Tag Archives: Featured

Severe Weather Preparedness


Severe weather can happen at any time and it usually doesn’t check  with you first to make sure its coming at a convenient time. Therefore, it is beneficial to remind you of how important it is to have an emergency plan in place before disaster strikes.

If you have never thought about creating an emergency plan, a great place to start is www.ready.gov. This website will help you create a plan, and build and maintain a kit to prepare yourself for your greatest disaster risks.

Otherwise, I recently discovered an excellent blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons. The blog’s author, Toni Hammersly, wrote a blog series on Emergency Preparedness that goes step by step on how to prepare for an emergency and what to include in your emergency kit.

One item Toni says to include in your emergency kit is an Emergency Preparedness Binder. This binder will include photocopies, or better yet the originals, of all your important information. Possible documents to include are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Drivers License
  • Social Security Card
  • DD 214 (Military Record)
  • Advanced Medical Directive
  • Power of Attorney
  • Baptism Records
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Home Insurance Policy
  • Insurance Cards
  • Will or Trust
  • Deeds and Titles
  • Credit Cards (both sides)


TIP: If you use photocopies, specify where original documents came from (Example: Marriage Certificate came from Allegan County Courthouse).

Also, save a copy of all  documents included in the binder on a zip drive or saved 'in the cloud', such as with Dropbox.com.  Store your emergency binder in a water and fire proof safe that can be bolted down to the floor, such as this safe.


Other important information to include in your Emergency Preparedness Binder include:

  • Information about your family’s health records (especially those with special needs)
  • A family emergency plan
  • Insurance policies and phone numbers
  • Emergency phone numbers (Fire department, Gas, Electric Company, Police, Poison Control, etc)
  • Family phone numbers (closest relatives, neighbors, baby sitters, etc).


Toni encourages readers to start setting aside cash for your emergency fund. A smart plan is to save $2 per family member, per paycheck. Combine bills and coins, because in the event of a major disaster, electricity will most likely be out and credit cards wont work.


If you are feeling a little overwhelmed with everything that should go into your emergency binder, check out Toni’s blog, www.abowlfulloflemons.net. I encourage you to read through the eight week blog series about Emergency Preparedness and start creating your emergency plan. To help you get started, she sells an E-Book ($10) including the entire 8 week blog series, and Emergency Binder printables.


The E-Book includes:

  • Checklist for setting up your storage area
  • Food & Water Storage Guide
  • 72 Hour Kit Checklist
  • First Aid Kit Inventory
  • First Aid Kit Printable
  • Important Documents & Cash Stash Checklist
  • “Grab” in case of emergency list
  • List of personal documents to place in Emergency Binder
  • Family Emergency Plan Printable
  • Insurance Policies Printable
  • Family Health Information Printable
  • Emergency Numbers Printable
  • Important Numbers Printable
  • Supplies Tips
  • EmergencySupplies Checklist
  • Faraday Cage Directions
  • Hygiene & Pet Kit Sheet
  • Hygiene List
  • Pet Kit Checklist
  • Comfort Kit Checklist
  • Fun Kit Checklist
  • and more!


Don’t forget to include a copy of your home inventory list! This can be written or via photos or video.

Fairdale, IL Tornado

View this aftermath photo from a tornado that struck the town of Fairview, IL on April 9, 2015. Put yourself in that situation. Think about how difficult it would be to sift through the debris to locate all of your important documents and to communicate to your insurance agent all that you own for your claim settlement. Hmmm…make your life easier in preparation for any loss and complete a home inventory.


*NOTE: Reno Agency is in no way affiliated with A Bowl Full of Lemons nor do we receive any compensation for sales of their E-Book. We just feel they are a great resource to share with our readers.

 Photo of Amber Whitman

About the Author: Amber Whitman is the marketing consultant for the Reno Agency.


Recreational Vehicles: Snowmobiles, Golf Carts, and ATVs


True or False?

Your recreational vehicle is covered under your homeowners policy.


False. If you drive your recreational vehicle on your own property, your homeowners policy will extend liability coverage to you, but once you leave your property, you are not covered.


