We are seeking an Insurance Agent to join our team!

Farmers Union Insurance Agency is seeking an Insurance Agent to join our team!

Enthusiastic?  Looking for an outstanding challenge?  Then we are looking for you!

Farmers Union Insurance Agency is seeking a dynamic salesperson for a Park Rapids, MN Agent position.  This is not your ordinary insurance sales job!  If you are outgoing, relationship-driven and a top producer, then read on…

We are looking for a vibrant individual with a minimum of two (2) years of sales experience preferred.  An active Property & Casualty Insurance and/or Life and Health producer license is also preferred.  Agent must be a self-starter, competitive and able to develop relationships within your network and community.

This Agent will be responsible for expanding the company’s book of business by selling various types of insurance policies to new and existing clients.

Responsibilities:

  • Present and sell insurance policies to new and existing clients
  • Develop and calculate suitable plans based on clients’ needs
  • Resolve client inquiries and complaints
  • Expand business reach through networking techniques
  • Comply with insurance standards and regulations
  • Track and identify areas of improvement

Qualifications:

  • Previous experience in insurance, customer service, or other related fields
  • Ability to build rapport with clients
  • Strong negotiation skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to prioritize and multitask

Other: 

  • Unlimited income potential
  • Independent working environment
  • One-on-one training
  • Recognition and More

Please visit Farmers Union Insurance Agency‘s Careers tab on this website to upload your resume and details.

School Bus Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Riding the school bus for the first time is a big step for your child. Help your kids get a gold star in school bus safety by following these tips, brought to you by Farmers Union Insurance Agency.

The Hard Facts about School Bus Safety

School buses are the safest way to get children to and from school, but injuries can occur if kids are not careful when getting on and off the school bus.

Top Tips for Riding the Bus

  1.  Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Make sure drivers can see the kids at your bus stop.
  2. Teach kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
  3. Teach kids to wait for the school bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and not to walk behind the bus.
  4. If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it’s safe to do so. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
  5. Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your child drops something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.
  6. Drivers should follow the speed limit and slow down in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.
  7. Slow down and stop if you’re driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.

Remember, it’s illegal in Minnesota to pass a stopped school bus. Do not drive around a bus with red lights flashing or with the stop sign out.

Learn More

Want more tips about how to keep your kids safe on or around school buses? Read more from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Check out this school bus safety tips sheet from www.safekids.org. Thanks to Safe Kids Worldwide for the content of this blog.

Farmers Union Insurance Agency – Giving Back to Our Community

At Farmers Union Insurance Agency, we believe in giving back, and strive to fulfill our slogan that we are “Trusted. Local. Committed.” Part of how we do this is by donating our time and talents, both as individuals and as a company, to worthy organizations within our community.  Our Agents and Staff are actively involved with other organizations, community events and volunteerism.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 was a Day of Service for the Staff and Agents of Farmers Union Insurance Agency, donating time, labor and funds to Second Harvest Heartland in Maplewood, sorting food donations destined for local food shelves throughout Minnesota.

President & General Manager Rodney Allebach and wife Linda led the team effort in the morning, sorting and packaging almost 9,000 pounds of meat.  District Manager Jared Harding, Commercial Marketing Specialist Kathleen Zehm and Agent Cary Sundlof were also part of the morning crew.

Staff and Agents of Farmers Union Insurance Agency sorting and redistributing meat donations destined for local food shelves across Minnesota.

 

President Rodney Allebach, District Manager Jared Harding, and Commercial Marketer Kathleen Zehm sort and redistribute meat donations. Almost 9,000 pounds of meat were sorted and packaged during the morning shift.

 

During the afternoon shift, Operations Manager Robin Rohde Keller, Director of Communications Emmy Frederickson, Information Specialist Emily Olson, and Accountant Tim Nummela sorted bread and bread products, accumulating 7 pallets, or 343 boxes.

Company partner MAX, MutualAid eXchange, through their Mutual Aid Ministries program, also assisted with grant money toward our cause, and funds were matched and added to by President Rodney Allebach and the Agency, providing an additional 975 meals for those in need.

