Tag Archives: Car Insurance

Check for Storm Damage

How to Check Your Property for Damage After a Storm

 When a big storm hits in Franklin, New Berlin, Milwaukee, etc. you hunker down inside, relying on your home to protect you and your family. Once that storm passes, it’s time to repay the favor — identifying damage and protecting your home from further issues.

The National Storm Damage Center has a number of resources and tips for homeowners. Here are three major things the agency (and the agents at Insurance Center of Milwaukee) – recommends you check after a storm:

1. Your roof: If you see missing shingles on your roof or if you notice leaking inside or out, it’s a good idea to have a qualified inspector come assess the situation.

2. Your exterior: Aluminum/Vinyl siding, brick and stucco are all vulnerable to storm damage. You’ll want to look for cracking, chipping or dings in the siding, and for holes in stucco. Look closely and at different times of the day. Some homeowners don’t notice damage until it’s too late to file a claim, and different lighting can reveal damage you didn’t see before.

3. Trees: According to the National Storm Damage Center, fallen trees and limbs cause more than $1 billion in damage annually. Check roofs, vehicles, fences, etc. for fallen limbs that may have caused damage or could pose a risk. Clean up what you are safely able to clean and rely on a reputable tree removal service to handle the rest. Depending on the circumstances, your homeowners insurance policy may help with tree removal and damage repair costs – if you experience a covered loss, that is.

A few more helpful tips:

Keep trees well maintained and trimmed. Keep limbs a safe distance from your home.

Know your insurance. Take a look at your policy so you know what’s covered, what your limits and deductibles are, etc. This will prevent any surprises during the claims process.

Take pictures. Photographs can help you show the cause and extent of any storm damage that occurs.

Of course, if you’ve suffered damage from a major storm, don’t hesitate to call us at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee at 414-744-6614 for help with an insurance claim or with finding a professional property inspector.

Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

5 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders in the Metro Milwaukee area

We love the convenience of parking lots in front of our favorite stores in Oak Creek, New Berlin, Shorewood, Milwaukee, etc., but they can be hazardous places.  When people are driving too fast, backing out of spots without looking, and cutting across the parking lot.

That behavior just so happens to be the cause of many a door ding and irritated driver. Even worse, careless behavior can cause a collision or injury. Let’s all slow down and follow these five tips to make parking lots safer for everyone:

  1. Don’t Speed
    Speeding decreases the amount of time you have to react when a child runs out in front of you, another driver stops suddenly, or a car begins backing out unexpectedly. Is a collision – or even a fatality – really worth the price of getting to your destination 30 seconds sooner?
  2. Use Your Eyes – and Mirrors and Cameras
    Lookout for perils at all times, even if the lot seems empty. When you’re pulling into a spot, watch for doors being opened. When backing out, look all around, in your mirrors and in your rear-view camera, and proceed slowly.
  3. Give Yourself – and Others – Some Space
    Parking in between the lines and in a spot sized for your vehicle may help to minimize dings and scratches. Better yet, park in a less-crowded area of the parking lot and enjoy the extra stroll into the store – just don’t park where you feel unsafe. Always park away from stray carts.
  4. Expect the Unexpected
    Assume things will happen. That someone will dart out in front of you or that someone backing out of his/her spot won’t see you backing out of yours. When you’re on guard, you’re better prepared for those who aren’t.
  5. Be Respectful
    A little kindness goes a long way in a parking lot. So stop for pedestrians, don’t cause traffic jams waiting for a spot and, above all, don’t lose your cool.

Remember, stay alert! Many times the slow speed of a parking lot will cause people to pay less attention and to start multi-tasking while driving.   If you’re actually watching for dangers, you have a better chance of avoiding them. Call us, 414-744-6614, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee to make sure you are properly protected before an incident does occur.

Tornado Truths

Tornado truths that can help you stay safe

Tornadoes have caused severe and irreparable damage to tens of thousands of Americans and their property in recent years.  Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. Those steps of action begin with knowing the facts.

