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Gearing up for a new car?

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gearing up for new car

When you're cruising for a new vehicle, timing can make a big financial difference.

Looking for a deal on a new car? It's a big investment, so you want to get the best deal possible. Here are a few tips to help.

Timing is everything
There are certain times of the year, month, or time of day that are better than others when shopping for a vehicle. If your need is not urgent, waiting for an optimal time can reap big dividends. Here are some key opportunities to keep in mind:

At the end of a month. You may get a better deal if the manager still needs to hit their monthly quota. When new vehicles come out. End-of-year models get the best discounts as dealerships need to free up space for the new models.

  • At the end of the day. Swinging by the dealership just prior to closing can be motivating for the eager salesperson who does not want a serious buyer walking away without buying.
  • On Black Friday. Consumer Reports states that on this day, dealers are trying to clear out old inventory as well as meet their monthly quotas, and some dealers may offer incentives.
  • With a rebate. Edmunds.com has a search tool to find rebates and incentives by vehicle make and ZIP code.

Get help with the process

Shopping for a new vehicle can be stressful—running from car lot to car lot, haggling with a salesperson, and getting the financing set up. Fortunately for you, there’s a way to buy a car without all the hassle. WEA Member Benefits’ partner, Educators Credit Union, has a car purchasing service that can take you through the car buying process from start to finish. You’ll be behind the wheel of a new vehicle before you know it and amazed at how effortless it was. Educators’ service includes assistance with:

  • Shopping for a car. An Educators Vehicle Specialist works with you to find the vehicle that fits your needs, new or used. Through their Preferred Dealer Network, you get a hassle- and haggle-free price on any new vehicle, at or below dealer inventory pricing. Not looking for a new car? Their Vehicle Specialists can help get you special pricing on used cars.
  • Trading in your old car. When you’re ready to buy, Vehicle Specialists can appraise your trade-in at a fair price to trade to the dealer. 
    Financing your car. Once you’re ready to get a vehicle, Educators can finance or lease it, new or used, at a low interest rate. Even if you’re not buying, you may be able to save money by refinancing and lowering your interest rate.
  • Other added perks. Educators Credit Union’s other auto services protect you before and after you buy.
    • Free CarFax® reports with pre-approval.
    • Warranty Service Agreements at up to 50% below dealer pricing.
    • Sound advice on the many other additional products the dealer offers. 
      Visit Educators Credit Unions’ Everything Auto page at ecu.com to learn more.

Make sure you’re covered

Make sure you have appropriate protection for your new vehicle. How much insurance and what kind of coverage you need will depend on your situation. Member Benefits can help you find the right balance between cost and protection. We can even bind the insurance the same day if needed. Be aware: Some dealers will offer to set up your insurance. However, if they don’t follow through, you could end up without coverage.

Get a no obligation insurance evaluation and comparison quote.

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Property and casualty insurance programs are underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details.

Get your home ready for winter

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Steve SchofieldWe’re still having some beautiful weather around here, but you know it won’t last long. Take advantage of these nice days and get your home prepped before the white stuff starts flying so you can have a safer, healthier winter.

  • Trim the limbs. Dead tree limbs can harm roofs, gutters, siding, decks, and cars, as well as people. Trim back any limbs that are hanging over your house, driveway, or sidewalks so they don’t cause a hazard.
  • Prep the plumbing. Turn off the water supply to outdoor spigots and sprinkler systems to avoid burst pipes when it gets cold. Install pipe insulation in unheated areas.
  • Check the chimney. It’s a good idea to have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected yearly to ensure it’s not a fire hazard and there are no critters making their home in there.
  • Stay on alert. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, get one right away. Otherwise, make sure to test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and change the batteries. Use the time change to help you remember to check each year.
  • Give your furnace a checkup. Start out by changing your filter—it will help your furnace run more efficiently. If you haven’t had it professionally checked in the last two or three years, make an appointment.
  • Inspect your foundation and home’s exterior. It’s important to keep snow and rain from building up around your home’s foundation. Clear out excess vegetation, take any steps needed to ensure water runs away from your house, and clean the gutters and downspouts. Around the outside of your house, seal up drafts and places for pests to enter your home, especially around doors and windows, the chimney cap, attic vents, roofing, siding, and areas where utility lines enter.

Lastly, make sure you're properly insured. Not all policies are the same, so be sure you understand what you have or what you are purchasing so you won’t find yourself short on coverage when you need it. Member Benefits can help. For a free insurance consultation and comparison quote, give us a call at 1-800-279-4010 or schedule a personal phone consultation at a time convenient for you.

Steve Schofield, Personal Insurance Consultant

It's cycle season

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Tim GanoungMotorcycle enthusiasts will tell you that there’s nothing like riding on the open road beneath the long-awaited Wisconsin summer sky.

Perhaps Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, captures it best. “On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

If you are a cyclist or considering taking up this popular pastime, recognize the additional risks that go along with it. Face it. Motorcycles are no match for other vehicles on the road, and the total exposure of the rider requires certain precautions be taken to ensure a fun and safe experience. Use common sense before you head out on the road.

Enjoy the ride this summer, but keep it safe.

  • Always wear a helmet that fits right and meets federal safety standards.
  • Improve your skills with advanced rider courses.
  • Stick to the speed limit.
  • Don’t tailgate other vehicles.
  • Use your signals.
  • Be respectful of other drivers. Don’t weave through traffic or drive on the shoulder.
  • Make sure other drivers can see you. Don’t ride in blind spots and always ride with your headlights on.
  • Watch the weather.
  • Educate your passengers.

Need motorcycle insurance? Call us at 1-800-279-4010.

Tim Ganoung, Personal Insurance Consultant

Property and casualty insurance programs are underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company.

