Former farm kids — Today's farm insurance experts

Dan on his family farm

Dan Case’s story

Living and working on a farm takes a special kind of dedication, work ethic, and passion. You wake up early, go to bed late, and work hard in between. Dan Case, Farm and Agribusiness Underwriter, knows all about farm life and the struggles and rewards it can bring.

Former farm kids — Today's farm insurance experts

Kayla and her brother on their family farm

Kayla Smith’s Story

On a small family-owned dairy farm in Oconto Falls, Wis., home to 100 dairy cows and four little farmhands, Kayla Smith grew up and learned the ways of the farm. Kayla and her three brothers lived the farm life their entire youth, but when it came time to decide who would take the farm over from their dad and uncle, they all had other plans.

Watch your step: Slip and falls injure all kinds of people and businesses

Caution sign signaling falling ice

Did you know that falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the U.S.?

More than 9 million people are seen by medical providers each year for slip and fall accidents and related injuries, and one-fifth of falls cause serious bodily harm like a broken bone or head injury. Sadly, most are preventable and could have been avoided with proper preparation and training.

During winter weather conditions, the stakes are even higher with wet floors and icy surfaces. Businesses can help prevent slip and falls on two fronts—for associates and customers.

Former farm kids—Today's farm insurance experts

Jenny as a child on her family's farm.

Jenny VanDeHei’s Story

When Jenny VanDeHei left for college to study business, she thought she had picked her last stone and fed her last calf. She loved the family farm she grew up on, but she saw her future as an accountant, in an office building in the city, far from the country fresh smell of cow manure.

Never once did she think her life would come full circle back to farming nor that she would be so happy it did.

Great Place to Work and Fortune recognize SECURA among Best Small and Medium Workplaces of 2017

SECURA Best Small & Medium Workplace by Fortune

It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes a great workplace. Things like modern facilities and flexible schedules are important, but a truly genuine office culture can only be measured by the voices of the people who work there.

For the second consecutive year, the voice of SECURA associates was heard, as Great Place to Work and Fortune named our company among the Best Small and Medium Workplaces of 2017. Based on anonymous surveys, the award is a direct reflection of how our associates feel about SECURA.

Unique insurance risks for Mobile Home Parks

Mobile Home Park Insurance

Tiny homes, huge potential

300 square feet?

It seems impossible to live like that, but it’s also impossible to flip TV channels without landing on a show about tiny homes or mobile lifestyles.

Demand for mobile home parks is once again growing, especially near metro areas. For young people buying their first home or retirees looking to downsize and travel, these housing options offer the benefits of low overhead and flexibility.

Permanence: Insuring your tattoo business to stand the test of time

Tattoo Parlor Insurance Liability Coverage

Two words: professional liability

If you own or operate one of the 21,000 tattoo parlors in the U.S., you understand that you and your business play a role in changing perceptions of this fast growing market, and perception is reality for tattoo pros.

Approximately 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo, and they’re spending more than $1.65 billion on them each year. Forty-nine percent of people with tattoos say the reputation of the artist or studio are the most important factor in considering a tattoo. What you might not consider is that tattoo and body piercing parlors have many of the same insurance concerns as any other type of small business owner, plus additional liability risks.

Hayrides, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses: Are your seasonal events insured?

Hayrides, pumpkin patches, haunted houses – all these special events require special responsibilities. If your nonprofit is holding a seasonal event this fall, manage it with the right special event insurance.

Check your coverage

Special event policies protect you during a one-time event (or a series of events) that are outside your normal scope of operation. Even if you already have some special event coverage built into your policy, take time to review any stipulations regarding certain activities or the maximum number of participants. So before you organize that corn maze race or apple pie eating competition, check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re protected.

Does your insurance protect your daycare?

Daycare providers insurance

Dirty diapers are the least of your worries

Commercial child care providers wear a lot of hats. Insurance expert shouldn’t have to be one of them.

If you own or operate a daycare or run a before and/or after school program or preschool, you know there’s a fine line between “kids being kids” and “I’ll see you in court.” Founded or unfounded, claims of negligence or abuse can have a serious impact on your business.

