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Choosing the Right Insurance for You and Your Family

Growing up, Cassie Sanetra had no desire to go into the insurance industry. That’s what her mother and stepfather did, and she wanted to do something different. However, while in college, she helped her mother at her State Farm office in Columbia Heights and it changed her way of thinking. “I ended up loving it,” she says. “I got licensed, helped my mom open a second location in Minneapolis, and ran and managed that.” 

Today, Cassie has been an insurance agent for 15 years, and in 2021, she opened her own State Farm office in Richfield. “Working with State Farm, seeing how it operates and the kind of values they have, I never thought about looking at another company,” she says. 

State Farm offers a large range of personal and business policies. Since these policies can vary greatly and small details can make big differences, it’s critical to choose the best one for your needs and lifestyle. An agent can help with that.

“When people buy coverage online, they might think they're getting the right policies, but more times than not, there are gaps in coverage,” says Cassie. “Just like with anything in life, it's not always good to go for the cheapest option. It's important to me to help educate customers or prospective customers on what insurance is and what it covers, and to give them all the information they need to make an educated decision for themselves and their families.”

In order to determine the best homeowner’s policy, she asks a lot of questions and uses a tool that State Farm has developed that calculates replacement costs from an insurance standpoint. “I'm not just collecting an address. I need you to explain what it's like - what makes up your house. What's on the inside, what type of flooring, cabinets and countertops do you have, how many bedrooms and bathrooms – I really dive deep.”

This way, Cassie can find discounts for customers. “Roofing materials are important and can get you additional discounts. If you have a basement, I want to know if it's finished or unfinished, and if you have a sump pump. Do you have an alarm system? We have a lot of older homes built in the early 1900s, and if the homeowners have done any updates, such as electrical updates, there are big discounts for that too.”

For car insurance, she says the major component that needs to be considered is the liability limit. “Each state has its own minimum, which is typically very low,” she says. “We look at the bigger picture because we're protecting everything, not just your vehicle. If you're in a bad car accident, your assets are now at stake if somebody sues you because you injured them or worse. You need to make sure those limits and coverages are appropriate to protect you.”

Again, an agent can also find you discounts on car insurance by asking the right questions. “I need to know, for example, how many miles you drive because if you don't drive very much, there's a discount.” 

Bundling is another way to save money. “If you have home and auto with us, you get a bundle discount of 35% on your home and 15% on your auto,” says Cassie. “If you have more than one car, you get a multi-car discount.”

It’s also smart, she explains, to have one insurance company and one agent for multiple policies. “Every company has their own stipulations of coverages, endorsements and exclusions. When you have your house with one company, your car at another, and a boat at yet another, they all operate differently, and you might have a gap in coverage. Some of these companies don't even have agents, so now you're calling an 800 number. Since you don't have a representative, you're just trying to get information from somebody.”

Cassie says there are a lot of misconceptions about insurance, and an agent’s job is to explain coverages and how they work or don't work. There are certain items such as jewelry, guns, gold and silverware that may not be covered or not covered in full. “Jewelrys really the big one, and on a regular homeowner’s policy, you're capped at a certain amount. There is also a deductible. So, if you're capped at $2,500 and your ring is worth $10,000, it’s a big loss.” 

For high-end belongings, it’s best to have separate policies. “We put them on their own policies called personal articles,” she says. “These are separate from the house and have no deductibles. It also doesn't affect homeowner’s policy rates if a claim is filed.”

Running her own office keeps Cassie very busy, but she also works hard to create a work-life balance. She and her husband, Jesse, have a 3 ½ year old daughter named Eliana, who fills the majority of their free time. They also have a mini Goldendoodle named Afton. “She's my sidekick. I bring her to work with me at least a couple times a week.”

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