4 Big Reasons to Update Your Homeowners Insurance This Summer

School’s out and summer is finally here, which means that it’s time to bask in the sun, host fun barbecues, and jump straight into the pool with our friends. If you have a deck or outdoor entertaining space, you probably can’t wait to get started right away! While you’re busy picking out decorations and the perfect food to serve, there’s one big task you might be forgetting – updating your homeowners insurance policy.

Your homeowners insurance policy is more than just protecting the structural integrity of your home. It also helps cover your property in the event of damage or liability claims due to injury.

You’ll want to review your homeowners insurance policy this summer if any of the following 4 things has occurred:

You’ve Made Recent Outdoor Improvements – Have you added anything to your yard like a gazebo, pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, or a storage shed lately? You’ll want to check with your agent to see if these additions are covered under your current policy. Usually, these and other structures will be covered as a percent of your dwelling coverage, but you’ll want to verify this information with your agent.

You Don’t Have Enough Protection Against Claims – Pretend for a moment that you invited your neighbors over for a block party bash. One of your neighbors, though, accidentally fell down your deck’s stairs and sustained some injuries. As nice as your neighbors might be, you could still be faced with a liability claim in the event of an injury. Find out how much liability protection you have since it can protect you against these claims. Your agent can help you with that!

Your Outdoor Property Is in Poor Shape – If your yard is in disarray, someone could easily get hurt, and that could lead to a liability claim. Check out the condition of your outdoor property in order to protect yourself from any claims against your insurance policy. Fix any areas that need work, look for any decaying wood and amend it, and don’t stop maintaining your property to keep it in tip-top shape.

You Think You Could Use Additional Coverage – Do you think you could use more coverage for your homeowners insurance policy? You might want to think about personal liability umbrella coverage, which provides additional coverage on top of your existing policies. They go into effect after your other policies are exhausted. Make sure to talk this over with your agent first!

Stay safe this summer – kick-start the season by reviewing your homeowners insurance policy with Madison Mutual! Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to talk to your agent or find us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

6 Useful Ways to Help Transition Your High School Graduate to a Successful College Freshman

For many schools, final exams are over, and high school seniors have received their diplomas at the graduation ceremonies. It’s that magical, happy, and oftentimes stressful time in a parent’s life when their high school senior prepares to make the transition to becoming a college freshman in just a few short months.

In order for your student to be successful in their first year at college and in the first chapter of their independent life, you will need to take on a few tasks. Here are 6 things you can do to help make the transition to college a smooth one for your student this coming fall!

Read All Material From Your Student’s College – During the summer, it’s common to receive quite a bit of mail from the college in which your graduate will be attending. Don’t discard these notes and letters. Make sure that you read them thoroughly with your student so that you stay on top of things. Fill out the required forms and take note of what is or is not allowed in the dorm rooms (like microwaves or coffee makers, for instance).

Get the Necessary Appointments Out of the Way – Before your graduate heads off to college, you will want to make sure that he or she is up-to-date on several health fronts. Is it time to visit the dentist? Does he or she need a check-up or any shots from the doctor? You will want to make sure that these appointments are scheduled and ready to go before classes start. Bonus points if you allow your students to make the appointments themselves (this will help instill responsibility).

Take Advantage of Summer Orientation Sessions – Is your student’s college offering a summer orientation program? Whether this program is mandatory or optional, encourage your graduate to attend the session. It will be a the perfect opportunity for him or her to connect with other new students, learn important information, meet faculty and key administrators, and get a better feel for the college. The faster they learn their way around campus, the more at ease they will feel when classes begin.

Help Them Get Organized – In high school many teachers tend to lead their students through homework and due dates. Students would have frequent reminders about when their homework and projects were due and when quizzes or tests were scheduled. College is a totally different world. Professors will post the assignments, often for the whole semester, and expect students to come prepared. Get your graduate an organizer or a wall calendar (or both) – whatever it takes to keep him or her organized and poised for success.

Have the Important Conversations Now – College is a time when your student will begin tasting independence from their home life. Make sure that you set some expectations and boundaries for your student before he or she heads off to college. Be clear about expenses, who will pay for what, spending limits, and other monetary rules and restrictions. Be concise on the expectations you have about the car, their grades, and the consequences if these rules are broken. Also, make sure you talk about the hard subjects, no matter how difficult it might be. The clearer you are about these boundaries and rules, the fewer the issues that might crop up later on.

Be a Patient Mentor – This is a stressful and exciting time in your graduate’s life. Your student will more than likely experience many different emotions and worries as they begin to wonder about college life and his or her career path. There may be meltdowns. There may be anger, frustration, or tears. Remember to be patient and help them through this difficult transition period.

Remember, insurance is an important part of the transition process as well. Stop by to see your agent at Madison Mutual or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to make sure your insurance (and any insurance for your graduate) is up-to-date!

