Removing Snow From Your Roof

Winter has arrived earlier than normal in our area this year. It seems like we never really got enough of fall and all at once were thrown into the ‘depths’ of winter, literally. Due to the early (and numerous) snowfalls, its not too soon to start thinking about the snow already sitting on your dwelling and/or outbuilding roofs. As you know, snow can get extremely heavy for any roof to handle. With many months of winter still to come, collapsing roofs from snow load are a real possibility this season. You may recall the record snow falls and cold temperatures we had about five years ago. Many roofs did collapse all over the State of Wisconsin that winter.

With the above thoughts in mind, you may want to start removing some snow off your roofs now. Don’t wait for another possible two to three feet to fall on them. Even though your insurance may cover the loss of the roof collapse, its doubtful that anyone would really want to go through the heartache of seeing this happen. The damage is not limited to your dwelling or outbuilding, but the snow from a collapsed roof can cause the loss of the personal property as well. Some personal items may even include keepsakes that get damaged beyond repair. Therefore, a little prevention now could save many potential problems in the future. Lets all keep our fingers crossed for a nice, long, old-fashion January thaw!

Rick Harder – Agent for Harder Insurance Agency

Neighbors Helping Neighbors


Were you aware that when you do business with Trade Lake Mutual Insurance Company, you are working with a local area company with local area agents and agencies? Trade Lake Mutual is a property & casualty insurance company that is headquartered just outside of Frederic, WI. Like many Town Mutuals in Wisconsin, Trade Lake Mutual has been around since the late 1800’s and just recently observed its 143rd annual meeting. 

I am one of the local area agents appointed by Trade Lake Mutual to market its insurance products in the local territory. Working with and purchasing insurance from a local company such as Trade Lake Mutual helps support the local economy. Both Trade Lake Mutual and its agents know our area and in many cases, know the folks they are doing business with. We are in essence neighbors helping neighbors with insurance needs. Should a problem arise or should you need help with any insurance issue, you will not reach an ‘800’ number or a ‘paid for’ answering service company on the other side of the US, or possibly even further away. Instead, you will communicate with a local person when you place a call to Trade Lake Mutual.

Even being a relatively small insurance company, Trade Lake Mutual has competitive premium rates. We have much less outlay for things such as huge buildings, company owned golf courses, or expensive TV ads. It is also the case that many large companies (regardless of what they market) often lose the personal touch with their customers. In the insurance industry, this could result in a tendency to look for ways to avoid paying claims, as they don’t see the personal struggle following a loss.

I saw firsthand during two major weather events we experienced locally—a tornado in 2001 and high velocity straight line winds in 2011 that tore through the heart of our territory— where our company did what it could to pay claims for our policyholders. Claims have to be settled per the insurance contract and must be handled fairly for all. Having said that, in cases where the terms of a contract would support denying a claim but would also allow payment for the occurrence as long as payments were offered to all policyholders with the same issue, Trade Lake Mutual chose to pay and help the policy holders.

Another nice advantage of doing business with a company like Trade Lake Mutual is that the company is technically a cooperative, similar to a local electric or dairy cooperative. Policyholders have some say in how the company operates and in reality the policyholders are owners of the company. Policyholders are invited to attend annual meetings and can vote on directors and other important items that arise.

Trade Lake Mutual also has a great business relationship with 1st Auto and Casualty, for which I am also appointed to write. Because of this relationship, discounts are given from both companies for policyholders who utilize both companies’ insurance products. This means you can save money off both your home and auto premiums!

Concluding, you may be able to find a company offering cheaper rates, but from my experience, you will be hard pressed to find a better company with better service. Keep in mind that the sweet smell of cheap costs can be easily off set by the foul odor of a bad experience. Give me a call for a free, no hassle quote. I would love to help with your insurance needs. 

Rick Harder – Agent for Harder Insurance Agency

Spring is on the way!


Do you think a metal-sided, metal-roofed pole building can burn down? Most of us would agree there shouldn’t be any way for fire from the outside to burn down a building as such. However speaking from firsthand knowledge, I can assure you they can definitely burn down.

What does this have to do with spring? A typical spring will normally have a pretty dry period between the snowmelt and green up. I have friends who work with the DNR in fire control who would attest to this. In fact, most wildfires occur during this period of time in the spring as fire danger rises dramatically. Even if you did a lot of leaf and debris clean up last fall, chances are, there could be quite a bit of debris that has accumulated over the winter. This includes additional dead leaves, pine needles and small branches. Many times this debris will blow around, pile up and accumulate around the foundations and perimeters of outbuildings and homes. During this dry period, spring debris can be tinder-dry and almost explosively flammable.

These were the conditions when the pole building I mentioned burned down a few years ago. That particular day, dry dead debris had accumulated all around the perimeter of this pole building and it was very windy. The owner happened to be doing some welding and metal grinding outside near another one of his pole buildings used as a workshop. Unbeknown to the owner, sparks from the grinding started some leaves on fire and the wind-aided fire quickly spread to the debris around the other pole building. It happened so fast that it got out of control before the owner could have a chance to put it out. Fire from the dead leaves and pine needles easily started the green treated rim boards on fire and rapidly moved up the posts to the trusses on the inside of this building. Not only was the building a total loss, but everything inside burned up as well. A helpful DNR employee saved the workshop pole building from the same fate by merely walking around the perimeter of that structure and removing the debris away from the rim boards by a couple of feet or so. The flames died out before they reached the rim boards.

All that is to say, you may just want to take a little time this spring to rake away the dead flammable debris from your building’s perimeters. As they say, an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Having said that, even though precautions are taken, unknowns can happen.

Contact me to make sure your structures are properly covered just in case something bad does happen. I can easily provide a hassle free quote with no obligations. Insurance won’t stop bad things from occurring, but it can sure go quite a ways to try and make things whole again. It can also provide you with some comfort and peace of mind.

Post by Rick Harder – Insurance Agent