Who the hell leaves a kid in their car on a hot day?!?!

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit it – when I see the horrible headlines about a child losing their life to Hyperthermia (aka Heat Stroke) in a vehicle I wonder “What in the hell is wrong with the imbecile who could do something so horrible?!?”

I mean seriously, what type of a monster could be capable of such of such a thing?

As it turns out — the wealthy do. And the poor. And the middle class. Loving parents of all ages and ethnicities do it — and mothers are just as likely to do it as fathers. It has happened to a a dentist, a loving social worker, a postal clerk, and a Veterinarian. It even happened to a minister of music in a church parking lot.

I am 100% guilty of having judged these individuals to be monsters by all accounts. Anytime I would hear a tragic story about a child losing their life in a hot car I would instantly think to myself —”Those parents need to be shot”. I feel awful for having ignorantly assumed that this could only happen to bad, unfit parents — people who were neglecting their children to imbibe in alcohol and drugs— never once did I consider that such a tragedy could occur to loving, doting parents who were deceived by a tragic lapse in their memory.

I thank God for putting this article in front of me, which subsequently led me to this MIND-BLOWING article which opened up my ignorant, closed-minded eyes to the fact that this actually IS a problem in our society, forever changing my perspective. Initially I felt so guilty for having judged — but then I realized that only made ME feel better — the only true redemption of my guilt can come through vigilant awareness in helping make individuals be aware of this danger.

I don’t care WHO you are – this tragedy can happen to anyone

Continue reading

Kids, the School Bus, and You! (Yes YOU!)

With summer coming to an end and school bells ringing in another school year, it is important for parents and drivers to remember to do their part to keep kids safe as they travel to and from school.

School Zone Safety

Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school (Yes, it’s even safer than you taking them yourself!). However, the greatest risk is not riding the school bus –but rather the threat of being struck by a bus or motorist while approaching or leaving it.

Therefore children need to be especially careful around the school bus “danger zone,” (the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of the school bus) and motorists need to be on a vigilant lookout for child pedestrians – and be extra cautious around school buses.

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, four to seven years old, who are hit by the bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Passing a school bus is a MAJOR offense that carries the same consequences as a DUI

For this reason, it is necessary to know the proper laws and procedures for sharing the road safely with school buses:

  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Eliminate your distractions. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhood areas where children and teenagers might be walking or riding a bicycle.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is extremely important that they take proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to share with your children to ensure their safety when traveling to and from school.
  • Whether you’re getting on or off the bus, stay 10 feet ahead of the bus when crossing the street in front if it, and NEVER walk behind the bus
  • Be sure the bus driver can see you and you can see the bus driver.
  • Never walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up first because the driver may not be able to see you.
Most young children who are hit by motor vehicles are injured near their home or on neighborhood streets in broad daylight. One third of all child pedestrian fatalities occur during the after school hours, between 3 and 7 pm.Teach your child these tips to increase their safety while walking:
  • Always look left-right-left before crossing the street and never run or dart out from in-between parked cars. The driver will not be able to see you.
  • Be sure to keep on the lookout for cars as you cross, they can approach very quickly!
  • Never run out into streets or cross in between parked cars.
  • Use a cross-walk if you can –otherwise be sure to only cross the street at corners.
  • Keep on the sidewalk –if there’s no sidewalk then be sure to face traffic as you walk.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

Related articles:

1.  Curb Back-to-School Tragedies with AAA’s Tips

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s Time to Get Financially Organized

Getting organized is one of the top New Year’s Resolutions each year.  And while you might not be ready to organize your entire house, here are a few things you can do to quickly organize your finances!

time-to-organize-image.jpgReview Your Statements – Look over your bank and credit card statements for the past year.  While it’s great to check for mistakes on a regular basis, this time you’re looking for things that you pay for each month.  Those recurring monthly charges or fees can cost a lot if you’re not actually using the service.  Look for anything that you can cancel in the new year and put that money in savings instead!

Check Your Credit – You should check your credit report at least once per year.  You’ll want to look for mistakes as well as see your credit score to determine how healthy your finances are.  Use a website like www.annualcreditreport.com to request a free copy of your credit report.  Sites like Credit Karma are also an easy way to estimate your credit score.  Your credit card company may also offer credit monitoring services.

Backup Your Computer – This might not be directly related to finances, but it’s a good reminder anyway!  Take a few minutes to back up your computer, phones, and photos.  Use a tool like Dropbox or iCloud to securely backup your documents.

Getting organized doesn’t have to be difficult!  Take care of these quick tasks and be on the road to financial wellness in 2016.

Want to review your insurance protection plan and look for ways to save money while you’re at it?  Click Here to contact me and let’s see how we can put some money back in your pocket while maintaining (if not improving) your current coverage.

Be Ready for Tornadoes…ALL YEAR LONG!

Just because it’s Fall does not mean we are out of the woods for Severe Weather. Mother Nature knows no boundaries and does not discriminate — but that doesn’t mean we wave the white flag and surrender to nature’s whim. Now is the time to Be Prepared!

