When someone mentions fire season – your mind may go to summertime drought and forest fires. But there’s another type of fire season, one that we’re right in the middle of. Home electrical fires peak between December through March and occur primarily in the hours of 12:00 AM and 6:00 AM.
While electrical fires account for just one portion of the 1,345,500 fires in the United States in 2015, those fires resulted in $14.3 billion dollars of damage. Cooking fires account for over 50% of fires followed by heating related fires at nearly 11%.
It’s wise to follow the simple recommendations below and protect yourself from becoming a victim of fire.
To Reduce Risk of Cooking Fires:
- Keep a pan lid or cooking sheet nearby to cover the pan if it catches on fire.
- Place your grill at least 3’ from siding, deck railings, eaves and overhanging branches
- Keep boxes, papers and other packaging materials away from the stovetop
To Reduce Risk of Electrical Fires:
- Plug in only one heat producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, microwave, space heater) into a wall outlet at a time.
- Use extension cords only temporarily and never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
- Check your electrical cords. If they are cracked or damaged, replace them. Don’t try to repair them.
To Reduce Risk of Heating Fires:
- Never use an oven to heat your home.
- Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
- Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.
- Choose interconnected smoke alarms, so when one sounds, they all sound.
- Put smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Put alarms on every level of the home.
- Make sure your smoke alarms work. Your family is not safe if they can’t hear the smoke alarms.
- Test smoke alarms every month and replace 9-volt smoke alarm batteries at least once every year.
- Smoke alarms do not last forever. Get new smoke alarms every 10 years.
- When you hear a smoke alarm, you may have less than 2 minutes to get everyone outside and safe.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms at test them at least once a month.
Please, stay safe this fire season!
1. Partridge in a Pear Tree
Your partridge and your pear tree both perished in yesterday’s record breaking blizzard.
In fact, part of your once vibrant and healthy pear tree is now in your neighbor's living
Your neighbor would turn in a claim to their insurance company. Because the tree
was healthy and blew into their home because of a blizzard, you are not
considered at fault. Give them a fruitcake. It’ll make them feel better.
2. Turtle Doves
The Turtles Doves, a local bluegrass band, is booked for the community New Year’s Eve
celebration. An ice storm of epic proportions hits your town starting at noon and the
celebration is cancelled. Your community group has paid the band a non-refundable
booking fee and now the show literally cannot go on.
With event insurance, this weather event could be insured against. Expenses that
the community group already paid, such as the band fee, ballroom rental fee and
catering bills could be reimbursed.
3. French Hens
Three French hens escaped the barn at French Hen Farm, AGAIN. The hens tried to
cross the road. Two made it across. The third French hen was hit by a car and the
headlight and grill were damaged.
The driver of the car should contact the owner of French Hen Farm. The farmer
has a responsibility to make a reasonable attempt to keep his animals off the road
and away from cars. The insurance policy for French Hen Farm should pay for
damages to the car.
4. Calling Birds
These calling birds really use up the phone plan fast when they’re planning their
Christmas festivities and menu plans. Rose was talking to her sister while baking
gingerbread and her phone accidentally fell into the oven and no longer works.
Some homeowner’s insurance policies have an option to include coverage for cell
phones. Be sure to check with your agent to find out if you can insure your phone
on your policy.
5. Gold Rings
Gloria got a pretty emerald and gold ring for Christmas. When she was out for New
Year’s Eve and showing off her new ring, she noticed one of the emeralds was
If Gloria had called her insurance agent to add the ring to Inland Marine coverage
with a $0 deductible, the missing emerald would be covered, and Gloria wouldn’t
pay a deductible for the replacement stone. If she neglected to call her agent, the
replacement emerald would be subject to the policy deductible because it would
be considered personal property.
6. Geese a-Laying
It becomes apparent that these are not just regular geese when they begin laying golden
High value livestock and farm animals (like Registered cattle, Registered horses
or geese that lay golden eggs) can be scheduled on a policy to have lower
deductibles and increased coverages. Special policies are also available for
injury or mortality.
7. Swans a-Swimming
In December in Minnesota, there’s not many swans swimming or people boating.
Some companies offer special boat coverage and pricing for the winter months
when the boat is in storage. Call your agent to see if this is an option on your
8. Maids a-Milking
Your milking maids get injured from a herd of cows trampling them. Now you not only have no one to milk the cows, but you also have to pay for the injuries that your eight maids endured.
