Garage Sale Bingo

Garage Sale Bingo

If you love going to garage and yard sales, you know there are certain items that you are more likely to see than others. This lends itself to a game within the game…garage sale bingo. Here are easy to find items you want on your bingo card.

Exercise Equipment

From weights to treadmills, you are likely to at least see some exercise equipment on your travels. We are not sure what that says about us, but anyone who likes going to yard sales will testify that it is true.

Bread Makers

We guess once you make bread, you’ve done it and the thrill is gone. Either that or it is much easier to spend a couple of bucks to buy a loaf.

Holiday Decorations

You may find some beautiful hand-crafted vintage items or bags of questionable mini-lights, but almost every yard or garage sale may have some holiday decorations. If you focus on particular items like Santa’s or snowmen you may find some treasures. It may also just be another mark on your garage sale bingo card.

DVDs and CDs

These are a frequent sight at garage sales as technology changes. Discs that at one time cost $15-$20 or more can now be found for 50 cents to a dollar.

Cables, Cords, and Chargers

If you can find the exact one you need, it is jackpot time. If not, you may just encounter a box of tangled cords. Cords and cables and chargers are so commonly found they might as well be a Free Space in garage bingo.

Crutches/Walker

You always hope the previous user got better, but rehabilitation items always seem to have an aura about them. If you see them, it is another mark on your bingo card.

Souvenirs

It is interesting to see where people have been. Pennants, shot glasses, thimbles, plates, and small spoons are just a few of the items they have invested heavily in, only to sell them for a quarter or two.

You can probably add more to the list, including shoes, old computer items, children’s car seats, board games, and loads of other items. Want to add some interest to your next Saturday of going to garage sales? Create your own bingo card or scavenger hunt to add to the fun.

Shopping for insurance may not exactly be fun, but we can make it easier and maybe even more affordable. Contact one of our independent insurance agents for a quote on your auto, home, life, or business insurance.

Give It Away

Give It Away

There was a time when even small businesses protected secrets about how they conducted their businesses. At one time, there was more of a “bunker mentality” and an attitude of “If I told you I would have to kill you” attitude. Today, businesses have found a more valuable and viable approach to their knowledge and experience. They have discovered the value of “giving it away.”

Don’t panic. We are not talking about giving away your products or services. We are talking about being more free with sharing the knowledge you have about your chosen business.

Why?

More businesses are discovering the value of positioning themselves as the thought leader or expert in their business segment. When a business is perceived as an expert on a subject, potential customers eventually seek them out. This attracts customers into a marketing funnel that a business can nurture into an expanding customer base.

Positioning yourself as the expert can be done through social media, newsletters, direct mail, email, and a variety of other ways. Offer free tips and tricks, take and share the results of an online survey, and post a list of FAQs. You can also write timely seasonal press releases for your local media or offer quotes on news stories that may be impacted by your product or service. In short, you want to become the go-to resource in your community for your product category. You will then begin to see a more steady stream of potential customers coming to you.

Building a business involves more than just building your customer list. It means protecting the company you have built so far. This is the purpose of business insurance. A well-designed business plan can better protect your business from financial losses related to theft, vandalism, storm damage, slip and falls, and other liability claims. It can protect your income, real estate, and vehicles. Contact us to discuss your business and how it can be better protected. We look forward to assisting you.

Life’s Challenges and Rewards

Life’s Challenges and Rewards

One of the amazing things about this journey called life is just how often things work out. Not always, of course, but often enough to bring a much-needed smile, a laugh, or to keep us moving forward.

Let’s take relationships, for example. Just when we think we may never find that special person or are hurting from a breakup, someone may appear out of seemingly nowhere. Not always, of course, but enough to keep us interested and in the game.

When we have babies, the worry is constant. How are they progressing? Are we providing a great environment? Are they learning enough at the right pace?

Then there’s that first day of school; fighting back the tears until they are out of sight.

Then an amazing thing happens. They are alright and you are fine. In fact, you may find you can get more things done and may even have a few minutes for yourself.

But as your child reaches their teenage years, there can be a rocky road for a bit. You begin to worry about them becoming old enough to drive. But then another interesting thing happens. When they get their driver’s license, they can take themselves to practice and shopping. They can even run errands for you. You may never stop worrying, but you realize this just may work out.