Happy Customer Service Week

Customer service representatives
Customer Service Week (CSW) is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers on a daily basis. CSW has been a nationally recognized event since 1992 when the U.S. Congress proclaimed it to be celebrated annually during the first full week in October.

Tips for celebrating Customer Service Week

  • Show your customer service team you appreciate them with a special meal or treat
  • If your organization’s dress code is typically business professional, give customer service team members a casual day
  • Write thank-you notes to customers

Thank you to our outstanding customer service teams for their dedication to always providing exceptional service to our agents and policyholders as well as to our partner agencies for their customer service excellence.

Trust your spa to insurance experts

Would you let just anyone cut your hair?

Your phone is always ringing. Your inbox is flooded. If you have a fitness tracker or smart watch, you’re connected even when you sleep.

The stress of being connected 24/7 is driving people to look for relief, and they’re heading to the spa. According to the International SPA Association (ISPA), the spa industry is on an upward swing.

Seconds until death: Grain bin suffocations persist

Grain Bin Safety Understanding Hazards

The tragedy repeatedly makes news headlines: People entrapped in grain storage bins with only seconds to react before they are engulfed and suffocated.

Understanding how people get trapped in grain bins

Scenario 1: A worker enters the top of a grain bin, and the auger begins running to unload the grain. Within five seconds, the worker becomes trapped. The flowing grain behaves like quick sand, pulling the worker down. After 22 seconds, he is completely covered.

Scenario 2: Unbeknownst to him, a worker stands on a “bridge” formed by clumped grain due to moisture or mold. Beneath the firm layer, there’s a pocket of space and, when it collapses, the worker becomes buried. When unloading begins, the worker is instantly trapped.

SECURA’s workplace culture shines in “World’s Greatest!” TV program

Scroll to the bottom to watch the full episode of “World’s Greatest!” featuring SECURA.

“Be real. Earn it. Have fun.”

Those words are ingrained in the fabric of SECURA’s workplace culture, and they capture how our associates conduct themselves on a daily basis. With each associate living those ideas, you get a truly special workplace culture — one worthy of a feature on the “World’s Greatest!” television program.

Produced by How2Media, the “World’s Greatest!” cable series covers “the story behind the story” for businesses. This is the first time the series has featured a company for its workplace culture, with other episodes focusing on products, places, companies, and people.

Tips to stay safe during fall cleanup

It’s time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. The season change means draining the pool, cleaning out landscaping, and raking up leaves.

Thousands of Americans are injured during their fall cleanup each year. To make sure you’re not one of them, follow these safety tips.

SECURA’s Brett Purcell named Steve Welker Associate of the Year by IIABAZ

Brett Purcell accepts Steve Welker Associate of the Year Award

Nearly anyone who does their job well doesn’t do it for recognition. In Brett Purcell’s case, he does it because he cares deeply about the work he does, the company he works for, and the people he engages.

When thunder roars and lightning strikes – staying safe around lighting

Lightning Near A House

Many people are fascinated by lightning, and rightfully so. The giant spark of electricity lights up the sky, and in the blink of an eye, it’s gone. Although lightning is captivating, it’s also very dangerous.

Did you know that lightning is hotter than the surface of the sun and can reach temperatures around 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit? In the United States, lightning strikes about 25 million times per year according to the National Weather Service. About 300 people are struck by lightning annually, and on average, it causes 30 casualties while others suffer lifelong disabilities.

What you should do to protect yourself and your home before and during high winds

High winds are usually associated with storms, but there are times that the passing of a storm or differences in air pressure cause a windy day. Gusting winds can bring down trees, powerlines, and signs, turning unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles. If there is a high wind advisory or severe thunderstorm issued for your area, there are a few precautions you should take to keep yourself safe, as well as prevent damage to your home.

Powerlines: How to stay safe near overhead, downed and underground lines

Overhead powerlines in a storm

When it comes to powerlines, a good rule of thumb is to just stay away. It’s important to always respect the power of powerlines by using common sense and exercising safety precautions when playing or working near them.

