Insurance Tips from Lake Central Insurance Services

Homeowners Insurance Tip #101
Turn off your main water valve when leaving your house unattended (even if overnight) and release the water pressure by opening a faucet for 10 seconds.

  • Make sure main water supply valve is accessible and family members know where it is.
  • A broken or leaking pipe can cause major damage to the interior of your home.
  • Turning off the water supply to the home can avoid the stress and cost of a water mitigation claim.
  • Mold and Mildew can germinate after 72 hours, so water mitigation is critical to the clean-up.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #102
Leaving on vacation? Even if you are gone for less than 48 hours, make your home appear occupied.

  • Set timers for lamps and exterior lighting
  • Stop mail, newspaper & other deliveries
  • Have someone check on house (heat, water, & power) and provide a neighbor with an emergency contact telephone number
  • Turn off water supply & release pressure by opening a faucet for 10 seconds


Homeowners Insurance Tip #103
Periodical minor routine maintenance can help avoid trouble!

  • Clean lint from under the dryer and vent line to avoid heat build-up which may lead to a fire.
  • Check washing machine water supply hoses for cracks which may lead to leaks.
  • Check water supply line for leaks to your ice maker in your refrigerator.
  • Inspect water supply valves for toilets & sinks for corrosion or leaks.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers to make sure they will function properly in case of an emergency.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #104
Identification (ID) theft is becoming the most common “white collar” crime in America. Protect your personal information at all times!

  • The recommended personal record retention is 7 years.
  • Destroy all personal records when recommended by shredding documents.
  • Never put personal information in your garbage or recycling
  • Never give out personal information via E-mail or telephone. Always confirm requests by asking for documentation in writing; even if the requestor says they are from a company you currently do business with.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #105
Conduct annual maintenance on your furnace & water heater.

  • An annual cleaning of furnace & ducts can prevent fire or carbon monoxide build-up.
  • Prevent water damage from faulty water heater.
  • It will prolong the life of the units and prevent premature failure.
  • It will save you money because it will run more efficient.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers to make sure they will function properly in case of an emergency.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #106
The majority of house fires occur in the kitchen!

  • Never leave an operating stove unattended.
  • Clean range hood screen/filter regularly to prevent grease build-up.
  • DO NOT use water to extinguish a grease fire. Use a proper fire extinguisher, baking soda, salt, flour or drape a damp towel over flames. Make sure to turn off heat source.
  • Be aware of towels, aprons, anything plastic & pot holders so they do not come in prolonged contact with the hot stove.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher within reach and check it annually to make sure it is pressurized properly.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #107
Your electrical panel (breaker box) must be kept clear for easy access & to prevent fires.

  • There should be 3 feet of clearance around your electrical panel for easy access & to prevent fires.
  • Make sure metal door remains shut, when not accessing the panel.
  • Periodically inspect the breakers for excessive heat, looseness, or any other visible damage. Have a qualified electrician make any repairs.
  • Know where the main breaker is for emergency purposes.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers to make sure they will function properly in case of an emergency.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #108
Make sure the rain gutters and down spouts function properly

  • Clean gutters in the spring & fall will avoid water not draining properly.
  • During winter & spring, if water does not drain from gutters, ice will build-up forming “ice dams” which can cause roof damage and leaking inside your home.
  • Make sure down spouts and directional spouts are intact and working properly to move water away from home for drainage.
  • Gutter screens can aid in keeping leaves, twigs and debris out of gutters.
  • Carefully remove snow from roof edge to avoid “ice dam” build-up during Spring thaw.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #109
Common sense can avoid fires. Always be cautious!

  • Avoid careless smoking and make sure they are completely extinguished before disposing.
  • Never leave candles un-attended and make sure matches used to light them are wetted before throwing into garbage.
  • Check cords for exposed wires & outlets for malfunctions. Never overload outlets by using multiple plug adaptors. Always use grounded cords when possible.
  • Never place fireplace ashes in a combustible container. Ashes can remain active for days. Store ashes away from home or introduce water into the container to confirm embers are extinguished.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers to make sure they will function properly in case of an emergency.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #110
Your homeowners insurance covers your personal property away from home.