Planning what to do BEFORE a disaster strikes is teh best protection for you and your family.Your family is unique – so your emergency kit should be too!

Don’t forget to have your cell phone fully charged, along with flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit…hey are you writing this down?? Click Here for a complete list to keep you and your family safe during and after a disaster.
CDC Tornado Infographic

Related Article:

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP

Fall is here, which means it’s time to get our your favorite hoodies and drink hot cocoa, and time to tuck away your swimsuits and flip flops (*sniffle*).

This is also Fire Prevention Week (October 4-10), the time of year when we focus on educating families about fire safety, and the simple steps parents can take to keep their families safe. This year, the emphasis is on the importance of having a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and outside each separate sleeping area. The National Fire Protection Association has chosen the theme:

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP
Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!

Did you know that roughly HALF of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 pm and 7 am, when most people are asleep? 87% of all fire related deaths are due to home fires.1 What makes this statistic even more tragic is the facet that  three out of five of these deaths could have been prevented had working smoke detectors been present – in 38% of the home fire deaths there was absolutely NO smoke detectors present at all!2 

Where There Is Love, There are Smoke Alarms. Don’t Let Your World Go Up In Smoke.

Smoke alarms save lives. Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a house fire in half – which is why they are the critical first step in keeping your family safe.  Home fires spread  rapidly, taking only seconds and for poisonous smoke to billow throughout your home, leaving families with as little as one to two minutes to escape safely once an alarm sounds. Only by having working smoke alarms – one on every floor and near every sleeping area – can you protect the ones you love!

Keeping your home safe starts with working smoke alarms. What you need to know to protect the ones you love:

  • Have working smoke alarms: Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home. You should also have a smoke alarm inside bedrooms and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month: A smoke alarm can only save your life if it’s working. Use the test button monthly to make sure your smoke alarm is working and protecting your family.
  • Replace alarms every 10 years: Smoke alarms do not last forever. If your alarms are 10 years old or older, be sure to replace them with new alarms.
  • Can you hear your alarm? If you can’t hear your alarm, consider getting a strobe light that will flash or a bed shaker that will shake when the smoke alarm sounds.

Learn more about the critical role smoke alarms play in keeping you and your family safe with this infographic from Safe Kids Worldwide:

Hear the BEEP where you SLEEP

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here

1. Safe Kids Worldwide | Fire Safety
2. Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires | NFPA


Putting a Freeze on Winter Fires

Plummeting temperatures have many of us scouring for ways to keep warm, but while you are getting cozy, be sure that you don’t zone out on your space heater!!!. 

Did you know that HALF of all home heating fires occur during the months of December, January, and February? While many of us search for cost-effective ways to keep our houses warm, it is important to remember simple safety tips to protect your family and maintain a fire safe home this winter. Space heaters are the most popular source of heat, however they cause 33% of home heating fires, and 81% of home heating fire deaths!!!1 

Here’s some tips on what you can do to put a freeze on winter fires:

  • Remember the Three Feet Rule: Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Keep it a Kid-Free Zone: Be sure children and pets cannot get close to space heaters
  • Keep it Level: Always place a heating equipment on a hard, level (and non-flammable surface)
  • Don’t Leave it Running: Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Don’t Over Extend Yourself: Avoid using extension cords. Plug heating equipment directly into an outlet with enough capacity.

Help spread the word about winter fire safety with this infographic from NFPA and U.S. Fire Administration:

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here

1. Heating Safety Tips | NFPA


The Dangers of Teens Behind the Wheel

Are you familiar with the “disease” that is the leading killer of teenagers, claiming the lives of 2,400 each year? What’s more is that this “disease” could easily be prevented through inexpensive behavior changes.

The truth is, no such “disease” exists: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths – not any disease.1,2 In 2012, 2,439 teen drivers and passengers died in motor vehicle crashes.3 In half of these fatal crashes, the teen wasn’t using a seat belt, and this proportion has been relatively unchanged over the last decade. In both fatal and nonfatal crashes, a greater percentage of passengers are unrestrained than drivers.4

SERIOUSLY how freaking hard is it to take 5 seconds to buckle up?!?!

The top reason teens gave for not buckling up is that they “forgot”, or that it just wasn’t a habit.  Note to Parents: These habits start young! Teens who aren’t using seat belts have indicated that they do not  see their parents use a seat belt when they drive. So parents: In order to help your teen stay safe on the road, set a good example!! Of course, not using a seat belt is only part of the issue. Teens who don’t use seat belts are almost more likely to admit that they text while driving than those who do wear seat belts — a problem that we all know is much too common. Of teens who don’t use  a seat belt admit to 73% texting while driving —  compared to 52% for those who do wear their seat belt. Granted, the goal is to have 0% of drivers texting and driving, but the point is that danger has been compounded by not wearing a seat belt with the greater likelihood of texting while driving.  Keeping teens safe in cars starts long before they are ready to drive or ride with friends. By following these tips, we can make sure that teens are making safe decisions when riding as passengers today and drivers tomorrow:

