Buying a new home? Consider these insurance factors.

With home prices continuing to be competitive and interest rates low, many people are dipping their toes into the real estate market. Regardless of whether you are a first time home buyer, considering the purchase of a second home or an empty nester looking for a cozy smaller property, it is important to factor in the potential insurance costs of the home you are considering when calculating the overall price of owning the house, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

“When people look at homes, they tend to focus on factors such as property taxes, neighborhoods, school districts and available recreational and cultural opportunities,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I. “But an often overlooked item is the insurance implications of a specific house.”

“You will be paying for insurance for as long as you own it, so you should factor the cost of insurance into the home buying process. You don’t want to find out that your dream home is more expensive to insure than you thought after you own it,” pointed out Salvatore.

When looking at prospective new homes, the I.I.I. suggests asking the following questions:

  • How far is the home from the fire department? Houses that are near a fire station with professional firefighters usually cost less to insure.
  • What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems? Poorly maintained, unsafe and/or outdated systems can cost more to insure.
  • Is the home vulnerable to wind damage? Find out if private insurance is available, or a state-run insurance program. Is there a windstorm deductible, and how high is it? A home on or near the beach may be more costly to insure than one inland.
  • Is the house at risk from flooding? Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. However, it is available from the National Flood Insurance Program, which is serviced by private carriers, and from a few specialty insurers.
  • What about earthquake risk? Earthquake insurance requires an endorsement or a separate policy.
  • Is the house well built and well maintained? Homes built by reputable builders using disaster resistant materials and designed to meet current building codes are likely to better withstand natural disasters.

A knowledgeable home inspector and your insurance agent can be helpful in answering these questions. “Keep in mind, that the size, location, construction and overall condition of the house can affect the cost, choice and availability of home insurance,” noted Salvatore.

To educate consumers about the insurance implication of buying a home, the I.I.I. has created a Home Buyers Insurance Checklist. It provides information on what do before buying a house, factors to consider when looking at homes and placing a bid, as well as tips to properly insure your new home.

For related video, go to Before Buying a Home: Insurance Questions Everyone Should Ask.

Source: Insurance Information Institute (

Ten tips to help your college student rent an apartment

As college students search for independence, a new challenge for this school year could be renting an apartment.

If you’ve been down this road before, you know renting an apartment for a college student can be stressful. If this is your first time, there are many things to keep in mind.

Unfortunately, when it comes to renting an apartment in your student’s college town, you’ll notice that rent prices can be through the roof and places may be in poor condition.

Here are some tips to help you and your college student through the process.

1.  Do your homework. Before scheduling an appointment to view the apartment, do your research. Some items to think about are:

  • Is there public transportation nearby?
  • Is it a residential area or business district?
  • If it is a business district, what type of work is performed there?
  • Are retail stores and restaurants within walking distance?

Use the power of the internet to your advantage.

  • Look for online reviews from previous renters.
  • Compare and contrast different properties.
  • Use tools such as Google Earth to look at the neighborhood as well as the condition of the property.
  • If something looks too good to be true, it may be a scam; proceed with caution.

2. Pay a personal visit. Once you have selected apartments of interest, visit each one. Make sure the pictures online accurately reflect the condition of the property. The last thing you want to do is rent an apartment without seeing it. A visit allows you the opportunity to:

  • See the actual size. This is a nice opportunity to see if their furniture will fit.
  • Check out the quality of the appliances.
  • Look in cupboards and closets. Keep an eye out for mouse droppings.
  • Identify preexisting damages such as holes in the walls or carpet stains.
  • Run the water in sinks and showers and flush the toilet.

3. Coach your kids. This is an opportunity for your kids to enter the realm of adulthood. Discuss with them what to look for and questions to ask. Lights burned out in the hallway or empty beer cans may not seem like a big deal, but can provide a glimpse of poor maintenance schedules or rowdy neighbors. While these things may not be a big deal at the time, they could be after signing a 12-month lease.

4. Discuss your expectations. Property owners may not be comfortable renting to your college student due to lack of income. Therefore, you may be asked to co-sign the lease. Before you sign on the dotted line, discuss your expectations with your student. It may not even be a bad idea to create a contract between the two of you. Once you co-sign, any damages that occur are your responsibility.

5. Make sure the lease is in writing. Signing a lease with a large apartment complex often leads to paperwork that is more thorough. Individual property owners may not follow a structured approach. If they don’t have the appropriate paperwork in place, consider renting somewhere else.

6. Test their smartphone. Depending on the construction of the building or their phone company, your student’s smartphone may not work. Have them walk through each room to make sure it works. I’m sure you’ll want to get a hold of them from time to time.

7. Understand the pet policy. Simply having a pet may cause you to forfeit your security deposit even if your pet doesn’t cause any damages.

8. Don’t forget to purchase renters insurance. Most landlords’ insurance policies cover only the building, not what’s in it. Many students think because they’re in college, they don’t have anything valuable to insure. Imagine if they lost everything in a fire. The cost to replace necessities adds up quickly. To learn more about renters insurance, check out the blogs below.

Renters Coverage? Why do I need that?

Renter’s insurance. A smart choice for college students

BUY VS RENT? Either way homeowners (aka renters) insurance is needed!

9. Make multiple visits. Visiting at night or during poor weather conditions can paint an even better picture for the both of you. No one wants to rent a place with roof that leaks or one that has poor insulation. Poor insulation can lead to increased heating costs.

10. Pros and cons. After each visit, identify the pros and cons while they’re fresh in your mind.

Original post comes from West Bend Insurance – West Bend Cares Blog.

