6 inexpensive energy upgrades you can make to your home

The average consumer spends approximately $2,000 per year on energy costs. The Department of Energy estimates that as much as $400 is being wasted.  At the Rochester, MN, Safechoice Insurance Agency, we’ve got more tips to help you save on your energy bill.

Completing an Energy Audit of your home can uncover the costliest leaks and suggest fixes.  While you can do it yourself, many utility companies will provide low cost or free audits, using infrared cameras, blower doors, or other high-tech tools. Rochester Public Utilities can provide an energy audit and offers rebate coupons for energy-efficient appliance and light builds. 

Here are six free or inexpensive energy upgrades you can do yourself:

  1. Next to heating and cooling, water heaters represent the largest expense. Lower the temperature on your water heater by a degree or two.
  2. Install a programmable thermostat and raise/lower the temperature when you’re sleeping or gone for the day.  Some of the newer, high-tech thermostats will learn your patterns and program themselves.
  3. Seal air leaks around pipes leading to the outside and add weather stripping to doors or windows.
  4. Add pipe insulation to the pipes leading into your home from your air conditioner or heating unit.
  5. Add insulation in attics, basement, and crawl spaces.
  6. Using more efficient light bulbs and fixtures can reduce the amount of energy used for lighting by 50% to 75%.

If you have older appliances, upgrading them to energy-efficient appliances can pay for themselves over time. A new ENERGY STAR ® refrigerator could save you as much as $150 a year.  A quick way to check if your refrigerator is sealed is to close a dollar in the door. If it falls to the floor, you’re leaking energy.

More energy efficient windows and doors can help reduce your energy bill. Adding storm windows can reduce heat loss through your windows by as much as 50%.

For all your home insurance needs, contact Rochester, MN, Safechoice Insurance Agency.

Things That Can Increase Your Risk Level and Insurance Rate

As is true across the nation, auto insurance is mandatory in Rochester, MN. The penalties are severe for those who drive without coverage. This is understandable because accidents are all too common these days.

Since you must have insurance, you should try to limit your level of risk of being in an auto accident or the victim of theft. Following are three things you should consider when assessing your risk level. Also, contact the experienced staff at Safechoice Insurance Agency for more information.

1. Your Occupation

Sure times are tough. You are willing to take almost any job to earn some extra cash, right?

Be aware that certain occupations can increase your odds of being involved in an auto accident. For example, pizza delivery drivers are under intense pressure to get orders to customers in a prescribed amount of time. Consequently, they may drive a little faster than normally advised.

Delivery drivers are more susceptible to an accident than the average person who can pay closer attention to the road.

2. Your Neighborhood

If you live in or move to a known high-crime neighborhood, you need to think about the effect this could have on your insurance rate.

Most cities have areas hard hit by car thieves. You may need to consider getting more coverage to handle the increased odds of your car being stolen if living in one of these places.  

Of course, you cannot always help where you live. If your neighborhood has lots of crime, try to park your car off the street in a more secure spot.

3. Your Vehicle Model

Getting a new car? Is it a flashy, super-fast sports car? Well, if this ride has a tremendous amount of horsepower, you face a higher risk of an accident.

The chances are that you may not be able to handle all the power under the hood. High-velocity cars can get you into serious trouble and lead to insurance rate increases.

Learn More About Risks and How to Avoid Them

You must have adequate auto insurance. Might as well limit your risks of an accident or theft to keep rates as low as possible.

If interested in avoiding unnecessary risks, contact the agents at Safechoice Insurance Agency, serving Rochester, MN and beyond.



How to Extend the Life Of Your Vehicle

The longer your vehicle lasts, the better the initial investment you made with purchasing the vehicle. Most vehicles can last a lifetime with proper care. While you may want to consider looking for something else should the engine or transmission completely fall out on you, there are other ways to extend the life of your vehicle. At Safechoice Insurance Agency, we want to keep your Rochester, MN vehicle driving for as long as possible. 

Follow Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Every vehicle comes with a recommended maintenance schedule. It is important for you to follow this. Usually, the schedule kicks in around the 30,000-mile mark or so. Certain areas of the vehicle will break down sooner than others and need to be replaced. By staying on top of this, you’ll be able to prevent more extensive damage. 

Take Care Of Your Engine

While the engine isn’t the only part of the vehicle, it is the most important. Should you run into engine trouble the vehicle becomes extremely dangerous to drive. So, perform regular oil changes, check the fluids on a regular basis, and take the vehicle in for servicing should the check engine light come on. 

Wash Your Car

This is especially true in Minnesota. Road salt in the winter will cause the undercarriage of the vehicle to rust through. Washing the vehicle and springing for the undercarriage wash option will remove the salt from your vehicle. Once a vehicle starts to rust there isn’t any way to correct the problem. So make sure to wash your vehicle at least every other week during the winter. 

With proper care, your Rochester, MN vehicle can run exceptionally well and last a long time. At Safechoice Insurance Agency, it is all about ensuring you receive quality advice and insurance coverage for your personal vehicle. 