  • Make using a seat belt for every ride a habit, starting when kids are young.
  • Be a safety role model by observing speed limits, putting phones away while driving, and following the rules of the road.
  • Talk to teens and kids about ways to speak up if a driver of any age isn’t driving safely

Teens in Cars (SafeKids) Infographic courtesy of Safe Kids Worldwide

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 


Related articles:

1. CDC Leading Causes of Death for Ages 13-19 in 2010
2. NHTSA 2010 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
3. NHTSA 2012 Fatality Analysis (Ages 13-19)
4. NHTSA 2003-2012 Fatality Analysis by Restraint Use (Ages 13-19)

Skip the Bottle-Rocket Wars for a Fun (Safe) Fourth of July

Fireworks Safety!

Watching a fireworks show is a truly magical experience at any age whether you are at a local park or club, or making your own show in the backyard. But did you know that on average 240 people end up in the emergency room EVERY DAY with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday?!?1 If you want to see fireworks, the most safe way is to leave it to the professionals and go to a public fireworks show. However. if you are going to light fireworks on your own irregardless, there are special precautions you must take to keep your family safe as you celebrate. The good news is you can enjoy your holiday and the fireworks, with just a few simple safety tips:

Proceed with caution:

Light one firework at a time in an open space outside and away from dry grass, brush, and

Have a bucket of water handy in case of emergencies.

If a “dud” firework does not go off, do not try to relight it. Instead, wait 20
     minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.

Never light a firework in a glass or metal container

Obey local ordinances regarding private fireworks. Do not drink alcohol while
     lighting fireworks, as they can pose burning hazards if you are not careful.

Never point or throw a firework at another person.


Even seemingly innocent sparklers are dangerous – they causing 31% of firework injuries these “harmless” fireworks are the#1 cause of fireworks injuries!!!
***Trust me, I my dad can tell you first-hand HOW HOT those suckers are when an excited 4-year-old comes running directly out you with burnt-out sparkler anxious for the next one while setting the sparkler down on his arm. I am rather confident that he not only knows what 1,200° feels like, but what it is like to truly have your patience tested!***

Sparkler Safety

Don’t forget about Fido! Fireworks are scary for your pets!
While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, and enjoy a spectacular light show…when in reality your pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations, instead find it all to be a terrifying attack to their senses. As a result, more pets go missing on the 4th of July than any other day of the year.  Be prepared beforehand and help your pets celebrate the evening free from fear, and be sure to your pet’s ID tag is up to date.  And should the unthinkable happen, be sure to utilize ASPCA’s new app that can help owners quickly and effectively reunite with their beloved pet. 

Now that we’ve addressed how to have a fun, safe, injury-free Fourth of July!

1. 2014 Fireworks Injuries Update | CPSC

U Think Ur Good @ Texting & Driving? Ur Not. U Suck @ it!

I’m not going to lie & say I’ve never done it — ashamedly, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done it — but once is already WAY too many times.

Alexander Heit's last text

A grim reminder of the harsh consequences of texting while driving.

I’ve declared myself to be one selfish SOB. Not just selfish, but also very lucky — there is NO reason whatsoever why I shouldn’t be a statistic labeled in news headline as that selfish bastard who just could not wait until I wasn’t driving to read a text. I cringe to even admit that I’m guilty of responding to a few as well.I’ve been luckier than any lottery winner in history: I’ve performed these selfish actions without murdering anyone, or having caused irreversible damage to anyone — or myself for that matter.

But that’s ALL it was — Luck — nothing more

Having put the lives of others in danger unnecessarily makes me ashamed: I’m ashamed as a human being, as an insurance professional and as an passionate safety advocate. I’ve been a freaking hypocrite — and if you know me at all you know that I LOATHE hypocrites, just about as much as I hate admitting that I am one. I am now passionate about putting that damned cell phone down.  For crapsake, I live in Lafayette, it’s not like I have far to drive —what the hell is so damned important that I’ve felt couldn’t wait for 15 freaking minutes?!?To my friends and family — go ahead and call me a nerd — I really could care less. But I do care about your safety and mine, which is why I’m BEGGING you to do the same. Up to this point you have only been sharing the same teeny tiny pot of luck I’ve been scraping out of — and trust me — it’s running on “E”.

To think that you have mastered the skill of texting and driving is the most pathetic mind trick.
Trust me: You REALLY suck at it.

It’s time to PUT THE PHONE DOWN! It’s that one text that can change everything. Hindsight is always 20/20 — so have some foresight and think about it. Do you think you could drive the length of a football field blindfolded without incident? Well if that’s something that you think you’d be uncomfortable with know that is EXACTLY what you are doing when you take your eyes off the road to read or send a text.  

If you want to roll your eyes & think “Well there goes Melissa again on one of her crazed nerdy save the world tangents” just know: When your luck runs out, I’ll come hold your hand in jail & pray for you & with you, but I also promise to leave you there…unless of course it is me or one of my family members, in which case I’m sorry, but that offer is off the table.

