Should You Pay for Rental Car Insurance?
Picture it; you’re standing at the rental car counter waiting to start your vacation. You just got off the plane and the kids are stir crazy. Now, just one quick question before you can begin your vacation. “Would you like to purchase the rental car insurance?”
Now, you’re pretty savvy about insurance. You’ve read your policy and ask great questions of your insurance agent each year at your annual review! Unfortunately, the rental car insurance options you have in front of you have nothing in common with your personal auto insurance policy.
Don’t worry, there is a simple solution. We’ve broken it down to two key points that make the decision about whether or not you need rental car insurance an easy one. A little homework before your trip will help the rental process run more smoothly when you get to your destination.
The tips below will help you gather the necessary information to make an informed decision. Rental car insurance is just one of the many examples where your agent can help you make the best insurance decision.
Review the two key points you need to know and then contact your independent insurance agent to get started.
1. How much coverage do you have on your car?
As long as you are renting a car for personal use only, then whatever coverage you have on your own vehicle may carry over to your rental car. You’ll need to know whether your insurance policy covers administrative fees, loss of use or towing charges.
If you don’t currently own a car, and frequently rent or borrow from friends, contact your agent about a non-owner liability policy.
2. Does your credit card provide any coverage?
Call the number on the back of your credit card and ask the operator to send you the rental car coverage details in writing. In most situations, your card may provide a small amount of coverage if the card is used to purchase the rental. Card benefits are often a backup to your personal auto insurance or the rental car insurance (if you choose to purchase).
Coverage varies greatly between cards and there is often more coverage on higher level cards. Liability is usually not included.
Whenever you have an insurance question or are concerned or unsure about your coverage, contact your independent insurance agent! Your agent is a resource to help you make informed decisions that protect your property, family and finances. Courtesy of Integrity Insurance
Reliable Welcomes Two New Employees
We're excited to welcome Mike Lewis and Tonya Matten to the Reliable team! Mike will be working in Life and Health, and Tonya will be working in our Personal Lines. Click here to learn more about them and all of our other great staff members.
Why Choose an Independent Agency?
Some people think it doesn’t really matter where they buy their insurance. But this misconception could be costing them money, service and protection. Buying insurance isn’t like buying bread or milk. Insurance is an important safety net for a family, a car, a home, or a business. Don’t treat the purchase lightly!
There is a difference in where you buy your protection. Many people don’t realize there are three different sources for insurance:
- Captive Agents - sell you the insurance of only one company.
- Telephone Representatives - offer you the insurance of one company, and only on the telephone.
- Independent insurance Agents and Brokers - represent an average of eight insurance companies and research these firms to find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service.
YOUR INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENT OR BROKER:
- Is a licensed professional with strong customer and community ties.
- Gives you excellent service and competitive prices because your agent can access the insurance coverage from more than one company.
- Unlike other agents, is not beholden to any one company; thus, you don’t need to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
- Assists you when you have a claim.
- Is your consultant, working with you as you determine your needs.
- Offers you a choice of insurance plans and programs.
- Is a value hunter who looks after your pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage and service.
- Can periodically review your coverage to keep up with your changing insurance needs.
- Treats you like a person, not just another number.
- Customer satisfaction is the key to an Independent Agent’s livelihood. So serving you is your Independent Agent’s most important concern.
Agent Earns Insurance Designation
Doug Ecklund has recently received his CIC designation. This means that he has further knowledge about various types of policies, coverages, risks, and more, so he can better serve you and your families and businesses! Congratulations, Doug!!
Reliable Welcomes Two New Employees
We’re excited to announce that this past November, we added two new employees to the Reliable team! On November 2, Marsha Hills started with us, and Lindsay Shovein on November 16. We’re excited to see our agencies growing and are looking forward to working with these new agents!
Reliable Celebrates One Year in Superior Office
Reliable Insurance Agency opened our Superior office on November 1, 2014 and are celebrating our one year anniversary! We’re happy to have a location in Superior to better serve our customers across the bridge. If you haven’t been by to visit yet, we’d love for you to stop in and say hello!
