News

ATTENTION: Rheem Water Heater Recall

Rheem has recalled a series of electric water heaters due to potential fire and burn hazards.

The Performance Platinum brand water heaters were sold exclusively at Home Depot between January 2014 and April 2016. Rheem has received 296 reports of control panels on these models overheating. Anyone who purchased one of these water heaters should immediately turn off and stop using the appliance and call Rheem at 866-369-4786.

The recall affects about 54,000 water heaters in 40-, 50-, and 80-gallon capacities. The units are gray, and policyholders should look for the “Performance Platinum” logo. Specific model and serial numbers, as well as other details, can be found on Rheem’s website. Though these are typically intended for use in the home, they also could be used in commercial and farm properties.
 

Winter Driving Tips

With winter weather upon us, it’s important to remember to drive according to weather conditions. Many crashes at this time of year are caused by distracted drivers who are going too fast or traveling too close to other vehicles. Here are some important Winter Driving Tips from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management
 
► Be Able to See and Be Seen
Clean frost and snow off all windows, mirrors, lights and reflectors. Equip your car with good wiper blades and keep an ample supply of windshield washer fluid. If visibility is poor, use headlamps.
► Get a Feel for the Road
When you first start out, accelerate carefully to test wheel-spin and brake gently to test skidding.
► Be Gentle
Use the accelerator and brakes slowly to maintain control of your vehicle. Fast acceleration can make wheels spin on ice and snow. Brake with a gentle pumping action. Stepping too hard on the pedal will lock the brakes and cause loss of steering control.
► Increase Your Following Distance
Ice or snow can multiply your stopping distance up to ten times.
► Make Turns Slowly and Gradually
Heavily traveled intersections can become “polished” and slick. Brake before you come to a curve, not while you are in it.
► Turn in the Direction of the Skid
If the rear of your car begins to slide, turn into the direction of the skid. Expect a second skid as the car straightens out, and be prepared to counter this sliding action.
► Scattered Slippery Spots
Icy spots on the road surface can cause loss of steering control. Do not use your brake. Take your foot off the gas and steer as straight as possible until your car slows to a safe speed.
► Avoiding a Collision
In an emergency situation, you can intentionally steer your car off the road and into a snow bank. You may get stuck, but you’ll avoid a crash.
 
 

Tips to Winterize Your Car

Midwest winters are known to bring sub-zero temperatures and harsh driving conditions. Each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.1

Is your car prepared for the upcoming winter months? Check out our quick tips below to make sure you’re ready to go before the first snowfall.

Pack an Emergency Kit – include items in case of an accident or if you get stranded

Include: flares, jumper cables, ice scraper, sand and shovel, first-aid kit, flashlight and batteries, non-perishable food items, warm clothing, blanket and boots

Service your vehicle regularly – if you are unsure with any of these items, reach out to your local auto shop.

  • Change your oil – switch to a thinner, less viscous oil, which keeps the circulation throughout your engine running smoothly
  • Install winter wipers and keep wiper fluid full – whether it’s sleet, snow or slush, wipers and fluid will keep your windshield clear so you can see the road
  • Check your battery – cold weather can be tougher on your battery
  • Check anti-freeze mixture – you’ll want a 50:50 anti-freeze to water ratio, which prevents coolant from freezing
  • Check tire pressure often – when the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires, worsening traction on the road
  • Consider snow tires – the tread on non-snow tires could harden in colder weather, reducing your tires’ ability to grip the road
  • Fill up – always have your gas tank at least half full to prevent a gas line freeze-up

These tips should help keep your car in tip-top shape this winter. Contact Reliable to make sure your car insurance is in tip-top shape as well! Courtesy of Integrity Insurance.

Source: 1 Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
 
 

2016 Fun In The Sun Facebook Contest

In August, we held a fun Facebook Contest. Our Facebook followers could enter to win one of three FUN IN THE SUN COOLERS! These were 38-quart hard-sided coolers filled with awesome prizes! It was easy -- all you had to do was: 1. Like our Facebook page; 2. Post a photo of you having fun in the sun from this summer; 3. Share the post. Winners were randomly drawn August 26.

