Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Christmas is a time of love and joy and family – and danger. Many of the jolly Christmas decorations you put up during the holidays come with risks. We want your holiday season to be a time of happiness, so we are providing some safety tips on how to keep safe while putting up Christmas decorations both in and outside of your home.

Lights – If you find fraying cords or broken/ missing bulbs on last year’s lights, it’s time to get new lights. Make sure your lights have the UL safety label. A green UL symbol is for only indoor lights, while a red symbol is good for indoor or outdoor use. We’ve all seen the tangle of holiday lights, plugged into extra extension cords and piggybacking on each other in a huge mess. Don’t do this. It’s definitely an electrical short waiting to happen, if not a fire. Finally, turn all lights off when you leave the home or retire for the night.

Tree – If you buy a live tree, get one as fresh as you can. The bottom of the tree should be sticky, and hardly any needles should fall off when you tap it on the ground. Keep it fresh by watering it daily, to help prevent fire. If you’re getting an artificial tree, make sure the label says “fire resistant.” Either way, don’t put the tree by fireplaces, electrical heating units, candles, or other sources of heat.

Candles – Use candle holders with a firm base, and make sure the candles are not close to anything flammable, including decorations. No matter how old fashioned of a Christmas you want, candles do not belong on trees, ever. As with the lights, when you leave the home or go to bed, put out all candles.

Ornaments – Put away the fragile glass ornaments until the kids grow up. Hang only unbreakable ornaments and those without small parts that could present a choking hazard.

Fireplace – Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It tends to flare up and can cause a flash fire. In fact, don’t burn anything but wood. This includes greenery. Decorate your Yule log any way you want, but when it comes time to burn it, leave the decorations out of the fireplace.

Outdoors – Use a safe ladder to hang outdoor decorations. It should reach higher than the place you are hanging lights or decorations, so you don’t lose your balance while hanging them. Use the buddy system. Have somebody support the base of the ladder until you are safely down. Don’t forget to turn off outdoor lights and decorations when you leave and at the end of the evening.

Those of us at Baldwin Woodville Insurance wish you and yours a happy, safe holiday season!

Small Business General Liability Insurance Guidelines

Opening a small business is no small task. One of the most important things to consider is insurance. There are numerous types of insurance you will need for your small business, and this post is going to talk about general liability insurance, also known as CGL (Commercial General Liability) insurance. Any of our agents at Baldwin Woodville Insurance would be happy to discuss your specific needs, and below is a general description of what General Liability Insurance covers.

Purpose of General Liability Insurance

General Liability Insurance is what you use to protect yourself from third-party lawsuits, which includes those brought against you by a non-employee, such as a customer, vendor, landlord, etc. There are five types of situations this type of insurance covers.

Bodily Injury

If anyone who isn’t your employee (employees are covered by worker’s compensation) comes to harm on your business property, your CGL insurance will pay the damages awarded. Also included can be product liability coverage, which protects you against claims made if one of your products somehow causes a person harm.

Property Damage

The property covered by General Liability Insurance does not include your property. It will cover damage to a building you lease for your business, or any other thing your business uses but does not own, such as furniture, fixtures, or potentially the property of a customer.

Personal Injury

This covers slander and libel claims against you and your business. Slander involves making a false, spoken statement that defames the character of a competitor’s business or person. Libel is a written statement defaming the character of someone or a business.

False or Misleading Advertising

Sometimes a business will be sued when they commit false advertising schemes, such as advertising a certain version of a product at an unbelievably low price, when in fact, they don’t have any of that specific product in stock, but have something similar to it at a much higher price. This is known as bait-and-switch, and you can be sued for it if your business uses these types of advertising techniques.

Copyright Infringement

General Liability Insurance covers you if you are sued for advertising that is copyright infringement sealtoo similar to a competitor’s advertisement, and can involve copyright infringement. You could lose a case like this, even if your business logo or other advertising products are similar to another business without your having known.

Owning a small business can be very stressful. Let your Baldwin Woodville Insurance agent help take on the worries surrounding these possible lawsuits by providing your small business with General Liability Insurance in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

 

How to Increase Your Auto Insurance Premium

Who in their right mind would want to raise their Minnesota or Wisconsin auto insurance premiums? Of course, nobody would. However, there are certain things that may cause your premium to raise. Some of them, you can avoid. Some, not so much. Here are some things that lead to higher insurance premiums.

grandma and grandsonBe Under 25 – Or Turn 50

Apparently, there is a magic age range between 25 and 50 years where you are considered a good driver. Those under 25 and over 50 are higher risk, according to many insurance companies. This is despite the fact that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) says that drivers between ages 64 and 69 years are the safest. Go figure.

Have Poor Credit

Your credit rating affects nearly everything in your life. It’s not just institutions that want to extend a loan or credit line to you that need your credit score. Whether you’re applying for a job, renting an apartment, or buying auto insurance, your credit score could affect the terms. Talk to your Baldwin Woodville agent about how credit may affect your premiums, as this is a controversial factor in determining rates.

Drive More Miles

People who drive more have a higher chance of getting into accidents. This shouldn’t stop you from taking that amazing job 35 miles further than your current job, but it is something to keep in mind.

Lend Your Car to Someone – Who Crashes Itcrashed car

It hardly seems fair that your rates raise if your friend crashes your car. The fact is, you are responsible for your car, and your coverage is responsible for what happens to your car. This can have harmful effects on a friendship, so think before you loan your car out.

getting a traffic ticketGet Plenty of Tickets

Tickets for moving violations in Wisconsin or Minnesota are expensive. But the cost of the original ticket is only part of it. Depending on your coverage, your insurance premium could increase 11% to 40% for up to three years after the violation. Add that to the cost of the ticket, and it’s really not worth it. Obey driving laws.

There are other things that can affect your insurance premiums, such as grades (if you are still in college), your zip code, any lapse in insurance coverage, or other things. Be sure to discuss with your Baldwin Woodville agent what things could increase your premiums on your specific policy. Some policies offer accident forgiveness for excellent drivers. Some have discounts for good driving behavior.

In the end, the best way to maintain the best insurance premiums is to drive safely.

Benefits of Term Life Insurance

What is term life insurance? Why should you buy that instead of whole life insurance? Your Baldwin Woodville agent will be happy to discuss term life insurance in Wisconsin or Minnesota with you, but here we’ll answer some of the most basic questions about this type of life insurance.

Term life insurance has a limited period of coverage. When the term of the insurance ends, you then decide to renew it, to change the coverage of the new policy, or to choose a different type of life insurance policy. Whole life insurance is something you pay into for your whole life, as opposed to a specific term.

