6 Hidden Dangers in Your Home and What You Can Do About Them

You work hard to keep your house and family safe every day. You make sure that things are in their proper spot, that there’s food on the table, and that your children are safe after you tuck them into bed at night. In spite of all your efforts, your home is hiding some very real threats that are hiding right under your nose.

Here’s a list of 6 hidden dangers that are present in your home and what you can do to prevent them!

Power Surges – It’s easy these days to stay plugged into technology constantly. More than likely, your outlets are probably all filled with cords that connect to your tv, computer, and chargers for all of your electronic devices. Staying constantly plugged in, however, can lead to power surges. When lightning strikes, a power surge can damage your electronics and appliances and can even spark a house fire. Prevent this by investing in surge protectors and remember to unplug your appliances and electronics during severe storms.

Dirty Lint Traps – Laundry is enough of a chore as it is, so it’s easy to forget to attend to that lint trap in your dryer. Forgetting to clean out the lint trap can cause lint buildup, which can cause your dryer to overheat or start a fire. Make sure you clean out the lint trap before and after you use the dryer, and get your dryer vents cleaned every single year to ensure that the line is clear of lint. Getting the vent cleaned may help prevent a possible dryer-induced house fire and can keep your appliance running much more smoothly.

Carbon Monoxide Leaks – This is perhaps the deadliest of all hidden traps your home could have. Carbon monoxide (CO), which is often called “the silent killer,” results in about 15,000 emergency departments visits and nearly 500 deaths annually, according to the CDC. Fuel-burning appliances are oftentimes the source of these leaks. The best way to fight against any kind of CO leak is by installing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, including the basement and outside all sleeping areas. Replace these alarms every 5 to 7 years for the greatest safety success.

Trip Hazards – It might be tempting to just kick off your shoes right when you walk in the door or leave your stuff on the sides of your couches and chairs, but these seemingly benign items can cause serious injuries if someone were to trip and fall. To avoid any unexpected falls, keep your home safe and clean. Storage bins and organizational units can really help in this department.

Foundation Cracks – Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer? You might not be too concerned with this odorless, radioactive gas, but as a homeowner, you need to be aware of it. Radon can move up from the soil and enter your home through cracks in your foundation and around service pipes and construction joints, even if you don’t have a basement. While you can’t smell or see radon, you can test for it easily with an at-home testing kit. If you find that your results say that you have an elevation of the gas, don’t worry – it’s fixable! The EPA says that some radon reduction systems can reduce radon levels by up to 99%.

Unsecured Doors and Windows – Unlocked and unsecure doors and windows are essentially open invitations for burglars to come in and ransack your home. Remember to lock up your home every time that you leave and also during the night. Security cameras and floodlights can help ward off intruders as well.

We understand that maintaining a home can be stressful, especially in times of crises. Be sure that your home is protected in case anything happens – call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to learn more! We are dedicated to protecting you, your family, and everything that is precious to you.

5 Tips to Stay Safe in the Water This Summer!

Summer is officially here, and the heat has definitely arrived! Staying cool is important this time of year, and many people choose to cool down in the water. Whether it’s swimming in a pool in your backyard, a water park, or a vacation at the lake, splashing around in the water is a fun thing to do, but it’s also essential to stay safe. Let’s dive into some safety tips to keep in mind next time you get to jump into some water!

Life Jackets Are Always in Fashion – If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating deaths occur from drowning, and a life jacket could have prevented nearly half of those deaths. Test life jackets at least once a year for buoyancy and wear and tear. Faded, leaky, or waterlogged jackets should be replaced. Make sure your life jackets comply with U.S. Coast Guard regulations. For more information on choosing the proper life jacket, view the U.S. Coast Guard’s brochure here.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water – If you have a pool, take precautions to keep people out of the pool when no one else is around. Pool covers and safety alarms are two options to keep unsupervised swimmers out. The American Red Cross recommends that you install gates that are at least 4 feet tall, self-closing, self-latching and open outward. Once you are done playing in the pool, remove all the toys and put them away. Toys in the pool can attract young children to jump in after them, even if they aren’t strong swimmers.

Constant Supervision Is Key – When someone is in the water, there should be at least one person watching in case of an emergency. Never assume someone else is watching people in the pool unless you’ve specifically designated another adult. If you have a young child, always stay within arm’s reach of the water and minimize your own distractions while he or she is swimming.

#PutDownThePhone – While taking pictures at the water is a nice way to remember the moment, wait until after you leave to post it to social media. It’s easy to get caught up in posting it, making it less likely you’ll quickly notice if someone needs help. It’s a good idea to keep a phone close, though, in the event of an emergency. In many cases, saving someone from severe injury or even death from drowning comes down to a matter of minutes.

