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Why Do I Need Life Insurance in My 20s?

Life insurance is something many people prefer not to consider, especially young adults in the prime of their lives. Many think, “Why do I need life insurance in my 20s? I’m not planning to die soon.” If your goal is to be a financially responsible adult, you need to have life insurance coverage. 

Lake Region Insurance Agency can assist you with all of your insurance needs. Our independent agents serve clients throughout Greater Minnesota. Connect with us today for a free life insurance review and quote. We will discuss your best options for your stage of life. 

How Does Life Insurance Work?

Term life insurance is relatively straightforward. You choose a policy term, generally 10, 20, or 30 years. And you choose how much coverage you want, for example, $500,000. Each policy will have annual premiums that you need to pay.

If you die within the plan’s term, your beneficiary or beneficiaries will receive the amount indicated on the policy. For most people, a spouse or child is their beneficiary, but you get to choose who gets the money. 

Whole life insurance carries higher premiums but builds up a cash value that you or your family can access. Your agent can help you determine which policy fits your needs and your lifestyle.

Why Do I Need Life Insurance in My 20s?

Accidents and sudden illness happen, whether we want to acknowledge the fact or not. Your family’s protection under a life insurance policy is significant, whether you are in your 20s or your 60s.

Here are a few of the primary reasons to consider buying life insurance as a young adult.

Cover Expenses

If you have a spouse, children, a business, or a house, a life insurance policy is crucial. Accidents and sudden illness happen, whether we want to acknowledge the fact or not. Having coverage for your family’s expenses is the top reason young people should have life insurance.

A life insurance policy can help your loved ones cover:

  • Mortgage Payments
  • Childcare Expenses
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Student Loans
  • Funeral Expenses

Having an influx of cash during a difficult time can bring tremendous relief to your family. Even young adults need to think about this. As soon as you have anyone who depends on you for financial support, it is essential to have a sufficient life insurance policy in place.

Work-based life insurance policies are a great perk of your job, but they generally do not offer sufficient coverage. And if you leave that job, you lose the coverage. So it’s essential to have your own policy, too.

Lower Premiums

Insurance becomes costlier as you get older, so it makes sense to buy a policy in your 20s. Premiums go up about 8-10% for each year you wait to get coverage.

Even if you do not yet have dependents, having this protection in place is wise. You can lock in lower premiums, and if you do get married or have children, you can change the beneficiary to indicate that.

Easy to Qualify

Healthy young adults may qualify for life insurance easier.

As you get older, insurance carriers may put more medical stipulations on your ability to qualify for life insurance. Young adults, however, often qualify for coverage by simply answering some screening questions. 

But if you wait, and your health changes, you will find that your ability to qualify is challenging. And your rates will be significantly higher. 

For example, a healthy 25-year-old will find it simple to purchase a life insurance policy. But if that person receives a cancer diagnosis at age 29, they are in a difficult situation and may not be able to obtain a policy at that point.

When you buy a policy as a young adult, you won’t lose it unless you cancel it or stop paying the premiums. Securing a life insurance plan in your 20s is one of the best financial decisions you can make.

Peace of Mind

Life is unpredictable, and no one is immortal. Buying life insurance doesn’t make you morbid. Instead, it shows that you are responsible and thoughtful.

When you secure a policy in your 20s, you are setting up your family for success. Of course, no dollar amount can ever replace a person. But life insurance for young adults helps protect their loved ones just in case a tragedy strikes.

Life insurance provides tremendous peace of mind for your family. And if the worst were to happen, your forethought will make the situation more comfortable for them to bear.

Whether you choose a whole or term life option, you will be able to provide for your family even after you’re gone.

Young parents need life insurance.

How Do You Buy Life Insurance?

There are many, many options on the market. It can feel overwhelming to understand and choose the right policy for your needs. 

It is best to work with an independent agent who can help you find the right fit for your needs. An independent insurance agent is not limited in the policies they can offer. They can shop from multiple carriers to help you choose a plan that works for you.