Energy-Efficient Upgrades for Your Home

Energy efficiency is a way to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home. You can reduce your energy costs. The independent insurance agents in Rochester, MN at Safechoice Insurance Agency would like to offer several ways you can lower your utility bill by making your home more energy efficient.


Incandescent lights can save you approximately 25% every year. It surrounds the filament with gas to heat the bulb, which increases efficiency. These types of bulbs can be used in lamps and overhead light fixtures. They can also be placed outdoors as landscape lighting.

The CFLs, or Compact Florescent Bulbs, produce light with argon and mercury vapor. CFLs utilize at least 70% less than the incandescent lights. These bulbs use less energy. Place them in open fixtures, like uncovered domes or track lighting.

Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are a combination of CFLs and incandescent lights. They use less heat and are very bright. These are the most energy-efficient lights. LEDs use 20-25% energy and have a longer lifespan than incandescent bulbs. Because they come in an assortment of colors, they can be used as holiday lighting.


To improve the energy efficiency of your home, use caulking in the gaps on the windows. This can diminish the amount of air that leaks from your home through the windows. This can decrease the cost of your electric bill in the summer and your heating cost during the winter.

Another way to reduce your energy cost is to invest in window treatments. This can keep the sun from penetrating your windows in the summer. In combination with ceiling fans, window treatments could trim your electric bill every month.

In Rochester, MN, Safechoice Insurance Agency has an independent staff can help you with your new or improve your current homeowners insurance.

Should You Let Your Auto Insurance Agent Know You Are Recovering From a Serious Physical Injury?

Believe us there is every pun intended in our name, Safechoice Insurance Agency in Rochester, MN takes your safety seriously. Serving the great residents of Rochester, MN and the surrounding areas we are in business to help out when life’s events may have not had the safest outcomes.

When it comes to serious physical injuries and your driving ability it is best to adhere to your physicians advice in terms of when to return to driving and your other daily activities. In the event of a serious physical injury that results in the loss of your ability to drive it is important to do as the doctor says. If your insurance is impacted, it is certain that your medical history will be called into question in the investigation that follows.

In the event that you break the limb that you drive with, your right or left leg, resuming your driving responsibilities too early may further damage your health and impede your healing.

Should You Let Your Auto Insurance Agent Know You Are Recovering From a Serious Physical Injury?

If you adhere to your physician’s directions and refrain from driving for your healing period it is not necessary to inform your insurance agent. That being said there are some extenuating circumstances that need to be considered. Your agent can help you to navigate the terrain if you will not be driving for an extended period of time that may necessitate pausing your auto insurance payments. Speaking to your agent if you injury will permanently change your ability is imperative.   

Safechoice Insurance Agency will give you options on how to best protect your assets while you recover from your serious physical injury. Contact us today with any insurance concerns you may have. 


What to Do After Your Home is Damaged by a Storm

If you live in Rochester, MN you need to know what to do if your home is damaged by a storm. Safechoice Insurance Agency will help you with your claim as soon as possible. However, you should use these tips to ensure that your claim is paid out.

  • Make sure that the home is safe to enter and turn off the electricity if the damage is extensive.
  • Take photos of the damage as soon as possible to document the damage.
  • Perform temporary repairs to protect the integrity of the home. For instance, if shingles are missing, cover the gaps with a tarp or plywood to keep water out of the house until permanent repairs are completed. Insurance may not cover damage that occurs after the initial storm if you haven’t tried to protect your home.
  • Don’t start tossing damaged items until the insurance adjuster has come by to see what happened.
  • Do not start on permanent repairs until after you have contacted your insurance company. They will want to send an adjuster out to see the damage before it is corrected.
  • Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number. They will instruct you on what to do next. You may want to keep a log of your phone calls to the insurance company, including the time of day and the person to whom you spoke.
  • Save every receipt related to the storm damage, even those for temporary repairs. You may be reimbursed for these costs.
  • Contractors may come to your door offering to repair your home. It is wiser to use the contractor that is recommended by the insurance agency, even if it seems more expensive. You don’t want an unscrupulous repairman using sub-par materials on your home.
  • After you’ve spoken to your insurance agency, they will send an insurance adjuster to your home to inspect the damage. Be sure to ask for his identification and his business card so you can contact him with any questions.
  • If your home is uninhabitable, you may be able to receive payment for your housing costs. Ask your insurance adjuster for an advance payment for your expenses. Save your receipts for hotel costs.

Storms can be rough in Rochester, MN, but with Safechoice Insurance Agency, your home will be protected.

What Should I Know About State Limits in Minnesota for Auto Insurance

Minnesota is not the least ‘expensive’ state in the nation, nor is it the most expensive when it comes to auto insurance limits. But most people don’t even know what those limits are, unless they are directly impacted them. However, learning more about the limits when it’s not dire can help you should your situation take a turn for the worst. 

What Are Limits?

