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Andover, MN 55304
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Power Outage

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Power Outage

Power Outage

  Ready for a power outage or emergency? It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit handy in case of power outages or other issues — especially with the threat of stormy weather in fall and winter. See recommendations from the American Red Cross below. Emergency kit basics Water (one gallon per person, per day; keep a two-week supply at home) Food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items; two week supply at home) Flashlight and battery-powered radio, along with extra batteries First-aid kit, toiletries, medications and medical items Multi-purpose tool Copies of personal documents, along with family and emergency contact information Extra cash, clothing and blankets Cell phones and chargers Maps of the areaContent provided by: Safeco...

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Time to Honor Dad

Posted by on Jun 23, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Time to Honor Dad

Time to Honor Dad

    With summer here and the weather warming up, Minnesota neighborhoods come alive with the sights and sounds of the season: lawnmowers, power tools and backyard barbecues, to name a few. For many people, those things all bring to mind one specific person: Dad. And since Father’s Day is coming up in just a couple days, we at Baker Insurance Brokers thought we’d give you some gift ideas – and some fun history trivia, too! The history of Father’s Day Marked on the third Sunday of June in the United States (and in many other countries), Father’s Day was first celebrated in 1910 to complement Mother’s Day. According to Wikipedia, the day was created by Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who wanted to honor her father, Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart. Although Dodd originally suggested her father’s birthday in early June, she had not provided organizers with enough time to arrange the event – and the celebration was delayed until the third Sunday of the month. Although Mother’s Day has been an official national holiday since 1914, Father’s Day had a tougher road. Congress refused to make the celebration official in the years immediately following Dodd’s first observance, fearing that the day would become commercialized. (Some would say those fears were well-founded; the creator of Mother’s Day later came to regret the commercialization of that holiday.) It wasn’t until 1966 that Father’s Day received an official proclamation, thanks to President Lyndon B. Johnson. And six years later, President Richard Nixon signed a law making the day a national holiday. Facts and figures (from government website USA.gov) There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation An estimated 1.7 million men are single fathers Approximately 176,000 fathers are stay-at-home dads What to get Dad? Once you’re past the age of, say, 10, the “Old Spice and a tie” routine probably won’t cut it anymore when it comes to getting a gift for your father. Here are some better ideas from AskMen.com: Grilling tools (this way, perhaps he’ll even cook for you on Father’s Day!) Alcohol (to be enjoyed in moderation, of course) Fishing gear Golf clubs, balls, or other sporting goods – or take him out for a round of golf Books (particularly grilling cookbooks) Gadgets (such as a GPS; after all, many dads don’t like asking for directions) Landscaping services (so he can take a break from mowing the lawn) Aside from ties and cheap cologne, you’ll probably want to avoid the most clichéd gifts, especially “World’s Best Dad” items (even if it’s true!) and socks. As with all gifts, though, it’s the thought that counts. And we’re sure your dad will appreciate simply being appreciated. And if you’re a dad yourself – Happy Father’s Day! We hope you’ll enjoy your...

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Minnesota Storm Chaser Bill

Posted by on Jun 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Minnesota Storm Chaser Bill

Minnesota Storm Chaser Bill

  With storm season upon us, the Legislature enacted Minn.stat.ss325E.66 referred to as the “Storm Chaser” bill, which became effective August 1, 2010. The bill establishes standards and safeguards to assist homeowner from being exposed to underhanded tactics or marketing campaigns conducted by residential roofing contractors or contractors who provide roofing services. This bill contains two essential provisions. The FIRST section states that roofing contractors shall not advertise, promise or otherwise rebate any portion of a homeowner’s deductible from proceeds paid by insurance. If a contractor violates the law, the insurance company is not obligated to consider contractors estimate and the homeowner or insurance company may file claim in court for damages. The SECOND section of the bill allows homeowner to cancel any written contract with a roofing contractor within 72 hours after the homeowner is notified by insurance carrier that a claim is denied. In the event of a storm related loss, homeowners should notify their insurance agent immediately. Additional resources are available to assist homeowners in the event of a roof loss. Contractors may be checked out through the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry. You may verify the status of a contractor’s license at: https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/licensing/licensing.aspx, or by calling DLI at (651) 284-5069 or 1-800-657-3944. DLI can verify if the contractor has a license, and also if there are any action or sanctions on...