Here are a few tornado truths that could help keep you and those you love safe:

When indoors, shut all windows and doors. Do not leave them open in an attempt to follow the mythical need to “pressurize” your home because the result would more likely be debris flying through the window and causing severe harm, or wind pressure working to lift the roof off the house from the inside.

If you are inside your home or other structure, retreat to the lowest level (a basement is ideal) or the room closest to the middle of the home or farthest from windows and doors. Do not seek a “corner” of the structure for your retreat; instead, go to the center-most point, away from windows and anything heavy that could fall on your head.

If you’re outdoors, find the lowest spot, such as a ditch, and lie flat on your stomach, covering the back of your head with your hands.  Do not follow the myth of seeking shelter underneath a bridge or overpass because it could collapse on top of you or large debris and winds could come rushing underneath and potentially sweep you up into the tornado itself.

If you are in a vehicle, abandon the vehicle and try to find shelter in a structure or outdoors in a low place where you should lay stomach-down and cover the back of your head with your hands. Most importantly, do not attempt to drive away from the storm unless it’s very obviously far away and moving in the opposite direction.

Do not take shelter near a road and expect the tornado to miss you. Some myths say that tornadoes will reverse their directions when nearing a road or foothill, but a tornado doesn’t discriminate and will keep on its path.

Use head gear, if available. Head protection can be the number-one most important factor in remaining protected from flying debris—indoors or outdoors—so know where bike, football, batting, boxing and other helmets are in the house, and make them easily accessible.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee we want to help you know the tornado truths that will help keep you and your family safe. For more tornado safety tips, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s comprehensive guide at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html.

 Contact Us!

 At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 414-744-6614 or send us a note at info@insurancecentermilwaukee.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Protection during a Hailstorm

Staying safe on the road during a hailstorm

It may sound surprising, but there are approximately 3,000 hailstorms in the United States each year. The size of hail can widely vary – from pea size to softball size. When it starts building up size, hail can cause severe damage to your dwelling, vehicle damage, bodily harm, and even death. On average, each year hailstorms cause over $1 billion in damage to property, approximately 1,500 injuries, and 80 deaths.  Hail is a main driver of homeowners insurance rates in Wisconsin as well.

One of the most frightening places to be during a hailstorm is on the road in your car. Obviously your vehicle is at great risk of damage, but even more importantly, you are in danger in the event you can’t see well enough to drive or your windows are broken by the power of the storm.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we want to ensure you, your loved ones, and your vehicles stay safe this hail season. Here are some pointers for navigating a hailstorm while on the roads in in Southeastern Wisconsin.

 

  • Make sure you have a blanket in your car at all times. It can help protect you from glass injuries in the event the hail breaks your windows or windshield.
  • Turn on your low-beam headlights, and slow down.
  • Make sure you have more distance than usual in front of you so you have ample space to brake if necessary.
  • Turn on the local weather radio station to stay apprised of the status of storms.
  • If there is enough space on the shoulder of the road, pull over.
  • If there is a covered shelter to pull underneath, do so; this will reduce the damage sustained by your vehicle.

At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we hope you stay hailstorm-free this season! 

 Contact Us!

 At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 414-744-6614 or send us a note at info@InsuranceCenterMilwaukee.com and we will get quotes, from the 12 insurance companies that we have available, tailored for your needs. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

College Graduation – Insurance Tips

Protect your college grad with the right insurance

College graduation is an exciting time for students and their parents alike.  While the graduate is focused on job offers and first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and it’s essential to prepare for what comes next.

One area new college graduates need to address is insurance.  At the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we know insurance can be a confusing topic.  We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses.  We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world, so we have compiled the following pointers.

 

  • Review your family’s current insurance. The first step when considering insurance for your new graduate is evaluating the coverage you have currently.  Make an appointment with your agent, who can advise on whether it’s appropriate given the pending changes, and whether it will cover your son or daughter.
  • Know the law. Most states require drivers to have auto insurance, and most of those have minimum policy limit requirements.  Consult with your agent, to make sure they are covered adequately.
  • Read your lease. Many apartment, condominium and home rental properties require tenants to maintain renter’s insurance, which covers the contents of the home in the event of a robbery, fire, liability claim, or specified other losses. Make sure you know the terms of your son or daughter’s new lease.
  • Don’t end up liable. Any renter or owner is exposed to liability risk. To ensure there is adequate coverage in the event someone gets injured on your son or daughter’s property, speak with your agent about liability insurance.
  • Don’t gamble! Never go without. It’s simple: your son or daughter should always have insurance in place. Be sure to discuss with your agent what types they need.

We, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, congratulate you on the graduation of your daughter or son!  Please contact us with any questions at 414-744-6614.

Reduce Car Accident Risk

3 Easy Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Car Crash

Spring is right around the corner, and the warmer weather often prompts people in Southeastern Wisconsin to hop in their cars for weekend road trips.

Unfortunately, too many of those trips will end up being memorable for the wrong reasons, due to accidents and other risks that drivers face each time they hit the road.

You can take control of your next trip, whether it’s heading up north or across town, by following these simple rules:

1.      Pay attention. Do you know how many drivers around the U.S. are using cell phones or other electronic devices right now – this very second? If you are reading this during the daytime, the answer is approximately 660,000, estimates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Anything that distracts you increases your risk of a crash. Our #1 distraction – our mobile phones!  Here’s another reason to avoid distractions: If you’re completely alert, you have a better chance of steering clear of that distracted person.

2.      Stay sober. One bad decision can change lives forever, and driving under the influence is an extraordinarily bad decision. Nearly 15,000 people died in 2012 in crashes involving impaired drivers, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). So get a designated driver — or better yet, be a designated driver.

3.      Slow down. Crashes caused by excessive speed cause more than 10,000 deaths a year on average, the NSC estimates. Interestingly, you are most at risk on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or below, probably because of speed disparities between speeders and non-speeders and the likelihood that drivers feel that they can multitask at lower speeds. Please remember, the posted speed limit isn’t always the best speed to travel. Depending on conditions (like today in Milwaukee), going slower might be the safest option.

Improving safety on the roads isn’t rocket science. A little common sense can make a big difference for you, your passengers, and your fellow drivers. So be alert and be safe out there on the roads in Oak Creek, Franklin, Greenfield, Milwaukee, or wherever you live.

Why an Independent Agent?

Why an Independent Agent?

Not all insurance agents are the same! Choosing the right one can make a big difference – in price, service, and value.

With some agencies, you get one insurance company that sells one brand of insurance. With an independent insurance agency like the Insurance Center of Milwaukee you get choices.

Why? Because independent insurance agencies, like Insurance Center of Milwaukee, represent a number of different insurance companies to compare coverage and prices to find the best possible value for your individual circumstances. As independent agents, we are members of the Metro Milwaukee community, and we’re committed to doing business face-to-face and being your advocate in times of need.

Serving Oak Creek, Franklin, New Berlin, Shorewood, West Allis, Greenfield, Greendale, Cudahy, South Milwaukee, Hales Corners, etc. – all of Southeastern Wisconsin.  Here are a few reasons why the Insurance Center of Milwaukee should be your first and last stop when looking for insurance.

  • We work for you when you have a claim.
  • We are not stuck with any one company. This means you don’t have to change agencies as your insurance and service needs change.
  • We are your consultants, working with you as you determine your needs.
  • We are value-hunters who look after your pocketbook in finding the best combination of price, coverage, and service.
  • We offer one-stop shopping for a full range of products, including home, renters, auto, motorcycle, business, and life insurance.
  • We can review your coverage to keep up with your changing insurance needs.
  • We are committed to customer satisfaction – it’s the key to our livelihood.
  • We treat you like a person, not a number.
  • We are licensed professionals with strong customer and community ties.

There is a difference in insurance agencies. To find out how our independent insurance agency can help you find the right insurance coverage, please give us a call today at 414-744-6614.

Should I Purchase Umbrella Insurance?

Do I need Umbrella Coverage?

In today’s economy, everyone is pinching pennies.  So why worry about umbrella coverage?  Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits.  Large damages can be awarded and have long-term financial impact.  Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our children or our furry friends.

