Showing posts from 2017

Is my ski equipment insured?

Did you know Michigan is home to the Midwest’s highest vertical drop? If you’re an avid skier, you may well know this and many other facts about Michigan’s rural and quasi-suburban skiing opportunities, both downhill and cross-country. In fact, Michigan is second-highest in the nation for the number of ski areas in a state.
With that in mind, you may be tempted to head right out to a park or the slopes, but don’t rush off without looking at your homeowners or renter’s insurance policy first. You want to make sure that your equipment has the proper coverage.

Many homeowner’s policies offer basic coverage for theft, fire and a limited number of other causes of damage to personal property, but high-value sports equipment might require a special addition to your homeowners or renter’s policy, such as an endorsement or a personal property floater. Your Trusted Choice®Independent Insurance Agent can help you determine if your policy needs to be enhanced to gain full coverage for your skis, b…

Why Should I Have Snowmobile Insurance?

Did you know that in 2016 there were 321,669 registered snowmobiles? Did you also know there are 6,200 miles of designated trails in Michigan? That’s a lot of snowmobiles and a lot of land to enjoy a snowy ride and have fun in white powdery snow. With that much land, and that many snowmobiles, that’s also a lot of chance for accidents, injuries and snowmobiles breaking down. Many of the misfortunes that could occur while snowmobiling can be more manageable with snowmobile insurance. If you’re wondering why you should have snowmobile insurance, here are a few good reasons:
With the right coverage you could get reimbursement to replace your sled if it is lost or stolen. Coming up with the money to replace your sled or cover a loan may not be easy. Comprehensive coverage takes the worry out of a fun sport!

If you have collision coverage, which is optional in some cases, you may be able to file a claim for damages to your snowmobile, whether it is caused by another person, collision with…

Sledding Safety

The weather might be 20 degrees with wind that makes it feel like 5 degrees but that won't keep the kids indoors. They are sure to dress up from head to toe in all their winter gear and find the nearest snow covered hill to go sledding. Before the fun begins it's important to warn them about sledding safety. Here are a few good reminders about sledding:

Winter Gear
When putting on snow pants, hat, gloves and a scarf cover as much skin as you can to try and avoid frostbite or hypothermia. Warn your kids of the signs of frostbite so they know when cold is too cold.

Look around before going down.
Check for fences, trees, other structures and traffic. What is at the bottom of the hill and what will you pass on your way down? Avoid sledding down hills with trees, bushes or hills that lead to a road. Don't sled on hills packed with ice, especially at the bottom because the landing will be much harder.

Sled together.
Adults and older kids should sled with younger kids. Younger kids …

Fireplace Safety

When it’s chilly outside, sitting by the warm fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa is a cozy way to relax in the Winter months. Before you sit down to sip your cocoa and enjoy the warmth of the fire, remember these fireplace safety tips:

Did you inspect & clean the chimney? We recommend hiring a certified chimney sweep at least once a year to inspect and clean your chimney before using it again for the first time.
Check the damper. Make sure the damper is open before starting the fire. You can check the damper by looking in the chimney; a mirror usually helps. Leave the damper open until the fire is done burning.
Ashes. Did you know the thicker the ashes in the fireplace, the more smoke is produced? Thick ashes will lessen air flow to the logs. Clean out cooled ashes before placing logs inside the fireplace.
Home Insurance. If you have a fireplace, or install a new fireplace, let your insurance agent know to update your policy, so that if there is damage or loss to your fireplace, you a…

5 Benefits Of Working With A Local Agent

5 Benefits of Working with A Local Agent
Going online to request a homeowner’s insurance quote, messaging your agent to add a new vehicle to your auto insurance, or calling to ask when your insurance renews, are all requests you could make to an insurance company and hopefully it’s as convenient as possible. Here are a few more of the convenient benefits of working with a local agent such as Michigan Insurance Group:

Multiple Carriers One of the great things about working with a local agent is that your auto, home/condo or renter’s insurance, motorcycle, snowmobile insurance, umbrella and business insurance are all in one place. This means you can contact the same person for questions on any of these policies.
Multiple carriers also mean more options for you. If one carrier isn’t the right fit, we have several others that could meet your insurance needs.
We do the work for you. Everyone loves shopping when it’s for something shiny or brand new. Shopping for insurance might not top your list…

Why install a fire-suppression system?

