Farm Safety

It’s farming season…..let’s work together to make sure we all stay safe!

The most frequent type of accidents with farm vehicles are rear-end collisions.  When coming up on a farm tractor, combine or other slow-moving farm vehicle, it is easy to misjudge speed.  You may have only a few seconds to react.

For example, if you are driving at 55 mph coming up on a tractor that is only going 15 mph, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field, according to the USDA.

Farm vehicles are required to have a slow-moving vehicle sign that is designed to be visible at least 500 feet away, making them easy to recognize.

It may be hard for the farmer to move aside to allow you to pass.  Could have a soft shoulder that is wet or too steep or other reasons preventing them from moving over.

Exercise caution and patience.  Even if you have to slow down to 20 mph and follow a farm vehicle for two miles, it only takes six minutes more of your time. That is the equivalent of waiting for two stoplights.

Let’s have a safe farming season!!

 

 

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Is Your Jewelry Properly Insured?

megan ring

Leaving your jewelry to be covered by your homeowners policy is sometimes a risky move. Take for instance your ring is lost while on vacation. Your ring would most likely be covered in this case however you would be subject to your deductible which is often times $1,000 or more. On top of that most policies limit the amount of coverage for any one item of jewelry that is unscheduled.

By scheduling your jewelry you can make sure you are insured for the proper value, usually according to an appraisal or recent purchase receipt. You can also rest assured that you will have a  much lower deductible in the event of a loss, sometimes as low as $0.  Scheduling your jewelry covers your jewelry for a broader number of perils which can mean a world of difference when the unexpected happens to you.

Call Miller Insurance  today to go over your coverage and valuables to make sure your prized possessions are adequately covered.

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Benefits of Using an Independent Insurance Agency

benefits

What are the benefits of using an independent insurance agency?  Independent insurance agents are licensed professionals who are trusted members of the local community.

Miller Insurance Agency can offer a variety of products and policies to cover all your insurance needs!  By having multiple carriers, an independent agency can provide several quotes and find you the best deal possible.  We continually educate ourselves on the different changes, discounts, and other factors to make sure you have adequate and affordable coverage.

With an independent agency, you can have all your insurance covered under one roof instead of having multiple companies to deal with.  We do the shopping for you and make sure you are paying a fair premium.  We have that ability because we represent the customer first, and the company second.blm office

 

 

Some of the things your agent handles for you:

  • Claims – your agent will help you with your claim from start to finish, and making sure it is handled quickly and to your satisfaction.
  • Billing – any billing issues you may have, whether it just be making a payment over the phone, making changes to your billing, or helping to figure out any discrepancies.
  • Annual policy review – an independent agent can go over your policies at your renewal and review any changes and/or discounts that may apply.  If you aren’t happy with your current policy/premium, your agent can re-quote you will multiple carriers to give you other options.

Having a knowledgable independent agent working for you will give you piece of mind knowing your most valued possessions are being looked after.

Call or stop by one of our three convenient locations for more information and/or quotes today!

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Winter Driving Tips On Hazardous Roads

winterroad

Image courtesy of dan at FreedigitalPhotos.net

 

As predicted, this winter is proving to be a wet and cold one!  We want you and your family to stay safe this winter driving on hazardous roads.  As the saying goes “Ice and Snow, Take It Slow!”

 

 

Check before your leave home to see what the weather/driving conditions are.  Know your limits as a driver to decide whether you should go or don’t go.  Make sure you allow adequate time to get to your destination.  Plan on going under the posted speed limit and allow plenty of space between you and other cars.

bad snow road

Make sure your vehicle is completely uncovered of any snow or ice from all windows, lights, signals, and brake lights.  Check that your car is mechanically good to go also (i.e. tires, wiper blades, etc.).  The last thing you need is a breakdown on a day when the roads are bad.  A breakdown is bad enough on a good weather day.

Black ice is especially dangerous because you don’t know it is there until you are already on top of it.  Areas for black ice can be bridges, off-ramps, and intersections to name a few.  Just remember, Ice and Snow, Take it Slow.

Snowplows are out on the roads to help keep them clear for you.  Always be mindful of them and give them the room they need.  Do not pass them or tailgate them.  If you have to pass, always use extreme caution.  Their field of vision is restricted and you may see them but they may not see you.

If you would happen to get into an accident, here are a few reminders/tips to follow to help with your auto insurance claim:

  • First, make sure everyone is okay.  Call an ambulance if needed.
  • If possible, get vehicle(s) off the road for safety.  Especially if visibility is low.  Put out hazard triangles or something similar if you have them.
  • Call the police.
  • Exchange information – BOTH name, address, and phone # of other party along with their insurance information (this is also found on the motorist report the police officer will provide you).
  • Contact your agent and/or insurance company to start the claims process.

All of us here at the Miller Insurance Agency  wish you and your loved ones safe travels this winter!

For more information on your auto insurance or a quote, please call or stop by one of our convenient locations in Bloomington, Colfax, and Gridley.

 

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How Will Hitting A Deer Affect My Auto Insurance?

