Pumpkin to Talk About

Fall is here and times to transition our lives for the season change! We’re putting away summer clothes, getting out the winter clothes, prepping our homes for winter, and setting up holiday décor.  It’s time to update your insurance policies as well!

Do you have a vehicle to put in storage or take out of storage? Do you want to add coverage to your vehicles for the winter months? Have you double checked your home insurance coverages to make sure you’re okay in the event of a loss? Have you prepped your home for winter? Do you need to add drivers to your policy? It’s always better to be prepared for the worst so you can have peace of mind if an accident occurs. Call your insurance company to review your policies before winter hits!

If you’re wondering what to do to prep your home for the winter months, we’ve made a quick list for you! This list will vary based on your home but these are just some things to be considering during this time of year.

  1. Check your heating system.
  2. Paint, caulk, and seal everything. This is Michigan and you don’t want water, snow, or cold air getting in anywhere.
  3. Clean your gutters.
  4. Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
  5. Clean chimney and order/chop wood.
  6. Shut down pools and sprinklers. Drain outdoor faucets.
  7. Prep lawn, gardens, and trees for winter months.
  8. Make sure attic is clean and sealed to prevent critters from sneaking in there.
  9. Prepare for snow. Get the garage cleaned out and the snow blower ready.
  10. Check your energy usage.

Back to School

Summer seems to be in full swing here in Michigan and we’re living for it! After the extreme winter weather that we experienced, this sunshine has been welcomed with open arms from us Michiganders!

August is upon us and it’s almost back-to-school season. This is just your friendly reminder to update your home and auto insurance policies! New school year brings new changes that you’ll want to address, here are a couple of examples:

  1. You have a child getting licensed that needs to be added as a driver
  2. You’re purchasing or selling a vehicle
  3. You have a household member moving out or someone else moving in
  4. You have a college student and are eligible for the good student discount
  5. You’d like to add or remove any vehicle coverages

It’s always good to contact your insurance agent when you’re making any changes to your household. If you have anything new going on just give us a call to make sure that your insurance is accurate!

We’ve also put together a short list of back to school items for those of you who are looking forward to sending your kids back to school!

  • Pencil and pens
  • Highlighters
  • Binder
  • Notebooks
  • Index Cards
  • Folders
  • Ruler
  • Calculator
  • Planner
  • Backpack
  • Lunch Box

EXTRA CREDIT – it’s always kind to bring some extra supplies for the classroom too. Tissues, dry erase markers, colored pencils, staples, etc. There are many classroom essentials that the state no longer provides and teachers are responsible for getting. Many hands make light work, if everyone pitches in and donates a little to the classroom then your child’s classroom environment will be a much more positive place. This way the teacher can start off the year right and your child can get the education they deserve!

 For those of us in Lowell, be sure to check the school website for all events coming up! It’s the start of busy season and we want to be prepared! http://www.lowellschools.com/

Spring Refresher

We’re finally starting to see some sun in the state of Michigan, thank goodness! Everyone is getting more excited and more proactive as the weather warms up. We’ve got a big holiday weekend coming up here that’s going to be the start of Michigan’s outdoor season! This is when we break out our tents, RV’s, and recreational vehicles for the summer months.

Along with this means it’s time to update your insurance policies. You need to make sure you have the correct vehicles on the road and the correct vehicles in storage. You have to have all of your recreational products insured to verify that they’re safe to be driving on the trails. If you have a pool or trampoline, make sure you’re covered for those on your home insurance and ask your agent about an umbrella policy to guarantee that you’re covered for everything.

Remember, this weekend is going to be a fun time with friends and family. Safety is the key to a good three-day weekend. Always keep the nearest hospital in mind when settling down in an unfamiliar area. Make sure to review fire, boating, and camping safety tips prior to engaging in the activities.

Have a great weekend everyone, and drive safely on the busy roads!

Spring, taking us by Storm

April showers bring May flowers, right? Maybe not in Michigan because it still snows half of the time! Regardless of whether we have snow or flowers, the storms will come. The thunder, lightning and wind are going to “rain” down on us again! If we know that every Spring, the storms are on their way then we should prepare for them as best as we can in order to avoid any unfortunate events.

How to prep your home and yard for storm season: Make sure you’re completely ready for the powerful rain and the wind gusts of lake effect storms! Make sure your roof is up to date and that none of the shingles are curling at all. Loosing shingles in a storm is messy to clean and hard to replace. Keeping an updated, quality roof over your head is going to be key if you’re living in Michigan! Also, make sure any large or leaning trees are removed if they’re even remotely close to your home or any outbuildings. Getting these removed ahead of time will cost about the same as it would to remove them but without the stress or damage that they would cause if they came crashing down. For further help on how to prepare for storms and wind, check out this guide!