Do you have work comp coverage for your employees? It would pay for their injuries, medical expenses and lost wages. Farm Extra Expense coverage within your farm policy would allow you to pay for interim farm help until the eight maids are able to get back to work.
9. Ladies Dancing
The annual Christmas Cookie Exchange at Ella’s included some extra strong egg nog. After exchanging cookies, the ladies turned up the music and decided to dance. It was all fun and games until Dixie fell and hurt her ankle and had to be taken to the ER for x-rays.
When Dixie checked into the ER, she reports that the fall happened at Ella’s house. Since Dixie was injured away from her home, her medical insurance company will request that Ella’s home insurance company pay the first medical expenses that she incurred.
10. Lords a-Leaping
Your five grandkids, all under age five, stayed overnight stay during Christmas break. Lots of playing and leaping on the furniture ensued. In the midst of the leaping, Grandma’s glass of red wine got knocked over leaving a horrible stain in the middle of the room, on the white carpet.
With Special Form coverage on your policy, a professional cleaning company could be brought into see if the stain could be removed. If not, the policy would pay for the carpet in that area to be replaced.
11. Pipers Piping
You’re expecting houseguests for the holiday and are busy washing sheets and towels for all the extra people. While you’re out finishing your Christmas shopping, the pipe to the washer bursts and damages the flooring of your laundry room.
Sudden or accidental discharge of water is a covered claim on most homeowner’s policies. If you had this coverage, repair and/or replacement of your floor would be covered by your insurance company.
If your auto insurance policy has recently renewed, you’re probably paying more than you did at this time last year. Most auto insurance companies across the nation are following this trend. And, Minnesota car insurance premiums aren’t the only ones on the rise. In fact, auto premiums have generally been increasing since 2012 across the United States.
No matter if you have a clean driving record, obey all traffic signs, and are a Minnesota Nice driver on the roads, your auto insurance premium may still be increasing. Here’s why:
- ·Distracted driving claims are huge factors in auto rates:
o 60% of teen crashes involve distracted driving according to AAA.
o The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that every day, 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
- An upward trend in fatal car accidents is expected once all the data for 2016 is processed. The National Safety Council expects fatal accident to have risen by some 6% year in 2016; the highest number of total of fatalities since 2007.
- Costs of repairs to diverse types of vehicles, how well vehicles stand up to accidents, rates of accidents in various parts of the country, etc. are all monitored closely by insurance companies.
More Severe Weather
- Weather affects more than just homeowner’s insurance. Disasters such as hail storms, floods, tornadoes, etc. ends up costing millions in car damages which auto insurers cover through comprehensive insurance.
- Even though we may have had a mild weather year in Minnesota, if your insurance company has policies and claims in other states, the expense gets spread around to all policy holders.
- The insurance companies are indeed paying out (and losing) more for comprehensive claims than they have in over a decade. The hurricanes in the southern states have been a significant factor in the recent increases.
Looking forward, we need to hope for a mild storm season across the United States. Hurricane Matthew cost the insurers billions in 2016, and the hurricanes that hit Texas (Harvey) and Florida (Irma) this year are not helping the insurers out very much.
Calmer weather isn’t the only thing that needs to happen to keep auto rates in check. There is also going to need to be a reduction in the amount of accidents on the roads.
The list above may make you feel as if your auto premiums are completely out of your control. But, there are some things you can do:
- Keep your eyes on the road. Keep your mind on driving. Keep your hands on the wheel.
o Turn off your phone or notifications when in the car
o Place your phone in the backseat or in a spot that you cannot reach while you’re at the wheel.
- Reduce or eliminate other distractions while driving
o If a child needs your attention, pull over before handing them their snack.
o Don’t eat or drink while driving.
· If you’re 55+ years of age – take a Driver Improvement Course and save 10% on your auto insurance. Visit the Minnesota Safety Center to learn more and enroll today.
· New driver in the household? Consider the Teen Crash Prevention Skills course for them.
Casazza, Craig. “Why Are Car Insurance Rates Still Going Up?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 May 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/ccasazza/2017/05/23/why-are-car-insurance-rates-still going-up/2/#74474d1d347a.
