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R&R Insurance Blog

Brandy Enger

Recent Posts

College Students Need Insurance Too!

Posted by Brandy Enger

iStock_000048840808_FullInsurance needs are often overlooked for college kids in the hustle and bustle of preparing for college. It's not uncommon for college kids to have thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and a closet bursting with clothes in the dorm rooms, as well as bicycles and instruments.


Students living on-campus:
Generally, this coverage is part of the parents’ existing policy and will cover up to 10% of the policy personal property limits for when a student is enrolled on a full-time basis.

Students living off-campus:

Generally, if a student maintains their parents’ address as their primary address and is enrolled as a full-time student, they will continue to be eligible for coverage under their parents’ policy. Students who have established their permanent primary address off-campus and no longer maintain their parent’s address as their primary address, and students who are enrolled only on a part-time basis, will need a separate renters policy to cover their personal belongings. Make sure that your student living off-campus is protected with this low-cost policy.

What about car insurance for the student who is away at college?
If your student is more than 100 miles away from home and does not take a car with them, you will get a discount on your car insurance rate because your vehicles are not being driven by your college student when the student is away at school.

Good Student Discounts:
Students who maintain a grade point average of a 3.0 / "B" or better will qualify with most companies for a "good student discount".

Wisconsin residents interested in a free insurance analysis for their personal insurance, please contact a knowledgebroker.

Topics: Personal Insurance, insurance for college students, renters insurance, collge kids, Students living off campus, student living on campus, college insurance, dorm room

Featured Client | An Under-Insured Vehicle Caught in Time

Posted by Brandy Enger

To illustrate the benefits of rebalancing an insurance program to strengthen wealth protection and better manage expenses, the following example presents a before-and-after comparison for one of our newest valued clients.

Jason and SuUnderinsured vehiclesan are a successful couple in their early 40’s, with two young children.  They have two autos and a new home in Colgate, WI.  They said they had a good relationship with their previous agent, however during a discussion with their wealth manager realized that they hadn’t had a coverage review in quite some time.  During our initial 30 minute meeting at Jason’s office, we discovered some major coverage deficiencies:  unfortunately a vehicle that had been traded in a few months ago and replaced with a newer vehicle was not accurately updated on their auto policy, leaving the vehicle uninsured.  While that issue was quickly remedied, we also significantly reduced their risk exposure while decreasing their total premium 20% by rebalancing their program as follows:

Savings Opportunities:

  • Incorporate an association discount related to Susan’s profession.
  • Correct an error on their prior policy related to an auto claim: they were being charged for an “at-fault” accident, despite being rear-ended two years ago.
  • Add a valuable discount for having a central alarm in their home.

Program Improvements:

  • Decrease their homeowner’s deductible – including wind/hail – from $4,000 to $1,000.
  • Add full value replacement cost on their home.
  • Add personal injury protection.
  • Despite having a recognizable name in the community, they did not have a personal umbrella. The cost to add $1 million of coverage was just $260 annually.  $5 million? Just $500 more.

Find a Private Client Knowledge Broker


*Client names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

Topics: Featured Client, Private Client Group

Are you overpaying to be under insured?  Survey says: Yes

Posted by Brandy Enger

Garbage-of-cash.jpgAs a financially successful individual, you have proven yourself to be money savvy – saving when you can and investing wisely.  But are you spending your hard-earned wealth wisely when it comes to insurance?  

Chubb® conducted a survey of more than 600 independent insurance brokers and asked if their clients were over or underinsured with their previous mass-carrier insurance for 21 types of coverage.  The results showed that a non-personalized insurer does not appear to be doing their due diligence when it comes to their client’s financial security.

According to the survey, 63% of independent insurance agents were able to insure a new client properly and keep the annual premium at no more than 5% above the mass-carrier price.  In half the cases, it was less.  

But what were the top areas where clients were overpaying? 

  • Having deductibles that were too low
  • Failing to earn package discounts
  • Not getting premium credits for alarm systems and other loss prevention devices
This is why I continually ask my clients to consider how much they could pay for a loss without significantly affecting their lifestyle, and then provide an estimate on the premium savings they could achieve.  In most cases, the savings can be substantial.

And what about underinsuring?  Coverage for umbrella liability, valuable collections, uninsured/underinsured liability, and rebuilding a damaged home remained the most likely underinsured risks, with a shocking 92% being underinsured in the category of umbrella liability.  This is especially frightening when you consider that in 2008, $29 million was awarded to the family of a four-year-old boy who suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury while riding as a passenger in a vehicle  involved in a head-on collision.

I have personally run into situations that mirror the results of this survey.  I often meet with individuals who are underinsured or incorrectly insured with their current insurance carrier.  Many insurance carriers in the mainstream market simply cannot provide the types of coverage that an affluent individual needs.  These individuals often own assets that could be covered more effectively and for less premium if they were with the proper carrier.

