Schwarz Insurance Blog

April 30, 2015 @ 12:00am

Let’s face it: being a first-time homebuyer can be a truly stressful experience. Even once you’ve found the home of your dreams – maybe a lakefront condominium in Madison, or a quiet cabin up North – and are ready to close on it, there are still a few hoops to jump through.

The biggest of these may be insuring your new home. We know, we know: the word insurance alone might make you shiver. But stay alert, because this is an important part of the homebuying process: virtually all mortgage lenders (including those in Wisconsin) require insurance coverage to protect their investment. That’s because if, say, a tree falls on your house and causes a great deal of damage, they’re the ones who will suffer the monetary loss.

And besides protecting your lender, you’ll of course be protecting yourself! A homeowner’s policy provides a great deal of benefits, covering costs to things like damage to the interior or exterior of your house; loss or damage to your personal belongings; personal liability for damage or injuries caused by you or your family (for example, if your pet injures a neighbor); and hotel or house rental should your home need to be repaired.

But what if you’re buying a condo? Insurance will work a little differently for you. Since you don’t own the entire building, you and the other unit owners share responsibility for the common complex areas (hallways, the pool, et

March 17, 2015 @ 12:00am

Boating SafetyWith warmer temperatures just around the corner, Wisconsinites are dreaming about getting their boats back out onto the lakes, but what they might not know is that not being prepared could cost them big time this summer. In 2013, the Coast Guard counted more than 4,000 boating accidents around the nation that involved 560 deaths, 2,620 injuries, and caused approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property. At Schwarz Insurance, we want to help keep you, your family and your boat safe this summer – that’s why we recommend that you take one of many boating safety classes being offered around Wisconsin right now.  

The facts surrounding boating deaths make a clear case for the importance of safety classes:

  • 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket.
  • 80% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Only 13% of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction from a course that met the U.S. Coast Guard-recognized national standards.

Furthermore, anyone born on or after January 1st, 1989 is legally required to pass a boating safety class before they can drive a boat. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities this summer for you to get your son or daughter ready for the water (or even to brush up on your own skills!):

3/28/15 at S

February 04, 2015 @ 12:00am

Stop! In the name of love, have you insured that engagement ring?  What are you waiting for?  You may have spent a lifetime saving your pennies, just waiting for that perfect moment to ask that special someone to marry you.  The easiest way to protect your new investment is to get it insured.

How do I protect my engagement ring?

You have probably already taken the first step in protecting your investment by having a homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy.  These policies usually cover your ‘stuff’ including your jewelry or items of greater value; the catch is this policy only covers jewelry if lost or stolen and there is a maximum amount that the insurance company will pay out.  That maximum may be far less than what your ring is worth.  When you buy something more expensive, such as an engagement ring, it is a good idea to give your insurance agent a call.  They will be able to schedule your ring or other special investment.  By scheduling your valuable items, you insure that you will be reimbursed for their appraised value and quality. In the event you lose a stone that is also covered.  A jeweler of your choosing would work with the appraisal to determine stone quality and replace your old stone with a stone of similar quality.  An additional bonus to scheduling these items is that no deductible applies if something were to happen.

How much does it cost?

You j

November 24, 2014 @ 12:00am

Here’s some bad news: according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, November is the peak month for deer-vehicle collisions. Even scarier is the startling statistic that one in every 100 drivers will hit a deer at some point in his or her life. In 2013 there were almost 120,000 deer collisions, 75% of which caused damage to a vehicle and about 25% of which injured the driver or passengers.

Don’t worry though – there’s good news, too. The first is that practicing safe driving techniques, such as driving at an appropriate speed, paying attention to road signs, being observant of your surroundings and being extra careful at night can greatly reduce the odds of a deer collision. The second is that there are two types of insurance that could cover the cost of your vehicle’s damage should you be unlucky enough to encounter a deer on the road.

However, as frightening and unpleasant as it seems, the safest option in the event of a deer in the road may actually be to just hit it. This is because swerving to avoid the animal often leads to loss of vehicle control, which could result in serious injuries. Should you collide with the deer, any damage to your car would fall under the comprehensive coverage, which applies to repairs made necessary by contact with a bird or an animal.

If you should hit something else avoiding the deer you would activate collision coverage. Collision coverage applies when your car hits another

November 07, 2014 @ 12:00am

As you age, your needs change. You probably aren’t still driving the first car you ever owned, and we certainly hope you aren’t still eating like you did in your twenties. So why would you keep the same home insurance policies you had when you rented or first bought your home? Today you probably own a larger home and have far more furnishings and items of value than you had even a few years ago. It may be time to reevaluate your homeowners insurance policy to see if you’re getting the best coverage for your current situation. You could be inadequately protected or have policies that don’t reflect your needs.

“What’s new and improved in your home?”

If you’ve acquired valuable jewelry, remodeled, bought new furniture or made other improvements to your home, you might need more coverage. To determine which items of jewelry could be insured, get the value of each piece appraised by a jewelry appraiser. Any remodeling or improvements, such as a major kitchen remodel or a sunroom addition, are investments that have made your home more valuable. It’s a good idea to discuss home changes with your insurance agent so you can arrange to have the appropriate coverage to protect your home and its belongings.

“Replacement value or actual cost value?”

There are two options when insuring your valuable belongings: replacement value reimbursement or actual cash value reimbursement. Although

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