This is a serious purchase that can affect your loved ones’ future. Work with a trusted individual who will answer your questions and walk you through the process carefully. 

Even if you can’t afford a large policy right now in your 20s, purchase what you can. You are likely to find options that cost less than $20 per month. And talk with your agent about riders that will allow you to increase your coverage as your income goes up.

The Coverage You Need

The team at Lake Region Insurance Agency understands that life insurance is not an easy thing to discuss. This means too many young people ignore it, unfortunately. But in a few short steps, your Lake Region agent can help you secure a policy that will protect your future.

Stop by one of our offices in New London, Willmar, or Cokato, MN. We offer free insurance reviews and quotes and can walk you through the whole process with ease.

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Do I Need Home-Based Business Insurance?

Times have changed, and our world is shifting to a more digital approach to business. Many people are now teleworking from home or running their own business. For the latter situation, it’s essential to consider home-based business insurance.

Make sure you have the protection you and your business deserve. Check in with the experts at Lake Region Insurance Agency for a complimentary policy review and quote. We are here to serve our Greater Minnesota neighbors.

What Counts as a Home-Based Business?

What do Purex, Apple Computer, Hallmark, and Baskin-Robbins have in common? They all began in someone’s home, basement, or garage. So if you have a home-based business, you are in good company. 

And you aren’t alone, since roughly two-thirds of all companies begin in a house somewhere.

Running a home business has tax, liability, and insurance implications, so it’s critical to know if you fall into this category. Some examples of home-based businesses include:

  • Daycare
  • Pet Sitting
  • Dog Grooming
  • Hairdresser
  • Freelance Writer
  • Tutor
  • Professional Consultant
  • Web Designer
  • Online Clothing Boutique

As more and more owners shift to the virtual business model, the list of work-from-home companies continues to grow. If you fall into the category of a home-based business, you need to investigate your insurance requirements.

Daycare is a home-based business

Isn’t My Homeowners Policy Good Enough?

Many people who run a business from their house mistakenly assume that their homeowners insurance provides sufficient coverage. Unfortunately, this is rarely true.

For businesses with minimal equipment and no client foot traffic, a homeowners plan might be enough. But this is a rare situation and still warrants a chat with your agent to clarify your coverage.

If you regularly receive clients in your home or store inventory on-site, you likely need home-based business insurance. Your standard homeowners plan probably doesn’t adequately protect your business.

Be sure to talk with your independent agent to determine what supplemental or separate protection you need to protect your hard work. From property to liability insurance, you need to make sure you have sufficient coverage.

When you rent rather than own your home, you also need to verify your coverage. Just like a homeowners policy, a renters policy will not fully protect your home-based business.

Limitations of Homeowners Insurance Coverage

Most homeowners insurance policies have limits and exclusions that could leave you and your business unprotected. Typically, homeowners and renters insurance policies lack the following:

  • Protection for business documents and records
  • Sufficient coverage for loss of files and data
  • Liability coverage if an employee or client sustains an injury in your home
  • Adequate replacement protection for business equipment
  • Coverage for lost revenue if something prevents you from running your business from your house

There are many common scenarios when a business owner may run into one of these limitations. 

For example, let’s say that you are the victim of a home robbery, and they steal your business laptop, desktop, and monitor. Most homeowners policies will limit this business coverage to $2500. Anything beyond that will have no protection without a home-based business insurance policy.

Or imagine that a client is at your house for a meeting, and they trip and fall, breaking their arm. If this were a neighbor visiting for fun, your homeowners policy would kick in. But because this is a business relationship, you are out of luck.

Business liability insurance

You’ve worked too hard to leave your business unprotected. Make sure you get a sufficient policy in place.

You probably need a business insurance policy if:

  • You conduct business in your house, including receiving clients.
  • You have employees.
  • You store inventory in your house.
  • You have business-related equipment, such as computers or cell phones.
  • Your company owns one or more vehicles.
  • You store sensitive data.
  • You rely on your business income to pay your bills.

