Safe Vehicles For Teens

Eventually, each parent has to come to terms with the fact that their child is ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  At that time, each parent hopes that between parental advice, driver education, and the completed road test that their child is ready to safely take on that privilege.  The fact that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens certainly doesn’t help lower the “worry factor” for respective parents.Pretty girl in a car

From the time a child is born all the way through school, parents research safety.  From cribs-to car seats-to the dimly lit neighborhood of the apartment flat that they’re renting while away at school, parents are concerned about their child’s safety.  One area that shouldn’t be overlooked is the safety of their first vehicle. (See the list of safe vehicles for teens at the bottom of this post.)

An IIHS study found that 83 percent of vehicles bought for teenagers are used.  Knowing that parents are likely to lean towards a used vehicle, the IIHS compiled a list of affordable safe vehicles for teens.  To create the list, they used the following safety criteria:

  1. Young Drivers and High Horsepower: It’s only logical, the more powerful the engine, the bigger the temptation to test it.
  2. Bigger is Better: Bigger vehicles offer better protection. Also, HLDI data shows that they’re less likely to crash them in the first place.
  3. Electronic Stability Control (ESC): This feature helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads.
  4. Safety Ratings: Front and side test crash scores.  Four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

What about price?

The IIHS survey also found that the average price for a teen’s vehicle was about $9,800 with the median coming in at $5,300.  It can be difficult to get a safe vehicle for some of the prices that consumers are currently paying, however the IIHS suggests paying a little more for added safety.  Below are two lists of safe vehicles for teens.  One with vehicles under $20,000 and the other with vehicles under $10,000.

If you’re concerned about the insurance rates for your young driver(s) and their vehicle(s) or if you simply want to review your current coverage and explore your options, please contact us!

Ph: 262.255.3770 -or-

Recommended used vehicles for teens for under $20,000

Saab 9-5 sedan 2010 and later $17,500
Lincoln MKS 2009 and later $15,500
Buick Regal 2011 and later $13,500
Ford Taurus 2010 and later $13,500
Buick LaCrosse 2010 and later $12,900
Volvo S80 2007 and later $9,000
Toyota Prius v 2012 and later $19,100
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan 2009 and later $16,000
Honda Accord sedan 2012 and later; coupe 2013-14 $14,400
Audi A4 2009 and later $14,300
Toyota Camry 2012 and later $14,300
Buick Verano 2012 and later $14,100
Subaru Outback 2010 and later $14,000
Lincoln MKZ 2010 and later; built after April 2010 $13,500
Kia Optima 2011 and later $13,300
Hyundai Sonata 2011 and later $12,100
Subaru Legacy 2010 and later $11,900
Dodge Avenger 2011 and later $11,600
Audi A3 2008 and later $11,300
Volkswagen CC 2009 and later $11,200
Chevrolet Malibu 2010 and later; built after November 2009 $10,900
Chrysler 200 sedan 2011 and later $10,700
Mercury Milan 2010-11; built after April 2010 $10,700
Ford Fusion 2010 and later; built after April 2010 $10,200
Volkswagen Passat 2009 and later $10,000
Volvo C30 2008 and later $9,800
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen 2009 and later $9,400
Volkswagen Jetta 2009 and later $8,200
Honda CR-V 2012 and later $18,100
Kia Sportage 2011 and later $13,800
Hyundai Tucson 2010 and later $13,100
Subaru Forester 2009 and later $12,800
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2011 and later $12,000
Volkswagen Tiguan 2009 and later $10,200
Honda Element 2007 and later $8,900
Volvo XC60 2010 and later $18,000
Saab 9-4X 2011-12 $17,800
Toyota Highlander 2008 and later $17,100
Toyota Venza 2009 and later $15,900
Ford Edge 2011 and later; built after February 2011 $15,500
Ford Flex 2010 and later $15,100
GMC Terrain 2010 and later $14,900
Kia Sorento 2011 and later $14,500
Infiniti EX 2008 and later $14,400
Chevrolet Equinox 2010 and later $13,700
Dodge Journey 2010 and later $11,200
Subaru Tribeca/B9 Tribeca 2006 and later $8,500
Volvo XC90 2005 and later $7,300
Buick Enclave 2011 and later $19,900
GMC Acadia 2011 and later $17,800
Chevrolet Traverse 2011 and later $16,600
Chrysler Town & Country 2012 and later $18,100
Honda Odyssey 2011 and later $17,100
Toyota Sienna 2011 and later $16,400
Dodge Grand Caravan 2012 and later $15,200
Volkswagen Routan 2012 $14,000


