The Typical College Student’s Insurance Needs

The Typical College Student’s Insurance Needs

June 30th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

It’s an exciting and emotional time when a child – err, young adult – heads off to college. And, for many parents, a confusing time in regards to car insurance and personal property coverage. Should college students remain on the family’s auto policy? Do they have coverage for their belongings in the dorms? Let’s take a look at these and other issues to help clear up some of the confusion.

Wheels or No Wheels?

If you’re supporting your college student financially, you can still consider him or her a household member for insurance purposes. Yes, even if your child doesn’t live at home or moves out of state. This means that:

  • If your child takes a car to school, he or she can stay on your auto insurance policy. Be sure to make it known that lending the car to friends is out of the question!
  • If your child leaves the car at home, there’s likely no need for him or her to be listed as a daily driver on your policy. This could reduce your car insurance rates, especially if the school is more than 100 miles away from home.
  • If your child returns home for a weekend or holiday, he or she can still drive under your coverage. However, if your child will be using the car for an extended period, such as during summer break, you should let your independent agent know.

Oftentimes a carrier will offer Good Student Discounts for students who maintain a high GPA, such as 3.0 or above. If you college student is remaining on your auto policy, be sure to talk with your agent about whether this is an option for you. Also be aware that if your student owns a vehicle or you transfer ownership of a vehicle into your student’s name, that vehicle will need to registered and insured in his or her own name. This is a great way to start building your child’s insurance history!

What’s It All Worth?

Car or no car, your student is no doubt taking several thousand dollars’ worth of personal belongings with him or her to college: laptop, tablet, TV, smartphone, gaming equipment, books, wardrobe, luggage, etc. Some lines of study may even require costly gear, such as musical instruments or cameras. Your existing homeowner’s policy should extend some personal property coverage to your student. For example, 10 or 20 percent of your personal property coverage may extend to your student’s dorm stay. So, if you have $100,000 of personal property coverage on your policy, your student has $10,000 or $20,000 worth of coverage. This may even follow your student to a foreign country if he or she is studying abroad for a semester or longer, but be sure to check with your local independent agent. To make it easy to take advantage of this coverage in the event of a covered incident, be sure to:

  • Create an inventory of what your student is taking before he or she heads off to college and what it’s all worth. Include receipts, photos, serial numbers, and as much other information about the items as you can.
  • Itemize any items worth more than $1,000 since, in most cases, there is a cap on how much coverage particular items or types of items receive under your policy. Itemizing the valuables offers broader coverage and also broadens the coverage territory to anywhere in the world.

For students renting a house or apartment off-campus, or even a dorm on-campus, a renter’s insurance policy in their own name is another option. Renter’s policies are oftentimes highly affordable ($10 to $20 a month in some cases) and provide liability and medical payment coverages in addition to personal property.

What About Umbrella Insurance?

An umbrella policy covers all household members. If you have one, it gives your student even more liability protection in auto accidents and other mishaps, according to your policy. It’s normal to be nervous when your kids head off to college. But, there’s no reason to be nervous about whether you’ve handled their insurance needs properly.

Use this primer as a guide but remember that your own insurance coverage may differ depending on your policy, your carrier, and your state. To further put your mind at ease, check in with your local independent agent for regular guidance. Trust me, there is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to keeping your young adult safely insured!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: amartinson@aibme.com

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LeBron James: Insuring His Financial Future

LeBron James: Insuring His Financial Future

June 1st, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Tonight is the beginning of the 2017 NBA Finals and LeBron James is just four wins away from his 4th NBA Championship. Before winning MVP awards, breaking NBA records, and winning NBA titles, LeBron was a highly publicized high school athlete. Like many top ranked high school seniors he was scheduled to play in the 2003 McDonalds All-American Game.

LeBron was a virtual lock to be the number one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. His initial contract would pay him 13 million dollars over three years. Because of this, he purchased a 10 million dollar insurance policy ensuring that if he suffered a career ending injury he would be compensated for potential wage loss. All-Star Game director Bob Geoghan believed this to be a smart decision stating “If I was him, I’d probably want the same thing. While the chances are slim that he would [suffer] a career ending injury, it’s something to think about.”

