7 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe and Have a Doggone Good Road Trip!

Taking your pet along for the ride when you go on a road trip can be a fun and memorable experience for both you and your pet. You can share new sights, sounds, and smells together and enjoy everything that life has to offer. However, your road trip can easily turn into a disaster if your pet were to ever be injured in an accident, become lost, or stolen.

Here are 7 things you can do to keep your pet safe in your car (while still having a great road trip)!

Make Them Sit Tight – Dogs and cats shouldn’t be allowed to roam in the car while it’s in motion. The safest way to travel with your pet in a crate that has been anchored to your vehicle by a seatbelt or some other secure means. While dog restraints and seat belts can be useful in making your pet stay where they are, they aren’t the best in protecting pets if a crash were to occur. When in doubt, choose a secured crate.

Keep Cats Safe – Cats aren’t usually comfortable with traveling in cars as it is. In the interest of both their safety and yours, keep them in a carrier. Be sure to restrain the carrier so that it won’t bounce around and injure your cat! You can do this by securing a seat belt around the front of the carrier.

Humans in the Front, Animals in the Back – You might want to keep your pet up front with you, but it’s in your best interest (and theirs) to keep them in the back seat of your car. If an airbag were to deploy while your pet is in the passenger seat with you, it could seriously injure him, even if he’s in a crate. Keep the rule “humans up front, animals in the back” in your mind when you take a road trip with your furry friends.

Keep Their Heads Inside – You’ve probably passed by several cars with a dog gleefully sticking his head out, ears flapping in the wind. Even though your dog might enjoy the sensation of the wind in their fur, it’s incredibly dangerous. They can easily be injured by particles or debris or even made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Be sure to keep your pet inside the vehicle at all times, and never transport them in the back of an open pickup truck as well.

Bring Along a Human Pal – Whenever it’s possible, try to get someone to go along with you and your pet on your road trip. It’s not only more fun with someone else, but you can share driving and pet caretaking responsibilities with each other. You’ll also be able to make pit stops with the peace of mind in knowing that someone you trust is watching over your pet.

Give Your Pet Plenty of Rest Stops – Your pets should be allowed to stop every few hours to stretch their limbs and relieve themselves. Just make sure that they never ever leave your vehicle without having a leash, collar, and ID tag on them!

Never Leave Your Pet Alone – Pets should never be left alone in the car for two major reasons – temperatures and thievery. Even though you might be gone for a very short time, your car can heat up very quickly in the warmer months and plummet in temperature in no time during the winter. Also, by leaving your pet in the car, you are sending an unspoken invitation to those who might wish to steal your pet or your car.

Before you saddle up your pet for your next road trip. make sure that your car insurance is up-to-date and exactly what you need. Just come in to Madison Mutual or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started today. Happy trails!

4 Smart Places to Store Your Important Documents

Important documents – we need them, but we can’t always figure out where the best place to store them might be. Folders can get lost in the shuffle, and storing papers away in boxes in the far recesses of the closet isn’t just a pain to dig out but also unsafe in the event of a fire. So what can you do?

When figuring out where to store your documents like your birth certificates, social security card, or even the deed to the house, try these 4 locations!

Safe-Deposit Box – A good place to start when it comes to storing your important original documents is a bank safe-deposit box. Keep copies in your home if you need to refer to them and consider giving an additional copy (and a key to the box) to a trusted friend or relative.

Fireproof Safe – If you feel more comfortable keeping everything at your home, buy a fireproof safe. It doesn’t have to be large or expensive – even a small one that fits under your bed will work great! Just make sure that your safe has at least a one-hour fire rating so that, in the event of a fire, your documents will be safer for a longer amount of time.

Accordion Folder – A cheaper yet still effective method of protecting your documents is by storing them in a simple accordion folder. You can then store this folder in your file cabinets. Place your documents in a brightly colored accordion folder so you can locate it quickly and grab it all in case of an emergency.

Somewhere Dry – When looking for the perfect location to store your documents, make sure that you choose somewhere that’s totally dry and not prone to any sort of flooding. If you live near the coast or have any floods happen during heavy bouts of rain, for example, you’ll want to steer clear of the basement. Instead, store your documents in one of the above devices upstairs or even in your attic!

Once you’ve stored your important documents in a safe location, make sure that someone who is very close to you knows where they’re located, just in case you’re unable to access them when you really need them. That way you’re covered regardless!

We hope that this list will be helpful to you! If you ever need any help with other important factors in your life like your insurance policies (hey, those are important documents, too!), come talk to us at Madison Mutual Insurance Company or call your agent at 1-800-766-MMIC!

Ready to Buy Your First Home? 8 Ways to Know You’re the Time Is Right

Buying your very first home is definitely an exciting adventure. If you’re considering purchasing your first home, you’ve probably thought about your list of “must-haves” such as a plush master bedroom, two bathrooms, and maybe even space for a man-cave or your library. Unfortunately, there’s more to buying a home than having a list of specifications in mind. You really need to be ready and put a lot of thought into what you want out of your home.

Sadly, many people fail to give great consideration to their financial situation and whether they’re really ready to buy a home. They don’t understand or acknowledge what they’re jumping into before it’s too late, suffering from significant financial harm as a consequence.

How do you know if you’re ready to buy a house? You might be ready if the following things are true of yourself and your financial situation right now:

You’re a Budgeting Wizard – If you know where your money is going every month and how you’re getting it, able to pay off bills regularly without going into debt, and are able to save a bit of your money back into the savings every month, then you are a budgeting pro. Having a good handle on your finances is a huge step to being a successful and responsible homeowner.