This is why I’m so proud to be an Independent Insurance Agent. Because of the multiple facets that comprise your lifestyle, there are more variables available for adjusting coverage in order to keep you properly insured and not paying too much. And since R&R represents multiple markets, I am confident that one of our luxury insurance carrier partners will be the perfect fit for you and your needs.

10 Questions:  Are You Overpaying to be Underinsured?

Topics: Personal Insurance

Personal Umbrella Liability Basics

Posted by Brandy Enger

Umbrella-Coverage.jpgIt’s an unfortunate fact that accidents happen – and it’s not uncommon for jury awards and out-of-court settlements to run into the millions.  While it’s difficult to pinpoint the monetary consequences of the risks you and your family take each day, are you certain your current liability insurance offers you enough protection?

For example, what if:

  • You accidentally run a stop sign, causing a serious accident?
  • The Amazon delivery person falls on your sidewalk and is seriously injured?
  • You are sued for liable/slander for posting a seemingly harmless comment on-line?

If you are found to be legally responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property, without a personal umbrella, anything beyond the limits of your standard liability insurance coverage will come out of your own pocket.  A personal umbrella liability policy protects your personal assets – and future earnings – by kicking in when your standard liability coverage is exhausted.  Additionally, a Personal Umbrella will cover the cost of a legal defense if a suit is filed against you.


How Much Coverage Do I Need?

You’ll want to take into consideration not only your total personal assets but also your potential personal risks.  For example, does your profession or location of your home make you an easy target for a big settlement?  Do you have a busy lifestyle that puts you behind the wheel frequently?  Coverage starts at $1 million, and it’s not uncommon to see limits as high as $10 million. 


How Much Does Coverage Cost?

Additional liability insurance is inexpensive when compared to the added coverage you gain.  A $1 million umbrella policy typically costs less than $300 a year, and increases by $50-$100 annually for each million thereafter.


Find a Private Client Knowledge Broker

Topics: Personal Umbrella Coverage, Private Client Group

Featured Client | WI Badger Fans Buy a Third Home (and a Tailgating Bus) Near Camp Randall

Posted by Brandy Enger

To illustrate the benefits of rebalancing an insurance program to strengthen wealth protection and better manage expenses, the following example presents a before-and-after comparison for one of our valued clients.

iStock-460476115.jpgDave and Nicole are a couple in their early 50’s, with two grown children and one still at home.  They have four autos, two homes in Oconomowoc, WI along with a boat, a jet ski, a converted school bus used for tailgating and a moped.  Dave is a business owner and Nicole also works for the business.  They recently purchased a rental property in Madison, WI, and will act as property managers each fall when they spend their weekends cheering on the Wisconsin Badger football team. 

As their previous captive agent recently retired without an adequate perpetuation plan in place, their relationship with their insurance provider was non-existent.  This led to a lack of consistent coverage reviews and resulted in some major coverage deficiencies:  unfortunately a recently constructed detached garage, along with their boat and jet ski, were uninsured.  Dave and Nicole significantly reduced their risk exposure while decreasing their total premium 30% by rebalancing their program as follows:

Savings Opportunities:

  • Incorporate substantial “prior carrier” discount provided to direct insurance policyholders.
  • Combine all policies into one program, with one bill, and save on service fees by paying in full.
  • Extend liability from the primary home to the two other locations.

Coverage Improvements:

  • Acquire 30% more replacement cost coverage for their primary and secondary homes.
  • Add Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts coverage to their 2016 Mercedes.
  • Increase Other Structures coverage in order to fully protect the newly constructed garage.
  • Include coverage for both the boat and jet ski, and incorporate them onto their $2,000,000 umbrella.
  • Add Identity Theft and Sewer/Drain Backup coverage to their homes.
  • Add Full Glass Coverage and increase Rental Reimbursement Coverage on their autos.
  • Include Deductible Dividends and Waiver of Deductible program features.

Contact a Private Client Executive, to learn more about properly protecting your most valuable assets.

Find a Private Client Knowledge Broker


*Client names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

Topics: Featured Client, Private Client Group

Featured Client | A Second Home Generates a Second Look

Posted by Brandy Enger

To illustrate the benefits of rebalancing an insurance program to strengthen wealth protection and better manage expenses, the following example presents a before-and-after comparison for one of our valued clients.