LeBron James and his representatives made sure to protect his financial future with an insurance policy. Make sure you do the same. Auto, home, and life insurance can help ensure that your financial future is protected. Call the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN to learn more today!

To find out how more celebrities and athletes have protected themselves click here … Popular Celebs Insure More Than Cars and Houses

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: amartinson@aibme.com

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Ride Sharing (Uber & Lyft) Coverage

Ride Sharing (Uber & Lyft) Coverage

May 4th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

So you’re a ride share driver for Uber or Lyft, generating extra income or maybe even working full-time using your personal vehicle to transport others. You love the freedom of setting your own hours and traversing the city with interesting people in tow. Make sure you understand when your personal auto insurance policy affords coverage for Ride Sharing and when it does not.

Where’s Your Coverage Gap?

The entire time your TNC app is on, your personal auto policy is suspended. Your TNC does provide coverage, but only for the period of time between accepting the passenger and dropping off the passenger. No passenger means no coverage for your vehicle and any damages or injuries you may sustain or cause.

Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage steps in to cover you between passengers, effectively closing the gap.

Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage Fills in the Gap – and Then Some

Extend your personal auto policy: With Safeco Ride Sharing Coverage, you get nearly the same coverage during applicable ride sharing activities as you do any other time you drive. Most of the coverage and options you selected for your Safeco auto policy extend to your Ride Sharing Coverage.

Identify which vehicle you use for ride sharing: Your Ride Sharing Coverage will only apply to the vehicle specified on your policy. If you have other vehicles insured with Safeco, the coverage will not apply to them unless you purchase coverage for each one.

Contact your local independent agent at the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN today for more information regarding Ride Sharing coverage and how it may be handled with your current policy.
Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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How to Dial Up Safety When You Light Up the Grill

How to Dial Up Safety When You Light Up the Grill

April 20th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Summer is right around the corner and millions of Americans will be enjoying some of the tastes of the season this year by firing up the grill. However, whether due to inattention or inexperience, many of these outdoor cooking plans will quite literally go up in smoke.

Grilling accidents are among the more common causes of household fires that take place each year in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an estimated 8,900 home fires occur annually, stemming from the use of grills, hibachis and barbecues.

These incidents can also lead to serious burns, frequently requiring medical attention. In 2014, as an example, approximately 16,600 people had to be sent to emergency rooms due to injuries involving grills, based on NFPA’s data. ​And while Americans grill year-round, most fires happen between May and August.

With proper preparation and understanding of how to grill safely, however, these accidents can remain isolated incidents. The NFPA and U.S. Fire Administration have tons of tips on the best practices for safe grilling. These four are perhaps the most important of them all.

Open the lid prior to turning on your grill:

If you own a propane grill, open up the grill cover before lighting it. Propane is highly flammable, so when you dial up the nozzle and the lid is closed, it creates a pressurized atmosphere that could result in a fire once the burners are lit. Keeping the lid open allows the gas to safely dissipate. Afterward, it’s safe to close.

Position your grill away from standing structures:

Hibachis, barbecues and grills should always be used in the outdoors, but there’s more to it than that. Ideally, you should position the grill so that it’s at least three feet removed from standing structures, like patios, porches, terraces or the side of your home. This ensures that if a fire does occur, the flames don’t spread. According to the NFPA’s statistics, nearly 30% of all grilling fires happen on porches and/or exterior balconies.

Wait several minutes to relight:

Windy conditions can sometimes cause a grill’s flame to go out. But instead of relighting immediately, give it a good five minutes to ensure that the propane in the air has had enough time to disperse. Hannah Storm, long-time sports anchor for NBC Sports and ESPN, learned the importance of why you should wait the hard way when her grill exploded upon relighting the burners.