Why Choose Term Life Insurance?

  • First, you can receive a higher death benefit, while paying the lowestpiggy bank and money premium, compared to whole life coverage. Of course, if you don’t die before the term ends, it may feel like you paid all that money for nothing. This may be the only case where you feel like you “lose out” by remaining alive.
  • On the other hand, if you have temporary life insurance needs, for less than 10 years, term life insurance is the best choice. A general rule of thumb is, if you are under the age of 45, term life insurance is the best value.
  • Term life insurance is also flexible. You can convert it into whole life insurance if you decide that is the best choice. Working closely with your Baldwin Woodville agent will help you know if and when this change is a good idea.
  • Additionally, you can add different types of term life insurance, such as level, increasing, or decreasing, as a rider to other insurance policies.
  • One of the biggest benefits of term life insurance is that the way it’s set up, the beneficiary can be paid without delays that would otherwise be faced during the administration of the estate, and the beneficiary will not have to pay federal income tax or state inheritance taxes on the benefit.
  • Term insurance can be used in some cases as collateral for personal loans, the same as permanent policies.

signing contractIs Term Life Insurance Right For Me?

With all these benefits in mind, each person has to make sure they purchase the life insurance policy that is best for them. You can get some idea from the tips above as to whether it is right for you, but the only way to be really sure is to discuss it with your family and your agent.

At Baldwin Woodville, we’re always happy to help you wade through the choices and pick the right product for your life insurance needs.

Dangerous Driving Habits Up Close – Distracted Driving

What are some of the most dangerous driving habits? Over the next few months, we’ll be taking an up close look at a number of them. The most dangerous driving habit is distracted driving. This comes in many forms.

Lucky distracted drivers will have to meet with their Baldwin Woodville agent about potential increased insurance rates. Unlucky distracted drivers may not have to worry about anything – but their families will have to deal with their life insurance, as they plan for their burial.

Distracted Driving Laws

Wisconsin and Minnesota distracted driving laws both forbid drivers from texting, or accessing the Internet. This is a leading cause of fatal accidents each year.

Novice drivers – those holding learner’s permit or intermediate license in Wisconsin, and those under 18 in Minnesota – are not allowed to talk on a cell phone, even using hands free. If there’s an emergency that requires calling 911, pull to the side of the road and make the call.

Man shaving while drivingOther Types of Distracted Driving

Eating while driving is common, even feeling necessary sometimes. Whether eating a many-layered, dripping burger with pieces falling out, or chips out of a bag, eating (or drinking) takes attention.

Putting on makeup while driving is also a common activity. There is no way to put on eye shadow while keeping your eyes on the road.

Reaching in the back seat to hand your child a snack, pacifier, toy, or bottle is distracting. The same goes for dealing with unruly children in the back seat.

Consequences of Distracted  Driving

Anything that takes your attention from driving is dangerous. Even if traffic is slow, nobody is in front of you for a hundred yards, it is dangerous. Many times, you will “get away with” distracted driving, leading to a complacent attitude about multi-tasking in the car.

But what if you round a bend, and traffic is suddenly at a dead stop? It’s hard to stop in that situation if you’re not distracted. If you are? You may be dead from running into the big truck in front of you before you even notice.

The Bottom Line

Distracted driving is dangerous. Period. Your consequences may be a dented fender, an increase in insurance premiums, a lawsuit, or death. What if the death isn’t yours, but somebody else’s? Can you live with that? Pay attention to the road, the traffic around you, the flow of traffic, and what other drivers are doing. Everything else can wait.

Catch us in a few weeks for the next post on dangerous driving habits up close.

5 Remodeling Ideas to Increase the Value of Your Home – Indoor

Are you looking increase the value of your Wisconsin home without spending tens of thousands of dollars? Maybe you’re moving. Maybe you want to live in a nicer house. Either way, you can do simple things to make your home more valuable, and more enjoyable to live in. One hint is to use “green” materials and products, as that is better for our world, and a good thing to tell potential new owners. Also, once your house is upgraded, be sure to contact BW Insurance to see if you need to update the value of your coverage.

accent wallPaint

An inexpensive thing you can do to brighten up any room. Fresh paint always improves the look of a room. In a room painted a neutral color, paint one wall with an accent color. This can take a room from “nice” to “WOW”, for about $50 and a little bit of work.

New wallpaper

A great way to give your kitchen or bathroom an updated look. The choices are nearly endless, and today’s wallpaper is easier than ever to install.

Tile backsplash

There are so many beautiful tiles you can choose from for a backsplash behind your stove. Various shades of blue, yellow, or pearlized color are popular. If you’re crafty, choose light colored tiles, and paint a sunflower, lady bug, or different fruits and vegetables on a few of the tiles. Tiles are easy to clean, so no more unsightly grease stains.

Water filtration system

There are many benefits to a simple system installed in your kitchen, and possibly bathroom, sinks. First, you’ll have much cleaner water. Also, you don’t have to pay for bottled water to get quality drinking water, which saves you money. And when it comes time to sell, a water filtration system, though it didn’t cost you a lot, is a great selling point.

new stain hiding carpetNew carpets and rugs

This can be a bit more costly, but it’s worth it for many reasons. For one, it improves the quality of the air in your home. No matter how well you clean, carpets eventually hold dust and allergens, not to mention pet odors and hair. Additionally, you will improve the look of a room by choosing the right carpet. One idea is to use a carpet that is multicolored, so make it less obvious when the inevitable spills do happen.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but a good start towards increasing the value of your home. As always, if you have questions on other ways to improve the value of your home, your Baldwin Woodville agent will be happy to discuss these with you.

Check back in the spring for ideas on how to improve the value of your home by making changes outdoors.

Safety During Thunderstorms or Tornadoes – Car

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of driving during a severe driving in tornadothunderstorm or tornado? If it’s one of the awesome scenes from Twister, it’s time for a reality check. There are ways to stay safe in your car during these events, none of which are demonstrated in that exciting, fictional representation of the ultimate summer storm.

For us regular folks, keeping safe during a severe thunderstorm or tornado in Wisconsin or Minnesota begins with preparation. For starters, if there are any indications that a thunderstorm or tornado is headed your way, don’t go driving. This is true whether you hear a “watch” or a “warning.”

Watch: A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is an indication that the current weather conditions are favorable for one (or both) of these weather events in your area. Stay home, and see our article, Safety During Thunderstorms or Tornadoes – Home.

Warning: A severe weather warning means there is a storm or tornado currently occurring in your area. Take shelter immediately, and continue with your emergency plan.