Summer Safety Series: Trampolines

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Janet AndersonSummer is here! We're continuing our Summer Safety Series with important tips on trampoline safety.

If your summer plans include using a backyard trampoline, make sure you know the risks and realities that come with trampoline use. Here's what you should consider.

Accidents happen

There is a surprising amount of power that can be generated from jumping on a trampoline—children can bounce up to 30 feet, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Head and neck injuries account for 10–17% of all trampoline-related injuries. These often happen with falls and failed somersaults or flips and can be the most catastrophic of all trampoline injuries suffered.  

If you decide to take the leap

If you must have a trampoline, put safety first. Take these steps recommended by the CPSC to reduce the risk of injury: 

  • Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.
  • Do not attempt or allow somersaults because landing on the head or neck can cause paralysis.
  • Do not use the trampoline without shock-absorbing pads that completely cover its springs, hooks, and frame.
  • Place the trampoline away from structures, trees and other play areas.
  • No child under 6 years of age should use a full-size trampoline. Do not use a ladder, as it can provide unsupervised access to small children.
  • Supervise children at all times.
  • Trampoline enclosures may help prevent injuries from falls.

The decision to purchase or keep a trampoline comes down to risk versus reward. While they may seem appealing as a fun summer activity, be sure to understand the safety risks as well as the legal and financial risks that come with owning a trampoline. Read more about trampolines and the ups and downs of owning one, here…

Janet Anderson, Personal Insurance Consultant

The skinny on public insurance adjusters

(Insurance) Permanent link

Steve SchofieldFiling a claim for a large insurance loss can cost you a lot of time and energy, so some people decide to hire a public insurance adjuster to help negotiate with their insurance company on their behalf. On its face, working with a public insurance adjuster sounds like it might be a good idea, but buyer beware. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may be better handled by a third party, there are a few things you should know before hiring a public insurance adjuster.

What is an insurance adjuster?

An insurance adjuster is the person who evaluates losses and settles policyholder claims. Typically, they are either employed solely by the insurance company or they are independent professionals under contract with one or more insurance companies. Public insurance adjusters are hired by and work only for the consumer or homeowner.

An unregulated risk

Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that does not require public insurance adjusters to be licensed. This creates a host of problems for uninformed consumers.

People tend to hire a public insurance adjuster after they’ve experienced a large or catastrophic homeowners loss. Sometimes public insurance adjusters troll for claims—they call you out of the blue or come wandering through the neighborhood after a damaging storm. The sales pitch often includes a promise to get you a bigger settlement, they’ll settle your claim faster, take care of all the paperwork, and negotiate with the insurance company and contractors on your behalf.

Things to consider before hiring a public insurance adjuster:

 

  • Carefully read and understand the terms and obligations in the contract—sometimes these contracts can be difficult to cancel without penalty or obligation after you’ve signed.
  • Look out for public insurance adjusters who also work as contractors, or insist on using a specific contractor, this can be a conflict of interest.
  • Pay attention to who will receive the payment from the insurance company. Some public insurance adjusters will include a provision in the contract that requires the insurance check to be made out to them.
  • Know your home insurance policy—what’s covered and what’s not—to avoid any surprises down the road.
  • Do your due diligence to make sure you are working with someone who has your best interest in mind.

Call us

If your insurance is through WEA Trust Member Benefits and you experience a major claim, be sure to call us first before hiring a public insurance adjuster. We will help you sort out the details and handle your claim fairly, accurately, and promptly, or we’ll refund up to $250 of your deductible—it’s our claim service guarantee. Call 1-800-279-4010.

Steve Schofield, Personal Insurance Consultant

Custom car parts may not be covered on auto insurance policy

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Tim GanoungAttention automobile enthusiasts! Whether it’s high-end stereo equipment, rear spoilers, a custom paint job, hub caps, or handicap customization, be aware that if it wasn’t installed by the manufacturer, it probably isn’t covered by your standard auto insurance policy.

This means that there will be no coverage for these items if they are stolen or damaged in an accident. Your standard policy will generally pay the costs for standard manufacturer parts but not the custom equipment. Because these add-ons can represent a big investment, you may want to consider adding coverage to your auto policy. This is especially true for conversion vans or handicap customizations that could represent a significant financial burden in the event of an accident.

If you have a policy with Member Benefits and own a pickup or van, your policy includes an additional $200 of coverage for custom equipment at no charge provided you have comprehensive or collision coverage. You can purchase additional coverage—from $1,000 to $30,000—for custom equipment (amounts over $30,000 with underwriters approval) to reduce the out-of-pocket costs you may incur should you experience a loss. Deductibles apply.

Questions? Call at 1-800-279-4010.

Tim Ganoung, Personal Insurance Consultant

Property and casualty insurance programs are underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details. Certain policy exclusions and limitations may apply.

Do you have enough coverage on your engagement ring?

(Insurance) Permanent link

Janet AndersonDo you have high-value possessions such as jewelry, family heirlooms, or fine art that are scheduled on your home policy? When was the last time you evaluated the value of these items?

If it’s been a while, you may want to revisit your policy and the endorsement (sometimes called a rider or schedule) for each to make sure the coverage is keeping up with the item’s value and replacement costs. It’s not uncommon for someone to schedule their engagement and wedding rings when they get married and never change the coverage amount even after 20 or 30 years. Yet, the value of gold and diamonds may have changed dramatically over that period.

Because the process for endorsing valuable personal property differs by insurers, you may need to have the item(s) reappraised in order to increase the coverage amount.

If you have any questions about your home policy or scheduling your high-valued items, contact Member Benefits at 1-800-279-4010. Our insurance consultants can help you determine the appropriate coverage for your situation.

Janet Anderson, Personal Insurance Consultant