With harvest in full swing in Minnesota, it is crucial to keep your equipment functioning properly, especially during a late harvest like the one we’re experiencing. What if you have a breakdown that forces your combine to be in the shop for a week? What if you need a specific piece of machinery to perform fall tillage, but would rather lease it? Rented, leased or borrowed machinery comes into play for many reasons. Would you be covered for all the unknowns during harvest? Well, we are here to help explain the different coverages. Here are seven frequently asked questions with some very important information to know:
1. Is rented, leased or borrowed machinery included on your policy? Or, do you need to call your agent to add it? That depends on the company and type of policy you have. Some policies automatically include that coverage and others only include the coverage if you specifically list the equipment at the time it’s borrowed, rented or leased.
2. If it’s included, is there a limit to the amount of time you can rent, lease or borrow it? That, too, depends on the policy. Some companies allow 30 or 60 days of use. Other companies may not have any time limit.
3. Is there a limit to the value of rented, leased or borrowed machinery you can have? It’s likely that there will be a limit to the value that’s automatically included, like $100,000. With the values of combines and tractors today, that limit wouldn’t be enough for those items. But, if you’re renting a skid loader or tillage equipment, that limit may be sufficient.
4. What deductible will be applied if there is a claim? Policy deductible will most likely apply. Certain policies may allow for a lower deductible to be applied.
5. Is Special Form coverage extended to the rented, leased or borrowed machinery? No, Special Form isn’t automatically applied. This is especially important during harvest when ingesting a rock into a borrowed combine could mean lots of damage that your insurance policy may not pay for without the correct coverage. Rock ingestion would only be covered under Special Form coverage.
6. What might NOT be covered? Motor vehicles (cars or pickups) or recreational vehicles like Rangers are not eligible to be covered by rented, leased or borrowed equipment. Rented, leased or borrowed machinery primarily pertains to tractors, combines and other farm implements.
As always, if you have any other questions, we are just one phone call away and would love to help you with your questions. Contact us at 507-473-4900!
An Intego sponsored family fun night held annually. Held at the tennis courts behind the Alden school, Mrs. Doubtfire will be shown on a large projection screen, starting at dusk. Free fresh popcorn is provided. Bring a blanket, a drink, and your comfortable lawn chair.
Clients and visitors to our office now get to enjoy the works of young artists in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. The featured artwork will be rotated multiple times throughout the year.
This colorful fall display is courtesy of the 1st and 2nd grade students at Halvorsen Elementary School in Albert Lea. Thank you for sharing your talents with us!
Do you know a Young Artist who would like to have their work displayed? From toddler finger paintings to fine art by high school students, we welcome it all! Complete the form below so we can invite them to be a part of a future display.
Intego Insurance hosted it's 3rd Annual Little Pumpkin Party in Albert Lea, MN on Friday night, October 21 and in Alden, MN on October 22.
Dressed in their Halloween costumes, the kids had a great time painting pumpkins, getting their photos taken and enjoying snacks. There were plenty of adults enjoy the fun event, too!
Click to the right or left of the picture frame below to see additional pictures.
Minnesota was hit with torrential rains last night. For some of us, the thunder, lightening and the 5" - 7" of rain kept us awake. For others, water coming in our basements is what kept us up. If you're bailing water out of your basement here's a few quick steps to help you navigate a difficult day.
Step 1: Do what you can to contain water and prevent further damage.
- Take photos and/or video of damage
- Inventory items that are water damaged
- Track the time you spend cleaning
Step 2: Determine source of water. Is it:
- Coming up through the drain?
- Is the sewer backing up?
- Sump pump failure?
Step 3: Contact your agent
Step 4: Determine if your policy includes the water and sewer backup endorsement
Step 5: If you have the endorsement, a claim is submitted
Step 6: Contact Cleaning Company, if needed
- Hauser Chem Dry 507.280.9050
- Steam Brothers 507.373.9850
- ServiceMaster 641.323.1057
- SERVPRO 507.334.2565 or 641.424.3382
The remodel of our new office continues. Progress includes a few new walls, two new interior windows and new paint to freshen up existing cabinetry.
We are excited to share photos of the remodeling efforts that are underway at our new offices. Clients are going to love the additional privacy and comfort when meeting with their agents!
We'll keep you updated with more photos in the coming weeks. We hoped to be settled into our new space by November.
Summer in Minnesota means weddings, festivals, charity golf tournaments and a whole lot more! These events are fun, memorable and allow us to spend time with family, friends and our communities. Today we’re going to explore special event insurance and learn how the features of these policies can make ensure your event is successful.