Dangerous weather can pop up quickly, and you may get caught in your car. If a heavy rainsevere rain wave hits while you’re driving, pull over and set your hazard lights on to avoid accidents. Keep the car running so the air bags work, just in case.
If there’s a tornado, please don’t try to outdrive it. Twisters are unpredictable, and what is clearly behind you one minute could switch course and be directly in front of you the next.

Instead, try is to find a sturdy structure close by. It might even be okay to run to a nearby house and ask if you can shelter there. Midwesterners tend to come together during emergencies.

If there’s no shelter available, park your car, raise all the windows fully, and crouch ascollapsed tunnel far below the windows as you can get, in the passenger side well or on the back seat floor.

NEVER go near or under a bridge or tunnel. The storm can cause them to collapse, and you’d be buried in the rubble. That usually doesn’t end well.

We need to know about severe thunderstorm and tornado safety while driving in Wisconsin and Minnesota, because these are common events. Be sure to check with your Baldwin Woodville agent before the storm comes, to make sure you have the coverage you will rely on after having come safely through the storm.

Be sure to read our post on safety during thunderstorms and tornadoes when you are at home.

Safety During Thunderstorms or Tornadoes – Home

tornadoWhen was the last time you heard the sirens shrieking, telling you run, find shelter, stay safe? Because we see many severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Wisconsin and Minnesota, probably not that long ago. When you purchased your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, your Baldwin Woodville agent made sure you were covered for damages that might occur to your home.

But what about your body? Your family? Your life?

Most home storm safety happens BEFORE the storm. Make sure you have a detailed safety plan, and everyone in your home knows it, including the babysitter. Perform drills with your family (kids consider this great fun) to make sure everybody knows what to do.

Make an emergency kit containing clean water, a hand-crank radio, non-perishable foods (and a can opener), flashlights, and batteries. Yes, your cell phone has a flashlight. But if the power goes out and your phone dies? Heavy D-cell flashlights will be your best friend. Keep the kit in your family’s emergency shelter location. You might even take an emergency preparedness class. Your Baldwin Woodville agent can guide you to finding one.

When there seems to be “a bit of weather,” listen to the local emergency station. Alternatively, you keep track of potential storms using an app on your smartphone. Either way, pay attention once you hear a “watch” or a “warning.”

Watch: A severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is an indication that the current heavy hailweather conditions are favorable for one (or both) of these weather events in your area. Stay home, and stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.

Warning: A severe weather warning means there is a storm or tornado currently occurring in your area. Go to your safety shelter immediately, and continue with your emergency plan.

Where to shelter? If you have an underground basement, there. If not, choose a location on the first floor with no windows, such as a laundry room or bathroom. If you live in a trailer home, go to the local community shelter you have planned out at the watch stage. Don’t wait for the warning.

It may be tempting to start grabbing irreplaceable things: photos, homemade quilts, handmade Christmas ornaments. While understandable, remember it’s you and your family that are most important. Then your pet. We at Baldwin Woodville can provide you with storm and tornado insurance to replace nearly everything in your home. Even though sentimental things are very important, they’re not worth risking your life.

Be sure to check out our post on safety during thunderstorms or tornadoes in your car.

Buy or Lease Your New Car? Hints to Help You Decide

Last week, we talked about the factors to consider when deciding if you should buy a new or used car. This week, we’re assuming the decision was for a new car. Now you face another question: lease or buy the new car? There are many things to consider when deciding to lease or buy a new car in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The correct answer will be different depending on your situation. Use the following tips to help decide which choice is best for you.

Leasing

Pros of leasing a new car:high tech dashboard

  • Lower payments – you’re not paying for the whole car.
  • Lower to no down payment.
  • Walk away clean. Drop the car off at the dealer when the lease ends, and pick up a brand new lease the same day.
  • The bumper-to-bumper warranty remains intact for the entire period of the lease.
  • You always have the newest and safest technology.

Cons of leasing a new car:

  • Limited annual mileage is the biggest drawback.
  • You’re not allowed to make additions or alterations.
  • You never earn equity in the car, and you never escape from monthly car payments.
  • The financing company requires full coverage insurance, which can be expensive. Of course, at Baldwin Woodville, we will help you get the best deal possible when you lease a new car in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

signing a contractBuying

Pros of Buying a New Car:

  • Once the last payment is paid, you own the car, with no further payments.
  • There are no mileage or alteration restrictions.
  • You gain equity in the vehicle, and have something of value at the end of the loan period.
  • Once the loan period is over, you can adjust the insurance to fit your needs and save money. Contact your Baldwin Woodville agent to find the best balance between your needs and your wallet.

Cons of Buying a New Car:

  • The vehicle loses its value as you drive it off the lot.
  • A large down payment is typically required, up to 20%.
  • Your car will outlive the warranty, and you will be out of pocket for anything that insurance doesn’t cover.
  • Unless you have an enormous down payment, you will face larger monthly payments, because you’re paying for the full price of the car, including all interest, taxes, and fees.

Consider these facts as you decide whether to buy or lease your new car. And as always, your Baldwin Woodville agent is always available to talk with you about how these factors affect you and your personal circumstances.

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Car Clean – Exterior

First impressions count, right? Do you want to make a great first impression when you meet new people while you’re out and about?

The best way is to keep your car clean, shiny, and bug free. You know those cars that are always so dirty that a good rain is actually helpful? Don’t have one of those cars. If your car is always clean and shiny, just like new, you will be much happier, and feel more confident.

Not only that, but you’ll benefit financially when you get ready to trade up. A car that has been kept clean all along will always look better than a car given a quick clean before trading it in. At Baldwin Woodville Insurance, we know the benefits of keeping a clean car, especially during summer driving in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Here are 5 simple tips to keeping your car exterior clean:

  1. Wash your car on a regular basis, and then again when necessary. How often depends on your circumstances. What’s important is that you keep on schedule. Your winter schedule may be different. You want to get off the scum from the salted roads, but don’t ever wash your car when it’s below freezing. Why? Try it once, and then try to open your car door when you get home.
  2. You will not get all the bugs off just by washing your. But there’s a simple hack for that. Just use a fabric softener dryer sheet dipped in warm water. It’s like magic. Make this a regular part of washing your car during Wisconsin or Minnesota summers.
  3. Wax your car once a month when you get it washed. This, in addition to regular washing, will help prevent your car from getting rusty. Another way to keep the value up, and look good.
  4. Don’t forget to take care of the windshield. After every car wash, apply Rain-XWash Me written in dirt on car to your windshield. This will help keeping it clean, and increase your safety when you drive in a Chippewa Valley thunderstorm. At the same time, clean the windshield wipers with rubbing alcohol. This will prevent streaking on your windshield.
  5. Finally, keep your car in a garage whenever possible. The benefits to this are obvious. No worries about hail damage, bird droppings, or stray baseballs. The added benefit is that your car interior won’t be too hot in the summer, or too cold in the winter.