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Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Auto Insurance | Comments Off on Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

Do You Need Rental Car Insurance?

    Maybe you’ve been here before. You’ve just come off the plane, picked up your baggage and gone to the rental car counter. You’re tired from the flight, about to begin an ambitious vacation or a challenging business project. And, this is the point at which you’re asked, “Do you want insurance with that?” Most travelers, facing that question from the rental representative, have the vague notion that they don’t really need to buy rental car insurance – which somehow is covered already. With just enough doubt in their minds, and the need to make a quick decision, perhaps they buy it just to be safe. So, which is it? Do you need to buy rental car insurance or not? Truth be told, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. However, you can likely reach a conclusion you’re comfortable with by considering these three questions. What Types of Rental Car Insurance Are Available? Typically, car rental agencies will offer you four types of insurance to purchase: Collision damage waiver – The rental car company won’t charge you for a damaged or stolen vehicle when you buy this. Supplemental liability protection – Electing this will ensure you’re covered for costs to others if you cause an accident in the rental. Personal accident insurance – This coverage will pay for injuries or death of the driver and passengers of your rental car. Personal effects coverage – Reimburses you for stolen personal items while renting the car. What Rental Car Coverage Might I Already Have? Start with your personal auto insurance. Your existing policy will provide the same level of coverage for your rental as it does for your own car. That usually includes liability insurance, collision, comprehensive and medical payments. There are exclusions, however. Some insurers won’t cover rentals in a foreign country, or rentals that are being used for business. Get in touch with your independent insurance agent to verify your coverages. Next there’s your credit card. Most cards offer some degree of coverage, but it varies widely. Coverage is usually secondary, designed to step in and pick up where your auto insurance leaves off, and it tends to be mostly confined to collision, damage and theft. For coverage to apply, most cards require that you decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and pay for the car in full with the card that provides the protection. Again, contact your card company to find out exactly what is covered. Then, consider your health and life insurance, too. If you’re in an accident involving a rental car and you have these policies, you likely have coverage for your own costs. Plus, with your homeowners insurance, you may have personal property coverage to help repair or replace valuable belongings that are lost, damaged or stolen while you’re in a rental. Your deductible and policy limits will apply, and the same goes for renters insurance or condo insurance. What Rental Coverage Might I Be Missing? In the event something does happen to the rental car, you may be looking at loss of use and diminished value fees, and your regular policy may not cover them. Loss of use is the income that the rental agency loses due to the vehicle being in the shop for repairs, and diminished value is the calculated reduction in...

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Insurance to Value

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Home Insurance | Comments Off on Insurance to Value

Insurance to Value

  Do You Have Enough Coverage to Rebuild Your Home? Imagine how devastating it would be to lose your home in a fire. Now imagine not being able to rebuild it completely because you didn’t have the correct amount of insurance. Selecting the proper amount of coverage is the single most important decision you can make with your Homeowners policy. Without it, you may not have enough coverage to rebuild after a total loss. This is called “insurance to value.” Below are some explanations and tips to help you make the right choices for your needs — and remember, if you need help, we’re just a phone call away! What is insurance to value? Insurance to value is the relationship between the amount of coverage selected (typically listed as “Coverage A” or “Dwelling Coverage” on your policy declarations page) and the amount required to rebuild your home. Insuring your home for anything less than 100% insurance to value could mean you wouldn’t have enough coverage to replace your home in the event of a total loss. Why is the cost to rebuild different from the market value? A home’s market value reflects current economic conditions, taxes, school districts, the value of the land and location, and other factors unrelated to construction cost. The cost to rebuild your home is based only on the cost of materials and labor in your area.  It is important that you insure your home based on its reconstruction cost, NOT its current market value Why is reconstruction more expensive than new construction? New-home builders typically build many homes at once, and solicit bids from various sub-contractors to receive the best pricing. Their business model is based on economies of scale. For example, they may purchase 20 bathtubs at once, securing a lower unit cost. These economies of scale don’t exist when building a single home. How can I make sure I have the correct amount of insurance? Work with us to provide detailed information at time of purchase to be sure that you receive a thorough and accurate quote. Ask us about additional coverage options that may be available, especially if you have unique features in your home. Review your insurance to value calculation on a regular basis with the agency, many carriers will do an automatic inflation on the price, but not all. Tell the agency about any changes or improvements that you make to your...