Congratulations to our winners: Allysha Sample, Julie Neumaier Schultz, and Lori Cawcutt!

We'd like to thank everyone who participated in the fun! We enjoyed seeing all the great photos. Make sure to follow us on Facebook for more fun contests and ways to win! Reliable's Facebook Page
 
 

Reliable's Four Insurance Tips for Your College-bound Student

You’re about to send your college student off on a new adventure. But did you think about insurance coverage for your young adult? College is a major life event that can trigger the need to review your insurance. It’s good to start off on the right foot and understand what’s covered and what isn’t.

Here are a few considerations we’d like to share with Mom and Dad that maybe weren’t on the list of “things to take to college.”

  1. Update your auto policy.
    Will your son or daughter be taking a car to college or leaving it at home? Make sure to let your agent know if any car covered by your policy will be kept in a new location to ensure full coverage in the event of an accident or theft. The location where the vehicle is stored can affect your rates. Don’t forget to check to see if good student discounts, or similar discounts, are available. These can help lower premiums or monthly rates.
  2. Prepare your son or daughter for life’s unexpected events.
    Some students may not know what to do if their belongings are stolen. First and foremost, your son or daughter should immediately call law enforcement and file a police report. Many insurance carriers will not cover claims for theft unless a police report is filed. From there, contact your independent agent for assistance in filing a claim.
  3. Consider a renters’ policy, especially for off-campus dwellers.
    A renters’ policy will cover your son or daughter’s belongings in case of theft, damage, fire, liability and some water damage, making it a good choice for students living off campus.
    You should speak to your independent agent about a replacement cost endorsement. Most renters’ policies cover your belongings at actual cash value. For example, if your son or daughter’s 10-year-old TV is stolen, the renters’ policy will give you the equivalent of what the TV is worth today, which is likely not much. With a replacement cost endorsement, your TV will be replaced with a current item of relatively similar value, within reason.
  4. It’s never too early for life insurance.
    Consider purchasing a term life policy for your son or daughter if they plan to use any type of loan to help with tuition. In the event that something should happen to them before the loan is paid off, proceeds from a life insurance policy can be used to pay the balance of the loan. Premiums are based on several factors; one is overall health. Your child is likely young and if they’re in good health, then their term life insurance premium will be lower.

Another benefit to purchasing life insurance for your children when they’re in college is that later on, if they choose to convert from term insurance to a permanent policy, the new premium will be based on their health in college, likely resulting in a lower permanent policy premium.

So even though you checked off the “take to college list”, you may want to add one more item titled “insurance” and then call your independent agent today. Courtesy of Integrity Insurance.
 
 

Reliable's Five Ways Life Insurance Brings Peace of Mind

The majority of us are aware we need life insurance but may not be sure how much, or if it’s within our budget.

Life insurance has helped people keep their promises for generations — and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. In fact, according to LIMRA, most people overestimate the cost of life insurance by as much as 300%. By working with your independent insurance agent, you can achieve peace of mind that, if the worst were to happen, your family’s financial future is secure. This is just one more way your agent can help provide financial protection for you and for your family.

The five reasons below are important to think about when you’re deciding whether or not it’s the right time to purchase life insurance.

  1. Income replacement: If there are people who depend on your income, having a policy in place can provide for them if the unexpected occurred.
  2. Final Expenses: According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral, health care bills and other expenses total about $15,000. Could your loved ones manage those costs if the worst happened?
  3. Charitable Contributions: Naming your favorite charity as the beneficiary of your life insurance allows you to make a greater contribution than if you were to donate the equivalent of the premium dollars directly.
  4. Savings: Depending on the type of life insurance you choose, there is the opportunity to create a cash value that if not paid out, can be borrowed against or withdrawn on the owner’s request. Payment of life insurance premiums typically take priority, so it can be a great way to build a “forced” savings plan for yourself and your family. The bonus is that the interest is tax deferred (and also tax exempt if paid as a death claim).
  5. Being Prepared: You can never be sure if or when a serious illness can strike. Anything can happen. If you become seriously ill, you may not be eligible for as much life insurance as you need, if you’re eligible at all. Should you develop a terminal illness, life insurance can deliver financial support and take one more worry off your plate when you need to make the most of every moment.

