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When buying a home and becoming a first-time homeowner it is important to note the difference between home insurance and home warranty. Home insurance is a financial protection from a covered loss. Home warranty is a contract to help cover damages caused by home mechanical failures. See below graphic from Auto Owners that gives examples of insurance vs warranty.

If you have a loss to your home, call your agent immediately. We will be able to walk through your coverages to see if the loss should be covered by your insurance policy or your warranty contract.

When shopping out your insurance it can be hassle with endless obstacles. There are a ton of terms used in the insurance industry and we are here to break it down for you. When purchasing insurance you will hear the terms “premium”, “limits”, and “deductibles” in regards to your policy. Auto Owner’s insurance has a great article, “What Are Insurance Premiums, Insurance Deductibles and Policy Limits?” and how it pertains to your policy.

What is that bolded dollar amount at the top? That magical number is known as your premium. This is the amount you pay to uphold your policy. Depending on the carrier, you can pay this monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or pay in full. The premium is based off the coverages provided by the insurance provider.

If a tragedy occurs, what are you paying out of pocket? That is your deductible. In other words, it is what you pay in case a claim is filed.

How much coverage do I have on my policy? It depends on the type of policy, what are we insuring, what is the value, etc. This is your maximum dollar amount insurance will pay towards a covered loss for that particular instance or item.

Don’t let insurance terminology intimidate you! As your trusted insurance agent, The Service Agency is here to help explain, provide, and assist you when shopping for your insurance needs. If you need a quote or have any questions on your current policy, contact us today!

It’s that time of year again, where snow visits the Midwest. How to keep safe this winter while driving? See below our safety tips to help eliminate the risk of an accident.

In dangerous conditions, it is important to reduce your speed, avoid accelerating and stopping at fast pace, plan ahead for lane changes or exits, and slow down while making turns. If you are driving and feel the vehicle starting to glide, steer into the direction you are sliding. Once you regain friction slowly direct your vehicle back to a straight direction.

Prepare when you are traveling in the winter months by packing essentials for any travel interruptions. Here is a link to create a “Winter Survival Kit“. You should keep this kit in your vehicle throughout winter months to be prepared for any situation.

At the end of the day accidents can happen at any time so be prepared for it. Your loved ones are waiting on your safe return.

The Acker Farm forever planted its roots in the farming industry. Don Acker, an Ellsworth native, and his wife Mary started their farming business in 1973 in Iowa. The lifestyle of farming had won Don over at an early age as his father, Wayne was a farmer. The unfortunate death of his father led him on his own path to dive into the agriculture community. The helping hands of family and friends allowed Don to stand on his own feet and start his journey. The best advice Don got at the start of his career was “Surround yourself with good people and work with them.” The Acker family returned to the Ellsworth area in 1987- the start of their journey.

Farming is both a lifestyle and a business. It takes dedication every day and attention to detail. When asked what the best advice for a beginner farmer, Don replied, “You can’t give up your dream, pay close attention to the numbers, and treat people with respect.” Every farmer has an abundance of dedication and inner drive which can be learned by others and applied to their own aspirations. For Don, this dedication to farming created a family affair. This partnership between Don and his two sons, Jay and Cal, is the most rewarding part of his career. He spoke endlessly about how much gratitude he has for the industry for allowing him to work with his sons and watch his grandkids grow, “It doesn’t get any better than being a grandpa!”.

Farming is a way of life for Don, which is no surprise. When we had asked Don, “If you weren’t in farming what would you do?” with a long pause, he responded, “I would work for a seed company.” Safe to say he has and will always be passionate about farming along with building relationships within the community. What’s next? Ackers plans to implement their succession planning to keep their family business moving forward. He wants his community to know that farmers do everything they can to produce quality products.

Interested in showcasing your business on our newsletter? Contact us today!

Wisconsin has over 40 years of creating exceptional outdoor snowmobile trails to enjoy during the winter months. The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, Inc. (AWSC) is a statewide nonprofit organization that represents Wisconsin’s snowmobilers at the state and national levels. This organization has helped orchestrate roughly over 22,000 miles of trails with other local snowmobile clubs. These clubs work in unison to create safe and fun trails.

Snowmobile clubs and landowners join a partnership every year to design a network of trails. Landowners need to provide verbal or written agreements before any trails can be used. Under Wisconsin’s law, landowners are not liable for any injury occurring on their property when they have granted permission for snowmobilers. In addition, it is not up to the landowner to keep their trails up to safety protocol but up to the club they partnered with. If you are interested in offering your land for snowmobiling, contact your local snowmobile club.

Thank you to all landowners and clubs for promoting safe trails that the community can use.

Courtesy of The Service Agency

Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value

Your homeowners insurance policy can offer financial protection in the event of an unexpected disaster involving your home or personal property. But how you will be reimbursed following a claim depends on the type of coverage you have. There are two main valuation methods when it comes to homeowners insurance—replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage. By understanding the difference between these valuation methods, you can make informed decisions about your homeowners insurance and secure coverage that meets your needs.