What to do when a storm starts getting out of hand: Make sure you have an EAP (Emergency Action Plan) for your household. Whether it’s simply going down to the basement or designating jobs to people to ensure that everything is okay, it’s always best to have a predetermined plan in the event of an emergency.

What to do if damage occurs: If you think that you have a potential claim on your hands then call your insurance agent. Give them as much info as you can and make sure you’re able to describe damages. You should have an idea as too how much the fix should cost and also how much your deductible is. Filing claims on your home is risky business so it’s best to stay well informed. A claim has to be sudden and accidental, so keep that in mind when assessing the damage. If there’s a ton of damage and it seems to be urgent then it’d be best for you to call your agent asap. If your agent isn’t available then call the company directly so you can get everything taken care of, make sure you still report it to your agent as the earliest convenience. You’ll want to take lots of photos of the damage no matter what. If it’s damage that doesn’t need immediate attention then it’s best for you to have an estimate done so you can better determine if you’d like to file a claim or not.

What does it mean to file a claim on your Home Insurance: When determining whether or not you’d like to file a claim on your home, first find out the cost of the damage. You’ll need to subtract your deductible from that total amount and then decide if that’s an amount that you’re able to pay to fix or if you’re going to need some help from your insurance company. Home claims are okay if it’s only 1 or 2 within a 3 year time span but any more claims could cause your home insurance to drastically increase and/or nonrenewal from your company. So it’s important to be cautious and informed when filing a home claim.

Surviving the Winter of 2019

Last Week Michigan got hit with some of the coldest temperatures and LOADS of snow and ice. Everyone was stuck inside with a lot more down time than we had planned, and you should stay inside to be safe! Most of us were somewhat unproductive during that time, posting on Facebook, eating, watching movies, etc.… but we have a couple of things that you can do during a Polar Vortex to help you get ahead! You may even be looking forward to the next polar vortex!

Update your schedules: I’m sure we all have plenty of times that we’ve “made plans” with someone and then not followed through. Now is the time to sit down and analyze your calendar. You want to be spending time with friends and family so schedule them in! Make your doctor/dentist appointments too while you’re at it! We can always stand to get our eyes checked or our teeth cleaned.

Clean: You have an entire home to clean and all of the supplies with you! Get to work! You’ll function better with a clean home and you don’t have much else to do when stuck inside.

Restock your home: I do this about every other week. It keeps me relaxed so that I’m not running out of random things. I just go through and make sure that I have all of the basics (toothpaste, deodorant, plastic bags, etc) and then I double check that I have a spare of everything.

Family time: What a great time to have some family fun! Break into the game cupboard or bake desserts together! This is the perfect time to take advantage of the bad weather and use it to build stronger bonds with family.

New recipes: I’m sure we all have a couple of fun things saved that we’ve been waiting to make! If you have extra time then you can make one of those recipes that takes longer than usual and master something new!

Call your insurance agent: It’s always good to review your coverages and make sure you’re completely up to date. Especially with this crazy Michigan weather, make sure your vehicles and home are covered properly!

Pay your bills: We all dread doing this task but if you get this done on a cold day in then you’ll feel accomplished and prepped for the rest of the week!

Do your taxes: It’s that season! We’re all working so hard and yet we HAVE to make time to do this. Sooner is better than later and once it’s done you’ll instantly lose the stress that this puts on you. It’s best to get it done now instead of putting it off until the last minute!

Make a budget: This is a great way to get organized and get productive! Everyone should have a budget so if you don’t have one then now is the time to make it! If you already have one, then you should update this every year and tax season is the perfect time to get it done!

Online shopping: We all do this with our spare time already, there’s no shame in online shopping when it’s too cold to go out. Find those things that you’ve been wanting and have them delivered! We all love this activity and it’s easy to lose track of time while filling up your cart.


4 Different Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, the holiday that most people either love or loathe. There’s not much in between. People go nuts over this holiday, buying flowers, balloons, chocolate etc. to shower your significant other with attention and romance. Meanwhile, others hate all of the lovey dovey stuff and prefer to celebrate February 15th when all of the chocolate is 50% off in the stores. There are many different ways to celebrate this time of year and we have 4 of them right here for you! Now is the time to start preparing for it!

