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7 Tips to Stay Safe on Frozen Lakes

In the land of 10,000 lakes, winter’s frozen playground is why many of us choose to live here year-round. Staying safe on frozen lakes, streams, and ponds requires you to take extra precautions. Having sufficient insurance coverage against the unforeseen is crucial when enjoying some winter fun.

Call Lake Region Insurance Agency today for a free insurance review and quote. Our friendly agents help you fill the gaps in your coverage so that you can have peace of mind this winter.

Caution: Thin Ice!

Hockey, ice skating, and ice fishing are just a few of the cherished pastimes during a Northern winter. But Minnesota kids grow up knowing they aren’t allowed to touch the lake ice until someone measures the ice with an appropriate tool.

Sadly, vehicles, snowmobiles, and people go through the ice every year. Children and males of all ages are the most likely to fall through the ice and into a frigid lake.

It’s crucial to remember that ice is NEVER completely safe. Recreational activities on frozen lakes always carry some risk. Those enjoying the wintry outdoors can help keep themselves safe with these seven tips.

1. Know the Ice Thickness

Before considering going on the ice, you need to know how thick it is. Augers, tape measures, and ice chisels all work to gauge the thickness. For ultimate safety, check the ice measurements every 150 feet. 

Beware of thin ice on frozen lakes.Here’s a helpful guide to general safety parameters for ice thickness, with the understanding that these are not guarantees that the ice will hold. The following measurements apply to new, clear ice: 

  • Under 4” – The ice is NOT SAFE.
  • 4″ – Activities on foot may be safe, such as ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
  • 5″ to 7” – ATV and snowmobile use is likely safe.
  • 8” to 12″ – The ice can probably safely support a car, ice house, or group game.
  • 12” to 15″ – The ice should now support a medium truck.

It’s essential to remember that these guidelines are for clear ice. Experts recommend doubling the thickness requirements before venturing onto a frozen lake when dealing with white or snow ice.

2. Stay Safe on Frozen Lakes by Sticking with Daylight

Whenever possible, avoid any activity on ice in the dark. A significant part of staying safe on frozen lakes is being able to see how the ice looks. 

In particular, you need to be able to examine the color of the ice. Gray or mottled-colored ice is unsafe. White ice requires double the thickness as blue to be safe. 

It’s also crucial to be able to see the bubblers that protect lake docks. The ice around bubblers is not strong enough to support you.

3. Use the Buddy System

Ice skating on frozen lake

When it comes to winter safety, you learned much of what you need to know in kindergarten: always stick with a friend. Whether you are snowmobiling, playing hockey, or ice fishing, don’t go alone.

Having another person with you when you are on the ice keeps you safer. And it helps ensure someone can get help if there is an accident. If someone falls through the ice, it’s essential that no one try to go in after them to help. Instead, throw a rope or lifesaving device and call for professional rescue help.

4. Car Safety on the Ice

If you determine that the ice is thick enough to support your car or truck, it doesn’t mean you can park and forget about it. The ice can start sinking when cars and trucks are sitting there. Keep vehicles at least 50 feet part and move them every two hours. 

Many experts also suggest cutting a hole near the vehicle. If water starts to come over the top of the hole, then the ice is sinking.

5. Know What to Do If You Fall Through the Ice

When someone falls into frigid winter lakes, time is critical. You have a few minutes before hypothermia takes hold and creates a dangerous situation. The first task is to keep your head above water.

Kick your legs until you can grab onto the ice and pull yourself to a horizontal position. After you get out of the water, roll to thicker ice, and then seek medical treatment immediately. 

Be safe when lakes freeze.

Again, if you’re trying to get someone else out of the water, do not go in after them. Everyone available can lay down on the ice and create a human rescue chain with the lightest person closest to the hole. 

Each person should outstretch their legs and arms to distribute their weight. Reach out something the person can grab to pull them out of the frigid water, such as a:

  • Tree Branch
  • Ski Pole
  • Snowshoe
  • Rope
  • Jacket

6. Consider Your Pet

Although pets are often fairly lightweight, they are not automatically safe. Ice in the spring and fall is particularly unpredictable, so take extra precautions during those months. 

If your pet falls in, get rescue help immediately. Your instinct will be to go after your pet, but if the ice can’t hold them, it can’t hold you. Call for help right away.

7. Wear a Life Jacket

Life jackets are not only for summer lake excursions. Personal flotation devices are critical for water safety, no matter the season. Wearing something that helps you float can make the difference in surviving or not for anyone who falls through the ice. 

And don’t forget a life vest for your pooch, too. Give them the best chance by fitting them with a life jacket.

Get the Right Coverage

Going through a winter hoping you have adequate insurance isn’t the wisest choice. And it could leave you unprotected. 

Instead, reach out to the independent agents at Lake Region Insurance Agency for a comprehensive policy review. They will look at all of your plans to see if any uncovered areas leave you at risk. 

With offices in Wilmar, New London, and Cokato, MN, we are available to help all of our Greater Minnesota neighbors. 