Of course, when they go to college, it all starts again. Will they be alright? Will they find good people to hang out with? Will they make good choices? Then it happens again. They are off, hopefully, making you proud, and you have your house back. It just may bring another smile.

The story repeats itself in many ways. Some of the things we worry most about never happen. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared, however.

That’s a big reason to have adequate life insurance…to be prepared. No, it can’t prevent bad things from happening, but it can help reduce stress and worry. It can help ensure things work out.

If you would like to discuss how life insurance can add to the quality of your life, contact one of our independent life insurance agents. It is more affordable to get than many realize, and it is easy to get started. We look forward to assisting you.

Frequent After-Market Add-ons for Cars and Trucks

Frequent After-Market Add-ons for Cars and Trucks

There’s no question we love our vehicles in America, so much so that we can’t seem to leave them alone. New or used, we need to tinker, upgrade, and make them our own…often to the tune of thousands of dollars. Here are just a few of the more frequent alterations we make to our cars and trucks.

Sound Systems

This is nothing new, of course, but now instead of 8-track stereo systems and FM converters it is more about power and bass. Thunder in the distance? Nope. It’s just the neighbor getting home on a Friday.

Enhanced Lighting

Pickup truck, Jeep, and SUV owners love ’em. Oncoming drivers have a different emotion. LED, brilliant, colorful, and custom lighting certainly adds a flare to new vehicles and can even make it better to see the road.

Upgraded Wheels and Tires

There was a time when 17-inch tires seemed extreme. Wheels and tires just seem to be getting bigger and more elaborate. Oh, by the way, they are also getting MUCH more expensive. You can easily invest several thousand dollars in specialty rims and tires.

Video Cameras

Video cameras in cars started as an enhancement to rear view mirrors. Today, they can provide 360-degree views around your vehicle, video capture your trips, and even provide security when your car is parked. Some amazing incidents have been captured by dash cams around the world.

Rugged Front Bumpers

As if today’s full-size pickup trucks weren’t intimidating enough, aftermarket companies have found a lucrative market in selling bulky add-on bumpers that seem to be able to take on the world. From flat black to chrome, the choice is yours. After-market truck bumpers are terrific for those who enjoy off-roading or for those who want to appear that they go off-roading.

Adding after-market features to your car or truck can make it more practical and safer. It can also make it more stylish and enjoyable. It also likely adds value to your vehicle. That’s why it is important you connect with your independent auto insurance agent when considering upgrades to your vehicle. This can help make sure your vehicle is insured for its upgraded value. Contact us today to discuss your vehicle and your options.

Getting Serious About Energy Savings

Getting Serious About Energy Savings

Most people have at least taken some steps to save energy in their homes. It may be energy-saving light bulbs, buying Energy Star appliances or even upgrading to a smart thermostat. While these may save some energy and a few dollars, there are more significant steps you can take. If you want to vastly reduce or even eliminate your energy bill, here are some serious steps you can take.

Replace Your HVAC

Most of the energy used in a home is usually from its heating and air conditioning systems. If your HVAC system is approaching 15 years of age or older, proactively replacing it with an energy efficient system can pay for itself. A new system can save 60% or more over an old, outdated HVAC system. While you are at it, have your ducts cleaned and sealed.

Add Solar Power

Solar energy is becoming more practical, affordable, and powerful. You can use free energy when the sun shines, sell your excess energy back to your power company, and just pay for the power you use at night, or add batteries to store your own energy for use as needed. Systems start at about the cost of a good used car.

Upgrade Windows and Doors

If your home has single-pane windows and old doors, a lot of the power you are paying for is escaping. New windows can quiet your home, beautify it, add value and save energy.

Add Insulation

Adding insulation and filling gaps around windows and doors can keep treated air from escaping. You may also want to insulate the inside of your garage door.

Major investments in energy-saving upgrades can be expensive. However, consider how much you are paying in annual energy bills. These investments can pay for themselves rather quickly and add significant value to your home.

You’ll want to make sure, whether it is solar panels or a new HVAC system, you notify your independent home insurance agent of any major upgrades made to your home. It may also be a good time for a homeowner’s insurance review. We can even provide a price quote for an upgraded policy. Contact us today.