Related articles:

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

Photo courtesy of  Greeley, Colorado Police Department

Cyberbullying: The Scourge of the Internet

Facebook and other Social Media sites have become the new schoolyard for bullies — moving from the playground to the web — where they have 24 hour access to their victims.

Those Rumors You Spread About Me Made My Dog CryThe explosive growth of social media has enabled a lot of new opportunities for kids and teenagers that did not exist for many of us while growing up. But the proliferation of social networking has also come with a disgusting downside —Cyberbullying.

Conversations once held in the schoolyard have evolved to take place on Facebook, allowing for bullying and nastiness to become easier in the 24/7 world of social media, causing victims often feel that they have nowhere to hide –not even from the safety of their own home! Nearly 69% of kids ages 13 to 22 have experienced some for of cyberbullying, 20% of which saying what they experienced was “very extreme”.1 

Unfortunately, the sad reality is that most cyberbullying cases don’t make it to a criminal level –some bullying victims are tired of hiding in the depths of darkness and despair, which can lead to a tragic results such as suicide –or Bullycide. The mere fact that this is such a phenomenon that a portmanteau word has been created to define this tragedy is absolutely appalling.

Even more shocking, it was found that 75% of parents said that they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their kids’ online activities, 62% think their kids can’t get in trouble online and only 17% were said to believe that the online world posed similar dangers as the offline world.1 How in the world are parents supposed to protect their children from cyberbullies while remaining in the dark about who their kids are interacting with online, and how they are interacting with those people?!?

While sometimes it’s difficult to reach out and get our children to share about their lives, both on and offline, it’s imperative to educate our younger generation about online safety. There are a number of steps that parents can take to start the conversation, initiate precautionary measures, and respond in times of crises. First and most important though is to have that conversation and open the lines of communication for children to speak up offline about what they may be seeing online.

  • Talk about the news. Sometimes, it helps to have a real life incident to help you start the conversation and see how your child is feeling about the subject, what they think about it, and perhaps Internet safety in general. By both exposing them to the fact that many people deal with this issue, and opening that dialogue, it can help create a doorway to talk should something happen to your child or a friend.
  • Limit time spent with online devices. Whether your child is using the home desktop, a laptop, tablet or smartphone to access the Internet and/or social networking sites, give hard-stop time limits to their usage. Setting boundaries for social media interactions, and time limits for web activities is a good rule of thumb in general for kids. Some wireless providers will also allow you to block text messaging during certain hours.
  • Use filters and parental controls. Without the proper protection and filtering in place, you could be letting the world into your home through your computer monitor. Set up comprehensive protection for all of your family’s devices —computers and mobile—including safe web searching, risky site alerts, identity protection, time limitations and other parental controls.
  • Educate children on appropriate behaviors. Kids need to know that just because you can share something, it doesn’t mean that you should. A moment of poor judgment when it comes to online sharing can haunt you for the rest of your life. Help kids understand what type of content is and is not appropriate to share online and how to setup privacy controls for the information they post to social media sites.
  • Report inappropriate interactions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the majority of social media sites have systems for blocking and reporting users who are being abusive or inappropriate. These can help keep your child safe, as well as make sure the user behind abusive accounts is held responsible. Visit the help section of each social media site for instructions on how to block or report a user.
  • If targeted, make sure your kids don’t retaliate. Cyberbullying incidents can often get worse if the exchange becomes more involved back and forth. While you don’t need to respond online, there are other ways to fight back. Assist your child in saving and documenting incidents to report to the police or school officials, if applicable. Keeping record is the best thing you can do when making a case against a bully.

Cyberbullying Infographic
Infographic courtesy of McAfee© Blog Central

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 

Related articles:

1. Lynn News Cyberbulling Survey
2. Cyberbullying: Words do Hurt When it Comes to Social Media
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ ThatsNotCool.Com

Campus Fire Safety

Just because you’ve made it into college does NOT mean that you are too smart to pay attention to fire safety basics!!

For most students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school, but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives

Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention (and the occasional poor decisions made from alcohol consumption)!

Do you know as much about fire safety as you should?!?


Infographic courtesy of U.S. Fire Administration

Apply these safety tips regardless of where you live, but most importantly if you are living on your own now, this means it is time to be a grown up!:

  1. Always have 2 ways out of each room, no matter where you are.
  2. Smoke alarms save lives.  For the price of a pizza you can save a life, maybe yours. Get one today!
  3. On that note, smoke alarms can save your life only if they are working. Don’t take out batteries, don’t take them down. If your remote control needs a battery, either go buy one, or get up off the couch and change the channel!
  4. Cooking and drinking is as dangerous as driving while drinking
  5. No pizza box on top of stove, will burn if accidentally turned on. Fire spreads fast!
  6. Watch that butt at parties!  A number of fires start after parties and drinking!
  7. Don’t run cords under rugs. They can fray & start a fire. Fire spreads FAST!
  8. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Never. What was a romantic flame can become an inferno. 
  9. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher BEFORE the fire breaks out.