Featured-Client-February.jpgSteve and Julia are a couple in their late 50’s whose children have started promising professional careers and live independently.  They have two vehicles and live in a newly constructed home in Waukesha, WI.  They also have a second home in Minocqua, WI with a boat and boat house.  Both Steve and Julia serve on various boards and are active volunteers in their community.  Their previous insurance plan exhibited many of the typical patterns of overpaying and underinsuring for their homeowner, auto, valuables, boat and umbrella liability coverages.  Steve and Julia significantly improved their financial security while reducing their total premium 18% by rebalancing their program as follows:

Savings Opportunities:

  • Move coverage from a national company to a regional company, to take advantage of the homeowners pricing in an area that is not subjected to the impact of coastal claims.
  • Raise the deductible on their primary home to $1000, to match the deductible on their seasonal.
  • Take advantage of loss prevention credits for a heat loss detection system and an automatic standby generator.
  • Incorporate a 13% association discount related to Julia’s profession.

Coverage Improvements:

  • Acquire full replacement cost coverage for their primary and seasonal homes with no cap.
  • Increase “other structures” coverage in order to fully protect the boat house from loss.
  • Combine their existing boatowners policy with their new package policy to improve coverage, which also reduces expenses and paperwork.
  • Add identity theft, special personal property, and increase rental reimbursement coverage.

Contact Brandy Enger, Private Client Executive, to learn more about properly protecting your most valuable assets.

*Client names have been changed to maintain anonymity.

Topics: Featured Client, Private Client Group

Do You Have the Guts to Take On a Fixer Upper?

Posted by Brandy Enger

Fixer-Upper.jpgIf you’re like most of the employees here at R&R, you’re obsessed with HGTV’s hit TV Show “Fixer Upper.”  Chip and Joanna Gains give us major house envy with each episode, and we can’t help but see our own honey-do lists growing each week. 

If you’ve successfully tackled some home projects and are currently admiring the fruits of your labor, we want to hear from you!  Things like updated roofs and furnaces, alarm system installations and changes to your fireplace setup can provide instant premium savings if we notify your carrier about these improvements. On the opposite end, cosmetic upgrades and additional square footage may or may not need to be reflected on your existing policy’s coverage limitations (but we should talk about it either way). 

So when your next home project has been finished, and the paint and sawdust have settled, give us a call so we can review your policy together and make the necessary coverage recommendations to ensure your policy will respond appropriately in the event that you need it.  If you have pictures for us to admire, we love those, too.

Still in need of some inspiration?  Click here for Joanna’s favorite “Fixer Upper” renovation of all time!

Click here to contact a Knowledge Broker at R&R!

Topics: Personal Lines

Are You Covered for Unexpected Events? Test Your Personal Insurance Knowledge

Posted by Brandy Enger

Flowers-in-Garden.jpgMost of us are familiar with the run-of-the-mill claims that typical home & auto insurance policies cover. You’re having a summer barbeque and the deck catches on fire. Covered. You’re teaching your teenage son to drive and he rear-ends the neighbor’s car. Covered.

Accidents, while unfortunate and unexpected, do happen. But the peace of mind that comes with buying a quality insurance product and knowing it will be there to help you pick up the pieces can help ease the anxiety that is associated with these unexpected events. (It may not help calm your nerves when getting back in the car with your teen driver, however.)

But what about those rare instances when the truly unexpected claim arises?  You know, the type of claim that you never thought would happen to you?  Do you know how (or if) your insurance policy will respond? Take the test below to find out if these bizarre incidents are covered by your home and auto policies, and start building your insurance knowledge!

  • You finally get those pesky mice out of the basement only to find they’ve made a home in your car. They’ve created a beauty of a nest and chewed away at the electrical system. Covered?
  • Your full-time college student forgets to lock her dorm room when she leaves for class one morning. She comes back to find that her brand new flat screen TV and shiny laptop are gone. Covered?
  • A nasty summer storm strikes and you’re left with no power. The fridge you filled on Sunday starts to warm up and all of your fresh groceries are now spoiled. Covered?
  • You’re doing the annual spring tree trimming and decide to tackle those annoying branches hanging above your bathroom skylight. You make one wrong move and a branch goes straight through the window. Covered?

If you answered yes to the questions above you are an expert insurance policy holder! All of the incidents above would be covered under your home or auto policies.

It’s important to remember that all insurance policies do have coverage gaps and exclusions, so we recommend reviewing your policy annually to ensure that it continues to meet your family’s ever-changing needs.  If reading insurance contracts does not sound like your idea of a good time, please contact us – we’d love the opportunity to walk you through this process!

Topics: Personal Lines

5 Car Safety Features that Can Put Money Back in Your Pocket

Posted by Brandy Enger

Car-Safety-FeaturesThe advancements in car safety features over the last few years have been tremendous. From automated braking and back-up cameras, to alert systems and running lights, “car safety” has taken on a whole new meaning.