CISR - What it Means to You
COMPETENCY - With the successful completion of over 40 classroom and online hours of formal insurance training, CISRs are recognized among the best and most knowledgeable insurance practitioners in the nation. The CISR designation signifies that your customer service representative has obtained a high level of competency in all lines of insurance and in agency operation.
COMMITMENT - Having demonstrated the ability to excel and succeed in challenges of becoming a CISR, your insurance representative exhibits a strong commitment to excellence through advanced education and professionalism.
CONFIDENCE - Because of the intense training your insurance professional has received through the CISR program, he/she has a great degree of knowledge to ask the right questions and provide the right answers, saving you time and money. You can have faith, trust, and confidence in those who display the coveted CISR professional designation.
CURRENT - To keep current a continuing annual update of practical, hands-on training is required. With the annual update your Certified Insurance Service Representative receives each year, you can be assured that he/she is capable and current in the insurance industry.
Reliable's Hermantown Expansion is Complete!
We at Reliable Insurance Agency have been working hard over the last few years to better serve the Northland. We appreciate the support that we’ve received at our main Cloquet office and we wanted to expand to accommodate those in the surrounding areas. In 2012, we expanded into Hermantown and opened a branch office there. Since then we have both opened an office in Superior, Wisconsin, AND expanded our Hermantown office to serve you better.
We’re now happy to announce that the Hermantown branch is complete! The Hermantown office is located in the Hermantown Square on Miller Trunk Highway. We hope that you’ll stop by and see our newly expanded office if you haven’t already! We thank you for helping us grow so we can provide the best insurance options to fit your needs!
AVOIDING DEER COLLISIONS
Picture this: you’re driving along a winding country road enjoying the beautiful fall foliage and all-of-a-sudden a huge buck runs in front of your vehicle. How would you react? Fall is peak time for deer-vehicle collisions thanks to deer mating season which begins in fall and runs through January. During this time deer are very active and on the move. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large animal-vehicle collisions result in an average of 187 fatalities annually.
Back to the question — how would you react? Not sure? Here are some helpful tips on how to avoid a collision:
1. Say “no” to swerving — Never EVER swerve. Swerving is especially dangerous because it puts the driver at risk for a head-on collision with oncoming traffic, trees or even a ditch and confuses the deer as to where to go
2. SLOW down — Slow down if you’re driving through an area with high deer populations. If you drive defensively, you’ll have more time to break if you cross paths with a deer
3. Leader of the pack — Deer rarely travel alone so if you see one it’s likely another is close behind
4. Put your foot on the brake — If you cross paths with a deer, brake firmly while staying in your lane and blow your horn to frighten the deer away
5. Green eyes — At night watch for the shine of eyes along the side of the road (their eyes usually look green)
6. Sun up, sun down — deer are most active at dusk and dawn
7. Center lane — the center lane on a multi-lane road is the “safest” place to drive because it gives deer space and drivers additional time to react
8. Faulty-products — There are many products on the market that claim to shield off deer (like whistles and repellent), unfortunately these products are not proven to work
Remember deer collisions can happen to the best of drivers. If you strike a deer never touch the animal. Pull over to the side of the road as soon as you safely can, call police immediately and report the damage to your insurance agent as soon as possible.
RELIABLE INSURANCE AGENCY'S SOCIAL MEDIA + VACATION SAFETY
It’s summer vacation! Whether you’re packing up the car and driving up north or going on a dream European vacation, it’s important to know your Tweet, Instagram or Facebook post could potentially be bait for a criminal looking for their next target. We live in a digital world and according to the Electronics Security Association, it’s estimated that 75 percent of burglars are using social media to find targets. You may recall in 2013 the role social media played when 400 teens crashed ex-NFL player Brian Halloway’s house after word got out on Twitter that his place was vacant for the weekend causing nearly $20,000 in property damages (not including stolen items).
Here are some social media safety tips to ensure protection of your property and belongings while you’re on vacation.
