Thursday, May 19, 2016

Flood Prevention

 

Flood prevention and safety


Almost anywhere it rains, it can flood. Even if you live in an area of that you think isn’t at risk, preparation is just as critical as with other types of emergencies.
 
Before we get into how you can prevent, limit or react to flooding, it’s important to note that flood damage is typically not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. There are specialized flood insurance programs that we at Hummel Insurance Services can discuss with you. Just contact us at 712-482-6424 or info@hummelins.com for more information if you live in Iowa or Nebraska.
 

Preparing for a flood


The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a number of steps to stay safe during emergencies and limit damage from flooding. You should:
  • Build an emergency kit for your family containing such items as drinking water and nonperishable food for each member of your family (two-week supply), flashlights,  a radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, necessary medications, personal hygiene items and copies of important documents.
  • Create a communication plan so family members can reach one another.
  • Elevate your furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if live in an area with a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • If possible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering your home and seal basement walls with waterproofing compounds.

Acting during a flood


If a flood is likely in your area, quick action may be necessary to protect your family and property. You should:
  • Get information from the radio or television.
  • Move immediately to higher ground if there is any possibility of a flash flood. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • If you need to evacuate, secure your home and move essential items to an upper floor. Turn off utilities if instructed to do so, and disconnect electrical appliances. However, do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Do not walk through moving water — it can make you fall. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If you are caught in your vehicle in floodwater, abandon your car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • If you have evacuated your home, do not return until authorities tell you it is safe.

Coping after a flood


Flooding can cause emotional stress along with physical hazards, so be mindful of the well-being of you and your family during the aftermath.
  • Floodwater can be contaminated by oil, gasoline or sewage, so avoid contact as much as possible.
  • Make sure your city’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that was in contact with floodwater.
  • The Red Cross has a free book available called “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” which contains useful information as you clean up. It’s available at www.redcross.org. Of course, don’t hesitate to contact us as well — we’re ready to help!
  • If you have flood insurance, contact the claims center of your provider as soon as possible.
 
Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. Being prepared for any emergency is crucial for the safety of you and your family. Don’t be caught off guard!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Home Maintenance

Spring Maintenance for Your Home

When springtime rolls around in Iowa and Nebraska, almost everyone thinks of cleaning. That’s fine (we probably all need to do a little more of that, after all), but there’s something even more important to keep in mind: home maintenance.

So, now that we've all set our clocks ahead for daylight-saving time and changed the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, give your home a checkup, too. Here are some suggestions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Interior and appliances
  • Ceck the basement and/or crawlspace for any signs of standing water or dripping.
  • Pull your dryer out and clean the exhaust hose and vent (lint found here is a common cause of house fires).
  • Vacuum refrigerator/freezer coils for efficiency.
  • Clean exhaust fan outlets and screens.
  • Check all air filters and replace, if necessary.

Roof, siding, windows
  • Check for damage to your roof and have a professional inspection, if necessary. 
  • Go into the attic. If there is visible moisture or discoloration, your roof might be leaking.
  • Examine the paint on your siding and trim. If it is peeling, you might need new paint to protect against the effects of weather. 
  • Check for leaks around window and door sills. Improving your seals can lower your energy bills.

Yard and exterior

  • Check for signs of rodents and other pests.
  • Clean debris from gutters and downspouts, and make sure they are draining away from the home.
  • Trim overhanging tree branches and shrubs.


Remember, winter weather can cause significant damage that is easy to spot, but it often results in wear and tear that homeowners can miss if they aren’t looking closely. It’s well worth it to spend a little time on home maintenance this spring, so that wear and tear doesn’t turn into something more serious.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Drone Safety



5 Dos and Don’ts of Flying a Drone

Drones are exploding in popularity in the Midwest, and so are the news stories about someone flying too close to a commercial aircraft or shooting down a drone. These are real incidents, but with these five dos and don’ts of drone operation, you don’t have to experience one.  
  1. Do know your drone — and your capabilities. Practice your maneuvering skills, including safe landings, in an open field or empty parking lot. You could even join a local club to learn how to fly. Once you do, be sure to stay away from people, wildlife, public events and, yes, your neighbor’s pool party.
  2. Don’t forget to register your drone. In the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), your drone isn’t a toy. It’s an Unmanned Aircraft System, one you need to register with the agency.
  3. Don’t fly above 400 feet or within 5 miles of an airport. If you do, you’ll violate FAA guidelines. Though flying near an airport may be possible after first obtaining clearance from the facility and control tower.
  4. Do get authorization for commercial use. If you use a drone for commercial purposes, such as taking photos for your real-estate business, you must get FAA authorization first. Just using a drone for personal recreation? No authorization required.
  5. Do understand the risks. Drones can weigh up to 55 pounds, so there’s the potential for them to cause some serious damage – damage for which you might be liable. However, not all homeowners insurance policies provide liability coverage for hobby or model aircraft. Give us a call to find out what kind of coverage you might have.
Hey, we get it. Drones are affordable, fun to fly and have a number of interesting uses, such as aerial photography. Just remember to be smart and safe while yours is in the sky. And, if you’re being impacted by someone else’s drone use, it’s best to talk it through. Because we here at Hummel Insurance Services don’t want to see you on the local news!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Massive Airbag Recall

34 Million Vehicles Recalled Due 

To Potentially Faulty Airbags


Unless you've been hiding in caves for the last week, you have probably heard about the huge recall, affecting some 34 million automobiles equipped with certain Takata airbags.  The reason?  There is a danger of the airbags exploding... something you'd probably like to avoid.

While you may be notified by the manufacturer that your vehicle is being recalled, that could take some time, and there is a relatively simple way to find out if yours is among the 34 million. 

  1. Locate your car's VIN
    1. Your VIN is the unique identification for your vehicle and contains 17 alphanumeric characters. It may be found on your state vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, or on the vehicle itself – on the driver's side dashboard at the bottom of the windshield or on the driver's side doorjamb. Your VIN will not include the letter “i” or the letter “o”, but may include the number “1” or the number “0.”
  2. Go to this web site:  http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/index.html  
  3. Click on the line at the left that says VIN Lookup
  4. Enter your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) in the space provided, type in the "Captcha" and click "Submit" (Note: Because you may be asked to enter this number again, it is a good idea to highlight the VIN and either right-click with your mouse and click on Copy, or Ctrl-C, which does the same thing, BEFORE clicking on "Submit."  You can then simply paste the number later on, if necessary, by right-clicking and selecting Paste, or Ctrl-V.)
  5. View results
    1. Note:  Depending on the demands of the site, instead of seeing immediate results, you may be directed to select the manufacturer, where you will again be asked to enter the VIN.  
    2. After doing this, a page should appear detailing all open recalls for your vehicle.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Your Health Insurance Stops at the Border

Attention:  Your Health Insurance, Even For Those On Medicare, 

Does NOT Cover You Outside the United States



Will you be traveling outside the U.S. in the next 12 months? Make sure your health insurance goes with you. Nearly every health insurance plan, including Medicare and Medicare Supplements, stops at the border.

Here are some expenses you could encounter if you get sick or injured outside the United States.

Non-covered services average cost*:

  • Medical Evacuation                     $10,000  to  $100,000+
  • Political Evacuation                    $  1,000  to  $ 10,000
  • Repatriation                               $  6,000  to  $ 50,000
  • Return of Mortal Remains            $  4,000  to  $ 10,000+
  • Returning of Minor Children         $    500   to  $  2,000
 *MASA – Medical Air Services Association


Okay, so that looks like a bunch of technical terms. Here's the main thing you need to know: If you get sick or injured when you are outside the U.S., your health insurance will more than likely not cover your expense. At best, it will only be a reimbursement. In other words, the foreign doctor / hospital will make you pay out of your own pocket before you get treatment.  Then it would be up to you to try and get your insurance company to reimburse you for the expense.

If you want or need to be transported back to a hospital near your home, it will easily be over $10,000 and could end up costing you over $100,000!

That's the bad news. The good news is that you can get great coverage that will pay for such things and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.

Bottom line: find out before you go -- call our office today. 800-482-6426, or get a free quote by going to the following addresses:

For those who are enrolled in Medicare: http://tinyurl.com/pt6pq3s

For those who are NOT Enrolled in Medicare: http://tinyurl.com/pjjqdog

Monday, February 16, 2015

MEASLES: SHOULD I BE WORRIED?

Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the past few months, you are aware of the recent measles outbreak in the U.S., not to mention the controversy over whether or not families should be forced to vaccinate their children.  You probably have your own opinion about that topic, as do many people, but I came across some information that I wanted to share with you.

The Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE), within the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), publishes a weekly update and the one issued on February 13, 2015 contains a lot of useful information.

Source: Iowa Department of Public Health

EPI Update for Friday, February 13, 2015
Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE)
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)


Items for this week’s EPI Update include:
  • MMR vaccination recommendations
  • Measles update
  • Ebola update
  • Meeting announcements and training opportunities

MMR vaccination recommendations
Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose can be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered as soon as 28 days later (however the second dose is usually administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, persons who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements have received two doses of MMR vaccine.

It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one documented dose of MMR vaccine, or have laboratory confirmation of immunity or disease, in order to be considered fully immunized. It is further recommended for adults in that age category who plan international travel or are students in a post-secondary institution to receive a second dose to be considered fully immunized.

It is assumed that persons born in the U.S. prior to 1957 were likely infected with the measles virus and therefore have presumptive immunity. For adults born prior to 1957, 2 doses of MMR are recommended if they plan to travel internationally.

All healthcare providers, regardless of year of birth, should have 2 documented doses of MMR vaccine, proof of immunity (positive IgG result on serology), or laboratory confirmation of disease.

Killed measles vaccine, or vaccine of unknown type, administered between 1963 and 1967 did not provide long lasting protection and those doses should not count as valid doses. Anyone with doses of measles vaccine documented during that timeframe should be revaccinated.

Vaccination in those who have already had measles or have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or history of illness, it would be appropriate to vaccinate the individual.


Measles update
As of today, NO cases of measles have been identified in Iowa. So far this year, 121 confirmed cases of measles have been identified in 17 states and Washington D.C.

Confirmed cases of measles have been identified in states surrounding Iowa including: Illinois (three), Minnesota (one), Nebraska (two), and South Dakota (two). None of the recent cases have reported travel to Iowa during their infectious periods. Nevertheless, public health and hospital partners in Iowa are encouraged to share IDPH measles updates and the information below with local medical providers. For additional information about measles activity in the U.S., visit www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html

Please contact IDPH immediately to report all suspected measles cases. To reach IDPH during business hours call 800-362-2736 and after hours call 515-323-4360 (the Iowa State Patrol will contact the person on call).

Ebola update
There are no cases of Ebola in Iowa. No persons in Iowa are being tested for Ebola. This week there are six travelers who are considered to be at “low risk” of Ebola who is under a public health order to self-monitor for symptoms.
IDPH Ebola web page can be found at

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shhhh... life insurance

Nobody likes to talk about it, and the stereotypical image of the life insurance agent standing all alone at cocktail parties and other gatherings is well established. That being said, no other financial product can do as much for you and your family as life insurance, and at a time when you (or they) need it the most. You see, upon the death of the person insured, life insurance creates an immediate estate . . . an immediate source of money.

However the buying process is much more involved than to just "go out and get some." In spite what some of the big, faceless advertisers would have you believe, life insurance is far from being a one-size-fits-all type of purchase. There are very different needs for life insurance, depending on your particular circumstances and stage in your life cycle.

Term or Perm?

This is the age old question when it comes to buying life insurance. Is it better to buy Term insurance, or some form of permanent coverage, such as Whole Life, Variable Life, or Universal Life? Answer: It all depends. But the good news for you is that we have several fine companies to choose from who have excellent and very competitive policies in either or both categories. And we will be happy to sit down with you at your convenience to assess your needs and match them up to a policy that is right for you. Call us today – 800-482-6426.