and many insurance companies are touting their services. How do you pick the best option?

Here at Lake Region, your protection is our priority.  As independent brokers, we can access a range of agribusiness insurance providers. This means that we work to find perfect coverage options for you without being obligated to a particular  carrier. 

If you are a farmer or rancher, call or stop in one of our Greater Minnesota offices to get started. We serve our community in New London, Willmar, and Cokato, MN. 

 

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Dealing with Aggressive Drivers on the Road

Tailgating. Spontaneous swerves in no-passing zones. Flashing the high beams. Leaning on the horn and flipping a one-finger salute. Running red lights or jumping stop signs. When dealing with aggressive drivers, you are likely to encounter these behaviors and more.

Protecting yourself on the road takes effort and planning. Be sure you have coverage in place in case the worst happens, and you find yourself in an accident. The Lake Region Insurance Agency independent agents are here to help.

Visit our website today for a free quote and insurance review. We’ll make sure you can breathe easy no matter what or who you encounter on the roads of Greater Minnesota.

Alarming Aggressive Driving Statistics

Here is a stark reality check. The vast majority of car crashes are due to human error. And about a third of those are a result of road rage.

Incidents involving angry horn honks, sudden lane changes, rude hand gestures, and cursing are far too common. Even more concerning, almost 40% of these incidents involve firearms.

With those aggressive driving statistics, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of at least some of this behavior. In fact, statistics indicate you may have even dished a little of it out, as well. 

Having a game plan for dealing with aggressive drivers and managing frustration while driving is crucial. This planning can help keep you and others safe. Working through a highly-charged moment on the road requires some thought ahead of time. The temptation to engage with an aggressive driver can be strong, but with preparation, you can navigate it carefully.

Tips for Dealing With Aggressive Drivers

You cannot control every driver around you, no matter how conscientious and skilled you are behind the wheel. So how do you stay safe when someone else drives aggressively and unpredictably?

Here are several tips that allow you to go high when others go low. And often, non-action may be the name of the game when it comes to escaping road rage accident-free.

  • Stay out of the way. If a road hog needs their space, give it to them. It’ll be a temporary inconvenience for you and could save your life and ensure your passengers’ safety.
  • Resist the invitation to the crazy dance. You may want to hold your ground and not let the other driver get away with bad behavior. But, challenging a reckless or aggressive driver on the road is dangerous. Speeding up, staying level, or “revenge-passing” only puts you at more risk and escalates a bad situation. Stay in your lane, drive the speed limit, and keep your breathing slow and calm.
  • Keep your eyes ahead. Making eye contact with an angry driver can appear confrontational. We know you’re not a marshmallow, but you also don’t have to prove it. Allow a temporary situation to remain short-lived by keeping your eyes focused on the road.
  • Buckle up. Of course, we know you had your seat belt on before your key hit the ignition, right? Being strapped in when confronted with an aggressive driver provides extra safety. If things get out of hand, and you have to maneuver your car quickly, you have a level of protection in place. Always use your seatbelt and stay safe. Be sure that everyone in your vehicle does the same.
  • Ignore, breathe, and focus. That hand gesture someone just offered? It’s unimportant in the grand scheme of life. Instead of returning the “greeting,” focus on the road. Let them pass while you take several slow, deep breaths. Although you can certainly report them later, you need to remain calm in the moment.
  • Record and report. Once it is safe to do so, it’s okay to pull over and report the car to the authorities. If you have a passenger who can help you record or remember the license plate number, that will be useful information for the police. 
  • Stay put. Remain inside your vehicle when road rage rears its ugly head. Sometimes there is a temptation to get out at a light and deal with the other driver. This rarely, if ever, ends well. Your car is likely the safest place to be, assuming you keep your cool in a sensitive situation.

 

 

Tools to Avoid Raging 

Rush hour traffic, accidents, construction delays, and detours can cause the most level-headed drivers to lose their cool once in a while. So what do you do if you’re the one feeling the rage?

We’ve all had those moments of extreme annoyance. We’re late for an appointment and stuck behind a person driving 10 miles below the speed limit. It’s really difficult to stay calm.

Try out a few of these behind-the-wheel calming techniques, and give the drivers around you the benefit of the doubt.

  • Allow more travel time. If you leave your house a few minutes earlier for an appointment, you’ll have some wiggle room if you get in a gnarly road situation on the way.
  • Play relaxing or enjoyable music. Sing along, loudly and poorly, if necessary.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. When you feel yourself getting tense, slow down your thoughts, and remind yourself that you’re not alone in your frustration. Getting angry and exploding might give you temporary satisfaction, but could cause real harm and long-term damage to all parties. If you need to pull off the road to walk, stretch, or let off some steam, do that. 

Call Lake Region Insurance Agency

If you’ve been in an accident from dealing with aggressive drivers, call your Lake Region agent right away. We are by your side through each step of your claim for a fair settlement, speedy processing, and quick pay-out. When the road becomes not-so-friendly, your friends at Lake Region can help you get back on track.

If you aren’t sure about your auto coverage, call us today for a free car insurance review and quote. Our friendly agents in Cokato, Willmar, and New London, MN, are here to help. As independent brokers, we can shop from multiple providers to find the best fit for you.