  1. A Romantic evening out with your significant other. Get dressed up, go out, and have fun celebrating your relationship! This is the time to really show off and be proud of what you have with them! This is usually the most common thing to do on Valentine’s Day and it’s still always one of the best.
  2. Stay in and spend some quality time with your significant other. Some people look down on this choice but it’s a nice change and it’s also very relaxing and fun! You just want to spend time alone and relax together, there are a lot of date nights that you can have in the comfort of your own home and you won’t have to worry about being around anyone else! This is pretty common for the introverts or those who are just tired of going out and want a change of pace.
  3. Celebrate it as more of a friendship, family day like they do in many foreign countries. Not as common of a choice but in many other countries, they celebrate Valentine’s Day as less romantic and more “I love you as friend and family” type of a holiday. This is a wonderful way to spend that holiday because there are many people in your life that you love and often don’t show enough appreciation to. This is the time to get that done!
  4. Have an Anti-Valentine’s day party! Get out your black heart shaped balloons and black streamers, it’s time to celebrate Anti-Valentine’s day! An up and coming idea for those who may be a little salty about the holiday, this involves a lot of celebrating of independence and freedom. It’s often used for singles to celebrate with their friends and have a good time on the holiday even when they don’t have the cliché date night with a loved one.

If your significant other is moving in or if you’re getting engaged then there are some potential changes to your insurance in the future! While all of these exciting things are happening, make sure you call your insurance agent to verify that you’re covered properly!

We want to know how your Valentine’s Day goes so please let us know!

Keeping your 2019 Fitness Goals

Its half way through January so we’re all starting to wear down a little on our New Year’s Resolutions of staying fit and eating clean. You may be needing a little more push to keep your momentum going, and this is it! You want to feel and look your best, and I’m sure you’ve been doing so well, but it gets tiring and hard to keep going. We have some endurance tips to help you keep pushing yourself to reach and keep your goals. Keeping your health up is more of a mental game than it is physical.

  • You can create a habit in 21 days. Keep going! It’ll get easier! Don’t think that after 21 days it’ll magically become easy as pie but it’ll gradually get easier the farther you get.
  • The better you feel, the more painless it’ll be. The more you eat clean and work out, the less difficult it’ll get. Eating those foods and making time for exercise will become more routine and less work for yourself. You’ll start to feel less like you’re working so hard at it.
  • It’ll keep your immune system up so you should be less susceptible to that winter drag cold and flu stuff. When you get sick, you give up a little and stop trying so hard. It’s an easy excuse for yourself to not exercise and eat something that’s quick and easy. Eating healthy foods and working out with strengthen your immune system and keep you healthier.
  • Schedule your time appropriately. You can schedule long and short work outs for specific days. Be sure to schedule yourself some time for fun activities, and some quiet time for yourself. Enjoy a night off from your hard work!
  • Make sure to reward yourself as you go. Sometimes the finish line seems too far away and it gets hopeless. A small reward can keep you going and motivated for a long time!

We’re working our hardest to make this year the best year yet! While you’re on your productive streak here in January of the New Year make sure that you update your home and auto insurance. It’s always good to look over your coverages and make sure that it’s exactly what you want, if you need to make any changes you can get that done asap. You’ll also want to make sure that all of your winter toys are insured and all of your summer toys have storage coverage on them!

If you have questions or need help then call us at 616-897-1515, we’re your local, Lowell insurance agency!

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions and Keep Them

Happy New Year’s everyone! What an exciting time. We’re sad to see 2018 go but we’re also so excited for what 2019 will bring! Most of us are taking this time during the cold weather to prepare for the New Year, set our goals, and then make plans for how we’re going to accomplish our goals. This is our fresh start, now we keep our momentum going and we spring into 2019, ready to get things accomplished so we can grow!

I’ve already started my long list of things that I want to accomplish in 2019 and it’s a mix of a Goal List and a To Do List. It isn’t limited to “New Year’s Resolutions” but can also include goals, bucket list activities, normal activities and to-do items that you need to get done! Either way, all of our lists are pretty similar. So we have 3 tips to help you make your list in a way that you know you can done in 2019! 

  1. Make your resolutions obtainable. You don’t want to set yourself too many, or too high, of goals. Your list may start to look impossible and it’ll much harder for you to get started. Fighting procrastination starts with setting obtainable goals that still push you to work harder. After you’ve made your list, take a second look at it and make sure that you aren’t getting ahead of yourself.
  2. Set a timeline or schedule for yourself with milestones to help reach your goal. Again, these milestones will need to be set at a pace that will make you work hard but that isn’t too much for you to handle. Make sure you’re being realistic with yourself so you don’t fall too far behind or get too ahead either. Slow and steady wins the race.
  3. Set rewards for yourself as you go and one big reward for once you reach your goal! These will be incentives for you to help push yourself through the tough times. When you’re really struggling, you’ll have that small reward to look forward to and help get yourself across the finish line.
  4. Spend some time on your resolutions. If you can’t put the time in now, you won’t be able to put the time in that’s required to actually accomplish your resolutions. Make sure you take your time and get them right this time so that when December comes around you won’t be wondering why you haven’t gotten anything done yet.
  5. Find someone who motivates you and share your resolutions with them. They can help keep you on track, remind you of your priorities, and pick you up when you’re feeling down. When there’s two of you, you can count on each other to keep going, don’t’ give, and work harder. You’ll definitely want someone around to keep you accountable by the time Spring gets here and your life speeds up.