Personal Liability Umbrella…. Do I need one?

In 2016, the fatality rate jumped 6% for auto accidents and 11% for pedestrians involved in traffic
accidents. The primary cause for these increases continues to be impaired and distracted driving and distracted walking. With the increase in accidents and fatalities the need for higher limits is greater than ever, and Carney Insurance has products to help. A Personal Liability Umbrella Policy is one of the least expensive ways to protect yourself.

Why do you need an Personal Liability Umbrella Policy?
– Personal Umbrella Insurance provides an extra layer of liability coverage. It helps guard against the impact of large and unforeseen losses, by protecting your personal assets and future earnings.
– In Minnesota, if you do not have the assets or liability coverage to cover an at-fault accident your future salary could be garnished at 25% for up to 20 years.

What to do after a Hailstorm

During a hailstorm, windows may break and high winds can knock down trees and power lines. If the hail is big enough, it can cause shingle damage to the roof of your home. It can also damage the roof and hood of your car and maybe even crack your windshield. If you’ve just been through a hailstorm, be careful and follow these tips:

  1. Make Safety Your First Priority
  • Watch out for broken glass, sharp objects and exposed electrical wires.
  • Wear proper shoes and gloves.
  • Don’t use rain-soaked electrical equipment.
  • Watch out for downed trees, power lines, and debris.
  1. Call Us
  • When it’s safe to do so, call us as soon as you can at 651-464-6001.
  • Be prepared to provide at least a general description of your hail damage.
  • Take photographs and videos of the hail damage if you can. It’s a great way to help us understand what happened and expedite the claims process.
  1. Safeguard Your Home and Your Car
  •  Prevent Further Damage
    • A hailstorm may be accompanied by heavy rain and wind. The longer your home is exposed to water, the more damage you’ll see to your roof, ceiling, walls and floors, as well as any personal belongings you have inside.
  • Hail Damage to Your House
    • Clean up any broken glass and remove debris.
    • Board up broken windows and doors.
    • Cover roof damage with tarps or plywood.
    • Move any wet items to a dry location.
    • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected later.
    • Save all receipts from any temporary repairs.
  • Hail Damage to Your Car
    • Cover any broken car windows with tarps or plastic sheeting.
    • Move any wet items to a dry place.
    • If possible, place any damaged items in a safe, secure area where they can be inspected at a later time.
  1. Repair Your Home and Car
  •  Get Your House Repaired Please wait until a claims adjustor assesses the hail damage to your home before starting permanent repairs. We encourage you, however, to schedule permanent repairs as soon as possible. Call us if you need recommendations for a local repair company.
  • Get Your Car Fixed
    • For hail damage to the body or your car go to a local repair shop to start an estimate.
    • For hail damage to your windshield or other car windows’ call us for local windshield repair companies.

Home Improvements – To Upgrade or Not Insurance companies will replace damaged items and materials with the same type and quality of materials you had before the hailstorm. For example, if you had a fiberglass roof, we will pay to repair or replace the damaged area with fiberglass, but they won’t pay to replace it with more expensive slate tile. If you decide to upgrade your house with better or more expensive materials, you’re welcome to do so, but you’ll need to pay the additional expense out of your own pocket. Any time you make improvements to your property, be sure to call us to find out if your coverage is still enough, and if you’re eligible for any discounts.

Contact Carney Insurance for any issues.

Carney Insurance Services receives BBB Accreditation

In May of 2017,  Carney Insurance Services, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.

Carney Insurance has also received a “A+” rating from the Better Business Bureau. This is the organization’s highest possible accreditation grade and is only given to select businesses. The BBB Rating is based on Carney Insurance’s business practices and reflects on our agency’s ongoing efforts to provide our customers with the best service, coverage’s and rates.

All businesses accredited by the BBB must adhere to the BBB’s accreditation standards.


Carney Insurance Services, Inc. BBB Business Review

Eight Online Shopping Tips To Keep You Safe This Holiday Season

As the hustle and bustle of the holiday season approaches, people begin visiting local retailers looking for that good deal or special gift. Others may choose to avoid the crowds and shop online.

Shopping online is so convenient because you never have to leave the comfort of your own home. When my kids were young, I spent many Black Fridays out in the cold waiting in line. Now that they’re older, my wife and I can walk to our computer with a cup of coffee and shop until our hearts content.

Today, online shopping is a multibillion-dollar industry. However, with the convenience of online shopping comes the potential for identity theft. Here are some tips to keep you safe while shopping online this holiday season.  Click here for full article



Information Courtesy of West Bend

Nine Tips For Storing Your “Fun Summer Car” For The Winter

If you live in the Midwest, you probably noticed a flurry of activity in your neighborhood. Neighbors are busy raking leaves, preparing their patio furniture for winter, and bringing in hose reels.

If you have a fun summer car and you don’t want it to see winter road salt, now is the time to prepare it for winter storage. Unfortunately, the nice warm temperatures are probably gone until next spring.

Over 30 Million Vehicles Recalled Due To Airbag Defect. Is Your Car One Of Them?

In 2015, many news stories focused on automobile recalls. One of the major stories still in the news is the recall of vehicles with Takata airbags. Takata airbags have a known defect that causes the airbag to explode, sending metal throughout the passenger cabin. Takata airbags have been linked to 7 deaths and nearly 100 injuries in the United States. In the U.S., the recall affects more than 30 million vehicles manufactured by 10 automakers. Click her for full article





Information Courtesy of West Bend