If you need any further advice on how to keep your car in the best position for a good trade in or resale value, feel free to contact your Baldwin Woodville agent today.

If you’re interested in keeping the inside of your car clean, see our post: 5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Car Clean – Interior.

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Car Clean – Interior

dog hammock to keep car cleanHave you just gotten the interior of your car detailed? Well, if not, maybe you should. At Baldwin Woodville Insurance, we know the value of a clean car.

Keeping your car clean is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, the look and smell of a clean car will refresh you each time you hop in. Second, you won’t be embarrassed if your boss or the cute new neighbor need to ride in your car. Finally, looks matter when you get ready to upgrade and trade your car in.

Now, how do you keep your car fresh and clean? It will involve a little work on your part, but if you maintain the cleanliness, you might not have to shell out for another full detailing job.

Here are 5 simple ways to keep your car (or minivan, or SUV) interior clean, looking and smelling new:

  1. Don’t eat or drink in the car. You may think you can pull it off. But remember how those cup holders looked before the detailing? Right. Just avoid it.
  2. Shake the floor mats out regularly. Every time you go to the car wash, pull them out and give them a good vacuuming, along with the rest of the interior. Those little rocks and leaves that your shoes carry in start looking messy after a couple of weeks.
  3. Keep a trash bag and backseat activity bag in your car. You can use a niceCar Activity Bag looking bag for trash, because you’re not eating in the car, so you don’t have dripping, greasy trash. Fill the activity bag up with interesting things for any kids riding in your car. This will help them forget how hungry they are, what with the no eating rule.
  4. Use seat covers f you have a dog riding with you. There are special seat covers made just for that occasion. Another good use for them is with children, because even though they are enthralled with their activity bag and not eating, they’re just messy.
  5. Finally, because we know that you are eventually going to eat in your car, keep a magic eraser and gentle cleanser in the glove box or trunk, and clean up spills as soon as they happen. Also keep cleansing wipes to rub down the surfaces when they start getting dusty.

If you have any questions about how the interior cleanliness of your car might affect it’s value, give your Baldwin Woodville agent a call, and he or she will be happy to discuss it with you. Happy driving.

If you’re interested in keeping the outside of your car clean, see our post: 5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Car Clean – Exterior.

Backyard Swimming Pool Safety Tips

Owning a swimming pool, whether under or above ground, is a big responsibility. Following these swimming pool safety tips can help ensure your family and friends stay safe in your pool. You don’t want them to be one of the 5,500 home pool drowning victims each year.

Before you purchase your pool, be sure to check with your Baldwin Woodville agent about the extra insurance you need to purchase to cover all possibilities. You can find the Wisconsin pool laws here, and the Minnesota pool laws here. Read on to find out the best pool rules, equipment, and safety gear.

Home Swimming Pool RulesPool Rules Sign

  • Constant, active adult supervision at all times.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Everybody who uses the diving board or pool slide must know how to do it in the correct, safe way.
  • No running around the pool. This can prevent everything from a skinned knee to a cracked head, or worse.
  • No extreme horseplay in the water. Of course, there will be some splashing, water polo, and other games. At least one adult should stay outside the pool and remain vigilant, to notice right away if somebody goes down and doesn’t come right up.
  • No swimming when drunk or using prescription meds that say “don’t operate heavy machinery.”
  • Never push someone into the pool. No matter how funny it seems, it is incredibly dangerous.
  • Stay away from drain covers in the pool.
  • Young children must wear life jackets.

Pool Safety Equipment

  • The state required fence should include a self-closing and self-latching gate, out of reach of children, with an alarm on the door.
  • Also maintain an alarm attached to the side of the pool that detects motion under the water.
  • During the summer, use a strong, mesh cover to prevent falls when in the area but not using the pool.
  • When the pool is out of season, use a rigid pool cover to prevent accidents.
  • Posted signs with pool rules, whether hand made or purchased.
  • Side rails and steps with rubber grips and covers, to allow swimmers to safely enter and exit the pool.
  • Depth markers should be applied when the pool is built.

Pool Safety Gear to be in Pool Area at All TimesPool Safety Equipment

  • First aid kit
  • Throw rope
  • Lifesaver ring
  • Buoys to separate shallow from deep end
  • Shepherd’s crook
  • Long pole

Following these guidelines can help you, your family, and your friends enjoy your pool for the little bit of summer that we get in Wisconsin and Minnesota! Remember, nothing beats constant adult supervision for Minnesota or Wisconsin home pool safety.

Be sure to contact Baldwin Woodville if you have any questions about installing a backyard swimming pool in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

New or Used Car? Hints to Help You Decide

It’s time to get a new car. You have squeezed out the last shaky mile the old one had to give. Or perhaps you are just ready for something different. Maybe something better for the environment, or bigger, or smaller. Whatever your needs are, it’s that time.

Buying a car is a big decision, and part of your decision will be insurance costs. At Baldwin Woodville, we have insurance packages for any need. So while you are purchasing your new or used car in Minnesota or Wisconsin, contact your BW agent.

To start you on your way to making the best decision for you, we’ve put together some of the pros and cons of purchasing new and used cars to give you some things to consider as you shop for your next vehicle.

New CarsGirl with new car keys

Pros of buying a new car

  • Manufacturer’s Warranty – You could get up to a 5-year, 10,000 mile manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Latest Technology – You have the newest safety features, such as advanced air bags, backup cameras, and driver assist.
  • Customize – you can choose any color of car you want, any stereo and internet setup, any kind of wheels, and many other options.

Cons of buying a new car

  • Instant Depreciation – Your new car immediately loses 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot.
  • More Expensive – A new car is more expensive, and so are the sales tax and licensing fees.
  • More Expensive Insurance – Your insurance will be higher because of the car’s value and the insurance requirements when you finance a car.

Used Car/ MinivanUsed Cars

Pros of buying a used car

  • Better Value – A car that is only one year old has a much higher value for the price you will pay.
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty – If you buy a recent model, you could still get a manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Less Expensive – A use car costs less, as does the sales tax and licensing fees.
  • Less Expensive Insurance – The state requires lower coverage limits than the financing company.