With the thought that the majority will be cooking a #Thanksgiving feast tomorrow we want to share information about containing cooking fires with a fire suppression system; a blog from the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents.
With today’s busy schedules, two working parents and more elderly people living at home instead of choosing assisted living housing, stove top fires continue as a primary source of house fires. Fires that start small in the kitchen can rapidly spread, especially when caused by unattended cooking. Such fires can occur even when cooking is left unwatched for small periods of time: while getting the mail, going to the bathroom, briefly conversing with a neighbor across the fence. In just minutes, fire can spread from a pan to cabinetry, causing disabling smoke and fumes.

If you forget something on the stove and leave to take a nap or a shower or run an errand, you could put lives in danger. This is a hazard for overly tired people, highly stressed people and …

Thanksgiving Safety

The festivities that come with the holidays are an exciting time. We’d rather you spend your time with family then dealing with an insurance claim. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe at this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
Cooking Safety
Don’t walk away from the stove. All though guests will be arriving, and conversations will be in full swing, don’t walk away from the stove. Most cooking fires occur because of unattended cooking.
Oven fire? Close the oven. If a fire sparks in your oven, close the oven door to contain the fire and turn it off while you call the Fire Department.

Traveling Safety
Secure items in your car. Whether transporting food, drinks, games, pets or luggage make sure all items are secured so that if you must stop quickly they won’t become a flying hazard inside your car.

Check the weather and the time. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely. Michigan weather can be unpredictable, but this shouldn’t stop you from bein…

What Information Do I Need to Get Renter’s Insurance?

If you rent an apartment, condo or house your landlord or condo association will have insurance. Many times, tenants will assume they are also insured if they experience a loss. We’re here to tell you this is not the case. In fact, it is the complete opposite. The insurance that the landlord or association has insures them, their property and liability. It does not insure you or any of your possessions. That’s where Renter’s insurance comes in handy.

For approximately $35-$50 a month renter’s insurance could help replace your belongings if they are lost or stolen, cover costs of damages and more. Check out our blog to find more real reasons to have renter’sinsurance.
Renter’s insurance doesn’t just cover your belongings. It also comes with Liability coverage, which protects you in case you or a family member are sued for causing property damage or injury to someone else.
If you’re interested in getting renter’s insurance, but you’re not sure where to begin, here is a list of informa…

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need for My Vacation Home?

If you have a seasonal or vacation property or a second home you use for guests or getaways, you may be pleased to discover there are multiple options for insuring that property and any liability that goes with it.
There are off-the-shelf policies that meet most second-home owners’ basic needs, and there are customizable policies that can be tailored to specific circumstances, such as high-value homes and properties you intend to rent out to others. There are even policies for homes you don’t plan to use at all but want to keep, such as inherited family properties.
In some cases, your vacation house can piggyback on your homeowners insurance policy; in other cases, you will have to purchase separate coverage. Though you might not be required to carry any kind of insurance coverage other than property — the kind of insurance that pays to repair or rebuild a structure that is damaged by fire, storm, burst pipes, falling trees and other perils — you will probably also want liability ins…

Is My Home Business Covered On My Home Insurance?

Though a home business operates out of a house that has insurance, it isn’t covered under a homeowners insurance policy. Not only do you have work property that could be damaged, destroyed or stolen, but you also have data and business income whose value wouldn’t be covered under standard home insurance. Additionally, you might have inventory or the property of others stored at your house. If it is lost or destroyed, you will need coverage from a small-business policy.

The good news is small companies and sole proprietorships are booming in the United States, and insurers have responded with multiple types of insurance policies for in-home businesses. Some are written for the most basic protections — property loss and liability claims — while others are highly specific about the type of business you run, such as catering, cosmetic sales, tailoring or music lessons. Notice that some at-home businesses involve children and other clients entering the home. Very expensive, very serious c…

Why Should I Create A Photo Inventory of My Home?