Clean your grill after each use:

Regardless of your meat preferences, they all contain oils that collect over time on the grill’s grates. Try to get into the habit of scrubbing the grates down every time you use them. This helps ensure that your food will cook more evenly and it also reduces the chances of grease-related fires. Real Simple Magazine has a checklist you can use for tips on deep cleaning.

Be sure to check out the NFPA’s website for additional tips on grilling safety this summer. Call the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN with any home insurance related questions that you may have today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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What You Need to Know About Leasing a Vehicle

What You Need to Know About Leasing a Vehicle

March 2nd, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Leasing a car is becoming more and more popular as time goes on. Leasing offers significant benefits as compared to purchasing a vehicle. Edmunds, a research publication that focuses on the automotive market, released the following data from its study last summer on leasing:

  • The first half of 2016 saw the highest number of new car leases on record.
  • Over the past five years, the number of car leases has doubled.
  • Millennials represent the largest group of lessees at more than 34%.
  • When looking at the whole, lessees pay 23% less each month on average than those who have a financing program

If you are one of the many Americans considering signing an automobile lease, there are some things you should know.

The Basics

Anyone interested in leasing a car should first understand whether or not it’s the right move compared to buying, according to US News. For example, the source explains that the standard lease agreement puts a limit of 9,000 to 15,000 miles annually. If you think you are going to exceed that, it might not benefit you to lease given the immense penalties you could end up paying. On the other hand, individuals who are committed to maintaining their leased vehicles or desire an automobile they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, are indeed strong candidates for this path.

Bankrate, a financial website, urges consumers to avoid five common mistakes in the leasing process, including, paying exorbitant sums up front, failing to maintain the interior and exterior of the vehicle, and leasing a vehicle for more time than the warranty period. Bankrate also notes that failure to get gap insurance could lead to financial peril for the lessee.

Since Coverage is an important factor in this conversation, let’s look further into the key matters involved.

Insurance Considerations

The Insurance Information Institute offers some helpful guidance to individuals who are looking to lease a car and protect themselves from the potential financial damages that could accompany theft or an accident. In most instances, you will have to keep comprehensive and collision coverage, but this will rarely cover the entirety of your liability if the vehicle is completely totaled. That’s where gap coverage comes in. Gap coverage, sometimes referred to as loan/lease coverage, reimburses the lessee in the event of an accident and there’s a “gap” between the amount owed the auto dealer and the insurance claim payment.

The vast majority of consumers will not have to purchase their gap insurance separately, but rather foot the bill as part of the monthly payment to the lessor.

Make sure that you read all of the fine print on leasing contracts, especially the content related to insurance and liability, before signing on.

With any questions regarding coverage when leasing a vehicle, give your insurance professionals at the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN a call today!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Dangers of Distracted Driving

Dangers of Distracted Driving

February 10th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

The dangers of driving drunk are well documented. Over the last few years, there have been many campaigns aimed at raising awareness about driving under the influence. Designated drivers, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” and “Drink responsibly” are now mainstays of media and social consciousness and intoxicated drivers are heavily fined and penalized.

Yet there is another behavior that:

  • Is six times more likely to cause an accident than DWI
  • Makes you 23 times more likely to crash
  • Is the same as driving blind for at least five seconds (the time it takes a car going 55 mph to travel the length of a football field)
  • Is being practiced by approximately 800,000 drivers at any given time

And the results of this behavior are horrific. This behavior:

  • Causes nearly 25% of all car accidents
  • Results in 1.6 million accidents and 300,00 injuries every year
  • Causes 11 teenage deaths every day

This behavior is distracted driving. Distracted driving includes but is not limited to: texting, tweeting, using snap chat, changing songs, talking on the phone and eating. These activities can always wait until you arrive at your destination. Put the phone down. It can save a life.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Super Bowl LI: Four Myths About The Big Game

Super Bowl LI: Four Myths About The Big Game

February 5th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

With the Super Bowl right around the corner, let’s look at four of the most common myths surrounding the big game.