Buckle Up: Every Ride. Every Time. Every Age.

Did you know that 1 in 4 parents admit to not buckling up their kids?!?

What’s even more mind-blowing is that parents who have graduate degrees are TWICE as likely to say that it is acceptable to driving without buckling up their children!

SafeKids USA Buckle UP

Infographic courtesy of SafeKids.org

Based on these findings, Safe Kids offers these three strategies for parents to keep their kids safe while riding in cars:

  1. Buckle up kids on every ride, every time.
  2. Talk to other parents who are driving your kids about the importance of buckling up.
  3. Check that the right child safety seat is being used and that it’s installed properly.

Be More Than a Bystander – Stop Bullying!

End Bullying NowThere has been a lot of attention paid recently to bullying — as there SHOULD be!

Anybody who knows me is aware that bullying is something I simply have no tolerance for.  It is freaking relentless. Recently in my neighborhood I had the displeasure of observing a middle-school-aged girl being trailed by two boys who were “oinking” and shouting cruelties at her. This girl graciously continued walking, never turning back to defend herself, or stooping to their level of exchanging cruel words.

To my husband’s embarrassment, I stormed out of our house to approach these boys and give them a firm lecture. (Hopefully I wasn’t being a hypocritical bully myself!) While I wasn’t cruel to these boys, I was very firm in letting them know that their behavior was the furthest thing from being “cool.” I let them know that while the bullies I grew up with may have been perceived as somewhat “popular” at the time, there isn’t a single one of them that I am aware of that became successful adults  — or moved out of their parents’ home for that matter. I let these boys know that what they were doing to this girl not only had a negative impact on her  — possibly for the rest of her life  — but that they were also hurting themselves by risking their chance at having a successful future.  Granted, I know my statements were blunt and were not facts that I can cite, but I do believe I got through to them hard and clear. They didn’t argue back, and they ultimately apologized to me.  I told them I am not the one that deserves the apology, but rather the girl they were yelling at  — along with anyone else who they may have treated similarly  — and simply requested that they learn from this, and not only stop bullying, but learn to stand up to it.

No one should have to put up with bullying — this is crap that we need to put an end to now!

StopBullying.gov has created their first infographic that shows the alarming statistics about bullying, and what you need to know about preventing it and how to take action. 

StopBullying.gov Infographic

View the full infographic here

StopBullying.gov Widget Logo

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Four-Leaf Clovers Don’t Save Lives: Sober Drivers Do

clover cuffsThis Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day – and you know what that means:green clothing, green decorations and even green beer. But if you’re going to have a glass of that festive brew, be sure to hand over your keys first – because luck won’t keep you out of a jam on St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day has become a popular night out to celebrate with friends and family.  Unfortunately, it has also become a very dangerous night due to the large volume of drunk drivers.

In 2010, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – that’s one every 51 minutes!!1  That is 10,000 too many! 80% deaths on St. Patty’s Day involved drunk drivers who were nearly twice the legal limit!2

If you decide to imbibe and opt to enjoy an Irish Car Bomb, don’t rely on the Luck of the Irish to get you home – opt to get a Designated O’Driver!

Irish eyes smile upon the designated sober driver:

Designate a Sober Driver

Don’t bet on your Irish Luck this St. Patrick’s Day – or this could be you!

Finding a designated driver on St. Patrick’s Day isn’t Luck. It’s Smart!!

1. Imparired Driving on St. Patrick’s Day | NHTSA
2. St. Patrick’s Day Safe Driving Campaign

Be a Force of Nature

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week 2013: March 3-9

Be a Force of Nature

We were all surprised to see tornadoes rip through the South during the month of January, while having another major tornado rock the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the month of February.  Severe weather has no boundaries, and the “rules of science” we all once believed in are proving to no longer be true.

Each year, people are killed or seriously injured by tornadoes and other types of severe weather, despite advance warning. In 2012, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries.  Severe weather knows no boundaries and does not discriminate —but that doesn’t mean we wave the white flag and surrender to nature’s whim.  It means now is the time to Be a Force of Nature in your community and resolve to build a Weather Ready Nation.

Being a force of nature when it comes to severe weather means taking appropriate action and inspiring others to do the same.  Your friends, neighbors and colleagues are more likely to prepare for the various weather hazards that frequently impact the nation when they see those around them prepare, so inspire them to act by being an example yourself.

So, what can you do to prepare?

Be a Force of Nature by pledging to prepare. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather.  Click the button below and register your support:

Pledge to Prepare
Take Action:

Severe Weather

Last but not least, Get Tech Ready

Mobile technology and social media also offer great opportunities to show others how to prepare. Through the use of everyday technology, individuals, families, responders and organizations can successfully prepare for, adapt to and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies and disasters.

According to The American Red Cross, the internet – including online news sites and social media platforms – is the third most popular way for Americans to gather emergency information and let their loved ones know they are safe.

With effective planning, it is possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs — so Get Tech Ready.

Know your risk. Take Action. Be a Force of Nature

Falling asteroids and meteors and satellites. OH MY!