Cons of buying a used car

  • Maintenance History – You might not know if the vehicle has been involved in an accident, flood, or other destructive event.
  • Why Traded In – You won’t know if the previous owner traded the vehicle in because there are impending mechanical failures.
  • Lack of Warranty – You can purchase warranties for used cars, but not as good as the factory warranty.

Of course this list is not comprehensive, but it covers the main differences in new and used cars. Your Baldwin Woodville agent is available to help you make the decision of purchasing a new or used car in Wisconsin or Minnesota.

If you have chosen a new car, let us help you make your next decision – buy or lease?

Use Q-Tips To Get Your Damage Deposit Back

You’ve been living in your rental home for awhile, and now you’re moving on to a new city, to a house, or just to a new rental home. Back when you moved in, you paid a damage deposit, likely the amount of one month’s rent. No matter how much it was, you want it back.

Let’s assume you didn’t break the house. That you have kept it clean and well maintained. That your western Wisconsin renter’s insurance policy has paid for any damage you have been responsible for. The only thing you have left to do is follow the Girl Scout rule, and leave the place better than it was when you arrived.

General Cleaning

ceiling fanIf you have a cleaning checklist from your landlord, follow it. The obvious stuff is to clean all surfaces, including walls, appliances, fixtures (yes, take that fixture down from your ceiling-mounted lights, throw away the bugs, and wash it), and even doors. Don’t miss the tops of your ceiling fan blades.

Clean your stove (including the hood and under the top if yours lifts up), your oven, and scrub out your sinks and cupboards. A good cleaner for the kitchen is Dawn dish soap. It really does take care of the grease.

Use the vacuum extensions to get rid of any cobwebs back in the corners of your closets or other places they have formed. Clean your bathroom fixtures, using a bleach cleaner if there is any sign of mildew. Replace the shower curtain(s) if applicable. Pick up all the little things that have fallen into the baseboard heaters if applicable. Then vacuum them for good measure. Wash the mirrors and windows.

Why Q-Tips?

After the masterful job you have done cleaning all surfaces, why would you need to use Q-tips? First, take a look at all the light switches. Around the rectangular switch, and then around the opening for the switch itself, gunk has likely gathered. Dip a Q-tip in bleach, or other cleaner of your choice, and wipe the gunk away.

Then do the same for all doorknobs and locks in the home, any sconces or other lighting fixtures, and inside the window tracks. It’s this extra cleaning that will ensure you get not only your full deposit back, but a glowing recommendation from your landlord should you ever need it.

One Last Thing

After everything has been moved out, even if you know your landlord is going to replace the carpet the next day, vacuum everything. Appearances count!

If you want to know about renter’s insurance, contact your Baldwin Woodvile Insurance rep today!

Get Your Motorcycle Ready

Whether you like to get out on the road by yourself, or travel with a group, there’s nothing like getting out there on your motorcycle. Here in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin, you’ve got a limited amount of time before the ice and snow hits, so you want to get as much riding in as you can.

You may be tempted to pull the cover off your bike and just take off. But, as with any precious possession, you want to take better care of it than that. The first thing to do is change your storage insurance policy to your full Minnesota or Wisconsin motorcycle insurance coverage. Your agent at Baldwin Woodville can help you with that.

Then, follow the guidelines below to properly prepare your bike for a fun and safe summer of traveling the open road.

Dust, Clean, Fuel, and Oil

Take off the cover, blocks, plugs, and/or rags used to store your bike, and give it a good washing. Check the fluid levels and consistency, and fill or replace fluids that need it. Check the fuel tank, lines, and fittings for cracks or breaks, and repair and replace as necessary. Finally, change the oil, even if you did so before storing your bike.

Safety First

There are a number of things to check before your bike is safe for the road.

  1. Battery – The battery must be fully charged, which you may have done over the winter. If not, do so now, and if you need to replace it, do so before riding.
  2. Tires – Check your tires thoroughly for cracks, bulges, or other problems. Replace if necessary. Otherwise, fill them up to the proper air pressure. Also check the wheels for dents and repair spokes if necessary.
  3. Brakes – You’ve already checked the brake fluid, and filled or replaced it. Now, visually inspect the brake pads, discs, and shoes. If they have gotten too thin, replace them. Clean the rotors, and make sure the brake handle and throttle cables are well lubricated. Just before you head out, test the brakes by taking a short test run.
  4. Suspension, Frame, Steering – Check all around the frame, focusing on any joints or connections, to make sure there are no slight cracks. Lubricate the bearings and kickstand for smooth operation, and make sure the steering is working smooth and easy.

After you’ve checked all these things, check the controls, rev her up, and hit the road.

See our previous posts on preparing your boat and preparing your RV.

4th of July Weekend: Get Your RV Ready

In the Chippewa Valley, Independence Day means summer is in full swing. For a lot of people, it may also mean your first chance of the season to get out and do some camping. Before you head out in your RV, be sure to prepare it properly for a fun and safe summer.

The first thing you need to do is talk to your insurance agent, like the friendly people here at Baldwin Woodville, and make sure you switch from your storage RV insurance policy to your full coverage Western Wisconsin or Minnesota RV insurance policy. Then make sure your current registration and proof of insurance is in the glove box.

Exterior Check

RVs are known for developing water leaks over the winter months, so the first thing to do is check the roof, and around the windows, air conditioner, and doors for cracks or missing caulk. Repair as necessary.

Next, check the tires. Winter storage could have brought on cracks, either on the sidewall or between the treads. Replace any tires that have developed cracks, and don’t forget to fill the tires up to the correct pressure before you head out on the road.

Interior Check

There are a number of things to check inside your RV.

  1. Batteries – Check and clean your batteries, charging as necessary. Clean any corrosion, and check battery fluid levels.
  2. Liquid Propane – Turn off everything that uses LP gas, turn the leak detector on inside your RV, and open the valves on the propane tanks. If there are leaks, contact a professional to make repairs.
  3. Water – As you fill your water tanks, preferably using your city water, turn on a hot and a cold faucet to allow the air to escape. Check pipes and plugs for any leakage, and repair as needed. Then fill up the onboard tanks. Run the fresh water pump, and make sure it doesn’t cycle on again, which would indicate leaks that would need repair.
  4. Generator – Following your owner’s manual instructions, prepare your generator with fresh fuel.
  5. Waste – Check all sewer hoses for damage, and repair or replace as necessary. Also make sure the waste tank valves are opening and closing properly, with no leaks.
  6. Appliances – Test each appliance to make sure it’s in working order.

Once you have done all this, you just need to pack wisely, clean your RV until it’s pretty as new, and hit the road with your family and pets, ready for an excellent summer of camping.