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

This time of year you need to be especially careful and alert!  During hunting season, deer are very active.  The particularly high-risk times are sunrise and sunset to midnight.

 

 

 

Drive slower than your normally would so you will have more time to react if you see a deer along the road.  Be extra cautious when there are signs posted warning of a deer crossing and when you are in a rural or wooded area.

Drive defensively!  Make sure you always wear your seat belt, and be on the look out for deer.  More than likely if you see one there is probably more nearby.  They do not usually travel alone.

When you are able, use your high-beam headlights at night to help make the deer more visible.

DO NOT SWERVE YOUR VEHICLE Swerving your vehicle to miss hitting the deer could cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  This could result in hitting another vehicle, a tree, or another object.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Scan the sides of the roads as you drive looking for wildlife.  And if you have passengers, have them help, but be sure to ask them to not shout out as it could startle you and make you react incorrectly.

If you notice another vehicle that is slowing down or have their hazards flashing, this could be an indication that there are deer in the area. Take precautions and be prepared to take action if necessary.

If you do have a collision with a deer or other animal, here are some steps to take after making sure everyone in the vehicle is okay:

  • Pull over if you can and put on your hazard lights.  Aim your headlights on the animal or as close as you can, if possible.
  • Check passengers for injuries and act accordingly.
  • Do not go near the animal; it could kick or gore you from being afraid or if it is in pain. 
  • Only attempt to move the animal if you are 100% sure that it is dead.
  • Use road flares or triangles if you have them.
  • Call the police immediately or flag down help.  Remember that most insurance companies will not pay for the claim if you don’t file a police report.

What will my auto insurance cover if I hit a deer?  It is a misconception that this coverage would fall under your Collision coverage of your policy.  If you collide with an animal, it is actually Comprehensive coverage that provides the coverage for damage to your auto.  Most Comprehensive coverages will have a deductible that would be applied to an animal collision loss.

If you aren’t sure if you have comprehensive coverage, contact your agent or give our office a call for an auto quote today!  We have three convenient locations:  Bloomington, Colfax, and Gridley.

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Do I Need To Schedule My Personal Property?

 You just bought your daughter or son a laptop and a new smartphone for Christmas and a new gun for your husband.  Shortly after, your child dropped his new phone on the ice and the screen cracked and it is no longer working properly.  That same week, your gun was stolen while you were gone for a long weekend.  How are you going to be able to afford to replace them?

All home insurance policies come with personal property coverage.  However, items like jewelry, guns, furs, and computers have coverage limitations.  This coverage is very broad and doesn’t list specifically your belongings.  Most home insurance companies have the option to list your items on your policy.  These items are then considered scheduled personal property.

To schedule personal property means you list specific items you own on your home insurance policy.  If items in your home get damaged and you file a claim, your insurance will only pay the amount that is reasonable to replace it.  By scheduling items, you are making sure you get what you insured it for (replacement value or agreed upon value).

 Popular items that people schedule:

  • Guns
  • Jewelry
  • Hearing Aids
  • Cell phones (not all companies will schedule)
  • Musical instruments
  • Furs
  • Rugs
  • Collectables (coins, baseball cards, etc.)
  • Laptops and tablets

Example:  You have a fire in your living room, destroying your area rug.  Most area rugs like yours run around $1,000.  However, you had this rug special ordered from China and it actually cost you over $5,000.  If it was not scheduled, you are only going to get what your insurance companies feel is a reasonable replacement cost of an area rug, which is only $1,000.

Most insurance companies will need proof that your items are worth what you say they are (i.e. a recent appraisal, or a recent bill of sale).

Scheduling you personal property is an additional premium to your home insurance policy.  There is no general amount across the board that insurance companies charge.  Each company charges a different amount to schedule your property.

The benefits of scheduling your personal property:  you can pay no deductible or you can choose your deductible, you get full value for the items (replacement or agreed upon value), and you are insured for “mysterious disappearance” (you just misplace them and they are lost).  Your items are pretty much covered for anything!

If you are unsure whether you should schedule your personal property or if it is even an item that can be scheduled, give us a call or stop by one of our three convenient locations!

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Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

As the cold weather approaches, now is a good time to look at your home and see what areas you can cut down on energy waste.

Here is a list of energy-saving tips that you can do yourself to help save money in the winter on your heating bills.