I don’t know about you – but up until last week when I’d think of a meteor the thought that would come to my mind would be of trying to catch a beautiful display of “shooting stars” streaking through the night sky.  While I’ve watched enough sci-fi movies to be aware of a perceived danger from world ending asteroids, I’ve admittedly never really contemplated the real life danger from such a phenomenon.

Granted, I was familiar with the story of Ann Hodges who was taking an afternoon nap on her couch before being rudely, “rocked” awake by a meteorite that crashed through her ceiling, hit her radio console and smashed into her hip, but I figured she was just unlucky. Now after seeing all of the photos and videos of meteor that hit Russia, it leaves me wondering what the chances are of something like this happening close to home. (Not to mention my sudden curiosity as to why so many Russian drivers have dash cams installed in their cars?!?)

While I can’t address the probability of us being struck by a meteor, I can help address who would pay for the damages should your house suddenly be rocked by a meteor – or a more likely case of “blue ice” for that matter.

Standard homeowners insurance polices provide coverage for falling objects – including satellites, asteroids, meteors and space debris when the falling object causes to the structure of the home, as well as to property or belongings damaged within the building.

If a satellite, meteor or asteroid falls on your car, coverage is provided under the optional comprehensive portion of a car insurance policy. And if falling debris causes an auto accident, the liability portion of the policy would come into play.

In the tragic event that space debris were to strike a person, his or her injuries would be covered under health insurance and, in the event of a death, existing life insurance policies would kick in.

So, even when the sky seems to be falling, insurance can provide peace of mind.

Contact me if you would like to be discuss your home insurance so we can be sure you have the proper coverage in place for life’s next phenomenon. 

Insure Your L♥ve

February and Valentine’s Day is a time when we do special things for the ones we love, which is why there’s no better time than right now to protect them through proper life insurance planning.

Insure Your Love

What do love and life insurance have in common?

More than you might realize. The motivation behind purchasing life insurance is love: We buy it because we love people and want to protect them financially. It’s also a gift that continues to give. The proceeds of your policy could benefit your loved ones for many years after you’re gone. Think of it as the ultimate act of enduring love.

A lot of people put off purchasing life insurance.  It seems like a hassle.  You don’t want to do any sort of medical appointment.  It’s an extra expense.  And, for the most part, you just plain don’t want to think about death.

But in today’s difficult economic environment where protracted high unemployment levels have taken their toll on American families, many American households are living paycheck to paycheck. In these times — when families don’t have savings to withstand the loss of an income — the need for life insurance is even more critical to protect families against unexpected death.

Here are three additional reasons why now is the best time for you to look into getting your life insurance plans in order (the sooner the better!):

  1. You’ll never be younger than you are today. While this may sound obvious, youth is on your side when it comes to life insurance both from a price perspective as well as insurability. With each birthday you’ll see your premium go up unless you lock in a great rate now. Don’t wait until you’re just young at heart to get covered.
  2. It’s affordable, with rates near historic lows. People overestimate the cost of life insurance by nearly three times, the actual price.1 In fact, life insurance rates remain near historic lows; the cost of basic term life insurance has fallen by nearly 50 percent over the past decade. For example, a healthy 30-year-old can buy a 20-year, $250,000 level-term policy for about $13 per month.
  3. Life Happens. One day life is going along smoothly, and the next, you’re thrown a curve ball. No one knows what the future holds. None of us expect to die prematurely, but the truth is roughly 600,000 people die each year in the prime of their lives. That’s why today is always the best day to take care of your life insurance needs. 

Insure Your L♥ve

Contact me if you would like to be provided with the right tools to determine how much and what kind of life insurance might be right for you.

Related articles

Sources: 1. Consumers Misinformed about Price of Life Insurance

Cyberbullying: What Your Kids Are Doing Online May Cost You

The rapid evolution of technology has affected the ways in which people and business communicate with each other in a very dramatic way –sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. The internet has become a forum that supports bullying and intimidation, fueling a worldwide growth of cyber liability. Right now the hot-button issue for parents is the risk of cyberbullying –both for parents of potential victims, as well as for parents of an accused cyberbully.

Stay Safe Online, Stop BullyingWhat in the world is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the same as the more familiar form of bullying, only that it that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. Because cyberbullying can happen in the 24/7 world of social media, victims often feel that they have nowhere to hide –even in the safety of their own home. Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online –25% of them have had it happen more than once. 1 The end result of a Cyberbullying case can result in the loss of your lifetime savings, your house or other prized possessions. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that most cyberbullying cases don’t make it to a criminal level –some bullying victims are tired of hiding in the depths of darkness and despair, which can lead to a tragic results such as suicide –or Bullycide. The mere fact that this is such a phenomenon that a portmanteau word has been created to define this tragedy is absolutely appalling.

What can you do to protect your family?