Overhead lines

Working near overhead powerlines requires extra attentiveness and precautions. Accidents involving contact with overhead powerlines can damage equipment and cause serious injuries or even death.

Before doing any work on a job site, always conduct a thorough survey that identifies any power lines, utility poles, guy wires, service drops, and other power-related equipment. Always check carefully for overhead lines before raising any long-handled tools or equipment. If you need to cut a tree or branch, be sure it won’t fall into power lines. Always remember to look up and keep at least 10 feet away from powerlines.

Preparing your vehicle and your mind to drive on wet roads

Highway driving on wet roads

Road conditions, precipitation, traffic, and several other factors all impact the way we drive. Being able to adjust your driving habits is vital to keeping you, your passengers, and other drivers safe. For experienced drivers, navigating wet roads might seem simple — slow down, increase your following distance, etc. — but there is often more to it than that. Whether you’ve been driving for decades or you’ve had your license for just a few years, the tips below can make all the difference when driving on wet roads.

Hunting for hunting insurance

Hunting Club Insurance

Aim for full coverage with SECURA

Camo is a part of life in rural America, and there are a host of clubs, organizations, and businesses that cater to hunters, archers, and gun enthusiasts.

Businesses: Gun ranges, hunt clubs, guide services

These types of businesses are a great way to combine your personal passion with a profitable profession. As you grow your business, you’ll have the same concerns as any small business owner, plus some additional things to consider like whether the activities of your members are covered under your policy. Talk to one of our experienced independent agents to make sure you are properly protected.

The 4 essential layers of campground insurance

Campground Insurance

A successful camping trip is all about preparation – setting the dates, planning the route, and packing what you’ll need to thrive. Campground owners and operators should have an insurance plan that covers their specialized needs and can help them weather any storm.

There are multiple layers of coverage to consider, whether you cater to tents and RVs or day campers and outdoor rec groups. With SECURA, you can tailor a policy to your needs so you can focus on your guests.

Joseph M. Wiedemann & Sons recognizes SECURA as Agency Partner of the Year

Joseph M. Wiedemann & SECURA Insurance

We want the best for our customers, and we truly believe the independent agents we partner with want the same. By creating strong relationships with the agents who bring you our products, we are confident our customers are getting the coverage they need from the right providers.

Joseph M Wiedemann & Sons Agency Partner of the Year Award SECURA
We recognize our top -performing agents every year but, recently, the roles were reversed when
Joseph M.Wiedemann & Sons recognized SECURA as their Partner Carrier of the Year at the agency’s annual golf outing at St. Charles Country Club in Illinois.

“Our agents are a vital part of what we do here at SECURA,” said Shane Roh, Regional Vice President of Sales. “Being recognized as their top partner is what we strive for every day, because we want to support all the agents at Joseph M. Wiedemann & Sons as they do what’s best for their customers.”

Through the years, we’ve been recognized by some of theinsurance industry’s top rating services, but earning an award from those we do business with every day is especially rewarding.

Insurance protection for boat and kayak rental services

Kayak and boat rental insurance

Don’t take on water with gaps in insurance

“For sale: Almost new kayak – used once.”

Ads like this one flood craigslist and make renting a boat or kayak a much better option than storing it all winter.

Of course, that’s no secret to people who rent boats, kayaks, and canoes for a living. It’s a great attraction to add to other outdoor rec ventures and can be a major draw in lake country.

5 reasons to work with an independent insurance agent

Catchy ads and cut-rate pricing may appeal to some, but they can’t replace the value of working with an experienced independent agent. The key words when choosing an agent are “experienced” and “independent.”

An independent agent can help you understand your coverage needs and help you find an insurance company that meets them. A captive agent only has one company’s coverage options to offer. The shopping experience is significantly different, and options are limited.

The additional perspective of working with an independent agent gives people seeking insurance a definite advantage. Here are five reasons to work with an independent agent.

Find an Agent

SECURA holds groundbreaking event to officially kick off construction of new corporate office

The future site of SECURA’s new corporate office was full of activity on June 22, as many gathered for the company's official groundbreaking ceremony. Approximately 60 guests filled a small area of the construction site, surrounded by heavy-duty equipment. Dave Gross, SECURA’s President & CEO, led the event with a reflection on the company’s long history of success and the bright future the company aspires to continue in the Fox Cities.