Second Harvest Heartland Major Gifts Officer Anne Rodenberg accepted the monetary donation from President Rodney Allebach on behalf of the Agency, which was supplemented by a grant from company partner MAX, MutualAid eXchange through their Mutual Aid Ministries program.

Farmers Union Insurance Agency is proud to offer our time and fellowship to Second Harvest Heartland, and we look forward to future volunteer opportunities with this worthy organization!  Please consider giving back to your community by visiting their website at www.2harvest.org.

Farmers Union Insurance Agency is committed to providing comprehensive, quality insurance products and service to fit the needs of your family, and being active in our communities on a local level.  We work to establish long-term relationships, placing emphasis on protecting your most important assets at home and in your business.  Our high standard of excellence is a part of our adhering to the Trusted Choice® pledge of performance.  Contact your local FUIA Agent today and see why our company stands out from the rest.

Coexisting with Bicyclists

Cycling has grown significantly in popularity over the past decade, so it’s important to review how to coexist with bicyclists safely.  Towns across the country are adding bike lanes to their roads to become more bike friendly, and more and more people are ditching their car and using a bike as their primary form of transportation.  According to USA Today, larger cities like Minneapolis have more than doubled their rate of bike commuters since 2014.

Now, with bike riding growing in popularity across the U.S., we here at Farmers Union Insurance Agency think it may be a good idea to brush up on some traffic guidelines to avoid any accidents.

When you purchase a bike, you’re likely not required to take a safety class before you ride it.  And, for drivers, the instructors touched on bike safety as part of Drivers Ed, but who remembers details from a course they took in their teens?

The point is, adults aren’t given much guidance when it comes to cyclists and cars coexisting on the roads.  The author of this original blog post from company partner Foremost Insurance did some research, because she needed a refresher herself.  Here are her tips for coexisting with bicyclists.

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  • Try to drive at least three feet or more away from a bike.
  • Try to pass on the left whenever possible.
  • Blind spots are always lurking, make sure to watch for bikes.
  • Only pass a bicyclist when your passing lane is free and clear.
  • Look in your mirror for bicyclists when you’re parking.
  • Always think of bicyclists as equals – remember, they have rights on the road, too!

Safety Tips for Bicyclists:

  • Make sure to ride with the flow of traffic.
  • Traffic signs and signals aren’t just for cars.  Stop on red to be safe.
  • Use marked bike paths or lanes if they’re available.
  • Use your arm to make turn signals and take advantage of turn lanes so cars are aware of what you’re doing.
  • Consider using a mirror to monitor the cars behind you.
  • If you’re riding at night or in a storm, make sure to use some sort of flashers.
  • Watch for parked and parking cars.
  • And most importantly: stay alert at all times.

If you’re unsure about your city’s or state’s traffic laws, it doesn’t hurt to look them up beforehand.  No matter what you drive, be sure to enjoy the roads out there safely!

Original article by Jenean Zahran, a communications specialist at company partner Foremost Insurance.  Find this and other helpful safety tips on Foremost’s Blog.

Remember to contact your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent to get a quote with Foremost Insurance and many other carriers.  Because it’s important to have a relationship with an Agent if – and when – you have a claim.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for New & Returning Riders from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Expert Motorcycle Advice for First-Time and Returning Riders

Motorcycles are fun and fuel efficient.  That’s not news to anyone who’s ridden one.  But neither is the fact that they’re also way more dangerous than a car.  The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  And nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-crash vehicles.

The numbers are even scarier for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years.  Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger riders.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury.  The key to optimizing your odds is to be prepared and avoid risks.  Keep in mind that 48% of fatalities in 2010 involved speeding, according to the IIHS, and alcohol was a factor in 42%.  Eliminate those factors and you’ve dramatically reduced your risk.

Below are some more tips, excerpted from Consumer Reports, to help you stay safe on two wheels.

1.  Don’t buy more bike than you can handle.  If you’ve been off of motorcycles for awhile, you may be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes.  Even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago.  Start with a bike that fits you; you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without standing on your tip toes.  Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach.  Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is.

2.  Invest in anti-lock brakes.  Now available on a wide array of models, anti-lock brakes are a proven lifesaver.  IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes are 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it.  “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the VA Dept of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.  The reason is simple: locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control, which can easily lead to a skid and crash and result in serious injury.  It can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.You may also be able to offset some of the cost with an insurance discount.

