tornado

8 Tornado Myths and the Facts That Could Save Your Life

At this time of the year, you probably have fall preparation and the status of your child’s homework on your mind. You’re probably not paying much mind to the weather, unless the forecast is bringing crisp, cool fall weather, that is. Even though the prime time for tornadoes has passed, tornadoes can strike with very little warning and at any time of the year (remember the New Year’s Eve tornado of 2010?).

Tornadoes can absolutely devastate an area and transform the landscape within a matter of minutes. The damage dealt from a tornado can be deadly, and so can the myths that have circulated around for years and years. These myths put thousands of people, thinking they are playing it safe, in mortal danger.

Learn all about the 8 most commonly-held myths and perceptions about tornado safety and the truth about tornadoes below!

Myth: Opening the windows in your home will help equalize the air pressure, minimizing any damage the home receives.

Fact: This is a totally unnecessary endeavor that wastes your valuable time in getting to a safe spot. If a tornado passes close enough to do any damage to your house, there’s really nothing you can do about it. Instead, seek shelter immediately and leave the windows down!

Myth: Tornadoes only happen during late spring.

Fact: As we stated above, tornadoes can happen any time of the year and at any time of the day or night without very little warning. Yes, they are more prevalent from the late afternoon to the evening and during the warmer months between spring and early summer when warm, humid air collides with cold, dry air. However, it’s best to be prepared for tornadoes at anytime. Pay close attention to the weather reports if inclement weather is heading your way anytime of the year.

Myth: Tornadoes never cross rivers or large bodies of water.

Fact: If this were true, we’d never see tornadoes in Illinois because of the Mississippi River! It doesn’t matter what’s in front of it – a tornado will pass through it or over it. A good example is the Natchez, Mississippi tornado of 1840. This deadly tornado traveled directly down the Mississippi River and killed hundreds of people. Never assume you’re safe from a tornado if there’s a body of water between it and you.

Myth: Want to get away from tornadoes? Move to the mountains! They never happen there.

Fact: Just like bodies of water, mountains prove to be no resistance to tornadoes. Tornadoes will not bend or sway just because a huge landmass is in front of it. In fact, tornadoes have been documented in the mountains, including damage from an F-4 tornado that wreaked havoc 10,000 feet above the ground!

Myth: Tornadoes don’t hit the big cities.

Fact: Let’s think about probability for a moment. In the United States, there are actually very few cities than there are rural areas. It makes statistical sense that tornadoes would hit rural areas not because of the lack of huge buildings but because there are simply more rural areas in the nation. Additionally, tornadoes have hit major cities including Nashville, Oklahoma City, and even Miami in the past few years.

Myth: The safest place to seek shelter from a tornado is in the southwest corner of your basement.

Fact: This used to be a prevailing belief since many tornadoes tend to travel from the southwest and head northeast; however, the soundness and design of your home determines the safest area. According to the National Weather Service, you should take shelter in your basement under something sturdy like a work bench or a couch.

Myth: You can outrace a tornado in your car.

Fact: Absolutely not. It’s wisest to avoid your car for several reasons when a tornado is around. They can move 60 mph or more and shift directions erratically without any warning. Additionally, tornadoes are well-known to produce flooding, hail, and strong winds, all of which can slow you down as the tornado comes barreling down. If a tornado hits when you’re driving, pull over somewhere safe and seek shelter indoors.

Myth: Hide under an overpass if you’re on the road and a tornado is approaching.

Fact: This is probably the worst tornado myth that we’ve heard. Taking shelter under an overpass is one of the most dangerous things you can do when a tornado is coming, aside from racing straight toward the tornado. The winds could potentially interact with the bridge structure, and you could be sucked out, hurt by the bridge structure, or hit with any flying debris that comes your way. Instead, get to a ditch and press yourself against the earth as much as you can.

Make sure that your home is as protected as it can get with the right home insurance policy. Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to get the best policy for you!

home DIY projects

Do You DIY? 4 Projects to Leave to the Professionals (and 3 You Can Do!)