Be Prepared – The best way to have fun in the sun – and water – is to be prepared. Learn how to swim and if you have children, teach them to swim or enroll them in swimming lessons before taking anyone to the pool or the lake. Have a cell phone, life jacket, and throwing or reaching equipment close by while people are in the water in case something goes wrong. Learn CPR and first aid so that you can quickly respond while you wait for medics to arrive in the event of an emergency.

Vacations to the lake or ocean should mean lots of swimming, boating, and fun! Even if you’re taking a “staycation” at home, relaxation and pool time should go hand-in-hand. Ease your mind even more by keeping these tips in mind to stay safe while splashing around this summer!

Want more safety tips? Call us at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at http://www.madisonmutual.com! We’ll make sure you’re protected not just in summer but also year round!

We’re Growing and Heading North to Wisconsin!

When you think of Wisconsin, you might conjure up images of rolling green hills with cows happily grazing along the fences, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and the most delicious hunks of cheese you have ever tasted in your life.

Now you will have one more to thing to associate with the state – Madison Mutual. That’s right, Madison Mutual is officially expanding north into the beautiful state of Wisconsin!

We are in the process of appointing agents to attend to the needs of policyholders and partner with agencies throughout Wisconsin. Our very own Henry Pomrenke, who currently services the northeastern portion of Illinois, will be covering the entire state of Wisconsin as Marketing Representative!

This expansion is providing all of us here at Madison Mutual with the opportunity to continue growing and diversifying the business even more. We are so excited to be entering the Wisconsin market and look forward to better serving our current and future policyholders and agency partners through this expansion!

We will continue to provide the same great services and product offerings in Wisconsin as we do in both Illinois and Missouri. This includes offering auto, home, and umbrella insurance to our policyholders. Our Wisconsin offices will also have the same hours as our offices in Illinois and Missouri have.

If you aren’t familiar with Madison Mutual, just visit us on our website at www.madisonmutual.com or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to learn all about who we are and how we can protect what matters to you!

5 Essential Tips to Prevent Over-Sharing on the Internet

Do you know someone who shares way too much on social media? These people might be sharing every single exquisite detail of their vacation, posting photos of their newborn babies, complete with birthdate and all the other details, or showing off a brand-new car with the license plate in full view. Not only do these people tend to get on our nerves with their over-sharing, but they are also subjecting themselves to being potential victims of identity theft.

Criminals are quite intelligent. They can figure out your life and routine with just a few key bits of information. All they need is a computer or smart device, working Internet connection, and a bit of free information. Stalking a victim, stealing his or her identity, or robbing the person has become easier than ever.

So what can you do to prevent over-sharing and stop yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft? Follow these 5 key tips below!

Keep the Personal Details Offline – We all know that it’s unwise to post our social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other valuable information on the Internet, but there are plenty of other things you should reconsider posting. When you share things like your full name, birthdate, current employer, family member names, your cell phone, and your home address, you make life so very easy for identity thieves. Not only can they familiarize themselves with who you are and where you live, but they can also take better guesses at breaking into your password-protected accounts. Before posting, rethink sharing your hometown, spouse’s or kids’ names, your alma mater, and your dog’s name.

Think Twice Before Posting – It’s so very tempting to post about the good time and the bad. You might be dying to share the picture of you currently on vacation or even the new license you got. These photos, however, provide a lot more information to prowlers than you might think. Be sure that there is no intimate information on anything in the picture, and say “no” to posting pictures of yourself while you’re out of town. This is just asking for thieves to come and steal your information (and your stuff).

Keep Up-To-Date with Privacy Settings – It’s not enough to just go into Facebook or Twitter one time and update your settings. Social media platforms are changing every day, and sometimes they update their privacy settings without letting you know. Simply going into your account and keeping up-to-date with the privacy settings is one of the simplest ways to ensure your online safety.

Turn Off Location-Based Apps – Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow users to pinpoint their exact location with gelocation tags. If you use these tags, you are opening yourself up to identity thieves by showing your address or simply by allowing them to know where you are right now. Turn off these settings before you make a post.

Put a Lock on Your Social Profiles – Want to stay safe online? Start locking down your profiles. Make your Twitter profile private – this will allow only people you’ve added to your friends list to access your tweets. In Facebook, set your default privacy to “friends” and go through your list of friends to ensure that you actually know everyone you have become friends with on Facebook.

Remember, you don’t have to give up social media in order to stay safe. You only have to keep these 5 tips in mind whenever you make a post, whether you’re sharing a photo of you enjoying time out on the lake or you devouring a delicious piece of birthday cake!

Want more safety tips? Call us at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com! We will help protect what matters the most to you.