Recommended used vehicles for teens for under $10,000

Acura RL 2005 and later $9,700
Mercury Sable 2009 $9,700
Kia Amanti 2009 $9,500
Ford Taurus 2009 $9,100
Audi A6 sedan 2005 and later $8,300
Hyundai Azera 2006 and later $5,700
Subaru Legacy 2009 $9,900
BMW 3-series sedan 2006 and later $9,300
Mazda 6 2009 and later $8,900
Saturn Aura 2009 $8,800
Acura TL 2004 and later $7,900
Volvo S40 2007 and later $7,700
Audi A3 2006-07 $7,400
Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan 2005-08 $6,900
Suzuki Kizashi 2010 and later $6,600
Volvo S60 2007-09 $6,500
Audi A4 2005-08; built after October 2004 $6,200
Volkswagen Passat 2006-08 $5,100
Saab 9-3 2005 and later $4,000
Nissan Rogue 2008 and later $9,800
Ford Escape 2009 and later $8,700
Mazda Tribute 2009 and later $8,100
Mitsubishi Outlander 2007 and later $6,300
Suzuki Grand Vitara 2006 and later $5,600
Mazda CX-9 2007 and later $9,800
Ford Edge 2007-10 $9,600
Hyundai Veracruz 2007 and later $9,600
Hyundai Santa Fe 2007-10 $8,900
Honda Pilot 2006 and later $8,800
Saturn Vue 2008-09 $7,700
Ford Taurus X 2008-09 $7,500
Mazda CX-7 2007-11 $7,200
Suzuki XL7 2008-09 $6,200
Volkswagen Routan 2009-11 $8,600
Dodge Grand Caravan 2008-11 $8,200
Chrysler Town & Country 2008-11 $8,100
Honda Odyssey 2005-10 $6,700
Hyundai Entourage 2007-08 $6,300
Kia Sedona 2006 and later $4,600

These vehicles were compiled from a study completed by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS)

Damaged Windshield: Should I File a Claim?

I have a cracked windshield, what do I do?

If your windshield has a small crack or chip, there’s a good chance it can be repaired rather than replaced.  A general rule of thumb is that if a chip is less than a quarter in size or if a crack is less than a dollar in length, it can be repaired.  Most importantly, many insurance companies will waive the deductible or repair cost if you decide to repair the damaged windshield, rather than replace it.  (Check with your agent to see what your glass coverage entails.)Chipped-Windshield

How It’s Done:

Windshields are repaired by certified technicians.  The technicians use a clear resin and inject it into the damaged portion of the glass.  The resin acts as a bonding agent,  preventing the crack or chip from spreading.  This process can usually be completed in about 20 minutes.


The certified windshield technician will assess your damaged windshield and determine whether or not repair is appropriate.  If the damage is too severe, the windshield may need to be completely replaced.  For your safety, it’s recommended that any damaged windshield with a chip or crack in the driver’s line of sight be completely replaced.  If you need a full replacement, your technician will set a date and time to replace your windshield based on the year, make, and model of your vehicle.  Place your trust in a certified technician and don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Who Should I Call?

First, call your agent.  Your agent will be able to help determine the severity of the crack or chip.  Based on the damage, they will explore the option of  filing a claim or simply suggest that you have it repaired.  Your agent will likely be able to refer you to a reputable windshield repair shop.

If you’re interested in discussing glass coverage and what coverage options our companies have to offer, please contact us: 262.255.3770

Winterizing Your Pool

It’s that time of year again; time to winterize your swimming pool.  The main purpose behind winterizing your swimming pool is to protect it from damage due to freezing water.  Another benefit, it keeps the pool clean, saving you time and money when you’re ready to open it back up.  If you’re looking for step by step direction on winterizing your pool, check out this post from Leslie’s Poolapedia.

Winterizing your pool will also help to avoid a costly winter claim with your homeowner insurance carrier.  Each year, insurance carriers and agents receive phone calls about pools being damaged during the winter months.  Here are a few popular causes of loss, which can be avoided by properly winterizing and maintaining your pool:

1. Ladder through the liner: Keeping the swim ladder in the pool during the winter months can cause a very unfortunate problem once the ice starts to melt. The photo below shows the result of the ice melting and then pulling the ladder down through the liner floor.


Suggestion: Remember; take all ladders and other necessary equipment out of the pool before winterizing your pool.  Check, re-check, and check again.

2. Liner problems: Ice typically forms on the pool and freezes across and down the pool walls. The pool walls then look like icy stalagmites. With the addition of weight from ice and snow on top of the cover, you have a recipe for disaster. The weight will push the ice cake down, along with stalagmites, which then puts holes in the liner. The water below will leak out, and tear the safely cover, which in turn will rip the liner right off of the wall. This is an expensive loss and can be easily prevented. in-ground-pool-ice-damage

Suggestion: Clear your cover.  You can also purchase a pump to keep water off of the cover.  If you have snow and ice build-up, use a soft broom or brush to clear it (standing on the cover while doing so would not be a wise idea).  If the snow is light, use a leaf blower.