Here’s hoping that everyone had a wonderful New Year and that we all recover quickly from the weight we gained over the holidays!

Happy New Year!

Turkey Dinner Giveaway 2018

It’s our favorite time of year, it’s time for our Turkey Dinner Giveaway! On Christmas Eve, every year, the Kyes family donates 250 Turkeys to families in Grand Rapids who needed a meal. Once again, we did this for the 2018 holiday season and our team had a blast!

Such a good time for fellowship and community! We handed out turkey dinners to people who asked for them through the schools and then we handed out turkey dinner’s door-by-door to those who said they’d like some. This is all thanks to the Kyes family for encouraging the giving spirit and for allowing the rest of us to come alongside them and help prepare that and experience it as well.

We’re so grateful for this tradition and we hope that it inspires other to show their giving spirits during the Christmas season as well!

Turkey Dinner Giveaway Team 2018

Winter Driving Safety

Its mid-December so if you haven’t gotten your vehicle ready for the winter season then now’s your chance! We have some Winter Driving Safety and a DIY Car inspection for you to guarantee you’re ready for snow and ice!

Our culture is naturally always rushing and anxious. This is the cause of a lot of auto accidents in the winter, people being in a hurry and not taking the necessary time to drive safely and cautiously. Training yourself to take the extra time to leave early and keep an eye on the weather can help you slow down your mentality and stay safe during the bad weather.

Let us know what you think of these and if you have anything to add!

DIY Car Inspection:

  1. Check ALL of your lights. Light bulbs are cheap and make a huge difference. Not just the normal lights but also the brake lights, blinkers, and lights inside the vehicle as well.
  2. Make sure your tires are updated. You’ll need grip on the road when the snow and ice hit. We all know that tires are expensive but they’re one of the more necessary parts to keep updated for the winter months.
  3. Windshield wiper fluid. In Michigan, we NEED this stuff for the bad roads. You’ll be completely blind without it.
  4. Get your oil changed on time to prevent any mishaps later on. Some of us wait until we’re about 2,000 miles over and then we go and get it done. In the winter, make sure your checking your oil regularly and getting that taken care of.
  5. Make sure your heat works! Not only is this important for your own warmth but also for defrosting or defogging your windshield.

Winter Driving Safety:

  1. Keep an eye on the weather. You want to be able to get an idea of what’s coming and prepare as best as you can. One of the main reasons for car accidents in the winter is people who are in a rush and aren’t being cautious enough. To help prevent that, leave early and give yourself more time so that you can feel comfortable driving safely.
  2. Know your route. You’ll need to know exactly where you’re going and how to get there so there’s no confusion and no danger of getting lost in a storm. This means getting your gps situated and ready to go before taking your car out of park.
  3. Stay alert and cautious. You may be driving as safely as you can but the people around you may not be. Keeps your eyes open and watch your surroundings.
  4. Have a “winter emergency kit” in your car in case you get stranded somewhere in the snow and ice. To include in your kit:winter clothes and boots, snacks, gas can, spare tire, windshield scraper (the one that also has a brush on one end), flashlight, batteries, blanket, water,gloves, first aid kit, hat, pepper spray, phone charger, jumper cables, and ratchet straps. Let us know if there’s anything we missed here!
  5. Consider adding roadside assistance to your auto insurance policy. Roadside assistance isn’t expensive at all and is a HUGE help when you need it. If you have roadside assistance, make sure to keep the dispatch phone number on your person and have your auto insurance policy number with you as well (this shouldn’t be a problem if you have your proof of insurance in the car).
  6. Keep your gas tank at least half full. There are plenty of reasons to get stranded in the winter so if we can prevent at least one of those things then we’ll be off to a good start!
  7. Assume the worst conditions while driving. If it looks like it may be a little slick, assume it’s a thick layer of ice and drive slowly.
  8. Keep in mind there are still deer all over Michigan and they can do some serious damage. Driving slowly and carefully could potentially prevent an accident or lessen the damages.
  9. Make sure you have good contact info for your insurance agent. If something happens and you need to get the claim filed asap,you’ll want to call them as soon as your able and the accident is cleared up.Give them a call sometime this winter to review what coverages you have and what to do in the event of an emergency.
  10. Consider adding coverage on your auto insurance policy. This is the time of year that you may want to add some comprehensive and/or collision to your vehicle. You never know what you may slide into and what kind of storms we’ll get. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Alliance wants to remind you to have a happy and safe last couple weeks of the year! If you need any help with your insurance before winter fully descends upon us, you can give us a call at 616-897-1515.

Merry Christmas!