3.  Hone your skills.  As Honda’s Jon Seidel puts it, “There is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area.  That’s critical, absolutely critical.”  An MSF course or similar class can teach you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers.  The cost ranges from free to about $350.  An approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount and, in some states, to skip the road-test and/or the written test part of the licensing process.  Some motorcycle manufacturers offer a credit toward the cost of a new motorcycle or training if a rider signs up for an MSF course.  The MSF website lists about 2,700 locations for such courses around the U.S.

4.  Use your head.  Yes, helmets are an emotional topic for some riders.  But the facts show the risk.  Riders without a helmet are 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to government studies.  When Texas and Arkansas repealed their helmet laws, they saw a 31- and 21-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, respectively.  “It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws,” says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a neurologist and a Consumer Reports medical adviser.  “Because helmets do save lives, it is insanity to expose the skull and the brain to potential trauma that could be prevented or at least mitigated.”  Modern helmets are strong, lightweight and comfortable, and they cut down on wind noise and fatigue.  Just bear in mind that helmets deteriorate over time, so replace accordingly.

5.  Wear the right gear.  Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike.  Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out.  For maximum protection, go for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer.  Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather.  You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen.  Use a helmet visor or goggles.  And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn’t see them, so choose gear in bright colors.

6.  Be defensive.  A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60% of the time.  So, you need to be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel.  Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets.  And don’t tailgate; keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road.  An object that a care might easily straddle could be a serious hazard when on a bike.

7.  Avoid bad weather.  Slippery conditions reduce your margin for error.  Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky.  If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top.  And avoid making sudden maneuvers.  Be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid sliding.  When riding in strong side winds, be proactive in anticipating the potential push from the side by moving to the side of the lane the wind is coming from.  This will give you some leeway in the land, should a gust nudge you.

8.  Watch for road hazards.  A motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car.  Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill.  Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can post serious danger when on a bike.  If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible before encountering them, with minimal steering input.  Railroad tracks and other hazards should be approaches as close to a right angle as possible, to reduce the chances of a skid.

9.  Be ready to roll.  Before each ride, do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly.  Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes.  And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure.  Motorcycle mechanics we’ve spoken with say they routinely see worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires that greatly increase safety risks.  When tires are under-inflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean,” says Mike Franklin, owner of Mike’s Garage in Los Angeles.

Remember, as an Independent Agency, Farmers Union Insurance Agency does business with multiple companies, giving you greater selection of coverage when seeking motorcycle insurance.  Contact a local FUIA Agent in your area today and make sure you are covered!

Jet Ski, Watercraft, Boatowners

Watercraft Insurance from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

There has been a lot of press in recent news about what and who is covered under Minnesota watercraft insurance policies.  Farmers Union Insurance Agents conduct business with multiple companies, and each company has their own policy coverages and exclusions.  It is very important for you to read through your insurance policy thoroughly to understand what coverage the policy provides you and your family members, especially when it comes to Medical Payments and Liability to Others.  Talk to your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent and they will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Watercraft Insurance

The insurance approach for covering boats and boating property is quite like what is used to protect cars and homes.  Essentially insurance is offered on a package basis, meaning that there is coverage for physical property as well as protection against the legal and financial consequences of injuring others or damaging property that belongs to others.

Property Coverage

Typically, a watercraft policy covers:

  • Boats – Refers to property designed to travel on water and includes sails, its permanent equipment, spars and fittings.
  • Boating Equipment – Includes a wide variety of property that is used in conjunction with boats and it includes accessories.  Items considered as equipment are property used for communication (radios), navigation, sonar, radar, outboard motors, dinghies, skis and sports equipment (recreational flotation devices) that are towed by boats and similar property.  As a rule of thumb, the more related an item is to the ownership and use of a boat, the greater the justification to classify it as boating equipment.
  • Boat Trailers – Trailers used (and designed) for transporting boats (as defined by the policy).

This property must be owned by the person who is named as the policyholder.  There are limited instances when such property that is temporarily in the policyholder’s possession also qualifies for coverage.