1. Keep your lips sealed — it’s fun to share the news that you’re heading to Disney World, but stay quiet as criminals often search keywords; according to a study by Electronics Security Association, burglars are likely to steel higher valued items if they know no one will be home for a few hours
2. #Latergram — keep your vacation photos off social media until after you are back home and use the hashtag #latergram to show it was taken earlier. If you can’t wait to share photos upload them on Google Photos and only share it with those close in your life
3. Hidden data — did you know that when you post a photo on social media it may include hidden data (called EXIF) which includes where and when the photo was taken? Facebook and Instagram remove this information automatically but other social media platforms and some phones like the iPhone do not. It’s quite easy to remove this data, just follow these simple steps [hyperlink: http://www.howtogeek.com/203592/what-is-exif-data-and-how-to-remove-it/]
4. Pricey souvenirs — did you purchase an expensive souvenir on your trip? Leave the photo of your new Italian leather bag off-line as you could still be a target upon your return
5. I am here — disable GPS location-identifying settings; even if you’re posting a message not relating to the trip, like wishing your sister a “Happy Birthday,” your exact geographic location could still be captured and shared; simply disable this function on your social media setting to ensure your exact location will not be revealed
6. Be Private — change your social media account settings to ‘private’ or ‘friends only’ to ensure only your connections are seeing posts
Share these tips with your teens and anyone else you’re traveling with who is on social media. Do you take any other precautions on social media? If so, please share in the comment field below. Happy (and safe) travels!
Reliable Insurance Agency's Grilling Safety Tips
In the Midwest there’s two things almost all of us love about summer—enjoying the warm weather and grilling. In fact, July is peak grilling season followed closely by May, June and August and we all can agree there’s nothing better than the smell of food like burgers, salmon and ribs cooking on a grill.
This popular summer pastime can be dangerous – deadly, actually. Did you know grills cause thousands of fires, hundreds of injuries, dozens of deaths and millions of dollars in insurance claims annually? Before you fire up that grill for your next barbeque, take a look at these safety tips to ensure your next experience is safe.
1. Be prepared — always read the owners’ manual and follow safety guidelines for your new grill (they’re usually available online if you no longer have a copy). Inspect the parts and accessories on a regular basis and do not use if there are leaks or cracks.
2. Keep kids and pets far away — Kids and pets should never be near a hot grill, period. Their curious little minds can cause injury fast; it just takes a split second to get a severe burn. If you’re grilling at home, indoors is the safest place for them to be while an adult is grilling; if being indoors is not an option make sure they stay at least 20 to 30 feet away from the grill.
3. Grease — A grill plus grease equals a deadly concoction. It only takes a few cookouts for grease to collect and cause a flare-up—this is when grease or fat drips down into your coals and catches fire. Flare-ups are a normal part of grilling but can get out of hand fast and cause injury. To avoid flare-ups, regularly clean the grease catch pan, properly preheat your grill, use lean cuts of meat and don’t over oil or marinade your food.
4. Charcoal — Use the proper starter fluid (reference your owners’ manual to identify the type) and store it away from children and heat sources. Never add starter fluid after the coals have been ignited.
5. Propane — Gas grills are becoming more popular and the #1 cause of fire with these types of grills is obstruction in the path of the fuel. Regularly inspect your tank and hose (remember: everything is extremely hot so wear proper protection). Bugs, dirt and even small animals can climb into your grill causing the gas to flow improperly.
6. Watch the weather — you never want to be outside during bad weather and grilling just increases your chance of injury. You may recall a few years ago when ESPN’s Hannah Storm was badly injured in a grill fire after wind blew out the flame and propane flooded her grill. She attempted to re-ignite it, causing an explosive fireball resulting in burns on her, neck, chest and hands. She is now an advocate for grill safety partnering with the National Protection Agency to tell her story .
7. Location — Always grill outside in a well-vented area away from trees, cars, houses and garages. A hot grill can easily cause severe burns, so never attempt to move it while it’s hot.
Please share these tips with family and friends!