Seasonal House Upkeep Series: Summer

Welcome to the first installment of our year-long series on seasonal house upkeep. If you’re new to home ownership, this will be an invaluable tool throughout the year. If you’re an old hat, check it out. You may still have something to learn!

Outdoor Maintenance

Summer is a great time to make sure your house’s exterior stays in the best shape possible. This is the time to check and repair your roof. The rains of spring have passed, so you can count on there being enough warm, dry, Chippewa Valley days to complete a roofing project. This is also the best time of year to clean and maintain decks, porches, and siding. Rent a power washer at a reasonable price, and have a blast while getting this job done in quick order.

Summer is also a good time to make sure your garage is working well. Start out by testing the garage door, looking for any dents in the tracks or door that cause difficulty of operation. Throw a hat under the door to make sure the safety stop operation is working properly.

Indoor Maintenance

Throughout the year, we’ll make suggestions on regular maintenance to be done inside, as well. This way, by doing certain things each season, you will develop a routine that ensures each thing is done once a year, and you’re not stuck doing them all at once.

  • Dishwasher – Check for leaks, and make sure there are no clogs on the inside. If everything is not operating correctly, contact a repair person, and see if your Minnesota or Western Wisconsin homeowner’s insurance policy covers any of these repairs. Your Baldwin Woodville agent will be happy to help you with this.
  • Furnace – There’s no better time to have your furnace serviced than when it is not in operation. You want to be sure it’s working on that first cold day, which in the Midwest, could be anywhere from August to November. While you’re at it, use this time to replace the furnace filters.
  • Refrigerator – Along with doing a full clean of the inside of your refrigerator, clean the coils. Each model is different, so if you don’t have it tucked away somewhere easy to find, look up the owner’s manual online to see exactly how to do this safely and effectively.
  • Batteries – Change the batteries in your flashlights, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Doing this once a year will ensure they work when you need them.

See us in the fall for your next list of seasonal house upkeep tips.

6 Tips for Safe Boating This Summer

First, make sure you talk to your western Wisconsin or Minnesota boating insurance agent to make sure you have proper coverage for the active boating season. Our agents at Baldwin Woodville Insurance are always available to help you research what you need, and to provide it at a great value.

Once you are legally ready to go, all that’s left is to remember these safety tips for a satisfying summer on the water with friends and family.

  1. No drinking (or drugs) when boating. Not only is this a Wisconsin boating law, but it’s common sense. You need to be fully alert to operate your vessel safely.
  2. Lifejackets for everyone. There must be a wearable personal floating device, or
    lifejacket, for each person on the boat. Children under the age of 13 must wear a lifejacket while boating. Additionally, if your vessel is 16 feet or longer, you must have one throwable PFD in an easily accessible location.
  3. Develop and use a pre-departure checklist. This is a great way to make sure you are prepared for anything that might happen while boating, and that you have all the required and recommended safety gear, before you head out onto the open water.
  4. Operate your boat responsibly. Don’t ever head into a marked off area or a swim area. Don’t weave your boat in and out of other boats. Besides being rude, it’s dangerous. Also, sometimes things that seem funny are really not, like steering your boat directly at an object or person and veering off at the last possible moment. It might seem hilarious at the time, but it’s just not safe.
  5. This one may seem obvious, but learn to swim. Being out on a boat is no guarantee that you won’t end up in the water. Hopefully, with safe operation, you won’t. But if you do, even with a flotation device, you should be able to do some basic swim strokes to reach safety.
  6. Check the Wisconsin laws regarding speed. There are different guidelines for different types of water, areas of lakes/rivers, and weather circumstances.

Following these tips are the best way to keep our waters safe and fun for everyone. You can read a detailed pamphlet outlining Wisconsin boating laws here. If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of caution. After all, boating is much more fun when you’re not paying off huge fines, or lying in a hospital bed!

Renters Insurance – What You Need to Know

Many people in Wisconsin and Minnesota consider renters insurance to be an optional expense; one they’ll get around to buying when they get a raise, or a better job, or more stuff worth covering. And most people will be fine. But if disaster strikes and you lose everything, you will be grateful not to be one of those people.

Take Inventory

Before purchasing a renters insurance policy, take a detailed inventory. Go through your entire rental property, and take a photo of every item you own. This should include furniture, electronics, jewelry, dishes, art, bicycles, and anything else you would need to replace, including your book and/or CD collection.

Put all the photos in a folder on your computer, and find out how much each item is worth, and how much it would cost to replace it. You can buy your policy based on either number. Using the current value will give you a less expensive policy. Using replacement value ensures you will have enough money to replace all your items.

Once you have your inventory complete, store it digitally on at least two cloud servers, like Dropbox. It needs to be somewhere you can access it, even if all the technology in your home is useless.

What Will Insurance Cover?

Now it’s time to talk to your insurance agent. Discuss all the situations that are covered, and those that are not. Most weather damage is covered by a basic policy, but floods are generally not. Work with your agent to get the coverage you need.

Before you finalize your Wisconsin renters insurance policy, make sure that everything you want to replace is covered. Also make sure that, if you need to live elsewhere while your property is being restored, you will be covered for those costs, as well.

Filing a Claim

All this preparation will be invaluable if you need to file a claim. If the worst happens, you may need to make a full claim, replacing everything you owned. At such a stressful time, you will be glad that you don’t have to try and figure out what needs replacing.

Simply contact your agent, and they will tell you exactly what to do. They will help you make the claim, and they will make sure you and your family have a place to live. That’s the kind of care you can expect in the Chippewa Valley from Baldwin Woodville Insurance Services.

Preparing for Memorial Day: Get Your Boat Ready

Memorial Day is almost here, and it’s time to take out the boat for the summer! Giddy days are ahead, but first, you need to make sure everything is (sorry for this) ship shape. First, make sure to get ahold of your Baldwin Woodville agent and make sure to switch from the winter storage insurance to your full use summer Minnesota or Western Wisconsin boating insurance policy. Also check that your current registration is onboard.

Cleaning and Minor Repair

Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to spend some quality time with your boat. No matter what kind of boat you have, you will need to give her an overall cleaning, including the deck, topside, and hull. It’s best to use a mild detergent for this. Also clean the windows, hatches, canvas, and all the interior, including the bilges.

As you clean, look out for abrasions, gouges, or scratches, and repair them. Your local sports shop can help you find the right products. Do any refinishing that might be necessary if you have blisters, and touch up your antifouling paint as necessary.

Finally, give her a good waxing, and shine up the metal with a good polishing. There’s no point having a boat for our short Midwestern summers if it doesn’t look beautiful.