Items and situations that aren’t covered include boating property that is used in a business activity, losses that involve races or competitions (an exception is made for sailboats) and boats that are used, full-time, as homes.

Liability Coverage

Besides protecting boating property, a watercraft insurance policy also responds to claims or lawsuits caused when another person is injured, and/or when another person’s property is damaged or destroyed.  An example would be a collision where the owner of a large speedboat collides with a person on a jet ski, seriously injuring the rider and demolishing the jet ski.  The policy would handle both portions of such a loss.  The liability portion would also provide a legal defense against lawsuits.

Another important coverage under the liability section is medical payments.  This provides reimbursement for, typically, emergency or immediate medical treatment expense.  Consider a person who slips on a boat deck and needs transportation to an emergency room for treatment of a broken bone or concussion.  Such costs would qualify under medical payments.

As is the case with property coverage, there are liability situations that are NOT covered by a boatowners policy, including losses that involve business activity, transmission of communicable disease, unauthorized operation of boating property, intentional acts, and criminal activity.

Boating property is a substantial investment and boatowners coverage is an efficient, affordable way to guard against accidental losses.

Be sure to check with your local FUIA Agent about what is covered under your Watercraft Insurance policy, or to get a quote.  Sign up to take a Minnesota Boating Safety Course online here.

Content provided is Copyright © by Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc., 2018, and used with permission under purchase agreement with Big “I” Advantage Virtual Risk Consultant, powered by Rough Notes.

 

 

Wet Roads

Tips for Driving on Wet Roads from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

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 on wet roads 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.  We at Farmers Union Insurance Agency care about you and your family, and want to help you protect your most precious assets.

Best Practices for Driving on Wet Roads

Turn Your Headlights On  

  • By law, many states require drivers to have their headlights on while it’s raining but, without fail, it’s easy to find dozens of vehicles with their headlights off during heavy rain.  When the roads are wet, it becomes difficult to see road markings and other vehicles.
  • Headlight use doesn’t only apply for heavy rainfall – even if it’s just misting, turning your headlights on should be step one on your safe driving checklist.

Handle Hydroplaning

  • Hydroplaning occurs when standing water creates a thin layer between your tires and the road surface, causing a loss of traction that drastically minimizes your ability to control your vehicle.
  • First and foremost, try to avoid standing water.  If that’s not possible, slow down.  Driving over standing water at a slower speed may allow you to pass over the area without hydroplaning.
  • If you can’t avoid hydroplaning, you need to know how to react to it.  Do not brake or accelerate – simply take your foot off the gas and steer into the direction your vehicle is traveling, even if your instincts tell you otherwise.  Changing direction while hydroplaning may cause you to spin out of control.  Keep your composure and wait for the skid to end, then adjust your speed or pull over and wait for the weather to clear up.

Focus Ahead

  • You should always focus on the traffic ahead, but by keeping your eyes up and beyond your own vehicle a few car lengths, you’ll make better decisions when other drivers hydroplane, quickly reduce speed, or stop quickly.
  • Put your phone down, and turn the radio down when it’s raining heavily so you can focus on the task at hand: driving.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Driving on Wet Roads

Check Your Tires

  • As the only four points of contact between your vehicle and the road, your tires are vital to driving safety on wet roads.  If your tires’ tread is wearing thin, it will be harder to maintain and regain traction when driving on wet roads.
  • You can use a penny to check if your tires have enough tread.  Simply put a penny in your tire tread with Abe Lincoln’s head pointing down toward the tire.  If you can see his entire head, it’s time for new tires.  Of course, you can always stop in to a shop if you’d like a professional opinion.

Driving on wet roads poses a challenge, but if you are cautious and prepared, you’ll feel more confident and make better decisions.

 

Thanks to FUIA Premier company Partner Secura Insurance for contributing to the content of this blog.  For this and other helpful tips, check out Secura’s blog here.

Find your local Farmers Union Insurance Agent here, and don’t forget to contact us for all of your insurance needs!

Home, Safety, Tips

Home Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Home Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

There are a number of great home safety tips that every homeowner should consider, one of which is ensuring proper home insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, too many homeowners overlook the little things that can keep them from reducing their risk of injury.  Here are some of the best home safety tips to consider when it comes to protection and value.  Connect with a Farmers Union Insurance Agent in your area HERE to get a free, comprehensive quote!