Liquor liability is a must if you’re going to host a wedding or event at your home that involves alcoholic beverages. While most homeowners insurance policies offer social host coverage – this does not mean you can have 500 people on your property and act like it’s just another day because it’s NOT to your homeowners insurance company. Liquor liability is available as it’s own policy if you want to purchase the wine, beer and liquor and make it available to your guests. Another option is to hire a caterer who has a liquor license. And a final option in our area is to hire a local municipal liquor store to serve only the drinks. By hiring a caterer or the municipal liquor store, the majority of the responsibility for the liquor liability is passed onto them. However, you still need to consider event coverage to cover things like property damage and injury while at your property.
Large community festivals don’t just happen; they take the coordination of committee member and volunteers. While a festival may seem low risk, accidents and injuries happen. Event coverage can protect those hard working volunteers and committee members. An organization or small town may not be financially able to pay for significant medical costs if a volunteer is injured during the event, which is why event coverage is an important consideration.
And here in Minnesota, weather can be a factor year-round. Whether it’s winter blizzards or severe thunderstorms in the summer, weather can dampen spirits and be the reason an event flops. If a local festival hired a band to perform an outdoor concert but a severe thunderstorm prevents the performance, an event policy can help offset the loss of paying the band and cancelling the event.
Maybe the event doesn’t have to be cancelled, but any sort of weather event affects the finances. If a local group is hosting a three day long sports tournament and weather forces the tournament to be cut down to two days, ticket sales to watch the tournament won’t be as good. Rain date coverage is available to offset the loss of income the local group experienced.
A different charity golf tournament is going on nearly every day this summer. You can add some drama to the tournament by having a Hole in One Contest. Your group, or a sponsor, buys a policy for around if someone hits the hole in one, a prize of up to $50,000 can be out. Costs for a $10,000 prize usually costs around $300. A Hole in One Contest is a great opportunity for your organization to find a sponsor to pay the costs of the insurance and build their business while making your charitable event more fun!
While events themselves are not typically simple, quick to plan or low cost, event insurance is all of those. And, for the security and peace of mind if affords, it’s definitely worth exploring.
If you have a special event coming up that you think may require coverage, please let us know!
Rules of The Game
Step 1: Submit a photo by September 30th of your favorite back to school photo on our Facebook page.
Step 2: In order to be eligible for entry, you must “Like” Intego Insurance Services on Facebook.
Step 3: Share the photo and ask your friends and family for likes.
Step 4: On October 7th, the photo with the most likes will be the winner & will be announced on the Facebook page. Winners will receive a $50 gift card to Celebrations
You’re planning to make the most of Minnesota’s extensive recreational trails this summer in a new Polaris Ranger or maybe you’re going to use that Polaris to get around your campsite in style.
The Polaris Ranger and similar side by side styles are part of a newer class of vehicles called UTV’s - or Utility Task Vehicles. UTV’s can be used off road for trail riding but also serve very practical purposes around the farm.
So…it’s not a car and it’s not a motorcycle, how do you insure them?
Let’s find out how, with a few tips, to make sure you and your Ranger or other UTV policy is up to the task of protecting you if something goes awry.Read More
It's official; Brian's clients get a adviser with more knowledge! He now has the letters CLU® behind his name. Earlier this year, Brian completed his Charter Life Underwriter (CLU) professional designation. Candidates for CLU® complete a minimum of eight courses and 16 hours of supervised examinations. They must also fulfill stringent experience and ethics requirements.
FORE! Is your organization or group hosting a golf tournament this summer? Add some drama to the tournament by having a "Hole in One Contest." Your group, or a sponsor, buys a policy for around $300 and if someone hits the hole in one, you can them $5,000 or maybe even $10,000. IT's a great opportunity for your organization to find a sponsor to pay the costs of the insurance, and build their business while making your charitable event more fun!
Call Brady or Sarah at 507.874.3419 or email email@example.com for additional information.
If you've never had an insurance claim, consider yourself lucky. For others, there's been a bit of bad luck that has had you calling your agent to turn in a claim. When we get phone calls from clients reporting claims, oftentimes it's followed by questions as to how the claim process works. Here's a fact sheet that can serve as a reference for you if you ever find yourself turning in a claim.Read More