  • Duck the Draft(s) – The U.S. Department of Energy reports that drafts can waste 5%-30% of your energy use.  The draft snake is an easy fix for this.  You can make your own very easily by just placing a rolled bath towel under the drafty door.  They are also available to purchase,
  • Changing Your Furnace Filters – During the heating season it is important to replace or clean your furnace filters once a month.  When they are dirty they can restrict airflow and make your furnace work harder.  There are also permanent filters out there that are available, but at a higher cost.  Also, if your furnace needs replaced this season, make sure to take advantage of the federal tax credit for new high-efficiency furnaces.
  • Run Ceiling Fans in Reverse – the warm air near the ceiling is circulated back down into your living space and can cut your heating costs as much as 10%!
  • Winterize Your A/C and Water LInes – for a window a/c unit, drain any hoses and pipes, and make sure no water is pooled inside it and store it away for the winter.  If it has water shutoff valve, turn that off.  Turn off exterior water spigots and seal any water leaks you may have.  If you need a new air conditioner, check for a residential energy credit from the IRS.
  • Install Storm Doors and Windows – this can increase your energy efficiency by 45%!
  • Tune-Up Your Furnace – this can also reduce your energy use.  Many utilities offer free annual checkups, but you need to call early before they get backed up.  Also, some furnace manufacturers and dealers also offer this service for free or discounted.  Also, if a new one is necessary, don’t forget to check for federal tax credits!
  • Programmable Thermostat – for those times that you are regularly gone from your home, you can turn it down.  Why pay for what no one is using?
  • Window Insulation Kit – add a shield against drafts and it can help hold in the heat.  Once again, if you have old windows and are considering investing in new efficient windows, you could qualify for a federal tax credit.
  • Caulking and weather-stripping – Even the most simple leak can cost you 5%-30% a year in energy efficiency.  Look closely in areas such as corners, around the chimney, and where wires and pipes exit and along the foundation.
  • Boost Your Insulation and Insulate Your Pipes – adding more insulation between the walls and making sure your attic floor and basement ceiling are well covered is a good way to save energy and money.  Insulating your pipes can decrease the chance of them freezing.  You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores.  Both of these could also be eligible for tax credits when using highly efficient insulation.
  • Sealing those Ducts – Studies have shown 10% to 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from your ducts.  Having them properly sealed can save up to $140 per year, according to the American Solar Energy Society.  Properly sealed ducts can also protect you better against mold and dust.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are looking at a rough winter!  Illinois is predicted to be “biting cold and snowy”.  Let’s make sure we are ready for Old Man Winter.

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Pet Insurance……Protect Your Furry Family Member

 

jonmaggiehaylee

 

Hi, my name is Haylee and I am a golden labrador retriever!  I am a healthy puppy with loving parents that adopted me and are spoiling me rotten (I know….I have it rough huh?)!

My mom and dad purchased a pet insurance policy for me to protect me against accidental injury and illness.  My dad said it was really reasonably priced and the coverage protects me if I get sick or hurt myself.  Not that price would probably matter……look at how cute I am!  Wouldn’t you protect me too?!

haylee

One insurer, Pekin Insurance offers pet insurance coverage that can easily be added to your homeowners policy.  They insure cats and dogs 6 weeks of age and older, although the maximum age you can add a pet is 8 years for dogs and 10 years for cats.  It is best to insure your pet at an early age as pre-existing conditions are excluded.

You can choose a maximum annual benefit of $2,500 or $5,000, both with a $100 deductible and 10% coinsurance.  There is a 14-day waiting period after the effective date which there is no illness coverage for your pet.  Coverage for injuries begin 24 hours after the effective date of the policy.

Example:  If you have a covered claim of $1,500, the first 10% coinsurance is applied and $150 is deducted from the covered amount, leaving $1,350.  Then the deductible of $100 is applied, leaving $1,250.  Out of the original $1,500 we will reimburse you a total of $1,250.

Pekin Insurance is only one carrier that can offer this coverage.  We have Met Life who also offers this coverage too.  Give our office a call or stop by and we would be happy to provide you with a quote for your furry loved one!

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Cold and Flu Season Facts and Tips

Typically the cold and flu season is in the months of January and February but can begin as early as October.  The influenza (Flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses.  The flu is different from a cold, it usually comes on quickly.  Flu symptoms do not change much from year to year and they include:

  • Fever/Chills (not everyone will have a fever)
  • Body Aches
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose
  • Cough
  • Exhaustion
  • Congestion
  • Headache

The best protection against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year (shot or nasal).

Antiviral medications are a good option, such as Tamiflu or Relenza, if you are unable to get a flu shot.

4 good ways to prevent the flu:

  1. Wash Your Hands Frequently
  2. Flu Vaccines
  3. Staying Healthy Around Others
  4. When You Can’t Wash Your Hands – carry hand sanitizer

Whether the reason is pride or a hectic work schedule, a lot of Americans go to work sick.  Around 60% of sick people go to work anyway and risk the health of those around them.  Germs can spread throughout your workplace and elsewhere when a person touches a place that has been contaminated by a sick person.

We can all make a difference just by staying home when we are sick to avoid passing around germs and infecting others.  It is suggested staying home for 24 hours after your fever breaks before returning to work.

Do you have health insurance to cover medical expenses if you get the flu?  Our agents are happy to provide you with quotes and answer any questions you may have.

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The value of a policy review…..

Do you know the value of a policy review?  How long since you last looked at your polices and coverages?

Life events can affect your insurance coverages, so it is always good to take a look at your policies every couple of years to make sure you are covered properly.

Small changes in your life can mean big changes in your insurance. For instance did you get a new job? Maybe you aren’t driving as far anymore and you are eligible for a low-mileage discount. Or maybe you started a business out of your home. These are things we would like to discuss to insure you are protected properly.

Call or stop by one of our three convenient locations in Bloomington, Colfax, or Gridley and speak with one of our qualified agents!

 

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