Every homeowners policy is going to offer liability coverage at some level for “bodily injury or property damage” –but that definition does not include intangible damages for things like emotional distress, anxiety and mental injury –which are often the result of cyberbullying. This is not to mention the other violations your teen may encounter online –which my friend Alan McNaron covers beautifully in Personal Injury Protection from Social Media. In order to have any sort of coverage from a claim resulting from one of these kinds of situations a homeowners policy must have an endorsement that adds “personal injury” liability protection, which picks up the acts of libel, slander and defamation. But you still need to be careful –just because you have the coverage doesn’t mean you’re 100% protected! The only problem with this coverage will be with the exclusions, and there are likely to be more than one of them. It is not unusual to see an exclusion for “personal injury” if the insured (which also includes your kids) knew what they were doing was wrong or inaccurate. When you deal with a child’s access to the internet, compiled with the given errors in judgment, the risk for personal injury is certainly much greater –which also increases parents chances of being held liable.

The best defense against any type of exposure to this risk is to avoid it completely –always know what your children are doing online!

As a parent, you’ll likely want to allow your children to use technology for communications, learning and more –however you’re also going to want to be sure that they do so safely and securely. It is essential to establish household rules about technology use, as well as to monitor your child’s actions online.

Tips for establishing rules about proper use of technology:
  • Establish rules about appropriate use of computers, cell phones, and other technology. For example, be clear about what sites they can visit and what they are permitted to do when they’re online. Show them how to be safe online.
  • Help them be smart about what they post or say. Tell them not to share anything that could hurt or embarrass themselves or others. Once something is posted, it is out of their control whether someone else will forward it.
  • Encourage kids to think about who they want to see the information and pictures they post online. Should complete strangers see it? Real friends only? Friends of friends? Think about how people who aren’t friends could use it.
  • Educate their children about the potential dangers and lasting nature of a digital message
  • Tell kids to keep their passwords safe and not share them with friends. Sharing passwords can compromise their control over their online identities and activities
  • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having
Tips for monitoring online activity:

Always know what your kids are doing online

  • Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities.
  • Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
  • Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
  • Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so. (92% of parents are Facebook friends with their children) 2
  • Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency. (72% of parents have their child’s Facebook password) 2
All too often parents only learn about the actions of their children after the fact…once the legal proceedings begin.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here.

1. 11 Facts about Cyberbullying
2. Most Parents Monitor Kids on Facebook and Have their Password
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Word to the Wise about Mobile Security

Mobile SecurityEvan as an advocate for safety and security, I recently had my own little run in with something I did wrong…combined with something I did right.

A couple of weeks ago I came into work on the weekend, so I took advantage of the street parking next to our building in the heart of Downtown Lafayette. It was a nice sunny day, so I left my window slightly cracked so my car wouldn’t be hot when I returned. I didn’t think anything of this action, I’ve always felt extremely (albeit naively) safe in Lafayette, it was broad daylight, and our Courthouse was in broad view only 50ft away –seriously, what could go wrong?

Low and behold I received a call from the Lafayette Police to notify me that someone from a local business saw four juveniles reach into my car and successfully pull my purse out of it. Some of my belongings were tossed onto my car windshield (apparently my business cards weren’t viewed as valuable –the nerve!), while an assortment of my belongings were scattered all around downtown –it was quite the scavenger hunt.  I was extremely fortunate to find my wallet about a block away (everything was still intact except for my pocket change), my checkbook was in the bushes nearby as well. Over by the bus stop the officer found my purse. Sadly I am still uncertain as to what else may be missing as a local business recently brought in my dental insurance card –something I had yet to notice as missing. One item that was missing that was not immediately recovered was my iPhone.

This is where the moral of my story comes in –it is ABSOLUTELY important essential that anybody who has a Smart-Phone set a passcode on it for security. 

If you don’t have a passcode on your phone then anybody who gains possession of it would have access to everything you’ve got stored on it. Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and. potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer. With the endless apps that make our world convenient it is also opening up a world of convenience to a thief. I can’t express this enough for those of you who have access to work email on your phone –without a passcode lock on your phone you are giving someone else access to confidential information (not to mention the ability to send raunchy emails to your contacts “from you” should they be so inclined). Even if you don’t have access to your work email, but have a smart phone….LOCK IT!

If you have an iPhone I strongly encourage you to enable the Find my iPhone technology that it comes with and enable it –this brilliant piece of technology along with the amazing help of LPD is what allowed me to recover my phone.  At the time of the theft my phone was turned off so I couldn’t locate my iPhone –however I enabled the feature to “Notify me when iPhone is found.”  That night I was sent an alert with an exact address and map of where my iPhone was located, I called the officer who helped me out in the day, and she went to the house and retrieved it for me!  Now that is technology and law enforcement at its absolute finest!

While this whole ordeal was a royal pain, it ultimately all worked out well in the end –not to mention the fact that I was provided with the added bonus of the girl taking multiple pictures of herself, along with a couple of videos of her singing the Star Spangled Banner –mementos I will certainly treasure for a while.