  • Some insurance companies will allow coverage for up to 10% of your personal property limit to be covered away from home.
  • Claims are subject to your policy deductible.
  • Great coverage for a student away from home.
  • Also covers personal property while on vacation or in your automobile.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #111
Take your personal information seriously and protect it at all times!

  • Our agency takes your personal information seriously too. We professionally shred all of our documents to protect your identity.
  • We offer this service to our customers at NO CHARGE! Just bring in your personal documents to deposit in our locked containers knowing they will be professionally shredded.
  • Please ask to see our Privacy Policy if you have any questions as to how or why we gather personal information for your insurance purposes.


Homeowners Insurance Tip #112
Grease fires are the most common type of fire in your home. Here’s is some useful information about them.

  • Don’t panic!
  • Turn off heat source to the fire, if possible
  • Wet a kitchen towel and ring out excess water so towel is damp.
  • Drape damp towel over fire to extinguish flames and allow pan to cool.
  • NEVER use water to extinguish the fire!

Auto Insurance Tip #151
A cracked or chipped windshield can alter the structural integrity of the auto in the event of a roll over or front end collision.

  • The windshield plays a vital role in deflecting a deployed airbag & roof support system.
  • Any crack or chip that obscures your vision could be considered a moving violation by law enforcement officers, as well as being un-safe.
  • A small chip can easily spread from the slightest jarring. Please repair a chip to avoid higher replacement cost of windshield.
  • Most insurance companies offer “full glass coverage’ as part of the comprehensive coverage at a minimal cost. Please contact your agent for more information.


Auto Insurance Tip #152
Become familiar with your vehicle’s winter-weather operating characteristics and pay attention to weather reports.

  • Keep gas tank at least half full during winter weather to avoid fuel line freeze-up.
  • Keep windows clear, inside & out. Clean & check head & tail/brake lights too.
  • Leave ample stopping time between you & the car in front of you. Stomp & stay on the brakes for Antilock Brake System (ABS), DO NOT pump brakes! Steer where you want the vehicle to go.
  • Decreased tire pressure WILL NOT increase traction, it will only wear out the tires faster.
  • Bridges & ramps get slick & icy before roads do. Use caution in those areas.
  • Avoid parallel parking when icy. You have less traction when you turn your wheels.
  • When pulling into an intersection during winter driving, make sure oncoming cars are far enough away in case your wheels spin & you struggle to get through the intersection.


Auto Insurance Tip #153
Lock your car, even in bad weather.

  • Locking your car doors is the simplest and easiest way to secure your car from being stolen. It is especially important to lock your car whenever it is unattended, even in your driveway overnight.
  • Most late model autos have category one security systems, which will sound an alarm if the locks are opened with anything besides the key.
  • If locks freeze, heat the key. DO NOT pour hot water on the lock, it will just refreeze.


Auto Insurance Tip #154
Keep an all-season emergency kit in your vehicle.

  • Keep survival items in your vehicle like blankets, waterproof matches/candles, boots, hats, mittens, shovel, rope, dry food rations, flashlight (with spare batteries), first-aid kit, metal coffee can (for storing items and melting snow for water), sand or non-clumping cat litter for traction, cell phone and car charger, pencil, pencil sharpener, small paper tablet (in case of accident see tip 156), bright colored cloth for signaling help, and jumper cables.
  • Stay in or near your vehicle if stranded. Most fatalities occur when victims try to walk for help.
  • If your body gets cold, do some simple movements to warm up until help arrives.
  • Don’t panic, remain calm and help will arrive shortly.


Auto Insurance Tip #155
Personal property in your car may not be covered in the event of a loss.