Electricity is Nothing to Play With

One of the risks to a homeowner is improperly wired electrical connections.  Improper electrical connections have the potential to start a fire that can do significant damage to a home.  With that in mind, there are ways that homeowners can reduce their risks and protect themselves.  They should make sure their electrical wiring and connections are all taken care of so they can have peace of mind.  This is typically done through a home inspection before the buyer purchases the property.  Additionally, sometimes problems appear later even if there were no issues during the inspection.

By staying aware of that, homeowners can keep an eye out for electrical problems that could post a risk.  These include lights flickering, breakers tripping, crackling or static types of sounds, and appliances shorting out or otherwise failing.  Any time those kinds of things start to happen, homeowners need to pay close attention.  They will also want to reach out to a qualified electrician in order to make sure they are protected.

Reducing the Risk of Fire

Fire is a very real risk for homeowners.  One of the mot significant causes of fire is electrical problems.  But there are may other ways a fire could start and injure someone.  Cooking fires, for example, are problematic and relatively common.  Most of these fires and burns are small, but sometimes they can get out of hand and cause serious injuries and damage to a home.  Having smoke alarms that work properly, along with fire extinguishers, are good ways to reduce the chances of being injured in a fire.

Homeowners will also want to take a look at the outside of their home, and if there is a lot of brush, trees, and other flammable things close by that can be a problem.  Keeping brush and flammable materials (such as a stack of firewood) away from the sides of the house is a good choice to reduce risk.  It may not solve all of the problems, but it will help make things safer for the homeowner.

Other Potential Home Safety Issues Homeowners Can Face

Fire and electrical problems are far from the only home safety issues a homeowner can face.  They will also want to consider things like stairs that don’t have proper railings, loose boards on decks, porches, and patios, uneven or broken concrete walkways, poorly lit areas, and anything that is sharp or pointed.  By being diligent and careful, homeowners can lower the risk of damage or injury significantly.

That way, a homeowner can enjoy their home and appreciate all it has to offer, while having a far lower chance of getting hurt.  Feeling safe in their own home goes a long way toward a happy life for any homeowner.  It provides peace of mind, which is something that really can’t be bought and that a homeowner certainly can’t put a price on.

Remember, you can find your local FUIA Agent by clicking HERE, and they will provide you with a free, comprehensive quote on your Homeowners insurance, and any other insurance quote you might need!

Thanks to Kris Lindahl, REALTOR® CRS CLHMS, RE/MAX Results, Blaine, MN for contributing to the content of this blog regarding Home Safety Tips.  You can find his website HERE.

car accident

6 Steps to Take After Car Accidents from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Car 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 from Farmers Union Insurance Agency‘s company partner, Secura Insurance, 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.
  6.  Notify your insurance agent within 24 hours.

Reacting to car accidents: The do’s and don’ts

You’re probably feeling flustered and anxious following your car accident.  It goes without saying, but take a few breaths and try to stay calm.  Here are a few extra do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

  • Do: Turn on your hazards and use glow sticks or reflective warning triangles for safety.
  • Do: Ask witnesses what they saw, and get their names and numbers if possible.
  • Don’t: Move someone who’s injured unless absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t: Sign anything unless it’s for a police officer or your insurance agent.
  • Don’t: Leave the scene until you have approval from the investigating officer.
  • Don’t: Talk to a representative from the other insurance company.  Ask them to call your insurer to arrange an interview.

What to say instead of “I’m sorry” after car accidents

Car accidents can be frightening or unnerving situations.  Your adrenaline is flowing and you may feel the impulse to apologize, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.  Avoid the temptation.  Keep calm and try not to place blame or accept it until the police arrive.  At that point, give the officer an honest review of what happened.  Here are a few phrases to use instead of that knee-jerk apology:

  • Is everyone okay?
  • Let’s call the police and start exchanging information.
  • I know you’re upset.  I’m upset too.
  • I hear you.  I understand you’re frustrated.
  • Let’s just save the “what happened” until the police get here.
  • Let’s just focus on everyone’s safety right now.
  • I need some time to calm down before we discuss this.  Let’s wait for the police.

