Are All Your Valuables Covered by Your Home Insurance?

With basic home insurance, you can protect your home and personal belongings against such threats as fire, hail, windstorm, theft, vandalism and water damage due to a leaky roof or plumbing problems. The amount of protection you receive will depend on the limits of your policy. As part of your personal goods, valuables also receive a measure of protection under a standard home insurance policy. This protection, however, may not cover the entire worth of your valuables due to limits on your policy, leaving you with no choice but to pay the rest out of pocket. At Safechoice Insurance Agency, we can help you determine insurance coverage that will fully protect all the valuables in your Rochester, MN home.

What Valuables May Not be Fully Covered by a Standard Home Insurance Policy?

Depending on their worth, such items as pricey jewelry, furs, works of art, antiques, heirlooms and rare coin collections may not be fully covered by basic home insurance. You can, however, obtain additional coverage to protect these items. This coverage known as a "floater," comes with higher limits to cover the repair or replacement cost of expensive valuables. By having your valuables professionally appraised, you can determine their current value. This gives you a better idea of how much coverage you need to protect them against damage or loss.  

Importance of Protecting Valuables

You can’t predict when a disaster will strike but you can be prepared for the outcome with insurance coverage. Protecting valuables with a floater enables you to recoup your losses if these goods were to be stolen or damaged in an unforeseen disaster.  When it comes to treasured goods, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To learn more about insurance protection for your home, personal goods and valuables, contact us at Safechoice Insurance Agency in Rochester, MN.  

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.

 

 

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.

Lights

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.

Windows

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.

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.

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.

Annually

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.

Monthly

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. 

Taking Care of Your Home the Correct Way

When it comes to taking care of your home in Rochester, MN the correct way, there are several tips to keep in mind. From taking care of the lawn to cleaning out the gutters, keeping your home in pristine condition is essential to its overall value. Fortunately, one of the easiest ways to take proper care of your home is to keep an active home insurance policy on it. Here’s a quick look at three other tips you can follow to help ensure you’re taking care of your home the best way possible. 

#1: Sweep and Mop Behind Appliances

One of the dirtiest areas in a home is behind appliances. Whether it be a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or stove, the areas behind these appliances can get very dusty and dirty. And while they do not have to be moved on a weekly basis to be cleaned behind, it is ideal to move them and clean behind them at least once a month. In doing this, you will also notice how much easier it is to keep these areas clean because the dirt and grime will not build up so heavily behind them. 

#2: Clean the Windows

Cleaning your windows on a regular basis may or may not be an option. Window cleaning can require special equipment and supplies depending on how high they are and their shape. If you don’t know how or cannot clean the windows on your home yourself, you can always hire a professional window cleaning company to do the work for you. 

#3: Pressure Wash the Vinyl

Keeping your home pressure washed is key to keeping the exterior in tip-top condition. Once again, if you don’t know how to clean the exterior of your home (whether it be vinyl or brick), you can hire a professional cleaning company serving the Rochester, MN to do it for you. 

Contact Safechoice Insurance Agency today to learn more about home insurance in Rochester, MN today. 

 

What Should You Consider When Purchasing Home Insurance?

You can’t predict the future, so it’s not easy to know how much home insurance you might need. The best thing to do is to work with an agent from Safechoice Insurance Agency for your homeowner’s coverage in the Rochester, MN area to help you plan for possible future events. They can help you sort through what to consider while you’re planning for your homeowner’s insurance coverage while staying within your budget. Here are some items for you to have in mind when you speak to an agent.

  • Deductibles – Higher deductibles will decrease your premium, but if something happens, you will need to pay that deductible.  Know how much of a deductible you are comfortable paying for an incident.
  •  Replacement Cost or Cash Value – Decide if you would like the cost of replacing your home or valuables without depreciation or if you would rather have the actual cash value after depreciation. 
  • Know Your Policy – Work with your agent, so you clearly know what is covered under your plan. For certain events, you may need a separate policy.
  • Discounts – You may be eligible for discounts, such as car and home insurance with the same company, installing an alarm system, or dead bolts.
  • Annually – Review your policy at least once a year with your agent to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Safechoice Insurance Agency

If your home is in the Rochester MN area, Safechoice Insurance Agency is an excellent insurance agency to work with to help you determine your coverage needs. A professional agent will take the time to explore your home insurance options. They will help you make policy decisions that will provide the coverage you need at a price that will fit your budget.  Contact us today to get started.

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

It can be easy to overlook the cold winter ahead while it’s warm and you’re still thinking about the fun times you had with all those cookouts and picnics. But whether we like to admit it or not, Old Man Winter is just around the corner, and especially in Rochester, MN! Here’s how you can prepare for his chilly visit with these tips from your friends at Safechoice Insurance Agency. 

Winter Tip #1: It’s never too early to start.

There’s a reason why the birds start flying south and the squirrels gather food long before it gets cold – if you start your prep when the first snow falls, it’s already too late. Act now to clear out your gutters and care for your yard, and you’ll have peace of mind when the weather outside is frightful.

Winter Tip#2: Give Your Furnace a well-deserved checkup.

Furnaces are an essential part of living out here in Minnesota. Take good care of your furnace, and it will take care of you! Keep the airways clean by changing your filter once a month, and have a professional inspect it for a clean bill of health. 

Winter Tip #3: A sealed-up home is a snuggly warm home.

You might have heard that sealing up the cracks in your home saves a lot on the energy bill, but did you know that it blocks out moisture, too? A home kept dry prevents a multitude of problems that include costly structural damage. 

Ready, Set, Prep!

Get ahead of Old Man Winter this year by prepping your home now. If you have any questions about winter-related damages with your home insurance in Rochester, MN, our staff at Safechoice Insurance Agency is here to help. Thanks for reading!