SECURA’s company culture also took center stage as Dave explained that the vision for this building was shaped by SECURA’s history, our perspective as a mutual insurance company, and our associates. Read on for excerpts of his inspiring remarks.

9 tips to help you stay awake and be more alert at your job

Tired construction worker Whether you work construction, retail, or in an office setting, feeling drowsy at your job increases the risk of making a mistake. Those mistakes can lead to accidents, putting you, your employer, and your coworkers at risk.

The National Sleep Foundation indicates that sleepy workers are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than workers who are more alert. The organization also states that employees who regularly have trouble sleeping are far more likely to be involved in industrial accidents.

Understanding the insurance needs of commercial child care providers

Daycare Insurance Requirements

Commercial child care insurance requirements

It’s no secret that children can be a little (well, more than a little) unpredictable. While commercial child care professionals expect just about anything, the proper insurance coverage provides protection against the unexpected.

As a daycare owner, the kids you care for are your top priority, but when it comes to insuring your business, they are one of many factors to consider. You also may have employees and property that require coverage. Caring for children exposes your business to many liability issues, and in today’s litigation culture, it’s important that you have coverage for incidents and potential legal action.

Vacation Car Rental Insurance: What You Need to Know

Planning to rent a car for summer vacation? Review your insurance coverage before you go. Don’t wait until you reach the rental car counter, where you might feel pressured to make a quick decision and buy extra coverage. Do your homework ahead of time and figure out if you need the rental company’s insurance.
Does car insurance cover rental cars

6 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Accidents happen, and they’re always stressful and inconvenient. Even if you’re a safe driver, it makes sense to plan ahead and know how to respond, in case a fender bender or more serious collision occurs. Follow these steps to stay safe and help ensure a smooth, efficient resolution:
  1. Check for injuries and call an ambulance if needed. 
  2. If safe, move the cars out of traffic. 
  3. Call the police and request an accident report. 
  4. Exchange information with the other driver. 
  5. Get name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance provider. Document the scene. Take pictures. Sketch a diagram of the accident and record vehicle info (make, damage, license plate) for all vehicles involved. (Click the form below to download a printable accident report form to keep in your car.) 
  6. Notify your insurance agent within 24 hours.

Weather woes: Protect yourself before the storm hits

Homeowners Storm Protection Insurance Coverage
Many homeowners, especially new homeowners, don’t give a lot of thought to their insurance coverage until the wind picks up. Spend a few minutes reviewing these common causes of damage and how you can help protect your home from Mother Nature’s worst.


Tornadoes are devastating, of course, but gusty days and straight-line winds actually account for more claims than confirmed tornadoes. Make sure your home is in good repair and your landscaping is kept up to prevent damage. Remove weak branches before they fall on the house, use bark instead of landscaping rock that can damage windows, and store lawn furniture safely out of the wind when it’s not in use.

Weighing the Liability Risk

The fitness industry is vulnerable to all kinds of liability claims. From a dropped dumbbell to a fall off a treadmill or a health emergency, the risks are fairly extensive. Even if you have no control over someone’s actions, it’s easy to get drawn into a lawsuit. 

In addition to personal injury claims from falls, slips, or equipment misuse, fitness centers face additional exposure when patrons work out with a personal trainer. Other distinct risks come into play as health clubs evolve, including a growing emergence of specialty gyms and unstaffed 24-hour clubs.

As a fitness club owner, you can minimize risk with some proactive measures like these:

  • Review your general liability coverage with an agent. 
  • Require professional liability policies for all independently contracted trainers.
  • Secure hold harmless agreements and liability waivers from all club members. 
  • Provide regular safety training for staff, as well as safety incentives to encourage vigilance.

One other key way you can help ensure safety and reduce claims: keep the club clean and maintained. Be diligent with your maintenance records and enlist staff in keeping the facility tidy and organized. Encourage club members to wipe down equipment after use and report maintenance concerns. 