  • Most auto insurance companies will not cover losses of personal property while the property is in your car. This would be a separate homeowners or renters claim for these items, subject to deductible.
  • Keep items like CD’s, electronics, and other personal property items to a minimum in your vehicle.
  • If you must have these items, store them in the trunk while you’re away from your vehicle.
  • Some auto insurance companies will endorse GPS and other electronic items to your policy, at an additional charge. Please contact your insurance agent for details.


Auto Insurance Tip #156
Steps to take in the event of an auto accident.

  • Stop your vehicle immediately, but do not obstruct traffic if at all possible.
  • Turn ignition off to guard against fire.
  • Call 911 and assist anyone injured.
  • Write down license numbers, makes, models and license plate numbers of other cars involved.
  • Write down names and addresses of other drivers, witnesses, injured persons.
  • Make rough drawing of scene showing position of cars and other details. Note date and time of accident and road numbers/names.
  • DO NOT hastily accept claim settlement at scene of accident. Notify your insurance company/agent as soon as possible.
  • File a written report with local or state police if required by regional law. Present copy to insurance company representative if requested.


Auto Insurance Tip #157
Carry a well stocked first-aid kit.

  • First-aid kits are useful in many auto situations, especially in the event of an accident.
  • Keep basic medical supplies in the kit like band-aids, cotton gause, first-aid cream, medical tape, necessary medications, compresses, ice packs, and latex gloves.
  • Offer your first-aid kit to first responders of an accident, even if you cannot render medical assistance.
  • Tell emergency personnel what aid you have already given.


Auto Insurance Tip #158
Maintain adequate tires.

  • Keep tires at the required pressure to extend the life of the tire and to maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Maintain sufficient tread for maximum traction, especially in wet or winter driving conditions.
  • Rotate your tires according to the manufacturer recommendations to extend the life of the tires.
  • Spin balance your tires when they are rotated. This helps in fuel efficiency as well as handling of the car at increased speeds.
  • Tire and front-end alignment helps maintain control of your car, increases fuel efficiency and avoids uneven tire ware.
  • Always use hazard lights when changing tires or inspecting your car while on the side of the road. This will alert oncoming traffic of your presence.


Auto Insurance Tip #159
Stay current on your driving skills with a Defensive Driver Safety Course.

  • Did you know that most insurance companies offer an auto discount for mature drivers that have completed a certified defensive driver safety course? (formerly known as 55 Alive)
  • Depending on the insurance company, this discount can be applied at age 50 or 55 and the discount can be up to 10%.
  • Annandale/Maple Lake Community Education (320-274-3058 or 320-962-5591) offer classes as well as online through AARP. You can go to for more information.
  • There are two types of classes; the 8-hour initial class or the 4-hour ‘refresher’ class taken every three years. Upon completion of the class, send our office a copy of the completed course certificate. We will check to see if we can apply the discount based on your attained age and start saving you money.


Auto Insurance Tip #160
Add coverage to your current policy to provide you money towards renting a temporary auto while yours is being repaired.

  • Your property damage liability limit will cover your rental car, up to the policy limit, in the event of a claim while driving a rented auto. Make sure you know this limit and have sufficient coverage. Call us to find out what your policy limit is.
  • Your current auto insurance does not cover you if driving your car in Mexico. You must purchase insurance specifically designated for driving in Mexico. This does not apply while driving in Canada; your current personal auto policy covers driving in Canada.
  • Any insurance you purchase from a rental car company usually acts as secondary insurance, with your personal auto insurance being the primary. THis means the secondary insurance may not even pay for a claim unless your personal policy limits are reached. Make sure to read the ‘fine print’ before agreeing to this type of coverage.

Auto Insurance Tip #161
Your personal auto insurance policy may contain pet medical coverage. Contact us for details about your specific policy.

  • Depending on the insurance company, you may receive reimbursement for an auto accident resulting in an injured or killed cat or dog. This would cover medical expenses to a set limit or final expenses if the animal is killed (depending on the insurance provider).
  • There is usually no deductible for this type of claim settlement, but each insurance company handles it differently. Contact us for details about your specific policy.


Auto Insurance Tip #162
Avoid driving while tired.