The United States does not operate as a whole for many situations, but rather gives power to the states to make a variety of decisions. For example, the state of New Hampshire famously doesn’t require you to buy insurance at all (though everyone there still should.) Each state dictates a certain monetary limit for the damages that are caused by driver mistakes, with some states setting their limits fairly low and others going high. The difference can be tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s worth having an idea of how it all works. Safechoice Insurance Agency works with the people of Rochester MN, and wants you to know about your specific state. 

What About Rochester MN?

The limits are $30,000 for injuries a person, up to $60,000 total for injuries for each accident and $10,000 for any property damage. This means that should you cause an accident that extends these limits, you will be required by law to pay the additional expenses out of pocket. Which can be difficult to say the least for many people. Looking into extended coverage if your current limits are set at the bare minimum might be necessary for you. If you have any questions at all, then Safechoice Insurance Agency may be able to help. Our agents are here to get you coverage that will actually work for you, so you can keep your savings right where it is. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you!

Why Auto Insurance is Necessary

Auto insurance is something that is both required by law and a smart move for all drivers. Auto insurance does more than just protect your car in the case of an accident and knowing a little bit about what auto insurance can do will help you decide to get a new policy today. For those in the Rochester MN area, the agents with Safechoice Insurance Agency can help you find your policy today.

Auto insurance helps to protect your car, you, your passengers, and other drivers as well. Instead of just covering the cost of repairing your car, auto insurance can also help cover medical costs, the cost of the deductible for you or the other driver, medical bills for passengers, and so much more. Auto insurance is something that makes it safer for drivers to be on the road.

It is a requirement that all drivers have a minimum amount of insurance coverage to help keep them and other drivers safer when they are on the road. Your state has specific minimum coverage requirements that might differ from state to state. It can be difficult to understand the insurance requirements of your state but with the help of an agent you can find the right coverage for you. Auto insurance takes the burden of paying for medical bills, paying for deductibles, and dealing with the recovery after an accident easier for everyone involved.

No matter what level of coverage you want, having an agent on your side can help you find the policy you want and need far faster and easier than if you are looking on your own. For those in the Rochester MN area, the agents with Safechoice Insurance Agency are ready and willing to help you with all your insurance needs.  

Is Home Insurance Paid Monthly or Yearly?

When you buy insurance for your Rochester, MN home, you may wonder how often you’ll need to make payments. The answer is that many insurers will let you choose to pay monthly or yearly. This is a significant decision with multiple consequences.


Most insurance companies will charge you less per year if you pay on a yearly basis. They do this because they save money by processing only one payment rather than 12. Annual payments might also help you cut spending on postage and checks.

When you pay yearly premiums, you won’t need to spend as much time making or keeping track of payments. Fewer transactions result in a smaller risk of overdraft fees, record-keeping mistakes and lost or delayed payments. This helps to ensure that coverage remains in effect.

A yearly payment is sometimes the only option. Certain mortgage lenders demand that buyers prepay for a year’s worth of coverage when they purchase homes. If desired, owners can switch to monthly payments after the initial year.


Nevertheless, there are also benefits to be gained from paying by the month. You won’t have to save up as much cash before obtaining or renewing coverage. It’s also easier to switch insurers at any time. There’s no need to request a large refund if you cancel mid-year.

If both options appeal to you, look for a compromise. Some insurers accept quarterly or semi-annual premiums from their customers. Safechoice Insurance Agency can help you find a company that provides suitable payment options.

Our Rochester, MN agency has offered affordable coverage and top-notch service to Minnesota residents for over a decade. We independently check rates from multiple insurers and identify the best options for our customers. To find home insurance that fits your budget, please contact Safechoice Insurance Agency by dialing 507-280-9282.

How Home Insurance Can Save Lives in Rochester

Home insurance isn’t the fireman that will rescue your family from the flames, nor is it the policeman that will apprehend criminals before they do any harm to you. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important when it comes to keeping everyone in a community safe. Safechoice Insurance Agency wants the citizens of Rochester, MN to learn more about its benefits. 

Preventing the Worst 

Home insurance is there for you when you have something unexpected come up. It may be able to fix structural damage or deformities in the house or yard that could eventually pose a threat to the safety of the family. If the foundation is damaged by a storm for instance, then you won’t be able to live there safely until its back to being stable again. But insurance also works in intangible ways as well. When thieves (or even kids who are just looking to cause trouble) see that homes look as though they were given the utmost care, then they may hesitate to conduct their affairs on that particular block. 

Finding the People Who Can Help 

Safechoice Insurance Agency understands the community of Rochester, MN, and the actions that each homeowner takes affects everyone. The more responsibility is infused into a neighborhood, the safer and more valuable it becomes. Home insurance saves lives, and it can help boost the value of the property as well, making it an even more worthwhile investment for you. And it all starts with you. If you’re looking for more information on how you can get a policy that will provide the best protection, then we’re here to make that dream a reality. See why it may be more affordable than you think when you give us a call today for a quote.