Insuring health clubs requires customized policies because of the unique nature of niche clubs. Insurance provisions may be streamlined for focused class facilities, such as yoga or barre studios, versus more comprehensive family fitness facilities. 

Be sure to tell your agent about all the products and services your club provides, including child care, nutritional supplements, massage, and other professional consultations. And, if you engage in off-site training, contact your insurance agent to make sure your liability extends off premises. 

Niche Fitness Gyms: Fit for Liability

Yoga studios, CrossFit gyms, martial art centers, climbing clubs…there are all kinds of niche workout facilities today, catering to one fitness specialty or another. For some, these facilities become more than a place to work out. They become a kind of community space—a place for people with shared interests to come together in support of healthy, whole lifestyles.

That’s why safety is an important issue for every gym user. One underinsured accident could lead to the closure of a favorite destination. Gym owners, of course, share the largest burden of responsibility, but gym members have their part to play too. 

Gym Owners
As a small business owner, your role is to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to minimizing risks. You have a duty of care to keep the equipment and facility safe, clean, and free of dangerous obstacles. 

What’s more, you must alert users to potential risks and foreseeable injuries. Does the floor get slippery during workouts? Are users swinging weights in a crowded space? Warn users of any known dangers, and remind participants to respect their own limitations.

Gym Members
Always stay aware of your surroundings and work out responsibly. If you injure someone at the gym, through risky or careless behavior, you could find yourself the target of a lawsuit. Look around you. Ensure you have adequate space for whatever exercise you’re performing and adhere to all gym safety rules. 

If you’re new to a facility, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the gym and its routine activity. In one Florida CrossFit gym, for example, a member was injured after being startled by the sudden, loud noise of free weights hitting the floor. It’s possible that better awareness of gym norms could have helped prevent that accident. 

Take part in gym safety, for the benefit of all members. Report broken or faulty equipment and facility maintenance issues. Put gear away where it belongs and generally keep an eye out for member welfare. Enlist help from gym staff if another member is misusing equipment and/or causing a potential risk to others. 

Taking an active interest in gym safety protects those around you and helps ensure your fitness facility will continue to be available as a place to sweat, strive, and socialize. 

SECURA honors 2016’s top agencies

SECURA recognized six insurance agencies for outstanding business performance during 2016. These agencies represent the best in profitability, growth, and loss history with SECURA. We awarded the agencies this week at a ceremony held during our annual Premier Agent Professional Development Conference.

Ansay & Associates, LLC, took the highest honor as our top-performing agency. This four-time award winner from Port Washington, Wis., has been a SECURA partner for 31 years. Mike Ansay and Tom Schaetz accepted the award from Dave Gross, President & CEO.

Other agencies recognized for top performance were:
  • Indianhead Insurance Agency, Inc., from Eau Claire, Wis. This 11-time award winner has been a SECURA partner for 38 years. Bruce Freeland and Craig Jameson accepted the award.
  • Four-time award winner North Risk Partners, LLC, from St. Cloud, Minn. Chris Meidt and Barry Quernemoen accepted the award for the agency, which has been a SECURA partner for 23 years.
  • Friedman Insurance Inc. of Dubuque, Iowa. A partner for 21 years, this is the agency’s first award. Terry Friedman accepted the honor.
  • Thorncreek Insurance Services of Springfield, Ill. Also a first-time award winner, Thorncreek has been a SECURA partner for five years. Troy Alexander accepted the award.
  • Insurance Station of Iowa took the Rookie Award Winner. Jared Vincent accepted the award from the agency that has been a SECURA partner for seven years.
It is our privilege to honor these outstanding agencies for their hard work and dedication to SECURA. Congratulations!

Add medical evacuation coverage to your vacation checklist

When Evelyn Paschen suffered a stroke in Florida, her husband faced a $20,000 medical transport bill just to get her home to Wisconsin. Thankfully, the Paschens had Travel RescuerSM coverage from SECURA, and Evelyn was flown home at no personal cost. 

Accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere. And when serious health issues occur away from home, patients often need to travel via special medical transport. As the Paschens can attest, those flights can cost thousands of dollars in the United States; the price is much more outside the country. In fact, many families have been known to remortgage a house to bring a loved one back. 