What Should a Home-Based Business Insurance Policy Cover?

When speaking with your independent insurance agent, you should discuss coverage for all of the following needs.

Business Property

As mentioned, most renters and homeowners plans have strict limits on what they will replace from a home-based business. Typically, business equipment far surpasses that amount. 

Additionally, a homeowners policy only covers equipment if it’s in the home. If your business laptop is lost, stolen, or damaged while you’re working in a coffee shop, you won’t have coverage. 

Company Vehicle

Do you use your vehicle for business activities? Your car insurance policy may not cover you if something happens while you’re conducting business. Business auto insurance is a crucial component of your coverage.

Liability

General liability coverage protects you if a client or employee gets hurt in your home office or on your property. It can also cover an employee who sustains an injury off-site while conducting company business.

Product liability is necessary if you sell physical products. This plan protects you if an item doesn’t work correctly or harms a person or their property.

Professional liability insurance offers protection for service-based businesses. This coverage can kick in if someone claims damages stemming from your services or advice.

Since legal and medical bills can escalate quickly, adequate liability coverage is crucial for your business.

Cyber Liability

Cyber liability coverage

Cyber liability insurance is critical for most businesses today. Unless you operate solely with paper and pencil, you should consider this type of policy. It protects you against losses stemming from hackers and data breaches.

Any business that relies on electronic storage or transmission of client and company information should have this coverage in place. 

Consider an Endorsement

In some situations, you may not require a stand-alone home-based business insurance policy. Talk with your agent to see if an endorsement makes more sense for your needs.

For example, for a small additional fee, you may be able to raise your homeowners policy limits for business coverage. Typically, an endorsement is only available to businesses that have few or no on-site visitors. 

Get the Perfect Policy 

Do you have any questions about your homeowners insurance policy and how you can protect your home-based business? The independent agents at Lake Region Insurance Agency are here to help.

With offices in Cokato, New London, and Willmar, MN, we can meet your personal and professional insurance needs. Reach out today to get started.

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How Do I Purchase Private Health Insurance For My Family?

Right now, millions of Americans are without medical coverage. This situation is leading many to wonder how they can purchase private health insurance for themselves. 

Medical debt can be devastating and is a significant contributor to people needing to file for bankruptcy. One hospitalization can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. If tests or procedures are necessary, the bill can skyrocket. Even outpatient costs can be shockingly high if there is no medical insurance in place.

Lake Region Insurance Agency is proud to serve its neighbors in Greater Minnesota. Our independent brokers are not tied to one company or product to find the right fit for you.  

Our health insurance products cover individuals, families, and businesses. Let us assist you in making a sound and informed decision about your health insurance needs. Call today for an insurance review or quote. 

Purchase Private Health Insurance on the Marketplace

Private health insurance is medical coverage that does not come through an employer. Job-based insurance only remains while you work for that employer. If your job ends, you are no longer eligible for their group health insurance plans.

To buy your own policy, it is best to work with an independent insurance broker to find the right option. Most people who need private insurance go through the health insurance marketplace. It has information about the available options and how to buy insurance. In Minnesota, the marketplace used to purchase private health insurance is MNSure

Need to buy private medical insurance

By using the marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, you may receive credits to lower your private health insurance premiums. Brokers help find the plan that will cover your needs and give you the full assistance for which you qualify. 

Typically, you need to provide documentation of your household’s income. So the exchange may ask for pay stubs and tax returns to verify your eligibility for the marketplace policies.

If you qualify for low-income or free health insurance, you will not purchase coverage from the marketplace. In this case, insurance options will be available through a government-sponsored program such as Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care. The Department of Human Services manages these programs. 

Affordable Care Act

All plans offered on the health insurance marketplace meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) baseline for benefit standards. The ACA is the legislation that provides financial help in the form of tax credits or subsidies when buying insurance. 