The Marketing Misconceptions

The Super Bowl is known as one of the biggest events of the year in advertising. However, Advertising Age explains that there are a lot of myths about advertising during the big game. The news provider explained that broadcast advertising is not the only way to gain some visibility, as one company carried out a campaign on the web ─ without purchasing a $4 million ad spot ─ and reached 10 million individuals by becoming a part of the conversation. Even small businesses can capitalize on the event, not just large ones.

Right Down The Drain

TIME Magazine explained that some people believe the “flush effect” myth, which is the belief that everyone in the country will flush their toilet at the same exact moment during halftime, and that this will strain the nation’s water supply. Interestingly, TIME Magazine points out that research in various cities has proven that water use peaks during breaks in the game.

Plenty of Beer, But Not The Most

Americans might believe the big game would be the biggest day of the year for beer purchases, and for good reason. However, this is false. The Nielsen Co., a ratings and research firm, lists this event in February as the eighth-biggest day for beer sales, behind other days including Independence Day, Labor Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Easter.

Stock Market Predictor

One theory states that the Super Bowl can predict the stock market’s performance for the coming year. As ridiculous as it sounds, there is some evidence to back this theory up. The “Super Bowl Indicator” states that if a team from the old American Football League (AFL) wins, the stock market will go down; if a team from the old National Football League (NFL) wins, the markets will go up. The Super Bowl indicator has been accurate roughly 80% of the time!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Supporting Your Local Businesses

Supporting Your Local Businesses

January 9th, 2017 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Small businesses are among the most important components of the American economy, both on local and national levels.

Consider the following statistics from the U.S. Small Business Administration, an entity devoted to supporting entrepreneurs:

  • Small businesses outnumbered large ones by a margin of 28.8 million to 18,600 in 2013.
  • More than 99 percent of all companies that have employees in the U.S. are small businesses.
  • Small businesses are responsible for more than half of the total export value.
  • Between 1992 and 2013, small businesses created 63.3 percent of net new jobs.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at why you should consider shopping at your local retailers.

Support The Local Economy

While entrepreneurs have a massive impact on the national level, their greatest value is often found in the local areas they reside. For example, if you were to shop at a major, multi-national chain, much of their profits will go back to shareholders in other states. On the other hand, small business revenues and profits will often be funneled back into their local economies via the salaries of employees from the area, vendor relationships within the community and more. PV Local First, a nonprofit advocacy group supporting independent businesses, states that local companies are more likely to purchase and sell goods from other entities in their areas.

Higher Quality

Small businesses are also rarely involved in mass-production activities, especially when talking about local retailers. This means that you will be able to purchase more artisanal, higher-quality goods in many situations. If the small local business is a re-seller, then you will be supporting artisans, craft makers, cooks and other professionals in your area as well.

Indirect Philanthropy

When you shop local, the philanthropic and charitable groups in your area are more likely to thrive. Sustainable Connections, a nonprofit that focuses on green initiatives, states that small businesses donate 250 percent more to nonprofit organizations than larger, national chains. These funds, which you will be fueling when shopping local, can go a long way toward making tangible differences in the lives of your neighbors.

Be A Part Of The Movement

American Express, the credit card company that started Small Business Saturday, estimates that $14.3 billion was spent in 2014, and 95 million Americans shopped local during 2015’s iteration of the event. Do not miss your chance to show your support for your community’s companies and entrepreneurs!

If you are looking to make an insurance purchase please contact Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN and remember, SHOP SMALL!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Why Kevin McCallister Wasn’t Covered By Liability Insurance

Why Kevin McCallister Wasn’t Covered By Liability Insurance

December 29th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

One of the most beloved holiday movies of all time is “Home Alone,” and the protagonist, Kevin McCallister, is certainly an iconic character in the hearts and minds of viewers everywhere. The whimsical, yet sometimes aggressive plot of the movie yields plenty of lessons from a parenting perspective. But consider the repercussions regarding home ownership and insurance.