  • Driver fatigue is a serious problem resulting in many accidents each year. Research shows up to 20% of these types of accidents occur on monotonous roadways, such as freeway systems.
  • Sleepiness reduces reaction time (a critical element of safe driving). Alertness, concentration and decision-making is impaired.
  • Young male drivers, truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers are most at risk. However, any driver travelling long distances or when tired risk a sleep related accident.
  • Avoid starting a long journey after working a full day.
  • Stop and rest when necessary, even if an overnight stop is necessary.
  • Avoid driving in the small hours (2-6am and 2-4pm)
  • Avoid driving after eating a large meal or drinking alcohol.


Auto Insurance Tip #163
Avoid texting while driving.

  • In 2008, Minnesota signed into law a citable offense for driving while texting or emailing.
  • If you’re caught composing or sending a text message while behind the wheel of a moving car you can be pulled over and ticketed. Even if you are reading incoming messages.
  • When you are texting, your hands, eyes and mind are on the text message and not on the roadway.
  • Texting while stopped at a red light is also a violation. The car is considered to be in motion, though you are temporarily stopped.
  • Concentrate on driving, texts and emails can wait!


Auto Insurance Tip #164
Windshield obstructions are a citable offense.

  • A snow or frost covered windshield is a driving hazard. Take the time to clear snow or frost from your windshield, side and rear windows. It is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous.
  • Minnesota law prohibits mounting anything to your windshield that is an obstruction, including GPS units. Make sure you understand this law. There are alternatives to mounting these types of units, such as dash top mounts or clamps on air vents.
  • Hanging items from the rear-view mirror also violates the obstruction law.
  • Tinted windows must meet certain opaque levels to be legal. Make sure you understand this law before tinting your side or rear windows. The window must allow a person outside of the vehicle to see the person inside.


Auto Insurance Tip #165
In 2008, Minnesota placed restrictions on teen drivers. Familiarize yourself with these restrictions and make sure your teen knows them too.

  • Teen drivers will be limited to one teenaged passenger during the first 6-months behind the wheel, unless parents are with them. (This does not include siblings)
  • The new law places a curfew on those same provisional drivers, making it illegal for them to drive between midnight and 5am, unless it’s related to a job or school activity.
  • Teen and new driver accident statistics show that over 70% of these type of accidents are related to a teenaged distracted driver, such as texting, cell phone use, speeding, adjusting the radio, or involved with conversations with passengers.
  • Traffic fatalities remain the top cause of death for young people in Minnesota. Parents are asked to be strict and revoke driving privileges for those teens who are not responsible.


Auto Insurance Tip #166
Have your headlights on for safety.

  • Turn your headlights on during low light hours (dawn and dusk). They may not help you see the road, but they help other drivers see you.
  • Daytime running lights are a proven safety tool when driving. even in bright conditions, oncoming vehicles can spot you easier when your headlights are on.
  • Minnesota law requires your headlights must be on in wet conditions. The easy rule to remember is ‘if you turn on your windshield wipers, turn on your headlights too’.
  • When using daytime running lights, remember to turn your headlights off when turning off the vehicle. This avoids draining the battery and a possible need for assistance.
  • It is a good practice to dim your bright headlights at a distance of 1/4 mile to oncoming traffic. When following behind a vehicle, the distance should be 1,000 feet.
  • Adjust your headlights to avoid road glare or blinding oncoming traffic. Most cars today require a mechanic to adjust your headlights, so contact a qualified auto mechanic for more details.
  • DO NOT out-drive your headlights. High speeds and night time driving are a dealdy mix. Slow down and see what lies ahead of you.

Notice: The insurance product you have purchased is not a deposit or other obligation of, or guaranteed by Lake Central Bank or its affiliates. The insurance product is not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other agency of the United States, Lake Central Bank, or Lake Central Insurance Services, LLC. In the case of an insurance product or annuity that involves an investment risk, there is an investment risk associated with the product, including the possible loss of value.