Individuals and families have to fall within specified income ranges to qualify, and it can be quite confusing to understand all the intricacies. Though you can shop and compare plans yourself, many people prefer to work with an independent broker. This step can bring significant peace of mind.

Open Enrollment Periods for Private Health Insurance 

Every year, the health insurance exchange has a designated open enrollment period when you can purchase new coverage. In most states, this period runs from the beginning of November through mid-December, but be sure to check with your broker for specific dates.

Open enrollment dates for medical insurance

You could be eligible for a special enrollment period if you experience a qualifying life event. These events include:

  • Job Loss – Even if you leave a job voluntarily, if it causes you to lose insurance, you likely will be eligible for a special enrollment period.
  • Finishing College – Many students are on their parent’s medical plan. But once they are no longer in school, they must get their own coverage.
  • Divorce – If you had insurance under a spouse’s plan, you might be able to enroll in a new policy outside of open enrollment.
  • Moving Towns – Some insurance plans only cover specific areas. If you move outside your insurer’s service area, you should be eligible for special enrollment.
  • Family Size Changes – A special enrollment period begins if you have a child, adopt a child, or a child moves out of your household. 

Typically, you have 60 days from the qualifying life event to purchase a new plan. Your broker will be able to help with this.

Private Health Insurance Company Options

You also can purchase your medical coverage directly from an insurance company rather than through the exchange. If you don’t qualify for subsidies or don’t want to take advantage of them, this can be a simpler path.

Your independent agent will work with you to determine the right fit. They will look at your preferred doctors and hospitals and any medications you need to cover. Then they show you the options available and help you choose one and enroll.

How To Choose the Right Private Health Insurance Plan

There is a lot to consider when selecting a plan. For most people, they will have the policy for at least a year due to enrollment restrictions. So, you want to find the best option for your needs.

It is helpful to estimate your current healthcare costs before you purchase private health insurance for your family. Having a clear picture of ongoing medications and treatments will guide you as you select a coverage plan.

Using an Insurance Broker

The health insurance world is confusing. Whether you use the marketplace or not, it is challenging for non-experts to know all of the intricacies of different options. 

An independent broker will help remove the confusion. They do this all day long and understand all the jargon and terminology. And they can look at all available plans quickly to give you the best information possible.

When working with an agent, be ready to provide the following information:

  • Preferred Providers
  • Preferred Hospitals or Facilities
  • List of Prescription Drug Needs
  • List of Ongoing Therapies – physical, speech, occupational, etc.

Your health insurance broker will be able to save you time and money while they search for the perfect product to meet your needs

Let Us Help You with This Critical Piece

Do not risk financial devastation by going without health insurance. Let the Lake Region Insurance Agency team find the right fit for your circumstances. 

Our friendly staff has been caring for our neighbors in Willmar, Cokato, and New London, MN, for years. Stop in or give us a call today to get started on finding your next medical policy.

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How to Avoid Chimney Fires and Protect Your Home

There’s nothing like a warm fire on a chilly winter night. But did you know that your fireplace ambiance comes with a maintenance requirement? The effort of maintaining your fireplace chimney is a small price to pay to avoid chimney fires.

You love your home and take good care of it. But sometimes problems happen anyway. Part of caring for your home is being ready to handle damages when they occur. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency today for a free insurance review and policy quote.

How Can a Chimney Catch Fire? 

Your chimney removes smoke from your home while providing fresh air to feed the fire in the fireplace. Hot, smoky air rises through the center of the chimney, the flue, and out of your house. 

The hot air rising through the chimney flue creates a draft, which is like a vacuum that draws the smoke up the chimney. 

A strong draft will carry the airborne debris to the outside. A weaker one will deposit soot and creosote on your chimney’s walls. This happens when the fire isn’t hot enough, or your chimney is too short, 

Creosote is a thick, flaky residue that can coat the walls of the chimney. It’s highly combustible, so if the temperature inside your chimney gets high enough, the creosote will catch fire. 

Preventing Chimney Fires

chimney safety

A chimney fire occurs about 22,000 times a year in the United States, so homeowners need to monitor this. To avoid a disaster in your house, keep the following tips in mind.