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Memorial Day

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Memorial Day

Memorial Day

  Honoring Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day Memorial Day weekend in Minnesota can be a busy one for many. The three-day holiday that marks the unofficial start of summer is a great opportunity for family activities, which can leave little time for the original purpose of the holiday: honoring those who have died while serving in America’s armed forces. There is a way, though, that you can participate in Memorial Day commemorations, and it only takes a moment. Here’s what to do: Pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silent reflection in honor and remembrance of those who have died in service to our nation. Of course, there are other ways to honor our fallen heroes, too. Here are a few: Buy a Poppy From the American Legion Auxiliary. The organization has been selling red crepe-paper poppies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day since 1925. John McCrea’s 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields, which honors those who died in World War I, inspired this tradition. Display the American Flag. On the morning of Memorial Day, raise the flag to the top of the staff before lowering it to half-staff. Leave it at half-staff until noon, when you can once again raise it to the top. Visit a Veteran’s Grave. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) maintains 131 national cemeteries, and many states have veterans cemeteries as well. Check the VA listings to locate a nearby cemetery, which will likely host a Memorial Day ceremony. Memorial Day History The concept of Memorial Day dates back to 1868, then known as Decoration Day, a time to place flowers at the graves of our war dead. Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day, with the first national celebration occurring on May 30, 1868. In 1971, it was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress that also moved it to the last Monday in May. We hope you’ll join us at Baker Insurance Brokers in taking part in the moment of silence, known as the National Moment of Remembrance, and other Memorial Day traditions in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We will forever be grateful for their...

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Mother’s Day

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

A time to celebrate mothers   As the second Sunday of May nears, it’s time to think of ways to celebrate mothers – although, of course, that’s a worthy pursuit at any time of year! At Baker Insurance Brokers, we thought it would be fun to give you a little of the history behind Mother’s Day, as well as a few ideas to honor the special women in all our lives. Ancient beginnings According to MothersDayCentral.com, the ancient Egyptians held an annual festival to honor “the mother of the pharaohs” – the goddess Isis. This is one of the earliest historical records of a society celebrating a mother. How Mother’s Day came to be in the U.S. In 1870, Julia Ward Howe, a social activist and poet (and author of the lyrics for “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) had became distraught by the toll of the Civil War. She issued a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” that year, calling on mothers to protest the killing and create a day celebrating peace and motherhood. Howe’s proclamation did not result in a national Mother’s Day, but in 1908, Anna Jarvis of West Virginia took up the cause. She wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration of all mothers. By 1909, more than 40 states were holding Mother’s Day services, even though it was not a national holiday. In 1912, according to Wikipedia, West Virginia was the first state to officially observe Mother’s Day. Jarvis continued to promote the day until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. She later regretted creating the holiday, believing that it had become too commercialized. Enough with the history – where are the gift ideas? Like us at Baker Insruance Brokers, we know you might have more urgent concerns on your mind, like last-minute shopping, so here are the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, according to MothersDayCentral.com. Flowers Gift baskets Personalized gifts Jewelry Perfume Spa gifts Magazines Of course, perhaps the best gift of all is getting in touch and letting the moms in your life know just how much they mean to you. Happy Mother’s...

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Three Times You Shouldn’t File an Insurance Claim

Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in Auto Insurance | Comments Off on Three Times You Shouldn’t File an Insurance Claim