So that said, I beg you to follow this advice to protect your personal information:
  1. LOCK YOUR PHONE!  If you have work email on your phone this really shouldn’t even be an option, consider it a MUST!
  2. If you do have an iPhone, be sure to utilize the Find my iPhone utility –it is absolutely brilliant and you never know when you might need it. Android users can take advantage of a similar service with the Where’s My Droid App.
  3. Don’t leave your windows cracked, not even slightly –neither daylight nor a nearby courthouse is enough to deter someone from a mischievous opportunity
Please take my advice and learn from my experience.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dreams can come true

57 years ago today, Fairytales became a reality when Disneyland opened.

All our Dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them

But did you know that this dream may not have been possible without life insurance?

It’s true: After failing in the pursuit of traditional means of financing to build what would become Disneyland, Walt decided to provide his own financing. In 1953 Walt Disney gathered money from many sources, including borrowing money from the cash value in his life insurance policy in order to fund his first theme park.

This just goes to demonstrate the flexibility and freedom that can be provided through a life insurance policy. The ability to be your own banker when you need it most is priceless.

Thank you Walt Disney for having an amazing dream to design, create and build the most wonderful place in the world where childhood is infinite.

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world

–Walt E. Disney

6 Famous Brands Started or Saved by Life Insurance

Don’t let Fido become a distraction – or a missile!

At just 30mph a 80-pound pet becomes a 2,400 pound projectile!

Although I consider myself to be a pretty passionate safety advocate against distracted driving, as well as having a huge heart for animals I have an embarrassing confession to make: Everytime I take my boys for a car ride I become a distracted driver, while also putting my four-legged kids in harm’s way. I’ve never really taken the time to think about the distraction that having Cheech & Diesel in the car brings. A survey of drivers who travel with their dogs showed 56% of pet owners have driven with their dog in a vehicle at least once a month over the past year. (Guilty)

Sixty-five percent of dog owners admit to engaging in at least one potentially distracting activity while driving with their dog:

  • 52% admit to petting their dog (Guilty)
  • 23% admit to using their hands/arms to keep their dog from seat hopping (Guilty)
  • 18% admit to reaching in the back seat to interact with their dog (Guilty)
  • 3% admit to taking a photo of their dog (Only guilty when my husband is driving, but I am sure that is just as distracting)

In addition to the driving distraction that Cheech & Diesel present as passengers in the car, they also pose another safety hazard — becoming a flying missile in the event of a sudden stop. At an abrupt stop Cheech & Diesel would keep moving at whatever speed the car was traveling.  In the event of a crash, even if I was only going 30 mph, Diesel’s 80 pound frame would exert about 2,400 pounds of force.There are some auto insurance policies that now offer coverage for pet injuries sustained as the result of an accident — however there is no coverage for the unbearable heartache one would endure in such a tragedy.

Tips for a safer trip:


  1. Large dogs (such as Diesel) should be restrained with harnesses linked to a car’s seat belt.  Smaller pets should ride in crates or a travel-safe dog bed.
  2. Dogs should never ride on the driver’s lap.
  3. Don’t let your dog stick their head out the window — even though they love it.  Dirt and debris can cause injury or infection.

NEVER leave an animal in a parked car, even if the windows are partially open. Even on pleasant days the temperature inside a car can soar to well over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes, placing your pet at risk for heatstroke and possibly death. Pets can very quickly suffer just like humans, from heat stroke or heat exhaustion. On very cold days, hypothermia is a risk.

If you live in Indiana and would like to discuss your insurance with me Click Here. 


Share the road with motorcycles

Objects More Vulnerable than they Appear

Today, more people are riding motorcycles than ever before. Motorcycle riders represent almost every demographic group in the country. Riders now tend to be more affluent than 30 years ago. The average age of riders has increased, and more women are riding than ever before. In 2010, 4,502 motorcyclists were killed –while this is a decrease of 15% from the 5,312 motorcyclists killed in 2008, saving more lives is the ultimate goal. 1

Now that warmer weather has covered most of America, motorcyclists everywhere will soon be out in full force

In response to this increase, the NHTSA has proclaimed May as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” During this time – and during the rest of the year – motorists and other road users are reminded to safely “share the road” with motorcycles, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclist killed and injured in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road. All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted.

 Motorcycle safety is a Two-Way Street

Two Way Street

Automobile drivers need to be vigilant to look for motorcycles as they are harder to see, and are far more vulnerable to road hazards and impacts. Drivers of cars, trucks and buses are reminded to look out for and share the road with motorcycle riders. Things as simple as always using your turn signal, even if you don’t see another vehicle around, and scrupulously checking mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes can potentially avert disaster.

Motorcyclists have responsibilities too, in that they are reminded to obey traffic laws, wear DOT-compliant helmets and other protective gear, and make themselves visible by wearing bright colors and using reflective tape. In addition, motorcyclists are responsible for being alert to the actions of other drivers, and never EVER getting behind the handle bars while impaired. After all –Drinking slows down a riders reactions to curves.

Increasing safe riding and cooperation between all road users and motorcyclists will help to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on our nation’s highways.

Share the road with motorcycles with these safety tips: Continue reading