Getting Your Mind Out Of the Gutter: Fun Bowling Facts

Getting Your Mind Out Of the Gutter: Fun Bowling Facts

Bowling has seen its share of ups and downs. It has given us stars like Pete Weber, Earl Anthon, Marshall Holman, Mark Roth, and others. It has found its place as part of birthday celebrations, proms, and in competitive leagues. Bowling has attempted multiple transitions that included adding bumpers, neon, and day-glo colors, and almost all of us have tried the sport at some point in our lives. Yet, we probably know little about it. Here are some facts about bowling that may surprise you.

The Largest Bowling Alley in the World Is In Japan

The bowling alley with the most lanes is the Inazawa Grand Bowl in Japan. It was built in 1972 and it has 116 lanes all on one floor. It covers an area that is about two times the size of a football field.

How Much Does a Bowling Pin Weigh?

Bowling pins can range in weight from three pounds and six ounces to three pounds and ten ounces.

What are Bowling Balls Made Of?

Bowling balls get most of their weight from an inner core made of powdered metal oxides hardened with a resin and catalyst. These cores are then covered in a choice of three covers; polyester, urethane or resin.

Are There Still A Lot of Bowlers?

Industry experts estimate that about 67 million people bowl annually. It is further estimated that about 1.2 million of those people bowl regularly and competitively in bowling leagues.

Why Do They Call Three Consecutive Strikes a Turkey?

While there is some debate about this, it is generally agreed that early bowling tournaments awarded food baskets and items to participants. These, of course, included live turkeys. Four in a row, by the way, is called a four-bagger.

If you haven’t visited a bowling alley in years, it may be time to rediscover the game. Meanwhile, if you have some spare time, you should also have your auto, home, life, and even business insurance reviewed. An updated price quote could result in savings. Contact one of our independent insurance agents to get started today.

What Are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?

What Are the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People?

One of the most successful self-help/motivational books of the last half-century was Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Covey’s 1989 publication had 381 pages of helpful knowledge for business owners, managers, and anyone who wanted to help ensure they had a successful career.

What were these seven habits that readers discovered, or in many cases, rediscovered? Here’s a look back.

Be Proactive

Covey urged readers to not just let things happen but to make things happen. It was a call to get in the game and look for ways to contribute and contribute.

Start with the End in Mind

Know your end goal from the very outset. Once you are clear about where you are going, it is easier to get there more directly and efficiently.

First Things First

Many parents have pleaded with their children to do this for years. Actions need to be prioritized and accomplished in a natural progression.

Think Win-Win

Covey talks about how you can get people pulling in the same direction if they can all get something out of it. Rather than only thinking about your own victory, consider how all stakeholders can win.

Seek to Understand First, Then to Be Understood

That is perhaps the reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listen sincerely and compassionately before making your point. What you hear can help you better make your case.

Synergize

Synergy is teamwork and working together. It is not just the principle that two heads are better than one, but that two heads working together are better than two heads working individually.

Sharpen the Saw

A sharp ax or saw can make cutting much easier. That’s why it is worth the means to take the time to be prepared for the task ahead.

Covey sold over 40 million copies of his book, which was published in 40 languages. He followed up his work with the publication of “The 8th Habit”. The books still make great reading and are superb books to gift.

Perhaps it is time you were proactive when it comes to your business insurance. It will not take care of itself. Contact us for a no-obligation insurance review and price quote. If you don’t currently have a business insurance plan, let’s discuss your company and your risks. Reach out to us today.

How Many People…

How Many People…

Some random statistics about the number of people who can do something or fit somewhere at any given time. Have you ever wondered how many people…

Attend DisneyWorld on a given day?

Attendance is a pretty closely guarded secret at DisneyWorld in Orlando, but estimates place the average combined attendance of their parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, etc.) at about 320,000 daily.

Can Be at the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis at any given time?

Yes, you can take a tram to the top of the Gateway Arch if you don’t fear heights or closed-in spaces. About 160 people at a time can take in the stunning view from about 600 feet above the Mississippi River. Sixteen windows accommodate the views.

Watched the Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show?

A staggering 73 million people watched the Beatles make their first appearance on American soil on the Ed Sullivan Show. That translates to about 45% of the total televisions in use at the time. To put that in perspective, just over 19 million people saw the finale of Game of Thrones.

Can fit on the world’s largest cruise ship?

Symphony of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship with a capacity for 6,780 passengers. The ship is an astounding 20 stories tall.