While the majority of these features can be life-saving, they also offer a great deal of cost savings as well. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers whose vehicles are equipped with certain safety features. The USAA provides insight into a few of the most common features available:

  1. Back-Up Camera. Once a luxury vehicle standard, the backup camera often displayed in the rearview mirrors or in-dash display is now a popular option on midrange cars, giving drivers assurance when backing out of a parking spot or down a driveway.
  2. Automatic braking. If the driver doesn't respond to the warning, some systems are able to brake automatically to prevent a collision or lessen the impact. Systems that combine forward-collision warning and auto-brake are the most effective.
  3. Adaptive headlights. This innovative technology, which allows drivers to see better as they round a curve, surprised researchers with how well it performed. According to Highway Loss Data Institute research, property damage liability claims fell as much as 10 percent with adaptive headlights.
  4. Sideview assist. Sensors can detect a car in your blind spot and then alert you with a light in your side mirror or with a beep if you engage your turn signal.
  5. Forward collision avoidance system. Using the same forward-looking sensors, these pre-crash warning systems alert drivers with visual or auditory cues when the vehicle is getting too close to the one in front.

To learn more about car safety features or to find out how they can positively impact your auto insurance, contact one of our knowledge brokers.

Topics: Safety, Personal Insurance, Auto Insurance, auto insurance savings

Multi-Car Crashes: Who's Responsible and How To Stay Safe If You're In One

Posted by Brandy Enger

PileupWho is responsible for the cost of an accident when there is a multi-car pile-up?
Normally, when a car hits the vehicle ahead of them, the car behind would be held liable. The automatic assumption is that the car travelling behind must stay a safe braking distance behind the car in front.

Multi-car crashes are a different story. They can be complex because it’s often very difficult to establish “who did what” – unlike a single vehicle accident, or a one-car crash. Law enforcement will take details of each and every car, position, driver and weather conditions. Common questions law enforcement will consider are:

  • Whose negligent actions set off the chain reaction?
  • Were other drivers speeding or driving too close?

The police report will usually cite which car is at fault as it examines and explains how the accident occurred. Most often it is one car that started the chain reaction in a multi-car pile-up; however, it is possible for two or more cars to share the blame for a multi-car accident. The amount of blame or “fault” will be determined by either the police officer who writes the report or by the insurance adjusters, negotiating for an optimum solution. For example, one driver may be deemed to be 80% at fault, while another driver takes the remaining 20% of the blame. It is possible for several people to share in the fault, or even everyone involved sharing some of the responsibility. The more details, cars and people that are part of the scenario, the more complicated the determination of fault becomes. See in this video how the chain reaction just keeps happening - taken on Sunday, December 8, 2013 in Milwaukee.

What kind of insurance coverage do I need if I'm involved in a multi-car accident?
While it can be extremely difficult to determine “fault” during the investigation of a multi-vehicle accident, here is what we do know:

  1. The damage to the vehicles involved in multi-car accidents is often more extensive than a one or two-car accident. Vehicles are often hit in different areas, sometimes over and over.
  2. There is an increased likelihood of bodily injury because, again, the vehicles are often hit over and over again. Both drivers and passengers are statistically injured more severely in multi-car accidents.
  3. If you are found at fault for a multi-car accident, for any percentage of the blame, you could be sued by other injured parties.

Carrying adequate liability coverage can shield you from most or all of this, especially when it's coupled with an umbrella policy. Additionally, liability insurance pays your legal defense costs should an injured party sue you.

What should I do to protect myself if I’m involved in a multi-car crash?

  1. Most importantly, stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened. Make sure everyone else in your vehicle has their seatbelt fastened as well, until law enforcement or EMTs give you the OK to exit. Keep in mind that there are still thousands of pounds of metal and glass moving toward you, and you could still be hit a second or third time. This video shows how dangerous standing outside your car can be.
  2. Put your hazard flashing lights on.
  3. After law enforcement has secured the scene, and if you are in a position to collect your thoughts, it would be wise to take a few minutes to record your observations on the incident. With large incidents, ensuring that your involvement is thoroughly detailed will be important when claim time comes.
  4. Once you've been in an accident, notify your insurance carrier or agent immediately.

Knowing what you now know about multi-car accidents, reviewing the liability limits on your auto policy and having the discussion with your independent insurance agent about an umbrella policy is the next step to making sure you are safe and protected should any multi-car accident happen to you. Contact a knowledgebroker for more details about liability coverages, umbrella policies, or for Wisconsin residents to get a quote on their auto and home insurance.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured and their families from Sunday's extensive, weather-related, multi-car pile-ups that occurred all over the metro Milwaukee area. Be safe out there!




Topics: Personal Insurance, milwaukee car crashes, multi-car milwaukee, multi-car pile-up, umbrella coverage for multi-car crashes, milwaukee multi car crashes, multi-car accidents, milwaukee pile-ups, whos at fault for multi-car crash, Brandy Enger, multi-vehicle crash