Remember to call your Farmers Union Insurance Agent following car accidents so they can get the claim processed with your insurance carrier.

Thanks to company partner Secura Insurance for contributing to the content of this blog.

 

Holiday Safety

Holiday Safety Tips from Farmers Union Insurance Agency

Candles, lights and decorations are an essential part of the holiday season.  Unfortunately, they also increase the risk of fire and injury.  Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure nearly 3,000 individuals and cause over $900 million in damage, according to figures from the U.S. Fire Administration.  We at Farmers Union Insurance Agency want to remind you of some simple holiday safety tips you can do to keep your family safe this holiday season.

To ensure a safe and healthy holiday season, the Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends following these important safety tips:

Christmas Trees

  • Pick out a freshly cut Christmas tree – one that is too dry can easily catch fire.  Trim at least one inch from the bottom of the tree; this will increase the tree’s ability to absorb water.  Live trees need a lot of water, so check the water level and refill often.
  • Place the tree in a secure stand designed to hold the weight of the tree.  Never place a Christmas tree near a heat source such as a fireplace, radiator or stove.  Do not use candles to decorate a tree.  And never go near a tree with an open flame such as a candle, lighter, or matches.
  • Dispose of the tree when it becomes dry, or when the needles begin to fall off in large quantities.  Never burn old trees or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.  Instead, take it to a recycling center or have it removed by a community pick-up service.
  • If you buy an artificial tree, make sure that it is made of fire-resistant material.

Decorations and Lights

  • Do not overload electrical sockets by plugging too many cords into a single outlet.  Always unplug holiday lights when no one is home or when everyone goes to sleep for the evening.  Inspect old light strands for any cracks, frayed edges or bare spots.  Throw out any damaged cords.
  • When decorating a tree with lights, fasten them securely to the tree and make sure that no bulbs come in contact with needles or branches.  Check wires regularly.  If they become warm, unplug the lights immediately.
  • Never use indoor lights outside.  They are not designed to withstand the elements and if they get wet, they can cause an electric shock.  Remove outdoor lighting as soon as the season is over.  Even specially-created outdoor decorations are not designed to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.

Fireplaces

  • Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace.  This may release fire-starting embers or produce a buildup of dangerous chemical fumes in your home.

Entertaining

  • If you entertain guests who smoke, provide large ashtrays and check for cigarette butts in upholstered furniture before going to bed.  Or, make your smoking guests smoke outside and make sure all butts are extinguished at the end of the night.  Cigarette fires are a leading cause of fire fatalities in homes.
  • Do not leave the stove unattended when cooking.  In the excitement of entertaining, it is easy to forget something on the stove and let it burn, causing a potential fire hazard.

Children and Pets

  • Place all ornaments and candles out of reach of small children and pets.  Small or breakable ornaments can be easily knocked down, which can result in cuts or choking.  Curious children and playful pets can topple a tree in seconds and can cause serious injury.
  • Beware of toxic decorations.  Mistletoe and holly berries may be poisonous if more than a few are swallowed.  Old tinsel may contain lead so discard old tinsel if you are not sure of its composition.  Fire salts (which make a multi-colored effect when thrown on burning wood) contain heavy metals, which if swallowed may cause serious gastrointestinal problems and vomiting.

Candles

  • Check candles frequently to make sure they do not burn down too far or drip hot wax.  Make sure candles are placed in sturdy, non-combustible holders away from decorations and other burnable materials.
  • Clean and trim candle wicks to 1/8″ to 1/4″ before lighting.  Long or crooked wicks cause uneven burning and dripping.  Candles should be placed at least three inches apart so they do not melt onto one another.  Keep candles free of wick trimmings, matches or any flammable material that might ignite.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended.  Remember to snuff out all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep.

Give your family the priceless gift of safety this holiday season.  Prepare for the New Year by getting into good safety habits and teaching your family members what to do in a fire or other emergency.  For more information on making your home safer, contact the United States Fire Administration or the Candle Fire Safety Association.

From the Staff and Agents of Farmers Union Insurance Agency, we wish you and yours a safe and happy Holiday season!