Do you enjoy sifting through magazine articles, looking for the next DIY project to tackle in your home? With so many articles in magazines and online and all the different things you can do on Pinterest, it’s easy to want to get to try your hand at some of the projects you see. But should you really attempt every project you want to do yourself?

Here are 4 home projects that are best left to the professionals.

Plumbing and Electrical Work – These projects might not seem too difficult to undertake, but they can become disastrous very quickly when carried out by amateurs. In fact, many homeowners’ insurance policies require homeowners to hire licensed electricians, get permits, and have inspections for any electrical work done. You can take on very minor plumbing and electrical projects, but leave the bigger ones to the professionals.

Major Structural Changes – The structures of your home – the headers, footers, and beams – are mostly hidden inside the walls and structures and are essential for your home to remain whole. Don’t take chances with your home’s structural components. Ask an engineer or contractor to take care of any renovations or major changes you plan on making. They will know all about the structural elements of your home and will help you save money in the long run.

Tiling Projects – Tiling might not seem to be a big deal, and really, the installation of tiling is not very hard to do. The corners and edges, however, require the most work and can cause inexperienced homeowners to become frustrated and start all over again. For a good, proper tile installation, leave this to a professional! When done correctly, it looks gorgeous and can last a very long time!

Roofing – You might have the skills to take on some roofing projects, but you might not be fast enough to finish the work in a short period of time. Leaking roofs can expose homes to damage from the elements including snow, rain, and other harsh weather conditions. Protect your home by asking the professionals to tackle the job and give your home a beautiful roof!

Now that we’ve told you about the projects you shouldn’t take on by yourself, here are 3 projects you can DIY!

Painting – Love to paint? Then pick up the brush, open a can of your favorite color, and get started! Homeowners can most certainly undertake the task of painting their homes. All it takes is a stepladder, a firm hand, and lots of patience.

Replacing the Hardware – If you have any cabinetry or door hardware to replace, you have the green light to go ahead and try this! Updating your cabinetry can give your kitchen some extra beauty and life. When doing this, try to match up the handles and pulls to the old hardware as best as you can for the cleanest look.

Landscaping – Exteriors can be difficult to maintain; however, they aren’t impossible to breathe some life into them! Mow the lawn regularly, maintain the trees, create a beautiful garden full of your favorite flowers – these are some of the things you can do to make your landscaping shine in the warm seasons. If you like to partake in messy DIY projects, landscaping is right up your alley!

It’s important to make sure that your home looks great, but it’s even more important to protect your home from the unexpected. That’s where we come in! Visit the good folks at Madison Mutual Insurance Company, call us at 1-800-766-MMIC, or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com to find the right home policy for you!

happy roommates

Renter’s Insurance – Does My Roommate Need a Separate Policy?

If you happen to be renting, you don’t have to worry about having a home insurance policy; however, it’s wise to take steps in protecting yourself and your valuables with renter’s insurance. Your landlord’s homeowner insurance won’t be able to protect your items in the event of accident, theft, or natural disaster – it only protects what is theirs.

Getting a renter’s insurance policy is easy enough for one person, but what happens when you have a roommate? Does your roomie need an insurance policy as well, or will one policy be enough to protect the two of you? Find out below!

In all actuality, renter’s insurance is intended for single people, married couples, and families that co-own their valuables. If you’re single but have a roommate, your renter’s insurance may cover your roommate’s stuff, but it can pose as a real risk to you. For instance, if your roomie’s brand-new laptop is stolen or damaged from a natural disaster, your premium may jump up quite a bit.

So in short, YES, you should each consider getting separate policies to cover your valuables separately. It will save you a lot of time, hassle, and grief.

What if you don’t have a renter’s insurance policy? You’ll have to sign up for a policy, but you will need to keep in mind that there are two very different policies with their own premiums and payouts – Actual Cash Value (ACV) and Replacement Cost. ACV policies will only reimburse you for the value of the item(s) at the time it was stolen or damaged while a Replacement Cost policy will replace the actual item for you as best as possible. You will want to talk about this thoroughly with your insurance agent to determine the best policy for you.