You’re Not Controlled By Debt – Mortgage, believe it or not, is essentially a debt. Buying a home is, indeed, a great investment, but it’s a large obligation that you must pay off. Before you enter into more debt, make sure that you have good control of any current debt you have. Take down high-interest debt first and work from there. Lower-interest debts like student loans and car payments can usually be managed alongside a mortgage payment, so if you’ve worked the payment of these debts into your monthly budget and you’re paying them off at a reasonable rate, you might be ready to buy that home you want.

You’re Ready to Say Farewell to the Landlord – Having a landlord can be pretty great. Did something break? Call the landlord – not only will he fix it, but he will also foot the bill to boot! When you have your own home, though, you have to be ready to repair anything that breaks and pay for it yourself. If homeownership and freedom outweigh needing to repair anything that breaks, then you could be ready for shouldering the responsibility of owning a home.

You Have a Robust Emergency Fund – Okay, so you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved in order to buy a home, but you will need enough to help you pay for any home emergencies that happen. It will also help you make sure that the bills are paid in time in case you get sick, hurt, lose your job, or run into any other unexpected events.

You Have a Steady, Reliable Income – Before you take on a mortgage, you need to make sure that you have a secure job that provides steady income. You must be confident that you’ll be able to afford your mortgage payment a year from now, 10 years from now, and longer down the road. You should also have at least one to two years of employment history at your current job under your belt. If you have any doubts about your financial situation, wait to buy a home.

Your Credit Score Is Decent – Most mortgage companies have a minimum credit requirement to obtain a mortgage. Getting a mortgage with a poor credit score could mean that you would have a higher interest rate and that you’ll have to pay more over the life of your loan. Having a better credit score usually means that you pay less to own your home. Before becoming a homeowner, request a free copy of your credit score and see if you need to take steps to improve your score.

You’ve Saved for a Down Payment – In almost every scenario, you will need a down payment when you buy a home. The larger your down payment is, the less interest you’ll end up paying on the loan. If you’re able to save up quite a bit of money – thousands of dollars – in order to provide a decent down payment, you should be in a good financial place to make a home purchase.

You’re Ready to Stay In One Place – Want to be a globetrotter? Buying a home might not be in the cards for you right now. It just doesn’t make much financial sense to purchase a home and not be around to pay for it, especially if you’re not ready to settle down. If you plan on and are willing to live in the same place for at least 5 years, then buying a home shouldn’t be a problem.

Buying a home is a big commitment and is also the biggest financial decision you’ll ever make, so make sure that you’re ready! Remember, being responsible and protecting your home with proper home insurance is also part of the package. If you’re ready to take that step and get an insurance policy or if you’d like to talk to a professional about it, just call Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC!

9 Easy Ways to Get Your Home Ready for Spring Today

Winter has finally vanished, and spring has now taken its place! That means it’s time to roll up the rugs, shake off those cobwebs, and open the windows to let in some fresh springtime air.

Not sure how to welcome spring into you home? Snap out of your dreary winter rut and update your home for those sunny days ahead with these 9 ways!

Switch Out the Pillows – Your favorite velvet and silk pillows are gorgeous and classy, but they can feel a little heavy for the warmer months. Temporarily exchange those pillows with pillows in breezy fabrics such as linen or printed cotton. It will help lighten your living room a bit!

Refresh Your Bedding – What better way to welcome the new season by treating yourself to a new duvet? Choose one that brightens up your bedroom with light, airy colors. It won’t just brighten up your bedroom – it can also help give you the motivation you need to take the time to make your bed every day!

Start Cleaning – Aside from the typical de-cluttering, dusting, and vacuuming, take some extra time to address the areas in your home that you typically overlook. Dust the fan blades, mop the floors, and touch up walls and trim that have become dingy over the winter. Even a little bit of scrubbing with a magic eraser will work wonders.

Say Yes to Color – If there’s any time during the year to add color, spring is the time to do it! Adding colorful accessories to your coffee tables and entryway pieces is an easy and affordable way to welcome spring into your home. Choose bold agate accents, gold leaf pieces, affordable vases, and colorful books to make your home look light and fun!

Bring In New Scents – It’s time to put away your cinnamon and pine needle candles in favor of lighter scents! Choose candles that have a fresh laundry scent or something citrusy or flowery. It will make you feel like your home is airy, clean, and part of the world outdoors all at the same time!

Dress Up Your Table – Pack up the dark tablecloth in exchange for one that is more playful for springtime. Cloths in lighter shades or in floral patterns work great for the season. There are countless fabrics out there, so pick one that works best for your table and your space!

Keep the Décor Simple – Spring is the season in which the freshness of the outdoors should be reflected in ourselves and in our homes. This renewal doesn’t mean that you need to change everything in your home – rather, you should pare down on what you have to reflect the simplicity and beauty of the season. That means rolling up the area rugs to bask in your bare floors, switching your typical accessories in favor of simple fresh spring branches and houseplants, and exchanging the heavy curtains for light, breezy ones.

Give Your Door Some Love – Bring the luster that your front door once had by polishing the hinges and knobs. Give it a blast of color by painting or staining it so it stands out yet complements your trim and siding as well. Finally, adorn it with a new welcome mat, and make sure that your doorbell works!

Bring Some House Plants Home – Houseplants are really a wonder. They clean the air in your home, act as a decorative piece, and are very affordable. Splurge on a few of your favorite houseplants and bring them in your home today! Got a brown thumb? Try bringing a small succulent like a cactus or jade plant home! They’re incredibly easy to care for and require hardly any maintenance.

How do you get your home ready for spring? Share your ideas with us on our Facebook page! Remember, no home is complete without a good home insurance policy! Make sure that you’re prepared for springtime storms with a great policy from Madison Mutual! Call 1-800-766-MMIC to find out more!