Keep It Clean

Your chimney won’t catch fire if it’s clean. Creosote is fuel for chimney fires, and if it ignites, the heat may be much higher than your chimney can withstand.

Have your chimney serviced by a certified chimney sweep once a year. They’ll check the flue walls and identify and address any potential problems. 

Chimney maintenance is always less expensive than repair. It is much more straightforward to repair cracks in mortar joints or masonry than to replace a warped flue. So stay on top of your chimney’s servicing needs to keep your home safe and avoid costly repairs.

Put a Damper on It

The damper is a metal plate in the chimney that controls the air supply to your fireplace. It closes off the fireplace when you don’t have a fire going, and swings up to open the flue when needed.

Make sure to open the damper when you light a fire. You want the maximum draft to pull airborne particles up and out of your house. 

When you aren’t using the fireplace, keep the damper closed. This habit will help to insulate your home from outside temperatures. It can even deter the occasional bird or bat that might find a way into your chimney. 

Pay Attention to What You Burn

chimney safety

The wood you choose can affect the amount of creosote buildup on your chimney walls. Hardwoods like oak, ash, and elm are excellent firewood choices because they burn hotter and longer than softwoods.

Avoid softwoods like fir, pine, and cypress. These wood species are fine for a bonfire outdoors, but they burn up quickly and leave excess creosote on your chimney walls. 

Your wood needs to be dry throughout before you add it to your fire. Wet wood equals more smoke and less heat. The high water content also makes for a thicker, stickier smoke compound. This substance can coat the glass on your fireplace and stick to your chimney flue’s walls.

Freshly-cut trees or branches contain sap, and it takes 6-12 months for logs to dry out completely. Season your firewood by stacking it outside and letting it sit for at least six months. 

Split the wood to speed the drying process, and stack it off the ground in a single row to increase airflow. Keep your wood stack in a sheltered area or cover it in wet weather. 

If you’re just starting, look for wood that is already seasoned. Get enough seasoned wood to last through this winter. 

At the same time, get unseasoned wood for the following winter. By the time you need it next year, your wood will be ready. Keep stocking your lumber a year ahead to continue the cycle.

If you aren’t sure whether your wood is dry enough to use, measure it with a moisture meter. You can find this simple tool for around $20 at your hardware store or online. 

Don’t Go Overboard

It’s so tempting to poke, prod, and add more wood to your crackling fire. But adding too much wood at one time can create a blanket over the flames. This situation creates a cooler, dirtier fire. 

Overfilling your firebox, known as over-firing, can create a more massive fire than your structure can contain. The heat can transfer through the fireplace to the surrounding, non-fireproof parts of your home.

What Should I Do If I Have a Chimney Fire?

chimney fires

A fast-burning fire will be apparent.

  • You’ll hear a sound like a large bonfire coming from the chimney. Some people have described a sound like a plane taking off.
  • Thick, dense smoke may push down the chimney and into the house. 
  • You will see flames and burning pieces of creosote erupting from the top of the chimney. 

Slow-burning chimney fires are common. They occur when the creosote is hot enough to burn, but there isn’t enough to cause a big blaze. Sometimes these fires burn themselves out, but they still can damage the chimney. 

Consider keeping a chimney fire extinguishing product on hand. Chimfex and Fire-Ex are products that work by quickly reducing the available oxygen in the flue to starve the fire. 

If you think you had or have a chimney fire, even a small one, always call 911. A firefighter can make sure your home is safe. And then be sure to have a certified professional do a chimney inspection to check for damage.

Let’s Make Sure You’re Covered

Accidents happen even with chimney safety protocols in place. So it’s essential to be sure you have adequate coverage. Contact Lake Region Insurance Agency for a free review of your homeowners or other policies. 

As independent agents, we access plans from many providers so that you can choose from the best options out there. Visit us in Cokato, Willmar, or New London, MN, to get a quote today.