Three Times You Shouldn’t File an Insurance Claim

  It’s common wisdom that one of the first steps after an accident is to get a hold of your insurance company. But are there exceptions to that rule? More importantly, what will a claim do to your insurance rate? Sometimes, after a car accident, it’s obvious that you’ll want to get ahold of your insurance company as quickly as possible. Major damage has been done, or someone is hurt. But the truth is, not all of the 5.25 million car collisions that happen in the United States annually are serious—in fact, the vast majority of them are non-fatal. That means that tens of thousands of folks are inconvenienced on a daily basis by a minor accident. Of the 5.25 million car accidents that happen annually, most are not fatal. Chances are, you’ve likely had someone offer to pay you out of pocket post-fender bender, or maybe you’ve even been the person begging, I mean “proposing”, to avoid getting insurance involved. People wanted to know: Is this ever a good idea? Are there some cases in which the possible rate increase might not be worth telling your insurance company about your accident over? So I thought I’d give some information on when to (and when NOT to) file a claim. First, a few Post-Accident Reminders We have gone over before on what to do after a car accident, but for this post, I’ll go over a few things I always remind my clients that are critical financially after an accident. A couple little tips I tell my clients about filing accidents: First of all, I always suggest attempting to file a police report or an incident report, so that the other party won’t be able to come back after the fact and try to twist the truth (I’ve seen that done all too many times). Second, I tell people to never discuss the details of the accident with anyone but the police and insurance company. It’s up to the police and insurance adjustors to determine the fault of the accident, not you. I have heard of too many people saying, “Wow, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to do X…”. Sound advice: Get the police and your insurance involved, and keep your mouth shut. But, I want to add, this isn’t always necessary, depending on the accident. …And One Giant Disclaimer I always tells my clients the same thing: Check your insurance policy documents. Many insurance policies state that you must notify the insurance company of anything that might lead to a potential claim. Also, there are many different state and insurance company specific time limits to filing a claim; so, always know of any applicable time limits.” And of course, if anyone is even remotely injured, always file a claim. More on that below. 3 Times it Makes Sense Not to Involve Your Insurance Company   1) It was a one-car accident and you’re not injured, or if you are, you’re able to pay for your medical expenses yourself.   2) You can afford to pay for the costs of damage to your vehicle—or the costs of the repair are close to or not much over the cost of your deductible. I have heard several stories just like this one: “I backing out of my driveway about sunset, with...

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Grilling Safety

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Grilling Safety

Grilling Safety

Summers mean backyard grilling – safely! Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family. Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill. TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.). NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you. Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed. Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it. CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS From Kingsford.com Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you. Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire. Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees. To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water. GAS GRILL TIPS From the National Fire Protection Association Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going...

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Increased Driving Costs

Posted by on Mar 24, 2017 in Auto Insurance | Comments Off on Increased Driving Costs

Increased Driving Costs

  Recent Trends Boost Costs for Minnesota Drivers   Does it seem like driving has become more expensive in Minnesota in recent years? It likely has. Since 2014, the U.S. has seen more new cars on the road, and those cars are driving more miles than in years past. The severity of traffic-related accidents has grown worse, and insurance claims for bodily injury have become more expensive. Together, these factors are increasing the cost of driving for just about every car owner. More new cars: New car sales hit a new record in 2016, with 17.55 million vehicles sold, almost six percent from 2014, according to recent study. That’s good for the economy. And, the safety, technology and convenience features that get better every year are good for drivers. Still, new cars can be more expensive to repair or replace, and all that technology doesn’t come cheap. So, the cost of accident repairs is also increasing. More miles driven: Encouraged by greater employment and lower gas prices, those new cars, along with the older ones, are driving more miles. Whether commuters driving in to Minneapolis each day, or families making the trip to their favorite vacation spot, U.S. drivers drove 3.2 trillion miles in 2016, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That’s another record, and it’s also highest number of miles driven since Americans logged 3 trillion miles in 2007, just before the recession. Of course, the more miles driven, the greater the potential for accidents and the need for repairs. Traffic deaths increase: Any traffic fatality is one too many, but the U.S. registered a six percent increase in annual traffic-related deaths from 2015 to 2016 and a 14% increase since 2014, the biggest two-year jump in more than five decades. Half of those who died were not wearing seat belts, a third of the deaths were due to drunk drivers or speeding and at least one in 10 involved distraction. It’s also worth noting that fatalities for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists increased more in 2016 than those for auto drivers and passengers. It’s a heartbreaking trend that’s both dangerous and costly. Medical costs rising: From 2005 to 2013, the average cost for a bodily injury liability claim rose 32.1 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council. These increasing costs have been attributed to a number of factors, including the rising severity of accidents, and the rising cost of medical care. And, they come at a time when the frequency of such claims has been declining. Distracted driving: Although using a mobile phone while driving is restricted, if not prohibited, in many states, cell phones and texting continue to be a serious cause of accidents. We don’t know just how serious this problem is, because accident reports often don’t mention if mobile phone use was a contributing factor. But, cell phones have brought greater awareness to the larger category termed “distracted driving,” activities that take the driver’s attention away from the road. Distracted driving means using a cell phone or texting while operating a car, but can also refer to eating while driving, operating your car’s navigation system and even conversing with passengers. The AAA Foundation points to federal estimates that distracted driving contributes to 16 percent of the nation’s fatal crashes, about 5,000 deaths annually. All of...

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