Are millionaires in the United States?

It is estimated that there are 28 million millionaires in the U.S.

Have peanut related allergies in America?

Peanut and peanut-related allergies affect about 1.1% of the population. While that may not seem like much, it still translates to over 3 million individuals.

Have walked on the moon?

Along with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, a total of 12 human beings have set foot on the surface of the moon.

Are born and die each day?

Worldwide, about 385,000 people are born each day. In comparison, there are about an average of 175,000 deaths each day across the globe.

You may not realize that less than half of Americans have life insurance. This can add stress and challenges for a family already going through difficult times. Life insurance can be affordable and easy to obtain. Getting started can be as easy as contacting one of our independent life insurance agents. Get your no-obligation price quote today.

Distinctive Automobile Headlights of the Past

Distinctive Automobile Headlights of the Past

There are thousands of design elements that went into the creation of the automobile. It must be safe, aerodynamic, functional, and attractive. One of the smaller but critical elements of an automobile is its headlights. For some automobiles, headlights are an afterthought. For others, headlights have been made into an important design feature.

Here are a few cars where the headlights have been accented.

1948 Tucker Torpedo

There were only 51 models of this innovative car produced. It featured advanced safety features like a padded dashboard, disc brakes, a roll bar, and more. It also included a third center headlight that would turn in the direction of the steering wheel to better illuminate around turns. In spite of its progressive features, the automaker went out of business in 1949.

Buick Riveria

The Riviera was GM’s first entry into the personal luxury auto segment and it did so with some unique design elements, including a fender-to-fender front grill that split in two, exposing its headlights when needed. The car was produced from 1963 to 1999, although only early editions featured the split-grill, hidden headlamps.

The Opel GT

This two-seater was sleek and sporty. To enhance its sleek appearance, designers built hidden headlights into its front fenders that maintained the aerodynamic integrity of the front end. The headlights flipped up when in use.

1964 Jaguar XKE

The extended hood of the XKE was enhanced by long sweeping headlights that followed the contour of its curved fenders. The general headlight design has been emulated by others in the years to follow, but never with the same impact as the Jaguar.

The Corvette

While it seems the Chevy Corvette always had hidden or pop-up headlights, that is not exactly true. First generation Corvettes had standard headlights, and the pop-up ones didn’t become a staple until 1963. The feature was a part of the Corvette personality until 2005, when standard headlights made their return.

When was the last time you got a quote on your auto insurance? How else would you know if you are paying too much? Get a no-obligation quote from one of our independent auto insurance agents today.

Why You May Need Renters Insurance

Why You May Need Renters Insurance

Do you question whether you need renters’ insurance or not? Here are some answers to some questions that can help you come to your own conclusion.

Do You Rent the Space Where You Live?

Are you currently renting or thinking about renting a home, duplex, apartment, or condominium? Since renters insurance doesn’t cover actual real estate, it is designed for those who rent their space, either for the short or long term.

Do You Have Personal Possessions?

Odds are you may own more items than you realize. Even if you rent a furnished space, you still likely have plenty of clothes, bedding, small appliances, cookware, and other personal items that could be covered in a loss while renting.

Do You Travel?

Renters’ insurance may be able to cover your personal possessions while you travel for fun or business.

Do You Have Visitors or Get Deliveries?

The liability portion of your renters’ insurance policy can help financially protect you should a visitor or delivery person injure themselves while on or in your rented space. It generally will not only cover legal costs but may even cover expenses associated with a judgment or settlement.

Does Your Landlord or Property Manager Require It?

More and more landlords and property managers are asking their tenants to secure renters’ insurance. By the way, you can seek out your own provider. We suggest you contact one of our independent insurance agents for a no-cost, no-obligation quote on renters’ insurance for your situation.

It is important to note that, like most loss prevention (insurance) products, renters’ insurance has its limitations and restrictions. It will not cover everything under all circumstances, and there are coverage limits. If you have valuable electronics or a valuable personal collection of jewelry or other items, discuss them with our independent insurance agent to make sure you fully understand your renters’ policy.
Renters’ insurance is surprisingly affordable, and you may even be able to get further discounts when bundling it with auto insurance. Connect with us to see your options and to protect the items you’ve worked so hard to acquire. We look forward to assisting you.