Medical evacuation coverage, included on MILE-STONE Gold and Agri-Protector Plus policies from SECURA Insurance, ensures you get back home if you become seriously ill or injured while traveling.

The U.S. State Department recommends knowing what kind of medical services your health insurance will cover before you travel overseas. Although some will pay for reasonable treatment costs, very few cover evacuation back to the United States. (Be aware that Medicare will not pay for medical costs incurred outside the country.) It’s also important to note that medical evacuation coverage is different from a trip cancelation policy, and it may be secured at a lower rate than comprehensive travel insurance packages. 

Policyholders with a SECURA MILE-STONE Gold policy already have evacuation coverage, but other coverages to look into are: 

  • Family transportation – If evacuation is not recommended, will the policy transport a family member to your location? What deductible and out-of-pocket expenses are there?
  • Special activity exclusions – Is the policy still valid if you engage in extreme sports like paragliding, canyoning, scuba diving, or off-roading? 
  • Pre-existing conditions – If you have a diagnosed illness or medical concern, will coverage still apply if your condition takes a turn for the worse?
  • Medications and medical devices - Will the policy replace glasses, medications, or medical devices lost or stolen on your travels?
  • 24/7 medical support – Is the policy supported by a medical team to assist with consults and travel coordination? 

Travel Rescuer from SECURA also includes assistance with lost travel documents, legal and medical referrals, and translation services when you’re on the road. And unlike trip-specific travel insurance policies, Travel Rescuer is in effect all the time, whenever you’re more than 100 miles from home. There’s no need to activate coverage. It’s always there, working for you. 

Call your insurance agent today and find out if you have travel evacuation insurance. Or talk to your SECURA agent about a MILE-STONE Gold or Agri-Protector Plus policy. 

Customize your coverage with home insurance riders

If you have valuables in your home like jewelry or artwork, you’ll likely need an insurance rider (also known as an endorsement or scheduled personal property) added to your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance policies have limited coverage on high-value items, so insurance riders provide the protection you need if your items are damaged, lost, or stolen.

Here are a few things in your home you might find worthy of added protection:

  • Artwork, antiques, and collectibles – Standard homeowner coverage limits are typically set around $2,000 for artwork and other special collections. If you’re a collector, get an appraisal to determine your collection’s value. 
  • Firearms – If you have a high-value firearm or gun collection, you may want a rider. Your insurer may request serial numbers and other specifics for each gun and will likely require that guns are stored securely. 
  • Electronics – Coverage for your computer equipment, high-end cameras, and gaming systems may be limited. Standard coverage is generally $5,000 or less. If you’re a true technophile, add up the value of your electronics and check it against your policy limits. 
  • Jewelry – A standard homeowners policy may cover about $2,000 for jewelry. If you have a larger collection or want to protect a piece against damage, loss, or theft, a jewelry rider might be right for you, protecting your valuables when standard coverage does not apply. If you lose your wedding ring in the garden, for example, that loss is typically not covered by a standard policy.

The best insurance coverage begins by talking with your agent about what kind of coverage makes sense for you. Find a trusted insurance agent today to start the conversation. 
A special note on depreciated and replacement value: Some policies may insure your household items at their depreciated value, or what something is worth at its current age. With this type of policy, if your 10-year-old bedroom set is lost in a fire, you would not receive the full amount you paid at the time of purchase. 

Other policies provide replacement value. That means you’ll receive the full cost to buy a new item of similar quality. Talk to your agent and find out what type of coverage you have. You may be able to purchase a rider that offsets depreciation.  

Also, some policies require an appraisal in order to get a rider on high-value items. Keep an up-to-date home inventory, and store copies of your receipts and appraisals in a secure, off-site location like a safe deposit box or the cloud

Winter car seat safety: 5 tips to keep kids warm

Winter is a tricky time for parents of children who use car seats. According to safety experts, bulky winter clothing like jackets and snowsuits should not be worn in a car seat. That’s because puffy winter gear creates enough space under the car seat harness to allow children to slip through during a car accident.