3. HIRE AND TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL! This is your best bet. Your area is surrounded by pool professionals, take advantage of them.

Pool Park | Aqua-Fun Pools & Spas | Leisure Pools & Spas | Aqua Tech | Bob’s Pool Builders

Your pool was and continues to be an investment.  There’s no doubt that you receive a lot of benefit from its use, but make sure you take the time to maintain it.


The purpose of this post is to present scenarios that may arise due to neglect and improper treatment of your pool.  Colonial Insurance Agency does not label this post as professional direction or advice.  Please consult with a pool professional regarding any treatments or services that your pool may require.  Also consult with your current agent regarding any related claims.  If you’re in the market for new homeowner insurance, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your insurance and your swimming pool: Phone: 262-255-3770 Email:

Wisconsin Crime Alert: Phone Scam

Chicago residents have been experiencing a”one-ring phone scam”.  The scam uses auto dialers to target phone numbers across the county.  The phone call itself is not the dangerous part, it’s the call back.

Scammers auto dial targeted victims, let it ring once, and then hang up.  The victim then notices a missed call, and returns it.  The victim is then prompted with a message like, “You’ve reached the operator, please hold”.  During that holding period, the caller is being charged with a substantial per minute charge on top of an international rate.  Local authorities have stated that calls typically come from phone numbers with three digit area codes, making them appear as US based telephone numbers.

Common scammer area codes include: 268-284-473-664-649-767-809-829-849 and 876.

If you receive a similar phone call, check online directories for registered scam phone numbers.  If you’re a victim, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.



Emergency Tip: Add ICE Contacts to Your Cell Phone

Cell phone EmergencyCell phones are some of the most heavily relied upon pieces of technology in today’s society .  Whether they’re used for business, e-mail, text, or to keep toddlers happy when away from home, they’re a crucial piece of every day life.  In fact, the Pew Research Center, found that 90% of American adults have a cell phone, with 58% of the phones being smartphones.  There’s no question that cell phones, especially smartphones, have made every day tasks much easier.  They can serve an even greater purpose during an emergency.

One way to assure that your cell phone benefits you during an emergency is by adding ICE (In Case of Emergency) to your contacts.  ICE is an acronym that emergency responders and medical professionals use to notify the person’s emergency contacts. It also helps them obtain critical medical information if a patient arrives unconscious.

Imagine this. You’re traveling down a rural road and swerve to avoid a deer.  When doing so, you veer off of the road and hit a tree, leaving you unconscious.  When the paramedics arrive they cannot find any information in your wallet or vehicle regarding your emergency contacts.  This could be avoided by simply adding ICE to your cell phone.  The responders could then immediately call your ICE contacts to inform them about the accident.

Try adding a couple of different ICE contacts to your phone to help assist these professionals.  For example, “ICE Mom” or “ICE Husband” would be two good contacts for these professionals to reach out to.  These contacts will be able to provide the medical staff with the information they’ll need to treat you properly.  This is a great precaution to take and will help both you and your emergency responders in the event of a serious emergency.  If your cell phone is encrypted with a passcode, these ICE contacts may not be able to benefit you.

To learn more about ICE and for more helpful emergency tips, visit Emergency Care For You.


Sump Pump Maintenance

Sump Pump Maintenance  


Basic sump pump maintenance is quite simple. Be proactive and consider the following when preparing for the spring thaw and summer rains.

Pour a bucket of water into the pit.   sump pump

Check for debris in the sump basin.

Inspect the check valve.

Clean the weep hole. 

Clean the impeller.

Install a battery back-up power source.

Fact: Average lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years.


2014 Coach Cassidy Classic 5k Run/Walk

Come join us for the 2014 Coach Cassidy Classic 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, May 31st.  The event is being held at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Menomonee Falls, WI.  Registration and t-shirt pick-up starts at 9:00am.  The race will begin at 10:00am.  To register online, follow this Coach Cassidy Classic link or contact Kira Cerroni-King for more details:


Below is a map of the course.  Adults, children and dogs are all welcome to join in!  This year, the Coach Cassidy Classic is even offering awards for particular age groups and categories.  Prize awards are as follows:

  • 5k Champion • 1st Place Adult Male • 1st Place Adult Female • 1st Place 12-18 Male • 1st Place 12-18 Female • 1st Place 11 & Under Male • 1st Place 11 & Under Female • 1st Place Stroller/Wagon • 1st Place Dog • 1st Place Wheelchair • 1st Place Couple (cross the finish line hand in hand) • Most Festive Irish Attire


Course Map

Fundraiser to Benefit Brain Tumor Research

A fund raising event is being held Saturday, May 17, 2014 at Krueger’s Entertainment Center, Menomonee Falls, to benefit the Brain Tumor Research Center at Froedert Hospital.  The event is being held in remembrance of Janet (Jan) Depons, a longtime friend and client of Colonial Insurance Agency, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year and passed away shortly there after.  Please see the attached flyer for complete details of the event

If interested in participating or donating, please contact Mark Besting at:



Your roof and your insurance rate

West Bend Mutual provides another great blog post written by Scott Stueber.  Highlighted in this post are the roof and shingle factors that determine a portion of your homeowner insurance rate.  For more great posts, check out the West Bend Cares Blog.