Major home losses occur every day in Michigan. From large-scale flooding to tornadoes to single-house fires, unforeseen events can destroy, scatter or render the contents of your home completely unrecognizable. That’s why it is important to create a home inventory that can be stored on the cloud. Pictures, receipts and written descriptions or appraisals can help you get the greatest appropriate value for personal property that is damaged, stolen or destroyed in a covered event.

Renters, mobile home owners, condo owners and homeowners all should have a digital record of at least their valuable belongings, though it’s easy enough to create one of everything you own. With a digital record, you can add to it as you amass more items or delete from it as you discard things. Not only can you record the appearance of your belongings, but you can also record their price, model number (if applicable), and location in your home. To get a glimpse of how important inventorying is, walk out of your …

How Can I Save Money on My Insurance?

One of the things Michigan Insurance Group loves doing is helping clients save money. To give you an idea of how we help you cut down insurance costs for clients we compiled a list of 15 ways to save money on your insurance:
1. Bundle your home and auto insurance When your home and auto insurance are with one carrier it’s more than just convenient, it saves you money.
2. Sign up for paperless billing. Receiving bills via email could save you time and a few dollars a month.  
3. Opt in for EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) Some of our carriers offer a 7-14% discount if you sign up for automatic payments from your account.
4. Pay in Full Not everyone’s budget can allow for this, but if you save money through the year and can make it happen, you can cut your insurance cost almost in half. Plus, wouldn’t it be great to not have to worry about paying insurance every month?
5. Own your home Homeownership has many perks. One advantage of owning a home is that you get a discount on your auto ins…

What Maintenance Should I Do This Fall?

Cooler nights are upon us already. Take advantage of the days between Summer adventures and raking leaves to perform a bit of routine maintenance. These tasks can give you peace of mind as winter weather hits.

1. Tune up your furnace Replace the furnace filter, check your thermal coupler and vacuum out the dust. If there is a humidifier attached to it perform maintenance on that as well.
2. Batteries Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, CO2 detectors and better check the fire extinguisher too.
3. Water Store hoses, turn off outdoor water supplies and direct drainage away from the house.
4. Chimney Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and swept. Make sure the damper is working.
5. Roof Inspect your roof for any damages and repair them as needed.
6. Gutters While you are working on roof repairs check the gutters and clean out leaves and sticks while you’re up there.
7. Windows If you put plastic up to cover your windows to save on heating cost now would be a good time to get…

10 Perks of Renter's Insurance

When we compiled a list of renter’s insurance perks we realized they all benefit the insured, so we just had to share them with you.
1. Fire/Smoke Damage – If you live in an apartment and there is a fire in another apartment; your contents are covered whether they are damaged by fire or smoke.
2. Theft Protection – Renter’s insurance can cover your stuff up to the limits listed in your policy if they are stolen. Renter’s insurance can also cover your personal belongings while you are away, traveling for work or fun.
3. Coverage for damage you cause – If you tip over your friend’s TV, crash their bicycle or cause damage to the property of others you could be covered.

4. Protection from liability claims – This helps protect you if you get sued for causing major damage or accused of defamation of character because of leaving a bad review online.
5. Affordable coverageRenter’sinsurance costs about the same as eating out once a month or about as much as one latte a week.
6. Coverage …

Am I Insured for Ride-Sharing?

As your local agency it is our job to stay informed on new trends that can affect your insurance coverage. Ride-sharing is one of these trends. Ride-share companies, such as Uber, Lyft, and Meijers Shipt, are becoming more common. In fact, several clients have shown interest in ride-sharing activities. Luckily, our carriers saw the trend approaching and now the ride-sharing endorsement is available through Michigan Insurance Group for your auto insurance.
There are several features of the ride-sharing endorsement that are beneficial, most importantly that there is coverage available while you are taking part in ride-sharing activities. 