Skeptical? Watch the video from an official crash test lab in Michigan. A dummy, which appears to be securely strapped in, flies from its harness in a simulated 30-mile-per-hour crash.   

Most winter coats should not be worn underneath a car seat harness. Wondering how to know whether your child’s coat is safe? Consumer Reports offers a nice explanation on how to check if your child’s winter coat is too bulky to use in a car seat. 

Since winter is here but the coats are off limits, here are some tips to keep your children warm and safe in their car seats:

  1. Keep the carrier warm. Store the carrier portion of the car seat in the house so it stays warm. That way, your child will lose less body heat in the car. 
  2. Use hats and mittens. Keep kid’s extremities warm with hats, mittens, and booties. These don’t interfere with the car seat straps and help hold in warmth. 
  3. Layer. Dress your child in a thin, tight-fitting fleece jacket over other flat base layers like a sweater and long-sleeved shirt. 
  4. Cover after. Add a swaddling blanket or slip the child’s coat on backwards after they’ve been strapped in. You can also buy hooded car seat ponchos that drape over the top of the seat. A general rule of thumb is that kids need one more layer than adults to stay warm.
  5. But cover carefully. Don’t use aftermarket products that could interfere with the car seat’s tested safety operations. Avoid any bags or covers that add a layer of fluff under the child’s body. Shower-cap style covers are best because they don’t obstruct the harness routing or add bulk under the straps. 

And remember, keep an emergency bag in your car with extra blankets and winter clothes in case you get stranded on the roadside. 

‘I Resolve’: A New Year’s Insurance Checklist

It’s that time of year again when many of us look at our lives with renewed energy and fresh eyes. As you make resolutions to improve your overall wellbeing this year, take some time to include an insurance review. It’s a quick and important investment in your financial security. 

Ideally, you’ve kept your insurance agent up-to-date on any significant home improvements you made in the last year, but take a moment to review anything you might have forgotten. Consider whether any life changes or home business practices could impact your insurance, too. 

  • Significant home improvements, such as a kitchen remodel, bathroom, or addition that could impact your home value
  • The entire roof of your home was replaced
  • New safety features such as a sprinkler or alarm system
  • New swimming pool, wood burning unit, or a dog
  • New boat, camper, snowmobile, ATV, or other recreational vehicle
  • New jewelry that was acquired which may need to be scheduled on the policy
  • Any business conducted from your residence
  • Any tenants or short-term rental practices

Now is also a good time to update your home inventory with any notable purchase (jewelry, furniture, antiques, art, electronics, etc.) you made in the last year. If your household inventory has significantly increased in value, you may want to adjust the limits on your policy. 

Drivers and Families
Changes in your personal life or family structure can impact your home and car insurance needs. Review the following list and identify any changes that occurred in the past year:

  • New driver in the house
  • Child left the house/went to college
  • New car
  • New job that changes your regular driving habits

Ask your insurer if any cost savings are available if you sign up for autopay or pay in biannual instead of monthly installments. Review your deductible too. If you have a good emergency fund, you may feel comfortable increasing your deductible in exchange for lower rates on your insurance premiums. 

Business Owners
When was the last time you updated your insurance policy? If your business has grown or evolved since then, you may be exposed to added risk.

  • Employees – Has your workforce increased? Are you using more contractors? 
  • Sales – Have annual sales grown? If yes, consider whether your liability limits are high enough to cover your current exposure.
  • Services – If you’ve expanded into new service lines, you may need to add new endorsements to your liability policy. 
  • Drivers - Check safety records and licensing for all the drivers in your business. Tell your agent if drivers are frequently using rented vehicles.
  • Contracts – Have you engaged in any new contracts that could affect your liability? Review the “insurance and indemnity” sections with your insurance agent. 
  • Property – An increase in equipment could impact your commercial property policy. 

A quick conversation with your insurance agent never hurts. Even if you haven’t experienced any significant changes in the last year, your agent can help determine if a new insurance option might better suit your needs.

Contact your insurance agent today to review your coverage and mitigate risk. Or find your local SECURA agent and find out if a SECURA policy might be right for you.