Safety and Electric

Make sure that you have cleaned and greased the winches, lubricated the blocks and pad eyes, and checked out the dinghy and/or life raft. The batteries will likely need recharging, so do that, as well as checking the battery water level. Go through all the wiring and check for corrosion, wearing, or chafing, and do the repairs as necessary.

Wisconsin boating law requires you to have the following equipment onboard whenever you operate your boat:

  • Personal flotation devices (PDF)
  • Sound-producing devices
  • Fire extinguisher(s)
  • Navigation lights, in working order
  • Ventilation system
  • Backfire flame arrestor(s)
  • Mufflers which meet the noise level limits (in Wisconsin, 86 dBA)
  • Visual distress signals (VDS)

Before Heading Out

There are a few things to check before you go out on the water.

  • Check the capacity plate to make sure you do not overload your boat.
  • Secure everything throughout your boat before driving with it on the trailer.
  • Do all the cleaning and preparation away from the boat ramp.
  • Remove any plant life from the boat before entering the water.

One thing you should definitely do before heading out for a summer of fun on your boat is to read all the Wisconsin boating laws, which can be found here. Have a fun and safe summer!

What Are All Those Dashboard Warning Lights?

As we progress further into the age of technology, our autos tell us more about their functions, and when they need help. Of course, any car is going to have a speedometer, odometer, and fuel gauge. Most cars also come with trip meters, and those nifty little readouts that show how much fuel you’re burning.

One of the first things you should do when you get a new car in the Chippewa Valley area is look through the manual to learn what’s on your dashboard, and what it all means.

Dashboard Warning Lights

Although every car’s lights are different, below are some of the most important warning lights you can expect to see on your vehicle, and what they mean.

Check Engine LightThe check-engine light usually indicates a fault related to emissions or other running concerns. Do not ignore this light, and do not take your cue from sitcoms and just tape over it. Get to a mechanic ASAP.

The low fuel light is pretty important. Fuel up immediately when this comes on.

The oil pressure light tells you that your car does not have enough motor oil in it to run safely. Stop at the nearest gas station and add oil, and then get an oil change as soon as possible, and ask your mechanic to check for leaks.

The seatbelt reminder is pretty self-explanatory. It is easily turned off by—you guessed it—putting your seatbelt on.

When the brake system alert light comes on, you should get your car into your mechanic as soon as possible, as driving with failing brakes is one of the most dangerous things you can do.

Temperature WarningThe temperature warning light comes on when your car is overheating. With our long Wisconsin winters, this shouldn’t be a major problem, unless something actually needs to be fixed in your car. A quick fix for this is to pull over and wait until the engine cools off. Putting some antifreeze in your radiator may help, but these are temporary fixes, and you should see your mechanic as soon as possible after this has happened.

The ABS light will come on if there is a problem with your ABS brake system. It may reduce the effectiveness of your brakes in rainy or icy weather. Have the system checked by a mechanic if this light comes on.

Be Prepared

With a new car purchase comes a new insurance policy. At Baldwin Woodville Insurance , we want to make sure you are as safe as possible. If you would like, your Western Wisconsin insurance agent will go through your new owner’s manual with you to figure out what all of the lights mean.

Five Expensive Distracted Driving Don’ts

Everybody has seen ads in the Chippewa Valley, as well as the Twin Cities metro area, discouraging texting while driving in recent years, but were you aware that there are many other distracted driving behaviors that can lead to disaster? And these are expensive mistakes, because they tend to lead to accidents, whether they involve just your car, or worse, another car.

  1. Grooming – brushing teeth, putting on makeup, or just looking in the mirror on the back of your visor to see if there’s anything in your teeth.
  2. Reading – reading a map, reading a book, reading directions on the back of an envelope, or reading that memo from work.
  3. Watching Videos – watching anything other than the road and traffic around you is going to cause problems, but trying to watch videos may be the worst.
  4. Eating – a study has shown that the worst culprits are soup, tacos, chili dogs, hamburgers, and coffee or soda.
  5. Adjusting the radio or CD player – some steering wheels have controls for this, but even those cause distraction.

Consequences of Distracted Driving

You may “just” get a ticket for weaving because you are distracted. The ticket won’t be cheap, and will include additional surcharges, which are used to fund a number of Wisconsin projects and programs. In addition to your ticket, the Wisconsin DMV will assign anywhere from 2 to 6 points for your violation. If you earn 12 points within a one year period, your Wisconsin driver’s license will be suspended, or even revoked.

Finally, if you actually do get into an accident, and it is judged to be your fault (which it will if you have been distracted by the following actions, texting, talking on the phone, or any other distractions), your insurance premiums are bound to increase. This means that not only do you have costs at the time of your violation or accident, but you will have continuing costs for years to come. This is in addition to the cost to your psyche if you have injured somebody, just to pry that cap off your soda, or select your favorite song on the CD you’re listening to.

As you are working with your Baldwin Woodville Insurance Services agent on drawing up your policy, be sure to discuss what the consequences of various types of tickets and other violations could be. Then, make sure everybody on your policy knows and understands them, and knows not to drive while distracted, in order to avoid the many serious consequences.

Auto Safety Tips

Maintenance

Auto safety begins with proper maintenance. Be sure to get regular oil changes at your Chippewa Valley dealer, or a full-service shop that will also check and top up all fluids. At the same time, have your tires rotated, and your spare tire checked for damage. Between maintenance checkups, if your check engine light happens to come on, don’t ignore it! Bring your car to your trusted mechanic.

While Driving

  • Follow the traffic laws. Wisconsin traffic laws can be found here. One important law to follow is to restrain all passengers. Children under 12 should be in the back seat, and child safety seats should be used as required. Pets should also be restrained while driving, whether in a carrier or a specialized pet seat belt.
  • Don’t drive when you are tired. If you start thinking it would be logical and safe to close your eyes for the count of 2, or 3, or anything, pull over, and rest before continuing. If you have taken medication that says “Don’t operate heavy machinery,” do not drive a vehicle.
  • Try not to drive in bad weather. If you absolutely must, leave in plenty of spare time, and drive as slow as you need to in order to feel safe. If a sudden burst of even WORSE weather comes up, pull over and wait it out, leaving your lights on so other drivers can see you.
  • Be careful when changing lanes. Look in the rearview mirror, side mirror, and blind spot, while signaling that you are going to change lanes. If a driver rudely speeds up to close your spot, allow them to pass before changing lanes. Never act on road rage—your own or someone else’s.
  • Obey the speed limit, unless the traffic around you is driving significantly faster. It can be safer to go 5 mph over the speed limit than to drive too slow.