These are just a handful of the important things a life insurance policy can provide for your loved ones. Your independent insurance agent can help you through this process and provide the term or whole life options available.

Take some time to think about them and then contact your independent insurance agent to get started. Courtesy of Integrity Insurance
 

Cloquet Office Renovation is Complete!

Did you know that we recently completed a remodel of our Cloquet office? The remodel has opened up the interior space to host a larger front reception desk, which allows us to help multiple customers at once. We also replaced the old cubicles with individual offices to increase privacy and comfort for our customers to discuss the best insurance options with their agent. In addition to new office spaces, agents also had adjustable desks installed, so they are able to raise and lower them to sitting and standing heights. We're really excited about the changes, and happy to be able to better serve you.








 
 

Cyber Liability Insurance


As technology becomes increasingly important for successful business operations, the value of a strong cyber liability insurance policy will only continue to grow. The continued rise in the amount of information stored and transferred electronically has resulted in a remarkable increase in the potential exposures facing businesses. In an age where a stolen laptop or hacked account can instantly compromise the personal data of thousands of customers, or an ill-advised post on a social media site can be read by hundreds in a matter of minutes, protecting yourself from cyber liability is just as important as some of the more traditional exposures businesses account for in their general commercial liability policies.

Why Cyber Liability Insurance?

A traditional business liability policy is extremely unlikely to protect against most cyber exposures. Standard commercial policies are written to insure against injury or physical loss and will do little, if anything, to shield you from electronic damages and the associated costs they may incur. Exposures are vast, ranging from the content you put on your website to stored customer data. Awareness of the potential cyber liabilities your company faces is essential to managing risk through proper coverage.

Possible exposures covered by a typical cyber liability policy may include:

  • Data breaches: Increased government regulations have placed more responsibility on companies to protect clients’ personal information. In the event of a breach, notification of the affected parties is now required by law. This will add to costs that will also include security fixes, identity theft protection for the affected and protection from possible legal action. While companies operating online are at a heightened risk, even companies that don’t transmit personal data over the internet, but still store it in electronic form, could be susceptible to breaches through data lost to unauthorized employee access or hardware theft.
  • Intellectual property rights: Your company’s online presence, whether it be through a corporate website, blogs or social media, opens you up to some of the same exposures faced by publishers. This can include libel, copyright or trademark infringement and defamation, among other things.
  • Damages to a third-party system: If an email sent from your server has a virus that crashes the system of a customer, or the software your company distributes fails, resulting in a loss for a third party, you could be held liable for the damages.
  • System failure: A natural disaster, malicious activity or fire could all cause physical damages that could result in data or code loss. While the physical damages to your system hardware would be covered under your existing business liability policy, data or code loss due to the incident would not be.
  • Cyber extortion: Hackers can hijack websites, networks and stored data, denying access to you or your customers. They often demand money to restore your systems to working order. This can cause a temporary loss of revenue plus generate costs associated with paying the hacker’s demands or rebuilding if damage is done.
  • Business interruption: If your primary business operations require the use of computer systems, a disaster that cripples your ability to transmit data could cause you, or a third party that depends on your services, to lose potential revenue. From a server failure to a data breach, such an incident can affect your day-to-day operations. Time and resources that normally would have gone elsewhere will need to be directed towards the problem, which could result in further losses. This is especially important as denial of service attacks by hackers have been on the rise. Such attacks block access to certain websites by either rerouting traffic to a different site or overloading an organizations server.
  •  
    Cyber liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology; risks that other types of business liability coverage simply won’t. The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations and can vary depending on your range of exposure. It is important to work with a broker that can identify your areas of risk so a policy can be tailored to fit your unique situation.
     

    Reliable Insurance, Inc., Your Coverage Expert

    As reliance on technology continues to increase, new exposures continue to emerge. As your business grows, make sure your cyber liability coverage grows with it. Reliable Agency, Inc is here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk.