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no texting and driving sign

14 Effective Ways to Help You Fight the Urge to Text and Drive

The smartphone: unparalleled connection and information in the palm of your hand. You have practically the entire world at the tip of your fingers. Regardless of how invaluable such technology is, it can still serve as a temptation for some people, especially while in the driver’s seat.

Texting while driving is banned in 46 states and Washington D.C., but many drivers still choose to endanger their lives and the lives of others by using their phones. Don’t let yourself or a loved one become another distracted and dangerous driver! Use these tips to put down the phone and concentrate on the road.

Out of the Car:
•Download an app such as Cellcontrol, TextLimit, or Live2Txt to block certain cell phone features while driving.
•Watch interviews with accident survivors. Hearing their testimonies can be very powerful in helping you remember your motivation to put your phone down. You can find many of these on YouTube.
•Make a promise and keep it by signing an anti-texting pledge.
•Practice patience in every aspect of your life so that when that message comes while you’re on the road, you know it can wait.
•Highlight the risk. Close your eyes and count to 23 – the average time a driver’s eyes are taken off the road to send a text message.
•Understand and utilize #X – the message that says you can’t talk because you’re about to drive.

In the Car:
•Think about what you need to do before you start the vehicle. Send a message, make a call, program the GPS, or choose a music playlist, then put away the phone and put the key in the ignition. This keeps you from tinkering with your phone for the information or entertainment you need while on the road.
•Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or silent so you won’t know when a new message comes your way.
•Turn your phone off completely.
•Follow that old “out of sight, out of mind” proverb and put your phone in the glove compartment, trunk, backseat, or anywhere out of reach.
•If you absolutely must use your cell phone while in your vehicle, safely pull off the road first.
•If you’re traveling with a passenger, let them be your designated texter. They can read the messages aloud and type out your responses.
•If you don’t want your passenger involved in your personal affairs, have them simply hold on to the phone for you and give it back once you reach your destination.
•Live by example! If you don’t want your loved one texting while driving, then practice what you preach and stay off your phone.

Anything can happen even if you don’t use your phone while driving. Make sure your car is covered with an auto insurance policy from Madison Mutual. Call your agent from the safety of your home or office or anywhere but the road to determine what type of coverage is best for you!

towing a car on the highway

6 Things We Love About Madison Mutual

It’s true – you can get your insurance from any old insurance provider. But why should you when Madison Mutual is here to tend to your needs? After all, there’s plenty to love about our services and our company!

Here are 6 things that will send you head-over-heels for us!

We Protect Your Identity – When someone compromises your identity, to whom do you turn? The answer: Madison Mutual. Our homeowners policy includes protection from identify theft, keeping you safe from anyone who would try to steal your identity.

Our Direct Repair Program Is All the Rage – Getting in an accident is a stressful event. Our Direct Repair Program offers you peace of mind! The process is fast and efficient as we work directly with shops in our Direct Repair Program. These shops are contracted with Madison Mutual to guarantee quality repairs to your vehicle.

You Can Find an Agent Near You Quickly – Whether you’ve experienced a home invasion, an accident on the road, or simply want to make sure that your policy is up to speed, finding a Madison Mutual insurance agent has never been easier! Just visit our website at www.madisonmutual.com and click “Find an Agent.” Enter in your address, select a mile radius, and find the closest agent to you, along with pertinent contact information. It’s that simple!

We’ll Protect You on the Road, 24/7 – With our optional Emergency Towing and Road Service coverage, if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road, you will never have to worry about whom to call! Our emergency towing and road service helps provide peace of mind 24/7 should your vehicle become disabled or harmed. We will pay up to your limit for reasonable expenses including towing to the nearest facility, mechanical labor up to one hour, key lock-out service, and much more!

Our Discounts Are Fantastic – We are firm believers that you should be rewarded for good behavior and actions. That’s why we make it a point to offer you some of the best deals you can find! From multi-car, multi-policy, and safe driver discounts to discounts for good grades, loyalty, and more, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve Been Providing Superior Service for Nearly a Century – That’s right, ever since we opened our doors in January 1920, we have been dedicated to providing outstanding personal lines of insurance products to our wonderful policyholders at a competitive price. We are committed to providing you with the best insurance and the most fantastic service possible. You won’t find any better than Madison Mutual!

Don’t miss out on having the best insurance policies around! Learn more about what we can do for you by calling 1-800-766-MMIC or by visiting us online at www.madisonmutual.com.

snowy roadin the winter

4 Smart Tips for Driving Safely in the Snow and Ice

Breaking news from The Farmer’s Almanac! A bad winter has been predicted for us here in the Midwest. While winter seemed to be on vacation last year, it is predicted to be back in full force this year with numbing cold and plenty of wintry precipitation.

Are you dreading driving in the snow and ice? Check these 4 tips to help you drive safely this winter:

Slow Your Speed – Reducing your speed is one of the most important tips for driving safely in the snow and ice. Snow and ice can create “black ice,” which is always a danger on the road in winter. The faster your speed is, the greater potential for damage. The maximum speed for driving during such weather conditions should be 45 mph, but anything less than 45 mph is highly encouraged.

Wear Your Seatbelt – Wearing your seatbelt should be the first step you take when entering your car. Doing so can save you from tremendous injury if you were to get into an accident. Many people who have been injured in accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. Neglecting to wear a seatbelt can make a fender bender in the snow and ice much worse for you than it already is.

Pay Attention to the Weather – If you don’t already check the weather daily, now is the time to start! Checking the weather in the wintertime allows you to prepare yourself for an allotted driving time. Being aware of treacherous incoming weather will help determine whether you should drive in it or not. Make use of current weather information to make your best judgment.

Take It Easy on Your Brakes – Did you know your anti-lock brake system does not work very well in snow and ice? If your wheels are sliding, try your best to keep your foot off the brake. Your forceful steering will not change your direction during sliding, and the input steering doesn’t react when your wheels are sliding. Again, drive slowly and brake gently!

If there is any comfort or assurance when driving in the dangerous snow and ice, it is that you are insured with a great company ready to take care of all of your insurance needs. If you are dissatisfied with your current insurance, call us today at 1-800-766-MMIC or learn more about us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

New Year's Resolutions

5 Smart Resolutions You Should Consider Making for a Safer New Year

It’s that time of year again! That’s right; it’s time to reflect on 2016 and begin making resolutions for a better year ahead. Whether you’re striving to lose weight, get fit, learn something new, or spend more time with those you care about, having goals to work toward is always smart. Here are 5 great ideas to consider adding to your New Year’s resolutions:

Save More Money – Tidying up your budget to help save a little extra money here and there can help build up funds for things like a new home, a fun family vacation, or a larger retirement fund. You can help save a little more money at home by taking a few extra precautions. Make sure that your home is properly weather-stripped to keep the warm air inside. Also, consider turning the thermostat down a degree or two and turning off lights and devices that you aren’t using – it can help you save more money than you realize! Finally, talk to your insurance agent to see if you qualify for any discounts on any of your insurance policies.

Make a Home Inventory – Maybe you received some nice gifts for the holidays. Perhaps you have a collection of jewelry, electronics, or other valuables already in your home. If so, make this the year that you take an inventory of your belongings. Go through your home and take photos or make a physical list of your valuables. You will want this on hand in case you ever need to file a homeowner’s insurance claim. It will help you figure out exactly what is damaged, lost, or stolen should a disaster occur.

Become a Safer Driver – Resolving to be safer behind the wheel is a win-win situation for both you and the other drivers on the road. Stay focused on your driving at all times – put your smart phone out of arm’s reach, and never drive while drowsy or impaired. Make sure to obey the speed limits, use your turn signals, and give plenty of space between your car and the person in front of you. You’ll find that your driving experiences will become more enjoyable when you take these steps!

Protect Your Identity – Identity thieves are constantly coming up with more ways to snatch your social security number, credit card numbers, and any other important personal information. Prevent identify theft by keeping your information to yourself and shredding any important documents that you need to throw away. Also, never give your social security number or credit card numbers over the phone, and keep a close watch on your bank accounts. If you notice any unauthorized activity, be sure to call your bank right away! Keep in mind that Madison Mutual homeowner’s policies include identity theft protection at no additional charge.

Review Your Insurance Policies – Want to protect your financial livelihood? It’s always a good idea to check your insurance policies to see if they’re up-to-date. Consider making an appointment with your Madison Mutual insurance agent early next year to discuss your coverages. You may be able to save money by bundling your auto and homeowner insurance policies or by increasing your deductibles.

We hope that you have a happy and safe New Year! Don’t forget to call your insurance agent at Madison Mutual to discuss your policies at 1-800-766-MMIC. Learn more about us by visiting us at www.madisonmutual.com!

prepare car for fall

8 Smart Tips to Help You Prepare Your Car for Colder Weather

Fall will officially be here on September 22! While there’s plenty of time to enjoy the crisp weather, vibrant colors of the fallen leaves, and pumpkin spice everything, winter will be here before you know it. During this time of the year, it’s especially important to pay close attention to your car and the many parts that make your vehicle function properly so that you can remain safe on the road.

Don’t fall behind on your car maintenance this year! Make sure that your car is ready for the upcoming cold weather by following these 8 car maintenance tips:

Check Your Tire Tread – Pay close attention to the tread on your tires now before winter arrives. Without proper tread depth, your car won’t be able to grip the road properly, which means that you will have a greater potential to hydroplane on wet roads. All you need is a penny! Insert Abe Lincoln’s head into the tread in a couple different spots on each tire. If you can see the entire top of his head, that means that your tread is less than 1/16th of an inch deep, and your tires should be replaced.

Get the Radiator Flushed – Over time, the coolant in your radiator will begin to break down and corrode the inside of the radiator. This can lead to cooling problems and even repairs to the radiator. This fall, remember to change out your coolant in order to protect your radiator throughout the winter.

Replace Torn Wiper Blades – Nothing’s more frustrating than trying to drive in inclement weather only to have your windshield wipers smudge the wintery precipitation across your windshield. If your wiper blades are torn, cracked, or don’t properly clean your windshield, have them replaced! As a good rule of thumb, your blades should be replaced every 6 months. Don’t forget to make sure that your fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir is full, too!

Get Your Belts and Hoses Checked – Before the cold weather settles in, get your vehicle’s belts and hoses serviced. You will want to ensure that the belts are not worn down and that all the fittings are tight and not rusted, and your hoses shouldn’t have any holes in them.

Check Your Headlights – Before you know it, the days will grow even shorter, and you will find yourself driving home from work in the dark. It’s important to take care of your headlights during this time of the year! Take a look to see if you need to replace any headlight bulbs. It’s not only unsafe to drive without a headlight, but you can also get a ticket for doing so!

Check Your HVAC System – You might think you can handle driving without any ventilation, but it’s really unwise to do so. Check your heating, ventilating, and air condition (HVAC) system to see that it is properly functioning. Your heating and cooling is important for not only your personal comfort during the changing seasons, but also for safety reasons such as defrosting your vehicle.

Get Your Brakes Checked – During this time of the year, consider having your brakes and braking system checked. This includes your brake linings, drums, and rotors as well. Your brakes are absolutely paramount to your safety, especially in snow and on ice-covered roads, so make sure that they are in solid working condition before the bad weather comes!

Keep an Eye on Your Battery – Batteries very rarely give off warning signs that they will soon fail, so take a peek to make sure that the battery’s connections are tight, clean, and corrosion-free. Remember, cold weather is especially hard on batteries, so take good care of it now before winter arrives. If your battery is more than three years old, consider replacing it.

Make sure that your car is properly protected with an auto insurance policy from Madison Mutual Insurance Company! Call your agent to get your policy updated or visit us at www.madisonmutual.com to learn more about how we can serve you.

factors that could affect auto insurance

5 Factors That Could Impact Your Auto Insurance Rates

Are you in the hunt for a solid auto insurance policy that will protect you and your car while saving you money? While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, your auto insurance rates can vary depending on a few factors. Here are 5 factors that can impact your auto insurance costs:

Your Driving History – Have you been involved in a handful of accidents or fender-benders? Have you been issued a glovebox-full of speeding tickets? If this is the case, you might need to pay higher auto insurance rates. Conversely, if you are a safe driver and have very few incidents of accidents or tickets, you may possibly lower your rates!

Your Deductible and Discounts – Sometimes, a higher deductible can mean a lower premium. If you want to save money, choose the highest deductible that you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind that you will need to pay the amount of your deductible out-of-pocket in the event of a covered loss. Don’t forget to ask about discounts, too! You might be able to take advantage of discounts such as a safe driver discount or good student discount.

Where You Live – Rates can vary from state to state and even from city to city. If you live in a metropolitan area, which tends to have more traffic, you might pay higher rates. Live in a rural area? You might be able to enjoy lower rates.

Your Vehicle and How Often You Drive It – If you have a longer commute, you might find yourself with more elevated auto insurance rates. That’s because the longer you spend on the road, the higher the chances are that something could happen. Also, if you drive a vehicle that has strong safety ratings, your rates could go down. Conversely, if you have a car that doesn’t have the best safety track record or that has a higher likelihood of being stolen, you could see your rates go up.

Your Age, Marital Status, and Sex – Statistically speaking, married drivers tend to have fewer accidents than single drivers, which can ultimately mean lower premiums for married drivers. Younger drivers tend to pay more for their auto insurance since they are inexperienced; typically, the rates will be lowered a little once a driver turns 25. In addition, female drivers tend to experience fewer accidents, so they might receive lower auto insurance rates than their male counterparts.

Have any questions about these 5 rating factors? Want to get a great auto insurance policy that will cover and protect you and your car? Call Madison Mutual Insurance Company today at 1-800-766-MMIC or visit us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

Holiday World Indiana

Enjoy the Last of Summer With These 7 Fun-Filled Indiana Road Trip Ideas!

Although summer feels like it arrived not too long ago, the season is nearing its end and school will be in session soon enough. Why not take the time out for one last hurrah on the road? We’ve compiled 7 of our favorite fun-filled Indiana destinations for you to check out on your next Midwestern road trip!

Holiday World – Want to beat the summertime heat? Head over to Santa Claus, Indiana and visit Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Water Park, the world’s first ever theme park! Enjoy free soft drinks, free sunscreen, and free parking as you check out the park’s wildly fun rides. Voted the Cleanest Park in the World for more than a decade, Holiday World has plenty of rides, fun live shows, and delicious food including Thanksgiving Dinner and blue ice cream! This amusement park is definitely a must-visit destination!

Squire Boone Caverns – Visit Mauckport, a southern Indiana town on the Ohio River, and go back in time to the gold-mining days. Those 7 years and older and at least 65 pounds can zip through forests and ravines at Zipline Adventures, and little ones can mine for gold and gemstones, explore nature, and visit the candy shop at Squire Boone Village. Don’t forget to check out Squire Boone Cavern to see beautiful waterfalls and streams – bring along a sweater!

Shipshewana – Want to do something a little different? Journey north to Shipshewana and tour the Amish countryside with Buggy Lane Tours. Once your tour is over, you can check out the Blue Gate Restaurant and enjoy a home-cooked meal and a sweet treat at the bakery. Wind down with a show at the Blue Gate Theater, which offers some of the best family-friendly entertainment in the area, and check out the countless shops for some of the most unique gifts in Indiana!

Indiana Dunes – Saunter over to Porter, Indiana and head over to the awe-inspiring Lake Michigan. You can take in some of the most stunning sights on the sand dunes, go hiking, and take a dip in the Great Lake. Wrap up the day by indulging in world-class cuisine and taking in the exciting nightlife downtown!

Brown County – Bring the whole family along for a fun-filled adventure in Brown County near Nashville, Indiana! The little ones can enjoy pony rides while those 7 years old and older can go on a trail ride adventure. Check out one or more of the 12 trails within the park and enjoy the sights along the way. Make the most of your adventure by flying through the trees on zip lines, catching some fish, playing tennis, getting out on the water on a canoe, and much more! At the end of the day, head over to Nashville and enjoy plenty of specialty shops and fantastic restaurants.

Marengo Cave – Check out one of Indiana’s most unique attractions in Marengo! The Marengo Cave is chock full of unique and amazing caves. Embark on walking tours, gemstone mining, canoeing and more. Kids can enjoy an adventure of their own as they crawl through a maze called “The Crawl.” This is the perfect place for those who want to go cave exploring and escape the summer heat!

Pine Lake Waterpark – Journey to eastern Indiana to the charming Swiss town of Berne and check out Pine Lake Waterpark! This is a one-of-a-kind outdoor water park, which is situated on beautiful Pine Lake. Your kids will enjoy the kiddie slides and splash pad, and you can have a blast on the 3 big water slides, various water logs, and even a 30-foot jumping platform! Enjoy family fun with beach volleyball or take a cable ride to take in your surroundings. There’s fun for everyone at Pine Lake Waterpark!

Before you head out on the road, make sure you call your agent at Madison Mutual Insurance Company to ensure that your auto insurance is up-to-date! Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or learn more about us online at www.madisonmutual.com!

tornado on the road

Got a Tornado in Your Rearview Mirror? Here’s How to Stay Safe

It’s one of the worst-case scenarios for drivers: you’re heading to your destination when suddenly, a storm kicks up, you hear sirens going off, and the radio tells you that you’re in a tornado warning or that a funnel cloud has been spotted near you. With the ominous clouds looming around you, you’re not terribly sure which steps you should take next. What do you do?

If a tornado ever touches down while you’re on the road, you need to do all that you can to stay safe. Here’s how you can do just that:

Know the Warnings Signs – It’s always a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the signs that a tornado could be nearby. This includes the following:

*Large hail and heavy rain, followed by a calm period and a sudden shift in the wind

*Low, dark clouds that appear to be rotating

*A deep rumbling that sounds as if a freight train is approaching

*Swirling debris on the ground

Whenever you see these signs, try to make your way to safe place before the tornado even has a chance to touch down. If you have no choice but to be in your car, there are other steps you can take.

Seek Shelter Immediately – If a tornado is far off in the distance, try driving away from it, moving at 90-degree angles from its path. While you’re doing that, try to find a sturdy building for shelter (never under a highway overpass!). Banks and restaurants tend to be strong structures.

Never Outrun a Close Tornado – If a tornado winds up touching down very close to you, do not outrun it! Instead, pull over, duck down below the windows in your vehicle, keep your seatbelt fastened, and cover your head with your hands or a blanket to protect yourself from glass and flying debris.

Stay Low to the Ground – You can also pull over, get out of your vehicle, and take cover in a low-lying ditch on the side of the road, if at all possible. Make sure to cover your head with your hands or a blanket. You should only consider doing this if you can do so safely.

Take Care After the Tornado Passes – As soon as the tornado passes, remember to be extra careful and avoid dangerous debris, including broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay far away from downed power lines, and don’t enter buildings that have sustained heavy damage.

Whether you’re driving to work on a sunny day or find yourself caught in a storm, it’s always a good idea to stay protected with a solid auto insurance policy from Madison Mutual. Call your agent at Madison Mutual at 1-800-766-MMIC to update your policy today!

National Insurance Awareness Day

Happy National Insurance Awareness Day!

Did you know that Tuesday, June 28 is a holiday? That’s right, it’s National Insurance Awareness Day (no, we didn’t make that up either)! This day was created as a friendly reminder to take the time to review your insurance policies and update them as needed. After all, anything can happen!

Why should you have insurance? Well, there are several great reasons. First of all, you’ve worked so hard to build a solid financial foundation for you and your family. Secondly, no one really knows what tomorrow may bring. Maybe a storm will damage your home. Perhaps a careless driver will cause an accident and you will become involved. No one can predict tomorrow, so it’s always smart to have a safety net to protect you should something happen.

If you haven’t done so already this year, block out some time to review your existing insurance policies. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you would like to add on to your pre-existing insurance policies, a Madison Mutual insurance agent can help you! Just call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or learn more about how we can protect you and what matters most to you by visiting www.madisonmutual.com.

We hope you have a happy and productive National Insurance Awareness Day this year. We look forward to hearing from you!

home burglar

15 Sneaky Ways to Protect Your Home and Car From Thieves This Summer

Summer is in full swing now! While you might be planning your next summertime vacation away with your family or friends, keep in mind that thieves never take vacations. In fact, according to the U. S. Department of Justice, summertime is the peak season for household property crimes. Additionally, while cars are stolen year-round, it would be particularly devastating if your car were stolen out from under your nose while you were miles and miles away from home. The scary thing is that a car can easily be stole in only one minute.

Protect your home and automobiles from thieves this summer with these 15 quick tips!

For the Home

*As tempting as it might be, resist the urge to share your travel plans on social media. Some burglars use social networking sites to pinpoint their next victims, so you never know who might be seeing your status update.

*Install deadbolt locks on all your outside doors. Burglars have a hard time breaking into those sorts of locks.

*Make sure you have adequate exterior lighting. Motion-sensing lights are best at keep thieves away from your home. Consider an alarm system as well.

*Look around your yard to see if any bushes, shrubs, and even trees need to be trimmed. This will make it hard for thieves to find places to hide.

*Don’t give burglars a way to get in to your home! Lock up your ladders and tools; thieves can easily use these items to break in.

*Garages are also a common point of entry for thieves. Keep your garage door closed and locked at all times.

*Get to know your neighbors. They can keep an extra close watch on your home while you’re out of town and can report any suspicious activity to the police.

For the Car

*Always lock your car, roll up your windows, and close your sunroof, even when you’re home. Even one inch of your window open can give a thief plenty of space to break into your car.

*Never leave your car running unattended, no matter where you are.

*Refrain from hiding a spare set of keys on or near the car. Criminals could be watching you hide your keys or can just guess the most common locations that keys could be hidden.

*If you don’t already have one, install an anti-theft system in your vehicle. This is a big deterrent for burglars because they know they’ll be caught sooner or later!

*Be aware of your surroundings, especially in garages, parking lots, and gas stations. Thieves can lurk anywhere. In addition, be especially careful about where you park your car at night. Park it in a well-lit area, if at all possible.

*Keep your valuables out of plain sight. Take them with you when you leave your car or store them in the trunk.

*On vacation? Be sure to hide your maps. Thieves will take note that you are an out-of-towner and can take advantage of it.

*Remember to take care of your old car, no matter how grungy and beat up it is. Burglars will consider stealing both old and new cars. Typically, the old ones are stolen for their parts, so take good care of your old clunkers, too!

Of course, remember to call your agent at Madison Mutual to make sure that your policies are up-to-date before you take off on your vacation. Call us today at 1-800-766-MMIC to get started!