Overall, your renter’s insurance will be able to cover your valuables from the following:

*Fire or lightning

*Windstorm or hail

*Explosion

*Riot or civil disturbance

*Aircraft

*Vehicles

*Smoke

*Vandalism or malicious mischief

*Theft

*Broken glass

*Volcanic eruption

*Falling objects

*Weigth of ice, snow, or sleet

*Accidental discharge or overflow of water

*Sudden and accidental tearing apart

*Freezing

*Artificially generated electrical charge

 

If you’re in the hunt for a renter’s insurance policy (or if your dear roomie needs one), talk to the best in area – Madison Mutual. Give us a call at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started or to talk to your agent. Find out more about us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

Car buying tips

9 Steps to Help You Find Your Perfect Car

Getting a new car (or a new-to-you car) is an exciting endeavor! Whether you’re in the hunt for a new car for your growing family or if you need a new car after your trusty old clunker has finally bitten the dust, car shopping can be exhilarating but also stressful if you don’t know what you want or how to go about buying the right car for you.

So how do you find a car that you will enjoy driving while suiting your needs for years to come? Just follow our 9 steps below!

Step 1: Assess Your Needs – Sure, you might want to drive that hot red Mustang or that bright green Corvette that you saw on that car commercial the other day, but when it comes to owning a vehicle, it’s best to think practically. Think about your needs now and in the future as well. How many passengers will you be carrying with you? What type of driving will you be doing? Do you have a long commute or need a lot of cargo space? Will you be doing any towing or using children’s car seats? These are all vital questions to answer before you even begin car searching.

Step 2: Set Your Budget – Unless you plan on paying for your car with cash, you’ll have to figure out your budget and find out how much you can set aside for purchasing and paying off your car. Determine how much money you can put toward car payments each month. The general rule is no more than 20% of your monthly take-home pay.

Step 3: Consider Other Cars in the Same Class – You might have your heart and mind set on a particular car, but is it really the best car for you? In today’s ever-changing market, there are always new vehicles coming out; you might not have even considered a type that could be the best for your needs. If you have a car already in mind, search for it to see a list of similar cars in the same class. Whenever you find one that you like, get all the information on pricing, specs, features, and road tests.

Step 4: Consider the Costs of Ownership – It’s easy to look at the initial cost of the car. In fact, you might gravitate toward one car over the other because it is cheaper to buy. Be sure to figure out why that particular vehicle costs less. If two cars cost about the same to purchase, one could depreciate more quickly or could be more costly to insure and maintain.

Step 5: Start Shopping – Back in the day, when you wanted to buy a car, you had to hoof it over to the local dealership to check out their stock. Now, however, you can look at a dealership’s stock online from the comfort of your own couch. This will help you cover more ground more quickly and ultimately save you money.

Step 6: Make an Appointment – After you’ve found the car that seems right for you, it’s time to schedule an appointment with the car dealership in question! Don’t dawdle on making an appointment as cars can be gone as quickly as they are listed. Schedule a day and time that works for you and the dealership for a test drive.

Step 7: Know What to Look for In Your Test Drive – A car might seem to have everything you could ever want and dream about, but you won’t know until you test drive it. Be sure to take the vehicle out on the types of roads that you would drive during your everyday life including stop-and-go traffic and highways. Don’t be afraid to take sharper corners or drive over bumps; you need to get a good feel for the car.

Step 8: Choose Your Car – Perhaps the first car you test drive is the car for you. Maybe you need to test drive several different models and makes of cars before you settle on one. If the choice for your next car isn’t clear, try sleeping on it and deciding in the morning.

Step 9: Bring It Home – Congratulations! You’ve chosen your next new ride! Now you just need to purchase it from the dealership, sign the necessary paperwork, and take your vehicle home with you!

Don’t forget that obtaining a new vehicle means getting an updated auto insurance policy. Stop by our office or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to get your auto insurance policy updated after you purchase your vehicle! We’ll take care of all the details to ensure that your new car is totally insured.