Many of us have heard the expression, “Having a roof over our heads” in reference to having a home. Having a good strong roof makes sense on many levels. Bonnie Pesch, a veteran personal lines underwriter with West Bend, will discuss how your roof ages and the role insurance plays if your roof is damaged.

A roof is usually the best it’s going to be when it’s installed. New shingles can tolerate much more abuse from elements, like hail. On the other hand, even just a small piece of hail can damage an older roof. A roof will also lose its ability to shed water as it gets older.

That’s why many insurance carriers now charge more for homeowner’s insurance if a roof is older. So if you recently replaced your roof or are thinking of doing it soon, be sure to contact your insurance agent. Your agent will want to update your policy and may even change the coverage for your roof from actual cash value to replacement cost. Replacement cost provides the coverage you need to replace your roof, while actual cash value provides coverage for the value of the roof at the time it’s replaced; it takes into account depreciation of the shingles.

It’s important to tell your insurance agent what type of material is used on your new roof. Slate, steel, and tile roofs have a much longer life expectancy than asphalt shingles. And while a new steel roof may be eligible for a hail-resistive discount, it may also carry a cosmetic exclusion.

Now, how do you decide if it’s time to replace your roof? Shingles don’t age at the same rate, so the best way to gauge how long your shingles will last is to check the manufacturer’s warranty. The aging rate of your shingles really depends on two things: 1.) the shingle’s quality, and 2.) the weather. Certain weather conditions can cause more damage to the shingles, aging them more quickly.

Shingles take a beating every day. From the hot sun, to cold winter temperatures, to pouring rain, wind, and hail, they have a tough job: protecting us, our loved ones, and our valued possessions. As your roof ages, here are some things to watch for.

1. Loss of granules from the shingles. As shingles age, they start to lose their granules because weather loosens them and the shingle itself gets harder. You’ve probably seen granules in your gutters or where your down spouts drain. If you notice some loose granules here and there, there’s no need for alarm; however, if you see a more significant amount of granules in your gutters or around the house, it may be time to inspect your roof.

2. Be aware of the gaps between the flaps of the shingles. Experts recommend that the space between your shingles should be 1/16 of an inch; this is about the size of your pinky finger. If the space appears to be significantly larger, the shingles on your home are deteriorating and may need replacing.    hammer-nails-roof

3. Watch for round corners on your shingles. New shingles are rectangular with distinctive, sharp corners. As different weather conditions take their toll, the sharp corners will become round. You’ll start to see this when the shingles are approaching their maximum life expectancy. Old-composite-roof


4. Watch for cracked shingles. As the tar on the shingle starts to deteriorate, the flaps may move up and down from the wind causing them to crack. If they become very brittle, they may even break off. If you’re walking or working in your yard and notice shingle pieces on the ground around your house, consider having your roof inspected. peeling-shingle


These tips are ways to help you watch for visible signs that your roof is deteriorating. You may also want to take a closer look at your roof in the spring/fall when you clean out your gutters or during the holidays if you put up lights around your roofline. Looking from the vantage point of a ladder is usually the safest way to do this. Depending on the type of house you have, getting on your roof may not be a safe and wise decision.

If you can visually see problems with your roof and its shingles, contact a reputable roofing contractor in your area. They’ll have the skills and appropriate equipment to safely inspect your roof.


Colonial Insurance Agency is an official supplier of The Silver Lining.  If you’re interested in learning more about our agency, give us a call!



Common Homeowner Insurance Claims

Choosing the right homeowner insurance carrier and coverage can be difficult.  Each person has a different set of exposures that relate to them and as a result, each person should be uniquely protected against those exposures.  Because homeowner insurance isn’t a one size fits all industry, make sure that you have a policy tailored to protect against your specific exposures.  Below is an  infographic from West Bend Mutual Insurance.  The infographic highlights the most common homeowner insurance claims.  This will give you a good idea on what basic exposures almost every homeowner faces.  Make sure to talk with your agent about any additional exposures that may apply.  Whether you own a home, a condo, or rent an apartment, sit down and make a list of what liability and physical exposures you face.  If you’re not sure or need advice, contact an agent at Colonial Insurance Agency.