For instance, Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.  Herschel watched as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids.  The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel’s house and broke his leg.  He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.

Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages.  He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way.  However, Herschel’s owner was lucky–a jury vindicated Herschel. Lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder.  An umbrella policy would prevent that by providing an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage, depending on the limit that you select.

There are numerous ways to have a liability claim.   According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner’s property.  Children can mistakenly hurt someone on the playground or you could be in a bad car accident.  All are potential claims.

Do you need an umbrella policy?  Only you know the value of your assets that you want to protect.

Protect what you love!  Call us to talk about your umbrella options today at 414-744-6614!

Classic Car Shows

Make the most of a classic car show

My wife and I attended a classic car show at St Elizabeth Ann Seton in New Berlin, WI last Sunday.  I started to think about the variety of these antique autos – there are as many unique vehicles as there are unique owners.  The shows can be unique as well.  Classic car shows are held all across the country, from small rural towns to large metropolitan areas, and they draw classic car enthusiasts from near and far.  Some people attend classic car shows as spectators to check out unique and rare vehicles. Others go to connect with fellow car buffs, show off their prized possession, or some attend shows to shop/sell.

Whether you’re planning to shop, sell, show, or just go, here are some tips for making the most of a classic car show.

  •  Family fun. Larger classic car shows typically feature entertainment, food vendors, raffles, and more. You can bring the whole family for a day of fun.  St Elizabeth Ann Seton held the car show as part of their Funfest weekend, which featured live entertainment, food, drink, kid’s games, etc.
  • Plan. In particular, make sure you’re aware of the hours for check-in.
  • Be the early bird. If you’re entering your automobile in a competition, sign up early. Most shows are limited to a certain number of entries.
  • Know the value.  If you are planning to sell or buy, you should be well versed on the values of the vehicles and the market conditions. Buying or selling a car can be an emotion-driven experience and knowing the facts is essential to get the best deal.
  • Need parts? Some larger car shows also feature a swap meet. Research the show and take note of car accessories and parts you might need.
  • Pack a bag. Be prepared to get the most out of the day by bringing along what you might need for the weather (from coats to sunscreen) and for your basic needs (from water to snacks).

Whatever your reason for attending your next classic car show, we at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee hope these pointers will ensure you make the very most of it.

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Borrowed Cars?

I’m borrowing my friend’s car … am I covered?

Most people have an idea of what’s covered and not covered under their various insurance policies. However, at the Insurance Center of Milwaukee, we get a lot of questions about borrowing a car from someone or loaning a car to someone.

Now that summer is here (finally), and you might be looking to borrow your neighbor’s truck for a home-improvement project or a trip to the local landfill, we thought it was a great time to provide a little more information.

Generally, in Wisconsin, insurance coverage follows the vehicle first then the driver. In most instances, as long as the car’s owner has insurance, it’s covered even if someone other than the owner is driving it — as long as they have the owner’s permission and do not have regular access to the vehicle (for example: they don’t live with the person whose car they are borrowing).

The borrower’s insurance is considered secondary, meaning that in the event of an accident, it could apply if the owner’s insurance is insufficient to fully cover the damage.

It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to what is called “permissive use” coverage. As stated earlier, permission must be given by the owner, unless the borrower has a reasonable belief that they are allowed to use the car. However, the borrower cannot give permission to someone else.

Coverage might also be denied if the borrower operates the vehicle in a negligent or criminal manner. If the borrower is using your car for business purposes, your personal auto policy likely won’t cover that either.

If you have a regular long-term arrangement to either borrow or lend a car, the borrower should probably be added to the owner’s personal auto policy. Those who don’t own a car, but often borrow one, should consider “named non-owner coverage,” an endorsement that provides bodily injury and property damage liability, uninsured motorists coverage and more.

Ultimately, it’s usually safe to loan your car for occasional errands or projects. And the same goes for borrowing a car. Just make sure it’s for “normal” use. You’ll want to confirm that the car has coverage and that your insurance, whether you’re the owner or borrower, will apply.

Feel free to give us a call at 414-744-6614 if you have any questions — after all, you don’t want to wait until after an accident to get answers!