In Case of Accident

If, despite all your best efforts, you get into an accident, think safety first. Be very careful where you meet the other driver. Keep your temper. Exchange insurance information and take as many pictures as you can. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately. Your next call (or first call if no injuries) needs to be to your Baldwin Woodville agent. Your agent will tell you exactly what to do, and help you through the entire process of dealing with the results of the accident, no matter who was at fault.

Prepare for Your Family’s Spring Break Road Trip

Taking a spring break road trip with your family is a great American tradition. Preparing properly for your trip is essential. You need to pack well, plan to have at least one other driver, and budget wisely for everything, including fuel, as gas prices vary greatly in different regions. Also, be sure to contact your Baldwin Woodville Insurance Services agent before you leave, to see if they have advice, or just to let them know where you will be in case anything happens. A lot of planning goes into a successful road trip.

Vehicle Preparation

Family on Road TripYou want to spend your money on having fun, as opposed to renting a vehicle, so if you’re going to drive the family SUV, station wagon (do they still make those?), or minivan, you definitely need to ensure the vehicle is in good condition before you take off on your trip.

Schedule a checkup where you regularly get car maintenance done, and tell your mechanic of your plans. They will know to change the oil, check and top off all fluids, test the battery, test the brakes, and inspect your tires. Then follow any suggestions they make to prepare your vehicle for a long drive.

In addition, stock your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes blankets, flashlights, jumper cables, and a good first-aid kit, among other items. It’s also a good idea to have maps of the roads you will be traveling. Yes, physical maps. You will use GPS mostly, but what if you are in an area with a weak signal and get lost?

If Something Does Happen

What if, after all your planning and preparation, you end up getting a ticket in Tallahassee, getting into an accident in Albuquerque, or have your car stolen in Sacramento? This is where your good relationship with your Baldwin Woodville Insurance Services agent will be key.

Because you have a professional, helpful agent at Baldwin Woodville, you shouldn’t have to worry. Your agent will let you know who you should contact in your current location, which details are covered by local and/or Wisconsin insurance laws, and if your insurance needs to be adjusted to cover another state’s liability limits.

Taking a family spring break road trip should create some of the best memories for your family for years to come. Preparing for the comfort, health, and safety of your family is the best way to enjoy your time, free of worries.

Home DIY Safety and Upkeep Tips

Owning a home can be rewarding, but it can also be expensive. If you have recently purchased a new home and stopped by Baldwin Woodville Insurance to get a Wisconsin home insurance plan, then you may think you have all your bases covered. You are partially correct. Now that you have your new home and a coordinating Wisconsin home insurance plan, it is important to take some steps to eliminate the risk of having to file a home insurance claim.

DIY Home Maintenance

Tree Felled on a House

There are a variety of DIY home maintenance steps you can take to making sure your home stays in tiptop shape. One such step is insulation. Particularly with harsh Wisconsin and Minnesota winters, it is important to protect your home and your belongings from the elements. Imagine waking up on a cold Monday morning only to find a flooded basement. Your pipes have frozen – no hot shower for you. In addition, frozen pipes generally also mean a mess from burst pipes.

This entire scenario can be eliminated with insulation. Properly insulating crawl spaces and areas around pipes can prove to be a tremendous help. You can also find pipe wrap to help ensure that -40 degree wind-chill doesn’t stand a chance against your pipes.

Another helpful home upkeep tip is keeping an eye on nearby trees. While they may add valuable shade for your home, trees that are dead, dying, or simply too close may pose serious threats to your house. Be sure to trim back tree branches that are constantly coming in contact with your roof, siding, or windows. If you do have a nearby dead tree, felling it or calling a company to do so could end up saving you from a tree in your living room someday.

Keep Your Foundation Strong

A commonly overlooked DIY home maintenance project is gutters and downspouts. The integrity of your home relies greatly on its foundation. Clogged gutters and improperly placed (or missing) downspouts can cause standing water around the foundation of your home, eventually wreaking havoc. Simply keep gutters clear of debris, and be sure there are no locations of standing water around your home’s foundation.

Vents & Exhaust

Burning House

Yet another commonly overlooked DIY home maintenance project is checking and cleaning dryer and exhaust vents on your home. While your Wisconsin home insurance is likely to cover fire damages should these vents become clogged and cause a fire, avoiding a potential house fire altogether is definitely a better option.

If you’re unsure of what’s in your Wisconsin home insurance policy or you’re looking for something better, get in touch with Baldwin Woodville Insurance today.

Choosing the Right Auto Insurance for You

Choosing the right auto insurance for your needs can be difficult, especially when you don’t understand the meaning of some of the insurance types. Working with any of the insurance agents at Baldwin Woodville Insurance Services is a great way to make sure you find the insurance that works best for your particular situation, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel confident going in. Understanding your insurance options is a great way to prepare for a meeting with your agent. There is no definitive answer as to what the right auto insurance is, but you can work with your agent to find what’s best for you.

Liability

Liability coverage is required for all drivers in Wisconsin. This insurance will pay for any damages to another driver that you cause in an accident. Because Wisconsin is not a “no-fault state,” the person at fault must be determined at every accident. You don’t want to wind up being the one at fault and having to pay your damages in addition to the damages to the other cars involved.

Liability insurance protects you from having to pay out of pocket for pricey repairs to other’s vehicles. Liability is as much for you as it is for the drivers surrounding you.

The state of Wisconsin requires all drivers to have a minimum liability coverage per accident for $25,000 for injury or death per person, $50,000 total for injury or death to multiple people in a single accident, and $10,000 for property damage.

Collision

We all make mistakes, and collision coverage is there for you when it happens. Collision coverages pays for damages to your car, even when you are the “at-fault” party. This does not include storm damage or other impact damage. For that, look to comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage takes care of most other damage that happens to your car. While another person’s liability will cover damages when they’re at fault, and collision will cover damages when you’re at fault, comprehensive covers damages that are out of your hands. This can include various incidents such as vandalism, theft, hitting an animal, and natural disasters. However, comprehensive typically does not cover freezing or breakdown damage.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Unfortunately, not everyone gets the best liability coverage. If a driver damages your car and they don’t have or don’t have enough of liability coverage, then you may not be able to get the payout you need to fix it.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re struck by an uninsured or underinsured vehicle. This coverage begins to work when your damages and costs go beyond the limits of the at fault driver’s liability coverage. Depending on your plan, it can also pay for medical expenses and lost wages.

In Wisconsin, you must have a car insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage requirements per accident of $25,000 for injuries per person and $50,000 for total injuries per accident.