9 Tips Every Recent College Grad Needs to Know

Hey, college grad! Congratulations on your graduation! We know how hard you’ve worked – how you’ve toiled several hours over your papers, studied for your exams, and put so much effort into wowing your professors and peers with your many presentations. Your life is just beginning now, and you can begin chasing your dreams. Unfortunately, with age comes added responsibility, including financial management, a skill that isn’t taught at college.

You’re going to experience some big monetary changes very soon. You’ll be going from living on ramen and mac ‘n’ cheese to getting a big paycheck every month. Without proper management, you could easily begin living above your means, which can then lead to a spiral of bad spending habits.

Take it from us and read these 9 money tips that you should know before setting foot into the real world!

Start Networking – Your network will be pivotal when it comes to finding a job and making future connections, so invest some time into relationship building. Learn from and about your colleagues. Make connections with every level from the people in charge to the people who keep the building clean and everyone in between.

Clean Up Your Profile – It didn’t entirely matter what you would put on Facebook about 10 years ago, but now a reported 86% of potential employers will look at your social profiles. Take some time now to clean up your online presence a bit so your potential employers will be impressed with how you present yourself.

Make a Budget – It’s never too early to make a budget! Make one even before you get your first paycheck, and do your best to continue living like a student, setting money aside for your future goals.

Create an Emergency Fund – As we know here at Madison Mutual, anything can happen. That’s why it’s important to establish a rainy day fund as soon as you can. This will help in the event of a sudden job loss, sudden onset of illness, unexpected car troubles, or any other surprises that might sneak up on you.

Plan for the Future – You might not know where you want to be and what you want to do in 5 or 10 years, but you should start thinking about it and saving some money for any future goals, whatever they might be.

Manage Your Debt – If you’re a recent college graduate, it’s safe to say that you probably have some student loans or credit card debt to pay off. If this is the case, start paying them off as aggressively as you can, starting with the accounts that have the highest interest rate loans.

Stay Out of Debt – Debt can be unavoidable at times, but it’s very wise to stay out of it as much as possible. Learn the pros and cons of credit cards, and refrain from purchasing anything you can’t afford. If you want something bad enough, save up for it.

Build Up Your Credit – Your credit score is used for several different things in life from utilities to insurance companies to getting a loan for a car or home. if you haven’t started now, begin working on building your credit. You can get started by opening one credit card (even if it’s a card to your favorite store) and making payments on time.

Don’t Discount Insurance – You might think that you’re too young for insurance, but really, anything is possible. Don’t skimp out on insurance. Accidents happen, and you’ll want to be covered in the event something does occur!

Thinking about signing up for some insurance? Not sure which steps you need to take? Stop by Madison Mutual Insurance Company or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started! We’ll make sure that you’re adequately covered and that you understand the process along the way.

5 Unique Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day With Your Mom This Year

Do you have plans yet to celebrate Mother’s Day with your mom this weekend? This year, show your mom just how much she means to you. Ditch the boxes of chocolates and clichéd bouquet of roses and try one of these 5 unique ideas instead! They are sure to surprise and delight her!

Pack the Perfect Picnic – You know that the restaurants will be jam-packed on Sunday. Instead of waiting in line at some restaurant, take some time to put together a simple, portable picnic filled with her favorite foods. Not the cooking or baking type? Grab a few prepared dishes from a local deli or catering company, toss it in a basket with a blanket, and take your mom to her favorite park to enjoy and spend some quality time together!

Recreate Old Family Photos – For a fun gift that’s bound to make your mother laugh (and strike up some old memories of the good times), try recreating some old family photos with your siblings or other family members! Find clothing, accessories, and settings that look as much as possible as the ones in the original photo. Frame your favorite shots and print it out for you mom to enjoy!

Plant Flowers Together – You could always give your mom a bouquet of roses, but it would be a lot more memorable and meaningful if you were to plant some flowers together. Visit a nursery and select some seedlings or bulbs for your mom’s garden or get together to plant window boxes or potted herbs together! Depending on the type of plants you choose, these plants could be something your mom can enjoy all season long for many years to come!

Treat Her to Homemade Chocolate – It might be easy to give your mom a box of chocolates from the grocery store, but it won’t be as tasty or meaningful if it isn’t handmade. Pull out your favorite recipe and whip up a batch of cookies, truffles, or any other delicious treat to surprise your mom with. This gift will be sure to make her feel special!

Give to a Cause – What’s your mom passionate about (besides you, of course)? You can use Mother’s Day as a great opportunity to give or volunteer with her favorite cause! Maybe it’s walking dogs at the local animal shelter, reading to kids in a neighborhood library, or giving a donation to a sanctuary of sorts. Find out what your mom loves and do something meaningful for her to wow her on Mother’s Day!

What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Tell us all about what you’re going to do for your mom on our Facebook page or let us know how it went after Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!