A few key pieces of the ride-sharing endorsement that are important to know to avoid gaps in coverage are:
1. When you wait for a passenger match, the ride-sharing endorsement, when purchased and where applicable, provides you with comp, collision, uninsured/under insured, roadside & medical coverage.
2. Ride-sharing companies provide certain cove…

Do I have the right insurance for my house?

Do you have the right type of house insurance? Do you live in your home? Do you rent it to others? Is it unoccupied? Depending on how you answer these questions will determine what type of house insurance policy you should have. Here are the major differences between having a homeowners insurance policy vs. a dwelling fire policy:
Homeowners Policy: Owner occupiedProvides coverage for structure: the house itself, other structures: detached garageProvides liability protection: someone sues the homeownerAdditional living expense: for example, hotel costs if house is damaged by a covered loss*Personal Property: coverage for your stuff

Dwelling Fire Policy: Occupied by someone other than the home ownerProvides coverage for structure: the house itself, other structures: detached garageProvides liability protection: only for the homeowner, not for the tenantLoss of rents: pays homeowners loss of rent from tenant if home is damaged by a covered loss*Landlord Furnishings: appliances or furnitu…

Do I have Roadside Assistance?

If you’re on the side of the road, that’s a great question! If you’re not on the side of the road, shew! It’s still an important question to know the answer to, so you will be well prepared if perhaps you breakdown and need roadside assistance.

Before you ask the question, there’s a few things to know:
First it’s important to know that every auto insurance policy is unique. When a policy is written properly it’s tailored to you, your vehicle and your assets. This means not all insurance policies include roadside assistance, more specifically policies that are liability only. If liability only is the best coverage for you than it is very possible that  your policy does not include Roadside Assistance coverage. However, what if you need this coverage? This brings us to the second thing to know:
Just because you have liability only doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage for towing. It’s important to know that Roadside Assistance coverage is available to you and affordable. Michigan Insurance G…

3 Common Insurance Misconceptions

Agents are continuously learning about the insurance industry so that you don't have to. Our team takes pride in educating themselves on, not just the insurance industry, but our client's lifestyle as well. One of the reasons they do this is because insurance misconceptions could lead to a gap in coverage which means you might not be insured when you think you are. Your agents job is to make sure there are no gaps.

Here are 3 common insurance misconceptions your agents are looking out for:

If you have any concerns about the common insurance misconceptions or team is more than happy to help. Visit us at or give us a call. 616.755.3000 | 231.755.3000
Written by Karlee Miller
Creative Administrator

Back-To-School Insurance Checklist

The back to school shopping and hustle to check off your student’s check list is in full swing. If you’re helping your college student prepare for the upcoming year with dorm décor, bathroom essentials, and college books, add these items to the list:

Renter’s and/or Homeowner’s Insurance Check with your local agent to see if your homeowner’s insurance coverage will cover your student while away at college. If your student lives on campus in designated student housing your homeowner’sinsurance could provide coverage for their stuff. State Auto recently shared an infographic with quick facts about college students belongings. Check it out.
Is your student living off campus? If they are renting an apartment or house, renter’s insurance can offer coverage for the expensive things you just purchased for their education. Coverage could include replacement of their belongings as well. Renter’s Insurance costs can be as low as going out to eat once a month.

Auto Insurance When your student go…

Should I buy the “loss damage waiver” (insurance) for my rental car?

This is a question that most insurance offices get on a regular basis and unfortunately you will find many different answers so I thought it would be helpful to break down some of the reasons that this is a complicated question and how to help you answer, “Should I buy the insurance?”
First, I want to clarify that you are not actually buying insurance for the rental vehicle. In actuality you are paying the rental company to waive their rights to come against you for any losses they sustain due to damages to their vehicle. It is often called insurance, even by the rental car companies, but if you read the fine print you will find that it is in fact a waiver. Think about it, in order to sell insurance in the state of Michigan, you need to be licensed, they are assuredly not licensing all the counter people at the rental car companies.

In Michigan rental vehicles are typically included in the definition of non-owned auto and therefore are usually covered under both Liability Coverage and P…