Reliable Insurance Agency's Insurance Tips for Young Adults
Graduation season is nearing and with that comes the freedom and independence of adulthood. One rite of passage into adulthood is making your own decisions — including financial ones like insurance. The topic of insurance can be daunting for most people, especially young adults, who sometimes learn the hard way their coverage isn’t adequate until they need to file a claim.
Young adults, hold tight. Here’s one life lesson on insurance that you won’t want to miss!
Renters Insurance — protects your belongings damaged in a fire, theft or vandalism
- The owner of the property is responsible for insuring the structure and premise but their coverage does not include personal belongings
- Many apartment complexes require renters insurance; check with your landlord and ask questions before signing a lease
- If you’re still living at your parents’ home, your belongings should be covered under your their homeowners policy but don’t assume. Have adult conversation with them and their independent insurance agent to see what’s covered
- To make things easier if you have to collect a claim, take photos or video of your belongings and store a copy outside your residence or on a cloud system
- Three types
- “Loss of use” — coverage if your rental becomes uninhabitable while it’s being repaired or rebuilt
- “Personal property” — covers contents of your apartment like your iPad, bed and couch
- “Personal liability” — cover bodily injury and property damage to others caused by your actions or negligence
Auto Insurance — financial protection against physical damage, bodily injury from a car accident
- It’s recommended to purchase a healthy amount of liability coverage for your auto insurance policy; if you’re found liable in an accident the total could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, pain and suffering — this could be detrimental to you finances
- Cost for liability coverage is usually marginal and will give you peace of mind
Life Insurance — a sum of money paid upon death of the insured person to the beneficiary (person legally designated to receive the money)
- Just because you’re young and healthy doesn’t mean Life insurance isn’t important — a huge benefit is the cost of permanent life insurance is that it stays at the rate of purchase as long as you continue to pay the premiums
- If you have debt and die before it’s paid off the co-signer, likely your parents or grandparents, would be responsible for paying (depends on terms and conditions of the loan)
Another helpful tip is meeting with your local Reliable Insurance agent. Your agent will be able to guide you through the process and answer any questions. It’s our job to find the best coverage to fit your life.
Updates on the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Security Breach
A security breach has recently been discovered by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Anthem has said:
"Anthem was the target of a very sophisticated external cyber attack. Based on what we know now, there is no evidence that credit card or medical information were targeted or compromised."
Visit their website for more information, a letter from Anthem's president and CEO, and regularly updated information.
Reliable Insurance Adds Two Valuable Employees to the Team
We are excited to introduce our two newest employees, Laura Johnson and Collette VanHove.
Laura is our newest Health/Life agent in the Hermantown office. She started her insurance career in 2005 specializing in group Medicare sales and individual sales, then continued into small and large group and individual sales for the under 65 market. Laura brings to our agency expertise and experience working with all types of health insurance plans, including long term care, life and disability plans as well. She really enjoys helping a customer find the answer to their questions or concerns!
Collette is new at our Superior office as of November 1st and brings with her 25 years of experience in the insurance industry in the Duluth Superior area. Even after years in the business, she says she's never too old to learn something new! She loves the challenge of finding the perfect insurance solution for clients' unique needs. Over the years she has enjoyed watching her clientele grow and maintaining lifelong relationships with them.
Reliable Insurance Celebrates 40 Years with the Community
We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year, and it's all thanks to our wonderful customers! To show our appreciation, we held Business and Community dinner and luncheon events at our Cloquet office. Both events were set up in a large heated tent in our parking lot.
The business event was held the evening of Wednesday, October 8, and the community luncheon Thursday, October 9. The luncheon featured burgers and brats from Cloquet's B&B Market, which is always delicious! Our tables were covered in congratulatory flowers and plants from local businesses, and the tent was filled with community members! We had a great turnout!
See the full photo album here.
Thank you all so much for your support, and we look forward to working with all of you for many years to come!
Grill Giveaway Winner!
Congratulations to Katie and her family! They were the winners of our grill giveaway contest! Thank you to all that participated!
See the conversation here.