If this statement comes as a shock to you, speak with your agent today and make sure you are not riding around uninsured. Your agent will need the following information in order to add coverage:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • CCs
  • Use of the unit
  • All driver information


The types of sports vehicles included under the recreational vehicle designation are those not subject to motor vehicle registration (with the exception of snowmobiles) and are designed for travel off of public roads. Examples include snowmobiles, golf carts and ATVs. Three-wheelers are ineligible, and snowmobiles over 600 CCs are generally unacceptable and will not be covered through most companies.


If you use your recreational vehicle to transport people  or property for compensation, rent a unit to others, or use a unit for business purposes, different insurance coverage needs to be applied. Your insurance agent can assist you with this.


If you are the owner of a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), also referred to as side-by-sides, check with your insurance agent to see whether your insurance company offers coverage for these vehicles. Some, such as Pioneer Mutual Insurance Company, do not write coverage for UTVs due to the major safety concerns that come with these off-road vehicles. Pioneer also does not write coverage for dune buggies, which many of the newer UTVs are made for dune riding.


Your insurance agent is your best resource for understanding coverage for recreational vehicles. Therefore, if you have any questions, give the Reno Agency a call today at 269.792.2232.



Insurance Explained: Types of Auto Coverage


The Insurance Information Institute created a great infographic to help you understand which auto insurance coverage you are required to have, which coverage is optional, and it also explains each coverage in words that you will understand.


III_infographic_auto coverage explained


Starting a Business? Let Your Independent Agent Guide the Way


Grange Insurance Hi Res Version





Grange Insurance urges small business owners to lean on agents for success.


Since small businesses make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, they continue to be the pulse that keeps the U.S. economy ticking. Starting a business is part of living the American dream. However, if entrepreneurs do not take the proper steps when building their business, their dreams could very quickly become nightmares.

Columbus, Ohio based insurance company Grange Insurance provides a few tips for entrepreneurs to help guide them through the process of starting a business, highlighting the importance of working with an independent agent from start to finish.

1. First things first. Call your independent agent. Small business owners should loop their independent agents into the planning process as early as possible to ensure success, and to make sure they’re creating a solid business plan that will be appealing to insurance companies and potential funders.

“Securing insurance for a new business can be difficult for a variety of reasons, but without it, entrepreneurs are exposing themselves, their businesses, their employees and their potential customers to risks that can close down a business and financially break the entrepreneur,” said Peter McMurtrie, chief sales and marketing officer, Grange Insurance. “Agents can help you through the entire process to help you avoid those risks. Agents are oftentimes the best cheerleader when it comes to pitching the business idea to an underwriter. You want to make sure your agent is armed with everything possible to pitch your business in the best way.”

2. Create a detailed business plan. Starting a business requires a detailed business plan that extends beyond marketing. Failing to create a detailed business plan is a common pitfall when starting a new business, according to McMurtrie.

“Entrepreneurs oftentimes limit their business plan to what their product or service will be, and how they’ll make money,” said McMurtrie. “Small business owners are more likely to get coverage from an underwriter if they can outline a clear path of what the business will do, how it will be funded/operated, what potential liabilities/risks it may encounter and how those liabilities and risks would be covered.”

Independent agents can guide small business owners through this planning phase by helping to identify potential liabilities and risks to the business, such as bodily injury, products liability, business interruption and accidental breakage.

3. Continue to review your business insurance policy. As a small business evolves, so do its risks. Keeping your agent continuously involved in your business growth will help identify new risks that could have the potential to close doors before they become issues. McMurtrie recommends reviewing your insurance policy with your independent agency at least two times each year.

“While the current U.S. economy is a prime market for small businesses, business owners are exposing themselves to vulnerabilities that could shut their doors faster than they were opened if they do not take the proper precautions to protect their business,” said McMurtrie. “Agents and their carriers are knowledgeable of industry standards, trends and processes. They are instrumental in ensuring that small businesses get the coverage they need, ultimately helping entrepreneurs make their dream a reality.”

For more information about the available types of small business insurance, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com or call your independent agent today at 269.792.2232.


About Grange

Grange Insurance, with $2 billion in assets and in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue, is an insurance provider based in Columbus, Ohio. Through its network of independent agents, Grange offers auto, home, life and business insurance protection. Established in 1935, the company and its affiliates serve policyholders in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.GrangeInsurance.com.