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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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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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5 Tips for Cleaning Gutters After the Winter

Now that we are fully into springtime and winter is behind us, you’re probably thinking about home maintenance projects. There is plenty to do after the harsh weather has taken its toll. One of the most important projects is to take care of your gutters. With some helpful tips for cleaning gutters, you can tackle this chore with ease.

No matter the season, your home deserves some TLC. One of the best ways to care for your house is to be sure you have adequate homeowners insurance. The friendly agents at Lake Region Insurance Agency can help. Stop by any of our Greater Minnesota offices for a free insurance review.

When is the Best Time to Clean Gutters?

Gutter maintenance is unlikely to be high on your list of favorite activities. But it is a critical component of caring for your home. Fortunately, cleaning the gutters is not something you have to do frequently.

Typically, you should tackle this project every six months. Most homeowners choose to do this as part of their spring cleaning after winter is over. Cleaning out your gutters this time of year helps to keep them working well when the rains come.

On that schedule, you’d do another cleaning after summer ends. Again, you will be able to clear the gutters of leaves and other debris before winter weather arrives.

As is often the case with home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t let clogged gutters create problems for you at an inconvenient time.

The Cost of Neglect

Your home’s gutters have one job. They collect precipitation from a home’s roof to direct it away from the house’s foundation. This process protects your house’s roof, siding, and foundation.

As with any kind of pipe, gutters need to be free of obstructions and blockages to fulfill their function. When something blocks your gutters, rainwater can accumulate and overflow. 

Where does the water go when it overflows? It goes to the very place you want it to avoid: your home’s foundation. When water ends up near the foundation, it can seep into your basement or crawlspace.

This issue creates a domino effect of problems since water in the basement can translate into mold growth. And mold can require expensive remediation to keep you and your family safe. Furthermore, foundation repair isn’t cheap. Homeowners can easily spend $10,000 or more to fix damage to this part of their house.

So routine maintenance on your gutters is vital to saving yourself time and trouble in the long run.

Tips for Cleaning Gutters on Your House

When it’s time to handle this chore, there are some simple steps to follow. These tricks and tips for cleaning gutters will help you finish quickly so that you can enjoy the spring weather.

1. Let a Scoop Do the Dirty Work

If you’ve avoided cleaning your gutters because the job is gross and tedious, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some ways to streamline the task and minimize the “yuck” factor.

The debris that accumulates in your gutter tends to be organic material that decomposes, such as leaves. When this stuff begins to break down, it can congeal into a pretty gloppy mess. 

If scooping slimy matter out of a pipe with your hands doesn’t appeal to you, there’s good news. A plastic scoop cleans gutters efficiently and keeps your hands cleaner in the process.

Once you’ve eliminated the significant blockages, make sure you flush your gutters with a hose. This way, you can be sure you’ve thoroughly dislodged all foreign substances, big and small.

2. Be Smart About Ladder Safety

Ladder-related accidents account for about 300 deaths each year in the United States. So safety is critical during a gutter cleanout. To help keep yourself safe, follow some basic common sense steps:

  • Don’t use the ladder when you are all alone. Let someone know that you will be up there. Ideally, have another person on the ground to help keep the ladder stable.
  • Consider purchasing a ladder stabilizer for added safety, especially if you choose to work alone.
  • Make sure the ladder is tall enough for the job so that you can safely reach the gutters. Overreaching is one of the top causes of falls from ladders.
  • Follow all safety guidelines for your ladder.

3. Dress for the Job 

Gutter cleaning is a dirty job, so be sure to wear old clothes. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts give you the most protection. 

Gloves, a mask, and protective eyewear are also good ideas during this project. Debris can fly up at you as you work to dislodge blockages in the gutters. For ladder safety, be sure to wear sturdy shoes that will stay tied.

4. Have a Plan for the Debris

You might be wondering what you’re supposed to do with the gunk you scoop from your gutter. You don’t want to drop it on your yard or patio, or you’ll be doing double the work to clean it all up again.

Place a tarp below where you can drop all the debris. This step will make it simpler to gather and dump in with the yard debris. For smaller jobs, you could keep a bucket with you and empty it as it fills.

5. Consider Calling in the Pros

Do you have a bigger home or one that’s two stories or higher? Then one of the best tips for cleaning gutters is to hire a professional.

Although it requires an outlay of money, hiring a pro gets the job done quickly and safely. It also doesn’t force you to give up your sunny weekend to clean out the gutters. It’s a win-win!

Protect Your Home with Lake Region Insurance Agency

Your house is probably your most significant investment. Make sure you protect it with sufficient homeowners coverage. The Lake Region independent agents are here to serve you. From auto to life to homeowners insurance, our team can find just what you need.

Lake Region Insurance Agency has been serving the communities of Cokato, Willmar, and New London, MN, since 1970. Let our experience guide you as you choose the best protection for your home and property. Reach out today to get started.

 

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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.