Unfortunately, with all of the stunts Kevin McCallister pulled, he and his absent family would not have been covered by liability insurance, at least not in their home state of Illinois.

Coal for the McCallister’s

One might think that the “wet bandits” Harry and Marv, portrayed by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern respectively, would be completely in the wrong given the fact that they were trying to break into a home and unwittingly encountered a very resourceful child who defended himself. However, in spite of Kevin’s youth – and his seemingly justifiable position when he terrorized Harry and Marv to protect his home, he is acting in such a way that could nullify any protection through liability insurance.

As AllLaw.com, a website devoted to legal matters, explains, Harry and Marv actually could have sued the McCallister’s for the immense range of injuries they suffered, and the family would have had to pay up. In the words of the website: “In most states, property owners must refrain from engaging in willful conduct that causes injuries to trespassers.” 

So, because Kevin was operating in a willful fashion to injure the intruders, he would almost certainly be liable for their injuries. While this exception does not pertain to all states and insurance policies, the Staver Law Group, an Illinois-based legal firm, explains that Chicago and its suburbs, including Kevin’s village, does. If you have liability insurance, you will want to ensure that you understand the implications related to trespassers.

Lessons Learned

Simply put, you should never create hazards that would injure or even kill trespassers. You can and often will be held accountable for their injuries, despite the fact that you are trying to protect your home and they are trying to steal from it or damage it. It is a strange, yet common exception in homeowner liability insurance. But it’s an important one to deter individuals from purposefully causing harm rather than simply calling the police.  Make sure you understand the entirety of your liability coverage within your homeowner’s policy, and never take law enforcement matters into your own hands.

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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Preparing Your Car For Winter

Preparing Your Car For Winter

November 30th, 2016 — Martinson Agency LLC — Chaska, MN

Your automobile is likely one of your most valuable possessions, and you need to ensure it is kept in optimal working order at all times. With winter fast approaching now is a good time to prepare your car for the change in seasons.

Here are a few winterization tips to help keep your vehicle performing well this winter:

General Check-Up

Consumer Reports, an organization devoted to consumer information, states that certain diagnostic checks must be completed, including a thorough test of the battery. Extreme cold temperatures can quickly deplete a battery, so make sure it is in good shape. The nonprofit also suggested checking all fluids, notably oil, and the heating and cooling systems for any irregularities, damages, shortages or otherwise. A quick tune up at your local service center will generally take care of these matters.

Tires, Brakes & Brake Pads

If you live in an area that gets a lot of precipitation, you may want to invest in some winter tires and have them installed soon. These tires not only offer the quiet and fuel-efficient ride of those made for all seasons, but can provide you with that extra traction necessary to drive in slick conditions. If you choose to keep your all-season tires, check the treads to ensure they are not too worn. You should also be sure to check your brakes and brake pads for functionality and wear.

Visibility

To help to maintain visibility even while the salt, snow and other hazards pound on the glass, it is advised to get a windshield treatment. This can be done at your auto body shop, or at home with a variety of windshield solutions. Along with that, DMV.org, a website devoted to automobile related matters, suggests making sure your windshield wipers are in good shape, your defrosting system is fully functional and your windshield washer fluid is full. The DMV also recommends using a windshield washer fluid that contains anti-freeze for maximum effectiveness.

Emergency Prep

Extreme conditions can develop into emergency situations even if you take all of the necessary precautions. We urge winter drivers to keep blankets, boots, water, flares, a flashlight, engine coolant, washer fluid and engine oil in their vehicles at all times during the winter. The best way to avoid a disaster is prepare for it.

We all know that vehicles need year-round maintenance. You are probably asking “what does this have to do with my insurance?” Keep in mind that your driving record is one of the biggest factors when determining your rate. Preparing for winter will improve the odds that you avoid an accident. Please call the Martinson Agency in Chaska, MN for all of your personal and commercial insurance needs!

Don’t leave your insurance to luck! Call today us today!

Phone: (952) 314-4400

Email: jphagen@aibme.com

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