Key Differences Between Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value

Although replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage can both offer financial protection in the event of a claim, the amount that your policy will pay out differs between these two valuation methods. Here are the key differences: 

  • Replacement cost coverage can offer compensation for the cost of replacing your stolen, damaged or destroyed property with a brand-new version (as long as it’s similar in kind and quality to the original). For example, if your couch is destroyed in a house fire, replacement cost coverage would reimburse you for the cost of purchasing a comparable new couch. In other words, replacement cost coverage will replace your property without any deduction for depreciation.

This form of coverage can be especially beneficial in protecting against major losses, such as significant damage to the physical structure of your home or expensive items within your home. However, keep in mind that replacement cost coverage typically requires you to pay a higher premium. In addition, remember that you will only be compensated up to your policy limit amount—if you experience a covered loss that exceeds your policy limit, you may have to cover the difference. If you are concerned about the risk of a covered loss totaling more than your policy limit, be sure to consult your trusted broker to discuss additional policy options—such as guaranteed replacement cost coverage or extended replacement cost coverage—which can provide further financial protection.

  • Actual cash value coverage, on the other hand, can offer compensation for the depreciated value of your stolen, damaged or destroyed property. This value is determined by the age, condition and expected remaining useful life of your property. Under this coverage, you wouldn’t be reimbursed for the full cost of replacing your destroyed couch from the above example. Rather, you would be compensated for current market value of the couch, based on the condition it was in before the fire. That being said, even if you initially purchased the couch several years ago for $2,000, you might only be reimbursed $1,000 for your loss due to depreciation.

Although this form of coverage typically offers reduced compensation in the event of a covered claim, you will likely save money on your policy premium. Actual cash value coverage can be more suitable for individuals that live in low-risk areas (e.g., locations where incidents such as heavy winds, fires or theft are less common) or own fewer expensive items.

Which Coverage Is Best for You?

There are pros and cons to both replacement cost coverage and actual cash value coverage. In order to select the best coverage that meets your specific homeowners insurance policy needs, follow these steps:

  • Determine what you can afford by assessing the impact of both coverages on your financial stability. It’s important to consider the difference in premium costs and claim compensation amounts between each form of coverage.
  • Create a home inventory checklist (be sure to include photos) of all of your belongings and their original value, as well as an estimate of their current value. This practice will help you better determine which coverage offers the best protection for your unique belongings. Keep in mind that certain high-value items—such as jewelry, collectible items or fine art—won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance policy and will require specialized coverage.
  • Calculate how much it would cost to rebuild your home if it were completely destroyed. Include added costs for labor, materials and any new or updated building codes in your community that you would be required to comply with. Avoid making a rough estimate for this cost—be as specific as possible to ensure you know just how much coverage you need.
  • Analyze your personal risk. Be sure to select a coverage option that fits within your budget, risk profile and comfort level.  

We’re Here to Help

There are several factors to consider when determining which type of coverage is right for you, but you don’t have to navigate this decision alone. The Service Agency is here to walk you through your homeowner’s insurance policy and provide expert guidance regarding which coverage option is best for you, your belongings and your wallet. For further coverage guidance, contact us today.

© 2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved. This Know Your Insurance document is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.

For most Midwesterners, winter is right around the corner. Winter is a wonderful time of the year filled with holiday spirit, bright lights, and snow-covered trees. However, it can be devasting to homeowners who do not properly plan for the colder temperatures, ice, and snow.  See below home maintenance tips to properly maintain your home this winter.

Everyone’s entitled to one good scare but not when it comes to your loved ones.  Take proper safety precautions when trick or treating. Below are safety tips from National Safety Council to practice at this year’s Halloween:

Wear costumes that have zero safety hazards. These hazards could include masks that impair your vision or oversized gear that creates tripping hazards. Confirm that your children have reflective gear or tape on if they will be out in the dark. Ensure any face painting, makeup, or adhesive is removed after trick or treating to eliminate a risk of skin or eye irritation.

Go over boundaries with kids and teach them the significance of not entering any homes or cars. Set a curfew for your kids to return home. Preach the importance of staying in a large group and do not wander alone.

Inspect your candy before sharing or consuming. If any wrappers have been compromised throw them away and do not eat. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which candy can be toxic to children and those who consume. Do your family a favor and throw away anything that look suspicious.

When out and about stay with kids 12 years of age or younger, to help them navigate safely from one door to the next. Safe Kids Worldwide posted, that kids are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween compared to any other day of the year. Unfortunately, accidents do occur so please call 911 immediately and contact your insurance agent. Wondering if you have proper coverage in case of an accident? Contact The Service Agency.

Halloween is a spooky holiday but let’s leave no surprises to your insurance coverage.

Resources:

National Safety Council. “Halloween Safety” 2023. Halloween Safety- National Safety Council (nsc.org)

Safe Kids Worldwide. “Halloween Safety” 2023. Halloween Safety | Safe Kids Worldwide